Wednesday, December 28, 2011
So, the new year has hit the ground running, but I'm going to back up just a little bit.
I got a nice surprise from my mom, along with my sister, in the way of a trip that took us to Panama, Costa Rica, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, and across Carribean waters over the holidays. The weather was certainly a lot warmer than it has been at home in Kentucky.
I love traveling, and this was my third trip to this region in the last five years, added to a trip to the United Kingdom and Ireland, and Alaska. I've always felt that travel is of great benefit to writers, and I find myself drawing off of my international experiences all the time.
Going through the Panama Canal was a real amazing experience, seeing how the locks work, getting a sense for how it operates, and getting a good feel for the size of it. They are in the midst of building some new locks/gates at the moment, so there's a great deal of construction going on, but the operation is really impressive.
Furthermore, I got to have a spider monkey on my shoulder. Friendly little fellow who stood still for some pics too!
Costa Rica was, as I imagined, beautiful. I got to go into a rain forest and kept imagining velociraptors (as one of the Jurassic Park Movies was shot in Costa Rica, LOL). Got to see a noble sloth, howler monkeys, and all kinds of fun stuff. Really beautiful country and the people there were super cool. One thing I found funny was the popularity of Axel Rose. We got told that many people in Costa Rica have named their boys Axel after the Guns and Roses lead singer! LOL Guns and Roses must be big all through Central America, as they were the only rock band being displayed in some t-shirt shops we saw in Panama, haha.
I absolutely love the Carribean Islands. Always have found the people living there to be super friendly. There's a really laid back air to things around there. I've been to a large number now, including St. Martin, St. Thomas, Tortola, Barbados, Dominica, Grand Turk Caicos, and others, but I have to say that my fav is still Dominica.
Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire all had a different feel to them than many of the other Carribean islands. Less rainy by fair, with a more arid type of environment (Cactus plants are everywhere), they sit below the hurricane belt. We encountered perfect weather on all three of them. They are all largely their own countries, having gained varying degrees of independence from Holland (these were once part of the Netherlands Antilles).
As you probably know from my posts and updates, I have the 4 new short stories out now in the Seventh Star Singles line, 99 cent eBooks that are affiliated with the various authors' novel series. I have three in the Chronicles of Ave, which go with the Fires in Eden Series, and I have one in the Annals of the Rising Dawn, which goes with the Rising Dawn Saga. I'll probably do a series of posts about the stories individually so I can put them each in the right context.
The latest Fires in Eden book is in the edit phase, and I really think those of you who are reading this series are in for a very special installment. I'll be talking a little bit more about this new one in the coming months, but wanted you all to know where things are at with it.
I'm doing only a couple of January appearances, and then in February doing 2 conventions, with ConNooga and MystiCon, before a very busy March as the convention circuit kicks in full gear.
Going to be a very busy time, but I will be keeping you all posted. Expect a few more eBook short stories too...including some in the horror genre! :) more on that very soon....
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
The books were included in a short list that included the incredible Orson Scott Card, and they recommended it as a gift for those that like Lord of the Rings and George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire.
As most all of you know, J.R.R. is my favorite overall author, and George R.R. Martin is my favorite living author, so you can imagine how cool I thought it was to be recommended in relation to those two series. wow! Anyhow, here's the page if you want to take a look (and leave a comment if you want to encourage/support their pick of the books :) )
In other news, the four new short stories are now available on both Kindle and Nook, and I hope that those who have been getting them are enjoying them and seeing what they have to offer. If you haven't seen the synopsis on the 4 stories and their titles, then visit this page for more info:
There is a LOT more coming in this series, as I want to be able to tide all my wonderful reader-friends over in between main book releases, and this is a perfect way to do it!
Speaking of main book releases, the third Fires in Eden book has been handed in to Karen (my editor for the Fires in Eden Series), so we are on course for a spring release window. Readers have a lot to look forward to with some resolutions of things from Dream of Legends, some new things unfolding, and a couple of very important characters introduced. Very action-heavy book too. Get ready to explore the realm of Midragard quite a bit more, and perhaps a tour around Avalos and the Unifier's big mountain citadel... hint, hint... maybe just a bit with the big fellow from Dream of Legends too.... :)
Monday, December 12, 2011
Here's a nice surprise for fans of either the Rising Dawn Saga or the Fires in Eden series, just in time for the holidays. The new Seventh Star Singles line went live today, with participation from myself and Steven Shrewsbury. On my end of it, no less than 4 brand new short stories, 3 set in the world of Ave (Fires in Eden) and 1 new one from the Rising Dawn Saga world.
The theme of this series is short stories set in the worlds of the novel series. They are stand alone, but will give readers of the novels much more content, background, history, and even some foreshadowing. There's so much to explore and I plan on regularly building onto this collection.
The full press release is below. I hope everyone checks this out. I've had great fun putting these together, and they are only 99 cents too. To read a breakdown of the stories, you can visit this page:
Let me know what you think! :)
For Immediate Release December 12, 2011
Seventh Star Press Proudly Announces New Seventh Star Singles eBook Series
Seventh Star Press is proud to introduce Seventh Star Singles, an exciting new eBook series that represents a creative approach to eBook publishing. The debut of the new line kicks off with brand new tales from sword and sorcery/fantasy author Steven L. Shrewsbury, and epic fantasy/urban fantasy author Stephen Zimmer. Best of all, the new eBook short stories are all priced at just 99 cents.
Seventh Star Singles offer more for fans of the authors' novel series, as well as being stand-alone stories. The short stories are set in the worlds that the authors' novels with Seventh Star Press are based. For example, readers who came to know Gorias La Gaul in Steven Shrewsbury's Thrall will now be able to go on more adventures with Gorias in the Blood and Steel: Legends of La Gaul short stories included in the Seventh Star Singles line. Similarly, fans of Stephen Zimmer's Fires in Eden series and Rising Dawn Saga will get to explore more of those worlds in his Chronicles of Ave and Annals of the Rising Dawn short story collections for this new line.
"I was the instigator of the new Seventh Star Singles, as I wanted a way for readers of my series to explore more of my worlds in a way that was also accessible to new readers," Stephen Zimmer commented. "They are entirely stand-alone stories, but provide all kinds of background, further depth, and perhaps even some foreshadowing that all relate to the novel series. They have been a blast to develop, as there are so many stories to be told from these worlds that can't be addressed in the plotlines of the Fires in Eden and Rising Dawn Saga novels. I'm really excited that Steven Shrewsbury stepped forward to develop a Gorias La Gaul collection. Any fan of Robert E. Howard is bound to love Steven's work and this new series opens things wide for him to write all kinds of Gorias adventures! "
Steven Shrewsbury's collection Blood and Steel: Legends of La Gaul starts off with two new Gorias La Gaul tales, Author and Finisher of Our Flesh, and Insurmountable. Stephen Zimmer has three contributions to the Chronicles of Ave collection, Into Glory Ride, Land of Shadow, and Lion Heart. Stephen has one story for the Annals of the Rising Dawn, Temples Rising.
A new page on the Seventh Star Press website gives full synopsis and availability on the various story collections. The page can be found at: http://seventhstarpress.com/documents/seventh_star_singles.html
Many new titles are planned in the series in 2012, to be released on a monthly basis alongside the scheduled novel releases.
Updates and additional information can be obtained at the official site for Seventh Star Press, at www.seventhstarpress.com,
Contact: C.C. James Public Relations, Seventh Star Press firstname.lastname@example.org
Seventh Star Press is a small press publisher of speculative fiction located in Lexington Kentucky.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Spec the Halls
My name is Steven Saus; I'm an author and publisher. I run Alliteration Ink, where I both publish original work and also provide publishing services. This year, I've taken up the mantle of running Spec The Halls from Abra Staffin-Wiebe. There's both a writing contest and a charity fundraiser. Right now, I'm doing a bit of a blog tour to support the fundraiser; each entry talks about something different, so you'll want to stop by them all. You can see a full linklist of the guest posts at specthehalls.tumblr.com and read more about the whole project (and get the charity eBook) at specthehalls.com.
I've already been asked a few times why Spec The Halls is only going to be available in digital formats.
First, I want to point out that if you get the eBook from our website, not only will more of the purchase price be going to charity, but you'll get more formats. You will get a PDF as well as the ePub (iBooks, nook, Kobo, Sony) and Kindle formats. Basically, if you have a computer, you'll be able to read it.
Second, it means that more of the money can go to charity. If I printed the book (about 150 pages if you made it a trade paperback size), it would cost a few dollars a book - and that's not counting what the retailers take. Because the authors donated the stories, Kathleen Tennant donated the cover art, and I do eBook conversions myself, there are neither up-front or per-unit costs. More money for Heifer International!
Third, this eBook is only available for a short time for the fundraiser. When the fundraiser is over, I won't have excess inventory to worry about!
Finally, digital distribution means that we can do innovative things with the book - like accepting reciepts for donations that people make on their own instead of requiring people to pay me directly.
It's that kind of flexibility that made it obvious that this project required digital-only distribution.
This year's edition of Spec The Halls is only available for a limited time, so act quickly to get your copy!
Friday, November 25, 2011
We have a great online store where you can get limited hardcovers, softcovers, and other collectible items like t-shirts and art posters, and the SSP site takes international orders too.
If you are buying an eReader for someone, or know someone that is getting one, consider gifting the Kindle Versions of a Seventh Star Press Book, or a Nook version. There's some great new stuff, with H. David Blalock's Angelkiller, a new urban fantasy, and D.A. Adams' The Fall of Dorkhun, the third in his fantasy series.
I encourage you to take a look at all of it, and whether you buy it from the online site, or on Amazon.com, every purchase really helps a small press. Please give it some thought, and celebrate Small Business Saturday with a purchase of a Seventh Star Press item!
Visit the online store at:
Thursday, November 24, 2011
I want to express my heartfelt thanks to my reader-friends in particular today. Without you, I cannot pursue my dream, without you, I cannot achieve it, and without you, I can't exist as an author. This is in my mind every day of the year, but sometimes it needs to be said openly.
The things that you might think are smaller, like sharing a link, making a post, putting up some comments/reviews on Amazon.com or GoodReads, are always deeply appreciated. I thank you for taking the time to do that, as it makes a real difference. I do notice it, and each thing you do puts a little more wind into my sails.
My work as an author is an inseparable part of me, and not a small one at that. It is not a hobby, a pastime, or a side pursuit. It is at the heart of what I am, and who I am. I am in my work. When you pick up one of my books, it is a validation of the real me, the area of my life that contains my dreams, the part I am passionate about. As you can probably guess, I have a very special affinity for those who are supportive of my path. I have commented on this before, but this is why I often use the term reader-friends, because in helping me attain my dream, you are being a true friend, as a friend wants the best for those they care about.
I want you to know that I honor your support every day by giving my path every ounce of effort and resource I can put into it. From burning the candle at both ends, mountains of research, a lot of sacrifices in my lifestyle and time, I demonstrate my commitment to you every day, pushing always to improve and grow as a writer.
Thank you for keeping the faith. Know that everything that you do, from helping to promote my work, to buying a book or eBook, is an encouragement that helps me to keep moving forward when my pockets are empty, my body is exhausted, and the slope of the mountain looks impossibly steep. We'll get to the summit of that mountain together, and I will be an author you can count on, who will work hard to bring you new adventures to escape into, and enjoy for years to come, and who will always be the kind of author you can approach, and reach out to.
thank you for all you do! :)
Sunday, November 13, 2011
The blog post goes into my influences as an author, discussing several of my main influences and why each of them had an impact upon me.
Visit Darlene's Book Nook by clicking here!
Friday, November 11, 2011
I will have 3 more titles with me than I had last year, with Dream of Legends, The Seventh Throne, and the Dreams of Steam II: Brass and Bolts anthology.
I was honored to receive one of the 12 live reading slots, and have decided to read from the latest Harvey/Solomon story from Dreams of Steam II. Will be a celebration of Harvey/Harry, and I think I can get through it okay.
I want everyone to know I've been hard at work, writing daily. Polishing and tweaking the third Fires in Eden book, and working on polishing or finishing out some short stories for an exciting new series coming up via Seventh Star Press. Readers of the two book series are about to get much more to explore in the two worlds, and horror fans will have something new to check out as well. I will have details very soon.
My schedule has been very tough, as I've been working with Keeneland Broadcast for the massive auctions and the October racing meet. The past several days have been at the November sales, which brought in over 167 million dollars the first week alone. Going very well, but it means that I get up early to do a writing session, tackle my Keeneland responsibilities, use every spare moment I get during the day and then at night to attend all business responsibilities, keep up with all emails and messages, and then try to squeeze in a little more writing at night. Pretty intensive, and I'm looking forward to the end of the sales on November 17th just to get a little breathing room, LOL.
Get ready for a very active finish to the year! And if you are in the area, come out tomorrow to the Kentucky Book Fair at the Convention Center on Mero St. in Frankfort Ky. 9-4:30 are the hours, and except for the 2-3pm window I have for my reading I will be at my booth. Come by and say hi! :)
Sunday, October 9, 2011
The kickoff event was fantastic. Dr. Shires and everyone from the Kentucky Gateway Museum made me feel right at home, and I managed to get to the podium without tripping too! LOL I gave a speech on the literary strengths and merit of the fantasy genre, and the talk appeared to go over pretty well from some of the comments I got afterwards. Great program too! Over 1,000 copies of Ursula K. LeGuin's first Earthsea novel will be distributed in the program to students, as the theme of this year's program is fantasy.
Just found out that I will have a reading slot at the Kentucky Book Fair (held in Frankfort KY) on November 12th, at 2pm. They only have 12 reading slots, so I was really stoked to get the word that I had one.
Writing has been going well. Been working hard on polishing the third Fires in Eden novel. Really concentrating on the arrangement of the threads,to try to set a nice pace to the book. The placement of the threads make a big difference in terms of the overall flow. With some of the cliffhanger action transpiring in this one, I'm having a lot of fun with determining what point of view will follow another.
Readers will be exploring quite a bit more of Midragard and Avanor, and the prime city of Avanor, Avalos, including the Unifier's great mountain citadel. Quite a bit advances in the plot, and several things from Dream of Legends are tied up nicely, regarding the Battle on the Plains of Athelney and the invasion going on in the Five Realms.
There are some really powerful moments in this one, in terms of the series, shown from the perspectives of both sides in the conflict. Expect quite a bit of action, some new territory, and some further development of the main characters.
Also in regards to the Fires in Eden series, we are getting close to the announcement of an exciting new short story series, which will involve eBooks and eventual single author collections...readers of the Fires in Eden series, and those of the Rising Dawn Saga, are in for some new adventures!
Saturday, October 1, 2011
As always is the case after a hard-pressed sales period, the past week has been swamped with all kinds of things I couldn't directly get to during the two weeks of sales. Primarily, this involved a trip to Louisville to coordinate on some events next year that I will be involved with. One, of course, is FandomFest,in Louisville KY which has been moved to June 29-July 1 in 2012. It will be at the Galt House this year, so we have the kind of venue that fits the caliber of this event. Should be an amazing weekend, and I will have all kinds of updates here.
I will also be getting underway on Duckon in Chicago and a new Birmingham event scheduled for the last week in February. More on both of those very soon.
I also got invited to be the keynote speaker at the kick-off event for the Read On! program coordinated by the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center, in Maysville, KY. this year's theme is fantasy, and they have invited me to talk about my experiences writing fantasy. Should be a lot of fun. The date is Wednesday, October 5, at the Maysville Conference Center on 2nd Street in Maysville KY.
Writing is the one thing I don't put on the backburner, and I've been hard at it all throughout, primarily on the third book in the Fires in Eden Series. I'm going through the threads with a fine-toothed comb, and really working hard on the sequencing of the threads, so that the pacing of the book is as strong as possible. From the Elder, to Avalos and Avanor, to the ongoing invasions of Saxany and the Five Realms, a lot is happening, and I want this new installment to be action packed while also exploring some new areas of Ave. Readers can expect to become much more familiar with Avalos and Midragard especially... hint, hint.
I am also working on polishing some short stories set in Ave for an exciting new eBook series at Seventh Star Press. There will be an announcement on this soon, but Steven Shrewsbury, the great sword and sorcery author at SSP, and myself, will be the first two out of the gate. The short stories will be a great introduction for new readers into Ave, and for current readers the short stories will take you to many places in Ave you haven't explored yet, while deepening some of Ave's history for you.
I should also have some Dreams of Steam II books listed in the online store at my site pretty shortly, as in around Monday. Those ordering the anthology, containing my second Harvey and Solomon story, can get it signed and personalized, as well as get a special commemorative Harvey button. I have a small number in, so if you want one, be sure to order it relatively soon.
Last, but not least, a great new Dream of Legends review was just posted up at Fantasy Book Review in the UK. They scored it a 9 out of 10, and you can check it out here:
That about sums things up for the moment. Busy, but I like it that way! :)
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Things have been going well on the writing front. Knee-deep in the new Fires in Eden Book,and working on some special short stories that we will have an announcement about very soon.
I finally got my hands on the new Dreams of Steam II: Bolts and Brass, which has the new Harvey and Solomon story. Obviously, with Harry's recent passing (for those of you who don't know, Harry is the basis for the Harvey cat character in these stories), there is a bittersweet aspect, but there is also something elating and enduring as well.
Pulling up into the driveway on Friday, I saw that one of the cats that used to come around and talk with Harry through the front windows was lounging where the UPS box had been set down. I get lots of UPS boxes, and I haven't seen them at the boxes before, so this was both unusual and intriguing. It was almost like Harry's friend was watching over that box until I got home, because I found out later that the UPS truck had arrived not long before.
It was a little emotional opening up the box and holding the new book, but I am so relieved to have this specific story and book, as these stories are a real tribute to Harry. I am going to come out swinging with a big Harvey and Solomon story in 2012, even though I know it will be a very hard process to write it on an emotional level.
I'll be anchored here in Lexington over the next week, but the week following I will be heading out to ARCHON in St. Louis, an excellent convention that is returning to the site it was at in 2009. I hope to visit and spend time with a number of my author friends like Elizabeth Donald, Jimmy Gillentine, Jon Klement, and Georgia Jones, who just got picked up by Blackwyrm Publishing.
Keep an eye on the SSP Blog too, as I'm doing some posts there about the publishing business (and there are some great new regular contributors with the SSP Blog, such as Rodney Carlstrom, Frank Hall, and Ren Garcia.) The addy is
Monday, September 12, 2011
First of all, just got in the first review for The Seventh Throne. This will appear in Fantasy Book Review, but the reviewer has it up on his site as of now, and it is a really strong one. Always wonderful when someone really gets into the depth of the books, and what this series is about, and I think you all will enjoy this:
The second bit of news I got is that the Dallas Library system picked up all of my books, in multiple copies of each, for their branches in the Dallas area. I was really elated to hear this. As many of you know, I got my college degree at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, TX, which is just west of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. We went to Dallas many times, and I loved the city!
Having my work in the library there could very well lead to me doing a workshop, seminar, or some other type of event for the library, which will result in a Texas visit! I am hoping to make some progress from this and hopefully get placed in Abilene, so I can do an extended trip and revisit some of my favorite places! Ideally, I'd like to do a week long swing there hitting Dallas/Ft. Worth, Abilene, and maybe Austin or Corpus Christi.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
This summer involved conventions in cities such as Chicago, Charlotte, Louisville, Columbus, and more, including a couple where I served as the Literary Track or Writers Track director (Louisville's Fandom Fest on the former, Chicago's Duckon on the latter.) In some ways it was rewarding to get back on a Con staff, as I could help create opportunities for my fellow authors, and in others it was trying, as these always involve a lot of hard work, and you can't control everything (as in the case of very disappointing hotel management at the Fandom Fest site, which contributed to an environment that was more challenging than it ever had to be).
The summer ended with a couple of new things on the writing front. One, of course, was the latest book in the Rising Dawn Saga, Book 3, The Seventh Throne, and recent days also saw my latest Harvey and Solomon story, "An Island Sojourn", in Dreams of Steam II: Bolts and Brass (from the awesome folks at Kerlak Publishing).
The Harvey and Solomon story is something that brings me both increased joy and piercing sadness, as Harry passed away a few weeks ago due to complications with his FIV (kind of like the cat version of Aids). All I will say right now is that I'm doing my best to function, but it really tore away another piece of me, and in the case of Harry, a big part of me. The three years I had with this amazing cat were such a tremendous blessing, and the world is most certainly a darker place without him. He made a huge difference in my life, I love him immensely, and I can only grasp onto the hope that there will be a reunion in a much, much better realm one day.
Rest assured, there will be more Harvey and Solomon stories in the future. It is the least I can do for Harry.
The near future promises to be full of activity, even if I'm not on the road very much this fall. I am returning to work with Fandom Fest, and there's going to be an exciting new component with it, a kind of new zine, that will be very proactive in spotlighting authors, publishers, editors, artists, and more. We've got a building staff of writers for it, and more info will be coming soon.
Similarly, the Seventh Star Press blog has taken another step, with some new regular contributors aboard, new regular segments, and more. It is also going to do everything possible to bring a light to talented individuals and worthy organizations/companies in the publishing world.
Should be quite a bit of new online media generated, and I hope it does some good for everyone in this crazy publishing climate.
On the film side, the Swordbearer screenings have gone well, in terms of the feedback I have gotten from them. I am currently at the outset of developing a feature length project, which will be tough as it involves the largest budget I've ever sought by far. It is based on an original screenplay of mine and I hope to find some individuals interested in financing a project dedicated to creating a theatrical quality, ORIGINAL dark fantasy film with a couple of significant cast names. I think with all the remakes, sequels, things based on comic books, etc, people might be a little hungry for a truly original story, and I can assure you that this one has all the goods.
It also looks like I'll be taking on a screenwriting project for a talented producer. More on that later, but it is something I am very interested in doing.
I'll be working very, very shortly with Karen for the preparation for the third Fires in Eden Book. Very excited about returning to Ave, as I love that place! :)
I'll also be doing everything I can to help with PR and outreach for Seventh Star Press, which includes coordinating a new "street team", the Seventh Star Saints (anyone volunteering to help a small press out is worthy of sainthood, without question, LOL). I do a ton of work in the area of promotion for the SSP authors, but it is worth it as they are really a first rate group to be involved with. Michael, Jackie, Steven, David, and D.A. are just fantastic individuals, which makes the long hours worth it.
I'm sorry I got a little behind on my posting here, but the Fandom Fest tasks (my track alone had 55 panels, 20 workshops, and over 100 participating guest panelists), had me tunnel-visioned for a little while (except for my writing, of course, LOL), and then the situation with Harry knocked my awry for awhile. I'll be much better. In fact, I plan to be more candid about many things in the coming posts, as far as my insights on the worlds of writing, film, the industries involved, and more. Hopefully you will enjoy it!
So, I'm sorry for being a little shabby on my consistency lately on the blog here, but I'll be making up for it in a hurry!
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Links are now live for both versions, and both are priced pretty nicely at just $2.99
Here's the Kindle link:
Here's the Nook link:
Pass them along to your friends that have Kindles and Nooks and encourage them to give this series a look! :)
Monday, August 15, 2011
Today, I'm a guest on Evie-Bookish, with an interview conducted by Evie as well as a contest for The Seventh Throne. Easy to enter, and the interview is a really good one. Please check it out at: http://evie-bookish.blogspot.com/2011/08/interview-giveaway-stephen-zimmer.html
Thursday, I'll be on Edin Radio at 6:30pm eastern time.
Friday, of course, is the Joseph-Beth Booksellers launch event in Lexington KY, complete with a presentation, giveaways, Q and A, commemorative collectible print for attendees, an after party, and more. All that starts at 7pm.
Help me spread the word, as I'm admittedly not at my best at the moment, though I'm soldiering onward. Thank you again to all those who have sent such kind messages and words of encouragement.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
In this blog I introduce The Seventh Throne, and talk about its context as a third book in a series. I think that my reader-friends and those who have not read my work alike will find something interesting.
I have been wwaaaaayyy behind on blog posts, but I have a big one coming up in a day or two that will explain what I was bogged down with. Been pushing myself pretty hard lately with the recent Fandom Fest in Louisivlle that I was the literary track programmer (and gaming track) for.
Anyhow, please visit the guest blog if you get a few minutes, and blog sites always appreciate comments, so leave a few when you are done reading! :)
here's the link:
Friday, July 8, 2011
This is intelligent, atmospheric horror that does not have to resort to "shock value" to get an effect. If you like Stephen King's style, I think you will definitely like Michael West's work.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Want to Help Authors You Like? Here Are Seven Ways!
by Stephen Zimmer
With a fairly intensive travel schedule to conventions, book fairs, and bookstores, I engage my readers often on a personal, face to face level. I also strive to be as accessible as possible, whether through email, Facebook, or other online channels. As such, I have had the good fortune to meet and interact with a great many readers, several of whom have become very supportive towards helping me advance in my career.
Many times I have been asked what an individual reader can do to help out, in terms of raising more awareness about myself and my work. I really appreciate these kinds of offers of support, as a motivated reader spreading word about an author can be incredibly effective. Word of mouth is by far the best advertising out there.
Over the course of time I have identified some effective, no-cost methods that can be used to help not just myself, but any author out there. I thought I would write a little about this topic, so that readers of any writer can be aware of some simple things that are of immense help to independent, small press, and even mid-list authors.
Here are my seven no-cost suggestions for readers who would like to help raise awareness about a certain author:
1. Reader Reviews: Without question, one of the biggest ways that a reader can help an author they like is by sharing their thoughts about the author’s books on sites like Amazon.com (hugely important), GoodReads (another big one), Shelfari, or any online store outlet like Barnes and Noble that provides for customer generated reviews.
A review on these types of sites does not have to be formal. It can merely be a few short sentences explaining why you enjoyed a particular book. It does not have to be a perfect review either. An element that one reader did not completely like might be just the thing another reader is searching for. A range of reviews ultimately creates a solid overall perspective on the book itself, making it more likely that a reader looking for that type of book will be willing to take a chance with it.
I really believe that readers sometimes think that their reviews make little difference, but this is definitely not the case. A building list of endorsing reviews, which give some perspectives on the books and the content within them, goes a long, long way to encouraging new readers to give an author a try. If a new reader sees an author that has 5 reviews in the 3-5 star range, and another that has 65 reviews in the same range, guess which one they are more likely to be confident in going with, if the book and its genre are similar?
Furthermore, momentum flows into the design of the software used by some of the online sites like Amazon.com. The more a book is favorably reviewed, the more the site’s software will recommend a certain title to readers who buy books of a similar genre.
Online reviews and comments are perused by all sorts of individuals, from prospective new readers to industry professionals. Your review helps to build a body of responses that can really factor strongly in bringing some consideration to an author. Ultimately, the book will have to speak for itself, but it sure doesn’t hurt to draw attention to it.
With the explosion of eBooks, reader reviews are rising in importance, especially on sites like Amazon.com with its massively successful Kindle. eBooks are primed for quick responses too, with the ability to be instantly downloaded if a reader is intrigued. Your comments might be the tipping point that encourages a new reader to download a title.
Reader reviews, as you can see, are of major help to an author, so take a few minutes and put your comments one about a book you liked, and an author you support.
2. Library Requests: If you frequent libraries, enter a request that they get in a copy of your favorite author’s book or books. Some of my most dedicated readers have discovered me in libraries, and if one branch brings in a certain title that begins to be checked out, it is possible that others in a city or town may follow suit. A library is a great place for readers to try out an author, and help to start building a following of a particular series. Most libraries have request forms that take only a minute or two to fill out. Your simple request might be the thing that leads to a brushfire of word of mouth, bringing a lot of attention to your favorite author.
3. Bookstore Requests: Very similar to the library situation, if you frequent a bookstore (and especially if it is an independent bookstore), make sure that they stock a copy or two of an author you like on their shelf. If the author’s books have an industry standard discount, and are returnable (and are available through the major distributors like Ingram or Baker & Taylor), there is no real impediment to a bookstore giving an author a try.
If the store has a resident expert in the genre of your author, talk to them as well and encourage them to look into the author you like. If there is a club suited to the genre of the author based in the bookstore, suggest it as a title for them to read.
If the store begins to stock a title, and it begins to sell a little, it can really help an author progress, and create a viable situation for an author to visit the store for a signing.
4. Bookmark or Promotional Material Distribution:Most authors have some degree of promotional material, whether it is just bookmarks, or cover art postcards, or a range of materials such as I utilize for my two series (we have collectible, postcard-sized art card sets, 8X10 glossy covers, etc.). If you happen to frequent some independent bookstores, libraries, or go to fan conventions such as DragonCon, GenCon, or other genre-affiliated events, you should contact the author and ask if they can send you some promotional material to distribute. Libraries always have a need to give out bookmarks, and most conventions have “free tables” where fliers and advertising materials can be put out.
Some readers of mine have graciously done this at many events, including World Fantasy Con last year in Columbus, which I couldn’t make due to a schedule conflict. I can say with surety that having the ability to get the materials to places that I cannot personally attend does indeed help greatly.
I do have to make a special note in regard to this suggestion, though. As the cost of materials and shipping is incurred by the author in this instance, please make sure to follow through with distributing the material, if you request it. Unless the author is at the heights of the best-seller list, there is little room to maneuver with resources.
5. Social Networking/Links: Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks are at the heart of day to day interactions between people. Whether status updates, comments on walls, or commenting on the status updates of others, a reader can easily leave a comment and/or link regarding their favorite author or a specific book. The link can even be a direct one to a place to get the book, such as to the title's Kindle page on Amazon.com.
The more that the public sees a certain name, the greater the chance a few new readers may give that author a chance. Don’t underestimate the value of putting up a status update or wall post, with a link and cover art image.
Encourage others to add that author as a friend, follow them on Twitter, or follow their blogs (on popular blog sites like Blogspot or WordPress). You don’t have to overdo it, but mentioning your favorite authors from time to time, putting up some links to reviews, and highlighting your reading preferences makes a significant difference.
6. Blog Comments: There is a growing genre blog community online that reviews, interviews, and hosts guest articles with authors of all levels. A reader can reinforce an author that they like by leaving a public comment at the end of an interview, review, or other posting.
It takes only seconds to do, and it does wonders in terms of letting the blog site know that the article was read, and that they had a worthy guest. I also believe that a person visiting the site who does not know a certain author is more likely to pay attention to the interview or posting if they see a lot of comment activity
Just keep in mind that you are representing the author, in a way, when you do this kind of activity, so try to phrase your comments politely if you are in a situation such as commenting on a review or even another comment that you disagreed with.
7. Bulletin/Message Board Threads: If you are a member of an online bulletin board community, or are active on threads at places like Amazon.com, sprinkle some comments and links in regarding the authors that you like. Perhaps even start a thread dedicated to that author. Again, the more that prospective readers come across a name or title, the more likely they will give it some serious consideration.
Bulletin/message boards are well-suited for frank discussion and commentary. They are not well-suited for an author self-promoting themselves. You can be the bridge of that gap!
As you can see, none of the above recommended activities costs any money for the reader to do, and none of them involve a tremendous time commitment. The majority of them are congruent with activities that a reader is already doing.
Yet all of them can really help an author move forward on what is, without a doubt, one of the toughest roads to take in the realms of entertainment and art. I hope that these suggestions have helped give some guidance and insight to readers looking for ways to promote their favorite authors. Please feel free to spread this outward, so that authors of all genres and styles can benefit.
To find out more about Stephen Zimmer or to add him to your social network:
Monday, June 27, 2011
Here it is, Book Three in the Rising Dawn Saga, The Seventh Throne!
The book is released the 2nd week in August, but we have a new limited hardcover pre-order window open now for a sharp edition of the book (and there is an option to pre-order the softcover with a ton of extra goodies)
I really hope you give this limited edition hardcover offer some consideration, as we've got another really nice package put together for it. A great new set of Matthew Perry artwork will be in it, and this third book really shows how I approach the construction of a series.
I know the economy is rough, but we've worked overtime to offer a whole lot more, for a whole lot less. It isn't the 60 dollar and (much) higher price tags you see on a lot of limited hardcover releases, but instead just $35.95, and that includes a ton of cool extras.
Pass on the word, and encourage your friends and readers you know to pre-order a book. Orders during this period really help a book launch! It would be incredible to find homes for the 75 limited hardcovers right away! For the price the value is outstanding.
Thanks in advance, and please leave a comment and let me know what you think of the new cover art too! (and if you have purchased a limited edition hardcover in the past, let everyone know what you thought of it and the extras with it!)
Go here to see the options on getting The Seventh Throne pre-ordered: http://www.seventhstarpress.com/documents/books.html
Here's the official word on the new book:
For Immediate Release
June 28, 2011
Stephen Zimmer's Third Rising Dawn Saga Book Unveiled With Limited Edition Hardcover Offer!
Seventh Star Press is proud to unveil the title and brand new cover art for Stephen Zimmer's third Rising Dawn Saga novel: The Seventh Throne.
A bold, ambitious series that pushes the boundaries of urban fantasy, The Rising Dawn Saga has gained a steadily growing, very dedicated following since the debut of The Exodus Gate in spring of 2009. Showing the epic-scale possibilities of urban fantasy, the series draws heavily upon mythical and supernatural lore, weaving it into a modern day tale of a world tilting swiftly towards a dystopian nightmare.
Readers who have been journeying along in the Rising Dawn Saga will need to hold on to their seat, as a conflict of cosmic scope escalates rapidly. They will join the human soul Friedrich as he accompanies the powerful Avatar Enki into the depth of the Abyss, to discover the fate of Erishkegal, who crossed the Veil to spare a horde of outcast Nephilim ages ago. It is a quest that will take them to the brink of hell itself, but it is one that may hold astounding revelations.
Elsewhere, martial law is installed across the UCAS during the outbreak of a deadly virus, and the onset of a war to the far east that threatens the stability of the entire world. The imposition of a diabolical technology looms, as centuries-old organizations in the service of Adonai race to confront the looming menace.
Gregory Andreas, an ex-marine, leads a budding resistance to the authoritarian government, as Dagian Underwood, the mastermind behind the oncoming Living ID technology, reaches out to the dark realm of Set to gain the help of an ally with a rare, formidable ability. Seth Engel and his teenaged friends venture forth once again to seek proof of spreading rumors; this time of rounded-up townspeople being herded into large detainment facilities close to Godwinton.
Even the shapeshifting An-Ki are caught in the maelstrom of uncertainty, as Godral and their others of Sargor's clan struggle to find their place in the strange modern world, and Uria leads his renegade new clan into the unknown. His path leads to an encounter with a mysterious individual possessed of supernatural powers; who expresses the desire to be his guide.
Threads intertwine as the dangers increase, and nowhere is safe as the things of the material and non-material worlds clash. The Seventh Throne will leave the reader hungry for the next installment, after a revelation of tremendous magnitude culminates the latest Rising Dawn Saga adventure.
"I am very excited about this installment, as with three books out in the Rising Dawn Saga I can really show readers how I build a series," Stephen Zimmer commented. "Everything builds, and threads that may have seemed ambiguous in the earlier books pay off in droves. For the dedicated reader, I have worked hard to bring a level of range and depth that can be explored again and again."
As with the previous Rising Dawn Saga books, readers can expect another full set of Matthew Perry illustrations, with eight brand new ones included in the regular edition of the book. The extensive Matthew Perry body of artwork produced for The Rising Dawn Saga is, without a doubt, highly unique in the publishing of fantasy works today, regardless of major press or small press classification.
A pre-ordering window is now open for readers interested in a limited edition hardcover of The Seventh Throne, which features a Matthew Perry illustration not included in the regular editon. Only 75 numbered/signed copies of the limited edition will be issued, at a price of just $35.95.
There is also a special pre-order offer for the regular trade paperback edition. Both of the pre-order offers include an array of collectibles from The Seventh Throne. Copies can be pre-ordered in the online store at http://www.seventhstarpress.com/documents/books.html and all pre-ordered packages will be shipped no later than August 16th.
The Seventh Throne will ultimately be available in trade paperback, hardcover, and a variety of eBook editions.
Updates and additional information can be obtained at the official site for Seventh Star Press, at www.seventhstarpress.com , or at the author's site at www.stephenzimmer.com
Contact: C.C. James
Public Relations, Seventh Star Press
Seventh Star Press Mailing Address:
3801 Dylan Place Suite 116, #7
Lexington, Ky. 40514-1062
Seventh Star Press is a small press publisher of speculative fiction located in Lexington Kentucky.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Thank you very, very much!
For Immediate Release
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Fandom Fest Brings Large New Literary Track to Louisville Amid
Major Expansion of Fright Night Film Fest
Marquee celebrities like Hollywood legends John Carpenter and Henry Winkler will command great attention at the Fandom Fest/Fright Night Film Fest weekend July 22-24, 2011, in Louisville, KY. Alongside the wide array of premium Hollywood and media personalities, an incredible opportunity beckons for writers, gamers, readers, artists, filmmakers, pop culture fans, costuming enthusiasts, and many more.
Fandom Fest represents a bold expansion of the popular Fright Night Film Fest, establishing several new tracks, genres, and a host of activities catering to pop culture, science fiction, steampunk, anime, costuming, and fantasy. The event builds upon Fright Night Film Fest’s strong horror legacy, growing from its inception in 2005 to become the third largest genre film festival in the United States.
Fandom Fest’s brand new Literary Track alone features over a hundred participating authors, covering over 55 expert panels, 20 workshops, and a large number of live readings, author signings, and book launches. From the current state of publishing, to intensive writing workshops, and workshops in topics like self-publishing and e-Book development, the panels and workshops of the Literary Track have something to offer attendees from all levels of experience. As a comprehensive learning, networking, and career development opportunity, Fandom Fest’s 2011 content is unprecedented in its region.
