New Book Cover Reveal
I am very pleased to announce the new cover for my first Hell Holes book by Ellie Kay Bockert Augsburger from Creative Digital Studios. She will also be redoing the cover of Hell Holes 2: Demons on the Dalton and creating the new cover for the coming Hell Holes 3: To Hell and Back. The large circular object behind the words Hell Holes is character Aileen O'Shannon's magic amulet, consisting of the red devilstone mounted in a gold ring engraved with the name of her secret order. It was fun to see so many authors, and my only regret was that the new cover of Hell Holes 1: What Lurks Below was not available in time.
Based on recommendations from my producer, Michael Chamoy, I have [SPOILER ALERT!] made the following two significant changes/updates to my Hell Holes series:
New versions of book one and book two incorporating these changes are now available from online book sellers.
- Consistent with Clarke's Third Law (Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.), all paranormal magic is now implemented by advanced alien/demon technology. This change caused me to replace all magic wands with magic amulets.
- I have added a chief antagonist in the form of the demons' Supreme Leader, Empress of 144 Worlds.
Movie Script Kickoff Meeting
On Tuesday, May 23rd, I took part in the Kickoff Telecon with movie and TV producer Michael Chamoy and scriptwriter Leland Anderson to discuss turning my Hell Holes trilogy into a feature film script. It was our first opportunity to get onto the same page when it comes to our shared vision and discuss what parts of the book to use and emphasize, the parts that will be okay to leave out or shorten, and what changes to make to convert the material from book to film, to very different media. It was a good meeting with a fair amount of brainstorming. Leland is scheduled to deliver the movie outline June 20th; I can hardly wait to see what he's come up with.
Nebula Awards Mass Autographing Event
On May 19th, I took part in the Mass Autographing Event at this year's Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) convention right after the Nebula Awards ceremony. There were over 80 of us authors autographing our books, and I was also selling my magic wands to go with my book Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore.
March 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 April 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.”
April Contest - Random Drawing
This will be a random drawing from this newsletter's subscriber list on 30 May 2017, so if you are not yet subscribed, then you should subscribe here.
One (1) Grand Prize: Autographed copy of Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton
Five (5) Runners Up: Free download of Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton
Start Date: 1 May 2017
End Date: 30 May 2017
Book Review, Spotlight, and Character Interview
Book Review (4 Stars) of Shadow Stalker Part 1
The debut novel by Australian Renee Scattergood, Shadow Stalker Part I (Episodes 1-6) is also the first book in the Shadow Stalker young adult paranormal fantasy series. It tells the story of teenager Auren, who is raised by her somewhat mysterious uncle Kado and who discovers that she is not only a shadow stalker (people with uncommon paranormal abilities) but also marked for death by an evil foreign emperor.
While the book shares several characteristics with similar tales of children who learn that they have unknown special abilities, what makes this series special are (1) the author has created an interesting world with its own geography and cultures and (2) the concept of shadow stalkers is both interesting and innovative (no spoilers so I won’t tell you how). This book is thus much more than your typical high school heroine with her standard group of friends. The main characters are interesting and well-developed, the pacing keeps the action going, and the prose descriptions bring the setting vividly to life. I also very much liked the idea of the self-fulfilling prophesy and the risk it poses to the characters and their world. Now that I have finished the first book, I definitely look forward to reading the second book and will be following this author as the series progresses. Recommended.
Character Interview - Auren from Shadow Stalker
Donald: Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?
Auren: I was born on the Dark Isle, but I didn’t grow up there. My foster father, Kado, took me from there shortly after I was born to protect me from Drevin, the emperor of the Galvadi.
I grew up on the northernmost island in the Serpent Isles, called Appolia. It’s pretty cold there year-round, so there’s not much to do most of the time. Still, I had fun with my friends when I could.
Donald: Who was your best friend growing up?
Auren: My best friend was and still is Jade. She had a habit of getting me into trouble by talking me into breaking Kado’s rules and going behind his back, but she’s a great person. Kado was pretty strict and she just wanted me to have fun.
Donald: Who do you most admire in your world?
Auren: Definitely, Kado. He was more than a father to me. He was also my mentor. He taught me everything I need to know to survive in our world.
Donald: Tell us a little about your world.
Auren: Well, the Serpent Isles is where most people on our world live. There are larger islands and island chains, but they are mostly inhabitable because of vicious wildlife and venomous plant life. The Coalition occupied much of the northern islands for many years, while the Galvadi Empire was mainly in the south until they began their invasion.
The shadow stalkers live on an island called, the Dark Isle. It’s a tropical island far from the Serpent Isles and veiled in the shadow world. Only a shadow stalker can get there.
Donald: What are your goals?
Auren: Ultimately, I would just like to live out my life in peace. To do that, I have to play a pivotal role in defeating the Galvadi because of my unique abilities as a shadow stalker.
Donald: What is your greatest fear?
Auren: That I will not succeed in defeating the Galvadi Empire, and they will destroy what’s left of mankind on our world.
Donald: How will you overcome it?
Auren: The only thing I can do is to continue to fight and hope I succeed.
Donald: Do you have any hobbies?
Auren: I love to read. I used to read all the time, but lately I haven’t had the time. Maybe once the Galvadi have been defeated, and the people have their freedom again, I can get back to reading.
Donald: Have you ever been in love?
Auren: Twice. The first time was a boy I met in my uncle’s village on the Dark Isle. His name is Etan. But because of the rules the shadow stalker’s must live by, I wasn’t allowed to pursue a relationship with him.
Later, I met Makari, the son of Drevin. He started out as my enemy, but eventually he helped me escape from his father and saved my life.
Donald: What do you regret most in your life?
Auren: I regret never knowing my parents. My mother died right after I was born, and my father was captured by the Galvadi and held during my childhood. I grew up believing he was dead, but I later learned he wasn’t. I found him and had a chance to speak with him when I was a prisoner of the Galvadi, but he sacrificed himself so I could escape.
Donald: What is your greatest virtue?
Auren: It would have to be my courage.
Donald: Why do you think this is so?
Auren: There is no way I could do what I’m meant to do without it.
Donald: Have you ever lied?
Auren: Yes, I have.
Donald: How do you feel about lying?
Auren: I don’t like lying, but sometimes it becomes necessary. You have to lie to keep information from your enemies, and sometimes you have to lie to save your life.
Donald: If you had one day left to live, what would you do with your last day?
Auren: I would spend it with the people I love.
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