HeartofALion_CoverStephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), and the

StephenZimmerAbout the author: Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), and the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk).

Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.

Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.

Telling Rayden Valkyrie’s Story in Words and Images

This is the first time I’ve been able to tell a character’s story through more than one medium, with Rayden Valkyrie taking center stage in a TV Pilot after appearing in a couple of novels and a short story. Bringing one of my book characters to the screen is a new experience for me, with its own set of challenges and creative possibilities.

Short stories and novels are the end products themselves, whereas a completed screenplay is a blueprint that serves as a guide for a very collaborative process in creating an end product of a feature film or TV episode. Along the way in a feature film or episodic production, a lot of other individuals are going to bring elements to the process; whether it be the director costume designer, a prop master, cinematographer, members of the cast, or even a special effects artist. Each one of those production areas is going to make its mark on the final production.

Further, a screenplay can only show story elements and dialogue. Unlike a novel or short story, it cannot go inside a character’s mind to reveal what the character is thinking or going through internally.

Finally, the reader generates their own mental vision of a story through the intimate connection with the author through the words on the page. The author engages the imagination of the reader. In a film production, it is more of a passive process for the viewer, as the vision of the story is set out for them on the screen itself. The imagination of those involved in the production process is displayed.

The two realms are truly apples and oranges, which is why there will always be debates wherever both a book and movie/tv series exist of the same story. In my opinion, each needs to be judged on their own merits simply because they are completely different methods of storytelling.

All the same, it is my mission to bring Rayden’s story to viewers and readers alike in a manner where each gains a strong sense of who Rayden Valkyrie is, and what she is all about. While the TV Pilot production is a collaborative creative process, there must be consistency between the Rayden on the pages of the books and the Rayden portrayed on screen.

From the casting to the story I developed for the TV Pilot, I have taken great care to make sure the consistency is there, while also understanding that there will be differences due to the nature of the mediums. Rayden’s look on screen could not stray far from how she is described in the books, nor could her actions in the screenplay drift from how she acts and reacts in the books.

Those core parameters that had to be kept, while allowing room to breath for individuals such as the costume designer (Timothy Shackleford) and the actress portraying her (Sol Geirsdottir). Maintaining the nature of her character in the on screen presentation is, in my opinion, key to telling her story effectively in visual mediums.

The screenplay for the TV Pilot is not an adaptation. It is an original story that expands the Rayden Valkyrie storyline and universe, so it gives something new for the readers of the books without having prior expectations set in place (as there would be, if the screenplay was an adaptation of one of the novels).

Storytelling in words and images involve mediums that are very different in nature, but together I find them great channels to reveal the full Rayden Valkyrie story in a dynamic and multifaceted way.

ThunderHorizonCover_1200X800Book Synopsis for Thunder Horizon: A deadly menace stalks the shadows of the lands to the north, stirring the winds of war. Farther south, the power of the Teveren Empire spreads with every passing day, empowered by dark sorcery. Formidable legions bent on conquest are on the march, slavery and subjugation following in their wake.

Within the rising maelstrom, Rayden Valkyrie has returned to the Gessa, to stand with the tribe that once took her into their care as a child. No amount of jewels or coin can sway her, nor can the great power of her adversaries intimidate her.

With a sword blade in her right hand and axe in her left, Rayden confronts foes both supernatural and of flesh and blood. Horrific revelations and tremendous risks loom; some that will see Rayden’s survival in the gravest of peril.

Even if Rayden and the Gessa survive the trials plaguing their lands, the thunder of an even darker storm booms across the far horizon.

Thunder Horizon is the second book in the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy.

 

HeartofaLionCover_1200X800Book Synopsis for Heart of a Lion: Rayden Valkyrie. She walks alone, serving no king, emperor, or master. Forged in the fires of tragedy, she has no place she truly calls home.

A deadly warrior wielding both blade and axe, Rayden is the bane of the wicked and corrupt. To many others, she is the most loyal and dedicated of friends, an ally who is unyielding in the most dangerous of circumstances.

The people of the far southern lands she has just aided claim that she has the heart of a lion. For Rayden, a long journey to the lands of the far northern tribes who adopted her as a child beckons, with an ocean lying in between.

Her path will lead her once more into the center of a maelstrom, one involving a rising empire that is said to be making use of the darkest kinds of sorcery to grow its power. Making new friends and discoveries amid tremendous peril, Rayden makes her way to the north.

Monstrous beasts, supernatural powers, and the bloody specter of war have been a part of her world for a long time and this journey will be no different. Rayden chooses the battles that she will fight, whether she takes up the cause of one individual or an entire people.

Both friends and enemies alike will swiftly learn that the people of the far southern lands spoke truly. Rayden Valkyrie has the heart of a lion.

Heart of a Lion is Book One of the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy.

Teaser Trailer Link for Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7w_UI_RCg4&t=34s

Teaser Trailer for Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart: TV Pilot

Author Links:

Twitter: @SGZimmer

Facebook: www.facebook.com/stephenzimmer7

Instagram: @stephenzimmer7

Website: www.stephenzimmer.com

 

Tour Schedule and Activities

8/16 The Temple of the Exploding Head Guest Post

8/16 The Page Turner Guest Post

8/16 BOOKS TO CURL UP WITH Author Interview

8/16 Bookishly me Author Interview

8/16 DarWrites Guest Post

8/16 Sheila’s Guests and Reviews Guest Post

8/16 Sapphyria’s Books Guest Post

8/16 Deal Sharing Aunt Top Ten’s List

8/17 DarWrites Review

8/17 Bookin Around Town Author Interview/Podcast

8/17 Full Moon Bites Character Interview

8/18 BOOKS TO CURL UP WITH Review

8/18 The Sinister Scribblings of Sarah E. Glenn Top Ten’s List

8/18 I Smell Sheep Guest Post

8/19 Paranormal Pleasures Review

8/19 The Page Turner Review

8/19 Bella’s Book Reviews Review

8/19 Jeni’s Bookshelf Guest Post

8/20 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! Guest Post

8/20 The Seventh Star Blog Guest Post

8/20 Stuart Thaman Books Guest Post

8/21 MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape Author Interview

8/21 SpecMusicMuse Author Interview

8/21 Jordan Hirsch Review

8/22 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post

8/22 Discover New Authors Author Interview

8/22 Butterfly’s Booknerdia Blog Review

8/23 The Occult Detective Review

8/23 Bookishly me Review

8/23 Jeni’s Bookshelf Review

8/23 Jorie Loves a Story Interview

8/23 Readers Life With Trisha Ratliff Review

 

Amazon.com Links for Thunder Horizon:

Kindle Version

https://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Horizon-Dark-Dawn-Book-ebook/dp/B06ZZ7JT56/

Print Version

https://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Horizon-Dark-Dawn-Trilogy/dp/1941706576/

Barnes and Noble Link for Thunder Horizon:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thunder-horizon-stephen-zimmer/1126268394?ean=9781941706572

 

Amazon.com Links for Heart of a Lion:

Kindle Version

https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Lion-Dark-Dawn-Book-ebook/dp/B00T44R6LE/

Print Version

https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Lion-Stephen-Zimmer/dp/1941706215/

Barnes and Noble Link for Heart of a Lion:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heart-of-a-lion-stephen-zimmer/1121113044?ean=9781941706213

 

 

copyright 2017, Stephen Zimmer

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LOE Places: Empire Hotel

April 28, 2017

Looming tall of the low-slung, Barbary city of St. Edmunds near the sea is a great building featuring a stout curtain wall of old red bricks, a stockade of inner-rings and a towering keep sheathed in patina green copper. So large and imposing, it can even be seen from orbit on clear days. This is the Empire Hotel, well known across Kana as a tourist attraction and playground for the wealthy peoples of the north and the west. It’s known for being a CWC, or Curtain-Walled City, a place with its own unique customs and ways, including a unique cuisine served in its many restaurants and its gothic-noir fashion. It’s also known for being the scene of several murders attributed to the killer known as the Fiend of Calvert. It was speculated that the Fiend might have been a guest of the hotel, or even one of the staff, though no arrests were ever made. Its wealthy guests come to disappear in its vast interior, dress-up, eat amazing food and People-watch the locals from the comfort of their exclusive terraces.

Empire Hotel Final

The Empire Hotel, by Ewelina Dolzycka

Originally, the hotel was a giant fortress built by the Vith House of Burgon in 477921 EX, intended to be used as a staging post for the conquest of the Calvertlands. The fortress, built to giant-sized Haitathe specifications, was completed, however the Burgons fled the League in 000000AX and the fortress remained unoccupied by the sea for centuries. Initially given a wide-berth by the Calverts due to its imposing appearance, eventually the seascape surrounding the fortress was taken up by the city of St. Edmunds. In 0010452Ax, the Fortress was bought by the Calvert House of Loin who first utilized it as a convent for daring women, then as a hostel for available youths, then as a cooking school, and finally as a full-blown hotel. It has since become a symbol of the city and of Calvert as a whole.

 

The hotel is considered by some a CWC (Curtain-Walled City) where the facility maintains unique customs, and, in some cases, separate legal status. These unique features are reserved for frequent guests only, often referred to as ‘Empirelites’. For these select persons, the hotel serves in its various restaurants, a unique cuisine enjoyed nowhere else on Kana.  They wear unique clothing tailored for them right there in the hotel. They listen to austere music and have access to floors, ballrooms and whole wings not listed or available to the general public. There is a reported room known as the Fiend Suite, where the Fiend of Calvert was said to have stayed and plotted his murders. Guests sometimes stay for months, years even, rarely venturing out.

copyright 2017, Ren Garcia and Ewelina Dolzycka

Lady Alesta of Dare is a girl of Barrow stock hailing from the western city of the same name. The Dares are the largest extended family on Kana with over sixty percent of people of Barrow stock being Dares.

“Lady Alesta of Dare” by Kayla Woodside

From a young age, Alesta was a mature, thoughtful girl. She loved to play and jump, but was nevertheless more reserved and bit more introspective than her brothers and sisters. She often saw a strange star hanging in the western sky. It was a large yellow star that was bright enough to be clearly seen at mid-day, yet dim enough that she could look right at it without hurting her eyes. She thought she could even see some sort of surface detail on it–a red, twisting cloud. She marveled at it and even thought it might be a moon of Kana, though she couldn’t find mention of it in any of her astronomy books. She asked her mother about it once, and she didn’t know what she was talking about, so Alesta didn’t mention it again.

When visiting the marketplace with her mother, she often saw a group of apparently impoverished beggars being harassed in the town square by gawkers. She asked her mother who the beggars were and her mother told her: “Pilgrims of Merian,” and she said nothing more, hurrying on.

“Alesta” by Eve Ventrue

Alesta often saw these Pilgrims of Merian coming and going in Dare. They appeared to be priests of some sort preaching a bizarre alternative version of the History of the Elders, one not sanctioned by the Sisterhood of Light. Most of the people listening to the Pilgrims appeared to be mocking their beliefs.

One day, she stopped to listen to what the Merians were saying. They said, amid the jeers, that the Elders were not gone, and to see them one need only open one’s eyes. The Merians mentioned their Star–a yellow star to the west. The people listening to them laughed. What star, they asked. There is nothing there.

“I see it!” Alesta cried. The Merians turned to her and she pointed right toward it.

Though her family protested, Alesta had found her calling. She left her family in Dare and set out, traveling in the meager wagons of the Pilgrims of Merian. She quickly discovered that there was much more to the Merians than they let on to the public. They took her to a sacred mountain to pray and discover her path. She knelt in the snow at the summit for hours waiting to hear the yellow star speak.

At last, she heard a kind voice whisper in her ear: Save all those who fall astray.”

Alesta on the Merian Ship (From LoE Book VII cover, by Carol Phillips)

For Alesta, she would walk the most dangerous road. She was taken with her Merian brothers and sisters to places of evil where unsuspecting souls often fell into peril and needed help, and her task was to rescue them. She visited many planets without ever having stepped onto a starship, she walked the mysterious Merian’s Road. She and her order saved many people in need, and those they saved were rarely grateful.

Though threadbare and impoverished, her star protected her. She wore a belt that allowed her to walk invisibly if she so wished and had beads that shielded her mind from attack.

She eventually ended up on a small outpost overlooking a watery world of evil unknown to the Sisters or the Fleet, hiding right under their noses where the unwary were lured in and killed. It was very dangerous, and should she and her Merian order be discovered by the caretakers of this world, there would be no mercy and no help for them. As always Alesta and the Merians were on their own in a dangerous world.

One day, she saw a star fall, and that was beginning of the end …

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia, Eve Ventrue, Carol Phillips and Kayla Woodside

Whenever Carol Phillips finishes a new cover it’s like Christmas for me, eagerly huddled up next to my email waiting for that little electronic package to come skittering down the proverbial chimney.

And, here it is…

“The Sands of the Solar Empire” by Carol Phillips

Book VI, “The Sands of the Solar Empire” marks the beginning of the LoE Second Series. You have the same universe, same setting, just a slew of whole new characters and fresh adventures. You’ll meet Lord Stenstrom, a Fleet Paymaster as he takes command of Captain Davage’s old ship, the Seeker. You’ll get to know Private Taara de la Anderson, a thief from Bazz and Lord A-Ram, a fellow from the Admiral’s office as they take on the unknown.

Lord Bannaster of the Bones Club, by Carol Phillips

The cover for Book VI is the usual wrap-around format. The Second Series takes on a bit more of a Steampunky feel as we move away from Colonial Vithland and examine Victorian Esther and the Calvertlands and dives into the seldom-seen depths of the Bones Club where they openly mock the Sisterhood of Light.

It’s a much darker cover than the previous five, even more so than the Temple of the Exploding Head, which is pretty darn dark. It features a steam-driven geared spider with guns, a balloon/air ship and the constellation Camalopardus and the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Bones Club. The Sanctum comes from my recollections of a Masonic temple that I once wandered into, and here it is in full paint, fully steampunked and super-charged a little.

I can’t wait to finish collecting the interior artwork and get it out to the world.

Look for LoE Book VI: The Sands of the Solar Empire coming this August from Loconeal Publications

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

There are lots of characters rolling around in the LoE universe, some are active and part of the various storylines, while others are more passive helping to set the stage.

Admiral Pax is one of those characters.

"Admiral Pax" by Eve Ventrue

He’s been around since the beginning when LoE was just a dusty screenplay. Admiral Pax has always been the counterpoint to Captain Davage. Both men are Blues of the Kanan gentry, but while Davage is very down-to-earth and approachable, Admiral Pax is a stiff, stodgy bore, a blue-blood fully taken with the complications of League Society. Captain Davage utterly detests Admiral Pax, and the feeling is rather mutual. He is never seen in the course of the LoE stories, he is merely mentioned in passing mostly by Captain Davage who complains of his excesses.

Admiral Pax is the Lord of Adrastus, a stately Zenon House perched along the dark blue banks of the Great Blue Pierce river. His family fortune comes from the making of fine cheeses and breads and the fermentation of various types of expensive vinegar. His vinegar production has a Xaphan connection as they are often used in the Xaphan delicacy Ooust. Admiral Pax is often known as “Lord Vinegar” around the Fleet mentioned in giggled whispers.

The Admiral is not an incompetent. He has a fine mind for organization, logistics and battle strategy. His expert placement of Fleet assets during the iconic Battle of Sorrander-Quo helped stem the Xaphan tide and win the day for the League. He is also a tireless fund-raiser and has the ear of the Sisterhood of Light.

The problem with Admiral Pax is his tart, boorish nature. He lords his status over all he considers inferior to himself, which is virtually everybody. He is needy, fussy and maintains an entourage of no less than a hundred people who follow him everywhere he goes. A gregarious man, he often visits various parts of the League and always demands a full War-Bird escort to accompany him at Fleet expense–a ruinously expensive thing. For his excesses Captain Davage has branded him a “criminal” and a “miscreant” and coined the phrase: “Fraud, Waste, Abuse and Admiral Pax”.

At the beginning of Book VI, The Sands of the Solar Empire, Private Taara is assigned to guard a bust of Admiral Pax that is hidden in a lonely alcove as a punishment.

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia and Eve Ventrue