Guest Post from Jake Bible!

stone-cold-bastards-200x300x72There are endless blog posts and workshops and seminars about character, plot development, voice, cutting passive voice, and all that authory stuff. There are entire websites devoted to spotlighting great covers and mocking the not so great ones. Authors jabber on about their muse and their depressing childhoods and how they had that moment in the shower where their entire novel came to them in a flash and they had to jump out all soaking wet to write it down.

But, you know what?

You don’t hear much about the titles of novels.

Yes, sometimes authors complain on social media about not being able to come up with a title. But the reality is, the title is just as important as everything else, yet it’s almost a throwaway item. An afterthought.

For me, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

I’m all about the title.

The vast majority of the time, I’ve come up with the title before I even have a concept of the novel. I will admit that sometimes the title is the concept. Take Roak: Galactic Bounty Hunter, for example. Can you guess what that one is about? Or a new project I’ll be working on in a couple of months, Mech Corps? Not exactly brain surgery to figure that one out.

Now we come to Stone Cold Bastards.

This title slammed into my brain and I instantly made a note on my phone. I loved the name. Stone Cold Bastards. It brought to mind Lee Marvin and The Dirty Dozen. It conjured images of 1970’s WWII grindhouse action flicks. I knew someone in that book had to be chomping on a cigar. Oh, they had to be.

But, what was it about?

Again, it was right there in the title. Stone and cold.

Gargoyles.

Oh, hell, yes! Gargoyles!

I hadn’t done a gargoyle novel before. I mean, I hadn’t even read a gargoyle novel before, but, damn if I wasn’t going to write one!

So, I channelled all that Lee Marvin cool swagger and set to work creating a world where a ragtag team of misfit gargoyles have to protect the last of humanity from the demon-possessed hordes that have taken over the world. I created a n apocalyptic setting and wrote in a genre that I wasn’t all that familiar with. I brought those bastards to life.

And all because three words popped into my head one night.

Folks can have all their character analysis and plot development and other authory stuff they want. For me, it all begins with a smashing good title.

Stone Cold Bastards is now available from these retailers:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mgq4ua

About the Author:jake_bible-jpg

Jake Bible, Bram Stoker Award nominated-novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, has entertained thousands with his horror, sci/fi, thriller, and adventure tales. He reaches audiences of all ages with his uncanny ability to write a wide range of characters and genres.

Jake is the author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series set in Asheville, NC, the bestselling Salvage Merc One, the Apex Trilogy (DEAD MECH, The Americans, Metal and Ash) and the Mega series for Severed Press, as well as the YA zombie novel, Little Dead Man, the Bram Stoker Award nominated Teen horror novel, Intentional Haunting, the ScareScapes series, and the Reign of Four series for Permuted Press.

Find Jake at jakebible.com. Join him on Twitter @jakebible and find him on Facebook.

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Anthony Francis – Guest Post!

jeremiah_willstone_and_tctm-200x300x72The Philosophy behind Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine

Jeremiah Willstone is a special novel for me, because the smallest of inspirations blossomed into a project that reflects my deepest values. I fell in love with steampunk at Dragon Con 2009, where I saw many amazing steampunk costumes, in particular a young woman with a steam-powered gatling gun. My training as a science fiction writer makes me pick at the loose threads of imagined worlds, so I started to wonder not just what technology could power that gun, but what social changes could have enabled a young woman to become a Victorian soldier.

I’ve been interested in women’s rights since I was a child. Most of the protagonists I write about – Dakota Frost, Cinnamon Frost, Serendipity the Centaur – are female. I once even described myself as “hyper-feminist” until I met some genuine radical feminists with far more militant views, and to whom I gladly donate the term for use in their cause. Still, without trying to crimp the style of men who enjoy being men, women who enjoy being women, and people of all stripes who enjoy their differences, I’ve always been committed to the proposition that everyone in our world should get a fair shake no matter their gender – and always appalled as I learned more and more about the history of oppression of women.

So I decided to make the liberation of women a central feature of the Jeremiah Willstone world. During my research I was surprised to find that the mother of Mary Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, was a women’s liberation pioneer over a century before modern women’s suffrage; I was also surprised to find that Queen Victoria was a renowned women’s rights opponent. I researched the whole Victorian era, becoming quite appalled at how married women could be forced to work by their husbands – who could then confiscate all those earnings and go drink them away. The Victorians made great progress over the course of their era, mind you, but I wanted to create a society where those problems were already solved.

Thus, in my world, Mary Wollstonecraft survived to pursue women’s rights. Her daughter, Mary Shelley, changed her name to Mark Willstone to make the case for full liberation. Her daughter in turn became the first in a line of female soldiers that eventually produced my protagonist, Jeremiah Willstone. I imagined a world every bit as liberated as ours – perhaps moreso – but with key differences. For example, rather than collapsing male and female pronouns into a generic “they”, the people of Jeremiah’s world always say out “men and women” or “gentlewomen and gentlemen” as a way of writing inclusion into their everyday language.

Writing this world from Jeremiah’s perspective was difficult. After all, I’m a “guy” – technically speaking, a hetero-leaning bisexual male presenting a cis-normative appearance – and no matter how much I try to learn and empathize, I don’t have the experiences that a woman has growing up in an often male-dominated world. So I did research from a variety of perspectives, trying to give voice to real arguments by feminist scholars into the story. I didn’t get everything right. I probably still didn’t, but when depicting the clash of cultures between Jeremiah’s world and our own, I inadvertently made Jeremiah act as the stand-in for her entire world, and made the women she met as a stand-in for our entire world.

But one person is not the whole world. Our world is filled with Queen Victorias and Mary Wollstonecrafts and a whole spectrum of people between. I listened carefully to all the comments of my friends and beta readers, some of whom had strong opinions, which led to long conversations. I shaved off some of Jeremiah’s prickly edges and added nuance, but it wasn’t enough. Finally, in conversation with my editor Debra Dixon, we had a brainflash: to flip many of the arguments that I wanted to make. Instead of having Jeremiah come off as a full-of-herself lecturing crusader, I instead expanded the world, creating new characters and new situations that challenged Jeremiah to respond with respect and nuance.

The world you and I share has made many advances in women’s rights, but it’s still a world where a young woman recently won a Nobel Prize for getting shot in the face for advocating the radical proposition that she should be allowed to go to school. Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine is a novel of derring-do and steam, action and adventure – but one in which issues of women’s rights are first and foremost, even as the novel recognizes and respects the broad spectrum of opinions of people on this fundamentally important topic. I hope your visit with Jeremiah makes you think about the history and progress of women’s rights – but those issues never get in the way of having the fun on her adventures. Enjoy!

Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine is now available at these retailers:

About the Author:author-pic-for-book-color-adjusted

By day Anthony Francis studies human and other minds to design intelligent machines and emotional robots; by night he writes fiction and draws comic books at the collision point of hard science and pure fantasy. He was inspired to study artificial intelligence by Douglas Hofstadter, to become a writer by Isaac Asimov, and to write urban fantasy by Laurell K. Hamilton and Richard P. Feynman. He got his Ph.D in AI and his brown belt in Taido from Georgia Tech; he currently supports his out-of-control reading and writing habits by working at the Search Engine That Starts With a G. Anthony lives in San Jose with his wife and cats but his heart will always belong in Atlanta.

The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige

the-wicked-will-riseI have a feeling this will end up being my least favorite out of all of the books. Just because I’ve found that the second book in a series like this is usually just filler. In a way, this book meets that assumption. That’s just because by the time it ends, nothing has truly been accomplished. That doesn’t mean it isn’t good! It’s great!!

I did love this book because it answered almost all of my questions from the first book. Forty pages in and I was bragging to my friends how I was, “finally getting answers!!” Of course, after finishing, I have more questions that will – HOPEFULLY – by answered in book three. Also, *possible spoiler alert* but Pete is a friggin’ punk and a half. Never trust a man with big, beautiful, green eyes. -_-

I so desperately wanted Amy to be able to help him. I was trying to think of ways myself! And although I understand his feelings behind what he did, that doesn’t make it okay. Part of me is saying screw him, save Ozma, sayonara Pete . . . but more of me is still saying save both of them, then just never talk to Pete again – that will probably be the better option for Amy. I could have called her “battle with the darkness” from a hundred billion miles away, blindfolded, but I am enjoying how it’s playing out. Every time you think, “Oh. She’s done with it. She knows better now, she’s fine.” Then she’s turning into a – literal – monster right in front of you! These books are great! I’m enjoying them so much. Pick up The Wicked Will Rise by clicking this link!

 

About the Author:danielle-paige

Danielle Paige is the New York Times bestselling author of the Dorothy Must Die seriesand the upcoming  Stealing Snow series (Bloomsbury, 2016). In addition to writing young adult books, she works in the television industry, where she’s received a Writers Guild of America Award and was nominate d for several Daytime Emmys. She is a graduate of Columbia University and currently lives in New York City. You can find her on twitter and instagram.

Val Shapiro’s 10 Tips For Living With a Hellhound by Parker Blue

  1. Val FaceSet boundaries right away—you are not your hellhound’s servant (no matter how much he treats you like one).
  1. Never, ever feed him dog food. Keep a good pizza delivery place on speed dial—it’s the best way to shut him up and keep him occupied. Besides, with his constitution, he can eat anything.
  1. Get used to having your every thought listened to and commented on. If you can’t take it, move out, ’cause he’s not going to. There are benefits, though—he can read other demons’ thoughts and clue you in.
  1. If you own a motorcycle, get him his own seat and a pair of goggles—he’ll want to go everywhere with you, so you both might as well be comfortable.
  1. Don’t lie to yourself or him, even a little bit—he’ll definitely call you on it. Repeatedly.
  1. Find him a hellhound girlfriend—it’s the only way to get him out of your hair for a bit so you might be able to have a normal relationship with a guy. It helps if the hellhound girlfriend is a self-involved diva, so she’ll keep him hopping.
  1. Teach him how to use the remote. TV is a great babysitter when you’re too busy to entertain him.
  1. Buy lots of lint rollers—the shedding is a pain!
  1. Praise him constantly—his ego needs it. Plus, he usually deserves it.
  1. Keep him happy, ’cause he’s the best friend you’ll ever have. Sometimes he even offers good advice.

BITE ME is on sale for FREE til January!! I know I’m picking it up, are you?

Bite Me

And the best part is that it’s a series! Grab the rest of The Demon Underground novels at the links below! I’m totally fan-girling right now. ;D

 Try MeFang MeMake MeDare MeCatch Me

About the Author:

ParkerBlueFace

 

Parker Blue lives in Colorado Springs with three rescue dogs, one of whom resembles her favorite character, Fang, the snarky hellhound.

 

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

41UK-eJ4fXL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_

Jenna Fox is a seventeen year old coma patient/car accident survivor who has just woken up….without her memories. As Jenna works to remember who she is, she realizes that her family is keeping secrets from her. Secrets about Jenna’s accident, her recovery, and what these things may mean for her future. Can Jenna depend on her new friends and her suddenly distant Grandmother for the truth? Even if she can, will it be too much to take? 

This was my third time reading this book and it was just as good as the times before. Mary E. Pearson has created a story that will draw you in and keep you there. You just have to figure out what is going on with Jenna! Why are her parents acting so strange? Where are her friends who were in the accident with her? Was she responsible? This book is amazing that it brings up so many questions and answers them all by the end. And the characters all have their own life that shines through. Even though you’re constantly on Jenna’s side, it’s easy to see what other characters are thinking and feeling and why certain ones made the decisions they did. A great book for any aged reader. Absolutely amazing.

Make sure you pick up THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX today! Also, I recently found out it is the first of a series! Review on the second book to come! 🙂