Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Flank Hawk Audiobook for $1.99

For those with a Kindle or through a free Kindle App, you can obtain a copy of the audiobook version of Flank Hawk, normally $24.95, for $1.99 if you pick up a copy of the Kindle ebook version of Flank Hawk (for $2.99).

Through the Whispersync set up a listener can switch back and forth betweeen the ebook to the audiobook and pick up wherever they left off reading/listening.

You don't need to be a member of to obtain your copy of Flank Hawk, or other audioboooks. You can even join on a trial basis and obtain an audiobook (your choice) for free.

You don't need to have a Kindle and you're able to burn an audio CD of Flank Hawk as well, if that's your choice. You can visit this page on my website for links to where Flank Hawk, and my other works, are available: Flank Hawk and Blood Sword Main Page

Below is a book trailer for the audiobook to give a sample of what can expected from the audio version.

Monday, December 24, 2012

My Favorite Christmas Carol

May Everyone Enjoy a Merry and Memorable Christmas!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Burn Notice with Bruce Campbell (Sam Axe)

Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe

Those folks who know me know I really like Bruce Campbell. While he isn't the lead character in Burn Notice, I think his part is pivotal to the show's success. After this season's finale, it's even more apparent.

If you've not seen the show, check it out (DVD/Netflix, and reruns). Interesting, fast-paced, good characters with a story arc that continues, even as it grows from one overarching goal (from seeking to simple survival) to the next, with individual storylines built into each episode--sometimes blossoming into something greater, or at least to return later on down the road.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

An Interview with Author Justin Macumber

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

My name is Justin R. Macumber, and I’m a writer and podcaster. As with most writers, I started when I was a kid. It all began with Dungeons & Dragons, and me being too poor to buy adventures from the store to play. That meant I had to write my own. And I did. I actually came to prefer making my own adventures for my friends to play in. It made the game feel more real and personal. After that I dabbled in everything from writing my own comic books, to poetry, to writing story ideas for video games.

My first novel, HAYWIRE (from Gryphonwood Press) was a science fiction story about super soldiers being turned on their creators, but my upcoming novel, A MINOR MAGIC (coming December 3rd from Crescent Moon Press), is a post-apocalyptic fantasy, and I have a finished first draft of a horror novel sitting on my hard drive right this second called STILL WATER. I like to leave myself open to inspiration and excitement. If that means some of my readers don’t like some of the genres I work in, I’m okay with that.

As for me personally, I’m an army brat from birth, so my experiences literally range all over the globe, and I think that’s part of what made me such a reader and writer. I didn’t always have a friend wherever it was that the Army took my dad, but I also have my books to read, and later my notebooks to write in. I live in the DFW metroplex in north Texas with my wife, Krista, and our dogs and cats. I’m happy, I’m writing, and I’m getting published. AND I host a writing podcast called the Dead Robots’ Society that’s been a finalist for the Parsec Awards three times. I couldn’t ask for much more than that.

Sounds like you’re a busy man, Justin. How do you fit writing and podcasting, and all that’s associated with each endeavor, in your life?

By having a very loving and understanding wife. Because of her I’m able to stay home and be a full-time writer. Of course, since I’m home all the time I’m the one who gets to deal with chores, delivery people, vet visits, home repairs, and everything else, so somehow my writing hours always seem to get eaten up by other things. To combat that I make a schedule and I stick to it as hard as I can and, when I have to, I fight for it. I also try to use my time wisely and efficiently. Lastly I write as quickly as I can. Right now I get about 1000 words an hour. If I can bump that to 1500 then I’ll really be cooking with gas.

Would readers identify your writing as more character-driven or more plot-driven, or an equal balance—or does it even matter?

Early on I was very much a plot-driven writer. A lot of authors will say that characters are the only things that matter, but that’s BS. You can have the most interesting characters in the world, but if they aren’t doing anything interesting, then what’s the point? So usually when I create a story it’s all about the plot. What’s going on? Where? When? Why? After I have all that, then the characters start to form, which will often change the answers to those initial plot questions. Now I try to strike as much of a balance as I can between plot and character. I know I’ve succeeded when I have interesting people doing very interesting things in an incredibly interesting place.

With your method from the question above in mind, can you tell us about your most recent novel, A MINOR MAGIC, including the initial plot ideas that got it started and a character or two that participate in the action?

I have to thank my podcasting co-host Terry Mixon for A MINOR MAGIC. He had written a fantasy story and asked me to read it so that I could give him feedback. One of the characters in his story was a magic user, but I wasn’t sure he was handling her correctly, so when I wrote up my thoughts I used the term “minor magic.” Now I can’t recall exactly what that phrase had been in reference to, but for some reason it stuck in my head, bouncing around. I liked the flow of those two words together. So I asked myself, “What would a story called A MINOR MAGIC be about? Would it be literally about a minor, a young person with magic, or would it be about a person who only had small magic, not the big fireballs and dragon summoning stuff you see in other stories?” In the end I went with a mix of those ideas. You should also keep in mind that I have a niece named Alenna. She’s a beautiful girl just entering her teenage years, and sometimes I despair at the lack of female heroes she has to look up to. So, with A MINOR MAGIC I wanted to write a story about a girl I’d want her to look up, and that’s what I did.

A MINOR MAGIC is about a young lady named Skylar who has grown up in a world that was nearly destroyed by a magical fire when she was just a child. Civilization is gone, most of humanity is dead, and those who are left try to survive any way they can. Ten years later, as Skylar is starting to become a woman, she suddenly develops magical powers that cause her to be exiled from her home. From there she has to wander a burnt America in search of who she really is, and where her power comes from. In the book I wanted her to have a love interest, but I didn’t want to fall into the cliché that seems to pervade so much fiction these days were the guy in the book suddenly becomes the girl’s protector or sole reason for existing. Nathan is a guy she cares about, but she doesn’t revolve around him, doesn’t need him to win or survive. I wanted their relationship to be about what they give each other, not what they need or take. I’m hoping that it rings true to everyone who reads it, especially my niece. It’s coming out in print and ebook December 17th from Crescent Moon Press.

From the description of A MINOR MAGIC’s development, in some ways you broke away from the plot development first and then going to characters. Besides the two characters mentioned, Skylar and Nathan, is there a character that you particularly enjoyed writing and why did you find unique or different in creating/writing that character?

One of the other people that Skylar travels with is an older man named Jack. I had to have him since neither of the younger characters really knew what the world was like back before the Burning. Jack was the voice of us, the people in the here and now. I also liked him because I described him as a rather rough and tumble looking guy, but he has the heart of a geek, so I suppose he is the most “me” of any of the characters. He makes several Star Wars references, and I loved writing all of them.

Who do you see as your audience for A MINOR MAGIC? Is it the same audience as some of your other published works?

This is a hard question for me. I, as a writer, don’t want to be confined to any one genre. I grew up being a lover of sci-fi and fantasy and horror, and that’s what I want to send back out into the world. But, not everyone else out there is as non-denominational as I am, so spreading myself around might not please everyone, or it might make it harder for my name to become known. That’s okay though. So long as someone likes what I wrote, then that means I succeeded.

As for A MINOR MAGIC, I think it’s the most accessible of any story I’ve ever written. There isn’t any technical jargon to learn, no magical mechanics or new world maps to memorize. That’s one of the great things about writing from a young person’s point of view – their vision of the world is much cleaner and open than an adult’s, and it’s a point of view we all had at one time or another. I really think anyone could sit down and enjoy A MINOR MAGIC, from kids as young as ten on up through to seniors.

Here’s a bit of a switch up question that I’ve asked a few others previously interviewed: If you could go to lunch with three people (living or deceased) who would you choose and why, where would you dine, and what would you hope to discuss?

Wow, great question. There are all sorts of clarifying questions I’d like to ask to help narrow my choices down, but I’ll forgo that and keep it simple. If I could sit down and have a meal with any three people I’d probably choose Stephen King, Joss Whedon, and Kevin Smith. Why those three? Because all of them have inspired and influenced my writing, and I’d like to have a chance to pick their brains about how they came up with their styles, what advice they have for writers who are trying to improve their craft, and what obstacles they overcame to get where they are. They also cover the gamut of mediums, so I would try to find ways to juggle being a novelist, screen play writer, and perhaps even a comic book writer. As for where we’d eat, that’s easy: my home. I can’t think of a better place for a casual, intimate discussion. I’ll even supply the cigars.

Interesting choices, Justin. As we're closing in on the end of the interview is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just that I hope people give A MINOR MAGIC a chance. I know that the YA paranormal thing is getting old for some. It’s getting old for me too. That’s why I think people should read it. I’m a 40 year old guy, so the place I’m coming from is very different than where so many other YA paranormal writers are, and hopefully that means the story I’m telling will be different too. It’s not all puppy love and running through the woods from handsome villains. This is something other, maybe something fresh. And then, if you like it, go ahead and give my other work a try. As I said before, I don’t confine myself to one genre or style. I want to deliver intriguing stories, no matter if it’s the bridge of a starship, in a haunted house, or fighting wizards. And lastly, if you do end up liking what you’ve read, then please reach out and let me know. Heck, let me know if you didn’t like it, too. I’m not a delicate flower. We grow as much or more from criticism than we do from praise. Just reach out and let me know what you think. Feedback is the life’s blood of any artist. Thanks.

Here are the websites you can link to if you like:

Thanks for the interview, Justin, and the links!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot, and Figurative Language

As a kid I remember a bit of this from the news and my parents and grandparents talking about the loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I lived in Toledo, near the Maumee River and not too far from Lake Erie.

Gordon Lightfoot's song, relaying the tale of the fateful November night on Lake Superior, is a classic. It's a song that I use with my English classes to demonstrate effective use of  figurative language, from similes and metaphors to rhyme and personification.

I've listened to this particular Gordon Lightfoot's song more times than I can count--do CD's wear out?

In any case, if you've not heard the song before, or have in the past but would like to catch the tune again, here's a youtube link. Note the fancy graphics for the brief newscast clip right at the start. :)

If you're a teacher and would like some of my lessons/information, you can contact me through my website by clicking HERE.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

An Interview with Author and Podcaster David Wood

Welcome to Up Around the Corner, David. Since this is your second interview, we’re going to take a little different angel. In any case, please refresh the readers with a little about yourself, your writing and your podcast.

Sure. I’m the author of the Dane Maddock Adventures- a series that’s a little bit Indiana Jones and a little bit National Treasure. I also write young adult fiction plus fantasy novels under a pseudonym. Since my wife doesn’t want to listen to me talk about writing, I co-host ThrillerCast, a podcast about reading, writing, and publishing in thriller and genre fiction.

I am guessing then, that your wife doesn’t tune in to your podcast. In any case can you tell us a little more about ThrillerCast? Why you started it, how you produce it, and what listeners might expect if they give it a try?

Definitely not. She supports the idea of me podcasting but thinks it’s incredibly geeky, which is interesting coming from a science nerd. My co-host, Alan Baxter, and I started ThrillerCast mostly because we enjoy podcasting and wanted to be a part of it, though we try to make it clear that we are authors who podcast as a hobby—not podcasters who happen to have written books.

Our goal with ThrillerCast is to introduce readers to a wide variety of subgenres that have common “thriller” elements. We cover everything from hyper-realistic thrillers to Neil Gaiman-style urban fantasy, and we interview authors from all those different subgenres. A typical episode begins with discussion of something current in the publishing industry and announcements of any new releases that might be of interest to our listeners. We then take a break, after which we’ll either have an interview or we’ll take an in-depth look at some aspect of the craft of writing. Make sure to listen all the way through the closing credits because we almost always have a blooper or outtake at the end!

Your wife is a science nerd. Does her science interest(s) tie into her career? And do you avoid discussing her job as she does your writing and podcasting? Or might her geeky science interests and her career ever get reflected in the contents of your writing?

There aren’t many limits to what we’ll discuss on ThrillerCast, so her job garners the occasional mention, mostly in the context of, “I’m so glad I don’t have her job.” She’s a forensic scientist in the DNA section of the state crime lab, and I’m very proud of the work she does. She’s actually answered questions for other authors on topics that relate to forensics. For me, the biggest impact her work has had on my writing is to teach me that it’s important to really know your stuff if you’re going to go into detail. She loves crime and thriller fiction, and is forgiving to a point, but gets rowdy when the author goes too far afield on her topic.

I can understand your wife’s perspective on accuracy. You write thrillers, packed with travel, adventure including some creatures and places that are ‘mythical’ or based on tales or legends. How do you deal with this, with respect to accuracy?

With actual places, I try to be as close to reality as possible. I’ve visited many of the locations in my books, but I still use Google street view, YouTube videos, and images from the web to refresh my memory about small details. With the legends and historical backdrops, it’s fascinating how often you uncover minor details that fall perfectly into place. It’s always a pleasant surprise and the reader thinks you planned it that way.

I do, however, reserve the right to make minor alterations to events and details for the sake of the story, and I’ve taken to adding a note to readers reminding them of that. I’d rather them be annoyed with me for playing with reality than having them think I didn’t do my research.

You have a new novel recently released, Buccaneer. Can you tell us a little about it, and what research you had to do in preparation to write it?

Buccaneer begins on Oak Island, home of the legendary “Money Pit.” As with most Dane Maddock adventures, we end up on a globe-hopping adventure while battling secret organizations, fighting “monsters,” and unraveling ancient mysteries. I don’t want to spoil the book, so I won’t get too specific, but I researched: Captain Kidd, Oak Island, several locations on both sides of the Atlantic, a well-known order, myths surrounding a certain legendary figure, and several types of reptiles.

That sounds like quite an array of topics. How much time would you estimate it took to do the research for Buccaneer? Do you do much of the research for your novels ahead of time, most of it as you go, or is there a middle ground? And, as Buccaneer is your 5th Dane Maddock novel, are you getting more efficient/faster at it?

That’s difficult to measure. I’m always collecting links and information that might work for future novels. Once I’m ready to start, I spend about a week researching the historical backdrop, the MacGuffin (the object that drives the story) and the settings of the first few scenes. After that, I let the story take me where it leads and I stop to research as needed.

Buccaneer got off to a rocky start. I’m a discovery writer by nature, but I tried to research and outline the entire book ahead of time. It didn’t work, and I ended up scrapping a good chunk of the book and started over. Once I rebooted, it did go faster than previous novels. I know the characters so intimately that it’s easier to know how they will react in given situations. Also, as they become more “real” to me, they will sometimes take the story in surprising directions.

When you say you’re a discovery writer, does that mean you know where the story will start, the MacGuffin, and a few places it’s likely to ‘drive’ the characters? Do you know the ending, or have a good feel for it? Or is that part of the discovery process?

I know the historical backdrop, the MacGuffins, the enemy, the creepy creatures the heroes will encounter, and have a short list of cool places they might go, though I reserve the right to change my mind. I always know where they’ll start, and what the “inciting incident” that sets the plot in motion will be. I usually have only a general idea of how things will end. I figure, if I can surprise myself, I’ll surprise the readers. Doing it that way can sometimes mean adding or changing early scenes when I go back to work on the second draft, so I keep a running list of changes that need to be made when it’s time to revise. I never go back and make those changes before I finish the first draft, though, because who knows what other changes I’ll make along the way that impact those revisions? It can make the second draft a little more work, but it’s what works for me.
Can you tell the readers what you find the most exciting and the most frustrating as a writer?

I think nothing excites me more than to hear from a reader who enjoys my work. The idea that someone reads and enjoys my stories thrills me, and for someone to take the time to write and let me know is both a delightful and humbling experience.

As far as frustration goes, I think the “mushy middle” of any book drives me mad. There’s always the thrill of starting a new story, and the high of finishing it, but there’s always a point in the middle where I hit roadblocks, experience doubts, or both. It’s like the sophomore year of college, which I hated so much I did it four times.

A final two questions before we wrap up this interview. How do you push through roadblocks and doubts? And, what’s your favorite food and have you ever incorporated it into one of your novels?

It depends on the roadblock. If it’s a plot problem, a long walk or drive, or some kind of project around the house that lets my mind wander will usually do the trick. In those circumstances, I find it helps if I get the headphones out of my ears and just let my mind drift. If it’s more of an emotional or mental issue, I just plow on through.

I don't think I can possibly pick a favorite food- I like too many of them. Dane Maddock readers might recognize my favorite beer, Dos Equis black label, as Dane’s beer of choice as well as that of his crew.

Is there anything I missed or that you’d like to say to the readers?

I’m part of a new project called Thriller Central. It’s a reader-focused site for reviews, interviews, and news in the thriller genre. Check it out at

Thanks for the chat!

You’re welcome, David. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions.
To learn a little more about David Wood and his writing, visit his website:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Indie Book Blog's Review of Blood Sword

Indie Book Blog posted a review of Blood Sword.

If you've got a moment click on over and see what they had to say.

Indie Book Blog's Review of Blood Sword by Terry W Ervin II

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Kevin's Corner Review of Blood Sword

Reviewer Kevin Tipple read and posted a review of Blood Sword.

If you have a moment, click on over and read what he had to say.

Link: Review: "Blood Sword: A First Civilization’s Legacy Novel" by Terry W. Ervin II


Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Wills the Wont's and the Can'ts

This quote stuck with me over the years from the Disney's movie, The Black Hole, spoken by V.I.N.CENT, the loyal, witty robot (voiced by Roddy McDowall).

Speaking to the ship's first officer about people, V.I.N.CENT said, "There are three basic types, Mr. Pizer: the Wills, the Won'ts, and the Can'ts. The Wills accomplish everything, the Won'ts oppose everything, and the Can'ts won't try anything."

I guess I morphed it some in my mind as:

There are three basic types of people in the world: The Wills, the Won'ts and the Can'ts. The Wills accomplish everything, the Won'ts oppose everything and the Can'ts won't will themselves to try.

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There are various versions of this statement out there, but maybe mine is a bit snappier, even if it says the same thing. And, of course, I may not be the first one that came up with it--even if it was years ago.

Occasionally I use this quote in the classroom.

As far as the movie goes? A little campy but good enough that it stuck with me over the years.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Few Signing Events Pics

I recently participated in events at Upper Valley Career Center's Holiday Fair and also at an author group signing at the Colony Center Mall in Zanesville, Ohio. I enjoyed both events, meeting people, talking about writing and reading, and signing copies of my novels for readers (and for Christmas gifts for a potential readers).

Below are a few random pics.

Author William Weldy selling his novel Outlaws

The Domestic Divas
Pam Weldy & Julie Roeth
Selling their Wares

Author Stephen Hines demonstrating his Sense of Humor

Author Summer Clark at her Table

My Table Setup at the Mall in Zanesville