April Fool, 3 Recent Reviews, Steampunk Christen Stovall Character & excerpt Andy Zach Interview
My April Fool to you is that you may not be seeing this until noon today because at long last "Miss Hattie and the Hoppers" is submitted. Let's see if it's up to par according to the jury grading it or if it still needs a tweak or two. By noon many of you will have played a trick or been pranked -- but please, no bullying or mean-spirited trickery. Let's have it all in great fun! How did it begin? Here's and article that might explain why we step up to fool each day. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/april-fools-tradition-popularized On this day in 1700, English pranksters begin popularizing the annual tradition of April Fools’ Day by playing practical jokes on each other.
Although the day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery.
Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.
These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as poisson d’avril (April fish), said to symbolize a young, “easily hooked” fish and a gullible person.
April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.
Three Reviews came in recently. Two were for my writing and I just posted on for a Greg Alldredge about his book Pretty Waiter Girls.
One of the things authors, especially emerging or indie authors need is reviews. Unfortunately, most readers never leave them. They forget. Sometimes they are hesitant that what they say will remain immortal, or they feel as if they can't find the right words. Specific and detailed reviews are nice, but short and succinct reviews that get to the point are welcome as well.
A short and sweet review for Voices in Crystal, by VillainsRepublic
5.0 out of 5 stars
great story :) March 10, 2019 i like it :)))
Ghostly Writes, P.S Winn 4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting collection of paranormal tales March 29, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition
The tales are haunted in this collection that joins several authors together in an anthology that is a good one to grab. If you believe that ghosts, spirits and more have an influence on this life, you are going to love this. Even non-believers will find themselves swept along for a grand ride.
And one by me for Pretty Waiter Girls! Pretty Waiter Girls: A Helena Brandywine Adventure Kindle Edition by Greg Alldredge
Helena Brandywine is a wealthy young lady living in 1899. in this first of nine tales by Greg Alldredge. She lives a pampered life until a friend vanishes. There are rumors she's run afoul of Chinese gangs. With two older male companions as protectors she makes her way through the dark underbelly of turn of the 20th century San Francisco. In the process she discovers hidden truths about her own parents which are not answered in full by the end of the first book. It has a nice Holmes and Watson and a Wild,Wild West vibe that sustained the momentum of the story. It was hard to put down. Because of the era and the devices it's steampunk but the magic and the odd creatures at the end of the book keep up the pace and blend in fantasy which leads right to the next novel in the batch. GREAT READ!
Before I get to this week's interviews and excerpts I thought I'd talk about Steampunk! I just reviewed Pretty Waiter Girls by Greg Alldredge and thought about the steampunk genre.
In part, Steampunk seems to be a Victorian or Edwardian Fantasy, when steam was the main form of energy. It was also an era of "big"ness and wide class division. The "haves" lived in opulence and wealth, far removed from those who had nothing.
I think of the Biltmore Estate as a typical house in the east and the Winchester House on the west coast (despite it's wackiness - Mrs. Winchester also had 5 "normal" mansions) It was an age of mighty machines, gears, gadgets and things that seemed magical run by steam power. The train was the form of transportation, also steam power and early autos were even designed to be steam vehicles. It was an age of development but also an age of great separation that went further than wealth or status.
Classes didn't mingle, genders, religions, lifestyles and national backgrounds didn't either. Everyone had their own separate lane to travel in for the duration of life. When someone did cross over, it was either story fuel, scandal or both. Think of the popular movie Titanic (Edwardian Era) of a few years ago to get a sense of that division.
As a writer, this separation creates a fabulous sense of conflict that can be an endless source of story ideas. Steampunk gives a writer permission to design a fantasy machine or device without having to explain how it works in a scientific manner. In the actual Victorian Era authors such as Jules Verne and later Bram Stoker and H G Wells all dealt in fantasy of aliens, the undying, machines developed by mad geniuses, or time travel to better worlds in the future. In our world we re-create the fantasy with, clocks, gears, sea monsters (inspired by Verne) wings, bats, mummies, vials for smelling salts (because women laced up so tightly fainting was common) and furniture on which milady might temporarily expire. Fainting and general self-repression did have the downside of making women seem weaker and in need of male protection, from all sorts of predators. It's no veiled symbol that vampires and shifters are always seen as part incubus, there to release a woman from her inhibitions, while enslaving her at the same time. I wrote my own little Steampunk tale "Miss Hattie and the Hoppers" about a woman who, after college, realizes she doesn't fit in in her small town in the south. She has dreams of travel and adventure, but wants to do much more than tag along after a rich husband. Enter two travelers! There's a part near the end of Miss Hattie when she discovers a magical (?) helmet that looks like a Mardi Gras mask with extra effects like wings, feathers, , crystals and gears.. The picture at the top is pretty close!
Two weeks ago I interviewed Christen Stovall.
This week she presents her character, followed by an excerpt of her writing.
1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.
I’m Aislynn of Brittendell
2.Tell us where and when were you born.
I was born in a remote corner of the kingdom of Venallis, in the village of Brittendell. My parents have a small farm and that’s where I was born. I’m not from your world, so I’m not sure how to specify when I was born. I guess the season is as good a reference as any. I was born in the fall, twenty-four years ago.
3. How would you describe yourself?
I suppose I can, but I’m not particularly fond of talking about myself. I’m not very tall, with red hair and blue eyes. I’m nothing special to look at really. My hair is usually in some state of disarray.
4. Tell us about where you grew up.
I grew up in Brittendell, with my parents and two sisters. Occasionally, we went to a faire at one of the neighboring town, but I spent almost all of my time on my family’s farm.
5. How old are you?
6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?
I had a wonderful childhood. I spent my days helping my parents on the farm, or wandering the hills that border the valley my hometown is in. My family never had much, but we had each other, and that was enough.
7. Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?
Hmm, I’m not sure why anyone would want to know so much about me. I’m really not anyone of consequence, but I suppose there’s no harm in answering. I’m the oldest of three children, I have two sisters, Hannah and Dierdre. I married a man name Rorin, Rory for short. He was my first love but was killed a year after we wed. That’s where it gets a bit more complicated. We’re Soulmates, and because of the way he died our souls were bound to one another. Rory is still here in spirit form, though only other Soulbound and magical folk can see him. My best friend is a young wizard named, Lyzandar. And then there’s the Prince Ciaran. That relationship is . . . we’re friends. At least, I think we are. I don’t really know how to describe my relationship with him. It’s probably best to leave it at that.
8. What do you value above all else in life?
The people I love. I’d do whatever it took to keep them safe.
9. What are you obsessed with?
Fulfilling the mission, the High Lady entrusted to me. I just want to do what I must and then go back to my life of study with Rory.
10.How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?
I believe that we must all do our part to make the world a better place. Every kindness is important. As a Soulbound, I’m able to use the magic of my connection to Rorin to heal physical wounds. I think easing the pain in the world is a worthy contribution, though I’m hardly the most skilled in my order. I’ve still got years of training to undergo.
11. Biggest fear?
Being alone. But I also hate being underground, caves, anything like that.
12. What line will you never cross?
I used to think that was an easy question to answer, but I’m beginning to understand that life can sometimes force you to do things you never thought you would be capable of.
13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst?
The best thing that ever happened to me was marrying Rory. The worst thing was watching him die. Even after everything that’s happened since, that day haunts me.
14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
Do I have to answer that? Some things are best left in the past.
15. Biggest secret?
Such strange questions from someone I hardly know. My biggest secret is one I don’t even want to admit to myself. It’s also the line I never thought I’d cross.
16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?
It depends on the situation, but I think maybe, determined. Oh, hush Rory, determined sounds better than stubborn!
17. What is your current goal?
I must find a way to undo a terrible spell before the repercussions of that spell destroy everything I love.
They stopped near the edge of the wood and unloaded the tents and supplies, unburdening the animals. Thunder rolled through the air as Aislynn sat on her horse, flanked by her escorts, watching as men hurried about their work. No one bothered to untie her or help her down, and although she considered making a run for it, Aislynn would not leave Lyzandar behind. So she waited, hoping that they would have the camp set up before the storm broke. However beautiful the forest was, she had no desire to enter its shadows so close to nightfall. She was physically exhausted and an extra evening of rest would do much to ease her battered muscles and frayed nerves.
Just as he had done at their midday meal, the prince pulled his steed to a stop next to Aislynn and dismissed her guards before helping her to the ground again. This time she allowed him to steady her when her legs protested at the sudden burden of standing. She thanked him politely when she felt ready to walk and waited patiently for him to finish untying her hands.
“Do we stop for the night?” Aislynn asked allowing the prince to tuck her hand in the crook of his arm. She chanced a glance in his direction. “It would be wise to rest before entering into the realm of the enchanted.”
The prince was about to respond when a high pitched shriek ripped through the air. The sound was unlike anything Aislynn had ever heard before, cold and terrible like someone screamed into a cavern and a twisted, inhuman echo returned. A shiver ran down Aislynn’s spine as she turned back toward the road to search the clouds from which the scream emanated. The sky was nearly black and had begun to swirl and boil like hot tar. Something about the shriek and the violently shifting clouds shook her to the core. This was no storm of nature.
“Aislynn?” Rorin’s voice was filled with urgency. The soft glow that always surrounded him suddenly seemed to flare brighter. “That wasn’t the sound of the living.”
The wind accelerated, whipping around them in angry gusts as another cry filled the air. Aislynn couldn’t tear her eyes from the oncoming storm. Behind her, she could hear horses neighing in fear and Prince Ciaran shouting orders to his men. Where was Lyzandar? Was he still bound and helpless? She wanted to turn, to find her friend, and to run for shelter, but she couldn’t seem to force her body to obey. All Aislynn could do was stand, staring into the swirling darkness that spread out over the meadow like ink spilled over parchment.
The clouds continued to rush toward her, and as they came closer, it seemed as if they were being led by a small, wild figure. A cold chill ran down Aislynn’s spine as the gaunt figure drew closer and its true horror came into focus.
The female specter flew back and forth at the head of the clouds. Her skin was grey, cracked, and both solid and vaporous at the same time. Where her eyes should have been there were only dark empty sockets that glowed with a sickly white light. She wore the remains of a tattered black gown, long rips in the bodice revealing more of the fissured, ashen skin that stretched over her bony frame.
“Aislynn! We have to move!” Prince Ciaran took hold of her arm and pulled her toward the tree line.
Startled back to the present, Aislynn forced herself to turn away from the terrifying wraith. She frantically scanned the passing faces of soldiers and squires, looking for Lyzandar, terrified that he was somewhere still bound and helpless. All the while the woman wailed, the sound growing closer and closer.
And now Andy Zach. Welcome Andy!!
What made you want to be a writer?
I have always loved creative writing since 3rd and 4th grade. I took a talent assessment in high school and writing was one of them. But I had to earn a living as a programmer analyst and project manager for 37 years before I retired. Then I wrote my first novel, Zombie Turkeys.
When is the release of your next novel?
Secret Supers released March 28th.
Name genre or if it’s part of a series.
The genre is middle-school science fiction. It’s the first of a series about the Secret Supers.
If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale.
The next one will be out in 2020.
How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?
It’s important to read books if you wish to be well educated and to keep learning all your life, regardless of being an author. Books help authors write better.
Do you remember the first book you read?
By myself? Probably See Spot Run. The first real book I remember reading by myself was Robert Heinlein’s YA fiction, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. I read that in 2nd or 3rd grade.
What book are you reading now?
Rachel Aaron’s book, Minimum Wage Magic.
How did you come up with the idea for the book or series, especially the title?
I have a disabled daughter with cerebral palsy and we’ve kicked around the idea of having a story with disabled child as a superhero. That became the Secret Supers.
Which character do you identify with most in your novel?
I identify the most with Jeremy, who’s kind of nerdy, like I was at that age. But there are pieces of me in each of the four characters.
How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Much of it is based on my experiences with my daughter, going to therapy for 18 years. Some of it is based upon my friendships with four different blind people.
To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I like to use locations like those where I’ve lived or visited so I can describe them authentically.
Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.
I need a separate room free from interruptions.
What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?
A hot mug of tea.
Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?
By far, marketing and promoting my book. I need to plan out more conventions to attend this year right now, but I’m procrastinating by doing this interview instead.
What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.
Getting sidetracked while researching my book. That takes far longer than I expected. I now outline my book first, then research every chapter, then I write it.
When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?
My wife and children.
How do you market your book?
I promote on my website, https://andyzach.net
on Twitter https://twitter.com/Andyzach2
and Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/andyzachauthor/
I also advertise on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01M3Q35H1 Finally, I have a goal to appear at one author event this year.
Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us the best thing they’ve said to you.
I consider reviews contacts. I’ve also gotten nice emails from readers. Here’s probably a the best thing they’ve said:
“What was most surprising to me about Andy Zach’s Zombie Turkeys? - that is qualified as an actual adventure story! I wasn’t expecting that. About a quarter way in, when a young reporter gets the assignment to follow a swarm of 10,000 rampaging turkeys into a stretch of unfamiliar woodlands, it actually grabbed my attention while I was driving, and I was scared for the reporter “
Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication?
I belong to an authors group and I share my advanced reader copy with them. I also have a mailing list and give ARC copies to those who are interested.
Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.
Heh. That was my book launch of Zombie Turkeys. October 31st, 2016. We invited everyone we could to it at the Peoria Public Library at a public room. I had fifty copies of my book and a bunch of freshly made cookies. I gave an author reading and then sold and signed books.
Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?
Perseverance pays off more so than skill. When things look blackest, they can still turn around.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
With Secret Supers, it’d have to be four unknown children. With Zombie Turkeys, I wanted Sean Astin for Sam Melvin and a younger Julia Roberts for Lisa Kambacher.
Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet?
Probably C.S. Lewis. Dorothy Sayres would be a close second.
C.S. Lewis just seemed like a very fun and talented author who wrote fiction, plays, and non-fiction with equal ability. Dorothy Sayres also was a great mystery writer and non-fiction writer with an interesting personality.
Do you have any hobbies?
Hiking, biking, reading.
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I lost interest in TV in the 90s. First, I gave up sitcoms, then TV news. I just watch sports now. I’m an incurable Cleveland fan: Indians, Cavaliers, Browns.
I like action movies like Iron Man and Wonder Woman, as well as some animated movies, especially those from Myazaki’s Studio Gibli.
Beef Wellington, homemade cheesecake baked from scratch, fresh raspberries eaten off the vine. Chocolate – coffee icecream.
What’s your sign, lucky number.
I don’t follow astrology. As a kid, I liked the number 7, since that came up the most when I played Parcheesi. Later, I found out it is the likeliest number with two dice.
What’s your favorite color.
What music do you hear in your latest book.
Probably dramatic superhero music from John Williams.
Do you have hobbies other than writing?
Hiking, biking, reading.
Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Oof! That’s a gut punch. Probably dictate my memoirs. I assume I’d have to be blind and paralyzed.
You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my wife and children, trying to get all our goodbyes in.
What do you want written on your head stone?
One of my fans wrote a delightful epitaph and I created a tombstone with it. Here it is:
Are there any mistakes you made with your first book?
You bet. The pacing of the book is off toward the end of Zombie Turkeys. I’d fix that if I had to rewrite it.
What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors?
Write daily on a regular schedule. Publish on a regular schedule. Have your books professionally edited.
When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out?
The internet! I research my questions that way, whether on writing or obscure subjects.
Tell us how we may get a copy of your book. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, paperback etc.)
Amazon: Zombie Turkeys, paperback, Kindle, and Audible audiobook: https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Turkeys-Blogger-Unkillable-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B01LXPR63Z/
My Undead Mother-in-law https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0743FQ3QC/
Paranormal Privateers https://www.amazon.com/Paranormal-Privateers-Adventures-Undead-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B07CJP8FYP/
Secret Supers Paperback and Kindle https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Supers-happens-differently-abled-super-abled-ebook/dp/B07PGGV8DG/
APRIL 5TH, 6TH & 7TH 2019
SPRING CRAFT AND VENDOR SHOW
2200 W WAR MEMORIAL DR.
PEORIA IL 61613
HOURS: FRIDAY 10:00 A.M. TO 9:00 P.M.
SATURDAY 10:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.
SUNDAY 11:00 A.M. TO 5:00 A.M.
April 20, 2019 in Peoria Peoria Quad Con - Comic, Toy, Art, & Games Show
pin 600 NE Water St, Peoria, IL 61603-4246, United States
Zombie Turkeys Video excerpt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EyDViZYGgs&t=4s My Undead Mother-in-law video excerpt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ka-rCLlzJM&t=3s Paranormal Privateers video excerpt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CJ1tfSZprI&t=4s
Zombie Turkeys - the comic urban fantasy about turkeys that can't be killed! Follow author Andy Zach on Facebook facebook.com/andyzachauthorndyzachauthor/ or AndyZach Author Twitter: twitter.com/zombie_turkeys Visit our web page andyzach.net for a FREE excerpt. To read on Amazon, click here.