FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THE WINTER RIDDLE
WILL THE WINTER WITCH JOIN FORCES WITH SANTA AGAINST THE GATHERING DARKNESS, EVEN IF IT MEANS SAVING THE WORLD?
A farcical tale of Yuletide proportions.
Once upon a time, the North Pole was a very noisy place. A kingdom cowered under the maniacal rule of the White Queen, the Vikings raided and pillaged as they were wont to do, and the Winter Witch avoided talking to any of them.
When her peace and quiet are obliterated by threats of war and Ragnarok, she’ll try anything to get them back. When casting spells to become nearly invisible and dealing with otherworldly powers fail, the Winter Witch must forge an alliance with Santa—a retired warrior who’s anything but jolly—to save the North Pole from calamity.
In this updated version of Sam Hooker’s humorous dark fantasy novel that’s a perfect holiday read, The Winter Riddle [Black Spot Books, November 1 2018], destiny calls on an unlikely hero to save the North Pole. The Winter Witch would have been more than happy to be left alone entirely, and that’s exactly the sort of person who sticks out like a sore thumb when destiny goes shopping for heroes. Destiny has a nose for a bargain. Why pay full retail for a willing hero who’s all biceps and tally-ho?
Of course, she could have avoided the whole thing by refusing to involve herself in a scheme devised by the most deceitful deity ever to disgrace the world with his presence, but that would have angered the horrible White Queen, ensuring that she’d never have another moment’s peace again. The aforementioned scheme felt like the lesser evil at the time, but nothing could have been farther from the truth.
The Winter Witch’s desire to be left alone sends the North Pole careening toward disaster. Flying machines falling from the sky! Cannons going off indoors! Espionage, intrigue, gender-bending fashion, and even a hint of global warming imperil the fate of the world as we know it, and it all falls to one reclusive mumbler to make things right.
Will the Vikings take up arms against the frost giants? Will an evil necromancer keep the kingdom in the grip of fear? And for the love of Christmas, will everyone who isn’t the Winter Witch please stop meddling with dark forces beyond mortal comprehension for a bit?
The Winter Riddle is a farcical tale of a yuletide fantasy, wherein a reticent heroine must surmount countless challenges to save the world. From battles with giants to unlocking ancient magics to navigating the nuances of polite conversation, each obstacle is more monstrous than the last. Deck the halls and bar the doors! We’re in for a long winter’s night.
"I was perfectly happy to let my first novel molder in self-published anonymity, but my publisher saw something special in it,” says Hooker. “I am thrilled to be working with Black Spot Books again to re-release a new, improved version of The Winter Riddle just in time for readers to cozy up with it this holiday season."
The Winter Riddle will be available in paperback and e-book formats through all major retailers and distributors on November 1, 2018.
ISBN (print): 978-1-7324007-0-2
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-7324007-1-9
Pre-order it today from Black Spot Books.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THE ISLE OF GOLD
MYSTERY, MYTH & MAGIC MEET IN AN EPIC ADVENTURE OF TWO WOMEN LOST AT SEA - AND THE SECRET THAT BINDS THEM TOGETHER
An orphan disguised as a pirate sets sail for a mystical island in hope of unraveling the mysteries of her past.
The year is 1716—the Golden Age of Pirates. An orphan who sleeps in the dusty kitchens of a quayside brothel, Merrin Smith is desperate to unravel the secrets of her past and find the truth about the events that brought her to the Caribbean island of Isla Perla as a child. Disguised as a sailor, and with the help of her longtime friend Claudette, Merrin joins the crew of the pirate ship Riptide, helmed by the notorious Captain Erik Winters. Tenacious and rumored a madman, Winters is known as much for his ruthlessness as for his connection to the enigmatic and beautiful proprietress of the Goodnight Mermaid, Evangeline Dahl, who vanished from Isla Perla two summers before.
At sunset the Riptide sails for the mythical island of Bracile, a place hidden between air and sea and that exists only for a moment every two years, and which has never returned any man who has sailed for its shores. The journey will be perilous and long, and it will take Merrin far away from the only home she’s ever known. Because she can read, Merrin will serve as the Captain’s apprentice, deciphering old texts for clues to the island’s whereabouts as the ship sails through haunted, frozen waters and into the very heart of the ocean. As she struggles to navigate the rough, seafaring life aboard a pirate ship, Merrin must keep her identity hidden from the scrupulous gaze of not only Captain Winters, but also Mister Brandon Dunn, the ship’s surly, legend-spouting quartermaster, and Tom Birch, the charming boatswain Merrin can’t help but feel drawn to.
As the Riptide makes its way to Bracile, Merrin begins to suspect that the men she has worked so hard to deceive may in fact be more connected to her than she would have imagined, and that perhaps her own past might have more to do with the Dunn’s legends and myths than she ever could have guessed.
In The Isle of Gold [Black Spot Books, October 9, 2018] Merrin Smith must face perilous waters, cursed sea goddesses, and the embodiments of some of the ocean’s most terrifying legends as she not only struggles to survive her journey, but to find the answers to the mysteries of her past.
A story where history meets fantasy, The Isle of Gold is an epic, emotional adventure of two women—one desperate to save herself, and the other determined to be rescued—and the secret which binds them together.
“For as long as men have sailed the ocean, they have told stories about the sea,” says Jane. “It’s a place of mystery, myth, and magic—and this makes The Isle of Gold a perfect setting for an epic adventure that is not only a tale of historical fiction, but of the very evolution of a woman’s spirit as she seeks to find herself in a world of unpredictability and uncertainty.”
About the Author
Seven Jane is an author of dark fantasy and speculative fiction. She also regularly writes short stories and poetry that is published in various literary magazines. Seven is a member of The Author's Guild and Women's Fiction Writing Association. She lives in New England. Follow @SevenJaneWrites on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
The Isle of Gold will be available in paperback and e-book formats through all major retailers and distributors on October 9, 2018.
ISBN (print): 978-0-9997423-8-9
ISBN (ebook): 978-0-9997423-9-6
Pre-order it today from Black Spot Books.
ADVANCE REVIEW COPIES OF THE ISLE OF GOLD AVAILABLE ON NETGALLEY
So it was no surprise that I missed Mrs. Littlefield calling us to circle time when I was so close to the end of my book. In third grade, though, tattle-tales abound, and another student soon pointed me out to Mrs. Littlefield. Sternly she called me over to her chair, where she was surrounded by the entire class. Her grim demeanor changed, however, when she saw my face streaked with tears. "What's the matter?" she asked. Sobbing, I jerkily informed her that I had just finished Old Yeller. She dropped her own book, opened her arms, and pulled me close. "Well, then, that makes perfect sense," she told me. "We all cry at Old Yeller."
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
This feels like a trick question, since Bury The Lead is all about connections, both real and manipulated. Which is fair, because I only have a trick answer. At face value, my work is primarily composed of stand-alone novels and poetry. However, the questions addressed by all of them are the same. How does love alter us and our reality? What is truth? What price will we pay for liberty - and can we even define what liberty is? What makes us human, and at what point do we leave our humanity behind? I write in many genres, but the questions - those tricky connections - remain the same.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Never let it be said I came late to my melodramatic sensibilities. I was in junior high when I first noted that my great - and ever unrequited - love, who was also a writer, was carrying around a big red-and-black hardbound book everywhere he went. Since true love means reading all the same books (yes, I scoured his library card records, and yes, I was a scary little stalker,) I of course set myself to discovering what it was. It turned out to be Roget's International Thesaurus, Fourth Edition. I saved up my birthday money and bought a copy of my own at the mall bookstore. I quickly discovered its many magical properties, and to this day, it sits ever at my side as I work. Most of the time I find that the word I want is the one already in hand, but just the flavor and feel of the words, sliding over my lips and into my mind, are a delight. And sometimes whole stories arise from the invocation of a single word.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BURY THE LEAD
PYSCHOLOGICAL THRILLER TAKES A SATIRICAL VIEW AT THE BALANCE BETWEEN OBJECTIVE TRUTH, THE FREE PRESS, AND THE POWER OF MEDIA
A highly unreliable narrator proceeds from toying with the people in his small town to framing himself for the murder of his missing girlfriend.
Weekly newspaper editor Jeff Paine's mind is filled with the detritus of newspaper clippings, presidential tweets, crossword puzzles, and horoscopes. When his artist girlfriend Ada Grigori announces her intention to leave him, he becomes obsessed with finding—or manufacturing—connections between otherwise unrelated events. Driven by professional curiosity and unrelenting cynicism, Paine uses his newspaper to manipulate the people of his hometown Brisby, Colorado into revealing the ugliness lurking beneath their placid exteriors.
A series of gruesome dog mutilations already have the town on edge when Paine’s carefully worded and technically factual stories stir up vigilante justice against a harmless old homeless man. Spurred on by the unexpected ease of his success, Paine sets his sights on exploiting the town’s hidden prejudices for financial gain and his own amusement. Meanwhile, no one but Paine notices that a young transient man has gone missing.
Exasperated with the plasticity of public sentiment and consumed by his own search for truth, in Cassondra Windwalker’s psychological thriller, Bury the Lead [Black Spot Books, September 4, 2018] narrator Jeff Paine creates a trail of evidence that will ultimately both convict him of murder and set him free on appeal. The public will never know the truth of what became of Ada or of the young transient Brett, but the reader will have all the answers…if she can decipher them.
Bury The Lead draws readers into the mind of a brilliant but highly unreliable narrator, forcing them to call into question their own perceptions of objective truth and the existence of a free press in a world where an unsubstantiated tweet can carry more power than an investigative report.
“Journalism was my first love as a writer. I founded, edited, and wrote for the school newspaper in my Oklahoma junior high,” says Windwalker. “I even worked for a while at a weekly newspaper—just like Jefferson Paine’s The Herald in Bury the Lead.”
Bury the Lead will be available in paperback and e-book formats through all major retailers and distributors on September 4, 2018.
ISBN (print): 978-09997423-6-5
ISBN (ebook): 978-0-9997423-7-2
Pre-order Bury the Lead today from Black Spot Books or on Amazon.
ADVANCE REVIEW COPIES OF BURY THE LEAD AVAILABLE ON NETGALLEY
In Concord, Massachusetts, I checked out Walden Pond and the houses of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Then, for good measure, I went to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to visit their graves. I particularly loved Emerson’s grave. It’s just a boulder with a plaque on it, which is so perfectly Emerson. I also went to the other, bigger, more famous Sleepy Hollow cemetery in Tarrytown, New York. The Washington Irving one. Besides gravestones that have the names of characters from Sleepy Hollow, Irving is buried there, too.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
When I first started writing, I considered a pseudonym or using my initials since, as a female writer, I know I’m at a disadvantage right off the bat. It’s a pretty well proven fact that male writers have a bit of an edge in the literary world. However, I decided not to go that way because, for one thing, I think those days are fading into the past, and for another thing, hiding the fact that I’m a woman just did not sit right with me. I touch on aspects of feminism in all my books, and those ideas wouldn’t come across the same if people thought they were coming from a man.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
I should probably blather on about one of Dostoyevsky’s lesser-known books right now, but I’m going to go with the pirate books by Gideon Defoe. He has five. The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists is the first one. They’re perfectly, amazingly, beautifully funny. They’re like Monty Python but in book form and about pirates. The humor is just so right in ways you’d have to read it to understand, so you should probably go ahead and buy all five of them. Right now. You’re welcome.
The pirates all have names like the pirate with a scarf, the pirate with the Brooklyn accent, and the albino pirate. There are running gags about ham, and funny footnotes, and in each book the pirates have lovely, historically inaccurate adventures with the likes of Ahab and Charles Darwin and Lord Byron. They’re written in a casual style that reminds me of The Princess Bride in a way but is also uniquely its own; as a writer who values creativity, humor, pushing boundaries of the established rules of writing, and the use of one’s own true voice, I could gush about these books forever, but I’ll try to restrain myself and end it here. Done.