THE SPACE BETWEEN by Brenna Yovanoff


Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor

BLACKWELL Official Trailer Blast

Sean Penn


Susan Cunningham

CROW FLIGHT Official Blog Tour

Ashley Eckstein


M.M. Vaughan

FRIENDROID Official Blog Tour

Crystal King


Seven Jane

THE ISLE OF GOLD Official Blog Tour

Jim C. Hines


Ashley and Leslie Saunders


Lisa Edelstein


Mark Rivers

BIG MOUTH - Podcast

Jodie Lynn Zdrok


Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor


Tom Bilyeu


Michael Malarkey


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Angus Macallan Author Interview

Photo Credit: James Clarke

Angus Macallan is a pseudonym for Angus Donald, a British fiction writer and former journalist who is now based just outside London. He was born in China and lived, worked, and studied in Asia for much of his early adult life. He was awarded a masters degree with honors in social anthropology by the University of Edinburgh, partly based on his fieldwork in Indonesia, which led to a dissertation: “Magic, Sorcery and Society.” He also worked as a journalist in Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.


When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I was sitting all alone in a small room above a ramshackle chicken house in a remote village in Bali in 1989, writing a journal about my studies – I was an anthropologist, investigating the spiritual beliefs of the local society – and I realised how much fun I was having just sitting there writing. It totally absorbed and satisfied me, I felt euphoric. I realised then that this, this act of writing, was what I wanted to do with my life.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
It has been a pretty bad year for me. My father died in the summer; then someone very close to me was diagnosed with cancer. But the single most distracting thing when I was trying to write was turning the garden outside my office into a construction site. I’m paying someone to convert my double garage into small guest house in the garden. The noise was incredibly distracting. Still, it’s over now. My dad is still dead, obviously, but he had a very long, happy and successful life; the cancer has been successfully operated on and treated with radiation therapy and now seems to be dealt with (fingers crossed!). And I have a lovely new guest house for when friends come to stay. So, it’s all good.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
Reading The Honourable Schoolboy by John Le Carré was a profound experience for me in the 1980s. I was so moved by the tragic ending, and I have since reread the book four or five times. I saw how incredibly powerful good writing could be – and desperately wanted to emulate it.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
That’s difficult to say. I enjoyed the glamour of being asked to go on TV to talk about Robin Hood last year (I have written a successful series of books about the English folk hero under my real name AngusDonald). And if you take “rewarding” to mean in material terms – I love getting royalty payments. If feels like free money. More than a decade after writing my first novel Outlaw, I still get a few thousand pounds twice a year from its continued sales. But I suppose the most rewarding experience is that my last-but-one novel was shortlisted for a literary award (The Historical Writers’ Association Gold Crown). I didn’t win but the book made the final six out of a starting field of several hundred and I felt that my work was finally being taken seriously.

Can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about GATES OF STONE?
Gates of Stone is an epic fantasy novel set in an imaginary Indonesia about two hundred years ago. It depicts a dog-eat-dog pirate society in the warm tropical ocean of the Laut Besar. The chief cut-throat is called the Lord of the Islands and he loosely controls the trade in obat – an opium-like drug, that can only be cultivated in this region. Two great world powers – the Celestial Republic to the north (a sort-of China) and the Indujah Federation (a sort-of India) to the west are vying for control of this extremely lucrative yet deadly drug trade in the Laut Besar. Into this arena sails Princess Katerina, a 16-year-old exile of the vast snowy northern wastes – she has been denied her birthright and is determined to gain huge wealth and great power so she can win back the Ice-Bear Throne of her forefathers. And she’s not at all fussy about how she achieves her ends. She is prepared to murder, maim and manipulate to get what she wants – even marry, if necessary. There is a pampered princeling of a tiny Laut Besar island called Prince Arjun who sets off on a quest to try and get back his ancestral sword; a mysterious old priest on a spiritual mission; a weird fisher-girl with extraordinary secret powers; and a sorcerer fighting for the rights of his people but who also wants to destroy the world.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Princess Katerina?
I discovered that I can write women – or at least I think I can. The readers will have to tell me whether she works as a character or not. I often have trouble with female characters – I think it’s really hard for authors to write other genders. I have yet to read a woman writer who has created a convincing male character; they all come across as feminine to me. I’m sure some must have done, I just can’t think of any.

If you could introduce Prince Arjun to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would like to introduce Prince Arjun to my hero from the Robin Hood books Sir Alan Dale. I think they would initially be very suspicious of each other – like two cats meeting in a neutral space, fur up. But I’m sure they’d eventually be friends. They are both open-hearted, generous and friendly people at bottom, fond of drink and pleasure. A little bit lazy too. But staunch comrades, brave as lions when danger looms.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m writing the third book in a series about the (real) 17th-century English artillery officer Holcroft Blood. He fought under the Duke of Marlborough at the battle of Blenheim and his father Colonel Blood attempted to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London in 1671. The book I’m just finishing off is called Blood’s Campaign and is about Holcroft’s part in the Irish war between James II and William of Orange.

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know while writing GATES OF STONE?
I love Katerina and Prince Jun – but one of the most interesting guy has been the sorcerer Mangku. He is pretty evil but as the book progresses you get to understand why he is doing what he does. He is trying to fight for his downtrodden people, the “untouchable” caste of Dewa against the ruling class that he sees as their oppressors. If I get to write any more in the Lord of the Islands series, I think I’m going to make him more relatable, even make the reader have some real sympathy for him.

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
Mobile phone; keys; wallet and . . . trousers.

Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood.
When I was six I decided one day that I had had enough of my family (I have three rambunctious brothers) and that I was going off on a picnic all on my own. We lived at the time in Athens, Greece, and with my parents wary permission, I grabbed a bottle of water and a packet of fudge and went out alone into the city. I didn’t get far – only as far as the main road, a few hundred yards away, where I sat for a while on the kerb watching the cars go by and eating my fudge. Then I went home. What I only realised later was that my parents were watching me from an upper storey window the whole time. But I like to remember that story as it reminds me that I’ve always been a lover of solitude, contemplation and independent travel – even if I didn’t go very far physically on that picnic, in my childish mind I was light-years away. I haven’t changed.

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home?
I saw a duck foetus in a bottle of coconut oil in the house of a Balinese witchdoctor. This man, a friend and informant for my research into magic, sorcery and witchcraft in Bali – that anthropological research in the 1980s formed the basis of the magic in Gates of Stone, by the way – assured me that a Balinese god had given it to him. He was a rational man, working as a government administrator in the Balinese capital Denpasar by day, briefcase, formal clothes, office. A regular bureaucrat. We discussed international banking, the culture of Western Europe, car insurance. But despite appearing entirely normal, civilised, a bit dull, actually. He insisted that a god had appeared to him in a vision and given him this baby duck, which he was to use to cure people. He put the duckling in the coconut oil and anointed his patients with the oil when they came to him seeking cures for anything from skin complaints to depression, from grossly swollen limbs to lung cancer. He had magical powers, he said, from the use of this duckling oil. Then he asked if I would like to come and give a lecture on the UK at Denpasar University.

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
I would have started writing novels earlier in my life. My first novel was published in 2009, when I was 44 years old. The first half of my working life was spent as a journalist knocking about in Hong Kong, Indian, Pakistan, Afghanistan and London. I enjoyed that period of my life, plenty of excitement, lots of travel, decent money, but it took me a long time to get to what I really wanted to do, to get round to doing what I knew I really should be doing with my life. Which is this.

Where can readers find you?

In a world of blood and magic, a powerful epic fantasy begins...

Just before her sixteenth birthday, Princess Katerina is refused her rightful place as heir to the Empire of the Ice-Bear--solely because of her sex. Determined to regain her inheritance, she murders the foreign lord she's been ordered to marry and embarks on a perilous voyage to the lush, tropical islands of the Laut Besar in search of the vast wealth and power she needs to claim the Empire for herself.

On a small island kingdom, Prince Arjun's idyllic life is shattered when a malignant sorcerer invades, slaughters his people and steals the sacred sword of Jun's ancestors. With his royal father dead and his palace in ruins, Jun reluctantly tracks the sorcerer and the magical blade far across the pirate-infested waters of the Laut Besar.

Long ago the powerful relics known as the Seven Keys were used to safely lock away the terrifying evils of the Seven Hells. With Jun's ancient sword in his grasp, the sorcerer Mangku has claimed the first Key, and begun his mission to unleash catastrophe upon the land.

As the destinies of these three entwine in the lawless islands of the Laut Besar, the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. For if the sorcerer cannot be stopped, the world itself will be unmade...


“With tense political drama and rip-roaring action in a fresh and believable Asian-inspired setting, Gates of Stone reads like a collaboration between Joe Abercrombie and James Clavell. Add ancient feuding sorcerers and a queen who would eat Cersei Lannister for breakfast, and you have the makings of an excellent fantasy debut. Angus Macallan is a compelling new voice in epic fantasy.” —Peter McLean, author of Priest of Bones

“I meant to give Gates of Stone a quick look before I started reading it–and couldn’t put it down. Angus Macallan is a brilliant storyteller!” —Taylor Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of the Destroyermen series

“Macallan . . . has created a solid fantasy debut with a strong yet brutal princess who recalls George R. R. Martin’s Cersei Lannister. Epic worldbuilding with extensive Asian influences, especially Indonesian, meets bold characters and detailed battles across land and sea.” Library Journal

You can purchase Gates of Stone at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ANGUS MACALLAN for making this giveaway possible.
Winner will receive a Copy of Gates of Stone (Lord of the Islands #1) by Angus Macallan. 

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Kara Isaac Author Interview

Photo Content from Kara Isaac

Kara Isaac is a RITA® Award winning author who lives in Wellington, New Zealand where she writes contemporary romance with heart and humor. Her supportive husband has not read any of her books because they contain "way too much talking and not enough gunfights". When she's not chasing three little people or working her "real" job, she spends her time writing horribly bad first drafts and wishing you could get Double Stuf Oreos in New Zealand.


What inspired you to pen your first novel?
During Christmas 2005, I was staying with my parents for three weeks who at the time lived in the middle of nowhere. I was bored and a friend had challenged me to try to write a book so I figured I had nothing better to do so I had might as well try. The resulting manuscript will never be published but it created a dream that turned into a hobby that eventually turned into a side-career J

Tell us your latest news.
My next book is due in eight weeks so hopefully it’s that by the time you’ve read this I’ve made great progress on my current manuscript which is currently so behind schedule that I get a little twitch when I think about the magic that needs to happen between now and the end of March!

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
My love of romcom movies. All the great romcom movies have that scene at the end where the watcher feels giddy. That’s how I want a reader to feel when they finish my book and it’s my yard stick for the final scenes.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
Mostly I just hope that they’re engaged with the story and care about the characters. For me the worst reviews aren’t the one-stars where people are enraged by something because at least there’s feeling there. The worst reviews are the 2 or 3-star ones where someone was bored or found the whole story forgettable.

Did you learn anything from writing ONE THING I KNOW and what was it?
I’ve learnt to what extent I’m willing to step outside of the box for my characters, even knowing it will not sit well with some of my readers.

My first four books were in the inspirational/Christian contemporary romance genre and with that comes particular expectations from some readers. I’ve always known that Lucas and Rachel’s characters would not lend themselves to the kind of all-tied-up-in-a-bow-on-the-last-page spiritual journey that some readers would like. They are both complex characters with a lot of baggage and it was important to me for that part of the story to be organic to who they are. I know that the creative choices I’ve made in that aspect of the book are true to who they are but it would be fair to say that it hasn’t been a popular choice with some early reviewers.

For those who are unfamiliar with Rachel, how would you introduce her?
Rachel Somers has a very small world. In the beginning of the book it’s all of about five people. She is fierce and loyal and trapped in a life that she wants to escape but believes she deserves. She has a hard outer shell that hides someone who would do anything for the people that she loves.

What part of Rachel did you enjoy writing the most?
Her change from a cynical skeptic who is convinced that she doesn’t deserve happiness to someone who dares to hope that maybe she’s wrong.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Lucas?
All of my previous books have been set outside of the US so I learned a whole lot about Wisconsin sports teams creating Lucas. Most of it didn’t end up making it to final cut!

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Probably Becky Wade. Not in a hands on sense but in the sense that it was her book, My Stubborn Heart, that helped me to believe that there was space in the market for my voice. And every book that she writes inspires me to push myself creatively with what I’m working on.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Never be ashamed to quit a book. Life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy (assuming you’re reading for pleasure, not for a class you need to pass!)

What is the last movie that you saw at the cinema?
Mary Poppins with my sister during our Christmas vacation J

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?

Adult tapeworms can grow up to 25 meters and live in their hosts for up to 30 years.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
Probably back to the first year of marriage. Our first addition was a “surprise” that we found out about on our first wedding anniversary so I would have enjoyed all the free time that we had a whole lot more!!

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
Usually the to-do list for the day. Unless I’ve been writing right before bed. Then I’m usually trying to unravel a plot problem.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Use their passport.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
Hiking up Machu Pichu. Or three months in Tuscany eating my body weight in Italian food!

Where can readers find you?

I’m on Instagram, on Facebook at Kara Isaac – Author, Twitter @karaisaac and at But I will never be on Pinterest so sorry to those of you who are Pinteresters J


  • 1. I finished the manuscript that would become One Thing I Know in September 2012 on the plane on my way to a writers’ conference. 
  • 2. I told myself that if it didn’t get any agent interest in it at the conference that it was a sign that I needed to give up chasing the publishing dream for awhile. I ended up with five agent requests for partials. 
  • 3. It was the second manuscript I ever completed but it will be my fifth novel published.
  • 4. Its original title was Chasing Rachel.
  • 5. It was the manuscript that got me signed by an agent.
  • 6. My to-be-agent’s first lot of feedback was that Lucas needed a rewrite because he came across as too “valley girl” – a term that we don’t use in New Zealand so I spent ages Googling it trying to figure out what he meant! 
  • 7. It made it to four publishing boards in 2013 before being rejected by all of them. 
  • 8. It got resurrected in 2017 when I pitched my editor a new “series” based around three estranged friends who find themselves reconnecting ten years after the event that tore them apart. 
  • 9. I always cry in chapters 28-29 even thought I have read them hundreds of times. 
  • 10. When I first started writing it there was supposed to be a completely different hero (an ex-boyfriend who called into Lucas’s show) but then Lucas showed up on the page and wouldn’t get off so the ex-boyfriend got ditched.

