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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fairy Metal Thunder: Read-Along, Scavenger Hunt and Giveaway!



I'm excited to tell you that Missie at The Unread Reader has created a July scavenger hunt read-along for Fairy Metal Thunder!  The prize is an autographed set of the Songs of Magic series:







Fairy Metal Thunder is free on  AmazonSmashwords, and Apple, and just 99 cents on Nook, so you can play along for free! (Nook users can get a free ePub at Smashwords.) For complete details and to join the read-along and scavenger hunt, visit Missie's blog today!



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Midsummer Dream Fair: Final Prize Booth!








Congratulations to our winners!
Here it is, the final prize booth of the fair!  Thanks to all the authors, bloggers, and readers who made this a fun summer event!  And special thanks to Bookish Brunette for making the all the great graphics!

I'd like to point out again that my novels Fairy Metal Thunder and Jenny Pox are both currently free on most ebook platforms - the links are at the upper left of this blog!

Now, for the prizes... 


 Melissa (Books and Things) won A Gnome Problem and Lessons IV by Michael Crane, as well as GNOME SOAP!



Ricki won four ebooks by Vicki Keire!


Heather won Virtue by Amanda Hocking, as well as a custom-made unicorn from redwyvernstudio!






   

Amy won four signed books from my Songs of Magic series and the Grimm's fairy tale book purse!

The gold sponsors who helped promote the fair were also entered to win small "thank you" prizes.  The three gold sponsors who won (picked by random.org) were Heather from SupaGirl Books, Jenni from Alluring Reads, and Anjana from Kindle and Me.

Thanks so much to all the authors, bloggers and readers who made this such a fantastic fair! Naturally, we'll end with fireworks!







The final day of the Midsummer Dream Fair was brought to you by:
Click here to visit KindleObsessed

Friday, June 22, 2012

Midsummer Dream Fair Day 23: The Fairy Gate






The end of the fair

I want to thank all the authors and others who've contributed great posts & prizes, all the bloggers who helped let people know about this event, and all the readers who've stopped by!  It's been a fun event.

For a last look at the fairy world before it all fades away, I've brought Grizlemor the goblin from my Songs of Magic books for a quick interview.  He assures me that he has many opinions on fairies.  Watch for the giveaway after the interview!

Q. Grizlemor, we're so glad to have you here today, thanks for stopping by the blog!

Grizlemor: It's just a blog?  I thought it was an interview for radio or TV or something.  What a waste of my time.

Q. Sorry...let's get started.  What can you tell us about the fairy world?

Grizlemor. I can tell you nobody calls it "the goblin world." Goblins live there, too, you know.  Just because the fairies push everyone around and act like they own the place, everyone calls it the "fairy world."

Q. Do you have any tips for humans visiting Faerie?
Grizlemor: Don't go, you'll be miserable.

Q. You don't care much for fairies, then?
Grizlemor: Who does?  Sneaking, lying, thieving, cutesy, flower-wearing thugs with bright butterfly wings.  Monsters of the worst kind.  Are we done with this interview yet?

Q. Do you have any advice for humans when dealing with fairies?
Grizlemor: Don't do it.  They're smarter than you and they'll trick you one way or the other.  Sure, they have magic, and magic can take you places, but not places you want to go, in the end.  Don't start walking down the path of fairies and magic.  In fact, don't walk down any paths at all.  Try to catch a ride in a car, it's much easier.  Do you have any Funyuns?

Q. I think our readers would be interested in learning about this band of human teenagers that stole fairy instruments and became rock stars!
Grizlemor: No, they wouldn't.  You're just trying to advertise your books with the fairies and the dragons and the sugar swamps and all that.  And there's no point.  Just tell them they can get the first book free on Amazon and that the next hundred people to read Fairy Metal Thunder will each win a barrel of anchovies.

Q. I don't have a hundred barrels of anchovies, and I don't think anyone would want one if I did.  Now, getting the interview back on track--
Grizlemor: Nobody's reading the interview, they're just skipping ahead to the giveaway information, and you know it.


Giveaway!  The final giveaway for Midsummer Dream Fair is a set of autographed copies of the Songs of Magic series, by me.  (US only, sorry!)






 
 















But you'll need something in which to carry those books, so I'm also giving away, as the final prize of the fair....
 
