Support Big Gay Fiction Podcast on PatreonAuthor Maz Maddox talks to us about her Stallion Ridge series and the shifters and humans who call the Wild West town home. She’s got the scoop on the upcoming sixth book as well as the finale that will arrive in 2021. Maz’s new RELIC series, featuring modern day fossil hunters, is also discussed along with her writing origins, and author influences. Of course, she’s also got some book recommendations too.

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Show Notes

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Interview Transcript – Maz Maddox

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Jeff: Maz, welcome to the show. It is so awesome to have you here to finally sit down for a full interview.

Maz: I’m so excited. When you sent me the email asking me to join the show…it’s always so exciting to be on it but this is the first time I’ve been able to be here as my author self. So I’m very, very honored to be on the show.

Jeff: Yeah, it’s been interesting that you’ve been on as Markie with “Top to Bottom Podcast” a couple times. We’ve talked to you, kind of, split and made you, like, put your Markie hat on and your Maz hat on at the same time. I was like, “We need to get the full story on Maz.”

Maz: Yes, yes.

Jeff: And it’s a good time to do it because the sixth installment of “Stallion Ridge” is on the way.

Maz: Just around the corner.

Jeff: For those who may have missed the June book club episode on “Heartache & Hoofbeats,” which of course, we both adored, tell us about “Stallion Ridge” and where the inspiration came from for this series because it’s such an awesome story.

Maz: So it is a Western action-adventure M/M romance with unconventional shifters like centaurs, mermans, mermen I guess, not merman, manticores, and other big fantastical beasts. And a series that is, like, near and dear to my heart because this is my first one I’ve ever published. And just like it sounds, it’s ridiculous and fun and full of action, and it’s awesome. But the origin of actually how it started is kind of ridiculous because it started off as a joke as things with centaurs typically do. But at the time, when the story was birthed, I was working weird shifts at a 911 call center in downtown Fort Worth, which if people don’t know Fort Worth and its aesthetic, it’s in Texas and it is the most, like, cowboy-centric town there is like they’ve got stockyards and they do steer parades. Like, it’s just over-the-top Western and ridiculous. So working in a 911 call center, a lot of that bleeds over, like all of our officers have cowboy hats, it’s nuts.

So I was working some weird shift and I was texting Jess, who’s my partner in crime on everything and she’s also my content editor, and we were talking about a contemporary story that I was writing at the time, which is terrible and will never see the light of day. But we were joking about how if we were going to put these characters in, like, a Western setting, like what would it be like? And somehow we started talking about shifters probably because I was, like, eyeball deep in M/M romance at the time, probably reading like 1000 Charlie Cochet books. And we joked that one of them would have to be a centaur because that makes the most sense if you’re a cowboy. So it started out as like this goofy joke to just get me through my long shift at 911. My head just exploded with ideas. I was like, “Actually, I think I have an idea for a real story. Like, I think I could make something out of this.” So it started as just a texting joke to keep myself entertained and just blossomed into this huge world that I’m six books deep at this point.

Jeff: Did you envision the series when you started with your centaur shifter?

Maz: Yeah, kind of, because when I was…not really outlining because, at the time, I was like a pure pantser. And since then, I’ve kind of morphed into a different writing style. But at the time, I was just 100% pantser. So I just hit the ground running and just made it up as I went. So as I was coming up with deputies for Cal, this centaur sheriff to have, I started realizing that each of these deputies has backstories that I can stretch out into books. And I was like, “Oh, that’s fun. I can make…like, each book would be about these deputies and them finding love and different shifters and, kind of, stretching out this world.” So as more side characters came in, like, I think it started out being five or six books. And from there, like, I think it grew by two, like, I just kept getting more story ideas. And the books have changed, like certain stories, or certain characters were supposed to get books but then they took a backseat to somebody else. Like, it just got big really fast.

Jeff: And they’ve come out over a relatively short amount of time. Because, if I recall, 2018 was when “Heartache & Hoofbeats” came out.

Maz: Yeah. Yeah, it was…the day before or after my birthday is when “Heartache & Hoofbeats” came out in 2018. And from there, it’s just…I am fortunate that sometimes when the words happen, I could just word vomit and these stories will just pour out of me. And then sometimes it’s a grind. But I’ve been lucky so far that these stories have just been just a blast that they just pour onto the page pretty fast.

Jeff: And it seems like they might be fun to write too because I mean, certainly…

Maz: Oh, yeah.

Jeff: …for us, “Heartache & Hoofbeats” was ridiculously fun. It was really the book that we didn’t know we needed to read and we just went crazy for.

Maz: Thanks. Yeah, I mean, they’re a blast to write just because I try to keep them fun and entertaining. And actually, I was talking to Kurt the other day about, like, if I had to describe my writing style I was like, “Look, I’m not T.J. Klune. I’m not going to, like, change your life.” But like, I try to put a lot of action into it, make it fun, and I attempt to be funny. And that’s my writing style in a nutshell.

Jeff: But you do it so well, that’s the thing. It was a very real dramatic situation in “Heartache & Hoofbeats” that had this nice layer of comedy and this nice layer of romance and a lot of action.

Maz: Yeah, I try to keep…because I have a really bad attention span. So unless there’s, like, explosions and a lot of things happening, I’m usually like, “Oh, I’m gonna go clean the kitchen.” Like, I’m too ADD for my own good. So my books have to be, like, just packed with action. So my goal is for people to be like, “Wow, this is fun. It’s like reading an action movie.” Like, that’s what I want it to be like.

Jeff: We’ve talked to some authors who use action figures and stuff to like, map out their battle scenes. How do you map out your battle scenes? Because there’s quite a few that are like big shootouts across multiple buildings and people all over the place. How do you keep track of everybody?

Maz: It’s kind of a mix of…I guess it won’t be surprising that I’m into action movies and things like that. I’m into comic books with a lot of action. I’m also an avid gamer. So I play a lot of, like, third-person RPGs where a lot of that shit is happening all at once. So I’m used to, kind of, visualizing what’s happening. But a good portion of that is me writing out a scene and then having Jess go back through and be like, “Hey, this guy came out of nowhere,” or like, “Why is this dude on this building? Didn’t you just say he was down here?” And I’m like, “Oh, shit.” So a lot of it is rewriting and fixing. But for the most part, I could visualize it in my head really well, and then as it pours onto the page, that’s when the little, like, random people will be in weird spots. So we have to clean it up, but yeah.

Jeff: So what do we have to look forward to in the sixth book?

Maz: So the sixth book in the “Stallion Ridge” series is Sky’s book, which Sky is a very complicated character. He’s…man, I don’t even know where to begin with Sky because this book has, like, just slapped me over the head so many times. He’s a loner character who’s kind of on the fringe of the society and the fringe of the group. But he is also their guardian and their protector, like, he watches over Stallion Ridge, but he never considers himself part of it like he, on purpose, leaves himself out on the fringes. He’s a different type of shifter whereas shifters in my universe are born as shifters. They’re their own species. Sky is actually a human who has turned into a shifter, which is extremely rare and something that only his people in his tribe can do. So not a lot of people understand him. So he’s kind of in that weird in-between where he’s not really a shifter so he doesn’t fit in, and humans don’t get him or are a little afraid of him because he can be in both worlds like that.

So this book is a little heavier than my other books. Like, I definitely rolled in the comedy, it has to have its funny moments. But it’s not as lighthearted and ridiculous as some of the earlier books because Sky is a tragic character. He’s alone, he has a tragic background and things like that had to surface to make that story makes sense. And it’s also the book before the last book in the series. So there’s seven books total, this is number six. So a lot of the stuff that happens in this book steps right into what’s gonna be happening in seven. So I really had to, one, write Sky well because he’s great and I love him, and a lot of people are really excited about his story, but I also had to really stick the landing and make it to where you’re excited about the finale because there’s a lot of stuff that’s gonna be happening in book seven.

So whereas the other books were really easy and fun to write because there’s action scenes and humor and ridiculousness and all this stuff, this one had the most rewrites, and like, Sky’s love interests, his species changed three times, like, it’s just, this book has kicked my ass. And like, I’m really happy where it is now and I’m really excited to bring it out, but I’ve never worked so hard on making sure that a book is perfect as much as I have with Sky’s book.

Jeff: I’m so excited that it’s Sky. I was captivated by Sky back in “Heartache & Hoofbeats” because you could tell that he is part of the group but not part of the group and he lives outside of town and things like that. So I’m excited that it’s his story that gets to come front and center. I’m intrigued to see what kind of individual attracts Sky from a romance standpoint.

Maz: Yeah. And that was one of the questions I had for my betas because my two betas that have read all of my books, who are dear friends of mine, like, in real life, one of my questions I had for them with the first pass of the book was, “Is this person good enough for Sky and is Sky good enough for him? Like, do they match?” Because this guy’s really…like, the bar is high because, like, the person who steals Sky’s heart has to be, like, perfect. And the first iteration, they’re like, “No. No, he’s not.” So I was like, “Shit,” so I had to go back in and fix things and add things and make things make more sense until I finally got their seal of approval. So once my two biggest Sky fans said it was okay, I was like, “Okay, I think the rest of the world will like it.”

Jeff: And what can you tease potentially about the finale? And I’ll start with maybe the easiest question is, when do you think it comes out?

Maz: So my goal, and if Sky’s book’s difficulty was any indication, I’m sure book seven is going to also be a monster to wrangle and get everything just right, definitely 2021 because it’s not gonna take me a year to finish this book. But man, maybe summer or fall, like just with the other stuff I have planned and how much planning I have to go into book seven. But it’s the end of the story. It’s everything coming to a head like things that have been going on is finally going to settle and it’s going to be a lot of things. Like, I can’t say anything because it’s not out yet, Sky’s book is not out yet. So I can’t be like, “Blah, blah this.” But there’s so much. There’s so much. And it’s a really bittersweet thing because I know that it’s going to be a really awesome end to the series, but it’s also going to be the end of the series. So it’s gonna be the final dot, that final “The End” scrolling on the screen kind of thing. So yeah.

Jeff: You mentioned over time that you’ve shifted from pantser to more of a plotter. How long have you known what the end of the series is?

Maz: I knew how I wanted to end it with who was going to be front and center pretty early on. But I didn’t know how I was going to get there until probably book, like, three or four. Because I was like, “I’ll figure out how we’re going to land here. But I just don’t know yet.” So since I started off as such a pure pantser and everything was just, kind of, just going for it once we hit, like…I wanna say once we hit Mack’s book, which is four, Jess was like, “Okay, we got to plot this stuff out from here on out because, I mean, you can’t just wing it into the final, like we need to set things up, we need to make things apparent, we need to make things make sense.”

So from then on out, it was more of a hybrid thing to where it’s like a discovery author, I think is what they call it, to where it’s like you’re still kind of pantsing, but you have an idea of what’s gonna be ahead and you just, kind of, let things blossom out as you expand on your outline. So I had an idea of what we were gonna do. And then when I was writing book five, like, I got slapped in the back of the head with exactly how I’m going to make book seven happen. And like, the end of book six, I was like, “Oh, shit, this is it. This is the thing,” right? So it just kind of came out of nowhere. And since Jess made me do a hard stop and plot everything out, I was like, “Oh, my God, I didn’t write myself in a corner. This is beautiful.” So yeah.

Jeff: You’ve made quite a world here with “Stallion Ridge.” How much of it is, like, rooted in maybe research you’ve done, either Old West or about some of the creatures that you’ve created, and how much of it is just your creativity going for broke and making it up?

Maz: So I would say most of it is me just making it up. Like, I do a little bit of research with the Wild West because I wasn’t sure, like, what had been invented at that time. So I didn’t wanna try to bring stuff in that didn’t work, even though it’s a fictional world and really, I could and be like, “Hey, it’s not real. They had flashlights, get over it.” Like, I just wanted to try to keep it as ish, like in a plot or in a timeline that made sense. But then as far as the mythical creatures, I mean, I looked into them a little bit, like I know that a little bit more of like the origin of, like, the minotaur and the maze thing and centaurs and kind of where they came from and stuff. But I was like, “Well, I don’t want them to be from where they originated.” Like, they’re not Greek, they’re in this contained world. So I just kind of took, like, my inspiration of what these characters would be like and then molded, like, their culture around if they were shifters.

