The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #120: The Making of a Thirteenth Hour Love Theme

Episode #120: The Making of a Thirteenth Hour Love Theme

I’ll freely admit I’ve always been partial to love themes from movie soundtracks.  Especially if they came out in the 80s, when there were plenty of synthesizers to give it that 80s feel.  So today, we’re creating a track like that for the third Thirteenth Hour book for a scene when our two main protagonists, Logan and Aurora, are reunited after a long time spent looking for each other, not knowing if their true love was even still alive. I wanted it to be a mix between some more traditional sounds (mostly) to evoke tender longing and just enough synth to fit in the rest of the soundtrack.

It’s called “Because We May Only Have One Night,” and while this one is mainly instrumental, I think I may add some vocals for a separate song later or do a reprise which takes some of the elements of this melody, such as the chord progression (G Em C D) or the main riff and intersperses it for later introspective scenes.  That’s the great thing about making soundtracks!  You can rest assured that if you have one melody you like, you can dress it up and change a few things here or there and use it for a new piece somewhere else, kind of like using the leftovers of Sunday’s dinner for Monday’s lunch!

Today’s track was done all on the synthesizer with a small vocal part (whistling) added to the intro.  It was mixed on the synth and in Audacity.  Look for it in the near future on bandcamp.  You can hear the demo version at the end of the show.

While we’re on the subject, one of the tracks featured on the show a few weeks ago, inspired by Chad Derdowski’s book, Fortune Favors the Bold, is now a feature on the Youtube channel Synth Heaven.  Check it out:

Here are the original tracks embedded in the page for your playing convenience:

Speaking of which, Chad has a sequel just out – Fortune Favors the Bold 2!  More Scissorwulf!  Like the last volume and the Choose Your Own Adventure books that inspired it, it comes with black and white line illustrations that Chad drew to complete the experience.  Click on the cover below to check it out on Amazon.


Lastly, Missy Sheldrake, who was on the show this past summer, is also releasing a book in the near future – just a few days from when this episode will be out.  As with her previous volumes, this one is richly illustrated.  Click on the book spotlight below to get a copy of your own, and check out her social media links following the illustrations as well as the following book excerpts  (one and two).

Call-of-Elespen-Book-SpotlightExcerpt 1Call of Hywilkin illustrationTib-PromoKeepers-of-the-Wellsprings-banner









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!


  • 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 the retro 80s soundtrack!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s Instagram pages: @the13thhr for your random postings on ninjas, martial arts, archery, flips, breakdancing, fantasy art and and @the13thhr.ost for more 80s music, movies, and songs from The Thirteenth Hour books and soundtrack.
  • Listen to Long Ago Not So Far Away, the Thirteenth Hour soundtrack online at: or Spotify.  Join the mailing list for a digital free copy.  You can also get it on CD or tape.
  • Website:
  • Book trailer:
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #119: Reflections on Rewatching “Fire and Ice” With Jeremy and Chad

Episode #119: Reflections on Rewatching “Fire and Ice” With Jeremy and Chad

Today’s episode is a discussion on rewatching the animated film, Fire and Ice, directed by Ralph Bakshi and produced by him and Frank Frazetta, who provided many of the character designs.   My brother, Jeremy, and author Chad Derdowski came on the show after watching the film to give our reflections (click on the movie poster below, painted by Frank Frazetta, to get a copy of your own):

We cover quite a bit, from pulp fiction, racial and gender stereotypes, to fantasy art and the dearth of painted novel covers and movie posters (like those done by Drew Struzan in the 80s for films like Back to the Future, Adventures in Babysitting, Big Trouble in Little China, and Blade Runner), and what ages we’d let our kids watch the film.

A few factoids covered in this episode.   For example, did you know that:

James Gurney, creator of Dinotopia, worked on the backgrounds to the film.  He chronicled his experiences working on the film on his blog.

Thomas Kinkade, “The Painter of Light” also worked on the film. Reading how he and Gurney worked together and pranked folks on the set is a good read!

-Not that it needs one, but Fire and Ice may get a remake (allegedly … supposedly … possibly … you know how these things go).  Some concept art here.

-Dark Wolf later inspired a similarly clad comic hero called Jaguar God … the first issue cover was a borrowed Frazetta painting.

