Scott M. Sandridge

A Work in Progress

SpecMusicMuse—Review of Remnant in the Stars by Cindy Koepp

remnantinthestarsThe freelance crew of the Gyrfalcon are given a special mission to find the Kesha, an exploration vessel that disappeared after leaving a garbled message. All Derek needs to complete his crew is a pilot and an Aolanian astrogator. He recruits Kirsten Abbot, an injured fighter pilot with a malfunctioning prosthetic arm; and Calonti Sora, an Aolanian banished by his people who has a daughter who was onboard the Kesha. In order to save the crew, they must deal with two anti-Aolanian groups seeking to sabotage the search and rescue.

Remnant in the Stars by Cindy Koepp reminds me of some of the more old-school science fiction where characters resolved conflicts with their brains instead of just their weapons, but while also focusing on the characters instead of just the gadgets while delving deep into cultural, philosophical, and religious themes. Koepp takes a basic plot, a search and rescue mission, and weaves in subplots both personal and political like a master seamstress.

I found this book very enjoyable and fell in love with the main characters almost immediately. I highly recommend Remnant in the Stars.

Best to read while listening to: soundtracks to Star Trek, Contact, and Avatar.

 

 

cindykoepp_authorphoto_650x400About the author: Originally from Michigan, Cindy Koepp has a degree in Wildlife Sciences and teaching certification in Elementary Education from rival universities. After teaching for fourteen years, she pursued a master’s degree in Adult Learning with a specialization in Training and Performance Improvement. Cindy has five published science fiction and fantasy novels, a serial published online, short stories in five anthologies, and a few self-published teacher resource books. When she isn’t reading or writing, Cindy spends time whistling with a crazy African Grey. Cindy is currently working as an optician in Iowa and as an editor with PDMI Publishing and Barking Rain Press.

 

remnantinthestarsBook Synopsis for Remnant in the Stars: Two hundred years ago, the Aolanian home world exploded and a remnant of survivors escaped. As their convoy combed the galaxy looking for a new world to colonize, they discovered Earth and were given permission to establish a temporary base while they continued their search for a new home world. When an Aolanian exploration vessel goes missing after transmitting a garbled distress call, the uneasy alliance between the humans and the Aolanians is put to the test as two anti-Aolanian groups jockey to use this opportunity to press their own agendas by foiling the rescue mission.

Because his daughter was onboard the Kesha when it vanished, Calonti Sora reluctantly signs on as an astrogator with the Gyrfalcon, one of the ships in the search party. There he meets up with an old human friend, Kirsten Abbott. Together, they work to overcome prejudice and political plots as they race toward an enemy no one could expect.

 

loudest_actions_coverBook Synopsis for The Loudest Actions: First contact missions are hard enough, but they get even tougher when the negotiator has an ego the size of a gas giant.

Burke Zacharias, a first contact researcher, is chosen to spearhead humanity’s first official contact with Montans, an insect race that has already had a run-in with less friendly humans. Although his words and overtures toward the Montans are cordial enough, the Montans are put off by how he treats the crew of the scout ship that brought him to the world.

With other, less friendly forces trying to establish a foothold on the world, the negotiation must succeed in spite of Burke, or the Montans could be facing extinction.

 

Author Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KoeppC

Twitter: @CCKoepp

Website: http://ckoepp.com/

Tour Schedule and Activities

11/7 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post

11/7 The Seventh Star Interview

11/8 MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape Interview

11/9 Jordan Hirsch Review

11/10 Magic of Books Guest Post

11/10 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! Top Ten’s List

11/11 Sheila’s Guests and Reviews Guest Post

11/11 Novel-ties Review

11/12 KylieJude.com Top-Tens List (Blogger Picks Topic)

11/13 Darkling Delights Guest Post

11/14 Enchanted Alley Guest Post

11/15 Bee’s Knees Reviews Review

11/15 The Sinister Scribblings of Sarah E. Glenn Guest Post

11/16 Jorie Loves a Story Review

11/16 The Word Nerds Guest Post

11/17 SpecMusicMuse Review

11/18 Jorie Loves a Story Q and A

11/18 Sapphyria’s Book Reviews Guest Post

11/19 Deal Sharing Aunt Interview

11/20 Jorie Loves a Story Review

11/20 D.L. Gardner Blog Guest Post

11/21 The Swill Blog Review

11/21 Willow Star Serenity Review

 

Amazon Link for Remnant in the Stars

Kindle Version

https://www.amazon.com/Remnant-Stars-Cindy-Koepp-ebook/dp/B008LIRDEE

Amazon Links for The Loudest Actions

Kindle Version

https://www.amazon.com/Loudest-Actions-Cindy-Koepp-ebook/dp/B01L60SZDQ

 

November 17, 2016 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , | 2 Comments

SpecMusicMuse—Review of Night of the Living Inflatable Love Dolls by J. H. Glaze

lovedollcoverFrom the very moment I read the title I knew I was in for something weird and campy. But would I love it or hate it?

Night of the Living Inflatable Love Dolls is like your typical zombie apocalypse story except the “zombies” are blow-up dolls, dildos, and other sex toys that are brought to life by an experimental chemical weapon designed by the military. Sheriff Wilson must marshal the townsfolk against the onslaught all while trying to protect his daughter, Lana, and her boyfriend.

The story runs like your usual story about survival during a zombie apocalypse. And in that, there is not much in the way of surprises. Let me be clear, there are scenes that happen in sudden and unexpected ways, but they remain the kind of tropes you would expect in the subgenre. However, Glaze takes the oddball concept of the story and runs with it, leaving puns and scenes that will make you laugh your ass off. And, well, the victims exploding from the black gooey substance being projected out of the dolls and sex toys is both gory and…..a brilliant running pun.

I found myself loving the story, even if I was sometimes cheering on the dolls. While not a masterpiece, it is still a fun and entertaining story that will appeal to any reader who has a morbid and perverted sense of humor. Or any sense of humor.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse—Review of Zombies!! Official Board Game Soundtrack by Midnight Syndicate

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Zombies!!! Official Board Game Soundtrack

Midnight Syndicate is famous for creating music used in haunted houses all over the nation during Halloween, as well as making soundtracks for horror films. They even created an official soundtrack for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. So when I learned they had made an official soundtrack for the Zombies!! board game, I wasn’t surprised.

I’ve reviewed other CDs of theirs in the past, so I went in expecting a level of quality that only Midnight Syndicate can deliver.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

As I’m writing this review there is one part in the song, “Fear,” that just made me jump out of my seat. Yes, I’m listening to the Cd as I’m writing this review, and no this is not the first time listening to it. It’s my third, and I’m still catching new sounds and melodies I hadn’t noticed the last two times…and still getting startled by surprises.

One of the things I love about Midnight Syndicate is how they incorporate background sound effects into the melodies, and sometimes the background sounds can creep you out even more than the music can…and the music keeps you at the edge of your seat the entire time, sometimes giving you a break to relax…to then throw the next surprise at you. And by the time you reach the climax during “We’re Screwed” and “Race to the Helipad,” don’t be surprised if you find yourself biting your nails.

Midnight Syndicate has horror music mastered to a fine art, and once again they fail to disappoint with the Zombies!! soundtrack.

Best to listen to while reading: any zombie book, especially from Brian Keene or Armand Rosimilia.

And don’t forget to also get the board game the soundtrack is for.

October 21, 2016 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | Leave a comment

Mood Music by Crymsyn Hart

crymsynhart_authorphotoMusic is a key thing to get me into the mood for a book. Heck, I’ve even got so enamored on a song that I’ve concocted a whole story around just the one song. Once the book is written, I have nothing to do with that song or artist for a few months because I’ve just over played them. I don’t particularly plan on who I am going to listen to during the day. I just put my computer  or Spotify on shuffle and listen to whatever comes my way.

However, if I’m going to be writing dark fantasy, I like to listen to Ballad Metal, what I call it, with such bands as Nightwish or Kamelot or even some instrumental collections to bring me into the other world where dark elves and even vampire fairies exist. If my muses decide they want to focus solely on vampires, then I break out one of my favorites either Type O Negative or Concrete Blonde.  When I get down and dirty and into the action scenes or big fights, then I pop in Disturbed or Cradle of Filth so I can see the battle happening before me in either the guitar riffs or the screaming of the lead singer.  For other things it all depends. I shy away from country and rap only because I’m not a fan of the genres.

When it comes to writing grim reapers, I don’t have a specific playlist in order. But I do like to listen to darker music. Inklubus Sukkubus comes to mind as well as Abney Park. Instrumental tracks by Nox Arcana are some of my favorite as well. Usually what Goth bands I have go into the cue so I can think about death.  Listening to Abba wouldn’t really get me into the dark place I need to get to at times in order to write about someone getting killed.

But then again the songs sneak in there and it’s always interesting to find out what comes out of my brain when the unexpected song comes on.

 

deathsrevivalcover1200x800Death’s Revival Blurb:

Becoming a grim reaper was right up my alley. I enjoyed being dead. I helped souls crossover into either Heaven or Hell with my fellow reaper, Than. For two years, I enjoyed my life and then the killings started. Psychics were being murdered at haunted sites and souls disappearing. Someone was tampering with the fabric of the universe, trying to draw something evil into this world. To do that, the killer needed the souls of the psychics and the ghosts he could gather to open the doorway. I was charged with saving those souls and find out who the serial killer was. Yeah, being used as bait was definitely not my first choice, but who can kill a grim reaper? I’m already dead. With Than’s help, I’ll stop the evil from penetrating this world so I can get back to my soul gathering. I mean the dead stay dead, right?

 

Buy Links:

 

Amazon                                            Barnes & Noble                                         KOBO

 

Bio:

 

Crymsyn is a National Bestselling author of over seventy paranormal romance and horror novels. Her experiences as a psychic have given her a lot of material to use in her books. She currently resides in Charlotte, NC with her hubby and her three dogs. If she’s not writing, she’s curled up with the dogs watching a good horror movie or off with friends.

 

To find out more about Crymsyn:

 

Website: http://www.ravynhart.com

Twitter: @crymsynhart

Blog: http://www.crymsynhart.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crymsynhart

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Crymsyn-Hart/e/B002BMJ1Z0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1405515745&sr=8-1

Newsletter Sign Up

 

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Virtual Tour Document

Author: Crymsyn Hart

Featured Book Releases:

Death’s Dance

Death’s Revival

September 12-18, 2016

About the author: Crymsyn Hart is a National Bestselling author. Her worlds are filled with luscious vampires, gorgeous gods, quirky witches, and everything else that goes bump in the night. Hell, there is even a delicious cheesecake god floating around, but if I were you I wouldn’t eat his brownie cheesecake.

Crymsyn worked as a psychic for many years in Boston while attending Emerson College. She graduated with a BFA in Writing, Literature, & Publishing. Crymsyn shares her life with a small zoo, three playful puppies and her hubby Mark. If you come after dark, you’re more then likely to find her snuggled up with a gory horror movie, or a bloody vampire movie.

Crymsyn has a collection of Living Dead Dolls and five bookshelves overflowing with books. Of course there’s always room for more.

deathsdance1200x800Book Synopsis for Death’s Dance: Being a psychic, you would think talking to the dead was a walk in the park. However, it’s not always that simple. The hooded specter haunting me is one I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid. One day, he appeared in my bedroom mirror. Good. Evil. I don’t know what his true intentions are. 

Enter Jackson, ghost hunting show host extraordinaire, and my ex, to save me from the big bad ghost.

From there…well…it’s been a world wind of complications. My house burnt down. I’m being stalked by an ancient evil and gotten myself back into the world of being a ghost hunting psychic. Jackson dragged me, along with a few other psychics, to a ghost town wiped off the map called Death’s Dance. 

From there things went from bad to worse. 

Death’s Dance is Book One of the Deathly Encounters Series 

deathsrevivalcover1200x800Book Synopsis for Death’s Revival: Becoming a grim reaper was right up my alley. I enjoyed being dead. I helped souls crossover into either Heaven or Hell with my fellow reaper, Than. For two years, I enjoyed my life and then the killings started. Psychics were being murdered at haunted sites and souls disappearing.Someone was tampering with the fabric of the universe, trying to draw something evil into this world. To do that, the killer needed the souls of the psychics and the ghosts he could gather to open the doorway.I was charged with saving those souls and find out who the serial killer was. Yeah, being used as bait was definitely not my first choice, but who can kill a grim reaper?I’m already dead.With Than’s help, I’ll stop the evil from penetrating this world so I can get back to my soul gathering.

I mean the dead stay dead, right?

Author Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crymsynhartauthor

Twitter: @CrymsynHart

Website: http://www.ravynhart.com

Tour Schedule and Activities

9/12 Beauty in Ruins Top Ten’s List

9/12 Sapphyria’s Book Reviews Guest Post

9/12 The Seventh Star Blog Author Interview

9/13 MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape Author Interview

9/14 The Southern Belle from Hell Top Tens List

9/14 Sheila’s Guests and Reviews Guest Post

9/14 Jordan Hirsch Review

9/15 Deal Sharing Aunt Author Interview

9/15 SpecMusicMuse Guest Post

9/16 Jordan Hirsch Review

9/17 I Smell Sheep Top Ten’s List

9/18 The Enchanted Alley Review

Amazon Links for Death’s Dance

Print Version

https://www.amazon.com/Deaths-Dance-Crymsyn-Hart/dp/1941706134

Kindle Version

https://www.amazon.com/Deaths-Dance-Deathly-Encounters-Book-ebook/dp/B00L8JOJAY

Barnes and Noble Link for Death’s Dance

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deaths-dance-crymsyn-hart/1119890521?ean=9781941706138

Amazon Links for Death’s Revival

Print Version

https://www.amazon.com/Deaths-Revival-Crymsyn-Hart/dp/1941706754

Kindle Version

https://www.amazon.com/Deaths-Revival-Deathly-Encounters-Book-ebook/dp/B01FL38OPS

Barnes and Noble Link for Death’s Revival

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deaths-revival-crymsyn-hart/1123775642?ean=9781941706756

September 15, 2016 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | Leave a comment

A Dream Writing Day in America by L. Andrew Cooper

CooperPhotoThe clock on the cable box says 3am, so I turn off the TV and the jigsaw puzzle app and, getting ready for bed, concentrate on writing. Before sleep I focus on images, tableaux I imagine forming during key moments I haven’t yet described in a story. Last night I went to bed picturing a pile of cages on a beach. I don’t often dream about the images my consciousness brings to sleep’s doorstep, but having the images with me lets sleep know what kinds of things I’m interested in seeing, and at the very least the images will be there waiting when I exit. I hope to dream in the right visual style, even if I don’t remember details, and maintain continuity between sleeping and waking.

The easiest way to make “sense” out of some of the best stories in my horror collection Peritoneum is to read them as nightmares. I’m interested in connections the brain makes when traditional, rational sense becomes impossible, like during sleep. The best fear comes from non-sense.

Morning, perhaps barely. To sustain pre-coffee brain-mush, I linger awhile, grasping at story ideas while the noise of other concerns crowds in. Eventually, I get up, fetch the first cup of espresso, take some pills, and mainLeapingatThornsCover1200X800line some news. If bedtime is about images, waking is about plot. The news shows that virtually all the people in my country think approximately half the people spew nothing but nonsense, and thus we all have a good lot of fear going. Everyone’s saying this is America’s wake-up call, but the meaning of “this” has changed regularly almost every day for fifteen years. There’s more than enough “this” to supply plots for horror stories. The pulse of the American audience beats so hard you can count neck throbs from across the way.

After counting throbs, I get to writing and editing. I alternate between hammering at new sentences and chiseling at old ones. I wish I could say that I went into some kind of automatic-writing trance-state and produced thousands of words at a sitting, but that’s rarely true. I move painstakingly, pausing for long bouts of imagination and then recording aspects of them one word at a time until I need to pause again to reimagine, to see, hear, touch, smell, and taste again, differently, so I can keep the words coming. “A day’s work” results in fewer words now than it used to, but the results seem more likely to last.

[INTERLUDE: MUSIC. Other people’s music adds to the rhythm. When working on most of the stories in Peritoneum, I was listening to soundtracks, notably Paul Mercer’s soundtrack to the film Psychopathia Sexualis and music by Angelo Badalamenti and Philip Glass. Readers familiar with the music will get some of its… flavor… in the stories. A novella I’m working on now is set in the present but involves the 1950s, so I keep listening to and writing about 50s music. The 50s flavor gets more than a little… extra spice… from the surrounding ingredients, but I couldn’t make the stew without the sound.]

Writing sometimes gets broken up by evening activities and carries on into the wee hours. Evening/night involves loafing time, but that’s time for consuming narratives, literary, sure, but also television, movies, and video games. I play a lot of video games these days, but that’s okay, as I’ve already read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies. I try out elements from video games in short stories “Patrick’s Luck” and “Door Poison” in Peritoneum. Video games, like dreams, have their own physics. They’re non-sense, but players acclimate to them just like Americans acclimate to nightmare politics.

The jigsaw puzzle app I’m playing at night is a new discovery, but it suits me. I love seeing big pictures emerge out of seemingly nonsensical messes. If you looked carefully at all the stories from my two collections, Leaping at Thorns and Peritoneum, you’d see that they all fit together in strange ways. Some connections I planned ahead, and some happened while writing. I like ending my day putting together a picture. I go to bed with images, preparing for the next day’s nightmares.

 

PeritoneumCover1200X800

 

About the author:  L. Andrew Cooper scribbles horror: novels Burning the Middle Ground and Descending Lines as well as anthologies of experimental shorts Leaping at Thorns (2014 /2016) and Peritoneum (2016). He also co-edited the anthology Imagination Reimagined (2014). His book Dario Argento (2012) examines the maestro’s movies from the 70s to the present. Cooper’s other works on horror include his non-fiction study Gothic Realities (2010), a co-edited textbook, Monsters (2012), and recent essays that discuss 2012’s Cabin in the Woods (2014) and 2010’s A Serbian Film (2015). His B.A. is from Harvard, Ph.D. from Princeton. Louisville locals might recognize him from his year-long stint as WDRB-TV’s “movie guy.” Find him at amazon.com/author/landrewcooper, facebook.com/landrewcooper, and landrewcooper.com.

Book Synopsis for Peritoneum: Snaking through history–from the early-1900s cannibal axe-murderer of “Blood and Feathers,” to the monster hunting on the 1943 Pacific front in “Year of the Wolf,” through the files of J. Edgar Hoover for an “Interview with ‘Oscar,’” and into “The Broom Closet Where Everything Dies” for a finale in the year 2050–Peritoneum winds up your guts to assault your brain. Hallucinatory experiences redefine nightmare in “Patrick’s Luck” and “The Eternal Recurrence of Suburban Abortion.” Strange visions of colors and insects spill through the basements of hospitals and houses, especially the basement that provides the title for “TR4B,” which causes visitors to suffer from “Door Poison.” Settings, characters, and details recur not only in these tales but throughout Peritoneum, connecting all its stories in oblique but organic ways. Freud, borrowing from Virgil, promised to unlock dreams not by bending higher powers but by moving infernal regions. Welcome to a vivisection. Come dream with the insides.

Book Synopsis for Leaping at Thorns: Leaping at Thorns arranges eighteen of L. Andrew Cooper’s experimental short horror stories into a triptych of themes–complicity, entrapment, and conspiracy–elements that run throughout the collection. The stories span from the emotionally-centered to the unthinkably horrific; from psychosexual grossness to absurd violence; from dark extremes to brain-and-tongue twister. These standalone stories add important details to the fictional world and grand scheme of Dr. Allen Fincher, who also lurks in the background of Cooper’s novels Burning the Middle Ground and Descending Lines.

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Author Links:

Website: landrewcooper.com.

Twitter: @Landrew42

Facebook: facebook.com/landrewcooper

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/landrewcooper

Tour Schedule and Activities

8/8 MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape Interview

8/8 SpecMusicMuse Guest Post

8/8 Darkling Delights Guest Post

8/8 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post

8/9 Jordan Hirsch Review

8/10 The Seventh Star Interview

8/10 Vampires, Witches, Me Oh My Top Ten List

8/10 The Sinister Scribblings of Sarah E. Glenn Guest Post

8/11 EricJude.com Guest Post

8/12 Reviews Coming at YA Guest Post

8/13 I Smell Sheep Top Ten List

8/13 Bee’s Knees Reviews Review

8/14 Sheila’s Guests and Reviews Guest Post

Tour Page URL: http://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/l-andrew-coopers-peritoneum-and-leaping-at-thorns-blog-tour/

Tour Badge URL: http://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/LAndrewCooper_TourBadge.jpg

Amazon Links for Peritoneum

Print Version

https://www.amazon.com/Peritoneum-L-Andrew-Cooper/dp/1941706746

Kindle Version

https://www.amazon.com/Peritoneum-L-Andrew-Cooper-ebook/dp/B01FKW6AJC

Barnes and Noble Link for Peritoneum

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/peritoneum-l-andrew-cooper/1123778083?ean=9781941706749

Amazon Links for Leaping at Thorns

Print Version

https://www.amazon.com/Leaping-at-Thorns-Andrew-Cooper/dp/1941706738

Kindle Version

https://www.amazon.com/Leaping-at-Thorns-Andrew-Cooper-ebook/dp/B01FL1EQXE

Barnes and Noble Link for Leaping at Thorns
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/leaping-at-thorns-l-andrew-cooper/1120361766?ean=9781941706732

August 8, 2016 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse: Interview with Dan Jolley

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I once met Dan Jolley when he was on a panel about writing for comic books, and I learned more in that hour from hearing him speak than I had in the years I spent reading on the subject. So it gives me great pleasure to present to you an interview for the Dan Jolley’s Gray Widow’s Walk Blog Tour.

 

danjolley_smallerWebTell the readers a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in a tiny town in northwest Georgia, where I failed utterly to fit in with the whole hunting/fishing/NASCAR/chewing tobacco scene, but (thanks to my father and older brother) fell thoroughly in love with science-fiction and fantasy literature, as well as with the comic books that my brother brought home from college. (He’s eleven years older than I am, and was gone to college by the time I had entered first grade.)

At age nineteen, through a mixture of luck and… well, really just luck, I secured my first-ever professional writing contract. Unfortunately, the company that supplied said contract went out of business before my project could get published, and it wasn’t until about a year and a half later that I actually got paid to write for the first time. Those initial forays were in the comic book industry, where I stayed safely ensconced for about five years. From there, thanks to networking at conventions, I began to branch out, first into licensed-property novels, then into original prose and children’s books, and finally into writing for video games. I’m currently in the midst of a Hollywood thing, but nothing is certain there as yet, so I won’t be going into detail for fear of jinxing it.

Anyway, I moved away from that tiny town, stayed gone for roughly twenty years, and then through a bizarre series of events wound up coming back to it. So now I live in the town where I grew up, and am married to a fantastic woman whom I’ve literally known my entire life. We have cats. They’re mostly decorative.

 

What are the pros and cons of working in multiple genres?

I’ve often said it was a blessing that I more or less learned to write by writing comics. (Side note: I have a whole series of blog posts on my website, called “How to Write the Way I Write,” that details pretty much everything I know about the nuts and bolts of writing comic book scripts. FYI.)

Comics scripts are incredibly unforgiving. The page count is fixed. The panel count and word count, depending on the artist you’re working with, are tightly controlled, and you have to take the page turns into account, so that you really want anything big or surprising to take place at the beginning of an even-numbered page. I didn’t consider this restrictive when I was first starting out. It was just the way things were done.

Learning to think that way, to be creative inside of concretely-set parameters, definitely prepared me for writing in other media. Screenplays are not as rigid, but they do have an unforgiving format that must be followed. Writing video games presents a whole other set of rigid parameters, but because I was accustomed to that sort of thing, it really wasn’t a big deal when I got asked to write in, and I’m not kidding here, an Excel spreadsheet. (Spreadsheets are incredibly common in video game writing. It makes the lines of text and dialogue easier to import into the game engine.)

Where I realized I could really spread my wings, so to speak, was in writing prose. You start writing a novel, and all of a sudden the rigid page counts go out the window. You want a chapter to be ten pages? Fine. Eight? No problem. Fifteen? Yeah, whatever. It was incredibly liberating.

I love all the different genres and media in which I’ve written over the years, but I think writing prose novels has to come in at the top of my list, because it’s just so freeing. Plus, and this is no slight to the creative teams I’ve worked with, there’s something hugely rewarding about generating something entirely yourself. With a novel, there is no penciler, there is no programmer, there is no animation director who looks at a scene you’ve written and makes a sort of hissing noise and says, “I don’t know, that sounds expensive.” It’s just you and the page and, eventually, you and the editor. If I were stranded on a desert island and could only pick one medium to take with me, it would be novels, hands down. …I’m not sure that metaphor makes any sense. Moving right along!

 

Gray Widow_s WalkCover1200X900Tell us about Gray Widow’s Walk.

Gray Widow’s Walk is the first original novel I’ve ever written for an adult audience. I did a trilogy of YA science-fiction/espionage novels back in 2007 and 2008 called Alex Unlimited, and I’ve written and co-written novels based on media properties such as Star Trek and Angel and Iron Man and Transformers — plus I’ve got a Middle Grade urban fantasy series coming out this October from HarperCollins called Five Elements. But Gray Widow’s Walk is the first time I’ve ever been able to take the gloves off, throw out the desired word count, disregard any limitations as far as language or gore or sex, and just tell whatever story I wanted to. Consequently, it’s the prose project that I’m most proud of to date, that turned out most like what I had envisioned, and pretty much represents the high point of my career so far.

Gray Widow’s Walk is the story of Janey Sinclair, a young woman whose life has been a series of cruel, unfair tragedies. At age nine she lost her mother to cancer; at sixteen, her father fell in with a criminal element, and Janey not only saw him executed in front of her eyes, but was also shot herself and left for dead. After recovering (physically) from that, and deciding to live her life with as little human contact as possible, she met a young man, fell in love, and married him, only to lose her new husband in a truly devastating way.

And somewhere in there, in some way that remains a mystery to her, she gained the ability to teleport from one patch of darkness to another.

When the story opens, Janey has already stolen a prototype suit of military body armor, and rather than trying to work out her issues through therapy, she puts on the armor and a mask and decides to correct some of the same kinds of injustices that she’s faced herself. Janey takes to the streets of Atlanta, Georgia and, because the body armor is gray, she’s soon dubbed “the Gray Widow” by the press. (I realized not long ago that the book could be summed up as Daredevil meets Red Sonja. I think the best description of the genre would be “superhero noir.”)

But as Janey soon discovers, her ability ties into a much, much larger picture, and to a conflict on a scale she never imagined. Because there are other people out there who have been similarly affected, and one of them — a bloodthirsty runaway named Simon Grove, with a shapeshifting ability that’s gone horribly, grotesquely wrong — has Janey in his sights.

Gray Widow’s Walk is the first book in the Gray Widow Trilogy, to be followed by Gray Widow’s Web and Gray Widow’s War. And before Janey’s story is finished, she’s going to find herself at the heart of a conflict that will affect the entire planet.

 

What kind of music do you listen to, and have any songs influenced or inspired your writing.

Music actually plays a pretty big role in my whole creative process. (For the record, I apologize for using a phrase as pretentious as “my creative process.”) Any time I need to come up with an idea, or work out kinks in an existing idea, I like to get in the car and drive around aimlessly while listening to loud, aggressive music. It does something good for my brain waves. Songs with heavy, driving, deliberate beats tend to do the trick. I actually have a play list on my phone that I use for the driving-around thing, and it doubles for when I’m working out at the gym. Let’s see…I’ll give you a sample of the good stuff…

  • “Brompton Cocktail” – Avenged Sevenfold
  • “Sabotage” – Beastie Boys
  • “Turn Down For What” – DJ Snake & Lil Jon
  • “Mechanize” – Fear Factory
  • “As Heaven Is Wide” – Garbage
  • “Black Widow” – In This Moment
  • “Wretches and Kings” – Linkin Park
  • “Fallout” – Queensrÿche
  • “Lovesong” – Snake River Conspiracy

The playlist is about four hours’ worth of material, but I’m always on the lookout for new stuff, so if any of your readers have suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

 

Where can readers find you online, and where can they find your work?

My website is www.danjolley.com. It’s got my entire body of work catalogued.

My Twitter handle is @_DanJolley

And you can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dan.jolley1.

Also, my Amazon author page is here:

http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Jolley/e/B001JCEC0W/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1466317728&sr=8-2-ent

Thanks for having me!

June 21, 2016 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Dan Jolley Gray Widow’s Walk Blog Tour

TourBadge_GrayWidowsWalk

Virtual Tour Document

Author: Dan Jolley

Featured Book Release:

Gray Widow’s Walk

June 20-26, 2016

 

 

About the author:   Dan Jolley started writing professionally at age nineteen. Beginning in comic books, he has since branched out into original novels, licensed-property novels, children’s books, and video games. His twenty-five-year career includes the YA sci-fi/espionage trilogy Alex Unlimited; the award-winning comic book mini-series Obergeist; the Eisner Award-nominated comic book mini-series JSA: The Liberty Files; and the Transformers video games War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron. Dan was co-writer of the world-wide-bestselling zombie/parkour game Dying Light, and lead writer of the Oculus Rift game Chronos. Dan lives somewhere in the northwest Georgia foothills with his wife Tracy and a handful of largely inert cats. Gray Widow’s Walk is his first adult novel.

Learn more about Dan by visiting his website, http://www.danjolley.com, and follow him on Twitter @_DanJolley

 

 

Book Synopsis for Gray Widow’s Walk:   “The only thing in this world you can truly control is yourself.”

Janey Sinclair’s ability to teleport has always been a mystery to her. She tried for years to ignore it, but when tragedy shatters her life, Janey’s anger consumes her. She hones her fighting skills, steals a prototype suit of military body armor, and takes to the streets of Atlanta, venting her rage as the masked vigilante dubbed “the Gray Widow” by the press.

But Janey’s power, and her willingness to use it, plunges her into a conflict on a much grander scale than she had anticipated.

Soon she encounters Simon Grove, a bloodthirsty runaway with a shapeshifting ability gone horribly wrong…

Garrison Vessler, an ex-FBI agent and current private defense contractor, who holds some of the answers Janey’s been searching for…

And Tim Kapoor, the first person in years with a chance of breaking through Janey’s emotional shell—if she’ll let him.

But as Janey’s vigilantism gains worldwide attention, and her showdown with Simon Grove draws ever closer, the reason for her augmented abilities—hers and all the others like her—begins to reveal itself. Because, high above the Earth, other eyes are watching. And they have far-reaching plans…

Gray Widow’s Walk is book one of the Gray Widow Trilogy, to be followed by Gray Widow’s Web and Gray Widow’s War.

 

 

Author Links:

 

Website:

www.danjolley.com

 

Twitter: @_DanJolley

 

 

 

 

Tour Schedule and Activities

6/20/2016       MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape    Interview

6/20/2016       Beauty in Ruins   Guest Post

6/21/2016       SpecMusicMuse   Interview

6/22/2016       The Word Nerds  Guest Post

6/22/2016       I Smell Sheep   Interview

6/22/2016       Cover2Cover  Top Ten’s List

6/23/2016       Sheila’s Guests and Reviews   Guest Post

6/24/2016       Deal Sharing Aunt   Interview

6/24/2016       Infamous Scribbler  Interview

6/25/2016       Jordan Hirsch   Review

6/26/2016       Jorie Loves a Story  Review/Interview

6/26    Swilliblog    Review

 

 

Amazon Links for Gray Widow’s Walk

Print Version

https://www.amazon.com/Gray-Widows-Walk-Dan-Jolley/dp/1941706398

Kindle Version

https://www.amazon.com/Gray-Widows-Walk-Widow-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B01F3ZPTAW

 

Barnes and Noble Link for Gray Widow’s Walk
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gray-widows-walk-dan-jolley/1123793587?ean=2940158215902

June 18, 2016 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | Leave a comment

SSP Read To Review Program

This banner says it all:

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October 3, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse – Interview with Peter Welmerink

Welmerink Pic 2015The Peter Welmerink Virtual Tour starts now, with an interview with the Master of Military Zombie Horror, himself. Enjoy!

 

 

How did you come up with the idea for your Transport trilogy?

I’d been writing Fantasy material for quite a while, and wanted to do something in my second favorite genre/theme which is Military Action-Adventure.

I had also wanted to write a locally-based fictional adventure, change things up a bit by having the towns, cities, buildings-—and even people—-be different. Basically, an alternative future look and history. I wanted fighting men and women in it as the protagonists, and the world in which they were involved somewhat overall antagonistic.

I have not read a lot of alt-history and/or fictional adventures set in Michigan, and definitely not Military action-adventure…with zombies, so I created a not-so-far-flung-future Michigan, mainly West Michigan (where I grew up as kid and adult, and still love dearly) in which a great global caTRANSPORT minipromolamity had occurred (viral pandemic caused by the avian flu strain of 2013) and cast the region in turmoil and zombotic chaos.

I also have a love for all those big, armored military vehicles. The big ground vehicles, tracked and wheeled. I liked the look of the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier and AAV-7 Amphibious Assault Vehicle, and with inspiration by the fictional Warhammer 40K Crassus, my fictitious M213 Heavy Transport Vehicle was born. I made it a wheeled AND tracked vehicle because… don’t know… just because. LOL

 

What is Hunt for the Fallen about?

HuntFortheFallen_CoverCaptain Billet took a pretty serious wound across his forehead in Book One, so he isn’t feeling well this go-round, nor is he feeling up to dealing with anyone’s shit.

The Spring rains of 2026 have brought the Grand River several feet above flood stage, and those waters and the stormy weather has greatly affected the local zombie populace. Part of the enclosure collapses and five UCRAer’s go into the fast-moving, churning waterway. Billet and crew get sent out to “retrieve” them. They are joined by a TC (tank commander), Jeremy Pike, his crew and Abrams tank, The Devastator, who appear to have their sights on one of the big local zombies.

And Pike may have ideas of going AWOL with the tank, which Billet is bound and determined to not let happen, though the HURON only has a popgun of a new 25mm cannon while Pike’s rig sports a very lethal 120mm.

Lettner or anti-zomb loyalists, or Reganshire agents, appear to also be moving against the big city as communication lines are down, which Billet, crew and the mighty HURON will go up against.

All this AND a undead assassin is stalking Captain Jake Billet, “Hero of Grand Rapids.”TRANSPORT Book 1-3

 

What parts of the Zombie Apocalypse subgenre fascinate you?

I think mainly the versatility of what one can do in a apocalyptic setting, or in this case, my Post-POST zomb-pocalyptic setting.

As I have had the good fortune of discussing zombies and zombie apocalypse storylines with other very cool authors, it seems there is no end to what one can do in this ZOMBIE REALM. There are books about what it’s like to be infected and turning into a zombie, books about the zombie population becoming so large that they become the dominate… er… race? species?…on Earth. You have zombies by VooDoo, and Snow White zombies, and…

You get my point.

Plus, to me, it’s always about SURVIVAL. How do we survive in a world with the Undead amongst us?

The whole gist of the zombie-infested world I created was to go beyond the initial “apocalypse,” the initial event, and play with how we, the living, survive with THEM still in our midst. Actually more so how my military characters endured the rigors of dealing with both—the Living and the Unliving.

HuntFortheFallen_2_small

That is one cool APC in that book.

Thanks. It is actually a HTV, a Heavy Transport Vehicle, as mentioned above. I have a 1/18th scale mock-up of what I am calling a PROTOTYPE M213 HTV, as the actual HURON (and her four other sister vehicles: Lake Michigan, Superior, Erie and Ontario) is wider, larger, heavier than the rendition I’ve created.

 

Have you ever had a story idea inspired by a song you were listening to, and/or have you used music in the background while you write?

WALK by Foo Fighters inspired my SIGNAL IN THE DISTANCE short story (soon to be released via Peninsulam Publishing). The story is about a soldier from the Korean War, in an altered post-war America that has suffered nuclear devastation and everyone is living in underground bunkers, though they can venture out into the ruins to acquire things from their neighbors, etc. The main character, Capt. Rylan Jenkins, suffers from PTSD and guilt from losing his squad during the war and often has nightmares about his lost men calling to him from the Beyond. WALK is a great song about having lost one’s way and deciding to stand up and keep moving forward no matter what.

Unfortunately, a massive Cthulhu-esque creature rises out of the depths of Lake Michigan and threatens Ryss’s forward momentum… just a little. LOL

SHE BUILDS QUICK MACHINES By Velvet Revolver inspired me during some of the HURON’s driver, LCpl Loutonia Phelps, action scenes. Mainly during their confrontation with the giant mutated bull in TRANSPORT (Book One).

And Shinedown’s CYANIDE SWEET TOOTH SUICIDE: I listened to that several times as the sadistic and psycho Rebecca Regan (from the TRANSPORT Series) was created and written.

Um, so, to answer your question, YES.

 

Who are your favorite authors, and who are your favorite musicians?

HuntFortheFallen_1_smallIf we’re talking old school authors: Robert E Howard, Fritz Leiber, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Karl E Wagner.

If we’re talking newer school: Glenn Cook (Military Fantasy), David Drake (Military SciFi), Cherie Priest (Steampunk), Chuck Wendig (Urban Fantasy). Other currents I enjoy in the mid-to-small press forums: Steven Shrewsbury (Hardcore Epic Fantasy), our own Stephen Zimmer (Epic Fantasy), Russell Slater (Michigan-based Thriller/Alt History Intrigue), Tim Marquitz (like…everything), Aaron Rocheleau (YA SciFi), Jake Elliot (Epic Fantasy). Those are the ones I’ve read anyway within the last year.

Musicians: David Grohl, Chris Cornell, Glenn Danzig, Angus Young & the lads (their new album ROCKS!), Joe Walsh, and to mix it all up, a little Johnny Cash when the mood strikes.

Depending on my mood, I read and listen to many styles and subjects. Variety is the spice of life as they say.

 

What future literary endeavors are you planning?

I am hoping Steven Shrewsbury’s and my BEDLAM UNLEASHED, anReturn to Strange Home cvr epic fantasy Viking berserker novel, will come to fruition and back into readers’ hands. (Previously published, we know it is in much more capable hands with Seventh Star Press.)

There may be a TRANSPORT short story collection consisting of some pre-series Captain Billet, crew and HURON stories though SSP.

I am also working with another publisher (Peninsulam Publishing) on some further specific material, and a new TRANSPORT World mini-series featuring a new character: Joe Cross, Urban Salvage Engineer. He works in Reganshire, for Rebecca Regan and her old man. His main job is to go out and “salvage” goods and bring them back to Reganshire. He’s a good guy caught in a bad position, and his “salvage” operations usually land him in some sort of intense situation.

 

**********

Peter Welmerink’s Hunt for the Fallen Virtual Tour

PeterWelmerinkTourBadge

 

PeterWelmerinkAuthorPhoto_BWAbout the author: Peter Welmerink was born and raised on the west side of pre-apocalyptic Grand Rapids, Michigan. He writes Fantasy, Military SciFi, and other wanderings into action-adventure. His work has been published in ye olde wood pulp print and electronic-online publications. He is the co-author of the Viking berserker novel, BEDLAM UNLEASHED, written with Steven Shrewsbury. TRANSPORT is his first solo novel venture. He is married with a small barbarian tribe of three boys.

Find out more about his works and upcoming projects at:
http://www.peterwelmerink.com

 

HuntFortheFallen_CoverBook Synopsis for Hunt for the Fallen:

Captain Jacob Billet
Journal Entry – Sunday April 5, 2026

It’s raining, it’s pouring, the undead are roaring…

Amassed at the UCRA east end enclosure, the dead strain the fence line while soldiers keep watchful eyes, the survivors on the opposite side of the rising river about to lose their minds.

It’s a crazy time: nonstop precipitation; everyone’s up in arms; paranoid city council members with an asshat City Treasurer. Water, water everywhere. Zees dropping into the churning drink. Troops afraid of being stitched up and thrown back into the fray as Zombie Troopers. Tank commanders getting itchy to head out on their own after drug-laden shamblers. Reganshire insurgents trying to extract our west side civvies for some unknown reason, possibly pushing the city into taking heavy-handed action against them.

Then there’s some black-haired dead dude staring at me through the fence, grinning like he’s off his meds.

And I thought Lettner was a headache.

All this sh*t might give me a heart attack.

Hunt for the Fallen is Transport Book Two

 

Author Links:

Website:
www.peterwelmerink.com

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/author.peterwelmerink

Twitter:
@pwelmerink

Tour Schedule and Activities

9/21 A Work In Progress Interview
9/21 I Smell Sheep Guest Post
9/21 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post
9/21 shells interviews Guest Post
9/23 Book in the Bag Interview
9/23 Sheila Deeth Book Blog Guest Post
9/24 Bee’s Knees Reviews Review
9/25 WebbWeaver Reviews Guest Post
9/26 Vampires, Witches, & Me Oh My Top Tens List
9/26 fuonlyknew Review
9/27 Coffintree Hill Guest Post
9/27 Armand Rosamilia, Author Guest Post

 

eBook and Print Links for Hunt for the Fallen

Amazon Links for Hunt for the Fallen

Print Version

http://www.amazon.com/Hunt-Fallen-Peter-Welmerink/dp/1941706193

Kindle Version

http://www.amazon.com/Hunt-Fallen-Transport-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00RB2PZJG

Barnes and Noble Link:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hunt-for-the-fallen-peter-welmerink/1120954014?ean=9781941706190

September 21, 2015 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | Leave a comment

Supernatural Superposition: Worldbuilding in the “Real” World

ECGarrisonAuthorPhotoMy gracious host, Scott Sandridge, has requested that I talk about the worldbuilding I did when writing Blue Spirit: A Tipsy Fairy Tale. My first reaction was, “but the world was built for me already, I used Indianapolis as a base!” But when I thought about it awhile, I realized that the world of Blue Spirit is more than the modern time period and urban setting. My “urban fantasy” setting is different than, say, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, or Red Tash’s Trollogy.

Since we’re talking worldbuilding, we need to consider what makes my BlueSpirit_cover_1200X800world different. First of all, my main character Skye spans two worlds, and is aware of yet another world. Her “origin story” is as a side character, mostly comic relief, in Sinking Down, the second book in my Road Ghosts Trilogy. In that book, she’s possessed by a demon, and though she “got better”, the healing process left a bit of her soul on its own, separate but linked. Though the demon came from the Shadow world, the twilight realm between ours and the afterlife, Skye’s detached bit of soul has its own properties; it is a spirit being named Minnie, and it resides in what we’d call Faerie.

The Fairy world, like the Shadow world, is overlayed over our own, and meets it more directly in some places, but maps quite differently at times. In one place it might stretch out into a small pocket universe, while over there a single step could carry you great distances in our world. Because of her connection with Minnie, Skye sees into this other world, and often sees the true form of people and creatures that seem ordinary to everyone else.

2_Illustration_BlueSpiritBecause of the crossover with the Fairy realm, there are special, magical places in our world that are enhanced. For example, Holliday Park is a city park with a hilly wooded area riddled with trails, creeks and ponds, and also an enormous group of sculptures and columns made to look like a ruins. In Blue Spirit, these are more than they seem to be. The image of ruins is just a fairy glamour, which hides a wicked Queen’s castle and dungeon. Where several trails meet at a circle of stones is a portal to strange otherworldly places. Unseen by mortals, frogman guards patrol the trails for their Queen. 

People aren’t really part of worldbuilding, but creatures and entities impossible in the Indianapolis I live in populate Skye’s worlds. The city’s 1_Illustration_BlueSpiritbus system is ruled by the whimsical yet powerful Transit King, who grants magical favors in exchange for the promise of collecting favors in return at a later date. In his brewpub downtown, Greg Heath concocts alcoholic potions in the form of “special” beers which can enhance Skye’s powers. Homeless teens aren’t what they seem, having been enchanted into half-wolf beings, drafted into the Queen of the Hunt’s pack.

So, from a simple premise of worlds that intersect our own, Indianapolis is transformed from an everyday city into a more mysterious, magical place; fertile ground for Skye’s fantastic adventures to grow.

August 30, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment