Review and Interview: Marshall Ryan Maresca

HOLVER ALLEY BLOG TOUR BANNER.png

The exciting debut to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Streets of Maradaine fantasy series!


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Rynax brothers had gone legit after Asti Rynax’s service in Druth Intelligence had shattered his nerves, and marriage and fatherhood convinced Verci Rynax to leave his life of thievery. They settled back in their old neighborhood in West Maradaine and bought themselves a shop, eager for a simple, honest life.

Then the Holver Alley Fire incinerated their plans. With no home, no shop, and no honest income—and saddled with a looming debt—they fall back on their old skills and old friends.

With a crew of other fire victims, Asti and Verci plan a simple carriage heist, but the job spirals out of control as they learn that the fire was no accident. Lives in Holver Alley were destroyed out of a sadistic scheme to buy the land.

Smoldering for revenge, burdened with Asti’s crumbling sanity, the brothers and their crew of amateurs and washouts swear to take down those responsible for the fire, no matter the cost.


ENCHANTED REVIEW

The Holver Alley Crew is the first in a new series set in his existing Maradaine world, and it’s a great start to a new series!

Having read some of the others in this world, reading this one is like visiting a familiar place but going somewhere new. The world-building is one of my favorite aspects of Maresca’s work (as evidenced in some of my interview questions below!) and The Holver Alley Crew does not disappoint. We get to see a different side of the world in Holver Alley, the not-so-nice-don’t-buy-a-suburban-ranch-in-this-part-of-town kind of side.

The Rynax brothers, Asti and Verci, couldn’t lead more different lives if they tried, and when their futures area irrevocably altered by a fire, they have tough decisions to make. In the spirit of not spoiling the book, I will say that they plan a simple heist, but their plan takes a very different turn as they learn that the truth about the Holver Alley fire.

I highly recommend The Holver Alley Crew and give it my highest rating: five lanterns!

5 Lamps


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Enchanted Alley: Welcome to the Alley! We’re certainly glad you’re here.

I’ll start off with an easy question. If you had to choose one book or series to read over and over for a lifetime, what would it be and why?

Marshall Ryan Maresca: You mean, other than the combined Maradaine books?  Because that would be the obvious answer.

Real answer: Watership Down by Richard Adams.  I’ve read it many, many times, and I keep coming back to it.  It’s deep, rich fantasy filled with mythology, adventure, a heist and a war.  But with rabbits.  And it’s amazing.

EA: That is a great book and author. Good choice! Speaking of great books and great writers, what are your “must have” tools for writing? Can you give us a glimpse into your process?

MRM: In terms of tools: I need my laptop with Scrivener on it, and a good set of headphones that let me tune out the world.  Add in coffee in the morning or rooibos tea in the evening, and that’s the core of “what I need”.

Now, if I have space to sit, lay out my notebooks and outline materials, all the better.  But if I have my laptop and headphones, I can work just about anywhere.

EA: If you could live in the world of The Hover Alley Crew, what your life be like?

MRM: So, if I lived in Maradaine, I probably wouldn’t live in North Seleth, the neighborhood where Holver Alley Crew takes place.

Ideally, I would live on the other side of the river in neighborhoods like High River or Fenton, which have their share of artist communities, coffee shop and wine clubs, and is near one the fancier institute of higher learning.  A perfect place to write, engage in the arts and talk philosophy into the late hours while drinking coffee or wine.

But North Seleth wouldn’t be terrible: it might be a poor neighborhood, but it’s a community where people know each other and take care of one another.  There certainly are worse places in the city to end up.

EA: High River and Fenton are my kinds of towns. That’s one of the best things about books, getting to visit places you wouldn’t otherwise!  Up next, how long does it take to plot and write a novel? Which part of the process is your favorite? Least favorite?

MRM: It varies, but the plotting/outlining process is usually about a month, and then the writing process from five-to-eight months, depending on what else is going on.  Of course, since I have many projects going forward, at any given time I have different things in different stages.  But my favorite part is definitely that end-stage of drafting, where all the elements have come together, and it’s mostly a process of letting it race out of your fingers into the keyboard.  Worst part?  That middle phase, where even though I know what needs to happen (because: outline), it still feels like pulling teeth.

EA: I’ve heard the middle is a least favorite part for lots of writers! Okay, so which character is your favorite to write?

MRM: Oh, this is one of those “which child do you love most?” questions.  But OK, I’ll pick.  In all the Maradaine books, it’s probably Corrie from the Constabulary books.  She’s an absolute hoot.  If I narrow to just the Holver Alley Crew, then I’ll go with Helene.  Actually, Corrie and Helene would probably get along pretty well, if they weren’t on opposite sides of the law.  That could be a fun pairing….

Yes, that would be fun! I’d love to read that (hint, hint…)

Thank you so much for coming to hang out with us at The Enchanted Alley. We love your work around here and can’t wait to have you back again. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marshall Ryan Maresca grew up in upstate New York and studied film and video production at Penn State.  He now lives Austin with his wife and son.  His work appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over TexasHe also has had several short plays produced and has worked as a stage actor, a theatrical director and an amateur chef. His novels The Thorn of Dentonhill and A Murder of Mages each begin their own fantasy series, both set in the port city of Maradaine. For more information, visit Marshall’s website at http://www.mrmaresca.com.


Essential Information

29097931

Title: THE HOLVER ALLEY CREW

Author: Marshall Ryan Maresca

Series: Streets of Maradaine #1

ISBN: 9780756412609

Release Date: March 7, 2017

Publisher: DAW MASS MARKET

List Price: $7.99

Advertisements

Guest Post: A Month in the Coop by Lucy Blue

The Alley would like to welcome the Little Red Hens! Today we have Lucy Blue here to talk about what a month in the coop looks like and to give you an excerpt from one of their latest releases! Please help me in extending Lucy an enchanting welcome! 


My sister, Alexandra Christian, and I have our very own micro-press, Little Red Hen Romance, through which we deliver our brilliance to a grateful public. At the risk of rendering you all mute and paralyzed with envy, let me give you a rundown of what that means exactly, an average “month” in the life in the Coop.

Week One: What In the Name of the Benedict Cumberbatch’s Quirky Brand of Handsome Are We Going to Put Out Next Month?

Every publishing cycle begins with a lunch meeting conducted in the glamorous abandoned file room full of broken office furniture at the back of Lexie’s day job. Specifics vary, but here’s our basic agenda:

  1. What the heck are we doing this for?
    • We aren’t making any money
      1. Amazon are f*ckers
        • Kindle Unlimited can kiss my a$$
      2. We pay more for cover art than we make every month
    • You’ve got to at least finish your d@mned series
    • I’m still working on that other thing
    • Let’s give it another month
  2. Do we have a theme?
    • Holiday?
    • Is a new season of Sherlock about to come out?
    • I’m still having that Russell Crowe cowboy dream
  3. Do we have anything already written?
    • Sure <maniacal laughter>
      1. I’m still working on that thing
      2. I can dig out my old computer from the attic; I think there’s a story on the hard drive
      3. I still have that thing I didn’t finish when we did this theme last year
    •  Nope
      1. Brainstorming
      2. As long as we put SOMETHING out, we’re fine
  4. Deadlines <laughing so hard soda comes out our noses>

By the time we both have to go back to work at the jobs that actually pay us, we have a pretty good idea where we’re headed. Sometimes it’s not even straight off a cliff. And even if we don’t know at the end of the meeting, we know by the end of that first week.

For example, for Halloween in October, we knew we wanted to do a LRH Nightmare anthology (when it’s your press, you can make up as many imprints as you like!) instead of a handful of standalone shorties. I had a couple of things that were a lot harder and more horrific than our norm that LRH had never published; Lexie had a couple of erotic horror shorts that had been released back to her from the exploding wreckage of her former publisher, and we had several horror-themed shorties in our back catalog that hadn’t been in an anthology yet. So we thought, awesome, all we need is a cover, and we’re done! Except… because we’re masochistic geniuses, we realized we wanted to do some kind of framing story that would give the anthology as a whole some kind of throughline theme beyond “scary sexy stuff!” We talked about the Crypt Keeper and about the awesome Hansel and Gretel riff in the Tales from the Darkside movie, and Lexie had an amazing idea for a story about a haunted writer’s desk that we both loved.

But once she started writing, we realized that 1) it would make a dang fine novel, and 2) she’d never finish it in time to get an anthology out before Halloween, and even if she did, it would take up more space than the stories it was introducing. I was at that same time completely exasperated with the production company that’s filming a horror TV show for pay cable in our small town, and I started fantasizing about a fate worse than death for their lead location producer. And out of that, in the space of a couple of days, came “Living Dead Girl,” the black comedy frame for Until Death. Lex’s desk story was way more complex and interesting, and I hope she’ll finish it. But we needed something NOW.

Weeks Two through Three (or Four or Five): Writing, Compiling, and Covers, Oh My!

This is where I highly recommend working with your very talented sibling. Lex and I have very similar writing styles; we love one another’s work; and we trust one another’s judgment completely. Consequently, we can trade rough first drafts and do edits for one another very, very quickly; we can communicate problems almost by osmosis and get them fixed. I would dearly love to hire another set of talented eyeballs to do edits for us, and I still hope at some point we’ll be able to do that. We both know the mechanics. I have a master’s degree in English lit and used to teach composition; she has a degree in education and used to teach kids how to write; we’ve both published lots of stuff with big, traditional publishers as well as indies; and we each have a fair amount of experience editing other people’s fiction. But we still need another editor. (Enchanted Alley piping in here… I KNOW AN EDITOR!) The same connection that makes editing each other comfortable cheats us of all the many benefits of a truly objective point of view. But right now, we don’t make enough money to pay somebody else, nor do we have the time to give another editor a turnaround schedule that is anything close to reasonable.

This is also when we start working on covers. Again, we do our own because we can’t afford to pay somebody else. (Though my husband the artist has stepped in more than once to help us out with stuff we couldn’t manage.) We try to find stock art that already hews very closely to the vision we have so we don’t have to do much blending of images or many effects—I’m still using Gimp, and I’m not what you’d call proficient. We spend hours going through page after page of imagery to find stuff that will look clean and original, then try hard not to screw it up. With Until Death, Lexie offered to do the cover since I was writing the frame, and I think she did an amazing job. She found an image called “Romantic Zombie” (Andrey Kiselev/Dreamstime.com) and dirtied up fonts and played with colors until she got what I think suits the stories inside perfectly.

Week Four (or Five or Six or Seven): To Market, To Market

Once we have clean versions of each story and covers we like, it’s time to publish. We do everything through Amazon through my Kindle Direct Publishing account. Amazon are indeed f*ckers, and we’d love to expand out to other platforms. But the sad truth is, everybody either has a Kindle or the Kindle app on their non-Kindle e-book-reading device. (The main alternative I’m interested in exploring at this point is iTunes, but they’re f*ckers, too.) As much as I’d love to have a couple of hours every week to exchange emails with a reader who’s trying to open my book on her Cricket phone after downloading it from Alice The Much Nicer E-Bookstore Owner’s World of Romance website, I just don’t. We use my KDP account so we have everything plugged into Amazon’s excellent sales and royalty tracking resources. We can tell exactly how many sales we have all over the world almost the moment they happen. (Lexie either has one reader in Denmark who compulsively checks Amazon to download her stuff as soon as it comes out, or she’s HUGE with an extensive cult of Danes.) Uploading the stuff is very easy—all you need is a cover created to the Amazon specifications (very easy to find on the KDP website), a Microsoft Word version of the story (including any table of contents—Amazon does the conversion for you), all your frontispiece information (authors, editors, etc.), and seven little keywords. Things usually show up on Amazon within 12-24 hours.

We’re constantly marketing stuff, of course, but this is also the week we get serious about that new release, using social media a lot, offering to write blog posts for dear friends kind enough to let us. But I can’t stress enough that marketing isn’t something that you do one book at a time one month at a time; we are constantly on the lookout for ways to get all of our releases in front of the eyeballs of readers who will love them.

I don’t know that I’d advise anybody to take up self-pubbing right now or start their own indie press, even with their darling sister. It’s a much tougher, much crazier market than it was just a few years ago. But all griping aside, we HAVE found a lot of readers, and we ARE publishing exactly the stories we want to publish in exactly the way we think they should be done. And for now, that still makes it worth the aggravation. Next month, we might quit, but for now, we’re thinking about Christmas.

Find us at our website at: http://lucybluecastle.wixsite.com/littleredhenromance or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/littleredhenromance/ .

until-death-1And check out this snippet from “Living Dead Girl,” the frame story from our latest collection, Until Death: An Anthology of Twisted Love Stories, available now from Amazon:

“That’s supposed to be a love story?” he said, feeling a little sick.

“Of course it is,” she said. Her zombie make-up was horrifying; his crew was talented. But her eyes shining in the moonlight were almost enough to make him not notice. “Rhett’s love for Cynthia was so strong, even after she died, it could sustain an immortal sex demon. That’s beautiful.”

“If you say so,” he said. Twisted but cute, he thought. “I guess that’s what I get for looking for love advice from a zombie.”

“True love is everywhere,” she said. “Anything can bring two people together if they’re meant to be, even zombies.”

“Yeah, that’s what the writers tell me,” he said. “Then half a season later, they kill off the love interest, and the internet goes crazy.”

“I know a story of two people who never would have stayed together if they hadn’t been attacked by zombies,” she said.

“Real zombies?” Maybe too twisted after all.

“Well….my grand-daddy said they were real,” she said. “But he used to tell me spaghetti grows on trees, so I’m not sure we should believe him. It’s a good story, though, a western. You want to hear it?”

The set-up was still at least an hour from being ready. “Sure, why not?”

 

Guest Post: Jim McDonald

The Enchanted Alley would like to welcome today’s guest, Jim McDonald! 


About Jim McDonald

Jim has spent over 25 years as a business and technology consultant, which has allowed him to travel around much of the world.  Now somewhat settled down in the Carolinas, he is using a lifelong interest in history, mythology, anthropology, the hard sciences and B movies to bring his own versions of folklore to life.

When not clacking away at a laptop either for the job that pays the bills or drawing the odd ideas from his head to paper to disturb and amuse the readers, he can be found playing with hot glass or running around in a kilt promoting Celtic culture with his wife and three dogs pretending not to know him.


Today Jim is talking about what it’s like to be a writer, constantly being judged, and how to handle that fear and criticism. 

Fear in a Sea of Judgement

Has your finger ever hovered over the button, poised to send your manuscript off to your beat readers? Your editor? Your publisher?

The one that shoves it out into the world on Kindle?

When your heart races, the sheen of sweat on your brow, dampness in your palms that sends you to make another cup of coffee instead of sharing your work?

Do you have thoughts about the controversial scene? The one that kept you up at nights, or that you wrote around for weeks, knowing you’d have to come back to it at some point?

That statement you know will bring down scorn from some people?

Just even the simple internal doubt about whether or not your work is good enough to warrant a form rejection letter from the slush pile?

You know, that old friend. Fear.

As a writer, you pour your heart and soul into words streaming on the page. Your thoughts stretch to wondering what people will think of you, because of what you have written. What will you do if people don’t like it? Even worse, what if a lot of people read it, and you stir up a lot of noise because of the subject?

Good.

There’s an old saying. Kill your darlings. I carry it a little further. Give life to your dreams and fears.

If your writing is truly worthwhile, it is not only entertaining, but will energize some, and infuriate others. Trying to make everyone happy leaves no one satisfied.

The key to having your message heard, is giving people something worth remembering. And almost always, this comes from triggering one or more of our four core emotions. Happiness, Sadness, Fear or Anger.

When I look at the books that hold the most meaning for me, they are the ones that pushed the limits for their time. Robert Heinlein is one of my favorite authors, and he was more than able of stirring up people of every ilk, and pushing buttons. Some people saw Stranger in a Strange Land as the foundation for the Free Love movement of the 60’s. Others saw Starship Troopers as both an endorsement and an indictment of the military industrial complex. Both are stories that spurred controversy, satires of their subject matter and the societies he modeled.

Not so far on my end of preferred reading has been the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon from E. L. James. Definitely controversial, sending some people into frenzies that it promotes and glamorizes abuse. For others, it’s been freeing to give a tantalizing glimpse into a niche lifestyle.

What do these have in common? They are controversial, and influential in society. I have to think that when Robert H. was writing freely about incest, it gave him a little pause. E. L. James has certainly taken some backlash, as well as praise.

Writing gives us a medium to explore those ideas that fascinate, titillate, and terrify us. And then we get to share that with our readers, and do the same for them.

So why do we hold ourselves back, and ultimately fail our readers?

We are afraid what people will think. We worry about how others will judge us.

And guess what?

They are going to do it anyway.

I’ve been guilty of toning down some of my writing. It’s often been my regret about some of my work. I worried about how people would view me based on something from a story, and I’d cut it, or at least trim it back. When I talk to my readers afterwards, and they talk about how they read something, or how it affected them, I’ve realized how much of a punch I’ve pulled in a few cases.

I’ve gotten better about this, and the reactions I get these days are much more visceral. On a couple of earlier works when I’ve new editions to fix the little things, I’ve taken opportunities to make small enhancements to restore some of that impact. But at some point, you’ve got to push your children out into the world, warts and all.

So I hereby challenge myself to push more boundaries, especially the ones that make me uncomfortable. The ones that make me grow. And hopefully, touch at least one reader out there.

I’d rather be judged for pushing some limit, testing some boundary, shoving someone’s darling off a cliff with a hand grenade attached than being judged for doing something without substance or meaning. And no, I’m not looking to make everyone happy. Really, I’m not looking to make anyone happy. Except myself.

Even if I worry how my work will be received, I’d rather people look at me and shake their head because of what I do, not because of what I might have done.

Will you do the same?

Want more of this? Come by and see me at http://www.jim-mcdonald.net/. And soon will be launching a podcast over at: http://www.thewritermind.com/.

Thank you, Jim!

We’re really looking forward to seeing you push those boundaries and see where you go from here! 


Jim can be found all along the interwebs at the following places:

Be sure to show Jim’s latests releases some love as well! 


51rxx8jz1xlWe Are Not This 

Over two dozen writers from North Carolina or with deep ties to the Tarheel State band together to raise money for LGBTQ charities in Charlotte and North Carolina as a response to the NC General Assembly’s passage of HB2, the “bathroom bill.”

We are not discrimination.
We are not hate.
We are not fear.
We are not oppression.
We Are Not This.

Proceeds from the sale of this anthology will go to support LGBTQ charities and non-profits in North Carolina.


51ucbzaj9dlUnbound and Determined

Greyson Forrester, born and raised to be a powerful wizard, has survived his trial but left with bigger mysteries behind it all than before. Discovering the trial was just the first battle in a much longer war and the veils between the realms nearly impenetrable, Grey’s lost everything and is again on the run, trying to keep a tenuous hold on life and discover if his restored powers are a gift or a curse.Lost, injured, and alone, someone makes the offer he can’t refuse. To save the two women he loves, and amend for the trail of destruction in his wake, all he has to do is one little job.One thing is certain.The ferryman’s price is a lot more expensive on the return trip from the land of the dead.

Guest Author: Shannon Wendtland

Good morning from the Alley! Today we have a special treat for you, a guest post from author Shannon Wendtland! Her new novel, Heliodor, released March 22. Details to follow the post!


Writers’ Guilt

by Shannon Wendtland

Are you a procrastinator? I’m a procrastinator. I can put something off with the best of them. I can find all kinds of ways of distracting myself from the task at hand – to put it off until later. The problem with that is, if you have aspirations of becoming a published author in a particular timeframe (like I did – swearing I would have a mass-market paperback under my belt by the time I was 40) it’s just not going to happen.

At first I would say I had writer’s block, but there were two little lies I was covering up with that one big one: first, I had plenty of ideas… so many ideas I had partially used notebooks scattered all over the house. I definitely wasn’t blocked!  Second, the real reason I wasn’t writing is because it was work. And I’m kind of lazy. Not the smelly, unwashed kind of lazy, but the sedentary-working-at-a-desk-job-all-day-sucks-the-life-out-of-me kind of lazy.

Then once I stopped using the writer’s block excuse I switched to: I don’t have time. This is nonsense … I had time to watch television, I had time to drink coffee on my patio for an hour or two every weekend morning, I had time for bubble baths and craft projects, I had time for baking and cat-vacuuming, regular vacuuming and daydreaming. Basically it was a lie. When my kids were really small, sure, time was spare. When my kids were older, I could have made time while they were out riding their bikes around the neighborhood, but I was too busy lamenting that I had the life sucked out of by my day job and I just wanted to ‘relax’ during the weekend.  But all the while, those niggling ideas scattered in notebooks all over my house would sort of taunt me with their existence. I knew they were there, waiting to be turned into full-fledged ideas, and some of them even into vignettes that might grow up to be stories. But I avoided them – cast my glance away so that I could put them off for another day.

Then I admitted to myself, I had the time to write, I really did. But I still didn’t do it. Why? WHY? Because I already sat at a desk all day – I didn’t want to do that in my ‘spare’ time, too. Oh, the lamentations of woe. Except…

Except I WAS spending my spare time in front of the computer. I was surfing the internet or playing a game with my husband or researching random topics of interest, looking up recipes, reading forums of fantastical content… contributing HOURS of time and thousands of POSTS to said forums. I was writing. I was writing ALL THE TIME.  And yet, I didn’t consider it ‘really’ writing, because it wasn’t fiction.

Then I turned forty and realized I was never going to be a (now) forty-something author with a mass market paperback under my belt if I didn’t put my seat in my desk chair and draft a god-forsaken story.  And that’s when I realized… what I was really suffering from was GUILT.

Writing is hard, if you’ve ever tried it, if you’ve ever done it, you know what I am talking about. Sometimes the stories flow like rivers between your brain and your fingers, magically transferred through the keyboard onto the great white space of the open document in front of you. It’s a joy when that happens. And for me, it’s mostly that way – I don’t have much of a problem turning on the tap. The words flow. And yet… and yet, why did I wait so long to get serious about it?

I felt guilty that I hadn’t written more. I felt guilty that I didn’t want to force myself into what felt like another commitment – even if it was a commitment to myself. I had all of those snippets of ideas laying around the house, and by procrastinating for so long, I was hiding from them, as if the ideas themselves had little tiny angry voices, shouting at me to give them the life I had promised them by the very act of writing them down in the first place.

It’s like when you had your first apartment. Overjoyed with the idea that you can now do whatever the heck you want, you make some dinner, give the dirty dishes a flippant wave and vow to do them ‘later’ because your parents aren’t standing over you, shaming you into doing them right away. Then it gets to be bed time and you think – they can wait until morning because who’s going to notice if you don’t do them? But you forgot it was Sunday, and so in the morning you get up and rush into work, and you have to work late, and when you get home you barely have time for leftovers before bed. So you dump your dirty plate into the sink with the plastic container from the fridge, and promise “Tomorrow! I will do the dishes tomorrow.”  But tomorrow turns into Wednesday and then Thursday, Friday, Saturday… and you wish you could just throw a match into the sink and burn down your apartment because now there’s too many.

This is how writer’s guilt accumulates – just like that stack of dirty dishes.  We procrastinate, and we do it too long. Then once too long has turned into avoidance (because the stack of ideas, or have-to’s is too big) it flat-out becomes denial. After all, we aren’t published authors yet, so no one is actually counting on us to turn in words. No one will go hungry if we don’t sell that story until next… winter. No one will give us that disappointed stare when we don’t meet our self-imposed deadlines.

Except the mirror. When it gets to the point that you can’t admit your avoidance to the mirror, then you’ve really got a problem on your hands. So you have to get a handle on your guilt.

Make a list! Write down the various ideas that are most interesting to you … the top five will do since there’s no point in overwhelming yourself with an inexhaustible list that will make it even harder for you to put pen to paper or seat in chair.

Once you have that list, pick the item on the top, and even if you haven’t researched it fully, write a friggin’ paragraph as if it were a writer’s prompt and writing exercise. Just do it. No one cares if it sucks, remember? No one but you is watching. You might end up throwing it away, heck I bet most ‘first paragraphs’ end up getting thrown away after the first draft is done. I bet someone at SFWA has statistics on that, too. But do it anyways. Write that paragraph and give that baby idea a chance to bloom into a vignette.

Take the second item on the list – do the same for it. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Do one item a day for five days in a row.

What’s that you say? The weight on your shoulders is getting lighter? The act of writing has become… fun again? Instead of a dreaded activity that will only weigh you down with its self-imposed commitment? I know, I know. Because I have been exactly there. But I’m not anymore, and you don’t have to be either.  Writer’s block? Writer’s guilt? Why wear that heavy mantle when all you have to do is write a paragraph a few days in a row to call yourself a writer.  Your pace is your own. Your word limit is self-imposed. Two hundred-fifty words a day, for three hundred-sixty five days in a row is a novel. That’s one book a year. Anyone can do that. YOU can do that.


HELIODOR

Release Date: March 22, 2016

Heliodor.jpg

About the Book

Malfric sees through the eyes of the dead – literally reliving their last moments as if they were his own. This ability is highly sought and highly priced, which is why the unscrupulous Captain Finch hires him to find the murderer of a nobleman and the whereabouts of a valuable artifact.

Quantex, the able-bodied first mate of Captain Finch, quickly becomes Malfric’s foil as he demonstrates uncommon intelligence during the investigation. Together the two uncover several clues that lead them to the killer, the artifact, and the frayed end of a mysterious plot that begins to unravel the moment Malfric takes it in hand and gives it a good yank.

About the Author

Shannon is a wife, mother, writer, database administrator and general pot-stirrer-turned-mystic.

Social Media Contacts

Website/ Blog: http://shannonwendtlandau.wix.com/a-quarrel-called

Facebook: Shannon Wendtland

Twitter: @ShannonWendtlan

Tumblr: Shannon Wendtland


 

HeliodorEssential Info:

Title:  Heliodor

Author: Shannon Wedntland

Publisher: Mocha Memoirs Press

Length: n/a

Price: $2.99 Kindle

Release Date: March 22, 2016

Amazon Link: Buy it HERE

 

Interview: Artemis Rising, Welcome Back!

Today we have two very special guests!

Lindsay Archer and Carrie Anne Hunt are here from Artemis Rising Productions to talk about their project: OTHERWORLD!

20150405202755-Otherworld_Poster-678x1024


You visited the Alley about a year ago (link to post) and talked about your project, OTHERWORLD. What has happened in the past year with that project?

Carrie Anne: So much has happened! In the past year, we’ve finalized our pilot script for the first episode of OTHERWORLD, had it read by an amazingly talented group of actors, and gone full force into pre-production for what we are calling “phase one.” What does that mean? It means gathering the funds to make a Proof of Concept for OTHERWORLD, which is essentially a short film/extended trailer that will help us showcase our beautiful world and characters to investors and networks. It is an essential tool to help us move into Phase Two, which will be the pitching process where we go to networks and larger investors to make the entire series a reality. It’s really exciting!!


You have an IndieGogo campaign set up for Otherworld. How’s it going?

Lindsay Archer: We’ve slowed down at 11% So we could really use some help hitting that end mark.
CA: Like Lindsay said, right now we are at 11% with our campaign. There’s a lot that fans can do to help! First, I’d like to remind folks that it doesn’t have to be a huge contribution. For example, if we had 927 people donate $25, wed make our goal. Not so bad, huh?

What can folks do to help?

LA: Other than contributing, sharing the project on Facebook, Twitter, and just getting it out there to people who are interested in fantasy is a huge boon.
CA: What we have noticed is that we are getting a lot of shares and traffic to the site, which is GREAT! However, we really need to get the campaign about 10x the exposure it has now. So, what can fans do? Share, share, share! Also, if anybody out there knows of any podcasts or blogs or other Facebook or Tumblr groups that might be interested in what we are doing, please contact us and let us know!

Both Lindsay and I have been doing interviews here and there to raise awareness. Right now, it’s a little bit of a numbers game with traffic vs. donations. So, let’s make this thing go viral! Thank you to all of you for your support, we appreciate it more than we can say!


What’s the next step for the project?

LA: This IndieGogo Campaign is to produce a Proof of Concept. Basically that is a short film, somewhat like a teaser, to get people interested in the show, especially investors and Networks. It helps generate industry support to film a pilot and additional episodes and air them on Networks that can reach their target audience. Ultimately we want to see our series on TV entertaining audiences and sharing this amazing story that we’ve created together.
CA: Yeah! What Lindsay said! Once the Proof of Concept is funded and filmed, we’ll begin the process of pitching it to networks and investors to make the series a reality. The Proof of Concept will help us showcase our unique vision. We are SUPER excited to share the beautiful epic that we’ve crafted (and are still crafting!) together.

Do you have any other projects that you’re working on as well?

LA: Presently, Otherworld is the main focus for Artemis Rising Productions at the moment, but I’ve got several other concepts that I would love to see produced in time.
CA: Like Lindsay said, OTHERWORLD is our main focus right now, but between the two of us, we’ve definitely got some other stuff cooking on the proverbial back burners.

Now, on to some more rapid-fire questions! Favorite color?

LA: Red
CA: Blue-violet!

Favorite song?

LA: Ack! Too many to choose! Recently I’ve become fond of Little Black Submarines by The Black Keys
CA: This is really tough question! But, if I had to pick ONE of my favorites, it would be: The Mystic’s Dream by Loreena Mckinnett

Ireland or New Zealand? Why?

LA: Although I would love to visit either of them, I’d probably prefer to visit Ireland because of its ancient history and castles.
CA: Can my answer just be a resounding YES to both? haha! When I watched Lord of the Rings, it was the landscapes that pulled at my heart more than anything, so I would absolutely love to go over there and get a real feel for the land. Ireland is such a part of my personal heritage that I’d love to be over there as well. Plus, like Lindsay said — Castles! I’m a sucker for castles and countryside.

So. Both. hah!


If you woke up and found yourself as the lead role in a movie, what movie would you most like it to be?

LA: Most of the roles that Gena Davis played, Eowyn from Lord of the Rings, since Aragorn isn’t female, or Katniss in Hunger Games if I could have my younger body.
CA: Assuming we are talking about woke up and as an actress have been cast in a particular movie that’s already been made, rather than waking up living in that world. Uhm… this is a super hard question for me because I’d rather wake up and be cast in a new fantasy movie or period piece as the lead that hasn’t been done yet. Like, OTHERWORLD! hah!

I suppose we could say Labyrinth, since that’s one of my favorite movies and getting to work with the Frouds and the Henson Company is a pretty big dream of mine. That, or Legend, because of the Unicorns. hah.

Or, if they ever end up doing a live-action The Last Unicorn, I would LOVE (OMG, seriously, okay maybe this is it.) LOVE to play Amalthea. I identify with her so much!


Cake or pie?

LA: Pie, because it reminds me of Dean Winchester.
CA: Cobbler! I know that wasn’t an option, but it’s the best. Blackberry cobbler in particular. Just leave it on the windowsill … hehe.

Which way does the toilet paper go? Over or under?

LA: Over!
CA: Whatever floats your boat!

Anything else you want us to cover?

LA: My art on books? Kidding.
I do hope others will help support this project. It’s been a long time in the making. Thank you for taking the time to Interview us, and best wishes!
CA: Nope! I do want to say what an AMAZING team we have pulled together for our Proof of Concept, though. I’m so excited I can barely stand it. So, PLEASE, help us out! Toss us a few bucks and/or share with the masses.

Thanks so much, Lindsay and Carrie Anne. You’re always welcome here.

Best of luck with your Proof of Concept, and hopefully we will have you back soon to offer our congratulations!

Guest Post: Misty Massey and The Weird Wild West!

webbanner_copy

The Weird Wild West Needs Settlers!

Hey y’all!  I’m delighted to be a guest today on the Enchanted Alley!
My name is Misty Massey, and until last summer, I was a writer of fantastic fiction and author of Mad Kestrel (pirates and magic and adventure…oh my!)  I say ‘until last summer’ because that was when things became slightly more crazy and exciting in my world and I agreed to be an editor.
I was a guest at Congregate, and I had just finished a rousing session of Live Action Slush.  I was in the hallway chatting with my co-conspirators Emily Leverett and Margaret McGraw when the subject of publishing an anthology of weird western stories came up.  We all thought it sounded like great fun, so we started approaching authors we believed would add to the thrill of such a project.  Nearly all of them said “Yes!” (okay, a couple were squealing with excitement, but I’m not going to try to spell that sound for you!) so we started querying publishers.
Danielle Ackley-McPhail of eSpec Books snapped us up, and before we knew it, we were running a Kickstarter to fund the project.

What is weird west?

It’s fantasy or science fiction set in the world (or the aesthetic) of the American western frontier.  Movies like High Plains Drifter and Cowboys and Aliens for example, and television shows like the Star Trek episode “Spectre of the Gun”, and Firefly and The Wild Wild West.  Print examples include R S Belcher’s The Six Gun Tarot, Steven King’s Dark Tower saga and Melissa Marr’s The Arrivals It’s the idea of people living on the edge of civilization, where the magic hasn’t died out yet, where the inventors are free to indulge their imaginations in bizarre directions.  

The reason I’m here today is to talk about our Kickstarter.

The book will be called The Weird Wild West, and it will feature stories by R S Belcher, Tonia Brown, Diana Pharaoh Francis, John Hartness, Jonathan Maberry, Gail Martin, James Tuck and me!  If we manage to reach our stretch goals, we’ll add stories by Robert Waters and David Sherman.  But that’s not all – we want to open four spaces for you to submit your own stories!  That’s right, we’d like to see people we’ve never met before sharing our little town of the weird!

But the only way that can happen is with your help.  We’re working toward our funding goal, and we’d love for you to be a part of that.  As all frontier towns did, our project needs settlers – you!
Take a look at the project page and explore the pledge levels.  For as little as $5, you can get your very own copy of this great book, although there are higher pledge levels which offer really cool things – have a character named for you, have a character named for your pet, get a professional critique of your manuscript or even a signed advance copy of Neil Gaiman’s “Stardust”.

We’re running a contest right now, too.  We want to reach 200 settlers (backers) by the New Year.  If you back the project at the $5 level or higher between now and New Year’s Day, you’ll receive not only everything your pledge reward grants you, but also a bonus DRM-free Deadly Curiosities novella by Gail Martin, AND a digital deed to your very own weird western homestead!  All that for $5!


So wander through our dusty streets, and if you like what you see, stay awhile.

We’d be glad to pour you a shot of entertaining stories!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dackley-mcphail/tales-of-the-weird-wild-west

Press Release: Raising Hell by John Hartness Coming Soon!


BEST–SELLING URBAN FANTASY AUTHOR

LAUNCHES NEW E-BOOK SERIES

raisinghell

REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE VIA EMAIL

Contact: john@johnhartness.com


His name is Quincy Harker.

Dracula calls him “nephew.”

His guardian angel, Glory, calls him “Q.”

The police call him a pain in the ass.

Monsters call him their worst nightmare.

He’s the immortal wizard son of Jonathan Harker and Mina Murray, and he’s what the monster under your bed has nightmares about. With a smart mouth, size 11 Doc Martens and a century’s worth of magical knowledge, Quincy Harker is here, and let the bad things tremble in fear.

Quincy Harker hates demons. He hates overprivileged frat boys who let demons play around with underage girls even more. When he’s hired to perform an exorcism on a fifteen-year-old girl, things go wrong from the start. Harker has to call in favors from his uncle Luke, better known as Count Vlad Dracula, his guardian angel Glory and the Department of Homeland Security’s Spook Squad to take out a centuries-old wizard and send all the demons back to Hell where they belong.


About the Series

raisinghellRaising Hell is the first novella in the Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter series by best-selling urban fantasy author John G. Hartness (The Black Knight Chronicles, Bubba the Monster Hunter).

Set in contemporary Charlotte, NC, Raising Hell is a dark fantasy reminiscent of Supernatural or early Hellblazer comics. Fans of horror and fantasy alike will be thrilled with this new action-packed series.

Raising Hell is available in ebook exclusively on Amazon for 90 days beginning January 20. The book will be available in all ebook formats after that and available in print at conventions and appearances this spring.

Pre-orders are now open at this link.


About the Author

John G. Hartness is the author of The Black Knight Chronicles urban fantasy series from Bell Bridge Books, the creator of the Bubba the Monster Hunter series of short stories, a frequent contributor to the Magical Words group blog, and the creator and co-editor of The Big Bad: An Anthology of Evil series of anthologies. He is also the host of the Literate Liquors podcast, featuring the best in fantasy and sci-fi book reviews and liquor pairings. He can be found at @johnhartness on Twitter, facebook.com/johnghartness, or at johnhartness.com.