Wednesday, 17 February 2016


Title: Manic Monday
Series: A Novel Of New Avalon
Author: Dennis Liggio
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Release Date: 3rd May 2015

BLURB from Goodreads
Dane Monday deals with weird stuff. Mad scientists, sorcerers, robots, time-travelling cats, cyborgs learning the concept of love, and more. Whether it's a death ray, a doomsday ritual, or simply magic gone wrong, Dane Monday is there to stop them. He's even got a rogue's gallery of megalomaniacal villains who want revenge. Armed only with his wits, some reluctant allies, and a satchel full of gadgets, Dane steps forward to save the city of New Avalon.

While investigating an abandoned building, Dane encounters the remnants of a magical ritual shortly before the building explodes in spectacular fashion. Narrowly escaping this destruction with his new ally, the aspiring journalist Abby Connors, Dane follows the threads of this mystery while evading a menagerie of homicidal robots, kidnapping thugs, and the wrath of a mad scientist. At the bottom of it all is a scheme to destroy New Avalon involving a century-old architect, a historic hotel, and something not of our world.

Can Dane and Abby brave the dangers and the strangeness to save the city of New Avalon? Find out in Manic Monday!


Title: Manic Monday
Series: A Novel Of New Avalon
Author: Dennis Liggio
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Release Date: 3rd May 2015

BLURB from Goodreads
Dane and Abby ride again - in a modified El Camino using experimental rocket boosters! And that's not even the main story! After a brief stint of ghost drag racing, Dane follows a lead which brings him far below the city where he and Abby escape the jaws of death to find a strange device. Before they can find out what it is, the device is stolen by an outlaw motorcycle club who are harboring a violent secret. Meanwhile, their friend Wong's long buried past is coming back to haunt him with an explosive vengeance. In this Dane Monday adventure there's fire, a gigantic beast, mystical martial arts, a long buried past, and howling enemies. Chinatown is ready to burn - can Dane and Abby stop it? Find out in Burning Monday! 

Goodreads Link

What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Dennis Liggio. I was born in Garden City, New York, out on Long Island. But over half my life ago I made the trek down here to Austin, TX where I have stayed a good many years. I like that the town is laid back, the brisket flows freely, and the geeks are many.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
BURNING MONDAY, the sequel to MANIC MONDAY - "City on fire, a giant serpent, a Chinese fire cult, werewolf bikers, manic investigator Dane Monday and companion Abby Connors trying to make sense of it all. Also it's ridiculous."

What genre would you place your books into?
I'd say everything I write tends to fall into one of three places. First is Urban Fantasy, which I'd put in the sub-genre of Ridiculous Urban Fantasy. This includes all my New Avalon novels.  They're stories in a modern American city which acknowledges magic, weird science, and strange things. But even when the stories tend to be more serious, such as with the Nowak Brothers, they tend to be ridiculous. We all know these stories are kind of outlandish to begin with, so why not be a little MORE outlandish? I have trouble holding myself too tightly to what is realistic possible when I'm talking about people battling ghouls or fighting robots.
My second genre is horror. My earliest novels were that (THE LOST AND THE DAMNED, COWARDS AND KILLERS), and I haven't been writing that as much lately, other than the short story THE LAST GHOST. But I haven't given up on it, I'm just overrun with so much to write that I've been focusing on New Avalon.
My third genre is absurdist humor. My DAMNED LIES! series is the prime example of this. If my urban fantasy is ridiculous, this stuff is batshit insane. Tongue so purposely in cheek it's coming out the other side, it's where I play around with tropes, allow myself complete freedom, and make myself laugh. This lets me make fun of myself, others, and also end up with two skyscraper-sized robots fighting Cthulhu in Venice Beach. Because, why not, right? I'd watch that movie; I'd watch the SHIT out of that movie.

What can we expect from you in the future?
Currently, expect more New Avalon books. There will be a sequel to THE CASE OF THE DEAD GIRL IN MY APARTMENT in May, and expect the next Nowak Brothers book (sequel to I KILL MONSTERS and JABBERWOCK JACK) in August.
Of course, I'd love to crank out another DAMNED LIES! book, as well as my perennially planned sequels to THE LOST AND THE DAMNED and COWARDS AND KILLERS, but there's only so much time. Just know that I will get to them eventually and that I'm in no danger of running out of ideas for things to write.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
This varies per book. Generally months before I actually start writing the book, I start a concept document. Sometimes it has a working title, sometimes it's just "Untitled Nowak Brothers book #2".  Then I'll start throwing in random notes and ideas when I have them. Sometimes it's just a piece of dialog, a trait, or the vaguest notion of the scene. Sometimes its questions for myself, and as I type the question I'm kind of talking it out with myself. I spend maybe five minutes on a day, often just jotting down stuff I thought of before going to sleep; my main focus is on other books. Over the weeks/months, it evolves, adding some characters with notes, crossing out things I've not decided to do. A few days before I start writing, I add an outline - not an extensive one, more of just putting events together in order. Sometimes there are places in between events where it's just "??" or "something happens that causes <blank>". Then over the next few days and when I start writing, I'll put more details under each part.
However, there's still a fair amount of seeing where the writing takes the story. Sometimes the events cause me to realign the outline, or the characters themselves talking or emoting or doing will suggest added scenes. In addition, as I write, I keep a list of notes. When I'm writing the first draft, I try not to go back to work older than yesterday - I feel it's too easy to keep going back to tinker with the beginning to keep yourself from moving forward. So instead, if I know I need to change or expand something earlier to reflect where I'm going with it now, I just write a note. This can sometimes cause amusing things where people get a job promotion halfway through, a character I gave a name and details of later in the work pops up earlier, taking the place of a faceless person, etc. Once I finish the first draft, I go through that list of notes, making all those changes/additions, then go through and work on the second draft.
So to circle back around to the initial question, I plan to have a general idea of where it's going, but sometimes where it's going surprises me. I remember it being said that Michaelangelo listened to the stone to see what it told him it wanted to be, and sometimes stories are like that too.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?
My ideas  sources vary. I do have a long document of disconnected ideas and some basic book concepts. If one is good, then I start a concept doc and try to flesh it out. Others are just either simmering on a back burner or waiting for the right inspiration to merge with them. I get inspiration listening to music, listening to people, as well as reading, watching movies, and playing games.
I'll mention that one source of inspiration is what other authors didn't do. I imagine we've all had this experience. We're reading/watching something, and there's a sense of mystery of just what really is going on. In our heads we come up with some fantastic ideas. And then as the story continues the twist is revealed... and it's nothing like what we had in our heads. And sometimes we like what we had in our heads better. So sometimes I take those ideas and turn them into something. And some are just sitting on my list of ideas, waiting for the right circumstances to spring them to life.
Other times my idea sources are far less exciting. On sequels, it's sometimes, "what are they up to now?", which suggests its own set of circumstances based on the past. And other times, what would be fun to write? This is perhaps the most important. I don't like getting in a situation where the idea I've selected to work with isn't fun. Writing should be fun and fulfilling; if it's not, readers can tell.

What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
Of course I read a lot, I feel like that's a prerequisite. I'm always surprised at authors who don't read. It seems so strange to me, though I'm sure it makes complete sense to them.
Besides reading, I play video games. I'm a lifelong gamer, starting on the most primitive systems like the Atari 2600 and on to today's beasts of console and PC. For a number of years, I worked within the Game Industry, employed at a variety of game developers and publishers.  So the gamer streak in me has always been strong. Playing video games is just something I've always enjoyed doing, something that is as natural for unwinding as nearly anything else. My favorites range through the genres, including such games as Persona/SMT, Team Fortress, Saint's Row, and Assassin's Creed. I hope to be able to add Overwatch to that list sometime this year.
I also enjoy board games, for the full geek hat trick.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I don't use a pen name, though some days I do wonder if a less ethnic and easier to pronounce last name would have been more pleasing to the ear of American readers or if it would be easier for word of mouth. I think I have a YA novel or two in me, so if that happens, I may use a pen name, so younger readers don't stumble upon my horror unaware.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Write. Keep writing. Write some more. Nobody ever got better at anything by not doing it. Do you think your writing sucks? Then keep writing until it doesn't suck anymore.  Almost nobody starts out as a great writer, but plenty have stopped before they got there.
Writing is a competition with yourself. You should be writing the best you can and writing the stories that you want and need to tell. You're not competing with other writers; they're not writing your stories. Only you are. It doesn't matter if someone's novel is better or worse than yours, whether they are more successful or not. They're not writing your stories. Your job is to do the best at your stories.
Persevere and have thick skin. Not everyone is going to like what you write; that's inevitable. What's not inevitable is how you take that. You can let the criticisms and dislikes from others to magnify your own self doubt and drag you down into the darkness, or you can hold to your own light and keep on going. Nobody else is going to ever write your stories, so you owe it to the world to get the stories out there. There are readers waiting for your stories, they just don't know it yet.
I'd love to read those stories burning inside you. Make them happen.

Twitter: @damnedliesproj

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