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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Author Interview & Contest with Stephen Zimmer

This weekend I have two author interviews and contests for you to enjoy! This first interview and contest is with author Stephen Zimmer. Author Shirley Damsgaard got me and Stephen together for this interview so a huge thanks to her!

I hope you all enjoy the interview and don't forget to enter the contest!


Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you as a guest hereand I hope you will enjoy your time here ;) Maybe you can start thingsoff for us by telling my readers a bit about your debut book, The Exodus Gate?

Stephen - –Great to be here Amber, for what I hope is the first of manyfuture visits with you and your readers! Perhaps a few will give me a tryand join me for a lot of literary adventures in the years to come!

The Exodus Gate is my debut novel, a modern epic fantasy that is the firstin a brand new series called The Rising Dawn Saga.

It is written in a multi-threaded style, not all too different fromwriters like George R.R. Martin in that it is structured around severalcharacter threads giving the reader many perspectives on the course ofevents portrayed in the saga.

As far as the plot itself:

"What if you were a nationally syndicated radio host, whose show dealtwith topics like the paranormal, shadow governments and conspiracies,mythological creatures, and the supernatural?

What if you came into possession of a virtual reality simulator thatbrought you face to face with the clear revelation that many of the topicscovered on your show were rooted in hard reality?

Benedict Darwin is one such character who finds himself in possession ofsuch a device. He soon finds himself immersed into the midst of war asold as time itself, a conflict between the heavenly realms of Adonai andthe infernal dominions of Diabolos, The Shining One. The fierce struggleunfolds in more than one realm of existence, as a shadow is falling acrossthe entire world."

The story has many elements with foundations in the lore and mythology of several different cultures, ranging from Sumerian/Babylonian myths, towritings in Christan/Jewish Mysticism, to Asian, Greek, and Persianmythology, to Flood Lore, and a whole lot more. Germanic and Celticelements begin to make an appearance that is built up more heavily in the sequel. A lot of ingredients for a very special main course!

Expect some high-octane adventure involving shape-shifters, monstrousoffspring of supernatural beings and humans, demonic and angelic entitiesof a variety of kinds, and a whole lot more!

Amber - How was the idea for The Exodus Gate? Was it a long process or somethingthat just came to you?

Stephen - The idea for the Exodus Gate largely sparked out of a lot of interestscoming together at once, and then percolating and expanding. I havealways liked Art Bell and the Coast to Coast radio show that is heard herein the US and syndicated around the world. I have listened to it on many,many a night over the years.

A part of me often wondered what guys like Art and George Noory might haveaccess to “behind the scenes”, so to speak. What if they were privy tosomething really fantastic? What if in the course of their career fellinto possession of, or an encounter with, something particularly amazing?

The Exodus Gate’s Benedict Darwin is host of a late night talk showfocusing on the paranormal, supernatural, conspiracies, and other “more“fringe” topics. The character is not based on Art Bell or George Noory,but is inspired by the kind of radio show that they have developed, andtheir unique position as a host at the epicenter of so many intriguingsubjects.

The VR device that Benedict has in this story leads to all kinds ofincredible things, involving many topics that he has covered on the show.It throws him into the heart of an epic supernatural war, putting him faceto face with mythical creatures, while pulling back the veil to show himthe real existence of the paranormal/supernatural world.

The story evolved for several years, resulting in a first draft in the90’s that I ended up feeling really was not ready. I then did a majoroverhaul of the book starting in the early part of this decade, coupledwith a lot more research, and got it to the point where I was ready totake it to an editor.

My editor Amanda DeBord and I work very well together in the editingphase, and I hope that the readers like the result!

Amber - How much research did you have to for The Exodus Gate?

Stephen – Lots and lots. From ancient and medieval writings in Jewish andChristian mysticism, to non-canonical religious works such as the Book ofEnoch, to Persian, Greek, Asian, Celtic, and Germanic mythology, to a widearray of legends and myths, I have done a lot of background for thisparticular series.

Additionally, I have done a lot of research into weapons systems, militaryequipment and tactics, firearms, and even more mundane things likefurnishings and architecture within large estate dwellings. Delved intothe world of international banks and central banking systems too (normallya dry subject, but it adds a special dimension to this series, as readers will discover!)

I even had to do some serious analysis of the flora and fauna in theDaniel Boone National Forest in the state of Kentucky, and had some realfun with this in regards to my shape-shifting, wolfish An-Ki (and Iresearched a fair bit on wolves to help with some of the foundations ofthe An-Ki).

Also looked into similar topical areas regarding Mesopotamia and theSyrian Desert, including the cultures of ancient Sumeria and Akkadia.

There is going to be a real international flavor to this series, thoughmuch of the foundation in the first book is set in a place similar to theUSA. Readers will see the doors opening to a worldwide spectrum, though,as they are introduced to some international characters and see thingsemerging at the level of some very powerful internationalist/globalistentities.

Amber - The Exodus Gate has already been released but it is only thefirst in the series. When will the other books be released and how many will there be in the series?

Stephen - It will not be a never-ending series! LOL.

Based on the material that I have now, it should be five books. Maybe onemore, or two at the most depending on how it is edited, but it will not gobeyond that. The second book is already written, and I will be handingthat over to Amanda when she finished with the first book in anotherseries that I have (Which she is almost done with now!).

Look for the second installment of The Rising Dawn Saga around February of2010.

I know where the story is headed, so there won’t be any loose ends at theconclusion. I like to underscore that, for potential readers of theseries. You can rest assured that I’m not going to write myself into acorner, lol.

My readers can expect a tight course of storylines and they will not bekept waiting around very long for new installments. I am dedicated todelivering them a wealth of material for sure!

Amber - What other projects are you working on? Do you have any other ideas you want to see put on print in the future?

Stephen –- This fall, the first book in my medieval-epic fantasy series is scheduledto be released.

From there we hope to release one book in each series per year (betweenthat series and the Rising Dawn Saga). Every six months or so we intendto have a new book coming out, which won’t leave fans of one particularseries waiting around for too long. As mentioned before, look for thesequel to The Exodus Gate in the first quarter of 2010.

Two novels a year is not an unreasonable or overly ambitious plan, as Ihave been developing both series for quite a while. I write on afull-time schedule, and am well ahead on fairly tight drafts that justneed to go through the editing process.

I hope to work with Matthew Perry as my artist on the future novels, as Ireally do like having illustrations included. Matthew is reallyfantastic, as anyone seeing the fifteen full page illustrations he did forThe Exodus Gate can see.

I have also been working on some short stories that are more heavilyweighted in the horror genre (which I feel show a little of my CliveBarker influence), as well as jotting down some ideas for what looks to bea young adult-type modern fantasy series.

Gathering a few ideas for a few historical fiction concepts set inmedieval periods (though I might infuse these with some light fantasyelements), as well as a pure epic fantasy trilogy storyline that I havebeen fleshing out and really taking a strong liking to lately.

I also would like to craft an epic fantasy set in a futuristic/spacesetting, and have done some development and notes in that regard.

Lots of ideas, as you might tell, but I assure you that I will keep asolid focus on the series I have been developing. I will not allow myselfto become spread too thin. This is what I love to do though, and I spendhours and hours and hours each week writing and researching.

Amber - How did you end up being a writer? Was it something you alwayswanted to do?

Stephen –- I'’ve always wanted to be a storyteller, and as I moved into high-school adesire to be a writer of novels began to emerge. It really blossomed incollege, and hit full gear towards the later 90’s.

I also am a filmmaker with two distributed projects so far, so the driveto be a storyteller is present in that sphere as well.

I’m very self-critical, so it took awhile before I felt I could be seriousabout pursuing writing. (Several years in fact, to reach the point when Ifinally felt that I could hand a novel draft over to an editor)
Amber - Are you a full-time writer? What kind of jobs have you had in the past?Have any of them helped your writing?

Stephen –- At the moment, I still do some freelance video/broadcast work in additionto my activities as an author/filmmaker. Anything that I can glean off ofmy writing pursuits is channeled to go into helping me make personalappearances and develop some nice accompanying artwork and materials formy readers. It is of the utmost importance to me to make myselfaccessible to readers in person and online, and to bring out some niceextras to accompany the stories for those with a collector mindset (whichI have, so that part of it is very fun for me too!).

