One last recommendation!

Well, two more, actually.  First up, I’d like to recommend The Showing by Will Macmillan Jones.  In a departure from his usually comedic genius, he’s put together “a gripping, scary read” and, having read some of his flash fiction pieces in 416, I can vouch for his ability to scare. 🙂

So, what’s The Showing all about?  Well…

It was a house Mister Jones knew too well, his family’s house.
Here it was, again for sale and he could not resist being shown around.
But his visit has roused that which was sleeping – how many will die before it can be laid to rest?

If you knew how much of this story is true, would you want to sleep with your light on tonight?

Now if that doesn’t stir your interest, I don’t know what will.  Oh, maybe this excerpt from Will’s website will do the trick:

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A belated stop on the Main Character Blog Hop!

I was tagged in this bit o’ fun by the awesome Justine Manzano, a fellow legal secretary/writer/geek/mom to whom Twitter was kind enough to introduce me.  (I seriously love making new friends.)  It was supposed to have gone up on Monday (the 15th).  Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Whoops.

Anyway, better late than never, right?

J Manzano Bio PictureJustine Manzano is a multi-genre writer living in Bronx, NY with her husband, son, and a cacophony of cats. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthology Things You Can CreateSliver of Stone Magazine, and The Greenwich Village Literary Review.  She maintains a semi-monthly blog at JustineManzano.com and a twitter account where she discusses her adventures in juggling aspects of her life such as motherhood, writing, and the very serious businesses of fangirling and multiple forms of geekery. She works as a fiction reader for Sucker Literary Magazine and is currently searching for a publishing home for her YA Urban Fantasy series, Keys and Guardians.

The first book in Justine’s series is called The Order of the Key.  What’s it about?  So glad you asked!  Here’s the blurb:

Jacklyn Madison has a thing for heroes. She reads about them, watches them on TV, and would very much like to become one. When a monster makes an attempt on her life she discovers she is one – the long lost member of The Order of the Key, a group that protects humanity from creatures that come through interdimensional rifts. It’s all fun and games until training for her duties reveals the Order’s out of touch views – Keys, like Jacklyn, are protected while Guardians, like the rest of her family, are expendable. As she rails against their value system, she finds herself in the center of a power struggle between the group’s leader, Lavinia, and her idealistic son, Kyp – the boy Jacklyn likes. Worse, Kyp’s attempts to protect her only entangle her in a mire of deceit. Viewed as a target on one side and a weapon on the other, Jacklyn must find a way to protect the people she loves and decide what kind of hero she’s willing to become. Filled with action, romance, and paranoia, The Order of the Key is an edgy Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy novel that is currently searching for a home with an agent.

I love the name Lavinia.  It’s so pretty and old-fashioned. 🙂

And now it’s my turn!  Here to answer a few questions about himself is…

How did I spend my weekend?

Why, engrossed in the latest Banned Underground novel to hit my phone, naturally.  Suffering, as I was, from a complete lack of motivation and a nasty headache to boot, I settled down yesterday afternoon and read the whole of Have Frog, Will Travel in the space of an afternoon.

What’s it about?  Glad you asked!  From Goodreads:

Go Fridge-diving at Grizelda’s in Have Frog, Will Travel

A traditional witch’s cottage is a wondrous, if sometimes impractical, thing. But not in the eyes of the County Council Building Regulations Inspectorate. And when the Council Inspector condemns her home after a chance encounter with the Fridge, Grizelda (off-white witch and leading proponent of the people/frog spell) is forced into a quest for a competent builder to make the necessary alterations.

But such things are not always easy to find, and as for a suitable plumber, well, you could throw money down the drain. Or the frog pond, as it might be… Just who is going to turn out to be Another Brick In The Wall?

And because Amazon’s blurb differs slightly, here’s that one:

And now, an interview!

Will's PhotographAs promised, I have an interview for you with the lovely Will Macmillan Jones, author of the hilarious Banned Underground books.  It might have taken me a little longer than I first thought to get this posted, but what can I say?  Writers are not necessarily the most organized lot.  (Some may very well be, but I most certainly am not.)

KK: So, now that you’ve done it a couple of times, what’s it like to put out two books a year?

WMJ: What’s it like?  Let me see…imagine being run over by a lawnmower, thrown in a washing machine, a tumble drier and finished off in an old fashioned mangle.  It’s hard going.  As you know, I don’t write especially long books, mainly for commercial reasons.  But even so it is very hard work, both creatively and practically.  But actually quite rewarding too.  I can now look at my dressing table and see a line of my books.  Yes, I’m really that sad as to have them on show in my bedroom, so that I can see them when I wake up.

KK: I see nothing wrong with that.  In all honesty, I would likely do the same thing. 🙂  They say it takes three books to see success.  Do you feel like that’s true?   Why or why not?

The Banned Underground: The SatNav of Doom

TSODThe latest installment in The Banned Underground series, The SatNav of Doom definitely holds up to the standard set by the first four novels (you can read my reviews of them here, here, here, and here).  Chock full of humor as always, I laughed my way through The SatNav of Doom at an admittedly slower pace than the previous books, but that was due to my overwhelming open house (and moving) preparation and is in no way a reflection on this fine novel.  Indeed, settling down with Fungus and the gang for a rockin’ gig was a welcome relief from my moving stress. 🙂

The discerning reader will find many gems along the way to the Edern’s enchanted Fairy Hill hideout.  From wonderful musical jokes to brilliant pop culture references, there’s plenty here to make you giggle, grin, and even guffaw.   For example:

Paperback Writer

To close out a great week of fun, Will has kindly written up a little something about music and fantasy.  As it really needs no introduction other than that, I’ll step out of the way and let him have at it.  Take it away, Will!

“And I want to be a paperback writer!”

Hands up if you remember that Beatles song?  Thought you might.  Those of you reading Kay’s blog (as I do, being one of her subscribers) have possibly looked at some of the fantasy work I put out.  If you have, you will know that music runs through the books as a solid theme.  As the books are loosely based on the adventures of a dwarf rhythm and blues band, that’s inevitable, really.  But stop for a moment and think about the link between music and fantasy.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the two genres enjoy such close links. . .

The Banned Underground: Bass Instinct

biToday, a little later than my last several posts but better late than never, I have the honor of reviewing the latest release in The Banned Underground series, Bass Instinct.  The boys are back in town with a new friend in this book, and – hell’s bells! – it’s a g-g-g-girl!

Dai the drinking dragon has been kidnapped by the Dark Lord for nefarious purposes, and by his receptionist for even less reputable reasons.  Without their bass player, The Banned Underground are in deep trouble with their record label.  They have to produce the recordings for an album, and someone has stolen the tapes from the last gig.  Can they make some more recordings, or will Freya, the renegade dwarf bass player, distract the boys while the Dark Lord’s evil schemes come to fruition?

The Dark Lord has found some thugs to help him in his latest plan to invade the Dwarf Mansion, but they have other things on their minds – like looting and pillaging – and it’s all going wrong again.

Will record-producing Adam set his Ants on the Banned?  Or will it all come good in the end?  Time is Tight on this one for The Banned Underground…

With a blurb that focuses on Dai, I expected the story to focus a bit more on him.  To the extent that he had a larger role than in previous books, I guess you could say that it did, but it really did focus on him as much as I had expected.  That said, I loved the bits between Dai and Gloria, the Dark Lord’s receptionist, and I do hope that what started in this book will be continued in future installments.

The Banned are back in town and between the lack of tapes (from their last gig), the lack of gigs, and the lack of funds, trouble is the only thing they don’t lack.

The Banned Underground: The Vampire Mechanic

vmToday I’m having a look at the third book in The Banned Underground series, cleverly titled The Vampire Mechanic.  In book three, the guys help out new friends Santa’s Little Helpers, who have wrecked the sleigh…

Oh, dear.  Santa’s not-so-little helpers have “borrowed” his sleigh on their way to a Banned Underground concert – and crashed it on the way.  Can the Banned help them before Santa finds out?  But the mechanic who services the sleigh is a vampire, and getting the job done could be a challenge.  If that’s not enough, the Dark Lord’s Mercedes is getting a bit long in the tooth, too, and he fancies the sleigh as a replacement.  And will Grizelda, the off-white witch give back the reindeer after using one to win the local show-jumping competition?

With the vampire mechanic in the clutches of the apprentice Dark Lord and Grizelda’s dreams of blue ribbons, the Banned will have to go like a Bat Out of Hell this time. . .

The vampires in this story definitely don’t sparkle; they’re too depressed.  And at over six feet tall, Santa’s Little Helpers are anything but little.  The satnav makes a hilarious return, with the help of its Prescient Predictive Progression function, or PPP, and naturally Grizelda makes frequent use of her people to frog spell.  The Watches mix it up with some local Druids on their way to stealing Santa’s sleigh, and end up with Notsanta’s Notsleigh instead.  I definitely wouldn’t want to end up on his naughty list. . .

This series gets better with each book I read.  I feel like I’m a broken record saying that I laughed my head off and that I couldn’t put it down, but I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true.  This book is a must-read.  So go on, already!  Read it!  Then we can discuss our favorite parts at length over a nice cup of tea and maybe a nice slice of cake or ten. 😀

(c) 2013.  All rights reserved.

Presenting Will Macmillan Jones, Comedy Goon and Author Extraordinaire!

Will's PhotographWith me today is Will Macmillan Jones, author of The Banned Underground series (and the Alliance of Worldbuilders’ resident Comedy Goon, as noted above).  He was kind enough to answer a few questions for me, though without the aid of the Spanish Inquisition (and I’d so been looking forward to calling them up – no one expects the Spanish Inquisition! :D).

Tell us about yourself.
My bio will tell you that I’m a fifty-something lover of blues, rock, and jazz, and have (sadly) spent much of my time working as an accountant.  Some of my friends suspect that I’m a covert adrenaline junkie as well, having crashed hang gliders, done a little sailing (didn’t like capsizing), fallen over on the way up several hills and crashed the odd motorbike, and put various cars into ditches.  Er, there seems to be a bit of a pattern forming there. . .

Have you always been interested in writing, or is it a recently developed passion?
I’ve always loved reading, ever since I was a small child.  My father was a primary school teacher and read to me every night from a young age, something I’ve done with my own kids, too.  It’s brilliant fun!  So when at grammar school I was encouraged to write, I loved it.  But then it took a back seat for many years, until I discovered you could get a minor flesh wound from a pen instead of crashing into things, and I haven’t looked back since.

Can you tell us a little about some of your other writing projects?  Are they all fantasy, or do you write in more than one genre?
As well as the fantasy, I also write some paranormal books, on the edge of horror.  The first of these has been very well received indeed, and so I’ve a sequel in the works.  There’s also a children’s fantasy and a YA fantasy coming along.  I think I stay pretty much round worlds of pure imagination, because it’s so satisfying to create something that can be made to feel real.

Wanna know what inspired the series, why the baddies are accountants, or where the Banned will head next? The conversation continues behind the cut!

The Banned Underground: The Mystic Accountants

MAAnd now, Day Two!  Next up on the hit list, we’ve got The Mystic Accountants, the second book in The Banned Underground series.  The Banned’s hilarious adventures continue in this book as they set out to obtain a new throne for Lakin, Archlord of the Helvyndelve:

In the mist-haunted Dwarf Mansion, the Banned Underground has played another gig.  But this time the feedback has blown the Throne of the Mountain King apart, and the Banned must find a replacement on pain of, well, pain.  The junior dark lord is out for revenge, if his satnav doesn’t keep him from following the band.  Grizelda, the off-white witch and occasional aunt to the teenagers, is busy with some mad monks who want to conquer the world, starting with Wales.

Maybe Dai, the drunken dragon, can help?  Will the Tuatha stay out of the pub long enough to render assistance?  If not, Jailhouse Rock looms for the Banned Underground…

Once again, the jokes fly fast and furious.  There’s a lot going on in this book, between the Ben Buddhists who are trying to take over the world, Grizelda and the teenagers who are trying to stop them, the dwarves in search of a throne, and the Watches out to stop them.  But it never feels bogged down in details.  The pace is lively and keeps right on moving.  As with the first book, I couldn’t put it down.

But wait, there’s more!