Interview: Jeremy Flagg, Author of the Children of Nostradamus Series

Folks, please give a warm welcome to author Jeremy Flagg. We chat about his love of graphic novels, the hope for a Salvatore-based tabletop game, and plenty more.

Is there a genre or literary niche that you feel hasn’t gotten its deserved amount of attention?

Currently with the boom of comic book movies and TV shows, I’m honestly surprised the same hasn’t happened in the literary world. I grew up on comic books, in fact, it’s how I learned to read. However, the jump from illustrated stories to novelization seems to be a slow process. With only a few breakouts such as Brandon Sanderson or Peter Clines, the market is vastly underserved. But despite the market having yet to sway in that direction, there are some amazing superhero inspired stories happening. I think the ability to get inside the head of the hero makes it a unique medium that brings a lot to the table for the genre.

If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?

I’m a superhero writer, I should pick a superhero, but I think I’d have to go with the supernatural. There is something about these myths and folklore that continue to make us wonder. I like the idea that there is a world we’re not quite sure about. I’m curious to see what wonders there are. Granted, with my luck I’d be stuck with a grumpy gnome saving me.

What decade from the last century would you pick to have been a teenager in?

I’m a 90’s kid through and through. I was born in the early 80’s, and loved the music of the time, but nothing will surpass the 90’s for me. My playlists are filled with songs from the late 90’s and even the weird look we had during that period sticks with me. Despite that though, there’s a bit of an 80’s child hiding in there. I secretly like to think I’m a punk in corporate clothing.

What future invention would you like to see not only created during your life time, but readily available to the public?

We’re on the verge of so many emerging technologies, I think it’s fascinating to see how much science fiction has simply become science. Still, the thing I’m dying to see is the computer screen from Minority Report. I find myself frequently annoyed that I don’t have enough screen space and constantly flipping through windows. I frequently have my laptop hooked up to a TV and my iPad next to me. It’d be amazing to have it all in one place and just be able to manipulate it with my hand. We’re not far from it, I think this one may actually happen during my lifetime.

What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

Not the worst by a long stretch, but definitely the most difficult would have to be teaching high school. I’ve been a high school art teacher for a decade now and it’s a demanding job. You’re constantly pushing kids to be creative and step outside their comfort zone. It’s extremely rewarding, but after a day of wrestling with kids, you find yourself lacking the creativity to do your own work. There are the hand full of kids who give back as much as you put in, and those have been the ones that continue to inspire. Writing on the other hand, during my off months is a walk in the park. The only temperamental thing I have to deal with is my laptop, and that’s nowhere near as complicated as wow-ing a room of twenty-five teenagers. The only difficulty is in forcing myself to sit down and write when I have the time (which isn’t too difficult for me.)

You’re granted a super power and given the chance to team up with 4 other superheroes (or supervillains). What power do you have and who have you teamed up with?

The obvious answer is teleportation. I will always want the ability to teleport. I hate going places, but I’m always happy once I’m there. As for the others I would team up with? Not that I haven’t thought about this in depth, but it’d be Nightcrawler, Colossus, Magneto (every time needs the slightly villainous character) and Phoenix. That’d pretty much be the unstoppable superhero team. I may have spent more than a little time figuring this out (aka a lot.)

What book should be made into a game (card, PC, board, etc.) and why? Is there a specific character who you would want to play in this game?

I would love to see R.A. Salvatore’s Demon War Saga turned into some sort of tabletop game. Salvatore has a wonderfully unique perspective on traditional fantasy and I think it’d make for a great storyline. I’d love it even more if it were turned into a console game similar to Skyrim. I’d want to play Pony, one of my favorite female leads who wields magic and her female intuition like a weapon. That’d be a pretty badass game.

If you were asked to create the syllabus for a college class in comics & graphic novels, what books would be on there as required reading? As passing discussion?

I actually teach a college class about graphic novels. There are a variety of great pieces that should be in there. I like to blend great stories such as the Watchmen alongside classic superheroes such as X-Men’s Inferno with things like Maus. My favorite question to pose the class is to ask, do comics influence society or does society influence comics? I like exploring the need for diversity in mainstream comics and how smaller companies are filling in these niche categories. I feel if given enough time, there could be entire concentrations in comics similar to Art History at this point. Unfortunately, I don’t think we respect comics as much as we do novels. I am happy however to see them get more attention thanks to the popularity of movie adaptations.

What is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in?

Marvel beats DC. Star Trek over Star Wars. Sub before Dub. With the company I keep, there are always geeky conversations happening. I’m always down for a geek argument.

About Author Jeremy Flagg:

Jeremy Flagg is the author of the CHILDREN OF NOSTRADAMUS dystopian science fiction series and SUBURBAN ZOMBIE HIGH young adult humor/horror series. Taking his love of pop culture and comic books, he focuses on fast paced, action packed novels with complex characters and contemporary themes.

Jeremy is the Co-creator of Massachusetts Science Fiction & Fantasy Authors and member of the Metrowest Writers writing group. He is also an active member of the New England Horror’s Association and Broad Universe.

Jeremy spends most of his free time at his desk writing snarky books. When he gets a moment away from writing, he watches too much Netlix and Hulu and reading comic books. Jeremy, a Maine native, resides in Clinton, Massachusetts and can be found in local coffee shops pounding away at the keyboard.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn

Synopsis of Nighthawks:

New England is a walled off radioactive prison. People exhibiting extraordinary abilities are hunted for experiments. The only talent twenty-six-year-old Conthan has in life is his art and knack for sarcasm. When a cop threatens his life, Conthan discovers he has the ability to teleport. Hunted by the military and a woman with her own gifts, Conthan finds exiles in the Boston wastelands with powers of their own. For the first time, he sees potential to become a hero. But as he unravels a conspiracy threatening the world, he must decide between his survival and his humanity.

Audible ~ Amazon

The Science of Supervillainy by C. T. Phipps

Narrator: Jeffrey Kafer

Publisher: Amber Cove Publishing (2017)

Length: 6 hours 5 minutes

Series: Book 4 The Supervillainy Saga

Author’s Page

Note: This is Book 4 in the series and it works best if you have read the previous books.

Gary Karkofsky, a professional supervillain, is up against some serious foes. President Omega has brainwashed the mighty USA military while Gary’s doppelganger from another reality has all of Gary’s abilities and most of his knowledge. Gary, aka Merciless: The Supervillain Without Mercy, might have to do the unthinkable. He might have to become that thing he dreads most: a hero.

The gang’s all back and for some of them, we get a bonus copy. For ease, the doppelganger Gary from another reality will be called Other Gary. This book was just as much fun as the previous books in the series, though I feel it has a touch more seriousness (which I liked). Gary is still popping off one-liners, there’s plenty of Star Wars references, and the crazy supervillain outfits & names continue to be amusing. Also, if you’re a Phipps fan, you might catch a few references to his other series here and there.

Mandy, Gary’s vampire wife, has a lot of great lines in this book. Several of the characters make references to adult relationships that don’t fit the standard married couple routine. Mandy’s extended life and need for blood has given her an extra spin on such relationships and I have to wonder where Mandy and Gary will take their relationship from here. Is there a harem in the future? Maybe….

Both El Diablo Man and Cloak have some serious chats with Gary. There’s a few points in this tale where things get a little heavy. Take for instance young Gizmo. She’s definitely going to need a parent around. Also, Phipps kills off a favorite character of mine (though I do hold a secret hope that this character will return in some sort of form).

Some of my favorite scenes were actually in the first part of the book. Gary and Mandy are being held in a warped prison where they and everyone else there are under this mindcontrol. It’s a cruel version of happy home-makers from the 1950s, complete with period outfits and enforced gender roles. Mandy has some great lines about blood and mayhem said in the sweetest happy significant other voice. Luckily, Night Girl comes along and helps them escape but it’s at a cost.

All around, it’s another great addition to the series. I like the few scenes that bend toward seriousness. It bodes of bigger things to come for Gary. Bigger things that may very well squish him.

I received a free copy of this book.

The Narration: Jeffrey Kafer Is just great at this series. His enjoyment of these characters comes through in his performance. He makes a great Gary/Other Gary and I love his snarky voice for Cindy. He’s great at pulling off all the humor while also making the characters sound very concerned when they come up against a worthy foe.

What I Liked: Love the cover art; great narration; awesome brainwashed 1950s scenes; Mandy’s take on relationships; all the humor and nerdom references; Gary’s quandary of becoming a hero to take out a foe; Gizmo.

What I Disliked: Nothing! This was very fun!

What Others Think:

The Bookwyrm Speaks

The Audiobook Reviewer

The Blogin’ Hobgoblin

Audiobook Giveaway! The Worlds of C. T. Phipps

Welcome audiofiles! It is my pleasure to have Charles Phipps on the blog once again! He’s already released 4 new audiobooks this year and his latest three are up for grabs in this giveaway! Want to know more about the mind behind these entertaining stories? Then check out his Dab of Darkness interview. To enter the giveaways, scroll all the way to bottom. Phipps is generously offering up 3 audiobook copies of each of the 3 books, via Audible.com and Audible.co.uk. In fact, if we all spread the word and there’s a big response, he just may up that to 5 copies a book. And yes, you can win more than 1 book.

Now here’s something new from Phipps – Agent G: Infiltrator. It’s a delicious spy flick with some future tech, betrayals, and a conflicted main character. The notorious Jeffrey Kafer narrates this book.

In a world where virtually any death can be bought for the right price, follow the path of a high-tech assassin searching for answers to questions he shouldn’t be asking along with his next target. Agent G is a Letter, one of the Society’s 26 weapons for hire.

Unfortunately for the Society, G is starting to think for himself.

Unfortunately for G, he’s in the middle of infiltrating a rival organization and is running out of people he can trust.

Audible ~ Amazon

 Ah ha! I was hoping there would be a sequel to Cthulhu Armageddon. Now here it is! The Tower of Zhaal is out! Narrated by the nefarious Jeffrey Kafer.

It has been a year since John Henry Booth’s exile from New America and the fall of the Black Cathedral. Cursed with a slow transformation into a monster, he has begun a doomed relationship with fellow escapee Mercury Halsey as they seek some way to arrest his transformation.

Dubious hope arrives in the form of the University, the deranged scientists and cultists descended from the staff of Miskatonic University. Except their offer of help comes at a price. Having sold themselves to ancient aliens called the Yith, they wish John and Mercury to join a group of rogues in hunting down a wayward member of their faculty: a man who intends to release the last of the sleeping Great Old Ones on an already ravaged planet. If they’re telling the truth, John and Mercury will be heroes. If.

The Tower of Zhaal is the second novel of the Cthulhu Armageddon series, a post-apocalyptic continuation of H.P. Lovecraft’s popular Cthulhu Mythos.

Audible ~ Amazon

Yes! The fourth book is out! The Science of Supervillainy – I’ve really enjoyed this series so far and I look forward to seeing what happens next to Gary Karkofsky and Falcon Crest City. Narrated by the infamous Jeffrey Kafer.

