Interview with Quan Williams – Godmode

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Today I’m delighted to welcome Quan Williams to my blog. Let’s find out all his latest news!

Quan Williams

What Quan Williams is working on Now.

I hope you guys have taken a minute to check out my Sci-fi/Horror novel GODMODE, and for those who did check it out, I hope you liked it. Meanwhile, I’m working on my next book.

This project started out as a fantasy comic book I was developing for an entertainment corporation I co-founded. The original title of the comic was called “Phalanx: Revolution” (named after my corporation, Phalanx International Inc.) and centered around a group of people uniting to change the world.

I wanted it to feel like an epic JRPG like Final Fantasy 7. I liked the idea of having a set number of powerful artifacts that could be used to change the course of the world, like in Fred Saberhagen’s “Book of Swords”. In fact, I liked the swords in those books so much I wanted to put them in my story. And I created people with personalities and styles to match those swords (I wasn’t thinking of copyright issues when I had the idea).

The characters were also based on the members of my ill-fated s-corporation. the comic book was going to be one of our corporate ventures, as well as a marketing/branding tool for the company and music group. I wrote scripts and did extensive thumbnails sketches for about 5 issues, and had a rough outline for the entire saga (even had a bit of input from my godsister/content editor) but when the company folded, so did my interest in telling that story.

Flash forward almost 15 years, and I’m looking for a new project to work on. I don’t want to go through the trouble of starting a new property up, and I have a plethora of undeveloped stories in the vault, so I dust a few of them off to see if any of them speak to me. This project did, because in the scripts were a bunch of moments that could be elaborated on and fleshed out.

So I dove in and did some new development on the story and characters, as well as a bit of worldbuilding. But some conversations with my godsister/content editor really helped me find a creative voice for the story. After reading “Pax Americana” which was Grant Morrison’s excellent homage to/critisicm of Alan Moore’s seminal “Watchmen” story, as well as an in depth article explaining, analyzing and annotating “Pax Americana”, I realized I wanted to someday write something worthy of such examination. And if I can write it someday, why not now? Up until now I hadn’t written any stories with any real depth, not at the Meta level. And material like that was brilliant, but always intimidated me. I wasn’t ready to dive that deep into the deeper meanings behind my stories. But after talking with my godsister, she gave me a vote of confidence and told me I was capable of it. So I decided to use this new epic as my stab at it.

The first obstacle was finding a message that could hold the weight of that much depth. Then there was the matter of finding material that correlated with it and finding a way to integrate it into the narrative. What did I want the story to SAY? I realized that the seeds to the answer for that were already planted in the story, especially within the title: Revolution.

godmode-coverWith the volatile climate that was festering in the wake of incidents in Florida, St.Louis, New York and Cleveland where white males in positions of authority or high status got away with slaying African-American males, the idea of a downtrodden people rising up and taking definite action intrigued me. On top of that I had stumbled on the theory of “The Deep State” which is a network of the American Military-industrial complex which operated basically above the government. I thought that was a concept that had a place in my story, but it was just a backdrop and an explanation of why things were the way they were in my saga…until now. So I started digging deeper, examining three other major revolutions in history I could draw inspiration from: the French revolution, the Russian revolutions, and the Iranian revolution. I also looked a little at the Hatian revolution and the Brazilian slave revolts And in those studies I found some eerie similarities within them, as well as a disturbing connection to the Deep State. I could use that.

Then I started looking deeper into Fred’s 12 swords, and I found new elements of the swords that I can further build around, as well as a reference to one of Saberhagen’s earlier stories that also fit within the theme I’m trying to research. What if, instead of swords, my artifacts of power were gems that had the same effects? And since this was urban high fantasy, what if they were tied to the world’s magic somehow? I had also stumbled across the concept of the Orisha (African pantheon). What if each gem represented one of the Orisha, how would that change the perception and use of the gems, and of the people chosen to wield them?

With all of this information, then a narrative, a premise, and most importantly a message started to formulate. And here’s the final clencher. When deciding what story to rehash, I was debating between Revolution and a kung-fu high fantasy epic set in feudal China based on the story of the Wu Tang Clan rap group. But that was also a story of revolution, just like “The Revolution.” It was basically the same story in a different setting. What if I just combined the two? One of the coolest features of Watchmen was the story-within-a-story, with one of the characters reading a seemingly unrelated comic book that upon closer examination had a narrative that metaphorically mirrored what was going on in the story proper. What if I did something similar with my wu-tang story, maybe as a historical tome that shows that it isn’t the first time these events have happened in the world I’m writing about, and maybe also giving some insight into the origin of the gems?

So now I have a whole lot of new ammo to work with on this story, and it might end up being the deepest, most multi-layered thing I’ve ever written. Can’t wait to start.

By the way, if you’re interested in how my mind works, check out some of my ideas at http://www.quanwilliams.com. And if you haven’t checked out GODMODE, learn all you need to know about it at http://www.godmode.quanwilliams.com.

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Justi the Gifted – Guest Post from R. R. Brooks

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Today’s guest post is from R. R. Brooks, where he tells us about his upcoming novel, Justi the Gifted.

Justi cover final Justi the Gifted, an epic fantasy tale by R.R. Brooks ( http://www.appalachianroundtable.com ), will be published momentarily by LeoPublishing L.L.C. and can be ordered from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local bookstore (which would love for you to visit).

A gift from a god can be good. But what if it is damaged?

Magic in Justi the Gifted. Magic in a fantasy novel is an ability or power that exists beyond the laws of nature. The gift of physical power conferred on Justi by the god Li is a type of magic. When the dark spirits rend this gift, leaving parts of it with Justi and parts with Mercerio, the heir to the throne, two characters have magic.

RRB front smallI did not want a lot of magic in the novel. No flying dragons, no power rings or swords, no floating intelligence or omnipresent wizards. Nevertheless, I wound up with a good dose of magic, such as mind control. Angel servants of both the good and bad gods influence the minds of animals, an act beyond nature. For example:a cat is used to track Justi’s pregnant mother.

Thinking they should first learn more of Arturi and her child, the Miasma sent a familiar to stay close to the woman. The dark ones combined their mental force to infect a small animal asleep in the forest, one with enough intelligence and cunning to do their bidding. The creature came alert with the full power of Darhoch. Its eyes flashed red as it trotted out of the woods not far from where Arturi hastened toward Ortun. This was the cat named Daresse.

Later, wolves are controlled to try to kill the teenage Justi. Justi’s spirit guardian, an angel called Li-Margot, inhabits the body of a hawk. Even humans are subject to mind control. The prostitute who seduces Justi is sent his image in a dream. The barbarians are induced to kidnap Princess Mercerio.

Other magic exists. Justi comes into possession of an amulet with a bit of magic power: it warms when Justi and Mercerio are thinking of each other and sends Justi in the girl’s direction.

The High Priest Aduk probes Justi’s mind when he is drugged. The coastal traderCarend supposedly has a “sixth sense” in reading people’s thoughts and personalities.

So, despite the author’s intention of making this mostly a human story in a real world setting, the magic crept in. I hope it is reasonable, controlled, and satisfying to my readers.

has a “sixth sense” in reading people’s thoughts and personalities.

So, despite the author’s intention of making this mostly a human story in a real world setting, the magic crept in. I hope it is reasonable, controlled, and satisfying to my readers.

Guest Post – Sarah Daltry, author of ‘Dust’

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Today’s guest post is from author Sarah Daltry, with an interview, and information on her current novel, ‘Dust’.

Dust Cover

An Interview with Sarah Daltry

Who is your audience?

People like me, who value words and ideas as much or more than plot.

Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.

I am an introvert and a nerd. I’ve written more than 15 novels, but only five are available. Dust is a YA fantasy/philosophical fantasy novel. I also wrote No Such Thing as Perfect, which is contemporary women’s fiction/literary fiction about growing up, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: A Modern Reimagining (literary fiction based on the poem), Backward Compatible: A Gamer Geek Love Story, and the vampire NA urban fantasy (18+) Bitter Fruits.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

Dust came to me one morning and I don’t really know what inspired it. It’s the story of growing up amidst war when the world has survived by holding secrets. Alondra must navigate the past, specifically that of her mother, to learn about what led to the events that destroyed her kingdom, and she must face the darkest parts of herself.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?

Not really, although I am a binge writer. I will write 1/3 of a novel in one day and not write for two weeks.

What authors or books have influenced you?

Hemingway, Salinger, The Book Thief, The Lovely Bones

What are you working on now?

A bunch of different things – contemporary realism, literary fiction, and fantasy

What is your best method or website for book promotion?

I don’t really have one. I don’t think I think like most people and I seem to struggle with connecting with them

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Write what is in your heart, not what other people tell you to write.

What is the best advice you have ever heard?

You can’t take it with you. 🙂

What are you reading now?

Mrs. Dalloway

What’s next for you as a writer?

Not sure, really.

3 or 4 books for deserted island?

The Catcher in the Rye, The Sun Also Rises, Frankenstein, and Dracula

What inspires you to write?

I need to. I need it like oxygen. I never stop writing, even though I stop talking to people

Tell us about your writing process.

“Sit down at a [computer] and bleed.”

Are you an outliner or a seat of the pants writer?

Both, but mostly I don’t plan.

If you are an outliner, what do you use to outline? Whiteboard? Software?

Notes that make no sense to anyone but me.

Do you create character sketches before or during your writing?

Both – depends on how things come to me.

Do you listen to or talk to your characters?

Yes, all the time.

How do you interact with your characters while you are writing?

We talk – and I convince people it’s totally normal to live with characters in your head all the time.

How did you decide how to publish your books?

Self-published and small press, because I’m not marketable apparently.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?

I don’t know. I don’t have a lot of hope for the future of humanity, not just in books, and publishing is just another business that gives millions of dollars for One Direction porn, but has lost interest in the human condition.


Dust

Dust is the story of a young girl, Alondra, in another world. It’s a world that normally would be draped in magic – the kind of world traditional in fantasy. There are castles and kingdoms and all those fun fairy tale elements, but it’s also a world with futuristic features, such as teleportation and giant glass towers that reach into the sky. Picture something out of the Final Fantasy series, with less steampunk.

There used to be magic in Alondra’s world, but well before she was born, all of the kingdoms were part of war. It was a war that happened because human beings grew too powerful. They wanted more and they wanted it for themselves. No longer was man satisfied to have the power of the gods and use it for the greater good; now he wanted to be a god. Because of the fear of magic and the damage it wrought, it has been suppressed and Alondra only knows it as a hobby.

When a new villain appears, though, and the world so desperate for peace and security is shattered anew, Alondra sets out on a journey through the past. She soon discovers that the secrets people keep in order to preserve a facade of safety run deep.

I see this as a fantasy novel woven through with philosophy and moral questions, as well as a sprinkle of romance. Although there is a love story, it is not about romance, but about coming of age, about learning who you are and understanding your role in the world, and about independence and choice (as well as the associated consequences).

Take the journey with Alondra! The book is available now! Read a sample here!


GOOGLEPIC Sarah Daltry is the author of No Such Thing as Perfect, Dust, Backward Compatible, Bitter Fruits, and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. As a former English teacher and YA library coordinator, Sarah has always loved books and her passion in life is writing – weaving tales of magic and beauty. She originally wrote romance, but Sarah’s real focus is lyrical and introspective fiction that gets to the heart of being whole.

Sarah is an obsessive Anglophile who spends more time watching BBC TV than any human being should, as well as a hardcore gamer, feminist, hermit, and sarcastic nerd. She’s extremely introverted and craves quiet and solitude, but she does enjoy hearing from readers. Find her online at http://sarahdaltry.com

Interview with Debbie Manber Kupfer

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Debbie Manber Kupfer – author of P.A.W.S. and Argentum.

 

What originally drew you to writing?

I’ve always written ever since I was a child. I’ve always felt much more comfortable putting down my thoughts on paper than in any other way. When I was a kid I would fill notebooks and even finished a series of three school “novels” based around my friends and the playground.

Which writers inspired – or continue to inspire you – to write?

The two main ones are probably JK Rowling and Neil Gaiman.

What most inspires your stories?

Anything and everything. Even though I write fantasy, the little things around me often end up in my books. I love people watching and will often sit in cafes for inspiration.

Do you have a special time of day that you prefer to write?

As a mother I’ll have to say “no”. I fit in writing whenever I have the time.

Do you have any tips on overcoming writer’s block?

Go for a walk. A change of scenery and fresh air do wonders.

Are you an e-book person, or do you prefer to own a hard copy?

I do both. I tend to read traditionally published books in a hard copy from the library and buy ebooks of indie authors.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

In lot of ways Miri is like me. She was bullied as a child, but the experience has made her stronger and not take things for granted. She’s always loved to read and write and used books as an escape from the harsh realities surrounding her. She enjoyed fantasy as a child and wished she could escape into those worlds. As she grows older she grows stronger especially after she learns to control her magic which is very powerful. But as we discover in the beginning of the second book having strong magic can come with a price.

What genre do you prefer to write in, and why?

My main series is fantasy, but I also love experimenting in different genres in my short stories.

Have you ever been involved in a collaborative project with another author? If not, is it something you would like to do in future?

Oh yes. I’ve been in quite a few anthologies where we all worked together. The most notable being Fauxpocalypse (a collection of stories about the end of the world that wasn’t) and Sins of the Past (a historical horror collection in which I not only have a story, but also am the editor of the anthology). I plan to do more collaborations in the future and in particular the group of authors that put together Sins of the Past are already working on a second book, Sins of the Future, that all being well will be released next Halloween.

Do you set yourself a daily word target? If so, how often do you meet it?

I only set myself a daily word target during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). During NaNo I make myself write two thousand words each day before I’m allowed to go on the Internet. It must work as I’ve “won” NaNo (reached 50k words) three years in a row now.

What do you do to get book reviews?

I approach bloggers who review in my genre. So far my reviews have all been favorable, but like all authors I could still do with a few more!

What are your views on social media for marketing?

I’m on Facebook a lot (probably too much) and it definitely has helped me make connections with authors, bloggers and readers. I do a little Twitter too, but admit that I don’t really understand how to use it properly.


debssmallDebbie Manber Kupfer grew up in London and lived in Israel, before somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a puzzle constructor and writer. She lives with her husband, two children, and a very opinionated feline. She is the author of P.A.W.S and Argentum and has short stories in several anthologies including Fauxpocalypse, Shades of Fear, Darkly Never After, Sins of the Past, and Heroes & Villains. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!

Connect with Debbie on her blog or Facebook and check out her books on Amazon.

PAWSCover

P.A.W.S. is Debbie’s first novel and is available here. When Miri’s grandmother dies, she takes with her the family secret. Miri finds herself alone and abandoned in a St. Louis boarding school. But she is about to discover the secret isn’t dead.

Taunted by bullies, Miri is shocked to learn she possesses a secret power. It can save her… but can it save those she loves? After she is befriended by others with the same strange, magical powers, her history comes alive. And with it, Miri’s fate becomes more dangerous.

Join Miri on a mysterious and supernatural journey with her new friends, members of an underground St. Louis society called the Partnership for Animagi, Werewolves, and Shapeshifters, better known as P.A.W.S.


ARGENTUM-CONCEPT2-FrontDebbie’s second novel, Argentum is available now.

Argentum . . . silver. Magical powers.

The death of the evil Alistair has brought a measure of peace and calm to those at P.A.W.S., but his silver charm remains in Miri’s possession and it seems to almost have a life of its own.

Nightmares and questions torment Miri until the charm mysteriously disappears and Jessamyn seeks help from Quentin, who claims to have repented his past association with Alistair. But can he be trusted?

And Jenna, the sweet, young girl once held captive by Alistair, is carrying a terrible secret—a secret that could determine the future of P.A.W.S.

Into the Publishing Minefield

I’ve been trying to garner some interest in ‘Fortune’s Thief’, and having failed to find an agent, I’ve been contacting independent publishers to see whether anyone would be interested in publishing it.

So far, I have had two contract offers, but I won’t be accepting either of them.  I had no idea when I started sending out my manuscript that it would be such a minefield.

The first offer I had was from a publisher whose employees are illiterate.  The email accompanying the contract, and subsequent correspondence was so badly written I had to read it three times before I could understand what they were trying to say.  They were also planning to put it out exactly as I’d sent it to them, with no editorial input or modifications whatsoever.  I’ve checked it the best I can, and had a few friends review it, but I have absolutely no doubt that it would benefit greatly from some professional editing.  Having read up about these guys on the Absolute Write Authors Beware section, they’re definitely one to avoid.

So I sent it off to a second publisher and had a grammatically correct response on nice headed paper, asking for a printed manuscript. Then followed three weeks of watching the doormat, wondering when a letter was going to land. In the interim, however, I looked them up on my new favourite forum page (Absolute Write Authors Beware) and found that many people were reporting bad experiences with them.  These guys appear professional, but are in essence a vanity press and will charge authors for publishing, so when I had the contracts arrive today, I wasn’t in the least surprised to find that they wanted £2,300 to publish my book.  If they had been up-front about it, and indicated on their website that contribution-based publishing was one of their possible routes, I wouldn’t have wasted my time or theirs in submitting to them.

I’m now going back to a third publisher, who expressed interest about the same time I heard from the second publisher to see whether we can still work together, and what their terms will be.

More news from the minefield as it breaks…

Dragonbride by Raani York

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Today I’m pleased to be able to share news about the release of Dragonbride, a fantasy novel by author Rani York.

Synopsis:

Shalima, “Daughter of the Light”, was born under special circumstances. She was raised by her aunts instead of her mother because she needed to be prepared to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Scriptures, which told that she was the only Magician on Earth.

Her aunts carefully prepared her for her obligations and her sacred duty. She will have to get married to the Holy Golden Dragon, the King of the Dragons, a huge Earth Dragon with magical talents. She cannot believe that she is the “Chosen One”, who has to protect the Dragon Species, all of Nature and finally the Earth. But when she turned into a teenager it seemed that the Old Scriptures were right.

Not only does she have to fulfill her duty by getting married to the Dragon – she will also have to go on a deadly mission to save the world from an unspeakable evil. A mission there is very little hope her party will ever return from.

Here’s an except from the book to whet your appetites:

The mountains possessed a dark but seductive beauty, and they lay in wait for the ones who came through the Fire Hell. The powdered white peaks of the sparkling black mountain-world watched for them with longing.

The Diamond Mountains gave the illusion of being much closer than they really were, and many a pilgrim had been lured to his death by the promise of riches hidden on their slopes. These mountains were so named because of the rough gems strewn about the black volcanic soil. When the sun shone overhead the gems made the mountains sparkle and shimmer brightly, and at night they made the moonlit mountains glow with a soft silver light.

People, blinded by both their greed and the tantalizing glittering of the sunlit earth, imagined that there was immeasurable wealth lying there on the ground, just waiting to be picked. However, the mountains never betrayed the secrets they held. None who had ever walked those slopes could find the diamonds hidden within the black soil, for the mountains protected themselves.

Although healthy forest still grew in the foothills, the undergrowth became sparser just a few hundred feet up, and then the treeline ended. Where stunted trees would normally grow the forest just stopped, as if some unseen hand had cut it short. All that remained were dangerously sharp, dry rocks. Just below the snowline, the rocks disappeared, and the glittering black soil took their place.

Moreover, at the summit it seemed as if the Creator of All Things had dusted the peaks of the fissured mountain range with powdered sugar, for they were covered with a deceptively soft-looking, yet extremely sharp-edged eternal snow.

