Scott M. Sandridge

A Work in Progress

Got Paperback?

All three anthologies, now in paperback at both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble!

Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Heros-Best-Friend-Anthology-Companions/dp/1937929515/ref=sr_1_2_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392559682&sr=1-2

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heros-best-friend-scott-m-sandridge/1118591414?ean=9781937929510&itm=1&usri=scott++sandridge

A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Seelie-Court/dp/1937929477/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392560601&sr=1-3

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-chimerical-world-scott-m-sandridge/1118591415?ean=9781937929473&itm=1&usri=scott+m+sandridge

A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Unseelie-Court/dp/1937929493/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392560601&sr=1-1

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-chimerical-world-scott-m-sandridge/1118591426?ean=9781937929497&itm=1&usri=scott+m.+sandridge

If you’re a fan of animal stories, a fan of faeries, or just a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories in general, you will love these. Enjoy! :)

February 16, 2014 Posted by | Writerly Updates | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Faeries & Animals & Anthos! Oh My!

Today’s the day!

For the ebook release of the three anthologies we’ve all been waiting for!

And now for some press release copypasta! Yum!

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http://seventhstarpress.blogspot.com/2014/02/fey-faeries-and-animals-3-new.html

Fey, Faeries, and Animals!  3 New Anthologies Out Today!

Seventh Star Press is pleased to announce that three brand new anthologies are now available in eBook format!

Links for the Kindle and Nook versions are live and can be found as follows.  Kobo, iBookstore, and others will be live at any time.
Hero’s Best Friend Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Heros-Best-Friend-Anthology-Companions-ebook/dp/B00IAHEI1W
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heros-best-friend-scott-m-sandridge/1118591414?ean=2940148285502
A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Seelie-Court-ebook/dp/B00IAHTMAO
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-chimerical-world-scott-m-sandridge/1118591415?ean=2940148285519
A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Unseelie-Court-ebook/dp/B00IAHTVSC
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-chimerical-world-scott-m-sandridge/1118591426?ean=2940148285526

Synopsis are below:
Hero’s Best Friend Synopsis: How far would Gandalf have gotten without Shadowfax? Where would the Vault Dweller be without Dogmeat? And could the Beastmaster been the Beastmaster without his fuzzy allies? Animal companions are more than just sidekicks. Animals can be heroes, too!
Found within are twenty stories of heroic action that focuses on the furries and scalies who have long been the unsung heroes pulling their foolish human buddies out of the fire, and often at great sacrifice—from authors both established and new, including Frank Creed, S. H. Roddey, and Steven S. Long.
Whether you’re a fan of Epic Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Science Fiction, or just animal stories in general, this is the anthology for you!
So sit back, kick your feet up, and find out what it truly means to be the Hero’s Best Friend.
Synopsis of A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court: The Fey have been with us since the beginning, sometimes to our great joy but often to our detriment. Usually divided (at least by us silly humans) into two courts, the first volume of A Chimerical World focuses on the Seelie Court: the court we humans seem to view as the “good” faeries. But “good” and “evil” are human concepts and as alien to the Fey as their mindsets are to us.
Inside you will find 19 stories that delve into the world of the faeries of the Seelie Court, from authors both established and new, including George S. Walker, Eric Garrison, and Alexandra Christian.
But be warned: these faeries are nothing like Tinker Bell.
Synopsis of A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court: The Fey have been with us since the beginning, sometimes to our great joy but often to our detriment. Usually divided (at least by us silly humans) into two courts, the second volume of A Chimerical World focuses on the Unseelie Court: the court we humans seem to view as the “evil” faeries. But “good” and “evil” are human concepts and as alien to the Fey as their mindsets are to us.
Inside you will find 19 stories that delve into the world of the faeries of the Unseelie Court, from authors both established and new, including Michael Shimek, Deedee Davies, and Nick Bryan.
But don’t be surprised if these faeries decide to play with their food.

February 8, 2014 Posted by | Writerly Updates | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Chimerical World 2-Volume Anthology Cover Art Reveal!

And two new covers for two more anthologies that’ll be joining the SSP family. :)

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Seventh Star Press is proud to unveil the new cover art by Enggar Adirasa for the anthologies A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court, and A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court, edited by Scott M. Sandridge.

The anthologies compliment each other, with A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court containing 19 tales focusing on what humans typically refer to as the “good” faeries, while A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court contains 19 tales centered around those humans would deem the “evil” faeries. Yet as editor Scott Sandridge points out, Good and Evil are human constructs, things unfamiliar to the Fey themselves.

Both titles will be available in eBook format at the end of the first week of February, with the print version to follow one week afterward.

Here is a list of the authors and stories to be featured in A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court:

“Extra-Ordinary” by BC Brown
“Dead Fairy Doormat” by George S. Walker
“Taggers” by Christine Morgan
“Wormwood” by Alexandra Christian
“The Harpist’s Hand” by Steven S. Long
“Sanae’s Garden” by Chantal Boudreau
“Mark of Ruins” by SD Grimm
“Birdie’s Life at the School for Distressed Young Ladies” by JH Fleming
“Cultivated Hope” by Jordan Phelps
“Seelie Goose” by Eric Garrison
“I Knocked Up My Fairy Girlfriend” by Brandon Black
“The Body Electric” by Sarah Madsen
“The Last Mission” by Cindy Koepp
“The Beggar-Knight & the Lady Perilous” by Matthew A. Timmins
“The Filigreed Lamp” by Edward Ahern
“Keys” by Michael M. Jones
“Like a Sister in the Proper Court” by Lisa Hawkridge
“Gnome Games” by Saera Corvin
“The Goat Man’s Garden” by Marten Hoyle

Synopsis of A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court: The Fey have been with us since the beginning, sometimes to our great joy but often to our detriment. Usually divided (at least by us silly humans) into two courts, the first volume of A Chimerical World focuses on the Seelie Court: the court we humans seem to view as the “good” faeries. But “good” and “evil” are human concepts and as alien to the Fey as their mindsets are to us.

Inside you will find 19 stories that delve into the world of the faeries of the Seelie Court, from authors both established and new, including George S. Walker, Eric Garrison, and Alexandra Christian.

But be warned: these faeries are nothing like Tinker Bell.

Here is a list of the authors and stories to be featured in A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court:

“In Plain Sight” by Rebecca Leo
“The Wunderhorn” by David Turnbull
“Treehouse” by Kim Smith
“I’ll Watch Over You” by Angeline Trevena
“The Enemy of my Enemy” by Deedee Davies
“Maestro” by Nicholas Paschall
“Prey of the Boggart” by Rony Blechman
“Fear of Little Men” by Mike Pieloor
“Faerie Stories and the Bean Nighe” by Carmen Tudor
“Gifts” by Michael Schimek
“Djinn and Tonic” by S. Clayton Rhodes
“The Bet” by Jodi Ralston
“The Fool and his Money” by Nick Bryan
“The Yielding” by J. A. Ironside
“The Tamer of Beasts” by Doug Blakeslee
“The Last Sword of Barrow Thorns” by Matthew A. Timmins
“The Rose and the Dragon” by Steven S. Long
“The Brothers Doran” by John A. McColley
“Wonderland” by Stephanie Jessop

Synopsis of A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court: The Fey have been with us since the beginning, sometimes to our great joy but often to our detriment. Usually divided (at least by us silly humans) into two courts, the second volume of A Chimerical World focuses on the Unseelie Court: the court we humans seem to view as the “evil” faeries. But “good” and “evil” are human concepts and as alien to the Fey as their mindsets are to us.

Inside you will find 19 stories that delve into the world of the faeries of the Unseelie Court, from authors both established and new, including Michael Shimek, Deedee Davies, and Nick Bryan.

But don’t be surprised if these faeries decide to play with their food.

About Scott M. Sandridge: Scott M. Sandridge is a writer, editor, blogger, freedom fighter, and all-round trouble-maker. His works with Seventh Star Press as an editor include the anthologies Hero’s Best Friend, A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court, and A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court.

You can find him at https://smsand.wordpress.com

January 31, 2014 Posted by | Writerly Updates | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse Review—Hellscapes, Volume 1, by Stephen Zimmer

81cOwvEPHLLWhile Stephen Zimmer’s Rising Dawn Series contains some dark elements, Hellscapes Volume 1, a collection of short stories that all take place in Hell, is his first contribution to the Horror genre. There is variety to the stories, for Hell ends up being different for each main character, based upon that character’s psychology and the manner of deeds that led him or her to Hell. At the same time, they all share a similarity in that each character starts off not knowing he or she is in Hell. In that way, the stories reminded me a lot of The Twilight Zone TV series.

But of all the characters, Jared, in “Drowning in Tears,” was the only character I felt any real sympathy towards. All the characters in the other stories more than deserved their fates, and because of that, rather than feel any fear, I found myself rooting for the minions of Hell, instead. Despite the visceral elements and the horrific torment they go through, it really didn’t feel like Horror to me. More like Dark Fantasy.

There was, however, some good character development involved. Even the most despicable characters didn’t feel like cardboard cutouts, at least (however, if you’re aware of the New World Order, and those involved in it, some of these characters will be quite familiar to you despite the name changes). And it felt quite refreshing to see these evil bastards get their come-uppance.

So if you’re looking for something scary, as in Nightmare on Elmstreet scary, this collection might not be for you. But if you’re a big fan of The Twilight Zone, or would just enjoy reading about certain sociopathic power elites finally getting what they deserve, then Hellscapes is the collection for you.

Best to listen to while reading: anything from Midnight Syndicate, Slayer, Megadeth, or Helloween.

November 17, 2013 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse Review—The Man in the Box by Andrew Toy

The Man in the Box by Andrew Toy is reminiscent of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe only darker. The protagonist, Robbie Lake, finds himself dealing with family problems combined with getting fired from his job as an editor for Cipher Mill Publishing House, when he discovers a magical box after breaking into his old workplace. The box transports him to another world, one he had visited before when he was a child. And, of course, an adventure ensues, but one that threatens to ruin his life in the real world as the box proves to be a two-way portal. Unfortunately, the residents of the magical world don’t want him to leave, and are willing to do anything to make him stay.

For reasons that I won’t go into, so as to avoid spoilers, I had trouble liking Robbie. He makes the right choices in the end, but only after he’s faced with losing everything. The whole entire time, I couldn’t help but think, “Well, you got yourself into this mess, dummy.” His almost childish irresponsibility made it difficult to sympathize with him.

TheManintheBoxCoverOnce in a while I ran into some clunky sentence structures, but fortunately those were rare occasions. While the casual reader probably won’t notice half of them, people like me, editor-brained, will flinch once or twice.

On the plus side, Toy shows a remarkable skill with dialogue and character interaction, and maintains the story’s narrative flow, providing all the information the reader needs without having to sacrifice pacing.

In the end, it’s a good book to have around when you’ve already read your first picks and need to pass some time. But I expect, over time, Andrew Toy will become a recognizable name among the small press community.

Best to read while listening to: nothing specific comes to mind; maybe something Narnia-ish but darker. Or “Man in the Box” by Alice In Chains?

 

The Damn Disclaimer is over to the right –>

May 14, 2013 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

SpecMusicMuse Review – Burning the Middle Ground by L. Andrew Cooper

Burning-CoverRev3With Burning the Middle Ground, the debut novel by L. Andrew Cooper, you will see (okay, read) the author’s strengths and weaknesses all in one. Set in a small town called Kenning, Georgia (and I believe, the word, Kenning, is purposeful, considering what the novel is about), it opens up with a small girl murdering her parents and then committing suicide just as her brother, Brian McCullough, finds her. Flash forward five years later, a journalist named Ronald Glassner arrives in town to write a biography about the tragedy that made the town, and Brian, so famous. Little does Ronald know what he’s getting into….

Cooper nails characterization and dialogue in a way few authors can manage. Ronald is by far the most interesting and roguishly lovable character I’ve read about in a while, and every other character in the story is memorable, even minor characters. You can also tell that Cooper did his research on alchemy and Hermetic magic as well as some Christian mysticism (and, where needed, just made it up).

The story falls short when it comes to overall plot, however. The middle section, which focuses on the chief antagonists, going as far back as before the start of the novel even, dragged the story out. While there were interesting bits and pieces, the interesting (and relevant) parts could’ve easily been handled through the regular plot narrative via segments of dialogue (which does appear later in the last third of the book, ironically, making the middle section almost obsolete) or even a few brief flashbacks by characters being interacted with (which, again ironically, pops up here or there in the final third—especially the scenes involving Jeanne). It was like the tension and suspense was building up and up, and then, instead of the necessary small drop, it instead suddenly dropped all the way through the floor, never rebuilding for the next hundred or so pages. That in itself would’ve been a story-killer if his characters weren’t so gosh-darn fun to read about (especially Ronald, who pretty much stole the entire show).

As Horror goes, I didn’t find Burning the Middle Ground as scary as I had hoped, and even as Dark Fantasy it didn’t seem to come to fruition for me (probably because I’m an old-school Dark Fantasy fan and thus expect the antagonist(s) to be more supernatural and antihero-ish). But there were elements that made the novel worth reading, and the ending appears to segue into either a trilogy or series. If so, then one can certainly view this novel as the “setting up” portion of a larger, more epic, tale. If so, I look forward to seeing Cooper come closer to his full potential with each new addition.

Best to read while listening to: Old fashioned church music—no, seriously. With perhaps a bit of Christian Rock tossed in with some King Diamond and Slayer. And a touch of AC/DC (“Highway to Hell” comes to mind).

*Ahem!* Dislaimer over thar —>

Yeah, to the side of your screem.

May 12, 2013 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , | Leave a comment

Announcing Call for Entries on Hero’s Best Friend Anthology

For Immediate Release February 19,  2013

Announcing Call for Entries on Hero’s Best Friend Anthology

Seventh Star Press announces a call for entries on Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions.   Edited by Scott Sandridge, the speculative fiction anthology brings the spotlight to the noble animal companions of heroic characters.
Hero’s Best Friend welcomes stories of between 2,000 and 10,000 words from all genres of speculative fiction.  All kinds of cultural settings, types of animals, and genres are encouraged for these tales.  The stories should center on the perspective of the animal, in the way that a story would focus on Shadowfax rather than Gandalf, to use one well-known example of a heroic character and animal companion.
Residing in Ohio, editor and author Scott M. Sandridge’s first short story, “Treecutter,” was published in The Sword Review in July 2005. Since then, he’s gone on to publish over 26 more short stories, and over 60 reviews. He has also been a columnist for the Double-Edged Publishing webzines, a Submissions Editor for Ray Gun Revival, and the Managing Editor of Fear and Trembling.  Scott is also an active blogger whose site can be found at: https://smsand.wordpress.com
Hero’s Best Friend will be released in trade paperback and eBook formats in late 2013.  The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2013, and full information on the anthology can be found at http://www.seventhstarpress.com/submissions/

Contact: C.C. James Public Relations, Seventh Star Press ccjames (at) seventhstarpress.com
Seventh Star Press is a small press publisher of speculative fiction located in Lexington Kentucky

February 19, 2013 Posted by | News & Rants, Writerly Updates | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse Review: Vines – An Urban Legend – Michael Williams

Vine-FrontStephen Thorne produces a Greek Tragedy for a theatre, unaware that opening night will unleash ancient and mischievous spirits long dormant.

At least that was what I understood of Vines—An Urban Legend. Since the story, itself, is written in a similar format to the ancient Greek Tragedies, it was a bit difficult for my non-Classically trained mind to stay focused. While such a format can work great in shorter works, when it reaches novella or even novel length, it becomes a major chore to read. And you never want a story to feel like something you were forced to read in high school (unless it was from Hawthorne or Poe, ‘cause they rawked).

Fortunately, not all of it reads that way. Some chapters are a more modern format, as in early twentieth century—and there’s nothing I hate more than being reminded of The Great Gatsby. But don’t worry, Williams’s tale is nowhere near as bad as that worthless literary drivel. Williams, at least, knows that a good story requires a protagonist who acts (no pun intended).

So while it wasn’t my cup of tea, and would likely throw off the casual reader, those who have a love for the Classical and experimental will find this story to be an enjoyable twist. His prose is solid, and having attempted (and failed at) such experiments myself, I can certainly appreciate his attempt and the difficulties in crafting a tale in such a way.

But I will admit those mischievous Muses turned me on.

But, then again, mischievous Muses always turn me on.

Best to read while listening to: anything Classical, perhaps with a dash of Contemporary.

And now for that damned annoying disclaimer (Down with the FTC!!):

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for review fromFirst Rule Publicity from the author as part of a virtual book tour. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

December 29, 2012 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse Review – Remnants of Life: Legends of Darkness by Georgia L. Jones

Samantha dies in a car crash only to find herself in a new body, as a vampire, but not your typical blood-sucking monster, but as Samoda, a spiritform warrior serving Nuem. While discovering the wonders of her new life, she struggles with the memories of her former life and the loved ones she left behind, and all while having to put a stop to an evil monster bent on world domination—and reconciling her newfound passions for her bonded hotty vamp soulmate, Drake.

While Legends of Darkness, the first novel in the Remnants of Life series, would likely be classified as a paranormal romance (even though it’s official genre is Urban Fantasy, the lines tend to blur with those two subgenres), there’s plenty of action, drama, and intrigue as well. As far as the romance elements go, I’ll admit that I’m not an avid romance reader. However, I do know that romantic tension is the name of the game for that genre; therefore, I’ll consider the fact that I spent almost half the book wanting to shout “OMG! Will you two just freakin’ do it already!” to mean that the romance elements between Samoda and Drake are a rip-roaring success. There were enough complications and twists to keep things interesting but not so much as to leave me confused.

The first-person POV, however, felt jarring. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was because the protagonist, Samoda, did way too much thinking (wow, did I just say that?). Then there was one chapter where everything was suddenly inside the head of one of the antagonists. That threw me off temporarily, but then I got over it. (“OMG! When the hell are they gonna’ do it!” *turnpageturnpageturnpage*)

I’ve never been a big fan of the Twilight-ish “vamps are now good” craze, but I do tolerate them much more than the “Christian! TM!” alternatives (which amounted to little more than promoting Nephilim breeding—you’d think folks never read the Old Testament anymore). And this one was a little less Twilight-ish than most (and also involving a character who is of age—oh wait, Twilight was set in the Midwest, so nevermind). And besides, Vlad Tepes features in the plot, so any poking at my usual pet peeves is easily forgiven.

And it had dragons. Dragons are always a plus.

And combat. And blood. And gore. And (finally!) sex.

Everything a growing boy needs.

And still growing…

And growing….

OMG! I think I have a vampire fetish….

Best to read while listening to: a little Classic Rock, a dash of epic fantasy soundtracks (especially for the big battles), and…nah, screw the Twilight soundtrack.

And now to end this review with the following disclosure, thanks to those idiots at the FTC, which I shall officially dub as the I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE TO WRITE THIS BS IN MY BLOG POSTS segment:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for review from First Rule Publicity from the author as part of a virtual book tour. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

November 23, 2012 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

SpecMusicMuse Review – Dark Faith: Invocations

Back when I was the managing editor for Fear & Trembling I was contacted for an interview by Lea Lawrynowicz who was writing an article for Rue Morgue titled “Divinity in Darkiness: The Rise of Christian Horror.” That article appeared in Issue 87 (March 2009). One of my quotes that made it into the article was “Regardless, it’s here to stay and other subgenres may branch out because of it. Who knows? We may be reading Buddhist horror one day.”

Three years later (an interesting number there) my prediction comes true with Dark Faith: Invocations, edited by Maurice Broaddus & Jerry Gordon. Both in the general sense in that this anthology of short stories can be more broadly defined as Spiritual horror or Religious horror than just Christian horror, and also in the specific sense with Elizabeth Twist’s story, “Kill the Buddha.”

The writers in the anthology are practically a who’s who list of short speculative fiction authors—like Jay Lake, Lavie Tidhar, Mike Resnik, Nisi Shawl, Tim Waggoner, and Lucy A. Snyder—as well as up and comers like Michael Ehart and Lashawn M. Wanak. The writers, both new and seasoned and in between, are among the best of the best. And the stories in the anthology show it, too.

While all the stories are spiritually themed and revolve around faith this isn’t your kiderized horror, whether it borrows from Christianity, Paganism, or Buddhism. And a lot of literary and slipstream elements can be found among the stories as well, like Jay Lake’s “The Cancer Catechism” or Tom Piccirilli’s “Subletting God’s Head.” Every story keeps you reading, makes you feel for the characters, and a few throw some excellent plot twists your way. As anthologies go, this one is far above average.

Not only do I highly recommend this anthology, I also think it should be required reading in theology and religion classes the world over. But, then again, I’m crazy that way.

Best read while listening to: there’s so much diversity here that there’s no way that mentioning one or two song artists could do the whole antho justice. So go with your gut instinct and listen to what feels right for each story. Just don’t let it be the Veggie Tales theme song.

October 8, 2012 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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