Welcome back to yet another Wednesday. We’re halfway through October, well on our way to Halloween. Many people I know are looking forward to a feeling of normalcy they hope comes from the getting into the holiday season. I hope it provides that for all of us. We need it.
Hello all! It is Wednesday once again, and I have two treats for you. My friend David R. Slayton has released a fantastic book called White Trash Warlock, and The Insecure Writer’s Support Group has their monthly post today. So, I am sharing twice–a beautiful book available next week, AND a blog post with my favorite twitchy writer peeps. Enjoy!
Not only is it fabulous–I was lucky enough to score an arc from the publisher early–but it also has an amazingly on-brand cover. Check it out!
Not all magicians go to schools of magic.
Adam Binder has the Sight. It’s a power that runs in his bloodline: the ability to see beyond this world and into another, a realm of magic populated by elves, gnomes, and spirits of every kind. But for much of Adam’s life, that power has been a curse, hindering friendships, worrying his backwoods family, and fueling his abusive father’s rage.
Years after his brother, Bobby, had him committed to a psych ward, Adam is ready to come to grips with who he is, to live his life on his terms, to find love, and maybe even use his magic to do some good. Hoping to track down his missing father, Adam follows a trail of cursed artifacts to Denver, only to discover that an ancient and horrifying spirit has taken possession of Bobby’s wife.
It isn’t long before Adam becomes the spirit’s next target. To survive the confrontation, save his sister-in-law, and learn the truth about his father, Adam will have to risk bargaining with very dangerous beings … including his first love.
Wait, it gets even better. I was able to do a Q&A with David to dig a little deeper into the fabulous world of White Trash Warlock.
Q: I’d love to know more about the world without dancing too close to spoilers.
I based White Trash Warlock on the real world of course, since it’s urban fantasy, or more accurately rural fantasy. But I grew up with a lot of folklore and superstition. I love urban fantasy and I leaned into some of the tropes you see around elves, etc. – but I also wanted to mix it up. I tried to use lesser known mythical beings. I mixed a lot of Denver’s history in too. The city has a rich diversity and great urban legends. What’s funny is that I often hear about them outside of Denver, like a guy in a bar in Portland telling me about the Saurians living under our airport. I sprinkled these throughout the book to add to the flavor.
Q: Your protagonist has the power of Sight. How has his ability to see beyond the ordinary impacted him in rural Oklahoma?
Adam’s Sight is part of how he’s different, a big part. Growing up there, like he did, in a trailer in the woods, I felt my differences keenly. Adam sees what others can’t, but he’s also too low on the magical pecking order for safety. I wanted this to be a metaphor for all of us who’ve felt like we didn’t fit in, like the cuckoo in the nest. I spent a lot of my childhood lost in my imagination, and that experience was easy to spin into something more supernatural and at times sinister and/or fantastic.
Q: You have an unusual and fantastic protagonist. Without spoiling too much, how did you come up him? Please add as much as you can because my true questions delve into spoiler territory too much.
Adam is a lot like me. This book was harder to write than any of my others because I put so much of myself, and my experiences into him. I didn’t grow up with the Sight but I did grow up with an abusive father, in the Oklahoma woods. From there I added extra bits, a little more snark and cockiness than I’ve possessed. He’s overconfident at times, at uh, one point in particular – and of course that comes back to bite him in a big way.
Q: Jonathan Mayberry gave a blurb calling White Trash Warlock “dark, funny, and full of devious twists.” I agree, especially when you took traditional genre tropes and made them your own. Can you speak to the influence of genre and how you chose to reinvigorate it in your incredible new world?
Urban fantasy is such a rich genre. You see how authors like K.D. Edwards are using it in new ways, to tell new kinds of stories. That was what I wanted to do. I love urban fantasy but I long ago tired of godlike heroes and vampires or werewolves. I wanted to tell a different story, with a different kind of hero. I also knew I wanted it to go deeper, into family history and background, skirting the edge of horror but keep the humor. It’s the exact kind of book I always wanted back in Guthrie, the kind I could never find. So I wrote it!
I’m not the only one who got a chance to read it early. I would argue I’m the most important, but–well, take a look at what these other people had to say:
“White Trash Warlock is wild and weird and way too much fun. Dark, funny, and full of devious twists. Highly recommended!” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Rage and V-Wars
“Slayton makes a splash with this urban fantasy debut starring a broke, gay wizard living in an Oklahoma trailer park … The complex worldbuilding, well-shaded depictions of poverty, emotional nuance, and thrilling action sequences make this stand out. Slayton is sure to win plenty of fans.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A novel like this is exactly why the Urban Fantasy genre has staying power. Look at what David R. Slayton did: he turned the usual tropes on their ass, and created an amazing, fresh story. A rural setting; relatable paycheck-to-paycheck characters; strong LGBT+ representation … It’s an exceptional debut. We need more books like this.” –K. D. Edwards, author of The Last Sun and The Hanged Man
“This book is bad-ass! Inventive, exciting, and starring one of the most charming fantasy characters I have ever read about, White Trash Warlock is easily one of my new favorite books. It’s addictive, fun and the world-building is perfect. David R. Slayton is definitely an author to watch.” –Cale Dietrich, author of The Love Interest
“Edgy and addicting, David R. Slayton’s stunning debut will grab hold of you and knock you around just because it can. But before it’s all over, it’ll leave you breathless and begging for more. His wonderfully creative world is chock full of all manner of supernatural beings and a protagonist you can’t help but adore. I’m so impressed! This story is razor sharp so, yes, read it with caution, but read it!” –Darynda Jones, New York Times bestselling author
Want to more about David?
David R. Slayton grew up in Guthrie, Oklahoma, where finding fantasy novels was pretty challenging and finding fantasy novels with diverse characters was downright impossible. Now he lives in Denver, Colorado, with his partner, Brian, and writes the books he always wanted to read. White Trash Warlock is his first novel. In 2015, David founded Trick or Read, an annual initiative to give out books along with candy to children on Halloween as well as uplift lesser-known authors or those from marginalized backgrounds. Find him online at http://www.davidrslayton.c
The optional question this month is–When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?
This is an interesting question. I have to admit my vision of what a working writer looks like has evolved the longer I have been writing. When I first started writing seriously, I pictured quitting my job and rolling in riches if I published a single novel. Yeah, delusional thinking. Now, I picture it looking very much like butt in chair every day I can, hours at a time–when I can–and life filling in the edges.
I am working on my third novel, waiting on edits from an editor on my second (freelance), and I no longer harbor grandiose ideas of what selling or writing mean. Now, although I’m still working towards full-time, professional writer, it is with an eye on each page of my story. I no longer try to work out exactly what that will look like as a pie-in-the-sky. No matter what happens, I’ll still sit in my chair everyday wrestling the stories in my head until they pry my keyboard from my cold, dead hands. As for the rest of it…
Well, that’s all for me folks. See you back here in seven.
Welcome to yet another Wednesday post. I am embarrassed to admit I skipped last week, so this took two weeks. I know, I know—bad blogger. I feel bad. Can you feel it? 😜 Um…well, guess I owe you some news and a song.
Happy Hump Day, all! Yet another Wednesday has come and almost gone in the year I hope to someday refer to as “the year which shall not be named.” I’m going to stick to news and music tonight, though. It’s the little pleasures. Always.
Happy Wednesday! I know I have been harping on the weather lately, but I have to share. We went from 97 degrees on Monday to snow and a 60 degree temperature drop from Tuesday into today. Really. Parts of the state are still on fire, but the moisture helped. I just don’t know about this year, though. 🤷♀️
It is time once again for my monthly posting for The Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG). We’re a fun-loving group of insecure writers who reach trembling fingers through our virtual keyboards to find connection beyond our keyboards. Come join us.
The optional question this month is – If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?
The truth is the question is hhhaaarrrddd. I love so many books and authors. If I have to choose one (argh, curses), the answer would be: Naomi Novik. I love everything of hers I’ve read. If you haven’t read her, go. Now.
Short but sweet posting this month. Now, it’s time for a news and music snack.
And in science news today, puberty may not be great for your skin or your voice, but it could provide a window to help repair childhood trauma. That matters–a whole hell of a lot for many kiddos out there.
Hello all! It is Wednesday once again, and for a change, we are not hot and smoky. It’s raining as I type this. Yes! Also, please send more. I hope some other states in the west can say the same. But for now, news.
The song I’m leaving you with is a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Avalanche. I heard another version in a documentary recently, and it blew me away. Enjoy! I’ll see you in seven. https://youtu.be/LemlPjMfq7E
It is time once again for my monthly posting for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG). We post the first Wednesday of the month to create a collective web of nervousness and insecurity which smothers the web. Fun, right? If you are compelled by twittering fun, click the image above. It’s what all the really cool basket cases are doing. 😉
And the optional question is–Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn’t planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?
I had to think on this one for a minute. Truth is, the idea usually makes quite clear the genre to me. Since the idea is what leads me to the keyboard, I know the genre once I sit down. But, when I really thought back to “ever,” I had to admit that my works-in-progress will sometimes grab a little genre seasoning I had not planned on. And once I looked at it that way, then I had to admit all of my work has been affected. In fact, during first draft of my current WIP I ended up deciding on suspense elements I had not planned on.
Great question! Now, time for some news.
Regardless of politics, this first story is cool. She swore in at the 35-mile mark of her 100-mile ultramarathon. Badass!
In science news, rapid 3D imaging from echoes of light. I will not even pretend to fully understand the ramifications of using AI in helping to recreate images, but it sounds amazing. It also sounds like the backstory for a Terminator-type movie, so there’s that. You gotta love science.