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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's BLUE DIAMOND DELIVERY Launch Day!



Yayyyy! It's my Book Birthday!

Welcome to the world, Blue Diamond Delivery, Book 2 of the Webrid Chronicles!


Cake, anyone? (No, I didn't make this adorable alien cake, but I am making the Blue Diamond Cupcakes for my live launch party on Saturday, June 29. If you're in NYC and would like to come, please RSVP on the Facebook Event Page.)




Here's what you'll find in BLUE DIAMOND DELIVERY:

Webrid is a carter. He’s also the savior of the world. Is it so much to ask that he get a break, and get to enjoy the simple things in life―like booze and babes―without being asked to drop everything and save the day? Again?

All Webrid has to do is make one simple delivery to prevent the planets of the Raralt Circle from cracking to pieces. How hard could that be? Unfortunately, to complete this “simple” job he has to drag his reluctant carcass to a mining planet with intense gravity, to the horrifically fashion-obsessed planet Prellga, and across the Redfire Desert on his home planet of Bexilla. All he really wants to do is sit at home on his couch.


Join Webrid, Stravin, and Zatell as they stagger into another nail-biting, spit-taking adventure to save the world, whether they feel like it or not. 

You can buy BLUE DIAMOND DELIVERY in print or digital form directly from the publisher, Candlemark & Gleam.

You can buy it on Amazon.

You can buy it at Barnes & Noble.

What's that? You've never read Book 1 of the Webrid Chronicles? Click here to learn about Green Light Delivery.

I've got a blog tour going on, during which you can meet the characters and learn about how I made the weird world of the Raralt Planetary Circle. Click here to see the complete Blue Diamond Delivery Blog Tour schedule.

Thanks for coming to my online launch party!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Space Music Countdown to BLUE DIAMOND DELIVERY Launch. 1 day out...


Eeep! Tomorrow is launch day! What more appropriate way to celebrate than with a mansion full of dancing
aliens?

Click here to watch "Time Warp" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.


Thanks for following the space music countdown. Come back tomorrow for an online party! Click here for my complete blog tour info. And, if you're in NYC and would like to attend the live launch party, please RSVP on the Facebook event page.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Space Music Countdown to BLUE DIAMOND DELIVERY Launch. 2 days out...


The moon was huge last night. (I give the late, great Bea Arthur credit for that; see yesterday's launch countdown song.) Today we'll see whether we can influence some other celestial bodies.

Let's go for something requiring a bit more hair dye.  Click here for Siouxsie and the Banshees playing "Stargazer."


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Space Music Countdown to BLUE DIAMOND DELIVERY Launch. 3 days out...


Three days until launch, and I'm thinking that the Cantina band from Star Wars yesterday was much too serious. Let's get silly. Here's a little astronomical
number by Jerry Herman from his musical Mame.



This is and always will be Bea Arthur's song. So here she is, singing "The Man in the Moon," from the original Broadway cast recording. (The other voice speaking at the start is that of Angela Lansbury.)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Space Music Countdown to BLUE DIAMOND DELIVERY LAUNCH. 4 days out...



The Webrid Chronicles is packed full of a wacky combination of species who squabble and tease each other, but will also lay down their lives for each other. A primary inspiration for this as I write is Star Wars. Specifically, in terms of the flavor of interspecies humor and creature design, I often have the Cantina scene in mind.

So, to pay tribute, today our Countdown Space Music is that earworm created by the brilliant John Williams, and played by the Cantina Band in the original Star Wars movie

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Space Music Countdown to BLUE DIAMOND DELIVERY launch. 5 days out...


Five more days until launch! Here's an interesting alien visitation song for our countdown. A great and powerful all-knowing unknown comes to
Earth from the sky to save humanity. Sound like any familiar religious archetypes?

Chris DeBurgh made that analogy in his haunting story-song, "A Spaceman Came Travelling."

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Space music countdown to BLUE DIAMOND DELIVERY launch! 6 days out...


Here's our second celebratory space song, leading up to launch day.

It's Radiohead's "Subterranean Homesick Alien," a fantasy about aliens circling Earth and watching us, baffled, as they take "home movies for the folks back home." 

If aliens are out there, you can bet they're watching Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood of
Radiohead as some of our most fascinating humans.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Space music countdown to BLUE DIAMOND DELIVERY launch! 7 days out...

Welcome to the BLUE DIAMOND DELIVERY countdown to launch!

Every day leading up to the launch on June 25, we'll feature a song relating to space, space travel, robots, or other sci-fi stuff.


#7. Let's start classy. You know things will devolve into silliness eventually, but we'll put on a high-toned front for now.

Here's Ella Fitzgerald singing Irving Berlin's "Reaching for the Moon." Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Vonnie Winslow Crist on using fact in fantasy

My guest today is Vonnie Winslow Crist, who explains how her fiction is constantly influenced by personal experiences, family history, and myth, not to mention feline behavior! Her new fantasy novel is The Enchanted Skean.
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Turning Fact into Fiction 
by Vonnie Winslow Crist

All of my fiction begins with facts. I know that sounds counter intuitive, but it's true. The trick is to take facts and reshape them into something new.

For my short stories, I begin with an unusual celebration, a scrap of mythology, a bit of quirky scientific information, or an event from my life. An example would be the Burryman's Parade. I stumbled upon the celebration in a book on British folkways and did some additional research. Then I asked (and answered in my story): What if the ocean decided to claim the boy offered to the sea to increase the fishing harvest?

I used a modern day celebration in my new fantasy novel, The Enchanted Skean. The costumed dog parades sponsored by various Animal Rescue groups were the beginning place for my Clock Day Parade: “Dogs were welcome to accompany their owners to Clock Day, for it had been watch dogs that had warned the town of the approaching villains on that legendary morning when the Millak flesh-eaters attacked. The central square and nearby side streets swarmed with tail-waggers of all sorts, from the fancy lapdogs of the wealthy to the flea-bitten mongrels of street urchins...” In the novel, not only do the dogs wear costumes, they march in an honored position with the mayor's guards.

I've also reshaped lots of myths and legends in The Enchanted Skean. For example, in the Welsh stories of The Mabinogion, a woman made of flowers is turned into an owl by a magician as punishment for unfaithfulness. I asked myself: What if Blodeuwedd had daughters? Who would they be and what would they look like? My answer was an owl-sprite called a featherfay. In The Enchanted Skean, a featherfay and her sister aid the main character, Beck, after he places an owl feather in water and chants “Blood wed” three times.

As for events from my life, I adopted a stray cat who terrorized any dog who wandered onto our property. Her favorite target was our next-door neighbors' golden retriever. My small orange cat would crouch under bushes and wait until the retriever got within six feet. Then, she'd run out from her hiding place hissing and yeowing. The huge dog would race home with her tail tucked between her legs. The Enchanted Skean's watch-cats who ride behind a Janepar warrior on his or her war bull and protect their partner's back during battle were inspired by my feisty cat. Plus, the folk-belief that cats have 9 lives plays a role in the book, too.

Perhaps the strangest fact-based part of the narrative is Beck's attempt to bring his father's bones back from a distant town for re-burial in the family graveyard. One of my ancestors is actually buried in 2 places, because when a cousin was sent to bring his bones home he discovered the body had mummified. The only solution to the problem was the one chosen by Beck in The Enchanted Skean. Curious? Click here to read a 3-chapter excerpt that includes the Ulfwood graveyard scene.

There are lots of other facts woven into The Enchanted Skean's narrative. Consciously or unconsciously, I think readers recognize strands of truth. And when those facts are twined with threads of imagined places, people and creatures, I believe it makes it easier for readers to suspend their disbelief and sink into the writer's fantasy world. You can have a look at the book trailer here.

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Learn more about Vonnie Winslow Crist on her website and her blog.

You can purchase The Enchanted Skean on AmazonAmazon UK, and Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A KISS AT VESPERS #medieval #historicalfiction Cover Reveal


Asta stows away on a ship to Ireland, never guessing how her faith and love will be challenged.

This medieval romance novelette will be released as an ebook from MuseItUp on July 19. Didn't Marion Sipe do a lovely job with the cover?


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pat McDermott on Fairies and Shanachies


Welcome to the glittering, glimmering, mischievous world of Pat McDermott. Her YA novels about ancient Ireland are part contemporary, part historical, and part magical, and she's not telling how much of each is in the mix!
*   *   *
Storytelling for Actors and Monsters



Aspiring actress Janet Gleason, the teenage heroine of my young adult books, Glancing Through the Glimmer and Autumn Glimmer, has lived in Dublin since her grandfather became the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. At first, she hated Dublin. (She really hated being kidnapped by the King of the Fairies, but that’s the first book.) In Autumn Glimmer, Janet has settled into her new Irish school. She loves the Drama Club, and she’s learned a lot about acting. She’ll soon pick up some fabulous new techniques.

To celebrate Halloween, Janet and her grandparents visit Ireland’s royal family (hint - she likes Prince Liam). Cousin Fintan, an elderly shanachie, is also visiting to entertain everyone.

A shanachie (from the Irish seanchaĆ­) is a traditional Irish storyteller. The ancient Celts wrote nothing down. They entrusted their laws and legends to the minds of brehons, poets, and shanachies. The shanachies told hundreds of tales from memory. And, as Janet is going to learn, some of those tales were inspired by real events.

Janet’s theatrical eye noted the arrangement of chairs before the hearth. The rough half-circle they formed gave everyone an unobstructed view of Cousin Fintan, perched on a stool beside the fireplace. His right hand held his blackthorn stick like a pole in a subway train.

He laid the blackthorn across his knees. Like a safecracker coaxing a bank vault open, he ran the tips of his long white fingers over the knobby wood. Twisting the stick toward him, he deftly reeled his audience into the story world he summoned.

“I’ll tell ye a story to shorten the night. Ye’ll scarcely believe a word I say, for I’m going back on old times, to the days when the Good People made the rounds more than they do now.”

Fintan had no idea that the Good People were making the rounds that night. In fact, two were outside the open window, listening. Janet listened too, fascinated by Fintan’s tales. He painted pictures in her head no stage set could ever match.

“Long before the great ice came, giant creatures lived in Ireland. They foraged and fought and ate each other, and no man ever saw them. The ice killed all but the swimmers among them, monsters who slumbered in caves beneath the lakes until the glaciers disappeared.

“New animals came to Ireland. Men came too, and the hungry monsters leapt from the lakes and devoured them all. The heroes among the men fought back.”

Fintan told the story of Gann of the Glen, a hero who helped the fairies in the lake get rid of a hungry monster.

“Gann drew his weapons. The battle fury rose in him.” The blackthorn whooshed through the air as Fintan, shouting now, mimicked Gann’s swordsmanship. “With a mighty cry, he raised his sword and cut off the Crogall’s head. This he hurled away, spattering the shore with its blood. To this day, the rocks on the shores of the pond are red, and the Crogall’s bones became the jagged stones on the northern bank.”

The fairies outside the window recalled a different version. The correct version. One that Janet is going to find out all about…

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Pat’s Website: http://patmcdermott.net/
Autumn Glimmer - E-book available from MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon Kindle, and Nook

Glancing Through the Glimmer  - Available Now in Print!