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!