Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Dead Sea - Now Available!

On the open seas, nothing is more deadly than the cold and uncaring ocean...

...until the dead start to rise from beneath the waves and take their vengeance on the living.

Cruentus Libri Press brings you sixteen tales of horror and the macabre set upon the high seas, where vampires and zombies, werewolves and ghouls and every manner of undead fiend is ready to slake their thirst and where there is no escape, save for the cold, eternal embrace of the inky black water.

I'm excited to announce the release of The Dead Sea from Cruentus Libri, featuring my terrifying tale The Curse of the Cristobal, plus fifteen others. It's available as a paperback and as an ebook.

The Dead Sea - Paperback
The Dead Sea - Kindle ebook

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Creating a Plausible, Consistent Supernatural World - A Guest Post from Shah Wharton

Today's guest blogger is Shah Wharton, who is here to talk about how you go about creating a plausible, consistent supernatural world. She knows a thing or two about the topic, being the author of Finding Esta, an urban fantasy novel about a fledgling journalist who discovers more than she ever bargained for. Take it away, Shah: 

Firstly, thank you Brent for having me on your lovely blog, today. 
* * * 
In essence, the surreal and the inconceivable are what fantasy stories are all about, so this is a difficult question to answer. Every fantasy story must possess a lush, dynamic story, which plays out within a magical world, constructed of characters who must travel beyond their normal, everyday world, for some kind of adventure. Even if they live in the same world we live in, other, possibly unseen, mystical elements must also be presented at some point.

With urban fantasy for example, the world in which the characters reside is usually our world. The only difference is that it’s another version of our world, but with layers. In my book, the Supes layer is where vampires, weres, witches, fey, and even the Mimicanes (an alien race who’ve cloned human appearance and supernatural powers for thousands of years) live.  And the paranormal layer consists of lost spirits who languish in the Shadow Lands for all eternity, unless they have power enough to walk beside you, unseen. All of whom seek refuge, or a one way ticket to move on.

Brent’s question is a difficult one to answer, not least of all because it’s subjective, but in keeping with a how-to post for story craft, I’d recommend you do the following:

1)      Choose the magical/supernatural characters with care. They must maintain not only your own interest, but your readers, too. Indeed, if this is a series, that could mean many months, even years of writing time spent with them. You don’t want to choose vampires if you are already bored of them (I doubt I’ll ever get bored of them). Research other stories about them before, then try to give the element/characteristics your own twist.
2)      Keep a log of all magical/supernatural elements, and keep detailed notes on the supernatural characters who possess them. Scrivener is a perfect storage place for all your notes.
3)      Devise a map of your world, even if it’s the world in which we live, because the supernatural elements should be added as a separate layer on top. It needs to feel as real as our own world, but different enough to be awesome!
4)      You must, above all else, believe in the world, and the characters you’re writing about. Otherwise, your readers certainly will not. I think the same can be said of any story or genre. If the author of a great romance doesn’t believe in her characters' love, the readers will sense that and put the book down.
Do you write fantasy stories? What can you add to this list? Do you read fantasy? If so which is your favourite fantasy genre?

Shah Wharton

Author of Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Fiction



Saturday, March 2, 2013

Quarter Share Podiobook

My treadmill entertainment for the past few weeks has been Nathan Lowell's Quarter Share, "a tale from the golden age of the solar clipper." I've blogged about the ebook before, but this is the first time I've listened to the podiobook.

The story is simple but compelling. 18-year-old Ishmael Wang loses his mother in a flitter crash and finds himself in a predicament. A corporation owns the planet he lives on. He has to get a job or get off of the planet, and he can't afford the fare. With few choices available, he signs on as crew on a passing trading ship.

From there we follow Ishmael as he tries to find his place in a strange new environment. Nothing really exciting happens. There are no battles, no mortal danger. The classic tropes of space opera are missing. And yet the stakes are extremely high. Ishmael has been thrust into a new life, and he has to find a way to make it work.

Overall I was quite impressed. The story pulled me in on the first page and never let me go, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. It's a coming-of-age story set in a fascinating and detailed environment. I felt as if I was peeking into the future and seeing what life on a real interstellar spaceship might be like.

A few parts were a bit slow, as I got more detail than I needed about the minutia of Ishmael's day. And there's a description of the economics of trading that becomes downright repetitive. But these are minor blips. Overall the quality of the storytelling is absolutely excellent.

You can read it as an ebook, but It's available in audio form as well. It's free from here:

The quality of the audiobook is quite high. Not every author should record their own reading of a book, but Lowell does an excellent job. Nothing about it sounds amateurish or home-made. It's excellent work.

I usually like a bit more excitement in my books, but Quarter Share is excellent and I'm glad I picked it up.

Series website: