Character Interview: Autumn Augustus of Heaven’s Fate

Today I’m pleased to be interviewing Autumn Augustus, a character from Andre Alan’s epic adventure, Heaven’s Fate.

A little about the novel:  

Thame Elliot, an expert Rietsu martial artist, is consumed with thoughts of avenging his father’s death and rebuilding the legendary Tundra Sword. Little does Thame know that his aunt, the first empress of the human continent, Eioda, Autumn Augustus, has set the nation on a course that can only lead to war with the Orcs. The mystical inhabitants on the planet, Threa have been plunged into a struggle for the ancient artifacts buried in the mysterious, Consummate of the Trust. Not only that but his aunt is hell bent on marrying him to a corrupt military admirals daughter while Thame’s spiritual guardian, Masaya from the Astral Plane tries to manipulate him in order to keep the heavens from falling apart. The fate of mankind rest in Thame’s young hands but does he even want the responsibility that goes along with being the chosen one? Or will Thame’s spiritual twin, imbued with dark powers granted by the evil one, assassinate him before he can fulfill his destiny?

Without further ado, I’m happy to present Autumn Augustus!

Gwen:  Tell us a little about yourself, Autumn.   Where have you come from?  What do you want out of life?

Autumn: As you wish, my name is Autumn Clementine Augustus. I am from Las Anglas, Eioda where I served as Rear Admiral of the Western Fleet before joining Parliament.

What I want is tough to answer since my job for so long has been to take orders. Now as empress, I seem to take orders from the Eioda people. But what I wish for is simple, for my people to prosper and for my family to be happy and healthy.

Gwen:  The novel opens with talk of your brother Alexander being a traitor.  What’s the real story there?

Autumn: Alex was a hero, a patriot, a one of a kind leader. He was betrayed, plain and simple. That day was like a living nightmare. I blame myself though. If I would have done more than he could still be here with his son, Thame.

Gwen:  Your nephew, Thame, refuses your offers of help.  What do you think motivates him?

Autumn: Revenge motivates him. A white hot hatred over losing his parents at such a young age. I believe that he is also angry at himself for not being able to help more I think, but he was so young.

Gwen:  How do you feel about Thame’s behavior?

Autumn: Well I don’t think there is anything too extreme about his behavior. Sure, he can be a bit snarky at times, some may say that he is a little selfish, and a bit of a jerk but he truly does mean well. I blame myself for spoiling him growing up.

Gwen:  If you could change anything about your current situation, what would it be?

Autumn: If I wanted more time, then I would wish to be born in a different age but if I could change one thing, it would be fate. If I could change anything, it would be to have Alex alive. I would change the fact that the Tales of Arcadia have come to incorporate everyone that I care about.

Gwen:  What do you think lies ahead for Thame?

Autumn:  I think that Thame will accomplish all of his hopes and dreams. I think it will be a rough road ahead, full of bumps, ups and downs but overall a great career and a long, happy life.

To check out this novel (and hear more of the characters’ stories), visit Heaven’s Fate at Amazon.

You can find out more about Andre Alan, the author of Heaven’s Fate, at one of these places:

Twitter: @AndreAlanAuthor

Free literary novel today & 6/8/12 – Sykosa

Readers of A Few Words may recall that some months ago, I posted an excerpt of a YA novel that received a lot of comment because of its “YA for 18+” marker. Sykosa fostered a lot of great conversation on my social networks, including two guest posts from the author Justin Ordoñez on “Defining the Book that Rejects Definition.”

Well, I’m very happy to report that Sykosa, is available on Amazon for free through June 8th.

I’d love to hear what others think, both of the novel and of the concept of defining YA by age. I think as authors further explore this genre, we’re going to see more conversation of this type occurring.

Guest Post: Adding a Historical Time Period to a Paranormal Novel

When I saw that Belinda Vasquez Garcia had written a book about witchcraft and the Great Depression set in the American Southwest, I just HAD to talk to her.  As some of you may know, I just curated an exhibition on the 1930s so I’m a little addicted to the period.  Belinda’s novel, The Witch Narratives: Reincarnation, is full of fascinating concepts.  She’s here today to talk about historical connections but watch this blog to hear more about the book.


Adding a Historical Time Period to a Paranormal Novel

by Belinda Vasquez Garcia

Some Southwestern witches shape-shift using a piedra imán, those lucky enough to find the rare magnetic shape-shifting stone, whose powers go back to Roman times. In crafting my story, I thought that if a woman had such a stone, she would use it to remain young and beautiful. If one could remain forever young, then immortality would follow. So, in my books, a piedra imán acts as a fountain of youth. I therefore, needed to have my series start in an earlier time period so the lucky owner would stay young, while other witches around her age, festering with jealousy. For the first book, one of the time periods I chose was the Great Depression.

Madrid, New Mexico was once a company-owned, coal-mining town and it lost 37.5% of its population due to the Great Depression with 1/3 of the homes being emptied. The miners were forced to work just once or twice a week and struggled with even more debt which they owed to the company store. They ate mainly staples during this time period. One character, Marcelina, is given to quoting dichos [proverbs] and says of the Great Depression, “there is no shame in being poor but there is never a convenient time.”

Like most rich men, my fictional owner of the town and coal mine, Samuel Stuart, is not affected as much by hard times because he, also, owns businesses in Albuquerque, though some have closed due to the depression. However, his bank in Albuquerque, of which he is part owner, does fail and has to close its doors, even though the eight-story First National Bank is the biggest in Albuquerque. Here comes the Calvary! Lo and behold, the government and Roosevelt come to the rescue with the Glass-Steagall Act and loans money to banks all over the country, allowing the rich mine owner to reopen his bank. Hmm, sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Well, the Glass-Steagall Act which saved the banks from entire ruin during the Great Depression bailed them out, so long as the banks agreed not to dabble in investment banking and underwrite securities.

Wait a minute! That’s what banks were doing that caused our current economic problems! I found it unnerving that during my research I discovered that the economic crisis our nation has been having the last few years is simply an echo of the past. It was rather daunting to see how history repeats itself.


About The Witch Narratives: Reincarnation:

Two young women, a witch and a Catholic, clash with the Penitentes, a fanatical, Catholic secret society who enforce their own punishment for sin. Salia, a third-generation witch and half-breed living on the fringes of society with a cruel mother and selfish grandmother, befriends Marcelina, a doubting Catholic haunted by a centuries-old witch, La Llorona, who rises from the muddy Rio Grande. While Marcelina is torn between Catholicism and witchcraft allure, Salia has no desire to join the Sisterhood of the Black Rose, the covens created by La Llorona.

About the Author:

Belinda grew up in Albuquerque. The daughter of a seasonal carpenter and housewife, her family never had much money. Growing up, the only books her family ever owned were the A and B encyclopedias, and Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, which she used as a stool to sit on. Thus, did she absorb an arsenal of words.

She was seven years old when a neighbor loaned her Tom Sawyer. The novel mesmerized her, and she spent her summer days, sitting under a tree, reading the book from cover to cover ten times, before surrendering it. She then badgered her brother to walk her several miles to the library and several miles back, so she could check out other books of spell-binding fiction. She was skinny and often hungry, but nothing could keep her from that library walk, and the pile of books she would carry back home.

Her father deserted the family when Belinda was twelve, and her mother died when she was sixteen. Still, she earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico with emphasis on Applied Mathematics.

As a child, her family often spoke of witches. They particularly told tales of the legendary, centuries-old witch, La Llorona, who fascinated Belinda. Thus, her inspiration is taken from the true tales of witchcraft she heard as a child, from a strong Native American influence in her youth, and through research. Her fictional work reaches beyond regional geography to entice anyone who enjoys the world of mysticism, and the power of sorcery, but with spice. Her vision is to fashion colorful and realistic characters, and create compelling worlds that speak of sorcerers, witches, spiritual journeys, human compassion, individual frailties, love, hate, and the importance of family. One of her goals is to deeply touch the emotions of her readers.

Before embarking on writing full time, she worked as a Software Engineer and Web Developer for Sandia National Laboratory. In her spare time, she honed her craft of writing fiction.

Find Belinda at:

Author Website

Facebook

Twitter

 

Casual Friday: Book Trailer for The Serpent Passage

Book Synopsis:

Take an adventure you will never forget. Journey through The Serpent Passage, a sci-fi novel set in the times of the ancient Maya.

When William and Betty are trapped in a cavern in the Yucatán, they discover a way out through a strange passage that propels them a thousand years into the past. While searching for a way home, they become entangled in conflicts between Mayan kingdoms. Priest Quisac agrees to aid William if he promises to help his people. William is awarded the bloodstone, a magical gem that puts him in the path of Mayan gods and demons.

Can William survive the challenges of the past long enough to return home? Will his love for a Mayan Princess complicate matters? How is William’s destiny tied to the end of the Great Cycle in 2012?

The Serpent Passage is the first book in the Serpent Passage Series.

Author Bio:

Todd grew up in the Northwest, where he used to write stories to entertain his family. He has a B.A. in Communications and worked in technical publications for most of his career. Over the years, Todd wrote numerous technical manuals that have been published in print and on the internet. His success as a technical writer led him to managing large technical publication departments. Throughout his professional career, Todd continued to write fiction. Todd was inspired to write The Serpent Passage while exploring Mayan ruins and working as a scuba instructor in the Yucatán.

Website: http://www.toddallenpitts.com/
Facebook Link: http://www.facebook.com/serpentpassage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/toddallenpitts

Visit the book page on Amazon!

Serpent-1

Guest Post: Survival… or Why I Write Fiction

Today brings us a guest post from author RS Emeline whose new book, Purrfect Storm, has just been released on Amazon.  Today, she’s speaking with us about the connections between life and fiction, something many writers–and readers–can understand.

Survival… or Why I Write Fiction

by RS Emeline

As a teenager growing up in the soggy Pacific Northwest, I kept myself sane wallowed in my misery by writing really depressing and dark poetry. When I got older and moved away from the constant gloom of my familial ‘homeland’, I no longer needed to write about death and darkness.

Who am I kidding?

I still write doom and gloom, but now it has a happier ending.

When I married my Marine seven years ago, I didn’t think anything of my former desire to publish novels. In the constant hustle of everyday life I didn’t have time to remember dreams of the naive drunk crazy young girl I’d been.

Until I got pregnant.

Suddenly my desire for blood and vengeance a record of what was happening in my life and how I dealt with the constant urge to kill people hormones of pregnancy had the old dreams gearing up for a comeback tour.

Since murder is  messy against the law and nobody should do it, fiction seemed a better way to go.

Some of my best stories have been written while my Marine has been deployed. Purrfect Storm, my first published work, isn’t like most of what I’ve written. Mostly because during the original phase of the writing proces,s my Marine was home. If he’d been deployed, there would have been more dismemberment blood and gore  angst.

It still would have had a happy ending though.

I chose to write fiction because it allows me to step away from what is legally right, and still believe in fairy tales. It keeps me sane for the months at a time when my Marine is away, and I’m balancing the roles of mother, father, taxi driver, dispute fixer, and student.

Otherwise, I’d probably be writing this from prison.


About Purrfect Storm: Tavin Chauncy thinks he has his work cut out for him when a fellow Marine gets arrested for assault. He soon realizes that it’s nothing compared to the way his life gets flipped upside down when a mysterious woman appears in the middle of his living room during a rare desert storm.

 

About the Author: R.S. Emeline grew up in the sogginess of Washington State where she nurtured her love of writing with dark teenage poetry. Today she spends her time in the perpetual dryness and sun of the California desert. She lives there with her husband, the Marine; her niece, the Artist; her daughter,the Munchkin; and two animals–King Furry and Mistress Meow– who are the true rulers of the roost.

 

 

To Follow RS Emeline, visit her at:

 

Guest Post: Creating a World by Creating a Language

It’s an exciting weekend for guest posts!  The first guest post for this coming weekend comes to us courtesy of Matthew Arnold Stern, author of Doria.  Matthew’s talking about a subject that I personally find fascinating–creating language in fiction.   (For my take on this in my own writing, visit this entry in fantasy author Kody Boye’s blog.)

Without further ado…

Creating a World by Creating a Language

By Matthew Arnold Stern

Picture the last time you traveled to a different place. It probably had its own local language with idioms particular to that region. You may have been asked if you want a bottle of pop to go with your hero or offered a soda for your sub. Language like this gives a place local color and a sense of its history and culture.

We can do the same for our stories. Creating a language makes our fictional world more realistic and engaging. As readers become accustomed to the lingo, they feel like they’re “insiders” and become more invested in our story. Local language also gives us a tool for characterization. The words our characters use and how they use them tell readers who they are.

These are the reasons why I invented a local language for the fictional country in my novel Doria. It also addressed a couple of other challenges: Telling a story in English that takes place in a Spanish-speaking South American country, and revealing the history and geography of this country without relying on exposition.

I started with the first words people typically pick up in a language, the insults.

The first thing to know about South America is that those countries are not alike, and they often don’t like each other. For example, Chile hasn’t gotten along well with its neighbors. It fought a war with Peru and Bolivia in the 1870s that is still a source of conflict, and it almost came to blows with Argentina in 1978.

My fictional country of Doria is an archipelago off the coast of Chile, giving those poor Chileans yet another neighbor to annoy them. I use insults to show the tension between the two nations. The Dorians use an epithet I found in my research that has been used by Chile’s enemies. They call Chileans “rotos.” It’s the Spanish word for “broken,” referring to the seemingly shabby appearance of the Chilean army. I wanted to give Chileans an insult they can give Dorians in return. I came up with “isleño,” the Spanish word for “islander.” The term not only shows the contempt the Chileans have for the Dorians, it reminds the reader that Doria is an island country.

Spanish words give me a way to show that Doria is a Spanish-speaking country, even though I wrote my novel in English. I was going to include more Spanish dialogue, but my beta reader felt I would need to add a translation so she could understand what was happening. She felt the same way most of us do when listening to people talk in a language we don’t know. We feel left out and wonder if they’re talking about us. By using a few select words, I can still give that cultural flavor without making the reader feel excluded.

I also needed to create a language for Doria’s indigenous people. One of the conflicts in my book is between Felipe Sérigo, who rejected his Native Dorian heritage to become a communist rebel, and his father Ramón, who is fighting to preserve the country’s native culture after years of repression. As with the Spanish terms, I used a few words to give people a sense of this different culture without excluding the reader. I also wanted this language to tie with my theme of people setting aside their differences for the good of their country.

The story of the Native Dorian language is revealed in a scene where Ramón asks Felipe to tell a visiting film crew about their ancestors’ history. Felipe explains that ancient Doria was in a state of war between people who migrated there millennia ago, refugees from the Nazca Empire that recently fell, and Polynesians invading from the West. A sailor, who was cast adrift after his ship got lost and destroyed at sea, washed up on this country’s shores and was rescued by a native woman. When he recovered, he became determined to bring peace to his new home. He brought these peoples together and created a new religion and language.

I included a combination of Quechua and Polynesian words with words I created for the indigenous people. I wouldn’t expect the reader to know words in those languages, but observant readers may notice words that sound a lot like Hebrew and Arabic, like “rabe’ya” and “nakaba.” I wanted to create a mystery about the sailor who brought those words to the Americas centuries before Columbus. Who is he? Where did he come from? How did he get all the way across the Pacific? What does this mean for this country’s future? These are questions I can answer in later books of this series.

Even though I created a number of words, I did not add a glossary to my novel. The problem I see with a glossary is that it stops readers. It leaves them asking, “Why do I need to know all these words before I can read this book? Will I remember their definitions when I see them?” Instead, I used the words in context and trust the reader to understand their meaning. This is the way the Harry Potter books present the language of their wizard world.

By creating a local language, I can make my story world more vivid and engaging for my readers. It also helped me address a number of storytelling challenges. If you would like to learn more about the language of Doria, you can view the glossary at http://www.matthewarnoldstern.com/download/doriaglossary.pdf.

To find out how to get your copy of Doria, visit http://www.matthewarnoldstern.com/doria.html.

I wish you the best in your writing efforts.


Matthew Arnold Stern is an award-winning writer and public speaker. He has written professionally since 1983 as a technical writer, journalist, playwright, and novelist. He has published two novels, Offline and Doria. To read more of his writing, visit his Web site at http://www.matthewarnoldstern.com

Before & After: Rachel Hunter

Rachel Hunter

Rachel Hunter is the focus of today’s Before and After, a new feature on this blog. In Before and After, we will hear from new authors before the publication of their novel and then follow up after the book’s publication to find out how the experience went.

