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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Author Guest Blog & Contest with Stephen Zimmer

Author and Film Maker Stephen Zimmer is a regular guest here on Amberkatze's Book Blog. Stephen's last visit was only back in February and his first visit here was exactly a year ago.

Stephen's new book Storm Guardians is now available and if you enjoy his guest blog about Epic Urban Fantasy then you may want to enter the contest. The contest prize package this time around is just as impressive and generous and the previous giveaways Stephen has hosted here on the site.


Epic Urban Fantasy.

It is the closest categorization that can be applied to the Rising Dawn Saga, which has always been a little hard for me to fit under a nice, easy label. In reflecting upon this aspect, as the second installment in the series rolls out, The Storm Guardians, I can see both a distinct advantage and a disadvantage. The disadvantage is simply that I cannot easily compare this series to something else that is out on the market when talking to new readers. Ironically, this is also the advantage, as the series does have some different qualities which will hopefully appeal to readers looking for fresh, original kinds of literary adventures within fantastical realms.

The mention of Epic Fantasy most often tends to bring to mind the notion of a medieval-related setting, like that found within my Fires In Eden series (book one was released last fall, Crown of Vengeance). The topic of Urban Fantasy brings to mind a wide range of popular writers today, mostly with tales set in contemporary
times, involving elements of the paranormal and the supernatural.

The Rising Dawn Saga is set in a parallel world that is very similar to our own. If parallel worlds were like an onion, the world in the saga would be just a couple of peels away, with many things in its history and places reflecting Earth fairly closely. This has been done for a purpose, as multiple states of existence are an important part of the overall story. As such, the saga is certainly contemporary in nature, and it is inundated with the supernatural and paranormal. In these areas, it most certainly relates to the content found in Urban Fantasy.

Yet there is a key difference between this story and the majority of other Urban Fantasy stories. This lies in the epic nature and scale of this saga. Set against the backdrop of a cosmic war, the saga features conflict on a massive scale, and also portrays realms and environments that are spectacular in scope, especially those in the non-physical realms depicted in the books. A variety of creatures and an ensemble cast of characters emerge throughout the several threads by which this story is told. In these areas, the saga has a breadth and depth that rivals the larger medieval fantasy series, entailing world-building aspects (such as the realms in the Abyss, Purgatarion, and those beyond the White City), epic battles (such as the one that takes place in the Storm Guardians), and an overall storyline that encompasses the fate of an entire world (and perhaps worlds, but I shall not let loose any spoilers!).

Ordinary characters, both of a human variety and non-human variety, are faced with profound, transformative events, and the way in which they respond to adversity illustrates aspects of the heroic and the courageous. From dutiful entities like the six-winged, multi-eyed Watcher Talthannor, to the diminutive, fairy-like, Peri named Asa’an, this path is taken with knowledge and experience that is not possessed by the human characters in the saga. The latter characters face the greater burden of the unknown and the uncertain, such as high school student Seth Engel, Arianna Darwin, the niece of radio show celebrity Benedict Darwin, and a hard-working electrician, Ian Rafferty, who simply wants to raise a family in a quiet little town. Even the more villainous amongst the human characters, such as the sorceress and leader of Babylon Technologies, Dagian Underwood, are at a disadvantage in comparison to the darker supernatural entities such as Sammael, Lilith, and Aaliyah Satrinah.

For me, the contrasts and balances between the ordinary and the fantastical make for a very exciting environment in which to develop this modern-age story. The structure of using several threads allows me to give perspective to the story from the eyes of both the virtuous and the nefarious, and a few in between. I believe that every reader can find a character, or more than one character, to really connect to (or be fascinated by). Though the context of the saga is large, I have worked hard to make sure that the personal touches remain, and that the characters live and breathe with a reality that the reader can relate to.

The Exodus Gate was a book that really laid the foundations in place and set things in motion for the Rising Dawn Saga, and The Storm Guardians charges forward with some big action, and heightening tension. I am really looking forward to hearing what the readers have to say about the new book, as it was quite a sojourn into the realms of imagination for me.

With an estimated seven books in the series, there is a whole lot more to come in this saga, and I invite readers of Epic Fantasy and Urban Fantasy alike to give Epic Urban Fantasy a try! You just might enjoy it!

(signed copies can be ordered from the above two sites)


Contest Time!

Stephen loves putting prize packages together and this time he has come up with another amazing selection.

Prize is as follows: The Storm Guardians signed copy, with the new 9 card set of art cards, bookmarks, 14X20 poster of the cover art, a 14X20 art poster (choice of Celestial Woman or 3-Headed Dragon designs), and glossy 8X10 cover art.

How to Enter!

Stpehen's guest blog was about Epic Urban Fantasy. So tell us what genre is you like the most.

No Genre = No Entry

Earn more entries for each place you link this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries! However please do not make individual postings for each entry. Please post all your info in one post.

You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

Make sure you post your links here so I can confirm your entries.

Keep the contests going by using the Amazon link below and around the site!

The contest will stay open until Sunday 20th of June 2010 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.


Jessica Louise said...

Please enter me! :D
My favorite genre is paranormal romance because it makes reading more exciting. I love no matter what, there is something strange going on between lovers and either there is forbiden love, unknow love, or love that is cursed. It's a great genre that you can't put down.

I've tweeted.. http://twitter.com/JessicaXxXLW/status/16016612672
I've myspaced.. http://activities.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=stream&friendId=351912449&f=7
I've facebooked.. http://www.facebook.com/note.php?created&&suggest&note_id=10150185133600088

Christine said...

Thanks for the amazing contest!
My favourite genre isdark urban fantasy, at least at the moment. My preferences tend to change form time to time!

tetewa said...

My favorite is Paranormal with vampires coming in first! tWarner419@aol.com

SiNn said...

honestly i have a love love for horror so when they did a paranormal cross over in to my other passion romance id have to say my fav genera now is paranormal horror romance

cant get enough of it really

great post and give away

debbie said...

My favorite is sci fi.
I would love to read the book, the interview was really good.

Deirdre said...

I have to choose only one genre? Currently I'm really liking Urban Fantasy but I'm starting to stray back to regular Fantasy

Twitted: http://twitter.com/wyvernfriend/status/16067090650

doreen lamoureux said...

I love lots...but at the moment my fave is Historal Romance...it's because that is what I',m reading right now.

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dorcontest at gmail dot com

k_sunshine1977 said...

i love urban fantasy, historical mystery, and paranormal romance the best, but i'll read any genre as long as it's a good story....

k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

heidi330 said...

I love paranormal romance, urban fantasy, historical romance, paranormal historical...I just love reading everything...


heidijohnjeff AT verizon DOT net


Robert Eilers said...

Right now I am reading Pebble In The Sky by Isaac Asimov so I guess sci-fi is my favorite though I like most fantasy also.

My links:







heatwave16 said...

My favorite is urban fantasy. I love my gritty heriones and all the action. Plus, don't forget a little love as well. ;)

Blodeuedd said...

My fav genre is epic fantasy, I love the quests, then heroes, the castles, the darkness

blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

My favourite genre is paranormal fantasy.

Anonymous said...

Mt favorite genre is urban fantasy.


LSUReader said...

Right now, my favorite is historical romance, because it's so new and fresh for me.

Kimberly B. said...

What a terrific giveaway! I have a hard time choosing between urban and epic fantasy. I think my favorite genre is probably old school urban fantasy, like the Borderlands series and the novels of Charles de Lint. Something about that genre just lends itself to elegant, lyrical writing!
beax0002 (at) umn (dot) edu

Sue Brandes said...

I love vampires and paranormal. If it's a good story I will read it for sure. Your books sound very good.

BreiaB said...

My favorite genre is anything paranormal.

plhill2000 said...

I have changed from Paranormal Romance to Dark Urban Fantasy. I am enjoying more gritty reading as opposed erotica which seems to be where Paranormal Romance is headed. I especially love classic battles of good versus evil.

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

My favorite is Paranormal Romance. I also read UF but I like the romance in the PR more.

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Unknown said...

My favorite genre is paranormal romance with historical romance a close second.
I tweeted. http://twitter.com/mbreakfield/statuses/16621914397

Meredith said...

Paranormal romance is the genre I've been reading mostly in the last few weeks. Sometimes historical romances as well.
meredithfl at gmail dot com

Curling up by the Fire said...

I don't really have a favourite genre, but I'll have to pick one for this contest. I guess it would have to be historical mystery and anything to do with time travel to the the past.

This is challenging as I go through phases in my reading.

clynsg said...

Don't know that I really have a favorite, since I read so many, but probably alternate history/universe would be at the top of the list.

cgclynsg0 at gmail dot com

Robert Eilers said...

Did you announce the winner?

Unknown said...

@ Robert - Of course! On the day the contest ended.