Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Writing in Theory & Practice: Don't Lose Your Head

Words can heal or entertain, to be sure, but they can also become steely knives that cut uncomfortably deep, either leaving everlasting scars as cruel reminders or putrid wounds that pus and fester, oblivious to the march of time.

You would think that having a thick skin would be a prerequisite for being a writer, but as there has been an influx of folk taking the plunge, in no small part due to technology making publishing as easy as filling out an online form (funny how so many still manage to get it wrong, even when coddled by well-intentioned programmers), it looks to me that there's a whole flock of ink-slingers out there with raw nerves, eager to regurgitate their 140 characters of pompous bile.

Everyone's a small press, vanity, or self-publisher these days.

Everyone's a writer, author, wordsmith, warrior poet.

And everyone has a bloody opinion and a soapbox from which to voice it.

The internet is awash in drama. Every day there seems to be a new race, gender, genre war, or some "writer" casting dispersions in regard to unfavorable reviews or entering into full prima donna mode over some perceived slight or another.

Let me give you some writerly advice. Nowadays — you know, in a world where anyone can call themselves a writer, where anyone can be published — maybe, just maybe you might want to adopt a modicum of professionalism.

Think before you type.

Going through life all butthurt and crazy isn't good for you or anyone around you. And more often than not, it's going to drive readers away from you, not towards.

I'm not saying not to stand up for what you believe in, by all means, I'm as guilty as the next guy or gal, but you should always approach online discourse as a professional.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Series Spotlight on Steven L. Shrewsbury's Gorias La Gaul Tales and One Day eBook Sale for Overkill!

Today we are bringing the Series Spotlight to Steven L. Shrewsbury's Gorias La Gaul novels, powerful dark fantasy and sword and sorcery that readers of Robert E. Howard are sure to love! Gorias is featured in novels such as Thrall and Overkill, and short stories like the collection featured in Blood and Steel: Legends of La Gaul. Today's spotlight features a special 99 cent eBook special on the novel Overkill, at, Nook, and Kobo. We invite to read the review quotes and synopsis of the books in the series.

If you have not done so already, pick up the action-packed Overkill today on eBook for just 99 cents on the Kindle, Nook, and Kobo platforms, and begin your adventures with Gorias!


Here is what a few reviewers had to say about Overkill:

"If you take a 700 year old legendary warrior, and dragon slayer, add Smartass with a dash of finesse, and more charm than a 700 year old man ought to have at his time of life. Toss in shocking violent fight scenes and a lot of humor, sex, gore, and more sex, and even more gore... you have Gorias La Gaul!" - reader review

"Gorias LaGaul is back and as I said in my review of Thrall, he would kick Conan's butt." - Azure Dwarf Blog Review

"The action scenes are vivid. The world and culture feels real once you become immersed. And the story never bores. If you enjoy Sword & Sorcery or Epic Fantasy with a dark edge, then you will love Overkill." - SpecMusicMuse Blog Review

Synopsis: Deliverance will come... A great flood once wiped clean the earth, destroying everything upon it. Before the deluge, in a time now forgotten, the world was a place of warriors and witches, conflicts between kingdoms, and, until their extermination, dragons. In this world, men may live centuries, fallen angels have begotten terrifying spawn, and sometimes, the best hope can be found in a brothel.

In the land of Transalpina, a new religion spreads, and important men are dying mysteriously, slain by what can only be the fire of dragon breath. Summoned by the Queen Garnet, the legendary warrior Gorias La Gaul returns to the place where he once saved the queen's young granddaughter from treachery and enslavement. The Princess Nykia is gone, and soon others may try to claim the throne. The queen has little choice but to turn to the only man who ever told her no.

With the aid of one of the queen's elite guard, the battle maiden Alena, and the young palace servant Orsen, the old mercenary will face pirates and traitors, monsters and foul magic in the quest to find the missing heir and learn the truth behind the disconcerting murders. Deliverance will come for Gorias La Gaul, but for now there are women to love, secrets to discover, and killing that needs doing.
Purchase Links

Here's what some reviewers had to say about Thrall! 

"Shrewsbury is a student of REH and it certainly shows here with THRALL. He hits all the right notes and his prose is sparse, brutal, and directly to the point, there are no wasted words here." - reader review

"Steven Shrewsbury has a gift - he writes stunningly good fantasy which is gritty and realistic. There is no airy-faerie whiff about his work, and no long, over-complicated back story either." - Evie Bookish

Steven Shrewsbury crafts an engaging tale, much in the tradition of Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith. The action scenes are depicted in brutal detail, putting the reader at the center of the action." - reader review

Synopsis: Set in the mists of ancient times, Thrall tells the story of Gorias La Gaul, an aging warrior who has lived for centuries battling the monstrosities of legend and lore. It is an age when the Nephilum walk the earth, demonic forces hunger to be unleashed, and dragons still soar through the skies … living and undead.

On a journey to find one of his own blood, a young man who is caught in the shadow of necromancy, Gorias' path crosses with familiar enemies, some of whom not even death can hold bound. Thrall is gritty, dark-edged heroic fantasy in the vein of Robert E. Howard and David Gemmell. It is a maelstrom of hard-hitting action and unpredictable imagery, taking place within an incredible antediluvian world. In Gorias La Gaul, Thrall introduces an iconic new character to the realms of fantasy literature.

Thrall invites the reader to go on a perilous journey where it is not a matter of whether one has the courage to die, but whether one has the courage to live.

Purchase Links


Here's what a few reviews had to say about Blood and Steel: Legends of La Gaul:

"I highly recommend checking this one out. Its a short read and allows a reader to try out Sword and Sorcery, get to know Gorias and for those Gorias/Steven Shrewsbury fans its a must read." - Jess Resides Here Blog Review

Synopsis: Journey into the dangerous and exciting world of Gorias La Gaul in this collection of short stories from highly-acclaimed author Steven Shrewsbury! Volume One includes the tales “Day of Iniquity”, “Ashes of the All-Father”, “Author and Finisher of Our Flesh”, “Insurmountable”, and “Beginning of the Trail” (a prequel story leading into the events found in the novel Overkill).

Fans of authors such as Robert E. Howard are sure to love the adventures of Gorias La Gaul, as he battles all manner of adversaries wielding two blades fashioned from the wings of angels!

Blood and Steel: Legends of La Gaul is Sword and Sorcery as the genre was intended to be!

Purchase Links

About Steven: Steven L. Shrewsbury, from Central Illinois, enjoys football, history, politics and good fiction. Over 300 of his short stories have been published in print or digital media. His small press novels include OVERKILL, HELL BILLY, THRALL, BAD MAGICK, BEDLAM UNLEASHED, STRONGER THAN DEATH, HAWG, TORMENTOR, GODFORSAKEN, PHILISTINE and BLACK SON RISING. His works also include the weird western novella The Black Bible of Juarez. These titles run from horror to historical high fantasy. He tries to drown out the rumors that he is Robert E. Howard reincarnated with beer. When not wrangling his sons, he can be found outside in his happy place.

Connect with Steven Online at:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Series Spotlight on Jackie Gamber's Leland Dragon Series and One Day eBook Sale on Redheart

Today we are bringing the Series Spotlight to Jackie Gamber's Leland Dragon Series, a fantastic YA Fantasy adventure that takes readers into an imaginative world of dragons and humans.  Today's spotlight features a special 99 cent eBook special on Book One, Redheart, at, Nook, and Kobo.

We invite to read the review quotes and synopsis of the books in the series.  If you have not done so already, pick up Redheart today on eBook for just 99 cents on the Kindle, Nook, and Kobo platforms!

Here's what a few reviewers had to say about Redheart, the first book in the Leland Dragon Series!

"Redheart is a captivating and enthralling book. A lot of things were done right; the language is beautiful, the writing is solid, the pacing is great, the characters, while sometimes their actions were a little haphazard and unpredictable, are fully fleshed out with their own unique complexities." - Evie Bookish

"So I'll end by declaring "REDHEART is like SNICKERS - it satisfies the hunger. Jackie Gamber is like MARS - she's created a craving!" - Amazon customer review

"Gamber has created loveable and despicable characters. She imbues them with real feelings, emotions and frustrations. Jackie Gamber brings alive dragons and adventure with colorful, involved storytelling." - Azure Dwarf

Synopsis:  Enter the lands of Leland Province, where dragon and human societies have long dwelled side by side. Superstitions rise sharply, as a severe drought strips the land of its bounty, providing fertile ground for the darker ambitions of Fordon Blackclaw, Dragon Council Leader, who seeks to subdue humans or wipe them off the face of the land.

As the shadow of danger creeps across Leland Province, a young dragon named Kallon Redheart, who has turned his back on dragons and humans alike, comes into an unexpected friendship. Riza Diantus is a young woman whose dreams can no longer be contained by the narrow confines of her village, and when she finds herself in peril, Kallon is the only one with the power to save her. Yet to do so means he must confront his past, and embrace a future he stopped believing in.

A tale of friendship, courage, and ultimate destiny, Redheart invites readers to a wondrous journey through the Leland Dragon Series.

Available for just 99 cents today on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo eBook platforms! 

Purchase Links

What some reviews had to say about Sela, Book Two of the Leland Dragon Series!

"Final Verdict: Sela delivers a rich cast of characters and an outstanding plot that will blow you away." - The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia Blog Site

"Jackie Gamber is a master story teller who draws you in and keeps you going with twists and plots that surprise and delight with every turn of the page." - Amazon customer review

"Once again Gamber has constructed a novel with care and executed it with precision. With themes as far ranging as deception, prejudice, misunderstanding, redemption and forgiveness this is certain to appeal to children and adults of all ages. Magic!" - Daniel Cann

Synopsis: Peace was fleeting. Vorham Riddess, Venur of Esra Province, covets the crystal ore buried deep in Leland's mountains. His latest device to obtain it: land by marriage to a Leland maiden. But that's not all.

Among Dragonkind, old threats haunt Mount Gore, and shadows loom in the thoughts of the Red who restored life to land and love. A dragon hunter, scarred from countless battles, discovers he can yet suffer more wounds.

In the midst of it all, Sela Redheart is lost, driven from her home with only her old uncle to watch over her. As the dragon-born child of Kallon, the leader of Leland's Dragon Council, she is trapped in human form with no understanding of how she transformed, or how to turn back.

Wanderers seek a home, schemes begin to unfurl, and all is at risk as magic and murder, marriage and mystery strangle the heart of Esra. A struggle for power far older and deeper than anyone realizes will leave no human or dragon unaffected.

In a world where magic is born of feeling, where the love between a girl and a dragon was once transformative, what power dwells in the heart of young Sela?

Purchase Links

What some reviewers had to say about Reclamation, Book Three of the Leland Dragon Series

"Reclamation is a tale of thrilling action and suspense, plus mystery and sage advice, with some well-drawn myths and pleasingly complex social structures. It’s enthralling and thought-provoking both at once, and it’s highly recommended." - Sheila Deeth Blog Site Review

"I highly recommend this book to all ages and all genre lovers. This rich, complex book will grab on to the reader and hang on tight until the end. It was a brilliant ending to the trilogy." - Bees Knees Reviews

"This was a fitting end, and I love the characters and feeling of friendship and acceptance that this book portrays. It’s a very uplifting and positive series, and I want more stories from it." - Workaday Reads Blog Site

Synopsis: The exciting conclusion of the Leland Dragon Series!
Leland Province remains in danger. The sinister Fordon Blackclaw has returned from the shadows to strike at the heart of neighboring Esra, killing its Venur and making clear his intentions to retake what was once his: Mount Gore, seat of the Leland Dragon Council.

All around, the land grows weaker and weaker. Leland, once thought saved by Kallon Redheart, is without purpose, and within its borders, Murk Forest, a place of mystery and danger, has driven its inhabitants to seek aid. Esra is in flames, and the Rage Desert grows. Dragon and human alike struggle to find their way, and the wizard Orman can sense that there may be more at stake than the affairs of dragons.

Hope remains, yet it is not without obstacles. In Esra, Sela, the daughter of Kallon and Riza, found the well, a source of life, and made herself whole again. But her homecoming is not what she had imagined.

Old wounds buried deep must reopen if life is to continue. Dragons, humans, wizards, and shape shifters are all at risk as the peace between dragon and human has finally been broken.

War is here.
The stakes?

Perhaps the whole world.

Purchase Links

About Jackie: Jackie Gamber is an award­-winning writer and editor of genre ­bending science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal short stories, novels, and screenplays. Jackie is a member of the professional organizations Science Fiction Writers of America and Horror Writers Association. She was named honorable mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award, received a Darrell Award for best short story by a Mid­South author, and is winner of the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction.

During Jackie’s tenure as Executive Editor of Meadowhawk Press, the indie publisher captured Science Fiction’s Philip K. Dick Award. At the time, only the fourth small press to win the coveted award. Jackie also edited the award-­winning benefit anthology Touched by Wonder, and has been guest editor of the acclaimed dark fiction magazine Shroud. Jackie is also co­founder and writer/director of Big Imagine, a creative studio established to explore breakout visual fiction. Because she believes there’s more than one way to tell a good story.

Connect with Jackie online at: 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Writing in Theory & Practice: Oil the Machine

There's a point in a novel where, if I leave it even for a day, it takes many days to get back into it. I've found it's better to just cancel other plans and focus on the writing. Sometimes, I've lost friends over this, although perhaps I've lost them for other reasons. — Douglas Clegg

This is something that non-writers have trouble grasping. When a book is in your head, and I mean really in your head, it is all consuming. It takes you over and, damn the torpedoes, you have to ride that beast until it quits bucking.

I've known writers who have lost their jobs, friends, spouses, significant others, and some even their minds, to the all powerful muse. She is jealous and demands your time, because if you're not writing it, you're thinking about it, and when you're thinking about it everything else falls away and is neglected.

Stories, especially the good ones, burn deep.

I'm one of the lucky ones. My day job is "writer friendly" for the most part and, more importantly, I have an incredible wife who is more than just supportive, she's an integral part of the process.

Kim's my sounding board and biggest cheerleader, to be sure, but she also knows when to give me space and when to press me to keep the fires lit. It's her mutant ability.

She is, quite simply, my most valuable asset. Every writer should have one.

Writers need to structure their lives in a way to limit the struggle. You work jobs that may not pay as well, but don't bleed your creativity dry, and you surround yourself with people who "get it".

Writing is excruciating enough without the rest of your life being one of constant conflict. Making your corner of the world work with you instead of against you only makes sense.Oil the machine, keep things running smooth and easy, and the words will flow.


Bob Freeman is an author, artist, and paranormal adventurer whose novel Shadows Over Somerset is available from Seventh Star Press. A lifelong student of mythology, folklore, magic, and religion, Freeman has written numerous short stories, articles, and reviews for various online and print publications and is a respected lecturer on the occult and paranormal phenomena. He lives in rural Indiana with his wife Kim and son Connor.
Mr. Freeman can be found online at or
- See more at:


Bob Freeman
is an author, artist, and paranormal adventurer whose novel Shadows Over Somerset is available from Seventh Star Press. A lifelong student of mythology, folklore, magic, and religion, Freeman has written numerous short stories, articles, and reviews for various online and print publications and is a respected lecturer on the occult and paranormal phenomena. He lives in rural Indiana with his wife Kim and son Connor.

Mr. Freeman can be found online at or


Bob Freeman is an author, artist, and paranormal adventurer whose novel Shadows Over Somerset is available from Seventh Star Press. A lifelong student of mythology, folklore, magic, and religion, Freeman has written numerous short stories, articles, and reviews for various online and print publications and is a respected lecturer on the occult and paranormal phenomena. He lives in rural Indiana with his wife Kim and son Connor.
Mr. Freeman can be found online at or
- See more at:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Elizabeth Donald Joins the Seventh Star Press Family With Compendium of Nocturnal Urges Novels!

Seventh Star Press is proud to announce Elizabeth Donald as the latest addition to our author family with a new compendium containing her highly-acclaimed Nocturnal Urges novels! Featuring brand new cover art by A. Christopher Drown, the release is set for late March and will bring Elizabeth's popular series back into eBook and print editions for fans worldwide!

"We are thrilled to have Elizabeth join the Seventh Star Press family as we move into a new and exciting phase at the press," commented Seventh Star Press representative Stephen Zimmer.  "She is one of the most well-loved authors on the convention circuit, by both readers and peers alike.  Her exceptional talents as a writer are well-established.  We couldn't be more excited to have this great series and world-class author find a home with us."

The forthcoming release will contain the novels Nocturnal Urges, A More Perfect Union, and Abaddon, the original three installments in the Nocturnal Urges series. The series features an alternate version of present-day Memphis in which vampires walk among us, but are not treated as our equals. They work the night shift, the jobs no one else wants, and they’re not too happy about it. Meanwhile, humans take advantage of the pleasures vampires can provide, but call them friends? Lovers? The gap between human and vampire stretches wide as death rises in the streets of Memphis.

Synopsis of the three novels included in this compendium:

Nocturnal Urges: It’s the most popular club in the Memphis nightlife. Part legal bordello, part feeding ground for the city’s vampires, Nocturnal Urges offers pleasure and pain in one sweet kiss. It’s the ultimate addiction: both drug and sex at once. For the vampires, it’s the only way to survive in a world where the creatures of the night are a dark underclass, ignored until the humans need another fix.

Into this world comes Isabel Nelson, a young woman seeking only a night’s pleasure. But after Isabel’s lover takes her to try the bite, she cannot stop thinking about Ryan, the dark vampire with whom she shared her lifeblood - and who is now suspected of murder. Isabel falls into a world where passion and love are miles apart, where life and unlike have little meaning… and someone is hunting in the shadows.

A More Perfect Union: Samantha Crews has lived a long time in the shadows of Memphis, working at Nocturnal Urges and hiding from the vampires that darken her past.

Det. Anne Freitas is stuck with a new partner, a young woman with a chip on her shoulder. Now they’re assigned to investigate a series of threats against congressional candidate Robert Carton, for whom Samantha volunteers.

But Samantha is falling for Danny Carton, the candidate’s son - an idealist who wants to make life better for humans and vampires alike. But there’s a lot Danny doesn’t know about Samantha.

He doesn’t know she’s a vampire.
He doesn’t know she works at Nocturnal Urges.
He doesn’t know his own father is one of her clients.
And he doesn’t know what’s stalking her…

Abaddon: Abbadon. The Lady Zorathenne requests the honor of your presence at a celebration. A toast, if you will. Followed by a feast.

Beneath the dark Memphis streets, something is stirring. Filled with ancient fury. Seeking revenge on the ones who live above. A revenge born in fire.

The fires are ranging in Memphis and no one is safe. Ryan and Samantha must descend into darkness beyond their imagining to find answers to the mysteries of the past, as Detectives Freitas and Parker seek the truth about the present.

And the return of an old foe could make the future a dark place indeed… save for the flames of Abaddon.

About Elizbeth Donald:

Elizabeth Donald is a writer fond of things that go chomp in the night.

A writer since her Mother’s Day essay won a newspaper contest in the 1980s, Elizabeth’s Nocturnal Urges vampire series first hit bookstores in 2004-7. It won the Darrell Award twice and was a finalist for the Prism Award and other honors. Next came the Blackfire zombie series, which began with The Cold Ones in 2008. It sold out its print run in 48 hours, and its sequel Blackfire soon followed from Sam’s Dot Publishing.

Elizabeth’s work includes a number of novels, novellas, short stories and essays that have appeared in a variety of publications. One story, "Wonderland," won the Darrell Award in 2006 and was included in her short-story collection, Setting Suns. In 2013, Elizabeth launched her photography site, selling nature and art photography online and featured in various art shows and events. Her 2013 Kickstarter project brought in nearly four times its goal, funding a national book tour and her newest novella, Gethsemane.

Upcoming projects include the relaunch of the Nocturnal Urges series with Seventh Star Press, to be released in March 2015. Her new short story collection, Moonlight Sonata, will be released in 2015 from New Babel Books. Other projects on their way include Banshee’s Run, a science fiction adventure novel.

By day, Elizabeth is a newspaper reporter in the St. Louis region. She is the president of the St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists and a member of SPJ’s national ethics commission, part of the team that rewrote the ethics code adopted by hundreds of news organizations worldwide in 2014. She is also a freelance editor working with small presses and beginning writers, and writes CultureGeek, a pop-culture review column. She is the founder of the Literary Underworld, an author cooperative helping small-press writers and independent presses promote and sell their work throughout the country.

Elizabeth is married to author Jim D. Gillentine, has a teenage son who is wholly unimpressed with her work, and they all live in Illinois in a haunted house. In her spare time, she… has no spare time.

Find out more about Elizabeth and her work at!

Here’s what some reviewers have had to say about the Nocturnal Urges series…

“Gripping and raw with intense emotion and great characters… This vampire world and its characters are created so realistically you almost expect to hear about them on the evening news, and not be able to sleep afterwards.” — Coffee Time Romance

“ An old-fashioned whodunit with the violence we’ve come to expect in any vampire novel; a love affair against the odds; and a vampire with a tortured past… definitely a keeper!” — Vampire Book Club

“One can never fully prepare for the onslaught of a Donald novel. I should have known that… The tension increases throughout, making it impossible to set aside this book until reaching the last page.” — Author Kit Tunstall

“Not a romance by any means… a story of loss and revenge. A story of love and a hate that has lasted for a hundred years and that will not be denied. It is a story of fire. The fire of the human and the vampire hearts… A storytelling ability to rival that of Stephen King.” — Enchanting Reviews

“The unexpected way this story evolves is magnificent. If you, like me, are enamored with vampires, then this is the book for you.” — Coffee Time Romance

“Elizabeth Donald once again takes readers on a remarkable ride through the shadowy world of vampires, while exploring some of the darker sides of humanity… This is a beautifully-written book with an enormous amount of depth and detail that really bring Ms. Donald’s vampires to life.” — JERR magazine

“Funny, scary, passionate and quirky… worth the price of admission!” —

“Enthralling and dark with danger, suspense and sex, Nocturnal Urges is a must-read for vampire fans.” — Romance Reviews Today

Writing in Theory & Practice: Slay Your Monster

Writing is a compulsion. It’s an evil little virus that infects you, changes you, perverts you and ultimately corrupts you. Writing is painful and fraught with rejection. The victories are small and fleeting, and yet, we who strive to put words to paper have no choice but to continue. It is a demon that we battle and that we eventually succumb to.  I could try to warn you away from this fool’s errand, but I won’t. See, if you’re reading this, especially if you’re bright-eyed and at the cusp of launching your foray into the world of letters, you’d not listen anyway. You’ve already got the bug. You’re already doomed.

So now what? How do you press on and make your mark. I’ll tell you straight up, unless you find your voice, that thing that sets you apart, then it will all be for naught. Hell, even if you find that thing that makes you unique it will most likely still lead to obscurity and ruin.

Because you’re a writer you don’t care about any of this. You were born to do this. To hell with the promise of fame, fortune, or prestige. Bullocks to an ocean of readers.

Get this in to your head right now.

There is only one person to write for… and that is yourself.

What story do you want to tell and why do you want to tell it? These are the questions to ask. There’s no sense in chasing trends. That way leads to madness. What stories speak to you in your heart of hearts? What do you have to offer, tormented scribe? What is so pressing that these words must escape your brain and make it onto the printed page? Why are these stories begging to be told?
If it’s for any of that nonsense I mentioned earlier, stop right the fuck now, mate. We write with fire and passion because we must… and if we must, then by the gods, create something that is wholly you, through and through.

Slay your monster and pour its blood onto the page.

And if someone else reads it and gets enjoyment from what you’ve wrought, well that’s just a little added bonus.

Be true to yourself and your work. The rest will either happen or it won’t, but in the end, writing with fire will consume you and that’s a good thing.


Bob Freeman is an author, artist, and paranormal adventurer whose novel Shadows Over Somerset is available from Seventh Star Press. A lifelong student of mythology, folklore, magic, and religion, Freeman has written numerous short stories, articles, and reviews for various online and print publications and is a respected lecturer on the occult and paranormal phenomena. He lives in rural Indiana with his wife Kim and son Connor.

Mr. Freeman can be found online at or

Monday, February 9, 2015

RJ Sullivan New Flash: In Defense of Boldness

Oh, our wacky authors. R.J. Sullivan penned a new, original story on a dare. After Eric Garrison posted an image of one of his Rebecca Burton Mermaid coffee mugs and challenged R.J. to create a story for it, R.J. penned the following on his blog site last month. He's sharing it here.

Special Investigations Agent Rebecca Burton is featured in RJ's SSP releases Haunting Obsession and Virtual Blue. Rebecca and Sparkle are both featured in the SSP Single Backstage Pass.


Special Investigations agent Rebecca Burton took her usual spot within the Café Expresso coffee house, a corner booth, where she could face the door without being conspicuous. She removed her dark fedora from atop her head and shook loose her long hair. Several bright red strands fell in front of her eyes. She brushed them over with an impatient wave of her hand.

The café catered to college students attending Butler University. Though Rebecca was several years older, she loved the energy. The youthful creativity released itself into the room, auras that rejuvenated her without hampering or tampering with the energy of the people around her.

This was why she scheduled most of her more problematic appointments here. The Café Expresso proved itself a great place to meet new clients and size them up before taking on their cases. Meeting here put people off their guard. Much less formal, people tended to open up to her more quickly.

It was also a good place to meet when she didn’t trust someone not to try something stupid or dangerous if they were in private.

As if on cue, a dumpy, middle aged woman stepped through the door. Sparkle. Such a drama queen.
Sparkle’s tacky dyed blond hair–so blond as to look yellow–was outdone by the purple cloak. The upraised hood extended into a cape that flowed behind her when she walked. As she adjusted the cloak, Rebecca noticed a streak of purple in the dyed blonde. she wore beneath the cloak a tattered black dress that may have been quite formal a couple decades ago.

Rebecca shook her head. Such a disgrace. Hard to believe at one time they’d apprenticed together under the same master as young neophytes learning white magic within the Kelranian Order.

Sparkle’s gaze swept the room until she spotted Rebecca. Bright red-glossed lips parted into a smile to reveal crooked teeth. “Hello, honey!” Sparkle called from across the room and started toward her. “So good to see you again.” Rebecca cringed. Where did this witch go wrong, Rebecca mused, even as she figured Sparkle was probably thinking the exact same thing about her.

Click here to continue reading the story at R.J. Sullivan's Website

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Writing in Theory & Practice: Shout It Out Loud

 There are lots of “Rules of Writing” posts out there, collecting everyone’s thoughts on the matter, from Neil Gaiman to Elmore Leonard and beyond.

There are more than a few quotable quotes strung from one end of the internet to the other.

I imagine that at some point or another, we who make our way through the world by stringing words together, have taken a more than passing interest in these lists and ruminations. Obsessively even.

I’ve a shelf at home with several books collecting even more extensive thoughts on the matter, by the likes of King, Bradbury, Koontz, Goodkind, J.N. Williamson, and numerous others.

I’ll be honest with you… they’ve not helped me write a single word.

I am fascinated, however, by the way other writers think and what they think about the craft itself.
Not because I’m looking for insight into the hows and why fors, but for what it says and reveals about them, in a nutshell.

I know everyone’s not in the same boat on that, but more than a handful of us are.

Still, if you were to corner me and ask for the third best piece of writerly advice one could share, seeing as how the first and best bit is the charming “put-ass-in-chair” edict, with the second being to “read, and read lots”, then it would be this:

Read what you bloody write aloud.

Good writing, especially good dialogue, has rhythm. It’s natural. It flows. It’s got a sense of style and purpose and it rolls off the tongue.

It’s as simple as that.


Bob Freeman is an author, artist, and paranormal adventurer. His novel, Shadows Over Somerset, is available from Seventh Star Press in both trade paperback and digital formats.

A lifelong student of mythology, folklore, magic, and religion, Freeman has written numerous short stories, articles, and reviews for various online and print publications and is a respected lecturer on the occult and paranormal phenomena.

He lives in rural Indiana with his wife Kim and son Connor.

Mr. Freeman can be found online at or

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

New Trailer and eBook Release for Stephen Zimmer's Heart of a Lion!

Seventh Star Press is proud to unveil the new video trailer for Heart of a Lion, the new novel from Stephen Zimmer and Book One of the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy.  The eBook version is available today!  Links to the Kindle, Nook, and Kobo versions are below the trailer.

The new novel is Stephen's 10th book release and the first one starring Rayden Valkyrie, who first appeared in the short story "All the Lands, Nowhere a Home" in the Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword anthology.  Heart of a Lion had Scott Sandridge as editor and Bonnie Wasson created the cover art.

Here is the new video trailer created by Kylie Jude of Frozen Creek Studios for the new novel:

eBook Links:




Rayden Valkyrie. She walks alone, serving no king, emperor, or master. Forged in the fires of tragedy, she has no place she truly calls home.

A deadly warrior wielding both blade and axe, Rayden is the bane of the wicked and corrupt. To many others, she is the most loyal and dedicated of friends, an ally who is unyielding in the most dangerous of circumstances.

The people of the far southern lands she has just aided claim that she has the heart of a lion. For Rayden, a long journey to the lands of the far northern tribes who adopted her as a child beckons, with an ocean lying in between.

Her path will lead her once more into the center of a maelstrom, one involving a rising empire that is said to be making use of the darkest kinds of sorcery to grow its power. Making new friends and discoveries amid tremendous peril, Rayden makes her way to the north.

Monstrous beasts, supernatural powers, and the bloody specter of war have been a part of her world for a long time and this journey will be no different. Rayden chooses the battles that she will fight, whether she takes up the cause of one individual or an entire people.

Both friends and enemies alike will swiftly learn that the people of the far southern lands spoke truly. Rayden Valkyrie has the heart of a lion.

Heart of a Lion is Book One of the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Reloaded, Recharged & Ready to Rock.

Good morning, Internet!

My, oh my, it's been quiet around these parts lately. Let me assure you, while the silence has persisted (we apologize for that), Stephen and I have been quite busy behind the scenes. Back toward the end of last year, he invited me in to help out a little bit with some of the admin work. We decided shortly after to take a bit of a publishing hiatus to get SSP's affairs in order, but we're in a good position now, and we're coming back stronger than ever.

February marks the beginning of a new journey for the Seventh Star Family. 2014 was a less than pleasant year for quite a few of us, so we've made it a personal goal to make 2015 spectacular. To do that, though, we have to make some pretty big changes. They're all good changes, I promise.

The biggest change you out there in Bloggerland will notice is the introduction of guest posts from SSP authors to this blog. On a regular basis our authors will be in to discuss all manner of topics related to the speculative fiction universe. We'll be making bigger, better announcements, and putting this space to good use.

Over the coming weeks we'll also be updating the main website and storefront in preparation for some big events coming down the tube. I'll leave you to wonder about those, but I can promise you one thing: they'll be awesome.

On the admin side, we're moving into a more streamlined production schedule. You'll start to see new releases roll out again in the next few weeks, and we have some exciting announcements coming up! I won't bore you with the details right now, though. You see, our little family is important to us, and we feel it's best to put the focus on the books and their creators, not what we're doing behind the scenes. We're the support team for creativity and talent. Each book in our catalog is its own work of art, and it's our mission to provide the world the opportunity to witness the spectacle that is these amazing authors.

In keeping with the "Authors First" tradition, the admin team is committed to producing and marketing the best possible product. We have to stick together, because in the end, family is all we really have. And we have such a great family here! So much talent, so many great personalities... I love each of them and feel honored to be part of such a special group.

Stay tuned, kids. There's lots more fun to be had in Camp SSP.