Rachel’s first book is A Llathalan Annal: Empyreal Fate, coming out this spring from Hydra Publications. Rachel has also just released the short story, “Perfect Nothing,” about her battles with anorexia nervosa. Proceeds from this story will be donated to Give Kids the World. It is available now on Amazon.com.

Gwen: Welcome to the blog, Rachel! I always like to start out by having the author tell a little bit about their book. Can you share with us what the book is about?

Rachel: Greetings, Gwen!

Thanks for featuring me on your blog. I would be delighted to share a bit about my book: Empyreal Fate – Part One of my Llathalan Annal fantasy series.

Filled to the brim with forbidden love, an ancient evil, and a nation in disrepair, Empyreal Fate is a tale of riveting bravery and mortal corruption.

The land of Llathala lingers on the brink of war between men and elves, a dark history surrounding each race. Stirred by tensions of the land, a shadow of the past reemerges, taking precedence in reality and consuming the very soul of mans’ mortal weakness. Darrion, the son of a poor laborer, is ensnared in a hostile world, forced to choose between loyalty to his king or the counsel of the elves. Yet Fate has other plans in store, tying his course to Amarya, an elven royalblood of mysterious quality and unsurpassable beauty. But this forbidden connection incites betrayal from members of their own kin, marking them as traitors to the crown. In a land torn asunder, only Fate’s decree can allow such love to coexist with an ancient enmity.

Behold: A Llathalan Annal: Empyreal Fate – Part One.

I won’t give away much of the details here, but Empyreal Fate basically sets the stage for a great war between the races of man and elf. Part One focuses on developing a crucial piece of the story (which the reader will unravel as he ventures forth), and it establishes the basis through which the characters will learn and grow. I find a story comes to life when its characters mature and express marked wisdom. Indeed, as my Llathalan Annal series progresses, I hope the reader is able to make those connections and also tie himself in Llathala’s realm as well.

Oh – and just a word of caution… Keep an eye on the young one. She’s not always as she seems.

Gwen: What inspired you to choose fantasy as your genre?

Rachel: Fantasy – a beautiful word against my lips! What could be more magical than transporting oneself into realms of the impossible – the enchanting? Since I could but only grasp onto the covers of a book, I have been reading to my heart’s content. Although I enjoy works spanning all genres, I have found that fantasy beckons my attention far above all. There’s something in the nature of the fantastical that draws me in; there’s something about the feel of alternate worlds and mystical planes that ensnares me. And this is why I’ve chosen fantasy as my own genre. I want to make others feel the way I do about words: to breathe in awe at their elusive connectedness – to marvel the fluid way in which they bind. It’s this internal delight that delivers life upon a sheet of parchment. And it is this feeling I wish to instill.

I wish to add a side note here, as I have also a penchant for poetry. ‘I dance with words,’ as some may say. As a poet, I have incorporated my fascination of speech within Empyreal Fate, thereby bringing to light the lofty language and mystical tongue of an epic world. Every sentence I wrote flowed through my head along with a beat, and I recounted my tale accordingly. Thus, I wish to share with all the beauty of words and the unique way in which they breathe.

Gwen: I know that I myself was reading fantasy from a young age—the first book series that really captured my imagination was the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Reading so much fantasy–particularly those novels with their use of metaphor and subtle discussion of religious themes–definitely influenced me as a writer. Have you had a similar experience with any books that you’ve read? Is there any theme or aspect of a novel you read early on that just sticks with you?

Rachel: Vivid words and breathing characters. Regardless the genre and regardless the message, if these crucial elements are for lack, the tale will hardly hold together. Fantasy-speaking, I do well enjoy political references and spiritual subtleties. In fact, when I wrote Empyreal Fate, I sewed in some ties of my own spiritual quandaries. I would definitely say that having read other works throughout my life has inspired me to intertwine such concepts. The most important part I gleaned was how – despite the message or whether I truly believed it– the influence or ‘readability’ of the characters was key. In fact, I believe The Shannara Series – by Terry Brooks – was the first truly epic fantasy collection I read, and I was immediately intrigued by the character dynamics. Without that connection, the inner workings of the novels would not have been as profound.

Gwen: When we write, there is often an idea behind it that we want our readers to discover (and we’ll talk more about that in our “After” interview). As a first-time novelist, however, what ideas did you uncover in your own work? Did you learn any lessons from your own characters?

Rachel: Indeed – as I wrote, I delved further into the histories of my races: how they came to be and why, etc… At first, I had only a rough outline in my head, but as I progressed, the details blossomed anew. Needless to say, I could hardly keep up! I had so many ideas rampaging at once. I suppose that’s where the subsequent parts to series will come into play…

As for my characters – they instilled in me the importance of virtue, of love, and of truth. (I would say more, but for fear of spoiling anything, I shall refrain.) I will, however, suggest that one takes note of the Cauychin. Now there’s a witty beast with heart to tell.

Gwen: Let’s shift gears a little and talk about one of the hardest things that any author has to do—finding a home for the work when they’re finished. What was the most difficult part of this process for you?

Rachel: Oh – goodness! Where to begin? I would definitely say that querying agents and publishers (in general) was the most difficult part. It seems everyone has different procedures that must be followed; and to break a single ‘rule’ in the process is a one-way ticket for rejection. Patience is key. It was difficult to fathom the fact that publishers generally look for reasons to decline a book – especially if they are swamped with submissions. So… yes… I would have to say that finding a publisher who met my needs – as well as found interest in my novel – was the hardest part. (Especially finding a publisher with whom to trust. A completed manuscript is like a babe – you cannot simply sell it to just anyone on the street.)

Gwen: How did you come to choose Hydra Publications for your book?

Rachel: Actually, I was offered two contracts for Empyreal Fate within roughly the same week. It became readily apparent, however, that the first company was not the right ‘fit.’ Therefore, Hydra graciously accepted me into their family, and I could not be more pleased – nigh, honored!

Gwen: Do you have any expectations about what will happen once the book comes out? Any special plans for other projects?

Rachel: Well, with college and various academic endeavors, it is difficult to find the time to specifically plan things. I do, however, hope to attend more writing conventions, assert myself further via social media, and perhaps participate in blogs/interviews such as this! Of course, I also plan to polish the rest of my series, but as for a schedule – it’s up in the air! We’ll see where Fate takes me. So far, the journey looks promising.

Gwen: What has been the most rewarding part of your experience thus far?

Rachel: Meeting new people – immersing myself in the collective wisdom of my peers. Simply experiencing the joy of fellow authors and readers claims my heart. It rewards me most of all when I can share my opinions with others – whether about novels, poetry, or life in general – and, in turn, gain insight of my own. I’ve learned a lot from others throughout this process thus far. And I, too, wish to inspire. I wish to awaken the muse in those who seek its majesty. You never know what one may discover within.

Gwen: If readers want to follow your work or find out more about you as an author, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Rachel: As of now, one can find me on my blog, websites, Facebook, and Twitter. Also, be sure to visit Hydra Publications’ Website, where I can be found – as well as a plethora of other amazing and talented authors: http://www.hydrapublications.com.

Some of my links can be found below:

http://www.rachel-m-hunter.blogspot.com/

http://www.rachel-m-hunter.yolasite.com

http://www.wix.com/rachel_hunter/author

http://www.facebook.com/people/Rachel-Hunter/713230996

Again, thank you for having me! ‘Twas a pleasure indeed.

Author Interview with Jason Christie

I’d like to welcome Jason Z. Christie to the blog. Jason has written a number of e-books currently available through Amazon. He is probably best known as High-C, the nerdcore rapper, in the documentary “Nerdcore For Life”. In metal act Gortician, he was drummer Jason Gortician. He’s here today to talk about his most recent release, Zombie Killa.

High C

High C

Gwen: So tell me, Jason, you’re not only a writer but a musician as well. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into music and whether or not that led to writing novels (or vice versa)?

Jason:I think one thing definitely led to the other. Songs are little stories, right? I’ve always been interested in music, but the internet really enabled me to do things that weren’t possible before. I got to cut tracks and perform with a bunch of people from all over the U.S., then I wrote a novella about them. A clear example of music leading to literature.

I notice that a lot of my books have musical themes to them. Hurricane Regina is a Bjork/Sugarcubes novel. Radar Love is an Eagles novel. I’m working on another set in the 80s that has a thrash metal background. As a musician you can explore lots of dark concepts which you can then have fun with as a writer.

Gwen: Some readers may not be familiar with the term “nerdcore,” a genre of music that is the basis of Zombie Killa’s plot. Can you define it for us?

Jason: Nerdcore hip-hop is rap music written by and for nerds. They put out tracks about video games and comic books, math jokes, animated girlfriends. It’s really a lot more akin to the golden era of rap than anything mainstream you might hear today. The best of it combines the heart and soul of hip-hop with ultramodern song topics and wordplay, without being too self-conscious about the subject matter.

Gwen: What gave you the inspiration to combine zombies and nerdcore into this novel?

Jason: Well, all rappers are sort of actors already, aren’t they? I wrote this with the intention of making a screenplay out of it, and it’s really easy to visualize characters that are already fully realized. But zombie themes are common in nerdcore, not to mention Zealous1 has a track called “Zombie Killa”.

At A Comic Shop in Florida, they have Z.E.D. meetings, and go out to a shooting range monthly to shoot at paper zombie targets in preparation for the zombie apocalypse…

Gwen: Tell us about one of your favorite characters in the book. What makes him or her unique?

Jason: They’re all really unique, but I think I like Myf the best because he is the furthest from his character in the novella. For all of the other characters, I tried to find their voices and really capture their personalities. For Myf, I just let it all hang out. He’s probably horrified and delighted.

Gwen: If you were to create a soundtrack for Zombie Killa, what would be on it? (Bonus points for giving our readers a couple of links!)

Zealous1 – “Zombie Killa”
Nursehella – “Nursehellamentary”
YTCracker – “In My Time”
Benjamin Bear & Betty Rebel – “Beetlejuice and Metroid”

Gwen: What do you hope your readers will get out of the book?

Jason: A fun ride. I’d like to think that people will see enough depth in Zombie Killa, even though it’s sort of pop art, to want to read my more involved works. High-C is also in Perfect Me, so I’m hoping he’s a gateway character. And perhaps a few people will discover a new song they like.

Gwen: What’s next on the horizon? Any good projects coming up in either your writing or musical career?

Zombie Killa

Zombie Killa

Jason: It’s funny. There’s a lot more interest in my music, of late. Once I stopped focusing on that and devoted my time to writing novels, the music thing has sort of picked up a following on its own. So I’m pleased to announce I’m working with producer Kid Charlamaign on a split e.p. with MC Inadequate.

I’m currently about a third of the way done with three more novels, a construction murder mystery, a funny fantasy title, and Cure for Sanity, another novel in the Perfect Me universe. Penultimate Hustle, the mammoth sequel to Radar Love, is due to be released on March 23rd. Beyond that, I have about ten thousand words or so of poetry that I’m trying to edit into something nice.

Thanks for the great interview.


Zombie Killa is currently available in e-edition at Amazon. You can find out more about Jason and his work at his blog, Write to Life.

Cover proofs for the Universal Mirror

I realize that the book has been out in e-format for a couple of weeks now but there is something magical about seeing the cover for the actual print version.  I’m normally the first to jump on new technologies but nothing will ever replace the feel of a solid book in your hands or the sensation of rapidly turning one page to get to the next.

 

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Worldbuilding: Extinction Events

Blood: The Brotherhood Saga

I am pleased to introduce to you my first guest blogger, Kody Boye, author of Blood: The Brotherhood Saga. Kody and I first connected on Facebook where I discovered this novel and became rapidly engrossed by the work (expect a review forthcoming). It’s currently available at Amazon. If, like me, you enjoy epic fantasy, I recommend picking up a copy.

But for now, on to the post!

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Extinction Events
A guest post by Kody Boye.

It became prevalent early on within the writing of the Brotherhood saga that much of the world and the sentient creatures that populated it had already died off. Due to human encroachment, disease, mass extinction events or all-out genocide, several races that bore intelligent thought within the world of Minonivna perished or are in the process of dying off as the first book begins.

You might be wondering after reading the introductory paragraph: Why?

Why did entire species have to die off, you ask? Simple: they just did.

If we are to follow what the fossil record shows, there have been many a man (or things resembling men) that have fallen to the greater acts of nature. Who can forget the Neanderthals that roamed parts of Europe and Asia or, more recently, homo floresiensis (better known as the Hobbit) in Indonesia? These are only two of the many examples of sentient, human-like creatures that existed on planet Earth throughout its billions of years of existence, yet they died out. Nature is a cruel and savage beast, as she whittles out many a creature either through predation or natural disaster. Many a theory has been proposed about how the Neanderthals died out (climate change and lack of food, interbreeding with or being killed off by homo sapiens.) Even the Hobbit is believed to have been wiped out by a volcanic eruption that completely annihilated its species, so to think that such species-killing disasters are common are not entirely out of the question.

However, though history has shown that life on Earth has a tendency to die out, what does that mean for life in a fictional setting? Why kill of entire races of creatures when a world builder can avoid such atrocities?

There’s a few reasons.

Reason numero uno is simple—I wanted there to be depth and realism to the world. Earth’s history has shown that life, especially dominant or intelligent life, has a predisposition to death. I wanted to explore the concept of mortality within the world I call Minonivna, particularly because it’s interesting to see the demise of grand creatures, but also because it makes a more well-rounded world for there to be extinctions.

The second reason, and possibly the more complex of the two, is the idea that humanity may have played a role in killing off some of their fellow sentients. This theory has been proposed particularly for homo erectus (what we modern humans are.) We have, over the course of several millions of years, hunted dozens upon dozens of animals to extinction. Off the top of my head in but a moment alone, I can name: the Moa bird in New Zealand, who was killed by foreigners by stealing their eggs after settling on the island; the Thylacine, who was hunted to extinction in Australia; the Yangtze River Dolphin, who was killed for food and poisoned by garbage dumps in China; and the Passenger Pigeon, which was wiped out in a mass hunt in North America. These are only a few of the creatures who, though not sentient in any way, were wiped out by humanity. Since there are no modern examples of humanity wiping out something that is capable of thinking intelligently and with a conscience, I wanted to explore the idea of human cruelty or ignorance and how, through rash choices and decisions, our actions may have killed off creatures that may have compared to us emotionally.

What kind of creatures were or are in the process of being killed off within the Brotherhood universe, you ask?

Allow me to demonstrate.

The Centaurs were a race of humanoid equine creatures that existed within a part of the world southwest of the Northern Coastline called The Whooping Hills. With a human torso connected to an equine lower half, they lived in tribal structures and hunted local wildlife. Called ‘abominations’ by modern humanity due to the belief that they were ‘created by horse demons who slept with women,’ they were hunted to extinction.

Further southwest, beyond the Whooping Hills, exists a place known as the Abroen Forest—a vast, sprawling forest that is commonly known as the home of the Elves. Within the forest exists a multitude of intelligent or somewhat-sentient life. A race of rat creatures known as the Unclean were hunted to death in a mass genocide by the Elves. Known as the Great Hunt, the creatures were hunted to extinction because the Elves could not prevent the creatures from preying on and killing their children.

Beyond the coast of Minonivna, in an arctic wasteland known as Neline, a race of upright-walking bear creatures known as the Kerma are afflicted with a flesh disease that creates tumors along the body that rot through flesh, bone and, eventually, the matter of the inner body. Though not yet extinct within The Brotherhood Saga, the creatures’ numbers are rapidly declining. No source to the disease has been found, though it is believed by the Kerma people that human settlers brought the illness to the island that is ultimately decimating their numbers.

Within the world of The Brotherhood, I tried to create a realistic background in regards to not only humanity, but the creatures that coexist or have coexisted around them. It’s a harsh stretch to destroy entire creatures that could have added a positive dimension to the story, but as a writer, and as a world builder, I believe killing them creates a more well-rounded, three-dimensional world.


Kody Boye

Kody Boye was born and raised in Southeastern Idaho. Since his initial publication in the Yellow Mama Webzine in 2007, he has gone on to sell nearly three-dozen stories to various markets. He is the author of the short story collection Amorous Things, the novella The Diary of Dakota Hammell, the zombie novel Sunrise and the first book in The Brotherhood Saga, Blood. His fiction has been described as ‘Surreal, beautiful and harrowing’ (Fantastic Horror,) while he himself has been heralded as a writer beyond his years (Bitten by Books.) He currently lives and writes in the Austin, Texas area.