Category Archives: News

Escape for a spell with new novel Magic’s Daughter

Coming-of-age fantasy conjures up family conflict, intrigue, romance

Readers can return to the magical, medieval realm of Altaerra in David Michael Williams’ recently released seventh novel.

Magic's Daughter coverMagic’s Daughter, currently available in paperback and Kindle editions, tells the story of Selena Nelesti, a young aristocrat torn between her family’s expectations and her own ambition to become something more—someone who shapes the very world.

“Selena wants nothing to do with her noble name,” Williams said. “She seeks out forbidden knowledge as a means of escape, but whether magic will be the key to her freedom or the path to another prison remains to be seen.”

Rounding out the cast of characters are members of Selena’s family, including her manipulative mother, increasingly distant father, and beloved but ailing grandmother as well as a stable boy who provides a perspective from outside the castle, a combative priest, and a wizard who will change Selena’s life in ways both seen and unseen.

Magic’s Daughter takes place in Williams’ proprietary world of Altaerra, which also served as the setting for The Renegade Chronicles, a sword-and-sorcery fantasy trilogy published in 2016.

“The Renegade Chronicles introduced readers to Altaerra, and Magic’s Daughter expands on that groundwork, exploring new geography and diving deeper into how the magic of that world works,” the Wisconsin author said.

“But you don’t have to have read The Renegade Chronicles to appreciate Magic’s Daughter. It is a separate, self-contained story,” he added.

Williams’ indie publishing company, One Million Words, published Magic’s Daughter on April 14. Both the paperback and e-book editions are available at Amazon.com. He plans to release an audiobook version later in 2020.

In addition to Magic’s Daughter and The Renegade Chronicles, Williams is the author of The Soul Sleep Cycle, a dreampunk series that explores life, death and eternity. He joined the Allied Authors of Wisconsin in 2005.


A sequel is born: Children of the Saviour

Friday the 13th brought nothing but good luck for a certain member of Allied Authors.

Christopher Whitmore published his second novel, Children of The Saviour, on Sept. 13, 2019. The book is a sequel to 2017’s Saviour, a post-apocalyptic fantasy adventure.

The back-cover blurb captures where Children of The Saviour picks up and hints at new territory ahead:

“A year after the events of SAVIOUR, Miracle Ashe returns home to find her sister and friends entangled in a perilous skein of intrigue: a glorious angel, wrapped in tendrils of living flame has unexpectedly arrived in the city. He proclaims that he is the son and heir of The Saviour himself.

“Miracle isn’t convinced.

“Her journey to discover the truth behind this angel of fire reunites her with old friends and ends up introducing her to astonishing, forgotten corners of the world. However, enemies familiar and new await her, both at home and across the sea.”

Whitmore’s published works combine complex religious themes, thrilling action, and a generous measure of comedy to keep readers turning pages and craving the next installment in the series. The Fond du Lac native joined Allied Authors of Wisconsin in 2017, shortly after the release of his debut novel.

Both Saviour and Children of The Saviour are available in paperback and as e-books on Amazon.com.


Soul Sleep Cycle comes to mind-bending conclusion

David Michael Williams’ psychological rollercoaster of a book series reached terminal velocity when If Dreams Can Die launched earlier this month.

If Dreams Can Die book coverThe 360-page paperback or e-book depicts the final confrontation between a death-defying cult and the CIA-sanctioned dream drifters determined to protect the collective unconscious. If Dreams Can Die reveals important information about Annette Young, a mysterious figure from the first two books and the alleged villain of the series.

“Annette has devoted her life as well as her afterlife to reconnecting with her departed family, even if it means destroying the dreamscape,” Williams said. “Although she has committed reprehensible crimes for her cause, she still sees herself as a hero.”

If Dreams Can Die ties together the intertwining storylines of If Souls Can Sleep and If Sin Dwells Deep, both published in 2018.

“Characters who were enemies in the first two novels must join forces to stop Annette,” Williams said. “But how do you defeat someone who is already dead?”

As with its predecessors, If Dreams Can Die contains elements of several literary genres, including science fiction, fantasy, paranormal and suspense. The Soul Sleep Cycle could also be categorized as dreampunk, a subgenre that raises the question “What is real?”

“I set out to write something I’d never read before, something unique and admittedly experimental,” the Wisconsin author said.

