Writing@Knight Blog




Cover Reveal: Winell Road by Kate Foster (redux)

posted Aug 12, 2016, 5:02 AM by Keith Willis

Today I'm pleased to participate in the new cover reveal for my pal Kate Foster's amazing MG SciFi novel Winell Road. I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing this book last year (check out the Overdue Book Review section of this website for that review). I'm delighted to report that Kate has a fabulous new cover for her book, which will be re-released on 2 September 2016. Be sure to check this book out--I'm just a bit past middle-grade age, and I still loved it. 


Cover Reveal Winell Road by Kate Foster

 

 

Today is the cover reveal for Winell Road by Kate Foster. This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.

Winell Road (Winell Road #1)

by Kate Foster

Genre: Science-fiction

Age category: Middle Grade

Release Date: 2 September 2016

 

Blurb:

Living on Winell Road is hardly fun, not when your neighbors are weirder than your own parents.

But the road has a secret that few people know.

And Jack’s about to uncover it.

 

Mystery, action and adventure. This award-winning sci-fi series is “highly recommended” for middle grade readers.

 

For fans of Men in Black and Zac Power, Winell Road is jam-packed with “loads of twists and turns” that will keep you guessing to the end.

 

You can find Winell Road on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25597250-winell-road

 

You can pre-order Winell Road here:

- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Winell-Road-Kate-Foster-ebook/dp/B01J6XJEPS/


 


                                                                                            About the Author:

Kate is an Englishwoman lapping up the sunshine on the Gold Coast in Australia with her family. She’s a freelance editor, editorial director at Lakewater Press, and a middle grade Pitch Wars mentor.

 

You can find and contact Kate here:

- Website: http://www.katefosterauthor.com/

- Editing website: http://www.katejfoster.com/

- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/winellroad/

- Twitter: https://twitter.com/winellroad

- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13831685.Kate_Foster

 

Knight Out On The Town Tour--Take 2

posted Jun 28, 2016, 9:12 AM by Keith Willis

More events coming up in July and August!
Here's what's scheduled so far:

Thursday July 21 @ 6:30 pm--Altamont Free Library, 179 Main Street, Altamont, NY--Reading and Book Talk. Click here for more info and directions.

Thursday, August 18 @ 7:00pm--Lake Pleasant Public Library, 2864 Route 8, Speculator, NY--Reading and Book Talk. Click here for more info and directions.

A Knight Out on the Town

posted May 26, 2016, 8:32 AM by Keith Willis

Here's my (unbelievably busy) schedule of upcoming appearances in June: 

BOOK LAUNCH PARTY--I'll be celebrating the launch of the paperback release of TRAITOR KNIGHT at Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, 1475 Western Avenue, Albany, NY on Thursday, June 2 @ 7PM. Click here for more info. And yes, there likely WILL be dragon cookies. Albany's premiere indie book store, Book House has something for everyone--including TRAITOR KNIGHT.    

AUTHOR CONVERSATION & READING --at Eden Cafe, 269 Osborne Road, Loudonville NY on Saturday, June 4 @ 2PM. Click here  for more info.  Eden Cafe is the Capital District's own Greenwich-village style coffee house, with open mic nights, comedy, live music, and artists. And great coffee. What's not to love?

VENDOR + Reading/Book Signing at the NY Capital District Renaissance Festive, Indian Ladder Farms, Altamont, NY on June 11 - 12. Click here for ticket information, directions, and schedules. I'll be doing readings at 12:30 and 4:30 both days, on the Gypsy Stage. With knights, dragons, and sword-wielding damsels, you don't want to miss this event. 

AUTHOR CONVERSATION AND READING --at the Cohoes Public Library, 169 Mohawk Street, Cohoes, NY on Monday, June 13 @ 6PM. Click here for more info and directions. An evening of damsels, dragons, and deception. And a mastodon. Wait! How'd he get in there? Guess you'll have to come see...

 

Reigning Cats...

posted May 14, 2016, 3:39 PM by Keith Willis

Dragons? Of course. Unicorns? Naturally. Manticores and Chimeras? Sure, why not? These beasts are the stock and trade of the speculative fiction writer. But I’ve noticed an interesting trend lately. Get ready, all you dog lovers out there, 'cause I’m about to offend you mightily.

In speculative fiction, Cats Rule.

I’m in the middle of Jim Butcher’s newest book, the fabulous “The Aeronaut’s Windlass”, and one of the major characters is a cat. A very intelligent cat, in point of fact, and one who has earned the respect and deference due his position as scion of an important tribe. Rowl can communicate with the humans with whom he deigns to associate—at least those fortunate few who can speak Cat. The cats have their own society, clans, and rules of etiquette, and it seems as if the petty humans would just let the cats run things, life might be much smoother for all concerned.

But Rowl (what a great name!) got me thinking. He wasn’t by any means the first cat I’ve encountered along the way in the many spec-fic stories I’ve read over the years. Of course, there are always cats. But this was a Cat-with-a-capital-C—a major player in Butcher’s marvelously built world, and one with a plethora of personality, moxie, and a superior sense of self-worth. I starting thinking even more when I realized that the next book on my TBR list is David Weber’s YA scifi novel “A Beautiful Friendship”, in which Stephanie Harrington, a particularly determined young woman, discovers a species of tree-cats, sapient beings who can develop telempathic links with humans. And use tools. And love and fight and care and hate.

So I wondered, were there more? Well, of course there is “Tailchaser’s Song” by Tad Williams. And “The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents” by The Amazing Terry Pratchett. Also “The Rowan” by Anne McCaffrey. And I’m sure there are a multitude of other great examples I just haven’t bothered to research.

Hundreds, and thousands, and millions, and billions of cats, to quote a favorite children’s book.

But why cats?

It might be, as Sir Terry Pratchett has so ably postulated, because cats were once worshipped as gods, and they have not forgotten this. Or perhaps because we humans, as a species, find ourselves (however much we might try to deny it) closer to cats in temperament and inclination than just about any other creature of our acquaintance.

Now I'm sure the dog lovers will immediate react with lists of fabulous canine speculative fiction tales featuring dogs as main characters. I rather hope so--equal time aside, I'd be interested to see 'em. I just couldn't think of any I'd ever read.

But whatever the reason, cats have definitely found their place as major players in speculative literature. If we behave, they may even allow us ours.

That feeling you get...

posted May 2, 2016, 9:27 AM by Keith Willis

...when you see your book in the local Indie Bookstore.


Traitor Knight is now available at The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza. And the outstanding placing they gave me is so amazing!. I'm right there on the top shelf, next to Salvatore, Sanderson and Weis/Hickman. For a debut, local author, this is just unbelievable exciting and humbling. Thank you, Susan and the folks at The Book House.


And on a further note, I'll be hosting my Traitor Knight Launch Party at the Book House on Thursday, June 2, 2016 at 7:00pm. I'll be reading excerpts from Traitor Knight and a meet-and-greet with the audience. Light libations (and dragon cookies) will be available. I'd love to see any of you who are near the NY Capital District that evening to help me celebrate the award-winning Traitor Knight's release in paperback. 





That Feeling You Get...

posted Apr 6, 2016, 9:36 AM by Keith Willis

...When you realize your book is going to be on the shelves of a library.


I got word this morning (April 6, 2016) that an order of 3 copies of TRAITOR KNIGHT had been received at the High School library where Patty, my wonderful, loving, and supportive wife, works as the library admin (i.e. doing all the back office stuff). 

Ok. To say I was practically jumping up and down in excitement would be an understatement. I was over the moon! And still am. 

It's one thing to know that people are buying your book and reading it. And, to judge by the reviews TRAITOR KNIGHT has garnered so far, enjoying it. But to know that it's  on the shelves of a library? To know that my book is rubbing metaphorical elbows with those of PG Wodehouse and Lauren Willig? That is just way beyond cool and out into the stratosphere of awesomeness. 

Wow. *sigh* Wow. 

It's been a long journey to get to this moment. And there's still a long road ahead: figuring out ways to connect with readers and let them know about TRAITOR KNIGHT; working on book two (DESPERATE KNIGHTS, which hopefully will be finished up by the end of April); participating in various writing and book-related forums around the NY Capital District, and keeping up with family, day job, home, community. It's a little daunting. And a lot rewarding. 

So, for those of you who believed in me and the story I had to tell, who offered encouragement or support or a "you can do it" along the way, I offer my heartfelt thanks in return. For those of you who have bought and read a copy of TRAITOR KNIGHT, you can't believe how much I appreciate it. And for anyone who has left a review---you're the best! 

This is why writers do what they do. It's certainly not for the money--I've probably spent more in promotional swag and advertising than I'll ever net back from sales of my book. No, It's for the feeling we get when we see our book in someone's hand, or on the library shelf, or in the local indie bookstore. That little bubble of *wow* that bursts inside like a fourth of July fireworks display. 

I'm going to be grinning like the Chesire cat for the next week. 

 



On Superheroes, Monster, and Romance

posted Mar 24, 2016, 10:30 AM by Keith Willis

Superheroes, monsters, and romance. Not, thank goodness, all at the same time… Although that might make for an interesting story line: superhero falls in love with monster. Talk about conflicted. Nah, I’m sure it’s been done many times over, but still… it does have a certain je n’est sais quoi, doesn’t it? *pulls out pencil, scribbles notes*

However, this is less about star-crossed lovers and more about trends in modern literature and cinema, and possible reasons behind them. Of course we’ve always had superheroes and monsters and romance in both books and movies. But I think right now we need them (and thus are getting them) more than ever.

Monsters. The things that go bump in the night. The things that try to eat us in the night. Or, if you’re a Scooby Doo aficionado, the things with bad costumes that try to outwit a bunch of meddling kids. But is the raison d’etre behind horror films and books that we use those monsters as a stand-in for the things in this world that terrify us? I think this likely. There are so many frightening things out there right now—terrorism, genocide, presidential candidates—and we need to know that while some of us may be eaten, there is a chance that if we’re clever enough, or run fast enough, can wield a mean sword/axe/machine gun, we might have a chance to survive. Our monsters sublimate for the horrors seen and imagined in this world. We in America are often insulated from the monsters out there in the rest of the world (see: Paris; Brussels; pretty much any place in the middle-East; Africa). Our monsters, in cinema and literature, are our way of experiencing the horrors of the world in a more vicariously personal manner than just watching CNN (which can be pretty horrifying in and of itself).

Superheroes. Those (generally) caped crusaders for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. These are the guys and gals we hope will save our collective bacon from the monsters that haunt us (see Monsters, above). They may be conflicted, brooding, and angst-ridden—but when the chips are down, they get the job done. And that’s what we need to see. That’s what many of us secretly wish we could be, in our own little way. That we had the power to save our neighbors from the monsters. Superheroes give us hope—that fleeting hope that there actually is someone out there who’ll step in and save the day from terrorists, random shooters, or presidential candidates. Superheroes kick that collective ass that we know needs to be kicked. There may be a lot of wrecked busses and monster-guts splattered all over the place, along with body parts of those who weren’t fast enough or clever enough to keep out of the way (see Monsters, above), but in general, WE’RE safe. Rescued by those brooding caped crusaders who nod once, and then vanish off into the night, waiting for the trumpet call to duty yet again.

Romance. The third part of the equation. The most important part of the equation. We may not admit it, and some of us may never get it. But almost all of us hope, in our heart of hearts, that we’ll have a little romance in our lives. And romantic books and films show us how it’s done. They give us a blueprint towards that Happy-Ever-After. Or, conversely, they show us what not to do. But, like superhero movies and books, romances give us hope that there is that special someone waiting out there, the soulmate whose heart beats only in time with our own. And it’s that romance—that love, if you will, that prompts us to strive to be superheroes and banish the monsters, to keep our beloved safe.

So in the final analysis, all three of these genres deal in hope. Hope that we’ll defeat the monsters. Hope that we’ll either be a superhero, or that one will swoop down in the nick of time and rescue the careening bus of our lives before it goes over the cliff. Hope that we’ll find that spark of romance.

And that’s what makes them important. Because often, hope is all we’ve got. And often, hope is enough. It’s what keeps up getting up out of bed every day, to face a world populated with monsters, superheroes, and romance.

Keep hoping.  

Update on Albacon 2016

posted Feb 23, 2016, 9:16 AM by Keith Willis   [ updated Mar 3, 2016, 9:39 AM ]

I just got the schedule of my participation in Albacon 2016 (Friday March 4 – Sunday March 6). Looks like I’m on some great panels. Plus I get to do a reading from TRAITOR KNIGHT on Saturday @ 2:30. Far Out!

Here’s my scheduled appearances. The full list of events/panels should be up soon on the Albacon website (http://www.albacon.org/2016/) . Some great stuff in the offing—hope to see you there at either the Writers Workshop on Friday, or the actual con on Saturday, or both.



Release Day for Through the Veil by Colleen Halverson + a Giveaway

posted Feb 22, 2016, 9:01 AM by Keith Willis

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Title: Through The Veil (The Aisling Chronicles, #1)

Author: Colleen Halverson

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Release Date: February 22, 2016

Publisher: Entangled

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Synopsis

Elizabeth Tanner is no Tinkerbell, and her life is no fairy tale. Broke and drowning in student loans, the one thing she wants more than anything is a scholarship from the Trinity Foundation. But after the ancient Irish text she's studying turns out to be more than just a book, she becomes their prisoner instead. And when Trinity reveals Elizabeth is half-Fae, she finds herself at the center of a plot to save the magical races of Ireland from a brutal civil war.

As Commander of Trinity's elite warriors, Finn O'Connell isn't used to having his authority challenged. He doesn't know whether to punish or protect the infuriating young woman in his custody. When he discovers the Dark Fae want to use Elizabeth's abilities to control the source of all power in the universe, he'll risk everything to help her. At the mercy of Trinity and enslaved to the Dark Fae, Elizabeth finds herself alone on the wrong side of an Irish myth thousands of years in the making. Refusing to be a pawn in their game, Elizabeth has to fight her way back to the man she loves, but to do so, she must wage her own war against the magic that binds her. THROUGH THE VEIL will be available February 22nd 2016 through Entangled Publishing. Book 1 of the Aisling Chronicles Series

Order your copy today!

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Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Barnes And Noble | IBooks | KOBO

Excerpt
I turned the corner and took in the large man towering over Candace’s shiny blond head. Tapping his foot and muttering something about being “late for another meeting,” he shot her a menacing scowl. He clutched the edge of the desk as if he might overturn it and swallow our intern whole like a mini eggroll. Candace bit her lip, her big brown manga eyes wide with bubbling anxiety as she fumbled with some files. I hated a bully. Being an army brat with a new school almost every year, I could spot one a mile away. “Can I help you?” I threw back my shoulders and tried to make myself appear taller. The man puffed his linebacker chest. “Finn O’Connell. I’m with the Trinity Foundation. I have an appointment with Dr. Kevin Forrester.” He had a crisp Irish accent, his consonants cutting through the shafts of afternoon light spilling into the room. “I’m sorry, but Dr. Forrester is out.” Where are you, old man? I stepped forward, pasting a confident smile on my face. “Is there something I could help you with?” Mr. O’Connell stalked over to me, and I fought the urge to step back. Six foot five and no problems with invading personal space, the man from Trinity emitted waves of heat, and his body hummed like a pulsing engine shrouded in gleaming black chrome. My heart raced as I tilted my head up and up to meet a pair of intense gray eyes that made me forget my last name. Gritting my teeth, I steeled myself, crossing my arms. Never show fear: rule number one for managing the bullies in your life. “Dr. Forrester recently acquired a new manuscript—” “The Book of Arranmore!” Finn tilted his head, trying to make sense of the jumble of consonants I had just vomited. “Excuse me?” “Um, yes. The Book of Arranmore. Sorry.” I twisted my mouth into some semblance of a smile, but inside my stomach knotted, thinking of the changing pictures, the shifting text. “It’s a wonderful new addition to our collection.” Finn glanced down the hallway toward the archives. “Would you mind if I take a look?” “Um…” I curled my fingers into my palm. “I think it might be best if we wait for Dr. Forrester. If you would like to come back later—” “No, I would not like to come back later. My time is precious, Miss…?” I raised my eyebrows, bristling at the Miss. “Tanner. Elizabeth Tanner.” “Miss Tanner,” he said. “As a contributing member to this institution, I think I am entitled to a small preview.” Entitled. Only certain kinds of men could throw that word around. Men in Burberry leather trench coats, dry-cleaned, pressed shirts so white they glistened like morning snow. Men with large checkbooks. Men, who, with the flick of a lazy, indecipherable signature could decide the destiny of my academic career. “Of course, Mr. O’Connell,” I said. “We have it in the back here, if you would like to follow me. I was just working on it.” Finn rode my heels, and I hurried to keep some distance between us. Opening the door and crossing the reading room, I darted to my workspace, leaning against the desk to establish my territory. I raised my chin, but inside my stomach fluttered as Finn took in the mountains of scattered notes I had amassed over the past few weeks. A messy desk is the sign of a true genius, right? Judging from the scowl on the Irishman’s face, he didn’t seem to think so. I took a deep breath and was about to open my mouth to wax intellectual on The Book of Arranmore when my hand slipped over the computer mouse. AC/DC screeched across the wood-paneled walls, elaborating on the calamitous effects of American thighs. I let out a squeak, whirling around and fumbling to press pause, my hands shaking violently. The music stopped mid-scream, and then silence. “Interesting taste in music, Miss Tanner.” His words burned hot against the side of my neck, and I gasped. Finn stood a mere inch behind me. He stared down at the computer screen, the blue light flashing on the teasing smile spread across his face. Heat bloomed in my cheeks, and I clicked on the tiny X to close out the program. “Oh, that wasn’t mine!” I brushed my hair out of my eyes. “These dang undergrads. I mean, who listens to AC/DC, right?” Finn’s smile faded, his dark stare replacing the brief lightness in his features. I chewed on my lip, arrested for a moment by the impossible length of his eyelashes. “Is this it?” Finn turned and planted his fists on the table, caging the manuscript with his arms. “Yes.” Closing in on Finn, I breathed in the clean, leather smell emanating from his long coat. Warm and intoxicating, he smelled like a mix of fresh laundry and badass.

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About The Author

Colleen

As a child, Colleen Halverson used to play in the woods imagining worlds and telling stories to herself. Growing up on military bases, she found solace in her local library and later decided to make a living sharing the wonders of literature to poor, unsuspecting college freshman. After backpacking through Ireland and singing in a traditional Irish music band, she earned a PhD in English with a specialization in Irish literature. When she’s not making up stories or teaching, she can be found hiking the rolling hills of the Driftless area of Wisconsin with her husband and two children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway

Swag Pack

One signed copy of Through the Veil
One Book of Kells Coloring Book One Tree of Life Pendant One Tree of Life Journal One hand-painted one-of-a-kind Tree of Life scarf

a Rafflecopter giveaway love-p


This (Busy) Writing Life 02.09.16

posted Feb 9, 2016, 9:42 AM by Keith Willis

To those who say writers have it easy--all they have to do is make stuff up--I reply "Pooh!"

Here's an update on what this writer's life is like at the moment:

As noted on the home page, just finished up with the Altamont Free Library's 100th Anniversary Gala, where I had a Traitor Knight Prize Package up for auction.

From February through October I'll be participating as part of the TeenReaderCon (http://teenreadercon.weebly.com/) committee, helping to draft authors and organize this annual event (and do some fundraising from various sources--sort of a shakedown artist). This will entail monthly meetings and, no doubt, countless emails and inordinate amounts of time I really don't have. But I really believe in the program, so I'm all in.

On March 4/5, I'm involved in Albacon, the Capital District's own SFF convention. I'll be a panelist on the Friday Writers Workshop, as well as on a panel or two, mainly dealing with writing, during the con itself on Saturday. 

With luck (fingers crossed here, folks) I'll have print editions either in hand or on the way by the beginning of March. Which means I'll be spending lots of time hawking books. And making arrangements to do readings (and hawk books). And hitting up bookstores to convince them to stock my book. 

On April 9 I'll be participating as a panelist in the Clifton Park/Halfmoon Public Library's Two Towns One Book program on blogging. The book du jour is Andy Weir's fabulous The Martian and, for those of you who don't know, Andy started off by blogging chapters from the book on his website as he wrote them.  Disclaimer--I'll be the first, although probably not the last, to acknowledge that I'm not the world's most prolific blogger. I know I don't post things nearly as often as I should (or as I'd like). But I do understand the whole blogging process, and can probably speak relatively intelligently on it. I hope.

Through Hudson Valley Writers Guild, I'll be working to plan and organize a writers retreat, probably for some time in October. I've never done anything like this before, and it's looking a bit daunting. But I opened my big mouth, and here I am...

I've been invited to participate in the Guilderland Public Library's Gala in September (another Traitor Knight Prize Package...). I love doing these things; they're a lot of fun, we meet super nice people, and it gets the book noticed just a little bit more.

So that's a sampling of events. That doesn't include the Day Job; home upkeep; Wife--care, feeding and happiness of; monthly blogging for The Writers Vineyard; and trying desperately to write Desperate Knights (Book Two of the Knights of Kilbourne series); enter various contests which have been popping up; and maintain a fairly active social life.

So to anyone who says writers have it easy, again I say "pooh!" Try my shoes for a little while. It's not all sitting around in your underwear drinking coffee and petting the cat while you figure out whether the next word should be "impertinent" or "importunate". 

Rant over. Have a nice day.







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