Gary Karkofsky a.k.a Merciless: The Supervillain Without Mercy (TM) returns in the fourth volume of the popular Supervillainy Saga. Having discovered the world’s greatest superhero slain by his doppelganger from another reality, Merciful: The Supervillain with Mercy (TM), and the arrogant President Omega, Gary dedicates himself to overthrowing both. Unfortunately, this is harder than it looks since Merciful has all of Gary’s genre savviness while President Omega has the entire brainwashed United States military behind him. In the end, though, there can be only one ruler of the world and two of these three feuding villains will have to go.

Audible ~ Amazon

Places to Find C. T. Phipps

Blog

Website

Facebook

Twitter

GoodReads

Amazon

Audible

GIVEAWAY!!!!

Phipps is generously offering up 3 Audible.com/UK audiobook copies of each of the 3 books. In fact, if we all spread the word and there’s a big response, he just may up that to 5 copies a book. And yes, you can win more than 1 book. Do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer these questions in the comments: Which book(s) are you interested in? Do you have an Audible.com or Audible.co.uk account? Giveaway ends May 16th, 2017 at midnight.

Agent G: Infiltrator Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Tower of Zhaal Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Science of Supervillainy Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Audiobook Giveaway & Review: The Secrets of Supervillainy by C. T. Phipps

PhippsTheSecretsOfSupervillainyScroll to the bottom to check out the audiobook giveaway!

Narrator: Jeffrey Kafer

Publisher: James Steven Bernheimer (2016)

Length: 6 hours 6 minutes

Series: Book 3 The Supervillainy Saga

Author’s Page

Note: This book really works best if you’ve read the previous two books.

Set almost 1 year after the ending of Book 2, The Games of Supervillainy, Gary returns to continue the nefarious fight as Merciless, the Supervillain without Mercy! The end of Book 2 left Gary’s wife, Mandy, in a bit of a lurch. She’s now a blood sucking soulless vampire and no one wants to hang out with her. Gary has continued his search for a way to bring back Mandy’s soul but hasn’t had any luck. At least, not until Death rears her ugly head once again and makes an offer Gary can’t refuse. Earth’s greatest hero has died and Death wants Gary to hunt down the killer. In exchange, she offers to bring one soul back from the abyss.

Of course, Gary be the single-minded, bull-headed, stubborn idiot that he is, he can’t refuse. Even as he strives to solve this case to bring back his wife’s soul, he comes to realize he has deep romantic feelings for his long-time friend and current henchwench, Cindy. To complicate matters, his ex-girlfriend Gabrielle (AKA Ultragoddess) is also on scene bringing up old feelings.

Besides Gary’s complicated love life, there’s plenty of action, snark, and pop culture references. I personally enjoyed the references to one of Phipps’s other books, Esoterrorism. Gary has plenty of friends doing their best to keep his stupidity from killing him. Cloak is always handing out advice whether you want it or not. El Diablo Man and his luchadero mask! So funny! One of the newest supervillains is the Fruitbat. Yep. Every time he was mentioned, I had to giggle. Besides Gary’s friends and coworkers, we meet his niece and his mom. His niece wants to join the family business but Gary firmly insists she’s too young for it. Meanwhile, his mom sees dead people; in fact, most of her good friends are dead.

With the help of some time travel shenanigans, things get twisted and weird – all in a good way. Honestly, it’s the humor and the costumes that keep this plot together and amusing. I was laughing throughout the book. The Supervillain/Hero names, costumes, and powers were always amusing to me even if Gary did not find them so. I also enjoyed the flashbacks, several of which explored Gary’s former relationship with Gabrielle.

Besides Gary, Cindy is my favorite character. She’s a villain to be sure, but she does have scruples and she is loyal to her friends. I love picturing her in her Red Riding outfit, a basket full of weapons. Yes, I would not want to tick Cindy off! Her wit and humor, often inappropriate, had me laughing the most. If Gary doesn’t hook up with her then I might just see if she’s free for beer.

I received a free copy of this book.

The Narration: Jeffrey Kafer makes a great Gary the Merciless once again. I also continue to like his voice for Cindy with it’s regional accent. There were a few emotional scenes in this book (like when Gary meets with his parents and such) and Kafer did a great job of portraying those emotions. 

What I Liked: Time travel; the costumes; the awesome supervillain/hero names; Gary’s complicated love life; all the humor; great narration; gorgeous cover art.

What I Disliked: There’s this tiny little thing that’s bothering me. Gabrielle/Ultragoddess is African American but on the this book cover she appears Caucasian. I need to verify with the author…. Perhaps Ultragoddess can change her skin tone? If so, I missed that little bit of superhero powers in the story.

What Others Think:

Audio Book Reviewer

My World… in words and pages

Pulled It Outta My Ass

GIVEAWAY!!!

C. T. Phipps is offering up 3 copies of his audiobook The Secrets of Supervillainy! Do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer the following questions in the comments section: 1) Do you have an Audible.com account? 2) Who are your favorite book villains? 3) Please leave a way to contact you if you win. Contest is open until Jan. 20, 2017, midnight my time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Audiobook Giveaway & Review: The Games of Supervillainy by C. T. Phipps

PhippsTheGamesOfSupervillainyScroll to the bottom to check out the audiobook giveaway!

Narrator: Jeffrey Kafer

Publisher: Amber Cove Publishing (2016)

Length: 6 hours 55 minutes

Series: Book 2 The Supervillainy Saga

Author’s Page

In this excellent follow up to the The Rules of Supervillainy, Gary Karkofsky (AKA Merciless: The Villain Without Mercy) has returned from the Moon prison to find Falconcrest City over run with zombies. Yep. Freaking zombies. Add to that, it appears his wife was kidnapped. Merciless and his henchpeople set out to stop the Brotherhood of Infamy, rid Falconcrest of zombies, and rescue his wife. Nothing goes as planned.

Once again, there’s a ton of humor in this book. The characters all take their jobs very seriously and that makes the humor stand out. Most of them have ridiculous supervillain/hero names but some of them have cool powers. So it’s this wonderful balance of the silly and the serious.

It’s a good thing that Gary has his sidekick, Cloak, which is his actual cloak. Gary needs all the advice he can process and Cloak is definitely willing to dish it out. Cloak used to be a superhero and one could argue Cloak is still trying to be that hero even though he is tied to Merciless at the moment. This creates some tension for Gary, who is relying on Cloak’s powers part of the time, yet Gary (especially when he’s dressed as Merciless) isn’t nearly as goodie-two-shoes as Cloak.

Some new characters are introduced into the story (and some are killed shortly thereafter, but every good superhero story needs it’s Red Shirts). I loved all the Canadian superheros. A fit of giggles overtook me on that one. I’m married to a Canadian so that whole section struck me as super funny. Then we have the supervillain Angel Eyes. His sheer beauty can overwhelm most mortals. Much to Gary’s consternation (and my amusement), he finds Angel Eyes attractive.

Besides all the humor, there’s little bits of seriousness tossed in. Gary and Mandy have hit a rough patch in their relationship. There’s all these zombies tearing up their beloved city. Then the author kicks it up a notch and Gary and crew have to deal with gods from the underworld. Without spoiling anything, there were some unexpected twists to the story. I was stunned and also impressed. I’m so very glad the next book is already out in audio format so I can jump in and see what happens to these characters next!

I received a free copy of this book.

The Narration: Jeffrey Kafer continues to do an excellent job with this series. I’m really enjoying his voice for Cloak this time around. His Canadian accents were great. His voices for female characters are good. 

What I Liked: Zombies; Moon prison; great cover art; all the humor; Angel Eyes great powers; Mandy and Gary as a couple; the unexpected twists near the end; great narration.

What I Disliked: Nothing – this was a really fun book.

What Others Think:

Audio Book Reviewer

The Bloggin’ Hobgoblin

My World… in words and pages

Book Lover’s Life

GIVEAWAY!!!

C. T. Phipps is offering up 3 copies of his audiobook The Secrets of Supervillainy! Do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer the following questions in the comments section: 1) Do you have an Audible.com account? 2) Who are your favorite book villains? 3) Please leave a way to contact you if you win. Contest is open until Jan. 20, 2017, midnight my time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hair Power by Piers Anthony

AnthonyHairPowerPublisher: Dreaming Big Publications (2016)

Length: 128 pages

Author’s Page

Quiti is a young lady who unfortunately has terminal brain cancer. She’s been dealing with it well, but the cost of it emotionally on her parents and friends is weighing upon her. She has chosen to take her own life, planned it out in fact. However, at the moment when she is determined this is the right path and she is about to go through it, she meets an alien hairball that needs her help. Of course, she can’t say no to it’s simple request, but much to her surprise, her outlook changes and her cancer appears to be going into remission. What follows is a story of a buddy superhero and her adventures with her alien hairball.

This was an odd mix of a story for me. On one hand, the story is very simply told. The sentences are short and to the point. There are few descriptors and few large words. On the other hand, there are some adult themes (mostly sex) that crop up several times in this book. I don’t mind sex in books, but I wasn’t expecting the array of sexual relationships in this book, only one of which is a standard loving husband-wife scenario. I was constantly wondering if I was reading a book for teens or a compilation of sexual conquests, given the various scenarios. I will say that it was refreshing to have a young lady be so straight forward about her sexuality, though she does manage to get nude quite often, and sometimes it did not really pertinent to the plot.

I liked the start of the book the best. I felt that had the most meat to it. As Quiti gets to know her new hair better, she continues to develop superpowers. At first, it is just a raised IQ that makes her last year of highschool that much easier. Then she turns into a babe, which is, sadly, really important for the rest of the book because she uses her sexuality to distract people or obtain things. Her new looks definitely attract Speedo, who is a few years younger than her. In fact, they have a rather odd night together where she gives him permission to do as he likes provided it’s not intercourse and then she proceeds to sleep through it. This scene was the first time I really questioned where the author was trying to go with this book. I never really stopped asking that question. Couple that with the attempted rape scene at a highschool dance, well, read it and wonder.

Of course having the cancer disappear was awesome, but she felt she had to keep that under wraps at first. She ends up going on an impromptu trip to avoid being captured by some nebulous entity that somehow knows about her hair and her burgeoning superpowers. Along the way, she meets many interesting people like Gena (a truck driver), Idola (a 10 year old that needs a new family), Roque (a college kid who’s just figuring out his life), Desiree (a prostitute), and Tillo (a boy in need of some role models).

Here and there are hints that some secretive government agency is trying to track Quiti and her hair, but we see few manifestations of this until the last fifth of the book. Even then, it’s still nebulous, disjointed, and not at all fleshed out. In fact, most of the book felt like a very detailed screenplay for a movie rather than a novel. Actions are told so simply, the character’s logic laid out so straight forwardly that it seemed that Quiti lacked character. There were few facial expressions, few mentions of emotions, never really any going back and forth on decisions or anxiety or happiness, etc. I would have enjoyed this story much more if it had been fleshed out instead of just bones, tendons, and ligaments.

Also, Quiti gets so many powers from the hair that it seems there is almost nothing she can’t do. There’s invisibility, flight, underwater breathing, no need for clothing, super intelligence, invulnerability to bullets and knives, quickened reflexes, perfect health, ability to change appearance, etc. She does need to eat a lot (she’s eating for two) and the hair likes to sunbath daily if possible. It eventually got to the point that Quiti became boring because she was so powerful. There was no worthy adversary that could match her. So I was never really concerned for her safety or freedom and therefore the plot was a bit boring as well. All told, this was a rather ho-hum tale for me.

I received a free copy of this book.

What I Liked: The story’s set up; how Quiti came to know her hairball alien; her initial superpowers; the cover art.

What I Disliked: I never did figure out what the author’s goal was with this book; Quiti has so many powers she becomes boring because I never worry about her; Quiti goes from average to beautiful, which appears to be very important for the rest of the book; some odd sexual encounters (which normally I don’t bat an eye at); the nebulous government foe; the lack of descriptors and big words made it feel like I was reading a book for teens or younger.

What Others Think:

Bookworm for Kids

Nerd Lexicon

Barb Taub

Clabe Polk

K. C. Gray’s Book Reviews

Audiobook Giveaway & Interview: C. T. Phipps, Author of Cthulhu Armageddon

CTPhippsAuthorEveryone, please give a warm welcome to author C. T. Phipps. I really enjoyed his book, The Rules of Supervillainy and am very excited to see his latest, Cthulhu Armaggedon, out in audiobook. So don’t miss the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post – an Audible.com version of Cthulhu Armageddon, narrated by Jeffrey Kafer. 

If you could be an extra on a horror movie or TV show, what would it be and what role would you have?

I’d have to say I’d probably do best as an extra on SUPERNATURAL. I wouldn’t really fit in as the bearded pudgy Southern author unless it’s as a zombie on The Walking Dead. I also was a huge fan of the show for the first five seasons with my wife making a regular ritual of it. As for what role I’d have, I’d love to be the guy who gives them a vital clue before dying horribly. I’m realistic about my chances in such a situation.

I’d also love to have a guest starring role on an adaptation of one of my books but baby steps. Hehe.

PhippsCthulhuArmageddonWhat makes you cringe?

It’s funny but I’m not afraid of things like spiders, clowns, closed spaces, heights, or any of the usual things but am mortally terrified of embarrassing situations. I could probably deal with the Slenderman more easily than I could an awkward conversation about emotional stuff. It’s funny because my wife thinks I’m a big baby about that while we have our weekly horror movie-a-thons but flee at any romance films.

Ironically, I had a lot more trouble writing the emotional beats of THE RULES OF SUPERVILLAINY and its sequels than I ever did with the zombies or demons. It’s similar with CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON and STRAIGHT OUTTA FANGTON.

PhippsTheRulesOfSupervillainyWhat now-dead author would you like to interview? What are some of the things you would chat about?

I’d like to say H.P. Lovecraft because while I’d love to interview J.R.R Tolkien, I probably wouldn’t be able to come up with any interesting questions for him. With H.P. Lovecraft, I would have a bunch of them ranging from talking about racial issues, the meaning of his monsters, and so on. It’d be a conversation he’d probably walk out on me during but it would certainly be enjoyable. Then again, we might just bond over our shared love of the weird. I did, after all, write the novel CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON to follow up on some of his ideas.

Personally, I’d like to know what he thought of the way his stories have spread out and become so influential.

PhippsEsoterrorismIf you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

That’s a tough call because I really do love to resist books I’ve read in the past and see if I can get anything new from a re-read. I’ve re-read A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE over and over again. I’ve also done the same with the LORD OF THE RINGS. So I’ll avoid the usual answers and go with THE DRESDEN FILES by Jim Butcher. Those books have been something I’ve enjoyed for almost seventeen years now and helped create my love of urban fantasy. I loved reading about Harry’s crazy adventures, his myriad femme fatales, and experiencing the crazy combination of humor with dramatic storytelling which is the heart of the series. Being able to enjoy that all for the first time again would be grand. It was a big influence on THE SUPERVILLAINY SAGA, ESOTERRORISM, and STRAIGHT OUTTA FANGTON.

PhippsStraightOuttaFangtonWhat has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

Writing is my most difficult job! Well, actually, no, it’s all the things around writing. The job of editing, advertising, and selling your book to your audience is a full-time job well after the “fun” part of making it work. Being an indie author definitely has its advantages over one of the big publishing houses but one of the reasons I could never be a self-published author is because I’m overwhelmed with the parts I do do. LOL.

Still, I would never do anything else.

PhippsTheGamesOfSupervillainyWhat book should be made into a game (card, PC, board, etc.) and why? Is there a specific character who you would want to play in this game?

I’m a very video game-influenced author as I love the interactivity of being able to project a portion of yourself into the game world, particularly RPGs. So it’s actually a complicated question as the majority of books are more like movies in that you’re along for the ride but don’t really have a way of impacting the plot. The exception to this was the fabulous “Witcher” games which managed to preserve the feel of the classic fantasy series while also allowing you a lot of choice in the narrative. I also loved THE SHADOW OF MORDOR which isn’t about any of Tolkien’s characters but set in his world with someone not so morally pure.

If I were to see one of my books adapted to a video game, I’d definitely choose THE RULES OF SUPERVILLAINY, STRAIGHT OUTTA FANGTON, and CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON in no particular order. I think Rules would be particularly awesome as you’d have this big wide open sandbox full of colorful characters. You could also decide whether Gary goes the Anti-Villain route or becomes pure evil.

PhippsTheSecretsOfSupervillainyWho are some of your favorite book villains?

If I had to choose favorite villains from books other than my own, I would choose Grand Admiral Thrawn from THE THRAWN TRILOGY, Jaime Lannister from A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, and THE LORD OF THE RINGS’ Sauron. In the first case, Grand Admiral Thrawn is such an elegant and cultured character you actually want him to win despite being up against our heroes.

Jaimie is such a three-dimensional character that it’s hard to even say he’s a villain rather than a differently valued protagonist. Sauron? Sauron never even shows up in-person but casts such a shadow over everything that he manages to become a pervasive presence nevertheless. I also have a strong fondness for Gentleman Johnny Marcone and Lara Raith from THE DRESDEN FILES.

If I had to choose my favorite villain from my books, I’d probably choose Alan Ward from CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON. He’s a scientist and wizard with knowledge dating back to the Pre-Rising world which everyone has forgotten. Alan has the desire to save humanity from destruction and is willing to do anything, break any taboo, and do whatever horrible thing is necessary to figure out a way to preserve the human species.

If everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?

Warning – Easily Distracted.

What were you like as a kid? Did your kid-self see you being a writer?

Shorter.

I always saw myself as a writer, too. Which is why becoming one is such a gleeful thing.

Thanks for the interview!

Book Blurb for Cthulhu Armageddon

PhippsCthulhuArmageddonCthulhu Armageddon is the story of a world 100 years past the rise of the Old Ones which has been reduced to a giant monster-filled desert and pockets of human survivors (along with Deep Ones, ghouls, and other “talking” monsters).

John Henry Booth is a ranger of one of the largest remaining city-states when he’s exiled for his group’s massacre and the suspicion that he’s “tainted”. Escaping with a doctor who killed her husband, John travels across the Earth’s blasted alien ruins to seek the life of the man who killed his friends. It’s the one thing he has left.

Places to Find C. T. Phipps

Blog

Website

Facebook

Twitter

GoodReads

Amazon

Audible

GIVEAWAY!

C. T. Phipps is generously offering up 5 copies of the Audible.com audiobook of Cthulhu Armageddon. You can enter the Rafflecopter below or you can answer these questions in the comments: 1) Do you have an Audible.com account? 2) Who are your favorite book villains? 3) Please leave a way to contact you if you win. Giveaways ends November 19, 2016, midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Queen of Swords by Alana Melos

MelosTheQueenOfSwordsWhere I Got It: Review copy

Narrator: Rebecca Wolfe

Publisher: Alana Melos Erotica (2015)

Length: 2 hours 37 minutes

Series: Book 1 Villainess

Author’s Page

This is a sexy supervillain story set in the fictional metropolis of Imperial City. Caprice (Capricious Whim) is very good at what she does but even she can be bested sometimes. In this tale, she will choose to trade certain favors for info and more. Will her evil plots be thwarted, or merely delayed as she dallies over an evening of pleasure?

This is one of the funnest sexy eroticas I have listened to in some time. I love the supervillain theme with all the costumes, super powers, and characters with loose morals. Caprice herself has the dual powers of telekinesis and telepathy, though each has it’s limits. Couple those powers with her swordsmanship, and you have a formidable foe. She’s not above a little murder and mayhem if it suits her needs or if someone tries to double cross her. I love her practical take on wearing Kevlar when needed and always going armed.

The main plot is pretty straight forward. She meets her ‘work’ associate Michael at a night club and they go meet Harry Sidowski together for this possible job. Michael is a unique villain in that his body has two souls – Michael’s and a vampire’s. After talking with Harry, they team up to take on the job, which they do but Caprice loses her sword and is injured. Later on, she will go on the hunt for her sword and more.

While the plot does move along pretty darn quickly, the author does let us linger over the sex scenes. Most of the scenes are energetic but pretty straight forward – one female, one male, various positions. Yet even though they are basic, they are written very well. In fact, I was surprised steam wasn’t coming off my audio player! There is one domination scene (with Caprice doing the dominating) that was OK for me. Caprice’s character wasn’t as excited about it as the other participant, so there wasn’t as much passion as with the other scenes. I really liked that the men in the story varied in height, weight, physical fitness, etc. Over all, it is a sexy, fun story that involves costumes, sexytimes, and a touch of violence.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the author (via Audiobook Boom) in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Rebecca Wolfe had the perfect voice for Caprice – certain, determined, sexy. She did a good job with the various male voices as well, keeping them distinct. She never faltered during the sexytimes scenes, sounding enthusiastic and natural. 

What I Liked: Beautiful cover art!; Caprice is a fun, naughty character; costumes and sexytimes – what could be better?

What I Disliked: Nothing – it was a lot of fun.

Women Destroy Science Fiction!: Lightspeed Magazine Special Issue edited by Christie Yant

YantWomenDestroyScienceFictionLightspeedMagazineWhere I Got It: Review copy

Narrators: Cassandra Campbell, Gabrielle de Cuir, Harlan Ellison, Grover Gardner, Jamye Grant, Susan Hanfield, Jonathan L. Howard, John Allen Nelson, Bahni Turpin, Stefan Rudnicki, Molly Underwood, and Judy Young

Publisher: Skyboat Media Inc. (2015)

Length: 15 hours 11 minutes

Editor’s Page   Lightspeed Magazine’s Page

Over the past few years, there has been a series of ‘XXXXX Destroy Science Fiction’ anthologies, but this is the first one I have read. While the title may smack of too much ‘I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar’, the anthology was quite balanced with characters of all genders, action and contemplation, mystery and exploration, happy endings and not-so happy endings. Most of the stories had some real meat on them, including several of the flash fiction tales, giving me something to chat about over tea. Some were humorous and some required some thoughtful contemplation afterwards. Over all, it’s an excellent science fiction anthology.

