A Magic and Machinery Novel, Book 2
Genre: Adult, Steampunk, Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Mystery
Tour Dates: September 7th - 18th
This is a Crimson Tree Publishing Title
In a world of science, magic is an abomination, but not the vile creation Royal Inquisitor Simon Whitlock once believed it to be. Accompanied by his apothecary companion, Luthor Strong, and Matilda Hawke, a werewolf, they return to the capital of Callifax, eager to convalesce after their last adventure.
Their peace is short-lived, however, as they are quickly sent on another mission. It seems the iron mines of Whitten Hall have ceased their production, no longer sending its ore to the crown. The Ministry of Trade has sent inquiries, but its representatives have all fled from the train ride to the distal outpost. It seems a vampire stalks the trains in and out of Whitten Hall, a vampire that will reveal the secret of the iron mine and the darkness that resides within.
Most of my favorite authors are indie or self-pubbed, what made you decide to go that route?
A: I actually tried the traditional route first but got roped in by a scam agent who cost me far too much money. I was naïve and assumed it cost far more than it did to get work edited. Once I got out from under that contract, someone told me about self-publishing through Kindle and I published my first trilogy. I honestly stumbled upon my current contract with Clean Teen Publishing, after entering a writing contest and winning with what would eventually become my novel Wind Warrior.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
A: Sometimes I write some great quotes but, more often than not, I forget all about them until I reread my work. I’ve read my books after letting them sit for a while and said, “huh, that’s actually really good.”
Which of your characters are you most like? Least like?
A: I’m a strange combination of Sean from my World Aflame series and Inquisitor Whitlock from Magic & Machinery. I have a very logical side of my mind, especially when working in my US Army job, but off work I’m very much a sarcastic, immature jerk. I’m probably least like Yen Xaio, one of the main characters from my sci-fi trilogy. He quickly became power hungry, which is very unlike me.
Do you have a particular writing habit??
A: I try to write for one hour a day. It’s not a lot, but it keeps me moving forward in my stories. Unfortunately, my wife is deployed to Afghanistan right now and I’m taking care of our 4-year-old, so writing has been put on pause for the foreseeable future.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
A: Douglas Adams. I can’t stop laughing at his dry but amazing sense of humor. If I could emulate his writing style, I’d never stop writing or laughing.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
A: There are a few indie authors who have been pretty outstanding. Michael Loring wrote a twisted werewolf book called Dehumanized. I’ve been trying to get him to finish the sequel, but he’s dragging his feet. John Hancock is another great writer, especially his robot novel Roof.
What is the hardest part of your writing?
A: Committing myself to writing. Once I’m in the groove and writing regularly, the words seem to flow. Once I take any length of break, however, it’s like a runner trying to get back to marathon distance. I know I have the muscle memory, but it takes time to get back into the flow.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
A: I’m a firm believer that everyone should enter anthologies. I don’t mean the anthologies in your genre. If you write novels about vampires and you enter an anthology about vampires, you’re not challenging yourself. Write stories in completely different genres. Most of the time it’s a short story, so you’re not out much if the story doesn’t work out, but you are becoming more flexible in your writing styles. The truth is that I got a publishing contract because I entered an anthology and won. There’s not any more definitive proof needed that it works.
Describe yourself in three words.
A: a rebel
I know characters are like children but if you could chose, who’s your favorite from your books?
A: I wrote a sci-fi standalone book called Rage. It’s my least known book (maybe 60 people have read it since I published it in 2013) but it was written not only as a violent sci-fi novel, but a confession to the troubles of PTSD on Soldiers returning from war. In the novel, the main character is infected by the Rage Virus, where he loses control whenever he gets angry. He blacks out and only comes to once the violence has passed. There were some amazing quotes in that book, far and away some of my favorites I’ve ever written. I really wish more people would read it.
Do you plot out your books or just freely write them and let the characters tell you what to do next?
A: I’m a compulsive out-liner. I have intricate plots and outlines for every book I’ve written, some of which needed to be color coded to make sense, even to me.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider the biggest influence in your writing?
A: I would go with Robert Heinlein. My first passion is science fiction, and he showed so many different facets of the sci-fi genre in his works.
What are your current projects? Can you share a little of your current work with us?
A: I’m currently working on a sci-fi murder mystery novel called Transcription Error. It’s about a homicide detective trying to solve a murder, but the crime is complicated by the existence of identical clones. Here’s an excerpt:
“Our scans are complete, Mr. Corliss, and the digital you has been stored in our databanks, ready for transfer to Titan. The question remains, sir, are you ready to go?”
Zack’s stomach clenched tightly and he felt nauseated. His breakfast had already vacated his stomach, finding purchase instead somewhere in his esophagus.
“Let’s do this,” he muttered.
“Initiating deconstruction,” the technician announced as the whine of machinery reached a fevered pitch.
Lights emerged from the tiled floor, flooding the central platform with a glare that blocked out the rest of the room. Zack narrowed his gaze but could see little beyond the ring encircling him. The blue glow grew more brilliant until it encompassed the ring as well. Through the glare, Zack could see movement, as though something dark flittered across the edges of his vision. Glancing to his right, he could see that the bars, which he was still grasping, were no longer attached to ring. The circle spun dizzyingly around him, faster and faster until it was just a blur on the edge of his consciousness.
Zack felt himself come apart. He lost feeling in his hands and when he turned to look, he saw only hastily dissolving stumps where his arms had once been. The skin and sinew dissipated into the air, stripped away like individual pixels on a computer monitor. He wanted to be mortified, but the ability to form coherent thoughts seemed to be an impossibility. Zack slowly turned his head forward, trying to see the technicians once more, but his vision was blurry, crossed time and time again by the madly spinning ring. Darkness crept into the corners of his vision; not the type of darkness he’d experienced before when falling unconscious, but rather darkness as though his entire sense of self was unraveling until just pinpricks of light remained in his eyes.
Then that, too, was gone, and Zack knew nothing else.
Thank you, Jon, for stopping by and letting us get to know you, it's been FUN!!
Jon Messenger (Born in London, England) serves as an United States Army Major in the Medical Service Corps. Since graduating from the University of Southern California in 2002, writing Fiction has remained his passion, a passion that has continued through multiple combat and humanitarian deployments.
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