Saturday, May 7, 2016

Appearance: Createfest in Fuquay-Varina, NC

I've been invited to the Writer's Tent at Createfest, a family-friendly, one-day, FREE event that runs May 14th from 12:00 PM - 7:00 PM.

Find me at the Writer's Tent
May 14th, starting at 3PM

341 Broad St #151,
Fuquay-Varina, NC
(in the downtown Varina district)

I will be signing copies of my speculative fiction chapbook, Premeditations, at the Writer's Tent starting at 3:00 PM

I will have a mic and a question for you: What is one fictional character, place, or invention you would like to see made real? The answers will be compiled and shared on the Pendragon Variety Network.

So come say hello, get your signed copy, and browse the works of other local artists and writers!


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Review: Funny Fantasy edited by Alex Shvartsman

Funny Fantasy, edited by Alex Shvartsman, is an excellent collection of humorous fantasy tales with a wide range of subgenre and tone, from irreverent hyperbole to clever social commentary.

“Dave the Mighty Steel-Thewed Avenger” by Laura Resnick opens up the anthology with over-the-top, ostentatious fantasy trappings that summarize down to a talking raccoon giving a disbelieving drunk college student a magic weapon. What could possibly go wrong? Many of the other stories are also quite glib, including Mike Resnick's "A Very Special Girl," wherein a zombie thug falls in love, demonstrating that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To balance out the collection's tone, “Fairy Debt” by Gail Carriger is a sweet story wherein fairy Cups can bake amazing banana cupcakes.

Retold folk tales and blatantly inverted tropes provide the backbone of Funny Fantasy. In “Crumbs” by Esther Friesner, Hansel's son becomes a paladin for an obnoxious king who sends him deep into the evil woods, where he finds that Hansel and Gretel's version of the story, and his view of witches in general, is patently erroneous. In “The Blue Corpse Corps” by Jim C. Hines, goblins scramble to let zombies bite them so that they can gain near-invincible powers. For those who are tired of faerie realm stories, “The Best Little Cleaning Robot in All of Faerie” by Susan Jane Bigelow mixes in a little space opera and ends on a completely irreverent note.

On the social commentary side, “Another End of the Empire” by Tim Pratt follows a tyrant king determined to undermine the prophecy of his downfall by creating the Village of Progress. A few stories take on sexism directly; “A Fish Story” by Sarah Totton shows just how inappropriate an unwanted suitor's attentions can be, and in “The Queens Reason” by Richard Parks, the young man who has come to save the queen from her insanity is not at all what he appears to be.

All-in-all, Funny Fantasy is a solid anthology with plenty of laughs. 

Funny Fantasy represents the fantasy genre well by including fourteen stories published in the past decade by current magazines and big names. With such a wide range of style and subject matter, there's bound to be something for every one:

“Dave the Mighty Steel-Thewed Avenger” by Laura Resnick 
“Crumbs” by Esther Friesner 
“Fellow Traveler” by Donald J. Bingle 
“A Fish Story” by Sarah Totton 
“Another End of the Empire” by Tim Pratt 
“Giantkiller” by G. Scott Huggins 
“A Mild Case of Death” by David Gerrold 
“Fairy Debt” by Gail Carriger 
“A Very Special Girl” by Mike Resnick 
“The Blue Corpse Corps” by Jim C. Hines 
“Librarians in the Branch Library of Babel” by Shaenon K. Garrity 
“The Queens Reason” by Richard Parks 
“The Best Little Cleaning Robot in All of Faerie” by Susan Jane Bigelow 
“Suede This Time” by Jean Rabe 

Are you still reading this? What are you waiting for? Pick up Funny Fantasy on [ Amazon ] and check out Alex Shvartsman's website, - he writes plenty of funny fiction himself and edits great anthologies, including the Unidentified Funny Objects series.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Review: The Overseer's Son by @SarahJaune

The Overseer's Son (Children of the Guard Book 1) by Sarah Jaune is a post-apocalyptic science-fiction fantasy following Elijah Hunt, son of a powerful magician, the Overseer of Chicago:

Imagine a world where there are only two classes: people with power, and people without.

Imagine a world where cities are ruled by families with magical powers, where their will determines their citizen's lives, and where the strongest thrives.

For Elijah Hunt he doesn't have to imagine a world where bullies rule. He lives it everyday under the cruelty of his magical father: the Overseer of Chicago.

Will Elijah choose to run from the father determined to mold him into a monster too, or will he stay and face his future? Will Eli even have magic of his own?

The stakes are high as Eli and his sisters have to choose whether to stay or run for their lives.

Although the introduction may come off as a bit of an info-dump, the majority of The Overseer's Son is a fun coming-of-age story propelled by big magic, engaging dialogue, and a clear moral foundation.

As Elijah meets new friends who help him unlock his potential, he also witnesses the true state of the Chicago first-hand. Readers learn about an expansive world that blurs genre by combining technology and magic, and Elijah learns about problems too big for any one person to fix, but also too big to ignore. These discoveries drive him to moral crisis as he confronts the man his father wants him to be, the man others hope he can be, and the person he thinks he is.

Elijah receives wonderful support from other characters but finds that he still must fight an internal battle – will he grow up to be a monster like his father? Can he truly escape his father's physical and emotional influence? Sarah Jaune addresses many of the issues that stem from childhood abuse, and does so in a way appropriate for upper middle-grade and YA audiences.

The Overseer's Son hints at bigger mysteries to be explored in later books, adding depth to the world while promising an adventure-oriented plot. Dark undertones introduce the readers to deep issues such as poverty. Yet, Elijah's story is a positive narrative of overcoming obstacles with the wise and loving support of family and friends.

You can find The Overseer's Son on [ Amazon ] and [ Goodreads ], and you can connect with author Sarah Jaune on twitter @sarahjaune

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Appearance: Oak City Comicon

Stop on by!

I will be signing copies of my speculative fiction chapbook, Premeditations, on April 16th from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the North Carolina Speculative Fiction Foundation's vendor table at Oak City Comicon.

Oak City Comicon is a family-friendly, one-day convention that runs April 16th from 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM at the Raleigh Convention Center. Kids 8 and under are FREE. Their guest list includes  Howard Chaykin who illustrated the first ten issues of the Marvel Star Wars comics series.

From their website:

Oak City Comicon was conceived and created by Alan Gill and Tommy Lee Edwards, the same gentlemen who bring you the fan-favorite NC Comicon each November.

“We wanted to do a huge, one-day show that would be low-cost, high energy, crazy fun and showcase not only the best vendors in the area, but also the amazing creator talent we have in North Carolina.”
On top of hosting an abundance of comic book professionals and the best local comic book stores and vendors from across the state, Oak City Comicon will be a new destination for those individuals who love costume and cosplay. In fact, the show will facilitate a cosplay contest with a grand prize of two all-access, 3-day passes to the 2016 NC Comicon.

So come say hello, get your signed copy, and browse the works of other NC writers!

Oak City Comicon
Raleigh Convention Center
500 South Salisbury Street,
Raleigh, NC 27601

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Review: #Dreamers by Samantha Priestley

In Dreamers by Samantha Priestley, boyfriend Pete laughs off Fran's belief in the power of dreams. When Rob takes Fran seriously and takes a risk, their friendship fractures and the wheels are set in motion for Fran's dreams to come true - but not in the way that Fran expects. In the end, is it the dreams that are more powerful, or the characters' interpersonal choices? Fran certainly has her regrets.

You can purchase Dreamers from [ Folded Word] or from [ Amazon ] in paperback or ebook formats.

Have twitter? Connect with the author @sampriestley and the publisher @FoldedWord and use the hashtag #Dreamers

Check out more of Folded Word's Chapbooks!

Hey, look! An interview of Samantha Priestley on Lifestyle and Literature.