A Villainous Anthology CL Cannon

One thing I have learned about the Urban Fantasy genre is that it is incredibly generous. There are a number of folks I’ve crossed paths with and they all seem to support each other (or at least aren’t intentionally vicious.) One such person is C L (Courtney) Cannon.

We have done a few #goindienow videos like this one. She was talking about a new anthology she’s edited and published, Once Upon a Wicked Heart. It sounded like so much fun I figured I’d share it with you.

Courtney, tell us about you.

Hello, I’m C.L. Cannon, aka Courtney Cannon. I am an author, publisher, editor, formatter, graphic designer, and lots of other occupations with the -er sound at the end of it. I’m basically a huge dork that enjoys reading and fandom. I’m a meme hoarder, and I communicate best via GIF! I write Fantasy and Science Fiction, and I really enjoy adding themes of love and friendship to those genres. 

Once Upon a Wicked Heart sounds like a blast. What’s the theme of the book and what can we expect?

Our anthology is all about the villains! The collection includes dark fantasy retellings and origin stories of villains from fairy tales and myths. There are some truly gifted authors in this book, and I feel privileged to be able to publish them! 

Here are some short descriptions of each story:
‣ a Faerie queen with a score to settle
‣ a jilted goddess who starts a bloody war
‣ a heart of ice that will either thaw or shatter
‣ a cursed maiden who finds worth in her affliction
‣ a serial killer who might have just met her match
‣ a nymph who seems to have found true love at last
‣ a mechanical heart that could be a young woman’s undoing
‣ a sister who seeks vengeance against those who wronged her
‣ a betrayed witch who vows retribution for the slights against her
‣ a mistreated queen will take her rightful place, no matter the cost
‣ a sea witch who learns that love cannot be so easily manipulated
‣ a god who takes back what was stolen from him in a gruesome fashion

What is it about villains and fairy tales that intrigues you so much?

I’ve always been a huge fan of fractured fairy tales, particularly tales told from the antagonist’s point of view. I love exploring the why of every character I write. What made them the way they are? What events molded this being into its current form? That is fascinating to me. Probably also the reason that one of my guilty pleasures is watching trashy reality tv! I love analyzing what makes people tick!

A collection of twisted fairy tales from the Villain’s perspective.

Who do you read?

I am a bit of an eclectic reader, so keep that in mind! I love J.R.R. Tolkien, Jane Austen, Sabaa Tahir, Leigh Bardugo, V.E. Schwab, Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Casey L. Bond, James Lovegrove, Neal Shusterman, Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, and so many more! 

If people are interested in learning more about you and all the cool stuff you have going on, where can they find you?

Not to hijack Courney’s time, but we’re less than a month from the launch of Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker, book 2 of the Werewolf PI series. While you’re ordering Once Upon a Wicked Heart, preorder your next favorite read.

The Redneck Wizard with Bob McGough

Indie writers are a tough breed, and the best and smartest know how to help each other. That’s how groups like #goindienow come together: authors banding together so they don’t all starve separately. Lately, I’ve been asked to play in the sandbox (you can watch the interview here.) with some of them like Madilynn Dale and today’s guest, Bob McGough.

Bob is the author of the Jubal County urban fantasy saga that stars a meth-addicted redneck wizard. Makes me wonder if Howard Marsh and Johnny would get along or just try to kill each other… but I digress. Here’s my conversation with Bob McGough.

Bob, here we go. Tell us about yourself.

I’m Bob McGough, an author born in the backwoods of Alabama. I trekked out from the wilds to get a couple of perfectly useless degrees, then decided to become a writer, because I must  enjoy poverty. I’ve lived a pretty wild and varied life, but balance that by being a boring technical writer by day.  I do a lot of other projects beyond writing however, from podcasting and indie ttrpg game design to short filmmaking and running an arts supporting non-profit, because I like to compensate for my lack of money with lack of sleep!

What should new readers know about your work, man?

My main series is the Jubal County Saga, which is about a redneck wizard with a crippling meth addiction solving backwoods occult mysteries. The main character, Howard Marsh, is this thoroughly inept wizard who does everything he can to avoid honest work, instead opting to support his lifestyle by water witching and stealing copper from air conditioners. But along the way, you start to get hints that under his prickly, thieving exterior is the core of a good man who’s simply forgotten that fact. Each book is actually made up of two self-contained novellas, each tackling a different bizarre mystery, though the scale tends to be fairly small. Marsh is not the man you call in when lives are on the line, or the world needs saving.

Where the great oogly-woogly did the idea come from?

The genesis of Howard Marsh and the world of Jubal County is heavily based on the people and places I grew up around. The deep south has this stereotype of genteel life I think, but for those of us who live here, we know that there is a lot of dirt under the fingernails, and a lot of abject weirdness if you know where to look. I like to play with expectations where I can, showing that the south isn’t this monolithic culture of evangelical white conservatives by any stretch. There are people here from all walks of life and political leanings, and I want to showcase that. My focus though tends to be on the forgotten people, the outsiders living on the edges of society, for whatever reason. 

As for the magic, it’s a mix of folk legends, spell jar hoodoo, and a lot of mythology, usually celtic. I based Jubal County on an area that has a large scots-irish immigrant heritage, and I play with the idea that the ancestral memories sort of inform the mystical, hidden world that Marsh finds himself having to handle. One of my degrees is in Anthropology, and that has informed a lot of my interests over the years. In college I used to take people on what were essentially ghost tours (even though I wouldn’t consider myself a believer), and on one of those treks I stumbled on a spell jar in a graveyard. Finding it, which spurred a lot of research on my part, was really the first step on what would eventually become the magic of Jubal County.

Who did this to you? Who do you read that influences your work?

My favorite author is Glen Cook, especially his Black Company series, which to this day is still my favorite fantasy series. In the Urban Fantasy space I enjoy a good number of my indie/small press peers, like Ben Meeks, Alexander Nader, VK Fox, John Hartness, and Bobby Nash. I also read a ton of horror, with Paul Tremblay and Adam Neville being some of my more recent favorites. I think Frank Herbert’s Dune is the best sci-fi novel ever written. A couple of small presses everyone should check out are Crone Girls Press and Falstaff Books.

Where can people learn more about your books, games and all the wonder that is you?

The one-stop shop for all things Bob related is my website: talesbybob.com. On Goodreads and Amazon, a search of Bob McGough will guide you to me and my works. And finally, I am on all the major social media platforms and Patreon as talesbybob. I love to hear from folks, especially other authors, or people working to become one, so feel free to reach out on the contact form on my site.

Not to hijack Bob’s time, but we’re less than a month from the launch of Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker, book 2 of the Werewolf PI series. While you’re ordering the Jubal County Saga, preorder your next favorite read.

So, yeah. Instagram

There are parts of social media I enjoy. Finding out what my writer friends are up to, meeting readers, learning stuff. It also sucks out part of my soul every time I tweetfacelinkblog something in hopes of getting attention for my work. I have basically kept it to Twitter and Facebook, and my work-related stuff like The Long-Distance Leader stays on LinkedIn.

All of this is to say that with the future of Twitter as a platform so uncertain, I need something else. Thus, I am now on Instagram.

If you’re there, I hope you’ll follow me and teach me by example, because I. Have.No. Idea. How. To. Use. It. or how to make it work as an author.

Join me on Instagram, Wayne Turmel Author

So, go ahead and follow me here https://www.instagram.com/turmel.wayne/ interact, comment, share and give me suggestions on what you’d like to see. I don’t want it to be a constant barrage of “buy my book,” but I’m there so someone will, you know, buy my book.

This is especially important since the official publication date for Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker is a month away. December 8 is the official birthday of the second book in the Werewolf PI series. Preorder now and please be prepared to review as soon as you read it.

Thanks…. now back to our regular foolishness.

A World War 2 Spy Thriller with Flowers

I’m a sucker for a good spy thriller, and the Second World War has no shortage of opportunities for espionage, thrills and great stories. But how many heroines of those stories double as both spy and professor of botany? I’ll wait, because there’s only one I know of. My fellow Black Rose Writing author, Karen K Brees, tells this story in her new novel, Crosswind.

Karen, what’s your story?

I’ve lived long enough, seen enough, and done enough, that I’ll never run out of ideas for books. I’ve been a librarian on a bookmobile, a cattle rancher, a goat herder, a reluctant boater, a Harley biker babe ), and an enthusiastic, if clumsy, horsewoman.  I knit well and hand quilt. To paraphrase Michael Travolta in Michael, “I listen. And I take copious notes.” I love history and especially love writing historical fiction. I can use the past as a framework and create a world that never was or might have been.

What’s Crosswind about?

Crosswind: The WWII Adventures of MI6 Agent Katrin Nissen is, at its roots, a story of the Nazi fascination with native plants that became their rationale for attempting to obliterate everyone and everything that didn’t fit their definition of “native.” The plot, of course, revolves around the search for a missing MI6 agent and the microfilm he possesses. The MI6 agent sent to find him and retrieve the microfilm is Yale Professor of Botany, Katrin Nissen. It flows from there, as she steps up to the plate to wage her own war against the Nazi agenda.

Where’d the story–and maybe more importantly, Karin, come from?

Strong female characters with a dry sense of humor have always appealed to me. Katrin is one of those women. She knows who she is and she does her job. Does it quite well, actually. But she always finds herself in some form of danger that requires her to use all her wits to escape.

Putting Katrin in a WWII setting just seemed natural. It was a time when ordinary people did extraordinary things to conquer pure (or impure) evil. Right and wrong were clearly delineated, and the fate of humanity hung in the balance. My WWII fiction tells the stories of these people. They’re composites, but they’re drawn from real life.

Totally unfair question, but what’s your favorite scene in the book?

My favorite scene, without giving away too much, is the night at the Blue Danube, a Bohemian bar, where Katrin meets two young women who have been targeted by the Nazis. What Katrin does at that meeting is pivotal to the outcome of the story.

I liked that scene a lot. Where can people learn more about you and your work?

Crosswind  is my latest book. I’ve written several others both fiction and nonfiction. My website is www.karenkbrees.com. I’m on FB and Goodreads as Karen K. Brees.

You can find me at Black Rose Writing (FWIW you can find me there too! )

and on Amazon

The Second Book in the Werewolf PI series, Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker is out December 8. Preorder now from my publisher, Black Rose Writing, and save 15% with the code PREORDER22. You can also preorder it on Amazon

You can also join my new Facebook Author Page for constant updates and chances to win prizes.

Of course, if you haven’t yet read Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk, what’s keeping you? You can get it in Kindle or Paperback.

CT Phipps and Dropout Nerds in Space

If you’ve read Johnny Lycan, you know that I”m a sucker for genre stuff that understands it’s genre stuff. I first came across Charles Phipps’ work through his Supervillainy Saga. It’s a hilarious but affectionate look at all the Superhero tropes we love, and also know are just damned silly. With his new series, Space Academy Dropouts, he does the same to Science Fiction. Here’s my interview with him.

So who are you and why do we care?

When the churning black ooze of the primordial soup created the enzymes that would evolve life on Earth, I was already old. Eventually, I became trapped in a human host when my cult failed the proper summoning ritual. So I am pretending to be a chubby geek from Ashland, Ky in the meantime. I own two dogs, am married, and am the world’s biggest fan of both Star Wars and Star Trek. I have multiple science fiction and fantasy series. I also review books at Booknest.EU, Grimdark Magazine, The United Federation of Charles, and the Before We Go Blog. Whoo!

What’s the book about?

Space Academy Dropouts is a delightful homage to all the sci-fi influences of my life from Star Trek to Star Wars to Mass Effect and Halo with a side order of Mel Brooks on the side. Vance Turbo, HERO OF SPACE is initially kicked out of Space Academy when he’s dragooned into a secret mission for the Interstellar Community’s security service. Unfortunately, it’s to serve as a decoy along with the worst crew in the galaxy. Events conspire to force poor Vance into doing what needs to be done even if he has to be dragged kicking and screaming to do it.

What is it about Vance that appealed to you?

Vance Turbo is my attempt to do Captain Kirk if he had the personality of William Shatner. No, just kidding. No, that’s Zapp Brannigan Poor Vance is a genius at what he does but what he does isn’t very smart. No, that’s Wolverine. Well, he’s a guy who would be a massive science fiction nerd in our world but lives in a science fiction universe so he has some advantage over his fellow cadets even though he really shouldn’t. He’s a snarky wiseass of the Harry Dresden vein but also a lot more idealistic than he lets on (or even admits to himself).

All books like this start with loving the genre, I know mine did. What are the roots of this particular story?

As mentioned, I’m a huge science fiction nerd and I feel like it’s always fun to take something familiar and put your own spin on it. In this case, I really enjoy the idea of a Deep Space Nine-esque take on a utopian scifi future. Yes, the Community is a great place to be and a massive improvement over the current world. However, you have to wonder what sort of challenges a place like the United Federation of Planets faces as well as what needs to be done to maintain such a place. Getting into that while doing all my comedy and twists was a lot of fun.

You are really active in the Urban Fantasy and Sci-fi communities. Who did this to you? Who are the authors you really enjoy?

I am a huge fan of Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, and other urban fantasy authors. For my space opera fandom, I’m a huge Jack Campbell fan and David Weber. I’m also a reader of both the Star Trek and Star Wars Expanded Universes. If I was going to recommend any indie authors, I’d recommend M.L. Spencer, Glynn Stewart, Rick Gualtieri, and Drew Hayes.

Where can we learn more about you and your work?

Goodreads:

My Amazon Author Page:

Twitter: @CT_Phipps

Facebook Fan Club:

Website: https://ctphipps.com/

The Second Book in the Werewolf PI series, Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker is out December 8. Preorder now from my publisher, Black Rose Writing, and save 15% with the code PREORDER22.

You can also join my new Facebook Author Page for constant updates and chances to win prizes.

Of course if you haven’t yet read Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk, what’s keeping you. You can get it in Kindle or Paperback.

An Update on Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker

Hey all. Just an update on the second book in my “Werewolf PI” series.

Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker will be out on December 8. We are mere weeks from a sneak peek at the cover, but I was editing it for publication today and came across one of my favorite bits:

“Yeah, sorry. But what is that thing?”

She looked and shrugged. “It’s a Chupacabra.”

“But aren’t they-” I swallowed the sentence. I was a werewolf standing in a room ninety miles from his body, holding hands with a witch. The “those-aren’t-real” ship had sailed.…

Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker

Yup, our boy is off to Las Vegas. You’ll find more laughs, gasps, and urban fantasy adventure coming December 8 from Black Rose Writing.

Blurb Begging and Advance Word for Johnny Lycan & the Vegas Berserker

One of the more humbling parts of the publishing process is where I find myself today: seeking those illusive “blurbs” for the cover. You know what I’m talking about: “I laughed, I cried, it was better than Wicked…” some author slightly better known than the author of the book you’re looking at.

Basically you’re creating the illusion of brilliance by association.

For the uninitiated, this is how it works. You think of someone who meets your criteria: They have to be someone you think will like the book. They have to be willing to read your imperfect baby even though it’s not formatted or finally proofed yet. Ideally, they are a known quantity so that the audience will say, “Hey, I’m a fan of John Wing, (or Sarah Tasz or Gemma Clatworthy or whoever) and if he/she liked it, I will too.”

I have been blessed to have an ever-expanding network of writers whose work I enjoy and have shared with you here. That’s where I went first.

Well, as I wait for the cover of the latest book, I have been sending out copies of Johnny Lycan & the Vegas Berserker and holding my breath. The results are trickling in and I’m happy to report people really enjoy it.

The first book in the Johnny Lycan, Werewolf PI series. Book 2 is out December 8, 2022

“Compelling characters, fast-paced action, magic crystals, and a berserker. It’s Johnny Lupul in Vegas baby!  As always, Wayne Turmel has created a compulsively readable action-packed story with a unique take on the werewolf mythos. An enjoyable read and I can’t wait for the next installment!” G Clatworthy, author of the Rise of the Dragons series

“Johnny Lycan and the Las Vegas Berserker is a riveting Sin City romp like I’ve never seen before. Aliens, covens, and magic of all stripes rocket across every page, with the reader (and sometimes Johnny too) holding on for dear life. Harry Dresden better watch his back–Johnny Lycan is the snarky, shapeshifting badass you’ve been waiting for.”S.G. Tasz, author of the Dead Mall series

“Get a flashlight, because you’ll be reading The Vegas Berserker well into the night. Johnny’s world is full of mischief, mayhem, and magic—excuse me, magick—and I can’t wait to read more.” —Luke Swanson, author of Spectators of War and The Other Hamlet Brother

“The stakes are high — life and death high — as werewolf private detective Johnny Lupul goes to Las Vegas to take custody of a mysterious ancient artifact. It’s a full moon, and the fur is about to fly!”  Jill Hand, author of the Trapnell Thrillers, White Oaks and Black Willows

“I loved this book. A rollicking, clever ride with a story so good you forget it’s a genre novel. If Jack Reacher was a werewolf, he’d be Johnny Lycan.”John Wing Jr, Comedian and author of A Car to Die For.

Can’t wait to see how these look on a cover. Hell, can’t wait to see the cover. Meanwhile, if you haven’t read Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk, what the #@$%@#$% are you waiting for?

Witches and Villains with Isra Sravenheart

I believe one of the most important concepts in writing fiction is that the success of a story depends on the villain. Johnny Lycan would be a weird little adventure story without Kozlov. But good antagonists have a reason for being all villain-y. Some writers dig deep into that.

Enter Isra Sravenheart. Her books are full of witches, demons, warlocks, and others who have perfectly good reasons for doing what they do. I recently met her in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi Focus Facebook group. We also appeared on the same YouTube interview with Opus Knight recently.

Isra, tell us about yourself.

Hi. I am Isra Sravenheart, a USA Today and Amazon Bestselling author. I first found success with my book Her Dark Soul in 2017 which is book 1 in my Dark Spell series. Of which I am currently promoting the boxed set of 1-4 in the series. I am very much an introvert at heart living with my four cats who are sassy as they deem themselves to be. I’m also an avid binge-watcher of fantasy and paranormal shows such as Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, Buffy Angel. I also am releasing my first PNR book this May “Forbidden Rendezvous with the Devil” an interesting tale about young lone witch Sabine who has faced a break-up and now founds herself entangled with two vampires.

There’s a lot going on there. Tell me about your series.

Dark Spell series is a dark fantasy series featuring witches and warlocks. It’s an epic vivid world that I created with angels, demons, unicorns, dragons, light-bringers and I mainly focus on the aspect of villains and their POV. It spans eight books and mainly follows Isra and Astrid in their journey however things are not as clear cut as they seem. Don’t judge someone because nothing is what it seems. The good guys might look cute on the outset but they have their own tale of darkness to tell.

It has been compared to Grimms and Disney by many of its readers however it has a dark tone and focuses on aspects such as betrayal, forbidden love, unrequited love and dealing with one’s own personal demons (darkness.)

What are the roots of the story? Where does all this come from?

I love exploring a villain’s POV and while we’re not justifying what they did and we know it’s bad, we can understand the root of the character so at least their actions become understandable, Not everyone is born bad. There has to be a good reason. What makes people tick? I look at the ins and outs of the whole emotionally dragged-out mess, whilst not condemning them for it because everyone has their own reasons for being a certain way. It’s been a fun series to write and I love how there has been such a wide range of characters and eccentric personalities. My fave characters to write are Astrid and Samuel the light-bringer. He is off his rocker, to quote my editor Jody Freeman. 

Who hurt you like this? Who are the authors who influenced you?

Neil Gaiman. Gregory Maguire, L Frank Baum, Phillip Pullman. lots of dark fantasy vibes here. That;s kinda my jam and read most of these when I was young especially the oz and Wicked series. 

Where can we learn more about you and your books?

Goodreads, Amazon links, twitter, Facebook author page, website etc. Everything is nicely situated on my linktree including the boxed set review copies pinned to top, boxed set 1-4 buy page and my reader magnet for dark spell series https://linktr.ee/israsravenheart

The second book in the Johnny Lycan series is coming out on December 8. Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker, will be coming from Black Rose Writing. If you want to be the first kid on the block to receive swag or news about the book, sign up for my newsletter by clicking the link on the side of the screen. Meanwhile, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk is available now in paperback or Kindle.

So, 2022 Looks a Little Busy

First, 2022 is not a real year. It’s science fiction. Blade Runner took place in 2019. Soylent Green takes place in 2022. But I’ll play along and pretend that it really is the Year of Our Lord 2022. If that’s the case, what will I be up to?

When it comes to the dreaded Day Job, there are two big creative projects in the pipeline.

We have signed a contract for The Long-Distance Team. Kevin Eikenberry and I have contracted with Berrett-Koehler publishers for another book. We’ll be following up The Long-Distance Teammate, Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership and The Long-Distance Teammate, Stay Engaged and Connected While Working Anywhere.

The Long-Distance Team, which is about designing the work culture you really want, is under construction. It will be officially out on January 22, 2023, but available for pre-order before the end of the year.

Also, it’s likely I will be doing a podcast. It won’t be the late lamented Cranky Middle Manager Show, but it will be informative and snarky. Details to follow.

On the fun, creative front look for the second in my werewolf detective series. Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker will be out before the end of the year from Black Rose Writing. The third book in the series is under construction so it won’t be 2 years between installments, I pinky swear.

Check out my latest novel, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk. It will give you something to do until your next WebEx meeting.

You can find out everything that I’m up to creatively by signing up for my infrequent but action-packed email newsletter. Use the signup box on the side of the screen.

Readers- I need your help. Seriously

Johnny Lycan 2 is done and ready to go to my publisher. But I need to do the dreaded back cover blurb. You know, the short bit on the back that sucks people into reading a book they’ve never heard of.

Here’s what I”m working with for Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker. Seriously, let a brother know what you think…

The world’s favorite werewolf P.I. is off to Las Vegas. What could go wrong?

Life’s good for Johnny Lupul. He has a steady gig and a growing reputation as a guy who can get things done. He’s even learning to keep his Lycan side under control—mostly.

But when he’s sent to Sin City on a simple retrieval job, things go sideways. He bumps up against a coven of unconventional witches, a psychic pawn broker, and a mysterious enemy with a darker and more violent secret than his own.

“Like Spenser for Hire with bite.”

“Turmel has created a series that’s part detective noir, part urban fantasy, with plenty of snarky humor.”

What do you think? Too much? Not enough? drop a comment or an email and help me out.