Contained in this audiobook are 11 original short stories, 4 short story reprints, 1 novella, and 15 flash fiction tales. If you pick up the text version, you also get 7 non-fiction pieces, 28 personal essays, and 15 author spotlights. Authors for stories in this audiobook include Charlie Jane Anders, Eleanor Arnason, Elizabeth Porter Birdsall, Heather Clitheroe, Tina Connolly, Katherine Crighton, Ellen Denham. Tananarive Due, Rhonda Eikamp, Amal El-Mohtar, Emily Fox, Maria Dahvana Headley, Cathy Humble, N. K. Jemisin, Marina J. Lostetter, Seanan McGuire Maureen F. McHugh, Kris Millering, Maria Romasco Moore, Samantha Murray, K. C. Norton, Anaid Perez, Sarah Pinsker, Rhiannon Rasmussen, Holly Schofield, Effie Seiberg, Gabriella Stalker, James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon), Vanessa Torline, Carrie Vaughn, and Kim Winternheimer.

Below are the 11 original stories.

Each to Each by Seanan McGuire

The Navy has modified whole submarine corps of women into ‘mermaids’ to explore and claim the ocean floor for bubble cities and resources. The main character finds something in the deep that she didn’t expect. The narrator did a great job with the elongated vowels and such (sounding like in between ocean animal and human) and keeping each female character distinct. This was my favorite story of the whole book and a great way to start the anthology off. 6/5

A Word Shaped Like Bones by Kris Millering

Maurine is an angry artist in space. Her only ‘companion’ is a dead man in the corner. Rather eerie but interesting. Good narration – kept the eerie quality to it. 4/5

Cuts Both Ways by Heather Clitheroe

Spencer is a memory recall specialist. He floats through his memories, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. Held in high regard for the work he does but it messes with his personal life. Was OK. Didn’t hold my attention like the first 2. Narration good. 3/5

Walking Awake by N.K. Jemisin

Sadie is a caretaker, helping raise the kids until they are old enough for the Masters to inhabit. Henri, one of her young charges, has been chosen. Abrupt ending. Don’t know if Sadie was successful or just nuts. Narration good tho Sadie sounded a lot younger than 40 years old. 4/5

The Case of the Passionless Bees by Rhonda Eikamp

A Gearlock Holmes & Watson story. There is murder at Gearlock’s mansion and the robotic amalgam Mrs. Hudson is in custody for the murder. Fun piece. Steampunky. Good stiff upper lip narration. 5/5

In the Image of Man by Gabriella Stalker

Set in Houston, TX, Wendell & his parents live in a mall. Big Box stores, and their advertising, dominate Wendell’s life, including church and living quarters. Teen loans are the norm. Very interesting piece on materialism and debt. Narration very good with a light Western twang. 5/5

The Unfathomable Sisterhood of Ick by Charlie Jane Anders

Roger and Mary broke up. Mary’s friend Stacia convinces her to ask for Roger’s memories of the beginning of their relationship when things were on a high note. Interesting piece. Good  narration. 4/5

Dim Sun by Maria Dahvana Headley

Set in a far future where the Moon is colonized, Bert, a restaurant critic, has told the secret of the dim sun restaurant. Now it’s crowded. Rodney and Bert are having a lunch there when Harriet, Bert’s ex-wife and a powerful politician, joins them. It was a very fun piece – creative dishes. Great narration. 5/5

The Lonely Sea in the Sky by Amal El-Mohtar

Laila is encouraged to talk to the psychologist. She’s an interplanetary geoscientist. She has an ism – addicted to diamonds or the idea of diamonds. This tale explores various stories about diamonds as part of Laila’s fascination. Interesting piece but kind of broken up, not clear in places. Narrated by several people. At least 1 line repeated. The volumes varies, but mostly much quieter than the rest of the book. Main narrator does great with emotions. 3/5

A Burglary, Addressed By a Young Lady by Elizabeth Porter Birdsall

Genevieve’s a thief. She makes her debut burglary and runs into another thief, Catherine. They bond over the difficulties of breaking into the Marquis’s place. Some cool tech. Love the proper British accent and social niceties. 4/5

Canth by K.C. Norton

The Canth is an underwater vessel, part animal, powered by a perpetual motion machine. Capt. Pierce has lost the Canth but pursues her in a ship, the Jeronimo, captained by Rios. Portugues flavor to the story. Cod in every meal. Very interesting story. Narration was good, especially with the Portuguese  words. 5/5

Below are the reprinted stories, including the 1 novella. 

Like Daughter by Tananarive Due

Paige looks after Denise (Neecy) as much a s she can. She often reflects on their childhood and how things were different between them. Now Denise needs her to take her 6 year old daughter. Heavy story. Well done. Good narration. 5/5.

The Great Loneliness by Maria Romasco Moore

A slow apocalypse happened. Now clones of one flavor or another live out their lives in the few pockets of habitable space on Earth. Various groups have sent probes and manned space missions over the years into space searching for another habitable planet. I really like the imagery that was every where in this story- the underwater museum, the main character’s plant-like daughter Verdant, the human’s Eyes, Brain, etc. walking around independently. The narration was great, even a little song. 5/5

Love is the Plan the Plan is Death by James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon)

Mogadit has discovered a little one, Lililu, and his teen hormones all at once. Strange, enthralling. Sometimes felt like I was watching animals mating. Stefan Rudnicki narrates and he does it excellently. 4/5

Knapsack Poems by Eleanor Arnason

Strange story. Main character seems to have more than 1 entity and this is the norm. The main character has a scout and a poet and such. It finds a child of some sorts and carries it along falling in love with it. The entities can be more than one gender, but not necessarily so. I don’t get all of it. Rudnicki narrates, doing a good job. 3/5

The Cost to Be Wise by Maureen F. McHugh (novella)

Scarline is a colony on a little populated world. Not much tech. Dogs as sheep – for food. An outworlder, Veranique, comes to visit along with her Professor Ian. Janna, who is an unwed teen of the colony, is fascinated with plastic. Scaffalos is a great clan that visits Scarline for trade, though sometimes they just take what they want. Travesty befalls the colony. Interesting story. A thoughtful, perhaps harsh, ending. Well narrated. 5/5

Below are the 15 original flash fiction stories. 

