THE CARVER'S Jacob Devlin Steps Into THE AUTHORDOME by Ryan Hill

 

Full disclosure: I've only read maybe 35 pages of Jacob Devlin's debut THE CARVER. Not because it's bad - on the contrary, I'm digging it. There are a lot of moving parts, and Jacob isn't rushing to have them converge, which I love. It's the sign of a good storyteller. 

No, I haven't read more because I've been knee deep in edits for THE BOOK OF BART - VERSE 2. It's amazing how sometimes it takes 30-45 minutes to come up with one throwaway joke that the reader may do little more than smirk at.

But I digress. It's time... FOR ANOTHER EDITION OF AUTHORDOME!

Two authors enter.

Two authors leave.

THE GIRL IN THE RED HOOD has been looking for her mother for six months, searching from the depths of New York’s subways to the heights of its skyscrapers . . . 

THE PRINCE looks like he’s from another time entirely, or maybe he’s just too good at his job at Ye Old Renaissance Faire . . . 

THE ACTRESS is lighting up Hollywood Boulevard with her spellbinding and strikingly convincing portrayal of a famous fairy. Her name may be big, but her secrets barely fit in one world . . . 

Fifteen-year-old Crescenzo never would have believed his father’s carvings were anything more than “stupid toys.” All he knows is a boring life in an ordinary Virginia suburb, from which his mother and his best friend have been missing for years. When his father disappears next, all Crescenzo has left is his goofy neighbor, Pietro, who believes he’s really Peter Pan and that Crescenzo is the son of Pinocchio. What’s more: Pietro insists that they can find their loved ones by looking to the strange collection of wooden figurines Crescenzo’s father left behind. 

With Pietro’s help, Crescenzo sets off on an adventure to unite the real life counterparts to his figurines. It’s enough of a shock that they’re actually real, but the night he meets the Girl in the Red Hood, dark truths burst from the past. Suddenly, Crescenzo is tangled in a nightmare where magic mirrors and evil queens rule, and where everyone he loves is running out of time.

Link to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29918359-the-carver

Purchase Links:

BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo TBD | iBooks

Can Jacob fictitiously survive THE AUTHORDOME? Let's find out...

THE CARVER is a road trip novel. What's your favorite road trip book/movie/etc.? THE CARVER is an acceptable answer. 

ZOMBIELAND is definitely an eternal fave. I think I’ll always be partial to those goofy movies about the Griswolds though, especially VEGAS VACATION. If THE CARVER becomes a movie one day, it is my secret wish that “Holiday Road” goes on the soundtrack :-P

Are there any classic characters you wanted to include in THE CARVER that you weren't able to? 

In the earliest draft before Blaze (Publishing - the pub that released THE CARVER) even saw the manuscript, Tarzan was part of the Order, but something didn’t feel right about that. I also wanted to bring out some familiar Oz names in bigger roles, which are in the public domain, but there was already so much going on in both THE CARVER and the world of Oz retellings. I imagine Dorothy and friends are probably running around in the background somewhere, but I’m going to leave that up to the reader’s imagination. 

Are you familiar with THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN? That's supposedly a great Alan Moore graphic novel series, but it was such a crappy film it forced Sean Connery into retirement. Anyway. Are you familiar with the property? Do you see any parallels between it and THE CARVER? 

Hey, I saw that movie! But I liked the idea of the movie better than I liked the actual movie. I’ve always been a big fan of mashups, crossovers, and letting worlds collide, so I can definitely see the parallel.

You've recently taken up sword fighting, correct? How do you think Pinocchio would fare in a sword fight? I feel like his opponent would just chip away at him, piece by piece. 

Yessss! I’m officially a “white belt” in Haidong Gumdo, which isn’t an impressive accomplishment. But see, I actually feel like Pinocchio has the advantage. Because I’d be over there trying to block his sword, but he could just run around spewing lies and gain the advantage. Either his nose could skewer me, or I’d get so tired of infinitely hacking at it that I’d just, like, black out or something.

Speaking of swords, how heavy is the one you wield? Does having one make you wonder how people in the Middle Ages could fight with one while also wearing a suit of metal? Seems kind of crazy to me. 

Ha! It’s one of those long wooden practice bokkens, which is probably less than two pounds. Sometimes after spending 75 minutes flinging it around though, it hurts to lift a pencil, so I have crazy respect for anybody who can run around with a real sword while wearing armor and balancing on a horse!

Does your sword have a name? If not, it should. Even King Arthur's sword was named Excalibur. 

I was actually thinking about this on my way home today! I haven’t settled on one yet, but I’ve thought of a few options: Godric (Eh! Get it, because of Gryffindor?), Veturius (except I already named my car that, so…), or something totally unassuming like, maybe Larry. Because nobody would ever be afraid of a Larry, right? So its terrible power would catch my enemies way off guard.

Ryan note: Definitely go with Larry. Or Bob. Not even Google knows who Veturius was. GOOGLE!

Next up for you is a novella set in THE CARVER's universe. What else do you have coming up? Any other series planned? How many installments do you foresee for THE CARVER? 

If I can finish the story in three novels, that’s what I’m aiming for. The hope was always a trilogy because it would be a nice tribute to the central trio of Pinocchio, Alice, and Peter Pan, or for each of their kids. There will also be a number of novellas released in between to offer backstories on the other characters and worlds. It’s strange, exciting and a little sad to think about, but the series needs an endgame, and it’s only a matter of time before I finish the story of THE CARVER and need to branch out into new material. I have three fun ideas written down that I’ve been hanging onto for a while (little teaser: sea demons, aliens, or reality shows). We’ll see what calls to me first!

Do you have any other creative re-imaginings floating around in your head, like making ALICE IN WONDERLAND about some hippy in 1960s San Francisco that's always tripping on psychedelics, which is why it's called ALICE IN WONDERLAND? If you haven't, you can have that Alice idea. Free of charge. 

Dude, I would totally read that! Wonderland’s actually my focus for THE CARVER’s sequel and it’s been a blast to play around with such an iconic place. One of my three ideas from the last question may or may not have elements of THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF if I ever get to it. Otherwise, I’d love to sink my teeth into an Inferno twist one day! But do I really wanna mess with Dante, though? Like, really really?

Ryan note: No. Stay away from Dante and his Inferno. That stuff falls into BOOK OF BART territory. I'd have to fight you. I've never swung a sword, so you've got me there. I'd have to pull a Bart and show up in a tux, rocking a Walther PPK. DO NOT DOUBT ME!

In haiku format, tell us why we should read/buy THE CARVER. 

Wait, that's five words, right?
Followed by five other words?
Forgot how these work.

Ummm...

Peter Pan grew up.
Why's Hansel acting so strange?
Let's take a road trip.

Thanks Jacob!

Thank YOU man!

THE AUTHORDOME with THE SURRENDERED Author Case Maynard! by Ryan Hill

 

Case Maynard spent 20 years working in the legal and medical fields before hanging it all up to pursue writing. With The Surrendered, Case's writing dreams have come to fruition. But that's not important here.

What is important is whether or not she can survive the grinder that is... the AUTHORDOME.

Two authors enter.

Two authors leave.

After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.

Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.

Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.

Now available!

Amazon - iBooks - Barnes & Noble - Kobo - Signed Copies - Goodreads

 

 
 

Hey Case! Thank you for submitting yourself to the endurance challenge known as the AUTHORDOME. Based on your debut novel, THE SURRENDERED, this may be a similar experience for you. Do you think you're prepared?

As prepared as I’ll ever be, Ryan. An added bonus to all of the research I did for The Surrendered and what it would take to survive an end of the world scenario is that now I’m basically a professional survivalist. Hit me with your best shot.

In THE SURRENDERED, children are the nation's most valuable resource? Does it have anything to do with Lionel Richie believing that they are the future? If not, WHY?

Not really. And it has nothing to do with Whitney Houston believing they are the future either. In fact, Whitney begged that the children be taught well and encouraged to lead the way. Unfortunately, the children in The Surrendered are treated as slaves and taught only the skills that are useful to the System and to their local communities: woodworking, medicinal herbs, weaponry, sewing, etc. It’s a sad life. Perhaps these kids will get enough of it and realize they have “Nothing Left to Give” (and that actually is a Lionel Ritchie song).

Ryan note: medicinal herbs sounds like a good skill...

I haven't read THE SURRENDERED, but it seems the children are put into some kind of work camp. Are there not child labor laws in this future you've created? Can just anyone exploit this free labor? I have some chores around the house that need doing...

Actually, it’s the laws of this new future that have turned these children into slaves. The System, in an effort to recoup money that was lost in a financial collapse, has made all of the kids taxable commodities. Parents are forced to pay exorbitant fees for their offspring. And if they don’t pay? The children are surrendered to work in the local mines, mills, and farms to produce the items that the communities now rely on for survival. It’s possible you could strike a deal with the Master or the Overseer and see about getting some help around your house, especially if there is compensation involved. These new leaders will do most anything, as long as it benefits them.

Will THE SURRENDERED be a trilogy of terror? Quadrology? Septology? Some form of biology/zoology?

If I could figure out a way to make The Surrendered a zoology, I would (because that would be totally cool!). But for now, it’s just a trilogy. I’m currently working on the second book, tentatively titled The Underground. While The Surrendered is a tale set in the sleepy south, The Underground moves the characters further north to a steampunky underground world full of awesome new inventions. It’s sort of my version of the “Industrial Revolution.”

THE SURRENDERED, with its plot revolving around kids in peril, brings to mind THE HUNGER GAMES series. Can you tell us the ways in which your novel will make THE HUNGER GAMES bow and surrender (GET IT????? BECAUSE KATNISS USES A BOW AND YOUR BOOK IS CALLED THE SURRENDERED????????) to your far superior work of fiction.

I somehow doubt The Hunger Games will ever bow and surrender to any other work of fiction, even my far superior one. There are obvious similarities between The Hunger Games and The Surrendered: futuristic, totalitarian government-ruled worlds that use oppression to control the populations, however, there are many more differences than there are similarities. I do think that fans of The Hunger Games will find in The Surrendered some of the same elements that made them fans of Collins’ work, but I also believe they will find in it new and unique characters, plots, and an altogether different tone that will make it a favorite for them also.

Aside from the obvious (diapers, clothes, toys, food, alcohol - for the parents), why are children so expensive in THE SURRENDERED? Is it that you don't like kids? It's okay to say yes. This is a safe place.

The children are only expensive because of the new government rule. The Commander, who issued The Tax to begin with, cares only about lining his pockets with the fees received from the families. He’s altogether not a nice guy. Not even a little. And I adore children. At least the bigger ones who can basically fend for themselves.

I see you're a Florida State fan. Did you go to school there? I went to N.C. State. Ever since the '80s ended, the Wolfpack have for some reason been banned from having nice things. What's it like having nice things, like a Top 5 football team?

I was born and raised in Tallahassee, FL, but I didn’t go to school at Florida State. I lived in Atlanta briefly, and this is where I attended school, but I never stopped loving my Noles. Being a Seminole fan is the best; we have the most awesome fans in the world! And we’re top two. Just saying.

Ryan note: No, Florida State does not have the best fans in the world. Try losing for almost 30 years and still having a rabid fan base. Then talk to me about having the "best" fans. Ugh.

Ryan note No. 2: I think you mean Top 12. Bwahahahahaha. Losers.

My little sister went to Georgia for grad school, so they're my de facto SEC team. They're good, but it's not the same. Sigh... (this is where you give me sympathy)

Hmmm. I’d like to offer sympathy, but I’m gonna horse laugh you instead. Georgia barely got by Nicholls last week. ROFL.

This is a question I ask every author. Tell us why we should read/buy THE SURRENDERED. In haiku format and ONLY haiku format.

Wow, really? But The Surrendered already uses up four of my seventeen syllables. Ok, here goes…

Plots of yesterday

Make way for The Surrendered

It’s the bomb AF

Boo-yah J You’re a trip, Ryan. Have seriously enjoyed this. Thanks so much for taking the time to participate in my blog tour. And, dude, you said you haven’t read The Surrendered. What are you waiting for?

Ryan note: I'm waiting for time to slow down, so I can have more of it :)

 

 

Ask a Demon! by Ryan Hill

 

Samantha, my angel-in-training cohort, asked me the other day if I thought I was actually helping people with my ASK A DEMON column. I wanted to do a spit take, but with a bit of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2009 in my mouth, that wasn't happening. It's the worst sort of sin to waste fine wine, even for something as worthy as a spit take.

"It doesn't matter if I'm helping people," I said. "That's not the point."

"Isn't offering good advice the point of an advice column?" Sam asked.

"The point is to offer advice." I finished off my fantastic Rothschild. "It doesn't have to be good advice. It can be terrible, horrible, ruin your life advice."

It made no difference to me which kind of advice I gave.

Sam stormed off in a huff before I could say more on the matter. I also think she called me a ash foal. 

Weird.

Remember, if you need advice from me, shoot an email to ryan@ryanhillwrites.com. 

Gerome Marado from the seventh plane of Uranus asks:

When Aquarius is in the Second House and Jupiter is rising, what's the best way to kill a nosy neighbor? 

Well. Someone is on a lot of psychedelics, way too into astrology, or both. My guess is both.

Mother Teresa could be in the Second House and your temperature could be rising because of an Ecstasy overdose, it won't change how to kill a nosy neighbor. 

There's a million ways to do the deed, but do you want to get away with it?

If you don't care about prison, walk up to your neighbor and blast them in the face. With a gun. Or shotgun. Heaven, a good bow and arrow shot might do it.

If you do want to get away with it, and why wouldn't you, that's a bit... trickier. If the neighborhood is aware of your issues with the neighbor, the cops will find out and come after you. If you set your neighbor's house on fire, the fire department would probably figure out the cause was arson. So. Here's what you do. It may involve killing yourself in the process, but totally worth it.

Invite your neighbor over for a cookout. Get some food that's laced with... whatever. Something that food can get laced with and cause death and/or mental degradation. I'd Google it for you, but I'm too lazy, so do it your own blessed self.

Develop a tolerance to said whatever. 

Lace the food with it.

Pray your new neighbor isn't worse than your last one.

 

Someone in no way, shape, or form associated with PETA asks:

Animal sacrifices. Do they work?

Depends. Trying to win the love of a beautiful woman? Convince the jury your client didn't embezzle millions from Hospice residents? Make sure your favorite team will win the big game?

Because animal sacrifice will do none of that.

The only time an animal sacrifice works is if the animal is sacrificed for food or sustenance. Nothing else. Killing an animal isn't going to win you glory, ensure an acquittal, or make someone fall in love. You're just killing a defenseless animal, you monster.

Correction.

If you kill a grizzly bear with your bare hands, that's totally bad ass and will work in that - if you survive - you'll forever be known as one of the manliest men to ever consider themselves a man among men.

That is all.

Need advice from Bartholomew? Want to know what movie to see this weekend? Send your question to ryan@ryanhillwrites.com.

Ask a Demon! by Ryan Hill

 

Ah, Wednesday. The Day of Wodin. Named for the Norse God Odin, aka this greased up peanut head:

What a tool. He doesn't even have real horns! It's a disgrace!

On a more serious note, it's undeniable that helmet screams, "I wish I was Transformer!" 

A metal eye patch? Really? Did all the other Norse Gods pick on Odin for having a glass eye, so one day he decided to glue some metal patch over the empty eye cavity? LAME.

And that staff? Somebody is overcompensating for being a lame Norse God.

How did Odin get a day named after him? I should have a day named after me. Neigh, a week! A month! A year! ALL MEASUREMENTS OF TIME SHOULD BE NAMED AFTER ME REGARDLESS OF THE CONFUSION IT WOULD CAUSE THE WORLD. Period.

On to the questions!

Josh from Buzz City asks:

I'm in love with my best friend. How do I get her to notice me as more than just her "buddy?"

If you were a girl, I'd say invite her over for a sleepover. Sleep in the same bed. "Make a move," as they say in "the biz." Although in the adult entertainment industry, the staying would be, "make a movie."

There are lots of things you can do to get a girl's attention. Run around naked, while screaming and waving your arms. Tattoo her name across your forehead, complete with little hearts and fairies in between the letters. Write her a letter professing your love, then tie it to a big rock and throw it through her car's windshield. 

Here are some other suggestions, but bear in mind the authorities - or worse, her dad - may misinterpret the gesture as criminal, so buyer beware:

  • Stand outside of her window wearing a mask and holding a knife until she notices
  • Set her house on fire
  • Drug her, take her to Vegas, then marry her. This way, she's locked in!

I asked Samantha for her two cents.

"Be honest with her. Tell her how you truly feel. If she feels the same, ask her out on a date. You could al-"

And no more comments from Sam. What horrible advice! Tell the girl how you feel. Ha!

Sam is nagging me to mention something about the movie Say Anything and a boom box? I don't know. She's been on this weird John Cusack kick lately. It's disturbing.

Ratchet 'N Dank asks:

Bart. I'm stuck. I'm not sure if I should study engineering in college like my dad wants or if I should try to become an actor, which is what I want. Any ideas on how to decide?

Easy. Do you prefer men in tights or men with pocket protectors?

Until next time...

Bartholomew signing off

Need advice from Bartholomew? Send it to ryan@ryanhillwrites.com with the subject ASK A DEMON. Bartholomew will most likely respond. He's cool like that.

 

ASK A DEMON! by Ryan Hill

 

 

What is it they say? Ask and ye shall receive? "They" always forget the second part of that: Ask and ye shall receive... for a price.

The cost varies, depending on what's being asked. Sometimes, it's slapping your old, angry biology teacher in the face during class. One poor soul wanted a position of power within Henry VII's court, so I pulled some strings and made him Groom of the Stool. What does that entail? Glad you asked!

The Groom of the Stool was considered "one of the most trusted" members of a king's court, or to phrase it for modern times, his entourage. Why? Because the Groom of the Stool was closer to the king than anyone, perhaps even the queen. See, the Groom was charged with helping the king successfully navigate certain... bodily functions. 

Also, yes. That guy gave up his soul for the position. Kind of a crappy trade off, don't you think? Bit of a stinker? I could go on for days.

Audrey the Curious Author asks:

I really want my book to be a bestseller. Like, make me rich beyond my wildest dreams. Should I make a bargain with your boss, aka SATAN, so I can achieve my goals? I’d really appreciate your thoughts on this, the pros and cons of selling my immortal soul.

Thanks!

You're welcome! Though, I haven't given you any advice yet.

Don't make a bargain with Lucifer. He's a dirty old man who will take everything you have, including the pigtails you sported as a five-year-old that swayed to and fro while you skipped down the sidewalk, your mother beaming with love and happiness. You think Lou messes around? Look at the guy!

 
 

On a side note, making a deal with Lucifer robs some poor demon of making commission on your soul. Don't do that. It's selfish.

As for whether you should sell your soul for fame, fortune, success, maybe a bungalow in Maui... OF COURSE YOU SHOULD DO IT! WHO CARES ABOUT A SOUL? IT'S SOME METAPHYSICAL, MYSTICAL THING THAT SUPPOSEDLY LEAVES YOUR PHYSICAL BODY WHEN YOU DIE. WHAT GOOD DOES IT DO? NOBODY KNOWS! YOU WON'T MISS IT!

Souls are dumb. You don't need one.

To play devil's advocate, however...

Christopher Marlowe sold his soul to become a famous playwright. Familiar with him? Famous playwright, murdered before his time? He's remembered these days for writing a play about a guy who sells his soul to the devil

Think about that.

Want your question answered by me? Send them to ryan@ryanhillwrites.com with ASK A DEMON in the subject line. Who knows? You might get lucky and I'll answer your question.

Until next time...

Bartholomew signing off

Ask a demon! by Ryan Hill

 

Welcome to the inaugural edition of ASK A DEMON. It's kind of like a Reddit Ask Me Anything, only with me. A demon. Well... ex-demon. For simplicity's sake, let's act like I'm still a full-fledged demon.

I'm Bartholomew, and I used to be - excuse me - I AM a demon. Been around for thousands of millennia, ruined plans, parties, virgins, all that jazz. Go to LinkedIn if you're looking for a resume, because if being around for thousands of millennia (and all that jazz) doesn't convince you of my credentials for handing out the greatest advice in the history of the known universe, then do me a favor. Ask someone to slap you across the face. As hard as they can. It doesn't matter who they are, just ask. After, LET THEM SLAP YOU, then tell them thanks from Bartholomew. If you need more proof of my credibility, read THE BOOK OF BART. It's about me. By me. For me. And you too, I guess, but mostly me.

Let's see who needs some of my tried and mostly true advice.

Lay Lady Layla asks:

Humans and demons have different skin, and you're always so disgustingly attractive, I have to know. What is your skin care routine?

Demons technically don't have skin. We did when we were angels, but that got messed up when all of us went to Hell. Demons have scales like a snake, but we don't molt. That would be the pits. The good news is demons can disguise our true from underneath human skin. Sort of like a Terminator, but easier to manage and higher quality. In terms of a skin care routine, I try to keep things simple.

Danielle Don't Tell asks:

What is the most unassuming way to get slated for Hell?

Assuming the most assuming way to get into Hell is to be the mastermind behind, say... the Holocaust? Probably saying something along the lines of, "I'd give anything for an hour alone with insert name of person you want five minutes alone with HERE," around the right demon. They'll set it up, but don't be surprised if that hour is spent in a broken elevator along with a screaming baby, a panicky woman who thinks all of you are about to die, a Diabetic in need of an insulin shot, and a man who's hungover and claustrophobic, all while you're stuck with a bladder that will explode at any moment. 

Just sayin'.

Juan John Silver asks:

What's the best way to get a cat out of a tree?

One could go up there and get the cat themselves, wait for the cat to get bored and come down, or call the fire department, but what's the fun in any of those? Instead, I propose stealing a car - the greasiest one available - and crashing it into the tree going at least 40 miles-per-hour. In theory, the force should throw the cat from the tree. And since cats always land on their feet, no harm no foul. Right?

Want your question answered by me? Send them to ryan@ryanhillwrites.com with ASK A DEMON in the subject line. Who knows? You might get lucky.

Until next time...

Bartholomew signing off

 

 

 

Shadow Fall Cover Reveal!!! by Ryan Hill

 

Happy Cover Reveal day! Blaze Publishing has another amazing design to share with the world today. We're revealing the cover to SHADOW FALL by Audrey Grey. This YA sci-fi dystopian will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat as Maia is pitted against others in the ultimate game of survival. Join the Facebook Party tonight from 5-11pm EST, and mark your calendars for release day 11/22!

Goodreads     Pre-Order     Request A Review Copy

The asteroid hurtling toward the earth will kill billions.

The Emperor and his Gold Court will be safe in their space station, watching from the stars. The Silvers will be protected underground. But the Bronzes must fight it out at the Shadow Trials for the few remaining spots left on the space station.

When an enigmatic benefactor hands Maia Graystone a spot in the Trials, she won’t just get a chance at salvation for her and her baby brother, Max: She gets to confront the mother who abandoned her in prison, the mad Emperor who murdered her father, and the Gold prince who once loved her. But it’s the dark bastard prince she’s partnered with that will make her question everything, including her own heart. With the asteroid racing closer every day, Maia must trust someone to survive. The question is who?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Audrey Grey lives in the charming state of Oklahoma, with her husband, two little people, and four mischievous dogs. You can usually find her hiding out in her office from said little people and dogs, surrounded by books and sipping kombucha while dreaming up wondrous worlds for her characters to live in.

Website   Instagram   Twitter   Facebook  Goodreads

Introducing... ASK A DEMON by Ryan Hill

Have you ever needed advice on something, but were too scared to ask your parents? Want to know the best way to get revenge on that bully who won't stop giving you noogies? Then you've come to the right place!

Bartholomew, that handsome, smooth, dastardly scoundrel of a demon (his words, not mine) has graciously decided to take some time away from his busy schedule of chasing virgins and corrupting souls to answer questions from YOU, for FREE. Normally, this kind of thing requires payment in the form of a Maserati or, oh, YOUR SOUL, but Bartholomew is doing this for free. He'd never admit it, but personally? I think his friend Samantha put him up to it in the hopes he might actually help someone. Can't say for sure, though. 

Send your questions to ryan@ryanhillwrites.com with the subject line ASK A DEMON, and maybe Bartholomew will answer your question!

In the meantime, you can follow Bartholomew's shenanigans in THE BOOK OF BART, with parts 2 and 3 coming 2017!

So my credit card number got stolen by Ryan Hill

Which is awesome. And a great way to start the weekend. Really. Not just saying that.

Someone, I don't know who, but let's call them Asscheeks McGillicutty, tried to charge $140 worth of mess at a Sears in Virginia to my credit card. Fortunately, the card company caught it.

But I still have to go through the hassle of re-entering that info at places where I pay bills, subscribe to things, etc. 

Clearly, if Asscheeks had met me, things would be different. They'd stand in awe of my classically handsome face. They'd laugh at my jokes until they wet themselves. Not much, just a drop or two. Enough to know they needed to get control of themselves.

I imagine Asscheeks has patchy hair on their head, and what is there looks like cobwebs... maybe even has a fly or two stuck in there. They're probably wearing an old, tattered Hulkamania tank-top that was purchased in 1997 at a garage sale. I'm guessing it was found under a pile of moldy towels someone tried to sell for a dollar. I bet Asscheeks, if Asscheeks is a male, has donated blood and whatnot to places all over the country, so... the future has that to look forward to. As for Asscheeks McGillicutty, I hope their future involves an infuriating bout of PokemonGO where all they find are level 12 Rattata that sends them into a rage that lasts so long, they don't notice the steamroller coming at them from a mile away, despite the driver yelling, "Move! I don't want you to get squished!" repeatedly for thirty minutes to no avail. 

Then, as quickly as Asscheeks McGillicutty entered my life, they were gone. Squished. Flattened like a pancake on the road.

Seems like a fair and just fate.

On Going From One Manuscript to Another by Ryan Hill

 

I've picked up on an interesting trend with my writing. Ever since I finished The Book of Bart - Verse 1 - the draft that was submitted to agents and publishers - I've had a tendency to bounce around from manuscript to manuscript for whatever reason. Sometimes it's from writer's block, others because my attention has been pulled elsewhere. The reasons vary, but the point is the same.

I struggle to stick with one manuscript from beginning to completion.

It's not a good or a bad thing, but it is a thing with me. Take my latest release, The Conch Shell of Doom. I wound up writing about 30k words, then abandoned the manuscript. My anxiety/depression had been gnawing at me the entire time I'd been writing (even before), and I'd had enough, so I dropped it and moved on to another book, one that was intended to be more commercial and the first of a trilogy called The Luminari Crown. I only made it 20k words into that one before the anxiety/depression got to me again, and I dropped that manuscript as well. 

I took some time for myself, then sat down to read what I'd written of The Conch Shell of Doom. Without the anxiety clouding my judgment, I noticed that Conch Shell was pretty good, and worth finishing. In between then and now, I had both The Book of Bart and my zombie novel Dead New World published, forcing me to leave Conch Shell for a time. In between edits on Conch Shell, I started The Book of Bart - Verse 2, then had to leave it for more Conch Shell edits, and wound up starting a dark, young adult mystery novel. Earlier this week, I finished the first draft of Bart 2. It's okay if you're having trouble keeping up.

The playing of musical chairs with manuscripts has paid off in an unexpected way. So many writers - myself included - can get so deep into a story they can't see the forest for the trees. Leaving a manuscript to work on something else not only gives you breathing room and the chance to use creative muscles that may have atrophied on the previous work, but it gives you perspective.

Yes, it's difficult getting back into the flow of a manuscript this way, but after a couple of days, it feels like I never left. I also feel refreshed upon return, which brings new ideas that wouldn't have popped up if I hadn't moved to something else. Sure, some continuity issues can arise, especially with things from the beginning of the novel, but that's what editing is for; to smooth out the story and flesh out portions that need more exploration. 

I don't know that I'd recommend this method of writing, but it's been working for me the last few years. If you're stuck or feeling down about your work though, it may be just the ticket to helping the manuscript get back on track.

Enjoy!

Cover reveal! Case Maynard's The Surrendered by Ryan Hill

 

Happy Cover Reveal day! Blaze Publishing has another gorgeous design to share with the world today. We're revealing the cover to THE SURRENDERED by Case Maynard. This YA dystopian will definitely have your pulse pounding as a tax is placed on the financially devastated country's most valuable resource--the children. Join the Facebook Party tonight from 5-11pm EST, and mark your calendars for release day 9/20!



After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.

Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.

Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


With over 20 years’ experience in the legal and medical fields, Case Maynard decided to trade in her briefs and reports to write the stories that have been floating around in her head since childhood. She lives with her two teenagers and husband in South Georgia, while maintaining a long-distance liaison with her oldest daughter and partner in crime in Alaska. When not writing, she enjoys reading as often as possible, binge watching anything good on Netflix, and all things NCAA football (Go Noles!). You can learn more about Case and her stories on her website.

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Coming soon! Paired with a dark prince in a murderous game of survival, Maia Graystone discovers the only thing more dangerous than the Emperor’s court is her conflicted heart. The YA Sci-fi Apocalyptic SHADOW FALL by Audrey Grey releases in November, but you can sign up for review copies now.



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THE CONCH SHELL OF DOOM Release Day! Random Acts of Silliness! by Ryan Hill

 

It's here It's here IT'S HERE!!!!!!!!! 

The book with quite possibly the most RANDOM and SILLY title in this history of the written word is here!!!!! 

Witness the Awakening. Witness the tomfoolery. Witness the ridiculous that is... THE CONCH SHELL OF DOOM. Buy it here, won't you?

Not only that, but there's a contest going to win free stuff like signed books or a $20 Amazon gift card! Seriously. May 24, 2016, should just be called the gift that keeps on giving at this point. 

Contest ends June 3, 2016

  • One winner will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card and a signed copy of The Conch Shell of Doom by Ryan Hill
  • One winner will receive a signed copy of The Conch Shell of Doom by Ryan Hill
  • One winner will receive a signed copy of The Book of Bart by Ryan Hill
  • One winner will receive a signed copy of Dead New World by Ryan Hill

Time to announce the RANDOM ACTS OF SILLINESS winners!

Now, some of the suggestions I got were a bit much, or borderline iffy/legal. There were also a few ideas that required women's clothing. Regardless, everyone who entered a suggestion gets a FREE CONCH SHELL OF DOOM EBOOK! If you entered via ryanhillwrites.com, please contact me with your email so I can send you the ebook. As for the winners, YOU GET A FREE BOOK! YOU GET A FREE BOOK! AND YOU GET A FREE BOOK! (free signed paperback, that is). If you all could get me your mailing info, I'll get those books out to you as soon as possible.

Thanks to everyone who suggested a Random Act of Silliness!

Rank: 75,000

Act: Write an ode to my fans and leave it on my website. Barbara also suggested a dramatic reading of Magic Mike, but I had to be wearing a tutu. I'm not made of money you all! :)

Winner: barbara.hopkins39@*****.com
 

Rank: 50,000

Act: Do the "Time Warp"

Winner: Danielle from ryanhillwrites.com
 

Rank: 25,000

Act: Dye my hair

Winners: vampyrelady6606@*****.com, calden40@***.com 
 

Rank: 10,000

Act: Dance with a stranger

Winner: mq3377@***.com
 

Rank: 5,000

Act: Paint my body in either the cover or a character

Winner: doveknoll@*****.com
 

Rank: 1,000

Act: Cover myself in oatmeal and yogurt, then run around screaming about my book

Winner: majikalone@******.com
 

Rank: 100

Act: Create a Minecraft-inspired costume and wear it in public for 30 minutes.

Winner: Ginger from ryanhillwrites.com
 

Rank: No. 1 in any sub-category

Act: Dance to "Ring my Bell" in '70s garb, i.e. whatever is left of my Dad's wardrobe from that era ;)

Winner: artemis.lynn1966@*****.com

Introducing RANDOM ACTS OF SILLINESS by Ryan Hill

 

With the upcoming May 24 release of my third novel, The Conch Shell of Doom, I'm throwing almost all shame (what little remains, at least) out the window. I want this to be my best release yet. I want this release to make The Beatles appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show to seem like no big whoop. That may not happen - it almost certainly won't - but a guy can dream, right?

To help Conch Shell have a big release, I need your help to get the word out. But, I also want this to be fun for everybody. I want you all to feel like you're getting something out of it besides good karma. As such, if the book hits certain milestones in terms of Amazon ranking, you all can decide on a RANDOM ACT OF SILLINESS for me to do. I'm willing to do pretty much anything except risk life (definitely not) and limb (absolutely not) for this. Or something that will get me arrested. Or fired. You know, big, life-altering in a very bad way kind of stuff. 

These are the milestones I'm laying out. Some of these are for overall Amazon rank, others for reaching No. 1 in a sub-category.

Overall Amazon rank milestones:

No. 75,000
No. 50,000
No. 25,000
No. 10,000
No. 1,000
No. 100
No. 1

Sub-category rank milestones - there are three milestones:

No. 1 in one sub-cat
No. 1 in two
No. 1 in all three

The greater the milestone, the greater the act of silliness I'm willing to subject myself to. If I reach No. 75,000, for example, I could maybe do a dramatic reading of something. Fifty Shades of Grey, Shakespeare, The Big Bang Theory, anything. The sillier the better. If I crack the Top 100, maybe I'll dye my hair green. It all depends on what you suggest. 

If you're interested in helping spread the word on May 24, sign up for my release day blitz, fill out your information (you don't need a blog to participate), and in the "Comments/Questions" box at the bottom, indicate your RANDOM ACT OF SILLINESS suggestion - just be sure to introduce your comment/question with RANDOM ACT OF SILLINESS

The ideas that are picked will win a signed paperback of The Conch Shell of DoomIf I somehow hit No. 1, ALL the winning ideas will receive SIGNED PAPERBACKS of ALL THREE OF MY BOOKS. That's pretty cool if you ask me, but since I wrote the books I may be a bit biased. 

Don't worry about assigning your idea to a milestone. I'll do that based on degree of difficulty and/or level of silliness. 

Thanks in advance for all of your help. If this goes well, I may make it a tradition for all future releases.

Enjoy!

Ryan

Interview time with ASLEEP's KRYSTAL WADE!!! by Ryan Hill

 

"Time to let all the kings know that the ACE is back." - Dr. Dre

That's an appropriate quote for author Krystal Wade, who's already rocked the casbah with CHARMING, the WILDE'S trilogy, and SHATTERED SECRETS. It's only appropriate she does it again with ASLEEP, a thrilling mash-up between SNOW WHITE and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (something I totally screwed up in the Q&A below).

Even more, Krystal doesn't just have a new novel out. Because that's child's play for her at this point. ASLEEP doesn't just signify another entry in the outstanding catalog that is the collected works of Krystal Wade, it's the debut entry in her OWN PUBLISHING HOUSE, Blaze Publishing! 

How effin' sweet is that? "Yeah, this book stuff is old hat. I think I'll step my game up a notch for no other reason than BECAUSE I CAN."

Ryan note: Krystal is my friend/kindred spirit/wise kemosabi, and she's flippin' sweet. If you don't know her, you're worse off for it.

Such a great/creepy cover!

Such a great/creepy cover!

"To cure fear, you must use fear."

Rose Briar claims no responsibility for the act that led to her imprisonment in an asylum. She wants to escape, until terrifying nightmares make her question her sanity and reach out to her doctor. He's understanding and caring in ways her parents never have been, but as her walls tumble down and Rose admits fault, a fellow patient warns her to stop the medications. Phillip believes the doctor is evil and they'll never make it out of the facility alive. Trusting him might be just the thing to save her. Or it might prove the asylum is exactly where she needs to be.

If you want to see more of ASLEEP, you can find the Ten Weeks of Teasers and other great content on the Blaze Publishing blog. Order your copy now!

Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Kobo   Signed Copy of Asleep   Goodreads

ON TO THE QUESTIONS!

Congratulations on ASLEEP! This is the first release under your own banner, Blaze Publishing. I won't ask about what it's like creating a publishing house, because we all know the answer: it's hard and a lot of work. What I will ask, though, is with ASLEEP, which you wrote, being the first novel coming out through Blaze, which you run, do you feel there's some sort of weird nepotism thing going on there?

Yep! We plan to have a whole lot of nepotism at Blaze. Because NEPOTISM! 

On a more serious note, there has to be a lot of additional pressure on you. Having a novel come out is pressure enough, but ASLEEP is also the first look the world gets at the quality of work Blaze Publishing will be releasing. To relieve some of the pressure you're feeling, I've provided canned, multiple choice answers for you. Choose the most appropriate.

A. So much pressure I've gone from drinking wine maybe once a month to downing shots of hard liquor day after day in the hopes of finding some relief from this headache.

B. It's a good thing this interview isn't being video-taped, because I've lost patches of hair, and the only extensions I could find came from discarded My Little Pony manes.

C. Pressure? I thrive on pressure. Don't worry about how much coffee I drink or how many cartons of cigarettes I smoke a day. That information is private and I will not share it, especially with you.

D. Huh? What? Sorry, this heroin is some good stuff.

ASLEEP is your second genre mash-up after the very cool CHARMING. A mix between SNOW WHITE and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is pretty crazy. Do you have a dartboard covered in potential genres to combine and whichever two genres the darts hit first become the framework for your next novel?

SLEEPING BEAUTY and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. But I forgive you. And your idea about the dart board is excellent. Maybe I'll try that in the future.

*Ryan note: That’s right, SLEEPING BEAUTY… I’m an idiot.

Since ASLEEP is very much about nightmares, what's one nightmare you've had that scared you to the point you were freaked out the next day?

I've had several nightmares like that. But the ones that usually have me crying when I wake up are when loved ones die in dreams. I once had a dream so vivid, so horrific about my daughter being kidnapped and then brutally murdered while we were on a skiing trip that I STILL get nervous right before every ski trip. 

I still have dreams where I think I forgot to write a term paper, or forgot to put on anything besides underwear (which isn't a bad dream. In fact, I and the ladies in said dream rather like it). Do you have any recurring dreams like that? 

I actually don't have recurring dreams all that often, and when I do, I usually forget them until the next time they pop up in my dreams. So, um, not sure.

Many readers may not be aware you have a chicken coop in your backyard. Do they ever wake you up at the butt crack o' dawn with their yelling? If so, how often do you feel the need to "make an example" of one of them? Do you worry they may break free and peck one of your fingers off? Also... HOW DO THEY TASTE? The chickens, not your fingers.

No cockadoodle dooing here. We have all hens, and we've never eaten them. We use them for eggs only.

Did anything influence your writing on ASLEEP? Watch any scary films, spooky TV shows, or read any terrifying books to help you get in the right frame of mind to write ASLEEP?

I'm always watching the spooky, the fantastical, the emotional on television or in movies. I don't think any particular show or book influenced me during the writing process, but clearly a couple stories mashed up influenced the book.

Are you currently writing anything else? If not, WHY? PEOPLE LIKE READING YOUR BOOKS, WADE. GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT. WHY AREN'T YOU GIVING THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT? That is, if you're not currently giving the people what they want.

I'm trying to give the people what they want! Come on! I do have a couple more books in process, but my focus right now is on publishing. I do hope to have one release next year, a mystery that mashes up BEFORE I FALL with FREQUENCY!

Let's play fill in the blank. Come up with your craziest genre mash-ups.

The Princess Bride meets Practical Magic in this tale of lust and revenge set amidst the Protestant Reformation.

Meet Joe Black meets Silence of the Lambs as two brothers, one Asian and one Russian, vie for the affections of a woman who runs a hot dog stand in 1980s New York City.

Field of Dreams meets Doc Hollywood as a humble, poor, illiterate man does whatever it takes to become the greatest dentist in all of South Dakota.

In haiku format, tell everyone why they should buy/read or buy/not read but definitely buy ASLEEP.

You should read Asleep.
It will give you the creeps.
And you will not sleep.

As always, a big thank you to Krystal for taking the time to answer my insane questions, and being an awesome friend/author!

You can follow/stalk Krystal on social media at Website   Instagram   Twitter   Facebook   Google+

See? Toldja she's got her own publishing house!

See? Toldja she's got her own publishing house!

Want to stay up to date on everything from Blaze Publishing? Sign up for our newsletter so you don't miss a thing! The first 100 subscribers get free Blaze bookmarks (UK, US, and Canada only) AND get added to our Loyal 100 group, which gives you access to exclusive news, teasers, prizes, and ARCs!

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Love my parents by Ryan Hill

 

Last weekend, during the SNOWPOCALYPSE: 2016 EDITION, I took Hunter S. Gonzodog out, so she could do her business. The Gonzodog loves the snow, and ran into a wooded area near my apartment. While trying to keep my grip on the leash, I lost my phone in the pile of snow and leaves.

Gonzodog!

Gonzodog!

It took a little while to find the thing, and fortunately everything still worked. Not long after, I told both of my parents about what happened separately. Mind you, I live in Raleigh, NC, and my parents in Greensboro, NC, so one guess as to how I was talking to them.

Hint: It was with my phone!

Mom

Me: So I lost my phone in the leaves taking Hunter out.

Mom: Did you find it?

Me: I'm talking to you on it, aren't I?

Mom: Oh. Shut up.

Dad

Me: Did Mom tell you I lost my phone in the leaves earlier?

Dad: No. Did you find... oh.



On being 36-years-old by Ryan Hill

 

No joke, that title felt weird to write. It brings up so many thoughts. Where the time went, what to do with the time ahead of me, and the fact that in the grand scheme of things I'm not old, but hot damn. I'M 36.

Pretty much

Pretty much

Getting older is always something you worry about when you're younger. Twenty-somethings fret over every birthday, because it brings them one digit closer to the end-all, be-all that is thirty. Why? Because it's a number all of us have seared in our brains as TIME TO GET YO SHIT TOGETHER AND BE A REAL, ACTUAL ADULT. Heck, my mom cried when Dad turned 30.

Guess what? Being in your thirties really isn't that bad. At all. I prefer it to being in my twenties.

I was a friggin mess in my twenties. I was still trying to figure life, the universe, and everything out with little success. I didn't have a foothold in, well, anything. My early-to-mid twenties were mired in a haze of longing for my college days while trying to figure out the whole adult thing. My late twenties were more about trying to squeeze as much fun in before the big three-oh hit. I even wrote a manuscript about a guy reflecting on his life before he turns thirty. I can't say I was a mess about it, but some people are.

My thirtieth birthday turned out to be kind of a baptism by fire into "adulthood." I'd discovered someone stole my mail, taking checks intended to pay bills and counterfeiting them to buy stuff to the tune of $800.

Welcome to adulthood, Ryan! Here's a swift kick in the ass to get you started!

It really was kind of a harbinger of things to come. My thirties have by far been the most difficult decade of my life, but it's also been the most rewarding. I've become a published author. I still get to review movies, i.e. see them for free before everyone else and write about them. More than that, other things happen in your thirties that are pretty awesome.

Mainly, you stop giving a flying f--k about everything. By everything, I don't mean ev-er-y-thing, but everything that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. With some life experience under their belt, people settle into themselves in their thirties, and with that comes a level of comfort with who you are - some might even call it self esteem - that elevates you above worrying about whether someone thinks you're full of it, and other assorted items like that. Ya just don't care. And it's a wonderful thing. It builds up confidence, and makes dealing with all the B.S. that life throws at you that much easier to handle.

Granted, being in your thirties does have the drawback of OMGZ MY BODY WON'T STOP FALLING APART.

This part is actually worse for me, since I blew my back out six-years-ago doing too much weight on a Lat Row Machine. I've got two ruptured discs that irritate the Sciatica in my left leg. It's been awful. But enough about me.

I liken the physical deterioration in your thirties to a toy. When it's new, everything is strong and sturdy, but over time, wear and tear sets in. Some things don't work as well as they used to. That's kind of what your body is like in your thirties. It's not terrible, but you do notice the changes, which range from achy joints to inability to stay up late, less tolerance to extreme cold or heat, etc. Basically, if you blew out your knee at some point, that knee is going to remind you of it on an almost daily basis in thirties. Your hair also turns grey on a more steady basis, but that's kind of whatever. It doesn't bother me at all.

So to anyone afraid of turning 30, don't be. Like everything else, it's a mix of good and bad. Sure, it's different and your mortality starts coming into focus, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Then again, as someone who's never been married, has no kids, a spotty (at best) relationship record, I could be talking out of my ass.*

I pretty much always reserve the right to admit I'm talking out of my ass. If I'm wrong on something, so be it.

 

 

On Adapting THE BOOK OF BART For Film/TV by Ryan Hill

 

Fun fact: I originally wanted to be a screenwriter. After I finished grad school in 2004, I even moved out to Los Angeles in the hopes of making that dream a reality. Long story short, I came back to North Carolina after six months. I missed my family, friends, clean(ish) air, and a zillion other things. But I never lost the writing bug (obviously).

Last year, I got the idea to write a pilot script for The Book of Bart. I've always felt it would make a good show, something that could be a book-end to, say, Supernatural, so while I was in the middle of edits on the upcoming The Conch Shell of Doom, I set to work turning Bart into a 50-odd page pilot script. I'd written feature-length screenplays before, but not an adaptation.

For anyone out there considering adapting their novel, know that writing a script is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like writing a novel. They're different beasts with different rules. A novel can really dig into details and emotions, enveloping the reader in the soft, gentle sway of a tree branch in the wind. If that line were written in a script, the reader would toss it in the garbage and move on to the next script. With novels, that kind of writing is welcomed, and sometimes even praised. It can also mask potential deficiencies in plot or dialogue. 

Guess what?

SCRIPTS ARE ALL ABOUT PLOT AND DIALOGUE.

Scripts require the most sparse, bare-bones writing possible. Every single word matters. A script is meant to serve as a blueprint for a film or TV production. What's on the page is meant to be on the screen. If it can't be seen or heard, it shouldn't be in the script. Emotions, motive, all that stuff has to be left to the cast and crew for interpretation. Ever read a play, like Thornton Wilder's Our Town? There's the scene location, characters, and dialogue. That's it. Everything else is left to the director, actors, set designers, etc., to interpret as they see fit. A script is similar, though there's room for just enough description to paint a visual picture. 

The transition from book to screen is never seamless. Even films like The Hunger Games and Harry Potter have differences/departures from the books. The change in medium makes it impossible to stay 100 percent true to the source material because of length, a scene isn't visually compelling, or what works as a book doesn't necessarily work as a film. Some books just aren't meant to be adapted, while others are.

This one wasn't.

This one wasn't.

I knew going in that adapting Bart to a visual medium would be tricky. Much of the fun comes from Bart's narration, and only so much of that can survive before characters wind up standing in front of a camera, waiting for the voice over narration to finish so they can move on to the next thing. It became a balancing act of mixing the narration into a mix of voice over and dialogue. 

While I'm happy with the pilot for The Book of Bart, there's a lot of work left before it can even think about seeing the light of day. And that's fine. If nothing else, it was a learning experience, so onward and upward, and all that stuff. I'll share it one day, but today it's about the challenges of adapting one's work to a different medium.

John Irving won an Oscar for adapting his novel The Cider House Rules. Suzanne Collins wrote a draft of the first Hunger Games film. So adapting your work can be done, and done quite well. Just go into it knowing that by no means is it a cake walk, and good luck!

Wrapping up 2015, unwrapping 2016 by Ryan Hill

 

Whew. Thank goodness 2015 is pretty much over. It hasn't been the worst year I've ever had, but it wasn't far off. For some reason, my life plays out a lot like the Star Trek series. The even years are so, so much better than the odd ones. All years have both good and bad stuff, but those odd-numbered years tend to have more of the bad stuff. And 2015 was no exception.

I had to put my dog to sleep. I haven't really mentioned it online, but losing Maggie was the defining moment of 2015 for me. It became clear in late June something wasn't right with her, and shortly after I learned she had a tumor in her lung. The vet gave her three-to-five months (more like three), and my sweet baby made it a little over five. I won't get into the details of those last couple of weeks, only to say I made the decision to put her to sleep after learning she now had two tumors in her lungs and another in her liver that was raising the back half of her body higher than the front, making it nearly impossible for her to lie down.

It even looks like an In Memorium pic. Sorry.

It even looks like an In Memorium pic. Sorry.

I don't regret the decision, but that doesn't mean I don't miss the heck of my little girl. She was only 10, and Miniature Schnauzers can live to be 15-17. No, the only thing I regret is the time I won't get to spend with her.

To every cloud there is a silver lining.

And the silver lining in this came in the form of one Miss Hunter S. Gonzodog.

I'd always hoped to have a puppy for a couple of years, giving Maggie a chance to teach her a couple of tricks, but sadly things didn't work out that way. Such is life. Hunter is a super sweet pup, and I look forward to seeing which traits of Maggie's she takes on and which are completely her own.

I also didn't have a book released in 2015. Womp womp.

That stinks. A combination of things led to this: laziness, the day job, my horrific back (two ruptured discs and an irritated Sciatica), anxiety, etc. They all pretty much play into each other, creating this awful, giant beast of worthlessness, but I digress.  Let's move on to 2016.


I will have a book out in 2016, and another one or two in 2017.

I'm going the self-publishing route for 2016's release, The Conch Shell of Doom. I'm aiming for a mid-May release, just in time for UtopYA 2016.  I'm super proud of the book, which presented lots of new challenges that helped me grow as a writer. CSoD is also the craziest book I've written to date. I can't wait to share it with all of you.

The other two novels in the works are an untitled YA mystery set during Christmastime, and a sequel to The Book of Bart. The book is tentatively called The Unspoken Rule (or Bart of Darkness, depending on my mood), and it's going to be a lot of fun. Bart and Sam are in for one helluva run. Get it? Because Bart is a demon from Hell? 

Once the sequel is further along, the original will be forever known as The Book of Bart - Verse 1. The sequel? You guessed it. Verse 2. And so on and so forth, until the series ends. Which may be never. If I had more time, I'd write a novella or two each year, detailing Bart's escapades throughout history B.S. - Before Sam. Get it??? B.S.??? These jokes just write themselves... which explains why they're so awful. 

But I do have a humor award, so that makes it okay? If not, the Jensen Ackles gif should. At least for some of you.

My work as a film critic at Screen Invasion will continue in the new year, but I am on the lookout for a new outlet to write for. I love SI. LOVE THEM. SI has also proved to be a fantastic springboard for a lot of writers, and after two years with them, I feel like I'm ready to take the next step, regardless of if it's full-time, part-time, freelance, etc.

PS - It's okay. They know/support this. It's another reason why they rock.

Truer words have never been spoken.

Truer words have never been spoken.

I also hope to get my back fixed, or at least get it to a place where it doesn't drain the life out of me each day. Back pain like I have isn't like normal pain. There aren't really nerves involved (except for the Sciatic nerves, which one of my discs rubs up against and irritates), nor are muscles. It's more an empty, hollow pain, like someone reached into my lower back and yanked out the base of what held me together. Without it, the rest of the structure is overburdened and tires. It's awful. 

Let this be a lesson to you kids. Don't lift too much weights. Especially on back exercises, like a Lat Row. Don't do it.

Next year should be a good one in the world of Ryan, and I sincerely hope all of you have a great 2016!

Hugs and kisses,

Ryan

Interview with LINK author Summer Weir! by Ryan Hill

 

Apologies for being a day late on this, but anytime yours truly conducts an interview, it's always well worth the wait. Always. This time, my vic- I mean my interviewee is Link author Summer Weir!

About Link:

For seventeen-year-old Kira, there’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than being surrounded by friends and huddled beside a campfire deep in the woods. And with a birthday in the peak of summer, that includes late night swims under the stars.

Or at least, it used to.

Kira’s relaxing contemplation of the universe is interrupted when a piece of it falls, colliding with her and starting a chain of events that could unexpectedly lead to the one thing in her life that's missing—her father.

Tossed into a pieced-together world of carnivals and gypsies, an old-fashioned farmhouse, and the alluring presence of a boy from another planet, Kira discovers she’s been transported to the center of a black hole, and there’s more to the story than science can explain. She’s now linked by starlight to the world inside the darkness. And her star is dying.

If she doesn’t return home before the star’s light disappears and her link breaks, she’ll be trapped forever. But she’s not the only one ensnared, and with time running out, she’ll have to find a way to save a part of her past and a part of her future, or risk losing everything she loves.

Dreamy, fluid, and beautiful, Link pairs the mystery of science fiction with the minor-key melody of a dark fantasy, creating a tale that is as human as it is out of this world. 

Available now from Amazon, and other retailers.

TO THE INTERVIEW!

Congratulations on having your first novel published! Do you feel kinda like you got away with something? When you're alone in your car, sitting in traffic, do you laugh to yourself and say, "Suckers!" out loud? 

Thank you! It is pretty amazing to think that I actually wrote a book, finished it, and someone loved it enough to publish it. I'm not sure that it feels like getting away with something... and if I WAS trying to get away with something I wouldn't be sitting in traffic waiting to get caught.

Link has a nice, meaty plot. Pitch it to me in one sentence. Example: Batman & Robin meets Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Ready? GO!

A Wrinkle in Time with a Stargate twist. Boom. 


You and your family have moved around quite a bit, correct? Is this because you're light on your feet and whenever a stiff breeze comes along you get carried away to somewhere else? Are you worried you may get dropped off somewhere like the Sudan, or the middle of the Pacific Ocean?

Yes, we have. And you know, there may be something to that 'stiff breeze' theory. But it's more like I get settled somewhere and get an itch to be somewhere else, to experience another adventure (though Sudan and the middle of the Pacific Ocean are not on that list). After living out of the country more recently, we're super excited to be back in the states, and I reckon we'll be planted in Texas for a while. And yes, I just said 'reckon'.

Ryan note: I've lived in North Carolina almost my entire life and make it a point not to use words like "reckon" when speaking. Just saying.

Link is your first published novel. How many manuscripts did you write before Link? Do you feel bad about leaving those other manuscripts behind, because you probably should.

I have absolutely no other manuscripts that would be jealously plotting my demise. Link is my first, my last, my everything... okay not my last, but it definitely holds a special place in my heart. And now that you mention it, I guess I should feel like I got away with something, having my first manuscript published and all. 

Link has a black hole in it. What are your feelings on black holes? Wouldn't people get crushed by the intense gravity in black holes? Or do they pull a Matthew McConaughey and visit their daughter throughout the years via the back side of a bookcase?

Black holes are such an amazing phenomenon. Used to be, scientists thought nothing could escape the gravitational pull of a black hole once an object made it to the event horizon. But the premise of Link is that some starlight can escape and in doing so creates a portal for travel.

More recently, however, world renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has confirmed Link's theories, describing this escaping light as a "hologram." I know some of this science-y mumbo jumbo can be hard to swallow, so think of it in terms of less Matthew McConaughey popping through bookcases and more Captain Kirk "Beam me up, Scotty."

Is there radiation in a black hole? Was there concern that your MC may go through a black hole and come out the other side with no hair? That'd definitely be a concern for me. 

I understand your concern, as traditional science would tells us black holes do emit traceable amounts of radiation. However, if you're traveling in the protection of starlight (which I'd recommend), rest assured, you'll lose no hair in the process.

Why Link? What was so special about this story that it grabbed you by the throat and choked you until you turned purple and then you finally gave in and agreed to write it? What influenced it? Psychedelic drugs is an acceptable answer, by the way.

When I started writing Link, I envisioned two characters connected in some way, maybe through dreams, or alternate realities, or something. I quickly realized all of these concepts were becoming really common in young adult books (maybe that's where psychadelic drugs come in). There was a point where I even stopped writing until I figured out what I could do to make LINK stand out. One day I stumbled across as NASA video, and somehow all of the pieces fell into place. My ideas clicked as I watched this video again and again--it was perfect for what I was trying to do with the plot and story. Check out the NASA video that inspired the theories behind Link

Does Link have a character in it named Zelda? If not, why? 

It should. It really should. There's no excuse for this. 

What are you working on now? Link II: A Zelda to the Past?

Ha! Now I really want to play Zelda (the Super Nintendo version, best ever). Anyway, I'm currently working on Link sequels, Lost and Light. I'm the slowest writer in the history of writers, but I'm halfway done with book two. I also have the final book in the series mapped out, so I just need to dig in and write!

In haiku format, explain why people should not only go out and buy Link, but read it. Also, do you care if they read it after they've bought it? 

I'm soooo much better at limericks, but here goes nothing:

The book is unique
it might even make you think
the stars will guide you.

Eh? Eh? Guess I should stick to limericks. And I guess you don't HAVE to read it if you buy it, I can't make anyone do that, nor would I if I could. Free will and what not. But I'd hope that if you buy Link, no matter where it falls on your TBR, you'll make your way around to it. It's out of this world!

Thanks for having me, Ryan! Always a pleasure.

Well. Seems Summer escaped my clutches relatively unscathed. Congrats?

About Summer Wier

Summer Wier is an MBA toting accountant, undercover writer, and all around jack-of-all-trades. Link is her debut novel and the first in The Shadow of Light series. She has three short stories appearing in Fairly Twisted Tales for A Horribly Ever After and co-authors the Splinter web serial. When she’s not digging through spreadsheets or playing mom, you can find her reading/writing, cooking, or dreaming of the mountains in Montana.

Check out more of YA author Summer Wier on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Wait! There's more! Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway!!


New Month, Same Goals by Ryan Hill

 

It's a new month, which means there's got to be one or two people out there interested in what I have to say, right Mom and Dad? Mom? Dad? Anyone?

*crickets*

Pfft. Like my parents read my stuff anyway. And I'm 100% okay with that. I meant it. Really. I STILL LOVE YOU TWO. NO HATE AT ALL.

New Month

September should be a fun month. I finally get to meet my little niece Jo, college football starts (Go Wolfpack!), fantasy football also begins, and the otherworldly, non-climate change* induced armpit of heat and humidity known as summer goes away. 

sarcasm

Same Goals

My goal(s) are the same they have been for the past few years. Have enough success to where I can write novels full-time, then go from there. 

To get more specific, I'm still shopping around my latest manuscript, The Conch Shell of Doom, to agents in the literary world. Some of you may think that's an absurd title for a novel, and to that I say OF COURSE IT IS. Some of you may also think nobody worth their salt would be interested in a novel with such an absurd title, and to that I say SHUT UP MAYBE SOMEBODY WILL.

Anyone who knows me knows that a novel called The Conch Shell of Doom is right up my alley. It's a fun, paranormal, Goonies-style romp. It will see the light of day, that much I can promise. I'm just not sure how.

I'm also hard at work on an UNTITLED YA MANUSCRIPT, which is a non-funny, non-silly, dark story with one of the most original titles in the history of books. Yes, I mostly write silly books, but I also like to stretch my writer muscles and dive into areas that are new or unfamiliar to me - in this case, a female POV. The story revolves around an 18-year-old teen girl who visits her brother's killer in jail, only to come away wondering if the wrong person was convicted. Scandalous! 

Work also continues on the TV pilot script for The Book of Bart, which I'm co-writing with my friend Josh Lanier, a writer for the Charlotte sketch comedy group Robot Johnson. I'm still a little over halfway through with The Unspoken Rule: The Book of Bart Verse 2, but it's currently on the back-burner while I expand my writing horizons. Not to worry! Once my Untitled novel is finished, Verse 2 is next on the docket.