Blog Tour Review: Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

 

Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

Published by: Common Deer Press

Publication Date: October 5, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Page Count: 660

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Common Deer Press

Goodreads | Common Deer Press | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


A nanobot superorganism lays waste to the Earth. Is this the apocalypse? Or does the world’s end harbor new beginnings? Life will always find a way. Though some ways are better than others.

Evolution on steroids and crack cocaine–the most significant development since inanimate matter first gave rise to life. You can’t predict novel evolutionary developments, you recognize them only after they emerge.

Then you have to deal with them.


“Immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be”

Stop, take a step back, and marvel at this creation. I want to pick apart Collin’s mind because his writing is beyond what I imagined. Collin takes science fiction and flips it upside down. So get ready, world. Here comes Genesis 2.0.

The last survivors of the human race have been lied to. Now their lives have changed, and they must learn to live in a world they don’t understand. Problem is that Brian, the original human malls operational manager (MOM) and general badass who wreaked havoc in the first instalment, is on the warpath with the self-aware artificial intelligence, Sky, who’s in bit of a hurry to reboot herself, and now the heroes may run out of time to save themselves and their loved ones.

I usually write my reviews within the first day or two after reading, but when I finished this book, I had to adjust my thinking, digest what I’ve read, and somehow wrap my head around this impossibly creative world building. Collin adds layer upon layer, and each one is unbelievably complex in its own right. He doesn’t just stick with one arc, whether story or character. He throws in multiple storylines, and somehow, they combine together to make a captivating science fiction story. He makes me want to read that genre.

At first, Collins throws you in a new environment with new characters. Son and his family live in mondoland, the real world outside of the generated realities and the former malls. He, one of the few people to be born after a virus that made everyone sterile, eventually meets up with our favourite characters Cisco and Dee Zu, two tests pilots. And that is where everything goes to hell.

Mondoland, the remnants of our old world, isn’t what MOM, or Sky, made it out to be. No superorganisms are out to kill the rest of the human race. And now since the malls, where the last survivors of humanity lived, are non-operational, and the main characters’ world is completely turned upside down, they must survive in a landscape they’ve never lived in.

Beyond the world building, Collin excels at writing a deeply flawed yet compelling character. Even Sky, the AI, shows her humanity, yet you want to die as much as Brian. But what stands out the most is Cisco and Dee Zu. They lose everything, they realize their lives were built on a lie, and yet they create an incredible bond. I enjoyed reading their scenes, even though they were short. And I’m dying to see how their future plays out in the third novel, which, if you haven’t figured out, I want right now.

I don’t always read science fiction, but I think Collin has convinced me to jump into that world. So here it goes.

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Blog Tour Interview: Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

 

Hey everyone!

Guess who’s back on the blog? Collin Piprell! The author of MOM and Genesis 2.0 from the Magic Circles series sat down (digitally) to talk with me about his new book. I’ve been wondering how this insanely thought-up series will go, and finally, we get to find out.

Genesis 2.0 is now available online!

 


Hey, Collin. Welcome back to my blog. I’d like to congratulate you on your latest release, Genesis 2.0!

 

 

  1. You’re on your second novel in your Magic Circles series. Can you explain what’s happening in Genesis 2.0? What are Cisco and your other characters facing?

The book begins with a new character, a young man who negotiates a grueling gauntlet through the terrifying world Outside that we saw in MOM. He eventually encounters survivors of MOM’s cast of characters. Some of these have come to resemble the Olympian gods of old. Cisco himself resembles a hero out of myth, operating in both Aeolia, a virtual realm, and in mondoland, the ruined remnants of the pre-PlagueBot world (real world).

The story involves (1) a titanic contest between our villain-in-chief Brian Finister and the AI that superseded him as MOM (mall operations manager), (2) another contest between the personality alters of the fragmented AI MOM, (3) contests between our young heroes (Cisco, Dee Zu, and Son) and the Olympians (and others), and (4) two different love triangles with all the attendant drama.

 

  1. What surprised me the most is how the former generated reality test pilots don’t know how to survive in the wild (the real world). They’ve lived in malls for most, if not all, of their lives. This dependence on technology smacks you in the face when you read Genesis. Were you hoping for that effect from readers? Is there some message you are hoping to impart?

If there’s a message in that, it’s simply that digital tech and, more so, the qubital tech to come encourages us to outsource our mental faculties to the point we’re in danger of becoming entirely dependent on that technology. (Though Dee Zu and Cisco are uncommonly resourceful, for mallsters, and cope pretty well with losing their qubital umbilicals.)

For a take on the outsourcing theme, you can visit this blog post: “Outsource our minds? What a good idea.” http://www.collinpiprell.com/outsource-our-minds-what-a-good-idea/.

Even without all that, imagine your average modern urbanite reduced to living off the land. Would they have the skills to find food and water, to find adequate shelter or defend themselves against physical threats from animals and other people?

 

  1. Cisco’s (the main character) world has fallen apart. His life is turned upside down at the end of your first book. What is his frame of mind in the sequel? What is he fighting for?

He finds he’s even more in love with the “wet” Dee Zu that he was with the virtual variety. And the Lode has enough of Cisco—enough of the “right stuff,” the properly stressed personal data—that, as he has already proven, he’s capable of ascension as an autonomous ebee to Aeolia, Sky’s qubital alternative to mondoland, or what you refer to above as the “real world.” He wants to ensure that Dee Zu survives long enough the Lode can absorb enough of her data that, should the wet Dee Zu die, she also has this option of a second life in Aeolia.

At the same time, Cisco is co-opted by Sky, serving as her agent in resisting both Brian’s machinations and the attempts of Mildread, one of Sky’s personality alters, to shut down Sky’s Aeolia project.

 

  1. Who or what inspired you to write Brian and Sky (the antagonists)?

Sky, to some limited extent, is a virtual version of the ancient Pygmalion story. A human creation that comes to life in a way that causes people to become infatuated, even sexually embroiled with her. But that’s a real stretch, and is misleading.

Other than that, I wanted an AI with human qualities, at least in part, and discovered a fine source of dramatic conflict between a machine MOM (mall operations manager) who has ascended to self-aware autonomy, and Brian Finister, the megalomaniacal last human MOM, whom she superseded.

 

  1. What was your favourite part in writing Genesis?

I enjoyed writing all its various parts, but maybe I had the most fun with Brian. First of all with his “despatches,” his raving fulminations and attempts to supply a history for a future readership he believes will never exist; and, secondly, with the chapters where his scendent personality fences with the super-intelligent Sky, determined to prevail in the end, no matter how unlikely that outcome appears.

 

  1. Can you give us a glimpse into your third novel, Resurrections?

To reveal the essential theme and plot device would prove a spoiler for readers of Genesis 2.0. The best I can do is say that, underlying MOM and Genesis, we find developments that point towards a game-changing evolutionary emergence. This element is brought to surprising conclusions in Resurrections, and our heroes (including, again, new characters in addition to the old cast) have to cope with these developments, which offer at once huge promise and dire threats for the future.

Blog Tour Spotlight: Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

 

Hey everyone,

This is my first stop on the Genesis 2.0 blog tour! I’ve been curious to see how Collin’s characters have dealt with their lives being turned upside down by a self-aware AI. Genesis 2.0, the sequel in the Magic Circles series, is now available online.

Don’t miss my next two stops tomorrow and Thursday.

But for now, enjoy!

 

Genesis 2.0

Collin Piprell

Publication Date: October 5, 2017

Buy Links: Common Deer Press Website, Amazon CAN, Amazon US, Book Depository, and Barnes & Noble

A nanobot superorganism lays waste to the Earth. Is this the apocalypse? Or does the world’s end harbor new beginnings? Life will always find a way. Though some ways are better than others.

Evolution on steroids and crack cocaine—the most significant development since inanimate matter first gave rise to life. You can’t predict novel evolutionary developments, you recognize them only after they emerge.


About the Author

Collin Piprell is a Canadian writer resident in Thailand. He has also lived in England, where he did graduate work as a Canada Council Doctoral Fellow (later, a Social Sciences and Humanities Fellow) in politics and philosophy at Pembroke College, Oxford; and in Kuwait, where he learned to sail, water-ski and make a credible red wine in plastic garbage bins.

In earlier years, he worked at a wide variety of occupations, including four jobs as a driller and stope leader in mines and tunnels in Ontario and Quebec. In later years he taught writing courses at Thammasat University, Bangkok, freelanced as a writer and editor, and published hundreds of articles on a wide variety of topics (most of these pieces are pre-digital, hence effectively written on the wind). He is also the author of short stories that appeared in Asian anthologies and magazines, as well as five novels (a sixth forthcoming in 2018), a collection of short stories, a collection of occasional pieces, a diving guide to Thailand, another book on diving, and a book on Thailand’s coral reefs. He has also co-authored a book on Thailand’s national parks.

Common Deer Press is publishing the first three novels in his futuristic Magic Circles series.

Collin has another short novel nearly ready to go, something he only reluctantly describes as magic realism. Less nearly ready to go are novels he describes as a series of metaphysical thrillers. Not to mention several Jack Shackaway comic thrillers, follow-ups to Kicking Dogs. He also has a half-finished letter to his grandmother, dated 10 October 1991, saying thanks for the birthday gift.

Website | Facebook | Book Page | Twitter | Goodreads | Reddit | Medium

Waiting on Wednesday: An Enchantment of Ravens and The Language of Thorns

Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, is a weekly meme that showcases upcoming book releases readers are eagerly awaiting.

 

An Enchantment of Ravens

Margaret Rogerson

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Page Count: 304

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumn lands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Why Am I Waiting?

Lately, I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this debut novel. I can’t wait to read it. I need more fae stories in my life! And just read that blurb. Doesn’t it sound wonderful?

The overall concept of the book is giving me a Wintersong feel to it. So I hope it’ll live up to the hype. And I can’t get over how beautiful that cover is!

 


The Language of Thorns

Leigh Bardugo

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Page Count: 288

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, the tales in The Language of Thorns will transport you to lands both familiar and strange―to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, each of them lavishly illustrated and culminating in stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Why Am I Waiting?

Let me be honest here. I will buy anything, ANYTHING, from Leigh, so delving more into Grishaverse is just what I’ve been looking for. Even though I haven’t read the Grisha Trilogy, which is on my Christmas haul, I’ve been dying to get into it since I first read Six of Crows. On Goodreads, I also saw some of the interior illustrations, and they’re just convincing me more to buy this book.

Secretly, since I missed out on the Grishaverse when it first came out, I hope the author will expand the world even more than she has with her two other series. A book lover can always hope!

Are you looking forward to it? Let me know in the comments!

Cover Reveal: Haven by Mary Lindsey

Today Mary Lindsey and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover and an exclusive excerpt for HAVEN, which releases November 7, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win an ARC!
On to the reveal! 



 

 Title: HAVEN
Author: Mary Lindsey
Pub. Date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 400

Sometimes beauty is the beast…

“We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere. He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

 


Early Praise

“Dangerous, dark and a definite page turner. Mary Lindsey rocks this book.”

– New York Times bestselling author C.C. Hunter

 

“A smoking hot hero and spine-chilling mystery = total win.”

– #1 New York Times bestselling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout

 

“This electrifying tale will take you on an unexpected journey into a secret world of witchcraft and shape shifters. Romance, adventure, and magic! Lindsey leaves you breathless and wanting more.”

– Adriana Mather, #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Hang a Witch

 

“This is not your mama’s paranormal! Sexy, dark and intense. Unputdownable!”

– Sophie Jordan, New York Times bestselling author of Firelight

 

“Lindsey writes a hero with fire and gasoline. Then she lights a match with break-neck pacing, and scorches a path to readers’ hearts. Don’t blink for a moment.”

– Victoria Scott, bestselling author of Fire & Flood

 

“Gripping and gritty, HAVEN had me glued to the pages from beginning to end! Rain is the best kind of hero — tough, sexy, sweet, loyal. He charges through this action-packed tale that had me tearing up more than once, and I was perfectly happy to follow!”

– Pintip Dunn, New York Times bestselling author of Forget Tomorrow.

 

“An utterly gritty and satisfying resurrection of the monster genre.Rain is an intense narrator and you won’t know whether to scream or swoon. Haven is an instant classic!”

– Courtney Moulton, author of Angelfire

 

“Darkly compelling and deliciously chilling, Haven hooks you from the first line and never lets up. Gritty, spine-tingling, and full of nail-biting tension.”

– Amalie Howard, bestselling author of Bloodspell

 

“Dark, different, sexy, and edge-of-your-seat intense.”

– Shawna Stringer, bookseller

 


Exclusive Excerpt

When Rain turned back to Freddie, he bit down a gasp of surprise. She’d stripped off her shirt and tipped her face to the moon, eyes closed, like one would do to the sun at the beach. And here he’d thought the landscape was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.

The air was still. Eerily still, and her smooth skin appeared to glow from inside in the moonlight—her black lace bra sheer enough to make him a little dizzy.

Without opening her eyes, she said, “Take off your shirt.”

No way in hell was he going to argue with that. He yanked off his shirt, clutching it in his fist, waiting for his next instruction.

He forgot how to breathe when she opened her pale eyes and moved toward him. Her gaze wasn’t focused on his face, though. It was on his chest. Stopping in front of him, she traced her fingers over the ink.

“Raindrops?” she asked, finger outlining one of the shapes.

“Tears,” he replied, again light-headed as she ran her fingertips over his pec.

“For your mom?”

“No. For all of us.”

She stepped back and, for a long time, stared at the tattoo comprised of dozens of drops in a random pattern over his chest, spilling down his ribs.

She traced a scar on his side with the tip of her finger. One of many marring his body from fights. “Your life has been sad.”

And so had hers recently. Maybe that was why he felt so connected to her. Their shared grief, their shared stand against a harsh, unfeeling, screwed-up world. Their shared solitude.

She turned back to the moon and raised her arms. “Do you feel it?”

Well, that was a wide-open question. He was feeling lots of things.

“The moon,” she said. “It’s like aloe when you’re sunburned. Try it.”

He imitated her posture, head back, arms out, but felt nothing other than the throbbing hardness he always felt around her.

“So, what do you think about that legend your aunt told you?” she asked.

He opened his eyes to find her studying him. “That the rock can turn men into beasts?” His mind raced, wondering what would prompt that question and what answer she was looking for. Men were beasts. Horrible monsters at times. He’d seen it firsthand. “I believe we all hide a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

There it was again. That strange warm pull in his chest while she studied him. Like she totally got him—something no one else had ever bothered to do. He’d never been understood or accepted. People saw his size and found out his background and immediately wrote him off as dangerous or not worth the trouble. Not Freddie.

She obviously found his answer acceptable, because she wound her fingers in his hair and hauled him against her for another kiss. Raw, open-mouthed, and hungry. He’d never met anyone like this, who made him burn so hot he thought he might die from need. Recovering from surprise, he placed his hands on either side of her bare rib cage, feeling her body expand and contract with each quick breath. Bones and hard muscle working beneath smooth, soft skin. Skin he wanted to touch all over.

“I like you, Rain Ryland,” she said, dragging her nails down his back.

“Like” didn’t even come close. He was on fire for her. Had thought of her night and day since he first saw those eerily pale eyes and badass attitude. She was smart, strong, and terribly, terribly dangerous, which turned him on like crazy. “I like you, too.”

“How much?”

Something was going on here. Something other than foreplay. “More than I’ve ever liked anyone.” Which was true and unexpected. This was more than physical, which was a terrifying thought for him. Maybe this time he could stay. Maybe this time he’d actually found a home and wouldn’t have to leave everything behind.

He kissed her again, not wanting to think about legends, or leaving, or anything else for that matter. He wanted to just live in this moment as long as it lasted. Running his hands lower, his thumb brushed the unmistakable shape of a condom in her back pocket. He froze, and she smiled against his lips.

“You scared, Sprinkles?”

“Yes.”

“Of me?” It was like she wanted him to fear her.

“No.” He pulled back, amazed at how her eyes reflected the moon like clear glass. “Of this.” He gestured to the space he’d put between them. “Of whatever this is.” The intensity of it. The urgency. And worse, much worse—the potential loss of it. He’d never feared losing something before because he’d never had anything worth keeping. This girl, though. She was different. And he wanted her.


About the Author

Mary Lindsey is a multi award-winning, RITA® nominated author of romance for adults and teens. She lives on an island
in the middle of a river. Seriously, she does. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, two Cairn Terriers, and one husband.
Inexplicably, her favorite animal is the giant anteater and at one point, she had over 200 “pet” Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The roaches are a long story involving three
science-crazed kids and a soft spot for rescue animals. The good news is, the “pet” roaches found a home… somewhere else.

Giveaway

Does Haven sound like your next read? Well, you’re in luck. Here’s your chance to win a copy! 5 winners will receive an ARC of Haven. ENTER HERE to win. US residents only.

Blog Tour Review: Unwrap Your Candy by Jesse Miller

 

Unwrap Your Candy by Jesse Miller

Published by: Common Deer Press

Publication Date: September 10, 2017

Genre: Literary Fiction

Page Count: 250

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Common Deer Press

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Publisher’s Website | Book Depository


Thom’s life has a soundtrack. Unseen glass phalluses–thousands of them–whirring softly along conveyer belts on the other side of the factory wall. The snap and splash of eggs against plaster. The scratch-fizz-tang of cigarette lighters being flipped again and again. A thousand throats swallowing a thousand swigs of beer; a thousand sets of lungs choking on a thousand French inhales. Hard fists sinking into soft flesh; soft chunks dropping onto hard sidewalks. Plop-flush-drain repeat. And moonsong, high above, forever calling and calling, “Stud, rub her with the Stud Rubber.” If only it were so simple.


I’ve received an eARC for an honest review. Receiving one doesn’t affect my opinion of this book. I would also like to thank Common Deer Press for sending it.

 

“Barriers are only so effective. Sometimes things just leak through, even if you hold them back.”

You know when a book leaves you speechless, and you’re not sure how to properly express your enjoyment of it? Well, I’m in that particular situation. From the first opening scene, Jesse will show you what he’s made of.

A literary fiction that teeters on hilarity, intelligence, and downright fun, Unwrap Your Candy is a treat for any reader looking for the next unique read. Thom decides to leave his job at a local condom factory, all the while losing his sanity in the process.

Jesse beautifully crafts each sentence and transports you to Thom’s frame of mind. You can’t help but be impressed by the level of detail and precision Jesse puts in his story. I felt as if you might not get that attention in a book about a condom factory worker, but I was wrong. With Jesse’s writing, you see who Thom is as a man who slowly loses his mind.

Jesse’s prose illustrates the passion and ultimately the respect he has for the literary art form. Some constructions are out there, yet you never lose the appreciation for the final product. But don’t think of this book as pretentious. It isn’t. You see the dedication he weaves in each chapter. His lyrical storytelling pulls you this way, then that, and somehow, some way, you come to a satisfying conclusion at the end. And I enjoyed the adventure. It isn’t linear; it isn’t chronological. It’s organic.

One scene that sticks out the most to me is how Thom, whose life is essentially falling apart, consoles a coworker’s widow. I can’t decide why it has, yet it speaks to me, especially when Thom doesn’t quite know how to help this greiving man. And while several characters, like his girlfriend, Samantha, coworkers, and father make appearances, the story itself focuses solely on Thom and his eventual path. Maybe other authors may have developed the secondary characters, but Thom is the main focal point in this literary fiction. And I appreciate that detail to this character.

Jesse isn’t afraid to break the writing mould. So keep a look out for his future books!

 

www.commondeerpress.com

www.facebook.com/commondeerpress

@AHerdOfDeer

Blog Tour Interview: Unwrap Your Candy by Jesse Miller

Hey, everyone!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jesse Miller, Common Deer’s newest author. While discussing the Common Deer Press’ Fall 2017 lineup, Elizabeth, publisher and friend, mentioned Unwrap Your Candy. Let me tell you I wasn’t expecting a book about man who works at a condom factory, loses his mind, then leaves and his job, all in one night. But since I saw the first page, then the condoms and cigarettes sparkled throughout the book’s design, I knew I was in for a fun read.

Don’t miss out on this book! It comes out on September 10th.

 


Welcome to my blog! Thank you for taking some time out of your day to have an interview with me. And congratulations on your upcoming book birthday! 

  1. Can you tell readers what your book is about?

Thanks for having me aboard your blog! Describing this thing I’ve created is tricky for me. Even though I’m the one who created it, the book may be something very different to me than it is for others. But I’d say, Unwrap Your Candy is about being madly in love with and consequently, blissfully intoxicated by language. It’s the story of Thom Evans and a day/night he spends after he leaves his miserable job at a condom factory for a night on the town with his compellingly attractive, but seriously wounded lover, Samantha. The tagline my publisher came up with is choice, something like: Imagine Woody Allen made a movie about Dilbert and James Joyce wrote the screenplay. That’s what you should expect from Unwrap Your Candy.

Really, UYC is a book of chapters, and perhaps the non-linearity of the narrative might be a barrier for someone to push through. But if you can get past some of the construct mechanics, it’s really a book of songs, with recurring phrases, with recurring lyrical motifs, many of which are introduced in a kind of overture at the beginning, stretched and unpacked as the book spins on, and then brought around in the close. I suppose that sounds kind of absurd, and perhaps worse, pretentious AF, as the kids might say. How about this: it’s a concept album in the form of a novel.

 

  1. Why did you plan to write it? Was there anything that gave you inspiration to do so?

The real germ of UYC came from an article I read many, many years ago in one of those douchebag men’s Maxim-y magazines. I was sitting there in the waiting room at the dentist’s office and the cover had a little blurb: “The Magical, Mystical Condom Factory Experience!”—some such nonsense. I think the angle was like this Willy Wonka-esque tour through the factory as told by a kind of “with it” Hunter S. Thompson narrator-type driving the story. What struck me most was how during the tour, the writer wasn’t allowed inside certain rooms—I’m sure this is standard procedure, but he made such a huge deal out of it, out of this barrier, this kind of off-scene place. It got me wondering: What was beyond those walls? And then some lyrical part of my brain took over and wondered what that all meant—the barrier, the NO that existed in a space that made barriers. From there, the unknown, the beyond, and not just the actual room in the factory, became the quest. And then in time, the mood and the undercurrents of the book started to take shape.

 

  1. Can you also talk about your main character, Thom? How did he come to life?

Thom came to life for me in the ensuing years after I had written a full draft and had put the book down for a while. There was something about his “condition,” self-imposed as it is, that some part of my brain couldn’t stop returning to it. It was a kind of unresolved melody bouncing off the walls of my cranium, trying to get out. I suppose then, so much of Thom experience is a sense of purgatory, even in, and perhaps especially in, his youth. The book is prefaced with a portion of Tennyson’s poem Tithonus, and as misguided as Thom may be, I think he identifies with the unresolved condition Tithonus experiences in the poem—the sense of being shielded physically but not protected emotionally…feeling powerless as you watch everything decay. It’s odd, but that kind of chewing on a heavy poem for years, and returning to some lines you might mutter to yourself or anyone in earshot, at questionable times even, feels real to me, makes Thom real to me, anyway.

Of course, when I first started the book, I was roughly about the age of our dear punchinello. I was once a young, anxious man vibrating with the exotic narcotics of adrenaline and hormones, trying to figure out how to exist inside my own skin. Interestingly, it was ultimately in my aging, in my removal from the kind of “condition” of this character that I suppose I could see Thom, and write from a perch where I was capable of looking back to make some out of meaning of the flurry of his youth. I always thought there was a dark humor in this book, but as I’ve worked on the revision, and the countless other revisions, and as life has worked on revising me—I suppose I’ve appreciated the humor in the Thom’s self-created folly more and more.

 

  1. You’ve published a novel before. What have you enjoyed about this book’s publishing process? 

I’ll tell you, this has been a remarkable experience. The good people at Common Deer Press have been extremely receptive to how I envisioned this book finding its form in the world. I particularly loved the way the dust jacket came out—that long phallic factory stretch into infinity just kills me. And the 3-tone trinity spareness of the cover gives me chills, gives me that rockin’ pneumonia of, say, a White Stripes album.

I am thrilled (to) be part of CDP and to bring Unwrap Your Candy into the world! This is, well, an unconventional novel, which drifts way out there at times, and it is only fitting to work with a unique publisher so keen on presenting the work in its proper form. CDP gets this book, and I very much looking forward to the unwrapping.

 

  1. You’re a visiting lecturer at the University of New England. Why did you decide to choose literary fiction over other genres? Is there something that sets it apart?

I am! I generally teach writing courses at UNE, including creative writing courses.

Choose literary fiction? That’s not exactly it for me. Really the question is: What is literary fiction? I’m not trying to be bratty, but it’s worth considering. It’s certainly something we wrestle with in my writing classes. As I understand G E N R E, with a capital G—as both a writer and a teacher of writing—is that other genres radiate from literary fiction, and we receive their rays on many different planets. Literary fiction, for me, without putting too fine a point on it, is a home-base of sorts, an incubator, a kind of Rome from which all other genres widen and radiate. And that’s what makes other genres interesting, in their reach and radiation from home-base. And really, UYC is a probably a little bit of a transgressive book in the truest sense and in the genre sense. But I don’t really live and die by genre.

Literary fiction so often has elements of other genres. Christ, one of my favorite short stories, The Swimmer by John Cheever is really a ghost story. I love reading that story with my fiction students as “literary fiction” and then looking at from another genre-y lens. EXPLOSION! Students come in loving stories, so I really try to avoid being sclerotic with how I define or have them experience fiction. Tell me a story. Make me care. Avoid cliché. Get out of your comfort zone. That’s really my ambition in the classroom and at my writing desk.

 

  1. Are you planning to write more books in the future at all?

Well, I’m so pleased that my fabulous publisher has purchased the rights to my first novel and will be re-releasing ARK. That will be the next project to attend to. You can check out a little sample of the cover art and a blurb about the book here:

https://www.commondeerpress.com/ark

Beyond that, I’ve been writing an eschatological novel, a kind of mosaic for years and years now, which feels like with just my luck, that I’ll finish just in time for the end of the world. I’m calling it the WAX novel at this point, like drip candles that accumulate on prior drippings, because it seems like with this project I keep returning to it, burning over for a while when I can really focus; and then I’m back teaching, and that kind of singular focus I need evaporates. The cycle has been going on for a long time, writing in fits and bursts… falling into the book, back again, and then I’m gone again. The process of coming and going in and out of the book, that wax and wane, is having an impact on the style of the prose for sure.

 

www.commondeerpress.com

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@AHerdOfDeer

Blog Tour Spotlight: Unwrap Your Candy by Jesse Miller

 

Today’s my first stop on the tour. I have the pleasure to announce the publication of Unwrap Your Candy, by Jesse Miller. UYC is now available for purchase.

 

I hope you enjoy. And don’t miss my next two stops this week!

 

Unwrap Your Candy

Jesse Miller

Publication date: September 10, 2017

Publisher: Common Deer Press

Buy linksGoodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Publisher’s Website | Book Depository

Tagline: Imagine Woody Allen made a movie about Dilbert and James Joyce wrote the screenplay. That’s what you should expect from Jesse Miller’s Unwrap Your Candy.

 

Thom’s life has a soundtrack. Unseen glass phalluses–thousands of them–whirring softly along conveyer belts on the other side of the factory wall. The snap and splash of eggs against plaster. The scratch-fizz-tang of cigarette lighters being flipped again and again. A thousand throats swallowing a thousand swigs of beer; a thousand sets of lungs choking on a thousand French inhales. Hard fists sinking into soft flesh; soft chunks dropping onto hard sidewalks. Plop-flush-drain repeat. And moonsong, high above, forever calling and calling, “Stud, rub her with the Stud Rubber.” If only it were so simple.

 


About the Author

Jesse Miller is the author of two novels including the forthcoming Unwrap Your Candy from Common Deer Press. He is a Visiting Assistant Lecturer in English at the University of New England.

He lives in the great city of Portland, Maine, with his wife, two cats, and dog. Jesse roots for the Red Sox.

 

Website |Facebook | Common Deer Press | CDP Twitter

 

 

www.commondeerpress.com

www.facebook.com/commondeerpress

@AHerdOfDeer

Waiting on Wednesday: One Dark Throne

Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, is a weekly meme that showcases upcoming book releases readers are eagerly awaiting.

 

One Dark Throne

Kendare Blake

Publication Date: September 19, 2017

Page Count: 464

The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Why Am I Waiting?

 

I’ve been waiting months, MONTHS for this book. That cliff hanger in Three Dark Crowns kept bugging me equally as long. And I cannot wait to see how this series continues. Kendare creates a unique premise in her first novel with dark themes and dangerous political plays. What stands out from this book is the matriarchy, which I wasn’t expecting in a YA fantasy. And while I can’t stand two particular characters (*cough*Joseph and Mirabella*cough*), I love the book.

And I’ve just found out that there are four books in this series, not just two. So I am a happy, happy fangirl. 😍

 

Who else is excited for One Dark Throne?! Let me know in the comments.

Review: The Darkest Surrender by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Surrender by Gena Showalter

Published by: Harlequin

Publication Date: September 27, 2011

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Page Count: 426

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Possessed by the demon of Defeat, Strider cannot lose a challenge without suffering unimaginable pain. For him, nothing stands in the way of victory. Until Kaia, an enchanting Harpy, tempts him to the razor’s edge of surrender.

Known among her people as The Disappointment, Kaia must bring home the gold in the Harpy Games or die. Strider is a distraction she can’t afford because he has an agenda of his own-steal first prize, an ancient godly artifact, before the winner can be named. But as the competition heats up, only one prize will matter-the love neither had thought possible.


“He held fire in his arms and he desperately wanted to be burned.”

Gena takes the essence of paranormal romance and cranks it to a thousand. The Darkest Surrender will take you on a pulse-pounding ride and won’t let go!

Strider, the keeper of Defeat, wants nothing more than to not find his mate. But when Kaia Skyhawk, a harpy, tempts him more than any other woman, he knows he’s in trouble. Yet he reluctantly agrees to be her temporary consort for the Harpy Games, which he can’t lose, or he might never find the Paring Rod again.

Sarcasm, witty banter, stubbornness, and a tantalizing love story create such an entertaining novel that will surely hook any hardcore Gena fan. I read the eighth Lords book back in August, and it stuck with me ever since. Gena has a way to write tortured characters, but with Strider, she doesn’t go that route. Strider is a dangerous, deadly, and steamy Lord who will win at everything, if not, he suffers horrendous pain at the hand of his demon. He tempted fate when he thought he was falling for Haidee, Amun’s woman, but he doesn’t know what he’s walking into when Kaia chooses him as her consort.

So don’t expect the tormented storyline, because you won’t get it in this sequel. Strider has the biggest ego and isn’t afraid to flaunt it. And Kaia is his equal in every way. Their love story will give you relationship goals. Gena sometimes sways away from the original storyline of finding the artifacts that can save or kill the Lords. In this sequel though, while she now incorporates that arc and also focuses on the romance, she seamlessly combines the two.

In the Darkest Whisper, fans of the Lords of the Underworld were introduced to harpies, but they haven’t entered that world fully. So don’t worry. Gena doesn’t disappoint. I’ve been waiting to see how this world works, and let me tell you: don’t piss of a harpy, or you’re in a world of hurt. In this instalment, Kaia, nicknamed the Disappointment, must compete in the Harpy Games, where harpies battle each other to win a prize and bragging rights. This year, the Paring Rod, an artifact that rends a soul from a body, is said prize. But her past comes back to haunt her.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the banter and fighting between Strider and Kaia. They’re fire and oil, and somehow they work together perfectly. What surprises me the most is how Strider steps up and becomes the man Kaia needs. Some readers say that Kaia is the star of Strider’s book. But I disagree. Strider needs a woman who is his equal but isn’t afraid to put him in his place. He isn’t looking for redemption. Kaia transforms him into the man he should be. Their character developments make the book and set it apart from the other Lords books.

If you’re looking for steamy love scenes, banter that will make you laugh throughout the night, bigger egos, and a sizzling romance, don’t miss this book. I cannot get enough of this book, and I highly recommend it to any paranormal romance readers. Lords of the Underworld is getting better and better.