Scott M. Sandridge

A Work in Progress

R.J. Sullivan’s Haunting Blue Virtual Tour

 

Virtual Tour

Author: RJ Sullivan
Featured Book: Haunting Blue

HauntingBlueTourBadge

RJSullivanPhotoAbout RJ Sullivan: Haunting Blue is the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer. This is the 2014 revised edition by Seventh Star Press. Seventh Star also released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella, and Virtual Blue, the second book in Fiona’s tale. R.J.’s short stories have been featured in such acclaimed collections as Dark Faith: Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don’t Sparkle. His newest project is the Red Lotus series of science fiction novelettes.

R.J. resides in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. He drinks coffee from a Little Mermaid mug and is man enough to admit it. http://www.rjsullivanfiction.com

HauntingBlue_CoverHaunting Blue Book Synopsis: Punk, blue-haired “Blue” Shaefer, is at odds with her workaholic single mother. Raised as a city girl in a suburb of Indianapolis, Blue must abandon the life she knows when her unfeeling mother moves them to a dreadful small town. Blue befriends the only student willing to talk to her: computer nerd “Chip” Farren.

Chip knows the connection between the rickety pirate boat ride at the local amusement park and the missing money from an infamous bank heist the townspeople still talk about. When Blue helps him recover the treasure, they awaken a vengeful ghost who’ll stop at nothing–not even murder–to prevent them from exposing the truth behind his evil deeds.
Haunting Blue is Book One of the Adventures of Blue Shaefer

Author Links:
Website: http://rjsullivanfiction.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/R.J.SullivanAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5199299.R_J_Sullivan
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rjsullivanauthr

Tour Schedule and Activities
7/14     Jess Resides Here       Interview
7/14      Beauty in Ruins             Guest Post
7/14      fuonlyknew ~ Laura’s ramblins and reviews   Top Tens List
7/15       Deal Sharing Aunt         Top Ten’s List
7/15      John F. Allen Writer        Character Post
7/15       Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author            Guest Post
7/16       The Rage Circus Vs. The Soulless Void         Review
7/16       SpecMusicMuse              Interview
7/16       Workaday Reads             Post on Artwork of Haunting Blue
7/16       I Smell Sheep                  Character Post
7/17       Bee’s Knees Review           Review
7/17       Library Girl Reads & Reviews   Guest Post
7/17      Come Selahway With Me                Guest Post
7/18      A Haunted Head               Author Interview
7/19      Nerd With A View                   Top Tens Post
7/19      Coffintree Hill                     Guest Post
7/20      Willow’s Author Love        Review

Tour Page URL: http://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/r-j-sullivans-haunting-blue-virtual-tour/

Tour Badge Html: http://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/HauntingBlueTourBadge.jpg

Amazon Links for Haunting Blue:
Kindle Version:
http://www.amazon.com/Haunting-Blue-Adventures-Shaefer-Book-ebook/dp/B00KNC2Q34

Print Version:
http://www.amazon.com/Haunting-Blue-R-J-Sullivan/dp/1941706053

July 13, 2014 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Michael West Hades’ Disciples Blog Tour July 7-13

Michael West
Featured Book Release:
Hades’ Disciples
July 7 to 13 , 2014

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MichaelWestAuthorPhotoAbout the author: Michael West is the bestselling author of Cinema of Shadows, Skull Full of Kisses, The Wide Game, Spook House, and the critically acclaimed Legacy of the Gods series. He lives and works in the Indianapolis area with his wife, their two children, their turtle, Gamera, and their dog, King Seesar.

West avoids manhole covers and sidewalk grates whenever possible. He just doesn’t know what’s down there, and he’s not sure he wants to find out.

 

HadesDisciples_1200X800Book Synopsis for Hades’ Disciples: Terrifying creatures exist all around us, hiding in plain sight. Ancient. Deadly. They gather in secret, conspiring, dreaming of nothing less than humanity’s destruction, and their numbers are growing.

Earl Preston knows the danger all too well. After tangling with a horde of mythological sea monsters in Colonial Bay, he has been tasked with finding these beasts and exposing their plans whatever they may be. But Earl is not the only one with a mystery on their hands. At the very top of the world, Carol Miyagi has stumbled onto an artifact from Earth’s past, something magnificent held captive in a prison of ice and snow. Now, Carol and Earl must work quickly to decipher the will of the gods–a plot that defies imagination–and to stop their followers from carrying it out.

They thought the nightmare was over, but they are about to discover that the horror has only just begun.

Hades Disciples is Book Two in the Legacy of the Gods Series.

Author Links:
Website: http://www.bymichaelwest.com

Twitter: @bymichaelwest

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

Tour Schedule and Activities
7/7   Shells Interviews                          Guest Post
7/7   Come Selahway With Me            Interview
7/7 Beauty in Ruins                              Guest Post
7/7 Fuonlyknew ~ Laura’s ramblins and reviews          Review
7/8 Deal Sharing Aunt                             Top Tens List
7/8 Jess Resides Here                       Top Tens List
7/8 I Smell Sheep                                Guest Post
7/9 SpecMusicMuse                            Interview
7/10 Coffintree Hill                                Guest Post
7/10 Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author   Guest Post
7/11 Bee’s Knees Reviews                      Review
7/12 A Haunted Head                            Top Tens List
7/12 Willow’s Author Love                      Interview
7/13 The Rage Circus Vs. The Soulless Void            Review

Tour Page URLhttp://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/michael-west-hades-disciples-tour/

Tour Badge URL: http://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/HadesDisciplesTourBadge.jpg

Amazon Links for Hades’ Disciples

Print Version
http://www.amazon.com/Hades-Disciples-Legacy-Gods-Michael/dp/1941706002

Kindle Version
http://www.amazon.com/Hades-Disciples-Legacy-Gods-Michael-ebook/dp/B00KBIB6W2

July 6, 2014 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hero’s Best Friend Roundtable Interview, Part 4

c0c0c-final-herosbestfriendWelcome to the final part of the Hero’s Best Friend roundtable interview with the authors of the anthology. Sitting at the table tonight are Ian Hunter, Sheila Deeth, Douglas J. Ogurek, and Steven Donahue. Enjoy! J

 

Introductions

 

This is Ian Hunter from Scotland who wrote the story “Scarhead in the Glisting”. I’m the author of three children’s novels, a humourous guide to Glasgow called “Fantastic Glasgow”.  More recently my stories and poems have appeared in “Space and Time”, “The Tenth Black Book of Horror” (and the story in there appears in the very first “Best British Horror 2014”) and “The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes 2”.I’m poetry editor for the British Fantasy Society, book reviewer for “Interzone” and a member of the Glasgow Science Fiction Writers Circle. I write a very infrequent blog at www.ian-hunter.co.uk

 

Name:     Sheila Deeth

Links:    http://www.sheiladeeth.com

http://about.me/sheiladeeth

 

Douglas J. Ogurek

Fiction published in The Literary Review, the British Fantasy Society Journal, Morpheus Tales, Gone Lawn, and several anthologies

Horror, fantasy, sci-fi blogger/film reviewer at Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction (http://theakersquarterly.blogspot.com/)

Written over one hundred articles about architectural planning and design

Website: www.douglasjogurek.weebly.com

 

Steven Donahue was a copywriter for TV Guide magazine for 14 years. His first novel, Amanda Rio, was published in 2004. He released three novels in 2013: The Manila Strangler (Rainstorm Press), Amy the Astronaut and the Flight for Freedom (Hydra Publications), and Comet and Cupid’s Christmas Adventure (Createspace). His short story Grit was also included in the anthology Hero’s Best Friend by Seventh Star Press in 2014.

 

http://amytheastronaut.yolasite.com/

 

http://themanilastrangler.yolasite.com/

 

http://amandario.yolasite.com/

 

http://cometandcupidschristmasadventure.yolasite.com/

 

 

Tell us a little about your story in Hero’s Best Friend.

 

Ian Hunter: I’ve written contemporary Highland Seer stories, almost with the seer as a psychic detective fighting evil, but because I had to have an animal companion, I’ve set this story in the past in the time of the Highland Clearances and have my seer encounter a Scottish Wildcat, which sadly nowadays is almost extinct – the true purebloods, that is, due to loss of habitat and breeding with feral cats, although there is seemingly a family up the road from where I live in Cartland Crags where William Wallace hid from the English after killing the Sheriff of Lanark. It is pretty wild and some of it is hard to get to, so maybe a family of purebloods still survive there, hope so.

 

Sheila Deeth: “Passage” is a prequel to a series of middle-grade fantasies, centered on an Irish-American teen who lives in fairly ordinary town called Hemlock Edge, near a slightly less ordinary forest. The teens of Hemlock Edge discover they can change reality in dreams, but I’d often wondered where their skills came from. The convenient juxtaposition of a call for submissions to Hero’s Best Friend, with a (human best) friend loaning me a book about her ancestors traveling from Ireland, offered me a happy chance to explore Siobhan’s ancestry through the eyes of a slightly magical Irish cat.

 

Douglas J. Ogurek: When their squigglybounce (public transportation vehicle) breaks down, a female dink (double income no kids) and her pet gilpan (a kind of bird) Yourkidsabrat get stuck with a drug addict and the status-obsessed Mommy Wifey. The dink discovers the addict is former children’s entertainment icon Wedge Medge, disgraced for his brutal treatment of gilpans, one of which was Yourkidsabrat (before she adopted him).

The dink protagonist, encumbered by a society that relegates dinks to the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, tries to convince Mommy Wifey to grant her access to Wedge Medge’s chamber so that Yourkidsabrat can use his deadly orbs to exact revenge on his tormentor.

The story was inspired by my love for animals and my ongoing struggle to find the humanity in those who abuse animals for profit.

 

Steven Donahue: Grit tells the story of a dog with telekinetic powers who aids a brave prince on a dangerous quest. The prince seeks exotic ingredients from faraway lands to create a mythical cure for his poisoned wife. Grit uses his powers and courage to help the prince on the perilous quest, where the duo face challenges from man, beast and nature.

 

 

What animal characters in fiction are your favorite?

 

Ian Hunter: Polar bears. I’ve adopted one through the WWF and he writes to me regularly saying he’s hoping to come and visit and eat – sorry, meet – the dog.

 

Sheila Deeth: I’m writing a story about dogs at the moment, but they do have a friend who is a cat. Truth is, I just like animals; but my favorite fictional ones are those that combine a hint of wildness with the gift of companionship.

 

Douglas J. Ogurek:Jaws – Though I’d rather see Peter Benchley’s iconic great white attacking those who exploit sharks for shark fin soup.

Marley – Journalist John Grogan’s troublesome yet lovable Labrador Retriever. The conclusion of Marley & Me offers a moving description of the impact a dog can have on humans and the lessons that dogs teach us.

Aslan – C.S. Lewis’s anthropomorphic Christ

Speaker-to-Animals/Chmeee – A giant upright alien cat who resists his species’ penchant for violence in Larry Niven’s Ringworld.

Bori – The initially burdensome bird that a musician grows to love in Ha Jin’s “A Composer and His Parakeets.” One of the best short stories I’ve read in recent years. The ending is reminiscent of short story master Raymond Carver at his best.

 

Steven Donahue: I always admired the loyalty of Boxer from George Orwell’s Animal Farm. He lived to selflessly serve those around him, and he had the heart of a hero.

 

 

Have you ever used music to help you write?

 

Ian Hunter: Yes, mainly jazz, or possibly instrumental proggy stuff.

 

Sheila Deeth: I get too caught up in the music if I try to listen to something while I write. Sometimes my characters sing in the back of my head though—a noisy and very confusing place.

 

Douglas J. Ogurek:Always. Death metal with Christian themes. Also known as white metal (as opposed to the notorious black metal). Variations within the white metal subgenre include Christian technical/ progressive/ melodic death metal (e.g., Becoming the Archetype, Renascent), Christian doom metal (e.g., Paramecium), Christian symphonic metal (e.g., Sympathy, Virgin Black), or, in its most extreme form, unblack metal (e.g., Frost Like Ashes, Horde).

I like power. I like talent. I like nonconformity. I like a positive message. White metal combines all of that.

 

Steven Donahue: I prefer a quiet environment to write in, which is a challenge in the small apartment that I share with my wife, our chubby cat, and our three energetic dogs.

 

 

Has music ever been an inspiration for a story or scene?

 

Ian Hunter: I wrote a horror story called “Fearwheeling” set at the North Sea Jazz festival which was published in “Fear” magazine. When I feel the need to write a poem, but don’t know what to right about I sometimes flick through the pages of “Kerrang” magazine and pick on a song title, or album title or maybe lyric and use that as inspiration, but since I’m totally in love with PJ Harvey, I have a whole load of poems inspired by her album covers, song titles, album titles and lyrics, some of which, I’m pleased to say have been published in the UK, USA and Canada, and will probably be used as evidence against me.

 

Steven Donahue: I use music to inspire me before I start a writing session. Music from the Rocky movies are my favorite, but I’m not sure if they’ve ever influenced something I’ve written.

 

Douglas J. Ogurek:Yes. Christian death metal influences every one of my stories. I admire this subgenre’s ability to package themes of compassion and empathy in what sounds like the opposite. This music epitomizes the adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Like white metal, my stories offer positive messages shrouded in a disturbing, juvenile, or even vile container. For instance, in “Stuck on the Squigglybounce,” the Mommy Wifey character projects images of her husband’s income, her children’s accomplishments, and her possessions on the breast and butt screens embedded in her clothing. I want her juxtaposition with the dink protagonist to throw into question the values and roles that society imposes on the contemporary woman.

Additionally, some have praised or derided my stories as trippy, enigmatic, or even inaccessible. Again, that’s a lot like the music from which I find inspiration.

 

Sheila Deeth: Would the howling of dogs count?

 

 

Last but not least: Benji vs. Cujo. Who’d win?

 

Ian Hunter: Benji, on points.

 

Sheila Deeth: Benji’s gaze would remind Cujo of his true nature, leaving him open to the killing blow that allows him to choose death over causing more injury to those he loves.

 

Steven Donahue: I would root for Benji, but I think Cujo would have him for lunch.

 

Douglas J. Ogurek:Neither. I would first bring to justice the individuals responsible for instigating the dogfight. Then I would force those individuals to donate time and/or money to help abused or abandoned dogs.

I’d also try to show the instigators the kindness that was probably absent during their lives.

 

June 25, 2014 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hero’s Best Friend Roundtable Interview, Part 3

3a401-final-herosbestfriendToday at the table are SH Roddey, Steven S. Long, Steven Grassie, and Laura Anne Ewald. Enjoy! J

 

Introductions

 

I’m Susan H. Roddey. I write various forms of speculative fiction as S.H. Roddey, and I also write romance as Siobhan Kinkade. Most days I can be found lurking on Facebook both as Susan H. Roddey and also on my author page at www.fb.com/AuthorSHRoddey. I’m on Twitter as @draickinphoenix and @SiobhanKinkade, and can always be found at www.SHRoddey.com, creepyauthorgirl.wordpress.com, and siobhankinkade.wordpress.com.

 

I’m Steven S. Long, a writer and game designer. I’ve worked primarily in the tabletop roleplaying game field for the past twenty years, during which time I’ve written or co-written nearly 200 books. I’m probably best known for my work with Champions and the HERO System, but I’ve worked for many other RPG companies including Last Unicorn Games, Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Decipher, and White Wolf.

In the past few years I’ve branched out into writing fiction as well. In addition to my perpetually-in-revisions first novel, I’ve written a lot of short stories, of which about a dozen have been published (or are due for publication in the near future). You can find some of them in other Seventh Star anthologies such as the Chimerical World books and The End Was Not The End.

Lastly, I recently completed my first major non-fiction book:  Odin:  The Viking All-Father, for Osprey Publishing’s “Myths and Legends” line. It’s slated for release in late 2015.

You can find out more about me and what I’m up to at www.stevenslong.com.

 

I’m Steven Grassie, author of “The Masterless”. You can see what else I’ve had published over the last year and a half at http://www.stevengrassie.com.

 

Laura Anne Ewald (LauraAnneEwald.com & LAEindexing.com)

I am a former librarian turned freelance writer, editor, public speaker, and indexer. An eclectic scholar with degrees in classical studies, drama, library science, and organizational communication, I find my writing to be as diverse as my academic background, though it is likely that romance will find its way into any story I write, no matter what the genre. I think my greatest asset as a writer is my theater experience: I have done some 50+ shows in college and various community theaters and was a technical theater major, so I know set design, lighting, properties, blocking, etc., and how they contribute to a story. I tend to both “set the stage” and create the “cast of characters” for each story before running the scenes in my head.

My book titles include The Stars of Dreams and The Stars of Home (the first two books in my science fiction series, The Commonwealth Chronicles), A Chance for Life (a contemporary romance), and two novellas, Derry’s Hope (science fiction) and Voices in the Night (contemporary paranormal). All are available at Amazon.com. My newest title, Words to Love By (July 2014), is a contemporary romance.

 

Tell us a little about your story in Hero’s Best Friend.

 

S.H. Roddey: Look What the Cat Dragged In was an experiment in “what if?” that went a little far into left field. It’s a contemporary murder mystery told almost entirely from the point of view of a talking tuxedo cat named Miko. After he brings a human foot into his human’s house, he finds himself trying to prove his woman isn’t the killer.

I used to have a tuxedo cat who would bring me gifts (some of them still wiggling). While his name wasn’t Miko (we called him “Cat”. He was a stray that wandered up and decided to live with us), the cat in the story very much embodies the personality of my beautiful Cat.

 

Steven S. Long: My story is “The Wolf Sentinel.” It’s about Greylord, an aging wolf who’s been driven from his pack and doesn’t expect to live much longer. He comes across an injured human — Vorgath the Warlock, one of the main characters in the novel I mentioned above — and adopts him as his new “pack.” He helps Vorgath survive long enough to heal up and complete an important mission.

 

Steven Grassie: Kojima is a rōnin, a disgraced and masterless samurai; his dog Shiro is an akita, as loyal to his master as his master is to him. These friends get caught up in a series of events that test their skills and endurance to their limits. The story is essentially one of redemption, and it also turns out to be the last of the heroes’ many adventures together…

I myself am the proud owner of two akitas, and I’ve long been fascinated by the breed’s history and their connection with the samurai and the Japanese ruling elite. And come on, who doesn’t think the samurai were pretty cool? Hero’s Best Friend gave me the opportunity to write a story about both types of warrior: one human and one canine.

 

Laura Anne Ewald: “Memorandum” was actually inspired by the Disney movie, The Three Lives of Thomasina (1963), one of my all-time favorite Disney flicks. It is a movie I grew up with and for years played with in my imagination. Then when I became a sci fi fan, my imagination went a little further: What if the character, Lori McGregor, was neither a witch nor just “a bit weird?” What if she was really an alien? And what if Thomasina was more than just a house cat? (Don’t you just love those “what if” exercises?)

“Memorandum” started out as simply “The Witch” (the first half of the story), which I wrote for a short story writing assignment in college, but later I thought, “Why not take this all the way?” Thus was born Dr. Mroweo Hsstu’s testimony, which will someday be augmented by “the rest of the story” as told by Dr. Reni Lira’s, the “human” character. I have no idea when the novel-length manuscript will be written, but when it is, it will become Book 3 in my Commonwealth Chronicles.

 

What animal characters in fiction are your favorite?

 

S.H. Roddey:I’ve always been partial to the animals in fairy tales. I grew up reading Aesop’s fables and both the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson stories, as well as folklore from around the world. Shapeshifters in particular have always intrigued me. I love how the folk tales use various animal forms to subtly introduce personality traits in characters or further unsavory themes.

 

Steven S. Long: Flag in The Yearling, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings; the fire lizards in Anne McCaffrey’s “Pern” novels; Odin’s ravens Hugin and Munin; various and sundry from C.S. Lewis’s Narnia (Bree, Reepicheep…), and of course Shadowfax.

Honorable mention to Rorschach’s canine sidekick Blot the dog, the greatest animal companion who never existed. 😉

 

Steven Grassie: Guenhwyvar, the magical panther companion of Drizzt Do’Urden in the Forgotten Realms books. The Direwolves in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire are awesome too.

 

Laura Anne Ewald: Growing up, there wasn’t an animal character I didn’t like, and I still reread them regularly—Charlotte’s Web; Misty of Chincoteague; Black Beauty; Man O’War; Beautiful Joe; Lad, A Dog; Winnie-the-Pooh and all his friends; and, of course, the wonderful animal inhabitants of Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. For all the dog and horse stories I read growing up, though, I think the cats intrigue me the most—perhaps because I’ve lived with them all my life and currently live with six of them, so I appreciate their personalities more. A contemporary author I’m really appreciating for her animal characters these days is Nora Roberts. Her dogs in The Search and the cougar, Baby, in Black Hills really pop off the page and add so much to the depth of her human characters as the reader sees them interacting with these wonderful animals.

  

 

Have you ever used music to help you write?

 

S.H. Roddey:Every time I pick up a pen. Silence is my worst enemy. As long as I have sound (preferably cranked up very loud), I can keep focused.

 

Steven S. Long: Not specifically. I listen to music constantly because I enjoy it, but I don’t think of it as helping me write.

 

Laura Anne Ewald: I find I write best in silence, though for background I do sometimes put in a CD. I can’t listen to anything with lyrics or a beat, however—as a musician, I can’t help but tap my feet and sing along, which doesn’t help my writing at all, so my usual show tunes and big band jazz are out. When I do listen while I write, I lean toward Classical in the Romantic Era (Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, Rogers), and often listen to the “program” music of today found in the sound tracks of movies like Star Wars, Star Trek, Shadowlands, The Man From Snowy River, Michael Todd’s Around the World in 80 Days, High Road to China, etc.

 

Steven Grassie: Hell yeah! I very rarely write without music on in the background – and that music very rarely isn’t metal. I try to match the mood of what I’m listening to with the vibe of whatever it is I’m writing – my taste within the genus of metal music is pretty eclectic.

 

Has music ever been an inspiration for a story or scene?

 

S.H. Roddey:Absolutely. I listen to a lot of instrumental music when I write, and the movement in it helps me keep pace, particularly when I’m writing fight scenes. From time to time themes and subjects from various songs will work their way into my shorter fiction as well.

 

Steven S. Long: I do have an idea or two for stories inspired by lyrics in songs. Now I just have to find the time to write them. 😉

 

Steven Grassie: Not as yet – however I’ve a story idea based on a song by the band Lamb of God (no, I’m not telling you which). The song’s title is the main inspiration, but the song itself – its tempo, its power, its relentlessness – makes me want to create a tale to capture, and do justice to, its essence. The story will be fantasy, and dark… though don’t ask me what happens in it yet. And for the time being, it’s deep in the ‘to be written’ queue.

 

Laura Anne Ewald: I can’t think of any in particular, but I do find the battle sequences in the original Star Wars, any Star Trek movie, or the Indiana Jones titles can really inspire my battle sequences. I don’t write many of them, but when star ships are battling, or the heroine and hero are facing danger, there is no one better than John Williams for inspiration in my mind.

 

Last but not least: Benji vs. Cujo. Who’d win?

 

S.H. Roddey:My first reaction would be to say “CUJO!!!” and be done with it, but I think this question bears some real discussion.

If we’re perfectly honest with ourselves and each other given the circumstances of each, Benji would likely win the first round since Cujo is rabid. However, after one bite from the St. Bernard, that cutesy little monster would be down for the count. He’d lose his mind (and subsequently his cuteness), and then he’d become a smaller, less intimidating version of Cujo.

Though I have to say, BENJI VS. CUJO: THE ULTIMATE WAR would make an excellent graphic novel.

 

Laura Anne Ewald: I gotta go with Benji on this one. How can I not, since all my stories end in happily-ever-after? Seriously, though, Benji is small, but he’s smart and quick. Cujo was just a very big, very sick puppy. If I were to write it, I’d have Benji save the day by managing to fire the sheriff’s revolver in order to put poor Cujo out of his misery. I’d cry at the end, too—I can’t even listen to the theme song from Old Yeller without getting weepy—but Benji would be the reluctant hero in this one.

 

Steven S. Long: Benji, clearly. The writers are on his side. 😉

 

Steven Grassie: In a straight fight, I reckon Cujo. But of course Shiro could take both of them at the same time, paws down.

June 24, 2014 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hero’s Best Friend Roundtable Interview, Part 1

c0c0c-final-herosbestfriendWelcome to part 1 the Hero’s Best Friend roundtable interview. Sitting with us tonight are Cindy Koepp, Lillian Csernica, David Wright, and Lisa Hawkridge.

 

Introductions

Hi there! I’m Cindy Koepp. I write science fiction, fantasy, and teacher resources. I’m also an editor with two small presses when I’m not wrangling glasses or studying for a master’s in adult education. I currently have one published novel and four self-published resources that will soon be re-published by a small press in a much spiffier format. In addition to teacher resources coming soon from two small presses, I have five novels in queues at three different publishers.

Check out my webpage at http://ckoepp.com and my blog at http://cindykoepp.wordpress.com

 

Lillian Csernica www.lillian888.wordpress.com

My very first short story sale, “Fallen Idol,” appeared in After Hours and was later reprinted in DAW’S YEAR’S BEST HORROR STORIES XX. I’ve also published stories in DAW’S Year’s Best Horror Stories XXI, 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories, and HORRORS! 365 Scary Stories. My Christmas ghost story “The Family Spirit” appeared in Weird Tales #322 and “Maeve” appeared in #333. My pirate romance novel, SHIP OF DREAMS originally appeared in paperback as part of the Leisure Imprint from Dorchester Publishing.

Current releases include short stories in Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions and Desolation: 21 Tales for Tails.  More stories are forthcoming in These Vampires Don’t Sparkle and Fantastic Stories Presents Tales of the Imaginations.

Born in San Diego, I’m a genuine California native. Right now I live in the Santa Cruz mountains with my husband, two sons, and three cats.

 

My name is David Wright. By day, I am a mild-mannered video producer currently working for the Army. I started writing in 2007. I have had two short stories published in The Sentinels: Alternate Visions (White Rocket Books) as well as a short story and poem in Gideon Cain: Demon Hunter (Airship 27).

My first novel debuted less than a month ago. It is called My Brother’s Keeper and it is the first book in my Galahad’s Doom series. It’s Sword & Sorcery with a spiritual theme.

I’d love for everyone to follow my blog, galengriffon.blogspot.com, to keep up with the latest from me.

 

My name is Lisa Hawkridge, and this is my first time being published. I come from a small town called Needham, of which most of the people outside of the Boston area, and even within said area, have never heard. Some of my work can be found at http://www.lmdhawk.tumblr.com

 

Tell us a little about your story in Hero’s Best Friend.

Cindy Koepp: “The Hat” is a tale about a group of well-trained birds who work with a king’s spy network. When news of an enemy spy in the area reaches the network, they devise a plan to capture him. Cloud, an umbrella cockatoo, is recruited for the job.

Although Masika, my African Grey, was not too thrilled that the main character in “The Hat” was a cockatoo, she was ecstatic that birds got to play such a large role in the story. I promised Masika that I’d cast an African Grey as the lead in another tale.

 

Lillian Csernica: One day Kevin and I were tossing ideas back and forth.  He must have been the one to come up with the idea of a zombie armadillo.  We decided to go for something funny and satirical.  When we do a reading of the story, I still can’t get through the ending with a straight face.

 

David Wright: First of all, I’m extremely pleased with my story, “Wind of Change”. It is actually set in the same world as my novel and it takes a couple of my favorite supporting characters and spotlights them. Since Hero’s Best Friend was published three months prior to My Brother’s Keeper, this story marks the debut of this fictional setting of mine that I have been developing for years.

In my novel, we meet Jabbok, a nomadic warrior and a prince to two tribes, evocative of a Native American. He is accompanied by a red-tail hawk named Kaja.

When I saw the open call from Seventh Star for Hero’s Best Friend, I took it as a challenge to write an Untold Tale set in the world of my books.

I knew right away I wanted to feature Kaja. But I did not want him to speak or have internal dialogues; it needed to fit the tone and approach of my novel. I also wanted to try to stick to a spiritual theme, again, keeping in tone with My Brother’s Keeper. I decided to make it an origin story of sorts, showing how Jabbok and Kaja first met and perhaps shed some light on their bond and ability to communicate.

The story is very short, but I think it hit all the marks very strongly. It makes me want to write more Jabbok and Kaja stories. I hope people will check it out, love it and then post comments on my blog telling the whole internet of its awesomeness.

 

Lisa Hawkridge: My story is about a young snake named Ezra and his “semi-beloved human companion” Elena. The two of them end up playing a supposedly pivotal role in war that’s really none of their business while reuniting with Elena’s family, and all the characters, especially Ezra and Elena, are asked to question their motives for being where they are.

 

What animal characters in fiction are your favorite?

Cindy Koepp: Oh, the eagles of Lord of the Rings. The red-tailed hawk in Ladyhawke.

 

Lillian Csernica: Wolves, horses, and mythological creatures like the Fu dog.

 

David Wright: Since I’ve grown quite fond of Kaja, I’ll go with the hawk from Ladyhawke, the one Michelle Pfeiffer turns into during the day. And let’s not forget all the wonderful companions of The Beastmaster. I grew up watching that on TBS and I still want a pet ferret to this very day.

 

Lisa Hawkridge: I don’t know if the Redwall books count, because it’s a whole different dynamic, but Sunstripe and Taggalog are my favorites for that. For animals in more traditional roles, Fang, from the Harry Potter series and Solembum from the Inheritance Cycle are two of my favorites. I was also very fond of the cat in Coraline, derisive of names though he was, and of Mr. Bigglesworth from Austin Powers, although he had very little characterization.

 

Have you ever used music to help you write?

Lisa Hawkridge: No. The reason being that I always seem to find music distracting, as I end up paying more attention to the lyrics than to what I’m writing. The few times I’ve tried it, it’s been more of a hindrance than a help, so I usually write in silence.

 

Cindy Koepp: The only music I listen to while writing is Masika’s whistles and chirps. Sometimes the radio in my head plays a tune. Anything else is too much of a distraction.

 

Lillian Csernica: All the time.

 

David Wright: Yes. It can’t be anything with words or anything with which I’m overly familiar, because that only distracts me. I like to turn to the digital music channels on the TV and pick Classical or Light Jazz and have it playing softly in the room.

I find it helps keep me in the zone and lose track of time.

 

Has music ever been an inspiration for a story or scene?

Cindy Koepp: Oh yes. In the case of “The Hat,” the theme music from the 1960s/70’s TV show Mission: Impossible played on my mental radio station now and then.

 

Lillian Csernica: While I wrote the chapters for Alexandre, my pirate captain in SHIP OF DREAMS, I’d play U2’s “With Or Without You” over and over again.  You could say the “soundtrack” for the first book of my fantasy trilogy-in-progress is “The Best of Berlin.”

 

David Wright: I can’t say I’ve ever heard a piece of music first and then came up with a story based on that. But there is one piece that never fails to inspire images of knights in shining armor fighting valiantly.

It is O Fortuna. Perhaps it has been overused in recent years, but it is awesome. I first encountered this music in

John Boorman’s Excalibur film. It is heroic and powerful and I strongly associate it with Arthurian tales, which is the kind of stuff I write.

 

Lisa Hawkridge: When I was just starting out writing, I tried to write the scene described in “Midnight Shift”, as sung by Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Air Men, but that never went anywhere. Other than that, anything I write inspired by music is much more indirect. I’ll listen to a song, and I’ll think of a character that would relate to the song, and write about them. Also, because I’m a writer, whenever I hear instrumental music, my mind immediately jumps to what scene would use said music as the background soundtrack.

 

Last but not least: Benji vs. Cujo. Who’d win?

Lillian Csernica: I like to root for the underdog, but come on. Cujo would snap up Benji in two bites.

 

David Wright: Hm. Well, it’s a bit of case of Brains vs. Brawn, isn’t it? Clearly, Cujo is much more physically intimidating. But Benji is like the MacGyver of dogs. He’s clever enough to find a way to outsmart Cujo. So I say Benji all the way.

(now excuse while I go write a MacGyver/Benji team-up story…)

 

Lisa Hawkridge: In a straight up pit-fight, Cujo would win, no problem. In a fight or challenge where the environment introduced more factors, Benji might have a chance, but if the challenge was a fight, Cujo would still probably win.

 

Cindy Koepp: Benji, absolutely. See, everyone underestimates the cute ones. He seems so quiet and innocent, but what you don’t know is that Benji is a shape-shifting mutant. Cujo would be all about getting growly and mean and everything, and Benji would just have to shape-shift to his attack form, and it’d be all over.

June 22, 2014 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse—A Chimerical World Round Table Interview, Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of the A Chimerical World Round Table Interview. This time ariund we have Sarah Madsen, Steven S. Long, Kim Smith,  and BC Brown sitting at the table. Enjoy! 🙂

 

Introductions

Hi! I’m Sarah Madsen.  “The Body Electric” is my first commercial publication, but I have two poems and a play in The Chestatee Review, my school’s literary magazine. I’m hoping to get my novel, Lysistrata, on shelves sometime in the near future, and it’s been getting really good reception so far. You can follow along with my adventures at unfetteredmuse.wordpress.com or find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SarahMadsenAuthor.

I’m Steven S. Long. I’m best known for my work as a roleplaying game designer and writer (I’ve written or co-written about 200 books in that field), but in recent years I’ve branched out into writing fiction as well.

You can find out more about me and what I’m up to at www.stevenslong.com

Hi, my name is Kim Smith, and I am the author of the short story “Treehouse”, in A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court. I am the hostess of the wildly popular podcast, Writer Groupie, soon to be hosted on my blog at http://www.kimsmithauthor.com

BC Brown, author of two urban fantasy/contemporary science fiction novels – A Touch of Darkness and A Touch of Madness; contributor to multi-author anthologies – A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court, Quixotic: Not Everyday Love Stories, and Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction. And one out of print fantasy novel – Sister Light, Book One: Of Shadows.

 

Tell us a little about your story

BC: “Extra-Ordinary” is a tale about seemingly benign people and events. Those ordinary people often turn out to be portals to extraordinary things.

Sara: “The Body Electric”isn’t your typical fairy story. In fact, the only fae-like elements you’ll find in it are magic and an elf protagonist.  It’s a cyberpunk/urban fantasy story, set in near-future Atlanta. Two runners, Alyssa and Logan, are hired to steal some plans and a prototype from a former Americorp employee’s home office, and get way more than they bargained for in the process. It was inspired by old Ray Bradbury short stories and a YouTube short, Quantic Dream’s Kara, and I was trying for a good mix of classic sci-fi and modern urban fantasy.

Kim: I’ve been writing as long as I could hold a pen, and have always been a lover of fantasy. I remember as a youth hanging out around a gas station/convenience store that carried JRR Tolkien’s books. I visited it weekly waiting on the next book. It took years to finish the whole trilogy. They should have put me on the payroll.

“Treehouse” was the brainchild of wondering what would happen if a child could see faeries but no one would believe her. What if she was telling the truth? I hope I did a good job with expanding that idea.

Steven: I was fortunate enough to place two stories in A Chimerical World — one each in the Seelie and Unseelie volumes. Each of them belongs to a series of stories I’ve written that take place in Tuala Morn, a setting I’ve described in the book of the same name and now use as for fiction. It’s a Fantasy world inspired by Irish/Celtic myth and legend, with a dollop of some other Fantasy tropes thrown in.

Most of the Tuala Morn stories I’ve written so far take place in or around Killdraigan, an enchanted forest that’s often dangerous for mortals due to the faeries, trolls, and monsters that live there — not to mention other perils.

The Seelie story is “The Harpist’s Hand.” It tells how Thomasin Blythe, one of the greatest Tualan bards, has to seek the help of the faeries of Killdraigan when two contentious kings both seek her hand in marriage.

The Unseelie story, “The Rose and the Dragon,” focuses on a different character:  Sir Rhorec of Umbr, the Knight of Five Roses. When he was born, three faeries appeared and pronounced a strange prophecy. Now grown to manhood and armed with the magic sword they left him, he ventures into the deadly confines of Killdraigan Forest to seek the meaning of the prophecy — and slay a fearsome dragon.

 

 

What’s your favorite type of faerie?

Kim: All kinds, I am not discriminatory.

Sara: As in Seelie or Unseelie?  That’s a really hard choice. My gut says Seelie, simply because I love pretty masks and the pretense of civility. However, there’s something refreshing about the Unseelie…they’re at least honest about what they are.

Steven: It’s hard to pick any one type. I’ve researched faerie lore extensively for years and really enjoy it, so getting stories into the Chimerical World anthology was a real treat. I hope someday to have the chance to write a non-fiction book on the subject.

BC: I’ve always been enamored of the more mischievous fey. Basically good-natured, these shining folk embody a spirit of restlessness I can connect with.

 

Is music a part of your personal writing process, and if so what kind(s) of music do you listen to when you write?

Sara: I can’t write without music. It helps me stay centered. I tend to create soundtracks for my projects, so what I’m listening to wont’ always be the same.  If I get really stuck, I find some good instrumental music (like the soundtrack to Tron: Legacy or Deus Ex: Human Revolution for my current project) keeps me from getting too distracted by lyrics.

Steven: It is, in that I listen to music pretty much all the time that I’m awake but not watching TV or talking with someone. But I don’t really consider it a part of my “process” per se, nor do I tailor what I’m listening to what I’m writing.

Kim: I used to listen to my favorite bands, usually classic rock, but now I find that trying to sing to the songs and write conflicts each other so now it’s more nature music, strings, and crickets.

BC: I avoid music while writing. Music influences my mood and, typically, I like a clean slate, so to speak, when writing. It allows the ideas and words to flow unhindered and unbiased.

 

Has a song ever inspired a story idea for you?

Sara: Oh, definitely. I recently wrote a ten minute play called Tea and Temptation that was inspired by World/Inferno Friendship Society’s “The Evil Dance of Nosliw Pilf.”

Steven: Definitely. Among others I have an idea for what I think will be a great story inspired by the Leonard Cohen song, “First We Take Manhattan.”

Kim: Yes! I love celtic songs and Connie Dover sang “A Ruin a Siuil” (I think I spelled it right!) and it just jazzed me into writing this whole historical romance between a Fenian rebel and a Scarlett O’Hara-esque character who tries to charm the Irish out of the man.

BC: A song has inspired a title for a book. However the story itself came well before I’d ever heard the song. Once I did hear it, I felt that the title and lyrics of the song embodied the same message as my story.

 

Last but not least: who’d win a fight between Princess Toadstool and Zelda?

Sara: Psh. Zelda, for sure.

Kim: Zelda. Totally.

Steven: I have absolutely no idea — I never played any of those games. What’s the spread? 😉

BC: The princess. Hands down.

 

Where to find the books:

Amazon Links for Tales of the Seelie Court  32892-final_talesoftheunseeliecourt_650
Print Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Seelie-Court/dp/1937929477
Kindle Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Seelie-Court-ebook/dp/B00IAHTMAO  

Amazon Links for Tales of the Unseelie Court  
Print Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Unseelie-Court/dp/1937929493
Kindle Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Unseelie-Court-ebook/dp/B00IAHTVSC

May 25, 2014 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse—A Chimerical World Round Table Interview, Part 1

Today we have part 1 of a special Round Table style interview with the authors of both A Chimerical World anthologies.  Sitting with me tonight are Angeline Trevena, Chantal Boudreau, David Turnbull, and Nicholas Paschall.

Introductions

Angeline Trevena was born and bred in a rural corner of South West England where she still lives above a milkshake shop. She is a fantasy and horror writer, poet and journalist. Some years ago she worked at an antique auction house and religiously checked every wardrobe that came in to see if Narnia was in the back of it. She’s still not given up looking for it.

Find out more at www.angelinetrevena.co.uk

Chantal Boudreau – I’m an accountant/author/illustrator who lives in Nova Scotia, Canada with my husband, Dale and two children, Gwyneth and Etienne. An affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association, I write and illustrate horror, dark fantasy and fantasy and I have had several of my stories published in a variety of horror anthologies and magazines.  Fervor, my debut dystopian novel, was released in March of 2011 by May December Publications, followed by Elevation, Transcendence and Providence.  Magic University, the first in my fantasy series, Masters & Renegades, made its appearance in September 2011 followed by Casualties of War and Prisoners of Fate.  Learn more at my website: http://chantellyb.wordpress.com

I’m David Turnbull, a UK based writer. I’m a member of the Clockhouse London Group of genre writers who collectively have loads of published sci fi, fantasy and horror credits to their name as well as a few collaborative pieces. Recent anthologies featuring my own short fiction include ‘Breaking the Rules’ (Boo Books), Vignettes from the End of the World (Apokrupha) and Black Apples (Belladonna Publications). My short story ‘Aspects of Aries’ which appeared in ‘Astrologica’ (The Alchemy Press) has been selected to appear in Salt Publications’ Best British Fantasy anthology due for release later this year. You can find me at http://www.tumsh.co.uk/

Nicholas Paschall, horror and fantasy author. I’m a recurring columnist for Dark Eclipse Magazine and have been published in eight anthologies. I also maintain my own blog where I post stories freshly written, called the Nickronomicon. I have an upcoming story in Demonic Visions Four coming out early June that I would suggest anyone who is into the Unseelie get, as it involves them to a great degree.

 

Tell us a little about your story

Angeline: My story, ‘I’ll Watch Over You’, is a classic changeling story. It follows new mother, Ellen, in a downward spiral of superstition and paranoia, as she fights against a fae intent on stealing her baby. While Ellen’s husband believes her hormones are simply going haywire, her elderly neighbour fills her head with stories and her home with talismans. Becoming increasingly frightened and isolated, Ellen finds herself standing between her baby and the unknown world of the fae.

Chantal: I was researching Japanese mythology for a novel idea I had in mind and the research inspired my story.  I also had my thoughts focused on my friend Barb who was dying from pancreatic cancer and I think feelings of sadness and a sense of devotion to friends and family naturally transposed themselves into the story as a result.  Barb was the type of person always sacrificing for others and I think I brought some of her spirit to Sanae.

David: My story is a kind of ‘be careful what you wish for’ allegory. The farmer lusts after the thing that the boy has access to and is willing to commit murder to obtain it. He doesn’t realize the terrible mistake he has made till he gets what he desires.

The post revolutionary backdrop of the story has been one that I have used in several stories now, placing well-known fairy tale or nursery rhyme characters into a situation where society has undergone profound changes. In this case the source material was the nursery rhyme Little Boy Blue come blow your Horn. I wondered what else the boy might be calling with his horn other than sheep or cows.

The title The Wunderhorn comes from a 19th Century collection of German Folk songs Das Knaben Wunderhorn (The Boy’s Magical Horn) which was said to have been part of the inspiration behind the Grimm brother’s collection of fairy tales.

Nicholas: It’s a story about loss, and the beauty that can be found in all things, even misery. A fey of unknown species gathers the souls of singers and instrumentalists so that they can forever play for his eternal amusement. He hosts balls for his kind where his favorite specter sings a song of his native homeland. It is really a tale about how even in the most miserable circumstances, beauty can come forth. And, of course, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

 

What’s your favorite type of faerie?

Angeline: I grew up surrounding myself with the friendly fairies of childhood: flower fairies, tooth fairies, friendly little creatures that grant wishes and sprinkle fairy dust. But through my teens, I discovered there was a different side to the fae. Overall, I like to think fairies are more mischievous than downright evil.

Nicholas: Personifications of nature that have been corrupted are perhaps my favorite, like a dryad who has had her tree poisoned by human waste. The idea of flawed beauty in a creature that the idea of flaws doesn’t even exist has always brought a smile to my face.

David: The Brownie. I like the idea of a creature that makes its home under your doorstep and helps with household chores while your asleep but could cause all sorts of chaos and mayhem if you get on the wrong side of it. Anyone who likes gothic horror should read ‘The Brownie of the Black Haggs’ by James Hogg.

Chantal: I’m a seelie fan.  I especially like helpful fairies with an air of mischief and a sense of humour.

 

Is music a part of your personal writing process, and if so what kind(s) of music do you listen to when your write?

Angeline: I often play music while I write, and find that it has a significant impact on my writing. I often choose specific albums based on the story I am hoping to write. One of my go-to bands is Counting Crows, and they have been the soundtrack to a lot of my writing sessions over the years.

I also use film soundtracks because they’re so full of atmosphere and emotion. My favourites are The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Edward Scissorhands.

Chantal: Very much so – I try to match the music to the mood of the story: alternative rock, easy listening, pop, celtic, tribal…whatever suits the story.

David: There’s nothing like a good murder ballad to set the mood for a piece of dark writing. Particular favorites include the Everly Brothers’ rendition of ‘Down in the Willow Garden’ and the Nick Cave / PJ Harvey duet ‘Henry Lee’. Also, in keeping with my Scottish heritage, Euan MacColl’s ‘The Bonnie Banks of Airdie’ where the Duke of Fifes’ three daughters are dispatched one by one by a robber brandishing a wee penknife.

Nicholas: I listen to a variety of songs when I write, from dubstep versions of horror songs to country music, to J-pop. The music really influences the writing. Sometimes I’ll just listen to rain fall and write from what bubbles forth from my subconscious.

 

Has a song ever inspired a story idea for you?

Nicholas: Of course! I think every author got the starting point of their story from either a song or seeing something. For me, Maestro came from listening to Jace Everrett’s “I wanna do Bad Things to you,” a song that is by far one of my favorites in the new age variety we’ve been seeing as of late.

Chantal: I wouldn’t say any song has inspired a particular story, but it has inspired some of my content while writing.  Songs have also inspired some of my story and novel titles.

David: I have a story in the forthcoming ‘Girl at the End of the World’ anthology (Fox Spirit) which features a girl with corkscrew hair, inspired by the line in the T Rex 70’s hit Telegram Sam – I ‘ain’t no where with my corkscrew hair. I’ve also managed to get a Metal Guru into the plot as well.

 

Last but not least: who’d win a fight between Princess Toadstool and Zelda?

Chantal: My vote’s for Zelda.

Angeline: I can’t imagine these two ladies fighting one another. They’d far more likely just to go out for coffee and cake together. And why not?

David: I’m declaring Swiss style neutrality on this one.

Nicolas: That’s a tough one. Both get captured far too often to show any real fighting skills, though in recent years they’ve been added to brawler games to showcase their fighting skills, or lack thereof. I think I’d have to give it to Zelda, as she comes from a kingdom of warriors that are human, not anthropomorphic mushrooms. Hard to practice against a race of two foot tall fungus men and learn how to fight effectively.

With Zelda she would, as a princess, at least have the chance to learn archery. And with her constant kidnappings, she can probably defend herself better than the only human in all of Mushroom Kingdom.

 

Where to find the books:

Amazon Links for Tales of the Seelie Court  32892-final_talesoftheunseeliecourt_650
Print Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Seelie-Court/dp/1937929477
Kindle Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Seelie-Court-ebook/dp/B00IAHTMAO  

Amazon Links for Tales of the Unseelie Court  
Print Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Unseelie-Court/dp/1937929493
Kindle Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Unseelie-Court-ebook/dp/B00IAHTVSC

May 24, 2014 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Selah Janel’s Olde School Virtual Tour

Selah Janel’s Olde School Virtual Tour

Virtual Tour 
Author: Selah Janel
Featured Book Release: Olde School
Book One Kingdom City Chronicles
May 26 to June 1, 2014

SelahTourBadge

SelahJanel-smallerAbout the Author: Selah Janel has been blessed with a giant imagination and a love of story since she was little and convinced that fairies lived in the nearby state park or vampires hid in the abandoned barns outside of town. Learning to read and being encouraged by those around her only made things worse. Her work ranges from e-books to traditional print, and she prefers to write every genre at once rather than choose just one. The stories “Holly and Ivy”, “The Other Man”, and “Mooner” are available online through Mocha Memoirs Press. Her work has also been included in The MacGuffin, The Realm Beyond, Stories for Children Magazine, The Big Bad: an Anthology of Evil, Thunder on the Battlefield: Sorcery, The Grotesquerie, and the short story collection Lost in the Shadows, co-written with S.H. Roddey. She likes her music to rock, her vampires lethal, her fairies to play mind games, and her princesses to have adventures and hold their own.

Catch up with her thoughts and projects at
http://www.selahjanel.wordpress.com

OldeSchoolCoverFinal_650X433Book Synopsis Olde School: Kingdom City has moved into the modern era. Run by a lord mayor and city council (though still under the influence of the High King of The Land), it proudly embraces a blend of progress and tradition. Trolls, ogres, and other Folk walk the streets with humans, but are more likely to be entrepreneurs than cause trouble. Princesses still want to be rescued, but they now frequent online dating services to encourage lords, royals, and politicians to win their favor. The old stories are around, but everyone knows they’re just fodder for the next movie franchise. Everyone knows there’s no such thing as magic. It’s all old superstition and harmless tradition.

Bookish, timid, and more likely to carry a laptop than a weapon, Paddlelump Stonemonger is quickly coming to wish he’d never put a toll bridge over Crescent Ravine. While his success has brought him lots of gold, it’s also brought him unwanted attention from the Lord Mayor. Adding to his frustration, Padd’s oldest friends give him a hard time when his new maid seems inept at best and conniving at worst. When a shepherd warns Paddlelump of strange noises coming from Thadd Forest, he doesn’t think much of it. Unfortunately for him, the history of his land goes back further than anyone can imagine. Before long he’ll realize that he should have paid attention to the old tales and carried a club.

Darkness threatens to overwhelm not only Paddlelump, but the entire realm. With a little luck, a strange bird, a feisty waitress, and some sturdy friends, maybe, just maybe, Padd will survive to eat another meal at Trip Trap’s diner. It’s enough to make the troll want to crawl under his bridge, if he can manage to keep it out of the clutches of greedy politicians

Olde School if Book One of The Kingdom City Chronicles

Author Links:

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

Twitter:
@selahjanel

Website:
http://selahjanel.wordpress.com/

 

Tour Schedule and Activities

May 26        SpecMusicMuse                                      Review/Interview
May 26        Vampires, Witches, and me oh my!      Guest Post
May 27        Alexx Momcat’s Gateway Book Blog      Character Post
May 27        Watch Play Read                                    Review
May 28        Fantastical Adventures in the Paper Realm     Review
May 28        Sheila Deeth Blog                                     Character Post
May 28        Close Encounters with the Night Kind      Review
May 29        Deal Sharing Aunt                                     Promo/Spotlight
May 29       Workaday Reads                                       Reviews
May 30       Exquisite Corpse                                       Guest Post
May 31      Bee’s Knees Reviews                                Review
May 31      I Smell Sheep                                             Character Post
June 1       Seers, Seraphs, Immortals and More!        Interview

Amazon Links for Olde School
Print Version
http://www.amazon.com/Olde-School-Selah-Janel/dp/1937929655

Kindle Version
http://www.amazon.com/Olde-School-Kingdom-City-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00J4UGVIM

May 24, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse: Spirit of Fire Blog Tour Interview w/Stephen Zimmer

And now for an interview with one of the best small press authors since, uh, that other Scott guy….

1) What got you interested in Epic Fantasy? Who were your inspirations?

Epic fantasy interests me because it gives you the broadest possible range to tell a story.  It allows a story to be viewed from inside a character’s head all the way to a cosmic level, and everything in between … and it works.  The fantastical dimension gives you even more range.

Epic fantasy lends itself very well to weaving in all the layers and intricacies of real life from an individual to a societal level, from the forces of politics and religion, to the flow of history within a world.   It has depth and a real sense of how things fit together and influence each other, and gives the reader the perspectives to appreciate those kinds of dynamics.  It really takes in the essence of a world, its cultures, and history.

Take Middle Earth for example, from the Silmarillilon to the Lord of the Rings, you have everything from a creation mythology, to a world’s entire history, to invented languages and a wide range of very engaging characters, as well as the tremendous stories told in books such as The Hobbit and the trilogy itself.

This kind of complexity can be challenging, but for storytellers and readers it can be immensely rewarding too.  I can cite many examples of richly developed series, from George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire to Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen novels.

As far as inspirations, the big two for me were J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and since then there have been many more, including Guy Gavriel Kay, Glen Cook, Clive Barker, R.A. Salvatore, C.S. Friedman, George R.R. Martin, and others.  I have been inspired by each for different reasons, as all of these authors have a distinctive style and particular strengths.

2) What’s it like being a small press author? What are the advantages/disadvantages compared to the big press?

Life as a small press author is very tough, make no mistake, but I think it is very tough for any level of author in this weird publishing climate that we have right now.  Don’t forget that many major press authors still have to work day jobs to make ends meet.  This is one of the hardest sectors in the entertainment world to make a living at, without question.

You also have to wear many hats these days.  Managing and growing your online presence is a full-scale task in itself that authors in past decades did not have to worry about, yet it is a necessity in today’s publishing atmosphere.   Can you even begin to imagine C.S. Lewis sending out daily tweets for example?   Can you imagine J.D. Salinger making a status update on Facebook?

The big pluses of small press are that I really get to work closely with my editor, and I get to be involved in the art phase with Matt when it comes to the covers and interior illustrations.  I also feel much more connected to the promotion phases of new releases, and have been able to support my work as much as I possibly can, with activities such as this large blog tour I’m doing right now.

The minuses are the difficulties in getting shelf space in bookstores, without question.  This is becoming less of a factor overall with the continual rise of ebooks in terms of market share, but wherever I’ve been given a chance to be on a shelf, and had individuals in the store familiar with my work, I’ve seen new readers emerge.   I think that there is going to be a solid place for independent bookstores in the future, and I hope to work with more and more of them in the future.  Hopefully as the market shifts further from chainstores to eBooks and independents, the barriers to shelf space will ease up a little more as it won’t be one national buyer rendering a decision but instead the individual stores themselves.

I have talked to quite a few chainstore managers, including some who already read and buy my books, who would be glad to carry them on the shelves but could not due to corporate policies and buying controls from higher up.  I know it will be nice when individuals like that, in the context of independent bookstores, will be able to bring the titles into the store without hindrance.

3)If you could summarize Spirit of Fire in one sentence, what would it be?

When darkness shrouds the world and all seems impossible, reach within and find the spirit of fire inside!

4) So, what’s the death count at in this book? lol!

Pretty massive, but not in the George R.R. Martin way, as far as main characters go.  I won’t go so far to say that they are all safe, but I’m not into killing off my strongest characters en masse!  Haha!

However, I do have some pretty large, vivid battles, and I don’t pull punches in them.  A great many die in these clashes, and the battles carry a realism that reflects combat in medieval times.   When you are using swords and axes, the results are not nice and clean.  I don’t feel I go over the top in conveying these realities, but neither do I shirk from them.

5) Your novels tend to provide a good balance between characterization/setting and action/pacing? what are the ways you manage that balance, to make sure the story doesn’t get bogged down in detail or end up with scenes that flash by too fast?

I am always trying to improve in this regard, keeping a nice balance between action/pacing and characterization/setting.  I feel my book three’s in my two series, The Seventh Throne in the Rising Dawn Saga and Spirit of Fire in the Fires in Eden series, show good progress in these areas.  Of course, the book one’s of my series are perhaps a little heavier on characterization/setting by default, as they are the foundational titles for the entire series and really need to set the parameters for the worlds the stories are set in.  I don’t forget that I am a reader too, and if I see areas that I would get bogged down in as a reader, I work to address to those sections.

I am careful about the ordering of my threads as well, and try to be sure that threads that follow each other are not of similar types.  Sometimes there is a need for slowing the pace down in a big story for a moment, but you don’t want to stay there overly long.

6) What’s it like writing a series? How different is it from writing separate novels in separate worlds? Easier? Harder?

I enjoy writing a series, and having room to work in layers and depth, planting seeds for later harvest, in a sense.   I don’t think it is necessarily easier or harder than writing stand-alone novels in separate worlds, but I do think there is a specific art to crafting a full series.  Each title of a series, in my view, has a specific purpose in the overall story being told.  The unique challenges in writing a series is to make sure that each title achieves its own goal while simultaneously serving its proper role in the context of the series as a whole.

7) Anything you’d like to tell potential readers?

I am an author that understands that without readers, an author is nothing.  Seems like a simple concept, but not all authors seem to understand that reality.   I am not the kind of author that will leave readers waiting years on end for a new title, nor will I come out with a title in a series where nothing really happens.

As a huge, lifelong fan of epic fantasy, I do understand what frustrates readers and what makes epic fantasy exciting, and I will do my best to bring you series that grow and deliver more and more with each new title.  I feel strongly that both of my series reflect that kind of progression over the course of the first three books of each.  Not every reader is going to like my work, and that’s fine, but for the ones that do, you will have the commitment of an author that puts every last bit of energy he has to give you as much as he possibly can.

 

Map of Ave

 

Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker, whose literary works include the epic urban fantasy series The Rising Dawn Saga, as well as the epic medieval fantasy Fires in Eden Series.

The Exodus Gate, Book One of the Rising Dawn Saga, was Stephen’s debut novel.  It was released in the spring of 2009, with The Storm Guardians following in 2010, and The Seventh Throne in August of 2011.

Crown of Vengeance, Book One of the Fires in Eden Series, was released in the fall of 2009, with Book Two, Dream of Legends, following in December of 2010.  Crown of Vengeance received a 2010 Pluto Award for Best Novel in Small Press.

Stephen’s short fiction includes the Harvey and Solomon steampunk stories included in the Dreams of Steam and Dreams of Steam II: Bolts and Brass anthologies from Kerlak Publishing.

As a filmmaker, Stephen’s film credits include the supernatural thriller feature Shadows Light, the horror short film The Sirens, and the recent Swordbearer, a medieval fantasy short film based upon the H. David Blalock novel Ascendant.

Further information on Stephen Zimmer can be found  at:

Website:  www.stephenzimmer.com

Facebook Page:http://www.facebook.com/sgzimmer

Twitter Page: http://www.twitter.com/SGZimmer

June 21, 2012 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Spirit of Fire Blog Tour

For Immediate Release

May 25, 2012

48 Date Blog Tour Announced and Cover Art Unveiled for Stephen Zimmer’s Spirit of Fire


Seventh Star Press is proud to unveil the cover art and illustrations created by award-winning artist Matthew Perry for Spirit of Fire, Book Three of the epic fantasy Fires in Eden Series by award-winning author Stephen Zimmer, as well as announce the dates and sites for the 48 day Spirit of Fire Blog Tour.  A pre-order window for a limited edition hardcover is also open in advance of the book’s official release.

(Illustrations by Matthew Perry from the first edition of Spirit of Fire)
The Spirit of Fire Blog Tour is being hosted by Babs Book Bistro, and will feature 50 events over 48 days, beginning May 29th  and running through July 14th. The tour will feature a number of activities, including reviews, video, interviews, podcasts, guest blog posts, and contests/giveaways.

Spirit of Fire is the third title in the Fires in Eden Series, following Crown of Vengeance and Dream of Legends.  Also associated with the epic fantasy series is a growing collection of short stories, the Chronicles of Ave, that have been released on eBook and are part of the Seventh Star Singles catalog.

In Spirit of Fire, a maelstrom of war engulfs lands resisting the designs of the Unifier to bring about a new order, of a kind that has never existed within Ave.  Battered by a massive invasion force from Gallea, the tribal people of the Five Realms and their Midragardan allies are being driven eastward, towards the sea, while the Saxan lines are wearing down ever thinner on the Plains of Athelney.

Time is running out quickly, as an ancient creature of legend soars through the skies with a brave young Saxan.   They carry the desperate hopes of two realms sorely beset by a voracious enemy.

Diabolic entities conduct a great hunt, as a malignant darkness deepens across all of Ave.  Exiles from another world must gain refuge, or find themselves ensnared by the long reach of the Unifier.  The very nature of creation itself stands in the balance.

It is a time when the honor and fortitude of many are put to the test, and terrible prices are paid for resisting great evils.  It is also a time of awakening for many, old and young alike, some of whom may yet discover the spirit of fire that lies within.

The third installment in the Fires in Eden series, Spirit of Fire is richly imagined epic fantasy with a diverse ensemble of characters that offers a new world to explore for readers who enjoy large-scale tales along the likes of George R.R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Steven Erikson, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Spirit of Fire will be released in softcover and eBook versions during the first week of June.  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 Stephen Zimmer 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 Spirit of Fire Blog Tour Dates and Participants Are As Follows:

May 29  Fantasy Book Review

May 30  Ginger Nuts of Horror

May 31  Mom Cat’s Gateway Book Blog

June 1   Splash of Our Worlds

June 2   Soliloquy

June 3   Ritesh Kala’s Book Review

June 4   Jess Resides Here

June 5   Reading Away the Days

June 6   Vilutheril Reviews

June 7   A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

June 8  Red Headed Bookworm

June 9   Lisa’s World of Books

June 10  Kentucky Geek Girl

June 11  Goatfairy Review Blog

June 12  Book and Movie Dimension Blog

June 13  Full Moon Bites

June 14  Stuck in Books

June 15  The Independent Review

June 15  Alchemy of Scrawl

June 16  Watch Play Read

June 17  A Book Vacation

June 18  Eva’s Sanctuary

June 19  That Book Place Blog

June 20  Edi’s Book Lighthouse

June 21  SpecMusicMuse

June 22  Once Upon a Time

June 23  Azure Dwarf Horde of Sci-Fi & Fantasy

June 24  Bad Girls, Good Guys, and Two-Fisted Action

June 25  Eden Road Blog

June 25  Ali’s Bookshelf (live podcast)

June 26  Workaday Reads

June 27  Bookishly Me

June 28  Earth’s Book Nook

June 29  Darlene’s Book Nook

June 30  The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

July 1     Evie Bookish

July 2     Urban Fantasy Reviews

July 3     The Cabin Goddess

July 4     TheSci-Fi Guys Book Review

July 5     The Speculative Salon

July 6     Ali’s Bookshelf

July 7     Bunnys Review

July 8     Bee’s Knees Reviews

July 9     In the Dark of Night with James Tuck

July 10   Edin Road Radio (live podcast)

July 11   A Few Words

July 12    Bab’s Book Bistro

July 13   Alchemy of Scrawl  (live podcast)

July 14    Babs Book Bistro (live podcast)

June 20, 2012 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , | Leave a comment