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Category Archives: Spotlight

‘Kros: Hallowed Ground’ by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake

Vampire Hunter Kros fights a battle at night as fearful and horrific as the battles fought during the day at the Battle of Gettysburg.

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Kros: Hallowed Ground began over 10 years ago as a tale of horror set during the Battle of Gettysburg. A dream project for us both, it waited silently, like a vampire in the shadows… The story was written, some pages were drawn–atmospheric, dark murky landscapes, the dimly lit surgeon’s tent, a figure swirling from the smoke of battle…

It’s time to hear the wolf’s howl; to watch the undead descend like buzzards to the feast.  It’s time to unleash the vampires…

 All wars are horror stories.

Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863. The blood soaked battlefields of the Civil War draw Vampires who descend to feed on the wounded and dying as Blood calls to Blood. One man, a Vampire Hunter named Kros, stands against them, waging a battle at night as fearful and horrific as the battles fought during the day.

KROS: HALLOWED GROUND is a 128 page horror graphic novel by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake. Kros is a dream project and Kros’ story is one we have been wanting to tell for a long time.

With just under 24 hours to go, this kickass Kickstarter project has been FULLY FUNDED! Absolutely epic news for John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake! :) The first stretch-goal has been achieved and the second, which will see 20 additional pages of content added to the graphic novel, is very close to being passed.

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THE STORY

Set against the backdrop of the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War, KROS: HALLOWED GROUND is a tale of horror that follows the story of Vampire hunter, Major Kros, who fights two wars. During the day, Kros fights the battle history remembers. At night, he fights a secret battle against supernatural forces.

Kros himself is an enigmatic character. He’s a dampyr – a vampire hunter – and has some of the vampire’s abilities. Long lived, Kros cares nothing for the politics of ordinary mortals. The Civil War means nothing to him. Kros is on the trail of the undead. There are considerable dangers to Kros as well–and death is not the worst of them. Blood calls to Blood and there is always the danger that could be turned and become that which he hates.

Around Kros are ordinary people, civilians and soldiers from both the North and South in the midst of a cauldron called Gettysburg. They have faced the conflict and horror of the battlefield and now must face an even greater horror. Vampires have followed the armies and come at night to feast on the fallen. A second battle is fought at Gettysburg of which the history books know nothing. That’s the tale we want to tell. We’ve waited a long time to tell it. With your help, it will happen.

The KROS: HALLOWED GROUND 128 page graphic novel will include character and production artwork by Tom Mandrake, cover/poster art, as well as a short KROS story by John Ostrander.

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Definitely a graphic novel I’m looking forward to devouring, and I’m really stoked for Tom and John that this dream of theirs is in the process of becoming a reality. :) If you’d like to help make sure that the next stretch-goal is reached and passed -and who wouldn’t? There is some really cool swag to be had in exchange for your help- check out the project’s page over at Kickstarter.

Massive congrats to John and Tom once again – very well deserved, guys! :)

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

 
 

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New Release: Through a Mirror, Darkly by Kevin Lucia (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Hey everyone, Dave here!

Released today, Through a Mirror, Darkly is Kevin Lucia‘s second short story collection, following Things Slip Through.

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Arcane Delights. Clifton Heights’ premier rare and used bookstore. In it, new owner Kevin Ellison has inherited far more than a family legacy, for inside are tales that will amaze, astound, thrill…and terrify.

An ancient evil thirsty for lost souls. A very different kind of taxi service with destinations not on any known map. Three coins that grant the bearer’s fondest wishes, and a father whose crippling grief gives birth to something dark and hungry.

Every town harbors secrets; Kevin Ellison is about to discover those that lurk in the shadows of Clifton Heights.

Through a Mirror, Darkly is a Supernatural Thriller collection masked as a novel. With elements of mystery, suspense, and otherworldly horror,Through a Mirror, Darkly successfully delves into the worlds of Lovecraft, Grant, and the mysterious Carcosa.

Through a Mirror, Darkly serves as Kevin Lucia’s early-warning system to the horror field – Brace yourselves, folks.” – Gary A. Braunbeck, Bram Stoker Award-winner of To Each Their Darkness, Destinations Unknown, and the forthcoming A Cracked and Broken Path

“Kevin Lucia writes my favorite kind of horror, the kind not enough folks are writing anymore.” – Kealan Patrick Burke, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Turtle Boy and Kin.

Order your copies on Amazon and then head over to Crystal Lake Publishing’s website to see what else is waiting for you. :) You can also add the book to your shelf on Goodreads, follow the Board on Pinterest, and don’t forget to check out more awesome work from the cover artist, Ben Baldwin.

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

 

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Spotlight and New Release: Tormentor by William Meikle (DarkFuse Publishing)

Hey everyone, Dave here,

I’ve got a brand new book for you to snap up!

Blurb:

This story isn’t really about me.

On the Isle of Skye, near the community of Dunvegan, sits a rustic old one-bedroom home, waiting for a new tenant. It seems like the perfect opportunity for Jim Greenwood to escape the hectic London city life—a place to move on from tragedy.

This is the story of a house.

As he tries to settle into country life, his is tormented by mysterious soot marks left throughout the house while he sleeps, cryptic e-mails from unknown senders, and hundreds of hand-drawn stick-figure drawings etched in a perfect pattern on the cottage’s cellar walls.

Stay. Beth needs you.

Jim begins losing control, drinking excessively, shaking to an uncontrollable beat in his head, trying to decipher what may or may not be a code—or a warning.

No limbs, no limbs, no head, no head, left arm gone, left leg gone, no legs, no head.

The door is open, and something is coming through. It’s just a matter of when—and what.

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The book was released yesterday and looks like it could be an incredibly chilling read, so if you’re looking for a good Horror tale to keep you up at night, your search might just be over!

You can purchase the book for your Kindle at the following links: Amazon US, Amazon UK.

And do check out William’s website – the man has a great backlist to dive into!

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2015 in Announcements, Spotlight

 

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Days of the Dead Blog Tour – Guest Post: Gail Z Martin

Hey everyone, Dave here! :-)

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It’s that time of the year again – Gail Z Martin, author of many novels -including those that make the Chronicles of the NecromancerThe Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Fallen Kings CycleDeadly Curiosities and plenty of short stories– is preparing us all for a massive 2015 by taking over the blogosphere with guest-posts, giveaways, excerpts and much more!

So, let’s welcome Gail once again, with a guest post exploring characters… ;-)

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What Characters Do Between Books By Gail Z. Martin

Have you ever wondered what characters do on their days off?

What I mean is, do you ever think about what characters might be doing between books, when the author isn’t looking?

Those of us who live with multiple casts of characters in our heads think about strange things like this. Often, we are faced with characters who might be ready to mutiny on a moment’s notice if they thought it would get them a new book contract or a series of short stories.

Really, it’s not easy being in character limbo. And to tell the truth, that’s not how I think of my characters in between the tales I tell.

For example, my Chronicles of the Necromancer series is on hiatus as I write the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga. I have six more books I plan to write in the world of the Winter Kingdoms, but there is a natural seventeen-year break in the action in the books, and it was a good resting place for me to go off and do some other projects for a while.

That doesn’t mean the characters are resting on their laurels.

In my mind’s eye, I can tune in and see what my characters are up to while they wait for their next book. In my Chronicles of the Necromancer series, King Martris Drayke and his queen, Kiara of Isencroft are busy chasing two young boys, one with special magical needs, while rebuilding two kingdoms—Margolan and Isencroft—torn by war, famine, plague, and invasion.

Meanwhile, Lord Jonmarc Vahanian and his wife, Carina, are busy with twin girls, and Jonmarc must juggle the demands of his role as Lord of Dark Haven against his responsibilities as Champion to Queen Berwyn and her consort, Gethin of Eastmark. In Dhasson, newly-crowned King Jair struggles to lead his kingdom after the death of his father while grieving the loss of his wife and trying to raise a son who is both the rightful heir to the crown and the next shaman-chief of the nomadic Sworn.

Those are just a few of the characters readers got to know in the series, but as I go through the list, I can tell you how the others are doing, what their recent triumphs and trials have been, and what’s next for them.

From a storytelling perspective, these character-years aren’t important to chronicle because they fall between the big events. They’re the normal time, the breath between the storms. Yet for the characters themselves, the time is filled with personally momentous occasions as children grow, kingdoms rebuild, communities knit back together. The business of waging peace isn’t as exciting as conducting war, but it is demanding and busy, just the same. And even my characters know in their hearts that the good times must also come to an end someday…

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with never-before-seen cover art, brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for stories and books by author friends of mine. And, a special 50% off discount from Double-Dragon ebooks! You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Details here:

www.AscendantKingdoms.com

Trick or Treat: Enjoy an excerpt from The Sworn, Book One in my Fallen Kings Cycle here: http://www.ascendantkingdoms.com/books/the-fallen-kings-cycle/the-sworn/the-sworn-chapter-one/

And a bonus excerpt from Ice Forged, Book One in my Ascendant Kingdoms Saga here: http://www.ascendantkingdoms.com/books/the-ascendant-kingdoms-saga/ice-forged/an-excerpt-from-ice-forged-book-one-in-the-ascendant-kingdoms-saga/

And a second bonus excerpt from Raider’s Curse, the first of my Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures short stories here: http://www.ascendantkingdoms.com/short-stories-and-more/the-jonmarc-vahanian-adventures/raiders-curse/excerpt-from-raiders-curse/

***

I’ve never regretted letting Gail take over the blog, and this post is a prime example why- always interesting and illuminating! Don’t forget to check out the full list of celebrations as listed on Gail’s official site; there is a massive amount of things going on! :-)

Many thanks to Gail for writing this excellent guest post, and for coordinating this post along with Gemma at Orbit – I’m definitely looking forward to the next Days of the Dead, as I’m sure you are!

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

P.S. You wanna see something EPIC? Follow this link. ;-)

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Book Tour, Guest Post, Spotlight

 

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Short Film Spotlight: Merv – Directed by Matt Inns

Hey everyone, hope you’re all well. :-)

Please take a look at this great post-apocalyptic SF short film – Matt Inns got in contact and asked me if I would help to get the word out about it, and after watching and enjoying it I knew I had to. :-)

Great, eh? A fun soundtrack that perfectly fits the tale – great acting, especially when the actors are still wearing their masks, plus a great set and some cool filming all combine to make this a fun, memorable short film. :-)

Looking forward to more  from Matt!

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2014 in Short Film, Spotlight

 

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Blog-Tour and Guest Post: Zeus is Dead by Michael G. Munz (Booktrope Publishing)

Hi everyone!

This post is a day late, apologies for that! :-( We’ve been moving into our first house and we hardly have a kitchen, never mind an internet connection. :-) That being said, here we go:

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Zeus is Dead – A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure by Michael G Munz.

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Title: Zeus is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure

Author: Michael G. Munz

Genre: Contemporary Mythological Fantasy

Release date: July 21st, 2014

Publisher: Booktrope Publishing

Length: 446 pages (paperback)

The gods are back. Did you myth them?

You probably saw the press conference. Nine months ago, Zeus’s murder catapulted the Greek gods back into our world. Now they revel in their new temples, casinos, and media empires—well, all except Apollo. A compulsive overachiever with a bursting portfolio of godly duties, the amount of email alone that he receives from rapacious mortals turns each of his days into a living hell.

Yet there may be hope, if only he can return Zeus to life! With the aid of Thalia, the muse of comedy and science fiction, Apollo will risk his very godhood to help sarcastic TV producer Tracy Wallace and a gamer-geek named Leif—two mortals who hold the key to Zeus’s resurrection. (Well, probably. Prophecies are tricky buggers.)

Soon an overflowing inbox will be the least of Apollo’s troubles. Whoever murdered Zeus will certainly kill again to prevent his return, and avoiding them would be far easier if Apollo could possibly figure out who they are.

Even worse, the muse is starting to get cranky.

Discover a world where reality TV heroes slay actual monsters and the gods have their own Twitter feeds: Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure!

About the Author:

An award-winning writer of speculative fiction, Michael G. Munz was born in Pennsylvania but moved to Washington State in 1977 at the age of three. Unable to escape the state’s gravity, he has spent most of his life there and studied writing at the University of Washington.

Michael developed his creative bug in college, writing and filming four exceedingly amateur films before setting his sights on becoming a novelist. Driving this goal is the desire to tell entertaining stories that give to others the same pleasure as other writers have given to him. He enjoys writing tales that combine the modern world with the futuristic or fantastic.

Michael has traveled to three continents and has an interest in Celtic and Classical mythology. He also possesses what most “normal” people would likely deem far too much familiarity with a wide range of geek culture, though Michael prefers the term geek-bard: a jack of all geek-trades, but master of none–except possibly Farscape and Twin Peaks.

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Here’s a guest post by Michael. :-)

Hi everyone! It’s great to be here on Dave Brendon’s Fantasy & Sci-Fi Blog. (I mean, ya know, figuratively. I’m not actually here in the Internet. Probably not, anyway. There’s the tiniest chance I’m somewhere in here battling the Master Control Program.) In honor of the recent release of my comedic fantasy novel Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure, Dave has asked me to talk about my writing process.

Some writers like to grab the reins of an idea or character that interests them, dig in the twin spurs of creativity and caffeine, and see where it takes them. They ride, sometimes finding glorious vistas, sometimes getting lost in a ravine, and often both. If they’re lucky, it’ll carry them directly to the stars. Or they might ram into a brick wall that shatters their mount to pieces. That’s the first draft. Then they take the reins again and, now that they’ve mapped the terrain during that first wild ride, plot a more perfect course to reach the vistas and avoid the ravines. This often involves a great deal of revising.

Stephen King likes this particular method. (Did you know he found the story and characters in The Stand were getting away from him, so he blew up the house in which most of them were meeting? The guy’s brutal.) It’s a fantastic method, and some authors obviously do quite well with it.

But it’s not my method. I’m a meticulous planner, and I like to know, more or less, where I’m going when I start the journey. The method that I’ve found works best for me—also a perfectly legitimate method used by numerous authors (Terry Brooks, to name one)—is somewhat the reverse: I tend to front-load the work in the sense that I take more time to sketch things ahead of time before starting in on my first draft.

First I need to decide on my general premise. It’s got to be something that excites me enough to want to spend an entire novel’s worth of time writing. This is both a “what if?” and a good answer. Then I sketch the main characters (who they are, where they came from, and where they’re going), create a “step sheet” that shows the flow of both character arcs and plot progression, and make a bunch of notes about the setting itself. All of this helps inform my writing so I can work in common themes, foreshadowing, and better set up character moments. (To continue with the metaphor from the first method, rather than taking a wild ride through the terrain, I get a satellite image.)

Then, finally, I actually write, using the step sheet and character sketches as a guide. This does NOT mean those things are inviolate. I might come up with new ideas as I go (and certain parts of my step sheet sometimes say “whatever seems to make sense for the characters at this point”), change directions, or even discover that the characters themselves have tapped me on the shoulder (or punched me in the face) to say they want to do things differently.

I hate when they punch me in the face. So far I haven’t had to kill anyone for that. (Okay, so actually I love when they punch me in the face. It’s great to see a character take on a life of his or her own. But sometimes those punches can put serious kinks in my plans! Jerks.) :D

So that gets me through the first draft. From there I edit, revise, agonize, improvise, exercise (it’s good to get the brain working, plus it rhymes here, which is my main reason for mentioning it) and probably eat some pizza.

Come to think of it, pizza (and caffeine) is also a very important part of the earlier steps, too.

So that’s my method. It works for me, but every writer is different. If anyone ever tries to tell you there’s only one “right” way to write a book, you kick them in the shins, and then do it again for me. (And then, ya know, run.) While there are a number of different things that must be done when writing a book, there are also a number of different ways to go about doing them.

Thanks for reading, everyone! Check out the result of my process (and hopefully get a few laughs in the bargain) in my comedic contemporary fantasy Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure, in paperback and ebook formats from Booktrope Publishing!

***

There we go, folks – I’ll definitely be making time to give ‘Zeus is Dead’ a read, seems like it’ll be an enjoyable read! :-)

To connect with Michael, check him on Twitter and Facebook; order the novel from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, add the book on Goodreads, and check out his website for more information regarding him and his work.

Massive thanks to Vanya for her patience, and to Michael for the great guest-post! :-)

Happy reading and always Be EPIC!

 
 

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Spotlight: The Final Frontier (The Ovion Archives) by H.M. Irwing

Hope you’ve all been enjoying a kickass Monday so far! :-) I know I have – slept late, had a filling breakfast, relaxing bath – you get the idea. ;-)

Anyway, next spotlight for you is here:

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H.M. Irwing excites readers with captivating sci-fi action adventure full of action, adventure and suspense deep within ‘The Final Frontier

War tore apart Johua, a ruling planet in space where power meant everything and corruption of power ruined not only Johua but all other planets awakened to space travel. A team of Johuan scientist devised a plan that would contain if not eliminate their foe, the Ovions. The plan involved the introduction of EM1, an emotional management technique, that would curb the rage within the Ovions that the Johuan scientists believed drove them to unfailingly overpower the otherwise genetically equal Johuans. But unrest is stirring amongst the Johuans. A plan is hatching to rid the universe of its Ovion protectors and to amass the wealth of the awakened worlds for Johua.

The Final Frontier”, a captivating fantasy/sci-fi romantic novel written by author H.M. Irwing is narrated from the point of view of its main character, the bio-engineered smuggler and fugitive from the insular Johuan race, Sim Drewal and several other key characters. Sim an outsider student at a Johua military academy until she unwittingly killed a depraved instructor by using a power called “blue” is now on the run. She is scooped up by the Ovions, a virtuous, formidable Johuan guardian-peacekeeper caste that upholds justice throughout the United Awakened Worlds. They reveal Sim’s incredible origin; Sim and her three secret siblings are superior beings who were created by a missing mad scientist named Bimas Chawley. The Ovions want to use Sim to track him down, because someone is planning to use Chawley’s stolen technology to trigger a universal catastrophe. Meanwhile, it appears that the corrupted Johuan ruling class is moving to eradicate the Ovions and their associates. This all leads the story to an obscure planet—Earth in the year 2020—which allows the story to embrace culture-shock comedy with the alien beings trying to acclimatize themselves to Earth. Other story elements that add to this cosmic level of excitement includes a female U.S. president, hints of the existence of a divine creator, a Gaia-like spiritual force and bat-like winged angelic beings.

A page-turner space fantasy adventure, “The Final Frontier” will stir readers’ imagination on the mysteries of space and for them to unravel its secrets. It will make them experience the journey of the characters from one planet to another deep within the vast universe. Filled with intrigue, humor, political drama and fast-paced action, this volume will make readers crave for more.

About the Author

H. M. Irwing is the author of the bestselling The Final Frontier, the first of The Ovion Archives series. Irwing contemplates life and fantasises over the frontiers of space from the great Down Under. With Australia as a base, there is no stopping the creative juices of one great fiction writer.

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To order your copies of “The Final Frontier“, click here for Amazon US and here for Amazon UK. You cal also check out the author’s website here and read an excerpt from The Final Frontier here.

Until tomorrow,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Spotlight

 

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