Wednesday, July 2, 2014

On Vacation!!!

***The Speculative Fiction Showcase is on vacation. If and when we come back:) We'll let you know  right here!!!!***

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Winner!!!!

Kierra Dele won  the $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!!!!

Thank you everyone who stopped by and entered:D

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sisters of Wind and Flame by Jennifer Ellision

Sub Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: June 30, 2014

ABOUT Sisters of Wind and Flame:

A short Threats of Sky and Sea prequel—
Once, Lady Katerine was simply Ekaterina. Once, she was not a countess, but a girl who cleaned fireplaces. And once, she had a sister...

~ Excerpt ~

After passing sixteen summers, I know not to expect that life will promise me any more.

The city’s watchmen thunder past me, clouds of dirt billowing behind them. Tiny grains fly into my eyes and I blink at their intrusion, but I’m accustomed to it by now.

The watchmen have slapped red onto the back of a man who struggles to keep his feet beneath him, wrists bound by ropes strung to the steeds’ saddles. The horses won’t slow for him if he fails to keep up.

Others in the market avert their eyes, knowing the man’s trespasses. Knowing his fate. The red he wears tells us all we need to know. He’s spilled the blood of another. Taken a life.

But I don’t look away. My sore eyes stay locked on the man’s stumbling path until long after his steps lose the battle. In the distance, his figure sails over the dirt and rocks like a limp rag doll until he disappears into the dust, the clouds swallowing him whole. I can’t summon pity for the man—or his victim.

The only promise life fulfills is its end.
Jennifer Ellision spent a great deal of her childhood staying up past her bedtime with a book and a flashlight. When she couldn’t find the stories she wanted to read, she started writing them. She loves words, has a soft spot for fanfiction, and is a master of the fangirl flail. She resides in South Florida with her family, where she lives in fear of temperatures below 60 Fahrenheit.
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Friday, June 27, 2014

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

Sub Genre: Magical Realism, Time Travel
Release Date: June 27th 2014

ABOUT Eleanor:

Time is a river.

1985. The death of Eleanor's twin sister tears her family apart. Her father blames her mother for the accident. When Eleanor's mother looks at her, she sees only the daughter she lost. Their wounded family crumbles under the weight of their shared grief.

1993. Eleanor is fourteen years old when it happens for the first time... when she walks through an ordinary door at school and finds herself in another world. It happens again and again, but it's only a curiosity until that day at the cliffs. The day when Eleanor dives... and something rips her out of time itself.

And on the other side, someone is waiting for her.

Eleanor is the novel Jason Gurley has been writing for thirteen years. Some things take a very long time to come together. The best things, usually.

~ Excerpt ~

The Keeper rocks in a handmade chair on her porch. Another black cigarette rests between her fingers, lit and burning toward her knuckles. She has been thinking of building a new cabin, not a replacement for this one, but a second one, at the northernmost end of the valley, so that she has a place to rest her feet during her long walks. The valley stretches for miles, and she often is too worn out from the journey to make it back to this home.

A dash of cigarette ash falls onto her burlap pants and she brushes it away.

She can see her shadow approaching across the field, the low afternoon mist parting around it. It moves stealthily, as if it is playing a game with her, but the keeper is never fooled. The shadow moves closer and closer until it slips on the porch and reattaches itself to her feet.

"You're back," the keeper says. "What did you find?"

Her shadow does not speak, but she can feel its memories pass into her, icy cold. She takes them into herself, absorbing them into her own collection of thoughts. She reviews them quietly, eyes closed, and nods to herself. She sees the gash in the treelike from the shadow's vantage point, as if a wrecking ball has dropped into the middle of her forest. She sees the lumbering clouds, the rich wet soil. She sees everything her shadow saw, and—

The shadow found the intruder.
Jason Gurley is the author of The Man Who Ended the World, Eleanor, and the bestselling novel Greatfall, among other books and short stories. His work has appeared in a number of anthologies, including John Joseph Adams’s Help Fund My Robot Army!!! He lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest.

~ Giveaway ~

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

S. Elliott Brandis Talks About How He Writes

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1. What are you working on?

I just published my debut novel, Irradiated. It's a dark post-apocalyptic novel set in Brisbane, Australia. Now, I'm working hard on the sequel, Degenerated. I have recently finished the first draft, and am now in the process of tweaking and refining. I'm quite a slow, deliberate writer so my first draft tends to be the bulk of the work. Degenerated is set five-years after the events of Irradiated. In my series, the environment has degraded severely and the sun's radiation has the power to mutate the genes of our children. Thousands of people live underground, in a road tunnel that runs under the Brisbane River. Irradiated focuses on the struggles of two sisters, one of them irradiated, living outside of the tunnel, scavenging to survive. With Degenerated, I wanted to explore life in the tunnels, so I've introduced a new character, Flynn, who lives in their depths. Flynn is a closet-irradiated, living with abilities he doesn't know how to explain, and in a world where difference means death. It also sees the return of Pearl from Irradiated, and her quest for a better life amongst all the wildness.


2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?

I'd define my main sub-genre as 'post-apocalyptic fiction'. When I sat down to write in this genre, I asked myself a number of questions.
  • Will the fall of society be fast or slow?
  • How do you think it's most likely to happen?
  • If it's slow, will people in the future even know what happened?
  • In Australia, is it reasonable to expect that the post-apocalyptic landscape will be filled with cars and guns?
The result? A gritty, low-technology post-apocalyptic novel. Environmental degradation has worn down the city, leaving most of it inhospitable. No petrol, no guns, no easily won resources. There is no focus on what happened. When you're struggling to survive, only the now matters. Welcome to Australia. I am also proud to feature two sisters as my protagonists. Science fiction is historically quite chauvinistic, and we've seen over the past couple of years that sexist ideas still exist. I wanted to write two characters that refused to be the victim. They're strong, gritty, and goddamn bad-ass. We should refuse to accept stereotypes, and open up fiction to the stories of all. The love the two sisters have for each other ties the whole story together, and provides a counterpoint for the harsh realities of the world. I also focus heavily on the words that I use. I want to write intelligent, literary fiction. It's all too easy to look down on us as mere 'genre' writers, but I think the best literary fiction has always been Speculative Fiction. Slaughterhouse-Five, Oryx and Crake, The Road, and now Wool. Writing style matters, and I strive to make my novels the best they can be.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I write the stories that I want to write, and the stories that I'd want to read. When I write a character, I have a few rules:
  • Everybody has reasons for doing the things they do. The more extreme their actions, the more compelling the reasons.
  • Nobody sees themselves as the villain. If they act in ways that we see as 'bad', that's only because their motivations compel them to. Everybody is the hero of their own story.
  • But, there are no real heroes. Everybody makes mistakes and has weaknesses. Even the best of us sometimes do bad things, no matter how much we strive not to. The greater the pressure, the more we err. Fortunately, to err is human.
In this way, I want to create complex and interesting characters. I find my 'villains' as interesting as the protagonists. In fact, my favourite character in Irradiated is the worst of them all. So why do I write what I write? Because it's the type of fiction I think needs to be written. Readers are incredibly smart. We don't need easy answers, simple characters, and clear-cut Hollywood story lines. Readers deserve better than that.

4. How does your writing process work?

This is quite a simple question. I wake up at 5:15 in the morning, before the sun. I make a coffee, and sit down on the couch with my laptop. Then, I write. I'm a real person. I work a full-time job, live with my partner, and do all the things that us real people have to do. Waking early gives me the space and time I need to write my stories. Doing it every day gives me the structure I need to follow them through. My morning brain is uninhibited, creative, and a little bit twisted. All in all, it works quite well.
Original Post
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Monday, June 23, 2014

The Girl Who Believed in Fairy Tales by Heidi Garrett

Sub Genre: Magical Realism
Release Date: June 17, 2014

ABOUT The Girl Who Believed in Fairy Tales:

Author Heidi Garrett has written a lyrical collection of short stories woven with the threads of three very poignant fairy tales that pull this literary tapestry together to create a shimmering picture of love and acceptance.

THE GIRL WHO WATCHED FOR ELVES desperately needs to find her elf—it’s her only hope for happiness and, ultimately, survival.

THE GIRL WHO DREAMED OF RED SHOES is slowly dying inside until she learns that nothing is right until it’s the right fit—and in vivid, living color.

Lastly, THE GIRL WHO COULDN’T SING has to step out into her dream or she’s going to die with her song hidden inside her heart.

Anyone who misses these tales, will miss the experience—no, transformation of a lifetime. It’s time for everyone to get their real on!

~ Excerpt ~

“I’m going to sing ‘The Little Drummer Boy’,” she announced.

She thought she detected a nod from Carol and an encouraging smile from Bill.

Heather shifted her feet, angled the neck of her guitar, and played her best D chord. The first line out of her mouth was mystical—it often was as she sang out full warm tones from her lower register. Chills chased her spine, and invisible vibrations awakened the empty hall. Unfortunately, her performance didn’t ascend with her climb up the vocal ladder. By the third “pa rum pum pum pum” things scratched, and by the fourth, they squeaked. From there, everything rolled downhill with astonishing speed—each measure gathering strength for the final collision like the Abominable Snowman turning somersaults down the Alps.

A person more sympathetic to their audience might have cut the song short, but not Heather. Her powerful imagination stepped in, winging her off to some higher plane where she heard something very different than what Carol and Bill heard.

By the time she’d sung her last note and played her last chord, her heart was ablaze. She interpreted Carol’s and Bill’s stunned silence as admiration. Under the circumstances, who but she would have persevered?

Heidi Garrett is the author of the contemporary fairy tale novella collection, Once Upon a Time Today. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters.

She's also the author of the Daughter of Light series, a fantasy about a young half-faerie, half-mortal searching for her place in the Whole. Heidi's latest project is a collaboration with B. J. Limpin. They're cooking up a yummy paranormal romance!

Signup for Heidi's newsletter for discounts on all new releases!

Heidi was born in Texas, and in an attempt to reside in as many cities in that state as she could, made it to Houston, Lubbock, Austin, and El Paso. She now lives in Eastern Washington state with her husband, their two cats, her laptop, and her Kindle.
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Friday, June 20, 2014

Elle Chambers Talks About How She Writes

1. What am I working on?

I have several things going at the moment. First, I need to finish one final story for a new short collection (Grindhouse, release TBD) I’ve been working on since November (!). All three stories in Grindhouse are very different from anything I’ve ever written. For starters, they’re more violent. They also have a ton of graphic language and explicit sex – it’s like a 1970s B movie in print. Or a Tarantino film. Same diff.

Then I’m getting back to my roots with an erotic horror novella. I’ll be tackling a second zombie novella, and of course, I’m always trying to craft the best pieces I can for my Dark Tales series. eVolume Three needs to be released soon and I kind of want to mine classic horror tropes again since eVolume Two was more thriller/suspense.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I like to think my work is different, but maybe it’s not – maybe it’s incredibly derivative. I’ve been heavily influenced by film and television, oddly enough more so than books. Maybe a lot of what I put in print is something Carpenter or Craven or Argento have already done. I don’t know; I haven’t seen every film they, or their peers, have made. But I know I take inspiration from them, as do many of my peers, so I can’t claim to be a special snowflake in that regard.

I would also say my stories are darkly humorous, but again, that’s not unique to me. Stephen King does dark humor better than just about anybody. He’s the first author I can remember reading so of course some of his style would rub off on me.

When I read this back, I’m like, “Damn – I’m not original at all.” This realization would probably bother me if I didn’t know there are only something, like, seven plots in literature and they’ve all been done before. Hell, even Shakespeare cribbed things from writers who came before him.

So maybe the point isn’t to try and be original. Maybe the point is to give audiences tropes they’re familiar with, but do it in such a way that it feels fresh and new. Context is everything. If you tweak and twist a trope enough, it becomes something else entirely. Throw in interesting, vivid characters, sparkling dialogue, and a killer hook and ending, then voila! You’ll have a kickass story that nobody else has (assuming you can tell a good story to begin with). I think I do a decent job of this. I’m always striving to improve my craft, though, always pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and always trying new things.

For instance, I never thought I’d write about zombies. I love zombies as much as the next person, but I thought, “God, that’s so played. How many ways can you tell a post-apocalyptic zombie story?” Turns out, there are an endless number of ways to do it, some of which have been brilliant. Others…not so much. Still, I knew I couldn’t do it. If I was going to write about zombies, I had to do it on a more intimate level. So I wrote a novella called Good Eats and took the zombie myth back to its Haitian roots. There’s no virus, no survival camps, no bullets to the brain. It’s all hoodoo and dark magic. I wanted to write a novel about grief and loss; how those two things can drive seemingly rational people to do unspeakable things in the name of love – and the devastating consequences that occur once those wheels are set in motion.

Like most things I write, most people either love Good Eats or hate it. Some folks thought it was just “eh.” I’d never written a novella before so I thought I did a decent job of it my first time around. Plus, I love the story. It resonates with me; it’s one of the few things I’ve written where I’ve been physically moved while pounding out a scene. And the rising action all the way through to the denouement was wicked fun times.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I’ve said it once before, but it bears repeating: I love to be afraid. It’s perverse, I know, but facing Big Bads in fiction and coming through it (relatively) unscathed makes me feel I can do anything in real life. I like to think there are others who feel that way too, so I write for them as well.

4. How does my writing process work?

Okay, this is the part where things will probably be nonsensical (note: you were all warned at the top this was coming).

I don’t have a process per se. If I did, it would probably look something like this:

- turn on laptop

- stare at blank screen and flashing cursor on white page for twenty minutes

- stare at the ceiling and count how many cracks are in the old plaster

- stare out the window at all of the fancy rich people going in and out of the private club across the street from my apartment

- wish I drove an Audi or Jaguar like those fancy rich people

- go back to staring at my blank laptop screen until I go cross-eyed

- slam the laptop shut and turn on old Buffy episodes and wish I could write anything half as inventive and witty

- two hours later, weep because I’ve made zero progress on my WIP

See? This is why I dread questions like this because that’s legitimately how my actual “process” works. At some point, I’ll get hit with enough inspiration/energy/luck/whatever to get off my lazy ass and put words to page, but for the most part, the above is how I spend my evenings when I’m supposed to be writing.

Hey – maybe if I am dead, I can be reanimated as a more efficient, more disciplined version of me?!

Ah, who am I kidding? I’d come back even slower, and more brain dead, than I already am.
Original Post

Elle Chambers writes dark and erotic fiction. She currently lives in the Midwest where nothing of note happens. The mundane setting of her life inspires her (sometimes disturbing) work.

~ Giveaway~