Storm’s Child with John Ortega

Everyone has their thing, especially in genre fiction. I’m going to be honest, one of my least favorite groups of characters in Urban Fantasy are the Fae. Fairies, Pixies, all that stuff. That said, they are important to the world of UF like spunky female detectives and magical runes. It can’t all be werewolves and ghosts and hot vampires, and if you like Irish music and culture even a little, then they are just part of the landscape. Some people get it right. John Ortega has successfully tackled the whole Faerie thing head-on in his latest novel Storm’s Child.

John, tell us about you.

My love for fantasy started at a young age. To be honest I never liked reading, hated it to the point where I asked my mom to read my school assignments and give the bullet points later. Then one day I walked from a movie into borders and saw the Percy Jackson Series and it blew my mind. It was a complete change from running like hell from a book to devouring three and four a day. My mom thought I had been switched for a pod person. One thing led to another and soon I found myself reading about every mythological creature and story out there. From Greek to Norse to Celtic. Then as I got older my appetite got bigger and I would read Sci-fi, crime. Basically fantastical or magical that would catch my eye I would buy.

During the day I work in the customer representative department for a health insurance company and every other hour of the day I spent it either writing, reading, or looking up stuff that sparks my imagination.

What’s your book (and future series) about?

Storm’s Child is an urban fantasy novel where we meet Nathan, the owner of an inn for supernatural creatures in Portland, Oregon. He lives a quiet life with his dog Sabine until one of his employees is found dead under strange circumstances that prompts Nathan to do his own investigation that leads him on a collision course with the Fae. An ancient magical race that has a sordid history with Nathan and thinks he is dead. So he has to make a choice to risk exposure or let the killer go free.

Despite his troubled past, Nathan is optimistic at heart and likes to see the bright side of life but also its not above getting his hands bloody if the situation calls for. I’ve always been fascinated by the original version of famous fairy tales, The Grimm’s Brothers, Edmund Spencer, William Shakespeare and that led me to create a fae-centric world with a characters that had intimate knowledge of the fae, what they’re really like and what we humans have gotten wrong at the behest of the rulers of their race. You’d be surprised how much of our knowledge has been molded by them. 

But while the fae are an integral part of the world, we see magic everywhere. I wanted to explore a rich magical community so we see mages, shifters, nature spirits and how they interacted with the world around it. Storm’s Child is an urban fantasy story but it has elements of a murder mystery and a smidge of romance. So while we only explore a bit of the world as we follow Nathan in his investigation you get the sense of the larger world or worlds I should say.

Running a hotel is a great hook for a series like this since you need a good reason for all these creatures to cross paths. Where did the idea come from?

The basis of the story comes from the Irish myth of Tír na nÓg, the land of young. I was driving in my car one day and was listening to Youtube and the song Tír na nÓg by Celtic Woman came on and the story sang impacted me so much I researched the myth behind it and it’s the love tragedy that this human falls in love with a fae woman and goes to the land of the fae but after years he wants to go back and his love tells him that the world has forgotten him but he insists and goes back to the mortal world where centuries had passed and he dies as time catches up to him. So I asked myself what would happen if a mortal that lived with the fae for so long escapes to the mortal world and doesn’t die. What would that do to their psyche? Would they consider themselves human or something else? All those questions came to mind and the road to the story just appeared on my mind. 

Since you weren’t much of a reader as a kid you’ve obviously changed your ways. Who do you read that people should know about?

As I mentioned before, I started with Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series and while I go back to him at times. I immensely enjoy Ilona Andrews (a must read for any Urban Fantasy fan) as well as Patricia Briggs, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jeaniene Frost, Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Kevin Hardman and Peter Clines. 

Of course I can’t leave the Bard out as well as Spencer and the Brothers Grimm whose stories I’ve read time and time again. 

Not to hijack the interview, but if folks love Jim Butcher, you’ll probably enjoy Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk, which is like Dresden Files with no Fae and more teeth. (It’s available for preorder now, just saying.)

Where can folks learn more about you and your work?

Storm’s Child is my debut novel and you can find it on Amazon, Barnes&Noble and Kobo.

As for the easiest way to find me would be: 

Amazon Author Page: 

Goodreads: 

Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk is coming out November 19TH. Join my newsletter now to win a fabulous prize. Also, if you are a reviewer and want an advance e-copy of the book, drop me a line and let a brother know.

Southern Gothic on Shrooms- Jill Hand

I have a bunch of writers I’ve come to know through social media that The Duchess refers to as “my invisible friends.” Even though we’ve never had the pleasure in person, I “met” Jill Hand when my first short story Tio Fernando’s Field Trip (read it here) was published in eFiction Magazine, along with one of her stories. I don’t know if she ever saw the money (the mag went broke after that edition), I know I didn’t.

Still, we stayed in touch, supporting and enjoying each other’s work. She skews towards horror with a serious dose of snark. When her first full-length novel, White Oaks, came out I referred to it as “The Little Foxes meets 7 Psychopaths.” I stand by that. Oh yeah, besides the family hysterics there are ufos. Just saying. Now we share a publisher at Black Rose Writing, and the sequel to that book, Black Willows is out in the world. Any excuse to get the word out…

I’m a little afraid to ask, but what’s your story?

I never knew my real parents, having been kidnapped as an infant by a band of roving Presbyterians. We travelled in Fords and Chevrolets. We danced with wild abandon to the music of Perry Como and Tony Bennett. We ate exotic foods like meatloaf and tuna-noodle casserole, with crumbled pieces of potato chips on top. It was an exotic life, one which ended all too soon, when I went off to college and became a teacher.

Teaching wasn’t for me. It was worse than being a cop or a prison guard in that I was tasked with bringing order to a group of hyperactive, insolent, miscreants without being allowed to swear or threaten them.

I ditched teaching to become a private detective. That was more fun. I got to sit in my car outside sleazy motels with a camera, drinking coffee and waiting for a guilty spouse to emerge after making whoopee with his or her side piece. Then I’d take their picture and get paid. That ended with the mafia wedding. Shots were fired. I decided to get into a safer line of work. That line of work was newspaper reporting. I took to it like a duck to water. Nobody shot at me, although one lady tried to hit me with a broom.

I had a shortlived journalism career. What did being a reporter teach you?

Being a reporter means you can pry into other people’s business and ask lots of questions. They have to answer or they look like they’re hiding something. I learned a lot during my years working for newspapers. I brought a lot of what I learned to my writing. I learned that people are hilarious, even the ones who think they aren’t. Especially the ones who think they aren’t.

Okay, so Black Willows…

Black Willows is the second in the series of Trapnell thrillers. It follows the further adventures of a group of bumbling, siblings from Georgia as they try to collect their inheritance while being stalked by a tulpa. There’s arson, and alligators. It’s a wild ride.

You’re a born and bred (and even proud) New Jerseyite. Why write Southern Gothic?

I write about Georgia because it’s a world onto itself. I thought New Jersey was weird but it can’t hold a candle to Georgia. My in-laws are from there. None of the characters I write about are based on my in-laws. Honest.

Since we’re spreading the writer love, who are you reading that people should know about?

I’d like to shine a spotlight on Brandon Barrows, who has a book about to be released by Black Rose Writing called Burn Me Out. It’s about a mobster who’s looking to change his life. Here’s the link to his Goodreads page:

Where can people find your short stories and more about you?

Here’s the link to my author website page: JillHandAuthor.com

Here’s the link to my Amazon author page:

Here’s my checking account routing number and social security number.

Just kidding.

Not to crash the party, but Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk is coming in November. Order now by clicking here and going to Black Rose Writing. Use the promo code: PREORDER2020 to receive a 15% discount. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle and Audible coming in November. And look to the side of the page to sign up for my newsletter.

The Other Inside with JM White

There’s something evil inside me trying to get out. That premise is as old as mankind and has served as the basis of a lot of dark fantasy and horror stories. Hell, it’s why I have a thing for werewolves and what inspired the character of Johnny Lycan in my new book. It’s also the idea behind JM White’s new novel, The Other Inside.

J M, great to talk to another Black Rose Writing author. Besides the fact we share a publisher, what should we know about you?

My love affair with horror started when I was a kid. I was never much into reading. In fact, I hated it. One day I stumbled across the Goosebump series at the library, and my life changed. I went from dreading library days to stuffing three or four Goosebumps books into my backpack at a time. I realized then I didn’t hate reading—I just hadn’t found my genre. It just so happens my genre involves monsters, ghosts, and lots of blood and guts. As I got older, I graduated from R. L. Stine to Stephen King, and so on. 

When I’m not working on fiction, I am a freelance writer. I specialize in video game news and other entertainment topics like film and TV. It’s a fun gig that allows me to flex my pop culture nerdiness. My background is in psychology. I don’t do much with my degree but enjoy using it in my novels. 

What is the story about?

The Other Inside is a psychological horror novel. It follows Billie. He doesn’t have a family. Eleven years ago, his mother was murdered, and his stepfather was locked up for the crime. Because of this trauma, he fled to a small New Hampshire town to start a new life.

But Billie isn’t like everyone else. He struggles to control an animalistic thing inside him that needs blood. His affliction becomes harder to hide when his childhood best friend shows up. As Billie reconnects with her, secrets of his past unravel. He is left wondering if his stepfather really did kill his mother. And if he didn’t, who did? 

For me, the idea of having something creepy inside an otherwise normal person creeps me out. What are the roots of this story?

Despite Billie’s affliction, he is relatable. The reader knows from the get-go that Billie is a killer, but they are still rooting for him. I wanted to explore a character that viciously kills but would be the type of person to back down in a fight because they know it’s wrong. That required me to create a vampire-inspired story with a character that broke stereotypes, so no seductive good looks and sparkling skin. In fact, vampire lore is left out of the book almost entirely. Instead, I focus on a disorder I learned about in my undergrad called Renfield syndrome or Clinical Vampirism, which involves an obsession with drinking blood. Although Renfield Syndrome is not acknowledged by the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), it’s an interesting disorder documented by psychologists for over a hundred years. 

The Other Inside is a horror story with elements of mystery and the tiniest bit of romance. My main goal was to keep readers guessing. Is Billie an actual vampire, or is he afflicted with this disorder? While writing, I also kept in mind that there is a large “vampire” community. People that engage in the vampire lifestyle are not synonymous with having Renfield Syndrome. As I say in my Note From the Author—this book is vampire friendly, and I have no intentions to offend. 

Good luck with that- I have found there’s always someone who will be miffed, but that’s half the fun. Who did you read that inspired you?

Well, as I mentioned before, my framework started with R. L. Stine and Stephen King. I’m not sure you’ll ever meet a horror author who doesn’t pay tribute to King. It’s almost a cliché at this point.

Other than those legends, I enjoy classics like Thomas Harris (he is a must-read), Robert Bloch, Jack Ketchum, Shirley Jackson, and Nathaniel Hawthorn. I also really like Grady Hendrix, Josh Malerman, Kealan Patrick Burke, Ania Ahlborn, Gillian Flynn, and Riley Sager for some fresher names. 

It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t give a shout out to the vampire man himself—Bram Stoker—whose novel Dracula I’ve read probably five times thanks to school. If it weren’t for him, I might never have thought up Billie. 

Shameless plug time. Where can people find out more about you?

The Other Inside and my debut novel Shattered can both be found on Amazon and Barnes&Noble.

Links to all my books and socials can be found on my website jmwhitefiction.com. 

While on my website, check out my blog, Thirst for Thrillers, where I pair books with cocktail recipes.  

Instagram is where I am most active thanks to the lovely people of the #bookstagram community. I always post book updates, sales, giveaways, and, of course, the results of my somewhat artistic book photoshoots. Follow me on IG @jmwhitefiction

Hey everyone, just a note that we are a month and a half from the launch of Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk. If you are a blogger or reviewer on Goodreads or anywhere else and want a review copy, drop a brother a line. Preorders for EBook and on Amazon and other places start in early October!

Fantasy and SciFi from Bangladesh- Saad Hossain

I love my Kindle. It allows me to consume books like jelly beans; the price is low and if I don’t enjoy it there’s another book waiting. An advantage of this is to try Urban Fantasy from unlikely sources. On the more well-known side, there’s Nigerian author Suyi Davies Okungbowa’s David Mogo, God Killer. It was great fun, but he’s been getting a lot of love in the press. One of the more pleasant surprises was an author from Bangladesh (and if you didn’t know they had sci-fi fans in Bangladesh you’re a stupid Westerner like me.)

Saad Hossain lives in Dhaka, and writes in English. His novel, The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday, leans on South Asian fantasy- Djinn (Genies to most of us) and Gurkhas (the fierce soldiers made famous during the British Colonial times) and yet has great science fiction elements. Killer AI, the city of Kathmandu, Nepal, is one of the last bastions of civilization after a worldwide disaster… there’s a lot going on. It was crazy, inspired, and completely unexpected. I needed to ask him a few questions…

Please introduce yourself to the readers, Saad.

I think I’m pretty much an accidental writer. I live in Bangladesh, I write in English, there’s a very small readership at home, and when I started out, no publishers who wanted English fiction. The odds of anyone outside Bangladesh wanting genre fiction from me was slim to none, so it really took a series of lucky breaks and accidents to even get published. I feel like I get to write with a lot of freedom because I have no target markets to deal with or any expectations. For example, my first novel was about two Iraqi black marketeers in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam, and my next one was about Djinns in modern-day Dhaka. Gurkha of course, is about djinns in the future. Other than writing I have a full-time job. I inherited a factory from my dad, so I basically manufacture yarn and export it to various places around the world. It’s not as fun as writing but it definitely pays the bills. 

I was taken by surprise by the book. You can probably describe what it’s about better than I can…

This story is about a djinn who wakes up and finds the world wholly different to how he left it. In a way, its like leaping from a fantasy setting to a science fiction one. I enjoyed writing this one. The djinn is bombastic, he talks a great game and he is in fact very powerful but he’s actually not ambitious at all and if left alone he would be quite satisfied eating, drinking and carousing somewhere. 

It’s the humans around him who goad him into action, forcing him to escalate the situation until he ends up changing the very nature of the City he’s trying to rule. This is part of the djinn universe I’m working on, so some of the characters are recurring from my earlier novel Djinn City, as well as the sequel to it which I am currently working on. 

What is it about that magic or the story that drew you to it?

I always start with a character first. I have no idea what kind of story it will turn out to be, I never outline, and I very consciously avoid thinking about the ending because I find that plotting out everything kills my motivation to actually write the damn thing. So for me, the first step is always the main character and the story sort of accretes around them. The Djinn’s nature, his predicament, his dire threats against everyone he comes across, his bewilderment that force alone is not enough to dominate his environment–all these things were interesting to me, and everything else just kind of fell into place. For example, it was natural for him to meet a Gurkha as he was coming down the mountain, but other than general background information on the legendary soldiers, I did not really have a role for in mind. It kind of developed organically, that the main story hinged on this old retired Gurkha eventually, that the human element of the story is what forced the djinn into taking part in life. 

Growing up in another part of the world, who are the authors that inspire you?

Neal Stephenson, the Baroque Cycle, as well as Snow Crash, pretty much everything he wrote.

William Gibson: I love the older stuff, Pattern Recognition is my favorite, but again, I’ll read anything by him.

Terry Prattchett: Love the guard sequence, but all of discworld is amazing. If i had to live in a fantasy world I’d take discworld.

Iain Banks: Culture series. Love the utopian thing, and the ship names.

I love rereading the Count of Monte Cristo every few years, and also Jane Austen. My favorite is Persuasion, but normally I’ll read Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Persuasion in a row. 

Where can we find you?

The easiest way is on Goodreads

And my Amazon Author Page

Not to crash the party, but Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk is coming in November. Order now by clicking here and going to Black Rose Writing. Use the promo code: PREORDER2020 to receive a 15% discount. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle and Audible coming in November. And look to the side of the page to sign up for my newsletter.

The Glass Star Trilogy with Elle Lewis

One of the great things about writing fantasy and horror is worldbuilding. Unlike historical fiction, where you need to be faithful to the 1920s or make the Crusades feel like the Crusades, when you’re creating a world, you make the rules. Whether it’s an almost-regular Chicago with some magical elements, like in the Johnny Lycan stories, or you’re starting almost from scratch, like this week’s author Elle Lewis.

Elle is a fellow Black Rose Writing Author, and the creator of The Glass Star trilogy, beginning with the first book, Dark Touch and the latest installment, Genesis Rising.

Okay, so let’s start at the beginning. What’s your story?

I am a nurse by profession, but my heart belongs to monsters and imagination. While I enjoy the medical field, my true passion lies in the literary world. I began reading SF/F at a young age and was utterly captivated. These days I try to balance my career and my passion, but it is extremely difficult. I always want to be writing or collaborating with other authors on projects. I would like to go back to school soon, to obtain my masters in English/Creative Writing, so that I can spend my days talking about books and helping others create stories. 

What is the Dark Touch and your trilogy about?

The Glass Star Trilogy takes place in an alternate reality, similar to ours but also vastly different. The nature of the Universe is based on original lore that I created for the series. Readers will be introduced to many sentient beings, all powerful and complex. The main character Sloan, crosses paths with one of them- Darrow, a Dark One. Her interaction with him sets off a catalyst of events of cosmic proportion. Sloan is drawn deeper into their world with each book. As the story progresses, she learns the significance of her own power and also her true role within the Universe. Each book is a fast-paced read. The series is filled with action, suspense, and a touch of romance. 

What is it about the magic and world you write about that appeals to you?

Despite the cosmic scale of the series, the roots of the story are very human and relatable. Sloan has a tangled past, one that is painful and complicated. She is a character that is strong yet vulnerable. So while these big events are happening around her, internally she is struggling. Healing. Growing. Her character arch is inspiring and remarkable. But that’s what draws us in to SF/F isn’t it? The characters. Watching their journey. Recognizing something in them that is in us. It’s that moment that gives you goosebumps, when a character you love is beaten down, pressed into the dirt, and all hope is lost.

But yet…their eyes raise, their chin lifts, and determination makes them get back up and continue fighting. That was my greatest goal with this story. To reach out to readers that have a similar past to Sloan. To encourage them and root for them, and whisper through the pages that they are not alone. Our future is not our past. And we can change our stars. 

Who are you reading, or have read that corrupted you and made you what you are?

Of course the fantasy greats- Tolkein and Lewis. Orson Scott Card is also an author I greatly admire- Ender’s Game is one of my all time favorite books. Simply phenomenal. I have discovered some really outstanding authors recently. First and foremost- Martha Wells, the author of the Murderbot series. WOW. I’m so in love with every book in this series. To me it is SF perfection.

I have also been branching out to Horror lately, and I adore Grady Hendrix. His book- The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is one of the best books I have read this year. I also LOVED Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I gushed over every single page of this book. It is so wonderfully gothic and the ending was excellent!  

Small world! I just finished Mexican Gothic this weekend. The first 2/3 was just another haunted house novel with some fun Mexican twists, but the last hundred pages kicked my butt. Where can people learn more about you and your work?

My books are available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Dark Touch is the first in the series. The second is Genesis Rising. The third-Warrior of The Stars-releases 12/30/20! If you would like to follow me on social media, my Facebook Author page is- Elle Lewis@glass.star.trilogy.

Twitter @Elle_Lewis2 

IG ElleLewis5. You can follow my author page on both Amazon and Goodreads by searching Elle Lewis. And also my blog authorellelewis.blogspot.com – I post a lot of short stories here as well as some fun author/reader interviews! 

Not to crash the party, but Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk is coming in November. Order now by clicking here and going to Black Rose Writing. Use the promo code: PREORDER2020 to receive a 15% discount. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle and Audible coming in November. And look to the side of the page to sign up for my newsletter.

An Intriguing Asian Dystopian Debut- Tomas Marcantonio

One of the best things about being a writer in these weird times is the chance to build an online network. I’ve connected with a lot of writers from all over the world, many of them connected to Storgy.com. The guys there have published a number of my stories, and I’ve had the chance to read great work from writers I would otherwise never have been introduced to.

So when Storgy decided to publish a novel, and it was written by Tomas Marcantonio, whose work I’ve admired for a while, I knew I had to read it. I wasn’t disappointed. Surprised, and absolutely delighted. It was a great find.

This Ragged, Wastrel Thing is as if Blade Runner met Frank Miller’s Sin City–it’s a cool, gritty, noir crime thriller set in a dystopian world set somewhere between Korea (where Tomas works teaching English) and Japan. Here’s my conversation with him:

Alright, tell us your deal.

A lot of my friends call me a caveman. I’m really not a technology person at all. I carry a phone around for emergencies, but I don’t even have a phone number. Maybe it’s an introvert thing; phones are so intrusive. I did a lot of traveling in my twenties – Africa, Asia, South America – and I always loved the freedom and anonymity of living without a phone.  

I still love to travel, but I’m a lot more settled now. I’ve been based in Busan for the best part of ten years. It’s one hell of a city – mountains, sandy beaches, neon mazes, incredible food, but I still visit the UK when I can. I’m still very close with my family and friends in Brighton, my hometown.  

Your novel, which smells like the first in a series, is unlike anything I’ve read before. What is it about?

This Ragged, Wastrel Thing is a bit of a mongrel, really. Put simply, it’s a mash-up of things I love: dystopian fiction and hard-boiled detective noir; Korea and Japan; neon-lit backstreets and basement bars; corruption and redemption; a future world without smart phones!  

It’s all set on a fictional island city called Sonaya, the history of which is based on a small island called Dokdo (or the Liancourt Rocks). The Sonayan government uses drones to watch over the population, and that’s bad news if you get caught up in a murder case as soon as you’re out of prison. Our protagonist, Dag, is in some ways a classic anti-hero, a loner saddled with regret.  

Where did the idea come from?

It all started with my first ever short story – It’s Not a Party Until Someone’s Dead. It was inspired by some of the policies and issues around Korea and Japan, especially the problem of aging populations. I did some research and came across some interesting ideas, including a handsome tax for overachieving men. I wanted to play with this idea and came up with the character of Dag, who has to deform himself to make his way in Sonaya.  

I made most of it up as I went along, it was so freeing, and Storgy agreed to publish it on their website and even encouraged me to write more. Eventually, I decided to turn it into a novel, and the Storgy team was incredibly helpful with ideas and pointers. They were with me from the start, really. Then I set about creating the world in much more detail, writing a history for the island, researching policies in the region, before delving into characters and plot. It was a blast to write.  

The guys at Storgy have created quite a tribe. What was it like publishing with them–this is their first novel?

I can’t say enough good things about the Storgy team. There are some wonderful literary journals and indie publishers out there these days, but Storgy has to be right up there in terms of love of the craft and support for the writing community. They genuinely care about their writers; I never thought when I submitted that first short story that I’d end up having such close relationships to the team (let alone get a novel published!).  

Ross Jeffery, Storgy’s Head of Books, is well known within the writing community now, not only as an avid book reviewer, but also as an excellent author in his own right (if you haven’t read his novella Juniper, or his novella-in-flash Tethered, you’re missing out!). Behind the scenes, Head of Film Anthony Self does amazing work with the short fiction submissions, while Managing Director Tomek Dzido has been a joy to work with. As head of publishing, and also as my editor, he’s been with me every step of the way and This Ragged, Wastrel Thing would be a poor specimen without him. People won’t see how much work these guys put into Storgy. It’s a real labour of love, and nothing short of inspiring.  

Who do you read?

I’ve been reading a lot of detective and noir books over the past few years. People will probably recognize flavours of Raymond Chandler in This Ragged, Wastrel Thing, but I’m also a huge fan of James Lee Burke, Dennis Lehane, Walter Mosley, Rachel Howzell Hall, and several others in this genre. I was always a big admirer of Hemmingway’s terse style, and I think you see shades of that in noir fiction. These writers are all capable of such vivid writing; even when the prose seems hard and simple, suddenly you get these stunning moments of beauty that leap off the page.  

In fact, I love evocative writing of any genre. Annie Proulx, Virginia Woolf, and Laurie Lee are three writers who always leave me spellbound no matter what they’re writing about. More recently, Water Shall Refuse Them by Lucie McKnight Hardy was a wonderful read – every sentence was perfection.  

Where can we find more about you and your work?

I recently set up my author website here: https://tommarcantonio.wixsite.com/author.

You can contact me on Twitter @TJMarcantonio, and you can check out some of the early reviews of This Ragged, Wastrel Thing here on Goodreads

Not to crash the party, but Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk is coming in November. Order now by clicking here and going to Black Rose Writing. Use the promo code: PREORDER2020 to receive a 15% discount. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle and Audible coming in November. And look to the side of the page to sign up for my newsletter.

In which the author pleads for bloggers, reviewers, and podcasters

Great oogly woogly, the publication date for Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk is only 3 months away. This means I’m in that horrible limbo between relief that the damned thing is finished, and awaiting its emergence into the world.

Because I want the book to hit the ground running, I’m beginning to line up reviewers, bloggers, and other folks who can help spread the (hopefully positive) word. One of the ways Amazon deems a book worthy of promotion is if there are a lot of reviews early on.

Unlike all my other books, I’ve hired a publicist to help with this process. The talented Stephanie Caruso at Paste Creative and Frolic Blog Tours is organizing the blog tour (sounds fancy, doesn’t it?)

Here’s what you need to know:

We have PDF copies of the book available right now

Epub and Mobi copies are available probably October 1

Paperback ARCs are available now in very limited supply. First choice will go to those with established blogs, reviewers for magazines and press, especially in the Urban Fantasy/Horror area, or who are prominent reviewers on Amazon or Goodreads.

Sign up to get your review copies and be part of the blog tour which will run Noveber 12-26th By clicking here and going to the Paste Creative site. Or just drop me a line and request a copy.

You can pre-order now by clicking here and going to Black Rose Writing. Use the promo code: PREORDER2020 to receive a 15% discount. The Paperback is available for pre-order at Amazon with Kindle and Audible coming in November. And look to the side of the page to sign up for my newsletter.

A Creepy New Tale About the Fountain of Youth- Maybe

A while back I really enjoyed a sort-of Urban Fantasy book called Markus, by an author I didn’t know, but share a publisher with. (Peace be upon Black Rose Writing.) I reached out to David Odle, and while nothing happened initially, he has a new book out and we arranged this interview. (Pro hint… if you want to get a response from an author, catch them in a pre-launch panic.)

This was a chance to talk to David about his newest effort, more of a horror/thriller thing called Kate’s Lake. Enjoy.

David, tell us about you.

Tell you about me? Whenever I’m asked this question, I always feel like there’s shockingly little to tell. Perhaps that’s why I write stories; to create fantastical characters who provide a vicarious escape into other worlds and interesting circumstances. But if it’s just me, my main love beyond family and friends (and craft beer), is simply a good story. Whether it’s a book, an article, a movie, or a TV show, a story well-told is what I find most satisfying.

I really enjoyed Markus, and was a bit surprised you shifted gears a bit. Tell me about Kate’s Lake.

I’m super-stoked about newest novel, Kate’s Lake, (released at the end of June)! I loved writing it and it may very well be the story that contains the most of my own personal characterization due to the military background of the character. The story is about a former Marine named Mick Smith, a recovering alcoholic and Iraqi combat veteran, who discovers what he believes may be the Fountain of Youth. While attending the funeral of an old friend, Mick’s dark past catches up with him as strange events spark a cascade of horrible circumstances that ultimately lead Mick to Kate’s Lake, where he discovers the horrific truth about its healing water.

You shifted away from Urban Fantasy a bit. I thought you’d be setting up a sequel to Markus, since the book ended as it did. What about this story attracted you?

Different than my debut novel, Markus, which is an Urban Fantasy, Kate’s Lake is a horror novel written in first person which allowed me to create Mick in my own image. The story is based loosely on one of my oldest friendships from the Marine Corps and was sparked one morning when I thought, what if I suddenly received a phone call that JT had died. Would I go to his funeral? And what if I decided to go and then learned that something strange was happening there. What if he wasn’t really dead? And the story began to unfold from there. I actually wrote the opening chapter several years before adding the story after it. 

The “what if” game has sent a lot of us in weird directions. It’s where Johnny Lycan came from after 3 historical novels. Who do you read?

My literary hero is Stephen King. I became hooked on books after reading Cujo when I was thirteen and from then on, I couldn’t get enough of Stephen King. I wanted to be just like him! But since then, I’ve grown more diverse and discovered a huge world of wonderful writers. Over the past year, I’ve really enjoyed Paul Tremblay, Alma Katsu, Brian Keene, Delia Owens, Pierce Brown, and Erik Larson (I love reading history). 

Besides ordering your books directly from Black Rose, where can people find your work and more about you?

Yes, I’m still learning to navigate this cyber-world, but I’m trying to establish multiple ways people can connect with me. Folks can find me at:

www.davidodle.com

Facebook – David Odle (@DavidOdleBooks)

Twitter – (@d.leroy1970)

Instagram – David Odle (@Odle.author)

Linkedin – David Odle

Not to crash the party, but Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk is coming in November. Order now by clicking here and going to Black Rose Writing. Use the promo code: PREORDER2020 to receive a 15% discount. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle and Audible coming in November. And look to the side of the page to sign up for my newsletter.

The Orc is the Hero? James Jakins

One of my favorite things is when history writers take a minor character and make them the hero… or a person usually thought of as the villain is the good guy. So I was really surprised and unexpectedly amused by James Jakins, “Jack Bloodfist: Fixer” in which an Orc plays a kind of PI.

I shouldn’t be that shocked, after all I’ve made a werewolf the hero of Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk, but this was the first time I’d read something where an Orc was ever anything but a snarling bad guy. So, here’s my chat with James Jakins.

James, what’s your deal?

I’m honestly just a giant nerd. I run a weekly game of Dungeons and Dragons(or whatever system we feel like) I play video games, and I try to read as many books as my schedule allows. And I take all that stuff I love and I try to use it to make fun books for other people to enjoy.

Tell us about your book. It smells like the first in a possible series, and it’s unique to be sure.

My novel, Jack Bloodfist: Fixer, is about an orc in a suit who likes to think of himself as a Fixer. He does his part to help his orc and goblin cousins integrate into human society in a small city in Virginia. But he finds himself in over his head when an old enemy of his family shows up seeking justice for past crimes with a whole army of paladins and his angry god along for the ride.

I love that the Orc is trying to hard to be a good guy. What about that whole fantasy trope intrigued you?

In a lot of ways this series is my love letter to tabletop roleplaying games. And that’s really the appeal for me. I enjoy playing with the tropes and taking familiar character types and shaping them into a new but still recognizable shape.

I’d originally set out to just write a more traditional thriller novel. It had been meant as a way to teach myself pacing and outlining. Not as something I planned on releasing. But as I worked on it the fantasy elements started creeping in. I’d also pitched another story idea to a writer friend of mine. A book that would feature goblins. He told me he only liked the idea if I actually made the goblins the heroes of the story. With that thought in my head this particular story started to morph until it was the orcs and goblins, and other traditionally “evil” characters that were the heroes, and the holy knights of a god of justice became the villains.

Yeah, and there’s a hot Kelpie in the mix, but I don’t want to give too much away. You don’t sound like most UF writers. Who inspired you? Who do you read that others might need to know about?

This is a very long list… But to name a few: Michael McClung, Robert Jackson Bennett, Josiah Bancroft, RJ Barker, Rachel Aaron, Robert Jordan, and on and on. I have found as I get older I’m actually more inclined to venture out of my comfort zone, so I’m hoping soon that list can include more than just fantasy authors. Recommendations are always welcome.

Where can we learn more about Jack the Fixer and some of your other work?

I’m not very active on social media, but you can find my books on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14441255.James_Jakins,

Amazon: amazon.com/author/jamesjakins,

Or you can sign up for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bHromb,

And there’s also my rarely updated blog: jamesjakins.com

Not to crash James’ party, but Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk is coming in November. Order now by clicking here and going to Black Rose Writing. Use the promo code: PREORDER2020 to receive a 15% discount. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle and Audible coming in November. And look to the side of the page to sign up for my newsletter.

A New Short Story: The Cutman and Why I Write About Boxing So Much

Today a new short story of mine was published at Storgy.com. The Cutman is the tale of a guy whose job is to put people together so they can be torn apart properly.

Yes, it’s another boxing story. It’s the third I’ve had published, after Bayamon, 1978 and The Towel. Fourth, if you include Los Angeles, 1952, a 2-part story about a date that takes place at a boxing match. What’s up with all the boxing love?

On one level, it’s simple: I love the sport. My grandfather was a silver medalist in the Canadian Golden Gloves, and fought half a dozen pro fights. My dad and I used to watch together, and he taught me to appreciate the lighter weight classes, as you’d expect from a guy who never really got past bantamweight himself.

A friend of mine once asked, “why do you like boxing so much? Your stories make it sound like it’s all blood and racism and toxic masculinity.” To which the correct answer is; “what’s your point?” If you’re looking for drama and high stakes, it’s a perfect crucible.

Me with former Super Featherweight champ Cornelius Boza Edwards

But there’s a more”writerly” answer. Each of my short stories is a writing exercise of a kind. Can I capture this moment, or this kind of action, or compress this scene into a specific period of time? Boxing is perfect for these little word experiments. Each round is exactly 3 minutes. You can compress a lot of action into that time period. There are a finite number of characters, which for short stories is great.

You’ll find choreographing the fight scenes has benefitted both Acre’s Orphans, and my upcoming novel, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk. Practice makes…. well, better.

I hope you enjoy The Cutman. I am proud of it. Of course, you can find my other short stories here on my site, if you haven’t discovered them already.

Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk is coming in November. Order now by clicking here and going to Black Rose Writing. Use the promo code: PREORDER2020 to receive a 15% discount. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle and Audible coming in November.