Show, Don’t Tell – For Literature and Life, with Mike Thayer

There are very few lessons more powerful than those encouraging people to continually seek improvement and to be their best selves. Today’s guest, Mike Thayer, is a shining example of just that. He’s chosen to live fearlessly and reach for his dreams. He’s come to share a powerful message – why showing is so much more powerful than telling.


Photo by Limor Zellermayer on Unsplash

Show Don’t Tell – For Literature and Life

You get a lot of writing advice as an author. Murder your darlings, avoid adverbs, shun passive voice. The most oft repeated advice, however, has got to be “show, don’t tell.” It’s one of the simplest to understand and yet hardest to consistently apply. It’s also one of the most powerful when done right.

Don’t just tell me that the house is spooky, show me the house is spooky and I’ll arrive at any and all necessary conclusions myself. Talk of the disembodied whispers, the creaking floorboards, the apparitions that only appear in your peripheral vision. If you’ve done it well, I won’t just understand that the house is spooky, I’ll feel it, I’ll see it in my mind, and I’ll share the experience with others. By showing we unlock the true power storytelling, we tap into the essence of why we’re writing in the first place: to transport someone to a different world or see through the eyes of another person.

The power of “show, don’t tell” extends beyond the literary world, however. It isn’t just the way we should write. It’s a way we should live. If you’ve wronged someone, don’t just tell them that your sorry, show them. If you care for someone , don’t just tell them that you love them, show them. If you want to help the sick, dispossessed, and persecuted, if you want to exercise and eat healthy, if you want to learn to play an instrument or write a novel, then don’t just tell yourself or tell the world. Show it.

If you do it well enough you probably won’t even need to tell the world, because we will see it and we will feel it. Talking about something is easy, but I was always told that talk was cheap. After writing a few novels I think I understand that phrase better than ever. Do more than talk. Do more than tell. Show.

About today’s guest:

Mike Thayer is a proud father, lucky husband, passionate author, viral blogger, degreed engineer, decent impressionist, inept hunter, erstwhile jock, and nerd.

He has cast a ring on the slopes of Mt. Doom, eaten a feast at the Green Dragon Inn, cemented Excalibur in a sandstone block, tasted butter beer at Diagon Alley, built a secret door to his storage room, and written a fantasy novel. What else is left, really?

Want to connect? You can find Mike at his website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

He also has an amazing podcast, Calling all Nerds. (Psst – he and I totally did an amazing episode together, go check it out!)

The Epic Adventures of the Techno Wizard: The Uncharted Lands

Rebellion against the Emperor of Avalon grows as rumors spread of the Collector’s defeat at the hands of the Techno Wizard. Sam Shelton and his friends now seek powerful new allies as they travel to the Great Rampart of the Uncharted Lands – a towering, armored wall built for a single purpose: to keep the citizens of the Wildland Kingdom on one side and the foulest monsters in all of Avalon on the other.

Something, however, is not right in the Uncharted Lands. The attacks on the wall grow fiercer, more frequent, more coordinated and Sam’s drone catches a glimpse of an evil long-forgotten.

Can Sam and his friends convince the Queen of the Wildland Kingdom to fight the emperor or does a slumbering threat pose an even greater risk?

You can buy your own copy of The Epic Adventures of the Techno Wizard: The Uncharted Lands on Amazon and also  iTunes, Nook, and Kobo.

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The Inner Jerkface and You: How to Deal with your Inner Critic – with James Thompson

Authors tend to be introspective people. After all, we spend an ungodly amount of time uncovering the inner workings of our characters down to the point that we know what will break them – and then we do, often with gleeful abandon.

This is what makes great storytelling. However, like most people, we still stubbornly refuse to master that little voice that keeps telling us that we aren’t good enough, aren’t worthy, or don’t deserve to succeed. Today, friend and fellow author James Thompson is with us to talk about how we can deal with that niggling little voice.

The Inner jerkface and you: How to deal with your inner critic

Just who is this inner jerkface?

It’s our inner critic on steroids. It’s the little voice that knows what we’re afraid of. Knows the anxieties plague us on a daily basis. It’s the guy that pumps adrenaline into our bloodstream at night, so we can lie awake and worry.

Our Inner Jerkface, or whatever you want to call it, comes into our life at the most inopportune moments.

Here’s the really scary part. The Inner Jerkface speaks in a rational, logical sounding voice. Even though it’s telling you irrational, illogical things. The lower we feel, the more depressed we feel, the more this voice makes sense to us.

“You’ll never be as good as your successful friend.”

“You are a fraud.”

“You are failing your family.”

I could go on and on.

Like you, I hear this voice on the daily. Even when things are going great, this voice will still be there, trying to make us shut down and curl into a ball.

Fortunately, we have another voice we can listen to. Paying attention to this particular voice can counter the Inner Jerkface.

I’m talking about the voice of our optimism.

I can hear the eye rolling now.

Optimism gets a bad rap, oddly enough. People associate optimism to thinking life will be sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, and kittens.

Not so.

Optimism is seeing the problems we have, and telling ourselves to keep going. That things will get better.

When things look bleak we can either listen to the Jerk, or we can listen to the voice that tells us this.

“Your friend is very successful, and that’s awesome. That success is motivating.”

“Frauds only look like they’re working this hard. I know you’re putting in the hours on this.”

“I know this is difficult right now. I also know you’ve got great support and your wife and kids love you. You can do this. ”

The Inner Jerkface will always be with you. So will the voice of your optimism.

You’re always going to have anxiety, no shame in that. It’s part and parcel of the human condition. So, too, is realizing that somethings are more important than our fear. Finding out that you have that kind of courage is a huge deal.

Don’t worry if you haven’t found your courage yet. You will.

About today’s guest:

James Thompson lives in Sandy, UT. He loves a good story wherever he finds it. Primarily he loves the myths and legends of every culture in the world. He also loves reading DnD, Star Wars, GURPs, White Wolf, and other RPG source books. He even participates in role playing games when he finds folks crazy enough to let him play. When he isn’t reading or writing, he is a stay at home father, helping to raise twin boys who are growing up too fast. He is also a blade and exotic weapon enthusiast. Lineage is his first published book. He is currently working on the sequel to Lineage, and other projects.

Connect with James on Facebook, on Twitter, and on his blog.

James’s Book, Lineage


This is the story of Connor Murray, a young hooligan from England who finds out that he is a direct descendant of the Legendary King Arthur. He is taken to a school where other lineal descendants of the Court of Camelot gather to be taught by the progeny of Merlin. Lineage brings the names of the Knights of the Round Table from the dust of the old tales and gives them new life. Most importantly, it brings back the ideals of Arthur’s Camelot: that might is not right and mercy is not weakness.

Lineage is available on Amazon.

The Courage to Write, with Elesha Teskey

Fear of the unknown haunts our steps at the start of any adventure . A skydiver’s parachute might not open. A rock climber might fall. The horse might bite and kick.

Writing is no different.

Today, Elesha Teskey is here to share her personal experience about what it means to have courage as a writer. It’s the perfect message for all of you endeavoring to start new projects here in the new year.


Photo by Oliver Cole on Unsplash

Courage to Write

Writing is hard. If you’re a writer, you know that. It’s hard enough to come up with a story, string it together into something entertaining, then sit down and craft those ideas into something that other people will enjoy, but add the fear we all feel into the equation and it’s enough to make you quit some days.

When I first started writing, I just wrote. I knew enough about telling stories that it wasn’t terrible, it also wasn’t great, but we all have to start somewhere. As I progressed on the journey, I learned more (as one hopefully does). One would think that more knowledge would lead to it being easier to craft a story. It hasn’t. I found myself worrying about everything. What if my character is too unlikable? What if there’s no market for this story? What if I put a comma in the wrong spot? What if my word count is too high or too low? Sometimes the self-doubt is paralyzing.

This issue has been on my mind a lot lately. I miss the days when I put words on the page and wrote in blissful ignorance. What I’ve learned on my journey has helped me grow, I can’t unlearn it. What I want to do this year, is use what I know and write without fear. There are certain things that are important to keep in mind, like pacing and word count, but it’s okay to let some of the other stuff fall away while I write. I was listening to the audiobook for View From The Cheap Seatsby Neil Gaiman. He mentions that he writes stories for himself, stories he wants to hear, and people happen to like them. Now, writing that way won’t lead us all to Neil Gaiman status (if only), but it will make us a lot happier.

If you have a story burning inside you, write it. Don’t hold back. Allow your imagination to go where it will. I’m not saying you’ll end up with a masterpiece, but your end product will be more authentic, which makes your story unique.

The Fabulous Elesha Teskey

About Elesha

Elesha lives her life surrounded by books. She managed to land a job as a librarian a few years ago, which allows her to discuss books all day. In the evening, she writes dark stories that often involve magic and monsters. She also helps put other people’s books into the world in her role as publicist for Pen & Kink Publishing (www.penandkinkpub.com). When not doing bookish things, she tries to find time to read Tarot cards and watch Supernatural between her parental duties.

You can find her at her blog and on Twitter

Pen & Kink Publishing (www.penandkinkpub.com) is a micro publisher run by editor-in-chief Cori Vidae. I was lucky enough to have been brought on board as publicist when Cori launched the press. I’m so lucky to get to help people launch their books. We have released some great titles over the last three years, everything from hot and steamy romance to sweet stories, from creepy to cowboys. Check out our books, I’m sure you’ll see something interesting.

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Hi, Jodi here. I’m so glad you stopped by. The message Elesha shared is so important, not only for writers, but for everyone who needs a little boost of encouragement. I’d love to hear about your projects and what helps you be brave down in the comments – I will always comment back.

Like this post? Want to stay in the loop? Be sure to like and subscribe!

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Healthy vs Unhealthy Relationships with Dacia M. Arnold


As the holidays are upon us, the stresses of meeting expectations and being around family are very real. I’ve asked friend and fellow writer Dacia M. Arnold to join us today and share an important message about healthy domestic relationships, a message that resounds in her newly released book, Apparent Power.

tour logoDacia’s Message:

Modeling healthy domestic relationships in my novel, Apparent Power, was extremely important to me. I lost my best friend to domestic violence when I was deployed to Iraq the second time. She was killed in her home at 4am on Christmas morning 2010. The phone call home that day is both vivid and a blur of emotions in my memory.

In Apparent Power, readers will recognize the very distinct difference between a healthy romantic relationship and an unhealthy relationship.

The main character, Valerie Russell, is hell bent on making sure her son is safe. Her next priority is to find her husband and, with his help, figure out the next steps. As a wife, I make no major decisions without my husband. Though he respects when I am extremely passionate about something like saving the world, my husband is my sounding board and voice a reason. There is no doubt he would fight with me to the ends of the earth, or run as far away as we could because the decision would be made together. This healthy relationship drives the train through the story. From page one yes, a mom is trying to save her son, but her teammate, partner, and best friend is her husband.

Later in the story, the reader encounters a narcissistic character who is in such a place of power, there seems to be nothing left for Valerie to do but concede to her situation for the sake of the lives around her. I even went so far as to have the main character recognize the abuse and narcissism but feel so inferior to do anything about it. Many people are in the cycle of abuse knowing it should not be that way but feel trapped by money or other circumstances. In the end Valerie finally reaches out a hand to find strength existing within her the whole time. I will leave the rest for the audience to find out.

Love should not hurt physically OR emotionally. Sometimes relationships are hard, but this should not be the majority of the time. There are resources to not only identify domestic abuse, but find resources in your area to remove yourself from the situation. Psychological abuse is just as damaging as being hit, pushed, or raped. Crisistextline.org is free. Text CONNECT to 741741 in the United States. If your texting is monitored you can call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you are unsure if you are experiencing abuse you can CLICK THIS LINK to find out what domestic violence is.

5Dacia M Arnold is an award-winning American novelist, freelance writer, mother, medical professional and a ten-year Army Veteran. She is the author of Apparent Power, Reactance and Shifting Power, plus short fiction in the international anthology COLP: The Passage of Time. As a freelance writer, Dacia contributes monthly to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer’s blog where she shares her relatively short experience in the literary world.

Dacia spent fifteen months working in Baghdad Emergency room with the 86th Combat Support Hospital. During her second deployment, then Sergeant Arnold managed the busiest outpatient clinic in southern Iraq.

Now, as a mother of two, Dacia incorporates her experiences in all aspects of her life into her writing.  

Apparent Power correctedJust in time for Christmas, the perfect gift for the book loving person in your life (maybe that’s yourself). Apparent Power has been critically linked to Hollywood blockbusters like Divergent and Annihilation by Kirkus Reviews and is available for sale December 11th through all major book retailers including Amazon. 

Connect with Dacia:

Apparent Power on sale December 11th through all major book retailers including Amazon, Tattered Cover, and Barnes & Noble

Influences of Podcasting with Daniel Swenson

Today, friend and fellow ginger Daniel Swenson comes on the blog to talk about his most influencial podcast guest in the ten years he has run the Dungeon Crawler Radio podcast. Daniel and I met through our connections in the Utah writing community and have plenty in common, including a passion for fantasy fiction, a love of meeting inspiring people, and a shared publisher, Immortal Works Press. 

Dungeon Crawler Radio Logo

My question to Daniel – Which podcast guest has influenced you the most over the years, and why? 

Daniel’s answer:

The question of who has been the most influential person in my podcasting and writing career was one that was a bit difficult for me to narrow down as I have met many amazing people over the last ten years that I have been doing my podcast Dungeon Crawler Radio. When I first started, I had these grand dreams that I would meet all the authors that I had come to love in my formative years. And amazingly enough I was able to fulfill most of those dreams. So, to narrow it down to one individual was quite a challenge, but in the end when I finally decided on who that individual was, it was quite obvious and apparent.

