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My first live reading of QUEEN OF HUNGER

The main event for me at BayCon over Memorial Day weekend was the Themed Reading: Urban Fantasy panel, at which I read from QUEEN OF HUNGER and got to meet and hear a great crop of other authors working in the same rough genre. They all had FAR more experience than I, which meant I got to read first then sit back and listen. My two favorite of the other authors:

I have to geek-out here for a moment about Colin Fisk. Colin is the author of several of the Cyberpunk 2020 RPG sourcebooks — most notably the 1991 Chromebook. Now I don’t know if any of you are cyberpunk fans, either of the RPG or the genre, but I’ve read my Chromebook so many times the iconic pink cover  isn’t attached any more. It was simply AWESOME for me to get to shake Colin’s hand and tell him how much he’d inspired me. He read from a new short story he’s working on, an intense piece of cyberpunk with a horror edge. I’ve added him to my Goodreads list so when the short comes out I can find it. I’d love to read more from him.

The other reading I really enjoyed was by Jay Hartlove from his novel THE CHOSEN. It is the first of an occult trilogy about Charles Redmond, a man who slowly convinces his psychologist that no, really, he’s sane…there really ARE demons chasing him and the loa of his Haitian Voodoo religion actually ARE alive and well and ready to help him in a fight for the future of the world. As you can imagine, this is right up my alley – Voodoo, horror, vengeance, redemption – all my favorite stuff.

In addition to sharing some great fiction, both men were also encouraging to me as the new author on the block. Let me tell you, when you’re reading from your heart in front of a room full of people, it is great to hear from the pros that you did well. Thanks to both of them for their cheers and support. I look forward to the next exciting pieces of fiction they both produce!

For my fellow gamer geeks — FLASHBACK!

Cover of 1991 Chromebook Cyberpunk 2020 sourcebook

I think I had this book memorized at one point…

QUEEN OF HUNGER Has a Cover!

As I was putting together my plan for self-publishing, it quickly became clear that task #2, after finishing QUEEN OF HUNGER, was having a great cover done. A cover is the first step in the presentation of a book. And as a new author, convincing new readers to pay a few bucks for my work, I knew I needed to nail that first impression. My cover artist helped me do that to the nines.

If you’re looking for an experienced, fun, creative artist, I present to you Darne Lang. And the cover to my book.

Teach in her world

Cover Art by D.Lang for QUEEN OF HUNGER.

I’m lucky to know an amazing number of skilled artists and craftspeople, both personally and professionally. I know jewelers, pewter-smiths, stained glass setters (is that a glazier? A stained glazier? How does that work, linguistically speaking?), custom seamstresses, and a number of 2-D visual artists in both digital and traditional media. I met my cover artist several years ago, but this is our first collaboration – the first of many I hope. I definitely learned a lot in working with her, most notably that “I don’t know, can you make it more Oakland?” isn’t actually good creative feedback.

Let me know what you think in the Comments. Feel free to share through all your social webs; if not because the QUEEN OF HUNGER is an awesome book, which it is, then because the cover is just good.

Call for Suggested Reading

Now that I’m going to be publishing a book under the aegis of my lucky stars, I’ve started reading other self-published/small press authors. This is my own attempt to not only support other artists in my field, but also to get a feeling for the field itself.

To continue in this little project, I need your help. If you yourself are self-published, or know someone who is, leave me the details of the book in the comments. If the book fits with what I feel like reading, and the price is right, I’ll pick it up. If I have something interesting to say about it, I might just say it here – with a link to the author. I like hearing what other people have to say about my fiction, so it is nice to return that favor to others.

So far I’ve picked up the following (this is not yet a recommendation list, just an information one):

The Shining Cities: An Anthology of Pagan Science Fiction

Under the Amoral Bridge: A Cyberpunk Novel

Poor Man’s Fight

I also have laying around a few small press anthologies that I occasionally return to:

Space Tramps: Full Throttle Space Tales #5

Finding Home: Building Community in Apocalyptic Worlds

Yes, my short story is the closer for Finding Home (all the more reason for me to read all the other stories in the anthology!). My story is called “Jar Cleaning Day” and is completely unassociated with THE QUEEN OF HUNGER. That short centers on Sylvia Crenshaw, a hard-working survivor faced with a novel solution to her entirely not-novel problem. It is a different setting with different characters, but I’m sure sharp readers will make connections – real or imagined.

So you’ve got your assignment: self-pubbed/small press book details in the comments. Give me a list!

Back Cover Blurb

I’ve given you the title, QUEEN OF HUNGER. Now you’re probably wondering: What is this fabulous first novel going to be about? Well, I’ll tell you! Cyberpunk, and urban gods, and Nebraska, and…  maybe I can’t really tell you; that’d be cheating. I do intend to drop a few snippets of the book here over the next few weeks, stay tuned for that, but for right now this is a book desperately in need of a back cover blurb. I’d thought that, as there wouldn’t be an actual “book,” I wouldn’t need one. I was wrong.

I’m sure I’ll rewrite this a hundred times, but  here’s what the back cover might say if I had one.

Surviving, not thriving. That’s Teach. She’s survived her motorcycle meeting the pavement at some obscene speed, leaving her in debt to the local fixer – a situation that’s easy to get into and hard to get out of. She’s out-lived her family and out-run the corporation that killed them. She’s done all that with the voice of a goddess in her head and a bottomless pit in her stomach. Now Teach is in love, real love, with a beautiful woman who doesn’t think she’s crazy. Hopefully she’s right. Everything is changing, including that voice in her head, and Teach doesn’t quite know what to do about any of it. But she knows how to survive — and maybe thriving is just on the other side of that.

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