Cover Reveal: Gemini Rising II

We’ve got another great cover reveal to share today! This one is for Gemini Rising II: The Light and the Flame, the sequel to Gemini Rising, by Louann Carroll, one of my amazing fellow Crescent Moon authors! Here’s the blurb:

1600x2400Ripped from her deathbed, Noah transports Kate to the Olam Yetzirah, the dimension where universes form. They seek the advice of the archangel, Michael, in how best to get back to Earth and their children. Kate’s son and their newborn daughter, Lucia, the one spoken of in the prophecy Gemini Rising, await their return.

Trouble arises and concern ripples through the Olam. Kate is unable to make the transition from human to bond mate and her dreams of returning to Earth with Noah are crushed. Uriel will become Kate’s mentor while Noah is dispatched to Naresh, his home planet and to his people to whom the Light no longer speaks.

Will Kate become the bond mate she is meant to be? Will Noah find welcome with his people or will they despise him for taking the Light from their souls. Most important of all, will the prophecy of Lucia be fulfilled, or will Belial, demon of Hades, murder her in a fit of jealous rage.

3241971About Louann

Louann Carroll is a Native Californian living in the Sierra Nevada foothills with her husband, Dennis.

Mother to three children, she is an avid rock, fossil, and gem hunter who enjoys sharing her finds with family and friends. She is a student of alternative religion, archaeology, anthropology, and paleontology.

After leaving her position as C.E.O. in the Bay Area, she has pursued her writing career with much success. Winner of the 2010 Crescent Moon Press award for best novel, she has added numerous titles to her resume. She is the author of the Gemini series, A Shadow of Time, a paranormal romance, Journeys, The Adventure of Leaf, and other children’s stories.

You can reach her at:

Twitter @LouannCarroll

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLouann…

E-mail carroll.louann@yahoo.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1426100.Louann_Carroll 
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Louann-Carroll/e/B001K838AK/ref=ntt_dp_epwb

“Down on Vengeance Creek”–The Story Behind the Story

Ever since I first heard the word “steampunk” I had the idea to write a story where a man is turned into a steam-powered cyborg on a mission of vengeance. I wanted to set it in the Old West because, yeah, Hang ‘Em High with Clint Eastwood. Westerns are good for vengeance stories.

So it was inevitable that I would write the story, but I didn’t want to just write a typical steam-powered cyborg story. I mean, come on, how many do we need?

And think about that for a minute. Steam engines require heat hot enough to boil water. Putting one inside a human being is not a good idea. So yeah, this wasn’t going to be a happy story, and I wanted the voice, the characters, the whole thing to transcend what is normally done.

In essence, I didn’t want some white cowpoke going after bad guys, or even some British dandy. No, for this story, I wanted to go back to a paper I wrote in college, which was a long time ago.

In college, I studied slave narratives, and I wrote a paper mimicking the language the scholars used when transcribing their conversations with ex-slaves. So it’s like this. Back in the 1930’s, the former African-American slaves were dying, and scholars didn’t want their histories to be lost. So they went around and talked to the people and then wrote down what they said. Verbatim. Bad grammar and all.

That’s what I wanted to do with my Vengeance Creek story. I wanted it to be from the point of a view of a freed slave whose family was murdered. A brilliant blacksmith turns him into a cyborg to get revenge.

I knew I couldn’t go full-on slave narrative, or yeah, I might come across a wee bit racist, so I softened the language some. And I avoided using the ‘n’ word. Not my place to use that word. It’s funny, but some of the people who read it were worried that I shouldn’t be trying to write like a black man, but if that’s the case, do I only tell stories about middle-aged white guys in the suburbs? Kill me now.

No, I stuck to my guns. I submitted the story to Quincy J. Allen, who agreed to publish it in the fourth collection of Penny Dread Tales. Hurray! And I was given pole position, the first story baby, the alpha dog spot.

Funny, but Quincy thanked me for avoiding the use of the ‘n’ word. However, I talked with an African-American guy who said I should’ve used it, that it would have fit. But again, not my place. That is the true American curse word, and I don’t want to be a part of it. I did have to use it once in LONG LIVE THE SUICIDE KING, but man, I really tried not to.

At the big coming out party for The Penny Dread Tales Volume IV, we each read a part of our stories. I was soooo nervous to read mine because yeah, writing it was one thing, speaking it is an entire different thing all together. But I stepped up, and in my best black voice, I read the first few pages of the story. People were swept along. I was a big hit and no one was offended. Thank God. And now I am dying to read the whole thing! It’s such a fun shoot ‘em up and the ending is so righteous.

As a side note, I am loving this movement in the steampunk community toward more diverse stories from around the globe. The 19th century really was the start of globalization, and yeah, everyone has a story to tell.

And I have an idea for another multi-cultural steampunk story…this one in India, with a transgender spy working against the British empire. Oooooh, just typing those words gets me itching to start.

And yeah, that one I’ll send to Quincy as well. I am just loving his Penny Dread Tales anthologies. I’m in volume III and IV and I feel very fortunate.

You can find them online and all over the place electronically. If you want a physical copy, I have some. Just hit me up.

Thanks everyone!

The Story Behind the Story–A Real American Hero and Laser Rifles

Okay, my blog has been deader than the Jar-Jar Binks fan club. So in an effort to blog more and get more action on my website (action, pow!), I’m going to start telling the story behind some of the stories I’ve written over the past couple of years.

I love novels. I was born to write novels—but I also like short fiction because it is a playground, it is a proving ground, and it is practice, wonderful practice. My friend used to say whenever I wrote, no matter how small the project, it was like a jazz musician working on their chops.

So without further ado, here is the first story behind the story and an example of me working on my chops.

In July 2014, my story POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS COMMANDER hit the streets, and soared to a #1 position in Amazon’s Kindle Worlds Action/Adventure category. Well, it’s not like it’s my story because I wrote it with the fabulously talented Peter J. Wacks, so it’s our story, a G.I. Joe story, and it’s funny, poignant, and one reviewer called it heart warming. There’s also lots of killing and laser rifles.

Like Dr. Evil. “Lasers.” Why lasers?

I’ll get to that.

It all started out in the 1980’s. I was what they called a latchkey kid. I’d get home from school to an empty house and I’d watch T.V. from about three o’clock to ten o’clock every night. Not a lot of friends for me. Real people were too scary.

Luckily, I had my imaginary friends. Like Liono, Optimus Prime, and the G.I. Joe team.

I watched a ton of G.I. Joe and loved every laserblast. Yeah, laser rifles. I’m getting there. I’m getting there.

Flash forward twenty years. Um, make that thirty. Hollywood came out with not one but two G.I. Joe movies. And yeah, not the greatest cinema ever, but I adored the movies. I got to be thirteen again, and being thirteen again, I didn’t care about an iffy plot or flat characters. I just wanted action!

In G.I. Joe: Retaliation (the second movie), they have ninjas fighting our heroes on a mountain side, dangling off ropes, and sword fighting. How cool is that?!

I posted on Facebook that I loved G.I. Joe. Just a quick post that probably alienated some people, but at least I wasn’t talking about religion or politics or Doctor Who. Aaron? Liking G.I. Joe? Really?

Yeah. Love it.

I was at a poker game with some author types, and Quincy J. Allen saw the post and suggested fan fiction, like funny fan fiction. He had heard of someone looking to co-write a satirical G.I. Joe story. The idea hit me immediately. What if Cobra Commander had PTSD (as in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)? What if he was in a clinic with one of the G.I. Joe guys who was also suffering from PTSD? The story would write itself.

I thought nothing of it until I got a call from the managing editor at WordFire Press, the big cheese, Peter J. Wacks who was wondering if I was serious. I was.

We wrote it. I didn’t have time, but for this story, I made time. I wrote on airplanes, I wrote in hotel rooms after a long day at my day job, and after an exhausting conference, on barely any sleep, I pounded out ten thousand words in a day.

We polished. And it’s now live on Amazon.

Of all the things I’ve written recently, it’s my favorite. I mean, really, I researched, I watched G.I. Joe cartoons, I read wiki after wiki, and at first I wanted to use pulse rifles, or normal machineguns, but after watching the old cartoon, I couldn’t help but use laser rifles. Thanks to toy collectors, I researched the model #’s so the weapons the characters wield are real. Kind of.

Thanks to Michael Haspil, I put in an epilogue about PTSD because yeah, knowing is half the battle. And thanks to my mom, the EMDR therapy in the story is as realistic as I could make it for characters using “laser” rifles. My mom is a kick-ass therapist and is very patient with me.

The coloring books in the story were Peter’s idea, and while I was uncertain about including them, it’s one of my favorite scenes. Cobra Commander and Gung Ho are coloring together, and of course I wanted to use Hasbro coloring books, My Little Pony and The Transformers. We couldn’t use the real names, so Peter called them My Little Horsey and Shifterbots. Shifterbots! Brilliant. Cobra Commander and Gung Ho fight over who gets which one. It’s funny.

At 17,000 words, it’s a quick read. I hope y’all enjoy it. And of course, if you read it, leave a review!

Who knew that all that afternoon T.V. growing up would pay off?

This story is my first professional sale (cha-ching) and the first story I’ve written that has hit a bestseller list.

Thank you, Peter J. Wacks, for inviting me in and working with me.

Yo Joe!