Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Seventh Star Singles GIVEAWAY & author interview

 Seventh Star Singles
are short stories available as $0.99 eBooks
each of which is from the worlds of the authors' novels
expanding the material
for fans of each author's novel series.

With me today is Stephen Zimmer, author of Temples Rising, one of these new singles.

I haven't always been a huge reader. I got started late on that journey. How about you? I assume you love reading books as much as you do writing them. 

My earliest entertainment as a child was having books read to me, and my mother was a little ambitious in that she read me The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, a chapter a night, aloud, when I was about seven years old. She introduced me to the Chronicles of Narnia just after that, so I always blame her for my love of fantasy, LOL! Reading is what steered me towards writing to begin with. To be a solid writer, or a good one, you really need to be a good reader as well, and I absolutely love reading. I strive to make time for reading on a regular basis. I just finished George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons, am enjoying Eric Wilson’s Jerusalem Undead Trilogy, which is a sorely-needed, fresh approach to vampires, and am also reading Civil War Lexington, Kentucky: Bluegrass Breeding Ground of Power, by Karen Leet and Joshua Leet.

The novella idea is pretty new to me, how did you come up with the idea for singles? 

Having developed epic fantasy and epic-scale urban fantasy series since the mid-90’s, I have a great depth of material for the worlds that they are set in. Loads of this background material won’t make it into the series, but there are lots of possibilities for short stories, and perhaps even novellas, which expand on a character, place, or event in the histories of the two worlds (as featured in my Fires in Eden series, and the Rising Dawn Saga). The stories I began to envision would offer readers of my series a lot more to explore, and give them more depth, in a way that can strongly enhance their enjoyment of the series. Simultaneously, the stories would stand by themselves, and new readers would not have to be versed in my novels to enjoy these stories on their own. I thought the idea would be useful for the other SSP authors, who also have series. The idea was well received in the SSP camp, and I wouldn’t be surprised if by year’s end nearly all of the authors have some short stories in the Seventh Star Singles line. eBooks are really well-suited for this type of line, as it would be far too expensive to attempt in print.

If I can't connect with a character, I have a hard time reading the story. How do authors help readers make connections? 

My novels have ensemble casts, so I hope that readers find at least a few characters to bond with. In a short story, you can’t have the same ensemble, and you have to try to make your primary character, or characters, compelling very quickly. A novel has more space for development, and a reader of a novel is likely to give you a little more time to set things in place, but in a short story you have to move quickly to connect to the reader. Short stories and novels really do involve different approaches, and both have their strengths. The bottom line with short stories is that you can’t beat around the bush, you really do need to get into the action, and get to the point without delay. Doing that effectively will raise the likelihood of making a good connection with a reader.

I think my most favorite fictional character is Harry Potter. I love how he was not a victim even though he had reason to be. Who is your all time favorite fictional character? 

My all time favorite fictional character, I must confess, is Reepicheep from The Chronicles of Narnia. Probably strikes you as a surprising choice, but the nobility, honor, loyalty and sense of friendship displayed in a character who was an animal far from naturally formidable appealed greatly to me as a kid. I’ve never lost my fondness for the little talking mouse!

If I could spend a day doing anything I wanted to, I'd read all day. What about you, if you could do anything at all what would it be? 

I’m kind of getting there right now, though not there just yet. Being able to write and create full time, with some interludes for visual storytelling in the form of filmmaking or video game development, is exactly what I want to do, and I’ve been getting a little closer to that kind of daily environment. I’m going to keep working as hard as I can, and hopefully a few things will fall into place to get me through that last mile.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with my readers? 

Thank you for taking the time to read this! If you do read my short stories, or Michael’s or Steven’s, please do reach out to us, as we are all very approachable. I love hearing from readers, and if you do like the stories, please don’t keep it a secret. Spread the word in your online communities, blogs, and elsewhere. It isn’t easy being a small press author and what you might think of as being little in terms of help, like a few comments on GoodReads, or Amazon.com, is actually of immense help to authors such as myself. Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Valerie! I hope you have me back again in the future.

There will be 3 winners!
Each winner will receive all 8 of the new eBook short stories 
(the four from Stephen Zimmer, the 2 new ones from Steven Shrewsbury and 2 new ones from Michael West).  
The winner can choose Kindle or Nook compatibility.

Just fill out the Rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. What's not to like about short stories? I like most of them just as I do a novel. Thank you for the chance to win! DeAnna Schultz

  2. Thanks for sharing! :D