Spotlight, Excerpt, & Author Interview: Dark Factory + Giveaway

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DARK FACTORY
by Kathe Koja
RELEASE DATE: May 10, 2022
GENRE: Speculative Fiction / SciFi / LGBT / Literary

Welcome to Dark Factory! You may experience strobe effects, Y reality, DJ beats, love, sex, betrayal, triple shot espresso, broken bones, broken dreams, ecstasy, self-knowledge, and the void.

Dark Factory is a dance club: three floors of DJs, drinks, and customizable reality, everything you see and hear and feel. Ari Regon is the club’s wild card floor manager, Max Caspar is a stubborn DIY artist, both chasing a vision of true reality. And rogue journalist Marfa Carpenter is there to write it all down. Then a rooftop rave sets in motion a fathomless energy that may drive Ari and Max to the edge of the ultimate experience.

Dark Factory is Kathe Koja’s wholly original new novel from Meerkat Press, that combines her award-winning writing and her skill directing immersive events, to create a story that unfolds on the page, online, and in the reader’s creative mind.

Join us at DarkFactory.club. The story has already begun.

BUY LINKS: Meerkat Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Excerpt:

“Ari! Hey Ari, how’s it going?”
“Hey,” his nod to the skinny DJ on the bench opposite Jonas’s office, blue glass walls half-covered with overlapping Dark Factory posters, the effect is like peering into a paper aquarium. “It’s going good. Tight.”
“I just got in from Chromefest, I played some crazy great shit,” the DJ digging into his bag, a dangle of fake gold giveaway charms, too many stickers, TOOT SWEET, U DONT REDLINE U DONT HEADLINE, pulling out a mix stick. “You got a minute?”
“Got a meeting,” with a shrug, a smile, his public smile—
—but inside the office no Jonas, only his spoor: empty NooJuice cans, Causabon trainers still new in the box, a white dinner jacket hung on the hulking recliner, and between the tilting piles on the blue glass table that is Jonas’s desk, two burner phones, both vibrating like wind-up toys: Ari takes up one, then the other, neither are numbers he knows. Also on the desk is a flat delivery box stacked with t-shirts, a new streamlined design, and “Y makes the logo move,” Jonas at the door, slamming the door, Jonas wearing last summer’s t-shirt, black and sleeveless beneath a clear plastic wrap jacket; with his hair sheared at the sides he looks like a brand-new cleaning brush, Ari hides a smile. “Lee thinks it’s too subtle. What do you think?”
“Not if it moves,” an answer and a parry, Jonas likes to test everyone, Ari most of all. “Chockablock thinks of everything.”
“And overcharges for everything too. Wear it around, see what people say,” and as Ari drapes a shirt around his neck, “I know it’s your day off, but I need you in the box tonight.”
“Just me?”
“You and whoever else I stick in there. Be good, or it’ll be Lee.”
“I don’t have a problem with Lee.”
“That’s not what she says.”
“Then that’s her problem.”
“True. Got a smoke? Darcy’s after me to quit,” as Ari offers one of the black blunts he gets from the boys in the clubs, Jonas rooting in the desk’s mess for an ashtray, and “Lee said,” Jonas’s shrug half-annoyed, ”some woman gave birth on the floor last night? To an actual baby? What a mess.”
And Ari laughs—“The Factory’s first natural-born citizen”—and after a moment Jonas laughs too: “Your brain, Ari, your fucking brain,” pulling out his real phone, a quick dictating bark, “Lee, find those baby people, give the baby free admission for life. Tell Media to make a big deal out of it—”
—as Ari exits in a puff of smoke and a flutter of posters, past the still-waiting DJ, and two runners toting scent canisters like oversized silver bullets, another runner wrangling a wobbling rack of boxed NooJuice, provided to the production in exchange for ad placement, another of Ari’s ideas that Jonas approves, Jonas drinks half a dozen cans of that swill a day. Lee drinks it too, though Ari knows she hates it; sometimes he catches Lee studying him when she thinks no one can see.
In the performers’ lounge he slips on the new t-shirt—a little loose across the chest, he likes his shirts tighter—smooths back his hair, then heads for the NOT AN EXIT sign over the loading dock doors: a delivery van rolling out, another just backing in that he sidesteps, out to the street, Neuberg Street . . . A teenager, the first time, he came here to drink cheap lager and fuck and dance to loud music with boys—he still fucks and dances, but Jonas has taught him something about wine, so he drinks that instead, chilled and white, it pairs nicely with the blunts—sixteen then and wide open, new to the scene, new to joy: his look changed, his slang, even his walk, more swagger, more aware of his body as he roamed past the schnapps bars and phone stores and crumbled brick alleys, the corner charging stations shaped like top hats where the boys hung out, flirting and sparring in the noise of sidewalk speakers and the whirring purr of the trains, the muezzin’s call floating over avenues of beech and linden trees and the black-washed façades of the remodeled industrial flats, cafés hot with espresso and frothing oat milk, and the clubs’ 4 a.m. aroma of lager and latex and Club-Mate, dancing panting bodies, moisturizer and tobacco and tears. And now these streets are his streets, he lives in one of those expensive flats, he has everything he wants in this world, almost everything.
The October sky is overcast as a tarnished mirror, heat still radiating from the pavement, he stops at a Kaffee Kart for an iced espresso and “Your shirt’s really cool,” says the freckled barista, as Ari records her reaction for Jonas’s eventual benefit. “Dark Factory! I’d go every weekend if I could, it’s like the world if the world was perfect. You go a lot?”
“I go every night. I work there.”
“You work at Dark Factory? Oh cool! What do you do?”
And Ari smiles, because there is no name for what he does, what he is, what Jonas needs most, what Lee for all her stats and apps and 24/7 devotion can never be: the bridge between the Factory and the world, a native of both because “I’m the ambassador,” he says, and lifts his cup to toast—the barista, the Factory, his job, himself—as a sudden gust of steam surrounds him, like a saint’s silver halo, or a personal storm.


Author Interview:

1. Tell us a little about how this story first came to be.
All my books start with a character, someone I see in my mind’s eye, wonder over, consider; then that character opens the door to others, to their world, and to the book. For Dark Factory it was Ari Regon, wild hair and that smile, this guy was clearly out to have some fun. So I followed him.

2. What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?
Oh, what a great question. I learned that my immersive event work—I’ve produced and directed over twenty live performance events, in places like galleries, museums, a Victorian mansion, a historic church sanctuary—could merge with my writing, and people could be invited to interact with a book the same way they do at the live shows: immersive fiction! And Meerkat Press was one hundred percent collaboratively involved with the concept, creating the Dark Factory site to invite readers into the story from the jump.

3. What surprised you the most in writing it?
How BIG it was. It was a world that knew exactly what it wanted to be, and do—just like Ari, whose role in that world is as producer extraordinaire, always looking to create the unforgettable night—and just kept growing and morphing. That’s one reason it took me twice as long to write Dark Factory as any of my other novels, over three years.

4. If it’s not a spoiler, what does the title mean?
It has more than one meaning, but Max Caspar explains it better than anyone.

5. Were any of the characters inspired by real people?
None of the characters in the novel, but there are more than a few real people interviewed by Marfa Carpenter/McSq2 on the site: a tattoo artist, several professors, an arts journalist/editor, a sound designer, a ministry worker, all of them offering their real thoughts and opinions on life, art, and their own fields and disciplines. Immersive again.

6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?
That reality is a state more amazing than we ever believed.

7. What is your favorite part of the book?
Impossible to answer this one! But I do love the push-and-pull interactions between playful Ari and serious Max, on pretty much every topic, from the meaning of life to soba noodles.

8. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?
Definitely Marfa—her changes over the course of the novel took me by surprise, but looking back, those changes were always there, always part of who she was and could become. That’s the way for all of us, though, all the potential selves we could be, that we make with our choices, every day.

9. What are your immediate future plans?
We have multiple launches and events scheduled, into June and beyond, and new fan content coming for the site. So it’s all Dark Factory for now.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathe Koja writes novels and short fiction, and creates and produces immersive fiction performances, both solo and with a rotating ensemble of artists. Her work crosses and combines genres, and her books have won awards, been multiply translated, and optioned for film and performance. She is based in Detroit and thinks globally. She can be found at kathekoja.com.

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Spotlight & Giveaway: Espoused, by Jean Marie Davis

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Join Us for This Tour from August 16 to September 3!
 
Book Title:  Espoused by Jean Marie Davis
Category:  Adult Fiction 18+
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Literary, Humor
Publisher:  Wren Park Publishing, 264 pages
Release date: July 2021
Content Rating:  PG for the subject matter of adult relationships/marriage/divorce, but there is no bad language or explicit sex scenes.
 

Espouse:
(v.) to take in marriage; to make a marriage permanent by court decree;
the court-approved process by which couples may stay together beyond
the legal 15-year term.

In the contemporary world, fifteen years is considered the legal life cycle of a marriage. If a couple wants to stay together (married), they must hire a lawyer and petition the court to become Espoused.

After 14 years of marriage, Sara and Thomas Healy are still in love. Their decision to go to court to be espoused permanently is a source of great embarrassment for their children. Avery is ready for the benefits of uncoupling, and Sam really doesn’t need the social stigma of parents who decide to stay together, on top of everything else. Lame! Their espouse attorney, Gwen Stevens, has other problems. The judge for the Healy case is her nemesis, Carly Abraham, also known as “the Wicked Witch of the Bench.” Judge Abraham was previously married to Gwen’s husband Dennis, from whom she uncoupled after the allotted 15 years. She hates espouse lawyers on principle, and seems to have an extra dose of dislike for Gwen personally.

While the Healys struggle through the espouse experience—trial separation, uncouple counseling, and ongoing financial burdens—Gwen has to deal with the judge and her own struggles at home. In this fight for love, who
has the answers?

Buy the Book
Amazon
add to Goodreads

 

Meet the Author:

Jean Marie Davis was born and raised in Huntington, New York. After graduating from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, she moved back to Long Island where she worked in the Marketing Research industry for over 30 years. She currently lives in Centerport, New York close to her daughter and son.

Connect with the Author:  ​Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook  ~ Goodreads

 

Tour Schedule:

Aug 16 – I’m All About Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 16 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Aug 17 – Twilight Reader – book review
Aug 18 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
Aug 19 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review / giveaway
Aug 19 – Viviana MacKade – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Aug 20 – Lalitha’s World of Serenity – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Aug 23 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 24 – Kam’s Place – book review
Aug 25 – Based on a True Story – book review
Aug 25 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 26 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book review / author interview / giveaway
Aug 27 – Lisa’s Reading – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 30 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Aug 31 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
Aug 31 – RebeccaReviewedIt – book review / giveaway
Sep 1 – Splashes of Joy – book review / guest post / giveaway
Sep 1 – Books for Books – book spotlight
Sep 2 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review / giveaway
Sep 3 – Adventurous Jessy – book review / giveaway

Enter the Giveaway!

ESOUSED Book Tour Giveaway

Spotlight & Excerpt: Not My Ruckus, by Chad Musick

not my ruckus

Not My Ruckus
by Chad Musick
Genre: Literary
Publisher: Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC
Date of Publication:  16 February 2021
ISBN: 978-1-953971-00-5
ASIN: B08LKJ12P2
Number of pages: 320
Word Count: 86,000
Cover Artist: Nada Backovic 

Clare knows only bad girls shoot people and set fires. But being good won’t save her best friend.

Folks know 14-year-old Clare isn’t normal, even for a tomboy. She runs too much, talks too little, carries a gun too often, and holds a grudge forever. Only her papa’s job at the bank keeps gossip quiet. It’s unwise to risk the cold anger of the man who knows everyone’s secrets.

Clare feels prepared for everything from fire, to flood, to what her momma calls demon attacks. When her neighbor Esther kisses her, though, Clare has no ready script. Maybe she could write one, given time she doesn’t have. At the moment of that first kiss, Esther’s mom is bleeding out from a gunshot wound.

Clare can read the signs everyone else is determined to ignore. A murder was only the beginning. Esther needs protection, whether she wants it or not, and Clare won’t abandon her friend just because things are hard.

Maybe one day she’ll be forgiven for doing what’s needed.


Excerpt

Esther kissed me once for free, when we were both just girls. We were sitting watching the Rangers play baseball—not the Olympics, because it was the summer of 1980 and Carter was choosing to hide in a boycott rather than fight the communists who were running it—and Gunnar went to the fridge to get a fresh bottle of beer.

“Daddy,” Esther called, “can we have some sandwiches?”

He grunted back, and we heard his breathing punctuated by the clatter of the silverware drawer and the rattle of the jam jar.

Esther swayed back and forth, making fun of how Gunnar had staggered as he walked to the kitchen.

“Usually I get his beers, or mom does, but you’re company.” She winked at me.

I wasn’t allowed at Esther’s house often, even though we should have been best friends all along. We were both 14, we lived across the street from each other, and we would go to high school together the next year, just like we’d always gone to school together. But her family wasn’t our kind of people.

On the day Esther kissed me, though, momma’d had a vision of her and Esther’s mom going shopping together.

When momma had a vision, you didn’t stand in the way, and so she had dropped me off and taken Esther’s mom in the big car to go shopping.

Gunnar came back with a paper plate of peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches for us, and a pair of beers for himself. He eased back down into his lounger with the creak of springs and scritch of leather on denim, and opened a beer. He let it dangle from his fingers, and it wasn’t long before he was snoring.

Esther crept up on him and eased the bottle from him.

She held it out, for me to drink. This was one of the reasons they weren’t our kind of people, and I shook my head no at her.

“I’ll scream,” she whispered, and held it out again. “It’s gross. He’s already drank off it.”

Esther pushed her finger into the neck of the bottle and wiped it, just a little pop of sound when her finger came out, then wiped the outside of the top. She made me take the bottle.

I drank some, of course I did. Not much, just a swallow, so she wouldn’t scream, and then I gave it back to her.

She finished the bottle, and then laid it down beneath Gunnar’s fingertips. There hadn’t been much left anyway, I told myself.

We sat on the floor in the Texas summer heat and leaned our backs against the new couch. The plastic on the seats got sticky and uncomfortable when the sun shone on it, but the unglazed terra cotta floor was cool, and her hand was warm when she put it in mine.

She was swaying again, and when she swayed my way, her head rested on my shoulder and stayed there.

“Esther,” I told her. She looked up.

“We’re best friends now.” She nodded.

Good. It was good to have a friend. Even if next year she didn’t join me in softball and running and volleyball and all the other sports I’d been denied in junior high because there were only intramurals, I’d still have a friend. Frank didn’t let me play with him anymore, because he was older and it wasn’t “cool” to have your little sister around, especially if she was better at baseball than you. He could get the bat on the ball sometimes, smash it high in the air with the powerful arms that he’d once used to hoist me on his wide shoulders, but he lacked control. Just about every hit was a foul or a pop fly. Even when he hit it well, he was never ready to run.

I’ve always been ready to run.

Esther didn’t care about baseball, even if she’d watch it on the tv with me. At school, I’d used to watch her when she double- dutched with the other girls, who called me boy like it was a curse word and stopped their ropes when I came around.

“I have a secret,” she said, without lifting her head.
“I want to tell it to you.”


About the Author:

 
Chad Musick grew up in Utah, California, Washington, Texas, and (most of all) Alaska. He fell in love in California and then moved with his family to Japan, where he’s found happiness. He earned a PhD in Mathematical Science but loves art and science equally.
 
Despite a tendency for electronic devices to burst into flame after Chad handles them, he persists in working in various technical and technology-related roles. 
 
Chad makes no secret of being epileptic, autistic, and arthritic, facts that inform how he approaches both science and the arts.
 
 
 
 

 

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