Australian author Yolanda Sfetsos can be described as a wife, mother, writer, bibliophile, dreamer, animal lover, and lover of supernatural and all thing horror related. She was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to talk with me about her current science fiction romance series Recast, NaNoWriMo, how far e-publishing has come, and her other series. You can learn more about Yolanda by visiting her website, or following her on twitter as @YolandaSfetsos or Goodreads.

Let’s get to the interview!


AJ: You’re currently working on your Recast series, the first two of which (Wither and Clash) are being reprinted from Samhain publishing. Tell us a little about this series, and what types of plot lines readers can expect. From reading the synopses of the novels, I know my first question is “What’s a ‘recast’”?

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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

Brandon Sanderson famously finished Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time while writers like Roger Zelazny (“Amber”) and George R.R. Martin (“A Song of Ice and Fire”) have said nobody will finish their series or continue their work. Would you want another writer to pick up an unfinished series by an author?

We asked this week’s panelists:

Q: Should unfinished series remain unfinished?

Here’s what they said…

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Cover & Synopsis: THE FREE by Brian Ruckley

Brian Ruckley just revealed the cover for his upcoming novel The Free. A band of mercenaries with martial and magical skills? This…this is fantasy that appeals to me.

Here’s what it’s about.
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Stanford biologist Sebastian Alvarado explains the science behind the origin of comic book superhero the Incredible Hulk.
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The eBook for HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! and Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects edited by John Joseph Adams is on sale for only $0.99 until August 25th!

If you’re a regular backer of Kickstarters, you’ve probably seen some unique crowdfunding projects in your time. But one thing all of those campaigns—boringly!—had in common was: They abided by the physical laws of the universe!

HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! is an anthology of science fiction/fantasy stories told in the form of fictional crowdfunding project pitches, using the components (and restrictions) of the format to tell the story. This includes but is not limited to: Project Goals, Rewards, User Comments, Project Updates, FAQs, and more. The idea is to replicate the feel of reading a crowdfunding pitch, so that even though the projects may be preposterous in the real world, they will feel like authentic crowdfunding projects as much as possible.

The anthology features original, never-before-published fiction by Bradley Beaulieu , Veronica Belmont, Brooke Bolander, Maurice Broaddus, Tobias S. Buckell, Harry Connolly, Monte Cook, Matt Forbeck, Jason Gurley, Kat Howard, Jonathan L. Howard, Vylar Kaftan, Jake Kerr, Mary Robinette Kowal, Mur Lafferty, David D. Levine, Heather Lindsley, Carmen Maria Machado, David Malki!, Seanan McGuire, Samuel Peralta, Tim Pratt, Andy Penn Romine, Scott Sigler, Michael J. Sullivan, Jeremiah Tolbert, Genevieve Valentine, Derek Van Gorder, Chuck Wendig, Matt Williamson, Daniel H. Wilson, and Sylvia Spruck Wrigley. Plus, a reprint of the eponymous story that inspired the anthology by Keffy R.M. Kehrli, for a total of 33 crowdfunding-style stories.

So if what you’ve always been looking for in a Kickstarter—and couldn’t find—was a project that allowed you to protect yourself from spoilers, buy wishes, find lost objects, or support a wildlife preserve for supernatural creatures, then HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! & Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects may be just the thing you’ve been looking for.

Pick it up today!

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-08-20

Interviews & Profiles

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We’re pleased to be able to bring you an excerpt from George Mann’s new novel, Sherlock Holmes: The Spirit Box (available today from Titan Books)!

Here’s what the book is about:

Summer, 1915. As Zeppelins rain death upon the rooftops of London, eminent members of society begin to behave erratically: a Member of Parliament throws himself naked into the Thames after giving a pro-German speech to the House; a senior military advisor suggests surrender before feeding himself to a tiger at London Zoo; a famed suffragette suddenly renounces the women’s liberation movement and throws herself under a train.

In desperation, an aged Mycroft Holmes sends to Sussex for the help of his brother, Sherlock.

Read on for the excerpt!

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BOOK REVIEW: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

REVIEW SUMMARY: Less True Blood, more a darker cozy mystery set in a town filled with secrets and hiding a killer. For fans of Harris’ many series it is a chance to revisit some supporting characters. An easy read, but filled with red herrings and a problematic conclusion.

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Interesting, fairly diverse cast of characters; for fans of Harris’ other series, they will revisit familiar side characters; easy to get into, didn’t bog down much; sets the stage for what could be a fun to read trilogy.
CONS: Red herrings galore; we have characters with powers but they don’t get much action; there were so many characters, 3 POVs and not enough time to really get to know all the players; have to wonder if newcomers to Harris’ books will be as drawn to the characters and world without the anchor of the other established series; the final reveal of the killer was wrapped up too quickly; left this reader feeling underwhelmed.
BOTTOM LINE: While not without flaws, this was an easy read and I enjoyed revisiting some characters. I will read the next one, but not at the hardcover price.

The problem with reviewing an author’s work when you are already familiar with their other series is that you tend to focus on what the book is not, versus what it is. However, the truth is that one of the first thoughts I had upon finishing Midnight Crossroad was that it was not True Blood. If you are hoping for a steamy romance or a blond viking vampire, you won’t find it here. While there is the broad hint at some romantic feelings among some of the townspeople, there is no romance in this book.
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NOTE: This installment of Special Needs In Strange Worlds features a guest post from author Kameron Hurley! – Sarah Chorn


Kameron Hurley is an award-winning author, advertising copywriter, and online scribe.  Hurley grew up in Washington State, and has lived in Fairbanks, Alaska; Durban, South Africa; and Chicago. She has degrees in historical studies from the University of Alaska and the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, specializing in the history of South African resistance movements. Her essay on the history of women in conflict We Have Always Fought is the first blog post to be nominated for and win a Hugo Award. It was also nominated for Best Non-Fiction work by the British Fantasy Society. This past weekend, she won a second Hugo award for Best Fan Writer.

Hurley is the author of God’s WarInfidel,  and Rapture, a science-fantasy noir series which earned her the Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer and the Kitschy Award for Best Debut Novel. She has been a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Hugo Award, Nebula Award, the Locus Award and the BSFA Award for Best Novel. Additionally, her work has been included on the Tiptree Award Honor List. Hurley’s short fiction has appeared in magazines such as LightspeedEscapePod, and Strange Horizons, and anthologies such as The Lowest Heaven, The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women and Year’s Best SF. Her fiction has been translated into Romanian, Swedish, Spanish and Russian. She is also a graduate of Clarion West.

In addition to her writing, Hurley has been a Stollee guest lecturer at Buena Vista University and taught copywriting at the School of Advertising Art. Hurley currently lives in Ohio, where she’s cultivating an urban homestead. Her latest novel, The Mirror Empire, will be published by Angry Robot Books in August 2014.

On Invisibility and Assumptions: Finding Distance in Writing About Chronic Illness

by Kameron Hurley

I’ve been invisibly sick for eight years now, but have found it nearly impossible to talk about in fiction.
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SF/F Crowd Funding Roundup For 8/19/2014

Crowd funding is the in thing for obtaining money to fund a variety of projects, with Kickstarter being the most prominent of these sites. With new projects going live daily, it’s a chore to keep up with, let alone find, interesting genre projects. The Crowd Funding Roundup will be our effort to bring projects we think are interesting to your attention so you can, if you so choose, decide to help out. These posts are a collaborative effort between James Aquilone and JP Frantz.

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Here is the table of contents for the new issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine:

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Hey, Gibson fans…check out the cover and synopsis for William Gibson’s upcoming novel The Peripheral.

Whaddya think?

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-08-19

Interviews & Profiles

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BOOK REVIEW: Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

REVIEW SUMMARY: The world-building is not as deep as Best Served Cold and The First Law trilogy, and there is a bit of a quick twist at the end but Half a King is a fast paced enjoyable read.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Yarvi, second son of a King, born with only a partial arm, is heading for the ministry when both his father and older brother are killed. As King, he is quickly betrayed, and must survive on his wits as he plots his vengeance.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Fast paced, with Abercrombie’s expected action and bleak world.
CONS: Not much new in the setting as the world is similar to Abercrombie’s other novels; ending has a convenient twist; could have been an awesome fantasy.
BOTTOM LINE: The world feels familiar, the revenge theme is present again, the ending a bit rushed…but if you enjoyed the worlds of Best Served Cold and The First Law trilogy, you’ll enjoy Half a King, the first novel in the Shattered Sea trilogy as well.

Joe Abercrombie’s world’s are harsh. There is no middle class, only Royalty and those associated with Royalty and the poor, the slaves, the wretched, living in the mud (many of them going “back to the mud”).

So what can Abercrombie do to make one of his world’s worse? He makes one of his lead characters handicapped. Not “Nine Fingers” handicapped but half an arm, unable to hold a shield, in the usual harsh Abercrombie-esque world where warriors rule. Then he makes him a King, and then a slave.

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Lou Anders‘ research on Norse mythology while writing Frostborn turned into a love affair with Viking culture and a first visit to Norway. He hopes the series will appeal to boys and girls equally. Anders is the recipient of a Hugo Award for editing and a Chesley Award for art direction. He has published over 500 articles and stories on science fiction and fantasy television and literature. Frostborn, which Publishers Weekly described as “thoroughly enjoyable” (starred review), is his first middle grade novel. A prolific speaker, Anders regularly attends writing conventions around the country. He and his family reside in Birmingham, Alabama. You can visit Anders online at louanders.com and ThronesandBones.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter at @ThronesandBones.

Lou was kind enough to chat with me about Frostborn!


Kristin Centorcelli: Lou, let’s talk Frostborn. Will you tell us a bit about the book, the world that it’s set in, and why you decided to write it?

Lou Anders: Frostborn is the story of Karn Korlundsson, a boy growing up knowing he will one day inherit the responsibility of running a large farm but who would much rather play the board game Thrones and Bones, and Thianna, a half-human, half-frost giant girl, who at seven feet tall, is picked on horribly by her peers in the frost giant village for being so short—they don’t let her play any reindeer games, you could say—and wishes she could expunge her human half. The two of them are driven out of their individual homes by unforeseen circumstances and meet in the icebound wilderness, where they help each other survive, learn about themselves, and overcome monsters and two separate sets of bad guys. Frostborn is the first book in the Thrones and Bones series, and it is a middle-grade fantasy series written for boys and girls ages eight and up. It was just recently released by Random House Children’s Books new imprint, Crown Books for Young Readers (headed by the brilliant and famous Phoebe Yeh), and I have been blown away by the reaction to it thus far.
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Sunny Moraine‘s short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and Apex, among many other places. Their work has also appeared in the anthologies We See a Different Frontier and Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. They are responsible for the novels Line and Orbit (co-written with Lisa Soem) and the Casting the Bones trilogy, as well as Labyrinthian (coming January 2015). In addition to occasional authoring, Sunny is a doctoral candidate in sociology; their academic alter-ego is a regular contributor to Cyborgology, concerning technology and fiction and reality and lots of other things. They can be found making words at sunnymoraine.com and on Twitter as @dynamicsymmetry.

Roads Through a Sequel

by Sunny Moraine

Ravenfall is not the first sequel I’ve written, but it’s the first I’ve had published, and like any part of the writing process, it’s taught me a few things.
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The Aussie Spec Fic Snapshot has taken place four times in the past 10 years. In 2005, Ben Peek spent a frantic week interviewing 43 people in the Australian spec fic scene, and since then, it’s grown every time, now taking a team of interviewers working together to accomplish!

In the lead up to Worldcon in London, from July 28 to August 10, 2014, Tsana Dolichva, Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, Nick Evans, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Jason Nahrung, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely and Sean Wright blogged interviews for Snapshot 2014!

As we celebrated the breadth and depth of the Australian speculative fiction scene, 2012 Snapshot was also a bittersweet time and we took the opportunity to remember two well-loved members of the community who sadly passed away in the past year; Gitte Christensen and Philippa (Pip) Maddern.

You can find the past four Snapshots at the following links: 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012, and the 2014 Snapshot at the links below.
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IFWG Publishing has posted the table of contents for the new anthology Star Quake 2 edited by Sophie Yorkston, which collects SQ Mag‘s Best stories of 2013…
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Books Received: August 18, 2014

In the interest of full disclosure, here are the books we received this week.
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-08-18

Interviews & Profiles

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