Friday, April 21, 2017

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for April 21, 2017


Here is our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with women in SFF, The Handmaid's Tale, American Gods, the new season of Doctor Who, the Odyssey Con controversy as well as another controversy surrounding Rocky Mountain Fur Con as well as the usual mix of awards news, writing advice, interviews, reviews, awards news, a whole lot of con reports, crowdfunding projects, science articles and free online fiction. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Comments on the new season of Doctor Who

Comments on The Handmaid's Tale:

Comments about American Gods:

Awards:

Writing, publishing and promotion:

Interviews:

Reviews:

Crowdfunding:

Con reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Speculative Fiction Multi-Author Promo


Currently, there is a big speculative fiction cross promo going on, featuring science fiction, fantasy, paranormal and horror books by more than 60 authors. All books are 99 cents.

You can find a list of all participating books here. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for April 14, 2017


Here is a special Good Friday edition of our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with the TV show Colony, women in SFF, a scandal at Odyssey Con, Marvel Comics' alleged diversity problem, the Ardian Syaf controversy as well as the usual mix of awards news, writing advice, interviews, reviews, awards news, con reports, crowdfunding projects, science articles and free online fiction. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Marvel Comics and diversity:

Comments on season 2 of Colony:

Awards:

Writing advice:

Interviews:

Reviews:

Crowdfunding:

Con reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Symphony of Fates (The Dragon Songs Saga, Book 4) by J.C. Kang

 Release date: April 7, 2017
Subgenre: Asian fantasy, epic fantasy

About Symphony of Fates:


Kaiya escapes her ordeal at the hands of the Teleri Emperor, only to return to a homeland beset by enemies on all sides, and crumbling from within.

As a teenager, she quelled a rebellion with the Dragon Scale Lute. As a young adult, she vanquished a dragon with the power of her voice.

Now, robbed of her magic by grief, Kaiya must navigate a web of court intrigue to save the realm before it falls. Only she can lay claim to the Dragon Throne on behalf of her unborn sons—whether the father is the lover who perished rescuing her, or the hated enemy who killed him.

In the final story in Kaiya’s saga, she must rally a nation, repel invaders, and prove to the world why her family alone holds the Mandate of Heaven.

Excerpt:

 

Chapter 1: Deceptions

The setting sun outside the castle window taunted Kaiya, its descent marking one more day of concealing her pregnancy. Though Doctor Wu’s unparalleled acupuncture skills detected the twin boys in her womb, she couldn’t discern their father. Was it the exiled spy she’d to love during her escape from the frigid Northwest? Or the foreign tyrant who murdered him?

Neither was an appropriate match for a nineteen-year-old princess. Not when her unborn sons stood next in line to inherit the Dragon Throne.

“My choice is clear.” Kaiya turned to her half-elf bodyguard, who was also her sworn sister and one-time rival in love.

Yan Jie sat on the wood floors of the guest suite’s anteroom, sharpening a wicked knife that didn’t match the softness of her plain, pink dress. She looked up, even as she continued to draw the knife across a whetstone in rhythmic swishes. Jie’s childlike features had never appeared so forlorn.

Kaiya should’ve also been wallowing in grief. She’d ransomed her body and dignity to spare hostages from a brutal death, yet couldn’t save Father, Eldest Brother, or her beloved Tian. The experience would have broken her, if not for the mental block of Jie’s Tiger Eye technique.
It gave Kaiya emotionless clarity. “Ming is Tian’s brother and heir to a province. He’s the best match.”

Jie shrugged. Her usually perky voice droned. “You already rejected him once. No, twice.”

“I doubt he’ll need much convincing,” Kaiya said. Ming would likely jump at the opportunity for social mobility, but she’d use the magic of her voice if necessary.

Now if he would only return home from his deployment before her flat belly started to swell.

The double doors slid open, revealing the castle steward. His green court robes rustled as he sank to his knees and pressed his forehead to the floor. “Dian-xia, Lord Zheng has returned and is on his way to greet you.”

Well, that was serendipitous. At last, after five days of waiting in his family’s castle at the border to the Wilds. A week since missing her period.

After conveying her permission with a nod, Kaiya turned toward Jie. “This is it. Try not to kill him.”

Staring at the wall, Jie nodded absently. A sudden jerk of her hand revealed a trickle of blood on her finger.

“Are you all right?” Kaiya took a step toward her. For the meticulous Moquan to nick herself sharpening a knife…

With a bob of her head, Jie thrust the bleeding hand behind her. “It is nothing, Dian-xia.”

Kaiya peered at the girl. Despite the command to speak freely, Jie’s tone and diction had reverted back to distant formality.

Someone cleared their throat at the door. Kaiya looked up, prepared to declare her intentions to Zheng Ming.

Lord Zheng Han, father of Tian and Ming, knelt on one knee, fist to the ground. His dark green travelling cloak, draped over his plain robes, smelled of a humid early spring. He must’ve come directly to meet with her. If only Ming travelled so fast.

