Guest Post: Shane Porteous on the Heroic Fantasy Anthology “Nine Heroes”

Running the Magic Appreciation Tour has given me the opportunity to meet many wonderful fantasy authors. Some have years of writing experience and others are fairly new to the writing game. Most have one thing in common: they are passionate about their writing and they want to help others feel the joy.

Shane Porteous is one of our cadre who is willing to to put out extra effort to help others realize their dream of being published. Organizing an anthology of fifteen authors is no small task, but he took the lead with the Battle of Ebulon fantasy anthology, which included three authors from the Magic Appreciation Tour. Clearly a fan of collaborative publishing, Shane is now getting the word out about a new anthology, Nine Heroes: Tales of Heroic Fantasy.

When Shane asked me if he could tell you about this new release, I was happy to oblige. Here’s Shane now to tell you all about it.

Enjoy!

Daniel R. Marvello

 


Ladies and gentlemen my name is Shane Porteous, I am probably best known on this blog for compiling and organizing the Battle of Ebulon anthology. When I put up a post for that particular anthology I was very humbled and grateful to all the great authors in this group for either contributing stories to it or mentioning it on their blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads account etc.

Well as it happens, I wrote for another anthology called 9 Heroes, it was published through Stencil Press and while I personally had no hand in accepting stories or editing for it, I personally did come up with the idea of doing it. The reason why is simple enough, to help get better recognition for talented writers.

The anthology was put together with the same mentality that the Magic Appreciation Tour was assembled, to allow writers to help other writers, to help showcase relatively unknown talent as well as of course helping readers discover new books. Every single cent of the proceeds is going to help promote the Heroic Fantasy Group of writers, it is a truly great group. I personally have read a number of books from their various authors and all that I have read have gotten my personal thumbs up, (I consider that quite an honor as I hugely value my own opinion, ha ha.)

Now I know that everyone always says that about an anthology they wrote for and while I strongly believe I am telling the truth. I will give you another example or rather reason that might interest you in buying it.

As writers we probably all have had a bad experience with editors, while there are some brilliant editors out there let’s face it, there is also a lot of “essay” editors out there. You know the ones I am talking about, instead of looking at your story as the individual piece it is, they try to force every story into the same style over and over again. Some editors don’t seem to realize that a story about a 16 year old in an urban fantasy environment HAS to be told much differently than a tale about a 5,000 year old immortal in a high fantasy realm and vice versa.

With this in mind, I am very proud to say that the editor of 9 Heroes, Walter Rhein (himself a very talented author, basically if you enjoy the works of David Gemmell you’ll love any of his books) understands this completely, he respected the writing style of each contributor and made sure not to force anyone into a box, while at the same time being very thorough in eliminating those pesky throwaway grammar and spelling mistakes.

Because of this, the anthology has what any good anthology should have, a vast array of writing styles. Some are written with break neck pacing, while others are more methodical, more of a “painting a picture with their words,” style. It follows the tried and tested three ring circus mentality, something for everyone (who likes the many shades of heroic fantasy anyway.)

So in the very spirit of why the Magic Appreciation Tour was set up in the first place, I politely ask you to please get yourself a copy of this anthology and if you are so inclined, chuck up a review of Amazon. Failing that if you could just mention it on your blog, facebook, twitter, goodreads accounts or tell your real world friends about it, it would mean a lot to me.

I thank everyone for taking time out of their busy schedules to read this post.

Nine Heroes    Nine Heroes is available in both paperback and kindle on Amazon.com:

Nine Heroes: Tales of Heroic Fantasy

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Gravity’s Revenge Kickstarter Blog Tour with a Vengeance

When Magic Appreciation Tour author A.E. Marling completed the manuscript for Gravity’s Revenge, the third book in his Enchantress Hiresha series, he wanted to do more to bring his story to life in readers’ imaginations. He envisioned a book that would include wonderful illustrations, and we all know original artwork doesn’t come cheaply.

To help him create and release the high-quality book he imagined, he conceived a Kickstarter campaign that would raise funds to cover the production costs as well as a few strategic promotion tactics. In my opinion, the financial goals of his campaign are reasonable and quite achievable.

If you are interested in ever doing a book-related Kickstarter campaign, I highly recommend that you check out what A.E. Marling has done with his. The pledge levels are inventive, the rewards are compelling, and the copy for the campaign is brilliant. While you are there, consider making a pledge that will help him bring Gravity’s Revenge to market fully-realized:

Gravity’s Revenge: an epic fantasy w/internal illustrations

As a special treat, Mr. Marling is offering a $30 Amazon gift card just for visiting today and reading about his campaign. You can enter to win by clicking the link below:

Enter to win a $30 Amazon Gift Card!

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Authors wanted for “The Battle of Ebulon” collaboration

Magic Appreciation Tour author Shane Porteous has come up with an interesting idea for a fantasy author collaboration and promotion opportunity. Check it out! If you are interested, please contact Shane at the email address provided below.

Here’s Shane with the details…


The Battle of Ebulon – An epic fantasy collaboration

by Shane Porteous

Hey guys and girls, I have an idea for a collaboration but in order for it to work we would need about 20 authors. It is basic at the moment, but I think it would be cool to tell a story about this mystic kingdom “hidden away from the world.” So basically this kingdom comes under attack from a massive army of Orcs, because they are the standard bad guys for epic fantasy. The king has some magical ability to call for aid across all worlds. Now the hero/heroine (or group of heroes) from each of the author’s book/series answers the call (because they’re heroes it’s the right thing to do.) Then each author would write their hero/heroes involvement in the battle (say a 5,000 word limit each, so together it would be the size of a novel.) Together it would be released as a free ebook on Smashwords with a list of what author wrote what chapter and of course what books their characters came from. It would help spread awareness about your book, but more importantly I just think it would be fun.

Now I shall lay down some specifics just to make it easier for everyone. The kingdom will be called Ebulon (it isn’t from my book) and the Collaboration shall be known as “The Battle of Ebulon.” The City is the typical mystic city of fantasy, as in a large mountain city, set during winter, built by stone consisting of various sections such as markets and trading posts. Basically there is 20 entry points into Ebulon and each author’s character/characters defend a single entry point. This will allow a lot of creative freedom between the authors. Also each author will be responsible for editing their own chapter.

Please keep in mind that not every chapter has to have fighting in it. An author may choose to have their characters be in a section where the fighting hasn’t occurred yet. They grow weary of waiting and decide to have a game of poker. One of the characters has the best hand they have ever had but is foiled when the Orcs begin attacking the section of the city and so they try to finish the game quickly. Just an example, but diversity will be beneficial to the Collaboration.

The theme of the Collaboration is very simple, heroes doing the right thing. It is a theme found in almost all fantasy stories, so that is why it is perfect for this Collaboration.

Also to any urban fantasy writers you’re welcome to come aboard if you like. Several authors (including Urban) have expressed interest so far and I am eager to get this up and running. Before we can even get started we will need enough authors on board. So if you’re interested in being one of the authors please email me at.

thebattleofebulon [at] yahoo [dot] com

(I invented that email for the sole purpose of the collaboration.)

Or if you are on Goodreads feel free to get in touch with me at:

Shane Porteous Profile on Goodreads

look forward to hearing from you!

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R.A. Salvatore to be interviewed by one of our own!

I got some exciting news recently from Magic Appreciation Tour author Will English: fantasy luminary R.A. Salvatore has agreed to be the subject of an interview!

Will is understandably excited, and he’d like to share his excitement by giving you a chance to participate. If you were interviewing R.A. Salvatore, what questions would you ask? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

On his blog Random Musings of a Summer Dreamer, Will writes about gaming, fantasy literature, and occasionally hosts interviews from other authors. If you check out some of his previous posts, I’m sure you’ll want to give his blog a follow.

But be sure to pay special attention next month when Will publishes his interview with the creator of the incredibly popular character Drizzt Do’Urden, author of the DemonWars Saga, and author of over 30 books in the Forgotten Realms series.

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San Jose Fantasy Faire – April 13-14, 2013

The San Jose Fantasy Faire is looking for fantasy authors!

M. Todd Gallowglas, author of the Tears of Rage series, recently told me about a fun publicity opportunity for fantasy authors who will be in the San Jose, CA vicinity on April 13 or 14 of this year.

The Faire will include an author pavilion where you can sell your books, meet the crowds, and possibly find new fans. The Faire is not charging a “booth fee” because they are encouraging fantasy authors to attend.

Sound interesting? You can find out more on the Faire web site:

San Jose Fantasy Faire

Be sure to check out the “Meet the Authors” page, and to get a feel for how much fun you’ll have, visit the Photos page as well!

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The Spring Fantasy Sale Page is Live!

We’re only two days away from the Spectacular Spring Equinox Fantasy Sale!

We now have 21 authors and 36 magical fantasy books participating in the sale. Every book is under $5, many are 99 cents, and some are even free. On top of that, we have over 40 prizes in the giveaways! Mark your calendar for March 20 and be sure to visit the sale page (click the sale badge below) for great prices on books and the chance to win free prizes.

Would you like to get a preview of the great deals that are coming? Visit the sale page over on the Magic Appreciation Tour site and take look:

Spectacular Spring Fantasy Sale - March 20-22, 2013 - all books under $5

Please tell your friends about the sale! The code for the badge above is on the sale page, so you can add it to a blog post or the side bar of your blog.

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Spectacular Spring Equinox Fantasy Sale–March 20-22, 2013

The members of the Magic Appreciation Tour (MAT) are holding our first group promotion event: the Spectacular Spring Equinox Fantasy Sale from March 20-22, 2013. We are banding together to offer great prices on our books and we are giving away lots of cool free prizes.

In a promotion like this, everybody wins. Our readers win because they get great magical fantasy books at sale prices and can enter to win free stuff. The authors win because our promotion efforts are multiplied by efforts of the other participating members.

If you write magical fantasy and have been thinking about joining the Magic Appreciation Tour, this is your big chance to get off the fence and sign up your books! Membership in the MAT is FREE, and you get lots of great benefits, including free blog tours, guest posts from other authors, free promotion for your book through the MAT web site, and opportunities to join group promotion events like this one with other authors in your genre.

About the Sale

What makes the Spectacular Spring Equinox Fantasy Sale so cool?

  • All books are priced under $5, and some will even be free.
  • Many authors are contributing prizes to the “master giveaway,” dramatically increasing the odds that each entry will win something.
  • We’re actually holding TWO master giveaways: one just for readers with a US mailing address that includes physical prizes like autographed paperbacks, and one for readers around the world that includes digital prizes like e-books and gift cards.
  • Many participating authors are also running a separate giveaway on their own blogs in association with the event, so you get even more chances to win free stuff!
  • As of this writing, we already have 18 confirmed authors, and we are just getting started! That means at least 18 of us will be pooling our social networking connections to promote the event.

Join the Fun

If you are already a member of the Magic Appreciation Tour, you don’t have to do anything special. Just use the MAT Contact page to tell me you want to participate. We can work out the details of which books you want to promote and if you want to offer a prize later. But don’t delay! Authors who respond earliest get premium placement on the promo page for at least one of their books.

If you are a magical fantasy author but you are not a Magic Appreciation Tour member, you can still join us. All you have to do is register at least one of your titles at the MAT web site and use the Contact page let me know you want to join the event (please review the Submissions Guidelines before you register to make sure your book qualifies). I’ll add you to the event mailing list, which will be used strictly for coordinating this promotion.

If you are wondering just how great an event this will be, check out some of the authors who are participating and some of the excellent prizes that have already been offered:

  • Daniel R. Marvello: a special low price on Vaetra Unveiled plus free copies for the master giveaway. Also, if it’s released in time for the event, the same for Vaetra Untrained.
  • Christopher Kellen: a special low price on his book Elegy plus a signed paperback copy of Elegy for the master giveaway.
  • Marsha A. Moore: a set of all three books in her “Enchanted Bookstore Legends” series.
  • Roger Eschbacher
  • Will Hahn: discounts on current titles and a free copy of one title for the master giveaway.
  • Tracy Falbe: a special sale price on Savage Storm and an autographed paperback of Rys Rising: Book I.
  • Vanna Smythe
  • Becca Mills
  • Mathew Reuther: print and digital copies of his Dire Calls series book bundle for the master giveaway
  • Scott Marlowe
  • Alesha Escobar
  • L. Blankenship
  • Elizabeth Baxter
  • Katharina Gerlach: three copies each of Amadi, Urchin King, and Scotland’s Guardians for the master giveaway.
  • Karin Rita Gastreich: a print and digital copy of EOLYN for the master giveaway.
  • Matt Bridger
  • Juli D. Revezzo
  • Melissa McPhail

What you see above is just a sample. These are early days and many of the participants have not yet decided on what they will offer.

Beware the Ides of March!

The deadline to sign up for the Spectacular Spring Equinox Sale is March 15. But please don’t wait until the last minute. Sign up now and reserve March 20-22 on your schedule today.

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The New and Improved Magic Appreciation Tour

Things have been quiet at the Magic Appreciation Tour for the past couple of months, and now I’m ready to reveal why. I’ve been busy working on new site software so I can support more reader and author features without having to do a lot of manual page tweaking. Plus, some things just can’t be done without some kind of database behind them.

The new web site looks pretty familiar on the outside, but if you look closely, you’ll see several enhancements for both readers and authors.

New Reader Features

The new data-driven features for readers include:

  • Paging of the book and author listings for improved browser performance
  • Book sorting and filtering features
  • Meet the Author pages that give readers the author bio plus all book listings for that author

Book Filtering The Books and Authors pages now have paging so your browser doesn’t have to load the entire list of books and their cover images. As new authors register for the site, the load time on those pages would have just kept getting worse and worse.

The Books page now lets you sort books by how recently they were added to the site or by author last name. By default, the list is sorted by recency, so readers who return to the site can quickly see what has been added since their last visit.

You can also filter the book list by price range, sub-genre, and book length. Are you only interested in short stories? Do you want to avoid certain sub-genres? The filtering tools let you zoom in on just the books that interest you.

Author and Book listings now link to a Meet the Author page that shows the author bio along with all of the books by that author on the site. These summary pages are great for readers who find a favorite author, and they are great for authors who want to promote their magical fantasy works in one place.

New Author Features

The new data-driven features for authors include:

  • Automated registration with built-in image uploads
  • A membership area that let authors add new books as well as update their author and book listings.
  • Easy opt-in/opt-out to the Magic Appreciation Blog Tours email list.

MAT Profile Editor To be honest, the new automated registration system benefits me, the site administrator, more than anyone. I no longer have to copy and paste information out of an email, manually resize images, and manually update the web pages with new HTML.

However, authors also benefit because they can preview their author listing and book listings as they enter them and see exactly what the listing will look like when it goes live. Authors no longer have to send me a separate email with an author photo and book cover image because the images can be uploaded during registration. Also, the turnaround time from registration to being live on the site has been reduced because all I have to do now is click an “Approve” link to make the listing go live.

The heart of the new registration feature is the new membership area. When you register, you create a login that lets you return at any time and add new listings or update your existing ones. All changes have to be approved before they go live on the site, but after a quick review of the listing, approval is a one-click operation for a site administrator.

The Magic Appreciation Blog Tours has turned out to be a great addition to the Magic Appreciation Tour. Several of our authors have taken advantage of free touring, and many others have benefited from the offers of guest blog posts. Authors can now easily join the blog tours (or unsubscribe from the list) from their profile page.

Existing Authors

One of my tasks with making the new site go live was to enter all of the existing author profiles and books into the new database. While doing that, I created login accounts for all existing authors. I plan to send out an email to each author that includes the new login information, but if you want to go check out the new membership features immediately, just Contact me me and I’ll send it to you right away.

Also, be aware that many of the listings exceeded the 800-character limit I specified on the original registration page. That limit has been expanded to 850 characters, and the new registration page does not let you put in more than that. In some cases, I had to trim down the author bio or book description to fit. Please review your listings and update them (again, contact me for a login) if you don’t like the way I edited them.

So Long Post Exchange

The only major site feature that I eliminated was the Post Exchange. To some degree, the blog tours replace that feature. For authors who just want to do a single exchange rather than a full tour, it is easy enough to simply contact other MAT authors through their blog, as many of our authors have already done.

Future Possibilities

Putting a database behind the site gives me flexibility to add more reader features and author features. I’m open to suggestions, so if you have any ideas for useful tools that could be added to the site, let me know in the comments or send me a message through the MAT contact page.

Here are a few things I’ve been considering:

  • Group promotions: MAT authors would sign up to participate in a group promotion on a specific date or range of dates. The site would give us a “hub page” for the promotion with links to the participating author blogs and book listings.
  • Giveaways: MAT authors could sign up for a giveaway that the site would manage for them. This feature would be similar in concept to a RaffleCopter giveaway.
  • RSS feed: Readers could sign up for a book registration feed, so every time a new book is added to the MAT, they’d be notified. Readers could subscribe to this feature through an email notification as well as an RSS reader.
  • More buy links: The site currently supports a single buy link for each registered book. That means authors have to choose one retailer and one format for promotion on the Magic Appreciation Tour. I’d like to make it so authors can add multiple buy links that specify different vendors, different formats, and different prices.

Check out the new site and feel free to let me know what you think. I look forward to new opportunities to make the Magic Appreciation Tour a more fun and useful tool for all magical fantasy readers and authors.

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Emotobooks on Tour

Cynthia Ravinski was the first Magic Appreciation Tour author to take advantage of our new Magic Appreciation Blog Tour feature. Thank you to all of our authors who graciously offered to host Cynthia on her tour.

Cynthia’s goal for her tour was to get the word out about a new form of publishing called “emotobooks.” Emotobooks combine fast-paced writing with colorful abstract artwork. This combination stimulates multiple parts of the brain for an immersing and saturating reading experience. This new medium of fiction was created by her publisher Grit City Publications.

If you would like to learn more about this fascinating concept, you can still follow Cynthia’s tour using the links below. She toured with six guest posts (one of which includes an excerpt from her book) and one interview. Enjoy!

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Announcing: Magic Appreciation Blog Tours

One of the main goals for the Magic Appreciation Tour is to help authors connect with other authors who write in the magical fantasy genre. I think the MAT achieves that goal. We’ve engaged in conversations with one another, we’ve read each other’s works, and we’ve shared our blogs.

The seasonal Post Exchange has helped facilitate our efforts. I originally wanted to give our authors a way to do some kind of virtual blog tour, but at the beginning, we just didn’t have enough authors to do a credible job. The Post Exchange was a baby step. It gave us a way to exchange single posts with each other.

Well, we now have 34 authors who have listed a total of 52 books with the Magic Appreciation Tour! Granted, not all of them participate in the social networking aspects, but many of them do. I’m sure that everyone who has participated would say that we have a friendly, supportive, and motivated group of authors to work with.

At this point, I think we can take virtual blog touring to the next level. That’s why I’m introducing Magic Appreciation Blog Tours (MABT) starting with the Fall 2012 Tour in September (yes, beginning next week).

Here’s an overview of how it works:

  • Everyone who wants to participate will be added to the Magic Appreciation Blog Tours list. You can unsubscribe from this list at any time if you change your mind.
  • When you are ready to schedule a blog tour, send me a list of tour dates. These are the dates you can commit to providing a guest post or interview.
  • I’ll send your request out to the authors who are subscribed to the MA Blog Tours list.
  • Participating authors review your tour dates, and they email you with the dates they can offer on their blog.
  • You review the responses you get and finalize a schedule with the authors who contacted you.

Now you may be wondering how much this is going to cost. After all, scheduling a blog tour through a service that specializes in such things can be spendy. Well, don’t sweat it. The Post Exchange was a free service, and so is the MABT. All I ask is that you do your best to help each other out by offering your fellow writers a spot on your blog when they need it.

For the moment, I’m going to keep the Post Exchange going for authors who want to do one-off exchanges of blog posts rather than doing a full-on “blog tour.” But eventually, I see replacing the Post Exchange with this facility because it is a lot easier for me to administer. It is so much easier that I can keep the MABT running all year, allowing our authors to do a blog tour whenever it is convenient (or timely) for them.

Besides, one of the nicest things about the MABT is that you get to decide how many dates you want to include in your tour, regardless of how few or how many that is.

I already have two authors who have expressed interest in doing tours, so I’d like to get everyone who wants to participate on board before September 1. You are welcome to join after that too, but you might miss some of the early opportunities to participate.

Guidelines

Just so everyone knows what to expect, I’m including some participation guidelines. I want to keep the process as simple as possible and to avoid inundating MABT participants with emails. I will only use the MABT list for the initial request for tour dates. After that, communication is private between the touring author and the authors who agree to host dates.

In the guidelines below, a “TOURing” author is the author who is doing the blog tour, and a “HOSTing” author is an author who is hosting a tour date on his/her blog.

  • A “tour period” begins on the 1st of the selected start month and spans one full month or two full months.
  • TOURing authors may not schedule concurrent tour periods (in other words, pick a schedule and stick to it). If plans must change, please give HOSTing authors at least three days advance warning.
  • The tour dates offered by the TOURing author within the tour period represent the date posts should be published on the HOSTing author’s blog.
  • The TOURing and HOSTing authors work out the details of when the post will be delivered and what time it will be posted on the HOSTing author’s blog.
  • TOURing authors should include the following in their tour requests: Name, email address, goal for the tour, the month(s) of the tour, and specific tour dates. You should also indicate whether you want to do interviews, guest posts, giveaways, or are open to all of the above.
  • For now, the MABT is open to Magic Appreciation Tour authors only.

I hope the majority of our authors choose to participate. For hosts, it’s a good way to get some free, interesting, and relevant material for your blog, and it’s a nice way to help out your fellow authors. For touring authors, it’s a good way to get the word out about your latest release or to drum up new interest in a prior release.

Sounds good! Where do I sign up?

Magic Appreciation Tour authors who are interested in participating should contact me through the Magic Appreciation Tour Contact page. For now, all I need is your name and email address to put you on the MABT list.

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