All Posts by Russell Newquist

Extra Life 2017 Recap

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I’d like to make an extra thank you to everyone who supported us this year for Extra Life 2017. This was our biggest and best year ever. Attendance was strong throughout the day and even overnight this year. We had more games than ever, and best of all we set an all time record by raising over $2200 to help sick kids!

There are several people who deserve a special mention this year for all of their help and hard work this year.

First of all, Kerry Jordan did a fantastic job of running down prize support. We had over $1500 worth of prizes donated by various game companies this year thanks to Kerry’s hard work! Kerry also took the lead on the numerous scheduled games we had this year, and did a wonderful job helping us organize it. The following companies and groups donated games and prizes this year:

 

I’d also like to leave a special shout out to Rebecca Renfroe and her coworkers at QuantiTech. QuantiTech donated lunch, dinner, and – perhaps most importantly – coffee this year. And their generous donation still left us enough to add another $160 into our fundraising total.

The 14-hour Dungeons & Dragons game!

Thanks again to Chris Shotts for once more loaning us the 10 foot projector screen, Andrew and Samantha Dubbel for bringing out their VR rigs again, Tim Hite for bringing the arcade cabinet, Sensei Brian for bringing more video games than I can count, Drew for running a fourteen hour Dungeons & Dragons game (that is not a typo!) and, of course to everyone who came out and played with us.

Thank you all again for making our fifth Extra Life event our best ever! If you want to pitch in, there’s still time to make a last minute donation. We hope to see you all next year!

Silver Empire Updates

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We’ve been pretty quiet on the Silver Empire front for a while, but we’ve had a lot in the works. In the last sixty days, we’ve released War Demons, Lyonesse Volume 1, and Paragons. We’ve also put out audiobook versions of A Midsummer’s Party, The Cinder Witch, and The Witch’s Gift.

Well, I’m happy to tell you that we also have a lot more in the works!

First of all, our next anthology, Secret Stairs, is coming very soon! This one hit some delays because we got so many submissions. No joke, we got more submissions for that than we’ve received for every other anthology we’ve ever done. Combined. File that one under “great problems to have!” But has taken longer to finish than we’d planned. If you submitted to this anthology, please be patient with us. We’re still finalizing the list and will get back to everyone soon! We hope to have it out by the end of November. Worst case, it’ll be out in December. We’ve also got Vigil – the first follow-up to War Demons – due out in December, and Lyonesse Volume 2 will be on preorder by next week.

Think that’s a lot? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

In January, we’ve got Declan Finn’s A Pius Legacy coming, and we’ll be spitting out the rest of that series (A Pius Stand, Pius Tales, and A Pius History) each about 30 days apart after that.

We’ve also got another as-yet-unannounced novel due out in January, from a new Silver Empire author. I’m excited about this one, as it’s somewhat different than our other works – but in a great way. And we’re reaching out to another author as well, hoping to have his works hitting your digital bookshelf in February.

Of course, there’s also an audiobook of War Demons coming early in 2018.

Excited yet? There’s more!

S.D. McPhail is making great progress on the next Treasures of Dodrazeb book, and we hope to have that out next year. Fans of Paragons rejoice – we’ve got no less than three superhero novels on the calendar for next summer. Spirit Cooking, the sequel to both War Demons and Vigil, is on track for a spring 2018 release, and I’m currently aiming for the finale to that series, Sacrifices to be out by the end of 2018. Fans of Peter Bishop, ease your worry – when Sacrifices is done, I’ve got an entirely new series planned with those characters! Join the Order of the Sword and keep up with updates on all things Peter Bishop!

Did I say something about Urban Fantasy? Well, I can’t say much more yet. Except to expect some yuuuuge news from Silver Empire and Declan Finn next year on the UF front. Or was that two pieces of major news? Something old, something new, something bloody, something holy… Trust me, you won’t want to miss either of these!

But on top of that… well, that would be telling.

Strap in, folks. This ride is just getting started!

Obsidian Son – BOOK REVIEW

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I’m angry at Shayne Silvers over Obsidian Son, book one of The Temple Chronicles. I’m angry because I spent last night reading this book when I should have been working. I have too much of my own writing to do to go down this rabbit hole. Fear not, though, fair readers! The second draft of Vigil is 50% done, and I should have it finished by this weekend (consider joining the Order of the Sword for details on how to get a free advance review copy). That book will still be out on time in mid December. Still, I greatly enjoyed Obsidian Son.

First of all, Nate Temple is a great character. Unlike so many of the men in current Urban Fantasy, he’s not whiny or emo. I do have to admit that at the very beginning of the book I worried that he would turn into a hipster douche. And he does, in fact, carry shades of that. But only shades, and Silvers takes the character to a far greater depth. But it’s not just Temple himself. The supporting cast really breathes life into the story. Gunnar the werewolf and Indie the “Regular” stood out to me, in particular.