A fresh, heartfelt romance involving a case of mistaken identity when a ghostwriter masquerades as a relationship expert and the man who is determined to expose her holds not only the key to her success, but also her heart…

Rachel Somers is America’s #1 relationship coach—America just doesn’t know it. Rachel writes the books, but her Aunt Donna plays the face of the operation. Afraid of their secret being exposed, Rachel has no choice but to keep up the charade or lose the big money required to care for her father.

Lucas Grant is a star of late night radio and set on achieving his dream of syndication. When a big-time producer calls, it looks like his hard work is about to pay off. But the offer comes with a catch—the producer is convinced Dr. Donna is not what she seems and he wants Lucas to discover her secret. To do that, he needs to win over her tight-lipped assistant who holds the key to his success and—he begins to suspect—his heart. Can love find a way through the lies that force them apart?


"One Thing I Know has everything I want in a feel-good romance: chemistry, banter, humor, heart—and a charming hero from the mighty Midwest. Faith without a sugar coat, families that walk through broken spaces into firmer footing, a love that finds its way toward 'always'— Isaac’s novel is a total gem." Kimberly Stuart, author of Heart Land 

"Winsome and wholly satisfying, Isaac delivers a fresh take on love, regret, and the secrets that breathe between them." 
Carol Award-winning author Nicole Deese 

"Once again Kara Isaac reminds us why she is a RITA award-winning author in her fabulous new release. One Thing I Know is the perfect balance of hilarious dialogue, exquisitely appealing characters and a flawless sense of pacing. This lovely, unforgettable story will resonate with anyone who has struggled to stay true to the person God has called them to be." 
Tammy L. Gray, RITA Award-winning author of My Hope Next Door 

You can purchase One Thing I Know at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KARA ISSAC for making this giveaway possible.
Winner will receive a One Thing I Know by Kara Isaac. 

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Monday, February 18, 2019

Micah Dean Hicks Author Interview

Photo Credit: Scot Lerner 2018

Micah Dean Hicks is the author of the novel Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones. He is also the author of Electricity and Other Dreams, a collection of dark fairy tales and bizarre fables. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. Hicks grew up in rural southwest Arkansas and now lives in Orlando. He teaches creative writing at the University of Central Florida.


Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (February 5, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1328566455
ISBN-13: 978-1328566454


“A tour-de-force of the imagination. Hicks has created a world that is beautifully and brutally surreal and yet, at the same time, BREAK THE BODIES, HAUNT THE BONES stands as a hyper-realistic psychological portrait of the death of the American factory town. My own identity as an American was disturbed and changed by this novel; some dormant understanding was shaken awake. This is a stunning and profound debut.” ―Julianna Baggott, bestselling author of New York Times Notable Book Pure

“Hicks’ debut novel is a thoughtful tour of the rotted and haunted heart of America. Highly recommended.” ―Jeremiah Tolbert, Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author

“I can’t stop thinking about this book. It’s a haunting story that burrows under your skin like an insect laying eggs that hatch within you in the middle of the night. Hicks’ mesmerizing imagery kept me turning the pages and asking myself ‘How is this book happening? What sort of literary witchcraft am I witnessing?’” ―Maurice Broaddus, author of Buffalo Soldier and The Usual Suspects

“BREAK THE BODIES, HAUNT THE BONES is a breathless wonder of a debut novel… Hicks is a magician with words and has written a spellbinding, haunting and necessary book.” ―Anne Valente, author of Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down

“Hicks has crafted a haunting story with multi-generational appeal, where the very real horror of poverty meets supernatural horror, and social issues like xenophobia, racism and economic anxiety are addressed organically through allegory and gripping storytelling.” ―Chris L. Terry, author of Black Card and Zero Fade

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I’ve never really wanted to do anything but make up stories. All my life, I’ve loved books, movies, and narrative games. Probably as early as twelve or thirteen, I was thinking about writing novels, looking up publisher submission guidelines, reading books on writing craft, and trying to figure out how to do this seriously.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
In the six years I worked on this book, I moved five times and worked for four different employers. All of that took up a lot of time and headspace.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
Reading Gabriel García Márquez’s short stories in college did more to shape who I am as a writer than anything else. I had grown up reading fantasy and fairy tales. I crave magic and wonder in my stories. But I never really knew how to write about my childhood and lived experience in the rural south until I read García Márquez. Even though he and I are from very different places, the way he took supernatural elements and combined them with rural life felt so seamless and made so much sense to me. He showed me how to draw from my own background while still writing the kind of magical stories I’ve always loved.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
A former student who is brilliant and who I have a lot of respect for sent me a message telling me how much she loved the book. She said that it was strange that she knew the author because the novel felt like a book that had just always existed, something people had been reading and talking about for years. I’d been feeling some imposter syndrome, the fear that my book wasn’t really a book because it came from me. So having someone reassure me that, yes, this is a real novel and some people really like it was a wonderful feeling.

