Thursday, December 31, 2015

Plans (Goals) for 2016

Well, I'm not a person much for New Year Resolutions. But I do like to set goals.

For 2016, I would like to see two novels reach publication, and be well into working on a third.

Since Relic Hunted is planned for release in January 2016, and I have a start on Jack's Tale (working title), it may be possible. I have plenty of ideas/outlines for the next First Civilization's Legacy Series, Crax War Chronicles and several other novels not related to my two established series, including Jack's Tale.

However, with my increased work load (since 2010, my student numbers have increased by 53%--very heavy for an English teacher grading essays and other long assignments), and other work related tasks I'm involved in, plus family and church and everything else, I'll have to be even more efficient with my time.

But, goals are things to shoot for, and what I hope to accomplish is attainable.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Guest Post: Writing Dark Fantasy by Cas Peace

When I began writing my Artesans of Albia series, I had no idea which fantasy genre would apply. Once all nine books were finished it was clear the main genre would be Epic Fantasy, with Sword and Sorcery and probably Heroic Fantasy as lesser categories. However, the final trilogy of the series can most certainly be classed as Dark Fantasy, and this came as quite a shock to me, even while I wrote it.

Fans of the series will know there are elements of dark fantasy throughout the six books published so far. My main female character, Sullyan, suffers rape in the first trilogy, and this terrible experience colors her life and drives her to defend and protect those weaker than herself. Her determination to survive, or at least find some meaning for what life she has left, is what enables her to work toward the destruction of her tormentor and eventually face him in person. Strength gained through adversity is a theme running through all nine books, and it applies not just to Sullyan but other characters as well.

When I came to write this third trilogy, Master of Malice, it quickly became apparent that the mood would change. My antagonist, Reen, has been horribly, terribly disfigured by an incident on his island prison, an experience that changes him fundamentally. Someone as pious as Reen might be expected to see his survival as a reason for thankfulness, maybe a sign he should forgive his enemies and learn to live in contentment. But Reen chooses to believe he has been empowered by his God to wreak a terrible vengeance, and this he sets out to do.

Given his nature and the nature of the vengeance he seeks, it was necessary for me to delve into the darkness of my own psyche in order to write authentic scenes. I expected this to be difficult but it was actually—and worryingly—easy. I guess we all have darkness in our souls, the potential for evil, and once I gave myself permission to explore it, it flowed onto the page with disturbing ease. 

I have always believed an author must have experienced emotional highs and lows in order to convey such emotions on paper. How can you write scenes of trauma and depression if you have never felt such emotions yourself? It is possible to gain insights from other people’s reactions to terrible events, but I would find it difficult to convey real depth and realism without having gone through such things myself. It is rare for a person to go through life untouched by disaster, death, loss, or rage, but it can also be hard reliving them. I have to say that I found the act of projecting my darkness onto a character to be cathartic; it gave me a greater understanding of how my emotions worked and how I could express them without damaging myself. I hope I have succeeded in writing Dark Fantasy, and that readers will feel my characters’ emotions as deeply as I did. 

Cas Peace

Author of the Artsans of Albia fantasy novels:
Artesans of Albia:
King's Envoy -- King's Champion -- King's Artesan

Circle of Conspiracy:
The Challenge
-- The Circle -- Full Circle

The Master of Malice:
The Scarecrow
(new release)

Author Website:
Author Amazon Page: Cas Peace on Amazon

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Where Relic Hunted is Currently Available

Where Relic Hunted is Currently Available:

Amazon USA
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia

B&N Nook





In Production and Not Yet Available

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Security Specialist Keesay and the Iron Druid

If you ask me, any day one of my novels or characters is paired with the Iron Druid, it's a good day.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Article: Participating as a Panelist (Updated) over at the Australasian Christian Writers Blog

Hey Folks,

The Australasian Christian Writers is hosting one of my articles today, a revised and updated version of something composed a few years back:

Link: Guest Post: Participating as a Panelist

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Book Signing, December 5th at Christmas in the Village

For those in the West Central Ohio area, I will be participating again this year at the Annual St. Paris Christmas in the Village celebration.

In addition to a visit by Santa with free pictures, and free sleigh rides, be sure to stop by at the Municipal Building in St. Paris to see me and many other vendors of various crafts and creations, and many other events.

I look forward to seeing you to talk fantasy, science fiction, reading, and writing, and shooting the breeze, and sign a few books (from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm). Books make great Christmas gifts, if you ask me.

For more information on exact times and details follow this link:
Christmas in the Village 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Cover Reveal: The Scarecrow by Cas Peace

It is my pleasure to host a cover reveal of Cas Peace's latest work, The Scarecrow: Master of Malice, Book 1


Pure evil rises once again in Albia…

Three years have passed since Baron Reen’s trial. A terrible accident on the island of his exile has transformed him into a nightmarish scarecrow creature with dark, mysterious powers. Staging his own suicide, Reen breaks free of his prison and, with the help of the former queen Sofira, embarks on a ruthless quest for vengeance against his worst enemy, the woman responsible for the overthrow of his schemes and his own ruination: Brynne Sullyan.

Sullyan is tasked with investigating Reen’s suicide. The missing body and a series of disasters in Port Loxton—a vicious murder, a brutal ambush, and a devastating fire—raise suspicions in her mind. She probes deeper, determined to uncover the truth, unsuspecting of the evil that’s about to be unleashed…

Praise for The Scarecrow:

“Cas Peace’s Artesans of Albia trilogy immediately sweeps you away. The Artesan series propels you into a world so deftly written that you see, feel, touch, and even smell each twist and turn. These nesting novels are evocative, hauntingly real. Smart. Powerful. Compelling. The trilogy teems with finely drawn characters, heroes and villains and societies worth knowing; with stories so organic and yet iconic you know you’ve found another home—in Albia. So start reading now. I, for one, can’t wait to find out what will happen next.”

--Janet Morris: The Sacred Band of Stepsons; the Dream Dancer series; I, the Sun; Outpassage.

“I have just loved this entire series. Cas Peace is a master storyteller, providing a depth and breadth of information about her worlds and their people that is just staggering. Her characters are complex and multi-dimensional, and I have very much enjoyed reading this series. I am also looking forward with great anticipation to her next novel in this series. I heartily recommend this series to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy, strong world-building, and beautiful storytelling. Highly recommended!”

--K Sozaeva, Amazon Vine Voice and Top 1000 Reviewer.

“As a fan of the late great David Gemmel I think I have finally found an author who is similarly inspiring. It’s how fantasy should be written. Less about the world building and more about the characters. I didn’t want to stop reading.”

--ML. H,  Amazon reviewer.

“A superb read. Non stop intrigue and action. I literally could not put it down. Anyone needing a good series to read should take up Book 1 and get started. Cas Peace has created an unforgettable hero(ine) in Sullyan and a world that ranks alongside Middle Earth and Westeros.

--David C Snell, Amazon Reviewer.


Release date: December 14th.

Author Cas Peace will be back then as a reminder while sharing her insights on Dark Fantasy...

Friday, November 27, 2015

Recount Results are in with the Same Result

It is good to know that the count system is accurate. Congratulations to Tyler Adkins and Niven Jester, and Joe Reneer.

Link: Niven Jester wins election recount, retains St. Paris Village Council seat

Friday, November 20, 2015

An Interview with Cartoonist Nate Dray

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

Terry, thank you for talking with me and it was really nice of Doc Springer to mention me to you, so thanks, you guys!

So, I work with paper towels and water a lot—watercolor, gouache, ink, brushes, pens, and PC. I seem to draw a lot of deserts, swamps and jungles or woods. And animals. Sometimes I put people in the pictures too. And sometimes there are fantastic elements like time travel or astral projection. Most of my real illustration stuff is drawn from nonfiction or early to mid 20th century sci-fi/sword & sorcery classics—Tolkien, Lovecraft, Howard, Leiber, ERB…I don’t show those pictures often. And the comics, same thing, very pulpy. Science and History themes are recurrent. Most of the cartoons are just gag bits set in weird settings. You can’t take any of it too seriously. I also make pictures of messed up and neglected things—houses, machinery, etc.

And then there’s the small press I run called Diluvian Enterprises in Kent, Ohio. We primarily publish comics.

What caught your interest and motivated you to open a small press?

Always wanted to make books. And print/publishing as an industry is a mess for a bunch of reasons. Just want to bypass all that and make the products I want to see.

Can you tell us about some of the works already released through Diluvian Press?

We have 5 titles out there. Four are collections of cartoons: two from me called Epic Earth Episode One and Epic Earth Adventures, one from Robert Ledyard called Ort #1, and one—the newest— is a collection with cartoons from me, Robert Ledyard and Doc Springer called Epic Earth Comics. The author Jordan Baugher— who writes the “Vicious Magick” series—also contributed to Epic Earth Adventures.  The fifth is actually a set of game rules called The Recess Dungeon Game.  And we’ve released a bunch of informal “mini comics”—reminiscent of Tijuana bibles, but without the smut.

The comics are eclectic in nature. We have more books on the way.

What books and comics were you drawn to as a kid? How did that influence the direction of your art and content for your comics?

Oh, man this is tough. I'll just tell you my earliest recollections. Pretty sure eveything else, more or less, followed from those early sort of "imprinting" things. I have a pretty good memory for useless personal info.

I've liked super heroes as long as I can remember. My cousin Joe Filippini was generous with his comics. He gave me comics when I was really little—because I begged him for them. He gave me All-Star Squadron and Legion of Super-Heroes comics. I was probably 3 or 4. So he definitely started my love of comic books, but I already liked superheroes. Probably because of a trash bin someone gave me. It had two sets of DC heroes on either side of it and I used to stare at it. I know that was a very early thing in my life. And I remember figuring out that someone had drawn those pictures. I could see the lines.

I also really started liking the Incredible Hulk when I was little. Before school. My dad would buy me Hulk comics before I could read—and I could read when I was about 4, so…Sal Buscema's Hulk is still the Hulk in my mind.

Books were really important in my house growing up, but as far as influencing my drawing now—TV/movies probably had as much to do with it as books. We had a Read-Along Book and Record adaptation of The Hobbit cartoon by Rankin Bass. I was obsessed with that thing for a long time. Brother Theodore’s voicing of Gollum scared and fascinated me. I also loved the artwork—and still do— in that cartoon. I saw Bakshi’s LOTR too when I was pretty little and that stuck with me. And Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Then just kid books. I could list a million books I still remember titles and images from, though I haven’t set eyes on them for 30+ years. A couple that really stand out are Favorite Tales of Monsters and Trolls illustrated by John O’Brien and One Monster After Another by Mercer Mayer and Ranger Rick’s Dinosaur Book, which was purchased for me immediately upon initial publication because I already liked dinosaurs. It has some great Charles R. Knight pieces in it. But like I said, there were a million…and I really don’t know how these things influence my drawings, but I’m sure they do.

Bakshi’s LOTR and dinosaurs, Nate. I found both fascinating in my youth as well.

Okay, a question a little off the main track. If you had the opportunity to dine with any three individuals (living or deceased) who would they be, where would you choose to eat, and what would you hope to discuss?

Terry, I love rotoscope.  And old Disney Science cartoons...

So, yes—Marx, Jesus and Aaron Burr in an East Cleveland Taco Bell—discussing particle physics.

But it might be uncomfortable because Marx and Burr would be really distracted by Jesus and the New Crunchwrap Supreme.

Then Elagabalus would pick us up in a limo and take us to The Velvet Dog. We would see a UFO on the way. Coincidentally, the limo driver reveals that his father's name was also Jesus. We all have green hands and a disembodied voice tells us, "Yes, but they can also breathe ammonia."

Fun answer! Next question: What is your opinion of the comics, mainly superhero, translated onto the big screen over the years—and what’s anticipated to be released in the future?

Gosh, I'm probably the worst person in the world to ask about this, but I'll try, Terry.


Historically, superhero films don't hold up well. Even if we enjoyed them when they were "new," they were usually pretty goofy. They get dated very quickly for a variety of reasons. The appeal of the character often has to do with up-the-minute fashionable attitudes and cultural trends. And obviously, only recently has the tech been available to even try to tackle much of the material. The best superhero movies ever made are recent—and I just wish they'd leave Superman alone.

Right—so I also obviously have no idea what I'm talking about. I think Hollywood has always done adaptations—think you'll continue to see blockbuster adaptations of established IP—built-in audience, less risk, fun projects. The current superhero fad will taper off to some degree, though. And yet I know MCU plans to bludgeon us with superhero movies until at least 2020—there are 10 or 11 in the works as we speak (so Fear Not! Marvel movie fans). And I'm ok with that. 

Where do you hope to see (currently working toward) your cartoon and publisher career in the next five and ten years?

Plots, plans and schemes within schemes. In 10 years we'll have more books and be bringing in more money from the books. Who knows? Might get lucky. Get big. But might toil along in relative obscurity forever. It doesn't matter. It's the struggle that counts. Strategize, plan, execute. To hell with the consequences, but keep the bar high. That way when you fail you're still ahead. I usually end up where I need to be and I don't worry too much anymore.

Ultimately, we have stories and ideas to share—so that's what we're going to do.

As we’re closing in on the end of this interview, Nate, is there any advice you would give to individuals aspiring to be a cartoonist?

Terry, initially I wrote a long response to this—not as a cartoonist, but simply as a long-time comic book reader—and then decided against it. What do I know? I know what I think is good and what I think comics are, but my views don't seem to be the majority opinion these days, though I'm pretty sure they're informed by or built upon ideas I've absorbed from artists whose work has withstood the test of time.

I once heard an illustrator named Noah Bradley say that the only real advice for commercial artists is: "Do great work. Show it to the right people."

Echoing that, the best thing I can say in terms of advice specifically for aspiring cartoonists (in whose company I might also belong) is to paraphrase The Comics Reporter, the legendary Mr. Tom Spurgeon, who said— in response to repeatedly being asked, "how do I break into comics?"— something like,"...draw comics, show them to people and then you're in comics."

Makes sense, common sense advice, Nate. I interpret it as, work hard with dedication to improving, and learning about the field along the way, to create opportunities for success. Not so much different from working toward success in writing novels and short stories.

Although we’ve covered a lot, is there anything else you’d like to add or share?

Just a big "Thank you!," Terry.

And yes, what you said is a better way of saying what I was trying to say in response to your last question.

Finally, this:

"There was something strange in her expression. Her eyes were the blackest and brightest in the world; but there were moments when she suddenly paused, leaned against the billiard table or wall, and they became fixed and dead like those of a corpse. Then a fiery glance would shoot from beneath her dark lashes, sending a chill to the heart of the one to whom it was directed.  Was it madeness, or was it, as those around her believed, a momentary absence of soul, an absorption of her spirit into its nagual, a transportation into an unknown world? Who shall decide?"
                                                                                                — Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg

Thanks again, Terry. It's been a blast! :)

You're welcome, Nate :)


Where you can find out more about Nate Dray