Saturday, December 13, 2014

Elmo Leopold: A Twelfth Night Interview

We were originally supposed to have an interview with Aimee J. Scott, author of Eva’s Ascension, but due to circumstances beyond our control that interview had to be postponed. Instead we are presenting, a day late and at great imaginary expense, an interview with Pharos Publishing author, Elmo Leopold.

1.) What are you willing to tell us about yourself?

Well, I sprang, fully formed, from the mind of another author in the mid 90s. I am the in house pseudonym for Pharos Publishing and as such I get blamed for the books that people are too ashamed to put their name on. Or credited for the awesome ones that might get someone else sued.

2.) What’s it like, not being real?

I am real. At least, I’m real in the sense that the Velveteen Rabbit became real. He was loved until he was real. I’ve been, well maybe not loved but the idea is the same. Let’s just say that as long as I am utilized for the purpose that I was created I will be real.

3.) Who created you?

Ok, that’s a bit of a theological question. Who created you? Was it your Mum and Dad? Was it God? It’s the same with me. The first writer to blame me for their work, or credit if you prefer, is my Mum or Dad. The really smart readers will be able to figure out who that is. But the more interesting question is, was God responsible for their creation of me?

4.) What themes are you most passionate about and which of your works explore them?

Whichever themes are being explored in a book with my name on it and all of my books explore them.

5.) What other projects are on your radar for the near future?

I’ve been appointed as editor on a Charity Anthology to raise awareness of Domestic Violence and money to help people escape from that horrific nightmare.

6.) What will you tell us about that project?

We are looking for authors willing to donate a story with a domestic violence theme that is partly grounded in fact. There will be 13 stories an the book will, probably, carry the title “Twelve Shades of Crazy”.

7.) What is your favorite book written by yourself and by someone else and why?

By me, none, as I’ve never actually written anything and by someone else, anything with my name on it.

8.) Is there any question that you dislike answering and why?

What is it like to not be real? Mostly, because it is a hurtful reminder that I am basically someone’s imaginary friend.

9.) Is there a question that you wish someone had asked you and what is your answer to it?

What is the square root of 2 pumpkin pie? My answer would be, who cares as long as there is whipped cream too.

10.) What is the hardest part of being a writer?

Not having a corporeal being to actually do the physical act of writing.

11.) What do you want your legacy to be?

More good books were published with my name on the than bad ones.

12.) Where can readers find you on the internet?

Short Author Bio:

eyeElmo Leopold sprang, fully formed, from the mind of another author in the middle of the final decade of the twentieth century. He takes equal parts credit and blame for other authors' work as is befitting his role as Pharos' in house pseudonym.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Fanatic: A First Look

Today sees the publication of Cynthia D. Witherspoon’s new title, The Fanatic. It is the second book in The Oracle Series. Cynthia has kindly allowed us to share an excerpt with you and so we are proud to allow you a first look at The Fanatic! Enjoy.

thefanatic-cover-compWe are all looking for someone to save us. Fairy tales promised us white knights on gleaming horses who would ride in, slay our demons, and sweep us away to our happily ever after. But nobody ever told me what would happen if the white knight didn't show up. And there are no fairy tales that talk about what happens once the demons take over.

But I know. I had learned real quick to rely on the one hero who had been here all along. The one person I'd always been afraid to believe in.

Myself.

I was going to create my own happily ever after, and my enemies would be damned for it.

I lit the final candle before I stepped back to inspect my deathbed. I had set everything up in the center of my living room. Three red candles flickered on the headboard. Two black ones gleamed at the foot. The sheets had been soaked with as much kerosene as I could legally buy here in Los Angeles. Perhaps it was the fumes affecting me, or perhaps I had finally gone over the proverbial edge, but I smiled. Within the hour, all of my problems would disappear. If my work here was successful, the one person responsible for my life falling apart would be damned along with me.

I wanted to die. I wasn’t afraid. I had spent my life trying to discover all I could about what lay on the other side of the Veil. After all, death was my business. Spirits were my passion. I’d been obsessed with the grave for as long as I could remember. When I was little, my momma tried to replace my obsession with the grandeur of heaven. If only I would give my soul to Jesus, then I would be alright.

I wasn’t alright. I never would be again. My work - my very purpose here on Earth - had been stolen from me. No longer would the world learn about the afterlife in a sensible way. No longer would science and reason be used as a weapon against our ignorance towards death. There was nothing else I could do. I had fought to keep my work in the limelight. I begged for them not to take my audience away from me. No, my time had run out. My work had faltered. And the world I tried to teach had rejected me.

Besides, Heaven wasn’t meant for the likes of me. I was going to hell.

And I was going to make damn sure my enemy joined me there.

Yes, tonight was my night. I had been preparing for this moment since I had been fired three months earlier. See, I had been one of the lucky ones. I was once a presenter on the highest rated show on television. I traveled the world, studying the paranormal with a passion unmatched by anyone else. I had money. Fame. Fans.

Until the ratings started to fall. I glared at the photographs scattered among past due notices and the eviction letter received just this afternoon on the floor around my bed. Once again, I muttered curses at the face staring back up at me. I had been replaced by a stupid girl who claimed to have abilities no one could actually possess. Eva McRayne's Grave Messages hit the airwaves and shoved me out of the job which had been my calling. Now my show was nothing more than a DVD box set. All of my hard work forgotten thanks to a blonde idiot who would prance around, call out to Apollo, then pretend to pass on the last words of the dead.

I hated her. I hated everything about her.

It was true that Grave Messages hadn't been her idea. In the interviews I had seen, she would laugh at the idea of being on television. McRayne would give the credit to her co-host, Elliot Lancaster, but he was nothing. He was worthless.

I had studied the tabloids which carried the pictures of them together. There were headlines boasting the two of them were still in love despite breaking up within a month of filming their show. It was unprofessional and sickening. But the knowledge I had gained from those articles would come in handy tonight.

McRayne and Lancaster had met at the University of Georgia some five years before. When Lancaster had graduated, his daddy gave him a television show and of course, the blonde tagged along after him. The facts got hazy from there. McRayne's bio online said she had been forced into her role as the Sibyl during a conference. It was a good story, but I had once been a headliner for those conferences. No one in their right mind with any sort of power would give it all up to a stranger. Not when there was money to be made. Why give up your livelihood to a stranger who didn't appreciate it? No, her story didn't make any sense. She was the lie. She was the fraud.

But I wasn't. And I would make damned sure she knew it.

I watched as the shadows cast across the floor by the street lamps outside shift and knew it was time. I suppose I should have been more sentimental. Someone with more sense than me would have taken one last look at the world they were leaving behind. I tried to think of my mother. I wanted to shed a tear or two over what might have been if Eva McRayne had never surfaced. It was far too late for such thoughts.

I was ready. More than ready. I picked up one of the photographs and clutched it to my chest as I laid down.

The kerosene fumes were overwhelming. I coughed, relishing in the lightheadedness I felt.

"Erinyes of old, Blessed Judges of Fate," I called out to my empty apartment between gasps of breath. "Athena's own mistresses of justice, come to me. Take my spirit as your own. Take my soul as payment for the deed you will do for me."

I felt the air growing colder despite the flames I had surrounded myself by. I wiped away the tears from my eyes as I continued.

"I seek justice. I crave vengeance against the one who stole my life away from me."

The flames above me flared. I wondered if I would be able to finish the spell before I was consumed by the fires I had set. So I closed my eyes to the fumes and focused on the darkness in my heart. I held up the picture as I hurried to continue.

"Eva McRayne, Sibyl to Apollo will fall. She, and she alone, is responsible for stealing my audience. Before she came along, I was cherished. Now, I am forgotten just as you have been. Unknown to her and a world that craves knowledge of the afterlife. No longer. After tonight, Eva McRayne will know who I am. She will suffer for the crimes she committed against me. Great Erinyes, aid me. Give me the vengeance I seek."

The bed began to shake as I touched a single corner of the photograph to the tip of the candle flame. It ignited with a flash. I screamed as the flames traveled downward to the sheets I had prepared. I had only a moment left; a single breath to curse the bitch who caused my downfall.

"Eva McRayne will suffer."

***

I found myself embraced by a darkness I could revel in. I blinked, confused as I took in my new surroundings. There was no golden gate. No avenging angel to approach me with a book of blessed names to see if I was listed among those worthy enough to enter Heaven. No, there was nothing like that at all. I was standing in a great hall lit by green fires. Shadows flittered around me like butterflies; each one a blur as they rushed to destinations I would never understand.

"Allison Thomason."

I whirled around to see a thin man cloaked in black studying me. After a moment of silence, he clicked his tongue and checked something on the small clipboard he carried.

"I'm sorry, I don't understand." I turned my attention back to my surroundings. "Where am I? How did I get here?"

"Come with me."

The man gave me no answers as I followed him. I couldn't concentrate, but I tried to remember. There was a fire. I remembered it well enough. Had I died? Surely not. I was petrified of fire. I would have run the moment I smelled smoke.

Wouldn't I? It seemed like the most logical thing to do. But logic had never been my strong suit. Even so, there were no answers to be had unless I followed the stranger. We walked for what seemed like an eternity through barren halls until he stopped before a pair of impressive doors.

"This is where I take my leave. Your presence is required inside."

"Wait," I swallowed, finding the habit useless in my present state. "Can you tell me what is on the other side of those doors?"

The man smiled for the first time, tapping his clipboard against his side. "Why, your vengeance, girl. Isn't that why you are here?"

My vengeance. When he spoke the word, my hatred flooded back and with it, my memories. I stepped forward, shoving the double doors open with a renewed determination. This is the moment I had died for.

May the gods be praised.

The large room inside was brighter than the halls leading up to it. The green fires lined the walls on torches of marble. The floors gleamed with a shine any housewife would have killed for. I would have been astounded by the beauty of this place, but I caught sight of the large table in the very center. Three little girls were playing with dolls and chatting amongst themselves. So I did the only thing I could think to do.

I approached them. I started to speak, but the child in the center lifted up a single hand from the blonde doll in her grasp and my words faded in my throat.

"You are the human who called to us."

The one who silenced me turned her face so I could see it and I cried out despite myself. Her eyes were red, lined with streaks of blood. I managed a nod as she continued.

"Allison Thomason, then." She tapped her thin fingers against the table before her. "Sisters, help me recall. This is the one who offered us her soul as payment, correct?"

"Yes." The girl to the right nodded with a grin I found unsettling. "This one seeks vengeance against the Sibyl. For what purpose, human?"

"She stole my life away." I found my voice, surprised at how steady it sounded. "I was once in the spotlight. My work was regarded as the pentacle in paranormal research. But I lost my audience. I lost my show because of her."

"What would you have us do?" The one to the left piped up with a frown. "Your human trials are petty ones. We have no time for the likes of you."

"Ah, but perhaps, we do." Their leader giggled as she placed her hand over the other child's wrist. "It is a terrible thing to be forgotten. We know this all too well, sister."

The other two murmured as child in the center continued. "We will take a page from Apollo's own strategy. He uses his Sibyl to gain followers, even in this advanced age. Indeed, the wraiths have been whispering about how his temples are overflowing with visitors now that this Sibyl has begun to spread his message across the world. Perhaps she can do the same for us."

I froze as she stood, passing through the table as if it were nothing but air. The strange stopped before me.

"But," I shook my head. "I thought...I wasn't expecting..."

"Tell us, what were you expecting?" She tilted her head as she watched me. "The Sibyl's death upon your own? We are not stupid, human. There are consequences to be had for such actions and we do not wish for Athena's wrath just because you gave your soul to us."

"Surely there is something you can do." I clutched at my hands. "The old books said you were the goddesses of vengeance. They said if I sacrificed myself, then you would be required to help me, even if you are just..."

"Children? I suppose we are that." The girl giggled again as she clutched at her doll. "Who is better suited to judge the damned than the innocent? Athena was right to choose us. We serve her well."

The other two murmured their agreement as they came forward to join their sister. I had to believe them. I had to believe they were the beings I had called forth with my suicide.

I had no choice.

So I knelt down to bow my head before their leader. "What do I have the power to do, Erinyes? How can my vengeance come to pass?"

"You may return to the world of the living. Watch the Sibyl and report back to us her actions." The girl grinned as she leaned forward, pressing a single finger into the center of my forehead. "When the time is right, we will put her on trial and find her guilty of the crimes you accuse her of. But the price is far greater than your soul. You will take the current Sibyl's place to serve us, not Apollo. You will tell the world the Erinyes still live and our judgment is eternal. Be assured, human, we will not be forgotten again."

I would be the Sibyl. My work could be restored along with my audience. I felt a sense of joy I thought lost forever and I smiled.

I repeated the words back to her as the room around me shifted. The girls disappeared when the shadows surrounded me once more, but her words remained.

We will not be forgotten.

*** End of Excerpt ***

Author Bio: Cinni Pic

Cynthia D. Witherspoon is an award winning writer of Southern Gothic, Paranormal Romance, and Urban Fantasy. She currently resides in South Carolina, but spent three years in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Always an avid reader, she began writing short stories in college. She graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in History from Converse College, and earned a Masters in Forensic Science at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences. She can be found on the Internet in the following places:

Facebook
Goodreads
Smashwords

If you missed Cynthia’s Twelfth Night Interview you can find it here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Domestic Violence Awareness

Last month was Domestic Violence awareness month and I had intended to post this then, but life got in the way; so here we are two weeks late.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a whole month dedicated to raising awareness that there are people out there that are suffering abuse at the hands of loved ones. People who are beaten and battered either physically, emotionally or verbally. My question is why? Why is only October set aside to raise awareness. How about Domestic Violence Awareness Year, Decade, Century or Millennia? The problem is epidemic; shouldn’t the effort to make people aware be just as large?

People need to be reminded that there is a problem. If they don’t see it they ignore it. Out of sight out of mind, as they say. Worse, they think the solution is simple. To the woman being beaten by her husband they say leave. To the children being abused by parents the say call OCY/CYS/CPS. They don’t realize that it isn’t so cut and dried. The woman may be afraid of what her spouse will do if she tries to leave and statistics show that children are more likely to be abused in the custody of OCY/CYS/CPS than in their own home.

Then of course there are the men that are abused by their wives or girlfriends. We don’t hear about them because men aren’t comfortable being seen as a victim, especially a victim of a woman. It’s a stigma that keeps the abuse underreported and out of the public consciousness. It’s a shame; no, it’s a crime.

Somewhere, right now, a woman is being choked into unconsciousness by her husband, a man is being run down by his wife, a child is being thrown across the room because his brother splashed water on the bathroom floor. While you sit reading this, safe and warm, a child is locked in a cupboard, a woman is being told that she is an ungrateful, worthless whore and a man is being beat with a cricket bat. Enjoy your coffee.

“But, what can I do?” you ask. Talk about the issue, get involved, donate your time or money to a domestic violence shelter. Educate yourself about the issue and then educate others. Whatever you do just don’t shrug it off and leave it to others. Doing that is tantamount to helping the abusers perpetrate their unspeakable evil. Don’t be a passive accomplice; be the voice of the victim! Many of them have no voice of their own and they need us to speak up.

(Pharos Publishing is putting together a Domestic Violence charity anthology to raise money and awareness. If you are an author who would be willing to donate a story to that volume contact me and I will put you in contact with its editor.)

Two Whole Years

anniversary banner

It’s hard to believe that on the 18th it will be two years since I published my first title, Time Out of Joint. To celebrate I am making my book, At What Price?, available for free with the coupon code UL32P at Freak Show Oddities CoverCaerdrioa CoverSmashwords. This means you can pick up all of my titles for free for the next seven days.

You can also pick up fellow Pharos author Elmo Leopold’s free book while you are there and if you feel inclined to complete your Pharos Publishing collection my daughter’s book, Caerdrioa: Poems to a Maze, is available for a mere 99 cents.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cynthia D. Witherspoon: A Twelfth Night Interview

This month we’re talking to author Cynthia D. Witherspoon about her new book Deception, which was just released at the beginning of the month, her next book The Fanatic, due out in December, productivity and writing with a partner.  But before we share the interview with you let’s look at the books.

tmp_10950cbdcef67e2d5d87ba73e2402345_tkbetk_html_9597c76Deception:

I found the shower room, turned the water on and stepped beneath its stinging spray. I wanted to wash away the dark anger and pain left behind by the hatred of those poor, murdered women in my dreams—women who seemed, somehow, to be me. My very bones throbbed from the cruel impact I had suffered against the stone. My skin felt bruised from falling beams, the smoke of the burning pyre seemed to still be in my lungs.

The water didn't help. I slid down the slick tile wall and shuddered, closed my eyes as I wrapped my arms around my knees.

I focused on Tommy.

He's not Matthew Hopkins. He's not either of those men. Tommy wouldn't hurt me…he couldn't ever, ever hurt me…

I sat there until the water turned cold. When I finally made it back to the temporary cot assigned to me, I knew what I was going to do. What I would have to do, not just to save myself, but to save Tommy as well.

Tommy would never hurt me like those women in my dreams had been hurt.

But the Witchfinders would. And Tommy was close, so close to WFG. I had to get back to Manning—not just to be with him, but to save him. I had to get back there to stop the Witchfinders before they changed him into someone he wasn't meant to be, someone I could hate. Someone who could hurt me.

I had no other option.

I sat on my cot; the sleeping forms had ignored my screaming earlier and now ignored the tears falling in silence down my face.

These women...these unlucky few...they have no idea what it is like to truly lose someone they love....

Even I knew how selfish that sounded. The women I now lived with had come from homes where the men were more concerned with breaking them than loving them. My rational side said I was the lucky one. I'd never had to suffer at the hands of anyone I loved.

But the selfish part of me, the childish part, didn't care.

I leaned my forehead against the cold glass of the window reflecting the nightlife of downtown Raleigh as my heart tried to piece itself back together.

The Fanatic:

thefanatic-cover-compWe are all looking for someone to save us. Fairy tales promised us white knights on gleaming horses who would ride in, slay our demons, and sweep us away to our happily ever after. But nobody ever told me what would happen if the white knight didn't show up. And there are no fairy tales that talk about what happens once the demons take over.

But I know. I had learned real quick to rely on the one hero who had been here all along. The one person I'd always been afraid to believe in.

Myself.

I was going to create my own happily ever after, and my enemies would be damned for it.

I lit the final candle before I stepped back to inspect my deathbed. I had set everything up in the center of my living room. Three red candles flickered on the headboard. Two black ones gleamed at the foot. The sheets had been soaked with as much kerosene as I could legally buy here in Los Angeles. Perhaps it was the fumes affecting me, or perhaps I had finally gone over the proverbial edge, but I smiled. Within the hour, all of my problems would disappear. If my work here was successful, the one person responsible for my life falling apart would be damned along with me.

I wanted to die. I wasn’t afraid. I had spent my life trying to discover all I could about what lay on the other side of the Veil. After all, death was my business. Spirits were my passion. I’d been obsessed with the grave for as long as I could remember. When I was little, my momma tried to replace my obsession with the grandeur of heaven. If only I would give my soul to Jesus, then I would be alright.

I wasn’t alright. I never would be again. Besides, Heaven wasn’t meant for the likes of me. I was going to hell.

And I was going to make damn sure my enemies would join me there.

Yes, tonight was my night. I had been preparing for this moment since I had been fired three months earlier. See, I had been one of the lucky ones. I was once a presenter on the highest rated show on television. I traveled the world, studying the paranormal with a passion unmatched by anyone else. I had money. Fame. Fans.

Until the ratings started to fall. I glared at the photographs scattered among past due notices and the eviction letter received just this afternoon on the floor around my bed. Once again, I muttered curses at the face staring back up at me. I had been replaced by a stupid girl who claimed to have abilities no one could actually possess. Eva McRayne's Grave Messages hit the airwaves and shoved me out of the job which had been my calling. Now my show was nothing more than a DVD box set. All of my hard work forgotten thanks to a blonde idiot who would prance around, call out to Apollo, then pretend to pass on the last words of the dead.

I hated her. I hated everything about her.

It was true that Grave Messages hadn't been her idea. In the interviews I had seen, she would laugh at the idea of being on television. McRayne would give the credit to her co-host, Elliot Lancaster, but he was nothing. He was worthless.

I had studied the tabloids which carried the pictures of them together. There were headlines boasting the two of them were in love. It was unprofessional and sickening. But the knowledge I had gained from those articles would come in handy tonight.

McRayne and Lancaster had met at the University of Georgia some five years before. When Lancaster had graduated, his daddy gave him a television show and of course, the blonde tagged along after him. The facts got hazy from there. McRayne's bio online said she had been forced into her role as the Sibyl during a conference. It was a good story, but I had once been a headliner for those conferences. No one in their right minds with any sort of power would give it all up to a stranger. Not when there was money to be made. Why give up your livelihood to a stranger who didn't appreciate it? No, her story didn't make any sense. She was the lie. She was the fraud.

But I wasn't. And I would make damned sure she knew it.

They look interesting and now on with the interview:

1.) You have a new book out on November 1st and another in December, what will you tell us about them?

Deception: The Witchfinder Wars (November 1) is a continuation of The Witchfinder Wars, which is my collaboration with the great K.G. McAbee. The bloodline of the Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins had been cursed back in the 17th century, and it carries on into modern day. This second book in the series explores the darker side of that curse.

The Fanatic (December 1st) is the second book in my solo project The Oracle Series. In book one, The Sibyl, we see Eva McRayne accept a job as a reality show host for a ghost hunting show. But before filming starts, she is turned into the Sibyl, the messenger of the dead. The Fanatic sees Eva further testing the waters in her new role as she is threatened because of it.

2.) What themes do you explore in these books?

In both books, I explore the themes of how far will you go for a love that is lost? What is worth saving? Memories or the future?

3.) What themes are you most passionate about and which of your works explore them?

Loss and resurrection. There is something powerful about someone who can rise from the ashes.

4.) What other projects are on your radar for the near future?

My steampunk collaboration with K.G. McAbee Gilded Cages begs for a sequel, so after National Novel Writing Month is over, we are going to focus on that. Then I hope to finish the third book in The Oracle Series and have the final book in The Witchfinder Wars out.

5.) You will have published three books in roughly three months, what is the secret to that kind of productivity?

A good partnership with a supportive co-author. K.G. McAbee and I have always worked well together, so speed has never been a problem for us. As for The Oracle Series, I don’t sleep much. I daydream. I write where ever and whenever I can. Ten minutes every hour can turn into a manuscript in no time.

6.) Which authors do you feel have had the most influence on you and on your work?

Isabel Allende is the first because her work, The House of Spirits, introduced me to what I call mystic realism when I was in high school. I loved how she wove superstitions and the magick beliefs of her culture into a story based in a realistic setting.

I would say that K.G. McAbee has had the largest influence on my writing. Not just because she puts up with me and edits all the crap out, but she gave me the knowledge and the courage to get my work out in the first place.

7.) What is your favorite book written by yourself and by someone else and why?

Gilded Cages is my favorite book written by myself (with K.G. McAbee) because I absolutely fell in love with the characters. I can read it repeatedly and still get that excitement – that thrill – of reading a great scene every time.

Memoirs of a Geisha is my favorite book written by someone else. This is because Arthur Goldman was able to transport me into a world long disappeared and made me want to stay there. I had a major emotional response to that story, and it has stuck with me.

8.) Is there any question that you dislike answering and why?

No. I enjoy interviews because they make me think – and reexamine – myself.

9.) Is there a question that you wish someone had asked you and what is your answer to it?

Q: What’s the best way to write?

A: One word at a time. If you don’t get the words down, you’ll never get it finished.

10.) What is the hardest part of being a writer?

I can’t say there is a hard part, because I love the work so much. Yes, rejections and critics could be considered a ‘hard part’, but they aren’t hard because I take them in stride. Even my stories never sold, and no one ever read them, I would still write them because they are stories I want to read, but no one else has written yet.

11.) What do you want your legacy to be?

My love for the art of writing.

12.) Where can readers find you on the internet?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cynthia-D-Witherspoon/315516345297331
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5763763.Cynthia_D_Witherspoon
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/cdwitherspoon

Cinni PicAuthor Bio:

Cynthia D. Witherspoon is an award winning writer of Southern Gothic, Paranormal Romance, and Urban Fantasy. She currently resides in South Carolina, but spent three years in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Always an avid reader, she began writing short stories in college. She graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in History from Converse College, and earned a Masters in Forensic Science at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Wizard of Ends Blog Tour: Guest Post

Eye abstract background

The month long Wizard of Ends Blog Tour ends this Friday, but that means there are still five days of Wizardly goodness left. The tour started out here on the Pharos Blogject so it is only right that as it winds down we once again hand over this space to Vanessa Finaughty for another guest post.

5 Modern Real-World Attempts to Use Magic

Thank you for hosting me on your blog today, Richard.

I find it interesting to note that so many modern humans believe in the power of magic, particularly when I consider that many of them are/were people in power, not ‘nutcases’. Well, the latter is open for debate. However, it’s sad that most of these attempts to harness the power of magic were for the purpose of war.

1. In 2010, the Tijuana Police in Mexico turned to voodoo in an attempt to win the war against drugs. Under a full moon, voodoo priests slaughtered chickens, and then smeared the blood on the police officers in order to protect them from the drug cartel.

2. The Nazis searched for the Holy Grail, believing that finding the cup of Christ would give them supernatural powers, thereby enabling Germany to win the war.

3. During the Cold War, the Soviets put much effort into learning to harness the power of the mind, particularly telepathy and psychokinesis.

4. At the end of the Cold War, the US Government spent over twenty million dollars on the Stargate Project, which focussed on research on remote viewing – where one is ‘magically’ able to see things far from one’s physical body.

5. The magician Jasper Maskelyne helped the Allies during World War 2 in many ways, one of which was to use equipment called dazzle lights to make it appear as if the Suez Canal had disappeared. This was done to confuse German bombers, who would be unable to see the canal from the air. Okay, so this one is not real magic, but then again, I’m sure random people who saw the canal vanish would disagree.

I hope you’ve found these five facts entertaining. If you know of any other modern real-world attempts to use magic, I’d love to hear about them!

Author biography:

WoEavatarVanessa Finaughty is an author of many genres who now focuses on fantasy and science fiction. She’s published 15 books, of which 6 are fantasy. Vanessa grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and still lives there with her husband of fifteen years, her baby daughter and plenty of furry, four-legged ‘children’.

Vanessa has always been passionate about books, and knew from a young age that she wanted to write them one day. She loves animals, coffee and the smell of wet grass, and hates liars, sweltering weather and long queues. Her interests include reading, photography, the supernatural, mythology, aliens and outer space, ancient history, life’s mysteries and martial arts, of which she has five years’ experience.

Author’s Links

Publication dates:

WoE 1WoE 2Book One: Wizard of Ends was published on the 9th October 2014.

Book 2: Dark Creature was published on the 23rd of October 2014.

Today only: over on Vanessa’s blog you can get Simon Ludgate’s The Accidental Wizard FREE.

 

Tomorrow on the tour:

Vanessa holds forth on How to Create Original Fantasy Creatures, hosted by Independent Bookworm, and on her Author blog: Lashlor Leaflin’s Bucket List.

Also, if you still haven’t seen our interview with Vanessa back in August you can read that by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Wizard of Ends Tour Schedule October 14-31

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This month we are proud to take part in the Wizard of Ends Blog Tour. Today we present the schedule for the remainder of the tour.

Tuesday, 14 October

Interview with Vanessa Finaughty, hosted by Glynis Smy
Author blog: How to Make a Fantasy Castle Cake

Wednesday, 15 October

3 Ancient Irish Spells & Charms, hosted by Tracy Falbe
Author blog: Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature, Chapter 1 – read the full first chapter!

sandsThursday, 16 October

Interview with Vanessa Finaughty, hosted by Louise Blankenship
Author blog: Get Sorcery & Subterfuge for FREE for TODAY ONLY

Friday, 17 October

Magic Systems in Wizard of Ends, hosted by Daniel Marvello
Author blog: 6 Magical Ebook Covers

Saturday, 18 October

Interview with Vanessa Finaughty, hosted by DJ’s Book Corner
Author blog: Get Michelle Louring’s The Angel’s Voice, Books 1 & 2 for FREE for the next 3 days only!

Sunday, 19 October

Magic of the Ancient Egyptians, hosted by Alex James
Author blog: King Lanaran’s Biography

Monday, 20 October

Healing Magic in Today’s World – hosted by TC Southwell
Author blog: Should Children Be Exposed to Fantasy?

rwTuesday, 21 October

Interview with Vanessa Finaughty, hosted by Writer’s Gambit
Author blog: Get Alianne Donnelly’s The Royal Wizard for FREE for today only!

Wednesday, 22 October

5 Tips for New Writers, hosted by Nicholas C. Rossis
WoE 2Author blog: Extract from Wizard of Ends, Book 1

Thursday, 23 October

Modern Science & Ancient Magic, hosted by Katharina Gerlach
Reviews of Wizard of Ends, Books 1 & 2, extract and Wizard of Ends: Full Disclosure, hosted by Kelly Smith Reviews
Author blog: Publication of Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature99c for TODAY ONLY!

loo3loo2Friday, 24 October

Author blog: Legends of Origin, Books 2 & 3FREE for today only!

Saturday, 25 October

Character interview with Queen Narraki Dragonsbane, hosted by Louise Blankenship
Author blog: The Ancient Book of Thoth

Sunday, 26 October

Review of Wizard of Ends, Book 2, hosted by Alex James
Author blog: Extract from Wizard of Ends, Book 2

awMonday, 27 October

5 Modern Real-World Attempts to Use Magic, hosted by Richard Foland
Author blog: Get Simon Ludgate’s The Accidental Wizard for FREE for today only!

Tuesday, 28 October

How to Create Original Fantasy Creatures, hosted by Independent Bookworm
Author blog: Lashlor Leaflin’s Bucket List

Wednesday, 29 October

Character interview with Lashlor Leaflin, hosted by Sandra Ulbrich Almazan
Author blog: Extract from Wizard of Ends, Book 2

Thursday, 30 October

How to Introduce and Write About Nameless Characters, hosted by Michelle Louring
Author blog: Ancient Magical Plants

Friday, 31 October

10 Facts About Vanessa Finaughty, hosted by Writer’s Gambit
Author blog: An End to the Tour, but not the Books.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Lauren Scharhag: A Twelfth Night Interview

Lauren Scharhag, is co-author of The Order of the Four Sons series. Her Partner, Coyote Kishpaugh, and herself are currently working on the fourth entry but she has taken a break to speak with us for this month’s Twelfth Night Interview.

Three Books:

First, though, let’s take a brief look at the series thus far.

Book I: The Order of the Four Sons - Since before recorded history, the Order of the Four Sons has existed. From their beginnings in ancient Egypt to the boardrooms of modern times, they have fought a covert war against the enemies of humankind. Theirs is a world of magic, mystical creatures, and immortality. But now, after 5,000 years, their greatest battle is about to begin.

Books I-IIIBook II: Carcosa follows the team -- JD, Murphy, Doug and Kate -- as they pursue Bathory across the face of a hostile world known as Carcosa. Director Clayton Grabowski and the Oracle find themselves mired in the political intrigues of the Order's leadership, while back on Earth, Bill forges an uneasy alliance with a government agent.

Book Three: Where Flap the Tatters of the King sees the surviving members of the Order – Kate, JD, Murphy, Bill, Clayton and Alyssa – reunited in a world known as Corbenic. It’s definitely not a warm reunion. With the Corbenese king held hostage by Starry Wisdom, the land has been plunged into endless winter, and certain members of the team are less than thrilled that they have been joined by former MJ-12 Emily Hayes.

One Interview:

1.) You and your collaborator, Coyote Kishpaugh, are currently working on Book IV of The Order of the Four Sons series; what will you tell us about it?

Book IV, Going Forth by Day, is the final book of the O4S series. We anticipate it will be finished sometime in 2015, at the earliest. It’s taken us two years to finish each book, but we don’t want to rush the last one. We want to do the ending justice.

The series overall is sci-fi/fantasy, but it has a lot of other elements as well—adventure, mystery, horror, and even a little history thrown in. It’s about two ancient, rival secret societies, the Order of the Four Sons and Starry Wisdom. Both organizations trace their roots back to ancient Egypt. For centuries, they’ve battled for possession of an artifact called the Staff of Solomon. The story opens when a small team from the Order gets dispatched to a small town to investigate the disappearance of one of their field operatives. Of course, they discover a lot more than they bargained for. They find themselves getting sucked through a series of interdimensional gates and have to find their way back home again. Along the way, they have to save the universe from a bunch of evil stuff. In addition to interdimensional travel, there’s magic, immortality and fantastical creatures.

A universe this expansive, of course, requires a big cast: there are nine heroes and eight villains. Among the villains are Elizabeth Bathory and Jack the Ripper. Frank and Jesse James put in an appearance. We have all of human history to work with, so we had fun with it.

In Book IV, the heroes have entered a world called Cerulean, which is Starry Wisdom’s home world. The Starry Wisdom ruler has possession of all but one segment of the Staff of Solomon. It’s time for the big showdown.

2.) How do you and Coyote split the workload when collaborating?

It’s pretty organic. We meet up once a week, usually at my place, and write from the early evening into the wee hours. If one of us gets inspired on our own, we write independently. After nine years, we’re pretty in sync. We talk about everything so much, there’s not usually any surprises.

All of our friends and family know not to disturb us on writing night. Almost nothing intrudes on that time—we’ve written in restaurants, hospitals, over the phone, you name it. We’ve only cancelled a handful of times, only for major stuff—finals, funerals, surgeries, anniversaries, or if one of us was out of town. Coyote’s my best friend, and we talk and socialize outside of writing, but the conversation almost invariably leads back to the books.

3.) Do you find it easier to work with a partner or on your own and why?

I do a lot of my own writing independently and had already had a substantial body of work before I met Coyote, including two novels. I don’t know that I’d call it ‘easier.’ Solo projects have their own challenges, but I am fortunate in that I have not just Coyote, but plenty of writer friends and my wonderful husband to bounce ideas off of. I’m firmly of the opinion that art is not created in a vacuum. Writing alone does have its joys. It’s more meditative.

Writing with a partner is, in some ways, more fun. It’s like comedy improv. A few weeks ago, my husband came out into the living room to find us with sofa cushions and a pair of walking sticks, acting out a sword-fighting scene. That’s definitely not something I’d do by myself. And it’s just nice to have this world you’ve built with someone. We have all these in-jokes, all these references that only the other one understands. It’s like having our own secret language.

4.) Do you plot out your series before you start; how many books and what occurs in each?

In the case of O4S, yes, we had plotted the out the entire series before we started. We tried to keep the outline very broad because we both believe that the best stories grow in the telling. But we knew basically what we wanted to happen in the series overall, and in each individual book. Since each book takes place in a different world, that made it easier. Each world kind of has its own set of rules.

Book I starts out on Earth, in 2005. The team goes to a small town called Excelsior Springs to investigate the disappearance of Fernando Rios, an Order operative who disappeared in 1985, but has just put in a frantic call for help. In the course of the investigation, they discover a segment of the Staff of Solomon. The individual segments can open interdimensional gates. Fully assembled, the Staff can tear open the fabric of existence, into what the ancient Egyptians called Isfet, which means “chaos,” “unmaking,” or “unnaming.” Unfortunately, when they discover the staff segment, they also discover that Elizabeth Bathory, a member of Starry Wisdom, is alive and well and has been hanging around the area, just waiting for it to turn up. Oops.

Book II takes place in the titular world of Carcosa. Coyote and I refer to Book II as the weird west. The team has been separated—JD, Murphy, Doug and Kate find themselves pursuing Bathory across an alien desert, while back on Earth, Bill forges an alliance with a government agent. It’s our homage to Stephen King’s The Gunslinger.

Book III, Where Flap the Tatters of the King, takes place in a world called Corbenic. We refer to this book as the fairy tale. All the characters are reunited again in this world, which is under occupation by Starry Wisdom. The Corbenese king has been taken hostage, which has plunged the land into endless winter. Of course, the heroes can help save him, but at what cost?

Finally, Book IV, Going Forth by Day, sees the team enter Cerulean, Starry Wisdom’s home world. They’re taking the fight to the enemy. Coyote and I are calling this one the dystopia.

5.) What themes do you explore in this series?

Family is definitely one of the big themes—not just the families we’re born into, but the ones we make; how we are shaped by the people who raise us; and how we are shaped by the people we choose to let into our inner circles. Several of the main characters adopt, or are adopted. We show a lot of characters interacting with their birth parents. We have a lot of single or widowed parents in this story, and those parents, are, in turn, shaped by their relationships with their children. Still other characters meet and become good friends, or fall in love, and thereby become each other’s families. It seems that those ties are often stronger than blood. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes it’s not. And of course, there’s nothing more devastating than the loss of someone we love. Related to the theme of family are the themes of choices—we can’t change our circumstances, only how we respond to them. Our choices, ultimately, define who we are.

Identity. The characters, both good and evil, struggle with who they are, both as individuals and within a group dynamic—who do they identify with? Who do they answer to? Have they chosen the right side? When some of them switch sides, does that make them disloyal, or did they do the right thing? Madness is closely related to the idea of identity. In Lovecraftian horror, madness is usually the great fear—and what is madness, but the total loss of identity? We have a character who’s an amnesiac who has had to try to forge a new life for herself, an Oracle whose powers nearly eclipse her identity. We have soldiers and scholars who believe in things greater than themselves. Names are also very important throughout the series—all the characters have names that mean something. In most world religions, names are powerful things. Remember, Isfet means to “unname,” something that goes beyond mere destruction. It is negative creation. It is oblivion.

Time is another big theme in these books. We have immortality and time travel, psychics and alternate worlds. Within that context, time becomes a lot more malleable, and not nearly so linear. Book I starts out in this world, in 2005. We imagine Carcosa to be a version of the Wild West, circa the 1870’s. Corbenic is based loosely on 1900 London. Finally, Cerulean will jump forward-- around 2030. All of those times are important to their respective worlds. Some characters are racing the clock, while others are outside of time entirely.

Feminism. Coyote and I are big feminists, so that plays a big role. A lot is being said these days about “strong female characters.” We try to write people—we hope all our characters, both male and female, are believable, with strengths and weaknesses, personalities and motives. That being said, we have some really cool female characters, both good and evil, who kick ass, take names, shoot guns, sling spells, have sex, and don’t apologize for any of it.

6.) What themes are you most passionate about and which of your works explore them?

I am passionate about all the ones that I’ve mentioned, and I hope we’ve reflected them in the series overall. More than anything else, I am passionate about people. All of my works are character-driven. Those are the type of stories I most like to read, so of course, they are the stories I most want to tell. I want to hear about individuals and their struggles; I want to see people who love and work and talk and fight. The proper study of mankind, after all, is man. The red beating heart of this series is its characters. It’s them that I will carry around with me for the rest of my days, even after the last book is written.

7.) What other projects are on your radar for the near future?

Coyote and I have ideas for books that are related to the series that are not part of the principal story. We have started a series of shorts called From the O4S Files that cover some of the characters’ lives before the main storyline that we hope to publish in pairs. We’ve also done some work on an untitled piece that will explore some of the characters’ lives after the main storyline is over. I know Coyote has some ideas for other spinoffs that he wants to pursue later on.

I’m also working on a solo project, a literary novel called Black Antler Farm. I’m hoping to have a first draft done in a few months.

8.) Which authors do you feel have had the most influence on you and on this series?

There are so many. Stephen King definitely tops the list—as I mentioned, Book II was our homage to his Dark Tower series, and we actually dedicated Book II to him. There’s at least one King reference in each book. H.P. Lovecraft and Robert Chambers are another big influence—one of the series’ main bad guys is the King in Yellow, and we deal in a lot of existential horror like you’d find in the Cthulhu mythos, the idea of terrible, sanity-crushing beings slithering around in the spaces between worlds, just waiting to gobble your soul.

We dedicated Book III to Lewis Carroll, the Brothers Grimm, and other fairy tale writers and compilers. There are a lot of fairy tale elements in that book—a handsome prince, a magic castle, fairies, mermaids. There’s a lot of Greek mythology and Arthurian legends mixed in as well, particularly the Fisher King.

We also owe quite a bit to Jim Henson, Joss Whedon and Quentin Tarantino. We draw upon Henson for inspiration for fantastic beasts; Whedon and Tarantino for their dialogue. Some readers find our books too chatty, but that was a deliberate stylistic choice on our part. Besides, when you have 17 principal characters, there’s going to be a lot of talking.

9.) What is your favorite book written by yourself and by someone else and why?

By me, I’d have to say Where Flap the Tatters of the King, Book III of the series. Maybe it’s just because it’s the last book I finished and the afterglow hasn’t worn off yet, but if I never write another thing, I will always be proud of that book.

By someone else—it’s an eternal tie between Lolita by Nabokov, and Watership Down by Richard Adams. Those two books are my gold standard for good prose. I love Lolita for its wit and lyricism, and the bravery in tackling such a subject. I love Watership Down because of how Adams created such a perfectly realized fantasy world, with rabbits. I have a tattoo of El-ahrairah on my right shoulder. I bet I’ve read both of those books at least forty times. At any time, I can pick either of them up, open them to a random page, and just start reading. I find something new and delightful every time.

10.) Is there a question that you wish someone had asked you and what is your answer to it?

Yes. People ask us why we have to kill characters that people like. In the last book, we killed a very popular character that got us a bunch of backlash. My mother actually cried all night when she read it and still hasn’t quite forgiven me for killing that person off.

We kill a major character in each book. We decided when we started to write the series that these characters were going to die, and why. Part of the reason is logistical—some of them end up in situations where death is unavoidable. More importantly, we want to convey to the reader that no one is safe. The fate of the very universe is at stake here. There’s no way the heroes can get through this without causalities. If it’s any consolation, villains die, too, and that too, was predetermined.

11.) What do you want your legacy to be?

I want people to remember me as a great prose stylist, as someone unafraid to write about difficult subjects. I also want to be remembered as a chameleon, a mimic—I like to think that I give all of my characters unique voices. I try to make the writing suit the character and the setting.

12.) Where can readers find you on the internet?

Blog: http://www.laurenscharhag.blogspot.com/

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

Twitter: @laurenscharhag

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lauren+scharhag

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/haikujunkie

Two Short Bios:

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Lauren Scharhag is the author of Under Julia, The Ice Dragon, The Winter Prince, and West Side Girl & Other Poems. Her work has appeared most recently in The SNReview, The Rockhurst Review, Infectus, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry. She is the recipient of the Gerard Manley Hopkins Award for poetry and a fellowship from Rockhurst University for fiction. A lifelong Kishpaughresident of Kansas City, MO, she currently lives in the Waldo area with her husband and three cats.

 

Coyote Kishpaugh has been writing prose and poetry most of his life, and alternately entertains and terrifies his children by telling them stories late at night. Currently, he is pursuing his degree in psychology at Rockhurst University. He lives in Kansas City, KS.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Wizard of Ends Tour Schedule October 2-13

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This month we are proud to take part in the Wizard of Ends Blog Tour. Today we present the schedule for the 1st part of the tour.

WoE 1

Thursday, 2 October

Guest post by MC Lashlor Leaflin: Abusing Magic, hosted by Lauren Scharhag
Author blog: Wizard of Ends, Book 1 – COVER REVEALED!

Friday, 3 October

Wizard of Ends showcase, hosted by Alex James
Author blog: An Official Introduction to the Wizard of Ends Fantasy Adventure Series

WoE 2Saturday, 4 October

The Real World’s First School of Wizardry, hosted by Mathew Reuther
Author blog: Wizard of Ends, Book 2 – COVER REVEALED!

Sunday, 5 October

10 Cool Bookish Gifts, hosted by DJ’s Book Corner
Author blog: Wizard of Ends Book Trailer

Monday, 6 October

Interview with Vanessa Finaughty, hosted by TC Southwell
Author blog: Magic in Real Life

Tuesday, 7 October

5 Reasons I Prefer Self-Publishing, hosted by Michelle Louring
Author blog: 5 Things I Love About Wizard of Ends

Wednesday, 8 October

Wizard of Ends showcase, hosted by Tracy Falbe
5 Reasons to Love Lashlor Leaflin, hosted by Bookin’ It
Author blog: Wizard of Ends, Book 1, Chapter 1 – read the full first chapter!

WoE 1Thursday, 9 October

Ancient Magic Books, hosted by Juli D. Revezzo
Author blog: Publication of Wizard of Ends, Book 1

Friday, 10 October

How to Create Believable Systems of Magic for Fiction, hosted by Pippa Jay
Author blog: Character Interview with Wizard of Ends MC, Lashlor Leaflin

c928fb76f32e3f6e952107e5233aefe848995fdbSaturday, 11 October

How Long Should a Fiction Book Chapter Be? hosted by Potpourri Parlor
Author blog: Get Dragon Kin & other fantasy stories for FREE for the next 3 days only!

Sunday, 12 October

Wizard of Ends book trailer, hosted by Lauren Scharhag
Author blog: Wizard of Ends MC Lashlor Leaflin’s Biography

Monday, 13 October

Extract from Wizard of Ends, Book 1, hosted by Fireblade Publishers
Author blog: Last day to get Dragon Kin for free.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wizard of Ends Blog Tour: The Kickoff

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Welcome to the first stop on the month long Wizard of Ends blog tour. For those of you that haven’t been reading this blog for the last couple of months, Wizard of Ends is the new fantasy series by Indie author Vanessa Finaughty and the first two books are being published this month. Why this month? Well that’s an easy one; what better month to publish a novella or two featuring Wizards?

When you have a single book debuting and you’re doing a blog tour it usually runs for a couple weeks. Vanessa, however, has two books coming out and she decided that rather than do two weeks for each  she’d do an entire month devoted to both of them. This may be an insight into her personality.

Without further ado (in other words, I’m going to stop typing) here’s Vanessa to give us some insight into how the series came to be:

What Inspired the Wizard of Ends Novella Series?

To say the last nine months of my life have been hectic is an understatement of note. Besides a surprise pregnancy that doctors had told us was ‘unlikely’, my business partner at the time quit not two weeks after my emergency c-section. Since I was unable to sit at a PC for months while recovering from the c-section, the business pretty much ground to a halt. This meant that, when I had recovered enough to work again, I had a lot of catching up to do.

Between work and Myka, our new baby, I found myself unable to think straight by the time the clock hit 6pm. I am still enjoying – and writing – my first fantasy series, Legends of Origin. However, the series is very deep, and all that ‘life, the universe and everything’ grew a bit much on top of my busy schedule and all the baby-related things I suddenly need to know. So, when a new adventure series popped into my head, I jumped at the chance to write something lighter. Wizard of Ends is a fast-paced adventure story that wasn’t intended to be too deep. Of course, my main character, Lashlor Leaflin, decided that it would be deep in places – typical! Sometimes I wish my characters would just do as I tell them, but, if they did, the story would probably be boring!

That said, Wizard of Ends is still much lighter reading than Legends of Origin, and I’m enjoying the writing process tremendously. There are two main themes in Wizard of Ends, the first of which is that you shouldn’t always take the easy route just because you can, and the second is that you should always try to do the right thing, if only for the pleasure of knowing that you did some good.

I toyed with the idea of making each Wizard of Ends book longer, but decided that would ruin it, because it would mean combining two stories – each book in the series continues the overall story, but can also be read as a standalone book. These novellas will be priced at half the price of my novel series, thought, so readers won’t feel cheated when it comes to comparing length and price.

WoEavatar

Author Biography:

Vanessa Finaughty is an author of many genres who now focuses on fantasy and science fiction. She’s published 15 books, of which 6 are fantasy. Vanessa grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and still lives there with her husband of fifteen years, her baby daughter and plenty of furry, four-legged ‘children’.

Vanessa has always been passionate about books, and knew from a young age that she wanted to write them one day. She loves animals, coffee and the smell of wet grass, and hates liars, sweltering weather and long queues. Her interests include reading, photography, the supernatural, mythology, aliens and outer space, ancient history, life’s mysteries and martial arts, of which she has five years’ experience.

Author’s Links

Publication dates:

Wizard of Ends, Book 1: 9 October 2014
Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature: 23 October 2014

Day Two of the tour will see a guest post by MC Lashlor Leaflin: Abusing Magic, hosted by Lauren Scharhag and over on the Author’s blog: Wizard of Ends, Book 1 – COVER REVEAL!

Also, if you missed our interview with Vanessa back in August you can read that by clicking here.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Future Pharos Publications?

I was trying to organize my future work and get some things down “on paper” before I forgot them. While doing this I happened to make a list of my next few projects based on the ideas I was “jotting down”. I took that list and inserted my two current projects into it and then I decided to add in the other Pharos Authors. The resultant list is a short snapshot of our proposed output for the near future. A snapshot that I thought I might share with you. All titles are listed with a short descriptive phrase so as not to give away too much and have ideas going off with someone else.

Richard L. Foland Jr.:

Walk With God – Inspirational Christian Theology
Kayleigh and the Caterpillar – Children’s Fantasy Bed Time Story
Count the Cost* (Body Donor 2) – Follow up to At What Price?
Nemesis (Origins 1) – Superhero Fiction
Christian's Quest* – Love the title but it could work with two different ideas, hmmm.

Elmo Leopold:+

Twelve Shades of Crazy – 13 short stories in a Charity Anthology to benefit a Domestic Violence Charity

Kayleigh Foland:

Chaotica: Poems to a Theory* – Poetry Anthology on the theme of Chaos


* = Tentative Title
+ = Editor

 

Some of these may never see the light of day, be absorbed into another ideas or have a name change. For the time being, however, this is what we hope to put out over the next couple years. There may also be the odd publication of items in our archives that are not reflected here.

Note: The Charity Anthology is looking for authors who are willing to donate short stories dealing with Domestic Violence, especially ones based on true events.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Endangered Blog Tour: Final Days

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The Endangered Blog Tour winds through its final few stops over the next week or so. Below is a list of the blogs where the tour will be.

September 17th:

Vanessa Finaughty https://vanessafinaughtyfantasybooks.wordpress.com/

September 18th:

Rachel Tsoumbakos www.racheltsoumbakos.wordpress.com

September 19th:

Vanessa Finaughty (guest post by S.L. Eaves) https://vanessafinaughtyfantasybooks.wordpress.com/

Kelly Smith  www.kellysmithreviews.wordpress.com

September 22nd:

Chica loves to read http://www.chicalovestoread.blogspot.com

If you haven’t had a chance to checkout our Twelfth Night interview with author S L Eaves you can read it here. Also, you can enter to win a free copy of the book at http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b9d480493/ until midnight on September the 23rd.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Don't Make Jokes

A couple months ago, while getting a vehicle to replace my wife's van, I made a joke. One of those wierd off the cuff jokes that seem funny to you but may not be to others. You may know the kind.

In this case, in response to an interogative about my car, I replied that I would drive it until the wheels fell off. Some of you may be laughing, because you can see what's coming. Go ahead take a moment...

So, I'm driving through Ohio yesterday and, wouldn't you know it, my wheel comes off. We all know that God has a sense of humor but how often do we get such clear proof? The lesson from this bit of truth appears to be to not make jokes that you wouldn't want to find yourself living out in real life. At least, I think that's the lesson.

Friday, September 12, 2014

S L Eaves: A Twelfth Night Interview

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This month sees the publication of The Endangered by S L Eaves. In support of her novel the author is participating in a blog tour and has agreed to be our Twelfth Night Interview for this month. But first let’s take a look at what her book is about.

The Endangered CoverThe Endangered:

S&D Industries is a prominent pharmaceutical company based in New York. It has, for many years, appeared to exist only for the benefit of humanity, and this year's chief product seems no different. The company's CEO, whom we know only as Striden, announces the imminent delivery of a powerful flu vaccine. The true purposes of S&D are anything but philanthropic, however. The newly-engineered drug does not protect against flu. It turns people into werewolves.

The only group which stands a chance of resisting this change is a population of vampires. The foremost of them, who go by the name of The Endangered, are determined to turn back the mass werewolf infestation. Among them are an ambitious rebel named Catch, and Lori, Catch's newly-turned protégé. Catch has brought this treacherous world to Lori's doorstep and both their worlds are turned upside-down in the process. Secrets are exposed, alliances are formed. Blood is spilled as the vampires must do everything in their power to preserve both their own kind and that of their food supply.

The Interview with S L Eaves:

1. Your first book, The Endangered, was just released; what will you tell us about it?

It’s a story about a small clan of vampires who are trying to take on rapidly spreading, dangerous packs of werewolves and discover that they are planning to infect the masses through dispersing a virus masked as a vaccine to the human population. 

The readers are pulled into this world through the eyes of the main character, a newly turned vampire who does not know anything about what’s going on and is resistant to get involved. We see her struggle with conflicted feelings towards her maker and the other vampires, but ultimately as she realizes what they are fighting for and decides to take up their cause. Blood, violence, and chaos ensues.

2. What made you decide to write a Vampire vs. Werewolf novel?

I started writing it when I was taking a Slavic course on ‘Vlad the Impaler’ and the origins of vampire mythology in college. I enjoyed Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a teenager, but otherwise was not really into the genre until started reading about the history of Eastern Europe (I happened to be taking a horror film course at the time which didn’t hurt). Then, seeing how pop culture has treated these horror icons in recent years - with the romanticizing and “de-fanging” - I set out to write a story that would find a happy medium between the current trend of modernized, likeable paranormal creatures and their horror roots. I wanted to stay true to the mythology but still make it relatable to a present-day audience. 

3. Which is your favorite; Vampires or Werewolves?

Vampires.

4. Was this book at all influenced by the Underworld movie series or the Twilight novels? 

Underworld somewhat. I had a good portion of the manuscript written before I saw the Underworld movies (which were very cool) and actually changed some of the plot because of the similarities in the storyline about vampires hunting werewolves.

My novel is more heavily influenced by Fight Club, though. It takes the concept of cult like terrorist groups forming around the globe to create mayhem and applies it to werewolf packs plotting a bioterrorism attack, dealing in weapons, and infecting humans.

I have not read the Twilight books. I did see parts of a couple of the films, but, well let’s just say I am not their target audience. 

5. What themes do you explore in this book?

The book challenges conventional notions of good and evil. Many of the characters have good intentions but they do unsavory things to achieve a “greater good.” The story tests a lot of the character’s moral integrity and forces the characters to show their true colors, wrestle with inner demon; those types of themes. Many of the characters are trying to figure out who they are, what motivates them and who they can trust. 

Other themes deal with aspects of violence, death, grief, revenge; lots of acts of violence are carried out by characters who don’t consider themselves bad or violent and are haunted by their actions… or are coming to realize they are not the hero they make themselves out to be to justify their actions and in turn have to deal with being the “bad guy” in the story and a transformation results from this (very film noir anti-hero).

There is a family theme too. The main clan of vampires, having bonded together over decades of war, does operate like a family unit. So family bonds are formed and themes of love, faith, and sacrifice are interlaced in the plot. 

6. What are you most passionate about?

This is a tough one… writing? Haha. At the risk of sounding even more cliché I’d say “happiness” in the broad sense – finding what makes you happy, making others happy, having the courage pursue the things that make life worth living.

7. You earned a degree in Film from the University of Pittsburgh; if The Endangered were to be made into a film, how involved would you want to be in the adaptation process? 

I’d be as involved as the studio would let me. I’d want to help find the right people for the project – people that share my vision – and then trust them to carry it out. Having worked on a number of film sets, I’d be able to lend input, but only if I truly felt I could help; ultimately I’d trust professionals. I wouldn’t want to be that writer on set criticizing decisions and slowing production. You have the respect the shift in medium from book to film. And I’d write the screenplay version if asked.

8. Which authors do you feel have had the most influence on you and on this book? 

Some of my biggest influences are (in no particular order): Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Lawrence Block, Ken Follett, Tom Clancy, Bret Easton Ellis, Charlie Huston, Chuck Palahniuk, Stieg Larsson, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Charles Bukowski … and a number of detective fiction writers both past a present.

9. What is your favorite book and why?

Hard to pick a favorite... The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of the best books I’ve read in recent years, so I’ll go with that. Or the whole trilogy if I’m allowed :-)

10. What other projects are on your radar for the near future?

I’m working on a sequel to The Endangered right now. Look for it to be out sometime in 2015. And I have another manuscript I’d like to revisit and complete within the next year. It’s pulp/crime fiction project, not fantasy – I’d like to try my hand at different genres or genre-blending, rather.

11. What do you want your legacy to be?

Someone who can tell a story you want to read; a storyteller who has the ability to draw you in and make you care what happens next, and inspires you to tell your own. 

12. Where can readers find you on the internet?

http://writewithfire.com/

https://www.facebook.com/SLEavesAuthor

https://twitter.com/TheEndangeredBk

https://www.goodreads.com/SLEaves

S.L. Eaves Bio:

sleavesPresently, Stephanie L. Eaves is a graduate student at Drexel University, pursuing her MBA. She received her undergraduate degree in Film from University of Pittsburgh. Originally from West Chester, PA., she lived in Pittsburgh and Minneapolis before returning to the Philadelphia area, where she currently resides. Stephanie's professional background is in marketing, primarily in the media and publishing industries. She sort of fell into marketing when she got tired of per diems on film sets and wanted a steady gig. She enjoys being in an environment that promotes creativity.

Stephanie loves to write. She's taken a number of writing courses with a focus on crime fiction and earned a certificate in Professional Writing while attending Pitt. She's also really into fitness, especially running and biking in her free time. While she readily confesses to being a bit of a film and television junkie, music has always been a huge influence in nearly every aspect of her life, and she believes there’s nothing like a good live band.

When home, she's never without a book in arm’s reach.

Pick up your copy of The Endangered today via Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Endangered Blog Tour Continues

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The Endangered Blog tour has continued this week with stops at the following blogs:

September 8th:
TC Southwell  http://tcsouthwell.blogspot.com/

September 9th:
fANGIRLconfessions http://www.fangirlavue.blogspot.com/

September 10th:
Daniel Kaye http://daniel-kaye.blogspot.ie/

And don’t forget our Exclusive Twelfth Night Interview with the author S L Eaves on Friday, September 12th.



Friday, September 5, 2014

eBook Giveaway

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In 2012 Alexander Vernick killed his fiancé after someone proved she was stealing from him. That person then turned him in and he was arrested and tried. He managed to get off but has spent the better part of a decade looking for the person who ratted on him and he's found him. Now he can have his revenge. But what price will he have to pay another ten years down the line?
While not containing explicit language or descriptions this eBook explores mature themes of vengeance, rape, torture and murder and may not be suitable for children under the age of 14. Parental discretion is advised.

In celebration of this wonderful month, please, pick up a copy of At What Price? on me. Click on the cover image.

 


Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: UL32P
Expires: September 29, 2014

The Endangered Blog Tour Begins

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On September 4th the debut novel fro S L Eaves, The Endangered, was published and we are taking part in the Blog Tour with an interview on September 12th. If you want to follow the tour we’ll be providing links to the participating blogs periodically throughout.

September 5th:

Alex James Blog http://blog.alexjamesnovels.com

September 6th:

Jeni's Bookshelf http://jenisbookshelf.blogspot.com

A Reader’s Review Blog http://areadersreviewblog.com

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

OCY/CYS/CPS: 5 appalling things

Over the last sixteen months or so I’ve had the opportunity, if you can call it that, to witness the manner in which the Erie County Office of Children and Youth Services (OCY) operates. OCY, called CYS in other PA counties and CPS in other states, is the agency that purports to protect children from abuse and neglect. During the course of my observations I began to notice things that didn’t sit right; I decided to do a little bit of research on Child Protective Services across the US and Learned that the oddities where not unique to Erie County, PA. So, to inform parents across the US, here are five appalling things about OCY/CYS/CPS.
5.) They have no problem violating your rights. In fact the will argue that you have no rights that protect you from them. I know of one woman who asked an OCY case worker what she needed to do to have her case closed and the case worker told her she had to let the case worker into her home. The woman told the case worker that that would be a violation of her rights. The case worker’s response was, “I know.”
4.) If the same person continuously makes false accusations against you they will continue to stay open with you and investigate every single false accusation. (They have to, in case one is true.) This makes it, not only easy, but ideal for your ex to use the agency to continue to emotionally abuse you (with their gleeful assistance) for as long as your kids are below the age of 18.
3.) There is no finding of innocent. If an accusation is made against you there are only three possible outcomes to an OCY investigation:
a.) Founded: Which is guilty with concrete evidence.
b.) Indicated: Guilty with circumstantial evidence.
c.) Unfounded: Guilty, but they could find no evidence and gave up, for now.
2.) Case workers can violate the law, agency rules and any standard of ethics known to man with impunity as long as they do not write down what they did in their case notes. There is no governing organization to appeal to either.
1.) Most appalling of all is the statistic that more US children are abused and or killed in the care of OCY/CYS/CPS than in the care of their parents!!!!!!
You have been warned!