Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 ... May It Be

"May it be an evening star
Shines down upon you
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true
You walk a lonely road
Oh! How far you are from home"
-May It Be, from Enya, Lord of the Rings Soundtrack

A verse in the song "May It Be", performed by Enya in the soundtrack to Fellowship of the Ring, has words that ring so true on many levels concerning the part of the journey I took in 2013, and the place I find myself at even now.

People who know me have asked why I am not a big celebrant of New Years.  It is probably because I don't celebrate the unknown, especially when it comes to the things of this world. Had I celebrated the arrival of 2013, I would have had an even greater burden in my heart today, as this year delivered a tremendous blow to my mind and spirit.

As difficult as it is to say, some things cannot be avoided.  For the first time in my life, I do not have a place I call home.

 A home is not a building, it can only exist in the heart.  Within my heart, I feel very far away from any sense of a home. 

In early June of 2013, one of the two individuals I loved most in this world, and the person who I was with from the very first spark of my existence at conception, passed away after enduring a very heart-wrenching couple of weeks in the hospital. 

The entire experience was a nightmare, from taking my mother in for what we thought was pneumonia, to finding the existence of a fast-moving, aggressive cancer, to the final moment holding her hand.  

I never prayed harder or more intensely for a miracle than I did that final night, without question.  

No miracle came.

The funeral was an experience in pure agony, just as it was when my father passed away. I wanted to give a tribute song for my mother, as I did for my father.  Father Frank Brawner, who buried both of my parents, accommodated me again in this request, being the living saint that he is.  

After considering a few songs, I chose "Into the West" by Annie Lennox for my mother. It was the same song I had played from me in tribute to my father at his funeral. I felt that the same song should be my tribute to them, as it was their deep love for each other that brought me into being. 

The song holds my deepest wish for both of them, especially when it comes to the thoughts of White Shores...

"Lay down your sweet and weary head
Night is falling. You have come to journey's end.
Sleep now. Dream of the ones who came before.
They are calling from across a distant shore.
Why do you weep? What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see all of your fears will pass away.
Safe in my arms, you're only sleeping."
-from Into the West, by Annie Lennox

I did do one small thing different with my mother's funeral. I had one of my best friends, Matthew Perry, work in a small element from Les Miserables just before the start of Into the West music. 

I share it here along with the full context, as it bears a timeless truth.

"Remember, the truth that once was spoken, to love another person is to see the face of God"
-from the finale of Les Miserables

I dream of the day that Tomorrow Comes.

My mother's passing capped a seven year period of very heavy emotional blows, starting with the death of my father in 2006, and the losses of two sweet four-legged family members that I was very, very close to in between. Grieving more often than not throughout this period, I watched my family whittle away until it is only my sister and myself left.  As the losses of my mother and father left me shredded me on the inside, such that it is hard to imagine much of anything in a positive light.

There are constant reminders of the new reality. For the first time in my entire life I had no Christmas dinner this year. It sounds like a simple thing, but it really drives home the burden that has been placed upon you. I am a person for whom family is everything, so the depth of the pain I go through is very hard to describe.

Imagine that.  A writer at a total and utter loss for words. Yet that is the way that it is. The closest thing I can say is that when those I love pass away, a part of me is torn away, as I am a part of them and they a part of me.  

Will those voids ever get restored?  Only reunion can do that, and  I dream of that happening.

Out of the dense fog of sorrow and heartache in the aftermath of suffering such a hard blow, getting your bearings is a herculean task.  At some point, you still realize you are alive and present in this state of existence, and you have a choice looming before you.

You can take a bow and leave the stage, or you can continue. It really is that stark. The fact that you are reading these words answers which of the two paths I chose to go on.

Even so, there is not much to hold onto. In truth, you feel entirely adrift, even as you grasp at every wisp possible for something, anything to give you some hold to move forward with. You have to face this fight alone, nobody can do it for you. 

If anything, you become adept at hiding much of what you are going through inside. Smiling when your soul is bleeding, looking attentive when your thoughts are far, far away.

The emotions are powerful, ranging from sorrow, to fear, and to anger.  You endure it by yourself.  There is nobody else to turn to most days and nights.  While you stand on your own, you do find some strength in doing so.

"Pull me under, pull me under 
Pull me under I'm not afraid 
All that I feel is honor and spite 
All I can do is set it right"
-from Dream Theater's Pull Me Under, off the album Images and Words

Moving through that heavy fog, I finally, somehow, reached the point where I found a spark inside me: that little edge that spurs me to stand and defy the entire world if need be. 

Angry that I was denied even the chance to show mom what I could become, angry that my sister wasn't able to complete her nursing boards with mom there to see her, which I know mom would be so immensely proud of, angry about the undetected cancer, angry about all the heartache that hit us, I decided that whatever dark force influences the tragic events in our lives wasn't going to get the pleasure of seeing me curl up into a ball and quit.  

My mother would want me to go forward with a vengeance, and that is what I held onto.

It was then that I was able to rouse myself enough to tackle doing the literary segment of Fandom Fest, start writing again, and start executing in full on my many tasks for Seventh Star Press. 

In regard to my writing, it was fortuitous that I had the two short story collections in a later stage of development, as I as able to get a couple of new releases out over the later August/September window. Hellscapes, my first volume of a horror-themed collection, and Chronicles of Ave, which features stories set in the same world as my Fires in Eden series.

I feel strongly that these two collections contain some of my best work yet, and it was good to get something back on the map as the fourth book of the Rising Dawn Saga was going to see a delay as I worked to get back into the kind of mindset that a title from that series requires with all of its levels and themes.

Yet even the two new books carried their own pain with them, as they were the first books of mine that came out without my mom there to receive the very first copy, as I always did in the past with my other releases.

"The caravan thunders onward 
To the distant dream of the city 
The caravan carries me onward 
On my way at last 
On my way at last 
I can't stop thinking big 
I can't stop thinking big" 
-from Rush's Caravan, off of Clockwork Angels

Getting back around creative people during the fall, and entering a period containing a truly intensive work schedule, as I absorbed my part time broadcast job alongside the more than overtime schedule involving the press, my writing, and my freelance promotional work, I found myself looking to the horizons, considering new projects, and more. 

Writing wise, this took the shape of a new cross-genre series idea and a novella series involving my new character Rayden Valkyrie, who made her debut in Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword (editor James Tuck). In other areas, it manifested in the launch of Imaginarium, a new creative writing convention coming to Louisville in 2014. 
While not an enormous event like FandomFest, Imaginarium is a project near and dear to my heart as it is entirely focused upon writing. I truly hope to see a wonderful group of people heading with dreams in a mass caravan to Louisville, people thinking big, and inspired, the way I tend to be when I am most myself. Brought together, this is the kind of gathering out of which great things can happen, and the mere potential of it is exciting to me. 
A brand new weekly radio show, The Star Chamber Show, also coalesced and was born.  Involving 4 other wonderful hosts, all individuals I absolutely adore (Michael West, Selah Janel, Susan Roddey, and Alex Brown), the show brings a good energy and is a challenge to my creative side.  It is another new project that offers promise and high potential.
Finishing out the Keeneland run (the broadcasting work) from September-November was entirely exhausting. But getting back into that kind of rhythm was helpful in a process of helping me get a little more of a centering, inside. Make no mistake, the burden remained heavy inside, but that not-so-little part of me that is defiant kept telling me that I need to live, and not just go through the motions, in a full, personal sense.
"Stand up
Wake up
I won't give up
Cause here I come, here I come"
-from Trenches, by Pop Evil, from their Album Onyx.

Oddly enough, it was not long after this that I began to turn my heart toward things like letting the me that is inside shine brighter, as well as looking for someone to share the path with. I'm a work in progress at the time of this writing, but I feel that I have already made some great steps in the area of bringing the "real me" out. 
It is kind of like the song above encourages. Wake up, stand up, I'm not giving up, and here I come!  You are damn right I am!
The wonderful Rebecca, who has styled my hair for years, had a lot of fun with one recent visit I made there and my sister gave me a great new set of Harley-Davidson boots of a style I'd long-wanted, but those are just some accessories to a more profound change I'm undergoing that is still in motion.  It involves a lot of effort and hard work, that's for sure.  
I'll have to leave that shrouded in a bit of mystery, for the time being, but I feel better physically now than I have in a long while. ;)
Self-improvement is well-underway.  

"Don't think about all those things you fear
Just be glad to be here." 
-FC Kahuna, Hayling

As far as looking for someone to share the path with, I think I'm in the best state of mind and heart that I've ever been for taking the risk of sharing my heart. Hard moments like that suffered this past year have reinforced just how important life and those you love and care for are.  You can never, ever put a price on it.
I want to experience the world, but not alone. I seek to share that journey with someone who won't mind my rather unusual combination of rock and roll sensibilities mixed with a heartfelt sense of loyalty, appreciation, and a will to make every effort to forge a strong relationship. Life is too short and far too fragile to pass up a chance at magic, so if it means I have to drive a little farther, or make a few more sacrifices, I most certainly will.  It would be more than worth it.  That I know for sure.  
I've suffered some hard losses that have left some big voids inside, but as my mother taught me about the nature of love, your heart grows when someone new enters your world. There is infinite room for loving someone new, without ever diminishing what you have held for the others in your life.
Does being open to a new relationship mean you will be vulnerable? Yes. Does it mean you could be hurt? Yes. But the important thing is not to be thinking about all the things you fear, and to be glad to be here in life with a chance at the magic, to get at the meaning of the song above. I know my parents had that magic and maybe.. just maybe, I can find it too with a very special someone. 
So 2013 was not a year I would ever wish to celebrate, which is why I will not celebrate 2014 in advance either.  Yet as the year draws to a close, I am moving forward. I have taken concrete steps to get back on the road with my writing, as the 4th Rising Dawn Saga novel is on the horizon, I have launched new projects, such as Imaginarium and The Star Chamber Show, I have taken large steps in personal improvements, and gotten myself into a good frame of mind for more. Who knows what the future may hold?
I'm pretty sure the road ahead will be difficult at times, but for a kind of New Year's resolution I will turn back to the song that I began this post with.
I am adopting the title as my motto, for continuing on the journey forward into 2014. 
 Let's see life, love, and adventure manifest. 
2014... May It Be
"May it be the shadows call
Will fly away
May it be you journey on
To light the day
When the night is overcome
You may rise to find the sun"
-from May It Be, by Enya


Monday, October 28, 2013

Progress and Update on New Rising Dawn Saga Novel

Had a great meeting with my editor on the Rising Dawn Saga, Amanda DeBord, regarding the upcoming 4th installment in the series.  I am happy to say that she really likes the balance and pacing with the various character threads in this one.  That was something I really focused on, as there is a lot of action and many big revelations, twists, and turns in this book.  I wanted to keep a good solid pace with moments of high-octane action and some reflective passages that offer fertile ground for character growth.

We are going to have a busy November as I make the final tweaks to the manuscript and send them back to Amanda to look over.  I should also be starting on the artwork side of things with Matthew Perry in about a week.

The book itself, page-count wise, is going to be the largest yet, but I think readers are going to find it the fastest paced and simply loaded with content that really advances the plot and grows the characters.  In a way, I hope it makes up for the slightly longer time period between this book and the last.

For those who have read the short stories Temples Rising and the recently-released Desert War, expect a "connect the dots" moment in the new book that brings both short stories and the novel into a continuum of sorts.  I think readers of the short stories and novels will really love this, and those who haven't read the short stories will be able to get a whole lot more background on something major that occurs in this novel.

It is definitely going to be great to get a novel out after the recent flurry of short fiction, with Hellscapes, Volume 1, Chronicles of Ave, Volume 1, and the short stories that appear in the anthologies Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword, Vampires Don't Sparkle, and the latest Harvey/Solomon tale Gift of Light in Dreams of Steam III: Gadgets.  Quite a trove of tales, to be sure, but having a novel release once more is something I'm looking forward to and I'm doing everything I can to make this one the best yet, in all aspects, including the writing itself, as well as plot and character development.

This novel is also the hardest-hitting yet, in my opinion, regarding the struggle between freedom and tyranny.  It looks a little farther down the line than where our world is at right now, but definitely illustrates the dangers that a soft tyranny can evolve into.

All in all, it was a very productive meeting, setting the course for a very focused November to bring this all to the finish line.  Stay tuned for more updates!  I'll be keeping everyone posted as we get nearer to what I hope is a release close to Christmas.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Keep Moving Forward

To say the past few months have been difficult is an understatement.  Truthfully, I'm still going through what is, without question, the most challenging time I've ever been through.

Every day is a battle.  Life as a small press author is a constant struggle, with lots and lots and lots of work to make small incremental steps.  Painstaking doesn't begin to describe it.  Added to that is the fact that I can say with all certitude that at this point I have been dealt more than I can handle, as the loss of my mother back in June really put things over the top (In a seven year stretch when I lost my dad and other family members).  I've never recovered from these kinds of instances, because in each of these instances another part of me is taken away.

At this point, my heart is overwhelmingly on the flipside of the equation, with those I was closest to and most loved in another state of existence.  Oddly, I find myself fearing that Veil much, much less.  The sooner it gets here the better, as I see it now.  A lot of blows tend to do that to you.  

I've soldiered on as best I can.  I'm working loads of hours again, writing, etc, and finally got back on the release track with the two single-author collections that came out a few weeks ago, Chronicles of Ave, Volume 1, and Hellscapes, Volume 1.  On the horizon is the 4th Rising Dawn saga book, which I hope is on the street before Christmas.  I had a new character, Rayden Valkyrie, debut in Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword, a great new anthology from editor James Tuck.  But in all these instances, I wasn't able to share any of this with the person who really got me on the road to being a creative writer.  Not having my mother see these books get released really zapped the entire release experience for me, to be entirely honest.

I hope to blog more often.  It definitely does not help in lifting the spirits to see that things in this country and around the world are accelerating right on course with the themes I deal with often in my work (and especially the Rising Dawn Saga).  I'm one of those people who saw their health insurance premiums skyrocket as the insurance companies adjusted to the looming (un)Affordable Care Act, taking my premium far beyond what I can swing bill-wise.   Believe me, I'm far, far from alone in this.

As of now, I intend to just pay the fine (Great, isn't it? That you can't fit the bill for health insurance into your budget and the government fines you because you don't have it).  Nevertheless, this was a major line crossed in this country as we slide farther and farther away from the things that made us strong and successful, with an unprecedented empowerment of the individual, risk/reward, the ability to lift your station and see ensuing generations do better than the one before, and all kinds of things that are not going to be the norm in what's ahead.

So what does one do?  Workload is immense, heavy of heart and seeing a very ominous situation brewing nationally and internationally.

I suppose you just gotta keep moving forward.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Great review in for Chronicles of Ave, Volume 1 at Page Bites!

I wanted to pass along the first review published for Chronicles of Ave, Volume 1. I'm happy to report that the book received 5 Vampire Bites from Page Bites today, and the reviewer really liked the diversity in the collection of short stories (something I was particularly happy about, because I set out to have a distinct array of stories and settings in this volume).

Here's a wonderful quote from it: " So if you like words that flow off the page, characters that will surprise you and stories that are filled with fantasy and creatures then this set of stories is for you."

Read the full review at:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Desert War eBook Short Story Now Available!

As if the new short story collections, Chronicles of Ave, Volume 1, and Hellscapes, Volume 1, were not enough for a release week, I also had a new short story addition for the Annals of the Rising Dawn Collection!  Been quite busy this past week with these releases, but wanting to make up for some lost time this summer.

This particular story is a stand-alone, but readers familiar with the Rising Dawn Saga and the short story "Temples Rising" will discover some very interesting things within it!  It also has a very eerie relevance to world events happening today, especially with regard to my take, represented in fantastical fashion, of elite interests who foment wars in foreign lands under the banners of things like "nation-building" and "regime change". Below is the cover and official synopsis.  Really hope you enjoy it! It is just 99 cents and is now available on Kindle, Nook, and iBookstore (with Kobo at any time, just waiting for that version to go live)  


Kindle Link:

 Nook Link:

iBookstore Link:

available shortly on Kobo

Synopsis:  “Desert War” tells the story of Saif, a man from the Order tasked with getting an ancient, powerful artifact out of Libu before those serving the Convergence can take it themselves. The nation of Libu is crumbling fast around him, as militant religious zealots backed by the political elite of the Convergence carry out the overthrow of the current regime. The insurgency is just one part of a much wider design, one that has been advancing over millennia, and the artifact must not fall into the wrong hands. With the streets of the capital filled with murderous, brutal insurgents, and being hunted by powerful enemies wielding supernatural arts, Saif has to find a way to get the priceless artifact to safe harbor. “Desert War” is a stand-alone short story that is part of the Annals of the Rising Dawn, a growing collection of tales set in the same history and world as the Rising Dawn Saga novels from Stephen Zimmer.    

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hellscapes Available Now on Kindle and Kobo!

I have new eBook links and some great news!

First, I'm thrilled to be invited to this year's Kentucky Book Fair, taking place this November! :) Going to have several new releases to show at the KBF, which is one of the best book fair events in the United States. Truly exceptional and I can't wait to return!

Hellscapes Volume 1 is out TODAY on eBook. Amazon and Kobo are live as I post this, Nook and iBookstore will be at some point today. But for now, Kindle and Kobo users, my brand new horror collection kicks off here, help me get it started off well! Kindle and Kobo links are:



Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cover Reveal for Hellscapes, Volume 1!

And now for something completely different, the second announcement of the other new release this week! :) This one is in the horror genre, which will come as no surprise to those who know how much I love Clive Barker, lol (and how much I love Dante's Inferno, Milton's Paradise Lost, etc)  Just know that Hellscapes is very different from my other work.  The stories are very visceral, intense horror in style and theme.  Very timely too, as the two stories book-ending this collection involve powerful political figures who foment wars in foreign lands (Blood Dreams and Lords of War) ... for both there is a price to be paid... ;)   here's the cover and the press release is below:  
Seventh Star Press is proud to unveil the cover art by Matthew Perry for Hellscapes, Volume 1, the first of a brand new horror collection from author Stephen Zimmer.   

The novella-sized release features five stand-alone short stories that have a connection in that all of the tales are set in different aspects of Hell.  Readers can look forward to some recurring characters as the collection unfolds, as well as a wide variety of environments and styles of stories.  

"I'm really excited about this collection," Stephen commented.  "I love the horror genre, as it gives writers some great options for storytelling that are not as readily accessible in other genres.  Some of my fantasy, urban fantasy, and steampunk readers might be surprised about this release, but there are plenty of moments in my other books that show this side of me. I've always been a big fan of the genre, and Clive Barker is one of my all-time favorite authors. Having been long enthralled with more medieval-type depictions of Hell such as Dante's Inferno, and other representations such as can be found in Milton's Paradise lost, I've wanted to explore a theme like this for quite awhile.  This project has been wonderful to undertake and readers can expect much more in the future."  

The eBook will be available on Friday, September 6, and print availability will arrive in the following week.

Here is the official synopsis:   Journey into realms of darkness and explore the regions where angels fear to tread! Welcome to the Hellscapes, featuring tales of the infernal in settings where the horror never ends and the inhabitants experience the ultimate nightmare.  

In “Blood Dreams” follow the tale of a woman who knew great political authority and influence in life, as she discovers the reward awaiting her in the next world.

“The Grove” welcomes a new arrival, a wealthy man who is looking forward to a weekend of indulging in lust and libation, as he has for many years in this secluded convocation for the elite.  Something is different this time, though, and he soon finds that his visit will be taking a very different turn.  

In “The Smallest Fish”, the story is told of a ruthless business mogul who finds himself in an abandoned, ruined version of the city he knew well … in life.  This city won’t be remaining vacant for long.  

“Drowning in Tears” tells the story of a young man’s unhealthy obsession for a suicidal girlfriend that leads him on a path of severe transformation.

The final tale of Volume 1, “Lords of War”, follows the story of a man who wielded military power on a worldwide scale as a Secretary of Defense, who now learns the deeper nature of war and what kinds of monstrosities it breeds.  

 More volumes of Hellscapes are forthcoming.  For further information on Seventh Star Press, please visit and for information on the author

Seventh Star Press is a publisher of speculative fiction based in Lexington, Kentucky.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Chronicles of Ave eBook Links! Available Today!

Chronicles of Ave is now available in eBook formats!

The Kobo and iBookstore versions should be going live at anytime, but the Kindle and Nook versions are available. If you are thinking of getting a copy for the Kindle, please give some thought to picking it up today so that we can make a little bit of a splash over there on Amazon on release day.

here are the links for Kindle and Nook:



The print version will be 328 pages and will be out next week!  I'll post when those links are available. :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Chronicles of Ave, Volume 1 Cover Reveal and Story Listing

A personal post here is long overdue, and I do intend to get back on track with some of those, but the first one in that respect is going to be a fairly big one, summarizing the things of the recent past.

I do have a bit of good news to share this week.  The first of two cover reveals and releases, both short story collections.

Press release and cover is below!  hope you enjoy this one!  Writing these short stories is a great deal of fun and gives me a chance to explore Ave further as well!

Press Release:

Seventh Star Press is proud to reveal the cover art by Matthew Perry for Stephen Zimmer's Chronicles of Ave, Volume 1, a brand new collection of fantasy short stories set in the world of Ave that is the primary setting for his Fires in Eden Series.

The new release features six tales, including the novella-length "Winter's Embrace". It will be issued in eBook formats on Wednesday, September 4, with the print version to be released the following week.

The tales are stand-alone short stories that do not require familiarity with the Fires in Eden novels. However, those who have read the novels will find their experience of the world of Ave broadened and deepened.

"These stories give me a chance to explore many things I am only able to briefly mention or reference in the Fires in Eden Series," Stephen explained. "They also give me a chance to allow readers an introduction to areas of Ave that have not been portrayed in the novel series as of yet."

The stories exhibit a range of settings, styles, and characters displaying the diverse kinds of cultures and lands to be found in Ave. Volume 1 features the following tales:

“Into Glory Ride” tells the story of a young Trogen Warrior who is called to go up against insurmountable odds when Elves raid his homeland. The Trogens have only begun training winged steeds for combat, but time is of the essence and a choice has to be made by the young warrior.

In “A Touch of Serenity” a conscript laborer working on a massive wall constructed under the orders of the Divine Emperor begins to hear ghostly voices asking for help. His response leads him on a journey that will test his courage, wisdom, and compassion.

In “Moonlight’s Grace” a young man goes to help his people when a Midragardan raid strikes Gael. He seeks to prove his worth to the chieftain whose daughter he loves with all his heart.

The novella-length “Winter’s Embrace” follows a warrior-monk deep into dangerous woodlands in the heart of winter. There he will find his faith tested in ways he never anticipated, when he must help a forest witch against an enigmatic, immortal being known as the Undying.

“Lion Heart” introduces the heroic Sigananda of the Amazu people, who must confront things that transcend the laws of the physical world when powerful Wizards threaten his homeland.

In “Land of Shadow”, a knight who is part of a band of Avanoran mercenaries discovers how perilous the mysterious Shadowlands are when they undertake a journey to locate a site to build a fortress.

More volumes are forthcoming. For further information on Seventh Star Press, please visit and for information on the author visit

Seventh Star Press is a publisher of speculative fiction based in Lexington, Kentucky.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Rayden Valkyrie Debuts Today in Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword!

Hey everybody,

I plan on getting back into the blogging mode a little more, just been a very rough year personally with the passing of my mother back in June.

I do have a little good news today in regards to writing, as my new character Rayden Valkyrie makes her debut in "All the Lands, Nowhere a Home" in the anthology Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword from editor James. R. Tuck, who you might know as the author of the popular Deacon Chalk novels.

This is really hard-hitting sword and sorcery, and I highly recommend all the authors in both volumes (the other is Thunder on the Battlefield: Sorcery).

It is an appropriate day for the release, too, as Thursay is the Day of Thunder named for the Norse god Thor!

I really hope you enjoy these anthologies and Rayden.  She's going to be doing a whole lot more in the future!

Here's the links for the Sword volume, which has my short story:
Kindle version:

Nook version:

and here's the links for the second volume, Sorcery:

Kindle version:

Nook verison:

Friday, May 3, 2013

Featured today on Fourth Wall Friday at The Cabin Goddess!

I'm on my way to Mo*Con in Indianapolis today, where I have the great honor of being a Guest of Honor. Looking forward to it very much! But I wanted to be sure to leave this link to a new mega-post I did for Fourth Wall Friday at the Cabin Goddess!

 This theme blends the world of an author's books with their own world, and this post has a serious theme that resonates strongly with the Rising Dawn Saga. I really think readers of my series will appreciate this post a lot, and for those that haven't read the series, this will definitely give you a taste of some of the themes found in the books.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Special Project from Wonderful YA Author Dianne Lynne Gardner

I wanted to take a moment to highlight an ongoing Kickstarter project that is within its final week of funding, in the hopes that everyone will take a look at it and consider participating.  

Dianne Lynn Gardner is a highly gifted author AND artist (talk about being able to coordinate with your cover artist! LOL).  I gladly gave her a blurb to use on the first book of her Ians Realm Saga, Deception Peak.  I really believe she's got a great series going, and it has a very good home with a publisher, Hydra Publications, run by a guy who I've known for awhile and can attest to his great commitment and support of authors.

If you would take a moment to watch Dianne's video here and consider taking part, it would be greatly appreciated.  The rewards included some artwork and prints, and I can tell you that Dianne's artwork is truly top level!

The project supports her series, and I can tell you the economics of publishing and putting titles out is tougher than ever today if you are doing it the right way.  It is a worthy series, with a worthy publisher, so check it out and explore Ian's Realm! :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Vampires Don't Sparkle Cover Reveal, Includes New Short Story

Vampires Don't Sparkle Cover Reveal, Includes New Short Story

The Vampires Don't Sparkle! cover has been revealed today, created by the award-winning Matt Perry! I'm excited about this anthology project! My short story "The Excavation" is included in this anthology, which features some incredible authors like Gary A. Braunbeck, Tim Waggoner, Maurice Broaddus, Lucy A. Snyder, Bob Freeman, and many more.

The editor is none other than Michael West! AND a portion of proceeds from the sale of this anthology go to cancer research, which is a very personal thing to me (my dad was a cancer researcher, for those of you that might not know).

There's a pre-order window up for one week for those wanting copies signed by the editor.  This anthology is definitely for those who like vampires of the non-sparkly kind! ;)

 To see the full press release with a list of authors and stories, go here: 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop


This week I am getting the opportunity to participate in a large blog hop that has been going on for 28 weeks now focusing on the world of independent authors. Everyone knows about the big successes in the book world, but there are many inventive, engaging, and highly creative authors out there that you might not have heard of, and this blog hop works to address that.

It plays like a game of tag, where authors tag other authors from week to week.  Each author does a post like the one I am doing today, selects some other authors, and the process continues.  Following the links of this blog hop will bring you to the pages of some wonderful authors.   

I was tagged by two wonderful authors, A.J. Scudiere and Kathryn Sullivan.  I have had the pleasure of doing book signings with A.J. Scudiere, and being a co-panelist at conventions with Kathryn, and can definitely say both of them are well-worth checking out when you get a moment!

You can visit A.J.'s site and find  out more about her world at: A.J.'s Next Big Thing post is at:

For Kathryn, visit:, and you can see her Next Big Thing post at:

As for myself, I am an author of speculative fiction as well as a filmmaker.  I have two series underway, the epic fantasy Fires in Eden Series, and the urban fantasy Rising Dawn Saga. I also write steampunk, with the Harvey and Solomon tales, and horror, with the soon-to-be-released Hellscapes stories.  Each of my series have 3 novels out, for a total of six in print, and I have many short stories ranging from the aforementioned Harvey and Solomon tales, to stories in my Chronicles of Ave and Annals of the Rising Dawn collections, and more.  My site can be found at and you can connect with me at Facebook here   On twitter, my handle is @sgzimmer

For my participation in the blog hop, I am using my most current project, the 4th Book in the Rising Dawn Saga which will be coming out later this spring. Here's 10 questions I addressed regarding this upcoming book!

1: What is the working title of your book?

I tend to drive my editors crazy when it comes to titles, as I never settle with one until it pops clearly and loudly into my head. I've run on the razor's edge before, with a title coming in just days before it had to be in. Right now, I'm working on the 4th title in the Rising Dawn Saga. That's the most accurate way I can title it, as I have not had that big moment of revelation yet! LOL

2: Where did the idea come from for the book? 

The idea came as I started to put two and two together in the early 1990's, watching the development of the Gulf War, thinking about how the world was changing, and delving deeper into history. I was just getting into things like Coast to Coast AM at the time, with all of the fascinating topics covered by Art Bell.

I began to wonder what it would be like if a host of a radio show like Art's was pulled into a scenario where he discovered that many of the things he talked about and did shows on were real, from shadow governments, to spiritual entities and non-physical realms, and more. I've always been fascinated by the apocalyptic visions in the Bible, and out of all this the seed of the Rising Dawn Saga was discovered and then planted.

3: What genre does your book fall under? 

It is classified as urban fantasy, due to the modern day setting, but it is cross-genre in many ways, and it has a true epic scale. There are elements of horror, science fiction, mythic fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, military thriller, and more, which makes it hard to classify exactly. Of course, bookstores and online outlets need to categorize things, so in a general sense urban fantasy is the closest fit.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

There are many actors who I would like to work with if a film version were made. Perhaps Jason Mamoa as the An-Ki warrior Godral.  How about John Malkovich for Benedict Darwin?  Kate Beckinsale for Dagian Underwood? It definitely is a lot of fun to speculate, but to translate the scale of this story to the screen would require quite a large budget! LOL

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

In the shadow of an increasingly dystopian world nearing the edge of an apocalypse, a number of humans and other entities find themselves at the center of a cosmic war.

6: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

This series is published via small press, namely through Seventh Star Press. I love working with Amanda Debord, the editor for this series, as well as Matthew Perry, the artist who does the covers and interiors. The other SSP authors have been very supportive and it has been great being a member of this family!

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I've been working on the series since the mid-1990's, but I'd estimate what became The Exodus Gate took a couple of years to finish in a first draft form. It wasn't the only project I was working on, but that's the general timeline.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It is hard to find a close comparison due to the cross-genre nature of this story. I would say it has the size of ensemble and large scale of something like George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, has the cosmic elements of something like Paradise Lost, and engages a modern setting with fantastical undercurrents like Jim Butcher's Dresden novels. It really is hard to compare it in one easy sentence, which is both a blessing and a curse!

9: Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Becoming more of a student of history, having a fantastical mindset, and watching what has been happening in the world around me, I wanted to explore some themes of great relevance today within the context of a story like this. As with all my work, it can be read on different levels. It can give you something to think about, it can warn you about some things, it can be enjoyed purely as an entertaining story, or perhaps it can encourage you. For myself, I wanted to address ideals that are very near and dear to me in a story-driven context. That definitely got the ball rolling back in the 1990's.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

This book, like the series, really blends several genres into a cohesive storyline. I've had hard science fiction readers who have enjoyed the books of this series, readers that don't like speculative fiction normally who have enjoyed them, strict epic fantasy readers who have enjoyed them, and other examples that demonstrate the unique appeal of this storyline.

Here are a pair of authors who will be joining the hop for week 29!  Definitely visit their sites, find out more about them, and perhaps discover a new favorite author in the process!  I thought I would have some fun and pick two who have been particularly mischievous lately in their support of an initiative by Selah Janel to petition me to write something in the erotic romance genre.  So I'm putting both on the spotlight.  Of course, both are excellent writers who I absolutely adore and have had the pleasure of being on panels with and having on panels I've organized!   

Susan Roddey:  Susan writes speculative fiction with a focus on horror and urban fantasy.  You can connect with her at the following:



Twitter: @draickinphoenix

Alexandra Christian:  While Alexandra is known for her work in paranormal erotic romance, she is also a writer of horror and dark fiction. Connect with Alexandra at the following links.


Facebook Fan Page: 


Wordpress Blog: 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Year Behind and the Year Ahead

Of course I'm a week behind in getting up a New Year-style post, so I'll make it a good and thorough one!

So here goes...

Last year was definitely my best year yet author-wise.  It saw the release of Spirit of Fire, the third book in my Fires in Eden Series, and there were  a number of  very enjoyable and successful convention appearances ranging from Mid South Con, to ConNooga, to MystiCon and others.  I also served as the literary track director for Fandom Fest during what was a breakthrough year for the event that saw over 16,000 attendees and guest stars like Sean Astin, John-Rhys Davies, and many others.  I did my biggest ever promotional campaign for Spirit of Fire in a 48 day blog tour, which involved a number of fun posts and videos.

I made many new friends, some of whom I will be doing some close work with in the future.  In the last part of the year I was part of a Kickstarter Campaign that secured a wonderful project for Seventh Star Press called the Writers Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy, which features contributors like Neil Gaiman and Orson Scott Card.  The editor for the project, Michael Knost, is a wonderful fellow and I definitely hope we work together more in the future. I'm looking forward to working on the promotions for the release of this project very soon.

2013 looks to be extremely productive on the writing front.  A new Rising Dawn Saga book will be out sometime in the Spring, and we are hoping to squeeze in the next Fires in Eden Book before the year is out.  In addition, there will be a number of short stories released, from steampunk (latest Harvey and Solomon tale Gift of Light to appear in Dreams of Steam III), to horror (my new Hellscapes series), to epic fantasy (several new additions coming to the Chronicles of Ave), to urban fantasy (several new additions coming for the Annals of the Rising Dawn).  There is also a very good chance that the first book of a new YA cross-genre trilogy will move forward this year.

With all of the writing and commitments I have, my appearance schedule may be a little more modest than it has been in the past.  I am slated for several wonderful events, and will be returning to ConNooga, Mid South Con, MystiCon, and others, as well as doing a literary track again for Fandom Fest.

I also plan to do a little more blogging, especially with some non-fiction topics.  As those who read my Rising Dawn Saga would probably guess, I don't have the most positive of outlooks regarding the direction the world is heading in.  Along those lines, I think my home country, the US, is chugging straight for the proverbial iceberg.  Even worse, it appears that the US is accelerating towards a very disastrous situation.

While all of this gives me a great deal to think about in regards to the themes I write on, there is a frustrating side to it as well.  I've long thought that true journalism is largely dead when it comes to the mainstream media, and this is a travesty as many people are not being warned of the consequences regarding the things politicians in Washington are doing.  The whole "Fiscal Cliff" issue recently was a big charade and prime example of political theater.  It accomplished nothing, in terms of addressing the real problems.

To add insult to injury, it added a ratio of 41 dollars in spending for every 1 dollar raised in "revenue" (I despise the term revenue when it comes to taxes, as it makes it seem like the government is engaging in market-based transactions of a voluntary nature.  Let's call them what they are: Taxes.  Language has suffered enough casualties in this age of spin and sugar-coating.)

The real fiscal cliff is crossing the 17 trillion bridge and soaring higher.  It baffles me why so few people put the same urgency and focus on this monstrosity that they did on the political theater version of the "Fiscal Cliff".  We are heading right towards inflation, downgrading of our national credit rating, devaluation of the dollar, and a whole lot more while we are on this entirely unsustainable path.

The economy is worsening.  Make no mistake about that.  As I've mentioned before, every small business person I deal with is closing, consolidating, and downsizing.  I rarely see startups and almost never encounter a small business expanding.  Small businesses are the engine of employment in the USA, and when you have the small business world in decline nothing good is going to come out of it.

Further, when economies are in decline and hardship spreads, crime begins to rise fast.  This is the untold story across the US.  Also, residents of many cities are facing a fast-rising nemesis in the form of gangs.  Common estimates are that there are well over 1.4 million gang members in the USA and their numbers are increasing fast and will continue to rise with widespread unemployment among young adults.  Gangs are behind the bulk of gun related murders in cities like Chicago.

So what kind of discussion are we having here in the USA right now?   Disarming law-abiding citizens aka gun control.  I always find it disturbing that the actions of a crazy individual inevitably turns into an outcry to take rights away from law abiding individuals.  Do you really think that the gangs and criminals are going to be disarmed?  Laws have worked so well in keeping illegal drugs out of their hands (heavy sarcasm intended).

This debate has also put on display an appalling lack of knowledge in the American public about the 2nd Amendment and why it was placed in the Bill of Rights.  I plan on doing a major post about this in the hopes that people will research this for themselves, but the 2nd Amendment is not about sporting or hunting, or just home defense.  It is a unique recognition of the right of free people to have the means to defend themselves against a government gone tyrannical.  This reality of the basis for the 2nd Amendment has largely been ignored in the mainstream media.  In my opinion this is because it does not fit their agenda to advance gun control legislation.

If the 2nd Amendment rendered worthless, the way is clear to roll over any other right that is inconvenient at a given time.  There is also a terrible side effect of this gun control agenda.  The efforts to disarm law-abiding citizens are successful, it will give rise to countless tragedies as people who otherwise might have had a chance to defend themselves and their families are going to be subjected to home invasions, burglaries, assaults, and rapes, all of which are going to rise greatly in number with the lethal combination of a terrible economy and disarmed, soft targets everywhere.

Of course, the Feinstein and Bloomberg types out there who believe they know best how you should live your life will not take any responsibility for the proliferation of tragedies in the wake of their draconian gun control agendas.  Also take particular note that these kinds of elites are always protected by armed guards, and send their children to schools that have armed guards.  They just don't want the masses to have the same kinds of protections for their kids or themselves. This hypocrisy is mind-boggling to those who are willing to see it for what it is.

To put it simply, the bad guys are not going to cease what they do.  If anything, a disarmed US populace is a criminal's dream situation.

There are times when I stop and think of the kind of fiber in the leaders at the foundation of this country and the clowns we have in Washington today.  It is debilitating to think we've gone from individuals such as George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Adams, Patrick Henry, George Mason, Thomas Paine, and the like to those such as Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Harry Reid, Chris Christie, Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, and Eric Cantor.

The contrast between the two groups couldn't be more stark, and it would be laughable if it wasn't both sad and distressing to see how the quality of leadership has sunk so very far  One set in motion a nation that embraced individual freedom like no other an history, the latter illustrate Franklin's warning when asked what kind of government had been formed.  He had responded, "a republic, if you can keep it."

Well, we are well on the way to losing it, and we are also facing another of Franklin's declarations, namely that those who "can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

So I hold to the thoughts I expressed after the election, in that we are going to see a major military conflict in the near future, continued economic erosion, and nothing being done to address the fundamental problems.  I know this sounds gloomy, but how can you expect anything different when you make no changes in foreign policy, in economic policy, and double-down on the things choking entrepreneurship and small businesses like rising taxes and unnecessary regulations.

Our inane foreign policy continues.  On one hand we are told relentlessly that intrusive surveillance and heavy-handed security presences are there to "protect us" from Islamic militants, and in the next breath the US aids and assist the very same kind of Islamic militants in taking over Libya, and gives the same support to the same kind of militants in Syria.  From Tunisia, to Egypt, to Libya, to Syria, and all across this region government authority is falling under a united and much more extreme ideology that is not going to lead to anything good for he world.  Yet even after the Benghazi incident most people still can't see what's going on or who's coming to power across the region.

Iraq is still highly violent and unstable, the Taliban is alive and well in Afghanistan, and at the end of the day one has to ask why so many good men and women are dying at the behest of the politicians who do not even have the decency to follow the Constitution and declare war.

I could go on and on, but seeing all this insanity at home and abroad can be pretty frustrating, especially in the light of history.  Great lessons are there to be learned, and what they have to teach bodes very ill for the United States.  One can only hope that the Liberty Movement continues to educate and gain steam, and that sovereignty is pulled back to local levels, that individual liberties are defended, that people regain self-determination, and much more.  A stop can be put to the ills that plague us and the things that made us strong  can be restored.  It just takes people with willpower to make it happen.

As for me, I will move forward, and do my best in everything I do.  Nobody can say for certain what the future holds, but at the end of the day it is about what you choose to do, not what others choose to do.

I do hope that success, peace and happiness finds everyone this year, but I think a time of struggle is ahead.  Yet sometimes hardship brings out the best in men and women, and many heroes will rise to the occasion.  Hang in there, keep your head up, and continue to pursue your dreams!