So like, with centaurs, since they move between two forms, they’ve got the sash that goes around their waist. One of my backgrounds is anthropology, so I used to study a lot of cultures and stuff. So I was like, well, there’s a lot of traditional garments and different cultures. So I was like, well, that would make sense that they would have, like, a coming of age thing where it’s like when they hit puberty, and they could switch between two forms and they’re gifted these ceremonial sashes that they could use to transition without being offensive to, like, nudity and things like that. So it’s just one of those things where it all, sort of, made sense as I was writing it. So a good chunk of it was me just daydreaming and making things fit from reading into different cultures. And then a little bit of watching a lot of old Clint Eastwood Westerns and just getting inspirations and stuff. Like, I could watch “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” and be like, “All right, I got some ideas.”

Jeff: Those were some good movies to get, kind of, a window into that world.

Maz: Yeah, absolutely. I was like, “Man, I don’t think I can ever write as good of a, like, cowboy as Clint Eastwood was.” But I was like, “That guy is the best.”

Jeff: Now earlier this year, you also started up a brand new series with “RELIC.” And this time you went towards dinosaurs. What’s the “RELIC” series about and then talk to us specifically about that first book.

Maz: So the “RELIC” series, RELIC stands for Reclaiming Extinct Lineage from Illegal Collectors. So it is about a band of badass dinosaur shifter guys who tackle fossil poaching, which is actually something I’m extremely passionate about. Because if you don’t know me, I’m a huge paleontology nerd. I love dinosaurs. I love fossils. I have a pretty deep background. And like, I used to volunteer for the Institute of Mongolian Dinosaurs. They have a huge, like, poaching problem, especially with Mongolia, where people will go in, dig up all these cool fossils and then hightail it back to America and sell these fossils for millions of dollars. Like, one of the biggest cases that is more famous here is Nicolas Cage had a Tyrannosaurus skull that he bought for like…I don’t know, like, a gratuitous amount of money, like $6 million, because it was this beautiful, giant, authentic skull. It was from Mongolia.

So the lady who runs the institution for the study of Mongolian dinosaurs, she fought to get that skull repatriated back to her country. And so he had to cough it up and just be out of that millions of dollars because it’s not his and they weren’t allowed to sell it to him. So it’s something I’ve kind of always wanted to do a story around because I love, like, bringing that to the forefront of people’s attention and stuff like that. So being able to use my love of M/M romance and building cool characters, then also having a cool plotline like something that I actually care about, and how these guys will go in there guns-a-blazing and rescue these fossils and getting them back into the museums and universities and stuff, it’s just been super fun. And it’s set in modern times. So I could use, like, normal vernacular and they have a cell phone. It’s a lot easier than writing Wild West.

Jeff: No more question on if they have a flashlight or not, they can have all the tech they want.

Maz: Exactly. Yes, yes. It’s been a lot more…just I don’t have to research like that. But I do have to research real life geography. So I’ll run into different problems where I don’t have to worry about flashlights, but I have to worry about like, “Oh, crap,” like, this is a real continent so I actually have to plot out like, well, if they need to get from here to here, like I have to make sure that makes sense. So…

Jeff: There’s always something that has to be researched and sorted out.

Maz: Yes. I’m, like, unreasonably pissed off that I, like, had a cold plotline for this next book that I’m writing and then realized that it totally didn’t make sense that they ended up there based on the events that had already happened. So I had to go back in and fix it. I was like, “Writing in the real world sucks.” Like, I should just make this my own continent.

Jeff: These books too seem like kind of fun, heisty, almost romantic suspense plots too with the way that you’re doing because of what these characters have to do as part of this, essentially, task force getting these relics back. Is that fun to write as, like, an alternative to “Stallion Ridge,” to go down that path?

Maz: Yeah, it definitely is because I mean, I don’t think I’m super great at writing heisty things, but I can write dumbass characters trying to do that, and that’s what makes it fun. Like, in the first book, it’s a paleontologist who gets scooped up into all this madness when he didn’t really want to. And then the shifter guy who he’s got to follow around is like this crazy punk guy who has a pink mohawk and loves chaos. And like, honestly, if Dalton could just set something on fire and run, like, that’s how he fixes problems. So it’s not…like, it has definitely…like, these guys have training and they can step up and be badasses, but for the most part, some of them are total goofballs.

