The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #151: The Five Elements (“Godai” or 五大) and the Imperial Rangers

Episode #151: The Five Elements (Godai or 五大) and the Imperial Rangers

https://archive.org/download/Podcast151_201807/Podcast%20151.mp3

After my brother and I finished the D and D campaign we’d been playing for the past few months, I started thinking about other elements of Thirteenth Hour lore that I’d largely edited out (mostly in the interest of brevity).  This episode is about the Imperial Rangers, the group of 8 special forces soldiers that are specially trained and tasked to find the answer to eternal life for King Darian IV, who nearly gets assassinated in the recent campaign.  While we know the most about Logan, the main character of the book, the others are also important despite having only brief mentions since they serve as contrasts. I did have other scenes planned that I ended up cutting, so the original idea of having each Ranger with a special ability fitting with their unique personality and physical makeup was only hinted at, never really fully developed.

In this episode, we use a bit of Japanese Esoteric Buddhism as an analogy for the explaining the different alignments the Rangers had. I’m not sure that’s what I had in mind when I originally wrote the story (the idea of different elements was definitely there, since it’s referenced in games like Ironsword and shows like Voltron and Captain Planet – I was familiar with those when I wrote the initial draft of the story at age 19.)  But the godai, literally “big five” from the Japanese esoteric tradition (referenced in texts like A Book of Five Rings) sums up what I was trying to convey more accurately.

Below you can see a quick sketch/watercolor showing the eight Rangers. Their names are color-coded to correspond to their elemental alignment. As you can see, there are five categories: earth, water, fire, wind, and void. There are plenty more details about this philosophy in the book Ninja: Spirit of the Shadow Warrior by Stephen K Hayes; however, here’s a quick rundown.

Earth personality qualities are stable, traditional, and rooted. Water is flowing, changeable, and reactive. Fire is energetic, driven, and explosive. Wind represents growth, freedom, and open-mindedness. Lastly, the void is any one of those four elements that best fits a particular situation and typically goes with creativity, imagination, and things in our experience that we understand intuitively but are difficult to explain – such as spirit, soul, and consciousness. There are more details in the episode about the individual qualities of each ranger and how he fits the elemental color coded in the picture, so I won’t repeat myself here. But the fifth element, often (somewhat problematically) translated as “the void” is the most abstract and amorphous, just like how in the book the fifth “corner of the world” was actually the dream world where the mysteries of life and death finally made sense. Logan is the only one of the eight to make it there and due to his particular makeup, is the one most aligned with the formless form that characterizes the void.

Ironically, as the youngest and physically smallest of the group, Logan ends up having trouble with much of the training and has to spend more time on basic skills than the other seven. As a result, he ends up never really having the time to pick up a specialty, though the flip side is that he actually becomes more well rounded at basic ranger skills than his teammates just due to repetition. I’d originally envisioned a ceremony scene where each ranger was presented with his weapon of choice based on his special talent (I guess the soldier equivalent of finding out one’s spirit animal), and Logan isn’t given anything, which disappoints him and gives his teammates yet another thing to tease him about. In the end, I ended up not including that scene (maybe it will become a short story one day), but the essence of it, that having a special sidearm was less important than utilizing one’s inborn gifts to their fullest potential, was hinted at in the book in a few conversations a confused Logan has with the wizard, Wally. For the other seven men, the weapon served as an extension of themselves, but for Logan, whose greatest assets were creativity, imagination, and persistence, none of those qualities really fit a weapon. In fact, one might say another career choice would have made more sense. Or, another interpretation might be that those qualities didn’t need a physical reminder. However, although those are all things an older Logan would have been able to appreciate, I always imagined that the eighteen year old Logan would have been somewhat jealous that his teammates got something special, and he ended up having to do the same old drills over and over 🙂

An Imperial Ranger “class portrait” showing each ranger with his special talent and weapon of specialization

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hourplaylist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #108: Chad Derdowski, Author/Illustrator of Fortune Favors the Bold, Part 2 of 2

Episode #108: Chad Derdowski, Author/Illustrator of Fortune Favors the Bold, Part 2 of 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast108_201709/Podcast%20108.mp3

Today, we conclude our 2 part conversation with author and illustrator Chad Derdowski, who came on the show last week to talk about his book, Fortune Favors the Bold: The Saga of the Scissorwulf.  This episode picks up right after Chad did a short reading from one of the story lines from the book, which if you missed last week’s show, is essentially a tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek R rated Choose Your Own Adventure style with a Conan style hero:

img_1540

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And if you’d like Chad to do a personal reading for you, perhaps in the same faux-English accent, follow the links below to get a copy of the book for yourself, write a review on Amazon, and send proof to Chad on Instagram.  Just for podcast listeners and until the end of September 2017!

Much of today’s episode touches on Chad’s creative process.  If you’ve ever wanted to create a book (or something similarly creative), but have gotten forestalled along the way, you may find quite a bit of motivation in this week’s show.  Speaking of which, here’s a link to the book, Write or Wrong: A Writer’s Guide to Creating Comics, Chad was referring to by Dirk Manning.

Image result for fortune favors the bold chad derdowski

Get a copy of your own by clicking here or on the cover above: https://www.createspace.com/6289426

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fortunefavors_the_bold/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/TheScissorwulf/?ref=br_rs

GR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32842665-fortune-favors-the-bold?from_search=true

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2wnHPfV

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

 

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!  Next week, Brent Simon!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #107: Chad Derdowski, Author/Illustrator of Fortune Favors the Bold, Part 1 of 2

Episode #107: Chad Derdowski, Author/Illustrator of Fortune Favors the Bold, Part 1 of 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast107_201708/Podcast%20107.mp3

In this week’s episode, author and illustrator Chad Derdowski comes on the show for a two part episode to talk about his book, Fortune Favors the Bold: The Saga of the Scissorwulf, a blast to read and even more entertaining to learn about.  It’s basically an R rated Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style book  with lots of references that former children of the 80s will well appreciate.  If you want a Cliff’s Notes version of the podcast, the main hero, the Scissorwulf is basically as follows:

 = 1uefrazetta-thebarbarian Warduke from Dungeons and Dragons by MassimoAtlas + Darkwolf (Fire and Ice)... + 

Scissorwulf = Conan (by Frank Frazetta here) + Warduke (from D and D, redrawn on deviantart by MassimoAtlas) + Darkwolf (From Fire and Ice, drawn by Frank Frazetta) + Jack Burton (from Big Trouble in Little China)

And Fortune Favors the Bold is basically a mix of HP Lovecraft, comedic parody, pulp men’s fiction, comic book, and Choose Your Own Adventure all mixed in one (plus probably a few other references I’m missing):

AstonishingTales25.jpg + GEORGE GROSS - Nightmare in New York (Executioner 7) by Don Pendleton - 1971 Pinnacle Books + Related image + Image result for hp lovecraft + Image result for shaun of the dead + Image result for choose your own adventure

Chad also does a reading of one of the storylines in the book, so you get a preview of the writing and the beginnings of one of the adventures.

Image result for fire and ice frazetta darkwolf

Dark wolf says: stay tuned for more 80s references next week in Part 2!

Image result for fortune favors the bold chad derdowski

Get a copy of your own by clicking here or on the cover above: https://www.createspace.com/6289426

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fortunefavors_the_bold/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/TheScissorwulf/?ref=br_rs

GR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32842665-fortune-favors-the-bold?from_search=true

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2wnHPfV

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

 

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!  To be continued …

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #105: Author/Illustrator Missy Sheldrake Returns Part 2 of 2

Episode #105: Author and Illustrator Missy Sheldrake Interview #2 Part 2 of 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast105_201708/Podcast%20105.mp3

Today, fantasy author Missy Sheldrake returns in part 2 of her interview as we catch up on all the things she’s been up to this past year (find her first interview here).

We spend the first part of this episode talking about podcasting, which Missy was thinking about doing.  Indie author Angela Chrysler (who came on the show back on episode #35) has been doing a youtube storytime reading series.  Putting shows on youtube would probably be one of the easiest way to put out a podcast.  If you are interested in learning more, here is also a quick start guide on producing a podcast quickly and without spending a lot of money that I put together here.

We also talked about making the transition to doing live events and a recent cover commission Missy did for one of her fellow authors, Christina McMullen.  There is a time lapse video of how she created the picture here.

A Space Girl From Earth Kindle Cover.jpg

We talk about our fantasy art influences and bemoan the loss of old-school hand painted covers in favor of the emphasis on hyper realistic, photorealistic digital photo covers that all end up looking the same.

Case in point/aside – take this movie poster/cover for the 80s scifi movie Solarbabies and a more generic photo cover to the right:

Image result for solarbabies Image result for solarbabies

Anyway … follow Missy on Instagram gallery for more pictures and updates on her illustrations.  I’m sure we’ll see more as she works on her fifth book in her Keeper of the Wellspring series.

There’s also a fun little easter egg for those who stick around until the end of this episode!

 

Click on the banner below to learn more about the series on Amazon.  If you haven’t read them yet, Missy let me know that this week, on 8/16/17, the first book, Call of Kythshire, is free, so take the chance to grab a copy!


Thanks again, Missy, for coming on the show, and good luck writing book #5!

Website: http://missysheldrake.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/missysheldrake

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/m_sheldrake/

Tumblr: http://etsyfairydawn.tumblr.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/MissySheldrake/and https://www.facebook.com/muralsbymissy

GR: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13672249.Missy_Sheldrake?from_search=true&search_version=service

Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/B00UVLQWGY

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

 

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs and movie soundtracks from that era.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #104: Author/Illustrator Missy Sheldrake Returns Part 1 of 2

Episode #104: Author and Illustrator Missy Sheldrake Interview #2 Part 1 of 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast104_201708/Podcast%20104.mp3

In this week’s episode, fantasy author Missy Sheldrake comes back to the show to catch us up on all the things she’s been up to this past year (find her first interview here).  We spend much of this episode talking about the creative process, how writing takes on a life of its own, illustrating books, and what a shame it is that books for former children tend not to have pictures anymore.

Here are some screenshots from Missy’s Instagram gallery, where she posts pictures of works in process:

tib

This progression is of her character Tib, who was introduced in Call of Sunteri.

guild 0

guild 2

guild

This guild portrait is the one we’re referring to in the podcast (the one that took 59 hours).  Click on the picture above to go to the actual post on IG.

Click on the banner below to learn more about the series on Amazon.  If you haven’t read them yet, Missy let me know that on 8/16/17, the first book, Call of Kythshire, is free, so take the chance to grab a copy!

 


Thanks again, Missy, for coming on the show, and good luck writing book #5!

Website: http://missysheldrake.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/missysheldrake

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/m_sheldrake/

Tumblr: http://etsyfairydawn.tumblr.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/MissySheldrake/and https://www.facebook.com/muralsbymissy

GR: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13672249.Missy_Sheldrake?from_search=true&search_version=service

Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/B00UVLQWGY

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  Podcast listeners can still download the album until 8/10 (minus the bonus track) here http://bit.ly/2txyAaM  (access code is on episode 100 at ~31:30).  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

 

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #102: Con’t Conversation with Author, Artist, Musician, and Filmmaker Jeff Finley Part 2/2

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #102: Con’t Conversation with Author, Musician, and Filmmaker Jeff Finley Part 2/2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast102_201707/Podcast%20102.mp3

Jeff Finley is back this week to pick up where we left off.  If you happened to miss last week’s show, find episode 101 here.

Today, we talk about a lot of fun things – e.g. travelling in a new country and discovering not only new cultures, foods, and languages but aspects of yourself that come from putting yourself outside your comfort zone.  Travel naturally does this, as we’ve talked about before, fine tuning your senses and kicking you out of whatever routine day-to-day stuff you have going on.  There definitely comes a point when that gets to be too much of a good thing (as Jeff discusses here and on his blog), but like a spice, sprinkled here and there, it can do wonders for keeping things interesting in your life.

We also get to learn more about Jeff’s long career as a music producer (see below) as well as how he got into bboying.  It’s so rare that I find someone with as many diverse interests that it was such a pleasure to discuss these aspects of creative life with Jeff.

Check out Jeff’s portfolio here.   If you’d like one of this patches for your own, check out his etsy site.

Click on the covers of Jeff’s below to find a copy of your own.

Image result for thread's not dead  Image result for jeff finley astral projection

Social Media Links:

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Just for podcast listeners!  Get early access to a new upcoming EP, called Between Two Worlds, the sequel to Long Ago Not So Far Away.  Go here to download the album:

http://bit.ly/2txyAaM

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

The album will be available for one month (until 8/10/17).  The access code is on episode 100 at ~31:30.

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #101: A Conversation with Author, Artist, Musician, and Filmmaker Jeff Finley Part 1/2

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #101: A Conversation with Author, Musician, and Filmmaker Jeff Finley Part 1/2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast101_201707/Podcast%20101.mp3

For the next two weeks, we’ll be having a special guest on the show, so please welcome Jeff Finley!

I first came across his work when he and his friends made a little documentary about their friend, keyboardist and bit-torrent user extraordinaire, Brent Simon, back in 2006, when Youtube was just in its infancy.   (Believe it or not, you can still listen to a few of his songs on myspace).  It was a fine example of “day-in-the-life” style indie film making.  Brent was not only a captivating subject, but he was unabashedly himself, much to the delight of the many people who saw the film, identified with his interests (the original PSP, computers, bittorrent, Spacecamp, synthesizer music, etc), and propelled him to stardom.  If you’re interested in any of those things, you can and should watch (or rewatch) the film by clicking on the screen shot below.  Brent, if you ever come across this, know you’ll always have a warm welcome on the show.

Capture

Brent rocks out without looking at the keys.

Jeff served at Brent’s manager while continuing to pursue his own projects, which spanned a variety of fields, many of which we discussed on the show, such as writing a successful book on creating a t-shirt business (see Thread’s Not Dead below) and starting the creation of the Weapons of Mass Creation multimedia art festival (still going on today).

Of course, if you talk to many a creative soul, they’ll often tell you that making art isn’t “work” in the traditional sense.  It certainly can be hard, time consuming, and frustrating – don’t get me wrong – but it’s yours.  The “work” part comes from getting other people to notice and/or care, and for many, the business and promotion inevitably leads to disillusionment and/or burnout with the whole process.  We talked about this, too, and Jeff shared how those experiences led him to adopt a slower pace more in tune with maintaining a more centered existence.

Since the recording went on for about 90 minutes, I’ve broken the interview into two parts since there was a natural transition about halfway.  This week, we’ll focus on Jeff’s filmmaking days, his time with Brent, and experiences starting his own business, writing books, and repairing his mental health by getting back in touch with the important things in life.

AS you might imagine from the title image above, he is a skilled artist in many ways, so check out his portfolio here as well as the patches he sells (click on the picture below to go to his etsy site).  We’ll talk more about them at the start of next week’s show.

Astral Traveler Patch - Metaphysical Fashion Accessory - 3

We’ll also touch on travel, Jeff’s own music, and breakdancing next week, so in the meantime, check out some of his books and music.

Click on the covers of Jeff’s below to find a copy of your own.

Image result for thread's not dead  Image result for jeff finley astral projection

Social Media Links:

To be continued next week!

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Just for podcast listeners!  Get early access to a new upcoming EP, called Between Two Worlds, the sequel to Long Ago Not So Far Away.  Go here to download the album:

http://bit.ly/2txyAaM

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

The album will be available for one month (7/10-8/10/17).  The access code is on episode 100 at ~31:30.

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #87: Fantasy Author Joshua Robertson Returns to the Show!

Episode #87: Dark Fantasy Author Joshua Robertson Returns

https://archive.org/download/Podcast87JoshR2/Podcast%2087%20Josh%20R2.mp3

Today, Joshua Robertson, whose work has been featured a number of times here, comes back on the show to catch up and talk about exciting new developments.  He was last on the show on Episode #32 over a year ago, so a lot has happened since then!  His fan base has grown considerably, and he’s made the leap to being a full time author.

This year, he completed this trilogy of novels:

melkorkaboxset01jpg

The last volume of the series, Maharia, just came out.  Click on the picture of the book below to read a preview!  Stay tuned in the near future as this series is becoming an audiobook trilogy.

Maharia

He will also be a regular contributor to the fantasy site Fantasy Faction with a column on writing, cover design, and many other tips for aspiring and current authors.  (By the way, he recommends the book, The Fantasy Fiction Formula, as a great guide for writing in this genre.)  As with the last time he came on the show, there are lots of great writing tips for aspiring authors, so check out the episode for a listen.  If you are and were a Dungeons and Dragons player at any point, you may also find his take on how D and D has helped his writing.

Here’s how to reach him and find more of his work:

Website

Amazon

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter

Youtube videolog/podcast – The Writer’s Edge

Youtube Goblin Horde – Josh and his partner have an unbelievable 9 kids together, and they run a Youtube channel about some of the things they do with their can as well as parenting tips

Crimson Edge Facebook Page and Book Club

He just finished up a gig at this year’s Brain to Books Convention, like last year, and will also be at the Soda City Comic Con this summer and Pensacola Comic Con next winter.

Lastly, he has a novelette available for free on Amazon, which you can download to checkout his writing and get a taste of his Thrice Nine Legends fantasy series (click on the cover to go to the page).

The Name of Death by [Robertson, Joshua]

 

It was great having Josh again on the show.  Look forward to hearing about the exciting things in store for Josh in the next year.

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The ending track, called “Between Two Worlds” was inspired by some of the introspective parts (like this one) from the soundtrack The Crow by Graeme Revell.  Watch for it on bandcamp in the next few weeks.

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast, a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour, and access to retro 80s soundtrack!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and@the13thhr.ost for your random postings on ninjas, martial arts, archery, flips, breakdancing, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Listen to Long Ago Not So Far Away, the Thirteenth Hour soundtrack online at: https://joshuablum.bandcamp.com/  Join the mailing list for a digital free copy.  You can also get it on CD or tape.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #86: Worldbuilding in Scifi and Fantasy Audio From Big Apple Con 2017

Episode #86: How Scifi and Fantasy Authors Build The Worlds of Their Books 

https://ia801501.us.archive.org/26/items/Podcast86AriaBigAppleConPanel_201704/Podcast%2086%20Aria%20big%20Apple%20con%20panel.mp3

Ever read a fantasy or science fiction novel immersive enough to make you want to finish it in one sitting?

Ever wonder how the author created something convincing enough to make you sad when it ended?

That’s what today’s show is about.   It’s a Q and A panel from the Big Apple Comic Con a few weeks ago.  Think of it as a behind the scenes window into the minds of six authors who write a variety of styles within scifi and fantasy.  Some of the topics covered:

-What’s your creative process like: outline? freeform?

-Which is more important?  Characters vs. plot?

-How to create full realized characters you want to read about

-How to create characters that are true to themselves and the world you’ve created for them

-How do you find the time to write?

-Writing through writer’s block

-How much time should it ideally take for a reader to get a sense of your world?

Here are the authors on the panel.  Click on their names to go to their Amazon or GR profile pages and the book cover by their name for a representative fantasy work.

Tabitha Lord

86horizon

Heather Rigney

 86mermaid

Mike Squatrito

86overlords

Sean Faye Wolfe

86elementia

Joshua Blum

13th Hr BookCover6x9 amazon bigger text thumbnail3 500x759

Chris Paniccia

86gridiron

Many thanks to Mike Carbanaro and the staff at the Big Apple Comic Con for inviting us to speak, and thanks to Mike Squatrito for doing the legwork to get us there.

images

If you’re a writer or illustrator yourself (or are interested in becoming one) and are interested in the organization we were representing, you can learn more about ARIA, the Association of Rhode Island Authors, here.

The ending track, a synthesizer remixed version of “Reed Pipes That Echo,” is now out for download or streaming off of bandcamp.  (Music has always been both an inspiration and essential part of the stories I’ve created.  So you could say, it’s one of the ways I “world build.”)

reed pipes remixed.jpg

Next week, fantasy author Joshua Robertson comes back on the show.  It was great to catch up after over a year, and we covered a lot – if you liked what was discussed today, it only gets better next week, so stay tuned!

As always, thanks for listening!

(Image at the top of the screen courtesy of lemerg.com)

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast, a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour, and access to retro 80s soundtrack!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and@the13thhr.ost for your random postings on ninjas, martial arts, archery, flips, breakdancing, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Listen to Long Ago Not So Far Away, the Thirteenth Hour soundtrack online at: https://joshuablum.bandcamp.com/  Join the mailing list for a digital free copy.  You can also get it on CD or tape.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #59: The Thirteenth Hour Soundtrack Preview

Episode #59: Long Ago Not So Far Away: Music from The Thirteenth Hour (Preview)

https://ia601502.us.archive.org/3/items/Podcast59_201609/Podcast%2059.mp3

This week, it’s all about retro 80s, starting with a preview of the upcoming official soundtrack release for The Thirteenth Hour, entitled Long Ago Not So Far Away.

It ended up being about 47 minutes long with a combination of synth instrumental tracks and songs with lyrics played on the guitar, piano, or a both.  Some were songs that I came up with originally when I wrote the book, others were ones that I wrote a few years later but had not fully completed (i.e. had the lyrics and chords for the guitar, making for a skeleton of a song … but all the little riffs and fills that make a song a song, especially a retro style 80s song, weren’t there).  There were two I kept more bare bones (mostly just acoustic guitar with a minimum of electric effects or synthesizers) because I wanted them to sound like folk songs out of the pseud0-medieval world the novel is set in.

It really ended up being a lot of fun.  In contrast to the tortuous process I had creating the cover for the book version of The Thirteenth Hour, making the cover for Long Ago Not So Far Away felt like a breeze, since I decided that the best course of action was to make it look like something out of the 80s.  I have a healthy collection of 80s CDs, tapes, and movies that helped provide entertaining inspiration.  There were also tons of synthwave (neo 80s synth music) covers on the internet (some of which looked more 80s than actual 80s album covers!). I also found this great Instagram page by @synthenebrism which links to a Spotify page with hours upon hours of synthwave music for your listening enjoyment.

In terms of making the cover itself, I found this great step by step tutorial that captured the look I was going for almost perfectly.  It walks you through using Photoshop to create your own retro synth cover.  I wanted an aurora for the cover to fit with the content of the book, so after a bit of searching, found this free stock image (click on the image to go to the page):

scotland-1564096_1280.jpg

Thanks to Blackmoons32 on deviantart for making a great free lightning bolt stock image already with an alpha channel (meaning the background is already transparent), making it easy to paste into your picture.  I thought about adding a rainbow or a unicorn to really round out the 80s fantasy images but thought that might be laying it on a little thick.  Instead, I just added the pixelart Logan on Lightning I made for the vaporware Thirteenth Hour game I started years ago.  In the end, it ended up looking like this:

cover 80s style_edited-33.jpg

It should be out later this fall.  But if you’d like a free advance preview, there are a few ways to do it.  Check out the bandcamp page, which has many of the tracks already uploaded, though not the fully remastered ones.  You can also look for former entries of this podcast or the Instagram page for some live versions or early drafts of songs.  Lastly, if you haven’t already, sign up for the mailing list if you’d like a free digital copy of the album to download with album artwork and all.  Stay tuned!

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and@the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Free online streaming of the growing Thirteenth Hour soundtrack: https://joshuablum.bandcamp.com/  Stay tuned to a full 45+ min album coming in the next few weeks!
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #58: George Sirois Redux – The Making of the Excelsior Audiobook

Episode #58: Author George Sirois Returns to Discuss the Creation of His Audiobook

https://archive.org/download/Podcast58_201609/Podcast%2058.mp3

Back in episode #36, fellow author George Sirois came on the show for a great conversation, and today, he’s back!

As you’ll see in the show, George decided that the way he wanted to get his young adult scifi tale, Excelsior, out there as a audiobook was to record it himself.  Way back when I was learning about making covers for The Thirteenth Hour, I came to the realization that when it comes to things like this, it all comes down to money or time.

If you decide to go the professional route and outsource parts of the creative process, you might get a professional product but you give up some autonomy and generally pay quite a bit (that you justify to yourself as an investment in quality and peace of mind).  But if you opt to do it yourself, you have to deal with the sometimes exponentially steep learning curve of cramming years of knowledge into the bare minimum needed to shoehorn yourself into getting the job done.  There may still be significant expense (sometimes due to trial and error), and there’s the significant time sink that comes with what a professional might be able to do more efficiently.