Williams’ indie publishing company, One Million Words, published If Dreams Can Die on May 21. Both the paperback and e-book will be available at Amazon.com.

In addition to The Soul Sleep Cycle, Williams is the author of The Renegade Chronicles, a sword-and-sorcery fantasy trilogy comprised of Rebels and Fools, Heroes and Liars, and Martyrs and Monsters. He is a 1999 graduate of UW-Fond du Lac and a 2001 graduate of UW-Milwaukee, where he studied creative writing. He joined the Allied Authors of Wisconsin in 2005.

Learn more about the author and his fiction at david-michael-williams.com.


AAW members to present at UntitledTown

Three Allied Authors of Wisconsin spec-fic writers will share their experiences and expertise at an upcoming book festival.

Mark J. Engels, Christopher Whitmore and David Michael Williams will participate in panels and a workshop at UntitledTown, an annual literary event that promotes all aspects of book culture. The festival will be held April 25 to 28 throughout downtown Green Bay, Wis.

Most of the events, including readings, book signings and presentations, are free and open to the public. Here are the events featuring AAW members:

Fantasy & Sci-fi World-Building Workshop

Williams will lead a workshop that focuses on the essential elements for creating a fully realized world and offer tips for successfully integrating those details into one’s story.

  • 4 – 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 26, in Think Tank C of the Brown County Library (Central Branch), 515 Pine St.

Writing & Publishing Sci-fi / Paranormal / Fantasy Fiction

Engels, Whitmore and Williams — along with three other Wisconsin authors — will share their trials, passion for the craft, the horrors of publishing and more during this panel.

  • 12 – 1 p.m. Saturday, April 27, in the Waterford Room of St. Brendan’s Inn, 234 S. Washington St.

Writing Mysteries & Thrillers

At this panel, Engels and a handful of other Wisconsin writers will talk about the craft of writing in the mystery and thriller genres.

  • 4 – 5 p.m. Saturday, April 27, in Breakout Room 5A of the KI Convention Center, 333 Main St.

For more details about the festival, including the full schedule of events, visit https://2019.untitledtown.org.

 


Soul Sleep sequel takes dreamscape to new depths

Williams’ genre-bending book series returns this month

Paperback cover of If Sin Dwells DeepEven good girls have secrets…

If Sin Dwells Deep, the second installment in David Michael Williams’ speculative fiction series, tells the story of Allison, a straight-laced woman who transforms into a rebellious goddess when she dreams.

“Allison is living a double life,” the Fond du Lac author said. “She thinks having a fling in the dreamscape is harmless fun until a sadistic predator learns her true identity and she must deal with the real-world consequences.”

The 380-page paperback and e-book delves deeper into the hidden world of dream drifters, people who possess the power to invade the minds of others. If Sin Dwells Deep also sheds light on the war between gifted government agents and those who would use their abilities to corrupt life, death and the afterlife—a conflict only hinted at in the first book.

As with its predecessor, If Souls Can Sleep, the new novel contains elements of science fiction, fantasy, suspense, metafiction and more.

“It’s a wonderfully weird mashup,” Williams said. “I took a risk by doing something different. Given the positive reception of the first book, I’m thrilled to report that readers apparently appreciate the strangeness.”

Although If Sin Dwells Deep is the second book in The Soul Sleep Cycle, it is not a typical sequel.

“Book Two is a parallel novel, which means the plot runs concurrently with that of Book One. It’s another side of the story. The two books are interconnected yet independent,” Williams said.

“Which means readers can enjoy If Sin Dwells Deep without having read If Souls Can Sleep,” he added.

Williams’ indie publishing company, One Million Words, will publish If Sin Dwells Deep in paperback on Oct. 2. The e-book is currently available through the Kindle Store.

To celebrate the release of If Sin Dwells Deep, Williams will sell and sign copies of the book from 5 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 2 at Gallery & Frame Shop, 94 S. Main St., Fond du Lac, as part of Fond du Lac Gallery Night.

The third installment in The Soul Sleep Cycle, If Dreams Can Die, is slated for publication in spring 2019.

In addition to The Soul Sleep Cycle, Williams is the author of The Renegade Chronicles, a fantasy trilogy comprised of Rebels and Fools, Heroes and Liars, and Martyrs and Monsters. He joined the Allied Authors of Wisconsin in 2005 and the Wisconsin Writers Association in 2018.

Learn more about the author and his fiction at david-michael-williams.com.


Allied Authors say a sad farewell to Fern Ramirez

The Allied Authors of Wisconsin lost a longtime member and close friend on July 19, 2018, when Fern Ramirez passed away at age 91.

A onetime teacher, Fern married Tom Ramirez in 1947. The two joined AAW in 1956 after being invited to a meeting by the late Beverly Butler Olson, a childhood playmate. Fern valued being a part of AAW and counted it as a privilege to have known Larry Sternig, Ann Powers Schwartz and Harry Schwartz, Don Emerson, Aubrey Young and many others during her rich tenure.

An avid, attentive reader, Fern always provided constructive feedback on members’ manuscripts.

“In the group, Fern’s comments were eagerly sought, well thought out and highly beneficial. Fortunately, her discerning eye, attention to detail and sharp wit were always tempered by a kind, gentle heart,” Jack Byrne recalled.

“An extraordinary lady, Fern was loved, and she shall be missed.”

Fern also went above and beyond with her assistance, including proofing one AAW member’s trilogy.

“Dear friend, fellow Allied Author, proofreader — Fern was all of these things and more to me,” David Michael Williams reflected. “While she will be greatly missed, I know she is now in a place where there is no pain or suffering — indeed, only joy — and look forward to reuniting with her again when my time comes.”

Fern’s various teaching positions ranged from first grade through high school and also included leading classes at a women’s correction facility. Her writing consists of short news articles and op-ed pieces. She also wrote a series of Sunday school stories with lesson plans and tinkered with a children’s novel, Bay’s Story.


Book-themed bike rack memorializes Ramirez’s memoir

Photo provided by the Fond du Lac Public Library

A longtime member of the Allied Authors was recently honored with an engraving on an unconventional monument.

Thomas P. Ramirez is one of six Wisconsin writers whose name appears on a new bicycle rack outside of the Fond du Lac Public Library. He is featured for his memoir, That Wonderful Mexican Band, published in 2017.

The book-themed rack was introduced as part of recent improvements to the library. When two standard bike racks had to be removed to accommodate a driveway redesign, library staff elected to replace them with a unique option that celebrates Fond du Lac writers from across the years and from a variety of genres.

The following works are represented on the rack (with abbreviated titles to fit the space):

  • Foot of the Lake: An Early History of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin by Cindy Barden
  • Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly
  • Fond du Lac: A Gift of the Glacier by Michael Mentzer
  • Book cover of "That Wonderful Mexican Band"That Wonderful Mexican Band: A Memoir of The Great Depression by Thomas P. Ramirez
  • Extraordinary People: Understanding Savant Syndrome by Darold Treffert
  • Secrets of the Ledge: Pictorial Report of Archaeological Findings on the Niagara Escarpment in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin by Dwight Weiser

The inclusion of That Wonderful Band is appropriate not only because the memoir so vividly captures Fond du Lac during The Great Depression, but because Ramirez specifically cites the Fond du Lac Public Library as one of his favorite childhood destinations.

Ramirez, 92, is also the author of 150 paperbacks and dozens of published short stories—including three popular Phoenix Force novels in the 1980s—making him among the state’s most prolific authors. He joined the Allied Authors in 1955.

Related links


Haefele to contribute essays to recently revived publication

CoC 56From 1981 to 2001, Robert M. Price, a theologian, pulp-scholar and writer, edited many dozens of semi-pro, staple-bound periodicals—including Crypt of Cthulhu. Aficionados of the iconic Weird Tales magazine, especially its more famous authors, which includes H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, appreciated Crypt’s occasional fiction-themed issues but especially the nonfiction.

In late 2017, Price resurrected Crypt to appear irregularly, though probably not less than three or four times each year.

Allied Authors is pleased to report that Price has accepted two essays by John D. Haefele for publication. Both will shed new light regarding a Wisconsin author’s impact on the fantasy field in two important areas.

• “Serendipitous Canonization”—appearing in the next issue of Crypt of Cthulhu, No.110 (2018)—uncovers August Derleth’s role in the important transition of H. P. Lovecraft’s status from “genre” to “mainstream.”

• “First and Final Estimates: August Derleth Looks at Weird Tales Magazine”—to be included in Crypt of Cthulhu No. 112 (late 2018 or early 2019)—builds upon Haefele’s earlier discussion in August Derleth Redux: The Weird Tale 1930-1971 (H. Harksen Productions, 2009), emphasizing Derleth’s positive impact on the reputation of Weird Tales magazine.

ET 7Along with the aforementioned essays, Haefele’s short story “One Starry Night” will be published in Eldritch Tales—a periodical that originally ran during the 1970s and ’80s and which also was revived by Price.

“One Starry Night,” appearing next year in Eldritch Tales Vol. 2, No. 7, is a weird tale inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft and August Derleth. The short story is one in a series that also includes “Little Bastards” and “The Sculptures in the House,” both of which have been previously published.

Both Crypt of Cthulhu and Eldritch Tales are currently published by Necronomicon Press.


Allied Authors bound for WisCon

For the first time in the organization’s 80-plus years, the Allied Authors of Wisconsin will attend WisCon.

Among the world’s largest science fiction conventions with a feminist/social justice focus, WisCon features panels, academic programming, readings and parties. It will be held May 25 to 28 at the Concourse Hotel in Madison, Wis.

Learn more about WisCon.

In addition to enjoying all that the convention has to offer, members of Allied Authors will participate in a group reading as well as host a table in the Dealers Room.

Allied Authors Reading

AAW members will read excerpts from their published novels and works in progress from 4 to 5:15 p.m. Friday, May 25, at Michelangelo’s Coffee House, 114 State St.

Feature readers include:

  • Mark J. Engels, Always Gray in Winter (anthropomorphic/paranormal sci-fi thriller)
  • A.J. Lamont, Wedding Hell (horror/urban fantasy)
  • Maureen Mertens, The Kayak Connection (general fiction)
  • Christopher Whitmore, Saviour (post-apocalyptic fantasy)
  • David Michael Williams, If Souls Can Sleep (slipstream/hybrid fantasy)

Allied Authors Table

Stack of books written by members of the Allied Authors of Wisconsin

Photo by Mark J. Engels

WisCon attendees are encouraged to visit the Allied Authors table in the Dealers Room to learn more about the organization, meet members and peruse the published works of the Allied Authors. Some unique items from Arkham House — a Sauk City, Wis. publishing house specializing in weird fiction and founded in 1939 — will also be for sale on Saturday and Sunday.

 


4 announcements for Spring 2018

The first three months of 2018 has already given the Allied Authors of Wisconsin plenty to celebrate:

Whitmore welcomed into AAW ranks

AAW is thrilled to introduce its newest member, Christopher Whitmore.

A longtime fan of science fiction and fantasy in their many forms, the Fond du Lac native has been writing for most of his life. He recently released his debut novel, Saviour, available in paperback and for Kindle at Amazon.com.

Engels’ novel nominated for Ursa Major

bear logo for the Ursa Major AwardsMark J. Engels’ paranormal sci-fi thriller Always Gray in Winter has been included in the “Best Novel” category of the Ursa Major Awards, also called the Annual Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Award.

In addition to the story itself—which features a modern-day remnant of an ancient clan of werecats torn apart by militaries trying to exploit their deadly talents—the cover art also has been nominated for an Ursa Major Award.

Voting is open to the public and continues through the end of March. Winners will be announced in early May.

Haefele’s weird tale will appear in upcoming magazine

John D. Haefele’s “One Starry Night” is scheduled to appear next year in Eldritch Tales Vol. 2, No. 7, published by Necronomicon Press. Noted scholar, editor and publisher Robert M. Price revived the periodical, which originally ran during the 1970s and ’80s.

“Starry Night” is a weird tale inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft and August Derleth. The short story is one in a series that also includes Haefele’s “Little Bastards” and “The Sculptures in the House,” both of which have been previously published.

Williams’ short story published in anthology

"Ghost Mode" cover featuring a brunette woman in a black tank top holding up a glowing white coin“Ghost Mode,” written by David Michael Williams, was among 40 short stories comprising the One Million Project Fantasy Anthology. Available in paperback and for Kindle, the collection raises funds to fight cancer, homelessness and social injustice.

Williams donated “Ghost Mode,” a sci-fi story that takes augmented reality to a chilling extreme, not only because of the synergy between the publication’s name and the name of his own publishing company (One Million Words), but also as a tribute to his father, who is battling multiple myeloma.


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