 
 













Yes, that's a Grimm's fairy tale book-purse!  Just the thing for carrying your paperbacks, or other purse-related items!
 


a Rafflecopter giveaway







To enter, use the Rafflecopter.  And let us know your favorite parts of the Midsummer Dream Fair below!  One entry on the Rafflecopter will win the four autographed books and the purse.  This giveaway closes tonight at 11:59 PM Eastern!

The Midsummer Dream Fair was brought to you today by:
Supernatural Snark button

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Midsummer Dream Fair Day 22: The Unicorn Corral





(Today, we stop by the unicorn corral near the back of the fairground to speak with Amanda Hocking, who is apparently hanging out over there near the unicorns.  We'll be discussing topics of great importance to the world today, inside and outside the publishing business.)


Q. Hi, Amanda, thanks for coming and helping provide things for people to read!
A. Thank you for letting me!

Q. The Muppets have decided to get into the apocalyptic zombie genre and are doing a movie version of your novel Hollowland. Which Muppets would you cast for the movie roles?
A. The obvious answer would be make Miss Piggy Remy, but I think that Camilla the Chicken would make a better Remy, because she’s still tough but less of a diva. Miss Piggy would be Harlow. Gonzo would be Lazlo, Kermit would be Blue, and Beaker would be Ripley.

 Q. What are the best fantasy and horror movies of the 1980s?
A. Labyrinth, obviously. And I’d also have to say The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, even though they fall more under sci-fi/fantasy. The Dark Crystal, Aliens, Blade Runner, Legend, Willow, The Lost Boys, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Little Shop of Horrors, Time Bandits, Princess Bride, Beetlejuice, Highlander, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, An American Werewolf in London, The Evil Dead, Child’s Play, Poltergeist, Jaws: The Revenge. The 80s was the golden age of sci-fi/fantasy/horror films. I also recently read that Batman falls under the category of “fantasy,” Tim Burton’s Batman would be one of the best that came out in the 80s. Also, Flash Gordon came out in 1980, and while I love that film, I can’t in good conscious say it was one of the best.

Q. If Zach Galifianakis and your consigliere Eric Goldman were in the same place at the same time, what would happen to the universe?
A. It would most likely implode. (If you haven’t seen Eric, he looks almost exactly like Zach Galifianakis but with the personality of Johnny Depp’s version of Ed Wood. Be jealous, folks. I get to live with that untamed man-child every day).


 
Zach Galifianakis and Eric Goldman.  Similar.


Q. What do you think would be the biggest challenge about life in an Ewok village?
A. Since they have no clear waste disposal – at least not for man-made materials – I would think that cleaning up after the mess the storm troopers left would be quite a burden. All those broken AT-STs and speeder bikes lying around, as well as the storm trooper uniforms and the rotting storm trooper corpses themselves. Plus, there had to be some debris from the Death Star. So trying to hunt and gather would be very inconvenient amongst all that mess, especially since Ewoks seems to have a religious affinity for metallic items as expressed in their worship of C3P0.


Q. If you were building your supervillain fortress, would you locate it on a tropical island, in the arctic, under the ocean, on the moon, or other?
A. I would probably put in my basement, like an evil Batcave, just out of laziness. I don’t want to have to juice up the rockets and make the long flight to the moon just to do my evil plotting. Plus, that doesn’t seem cost effective, especially if I have an issue with my plumbing and need to get a repairman out there. Also, I have a hard enough time getting a signal in my basement as is. Reception on the water or the arctic would have to be terrible.

Q. Tell us about your pets!
A. I have some! I currently have a schnauzer named Elroy, two cats named Nikki and Squeak, and two fish named Figaro and Delaney. I used to have a turtle named Gus, but he lives up in turtle heaven right now, watching reruns of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”


Q. Why do paranormal creatures generally maintain a monarchical system of government within their own societies? Do you think they've read John Locke's Two Treatises on Government but rejected his conclusions?
A. Because they tend to be more wild, more animalistic. Not all of them, but most paranormal creatures give into their hedonistic urges more often than humans do. As a result, democracy would be impossible. Werewolves aren’t going to get together to vote. And many paranormal creatures are too narcissistic to vote for anything other than themselves. So the biggest and the strongest needs to come in and tell everybody to shut up and calm down.

Q. Fill in the blank: If I could be a were-anything, I would be a were-_________.
A. Were-Gene-Wilder. During full moons, I’d turn into Gene Wilder.


***

Thanks, Mandy! And now it's time for a...


Giveaway!  One comment on today's post will win a copy of Amanda's fairy-tale novel Virtue.







But wait, there's more!  You can't be expected to read Virtue without your own unicorn.  So...





You can win a fine cornhorse of your own!  Because of the latest innovations in unicorn-breeding techniques, we can provide you a custom unicorn.  Our unicorn breeder would like you to know:

"The pony can be any color. I usually do sparkly white or pearl, but I can do whatever you want. You can pick the hair color and the color of the eyes and hand painted decoration. I usually do flowers, but anything goes! As always, this pony will be a one of a kind %100 hand sculpted with no molds used or taken. I always use a sturdy wire armature for support. Your pony will take about 2 weeks to complete. ponies are about 3 to 4 inches."

To enter to win Virtue and a unicorn, comment below.  You might tell us what kind of unicorn you would like!


This giveaway is open until 11:59 PM (Eastern) this Saturday.  The winner will be announced in the "Prize Booth" post on Sunday! (Due to unicorn transportation restrictions, this giveaway is U.S. only.)

The Midsummer Dream Fair was brought to you today by:
Bewitched Bookworms Xpresso Reads

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Midsummer Dream Fair Day 21: The Bandstand





(Today we have Vicki Keire as our guest.  She's going to help us learn about fairy kidnappings and how to avoid them, a topic to which musicians in particular should pay attention!)


Thanks for stopping by to visit the Bandstand at the Fair today! Come on in and make yourself comfortable, but make sure to draw the tent securely closed behind you. We don’t want any of them to hear us, right?

Before we get started with the actual musical entertainment, I wanted to take the time to warn you about a very serious problem.

Faerie kidnappings.

All across the globe, Faeries are stealing human musicians to perform for them. Enchanted by rock n roll, they can’t seem to get enough. After thousands of years of nothing but ballads and harps, Faeries are ready for a change. This has resulted in dozens of musicians going missing from the Southeast alone; who knows how big the problem is worldwide. Often, these poor stolen humans leave families and band members behind, and spend the rest of their days playing for their cruel otherworldly hosts.

One of my very own characters had a brush-in with the Fey that almost resulted in her own kidnapping; Caspia Chastain is an art student and character in my novel Gifts of the Blood. She barely escaped the Faeries with her sanity intact. She’s here with me to talk about the experience, and to help warn any of you creative types out there about what you’re up against.

Where did you first encounter the faeries?
I was at work when they came in. I work at the only coffee shop in town, and I was just about to close when they walked in. The only other person with me was the guy who plays acoustic guitar twice a week. They seemed particularly interested in him.

Did you know right away that you were under attack from Faeries?
No, not at all. They glamoured me. All I knew was that these amazing, hypnotic beings had come into my workplace and brought . . . the beach with them. And, um, a ballroom of some kind. And we were dancing, and it was awfully hard to think clearly.

What were they like, the faeries?
They were beautiful, but in a cold, cutting kind of way. The ones who came for us had these gorgeous eyes, except they were slit vertically, like a cat’s. When I look back, what stands out isn’t so much the Fey themselves, but rather the atmosphere they created. They seemed to bring a beautiful world with them, one that a human could easily get lost in forever.

What did they want with humans?
It was immediately clear they’d come for our musician, my friend Jack. He’s a great guitarist. There were two Faeries who were obviously in charge, and they just up and announced they wanted to take him back to a place they called the Summer Court. They only became interested in me once they found out I was an artist, and then they tried to take me too.

What do you mean, “tried?”
The one I was dancing with kept trying to get me to tell him my full name. I found out later this could give Faeries power over you, so no matter how hard they try, don’t tell a Faerie your full name.

Why are they so interested in musicians?
The Faeries I met that night told me they came from a world where Faeries have lost the ability to create; they can’t invent new music or art or anything. So some of the Faerie courts started sending hunters out into the human world, to capture talented mortals to entertain them.

Can you give us any tips for dealing with hostile Faeries?
Iron repels them. I had an iron necklace made after the attack so I would always have some with me. Don’t tell them your name, no matter what. And play lots of classical music; modern Faeries are all about the rock n roll, especially punk and alt rock.

Thanks you, Caspia, for sharing your experiences with us. And now we’ll move on to today’s musical selections, a little playlist I like to call, “Faeries On My Mind:”

Fairies Wear Boots, Black Sabbath
Tam Lin, Fairport Convention
Fairytale of New York, The Pogues
My Fairy King, Queen
Cold Irons Bound, Bob Dylan
Long Black Veil, Nick Cave
Carried Home, Iron and Wine
I Took Your Name, R.E.M.
When You Call My Name, Dawes

Giveaway! Vicki is offering four ebooks!  To enter, simply comment on this post, and let us know how you would avoid a fairy kidnapping, or whether you've ever been kidnapped by fairies.


 

 

This international giveaway ends at 11:59 PM (Eastern) this Saturday.  The winner will be announced in Sunday's Prize Booth post!

The Midsummer Dream Fair was brought to you today by:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Midsummer Dream Fair Day 20: The Jinn Game



Today, we're visited by Samantha Young, author of tons of fun stuff, including the Tale of Lunamorte trilogy, the Warrior of Ankh series, and her new Fire Spirits series.  I asked Samantha a few questions about the Jinn in her new series...

1. How did you decide to write a paranormal series about Jinn?
It would be cool to say that I was sitting watching Disney’s Aladdin one day (I’d like to say I haven’t seen that movie since I was a kid but that would be untrue) and suddenly I was inspired to write a story about genies. It would be cool, but also untrue. I was literally raking through the small encyclopedia (more of a list than an encyclopedia really) of supernatural creatures in my head and the Jinn just kept pushing its way through to the forefront. It was different, underused mythology. I thought maybe there could be something in it. So I decided to do a bit of research and within an hour of scrolling through a couple of non-fiction books on the subject I’d already started building the character of Ari in my head and who (what) she was exactly.

2. The Fire Spirits series introduces us to a variety of types of Jinn, such as Ifrits and Shaitans. Did you gather all of these from traditional lore? Can you tell us about some of the major types?
Yup, Ifrits and Shaitans are from the traditional lore. Shaitans are what we’d think of as demons. In my series they are servants to the Sultan Jinn Azazil. They - from what I discovered in my research - are always considered to be evil. Ifrits are more powerful than Shaitans and are a little bit more ambiguous when it comes to morality. And the most powerful of all Jinn is the Marid. They are known to live up to 2500 years (although I’ve made them even older in Fire Spirits). In true Jinn mythology, Marids are wicked. In my mythology, I suggest there is also a sense of honor and sometimes goodness to the Marid… just to make it a little more interesting :-p
And then of course you have your sub-categories. There are a lot but the main ones are Ghulahs – flesh-eating Jinn. Charming, I know :-\  They’re always female and prey on travelers. Jinn mythology also contains dopplegängers – they are called Qarin or Qarinah (if female). They’re thought to be Shaitans who are the spirit double of a human and they spend all their time trying to turn their human double towards evil. I did, however, note that some researchers believe there are Qarins who are good.
One of my heroes in Fire Spirits, Jai, is a Ginnaye. Those guys are from true Jinn mythology. They were worshipped in the ancient city of Palmyra and depicted to have looked like and lived as human beings. They were thought of as guardians, protecting human life and enterprises. I adopted them into the modern mythology of the Jinn as guardians who protect humans with important destinies… and also rich people who pay them to be security officers :-p
Other Jinn I’ve come across are the Labartu (they’re mentioned in Fire Spirits. They prey on children). Khalafs – they expose hidden evils and vices. Utukku – haunts graveyards and deserts. Those dudes must like the quiet huh? Nisnas – weird, misshaped, creatures with only half a head, one eye, one hand and one leg. Thought to be evil. Maybe they’re just angry. I’d be pissed too if I only had one of everything so… no judgment here. And finally, Pazuzu. He’s an ancient Mesopotamian wind demon… most famous for being one of the evil spirits that possesses the wee girl in The Exorcist!

3. Who does the fantastic decorating in the Jinn world?
Lol! Each Jinn King has their own style but The White King and the Sultan Azazil are kind of trend setters. In Fire Spirits, ironically Jinn body temperature never changes. They don’t feel harsh cold or furious heat and that’s kind of reflected in the decoration. These Jinn Kings and Azazil are scary guys and I thought going with the typical Moroccan decoration of everything being plush, luxurious and kind of busy (patterns and motifs etc) would depict too much of an Arabian Nights kind of deal. So me and Azazil, we mixed it up. Their architecture (for the most part) is Moroccan and traditional, but there’s a lot of glass and cold stone and wrought-iron going on up there on Mount Qaf. As for the mountains of emerald themselves… well the mythology tells us that the mountains of Mount Qaf are made from solid emerald. Again, I thought the dark rock inset with millions of small, glittering emeralds provided much better imagery… not to mention has an important place within the mythology and plot as the series progresses.

4. If you had the Jinn power of conjuring, what are some things you might conjur?
Definitely more bookshelves. Either one of the Hemsworth brothers. Oh and a sandwich from this really amazing bakery up in the Highlands.
I feel like that might have been the wrong answer. Ahem. I’d conjure world peace. Even though it’s a concept…

5. Are there any paranormal creatures that could beat a Jinn in a fight?
I think any paranormal creature would have a hard time taking down one of the Jinn Kings, or Azazil and Asmodeus. But a lesser Jinn? There are some Jinn who live normal human lives. I think even they might be taken unawares by a vampire attack.
I'll keep that in mind if I ever have Jinn trouble!  Thanks for stopping by the fair today, Samantha!
Thanks Jeff! These questions were really fun!
Now it's time to...


Play the Jinn Game!



This magic lamp has the power grant wishes (possibly!).  That's because of a poor Jinn who's trapped inside, allowed to step out only when someone rubs the lamp and makes a wish.  But let's not worry about his plight!  Instead, rub the lamp and type your wish into the comments below.  We can't guarantee your wish will come true, but you will definitely be visited by a genie, and you will mistake him for a stripper.  He may or may not look like this:



Giveaway!  One wish on this post will win a copy of Smokeless Fire by Samantha Young (paperback in the US, ebook if outside the US).


The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM (Eastern) this Saturday, winner to be announced (as usual) on Sunday.

The Midsummer Dream Fair was brought to you today by:
 Photobucket

Monday, June 18, 2012

Midsummer Dream Fair Day 19: The Stage



(Today's guest post comes from Stacey Wallace Benefiel, author of the Zellie Wells trilogy and the Day of Sacrifice series, among other works, and confirmed lover of the theater...)


"All the World's a Stage."

That was the motto of the Shakespearean flash mob that I was a member of in the summer of '96. We'd bust out soliliquies and loosely coordinated sword fights at the Food Court at the mall. Spout a little "Alas, poor Yorick" on the fringes of family reunion picnics in the park. We even managed to get invited to perform our IN YOUR FACE Shakespeare at a couple of faire's/hippie orgies where the number one selling alcoholic beverage was honey mead. Those were heady times.

But, alas poor US, people were more entertained by a mass Macarena in front of the Sbarro's than by a ragtag bunch of theatre majors rocking The Bard, Hot Dog on a Stick adjacent.

My time on the mean streets of Eugene, OR not withstanding, I do prefer watching plays, ballets, and operas take place on an actual stage. And since this is a blog post, and not an actual stage (don't know if you've noticed) I thought I'd post a few clips of actors, dancers, and singers using their space properly.

I know what you're thinking. Why doesn't she post clips of her performances that she won zero awards for? Well, the answer is simple.

They were all on VHS tapes that mysteriously burned in a trash can fire in 2000.

Hey, if you leave a comment you'll be entered to win a copy of the Day of Sacrifice Omnibus. It's a collection of six novelettes about another ragtag group - only this group consists of witches, angels, vampires, shapeshifters, and werewolves - and how they all came together to kill their Gods.

Now, on with the SHOW...







Stacey Wallace Benefiel is the author of the Zellie Wells trilogy, the Day of Sacrifice series, The Toilet Business - a collection of essays, and multiple short stories. She sometimes goes by S.W. Benefiel, but knows she's not foolin' anybody. Stacey lives in an orange house in Beaverton, OR with her poet husband and their two young children. For more information on Stacey and her books, please visit her website: http://staceywallacebenefiel.com

Giveaway!  Stacey is generously offering a paperback copy of the Day of Sacrifice complete series (US only, ebook if the winner is outside the US).


The giveaway is open until 11:59 PM (Eastern) this Saturday.


The Midsummer Dream Fair was brought to you today by: