Heroic Fantasy Writers Featured on Roundtable Podcast

Hey Folks,

I'm pleased to announce that a recent podcast I participated in along with Tom Barczak, Chris and Janet Morris,and Uvi Poznansky just went live.  You can listen to it here. Dave Robison puts this on and he did an excellent job as our host.

Our topic was to discuss Audiobooks and how they fit in with the oral tradition of literature.  The direction of the conversation took me a little bit by surprise. I had prepared for a general discussion but the other panelists came prepared with specific stories about the audiobooks they'd produced.  I do have an audiobook, you can get it here if you're interested, but I wasn't really involved in the book's production.  The audiobook was put together by my former publisher Rhemalda--and honestly I haven't even listened to it (however, I'm sure it's brilliant and you should all download 50,000 copies).

The result of all this was that I kind of fell into the devil's advocate position throughout the discussion.  That wasn't particularly by design, although I tend to fall into that position quite frequently.  

I'd be curious to hear your reactions to this podcast.  We had some great writers participate.  Here are links to their Amazon pages:

And again, here is the link to the podcast, it's FREE so if you have a few minutes you might find it enjoyable.  Please leave your comments either on the Roundtable page or on this blog (or both), I'll be checking in on them!

Review: The Biggest Problem in the Universe Podcast

by Walter Rhein

I've been listening to The Biggest Problem in the Universe podcast recently and I thought I'd discuss a few things about it here.  The podcast consists of internet fratire writer Maddox and author Dick Masterson discussing problems.  Listeners then vote on these problems with the intent of categorizing all the problems in the universe in the correct order of relevance (ironically based on arbitrary voting--it's satire folks).

What I really appreciate about The Biggest Problem is that it has the appearance of being flippant but it's really a very intelligent show.  Also, it sits firmly outside the realm of mainstream media, so you are often exposed to very insightful comments that otherwise slip through the cracks.

Dick and Maddox have fallen into a very nice rhythm of sparring with one another.  A running joke is that Maddox brings in well-researched, serious problems and offers links to studies to support his conclusions, where Dick is apt to just mention something that happened to irritate him while he was on his way to the recording.  Dick's nonchalance tends to make Maddox flip out which is also hilarious.

However, the constant clash of the two hosts works really well because it's reflective of a common social undercurrent that pits measured, rational thinking against that of the inherently emotional response. Dick is perfect as a spokesperson for the emotional reaction, because I think he would be loathe to see himself as such.  However, Dick can be counted on to defend the belief that Coke from McDonald's tastes better, that we should be worried about Ebola, and that there is value in a $100 steak.  There's a gut feeling continuity to these positions that is a perfect contrast to the more analytical approach Maddox displays.

On a recent show they discussed Facebook.  I'd been thinking about their show when I penned my article about internet virality being a myth, and episode 27 offered some nice substance to some of my suspicions.  One of the comments Maddox made that was interesting was about how if you have a page or a group on Facebook with 50,000 followers, you can't guarantee that all 50,000 of those followers will see the things that you post.  In fact, Facebook will probably only send your post out to 10,000 or 15,000 of YOUR followers.  This is because Facebook expects to be paid to send your message to your fans even though you were the one who presumably had the clout to attract 50,000 followers in the first place (yes...it's outrageous).  There are some very interesting consequences to the fact that Facebook manipulates the content you see which you can hear Dick and Maddox discuss on this episode (and in some of the embedded videos on the page).

The information about how internet content is manipulated is very important for my friends who are writers that are looking for effective ways to promote their work online.  The simple conclusion is that Facebook is not the answer (you all suspected...now you know).

I believe there was a brief period where talent was actually rewarded on the internet. Articles or videos that people actually wanted to read or watch got attention. Now, however, the majority of the attention is getting syphoned to the content that has the most money to manipulate the system (again, this is why we have to look at 5 Kardashian articles daily). I still think that talent will win out in the long run...but it's still irritating to see the enemy having such success.

Incidentally, Maddox got his start as one of the internet's first satirical writers and managed to acquire an audience before the big money stepped in and made it more difficult for young start-ups to do so.  Have a look at The Best Page in the Universe to see his origins. I think the thing that I find most appealing about Maddox is that his work is not funded by some huge ridiculous bankroll with an agenda.  This is a case of a legitimate internet talent who has acquired a loyal following over time by producing a product of consistent quality. I also sense that he has greater aspirations with this podcast which he is explicitly stating--which is a good enough hook to keep me listening.

Lately, The Biggest Problem in the Universe has been sponsored by Audible.com.  For those of you who have books, there might be an opportunity for negotiating with Biggest Problem to promote your work (they haven't officially posted anything to that effect...but everybody returns an email if you're offering money).  The internet is filled with smarmy literary ezines that want to charge you hundreds of dollars for ads which have almost zero probability of generating sales that cover even a tenth of the ad charge. This is because all of these web pages use unsubstantiated numbers like "page views" and "clicks" to overvalue the worth of their publication (the only number that has any valley is the number of dollars that goes in your pocket--don't be fooled by BS). My guess is that The Biggest Problem in the Universe is one of the few places that would actually give you a fair return on your advertising dollar. The reason is that this is a legitimate show with some legitimate talent that is not controlled by some larger entity.

That alone makes The Biggest Problem in the Universe unique.  Give it a listen...it's not going to be for all of you, but the only thing I get on my radio is Taylor Swift and I'd rather drive a sharp pencil into my auditory canal than listen to another "artist" whose rich parents gift wrapped an artificial "celebrity" career (I'm also sick of American Idol cast-offs).

Oh, by the way, Dick Masterson once conned his way on to the Dr. Phil show (he does this satirical chauvinist routine that the great Dr. Phil was too dumb to take at anything other than face value). Say what you want to say about Dick, we can't deny he knows what it's like to be in the presence of pure evil.

By the way...I've got a problem for you: DVD menus!  Remember when you could stumble home drunk and plug a video into a machine and KNOW that your damn movie would start?  Now you have to wait around watching a dozen advertisements before getting to some idiotic, semi-functional navigation screen (nobody paid ME to sit through those ADS). This is especially annoying to stand around waiting for as your kids scream and yell to watch Marry Poppins or Kung-Fu Panda for the millionth time.  Then, right when you get it going, they decide they want to watch the thing in SPANISH, so you have to start the whole process over, this time wading to the set-up menu which probably won't work...  Endless nightmares, let the movie begin already.  Back to VHS, that's what I say.

"The Shadow of All Worlds" Has Been Released!

Shane Porteous has just announced the release of his latest project "The Shadow of All Worlds."  The book is available for FREE download over at Smashwords.

I've worked with Shane quite a bit. He's the guy who proposed the idea for the book that became "Nine Heroes," and he contributed a story to that anthology as well.  Shane is a talented writer and he does a good job bringing people together for group projects.

I contributed a story to his first compilation project, "The Battle of Ebulon" (I believe mine is chapter 2), which is also free.  "Shadow" picks up where "Ebulon" leaves off.  However, this project was a bit more ambitious than its predecessor.  Rather than just give sections for authors to write (and for those authors to do whatever they want with), this is a crossover novel featuring characters from a variety of different source material.  The writers were required to work together on a very specific outline.

As you can guess, this was a very tricky project, but Shane managed to bring it all together. This is another fun, creative way to show off the work of a variety of writers in a way I've never seen before.  Give it a look, and you might just meet some writers you'd be interested in reading more from (like that Fawkes Paz guy).

Words with Nicole Quinn author of "It's a Nightmare"

The Gold Stone Girl is set a million years in the future. Mina, a rogue DreamWeaver, is born in the Off-grid of Winkin City, the Night Mare’s one city world. It’s a world where human females are 3/5 human, and licensed as domestic pets. Mina is found inside the mossy womb of a willow tree, alongside lygaeids hibernating as larvae. Hers is a hero’s journey, as she lives the life of a human breeder, who discovers that in order to survive here, she must change everything.

What's your background with writing? 

I’m a WGA screenwriter. I’ve published some short plays, and I’ve written and directed a feature film starring Academy Award winner Melissa Leo and Emmy winner David Strathairn, along with Giancarlo Esposito, Sabrina Lloyd, Denny Dillon and Jason Downs, streaming everywhere. [note: The film is Racing Daylight]

I think of myself as a storyteller. The mediums change but the craft is the same. Stories are the way I reflect the human condition.

Who are your inspirations/influences? 

Mina’s story was born at the Women’s International Film Festival in Miami, Florida, 2008, (shameless plug: where my film Racing Daylight won best USA Feature).

The trailer for the winning International documentary featured hundreds of colorful cloth bundles clogging a two river swirl, somewhere in India. The crawl on the screen informed us that the bundles were the shrouded ‘bodies of castoff baby girls’.

It was then that I wondered how I might tell this story, so that when the mother throws her bundled baby girl into the water, it’s to save her life. I wondered how we might use this story to start a deeper conversation about the gender war escalating around us everyday.

I’ve always been a huge fan of epic hero’s journeys, so JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, JM Barrie, people with initials in lieu of first names, seemingly. I like stories with larger moral meaning, something more than shoe leather, (running), and explosions. 

What was it like working with CreateSpace

It was painless and user friendly. I used ebook Launch <team@ebooklaunch.com> to format, and am happy with the clean, professional files they delivered in mobi, pdf, and for print.

Who was responsible for the cover/book design? 

The artwork is a painting of my mother that my sister rendered when she was 5. My daughter, Caitlin, is a brilliant artist, (graphic and studio). She’s responsible for the cover layout and design of book 1, and she painted the portrait for book 2 when she was about nine. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with for the final book of the trilogy. I wanted the cover to be playfully in your face. Something that says “look at me!” and when you do look, you’re not sure if it’s whimsical or creepy. 

What are you doing in terms of marketing/publicity? 

I have very little money to throw at marketing, so I’m guest posting, using a cyber pr firm to help generate blog/amazon reviews, reading at local book stores and libraries. I clip blog and Facebook post on subjects centered on the world of my book, female oppression, rape culture, pollution, conspicuous consumption,gendercide, honor killings, fgm, the list goes on. I’m also reaching out to a company that crowd sources visionaries, in the hopes that a humanist movement qualifies.

Do you have any stories from book signings/radio interviews/etc.? 

Reading at book stores and libraries, even for book groups, has been a good way to set the work in a larger contemporary context. It affords me a soap box for the issues I’m rigging large, and in your face, and it also guarantees a few sales. 

I narrate audiobooks, so it’s fun to perform the excerpts as samples for those who might prefer an audiobook

Shameless plug: I won the Harper Audio contest to read on Neil Gaiman’s 10th anniversary full cast version of American Gods. I also read with Neil live, last April at Bard College’s Big Read of Housekeeping.

What is the name of your blog, and what can readers expect to find there? 

I clip blog and Facebook post, on subjects that interest me, which are also themes in the novels, female oppression, rape culture, pollution, conspicuous consumption,gendercide, honor killings, fgm, but also magic, nature, and dreams. 

What projects do you have planned for the future? 

The Gold Stone Girl, Book 2, Disbelief, is due out this month, November 2014. Then I’m on to a polish of book 3 for late spring publication. After that, I start scripting the The Gold Stone Girl mini-series. Melissa Leo and Adam Lefevre as Bubba and Dee-Dee? Works for me!

Is there anything else about you we should know? 

The books deal with a patriarchal rape culture. These books are not traditionally YA. However, I’m an advocate for early sex education, and basic social awareness, so buyer beware, there is sexual content and violence, just as there is in the world today.

I have a guest post on kick-ass heroines here.

Thanks for stopping by Nicole!

Harren Press Announces the Release of "In Shambles"

Harren Press has a new book out.  They recently did the re-release of my novel The Bone Sword which has been selling quite well.  The new book is titled In Shambles with the subtitle "A Scarlet Nightmare Book 2."  The first "Scarlet Nightmare" book was Death Awaits.

The writing of R.A. McCandless is featured in this book and I know from his work in Nine Heroes that he is a very talented author. I also know Roy C. Booth from his work on Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Man-Made Vacuum, he's also very talented.

Harren is a fun press, so please give In Shambles a look.  Thanks!

Book Review: Beyond Wizardwall

This Will Make You Want to Re-Read the Beyond Trilogy

Of all the “Beyond” books, I found this one to be the most instantly captivating. The book opens with Niko in the midst of an existential crisis. His mare is in the process of giving birth, and it looks very much as if both the horse and the foal are going to expire. But Niko is exhausted not just from assisting his horse through hours of labor—his previous adventures with Tempus Thales have left him a shattered husk of himself. In the midst of his broken depression, he quits his commission, and heads off—completely vulnerable, into the night.

Stealth, Niko, Nikodemos—is one of the most fascinating characters in all of fantasy. He has a calm and a capability that attracts the admiration of the gods, yet a vulnerability that makes him fragile and appealing. At the beginning of “Wizardwall,” Niko is in the midst of an emotional torment that is highly recognizable as a true physiological ailment. It would be accurate to say he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, but that would also be a mere fraction of what Niko represents in this novel. His suffering is not a statement on an individual illness, instead it casts light on the anguish, weakness, and fundamental strength of human beings as a species.

To watch Niko navigate a path between the schemes of figures more powerful than himself is breathtaking. There is a parent/child relationship between Niko and the other characters, even the characters that do not have Niko’s best interests in mind. This relationship is perfectly realized. The majority of the time, Niko exists because the parent allows it, but every now and then Niko slips through the fingers of a closing hand...revealing he has achieved slightly more of what the parent had perceived in him only as potential.

As always, Janet Morris is a lyrical master. There is a beautiful rhythm to the language here and you might find yourself reading this book out loud just to hear the words echo against the walls. I would be hard pressed to name any fantasy novels that contain even a fraction of the nuance the “Beyond” series can boast. These books are just as worthy of formal study as they are purely entertaining. Having closed the cover on “Beyond Wizardwall,” I’m highly tempted to return to “Beyond Sanctuary” and begin again...hopefully more confident with the knowledge I’ve gained, but fairly certain the series will require a third reading...and a fourth...and a fifth...

For fans of fantasy, this book has few equals.  Grab your copy here.

Words with David Berger

Can you tell us a little bit about the Task Force: Gaea series

Eons ago, when I was a senior in high school, I wrote a short story called “The Olympus Corps.” which combined both my loves of Star Trek and Greek mythology. Outer space had its allure, and so did the monsters and gods, so I thought by combining them, I’d have something pretty special. Over the years, I moved away from that outer space setting but kept the rest, and it evolved into Task Force: Gaea—Finding Balance, the story of a group of mortals whose task it is to restore order to a chaotic world at the risk of their own existence. The sequel, Memory’s Curse, takes place immediately after the first book, exploring the dark horror of an ancient evil, The Nebulous One, who hunts the Olympeian gods. With a different history unfolding, the Task Force team needs to work with Apollo to stop the threat. The Liar’s Prophecy, book three (there will be five), takes the team on a different adventure, challenging all they've ever known to be true. 

What's your background in writing? 

I’ve been writing since I was a child, starting with “fanfiction” of the Smurfs with my sister. In my teenage years, I wrote myth-based stories, like the one that eventually because the seed for my novel series. I grew to love writing (and reading, of course), and became an English major, writing many short stories in college, and later, I became an English teacher. I adore poetry, and someday I hope to see my poems published, too. A few years ago, I had two short stories included in an anthology geared toward the LGBTQ audience, New Years to Christmas: 15 Queer Holiday Tales. 

Who are your inspirations/influences? 

My initial inspiration for writing came from reading mythology and comic books, namely Wonder Woman, a character whose origin ignited within me a never-ending fire. While I became an avid reader of fantasy stories, some of the authors whose works influenced me were J. R. R. Tolkien, Piers Anthony, Terry Goodkind, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Neil Gaiman. I also credit author friends of mine whose will to write speaks to my heart. 

What was it like working with CreateSpace?

I decided to go with CreateSpace because my first desire was to see my works in print, out in the world. I don’t have aspirations to be a “best seller” or a “renowned author.” I just want my stories out in the world. Using a printing-on-demand publisher gave me a great deal of freedom to do what I wanted when I wanted. Someday, I may pursue a publishing house, but right now, I’m content where I am. 

Who was responsible for the cover/book design? 

Michael Hamlett created the initial sketches and artwork for the covers. His work provided me with the first fires of inspiration for forging my work. Without his images, I don’t think I would have finished the novel. The design of the covers themselves was mine, using Michael’s art as the focus. 

What are you doing in terms of marketing/publicity? 

I use social media, although probably not as well as I could be. I also go to multiple sci-fi/fantasy conventions a year to sell books, do signings, sit on panels, and even facilitate writing workshops. 

Do you have any stories from book signings/radio interviews/etc.? 

At MegaCon last year, a 13-year-old girl bought my books on the first day of the convention. The next day, her mother came back to my table to let me know that not only was her daughter midway through the first novel, but she also loved it more than she loved Percy Jackson (we both use Greek mythology in a modern context). At Bent-Con last year, I had many people come up excited to see me because I had brought a sequel. 

What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?

My author site is here and my blog is here. At my author page, I post conventions and other events, book trailers, and information about upcoming books. 

What projects do you have planned for the future? 

I’m so excited about finishing the third book in my series, The Liar’s Prophecy—it’s the core of the five-part epic—as well as an anthology of stories, Of Mortal Bonds, that explores what happens to the gods in Memory’s Curse. I also have an LGBT novel planned that uses the main characters from the two short stories published in that holiday anthology. 

Is there anything else about you we should know? 

My writing isn’t to make money or give me any length of fame. It’s to get my stories out there. I’m simply a storyteller who has a penchant for the ancient world of the gods.

Virality is a Myth

It seems like every day I see an article on Facebook or Yahoo exclaiming how some Youtube video or story just "went viral." The implication is that this indicates some kind of grass roots, democratic effort where "you: the people of the internet" decided what video, image, or story was worthy of our collective attention.

Well, allow me to offer something a little cynical: virality is a myth.

You should not feel any compulsion to click on anything simply because some greater news source indicated that it has "gone viral." There may have been a time a decade ago when virality was real and there really were items brought to our attention through natural selection, but that time has long since passed.  Sooner or latter all natural processes are absorbed by the segments of the media that are controlled by big dollars.

If you wish to defend the concept of virality, then you're going to have to explain how on any given day there are three Yahoo articles about what Kim Kardashian just had for breakfast. I know a dozen writers who are producing tremendous work and who would get an enormous boost from a single mention on Yahoo to the betterment of all humanity, so it's frustrating to see a daily triumvirate of articles dedicated to some talentless Kardashian (especially when I've never met anyone in person who claims to be a fan of that clan).

I don't mean to come across as a conspiracy theorist, I'm just stating the obvious fact that the media is highly manipulated. Sure there are cases where people without connections break through and find enormous success, but those instances are the exception. Take, for example, a list of your favorite actors. If you do some digging you'll find that a high percentage of them come from families with a lot of clout in the industry. This does not mean that those people do not have talent, but it is an indication that their success was not based on talent alone.

There are hidden gems out there that deserve to be discovered, and the concept of "virality" is an indication that the mass of humanity is seeking such things. People delight in finding quality pieces of work that shake up the collective human perspective by offering something new and brilliant. However, it's hard to find these things because there is lots and lots of mediocre talent out there with tons of money that is able to monopolize the spotlight through bribery. Sometimes I worry that there is a collective negative effect on our whole art culture simply because it's so hard for legitimate new talent to break through, but such an effect would be impossible to measure.

Perhaps the saving grace is that the true artists in our population are dedicated to their craft and nourished by perfecting their art for its own sake. It could be argued that these artists don't even seek attention since that could become a distraction to their purpose (although obviously enough notoriety so that they can make a living is necessary). Finding such talent takes effort on the part of the consumer. The good stuff out there hasn't "gone viral," and it probably never will. That being said, there's probably no point in clicking on articles boasting the discovery of the latest "viral" sensation. 

The word "viral" is just another marketing phrase which we have not yet learned to regard with suspicion.

"The Bone Sword" Has Been Re-Released by Harren Press

I'm pleased to announce that Harren Press has just re-released my novel "The Bone Sword."  The book has been giving a face lift with a new cover and a complete re-edit.  The book has actually been available on Amazon for a couple days, but we've been waiting for all the reviews to switch over to the new listing as well as to make sure the paperback and kindle versions link to each other.  Amazon never seems to be in any rush to take care of details like these.

"The Bone Sword" was originally published with Rhemalda back in 2010.  The novel is a quick, action-based fantasy designed to keep the reader entertained and on the edge of your seat.  I wrote the book while living in Lima, Peru in a tiny apartment I was renting with my girlfriend (now wife) for $120 or so a month.  The thing I remember best about that apartment is that we once discovered the landlady's daughter inside our room without permission.  It turned out that she used to learn the schedule of everyone in the building, then she'd sneak into the rooms when they were out and steal coins, etc.  I changed the locks after that and we didn't have another issue.  Still, it was kind of creepy.  Had she stolen my laptop, this book wouldn't exist.

"The Bone Sword" was originally accepted for publication from Rhemalda Publishing.  Rhemalda was a traditional publisher at the time, but they've since relaunched themselves as a book designer.  Check out their web page here.

Prior to Rhemalda, I'd worked with Epress-online (now defunct).  Rhemalda did a good job, and I think "The Bone Sword" was the second book they released.  The original cover really wasn't up to standard though, so I'm glad to get a new one on the re-release.  Rhemalda's covers got a lot better with other books, including my bestseller so far: "Beyond Birkie Fever."

When Rhemalda ceased operations as a traditional publisher, they returned the rights to all their books to the authors which was a pretty classy move on their part.  There's an amusing thread on Absolute Write where a bunch of snobby writers who don't know anything discuss "red flags" from Rhemalda.  I bet they'd all be surprised to know that the publisher would do something as awesome as return rights to all their authors when they ceased operations.  This is why I don't waste too much time on sites like Absolute Write.  You can read that thread here.

I spent quite a while looking to place "The Bone Sword."  By then I'd already started work on a new series for Perseid called "The Slaves of Erafor."  I was having a great experience working with Perseid, but I felt "The Bone Sword" might get lost in the shuffle there, so I reached out to Jesse Duckworth of Harren about publishing it.  Jesse jumped at the chance and here we are with a new release!

It's great to see "The Bone Sword" getting another chance with a new front cover.  I have fond feelings for this book since it was the first work of mine that Rhemalda accepted, and in many ways "Bone Sword" and Rhemalda really gave me a jump start as a writer.  I think I've evolved substantially as an author since it was released, but those of you who like my work will find plenty to enjoy in this book.  I still get messages from readers asking me when I plan on writing a sequel to this (hopefully I'll get to it in the spring of 2015--Harren said they'd be interested in publishing a sequel).

One interesting little tidbit is that this is the book I sent to Janet Morris which made her interested enough in my writing to request I work up a concept for Perseid--resulting in "The Reader of Acheron."  She heard about "The Bone Sword" because I posed a couple absolutely terrible reviews this book has received.  Here is, I believe, the only 1 star review I've managed to generate on Amazon.  Also, here's a pretty ridiculous treatment of the book on a web page called Future Fire.  I put a comment on that page asking if they'd like to read my latest book and they never answered me...so there you go :) .

As you can see, I'm looking to generate a bit more love for this novel.  If any of you are interested in a review copy, please contact me at: walterrhein@gmail.com.  I have quite a few of the old blue cover ones available, and would be happy to send them out for Amazon reviews.  Those of you who already have copies, please throw a couple words up on Amazon for me.  I want Harren to know that they've got a winner on their hands.

Thanks all, and if you wish to buy a paperback or kindle version of the new release, click here!

Words with S.A. Bolich, author of "The Mask of God"

Can you tell us a little bit about "The Mask of God"?

This is the first book in what turned out to be my all-time favorite series of books that I’ve written (Fate’s Arrow). It’s epic fantasy and SF rolled into one and I had a blast doing the worldbuilding, which is very rich, a blend of elite swordsmen and feudal grudges, warring (and artificial) gods and glimpses of ancient technology left over from the Founders of this lost Earth colony. I wrote it as a stand-alone, but a couple of months after I finished it I had a really intense flash on a scene that logically could have followed from the action in this book. It turned out I had to write a whole book to get up to that scene, and a whole book to resolve it! So, I ended up with a trilogy of three very long books that actually had to be split in half to publish. So now the series is six books instead of three, but the good news is that it’s already written. There will be no endless stretching out of the storyline a la “The Wheel of Time” where the author actually died in the middle of the series. I am currently revising the last two books and when they are delivered they will be coming out on a regular schedule over the next year, year and a half. If you like really layered, immersion-type fantasy, that’s what these are.

I started “The Mask of God” in 1989 with the intention of looking at the whole Middle East mess from a fantasy perspective. This was before bin Laden, before Al Queda, 911, etc. and it was just this neverending conflict spawned by two cultures that refused to understand each other or make peace. So the underlying premise was to examine how the people down the block could be so different that we fail to understand them at all. It’s set on a colony world of Earth that has been cut off for centuries, ever since the galaxy fell to a horde of religious fanatics swarming out from their home planet determined to convert the rest of the universe. My “infidels” are very priest-wary, having survived that fanatical theocracy, which, chillingly, reminds me now, 25 years after I wrote it, a great deal of ISIS. The “heathens” are people who clung to their religions underground throughout the Hadi regime and were disappointed to learn that their victorious fellows who fought the Hadi don’t want any part of priests or gods anymore. So the religious folk fled to the southern desert, the remainder settled into the greener parts...and then somehow accumulated 1000 gods of their own. My agnostic prince, Alarion, doesn’t want to believe in any of them, but is forced to consider the possibility that they have actual power when one of them saves his life. Not to mention the fact that he dreams prophetic dreams that could only come from the goddess Fate. And that the Hadi god and all its priests had strange and well-documented powers... The mystery of how the 1000 gods came to be—and how Alarion tries to disentangle himself from their private war—is the thrust of the first book. The stir he causes trying to do so carries the story forward through the rest of the series.

What's your background with writing?

I won my first writing contest in the sixth grade. Since then I have been an EPIC finalist, gotten to the quarter finals and Honorable Mention phases of Writers of the Future, and had my first published short story earn an Honorable Mention in the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. I wrote for fun for years, only occasionally dipping a toe into submissions. I always got personal rejections, which I didn’t realize at the time were good things, and thus went back into my corner and went on writing. It was after the internet came along and I joined a couple of writers’ workshops that I realized maybe my stuff wasn’t so bad. People encouraged me to submit, which I did, and started to sell. Six years ago I quit my day job and have supported myself by writing ever since.

Who are your inspirations/influences?

I actually set out to write historical fiction. Got a degree in history and everything. Then I went in the Army (military intelligence officer), and got seriously sidetracked. So, my influences are not the standard genre folk, but authors like Rosemary Sutcliffe and Mary Stewart, Elleston Trevor and Anton Myrer, Herman Wouk, and other writers of historical or military fiction. However, I also devoured nearly everything written by Andre Norton as a teen, read Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury and a lot of Golden Age SF writers, Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey... I still read widely in both fantasy and SF and lots and lots of non-fiction.

What was it like working with Sky Warrior Books or Hartwood Publishing?

I really like working with small presses. Your books come out faster, the royalties are higher, and you have more freedom to write the books you want to write. Hartwood published my Civil War fantasy/ghost story that agents loved but weren’t sure they could sell because it doesn’t fit into a clearly identifiable niche. Hartwood loved it, and the reviews have been excellent. So, though everyone wants a New York contract, it’s certainly not the only way to get your books in front of readers anymore.

Who was responsible for the cover/book design?

A very fine artist named William R. Warren did the Mask cover. He was wonderful to work with, very enthusiastic about the world, and actually gave me some great ideas that I incorporated into the revisions. Remember that this is a fallen colony, and you see evidence of the Founders everywhere on Ariel, from the building materials they used to the remnants of the spaceport and old broken-down flyers that have been fitted with wooden wheels and are now hauled by oxen. He captured a lot of that feel in the cover, which shows both the trickster Thousandth God rolling his dice across my heroes marching out to war, and the huge signal mirrors that are the foundation of Ariel’s “modern” communication system.

What are you doing in terms of marketing/publicity?

I am active on Facebook and Twitter, do the odd blog tour now and again, try to maintain my own blog and keep people updated with news, etc. Mostly I write, giving people new reasons to like my work.

Do you have any stories from book signings/radio interviews/etc.?

Two years ago George R.R. Martin was the guest of honor at Miscon, in Missoula, Montana. It’s normally a small con, but the best one I’ve ever been to. That year the place was packed to the gills, and when George was signing (seated on the Iron Throne, of course), the lines went down the hall, around a corner, and out the door all the way down to the creek that runs behind the hotel. Meantime, all the rest of us panelists and invited pros are sitting in our little book-signing enclave (and there were some very well-known authors among us), smiling hopefully, watching people shuffle past to get their books signed by George. I think one author signed one book. After a while it got to be pretty funny, actually. We now all have a war story about how GRRM sucks the air out of book signings.

What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?

My blog is called Words from Thin Air. I do occasionally write about life, the universe, and writing, but its biggest thrust is the Horses in Fiction series I write, which is aimed at helping writers get their fictional equines right. I can’t count the number of times I have rolled my eyes or chucked a book across the room because the writer had clearly never been without shouting distance of a live horse. Assuming that what you see in Hollywood is how real horses are WILL get you laughed at by all the horse-savvy people out there, of whom there are many, many more than you think.

What projects do you have planned for the future?

I was in the middle of a new book when I landed the contract for my “Masters of the Elements” series, which sucked up all my writing time for the past 3 years. Now that the “Fate’s Arrow” series is almost done in revision, I will be able to get back to that. It’s epic fantasy as well, with some very cool elements I’m anxious to explore. I’m also going through my drawer cleaning up some of the many short stories lurking in there. I’ll be chucking those out to fend for themselves in the market, too.

Is there anything else about you we should know?

Aside from the two horses, four cats, and one ancient dog who claim to be pets but are actually masters of the Bolich universe? They say to be sure to tell you to buy my books so I can keep them fed. Yes, masters...

You can catch up with me on Twitter (sabolichwrites), on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/sue.bolich or https://www.facebook.com/s.a.bolich), and of course at my own website (www.sabolichbooks.com). I have a new book in my Masters of the Elements series coming out 1 November, so watch for promo offers toward the end of October. That’s it! Thanks for the interview!  

Review of "Spawn of Dyscrasia" by S.E. Lindberg

Dark, Fascinating Fantasy

S.E. Lindberg’s “Spawn ofDyscrasia” is the second book to appear in the world of Dyscrasia. I haven’t read “Lords of Dyscrasia,” but after having spent some time with “Spawn,” it’s definitely a work that has made its way to my ‘to-read’ list. Although “Spawn” stands alone, there were some times I wished I was a little more familiar with the world, and I think reading “Lords” first would have helped.

Dyscrasia is a pretty fascinating place, and you have to give this novel your full attention while reading. “Spawn” is a dark fantasy novel, but there are elements that provoke emotions that are similar to what you feel from other genres. Some of the early scenes involving artificial life forms reminded me of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”--but not the mindless slasher films the character has inspired, I’m talking about the philosophical, gothic masterpiece of a novel that started it all.

Energy is a major discussion point early on and these conversations reach beyond the scope of the novel. Some characters draw their energy from other characters and I was reminded of the magical system in The Darksword Trilogy that involved all magic users drawing their power through people referred to as Catalysts (it was the only interesting thing in that novel—and the idea wasn’t explored adequately, so read “Spawn of Dyscrasia” instead).

There is also a skull-faced character that reminded me a little bit of Garth the Overman from Lawrence Watt-Evans’s “Lords of Dus” trilogy. Both that series and “Spawn of Dyscracia” manage to generate the same sense of ominous foreboding. The characters are competent and powerful, but it seems like the elements of nature are too indomitable and inherently sadistic to ever be overcome.

I was impressed by S.E. Lindberg’s writing, his words are precise and intelligent. There is a definite purpose here, and you can tell that Lindberg is a well-educated man. Perhaps there are passages that become too didactic at times, but overall it worked very well for me.

This novel really goes beyond the fantasy genre, although I think it will take a few subsequent readings on my part to formulate an idea as to what comments the author intends. I like that kind of subtlety. I’ll probably revisit it again after reading the first volume and update my thoughts. In the meantime, grab your own copies of both of these!

Please give my review a "helpful" click on Amazon (and purchase your copy) here!

"The Reader of Acheron" Featured on Black Gate

I'm very pleased to announce that my novel "The Reader of Acheron" was recently featured on Black Gate.  There are a lot of Fantasy web pages out there, but as far as I'm concerned, Black Gate is one of the very best.  My writing has appeared on a lot of different pages throughout the years, but seeing the listing on Black Gate was, and continues to be, a thrill.

So please, take a few moments to head over to Black Gate and read the wonderful words of Joe Bonadonna as he discusses "The Reader of Acheron."  Also, if you would be so kind as to leave a comment, I would be eternally grateful!  I'm very curious to hear what you all have to say about this book, and this insightful review.

Also, I'm still looking to hit 50 Amazon reviews for this novel, so if you are willing to review it send me an email and we'll discuss how to get you a copy (kindle and paperback are both possible).  My email is: walterrhein@gmail.com

Thanks folks!

Review of "Unrelenting" by Travis Ludvigson

A Great Kindle Unlimited Find!

I grabbed this book for free off Kindle Unlimited and was delighted by it. “Unrelenting” is a fast-paced action thriller that you can read in a matter of hours. At 108 pages, it’s just the right length. “Unrelenting” is not so long that you have to click the page button fifty times just to see your progress bar go up one percent, and it’s not so short that there is nothing to sink your teeth into. This is the perfect size novel for a trip that involves a lot of waiting or sitting. It’s a solid story, but not with so much nuance that the effect is lost if you have to take multiple breaks.

While reading this, I was reminded of Jim Roberts’s “Code of War” books. The action revolves around a group of military men who go on a camping trip in Wisconsin to process the grief their sharing over the loss of a friend. While they’re out camping, they end up being stalked by a mysterious creature prone to dismembering local wildlife and leaving the gory carcasses hanging from trees.

It sounds a bit like “Predator” but there are some surprises as to what the origin of the stalking creature is. Also, the real strength of this book is how the characters are developed in the first half. These are a bunch of military warriors attempting to process their grief, and Ludvigson does a great job showing this in a way that is believable and realistic. Because they are Rangers and Air Force men, they aren’t going all to pieces. In fact, they mainly just drink beer and try to tell jokes. But there is a nice nuance of real pain in their banter. I thought the first half of this book was probably the most compelling part, and once the characters are established, the action starts to take off.

“Unrelenting” is a quick and exciting read that is a good choice for someone who is looking for a couple hours of entertainment. The fact that it’s free on Kindle Unlimited makes it a no-brainer. Reading “Unrelenting” is far more entertaining than the alternative of wasting time perusing garbage articles on the internet. The fact that there is some real solid writing skill on display, especially in the first half, makes “Unrelenting” a slam-dunk.

Please grab a copy and like my review on Amazon here!

Review of The Lilith Scroll by B.L. Marsh

An Interesting Mash up of Biblical and Urban Fantasy

This novel is an interesting mash up of religious imagery, urban fantasy, Biblical warfare, and intriguing storytelling. The story centers around an intriguing young woman named Lilith St. Cloud who has drawn the attention of the immortal hierarchy that exist in the world of this book. Lilith is something of a mystery as she exhibits ancient powers although nobody seems to know exactly who she is. As the novel progresses, Lilith’s identity is revealed and the stakes are raised in a way the reader will find delightful.

The initial setting of the novel is a Starbucks in Scotland, and it takes quite a while for the book to get rolling. Lilith is sitting at the Starbucks and various characters of consequence are observing or stalking her. Many of these characters are given scenes which sometimes are told in the past perfect tense—this is an interesting choice on the part of the author since the past perfect (“had visited” etc.) tends to distance the reader from the action. However, I suppose in a novel like this where events are separated by millennia, it would be difficult to write the scenes chronologically. Flashbacks are jarring as well since that undermines the significance of the past episode in relationship to the unfolding action. B.L. Marsh does effectively set up the action with the approach she uses here, and I found examining her approach to be quite interesting.

The world building of “The Lilith Scroll” is noteworthy as well. Fairly early we are told that we can expect to meet werewolves and vampires as well as angels and demons. The fact that modern things such as iphones and Starbucks are also mentioned can provide a jarring sensation. There’s a brief scene where an immortal uses a iphone to make a very important call, and the fact that the iPhone was mentioned struck me as kind of comical. It’s almost as if the author is saying, “yes...even God has to use iPhones, and even he can’t escape the iTunes licensing agreement.”

This book reminded me quite a bit of “Tears of Heaven” by RA McCandless. “Tears” also features Nephilim set in a mostly modern world. I don’t know if it’s correct to call these novels “Christian Urban Fantasy” (For short...I don’t know...maybe “CurFs” or something?) but there’s getting to be a lot of them (the Paul Bettany movie “Legion” probably fits into this category).

I enjoyed the world building of “Lilith Scroll” very much. The writing is very solid, although I’m on the fence about the present perfect scenes (though I can’t really blame the writer as I mentioned). There are some sequences that really get some rhythm going, and the characters are interesting, well-rounded, and appealing. If you’re the type of reader who is into Curf, this is a great book for you.

Please like my review on Amazon (and pick up your copy of "The Lilith Scroll") here.

Review of "Blue Eyes at Night" (Book II of the Crusader Series)

Thoughtful and Engaging Dark Fantasy

I read J.P. Wilder's "Blue Eyes at Night" without having read the first book in the series, and I can assure you I'll be going back to check out "The Crusader" (Book I) at my earliest opportunity.  The reason I read "Blue Eyes" first was because I saw it was being offered for free as a promotional giveaway and I took advantage.  Even though this book is a sequel, it is truly a stand-alone work.  I never felt like I was lost, or lacked information because I haven't yet read the first book.

The book is written in a very intense first person style that, for me, evoked the Edgar Allan Poe story, "The Cask of Amontillado."  I do mean that as a compliment, although I don't want to unfairly raise expectations from such a comparison.  The storytelling in "Blue Eyes at Night" isn't as richly lyrical as Poe, but there are moments when I felt myself transported into the mind of the protagonist in the same way you get from "Cask"...and that mind isn't a particularly safe environment to inhabit.

The storytelling perspective of "Blue Eyes" makes it quite a bit different than the other fantasy works I've been reading lately.  There are certain limitations from being so close to a single character.  The character in question is a crusader/assassin named Aaron.  When we meet him in "Blue Eyes" he's in the midst of a emotional crisis, and he defends himself (and takes lives) more out of habit than any real desire to live.

Assassins going through bouts of conscience are always interesting characters.  For somebody to become an assassin you'd have to assume they have an emotional make-up that allows them to exist without remorse.  However, everyone starts a new profession with confidence that the debilitating effects manifested in other practicing professionals are somehow not going to befall them.  The thing that makes Aaron appealing is that he's not wandering around groveling and begging for redemption like a weepy child.  He's got a certain amount of acceptance that the suffering that's been thrust upon him is justified, and he endures it with a kind of warped nobility.

I guess there's just something to be said for a character that is perhaps too aware of his or her own flaws.  We live in a world where people are constantly attempting to present themselves as more than they are, so it's nice to see a character who is honest about his transgressions and cognizant of the fact that he probably deserves a terrible death.  In "Blue eyes at Night," Aaron eventually accepts a mission that he understands is probably going to get him killed.  It's a suicide attempt for a person who is too much of a survivor to ever fall on a sword or fashion his own noose.  The other interesting thing about a situational suicide attempt is that it could potentially produce the opportunity for redemption.

I also like how he apparently got Mila Kunis for the cover!

Pick up your copy of "Blue Eyes at Night" here.

Revisiting “The Fisher King,” RIP Robin Williams

I’ve been finding myself reflecting on Robin Williams since the news of his tragic suicide broke a few days ago. It’s always moments like this when you start to appreciate what is lost, and when you seriously examine Williams’s work, it’s instantly apparent what tremendous talent the man had. As an improvisational comic, Williams was without equal. The man was lighting fast, and could instantaneously invent comedic routines far superior to the ones other established comics refined and revised for years. I imagine Williams’s mind started to run hot as he hit the full stride of his stream-of-consciousness mania; his words came out so loud and fast that it got almost to the point of being intimidating. However, no matter how crazy his commentary became it was always clear that there was a sincere humanitarian at the controls – and he never descended into insulting individuals or generalized groups. Williams found enough absurdity in the human condition, and though that does seem like an eternal wellspring of inspiration, it’s surprising how many comedians have to cheat to get attention.

In many ways, Williams’s talent didn’t exactly mesh with the silver screen, but he had so much obvious ability that you had to find a way to use him or you weren’t being true to the concept of art. In some films he gives tremendous reserved performances such as in “Good Will Hunting,” but I think that unless directors can utilize the mania, they really aren’t taking full advantage of what Williams can do.

“The Fisher King” turned out to be a pitch perfect project for a guy like Williams. In it, he plays a regular man who has his life torn apart by tragedy. The tragedy transforms him from a mild-mannered professor to an indigent who lives in a junkyard, dresses in rags, and claims to hear the voices of fairies. The character’s name is Parry, and he seems to constantly be in the throes of a desperate good mood which his obviously nothing more than a cracked mask intended to cover up his spiritual torment (you can see why Williams would be convincing in a part like this).

Parry thinks of himself as a knight, and he patrols the city streets in a personal quest to help those in need. As long as he is able to live in his illusion, he is more or less a functional person. However, if something happens which allows him to settle down and remember how regular people behave (falling in love for example), he is tormented by a vision of a red knight which chases him back to insanity.

“The Fisher King” is a lovely story of redemption and healing. The title is from Arthurian legend and Parry (his name should evoke Percival—or Parcival depending on the translation you read) tells the story of the Fisher King in one of his moments of lucidity. Parry inherently knows that he needs the grail to be healed, so the film becomes a grail quest narrative.

“The Fisher King” was directed by Terry Gilliam, himself the most manic member of Monty Python, and I think he was the perfect director to work with Williams. The performance Gilliam gets out of Williams is manic, but restrained, and hits all the right notes. I could see how other directors might be intimidated by Williams and not give him a “safe” environment in which to create – but Gilliam clearly knew what he was getting with Williams, and the pairing is inspired.

It really is a beautiful film, and I especially love the urban fantasy element. There’s a reason that fantasy remains such a popular genre in the age of cell phones, the internet, and laptop computers. The image of an armored man riding a horse in defense of good or as an emissary of evil is powerful, and Gilliam manages to explore the impact those images have on our collective psyche. The visual side of the film is stunning, but “The Fisher King” achieves its power thanks to Robin Williams through whom the audience perceives terrible torment inflicted upon tremendous humanity – just like in real life. Go watch “The Fisher King” or watch it again if you’ve already seen it. It’s a fitting tribute to a great talent, and it will make you happy...a little sad too...but mostly happy, which is good.

Robin Williams will be missed.

Get a copy of "The Fisher King" here.

Review of "The Peacemakers" by Jim Roberts

The Gang’s All Back For Another Military Adventure

I’m very impressed with the work of Jim Roberts. This is a writer who has identified a very marketable literary niche and is doing a good job carving out a readership for himself. In “Olympus Rises” Roberts introduced us to a cadre of fascinating characters and he’s brought them all back for more in “The Peacemakers.” Joe Braddock is the main focal point, but I’m getting the sense that Danny Callbeck is kind of taking these novels over. In “Olympus Rises” Danny came into the possession of a technologically advanced battle suit which turns him into a cross between Batman and Ironman. It’s interesting that modern warfare has progressed to the point where what would be called a “superhero” costume only a few decades ago is now an entirely reasonable piece of equipment soldiers might take into battle. Essentially all you’re talking about is body armor and heightened optics (Danny’s suit has some mechanical enhancements as well), and the way technology is advancing it’s pretty reasonable to assume that this is the way war will look in another decade or so.

“The Peacemakers” starts out with a mission that doesn’t go according to plan and which puts the team on probation. This allows for Roberts to give us a bit of “down time” with the characters which includes a hunting trip – which I enjoyed. With the Peacemakers out of action, the terrorist organization Olympus is allowed to advance their schemes unopposed.

The thing that makes these books great is their sense of purpose. This isn’t a series that has inflated aspirations. The goal is to tell a good military story, effectively convey the emotions of the central characters enough to make them appealing but not so much that they’re mushy, and to blow a lot of stuff up in as cool a way as you can imagine. On all levels, the mission is fully accomplished.

That being said, there are some Easter eggs thrown in there for more literary readers. I’m reminded quite a bit of Tom Clancy with these books, although with a tactical rather than analytical analysis. There is a tremendous delight in the brotherhood and sacrifices of the armed forces that would make this book an ideal selection for a 4th of July present. It’s a quick, fun, adventurous read that anyone with an interest in guns, the military, hunting, or human drama will greatly appreciate.

Get your copy here!

Words with Tracy Falbe, author of "Rys Rising"

Can you tell us a little about your Rys Rising series?

It’s a 4-part epic made of the books Rys Rising, Savage Storm, New Religion, and Love Lost. The rys are the magical race I created for my world instead of just using off-the-shelf elves. The Rys Rising series tells the origins of the rys that were created by the older race known as the tabre.

The tabre are not happy with the outcome of their experiments, so they hide the rys away in a mountain colony called Jingten. The rys don’t have any contact with other regions, not even Nufal where the tabre rule as religious masters of humans. Nor do the rys visit the Tribal Kingdoms where only humans live, but that’s about to end.

Onja is a very powerful young female rys. Upon reaching maturity she slips away to the Tribal Kingdoms and saves the life of a young man, who will become her greatest warlord Amar.

Throughout the series she and Amar will conquer the Tribal Kingdoms, install her as the Goddess, and raise an army to take against the tabre.

But human armies are not enough to challenge the magic masters of the tabre. Onja needs to seduce Dacian, another rys prodigy but unfortunately a bit of boot-licker to the tabre ruling order. He has the highest ideals. He wants to prove the greatness of the rys so that they will be accepted as cousins within tabre society.

He wants to free his kind peacefully and contribute to civilization. You can imagine how well that goes…all the way to the torture chamber.

Because it’s a big fat series about 18,000 other things happen too.

Rys Rising isn’t a series for readers who like to only follow one or two characters. I deck out vast ensembles led by major characters. As two civilizations clash, I weave together their stories into an unforgettable ending of mythological scope.

You can read about the Rys Rising series and download the first book for free at Brave Luck Books.

Whew! Next question.

What’s your background with writing?

Little girl went to grade school and was taught to read and write English.

Loved it.

Teenage girl reads Tolkien and writes two novels. She decides they are most likely juvenile drivel, puts them in a drawer, and decides to have a social life.

Twenty-five-year-old woman starts writing what will become Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I. She’s been writing novels ever since.

Oh yeah, and I went to college and got a journalism degree from California State University, Chico so I can at least make the case that I can write for public consumption. 

Who are your inspirations and influences?

Obviously like many before me, J.R.R. Tolkien caused me to fall in love with the fantasy genre. I also really loved my brother’s Conan books by Robert E. Howard. As for writing style, I’ve been most inspired by Frank Herbert and his Dune books. As a teen, I fell in love with the scope of his world. The details about religion, politics, and culture dazzled me, and I thrived on the multiple points of view.

Do you have any stories from book signings/radio interviews etc.?

I’ve been attending comic and anime conventions to promote and sell my books. I sold a copy of Werelord Thal to a man at one convention, and he returned to my table at another convention a few months later. He bought The Rys Chronicles from me and then mentioned that his daughter had also read Werelord Thal. In fact, she had even used it for her book report in English class and got an A.

I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that I was someone’s homework.

What is the name of your blog and and what can readers expect to find there?

Since 2008 I’ve maintained the blog Her Ladyship’s Quest.

In addition to announcements about my novels and ebook sales, I highlight other authors, host blog tours, write movie reviews and book reviews. There’s a big archive of posts since 2008.

I recommend people browse these tags:

What projects do you have planned for the future?

Right now I’m editing Journey of the Hunted: Werewolves in the Renaissance 2 and planning on a fall 2014 release.

The hero of this tale is Thal Lesky, a notorious werewolf in 16th century Bohemia. The story opens with Thal emerging from hiding to begin the journey to Hungary where his father the sorcerer Sarputeen lives. Thal hopes to find sanctuary here because he has a fresh bounty on his head for his recent killing spree in Prague. Both the Roman Church and Ferdinand Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire want him for the crimes of shape shifting, service to the Devil, the killing of Jesuits, and the slaughter of the jailers of Prague and the Magistrate.

Thal had good reasons for what happened.

Renaissance-era Bohemia, Moravia, and Hungary offer a nearly perfect playground for the writing of historical fantasy. I draw upon the folklore and hysterical propaganda of the time. These rich herbs brew a potent potion of witches, werewolves, sorcerers, knights, lords, ladies, musicians, and the fext.

What’s a fext? It’s legend from the 16th and 17th century Bohemia about a magical undead. A fext can be made in a variety of ways, often involving his original placenta. Sometimes a fext rises from the dead. Sometimes they are created and then become impervious to death. The inspiration comes from the horrors of the Thirty Year’s War when some officers were declared undead because they kept surviving mortal wounds.

And because I’m a fantasy novelist, the fext is pretty much what I say it is in the book. His name is Janfelter, and he is created by the sorcerer Tekax, the great rival of Sarputeen.

To get to know more about Thal’s back story and the events prior to Journey of the Hunted, I recommend reading Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale

Is there anything else about you we should know?

I’m an Aquarius. I talk to trees. I adore dogs and cats, especially together. I grow food in my yard. I like long walks on the beach. My favorite color is purple. I often go boating. I like horses…and unicorns. I like baking. I know Han Solo shot first. I was cosplaying Doctor Who way before it was cool. I drink coffee with sugar and milk or cream, but I’ll take it black if needs must.

And that’s not even scratching the surface. I like to think that what I imagine for my novels is much more interesting than me. 

Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my novels. 

Sincerely, Tracy Falbe