However, one thing debates such this sometimes forget when focusing on practical talking points such as these is simply the enjoyment to be had in simply doing.  As sole proprietors of businesses (as independent authors essential are these days), it pays to understand as many different aspects of the business as possible.  There’s no better way to understand those details than by doing them yourself (at least once).

And that’s what George did to make his ideas into a reality.  There’s a lot there in his story, so like minded souls, take note.  What’s the harm in going for something you want, George says in the interview.  And why not?  At the end of the day, who else is there to give the necessary permission?

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Click on the link to check out the audiobook version of Excelsior on Amazon.

And audiobooks seem to be getting their due after years of being the red-headed stepchild of the literature.  Here’s the full text of the Wall Street Journal on the rise of audiobooks.

George will be making appearances (if you’re local to St. Louis, MO USA) at the following places in the next few wks:

-https://www.facebook.com/WritePackRadio/

-http://www.stlwritersguild.org/writersinthepark.html (now since past, though more good info if you’re a writer hoping to connect with others in and around St. Louis, near where George lives)

Connect with George online at:

blog: http://www.georgesirois.com/

GR profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4103079.George_Sirois

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+GeorgeSirois/posts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/georgesirois

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/georgesirois/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/excelsiorbooks/

References George discusses on the show:

No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty, on writing a novel in 30 days

The Stressed-Out Writer’s Guide to Recording Your Own Audiobook by Kirk Hanley

On that note, as always, thanks for listening!

P.S. If you have any interest in getting into audio like George did or wanted to start your own podcast, check out this free guide here.  It’s a guest post I did for fellow author Kelly St. Clare on podcasting as cheaply as possible and has a wealth of info on audio production in general, most of which I learned by trial and error!  Check it out, and start podcasting as more than an amateur!  WIN!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Free online streaming of the growing Thirteenth Hour soundtrack: https://joshuablum.bandcamp.com/  Stay tuned to a full 45+ min album coming in the next few weeks!
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #57: Reading Chapter 1 of Mark Salzman’s Lost in Place

Episode #57: Reading an Excerpt from Lost in Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia by Mark Salzman

https://archive.org/download/Podcast57_201609/Podcast%2057.mp3

This week, I’m reading the first chapter of perhaps my favorite book of all time, Lost in Place, by Mark Salzman.  I first read the book as a teenager and still find it hugely entertaining two decades later.  It’s probably not surprising that aspects of Mark’s writing style have influenced how I portray characters in books like The Thirteenth Hour.

He writes about his coming of age with an honest, Wonder Years-style of sardonic narration infused with just enough boyish innocence to capture both the magic and despair of adolescence and young adulthood.  That’s not everyone’s up of tea, of course, but when I first opened up the book, I immediately felt at home.  I imagine if John Huges (screenwriter and director of 80s teen movies like Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club), had written a memoir, it would probably be something like this book.

On a personal level, I suppose it’s extra special since he writes about his experiences in the martial arts and early desires to be an astronaut (a lifelong hobby and short-lived career aspiration that my mother and father, like Mark’s decidedly earthbound parents, humored for years, for which I’ve always been grateful).

Image result for lost in place mark salzman

I found out a short movie clip of Mark talking about aspects of his writing and some of the themes that crop up in his books as well as this clip discussing his first kung fu teacher in action.

As an aside, you can watch a movie Mark wrote and starred in based on his first book teaching English in China while training in Chinese wushu.  Watch Iron and Silk here.

And, if in the unlikely event that this page makes its way across your computer screen, Mark, PLEASE COME ON THE SHOW!

Ok.

I’ve gotten control of myself and will tone down the rampant fanboyism.  Can’t help it.  =)

As a side note, if you hear a sound in the background that sounds like Darth Vader, it’s because I was reading this episode while holding my daughter, who was sleeping.  Just so you know.

On that note, as always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #54: Falling Leaves Don’t Weep

Episode #54: Reading of The Thirteenth Hour Epilogue Short Story, “Falling leaves Don’t Weep”

https://archive.org/download/Podcast54_201608/Podcast%2054.mp3

This week, I’m reading the short story “Falling Leaves Don’t Weep,” the stand-alone short story epilogue to The Thirteenth Hour.  It’s a short tale about how one night of insomnia leads to a surprising amount of insight for an elderly monarch (actually King Darian IV from the novel as a much older and wiser man who is looking back on his younger days with a mixture of regret and embarrassment).  I figured Darian needed an epilogue since we never really found out what happened to him in the story.

I can’t say for sure, but when I rereading this story, I was reminded of the story The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, a book my mother used to read to me as a child, and am guessing it was an influencing factor in the creation of this story.

As an aside, I’m in the process of trying to transition old episodes of this podcast (episode #53 and prior) to a new host.  This is the first one on the new host.  There should be no change for you, the listener, either accessing new episodes directly here or via iTunes.  But after 8/31, there may be some issues accessing old episodes of I’m not done updating the old links.  But in that case, it should be resolved in a few weeks.

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #52: Storytime Reading of St. George and the Dragon 

Episode #52: Storytime Reading of St. George and the Dragon

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2052.mp3

This week, we’re reading an illustrated adaptation of the first part of Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queen – the tale of St. George and the Dragon.  The one we’re reading from was illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (check out a tribute and bio on this blog) and penned by Margaret Hodges.  You can find a copy online at retailers like Amazon or you local library.  There are a few pictures and excerpts includes below.  I’d recommend any of the books written and illustrated by this duo if you enjoy fairy tales and/or fantasy art.

The tale is an abridged version for children of the original, which was a lengthy poem.  You can find a summary of the original Faerie Queen tale and a commentary here.  It’s more adult oriented than this version and has more overt allegorical/religious/moral overtones as opposed to this one, which reads more like a traditional fairy tale and mirrors the end of the original poem, a summary of which you can find here.

Personally, I have always wondered why everyone had it in for the dragon, who also fought a good fight, and I kind of felt bad for him.  Here he was minding his own business and … well, I guess that kind of flips the story on its head, doesn’t it.  Maybe someone one day can rewrite the tale from the dragon’s point of view.

But that’s neither here nor there.  Anyhow, I posted a few pictures from the book on Instagram before from the book, which you can find here:

https://instagram.com/p/BDx0pE7Mg4y/

https://instagram.com/p/BDqIyd5sg7d/

Here are some others:

It’s also in these pages that we learn that the name George means “Plow the Earth” and “Fight the Good Fight.”  Georges of the world, take note and take heart.  You have a fine lineage.

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #51: Musical Interlude Piano Ballad

Episode #51: “Love, Grey Dresses, and Other Things” – a Thirteenth Hour Piano Ballad

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2051.mp3

For this week’s episode, I’ve included snippets from upcoming Thirteenth Hour soundtrack tracks.  I recently wrote an untitled piano theme that I was thinking would become an introspective musical track on the soundtrack.  There’s a preview of it in its infancy on Instagram.  Then, about two weeks ago, I toyed with the idea of turning it into a ballad with words.  Once I got to thinking about it, lyrics came to me in the span of a few minutes and became the song featured in this episode, which I finally titled, “Love, Grey Dresses, and Other Things.”  There’s a a snippet of the final instrumental version and a live performance on the piano included as well.

2016-07-12 23.27.56

Still haven’t transcribed the lyrics onto the computer.  The most I had at the time when the muse hit were a few pieces of scrap paper, so that’s what this “final” version is written on.

The song is written from the perspective of Logan, the main character of The Thirteenth Hour, as he realizes that the friendship he with Aurora, his childhood friend, has changed for both him and her.

logan and aurora together

Final versions of this song, both in instrumental and lyrical versions, can be found in the near future on the Bandcamp soundtrack page.

As always, thanks for listening!

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New Fantasy Release – Fire and Lies

Angela B. Chrysler, who has been featured on this blog a number of times before, has a new book coming out today, just in time for Indie Pride Day and the Fourth of July (if you’re in the USA).  It’s the second in her Norse-inspired dark fantasy series, entitled Fire and Lies:

fire

Click on the picture above to go the the Amazon page

Summary:

Blood waters the fields of Alfheim. War rips across the land of usurped kings and elves. The Fae gods draw near, and Queen Kallan’s strength is tested as she follows King Rune into Alfheim. But the Shadow Beast caged within Rune’s body writhes in hunger, and Kallan’s newest companion, Bergen the legendary Berserk, is determined to end the conflict with her life.

As the witch, the king, and the berserk come together, the truth buried within the past resurfaces. Now, Kallan must master a dormant power or watch her kingdom fall to the Fae who will stop at nothing to keep their lies.

Fire and Lies (Tales of the Drui Book #2) picks up right where Dolor and Shadow left off, concluding one chapter of Kallan’s life as the next chapter begins.

Trailer

She gave us excerpts of the first novel in the series, Dolor and Shadow, in this guest post she did about the psychology behind creating fictional characters and aspects of the backstory behind the creation of the series when she came on the podcast.  You can listen to that show in its entirety here or by simply going to iTunes and looking under “The Thirteenth Hour Podcast, Ep #35).

Check out her site here,  and help celebrate Indie Pride Day by giving one her books a read!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #46: Storytime – Prince Nautilus Reading

Episode #46: Children’s Book Storytime Reading – Prince Nautilus (A Modern Fairy Tale)

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2046.mp3

On this week’s episode, I recorded a story I read to my daughter, Prince Nautilus, written by Laura Krauss Melmed and illustrated by Henri Sorensen.  We recently found it for sale in a small bookstore while traveling and decided to explore this modern fairy tale, which takes elements of classic tales and puts a few modern spins on them.  You can’t see the wonderful illustrations in the podcast, obviously, though I did attempt to describe them to my daughter (since that’s what you do with toddlers).  I’m not sure if the book is still in print, but you can find used copies on retailers like Amazon or Abebooks.

Prince Nautilus: Melmed, Laura Krauss; Sorensen, Henri

Like the storytime format?  Let me know (see email address below), and I’ll do more in the future.

Next week, stay tuned for the start of a massive 2 part interview on martial arts, gymnastics, breakdancing, learning new skills, and more with one of my best friends from college.

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

Author Spotlight – Missy Sheldrake and Her Newest Release

On this past week’s podcast, fantasy author Missy Sheldrake came on, and we had a great conversation.  You can check it out here if you haven’t listened to it yet.

Today, I’m pleased to announce that her newest book is now live!

Call-of-Brindelier-Book-Spotlight

Here are links to the purchase the book on Amazon and learn more about it on Goodreads.

Like an excerpt?  Read one here!

Below, you’ll find a number of wonderful digitally painted illustrations from this new volume.  More can be found on her website’s illustration section.

Excerpt-1-Flitt-and-Azi

Excerpt-3-Dub-and-Celli

Excerpt-2-Undersea-Tower

Author Bio:

Missy Sheldrake is an author/illustrator who has been conjuring images of fairies in one form or another since she was very young. The wind in the trees and the rich scent of forest earth are her most treasured sources of inspiration, and on most mornings you will find her wandering the wooded paths, dreaming of the next adventure she hopes to put to the page.

Missy was born in Connecticut and attended Western Connecticut State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Art with a concentration in painting and illustration. Even then, in her free time, she was writing. She moved to Northern Virginia several years ago and lives there now, on the outskirts of Washington D.C., with her true love and their son. She published her first novel, Call of Kythshire, in March of 2015 and intends to keep writing as long as the fairies allow it.

Links to the Previous Volumes in the Series:

Call of Kythshire (Book One):
https://amzn.com/B00UVLQWGY

Call of Sunteri (Book Two):
https://amzn.com/B0187IG3HK

Snowberry Blossom (Perma-free holiday short story):
https://amzn.com/B0196P041O

Books-Banner

Author Social Media Links:

Website: http://missysheldrake.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/missysheldrake

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/m_sheldrake/

Tumblr: http://etsyfairydawn.tumblr.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/MissySheldrake/and https://www.facebook.com/muralsbymissy

GR: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13672249.Missy_Sheldrake?from_search=true&search_version=service

Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/B00UVLQWGY

Good luck, Missy, with the launch!  May the fairies bring good luck.

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #43: Guest Author Interview with Fantasy Author/Illustrator Missy Sheldrake

Episode #43: Author and Illustrator Missy Sheldrake Interview – Digital Art, Fairies, Fantasy Writing, and a Hidden Benefit to Video Gaming  

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2043.mp3

In this week’s episode, fantasy author Missy Sheldrake joins the show, so fairy tale fans, authors, and illustrators sit back, relax, and enjoy the one hour plus show!  Missy is unique in that she’s one of the few authors out there who also creates her own covers (see them below) and illustrates her novels.

You’ll find out more in the podcast, but early elements of the series actually came from this game:

(Missy definitely got her money’s worth out of this game, since she got not only a book series from it but a husband and a job – who says playing video games doesn’t pay??? 🙂

Her creations aren’t just 2D – some are sculptures.  Check out her page for a gallery of hand-crafted fairies.

Check out some of her books featuring the fairy world she created below:

missy1missy2

Books 1 and 2 in the series (click on the covers to go to the Amazon pages).

missy3

You can download this short story (which takes place after book 2) for free on Amazon.

missy4

Book 3 is coming this month – click on the image above to check out the pre-order page on Amazon.

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2016-05-24 14.23.41

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Illustration for Call of Sunteri available on amazon.com and createspace.com

Digitally created illustrations that Missy did in the Call of Kythsire (first 5) and Call of Sunteri (last one).  Click on the pictures to go to Missy’s illustrations page.

Thanks again, Missy, for coming on the show, and good luck with the new release!  Learn more about her work below:

Website: http://missysheldrake.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/missysheldrake

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/m_sheldrake/

Tumblr: http://etsyfairydawn.tumblr.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/MissySheldrake/and https://www.facebook.com/muralsbymissy

GR: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13672249.Missy_Sheldrake?from_search=true&search_version=service

Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/B00UVLQWGY

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #37: Guest Spot with Author Kelly St. Clare

Episode #37: Prince – In Memory and Guest Q & A with Fantasy Author Kelly St. Clare

https://ia601504.us.archive.org/12/items/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2037.mp3

Before we get to the podcast today, a note on Prince’s passing.  It took me three tries of recording the intro to not sound totally down in the dumps, so I apologize in advance if I sound more sedate.

* I refer to interviews Prince did in the podcast – they were rare, but you can find some on youtube.  This is part of a thoughtful interview where he talks about mentorship, having high standards held to you, and the value of persistence.  Good talk!  

Prince was one of those people who a true artist in every sense of the word – difficult to categorize, independent, someone who paved his own way.  Though many tried to emulate him later, he was always a hard performer to cover.  There was always such a unique flair to the multi-instrumentalist from Minnesota with such range to his voice and the presence and swagger to pull off wearing heels and ruffled shirts.  So, Prince, truly, “Nothing Compares 2 U.”  He was his own man and showed us what it meant to be an individual in a world where conformity ultimately often becomes the path of least resistance for most people.

So long, thank you, and may the rain color purple coming down from the heavens.

images

#RIPPrince – click on the photo above for an extended live version of “Purple Rain.”

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On a happier note, welcome, Kelly and your readers, to the podcast.  Kelly St. Clare and her books have been featured on this blog a number of times (e.g. see her post on her experiences with Thunderclap).   It was also Kelly who suggested George Sirois, who was on last week, for the show – so thank you.  (That show, which I think is the longest yet, can be found here).  For those of you who may be new to her work, here’s a link to an interview she did to give you more info.

Kelly St. Clare

Click on Kelly’s photo above to be taken to her Goodreads profile.

Click on the books above to be taken to Kelly’s Amazon profile to check out her books.
Website: http://www.kellystclare.com/ – there, you can join her exclusive club (can I call it that, Kelly? =) for updates and well, exclusive stuff you can’t find elsewhere
-Wattpad: http://w.tt/1MJs4hl – get a great introduction to Kelly’s work by reading Fantasy of Frost, the first book in her (soon to be) tetrology free on Wattpad.  You can find more samples of her other books on her website.

-Twitter: https://twitter.com/kellystclare

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The last clip of the song I’m working on now, “Song of an Unsung Hero” (which takes its name from a poem in the novel, The Thirteenth Hour), has lyrics here.  Stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks!

You can find more about The Thirteenth Hour soundtrack on bandcamp or on Instagram @the13thhr.ost.

Thanks for listening!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

 

 

 

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #35: Interview with Author Angela B. Chrysler

Episode #35: Swords, Flux Capacitors, Norse Myths … Interview with Angela B. Chrysler

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2035.mp3

Angela, the creator of the Brain to Books cyber blog tour, took time out of her busy schedule to talk for an hour.  We covered a vast amount of info: Back to the Future Delorean shirts, why having a flux capacitor is a good life decision, the Moon Patrol soundtrack, how her personal collection of weaponry influences her writing, why all the fuss about book reviews from the point of view of a reader and author, how persistence factors into writing, publishing, and life, and much, much more.

 

 

Email Address: angelabchrysler@yahoo.com

Website:  http://www.angelabchrysler.com/

Author Bio:

 Angela B. Chrysler is a writer, logician, philosopher, and die-hard nerd who studies theology, historical linguistics, music composition, and medieval European history in New York with a dry sense of humor and an unusual sense of sarcasm. She lives in a garden with her family and cats. Read More

Social Media Links

Official Site
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Profile Page

Twitter
Pinterest
Facebook
Google+
Story Time on YouTube – if you ever have have had a desire to create a podcast, consider doing what Angela is currently doing, as referenced on the how to create a podcast post done for Kelly St. Clare’s blog.

Dolor and Shadow (Tales of the Drui Book #1) Official Page

Fire and Lies (Tales of the Drui Book #2) Official Page
Broken Official Page

Books Discussed on the Show

DOLOR AND SHADOW (TALES OF THE DRUI BOOK #1 … BOOK #2 TO BE RELEASED 7/1/16).

 Dolor and Shadow Large

Genre: High/Epic Fantasy

YouTube Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovHqM9cHGDE

Summary:

 

As the elven city burns, Princess Kallan is taken to Alfheim while a great power begins to awaken within her. Desperate to keep the child hidden, her abilities are suppressed and her memory erased. But the gods have powers as well, and it is only a matter of time before they find the child again.

When Kallan, the elven witch, Queen of Lorlenalin, fails to save her dying father, she inherits her father’s war and vows revenge on the one man she believes is responsible: Rune, King of Gunir. But the gods are relentless, and when a twist of fate puts Kallan into the protection of the man she has sworn to kill, Rune obtains a power he does not understand.

From Alfheim, to Jotunheim, and then lost in the world of Men, these two must form an alliance to make their way home, and try to solve the lies of the past and of the Shadow that hunts them all.

BROKEN

 Broken by Angela B Chrysler 1600x2500

Genre: Memoir/Psychological Thriller/Non-Fiction

Awards: Finalist of the 2015 Wishing Shelf Awards

YouTube Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqfR928fpWE

Summary:

And Death it calls as the stone crow breaks. Streaks of blood malform its face. Death becomes its withered eyes and the shadows whisper, “Lies.”

When a young journalist, William D. Shaw, seeks out Elizabeth, an acclaimed author, in hopes to write her biography, the recluse grants him twenty-four hours to hear her story. What unfolds are events that teeter on the edge of macabre and a psychological thriller.

While toggling the lines of insanity, Elizabeth examines her past filled with neglect, rape, abuse, torture, and pedophilia. The more Elizabeth delves into her psyche, the more William witnesses the multiple mental conditions Elizabeth developed to cope with a life without love, comfort, protection, trust, physical human contact, affection, therapy, or medication.

With the use of existentialism, I wrote Broken in an attempt to philosophical determine what I had become and why. Instead, I found the awareness I needed to seek help. Broken is the road map I took to arrive at “Awareness” and seek medical attention.

Angela B Chrysler BUSINESS CARD back

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Starving Artist Section: where I talk about making a few bucks on the internets!  This week’s app is Nextrack, which pays you (via gift cards, albeit slowly) to work out.  It works via mpoints/mplus points, which is a point system used by a number of other games and apps.  You can only redeem so many per day, but you can also earn free coupons and such.  Nice little bit of positive reinforcement for maintaining an exercise habit.  Available for Android and iOS.

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Schedule for the next few weeks:

4/18/16: Episode #36: a conversation with author George Sirois

4/25/16: Episode #37: fantasy author Kelly St. Clare

5/2/16: Episode #38: knife throwing

Thanks for listening!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

Brain to Books 2016 Fantasy Book Tour

Welcome, blog tour participants!

I will be hosting you for this stop on the B2B2016 Fantasy Book Cyber Tour, getting you actual snippets to read, view, or listen to for a taste of the participating authors’ works.

Clicking on the names of the authors will take you to their Goodreads pages.  The emoticons below are to highlight the following features of their work:

Twitter Icon | Simple Rounded Social Iconset | GraphicsVibe = Twitter link

= trailer or video to watch

Full size JPG preview: Speaker volume icon= audio clip

= stand-alone sample to download (e.g. a .doc or .pdf file)

= link to Amazon to buy the book (not available for all listings) or for the “Look Inside” feature to preview a book

Let’s start with the fantasy #B2BCYCON organizer, Angela.

1 – Angela B. Chrysler:
Twitter Icon | Simple Rounded Social Iconset | GraphicsVibe @abchryslerabc

Dolor and Shadow Large

Click on the cover above to read a sample of Dolor and Shadow on Amazon.com using the “Look Inside” Feature.

 Buy Dolor and Shadow on Amazon

 Dolor and Shadow Trailer

Tune into Angela B. Chrysler’s youtube story hour channel to hear her own novel, Dolor and Shadow!

2 – C.L. Schneider
Twitter Icon | Simple Rounded Social Iconset | GraphicsVibe @cl_schneider

Magic-Price

Click on the cover above to read a sample from Magic Price.

Tune into Angela B. Chrysler’s youtube story hour channel to hear her reading Magic Price!

  Buy this series on Amazon

 

 

3 – Joshua Robertson
Twitter Icon | Simple Rounded Social Iconset | GraphicsVibe @RobertsonWrites

DyndaerCover

Click on the cover above to check out a sample from Dyndaer.

 Check out the trailer to Melkorka, the first book in this series.

Full size JPG preview: Speaker volume icon Josh has been featured on this blog before.  Check out his interview on The Thirteenth Hour Podcast!

Buy books in the Thrice Nine Legends series and other Joshua Robertson books on Amazon.

4 – Ashley Capes
Twitter Icon | Simple Rounded Social Iconset | GraphicsVibe @Ash_Capes

Ashley Capes

The Amber Isle (Book of Never 1)

Click on the cover above to check out a sample from The Amber Isle.

 Buy the Amber Isle on Amazon.

5 – V.S. Holmes
Twitter Icon | Simple Rounded Social Iconset | GraphicsVibe @VS_Holmes

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Click on the cover above to read a sample of Smoke and Rain.

 Buy Smoke and Rain on Amazon

 

 

6 – Marco Marek
Twitter Icon | Simple Rounded Social Iconset | GraphicsVibe @1MarcoMarek

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Click on the cover above to check out a sample from Hyperearth.

 Buy Hyperearth on Amazon.

Hyperearth Trailer

7 – Aldrea Alien
Twitter Icon | Simple Rounded Social Iconset | GraphicsVibe @AldreaAlien

AldreaAlien

1TRK

Click on the cover above to check out a sample from The Rogue King.

 The Rogue King Trailer

 Buy The Rogue King on Amazon

8 – Riley Amos Westbrook
Twitter Icon | Simple Rounded Social Iconset | GraphicsVibe @donttouchmyshi1

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Click on the cover above to download the anthology FREE on Smashwords.

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 Full size JPG preview: Speaker volume iconClick on the cover to read and/or listen to this book FREE.

 Everyone Dies at the End Trailer

**This novella has not yet been formally released.  If you’d be interested in reading an advance copy and offering your honest opinion in the form of a review, please contact Riley.  He’s trying to amass 100 reviews prior to launching the book.  Help Riley get to 100 reviews (64/100 so far)!  See the Twitter link above or message him on his Goodreads page for more details.

 

9 – A.F. Stewart
Twitter Icon | Simple Rounded Social Iconset | GraphicsVibe @scribe77

A. F. Stewart

Ruined City

Click on the cover above to check out a sample from Ruined City.

 Ruined City Trailer

Buy Ruined City on Amazon.

10 – Tracy M. Joyce
Twitter Icon | Simple Rounded Social Iconset | GraphicsVibe @TracyMJoyce

Tracy M Joyce 3.png

 The Chronicles of Altaica: Book 1, Altaica, and Book 2, Asena Blessed (coming 5/1/16!)

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Click on the banner above to check out a sample from Altaica on Amazon.com using the “Look Inside” Feature.

 Buy Altaica on Amazon

Altaica Trailer

11 – Ed Ireland
Twitter Icon | Simple Rounded Social Iconset | GraphicsVibe @Fabsfan1

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Click on the banner above to check out a sample from The Last Ranger of Sarn.

The Last Ranger of Sarn Trailer 

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Click on the banner above to check out a sample from Blood Moon Sacrifice.

Blood Moon Sacrifice Trailer

12 – Adam Dreece
Twitter Icon | Simple Rounded Social Iconset | GraphicsVibe@AdamDreece

Along Came a Wolf (The Yellow Hoods, #1) 23156034  24316301 26247781

Click on Along Came a Wolf to read a stand-alone sample download. 

Click on the covers of the other 3 books in the series to read a sample on Amazon using the “Look Inside” features.

The Yellow Hoods Series Trailer

Tune into Angela B. Chrysler’s youtube channel to hear Along Came a Wolf being read!

Buy books from this series and other stories by Adam Dreece on Amazon.

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Thanks for stopping by!
Head on over to the next stop on the #BYBCYCON train to get access to interviews from the authors above!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!  You’ll become an advance reader and learn about future stories, illustrations, and giveaways first, plus get samples like those featured above.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

Preview of Weekend Festivities

This upcoming Monday, on the podcast, fantasy author Angela B. Chrysler, will be on!  She’s been featured on this blog a few times before, and she’s heading up a huge cyber convention that’s also going on this weekend: the Brain to Books Fantasy Cyber Convention, starting this Friday (i.e. tomorrow), 4/8/16.

b2b

Click on the picture above to learn more about this novel on Goodreads.

There’s a massive book giveaway as part of the convention.  You can see the books here.  I’ll be donating an e-copy of The Thirteenth Hour.  You can enter the contest here.

Speaking of which, I’ll have a “virtual booth” at the convention, as well, which will mirror real life, since I’ll be at a library event on Saturday.

I have a free raffle for both events going on using the same Rafflecopter.  You can win one of the three ebooks:

 

 

See you at one of these events!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #32: Guest Fantasy Author Joshua Robertson and New Song Preview

Episode #32: Live Interview with Fantasy Author Joshua Robertson and Preview of New Ending Song

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2032.mp3

Today, I’ve very pleased to welcome dark fantasy author Joshua Robertson to the show.  It was a fun conversation and a chance to talk about all kinds of things related to fantasy, writing, and the like.

Turns out that we had very similar journeys in writing – he created a fantasy world as a kid (1999) and then re-edited the manuscript for a long time until recently publishing the stories he’d worked on since adolescence.  In fact, his first novel released publicly, Melkorka, he re-wrote 7 times!  Holy persistence, Batman!

He also discusses some of his most recent works, including Dyndaer, which was just released.

thriceseries

If you’re curious about some of the short stories that we read and discussed on the podcast, here are titles and links:

A Midwinter Sellsword – an ongoing short story series based on a table top game world.

Grimsdalr – a retelling of the Beowulf myth

Anaerfell – the short story that introduces readers to the Thrice Nine Legends series – Josh recommends that new readers to his works start here.

Josh’s ongoing story on Wattpad, The Eadfel: Game of Houses, is available here.

The story that I’m trying to turn into a novel, the modern retelling of the sleeping beauty fairy tale, is on Wattpad here.

If you’re an author or considering becoming one, Josh discusses a lot great information I wish I’d known years ago!  To use a handy but one of those annoyingly overused catchphrases of internet marketing, he brings a lot of high value content to the conversation (as well as to the podcast)!  Pay particular attention to his discussion on the importance of listening to your critics, making personal relationships with people on social media, starting the process of building your audience early (before publication – if you recall nothing else, remember this!!), the importance of a mailing list, and what he found most helpful as a young writer.

And … if you’re an author and are interested in publishing a short story through Josh’s publishing company, Crimson Edge, check out this anthology entitled “Maidens and Magic” – still taking submissions until 6/1/16.  Check it out!

Author Bio (links to Goodreads)

Joshua currently lives in Alaska with his wife and children. In 1999, he began crafting the world for Thrice Nine Legends, including Melkorka and Anaerfell. He is also the author of the A Midwinter Sellsword and Gladiators and Thieves in the Hawkhurst Saga. His short story,Grimsdalr, is inspired by the tale of Beowulf.

Social Media Links

Amazon

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter – look for the #fantasychat

Youtube videolog/podcast – The Writer’s Edge

Crimson Edge Facebook Page and Book Club

It was great having Josh on the show.  Josh, if you’re seeing this, know you’re welcome back anytime!

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Before I go, I’ll leave you with a work in progress – as I mentioned, The Thirteenth Hour is getting an ending song.  Since it’s a book inspired by 80s films, I figured it needed an 80s style ending song replete with synthesizers and electric guitars.  It’s not done, since the vocals still need to be worked in, but I’ve finally finishing recording the instrumental parts, which you can listen to here, on The Thirteenth Hour soundtrack page on Bandcamp.  Look for updates on the soundtrack page on Instagram (@the13thhr.ost).

star glow cover 6x9 front

Amazon giveaway for the children’s book, Your Star Will Glow Forever, is open until 3/22/16!  Stop by to see if you can score a free copy.  Mailing list subscribers find out about future giveaways and days when books go free early!

As always, thanks for listening!

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New Release: Strong Armed by J.C. Boyd

On Monday, fantasy author Joshua Robertson will be appearing on the podcast.  One of his co-authors from the first book in one of his trilogies, Anaerfell, J.C. Boyd, has a new dark fantasy novelette out – Strong Armed, set in the same universe.

StrongArmedCover

Book Summary

Balvoc had always earned his bread with blood on his hands. But when he is forced to protect an amoral merchant to keep his wife safe, he must decide whether his wife’s life is worth the havoc caused by Sin-sim’s greed.

Author Bio

J.C. lives in the Midwest with his wife and two dogs. He recently earned his MA in English Literature and is working on his debut novel for his own fantasy world. Despite growing up with Dungeons & Dragons, Lord of the Rings, and a collection of both Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms novels, J.C. has an abiding love of classics and spends his free time reading anything he can get his hands on.

Author Interview

When did you start writing?

As I recall, my brother suggested we write stories one lazy, summer afternoon. I thought the idea was ludicrous, but being the younger, I followed his lead. The memory still lurks in the back of my mind as one of the best. Over the years, Joshua has continued to push me to write, so it is only fitting that my first published work, Anaerfell, was co-authored with him.

That lazy summer afternoon was in about 4th grade. I started writing my first novel, a horror story which featured kids from my class. Unsurprisingly, I did not finish. A similar attempt with a fantasy novel in junior high brought similar results. Not until my fourth attempt at writing did I finish my first novel, completing it my senior year of high school. The final product still makes me cringe, but elements, themes, and even characters from that book still creep into what I write now.

What motivates you to write?

After I had first put my highly illegible pencil to paper, I never really put it down again. While my brother certainly pushed me, he knows as well as I do that I don’t do anything I really don’t want to and his task would have been fruitless if I didn’t find something engaging in the task.

In the end, what motivates me to write is, well, everything about the process. I love putting down the first words as much as I do the last. I cannot help but getting swept away in the imaginary world I create with the characters I craft to face that world. I enjoy tropes as much as I enjoy turning tropes on their heads—one of my first pieces in the fantasy genre featured an evil Gandalf character, seeking to betray those he was meant to help.

However, the ideas and characters only inspire me as much as the words themselves. In fact, my family still pokes fun at me about reading the dictionary during my high school years. While I, like many of my contemporaries, list Tolkien as a major influence, I like to think I do so from the evidence of his philological background within his works rather than his epithet as the Father of Modern Fantasy.

What genre do you write in and what made you choose this particular genre?

While much of my reading has been in Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy, and Sword and Sorcery, I tend to lean (quite heavily) toward Dark Fantasy. I don’t know that I really chose Dark Fantasy. I simply realize that this is the genre in which I write. Because I like to play with certain tropes, I tend to lose traditional aspects that make me a writer of other subgenres. As I mentioned earlier, it is not so much that I dislike these tropes, but I cannot always reconcile myself to them within my stories. I have a desire to have exceptionally flawed individuals and, coupled with my rather morose outlook on life, they generally fail or step on others to achieve their goals. Real heroes are both rare and special. I simply haven’t found one in anything I write.

What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?

I want to write stories I can stand behind with which people can identify. But I want my readers to have to think. I want more than simply a good book. I have read plenty of good books, at the end of which I can exclaim, “Thumping good read!” I then put down the book and never open it again. I don’t want to be in that stack. I want my readers to finish my story and immediately hand it to a friend (or stranger) and say, “Read this and then come talk to me. I need to discuss it with someone.”

Ambitious, I know.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?

I would like to say that I don’t, but it just wouldn’t be true. I have simply figured out an effective way of dealing with it for myself. When I encounter writer’s block, I usually end up pacing. I walk back and forth in my house and talk to myself. A lot. Usually I talk through the plot, themes, character motivations. And my workout ends with me spouting dialogue back and forth to myself. I have found that the most people deal with their problems by talking and if I let my characters talk to each other, I usually figure out what had me stumped to begin with.

What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?

Start over. I have seen too many authors carrying the same novel around in their back pockets for years, trying to get it published without luck. They edit the piece over and over again, but can’t get it accepted. I am sure there are plenty of people who would like you to stick with your tattered manuscript, but throwing it out and starting over is usually best. If you are married to the story, read a chapter and re-write from memory. Don’t keep editing. You are a better writer at the end of your novel than you were at the beginning, but editing can only do so much.

Please, tell us about your work.

My first published work is Anaerfell, co-authored with Joshua Roberston, in the Thrice-Nine Legends setting. Strong Armed will be released on 08 March 2016 in the same setting. Meanwhile, Joshua and I are working on another co-authored novel, which will take place in a setting of my own creation. 

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!  Check out the links below for more info.

 _________________________________________________________________

LINKS

Order Strong Armed on Amazon

Order Strong Armed on Smashwords

Website

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #31: Special Edition – Radio Interview from 2/16/16

Episode #31: Special Edition – Redux from WNRI Author’s Hour Radio Show Interview from 2/16/16

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2031.mp3

-Today’s episode is a recording of an interview I did with WNRI radio host Wayne Barber about a month ago on his show, The Author’s Hour.  He was kind enough to read The Thirteenth Hour before the interview, and it’s always fun to hear other folks’ points of view.  There were a number of callers with questions as well, some specific, some general.  Overall, a fun time, so if you didn’t catch the interview on the radio or livestream a month ago, you can hear it now.

-In other news, there’s currently an Amazon giveaway for the picture book I originally wrote for my daughter, Your Star Will Glow Forever. Just click on the link above to go to it.  It’s free, no purchase needed, and it’ll go on until 3/22, 11:59 PDT.

-Next week, we have another live guest – fantasy author Joshua Robertson!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #28: 80s Movies Part 2 – Teen Movies

Episode #28: 80s Teen Movies, Author Coreena McBurnie Reading

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2028.mp3

Man, this was a super long episode.  I guess I got carried away talking about the 80s teen movies 🙂  Anyway, these were all influences, one way or another, for The Thirteenth Hour and the themes running through the book (i.e. figuring yourself out while straddling the line between childhood and adulthood, then trying to find your way in a seemingly inhospitable world).

-More on the writer of many of these films, the late, great John Hughes, as remembered by a teenage penpal he kept correspondence with for a number of years.

-Movies discussed (that link to Youtube clips):

Sixteen Candles 

-always loved the song at the end (done by The Thompson Twins)

The Breakfast Club

great scene – Bender falls through the ceiling – cracks me up every time!

Some Kind of Wonderful

-Ahh, first kisses.  Something special about them, especially when it’s with a longtime friend.

-As an aside, the John Hughes film Pretty in Pink was similar in some ways, but the genders were switched and had a great ending song by OMD.

Real Genius

-The great ending song by Tears for Fears

-Speaking of ending songs, The Thirteenth Hour is getting its own 80s-style ending song soon!  Details to come.  Watch for it on the soundtrack page on bandcamp!

