Blimprider Times, No. 5

Featured Site of the Week

Irevuo is a site I’ve only recently encountered, coming to my attention when its operator, Cristian Mihai, followed mine.  He doesn’t offer much in the way of personal information, which is certainly his prerogative, and I don’t know whether he’s U.S.-based or works from another country, whether English is his first language, nor even what “Irevuo” means.  He does handle English well, whether it’s his native tongue or not, as he posts several times a day on the subjects of art, music, movies, and writing, both his own philosophy, and reviews of the works of others.

His offerings are very insightful, as you might expect from anyone I recommend; you regulars know that I wouldn’t steer you toward a junk site just because the owner posts a lot!  An example of a post that really touched me as a writer was So you want to be a writer…  Most of my friends, and many of my readers are also writers, and if you aren’t yet writing at the level of Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, you should read this… for me.  After you do, you’ll realize that it was really for yourself.

Irevuo; a site worthy of a lengthy exploration.

This Week’s News

TERROR-IN-THE-SHADOWS

Terror in the Shadows, C.W. Hawes’ Lovecraftian horror novel, is live and on sale through Amazon.com.  This is the third installment in the Pierce Mostyn Paranormal Investigation series, and takes place in rural West Virginia as Mostyn and his team attempt to deal with shadowy forms that come out of the night to murder whole families and eat the corpses.  Late evening read, anyone?

 

 

 

FromAnIrradiatedCrypt

William J. Jackson pens the The Rail Legacy series, a brief description of which might be a sort of steampunk X-Men.  That isn’t exactly what it is, of course, but it will put you in the ball park.  The currently three-book series isn’t new, but he is constantly offering deals on one or another of the titles.  This weekend, for example, the entire series is £3.44 for U.K. readers, and book one, An Unsubstantiated Chamber, is free for the asking until further notice.  I’ve read this; you should, too!

 

 

The View from the Blimp

Here in my own little corner of the literary world, anyone who has been reading my material on a regular basis knows that I have been having trouble getting started… started on Beyond the Rails IV, that is.  I do have a story line developing, which anyone who read BtR3 will understand entails some difficulty, given where I left them.  It is developing nicely, though, and my notebook is growing in volume and detail as it comes together.  My tentative subtitle is The Devil You Know, which seems to go with what I’ve put together so far.

While I’m offering teases of future projects, all the time I’ve been steampunk-blocked hasn’t gone entirely to waste.  I intend to, by the end of April, and hopefully before that, lay a major product of a completely different sort before you for your consideration.  It promises to be a major experiment with my established audience, but my hopes are high for acceptance… and that’s all you get for now.  To quote Dr. Betruger, “Great things are going to happen here, you just wait.”

Of course, the main purpose of this page is to support Beyond the Rails, and I can’t do that without occasionally thumping my chest and bellowing about how great it is, so for those of you who cannot tolerate a blowhard, BLOWHARD ALERT!

BeyondTheRails

I wrote these books, so obviously, I think they’re just great!  They have found a niche as a fun ride for fans of Jules Verne and Firefly.  Here are some important events in it the first volume’s unfortunately somewhat obscure lifetime:

FAVORITE COMMENT:

“If I could tell a story like this, I’d get a job just so I could quit it and spend all my time writing.  Excellent work!  I’m hooked—on to the next adventure of the Kestrel.”

This was from a writing.com member who went by the handle of “Evertrap.”  I was on top of the world when I read this.  How could anyone think of anything more supportive to say?

FIRST PUBLIC SUPPORTER

An Australian literary blogger, Arabella Bramble, featured Beyond the Rails on her personal blog (now unfortunately closed) before I ever considered turning it into a book.  Among other things, she said,

“This is a story that is off to a great start with an interesting cast of characters from diverse backgrounds thrown together initially on an airship called the Kestrel. This is classic adventure stuff taking place in a colourful setting.”

FIRST REVIEW AS A BOOK

Kaz of Books Anonymous said,

“These stories are the best fun.  Seriously.  Yes, Jack’s a mate of mine, and regulars on my blog will have seen his comments on various posts, but, as I said to him when I reviewed the first of these stories ages ago, I didn’t review the story because he’s my mate.  I reviewed it because it was a cracking good story.”

It should be noted that this was also the book’s first review by a friend.

BEST REVIEW TO DATE

The Good, The Bad, & The Bizarre took a very favorable view of humble little Beyond the Rails.  They especially approved of my portrayal of women, noting that their dialogue and actions passed the Bechdel Test.  They also noted in this long and detailed review that,

“We have to say, this book single-handedly convinced us to reconsider our dislike of Steampunk.  This is a feat all by itself.  And with that, we can’t say that it’s anything but Good, even though it has plenty of Bizarreness everywhere–which, of course, just adds flavor to the whole shebang.”

I’m especially fond of this one.  Good, Bad, Bizarre has regrettably closed their doors, but I very wisely kept a copy, and the review can be read in its entirety here.

WORST REVIEW TO DATE

Beyond the Rails was the subject of a giveaway due to ship in January 2014.  Ten days before the announcement of the winners, I was stricken with pneumonia and H1N1, and to make a long story short, spent two months in hospital and rehab.  Goodreads member Shayla gave it one star, and stated,

“Update: More than a month later, and still no sign of the book.  He was able to get a relative to email all the winners saying that he’d been ill and would get the books out soon, but apparently couldn’t get anyone to actually send the books.  I suspect he backed out and just made up the hospital story.  Whatever.”

That review can be read on my book page at Goodreads.  It takes a special brand of self-importance to rate a book you plainly state you never received.  The little cherry on top came from Goodreads member Danielle, who Liked Shayla’s review, and added it to her Do Not Read shelf; their loss.

So that’s Beyond the Rails through the eyes of others.  I hope to sell a lot of copies, and I hope it continues to stand on its own merits in the eyes of its readers.  I would never ask anyone to buy a pig-in-a-poke, and so have made a free story from each book available as samples under the “Beyond the Rails” tab at the top of the page.  Drop in for a visit and draw your own conclusions.  The books are for sale on amazon.com, and I’m currently working on the continuation.  I hope you take a look, and I hope you like what you find.  Steampunk is obviously not for everyone, but mine is light on technology, and heavy on characters, so take a look; you might just discover a whole new world of reading enjoyment.

Survival Tool

“It’s not the most intellectual job in the world, but I do have to know the letters.”
~ VANNA WHITE

We’re all aware of survival tools.  Every creature has developed ways to keep itself alive.  From the rhino’s horn to the elephant’s bulk to the cheetah’s speed, we all have a master plan.  Pet owners know.  The dog’s survival tools are its teeth, and it constantly gnaws on stuff (hopefully not your favorite shoes!) to keep them sharp and polished.  With cats, it’s their claws, and anyone who has lived around a cat has experienced the joy of clawed-up possessions, from books to furniture.  A cat’s gotta be prepared, man!

So, what is your survival tool, fellow humanoid?  Our “claws” are pathetic fingernails, our teeth blunt seed-mashers, and we are one of the, if not the slowest large animal on the planet.  So, how have we risen to our position of dominance?  Why, our brains, of course!  That three pounds of fatty goo between our ears has placed us at the top of every food chain on earth.  But if dogs gnaw and cats claw, how, pray tell, do we exercise a lump of tissue that sits inside its armored case and is incapable of movement?  By having, and more importantly, giving free rein to an imagination, and the richer, the better.  Your brain solves problems.  From the early problems of making fire and inventing speech to the modern problems of exploring space and the ocean deeps, that’s what it does, but in order for it to maintain its health and youthful flexibility, you have to let it off the chain once in a while to go exploring.  Those who don’t grow up to wear gray suits to their bean-counting jobs, and likely keep their ties on when they go to bed.

This is where fiction comes in.  Some of us read it, and some of us write it, but we all partake in one way or another.  Every ancient myth of some monster in the woods, every legend of a great warrior, protector, or pied piper is a tale that someone made up.  Some were attempts to explain what couldn’t be explained by the knowledge of the time, others were cut from whole cloth.  Some were cautionary, warning the children, for example, not to go into the woods, but they were all fiction.  Every age has its flavor.  When the Ancient Greeks spoke of Hercules or Pegasus, these were beings that they thought there was a chance that they might meet during their lifetimes.  Victorians were heavily into seances, read stories of lost worlds, and hung on lurid tales of celebrity explorers describing humans being sacrificed to man-eating plants in darkest Africa.  Today, we favor alien abduction stories and conspiracy theories, but what these things all have in common is that they represent the free rein of imagination, and are at their core that big, active brain getting its exercise.

And this brings us to our niche as writers of fiction.  I have heard pundits say that the novel, a recent construct in the world of literature, is on its way out as an art form, that the electronic revolution has shortened the average attention span to where the writer has to get in, finish up, and get out within about two minutes.  That might be true, although that would sadden me greatly, but storytelling is going to exist in one form or another as long as homo sapiens endures as a species.  We perform an invaluable service to mankind; we are the personal trainers for the brains, and no advanced thinker who has expanded the horizons of mankind’s knowledge, no Carl Sagan, no Neil DeGrasse Tyson, no Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, would have been able to accomplish what he did without a free, active, and well-developed imagination, so if you’ve been making contributions to mind-expansion, no matter how small, stand up and take a bow.  Humanity wouldn’t have come a fraction as far as it has without your efforts.  Yours, and the sea of writers who came before you.  And make no mistake, movies, plays, TV shows, games, music, and any form of audio or visual entertainment, is first written before it is placed on film, tape, CD, or whatever, and that’s what you do.  What we do.  Without the efforts of writers, we’d still be living in the Dark Ages, if we were that far along, so the next time someone suggests that you’re “just” a writer, nod knowingly with an enigmatic smile, mutter, “Right,” and go about your business, knowing what your contribution is, and what that person’s isn’t.  It’ll make your day!

Blimprider Times No. 4: The Ads

I’m trying something new today, something to support my friends and readers, and I expect it will become a recurring feature.  I have polled my author friends, my readers I’ve just met, and any writer who stumbles across my site to send me information on any books they have published in the last six weeks, will publish in the next six weeks, or any promotions they have coming up in the near future so that I can publicize them here.  Without a whole lot of extra fluff, then, let’s get started.

Terror in the Shadows by C.W. Hawes

TERROR-IN-THE-SHADOWS

An eldritch terror.  A lurking fear.  And death on our doorsteps.

Special Agent in Charge Pierce Mostyn is on a collision course with a nightmare.  And he doesn’t know it.

While investigating a mass murder, Mostyn and his team discover a gothic horror tale being played out in the hills of Appalachia.  But can he stop his team from becoming the next victims?

Terror in the Shadows is the third book in the Pierce Mostyn Paranormal Investigation series.  If you like tales of Lovecraft’s Mythos, humor, weird adventure and horror, then this series is for you.

Open the door today — if you dare!

Terror in the Shadows releases Monday, March 26, and will be available on Amazon.com.  An excerpt from the first chapter is available at C.W. Hawes.com.

Aunt Enid: Protector Extraordinaire by Karen J. Carlisle

Aunt-Enid

Daemons, fairies, magic:  It’s all real!

The Otherworld is bleeding through cracks into our world.

And Adelaide is ground zero.

Something is coming.  Something dark – trading souls for passage.  And only one person stands between The Dark and the fate of the world.

Aunt Enid is just your average seventy-something year old.  She loves to cook, is a regular at bingo and spends hours in her garden, talking to her army of garden gnomes and fussing over the color of her hydrangeas…

When people start disappearing, her great niece, Sally, is drawn into a secret world and soon discovers her great aunt is a Protector Extraordinaire.

Aunt Enid:  Protector Extraordinaire is the first book in ‘The Aunt Enid Mysteries’, the first series in The Otherworlds Chronicles.  Expected publication dates are April 30th for e-books, and May 14th for physical copies.  This is still in flux, but she is 90% sure of making these dates.  Also, be aware that she will be offering a coupon for the first two weeks of the e-book reducing its price from $2.99 to .99 USD on SmashWords, so before you order, visit her webpage, https://karenjcarlisle.com/, to take home this bargain on a new book by an excellent writer.