B2BCyCon Fantasy Genre Tour: Behind The Scenes Showcase – Stop #4

 Fantasy “Behind The Scenes” Tour – Stop #4

“The Occult and Magic” by Stephen Morris

I first became interested in the occult and magic when I was very VERY young and saw The Wizard of Oz on television for the first and second times. The first time, my mom says I was terrified of the Wicked Witch’s appearance in Munchkin Land amidst smoke and flames and ran straight to bed! (I must have been 5 years old or so.) The next year I began watching the movie again and made myself stick with it past the appearance of the Witch and after that — I was hooked!

The Wicked Witch of the West became my favorite character because not only is she the most interesting but she is the only one who wields any real power in the movie. She became my idol for years and years! (When a major storm recently struck Manhattan, I made a comment on FaceBook about the wind picking up our house and depositing it atop someone wearing peppermint stripped stockings and glittering red shoes and my cousin responded: “You’ve been chasing those shoes for YEARS!” LoL!)

But the Wicked Witch of the West was my favorite not just because she was powerful. She was also struggling to achieve something, the same way Dorothy was struggling to achieve something. Dorothy wanted to get home to Kansas and the Wicked Witch wanted the shoes of her sister. Were the shoes a sentimental memento? Or were they dangerous weapons? We don’t know. We only know that the Witch wanted those shoes more than anything and was willing to go to any lengths to get them. Just as Dorothy was willing to do anything to get back to Aunt Em and Uncle Henry on the farm in Kansas. The struggles of both the Witch and Dorothy were familiar because they were the same basic struggle. Their struggle was the fundamental human struggle familiar to anyone who desperately wants something—a job, an education, artistic expression, survival or a new life—and will do anything to achieve it.

As an author of contemporary and historical fantasy, I try to introduce readers to characters that are fascinating and powerful yet familiar in basic, fundamentally human ways. No one is perfect. They struggle to achieve their goals. Their experiences with the supernatural ring true because all the magical or fantastic elements in my books are rooted in authentic folklore, legend, or medieval-Renaissance occult beliefs and practices; the experiences of my characters ring true—I hope!—because they engage with the world in the same ways that our grandparents and ancestors did as they struggled to achieve whatever goals they had.

I listen to the characters and help them to discover who they are and what journeys they are on. I share aspects of myself with each of them and they share themselves with me; if I am quiet and listen, I can share not only their joys and frustrations and despair myself but communicate their experience to my readers. My characters interact with those authentic pre-modern beliefs and practices, retelling and reshaping them for modern audiences. I introduce characters to each other that might not have met in their original settings but that have stories and experiences to share with each other. By sharing their experiences, they enrich each other and the readers who can eavesdrop on their conversations or thoughts.

In writing, I try to be my truest self and attempt to build bridges between cultures and histories, practices and experiences, characters and readers.

Find Out More

Website, Amazon

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B2BCyCon Fantasy Genre Tour: Behind The Scenes Index

Welcome to the Fantasy Behind The Scenes Showcase

(Brought to you by the Brain To Books Cyber Convention & Book Expo)

As part of the Fantasy Genre Tour, many of the authors were kind enough to give us some insights into why they love writing, and reading fantasy. Others gave us insights into what goes into putting a fantasy story together. So dive into the tour, and get a sneak peek into the minds of some great authors.

(Links coming as I get them back from the hosting bloggers)

  1. TOUR INDEX
  2. “World Building: It’s Not Just About Drawing A Map” by Stephen Pearl
  3. “Urban Fantasy, Vampires and Anti-Heroes” by Rosemary Johns
  4. “The Occult and Magic” by Stephen Morris
  5. “Fantasy: The Great Escape” by Andy Peloquin
  6. “Behind the Scenes: Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter” by C.A. Verstraete
  7. “Why I Love Fantasy” by Toi Thomas
  8. “Realistic Fantasy” by Suzanna Linton
  9. “Fantasy Made Real” by Alex Carey
  10. “Making Magic 101” by C.L. Schneider

B2BCyCon Fantasy Genre Tour: Showcase & Giveaways Index

Welcome to the Fantasy Showcase & Giveaways

(Brought to you by the Brain To Books Cyber Convention & Book Expo)

As part of the Fantasy Genre Tour, some of the authors asked that we feature books and anthologies that they had contributed to, so that’s what you’ll find here.

  1. Introducing the Prophecy of Hope Saga by Sarah Kennedy
  2. Hell Holes: What Lurks Beneath by Donald Firesmith
  3. Introducing the Spellbound Collection featuring Ash Krafton

B2BCyCon Fantasy Genre Tour: Book Expo – Stop #1

Introducing the Prophecy of Hope Saga by Sarah Kennedy

A deep and far-reaching Fantasy series with unraveling depths and dark story arcs
An ancient evil
A Promised King
A world besieged
The Age of the Prophecy has begun.

Do you remember that singular moment when your life began? Do you remember the first drop of blood to course in your veins? Do you remember being an active participant in the great mystery of your own conception? Few are cursed with such knowledge but I am a rarity of existence though existence and life are not equal. Time has always meant very little to me. Your frailties have always been my strength yet here, now, I fear what may be coming and I fear what has already been, because I remember my beginning—and all beginnings since! I remember when I was no more than an errant thought. I remember being the wretched stain marring the glory of the Kingdom. I remember tasting the life of a god just as I remember being cast down. I am Darkness, and in the utter abyss, which is who and all I am, I begin to feel time reaching inside me, reaching for that one drop of golden life whose taste haunts my every moment, and I remember what it is to burn…

 

Find Out More

www.sgarrwrath.com

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B2BCyCon Fantasy Genre Tour: Book Expo – Stop #2

Hell Holes: What Lurks Beneath by Donald Firesmith

It’s August in Alaska, and geology professor Jack Oswald prepares for the new school year. But when hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, Jack receives an unexpected phone call. An oil company exec hires Jack to investigate, and he picks his climatologist wife and two of their graduate students as his team. Uncharacteristically, Jack also lets Aileen O’Shannon, a bewitchingly beautiful young photojournalist, talk him into coming along as their photographer. When they arrive in the remote oil town of Deadhorse, the exec and a biologist to protect them from wild animals join the team. Their task: to assess the risk of more holes opening under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the wells and pipelines that feed it. But they discover a far worse danger lurks below. When it emerges, it threatens to shatter Jack’s unshakable faith in science. And destroy us all…

Excerpt

Though the sun had finally dipped behind the rounded mountains of the Brooks Range, the temperature remained well above freezing, leaving the ground moist from the morning’s rains. It was quiet except for the soft sound of the breeze blowing through the short shrubs and sedges that covered the tundra of the North Slope.

An arctic fox silently patrolled his territory. He sniffed the ground, following the scent of a female that had passed by earlier that evening. She had brushed against a bearberry bush, and he stopped to breathe in her enticing smell. She was in heat, and he hoped to father her second litter of the season.

Though the fox occasionally heard the distant rumble of big rigs driving north along the Dalton, carrying supplies to Deadhorse and the oil fields around Prudhoe Bay, he paid them no mind. The humans were several miles away, and unlike wolves and wolverines, they posed no threat.

The fox abruptly stopped, turning his head to the side in puzzlement. He heard a faint hum that seemed to come from the ground below him. It was a new sound, one that he had not heard before. It rapidly increased in volume until it became a piercing, high-pitched whine, far beyond the dull hearing of the humans in their trucks. In agony, the fox rolled on the ground, desperately pawing at his ears in a vain attempt to stop the pain. He yipped and whined, adding his voice to the faraway howling of wolves.

The sound suddenly stopped, replaced by a deep rumble as the ground beneath the fox began to shake. Slowly, foot by foot, a huge circle of tundra the size of a large pond began to push itself above the surrounding tundra. Carrying the fox upward, it rose until it reached the height of a caribou’s antlers. Along its circular boundary, loose wet dirt and ragged patches of plants fell off, forming a ring-shaped pile that surrounded the rising ground.

With a sharp jerk, the massive cylindrical plug of earth underneath the fox stopped rising and began sliding downward. No longer incapacitated by pain, the terrified fox sped across the quivering ground, running for his life as it continued its unrelenting collapse. He ran toward the edge, arriving just as the ground beneath him slipped below the short ring of loose and muddy soil that marked its circumference. With a desperate leap, the fox jumped up, landing on the ring’s slippery slope as the ground continued its collapse into the rapidly deepening crater. He slipped, sliding perilously backwards before desperately pawing his way back up and over the top. Once down on the solid ground surrounding the huge hole, he ran away as if he were chased by a pack of starving wolves.

The frightened fox was several hundred yards from the hole when the rumbling stopped. Still running for his life, he did not see the brilliant blue burst of light that shot skyward out of the huge crater. But he did see dozens of similar blue beams briefly light up the northern horizon. As suddenly as they appeared, the lights winked out. The fox did not stop until he had placed several miles between himself and the pit. Silence returned to the North Slope, while the scent of sulfur and decay filled the air above the newly formed hell holes.

 

Find Out More

http://donaldfiresmith.com

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B2BCyCon Fantasy Genre Tour: Book Expo – Stop #3

Introducing the Spellbound Collection featuring Ash Krafton

Ready to stack up your summer reading list? The SPELLBOUND boxed set is coming…and it will keep you reading, world after world after world!

The Spellbound Boxed Set is a compilation of 20+ Full-Length Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance reads!

Readers of all ages will be swept away by this fascinating mix of existing titles and brand new content, full of pages brimming with faeries, witches, vampires, shifters, psychics, Greek gods, angels, demons, and even ghosts!

With over a million words of fiction, this is your one stop shop for urban fantasy, epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, shifter romance, vampire romance, elemental magic, time travel, and MORE from today’s New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling authors!

Although some of these reads may be gritty and dark, this is a collection of clean reads that anyone will enjoy!

Amazon/Barnes and Noble/iBooks/Kobo

Giveaway#1 : $100 gift card

What kind of magic will you make with this prize?

Enter the $100 giveaway, just click here

Giveaway #2: Reader Rewards!

Order your copy of SPELLBOUND on your favorite retailer.

Email a screenshot of your receipt to spellboundpreorder@gmail.com

Now you’re getting 30 BOOKS for 99 cents!

 It’s okay to say it…MIND BLOWN 🙂

 

Giveaway #3: (to infinity)

Daily giveaways at the ongoing FB party!

Join here to see what’s up for grabs today:
 PREORDER NOW…before it disappears!
only $0.99

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Surrender to the spell…

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A History Of Werewolves: From Cave Paintings To The Hunters Saga – A Guest Post by Heidi Angell

At the start of the week, I introduced you to Heidi Angell, author of the Hunters Saga, and fellow urban fantasy writer. Today I bring you the second of two stops I’m hosting on The Hunted tour.

I originally offered to host this particular post, because it’s a subject very close to my heart, writing about shapeshifters myself. It’s also a topic Heidi and I have discussed from time to time, and our discussions have always left me with new insights into the whatever topic we’ve covered. So, when Heidi said she had this idea for a stop on her blog tour, I jumped at the chance to host it.

What you’re about to read is a very insightful piece that covers many aspects of mythology, medical diagnosis, and legends from ancient times right up to modern day. Please read until the very end, and visit some of the other stops on the tour.

A Brief History of Werewolves: From Cave Paintings to The Hunters Saga

The “History” of werewolves is a strange thing indeed. It might even predate written history. There are many ancient cave paintings that appear to depict werewolves and other human/ animal composites.

Every culture has a variation on the theme of shapeshifters, werewolves, and other were-creatures, but the oldest written tale of actual men turning into wolves goes back to ancient Greece and the tale of King Lycaon, who Zeus turned into a werewolf after the man was foolish enough to try and trick Zeus by feeding him human flesh.

Tales such as Little Red Riding Hood show our fear of wolves eating humans, and may explain many “Werewolf serial killer cases” throughout European history, such as the 1589 case of Peter Stumpp, the Werewolf of Bedburg. Indeed, many of the werewolf cases where the men (why is it always men? It certainly isn’t in legend.) were convicted based on evidence that these men did indeed kill and consume the flesh of their victims. Were they truly Werewolves, or were people linking the two fears?

There is even a rare psychological diagnosis of clinical lycanthropy, in which a person is afflicted with the delusion that they are or have changed into an animal. The patient will exhibit animalistic behaviors, but no physiological change has ever been noted.

wolfman-01-1200x887There is a genetic condition, often referred to as Werewolf Syndrome that causes massive growth of hair in unusual parts of the body, and is known to be hereditary.

And with all of this to muddle about in, there comes into play the legends. The oldest legends involved it being a curse on the man in some cultures (like King Lycoan) or the work of the Devil. Perhaps this is why people throughout history tended to have a softer spot for werewolves than for vampires. Other tales have it that the afflicted was harnessing the animal power through a magic girdle made from a wolf’s pelt, through spirit magic, ( such as in Norse mythology, the legends of Ulfhednar, who were similar to berserkers, but dressed in wolf pelts and channeled the fighting power of the wolf during battle.) or even through Saintly Divine intervention ( such as the story of St. Natalis, who cursed an illustrious Irish family with the result that each member of it was doomed to be a wolf for seven years).

werewolf_in_rise_of_the_lycans-underworldThe stories of werewolves being forced to change with the moon, and only being able to be killed by silver are relatively modern concoctions of fiction, with little reference prior to the 1600s. But the idea of some being born as a werewolf, and made as a werewolf have deep roots.

And of course, in modern paranormal romance, the idea of shifters who’s transitions are not as agonizing and who’s forms are more true to their animal counterparts, also brings a whole other wealth to pull from.

In The Hunters Saga, the Weres are of two groups: Made-Weres (based on the legends of those bitten by a werewolf, who are changed because of it.) and Born-Weres (families of genetically born werewolves who transition in puberty) and I pull from all the legend and history, twisting it all into the tale, which in future books we will see in more depth as we learn the origins of vampires and werewolves.

Want to learn more? The Hunters Saga is an urban fantasy series for those who believe that vampires should be killed not kissed. The tour for the second book in the series, The Hunted, is in full swing, and we would love for you to join in. See the tour master list here.

You can get a free copy of the first book in the series, The Hunters, by subscribing to my weekly e-newsletter full of bookish news from all genres.  Subscribe Here

The Hunted releases February, 18 th. Join the release party Here on February 17th-19th on Facebook.