Tag Archives: garrett calcaterra

Interviews and a FREE Short Story

It’s been an exciting week, with THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN trending up the charts, and interviews and guest posts popping up all over.

Garrett Calcaterra, author of The Dreamwielder Chronicles, and I had a great chat yesterday. (READ THE INTERVIEW)

Today, I spoke with author Tiffany Shand, author of the Shifter Clans series. (READ THE INTERVIEW) Here’s a small bit where we talk about THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN’s protagonist:

Can you give us a little insight into any characters in your latest book?
Effie is an orphaned Sithling—someone with both fey and human blood, and her kind are hunted by a government who has used propaganda to ostracize them from society. So she has instant adversity and enemies, but as an orphan, she doesn’t really know much about her own people, nor whom to trust. She’s curious to a fault, and it’s that conflict between her need for understanding and her need to remain safely hidden that drives her actions.

Still not convinced the book is for you? In that case, read Effie’s first adventure for FREE! All you have to do is click the link to download the original short story featuring “Effie of Glen Coe”. The download will let you choose several different formats for your reading pleasure!

A Fey Matter II Rough Draft Complete!

Feeling excited and accomplished this past week, as I’ve finished the rough draft of my second Fey Matter novel. As yet untitled, it currently weighs in at 95K words (though I’m sure it’ll grow a bit in editing) and follows Effie as she uncovers a series of shocking events springing from the aftermath of THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN.

effie-snipit“That notoriety persuaded her little did not lessen the desire that gripped her to have a voice in the matter, one that would rattle the empire and shake free the parasitic hold of prejudices against the fey.”

Work on THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN continues as I get my marketing ducks in a row. I saw a mock up of the cover, and I’m excited to reveal it, hopefully sometime soon!

BM_Small_newLast, Garrett Calcaterra, one of the co-authors of THE ROADS TO BALDAIRN MOTTE has posted his novella from that book for FREE on Wattpad. What, free? Yep, and if you like that, you can also check out his YA fantasy novel, DREAMWIELDER, as well.

The novella is entitled, ON THE BLACK WIND TO BALDAIRN MOTTE, and you can find it by clicking here.

The ASOIF End is Nigh…?

The Machine Stops had some fun this week, asking a handful of authors how they thought George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series would end. Below is how I answered, but if you’d like to read them all, head over here.

Also, thanks to all who voted for “The Tomb of Jerem’bel” over at the Bards & Sages reader’s choice polls. It won Best Short Story from the January 2016 issue!

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How I might end ASOIF:

“Of ASOIF’s many themes, two of the most prominent are 1) a mother’s love—Catelyn, Cersei, and Olenna all drive their decisions around the fate of their children and in grief are altered to their core—and 2) identity—Arya, Sansa, and Theon all assume multiple names and personalities as they struggle to find safety.

So it won’t be a shock when Daenerys chooses to protect her “children” and remove them far from the world of men rather than use them as tools to become Queen of Westeros. Likewise, Jon will take on the identity he never wanted, as the leader of the fight against the Others, but he’ll never achieve his heart’s desire, the small comforts of a close family.

The spoils of the war between Ice and Fire will go to those who least deserve it. While at the same time, the new power players in the Game of Thrones will learn nothing from those who fell before them. It is a dire fate for a dire world, and though Sansa may reclaim the Stark mantle, and Sam become a Maester, Arya’s list will grow ever long. For while the bite of Winter will leave its scars, its lessons are soon forgotten.”

#FF – The Machine Stops

I thought I’d do a little #FF here, though technically it’s a few hours until Friday. If you’re looking for some great mash-ups of fantasy, steampunk, horror, and sci-fi you should head over to The Machine Stops, the blog of author Garrett Calcaterra. He’s best known for his Dreamwielder series (the ebook of vol 1 is on sale through Sept 13th) but his recently released anthology, Dreamrush, is equally worth checking out. It has tales of air pirates raiding the California coast during the Gold Rush, a tie-in story set in the Dreamwielder ‘verse, and other weird pulp adventures.

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Souldrifter by Garrett Calcaterra – Excerpt

Souldrifter, Garrett Calcaterra‘s follow-up to Dreamwielder, was released last week. Check out the excerpt posted over on Black Gate:

https://www.blackgate.com/2015/09/27/black-gate-online-fiction-souldrifter-by-garrett-calcaterra/

Binge Reading & Soul Drifting

Thanks largely to enhanced streaming capabilities, the past few years have witnesses an increase in the amount of television binge watching. Not only is this method an addicting way to watch your favorite show, some shows have actually restructured their writing to meet this trend. HBO’s Programming President, Michael Lombardo, defended the second season of True Detective by saying viewers needed to, “watch the entirety of it,” before passing judgment, despite the episodes being released one at a time. Netflix and other distributors eschew the week-to-week delivery of content and release entire seasons of their shows in one go with the expectation that loyal fans will be discussing the final episode by the end of the day.

But binge consumption of genre related entertainment is nothing new. Readers have done the same for decades. Maybe not in one butt-numbing stretch, but in eagerly devouring everything an author can produce, and often as fast as the author can produce it. And the funny thing is, this trend occurs whether the author is a favorite or new to the reader. Readers will find out what the author has written before and grab it, even buying blocks of books on Amazon–hey, they’re discounted that way–before cracking open the first volume.

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In fact, it is sometimes difficult for new authors to sell their first book solely because readers don’t want to invest in something they can’t read more of if they happen to get hooked. I have witnessed this first-hand at conventions. At GenCon’s Author Alley in 2011, I was hard-pressed to get readers to take a gamble on a single, slim-for-fantasy novel, The Roads to Baldairn Motte, but those authors pitching multiple volumes–who were just as unheard of as I was–continuously piqued readers’ interests not by their series tagline but by the sheer amount of content they were offering! Seven massive tomes always looks more enticing on a table than a single book.

autumn_rebublic_coverAuthors like Brian McClellan have adopted a clever strategy to grab the attention of modern readers and keep them sated. He released novellas surrounding the narrative of his main novels. These are short spin-offs cast from different character viewpoints or set at different points in time. (See Battleship Galactica for an example of how television has done the same thing while viewers waited for the next season.) The novellas give existing readers additional content delivered at a pace months (if not years, Mr. Martin) faster than waiting on a longer novel, and they also present new readers with an Author page filled with content. Even better, with ebook novellas offered as cheap as they are, it’s a financially viable solution for both parties. (McClellan’s novellas are roughly one-third the cost of his novels.)

Which brings me to Souldrifter, the second volume of Garrett Calcaterra’s Dreamwielder Chronicles. I’m excited for this book not just because it promises great adventure and an expansion to the vast, rich world first established by Dreamwielder, but because I know new readers will take a chance on the books marketed as a series where they might have passed on each individually. The door is open for a whole new readership to find Makarria, who, as Wendy Wagner, author of the Pathfinder Tales novel, Skinwalkers, points out, “…is a teenage heroine who does more than just kick butt: she’s smart, powerful, and surprisingly believable for a fourteen-year-old queen.”

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Bruce McAllister, author of The Village Sang to the Sea, adds, “Souldrifter meets the promise of its predecessor with royal trumpets. Fine writing, magic, epic intrigue, a great cast, and a central character (Makarria) who mesmerizes—what more does a reader need to be happy?”

As much as they can consume, of course!

A Slice of the Author – Creating Setting

HWP_000It’s long been argued that all fictional characters contain some facet of the author. To what extent remains a debate, but what about setting? After all, in fantasy and science fiction, the where can be more important than the who or the what. Who is Robb Stark without the cold north of Westeros? Or Katniss Everdeen without Panem and the Hunger Games arena? But does that mean that without living through a Chicago winter, George R.R. Martin couldn’t have envisioned the lands beyond the Wall? Of course not. Yet it’s interesting that he has attributed the creation of his Wall to a trip to Hadrian’s Wall in England. His version is just a bit larger and colder.

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I have also hiked along Hadrian’s Wall. In fact, I have hiked it from start to finish—all 84 miles of it—and believe me, there is no end to the amount of stories to be found there. From the amazing views to the castles and fortresses, every mile is ripe with details fit for a story.

And I think that is where an author creates a setting. It’s by taking details of places they know and adjusting them to create something new. Whether it’s from something they’ve seen, watched, or read about, every scrap becomes a thread that can be rewoven into a new tapestry. Or to extend the common forest and tree metaphor, creating setting is like taking the trees you know and rearranging them into a forest of wonder that no one has ever yet beheld.

Garrett Calcaterra, author of the novel, Dreamwielder, has never lived in a labyrinth of ice caves, but he drew upon his experiences hiking around Lake Chelan, in the Cascades, and around Scotland. As he explains, “I got to experience Edinburgh and do a little spelunking in search of Sawney Beane’s secret lair. These experiences melded together with images I’d seen in documentaries about cliff dwelling indigenous tribes and the earth-shaping powers of glaciers. I came up with this sprawling ice cavern [for Dreamwielder] where an ancient race of humans built a city into the living rocks of the mountain and lived beneath the azure hue of the glacier above them.”

“The Dream Thief of Kuthahaar,” my story in the October 2012 issue of Bards & Sages Quarterly, grew in the telling, as the saying goes. Only in this case, the telling was of another story altogether, my first in the setting of the Immortal City of Kuthahaar, “The Kultar’s Lost Hand.” For that story I created a place with palaces and bazaars, a congested city teeming with guilds and a harsh ruling class, where the dregs of society found solace only below ground, in deep caverns the rich considered fit only for the dead.

But why Sultans and robes and sandals? Why not trousers and frock coats and timber-framed lodges? I didn’t set out to write an “Arabian themed” tale. In fact, I don’t consider the story Arabian at all. The idea for the story spawned from a movie I grew up with, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Yes, that one. Laugh or groan all you like, I was fourteen and it was the coolest thing ever, next to Willow. And it was the scene at the start of the film, where the thief has his hand lopped off that left an impression with me and started the story. I wondered: what did the man do afterward? Did all society shun him? Had he been a villain before? Or had he been respected, maybe even someone of importance? So the man grew a back story and a personality, and all the time the dwellings and clothes and scents and sounds around him stuck in shades of sandstone, with oils and incense covering the stench created by a glaring sun and too many poor toiling in crowded streets.

It wasn’t difficult to fill in the details. A trip to the local farmer’s market may not yield the same foods, but the feeling of congestion is the same. There are any number of candle and incense shops out there, and as for the desert, Southern California is a great stand in for hot and dry! And so each scene was filled in as I needed it, with details summoned from a wide range of memories. I just needed to pick and place them in a context that made sense for this new society.

As the details were drawn in, other stories sprouted from the nooks and crannies. “The Dream Thief of Kuthahaar,” began as I started to wonder who these Seers were who watched the city (a group of sorcerers mentioned briefly in the first story.) They worked for the Sultan, but how did he win their loyalty? If they had such power, why did they not use it for their own aims? As I wondered, not only did new characters spring up, but new parts of the city as well. A temple, parts of the Sultan’s palace, the lands about the city, all became a part of the setting as young Akil, the protagonist, wandered toward his destiny.

Other stories followed full of assassins and heroines, desperate men and cunning scoundrels. Hopefully, many more will come. All will be a fabrication, holding the merest slices of the author, scrambled and contorted, fried and blended, until the place exists only in the imagination.

For those interested, here is a link to the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail site: http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/HadriansWall/index.asp.

This post originally appeared on Tales From the Sith Witch, the blog of Julie Ann Dawson.

Bookwraiths Review: The Roads to Baldairn Motte

BM_Small_newBookwraiths has posted a great review of, The Roads to Baldairn Motte!

Where other series tend to focus on the “power players” of these types of conflicts, here the three authors decided to take a different approach, shining the spotlight on the more common folk in the tale…

Read the full review here: http://bookwraiths.com/2014/10/14/the-roads-to-baldairn-motte-by-garrett-calcaterra-craig-comer-and-ahimsa-kerp/