-Ever want to learn to throw playing cards?  Now you can learn to throw like Logan from The Thirteenth Hour with, well, a handmade Thirteenth Hour throwing card kit.  Available on eBay.

Kelly St. Clare, who recently wrote a post here about her experiences with the social media crowd blasting site Thunderclap, has been kind enough to host a raffle for free copies of The Thirteenth Hour on her site starting 2/22 (today)!

-Guest reading by historical fantasy author Coreena McBurnie from Prophecy, a novel about Antigone, from the Greek myth Oedipus Rex.  Welcome to the podcast and thank you for sharing a segment of your work!

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-Starving Artist section: make some passive $$ by watching videos on your phone (yo udon’t have to watch ’em!) – Checkpoints

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #27: Special Edition – Podcasting for Authors

Episode #27: Podcasting for Authors

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2027.mp3

This is an episode that breaks a little from my so-called tradition of talking about escapist entertainment and discusses things that may actually have, well … practical use to you if you’re an aspiring writer or artist.

This past week, fantasy author Kelly St. Clare was kind enough to host an article I did on podcasting as easily and cheaply as possible.  (If you haven’t checked out her great series, The Tainted Accords, do yourself a favor and do so!)  She, in turn, discussed her recent experience with the social media crowd speaking site, Thunderclap.

In any event, this particular episode touches on some of the material in the post above.  But whereas the post walks you through the creation of a podcast, this audio clip is more of a dialogue about why podcasting may be of help to you as an author/artist and discusses some suggestions about what you can do with it as a platform (e.g. interviews with guests, behind-the-scenes stories, influences, etc).

I reference the article “1000 True Fans” by Kevin Kelly in the podcast.  It’s talked a lot about in marketing circles, and folks like Tim Ferriss often cite it as a model for developing a dedicated following.  On a smaller scale, working towards a dedicating podcast following has the potential to accomplish much the same thing in a way that’s more difficult to achieve with traditional social media, which can be more superficial and ADHDish.

Stay tuned for more on this subject in the future, as well as a live guests on the podcasts!

Lastly, Kelly St. Clare was kind enough to host an upcoming rafflecopter giveaway for The Thirteenth Hour on her site.  Stay tuned for more info in the coming days.

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Interview With Author Coreena McBurnie

Today, I’m delighted to present to you a recent interview I did with mythological fantasy author Coreena McBurnie.  She interviewed me on her blog a few days ago, so today, I get to return the favor.  Coreena is also interested in appearing on the weekly podcast, so watch for those details soon.   But without further ado, read on below for further details on how she successfully turned a Greek myth with controversial content into a young adult novel, what she wished she’d have known before starting her author’s journey, and where she’d go if she could time travel for one day. 

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How did your book come to be?

I have always had a great love of ancient Greek mythology and studied Classics in university. While there I read the Oedipus plays by Sophocles. I was immediately taken with Antigone, Oedipus’ daughter — she’s strong, stands up for herself, and does what she thinks is right even in the face of death. When I was looking for a novel idea several years ago (because I was participating in National Novel Writing Month — a challenge to write a novel in November), I thought it would be fun to write about Antigone. I wasn’t sure how to go about it, especially as a young adult novel because some of the subject matter is delicate (i.e., she’s the child of an incestuous relationship), but finally decided just to tackle the story head on and not to make any apologies for what is the in the myth. Once I did that, Antigone found her voice very quickly.

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What’s it like to tell other people you’ve written a book?

It’s an interesting thing, this sharing of a story that is a part of you, but then it’s out there for the world to see and critique. I’m quite an introverted person, so I actually don’t bring it up much. I get really nervous when I tell people, but so far, everyone is very supportive and happy for me.

If you could share a meal with any of your characters, who’d it be and why?

Antigone. I think she’s fun and amazing. And how great would it be to participate in an ancient Greek feast?

What are your influences?

I love the ancient Greek and Roman stories and they inspire a lot of my writing. My favourite book is probably Homer’s Odyssey. Growing up I loved CS Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe series, along with anything by Agatha Christie or Douglas Adams. Recently, I’ve read Kristin Cashore’s Graceling series, Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, Eoin Colfer… One of the things I’ve really been enjoying is reading so many new and innovative indie authors.

Your hobbies?

Hobbies… Well, I love to read and I’m trying to learn to paint a bit, though this is more of a creative exploration than a mastery thing. I enjoy being outside around trees or water. I also have three kids, so is taxi driver considered a hobby? And recently I’ve become addicted to Supernatural on Netflix.

How do you find readers for your books (i.e. your audience)?  Friends?  Family?  Social media contacts?  Local library?  …?

This is my first published book, so I am still working on that. Family and friends are definitely my first readers. I’m having a book launch party in a couple of weeks, which hopefully will attract some attention where I live, and I’ve donated a copy to my local library. I’m also working on social media by reaching out to book bloggers who might be interested in reading my book and offering them review copies. So far, all of this is slow, but building (I hope).

What’s one (doesn’t have to be just one) thing you wish you could have told your pre-published author self?

Get beta readers sooner. I spent a lot of time editing and perfecting things, just to have the beta readers point out changes that needed to be made, and then I had to change everything again.

Your spirit animal is _____ and why.

A black jaguar — I dream about them a lot and love the protective, shadow qualities of a jaguar, especially a mother. When I am stressed out, I imagine a black jaguar looking out for me. I know it’s strange, but there you are.

How do you feel about clowns?

Really not my thing, they’re kind of creepy.

You see your book being sold on ebay.  You are ______ (fill in the blank).

Happy. Someone read my book and thinks it has enough value to resell it. Now maybe someone new will read it, someone who might not have otherwise found my book.

Your superpower of choice is:

Flying. I would love to see the world from high up, like birds. There is also a certain freedom to flying that is enticing, being able to go anywhere, any time.

Now imagine you’re a time traveler for a day.  Where and when would you go? 

To Alexandria right before they burned the library and find a way to stop that somehow. Can you imagine what was lost there?

Thanks for having me here today, it was fun! I love to connect with other authors and readers, so feel free to email me: coreenamcburnie@gmail.com

Other ways to connect with me:

Website & Blog: Coreena McBurnie

Facebook: Coreena McBurnie, Author

Twitter: @CoreenaMcBurnie

Goodreads: Coreena McBurnie

Amazon: Coreena McBurnie

Tumblr: Coreena McBurnie

Newsletter: Coreena McBurnie

Thanks, Coreena, for joining us today!  Congratulations on your debut book and wish it the world of success.  Looking forward to having you on the podcast!

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Joshua Blum Interview by Author Coreena McBurnie

Thanks to Coreena McBurnie, author of the mythological fantasy book Prophesy, Book 1, Antigone: The True Storyfor featuring this interview of me on her blog.  I had a chance to talk about topics like the creation of The Thirteenth Hour, how it was influenced by 80s fantasy, scifi, and John Huges teen movies, and how I envisioned the characters, especially their struggle to become adults in a world that doesn’t quite know what to do with people that are not quite teenagers but not yet firmly ensconced in the supposed security of middle adulthood (kind of like our actual world).  Watch for Coreena’s interview coming here soon as well as her appearance on the weekly podcast!

http://coreenamcburnie.com/2016/02/10/author-interview-joshua-blum/

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Guest Post by Kelly St. Clare: THUNDERCLAP CAMPAIGN: IS IT WORTH IT?

Today, fellow fantasy author Kelly St. Clare, author of the Tainted Accords series, and I are doing post swaps.  I’m doing a post on podcasting for her site, and she’s writing about her recent experience with Thunderclap for the recent release of her third novel, Fantasy of Fire.  Given that we both did Thunderclaps around the same time, I was excited to know what Kelly’s experience was like.  Thanks, Kelly, for sharing your thoughts!  Those of you considering doing Thunderclaps in the future will definitely find her insights helpful.  

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Thunderclap was founded in 2009 and has gained popularity in the last two years. The site claims to help “Generate major awareness for event announcements.” In a nutshell, anyone can start a campaign by creating a message for their event; a concert, book launch. Object of the game: To collect at least 100 supporters over Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr so your message is sent once via your supporter’s social media.

 

Setting up your Thunderclap

The process to create your own campaign is straight forward. You head to https://www.thunderclap.it and click ‘Start a Thunderclap’ – It requires you to create an account (free) and you have the option to make a profile. You will also need a Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr account.

After this you need to create a message. Luckily, this is easy as well, with the examples provided by other authors and artists.

Once completed, you will be given an option to select whether your campaign is small, medium, or large. Respectively, you will need to get 100, 250, or 500 supporters. Depending on your audience, select the appropriate size. Remember, it’s hard to get followers to actively support a link! As a guide, I have 350+ subscribers, 800+ facebook likes, and 2500 twitter followers, and I selected the small campaign (100 supporters). Because herein lies the catch. If you do not get your pre-selected amount of supporters, your message will not be sent out. In other terms: If only 99 people support you, no thunderclap.

Tip: Include a couple of hastags in your message.

 

Promoting your Thunderclap

You have your campaign. Now you need to gain supporters. Below is a list of what worked well for me with my young adult fantasy readers.

Tips:

  • Lengthy messages to explain what a Thunderclap were less effective than posts with short messages. My most effective post message was “I need more clicks. Time is running out!”
  • I got a higher rate of supporters from my viewers sharing posts (i.e. A viewer shared my post and their friends then supported my campaign).
  • My posts were more successful when I specified supporting was free.
  • Making Thunderclap support a condition of entry into a small giveaway gave me 1/5 of my campaign goal (I offered an e-book).

It is HARD to get people to do more than a simple ‘Like’ or ‘Retweet.’ Remember, you are competing against everyone else who needs support; the marathon runners, those with sickness, and charities. These are worthwhile campaigns! And it means your followers are probably overwhelmed with requests to help on a day-to-day basis.

But with any self-made luck you will get there. Once you have achieved the minimum amount of supporters, Thunderclap will send you a message saying your campaign is 100% successful. Celebrate when this happens, because you will be one hundred percent over Thunderclap by this point.

Tip: If you are struggling for numbers, check out the facebook and goodreads groups dedicated to supporting thunderclaps.

 

Did My Thunderclap Campaign Help My Event?

I managed to convince 104 people to support me. This gave me a ‘Social Reach’ of 133,995 across Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

My message was sent out and…

Top rankings: 662 paid listing (#3 Bestseller in Dark Fantasy, #11 Bestseller in Adventure)

Which is great! But the total clicks from my Thunderclap Campaign…

Total clicks: 242

Now, this is where Thunderclap tells you to upgrade in order to get your campaign analyzed. It was $45 to do so – needless to say for 242 clicks I chose not to. Without the analysis, all you will get is number of supporters, social reach, and total clicks.

What does 242 Total Clicks translate to?

Best case scenario for my Thunderclap campaign: 242 downloads (DL) of my new release.

Let’s compare this to other campaigns I have done for nearly zero effort or a small fee.

– Amazon Free promotion day: 4700 DL, with increased sales for 2 weeks afterward.

– Book Promotion Sites (Awesomegang, bookbub, kboard) priced between $10-$30. Result: 300-1000+ discounted DLs.

 

Conclusion

242 clicks. Better than nothing! But was it worth the effort of promoting and – although not spending actual money – spending the time to generate supporters? Time which could be spent writing and…well, earning money!

But who cares? Because when I was promoting my Thunderclap I was still promoting my book! Right? To test this theory I analyzed my facebook statistics.

THUNDERCLAP PROMOTION POSTS: 32-44 reader views.

NORMAL PROMOTION POST (with review excerpt and buy link): 177-200 reader views.

(NB: A small giveaway increased numbers of both THUNDERCLAP and NORMAL posts)

Looking at the above, Thunderclap campaign posts were seen by less than a third of readers than my usual posts.

There is no doubt that 242 clicks to my Amazon page would have helped my rankings there. And these clicks may have resulted in sales. However, I feel this effect would be negligible when compared to my pre-order numbers and other release day promotions.

 The real question is: Do I think my Thunderclap campaign was worth it? Or, better yet, would I do it again?

No to both.

Perhaps results vary between different professions. Perhaps a change of message would result in more clicks. Or maybe if it was sent at a different time of day and time. Maybe a different picture. Maybe if the first in a series were promoted (I did my third book) then the results would be better. Seeing as I made no mention of the series placement in my message, I doubt this. However, these are all variables which could potentially increase the Total Clicks.

The Total Click yielded was pitifully small considering the Social Reach. And the work I did to generate support was not as effective as my normal posts which contained direct buy links.

You now have the details of my experience with Thunderclap, so the decision is yours. Will you be Thunderclapping your next release?

If you enjoyed this post, then please check out my other Dear Aspiring Author blogs.

Thank You to Joshua Blum for having me!

Kelly St. Clare

Kelly St. Clare

Author Biography

When Kelly St Clare is not reading or writing, she is lost in her latest reverie. She can, quite literally, drift past a car accident while in the midst of her day dreams, despite the various police sirens and chaos. 

Books have always been magical and mysterious to her. One day she decided to start unravelling this mystery and began writing. Her aim: To write stories she would want to read. As it turns out, this failed miserably. Do you know what it is like to read something you’ve written? Impossible. Not to mention, the ending is ruined before you’ve begun. Never-the-less, Kelly loves it and wishes she had more time to squeeze it in between her day job as a physiotherapist.

Fantasy of Frost, the first title in The Tainted Accords, is her debut novel. Two of the three sequels, Fantasy of Flight and Fantasy of Fire, are now available. 

A New Zealander in origin and in heart, Kelly currently resides in Australia with her soon-to-be husband, a great group of friends, and some huntsman spiders who love to come inside when it rains. Their love is not returned.

Follow her via Newsletter at www.kellystclare.com, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

If you would like to read her coming-of-age epic fantasy novel, Fantasy of Frost, then you can view it here. Or read the first five chapters on Wattpad.

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #25: Why so White?

Episode #25: Why so White? Illustrating the Thirteenth Hour Characters, Racial Stuff, and More

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2025.mp3

-This morning I randomly woke up to theme music of one of my favorite movies of all time, The Last Starfighter, playing in my head.  Probably not a surprise, since it was an inspiration for The Thirteenth Hour and always had a kickass theme song to boot.  Here’s a little dose of morning 80s inspiration: https://youtu.be/BSf5tx4e_PA

The Last Starfighter main characters: Maggie (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Alex (Lance Guest).  Of note, Catherine Mary Stewart was in a number of other great 80s movies, like Weekend at Bernie’s and Night of the Comet, both of which I’ve seen innumerable times.  Click on the picture above for a great review of The Last Starfighter

-In other news, the radio show appearance I mentioned last week was rescheduled due to a station conflict.  It’s later this month.  More details in the links below.  Email the host, Wayne, with questions or comments for a chance to win a copy of The Thirteenth Hour.

-Author’s Hour show details:

http://waynebarbersauthorshour.blogspot.com/2016/01/brand-new-radio-show-authors-hour.html

Event Details (Live at 1380 AM WNRI or livestream, 9 AM EST 2/16/16)

-By the way, Happy Groundhog Day!

-If you want to learn to throw playing cards like Bill Murray does in the movie, check out this card throwing how-to:

https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/ever-wanted-to-be-like-gambit-card-throwing-101/

-Stay tuned for Thirteenth Hour throwing cards in the near future!

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-Writing and Drawing the Main Characters (Logan and Aurora) from The Thirteenth Hour: where I try to deconstruct the thought process behind creating the world these characters live in, why they were drawn the way they were, and why fantasy novels have been a predominantly Western European, white affair.

-We obviously all have prejudices and biases, and I think the thing is not the total eradication of these parts of being human, just an openness to try to understand these aspects of ourselves and see the world from the points of view of others.

-I will say, however, it would be refreshing to have more ethnically diverse characters in fantasy stories, but not just to make a social statement as the token ethnic character.  Let them be more than just a color, to paraphrase Michael Jackson.

-As an aside, this topic refers back to these post:

https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/writing-the-main-characters/

-There’s a question in the interview below about which Hollywood actor I’d cast to play Logan and Aurora if the movie were one day turned into a film.  Even though I pictured the book being more a cartoon, the question still stands:

http://www.angelabchrysler.com/featured-reads/the-thirteenth-hour/

-#NYNB2016 Epic Fantasy Author Feature: Joe Jackson – reading an excerpt from White Serpent, Black Dragon.

-Be sure to check of Joe’s blog for an impressive amount of background history he created for the world in his books.

-Follow Joe on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShoelessAuthor

-Easy Dinero Segment: Check out the Techslugs channel on Youtube for much more info and reviews of apps and programs to help you make some cash to support the starving artist lifestyle!

-As always, thanks for listening!

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Blog Tour Con’t: Featured Author – Joshua Robertson

This blog recently hosted three authors in the #NYNB2016 blog tour.  I’m going to continue the author-featuring with this post, though it technically isn’t part of the past tour (though it could have been).  Today, we’ll be taking a look at epic fantasy author Joshua Robertson’s work, especially his book launching today, Dyndaer, Book 2 in his Kaelandur Series.  (Pictures below direct to Goodreads.)

DyndaerCover

Book Spotlight _ Dyndaer

Dyndaer Excerpt One

A woman, unlike any Branimir had ever seen, emerged from the crowd and occupied the remaining chair. The bow slung over her shoulder, and the quiver on her back were the last things Branimir noticed. She was shorter than most Anshedar with an oversized head, a scrawny neck, and a sickly, thin frame. Yet her skin, smooth and colored a reddish brown, darker than Branimir, caused him to lean toward her. A sash, red as blood, hung across her shoulder, angled over her small chest.

She sat with her back stiffened and chin jutted forward. Pushing long black strands behind her ears, she introduced herself, “Hanna Bretka, daughter of Briv, from Danduher in Haemus Mons.” She sloshed her mug onto the table after taking a gulp.

“Branimir and Dorofej,” Bran said, “And, excuse my asking, but what are you?”

Her eyes swelled like an owl, a circular black center and the rest filled with a cerulean orb. The colored ring twinkled like the Ojenek in his pocket. “What do you mean what am I?”

Adamus and Dorofej merged in laughter.

“Kras,” she said, “I am a Lilitu. How would you not know my kind? The Kras frequent trade with the Lilitu in Halderon.”

Branimir rubbed the back of his neck with a crooked smile, and meekly shrugged. He could not take his eyes off of her.

What are you?” Adamus repeated, wiping a tear from the corner of his eye. “Best thing I have heard in two months. Having you travel with me never tires, Hanna.”

“Glad to please you, Adamus,” Hanna muttered, rolling his name off her tongue. “Is this why we detoured to Cavell? I thought we were aiming for debauchery, not expanding on our alleged friendship.”

Here’s what one pre-release reader thought:

… Robertson writes unlike any other author I have read. He engages the reader quickly to draw them in, and keeps them there! There was even a part in the book when I was reading where I found myself in the story with the characters. I subconsciously slowed my breathing and was afraid to make any noise because I didn’t want the characters to get caught! I have never felt that way in reading before. I was speechless after reading it.

Dyndaer Excerpt 2

“You told me that I would never find joy,” Branimir went on. “I can’t help but think the rune staves might be right, mainly when I think of these past several weeks.”

“Oh.” Dorofej shuffled out from the shadows, rejoining them near the fire. He appeared disgruntled, despite his words. “We have shared pleasant times together, yes? I say, do not sum up all arduous times to be grievous.”

“I was only telling you what I was seeing,” Drak explained. “I did not mean anything by it.”

“All the same, your words have stayed with me,” said Branimir, scooting over to make room for Dorofej.

“I say, Hanna did warn us that we may create our own future by thinking that we know what to expect, yes? Emotions can create your reality if you are not careful,” Dorofej softened his gaze.

Drak sniffed through his nose. “The rune staves tell what will happen. Branimir cannot change it, no matter how he feels about it.”

Dorofej furrowed his brow. “Know that for certain, we do not. Regardless, whether our paths are fixed or not, we choose how we walk them. Dangerous, it is, to find comfort in sadness. Leads only to more sadness, it does.”

“I like that thought,” Drak granted, and then grinned wide. “Feelings are unseen and untouched by anyone or anything. Fate cannot tell you how to feel.”

Branimir held his face, pondering the wisdom of the two. “Telling yourself how to feel seems easier to think about than to do.”

“Such is the task of the living, yes? I say, our minds are riddled with grand ideas and limited enthusiasm to see it done. Driven towards the things we wish to avoid, men are. Drink, does the drunkard; fight, does the warrior; and on and on, it goes.”

“Is it not what they want?” Branimir asked.

Dorofej lifted his eyebrows, “What do you want, Branimir?”

“I want…” Branimir may have never thought about the question before. He had always been entertained with trying to survive, the question of what to live for was beyond his knowing. Yet, upon taking a moment to think, the answer was not hard to come by. “I want happiness, Dorofej.”

Dyndaer Buy Links

Amazon

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble

Website

As you can tell from the pictures above, there are a number of other books in the series – Book 1: Melorka, as well as the stand-alone volume, Anaerfell.  If you enjoy Joshua’s writing, as his readers seem to do, you’ll want to check out his extensive back-catalog of books!  And, for the authors among you, make sure to check out his youtube podcasts (link below).

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Dyndaer Excerpt 3

The demons of the Netherworld chased him. Four-legged, wolf-like creatures, known as Dreka, rammed their goat horns at Branimir. The gray, wrinkled skin clung to their gaunt frames. Thin lips were stretched back giving sight to the rows of teeth on the tops and bottoms of their bloodied gums.

Branimir tumbled, swinging his weapon and feeling it tear through flesh as easily as a hot blade through frost. For a moment, he may have heard Dorofej’s riddlesome voice—no, his cry—but Branimir had not the time to listen. Bran had to scramble, and sneak, and stab.

And stab. And stab. And stab.

The urgency of the battle and the demons thumped inside of his head.

“Stop!” A familiar voice, again, cried in desperation.

Crimson splattered his vision as his dagger cut through skin once more. His blade loved the taste of blood; he felt the need to drench it again.

Pain stung his leg, but it was quickly forgotten as demon after demon lunged for him. The Dreka were ever persistent in their attack. He spun, and twisted, and disappeared to avoid every demonic beast soaring through the air, vicious teeth aimed for his throat. They would not reach him. For a moment, he thought he saw a flash of Hanna’s wide eyes, but they looked unfamiliar. Treacherous. Evil. Besides, his dagger was already cocked behind his ear and he felt incapable of restraining himself.

Author Bio

Joshua currently lives in Alaska with his wife and children. In 1999, he began crafting the world for Thrice Nine Legends, including Melkorka and Anaerfell. He is also the author of the A Midwinter Sellsword and Gladiators and Thieves in the Hawkhurst Saga. His short story, Grimsdalr, is inspired by the tale of Beowulf.

Social Media Links

Amazon

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter

Youtube – The Writer’s Edge – for all you authors out there, check out this podcast Joshua and his fellow authors have.  Here’s a link to an episode where they discuss how to write a fantasy novel:

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New Year, New Books 2016 Blog Tour – Featured Author: Joe Jackson

The first stop on the #NYNB2016 Blog Tour stars Rhode Island based epic fantasy writer, Joe Jackson.  All pictures below link to Joe’s Goodreads pages for the books.

joej1

Now here’s a fight you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of!  Unless, of course, you have a howitzer or something …

Synopsis:

The War was over, the Devil Queen cast down.

In the wake of the Apocalypse, veteran demonhunter Karian Vanador understands that the vigilance of her Order means there is rarely any time to rest. Even with a paragon of evil cast down, it isn’t long before another rears its head, and for Kari, the War never ends.

She will head into danger again, for it is the life she’s chosen and the only path she really knows. Along the way she will face the tests of friendship, the fires of love, the heat of battle, and the limits of her faith, and in those trials, she will seek the answer to her most pressing question:

“Why was I resurrected?”

Here’s an excerpt of what Joe has to say about the story: “The end result is a story of courage, love, and trust, with a strong female protagonist that both men and women should be able to identify with to some degree.  Whether it’s the sword fighting, the magic, the alien races, or the depth of the characters, I believe Salvation’s Dawn has something for almost everyone, and I hope you join me on Karian’s adventures.  Right now, the Eve of Redemption series is planned for thirteen or fourteen books, with many spinoff possibilities as the series unfold.”

Salvation’s Dawn on Amazon

Joe recently (1/5/16) added the second volume in the series, White Serpent, Black Dragon, that brings back Karian, the main character from the first volume.  At 180k words, you’re really getting your money’s worth with this one!

joej2

Ouch.  Don’t think a trip to the dentist is going to fix that …

Synopsis:

Things have been quiet since the incident on Tsalbrin, but veteran demonhunter Karian Vanador recognizes the calm before the storm all too well.

When one of the Order’s most prominent mortal enemies arrives on campus demanding help with an underworld threat, Kari knows there has to be a connection to the incident on Tsalbrin. Harried by a deadly foe, Kari must call upon friends old and new to track down a serial killer from the underworld.

Along the way she must figure out: are the killings just the act of a depraved demon, or an ingenious plot to shatter the barriers between Citaria and the underworld? And will the people she goes to help prove to be her allies or her enemies in the end?

White Serpent, Black Dragon on Amazon

Be sure to check of Joe’s blog for an impressive amount of background history he created for the world in his books.

Follow Joe on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShoelessAuthor

Watch for more discussion on Joe’s work on The Thirteenth Hour Podcast – date pending.

BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAYS

Don’t forget to sign up at the Rafflecopter link below for a chance to win some free stuff supplied by the authors themselves.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6ac455060/

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Thanks for stopping by!  Next stop on the tour will be Loarna Green, author of the All the Colors series – coming 1/19/16!

Stay up-to-date with the latest blog info at the main page here.  Stay tuned!

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Guest Post by Author Angela B. Chrysler: The Psychology and Subconscious of the Fictional

How do you create good characters?  The dilemma of every author.  In this guest post by fiction and fantasy author Angela Chrysler, she writes about one way of creating good characters – by delving into their psychology to give them depth, and, in the process increase interest and relevance to the reader.

In turn, I have written about a similar topic – using fiction writing itself as a kind of therapy and how stories bind us together as a human race.  You can find it on Angela’s blog here:

http://www.angelabchrysler.com/guest-blogger-joshua-blum/

Speaking of which, before we get to the post, Angela references some of her own works in the post below.  You can find out more about her books at http://www.angelabchrysler.com/books/

Tales of the Drui Book #1 3D

 

Click on the picture below for information on one of her latest, a dark fantasy, with an equally dark and epic trailer.  Check it out!

And now, without further ado, here she is.

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A blank page. Endless possibilities stare back at the writer. They start with a character that stares back up at them—nameless, faceless, void of identity and gender. So the writer invents a face. A name is chosen (unless you are H.G.Wells), and with it the first of an identity is formed.

In most cases, the career is selected and a plot is built around this character. You see conflict, strengths and weaknesses being shaped and assigned. Habits, hobbies, and a back story is eventually selected and, by the time the book makes its way into the hands of a reader, that character leads the story on to the conclusion.

Some readers put the book down and the analysis begins.

“Shallow. One dimensional. Contradicting behavior.”

This is the part where the author pulls their hair out screaming to the muse, “What did I miss?”

What indeed.

The back-story was there. The name, the history, the conflict, but the reader is right. Something was missing.

In the ten years I’ve spent examining the writing world, and the thousands of writers who I’ve debated with, one topic seems to always be neglected in character building. The human psyche. The subconscious.

I will be the first to tell you, adding a subconscious to my characters was one of the hardest things to accomplish, especially having no degree in Psychology. For Kallan, Rune, and Bergen, I took the advice of one of my favorite authors. “Write what you know.” (Mark Twain)

I know me better than anyone else. I didn’t just give Kallan a back story. I gave her a complex with that story. I gave her my complex.

I’m going to step away to one of my most favorite shows for a moment. M*A*S*H. There is an episode when the main character, Hawkeye, is working his way through triage when they come to a soldier with wet clothes reeking of mildew and swamp water. And so begins the psychology of Hawkeye.

Hawkeye begins to sneeze. He starts to scratch at a rash that isn’t there. Hawkeye is surrounded by a full medical team. He is a surgeon himself, and they know, after some simple tests, that this isn’t anything physical. They call in the Psychologist. Dr. Freedman (Rest in Peace).

The sneezing is so intense, that Hawkeye can not operate. Dr. Freedman arrives and viewers get to witness the therapy session that follows.

You see the denial, the conscious mask Hawkeye wears that allows him to remain in denial. “My cousin and I were fishing,” he says. “We were out in a boat and he saved me.”

“How did he save you?”

“Well, I was in the water and he…he saved me.” Hawkeye scratches at his chest. Freedman glances at Hawkeye’s hand.

“How did you get in the water?” he asks.

The session continues, and Hawkeye releases a Freudian slip that clues Freedman in on the fact that the cousin Hawkeye so admired was the one who pushed him into the water to begin with. The event traumatized Hawkeye, but the cousin devalued Hawkeye’s trauma and laughed, calling Hawkeye a clutz. Viewers have the rare privilege of watching Freedman walk Hawekeye through denial, into awareness where Hawkeye can accept the truth and finally, after thirty years, grieve. All of this because Hawkeye smelled the swamp water that triggered a subconscious memory he had forgotten.

The event isn’t brought up again, but it did one thing. It added definition to Hawkeye’s character. A level of definition only the subconscious can give.

I applied the same method to Kallan, Rune, and Bergen.

Because of my limited knowledge in psychology, I pulled on what I know: grief and an inability to accept death. I took a week and studied the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Negotiation, Depression, Acceptance. After witnessing more than twenty deaths by the time I was twelve years old, I was an expert on this topic.

I assigned Kallan the same inability to accept death and assigned her a need to become powerful enough to stop it. Frankenstein is one of my most favorite books. The same need I too have. I lived vicariously through Kallan, giving her the powers I wish I had to stop the dozens of deaths I saw (A total of sixty by the time I was thirty-two). Suddenly, I was moving Kallan through the five stages in Dolor and Shadow.

I then moved on to Rune. A king burdened with a need to protect, a need to end the grief. He too had witnessed the death and he saw what denial can do to a person. He watched the second stage—Anger—consume his brother. He watched the Negotiation devour his father and fuel his madness. He watched the Denial destroy his mother. Rune knows of the process, although he never calls it what it is. He knows and he understands how Dolor can become a Shadow and kill.

He makes that Shadow his nemesis and when he sees his political enemy, Kallan who seeks to destroy him, hording that same Shadow, Rune moves to fulfill his vow and help Kallan. Rune is the character I wish I had. The hero I so wanted who came in and took me by the hand to help me through that grief I suffered alone.

Bergen, I reserved for last. Bergen, I burdened with failure. An inability to save his loved ones…over and over and over. It consumes him. He never stops. He becomes stronger, more determined, but he is up against a Fae goddess. He can’t possibly best her, but he must try. The inability to save his loved ones haunts him, and Bergen is unable to give up.

In all three of these characters, I bestow my final issue. One that I still am not able to accept myself, an inability to accept their own weaknesses and limits. I often summarize Kallan by saying her greatest weakness is accepting her limits and her own weaknesses.

I live every day biting off more than I can chew. I burden myself with the need to accomplish more than I am able. In addition, I have an eye for spotting weaklings in need. (We call this identifying with the victim). I have a need to rescue, protect, and save regardless of my own limitations.

I have the makings of a cat hoarder. I see a stray cat on the street and I am overwhelmed with a need to take her in and protect her. I see a homeless cat in a shelter and am consumed by a need to adopt the cat. “No one else can do it. I must do it. Only then can I know they are safe.” My husband keeps this in check.

This takes me back to the end of one movie I can not watch. Schindler’s List. I identify with the victim remember? I can not watch this film without wanting to save the millions who were lost in the concentration camps. And I failed…it’s a burden I have to live with every day. I have nightmares of being stuck in Hiroshima and being helpless to save the thousands/millions who died by US technology.  

At the end of Schindler’s List, Schindler falls to the ground and says, “I could have saved just one more.”

Psychology.

Schindler identified with the victim as well and, like me, he did everything in his power to save those who needed help. And no matter how many Schindler saved, it still wasn’t enough. He needed to save just one more.

How many saved would have been enough? I smile. I know the answer. When there are no more who suffer…anywhere, ever again. This is the true burden of identifying with the victim.

I watched the first thirty minutes of Schindler’s List (I turned it off right after they killed the one-armed Jew and then open fired on the children in the hospital. I was fifteen years old). I also watched the last two minutes of Schindler’s List. I also know the premise is about Schindler creating a list to save victims from the concentration camp. Schindler saved hundreds. It was barely a drop in the bucket.

From that little bit of information, I was able to assess his need to help, to rescue, to save. The writers of Schindler’s List did an excellent job not neglecting his psychology. Without it, the entire movie would have been “just another movie.”  

It is the psychology that gave Schindler’s List the impact it had. It is Hawkeye’s subconscious that gives that episode the impact it had.

One more example I love drawing on because so many of us can relate to this one. Daryl Dixon in the Walking Dead. The writer’s outdid themselves with this little number. Yes, you have the most awesome Daryl portrayed by Norman Reedus. Yes, you have the unstoppable, dia-hard redneck. But that isn’t what we all relate to. This isn’t why we swoon.

It is his psychological make-up that steals our hearts. Daryl stands in the stables with Carol who gets close to Daryl. This scares him and he pushes her away. Carol takes it. She is impassive and not assertive, so she holds in the abuse while Daryl (and her late husband) lash out at her. Daryl is scared of intimacy. Terrified of having anyone close to him because anytime anyone got close to him (his brother), it hurt him. Remember Beth? It only re-affirmed that when he lets people get close, he gets hurt.

But he wants to be close. He’s lonely. It’s natural, so he strengthens his relationship with Carol until it scares him again and he lashes out. He yo-yo’s between what he wants—a friend or companion…to not be alone—and self-preservation, a distorted perspective that has taught him that having a companion will hurt him.

Carol is just as fun to analyze. She has learned a similar lesson.

In psychology, there is passive, assertive, and aggressive. I believe, a healthy mind toggles between the three, spending most of the time on assertive (My assumption based on an educated guess). Assertive is having the strength to stand up to an abuser, but not identifying with the aggressor and lashing out. This is where bullies come from. Bullies identify with the aggressor and lash out at smaller beings (animals or people) to feel empowered and feel like they have gained back some of the control they have lost. Merl Dixon. Carol’s husband.  

Daryl is assertive.

Carol is passive.

Well, she starts off as passive. This is really amazing to watch! Carol starts off as an abused house wife. She holds in her pain and takes it. She may even feel she deserves it. She sees the same pain in Daryl and this is why she latches on to him. She identifies with him. She identifies with the victim.

Apply Daryl’s own subconscious issues and now you have a match made in heaven. Carol, being passive, has all the patience in the world while Daryl works out his own issues.

Carol learns to be assertive from Daryl. Their friendship helps Carol come into her own. I’m waiting for Carol to identify with the aggressor and become the bully. It’s started with the boy in season five…kind of. I’m curious to see how far it will go.

I doubt Carol and Daryl will ever kiss or form a sexual relationship. Neither have the psychological makeup to entertain that possibility, not without some serious therapy and mental changes from both. Carol is almost there, but Daryl has a long way to go…if he gets there at all. Beth’s death mentally set Daryl back. Logically, I just don’t see it happening at this point.

The one thing these characters have in common is that they are fictitious, in Schindler’s case, a fictitious depiction of a real man. Psychology adds a level of character development rarely seen in literature. Many writers insert their character’s psyche on a subconscious level. Some get it right while others get it very wrong (Fifty Shades of Grey). Some writers insert psychology without realizing that is what they are doing. Psychology is the secret ingredient that brings fictional characters to life. It’s what makes us fall in love with the good guy, cheer on the underdog, and loathe the bad guy. In almost every case, we despise the person who identifies with the aggressor.

Next time you watch a movie, read a book, or write a story look for it. Analyze the characters. And when you have a moment or two, read up on psychology. 

 

Angela B. Chrysler is a writer, logician, and die-hard nerd who studies philosophy, theology, historical linguistics, music composition, and medieval European history in New York with a dry sense of humor and an unusual sense of sarcasm. She lives in a garden with her family and cats.

You can read more of Ms. Chrysler’s writing and accomplishments at http://www.angelabchrysler.com/

 

Angela B. Chrysler The Author of Dolor and Shadow

 

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The Thirteenth Hour Featured on Awesomegang

The Thirteenth Hour has a little featurette on the author site Awesomegang for the next few days:

http://awesomegang.com/thirteenth-hour/

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