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David Lee Summers presents his novel, Owl Dance. This Weird Western Steampunk novel is first in his Clockwork Legion series.

As the dance ended, a small owl swooped into the room and landed on the back of Queen Titania’s throne. A moment later, a woman wearing a black skirt and vest with a white shirt entered the ballroom and looked around. “Where have you led me now,” she said. “We were just taking a walk by the Rio Grande.” Her eyes widened as she took in all those in attendance. The woman looked one of the fae up and down, then another. The queen stood and cleared her throat. Behind her, the little owl danced from one foot to the other and chirped. Seeing the Queen in her royal regalia, the woman straightened, then curtsied. “You’re highness, I’m sorry to intrude. My name is Fatemeh Karimi.” She indicated the owl. “It seems my friend led me here… wherever here is.”


Character Questions

Are you an insider or an outsider in your homeland? I’m originally from a country called Persia and I left because a dear friend who practiced my same religion had been executed by an angry mob. I now live in the southwest of a country called America, but even here, I feel like an outsider. I’m a healer, but there are those who call me a witch because I’m from a far off land and because I like owls.

Who is your closest friend? My closest friend now is a man named Ramon Morales. Until recently, he was sheriff of a small town called Socorro in New Mexico Territory, but he left his job after an angry mob tried to kill me, believing I was a witch. He believes in justice, a value I share. He also has a sense of wonder and enjoys meeting new people and seeing new places, which I adore. However, when he saved me, he made some powerful enemies. I fear they may be looking for him even now.

Author Questions

Fantasy has many genres. How did you choose yours? I grew up watching The Wild Wild West on television and loving it’s blend of the mythic wild west and strange inventions and magic. As an adult, my friend David B. Riley introduced me to weird westerns through his magazine, Trails: Intriguing Stories of the Wild West. He asked me to submit a story and I thought this was a wonderful opportunity to create something as magical for me as The Wild Wild West had been.

Is there somewhere you go to search for inspiration? Much of he Clockwork Legion series takes its inspiration from where I work and live in Southern New Mexico and Arizona and those people I see on a daily basis. My first inspiration for the series came from walking around my neighborhood. Pat Garrett, the man who shot Billy the Kid, is buried in a cemetery in my neighborhood as are other notable people from the wild west. When I started the series, burrowing owls lived near the cemetery and I realized they were very social creatures, but I also knew local lore associated them with witchcraft. It was easy to start putting pieces together. I live in Billy the Kid country. I regularly drive through land where Geronimo and Wyatt Earp rode. Inspiration for wild west fantasy is all around me.


Owl Dance

The year is 1876. Sheriff Ramon Morales of Socorro, New Mexico, meets a beguiling woman named Fatemeh Karimi, who is looking to make a new start after escaping the oppression of her homeland. When an ancient life form called Legion comes to Earth, they are pulled into a series of events that will change the history of the world as we know it. In their journeys, Ramon and Fatemeh encounter mad inventors, dangerous outlaws and pirates. Their resources are Ramon’s fast draw and Fatemeh’s uncanny ability to communicate with owls. The question is, will that be enough to save them when airships from Czarist Russia invade the United States?

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About the Author

David Lee Summers lives in Southern New Mexico at the cusp of the western and final frontiers. He’s written novels about space pirates, vampire mercenaries, mad scientists in the old west, and astronomer ghosts. He’s edited thrilling anthologies of space adventure that imagine what worlds discovered by NASA’s Kepler mission might be like. When he’s not writing or editing, David explores the universe for real at Kitt Peak National Observatory. To learn more about David or his books visit his website at http://www.davidleesummers.com


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Everyone please welcome Astrid Brandon and her character Thurid Sevriens, from the fantasy/mystery series, Mysteries of the Astral. This is an own-voices tale for young adults.

Character Questions

Are you an insider or an outsider in your homeland? I’d say outsider. Being autistic in America, I feel so… unwanted sometimes, y’know? And now that I have these weird powers, great! I’m even more of an outsider.

Who is your closest friend? Before I met Avery, Murtagh was my best friend. Still is. I have multiple besties. Them, Erzulie, and now Avery. Don’t make me choose!

Author Questions

Is there something you wish you had done differently with your craft? I wish I had gone through my manuscript at least one more time before I published it. It’s good, but after months have passed, I wish I had sat down with it one more time.

Why do you write? I write because I look at myself now as a 22-year-old with different neurodivergencies and queer labels and I say, “I wish I had representation growing up.” I didn’t know much about the aro/ace communities, or non-binary communities, or autistic and ADHD communities until I was almost an adult. And there are so many people who feel the same way. I want late middle-schoolers to high-schoolers to read my book and go, “That’s me! I don’t feel that way either.” Or, “I do that thing too!”


Investigation in Nottingham

Autistic Thurid Sevriens has trouble comprehending her grandmother’s aversion to her fascination with Avery Norcova, a deceased actor whose kindness and talent while alive made him loved by millions, to point of his spirit living on long past his physical death. After Thurid gets in another fight with her grandmother, Avery’s spirit has had enough.

Taking Thurid under his wing in the astral plane, Avery takes her to medieval Nottingham, England, a place they could avoid the stresses of day to day life, far from the abuses of reality. But after the town sheriff’s mother is found dead, Thurid realizes that there might be more dangers than originally thought.

As if the dangers of the Astral Plane weren’t enough, the waking world holds its own perils. Far more dangerous than a non-supportive grandmother that hounds Thurid daily life, are magical powers and those who want to abuse them. With magical powers of her own beginning to emerge and danger around every corner, doubt begins to grow in her mind of who she truly, is both in body and in soul.

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Astrid R. Brandon was born in southeastern Virginia (1999–present). They grew up in Chesapeake and are currently working on getting a bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies with a minor in Japanese. Currently they live with their parents and their two cats. They hope to one day be a translator for the government and to help rescue cats and kittens. As a writer and someone who is actually autistic, they hope to be able to share their experiences and enlighten the world about what autism actually is.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Please join me in welcoming novelist Alma Alexander. Her featured character is Aris the Gleeman, from her anthology, Fractured Fairy Tales.

Aris stood just inside the door of the great hall, clutching his harp against his ribs, half concealed by the gleeman’s motley cloak. He watched a woman glittering with diamonds sink into a deep curtsey as she was presented; then what was obviously a family, a proud father cuffing the youngest son into a proper bow when the moment came. They, and others, came away from their presentations, and Aris could see the glow on their faces. They belonged here. They clearly did. Aris himself? It was the old story. He ran from magic, and magic always chased him back, and caught him. He had no idea how the invitation to this ball had come to him — but it was the sort of invitation one did not refuse, especially not a travelling gleeman who was in no way noble, titled, aristocratic at all. He was just the bringer of news, the singer of songs, he was only…

He caught someone’s eye; there was a definite beckoning motion. Aris gripped the the harp tighter, took a deep breath, and then stepped forward into the summons, starting down to where the Queen waited.

He was Aris. Aris the gleeman. That would have to be enough.


Character Questions

Are you an insider or an outsider in your homeland? I am Aris the Gleeman. In my world, a gleeman is actually both — they are a permanent outsider in the sense that they spend their lives travelling and they are always in some different place — but they are also the quintessential insider because they find their place in every hamlet, village, town they visit, and people welcome them for the news and tales they bring. To put it briefly, a gleeman is an outsider’s insider. They find ways to belong where they find themselves. In one sense, they are the center — you might ask whether all the rest of the world is an outsider or insider in the gleeman’s sphere, not the other way around…

In your homeland, is magic feared or respected? It EXISTS. It’s there to be found. I distrust it and am always wary of it — but it treats me like a cat treats someone who dislikes cats — it’s always near me, weaving between my feet and tripping me up, being a nuisance, no matter how hard I try to fend it off. I’d say fear and respect go hand in hand, two sides of the same coin; whether magic is feared or respected depends on whether the person wielding it is. And then, of course, it’s MAGIC. And it’s just obnoxious sometimes.

Author Questions

Fantasy has many genres. How did you choose yours? I have seldom “chosen” anything in my writing — I listen to the calls, and that is what I write. I am not “commercial” at all. As for different fantasy subgenres — well — first of all, as I am fond of saying, ALL fiction is fantasy by default (because it’s all untrue and made up which is the definition of fantasy, no?) so everyone’s writing it, whether they want to or not. I’ve written in plenty of subgenres — historical fantasy, epic/high fantasy, humor, YA, contemporary fantasy, paranormal…. there are always stories. And the STORIES choose which subgenre they will end up “marrying”.

Why do you write? Because I have to. Because I can. Because that’s who I am. Because there is nothing else in the world that I have ever really wanted to do.


Fractured Fairy Tales

Welcome to the land where tales are told. There is a path unfolding in front of you, paved with words, leading into secret places — the dangerous, the remembered, the familiar, the unknown. Here you will find witches and princesses, monsters and familiars, coins made of silver and swords made of shadow, lost girls and travelling troubadours, promises made and broken, loss and laughter. The book you are holding is a key to the gate of that realm. Open the door. Go through.

“I have a wonderful occupation;

I dream for a living.”

Alma Alexander’s life so far has prepared her very well for her chosen career. She was born in a country which no longer exists on the maps, has lived and worked in seven countries on four continents (and in cyberspace!), has climbed mountains, dived in coral reefs, flown small planes, swum with dolphins, touched two-thousand-year-old tiles in a gate out of Babylon. She is a novelist, anthologist and short story writer who currently shares her life between the Pacific Northwest of the USA (where she lives with two obligatory writer’s cats) and the wonderful fantasy worlds of her own imagination. You can find out more about Alma and her books on her website, at her Amazon author page, on Twitter, her Facebook page, or at her Patreon page.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Author C. S. Boyack joins us today with the current installment in his fun and adventurous urban fantasy series, The Hat. The main character is a musician, Lizzie St. Laurent, with her partner, a magical hat.

“Would you look at that? All those lightning bugs, flowers, and crap.” The hat took the shape of a women’s straw sun hat with an ivory ribbon that dangled down the back. His partner, Lizzie St. Laurent, wore a knee-length white dress with a pair of modest heels.

“We were both invited here. They know about you, so stop talking directly to my mind. I’m thinking one drink and we’re out of here.”

“Cool. Maybe we can pick up something, then go out to the country. I have a hunch where some graveyard ghouls could be hanging out. You’re packing, aren’t you?”

“I have a pistol in my purse. The other one is in the car.”


Character Questions

Who is your closest friend? (Lizzie) “I have a lot of friends. I mean, I guess I’m closer to Tanith than anyone else. She’s my drummer in our band. She goes by Sweet-T when we’re on stage.” (Hat) “I’m a hat. I can’t really talk to anyone without freaking them out. It’s basically me and Lizzie against the forces of darkness.”

In your homeland, is magic feared or respected? (Lizzie) “It’s completely unknown. It exists, but it’s better if people remain unaware. The hat and I even know a witch, but she’s pretty reclusive.” (Hat) “Are you kidding me? It scares the hell out of people. Back in the day they used to burn magical folks at the stake. I ought to know. I was there.”

Author Questions

Fantasy has many genres. How did you choose yours? I cover a lot of speculative fields. For The Hat Series, I wanted an urban fantasy or magical realism. People can relate to our world, then I peppered it with the fantastic elements. It’s also dark humor. It’s helpful to have the modern world to poke fun at.

Is there somewhere you go to search for inspiration? The short answer is no. I get inspiration from everything. It could be something out my window, online, or the nightly news. I actively browse Pinterest every night before bed and get a lot of ideas from it.


Lunar Boogie

Lizzie and the hat are back in action, only this time they’re up against the most tragic monster of all, a werewolf. This adventure is more like hunting an animal, and the werewolf is unlikely to come to any of their musical performances. This puts Lizzie out in the dark corners and wooded areas of the city. It may be more beneficial to get the monster to hunt Lizzie than to stalk him on his own turf. All she has to do is be quicker on the trigger than the wolf is on his feet. At the same time, the police think they’re after a serial killer. Lizzie tries to keep them alive while also keeping them out of her way. As the body count rises, so do the pressures. It doesn’t help that people are blaming Lizzie and the hat for the killings. This involves an urban myth about them that the locals call Hellpox. Pull on your boogie shoes and join the hunt. Designed as an afternoon read, this one is tons of supernatural fun.

Purchase now or find out more about the series!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

You heard your name in the singing of the birds, and when you looked up, a robin flitted to you with a single, silver page.

You saw your name in the ripples on the river, and when you looked down, a brilliant green frog hopped up to present you a small lily pad laced with glittering golden letters.

You felt the wind tug you at your hand, and when you looked forward, a sidewinder drew your name upon the shining sands.

You scented aether, and when you looked behind, a darting bat delivered a message of cobwebs sketched upon velvety moss.

The swirling wings of butterflies, the whisper of leaves at dusk. In such ways does Titania, Queen of all Fairies, reach out to her favored kinfolk. Join us, on Midsummer Night, when every elf and sprite, fantastic beast and worker of wonders, is welcomed to Queen Titania’s Court!


Scheduled Books

June 5th, Lunar Boogie (C. S. Boyack)

June 7th, Fractured Fairy Tales (Alma Alexander)

June 9th, Investigation in Nottingham (Astrid Brandon)

June 12th, Owl Dance (David Lee Summers)

June 14th, A Gap in the Veil (Sam Schenk)

June 16th, War of Nytefall: Savagery (Charles E. Yallowitz)

June 19th, Winterlight (Sanan Kolva)

June 21st, Clan Elves of the Bitterroot (Barbara Mountjoy)

June 23rd, GURPS Fantasy Folk: Elves (Alden Loveshade)

June 25th, Chaos Wolf (Sheryl Hayes)

June 27th, Peavley Manor (Robert Dahlen)

June 29th, Overdues and Occultism (Jamie Sands)

June 30th, The Grand Finale (Deby Fredericks)


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

As I’ve been setting up the posts for Queen Titania’s Court, I discovered a new sub-genre. At least, it’s one that’s new to me. That is Contemporary Witchy Fiction.

At first glance, Witchy Fiction appears to be an offshoot of Urban Fantasy. Typically that isn’t my thing; however, I am always interested to see what the witches are getting up to. In fact, when I first set up this blog, back in 2012, it was even odds whether I would choose dragons or witches as my theme. At the time, I was promoting a podcast where I read one of my books, which was about dragons. Thus, the scaly ones came out on top.

Anyway! When I saw that some of Queen Titania’s guests were from Witchy Fiction books, I was intrigued. After asking a few questions and doing some searches, this is what I found out.

Witchy Fiction actually is quite new as a category. It got its start just last year. In the midst of the pandemic, a group of independent authors in New Zealand decided to combat the stress by creating their own fantasy genre. The first Witchy Fiction was published in October of 2020.

Witchy Fiction stories are Urban Fantasies that are short, sweet and light, with a hopeful outlook. There are a couple of specific requirements. 1) The setting must be in New Zealand. 2) At least one main characters has to be a witch. The witch is not necessarily female. 3) There should be some romantic elements. 4) The story has a happy ending. Optional extras include LGTBQ romance and the witches being followers of Wicca or similar religions. So in some ways Witchy Fiction is also an own-voices genre.

I have to say, I admire their approach, and now I’m tempted to gather a few friends and found my own genre, too.

Looking at the main Witchy Fiction web site, I can’t tell if there is an actual publisher committed to this genre, but all the books certainly share a similar “look.” I don’t think even Amazon has caught up to developments, since the Witchy Fiction listed there is not tagged as such, but the phrase “witchy fiction” is prominent in the subtitles and descriptions. This allows potential readers to search it out.

So, if you are hungry for a witch’s brew of light, fun story telling, and would enjoy a glimpse of New Zealand through a magical lens, you might want to look into Contemporary Witchy Fiction.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

As June creeps closer, I’m hard at work on setting up for Queen Titania’s Court. But I feel like a harried wedding planner, trying to get all the guests and decorations in order.

More authors are taking part this year. That makes me very happy. Still, it takes a bit of scurrying around and sometimes a few follow-ups to collect the information I need from each of them. Then I have to set up the posts in advance. I’ll do several passes to make sure they all have the same format and that every link works.

However, when they’re all done and scheduled, and the book event starts to unroll, it’s going to be a blast!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook,Instagram and/or Twitter.

Done!

That’s right, I finished the third draft of Renegade of Opshar. It still needs minor tweaking, but I’m happy with how it came out.

Of course, the next steps are many. I need to get it off for proofreading. I need to stop dithering and choose the cover art. Then I will make the title images, and put them all together. Next will be setups for the e-book, through Bowker and Amazon and Draft2Digital. Even with all that, it looks like I will be able to make it to a June 1st release. Huzzah!

While I’m working on those things, I also have a lot to do on Queen Titania’s Court. Gathering everyone’s introductions, and their questions, and their cover images. Making decisions about which author appears when, and getting to work on actual posts.

So, I’m going to be a busy bee for the next couple of weeks. But it will be a lot of fun.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

No Longer Lost

I FOUND THE MISSING E-MAILS!! Somehow they were being shunted into a hidden folder. The fairies must have done it. Yeah, that’s my story.

Now that I’ve recovered them, I made a new folder just for things related to Queen Titania’s Court, and set up a “rule” to sort all those e-mails into it. There were a lot more replies than I had realized, so now I’m hastily going through and letting everyone know I didn’t ignore them. I hope to get that set in the next few days, because Queen Titania’s Court is supposed to start in a couple of weeks. Yikes!

So, once again, if you know someone who had reached out about Queen Titania’s Court and not heard back, please let them know to try again.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

My beta readers have returned their comments on Renegade of Opshar and I have a bit of thinking to do. It would be a spoiler to say what I have to think about. So, instead, I’m going to blather about the music I have been listening to while working on this story.

Like a lot of writers — maybe even most writers — I listen to music while working. As I get deeper into different projects, I’ll focus in on certain music and listen over and over. For instance, while writing one of my earlier novels, Too Many Princes, I listened to the Enigma Variations of Edward Elgar.

For the Minstrels of Skaythe novellas, I’ve listened to more classical-styled game soundtracks. Initially the music was from Dragon Age Inquisition, since I was sparked to write by that series. (Also, I don’t have the music from Dragon Age Origins or Dragon Age II in my library).

Partly with Wailing Tower and definitely with Renegade of Opshar, I shifted a bit to the music of Thomas Bergerson, who has done a lot of music for commercials, movies, and games. (Not for the Dragon Age games, though.) Bergerson’s music is… just big. Full orchestra, full chorus, a few additional instruments and vocalists.

Anyway, if you’re curious, here is a link to one of Bergerson’s compositions that got the creative juices flowing for Renegade of Opshar.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.