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introducingBLUE

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Rose B. Fischer

Today, please help me welcome fellow blogger and author, Rose B. Fisher.  She is an avid fan of  foxes, Stargate: SG-1 and Star Trek.  She would rather be on the Enterprise right now.  Since she can’t be a Starfleet Officer, she became a speculative fiction author whose stories feature women who defy cultural stereotypes.

In her fictional worlds, gender is often fluid, sexuality exists on a spectrum, and “disability” does not define an individual. Her current project is The Foxes of Synn, a low-tech science fantasy serial.

Rose is a survivor of domestic violence who lives with multiple disabilities.  In the early 2000s, she became homeless afer leaving her abusive spouse.  She later entered a transitional housing program while attending college. These experiences inspired her to begin writing non-fiction, and have had lasting impacts on her approach to fiction writing.

She publishes science fiction, science fantasy, horror, and biographical essays.  She blogs about the intersection of storytelling, social responsibility, art, and pop culture. You can find her blog here.

Meet Rose

Hello, everyone! I’m Rose B. Fischer, science fantasy author and lover of princesses. Corina’s invited me to talk to you about my serial, The Foxes of Synn, and I’m going to do that. I promise. But first I’m going to talk about PRINCESSES. And Witch-Queens.

The first movie I ever saw in theaters was Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I couldn’t have been more than four, so I really shouldn’t remember, but the experience had a permanent effect on me. I was familiar with the Grimm Brothers’ Snow White from storybooks, and I had a fairytale coloring book in which I only ever colored the pictures of ladies — preferably the ladies in fancy clothes. That movie was different. The characters were huge, both because they were on the big screen and because they had life that the storybook versions often don’t. The Wicked Queen fascinated and terrified me. I pitied her. I wanted to know the story behind her odd relationship with her Huntsman. I wanted to know why, on Earth, Snow White’s father couldn’t see that the Queen was nuts. I wanted to know what had made her like that! In the space of about an hour, I developed a whole head canon about the Queen’s life prior to her marriage and how she was in love with the huntsman. I wanted her to stop being so vain and learn that she and Snow White could both be beautiful, or if she couldn’t do that, I wanted her to at least find a way to make peace with Snow White’s existence. I’m not the only one. There are a crap-ton of re-imagined fairytales that want to make the Queen an antihero.

Snow White fascinated me too. I admire her for all the reasons she’s often dismissed as “weak” and “silly” today. She’s quiet, kind, and gentle (I am not.) She’s an optimist (I am not.) She works hard without complaining (I work hard. Complain A LOT.) She can get animals to do whatever she wants. (Are you seriously going to tell me that you never envied her for that?) She can manage a large household. (This is actually something I can do, and it’s one of the skill-sets I’m most proud of. Snow White was my mentor. >.>)

I had head canon for Snow White too. I imagined that the huntsman would come back to the woods and mentor her, teaching her his skills and trade while she lived safely with the dwarfs. Then, the Queen would find out, and all hell would break loose, but Snow White would be kickass by then, and…

Well, that part didn’t happen.

But I’m a writer. And anyone who writes will know what I mean when I say, the stories that grab us first are the stories that stay with us. Witch Queens and Princesses have stayed with me my whole life. They permeate the world of Synn, and the kick-ass Snow White that’s been in my head since I was four is at the heart of Northern Synn’s history.

I’ve always been drawn to stories with compelling female protagonists. For a lot of my life, that meant royalty. Queens, princesses, duchesses– because that’s where powerful women were to be found in literature and in history. There were also sometimes nuns, like Bernadette of Lourdes and cross-dressing warriors like Joan of Arc, but for the most part I was exposed to princesses.

Princess Leia is the one everyone recognizes. Princess Allura is the one I saw the most, and the one I wanted to love because she could rock this dress:

allura

She could also be kind and sensitive, yet still stand up to her sexist guardians, and fly the Blue Lion. I could never fully get on board with Allura, though, because as hard as she tried, she was always the first person getting knocked out, captured, made naïve mistakes, or would otherwise be the weak link on the team. And I don’t like pink.

Fast forward a few years to the mid-80s, and there’s Princess Adora, who remains my go to example of a well-rounded, compelling female character whose writers handle the Princess Trope well.

Fast forward a few more years to the mid-90s and there was Belle and Nala, then Esmeralda and Mulan, who expanded Disney’s definition of Princess, but at the same time popular culture was turning on the Princess. Suddenly, girls could do whatever we wanted. We could be doctors, lawyers, police officers, truck drivers, wrestlers, but GOD FORBID that any girl want to be a princess. Nooo, we must make sure our girls are self-sufficient and empowered. Because, you know. Being able to manage a house and rule a kingdom wisely don’t have anything to do with self-sufficiency or empowerment. And saving your friends (or the kingdom) only counts if you do it with a sword, by yourself, with no help from a male, especially a love interest. Smart girls didn’t like princesses. Smart girls didn’t like pink or glitter or fancy dresses, oh no. Smart girls were going to resist being stereotyped by trading feminine stereotypes for masculine ones.

Wait, what?

Yeah. But I bought into that, so I let my Magic Princesses and my Witch Queens go, and I don’t think I found them again until I was spending time with my niece in the mid-2000s. She was as smart as I was, and she was one of the “in crowd” in a way that I’d never been. She loved the trendy things, followed fashion, enjoyed popular boy bands. She was also interested in science, religion, sociology, and would read any book you put in front of her. She liked to read about princesses. Heck if I was going to tell her no, she could like anything else she wanted but NOT THOSE. So, I had to reevaluate my stance, and I’m glad I did.

Even with that settled, it was a long time before the Foxes of Synn came to be. It wanted to be a story that took the things I love best about science fiction and fantasy, blended them together with fairytales, and asked a lot of questions about gender roles, sexuality, romance, and whatever-else, for which I don’t have answers. I already had two major speculative fiction projects at the time, and I wasn’t looking for another one. I wanted something light and fun that I could sell in a traditional publishing market. I wanted a book that a publisher would take a chance on, that would be a stepping stone in a traditional publishing career, not another weird, unclassifiable spec fic project. What I got was a mishmash of animal fantasy, wormhole physics, traveling to other universes via magic mirror, and…well…fun. At least I got the fun.

Eventually, I decided that I needed to let the story be what it wanted to be. About a year ago, I took the plunge into creating serial fiction and self-publishing for Kindle. I have had a rockin’ time so far, and I couldn’t be happier with the direction that Synn has taken. If you’d like to learn more about the serial, it’s characters, and the world literacy live, you can check it out on my blog or my Amazon author page.

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introducingBLUE

Luther Siler

                   Luther M. Siler

Luther Stiler is a fellow blogger who blogs at InfiniteFreeTime. He is also a writer, teacher, husband, and father.  He lives in Northern Indiana with his wife and son and what he describes as an assortment of pets.  He writes about space gnomes and Mars.  Please read about his writing and his books then pass the link around to your friends by sharing through your social media avenues!  Leave a comment for me or Luther if you so desire; they are welcomed!

Luther On Luther
I like to write books that you pick up on the first day, read on the second, and reread on the fourth.  When I was a kid I was fanatical about rereading books that I loved over and over and over again– I have probably read the Lord of the Rings trilogy four or five dozen times– and while I love the work of many authors who write challenging, thought-provoking Works Of Immortal Literature, my number one goal as an author is to entertain.  I want my books read at a gulp, and I want you to lose sleep because you couldn’t put them down.  I like cinematic; I like action.  I’m not the author who carefully paints a picture of every detail and scene in my books because I don’t want to do anyone’s imagining for them, and I’d rather be remembered for a thrill-ride of a story than the life-altering sanctity of my prose.
I mean, hell, I write books about trips to Mars with a mad scientist and potty-mouthed gnomes with laser guns.  There is seriousness in my work, here and there– and my forthcoming Searching for Malumba (sometime in October, hopefully) is actually a nonfiction book about one of the few things in my life I do take seriously, which is my job as a teacher– but I need humor and excitement and fun more than I need to be taken seriously.  The back cover of my novelSkylights carries the single greatest quote about my work that I’ve ever gotten from anyone: “A perfect, fun summer read.”  That’s what I like to write.  It’s exactly the reaction that I wanted.  And hopefully I’ll get to keep writing many more of that kind of book.
Skylights

August 15, 2022: the Tycho, the most advanced interplanetary craft ever designed by the human race, launches from Earth on an expedition to Mars. The Tycho carries four passengers, soon to be the most famous people in human history.

February 19, 2023: The Tycho loses all communication with Earth while orbiting Mars. After weeks of determined attempts to reestablish contact, the Tycho is declared lost.

2027: Journalist Gabriel Southern receives a message from a mysterious caller: “Mars.” Ezekiel ben Zahav isn’t talking, but he wants Southern to accompany him for something– and he’s dangling enough money under his nose to make any amount of hardship worth it.SKYLIGHTS is the story of the second human expedition to Mars. Their mission: to find out what happened to the first.

SkylightsSkylights

The Benevolence Archives Vol. 1

Troll evictions! Dwarf pirates! Daring rescues! Angry gods! Impossible technology! Oversized bars! Pissed-off ogres! Disrespectful spaceships! All this and a mild disregard for proper wound treatment!

THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES, VOL. 1 is a novella-length collection of six short stories set in a common universe. Combining elements of space opera-style science fiction and high fantasy, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES tell the adventures of Brazel, Rhundi, and Grond, a gnome/halfogre team of smugglers.

THE PLANET IT’S FARTHEST FROM: A simple job in a saloon goes poorly for Brazel.
THE CLOSET: Brazel and Grond are hired to teach someone why gambling can be a bad idea.
YANK: Dwarven pirates. ‘Nuff said.
REMEMBER: Brazel and Grond are hired by one of the galaxy’s most powerful people for a suspiciously easy job.
THE CONTRACT: Rhundi tries to get through a simple business negotiation without anyone being shot.
THE SIGIL: Brazel and Grond encounter something horrifying on a frozen rock in the middle of nowhere.

Benevolence

The Benevolence Archives Vol. 1

The Sanctum Of the Sphere, Benevolence Archives Vol. 2

“Go rob that train.” Nice, normal. An everyday heist.

But nothing is ever normal for Brazel, Grond and Rhundi.

A simple act of motorized larceny quickly explodes into a galaxy-spanning adventure for the two thieves. Blade-wielding elves, a fast-moving global war, a secret outlaw space city, incomprehensible insectoids and one impossibly lucky human are just the start of their problems. And that’s before they learn that someone from Grond’s past has gotten the Benevolence involved…

What is happening on the ogrespace moon Khkk?

Who are the Noble Opposition?

And what is the secret of THE SANCTUM OF THE SPHERE?

Sanctum

The Sanctum Of the Sphere,

The Benevolence Archives Vol. 2

OR

The Sanctum Of the Sphere,

Benevolence Archives Vol. 2 Omnibus Edition

Luther’s email:  luthermsiler @ gmail.com

Luther’s Twitter account: @nfinitefreetime

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introducingBLUE

JANET CHRISTIAN

JANET CHRISTIAN

Janet Christian began her adventure in writing in second grade, with a book of fanciful poems about cats. She later became a professional technical writer, creating complex but boring computer manuals. To escape the drudgery of describing hardware circuits and software routines, she returned to writing fiction.  She served as 2003 President of the Heart of Texas Sisters in Crime in Austin, and became a published author in 2012..  She now also maintains a weekly blog at http://janetchristian.com.

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. 

These days I live with Eric Marsh, my husband and best friend since 1989, on a 100 acre ranch in Lockhart, TX – 30 miles south of Austin. We have four goofy dogs, an ever-changing population of cats (usually around ten… or so), and a small herd of four-horned, spotted Jacob sheep.

Q: What do you do for fun?

When I’m not writing, I create art pieces in my combination pottery studio and tiki bar. I don’t throw (an odd term for making pottery, for sure). I have a slab roller, which looks like a giant lasagna noodle maker. There’s nothing quite like working big flat pieces of wet clay into fun shapes while also sipping on a fresh, cold Mai Tai.

My husband and I also travel, which is incredibly inspiring for a writer. In the past three years we’ve been to 18 countries in Europe and Asia. In the fall we’re going to Portugal.

Q: What genre do you write in?

That’s a trick question for me. I’m mostly attracted to murder mysteries, but you couldn’t tell that from my track record. I write what shows up in my head. Stories come to me in a flash, like a “blipvert” fromMax Headroom (I guess I just dated myself). It usually happens at three in the morning and I have to get up and capture it right then or I’ll lose it. I’ve written a children’s novel, a murder mystery, a dystopian science fiction, and I’m currently writing a speculative fiction. I’ve written short stories in all those genres, although most of my short stories seem to end up with a horror twist in them.

Q: Tell us more about your books

My first was a coming-of-age children’s novel called Wanda’s New Eyes. I originally wrote it before cell phones, so I’m busy rewriting it for a contemporary audience. I already have a great cover design, thanks to Karen Phillips, who now designs all my covers.

After Wanda, I wrote and published The Case of a Cold Trail and a Hot Musket, which is, hopefully, the first of a series of murder mysteries featuring Private Investigator Marianna Morgan. My next novel was a dystopian science fiction called Born Rich. I still love that story, but I pulled the book off Amazon after rereading a Frank Herbert novel. I couldn’t stop thinking of ways to improve and expand my first effort at creating a new world, or at least a new future for this world. There is so much more potential in Born Rich than I originally envisioned. I’d never really pushed it, so sold few copies. I’ll be offering anyone who bought the original version a free copy when the expanded one comes out.

These days I’m finishing up a speculative fiction novel called Virgilante. It can best be described as Dexter-lite. Virgil takes karma into his own hands; he just doesn’t use plastic sheeting and large knives. And his victims don’t end up in small pieces.

Q: How do you tackle writing in such diverse genres?

As they say, “Research, research, research.” I do a lot of online research and even face to face interviews and site visits. I’ve found most experts love it when you ask them questions. I’ve interviewed police chiefs in two small towns, the Historian and Curator of the Alamo, head librarian at the San Antonio Public Library, the owner of the Snake Farm (a roadside attraction north of San Antonio), bicycle police who patrol the San Antonio River Walk, the Ford Mustang Vintage Car Club, a former professional motorcycle racer, a database specialist, a psychiatrist, a veterinarian, and a realtor. They were all thrilled to be asked for their expertise.

I also belong to an awesome critique group called the Lockhart Writers. In spite of the unimaginative group name, everyone is incredibly creative, knowledgable, and capable, not just in the mechanics of good writing, but across many areas of expertise.

Q: What was your favorite research effort?

Hands down, my visit with Dr. Richard Bruce Winders from the Alamo. My murder mystery was inspired by a news article. Someone had donated a Brown Bess musket to the Alamo. There were thousands of these muskets used at the battle of the Alamo — most every Mexican soldier had one. What made the one in the news article unique was that its triangular bayonet tip had an unusual bend in it. My brain thought, “It could be identified years later!”

The problem was, I knew nothing about Brown Bess muskets, so I arranged an interview with Dr. Winders. First, I told him I’d never seen one other than pictures and was wondering how a wooden-stock musket could be hidden for 35 years without damage or deterioration. He got up from his desk, crossed to a closet, and handed me an actual Brown Bess to hold. I then told him about the article that inspired my story, and about the bent bayonet tip. He pulled open his desk drawer and said, “You mean this one?” He had the ACTUAL TIP! He let me hold it, too. Definitely the most awesome book research I’ve ever done.

Q: What’s next?

Finishing Virgilante, of course. Karen is working on the cover and my new editor, Crystal Hubbard, is waiting for the final draft. I have three different beginnings for sequels to my Marianna Morgan series. I want to get back to one of them. I love all the plot ideas, so I’ll probably have to flip a coin. Also I want to tackle expanding Born Rich. I’m honestly not sure which I’ll do first, the murder mystery or the science fiction. I’m not good at writing simultaneous stories. When I’m writing, it feels as if I’m living in that world. Writing two stories at the same time would be like jumping between parallel universes. Plus I think both stories would suffer.

Janet’s book (soon to be books):

FrontCover

The Case of a Cold Trail and a Hot Musket

Private Investigator Marianna Morgan finds she has more than she bargained for when Stephen Davidson hires her to tail and identify a woman he believes is his long lost sister Stephanie. There’s just one problem: Stephanie was kidnapped and presumed murdered 35 years ago.

The twins were seven when the Davidson home near San Antonio was burgled, their father was murdered, and one item, an Alamo-era, Brown Bess musket was stolen. Now, 35 years later, if the woman in question is Stephanie, why has she suddenly resurfaced, where has she been all this time, and why hasn’t she contacted her brother? If it isn’t her, why is the woman in question searching for the musket and attempting to stop Marianna via death threats… and worse?

Marianna must use all of her investigative skills to figure out what is really going on and resolve the decades-old mysteries.

Amazon print and ebook: http://www.amazon.com/Case-Cold-Trail-Hot-Musket/dp/1477699597

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I had gotten in the practice of posting about an indie author here on this blog on the first Monday of the month. I did three then in May, because of my surgery, I dropped the ball on it and didn’t have that feature. Today I have to admit that I don’t have one for you this month, either. I did try to contact a couple of indie authors through their blog “contact me” option but haven’t heard back from either. I have a list of about six names besides them so today I am sending out emails to those people to see if I can start this back up for July.

In the meantime, let me tell you about one blogger who has published a novel which I loved so much that I am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for her next novel. She is Rebecca Bradley and has written Shallow Waters, a detective novel which features Hannah Robbins as the chief detective in this case. Rebecca is a former detective in Nottinghamshire where she lives. Her experience and knowledge of the police investigative in Nottinghamshire give her writing an informed and genuine feel. When I read Shallow Waters I was captured by the time I had read the first paragraph and read every page closely and quickly so I could find out if they caught the criminal or not. It is by far one of the most engaging police procedural/detective novels I have read in a long time.

I invite you to check out Rebecca’s blog and Shallow Waters. You will find Rebecca to be quite approachable and engaged with her blog followers. She is a delight to know, even if only in the blogosphere! By the way, she is currently involved in BritCrime Online Festival coming up in July in which followers will be able to interact with a number of British Crime writers. It sounds like fun!

And if you care to check out the posts I wrote introducing you to indie writers, you can find them here:
Larry Brill
Joanne Huspek
Zoe Ambler

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