Major press authors such as Julie Kagawa (The Iron Faery Series), Molly Harper (Jane Jameson Series), Eric Wilson (Fireproof, Jerusalem’s Undead Trilogy), Shirley Damsgaard (The Ophelia and Abby Mysteries), Michael Williams (one of the first DragonLance novelists), and Maurice Broaddus (Knights of Breton Court) are just a few examples of the well-established, award-winning authors from all across the United States who are attending.
(Julie Kagawa, of the Iron Faery Series)
(Molly Harper, of the Jane Jameson Series)
(Shirley Damsgaard, of the Ophelia and Abby Mysteries)
(Eric Wilson, of Fireproof and the Jerusalem's Undead Trilogy)
(Michael Williams, of multiple DragonLance novels and the new Trajan's Arch)
(Maurice Broaddus, of the Knights of Breton Court)
Editors and publishers of many levels round out the impressive list of track participants., The Literary Track’s sponsor is Belle Books/Bell Bridge Books, who also happen to be sponsoring the prestigious Dragon*Con’s 2011 Writer’s Track. The main genres being featured at Fandom Fest are primarily fantasy, horror, and science fiction, but the Literary Track programming caters to writers of any genre, with panelists from spheres such as mystery, romance, and even erotica.
The new gaming track unveils an array of panels, tournaments, special guests, and much more, debuting yet another new section of the event. Tabletop role-playing games, video games, board games, and even Live Action Role Playing are scheduled throughout the weekend with a strong team of gaming hosts. Attendees include representatives of highly regarded game companies/publishers such as DriveThruRPG, Pinnacle Entertainment Group, SilverMeet Studios, Hex Games, Beautiful Brains, and Blackwyrm Publishing.
A multitude of vendors will fill the concourses of the Fern Valley Hotel and Convention Center at Fandom Fest. Gaming stores, publishers, authors, crafts, production companies, memorabilia dealers, actors, artists, and much, much more will be available for convention attendees to browse and buy one-of-a-kind items from.
Even the live music portion of the event advances with a concert from international rock act Bella Morte, whose frontman, Andy Deane, is also a horror author appearing on the Literary Track. Fast rising heavy metal/hard rock prospect ZeroKing is slated to open for Bella Morte.
From gatherings of cast members from popular franchises like Revenge of the Nerds, Enter the Dragon, Jem, and The Walking Dead (including Tony Moore, artist and co-creator),to icons such as Margot Kidder (Lois Lane in the Christopher Reeve Superman films), Kane Hodder (Jason Vorhees in several Friday the 13th installments), and Larry Drake (Dark Night of the Scarecrow, Dr. Giggles, and Darkman), the list of attending film and media guests contains something for everyone. For the thousands in attendance, there will be more than enough to choose from in regards to programming, events, activities, parties, and celebrities.
Best of all, standard weekend passes are just $45 dollars, which is much less than the cost of genre events which are a small fraction of the size of Fandom Fest/Fright Night Film Fest. In value, content, and affordability, Fandom Fest/Fright Night Film Fest is poised to become one of the top events of its kind in the United States.
For further information on the 2011 event, please visit www.fandomfest.com or www.frightnightfilmfest.com
Direct Links related to Literary and Gaming Tracks:
Literary Track Guests: http://www.fandomfest.com/literary-guests/
Literary Track Programming: http://www.fandomfest.com/literary-track/
Gaming Track Guests: http://www.fandomfest.com/gaming-guests/
Gaming Track Schedule and Programming: http://www.fandomfest.com/gaming/
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
One of the things keeping us busy is the announcement that D.A. Adams is now a member of the SSP family! The Brotherhood of Dwarves series is a great one, with heavy action, great characters, and appeals to readers of heroic fantasy, epic fantasy, and even YA fantasy. I really think the world of D.A. and am looking forward to having him aboard.
I wanted to be sure everyone here checked out the new press release:
SSP will be reissuing the first two books and the new third book this year, and there are two more to come!
I'll be putting up some posts shortly with some pics from Marcon!
Monday, May 16, 2011
(Some of the works from Whitworth Sculpture Studio, who were located close to my booth at Wonderfest)
This past weekend was a bit of an experiment, as I took off for Louisville, Kentucky for WonderFest 2011. WonderFest is primarily an event focusing on the world of model kits, sculptures, toys, and the like, mainly in the scifi/horror/fantasy and military arenas.
It draws a couple thousand folks in, and has a number of panels and other activities, including the famous Rondo Awards. My booth was in the corner of one of the main vendor halls, adjacent to a fine fellow named Sean Kotz, who was assisting a dealer of toys/resin cast statues/model kits, and David and Cindy from Amazing Figure Modeler Magazine. At Cons, it is always a boon when you get good neighbors, and in my case I had two outstanding ones.
I didn't know how well my booth would go over, as I was one of the only "book people" in a hall filled with dealers, suppliers of kits, clay, and all kinds of things relating to the core elements of what WonderFest is about. It was truly a bit of an experiment, but I figured that I wrote in the right genre, so I had a shot. LOL
I am happy to say that things turned out very well. I ended up meeting some wonderful fantasy readers, ran into some of my friends that I see on the Con circuit, like Carrie Galloway, author Nicole Cushing, C.T. Brannon, and many others. The vibe was good all throughout!
(Me with Carrie Galloway...FINALLY got a pic with her! LOL She's as cool as she is pretty too!
I got to attend the Rondo Awards for the first time. It is an award named for B-movie villain Rondo Hatton, and the award is a bust of his very distinctive face. The awards featured a number of categories, ranging from best films, to best magazines, podcasts, and even a hall of fame.
(William Stout giving his induction speech for the Hall of Fame at the Rondo Awards)
Some of the presentations involved humor, such as the Rue Morgue Magazine win for best podcast, and some involved some emotional moments, such as when William Stout, one of the forces behind movies such as Wizards, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. You could tell that he was genuinely moved by the award, and he gave a really personal, heartfelt speech.
My host for the weekend was none other than Ken Daniels, the king of Fandom Fest, who was busy shuttling down on Saturday to a horror and tattoo convention in Nashville TN. I think Ken was trying to kill me on Friday (I came up a night early to set up for the Saturday-Sunday event), as he kept giving me organic food at his house. As everyone knows, good food needs good additives and artificial flavoring. Organic food is...well...we'll be polite, especially when it comes to the organic biscuits that Ken had.
Luckily, I had a stock of Monster Energy to detoxify myself from the organic array, LOL.
Myra Daniels and Melissa Majors came up on Sunday, and, lo and behold, they brought more of their magic, as readers of this blog may remember from my Metropolis Weekend. I knew it was coming when Myra went to get a hot dog to tide herself over until dinner. This began a sequence where whenever Myra and Melissa stopped by the booth, people bought books. It was uncanny, and just as surreal as Metropolis. I swear if they hung out with me every time I was at a Con, I'd hit the New York Times list. It is a really strange phenomenon, but I swear it happens!
(The unrivaled M&M's, Myra Daniels and Melissa Majors, double the trouble and twice the magic!)
I met many wonderful new reader friends, including a couple, Karen Jones, and Kim Doom,who blew me away by jumping into the deep end of the pool by getting all four of the available novels, in both series. I had to get a pic of this moment, as they had come up to the table at the same time.
(a pretty amazing moment documented here, Karen Jones on the left, and Kim Doom, on the right, back to back each got all four of my available novels. Wow, that was cool!)
I really love meeting readers face to face. I'm not one of those reclusive types when it comes to my reader-friends, and it is always a special moment when I meet a new reader-friend. Here are a couple more photos of some of the newest ones who have come aboard my crazy epic fantasy journey!
(Kaitlyn is one of my new reader friends who I met last weekend!)
(Me with Mary, who got my two Fires in Eden Books and is a lover of epic fantasy! She and her husband have fantastic taste in music, including Motorhead and Metallica!)
The weekend was capped off wonderfully with a great dinner shared with Myra, Ken, Melissa, horror film genius J.D. Feigelson,and Chris from VCI Entertainment. It was a blast listening to some pretty amazing stories, and looking towards some great things in the near future involving Fandom Fest. People definitely need to look towards coming to Louisville in July...it is going to be really exciting!
(Me with Ken Daniels, who made this great weekend possible, and who is a guy I consider a friend and a visionary)
I've got another short week, as Friday I'm heading to a Author Fair in Piqua Ohio (just outside of Dayton). It is a one day event, and I'm really looking forward to seeing some authors like Stephen Hines, Bonnie Stewart, and James Barnes. The Con/Event season is fully underway!
Thursday, May 12, 2011
I am getting ready to head to Wonderfest in Lousiville this weekend. Should be a lot of fun. Mainly a modeling/toy convention, the core genres present here include Sci-fi, fantasy, horror, etc, so I think it will be worth the visit as an author. Out of 2,000 attendees, there should be 3 or 4 readers in the crowd, LOL. I'm looking forward to a nice, short range trip with the gas prices as they are. I will also get to hang out with Ken and Myra, the heads of Fandom Fest/Fright Night Film Festival. It will be good to visit with them as I just handed in the Literary Track grid on Monday for the event.
If anyone reading this will be at Wonderfest, come on by my booth and say hi. I'll be there both Saturday and Sunday.
I also had one link to pass along, regarding my appearance last night on Malice Cooper's rock show out of Canada. She put up a podcast archive of my interview, which can be found here:
It was a great experience, getting to talk about conventions, comparing the writing process for books to that of music, talking bands, and much more. Malice was a great host and I hope to return to her show later this summer when the 3rd RDS book is released.
That's about it for the moment! I'll be reporting on Wonderfest, and anything else that comes up in the next day or so!
Monday, May 9, 2011
It has been extremely busy lately, with helping out with the public relations campaign (with C.C.) for Jackie Gamber's Redheart, along with my duties pulling the final Literary Track Grid together for Fandom Fest. The Fandom Fest Literary Track is going to be amazing! 53 panels, 20 workshops, over 90 panelists/guests, four book launch parties, six group signing sessions, 13 group reading sessions...and that's JUST the Literary Track. You don't want to miss Fandom Fest this summer (July 22-24 in Louisville, visit www.fandomfest.com )
I also have a couple pieces of good news to pass along to you, my wonderful reader friends...
first, there's a brand new contest being hosted by SciFiChick.com Great site, and I'm honored to be on it, and you can get your self BOTH Crown of Vengeance and Dream of Legends. Easy to register for the contest! Just go here:
Second, I just got word of a brand new review of Crown of Vengeance over at Realms and Galaxies, a site out of South Africa. This review had some amazing quotes, some I got a real kick out of like the one likening me to a "crime lord"... haha. You'll have to read the review to put it in context! here's the link:
Things are definitely chugging on this end. Work is going great on the third Rising Dawn Saga book, with the final edits and such. I'll be hitting the road this weekend at Wonderfest in Louisville...won't be too far to go at least!
That's all for now! I'll check back in shortly!
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I had been waiting for the 2011 version of DemiCon to arrive, as I was eager to get back and visit a number of wonderful folks that I had come to know in 2009 (a few of which I did get to see at a 2010 Beaver Dale Books appearance later in the summer last year).
I finished up with a day on the broadcast team at Keeneland, got the rest of the car packed, took a couple hour nap, and headed out for Iowa a little after 2am. Driving at night is rather uneventful, which is good for making time. I wasn't worried about missing too much in the way of scenery, as there isn't much of it on the route through Indiana and Illinois. It is also about an 11 hour drive from Lexington to Des Moines, and I arrived just in time to throw my suitcase in the hotel room, change my shirt, and get over to the dealer's room for setup.
(average "scenic" view driving through Illinois heading towards DemiCon)
The first day at DemiCon was mostly spent in the dealer's room at my table, as I started to reconnect with a few of the people I knew. When the dealer's room closed, I was picked up by Shirley Damsgaard for a wonderful dinner and visit. Shirley, who writes the wonderful Ophelia and Abby Mystery Series for Avon, has been a real good friend to me, and I was very happy that we got to catch up in person.
I crashed pretty early on Friday evening, and then rose early on Saturday for what would be a very full day. I had a reading, a solo panel session on adaptations, a screening of Swordbearer, a "Speed Dating with Authors" Panel, and finally a signing session, along with some more hours in the dealers room.
The reading was great, and I found Mike Lindley, who was one of the first people that I met at DemiCon during my 2009 visit. Mike is a great fellow, and aspiring writer, and was sporting a fancy silk robe as well! I had a small group for the readings, but it went pretty well. I read from both The Storm Guardians, and Dream of Legends.
(Mike Lindley with me in the dealer's room at DemiCon)
The adaptation discussion went smoothly also, leading right into a Swordbearer screening that had a nice attendence. We finished early enough that some of the individuals in the audience insisted that I play the movie for a second time. I would have to say that this was my first true "film encore", lol.
Speed Dating for Authors was fun. We had circles at which readers sat, leaving an open space for a rotating group of authors who spent six minutes at a time with each group. I got to meet several new friends in this panel.
Rounding things out was the signing session, during which I sat by Taylor Kent and Aaron Siddall, the writer and illustrator respectively of the Snarky Avenger Web Comic. I advise everyone to check this online comic out, as Taylor and Aaron were two of my highlights over the weekend. Really talented fellows!
(Taylor, Aaron, and myself at DemiCon)
Later on that evening I got to learn a whole lot more about filk, as I was invited by Dawn, a new friend of mine, to check out a session where her developing filk song was critiqued. I'm no expert on filk, but it is a really interesting music genre that has a strong presence on the convention circuit.
Sunday was spent in the dealers room, where I got to spend some more time with friends like Mike, author Lettie Prell, Tracy (my dealer room neighbor from right across the aisle, she's super cool and a very good jewelry designer), and even met some more new friends like Cynthia Lee, who is an up and coming artist.
(author Lettie Prell with me at DemiCon)
(me with artist Cynthia Lee)
The Con was well run, friendly, successfull, and everything else you hope to see in an event. I definitely recommend DemiCon to everyone, and will tell you that it is well worth the eleven hour drive.
Monday, May 2, 2011
I just got the good news that a very nice new review of Crown of Vengeance went up on the Watch Play Read site. They reviewed Crown of Vengeance to prepare for their review of Dream of Legends, which is coming soon.
The review link is here:
The eBook sale that includes Crown of Vengeance will be going on through mid June. Please spread the word about it, as Crown of Vengeance and The Exodus Gate are both available for just $1.99, as well as Jackie Gamber's Redheart and Steven Shrewsbury's Thrall.
the eBook sale link is here:
The DemiCon report will be coming very soon!
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
All of that was piled on top of doing full time hours for the broadcast team at Keeneland, working hard every morning on the third book of the Rising Dawn Saga, and duties as the programming director for the Writers Track at Duckon and the Literary Track at Fandom Fest.
Has been a little crazy, the average night of sleep was around 4 hours, and I apologize for being sporadic lately on the blog. Thankfully, Monster Energy keeps me rollin'! :)
I will be hitting the road hard again starting this weekend at DemiCon in Des Moines, Iowa. The four week run at Keeneland wraps up this week and I am heading out for my second visit to DemiCon. This Con was superb to me when my mother went into the hospital with an emergency health matter last spring and I had to cancel with only a few days notice. They invited me back, and we're first class and understanding about my situation. I just love this crew for how cool they've been. A couple of them, Mandi and Rachelle, even got together a large number of SCA clothes to lend to the production of Swordbearer!
I am looking forward to seeing two very special author friends, Lettie Prell and Shirley Damsgaard. Lettie hosted me on my trip west to Beaverdale Books for a signing later in the summer last year, and Shirley has been a very dear friend, and a person that I consider a mentor in many ways. Shirley's just a great lady, and she's got some big things on the horizon. It will be a lot of fun to see both of them!
There will be a screening of Swordbearer on Saturday, and I will be doing some panels and a booth this weekend. Can't wait to get back into the DemiCon groove. if you are in the area, and can make it, I recommend this Con a lot. Very enjoyable and run by some really first rate individuals. www.demicon.org is the address.
I also wanted to post a link to a brand new interview that went up today at Up Around the Corner. It is a really nice interview, with a good overview of my work and some excellent questions, given to me by fantasy author Terry Ervin. If you do check it out, please leave a comment to let Terry know that you stopped by!
here's the link: http://uparoundthecorner.blogspot.com/2011/04/interview-with-sffantasy-author-stephen.html
Don't forget to keep passing the word out that the Seventh Star Press eBook sale (Try Seventh Star Press for Two Dollars) is still going! Just $1.99 for Crown of Vengeance and The Exodus Gate (as well as Jackie Gamber's Redheart and Steven Shrewsbury's Thrall), and $2.99 for The Storm Guardians and Dream of Legends. And that's for all formats...Kindle, Nook, iPad, and Sony.
here's the link to the sale:
That's all for now, but i will check in shortly with some DemiCon posts!
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The MidSouthCon Report-for March 25-27, 2011
MidSouthCon is, without question, one of the elite conventions in the USA. It is large, but not too large to really enjoy, and the staff really does a great job of execution.
This was my third trek to MidSouthCon. Technically, my convention began at a small coffee shop on Thursday evening, March 24th, where Elizabeth Donald was having a meet and greet in regards to her release of Blackfire, the followup to The Cold Ones (about zombies, not beers, LOL)! Tyree Campbell of Sam's Dot Publishing was hanging out with David Blalock, who also had a new book out at MidSouthCon, the amazing Emperor, the followup to Ascendant, which is the book that the short film Swordbearer I directed is from. It was great to see Elizabeth and the rest of the gang, and kick things off right.
I stayed overnight at Thran Keep, also known as David Blalock's house. I always get incredible rest there. It is the ideal author's setting. I can totally picture Dave sketching character notes on his porch in the late afternoon with a Scotch at his side! LOL
The day began early on Friday, as I had to get down there to set up at the dealers room at the new Hilton location. The new hotel is fantastic, and has a great location right on the highway.
A lot of things loomed before us, most importantly the launch of the Seventh Star Press version of Redheart, Book One of the Leland Dragon Series, by Jackie Gamber. The Gambers are from Memphis, so it was very important that the book got unveiled there on their homefront. The SSP family couldn't have it any other way.
Shorty runs the dealer room at MidSouthCon, and is one of my favorite fellows at Cons. He is well-named, standing at a height much closer to seven feet tall than six, and pretty stout of build. Shorty is a benevolent giant though, and runs an organized dealer room, so everything went pretty smoothly on the setup.
(Me with Shorty and the renegade author Jimmy Gillentine...I'm about 5'11 in shoes, so that gives you an idea about Shorty's stature!)
My neighbor on one side was Kerlak Publishing, with all the madness of their plot bunnies, squirrels of mass distraction, and excellent books, and my neighbor on the other was Robert Krog...Robert ended up selling out of his single author collection, and I got a picture shortly after he sold the last copy.
(The lovely Herika Raymer, author, friend, and editor of Imagyro)
Following opening ceremonies we had a screening of Swordbearer, in the same room where the ceremonies took place. Had a brief scare as the place emptied out entirely following the conclusion of the opening ceremonies, but about ten minutes out from the screening time we got a nice surge.
I am happy to say that everyone stayed for the movie and for the Q and A afterwards that featured myself, David Blalock (who was the Executive Producer and did the screenplay adaptation), and Allan Gilbreath, our dashing fight coordinator.
I headed to the Literary Underworld party later that night, where I got to visit with some great friends like Jennifer Mulvihill, Angelia Sparrow, the incomparable Elizabeth Donald, Jimmy Gillentine, and Jason Sizemore, the genius behind Apex Book Company. Lots of new friends to meet too like Alex Brown, a fiesty fellow and author who knows how to have a good time!
( Jennifer Mulvihill, good friend and author...can you believe I get to hang out with gals as awesome and rockin' as Jen? :) )
We had a great visit and I stayed up a little later than usual, but got in a few hours of recharging the batteries for Saturday.
Saturday involved a lot of time in the dealers room, some panels, and the Redheart party in the Con Suite. There was also an ongoing scavenger hunt, a high tech version where people used smart phones to scan bar codes to get clues to locations that ultimately ended up at the Seventh Star Press booth.
The Con Suite party features custom dragon-shaped cookies, gourmet carmel corn, and these cool red velvet cupcake-like things on a stick. Jackie really seemed happy at the party, as many copies of Redheart were sold and there was a noticeable enthusiasm about Jackie's Leland Dragon Series.
(Here's Jackie signing one of the many copies of Redheart that sold over the weekend!)
(Dragon Cookies! They tasted as good as they looked too!)
I went to one of Jackie's cool BookTasting sessions afterwards. No, we do not actually eat books at one of these, but instead Jackie guides everyone through a tea tasting sequence where a particular tea is paired with a particular book due to specific qualities of each that Jackie feels match up well. Maura Heaphy, a senior lecturer in science fiction at Ohio State University and an author herself of non-fiction books on the genre, teamed up with Jackie for this panel. Everyone seemed to love it a lot, and I hated having to leave early, but Ben Gamber was kindly watching over my table for the Con Suite Party and so that I could catch the portion of the BookTasting where Jackie matched a tea with Crown of Vengeance.
(A BookTasting Event! )
There were activities everywhere, and there were many fan tables, podcasters, and others, such as DragonTalk Radio, whose host Jon Klement was interviewing many MidSouthCon guests. Jon's very passionate about his show, which has been growing and growing with loads of new guests and convention coverage.
(DragonTalk Radio's Jon Klement interviewing science fiction author Stephanie Osborn)
My panels included one on marketing/PR for small press authors, another one focusing on each panelists place on the publication map, another on Different Flavors of Fantasy, and another on building a hero.
All were excellent panels, with some great guests, such as Jason Sizemore, Debra Dixon, and Violette Reid, and many more very established authors.
The PR/Marketing one contained none other than Selina Rosen and Elizabeth Donald, both incredibly knowledgeable, and incredibly outgoing. Joy Ward and I anchored one side of the table, but our two other co-panelists did the most in terms of captivating the audience. Dan Gamber was on hand to moderate, but I don't think there is no way anyone could moderate Selina or Elizabeth, much less both of them on the same panel!
Saturday night I visited with Elizabeth, Jimmy, Angelia, and Jon Klement again. A little more low key and laid back than Friday, but no less enjoyable.
Sunday went well in the dealers room, wrapping up a strong weekend for Seventh Star Press titles. I had many returning reader-friends picking up new books, and many new ones. Redheart went over extremely well, and we sold some copies of Steven Shrewsbury's Thrall as well. It is always nice when the loadout is lighter at the end of a convention weekend.
Due to my workload, I had to head back after the dealer room closed on Sunday, as the drive is about six hours back to Lexington and I had quite a bit to do on Monday. Got back smoothly enough, I am happy to say.
It was a great end to a six week run of conventions and events, and I'm already looking forward to the next one!
We'll end this post with a happy pic, one of my favorites from the weekend, of Dan and Jackie Gamber! :)