Free e-book from Craig Lancaster

Craig Lancaster, whose novels 600 Hours of Edward and The Summer Son have been featured here, has a new book coming out in December: Quantum Physics and the Art of Departure, a collection of ten short stories.

Before the book’s release, Craig is making available FREE copies of the e-book version. To get your own copy, simply follow these steps:

  • Go to this link at Smashwords.  (Note: If you don’t have a Smashwords membership, you’ll have to sign up for one. Don’t worry: It’s totally free, and there are a lot of other e-book bargains there, too.)
  • Select the format you want and enter this coupon code at checkout: EY63S.

The offer is good Sept. 15 through Sept. 30. Feel free to pass this information along to your friends.

Here’s Craig with some more information about the new book:

Q: First of all, why are you offering free copies of the e-book?

After two novels, my experience is that word of mouth is the best advertisement for a book, so I’m hoping that folks who read Quantum Physics and the Art of Departure before its release will be kind enough to give me an honest review wherever they spend time, be it with friends, at Amazon.com, BN.com, Goodreads, LibraryThing (or all of those places!). I can’t emphasize the bit about honesty enough: I’m not trying to engineer good reviews, although I certainly won’t turn them down. The important thing is to get responses, good or bad, from people who are passionate about books, so other people who share that passion might be inclined to take a look.

Q: Why did you shift from novels to short stories?

It wasn’t a conscious choice. I write nearly every day, and last fall, after I turned over my second novel to my publisher, I hit a particularly rich vein of short fiction. I also managed to retrofit a couple of failed novel projects into successful short stories.

Fortunately, I’m not writing to fulfill a contract, so I have the freedom to follow where inspiration takes me. For nearly a year, I ended up with short stories. So … here they are. And now that this book is done, I am back to work on a couple of novel ideas. So there’s really been no shift – just a slight deviation.

Q: What’s the deal with the title?

It’s a little inscrutable, but I like the lilt of it, and I promise, there’s title justification within the body of the book. One of the ten short stories shares the title.

Q: Is there an overriding theme to the stories?

A few of them are connected, and all of them take place in Montana, where I live. If I had to identify a unifying theme, it would be this: separation. Not just in the marital sense – although that’s certainly in the book – but also in the emotional and physical senses. The stories vary in style and subject matter. I think it’s an intriguing collection.

Here’s the back-cover copy of the book:

A championship basketball coach caught between his team, his family and the rabid partisans in his town. A traveling salesman consigned to a late-night bus ride. A prison inmate stripped of everything but his pride. A teenage runaway. Mismatched lovers. In his debut collection of short fiction, award-winning novelist Craig Lancaster (600 Hours of Edward, The Summer Son) returns to the terrain of his Montana home and takes on the notion of separation in its many forms – from comfort zones, from ideas, from people, from security, from fears. These ten stories delve into small towns and big cities, into love and despair,into what drives us and what scares us, peeling back the layers of our humanity with every page.

For more information about Craig Lancaster and his work, please visit his website.

Malakh: Of Angels and Demons

This week, my guest blogger is Sharon Gerlach, who has just published a paranormal novella, Malakh, and is on her way across cyberspace on her vitural blog book tour.

by Sharon Gerlach

A great flame follows a little spark.” – Dante Alighieri.

I used this quote in a novel I wrote in 2008, and for some reason it’s stuck with me; I guess because it can be applied to so many situations. In my book, I used it in reference to the start of an amazing lifelong relationship.

In writing, that spark can be an incredible journey of words, a wondrous well of ideas that sets fire to the imagination and leaves in its wake not ashes, but prose lovingly crafted and meticulously researched.

I can pinpoint exactly when I fell in love with the paranormal: my mother watched this certain movie several times when I was very small—the title escapes me; I think it was called Ghost Story—and one part still stands out in my memory to this day. The young couple in the movie had a figurine on their coffee table, and at one point when they walked out of the room, murmured words and cries could be heard from the little statue.

It gave me chills. My flesh prickled into goosebumps. I was afraid to go to sleep. I was wary of figurines. My stomach filled with anxious swooping sensations when I thought of that part.

I loved it! And from that moment on, I was hooked.

My first story wasn’t penned until the sixth grade, and by then I was firmly entrenched in the adoring ranks of paranormal junkies. My father was the projectionist at the Air Force base theater where we were stationed, and the siren song of scary movies was more than I could resist. Likewise, my book collection was populated with titles from leading paranormal and horror authors. That irresistible love of all things unexplainable found its way into my first story and almost one every after it.

Got a good vampire story? I’m there. Werewolves? Even better. But the best of the best, the crème de la crème, the most chilling of the paranormal, is the unseen world that interacts with ours, most of the time without our even being aware of it. And why is it the best? Because unlike vampires and werewolves, the angelic realm is real. What could be more chilling in fiction than something that could actually happen?

Last year we watched the movie Paranormal Activity. For those who don’t know, it’s about demonic torment and possession, told from the viewpoint of a webcam and a handheld camcorder. It’s not an action-packed thriller and the spooky parts were quite understated until the very end. But I literally did not sleep well for a month and a half, and my fear of the dark—always just barely held at bay anyway—was large and in charge for several months, because it was so realistically presented…and I believe it can happen.

My belief in the unseen realm around us is rooted in my deep-seated faith, and even though my paranormal stories are secular, that faith seeps in and insists that I keep things true. When I sat down to write Malakh (my novella about angels just released on April 8 ) I didn’t have a specific supernatural being in mind. It wasn’t until I had defined the main human character, Suzanne, that I was able to determine what I needed from my antagonist: cunning, superior knowledge, superior abilities—but he couldn’t be invincible.

Angels lent themselves nicely to the task. While they have knowledge humans might not, they aren’t all-knowing, and while they are stronger than humans, they are not invincible. People believe in them, tend to accept them more easily than they would a vampire or a werewolf, which heightens the suspense and the awe of the story. Their first appearance in my work was long before Malakh, and Malakh won’t be their last performance.

In the meantime, I watch countless movies and read countless books about the paranormal—many about angels, delving into Bible scripture and commentary to keep them as true—and as chilling—as they can possible be.

The great flame is my lifelong love of the paranormal, started by the spark of a single eerie movie when I was a toddler. I’m happy for the opportunity to make you turn on all the lights in your  house, and make your skin pucker into goosebumps.

*****

Bio

Sharon Gerlach spent her early childhood bouncing across the United States as the youngest daughter of an Air Force sergeant. Settled in the Pacific Northwest since 1975, there’s nowhere she’d rather live. Indeed, she’s so determined to stay that she’s crammed her tiny urban house with so much stuff that it would be too expensive to move.

Sharon lives in eastern Washington State with her husband, two of her three children, her infant granddaughter, seven cats, and a fat, lazy Border Collie.

Share Sharon’s writing life on her Blog

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Malakh can be purchased at Smashwords, Amazon, and Amazon UK.

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