Saturday, June 20, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Creiton's Sword by Steven Baird

TITLE: Creiton's Sword
AUTHOR: Steven Baird
PUBLISHER: IUniverse, 2000
ISBN 978-0595133093 (464 pages)

Creiton's Sword is about a boy becoming a soldier in the heat of battle. It is the tale of a young man discovering his own abilities and limitations. It is the story of a man becoming something more than he could have ever expected. It is a coming-of-age epic that engrosses the reader and has that rare quality of making you forget what time it is.

The cover of the book has very little to do with the story, and I know that even Steven was put off by it. If and when he ever decides to re-release this novel, I sincerely hope he can find an artist who will be able to grab the spirit of the work and render it justice.

Steven Baird has something few writers have any more: talent. His ability to grab the reader with his storyline and take you along for the ride is phenomenal. The imagery is vivid, the characters believable. Definitely a page-turner with a satisfying ending.

I have known Steven for many years, and this is only the first example of his fine writing style. He currently is working on a sequel to Creiton's Sword, but I am really looking forward to seeing his fine fantasy novel Dragon in print soon.

See also the review.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Imagicopter Taking Off Soon!

All right, it's official. I'm a masochist.

That's the only explanation for me taking the lead on this huge project now called Imagicopter. What started out as a nice little idea about a multi-author signing at some of the local bookstores around the area is growing by leaps and bounds. I am delighted at the response, but becoming a little alarmed at the growth.

Not that I don't have the time to do it, what with being retired (or semi- I guess) and all. It's the sheer number of people becoming involved. There are now 12 writers in Imagicopter and five waiting to get involved, not to mention the people who are kind enough to help out. What a marvelous group!

Anyway, beginning August 22, 2009 at 1:00 PM Central time, Imagicopter launches from Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis, and, with any luck, will become a project writers from this and many other areas can get involved with. I am really looking forward to this, and hope that the tour is as big a success as we envision it should be.

If you're in the area, come on out and support your local authors!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: The Exodus Gate by Stephen Zimmer

TITLE: The Exodus Gate, Book One of the Rising Dawn Saga
AUTHOR: Stephen Zimmer
PUBLISHER: Seventh Star Press, LLC, 2009
ISBN 978-0-615-26747-0 (566 pages)

The end of the world was coming, but almost no one believed it.

A fan of Benedict Darwin, host of a late night radio talk show, loans him what is supposed to be the prototype of a new virtual reality game. Darwin soon realizes this is unlike any game ever known when he steps into the device's elaborate harness and is instantly transported into a world where talking wolf-man hybrids called An-Ki are at war with the Nephilim and demons from the Abyss. The creatures he encounters, and the world they inhabit, are not mere computer constructs, images on wireframe. He can feel the ground beneath his feet, the wind on his face, and smell the odors of a different world.Excited, Darwin shows the game to his niece, Arianna, unwittingly making her a player in the drama that is about to unfold.

It rapidly becomes certain that the Gate was designed for more nefarious purposes than mere entertainment. The game is not a game at all, but a Gate through time and space, allowing Darwin to travel to before the Great Flood. His usage of the Gate attracts the attention of the High Avatar Calliel, who wishes to deliver the An-Ki from their watery doom into the modern world. Darwin learns that there are others, Fallen Avatars who have a similar goal in mind: to cheat Adonai of His Plan to rid the world of the evil that has overtaken it by sending themselves and their Nephilim offspring into the future.

Darwin and his niece are caught up in a growing conflict between the Fallen Avatars and the An-Ki. Unable to prevent the Gate's use by the Fallen, they work to stop the Nephilim, their Masters and minions from obliterating the An-Ki and taking back the power they lost at the Flood.

Stephen Zimmer has given us an epic tale that stretches across millennia and myth. He casts ordinary people in a most extraordinary situation and takes us along for a terrifying and sometimes horrifying ride. The unbridled evil of the Fallen Avatars is echoed in their children, while the An-Ki's noble struggle for survival is often heartbreaking. The hope offered by the presence of the High Avatar Calliel is the only thing that might carry the An-Ki through – if their internal discord can be contained.

The first book of the Rising Dawn Saga, The Exodus Gate is a promising beginning to what will probably be a thrilling trilogy in a style that is a cross between Clark Ashton Smith and C.S. Lewis for its usage of mythic and religious symbols in a fantastic mixture of the ancient and modern worlds.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Winding Up for Some Coming Events

Okay, so the beginning of 2009 wasn't much more than a vacation for me. I figured I deserved at least a few months off after all. But, as they say, some things simply cannot wait.

First, I want to let everyone know about my friend Stephen Zimmer's upcoming booksigning in Bowling Green, KY. Here's the announcement in his own inimitable words:

"I'll be making an appearance on behalf of my debut modern fantasy novel The Exodus Gate at Waldenbooks in Bowling Green this Saturday from 12noon to 2pm (central standard time). Waldenbooks is located in Greenwood Mall, 2625 Scottsville Road, Bowling Green, KY. The phone number there is: (270) 843-6226.

"I'll be giving away alot of free items, regardless of whether or not someone buys the book, such as glossy art cards, bookmarks, and even 8X10's of the cover art to those that take the time to come and stop by. I will give away a special full color poster of the cover art and a full set of the art cards to those that do decide to get the book. I want to encourage fantasy fans to come out and say hi!

"If people want to get more information on the book in advance, and perhaps read a sample section in PDF format (and see some of the illustrations included in the book), they can always visit They can also email me with any questions that they might have at:"

I urge anyone who can to attend and get to know Stephen in person. He is a fascinating individual and a talented writer and independent filmmaker.

Speaking of Stephen, I might as well mention that there is another fellow having a booksigning this year. Yes, yours truly will be joining several other local authors in August for an event at the Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis, Tennessee. I will post further details later. This is just the first of what we hope will be a triumphant tour of the MidSouth featuring local authors from the Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas areas. Slated to last through the new year, the events should appear in Memphis, Nashville, Jackson (MS), Little Rock, Dyersburg, Oxford (MS), and possibly Jacksonville (AR), Corinth (MS), Millington (TN), and/or Bowling Green, possibly Lexington/Elizabethton (KY).

July will be a month dedicated to my family, as I have two grandsons' birthdays that month and will probably be headed to the Atlanta area for a birthday get-together.

By the way, talking about Atlanta reminds me of another writer friend who is active in that area in several events. Jana G. Oliver, author of the Time Rover series of books (Sojourn, Virtual Evil, and Madman's Dance) was recently a guest at the TimeGate Doctor Who-themed convention and is to be the guest of honor at next year's JordanCon. Congratulations, Jana!

Finally, for this post anyway, I want to start mentioning some of the publications that have been kind enough to feature my work in the past. Early on, when I was first experimenting with publication on the internet, Dan Hollifield's Aphelion Webzine became a prime target for my growing interest in web publication. Dan was very receptive to my fiction and poetry (yes, Tyree, I do write poetry) and several of my stories appeared there including Up in the Air and Reparations. I believe he still has my name on his archive list. Thanks again to Dan, and his staff, for their faith in me and my work. Anybody interested in some good science fiction and fantasy should not pass up this great webzine.

Well, I guess that's enough for now. Til next time, keep your powder dry.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Making New Friends/Networking

I attended Hypericon 5 in Nashville, Tennessee over the weekend. My intention was originally to attend mainly to do some networking to promote my book and help find contacts for the booksigning tour that starts in August. Instead, I found myself actually enjoying the company of several wonderful folks.

One of the most fascinating couples I met were Tracy and Ben Eller of World of Strange Fantastic Apparel. The T-shirts arrayed on their table bragged parodies of covers from some of the sci-fi and horror magazines I grew up with. I have to admit I have never seen better renditions of that artwork of old combined with the actual names of writers and artists dating from the late forties. Of course, they have material licensed from such artists as Dave Simons, Michael Whelan, and Cyril van der Haegen; cover art of crime noir books, comics; and the regular T-shirt madness. I definitely look forward to seeing them again. I can't wait to see what they come up with next.

It was great to meet up again with Stephen Zimmer, author of Exodus Gate from Seventh Star Press. Stephen is a writer and a filmmaker. His latest film, Shadows Light, is available on DVD. Stephen and I spoke with the gentlemen of Cineline Productions about a promotional short for my book Ascendant. Matt and Sven were very enthusiastic about the project and I am excited to be working with them on it. More on that as it develops. Meanwhile, I will be posting a review of Exodus Gate shortly.

Dan and Jackie Gamber of Meadowhawk Press were there. I was disappointed that Bill Snodgrass of Double-Edged didn't make it, but maybe we can get together soon.

I got to talk with D. A. Adams, author of the Brotherhood of Dwarves books. His story about how John-Rhys Davies was so fascinated by the first book that he gave permission to use his name and image in promotions for the book is an example of how even lesser known authors can receive the recognition they are due. Alex is still reeling from that, I think, even after the release of the second book in the series, Red Sky at Dawn.

Of course, I have to mention Samuel Flegal, who sketched me "as you would look after the apocalypse", i.e. as a zombie. Sam's very talented and I hope to be able to work with him in future as well.

Also attending were Stephanie Osborn, Kat Hibpshman, Sara Harvey, Jason Sizemore, M.R. Williamson, and a host of other writers and artists. Thanks to all for the fun!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Beginning a New Career

After over 35 years of working for someone else, I started working for myself in October of 2008.

It has been an interesting change. Odd not to have to go to work every day, listen to the drama around me, be caught up against my better judgment in the goings-on. As someone who never really got used to other people being around, even after turning 50, I was relieved when it finally came to an end.

Now, I can turn to my writing. For decades I have looked on my writing career as little more than a dream, something that would never come about. It was a fantasy that I would never live to enjoy, because there would always be another project, another thing to be done.

But it has happened, and in a way this is more frightening than anything else I have ever endured. I have jumped out of an airplane, tramped through tropical rain forest, walked Hadrian's Wall, been in car accidents, tampered with reality in ways that may or may not have been legal, but this is such a unique thing that I can find no comparison.

I look forward to, and dread, what is to come.