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Review: John Golden: Heroes of Mazaroth by Django Wexler


John Golden: Heroes of Mazaroth
Author:  Django Wexler
Series:  John Golden
Publisher:  Ragnarok Publications, August 11, 2014
Format:  eNovella
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher
Cover design: J.M. Martin

Review: John Golden: Heroes of Mazaroth by Django Wexler
The world's most popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Tens of millions of players have stepped into the shoes of fighters and wizards, dwarves and koalamancers to battle the forces of evil.

>>Nobody ever asked the forces of evil how they felt about it.<<

John Golden has been asked to extract a fairy from the computers of a finance company, where it's sitting on some vital data. Inside, he finds a depressed Dark Lord and a portal to a realm of fantasy. But when he steps through, he finds himself cast as the villain of the piece, with an army of adventurers ready to thwart his evil schemes. John hasn't *got* any evil schemes, but he realizes he'd better come up with some fast. Unless he can change the story, he'll be stuck in Mazaroth as a final boss...permanently.


Qwill's Thoughts

John Golden: Heroes of Mazaroth is a ridiculously fun story from Django Wexler, author of the Shadow Campaigns flintlock fantasy series. John Golden is a debugger: he removes fairy infestations of various kinds from computer systems. In Heroes of Mazaroth he ends up in an MMORPG while trying to get a fairy to come back to the game and out of his client's network. Hilarity ensues.

While a novella, (47 pages on my Nook) Heroes of Mazaroth is extremely well done, jam packed with action, and fun to read. Laugh out loud fun! John, accompanied by his immensely helpful sidekick Sarah, takes on a depressed fairy Dark Lord, a variety of online gamers, and a murderous Dark Elf. 

As you can tell, I really enjoyed this story. It's light, fun and well-written. I particularly enjoyed the footnotes which is how Sarah communicates with the reader. She shares all sorts of information - illuminating, amusing and ofter sarcastic. I love how Wexler has merged fantasy and computer science to create the wildernet (our internet + fairies). You don't have to be into computers or online or other gaming to enjoy the heck out of this story.

Sarah mentions other of John's adventures in the footnotes only one of which is available now (John Golden: Freelance Debugger). I am looking forward to reading all of John's adventures. I am completely hooked on the world Wexler has created in these stories. More please and soon!





Also in the series

John Golden: Freelance Debugger
Ragnarok Publications, February 1, 2014
eNovella

Review: John Golden: Heroes of Mazaroth by Django Wexler
John Golden is a debugger: he goes inside the computer systems of his corporate clients to exterminate the gremlins, sprites, and other fairies that take up residence. But when he gets a frantic call from Serpentine Systems, a top-of-the-line anti-fairy security company, John finds out he's on much more than a simple smurf-punting expedition.

With the help of his sarcastic little sister Sarah (currently incarnated in the form of a Dell Inspiron) and a paranoid system administrator, John tackles Serpentine's fairy problem. But the rabbit hole goes deeper than he thinks, and with the security of all of the company's clients in danger, there's more at stake this time than John's paycheck!





About Django

Review: John Golden: Heroes of Mazaroth by Django Wexler
Django Wexler graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with degrees in creative writing and computer science, and worked for the university in artificial intelligence research. Eventually he migrated to Microsoft in Seattle, where he now lives with two cats and a teetering mountain of books.

He is the author of Roc's military 'flintlock fantasies' The Thousand Names and The Shadow Throne and the middle-grade fantasy The Forbidden Library.

When not writing, he wrangles computers, paints tiny soldiers, and plays games of all sorts.


Website  ~   Facebook  ~  Twitter @DjangoWexler


Interview with Shane Berryhill - July 27, 2014


Please welcome Shane Berryhill to The Qwillery. Bad Mojo, Shane's latest novel, will be published on July 28th by Ragnarok Publications. Shane will be hosting a release party on Facebook and says "It’s free and open to you and your friends, dear reader. Come one, come all. The more the merrier."



Interview with Shane Berryhill - July 27, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Shane:  Happy to be here, Qwillery and Co. My first serious attempt at writing was after the turn of the millennium. I’d finished reading a novel by a best-selling author. One that turned out to be pure schlock. I tossed it aside and thought, I could do better than that. After further consideration, I decided to try. Ultimately my first novel from Macmillan/Starscape, Chance Fortune and the Outlaws, came about as a result.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Shane:  Plotting and seat-of-the-pantsing are railroad tracks for me. I usually have a vague chapter outline. Ergo, “this has to happen in this chapter and this in the next” and so on and so forth. But how I get from “Point A” in the chapter to the desired “Point B” is totally organic. I simply place my rumpus in the chair and start typing. Rinse. Repeat.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Shane:  I don’t necessarily have a “constant” in that regard, but, when working on BAD MOJO, I had a long break between writing the first half of the book and the second. There’s a turning point midway in the story where redneck-pretty boy-wereperson, Ash Owens, has to tuck his tail (pun intended) and go groveling back to his friend and partner, beautiful-conjure-woman-of-mixed race, Zora Banks, at her place of business. I knew in my gut that what I had planned for Zora’s base of operations wouldn’t work. It took me a long time to figure out what Zora’s home base needed to be. When I did, it was off-to-the-races at the keyboard, again. I’m not sure I believe in “writer’s block,” but it admittedly took my conscious mind a while to hear what my subconscious had been trying to tell it all along.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Shane:  Charlie Huston (and his (vampire) Joe Pitt series) was admittedly a huge influence on BAD MOJO, as was Jim Butcher, James Sallis (I’m thinking, Drive), and dozens of other pulp-noir authors, Joe R. Lansdale not least among them (If you pay attention, you’ll come across a tip-of-the-hat to Papa Lansdale in BAD MOJO). Even Cormac McCarthy. I love hardboiled, no-nonsense prose. The leaner and meaner, the better.



TQ:  Describe Bad Mojo in 140 characters or less.

Shane:  BAD MOJO is a story love and murder among the men, women, and monsters of a supernatural South.



TQ:  Tell us something about Bad Mojo that is not in the book description.

Shane:  There’s a bar featured in the novel, The Stone Lion. It was my favorite haunt (pun, again, intended) during my twenties. I lived in an apartment building nearby and often walked over by myself, knowing without a doubt there be someone there—likely someone I’d never met before--with whom I could share a good drink and good conversation. It was just that kind of place. Alas, it is no more.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Bad Mojo?

Shane:  You ask the question as if I had a choice, haha. The short, honest answer is, because I had a story to tell. One that refused to be ignored.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Bad Mojo?

Shane:  BAD MOJO is set where I live, Chattanooga, TN. To write the novel, I delved into the Nooga’s past. But in all honesty, I threw out or changed as much as I kept. To quote Stephen King, “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.”



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Shane:  BAD MOJO is told through the eyes of redneck-pretty boy, Ash Owens. I’m admittedly not very pretty, but I am little red. One thing’s for sure: we’re both smartasses. As a consequence, Ash just bled out of me. By contrast, Ash’s partner, Zora Banks, is wise, kind, and capable. Everything Ash and myself are not. I wouldn’t have been up to the task of writing directly from her point-of-view. I needed the window of Ash to showcase her awesomeness.



TQ:  What's next?

Shane:  My first creator-owned comic, SHERWOOD, TEXAS (reimagining of Robin Hood as a biker gang epic), is currently in shops, so the second story arc is in the works, along with a couple of other graphic projects I’m pitching to publishers. I’ve got a scifi short story titled BURN (a “nonsequel” to Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451) that’s made it past assistant editors up to the E-n-C of a prominent scifi ‘zine. The third book in the Chance Fortune series, CHANCE FORTUNE OUT OF TIME, releases this fall from Crossroad Press. The good folks at Crossroad don’t know it, yet, but I’m about to throw a second unrelated young adult novel their way. Then, I hope to contribute Ragnarok Publication’s MECH: AGE OF STEEL anthology. And of course, I see BAD MOJO as the first novel in a series, so look for more tales of mystery, murder, and monsters from Zora and Ash.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Shane:  Much obliged. I hope your readers dig BAD MOJO.





Bad Mojo
Zora Banks 1
Ragnarok Publications, July 28, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook

Interview with Shane Berryhill - July 27, 2014
"Berryhill's brand of southern-fried, supernatural noir is something to behold." –Cherie Priest, bestselling author of Boneshaker and Bloodshot

BAD MOJO is a tale of love and murder among the men, women, and monsters of a mystical, modern-day South.

Shane Berryhill’s first dark adult fantasy is the story of Zora Banks--a beautiful, Southern conjure woman of mixed race--as told through the eyes of her partner, Ash Owens, a pretty boy-redneck cursed with a monstrous alter ego.

When Tennessee State Representative Jack Walker hires Ash to find his missing, drug-addicted wife, Ash finds himself at odds with Chattanooga’s various underworld gangs--both the living and the unliving--as he and Zora become embroiled in a far-reaching occult organization’s grab for ultimate power.

Equal parts True Blood and Justified, BAD MOJO will prove a dark delight for fans of urban fantasy, Southern Gothics, paranormal romance, and hardboiled crime.





About Shane

Interview with Shane Berryhill - July 27, 2014
Shane Berryhill is a novelist and comic book writer. His work has been praised by Publishers Weekly, NPR, NBC Today.com, Wired Magazine, Horror World, and others. He's been a guest and speaker at events ranging from the National Council of English Teachers conference to San Diego Comic Con. Find Shane online at www.shaneberryhill.com, Facebook, and Twitter.









Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @ShaneBerryhill



Guest Blog by Kevin Lucia: The Inter-connectivity of Being and Clifton Heights, NY - June 30, 2014


Please welcome Kevin Lucia to The Qwillery. Devourer of Souls, two novellas set in the world of Clifton Heights, NY, is out today from Ragnarok Publications. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Kevin a Happy Publication Day!



Guest Blog by Kevin Lucia: The Inter-connectivity of Being and Clifton Heights, NY - June 30, 2014




The Inter-connectivity of Being and Clifton Heights, NY

Seven years ago, I struck upon what I believed at the time was a marvelously unique idea (in that naive way new writers have when unaware how scarce unique ideas really are). After a bloated novel (in which I'd foolishly tried to re-write Stephen King's IT) fell apart, I found nearly a dozen vignettes about supporting characters left over in the ruins. I thought to myself: How cool would it be to craft them into short stories about people living in the same, weird small town? They could interconnect and weave together, telling a larger story, with all these cool Easter Eggs that would build with each story!

Because no one's ever done that before.

Like H. P. Lovecraft. Or Sherwood Anderson. James Joyce. Ray Bradbury. Charles Grant. Stephen King, Gary Brubeck and many more...

However, even after I discovered these writers and their universes, the idea still resonated with me. That has a lot to do with the way I view the world. It may sound corny, but LIFE to me is one big story, made up of an infinite number of smaller stories that interconnect in often the smallest, most trivial of ways.

See, I'm a curious guy. I'm always wondering about people and their stories. When I visit the grocery store, the zoo, the playground or beach with my kids, church, or during the school day when teaching, I wonder: What stories are being told in these people's lives? What demons are they fighting, what dreams are they pursuing, what nightmares haunt them when they close their eyes at night? How have they failed and succeed, who have they won or lost? Likewise, whenever I finish a short story or novella, I always wonder: What about that gas station attendant, cashier, police officer, student, farmer...what's their story? And how does it relate to my other characters?

Also, because I believe there's A REASON for everything, that nothing in this life is meaningless, that everything happens because it's supposed to, I'm inclined to write interconnected stories because I believe there's a BIGGER, hidden story going on around us all the time.

November 2013, seven years after the concept first crossed my mind, Crystal Lake Publishing released my first short story collection and introduction to my little haunted town, Clifton Heights, NY, located in the Adirondacks. Things Slip Through features 11 short stories, all occurring within Clifton Heights (except one), connected by a framing narrative, ALA Dandelion Wine, The Martian Chronicles, Gary Braunbeck's Cedar Hill and Charles Grant's Oxrun Station stories.

Three short stories I've sold since then occur within that world, as well as my upcoming double-novella collection Devourer of Souls, due June 30th from Ragnarok Publications. Some time after that, Ragnarok will re-release in ebook a previously published Clifton Heights novella, Drowning, and I'm currently in the finishing stages of a Clifton Heights serial novella for The Midnight Diner, tentatively titled Suffer the Children Come Unto Me.

Will I always write only Clifton Heights stories? Who knows? Right now, to me, the possibilities seem endless. Think for a moment how many people live in your town. Think of their occupations, their backgrounds, character types, their varied hopes and dreams and fears. Now think of them living in the same town, bonded through not only their shared experience, but also a curious and melancholy self-isolation. How many stories hide there, waiting to be told?

And who else besides me is going to tell them?





Devourer of Souls
Ragnarok Publications, June 30, 2014
Trade Paperback, 232 pages
eBook forthcoming

Guest Blog by Kevin Lucia: The Inter-connectivity of Being and Clifton Heights, NY - June 30, 2014
Welcome to Clifton Heights, an average Adirondack town. It's nice enough, really. Except after dark. Or on cold winter days when you're all alone...

Sophan.
An ancient game of chance and Fate. One boy's smoldering hate, another boy's need to make things right, and a father's ghosts of Vietnam past. These are the key players in this latest tale of revenge and reparation performed on the stage of the strange Adirondack town of Clifton Heights, NY.

The Man in Yellow.
Tahawus is a small, isolated Adirondack town just north of Clifton Heights. A quiet place filled with simple people of an ardent faith, nothing much ever happens there...until the man in yellow comes calling. He knows your worst nightmares, and he can offer your fondest wish. All you need is faith...and a mouth from which to scream.





About Kevin

Guest Blog by Kevin Lucia: The Inter-connectivity of Being and Clifton Heights, NY - June 30, 2014
Kevin Lucia recently served as a Submissions Reader for Cemetery Dance Magazine, and his podcast "Horror 101" is featured monthly on Tales to Terrify. His short fiction has appeared in several anthologies.

He’s currently finishing his Creative Writing Masters Degree at Binghamton University, he teaches high school English and lives in Castle Creek, New York with his wife and children.

He is the author of Hiram Grange & The Chosen One, Book Four of The Hiram Grange Chronicles. His first short story collection, Things Slip Through was published November 2013. He’s currently working on his first novel.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @kevinlucia

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2014 Winner


The winner of the June 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is The Forty First Wink by James Walley with 80% of the votes! The Forty First Wink was published by Ragnarok Publications.



2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2014 Winner





The Final Results

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2014 Winner





The June 2014 Debut Covers

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2014 Winner





Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the July Debut covers starting on July 15, 2014. Look for the list of July's Debuts on July 1st.


Interview with James Walley, author of The Forty First Wink - June 20, 2014


Please welcome James Walley to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Forty First Wink was published by Ragnarok Publications on June 16th.



Interview with James Walley, author of The Forty First Wink - June 20, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing fiction?

James:  Thank you for having me. I've always wanted to write, 18 months ago I got to a point where I told myself to stop procrastinating and take the plunge. Since then, I can't stop, it's addictive.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

James:  Whilst I consider myself to be very much a pantser, I don't think that the two are mutually exclusive. I love the freedom to let the story play out like a movie in my head, but also like to have a few waypoints marked out in the plot. It's like planning a trip, and highlighting a bunch of places you want to visit along the way, then just getting in your car, closing your eyes and putting your foot down. It's probably not a good idea to literally do that though.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

James:  Keeping my preference for certain characters in check. I outright love some of the characters in 'Wink', and it's hard not to focus too much on them. I want to give all my characters an equal amount of limelight, but it's difficult sometimes when you just want to write pages and pages about a crazy, fun character that you've just dreamed up.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

James:  I am a huge Douglas Adams fan, anything Hitchhiker related that he wrote has had the print read off it and sits proudly on my bookshelves. In terms of genre, I enjoy how authors like Terry Pratchett and Robert Rankin take fantasy, make it even more fantastic, and put a comedic spin upon it. Basically, how fantasy would sound if it were narrated by a demented, talking ostrich.



TQ:  Describe The Forty First Wink in 140 characters or less.

James:  Epic tale of boy dreams world. Pursued by his nightmares and aided by cheeky, pint sized pirates. And that's only scratching the surface!



TQ:  Tell us something about The Forty First Wink that is not in the book description.

James:  I love it when a chapter ends on a good cliffhanger, so prepare yourself to think "Just one more chapter" a few times. At least I hope that's what you'll be thinking!



TQThe Forty First Wink seems to be a genre blending novel. How would you describe the genres in your novel?

James:  It's a bit of a melting pot. It's based heavily in fantasy of course, but has a lot of humour too. There are dark, almost horror flavours, as well as a nod to nostalgia, and childhood innocence. There's even a quirky love story thrown in. If you're going to genre blend, why not use everything in the cupboard?



TQ:  What sorts of research did you do for The Forty First Wink?

James:  I napped a lot, which seemed to help with the dream stuff. Other than that, I researched a lot of nautical, and specifically pirate terminology. Also, there is a mystery character who's dialogue required that I read up on a lot of very specific, and very random information. That sounds very cryptic, and that's exactly what I was going for with the character.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

James:  Timbers and Oaf were the easiest to write, simply because there were a joy to create. They embody a carefree and mischievous innocence that most of us lose when we are saddled with adulthood. I could go on and on about them both, simply because they are so much fun.

The hardest was probably Mr Peepers, the main antagonist. I wanted to ensure that he was steeped in mystery, whilst also conveying a malevolence and very real fear factor. That was a bit of a juggling act, but I think that he comes across as suitably creepy.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Forty First Wink.

James:
"The demonic clown was suddenly upon them, close enough to shock Marty into losing his grip on the ladder, retaining some purchase with one hand. Wheeling around, he was now face to face with Mr Peepers, who craned closer, his grin now impossibly wide and his eyes even wider. Marty winced as he caught a face full of hot clown breath.
It smelled like candyfloss, he thought. Candyfloss and terror."

"The short corridor which led to the gift shop now felt impossibly long, and seemed to stretch out still further as they charged headlong away from their pursuers. Surprisingly keeping pace with his much taller companions, Timbers drew alongside Marty. "Hey!" the little pirate chirped, in a voice that carried a flippant tone that in no way fit their current fraught situation. "Wouldn't it be awful if one of us fell over now, like you see in movies?" Marty's already whirling mind started a new spin cycle, and he just barely managed an incredulous double take at the tiny scuttling buccaneer before the distraction nearly caused him to fall over, like you see in movies."


TQ:  What's next?

James:  Hopefully a lot. I have a short story entitled "Santa Claus Wants You Dead" coming out in an anthology from Fireside Press later in the year, and I am currently working on a sci fi, post apocalyptic novella called "The Late Outdoors". Both are very much in the same crazy, fun vein as 'Wink'. Of course, I am also raring to go on the second 'Wink' novel, which is already partly storyboarded, and will be part of an eventual trilogy.



TQ:  Is a nod as good as a wink to a blind bat?

James:  Only if it goes with a nudge, nudge. Know what I mean?



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

James:  You're most welcome, it's been fun!





James Walley

The Forty First Wink
Ragnarok Publications, June 16, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 214 pages

Interview with James Walley, author of The Forty First Wink - June 20, 2014
Marty is having a bad morning. Roused from slumber by a gang of polo mallet-wielding monkeys and a mysterious voice in his wardrobe, he must quickly come to terms with the fact that the world outside his door is now the world inside his head. Lying in wait amidst bleak, gloomy streets, deserted theme parks, and circus-themed nightclubs, lurks the oppressive shadow of a myriad of giggling, cackling pursuers, hell bent on throwing a custard pie or two into the works.

Assisted by a string of half-cocked schemes, a troupe of tiny unlikely allies, and (literally) the girl of his dreams, Marty sets out on a heroic quest to wake up and get out of bed.

Early reviews have compared it to Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Equal parts epic, funny and dark, The Forty First Wink plummets headlong into the realms of askew reality, adding elements of the macabre, and squeezing in an unlikely love story for good measure. It will take you on a journey where not even the sky is the limit, and literally anything could be around the next corner. The question is, do you have the guts (and the sanity) to find out?





About James

Interview with James Walley, author of The Forty First Wink - June 20, 2014
Arriving in the rainy isle of Great Britain in the late '70s, James quickly became an enthusiast of all things askew. Whilst growing up in a quaint little one horse town that was one horse short, a steady diet of movies, '50s sci fi and fantasy fiction finally convinced him to up sticks and move to Narnia — also known to the layman as Wales. Since there was no available qualification in talking lion taming or ice sculpture, he settled for a much more humdrum degree in something vague but practical, and set out to find a talking lion to make an ice sculpture of.

Mystifyingly finding himself behind the desk of a nine to five job, he kept himself sane by singing in a rock band, memorizing every John Carpenter movie ever made, and learning the ancient art of voodoo. Finally deciding to put his hyperactive imagination to good use, he ditched the voodoo and picked up a pen. A few months later, his debut novel, The Forty First Wink, was born. With a clutch of short stories in the offing, James is now loving his new life as an author, and still sings when plied with alcohol or compliments.

He also recently developed a penchant for fiercely embellishing his past. He really was a singer, although The Forty First Wink may not have brought about world peace. Yet.

Facebook  ~  Twitter @JamesWalley74  ~ Goodreads


2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2014 Winner


The winner of the May 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is Path of the Dead (Hungry Ghosts1) by Timothy Baker with 37% of the votes! Path of the Dead was published by Ragnarok Publications.



2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2014 Winner




 The Final Results

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2014 Winner




 The May 2014 Debut Covers

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2014 Winner





Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the June Debut covers starting on June 15, 2014.  Look for the list of June's Debuts on June 1st.


Interview with Seth Skorkowsky, author of Dämoren - April 19, 2014


Please welcome Seth Skorkowsky to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Dämoren was published on April 14, 2014 by Ragnarok Publications.



Interview with Seth Skorkowsky, author of Dämoren - April 19, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Seth:  I’ve always been a storyteller. It’s in my blood. I'd written some, but I didn’t start formally writing until just after college. I had moved away from my friends, and decided it was something I should do.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Seth:   I’d say 30% Plotter 70% Pantser. My writing usually starts with a few random scenes, usually opening chapters, but I have no plot to speak-of. With Dämoren I was into chapter 2 before I knew what the book was really about. By Chapter 5 I had a semblance of a story arc plotted, and then followed that.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing? Where do you write?

Seth:  Keeping motivated though the rough parts. I visualize chapters or scenes as little snippets, but then realize the hardest part is the little segues between them. Getting those out in a natural way is the hardest. I write at home, but I create the story when I go for walks.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Seth:  That’s a tough one. My non-writing friends can list a favorite author, but I can’t. My favorite author for style is Clive Barker, for brilliance, William Gibson, and for basic pleasure reading, I’m a Brandon Sanderson fan-boy.



TQ:  Describe Dämoren in 140 characters or less.

Seth:  I’m terrible at this, but here goes: “Dämoren is a story of a self-discovery, sacrifice, and trust, mixed with fantastical horror and kick-ass action.”



TQ:  Tell us something about Dämoren that is not in the book description.

Seth:  My main character Matt has several abilities associated with being demon-bound. Among them, he can speak and understand all spoken languages.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Dämoren?

Seth:  I’d had an idea for a magic gun set in a world where monsters are actually demonic possessions for several years, but I was busy writing historic fantasy. After finally accepting that my first book was just a practice novel, I decided to throw caution to the wind and try something completely different.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Dämoren?

Seth:  I learned to shoot a handgun, for one. I was terrible at first, but now it’s a full-blown hobby. I also heavily researched 19th century revolvers and gunsmiths in order to make Dämoren as real as possible. I did a lot of research on monster folklore. I wanted to make my creatures more old-world and less like how modern interpretations have made them.



TQ:  Why did you choose to write an Urban Fantasy? Do you want to write in any other genres or sub-genres?

Seth:  I chose Urban Fantasy as a break from historic fantasy. I also write pulpy sword and sorcery stories.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why? Who is your favorite good 'guy', bad 'guy' or ethically ambiguous character in Dämoren?

Seth:  Matt was the easiest for me to write. So much of myself is in him (except for the parts where he can actually motivate himself to exercise). Malcolm Romero was simultaneously my favorite and the hardest. Malcolm is a conflict character. He does not trust Matt and makes life with the Valducans extremely difficult for him. I wanted to give him depth and ended up really liking him, which made it difficult for him to be such a jerk.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite lines from Dämoren. (PG-13 please)

Seth:  Wow, that’s harder than I would have thought (especially keeping it PG-13 and Spoiler free ;-) ). But these come to mind:

“The man, wearing an olive green coat, stepped inside, holding some odd mating of a bowie knife and the biggest handgun in the world.”

and

“She fell to her knees. The skin along her spine swelled and split open, revealing a nest of finger-length cilia, writhing like pale maggots.”


TQ:  What's next?

Seth:  I have two sword and sorcery thief collections coming out later this year from Rogue Blades Entertainment. MOUNTAIN OF DAGGERS followed by SEA OF QUILLS. Think James Bond meets The Gray Mouser. I’m also currently writing a sequel to DÄMOREN entitled HOUNACIER.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Seth:  Thank you very much for having me.





Dämoren

Dämoren
Valducan 1
Ragnarok Publications, April 14, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 Pages

Interview with Seth Skorkowsky, author of Dämoren - April 19, 2014
Fourteen years ago a pack of wendigos killed Matt Hollis’ family and damned his soul. Now, Matt is a demon hunter armed with a holy revolver named Dämoren.

After a violent series of murders leaves only fifty holy weapons in the world, Matt is recruited by the Valducans, an ancient order of demon hunters. Many of the knights do not trust him because he is possessed. When sabotage and assassinations begin, the Valducans know there is a spy in their ranks, and Matt becomes the core of their suspicions. Desperate to prove himself, and to protect Dämoren, Matt fights to gain their trust and discover the nature of the entity residing within him.





About Seth

Interview with Seth Skorkowsky, author of Dämoren - April 19, 2014
Raised in the swamps and pine forest of East Texas, Seth Skorkowsky always dreamed of being a writer. He gravitated to the darker sides of fantasy, preferring horror and pulp heroes over knights in shining armor.

His debut novel, Dämoren will be released in 2014 by Ragnarok Publications. Seth will also be releasing two sword and sorcery rogue collections, Mountain of Daggers and Sea of Quills, through Rogue Blades Entertainment in 2014.

When not writing, Seth enjoys tabletop role-playing games, shooting sports, and traveling the world with his wife.




Website  ~  Twitter @SSkorkowsky   ~  Facebook



Interview with Tim Marquitz, J.M. Martin and Kenny Soward, authors of the Dead West series - March 23, 2014


Please welcome Tim Marquitz, J.M. Martin and Kenny Soward to The Qwillery. They are the co-authors of the Dead West series published Ragnarok Publications.



Interview with Tim Marquitz, J.M. Martin and Kenny Soward, authors of the Dead West series - March 23, 2014


TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery, Tim, J.M. and Kenny. Please tell us when you started writing and the most challenging thing about writing for you.

TIM:  Howdy. Just ignore Kenny.

I’ve always liked writing, but it wasn’t until around ’95 or so that I seriously contemplated doing more than the occasional scribble. A buddy brought his novel into work and it kind of lit a fire under me. I started processing and thinking of writing my own novel but life got in the way, and I didn’t get much done. Then somewhere around 2008 I stumbled across a writing group that reignited my interest, and I’ve been doing it consistently since then.

The most challenging thing these days is finding time to write amidst all the other commitments that come with publishing.

JOE (J.M.):  Thanks, TQ, and I wanna make it clear that contrary to popular belief, I was not the buddy in ’95 who brought his novel in and flaunted it in Tim’s face. But, damn, I wish I was. I would have said “nyah-nyah,” too. And maybe, like, rubbed my novel all over his face. That would have been fantastic.

Sigh. Oh, well. Let’s see…what was the question again? Ah, when did I start writing? Let’s see, I suppose it was when I figured out it was more fun for me than drawing. I started out wanting to be a comic book artist, and I drew a LOT growing up, but it would take me hours and hours to draw just one page, and then you turn your pencils in to an inker and the organic feel and fluid tones of graphite on bristol gets lost. It was very disappointing. So I realized writing was a lot more gratifying, plus I could control the end result.

The most challenging thing about writing is the same as Tim said: finding the time. I work from home and have three kids all under eight years old, so co-publishing Ragnarok’s titles and playing Mr. Mom definitely eats up my energy and, hence, any free time I have to write.

KENNY:  Do I have to sit next to these two? Ugh. Well, I guess if it’s only for a little while I can stomach it. I started writing in sixth grade when my teacher encouraged the class to start keeping a journal.

The most challenging thing about writing to me has always been maintaining focus and keeping the flow going on a regular basis. I still write a lot, but it has taken me years to learn to clear my schedule and make writing a priority, especially with all the marketing that authors have to do these days.



TQ:  You co-write the new Dead West series, which includes 2 books (so far): Those Poor, Poor Bastards and The Ten Thousand Things. Describe each book in 140 words or less:

TIM:  The first book, Those Poor, Poor Bastards, is kind of the storm before the storm. Lots of spirited introductions made in the middle of an undead uprising. Total chaos.

JOE:  TPPB is kind of like the classic standoff at the Alamo. That’s how I sort of pictured it in the plotting stages, with our characters holed up in a broken-down fort, wondering what the hell is going on, and what are they going to do to get out of this mess alive!

TIM:  And then The Ten Thousand Things opens up the world of weird western and zombie. We get them outside of the fort and into the wilderness, all while delving a lot more into the mystical and spiritual elements, all with guts and guns galore.

KENNY:  Since the dead rose in TPPB, the group’s been hard pressed and on their heels for a few days by the time we’re deep into TTTT. And Tim’s right, we definitely open up the mystical and spiritual aspects, especially pertaining to the main character, Nina, and her connection to the Land and the People.

JOE:  Was that 140 words or less for each of us or in total?



TQ:  How does the collaboration work? Who does what?

KENNY: We start with an online chat thread called “Dead West Deaduns,” where we discuss book ideas and share inspiration, talk about the characters, and anything major we want to address in the plot. Tim and Joe do most of the initial brainstorming, and once they have their notes together, Tim creates the outline.

TIM: Joe is so anal, too. He does tons of research, so his notes are great to have. There’s no way we’re able to fit in all the work he does, though.

KENNY: Yeah, what the hell. Remember when he came up with all the characters? I was like, how are we going to fit this many characters into a fifty-thousand word book?

JOE: Hey, according to Gini Koch I’m not anal, I’m detail-oriented. So up yours.

TIM:  Up my what?

JOE:  Shut up.

KENNY:  So I take the outline and compose a draft. Then Tim and Joe tweak and revise while copyediting. They ensure a smooth flow and consistent tone. Tim looks mainly for gaps in logic and areas that require clarification, that might cause reader confusion, and Anal Joe does all the fact checking and addresses issues of style and timing and inserts his own scenes.

TIM:  In the meantime, we keep collaborating and tossing ideas back and forth. We’re pretty much permanently connected on Facebook.

JOE:  Don’t reveal the truth of our connection. It’s telepathy. We have this Borg mind thing going where we—

KENNY:  —are able to finish one another’s—

TIM:  —sandwiches.

JOE:  Close enough.



TQ:  Why did you combine the Wild West and Zombies?

JOE:  Because they are two of the f**king coolest subgenres in my mind. I was very deliberate in the whole ‘The Walking Dead and Hell on Wheels Collide’ tagline. Months before we started, I was chatting online with a friend named Mike Wheeler and he wrote, “I always wanted to see Clint Eastwood take down some zombies with a Bowie knife.” So that vision instantly resonated. I then stole his idea and ran away with it, laughing maniacally all the while. Honestly, though, Mike is one of our biggest supporters and I think he’s proud to have planted that seed and watched me turn it into a Western zombie series with my two main compadres.

KENNY:  I love you, man.

JOE:  Thank you, Kenny. You know I feel the same.

TIMSigh.



TQ:  Tell us something about the novels not in the book descriptions.

KENNY:  Each character has a rich history; for example, the Daggett brothers fought at Shiloh during the Civil War and they still carry that burden through the Dead West books. All the characters, in fact, have a unique history that we’re anxious to unveil as we go.

JOE:  There’s also Father Thomas Mathias, a Jesuit missionary priest known as a Black Robe, and he’s a mysterious cat with weird abilities that makes our main character be all like, “Say wha—?” She’s not sure what to make of this white dude with all his D&D-style clerical magic (for all you gamers out there).

TIM:  You are so weird.

JOE:  What did I say?

KENNY:  Although Dead West is billed as a ‘zombie’ series, there’s much more to it, too. We’re taking it into a Weird West direction at times with what some folks have referred to as Lovecraftian influences.

JOE:  That makes me think of Keith West’s review at Amazing Stories, where he said it’s more like Night of the Living Dead meets H.P. Lovecraft and Dr. Fu Manchu,” which I think is a great description.

KENNY:  I agree with you. And I also agree with Tim that you are weird.



TQ: What's next?

TIM:  The third installment of Dead West is called The Devils in Reno, and we’ve had our characters on the run for two books now, so this is the point where those who are still alive formulate a plan to take the fight to the bad guys.

JOE:  Then the plan for book four is to give our wordmonkey a break. Kenny will need to hop away like a cuddly little bunny so he can work on the third book in his GnomeSaga trilogy, so we’ve tapped author Ed Erdelac to come in and play in the sandbox with us for an issue. He’s all about the wuxia genre, and there will be a fair amount of that going on in Dead West #4.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery!





Those Poor, Poor Bastards
Dead West 1
Ragnarok Publications, February 19, 2014
eBook

Interview with Tim Marquitz, J.M. Martin and Kenny Soward, authors of the Dead West series - March 23, 2014
Billed as "THE WALKING DEAD AND HELL ON WHEELS COLLIDE!"

Sierra Nevada, 1868, during the expansion of the Central Pacific Railroad, Nina Weaver and her pa, Lincoln, trundle into Coburn Station with a wagonful of goods they're looking to barter. Of all the rotten luck, their world—and the future of the Old West—is forever changed when a swarm of zombies invades town on the hunt for some human-sized vittles.

From the deranged minds of Tim Marquitz, J.M. Martin, and Kenny Soward, Those Poor, Poor Bastards is the first volume in an all-new Old Western Supernatural Horror series.



The Ten Thousand Things
Dead West 2
Ragnarok Publications, upcoming
eBook

Interview with Tim Marquitz, J.M. Martin and Kenny Soward, authors of the Dead West series - March 23, 2014
Stalked across the Great Basin by an evil they hardly understand, Nina Weaver and her hard-bitten bunch o’ ragtag death-dealers have learned one crucial lesson: the only sure thing in life—and death—is a loaded gun.

‘Deaduns’ and other horrors have come a’callin’, and Nina struggles to uphold unlikely alliances as the stale waft of rot threatens to overrun the West. Can Nina and company stand against...The Ten Thousand Things?







Something To Look Forward To

Dead West Facebook Release Party on March 25, 8-11 EDT. Find it here.







About the Authors

Tim Marquitz

Raised on a diet of Heavy Metal and bad intentions, Tim Marquitz writes a mix of the dark perverse, the horrific, and the tragic, tinged with sarcasm and biting humor. A former grave digger, bouncer, and dedicated metalhead, he is a huge fan of Mixed Martial Arts, and fighting in general. His urban fantasy series called Demon Squad is a fan favorite and he is also the Editor-In-Chief of Ragnarok Publications. He lives in El Paso, Texas, with his beautiful wife and daughter. His website is www.tmarquitz.com.



J.M. Martin

J.M. Martin has been a teacher, an occupational therapist, a managing editor, and a graphic designer. He has written comic books and role-playing games, as well as several short stories for Fantasist Enterprises, Rogue Blades Entertainment, Pill Hill Press, and Angelic Knight Press. He recently co-founded Ragnarok Publications with Tim Marquitz and is the company’s Creative Director. J.M. (Joe) lives in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, with his kick-ass, red-headed, black belt wife and three spirited wee folk he swears are pixies. He wants you to bookmark www.ragnarokpub.com and come to it often.



Kenny Soward

Kenny Soward grew up in Crescent Park, Kentucky, a small suburb just south of Cincinnati, Ohio, listening to AC/DC, Quiet Riot, and Iron Maiden. In those quiet 1970's streets, he jumped bikes, played Nerf football, and acquired many a childhood scar. At the age of sixteen, he learned to play drums and bashed skins for many groups over the next twenty years. By day, Kenny works as a Unix professional, and at night he writes and sips bourbon. His fantasy series GnomeSaga is published by Ragnarok Publications. He lives in Independence, Kentucky, with two cats and a gal who thinks she's a cat. Visit him online at www.kennysoward.com.


Feature: John Golden: Freelance Debugger by Django Wexler


Django Wexler, the author of The Shadow Campaigns series:The Thousand Names (Roc, July 2013) and the upcoming The Shadow Throne (Roc, July 2014) has a novella out. John Golden: Freelance Debugger is a genre-bending Techno Fantasy Noir eNovella from Ragnarok Publications.



Feature: John Golden: Freelance Debugger by Django Wexler
John Golden is a debugger: he goes inside the computer systems of his corporate clients to exterminate the gremlins, sprites, and other fairies that take up residence. But when he gets a frantic call from Serpentine Systems, a top-of-the-line anti-fairy security company, John finds out he's on much more than a simple smurf-punting expedition.

With the help of his sarcastic little sister Sarah (currently incarnated in the form of a Dell Inspiron) and a paranoid system administrator, John tackles Serpentine's fairy problem. But the rabbit hole goes deeper than he thinks, and with the security of all of the company's clients in danger, there's more at stake this time than John's paycheck!


John Golden: Freelance Debugger is currently available in eBook format only. An extended edition in trade paperback will be available in August 2014, containing "Freelance Debugger" and "Heroes of Mazaroth."


Find out more about John Golden at Ragnarok and at Django Wexler's website.


Guest Blog by Mercedes M. Yardley - Writing Through Adversity. Or Not. - January 22, 2014


Please welcome Mercedes M. Yardley to The Qwillery. Nameless: The Darkness Comes (The Bone Angel Trilogy 1) was published on January 16, 2014.



Guest Blog by Mercedes M. Yardley - Writing Through Adversity. Or Not. - January 22, 2014




Writing Through Adversity. Or Not.
By Mercedes M. Yardley

I wrote as a kid. I wrote as a teen and in college. Then I stopped to be An Adult, but this didn’t work for me. It made me miserable. It murdered my soul.

Then I was a young, married woman with a sweet, tiny son. I start writing again, and it was hard. I was rusty. I was afraid and not technology savvy and I had no idea what to do with “the business aspect” of writing. But I tried not to care about that. I wrote and wrote and wrote, building novels and short stories the way that somebody learns to walk again: one step at a time.

How To Write Anything: Take a word. Add another word. Hook on a third word. Crochet with syllables. Build a scaffolding with adjectives. Write music with phrases, with exclamation marks, with descriptions of the character’s day. Of their weeks, of their problems, of their thoughts.

Create. Build. Generate. Construct. Produce.

Write a little, every day. On some magical, wondrous days, write a lot. But only a few words are necessary to be a success. Build your novel one sentence at a time. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up.

I was writing a novel titled Nameless: The Darkness Comes. It was a thing of joy. I was writing so quickly, so easily! I was banging out a chapter a night, giggling with Luna, mooning over Reed Taylor. This was what writing was supposed to be.

I received some surprising news. Hey! You’re pregnant!

Hey, they’re triplets!

Hey, there’s something wrong with one of them. No, wait. Two of them. No, wait again. There’s a possibility you could lose all three.

It was devastating. But I couldn’t waste time worrying, because I had two other children to worry about. So I needed to cope. And how does a writer cope?

That’s right. A writer writes.

So I pushed through. I gave Reed Taylor size 13 steel-toed boots. I let their world take me away from my own concerns. I wasn’t worried about babies or choosing caskets or invasive medical procedures. Instead, I chose to worry about Luna’s demons and Mouth’s real intentions and Reed Taylor’s decisions. And this saved me.

Until it didn’t.

There came a time when I was forced on bed rest. For months. I couldn’t sit up. I couldn’t hold a computer on my now-nonexistent lap. Writing wasn’t the option that it had been before.

I couldn’t push through it. I couldn’t work. It wasn’t physically possible. It wasn’t mentally or emotionally possible, either.

Then there were babies and blessings and funerals and one strong, healthy, premature little girl. I visited her every day in NICU for two months until we brought her home. Then there was grieving and sleepless nights and adorable outfits and a child I refused to put down.

I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. I needed her close to my heart, all of the time.

I felt as though I should get back to writing Nameless. It was a weight upon me. My agent was waiting for it. It would heal my soul, and I had obligations. I was a writer, and writers write all of the time. Even when it’s hard. Even through adversity.

This is true. I’ve written through adversity before. When time was short and kiddos were sick and it was 117 degrees outside. I’ve written even when I was depressed, when I didn’t feel like it, and when it was hard to get to a computer. I wrote in foreign countries. I wrote in the dead of night when I couldn’t sleep. I wrote when I didn’t wanna. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Again, step by step. Build. Create. Do. Become. BE.

Be a writer. Be an author. Be a person who doesn’t quit.

Except that sometimes you need to. Sometimes pushing through it hinders more than it helps. It hurts. Wounds. It makes things worse.

Life will throw you curves. Some of them will knock your down, but you’ll get up and dust yourself off. Some of them will knock you out, and no matter how you try, you won’t be able to pull it together right away. You’ll lie there for a while, and then maybe manage to make it to your hands and knees. Then perhaps you’ll sit up. You’ll be dizzy, so you’ll be still for a while. I hope that somebody will reach out a hand and help you to your feet. You’ll practice standing. You’ll feel the firmness of the ground underneath you. You’ll blink in the sunshine. And eventually you’ll look around, and life will be beautiful again.

You don’t need to work through adversity, not all of the time. If you can’t write, then treat yourself with grace. Treat yourself as kindly as you’d treat anybody else that you love fiercely. You wouldn’t scream at them to work while they’re lying unconscious at your feet. Why would you do that to yourself?

Don’t. Because your world may possibly stop for you one day. Perhaps it already has. Perhaps that’s happening right this moment.

You know what? It’ll start back up again. I promise.

My story? It’s one of success, at least to me. The last triplet is two years old, and spunky. It’s a house of love. Nameless wasn’t finished by the original planned date, but when I got back to it, I felt free again. No stress. No pressure. I wrote about motorcycles and lost little girls and demons, while facing some of my own. It was fun. It’s now my debut novel, the first book in a trilogy, and more than anything, it makes me smile.

It’s a Book of Happy. It’s a book of joy. It’s proof that writer’s write, but sometimes they take breaks. And then they write again.





Nameless: The Darkness Comes
The Bone Angel Trilogy 1
Ragnarok Publications, January 16, 2014
eBook, 252 pages
(Also to be published in Trade Paperback)

Guest Blog by Mercedes M. Yardley - Writing Through Adversity. Or Not. - January 22, 2014
Luna Masterson sees demons. She has been dealing with the demonic all her life, so when her brother gets tangled up with a demon named Sparkles, ‘Luna the Lunatic’ rolls in on her motorcycle to save the day.

Armed with the ability to harm demons, her scathing sarcasm, and a hefty chip on her shoulder, Luna gathers the most unusual of allies, teaming up with a green-eyed heroin addict and a snarky demon ‘of some import.’

After all, outcasts of a feather should stick together...even until the end.






Mercedes

Guest Blog by Mercedes M. Yardley - Writing Through Adversity. Or Not. - January 22, 2014

Website  ~   Twitter @mercedesmy  ~ Facebook


Review: John Golden: Heroes of Mazaroth by Django WexlerInterview with Shane Berryhill - July 27, 2014Guest Blog by Kevin Lucia: The Inter-connectivity of Being and Clifton Heights, NY - June 30, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2014 WinnerInterview with James Walley, author of The Forty First Wink - June 20, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2014 WinnerInterview with Seth Skorkowsky, author of Dämoren - April 19, 2014Interview with Tim Marquitz, J.M. Martin and Kenny Soward, authors of the Dead West series - March 23, 2014Feature: John Golden: Freelance Debugger by Django WexlerGuest Blog by Mercedes M. Yardley - Writing Through Adversity. Or Not. - January 22, 2014

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