Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Excerpt, Author Interview & Giveaway - Addict (The Cassie Tam Files, book 1) by Matt Doyle

The Cassie Tam Files, book 1
Author: Matt Doyle
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: May 8, 2017
Heat Level: 1 - No Sex
Pairing: Female/Female
Length: 56000
Genre: science fiction, Sci-fi, futuristic, addiction, friends to lovers, private detective, lesbian

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New Hopeland was built to be the centre of the technological age, but like everywhere else, it has its dark side. Assassins, drug dealers and crooked businessmen form a vital part of the city’s make-up, and sometimes, the police are in too deep themselves to be effective. But hey, there are always other options …

For P.I. Cassie Tam, business has been slow. So, when she’s hired to investigate the death of a local VR addict named Eddie Redwood, she thinks it’ll be easy money. All she has to do is prove to the deceased’s sister Lori that the local P.D. were right to call it an accidental overdose. The more she digs though, the more things don’t seem to sit right, and soon, Cassie finds herself knee deep in a murder investigation. But that’s just the start of her problems.

When the case forces Cassie to make contact with her drug dealing ex-girlfriend, Charlie Goldman, she’s left with a whole lot of long buried personal issues to deal with. Then there’s her client. Lori Redwood is a Tech Shifter, someone who uses a metal exoskeleton to roleplay as an animal. Cassie isn’t one to judge, but the Tech Shifting community has always left her a bit nervous. That wouldn’t be a problem if Lori wasn’t fast becoming the first person that she’s been genuinely attracted to since splitting with Charlie. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the police wanting her to back off the case.

Easy money, huh? Yeah, right.


Matt Doyle © 2017
All Rights Reserved 

I always did like Venetian blinds. There’s something quaint about them in a retro-tacky kinda way. Plus, they’re pretty useful for sneaking a peek out the front of the building if I feel the need. That’s something that you just can’t do with the solid, immovable metal slats that come as a standard in buildings these days. That said, a thick sheet of steel is gonna offer you a damn sight more security than thin, bendable vinyl, so I keep mine installed. Just in case. 

Another round of knocking rattles the front door, louder this time than the one that woke me. 

The clock says 23:47, and the unfamiliar low-end car out front screams “Don’t notice me, I’m not worth your time,” which makes for the perfect combo to stir up the paranoia that the evening’s beer and horror-film session left behind. This is my own fault. My adverts are pretty descriptive in terms of telling what I do: lost pets, cheating partners, theft, protection, retrieval of people and items, other odds and sods that the city’s finest won’t touch…I’ve got ways to deal with it all. That’s right, I’m a real odd-job gal. The one thing that I don’t put in there are business hours. The way I see it, even the missing pet cases usually leave me wandering the streets at half-past reasonable, so what’s the point in asking people to call between certain hours? 

More knocking, followed this time by the squeak of my letter box and a voice. “Hello? Cassandra Tam?” 

It’s funny, really. For all the tech advances that the world has made, no one has been able to improve upon the simple open-and-shut letter box. I stumble my way through the dark and wave dismissively at the frosted glass. The light switch and the keypad for the door lock are conveniently placed right next to each other on the wall to the right of the door, so welcoming my apparent guest is a nice, easy affair. The lock clicks a moment after the lights flood the room, and I pull the door open. 

“Cassie,” I say, turning and skulking my way back into the room. “Or Caz. Drop the Tam.” 

I hear a sniff behind me, and the lady from the letter box asks, “Are you drunk?” 

“If I pass out in the next five minutes, then yes,” I reply, turning the kettle on. I’d left it full, ready for the morning, but I guess this is close enough. “Take a seat at the table. Would you prefer tea or coffee? I’d offer beer, but since I reek of it, I guess I must’ve finished it.” 

Footsteps creep unapologetically across the room, and a chair squeaks on the floor. Good. If you can’t deal with a snarky response to something, don’t say it all, and if you can deal with it, then as far as I’m concerned you don’t need to apologize. 

“Coffee,” the lady says. “So, do you always see potential clients in your underwear, or is it just my lucky day?” Her voice has a slightly playful edge to it, but with a sarcastic kick to round it off. 

The business portion of my apartment comprises entirely of a small open-plan room separating my kitchen from my living room. And by open plan, I mean an allotted space that encroaches on both territories but is conveniently large enough to house what I need. Or, in other words, a table, four chairs, and nothing else. Since filing went near entirely digital, filing cabinets have pretty much become obsolete, so the two that I found dumped outside the building when I bought the place currently live in my bedroom, and contain a mix of quick access work stuff and personal files I’d rather not have floating on the net. Most things, though, I store electronically, the same as everything else. 

I rarely use the business table to eat, read, or any of that junk, so until this evening it’s been entirely empty for a good few weeks. The lady sitting there now is studying me, I can see, and probably wondering if this was a mistake. Whatever she may have expected, a Chinese-Canadian gal of average height in a cami top and a loose pair of sleep shorts most likely wasn’t it. For what it’s worth, though, I’m studying her just the same. She’s a lithe-looking thing, dressed in a casual pair of jeans and a plain black fitted top under a leather jacket. If the metal plugs running down her shaven head like a shiny, rubber-tipped Mohawk weren’t a giveaway for what she is, the light scarring punctuating the outer edges of her pale blue eyes certainly would be. She’s a Tech Shifter, and like most of her ilk, she looks like a punk rocker gone cyborg


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Talking with author Matt Doyle!

If you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?

It’s a cop out, but I’m not sure that I would. The here and now isn’t perfect, but there’s a lot of awesomeness out there to be found. I think that it can be far too easy to miss that. Why go back or forward when there’s still so much to discover today?

We’ve all got a little voyeurism in us right? If you could be a fly on the wall during an intimate encounter (does not need to be sexual) between two characters, not your own, who would they be?

There are so many pairings that I love in fiction. Given how much I still read comics and watch cartoons though, I’m gonna say Korra and Asami from Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra. Their relationship wasn’t particularly in-your-face, but having them pull the trigger on the two women getting together at the end of the show’s run was a huge step for kid’s shows. The way they slow built it over four seasons was brilliant, and just seeing the two of them walking hand in hand or having a cuddle would be great because I think they’re probably quite a sweet couple.

Failing that, Kraft Lawrence and Holo the Wisewolf from Spice and Wolf. The way they play with each other in the novels is so endearing, and when they do share a few more tender moments, it’s so hard not to smile. They’re so perfect for each other, and as each book went by, I was virtually begging for them to finally admit how they felt about each other. When they did finally get together, I was so happy!

If I were snooping around your kitchen and looked in your refrigerator right now, what would I find?

Right now? Corner yoghurts mostly. Some have fruit, some have chocolate, and they’re all next to a mass of cheese. And chocolate mousse. There’s also a load of spring onions in there. I love spring onions!

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

The power to shapeshift into anything. Characters like Mystique and Beast Boy always seem so cool to me. Given that I grew up loving werewolf stories though, I’d probably spend a fair bit of time far hairier than I am right now, which would be an absolute pain in the heat of the summer!

If you could trade places with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

I’m not sure that I would. I’m so cruel to them! Even when they get happy endings, they’ve had so many struggles in the lead up and, in many cases, they still aren’t in ideal situations. I can’t imagine that switching places with them would land me anywhere pleasant, and I dread to think what they’d do with my life in return!

If you could sequester yourself for a week somewhere and just focus on your writing, where would you go and what would the environment be like?

Japan. I love Japanese culture, and I really want to visit there one day. If it was purely to focus on writing, then a ryokan would be great. They’re traditional Japanese hotels and all the ones that I’ve seen are really picturesque and relaxed looking. You can get comfy yukatas to wear, the floors are covered in tatami tiles, you can have roll out futon beds (like I have at home), and some even have private onsen (hot spring baths) for rooms. Let me chuck on some specific songs and I’d be well away!

What's the one thing, you can't live without?

A love of life. I know, I know, I’m supposed to give an answer that’s more tangible. The thing is though, whether things are good or bad, I can always find something to enjoy. Being able to look at life as something to be enjoyed and worked at is an outlook that I’m eternally grateful for.

What internet site do you surf to the most?

Hmm … there are a few that I use regularly. Twitter and Facebook sustain most of my social media usage, and point me to a load of interesting news articles. Wordpress is a regular too as it powers my site and is where I go to for most of my anime and video game news and reviews. Outside that, Rajah dot com, voices of wrestling and iheartDG as they keep me up to date on wrestling around the world.

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three author guests be and why?

Ooh! Mark Z Danielewski would be the first. House of Leaves is my most read book, and I find something new every time I dive into it. I’d love to chat with him about how he came up with the concepts of not only the three stories that run through the book, but the wonderfully odd lay-out of the pages. This one is cheating slightly, but Terry Pratchett would be another because he was so important to me in my early life. Discworld was an absolute monster of a world and there’s just so much in there that most people can usually find something to like. For me, it was the City Watch. After that, maybe Patricia Briggs. I really love her Mercy Thompson Urban Fantasy series and eagerly await new books as soon as I finish one. There are so many that I love though, so it’s hard to pick just three, especially as that particular list has already skipped over Neil Gaiman and Isuna Hasekura.

When you got your very first manuscript acceptance letter, what was your initial reaction and who was the first person you told?

The first one that I got was a weird one. The publisher had accepted my manuscript, but on the condition that I commit to an initial investment of several thousand dollars. There had not been any indication on said publisher’s site that this would be a prerequisite for publication, so I was quite shocked. I told my partner, and we both had a good grumble about them. I sent a genuinely polite rejection to them shortly after. The second one that I got was unconditional, so that was met with far more excitement. Again, my partner was the first person that I told. 


Meet the Author:

Matt Doyle lives in the South East of England and shares his home with a wide variety of people and animals, as well as a fine selection of teas. He has spent his life chasing dreams, a habit which has seen him gain success in a great number of fields. To date, this has included spending ten years as a professional wrestler, completing a range of cosplay projects, and publishing multiple works of fiction.

These days, Matt can be found working on far too many novels at once, blogging about anime, comics, and games, and plotting and planning what other things he’ll be doing to take up what little free time he has.

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