Release Day Interview: Snow White and the Seventeen Dwarfs by Ford Forkum

Get your ebook now on Amazon for 99 cents! 

Snow White

Happy Flag Day and Release Day to our resident satirist, Ford Forkum! To celebrate his new book, we’re interviewing Ford here on the blog today.

Well Ford, it looks like you’ve done it again! Another fairy tale falls under your pen, so to speak, and we’re left with a few questions for our favorite satirist:

First off, what kind of relationship do you have with your mirror? Does it tell you how stunningly handsome (or pretty – if you’d prefer) you are every day?

To put it bluntly, my mirror’s a jerk. No matter how much I try to convince it that I’m not getting older, it refuses to believe me. I don’t know why it insists on showing me stuff about myself I’d rather not see. One of these days, I’m going to get a hand-held mirror and hold it up to my bathroom mirror and say, “There! How do you like it?”

The satirical aspect of my writing is to “hold a mirror up to society,” and since my mirror obviously has no interest in sparing my feelings, I feel it’s only fitting to hold a mirror up to my mirror. Sauce for the gander and whatnot.

Do you like apples? When is the last time you ate one?

Fuji apples are my favorite. They’re the perfect apple; sweet, crunchy, and juicy with just the right level of tartness to yield a zip. I haven’t eaten any in a while, though.

If you happened to come across a beautiful woman lying in a glass casket and guarded by one or more dwarfs, what’s the first thing you’d think and do?

I’d probably look for signs that might indicate I’d wandered into some kind of fairground. If it turned out to be the case, I’d check out the scene, but if there was nothing else around, I would become very anxious and unable to decide whether to ask the dwarfs a ton of questions or just panic and run away.

Is there now, or has there ever been, a body behind your couch (living or dead)?

No, but that’s not to say there never will be. I’m not, you know, planning on it or anything. I’m just saying you never know. It can’t say it’s entirely out of the realm of possibility because I don’t own a crystal ball or anything that could help me predict the future. I mean, how do I really, truly know? I don’t. So it would be presumptuous of me to say to the readers, “Oh, there’s no way there would ever be a body behind my couch. That would never happen.” But I will say it’s unlikely, that is, given an ordinary set of circumstances.

Have you ever been so jealous of someone that you wanted to have their heart cut out? Do you know if anyone’s ever been that jealous of you?

Jealousy isn’t particularly a problem for me. At least not to the extent that I’d want to have someone’s heart cut out. Besides, cutting out hearts isn’t really my style. It’s too messy and doesn’t seem all that satisfying.

I can’t say for certain if anyone’s ever been jealous of me, but I couldn’t fathom why.

Bonus Question: Can you tell us what you’re working on next? Another fairy tale satire, or something entirely different?

I’m juggling a few ideas around, possibly a sequel to Alien Invasion of the Zombie Apocalypse (if five years isn’t too late for a sequel) and a Star Trek parody. It’s too early to tell which idea will find its way to being developed into a complete story but for the time being, that’s where my head’s at.

You’ll have to let us know how it goes with the whole mirroring mirrors thing. And the whole body-behind-the-couch thing too…

Available now on Amazon in
both print and digital formats!

Contest Results & Writing Prompt

BSB News & Contest Results

First, congratulations to Carol R. Ward, who’s latest release, An Elemental Earth, is now available for purchase in both digital and print. It’s not quite available at Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo just yet, but it should be in a week or so. If you aren’t reading this series, then you should be!

As far as the contest on her Author Interview post goes, since there were only two people who entered, both Leanne Young and Ann Partridge will receive a prize package from me that includes a print copy of An Elemental Earth.  I’ll be emailing you for your addresses in the next few days. Congratulations!

The free download last week was Heart Knocks, by Jamie DeBree. Don’t forget to look through our Available Books and find the free download for this week!

And of course, if you missed it, feel free to go back and this week’s writing prompt story: The Scent of Dust by Alex Westhaven.

We’ll skip the topic of the week for this particular week since this post is late already. But check below for this week’s writing prompt!


Writing Prompt of the Week: A woman is out walking her dog, and finds a mostly-used roll of duct tape tossed into the mud. A little farther along, she spots a pink envelope, and a little farther from that, half of an empty cigarette box.

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prompt, and email it to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. We’ll pick the one we like best to post right here on the blog the following Saturday.

Release Day: An Elemental Earth by Carol R. Ward

It’s here! An Elemental Earth – Book 4 of the Ardraci Elementals series by Carol R. Ward is now available for purchase!

An Elemental Earth Cover

If you’re not reading this series, you really should be! Available now in both digital and print formats – get your copy today:

Digital: Amazon | Smashwords (other retailers coming soon!)
Print: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Did you know you can win a print copy plus a surprise gift basket with related items? Go read our Author Interview with Carol R. Ward, and just follow the directions to enter the contest!

She’s trusted him with her secret, but can she trust him with her heart?

Chloe has spent her whole life feeling like an outsider because of her unique gifts. Now she has met someone whose gifts rival her own and it’s both thrilling and terrifying.

Zephryn never expected to meet anyone like Chloe when he came to this world. But he has a hidden agenda, an agenda that changes drastically once the Ilezie Da’nat discovers something about Chloe that shouldn’t be possible.

Excerpt:
The night air was cold, but the two moons provided enough light for Chloe to see where she was going. There was no danger of running into any search party Gannon might send out. He’d be working with sensors and radar maps, while she followed the path provided by the land itself.

It did not take her long to find the place where the object had struck. There was a long gash in the earth ending in a smoking hollow. Within the hollow was a ship – a ship unlike any Chloe had ever seen before. This was no mining vessel!

Filled with a sense of urgency she did not understand, she scrambled down into the hollow and located the hatch of the vessel. It opened easily beneath her touch and she hesitated before entering.

“Hello?” she called. “Are you all right in there?”

There was no answer, but the sense of urgency increased. Catching her bottom lip between her teeth, she cautiously entered. Dim lights came on as the door slid shut behind her, making her jump.

“Hello?” she called again. There was still no answer and she moved slowly towards the front of the craft. The short passage had several doors, but instinctively she knew what she sought was behind the door at its end.

It slid open automatically and she found the pilot, unconscious and still strapped into his seat. Chloe cursed under her breath. It was obvious he was larger than she was, how was she supposed to get him out of the ship, let alone away from here before Gannon arrived?

Anti-grav sled, a voice whispered in her mind.

Startled, she glanced around. “Who said that?”

Aft compartment.

The sense of urgency was almost unbearable. Chloe quickly left the cockpit and hurried to the aft compartment where she found the anti-grav sled that was used for moving heavy cargo. Towing it behind her, she returned to the front where she managed to free the pilot from his restraints and push him out of his seat and onto the sled.

“Sorry,” she said, wincing in sympathy as he hit the sled hard. There wasn’t a sound out of him. She really hoped she hadn’t added to his injuries.

The sled moved easily behind her, although she had to take an angled path out of the hollow to keep her passenger from sliding off. The sense of urgency increased as she saw lights tracing a grid like pattern in the distance. As she topped the rise just above the crash site, Chloe heard the voice again.

Conceal the ship.

“Mother?” she asked in a whisper, remembering Tierra telling her that Gannon must not find either the pilot or the ship.

Protect the ship.

Chloe turned to face the ship. Moonlight reflected in her eyes as they changed from brown to green and back again as she concentrated. The earth around the ship shivered and the ship slowly sank downwards. Once it was several feet below the surface, the gash in the earth repaired itself.

As Chloe faced forward and began dragging the sled behind her towards home, grass and weeds began growing in the bare earth where the gash had been. Plants sprang up behind her, covering her tracks away from the site.

Digital: Amazon | Smashwords (other retailers coming soon!)
Print: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Check out the other Books in this series: 

An Elemental Wind (Book 1)
An Elemental Fire (Book 2)
An Elemental Water (Book 3)

 

Author Interview & Contest: Carol R. Ward

An Elemental Earth Cover

If you haven’t read one of Carol R. Ward’s books, you should start now, because An Elemental Earth, the fourth book in her Ardraci Elementals series will be available this coming Monday! You can read the books out of order and not get too lost, but there’s a whole weekend between now and release day. What better way to spend it than catching up on the first three books!

Today, Carol’s agreed to have a little chat with us about her books, and cats in space. Pull up a comfy chair and get a nice cuppa! While you’re reading, consider what flower might spontaneously pop up (so to speak) if you were makin’ out with your main squeeze surrounded by nature.

Now, let’s chat a bit:

Wind, Fire, Water and now Earth. Can you tell us a little about what inspired you to write this sweeping “elemental” space opera series?

Uh, actually, you did. LOL You talked me into doing a serial story for my blog, so I dipped into my well of story ideas and came up with one that started out as kind of a revenge thing on another world. The resulting novel was An Elemental Wind and bore only a passing resemblance to the original idea. The elemental aspect of it took me by surprise, and once I was finished I figured I might as well continue the underlying story using the other elements.

If you could have one of the Elemental powers, which one would you choose, and why?

Hmm. According to the Chinese zodiac my element is earth, and I have to say that would probably be my first choice. I love plants and could only imagine what my garden would look like if I was able to help it grow. And I could avoid the winter doldrums by making it stay green all year round. My second choice would be fire because, you know, fire!

There are rumors that Gra’anna kept a journal much like Wynne Ignitus did in An Elemental Fire. Will we get a peek into that in the next book?

Man, you and your journals! LOL If Gra’anna kept a journal, it’s news to me. Plus, considering she’s ancient, even by Illezie standards, it would span many, many volumes. The journals in Fire and Water served a purpose – they told the back story and a little foreshadowing without bogging the story down with unnecessary detail. While it might be interesting to have someone recording the events that take place in An Elemental Spirit, I’m not quite sure how I’d work that in, nor who would be writing said journal. I could see starting each chapter of Spirit with a couple of lines from the prophecy Gra’anna was talking about in Earth, but of course first I’d have to come up with the whole prophecy.

Well, it was worth a try, anyways. *sigh* For those of you who have no idea what we’re talking about here…go read the first three books! 

What’s the first thing you would order from the food replicator system if you’d just come out of a decades-long stasis?

That’s a hard question to answer! I love food, especially food that’s bad for me. If, during my time in stasis, I was cured of both my diabetes and IBS, then I’d go for a Canadian pizza and a side of New York fries with the works and honey garlic chicken wings, with a strawberry daiquiri to wash it down with, and coconut cream pie for desert. Or maybe an apple dumpling with caramel sauce. Or that mile high chocolate desert thing they have at Montana’s. Or maybe just bring me the desert sampler. And then you’d better have a bucket handy for when I’m sick after eating all that junk food. LOL

The Illezie are quite the enigmatic bunch. Will we ever learn more about them and their end-game?

I’ve given you hints about the Illezie throughout the first four books and seeing as a lot of the action of the final book takes place on their home world you’ll be learning a lot more about them. There are two possible end games, and I haven’t quite figured out which one it will be. This is one of the pitfalls of writing an unplanned series – I’ve been setting things up for the end to be one thing, but I’m actually leaning towards a different end than the one I first envisioned. I might have to *gulp* plot it out.

I know you’re a cat person – why do you think we never see cats on spaceships in fiction? Would you ever consider writing about a “spaceship cat” or cats?

Seriously? Not a Star Trek fan, are you? Data had an orange tabby named Spot on the Enterprise and it even made an appearance in the movie Nemesis. Don’t make me recite Data’s poem, Ode to Spot. And wasn’t there a cat (also an orange tabby) on Ripley’s ship in Alien? In literature we have The Hani in the Chanur books by C.J. Cherryh who are a race of space faring cats; Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough created the “Barque Cats”, who were bred to live on spaceships; George R.R. Martin features genetically engineered cats on his space ship in Tuf Voyaging; there’s Tales of a Starship’s Cat by Judith R. Conly – I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. 😉

As to the second part of your question, yes, I have considered writing about a cat on a spaceship. It might be a novel, or it might be a series of stories, I haven’t quite decided yet.

Note: I am a Star Trek fan. Not so much a cat fan, so I tend not to notice cats. Yours truly is a dog person, of course…

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on overcoming my addiction to on-line solitaire and hidden objects games so I can move forward with Wandering Wizards (the half-written third installment of the Moonstone Chronicles) and get started on the fifth and final elemental book, An Elemental Spirit.


Thanks for chatting with us, Carol! I can’t wait to see how Wandering Wizards turns out…

Everyone remember that question I asked you at the beginning – the one about which flower might spontaneously grow when you’re getting all hot and bothered out under the stars? Great! Comment either here, on Facebook or on Twitter with your answer – just the name of that flower – and you’ll be entered to win a print copy of Carol’s new book, along with a surprise gift basket! 

Entries will be accepted until noon next Monday (February 20, 2017). Must be 18 yrs old or over, no purchase necessary to win. The winner will be announced here on the blog first thing next Tuesday morning (Feb. 21st)! 

Valentine’s Day, Contest & Fairy Tales

BSB News

Did you read our author interview with Ford Forkum last week? His new book, Cinderelleper releases *tomorrow*, and if you guess which interview question he lied on, you could win a print copy along with a gift basket of fun related goodies! Get your guess in now!

In honor of Valentine’s Day this Tuesday, we’ve put nine of our titles on sale for just 99 cents each. And did I mention that Cinderelleper will also be available for a 99 cent introductory price too? Here’s a list and links for the titles we have on sale – starting today, and running through Friday. It’s a great chance to sample what we have on offer!

Thanks once again to Carol R. Ward for writing our writing prompt story this week! If you haven’t already, go check out her short story, Retribution.

Did you know that Carol has a new book coming out next week? An Elemental Earth, Book 4 of the Ardraci Elementals series will hit the virtual shelves on Monday, February 20th. You won’t want to miss it, or the interview with her this coming Thursday, Feb. 16th!

Last week’s free PDF download was MacKenzie Saves the World – did you get your copy? Don’t forget to check the Available Books section for this week’s free download! Hint: It’s short & semi-sweet.

Topic of the Week: Fairy Tales

Have you read the original version of Cinderella by the Grimm brothers? Or any of their tales, for that matter? They tend to be much darker and involve quite a bit more blood than the “Disney-fied” versions we’re used to. I like both versions, personally. Dark and matter-of-fact appeals to my logical side, while the cartoon/sanitized versions appeal to the hopeless romantic in me. Who doesn’t like a good happily ever after, right? But I dare say most of us have to work a bit harder for our happy ending than the modern tales portray.

Want to read the original Cinderella and quite a few other stories? You can read for free at Project Gutenberg. A copy of the Grimm brother’s collection is right here, just waiting for you to take a peek…


Writing Prompt of the Week: A bouquet of flowers is delivered to the desk of a young woman at work. There’s no card, only a dozen purple and yellow lilies amidst an abundance of greenery. Later that afternoon she noticed something moving in the bouquet. She looked closer, and nearly knocked her coffee off her desk. One of the purple blossoms was rotating…

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prompt, and email it to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. We’ll pick the one we like best to post right here on the blog the following Saturday.

Author Interview & Contest: Meet Ford Forkum

Cinderelleper Cover

Cinderelleper releases on Valentine’s Day (next Tuesday!), and today, we’re pleased to interview the author himself, Mr. Ford Forkum! You’ll want to pay close attention to his answers, because our dear Mr. Forkum has *lied* on a few of his interview questions (tsk, tsk!). If you spot one of these lies, and can tell us at least one question he lied on, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a gift basket that will include your very own print copy of Cinderelleper!

Without further ado – let’s have a chat with our less-than-truthful scribe:

Ford, the number one question on everyone’s mind after they read the blurb for your book is probably: why on earth would you take a well-loved fairy tale character who already goes through hell and give her leprosy on top of everything else?

Apparently, it’s because I have a sick mind. Seriously, though, I wanted to contrast the Disney Cinderella, which is the familiar rendition of the story, with the original Brother’s Grimm tale, which is appallingly gruesome in places. But I wanted to take it a step further and go even darker than the Brother’s Grimm while staying true to the conventions that the Disney version popularized.

I think it’s important to point out to potential readers that every awful thing that happens to Cinderella is still in the context of the sanitized Disney version. So, even though she gets leprosy, it’s a cartoonish version. It’s “body horror” on the level of The Simpsons. There’s no gross-out humor involved. In fact, though the leprosy element is a primary twist in the story, it was really just a place to begin. The real fun is in the mashup and mockery of the original story and the Disney elements to the extreme.

Do you have a favorite pair of shoes? What do they look like? How long have you had them?

I don’t have a favorite pair of shoes. Or a favorite shirt or tie or anything. As long as what I’m wearing is reasonably comfortable and appropriate to the situation, it’s all good.

Have you ever found a lost shoe (with or without a foot inside)? What did it look like? What did you do?

I have never found a lost shoe. I have, however seen a pair of sneakers that were tied together and intentionally thrown in the air to get caught on utility wires. I saw this once when I was working “on location.” I asked my coworker, rhetorically, why someone would do such a thing. My coworker replied, in a very matter-of-fact tone: “It lets you know you’re in the hood.” My only response was a somewhat delayed, “Oh.”

Have you ever lost a shoe? Was it ever found/returned?

I have never lost a shoe. I did, however, lose a pair of pants. I have no idea what happened to them. But I was miffed because they were new pants and, last I knew, I was wearing them at the time. I don’t want to get into the specifics of how I could “lose” a pair of pants I happened to be wearing. But I think any possible conjecture might have an element of truth to it. And that’s enough said about that.

If you had to pick a theme song or playlist for Cinderelleper, what would it be?

The playlist would include the following songs: “Nobody’s Fool” by ‘80s hair band Cinderella, the 1993 song “Hey Cinderella” by Suzy Bogguss, Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone) by the ‘80s hair band Cinderella, the song “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman, and “Gypsy Road” by 80’s hair band Cinderella. Also “Cinderella Man” by Rush, just because it has the name “Cinderella” in the title. Also because Rush rocks (but not as much as ‘80s hair band Cinderella.)

Have you ever shared your home with a mouse (intentionally or not)? What was his name?

I once lived in Boston in a rented apartment. And let me tell you, there are three primary animal life forms you will encounter if you spend any time in Boston: mice, pigeons, and cockroaches. The mice and cockroaches are your roommates and the pigeons are your travel companions if you’re walking anywhere.

Those frigging pigeons will crowd around your feet as you walk and you’ll get the illusion that you’re walking on a moving patch of land that are controlled by the pigeons moving at your exact pace. It’s totally disorienting and you literally can’t “watch your step” as you step up from the street to the sidewalk because every step you take disappears into a flowing mob of pigeons. If you kick at them to try to scare them away, they’ll just dodge you like it’s nothing.

It’s just as bad as the mice that won’t stop coming no matter how many of them you trap or how diligently you clean. Eventually, you just give up. The only name I’d ever give a mouse is “Filthy.” Mice suck Except, of course, for the main mouse in Cinderelleper. As far as fictional mice go, he’s a stand up kind of mouse.

Have you ever smashed a pumpkin?

You’re posing the question as though that’s something I don’t do whenever possible

Can you tell us a little about the last time you stayed out past midnight?

My brain turned into a pickle. I had to summon the Ibuprofen Fairy to change it back.

Can you tell us anything about the next story you’re working on?

It’s actually a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs parody that I put aside when I got the idea for Cinderelleper. One of the twists in the story is that the dwarfs are all different from the originals and there are more than seven of them. When I started writing it, it hadn’t occurred to me what great source material it is to have fun with. Now that I’ve picked it up again, I’m on a roll, and, if I do say so myself, it’s coming together in amazing ways, conceptually and in readability and humor. As long as I don’t get carried away and screw it up, it should end up a very tight and funny read with ample content to leave the reader nicely satisfied. I’m excited about it, and it will be a great follow-up to Cinderelleper.

Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Ford! I know I’m looking forward to your next fairy tale parody…

***********************************************

Readers, do you know which question(s) Ford lied on? Leave a comment here on the blog, on the BSB Facebook page, or on our BSB Twitter stream. Be sure to tag us so we see your answer! Everyone who guesses at least one lie correctly by 5pm (MST) Monday, February 13th will be entered into a drawing to be held next Tuesday evening (February 14th). A list of qualified entrants will be posted in the early morning, February 14th. Good luck!

***Contest Extended! Entries will be accepted all day Tuesday until 7pm Mountain Standard Time. Post your guesses! Drawing winner will be announced Wednesday morning, February 15th! ***

Must be 18 or over to win, no purchase necessary. 

 

New Weekly Feature and Character Crushes

BSB News

Last week’s free download was Sprouted by Alex Westhaven. Be sure to browse our Available Books  section for this week’s surprise free download!

We’re starting a new feature this week called “Writing Prompt of the Week“. At the end of each Monday post, you’ll find a writing prompt. Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prompt, and email it to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com along with your name/pen name, and we’ll pick the one we like best to post right here on the blog the following Saturday! If there are no entries, we’ll post a “house” story based on the prompt. But we’re hoping to hear from you!

Looking for a full schedule of what’s coming up? Check out our new Calendar page, which includes book releases, sales, contests and giveaways.

Topic of the Week: Character Crushes

Have you ever had a “crush” on a book character? That romance hero who is just flawed enough to be perfect, or the heroine who performs unbelievable (but really cool) actions to get what needs to be done, done. Maybe they make you laugh or cry, but somehow they tap into those deep emotions and you wish you could reach right through the pages and hug them (for starters).

Or maybe even a villain/villainess who is so smart, so cunning that a tiny piece of you can’t help but admire him or her, even though you know they’re bad to the proverbial bone.

I get crushes on characters all the time – whether I’ve written them or not. Some good, some bad, but they all steal a piece of my heart. My personal tastes run largly toward older, mature-but-fit men who are strong-headed but still intelligent enough not to let them get them in trouble. Occasionally I find myself drawn in by an incredibly intelligent female character as well…though often, her evil side is winning the good/bad race. I wonder what that says about me? Best not to think too hard about it, methinks.

Still, it’s a harmless bit of fun, and we all could certainly use some of that right now, right?

I’ll admit that one of my favorite crush-worthy female characters Is Melanie Donner, the main character in Canvas by our own Alex Westhaven. And also Gray Pierce in James Rollins’ Sigma Series. Whew! Talk about the full package there…

Care to share your character crush? Feel free to comment below (or wherever you’re reading this at)!


Writing Prompt of the Week: Sitting on a round table in the entry of an expensive home are a half-empty pitcher of milk, a whisk, a bowl of three raw eggs, a small mirror in a picture frame and a vase of dead flowers. There’s one broken eggshell on the floor.

*Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prompt, and email it to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. We’ll pick the one we like best to post right here on the blog the following Saturday.