Image result for jaguar god

-Despite different directors and different studios/animation styles, you can buy the whole (well, kind of) animated Lord of the Rings saga:

The Lord of the Rings Deluxe Edition/The Hobbit Deluxe Edition/The Return of the King Deluxe Edition/ (3-Pack/Giftset/DVD)

And a bit on the Dark Wolf character from the film, which we touched on during previous episodes Chad featured in (hear parts 1 and 2 here) – a combo of a “sword and sorcery” Batman (as Jeremy put it) crossed with the Death Dealer character Frazetta created and painted numerous times:

Image result for death dealer

Lastly, I leave you this image of Blackstar, a similarly clad figure that went with a sword and sorcery cartoon of the same era about an astronaut that lands on an alien planet.  He has a tagline that reads “Astronaut defender of freedom with glow in the dark star sword.”  Does it get any more 80s than that?  🙂 (You can watch the series on youtube.)

Image result for blackstar figure


And if you like sword and sorcery, check out Chad’s books!  The following tracks were inspired by them:

I’ll end with more info on where you can find the book that inspired these tracks:

Image result for fortune favors the bold chad derdowski

Get a copy of your own by clicking here or on the cover above:





Thanks, Chad, and Jeremy for coming on the show.  Look for more in the future!


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!


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

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!









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!


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

Episode #87: Dark Fantasy Author Joshua Robertson Returns

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:


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.


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:






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.


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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  • Listen to Long Ago Not So Far Away, the Thirteenth Hour soundtrack online at:  Join the mailing list for a digital free copy.  You can also get it on CD or tape.
  • Website:
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  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at for more details!

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:


Click on the picture above to go the the Amazon page


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.


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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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!


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.




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):

Call of Sunteri (Book Two):

Snowberry Blossom (Perma-free holiday short story):


Author Social Media Links:








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


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  • Website:
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  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at 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

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:


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


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


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

2016-05-24 14.23.59


2016-05-24 14.23.41

2016-05-24 12.37.08

2016-05-24 14.03.51

2016-05-25 12.49.35

Illustration for Call of Sunteri available on and

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:








As always, thanks for listening!


  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
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  • Website:
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  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at for more details!

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.


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.



Order Strong Armed on Amazon

Order Strong Armed on Smashwords



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.)


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



Barnes and Noble


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).


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





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:



New Year, New Books Tour 2016 – Featured Author: Malinda Andrews

Today, we wrap up the #NYNB2016 Blog Tour with sword and sorcery fantasy author Malinda Andrews.  (In case you missed the first two, features for authors Joe Jackson and Lo-arna Green can be found by clicking on their names).

book 1 cover

Beautifully drawn and painted artwork from Through the Mountains, Book 1 in Malinda’s Incalescent Trilogy.

Let’s start out with some words direct from the author herself!

Where are you from?

I am originally from Washington state just to the west, across the Puget Sound from Seattle. I remember growing up with the large evergreens, and playing in the parks around Mount Rainier. We moved out to Wisconsin in ’97, and have stayed here ever since. I enjoy having 4 seasons, including the snow!

Tell us your latest news?

My latest news is that the second book in the Incalescent Trilogy, Across the Sea and Hills, as well as a novella titled Fire and Snow are being released the first weekend in February! I should be getting the cover art in the next two weeks.

How did you come up with the title?

Titling works are hard for me. I’m not sure why, even when I wrote short stories for college I always struggled with narrowing down the titles. So with these books I actually googled how to title something. Weird, I know. I decided to go with titles that reflect the physical location of the characters: Through the Mountains, Across the Sea and Hills, and coming in the summer of ’16, Over the Plains. Not the most exciting titles, but they stand out and are easily abbreviated.



Look for these additions to the series coming soon.


What are your current projects?

Currently I am working on revisions on the third book in the trilogy (The Incalescent Trilogy which is a part of a series title The Ryder Chronicles), and also on another novella that will hold two short stories to be released with the third book. I also participated in NaNoWriMo for the third time, and wrote the 5th in the Ryder Chronicles series, of which Through the Mountains was the first.



Curious to know more about Through the Mountains**?  Aside from checking out the Goodreads profile by clicking on the cover above on on Amazon (link below), Malinda sent me a sample excerpt that you can check out here.


Do you see writing as a career?

Writing is most definitely a career. As an adult it has been the only career I have wanted. I never wanted a big job with a cushy office. I’d rather be at home or the local coffee shop working on my craft and spending time with my characters. I love being able to share my stories with others.

Who designed the covers?

The design of the covers is a template from CreateSpace. Though all the colors and fonts I chose. I have a family friend that is an artist, so I commissioned him to create a one of a kind piece of art for each of the novels. I actually have the first book’s art framed and hanging in my home office.

What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the world building within your book?

I took a lot of archaeology and anthropology courses in both high school and college and studied a lot of different cultures. But the Celtic phenomenon on the European continent as well as the British Isles has probably influenced my world building the most. I use my school reference books to help give my cultures more depth as well as some fantasy writing reference books.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

I have always wanted to write, but when I was younger I actually dreamed about being an Orca trainer at some wildlife center or Zoo. I love animals. I know some people disagree with the concept of Zoo’s and wildlife parks, but I think when run well and with the animal’s well-being at the forefront, they provide a center of learning for children and adults. Some days, when the writing is hard, I still wonder if I would have been better at that…

What do your plans for future projects include?

Currently I plan to finish the Incalescent Trilogy, and then honestly I might take some time away from the fantasy series and work on a romance that I started during NaNoWriMo in 2014. I enjoy writing across several genres as each has its own unique set of challenges. In November I’ll probably slip back into fantasy and finish out the third book in the next trilogy in the Ryder Chronicles series.

What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?

I blog twice a week, and have started doing a book review (that centers on self-published and small press books) on the first Sunday of each month. I also have a Twitter, an Instagram, a Goodreads account, and a Pinterest. Their links are down below.







**Synopsis of Through the Mountains:

To Riona, life was simple. She and her mother lived on the outskirts of a village in the secluded Rhal-Dages Mountains of Bjergen. They grew, or hunted what they could, and traded for the rest. Her best friend for the twenty years of her life, Damien, and his family were there for her without question. At least until a mysterious figure reveals something within her, setting in motion events that sweep Riona into a conflict decades in the making. After another figure’s unexplained visit, Riona is required to accept that the abilities she has had for so long, and tried to hide, come from magic. But since Moriel destroyed the legendary Ryders and their powerful dragons twenty-one years prior, magic was something to be feared by the people. Magic was dangerous, and those using it were sought out and killed. Forced to leave her home, Riona is stalked by nightmarish shadow figures, as she tries to uncover the truth of who she is. Her choices, and discoveries, could mean the destruction, or salvation of the people she loves most.

Here’s an excerpt of what one reviewer on Amazon thought: Written with such care for imagery and with beautifully interesting character details, I can only HOPE that this series/series-to-be will materialize onto the big screen- because it will be AMAZING!!

Check out Through the Mountains on Amazon

Enter this free Goodreads Giveaway for the chance to win a copy of Through the Mountains.  

And speaking of giveaways, remember …



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


Thanks for stopping by and helping to support this blog tour!  Many thanks to the organizer, Ama et Bemma, for helping to bring exposure to all us independent authors.

Stay tuned over the next three weeks for individual featurettes on these works and authors on the weekly podcast.


New Year, New Books Blog Tour 2016 – Featured Author: Loarna Green

If you missed the first stop on the #NYNB2016 Blog Tour, click on this link to check it out.  (There’s also an introduction to the tour on the podcast that came out yesterday.)  We’re switching gears from last time’s focus on epic fantasy toward the other end of the spectrum, in a way, toward books that are more fairytale romance oriented.  As before, book covers link to Goodreads for more info.


What a great cover!  You can tell by looking at it that it’s probably going to be a romance, but the colorful painted swirls that might be a dress or wings, worn by the dancing woman at the center give it a lyrical quality that suggests it’s something more.


Jazz lives her life according to colour.
She vibes off people’s colour.
Her world is happy, bright, fluro. Until her sister goes missing, followed closely by her mother.

She moves across the country and starts a new life. Some of it good, some of it a little bad. All of it colourful. It is there she meets a man who makes her question herself, her previous life and where she is going in this one. Jazz wants to move forward but she also can’t forget the mystery surrounding her mother and sister.  

Here’s what one reviewer on Amazon thought about this book:

“All the Colours is the “indie film” of romance novels. There’s no better way to describe it …  If you are looking for a simple plot where the heroine meets the hero and pursues a courtship, this book delivers so much more than that (and probably much more than what you want to sift through.) If you are ready to be engrossed in a book that explores friendships, love and family in an authentic way, you will be very satisfied with this story.  Lo-Arna Green does a superb job of capturing the voice of her characters. The people of her story are believable and vibrant, leaping off the page with so much life force that they seem like people you know personally.  At times, the writing is so honest that it breaks away from the “romance novel” mold completely and evolves into a character study.”

All the Colours on Amazon 

The next book in this synesthesic series just came out (1/7/16) and takes the opposite end of the spectrum – darkness, giving it more a more gothic feel while still the overall character of a fairy tale romance.

All The Darkness 3D Image of Book Cover Black


Nate knew a life of colour when he had Stella by his side.
Now she’s gone, her life cut short, he sinks deep into darkness when he discovers who is responsible.
He leaves town and leads a quiet life keeping to himself, not feeling he deserves anything more than just merely existing, in all the darkness.

Edie is trapped in her life, made prisoner by those who are meant to love and protect her.
She is drowning in a quicksand she can’t breathe in. She’s lost her voice, her strength, her self-esteem.
When these two cross paths, they’ll both wonder if they deserve happiness. Can they make their way out of the darkness and to happiness with each other?

How do we convince ourselves we deserve happiness? How do we live with the dark acts we have committed?
All the Darkness explores the parts of our minds we try to keep hidden, even from ourselves.

Book 2 in All The Colours series.

Here’s what one reader on GR wrote about it:

“Lo-Arna has again captured the intricacies of her characters, making you hurt and love right alongside them. I especially enjoyed Lo-Arna’s portrayal of Nate, I love his character and admire his loyalty. I think Lo-Arna has written him to perfection.  A must read for those who like their romance with a side of darkness.”

All The Darkness Facebook Cover Art

All the Darkness on Amazon

If these books looked intriguing, you’ll be happy to know that Lo-arna has many more books in the pipeline for 2016!  (You can sneak peak the covers on the Smashwords link below.)  Check out the social media links below for more details:


Read Lo-arna’s interview at Smashwords

Follow Lo-arna on Twitter @loarnagreen


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


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


Thanks for stopping by!  Next stop on the tour will be Malinda Andrews, author of the Incalescent Trilogy – coming 1/22/16!

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


The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #21: Special Edition

Episode #21: Special Edition for the Third Edition Launch

Today is another special edition of this podcast, discussing the upcoming launch of the 3rd edition of The Thirteenth Hour (special editions are longer – this one is 30 minutes – and less frequent; the other special edition is the episode on A Shadow in the Moonlight for subscribers of the mailing list – see link below for free access).

The following links are referenced in the episode.  i.e.:

-Talking about how the book came to be in print (unofficially) as early as 1998:

-Illustration updates to this newest edition:

Like the above link, here are a similar progression of images showing the creation of an image (this time of King Darian) from sketch to computer edited image:

darian 1darian 2darian 3darian meme

-The saga of cover creation:

-And what you can do to personally support the launch:

-Other ways to get a sample of the book and see if the writing style is to your taste:

->download a sample on amazon

->download a free copy of the prequel, A Shadow in the Moonlight, on Smashwords or Amazon

->download a free copy of the standalone short story, “Falling Leaves Don’t Weep” (may contain vague, obtuse spoilers) on Smashwords

->email me for a sample chapter @

->email me @ if you’d like to review the book – you get a gift copy for free.

->download the first 15 episodes of this podcast on itunes (granted, an earlier draft of the book, but it’s all there, start to finish).

So, lots of ways!  Best wishes for the new year!

As always, thanks for listening!


thunderclap 13th hr picture_edited-1


The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #20: “Children’s” Literature

Episode #20: “Children’s” Literature

I’m deviating from the previous episodes today to talk about a few books generally classified as “children’s” literature, though in reality, they can probably be enjoyed as adults as well.  While not directly related to The Thirteenth Hour, they were books I enjoyed as a child, which influenced my love of reading, and later, or writing and creating stories.

The following links all go to Goodreads.  I also used the cover illustrations for the versions of the books as I remembered them, though there are updated covers now that make these ones look dated in comparison.  It just goes to show that these things are cyclical, and what’s popular and fashionable in one era may not be twenty years from now.

The Chronicles of Narnia

The cover for the fourth book in the Chronicles of Narnia series, The Silver Chair, which is different from the photorealistic covers fashionable in today’s books but still striking in my opinion.

A Wrinkle in Time

My Teacher is An Alien

The Girl with the Silver Eyes


Happy holidays and best wishes for the new year!

As always, thanks for listening!


thunderclap 13th hr picture_edited-1






What’s in a Cover?

For the upcoming, 3rd edition of The Thirteenth Hour, I decided the book needed a new cover.   This ended up being a very challenging exercise but one that taught me a lot, and one that helped me get a better sense of this book I had really written mainly for myself without much regard as to what other people thought (which was a great marketing strategy right up until I decided to publish it).

You can see that my initial thoughts on cover design were pretty minimalistic.

2015-07-01 11.50.43

For the first two published editions, I used this cover:


It was an image I used from the book’s interior and one of my favorites.  I personally always liked the font, even though other people said it was hard to read.  It was, however, the only fantasy style font I could find in 1998.  But, in 2015, it was looking kind of dated, and I decided it was time for something not only more readable but less CorelDraw circa 1995.  The image also needed to be cleaned up, and even if I were going to keep the comicky, stylized look for the cover, the colors could be more vibrant and contrasted.

The recent trend in book covers seems to use photographs or photorealistic drawings to make composite images that look like Harlequin romance novel covers or J Crew catalogs.  While there’s nothing wrong with that, I envisioned something different that better reflected the hand drawn images from the book.

I had an idea for an image I wanted to do and created a draft in which the main character, Logan, is doing a backflip while zooming over a dreamy cloudscape with a setting sun in the distance:

2015-09-27 20.16.34

The eventual picture looked like this:

logan flip clouds small 2

I ended up posting this draft on two sites, Kboards writer’s cafe and to get ideas and feedback.  Seriously, folks, if you’re looking to make a cover, sites like these are great free resources.  Of course, the first thing they’ll tell you is don’t bother trying to make your own cover.  There are lots of reasons which you can read on these and similar sites, though a lot of them amount to the same reason people pay someone to change their car’s oil for them – it’s easier, and a pro can do it better and more efficiently.

You can see in the links above that’s of course what most people said.  However, just because everyone says you have to do something doesn’t mean you have to.  We all have our biases.  One of mine is that there is a certain sense of satisfaction of having done something yourself that you just don’t get with outsourcing.  Plus, if you’re involved in writing and self-publishing a book for fun, like I am, you obviously lose that when you pay someone else to do it for you.

However, the big thing is – if you don’t pay in money, you’re going to pay in time.  Money or time, it’s either one or the other.  So for me, it was going to be time.  And that was okay.

As I mentioned, people gave tons of useful tips which I used for subsequent drafts.  My sister in law, an artist, gave me many more on coloring and contrast.  My brother, who knows much more about Photoshop that I do, gave many suggestions on font choice, readability, and overall layout, and my wife, who is not involved in design work, helped provide a reader’s eye.

After many, many hours of tweaking, not to mention trial and error/fiddling with Photoshop, I arrived at the final image:

logan flip clouds black cover 6x9

I’d wanted to create a orb on the cover that was similar to the marble-like balls featured in the interior and on the book’s very first cover:

I was also going for a kind of infinity sign created with the clouds encircling the poles of the orb and Logan’s body.  Hopefully, the starry landscape, the shooting star, the darker background, and the rainbow flames coming out of Lightning’s engines evoke a more fantasy-like feel to the cover than previous versions while keeping some air of the original.

In any event, covers are a weird thing.  Everyone says don’t judge a book by its cover, but we all do.  Most of the time, that’s all we ever see.  People’s tastes on what looks good vary widely, so trying to please everyone is impossible.  Tastes also change with time.  The cover should fit other books in the genre, but not too much, because if it looks like everybody else’s, how will it ever stand out?  In the end, what is a cover for?  In my opinion, a cover’s like the impression you hope to make on a first date.  The reason you try to wear something decent instead of your smelly workout clothes.  The reason you shave and comb your hair instead of sporting the I-just-rolled-out-bed look.  It’s the style behind your writing’s substance.  It’s worth paying attention to, but at the end of the day, appearances only go so deep and only get you so far.  Hopefully, the new cover’s belt matches its shoes enough that it helps people give it a chance for a second date.

So – would I do it again?  Given the amount of work and time it took, I’m still undecided.  But I have to admit, I enjoyed the process, despite how much work it turned out to be.  That made it all worthwhile.


The 3rd edition of The Thirteenth Hour will be officially launched on 1/13/16, on its one year anniversary.  Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks!