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.

I Finally Caved and Have a Separate Facebook Page for My Writing

Ever since I started writing fiction and nonsense, I’ve been told I needed a separate Facebook page for that purpose. Until now I’ve resisted because keeping up with Social Media is freaking exhausting. Between the grind of the day job and my fiction addiction, I spend too much time tweetfacelinkblogging as it is.

But, with Johnny Lycan 2 coming out soon (December 8 to be specific, but who’s counting?) it is time to make sure I can promote my work without annoying the people on my personal Facebook page. For purely mercenary reasons, mostly so I can advertise my work, I needed to bite the bullet.

So (trumpets blare) I introduce you to my Facebook Author Page with the very clever and inventive name, Wayne Turmel Author. If you’re inclined, please like it and follow me. Over the next few months, there will be special posts, contests, and a chance to win signed copies of Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker.

Stop by, like the page, and tell your friends. If you care about my personal life, yeah, you can still follow me on my regular page, but this is my big-boy author page. Enjoy and welcome to my orbit.

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?

The Chapter Goddess- Madilynn Dale

One of the advantages of trying to schlep your own work, is you run into other authors. In this case, I had the honor of being interviewed by Madilynn Dale for her ChapterGoddess site. We had a blast, but I thought it was only fair that I give you all a chance to meet this prolific author. YOU CAN WATCH MY VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH HER HERE

Okay, lady. Tell us about you.

Hello, I’m Madilynn Dale. It’s a pleasure to chat with you all. I’m a mom first and foremost and a creative second. I tend to dabble in a various number of things from writing, painting, to drawing, but my stories are my strongest point. Sometimes I think my 4-year-old son does a better job drawing than I do but at least I tried right?

When I write I don’t stick with one genre but span many. I like things more on the steamy side, but I create work in the genres of paranormal, fantasy, romance, and adventure. On top of all the creative stuff I’m also a Physical Therapy Assistant here in my home state of Oklahoma. I’ve kind of put that career on pause though to focus on my writing and being a mom. We live in quite a crazy time after all.

I’m also a huge reader and coffee addict. I love wine too but that’s only for the evenings. I read a wide range of books I am a mood reader though so if I’m in the middle of something and it loses my attention because of a sour mood, I put it aside and come back to it.

Tell us about your latest book, Black Flames.

I have several books published which you can find on my website www.thechaptergoddess.com but I want to really focus on my latest release Black Flames. This is the first novel in the Ember trilogy which I plan to release all this year, 2022. It’s an empowering story following young Ember as she discovers herself, breaks free of her shackles, and embraces herself. She finds love along the way and must escape hell. Literally. Her life is basically turned upside down after she discovered her mother’s one night stand with the devil.  

Here is the actual synopsis for those who are curious. 😉

Ember believes she’s a latent wolf until she finds herself facing a demon using hellfire. The black flames trigger something within her and the world as she knows it is dumped on its head. Has her entire life been nothing but a lie?

Tied to the future Alpha via contract, she seeks an escape to find her true mate. Confused by the emotions surrounding her discovery, she sacrifices herself to save her pack and is taken to hell. With a false engagement and memories erased, she finds herself part of a larger plan. Can she fulfill her role and manage to return home without her secret being discovered?

I know you’re prolific, and right now you’re in the middle of a shifter series (and why don’t shifters in urban fantasy ever have chest hair, but that’s a different story.) What are the roots of your series?

In creating Ember, I found that I channeled a lot of my younger self. Her drive and determination to be a badass without falling apart is something I struggled with at a younger age in college. Of course, I obviously can’t fight like she can, nor do I have any of her powers, but she must find a way to overcome the oppressive requests placed on her by her parents and other authorities to find herself and live the life she wants. I feel like I had to go through a version of that myself and really a lot of us do. I loved creating situations where she had to deal with her emotions and take the higher road. It’s something even at my age I struggle with. I hope she inspires others.

Now her magic, which is the ability to change into a certain animal of hell and use fire, was something of a darker twist on my favorite type of beings. Shifters are something I’ve always found myself drawn to. They are a bit different from were animals in that they turn into bigger versions of the actual animal. At least that is how I portray it in my work. The fire is something I feel like if I had a power, it would be to use fire. Something about the way flames dance in the hearth during the winter calms me and usually puts me to sleep but fire can also be extremely destructive.

Indie publishing has so many successful writers that those who don’t read ebooks, particularly, never heard of. Who do you read?

There are so many authors that I have enjoyed reading over the years. Only a few really stick out though and several of them helped inspire my writing. Ivy Asher, Sarah J Maas, Deborah Harkness, C. L. Schneider, Jaymin Eve, P.C. Cast, Kaylana Price, Tarriona Tank Ball, Cassandra Claire, Jennifer L Armentrout, Ivy Smoak and Andrzej Sapkowski. These authors all write in romance, fantasy, adventure, urban fantasy, paranormal, poetry, and more. I love how unique their work is and how easy it is to escape into their work.

Your social media game is strong, and I”m jealous (but I would stroke out trying to do everything you do.)

  • twitter, Facebook author page, website etc.

I am a bit all over the place really. The easiest place to find links to my books is on my website. The majority of my stuff is published wide so you can pick your favorite book site there.

Website: www.thechaptergoddess.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Madi_Dale_Write

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MadilynnDaleAuthor

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mratdegraff91/_created/

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@mdwriter?lang=en

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/madilynn-dale

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20150515.Madilynn_Dale

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Madilynn-Dale/e/B0868CGSLC?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1616000125&sr=8-2

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG8uZRvQC4o_dqwkqJy9Wgg

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/madilynn-dale-5a810a223/

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.



The First Page of Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker

Lest you think I’m slacking (and I have been, but it’s still kind of rude to mention) I thought I’d whet your appetite for the next installment in the tales of the world’s favorite werewolf detective.

I present page one of “Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker”

Night of the full moon

I’m big and hairy and freaky enough even before I change, so no wonder the two sets of wide brown eyes watching me were clearly horrified.  Still, this was no time for subtlety.

Get into that closet and don’t open that door no matter what you hear. Understand?” My vocal cords still worked, even if the muscles in my arms and legs spasmed and twitched under my clothes, adding to the general freakiness.

The girl, the older of the pair, looked up and locked eyes with me. “Are you going to hurt the bad men?” Her baby brother clung to her shirt, sucking his thumb.

“Probably. Yup.” Not as much as they deserve. Shaggy, the beast living inside me, wouldn’t be satisfied. But yeah.

Amy Tong nodded and took her crying brother by his free hand, cooing to him in Mandarin. Even at ten years old, she played the mother. Kids in foster care do that.  The little girl looked up at me trustingly as I closed the door to the same room I’d sprung them from moments ago.

Trying to sound as rational as possible with a werewolf clawing and chomping its way out of my skin, I put my mouth to the heavy wooden door. “Stay there and don’t open up for anyone unless you hear a woman’s voice. Please. Don’t look, and don’t open the door unless you hear a nice older lady. Okay?”

Through the barrier came a sniff and a soft, “Yes sir.”

Yes, our boy is still sticking his snout where it doesn’t belong, and this book is even funnier, bloodier, and more exciting than Episode 1. Stay tuned for details. Of course, if you haven’t read Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk yet, what’s keeping you?

Johnny Lycan 2 is finished. Kind of.

I just put finished to the second book in the Johnny Lycan series. Well, an ugly, squawling, half-assed first draft anyway. Our boy finds himself in Las Vegas, and faces, among other things: a megalomaniac rancher, a honest-to-god Berserker, an ancient relic that may or may not be from Earth, a coven of bad-ass witches, and more about himself than he wants to know.

Believe it or not, book 3 is already outlined and will be started soon. Sorry about the delay between books. Turns out that between buying a house, navigating a global pandemic, a demanding day job and the general yukkiness in the air, I’ve learned something important. Existential dread is not great for the creative juices. You may quote me.

It’s aliiiiiiiive

Watch for Johnny Lycan and the Vegas Berserker coming in 2022 from #blackrosewriting (blessings upon them)

If you haven’t read Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk, there’s still time to be one of the cool kids who find stuff before everyone else and lords it over them. Read it here

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.

One Week to Get a Free Story

If you’re a regular visitor to these shores (and by shores I mean this dinky little corner of the interwebs) you may have seen some of my short stories that have been published elsewhere. If you haven’t you can find them here. Of course, all but one. That one you can only get if you subscribe to my newsletter.

See the newsletter signup on the left hand side of the page? Fill it in and you’ll get a link to a story no-one else has had the chance to read yet. I’ll send the super-secret link in next week’s newsletter.

“Sponging” took 3rd place in Storgy’s 2019 Flash Fiction competition and is available here. I’m also betting you didn’t buy it soooooo…

If you want a free look at this 995 word tale about horseracing and petty revenge, you have to be a subscriber to my newsletter. You’ll receive word about fun interviews and updates on the upcoming publication of Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk.

Go ahead. I promise not to bombard you with spam and you’ll continue to receive bonuses and updates on what’s going on in my writing world.

Of course, that still gives you plenty of time to read my other novels such as The Count of the Sahara, Acre’s Bastard and the thrilling sequel, Acre’s Orphans, all available on my Amazon Author Page.

A thousand blessings for being in my orbit. I’m doing all I can to make it worth your while. Don’t let the weasels get you down.

Submitted for Your Binging Pleasure- Korean Historical Fiction Zombies

Okay, you’re stuck at home (or at least have minimal choices for entertainment) and you’re thinking, “I wonder what Wayne’s watching right now?” As one does.

The answer is, I”m watching Season 2 of The Kingdom on Netflix, and if you’re not, what’s wrong with you people? It is the perfect mix of historical fiction (Korean history: Sword fighting, arrows flying, those HATS) and Zombies. Yes, Korean zombies. If you’ve seen Train to Busan, you know South Koreans do zombies better than anyone. Even if I’m compelled to make the worst pun ever. DAD JOKE ALERT: If you don’t want to hear it, skip to below the second picture now.

Image result for kingdom season 2

You were warned. It’s kind of the WOKKING DEAD. Okay, I feel better. I”ve been carrying that inside for a week with no one to tell it to. you were warned.

Kingdom

The Duchess won’t watch it because zombie shows have sound effects that gross her out. Her Serene Highness, who is a big zombie apocalypse prepper, won’t read subtitles ( # 4 on my parenting fails) so I’m inflicting that gag on you.

Did I mention those hats?

Image result for kingdom season 2

if you’re stuck at home binge-watching, give it a whirl and let me know what you think. Of course, there are other options to kill time:

Read one of my novels, The Count of the Sahara, or the 2-part Lucca Le Peu Stories, Acre’s Bastard and Acre’s Orphans.

You could enjoy one of my short stories, they’re listed here on this page.

And if you haven’t already joined my email list, you should do it and get a FREE story that few have ever seen, and is available on my site only to those who subscribe. Signup is on the left side of this page. You’ll have links to cool interviews with other authors and learn all about my upcoming book (a werewolf detective, no Zombies!) Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk. it’s coming November 19 from Black Rose Writing.

Living Forever is the Best Revenge- Craig Zerf

I have had my share of people who don’t like my work, but the idea of turning that negative feedback into a 7-book series has never ocurred to me. That is, until I discovered Craig Zerf’s work. The first of his works I read was Dead Declan, which is a concept so bonkers I had to read more. Here he talks to me about his popular “Forever Man,” series.

So what’s your deal? Your personal story is unique.

I grew up in South Africa. Got married there, had a son, left and moved to England almost twenty years ago. I only started to write when I got to the UK. And, because I have always been a huge fantasy fan, that’s the genre I went for.

How did you settle on fantasy and where did The Forever Man come from?

My first series, Plob, was an attempt at humour. It was okay, I suppose. You always look back at your first books and say, I could have done better. But it got me started and, for one brief week, it actually topped the charts in both the UK and Germany and was voted the year’s best read by BBC Radio 4 listeners.  It was around this time I learned an important lesson… there are some seriously strange folk out there!

I had one, fan? Stalker? Arch enemy? Not sure what to call them. They purchased and read every one of my books and then proceeded to give them one-star reviews with comments like… This one is even worse than the last. Finally, they left a review that simply read ‘Every day I scour the obituaries for Craig Zerf’s name in the vain hope that he has died. Even if I live forever, I will never recover the time I have wasted reading his books.

It was then that I came up with the idea of writing a series where the main character is immortal. I know it’s been done before. Dracula, various mages and fae types. But I wanted to portray a normal man, a reluctant hero, who gets gifted, or cursed, with immortality and supernatural powers.

How would he react? Would he be good? Bad? Indifferent?

What if it turned out that the very world was in trouble and he was the only one who could save it? What would he do?

I called the series The Forever Man and it’s been described as a genre-bending fantasy series with post-apocalyptic heroes, battles against mythical creatures, and wild temporal jumps.

Writing a whole series to piss off one critic seems extreme, but it worked. How would you sum up The Foreverman in a couple of lines?

I suppose one could say, Lord of the Rings meets Mad Max and Game of Thrones. It’s available on Kindle, paperback and audio. There are six books at the moment but I’m ready to release seven and eight in a couple of weeks.

What writers influenced you?

Obviously, whatever I write has been influenced by my favorite authors. My early reads, when I was five, six, seven years old, were Enid Blyton books. Especially the Magic Faraway Tree.

Next stage, and I’m talking nine or ten here, were books like Biggles, Willard Price and the Hardy Boys.

As I hit my teens I graduated to Wilbur Smith (I love his earlier novels. Gritty, over the top, verging on heroic fantasy). And I discovered David Eddings. The Belgariad. Well…talk about life-changing. This was proper fantasy. Epic stuff.

After that came David Gemmell. To this day, David remains my favorite author. Clearly, Terry Pratchett also has to be taken into account.

And, finally, Michael Marshall. His books like Only Forward, and Spares are proper modern classics. He is truly one of the writers that I stand in awe of. Genius.

Where can people learn more about your work?

The best place to see all my work is my Amazon Author Page.

In a month or so I am going to be offering a FREE story, not seen anywhere else, for subscribers to my newsletter. Please use the form on the side of the page to get on board and learn more about my work, including the upcoming novel, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk.