Thursday, June 25, 2015

Revisiting Myles' Pizza Pub in Bowling Green, Ohio

Whenever I or my wife travel through Bowling Green, we try to stop at Myles' Pizza Pub, home of the best pizza anywhere.

I came to learn of the place during my years in college (late 1980s/early 1990s) and it hasn't change--the food. They've remodeled a little while keeping the the same atmosphere.

Anyway, I stopped by the other day after meeting my sister (so my daughter could visit a few days with her cousin in Toledo). Bowling Green, while not meeting in the middle, is a good place for a rendezvous.

To my surprise, Chip Myles was in the back, making pizza. I remembered him from my college days. Sure his hair has gone gray but he looks essentially the same, serious yet smiling. I even got the chance to meet him on the way out, shake hands and exchange a few words.

Yep, I picked up a pizza (with bacon strips and pepperoni of course) for my wife.

Myles Pizza: Left Overs Always Good Cold
 The plan is to meet at Myles' for lunch when I pick my daughter up. Always a wise choice. :)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Author John Scalzi's Opinion on the Amazon KU Modifications

Here's an opinion by a well known author on the 'tweaks' as to how KDP Select Authors will be paid for their books picked/read by readers in Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program.

Link: John Scalzi-- Amazon Tweaks Its Kindle Unlimited System. It Still Sucks For KDP Select Authors

Two Popular Novels by John Scalzi

I'm not involved in any way, as my publisher (Gryphonwood Press) doesn't restrict any works published by Gryphonwood to have availability only through Amazon. Also, as a reader, I am not part of Kindle Unlimited.

While the article/opinion mainly focuses on the effect on authors, how authors respond (or don't respond) will ultimately affect readers. For what it's worth, I think John Scalzi's views are pretty much on target, and I agree with the choice of my publisher to distribute through as many venues as possible.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Interview with Speculative Fiction Author Ryan A. Span

Welcome to Up Around the Corner, Ryan. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing?

Thanks, Terry! I’m Ryan, I’m 31, and I’ve been reading and writing SF in English for a little over half my life, despite growing up in a small town in continental Europe. A childhood spent daydreaming about something more than day-to-day life led me to losing myself in fantasy and science-fiction, and I’ve carried on with that ever since!

On top of that, I’ve been playing video games for as long as I can remember, getting exposed to all the wild imagination that was rife on the Commodore 64 and early PCs. Those two things combined led me to fall in love with the English language, and that passion led me to find the words to write down all the stories in my head.

You write more than just novels. What other creative projects are you involved in?

My ‘day job’ is actually in independent video games as a writer and designer. Depending on the needs of the project, I write storylines and dialogue, design whole games from scratch, and oversee production on team projects. I even do a little bit of voice acting here and there, like in my upcoming game Euclidean (website forthcoming) where I perform the voiceovers.
 My most recently released game is FRONTIERS, a large open-world RPG for which I wrote the main storyline and virtually all dialogue. That’s out on Steam Early Access right now.


Your first published novels would be STREET, your SF cyberpunk trilogy. Can you tell us about that and how it came about?

Neuromancer was a huge influence on me when I read it. Most of the science-fiction I’d experienced up until that point was space opera or high-minded Star Trek-type stuff, which I still enjoy, but this was something totally new to my experience. I immediately fell in love with that kind of world, high-tech but earthy. No heroes, no prophecies, no space battles or world-shaking events. Street-level stories with street-level people.

Even so, I didn’t do anything with that feeling for years, until late 2006, when I read Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson and fell in love with cyberpunk all over again. Snow Crash’s different take on things convinced me that this wasn’t just a dead genre from the 80s, that it could be as fresh and amazing now as it ever was. I wanted to write that kind of story. Cyberpunk that was relevant to the modern day. I started working on STREET not a week later, and pretty soon everything else was relegated to the back burner.

I still to this day can’t believe I finished it. It was a real journey!

Your most recent release is The Impostor Prince, a fantasy novel co-written with David Debord. Can you share with us:

a. A little about the novel.

b. How you came to co-author it with David Debord.

c. Any tips or advice for anyone looking to work with a fellow author on a novel or similar project.

a. The Impostor Prince is definitely the book I’m most proud of in my career so far. It’s an action-packed medieval fantasy adventure with a small sprinkling of magic, set in David’s world of Gameryah, a hundred years after the end of his Absent Gods trilogy. The story centres around a young career thief called Joren, who kills a man in the heat of the moment and gets himself involved in events far beyond his station in order to try to put right what he screwed up. Which turns out to involve impersonating royalty, romancing princesses, and staying one step ahead of death in the dangerous halls of political intrigue.

TIP is a standalone story so you don’t need to have read any of the AG books. TIP is also slightly grittier than the original trilogy, with more visceral action and some blow-by-blow swordfights that I’m also quite proud of, letting me put my background in historical European martial arts to good use.

b. David and I have known each other for years, and we’ve always wanted to work on something together. Since I’ve always been an SFF writer, at first he thought I might be able to help him finish the third book in the Absent Gods trilogy, but our writing styles were just too different for me to jump in mid-series. Then Dave remembered something else he’d started a while ago but got stuck on twenty or so pages in. A different, standalone book in the Absent Gods setting. He showed me what he had, and after reading it, I knew it had potential.

c. Communicate! No matter how you’re doing it or how you’re distributing the effort, always make sure you’re both working from the same sheet. And if you do end up clashing over some bit of background or detail, take a step back and really examine the conflict with a critical eye. Don’t get married to anything just because that’s how you wrote it.

Can you share with the readers one of the most interesting experiences you’ve had in your life to date, and what is one thing you hope to do, see or accomplish within the next decade?

Possibly the most interesting and amazing thing I’ve done to date is lie in the snow next to a mountaintop observatory in Greenland, watching the stars in complete darkness as the Northern Lights closed in on the horizon.

This may sound absolutely generic, but I’d really like to see my books on store shelves. I’ve already had a couple of my games turn up in brick and mortar shops and that felt really nice. I want more of that.

What can readers look forward to from you in the near future with respect to writing?

I actually have another fantasy novel completed -- well, the first draft’s completed, anyway. This one is called Written In Blood, a dark and gritty medieval fantasy, much darker than The Impostor Prince. I just need a few months to rewrite it! It should be out in, oh, October or November. After that I’ve got a military steampunk novel in the works which will be out sometime in 2016.

My next video game, Euclidean, will be out in July-August. It’s a fun little game of geometric horror, dodging obstacles and monsters until you can dodge no more. Definitely keep an eye out for that one!

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Ryan.

Not at all, mate, it’s been a pleasure. Thanks to you and to everyone reading!

To keep up with or learn more about Ryan and his works, check out the following links: -- Ryan’s personal website
Ryan A. Span's Amazon Page

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Interview at


A short while back interviewed me, giving me the opportunity to discuss fantasy, plot vs. character, role of female characters and more.

If you have a moment, click on over and take a look:

Link: Interview with TWErvin2 (my screen name there)

Monday, June 15, 2015

LED Simulated Wormhole Travel

Check out this short video of a water slide illuminated by various LED patterns that simulate travel via a wormhole.

I just thought it was kind of neat, short but neat:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Interview of Authors from Heroika: Dragon Eaters

This interview is an unusual treat, in that I am interviewing four authors from the recently released anthology, Heroika: Dragon Eaters

The Authors:

A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genre. She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’.

Mark Finn is a fantasy and science fiction, essayist, and playwright. He is recognized as an authority on the Texas author Robert E. Howard and has written extensively on that subject. In 2007 he was nominated for World Fantasy Special Award: Professional.

Seth (S.E.) Lindberg lives near Cincinnati, Ohio working as a microscopist by day. Two decades of practicing chemistry, combined with a passion for the Sword & Sorcery genre, spurs him to write graphic adventure fictionalizing the alchemical humors. 

He co-moderates a Goodreads- Sword & Sorcery Group and invites you to participate.  

Cas Peace is a fantasy and non-fiction writer from the UK. She’s also a singer/songwriter, horse-riding instructor, cactus grower, and dog lover.

What is one of the most interesting novels you’ve enjoyed in the past year and why?

Butcher: IX by Andrew Weston – it’s a time travelling heroic historical sci-fi. What attracted me to this book was the fact some of the main characters are from the missing IX Legion from Rome. It’s a fun book, with monsters (which aren’t what you think they are), adventure, courage, alternate history, space ships and much more.

Finn: City of Thieves, by David Benioff. A wonderful, picaresque story about two unlikely traveling companions forced into service during the Siege of Leningrad. Wonderful writing and really well-executed on all levels. 

Lindberg: Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology: This anthology marks the catalyzing moment of the sub-genre "Sword & Soul" Charles R. Saunders is credited with starting the sub-genre with his Imaro tales (~1980). In 2011, Milton J. Davis (fellow chemist and Heroika author) expanded the front with this collection, including contributions from the Soul-champion himself, Saunders. Named after African storytellers who relied on the oral traditions, "Griots" is inspiring, unique, and history making.

Peace: I think that would have to be “The IX” by Andrew Weston. Part of the reason stems from the fact that I copy-edited this book, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and part comes from Andrew’s deft handling of his characters’ differing historical origins and the way this affects their contributions to the problems they face in the novel. I found the whole thing fascinating.

What is one technique or method that you’ve used to improve your writing?

Butcher: Reading. The more a writer reads, especially in a wide field of styles, the more one can find one’s own style and learn the rules.

Finn: I always read back out loud what I have written the day before. Not only does it serve to remind me where I left off, but it helps me do an immediate copy check for awkward phrasing, overused words, etc.

Lindberg: Going mental! Balancing a fun career with the duties of a father too, there is scarce dedicated time for writing.  I’ve fallen into structured day dreaming, rehearsing scenes via each characters’ perspective. Being kept away from the writing-desk forces multiple iterations, but the frustration is rewarding when scenes are enhanced. This role playing can be done anywhere, anytime; a smartphone or notepad is needed to capture key dialogue and interactions to flesh out later.

Peace: I’m not sure if “used” is the right word, since that implies a deliberate act. Due to my editing and proofreading services I naturally get to read and work on a huge variety of different styles of writing. While picking my way through the vagaries of grammar, language, and syntax I often learn things I can apply to my own writing. It’s amazing how blind you can become to your own bad habits - copy-editing someone else’s really does help!

If it was possible, which author (living or deceased) would you like to share lunch with? What would you hope to discuss?

Butcher: That’s a tricky one… Dead – the list is long – Tolkien and discuss the influence of myth and fantasy, Alexandre Dumas to discuss revenge, Shakespeare – well he’s Shakespeare – did he write those plays or not? HG Wells – the direction of the future, Terry Pratchett on the fate of orangutans, Homer – and whether the nature of heroism has changed, Colin Wilson on the rise of the serial killer, and Jules Verne on subject of the fantastic. Now that’s a hell of a dinner party.

Living – I’m not sure….

Finn: This one is not fair, because in my capacity as an expert on Robert E. Howard, that question is a soft pitch. Obviously, me and Bob would talk about writing, creating musical phrases in prose, and as much as possible, I’d like to get him talking about his travels in Texas. That would be an entertaining lunch.

Lindberg: Darrell Schweitzer: I personally discovered his masterful Mask Of The Sorcerer (published 1995) and We Are All Legends (published 1981) weeks after I literally walked beside him in 2010 (Columbus OH, World Fantasy Convention). To think I could have talked to him in person! I missed my chance then, but I’ll be attending again in 2016. I hope he attends and I can buy him a coffee at least.

Peace: I think it would have to be Anne McCaffrey. Her Pern novels were what got me into fantasy when I was a teen, and I still admire her work. I’d love to learn what inspired her and what her publishing journey was like. I always hoped to visit her home in Ireland, but haven’t made it yet.

Tell us a little about your story found in the Heroika: The Dragon Eaters, a heroic fiction anthology.

Butcher: "Of Blood and Scales" is a tale of courage, sacrifice and desperation. Oh and a great dragon…

It’s a tale of heroics to save a dying child and a land on the brink of war. It’s a tale of last resorts.

Finn:Sic Semper Draconis” posits a time in the mid-to-late 1980s when giant time gates open up and spew forth all of the atmosphere, as well as the flora and fauna, of the late Cretaceous Period, and viola! Dinosaurs in Texas. The state would waste no time organizing an armed resistance—much like game wardens—to thin out the dangerous ones. It’s (I hope) an entertaining take on the hunter, becoming the hunted, and back to the hunter again type of story.

Lindberg: "Legacy of the Great Dragon" shows the Father of Alchemy entombing his singular source of magic, the Great Dragon. According to Greek and Egyptian myth, the god Thoth (a.k.a. Hermes) was able to see into the world of the dead and pass his learnings to the living. One of the earliest known hermetic scripts is the Divine Pymander of Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus. Within that, a tale is told of Hermes being confronted with a vision of the otherworldly entity Pymander, who takes the shape of a 'Great Dragon' to reveal divine secrets. Legacy of the Great Dragon fictionalizes this Hermetic Tradition, presenting the Great Dragon as the sun-eating Apep of Egyptian antiquity.

Peace: When Janet first asked me to contribute to HEROIKA, I struggled for an idea. Then I realised St. George’s Day was coming up in the UK, and I decided to rewrite the story of St. George. I went back to his Middle Eastern roots and made him a knight of the Crusades, one who is doubting his faith. Then I tied the resolution of the story to an island right off the coast of my home county, Hampshire, adding a dash of druid for extra mysticism.

Links to where Heroika is available:
Heroika at Amazon US / Amazon UK

Where you can find these authors on the internet:

A.L. Butcher:
At Goodreads
On Amazon

Mark Finn:
Mark Finn on Wikipedia
On Amazon
Blog: Finn's Wake

S.E. Lindberg:

Cas Peace:
On Amazon