New Release–Corridors of the Mind

Corridors of the Mind RedThanks to all those who’ve made purchases recently. I appreciate the support.

I’m pleased to announce that Corridors of the Mind, an anthology of my horror short stories, is available as of June 1, 2018.

 

 

The human mind is filled with twists and turns that many fear to traverse. Buried within its depths lie deep secrets and hidden strengths that only come forth through necessity. Some thoughts are better left in those lonely grave, the cellars where even dreams dare not invade.

Travel these corridors, these lonely places, and walk where others fear to tread.

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D65ZNM4

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/830194

 Amber has no idea why her grandfather left her his house.

Is what Amy sees in the eyes of others real, or is it her own madness?

When Hannah buys a simple music box for her doll making, she gets more than she bargained for.

Ol’ Jeb thinks he’s gonna get room and board for free.

Jill loves to research folklore until she finds out that some things are best left in the past.

Victoria longs to know what’s behind the locked door. (Read for free on my website.)

 

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Author Spotlight – J. S. Frankel

Today we’re welcoming author J. S. Frankel. Check out his work below.

About the Author

J.S. Frankel was born in Toronto, Canada and grew up there, receiving his tertiary education from the University of Toronto and graduating with a double major in English Literature and Political Science.

After working at Gray Coach Lines for a grand total of three years, he came to Japan at the age of twenty-six and has been there ever since, teaching English to any and all students who enter his hallowed school of learning.

In 1997, he married Akiko Koike. He, his wife and his two children, Kai and Ray, currently reside in Osaka. His hobbies include weight training, watching movies when his writing schedule allows, and listening to various kinds of music.

His novels, all for the YA set, include Twisted, Lindsay Versus the Marauders and it’s sequels, Lindsay, Jo, and the Tree of Forever, and Lindsay, Jo and the Well of Nevermore, all courtesy of Regal Crest Enterprises. He has also written the Catnip series (five novels), Mr. Taxi, The Titans of Ardana and its sequel, The Titans of Ardana 2: Battlefield, along with Picture (Im)perfect and more novels, courtesy of DevineDestinies.com.

Future projects for Devine Destinies include the final novel in the Titans trilogy, the final novel in the Just Another Quiet… trilogy, The Undernet, the re-release of Star Maps, and more. He is also the author of The Menagerie and The Nightmare Crew trilogy, all courtesy of Finch Books.

Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessSFrankel

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JS-Frankel-AUTHOR-1458667077729037/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4859674.J_S_Frankel

 

THEUNDERNET2AZRAEL

In the depths of the Undernet, finding the light is an almost impossible task.

Milt Edwards, survivor of an incident that almost claimed his life six months previously, is back. He and his girlfriend, Roberta (Robbie) Jones, suffer from PTSD, attend counseling sessions, and try to work through their mental anguish.

Nothing helps, but then a friend of Milt’s is killed by the same person who designed the Undernet–Azrael. Milt faces his fears, once again joins forces with the FBI in order to find out and stop Azrael, and he is paired with a rookie agent, Nasraana Shaksy, an American Muslim who has her own battles to fight.

Together, they stumble upon a child trafficking ring, and Milt comes face to face with monsters of the worst kind–those who walk around in everyday society. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse with Azrael begins, and Milt soon learns who the predator is, and who is the prey.

Find it on Amazon

Devine Destinies. http://www.devinedestinies.com/978-1-4874-1922-6-azrael/?search=Azrael&sub_category=1

Amazon: ISBN:978-1-4874-1922-6

 

 

Building Your Own World

Land's EndThere’s an entire universe out there, and we’ve only explored a little bit of it. However, our imaginations are rich with other worlds, even if we can’t hop on a ship and visit them in the ‘real’ world. Below are just a few things to consider when creating your own fictional world. It isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch, but it’s a place to get started if you’re unsure of where to begin.

 

Culture

We have a world full of various cultures and languages, and there’s nothing wrong with borrowing a bit from existing cultures to populate your world. However, your cultures need to have their own elements as well. For example, a culture based on Ancient Greece could have a king as the ruling body, or, perhaps, they have a railroad or electricity. It’s also perfectly acceptable to blend cultures to come up with something unique.

Grevared has a number of human cultures as well as cultures for other species. They’re all different in some way, but there are also similarities. Why? Because when cultures encounter each other, they share. For example, the demons of Jitradena have a strict set of civil laws and an Academe, in part because of their contact with others. Those of Pistofficle maintain a more demonic-type culture where death in the streets is common. Since visitors are at risk just by entering the city, Pistofficle has had far less contact with others, so the influence is much less.

 

Religion

Most cultures have some kind of belief system, even if that system posits that deities don’t exist. Much like with cultures, there are plenty of religions and mythologies from which to create one, or several, for your world. Do a bit of research and take what you need to create a belief structure your characters can follow. This will also give you the opportunity to explore various holidays, though not all celebrations have to stem from religion.

Grevared has several religions. In the Xaggarene Empire, the Arcana Maximus worships the snake goddess Inyokamor. As the Arcana Maximus keeps itself involved in the politics of the empire, it’s the predominant religion and plays a role in creating and enforcing government policies. While the Arcana exists in the other countries, it isn’t as powerful, and other beliefs stand equal to it.

 

Government

Everything from a small village to a globe-covering empire needs some form of government, even if it’s only reason is to be torn down. Think about your culture and base your government on the needs and beliefs of the people. Determine if your government is benign or oppressive. How do the people fair under its rule? Are there social programs? Is there one group that’s suppressed more than others? What is allowed and forbidden within the realm? These are just a few things to consider.

In Grevared, government differs according to country and no two are exactly alike. Again, remember that cultures that interact are going to share, so there’s nothing wrong with some crossover.

 

Currency and Trade

Currency isn’t necessarily a big deal when it comes to creating a world unless you plan to use it in your story. For those who don’t want to create a currency, something like ‘coin’ works just fine. However, it does give the world a touch of realism to give the currency its own name.

Trade, on the other hand, matters a bit more. Most countries have some form of economic relationship with other countries. With differing climates and land forms, it’s almost impossible for any but the largest countries to produce everything they need themselves. Even then, there’s some benefit to trading with others. Consider the technological and agricultural traits of each country in your world to determine what a country might have that others want. This also gives the opportunity to introduce large-scale conflict in the story.

An example of this in Grevared is the country of Corleon. This country is known for its horses, and the animals are its chief commodity. They run wild through the plains, and they’re used in almost every capacity imaginable.

 

Education

We hear a lot about education in the modern world, and fictional worlds are no different. This doesn’t mean that your world must have a public education system or a string of universities, but there needs to be some way for the common people to gain the knowledge they need to survive. Is it an apprentice system? Are children taught at home by their parents? Are there village schools? Not all of your countries have to use the same system, and it will give a bit of diversity to your world if they don’t.

Magic and Technology

Some fictional worlds thrive on magic, while others are more focused on technology. A lot of worlds use both. There’s no law that says these systems must be codified, but it’s something to consider if you plan to use them in your world. Is there a magical guild or school? Is magic something common, or are there only a few who practice it? Is it accepted or shunned? Do people travel by railroad? Are there spaceships? These are some questions to get you started thinking about the magic and technology in your world.

To give an example, in Grevared, railroads are present in almost all countries. However, the Xaggarene Empire embraces technology and somewhat shuns magic, while E’ma Thalas embraces magic and shuns technology.

 

Races

Who populates your world? Are they humans, elves, aliens, talking zebras? That’s entirely up to you. Spend some time thinking about it, and if you choose to add other races to your populace, there are many legends from all over the world that can help you learn a bit about the ones you’re considering. Research into folklore can help you bring a race to life and give them that certain something that sets them apart from all others.

In Grevared, humans live along side angels, demons, elves, and dwarves among others. Each species has its own set of traditions, but they’ve interacted in many instances, so there are things among them that are shared. Take, for example, the demons of Jitradena mentioned above. While they are still very much demons, much of their violent nature is held in check until certain celebrations. Other races aren’t really welcomed to Jitradena, but they do visit, and they aren’t harmed. Mostly.

 

Flora and Fauna

Plants and animals are a large part of just about any world. Look out your window and see what kinds are right outside. They aren’t there just for our pleasure; they also provide food and materials for clothing and shelter. This is something to consider when creating your own world. Even if it’s a world that is entirely urban, the people still have to eat, and there must be some means of cleaning the air (which is the function of plants). Furniture has to be made out of something, as do homes. Consider how this is done to determine what kinds of flora and fauna are needed.

In the world of Grevared, there are some recognizable animals. Cats roam, and dogs (called n’kitas) are faithful companions. The country of Corleon is known for its horses, but a similar creature, called an elecon, is common in E’ma Thalas. Chocolate (kokolat) is known to all lands, but the assaberry has no ‘real’ world equivalent. The same is true of the spitmoller, a small creature that lives in sewers and tunnels, or the ghighet, a pest creature that can also be a pet.

Plants and animals unique to your world can give it a feel and reality of its own that separates it from our world. Even changing the colors of common animals can help to distinguish your world from ours.

Maps

One of the best ways to get to know your world is to make a map. Campaign Cartographer is a good software for mapmaking but drawing it out yourself is also rewarding. I enjoy doing both, even though my artistic skills leave a lot to be desired.

Making a map gives you a chance to get to know all the little places your characters visit and determine the best types of agriculture, culture, etc. to use for each place. It helps you see the weather patterns and how the land affects all other aspects of life. It also gives you a way to see the world in front of you, to help it become more ‘real.’

 

Building a world of your own can be a rewarding experience, whether you share it with others or not. It’s a way to explore the depths of your imagination and create a place you can visit whenever you desire. It also opens opportunities for research and learning about other cultures and beliefs.

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

 

 

Interview with Deborah Burnside

23319229_10155727922650102_7205406075011842319_nI’ve had the pleasure of speaking with author Deborah Burnside. Below are her thoughts on writing and being an author.

  • What genres do your writings fall under? Primarily Christian romantic suspense
  • What age group? Mostly New Adult, with an occasional side trip into Young Adult
  • When and why did you start writing? Since I was a little kid – it soothes me.
  • What other goals do you have for yourself? At the moment, to complete my trilogy.
  • How do they fit with your writing? Perfectly, since it involves more and regular writing.
  • What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t writing? Reading, of course, and animal rescue
  • What do you hope readers take away from your writing? Is there a particular theme in your work? Does your work have a moral? “God never abandons us, even when it feels like He has. When life kicks us around, He’s still with us, right in the middle of whatever we’re going through.”
  • Which of your characters is your favorite and why? Jason Hancock, the 3-year-old in Prodigal Hearts. He’s not a major character by any means, but he was so much fun to write! I modeled him after a little boy at a daycare center I once worked at. Or Connie Sherman, the 15-year-old in A Cousin Scorned. She’s me, at that age.
  •  Which of your characters is your least favorite and why? Jennifer Reid, in Prodigal Hearts. She’s not necessarily my least favorite, but definitely the least likeable. Or Bobby Jensen, in A Cousin Scorned. He’s a slimeball.
  • What genre is your favorite to read? Mystery/romance. I especially love anything written by J.A. Jance. She’s the woman!
  • If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? I wouldn’t change a thing about Prodigal Hearts. I published that one with Westbow Press, which I realize some regard as a vanity publisher. They’re really more of a hybrid. Yes, it was expensive, but it was well worth the finished product. They did a beautiful job.
  • How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre? I’ve used a variety of avenues: Press releases to local media outlets, though I will admit those have not generated any response. I managed to secure a couple of book signings, with several more looming in the near future. I’ve done carousel ads (designed by Westbow) on Facebook, as well as boosting specific posts and things of that nature.
  • Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? No, but I did write a TV movie script in the early 70’s, that was ultimately rejected by Mr. Aaron Spelling himself. He wrote me a real nice personal letter, and I still have it in my files…somewhere.
  • Can you tell us about your upcoming book? I have two WIP’s. The working title of one is “Wolfsong.” It tells the story of a young Native American woman, Liberty (Libby) Rose Runningwolf, who rescues wolves and wolf hybrids – which earns her the ire of a group of ranchers. The working title of the other one is “Wednesday’s Child.” When completed, that one will be Book #2 in my Sisters in Christ trilogy. Though we get to see most of the characters from Prodigal Heart, the emphasis is on Rebekkah Merek, owner of the retro-60’s diner, The Green Onion.
  • Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? It’s always a combination of the two. I like to address real-life issues, so I combine imagination with things I’ve had to endure – changing names to protect the guilty, of course – and weave them together into a work of believable fiction. For instance, in A Cousin Scorned, the legend of Giant Rock airport is real, as are the abandoned buildings there. Everything else is completely fictional. In Prodigal Hearts, the locations really exist, and some of the plot twists are taken either from my life or the lives of friends.
  • What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? It’s more of a favorite event, as it spans three chapters of Prodigal Hearts. I destroy the city of Long Beach, California with a major earthquake, setting forth that event in multiple viewpoints – Stephanie Williams, Sam Kendrick, and Jennifer Reid. It took me a long time to write that part, not because of lack of knowledge about earthquakes, but because I’ve been through several major quakes and I wanted to make sure I did justice to it. First time flashbacks have ever made writing a scene difficult.
  • How did you come up with the title? Prodigal Hearts was originally titled A Second Chance. The editor I was working with at Westbow googled the titled and said he found “a million works with that title” and I should change it. I drew a blank on a replacement, and posed a question to one of the writer’s groups I’m in. One of the guys came up with Prodigal Hearts. I liked it, and so did my editor.
  • What project are you working on now? Again, I have two WIP’s. I’m focusing all my energy on Wednesday’s Child. Wolfsong will have to wait.
  • Will you have a new book coming out soon? I’m hoping to have Wednesday’s Child complete by the end of June, and in print with Westbow by the end of this year. When I get around to completing Wolfsong, I’ll publish that one on CreateSpace, the same as I did for A Cousin Scorned. So that one may actually go live in December, the same time as Wednesday’s Child.
  • What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? Both came from the same source – the judge who read Prodigal Hearts for the Writer’s Digest Self-Published competition. On the positive side, he loved the storyline and complimented me on the complexity of the characters and my willingness to tackle difficult issues. On the not-so-positive side, he wasn’t wild about the multiple (3) viewpoints. Stephanie and Sam, he understood – they’re the MC’s so it stands to reason the reader wants to know their thoughts. He felt I should have excluded the scenes from Jennifer’s perspective – he didn’t like her as a person, and he wasn’t interested in “getting into her head.” All in all, though, he thought it was a great read and said he hopes to see more.
  • Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? If you’re serious about your writing, make it a priority in your life. You don’t have to churn out a chapter a day, but write something. Every day. Don’t be afraid to ask for help/advice/criticism from people who have been on the publishing journey. If somebody totally disses your work, try to realize they don’t mean it as a personal insult. We’re all here to help each other along.
  • Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? If there’s a secondary character in any of my works you’d like to see more of, by all means let me know!
  • Do you also work a day job? How does it inspire your writing? I am gloriously retired.
  • If you could visit any time period, which one would it be? Toss-up between the Victorian era and the Old West.
  • If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Two places: Mt. St. Helens, because that’s my happy place. And Scotland, because that’s where my ancestors on my father’s side were from.
  • Have you travelled to places outside your home town/country? Where did you go? What did you see/experience? I’ve never been out of the country, but I’ve moved from southern California to southern Oregon, and now to northern California. I’ve spent extensive amounts of time in southern Washington – home of my happy place.
  • Do you prefer comfortable clothes or dressing nicely? I was a classy dresser during my career as a secretary/receptionist. Now I prefer comfy over class, and it’s not unheard of for me to stay in my jammies all day long if there aren’t any errands I need to run.
  • If you could visit any cartoon world, which one would it be? Tom & Jerry. They rock.
  • If you could visit any fictional world, which one would it be? Forks, Washington. Yes, I admit it. I’m a Twilight fan.
  • If you were suddenly tossed into your favorite TV show, what would you change in that world? The Curse of Oak Island. I’d make sure the treasure was found. Sooner, rather than later.
  • What’s your favorite comfort food? Pepperoni pizza.
  • If there was one food you could get rid of, which one would it be? Pickles. Pickles are the devil.
  • Who’s your favorite superhero? Wonder Woman. The new one, with the Israeli actress. I wanna be her!
  • What’s your favorite holiday? Toss-up between Christmas and Easter.
  • Why is that one special to you? Christmas because it’s the birth of Jesus, and everybody gets the feels for family and friends. Easter because it’s both a remembrance of the death of Jesus, and His resurrection three days later.
  • What’s one tradition you can’t imagine doing without? Christmas Eve dinner with the family.
  • What historical figure inspires you most? William Wallace. We’re not related, but he showed great courage and dedication against horrendous odds.
  • Which mythological figure do you relate to best? Aphrodite
  • If you had to have a mythological creature as a pet, which one would it be? Centaur
  • What was your favorite stuffed animal as a child? Does this toy show up in your writing? A stuffed bunny. And yes, it shows up in Wednesday’s Child.
  • What author would you most like to meet? J.A. Jance, hands down!
  • You get to bring one of your characters into the real world. Which one is it and why? What do you hope to accomplish through your relationship with this character? Lindsay Williams (from Prodigal Hearts), Stephanie’s sister. She’s an irrepressible teenager who never backs down from a challenge.