So Dalton is definitely gonna be the guy who somebody will be like, “Okay, here’s the plan. Make sure you follow this.” He’s like, “Got it,” and then you pan to, like, absolute chaos like he obviously didn’t follow the plan. There’s spray paint everywhere and nothing makes sense. Whereas like, in the second book, the character’s name is Baja. And he’s completely by the book, there is no wiggle room, he has a set plan and if you deviate from the plan, he’s gonna get mad. So it’s like, I like the different characters who handle everything totally differently. So the first book is going to be nuts and funny and ridiculous. And then the second book is gonna be poor Baja trying to do things and things not going his way.

Jeff: Do you have a projection on when the second book arrives?

Maz: No, I was doing pretty good trekking along. And then I actually found out that…because this book is gonna be set off the coast of Portugal. And I found out while reading “Rise of the Dinosaurs,” that there is a huge Jurassic formation right on the coast of Portugal that has, like, a bunch of really cool trace fossils. And I was like, “Well, they have to go there.” So I’m trying to figure out, like, how I can get them there based on what I’ve done. And now I have to go back and rearrange things because…real-life geography.

Jeff: Real-life geography.

Maz: Yeah, I’m like, “Crap.” So now I’ve got to go in and fix some stuff. So it’s put me a little behind.

Jeff: What’s your projection on the “RELIC” series? Will it go as long as “Stallion Ridge” did?

Maz: No, it’s not as long. I have five books planned right now. So I can’t really see myself deviating from that. I mean, if there’s another side character who pops up like in “Stallion Ridge,” like, Scarlet came out of frickin’ nowhere and demanded a book. So that happened. But “RELIC,” if there’s a side character that flares up that I wasn’t expecting, maybe, but right now, these guys are pretty set. So I have a pretty good idea of five books at this point.

Jeff: Cool. What is it about shifters and, like, some of these alternate worlds that you’re creating? I mean, you’re dealing with real-world geography now, but you do have a pivot on things because you’ve got dinosaur shifters.

Maz: Right.

Jeff: What is it about that, that attracts you for your writing?

Maz: That’s a good question. And I was trying to think of our super good answer for that last night. But I think I just like weird stuff. I like strange stuff. I love stories with big fantastical characters and creatures. I referenced before I’m a big gamer so I love diving into, like, worlds like the Witcher, or Dragon Age, or Skyrim that have these huge, larger than life beasties that you have to tackle down or being able to play as, like, a cool species, like especially in Skyrim, I get to be an Argonian, which is basically a dinosaur person. So I get to roll around fighting dragons as this cool, scaly lady. So like, I’ve just always been attracted to just big, wonderful, dynamic, crazy worlds filled with monsters and creatures and stuff like that. I’ve been like that since I was a kid. I love monsters and animals and stuff like that. So, shifters…and I think that’s mostly people who really like shifters are the same way. You have to just really love animals and different cool fantasy worlds and things like that. I think that’s…I fit along with everybody else who loves shifters as far as that goes. I just love cool, strange, fun things.

Jeff: You mentioned earlier that you’ve got this contemporary that you wrote that’s terrible that’s in a drawer somewhere. Is there a story that you could see writing that way at this point that is just full-out contemporary?

Maz: I mean, never say never, because I remember, at a past interview with T.J., him saying that, like, he swore up and down he’d never do werewolves and green creek. So I don’t think it’s out of my realm. I could probably do a contemporary and there’s…like, some of my favorite genres to read are, like, the action-thriller contemporaries or, like, the cool, like, murder mystery ones and stuff like that. Like, I love contemporary romance. There’s some really great shit out there. I know that if I wrote it, it would have to be high action and things like that. So maybe, I mean, I’ve been wanting to get into action-thrillers or maybe like a high fantasy kind of thing. So I don’t know. Yes?

Jeff: When you’re building your romance arcs, do you have favorite tropes you like to play with?

Maz: Yeah, I really like…enemies to lovers is my all-time favorite. Like, I feel like I could read and write that forever and just never get sick of it. But I also really like the, like, really, like, cocky, sure of himself guy and, like, really shy guy. Like, I really like that dynamic, I think, because that was how me and my husband met. I was super, super shy and Alex is like this really boisterous personality who’s just always at a 10 and that’s why I fell in love with him. So I love that trope a lot. And I also saw one recently that I thought was so great, and I want it to be mine. But somebody said, like, “Idiot and idiot,” like two like really just either oblivious or dumb characters that somehow fall in love. And I was like, “I think I could do that. I think that would be fun.” So yeah, I think those are my…definitely enemies to lovers and cocky and shy are my super favorites.

Jeff: You certainly did enemies to lovers to a great degree in “Heartache & Hoofbeats.”

Maz: Thank you. Thank you. That was fun.

Jeff: Because that was true. What got you started writing? I mean, it sounds like you’ve been creative and had these thoughts for a long time.

Maz: Yeah, I think…I mean, I definitely had been writing since I was a kid, like me and my best friend of 20-plus years, we used to write little short stories about nonsense together and things like that. But I didn’t really get serious into writing with the emphasis of publishing until I was working at 911. And just, that’s when I discovered M/M romance, like, the novels, because I used to read, like, comic books and stuff with M/M romance but it was not the same. Once I found the novels I started just eating those like crazy. I would go through two or three books a week because I’d be sitting taking calls and just poring over these books.

So I would say about a year into reading super heavy M/M romance and doing the podcast and everything, I was like, “Okay, I wanna take these ideas and I wanna do M/M romance. This is what I love. I can’t get enough of it. I want to play in this world, in this dynamic.” So I would say probably a year before “Heartaches & Hoofbeats” came out is when I was like, “Okay, yeah, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna give it a shot. And if it doesn’t work, whatever, if it does work, I’ll keep going with it and just seeing what happens.”

Jeff: I really love your story on that going from reader to passionate enough about the books to start the podcast to, “I’m gonna write my own books.” It’s an amazing trajectory.

Maz: Yeah, it’s been fun. And I think within the M/M romance community, you find that a lot like it’s one of those genres that people love with their whole hearts. Like, I’ve met romance readers across the board, just generic romance readers who they’re like, “Yeah, I like it, I really like it.” But when you get into M/M romance, we love so hard, like we hold on to these stories, we follow them, we cry when things happen. We get really connected with our authors because a lot of our authors are easily accessible and have a big online presence and are wonderful people. So it’s hard not to stumble into a full fangirl. Like, once you dip your toe and you fall right into the deep end, it’s hard not to do that. And I think that’s got to be not a uniquely M/M romance thing because I’m sure other genres have that, but I haven’t seen it as warm and gripping in other genres as far as like fan groups and stuff like that.

Jeff: It’s a really unique community, for sure. That’s really awesome.

Maz: Yeah.

Jeff: Who were some of your author influences as you’ve been writing and gearing up to write?

Maz: I think the ones that had the biggest impact that really pushed me to wanna write because I’ve read so many, I mean, so many books, but the ones that really stood out and made me think like, “You know what, this is what I wanna sound like, this is what I wanna go for,” T.J. Klune, obviously, I think that’s a lot of people’s inspiration, but he’s brilliant. Like, his stories have insane hearts. I don’t think I’ve cried so hard over any work of fiction other than the first “Wolf Song,” like listening to that in my car, I had just gotten to work and it was right…and I’m not gonna spoil anything. It was right when a very big thing happened that was very tragic, and I was just a sobbing mess. I would love to get to the point in my author career to where I could write something that just, like, takes your heart and punches it across the room but we’ll see how that goes. But it’s also like, his stories are hilarious, like, they’re so funny because the characters are real and awkward and ridiculous. And they don’t have…like, a lot of them are just…they feel like people you’ve met, that you know in your life. So when I grow up, I wanna be T.J. Klune, we’ll just say that.

But other than Klune, Charlie Cochet, of course, her shifters are hilarious. Dex is one of my all-time favorite characters, lots of action, really fun. I think that was the first shifter series that I read that was like, “Oh shit, this is fun.” Like, these are…like, it had a cool world as far as like how the shifters are why they are and how the relationship dynamics are just hysterical. And I just couldn’t get enough of them. I loved all of them. Recently, I found Alice Winters, and holy shit, like, those books are so funny. I was like, “This is my sense of humor. Like, this is my style of humor.” And she nails it. I was like, “If I can get something this funny, I would have, like, achieved a life goal.” It was so good.

And then I would say the last one is Jex Lane, which is not my typical style of things to read because it’s pretty dark, but her world-building is kick-ass. Like, the way that she has the worlds of, like, the vampires and the incubi and stuff like that., it’s just like I could tell this woman has been deep into like World of Warcraft and cool lore, stuff like that, because she just has these cool underlying, like, weapon systems. And it’s just neat, man. And I love the way she builds up her worlds. And she’s just a fantastic human being too. So, but those are the ones that I like. Those are my goals. Like, if I can have the heart of Klune, the comedy of Alice Winters, the badass shifters like Cochet, and the world-building like Jex Lane, I will be, like, the story goddess.

Jeff: What’s a book you read over the past few months that you would actually recommend to our listeners?

Maz: So the last one that I picked up that I just couldn’t put down, and I actually haven’t been able to read a super ton, which is hysterical because it’s a pandemic so this is like the time to get back into reading, but I read “The Last Son” by Katie Edwards. And I’ve just read the first book, but oh, man, it was good. It was urban fantasy, which is kind of hit or miss, either I’m like, I’m really into it, or like, I don’t really care. But man, I couldn’t put that book down. I devoured it in like maybe three days, like, I really need to pick up the second one. But I love that one, that was really good. And like, it’s definitely not a strong romance, romance is a subplot. It’s more about the magic system and like the cool stuff that’s happening with the houses in the story, but it’s got like a, kind of, pseudo love triangle thing, which I often don’t like. But as I’m like, oh, love triangles, I don’t really like that. But like, the other side of me is like, “He better end up with this guy or I’m going to revolt.” So yeah, Katie Edwards has my number because I was immediately a huge fan.

Jeff: Nice. We’ve talked a little bit about what’s coming next, the seventh book of “Stallion Ridge,” and there’s more “RELIC.” Is there anything else you could tease us about what’s coming for you like into 2021?

Maz: I’m working on a little winter holiday short story about a guy who accidentally summons a demon during a moment of depression. And now this demon has to go with him to a Christmas party. And it’s the most dumb premise but it’s been a blast to write because I was like, “What would be the most ridiculous person to have to go to like an ugly sweater Christmas party as a fake boyfriend?” I was like, “A demon. That would be good.” So that’s what I’m working on currently in between finishing up Sky’s edits and working on the second “RELIC” book is this dumb little freebie holiday short story that’ll be out, I think, around either Christmastime or, like, the beginning of 2021.

Jeff: That just sounds hilarious. I mean, first accidentally summoning a demon and then to have to make it your fake boyfriend. It’s like, that’s kind of gold.

Maz: Yeah. My goal is to be really funny. And I remember I posted in the group about, you know, what the story was about. And somebody’s like, “I’m glad I’m not the only one writing something dark.” I was like, “Oh, it’s not dark. It’s silly.”

Jeff: They don’t know you well enough.

Maz: No. I was like, “I don’t write dark. I can’t. I’m too full of shit.”

Jeff: How can people keep up with you online to know when all the books are coming out and when the giveaway story will be available?

Maz: So I do have a newsletter. You can sign up through my website, just, there’s a little tab that says, like, contact/subscribe, you could go there and subscribe. Otherwise, I’m on Facebook way too much for my own good. So I have a just normal person profile that I’m on more than my page. So I would say newsletter if you just wanna get updates not have to listen to me talk about weird stuff. Like, there was a new paleontological find about what dinosaur buttholes look like and I shared that with everybody I knew. So if you want more things like that, follow me on Facebook. If you just want news about my upcoming releases and stuff, newsletter’s probably the way to go.

Jeff: Fantastic. Well, Maz, thank you so much. This has been a blast getting to learn more about your writing and your origin story. Thank you so much for hanging out with us.

Maz: Yeah, thanks for having me on.