Codename: Knight Ranger Official Blog Tour Master Link List

Codename Knight Ranger Official Blog Tour Banner

KNIGHT RANGER POSTER ART 2My blog tour in support of Codename: Knight Ranger launches Monday, 2 November 2015! Check out Seventh Star’s announcement here. This blog post will serve as the master list, and I’ll add live links to the each post as soon as I know they’ve gone up.

It’s going to be an exciting week and I hope you come back frequently to check it out.  I want to thank all of the book bloggers who volunteered to be a part of the fun.

The complete blog tour is as listed:

Monday, 2 November 2015
On Cloud Eight and a Half (Guest Post)

Tuesday, 3 November 2015
Author Interview with Pete Welmerink

Wednesday, 4 November 2015
Armand Rosamilia Guest Post
RJ Sullivan Top 5 Post
Book In The Bag Author Interview/Guest Post

Thursday, 5 November 2015
Darkling Delights Author Interview

Friday, 6 November 2015
Beauty in Ruins: Science vs Superstition, Military vs Monsters? (Guest Blog)
Sheila’s Blog (Guest Blog)
Bee’s Knees Reviews

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Please check in regularly to see the list fill in, and leave a comment below as the tour progresses and to let me know what you think.

Thanks & remember TBIYTC!!!

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BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH SPOTLIGHT #25

TODAY’S BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH SPOTLIGHT IS BALOGUN OJETADE!

1014308_10151651562099253_183144284_nBalogun is the author of the bestselling Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within and screenwriter / producer / director of the films, A Single Link and Rite of Passage: Initiation.

He is one of the leading authorities on Steamfunk – a philosophy or style of writing that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and / or steampunk fiction – and writes about it, the craft of writing, Sword & Soul and Steampunk in general, at http://chroniclesofharriet.com/.

He is author of three novels – the Steamfunk bestseller, MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2); the science fiction gangster saga, Redeemer; and the Sword & Soul epic, Once Upon A Time In Afrika and contributing co-editor of two anthologies: Ki: Khanga: The Anthology and Steamfunk. He is also co-creator of the soon-to-be-released role-playing game, Ki-Khanga™: The Sword & Soul RPG.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once Upon A Time In Afrika

 

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Balogun can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Afrikan.Martial.Arts and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Baba_Balogun.

 

BE SURE TO HELP CELEBRATE BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH BY CHECKING OUT THE WORK(S) OF THIS WONDERFUL CREATOR & REMEMBER TBIYTC!!!

AUTHOR RJ SULLIVAN INTERVIEWED BY IVORY BLAQUE FOR HIS VIRTUAL BLUE BLOG TOUR!

Welcome to the latest installment of my friend and fellow Seventh Star Press author, RJ Sullivan’s Virtual Blue Tour, this stop features an interview with RJ conducted by none other than Ivory Blaque!

Ivory: Thanks for agreeing to this interview Mr. Sullivan.

RJ: No problem, thanks for having me.

Ivory: So I hear that you’re a male writer whose stories tend to feature strong female protagonists (sounds like someone else I know), what motivates you to use them?

RJ: Well it’s kinda complicated…I suppose it started with the female 80’s Rock stars such as Cyndi Lauper, Pat Benetar, Joan Jett and the band Heart. I saw that those women from MTV were so much more dramatic and in charge. A lot of that carried over into my writing because I found those figures very interesting. When I sat down to write my first novel, I wanted the challenge of writing outside of myself and you certainly can’t get more outside of yourself than by writing from the perspective of the opposite gender.

Ivory: I heard that your character Rebecca Burton is an investigator of the supernatural? I myself am employed with policing the things that go bump in the night. What inspired you to write about a character who explored those types of issues?

RJ: I was tasked with writing a series by Seventh Star Press. I wanted the freedom of writing standalone stories, while making them part of the series. So, making the continuing character an investigator seemed to be the solution to that. I went back to Columbo and Perry Mason for inspiration to tell standalone stories, where the story is the guest star. In Virtual Blue, the main story is about Blue Shaefer and Chip Farren, while Rebecca is kinda the background guest star. I also wanted to have a character who would remain somewhat a mystery. I didn’t want it to be where the reader learned all there was to know about Rebecca Burton in one story, to be followed with stories where she was just doing her shtick over and over again. I wanted there to be layers of her character that we would be exposing over the course of several adventures, that way there would be more of a reason for her to be present. The reader would learn something new about her with each story. You know a lot more about Rebecca Burton by the end of Virtual Blue than you did from the end of Haunting Obsession. The reader learns more about the organization she works for and there’s plenty more to be uncovered as the series progresses. I like having the flexibility to tell a different kind of story each time, feature her in the story and reveal more about her as a character. I’m sure we don’t know everything about you, do we?

Ivory: Seeing as though my life is one big adventure after another, to coin a phrase from someone we both know, “The Best Is Yet To Come.”

Moving right along, I particularly like the character of Blue Shaefer. This punkish girl has a lot of spunk and flava, she reminds me of a younger version of myself. What prompted you to bring Blue and Rebecca together?

RJ: Haunting Blue was my homage to The Hardy Boys. I wanted to do a Hardy Boys type of story for big kids that turns dark. I started with two male characters, but couldn’t make them gel. So I changed the gender of one of the characters and added sexual tension, which gave me much more to play with. At that point, one of the characters became Blue, who took over the story and pushed Chip into the background. There’s still the Hardy Boys tradition of two kids going off and getting into trouble and encountering a mystery, but soon the story turned out to be more about Blue.

When writing Haunting Obsession, I realized I needed a paranormal investigator and immediately Rebecca Burton came to mind.

Ivory: In Virtual Blue, you explore the themes of the occult and technology, to blend them into the perfect threat. Is this something that you intend to explore in later works or is this a one-shot deal?

RJ: I indicate that there are other events that happen simultaneously to the events in Virtual Blue. I think that there are some other stories to be told, so I may have another short story or two that touches upon the Techno Magic aspects sometime in the future.

Ivory: In creating a protagonist like Rebecca was it important that she live in Indianapolis or that the setting be Indianapolis?

RJ: Yes, mainly because it’s what I know. Rebecca Burton is definitely transportable and has federal status with no jurisdiction, even though her base of operations is Indy. I set this up in that way so that she can travel broadly if necessary.

Ivory: In writing Virtual Blue, what do you want fans of your work to take from this novel? How do the events in this novel set them up for future works?

RJ: Haunting Blue is not widely available yet, but in a couple of months it will be. I wanted to challenge myself to get to the crisis more quickly. There’s a lot of lead time in Haunting Blue that I didn’t need to address in Virtual Blue. I wanted to tie up things from Haunting Blue and then jump right into the story. I wanted to up the ante a bit with Virtual Blue, but still have it tied to Haunting Blue in some way. My intention was to give my readers a direct sequel, but also something very different than before. My thoughts were in writing a sequel, to make it as fresh as possible.

Ivory: I know that our mutual friend, Mr. Allen tends to procrastinate when it comes to penning my adventures. How did you handle the writing of Virtual Blue? Was it something you just sat down and got done or did you have starts and stops along the way?

RJ: I started Virtual Blue right after Haunting Blue, but got sidelined with Haunting Obsession, which actually started out as flash fiction. It was then that Haunting Obsession took over my life for the next six months. I wanted Virtual Blue to be my longest and most intensive offering to date. I generally work on one project at a time.

Ivory: How have your fans/readers reacted to Rebecca Burton in regards to the series? Have they given you any feedback as to what they want to see in the future?

RJ: I listen to my readers. They’re very passionate about seeing more of Blue. I will include her in future stories, but Rebecca will be the main protagonist moving forward. Virtual Blue serves as a passing of the baton so to speak. I want future stories to feature Rebecca as I wanted a more professional, adult protagonist that I can better relate to. I try to meet the expectations of my readers, but also continue to surprise them. I think that the joys of reading any series is the surprise and discovery one experiences while reading the stories. In order to do this, I want to explore introducing new genres into the Rebecca-verse.

