Team Writing, Series, and Furious Claws with Ben Zackheim

One of the trends in e-books, especially Urban Fantasy, are series that are co-written with others. That’s how some of these folks crank out multiple books in a year, as opposed to some of us (ahem) who are trailing on book two. John P Logsdon (who you met a couple of weeks ago) is one such practitioner, Michael Anderle is another.

Apparently, I’m the only UF writer still doing it solo these days.

Donald has paired up with someone who also writes books on his own, Ben Zackheim. I came across him and his RELIC series a while back. His latest book is with Logsdon; Furious Claws.

Ben, what’s your deal?

I’m a recovering author whose recovery isn’t going too well, so I still write. A lot.

Well, a lot as far as I’m concerned. 

As far as my peers are concerned, I’m slow as hell. 

I write in the Urban Fantasy genre, which has readers who ask a lot of authors, including daily book launches of new 300 pagers. I got into the business of telling stories after leaving a koosh corporate job. It was 2011, around the time the Apple App Store was really taking off. I noticed small devs selling their $1 games and thought, “I wonder if this Kindle thing could be the same kind of opportunity for writers.” I did some research and found that, indeed, Kindle authors could do very well. So the first chance I got, I quit the job. Would I do it again? Hell no. Not without some more planning. It’s a tough biz with huge ups and downs. Writing full-time actually means marketing full-time, and writing when you get the chance. It may sound like I’m complaining, but I love it. 

I hear ya. I like the marketing but it’s for smarter brains than mine apparently. I originally reach out about the Relic series and was surprised to find you working with John P Logsdon. What’s Furious Claws all about?

My latest book is Wild Claws, book 5 in a series I’m writing with John. P. Logsdon. It’s part of the Paranormal Police Department series, which includes other authors like Orlando A. Sanchez. It’s been a blast to write. This will be the last book in the story, so it’s a bit bittersweet. I’ll move on to my own series next, which is the RELIC series of Supernatural Thrillers. That series is up to book 9, with a planned 10. I don’t think I’ll be able to stop there, though, because I love the two main characters so much. Kane and Rebel are a motley duo. He’s a sharp-shooting relic hunter who is charged with tracking down supernatural treasures before the vampires do. Rebel is Kane’s partner. She’s a Magicist who provides the spells and the sass. 

They are a great pair. What is it about the magic or style of story that drew you to RELIC?

The magic in RELIC is part of the plot. What I mean by that is magic is being defined a bit more in each book. It’s a risk, of course, because sticking to the rules of magic is a big part of making a story read well. But I wanted the main adventure to include revelations about how magic works. This has led to some plot twists that were tough to write because they broke the rules of magic as I’d established them. But I think the payoff will be worth it. We’ll see within two books! RELIC includes humans, supernatural beings like vampires, Magicists (my word for beings with magic abilities) and gods. The way magic is used and impacts each of these parties will play a big part in the finale. I have strong feelings and philosophies about magic. RELIC is my attempt to suss that out in a fantasy setting. I plan to write a sci-fi series that tackles magic from a different pov. It’s an obsession of mine, frankly.

Who did this to you? What have you read and who do you read for pleasure?

I consumed everything with Stephen King’s name on it when I was younger. He showed me I could play around with the language more than my teachers were telling me I could. His strong characters and moments of horror really resonated with me. There was a hot steam to his stories that made me uncomfortable, but entertained me, and stuck with me for a long time after I closed the book. These days I’m reading a lot of books by people in my genre. Hunter Blaine, Kimbra Swain, Orlando A. Sanchez. These authors are such gems. I love being in on the ground floor of careers that are going to go BOOM. I’m also waiting for Patrick Rothfuss to drop a story bomb on us. C’mon Patrick! 

Well, if you’re bored I have a book for ya. How can people learn more about your work?

You can find me at benzackheim.com and on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6434226.Ben_Zackheim

My Amazon Profile is here https://www.amazon.com/Ben-Zackheim/e/B0087OYFVG

You can also follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/benjaminzackheim/

Furious Claws (Book 4 of the New York Paranormal Police Department) can be found here 

Relic: Spear (book 8 in the RELIC series) can be found here 

Not to be THAT GUY, but if you are interested in the debut of an Urban Fantasy Series full of violence and snark similar to the Paranormal Police Department books, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk fits the bill. “Like Dresden Files with teeth,” they say…

Send in Your Johnny Lycan #Bookselfie and Win

If you’ve bought your copy of Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk since pub date, you’re probably in the middle of it now. Send me a selfie with the book (or your Kindle, I trust you!) and you might win one of 3 “Don’t let Shaggy run the show…” coffee mugs.

Adam Larson and Astrid are reading in Minneapolis

Of course, you can always send a pic AND leave a review as well, like Ariana in Las Vegas did…

The deadline to enter is December 11th. Don’t delay.

You can order it anywhere books are sold online, but here’s the purchase link to Amazon and to Black Rose Writing.

If you want a SIGNED copy of Johnny Lycan, drop me an email and we’ll hook you up.

Las Vegas Paranormal Police with John P Logsdon

Before I wrote a word of Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk, I was a fan of Urban Fantasy. My favorites included silly humor as well as genuine thrilling action. So when I found the Las Vegas Paranormal Police Department series, I was hooked. Besides sharing a sensibility with my newborn book, I am in awe at the marketing community John P Logsdon has created. It’s a master class for writers in the field. All I need now are 10 more Johnny Lycan stories and it will all be fine.

To celebrate the final episode in the LVPP series, I got to fan-boy and talk to John. This is a long interview but worth the read.

Okay, let’s start with the basics. What’s your deal?

Oh boy. Well, I guess I’m kind of what you’d call a renaissance person. I’m an author, entrepreneur, programmer, game designer/developer, musician…basically, I can’t seem to sit still for more than five minutes without going insane. My wife simply loves the fact that I have this many hobbies. It’s great for the pocketbook. ::cough::

The way I see it is that we’ve only got one trip through this thing called life, so why not do as much as possible during the ride?

Still, of all those things, writing is the one that sits at the core. The characters living in my head all want their stories to be told. That makes writing so much fun for me because it feels like I’m just a conduit for typing their words. Now, anyone who has read my stuff probably feels bad for me, seeing that I’ve seemingly been gifted with a bunch of characters who have their minds perpetually in the gutter, but I love it! It’s how I tick, and it’s how all my steady fans tick as well.

Some of those fans hide in the closet, secretly chuckling, but I tell them to not be ashamed! Nobody should be. If you giggle when you hear the number 69 get called out at the donut shop, be proud! It’s funny! And if you do find yourself find laughs in the silly or downright naughty, you are one of us. Become part of my Dysfunctional Family, put on your Homer Simpson slippers, and join us in relishing the ridiculous in life. It’s much more fun than focusing on the crap…unless that’s in the form of a bird crapping on someone’s head, which is hilarious (assuming it’s not happening to you, of course).

I admit when I switched from historical fiction to UF, I was a bit embarassed so thanks for letting me know there are others out there like me. For the uninitiated, tell us about Las Vegas Paranormal Police Department. (And since I live in Vegas you’re not far off the mark from the real thing here.)

This is the wrap-up book for the Las Vegas Paranormal Police Department mini-trilogy. It’s actually book number ten, but it’s the epic conclusion of Ian’s battle with his sister, Wynn.  It’s available for Pre-Order October 29th.

I’ve brought in major players from other PPD precincts to help with the show down. We’ve got Zeke Phoenix and his crew from the Badlands PPD, Piper & Payne from the Netherworld PPD, and Evangeline and the gang from Sinister.

So it’ll be one big mama of a war!

Since I get asked this all the time, it’s your turn: where did THAT come from?

Honestly, I’d never even considered writing urban fantasy before. I’d been doing some mentoring work with a few authors who happened to be all about UF. They were ramping up and doing really well, and they kept pushing me to try my hand at the genre.

I gave it a shot, but after seventeen iterations of Ian Dex, I just didn’t like it. Note, it wasn’t seventeen full books, just some super short stories that were used to give me the feel of things.

I was just about to give up when one of the gang said I should just bring my normal crazy comedy feel to the series and just have fun with it.

So, I did.

The series took off like gangbusters, which honestly shocked the hell out of me. Since then, there have been nearly fifty books written in the Paranormal Police Department, including books by some great authors in the UF space.

The root of the character came from the fact that I was allowed to just play and not worry about “doing the genre perfectly.” I knew I couldn’t do that, so instead of just picking a vampire or an immortal or whatever, I decided to create a character (Ian Dex) who had all of the genetic pieces from the various supernatural races.

Doing that gave me the freedom I needed to get my feet wet in the genre. I got to experience different aspects of his makeup across a bunch of supernatural backdrops. It gave me a canvas that was incredibly free to paint on.

Who did this to you? Who do you read that inspired this madness?

Everything started with Isaac Asimov for me. The book cover for Robots of Dawn drew me in instantly and I devoured everything by Asimov at that point, along with tons of other s.f. writers…a massively notable nod going to Douglas Adams. 

I didn’t really move into fantasy until reading the Myth Adventures series by Robert Asprin, though. It was fun and full of laughs. From there, I got my hands on a bunch of different comedy authors, including John DeChance, Harry Harrison, and John C. Moore. Surprisingly, I didn’t find Terry Pratchett until I’d already written one and half books in my Ononokin series. A lot of people assume Sir Terry was the influence for that series. He wasn’t, though. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore Discworld (why can’t there be another 500 of them to read?!?!?), I’d just not read any of them until well after Ononokin was underway.

Another author who majorly influenced me was Steven Erikson. His Malazan series taught me that multiple character POVs was not only awesome, it was also incredibly fun. I use that style all over my writing because it’s freeing and I totally love writing that way. You won’t see it in the early Vegas, Netherworld, or Shadow PPD books, but it’s in the latest three Vegas books and Sinister, and I’ve even gotten a few of my co-authors on the bandwagon with their PPD precincts as well. Honestly, though, it’s not really book authors who are my major influencers. My actual muse comes from TV shows and movies. Favorites include a mixture of TV and movies, such as Benny Hill, Monty Python, Airplane!, Naked Gun, Loaded Weapon, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Archer, and so on and so forth. Those are the true foundation of my nutty brand of humor.

I suspect that, like me, Mad Magazine may have contributed, too. Your marketing is amazing and you’ve created a real community I can only aspire to with what I’m jokingly calling The Johnnyverse. Where can people see what I’m talking about?

Here are all the spots you can find me:

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/John-P.-Logsdon/e/B00EWNWLSK

Audiblehttps://www.audible.com/search?keywords=john+p+logsdon

I have my Dysfunctional Family group on Facebook here, for those of you who want to really belong to something that fits who you are (even if you remain in your juvenile-minded-humor closet).

Facebook Dysfunctional Family Grouphttps://www.facebook.com/groups/john.p.logsdon.books/

And if you head over to my website, you can sign up for my newsletter and get a bunch of freebies. Plus, you can also join my community, which is via an old-style message board system that’s got a bunch of nifty bells & whistles, including realtime chat!

Look, I’m not ashamed to ride coattails here. If you enjoy John’s work, may I humbly suggest Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk. Werewolves, haunted relics, and silly jokes. Preorders available now, it comes into the world November 19.

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.

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.

Johnny Lycan is Available for Pre-Order

‘Utterly original, beguiling in every sense of the word and as funny as hell – Turmel’s wit and visionary prowess is a force to be reckoned with; not since American Werewolf In London has the werewolf genre had it so good!’

Ross Jeffery – author of Juniper & Tethered

I’m very pleased that my new novel, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk, is now available for pre-order through my publisher, Black Rose Writing.

It starts like nothing you’ve ever read from me, and I’m betting you’ll enjoy it:

“The Russian tasted like borscht and cheap cigarettes. Well, his blood did. It’s not like I actually ate him—I wasn’t that far gone. But with that much blood flying around, some of it got into my mouth, and as nasty as it tasted, I licked my lips and felt it fuel my anger.”

Official publication date is November 19, but you can order your paperback copy 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.