I assure you that I spend more than a full-time schedule now with my bookand film work. I passionately hope that I am able to make the transitionto full immersion into these fantastical worlds without the need forsupplemental income from freelance jobs as soon as possible! Readers,help me out here! Set me completely free! In return I’ll work my tailoff to bring you all a ton of good stuff for years to come! LOL

In the past, I have done many varied things, primarily in videoproduction-related areas like running cameras, running live tv graphicssoftware, working in production offices, directing, and even holding boompoles for audio! I have also been a fitness consultant at a gym, doneinternship stints in television news stations, and have worked as atechnician in a cancer research lab! Though not paid work, I havevolunteered at a rehabilitation hospital and even taught 1 year of Sunday school classes, both of which were very unique experiences.

Each and every experience helps in your writing. Whether it is justinteracting with new people, or getting insights into different industries (which happens a lot in video production, when you are doing commercialsfor various types of clients), you have to keep your eyes open at alltimes. You can’t help but pick up many interesting things that you willfind to be very useful for your writing.

Amber - What books do you like to read when you have time? Do you haveany must read authors/series?

Stephen –- I believe strongly that to be a good writer you must be sure toset aside time to be a good reader.

Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia were my two biggestinfluences growing up, the former read to me in my youth by my mother(along with The Hobbit), so those are my “must reads”.

Beyond that, the Drenai series and the Stones of Power series by DavidGemmell, the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, E.E.Knight’s Vampire Earth series, R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt Do’Urden novels,C.S. Friedman’s Coldfire Trilogy, Glen Cook’s Black Company series, and Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series, Clive Barker, especially his earlierwork on up to Imagica, and Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber series area few others that immediately come to mind.

As I get out more in support of The Exodus Gate, I have been discoveringsome really excellent small press authors and feel compelled to discussthat a little here for a good reason.

Some small press writers that I wholeheartedly recommend checking outinclude H. David Blalock (Ascendant, on Sams Dot Publishing, which I amfinishing up now, a great read), Lettie Prell (Dragon Ring, on Flying PenPress, a very imaginative blend of things within a fantasy context),Jackie Gamber (Redheart, on Meadowhawk Press, Book One of the Leland Dragon Series, very well-crafted, and definitely would appeal to fans ofE.E. Knight’s Age of Fire series), and sci-fi author Tyree Campbell (Sam’sDot Publishing, very creative and highly enjoyable science fiction books).Sara Harvey and Elizabeth Donald are a couple more writers that I see asvery gifted and very worth checking out, and people should check out thetitles on Double-Edged Publishing as well. There are many more, and I wishI could go on and on, but I don’t want to take up too much of your spacehere!

As the economic crunch has deeply affected major publishers, causing themto downsize their rosters and limit their catalogs, I believe that thereis an ongoing explosion of talent within the small press arena. I thinkthat the major bookstore chains should really take a closer look at thegrowing field of small press authors, especially with the dwindlingrosters on the major press level.

There is and will continue to be a growth of very outstanding material inthe small press world. The small press arena is where you will have amuch better chance of finding original and ground-breaking fantasymaterial, as the larger publishers are even less prone to taking risksthese days.

Amber - How do you relax?

Stephen - –That’s a very good question! Do I ever relax? Some of the people around me might say I don’t! LOL

Believe it or not, I really do enjoy gardening, as more than ever it afford you the ability to really step outside the oversaturation ofelectronics, media, etc. that we have grown to live with these days. I amfar from being an expert, but I love growing peppers, squash, all mannerof tomatoes, and I’m getting slightly better with flowers. It is not ahobby that is altogether hard to get into, just something that you have totend to consistently for good results. I like to say that it is my “Zenactivity”.

I do enjoy a pretty good range of things. As a filmmaker, I obviouslylove movies. Like books, I lean towards the epic-scale in that medium aswell. I happen to love travel, which is fortunate due to the need to domany trips as an author. I would like to do more international travel,having been to the Caribbean, England, Scotland, Wales, and the Republicof Ireland. Those trips definitely ignited some fires in me for more. Ihope to visit Germany in the coming year.

I like physical activity such as working out, and hiking in the greatoutdoors. I used to be certified in scuba diving and plan to brush up onthat as soon as I can.

Though I grew up with basset hounds, I have had a couple of wonderful catsthat have gotten through my longtime staunch declaration of being a“dog-person”. The current feline resident and family member, Harry, drawsa lot of attention from me! I like to say that he is my loyal assistant,as he dutifully keeps me company in the home office and is willing to workfor fish dinners!

Lastly, I’m also a very serious-minded supporter of the 2nd Amendment tothe US constitution, probably one of the most sorely misunderstoodamendments by both US citizens and people from other countries alike. I
do enjoy the history, the technology, and the craft involved withfirearms. While far from being an expert, I have learned a bit in thelast couple of years in these areas, and I take the right andresponsibility close to heart as it relates to the concept of genuinefreedom.

Amber - Lots of authors have playlists for their books. What music or bands would find their place on a playlist for The Exodus Gate?

Stephen -– I love heavier-edged music and rock, as it always gets the bloodflowing and keeps the mood upbeat! You have kept the faith very well inEurope as it regards the world of metal, and for that I am tremendouslygrateful! It would be incredible some day to do a book tour in Europe andgo to some of those awesome outdoor hard rock/metal festivals I alwaysenvy when I read about them.

For The Exodus Gate I would go for something powerful, epic, driving, withstirring melodies and vocal harmonies. Heavy progressive metal bands likeFinland’s Nightwish (one of my favorite bands), Symphony X and DreamTheater, and Sweden’s Cloudscape come to immediate mind. Maybe a little Rush (another one of my favs), and possibly a little Fear Factory,especially for some of the moments spent in the depths of the Abyss!

Nightwish and Symphony X are currently on my little playlist/player on mysite, as a matter of fact, and I often listened to these great bands whileworking on the final run of The Exodus Gate.

Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature what would you be and why?

Stephen - Werewolf-type entity, hands down. I could still operate with no real difficulty in the regular world, while having all of the benefits ofgreatly enhanced senses, immortality, as well as a very formidable ability to take on the wicked and the oppressive in this world! Not a bad packagewhen you think about it! Of course, I have always had a real aversion tosituations of obvious injustice, so I would probably be in danger of turning into some kind of lupine vigilante, LOL!

Amber - You are stranded on a desert island. What 5 things do you hope to have with you?

Stephen - A satellite phone, fishing line set with hooks, a tent, adesalination filter, and a good military-quality knife. I know, kind ofboring, but it would go a long way to helping me live to enjoy books again! (And this is assuming that my 5 things could not include a boat with a solar-powered electric motor, or something of that sort.)

Amber - Thank you so much for being a guest on Amberkatze's Book Blog.

Stephen - Thank you for the opportunity, this has been a blast! Like Isaid, I hope to be a return guest many times in the future, and I deeplyappreciate your support of fantasy writers!

Read the first chapter of The Exodus Gate


Contest Time!

Stephan has put together a nice giveaway package for this contest, which includes a signed copy of the book, a poster of the cover art, glossy 8X10 of the cover art, 7 post-card sized art cards (numbered series) and bookmarks.

To enter the contest tell us about where you are going on holiday this Summer or would like to go if you had the money ;)

No Holiday destination = No entry!

The usual rules apply!

Earn another entry for each place you link this contest on the net. Make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries!

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.

The contest will stay open until Saturday 20th of June 2009 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.

If you are claiming a prize, have emailed me and have not heard back before the 7 day limit is up then post a comment here on the blog. Your email may get sucked into my spam filter.

For more opportunities to win a book, see the Beach Party page on Nancy’s web site – www.nancyhaddock.com.


SiNn said...

hum any place id like to go to Ireland but really this summer the plans are to have a family reunion right here in my town then later on this summer go to a lil sleepy town in indiana where my brother lives thats my vacation plans

mortalsinn @yahoo .com

Anonymous said...

I am at holiday now, on Croatian coast, Hvar island, near Dubrovnik.
I hope I'll go to Sweden in august
calcamanin at gmail dot com

Kathy said...

I get to go on my dream vacation this year. I'll be spending 8 days in London and 4 days in Paris. I posted the contest on my blog at http://kathyschaos.blogspot.com/2009/06/contest-time-at-amberkatzes.html

L said...

I'm going to Massachusetts this summer like I do every year. I'd love to go to california or the bahamas instead.

Posted link on my sidebar:


mverno said...

i am headed to maui mverno@roadrunner.com

Anonymous said...

If I had the money I would go to New York City. I love musical theatre, so New York is my favorite place to go. I've been there twice and loved it both times.


Unknown said...

If we had the money, which we don't:( I'd go back home to see my boys in VA. I'm in TX and I haven't seen them in two years.

plhill2000 said...

I would love to have a cabin in Yellowstone Park for a week.

ky2here said...

Alas, no vacation planned until New Years however I'd love to drop everything and head to Prague.

Anonymous said...

No vacation planned but I would definitely go somewhere cooler- Vancouver sounds like a novel idea!


scooter7018 said...


Unknown said...

Not going anywhere this summer except some camping, but I would love to go to Egypt

startrek said...

I am not going away this summer. If I had the money, I would go to Sea World.
john ferris

demmi said...

no plans for a holiday right now con5459(at)gmail(dot)com

Nancy said...

Another terrific interview! Thank you Amber and Stephen!

I'll be in D.C. for a conference this summer, but if I had the money and time, I'd get to Europe -- all over Europe! My other choices would be Tahiti and Hawaii. Sigh!

Nancy Haddock

Pamela S said...

My family just got back from a wonderful week at the Isle of Palms in SC. We enjoyed the beach and sightseeing in beautiful and historical nearby Charleston.



Carol EL said...

I want to go back to DC and soak up more of our country's history.

Maija said...

We are probably heading to Lapland when my hubby's summer holiday begins.

David Johnson said...

We'll probably go to a nearby lake this summer for a picnic and a swim, thanks.

toughturtles said...

camping we are going out for a couple of long weekends

Audra said...

my family is going camping with our cub scout troop!!! My dream vacation is to go to Disney world.

Anonymous said...

My dream vacation would involve a beach, strawberry daqueries, the ocean, and hot men, lol. The destination, I'm not sure of because I've never been anywhere awesome like that. Maybe Hawaii or California?

Lady Roxi said...

Honeymoon in the Bahamas in October for me.

I would love to read this.



kitkat234 said...

I would love to go back to yellowstone....
kitkat 234 at gmail dot com

Sunnyvale said...

We're going to the Antiques Road Show hoping it will pay off for a luxury vacation

Anonymous said...

I would love to be going on vacation. I know this is kind of boring, but I wish we were going back to Disneyworld, just because we all had such a good time. My other choice would be an African Safari. Thanks for entering me.

chey said...

If I could afford it I'd love to tour Europe for a month or two.

suzie townsend said...

Unfortunately I won't be going anywhere this summer because I have no money, but I'd love to go to Ireland. I've always wanted to go there and I swear one day I will, but right now I'm still in the "saving for it" stage.


Llehn said...

i would love to go to the Caribbeans for the holiday!

M.A.D. said...

Mary D
zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

If I had the money, then I would dearly love to travel to Cairo and visit the Great Pyramid, Sphinx and the Necropolis!

Rabid Fox said...

Count me in for this contest. The interview convinced me further to keep an eye out for this title.

-- I also added a link to this contest on my own blog for an extra entry. (http://waggingthefox.blogspot.com/)


Rabid Fox said...

Oh yeah ... as for where I'd go if I had the money, I would want to fly to England to visit my family over there. They have managed to fly here to Canada a couple of times (many times for the older folks), and I'd love a chance to see their neck of the woods.

Anonymous said...

Count me in! If I had money, I would love to go to Japan and visit the hot springs there.


Anonymous said...

I blogged about this contest at my LJ:


chromiumman said...

we're going to lake tahoe

Gabriel S-J. said...

we are going to Vermont!

Karrie said...

If I had the money I would go to Australia

Patricia Altner said...

In July I will be in Boca Raton, Florida for my niece's wedding. Does Florida in July count as a vacation?

My dream vacation would be a 3 week tour of southern Spain

Vickie said...

Where I would like to go if we had the $$ would be Tuscany or to Baja California. DH and I have yet to take a honeymoon and those are two places we semi agree on. He leans more toward Baja for the fishing and the tequila....
Where we will actually go, a long weekend trip to the Badlands to see Mount Rushmore. Lady K and I got back last Saturday from a week at my dad's in Kansas. My sister and her two boys were there, too. My sister and I helped my dad build four windbreak fences and put in more gardening spaces. We looked at it as a 'spa retreat'. = D

Caffey said...

Hi Stephen, and Amber!!
Congrats on your debut! I'm not as familiar in the various fantasy since I'm new to it, but I do understand what saga is, but what does it mean as an 'modern epic fantasy'?
Modern meaning contemp time?
My son, who's soon 20, reads alot of SF and Fantasy and this sounds more like what he reads since he talks about them and makes me think of the various characters and their adventures!

I personal enjoy Medieval settings! I'm looking forward to hearing more about that, maybe with your next visit to here at the blog? Do you have a web site? I think I missed it and will re-check up there!

How do you do your organizing for such a theme and series with so many concepts with in it?

Don't put me in the contest since I haven't read much fantasy yet. I'll be sending my son here to check this out! I'm looking forward to hearing about the Medieval soon!

By the way, no summer vacation :( Hubby now has a new job and very little vacation so we're enjoying the comfort of our home!

erma said...

If I had the money, I would love to go to Hawaii.

buddyt said...

I have the time for a really amamzing holiday but unfortunately I don't have the money.

If I had the latter I would love to spend 6 weeks or so touring all around Australia, from the coral reefs near Cairns, to the deserts at Darwin and the Outback.

We can still dream can't we

LuAnn said...

What wonderful illustrations!


Smooshy said...

i'd go to japan! tokyo!

Melanie Montgomery said...

My boyfriend and I are taking a trip to Atlanta, Georgia, but If I had my choice
we would be going to Germany.


Christine said...

If I had the money this summer I would take my fiance and travel all over Europe!

rbailey1958 said...

I'd like 2 go 2 Pidgeon Forge, TN, 2 Dollywood Theme Park

Leslie said...

Not going anywhere but would love to go to London.

liliesrnice said...

If I could afford it I would go to Barcelona Spain.

Anonymous said...

If I had the money I'd go to New Zealand. But this year I guess it will only be a Musical-holiday in London (The Lion King).

Carlene said...

My favorite place to go is to the beach so if I had the money this summer I would go to the beach in FL. Please include me in your giveaway.

lilyk said...

I would like to go to Europe if I had the money.

Anonymous said...

I would go to Bora, Bora if I had the money. garrettsambo@aol.com

Anonymous said...

District is sending me to training in Fort Worth.

Deadmonkeys90 said...

I am going on vacaton for the first time with my daughter on July 6! We are going to Massachussetts where she will be baptised and we plan to do many other fun things while we are there. I also get to visit Salem for the first time!

Kathy P said...

i want to go to york beach maine i love it there and havent gone in quite a few years :(

Kathy P said...


souldolphindream said...

We live 10 miles from Pawleys Island in south Carolina so I feel like we are on vacation all summer long. If I had a choice thou I would love to go to Ireland for a month or so




I would go to Scottland in the summer & China in the fall.

cman said...

Mount Rushmore :)

Jinxy and Me said...

I would like to go to Spain.

sgzimmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sgzimmer said...

Thank you to everyone that participated in the contest! Just wanted to leave a note that you are all welcome to contact me anytime you wish, at stephen (at) stephenzimmer.com and you can always find me at myspace or facebook under sgzimmer.

Caffey: I use the term modern epic fantasy, becuase it is a story that is epic in scale, but is in a contempory setting. If I called it epic fantasy most people would assume a medieval setting, and I want to be sure that the reader is clear about the book before taking a chance on it. It does have a broad ensemble of characters, lots of settings, epic battles and creatures, and alot of things that readers of medieval fantasy enjoy, though. Please email me at stephen (at) stephenzimmer.com or visit my site at stephenzimmer.com

Your son might really enjoy this book, and the series that I have which kicks off this fall is definitely the kind of thing that you appear to like...fully medieval epic!

thanks again to Amber for the opportunity to do the interview and contest, and to everyone that responded, and an extra thanks to those of you that linked to the contest.

Unknown said...

We are going on a very simple vacation this summer. My husband and I are going to Alexandria, Minnesota for a little R&R and fishing. Our children, all grown, will be coming and going so we will have some good family time together. We have not done this for over 30 years. When we get home, it is time for our annual family 4th of July celebration - picnic, fireworks, good food, family, friends and lots of fun!!!
If I had my choice, I would like to visit Hawaii again. I lived there as a child and our daughter took us there (she paid for everything) for two weeks, two years ago. I fell in love with it all over again. Yep, that is where I would like to go - to the land where palm trees sway!