Ivory: I guess we’ll conclude this interview with one last question which your readers and I are dying to learn about. What is in the future for Blue and Rebecca?

RJ: I’m currently experimenting with a Sci-Fi series (Red Lotus). The next Rebecca Burton story will have her as a supporting character exploring male issues. I’m going to really be digging into the things that males deal with.

Ivory: Thank you for allowing this interview Mr. Sullivan.

RJ: You’re welcome Ivory, it was my pleasure.

Ivory: Your pal Mr. Allen and I had a long talk about him exploring new exciting things. Hopefully someday in the near future I may cross paths with Rebecca Burton and Blue Shaefer, who knows…it’s a small world filled with infinite possibilities.

RJ: Indeed it is!

RJSullivanTourBadge450About the Author: R. J. Sullivan’s novel Haunting Blue is an edgy paranormal thriller and the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer and her boyfriend Chip Farren. Seventh Star Press released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella in 2012 and Virtual Blue, the second book in Fiona’s tale, in 2013. Seventh Star will release a new edition of Haunting Blue in early 2014. R. J.’s short stories have been featured in such acclaimed collections as Dark Faith Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don’t Sparkle. His newest project is the Red Lotus series of science fiction novelettes for readers of all ages. R.J. resides with his family in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. Check in regularly to learn the latest about the projects of R. J. Sullivan.    

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Book Synopsis: Did you ever wish you could escape to a virtual world? What if you could…but then couldn’t get out? Two years after her deadly clash with a vengeful ghost, Fiona “Blue” Shaefer still can’t shake off the trauma of that night. Moving to New York with her father didn’t help. Neither did absorbing herself in her college classes. Not even her poetry provided the solace it once did. She convinces herself that ending her relationship with Eugene “Chip” Farren, her long-distance boyfriend and final tie to the horrors of that night, might bring the closure she needs. Blue travels to Bloomington to break the news to Chip in person, but her timing couldn’t be any worse. The Sisters of Baalina, vengeful cultists who practice a new form of “techno-magic,” have targeted Chip’s multi-player videogame as the perfect environment to cast a dangerous spell to free a demoness from the very pits of hell. In the process, their plan may trap Blue in a prison of the mind with no locks, no bars, and no escape.

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Author Links:
Website: http://rjsullivanfiction.com/
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/R.J.SullivanAuthor
Goodreads:http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5199299.R_J_Sullivan
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rjsullivanauthr

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Tour Schedule and Activities:

October 28 Jess Resides Here Contest  
October 28 Jorie Loves a Story Review
October 28 Come Selahway With Me Guest Post  
October 29 Sheila Deeth Blog Character Interview w/ Blue  
October 30 Armand Rosamilia Guest Post  
October 30 A Haunted Head Special Post Tba  
October 30 Deal Sharing Aunt Review  
October 30 Word to Dreams Promo Spotlight  
October 31 John F. Allen Ivory Blaque Interview of RJ!
October 31 Spellbindings Character Post with Rebecca Burton  
October 31 Library Girl Reads and Reviews Character Interview of Rebecca Burton  
November 1 Bee’s Knees Reviews Review
November 1 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post  
November 2 Azure Dwarf Guest Post  
November 3 Angela Meadon Review  

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Where to buy Virtual Blue:

Amazon Print Versionhttp://www.amazon.com/Virtual-Blue-R-J-Sullivan/dp/1937929329  
Kindle Versionhttp://www.amazon.com/Virtual-Blue-ebook/dp/B00EVIX1A8  

Other eBook Links
Nookhttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/virtual-blue-rj-sullivan/1116802948?ean=2940148624493
Kobohttp://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/virtual-blue  
iBookstorehttps://itunes.apple.com/us/book/virtual-blue/id696653418?mt=11

BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH SPOTLIGHT #2

TODAY’S SPOTLIGHTED AUTHOR IS THE LEGENDARY STEVEN BARNES!

Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is an American science fiction writer, lecturer, creative consultant, and human performance technician. He was born in Los Angeles, CA and is married to writing peer and legendary speculative fiction author, Tananarive Due. The couple reside in California with their son. Barnes also has a daughter from a  previous marriage.

Besides being an author, Barnes is a certified hypnotherapist and an avid practitioner of the martial arts. He holds black belts in Kenpo Karate and Kodokan Judo. Barnes also practices Kali stick and knife fighting, Wu-style Tai Chi, Tae Kwon Do and Aikido among other styles. He also studies Yoga and is a life coach with Diamond Hour.

Dream Park Novel CoverHis first published fiction work was a Hugo Award nominated novelette titled, “The Locusts”, he co-authored with Larry Niven. Barnes has since gone on to write a popular series of novels with Niven, titled “The Dream Park Series.”

Several novels in the series followed and a legion of fans devoured them. The writing duo maintained a successful writing arrangement and went on to produce other series together as well.

 

 

Street Lethal Novel Cover

He has also penned solo works of note, including The Aubry Knight series, which featured one of my personal favorites, “Street Lethal.”

Steven’s work became a very powerful, influential and inspiring voice in Black Speculative Fiction and science fiction in general.

Several other series followed, both solo and co-authored.

 

Barnes has also written screenplays for The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits, as well as writing novelizations for popular science fiction franchises such as: Star Trek and Star Wars.

Danger Word

He is still very active in writing and recently co-authored a screenplay with his wife Tananarive Due for a short film titled, “Danger Word” which stars actor Frankie Faison.

Over the course of his career, Barnes has written nearly thirty novels. A bibliography can be found at the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Barnes

 

Steven Barnes is a personal writing inspiration to me and one of my heroes.

BE SURE TO HELP CELEBRATE BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH BY CHECKING OUT THE WORK(S) OF THIS WONDERFUL WRITER & REMEMBER TBIYTC!!!

STAR TREK FRANCHISE DISCUSSION:

To boldly go where we already boldly went before, while giving a dying franchise a shot in the arm!

Star-Trek

THIS ISN’T A REVIEW OF THE STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS FILM!!!

I saw a special screening of Star Trek: Into Darkness, prior to its official debut and while I really enjoyed the film and got a little more than what I expected, it wasn’t new and mind-blowing, which to me means that they did it right.  The following is MY OPINION on what this reboot for Star Trek is and what it means for the franchise. This explores why I think director JJ Abrams has done a GOOD job with the franchise reboot and why the different direction/changes were necessary in my opinion. While this is an opinion piece and open to comments, let’s keep any disagreements civil and courteous, with the idea that I’m in no way trying to convert you to my way of thinking/opinion. That said, fellow Trekkies please refrain from tossing bottles and rotten tomatoes at me during a convention/conference or other such public event!

Quite a few Star Trek fans affectionately known as Trekkies (some of which I happen to KNOW and LOVE) were up in arms when JJ Abrams was tapped to direct the Star Trek reboot/reimaging. I have to admit, I was skeptical myself and I consider myself to be a more open minded Trekkie than most of my brethren. That said, if you look at box office receipts alone, the first film was VERY successful. This and the fact that it is an established franchise is the reason we have the sequel out in theaters right now.

Recently, I had an online discussion with some of my friends and fellow Trekkies about ST:Into Darkness and they weren’t impressed. Of course, some of them weren’t impressed with the first film in the reboot and neither they or I expected any different result. Besides the complaints of obvious plot holes (it’s not like any of the other Star Trek TV series and/or movies had them, lol!), there was the lack of respect they felt was given to the source material. This is the meat of this special, Star Trek Franchise Discussion!

It is my opinion (and therefore not law or any attempt on my part to sway you to my line of thinking) that while I’m a fan of Star Trek, I think that it was only really thought provoking sci-fi when and because the content was relative to the period in which it was spawned. (This is my personal opinion, so again don’t throw bottles and/or rotten tomatoes! =D). The core idea behind the TV show was Wagon Trail to the stars…most of today’s audience doesn’t even get that reference. The franchise had to reset and reinvent on some level just to be relevant to today’s audience (outside of Trekkies). Honestly, (again in my opinion) JJ Abrams has done just that. If he hadn’t, it would have been the same stories told the same way and I personally didn’t want that.

The Space Age is said to have officially began in 1957 with Sputnik, which was nine years prior to the debut of Star Trek: TOS. Something must be said in regard to the leap in sci-fi fanfare during this time as man was coming into an age of real life space exploration and this show was the inspiration for much of the fascination with space exploration and modern technology we take for granted today. ST:TOS was cutting edge for its time with wireless handheld communicators, wireless headpieces, pneumatic doors, portable computers, artificial intelligence, two way communication screens, needle-less injections and portable medical scanners. Guess what? We have all of those things as a reality today. Back then, our reality was Science Fiction and we’ve come a long way indeed. So, how do we take things that seemed so cool and FAR OUT (I know I’m dating myself) and make them new and fresh and hip to today’s audience?

I think JJ Abrams had no choice but to do things the way he did to make the concept and the imagery relevant to today’s audience, much to the chagrin of diehard Trekkies. There’s a reason that the deck of the Enterprise looks like the inside of an Apple store as opposed to how it looked on the show…relatability! Today’s generation knows what the Apple store looks like inside and they get excited by being there, a replica of the ST:TOS set…not so much. Abrams had to make the set look inviting to a new generation, while achieving a similar configuration to the original set. I would think this would be a VERY difficult undertaking to say the least (and for those whining about it, can you do any better?).

Another aspect of the lost of relevance ST:TOS is the idea of an international community. Most people 40 and over can remember a time when the world wasn’t at your fingertips and news from the other side of the world came in days, if not weeks, as opposed to seconds. Gene Roddenberry envisioned Star Trek as “Wagon Trail to the stars,” essentially a space western (is it any wonder Captain Kirk has such a cowboy-esque attitude?). He also addressed issues such as The Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement. It was very socially conscious to have a Russian and an African American (a woman no less) as main characters in the show, not to mention giving television its first interracial kiss! The show gave the world a glimpse of a world where we had moved beyond the constraints of race, creed, color, religion and even species, in an effort to be equally accepted. These were VERY hot bed issues of the time…not so much today (although, we still have a VERY LONG WAY TO GO!).

I say all of this to make the point that Abrams had to find a way to take a sci-fi franchise, steeped in past social and historical issues/relevance and relate that to a generation that had never experienced (even a little bit), what was very much a part of everyday life back then. Let’s be real, today’s kids (anyone 30 or younger) have not lived, breathed and otherwise experienced many of the struggles society had with the themes ST:TOS explored at that time. Ask them about the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement or laws against interracial dating/marriage and you’ll likely get a blank stare as this is VERY common today.

The Star Trek franchise made another attempt in the late 90’s to revitalize itself and try to capture the spirit of ST:TOS, when they introduced a TV show called Enterprise. The show depicted the early days of Starfleet (pre Kirk) and while it resonated with some, it’s reception overall was lackluster compared to the series and movies that proceeded it. There is a reason (imho) that Enterprise failed to capture the audiences beyond a handful of seasons and was never revisited, and chief among them was it’s relatability to the audience/generation. That group of folks had grown up with Star Trek:The Next Generation as their (in some cases only) exposure to the Star Trek franchise and to quite a few of them, Enterprise was boring.

We also have to take into consideration that ST:TNG was best able to capture the audience with social issues of the time and cool technology (that had not yet been produced for public consumption). ST:TNG had holodecks, badge communicators, voice recognition software for computers, touch screen computer consoles and tablet PC’s. Kids today have all of those things now…it’s not anything to be excited about anymore and definitely not so cool and wonderful as it was in the mid 1980’s. Another thing about ST:TNG was that it didn’t have to try to establish preceding mythos of the franchise, it jumped right into the fray and won the admiration of Geekdom by providing a setting in the future , more advanced tech/weaponry, new species and special effects on par with anything the Star Trek movies ever produced.

The above opinions all work to illustrate the following: How could Hollywood take ST:TOS (a sci-fi franchise that had been struggling for years to crossover and reach larger audiences in the theaters), make it more mainstream and reach a newer, broader audience? They had to reinvent the wheel and that is a VERY difficult thing to do and impossible to please everyone in the process. I think that this is something the diehard Trekkies should take into consideration a bit more (or get their ideas at doing it better out to Hollywood). In my opinion it all boils down to taking the canon of a TV show made in the 1960’s which addressed the social and historical issues of that era, featuring technology that (about half of) is common in today’s world and making it resonate with today’s generation. A different direction had to be taken, love it or hate it, Abrams did that. He didn’t make a perfect movie(s), nor did he necessarily capture the charm and sense of wonder that ST:TOS had (although in my opinion that’s impossible), but what he did do is make films that introduced beloved characters to a new audience, took elements of the franchise and wove them into something new and relatable to said new audience. An effort which I personally salute!

In regards to the underwhelming box office numbers for the latest foray into the Star Trek franchise, I think it has far less to do with disgruntled fans of the genre and franchise, than it has to do with BOX OFFICE COMPETITION!!! With Iron Man 3(already a billion dollar franchise) having been recently released, and The Great Gatsby still at the box office, it’s no wonder (at least to me) that Star Trek didn’t earn as much as the studio had hoped. But, in all honesty, earning only 25 million short of what they wanted to see, against Iron Man 3 (a movie that had made a billion dollars already by the time Star Trek came out) was VERY impressive and respectable, imho.

In conclusion, I think that the Star Trek franchise accomplished its mission in that it:

A)Rejuvenated a beloved (but dying) sci-fi franchise while utilizing enough source material so that it wasn’t entirely foreign.

B)Reached a new audience with the summer blockbuster feel, and

C)Received enough box office receipts to be monetarily successful and competitive.

Was it a hit with everyone? Obviously not, but it did get everyone to take notice and whether you are with the new program or lamenting about the days of old, you’re doing exactly what the folks at Paramount are wanting you to do…TAKING NOTICE!

STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS FILM REVIEW COMING SOON!!!

WRITERS WORKSHOP OF SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY

My publisher, Seventh Star Press is proud to announce that Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy,  an incredible book by editor Michael Knost, is now available in eBook format, with print availability in trade paperback due on Wednesday. This release features contributions from a sensational list of writers such as Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, Kevin J. Anderson, Ursula K. Le Guin, Harry Turtledove, Joe Haldeman, and many other top names in genre fiction, Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy is a highly valuable contribution to the speculative fiction community developed by Bram Stoker Award-winning editor Michael Knost.

Final-WW_cover-WebWriters Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy is a collection of essays and interviews by and with many of the movers-and-shakers in the industry. Each contributor covers the specific element of craft he or she excels in. Expect to find varying perspectives and viewpoints, which is why the reader will find many find differing opinions on any particular subject. It is a book with something to offer all levels of writers, from those seeking to get published for the first time to others who have numerous releases to their credit.

This edition also features several original illustrations from award-winning artists Matthew Perry and Bonnie Wasson. In addition to their own illustrations, a special collaborative piece created by the two artists is featured in the book.

Available by mid-week in trade paperback format, Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy is now available in eBook format for the Kindle and Nook at the following links for just $4.99

CLICK THE LINKS BELOW TO LEARN MORE & GET YOUR COPY TODAY!!!

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle UK

Nook

http://seventhstarpress.blogspot.com/2013/04/writers-workshop-of-science-fiction.html