As I’ve said, I have met many amazing and talented people over the years and this is in no way to discount them because many of them have helped shape my life in one way or another. However, the one person who really stands out in my mind that made the most impact in my life as a person, a podcaster, an interviewer and a writer has to be author R.A. Salvatore. It was during those Awkward High School years that I discovered Bob’s first Drizzt novel, The Crystal Shard. The book was set in the Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms setting and at the time was published by TSR. The cover was fascinating, on it was a burly dwarf with a massive battleaxe, a huge human barbarian easily hefting a warhammer in both hands, and a dark elf was crouched on the ground examining a blood trail. I knew right then and there I wanted to know what happened within the pages of this book. 

I devoured every book R.A. Salvatore put out and they always found a way to effect me emotionally on some level with the events going on in my life at the time. It was amazing. Fast forward fourteen years later and I was two years into running my podcast and we’d had some success with interviewing author like Larry Corriea, Dan Wells, and Brandon Sanderson before their careers took off. It was around this time I gained the courage to email Bob and see if he would be willing to come on the show to talk about his latest book. To my amazement, he said yes and we planned when he’d come on. The show was beyond amazing, there I was talking to the author equivalent of my hero and it was like we had been friends for years, he joked with us, he spoke to us about writing, he gave us and the listeners some really great advice. He was also very interested in what we had to say regarding our insight with his novels, the characters and our questions about writing and he was very gracious and responded in kind. 

Bob continued to come back on the show year after year sometimes as much as twice a year depending on book release and each time he continued to leave great advice on writing and being a decent human being.

R.A. Salvatore

With each visit I wrote down the amazing advice given and tried to incorporate those things into my daily life, my writing for my gaming campaign and the podcast. The advice given was so impactful that I am sure it is part of the reason the podcast has been so successful and authors like R.A. Salvatore and so many others have wanted to return over and over again. But more importantly, it was the advice given about writing and the need to write that really changed my life as it had given me the foundation I needed when I began to write my first novel. All those lessons over the years had been the greatest writing class anyone could ever hope for. 

I am grateful for the friendships I have made over the years with individuals in the writing and gaming communities due to my podcast and writing. I still continue to meet amazing individuals everyday and I hope that through my podcast, my writing and when I speak at events that maybe I too can spark the joy of being creative in someone else like Bob helped ignite in me.


About Daniel Swenson

Daniel Swenson is a fantasy writer that enjoys writing about dragons, guns, swords, magic and more. Daniel’s debut novel The Shadow Above the Flames came out in 2017 and was an Amazon Best Seller. The sequel, A Dragon’s fate will be release in June of 2019. Daniel is also the creator and host of the Hugo-nominated podcast Dungeon Crawlers Radio.

Connect with Daniel:

About his book, The Shadow Above the Flames:

How do you save the world from two monstrous entities? A power-hungry corporation and a newly awakened dragon…

In a world left reeling at the loss of fossil fuels, and after giving years of service to the military, Henry Morgan just wants a normal life. But between nagging feelings from his past and a strained relationship with his brother Rick, “normality” always feels just out of reach. 

The Union Forest Corporation puts profits ahead of safety and with a dragon on the loose threatening to kill innocent people, something incredible happens… 

Henry learns that Rick is among the force of elite commandos sent by Union Forest to battle against the dragon at the drilling site, he’s forced back into the roles of soldier and protective older sibling. He’ll do anything he can to save his brother . . . including risking his own life at the hands of a ruthless corporation. Henry may be the only person who can keep the world safe from total annihilation…

If you like fast-paced thrillers, brutal dragons, witty heroes, and evil villains, then you’ll love Daniel Swenson’s first novel – The Shadow Above The Flames. It’s a high octane thrill ride! 

Buy The Shadow Above The Flames today to watch an ordinary man become a hero!

“An awesome premise combining old and new. Tons of fun.”

– Dan Wells, New York Times bestselling author of “I Am Not A Serial Killer”

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A huge thanks to Daniel for joining us today! Be sure to check out both his podcast and his book, they are awesome.

Speaking of podcasts, did you know that Dan and I did an interview a few weeks ago? Come check it out.

Tabletop Gaming with Daniel Yocom

Today, I’m thrilled to bring a different flavor of entertainment here to the blog. Friend and fellow writer Daniel Yocom of Guild Master Gaming is an avid reader, community builder, and gamer. I’ve asked him to come discuss his experience with tabletop gaming and what has drawn him to it.

Gen Con Terrain board (Source: WikiCommons)

Here’s what Daniel has to say:

Why Tabletop Games

Socializing—that’s the short answer. Unless I’m involved in a really heavy strategy game, there’s a lot of socializing taking place. In other social situations it can be harder or even frowned on to talk. While playing, it’s also relatively easy to take a break from the game as an individual, or as a group. I seldom play at the level of just wanting to win. It’s about the relationships with people.

The variety of games also means there is something for every person who wants to play a game. Games, like so many other things, are divided up into types and genres. With some friends we play lighter games while with others we get into the deeper strategy games. Some prefer board games, while I have a group that has several on-going role-playing game (RPG) campaigns. There are games for small to large groups. Ones that take only a few minutes and others designed to last for hours.

The differences create mental challenges while providing entertainment. Don’t think a light game doesn’t have strategy, it does. It’s just a different style requiring players to react, think, and play differently.This also means good games can be played time after time and not be repetitive. I try something new with the next playing, just like those I game with. It gives a friendly level of competition.

Experience

I have been playing board games as long as I can remember. That’s over 50 years, and RPGs for about 40 years. I own hundreds of games, and if I combine in the group, I’m willing to bet we easily clear the thousand mark.

I have written material for games since the 1980s, which were some self-published adventures for RPGs. I left writing for some time and didn’t get back into writing about games until the new century. Then, in 2012 I started writing specifically about gaming by writing reviews and supple mental material for Guild Master Gaming and other publications and sites.

Tabletop gaming is a hobby I believe is for everyone. Even if you don’t own the game, gamers like to share their interest and their games.

Daniel Yocom

Bio

Daniel Yocom does geeky things by night because his day job won’t let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He’s written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines after extensive research. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife.

Join in the geeky fun at guildmastergaming@blogspot.comor on Google+, Facebook,and Twitter(@GuildMstrGmng).

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Hi everyone, Jodi here! First, a big thanks for Dan for coming and sharing about his experience. If you need gaming advice, he’s your man. Another thanks to you, dear reader, for showing interest and reading today’s article.

In writing news, I’ve nearly finished writing the first half of the third book in the Stonebearer’s series as part of my NaNoWriMo 2018 project (and it’s so cool!). Once I get all the story pieces finalized for the trilogy, I’ll polish off book two and get it sent in to the publisher, hopefully within the next few months. So much squee!

As for Stonebearer’s Betrayal, I’ve received some amazing compliments from friends and family about how much they’ve enjoyed the book. My favorite is from my 10-year-old niece who was so excited when she finished it she had to text me after bedtime to tell me all about her favorite parts. This is why I write.

Want to see what all the fuss is about? You can get Stonebearer’s Betrayal for free on Kindle Unlimited. It’s also available in print and e-book at all major online book retailers.

Positive Influences of Writing, with Rachel Huffmire

Having a creative outlet in today’s busy modern life is a wonderful way to relieve stress, find greater fulfillment, and meet new people. Today we are talking to author Rachel Huffmire about how writing has influenced her life for the better.

Rachel and I met because of our mutually shared passion for the written word. We both are Immortal Works authors and we both have books coming out soon. In addition, we both are moms who work hard to find an ideal balance between filling our creative wells and spending time with our families.

koushik-chowdavarapu-682187-unsplash

Photo by Koushik Chowdavarapu on Unsplash

My big question for Rachel is:

How has writing influenced you to be a better person?

Her response:

Learning to write is a great form of self-discovery! One of the first books I read about the craft was called “If you want to write” by Brenda Ueland. Ueland taught me I didn’t need to go to extraordinary lengths to be a good writer—I don’t have to spend a summer abroad, I don’t have to try Thai food (though that was a happy discovery)… I merely had to be honest about the way I saw my immediate world. So, I started to look deeper into the things I found commonplace. I realized how cool my life actually was! I grew up as a homeschooler in Utah, surrounded by wheat fields, raising a pet duck named Penelope… To me that was normal. To others, apparently, it was super interesting!

Writing also taught me to appreciate living in a whole new way. When you decide to become a creator of any kind, you absolutely must be deliberate about the way you observe, interact, and sense the world around you. In “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron, she talks about filling up a creative well to draw from by engaging your senses while seeking out a spectrum of emotions and details around you – not just the pleasant or comfortable ones. I learned to write three daily pages of subconscious jabber to get all the inhibitions, fears, and tasks out of my way so I can produce stories without being blocked by inner negativity. In an online interview, Liz Lemon Swindle recounted how her mentor told her she could become a professional artist in ten years. Liz said she would push herself and get there in a year, but her mentor replied with “It’s not a matter of time, it’s a matter of life.”  I’ve been writing consistently for seven years now, and am so grateful for the struggles, joys, and experiences that have stretched me over that time. All of it. The good, the bad, and the new.

Writing also teaches me to live life deliberately. I’m a homeschool mom to two little boys and I make sure that writing always comes second to them. If I want to be as prolific as I hope I can be, I have to be very careful not to spend too much time engaged in things that don’t matter. And finally, writing has led me to some wonderful friendships that have shaped and changed my life for the better. Writers are some of the most friendly and encouraging bunch of people you’ll ever meet. Basically, writing taught me to embrace the life around me and savor every little piece of it, then figure out how to write it down in a way that others can enjoy it too.

LTUE Headshots-6 1
Rachel Huffmire works as a novelist and acquisitions editor for Immortal Works Press. You can find her in Southern California where she enjoys sand at its finest: the beach and the desert. She homeschools her two little boys, writes science fiction and fantasy novels, and reads bedtime stories to her husband every night. Her first novel, Shattered Snow, will be released on January 8, 2019.

Connect with Rachel! 
Facebook: Rachel Huffmire, Author
Twitter: @RachelHuffmire
Instagram: rachelhuffmire

Cover Final

More about Rachel’s upcoming debut novel, Shattered Snow

The story

In 2069, time-travel is restricted to observation and research. But Keltson Grammar doesn’t mind breaking a few laws. Known only as “The Mirror”, Keltson runs an underground empire that rescues unfortunate souls throughout history. However, a single misstep could send an entire agency to reinstate his clients to their original dismal fates.

Lilia Vaschenko is a Russian mechanic surrounded by cinderblock towers, ladders she cannot climb, and a glass ceiling that holds her down like a casket. She’ll do anything to escape— even work for the world’s most wanted renegade.

Margaretha is a young countess, destined to be poisoned at twenty-one. But when she discovers a mysterious mirror in the woods that transforms the world into shadows and ice, her future shatters. Chased from her familiar home, will she ever find where she truly belongs?

Shattered Snow is a YA science-fiction retelling of Snow White. It is based on the real-life history of Margaretha von Waldeck, a sixteenth-century countess that may have inspired the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale.

Sounds awesome, right? You can preorder Shattered Snow on Amazon and other online book retailers.

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Hi everyone! Jodi here.

Release Day for Stonebearer’s Betrayal is coming up next week! I can’t tell you how exciting it is for this day to finally come. For those of you (wonderful people!) who preordered, your copies will be shipped to you or delivered to your e-readers on Nov 13th.

Want your own copy? Head on over to Amazon or your favorite online book retailer today!

Want a signed copy? Head over to my online store!

Utah locals! Come celebrate with me at the Stonebearer’s Betrayal Launch Party next Friday, November 16th, from 7-9pm at The Printed Garden in Sandy (9445 S Union Sq, Ste A, Sandy, Utah 84070). There will be fun, food, and prizes!

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Talking Pulp Fiction with Jay Barnson

Before you get all excited about a potential discussion about Uma Thurman, John Travolta, and Samuel L Jackson let me rein you in touch. Today, we’ll be talking about real pulp fiction. Popular stories such as Flash Gordon, Indiana Jones, Tarzan, heck, even Star Wars, all started out as stories that appeared in pulp magazines which were printed on cheap wood pulp paper. They had a distinct smell and feel to them, which pulp fiction enthusiasts have come to love.

My friend, Jay Barnson, is a true pulp fiction aficionado. So much so that he has published several stories in modern pulp publications, such as Storyhack and Cirsova. His new book, Blood Creek Witch, takes the engaging action elements of a good pulp read and weaves them into a fantastic urban fantasy. Jay and I go back to, you might have guessed it, Xchyler Publishing. In 2015, that’s where all the cool local writers hung out.

pulp covers
My big question for Jay is:

What draws you to pulp fiction? (and how has it influenced you…?)

When I was a kid, my primary sources of science fiction and fantasy (which they usually dumped on the same small shelf back then…) were libraries, and occasionally used book stores. This meant I wasn’t reading the newest stuff, and a lot of what I read was anthologies or novel reprints of “classic” science fiction and fantasy — much of which was originally published in pulp magazines. While my friends were discovering Lord of the Rings, I was discovering Conan of Cimmeria. I was into pulp SFF before I even knew what it was! These were the kinds of stories that inspired me. They were the kinds of stories also that inspired some of my favorite movies as a kid, too, like Star Wars (originally three films) and Indiana Jones (um, ditto).

Flash forward to today, and what I want to read (and write) today hasn’t changed much. Stories of the pulp age were well-told yarns focused on escapism and entertainment. The pulp masters made a living writing these things, by producing a constant stream of stories that readers wanted (and would pay for) – through the intermediate layer an editor. It wasn’t about producing an annual book in a series and having a publisher market the crap out of it, or gaining the marketing cachet of a major award or Oprah’s Book Club, or anything else from later eras that drove a “hit.” It was all about entertaining the audience, over and over again. Their stories had to be riveting from page one with nothing else to prop them up except maybe the reputation of their pen name and the name of the magazine.

Since I started getting published, I’ve gone back and read a lot of the original pulps and reprints (and I’ve even picked up a few original paper copies on eBay). Many popular misconceptions about pulp stories can be resolved simply by reading a bunch of them. Yeah, there are plenty of stinkers out there – I’ll be the first to admit that not everything was gold back then. Once you get past the cultural and language barriers of stories from nearly (or over) a hundred years ago, you may find these tales stack up well against a lot of modern stuff published today. They work. The storytelling still works. You can analyze it and find that these men and women figured out (often the hard way) the axioms of writing we take for granted today. They wove magic.

An emphasis on action. Character-driven stories. Show, don’t tell. Lurid spectacle. Escapism. Heart. Thrilling twists. Quiet heroism as well as bold fisticuffs. I want to tell those kinds of stories. Not pastiche stories that sound like they were written in the 1930s, but modern stories that embrace the pulp aesthetic. I’ve been happy to learn that there are a lot of readers out there just like me who crave exactly that kind of story, too, even if they don’t recognize it as “pulpy.” It’s just fun.

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Spring Into Books, 2016, Viridian Center

Jay Barnson writes speculative fiction across multiple genres. His stories and non-fiction articles have appeared in several anthologies and magazines, including The Escapist and the Hugo-nominated Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine. He is the winner of the 2016 DragonComet writing award. Born in West Virginia, Jay grew up on a steady diet of science fiction and fantasy, much of it from the pulp era. His latest novel, Blood Creek Witch, is a tale of magic, monsters, and mayhem set in the backwoods of modern-day West Virginia.

Blood Creek Witch

Want to connect with Jay?

Here’s his links:

Website/Blog: Rampant Games
Facebook page: Author Jay Barnson
Interested in Jay’s stories and books?
Thanks again for joining us today, Jay!
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Jay was awesome enough to host me for an interview at his blog, go check it out!

Upcoming Events

Launch Party
Stonebearer’s Betrayal Launch Party Nov 16, 7-9pm. You know you don’t want to miss this. Come join me at the Printed Garden Bookstore in Sandy where I’ll be selling and signing books. There will be treats, activities, prizes, a reading, and a Q&A session. I’d love to see you there!
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Local Authors & You – November 2-3rd: If you live in the Salt Lake valley, this one’s for you! All three of my past guests, John M. Olsen, Candace J. Thomas, and today’s guest Jay Barnson, will be there. Even better, I will be joining them and bringing exclusive pre-release copies of Stonebearer’s Betrayal! So much win! The event is free to the public and requires no registration. It’s a great chance to get signed and personalized Christmas gifts for the book lover on your list.

Why Adults Should Read Fantasy with John M Olsen

I had so much fun featuring Candace J Thomas here on the blog last week that I invited another dear author friend to come join us this week. Be sure to stop by her blog to see her wonderful interview with yours truly. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, writer friends are the best.
Today we have John M Olsen with us. He is a fellow Immortal Works author who also has roots back at Xchyler Publishing. In fact, he and I met during the same event where I met Candace back in 2015. John is also currently president elect of the League of Utah Writers and just this summer released The Crystal Queen, the sequel to his first book The Crystal King. 
Crystal queen
My big question for John is:

Why should adults read fantasy?

John’s answer:

A man by the name of G. K. Chesterson said, “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

Adults also know dragons exist. We face them every day. Maybe your dragon is a mortgage or a boss with a personality disorder. Maybe your dragon is a disability or a dear friend who refuses to make good life choices. Many of us like to escape into fantasy worlds, but there is much more than escape going on as we march page by page through a fantasy world. These worlds of the imagination are fraught with peril and doom, and good storytelling puts us on the edge of our seat as we hope good overcomes evil, or that true love will conquer all.

I love themes that confirm my faith in the goodness of humanity and of the universe, especially when we see so much entropy and failure if not outright evil. The bad guys may take the upper hand as a story progresses, but in the end, they will lose. Fantasy, at least the sort I prefer, shines a beacon of success despite the odds and illuminates a path forward. If the hero of your story can achieve great things, then you as a reader can as well, no matter how dark the night.

This is why I write, too. I love to write about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, something all readers can relate to. I’m a regular guy. Most readers are regular folks, too. Few achieve great fame or fortune, and the world spins on its merry way oblivious to our existence. But history is filled with true stories of ordinary people who stepped up just like fantasy characters to do what nobody could expect. We have power we don’t recognize. Power we don’t understand, and power we don’t use. But we will recognize, understand, and use that power as we learn by example. As long as we immerse ourselves in stories of success and never give up on ourselves and those around us, we put ourselves on a path to change lives, and through that to change the world.

Fantasy gives us power over reality’s dragons.

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A huge thanks to John for joining us and for his insightful thoughts on why fantasy is so important for readers of all ages, not just kids.
If you liked this message, please share it using the handy links below!
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You can find John all over the place, here are some handy links:

Twitter: @john_m_olsen
Find his novels and short stories over on Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/johnmolsen

 

About John M. Olsen

Motivated by his lifelong love of reading, John M. Olsen writes about ordinary people doing extraordinary things and hopes to entertain and inspire others. His father’s library started him on this journey as a teenager, and he now owns and expands that library to pass his passion on to the next generation of avid readers.

He loves to create things, whether writing novels or short stories or working in his secret lair equipped with dangerous power tools. In all cases, he applies engineering principles and processes to the task at hand, often in unpredictable ways. He usually prefers “Renaissance Man” to “Mad Scientist” as a goal and aesthetic.

He lives in Utah with his lovely wife and a variable number of mostly grown children and a constantly changing subset of extended family.

Check out his ramblings on his blog. Safety goggles are optional but recommended.

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Love staying in touch? So do I! Let’s connect. You can follow here on WordPress, or choose your favorite social media – I’m on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

Discussing Worldview with Candace J Thomas

Today we are privileged to have my dear friend and fellow fantasy author, Candace J Thomas, here on the blog. Candace has been my cheerleader and spirit animal from the first day we spent time together behind Xchyler Publishing’s sales table at the 2015 Life, the Universe, and Everything Symposium. At that point, she embodied everything I wanted to be. She had two amazing books and was working on the third, she radiated warmth and confidence, and she knew the industry.

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My big question for her is:

How has creating new worlds and characters changed your world view?

Candace’s answer:

This is a beautiful question.

There are two answers that I came up with.

My first answer – It’s all in the details. I am an observer of life. I’ve always been a people-watcher. People fascinate me, their mannerisms, drives, motivations. When building characters, I focus on these kind of things and strive to make them real, as real as if I knew them in high school.

Also, as an observer, the world becomes a more vivid and interesting place. I search for the interesting peculiarities to bring a more human experience – or basically, the Charm of things.

Currently, I am writing a story that takes place in Chicago. When I visited, there were little things I noticed, like how sidewalks wind around where trees are planted. It’s a charming fact that makes it interesting and human. Maybe the casual reader wouldn’t notice such a little detail, but I find it fulfilling and necessary to my stories. Adding charm is attractive to me.

When in Austin, I saw a side wall outside of bar completely littered with industrial staples where band flyers once hung. I admired the dreams that once were and wondered what happened to the thousands of dreams that came and went.

Nature is a big fascination to me. I like the veins in leaves and how they change color. I like watching fuzzy caterpillars slink across the tree branches, just wandering about their day. I like broken sidewalks and aged cobblestone. As an author, I have a responsibility to bring an experience to the reader. If I don’t add the little details, the bits of charm, I feel like I’m failing. You can find little details in everything I write.

As to the second answer – being an author, in general, has changed my world view. I’m a simple person, with a very simple idea of life, but I am driven by creativity. I view things differently and communicate in the language of art. I am also dyslexic, but that never changed my desire to be creative and write. It did bring challenges and insecurities to what I was trying to do.

I have always ached to be a writer and had the drive to do it and be successful. There are pros and cons to authoring. Becoming an author has pushed my private writing public. It takes me out of my comfort zone and brings this out-going character to the stage. As an author, there is no hiding your mistakes and insecurities in writing. It’s out there for readers, and every reader has an opinion.

I’ve had to learn that not everyone loves reading fantasy, and not everyone will like what I’ve done. I’ve really grown and matured over the last five years being published. I’ve become a confident author and mentor to others. I’m much wiser and more conscientious about how my name, as a brand, is perceived. It’s like I took the blue pill in the Matrix and I can never view the world as general as I did before. But on the flipside, I get to influence readers and creators every time they open my books. That is the very best feeling in the world.

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Want to connect with Candace? Of course you do, she’s awesome.

Links: 
Twitter: cjtwrites
Instagram: candacejthomas
News! Candace’s book, Everstar, will be released in Audio very, very soon. Watch these links:

Candace J Thomas is an award-winning of Young Adult Fantasy and Sci-fi. She is the author of the Vivatera Series and Hawkweed, published by Xchyler Publishing. Her debut novel Vivatera won the LUW Diamond Award for Novel of the Year. Her Paranormal Satire, Vampire-ish: A Hypochondriac’s Tale, was published July 2016.

Candace is a freelance editor of the award-winning Billy Blacksmith series by Ben Ireland. as well as founder of Shadesilk Press.

Candace is known for her extreme fanatical love for both Count Chocula and smart, witty writing that expands her imagination and makes her wish she had thought of the idea.

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Candace also hosted me on her blog in an Author Spotlight, go check it out!

Interested in doing a blog swap? Send me a line! Don’t worry, I don’t bite.

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Love staying in touch? So do I! Let’s connect. You can follow here on WordPress, or choose your favorite social media – I’m on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.