Last year a friend of mine introduced me to a local convention in Atlanta, ConJuration. For those looking for a family orientated convention that celebrates magic and fantasy this is it. ConJuration is not only a Harry Potter convention, though many of the panels and events revolve around the boy wizard, it entails so, so, much more. This convention celebrates all things, (or as many as possible) magical; such as Supernatural, Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, and other magical literature and media. So for those with friends or family members who are just not that into the boy wizard there is something for everyone to enjoy!
The Springer Opera House, located in Columbus Georgia, has been around since 1871. Yet, even many locals haven’t heard of this little gem in their own state. When I was a kid we took a tour of the Springer and learned about its rich history. Part of which includes the long line of historical figures to grace the stage over the years, such as Edwin Booth, yes, brother to that Booth, and how it was saved from demolition by a group of theater lovers in 1964. But what draws many people to the Springer these days is that it is considered one of the most haunted buildings in the country. Don’t believe me? Go take a tour, learn its history. Then show up early for a show and have a drink at the bar. I had to be re-directed by an usher back to the bar because I kept getting drawn and sidetracked down the hallway to a door leading off to the stairwell going towards the backstage area. Everytime I got close to that door, I got a tingling feeling in my gut, and had hair raising on the back of my neck.
Let’s face it; the price of cable, phone, and internet is getting to be almost as expensive as a car payment. And with the price of everything else necessary to live off of, shaving a few dollars a month would help immensely for even those who aren’t on a budget. For the light internet users, data on a cell phone may be just right, or for those that are media streamers the need for an internet provider is a necessity. But what about that pesky bundle all the big companies try to ram down your throat? Are they worth it? And what will the cable/phone company do to keep you in their evil clutches when you wake up and realize you don’t need what they offer?
There’s a reason why authors hide away in their hermit hobbit hidey holes they call an office… me.
Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting several self-published authors and a gained a new pool to pull from when the bookshelves of my local Books-A-Million won’t tickle my fancy. Amongst them was Jonathan French, who is a regular panelist for ConJuration in Atlanta. When he isn’t promoting his own work, he frequently helps budding authors by answering questions and spreading the word about self-publishing.
After sitting through a few of Jonathan’s panels, discussing writing in general and writing fantasy, I decided to check out his works by giving his latest title, The Grey Bastards a go. Once I sat down and started to read, I devoured it. Finally! Someone who understood that fantasy is not all about pretty little fairies with magical weapons coming to save the rest of the races/classes having some conflict that were crammed into the story to make it interesting.
After a few chapters, I ran over to Jonathan’s book table and met his lovely wife, who was covering for him, and grabbed his other two novels, The Autumn Fall Saga, Exiled Heir and the Errantry of Bantam Flynn. Still working on the second, but they have broadened my reading horizons, and gave me new faith in reading fantasy novels. Below is the skinny on his current works, I highly suggest you check them out, well worth it!
LIVE IN THE SADDLE. DIE ON THE HOG.
Such is the creed of the half-orcs dwelling in the Lot Lands. Sworn to hardened brotherhoods known as hoofs, these former slaves patrol their unforgiving country astride massive swine bred for war. They are all that stand between the decadent heart of noble Hispartha and marauding bands of full-blood orcs.
Jackal rides with the Grey Bastards, one of eight hoofs that have survived the harsh embrace of the Lots. Young, cunning and ambitious, he schemes to unseat the increasingly tyrannical founder of the Bastards, a plague-ridden warlord called the Claymaster. Supporting Jackal’s dangerous bid for leadership are Oats, a hulking mongrel with more orc than human blood, and Fetching, the only female rider in all the hoofs.
When the troubling appearance of a foreign sorcerer comes upon the heels of a faceless betrayal, Jackal’s plans are thrown into turmoil. He finds himself saddled with a captive elf girl whose very presence begins to unravel his alliances. With the anarchic blood rite of the Betrayer Moon close at hand, Jackal must decide where his loyalties truly lie, and carve out his place in a world that rewards only the vicious.