Salvage by Carrie Vaughn

A spooky ghost ship story with a happy ending.

A Guide to Grief by Emily Fox

Sad story.

See DANGEROUS EARTH-POSSIBLES! by Tina Connolly

Narrator sounds drunk, which isn’t necessarily bad for this story.

A Debt Repaid by Marina J. Lostetter

The 2-headed monster has dual addiction – gambling & drink.

The Sewell Home for the Temporally Displaced by Sarah Pinsker

Those that suffer from accidental time travel can hang out in an asylum. There’s jello.

#TrainFightTuesday by Vanessa Torline

Fun tail told through tweets. Super heroes/villains. Cute noises to denote switching between tweeters.

The Hymn of Ordeal, No. 23 by Rhiannon Rasmussen

A beautiful story of interstellar kamikazes come home. This was my favorite on the Flash Fiction.

Emoticon by Anaid Perez

:-$

The Mouths by Ellen Denham

Cracker obsessed aliens with only 1 orifice.

M1A by Kim Winternheimer

M1A is her clone there to give her parts as she needs. They grow up as sisters, but she is always sick while her clone is healthy. Poignant story.

Standard Deviant by Holly Schofield

A punkass homeless lass is given the opportunity to become an intergalactic ambassador. Fun story.

Getting on in Years by Cathy Humble

Immortal 800 year old man tired of hiding it. Interesting. Ending up to interpretation.

Ro-Sham-Bot by Effie Seiberg

Robot wants to play Rock-Paper-Scissors.

Everything That Has Already Been Said by Samantha Murray

An odd duck of a story.

The Lies We Tell Our Children by Katherine Crighton

She tells her daughters about space and what that means. They become sad. Very nice sadly sweet story.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the publisher (via Audiobook Jukebox) in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Nearly all of the narration was well done for this anthology. There was one story with more than 1 narrator and it definitely sounded like the narrators were in different studios, not recorded at the same time. However, the  majority of the narration was excellent. I especially like seeing Stefan Rudnicki’s abilities tested in the James Tiptree story.  

What I Liked: Such a variety of SF – horror, steampunk, time travel, romance, exploration, etc.; it was great to have so many narrators for this anthology, which helped keep each story distinct;  beautiful  cover art.

What I Disliked: The title does make me chuckle a little.

What Others Think:

NPR

Tangent

Adventures in SciFi Publishing

The Rules of Supervillainy by C. T. Phipps

PhippsTheRulesOfSupervillainyWhere I Got It: Own it.

Narrator: Jeffrey Kafer

Publisher: Amber Cove Publishing (2015)

Length: 6 hours 42 minutes

Series: Book 1 The Supervillainy Saga

Author’s Page

Set in the imaginary Falconcrest City, superheroes, monsters, and supervillains clash and clatter together. Gary Karkofsky has delusions of grandeur, specifically of becoming the lead supervillain for the city. He was given a magical cloak that gives him formidable powers. With this new wardrobe and a small group of henchpeople, Gary has big plans for the city.

First and foremost, there is humor everywhere in this book. I love that much of the humor is told in a straight manner, the characters taking the plot seriously even as they come up with corny supervillain or superhero names. For instance, Gary’s alias is Merciless: the Supervillain without Mercy. Now wouldn’t that make you quiver in your boots? 😉

So Merciless gets on the bad side of the Malt Shop Gang when one of their own, the Ice Cream Man, is taken out in a robbery that Merciless interfered in. The plot thickens when Merciless is contacted by the police to assist in a kidnapping – the girl’s parents are rich and Merciless is poor. He’s in it for the money. However, the local superheroes don’t take kindly to Merciless’s misdeeds. That’s quite a bit on the man’s plate!

You recall that magical cloak? Yeah, well that cloak actually has a personality and likes to be called Cloak. And it likes to argue with Merciless at the most inopportune times. Ha! This often incited chuckles from me. Cloak turned out to be one of my favorite characters.

Mandy, who is Gary’s wife, doesn’t feel quite the same way about supervillainy as Gary does. In fact, you could say she’s a bit on the opposite end of the spectrum. This causes some grief and consternation for our main character, partially because he really does love his wife quite a bit. I really enjoyed that Mandy was not a toss away character and held her own throughout the story, adding to the plot and the humor. She’s got some skills herself and that adds some twists to the plot.

I was very happy to see characters of various sexual orientation in this book. Hooray! SFF needs more of this! The story wraps up well enough, with the main characters going head to head with an unexpected monster. Not everything was tied up neatly but the next installment of the series is already available, so I think enthusiastic listeners/readers like myself can just jump into that. It was really the humor that made this book excellent for me. The plot was secondary to the characters and their interactions with each other.

The Narration: Jeffrey Kafer was a great voice for Gary/Merciless. He delivered the humor in the intended dry tone which made it that much more amusing for me. As usual, he had distinct character voices for everyone and his female voices were believable. 

What I Liked: The humor; supervillains unite! or not!; Cloak and his timely lessons; Mandy and her skill set; great cover art; excellent narration.

What I Disliked: Nothing – I really enjoyed this book!

What Others Think:

The Bookie Monster

Sharon Stevenson

My World…in words and pages

The Audio Book Reviewer

Book Lover’s Life