I’m always thrilled to support fellow graduates of the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction program, even if I’ve never had the opportunity to meet them in person! Today, I’m happy to host dark fantasy author Allan Cornelius and ask him some questions about his debut novel.
ABOUT THE BOOK
When you’ve done the unthinkable, what wouldn’t you do to make it right? Lie? Steal? Kill?
For thirteen years, Steven’s mother is all he’s known. Then he plays an unintended part in the resurrection of Ssanek, a long-dead god. Now Steven must decide between abandoning the world to its fate, and risking those he cares for in a hopeless bid to banish the dark god
Meanwhile, half-elven Christabel searches for a way to bring her mother back from the dead while fighting those at the palace who see her human heritage as poison. Her only hope is Ssanek. Will Christabel be willing to give what he asks in return? After all, every wish has a price. And Ssanek’s price is blood.
Separated by thousands of miles, these two strangers must fight an evil that twists the very hearts and flesh of anyone who follows it. But only together will they find the strength to defeat what neither could overcome alone.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Tell us a bit about what sets Whispers at the Alter apart from other dark fantasy tales!
I would have to say it is the emphasis on the characters themselves. I’ve always been attracted to stories that were about more than just something bad happening to the protagonist and her friends, them struggling, and then just more bad happening to them. The darkness in Whispers at the Altar comes as much from within the protagonists themselves as it does from without. At its heart, it is a story about two vary similar people, who experience similar loss, and their internal struggles to overcome and move past that loss. The internal journey of all of the characters, protagonist and antagonist alike is what has always attracted me to writing. Continue reading
How is it almost the end of the year? What happened? Where have I been?
Writing and reading and traveling, for the most part. Oh yeah, and I published my fourth book. Welcome Steel Empires Book 4: Steel Time to the world!
But now October has already started, so there’s no time to waste!
- Hey, something I completed! I built an awesome LEGO set to celebrate turning my fifth book in to my editor. The built report will show up here next week.
- Hey, something I absolutely did not complete! As of the time of this writing, book six is all of eight outlined scenes on the floor of my office. But it has a title — Steel Justice. So, a partial win? Maybe?
- Book 4, Steel Time, did have awesome blog tour. If you missed any of the stops, you can find the full round-up here.
- Two conventions were also attended this month, which probably contributes to my current haze of mild exhaustion. You can find my con reports for both events below:
September Book Reviews
September Speculative Chic Contributions
- Finish the detailed outline of book 6. I have no idea why this book is giving me such a mental block.
- Write at least 10k words of book 6. Maybe once I start, it’ll go a lot easier.
- No conventions this month, but I’m attending two writing retreats over two weekends. The scheduling was unintentional on my part, but I’m looking forward to handing out with writers. Hopefully some of their productivity and enthusiasm for their projects will rub off on me.
- I have one more book to read for my Speculative Chic 2018 Resolution Project, so I’d better add it to the list before 2018 slips away from me completely!
A question for you writers in the audience — what do you do when you’re so intimidated by a project that you’re too terrified to even start it? This isn’t writer’s block, I think. I’d appreciate any advice.
For you non-writers, gentle and not-so-gentle nudges on social media of “You should be writing!” are probably welcome in the coming weeks.
These guys are not helpful:
This weekend was amazing, and I’m absolutely exhausted. (I apologize in advance that this con report will not be as in-depth as usual.) I’m very glad that spent the weekend at the hotel, despite Capclave being a “local” convention to where I live (Rockville, Maryland, is a 40-minute drive from my house without traffic). But it meant plenty of social time to catch up with old friends and meet new ones, which is really the best part of conventions anyway! Continue reading
This weekend I’ll be attending Capclave, sponsored by the Washington Science Fiction Association, for the first time! Even though it’s a fairly local convention to me, I’ll be staying at the hotel for the full experience, and I’m excited to spend time with everyone who will be there. Below is my schedule for the weekend, but as usual, feel free to PM me on Facebook or Twitter if you’d like to meet up for a meal, a coffee, or just a chat!
I will have copies of all of my books available all weekend, including the newly released Steel Time!
- 4 PM: Secret Origins of Writers (panel)
- To MFA or not to MFA. Pros and cons of workshops like Odyssey, Clarion, Taos Toolbox, and MFA programs such as Stonecoast and Iowa Writers Workshop.
- With Scott Edelman, Suzanne Palmer, Jack Stillingstead, and James R. Stratton
- 6 PM: Reading
- 7 PM: Taxonomy of Fantasy (panel)
- Urban fantasy, paranormal romance, dark fantasy, high fantasy, epic fantasy, mythic fantasy, etc. How many types of fantasy are there? Reader’s tastes evolve over time. Which types of fantasy are currently the most powerful, which are becoming less popular, where is fantasy headed, and why?
- With Craig L. Gidney and Lawrence Watt-Evans
- 9 PM: How to Self-Edit that Lousy First Draft
- Sometimes a first draft of a story is just not in a state your want to send to an editor or publisher, and yet too promising to simply set aside. What’s a good mindset to identify the pieces that can best be salvaged in revision? How can a first draft go from lousy to respectable with the least amount of exertion that could perhaps be spent on other works?
- With Doc Coleman, Michelle D. Sonnier, and James R. Stratton
- 10 PM: Author Table
- 10 AM: Throw Out the Genre Definitions (panel)
- Intersections of YA, horror, romance, erotica, literary fiction, and SFF and their current successes. Who is doing it well?
- With Jeanne Adams, Kelly Dwyer, and Joan Wendland
- 1 PM: What Makes Alternate History So Compelling? (panel)
- Alternate histories continue to proliferate, though in accordance with Sturgeon’s Law, most fail the plausibility test, the storytelling test, or both. Why do the what-ifs continue to fascinate us, and what makes a power story in this subgenre?
- With Tom Doyle, Bjorn Hasseler, Alan Smale, and Jean Marie Ward
- 5 PM: Writers as Fans: How Fandom Influences Our Writing (panel)
- A panel of writers discusses their favorite fandoms and how their passions have inspired and influenced their writing.
- With Andrew Fox, Victoria Janssen, and Hildy Silverman
- 7:30 PM: Mass Autographing Session
- 10 AM: Ask Me Anything–Author Edition (panel)
- Ask our panel of authors absolutely anything about what they do–writing, getting published, elevator pitches, getting an agent, dealing with writers block, writers workshops, etc. Includes many non-writer-parts-of-being-a-writer, such as being your own boss, setting schedules, and so on
- With Alyssa Wong, Jonathan Brazee, Suzanne Palmer, and Lawrence M. Schoen
- 12 PM: Don’t Go There–Unless You Really Want To (panel)
- Taboo subjects in fantasy and science fiction. Are there any? What lines won’t you cross? What lines should you cross?
- With Sarah Avery, Shahid Mahmud, and Lawrence Watt-Evans
The difficult part of launching a new book while also traveling out of town to an enormous convention is that it’s difficult to promote the blog tour posts that I organized at the same time. So, here’s a handy round-up and GIANT thank you to everyone who supported Steel Empires Book 4: Steel Time by sharing information or hosting me on their blogs! Check out the posts below for some cool behind-the-scenes details about my life and writing process, excerpts from Steel Time, a character interview with Toria, and pictures of my adorable cats.
- September 5, 2018: Second Annual State of the Empires at Raw Dog Screaming Press
- September 6, 2018: Steel Time Book Launch & Excerpt!
- September 6, 2018: Steel Time Excerpt with author Cara McKinnon
- September 6, 2018: Inconvenient Time Travel: Announcing Steel Time by J.L. Gribble at Speculative Chic
- September 6, 2018: J.L. Gribble On Steel Time, Siamese Cats, And Telling Us All She Knows with author Randee Dawn
- September 6, 2018: JL Gribble reveals her fantasy movie cast for the Steel Empires series with author Sara Dobie Bauer
- September 9, 2018: Interview with a Mercenary with author Lee Murray
- September 10, 2018: An Interview with J.L. Gribble, author of Steel Time with author Nancy O’Toole Meservier
- September 11, 2018: Steel Time Excerpt at Tower of the Archmage
Thank you so much to everyone who helped boost the signal about my latest book!
I didn’t travel anywhere this month, but I still managed to have plenty of adventures! The highlights of the month were definitely the cover reveal for my next book, Steel Time, and buying the very first new car for either of us with my husband, a Tesla Model 3! Other fun things included some home improvement (installing a storage room under the stairs in our house), an epic ropes course through the treetops with my best friend at Adventure Park, and escaping a Nicola Tesla-themed escape room with my husband and friends with 45 seconds to spare.
Oh, and I got some work and reading done, too.
- Book 5, Steel Shadows, has been submitted to my editor! WOOT!
- To celebrate, I will be building the Star Wars Y-Wing Starfighter LEGO set this weekend while I binge the most recent Marvel movies to prepare for a panel I’m on at a convention next month.
- Prepping for the launch of Steel Time put my book 6 plans on hold, but I’m looking forward to buckling down on an outline in the next few days (technically, I’m writing this post on Wednesday, even though it’s going up on the blog on Friday).
August Book Reviews
August Speculative Chic Contributions
- Well, to start, build a LEGO set while I watch Thor Ragnorok, Black Panther, and Avengers Infinity War to prep for that panel. I have such a hard life.
- Create a detailed scene-by-scene outline of the as-yet-untitled book 6 and write 5 to 10 thousand words of the first draft.
- Prep for a short and sweet blog tour to promote Steel Time. It comes out on September 6! Have you pre-ordered your copy yet?
- Attend FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention 2018! I can’t wait to return to this awesome convention and meet up with friends. This is the convention my husband attends with me (happy 6th anniversary to us!). I’ll be giving my presentation on the alternate history genre, participating in a few cool panels (including one on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, hence the film rewatch), and getting my picture taken with David Tennant!
- Later in the month, I’ll also be participating in a more local convention, Capclave 2018 outside of Washington DC. Plans are afoot for a Steel Time launch party, and I’ll be sure to share the info here.
So much to do, so little time! I could use my very own time machine right about now.
There’s nothing better than when a fabulous author is also a lovely person and friend. I’ve been hooked on Sara Dobie Bauer’s writing since I first read Bite Somebody, and her darker work is just as enticing. Today, I picked her brain about her latest release, Escaping Exile.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Andrew is a vampire from New Orleans, exiled to a tropical island in the 1800s as punishment for his human bloodlust. During a storm, a ship crashes off shore. After rescuing a sailor from the cannibals native to the land, Andrew becomes fascinated with his brilliant, beautiful new companion, Edmund.
Edmund is a British naturalist who has sailed the world seeking new species. Intrigued by creatures that might kill him, immortal Andrew is this scientist’s dream-but so is making his way back home. Edmund will fight to survive, even while wrapped in the arms of a monster.
As light touches and laughter turn to something much more passionate, the cannibals creep ever closer to Edmund. Can the ancient vampire keep his human alive long enough to escape exile and explore their newfound love, or will Andrew’s bloodlust seal his own doom?
Amazon | Nine Star Press | Goodreads
Writing fiction set in a historical time period always requires research. What’s the coolest thing you learned while researching for Escaping Exile, whether or not that detail made it into the text?
This is going to sound so geeky, but… the clothes. Escaping Exile takes place in the years between 1820 and 1830. It was a time when fashion for men was changing, so some men still wore breeches while others wore trousers (basically Capri pants versus pants that went all the way to the floor). Although there aren’t many clothes in the first book of The Escape Trilogy (that may or may not be a sex joke), clothes become a thing later when Edmund wears more modern attire and Andrew, as an ancient vampire, is more old school. Edmund even goes so far as to avoid cravats! It was quite scandalous for a man to show so much neck … especially when he hangs out with vampires all the time. Continue reading