The Rise of Umbra – review

Wow, what a fast-paced ride. This book grabs you by the (eye)balls and drags you kicking and screaming right to the end. You’ll scream at the end because it’s finished and you’ll …

Source: The Rise of Umbra – review

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UMBRA sequel in the works!

Since “The Rise of UMBRA has been so successful, selling nearly 30 copies in just over a week, I immediately started working on the sequel. The title will be: UMBRA: The Nightmare Squadron. All your favorite characters are back facing an enemy that they know nothing about. Full of action, snarky wit, and all the things you loved about the first. So far, I’m three chapters in and closing in on 10k words! Stay tuned! UMBRA ain’t done yet!

Author Spotlight: Carol Browne

Hello readers, internet maniacs, and other assorted freaks, goths, and lovers of the odd! Our series of author spotlights continues! Today’s subject in the hot seat is author Carol Browne (with and “E” at the end, don’t forget the “E”, boys and girls!) Firstly, Carol, nice to have you with us. You’re another member of the Burning Willow Press asylum. How you diggin’ life over at Burning Willow?

Thanks, Mikey. So good of you to have me on your blog and thanks for pointing out the ‘e’. It has dogged me all my life. My name sounds simple and ordinary but I’ve spent my life saying, “That’s Carol without an ‘e’ and Browne with an ‘e’.” My middle name is Ann and I don’t use it as it would further complicate matters. To answer your question, I have been very impressed with BWP. I find most authors I know are friendly and supportive but the management can vary a great deal. Edd and Kindra at BWP seem to do such a lot for their authors and get involved in promotional activities far more than I had expected. The company has a very upbeat vibe and a family feeling and that is so necessary when you are dealing with the fragile egos of creative people!

 

Carol is one of our very first authors (that I’m aware of) that actually has a piece of non-fiction published. We like to have a lot of fun in our interview series, but for a minute I think we need to actually be serious because of how important a story it is that you’ve written. Please share with the readers what this touching story is about and why it’s important this story gets told and is remembered. Also, explain how you came to write this, as I’ve heard it’s a bit of an unusual story.

My novella Being Krystyna – A Story of Survival in WWII was published as an eBook on 11-11-16 and I was delighted when it came fourth in the 19th Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll for non-fiction, especially as writing non-fiction wasn’t something I ever thought I would do. In 2011 I had a chance encounter with a guy in a Polish restaurant who told me it was his dream to see his mother’s life story in a book. She was a Polish Jew who had survived the Holocaust and emigrated to the UK. He knew I was a writer but I said I couldn’t do it; I only write fiction. Non-fiction to me seemed like doing assignments at school. Anyway, I tried to find someone who might be interested in taking this on but no-one was. I knew it was important to tell these kinds of stories and so eventually I said I’d have a go at it. He gave me some notes he had made, details of his mother’s life, and they threw me into a panic. How to turn them into a book rather than just a string of facts? How to treat the subject sensitively while also creating something people would want to read?  But I had this flash of inspiration for the structure of the book, telling the story through the eyes of a biographer who visits the old lady, Krystyna, in the care home where she lives. I used my Polish friend Agnieszka for this because she really did visit Krystyna twice and this also allowed me to highlight the contrast between the lives of two Polish women and the reasons why they ended up living in the UK. It turned out that my publisher Dilliebooks, of Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK, was looking for this type of creative non-fiction for a new series of novellas they were planning and Being Krystyna was a perfect fit. My publisher felt that, given what is happening in the world now, the book’s message is extremely relevant and important. The racism and intolerance that brought about the persecution of the Jews have never gone away and you know, Mikey, there’s that old saying that those who ignore the lessons of history are condemned to repeat it. It’s important that stories like Krystyna’s are recorded and remembered so people are aware of what can happen when we start treating our fellow humans differently because we don’t like their race, colour or creed.

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Check out this amazing story RIGHT HERE.

 

Wow. That is fucking amazing. Next time you see or speak with that lovely lady will you tell her someone from across the pond sends their love. Nothing but respect for that lady, seriously. And kudos to you for writing it. Stories like that need remembering. Thank you.

Thanks, Mikey. I only met Krystyna once but I made sure I shook her hand when I left. I wanted to touch someone who had been through things I had only heard about or seen on old news reels. She’s 95 now and her dementia is really bad so I doubt I’ll see her again. She certainly would have no idea who I was. Sadly, she will never read this book about her life.

 

And I hope you know just how hard you’ve made this interview. Do you have any idea how hard it is to follow up the Holocaust? But alas, I must try. I like to give my readers a little insight into each author and point out their quirks or interests. You have one of the most unique interests that I’ve come across yet. I’ve heard you read tarot cards. How’d you get into this and what’s one of the stranger readings that you could share?

It all started when a friend gave me a pack of tarot cards when I was 19. My mother’s family are all a bit psychic in varying degrees and while I think I’m probably as psychic as a house brick, I do have quite good intuition and I found I could do very accurate tarot readings. I didn’t have much confidence in myself—which goes for most things I do—so the small fee I used to charge, which was a couple of quid, I would give to animal charities. My cards became like blankets eventually so I got a new pack and I just couldn’t work with them. Some years later I have received another pack from the friend who gave me my original deck and I am trying to get back into the craft again.

What I like about the tarot is that it is more about counselling than divination. Yes, it can point out future trends but if you don’t like where you are going, it gives you the chance to change matters. There are many future paths ahead. A friend recently said that my shtick, if you will, is that I put small details into readings that make them ring true. The first reading I did for my second husband I told him he used to play the trumpet when he was a boy. He was actually in a marching band. “How the hell did you know that?” he asked. I have no idea. Now while you’re wondering how many husbands I’ve had and whether or not they all ate the poisoned mushrooms, I think one of my stranger readings was in my kitchen one evening, doing a lady’s tarot while two of my professional clairvoyant friends were with us. I told her she mustn’t be afraid of the spirits she saw round her bed at night because they were benevolent guides. She said, “How did you know that?” I said, “It’s not me, it’s the cards,” but my other friends then started getting messages from these guides and they were talking to people I couldn’t hear or see. One of my friends said there was a spirit standing over me who had told me to say what I did so they could help the person having the reading and that, “there are loads of spirits in the room now”! I found it very uplifting and weird at the same time. Eat your heart out, Zak Bagans. Am I waffling on a bit, Mikey? I’ll stop now.

 

I’ve heard you’re a proofreader, which means you’ve probably handled tons of manuscripts. Without giving names, what is the oddest thing you’ve ever been given to proofread?

I’m a really good proofreader because I have OCD and that makes me pay attention to detail! I wish I proofread manuscripts but my clients aren’t writers. They are mainly students. Nearly always immigrants—you know those awful people over here taking our jobs—and they need assignments and CVs checked and some of them have their own businesses so they ask me to proofread their web content or blogs. I don’t recall proofreading anything odd. I proofread a dissertation on James Bond once for a lovely Slovakian lad who is now a teacher and a dissertation on how to test for fungal infections (ew, but who knew you could write a whole dissertation on that!). Today I proofread a newsletter on nutrition. Quite soon I hope to be proofreading a script for a TV comedy.

 

Also, I know you have a heavy interest in animal rights and the like. You’re quite the little hippie, my dear. Are there any charities you’d like to shine some light on while you’ve got the chance?

Yes, I’m definitely a tree-hugger. I try to tread lightly upon the Earth and believe it is a conscious entity and we should revere it as our mother. I feel an affinity with pagans and indigenous people so I support the rights of those like the Native Americans who are trying to protect their water and sacred land. For ethical reasons I became a vegetarian 33 years ago. For the past 5 years I’ve been a strict vegan and I love it. I support a number of animal welfare organisations when funds allow. In the UK there’s the Dogs Trust and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. There’s the International Fund for Animal Welfare which does so much to help animals worldwide and Four Paws and International Animal Rescue and SPANA; I mean, the list is endless and I couldn’t single any out, although one of my favourites is a UK charity that has taken in hundreds of rescued animals of all kinds: Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk. It annoys me when people say never mind about animals why don’t we help people, and I say, why can’t we help both? It’s their world too, isn’t it? We are all just creatures together on this planet and we all have a right to be here and live our lives free from harm and exploitation.

 

Okay, time for the meat and potatoes as they say: you’ve got a fantasy trilogy with Burning Willow coming up. How ‘bout you break out a little synopsis and give us a sneak peek into what’s coming? I also heard, I believe it’s this story, had a past life somewhere else…so tell everybody the journey this novel has gone on to get where we are now.

Yes, the trilogy is a sword-and-sorcery fantasy set in Britain in 500 CE. I wrote the first draft of Book 1 40 years ago. (Yes, while I was in my pram). When I wasn’t submitting it to publishers, it spent years at a time in cupboards and suitcases, before making an appearance as a self-published behemoth of a book in 2007. It was then entitled The Lorestone and it sold about 70 copies in total. One of the people who bought it loved it so much she begged me to write a sequel. So in 2009 I did (Gateway to Elvendom). A year later I realised there was a third book that needed to be written to make the journey of the characters complete. That book was Wyrd’s End. Inspired by my tiny fan base, I decided to try once more to get the book published and my luck was in. Musa Publishing offered me a three-book contract for what was now The Elwardain Chronicles and Book 1, now entitled The Exile of Elindel (and with at least 33,000 words and many plot holes edited away!), was released as an eBook on 18th April, 2014. Musa sadly went out of business in February, 2015, but I was lucky to be accepted by BWP in December of that same year. And all that because 40 years ago I heard a record on a juke box, had a picture of two characters pop into my head, and felt compelled to write their story.

So you see how you should never give up on a creative project, even though it can take years to get anywhere. And as for all those rejection slips, they are merely battle scars.

Here’s the blurb of The Exile of Elindel as it now stands. The rest of the trilogy is the continuing story of these same characters but with more sub plots, magical creatures, and relationship complexities.

 Elgiva, a young elf banished from Elvendom, must seek shelter among the Saxons as her only hope of surviving the coming winter.

 

Godwin, a Briton enslaved by the Saxons, is a man ignorant of his own inheritance and the secret of power he possesses.

 

A mysterious enemy, who will stop at nothing to wield absolute power over Elvendom, is about to make his move.

 

When destiny throws Elgiva and Godwin together, they embark upon the quest for the legendary Lorestone, the only thing that can save Elvendom from the evil that threatens to destroy it.

 

There is help to be found along the way from a petulant pony and a timid elf boy but, as the strength of their adversary grows, can Elgiva’s friends help her to find the Lorestone before it falls into the wrong hands?

 

I know you live over in the UK. Are you sick of the fact that most Americans think everyone over there talks like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins? And while we’re at it, “Need ya chimney swept, gub’ner?”

I don’t know what you mean, Mikey. I sound exactly like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, just in a higher register. I do have a chimney as well and it hasn’t been swept for about 20 years so probably does need a bit of a clean. My godfather went to America when I was a child and never came back. He loved it and took American citizenship, and once a month would write to me about his adventures there. He instilled in me a lasting fondness for the US of A. We have our own misconceptions about the States too, mainly thanks to all the American TV we were bombarded with as kids.  (But you also gave us Star Trek and The Big Bang Theory so all is forgiven.)

 

Okay, you’re writing fantasy: How does modern fantasy like Harry Potter compare to the classics like Lord of the Rings?

As someone with an honours degree in English Language & Literature, I should be able to answer this fluently and easily while impressing you with my erudition but I feel I’ve been poked in the grey matter with a pointed stick. All I can come up with is the difference in style, which is a result of changing trends in writing over the years. Tolkein’s prose has more padding than a warehouse full of duvets and if LOTR landed on a publisher’s desk today, some ruthless editing would be required. Nowadays, there’s a great deal of emphasis on the active voice and the POVs too. When I first worked with an editor, I had no idea that head-hopping was a hanging offence or that adverbs were the spawn of Satan. As a reader, reading books like LOTR, I had grown up with that particular wordy style, and it didn’t seem odd to me. Bit of a culture shock! And what in heaven’s name was the active voice?

 

You’re stuck on a deserted island. Which fantasy character from your favorite fantasy novel would you want to have stuck with you and why?

I’m torn here between Gandalf from LOTR and Lord Mhoram from The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever (but have long suspected they are really one and the same being). I reckon if you’re marooned somewhere, having a companion who can wield magic is probably a good thing.

 

Last question, once you do your fantasy trilogy with Burning Willow Press, what’s the one genre or the one story you really would like to get out there?

I have a sci-fi novella called The Star Attraction I would love to see published. It’s about a shapeshifting prostitute called Tyler who works in The House on Glimmer Street on a planet called Genevra where all the trade routes in the galaxy converge. When Tyler falls in with British cop, Jerry Kinsella—who has come from Earth on the trail of a fugitive—hilarity, drama, and sexual ambiguity ensue. At least, I hope so. I have only submitted it to one publisher so far and, being British like me, I thought they would get its quirkiness, but no.

 

Thank you, Carol, for putting up with the interview. For anyone interested we’ll hook you up with links where you can find Carol and her writing below.

Thanks, Mikey, for a splendid interview, and apologies for waffling on and using British English (assuming you kept the spellings!). I’d like a quick shout out here too, if I may, for my UK publisher Dilliebooks.co.uk. They are open for submissions if anyone wants to try their hand at non-fiction!

 

LINKS:

 

Being Krystyna:

Amazon US – https://tinyurl.com/jesnssb

Amazon UKhttps://tinyurl.com/js4d2ab

 

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolBrowne

Twitter : https://twitter.com/@CarolABrowne

Blog: http://authorcarolbrowne.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5171653.Carol_Browne

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Author Spotlight: Mirren Hogan

Welcome back to the oddest interview segment on the internet. Tonight, our guest brings the thunder from down under! Miss Mirren Hogan.

So, Mirren, please introduce yourself to the readers out there. What would you like them to know about you?

Hi Mikey. Well I write fantasy and even like making up fantasy names. Like- a lot! I also write scifi, paranormal, horror… basically everything but romance.

 

How long have you been writing? What were some of your early influences to take up the career?

I first remember writing in year 5 or 6, so pretty much as long as I’ve been able to put pencil to paper (and pen when I got my pen licence). I was inspired by Narnia and The Secret Garden; books which were magical and/ or about magic. I’ve been enchanted by them ever since.

 

Okay, off the wall question, would you rather be a great writer who wasn’t exactly known…or would you rather feel like your work was mediocre but a huge success?

I’d be happy to be a good writer whose work gets noticed, but I could deal with mediocre as long as I’m not writing crap.

 

I know you’ve co-authored a few novels before. Please, tell us how that works.

Basically I write a paragraph or two, then send it to my co-author who adds a bit more and sends it back. The story generally happens organically, with us throwing twists at each other whenever we can to keep things fun.

 

I’ve heard you’ve got a new piece of work coming out. Please tell everyone what it’s about, where the idea came from, just any and everything about the project you think we should know. The floor is yours. Run with it.

Yes, the book is titled Night Witches. It’s my one historical fiction, in spite of the name. The Night Witches were actually a regiment of Soviet women who flew bombing raids on the front lines during WW2. At times they fought alongside regiments of men, and lived in the same rough conditions. They also had no parachutes or radios for much of the war, and flew in canvas and wood biplanes. Think flying matchsticks, they were that flammable.

My book follows Nadia as she signs up to go and fly against the Nazis. She meets some interesting (and many actual historical) characters along the way, and grows up – well – in a war zone.

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Get Night Witches RIGHT HERE.

 

 

Okay, everybody has their normal big name authors they list when asked who their favorites are. Who are some lesser known authors whose work you really enjoy and would recommend to people?

Why Jay Michael Wright II is a fine author, as is Kerry Alan Denney, Kindra Sowder, SL Perrine, MA Ray, Michelle Irwin and JS Frankel, to name a few.

 

And, yea, I’m totally stealing this from the Actor’s Studio, but I don’t care. If there’s a God, when he opened up the pearly gates for you, what would you like to hear him say to you?

Yes, there are iPads and books in heaven, now that way to the wine, cheese, pizza and chocolate.

 

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Mirren Hogan’s facebook: RIGHT HERE.

Mirren Hogan’s Amazon page: RIGHT HERE.

 

Character Interview: Autumn, aka “The Widow” from The Rise of UMBRA

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It’s a very interesting day here at the Oddest Interview Segment on the Internet, as we do our first character interview. I am joined today but Autumn from the novel “The Rise of UMBRA.” First of all, welcome to the show Autumn!

Yea, whatever.

Okay, would you like to tell people about yourself? I hear you and your partner, Sive, are the best assassins the Crime Cartel ever had.

Okay, firstly…We’re not an assassins. We’re bounty hunters. Somebody fucks up, we come and get you. If you fight, well…that’s on you. I have no issue putting a slug in someone’s head…including nosy interviewers.

Ahem, alrighty then. You and your partner, Sive–how did you meet?

I was a homeless teenager, living off of what I could steal. One day I just happened to pick Sive’s ship. There was enough loot in there to live like a Queen for months. Too bad he caught me. Not really sure why he didn’t kill me. He had every right to, but instead he took me on and trained me to be his partner.

And UMBRA, how did this team come together?

Hey! How do you know about UMBRA?

Well, I kind of wrote the book.

Book? What book? Are you keeping tabs on us? Because Dread wouldn’t like that in the least bit.

Yes, Dread. He’s the leader of the team right? Isn’t he the one who sent you on the mission to Mars?

I’m not sure how you know this, but yes. We were given the option of infiltrating a Martian research facility or death. That made the decision pretty easy.

How do you like your teammates?

Some of them are annoying–I won’t lie. Bumblebee for one. He’s let the fact he used to be a big deal in the cage fighting leagues go to his head. He’s used to women just throwing themselves at him. I don’t think he knew how to handle me when we met. 

What about the others?

Well, Harmonica is an older fellow–really nice. He used to work for the Earth military and he’s seen some things nobody should see. I like him though. He’s kind of a father figure type.

Leviathan is kind of quiet, but he’s a hell of a hacker. He’s the one who is the most different in the group. He’s not really into our business for the mayhem. He’s just trying to take care of his family. I think  you kind of have to respect him for that.

Bloody is a British smuggler, usually too stoned to really give a fuck. He’s a bit of prankster though. I still owe  him for the little speech he made right before I had to jump out of his ship.

You had to jump out of his ship?

Fuck yea, I did. Only way to get to the planet’s surface without being noticed. Fucking high altitude atmospheric reentry. I wouldn’t recommend it.

What about Dread? What’s he like?

Master strategist. I’ve got to give it to the man, he’s got the brains to make shit happen and the connections to cover his ass. He’s not a man to fuck with.

And what about his 2nd in command, D’leet?

The man is a fucking legend. He’s a muscle type but he’s smart too. Don’t let his reputation make you think otherwise.

Anything you’d like the fans to know before we finish?

Yea, don’t fuck with UMBRA. We WILL get you.

 

 

Author Spotlight: Brian G. Murray

Hello readers and misfits! We’re back with the oddest author interview segment on the internet! Today’s contestant is Brian G Murray…so come one down! You’re the next contestant on the Price is…wait, that’s not my show. Still, sit your ass down, sir. Let’s talk some books.

Forgotten Hero is currently out on the market, tell the folks ‘cross the internet what it’s about.

Forgotten Hero is an epic heroic fantasy novel with good versus evil.  Our heroes have to try and stop a Darklord from completing a ritual to resurrect his master and plunge the world back into darkness.  But, here’s the thing, one of the heroes is a character called Death and he used to be evil’s champion. As the reader, you need to try and work out who is Death and who’s side is on.  Swords, sorcery, battles, intrigue, mysteries, love, romance, heroes, villains and mayhem – what more do you want?

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Want to add this goodie to your reading list? Buy it RIGHT HERE.

 

The sequel I’ve heard is scheduled to come out June 17. That’s like a month before Vampire novel hits. You tryin’ to steal my thunder? Wanna take this out outside? Meet me outsie, how baw dat? Shudder Ugh, sorry, can’t believe I went there. Ok, seriously, tell us a little about the sequel and why the people need to get on book one so they can enjoy this little gem.

Book 2 – Dark Times follows on exactly where Forgotten Hero ends and continues the story.  I throw our heroes into even more perils, forcing them to travel to the belly of hell itself.  Will they stop the Dark One from returning?  He need Death to do what Death does best and that’s to kill, but will he?  I do not want to say much more and give spoilers, but this book continues to take the reader on an epic ride with so many twists and turns.

Stop strangling, me I will not give any spoilers – Arggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

 

Now, what people might not know is that you are quite the comic book collector. How many books do you have in the collection and what’s the one comic you’d follow Frodo across Mordor to try and get back? Yes, which book is “your precious?”

I have about 15,000 comics, loads of statutes and graphic novels.  My precious, well, it had been X-Men issue 1 from 1963, but I have that now.  But being a completest, I collect all variants for the Uncanny X-Men series, and the bane of my life and my new Precious is Uncanny X-Men 510 partial sketch cover – that bugger is selling for several thousand dollars per copy – kidney or comic!?!?!??!

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You know, that’s mighty pretty. I can see why he likes it.

 

Okay, let’s piss off the fanboys: Marvel or DC and why?

Marvel all the way – I was brought up on the X-Men and Spider-Man so will always be a Marvel fanboy.  Many of my friends at the time read DC, Batman and Superman, but I never got into them.  Oh, and confession time – I do read a little DC, some Batman occasionally.

 

I know you’re a huge X-men fan. Which of the movies made you fanboy and which could you have done without?

I was a fanboy long before the movies so I still hold the first X-Men movie in high regard. At the time we criticized the idea of Jackman being Wolverine – ‘He’s too fucking tall’, but give the actor kudos, he made the character his own – BUT he is STILL TOO FUCKING TALL!!!!!!

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“Say it to my fucking face, bub.” Hmm, appears Wolverine may not approve…

 

Jean Gray: Cyclops or Wolverine? Who’s her true love?

I am an old romantic, and though Wolverine is my favourite character, it has to be Jean Grey and Cyclops – I mean the covers to Uncanny X-Men 136 and 137 says it all. Oh and to be pedantic – it’s Grey not Gray – don’t shoot me – I am a geek!

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I don’t know. She seems to be digging on his Weapon-X right here…

 

Who’s your favorite comic book character of all time?

My favourite comic book hero is Wolverine, the best at what he does, and fuck Marvel for killing him off.

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One of the true greats has fallen…

 

Okay, who was more annoying in the beginning: Jubilee or Kitty Pryde?

I would say Jubilee as a reader I went through all the young girl getting powers with Kitty Pryde, so going through it a second time irked. 

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Annoying young girl getting powers A or B? YOU make the call.

 

What’s your all-time favorite comic book story arc? Which story arc can you just not stand and don’t understand why people love it?

Favourite all time comic book story arc, there are a few and some non-X-Men related ones, but if I have to pick one it’s – Days of Future Past – when I first read that story I was blown away.  Story I cannot stand has to be Batman – The Dark Knight Returns, I did not like it when I first read it and still do not like it – and yes I have tried reading it on numerous occasions but now given up. And before you ask, yes I do own the original first printings and the signed hardcover graphic novel – why . . . they are a must have. 

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Do you agree or disagree on these picks, people?

 

Do you think it hurts comic books that the reader knows people never stay dead? I mean, how many heroes of they killed off just to bring back later? Isn’t it almost a cheap ploy just to get sales?

Too right – if a character is dead then they are dead – but the issues is that Marvel for example has so many fucking continuities, it was getting hard to remember in which one the character is dead or alive.  At the moment Wolverine is dead, but for how long – opps he came back as Old Man Logan.  The bigger issue for me – oh prepare for the rant – is the number of re-starts, i.e. number 1’s and then the number of fucking variants they have for each issues.  Collecting modern comics, as a completest is getting more and more expensive. . . Breathe, I need to remember to breathe – bastards! I have stopped buying new issues because of this – but that’s a whole new level of me ranting!!

 

Okay, I’m going to say some comic book character names. You tell me what comes to mind immediately.

 

Cyclops?

Leader – true X-Men

Wolverine?

Best at what he does

Iron Man?

Pussy in a metal suit

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Batman?

Class act

Deadpool?

Give me patience

 

Last comic book question, how fucking awesome was the Deadpool movie?

I have to say I am NOT a fan of Deadpool – I am collecting all Mutant related comic book titles so Deadpool falls within that bracket, but the movie. . . fuck yeah, I have not laughed so much in years.  They finally found a role Ryan Reynolds can play without fucking it up – looking forward to the second movie.

 

Last question of the interview: if you could spend the day with Stan Lee, what would you talk to him about?

I would talk to him about the early days of Marvel, with the legends of the comic world, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, how they created the characters and how they developed the stories.  I would also like to know what character did not make the cut and why – he must have so many character that did not make it to print – that would be fascinating. 

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Want more Brian Murray? Find him below:

Website – http://www.briangmurray.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/briangmurrayauthor

Amazon page – www.amazon.com/author/briangmurray

Publisher – http://www.burningwillowpressllc.com

 

Author Spotlight: Charles Lee Mullenix (The oddest interview segment on the internet continues)

In the hotseat today we have Charles Lee Mullenix. He’s another author at Burning Willow Press and quite a character. First, let’s start off with what you already have released “The Future is Built on Ashes.” This is a wild mash-up of Cyberpunk fantasy and dystopian and has just about every niche of those genres in it in some capacity. Please, tell the readers what they’re missing by not reading this gem.

They would be missing everything found in genre fiction. Literally…everything. That’s not like when hipsters say literally, and mean figuratively. I’m talking literally everything. This book was born out of my frustration from years of writing low-budget screenplays. My imagination was always being restricted by the limitations of money, time, locations, available actors, etc, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I thought if I switched to books I could write anything I wanted with no creative ceiling, and I went f@#king crazy. From dragons to cyborgs to ninjas to monsters to myths to Gods/Devils to Demon/Angels, and even put my spin on classic literary icons. I like to play a game where I have somebody try to think of something ‘cool’ from genre fiction, and no matter what they think of I have it within this book or the series of books to follow. It’s got it all. My main protagonist is an original ‘being’, and I created a couple new monsters/technologies totally unique to this franchise.

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But this book about EVERYTHING RIGHT HERE.

 

Not only are you a writer but I’ve heard you’re a Martial Artist. Considering S.L. Kerns is a body builder I’ve thought of having you two square off in a Burning Willow Mortal Kombat fight, but that’s for another day. What got you into the Martial Arts and what discipline or disciplines do you practice?

I’ve seen that dude with his shirt off, S.L. Kerns, so I’m tellin’ ya right now that I’m not fighting fair. I will have a knife on me. Haha I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio, and it’s historically a fighter’s city. Tons of world champs, or well-known pro fighters have come from here. We have streets named after boxers, and I think for whatever reason it’s just genetically in us. We’re a scrappy town, so I was always into fighting kids as early as elementary school. But, in first grade I saw Enter the Dragon with Bruce Lee, and it was over. I was hooked. I would watch movies, kickboxing fights, MMA stuff before it was even considered MMA, and anything I could find Martial Arts related and I would study it. Watch entire movies, and fights in slow motion. Break down the body mechanics until I could do it myself. We’re talkin’ second or third grade. My mom bought me some instructional videos, and by 15 I was training at a local Jeet Kune Do gym. That’s the Martial Art that Bruce Lee created which was meant to be a blend of styles not limited to just one. My Sifu had studied under the man who took over Jeet Kune Do from Bruce after his death. The school was filled with top notch talent, and pro fighters. I’ve trained with some well-known icons and fighters during my time. All in all I’ve studied 26 arts in the equal number of years, so there’s a ton of disciplines in there. I’ve just kinda made them all my own. Pick and choose what works for me, but try to learn as much as possible.

 

Okay, that being said…Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris in real life with both in their prime. Who takes it and why?

I’ve gotta go with Bruce for obvious reasons, but I will give Chuck credit. Not only did Bruce handpick him for the final fight in Way of the Dragon, but he did so to spar with him. Norris was a beast back in the day.

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Bruce approves of this answer.

 

Were you a fan of Kung-Fu movies as a kid? I know I was. If so, what were your favorites?

Huge. Huge, huge fan. Enter the Dragon was epic. I grew up in the ‘80’s, and that was the height of the ninja phase of low-budget movies. Sho Kosugi is a God. All his movies. Enter the Ninja, Pray for Death, Ninja 3: Domination, and Black Eagle with VanDamme. Jean-Claude was a big deal too. Bloodsport. Kickboxer. Dude, there’s too many to name.

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Okay, we’ve covered that…but wait, kids. There’s more! You’re the lead vocalist of a metal band? You are quite literally getting cooler by the moment. What bands influenced your music and/or are just your favorite to listen to?

Thanks, man. You’re cool yourself. Best questions ever. Um, Guns n’ Roses in third grade changed my life. I’m adopted, and I’d tell people Axel Rose was my father. He’s not. I’ve been in mostly metal bands, so I’m inspired by a lot of wild, heavy sh@t that nobody has heard of. Every Time I Die, Dillinger Escape Plan, this Japanese Death Metal Goth band Dir En Grey is the most insane thing on this planet, but I also dig a lot of Hip Hop, Blues, Jazz, and Classical stuff.

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Did Charles’ mom take Axl to Paradise City? You decide…

 

So….greatest metal band ever: Black Sabbath….or Black Sabbath? Lol Okay, I’ll be fair,  you can pick any band you choose. (whispers: the correct answer is Black Sabbath)

If I ask Ozzy, or Dio version of Black Sabbath will I get slapped? Haha Love the Sabbath I do, but my favorite is actually Led Zeppelin.

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This debate still rages to this very day.

 

Hypothetical question: You can pick any two authors, alive or dead, and spend the day with them (one at a time) to pick their brains. Who do you pick and why?

Bret Easton Ellis. He inspired me a lot in my early twenties, and is still to this day probably my biggest influence. I’d love for him to show me the New York City that he knows while doing mountains of cocaine. Even though I’m sober now I’d come out of retirement for that. My second pick would be Arthur Conan Doyle. The Sherlock Holmes books were a huge deal for me as a kid. I’d just like to sip tea, and chat writing with him at an old library. He was English. He’d like tea, right?

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Mr. Ellis, you have been officially paged.

 

And if y’all thought we were done with Charles’ extra curricular activities, WRONG! You’re also a filmmaker about to start production on your first feature film. What’s the film name and what is it about? Who in the film industry has been an influence to you? Do you find film making and authoring to be related? Is the transition easy or is it hard? Sorry, that’s a lot of questions, so take your time answering.

I don’t want to give too much away about the movie, but like all my work it shares a unified universe with everything else. It is going to be a wild ride filled with sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, and Kung-Fu that ties into my books/comics. Quentin Tarantino was a big deal in my early teens, Japanese director Takashi Miike is a punk rock god who has directed like a hundred movies, Gareth Evans is a genius, and yes I think the mediums are related in ways. Maybe not for everyone, but it is all storytelling to me. One you just have to think of camera angles. I don’t think one is easier, or harder, but there is a lot more freedom when writing novels.

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Quentin can do my segment, as long as I don’t have to be “Mr. Pink.”

 

Last, but not least, you have a release coming out this summer I believe it is called “Block.” I’ve already been given a brief run down on it and it sounds intriguing. Tease the people with a little info to get them salivating for that pre-order date to get here.

“Block” follows a writer with writer’s block named Arthur Turk, direct nod to Arthur Conan Doyle, who is growing insane from frustration not being able to write anything of quality while navigating the world of a writer trying to get published. He’s strangely offered a dream job writing by a mysterious man named Mr. Mayflower, and from there he sees a supernatural world open before his eyes. One that was always there, and now he has become a part of it. Don’t wanna give too much away.

 

One last question, and I’m stealing this one (I’ll admit it). If Heaven’s real and God one day opens up the pearly gates for you, what do you want to hear him say?

Hey, everybody. Chill the f@#k out.

 

Thanks for your time, Charles. Looking forward to that new release!

Thank you, sir. This has been fantastic. Really fun. Thank you for your time, and I hope everybody checks out my work as well as all other Burning Willow Press authors. The entire crew over there from top to bottom are really great, talented people. Very passionate about writers/writing, and driven to help authors get their work to the masses.

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Mr. Charles Lee Mullenix. Tell me that’s not punk as fuck! 🙂