Interview with Josh Vogt

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Josh VogtI recently got a chance to do a brief interview with Josh Vogt, who… well, actually let’s just let him introduce himself:

Josh Vogt has been published in dozens of genre markets with work ranging from flash fiction to short stories to doorstopper novels that cover fantasy, science fiction, horror, humor, pulp, and more. His debut fantasy novel, Forge of Ashes, adds to the RPG Pathfinder Tales tie-in line. WordFire Press is also launching his urban fantasy series, The Cleaners, with Enter the Janitor (2015) and The Maids of Wrath (2016). You can find him at JRVogt.com or on Twitter @JRVogt. He’s a member of SFWA as well as the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

Both of his newly released novels look great, although I admit that I’m a little jealous because I also have an (unsold) story about janitors staving off supernatural forces with cleanliness. But I won’t hold that against him! Here’s the interview:

Enter the Janitor - Cover

Forge of Ashes


Who are you, what do you write, and what is your favorite food?
Ah, so we begin with the existential questions. Very well. My name’s Josh Vogt and I’m a speculative fiction author as well as a full-time freelance writer. I mostly write fantasy, but also veer into science fiction, horror, pulp, humor, and often a mix of many of these. I also freelance for a number of tabletop RPG developers and publishers, working on tie-in fiction, campaigns, game manuals, and more.

My favorite food (currently) is sushi.

Briefly explain what your book is about.
I’ve actually got two books coming out, one right after the other! The first is Forge of Ashes, a tie-in novel to the Pathfinder roleplaying game. It’s a sword and sorcery adventure that focuses on Akina, a dwarven barbarian who returns to her mountain home after fighting abroad for a decade. But things have changed drastically in her absence—not only has her family fallen on hard times, but her beloved mother has also vanished into the tunnels beneath the city and is presumed dead. Akina determines to restore her family at all costs, no matter what dangers stand in her way.

The other is Enter the Janitor, the first in my dark humor urban fantasy series, The Cleaners. In it, a grizzled old janitor named Ben works for a supernatural sanitation company that keeps the world clean and safe from the forces of Corruption (aka Scum). Just as Ben gets a new, germaphobic apprentice, he’s tasked to discover the source of an imbalance between Purity and Corruption that could destroy whole cities if not dealt with.

Would you live in the world of your book? If so, would you be a hero, villain, or NPC?
I’d live in either world, yes. Golarion (the Pathfinder setting) would be highly dangerous, but that’s why so many love to go adventuring there in the first place. Just take lots of healing potions, right?

The world of The Cleaners would be fascinating as well, getting the chance to work behind-the-scenes of modern society, saving people’s lives without them ever realizing it…it’d almost be like being a secret agent, except with a license to clean instead of kill (although Scum are still fair game).

Would you be friends with your protag? Would s/he be friends with you?
Akina and I might be friends if I fought beside her for a few battles and proved myself a worthy ally. Though she has something of a temper, so I’d have to be careful not to insult her family or anything.

Ben probably wouldn’t mind having me along so long as I did my share of the work cleaning toilets or washing windows. The job always comes first for him, because it’s the only thing keeping Scum from overrunning the world.

Let’s say that the people from your book are teleported to our world. What would surprise them the most?
Akina would have to get over the sudden absence of magic as well as the advanced technology we have compared to her fantasy existence. Though she might approve of the Game of Thrones television series, what with its penchant for brutal violence.

Ben would also have to deal with the absence of real magic in our world, though he’s resourceful enough that he can handle some nasty threats without a spell in sight. He’d likely adjust quick enough and keep on pushing his mop around any floor that needs cleaning.

Tell me about an author that inspires you.
Max Gladstone is a fantastic author everyone should take the time to read. He veers far and away from any traditional fantasy elements, creating incredibly unique worlds and characters full of fascinating (and fearsome) magic. It’s some of the more refreshing storytelling I’ve encountered in a long while, highly entertaining, and evocatively written. His Craft Sequence books include Three Parts Dead, Two Serpents Rise, and Full Fathom Five, with Last Snow First on its way. Gorgeous cover art too, which doesn’t hurt.

Just for fun, who would win in a fight: Captain Picard, Gandalf, or Obi-Wan Kenobi?
Ooh. Tough choice, and it’d depend on how fair of a fight we’re talking about. I’d go with Gandalf, simply for his ability to return from death. Even if he gets knocked down, he’ll be back sooner or later to finish the job. Hard to overcome that kind of persistence.


Bonus Video Trailer

Guest post: Darusha Wehm on oat bars and books

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Darusha WehmIf there’s one thing in this world that I like more than science fiction, it’s food. Delicious, crunchy food. So when Darusha Wehm offered to do a guest post with a recipe, well, that was something I could sign up for.


Children of Arkadia follows three generations of humans and AIs participating in an audacious experiment — to create a just and free society in an orbital space colony. The book is, in many ways, utopian science fiction. The Arkadians are literally trying to build a better world. Of course, it’s not that simple, and this story revolves around how people can (or can’t) resolve the inherent conflict between competing views of what doing the right thing actually entails. And, of course, how they are going to feed themselves.

Arkadia is a mix of high-tech and rural living. Farming is the chief concern of most of the people — human and AI — and even those not directly participating in growing food are, to some extent or another, foodies. Among the human population, at least, everyone needs to eat.

Camilo Molina is someone who wants to make sure no one goes hungry. A homebody and, with his husband Cliff, adoptive parent to a house full of kids, Camilo is one of those people who is always in the kitchen. For him, food is love, snacks are comfort and baking is stress relief. So, when one of his kids goes missing, Camilo’s kitchen starts to look like a commercial bakery.

Here’s one of his favourites:

Camilo’s Nutty Oat Bars

(easy contemporary Earth substitutions in parentheses)

bars1/2 cup goats’ milk butter, melted (cow butter works)
1 large hen’s egg
1/2 cup honey (light brown sugar)
1/2 cup ground nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter)
(a drop or two of vanilla extract)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda (1/2 teaspoon if using sugar rather than honey)
pinch salt
about a cup of mixed nuts and dried fruits (chocolate chips are good, too)

Beat the egg, butter, and honey (and the vanilla if you’re using it) with a fork until it’s fluffy, then stir in the nut butter. Once that’s all smooth, add the oats and mix them well so they are all damp. Then add the flour, baking soda, salt and oats. Stir until it’s just mixed, then stir in the fruit and nuts. Pour it into a pan, smoothing it out. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes at 350F/200C until the centre is solid and the top is golden. Let it cool a bit to firm up, then slice into bars.

About Darusha Wehm:

M. Darusha Wehm is the three-time Parsec Award shortlisted author of the novels Beautiful Red, Self Made, Act of Will and The Beauty of Our Weapons. Her next novel, Children of Arkadia (Bundoran Press), will be released April 28, 2015. She is the editor of the crime and mystery magazine Plan B.

She is from Canada, but currently lives in Wellington, New Zealand after spending the past several years traveling at sea on her sailboat. For more information, visit http://darusha.ca.

Publisher’s Blurb:

Children of ArkadiaChildren-of-Arkadia-cover-1000

Kaus wants nothing more than to be loved while its human counterpart, Raj Patel, believes fervently in freedom. Arkadia, one of four space stations circling Jupiter, was to be a refuge for all who fought the corrupt systems of old Earth, a haven where both humans and Artificial Intelligences could be happy and free. But the old prejudices and desires are still at play and, no matter how well-meaning its citizens, the children of Arkadia have tough compromises to make.

When the future of humanity is at stake, which will prove more powerful: freedom or happiness? What sacrifices will Kaus, Raj, and the rest of Arkadia’s residents have to make to survive?

Darusha’s site: http://darusha.ca/book/children-of-arkadia/
Buy Children of Arkadia: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1927881064/

“The Judge’s Right Hand” to appear in Ceaseless West

Ceaseless West, including my story "The Judge's Right Hand"
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Beneath Ceaseless Skies, which is probably the best fantasy magazine out there right now, just sayin’, is reprinting my story The Judge’s Right Hand as part of their Ceaseless West anthology. The anthology’s contents and cover art are right here, and the anthology also includes one of my favorite BCS stories.

The anthology goes on sale at the end of April… so any day now.

More than you wanted to know, now at jsbangs.conlang.org

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For a while now I’ve been putting up articles at jsbangs.conlang.org which relate to elements of the setting, languages, history, and philosophy behind my published works. I haven’t made a very big deal about it, though, mostly because I wanted to make sure that I had a critical mass of articles before I publicized it, to avoid sending people to an empty site.

Well, I guess it’s full enough, because here you go: more than you wanted to know about Storm Bride and other fantasy works-in-progress. The site is still very incomplete, and I have a dozen TODOs written to myself about topics that I still want to cover. I refrain from writing all of the articles right away, since I suffer from worldbuilder’s disease as it is, and writing encyclopedia articles about my creations sometimes threatens to get in the way of actual stories. But I do get to write the encyclopedia articles at some point. Right now you can see a bunch of articles relating mostly to Storm Bride, including a pretty complete description of the Praseo language, and some details about the Yakhat which never quite made it into the published book.

I intend to trickle articles up onto that site, and I’ll make an announcement here whenever I hit certain milestones. For now, though, feel free to poke around and let me know if there’s anything you particularly like or want to know more about.