Guest Post: Tents, Saws, and Ether: Civil War Medicine by Eric Scott Fischl
Guest Post / February 9, 2017

Today we are excited to welcome Eric Scott Fischl to The Speculative Herald. His book Dr Potter’s Medicine Show, released February 7, 2017. Be sure to check out the details below, it’s a post-cival war featuring quite an interesting cast of characters! Tents, Saws, and Ether: Civil War Medicine by Eric Scott Fischl   The eponymous protagonist of my novel DR POTTER’S MEDICINE SHOW, Dr Alexander Potter, is a former Civil War surgeon.  A haunted man, he’s the self-professed “fastest man with a bone-saw in the Hospital Corps”.  As a history aficionado, I went into the book thinking I had a fairly reasonable understanding of what medicine and surgery was like during the war; namely, I had visions of filth-caked surgeons hacking limbs off with saws, while the unfortunate patient was held down by burly men, a Minié ball jammed into his mouth to bite on.  When I started researching the book, though, I learned that that image, while having some veracity, was only partly true.  I’m a fiction writer, and not a historian, and there were a few items that were not quite as historically accurate that I chose to keep in the book for purposes of story.  The real…

Guest Post: Doing the Dark Pop Apocalyptic Genre Hop by Christopher Hinz
Guest Post / November 11, 2016

Today we are excited to welcome Christopher Hinz to The Speculative Herald!      His latest book, Binary Storm is published by Angry Robot and is out now. A streetwise computer wiz, his politically savvy girlfriend and a tormented supersoldier form an uneasy alliance to stop assassins existing simultaneously in two bodies from threatening the world with apocalypse. The standalone novel serves as a prequel to the more distant future of “Liege-Killer” and the Paratwa Saga.   DOING THE DARK POP APOCALYPTIC GENRE HOP By Christopher Hinz   About the Author Christopher Hinz is the author of five science fiction books. Liege-Killer won the Compton Crook Award for best first novel and was nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer. He has written screenplays and a graphic novel, scripted comics for DC and Marvel, and has worked as a newspaper reporter and technical administrator of a small TV station. You can find Christopher online at his website: christopherhinz.com.     About the Book

Guest Post: Into the Depths By Fran Wilde
Guest Post / September 27, 2016

Today we are excited to welcome Fran Wilde to The Speculative Herald. She is here to tell us about all the fascinating (and potentially bad) things that can happen with altitude changes. Her latest book, Cloudbound, releases today, and unfortunate for her characters, they are faced with the altitude change from heading down to the clouds in this book. Into the Depths By Fran Wilde   While Updraft (Tor 2015) is a pretty level novel — flying-wise — Cloudbound (Tor 2016) does exactly what it says on the tin… by heading into the clouds. In this case, vertical worldbuilding became an important part of the characters’ plight, and very quickly, because: science!   How does a high-altitude culture experience a plunge into the depths? My research suggested a couple of potential reactions, and follow-up discussions with several physicians helped support this.   One reaction was a variation on over-oxygenation, hyperoxia, or oxygen intoxication, where the brain gets a rush of unexpected 02 – much more than it’s used to, and too quickly. Side effects can include: disorientation, breathing problems, and vision changes such as myopia. Other observed effects of more oxygen than normal can include elation, a natural high, and/or…

Guest Post: Marc Turner with Five Fantasy Tropes That Should Be Consigned To History
Guest Post / September 19, 2016

Today, we welcome Marc Turner to talk about Tropes! Namely, those top 5 overused Tropes. Marc’s latest book, Red Tide, is the final book in The Chronicles of the Exile trilogy and releases tomorrow! Five Fantasy Tropes That Should Be Consigned To History   As an author, you need to be careful when talking about fantasy tropes. If I were to make an exhaustive list of tropes, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single book in the genre that didn’t contain at least one of them. Most would contain several – but not my own, of course.   Ahem.   Obviously, not all tropes are “bad”. If we define a trope as being a significant or recurrent theme in the genre, then you’d have to include dragons in that, wouldn’t you? And I, for one, will never tire of dragons. You might even find one or two lurking in my new book Red Tide.   Also, a good writer can do something new with a trope and keep it interesting. For example, I’ve lost count of the number of wizard schools I’ve seen. There were three alone on my walk into town this morning. Yet I enjoyed reading about the University…

Interview: Christopher Buehlman
Guest Post , Interview / July 1, 2016

Today, we are welcoming Christopher Buehlman, one of my favorite, must read authors. His latest books, The Suicide Motor Club, recently and if you haven’t checked it out yet, you really should (along with the rest of Buehlman’s books). If you need more convincing, see our review of The Suicide Motor Club.  Thanks so much for joining us today!!   So, I’m going to start off asking about ants. Yep. Ants. Readers are probably scratching their heads, but we’ll clue them in. I hate to admit it, but when I read your book, I had no idea there were ants that smelled, much less what they smelled like. I know. I had complete and utter olfactory ignorance when it came to ants but my good friend Google helped me out a bit. So, to help clear this up for any other potential readers that share my olfactory ignorance, What DO ants smell like?   As any boy (or tomboy) in North America will tell you, common black ants have a pungent, acrid scent when fucked with. This has to do with the chemicals they produce to warn others they’re under attack, and to kill microbes. That smell is strong, memorable…

Guest Post: Worldbuilding for a Fantasy Series by Anna Kashina
Guest Post / June 7, 2016

Today we welcome Anna Kashina, whose latest book Assassin Queen is out today.  She’s here to talk about her experience with worldbuiling! ______________________________________________________________ Worldbuilding for a fantasy series. My just-released novel, “Assassin Queen”, the concluding book 3 of the “Majat Code” series, is a historical adventure fantasy featuring political intrigue, swordplay, and elements of romance. I had lots of fun creating these series. Much of this creative work went into worldbuilding, which seemed so natural at the time, but also ended up being fairly systematic. Today, I wanted to share the key steps of this process, which has become both my enjoyment and my routine and taught me so much building new fantasy worlds. I planned out the “Majat Code” world as the blend of East and West, which reflects my own origin from Russia, a true melting pot for eastern and western cultures. The setting in the “Majat Code” resembles medieval Europe, but with a lot of Asian elements – such as the ninja-like fighting style of the Majat warriors. This concept became my starting point, on which I built the rest. After writing a few opening scenes I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be able to get any…

Interview: A Conversation with Ernest Cline, Author of Armada and Ready Player One
Guest Post , Interview / May 20, 2016

Today, we are happy to feature a conversation with Ernest Cline, author of Armada and Ready Player One!   Q) Let’s get right to the elephant in the room. The news is now out that your debut novel, Ready Player One, will be made into a film by Warner Brothers and legendary director Steven Spielberg (set to debut in theaters March of 2018)! What did you do when you got the news? A) I pinched myself a few hundred times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming—then I re-watched all of his movies—including the Indiana Jones films, which helped inspire certain elements of RPO’s story, along with T. and Close Encounters, two Spielberg films that played a large role in inspiring Armada. His work has influenced me throughout my life and writing career, so it’s a dream come true to have the opportunity to collaborate with him on the film adaptation of a story that his work helped inspire.   Q) What do you think of the casting announcements that have been made already? A) I think they’re fantastic! I’ve been a fan of Ben Mendelsohn’s acting since the ’80s, and his portrayal of John Daggett in The Dark Knight Rises…

Guest Post: Cécile’s Relationship With Her Mother by Danielle Jensen
Guest Post / May 19, 2016

Today we’re pleased to welcome Danielle Jensen. Her most recent novel, Warrior Witch was released May 3rd and completed the Malediction trilogy. She stopped by to chat about the relationship between the series protagonist, Cécile, and her mother. Family relationships can always be quite intriguing and this one is no exception!     This post will have Stolen Songbird and Hidden Huntress spoilers, so don’t proceed if you haven’t read the novels!     Quite early in Hidden Huntress, I heavily hint that Cécile’s mother, Genevieve, is actually Anushka. The reason for this early reveal was that I believed the central mystery was not Anushka’s identity, but rather the answer to the riddle of the prophecy that brought Tristan and Cécile together. I was also interested in creating a circumstance where the reader knew or suspected the villain’s identity before the protagonist did. It has always fascinated me how the family members of serial killers are always so shocked to discover that their spouse/parent/sibling has been carrying on such horrible activities. How the idea that said spouse/parent/sibling might be a murderer never once having crossed their minds, despite it being obvious to an outsider presented with the facts. How having an emotional…

Excerpt: Borderline by Mishell Baker
Excerpt , Guest Post / April 14, 2016

Last week happy to welcome Mishell Baker for an interview, and also ran a 5 star review for her book Borderline. Now, here’s an excerpt from Borderline so you can check it out for yourself:     ABOUT MISHELL BAKER Mishell Baker is a 2009 graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, and her short stories have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Redstone Science Fiction, and Electric Velocipede. She has a website at MishellBaker.com and frequently tweets about writing, parenthood, mental health, and assorted geekery at @MishellBaker. When she’s not attending conventions or going on wild research adventures, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children. Borderline is her debut novel.   About the Book

Interview and Giveaway with Stephanie Burgis, Author of Masks and Shadows
Guest Post , Interview / April 8, 2016

Today we are excited to share an interview with Stephanie Burgis, author of Masks and Shadows which releases April 12, 2016. If you missed it, be sure to check out our review. Also, don’t miss the GIVEAWAY at the bottom of this post!   Hi Stephanie, I found your book Masks and Shadows to be a very enjoyable and fun read! Thank you for joining us today to answer a few questions.   Could you tell us a bit about Masks and Shadows in your own words? Sure! Masks and Shadows is a romantic historical fantasy novel brimming with alchemy, opera, and forbidden romance. It’s set in the isolated palace of Eszterháza, where dangerous schemes are brewing behind the golden walls, and the drama on the stage of the court opera house may soon be supplanted by a much more deadly drama in the audience.   Music plays a wonderful role in your book. I noticed that you have worked for a British opera company and also studied music history. Do you have any fun or interesting stories or facts you can share with us that relate to either of those?   I first fell in love with opera when I was…