Only $2.99?

ATS

Among the Shadows for Kindle now on sale for $2.99!
Among the Shadows is heading out on the show circuit, so I thought I’d throw a little special out there…plus a teaser for Volume 2 is coming soon.

ATS

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Fly to the Green Star

Man is dissatisfied with his life. The never-ending, ever-repeating, events of daily life threaten to kill him with boredom

Then he finds himself on another world, in one peril after another. And nearly always, he encounters a woman that was meant for him and he must fight for her by conquering unimaginable dangers.

This was the classic foundation of the stories perfected by Edgar Rice Burroughs in lost worlds, hidden jungles and on faraway planets. He managed to keep each creation fresh and exciting, as did Otis Adelbert Kline who followed in his footsteps. Another is the underrated Lin Carter, who’s creation of Thongor we have already reviewed. Now, travel into his distant world, the Green Star series.

Here a crippled man finds a way to send his soul to a distant world. There he enters the dead Chong the Mighty, and later Karn the Hunter, taking his place in this tropical world where the races live in towering forests. Soon he encounters Niamh the Fair, a princess, who he quickly falls in love with. However, and this is no surprise, before he can forever be her mate, five books of death-at-every-turn adventure must be overcome.

Why have such stories, so often derisively called “pulp,” endured for decades? They all have the underlying theme of being fed-up with conformity, the status quo and what society has decided life should be like. Sure, they are often told from the perspectives of men, but the women they meet are not fragile flowers.

The desire to be better, to find one’s purpose, is a call that never goes quiet. These are tales of earthlings finding and doing what their own world won’t allow. As I have written before:

Read to be entertained. Read to get lost. Read to be inspired.

thon

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Freedom vs. Politics

The United Sates was founded by immigrants. Generation after generation of immigrants came here to escape oppression, war, violence and to seek a better life. Both those immigrants, and the citizens that live here, don’t want the evils and problems that they left behind to follow them here. The laws of our nation have kept those concerns at bay.

Yet now, politicians who only care about clinging to power and making a name for themselves (from both parties, by the way), seem to show little concern who is entering the country.

If you want border control or background checks, you’re called anti-immigrant. If you oppose en masse amnesty to illegals, you’re a racist. If you don’t support unlimited refuge to hordes of people, you aren’t humane.

If you believe any of these things, see how being humane is working out for Europe here, here or here.

Violence. Rape. Terrorism. Cover-up.

But don’t just believe the media reports, see it in their own words or this impassioned message from a German girl. Continue reading

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Character Profile: Conrad

Eigen 2

Since I could walk, I have moved among the tress of the timeless forests of the Riverlands. Unseen and unnoticed, the arrows of my bow cut through the morning mists, their targets never missed.

In my travels I see what once was. Places and people that have passed from memory. Timeslips. Thin places in the veil. These I can see, but that is not all.

I can see past time. To you it may seem as it has slowed, to me, I am unbound by its confines.

The abominations in the shadows do not know me, but they will soon learn to fear me. I am Conrad Wojtek, a hunter of what lies in the Darkness.

Among the Shadows: Watchers of the Light Book 1 now available!

[Photo used under license from Shutterstock.com.]

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The Power of Story

It has almost become a cliché in books and film. A woman that needs rescued or a man fighting for his girl. Even though women are no longer helpless maidens in distress in most tales, there is a fundamental mythos underlying these stories, and the modern iterations. Stasi Eldredge writes in Captivating:

“…every man longs for a Beauty to rescue. He really does. Where would Robin Hood be without Marian, or King Arthur without Guinevere? …There is nothing that inspires a man to courage so much as the woman he loves.”

All true and perhaps that’s why the storyline never gets old. No matter how old-fashioned social “experts” claim it is, this is the story people want to read. And perhaps, as in many stories, it is a reflection of an underlying reality.

The power of Story is that it reminds us, awakens us, to undeniable essences of our humanity.

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Don’t Like it? Write it Again…

At this point, I have changed the synopsis for my novel Among the Shadows numerous times. Not to mention that there are different versions on various sites. Nor was I happy with the current one. I didn’t want to give away too much detail, but maybe it didn’t hint at the elements of the story enough: The contemporary time setting, a little more on two of the central characters and time travel (cool, right?). The premise of myth and legend not being so mythical is still there, as it is a core theme. So, at any rate, here is the latest iteration (and probably not the last):

Ethan and Milena Dietrich are two of the rare ones among us, gifted in using their supernatural self — their soul — to reach through the veil. After years of rooting out evil around the world, they attempt to live a normal life, all the while realizing they are meant for more. Their part in the Story is unfinished.

Now, what was locked in shadow stirs, and where darkness has laid dormant, evil awakes.

Once, when the world was new, the Fallen battled the Light for control over humankind. Civilization was left in flames, the Scourges turned back by the Watchers in the last hour. The Darkness, though, was not defeated. Malice not seen since ancient times, far worse than anything on the evening news, is preparing for a new Scourge across the Earth.

They seek lost relics that surge with power. Nightmarish creatures thought only to be myth and legend will leave the shadows once more. The Dark One’s Followers will travel through time and history, obtaining all they need to propel mankind into collapse and ruin.

There is one problem with their plan. Watchers like Ethan and Milena are not afraid to bring the Light to dark places. Nor are they alone.

A war of the worst sort that could end the age of man is about to begin.

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More Choices for Authors

Yesterday I started a series of posts on marketing. I want to expand on two items that you will find discussed in most marketing guides like those I reviewed: Writing more and KDP Select exclusivity. Continue reading

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Get to Work: Marketing Part 1

Regardless of how you publish your book, expect to do one thing when you are not busy writing your next book: Marketing.

There are many authors out there who have shared their marketing stories, and the lessons they have learned, good and bad. Here we will review two of them, but first let’s take a look at a couple maxims to keep in mind. Continue reading

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“Unexpected” Stories

Writers often tell of when their stories take on a life of their own. Non-writers might think this sounds mystical or strange, but it happens to nearly every writer. Thriller author J. F. Penn explains:

I don’t have a plot. I do have an opening scene and I’ve had an opening scene in my head for a while…That will then spark the story, but I do know that I will have these various aspects that will go into it…Then what happens is synchronicity. As I said, this is the ‘magic’ aspect that I find happens when I’m researching is that something will come up totally unexpected that makes the story work…And that synchronicity of story emerging from fascination and research still just makes me shiver a little bit, because it happens every time. Stephen King talks about the emergence of the story. That story is a ‘found thing.’ I believe that. I think I go looking for a story in the real world and then I will twist part of the reality into the thing that’s fiction.

Much like sculptors who say they are only revealing what is hidden in the rock, writers uncover stories hidden right in front of us. These are the kind of stories that readers love to get lost in. Even though they realize they are reading fiction — often fantastic at that — those bits grounded in reality blur the lines and draw them in even more.

All because a story revealed itself.

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Fairy Tales Illuminate What we Forget

If you read older versions of common fairy tales, they were often darker and more adult. They were made more kid friendly at some point, because children cannot always determine fact from fantasy, as Tolkien would argue. However, they do want something rooted in reality that didn’t have to be all cutesie. Tolkien’s first book, The Hobbit would attempt this. He was concerned about some of its more darker moments, but witness its success, and depth that exceeds what often passes for “children” books. And so Tolkien, and later C.S. Lewis with The Chronicles of Narnia, would bring fairy tales out of the nursery and gave something that would drive a child’s imagination and be sophisticated enough for an adult. Then, Lord of the Rings would take this further, bringing fantasy to maturity.

Bradley J. Birzer writes in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth, that fantasy — or fairy stories as Tolkien would often call them — is worth “the effort of entering” in spite of “its many perils and the great possibilities of misunderstanding” because:

…fairy stories illuminate the vast inheritance our ancestors have bequeathed to us…[they] give us a new sense of wonder about things we have taken for granted or which have become commonplace…[and] provide humans with a means to escape the darkness, conformity, and mechanization of modernity…this is not the same thing as escaping from reality. We still deal with life and death, comfort and discomfort. We merely escape progressivism and the progressive dream, which reduces all of complex reality to a mere shadow of creation’s true wonders

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Middle-Earth was much more than elves, orcs and trolls. Of course, what do you expect from an author who was an Oxford scholar who created an entire history, new languages and new races for his mythos? And those things were not even what made it great.

The very human stories were.

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