The mountains never betrayed their secrets…

And if a wanderer were to climb those peaks, going up to the Fire Hell and searching to quench his thirst at a splashing mountain spring, he would find no cool, refreshing water. Instead, these living mountains would seek to frighten him by shrouding the ground with a mysterious fog that made it impossible to see where he was putting his feet. Pilgrims sometimes drowned in the sulfurous pools of water hidden within the hellish rocks when the fog appeared, and if they left the main trails, they would know true fear, for they would be led down treacherous sidepaths that seemed to take them somewhere, yet actually led them nowhere but to their doom.

The mountains never betrayed their secrets…

Though many thought they would find the cool relief of the shadows by early evening, the ascent would continue for another three torturous days. During those three days, their throats would scream for water, and their eyes would tear up in the swirling sand. Blown up by the hot desert winds, the sand burned as it fell upon a traveler’s face and skin. Eventually their limbs would become heavy, and they would barely be able to move; thus, the wanderers would be forced to crawl on, farther and farther, until sheer luck eventually brought them to civilization… to people.

In a canyon between two hills below the mountain range there was a village. It had no official name, but the people living there called it Alpcateçu, which meant Oasis of the Mountains. Anyone who wanted to climb the mountains had to pass through the village. A few taverns and inns surrounded the village fountain, where a market was sometimes held.

Some houses and huts had been built in the wide hills and even at the edge of the forest… and in one such place, hidden within the woods, almost four hundred feet past the deepest thicket and connected to the village only by a sidepath lay the place in which I had been born.

Buyer’s links:

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dragonbride-raani-york/1120408609?ean=2940046196030

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/Dragonbride

CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/4861497

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dragonbride/id923113409?mt=11

Amazon.com: Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Dragonbride-The-Dragon-Chronicles-Volume/dp/1500232106/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1412454206&sr=8-2&keywords=Dragonbride

Amazon.com: Kindle edition: http://www.amazon.com/Dragonbride-Dragon-Chronicles-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00O6COSRE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412454206&sr=8-1&keywords=Dragonbride

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/479647

Blio: https://www.blio.com/blio/actions/searchHandler.do?userType=MLB&tabID=BOOKS&itemNum=ITEM%3a1&key=0015761529&nextPage=booksDetails&parentNum=12848

Oyster Bookshttps://www.oysterbooks.com/book/FyRea3UNcipM7cfVKaxLhk/dragonbride#

About Rani:

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Raani York has been a high volume writer for years. She has published articles, letters, short stories, poems, continuation stories and descriptions of all kind. She also writes novels, some of which can found on her website http://www.raaniyork.com/ .

Raani has been educated in Switzerland and in the U.S. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She also obtained diplomas in Graphic Design, Color Studies and won a prize as a Logo Designer. She speaks four languages and several dialects.

Raani York works and lives in Switzerland and the U.S. and travels often.

Next to her writing and her cats, Raani likes reading, blogging, Martial Arts, skiing, horseback riding, sky diving and enjoys playing the classical piano.

I Found a Book I Didn’t Know I’d Written…

Now there’s something you don’t hear every day!

When I got back into writing about ten years ago, I wrote a lot, particularly when I should have been doing something else. I woke up at the weekend thinking about a vampire-based story I wrote around that time, and I decided to dig it out and dust it off.  I had half a mind to see whether Kindle allowed publishing of single short stories, or novellas, and if so, what the word count should be.

I had a quick scout around on Amazon and found that there were various stories of various lengths on sale.  Great, I thought. So I went to check how long my story was, and it turns out that the main body of text, when added to a shorter accompanying story that I wrote, came out at a whopping 90,000 words.

I had NO idea.

So I’m currently editing the two together, which is both massively exciting and horribly painful! They were written from completely opposing points of view, and one was written in the first person, so there’s some serious chopping and changing to be done here.  Cue many headaches! On the plus side, I’m really excited about working on it again. More on my dodgy medieval fantasy vampire romance (?) as it develops.

Deedee Davies Anthologies