Seeking a bay fort

West Metro Mommy Reads

I’ve been in Pensacola, the last week, running around like a madwoman, erm, that is, scouting future installments in my Antique Magic series of paranormal fantasy novels. Where was I scouting, you ask?

Fort Pickens Road sign

Yep. I finally got to Fort Pickens–and it was fantastic! So, for this Saturday Snapshot, I’ve got some site-seeing photos to share.

Dunes

Santa Rosa gnarled Tree by Juli D. Revezzo

Once you get on the island, there are just miles of these gorgeous sand dunes, and signs everywhere that warn drivers to watch out for nesting seabirds (unfortunately, we didn’t see any though. I guess it was too hot for them). Then the Gulf Islands National Seashore sign, but we’re still seeking out the fort.

Fort Pickens Gulf Islands National Seashore sign

Then finally, we come around a corner and see… (eep!) This:

Battery Langdon

Battery Langdon

Getting a little excited now! *rubs hands* We must be close. Yes. Once inside we see…

Guarding the bay

Guarding the bay

Was that all? Oh, no. But, patience, my friends. I’ll show you more next week! Have a great weekend.

To see more participants in Saturday Snapshots, go here.

And if you’d like to sample the (currently) freebie novella, see the post here for details on how to get it.

Author Gary F. Vanucci chats about dragons, elves, and the walking dead….

Fantasy author Gary F. Vanucci has been involved in the fantasy genre forever. He’s written an RPG along with his multi-volumed high fantasy series Realm of Ashenclaw, complete with elves, magic-wielding soldiers, and assassins! Now he’s sidestepped into the horror/dystopian subgenre with his new release Wake the Dead. I invited him to take time out of his busy schedule to chat with us today.

Hi Gary, thanks for your time. When did you start writing, and who are your influences?

Gary F. Vanucci: I started a science fiction book back in ‘99-2000 or so and never finished it. My father, a pianist, passed away in 2010 and I decided to take the craft a bit more seriously as I felt he died with the music still in him. I did not want to do that. I have always been a huge fan of R.A. Salvatore, George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Michael Moorcock, Howard and the like, and have always been a huge fan of fantasy, sci-fi, horror and comic books. And so, while laid off in 2010, I began to write a fantasy series. This was inspired by the concept of an entire world that I had begun creating in the late 1980’s and into the 90’s for an RPG which I used as the basis for the Realm of Ashenclaw/land of Wothlondia.

 

I’m sorry to hear about your father but… OMG! Another Moorcock fan. Be still my heart! :) So I guess that answers my next question: What made you fall in love with fantasy novels?

 

Gary F. Vanucci: The escapism it provided and the imagination that it awoke in me. No matter how bad a day, no matter how many real stresses or responsibilities I have, I always found it very easy to lose myself in a fantasy world. The allure is immeasurable.

What can you tell someone who has never read the Realm of Ashenclaw stories about them?

Gary F. Vanucci: Firstly, it has a good deal of satisfying and familiar elements that the genre offers. The tales themselves are founded in a richly detailed world, where an eclectic group of people with varying skill sets, hailing from different lands and upbringings, are handpicked for a very dangerous assignment. They all come together agreeably, but have very different motivations for completing the quest. I like to think that I have put a slight twist on the common fantasy archetypes and such, but it still has very common elements that one would desire in an epic fantasy. I also have some other changes and surprised lined up in the near future for fans of the series.
Of your books, what do you enjoy better, writing the characters, or the storyline itself? Or the world building?

 

Gary F. Vanucci: I enjoy it all! Creating the characters is the most fun, followed by the storyline, and then the world building, though I do put in the effort on all facets. I’d go so far as to say that I take the world building seriously enough to have released a D&D 4th edition compatible supplement that has quite a bit of detail in it, which can be found in hard copy on Amazon/CreateSpace and in digital format at RPGNOW.
Your body of work is quite vast, how do you keep up such a pace?

Gary F. Vanucci: Well, I am actually a slow writer and reader, to be honest. I try to write a certain amount of words per week, and hit the goal at least half the time. :) I do feel that I put in a lot of hours going from one job to the writing on most nights. I watch minimal TV, try to avoid distractions and keep my focus when writing. Also, I do have a close knit support group that makes this much easier to do.

 

Having that support helps a lot. *nodnods* Your new book, Wake the Dead, just released. You’d written zombies before, in Realm of Ashenclaw series, now they’re a central feature and their mayhem affects our world. How did you decide to write this story, rather than return to your secondary-world fantasy realm of Wothlondia?

 

 Wake the Dead by Gary F. Vanucci Gary F. Vanucci: Well, firstly, I love the undead! Secondly, I was having minimal success gaining traction with the fantasy writing and decided to switch it up for a change of pace. While I enjoy the Realm of Ashenclaw greatly, it has not gotten the exposure that I wanted…yet. So, I was inspired to write a no-holds-barred zombie apocalypse novel as I wanted to see what I could do in another genre, using a modern setting as well as write for a strictly adult audience. I was pleased with the results and so far, it has done pretty well for me. I am working on the 5th book of the RoA series as well as a Wake the Dead companion piece, of which there will be more.

 

Will a reader of the Beginnings saga see these heroes (Rose, Ganthorpe, Dinah, etc) again at some point?
Beginnings Box set
 

Gary F. Vanucci: There are always more plot twists and scenarios in my head for future stories in the RoA, not centered around these heroes, so yes! I plan on doing a great deal more in that world over the next few decades, so fantasy fans stay tuned! Unfortunately, I have a full time job already that really cuts into my writing and creative time, or else I’d be releasing 3-6 books a year instead of maybe 1 or 2. Such is the life of a part time writer!
True. What advice can you give to a fantasy author contemplating indie publishing?

Gary F. Vanucci: Be prepared to work your butt off. Fantasy is much harder as you need to create everything from scratch. Magic, the world, its history, the characters, the social and political structures, and so on. It is not for the faint of heart. Of course, I could say that about all writing really, but fantasy and even science fiction are much more immersive. Anything where you need to create more than just characters, you have your work cut out for you! That being said, it is that much more rewarding.

 

I must admit, that’s the part I love the most about writing and reading fantasy! :) And finally, where can my readers find out more about you and your works?

 

Gary F. Vanucci: All of my Realm of Ashenclaw series is on Kobo, Barnes and Noble, CreateSpace, Amazon, Smashwords and iTunes. As of now, Wake the Dead is exclusively with Amazon and will be for a while longer. I can also be found occasionally lurking at any one of these places: WattPad, the Independent Author Network, Eye on Ashenclaw/Ashenclaw.com, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Smashwords and Goodreads, where I am currently hosting a giveaway for two signed copies of Wake the Dead.

(Wothlondia Rising is also free on Amazon, right now.)

Sounds like you are keeping busy. Thank you for taking time out to meet with us! We will look forward to them all. Folks, if you have any questions for Gary, feel free to leave a comment. And I hope you enjoy his works. ;) I think you will!

 

Author Gary F. Vanucci

Author Gary F. Vanucci

Gary Vanucci was born in Pennsylvania in 1968. He enjoys writing, reading, music, art, anything at all that promotes creativity and activities that push the mind beyond conventional thinking. He has spent time as an amateur singer/songwriter and has spent multiple decades creating role-playing scenarios and playing games amongst various genres. Years of reading graphic novels, comic books, fantasy/science fiction novels and the like has led him to discover his true passion—writing!  His education includes a Bachelor’s of Science in the field of Information Technology and an Associates of Arts in the field of Graphic Design. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”  ~Aristotle.

Recharging the batteries…

Yesterday, I had lunch with my girlfriends, authors Marsha A. Moore and Patty G. Henderson. :) I always enjoy seeing them, and recharging my batteries. I feel a little something like this now…

charging cat

I always do love seeing my gals. After our lunch, I’m raring to show you my pretty new cover and book but… Patience, my dears! It’ll be a little longer.  We’ve all got so many new projects bubbling.  Yes, the creation process is the best part but, you know? I also can’t wait to see them all out. I blame it on springtime. :)

In other news… Do you use a Nook? I see Barnes and Noble finally put my paranormal romance novel Passion’s Sacred Dance on sale. If you’ve been waiting for that, it’s available here. It’s showing the $.99 price, but I don’t know for how long.

My friends with Kindles, the sale price is still in effect for a limited time for you all, too. Meanwhile, I’ve got some revisions to do on book two in the series.  I hope to have more news for you on the book’s progress, in coming months. *rubs hands gleefully*

 

(Cat image from LOLshelf)

Blogging about B…Books

Well, I guess I missed the sign in date But since I’ve already written these, what the hey? I’ll post them.

B) Books. I have many to choose from but I like to laugh about this (cue the Blues Brothers) I write Both kin’s of story, fantasy and romance. I also dabble in historical subjects and other things. It’s what I do. I write, therefore I am… :)

I’ve been writing forever, like I said in the last post, I don’t expect that to ever change. Not everything will become a book but I hope most will. :) We shall see. I’ve written  the Antique Magic series:

 The Artist’s Inheritance

The balance between good and evil can be an art… or a curse.

Trevor and Caitlin were once happy newlyweds, profiting from Trevor’s art. Until Trevor inherits his brother’s house, and with it, his part of a family curse. Now, Caitlin will stop at nothing to save her beloved husband from insanity and suicide, even if it means she must embrace her destiny and become a witch.

 

Caitlin’s Book of Shadows

Something terrifying stalks Caitlin and her beloved Trevor. Something the bits and pieces she left claimed she had to make sense of–or so legend says. When the curator of their collection finds Caitlin’s long forgotten diary, she wonders will it tell the whole tale? Will it tell why Caitlin seemed so determined to tell the difference between reality and nightmare even as she continued the fight to defend her family from evil? Will it explain why she thought her world twisted? If she really became a witch?

What will the holidays hold for Caitlin? Perhaps the answer lies between the lines of her story, one of lessons, struggles, and the hopes she carried like a warrior’s shield.

**This is a side (or supplemental, if you will) story in the Antique Magic series, a companion to The Artist’s Inheritance (Antique Magic, Book One).

 Drawing Down the Shades

Business can be hell…

Life is good at Starfort Collectibles until the owners, Caitlin and Trevor Fulmer, acquire a beautiful statuette with a murky past. Shortly thereafter, mysterious hauntings wreak havoc on the couple when a ghost in the attic threatens retribution. Caitlin presses her coven for help before the ghost succeeds in meting out deadly punishment–on Trevor.

And the paranormal romance pieces Passion’s Sacred Dance and Murder Upon a Midnight Clear, and I’m planning a new one, coming sometime soon. And I have others, way more…you know. Stay tuned.

As to reading books, ha. You should see my bookshelves! They’re bending.  My Kindle’s always, more or less, in use too. I read (mostly) widely, fiction, non-fiction, doesn’t matter. I’m currently reading several books on my Kindle, and I have research tomes on my couch, plus, Dark Oracle by Alayna Williams plus, Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts, which to be honest, I think she could’ve ended the series in book one. Book two (The Hollow) and three (Pagan Stone) just aren’t as compelling as Blood Brothers (Or the Key and Three Sisters Island series). I’m also looking forward to reading Clash of Wills by S.G. Rogers and Divided Allegiance by Elizabeth Moon, and…many others. So! Books. :)

Joleene Naylor on Children of Shadows

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Joleene is an independent soul and author who has created a unique paranormal world in her Children of Shadows series. She blogs at Joleenenaylor.com, is a regular contributor to the Self Pubbed Authors blog (http://selfpubauthors.com) ,and in the hours between creates cover art for other authors (at http://coverart.joleenenaylor.com/)  and still finds time to indulge in photography.

Hi, Joleene, thanks for being here. Why don’t get a little coffee, and meanwhile, tell us a little about yourself.

Joleene Naylor: Ah! It’s that moment when I’m supposed to make myself seem witty and interesting, but sadly I’m just boring. As for witty… well, I try, but you know how it is. People tend to assume I’m a dark, depressing person because my books are dark, but I’m actually pretty cheerful. When asked, “Is the glass half empty, or half full”, my response is, “Yay! We have a glass!”

That’s a great outlook to have in this tough business. So tell us, who or what inspired the Children of Shadows—or for those just starting the series, Kat and Jorick, and their story?

Joleene: Anime always inspires me. In fact I’d love to see the series turned into one. My main goal has always been to be different, and I think from some of the comments and reviews I’ve received that I’ve been successful. There’s romance, yes, but there’s a lot of blood, too. There aren’t any werewolves, or shifters involved, just good old fashioned vampires. As for Children of Shadows, it picks up a week after Heart of the Raven ends and is the middle of the three part Heart of the Raven story arc. That means there are a few unanswered questions in this one, and it’s also the first in the series to end with a sort of cliff hanger.

I read somewhere that you’re a fantasy reader at heart, so, with such a glut of Vampire novels on the market, why write them?

Joleene: I actually wrote Shades of Gray, the first in the series, in 2005, before Twilight was mainstream and the giant glut had hit. At the time, I’d read several vampire books back-to-back where the human woman was supposedly a humdrum lady until she met the vampires – whom she automatically accepted – and then she immediately became a kick-ass fighter. Every time I thought, “This is ridiculous”, so when NaNoWriMo rolled around I decided to write a story where a more average woman gets tangled up with them. She doesn’t believe it right away, and she certainly isn’t a natural born fighter (though she’s been improving as the series has progressed). She had a job that she lost, she has a mother who, when she disappeared, reported her missing. It’s still not 100% realistic – there are vampires, after all – but I think it’s closer than a lot of the books out there. And since I’m a fantasy fan, as the series goes it picks up more of a fantasy-style format.

Why do you think readers keep returning to the subject?

Joleene: Vampires represent so many things, especially if you add romance. They’re the ultimate lovers (hundreds of years of experience, and then add the orgasm inducing vampire bite), they’re the ultimate hero (generally they’re killing or fighting someone, usually to save their lady) and they’re the ultimate dangerous bad boy (they could actually kill you while drinking from you!). Even if you take away the romance, they give writers and readers a lot of flexibility. They can be old fashioned in modern circumstances, which is always good for a laugh, or they can be ultra-modern. You can write in any kind of story: sad, happy, contemporary, historical, in any era, and so long as they have fangs it falls under the paranormal umbrella, so as a writer you don’t have to break your genre. Then you can give them super powers and cool nicknames like Hand of Death. It doesn’t get much better.

True. What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

Joleene: The Amaranthine books aren’t life changing experiences, though there’s some wisdom poked among the pages. Mostly I just want my readers to be entertained, and it would be awesome if they liked the characters.

You decided to indie publish this series. As many writers are leaning towards that option these days, what do you think are the best, and worst, things about it? What should prudent, budding authors be aware of when considering what to do with their work?

Joleene: The best and worst thing is that it’s ALL up to you. This is the best because you have control, but the worst because there’s no one else to blame. I’ve read blogs from traditional authors blaming their bad covers, bad editing, forced plot changes, etc etc. on their publisher, but we don’t have that luxury. We take the blame for everything. Even if we hire it out there’s still an expectation that we should have checked it first and it’s still our fault.
Something writers should be realistic about are that sales equal work. There are amazing success stories, but the average indie isn’t one of them. I know hundreds of authors, and most sell less than a hundred of copies. Is it because their books are bad? Or because they don’t advertise? Or maybe they just haven’t gotten lucky? I don’t know, but I do know that advertising is very important. The average reader isn’t going to stumble on your book accidentally. Especially not when there are so many free titles now. KDP Select has really toughened up the market because why should someone pay for a book when it may be free later, or they can get a book of equal value for free?

What’s next for you now that Children of Shadows is released?

Joleene: I’ve actually started the next book, Clash of Legends, which will wrap up the current story arc and if I’m lucky start the next one. I am also working on a second short story collection and Tales of the Executioners (Aine is currently a free read on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, etc.). I’d like to do an Amaranthine Encyclopedia, but I don’t know if or when I’ll have time for that.

Lastly, a fun question, if you could meet any famous vampire, who would it be and what would you ask him (or her)?

Joleene: Louis de Pointe du Lac, from Interview with a Vampire. I’d ask him, “Why are you still whining after all these years?” Ha ha! Okay, a little joke there. Actually I think the brides of Dracula would be interesting. I mean, what’s their story? How did they end up there? Did he kidnap them? I always got that feeling, and I imagine their lives are actually pretty tragic. And that should make for an excellent story.

*lol* Who wouldn’t want to ask Louis that? Just get a hold of yourself, man! *giggles* Thanks again for being with us today, Joleene and good luck with Children of Shadows and all you do! Folks before you head off, don’t forget there’s a contest involved. Just fill out the form below and good luck!
Children of Shadows Release Tour giveaway

Amaranthine Book 6: Children of Shadows

Amaranthine Book 6: Children of Shadows

You can fill out the form for the giveaway here:
Children of Shadows Release Tour giveaway

Excerpt:

It was nearly three when Jorick and Katelina went to the restaurant. Wolfe and Sadihra sat at a table in one of the smaller rooms. A handful of tables were scattered around them, but most were empty. Though Katelina couldn’t say why, she got the impression it was some kind of VIP room.
Sadihra greeted them, and Wolfe gave them stony nods. A waiter took their order; blood for the vampires and a pasta dish for Katelina. Once he’d gone, Wolfe turned to Jorick. “The Höher Rat spoke to the prisoners we brought with us.”
“And?” Jorick asked.
“Their evidence held true. They would give very little information about their so-called order, except to say its function is to destroy the Children of Shadows, which they claim is not defunct as we all believe, but instead has been secretly thriving.”
“The last of that cult died when I was still a fledgling,” Jorick said. “Malick helped hunt Memnon himself. I watched him burn, and I watched his followers burn.” He paused a moment then added with no emotion, “I helped to light the fires for some.”
Wolfe nodded. “I was there, too, if you’ll remember. They weren’t all they were rumored to be, just a squabbling bunch of immortals scrabbling for power.”
“There was a lot of that back then,” Jorick said.
“Yes, before the Kugsankal stamped out the last of it and organized the new system. With the recent upheavals, I worry those times may come again. If the group really has resurfaced then it’s no wonder. Malick may have set a dangerous precedent.”
The waiter interrupted with the food, and it was only after the glasses of blood were poured from a large crystal decanter that the conversation resumed.
“As I was saying, the research department found mention of The Black Vigil in a collection of letters from the ancient materials department. They were a group from Moldavia, led by a Dumitru, who organized them in the fourteenth century, initially to fight another ‘evil’ master. Eventually they evolved as enemies of The Children of Shadow, though it doesn’t say why. There was some hint that they had a change of leadership, but no specific name is given. They disappeared from records in the sixteenth century, presumably wiped out by the Children, and no one has seen or heard of them since.”
“I see.” Jorick sipped from his glass. “So they are both dead orders, so to speak.”
“Or un-dead,” Katelina muttered to herself.

Bio:

Author Joleene Naylor

Author Joleene Naylor

Joleene Naylor is the author of Amaranthine, a paranormal series where vampires live in the shadows and don’t sparkle. In her spare time she is a freelance artist, book cover designer and photographer. You can find information on all of her pursuits at her website http://JoleeneNaylor.com . She also maintains blogs full of odd ramblings and hopes to win the lottery. Until she does, she and her husband live near Bolivar Missouri with their miniature zoo and a couch coated in cat fur.

Blurb:
The sixth installment of the Amaranthine series pulsates with the dark blood of vampire lore.
The Children of Shadows, a vampire cult not seen for hundreds of years, resurfaces to wage war on the vampire guilds. Led by a familiar face, the cult wreaks havoc while Katelina and Jorick are trapped in Munich. Ume, a mysterious vampiress, claims to know Verchiel and offers the help of her secret organization. But can they trust her?
As mysteries are solved, new ones appear. Why have the Children of Shadows returned, and is it really a former ally that leads them, or a look-alike?
Legends rise and secrets are revealed in a world where vampires walk, drenched in blood and shadows.

Children of Shadows is available at:
Paperback – https://www.createspace.com/4668712
Amazon Kindle- http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IZ6OX18
B&N NOOKbook – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/children-of-shadows-joleene-naylor/1118473860?ean=2940045616157
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/403239
itunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/children-of-shadows/id811435603?mt=11&uo=4

You can find Joleene at the following:
website- http://JoleeneNaylor.com
author blog: http://joleenenaylor.wordpress.com/
FB author page: https://www.facebook.com/joleenenaylorbooks
twitter http://twitter.com/joleene_naylor
good reads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3165393.Joleene_Naylor
facebook profile – http://facebook.com/joleene.naylor
pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/joleenenaylor/boards/

Tiresome dribble | Tampa Bay Times

I read this article, and laughed out loud. The moral of the story, spell check is *not* your friend. Read on….

Every time I write a column criticizing the misuse of English by “citizen journalists” on the Internet, I get two kinds of reader response. The first are letters of applause, often from prim grammarians pushing their own pet peeves. The second type is scolding me for being a prim grammarian, such as this letter from reader J. Meyers….

read more via Tiresome dribble | Tampa Bay Times.