Amazon 

 

About The Dragon Songs Saga

  1. Songs of Insurrection
  2. Orchestra of Treacheries
  3. Dances of Deception 
  4. Symphony of Fates  

 

About J.C. Kang:

JC Kang's unhealthy obsession with Fantasy and Sci-Fi began at an early age when his brother introduced him to The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, Star Trek and Star Wars. As an adult, he combines his geek roots with his professional experiences as a Chinese Medicine doctor, martial arts instructor and technical writer to pen multicultural epic fantasy stories. 

 



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Sense of Sacrifice (The Law of Eight, Book 3) by Nicholas Andrews



 Release date: June 3, 2017
Subgenre: Epic fantasy

About A Sense of Sacrifice:

 

Nerris and his companions have braved many dangers in their quest to find the Elemental Stone. But they were thrown off their journey when Qabala and her minions stole the Dagger of Paral, leaving them with no knowledge on how to find the next marker of the Faery Footpath. The only solution is to track the Yagol queen down, but she will do anything to keep them behind her as she carves out her own road in order to fulfill her selfish desires.

Finding the Elemental Stone is the only way to stop Qabala and Eversor from dominating existence itself. But as they near their journey's end, Nerris must confront the ghosts of his past and find some way to live them in the present before they destroy the blossoming love between himself and the half-faery sorceress Len-Ahl.

In the third book of The Law of Eight, Nerris and Len-Ahl continue to traverse the Faery Footpath: the ultimate journey of friendship, love, loss, hardship... and sacrifice. What they find at the outcome may truly be the end, or a new beginning for all.

Excerpt:



Qabala turned her attention back to the chalice. It wouldn't take much to smash those rusted bolts. She drew her saber and moved around the altar, making three quick slashes. The bolts broke, and she reached forth, grasping the chalice with her free hand. As she lifted it from the altar, a new sound filled her ears. A rapid pattering, as if someone were emptying sacks of seed. Either that, or a sudden storm had come upon them and raindrops were falling.
            Then she realized what it was. She tucked the chalice into the loop of her belt and sheathed her blade, running back toward the temple entrance. Outside, the wall of liquid which held the waters of the lake at bay dripped from the top and mixed with the mud floor, covering her exit in frothy brown liquid. Qabala raced down the steps to find herself knee deep in lake water, and attempted to slog through. The sudden waterfall soaked her skin, hair, and clothes, and after a few steps the water reached her waist.
            Qabala slogged on, but the lake fell in a torrent now. Too late, she realized her mistake. Though the raging waters could not drown her, if the currents pinned her to the bottom she could be trapped forever. With the water now up to her chest, she abandoned her march and dived in, hoping to swim for shore.
            The rush of falling water in her ears became a dull swirl once she was submerged. Using the light above as a guide, she made her way toward the surface. However, the King of Water had other plans. A cold current hit her from the left, and she careened toward the lake bottom. Qabala raged against Nixsa in her mind, calling upon the power of the Doom Rock.
            She felt an empowering sensation spread to her limbs. The godstone had given her this power before, back in the dungeons of Palehorse. When Nerris had trapped her inside a holding cell, she had been helpless until her great anger at being thwarted coursed through her mind and body, submerging her much like the waters she faced now. It had allowed her to bust through a wrought iron gate like it was cheese cloth. Now she used that strength to fight the torrent and propel herself upward.
            The current came at her even stronger, blowing her hair back. Qabala knew she couldn't hold her breath much longer, and if she lost consciousness the waters would claim her. She pumped her arms and legs. The physical strain on her body melted away courtesy of the Doom Rock. She finally burst through to the surface, taking in a full breath before falling back into the water.
            Her connection with the Doom Rock wavered for just a moment, but that was long enough for the currents of Nixsa to pull her under again. She flailed, panicked as she was, and could not find the concentration to call to the godstone. A moment later, an elderly hand reached beneath the surface, and Qabala gave one last desperate lunge. Dume Yorne pulled her from the water and she stumbled onto shore, coughing and sputtering. Looking back at the lake, she saw the rushing water subside until all was calm and silent again.

Available for preorder at Amazon 

 

About The Law of Eight series: 

  1. Secrets of the Stonechaser (out now)
  2. Follow the Faery Footpath (out now)
  3. A Sense of Sacrifice (coming soon)

About Nicholas Andrews:

Nicholas Andrews grew up in Dayton, Ohio. After graduating from Bellbrook High School in 2000, he went on to attend both Ohio University and Wright State University. He worked as a freelance video editor for various independent pro wrestling companies for three years, before returning to his first love of writing. He has been writing stories since he was ten years old. He is also the nephew of Ted Andrews (1952-2009), award winning new age author.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Friday, April 7, 2017

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for April 7, 2017


Here is our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with the Hugo Awards, Ghost in the Shell, Marvel Comics' alleged diversity problem as well as the usual mix of awards news, writing advice, interviews, reviews, awards news, con reports, crowdfunding projects, science articles and free online fiction. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Comments on Ghost in the Shell

Marvel Comics and diversity:

Awards:

Writing, publishing and promotion: 

Interviews:

Reviews:

Crowdfunding: 

Con reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Interview with J.C. Kang, author of the Dragon Songs Saga



Today, the Speculative Fiction Showcase has the great pleasure to interview J.C. Kang, author of the Dragon Songs Saga. Symphony of Fates, the latest book in the series, is released on Friday, April 7.

Q: On your web-site, you describe yourself as a “Multi-cultural Epic Fantasy Author”. What does that mean, to you?

A: I grew up reading the Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Dragonlance, and other classic fantasies. One common thread was the medieval European cultures, oftentimes with darker-skinned peoples as evil. 

However, so many civilizations have their own myths and legends. As one of those evil darker-skinned folk,  I wanted to fuse several together, and include non-humans like elves and dwarves.  There is “good” and “evil” in all races. The Dragon Song Saga focuses on the East Asian characters, who can evoke magic from artistic expression. My current work-in-progress takes place in the equivalent of Renaissance Italy, and follows a Western Mediterranean Diviner, East African sorceress, East Indian mystical warrior, Middle Eastern warrior-priest, and half-elf ninja.  I know, it sounds like the beginning of a bar joke.  The half-elf is one of the main characters of the Dragon Songs Saga, and the others make cameos in that series.


Q: You recently released Dances of Deception, the third book in your Dragon Songs Saga. What made you decide to rebrand the series?

A:  While I loved my original covers and titles, I realized that they didn’t represent my intended genre, Epic Fantasy.  I was attracting YA Fantasy Romance readers, who wanted the heroine to fall in love with the dragon, not vanquish it.

Q: Speaking of dragons, they play a significant part in both Eastern and Western legend, and also in contemporary fantasy. Why do they remain so powerful?

A: My late uncle, Professor David Jones, taught anthropology at the University of Central Florida. One of his academic works, Instinct for Dragons, researched themes of dragons which crossed over dozens of cultures all over the world.  He theorized that dragons were a fusion of predators of primates and prehistoric humans:  Big cats (sharp claws and teeth), serpents (scaly reptiles), and raptors (flying). We have a deep-rooted instinct to believe in this super predator, which carries on to today.



Q: How do you draw upon your experience as a Chinese Medicine doctor, martial arts instructor in your writing?

A:  Besides being able to physically intimidate readers into buying my books, martial arts helps me to visualize fight scenes—I received a wonderful review from a reader who felt “the descriptions of physicality and movement will have you feeling like you’re running, fighting, playing alongside the characters.”  And since my first series takes place in an East Asian equivalent, I draw on Chinese Medicine concepts as a means of explaining the magic system.

Q: As a geek myself, I recently discovered the Chinese historical/fantasy series Nirvana in Fire, and am hooked. Are there any similar series that you would recommend?

A: MH Boroson’s Girl With the Ghost Eyes is a wonderfully-researched Historical Fantasy, which follows a Daoist Priestess in early 1900s San Francisco Chinatown. David Wingrove’s Chung Kuo series is sci-fi with an Imperial Chinese feel.

Q: Would you rather see your stories on the big screen or the little screen?

A:  I’d be ecstatic with either! If I had to choose, though, the little screen—there are so many stories to tell, that the episodic nature of television would work better for how I envision the series, and all the plot twists.

Q: What is your favourite Science Fiction (or Fantasy) film?

A: Wow, where to start with Sci-Fi? I’ve probably seen most of the major ones, and there are too many awesome ones to list.  As for fantasy, I’m sorely disappointed with majority of them, especially the recent ones which rely more on CGI effects than a good story.  I loved the Hobbit as a book, but couldn’t stand the movie trilogy (really, did they need to make 3?). I guess classic ones like Willow, The Dark Crystal, and Dragonslayer are my favorites.



Q: Are you--or have you ever been--a gamer?

A: I’m afraid I’ll show my age by answering, but yes. When I was younger, I’d walk half a mile and spend 25 cents to play Pong and Frogger.  I won competitions in Gauntlet and Street Fighter II.  Nowadays, however, I would waste too much time—I get addicted easily.  The only major fight I’ve had with my wife was over me playing too much Civilization II (and I confess, I currently spend way too much time playing a tablet version of Carcasonne).  My theory is that there is so little we can control in our daily lives that computer games give us a chance to “do over” until we “win.”

Q: Do you have your own office, study or writing space, or can you write in a cafe or the library?

A: I write best in cafes with free refills.  I don’t drink coffee, so that usually means tea.  The staff at my three regular haunts know me by name.

Q: Who do you consider are your major influences in writing?

A: Tolkien for his world building.  Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman for character chemistry.  Jacquelyn Carey for really exploring characters. Martin for all of the above, and also the long game plot twists.

Q: Plot Twists?

A: I love them when the hints have been there the whole time, like Martin’s L+R=J, or Rowling’s Severus Snapes.

Q: Can we assume your story has them?

A: YES! Every story has some kind of plot twist, which will reframe how readers interpret characters’ actions from before.  I hope I live long enough to reveal the Big Twist.


About J.C. Kang:

JC Kang's unhealthy obsession with Fantasy and Sci-Fi began at an early age when his brother introduced him to The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, Star Trek and Star Wars. As an adult, he combines his geek roots with his professional experiences as a Chinese Medicine doctor, martial arts instructor and technical writer to pen multicultural epic fantasy stories.