Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review of Defenders of the Covenant by Angie Lofthouse

Defenders of the Covenant by Angie Lofthouse is a science fiction action-adventure novel chronicling humanity’s resistance against alien invaders that have destroyed Earth’s cities and societies while enslaving most of humanity.
The story is mainly told through the eyes and actions of youths after they mistakenly emerge from a hidden sanctuary.
While novels of alien invasions are nothing new, Defenders of the Covenant has its own unique twists and takes, offering pages filled with wonder, treachery, bravery, growth and, most of all, examples of faith.
I will point out that this isn’t a novel for readers who scoff at religious faith or God’s potential influence in the world, as most of the characters rely on and grow in their faith during the struggle against the aliens. In some respects the story harkens back to the ancient Israelites in the Old Testament warring and resisting oppression, with God on their side.
Although the main plotline depicts the struggle against the alien invaders, Defenders of the Covenant isn’t a military SF novel in the vein of John Ringo’s Posleen War series, but closer to Harry Turtledove’s World War series. There is less descriptive violence and focus on military tactics and hardware than in Ringo’s works. Defenders of the Covenant’s focus leans more toward the main characters, Hannah, Derek and McKenzie, and the varying parts they play striving for humanity’s liberation. Comparing with Turtledove’s series, political maneuvering is largely absent in Lofthouses’s novel (except with respect to the aliens), and questions of faith fills that potential void.
I enjoyed reading Lofthouse’s novel. The aliens and their world were interesting and unique. I enjoyed following the primary and most of the secondary characters through their struggles and adventures.
If you give Defenders of the Covenant a read, chances are you’ll enjoy it too.

Here are a few links of interest:
Angie Lofthouse's Website
Angie's Blog: Notes from the Writing Chair

Defenders of the Covenant at:
AmazonBarnes & NobleDesert Books

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Preparing for FandomFest 2012 (June 29-July 1)

I'll be attending FandomFest 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky this upcoming weekend. In addition to meeting readers and maybe selling a few novels, I'll be on several panels.

If you're in the area, stop in. It's certain to be an awesome time, with a ton of awesome guests.

The panels I'll be on:

Friday 4:00 pm: Collins Room, The World of Audio Books

Saturday 11:30 am: Beckham Room, Exploring Genres - Epic Fantasy

Saturday 1:00 pm: Stanley Room, Beta Reading

Sunday 10:00 am: McCreary Room, Critique Groups (I will be moderating this one)

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Fabulous Blog Ribbon Award


Jeff Hargett from Strands of Pattern awarded me the Fabulous Blog Ribbon!

Here are the rules:
1. Post the rules on your blog.
2. Name five of your most fabulous moments, either in real life or in the blogosphere.
3. Name five things you love.
4. Name five things you hate.
5. Pass the Ribbon on to five other bloggers.

5 Fabulous Moments
Marrying my wife, Kathy
The birth of my daughters
Each year watching my students graduate
Being awarded the rank of Eagle Scout
The a stranger walked up to me while I was pumping gas and told me how much he enjoyed reading Flank Hawk

5 Things I Love
My wife and daughters
The freedom my country offers
Typing 'The End' to a novel or short story (means that first draft is finished)
Being a teacher

5 Things I Hate
When a student gives up on himself and/or drops out of school
When one person treats another person like dirt, or worse
Most meetings
Mowing the grass
Peanut butter

Now, to pass it on...
Angie Lofthouse (of Notes from the Writing Chair)
Cher Green (of Footsteps of a Writer)
Dean Sault (of Inside a Writer's Mind -- enter at your own risk)
Kevin Tipple (of Kevin's Corner)
William Weldy (of Cop Writer)


Monday, June 25, 2012

Domestic Divas at the Farmer's Market

Even as a kid growing up in Toledo, on occasion my mother would visit the farmer's market. Back then, I mostly remember produce: tomatoes, melons, corn, cucumbers, etc. The farmer's markets I see now have more variety, although still some sort of produce or plant product remains the mainstay.

 The 'Domestic Divas'
Pam Weldy & Julie Roeth
I visited the Farmer's Market in Piqua, Ohio this past week to drop off a flash drive with pictures on it to a friend, Pam Weldy--one of the Domestic Divas. She and her cohort, Julie Roeth, were busy plying their wares of soap, herbs, daylilies, knitted household items--you name it (vegetables will come later in the season).

Are they dedicated, you ask? It was well over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but there was an occasional breeze kicking up to take the heat off the parking lot's black top where the market is set up.

Herbs and other plants

It's interesting to look around, good prices and the selection is never 100% the same from week to week.

Some of the other wares the Domestic Divas sell:

Knitted Items
(They do take special orders)

Lotions and Balms

Flip Flops and more Scarves

Daylilies and Other Plants
Where and when this event takes place?

Where: The Southwest Corner of Spring Street and West Ash
     (Where U.S. Rt. 36 splits from SR 66 and 185)
When: Summer, Thursdays, 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm
      (although the Domestic Divas won't be there July 5th)


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Interview with Bookends on TV-5

I've been informed that the episode of Bookends in which I appear, along with author Gregory Ryerson, will air tomorrow (Wednesday, June 20th) at 7:30 pm (EST) on TV-5. It's a half hour show and I will be interviewed the second half.

If you miss it, the program will be available as Video on Demand through the TV-5 website. I'll post when it's online.

I hope the episode is as interesting and fun for viewers as it was to record.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Thinking about my Dad

Terry W. Ervin, Sr. (2007)
I think about my dad often, but he is especially in my thoughts today as it's Father's Day.

If he were still alive, we'd have traveled up to Toledo to visit him at his apartment or at my sister's house. Among other things, I miss those visits.

It's going on five years since he lost his struggle with cancer. (Link to my father's Obituary)

On a different note, I received three pretty neat cards from my daughters and wife today, and a gift of special blends of coffee. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

Friday, June 15, 2012

An Interview with Author William Weldy

Welcome to Up Around the Corner, William. Please, tell us a little about yourself and your writing:

Well, let me see. I’ve written stories all my life. Mostly fiction novel attempts. After hundreds of rejection letters, I’ve tried to quit several times but I can’t. Writing is therapy for me. It keeps me balanced. If life throws a punch then I just write a character who can solve the problem and I’m back in balance. I never get mad or depressed. I think writing helps that.

Oh yeah, about me. As you might know I’m a retired police officer. That’s why most of my novels are police related. The experts say: write what you know. So I do. Although I am a romantic at heart so most of my stories have some romance involved.

Other than writing (and I do dabble in poetry and song writing as well) I enjoy outdoor activities. I fish and play golf. I used to hunt but I’ve given that up. Until recently I’ve spent a week each year canoeing and back packing through the Canadian bush. I have a potter’s wheel and kiln so I throw pots when I need to think. I used to be an avid physical fitness nut but sitting on my duff typing all day seems to have replaced that as well.

My wife, Pam and I have a place on Norris Lake, Tennessee where we relax, boat and fish with the grandchildren often. If I could get the internet, I’d spend more time writing there.

Quite varied in your talents and interests, William. Could you tell us about your debut novel, and maybe how some of your background and interests influenced or impacted your writing of it?

Sure. The really strange thing about writing is that we all try to pay attention to people and places around us to use in our character development and setting. Seldom is a novel based entirely on setting. Many times, however, when we’re least paying attention things stick in our heads. In my case I was traveling out west with my family one summer years ago and pulled over to the berm early one morning in southern Idaho as everyone else slept. I gazed down on a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains. An emerald green lake lay at the base of the valley.

For years after that I fantasized about that spot and every night I developed a habit of mentally building a log cabin in that valley as a method to fall asleep. I always drifted off before the cabin was built. Along the way I included thoughts of what it would be like to live as our forefathers did and the Amish do today. After many, many years of visiting this place in my mind I decided to write about it.

I soon discovered that I would need a plot and characters to develop it into a novel. So I wondered what would make a man want to live as a semi-recluse in the mountains and what could possibly happen to him that would make readers want to read his story. The worse thing I could imagine happening to a man would be to lose his family in a drug related shooting in a shopping mall in Detroit. My main character, Josh did, and just gave up on civilization after that.

Then I had to come up with an antagonist. Having dealt with the Outlaw motorcycle gang in my previous life, I knew they would be perfect bad guys. Since I didn’t want the protagonist to have to talk to his dog through the entire novel, I came up with a romance interest in the daughter of the general store owner who is murdered by the gang. When Josh finds his friend murdered and his daughter about to be raped by the Outlaws, he has to intervene. From then on it’s a matter of survival and the remaining Outlaws try to hunt them down and kill them.

What was the most challenging part of writing Outlaws?

When I first started I didn’t make an outline of any kind because the image of the setting was so clear in my head. As I began to develop the plot, that lack of outline proved to be a struggle. I made myself ‘what if?’ notes on pages as they developed and then sometimes changed the scenes later. It takes a long time to develop a story that way. The other thing I struggled with was the fact that the Outlaws are a real motorcycle gang and I worried that I might be opening a can of legal worms. But I found out that as long as the image fits the truth of their criminal activities and character, it isn’t libel. The reality of this group’s criminal records verifies that truth.

One of the challenges I face daily as a writer is that I tend to tell a story rather than let it develop through the character’s thoughts and actions. This too requires many rewrites to get it right. I guess I’m still taking the long way. Editing is difficult for me as well. Thankfully, I belong to a couple of writer groups who provide good honest criticism. Without good criticism, my novels would lay molding in my file drawers. Wait—most of them still are.

William, you’ve already told us a little about Outlaws. Is there anything you’d like to add about it? Could you also tell us something about any other projects you’re currently working on?

For what it’s worth, OUTLAWS is finished and the readers will have to decide its worth. I have several manuscripts in my drawer that will have to be revised and edited in the future. Right now I’m about finished with my first attempt at a young adult novel entitled THE ONION CAPER. Strangely enough it started out as an adult cop story. To establish the title I started with the first chapter or two with the protagonist (Cole) as a young lad. Several people suggested that I continue it as a YA, so I have. Just a couple more chapters and it’ll be ready for edits and rewrites.

Final editing of OUTLAWS and anxious waiting for the release seems to have put me in a minor writers block with the new novel but I’m confident I’ll get back to it once OUTLAWS is released.

With Outlaw’s release, hopefully you’ll be back on track. Is there anything else you’d like to add, and how can readers learn more about you and/or your works?

Pertaining to writing: For anyone interested in doing it seriously, learn to develop a tough hide when it comes to criticism. And never stop editing until it’s published. I believe it was Michener who said, “I’m not an excellent writer but I’m an excellent re-writer.”

I’m relatively new to Facebook, twitter, and blogging but I hope to become more involved in the near future to promote sales and establish a fan base. Maybe all 16 members of my family, including grandchildren, will buy the novel and become fans.

OUTLAWS, by: William Weldy, was released as an e-book at, Barnes & Noble, and on May 18, 2012. The author would appreciate any comments, rating, or reviews of the novel.

Thanks, for the interview, William.

Below are some links to William Weldy’s novel:

Outlaws at Amazon (Kindle-US)
Outlaws at Musa Publishing
Outlaws at Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Outlaws at Amazon (Kindle-UK)

If you get the chance, visit William's recently established blog: Cop Writer

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Winner of 'Jayne Hat' at ConCarolinas 2012

'Jayne Hat'
The winner of the 'Jayne Hat' at ConCarolinas 2012 is:

Zeke W. of Charlotte, North Carolina!

For those who didn't win but are interested (especially Firefly Fans):

Contact Jayne Who Hats by Sib at brewski6612 [at]

Monday, June 11, 2012

A few Lower Traffic Places I Visit Online

While there hundreds (if not thousands) of writer and reader focused forums out there, I think there's one or two where everyone can fit in and find a home.  While I'm a member and contribute to a few large member/high-traffic ones, here are a couple smaller ones that I find interesting and so might you (and might benefit for a little additional traffic):

Fiction Factor's Forum discusses writing of all genres with a core of active members.

Mythic Scribes focuses on fantasy. Has some very interesting discussions crop up.

Audio For Books goes in spurts of activity. Focuses on audiobooks but not exclusively.

Bibliophorum open to a variety of topics on reading and writing with a core group of active members.

Authors by Design is where my crit group (Elysian Fields) is based. Goes in spurts with some solid members. (have to join to view--keeps spam down)

Morgen Bailey's Writing Forum is a forum hosted by a very active writer, Morgen Bailey, with a variety of topics that occasionally crop up.

My screen name varies between R-Tech and TWErvin2, if you decide to pop in to look around.

Monday, June 4, 2012

ConCarolinas 2012 Wrap-Up

Get Dead Crew modeling Blood Sword
I had a great time at ConCarolinas 2012. I was fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to be a part of some great panels, met some new authors, and a host of readers, not only through sales of signed copies at the convention, but also those who expressed interest in the ebook and audiobook versions of Flank Hawk and Blood Sword.

Luck had it that my table was situated across the hall from the Get Dead Crew, where I was able to witness some really neat makeup/artwork being created.
(See examples holding copies of my novels to the right above and below)

In addition, I was especially fortunate to have been on a panel with Gray Rinehart, author and consulting editor/slush master general with Baen Books. Later we crossed paths and briefly discussed not only a bit on writing and publishing, but my science fiction novel Relic Tech that has run the slushpile gauntlet and is awaiting a final decision by Baen's managing editor.

Finally, the winner of the 'Jayne Hat' has been drawn and contact email sent. Will post more on that soon.

Get Dead Crew Modeling Flank Hawk
(posted the pic w/ the flash because it looks neat)