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Volume 1 Number 9 - August 2017.
News, Giveaway and Sale, Contests, Review of Seventh Decimate, Author Sarah Buhrman, Author Dean F. Wilson
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News


New Book Cover

I am pleased to announce the new cover for Hell Holes: What Lurks Below. The new cover shows the team's photographer, Aileen O'Shannon, taking a picture of the hell hole just after it erupted. Note that the flames are blue due to the large amount of brimstone (sulfur) being burned. I think my cover artist, Ellie Kay Bockert Augsburger, created a truly beautiful cover.



The old cover showing a bloody hand in the tunnel leading from the hell hole to the portal to Hell will be used for book 3, Hell Holes: To Hell and Back.


Hell Holes Movie Script First Draft

The first draft of the movie script was originally scheduled to have been delivered at the start of this week, but Leland Anderson, the scriptwriter, needs about a week more to finish up. I will let you know the progress in next month's newsletter.

You can read the outline that is being used to produce the first draft of the script on my author website.


My Latest Writing

I have just finished the first draft of chapter 8 of Hell Holes 3: To Hell and Back. [SPOILER ALERT] It tells how a small team of special forces soldiers and members of Aileen's ancient secret order successfully launch small UAVs carrying a demon plague virus from the roof of the portal complex on the demon homeworld.

Hell Holes: What Lurks Below - Downloads

My first Hell Holes books just had is second most popular month with more than 800 downloads, for a grand total of more than 6,000 in reader's hands.
 

Giveaway

InstaFreebie Group Giveaways
If you are interested in some free science fiction, paranormal, and horror novels, please take a look at the following InstaFreebie giveaways:

My Contests


August Contest - Winners

Congratulations to Michael White, last month's grand prize winner of the autographed copy of Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton.

Congratulations also to the runner-up winners: Stacy Ramirez, Heather Bull, Aryn Bowman, Robert Russel, and Dr. Hank Heyman, who will receive a free download of Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton.


September Contest - Fan Art

This contest is for the best fan art related to Hell Holes: What Lurks Below or Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton. It can be any kind of drawing of a scene, character(s), or demon(s) from the books. It can be anything from a simple pencil sketch to a full-color painting.

One (1) Grand Prize: An autographed copy of each book, inclusion of your art in the Fan Art webpage of my official website, and potentially even inclusion in future editions of the books as an illustration.
Start Date: 1 August 2017
End Date: Ongoing

If you lack artistic talent but know someone who does, please forward this newsletter to them. The winner will be announced in the May 1st edition of the newsletter.  Good luck "And may the odds be ever in your favor.”


September Contest - Random Drawing

This will be a random drawing from this newsletter's subscriber list on 31 August 2017, so if you are not yet subscribed, then you should subscribe here.

Start Date: 1 September 2017
End Date: 31 September 2017

Seventh Decimate
by Stephen R Donaldson
(4 Stars)
I picked up an advance reading copy of this book at the Confluence Science Fiction Convention. It is currently scheduled to go on sale 11/14/2017.The following is my review of this highly prolific author of such classics as Lord Foul's Bane.

Seventh Decimate (the first book of The Great God's War) tells the story of the quest of the warrior prince of a kingdom locked in a multigenerational war with its neighboring kingdom. Stephen R. Donaldson’s fantasy world is built on a foundation of medieval combat with the beginning of the book addressing the impact of magic and the initial invention of firearms on the course of that war. The book’s protagonist, Prince Bifalt, is a deeply flawed character who sense of honor, love of country, and hatred of magisters (sorcerers) using theurgy (magic) drives his every move. With the war going badly and the kingdom facing certain defeat, the king sends his son on a quest to learn the seventh decimate, a type of magic that appears to be their only hope.

I enjoyed the world Donaldson has built, and the quest was satisfyingly difficult. I especially enjoyed how he expanded the prince’s horizon when he encounters a much larger world that makes the war between the two rival kingdoms seem small by comparison. My only two complaints were (1) the protagonist is not particularly sympathetic so that I had a hard time empathizing with him or hoping that his quest would succeed and (2) his eventual growth as a character took place far to abruptly at the very end of the book.

 

Sarah Buhrman
Author Spotlight and Interview

Author
 



Sarah Buhrman has been writing for more than 15 years. With a tongue-in-cheek way of looking at the world, her form of story and verse is blunt and witty. She lives in the middle of nowhere with two monsters (the kids), an ogre (the hubby), and whatever drama-llama is coming to visit this week. Sarah is the author of multiple books including the two being spotlighted below: Too Wyrd and Short Stories of Horror.
 

Author Interview

About You

  • Don: What is the best thing about being an author? What is the worst thing?
    Sarah:
    The best thing about being an author is when someone tells you they love your book(s). I still cry when that happens. The worst thing is all the silence in between reviews and other types of feedback. I can handle criticism; it’s the lack of anything that drives me batty.
  • Don: How can people find out more about you and your books? What is your official author website? What are your social media author webpages?
    Sarah: Author Website, Facebook Author Page, Facebook Runespells Fan Page, Facebook Street Team Group, Twitter,
    Amazon Author Page, Goodreads Author Page.
  • Don: Are you a full-time author? If you have another job, what is it and would you like to become a full-time author if you could?
    Sarah: I am a full-time author. I moved away from having another job back in November. It works well because the flexibility lets me deal with my kids’ schedule.
  • Don: How supportive is your family when it comes to the time you spend as an author?
    Sarah: My husband and kids are the best and most supportive EVER. Well, as much as they can be without understanding the demands of the job. Really, though, they are great.
  • Don: How do reviews of your books influence you?
    Sarah: I don’t know. I know they affect me and I take what my readers say seriously. But I don’t know if I change my writing because of them. Well, I found out people really liked a character and I was surprised, because he was a one-book character. I couldn’t figure out how to organically put him into any other books, so I’m doing a spin-off series… after one book.
Your Books
  • Don: How many books have you written?
    Sarah: Two novels (the second will be out in November), one novella, 11 short stories for anthologies, 4 booklets, a poetry collection (30 poems), and three or four essays for non-fiction anthologies. I’m writing another 2 short stories over the next month or so.
  • Don: What are the genre(s) of the books you write and why?
    Sarah: I write some form of paranormal/fantasy, usually urban or dark fantasy. I think reality is pretty boring – whether we want to admit it or not, most of what we do has been done before. I think that sci-fi/fantasy are the modern satire. We explore our world, the morals and ethics, and the possibilities and foibles, all through these fantastical stories. That’s what I want to bring into the world.
  • Don: What is the title of your next book and what will it be about?
    Sarah: My next novel is Fluffy Bunny, book 2 of the Runespells series. It is a continuation of Nicola’s adventures with the Norse gods and their magic items, but this time, she gets in way over her head. I spent a lot of time torturing her for this story, and it’s going to change her forever, physically and emotionally. The long and the short of it is that she goes undercover at a new-agey cult and gets brainwashed – not faking it, actually brainwashed.
Writing
  • Don: How long does it usually take you to write a book?
    Sarah: I sit with ideas for a while, then I write up an outline. I won’t even start writing until the outline is done. Once I sit down to write, it takes me about 3-6 weeks. It’ll take another couple of months for edits, mostly because I like to let it sit in between takes.
  • Don: What do you think your main strengths and weaknesses are as an author?
    Sarah: I am apparently awesome at dialog. I try to be funny, and it seems to work. My biggest weakness is that I am still really insecure about my writing. I go full-on drama-llama when I’m writing. It’s a weakness because it makes it really hard for me to write without an external deadline. I’m still working on my productivity around that.
Editing
  • Don: Do you use one or more professional editors, and if so, what types?
    Sarah: I use proofreaders/line editors. They usually leave a bunch of comments about the story, so I get a bit of a bonus there. I would love to splurge on a developmental editor at some point, but that is pretty expensive for where I’m at right now.
  • Don: Roughly what percentage of your time is spent editing a book?
    Sarah: Maybe about 15-20% of my working time goes to editing. ~30% is writing and 50% is marketing.
  • Don: Do you use beta readers and if so roughly how many?
    Sarah: I do use beta readers. I generally get feedback from at least 3-5 people for each project, depending on people’s schedules.
Publishing
  • Don: What are your thoughts on self-publishing as an indie author as opposed to going with a traditional publisher?
    Sarah:  Both are valid. Both have advantages. Both should be considered on a per project basis.
    I use a small press, traditional publisher for the Runespells books. I use self-publishing for my romance pen name. Most of the anthologies I’ve been in have been small press books, as well. It really depends on the author’s finances, resources, genre, and publishing goals.



Blurb

Nicola was never a hero. She was an everyday single mother, Heathen witch, and herbalist. She was happy with her quiet life until the night Joseph showed up at her door with news that her step-sister joined a cult… and she had gone missing.

Pressured by family loyalties, Nicola goes back to Indianapolis, dodging old enemies and calling on old friends to help her find her step-sister. What she finds instead is an ex with super-powers, monsters and demigods on the streets, and a detective ready to bring her in for a murder investigation…or three.

Can Nicola become the hero she needs to be, or will she lose everyone she cares for?

 

Praise Quotes


"What a thrilling adventure! Sarah Buhrman masterfully weaves the mythos of the Norse Pantheon into the chaos that is the modern world with exceptional care, skillfully crafting the story so if you're not careful, not only will you eagerly turn each page to find out dangers lie ahead, you just might learn something along the way!  Realistic magic, authentic mythology, horrific monsters, and heroes - both reluctant and legendary - along with a generous dash of science, coalesce to provide you with a quest you will be elated you accepted."
~ Kyrja, Author of the Gatekeeper's Choice series

"Strong characters wrapped in a killer story. A definite must read!"
~ M. R. Sellars, Author of The Rowan Gant Investigations and the Special Agent Constance Mandalay Novels

 

Author's Hint


This is not a romance, in any way. There is no love or sex subplots. There are no vampires or werewolves. It is more like Dresden Files with a FMC. Some explicit language.

My Book Review (4 Stars)

In Too Wyrd, the first book in her Runespells series, Sarah Buhrman has crafted an exciting story with an inventive plot, good characters (especially the main protagonist, Nicola, and her good friend, Joseph), memorable dialog, and lots of exciting action. I generally enjoyed the religious backdrop in which all pantheons of gods, demigods, and demons exist, and it was interesting to see the Norse god Oden and the Valkyries as the good ones opposing the "evil" Jewish/Christian ones.

On the other hand, I found the motivation of Nicola’s ex-husband, Keith, to be jarringly inconsistent with his behavior (especially with regard to his daughter). I also found some of the descriptions of the magic to be excessively long, which created too much of an unnecessary pause in the action.

That being said, if you are like unusual modern urban paranormal fantasies and have an open mind with regard to religion, you should definitely give Too Wyrd a try.


Buy Links



Blurb
 

Three thrilling tales to bring you shivers... and nightmares:

  • A chemical spill may have affected the residents of a small town when their dreams become reality.
  • A pair of mirrors turns a late night at a museum into a bloodbath.
  • A night security guard teaches a rookie the details of a job where it is more important to protect people from the building than vice versa.

My Book Review

Short Horrors for Occult Fans is an anthology of three of Sarah Buhrman's short stories: A Little Dream, Gatekeeper, and Mirror Mirror. At only 39 pages, this little book can easily be read in under an hour.

A Little Dream (3 Stars)
This little story is an interesting take on the age-old question, "If you die in a dream, do you also die in the real world?" This story really didn't do it for me, because like a real dream, I found it to be disjointed as the story jumped between different people's dreams.

Mirror Mirror (4 Stars)
Late one night at a history museum, blood is accidentally splattered on an ancient mirror, waking it to a murderous rampage. The protagonist's only hope is another magical mirror. I really enjoyed the creative idea behind the story.

Gatekeeper (4 Stars)

A security guard at the Nebraska State Capital building warns the young woman taking over for him when he retires about the various spirits that haunt the place. When one particularly dangerous one attacks the old man, she must decide between running away and fighting to save him. Perhaps the best of the three stories.

Buy Link
Dean F. Wilson

Author and Book Spotlight
Author Spotlight



USA Today & Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author

Dean F. Wilson was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1987. He started writing at age 11, when he began his first (unpublished) novel, entitled The Power Source. He won a TAP Educational Award from Trinity College Dublin for an early draft of The Call of Agon (then called Protos Mythos) in 2001.

He is the author of the Children of Telm epic fantasy trilogy and the Great Iron War steampunk series.

Dean previously worked as a journalist, primarily in the field of technology. He has written for TechEye, Thinq, V3, VR-Zone, ITProPortal, TechRadar Pro, and The Inquirer.

 
Book Spotlight



Welcome to the Wild North, a desolate wasteland where criminals go to hide—if they can outlast the drought and the dangers of the desert. Or the dangers of something else.

Meet Nox, the Coilhunter. A mechanic and toymaker by trade, a bounty hunter by circumstance. He isn't in it for the money. He's in it for justice, and there's a lot of justice that needs to be paid.

Between each kill, he's looking for someone who has kept out of his crosshairs for quite a while—the person who murdered his wife and children. The trail has long gone cold, but there are changes happening, the kind of changes that uncover footprints and spent bullet casings.

Plagued by nightmares, he's made himself into a living one, the kind the criminals and conmen fear.

So, welcome, fair folk, to the Wild North. If the land doesn't get you, the Coilhunter will.


Buy Link

Amazon  $0.99
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