Thursday, September 9, 2021

REVEALING THE COVER OF MY NEXT BOOK — EXTRAORDINARY VOYAGES

 





I'm very happy today to reveal the cover of my next book, which will be published in November as an ebook and as a paperback. The cover was designed by the very talented Juan Jose Padron 

It is a compilation tome comprising some of my short writings. Fans of 19th Century science fiction will recognize that I have borrowed the title from the well-traveled Jules Verne. I hope he doesn't mind.

Before each piece, is a short introduction, which I'm including in this blog to give you a feel for the book.





MADE ON THE MOON

A Novella



Made on the Moon was originally published as a stand-alone novella by Crossroad Press in 2017. It had had a long journey starting in the 1970s. I outline that journey in “From Stage to Page—The Phases of Made on the Moon” later in this book. This version has been slightly revised from the 2017 edition.








WHAT A PLEASURE IT’S BEEN

TO PISS IN PORCELAIN


The Rude Poems of Stanley Lewis



Assuming you have already read Made on the Moon you will have noted that its protagonist, Stanley Lewis, had once been a poet of some fame and/or infamy, depending on how you feel about poems about birds and the power and beauty of flight, especially as a symbol of the soul ascending. Following are some of his poems.





CYRANO DE BERGERAC

 AND BARON MUNCHAUSEN

GO TO MARS

A Short Story


This story was written for the anthology of short stories Turning the Tied. It was published in 2021 by the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers. The revenue generated from the book was donated to the World Literacy Foundation. I have slightly revised it for its inclusion here.


Cyrano de Bergerac (1619—1655) and Hieronymus Karl Friedrich, Freiherr von Münchhausen (1720—1797) were both real individuals and fictional characters. Cyrano de Bergerac actually was a famous swordsman and author of one of the first works of science fiction, The Other World: Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon, sometimes known as A Voyage to the Moon. Hieronymus Karl Friedrich, Freiherr von Münchhausen or Baron Munchausen was infamous as a teller of outrageously tall tales at diners he hosted. Cyrano was fictionalized by French playwright Edmond Rostand in 1897. The Baron never wrote down any of his tales, but tales attributed to him were published by a series of writers. They were not “licensed” to do so, and the Baron was not happy about this. Nevertheless, is it possible that these scribes were the very first tie-in writers? It is to wonder.




FROM STAGE TO PAGE

THE PHASES OF MADE ON THE MOON

An Essay

I first published this essay on my blog, The Emotional Rationalist, in 2019. I have made some minor revisions for its inclusion here.








WHAT I WOULD PUT ON MY WIKIPEDIA PAGE IF I THOUGHT WIKIPEDIA WOULD LET ME

A WackiWiki



Generally speaking, writers like to write, but they hate to market. And yet in this Twenty-first Century, we are encouraged to do so. The philosophy being, if you don’t thump your own tub, no one else will. This being the case it is often suggested that a writer should have a Wikipedia page to help spread their “brand.” Having a brand is a concept I abhor, but I do see the logic behind it. I once tried to come up with a text for a potential Wikipedia page for myself. Unfortunately, the satiric writer in me supplanted the logical marketeer, and the following is all I could come up with.





I hope you will join me on these voyages.


Cheers to all!




Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Welcome to Jean Rabe & Donald J Bingle on their LOVE/HAIGHT blog tour!

   




One of the many sub-genres of the Fantasy genre of literature is Urban Fantasy or Urban Paranormal. As the name implies, the authors just really didn't want to leave the city (where most people live anyway) to traipse about in dark woods. Or frightening forests, or villages of the damned, or freaky farms. Not to mention unsanitary medieval times, or some lost era before recorded history full of dragons and very, very big creatures, and very, very small creatures that they feel compelled to write a history of. No, these authors stick to well-lit urban areas where one can always catch a bus, hail a taxi, or jump on a subway for a quick getaway when being chased by things far more horrible than, say, little yappy well-groomed dogs with sharp teeth in the arms of people whose standard of excellence does not go beyond "Cute." And, of course, there's always the convenience of plenty of public toilets in the city. 
 
And there are so many urban areas to choose from. In America alone, you have big, bustling New York with all that expended energy, money, and Broadway. And depressed Detroit with some of the highest crime rates, so why not add Zombies? Or Chicago sitting on that big, friggin' lake just right to be the home for any number of creepy, wet creatures with gills. But if you want a picturesque city to contrast with less than picturesque creatures, you would probably pick San Francisco. This is precisely what authors Jean Rabe and Donald J. Bingle did. 







San Francisco also features the world-famous (if you remember the 1960s) Haight-Ashbury district. One of Rabe and Bingle's protagonists being named Evelyn Love; this allowed them to name their novel of urban fantasy The Love/Haight Case Files. 



A nifty title, I'm sure you'll agree. The book came out in 2015 and won three prestigious Silver Falchion Awards given out every year by the Killer Nashville Writers Conference. But it is just now being re-released in a new edition as The Love-Haight Case Files, Book 1: Seeking Supernatural Justice to herald the release next month of The Love-Haight Case Files, Book 2: Fighting for Other-Than-Human Rights.



 
Rabe and Bingle have done a brilliant job of creating a modern world where supernatural creatures—zombies and ghouls and ghosts, and even stone gargoyles—seem just as natural in the landscape as you or me or those other people. Even to the point of suffering bias and prejudice just because they happen to be undead or occasionally turn into werewolves or are made of stone. Or are dead-dead and float around as transparent ghosts. These little quirks in their nature cause them to be not-so-nicely labeled as Other Than Human, or OTs for short. But Evelyn Love, a newly minted lawyer, and Thomas Brock, a freshly minted ghost who was a lawyer, come into the picture as the upright defenders of the rights of OTs. Rabe and Bingle explore through breathless action, humor, characters to care about, and a pure sense of justice, the good and bad of humanity—even when it's not entirely human. There are four cases in The Love-Haight Case Files, Book 1: Seeking Supernatural Justice. The last case ends with a big fat hint that there will be more to come. It was a hint you could have taken to the blood bank, for on September 20th, you will be able to withdraw The Love-Haight Case Files, Book 2: Fighting for Other-Than-Human Rights. But first, do get The Love-Haight Case Files, Book 1: Seeking Supernatural Justice, and discover frights even worse than Lombard Street.

Here's some more info on the books to stir your reading desires.

Thomas Brock and Evelyn Love are attorneys who crusade for the rights of OTs—Other-Than-Humans. Their clients include ghosts, gargoyles, vampires, and things that have not yet been given names. The city’s OT element is sometimes malevolent, sometimes misunderstood, and often discriminated against. Brock and Love represent them, whatever the case, whatever the species. Magic hangs heavy in San Francisco, and danger and intrigue is as thick as the fog around the Golden Gate Bridge.
 
"Love-Haight is a comedy, locked within a mystery, hidden in a horror story... Wonderfully clever, stylish, and ghoulish. Delightfully twisted fun!" —William C. Dietz, New York Times bestselling creator of The Legion of the Damned
 
"Making the freakiest burg in the nation ten times freakier is a considerable achievement. —Glen Cook, bestselling author of The Black Company series"
  +++++++++
Excerpt
 
“I did not have a useless life, Evelyn Love.” The gargoyle was one of the more grotesque-looking ones in the city. He had the face of a demon and a body that resembled a scaly ape. Pete, the gargoyle that guarded the building where she worked and lived, was downright cuddly compared to this rock. But just because he was a scary-looking, sentient stone carving, didn’t mean Thurman didn’t have feelings, too, just like anyone else, human or paranormal.
Evelyn rested her hand on Thurman’s shoulder, the green-veined granite smooth from the decades of rain and wind and feeling cool against her palm. She looked over the building edge, ten stories up from the street. “I couldn’t get an injunction and—”
“You have been most kind,” Thurman said.
She held the small recorder in front of his expressionless face, her fingers trembling and her stomach twisting. Evelyn felt in part responsible; if she’d been victorious in court she wouldn’t be recording his last words. The two of them might be celebrating with a good micro-brew.
“My last words?” The gargoyle twisted his head, the sound grating like stone against stone and setting her teeth to ache. “I thought an earthquake would be the end of me, lightning, or some other act of God that I’d grown too weak to stand against. That is what we do—fortify the structures we choose as our homes. Our presence protects and strengthens buildings, and I struggled very hard to keep this one intact. I did not have a useless life. I coaxed the stone around me to rail against the big earthquake in 1906, and all the smaller ones that came in the decades after. That is our purpose, Evelyn, to give our magic to the building we’re attached to. Keep it safe, the people inside safe. It is why we exist.” He pointed to a building directly across the street. “From the fires that followed in 1906 … that will be the only survivor from this neighborhood. And all that remains original there is the sandstone façade.” He sighed, the sound like the surf hushing in. “I watched them rebuild that one. Albert Pissis, the architect, he kept the façade for posterity, designed the department store behind it. I listened to him, directing the workers. He quoted someone named Rizal, and it stuck with me. ‘It is a useless life that is not consecrated to a great ideal. It is like a stone wasted on the field without becoming a part of any edifice.’ I did not have a useless life.”
Tears slid down Evelyn’s cheeks. She pulled in a breath and glanced down at the small crowd beyond the crane on Market Street. Ten stories up, she couldn’t read the signs some of them carried. Police kept them back for safety. Christmas decorations hung in some of the windows, lighted wreaths from lampposts, the cheery appearance seeming incongruous to her.
There were sawhorse barricades on both ends of the block, and she knew they would remain throughout the week, no doubt pissing off the neighboring merchants who would have a slow-down in business.
“Time’s up!” came from a policeman down below, a bullhorn against his face. “Come down, Ms. Love.”
She turned off the recorder. “I have to go.”
“Save my brothers, Evelyn Love. Save your Pete.”
 ++++++++

The Love-Haight Case Files #1, Seeking Supernatural Justice
·       ASIN ‏ : ‎ B098J8L6W5
·       Publisher ‏ : ‎ Craig Martelle, Inc (August 23, 2021)
·       Publication date ‏ : ‎ August 23, 2021


And enter the LOVE/HAIGHT RAFFLE FOR A $35 BARNES & NOBLE GIFT CARD by following the link below


 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Is Love THE Story?

 


I don't know where someone might find the statistics on this, but I would be willing to bet that in all the stories told by humans, a good majority of them are love stories or have, at least, love as an essential part. Love that is, in all its variations and colors.


You can go back to the earliest story we know of, the Epic of Gilgamesh, which dates from the 13th to the 10th century BCE. In it, everything revolves around the love between King Gilgamesh and his best friend, Enkidu.


Enkidu and Gilgamesh



It was, as far as we know, the very first bromance. Forward to Homer's Iliad, a great epic of war, and you'll find that Achilles' love for Patroclus, his closest companion is essential in concluding both the war and the story.


Achilles and Patroclus



And in Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus' love for his wife Penelope survives his ten years of fighting in the Trojan War. And his ten years of stunning detours to get back to her after the war.




 
Odysseus and Penelope


Shakespeare wrote one of the greatest love stories, Romeo and Juliet.


Romeo and Juliet (and Nurse)



But you'll also find love and romance throughout all his plays—some comedic, some tragic, some historical.


In just six novels published in the early 19th century, Jane Austin set the tone for love stories and romance ever since while setting them squarely in the ordinary domestic world of her time. 


And what would the history of our most influential art form today, film, have been without love stories? From rom-coms to bittersweet romances to screwball comedies revolving around fast-bantering couples romancing each other through wit and outrageous behavior.


What about today? Love is often the subject or certainly an essential component in novels, films, and TV. Some inform us about love. Some give us a vicarious experience of love—and romance. Even if we're pretty happy in our own loves and romance, it is still a pleasure to experience other people's joy in loving another.


Think about a couple socializing with another couple for the first time. In getting to know each other, what often is the first question one couple will ask the other? "So, how did you guys meet?" This also implies the question of how and why you fell in love. And if the couple is married, exactly how did he (or she) pop the question? There is great satisfaction in other people's love stories. Indeed, it is probably quite natural to want to know. For comparison's sake? For confirmation that, yes, love does exist? For the love of happy stories?


Love does not really make the world go around. But how dismal the daily spinning of our planet would be without it.





Are Love and Romance two different things? Of course, they are. Romance is usually the first blush excitement of meeting (whether cute or not), chasing, sometimes verbal sparring, and resolution—hopefully in each other's arms. Love is something more profound, with many facets, and if it is true, more enduring. Not every romance ends in love. And not every love is romantic. But who can deny that there is still elation in the former and satisfaction in the latter? When the two do come together, it is something special that storytellers have been trying to portray and define for ages.


My latest novel, Bully 4 Love,





is the second in a trilogy I call my "Love, Sex, and Pursuit of Happiness Novels." They are a trilogy not in story and characters, but rather in theme. All three consider love, sex, and happiness, but each takes just one of those three as its main inspiration. The first novel, By the Sea (2015),




has an emphasis on happiness. Bully 4 Love, as you might guess, has love at its core. And the third, The Reluctant Heterosexual, to be published later this year or early next year, deals with, you will not be surprised to learn, sex.


Bully 4 Love is set in the 1990s and a bit beyond. It is narrated by Adolphus, a history professor at Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California (you know, where they do the Rose Parade each New Year's Day). He agrees to teach a nighttime Adult Education class at a local High School as a favor for a friend. On the first day of class, the first student to walk in is Lavinia, a radiant beauty fashionably dressed and expensively bejeweled, especially her wedding ring. Adolphus is intrigued at first glance. And even more so when Lavinia shows a hunger for education and a deep interest in history. She's a mystery woman. That first night, after class, he secretly follows her out to the front of the school and watches from a distance as she is picked up by a large man in a big Rolls Royce. 

He is obviously her husband, judging by the kiss he gives her. 




 

One evening, after class, when Lavinia's husband Eugene is out of town, she and Adolphus go to a local historic drug store, replete with an old-fashioned soda fountain. Over two of the fountains' famous vanilla malts, Adolphus learns the story of Lavinia and Eugene's romance and marriage. When Lavinia shows Adolphus a photo of Eugene, he almost falls off his little soda fountain chair and has to force himself not to throw up. Lavinia's Eugene Carson is obviously, despite the time that had passed, Adolphus' Gene Pytka, the bane of his high school existence. The bully who daily harassed the young Adolphus. And who committed an act of violence against Adolphus, both weird and traumatic.





And so begins a rather odd love story, at times a comic tale of twists and turns and surprises. An account of love rejected, love ignored, love revealed—and pizza.





So if you like love stories, even rather odd ones, not to mention pizza, take a look at Bully 4 Love.  





You can check out Bully 4 Love, By the Sea, and all of Steven Paul Leiva's books in several genres on his MY BOOKS page on his blog at

https://emotionalrationalist.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html



Or, to directly order the ebook from your local Amazon go to:


AMAZON EBOOK https://tinyurl.com/2bp4k369 


AMAZON PAPERBACK https://tinyurl.com/zzpey4rw 


AMAZON UK https://tinyurl.com/6dcsfhxp 


AMAZON CANADA https://tinyurl.com/yxt2mszu 


AMAZON AUSTRALIA https://tinyurl.com/285rx8fe