Blog Archive

View My Stats
Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Cover Reveal: The Heart Of Stone by Ben Galley


We at Fantasy Book Critic are glad to take part in the cover reveal for THE HEART OF STONE by Ben Galley. The cover as seen above is courtesy of Shawn King. He of the fabulous cover art & design that graces all the lovely books from Ragnarok Publications.

Here's what Shawn said about the creation of this cover:
 "When Ben approached me about doing the cover for The Heart of Stone he repeatedly mentioned his love for my covers of Michael McClung's Amra Thetys series (Ragnarok Publications)—that kind of concerned me at first, since what he was wanting was drastically different haha. I don't know if it was the challenge, the income, or my difficulty with saying the word 'no' to bookish projects, but I accepted the job right away."

"I was provided with an excerpt (a scene in which the golem is first revealed), and immediately these great images began to form in my mind…and that's where they stayed, because they stubbornly refused to appear on my screen. So, what you see now is the result of me lifting my head from my desk and attempting something I've never done before, and it was fun as hell. Every time I added new fissures (that word sounds better than 'cracks') I'd sit back and smile at the effect they gave—I was actually pulling this off, and it made me happy."

"As for the type treatment, I initially wanted something strong, something bold, but after playing around with a slew of font choices I ended up going with a classier serif font (ever so slightly altered) that wouldn't fight the golem for control. I know that doesn't tell the rundown of my process, really, but I'm not that great at giving walkthroughs…plus, I have to keep my secret recipe a secret. heh!"

"Hope everyone enjoys this one, inside and out."


I love the look of the cover (see above) and can’t wait to read more the book in its entirety. You can read an excerpt of it here.

Here’s the blurb for THE HEART OF STONE:

Mercenary. Murderer. Monster. He has been called many names in his time.

Built for war and nothing else, he has witnessed every shade of violence humans know, and he has wrought his own masterpieces with their colours. He cared once, perhaps, but far too long ago. He is bound to his task, dead to the chaos he wreaks for his masters.

Now, he has a new master to serve and a new war to endure. In the far reaches of the Realm, Hartlund tears itself in two over coin and crown. This time he will fight for a boy king and a general bent on victory.

Beneath it all he longs for change. For something to surprise him. For an end to this cycle of warfare.

Every fighter faces his final fight. Even one made of stone.

The book will be most likely released next spring (2017) in all e-book formats as well as a paperback edition. You can sign up to be notified of The Heart of Stone’s release (as well as get a few pre-launch freebies like ARCs and sneak peeks) over at Ben's website.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Guest Review: Dead West Omnibus Vol. 1 by Tim Marquitz, Joe Martin, & Kenny Soward (Reviewed by C. T. Phipps)


Official Tim Marquitz website
Official Joe Martin website
Official Kenny Soward website
Order the omnibus HERE

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Tim Marquitz is the author of the Demon Squad series, The Blood War Trilogy, Witch Bane, and the Clandestine Daze series. and . He is also an editor, a heavy metal aficionado, a Mixed Martial Arts fan, and is also a member of the Live Action Role Playing organization. When he’s not busy writing dark stories which catch his imagination he also manages to go about his day job. Tim lives in El Paso, Texas with his wonderful family.

J. M. (Joe) Martin used to load cargo onto aeroplanes, which is where he got his enormous muscles. That was a lot of work so he started writing comic books and role-playing games and short stories for various publishers. Joe is also the owner of Ragnarok Publications, and serves as the company's Creative Director. He lives in Kentucky with his black belt wife and three spirited wee folk. He is not related to George R.R. Martin, however they do share the same fashion sense.

Kenny Soward grew up in Crescent Park, Kentucky, a small suburb just south of Cincinnati, Ohio, listening to hard rock and playing outdoors. In those quiet 1970's streets, he jumped bikes, played Nerf football, and acquired many a childhood scar. He is the author of the GnomeSaga series and Galefire.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: "The writing is very visceral, raw in a style similar to Chuck Wendig. There is action aplenty here—there is furious gunplay and characters knee-deep in the blood and guts of their eviscerated friends. This is a high octane story, but what makes it stand out among the rest is the drama between the human characters..." — Ryan Lawler, FantasyBookReview.com

Collecting Those Poor, Poor Bastards and The Ten Thousand Things in a spectacular omnibus edition, this is 420+ pages of Weird Western, Supernatural, Lovecraftian horror, with "strong female characters!"

The DEAD WEST OMNIBUS (vol. 1) takes Nina Weaver, her father Lincoln, and a motley crew of survivors through a gauntlet of magically-animated undead and demonic forces from 'deaduns' to giant, flying creatures, to hellish steam engines, to actual murders of crows. Guns, explosives, bloodletting, expletives, faith-based magic, gore, more expletives, and high emotion! DEAD WEST takes elements of HBO's Deadwood and AMC's The Walking Dead and Hell on Wheels, puts it all in a big cask of TNT, then watches it go BOOM!

FORMAT/INFO: The Dead West Omnibus vol. 1 is a first person omnibus with 434 pages. It collects the first two novels in the Dead West series (Those Poor, Poor Bastards and The Ten Thousand Things) and is a good place to jump on. The book was released on July 6th, 2014.

ANALYSIS: The cover of Dead West Omnibus vol. 1 triumphantly proclaims itself to be a combination of The Walking Dead and Deadwood. I haven't watched Deadwood yet so I can't make any sort of claim to that effect but I am a big fan of The Walking Dead. I'm also a big fan of Weird Westerns in general.

The traditional depiction of the genre is one I can take or leave with Spaghetti Westerns and Red Dead Redemption being my biggest execptions. For me, I prefer Westerns with a decidedly unromantic view of America's expansion into the territory of Native Americans as well as the final triumph of Manifest Destiny.

Thankfully, those looking for a cynical and angry view of the Wild West will find exactly what they're seeking here. Making the protagonist of the two novels into a half-Native American woman and never letting her be "comfortable" around the racist settlers around her is a brilliant writing decision. From the very beginning of the collection until the end, Nina Weaver is well aware her associates could turn upon her at any time. The Dead West Omnibus vol. 1 doesn't try to sanitize the effects of prejudice on her as she has a hostile relationship to Christianity, even when keeping away zombies, and a simmeriing resentment to just about everyone around her. Individuals looking for diversity and representation in their novels may note Nina is bisexual, though she doesn't know the word for that yet.

The premise for the novel is Nina and her father Lincoln are having a fairly typical day when it is interrupted by two distinct batches of trouble. The first is a group of ex-Confederate soldiers who are very much set upon assaulting Nina for no other reason than hatred of Native Americans and the second is the arrival of a stampede of zombie cattle. The latter precedes a complete breakdown of what the locals think of as their reality since it is the beginning of a zombie apocalypse.

Fleeing to a nearby fort, Nina and her father join with the people who'd formerly intended to kill or rape her as well as a band of survivors from the town. This is my favorite part of the two novels as it's a perfect "base under siege" story. There are rich, poor, Yankee, Native, black, and white people all to be found within the fort. The fort is also under the protection of a Jesuit missionary who doesn't share the religion of the majority of the inhabitants but possesses miraculous powers to hold the monsters at bay. The story beyond is the survivors attempting to survive and the slow discovery of what caused the outbreak of the undead.

The best parts of the novel deal with Nina's complicated feelings towards everyone around her. I especially liked Jasmine, the black prostitute who shares a unique relationship with Nina. There's a few holes like the fact everyone remains skeptical of the Jesuit priest despite the fact he, literally, can destroy the undead with a prayer but I felt they were small.

CONCLUSION: I recommend the Dead West Omnibus vol. 1 to fans of both the Weird West as well as zombie apocalypse genres. It very much captures the complicated personal relationships of The Walking Dead as well as successfully transplants them to the Wild West. It isn't a flawless read but is deeper than the vast majority of stories set in its genre.

*---------------*---------------*---------------*


Official Author Website
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Esoterrorism
Read Fantasy Book Critic interview with C. T. Phipps

AUTHOR INFORMATION: C.T. Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger, reviewer for The Bookie Monster, and recently signed a deal with Ragnarok Publications to produce the urban fantasy series, The Red Room. C.T. Phipps is also the author of The Supervillainy Saga, the first book of which, The Rules of Supervillainy, was released last year.
Thursday, August 25, 2016

BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: The Gate of Futures Past by Julie E. Czerneda



Julie E. Czerneda visited Fantasy Book Critic when the first novel of Reunification Series was published. We are excited to announce that her second novel in the series is set to be released and we are celebrating by taking part in the blog tour, which allows our readers to take part in TWO different giveaways.

Gate to Futures Past is scheduled to be released by DAW Hardcover on September 6, 2016.

We have a giveaway that is being run on Fantasy Book Critic and then you can enter the 'blog tour' giveaway (the one offered with raffelcopter). Each provides you with a great opportunity to win some of Julie E. Czerneda's books!

Here is what you can win!

If you enter the Fantasy Book Critic giveaway (rules below), you will have the chance to win 2 books. You will win a mass market copy of A Gulf of Time and Stars and a hardcover copy of Gate of Futures Past.

The blogwide giveaway you will have the chance to win the entire Clan Chronicles. That is a total of 8 books!




Without further ado, I'd like to spotlight The Gate of Future Past. 

**************************************************************** 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Second novel in the hard sci-fi Reunification series, The Gate to Futures Pastcontinues the Clan Chronicles, perfect for space opera readers looking for unique aliens and interstellar civilizations. 
 
Betrayed and attacked, the Clan fled the Trade Pact for Cersi, believing that world their long-lost home. With them went a lone alien, the Human named Jason Morgan, Chosen of their leader, Sira di Sarc. Tragically, their arrival upset the Balance between Cersi’s three sentient species. And so the Clan, with their newfound kin, must flee again.
 
Their starship, powered by the M’hir, follows a course set long ago, for Clan abilities came from an experiment their ancestors—the Hoveny—conducted on themselves. But it’s a perilous journey. The Clan must endure more than cramped conditions and inner turmoil. 
 
Their dead are Calling.
 
Sira must keep her people from answering, for if they do, they die. Morgan searches the ship for answers, afraid the Hoveny’s tech is beyond his grasp. Their only hope? To reach their destination. 
 
Little do Sira and Morgan realize their destination holds the gravest threat of all....

ABOUT THIS AUTHOR

Julie E. Czerneda is a biologist and writer whose science fiction has received international acclaim, awards, and best-selling status. She is the author of the popular Species Imperative trilogy, the Web Shifters series, the Trade Pact Universe trilogy and her new Stratification novels. She was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her stand-alone novel, In the Company of Others, won Canada's Prix Aurora Award and was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award for Distinguished SF. Julie lives with her husband and two children in the lake country of central Ontario, under skies so clear they could take seeing the Milky Way for granted, but never do. For more about her work, visit www.czerneda.com or visit her on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

 
****************************************************

Giveaway Rules for Fantasy Book Critic Giveaway 

1. This giveaway is open to those living in the US/Canada. 

2. One winner at the end of the contest will be chosen to receive 1 copy of A Gulf of Time and Stars and 1 copy of Gate of Futures Past.

3. Contest begins on August 26, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. EST and will end September 3, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. EST. 

4. Please only one entry per person. 

5. To enter please send an email with the subject GATE OF FUTURES PAST to FBCgiveaway@gmail.com. Please include your name, email address, and snail mail address. 

6. All entries will be deleted at the end of the contest. 

Good Luck!    
Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mini-reviews: The Devils of Cardona by Matthew Carr & Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Author Website
Order the book HERE

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: This book is a must read for all history fiction aficionados, set in the late sixteenth century Spain, we the readers are introduced to a land which is fraught with religious fervor, suspicion & persecution of the other as well as plain bigotry (laced by religion of course). The focus of the story is on Belamar de la Sierra, a small village/town in the Aragon province near the France-Spain border. There has been a brutal murder of an allegedly corrupt Catholic priest and all fingers point towards the “moriscos” or converted Moorish Muslims. Our main protagonist is Bernardo de Mendoza, a veteran soldier of the Reconquista and who now serves as a magistrate (Licenciado).

He gets tasked by King Philip II of Castile to investigate this murder and find out the killer(s). Mendoza sets out with a small company consisting of his page Gabriel, his cousin Luis de Ventura, and three other soldiers. When they arrive, they find the place to be rife with sectarian tensions and potential violence for the death of the priest who himself was involved in the death of a “Morisco” family.

This story sets upon explaining the details of the Spanish Reconquista and what exactly does “Morisco” mean (Muslim Moors forcibly converted to Catholicism)? I loved the in-depth detail to the surroundings and history afforded by the author. The story is a murder mystery which reads very much like a thriller and there’s the usual cast of characters to help propagate the plot and tropes. Bernardo as a main character is a nuanced one, we get to know his background and family history which is fascinating in itself. It will be great if the author decides to make a series about him and some of the characters introduced within. The surrounding character cast however needs to be better developed as in this book, it all hinges on Bernardo's able shoulders.

The author puts into play several plot threads which neatly come together in the end to make up a satisfying tapestry. I loved how neatly everything fell into place and didn’t seem contrived at all (Your mileage may vary on this point though). The best part part about the book is the author’s love and detailed descriptions of Spain in the sixteenth century. He very adroitly lets the readers know about the life and hardships that the people faced in those times while never making it an infodump or slackening the pace. The factoids and the history minutiae are neatly mixed in so as to make it seem completely natural. Kudos to the author for this aspect of the story. The author also mixes some nice action pieces within the mystery plot and for those readers who covet action, you will get it in spades towards the latter half of the book.

CONCLUSION:Get ready to immerse yourself in a land that seems very much like any troubled piece to be found in recent times. There’s bigotry, xenophobia, violence but also bravery, honesty and simple good folk who are trying to survive these brutal times. This was one historical debut that I can’t recommend enough and Matthew Carr seems to be an author whose books I will not be missing out in the foreseeable future.


Official Author Website 
Order the book HERE

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Only Daughter is a book that caught my eye solely due to its mysterious blurb. I loved the dual timeline aspect of the story that was advertised and I dove in with some trepidation & major anticipation.

The story unlike most thrillers doesn't waste time in much of a set-up and quickly drops the readers in to the happenings where we find the then unnamed protagonist, who is caught shoplifting to and to escape the law, quickly blurts out that she is Rebecca Winter. The same Rebecca Winter who has been missing for close to eleven years and whose trail has long gone ice cold. This revelation then sets into motion several series of events. The most prominent one being that the Winter family is quickly called in about the reappearance of their daughter. The newly-found Rebecca has to pass a DNA test to prove who she is and then come up with an explanation as to what happened eleven years ago? Not to mention also follow up with where she was all of this time and why didn’t she contact the police earlier?

All of this is very craftily explained in the book and I don’t want to spoil how it all unfolds. Safe to say, the author has thought up a nice, twisted way for our main character to prove who she says she is. She then is reunited with her original family and slowly tries to reintegrate herself. Around the same time, we are given a parallel track of Rebecca Winter in 2003 and we see her mindset back in that time. These twin strands are nicely contrasted with first person (2014) and third person (2003) narratives. In both timelines we slowly are also introduced to a wide cast of characters. In the present and past timeline, we meet Rebecca’s family consisting of her father, mother & her twin siblings, all of whom seem to be weird in their own way. Then we also get to meet more characters in the past timeline such as Rebecca’s best friend and colleagues over at the fast food restaurant, as well as her best friend’s family, & her neighbor. There is a large number of suspects introduced and the author does her best to spread the intrigue and make the reader doubt everyone.

What I loved about the book was its frantic pace, the story’s dual timelines will have the readers constantly flipping the pages to see what happens next and also try to make sense of what actually happened. The story-line also has lots of twists to it and they are interspersed through both the timelines. The author also does her best to keep the tension taut as we are constantly shown hints as to who could have possibly happened. Lastly when the climax comes, it does usher in a lot of surprises and the final reveal does make sense.

What didn’t quite make this a five star read for me was that there are several things that are left unexplained. These mainly occur in the past and while they add to the creepy factor, they aren’t explained at all in the end. These events just occur and we aren’t conclusively told what lead to their occurrence (I’m being purposefully vague here). Lastly the other thing that didn’t quite gel for me was the ending revelations felt a bit rushed and even though the ending makes sense, I wish it was properly flushed out. This book is on the shorter side and few more pages setting up and explaining everything would have elevated this book into a five read for me.

CONCLUSION: This is a fine thriller that will appeal to a lot of mystery-thriller readers and marks Anna Snoekstra out as an exciting thriller writer from down under. Only Daughter is a very good read and I can’t recommend it enough in spite of the reservations I experienced because of how well-written it is and the excitement it offers. Miss this one at your choice, I know I will be looking forward to Anna’s future works.

"Click Here to Start" by Denis Markell (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)





OVERVIEW: What if playing video games was prepping you to solve an incredible real-world puzzle and locate a priceless treasure?

Twelve-year-old Ted Gerson has spent most of his summer playing video games. So when his great-uncle dies and bequeaths him the all so-called treasure in his overstuffed junk shop of an apartment, Ted explores it like it’s another level to beat. And to his shock, he finds that eccentric Great-Uncle Ted actually has set the place up like a real-life escape-the-room game!

Using his specially honed skills, Ted sets off to win the greatest game he’s ever played, with help from his friends Caleb and Isabel. Together they discover that Uncle Ted’s “treasure” might be exactly that—real gold and jewels found by a Japanese American unit that served in World War II. With each puzzle Ted and his friends solve, they get closer to unraveling the mystery—but someone dangerous is hot on their heels, and he’s not about to let them get away with the fortune.

FORMAT: Click Here to Start is a children's adventure/mystery novel. It is currently a standalone novel, but there is potential for a series as a lot of questions revolving the bigger plot (the game) are left unanswered.

Click Here to Start stands at 320 pages. It was published July 19, 2016 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers.

ANALYSIS: I have always been a huge fan of children's adventure/mystery novels. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, The Westing Game, and Book Scavenger all come to mind as some of my favorite children's books. Now, I can add a new title to that list – Click Here to Start.

Click Here to Start tells the story of Ted, a young boy who is a whiz at solving those 'escape room' puzzles. Ted recently visited his uncle in the hospital. During the visit, his uncle gave him some odd instructions, but Ted thought it was just a part of his uncle's quirky nature. The next day, Ted's uncle passes away and the will is read.

In the will, Ted is left all the contents of his uncle's apartment. Ted believes that somewhere in the apartment there is a treasure hidden and his uncle wants him to find it. Ted is unable to find the treasure on his first day in the apartment, but when he gets home he finds a mysterious online game called 'Game of Ted', which provides him with a step-by-step guide on how to find clues throughout the apartment that lead to the treasure.

As Ted and his two friends Caleb and Isabel, uncover clues in the apartment, it seems that there is more than meets the eye and that his uncle may have had a mysterious past that no one knew about. And he may be hiding a very valuable treasure. Unfortunately, other, dangerous people want that treasure too.

There is a lot to love about Click Here to Start. It is a fun, fast paced mystery novel that doesn't feel as if it is the same old, same old. First, the novel touches on some topics that aren't usually brought up in children's novels. Topics that include Japanese American camps internment camps, stealing of valuable treasures during that time, the importance of American soldiers that had Japanese ancestry during the war, and other topics.

These topics aren't the main focus of the novel, but they are introduced in a way that could spark people's interest. It was nice to see a novel try to shed some light on topics that aren't as popular in children's lit. Click Here to Start does a wonderful job of introducing people to these topics but not going overboard to the point that it seems like it has a hidden agenda or is focusing the topic on people.

Another amazing part of the book is the characters are believable. I have a hard time with books that have 11 or 12 year old characters that are running around all over the place like they are 16, 17, and 18 years old. The characters in the book are given some freedoms – sometimes a little too much (like cleaning out an apartment on their own in a neighborhood that is supposed to be a bit sketchy) – but it seemed realistic. The parents were all involved in some aspect, but didn't take center stage.

While I loved Click Here to Start, there are a few things that other readers may find a bit concerning. The first issue is the fact that some of the clues and clue solving came across as a bit unrealistic. Readers will have to suspend reality a bit, as a lot of the clue solving has to do with going on a computer game and finding the clues and learning how to solve them in real life.

The use of the computer game is real, but it brings up the question of – who is creating a real time game that allows Ted to play? Everything is done in real time and there are photos and actual details that would be hard for people to really know. This aspect might be difficult for some readers as it was a bit unrealistic. I was able to suspend disbelief and enjoy the book, but it did cross my mind of 'how is all this going down'.

I do think younger readers, the original audience, probably won't questions it as much as older readers. Books like Lemoncello's Library are just as unrealistic and they were hits too.

Who creates the computer game, how they created it, what their goals are, are never explained in the book. It appears that Click Here to Start may be a first book of a series, in which case we will get answers (hopefully).

Overall, I enjoyed reading Click Here to Start. I found it fun, unique, and fast paced. It might have its flaws at times, but it was enjoyable. I look forward to reading other books in the series if it is continued.
Sunday, August 21, 2016

GUEST BLOG: Strong Characters by Elaine Cunningham


Last week, Simone Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an individual swimming event.

I want to be an inspiration,” she said, “but I would like there to be a day when it is not ‘Simone the black swimmer.’ The title of black swimmer suggests that I am not supposed to win golds or break records, but that’s not true because I train hard and want to win just like everyone else.”

Sounds reasonable.

It also made me wonder what the protagonists of Hath No Fury would say if you could stick a microphone in their faces and ask them what it was like to be a “strong female character.”

A fighter might show you the calluses on her hands and tell you stories about her countless hours of training, about battles won and lost, about people and causes worth more to her than her own life.

Interview a bard, and she’d probably sing a ballad about the fighter. She sees herself as the storyteller, not the story, yet her path requires its own sort of courage. She has calluses on her pride as well as her fingertips, and she knows the price for speaking inconvenient truths.

A wizard might tell you about her years of intense study, but more likely she’d just turn you into a newt and tell you to come back when you got better.

Strong characters” are strong because they build strength of mind, body, and character by doing difficult things, day after day after day. They make decisions, take action, learn and grow. It’s the same process whether you’re male or female, elf or dwarf.

I would like there to be a day when we no longer talk about “strong female characters,” because that phrase suggests that females aren’t supposed to be strong. But for that day to come, we need to reshape the cultural narrative that assumes femininity and strength are opposing traits. We need to tell and read stories of women who do difficult things, day after day after day. Eventually, we’ll have one description for all characters who make decisions, take action, learn and grow:

STRONG!

*---------------*---------------*---------------*


Official Author Website

GUEST AUTHOR INFORMATION: Elaine Cunningham is a New York Times best selling author who started out writing in the Forgotten Realms universe. She has several releases and has been part of a few anthologies. She currently lives with her family in Rhode Island.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Interview with Melanie Meadors (interviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Author Website
Back HATH NO FURY on Kickstarter

I was introduced to Melanie when Ragnarok Publications came into being. She was quite instrumental in making sure that all new releases were seen and heard around the blogosphere. I became friends with her a while ago and since then I've only gotten to know her better. She's now taken an active role in Ragnarok as well as other places. I invited her to talk more about her first anthology Hath No Fury, its origins as well as her SFF interests.

Q] Hi Melanie, welcome to fantasy book critic. I’ve known you for quite some time now via your role for Ragnarok as well as being an independent publicist. For the benefit of our readers, could you kindly introduce yourself and tell us about your nerdiness, & background?

MM: Hello, thanks for having me! You are absolutely right, I’m a freelance author publicist, the publicity/marketing coordinator for Ragnarok Publications as well as their brand new associate publisher, and I do the publicity and marketing for Mechanical Muse, an RPG company. I also write science fiction and fantasy, and I blog over at the Once and Future Podcast.

My nerdiness and background…well, by training/education, I’m a physics and astronomy nerd. My first publications were actually non-fiction articles about why Mars is so fascinating to people and things like that. I had never considered writing to be an actual career until later, when I realized that I spent my hours after coming home from the university writing until about 3 AM. I combined my love for science with my love for telling stories, and boom! Here I am!

Q] Thank you for that, going on to your role in Ragnarok publications, you have been involved behind the scenes for a lot of their projects since its inception. Can you please tell us as how it all began and what is most current role?

MM: I first became interested with Ragnarok when I saw their Kickstarter for Kaiju Rising. I have loved giant monsters since I was four years old, and had to back it. I got to know the guys behind the scenes, and helped them out a bit with some publicity. The rest is history—they decided to hire me to do all the publicity for Ragnarok a couple months later, and just recently I was promoted to Associate Publisher. So now in addition to publicity, I’m also handling a lot of the organization and left-brained part of operations there.

Q] I’ve been hearing about this anthology (Hath No Fury) for quite a while now so it’s really wonderful to see it being introduced in all its pomp & glory. Could you recount how this project came to be & what was the main inspiration for it?

MM: Joe Martin came up with the idea, and because I’m the most talented and awesome woman he knows, it was just the natural choice for him to choose me to be his co-editor ;). In all seriousness, I was very honored that he picked me to work with him. Our basic inspiration was just seeing all the awesome work that has featured women recently, and we just wanted to harness some of that in a Ragnarok anthology.

Q] I love the title for it and the implications left unsaid. Who came up with it and why did you select it?

MM: I believe it was Joe who originally came up with the title, but we had discussed it a lot before making it official. We are all about irony and being wise asses at Ragnarok, and Hath No Fury just seemed like a perfect way to turn the old sexist saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” on its head. People used to say that as a diminutive way of trivializing a woman’s anger. “Oh, was your husband late to dinner?” But women have the same fury and passion as any men do in fiction. It’s a kick ass title that kind of gives the finger to people who think ladies belong in the kitchen.


Every woman in this anthology has something important they are fighting for. Family, friends, their people, their homes. They are passionate, sometimes quietly, sometimes not. And I think that passion, that fury, is something that will resonate with readers and help them see that their own battles are worth fighting as well.

Q] Since this is your first time around with the editing hat. Can you walk us through how you prepared for it and what tips can you give for all newbies out there?

MM: Editing is hard work. For someone just starting out, I would say to have a vision for your anthology, and stick to it. Don’t give up just because things get hard. Once the initial excitement for the project passed and I was ready to get down to the nitty gritty work, I found that so many of the authors I wanted to take part in this book were just too busy. There were so many men who wanted to write for it. and the women wanted to as well, but they were always so busy with sick and aging parents, children who needed extra attention, supporting their husbands, finding time to write their novels, etc. And this was part of the whole point of doing this anthology—to show the battles all women have.

So I didn’t settle for second best, and I didn’t lose sight of what I wanted this book to be. When someone said no, I just buckled down and worked harder to find people who were right for the book, not just anyone. I’m pretty happy with our line up, though, and think we have something really awesome to share with readers.

Q] I love the lineup of authors that you & Joe have assembled. How did you go about it? Were there any favorites who missed out due to time or other commitments?

MM: Oh there were so many favorites, women who inspired me to become a writer that I really would have loved to welcome to the book, who just had way too much on their plates to contribute. But that’s just part of the life of an editor, and really, there are just so many awesome authors out there that we didn’t have a problem filling the contents. It was choosing just the right people that was the challenge. We had a list to begin with. One of the challenges of putting a book like this together is finding the right balance between name power and unknown talent. There are a lot of midlist folks in the anthology, a couple of pretty brand new people, and then some bestselling authors. All of them, I feel, are top caliber authors.

Q] You take quite an active role on Facebook, and other blogs. How do you find the time to do all of it and manage your writing along with the needs of your family?

MM: HAHAHAHA!! Oh, it took a long time of practice, and there are times when the balance is completely off. I’ve taken a couple years to be completely with family, I’ve taken time to focus just on my writing. A couple years ago I think I found a really good balance where I am able to have the time to do it all by becoming a time management wizard. But even so, there are times when some areas of life just demand more attention than others.

My son has autism and we homeschool him—that will always be top in the books. Sometimes he just needs to snuggle all day, and even though it feels like I have a crushing amount of work, that just needs to happen. It’s all about priorities and having very firm boundaries. I’ve basically cultivated my life where I work with people who know that my family comes first, and they will actually tell ME that I should just go and concentrate on that for a while. That’s something I really appreciate.

Q] What are you currently up to besides Hath No Fury, can you give us an inkling of your future projects?

MM: I just finished my science fiction novel a couple weeks ago, so I’m putting some extra revision work into that and then sending it off to see who might like it. I have some short stories and the next novel percolating, so hopefully soon there will be some good news in that area. I have a lot of balls up in the air right now, and there is a lot of just waiting to see which will land where.


Q] Among all the 19 tales that you folks have assembled, which one do you think is your fav and which one do you think will surprise most readers?

MM: I can’t pick a favorite—that’s like picking between children! But I think there are a lot of surprises in there for fans of particular authors. A lot of the authors experimented with different ways of showing a woman’s power, putting them in different situations from what is expected. And we have several men among our authors, whom we were very particular about choosing. I loved seeing what they came up with.

Q] Lastly what can readers expect from Hath No Fury?

MM: Readers can expect top notch stories featuring female protagonists. These are stories that both men and women can enjoy, that will push the boundaries of genre, that will inspire women and men alike. This book is a collection of speculative fiction, but it shows what women are capable in real life as well. There isn’t a feminist agenda behind this anthology. It IS feminist, by its very nature, but above all, these are simply stories that are the very best we could cultivate that showcase what we love about women. I think people of all genders will find this book to be enjoyable.

Q] Thank you very much for your time. In closing, are there any final thoughts or comments that you'd like to share with your readers?

MM: Thank you for hosting this interview! I really hope that people consider backing Hath No Fury. It’s a labor of love, and Joe Martin and I put a lot of work into making this an anthology that can be treasured. It will be on Kickstarter through September 7th.

NOTE: Hath No Fury cover art by Manuel Castañón and cover design by Shawn King. Doji Mariko artwork courtesy of the Legends Of The Five Rings wiki.

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Combat Codes” by Alexander Darwin!!!


Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Grievar's Blood” by Alexander Darwin


Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “TSairō’s Claw” by Virginia McClain!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Company Of Birds” by Nerine Dorman!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The True Bastards” by Jonathan French!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Rumble In Woodhollow” by Jonathan Pembroke!!!
Order HERE