It’s April 21st, and as part of the Overkill Blog Tour, SpecMusicMuse presents you with a Double Whammy. And no, I’m not talking about a porno, either, so get your brain matter out of the gutter. What I am talking about is both a review AND an interview in one day. Hell, one post even.
First off, the review:
SpecMusicMuse Review: Overkill by Steven L. Shrewsbury
Another tale of Goria La Gaul, set in the pre-Flood period, in the land of Transalpina, Overkill is just as gritty and blood-soaked as Thrall. Gorias gets summoned by Queen Garnet to find and rescue her lost granddaughter, Nykia, who Gorias once saved when she had been a child. Aided by Alena, one of the Queen’s elite guard, and a palace servant named Orsen, the grizzled old merc must do what he does best: namely kick ass and take names.
This story takes place on land and sea and contains all the action you’d expect in an epic fantasy and a plot twist that just wouldn’t be a La Gaul story if it wasn’t in there. While he avoids making the characters two-dimensional, don’t expect enormous character depth. There’s just enough for a story of this genre without sacrificing the story’s pace. And for such a story that’s all you really need.
The action scenes are vivid. The world and culture feels real once you become immersed. And the story never bores. If you enjoy Sword & Sorcery or Epic Fantasy with a dark edge, then you will love Overkill.
Best read while listening to: the soundtrack to any Conan or Beastmaster movie. Oh, and Viking Metal, because Viking Metal rocks.
And now for:
Gorias le Gaul. How in the world did you come up with a character like him?
SS: He sort of volunteered into my mind. He’s a mash up of Johnny Cash, John Wayne and Wagner’s Kane a little (some say a dash of me as well). In GODFORSAKEN my research told me the sacred spear of the god Lugh was named Gorias. I liked the name. That name and a song by a bluegrass legend from antiquity sealed the deal. I didn’t want to write about a young buck with all his learning to do. Gorias is getting on in life, at 700, getting tired, too, but still full of piss & vinegar. When he stepped forward, well, the stories fell in line.
The setting for your le Gaul stories is the antediluvian period. Obviously that period is mentioned in the Bible, but did you also look into other cultural stories about that period, like the Sumerian tales?
SS: Of course. I know Gilgamesh from Bilgames (only a well read geek will know what I’m talking about). Sure. I read of all cultures and their pre-flood tales, even the American Indians. I think there is a huge epoch we forgot, so thus, anything goes. It sounds like the rules of the material world were a tad bent then ala angels & demons running around. I don’t think all of the things in these books is true (Nephilums, demons cross breeding with saurian beasts to create dragons) mind you, but they are fun to explore. As time goes on, we learn about more forgotten cities from that era, or at least, beyond recorded history. Kenniwick Man, who was in North America 13,000 years ago (found in Washington State) was Caucasian and had a spear head healed into his pelvis (or hip my mind is going). That’s fascinating stuff.
With two books now will we be seeing any more of that old asskicker?
SS: Yes. I have several more in mind and a slew of short stories or novellas I can tie in about his life and that era. There was so much I hinted at in THRALL and blurted in OVERKILL that many will want books written of Gorias’ recollections.
What do you find the most fascinating about Epic Fantasy? And which authors do you find most inspiring?
SS: Anything can happen, pretty much, and it’s a time different than ours. Yeah, some of the same jerks/characters are guilty of the same passions or hatreds, but one can paint with a broader brush. Howard, Wagner, Moorcock, Lieber, Manly Wade Wellman, and quite a number of horror writers, too. I think some writers are more concerned with telling a long series of books than a real story. The Gorias cycle is not one where ya gotta read them all in order to get ‘em. Each is a tale unto itself. I have never conceived a novel thinking, “Ya know what’d be the ice cream on the titties? How ‘bout I write seven of these f*&kers that will only make sense by the last few when I am senile and forgot the original point.” In the past couple years I have written a massive epic fantasy that isn’t submitted yet. I wrote it as a book to do before I die, a story I’ve always wanted to tell. It’s not about Gorias. I talked with a few folks on it and the FIRST thing they said was, “Cool idea, but is this the first of a series?” No. It isn’t.
And speaking of inspiration is there any kind of music that you find helpful to your writing?
SS: A wide variety inspires me for alotta reasons. Johnny Cash, Led Zeppelin, Megadeth, old blues, an offhand line in a Shooter Jennings song can make a novel. Bluegrass Legend Ralph Stanley helped create Gorias La Gaul. I don’t care for rap or pop stuff or modern country music. I like the kinda country that makes one want to drink whiskey and kill yourself. I’ve reached the age where new music doesn’t sound so good to me anymore. There are a few here and there, but, meh.
What other fantastic stuff does Shrews have cooked up in his demented mind?
SS: I have two forthcoming horror novels, HELL BILLY set in reconstruction era Memphis, due out from Bad Moon Books pretty soon here. That one is about a rebel that keeps offing members of the occupying troops family, gets caught and executed then returns the next day. Over and over. LAST MAN SCREAMING is a Lovecraftian western, with my one armed confederate guy Joel Stuart searching for the Black Bible, NAMELESS CULTS in Juarez for Von Juntz nephew. Plus, I’ve written a novel featuring my Widowmaker character, Absalom Abbas, the traveling executioner. I have that big assed epic to get out, plus more fun & games.
Steven L. Shrewsbury is a fantasy and horror author who has well over 300 tales published online or in print. He is the creator of creator of Dack Shannon and the Majestic Universe, as well as the novels Tormentor (Lachesis Publishing), Hawg (Graveside Tales) and Stronger Than Death (Snuff Books).
He has appeared in many anthologies, most recently Harlan County Horrors from Apex Publications. Other anthologies include Deathgrip: Legacy of Terror from Hellbound books; Blackest Death-Vol I from BDB; the high fantasy epic Grimoire De Solace from iUniverse, the hardback Cemetery Poets, Scary, Atrocitas Aqua from DDP.
For more information on Steven L. Shrewsbury, please visit his website at www.stevenshrewsbury.com
For Immediate Release
April 5, 2012
25 Date Overkill Blog Tour and Cover Art Unveiled for Steven Shrewsbury’s Latest Gorias La Gaul Adventure!
Seventh Star Press is proud to unveil the cover art and illustrations created by award-winning artist Matthew Perry for Steven Shrewsbury’s newest Gorias La Gaul novel, Overkill, as well as announce the dates and sites for the Overkill Blog Tour. A pre-order window for a limited edition hardcover is also being opened in advance of the book’s official release.
(Illustrations by Matthew Perry from the first edition of Overkill)
The Overkill Tour is being hosted by Babs Book Bistro, and will feature 25 blog sites over 25 days, beginning April 20th and running through May 14th . The tour will feature a number of activities, from interviews, to reveiws, guest blog posts, and contests/giveaways.
Overkill is the second novel featuring the iconic sword and scorcery figure Gorias La Gaul, following the debut of the character in the novel Thrall, released in late 2010 from Seventh Star Press. Gorias La Gaul is also featured in two short stories, Author and Finisher of Our Flesh, and Insurmountable, both available in eBook format in the Blood and Steel: Legends of La Gaul collection in the Seventh Star Singles catalog.
The story told in Overkill takes place in an ancient time, before a great flood wiped clean the earth, destroying everything upon it. Before the deluge, in a time now forgotten, the world was a place of warriors and witches, conflicts between kingdoms, and, until their extermination, dragons. In this world, men may live centuries, fallen angels have begotten terrifying spawn, and sometimes, the best hope can be found in a brothel.
In the land of Transalpina, a new religion spreads, and important men are dying mysteriously, slain by what can only be the fire of dragon breath. Summoned by the Queen Garnet, the legendary warrior Gorias La Gaul
returns to the place where he once saved the queen’s young granddaughter from treachery and enslavement. The Princess Nykia is gone, and soon others may try to claim the throne. The queen has little choice but to turn to the only man who ever told her no.
With the aid of one of the queen’s elite guard, the battle maiden Alena, and the young palace servant Orsen, the old mercenary will face pirates and traitors, monsters and foul magic in the quest to find the missing heir and learn the truth behind the disconcerting murders.
Overkill will be released in softcover and Kindle versions during the third week of April. The novel is now available for pre-order in a beautiful hardcover edition that is strictly limited to 75 copies.
The limited hardcover edition will be signed and numbered by Steven Shrewsbury and includes a bonus illustration from Matthew Perry not included in other editions. It will be accompanied by an assortment of collectibles, including a set of glossy art cards, bookmarks, and magnets. The limited edition hardcovers will also be bundled with the eBook version (provided as a direct ePub file for users with Nooks, iPads, or Sony eReaders, and gifted as a Kindle file for Kindle users). Those interested in securing one of the 75 limited hardcovers can place a pre-order at: http://seventhstarpress.com/documents/pre_orders.html
The Overkill Blog Tour Dates and Participants Are As Follows:
April 20 Watch Play Read
April 21 SpecMusicMuse
April 22 Splash of Our Worlds
April 23 Edi’s Book Lighthouse
April 24 Sci-Fi Guys Book Review
April 25 Jess Resides Here
April 26 Book Den
April 27 That Book Place Blog
April 28 Urban Fantasy Reviews
April 29 Evie Bookish
April 30 Eva’s Sanctuary
May 2 Darlene’s Book Nook
May 3 Ginger Nuts of Horror
May 4 Ali’s Bookshelf
May 5 The Magick Pen
May 7 The Cabin Goddess
May 8 Bee’s Knees Reviews
May 9 I Smell Sheep
May 10 Once Upon A Time
May 11 Ritesh Kala’s Book Review
May 12 Goatfairy Review Blog
May 13 Fantasy Book Review
May 14 Babs Book Bistro
Contact: C.C. James
Public Relations, Seventh Star Press
Seventh Star Press is a small press publisher of speculative fiction located in Lexington Kentucky