One thing I find particularly fascinating is the way in which Silvers incorporates several themes that I also hit upon in War Demons, while still writing a book that’s vastly different than what I wrote. It’s always fun to see similar subjects approached in new ways, and I really enjoyed Silvers’ touch on the topic.

The plot didn’t carry many surprises, but that never bothered me. At every turn I enjoyed the ride well enough that I didn’t mind a predictable destination. And one particular plot twist that I half-expected from the first quarter of the book never happened – thankfully. I might have taken off a full star if it had gone down that way. Sometimes the paths an author doesn’t take matter as much as the ones he does.

This is easily a five out of five star book. If you love urban fantasy – especially the kind with solid, masculine leads, Obsidian Son book is for you. Personally, I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series.

Paragons – An Anthology of Superheroes

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Look – up in the sky!

They awe us. They fill us with wonder. But most of all, they inspire us – to be stronger, faster, and smarter. Superheroes teach us how to aspire to the best versions of ourselves. Enjoy this master collection of collection of 13 tales of all-new, all-original superheroes from today’s up and coming science fiction and fantasy masters!

When the police fail to take down the super powered mobs a rogue vigilante steps up to the plate in Nightstick by Kai Wai Cheah. Peek in on a superhero marriage proposal via Blackout by Morgon Newquist. When a young nuclear engineer gains superpowers, the Soviet government wants to control her for the sake of the motherland in Stalina by Sam Kepfield.

Enjoy these tales and more by Alt-Hero novelist Jon Del Arroz, Dragon Award and Hugo Award nominee Kai Wai Cheah, Dragon Award nominee Declan Finn, and others

Paragons – An Anthology of Superheroes will be available for only $0.99 through Saturday, November 3rd – so get yours now on Amazon.com!

Lyonesse Volume 1

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Psychics, time travel, gods, and sci-fi battle angels.

A woman with the power to raise the dead. A man stranded on another world, fighting all alone for a lost cause. Zombies invading New York. Alien artifacts. Sci-Fi battle angels. Samurais fighting demons. Interplanetary detectives and lost unicorns.

Read all these and more in this amazing first volume, collecting works from the paradigm shifting short fiction service Lyonesse.

Featuring Dragon Award nominees Declan Finn, Kai Wai Cheah, and L. Jagi Lamplighter

Includes the following 16 short stories:

    • Four Weddings and a Funeral by L. Jagi Lamplighter
    • The Dreaming Wounds by Anya Ow
    • The Dragon’s Teeth by David Hallquist
    • Zombie Jamboree by Declan Finn
    • The Artifact by Dean Abbott
    • We Bury Our Own by Kai Wai Cheah
    • Number 43 by Jonathan Ward
    • The Last Winter by A.R. Aston
    • Shini Tai by C.L. Werner
    • The Case of the Unicorn by Nora M. Mulligan
    • The Harsh Mistress by Mike Murphy
    • St. Lucian’s Star by Dawn Witzke
    • A Day Without the Horned Goddess by Kieran McKiel
    • In Another Life by Morgon Newquist
    • Moonset by S.D. McPhail
    • Mile High Murder by Declan Finn

Get Lyonesse Volume 1 today or tomorrow for only $0.99, before it jumps to full price. Or subscribe to Lyonesse directly and get access to our entire back catalog (including these stories and more), plus an entire year’s worth of new stories (1 each week!) for only $6.99!

A Place Called Hope – BOOK REVIEW

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I absolutely loved A Place Outside The Wild, Daniel Humphreys‘ Dragon Award nominated debut novel, even though I don’t normally go for zombies. So when Mr. Humphreys offered me an early preview copy of the sequel, A Place Called Hope, I absolutely jumped at the chance.

This story picks up very closely where the first book left off, and it hits the ground running. The primary story concerns Pete, the amputee Marine, and Charlie as they set off on a new mission to bring some real Hope into their world. The stakes are high and compelling, and the characters are just as fun as ever.

The story focuses more heavily on the Marines this time out. On the one hand, that was really fun. On the other, it leads to my two actual complaints about the book. First, the title is excellent and a wonderful followup given the ending of the first book. But despite the title, very little of the book actually takes place in Hope. Second, I really missed Miles.

I strongly suspect the sequel will deal with both of those issues, however – especially given some of the revelations at the end of this book. And boy, are there some doozies!

If you loved the first book, this worthy sequel won’t let you down. I give it five out of five stars, and I can’t wait to see what Humphreys has coming next!

The Gravity of the Game – BOOK REVIEW

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My friend Jon Del Arroz has a new novella out this week. The Gravity of the Game fits into a rather unusual niche: science fiction sports stories. Attention all, we’ve found a unicorn! I know – two great tastes that go great together. Like ice cream and kale, strawberries and Pine Sol, or ribeye and motor oil. I strongly suspect that the sports guys and the scifi guys will interpret those metaphors very differently.

But they’ll both agree that unlike each of those combinations, Jon’s novella is actually really good. Whether you’re a sports guy or a scifi guy, you’ll enjoy this story. In a future of near-Earth space travel, the World Baseball League is coping with a sharp decline in attendance and viewership. Commissioner Hideki Ichiro thinks he knows the answer: baseball on the moon!

First of all, that’s actually kind of a cool idea. I’m not a sports guy, and I’m definitely not a baseball guy. To me, it’s one of the slowest and dullest sports out there – long periods of boredom punctuated by a few moments when something almost interesting happens. But come on – you put “on the moon” after anything and it becomes cool. But that’s not what makes the story work. That just makes an interesting hook.

The story works because of Commissioner Ichiro. This is a man who loves baseball so much that he almost makes me love the sport. And though I don’t share his love of baseball, I definitely identify with and respect his passion.

Somewhat like baseball itself, this is a dramatic piece with no actual “action” in it. But the drama and the characters will keep you interested. I give The Gravity of the Game five stars out of five, and dare you not to find Commissioner Ichiro just as captivating as I did.

Cursed City – BOOK REVIEW

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As I prepared to publish and market my latest novel, War Demons, I set out in search of other, similar novels. Cursed City by William Massa quickly rose quickly to the top of my list. It turns out that male leads represent an endangered species in urban fantasy novels. Many of the books sold in the genre should actually sit in the paranormal romance category. I hold nothing against that, but War Demons doesn’t fit with that crowd at all.

Neither does Cursed City. Book one of Massa’s Shadow Detective series, this book packed in the fun. It’s pulp as hell, and I mean that in the best possible way. Mike Raven, the hero, provides a welcome breath of masculinity in an estrogen dominated genre. Furthermore, he lives up to the primary duty of a protagonist: he’s interesting.

The writing is simple and straightforward. At first, that worried me. But a few chapters in it became clear that the simple writing is intentional, in the tradition of the old school pulp writers. This kind of deliberate simple writing is actually a challenge to accomplish, and it makes the book very accessible. And if I hadn’t already overcome that objection, the twists in the final act more than compensated.

A quick, thrilling read, this book started in the middle of the action and only paused for a few breaths along the way. I give it four stars out of five, and I look forward to finishing the rest of the series. I highly recommend it to fans of male led urban fantasy. It’s available right now on Amazon for only $0.99, or you can pick it up for free on Kindle Unlimited like I did.

[Cross posted on PulpRev.com.]

Win 20+ Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Books!

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Fantasy Bridge is dedicated to bringing you exclusive deals, new releases, and other exciting news from your favorite Fantasy authors straight to your inbox! Its Captains are excited to bring you an Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Giveaway that’s sure to keep you up all night reading. There are FREE Prizes available for all who enter between October 1 and 8, plus the chance for 5 winners to receive 25+ e-books from Fantasy Authors of every stripe. One grand prize winner will win those books and a $25 Amazon Giftcard!

Enter at www.fantasybridge.com!

Fade – BOOK REVIEW

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Longtime readers will already know that I’m a fan of Daniel Humphreys work. They’ll also know the caveat that I have to provide: Dan and I “attended” the same online writing class from Larry Correia, and we’ve participated in the same closed Facebook group that resulted from that class. He’s also provided an excellent blurb for my new novel, War Demons. With that said, these are my honest opinions on his first urban fantasy novel, Fade.

Fade is book one of the Paxton Locke series. Paxton Locke, unsurprisingly the series’ protagonist, suffered a rather unfortunate childhood. I can’t go into that too much without spoiling the book. Suffice to say, he also developed a bit of magical power. As the book begins, he’s using that power to help rid unfortunate people of the traumatized ghosts that haunt their homes. But then one of those ghosts gives him a message from beyond the grave. Everything hits the fan from there and the plot explodes.

I don’t actually want to say a lot more than that, because this book has a ton going for it in the plot department. Paxton Locke manages to out-Dresden Harry Dresden. Read it for yourself and enjoy it.

I loved Humphreys’ A Place Outside the Wild enough to give it five stars even though I’m not a fan of the zombie genre. I am, however, a fan of the urban fantasy genre. When you add Humphreys’ fantastic writing to a genre I love, the result is truly amazing. I blew through this book faster than I could blink, and my only complaint is that Dan is busy writing the sequel to his zombie book instead of this one. Thankfully, he’s nearly finished with that book, so we should be getting the sequel to Fade sooner rather than later.

If you liked War Demons, you should definitely check out Fade while you’re waiting for the sequel. It won’t disappoint you. This is one of the easiest five star reviews I’ve ever given.

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