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Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

kindle-coverIn celebration of the Fourth of July weekend, my pirate adventure fantasy with dragons and airships, The Voyage to Ruin, is free! Light up your sparklers and crack open the delicious beverage of your choice, and sail over to V2R on Smashwords for oodles of nautical adventure.

And remember, word of mouth is how indie authors survive. If you read it, even if you hate it or couldn’t finish it, think about leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads. I’d be deeply obliged to you!

ETA: Thanks to eagle-eyed readers who noticed the link was broken and suggested the fix. It should be working now.

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Brave_coverMy short story, “Somebody Brave,’ is available now, DRM-free, on Amazon!

Here’s the book description:

They had done what they could. The six heroes had traversed the land to gather the seventeen Artifacts to defeat the evil sorcerer Maliax. But would their efforts be enough to stop the end of the world?

This short adventure story originally appeared in the Nightfalls anthology from Dark Valentine Press.

For less than the price of a cup of coffee, this story can be yours! Or you can enter to win a free copy, as well as a whole bunch of other nifty free books and book-related items, as the March Mayhem giveaway winds to a close. If you haven’t entered yet, hop to it!

Either way, thanks for looking, and if you read the story you can help me out by leaving a review! I hope you enjoy it!

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Nothing will stop the mayhem! March Mayhem, that is! If you haven’t signed up for the epic swag giveaway (lots of free books, guys! So much reading material for your eyeballs!) sail on over and do so, then come back here for an interview with Orne St John, hero of Joanne Renaud’s timey-wimey romance, Doors.

***

joanne_Orne_lgOrne St. John, the hero of Doors, is the youngest child and only son of Stephen Orne St. John, the only son of billionaire philanthropist Charmian Struck (of Struck Museum fame). The Struck family is old New York money, descended from Gilded Age railroad magnate Herman Struck, who was related to the Schemerhorns and part of Mrs. Astor’s 400. Orne is an eccentric dilettante who loves occult theory, paranormal conspiracies and collecting rare books and art; he is also a throughly modern guy who loves EDM and is attached to his smartphone.  We’re happy to have him here today.

 

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

I’d love to just disappear. Back when I was a kid, after I dropped out of Princeton, I roamed the world going to raves and sleeping in the rough. I’d love to fly off back to Thailand and hang out at Koh Phangan. I had a lot of good times there. I went to several Full Moon Parties back in the ‘90s and it was always spectacular. I wish I could go back.

Of course, my love of Koh Phangan isn’t exactly a secret. I think I’d pick a new place to go. Some place new to explore. Some place no one knows about. A secret. (Well, maybe one person.) But I don’t think I’ll tell you. Then it wouldn’t be a secret, would it?

 

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I think I’ve been fairly lucky in my lives so far. I’m aware of how privileged I am. I imagine my next life should be something rather drastically different then this one. Maybe I’ll be a ditch-digger on Mars. Or maybe I’ll work in a asteroid mine. It’s hard to tell what the future will bring, as it looks like Late Capitalism has— and will— make life on this planet exciting for quite some time to come.

 

What are you most proud of about your life?

God, who knows. I’ve hardly changed the world or solved hunger or cancer or whatever. I know I’m not the easiest guy to get on with. But I like to think that I’ve been a good patron to artists, authors and other creatives. It’s tough— very tough— to make a living in this city, and I want to help out however I can.

 

What was the happiest time of your life?

I’d say one of them was traveling the world back in the late ‘90s in my beat-head phase— seeing new places, meeting new people— hearing the most astonishing new music out under the open sky. New York is one of the greatest cities in the world, but it can be like living in a fishbowl.

 

What about the lowest point?

Dealing with the fallout from my cousin’s death. Or my mother. Anyway, I’d rather not talk about that. (more…)

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I haven’t touched Steel Butterfly: Part One since I sent it off to the Awesome Team Beta a couple of months ago (in fact I haven’t written a word of fiction since I typed The End), but that was the plan. I wanted to let it sit and not do too much conscious thinking about it until I was ready to dig into revisions–and I knew (or felt, or vaguely apprehended–more likely, given my usual MO) it would need revisions a-plenty.

My feeling or vague apprehension is borne out by initial reports from the betas: the beginning is rough, the world-building sketchy, and the main character not as likeable as I had fondly imagined. So, that’s okay; now I know what I need to fix. But I’m not going to dive in just yet (for one thing, a couple members of the expeditionary force have yet to report back), for another I’ve got art deadlines, and for a third I want to give it time to cook in my subconscious before I bring it back to the fore.

I don’t know how other authors work, but for me a lot of the thinking about my stories goes on in the background while I’m doing other stuff. It’s like soup: you chuck in the ingredients, turn on the fire, and then let everything simmer and meld. Sometimes you might chuck in a couple extra things while it’s cooking, to make sure you’ve got the balance of flavors right, but mostly you just leave it alone.

What that means in practical writing terms is working on other stuff entirely, taking notes when a concrete idea bubbles to the top of my brain, and just generally being on the alert for neat ideas I can toss into the soup. I’m reading a book called Samurai Sketches (tales of samurai from the end of the Edo period) that is happily congruent with some of my needs (plus it’s just interesting!), and a blog post about Final Fantasy IX helped bring some of my world-building thoughts into better focus. That doesn’t mean my soup is going to be Final Fantasy-flavored*, or have big chunks of samurai in it (how far can we take this metaphor?), but storytellers are omnivoracious, and every thought, word, experience, goes into the soup one way or another.

The omnivoracious author on the hunt for more ingredients...

The omnivoracious author on the hunt for more ingredients…


 

*It doesn’t mean it’s not going to be Final Fantasy-flavored either, given what a tight grip FF4 still has on my imagination.

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I would show what I've been working on, but, you know, NDAs and whatnot.

I would show what I’ve actually been working on, but, you know, NDAs and whatnot.

Work has been keeping me busy, which means less blogging, of course, but I thought I would interrupted my deadline-imposed blog exile for a couple of advertisements.

First, my nautical fantasy The Voyage to Ruin, chock-full of pirates, airships, swashbuckling, ancient sea gods, dragons, magicians, and countries named after food, is now only $2.99 at Smashwords and on Amazon. I am informed it is available on Google Play as well, but since my dashboard there won’t give me a link nor where to find one, probably easier to go to one of the other places. If I ever do get a Google link, I will share it. [ETA: A helpful and keen-eyed reader discovered the Google Books link for me.  A glass of rum with you, sir!] Two dollars and ninety-nine cents! It is an excellent price for over 100,000 words of intrigue, sorcery, fisticuffs, sea battles, and even a hint of romance. There is no kitchen sink included, only because none of the main characters ever set foot inside a kitchen, and ships lack such amenities anyway.

And second, TeePublic is holding its monthly sitewide sale. Like the gentleman who, when he had a little money, bought books, when I have a little spare time I draw Thor. Some of those Thor-related designs can be purchased on shirts at my TeePublic shop, and I would take it as a kindness if you would go and check them out. There is also a Last Unicorn design, for those who remember that movie with fondness.

Colorful shirts for your torso!

Colorful shirts for your torso!

This concludes our advertisement interruption; we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. Oh, and happy Thorsday! 😀

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Jupiter Ascending is like the dream you might have, if you fell asleep on the couch after a heavy meal, probably involving alcohol (not beer, though; or even wine–too common. Absinthe or chartreuse), in a room with an Art Deco book on the coffee table and a Matrix poster on the wall, where your roommate was marathoning science fiction movies like Dune and The Fifth Element. Which is a pretty specific set of circumstances, come to think of it.

jupiter-ascending

What I mean is, like a dream it lacks all coherence, you can’t recount what happened in it once you wake up, and though it looked pretty cool (my dreams always look cool, don’t know about you guys), you can only enjoy it because you were asleep. It’s terrible in a way that we don’t even have words for, so terrible that even now, having seen it, I’m not sure what I saw or if I actually saw it. As in dreams, characters come and go without explanation or purpose, conversations occur that seem to their participants to convey meaning but are actually nonsense, the scene jumps from place to place with no explanation so that a new nonsense conversation can take place.

And then, at the end, Channing Tatum has wings. Because at this point, why not.  (Actually, my favorite part of watching this film was when Tatum’s character ripped his shirt off, and one of the teenage girls in the front of the audience gasped audibly.  It was almost as great as the shirtless scene in Thor 2, when a woman in the audience actually yelled, “OH MY GOD!”)

It’s like the worst YA book* you’ve ever read, and the most frustrating, because it seems full of interesting ideas, ideas with a lot of potential for a cool story, but none of them are fully thought out or employed effectively, and then there are so many elements thrown in because why not? They are just cool. So what you have is idea salad, but no story, and that’s a shame, because Art Deco Vampire Space Royalty, and a beautiful Space Princess and Wolf Angel Boy who have to Put A Stop to their Evil, sounds like a really cool story, doesn’t it? Or maybe just a dream.

*Just to make it clear, I’m not bashing YA. I love YA, and many of my favorite books are marketed as YA. But even the most ardent YA fan has to admit that there are a looooot of terrible books on the shelves in the YA section, and that terrible YA has a different flavor than terrible SF or terrible romance or terrible fantasy. Some books–and some movies–are just terrible, and that is fact, but that fact doesn’t condemn a whole genre. Cool?

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Captain Zeal by Joanne Renaud

Captain Zeal looks so stern because he wants you to download his book!

Merry Christmas, to all you lovely people out there–however few or many!  What is your favorite part of the holiday?  For me–well, I have a lot of favorite parts.  I love the traditional Christmas hymns, like “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming,” and I’ve even gotten a little bit fond of “In the Bleak Midwinter.”  I love Midnight Mass, the scent of the incense and the beautiful vestments of the priest, the orderly dance at the altar.  I love the stockings hung by the chimney with care–and this year I even made sure that everyone’s generic storebought stocking was properly labelled, so that Saint Nicholas will not get confused about whose is whose.  And of course, I love giving presents!  (I love wrapping them too, in my ham-handed way.)

In that spirit, I give to you, my reader(s) a gift!  If you haven’t already got your copy of The Voyage to Ruin, you can visit its Smashwords page right now, and from today until Epiphany, January 6, use the coupon code LS48K at checkout to get it for free.

Here’s wishing you a very merry Christmas indeed!


 

P.S. And while we’re on the subject of free books, the A Question of Time giveaway is still open.  So until midnight 12/28 (that is, the midnight that 12/28 begins, not the next day), go and comment on the original post if you’d like to win a copy of one of my favorite time travel romance stories!

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