Whazzup, Writing-Wise

We interrupt my periodic reflections on walking around Germany to bring you – *drumroll* – actual authorial updates!

1) Anthologically Speaking

Guess who’s got another short story slated to appear in an anthology? *points to self* This gal! Coming to you from my word-bro Alexander Nader and his Hair Brained Press, it’s “Manifest Reality”, a horror antho of stories focusing on the twisted sh*t in our heads™.

(To my knowledge, that is not actually the book’s trademark, just how Alex once described it on Twitter.)

Word is the collection should drop around Valentine’s Day – because nothing says “crazy-commercialized day of lovers” like a psychotic tale or thirteen, amirite? Further details to come as time marches on. Stay tuned. (And if you’d like to nab an early copy for review, poke me or Alex. We probably won’t tell you “no” and run you out of town. No promises, though.)

2) Novel News

A large part of #NaNoWriMo2015 was a throwback to my first-ever NaNo, back in 2010. I spent the first half of this past November (yes, even while on a river cruise across Europe – insanity or bust) going through the last big edits on my next big publication. Ladies, gentlemen, and miscellaneous so-and-sos, I am thrilled to announce that my Outlaws of Avalon trilogy will make its debut this summer – beginning, of course, with Book One, “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”!

*Not the actual cover*
*Not the actual cover*

Welcome to Avalon, a Renaissance Faire where heroes of legend never die. Where the Robin Hood walking the streets is truly the noble outlaw himself. Where the knightly and wizardly players of King Arthur’s court are in fact who they profess to be. Where the sense of enchantment in the air is not mere feeling, but the Fey magic of a paradise hidden in plain sight.

Enter Allyn-a-Dale. The grief of his father’s death still fresh and the doom of his own world looming, swirling realities leave the young minstrel marooned in an immortal Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited as a member of Robin Hood’s infamous outlaw band. But Allyn’s new life may reach its end before it’s scarcely begun. Their existence under threat, the Merry Men are called upon to embark on a journey to the dangerous world Outside – ours – on a quest which must be achieved without delay, or eternity in Avalon will not amount to very long at all.

This is it, you guys! Of all the series I’ve ever written (heck, maybe even among all the series I’ve ever read), this one is dearest to my heart. And now the manuscript is all but complete, the cover art is underway, and the finished product is scheduled to launch this July.

Ballad ARC Request

If YOU are a reader who’s game to give a contemporary Robin Hood fantasy a whirl, I wanna hear about it! Click the pic above to go fill out the request form I figured out how to whip up (*victory dance*), and I’ll send an eARC your way.

“Rejoice, my fangirls-‘n’-boys!” Will Scarlet says, grinning ear to ear. “The wait for my official story draws to a close! Slowly. Excruciatingly so. Rejoice and die of impatience, basically.”

3) [Ever] On the Blog

I haven’t committed to blogging on a regular schedule since I fled to Europe. And you know what? I’m enjoying the freedom more than I thought I would. (Fun Deshipley fact: I don’t tend to enjoy things that lack structure. I’m a darling stick in the mud, like that.)

So for the indefinite future, I’mma keep doing as I’ve been for the last few months: Posting if and when I’ve got something I want to share. And we’ll see how that goes.

4) On Another Book-Related Note

Heeeeeey, people in and around Lake County, IL: One of my favorite childhood hangouts – Cook Memorial Public Library – is hosting a Local Author Open House. And I’m flying all the way back to the States to be there! (And, y’know, to reunite with my family for a bit.)

zLocalAuthorsOpenHouse

This will be my first time as a part of an event like this. I am excited and nervous and pessimistic and hopeful and ready to ROCK. IT. OUT. If you can make it, I’d love to see you there. If I feel like it afterwards, I’ll tell the Internet how it was. (See point 3. 😉 )

Aaaaaand that’s all she wrote for now. Anyone else got any good news to share? The comment section awaits you.

The Other Burdin (Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell)

“From the stage that brought you Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre,” Allyn-a-Dale proclaims before the curtain, “here’s Ever On Word’s original talk show, Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.”

Danielle whipped up a logo for me, because she is awesome first class.

The curtain rises, the studio audience applauds, and Will Scarlet himself walks smiling and waving onto the bright, cozy set.

“Hullo, everyone! Let’s jump right into it, shall we?” Leading by example, he hops into his armchair. “Allyn, who is our guest character today?”

As the guest enters from the other side of the stage, Allyn says, “When asked to send a character over, author Alexander responded thus:

Let’s go with Hartnet. He could use a little love. Poor guy’s got it rough having Ty as a sibling.

“Welcome, Hartnet!” Will greets the man now seated in the chair across from his own. “So glad you could join me. First things first – where in the world do you get off having a studlier jaw than me? Like, seriously.”

Hartnet shifts in his chair, absentmindedly rubs a hand across a day’s worth of stubble on his jaw. “Good genetics, I guess,” he says with a small laugh.

“Hmmph. Well, anyway,” says Will, “subtly” re-angling his face to give the camera a better view of his bone structure. “Your brother Ty is the ‘retired’ demon hunter, and you’re the cop. But you’ve got some demon hunting experience, too, am I right?”

“I can definitely hold my own.” Hartnet sits up a little straighter. His jaw tenses. “Growing up in the greatest demon hunting family of all time, I definitely picked up a few tricks and survival habits. I even get to put them to use against bad guys from time to time. After dealing with an Azreal or even a Jinn, some punk hopped up on this or that isn’t so intimidating.”

Will nods. “Right. Totally. I have no idea what an Azreal is, but if it’s anything like an air spirit or a river siren, then I’m perfectly happy to leave it to the professionals. Moving away from business to your personal life, now, how would you describe your and Ty’s relationship? And how does it feel, knowing your little brother to be in constant danger of death by demons or alcohol poisoning or who knows what?”

“Ty’s a bit of a conceited jerk. He only thinks of himself and his own perspective, everyone else’s opinion doesn’t matter for much. He’s kind of the spoiled rock star, reality television show of the demon hunting world. Did I mention I’m adopted?”

“Don’t believe you did, no. But hey, the blood you chose is thicker than the water you’re born into, right? Family’s family, bros are bros?”

Hartnet stares off at the lights. He inspects the back of his hands for a moment. “Yeah, I mean, I’d give my life for Ty, but there are times I think he’d ask for it. That might be his problem. Maybe he’ll grow out of it.” Hartnet shifts a little more in his seat.

“Well, hey, buddy,” says Will, leaning over to pat Hartnet’s knee. “Here’s hoping he will. Now, one last question before we wrap up the interrogation, officer. Tell me, what is your author Alex’s biggest, deepest, darkest, most mortifying and/or hilarious secret?” He smiles devilishly. “Or would you rather kiss me?”

“Sorry, there, but I keep all my kisses for a special lady back home. She’s always got her mind on me. Anyway, if I were one to go around giving away secrets, everyone in the world would know that every night Ty sings ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor to help himself fall asleep. Oops…”

“Haha, does he really?”

Hartnet winks, stands up, and exits the stage.

“Looks like duty’s call won’t wait. Play him out with a word from our sponsor, won’t you, Allyn?”

“Today’s Kiss & Tell segment,” says Allyn, “was brought to you by Alexander Nader’s ‘Burdin’s End’:

Ty Burdin, the retired demon hunter who just can’t stay retired.

In the final installment of the Beasts of Burdin trilogy Ty has found himself roped into working for the Agency, a top secret organization with the sole purpose of eliminating all demon activity, yet again. Demon hunting is a full time job, but luckily Ty has managed to work his way down to a ‘consulting’ position in the Agency after a few disagreements and a couple dead superiors.

Ty’s part-time position becomes far more hands on as the demon activity in his region cranks up to eleven. Demons are crawling out of peoples’ minds and into the real world at an alarming rate and it’s up to Ty, once again, to step in and save the day. First step: get over last night’s hangover.

“As a bit of bonus material,” Allyn continues, “our author’s review of the book is as follows:

Gosh, some people’s attitudes are miserable. And not one healthful coping mechanism to be seen. Of course, narrators are rarely known for spreading sunshine and dishing up entertaining sass both at once. And if I can only have one or the other, odds are I’ll go with the sass.

Burdin's End

Despite his efforts to remain retired, Ty Burdin can’t seem to go more than twenty-four hours or so without hunting and/or being hunted by an unpredictable variety pack of demons. His small circle of loved ones (so… basically just his cop brother Hartnet and secretary/fictional biographer Nora) seem content to take Ty’s life at the beck and call of the Agency for granted, but Ty moans and drags his feet every step of the way. His unrelenting backtalk hurled at his boss Helstrom – or, in lieu of an audience, in his own head – made for some good out-loud chuckles (the man really does have a way with words, provided every third word or so can be a vulgarity), though his passive, self-destructive wallowing did start to get old, after a while.

Then I got about three-quarters of the way through the book, and I was just like, whoa. No. Holy cow, but no. I just want Ty to get up, shake himself off, and get his act together. Can I have that? Will Nader give me that? Or is he going to revel in this twisted turn of events like the evil author in me wouldn’t blame him for one bit?

If you think I’m about to spoil the answers to any of that, you’re one scotch bottle shy of a Burdin liquid lunch. In parting, I’ll say only that, 1) the ending went by a little quick for me; 2) it sounds like some positive change may be on the horizon for whoever survives this latest wave of deadly demon activity; and 3) um, no offense to Hartnet, but I may be Team Helstrom now. The guy’s in his own class.

“Thank you, Allyn – and Danielle,” Will says, then calls offstage, “Thanks to you as well, Hartnet. And thank you, my beautiful audience. Remember, authors – if your characters would like to appear on the show, simply follow the guidelines provided here, and we’ll get them on the schedule. ‘Til next time, lovelies: Scarlet out!”

The [Nut]case of the Nader Sequel

Burdin of Choice Banner

When I agreed to let Will Scarlet interview author Alexander Nader as part of the blog tour for his novel debut at the start of this year, I had no idea Will would take this to mean that all Beasts of Burdin-related interviews are now his turf. Guess I’m naïve, like that. So, here we are, with the Burdin sequel on tour. Cue the sketchy saxophone music.

<<<>>>

“Alex Nader. We meet again.” Out of the murky gray of a shady back alley steps the trench-coated, red-fedora-ed figured of Will Scarlet, faux private eye. His smile flashes white in the shadows. “I hear you’ve been busy, but you know me. Rumor and hearsay’s not good enough; I like my answers direct from the source.” He gestures through the door behind him. “Care to come in and answer a few questions?”

Alex*Shakes nervously* I, uh, suppose so, but does that light have to be so bright? I’m sweating over here.

“Oh, sure. Hang on a sec.” Will bends down to fiddle with a mess of cables and gives the fog machine inside the doorway a thump, toning the atmosphere down a few degrees. “There we are,” he says, circling his desk to drop into his chair. “Make yourself comfortable. Now then: Word on the street is Ty Burdin is back. …Well, I say ‘on the street’,” he says, withdrawing a Burdin of Choice paperback from his coat’s inner pocket. “More like ‘in the blurb’. Can you confirm this? Is the hunt for demons back on?”

Alex: It’s true, it’s all true. There’s always a few demons that could use a little off the top. And by little, I mean a lot. And by a lot, I mean their head. It’s a decapitation joke, because, you know, it kills everything and all that. *Laughs nervously, drums fingers on desk*

Will grins and gun-finger salutes. “I see what you did there. Glad to hear Burdin’s trilogy is carrying on apace! My source in the field” – this said with a wink for Danielle who, as ever, is on hand to do the note-taking – “tells me that writing a Book Two can be a whole different animal, compared to writing Book One. What was your experience, as far as Beasts vs. Choice? Which posed the greater challenge?”

Alex: Choice was definitely the bigger challenge because I had expectations to live up to. When I wrote Beasts I had never been published and had nothing to lose. With Choice I have a few fans and people I didn’t want to let down, so that caked on the pressure. Luckily Ty let me borrow some scotch and it really smoothed out the ol’ nerves.

Will’s brows rise. “Generous of Ty, considering he keeps his friends close and his liquor closer. But then, every street-smart character knows that what’s good for the author is good for us all. Speaking of characters, while nosing around Goodreads, I uncovered a review of the book naming Burdin’s secretary Nora as a favorite, using such descriptive terms as ‘absolutely gorgeous’ and ‘nutty as a fruitcake’.” Will coughs a laugh. “I’ve been called both on multiple occasions. From where you stand as author, does it look like Nora’s got the makings of the trilogy’s breakout star, a la that brilliant scarlet swordsman of ‘Outlaws of Avalon ’?”

Alex: Nora is definitely a big part of the series. When I started writing the first book, she didn’t play a very big role, but my first readers loved her so much I decided to step her role up in the series. She’s a lot of fun to write and super important in Ty’s life. He’s a bit of a screw-up and needs people like Nora and Hartnet *clears throat, nudges Danielle* to keep him grounded.

Danielle: Hi-i-i, Hartnet!

“Keep it together, Danielle. I’m on a case. Now,” Will says, turning back to his interviewee, “I don’t wish to alarm you, but I caught some punk on the corner sporting some suspicious swag.” His hand in and out of his coat’s pocket once more, Will extracts a number of photos zoomed in on a colorful flask, a compact mirror depicting a lounging tattooed female, and a beer mug reading St. Sebastian’s Bar & Grill. “Says he got the merch from your e-store. Is he legit?”

Alex: Yup, it’s true. Anyone can go to zazzle.com/Nader_Swag and pick up some awesome Burdin merch. I’ve seen pictures of one of those compact mirrors out in the wild already.

Will’s face lights up. “I was hoping you’d say that. Oy, Danielle! Can we get a poster?”

Danielle: When I’m less broke.

“Sweet! All right, I think I’ve got all I need from the horse’s mouth. Thanks for taking the time to set the record straight. Be seeing you, Nader. And watch out for demons!”

Alex: Hahahaa, I fooled you. I made it almost an entire interview sounding like a real person. You will never know my secret, Scarlet. NEVER! *Slaps interrogation light, runs out front door wearing only boxers and a t-shirt that says, ‘Demons are all in your head’*

Will blinks. Several times.

Danielle: What… just… happened?

“Honestly,” says Will, sweeping his pile of evidence into a desk drawer, “pretty much just business as usual, around here.”

<<<>>>

 

BurdinOfChoice_web

Title: Burdin of Choice (Beasts of Burdin #2)

Author: Alexander Nader

Publisher: J. Taylor Publishing

Release Date: November 10, 2014

Keywords: Urban Fantasy

About the Book: Ty Burdin is back. Back to drinking and back to avoiding demons. He is, of course, the leading expert in his field. In both subjects.

That’s probably why, when a customer offers him way too much money just to locate a missing car and some mysterious cargo, he readily agrees. The dude is human after all—Ty’s prime target client base.

Along with the money comes a slew of disappearances which Ty tries to ignore while tracking down that car, because, of course, those missing people might be demon related, and as he’s said before, that’s agency business. Not his. Period.

Until today.

Ty Burdin is to back drinking as well as everything he vowed never to get involved with again.

Question is, which one will kill him first? The booze, the demons, or the Agency?

Alex Nader

About the Author:

Alex lives in the tourist infested hills of east Tennessee with his amazing wife/muse and three superb children. He would tell you more about how awesome they are, but you probably wouldn’t believe him. When he’s not hanging out with them he’s making pizzas and occasionally he jots a few words down. He’s a big fan of good music, good storytelling, and fun, lots of fun.

He once wrote a short story about pirates to his wife via text message that blossomed into a full length novel and never stopped after that.

Goodreads  /  Twitter / Facebook  /  Website  /  Blog

“Burdin of Choice” is newly available via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. This-a-way to add “Burdin of Choice” on Goodreads, and that-a-way to enter the tour-wide Rafflecopter giveaway.

Burdin 2, Launch ‘n’ Review

Know what day it is? Huh, huh? Do ya, do ya? Release day for a friend o’ mine’s sequel, that’s what!

BurdinOfChoice_web

The Book: “Burdin of Choice (Beasts of Burdin #2)” by Alexander Nader

Ty Burdin is back. Back to drinking and back to avoiding demons. He is, of course, the leading expert in his field. In both subjects.

That’s probably why, when a customer offers him way too much money just to locate a missing car and some mysterious cargo, he readily agrees. The dude is human after all—Ty’s prime target client base.

Along with the money comes a slew of disappearances which Ty tries to ignore while tracking down that car, because, of course, those missing people might be demon related, and as he’s said before, that’s agency business. Not his. Period.

Until today.

Ty Burdin is to back drinking as well as everything he vowed never to get involved with again.

Question is, which one will kill him first? The booze, the demons, or the Agency?

My Thoughts: Ty’s stubborn determination to turn his back on demons, this time around, was good news/bad news for me as a reader. On the one hand, there was the off-color entertainment of Ty repeatedly letting everyone around him know just how far down under the Agency could stick their agenda, as far as he cared. But on the other, his avoidance of anything that even smelled of demon amounted to him avoiding much buildup of a plot. It took most of the book before there was any real edge-of-your-seat action of the sort that kept pages turning in the first volume of the series. Nonetheless, the smart-aleck narration did a bit to help smooth over the pacing issues and kept me from boredom; I continued to enjoy Ty’s relationship with colorful secretary Nora and cool cop brother Hartnet; and the concluding chapters suggest that there’s plenty in store for Burdin and company in the trilogy’s final installment. I’m looking forward to it!

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): Well, if you’re looking for your Burdin fix after Book One, you’ll have a long wait for Book Three if you don’t, now won’t you?  And/or, y’know, you could just gaze at this seriously awesome Beasts of Burdin swag, for a while. (Nader’s set up an online store, yo! Somebody buy something with “Danielle E. Shipley” on the cover so I can blow cash on that poster!)

“Burdin of Choice” is newly available via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. And make sure to come back next Tuesday (not tomorrow; the Tuesday after that), when Alex will find himself once again grilled under the interrogation lamp of a certain scarlet private eye.

Burdin of Choice Lifted

No, that’s not a misspelling in the title. “Burdin” I said, and “Burdin” I meant, because this is Cover Reveal Day for the sequel to a certain J. Taylor Publishing urban fantasy reviewed here and hyped here with a little help from the book’s author and my scarlet outlaw. So if you were dithering over whether or not to get an eyeful of this upcoming novel’s face, allow me to make the choice easy. Just scroll on down.

BurdinOfChoice_web

How’s that for atmosphere? Only fitting, I’d say, given what the back of the book has to say about the novel’s insides…

Ty Burdin is back. Back to drinking and back to avoiding demons. He is, of course, the leading expert in his field. In both subjects.

That’s probably why, when a customer offers him way too much money just to locate a missing car and some mysterious cargo, he readily agrees. The dude is human after all—Ty’s prime target client base.

Along with the money comes a slew of disappearances which Ty tries to ignore while tracking down that car, because, of course, those missing people might be demon related, and as he’s said before, that’s agency business. Not his. Period.

Until today.

Ty Burdin is to back drinking as well as everything he vowed never to get involved with again.

Question is, which one will kill him first? The booze, the demons, or the Agency?

*nod, nods* That is indeed the question. Personally, my money’s on the booze or the Agency. Ty’s track record with demons suggests that they’re the ones who need to watch out.

Meanwhile, the rest of can all watch out for the release of Burdin of Choice” on November 10, 2014.

Interview-a-Palooza!

We’re into Week 3 of the “Inspired” blog tour! Coming up, you’ll get a brief overview of what’s gone down since… well, the last time I gave you an overview. ;D

BUT FIRST! An interview with my writing bestie who can as of late March call herself a published author.

Part One: Tirzah Duncan and Cry of the Nightbird

Nightbird cover, final

Me: Hello, Tirzah! Thanks for letting me drag you over here to show you off. Tell us: Whence came the idea for your newly-published novella, Cry of the Nightbird?

Tirzah: I don’t know if you remember this, but it started last year, when you were at a loss for what to write for a Camp NaNo novel. And I was trying to brainstorm with you, tossing out this idea and that.

Then I said, “Okay, how about a young female main character who’s got this major crush on a villain? And what if that villain…”

I went on to speak spoilers, so you don’t get to hear that bit. But suffice it to say the idea really captivated me. To my frustration, Danielle, you were not interested. Hang it, I thought, I want to read the story! If she won’t write it, then I guess I’ve got to.

Me: Haha, I do halfway remember that! Obviously, it was a cool idea, T. Just as obvious to me, the idea was meant for you, so good on ya for running with it! You’ve been writing for some years, now. What was it that pushed you to finally take the plunge and self-publish a story?

Tirzah: There’s a bit of a dual answer to that. One, a sudden fit of impatience. But I’m not sure whether that alone would have driven me through all the boring things like spending eight mind-numbing hours trying to get indents to show up properly in an e-format.

Tirzah Duncan. Writer. Adventurer. Mary Sue? -_0
Tirzah Duncan. Writer. Adventurer. Mary Sue? -_0

What pushed me through that sort of nonsense? Desperation. My fiancé was offered a job in Germany. “Shall I accept the adventure of a lifetime in Europe, or be convenient and stay stateside?” he essentially asked, and left the decision in my hands. Taking the job complicated wedding plans, by which I mean, would require a few thousand more dollars in plane tickets and moving expenses, getting him back and the two of us forth.

“ADVENTURE OR BUST! TAKE THE JOB!” I cried, and determined to see that we do not come up bust, I aim to earn the extra in e-book sales. Audacious, I know, but I will sell this baby door-to-door if that’s what I must do.

Me: Your life is such a novel, you know that? I mean, mine kind of is, too, now that “Inspired”s a thing, but yours is a novel with a European romance, doggone it! Moving on, before I die of envy… Character-centric gal that I am, I’ve gotta ask: Who’s your favorite character from the novella, and why?

Tirzah: Tough one… I tried to make most of them their own brand of excellent. But like the sharp young servant girl, Wren, I’m a sucker for confident, cut, and sorta-kinda kind criminal overlords. So I’ll have to go with Joreth.

(…To clarify, when I say “cut,” I refer to defined musculature, not “the results of coming out of a knife fight somewhat scathed,” of which that master of assassins has both.)

Me: Yum. *cough* Yup. I meant “yup”. *pulls gaze away from attractive killers* Anyhow. This isn’t the only tale you’ve written set in this world. What can you tell us about the other project, Ever the Actor, and when do you suppose it’ll join Nightbird on the market?

Tirzah: Well, remember what I said I’m a sucker for? Joreth isn’t the first of those I’ve written. Although I use the term “sorta-kinda kind” far more loosely for Syawn, my sociopath thief lord determined to keep up caring appearances.

Me: SYYY! *more coughing* Sorry, I must be coming down with something. Pray continue.

Tirzah: You can read the book’s blurb and some select excerpts here—and the elsewhere-unreleased prologue is included at the end of Cry of the Nightbird, wink wink, nudge nudge.

When will it come out? Let’s keep it to the ever-mysterious “Coming sooooon…”

Me: Until this portentous “soon” comes to pass, any last words, Ms. Duncan?

Tirzah: Hmm. How about, “Hey, check what I can do!” or “Nooo, I’m too young…” or perhaps “At least I published something before the end,” or “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”

Bit of an odd question to end an interview on, though. Leads one to wonder if you put a hit out on me.

Me: Who, me? Never…

That’s “Cry of the Nightbird”, folks – available now!

Part Two: Meanwhile, on the “Inspired” blog tour…

Friday on the Ink Caster blog, my/Annabelle’s light elemental Luc went in for an illuminating chat with Tirzah Duncan’s thief lord Syawn.

Monday, the interview was mine, all mine! …and my hostess Aimee Laine’s, of course. X)

And Wednesday, all sensible Q&A practices went out the window, because this time the operation was run by Alexander Nader (who you may remember from when we got treated to Will Scarlet’s idea of an interview during Alex’s “Beasts of Burdin ” tour).

Plenty more tour stops still to come (full schedule available on my website’s homepage), and the fantastic book behind it all is still gloriously available for purchase. So if you feel thus inspired, make sure to get your copies!

P.S. – Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win awesome free “Inspired” goodies!

In Which a Noir Scarlet Gets the Dirt on Alexander Nader

BeastsOfBurdin_BlogTourButton

When I agreed to interview author Alexander Nader as part of his “Beasts of Burdin” blog tour, I had no idea that one of the characters in my head would take that as invitation to conduct the interview for me. Perhaps I should have known. It’s Will Scarlet, after all. And once he heard “Burdin ” features a private eye… well, let’s just say he felt inspired.

<<<>>>

Trading in the medieval charms of home for a seedy office off some gray back alley, Will takes a seat across from his subject of interrogation. Red fedora angled over one sparkling blue eye; pen and notepad at the ready; unlit cigarette clenched lightly at the corner of his mouth for effect.

“So, Alexander – or should I say Alex?” He arches the one eyebrow left visible. “Seriously, which one would you rather? Your book cover and Facebook page say one thing, your blog’s title says another… Who exactly are you trying to throw off the scent?”

Alex: To be completely honest, the Swedish Mafia. You see I’m in witness protection and they took my full name Alexander and very uncreatively broke it up and swapped a couple letters to get Alex Nader. Alex-ander, Alex Nader, get it? Yeah, it’s crazy, but can we just keep that between us? Those mafia dudes are ruthless.

“Ah. Say no more,” Will says, tapping the side of his nose conspiratorially. “Well, I mean, I hope you’ll say a little more. I’ve done a little digging, and I must say, I’ve turned up some pretty interesting dirt. A certain Tweet of yours, for instance, suggests that you and I have something in common.” Will grins. “We’re both said to look like Greek gods.”

Danielle: When has anyone ever said you look like a Greek god?

“You’re all thinking it. I could be Apollo’s twin.”

Danielle: Artemis, virgin goddess of the hunt?

Will casts an annoyed glance at his author. “I am conducting an interview, here. Sorry about that, Alex. Anyway. You said, quote, ‘She did not specify, but if given the choice I guess I’d have to go with Poseidon.’” Will leans forward, gaze intent and not a little suspicious. “Why Poseidon?”

Alex: Easy. He’s my great uncle on my father’s side. Yeah, me and Posey go way back. Every time he came to visit my house smelled like the ocean for weeks. This one time he even let me hold his trident. Man, what a mess that was. It took two weeks to get all the charbroiled flounder out of the carpet.

Will laughs. “I can imagine!” He flips back a few pages in his notepad. “Now, in doing a background check on you and your family, like ya do, I noticed a trend when it comes to your children: Every single one of their names contains the letters ‘av’. It begs two questions. One, what is the significance of this alpha sequence? Two, can you think of any similar patterns to be found within the names of your fictional characters?”

Alex: Yes, the letters AV are, in fact, an acronym: Actual Vampire. It’s because they are slowly draining the life force of my checking account. I mean seriously, do you know how much Nintendo games cost nowadays? There is a similar pattern between the names of my children and my characters and it’s pop culture references. My kids are named from a movie, a song, and a comic book. Bonus points if you can guess which is which.

“Ooh, I love bonus points. Memo to self,” he scribbles aloud. “Match ‘Nader’ kids to source. Win big. Got it. Moving on, and talking of characters, in the press release for your novel— Say, I haven’t congratulated you on that yet, have I? Way to go, you! Where we fictional folk would be without you author people to spill our deepest secrets to the public for cash of which we never see a dime, I just don’t know! That sounded really bitter. I’m not actually, I swear. Seriously, congratulations. Does anyone remember where I was going with this?” He checks his notes. “Yes! Right! Press release. It describes your main character, Ty Burdin, as ‘a man women will love and men will wish were their best friend. Not to be him, just to befriend.’ That’s a pretty sweet character recommendation! How true would you say it holds from your perspective? Do you and Ty hang out as friends? – and, if not, do you wish you could? Why / why not? And say, low key,” he drops his voice to a murmur, “how do you think he’d get on with me?”

Alex: I think Ty is a lot like my worst character traits rolled into a walking, talking insult machine. Ty is really kind of a jerk so if you’re planning on hanging out with him you better have thick skin. On the other hand if you had a drink to offer I’m sure he would hang around until things dried up.

“Oh, I’m sure I could scare up a tankard of ale or seven. One last question, if I may.” Will points his pen at the face across from him. “Since you have a beard and all, I’ve got to ask: Have you ever in your childhood dreams considered joining up with the Merry Men? Not that we all have beards, obviously,” he says, indicating his own face. “But, y’know, it might be seen as a point in your favor. The same goes for hoods and tights. Or if none of that is your thing, what did you want to be when you grew up? And how does it compare with the reality you’re living, Mr. Author/Family Man/Poseidon Lookalike?”

Alex: Tights? Um, tights are to me what a three legged elephant is to tight-rope walking; incompatible. Although, as poor as I am, I’d like to give props to what you guys are doing. Keep the money flowing, chap. So what did I want to be when I grew up? Astronomer, marine biologist, chemist, inventor, Power Ranger, Ninja Turtle, X-man…Really just depended which hour of the day you caught me on.

“Merry Man, superhero… same difference, practically. And that, my friend, is a wrap!” Will flips his notepad shut and extends a hearty handshake. “Been excellent talking to you, sir. That’ll be all for now but, y’know, don’t leave town. …Not that you have to listen to me. I’m not the police. Heck, depending on which sheriff you ask, I’m the enemy. Any case, good luck with your book, yeah? And give your ‘av’ kids my ‘hello’!”

Alex: It was very nice talking with you, Will. And tell Danielle I said, “hi”. I’m done weaving my complex tales of fiction and now I can go celebrate with a drink! (…me and Ty are different people, I swear.)

Alex Nader

About the Author:

Alex lives in the tourist infested hills of east Tennessee with his amazing wife/muse and three superb children. He would tell you more about how awesome they are, but you probably wouldn’t believe him. When he’s not hanging out with them he’s making pizzas. When he’s not doing that he’s working at a bookstore and occasionally he jots a few words down. He’s a big fan of good music, good storytelling, and mixed martial arts.

He once wrote a short story about pirates to his wife via text message that blossomed into a full length novel and never stopped after that.

BeastsOfBurdin_AlexNader_blog

Blurb:

Demon hunter Ty Burdin hung up his guns, knife, trench coat and fedora a year ago. Bags packed, hands washed of all demon politics, he’s done. Forever.

In fact, to get far far away, he dragged Nora, his rockabilly secretary, from Miami to the Tennessee mountains where he’s lived a life of peace—if peace can be defined as drowning in scotch and taking private eye jobs to keep the lights on. Jobs for real people. Not demons.

No demons.

He’s retired from that. Remember?

Demon hunters aren’t a dime a dozen, though, and when Ty’s brother asks him for a favor—just one—what’s a brother to do? Agreeing to take down one hillbilly demon shouldn’t take that long. In. Decapitate. Out. Favor complete. Back to the office where Nora and his bottle of whiskey are waiting.

Unfortunately for Ty, staying retired doesn’t seem to be in the cards, and an avalanche of bad luck draws him right back to an agency he despises and the career that nearly cost him his sanity.

This time, Ty has no way out and will have to face his own demons just to survive.

Beasts of Burdin” (my review here) available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

In Which I Bite the Devil’s Bullet & Review a Book

One of my writer friends/fellow J. Taylor Publishing author’s novel debut is set to launch on February 10th (i.e., quite soon!). To get you warmed up for the fun to come (including an absolutely-not-to-be-missed author interview as part of the book’s upcoming blog tour), here’s my advance reader review!

The Book: “Beasts of Burdin” by Alexander Nader.

Genre: Urban Fantasy.

BeastsOfBurdin_AlexNader_blog

Blurb: Demon hunter Ty Burdin hung up his guns, knife, trench coat and fedora a year ago. Bags packed, hands washed of all demon politics, he’s done. Forever.

In fact, to get far far away, he dragged Nora, his rockabilly secretary, from Miami to the Tennessee mountains where he’s lived a life of peace—if peace can be defined as drowning in scotch and taking private eye jobs to keep the lights on. Jobs for real people. Not demons.

No demons.

He’s retired from that. Remember?

Demon hunters aren’t a dime a dozen, though, and when Ty’s brother asks him for a favor—just one—what’s a brother to do? Agreeing to take down one hillbilly demon shouldn’t take that long. In. Decapitate. Out. Favor complete. Back to the office where Nora and his bottle of whiskey are waiting.

Unfortunately for Ty, staying retired doesn’t seem to be in the cards, and an avalanche of bad luck draws him right back to an agency he despises and the career that nearly cost him his sanity.

This time, Ty has no way out and will have to face his own demons just to survive.

My Thoughts: I had a fun night with my ARC of this puppy. Ty’s narrative voice was snappy and amusingly jaded, just as one would hope for in a whisky-soaked private eye with demon decapitation at the top of his résumé. Talking of demons, the sheer variety sprinkled throughout the story was impressive – from soul barterers, to fortunetellers, to those who specialize in seduction and/or heatstroke. I never knew what turn the tale would take next, putting me in the same boat as the book’s good guys, minus any realistic fear that I could be shot with the devil’s bullet at any moment. (Yes. The devil’s bullet. It’s a thing, and take it from Ty, you don’t want it to hit you.)

I enjoyed watching Ty relate to the cast around him. His brother Hartnet (who, free confession, I thought was kinda hot), adopted into the big-name demon-hunting family and fearlessly facing down the beasties the best a non-Burdin can. His secretary Nora, who will doubtless elicit the empathy of every writer out there who’s trying to snag a publishing break while holding down a job where people keep getting shot and beheaded in their office space. (Inspiration can come at a heart-pounding price, eh, Nora?) And let us not forget the smug agency members with whom Ty probably couldn’t play nice if he tried – and he wasn’t trying. A wit like Ty’s ought not be kept in a vacuum, so I was pleased to see him so often surrounded by good friends and… less-than-good less-than-friends.

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): If you’re up for an entertaining adult urban fantasy, this is the book I’ll point you to. From the small sampling I’ve had of the genre, “Beasts of Burdin” sailed smoothly to the top, and I’m looking forward to the series’ continuation. Stay tuned for the novel’s release and blog tour on February 10th!

Or, y’know, you might just have a chance to read the book sooner than that. ‘Cause guess what, folks? J. Taylor Publishing is giving away FIVE e-ARC copies of “Beasts of Burdin”! You don’t even have to be a book blogger or “have connections” like me. ;D Nope, so long as you are willing to leave an honest review between the dates January 27th – February 10th 2014, you are eligible to enter. Interested? Then just fill out the form linked here, and keep your fingers crossed. You have until midnight of January 26th to enter. Best of luck, all!

“Beast” or “First Look at ‘Beasts of Burdin’”

It’s a cover reveal day!

For “The Stone Kingdom (Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales)”?!

No, that’s coming in about a week-and-a-half. This reveal is for the debut novel of fellow J. Taylor Publishing author Alexander Nader. After the blurb, keep on scrolling to get an eyeful of the totally beast cover of the urban fantasy due out on February 10th, “Beasts of Burdin”.

Back of the Book:

Demon hunter Ty Burdin hung up his guns, knife, trench coat and fedora a year ago. Bags packed, hands washed of all demon politics, he’s done. Forever.

In fact, to get far far away, he dragged Nora, his rockabilly secretary, from Miami to the Tennessee mountains where he’s lived a life of peace—if peace can be defined as drowning in scotch and taking private eye jobs to keep the lights on. Jobs for real people. Not demons.

No demons.

He’s retired from that. Remember?

Demon hunters aren’t a dime a dozen, though, and when Ty’s brother asks him for a favor—just one—what’s a brother to do? Agreeing to take down one hillbilly demon shouldn’t take that long. In. Decapitate. Out. Favor complete. Back to the office where Nora and his bottle of whiskey are waiting.

Unfortunately for Ty, staying retired doesn’t seem to be in the cards, and an avalanche of bad luck draws him right back to an agency he despises and the career that nearly cost him his sanity.

This time, Ty has no way out and will have to face his own demons just to survive.

Front of the Book:

BeastsOfBurdin_AlexNader_blog

About the author:

Alex lives in the tourist infested hills of east Tennessee with his amazing wife/muse and three superb children. He would tell you more about how awesome they are, but you probably wouldn’t believe him. When he’s not hanging out with them he’s making pizzas. When he’s not doing that he’s working at a bookstore and occasionally he jots a few words down. He’s a big fan of good music, good storytelling, and mixed martial arts.

He once wrote a short story about pirates to his wife via text message that blossomed into a full length novel and never stopped after that.