Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Lisa Sherman explores memory and identity in debut thriller

Lisa Sherman
What if you showed up one day and couldn't remember a thing about you, but knew that the life you led wasn't your true one? It's an interesting premise, and the one explored in Lisa Sherman's debut book, “Forget Me.” Here's a look at what's in store:

Who’s that girl? After being fished out of a river in small-town Wisconsin, Wanda Dellas is lucky to be alive – yet, she can’t help but feel like something’s wrong. Wanda is living someone else’s life: that’s the sense she’s had since an accident robbed her of her long-term memory. Barely scraping by, Wanda cleans offices at night in order to support her young daughter. She tells herself that anyone would believe they’re meant for a different existence. Yet she can’t shake the sense that she’s missing something—and that the past she’s been told belongs to her is not the whole story.

Claire Stanbrick’s photo is all over the news. A missing businesswoman who’s presumed dead, Claire bears a striking resemblance to Wanda. After learning that Claire went missing around the same time as her accident, Wanda embarks on a journey to uncover the truth about her past. Yet with each additional clue she uncovers, Wanda faces new dangers that threaten her life . . . or is it Claire’s?

Lisa and I explore how identity and memory tie together, and if one can exist without the other. We look at Wanda's quest to discover the truth about herself and the obstacles in her way. Lisa is a lawyer-turned-author, and shares how her legal background helped with the writing process. This may be Lisa's first book, but it's not her last and we talk about future titles and what lies in store.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

It’s a world of daemons and magic in Alison Levy’s new book

I’ve been a longtime fantasy fan, and so it was a real pleasure to speak with Alison Levy’s new book, “Blue Flame,” part two of the Daemon Collecting series, out on Oct. 11 through SparkPress. The new book continues the adventures of Rachel Wilde, who comes from a dimension adjacent to ours. The people there have structured their society around daemon collecting: they locate, catch, and repair malfunctioning daemons (creatures out of phase with our world that tempt people to do good or evil).

While introducing Leda Morley, last of an ancient line of gatekeepers, to the ins and outs of her daemon-collecting work, Rachel Wilde encounters something far more dangerous than any daemon: a young boy who stands alone against an unseen yet terrifying enemy that has invaded his home—an inhuman creature who, hellbent on revenge for a minor slight, intends to harm the boy’s oblivious family. Meanwhile, Leda’s brother, Simon, is feeling left out of his maternal family legacy but is coping partly by helping Rachel’s friend Bach—a previously homeless man with unusual mental abilities—get his life back on track.

In the midst of all of this, Bach unintentionally but serendipitously makes contact with a capable otherworldly being who, with great reluctance, agrees to help Bach and his friends take on the dangerous creature that’s just become their problem to solve. Together, this group of unlikely allies must put aside their differences to save an innocent child, and his family, from a monster—before it’s too late.

Alison and I dive into the worldbuilding that went into this book and the new characters that we meet. She talks about the daemons and the system of magic she created and how it all works. We look at how writing this book compared to her first novel, “Gatekeeper,” and her plans for the release of “Blue Flame.” Along with being a writer, Alison is also a mental health advocate, and we go into how writing the new book helped and how it can be a platform to help others.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Matthew Connor shares theme of cutting out people in new single

Photo Credit: Sam Quinn


Matthew Connor's new single "Lose This Number," (released on Aug. 26, along with a music video) is a song about those we’ve cut out of our lives over the past few years. The Boston noir-pop songwriter and composer returns with the first chapter that leads to the fall album “Disappearances.”

Max: I could really relate with the theme of those we've cut out of our lives. How did this become the song's message and did something in particular inspire it?
Matthew Connor: I wrote this song (and most of the album) early in 2017, obviously a very scary and chaotic time in America. Like a lot of artists I was trying to make some sense of what was going on around me, but I didn’t necessarily want to write explicitly political songs; I was much more interested in the human stories I was watching play out, and in raising more questions than I had good answers for.

Max: Have you had to cut people out of your own life? If so, how did you do it?
Matthew Connor: I’m going to plead the fifth here, only because my songs are never strictly autobiographical (especially true on this album), and I want to leave plenty of ambiguity and room for multiple interpretations to exist. I will say that I’ve struggled, like a lot of people, with how to handle some relationships in my life. We’ve all seen first hand the dangers of bubbles and echo chambers, but how am I supposed to coexist with someone who views me as an abomination, or simply agree to disagree with someone who views their marginal tax rate or whatever as being more important than someone else’s basic human rights?

Max: Is there a singular takeaway from “Lose This Number”?
Matthew Connor: I’m not so sure there is. It ends on a bit of an ellipsis, which I find unsettling; there’s some catharsis toward the end but then it trails off.

Max: Watching the music video, I was really hit with the different visuals, particularly the people in face masks watching in the theater. What was the planning process that led to this video?
Matthew Connor: I started planning the video in February of 2020, and I ended up having to completely scrap the initial idea when COVID hit. I had originally wanted to be performing up close to an audience in an underground bar kind of space, which was obviously impossible. I got the idea of instead having my performance be projected in a movie theater, kind of a representation of the isolation and abstraction of the pandemic. We were lucky to be able to film at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, which required everyone to wear masks at all times (we filmed pre-vaccine). That suited me just fine – the video’s a bit of a time capsule now.

Max: What can people expect with the forthcoming album “Disappearances”?
Matthew Connor: I cover a lot of stylistic ground on this album — I leaned in a country direction without firmly landing there — but I’d say the general vibe is haunting. Each song is a ballad about someone who has disappeared, with some characters making appearances in multiple songs. Expect a little drama and a lot of atmosphere.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Kevin Lucia talks about the new arm of Cemetery Dance Publications

As we close on Halloween, it makes perfect sense to welcome back one of my favorite horror authors, Kevin Lucia. This time, we're diving into the small press industry with a look at his role as e-book and trade paperback editor at Cemetery Dance Publications. It's a significant change for the press and one that's upped their status in a big way.

In this episode, we talk about what this means for the company and the work that made it happen. Kevin addresses the publisher's past issues with making deadlines and the complete turnaround that he's witnessed.

But that's not all! Kevin has some new projects in the works, including “The Horror at Pleasant Brook,” out this Halloween. Along with a look at the story, we talk about the kill factor in horror books and some of his best methods to end a character. Hey, it's a horror episode, what did you expect?

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Jeff Seitzer's memoir shares a story of unconditional love and an unbreakable bond

Ethan Seitzer was only 9 years old when he passed away, but in that short time he impacted countless lives. Whether it was through his easygoing nature, the way he accepted people, or his unique artwork and poetry, Ethan brought so much to this world, all of which is chronicled in “The Fun Master,” written by his father, Jeff Seitzer.

In the book, Jeff talks about parenting a child with special needs while dealing with his own medical issues. He holds nothing back, talking about Ethan's passing, the decision to write this book, and how the experience helped him cope with the grief. Jeff shares what his life was like prior to being a parent and what he expected it to be—and how very different it turned out. No doubt this was a difficult journey, but amidst the challenges are many wonderful memories.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

The story of WW II Pilot Richard Eager covers time in and out of the cockpit

The life story of U.S. Air Force veteran Richard Earnest Evans is certainly filled with amazing tales—such as how he became the B-17 "Flying Fortress" pilot for Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery, Commander of the British 8th Army.

But this is just one of several stories compiled and self-published by his daughter, Barbara Kinnear as “Richard Eager: A Pilot’s Story from Tennessee Eagle Scouts to General Montgomery’s “Flying Fortress.” Better known as Richard Eager, Evans began working on this book after his service, but passed away before the book was completed.

In this episode, Kinnear talks about her father’s time with the Air Force and all the things she learned through his stories. The book also looks at Richard’s time growing up and we talk about life back then.

Kinnear talks about the fire that claimed their home and—she thought at the time—the entire collection her father had worked on, only to make a welcome discovery later. She shares the experience of growing up in the armed forces and the perspective on her father’s service through a child’s eyes.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Author Joseph Falank's new novel, “Renewal” (Sept. 13 through BHC Press) is a powerfully written and incredibly honest story of a family coming to grips with the reality that their patriarch is afflicted with Alzheimer's. Here's the synopsis of the story:

It's been two years since aspiring novelist and English teacher Malcolm Aton has had any contact with his family. Ever since his divorce and the loss of his mother to cancer, his relationship with his father has been strained.

When he receives an urgent text from his brother, he learns the devastating news that their father's memory issues have progressed. He's now violent and at the end stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Although confrontation with his father is imminent, Malcolm reluctantly agrees to return home for the weekend and take on the mantle of caregiver while they contend with the difficult decision of how to care for their father. As is the case with everything involving his family, nothing goes as expected.

Joseph and I talk about the relationship that Malcolm and his father has and what it is like to reconnect after two years. He sheds light on how Malcolm adjusts to being his father's caregiver and the impact of their roles being reversed. We also talk about the affect Alzheimer's can have on the patient's loved ones and the new challenges they will have to overcome.

This is Joseph's fifth book and we discuss the subjects of “The Painted Lady,” “Disconnected,” and others and the inspirations which led to them. Personally, I cannot wait to read “Disconnected.” He also shares some of his ideas for future works.