Jennifer Brozek | All posts tagged 'guest-blog'

Urban Fantasy Roundtable

by Jennifer Brozek 27. December 2014 10:03

The authors of Under an Enchanted Skyline box set ($0.99, available only until Dec 31st), participated in an urban fantasy roundtable.

Most Urban Fantasy stories focus on magical creatures and entities. Even so, ordinary people still play important roles within the story line. Do these “normals” have much of an impact in your story…and if so, in what ways?


Erik Scott de Bie: As a superhero adventure, Eye for an Eye is a bit of a black sheep: it features exactly one character with magical abilities—Lady Vengeance. In addition to her high-tech hero opposite, Stardust, the story features a series of mundane characters, including The Raven, who is the tech-based vigilante you’d get if you combined Iron Man and Batman, and Elizabeth Stevens, Stardust’s non-superhero wife, tech company tycoon, and the smartest person in the whole novella.

Phoebe Matthews: Always. It is the normals who have to solve the problems created by magic and by paranormals. Sorry, no superheroes here.

Django Wexler: Yes, definitely. Again, a common UF trope is that the protagonist is in some way special, somewhere between the monsters and the normals so he or she can serve as a guide to the fantastic for the readers. In the John Golden stories, this is literally true, since John’s only real power is to transport himself to the fairy burrows and back again. But since fairy burrows run on real-world computer systems, he has to deal with the “normals" who build and maintain them – system administrators, executives, users, and so on. He’s more or less an exterminator, since fairies are a nuisance!

Janine A. Southard: As the collection’s compiler, I don’t have a story in this boxed set. I have, however, had the chance to read them all. Each author in this bundle blends fantasy characters into the normal world, or vice versa. There couldn’t be a super-natural adventure without a familiar jumping off point. In some cases the protagonists are as magical as magical can be, making their way in our normal world. In others, simply touching the magical world transforms a normal person’s experience.

Cedar Blake: Well, Luke and Chalice provide the impetus for Rachel’s “transition,” and Rachel’s rotten manager Margie supplies the push that gets her going. Her pal Ashli (inspired by a real-life friend of mine back when I lived in the Bay Area) adds an essential (in)sanity check for Rachel, and Kim the Yoga Girl acts as sort of a benevolent archon figure, watching over the point of transition and providing a small yet significant test as the hero steps from one threshold to another. So yeah – Rachel’s story could not exist without these key figures. “Normal” or otherwise, they provide foundations and activities that make everything else possible.

Jennifer Brozek: Absolutely. The mundane people in a story become the “everyman” characters that the Reader can identify with. They are the normal people who have to face extraordinary circumstances. Many characters in my UF series are normal people just trying to get by as they are affected by the supernatural events going on around them. Many times, they show that the normal person can be just as effective as the supernatural creature.

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Other questions and their roundtable answers are with: Phil, Erik, Phoebe, Doug, and Janine. This was a great roundtable. And I hope you all enjoyed it.

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Bubble and Squeek for 4 Dec 2013

by Jennifer Brozek 4. December 2013 11:22

Guest Blog: I talk about why Human for a Day is my favorite anthology edited so far.

Interview: Pat Flewwelling (who has the coolest last name) interviewed me for Nine Day Wonder with an editor's focus.

Interview: Dave Gross interviewed me for his Creative Colleagues blog series. We talked about keeping a schedule and balancing editing versus writing and RPGs.

Review: A starred review in Publishers Weekly - Elementary: All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters - I have a story in this set in the wild west called "The Price of Family." It's a dark story.

Recommendation: Broodhollow. A lovely, creepy webcomic by Kris Straub set in the 1930s. You should start at the beginning. It's got a subtle wrongness to it on top of the outright horror.

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Tell Me – Michaelbrent Collings

by Jennifer Brozek 21. October 2013 10:53

The Colony Saga
i.e., Let’s Talk Zombies

Okay, short bit about me (so’s y’all know I’ve got street cred, yo): I’m an indie author.  I write spec-fic: sci-fi, fantasy, horror.

Mostly horror.

I’m a produced screenwriter (two horror movies), member of the Horror Writers of America, and have been one of Amazon’s Most Popular Horror Writers for most of the last year.  I’ve written about ghosts, vampires, serial killers, demons, devils.  If it goes bump in the night, I’m interested.  But one thing I’ve never done is a multi-volume work. 

Until now.  And it’s a zombie story.

Usually when I write, I can tell pretty much how long the book’s going to end up being.  But when I started writing The Colony Saga, I discovered to my chagrin that the first two plot points took over two hundred pages to cover.  And that was because I was trying to do something a bit different with my zombies. 

In most zombie stories, the zombies are essentially interchangeable with a force of nature.  They are an earthquake, or a series of twisters, or a tsunami.  They are there to be dealt with as an additional problem in between the “real” story issues: a marriage on the rocks, a group of plucky survivors who have to deal with the power mad/rapey governor/priest/ex-biker/whatever who lives nearby and wants what they have.  The real questions aren’t about the zombies (“Where did they come from?”  “How do we get rid of them?”), they are about the people.  So the zombies become a stumbling block in service of the author.

Concerned Husband: Honey, let’s sit down and talk about our marital problems.
Spunky Wife: You just haven’t understood me since we lost little Timmy.
Concerned Husband: But I’m here now.  Let’s figure it out.
Spunky Wife: Okay, let’s –
Zombie Horde: Rowrrrr!
Concerned Husband: Oops!  Gotta get outta here!
Spunky Wife: I know!  We’ll figure out our marriage after this brief survival episode!
Zombie Horde: ROWRRRR!
(three weeks later)
Spunky Wife: Good thing we found that abandoned military installation and weapons cache!
Concerned Husband: I know!  Should we talk about our marriage now?
Zombie Horde: Rowrrr!
Spunky Wife: Headshots rule!

I wanted to do something different.  I wanted to create a world where zombies are THE ONLY problem.  Where you don’t have time to really get into a bitch-slap fight with your neighbor, because time is all too precious.  If you argue, you die.  That’s it.  But that meant I had to create a whole different kind of zombie.  A kind of zombie immune to typical “zombie killing” methods.  Headshots won’t work.  Setting ‘em on fire isn’t an option.

And the zombies had to have a reason.  Most zombie stories are, again, about a natural event.  Even the viral zombies that are so in vogue now are at heart a natural event, in the sense that nature has fought back against humanity overstepping its bounds.  So the zombies become a sort of modern wrath of God.  A crucible to burn away the impure – morality plays on a massive scale.  But never really explained beyond that.

I wanted zombies with purpose.  I wanted them so scary that there literally appears to be no way to stop them.  I wanted survivors who were at their cores good people, willing to put aside differences in order to try to save not just themselves, but the human race.

And I wanted to do the one thing that no zombie story has ever really done, to fully address the most horrific aspect of zombies. 

As to what that is… well, I gotta keep some secrets in reserve.  But there are things worse than dying.  Worse than not staying dead.

Zombies are a lot of fun to read, and a lot of fun to write.  Whether I’ve accomplished my mission of creating a completely new kind of zombie is something that I can’t answer – I’ll have to leave that to my readers.  But it’s taught me a lot about horror, about the nature of community, and about the things that are truly worth fearing.


The Colony: Genesis (The Colony, Vol. 1):
Kindle
Paperback

The Colony: Renegades (The Colony, Vol. 2)
Kindle
Paperback

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Michaelbrent Collings is a #1 bestselling novelist and screenwriter. His bestsellers include Strangers, Darkbound, Apparition, The Haunted, The Loon, and the YA fantasy series The Billy Saga (beginning with Billy: Messenger of Powers). He hopes someday to develop superpowers, and maybe get a cool robot arm. Michaelbrent has a wife and several kids, all of whom are much better looking than he is (though he admits that's a low bar to set), and much MUCH cooler than he is (also a low bar). Michaelbrent also has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MichaelbrentCollings and can be followed on Twitter through his username @mbcollings. Follow him for awesome news, updates, and advance notice of sales. You will also be kept safe when the Glorious Revolution begins!

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Tell Me - Matthew Warner

by Jennifer Brozek 7. October 2013 10:08

I've never met Matt but I gotta give it to him... I love this book trailer. It's the kind of book trailer I'd like. Give it a look.-JLB

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The Correct Response is "Whoa"

by Matthew Warner

As in, "Whoa, baby. That looks awesome." As in, "It looks so awesome, I gotta buy that book right the hell now."

That's the reaction I want you to have to my new book trailer about The Seventh Equinox, coming Nov. 6 from Raw Dog Screaming Press. (Hopefully, you'll remain that enthusiastic after you read it.)

Did you know someone owns the term book trailer? Yep. It's a service mark, registration #2868140, duly recorded at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. But that doesn't stop hordes of writers from creating videos about their novels and calling them "book trailers," as if they're on par with trailers at the movie theater.

But here's the rub. Most of them suck. I'm sorry, but they do. They're text-heavy, too long, and they look like they were made with PowerPoint in less than 15 minutes. But you get what you pay for, and most writers don't have the dough to hire actors and CG artists. I'm not saying I do, either. Not usually. In fact, I'm certain I blew all my future royalties several times over when I collaborated with Darkstone Entertainment to make the 2.5-minute video linked below. But I'm happy to do it in the interests of recruiting new readers, hopefully ones who will stick with me for life. I have another job to keep me in whiskey, so I don't mind raking all my writing income back into advertising. My publishers don't seem to mind, either.

For this trailer, it helped to have a target audience firmly in mind. The Seventh Equinox is set in the fictitious city of Augusta, Virginia, based on my home of Staunton. I didn't set it in the real Staunton because I wanted some leeway in my descriptions of geography and government, and also to insulate me from potential libel suits. In my book, the sheriff is an alcoholic, bigoted redneck, while the real-life Staunton police chief is anything but.

Anyway, I still want locals to buy my book, because its descriptions otherwise ring with regional flavor. That's why a Staunton landmark, the Clock Tower, appears on the book cover. And that's why, when I wrote the trailer script (which you're welcome to read here), I loaded it with Staunton landmarks, such as Betsy Bell Mountain. During the three-day shoot, I even revised it to include more local landmarks, such as the Gypsy Hill Park band stand and the iconic DeJarnette buildings.

The other thing I did differently with this trailer was to load it with multiple settings and story lines, more like a real movie trailer. My previous three trailers for Blood Born were each confined to one or two locales. That made this one three times as hard to make. Read more about the sausage-making at The Seventh Equinox's production blog.

So, what did I learn from all this? New ways to nervously pull my hair out when production problems sometimes cropped up. I also learned I should keep my mouth shut when an actress is working herself into an emotional state at my request. (Major kudos to actress Elle Clark for crying real tears.)

The jury is still out on my main questions, which are: did it help to target a local audience, and was the more cinematic writing style worth the trouble?

Maybe you can help me figure it out. In the meantime, enjoy (book trailer link)!

 


Matthew Warner's new novel, The Seventh Equinox, comes out from Raw Dog Screaming Press on Nov. 6, 2013. Preorders receive $2 off.

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Tell Me - Louise Turner

by Jennifer Brozek 30. September 2013 10:29

I’ve never met Louise but I follow her archeology blog because she’s always got something interesting going on. I’m pleased to hear about how she used her work and love of history to come up with her debut novel, Fire and Sword (Amazon US, Amazon UK).

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First of all, a big ‘thank you’ to Jennifer Brozek for her invitation!  Deciding what to write has been quite a challenge:  I wondered at first if I should talk about why I actually write historical fiction, when my background as a reader and a writer is  grounded firmly in science fiction and fantasy.  But I’ve decided instead to focus more closely on the plot of my debut novel, Fire & Sword (published by Hadley Rille Books)  and the research which underpins it.

History is littered with drama and intrigue, undertaken by a plethora of sometimes quite unsavoury individuals.  And yet I chose to write my novel about a relatively unknown individual who is hardly mentioned in the national story.  Why I took this difficult path and the work involved in pursuing it is what I’d like to talk about today.

I live in Renfrewshire, just west of Glasgow. When I started writing Fire and Sword, it seemed practical to write a story set close to home, mainly because I was unemployed at the time and the wealth of on-line archival resources that we have now was unheard of. 

The local history books were full of inconsequential details along the lines of, “See those Semples?  They were dodgy characters, always feuding.  See those Montgomeries?  They were a right bad crowd, always feuding.”  After wading through page after page of this kind of stuff, I must admit I found myself wondering how I’d ever find something worth writing about.

Then something caught my eye.  A brief passage, referring to John, 1st Lord Sempill.  I can’t remember the exact wording, but it went somewhere along the lines of, ‘His father Sir Thomas Sempill died defending the King at the Battle of Sauchieburn in June, 1488, and a year later John was made 1st Lord Sempill.’

Now, King James III was murdered after Sauchieburn, which meant that John Sempill’s father was killed while fighting on the losing side.  This meant that his son and heir, John, was back in favour with his successor James IV just a year later. 

I was intrigued.  I continued my research, and learned that the constant feuding was invariably an aggrieved response to specific political events.  By weaving together the national picture with the local historical accounts, I unearthed a story which was very interesting indeed, but much was inference and supposition.  As a historian or an archaeologist, I couldn’t take the next step which linked all this together. 

But as a novelist, I could.

The facts formed a rigid framework around which I had to build a story, but everything else depended on the characters.  The process of creating characters who seemed realistic and compelling and true to their time was another major challenge.  With some individuals, including John, I didn’t even know their date of birth.  Some major detective work ensued.  How many siblings did they have?  Who were their closest relatives?  What did they achieve in their lives? Who did their children marry? 

In John’s case, he was the only son in a family which included at least three girls.  While his father was clearly allied politically with the Cunninghame clan, John became increasingly linked with their local rivals, the Montgomeries.  The Montgomeries and the Cunninghames were at each others’ throats in nearby Ayrshire.  But during John’s life, while he was Sheriff of Renfrew, these same two families maintained a peaceful co-existence.

I like to think that John, 1st Lord Sempill was ahead of his time.  While most of his contemporaries were happy to feud and burn, John was a builder, a supporter of the arts.  His legacy includes one of the few privately funded collegiate churches to be built in the west of Scotland, a site which still can be visited today.  He was, in effect, a true Renaissance man. 

Even the most accomplished of historians can’t give John much of a voice or an identity.  With just a scattering of charters to his name, his was a fleeting presence in a world dominated by much louder, more strident personalities.

But a novelist can take a leap of inference, and travel to places that the historian or archaeologist can only dream of.  And what an adventure it has been, trying to accomplish this in a manner which is entertaining to the reader, while remaining plausible and convincing and sympathetic to the facts!

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Louise Turner’s debut novel Fire and Sword is set in late 15th century Scotland and has recently been published by Hadley Rille Books.  For further information about Louise and her work, see www.louiseturner.co.uk.

 

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Fromt AIP: Jay Lake’s Process of Writing Contest

by Jennifer Brozek 16. September 2013 09:38

Jay Lake’s Process of Writing is officially out! Of course, we, at Apocalypse Ink Productions, need to have a contest for it. Link this page on Facebook, twitter, or your blog between now and September 30th to be entered into a contest to win the last signed and numbered limited JayWake hardback edition of Jay Lake’s Process of Writing, complete with Howard Tayler’s artwork. You will also receive a JayWake pin and a JayWake smooshed penny. This contest is not limited by geography.

If your entry is on Facebook or on your blog, post that link on Twitter directed to @ApocalypseInk or contact us through email at contest@apocalypse-ink.com

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Sample Tweet:
Just released from @ApocalypseInk - @Jay_Lake’s Process of Writing. Win the JayWake edition! http://bit.ly/13fXDMg #contest RT to win.

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Sample Facebook status update:
New from Apocalypse Ink Productions, Jay Lake’s Process of Writing. Now available in physical and e-book formats. Win the JayWake edition! http://bit.ly/13fXDMg

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What will you win? We’re glad you asked. Take a look.

Hardback limited JayWake edition of Jay Lake’s Process of Writing. #47/50 and signed by Jay Lake.

The smooshed JayWake penny gifted by Janna Silverstein.

The JayWake pin designed by Howard Tayler and gifted by Minerva Zimmerman.

 

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Tell Me - J Tullos Hennig

by Jennifer Brozek 9. September 2013 10:49

Is it possible to have worked on a book for nearly 30 years?  No, strike that... a lifetime?

You see, my novel Shirewode will be released on 09 September, the second book in a duology of Robin Hood.  It is singular amongst other recent retellings of the legend, in that it melds the hard edge of historical fact with the undeniable myth and magic of a vanishing primordial forest.  It also has high romance straight from the original ballads... with a subversive and timely twist, of course.

And time has haunted these books.  It's been a bloody long haul to get here, to this place where I have two actual novels in my hand instead of promises, and good reviews in print instead of well-meaning reassurances. The duology originally began over thirty years ago as a trilogy called Greenwode, on the verge of contract with an SF/F publisher.  The main editor of that imprint died, and in the fallout a lot of things that were going to happen, didn't.  It was the beginning of a run with very, very bad luck on so many fronts--and we all know luck is a big factor in publishing.

I retreated from the field, done in.   But the writing still lay in wait.  Other books were written, shared amongst comrades, put away in the files.  And amidst them waited what would become Greenwode and Shirewode, patient outlaws in ambush.  These manuscripts, gift from a childhood of pretending to be Robin Hood... of hunting and running wild over ploughed fields and through thick forests, of shooting arrows and falling in ponds, of climbing trees and chasing cousins and half-wild ponies that stood in for Sheriff's Men...

Well, these manuscripts were determined to be my debut upon a battlefield where I never again thought to stand.  I'm no longer a starry-eyed twentysomething, and it was on mere chance and whim I pulled the trilogy-that-was from my file cabinets and thought about rewriting them... then did rewrite them.  A lot.  Then, in a process so lacking the chaos of my previous encounters that it felt like the fates were, finally, aligning beside instead of against, publication... happened.  A copy of Greenwode sits in glorious colour upon my shelves.  Not too long ago I got my just-as-glorious copy of Shirewode.  End, yet merely another beginning, Shirewode sits on my shelf next to its mate, right between Heinlein and Herriot...  and what fine company is that?

So.  I spent some years railing at whatever gods would listen (still do, sometimes), but it all comes down to this:

I'm writing better books than I was thirty years ago.

Shirewode, and Greenwode, and whatever books come after are, perhaps, the books they intended to be, all along.

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Tell Me – Dylan Birtolo

by Jennifer Brozek 2. September 2013 10:37

Dylan Birtolo is a great friend of mine and I have had the privilege of working for him several times. This time, I do have skin in the game. It is my company that will be publishing the Sheynan trilogy. The Kickstarter (5 days left) involved is already funded with extra books coming from Apocalypse Ink Productions. Dylan is here to tell me who his fictional hero is and why.

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We all have heroes when we are growing up – people that we respect, admire, and want to emulate or even become. As you can imagine, I was a very imaginative child and grew up with a lot of science fiction and fantasy, for which I am immensely grateful. Heck, I am told that the first book I “read” was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The story I have been told is that I had it read to me so many times that I memorized the words and “read along.” Needless to say, there were a lot of opportunities to find heroes.

The one that rose to the top was Buckaroo Banzai from the cult hit The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Why was he my hero above and beyond all of the other stories I read or watched? I had Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia and more to pull from – a very competitive lineup. Quite simply, he did everything. He was a scientist, a race car driver, a neurosurgeon, a martial artist, a rock star, and had his own comic book. He was everything that you could possibly be. I guess when I was a child and my parents said I could be anything I wanted, I took that to mean that I could be EVERYTHING.

With writing, I get a taste of that. For me, writing is a form of wish fulfillment. I get to create worlds and characters that can do anything, where anything is possible. I have the opportunity to write the stories that I want to read. There are characters and worlds in my head that I want to explore, and “what if” questions I want to see the answers to. Writing is a way to do that. Not only that, but it also lets me share those ideas with others.

This is especially true because I write a lot of fantasy. The idea for my first novel, The Shadow Chaser, was born from a very simple wish. I wished that I had the ability to change into an animal. That got my brain going. What if I could? What if I wasn’t the only one? How would it work? What if there were hundreds of people living in this world who can do it, and we just don’t know about them? That was the seed that grew into this novel.

While I may not be able to do everything (although I am making as good a stab at it as I can), being a writer lets me emulate Buckaroo in my own way.

Right now I am in the tail end of a Kickstarter campaign to rewrite my first two novels and write the third in the series. I’m excited about this. It is an opportunity to revisit one of the first worlds I created with all of the writing skills and knowledge I have now. I have gotten to the point where, while I am proud of what I have done with my first novels, I cringe a little to read them because I know I am a much better writer now. With this project, I will be able to go back and give this world another turn so I can share it again with people.

Because let’s face it – a world where some people can take on the shape of an animal sounds like a lot of fun.

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Tell Me – Scott Gable

by Jennifer Brozek 26. August 2013 09:35

I met Scott at a convention. He was funny, happy, and enthusiastic. A real pleasure to be around. When he asked me to write for By Faerie Light, I agreed and I'm so pleased with how my story, "A Nightmare for Anna," came out. Thus, I'm not unbiased about this anthology or kickstarter. Just 10 days to go to fund this kickstarter. And there's so much more offered by Broken Eye Books than the marvelous anthology talked about below.

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What is By Faerie Light? It's the bump in the night, the forgotten memories, the stolen children. It's the worlds unseen within your dreams, hidden in the trees, lost in your cupboard. It's the tricksy, dark, otherworldly personalities of the fae.

By Faerie Light is an anthology of dark fantasy. Specifically, it focuses on the supernatural creatures you like to call fae. These are tales of moral ambiguity and emotional intensity. Frightful and fanciful. They draw from our own mythologies and folklores, but these aren't fables or retellings of classics. There are no lessons here to learn. We just want to play with your heads.

And really, that's our greatest joy. The fair folk are such a treasure trove of wonderful stories. They’re unpredictable and complicated. Anything can happen anywhere and anywhen. You never really know just where you stand, and even when you think you do, you’re generally wrong. They are unconcerned with your quaint customs and morals. You’re typically just a bother, a toy, a fling to them. It’s when they start to pay attention to you that you should worry.

And what better way to bring something so multifaceted, so complex, to life than in an anthology, my most favorite of beasts. You get to see through the eyes of different authors, each with their own take on what it means to be fae. What it means to be human interacting with a cold, remorseless, alien world.

Eighteen short stories woven together by the editors, Caroline Dombrowski and myself. All from top-notch authors with the knack for hitting just the right notes of creepy and weird: Jennifer Brozek, James L. Sutter, Elaine Cunningham, Erin Hoffman, Shanna Germain, Cat Rambo, Jeffrey Scott Petersen, Christie Yant, Lillian Cohen-Moore, Torah Cottrill, Erik Scott de Bie, Andrew Romine, Ed Greenwood, Amber E. Scott, Jaym Gates, Nathan Crowder, Julia Ellingboe, Minerva Zimmerman, and Dave Gross. Each bringing to life an exciting and strange new world to explore.

We're just putting the final wards on this title now. You know, for your protection. It’ll be available to the public in November, but you could get it a little earlier by joining in our Kickstarter, which offers this anthology along with four novels and some other special goodies to choose from.

It appears you’ve heard their call already. They’re beckoning you, aren’t they?  May history forgive us for unleashing this overwhelming, amoral tide of tales upon you.

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Tell Me – Jim Hines

by Jennifer Brozek 5. August 2013 09:55

Jim Hines is a friend of mine, a great writer, and I love these books. I think all readers and writers want to know what it would be like to pull something--a lightsaber, a wand, the grail--from a book to have for their very own. Here, he talks about his protagonist's greatest love.

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One of my favorite things about Libriomancer and Codex Born is the protagonist’s attitude toward magic. Isaac Vainio is a librarian and shameless geek, with the ability to pull things from books—phasers, light-sabers, magic rings, pretty much anything that fits through the pages.

And he loves it. Isaac is completely and utterly in love with magic … occasionally to the detriment of whatever he’s supposed to be doing at the time. Even when he’s facing steampunk-style insects that escaped from a book and are oddly determined to kill him, a part of Isaac’s mind is distracted by the beauty of their construction, the combination of magic and miniature jewels and gears, the elegance of the metalwork...

He’s constantly asking “What if?” about both the books he reads and magic in the real world. How far could Harry Potter travel with that apparating spell? Did J. K. Rowling’s witches and wizards ever blip over to Mars to explore the planet? Could magic seeds from Piers Anthony’s Xanth series be pulled into our world to revolutionize farming? And where could Isaac get his hands on a magical chronoscope that would let him check out the lost episodes of Doctor Who?

Magic comes with a cost, of course. Overusing a particular book leads to magical charring, damage that spreads through every copy of the book and can make Bad Things happen. Magic also weakens the boundaries between the lirbiomancer and the book, meaning characters from those books can begin to creep into the libriomancer’s mind. And there are the occasional monsters and villains trying to use magic to take over the world.

But the core of the series is about hope and discovery and the thrill of learning something new. It’s about an insatiable need to learn, and to explore the possibilities of magic.

I have nothing against darker, grittier fantasy novels. But there seems to be an awful lot of it these days, where the world is a harsh, ugly place, and magic is a burden to be suffered with stoicism and occasional angst.

Isaac’s life certainly isn’t perfect. Any number of things are busily trying to kill him, his love life is confusing to say the least, and he’s not on the best of terms with Johannes Gutenberg, the centuries-old founder of the world’s magical organization. I mean, what kind of author would I be if I didn’t torment my characters?

But no matter what I put Isaac and his companions through, it never takes away that central thread of joy. The thrill Isaac feels when he discovers something new or finds that a long-understood “rule” of magic was actually more of a guideline.

At the heart of the series is the idea that magic is awesome. And that’s one of the things that makes these stories such an absolute blast to write.

 

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Jennifer Brozek: Writerholic

Jennifer Brozek is a Hugo Award nominated editor and a Bram Stoker nominated author. Winner of the Australian Shadows Award for best edited publication, Jennifer has edited fifteen anthologies with more on the way, including the acclaimed Chicks Dig Gaming and Shattered Shields anthologies. Author of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, Industry Talk, the Karen Wilson Chronicles, and the acclaimed Melissa Allen series, she has more than sixty-five published short stories, and is the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions.

Jennifer is a freelance author for numerous RPG companies. Winner of the Scribe, Origins, and ENnie awards, her contributions to RPG sourcebooks include Dragonlance, Colonial Gothic, Shadowrun, Serenity, Savage Worlds, and White Wolf SAS. Jennifer is the author of the YA Battletech novel, The Nellus Academy Incident, and the Shadowrun novella, Doc Wagon 19. She has also written for the AAA MMO Aion and the award winning videogame, Shadowrun Returns.

When she is not writing her heart out, she is gallivanting around the Pacific Northwest in its wonderfully mercurial weather. Jennifer is a Director-at-Large of SFWA, and an active member HWA and IAMTW. Follow her on Twitter at @JenniferBrozek.