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COVER REVEAL: Heliodor by Shannon Wendtland

Hi kids! It’s been a while since we talked, but 2016 has gotten off to a busy start. But have no fear, with the dawning of springtime, the Belle is back in town. And to bring in the season, I’ve got a lovely cover reveal for a new steampunk novella that’s going live on 3/22 from Mocha Memoirs Press! I present, Heliodor by newcomer Shannon Wendtland!

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.

Sounds pretty amazing huh? I love a good adventure story! So without further ado……

 

Heliodor

AVAILABLE MARCH 22, 2016 @ mochamemoirspress.com !!

 

 

 

 

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GUEST POST: E. Chris Garrison Talks About BLUE SPIRIT

BlueSpirit_cover_1200X800I’m really excited today because I have the pleasure of bringing you to a work close to my heart.  Blue Spirit is a fast-paced modern fairy tale that blends the fantastical and the humorous.  It’s really no surprise as it’s author, E. Chris Garrison whom I find completely hilarious.  I love the book and I know you will too.  But don’t take my word for it….

Introduce yourself and tell us a little about why you’re visiting the blog today.

Hello and thank you for having me on your blog! I’m Chris Garrison, an indie author from Indianapolis, Indiana. I am here because my publisher, Seventh Star Press, is helping get the word out about my latest release, Blue Spirit, a Tipsy Fairy Tale.

About me? Well, I’m a fan of all things science fiction and fantasy, though I mostly write urban fantasy, science fiction, and some steampunk. I am a long time homebrewer, and have been jokingly named Seventh Star’s official Brewmaster. I think it’s just to get me to bring “samples” of my stuff to conventions. I love board games and spending time with friends and family. My favorite band is Five Year Mission, who are doing a rock song for every original Star Trek series episode.

What inspired you to write Blue Spirit

Blue Spirit is a sort of spin-off of my Road Ghosts Trilogy. I had finished those three and wanted to move on to other characters and situations. I had the thought that rather than ghosts and demons, I’d like to write about fairies in our modern world. I also wanted to write something even funnier than the Road Ghosts, and I wanted it to be in first person so I could filter the world through one person’s senses and thoughts. I’d written in a sort of comic relief character in the second Road Ghosts book, Sinking Down, a drunken vampire roleplaying gamer named Skye, and it came to me that she might be the most fun to turn into a protagonist. Originally, I thought about setting it in Chicago where Skye lived, but instead went with what I know and set it here in Indianapolis. It was fun thinking up places in my own city that could be magical.

Blue Spirit is a fairy tale, of sorts.  What are some of your favorite fairy tales and why?

I am a huge fan of the Little Mermaid, and I’m not ashamed to admit that it’s the Disney version that I love best. I empathized with Ariel wanting to transcend the world she’d grown up in to become something else. Skye’s definitely impulsive and brave like Ariel, though she’s a bit older and makes more questionable decisions. I love the story of Pinocchio as a child, because I knew what it was like to yearn to be more than I was. I guess this is a similar theme with the Little Mermaid too, now that I think of it.As an aside, I watched Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons as a kid, and I loved the Fractured Fairy Tales segment most of all. I loved the skewed take on classic fairy tales, the sense of humor, and visual jokes. I guess that’s why I am a bit wry in my telling of my own fairy tales. 

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Although he was meant to be a sort of whimsical side character, I love the Transit King, Bask. He wasn’t meant to be more than a humorous plot device initially, but he’s turned out to not only be my own favorite, but a fan favorite as well. He’s also been borrowed by fellow Seventh Star Press authors R.J. Sullivan and John F. Allen in their writing. There’s just something irresistible about the little Fairy Godfather, riding the buses granting favors to those in need – in exchange for any favor he asks later. Also, I have great fun writing his vaguely Celtic accent and using him to say cryptic and prophetic things to my characters.  

Chris, you’ve been writing for quite a while now.  What are some things that you’ve learned on this journey from aspiring writer to writer with multiple titles under your belt?

I’ve learned that you’ve got to love writing. It’s not a quick path in any sense of the word. It’s a skill you have to work on by doing it often, and by getting feedback from others. I highly recommend finding or forming a critique group with other writers. The most important thing while writing the first draft is to keep going, don’t worry about whether your grammar and spelling or details are perfect. If you’re uncertain about something (say, a character’s eye color, or the length of a zeppelin) make a note as a comment in bold and move on. Write now, fix later. And be sure you do fix it later, go over the result before giving it to beta readers. When you get feedback, don’t feel obligated to change anything, but be sure to listen to what’s being said. If one reader says one thing, but others say different things, then it’s probably a matter of personal preference. But if many readers point out the same thing, it’s probably something you’ll need to fix.

Art seems to be a big part of the Seventh Star marketing model.  The cover art on this book is pretty extraordinary and it’s my understanding that the authors have a lot of say in the covers. Did you work closely with the artist, Anne Rosario? Tell us about that process.

Anne is a fantastic artist, a real professional, and a friendly person. I supplied her with a file containing my (often hilariously 1_Illustration_BlueSpiritbad) whiteboard sketches, along with notes and blocks of text from the book to go with the scene. She came back excited and had many questions about the characters, what they looked like, their personalities, and so on. She sent me pencil sketches of her ideas, and used feedback from me to produce the beautiful artwork you see on and in Blue Spirit. I very much look forward to working with her for the sequel, Restless Spirit. I’m interested to see how she’ll draw my trolls.

Blue Spirit is available right now!  Tell us where we can get it!!

 Print:

http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Spirit-E-Chris-Garrison/dp/1941706827

Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Spirit-Tipsy-Fairy-Tale-ebook/dp/B00X6571BC

Barnes and Noble Link:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blue-spirit-eric-garrison/1105805795?ean=9781941706824

I also have a book trailer video, which features the artwork of Anne Rosario, along with other information about Blue Spirit here:

http://sillyhatbooks.com/blue-spirit

My Blog and contact information are at http://sillyhatbooks.com and I can be found on Facebook as E. Chris Garrison, author.

Thanks once again for having me as a guest!

Synopsis of Blue Spirit: Gamer girl Skye MacLeod can see fairies, but only when she’s tipsy. More Grimm than enchanting, some of these fairies are out to ruin her life, wreaking havoc with her job, her home, and her relationships. With the help of her tiny fairy friend Minnie, Skye has to protect her vampire wannabe gamer friends from all-too-real supernatural threats only she can see. Can she keep it together and hold fast against a wicked fairy Queen’s plot?

Blue Spirit is the first book of A Tipsy Fairy Tale series!

ECGarrisonAuthorPhotoAbout the Author: E. Chris Garrison (who also writes as Eric Garrison) is active in the writing community in Indianapolis, Indiana. He lives in the Circle City with his wife, step-daughter and a cabal of cats. He also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape.

Chris’ novel, Reality Check, is a science fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com during a promotion in July 2013.

Seventh Star Press is the home of Chris’ supernatural fantasy series, Road Ghosts, including Four ‘til Late, Sinking Down, and Me and the Devil.

Cover Reveal: The Undying Light by Stephen Zimmer

So kids, I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but as always– I’m workin’ on it.  Things have been hectic and crazy, so I’ve let a few things slide. However, today, I just couldn’t let this one go.  Understand, this isn’t like a regular cover reveal in that I was not asked to reveal nor was I implored by a blog tour.  No, kittens, I’m unveiling this one all on my own because my very good friend, Stephen Zimmer, is always doing such nice and wonderful things for other people.  I felt it was my duty to help promote a book that he believes in so much.

His new book, The Undying Light, is the next in his Rising Dawn Series from Seventh Star Press.  It’s been anxiously awaited for a while now and as a reader– I’m extremely excited for the next chapter in the series.  As his friend, I’m very excited for the release of a book that is obviously so close to his heart.  This has been a tough year for Stephen, but he’s persevered and continued to be that “undying” light for everyone else, so let’s drum up some buzz and excitement for this new chapter!

undying light

Isn’t it beautiful?  Matt Perry, one of Seventh Star Press’s amazing cover artists has really outdone himself with this one.  Again, let’s give Mr. Zimmer a round of applause!  Now… the hard part…. waiting for release day…

A word from Stephen about Undying Light….

This day last year I endured the most nightmarish experience I ever had, the last hours with my mother in a hospital. While today is a very difficult day, I am following the advice of a friend, Susan H. Roddey, and unveiling the cover art and illustrations created by Matt Perry for my new book as a tribute to my mom, for very appropriate reasons. All of my novels have been dedicated to her, as she is a major reason why I am who I am today, and why I do what I do. She is the one that got me started along the path of the fantastical and using my imagination, reading me The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit at a very young age. She lives in everything I do, and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate book cover to unveil for this moment, when I think of what the title is referencing and what it means. It is not easy as this is the first full novel I’ve released since she passed away on this day last year. I’m here today to show that I’m continuing the fight and that the things that brought her great joy with me continue forward. I love her more every day and miss her dearly. The Undying Light portrayed in this novel embodies my greatest dreams, the ones that I hope most will be realized and I hope that everyone enjoys the new book. – Stephen

Share and share alike, kids!

An Angel Has No Memory by Peter Tupper

Memory FinalSo I’m reading all these really interesting new books lately from friends and I’m really excited to share them with everyone.  I came across “An Angel Has No Memory” and I thought it was worthy of sharing with all of you.  The author, Peter Tupper, was kind enough to come over to The Belle and tell us a little about his new release!

Greetings. My name is Peter Tupper. I’m a writer and journalist in Vancouver, BC, and I’m here to tell you about my new book, An Angel Has No Memory, published by Inkstained Succubus.

The woman– the Asset– the Toy– turned to face her, focussing her entire, though limited, attention. “Good day, Ms. Chung,” she said.

“Hello, ah, Gold,” Rose said, on edge. She knew about the Fulfilment House’s Assets, people who had agreed to have their bodies surgically reshaped into images of beauty and strength, and their brains augmented with millions of dollars worth of hardware, so their memories and identities could be erased and reprogrammed depending on the assignment: anything from sex worker to lawyer to assassin. She had seen images in the parent corporation’s advertising, but she’d never been face to face with one.

This one smiled at her with the tranquil, uncaring expression of a happy child. There was no complexity in there, no resentment, no hidden agenda or angry judgement waiting for her to make a mistake.

In An Angel has no Memory, Rose works as a programmer for Assets, people who can be programmed with whatever personality and skills are needed for the assignment. In between assignments, the Assets are kept in a child-like amnesiac state, and live in a carefully controlled environment where they exercise and do simple art. (If you notice a resemblance to a certain Joss Whedon television series, please keep it to yourself.)

Rose deals with the anxieties and frustrations of her job by pretending to be an Asset in their blank state, even stealing a set of Asset clothing and wearing it at home. She finds relief in being like a child or doll, separate from everyday life and the demands of being a person, and being cared for by others.

This is similar to the BDSM practices of submission, ageplay or petplay: stepping away from our society’s injunctions to be capable and responsible at all times. What people find puzzling and disturbing about masochism is the way it goes against the assumption that everybody wants to be more powerful, more free. Masochism is fundamentally perverse, but it meets the needs of the masochist, not only for suffering or for a lack of responsibility, but for recognition by another.

Going to an even further stage is disability pretenders, people who fantasize about being paralyzed or that their limbs are amputated.  It’s more than just the physical state of disability, or the fantasy of such. Functionalist sociologist Talcott Parsons identified what he called “the sick role”, in which the sick person is exempt from social obligations and not responsible for their condition, but must comply with medical authority and try to get well. Those who aren’t deemed sick are considered hypochondriacs or malingerers, and are effectively cheating. The sick role has its rewards.

When I was a kid, I went through an odd week when I really wanted to have a hearing aid, like the guy I had seen on a PBS kids show. Bear in mind, this was back when hearing aids were boxes bigger than a first generation iPod, with visible wires connecting to big earpieces, and you had to wear it on your chest to pick up people speaking. It made the wearer’s deafness extremely visible. I made myself a toy version with some string and a bit of wooden train track, and wore it for a while, then got tired off it. These days, hearing aids are much smaller, able to fit into the ear canal, and people who use them are less visible or even invisible. I doubt a modern hearing aid would have had the same impact on me; it wouldn’t have been visible enough.

In Lars von Trier’s film The Idiots (1998), a group of mentally and physically sound people gather to pretend to be a commune for people with severe mental disabilities. They go on expeditions into spaces like public pools and supermarkets where they twitch and drool. Even “the idiots” themselves don’t agree on why they are doing this; some want to shock the bourgeoisie, others see it as self-exploration and creative expression, others want a break from regular life. At least one member of the group really can’t cope with “real life”, further complicating the issue.

In Chuck Pahlaniuk’s Fight Club, the narrator attends support groups for people with incurable physical illnesses, partaking of their unconditional acceptance and support, because he cannot acknowledge he is depressed and lonely.

In Vicki Hooks’ erotic stories of amputee pretending, which sometimes combine with transvestism, the protagonist’s apparent disability does not lead to social isolation, but instead to friendship and romance.

Even the TV series Glee had a character who faked a stutter to avoid social interaction, and another who claimed self-diagnosed Asperger’s to excuse her obnoxious personality.

If masochism is fundamentally a need for recognition by another, then it would make sense that a person would voluntarily take on the role of the abject, the sick, the disabled, the weak, the primitive. This performance simultaneously sheds their old identity and creates a new one, one that is “special” and visible.

The problems start when you remember that some people can’t leave the “sick role” when they feel like it.

You can find Peter on the Web at http://www.petertupper.com

Loving Dangerously Blog Hop: How J.J. Abrams Made Me a Trekkie

Loving Dangerously 1Greetings, Earthlings!

Now y’all know I love a good blog hop and this one I’m particularly excited about because it’s all about sci-fi erotic romance, one of my new favorite subgenres.  I say “new” favorite because I never really liked the “hard science fiction”/ space opera genre really.  Of course, I liked Star Wars.  It’s something I grew up on.  But as for Star Trek, Issac Asimov, and the like, I wasn’t really a fan.  I always felt lost in the story with all the invented vocabulary and long, drawn out explanations of fictional technologies– I admit it, it gave me a headache.

Case in point:  this summer’s Superman movie.  Unlike the Christopher Reeve incarnations, this year’s attempt at making Superman was very difficult for me.  One:  I don’t read the comic and there was lots of stuff that you’d really only know if you’re an avid reader of the current Superman comic books.  Two:  It was really spacey.  In the past, we’ve focused on Clark Kent/ Superman’s life on Earth with his loving adoptive parents and tenacious reporter, Lois Lane.  In this summer’s movie, there’s all this spacey stuff that takes place on Krypton that quite frankly, I didn’t understand.  I needed someone to step past the “fourth wall” and explain shit to me.  Like… what the hell is the codex?  What is that superjuice we’re putting in baby Superman?  Basically, all I got out of that movie was that Henry Cavil is really smokin’ hot.

J.J. Abrams– TO THE RESCUE!!  The best movie this summer, by far, was Star Trek Into Darkness.  And I hate spacey movies, remember??!! To give credit where it’s due, J.J. Abrams made me like “spacey stuff.”  He took all that otherworldly stuff that I hated about hard sci-fi and made it accessible for someone like me who ISN’T a science nerd.  Oh, and by the way, every time something weird happens that non-Trekkie me didn’t get, Mr. or Ms. Information had a little speech to explain it all.  Another thing that sci-fi stuff often loses is characterization.  Authors and filmmakers alike seem to fall so in love with their world-building that they forget to make the characters relateable.  And it really is important to have a firm, well-developed character if he or she is going to walk around with a lobster on his/ her head.  Abrams accomplished this expertly in both Star Trek films.  Every character has depth, strengths, weaknesses– even the ones we may only see for 10 minutes throughout the entire film.  And each character has his/her turn to shine, which in turn helps me buy into the believability.  And last but not least– Into Darkness had the one thing in particular that made it better than any other movie this summer, spacey or otherwise– Benedict Cumberbatch.  And I’ll just stop there, because that’s a whole other blog post.

Now that I have this newfound love of sci-fi goodness, I’m super excited to read the Loving Dangerously series by A. M. Griffin.  It’s an erotic little space opera with alien invasions, space pirates and a smoldering temptress.  Check out the blurb:

Kane Epps divides his life into two distinct parts—before the alien invasion and after. dangerously yours coverBefore the invasion, he had a pregnant wife and a high-powered job. After the invasion, he’s left with only himself and his hatred for all things alien. He channels his bitterness by captaining a vessel of renegade humans—space pirates who don’t think twice about taking what they need.

Princess Sa’Mya is on the run. She and a few trusted advisers fled her home planet only to be captured by the sexy, dangerous Captain Epps. He claims to hate aliens but can’t seem to resist touching her or kissing her…everywhere. As Kane introduces Sa’Mya to ever-increasing, unimaginable realms of pleasure, the princess becomes determined to earn his trust. She’s used to getting what she wants. And this time, what she wants is Kane Epps.

Buy Links:

Ellora’s Cave: http://www.ellorascave.com/dangerously-yours.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dangerously-Mine-ebook/dp/B00AO5CWSY/

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dangerously-yours-am-griffin/1115474805?ean=9781419945243

Sounds pretty sexy huh?  I can’t wait to read Dangerously Yours.  But wait… there’s more!  There’s an amazing contest going along with the blog tour.  Enter to win tons of prizes, including Amazon gift cards, A.M. Griffin swag bags, and lots of other treats! Each stop contains an awesome quote from a science fiction book or movie. They are all found on out-of-this-world photos. Figure out what movie or book the quote is from and post in the Rafflecopter by clicking the quote photo below. DON’T post as a comment on the blog stop! That’ll give away the answers.

Quote 2_7

Have fun and good luck!

 

In This Red Country Blog Tour: Writing Tips

Available August 23rd from Amazon!!

Available August 23rd from Amazon!!

Hello darlings!  Coming to the blog today I have the great pleasure of welcoming up and coming author J.P. Lantern.  He’s here today to give all us writers some tips and tricks of the trade.  And I don’t know about you, but all my writer peeps out there will agree that writing is a learning process, so get out your notebooks and listen up….

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I was tasked for this blog to write out some writing tips.
I’m not sure that what I have to say here will be any different than what probably you have read before.  But perhaps this is your first time looking for writing tips. Perhaps you, on your quest to divine truth from a vast collection of lies that you crafted want some help with making it all happen. So here you are, the big tip:  Focus on Structure.
I watch a lot of Netflix. I watch Documentaries, I watch TV shows, I watch movies, I watch whatever. My mind takes a lot to occupy itself, so I usually have to have something on the television while I’m working on other projects. What I’ve noticed, ever since doing this, is that I can start to predict plots. I can sense “the turn,” basically. I know when something has to shift, and I can sense very well the building of momentum— in a good movie, or a good documentary, or good tv show, every single scene is doing something. It’s adding the stakes somehow. And just when these stakes seem too much, one of them turns, and it either
lessens or folds into another bit of conflict or escalates to the point that the protagonist has no choice but to take care of it. Every single time. That’s structure. Structure is a great thing to understand. When conflict fails you, when characters fail you, when plot devices fail you—there will be structure to catch your fall. If you do not focus on the structure of
stories, you are basically lost.
Don’t try to invent new structures. I mean, do it if that’s how your mind works, but don’t do it just because you think you’re going to do this brand new thing that no one’s seen before. There are only two possible outcomes to the latter option—you find out someone has
done it before, and much more expertly than you, or you find out the only reason that no one tried it already is because that way stinks.
I was listening to a radio interview not too long ago with Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, two of the actors and creators from the old Comedy Central show Reno 911! They’re also scriptwriters. They said something very astute, which I’m paraphrasing, “Basically, most every movie is Die Hard. You have all these characters, and they’re stuck in a situation. Your job as a writer is to show the audience how they get out of that situation. Once you build up a name for yourself and make some money, you can do some more experimental stuff. Until then, write Die Hard.” They are absolutely correct. For novels, though, I wouldn’t write
Die Hard (though it was a novel first, so who knows). Maybe The Old Man and the Sea
(which, now that I think about it, is a lot like Die Hard).
A lot of people think that unless they write something really scandalous and brand new, no one will take them seriously. What I’ve noticed is that the more serious I take writing and approach it as a business with an audience with a set number of expectations, the less I worry about being taken seriously. When you are making money from writing, people take that very seriously, and write away, in the same way that people take anything seriously that makes money. So you don’t have to worry about breaking the mold. You can use whatever old molds you find. So long as you are writing well, you will notice that people genuinely enjoy reading those same old molds again and again.
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Wise advice, indeed.  I think I’ll write an erotic version of Die Hard.  It’ll be called Die HARDER, FASTER, DEEPER!!  Here’s more about J.P. and his incredible new book, In this Red Country.
About the Author
J.P. Lantern lives in the Midwestern US with his terrific wife and wonderful dog, though his heart and probably some essential parts of his liver and pancreas and whatnot live
metaphorically in Texas. He writes science-fiction, which he has deemed “rugged,” though would also be fine with “roughhewn” because that is a terrific and wonderfully apt word. The first novella in his Red Country trilogy, *In This Red Country*, is due out on Amazon on August 23rd, 2013. He is also publishing a collection of five short stories tangential to the novella, *Around The Martian Fringe*, also available at Amazon.
About In This Red Country
In the frontier town of Trunkdown, Clay does his best to maintain the grip on sanity that his mother and father both lost. Clay’s young wife, Maggie, is pregnant, and on the frontier of Mars, that’s a death sentence. Even for a surgeon like Clay, medication for a birth is inaccessible.  Without medication, every pregnancy on Mars ends with an abomination ripping out of the mother’s body. Abandoning Clay’s surgeon practice, the two set out to
the nearest city, hoping to find a solution. There are no cars, no planes. They must walk through the land, but the land is littered with danger. Rain storms attack the ground like artillery fire. Mutated beasts populate the nights. Natives—adult versions of the inhumans that burst from unmedicated wombs—attack travelers at will.
The two decide the only way they can make the trip is with a guide named Abram. The bad news is that Maggie and Abram used to be lovers. The worse news is that Abram is a native himself. When each traveler is unable to let the past stay past, old resentments begin to boil among them, irrevocably pushing all three toward a shocking, violent conclusion.