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[Review and Giveaway] The Cave by Michela Montgomery

[Review and Giveaway] The Cave by Michela Montgomery published on 4 Comments on [Review and Giveaway] The Cave by Michela Montgomery


About the Book

The Cave by Michela Montgomery
(The Wind Cave #1)
Published by: Post Hill Press
Publication date: April 7th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic

When a nuclear war devastates the U.S., a four-day excursion quickly turns into a fight for survival in The Cave. Six Stanford students journey into one of the deepest and longest caves in North America. A day into their journey, a nuclear war begins from within the U.S. Unable to return to the surface, and unsure what they will find when they do, the Cave will test the strength and survival of each person differently – transforming six individuals into a team, and ultimately…a family.


The Cave is a stellar representative of a fairly new genre.

A peculiar phenomenon happens every once in a while in the publishing world. An innovative idea becomes a trend, which becomes something agents and editors actively hunt down, which is given a (usually cute) nickname by critics and reviewers, and finally becomes a titled and recognizable subgenre (or genre) with a healthy and growing list of works nestled safe beneath its umbrella.

The Cave is part of the New Adult genre, and the name should be self-explanatory. The characters tend to be four or five years older than characters in Young Adult series, and they have adult situations: characters have sex in pitch-black caves, get injured, swear, and face situations that aren’t necessarily as glossy as those that occur in YA. But the characters are still young. They are allowed to make mistakes, are allowed to be sexually inexperienced, to make awkward comments, to accidentally lead their friends astray. There’s a reality to the dialogue and awkwardness that reminded me of who I was in my early twenties.

The Cave is genuinely frightening.

The author does not waste words. The book is immediately claustrophobic. As the main characters travel through the titular cave, they (and we) continue to make assumptions about what is going on in the outside world. Very brief scenes that were not written from the POV of the college-age spelunkers offer little flickers of what is going on, and it is not pretty. I can’t wait to see where it goes in the following installments.





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Review and Giveaway: Children of Lightning by Annie K. Wong

Review and Giveaway: Children of Lightning by Annie K. Wong published on 2 Comments on Review and Giveaway: Children of Lightning by Annie K. Wong


About the Book

Secrets beget secrets. The curse that befell the Hollows clan has left them incapable of producing male offspring. To extend their bloodline, they have formed a covenant with the serpentine Ophidians, who give them children. In return, the Hollows must keep these monstrous creatures well fed, though the details of the procurement are so abominable that the truth is never revealed to the other clans. In their homeland of Matikki, they live like outcasts.

Through a series of chance discoveries, the secrets of the ancient curse unfold before a warrior named Writhren Hollow. Is her purely female clan the result of a lapse of divine providence, or are the Hollows themselves victims of an enslavement scheme?

If Writhren frees her clan from the covenant, she risks the wrath of the Ophidians and the future of her bloodline. If she keeps the truth of the curse to herself, she is a traitor to her own kind. Either way, she will suffer for what she must do.

This is not a story of redemption, but regret. This is Writhren’s story.



There is an intriguing, unique concept moving through this book. I enjoyed the remarkably alien world, the largely female cast of characters, the god-like, reptilian Ophidians who bring such terror with them, the story of mothers and daughters and terrible choices that must be made for survival. The poetic mnemonics are well written and provide some ideas about the background of the Ophidians.

The sorrowful start of the tale, with the exchange between Mother and the Ophidians, is interesting.

I found Writhren to be a different sort of heroine. She’s strong, but she is also living a lie. Her story is serious, difficult, moving.

The tale is short, which is both a strength and a weakness. As a strength, we are given a lot of concepts in a short number of pages. However, the level of detail is lacking from what I expect in a novel, but there is enough for a novella or short story. This book’s length leaves it in a sort of limbo. We jump forward at times very quickly. In some ways, this creates a less typical narrative. I find myself having a difficult time talking about the work when there is so much that should be kept for the reader. This is, essentially, a prequel for the eventual series. For me, overall, this was an imperfect, but worthy lead-in to what will be the full series.

I am curious about what happens in the full series, and in some ways, wish I had read that series first. It sounds like I’ll probably have to wait for the author to write them first, though.

About the Author

AnnieAnnie K. Wong was born in Hong Kong and lives in Canada, in the west coast city of Vancouver, BC.

She has a BA in Business Administration and Creative Writing from Houghton College as well as a Diploma in Film Studies from the University of British Columbia. Although she explored careers in advertising, television and office administration, the desire to write overtook her at the turn of the new millennium. In 2003 she earned a Post-Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Humber College and has been crafting stories ever since.

Her current project is a fantasy series, the prequel of which is Children of Lightning.

Author links



I’m a big fan of the Hyperion series.

Also, there are two giftcards being given away: one for $50 and one for $100. Just in time for holiday shopping.

I hope the winner learns about the giveaway from our blog here!

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The rest of the tour can be found here:

Interview & Giveaway: Julie Czerneda

Interview & Giveaway: Julie Czerneda published on 4 Comments on Interview & Giveaway: Julie Czerneda


Julie Czerneda has graciously allowed Galleywampus to host a stop on her blog tour for This Gulf of Time and Stars. We also have a giveaway listed way down below.

About the Author

CzernedaCPC-008095wproSince 1997, Canadian author/editor Julie E. Czerneda has shared her love and curiosity about living things through her science fiction, writing about shapechanging semi-immortals, terraformed worlds, salmon researchers, and the perils of power. Her fourteenth novel from DAW Books was her debut fantasy, A Turn of Light, winner of the 2014 Aurora Award for Best English Novel, and now Book One of her Night`s Edge series. Her most recent publications: a special omnibus edition of her acclaimed near-future SF Species Imperative, as well as Book Two of Night`s Edge, A Play of Shadow, a finalist for this year’s Aurora.

Julie’s presently back in science fiction, writing the finale to her Clan Chronicles series. Book #1 of Reunification, This Gulf of Time and Stars, will be released by DAW November 2015. For more about her work, visit or visit her on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

About the Books

The Clan Chronicles is set in a far future with interstellar travel where the Trade Pact encourages peaceful commerce among a multitude of alien and Human worlds. The alien Clan, humanoid in appearance, have been living in secrecy and wealth on Human worlds, relying on their innate ability to move through the M’hir and bypass normal space. The Clan bred to increase that power, only to learn its terrible price: females who can’t help but kill prospective mates. Sira di Sarc is the first female of her kind facing that reality. With the help of a Human starship captain, Jason Morgan, Sira must find a morally acceptable solution before it’s too late. But with the Clan exposed, her time is running out. The Stratification trilogy follows Sira’s ancestor, Aryl Sarc, and shows how their power first came to be as well as how the Clan came to live in the Trade Pact. The Trade Pact trilogy is the story of Sira and Morgan, and the trouble facing the Clan. Reunification will conclude the series and answer, at last, #whoaretheclan.


Galleywampus: You first started writing about Sira almost twenty years ago. Now that it has been over a decade since the Trade Pact Universe series concluded, what was the most challenging part of writing about Sira again? Did you know what she was up to all these years? Are you finding that Sira had changed for you in that time?

Julie: More like thirty, to be honest. It took me ten years to sell my first book, after all. Time does fly! There were a few challenges, that’s for sure. Mostly because I’d written so much else, and differently, in the interim. I talk about trying to regain my early “voice” in my post in “Writing Like I Used To”, but that was only one aspect. The details within the previous six books was another; fortunately, I had betareaders to help me (who joined me to talk about that at Publishing Crawl ). The plot, that was the thing. Glad you asked.

The story—Sira and Morgan—didn’t go away and come back. I find everything I’m working on, or thinking of working on, is in my head some place. Ideas pop out at the least convenient time. I dash from the tub. Write in the dark. Most often, the best of these occur to me when I’m supposed to be focused on what I’m writing right now, the stuff with a deadline. I’ve learned to give in, write the note, and put it some place safe. For Reunification? I’d years of jots and hints, most in a journal but an appalling number stuffed in file folders. I needed to organize. Somewhere BIG.

Like my office wall, the one without bookshelves. The one we’d freshly painted, having filled in the myriad tack holes that somehow had accumulated. (Innocent humming.)

Postit-wall20151031_160904w_proMy husband, being vastly clever, spotted the signs. You see, an author about to nest a new book acts much like a pregnant bird or dog. A certain glassy stare. A tendency to pick up random bits of paper and stick them in unpredictable places. Turning in place. Before I could pick up my first thumbtack, he’d obtained nice flat metal thingies meant for curtains and screwed them along the wall, handing me a box of magnets. (He took the tacks.)

I was off. First up were large sheets of paper; next came Post-its. Each had a separate plot point garnered from my journal and folders and I worked until they were all there, roughly organized by where in the three book arc of Reunification they’d matter most.

I’ll tell you a secret. The act of writing down plot points, then choosing—finding–where they belonged on the wall, is what locks them in my head. The whole mass is still up on the wall, but I haven’t so much as glanced at it since I stuck the last note in place. I like having it there; I don’t have to have it there. Please don’t tell Roger.

Did I know what Sira was up to? Interesting question. I knew Gulf would pick up her story mere weeks in character-time after To Trade the Stars, so as far as I was concerned, she and Morgan were still in the afterglow of Happy Ending. What I had to know was the momentum to conflict was building in the background, and powerful forces were about to collide.

Galleywampus: Love plays an important part in your books involving Sira. Why does this subject resonate with you?

Julie: Oh, it plays an important part in all of my books. Not only romantic love, although I’m a fan where it’s right, but the love of family, love between friends. To me it’s the thread that works through our lives and society as a whole, holding us together, giving life meaning.

In Sira’s case, I needed her to evolve into a sympathetic character and to represent what any Clan was capable of, given the opportunity. The powerful self-serving alien bent on human seduction has not only been done to death, it doesn’t interest me. Yes, the Clan have subverted their own reproduction into something cold and pragmatic, but they are a passionate race and this wasn’t always their way. The Clan are also xenophobic. Sira may have reasoned what her Human, Morgan, might be able to help her accomplish—to the good of her kind—but to any Clan, intimacy with something so alien as a Human is unimaginably repugnant. Without spoiling the story, if Sira hadn’t been capable of love and compassion, of growth into those feelings not only for Morgan, but others, I wouldn’t have a believable plot.

Morgan himself is her model. He’s deeply compassionate, with a strong moral centre developed from experience as well as personal inclination. He represents, in that sense, the best of us.

One of my favourite scenes is where Morgan confronts Sira, who’s developed a full-on adolescent crush on him (much to her confusion). He tells her she doesn’t know what love is and manages a decent job of muddling through sexual attraction versus true caring for another. Later, once she’s come to understand the difference, she does her utmost to shield him, from her Clan instincts and her kind.

Among my joys in their relationship is the interplay when they work together, which doesn’t always go smoothly. While Sira has immense abilities and power, Morgan has practically rebuilt his starship and treasures it. To work alongside as crew, she’s trying to learn and almost too enthused, especially when he knows a mistake in space happens only once.

Galleywampus: How does your background in biology fit into your science fiction writing?

Julie: I’ve mentioned in an earlier interview (it’s a tour, after all) on Fantasy Book Café that I create my aliens and their worlds using that background, along with my fascination with the odder aspects of living things. Spider sex, for one. Birds seeing in ultraviolet. Parasites. Nature offers a buffet of wonderful details I couldn’t make it up!

That’s world-building. My biology background is the source of my story ideas too. The Clan Chronicles came about from my wondering what would happen if an intelligent species bred for a costly trait. How far would they go? Species Imperative is my take on how an innate biological drive, in this case migration, could impact on a peaceful, well-tuned galactic civilization. Beholder’s Eye? Oh, there I’m playing with all things biological, but at the core is my speculation on what an almost immortal species would be like—and how might one come about. In the Company of Others features space exploration and settlement, but it started with my own dismay at species that seem harmless being released where they become horrendous pests to the local wildlife.

It’s fair to say there’s nothing about my biology background that isn’t in my science fiction. (And sneaks quietly into my fantasy as well.)

Galleywampus: You are a DIY fan. What has been your favorite recent DIY project?

Adding flock to simulate various types of vegetation.
Adding flock to simulate various types of vegetation.

Julie: When I’d finished Stratification, the prequel trilogy within the Clan Chronicles, I’d planned a break to try my hand at my first fantasy novel. (I talk about my reasons at Fantasy Book Critic I was determined not to sound like a science fiction author trying their first fantasy novel. I started by changing everything possible about my writing process, from my office décor to where I’d start. I wanted to have an intimate setting, Marrowdell, where everything took place within a single valley and village. I wouldn’t write a word, I vowed, until I could “see” the place for myself.E---Marrowdell-Model-in-glass-case-CPC-001045aw_pro Being a thorough sort, I researched pioneer settlements, including pacing one out, and came up with the rough size of my valley. From then, it was a process of determining scale, and I was off.

Understand I didn’t have details of the story or any outline. I was delighted to discover those as the landscape came to life. It took 28 eight hour days to complete. Here’s an abbreviated photo blog of the process.

Once finished, I put it where I could refer to it while I wrote. It gave me everything from line-of-sight to how long it’d take someone to walk from point A to B, shadows and light by time of day, and, most importantly, where “magic” had clawed the ridges to either side.

Thanks for such great questions!

Galleywampus: Thank you, Julie! And enjoy the rest of your tour!

Author’s links

Author’s Website


1. We are so very fortunate that DAW has provided us with a hardcover copy of This Gulf of Time and Stars to the winner (US or Canada);

2. Audible has given us a copy of the audiobook (1) (US or Canada) to give away as well!

Sample from the audiobook version of This Gulf of Time and Stars, narrated by Allyson Johnson, courtesy of

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Cover Credit: Matt Stawicki (
Author Photo and Model Photos Credit: Roger Czerneda Photography (

Stock Characters You Need During the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE + a Giveaway

Stock Characters You Need During the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE + a Giveaway published on 2 Comments on Stock Characters You Need During the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE + a Giveaway

David Monette has written our guest post this week. More about him and his latest work at the bottom of this post. Also, a giveaway of his books. YES!

The Eternal Undead Banner 851 x 315

Which seven stock characters would you keep around you in order to survive a zombie apocalypse?

Now that is an interesting question. As the author of the zombie trilogy, In the Time of the Dead, I’ve had to answer a ton of zombie-related questions, and I can truly say that I’ve never had such a query put to me.

Thanks, Galleywampus scribes, for your originality!

Seal Patrol 72dpiSo… my first thought when I read both the question and then the list of examples I was shown was: how can I pick from this massive assortment of characters? I mean, there was everything from the Reluctant Hero (a person who doesn’t seek adventure or the opportunity to do good, and often doubts his or her abilities to rise to heroism. However, circumstances result in the character’s becoming a true hero) to the Girl Next Door (an average girl with wholesome conduct). Then I thought, “Wait a minute. Go through this slowly, look at it seriously. Who out of that list would you want around you if something like a zombie apocalypse were to occur?”

With that in mind, I looked through the list again. And here is what I found…

Crow and Hand BW72dpi1.- The first one I would choose would be the Absent-Minded Professor character (a scientific genius). The reason I would choose such an individual would be because I think it’s smart to have really smart people around me, even absent-minded ones, and even in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, and especially when no one else can think of a way to make that flamethrower you really, really need.

2.- Keeping that in mind, I then thought, “Yeah, I’m going to need another smart guy around to keep a lid on the absent-mindedness of that first guy.” So that is why my next choice was a regular Professor, a “non-scientific genius” person, a doctor who is pretty smart and can remember that the flame thrower doesn’t need to be strapped to the user with a complicated array of belts and harnesses that serve no purpose other than look impressive, and who can also do something useful like slap a splint on my broken arm.

3.- Now, having a couple of pretty smart guys around me is great, but I’m really going to need someone, maybe a lot of someones, who can really kick butt. That leads me to my next four selections, starting with the Action Hero (a film hero protagonist with unrealistic resistance and fighting capabilities). Because who can’t use a guy like that to carry the flamethrower into battle with the zombies?

4.- That selection would be followed closely by a Conanesque character (a character inspired by Conan the Barbarian) and…

5.- the Super Soldier! (a soldier who operates beyond human limits or abilities) both of whom would, you know, charge into the fight at the side or in front of the Action Hero, doing action hero-ey type things… wait… aren’t those the same thing? Doesn’t matter. I choose all of them.

6.- And next, just to keep them in line, I would choose the Elderly Martial Arts Master who would look upon my broken arm with pity and hang back to protect me while the two fighter types charge in with the flamethrower and assorted blades and/or guns.

7.- Finally, I would chose the Hardboiled Detective (a gruff, tough and streetwise detective) because he would know the best place to hole-up and rest after we burnt through that nasty mess of zombies so that my poor arm could heal.

Sasha Climbing Wall 72dpiWhat an awesome crew, huh? The only thing to figure out would be why the heck such an impressive array of characters would want a bloke like me around, what with my broken arm and all. Oh, yeah! They’d need someone around to witness their antics and tell the story!


That was fun! If you want to pick your own 7 Stock Characters, head to this list: It’s where I got the titles and the descriptions for mine.


About the Book

Eternal-Undead-cover 72dpiSmaller

They thought they had escaped.

The battle for Washington DC is behind them, and the last remnants of the human race have fled from their undead enemies to a remote Caribbean island where they try to salvage what is left of humanity. But even here, the zombies have come. Led by the architect of the holocaust, an invading army wreaks havoc trying to acquire the one thing that can stop them, and the one thing a small contingent of soldiers knows they must never get.

Join with Sasha, Terrance, Virgil, and the little girl, Max, in an all or nothing gamble as they fight down the road to either salvation or horrible defeat in the thrilling conclusion of this series.

About the Author

authorpicDavid Monette was born and raised in the cold rural hinterlands of upstate New York. As a typical kid in a typical community, life for him was pretty… typical. He liked to draw creatures and contraptions but as the second born of four sons, such ability was merely a convenient way of standing out from the crowd. As he inexpertly stumbled through high school, his talent for capturing the images in his head onto paper was noticed and encouraged by both teachers and family members.

Without any other idea of what to do with himself after graduation, besides a vague idea of doing something art oriented, he decided to attend Mohawk Valley Community College where he received his associate’s degree in Advertising Design and Production. Acting on excellent advice from his teachers at this institution, he went on to Syracuse University where he learned a great deal about art and eventually wound up with a bachelor’s degree in Illustration.

With a disturbingly large amount of student debt and a decent portfolio, he learned what it was to be a starving artist. Namely, he found that artists don’t starve; they simply pick up an endless series of part time work to pay the rent while continuing to plug away at their true passion. This was essentially what he did until he received his first illustration job and from that point on, he didn’t look back. As an illustrator, his highly detailed fantasy and science fiction work has appeared in many books, magazines, board games, and collectible card games for such varied publishers as Dell Publishing, Wizards of the Coast, and Atlas Games. Initially, he had completed these diverse projects utilizing oil and acrylic paints as well as pen and inks.

As digital technology continued to improve, however, he decided it was time to tackle the arduous task of mastering the computer and eventually figured out a way to adapt his style to a digital format. With this knowledge and experience, he went back to school and received his master’s degree in Illustration from the University of Hartford. While there, his instructors reviewed his written work and had strongly suggested that he combine his writing ability with his talent as an illustrator to chart his own path.

And hence, an author was born.

Author Links

Facebook Author Page
Goodreads Author Page
Amazon Author Page

Tourwide Giveaway

1 prize containing all 3 ebooks of the trilogy

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Book Tour + Giveaway: The Five Warriors by Angela J. Ford

Book Tour + Giveaway: The Five Warriors by Angela J. Ford published on

TFW front cover 6

About the Book

Title: The Five Warriors
Author: Angela J. Ford
Genre: YA Fantasy
What if…

  • your best friend started a rebellion in the middle of a war?
  • your lover awakened a deep evil and helped it grow?
  • your people were too cowardly to face a battle?
  • you stole an ancient power source?
  • you gambled with the fate of the world?

Join five powerful warriors each with a unique ability and magical weapons. Their quest is to discover where the transformed creatures are coming from and put a stop to it.

Along the way they run into treacherous immortals, sea monsters, powerful beasts of the air and talking animals.

Each has their own reasoning for joining the quest, but one carries a deadly secret which just might be the destruction of them all.

Interview with a Character

Interview with Marklus


Starman stood at the shore of the great Dejewla Sea and stared at the enormity of the swaying body of liquid. The water shone like sapphires, beckoning him to crawl into its watery graves and swim and dive as if he were a child of aqua. Waves rippled across the surface but any animals that used to dwell near the Sea had long since disappeared. He could smell the richness of the soil as the plants close to the water stretched their roots deep, bloating themselves on saltless seawater.

Alaireia, on the other hand, had already dropped her pack of supplies and was loosening the black belt that carried her long sword. “It’s good we’re camping here for a time,” she was saying, sitting on a fallen log to unstrap her black boots as Starman continued to be captivated by the Sea. “I, for one, would like one last swim before we enter the desert. Swift claims it is a dry, barren place.”

“It smells like dead fish,” Starman said, wrinkling his nose.

“Starman?”Alaireia asked, standing barefoot on the shore. “Are you coming for a swim?”

“Oh.” Starman’s face turned red. “I…I…uh…”

Alaireia laughed as she waded into the water to see how it felt. “The water is fine!”

“Uh…” Starman turned to go, almost tripping over his feet. “I’ll go downstream with the others,” he stammered.

“Wait, Starman,”Alaireia called. He turned around, still blushing, but she stood knee high in the water, staring into it. “What did you say it smelt like?”

Starman opened his mouth to reply when something leaped out of the water, snatchingAlaireia and dragging her under. “Fish! Crinte!” Starman shouted all at once. “Help! The fish have Alaireia!” He drew his sword and ran to the waterside, but all was still again. Eyes like saucers, he ran back to the trees. “Crinte! Marklus! Swift! Hurry!” he yelled.

He ran back to the Sea only to shout and leap back in surprise as a monster surged out of the water, its long, brown-spotted tentacles waving in every direction. Along the length of eachtentacle suction holes moved in and out as if the creature were breathing in air and water at the same time. Its round head had barely emergedbut it was the center of the tentacles with two, horrifyingly large, ink black eyes. Starman could see a mirror black image of himself drowning in the sticky elixir of those eyes and immediately leaned over to vomit in a bush. As he wiped his mouth on the back on his hand he saw Alaireia, wrapped in one of the sucking tentacles. It was one of the most beautiful and terrifying sights he had ever seen as she rose with the creature, streaming with now muddied water. Her black hair hung long and her shoulders were bare as she gripped the tentacle in both arms, her face a mass of concentrated fury as she struggled for release.

“Alaireia!” Starman yelled, dashing into the water with his sword raised. A tentacle reached out for him and he slashed at it, ripping it open and causing black blood to leak out. Starman almost gagged as the stench of decaying fish overwhelmed him in the water. Despite it he moved closer to the great creature. It towered above him, lifting Alaireia higher into the air. Starman slashed at the next tentacle that tried to capture him, but ultimately failed as one wrapped its slimy length around him and hugged his body uncomfortably close. Still waving his sword, he proceeded to chop at the thick length that held him, but the creature was unforgiving. It reared its head even further out of the water, displaying a wide gaping mouth. It opened it and roared.

About the Author


Angela J. Ford is an imaginative and entertaining writer who creates stories of fanciful worlds that enable young adults to confidently believe in possibilities and overcome differences to be stronger together.

Born in Ann Arbor, MI, and raised in Alabaster, AL, she moved to Nashville, TN, where she currently resides, to pursue a degree in Music Business at Belmont University.

Although her career has not been largely focused on creative writing, it has been an integral part of her lifestyle. Brought up as a bookworm and musician, she began writing The Four Worlds, a fantasy action, adventure series at the age of 12. The storyline of those books was largely based off of creative games she played with her sisters.

Originally finished when she was 16, after college, Angela began to re-write the Four Worlds Series, bringing it from a child’s daydream to an adventure young and old alike can enjoy. Inspired by fairy tales, high magic and epic fantasy, you’ll enjoy your adventures within the Four Worlds.

If you happen to be in Nashville, you’ll mostly likely find her at a local coffee shop, enjoying a white chocolate mocha and furiously working on her next book. Make sure you say hello!


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Podcast Love: 5 Must-Follow Podcasts (and a giveaway reminder)

Podcast Love: 5 Must-Follow Podcasts (and a giveaway reminder) published on 4 Comments on Podcast Love: 5 Must-Follow Podcasts (and a giveaway reminder)

I am not a podcast-person. Nor a pod-person, in case you thought I was side-stepping.

Before agreeing to write a post on podcasts about a month ago, I had never listened to one. But I’ve been doing my homework this last month, and I’ve determined that I am a person who, when he listens to podcasts, prefers them talky rather than fictional. That isn’t really what I expected to discover. I thought I’d want to listen to faux-period radio shows talking about fictional news set in a nerd-popular fictional world. Or things of that nature. Nope. I want to hear people speak intelligently about books, television, movies and music.

After listening to elements of a couple of dozen podcasts, I’ve narrowed down my favorites to the following five podcasts (in no particular order, this isn’t a ranked list).

***Quick reminder that there are two separate giveaways at the bottom of this post:

1) a copy each of The Mirror Empire and Empire Ascendant by Kameron Hurley (More info on these books HERE if you are new to the series), and
2) a giveaway featuring three prizes: a $75, $50, and $25 giftcard to your preferred book retailer.***

1. Round Table Podcast


This is an amazing podcast. I’m particularly fond of the Workshop episodes, in which the hosts (along with a previously unannounced publisher, author, or editor) come to the table and listen to a willing writer’s “pitch” for a story. The hosts and the guest then discuss the idea with the writer, helping the writer flesh out the story idea.

This podcast has drawn guests from the likes of Ed Greenwood, Mary Robinette Kowal, Tobias Buckell, Seanan McGuire, Myke Cole, Maurice Broaddus, Cherie Priest, Christopher Moore, Kameron Hurley and Delilah S. Dawson. That’s a great list of guests.

This podcast is hosted by Dave Robison and Brion Humphrey, and produced by Ben Delano and Lucie Le Blanc.


2. Cabbages and Kings


This is a literary podcast with an NPR, laid-back, non-commercial feel to it. The podcast opens with some smooth music, and then, most of the time, two people (the host, Jonah Sutton-Morse and a guest) talk about a book, a genre, a series of stories, or something publishing related, like, the support of small presses.

Spoilers abound in the podcasts discussing specific works. I would not listen to the Grace of Kings episode, for example, if you haven’t read the book. Unless spoilers don’t spoil anything for you, and then give it a whirl.

Episode 11 is a particular favorite of mine, as supporting small presses is important to me, and there are a lot of mentions in a short time frame.

Did I mention that these episodes are invariably under 30 minutes long?


3. Black Girl Nerds


This podcast covers many areas: video games, artists, authors, television shows and movies, actors and music. These areas are all connected specifically to the nerd-factors of these things: yeah, the podcast covers music, but that might be in the form of a discussion on the musical genre of Nerdcore. Television episodes might cover Doctor Who or The Walking Dead. This is also an excellent podcast for diversity discussion.

I really enjoyed episode #17, featuring author Daniel José Older talking about his novel Half-Resurrection Blues as well as his music and the city of New York as a novel setting.

Jamie Broadnax hosts. She asks reflective questions, allows the guests to lead the flow of conversation, and keeps the podcast moving.


4. Speculate


This is a really professionally put-together podcast. Gregory A. Wilson and Bradley P. Beaulieu, both authors, discuss fiction and writing techniques and interview authors and artists. The hosts are extremely knowledgable.

A standout episode, for me, was episode 141 in which the hosts discuss Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni. The hosts discuss the aspects of the book and how they are similar to (and different from) other books, in this case: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson and Lauren Beukes The Shining Girls. Having read The Devil in the White City, I feel like the hosts totally nail the comparisons. I really enjoyed The Golem and the Jinni, so I may be biased on this one.


5. Rocket Talk


Rocket Talk is a Podcast. You’ve heard of It’s sort of a big deal. This is certainly not a little-known company’s podcast.

It is hosted by Justin Landon. The podcast caters to fans of science fiction and fantasy, and the interviews are often with authors, editors, and people who work in book acquisitions.

The episodes I listened to were full of a lot of nerdy goodness. If you listen to an episode with Joe Abercrombie, it is going to be the episode you expect from a podcast featuring Joe Abercrombie.

I enjoyed Episode 44 involves the guests James L. Sutter, the managing editor at Paizo Publishing, and Mordicai Knode, the marketing and publicity manager for Publishing. They discuss the acquisition of Pathfinder Tales and the distribution arrangement with Tor Books.

I haven’t been involved in many campaigns. But the one I got into was a Pathfinder campaign. My rogue was an oddly strong, uncharismatic fellow who tried to use charisma much more often than was good for him. He often failed miseably, but it was always fun. Even when I was unsuccessful at seducing that ogre.

Listening to information on novels published in the Pathfinder universe was entertaining, and made me curious about the books themselves.


Giveaway 1

As a part of the Blog Friends Forever blog hop, we are pleased to have contributed to a tiered giveaway. We are giving out three giftcards, TO YOUR CHOICE OF BOOK RETAILER, one each worth $75, $50, and $25. Who doesn’t like giftcards? Oh, not even the crickets complain?

Special thanks to Fiction Fare and the Swoony Boys Podcast for putting this together. The complete schedule can be found at both of those above links, or at the bottom of this post. There are plenty of other giveaways offered! (Though, note that the $75, $50, and $25 group giveaway will be the same on each site–you can only enter once for each item, no matter how many sites you visit).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway 2

We have a paired prize offered by Galleywampus: the winner will receive one (1) copy of The Mirror Empire and one (1) copy of Empire Ascendant by Kameron Hurley.

These books were provided by Angry Robot. Thanks, you Exasperated Automatons!

Angry Robot allows this giveaway to be International.

The Giveaway

Receive entries based on the Rafflecopter widget below. Entries will cease at Midnight, 10/17. We will conduct a random drawing on 10/18 and announce a winner after the winner has been contacted. If the winner does not respond within two days, we will select a second random winner.

The prize: one (1) copy of The Mirror Empire and one (1) copy of Empire Ascendant by Kameron Hurley. These will be shipped directly from Angry Robot.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Hop Schedule

(Most of these blogs will have their own giveaways!)

October 1st
The Irish Banana Review – Blog Besties
Neon Yeti Reads – Blogger Interview
Mostly YA Lit – Underappreciates Sites
Otakutwins Reviews – Why I Love Being a Blogger

October 2nd
Eli to the Nth – Blog Besties
ReadWriteLove28 – Favorite Newbies
Once Upon A Twilight – Top Bookstagrammers
Rattle the Pages – Top 10 Book Bloggers

October 3rd
That Artsy Reader Girl – Blogger Interview
Bookstacksamber – Podcaster Love
Books in My Suitcase – Why I Love Being A Blogger

October 4th
The Book Cellar – Blog Besties
Caught Read Handed – Blogger RAK
Based on A True Story – Surprise Post

October 5th
Grounded Wanderlust – Get Vloggy
Lostbraincell’s Bookish Blog – Top 10 Book Bloggers
The Reading Nook Reviews – Top Bookstagrammers

October 6th
Rhea’s Neon Journal – Blogger Interview
What Sarah Read – Blogger RAK
Bookish in Texas – Why I Love Being a Blogger

October 7th
Nicks’ Book Blog – Favorite Newbies
Oops! I Read A Book Again – Underappreciated Sites
Twenty Three Pages – Why I Love Being A Blogger
Owl Always Be Reading – Blogger Interview

October 8th
GReads! – Blogger Interview
Andi’s ABCs – Top 10 Book Bloggers
Reading Is My Treasure – Favorite Newbies

October 9th
Reading the Blues Away – Surprise Post
Strupag – Top 10 Book Bloggers
A Bookish Flower – Why I Love Being a Blogger
Adventures in Reading – Blog Besties

October 10th
Literary, Etc – Blogger RAK
The Fox’s Hideaway – Why I Love Being A Blogger
Bibliobeth – Blogger Interview
Carpe Librum – Blog Besties

October 11th
Snowflakes & Spider Silk – Top Bookstagrammers
The Novel Orange – Why I Love Being A Blogger
Don’t Fold the Page – Top 10 Book Bloggers
The Reader and the Chef – Favorite Newbies

October 12th
Wandering Bark Humanities – Underappreciated Sites
WhoruBlog – Blogger Interview
Kimberlyfaye Reads – Top 10 Book Bloggers

October 13th
BookCatPin – Surprise Post
The Eater of Books! – Blogger Interview
A Reader Under The Sea – Top 10 Book Bloggers
Effortlessly Reading – Why I Love Being A Blogger

October 14th
HelloChickLit – Blogger Interview
We So Nerdy – Blogger RAK
Thebibliophagist – Get Vloggy

October 15th
Hashtag Avenue – Blog Besties
Galleywampus – Podcaster Love
Novel Ink – Top Bookstagrammers

October 16th
No BS Book Reviews – Blog Besties
The Book Bratz – Underappreciated Sites
One Night Book Stand – Top 10 Book Bloggers

October 17th
Fiction Fare – Surprise Post
Swoony Boys Podcast – Surprise Post


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