The book hasn’t been out for very long, but I’m also crossing my fingers that there will be fan art.
Can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about your new book Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones?

Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones is about a dying factory town haunted by ghosts. The spirits swarm through the buildings of downtown, making the residents move farther and farther away. Ghosts get lost inside car engines, washing machines, and cell phones, making them useless. Many people in town share their bodies with the dead, spirits that give them painful curses and double-edged gifts. As the novel begins, something new has appeared in town: a walking, talking pig person who says he’s come to work at the factory. Jane worries her brother, driven by his ghost to invent strange machines, might have something to do with the newcomer.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Jane?
I knew that Jane would be the one holding her family together, but as I wrote her chapters the depth of her loyalty surprised me. I also had a lot of fun writing the stormy friendship between Jane and her ghost.

Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
I wanted to do something that felt big and ambitious and strange, mashing up genre tropes from SciFi, fantasy, and horror. In terms of book’s themes—otherness, economic decline, corporate abuses—these are things that have always bothered me and would probably have worked their way into anything that I wrote.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
In my book, there’s a pig man named Hogboss who has been created to oversee a pork processing plant. I’d like him to meet the monster from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. They’re both ugly, imposing, and hated for being different. They’re both created by someone who doesn’t take good enough care of them.

But they’re also experiencing the world for the first time, marveling at how beautiful and how cruel of a place it can be. I think they’d have a lot to say to one another.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m finishing a collection of short stories, many of which have already been published in various magazines. They’re dark, sad stories that borrow a lot from fairy tale motifs. Birds who get turned into boys and regret it. A woman with beautiful clockwork hands who has to live alone so that people won’t steal them. Two sisters who find an old oven than can bring the dead back to life. You can read one of them, “Church of Birds,” in the 2018 Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy.

If animals could talk, which would be the rudest?
Birds are definitely assholes.

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home?
My dad has a pig skull sitting on his patio table. I think he likes having its company while he smokes on the porch.

Do you have any fun Halloween experiences you can tell us?
I like throwing big Halloween parties, making spooky playlists, putting out lots of food, and getting people to carve pumpkins. But I usually spend so much time organizing that I forget to buy a costume. I’m hoping to change that this year.

What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
Once I went over to my friend’s house, but he wasn’t home yet. While waiting in the dark beside his front door, I heard a sound coming from the woods behind the house. A shrill, metallic squeal. It was a stuttering sound, stopping and starting, out in the forest where I couldn’t see. It sounded familiar and was getting closer. Then it hit me. It was the sound of a child’s tricycle, the wheels rusty, small feet working the petals. I got back in my car.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
Being a character in Lev Grossman’s The Magicians would be pretty amazing. Going to a magical college and learning how to be a magician. Exploring the magical land of Fillory and becoming a hero. But then again, you might also have your hands bitten off or have even worse things happen to you. It’s a tough call. I’d probably want to be Eliot. Definitely not Quentin.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
What day is it?

Choose a unique item from your wallet and explain why you carry it around.
I always keep a dog poop bag folded up in my wallet. Mostly it’s there in case I get caught in the rain and need to protect my cellphone.

1. Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber

Somehow, Angela Carter takes everything I love about the Brothers Grimm and makes the tales darker, sexier, stranger, and often sadder too. In “The Company of Wolves,” Carter writes: “The grave-eyed children of the sparse villages always carry knives with them when they go out to tend the little flocks of goats that provide the homesteads with acrid milk and rank, maggoty cheeses. Their knives are half as big as they are, the blades are sharpened daily.”

These are stories dripping bloody with danger, the fairy tale world of monstrous men and moonlit forests brought into sharper focus by Carter’s amazing prose.

2. Ben Okri, Starbook
A prince falls into an enchanted sleep. A maiden speaks to him in his dreams. A village of master artists captures the world in beautiful sculptures. This novel reads like a fairy tale with royal lovers, traitors, magic, and a feeling of dreamy timelessness. But something is wrong in the land. There are rumors of a white wind, European slavers, erasing people and gods alike.

3. Lev Grossman, The Magicians
Harry Potter, but a lot more adult. The Chronicles of Narnia, but a fucked up Narnia where magical creatures might shoot you with a crossbow, kill your friends, and eat your hands.

The first book in a trilogy, The Magicians tells the story of a group of disillusioned friends who discover that magic is real. They get accepted into a magical college, become magicians, and find that magic causes more problems than it solves. Later, they learn that the magical land from their favorite series of children’s books is real too, but it’s dangerous and nothing like it’s supposed to be.

4. Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Gentleman magicians meet to discuss the history of English magic, but none of them have ever seen magic actually done. That is until the reclusive Mr. Norrell gives a demonstration, proving that English magic is alive and well. But my favorite thing about Clarke’s novel isn’t the polite parlor rooms of magicians discussing what forms of magic are respectable, wonderful as that is. More than this, I love the gray, crumbling world of Faerie that Clarke creates, full of wild magic and inhuman cruelty.

5. Gabriel García Márquez, Leaf Storm and Other Stories
In these stories, an old angel falls from the sky and gets stuck in the mud. The townspeople lock him in a chicken coop and force him to perform miracles, though they don’t turn out very well. A blind man regains his teeth. A paralytic almost wins the lottery. And a leper’s sores grow sunflowers. In another story, a beautiful drowned man washes ashore and causes an entire town to go into mourning. In another, a ghost ship pulls its heavy, spectral weight through the harbor. These stories take us to a place full of wonder, but also full of irony, disappointment, and heartbreak.

6. Ken Liu, “Good Hunting”
A father and son hunt magical creatures for a living, but the son falls in love with a shape-shifting fox woman, a hulijing. When the British come with their railroad and disdain for local customs, magical creatures start to disappear. Both hunter and prey find themselves changed by colonialism, having to find their way in a world of coal-power, chrome, and brass.

7. Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, Monstress
I can’t stop talking about this comic. The world is so dense and layered. A history of war, broken alliances, and cataclysm gives weight to the characters’ every interaction. Humans enslave the magical Arcanics and consume their power. A cabal of vicious witches called the Cumaea hunts the main character, Maika Halfwolf. There are talking cats, ghostly Old Ones who drift across the sky, and winged ancients of the dawn and dusk courts. At one point, Maika visits an island formed from the remains of a dead god. You are not prepared for how cool this series is.

8. Karen Russell, “St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves”
This is one of my favorite short stories ever. A girl born to wolves is taken to a religious school to be civilized. The wolf-girls piss on the floor, battle for dominance, and growl through their lessons. As they strive to become human, their memories of the forest become more and more faint. But one girl proves untamable.

9. Julianna Baggott, Pure
This novel is so strange, so beautifully written, and so original that I don’t know where to begin. Molecule-scrambling bombs destroy the world, fusing humans, animals, and machines. One girl has a doll’s head for a hand. A boy has a flock of birds embedded in his back, their fluttering wings stirring his shirt. An old man has a fan whirring away in his throat. The wilderness is full of chimera-like animal-machines, inhuman and elemental. You’ve never read anything like this.

10. N.K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season
In Jemisin’s novel, the first in her Broken Earth series, people called Orogenes are intimately connected to the movement of the earth. Aware of the tiniest vibrations, they can sense tremors moving through the ground from miles away. They can shield their communities from deadly earthquakes, but they if they lose control, they could sap the heat from the living, roil the ground, and topple cities. When parents discover that their daughter or son is an Orogene, the community might kill the child before a Guardian can arrive to train them to safely use their powers. There are also strange beings of stone sculpted into human form, pursuing their own patient agendas. I’m only halfway through the first novel, but already Jemisin’s world is a favorite.

Swine Hill was full of the dead. Their ghosts were thickest near the abandoned downtown, where so many of the town’s hopes had died generation by generation. They lingered in the places that mattered to them, and people avoided those streets, locked those doors, stopped going into those rooms . . . They could hurt you. Worse, they could change you.

Jane is haunted. Since she was a child, she has carried a ghost girl that feeds on the secrets and fears of everyone around her, whispering to Jane what they are thinking and feeling, even when she doesn’t want to know. Henry, Jane’s brother, is ridden by a genius ghost that forces him to build strange and dangerous machines. Their mother is possessed by a lonely spirit that burns anyone she touches. In Swine Hill, a place of defeat and depletion, there are more dead than living.

When new arrivals begin scoring precious jobs at the last factory in town, both the living and the dead are furious. This insult on the end of a long economic decline sparks a conflagration. Buffeted by rage on all sides, Jane must find a way to save her haunted family and escape the town before it kills them.

Trigger’s Haunted Home

Trigger lived on the outskirts of Swine Hill, his house close to the forest surrounding the plant. A dirt track cut steeply back and forth to where his house sat on a hill. The yard was tangled with briars and wild blackberries. Old bits of trash, Styrofoam cups and rain-washed paper, hung in the thorns. The house was small, sitting up on concrete blocks. There was no truck in the driveway. A dirt path led to the door.

Jane stopped with her hand on the doorknob. “Are there ghosts inside?”

Just one. But, oh, Jane, it’s enough.

She went in without knocking.

It was dark and cold. Above her head, branches knit together, pressing their thin fingers against a bloated moon. The floor was thick with pine needles, fallen branches, and dead scrub, all of it clotted with ice. Leaves lay stacked, their brown edges frozen, like stars dead and fallen to earth. Through the elephantine trunks, wind pushed endless and heavy and sobbing like a train.

It took her a moment to find the furniture, to see the couch facing a busted television, the kitchen table piled high with snow. She moved aside leaves and found dirty carpet, frayed and hair-covered. Low animals crept in the corners of the rooms. Black squirrels and birds moving in and out of the branches. Rabbits, heads down, beggaring their way over the floor. From the hallway, a deer stared at her.

The only bright things in the dim were flares of blood, red-black and heavy as jewels, dotting the floor. Gunpowder and smoke hung so thick in the air that they coated her tongue. There was a hum, a ringing needle of sound that seemed almost on the verge of fading but never did.

Trigger was behind her, slipping a hoodie over her shoulders and rubbing her skin through the fabric. “You don’t have to stay,” he said. “We can go whenever you want.”

“There’s a whole memory in this house. It’s not just the ghost of a person. It’s the ghost of a place and time. It’s the ghost of something that happened.”

Jane’s ghost brought her fragments from Trigger, something he was trying to suppress. I am what happened. This place is me.

She pulled him against her. “Why would you stay here? Why punish yourself?”

Trigger didn’t say anything. He couldn’t get the words out, not knowing where to start. Everything in him was a snarl of self-loathing and anger. But he let himself feel everything, didn’t try to hide it from her. Jane’s greedy ghost drank it up.

The house isn’t haunted. He is. This is the same ghost he carries everywhere.

Copyright © 2019 by Micah Dean Hicks

You can purchase Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MICAH DEAN HICKS for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive a Copy of BREAK THE BODIES, HAUNT THE BONES by Micah Dean Hicks.. 
FEBRUARY 13th WEDNESDAY Sabrina's Paranormal Palace REVIEW & TENS LIST
FEBRUARY 15th FRIDAY Two Points of Interest REVIEW

FEBRUARY 19th TUESDAY Twirling Book Princess GUEST POST 
FEBRUARY 22nd FRIDAY Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Friday, February 15, 2019

Mammoth Film Festival - Blair Bomar Interview

Photo Credit: JBN Media

Blair Bomar is an actress and producer, known for Queen of the South (2016) and From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series (2014).

The Mammoth Film Festival is a retreat for those who love, create and enjoy film. An all media festival celebrating varieties of filmmakers, actors, directors, writers, producers and their work. Regal with the wonderful town of Mammoth Lakes, California as it's beautiful backdrop. The film and media showcase has a firm purpose for the exhibition, exploration, celebration and competition of boundless media. A focus on independent creation and absolute risk-taking in the world of multimedia, film and television. So put your snow boots on, bring your skis, grab some free popcorn and enjoy this exciting festival.

The Mammoth Film Festivals central aim is to lead the charge for an ever-changing landscape of film and media. As content continues to be consumed on new and different platforms, the fear exists that independent film will become lost in the wayside. Mammoth Film Festival aims to be an important institution towards fostering independent filmmakers and their stories so that strong and important voices always have a way to continue to be seen and heard. The film and media showcase of the Mammoth Film Festival has a firm purpose for the exhibition, exploration, celebration and competition of boundless media. A celebration of independent creation and absolute risk-taking in the world of multimedia.

Blair Bomar on the Red Carpet with JBN Journalist, Allan Forte.

The Mammoth Media Institute is an organization that utilizes this destination location (Mammoth Lakes, CA) to bring independent film and television, VR, documentaries, film education and more to the eyes and ears of industry professionals, distributors, producers, financiers etc.

We do this by creating a multiplatform festival (Mammoth Film Festival™) showcasing this media, generating publication with our partners and advisory board through the support of our sponsors. We also have a film education program (Mammoth Film Summit™) that is held twice a year one in Mammoth Lakes and one in a hand selected city in the US. It’s purpose is to educate newer film makers with a broad variety of seminars with working professional: producers, actors, writers and directors. The funds generated go into the institute to host the festival and the film education programs, also to film grants awarded to film makers throughout the year at events across the nation.

Blair Bomar on the Red Carpet at Mammoth Film Festival.


Video: Erik Werlin. Audio/Edit: James Vallesteros (@jamesvallesteros)

Mammoth Film Festival is an all media festival celebrating varieties of filmmakers, actors, directors, writers, producers and their work. Regal with the wonderful town of Mammoth Lakes, California as it's beautiful backdrop. The film and media showcase has a firm purpose for the exhibition, exploration, celebration and competition of boundless media. Founded by Actor and Filmmaker Tanner Beard, who serves as President, the festival had its launch in 2018. Tomik Mansoori and Theo Dumont are Co-Founders of the Festival with Actress Alexandra Chando serving as Festival Manager.
jbnfilms, jbnmediainterviews, jbnfilmfestivals, jbnlatestinterviews

Jessica Branton Author Interview

Photo Content from Jessica Branton​​

Jessica Branton​​ wrote her first novel at the age of fourteen. She has published short stories, poems, and newspaper articles since the fifth grade. Today, she is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrated. Charlie’s Port publishes her blog, and her plays have been produced by Act One Theatre in Cartersville and The Oak Theatre in Atlanta. She served as president for two years at On The Spot, an improvisational troupe that travels nationally. Jessica holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Georgia and will obtain her M.A. in English from Georgia Southern University in May of 2019. She continues to dream up stories and scribble them down when she has the chance.


Can you tell us when you started HOW TO EXPERIENCE DEATH FOR BEGINNERS, how that came about? 
It all started with Casey Darling. I loved the supernatural, and was kind of a dark teenager, so I had the idea of a psychic linked to death. From there, the story kind of exploded out of me.

What is needed for a story to be good? 
I think I’m still trying to figure that out haha. However, I think good, real characters and an interesting plot is important.

What do you hope for people to be thinking after they read your novel? 
I hope they hold on to and think about the people they care about. I hope they realize that people struggle in different ways and it is important to notice that and be there for them.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why? 
Honestly, the prologue. That was the first chapter I ever wrote, and it felt so indicative of what the rest of the book would eventually be.

Which character have you enjoyed writing the most? 
Probably Danny. He’s similar to a friend I used to have (though my family and I have debated about which friend that is). He was a nice guiding light throughout the book.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author? 
To just keep writing. It sounds simple, but it really is important to keep practicing and expanding your repertoire.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us? 
Sadly, I’m currently focused on writing my Master’s Thesis. However, I do have plans for a sequel for this book, and I have several other ideas with a few substantial chapters on my computer.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
I had to really think about this, but I think I might introduce Cameron to Sam from the Shiver trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater. I think the two could really connect since they both have a deep pain. On top of that I love that author and book, so connecting my world with hers would be astonishing.

Do you have any fun Halloween experiences you can tell us? 
My birthday is actually right around Halloween so when I was younger we did a lot of cool parties near or on Halloween. My favorite one was probably the time a couple of my friends and I dressed up as characters from Alice in Wonderland and had a tea party.

What's your most missed memory? 

There’s a house I used to live at that was right in front of a huge forest. I used to explore the woods on my own. Practically every day I would travel through the dense trees, winding river, and hilly landscape. I miss those woods a lot.

Have you ever written a love letter? 

When my current boyfriend went to Italy I wrote him a letter and told him to open it when he was lonely. I didn’t mail it, but I think that counts.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on? 

I desperately want to explore all of Europe. I know that’s a common adventure, but how great would it be to explore Ireland’s country side?

What was a time in your life when you were really scared? 

First, you need to know that I worry about everything. So, when I was young, maybe middle school, I was stuck at a gym during a tornado warning. I was waiting on my mom, but I didn’t have a cellphone, so I didn’t know where she was or when she was coming. I was convinced there was going to be a tornado. It doesn’t sound terrifying, but I expected death. I’m still scared of tornados to this day.

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know? 

I am not the best at remember trivia. Although, I did just learn that Mercury ends up being closer to Earth than Venus is because of its orbit. Since Mercury goes around the sun so fast it ends up being on the same side of the sun as Earth more often than Venus is. I heard this from a professor and it just seemed ludicrous to me.

What did you do for your last birthday? 

I actually had class until eight on my birthday last year, so I didn’t get to do much. However, my boyfriend bought me an adorable cookie cake and we ate sushi together. I went home the next weekend to visit my family.

Casey Darling can enter the minds of people when they die. After receiving romantic advances from the enigmatic new guy at school, a serial killer invades her small town. Local police grow suspicious as she appears at crime scenes, but an FBI agent believes in her psychic powers. Will Casey fall in love or help take down a psychopath? Maybe both.

[Trigger Warning: This book contains situations of self-harm and stalking.]


Casey and her circle of friends are well-drawn... a solid and multilayered thriller. KIRKUS Reviews

A competent first novel... Branton is skilled at misdirection. IndieReader

You can purchase How to Experience Death for Beginners at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JESSICA BRANTON for making this giveaway possible.
Winner will receive a Copy of How to Experience Death for Beginners by Jessica Branton. 

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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