Writers: Go To Conventions (a guest post by Matthew W. Quinn)


Yes it’s been a minute. Here is a guest post by my friend Matt. Listen up. He’s got good advice here. (JRT)

 

By Matthew W. Quinn

One lesson I’ve learned in the years I’ve been writing professionally is attending conventions is a really, really good idea. Since I live in Atlanta, I’ve been blessed to have conventions like DragonCon, AnachroCon, and JordanCon (although I’ve never been to that one) easily accessible.

Firstly, conventions are good places to do business. I didn’t even know the BattleTech science-fiction franchise even still existed, but I ran into the staff of Catalyst Game Labs — the current holder of the property — at the 2008 DragonCon. I spent the subsequent year writing a short story entitled “Skirmish at the Vale’s Edge” for the site BattleCorps based on something I read in an old Clan Wolf sourcebook and submitted it to them just before the 2009 convention. I let the staff know I’d done this and soon afterward they wrote me to tell me they’d purchased the story. It’s still up there, and it’s now the canonical account of the Battle of Jallington Vale.

At a later DragonCon (either 2011 or 2012), I met representatives of another small press and received permission to send them my secondary-world fantasy/steampunk novel Battle for the Wastelands. I submitted in March 2013 and after not hearing back for some time, queried the company’s representative at the 2013 convention. I eventually received a rejection that November — they said it had good writing, but wasn’t for them. Although this wasn’t an acceptance, it was still feedback and a contact made for future projects.

More recently, I volunteered at the 2015 World Horror Conference. There I met representatives of two small presses, one dedicated to science fiction, fantasy, and horror and the other “bizarro.” I got the go-ahead to submit my teen Lovecraftian horror novel The Thing in the Woods and a rather strange tale involving little people. I’ve already submitted the former; I’ll submit the latter once I finish it.

Secondly, one can learn a whole lot about the craft of writing from panels. I found panels at DragonCon 2013 so informative on topics like pulp writing and putting together anthologies and collections that I ended up blogging about them. At the 2011 DragonCon I attended a panel on characterization taught by none other than Michael Stackpole. Another panel, with S.M. Stirling, provided some valuable advice about short stories and the most profitable use of one’s time. DragonCon 2010 gave me enough material for multiple blog posts. AnachroCon, though much smaller, taught me some valuable information about Norse culture and the state of Lovecraftian media.

Finally, conventions are a good place to sell your wares. James and I have a mutual friend named J.H. Glaze who’s very, very good at moving his product at conventions. I’ve purchased books at the World Horror Conference and DragonCon. If you’ve got books to sell, try to get a table either by yourself or with other writers to share the load.

-Matthew W. Quinn is a freelance writer, editor, and soon to be holder of an M.A. in World History from Georgia State University. Check out his speculative fiction here and follow him on Twitter here.

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THE MANY SHADES OF GORIAS LE GAUL (or a guest post by Steven l. Shrewsbury about some sword and sorcery goodness you need)


Alrighty kids, gather round for another guest blog by a good friend of mine (and fellow Outlaw) Steven Shrewsbury. Steven’s a helluva guy writing some terrific sword and sorcery today. One of his stories appears in THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD : Sorcery which is volume 2 of the double anthology I did for Seventh Star Press. (Go buy it and Sword which is number one)

He has new work coming down the pike. The newest Gorias Le Gaul, which he is telling you about today and shortly a sword and sorcery retelling of the story of Goliath. Yes, THAT Goliath. I read it, it rocked, I wrote the introduction for it. So sit back and enjoy!

the cover!!!!

the cover!!!!

STEVEN SHREWSBURY:

My novella sized story collection BLOOD & STEEL: LEGENDS OF LA GAUL VOLUME I will be out really quick here. It features yarns about my character, Gorias La Gaul (central figure of the novels OVERKILL, THRALL and more to come) in various stages of his long life.

Some fantasy works are considered character driven fiction, rather than the epic world itself being the star of the novel. Don’t get me started that most ‘world building’ exercises in fantasy are just masturbatory sports in rearranging ancient Earth history and geography. Gorias La Gaul’s tales take place in a pre-flood world of mine that I prefer to think of as a time forgotten in our own history. While I’ve told much about the 700 year old flawed hero, who is equally as interested in woman as well as risky adventures, Gorias remains a mysterious character. In the tales of the new BLOOD & STEEL release, I’ve told selective things about him, events that may help his fans or a casual observer understand a bit more about him.

Do the stories paint a picture of why he loves women so much, loves to drink and is such a kick ass fighting man? Not entirely, but I’m not through with him yet.

The first tale, DAY OF INIQUITY tells of the rather violent circumstances of Gorias’ birth. We get to see his father in this story (as well as ASHES OF THE ALL FATHER and then, post mortem in INSURMOUNTABLE) and learn a bit about the tribal nature of how La Gaul was raised. The events in DAY are pretty horrific and the end of that one has a jaw dropper of a punch line, but, that’s how I roll at times. ASHES OF THE ALL FATHER shows us Gorias at 11 or so, and the way his tribe treated children and his own audacity with weapons at the climax, notably a stone member of a statue of Marduk.

The other stories tell of Gorias as an older man, one where he is drunken and heartbroken, somewhat out of character to his older self in OVERKILL and THRALL, Gorias indeed is haunted by a woman (aren’t most strong men?) and she is seen in the take WHORE OF JERICHO the Sorcery anthology currently out from Seventh Star.

Will it totally make the reader GET what makes Gorias tick? Perhaps a little, but I’m telling things as they present themselves to me. Gorias is in no way CONAN but as Howard said of his Cimmerian, the tales are coming to me out of sequence.

A reader will get to see his birth, how he coped with death and action, and even shouldered the sadness of loss of love, plus a duty to his dead father that is bizarre to modern eyes, yet, all to real in the realm of the past and for men of courage.

But why Gorias? Why an aging character, from a once raw beginning to a lordship and back to a mercenary sort of vagabond life? Why write of an enigmatic guy more comfy with whoring and whiskey than proper protocol (but he does remember the ropes)? Writing about someone with the moral character of Clark Kent must be a challenge. Gorias does have a certain code, maybe even great chivalry buried in his bearded face that’s probably more at home on DUCK DYNASTY that in a high bred fantasy realm.

I created him to be the vehicle for a fantasy setting where he wouldn’t be a barbarian warrior, nor a trained assassin, or any other real templates. The story is what works in these yarns and novels, but he is passing through them.

Fair warning: These tales aren’t for the squeamish nor the easily offended. They are rough, but move fast. They are grisly at times, yet will have one stopping to be revolted or laugh alternately. Gorias, while a flawed character with a capital F, well, ya won’t be able to help rooting for him. That is my hope.

How did I create Gorias? Well, that’s a topic for another blog.

BUY THE BOOK! CLICK HERE!

SHREWSBURY’S BLOG

ARMAND ROSAMILIA MEET THE LOYALS AND TRUE BELIEVERS: LOYALS AND TRUE BELIEVERS MEET ARMAND ROSAMILIA


Y’all know I like to bring new folks to your attention. Here’s a fella that is hella nice and writes some truly kick ass zombie fiction. I mean Armand is truly out on the edge. He’s got a new one out and here he is to let you know a bit about the flavor of the story.

And the best way to support my guests is to buy their shizzle. Go look around Armand’s website, check out his amazon page, or just click the link below to go straight to the book! If you want crazy zombie action you will not be disappointed.

Without further ado:

Miami Spy Games

Miami Becomes A Character

Armand Rosamilia

As hard as it is to believe, Miami is where Miami Spy Games is set. I know, crazy! As with most of my stories, I take great care in choosing the perfect setting for a story, whether it is horror, thriller, erotica… you get the idea.

My challenge with Miami Spy Games was being handed the location when I took the job of writing the ‘episodes’. I live in Florida, but I also live about six hours north of Miami. It wasn’t like I could take a quick drive down, scope out the area, and begin writing. But once I started putting the basic story together, I realized Miami was a huge part of the plot.

It’s where the action is, obviously, but it also sets the tone. When you talk about the seedier sections of Miami, someone living in the area needs to know it is authentic, and readers all over the world need to feel like they know Opa-Locka. When I mention South Beach, everyone immediately thinks of gorgeous sun-kissed women wearing thong bikinis. (I know I do!), but I also wanted to show other parts of the area like the hotels and restaurants, so the reader got a better feel for it.

I was also able to talk to two people who are close to me that grew up in Miami: Kim Murphy and Steven Brack. They offered ideas for locations, told me about certain buildings and streets I used, and gave me some Miami tidbits I added into the story.

Time and time again, I had to research Miami maps and photos and areas like The Setai Hotel, Miamarina, Miami Zoo, Miami International Airport, and so many other spots. It’s amazing how much these places colored the story and felt like another character as I wrote, making sure to catch all the little nuances of each location and have it play off the living characters.

I hope I’ve done justice to Miami, and hope I can continue to play in their backyard with even more Miami Spy Games stories in the future.

If you have any questions about the Miami Spy Games series, I’d love to hear them: armandrosamilia@gmail.com

Armand Rosamilia

Miami Spy Games on Amazon Kindle only $3.99!

ARMAND’S AMAZON PAGE        and       ARMAND’S WEBSITE

MSG Coverl_287066a27262fda7b8d8f16177e5be35


HAVING A FRIEND OVER FOR THANKSGIVING (or A Guest Blog Up In Da House By Matthew W. Quinn)


Today we have my friend Matt Quinn on the blog. Matt is a member of my writing group and he has just sold a story to Heroic Fantasy Quarterly (“Nicor”) that will appear after the first of the year. He’s a fine fellow, a gentleman AND a scholar, so listen up as he tells you about researching as it pertains to writing.

Things I’ve Learned about Writing Research

The Author Himself Matthew W. Quinn

By Matthew W. Quinn

One of the most important aspects of writing is research. If an error throws the reader out of the story or provokes them to throw the book against the wall, you have failed.

For my novel Battle for the Wastelands and its companion novella Son of Grendel, I had to do a lot of research on Civil War battles and weapons. Both Wikipedia and YouTube proved quite useful, as I could quickly find out about different guns, then go to YouTube to watch them being fired.

However, my current hard science fiction project (which does not yet have a title even though it’s already spawning sequels) will require even more. There are plenty of books about the Civil War that won’t be hard to find, but finding a book from the 1980s about the Strategic Defense Initiative and in particular a proposed nuke-pumped laser is harder. Furthermore, it’s set in a future space-based United States Navy, so there’s an extra layer of research that simply Must Get Done if I want to sell to military and former military people.

My most helpful resource has been the public library system. Although you can get a lot of superficial information from the Internet, books are what’ll help you go deep. When I lived on the South Side of Atlanta, the statewide PINES library system was extremely helpful in getting me the information I needed. When I moved to the North Side, the Atlanta-Fulton library system became my new mainstay. Libraries often have books that bookstores don’t. One of my big research sources for Battle for the Wastelands was the series Daily Life In…, in particular the ones about Victorian England, the United States during the Civil War, and the 19th Century American frontier. Those books were apparently fairly limited in terms of press run, since the Amazon price for each one is around $50. They’re especially valuable because although many history books cover big-picture items like wars and the reasons behind economic shake-ups, they won’t go into detail about how people lived, what they ate, etc.

Writing groups are another source. Different group members often know a lot about particular topics. For example, James knows a lot about firearms. During a critique of Son of Grendel, he pointed out that I should depict insurgents firing modern assault rifles on full auto reloading, since this goes through bullets VERY fast. Although I’d depicted them having to fight the guns dragging upward, I’d forgotten about that even though it’s fairly common sense. Another group member is a retired Army sergeant who’s been quite helpful in areas of military protocol and tactics, including a scene in Son of Grendel where a colonel is directing soldiers during a firefight while on horseback — he might as well be wearing a sign that says “Kill Me” — and a scene in Battle for the Wastelands in which a sergeant oversees shooting drills.

Meanwhile, at least three members of my other writing group are retired military. One provided some good advice on portraying a military policewoman’s reaction to being hit on in a bar (probably not a good one), while another — a former petty officer on a submarine — provided a lot of material about Navy culture and protocol. He also informed me of the “one crew one screw” rule in which collective punishments are used to give all members of a unit incentive to keep troublemakers under control. I was sure to use this in Battle for the Wastelands when a sergeant makes all members of a squad do “gaspers” (what I describe as “an unholy mix of squatting, push-ups, and jumping to their feet”) when three members get into an argument.

However, you’ve got to make sure you’re using quality material for your research. I remember (hopefully incorrectly) a history of Anglo-Saxon England I read in high school implied the Normans imposed the infamous “first night” on England after their conquest, but the historical evidence for this “right” even existing is rather spotty. If something seems weird, I would recommend looking for corroboration in other sources.

Matthew W. Quinn is a published writer of short stories and currently shopping his novel: BATTLE FOR THE WASTELANDS. His horror tales “Melon Heads,”  “I am the Wendigo,” and “The Beast of the Bosporus” and his science-fiction story “Coil Gun” can be found on Amazon.com, while his licensed BattleTech story “Skirmish at the Vale’s Edge” can be found on BattleCorps.

Matt’s blog is HERE

MORE THAN ALE WILL BE SPILLED TONIGHT! (a guest blog by Steven Shrewsbury)


Alright kiddos, gather round. Today we have Steven Shrewsberry stopping by to entertain you. Put on your raincoats in the first four rows, this might get messy.

Me, Steven Shrewsbury, John Hartness, and Brady Allen. Shrews is about to go on a rant.

I met Steven at Fandom Fest where I was privileged to not only lift a glass of moonshine with him (and Brady Allen and John Hartness) but to also sit and discuss the late, great Robert E. Howard with him and Brady Allen. It was a blast. Steven is a helluva guy. He writes some kick ass sword and sorcery as well as kick ass horror. I loved  HAWG, OVERKILL,  and THRALL and highly recommend them. Steven has promised me a story for THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD, the sword and sorcery anthology I’m editing for Seventh Star Press for next year and, by Crom I plan to hold him to it!

What’s on the mind of Steven Shrewsbury?

So kick back and listen as he tells you about creating a new story.

A CREATION THING

As a guest blogger, I’ll try to behave and not wreck the place or wipe anything on the curtains as I go. Much. I’m author, Steven L. Shrewsbury, by the way, writer of sword & sorcery hardcore horror and a good dad, so I hear.

I’m enjoying going through the third draft of a novel. There seem to be so many folks doubting themselves or unsure of how they should approach things. Just do it, well, it cannot be that simple all the time, of course, but getting after it, yeah, do it. I like it. I feel good about it. I’m not filled with doubt, worry if I’ll offend anyone or any of that manure. It feels right. Now, that isn’t valid in every scenario in life, but this time, I feel the burn. It’s warm.

At times, I smile at things I write, stuff I forgot in the earlier drafts. There are times I have qualms that I wrote it at all. But that doesn’t scare me. Then there are the moments of passion, or outright Christmas morning glee when everything hooks up and the answers are revealed. Those are the times I feel it, I feel something, or someone in my mind. Maybe it’s my higher self, or my low-life, baser self, conducting an orchestra of the mad. Whatever the cheesy application, it’s damned good to listen to. It burns through the darkness and light splashes on the page. Does it smell like victory or just a mental napalm barbecue with legions of victims? Dunno.

All writers have a God complex. Some fess up to it but others whack off against the idea for eternity. It’s a creation thing, some are weirder or more obsessive than others. Some, their balls never drop and they work their jaws in discussion on a topic instead of working it out in a tale. Others, spread it out too much and the money shot gets old after a spell. Today, though, I looked at what I made. And it was good.

Why do writers write? That’s a complex one for a panel, but frankly, my answer has always been because I have to. Not out of financial need, but really that the tales must come out. I’ve been telling tales since I started re-fighting the battle of Jericho in my sandbox as a kid. Granted, Joshua didn’t have part off a Navarone play set and the will o’God behind him together, but I’ve always had the urge to relate a story. Many a tale is told easily and others have a terrible habit of torturing me for years. This novel I’m brushing up about a Confederate in his 90s facing a band of maniacs the Coen brothers would love is killer, at least to me, anyways, and it came out right. It isn’t S&S, and while parts are horrific, it is more survivalist/thriller, but I hate labels. Someday, I’ll share with the class.

Someday, someone will read this book and tell me it blows chunks. They may say they didn’t care for it, it wasn’t their kind of thing or, it fell short of what I must’ve had in mind. That’s okay as well. I told the story. It exists. It belongs to no one else. Those who cannot try can bite me. There are people that bitch to God about the weather, their taxes and why a platypus lays eggs. Today, I’m God. If only for a little while.

I’m sure He understands.

Steven Shrewsbury

Author of OVERKILL, THRALL, HELL BILLY, and HAWG

http://sshrewsbury.wordpress.com/

bigbearshrews@yahoo.com

THE MAN WITH MANY HATS (Guest interview with Stephen Zimmer)


Okay, I met Stephen Zimmer at Con Nooga. He was hella nice and sitting next to him at panels I was struck by his well spoken manner or answering questions.  I wandered by his booth to say hello and discovered he wrote for Seventh Star Press which is a small publisher I had heard of and had been impressed with.

Stephen and I have never had a lot of time to sit and talk with each other, which is sad because I think he would be a blast to hang out with.

He has a new book out SPIRIT OF FIRE so now was the perfect opportunity to have a chit and a chat with him. So here it is folks:

James Ray Tuck Jr: give me just one sec.  alrighty   ready to rock

Stephen Zimmer:  I’m ready here.

James Ray Tuck Jr:  Okay, so it’s been a minute since Fandom Fest, tell everyone what you have been up to, specifically about the new book you have out, also all the other things that keep you one of the busiest men in showbiz.

Stephen Zimmer:   Definitely glad that the Fandom Fest project was completed, that was a big one, as it coincided with the full blog tour and release of my newest book, Spirit of Fire, which is the third in my Fires in Eden series. For those that haven’t read this series, they are epic fantasy with ensemble casts, and this particular installment is a very fast paced one with loads of action and some big revelations for the series as a whole.

I have been busy with doing PR work for the other Seventh Star Press authors, as well as working on developing a couple independent film projects, and keeping a full writing schedule that includes, at the moment, the 4th book of the Rising Dawn Saga, and some short stories from the Chronicles of Ave collection, the Annals of the Rising Dawn collection, and a new horror collection that I am really excited about unveiling.

James Ray Tuck Jr:  Very cool. Now what drew you into wanting to write epic fantasy?

Stephen Zimmer:    Seriously, it goes back to when my mother read me Lord of the Rings, the fully trilogy, when I was about seven. That started the roots, but what I love about epic fantasy is the ease with which it can be intimate at one moment or zoom up to a cosmic level during the course of a story. Of course, that kind of range can cause things to go spinning out of control if you are not careful, but if you balance it right, like writers like Tolkien and George R.R. Martin do, the results are magical. The layers and richness of good epic fantasy can deliver you into a truly immersive reading experience, and I hope that my series has given that to readers.

James Ray Tuck Jr:  So you lean more to the Tolkien side of the road rather than the Robert E. Howard side? More Heavy layered and textured world with large casts of characters rather than the man versus the unnatural with only his sword and the strength of his thews?

Stephen Zimmer:  I do lean more towards the Tolkien side in my writing, but I love Robert E. Howard and some of the characters in the ensembles I have could easily step into one of Howard’s environments. The supernatural does make its presence felt in my series, so it is not entirely on the Tolkien end of the spectrum. But Ave is a thoroughly developed world that serves as fertile ground for the characters that make the main ensemble.

James Ray Tuck Jr:    So there is magic in your world, how does it work?

Stephen Zimmer The magic in my world is a little more present than you would see in a series like A Song of Ice and Fire. There is a cosmic clash going on underneath the events of the Fires in Eden series, so there are supernatural beings that take the stage at times. The Wizards in my series are an actual immortal race that predates humans, and they wield supernatural powers as well. As far as humans go, most magic is concentrated in the Sorcerers that serve The Unifier, who have been given revelations directly from Jebaalos, who is a dark entity who presides over the abyssal realms.

James Ray Tuck Jr:     Sounds very awesome, and there’s more in the series to come?

Stephen Zimmer:  There is a lot more to come, about 4 books remaining in the main series, as well as many more short stories in the Chronicles of Ave, a the collection which is set in the same world, and I have not ruled out doing another series based in Ave. Readers are going to see much more of Ave over the course of the next books, far beyond what is shown on the map included in Spirit of Fire. It helps when Ave features races of flying steeds, which also makes for some exciting aerial combat sequences.

James Ray Tuck Jr:   Flying aerial combat sounds pretty kickass. Okay, now lets shift gears a second and talk about somme of the other hats you are wearing…..Tell me a bit about Seventh Star Publishing and what you do.

Stephen Zimmer:   Seventh Star Press is a small press publisher based in Lexington, Kentucky, and I was the first author to come aboard. I do represent the press officially and am a part of it, with my main capacity being PR and outreach, but there are several other individuals involved. Currently, we have eight authors, two artists, and work with 4 editors. It is not the largest small press out there, but it is one where everyone works together really well.

James Ray Tuck Jr:     I really like the way you guys run. Your books look top notch. What’s the best thing about being with Seventh Star as an author and the best thing about working with them as an employee?

Stephen Zimmer:      Thank you very much, we really try to make every book and author succeed rather than fling twenty titles a month against a wall to see what sticks. One thing I like best about Seventh Star in terms of being an author is that everyone works to make each release the best end product it can be. The editors and artists are very passionate about the work they put their names with and they strive to do their part, and then in the PR phase, where I am one of the individuals involved, we do everything we can to get the word out. The authors are very connected to the editors and artists, in a way that you don’t see at every publisher out there.

In terms of working with Seventh Star in an official capacity, it is the fact that I know we work to do everything to make each author’s series or franchise successful that makes me feel very good about what we do. No author is left behind, and if a title does not get off to a fast start, the focus is on how to find the right avenues for that title rather than shifting priorities elsewhere in the catalog. Sometimes finding the audience for a book or series takes time, or a series needs to be cultivated. I find that sometimes publishers can be impatient with titles that could eventually turn out to be very successful if given the right chance.

James Ray Tuck Jr:     Now You guys are pretty heavy in the fantasy genre, is that the main focus? And when are y’all going to do a kick ass Sword and Sorcery anthology? lol

Stephen Zimmer:   Interesting you mention that! Our next release is a paranormal thriller called Haunting Obsession by R.J. Sullivan, and our newest author is J.L. Mulvihill with her steampunk series Steel Roots.

Following that comes Michael West’s next novel in his Harmony, Indiana franchise, which is horror, and then David Blalock’s next one in the Angelkiller Triad, which is urban fantasy.

Yes, we did have a run of fantasy this spring with Jackie Gamber’s new Leland Dragon series novel Sela, and my new one, Spirit of Fire,and the reissues just before of D.A. Adams’ first two Brotherhood of Dwarves books, but don’t forget Steven Shrewsbury’s Overkill is Sword and Sorcery! Also, my other series, The Rising Dawn Saga, is urban fantasy on an epic scale, and Michael West has another series with us, the Legacy of the Gods, which is urban fantasy.

As far as anthologies go, The End Was Not the End, which is post-apocalyptic tales set in ancient world to medieval settings, it is highly likely that there will be several Sword and Sorcery pieces in it. All of that is up to the editor, Joshua Leet, but I’m sure he’s gotten several submissions in that area. A full-focused Sword and Sorcery anthology is definitely something we’d be interested in doing in the future.

James Ray Tuck Jr:      I’d be in to submit for that! You guys have a ton going on then….it’s great to see good folks doing vital stuff. So you said you were doing some indie filmmaking. Anything you can talk about?

Stephen Zimmer:     I have a very action heavy screenplay, that features a Conan-esque lead character who goes on an Odyssey-style adventure set in the Viking Age, featuring lots of supernatural baddies. I would love to see this be made as a feature, but only if it is done right in terms of production value. That is the foremost project I’m working to develop. We’ll have to see what happens, but it is dark fantasy/sword and sorcery in style all the way.

James Ray Tuck Jr:      Awesome. So anything you want to do in the future? You are so busy doing a ton of kick ass stuff is there anything you just want to do that’s not already in the works?

Stephen Zimmer:   On an artistic level, I would just like to be in a rhythm where I could do a feature film production each year and keep on schedule with my two series and releasing short fiction. I do want to do a space opera series at some point for sure, and I do have some ideas for a YA series sketched out. Possibly something novella length with the Harvey and Solomon steampunk tales I’ve been doing, the first two of which are in the Dreams of Steam I and II anthologies.      (from Kerlak Publishing)

James Ray Tuck Jr:  So how do you like writing in the Steampunk genre? Do you feel like it is still growing or becoming saturated?

Stephen Zimmer:       I really enjoy it, and I feel that as long as you have a compelling plot and good characters you are not limited to any particular genre. I believe it is still growing and also experiencing a big bandwagon effect. Whatever is hot at a given moment goes through this kind of phase, and it will eventually shake out.

I have come to love writing the Harvey and Solomon characters, which all came about as a kind of challenge from Kimberly Richardson at Kerlak Publishing before Dreams of Steam I. I took it on to see how I would fare outside of my comfort zone of fantasy/urban fantasy, and ended up enjoying it a great deal. The stories are very different from my other work.

James Ray Tuck Jr:       I ‘m working on a steampunk novel and enjoying it quite a bit. What’s your favorite part of the world? Do you do a stiffer, Victorian spin? The gadgetry?

Stephen Zimmer:      I don’t want to be too stuck on the gadgetry, nor did I want to get too formal, so Harvey and Solomon’s first adventures have taken place in a Smoky Mountains-style setting, an Alaskan one, and a southwestern one in a third story that has been submitted for consideration at the present moment. All three stories involve tribal people, and mystical elements, which I feel helps me offer some dimensions that go beyond the standard elements. It is definitely a late 1800’s type setting, there are airships, ironclad vessels, things of that nature, but my favorite part is the friendship between Harvey and Solomon and their journeys across this kind of landscape.

James Ray Tuck Jr:    So like a Jeremiah Johnson/ Lewis and Clark kind of story but with steampunk?

Stephen Zimmer:     Yes, only Harvey is a cat, which makes for some interesting twists! LOL

James Ray Tuck Jr:    It sounds like it.
Alright, so that is a good bit of info…now tell everyone where to get your newest and how to keep up with you.

Stephen Zimmer:     As far as my newest, you can still get a limited edition hardcover direct from Seventh Star Press at: http://www.seventhstarpress.com/documents/pre_orders.html

Amazon Kindle version is available, as is the softcover from most online vendors like Amazon, B&N, etc. It is in the Ingram catalog, so any store or library should be able to get it in. .

as far as me, here are my main connecting points:

website: www.stephenzimmer.com
twitter: @sgzimmer
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/AuthorFilmmaker-Stephen-Zimmer/221620254562078

James Ray Tuck Jr:   Awesome. Any final words to the readers out there?

Stephen Zimmer:     Thank you for your time and reading this interview! I appreciate the chance to introduce myself and I love to hear from readers so do not hesitate to reach out to me in the future if you want to ask questions or talk with me about the stories.

James Ray Tuck Jr: Excellent… thanks a bunch mang


See? Go pick up Stephen’s stuff.

WE BOUGHT A HOUSE OF ILL-REPUTE (or a guest blog by Anthony Elmore)


Alright Loyals and True Believers one of the new things I am doing around here is to invite some of my writerly friends over to guest. You get a bit of fresh meat for the marketplace and a possibility to find a new writer you like.

This time around is Anthony Elmore, author of FARTING IN CHURCH. A collection of humorous anecdotes. (There is a buy link below) Anthony is a member of my writing group. Enjoy his visit.

Many thanks to James Tuck for letting me borrow his stage for a sec. As a former Hollywood screenwriter living in Roswell, I have created over 108 screenplays, 13 teleplays and a five-part miniseries based on the life of Zachary Taylor called Curdled Destiny. Below is a treatment I wrote a year before a We Bought a Zoo debuted, starring Matt Damon, basking in his kids n’ critters chapter of his career, to be followed by cameos on WB sitcoms.

“We Bought a House of Ill Repute”

An Original Screenplay Concept by Anthony Ray Elmore

Logline: When life hands you lemons, open a lemonade stand. When life hands you 10 grizzled, middle aged “professional women”, open your heart.

Recently divorced, remarried, and subsequently widowed father, NORMAN SMITH is mourning the loss of his estranged wife who died during a colonic mishap. He has indulged his three children, 16 year old rebellious teenager LEAH, his 10 year old science geek STEVE and three year old in a 20 year old body NICK. Steve gets in trouble with Homeland Security when he hacks into top-secret military drones and makes them buzz the White House.

After being released from Guantanamo, Norman is at the end of his rope with his children’s behavior. On his way to his architecture firm, Norman spots a rundown Victorian home with a “For Sale” sign in the yard. He enters the home and finds a mysterious Norman Friedman like Real Estate agent who says the home is for sale at a bargain price, but it is “as is.” The home has red velvet walls and antique furniture, and a lingering scent of L’Air du Temps and petroleum jelly. Norman signs the papers but before the ink is dry, the Real Estate Agent has disappeared. Norman hears a ghostly voice saying, “As Is.”

Norman believes having his kids work on the fixer upper will build character and help the family heal. He packs his reluctant children into his perfectly restored 1987 Ford Taurus and drives them to their new home. He is surprised to see ten scantily clad women, smoking, retching and lounging around the parlor. “We have a customer,” MAXINE, the madam, says. I dawns on Norman that he has bought a brothel.

Norman quits his job and has to make a living, so he runs the brothel while trying to hide the fact that his children are living amongst fallen women. He makes Maxine and the nine other girls to agree to keep the business, noise and body fluids on the down low. His cover story to his children is that women run a chiropractor clinic and the shouts of ecstasy are men having their adjustments. Nick observes that the men look very relaxed and wants a treatment himself. Norman sends him to bet at 5pm and we don’t see him till the finale.

Nosey DETECTIVE RIVERS comes knocking and suspects that a brothel exists on the property. Norman explains that this was a chiropractor clinic and Rivers asks for a neck adjustment. Norman asks MARY, whose specialty is ‘discipline,’ to work him over. Later, Norman says he feels much better and has worked through some of his aggression issues and his estrangement from his father.

Leah comes home late, even by brothel standards, and NORMAN confronts her. He has Maxine have a girl-to-girl talk with Leah about the dangers of boys and premarital sex, which is like having Ted Nugent speak at a Quaker Pacifist rally. Leah apologizes for her behavior and Norman asks Maxine what she said to her. Maxine told her she was a dirty skank and girls who put out before 18 end up prostitutes.

Steve is having trouble with jocks at school and confides in WILMA, the tough as a denim prophylactic African American prostitute. Steve teaches him how to make a shiv out of the pointy end of the protractor. Instead, Steve, who has figured out he’s living in a brothel, make a hepatitis culture out of disused condom and spikes the football team’s water cooler. In a hilarious scene, the entire defensive line’s skin turns yellow and suffers renal failure. Bully problem solved.

A tax collector comes knocking at the brothel and says Norman owes $56,949.35 in back taxes. If he doesn’t pay, the house will be auctioned and the girls would be forced onto the streets to service truckers and church decons. To save the house, he assembles the family and the eight remaining girls (NICOLE tragically dies while performing the dangerous Fresno Ferris Wheel with a client) to have the biggest “Whore-down” ever.

In a montage scene, set to the music of eclectic Christian Techno Power Pop band Machines of Loving Praise, the family cleans the house while the children hand out flyers to all homely, morbidly obese men in town. That evening, men pour in and the girls are working hard, turning tricks like Chris Angel during a mascara drought. Suddenly, Detective Rivers shows up, so Norman warns the girls and they pretend they’re doing physical therapy. Rivers walks in on DANNI with a client. Norman makes up story that the client was bit by a wolf spider in the groin area and Danni was trying to extract the poison. Rivers believes them, and drinks.

Norman travels with the girls to the tax office, but the taxman says he owes extra late charges. Norman is $350 short. Norman offers one of the girl’s services, but the taxman asks for one of the most dangerous acts of all – The Belgian Bismarck. The only woman limber and experienced enough to do it is Maxine. Maxine has lost faith in herself, so Norman gives an inspiration speech, citing material from Teddy Roosevelt, Gandhi and a couple of Amy Grant songs. Everybody slow claps as Maxine goes into the taxman’s office. Moments later, the taxman’s cries of ecstasy shatters his office window. Maxine exits the office, snaps her dislocated femur into place followed by the exultant taxman. The taxman ‘looses’ the tax bill and Norman and the girls can keep the money.

Norman and his family learn the value of believing in themselves and that love is important and some other fluffy shit families love.

And there you have it! Thanks for swinging by Anthony. See you next meeting.

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Anthony Elmore

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