Found-Footage: A New Literary Genre?

Guest post by author Scott Bonasso

My latest book, The Tree of Knowledge, is technically a science fiction story. However, in writing TOK, my goal was to create a science fiction story that wasn’t ‘science fiction-y’. And not just in the sense that there wouldn’t be the typical whiz-bang spaceships or aliens or sentient computers. Every author who writes sci-fi strives for plausibility, but I wanted to go further. I wanted to create a manuscript that readers might actually believe was real.

I’m not the only storyteller currently seeking methods in which to blur the line between fantasy and reality in their work. One need only look at the wave of ‘found-footage’ films that have been produced since The Blair Witch Project turned the indie film industry on its ear fifteen years ago. There is a particular kind of thrill that comes with watching a movie that you either think is real, or are willing to suspend your disbelief for in this particular way. The approach to making the movie is different than that of a traditional film narrative. The filmmaker crafts the movie in such a way to honor the fiction-as-nonfiction contract with their audience. It’s sort of a role-playing exercise: the traditional third wall between storyteller and audience is intentionally taken down and both parties agree to treat the narrative as nonfiction.

The literary equivalent of a found-footage film would be a book written in epistolary format: a narrative that is presented as a collection of letters, notes, etc. Max Brooks created a brilliant twist on the epistolary format with his 2006 book, World War Z, which was actually presented as a series of transcribed interviews with various witnesses to the zombie apocalypse that the book documents. The brilliance of this book is found in both the micro and the macro – micro: the reader is treated to an eclectic variety of vignettes and smaller scenes, told by an eclectic variety of characters; macro: taken as a whole, these vignettes create an epic and fascinatingly realistic vision of the zombie apocalypse. Continue reading

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Extract: Dragon Kin and other fantasy stories

Dragon Kin and other fantasy storiesThe Dragon Kin anthology is a collection of six fantasy stories with plenty of twists that will keep you turning the page for more.

In this anthology, a young man’s incredible past is uncovered when he saves a young woman from conjured, fire-breathing dragons. A novice wizard’s resolve is tested when he is chased by rabid dogs for accusing a king’s beloved queen of murder. A mother prepares to brave danger by taking on a gluttonous black dragon with an overzealous penchant for livestock in the next valley that threatens, if left unchecked, to see her children going hungry during the looming winter. A cunning assassin sneaks into the castle dungeons to silence a prisoner before his testimony can reveal startling revelations about the queen. A desperate man does the unthinkable when he tries to kill a seven-year-old girl for the bounty placed on her head. An elf risks exposing the world’s best-kept secret – her secret – by embarking on a rescue mission to retrieve captured humans and kidnapped phoenix eggs.

One of the stories in this anthology is Dragon Kin. I hope you enjoy the extract below.

Extract from Dragon Kin

Only an hour remained before dawn. Karas had spent the remainder of the night chopping wood to repair his cabin. He kept his bow and quiver close at hand, just in case another dragon came. None had, and he doubted Sasha’s conviction that any would. The woman still sat in the sand talking Karas half deaf. He’d considered physically removing her, but, since he had no front door left to keep her out and nowhere to remove her to, he had blocked her voice out and focussed on the act of chopping wood, a menial task that always relaxed him.

He almost had enough wood to repair his cabin now, and planned to spend the day sawing it into planks. The coming day would also have to be used to get rid of the dragon corpse before it attracted flies. Sasha’s droning was replaced by a shriek as a large shadow passed overhead and something big and unfriendly snarled.

Karas looked up just as the silver-grey killer spewed a jet of flame at his cabin. The thatched roof caught fire immediately, the flames quickly spreading down the walls and to the interior. Karas’ heart sank. He was going to need a lot more wood. Continue reading

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Smashwords’ Site-Wide July Promotion Ends in 4 Days!

If you haven’t already taken advantage of the massive discounts offered by Smashwords authors during the site-wide July promotion, don’t forget this is the last week you can do so. If the books below don’t tempt you, spend some time browsing the site – perhaps something else will. Happy reading!

TRWThe kingdom of Wilderheim stands bastion between the world of humans and the Otherlands. It is ruled as much by people as it is by creatures Other and as such, it must always have a wizard at the right hand of its king. Nico has seen three generations of rulers sit the throne; he knows he will not see the fourth. Desperate to find a worthy apprentice, when Nia appears like a godsend in his path he wastes no time taking her under his wing as his last sworn duty to the young king Saeran.

But Nia and Saeran have many trials ahead of them. With destinies converging toward an inevitable battle for power, countless lives hang in the balance, including theirs. As love brings them together, so strife tears them apart and as the balance between justice and magic shifts, the royal wizard and her king get caught in a maelstrom of colliding forces. Nothing is ever as it seems with a trickster hiding in the shadows. When the gods begin to play, mortals tremble…

New Adult appropriate.

Use the code SSW75 to claim a 75% discount on check-out at Smashwords.

Sorcery & SubterfugeA magical sceptre that holds the power of the gods, an invisible prince, an elf with ogre genes and the ability to bend others’ minds to his will, a peasant girl turned queen, a tortured phoenix in human form, mystical fogs, dwarf pirates and majestic ryokin – sentient winged sabre tooth cats with magic flowing through their veins…

If sorcery and subterfuge get you through the night, this short story anthology is sure to spin you into a whirlwind adventure to realms beyond the imagination. Fans of the sci-fi fantasy series, Legends of Origin, will be pleased to note the inclusion of two stories featuring the series’ ryokin, along with a sneak peek at some of the series’ future characters.

Use the code SSW50 to claim a 50% discount at check-out on Smashwords.

Insights for Singles: Steps to Find Everlasting Love delivers insights to help readers reach their highest potential, learn to think positively, recognize red flags, how to let go of a relationship, improve communication skills, and understand how to attract and proceed with the “Right One.” Whether you need to learn to “Keep your pants on” or “My fantasy is not reality,” singles will find plenty of potent insight and proven solutions in this eBook.

Use the code SW100 to claim a 100% discount at check-out on Smashwords.


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Get Pamela Cummins’ Insights for Singles: Steps to Find Everlasting Love for FREE – and more!

During Smashwords’ site-wide July promotion, from 1 to 31 July, you can get Pamela Cummins’ Insights for Singles: Steps to Find Everlasting Love for free! You can also purchase Psychic Wisdom on Love and Relationships at a 50% discount.

“Insights for Singles: Steps to Find Everlasting Love” delivers insights to help readers reach their highest potential, learn to think positively, recognize red flags, how to let go of a relationship, improve communication skills, and understand how to attract and proceed with the “Right One.” Whether you need to learn to “Keep your pants on” or “My fantasy is not reality,” singles will find plenty of potent insight and proven solutions in this eBook.




Do you feel like you will always be single? Are you sick of bad dates and relationships? Bored and unsatisfied in your relationship? Psychic Wisdom on Love and Relationships is a unique eBook packed with wisdom for BIG relationships. Go inside the world of a psychic to see how the spirit world gives knowledge to transform your love life. This eBook will take you on the journey of self-love, boundaries, intuition, communication skills, and more.

If you believe in your heart that love waits for you, you’ll want to read this book. Simply put, Psychic Wisdom on Love and Relationships will get you there. – Patricia Frank, Author of Falling Through Time, a Woman’s Journey to the Future.

Pamela CumminsPamela Cummins is the “Musical Psychic” who specializes in love and relationships, personal growth, life direction, and dream interpretation. She is available for readings, coaching, and workshops. Pamela hosts “The Love Channel Show” on Blogtalk Radio, is a frequent guest on numerous radio shows, and has written for many publications. She is the author of Psychic Wisdom on Love and Relationships and Insights for Singles: Steps to Find Everlasting Love. Pamela writes monthly columns for Bellesprit Magazine.

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Pre-publication Extract from Wizard of Ends, Book 1

If you haven’t already read the first pre-publication extract and introduction to this new fantasy adventure series, please read Wizard of Ends – A Magical New Adventure Series. If you enjoyed that, read a second, different extract on Richard Foland’s blog.

Fantasy book bloggers (authors and/or readers) who to participate in the Wizard of Ends virtual book tour later this year and/or receive an ARC, please contact me.

I hope you enjoy the below extract, from my first draft of Book 1.

Wizard of Ends 1King Lanaran slid his hunting knife from its ankle sheath. A pathetic weapon against creatures of dark magic, but his sword was out of reach. Amkesh tried to swap weapons with him, but Lanaran glared and yanked the knife out of reach.

“Now is not the time for heroics, Captain. We need all able hands.”

Amkesh opened his mouth to argue again.

“That’s an order!” Lanaran barked.

A clear, sharp voice rang out. “The king has ordered your death this day, and so it shall be.”

Lanaran gaped as Lashlor – the fake wizard – stepped into the circle of beyeni.

To Lanaran’s amazement, Assassa took a step back. It seemed she was afraid of the fake wizard, but surely she could sense he was not a fellow magic user and posed no threat?

Even the beyeni hesitated, then some snarled at the fake wizard and turned their attention to him.

“He’s trying to divide them to give us a greater chance,” Lanaran murmured.

“He’s a fool.” Amkesh jabbed his sword at a beyeni that got too close.

What in all the lands were the dark creatures waiting for? It seemed their mistress had commanded them to toy with the prey before going in for the kill.

Lanaran shook his head. “No. He’s a hero.”

“He’ll die.”

“A hero.” New respect for the fake wizard flooded Lanaran. “But not alone. Come, Captain. Let’s get this over with. If they will not attack first, we will.”

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5 Quotes for Writers to Live By

We all need encouragement and inspiration from time to time, and I find the following writing quotes do the trick when I hit a slump in my writing. Thankfully, I don’t need inspiration right now, as my muse is keeping me on my toes lately, but I hope they inspire others like they have me.

  1. “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ~ Ray Bradbury
  1. “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” ~ Jack London
  1. “Being a successful writer is 3% talent, 7% hard work, 11% luck, and 79% not being distracted by the Internet.” ~ Drachen Jager
  1. “Love is the answer to everything. It’s the only reason to do anything. If you don’t write stories you love, you’ll never make it. If you don’t write stories that other people love, you’ll never make it.” ~ Ray Bradbury
  1. “Before we are storytellers or thinkers, we are conscious beings. We are aware that I AM… That awareness is underneath all stories.” ~ Gangaji

If you have a favourite writing quote that inspires or encourages you, please share it with us in the comments.

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REVIEW: The Crusader by JP Wilder – 5 out of 5 stars

The crusader imageReview by Alex James

I actually downloaded the entirety of this book believing it to be the sample. I read the ‘sample’, enjoyed it, and was going to buy the book before I realised I already had read it all.

The story is 11, 000 words, and I was very impressed. It read like a fantasy of the crusades. I particularly liked the heathen sorcery and Dark Men (assassins) aspects of this short story. I found it to be a twist that the Dark Men fought for the Crusaders and not the Saracens.

The story has a lot of fighting and a bit of betrayal. The action was fun to read, and I liked how it ended.

This book was free when I downloaded it from Smashwords. My only annoyance is that I felt I would have to download another book to read the continuation of this story.

Overall, if you like fantasy or the crusades then give this an immediate read!

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Order of the Four Sons, an epic fantasy adventure series

Enter the world of the Order.

The Order of the Four Sons is a sprawling, fast-paced, epic adventure that encompasses multiple worlds and an ensemble cast of characters. Two ancient organizations, the Order of the Four Sons of Horus and Starry Wisdom, have been battling for centuries for possession of a powerful artifact known as the Staff of Solomon. Whoever has possession of the staff can rip open the very fabric of existence.

O4S CoverBook I

The series’ heroes are introduced: Colonel JD Garnett, novice mage Kate West, Detective Ryan Murphy, scholar Doug Grigori, and field techs Bill Welsh and Cecil Morgan. The team is dispatched to investigate the disappearance of one of their own in a small town. There, they uncover a lot more than they bargained for – a segment of the Staff of Solomon, and the evil forces that are converging to claim it.

Book I is permanently free through Smashwords and other e-book retailers.


CarcosaBook II

Carcosa follows the team – JD, Murphy, Doug and Kate – as they pursue Countess Elizabeth Bathory across the face of a sinister desert planet filled with untold dangers. O4S Director Clayton Grabowski and the Oracle find themselves mired in the political intrigues of the Order’s leadership, while back on Earth, Bill forges an uneasy alliance with a government agent. As they race to recover the Staff of Solomon, they uncover truths they had never expected about their enemies – and themselves. Continue reading

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Dogon Legend: Visitors from Sirius

Before we get to the juicy stuff, let me introduce you to the Dogon tribe of West Africa’s Mali. Out of all the Orion legends I’ve heard, this one resonates with me the most, since I live on the same continent, in South Africa. The Dogon’s origins are not entirely clear, but it’s believed their ancestors were Egyptian. The Dogon believed that Sirius, a bluish star in the Orion constellation, had an invisible companion star. This companion star, known as Sirius B, was not discovered until 1970 (some sources say 1862)! How did the Dogon know this?

Finding Sirius_blogNow here’s where it gets juicy, and this legend is what inspired the T’Acan (Book 2 onwards) in my sci-fi fantasy series, Legends of Origin:

Dogon legend has it that, thousands of years ago, a race of amphibious beings from the Sirius system came to Earth. These beings were called the Nommos, took the forms of whales, dolphins, mermaids and mermen, and are also mentioned in Sumerian, Babylonian and Accadian mythology. The Nommos’ home planet is said to orbit another star in the Sirius system, Sirius C. Lending some credence to this, in1995, it was suggested for the first time that there might be a third star; however, not many scientists believe that life is possible in the Sirius system.

Legend has it that it was the Nommos who told the Dogon about Sirius’ invisible companion star, along with other things about our solar system that modern humans only discovered after the invention of the telescope.

Some, like astronomer Carl Sagan and writer Ian Ridpath, believe that Dogon priests discovered the knowledge of the stars from Westerners and then incorporated it into their legends. While this is certainly possible, it doesn’t explain a 400-year-old Dogon artefact that seems to depict Sirius, or how they knew about Sirius B’s super density.

It’s intriguing, at the very least.

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Tethered – 50% off in August!

Tethered_453x680She can kill with a kiss. But can assassin Tyree also heal one man’s grief, and bring peace to a galaxy threatened by war?

For Tyree of the Su, being an assassin isn’t simply something she was trained for. It’s the sole reason for her existence. A genetically enhanced clone—one of many in Refuge—she’s about to learn her secluded lifestyle, and that of all her kind, is under threat by a race capable of neutralizing their special talents to leave them defenseless.

For Zander D’joren, being a diplomat has not only cost him his appearance, but also the love of his life. Scarred, grieving, he must nonetheless continue in his role as co-delegate to the fearsome Tier-vane or risk a conflict that could only end one way.

Now both of them need to keep each other alive and maintain a perilous deception long enough to renegotiate the treaty with the Tier-vane, or throw their people into a war that could wipe out Terrans and Inc-Su alike. But there’s more at stake than humanity, whether true or modified. Can the love growing between them save them both? Or merely hasten their destruction?

Buy links:

Breathless Press – for the whole of August, Breathless Press is offering 50% off to celebrate their 5th birthday!
All Romance ebooks
Add it to your Goodreads TBR here

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PippaJayAfter spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include a YA science fiction novel—Gethyon—published through BURST (Champagne Books), three self-published short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply, The Bones of the Sea, and Reboot), and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

You can stalk her at her website, or at her blog, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

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