Since the Holiday Season is upon us again, I thought I'd make a list and recommend some books for possible gifting. So here's my Holiday Gift Guide for Book Lovers.
First up are two charity anthologies (disclaimer: this is a bit of self-promotion since I do have stories in these anthologies, but they're great books and worthy causes):
Christmas Lites III
Stories of the season, with strange and unusual twists.
Within these pages is a way you can help many people desperately in need of love, support, and goodness: the victims of domestic crime. By purchasing this anthology, you are sending every last dime made off this book to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The NCADV is an amazing charity that saves these people and lets them know there is still hope, still goodness, and still a reason to carry on.
Twenty-one authors have joined in this year, giving their time and their stories to these people – and to you. We all hope you enjoy our holiday tales captured in bite-size pieces.
COFFIN HOP: DEATH BY DRIVE-IN
The first collection of stories from the ranks of the annual Coffin Hop online horror extravaganza. Brains from Space! Robot Squids Gone Wild! Radioactive Microwave Men! Monster Mash Massacres! Crotch Tentacles! Werewolf lovin’! Vengeful Gods! Hot-Rod Hauntings! Alaskan Apocalypse! Vampire Seduction! Man-eating Toilet! Robot Lincoln & Zombie Jackson! Featuring interior art by the legendary Nik Seizure and an introduction by B-Movie expert and cult classic Stink of Flesh director Scott S. Phillips!
Get your popcorn ready and dim those headlights.
The Dusk ‘til Dawn is about to begin, and it’s gonna be killer, baby!
All profits from the anthology will be donated to LitWorld.org, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization supporting child literacy and social improvement the world over.
Okay, the good folks at Xchyler Publishing
have a nice variety of books for the sci-fi, YA and fantasy fan. Here's a list of some of their latest:
A Midsummer Night's Steampunk by Scott E. Tarbet:
Pauline Spiegel, a master artificer like her mother before her, wants just one thing: to wed the love of her life, Alexander MacIntyre, a lowly undersecretary of the Royal Household. However, a long-term pact between her parents, and a noble House, stands between her and her happily ever after. When a priceless mechanoid of unfathomable power is stolen, Pauline finds herself entangled in skullduggery and international intrigue, upon which the fate of nations rest. Only with the help of her friends, and a brilliant scientist with a swarm of micromechanical insects, can Pauline survive the dark forces determined to destroy her. But will her betrothed and his rag-tag band of semi-mechanical soldiers reveal Alexander’s secrets as well?
Immerse yourself in this Steampunk retelling of Shakespeare’s classic, replete with the newfound wizardry of alternative Victorian technology, mistaken identities, love triangles, and deadly peril, set against the backdrop of a world bracing itself for war, and Victoria’s Diamond JubileeMr. Gunn and Dr. Bohemia by Pete Ford:
Victorian London . . . but not one in any history book. In an alternate 1858, England has entered a golden age of technology, of steam and electricity. Airships fill the skies, mechanical computers command the trains and trams, and a country-wide communication network reaches into every home and office.
Newspaperman Cornelius Gunn investigates a series of thefts across London. Someone is stealing inventions and designs—for what purpose, Gunn can’t even guess.
While attempting to identify the criminals, he and his feisty wife, Sophie, meet the enigmatic Dr. Bohemia. Before they know it, they're on the trail of a conspiracy, and swept into an adventure that carries them to Paris and back, and a fight against a mysterious and powerful enemy. The stakes are high. If they fail, all of Europe will be plunged into war. Shades and Shadows:
In the dead of night, you sense something other beyond your sight, out there in the darkness. You feel a breath upon your neck, cold and clammy, fecund with mold and decay. Your hair stands on end from no random chill. The air is still. No one is there.
Travel with nine talented writers into their paranormal world, but don’t disregard that inkling that niggles somewhere in the pit of your stomach to leave the light on, to shun that dark room, and to pull the covers over your head.
Whatever you do, don't look under the bed.A Dash of Madness:
One man’s crazy is another man’s norm.
Inside, eight bizarre stories explore twisted perceptions and challenge conceptions about right and wrong. With a fascinating dive into several unstable minds, the authors examine different avenues for exposing warped cognition and mutilated logic. Each delivers a disquieting glimpse of reality.
Now for some books recommended at random:
Grave Situation by Alex MacLean
Halifax cop Allan Stanton is a troubled homicide detective who has lost everything, including his family and his sense of justice. When he finally decides to leave the force and start over, he's assigned a string of murders that all bear the signs of a serial killer collecting trophies. As Stanton unravels each grisly crime scene, the mounting evidence points uncomfortably close to him, forcing him to confront a past he'd rather forget--and a dangerous future when the killer targets Stanton himself.
And the sequel to Grave Situation
, One Kill Away
, will be out soon.The Chosen Chronicles by Karen Dales:
This excellent vampire series includes the award winning books, Changeling
, Angel of Death
, and Shadow of Death.
The Seacrest by Aaron Paul Lazar:
They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
Finn McGraw disagrees.
He was just seventeen when he had a torrid summer affair with the girl who stole his heart—and then inexplicably turned on him. Finn may have moved on with his life, but he’s never forgotten her.
Now, ten years later, he’s got more than his lost love to worry about. A horrific accident turns his life upside down, resurrecting the ghosts of his long-dead family and taking the lives of the few people he has left.
Finn always believed his estranged brother was responsible for the fire that killed their family—but an unexpected inheritance with a mystery attached throws everything he knows into doubt.
And on top of that, the beguiling daughter of his wealthy employer has secrets of her own. But the closer he gets, the harder she pushes him away.
The Seacrest is a story of intrigue and betrayal, of secrets and second chances—and above all, of a love that never dies.
Today I'm chatting with Kit Campbell, author of the urban fantasy, Shards. Come join in as she chats about her books and stories, and writing:
Interview with Kit Campbell
Why don't you begin by sharing a little about yourself.
Sure! I’m Kit Campbell and I write mostly fantasy, though I stray into science fiction, horror, and straight paranormal from time to time. Besides that, I wrangle a house of ever-increasing chaos and occasionally make up fictional creatures over at my blog.You have a new book coming out on Dec. 1st, Shards, an urban fantasy/paranormal romance. Care to share a bit about your latest book?Shards
came to me in a dream. I know how corny that sounds, but my brain does this weird thing where, when I realize I'm dreaming, I start to try and organize the events into a narrative. And for some reason, a lot of times I have third-person dreams, where I’m watching, rather than being directly involved.Shards
straddles the line between urban fantasy and paranormal romance, in that there is a strong romantic subplot, but there’s also a lot of external factors making life difficult for the main characters. And it twists in a variety of different mythologies, though most of it is based on early Bible mythology and various cultures’ beliefs that accompany that mythology.You've written several short stories and a novella in the fantasy genre, and have a love of mythology. What draws you to these fantasy settings and mythology?
I've always been more attracted to non-standard settings—fantasy, science fiction, etc. It’s not that I don't think real life can’t be interesting, but it's more like, I know what to expect from real life, so I'd rather explore what would happen if things were different, whether that be magic or technology or changes in society, for good or bad.
As for mythology—these are stories that people made up to explain how the world worked. Why some things were good, and some were bad. Why weather did what it does and where people came from, and where they went after they died. These were stories that people believed. And I think it's really interesting to look at mythological stories and characters and see how they can still be relevant today.Do you have a preference for writing short stories, or longer works such as novellas and novels? And do you find one form easier to write, or do they both have their own unique difficulties?
If you asked me this a few years ago, my answer would have definitely been that I preferred writing longer works, but since then I have started writing short stories on a more regular basis, mostly for anthologies and to squeeze in some writing when I'm in an editing phase on a bigger project, and they've grown on me. That said, I have to write longer and short fiction completely differently, and I still feel a novel is easier to do.Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?
For a novel, I normally start with a premise, and then I find some characters and a vague idea of plot, and off I go. And then, about halfway through, I’ll sit down and outline the rest of the story so I can make sure all my loose threads are tied up. Between drafts, I do extensive character and plot work, and I do a lot of rewriting in my edits. As far as a routine, I just try to get a couple thousand words a day, and I never edit during a first draft.
As for my ideas, they come from all over. Dreams, like Shards
. A line of dialogue from a TV show, or the chorus of a song. Myths and legends. Photographs and magazine articles. I tend to be drawn to things that can hide mysteries, like old keys, mirrors, overgrown mazes or ruins—things of those ilk.What is the hardest part of writing fantasy fiction?
I learned the hard way that you need to do your world-building before you start writing, at least to some degree. Otherwise you just flounder around, and it shows, because the underlying structure needed to make your world feel real is missing.What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
I'm a bit slow. A first draft may only take a few months, but I often spend six-plus months on edits, so I'm not as prolific as a lot of other authors. Also, description and I don't always get along.Who has inspired you as an author?
My mother has been hugely influential to me as an author. When I was little, she wrote children's novels, and watching her write, I think, is a large reason why I started myself. And she still is incredibly supportive of me today—she's never afraid to tell me when my plot or characters are weak, or when something is confusing, and she lets me hash out plot issues with her as needed.What’s next for you?
I have a high fantasy trilogy I've’ve been working on for, oh, nine years or so. I think it’s finally time to start trying to get it out into the world, so that ought to keep me busy for the near future.
Kit Campbell has never met a mythology she hasn't liked. This sometimes leads to issues, such as the occasional Norse God of Thunder showing up in the Garden of Eden. She adores weaving in the possibilities forgotten magic can bring to a story, and enjoys making up new creatures, such as large, venomous monsters that hunt in packs.
Kit’s stories have been published in half-a-dozen anthologies, and her YA novella, Hidden Worlds
, was released by Turtleduck Press in 2010. Shards
is her first full-length novel.
Kit lives in Colorado in a house of ever-increasing chaos.
You can find out more about Kit and her books at these sites: