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The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with…Stephen Zimmer

Posted in Last Writes with..., Sword & Sorcery with tags , , on August 23, 2017 by Occult Detective

Welcome to a Special Edition of The Occult Detective’s Last Writes.

StephenZImmer_AuthorPhotoToday’s guest-of-honor is none other than Stephen Zimmer, 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.

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Before we get down to the business at hand, I thought I might share with you my thoughts on Stephen’s Rayden Valkyrie series.

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Heart of a Lion is a fast-paced sword & sorcery tale starring Rayden Valkyrie, a strong-willed warrior with a sense of justice and fair play. The author really shines when he delves into her character, highlighting her strict code of honor.

Written in a very visual style, but leaving plenty of room to breathe, Heart of a Lion reminded me of a cross between Lin Carter’s prose and Sam Raimi’s sensibilities.

It certainly had a throw-back feel, like the novelization of a Saturday Matinee cliffhanger serial with Ray Harryhausen effects.

The second book in the series, Thunder Horizon, was a stronger outing. Rayden is still ThunderHorizonCover_1200X800the same ass-kicking warrior woman you fell in love with in Heart of a Lion. You can really tell the author is inside her head. He gets her.

The big difference here are the supporting characters. While handled with skill in the debut novel, in Thunder Horizon, this cast really comes alive.

There are some real spine-tingling moments throughout, and the author deftly navigates between these larger-than-life fantasy tropes and rich, textured human elements.

He makes you feel for every character and that’s an incredible accomplishment.

With another book in the Dark Sun Dawn Saga still to come and a tv pilot in post-production, we have thankfully not seen the last of Rayden Valkyrie.

Speaking of “last”… it’s my pleasure now to draw your attention to Stephen’s responses to our morbid curiosities — It’s time for…

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The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

 

Last meal you’d eat: Would have to be a pizza, true New York-style, with at least a pepperoni topping.  Most likely double pepperoni and banana peppers, mushrooms, and olives.  But New York-style pizza is a life-long favorite of mine.  Thankfully here in Lexington we have a pizza place (Brooklyn Pizza) that does it very, very well.  I’d go with that as my choice!

Last book you’d read: Lord of the Rings trilogy compendium.  These books have had a life-long impact on me from the first time my mother read them to me at age 7.  I always see new things in the story every time I read it, and at this point I’ve read these books many times over.  They would be an appropriate final read before making the big transition.

Last movie you’d watch: I’m going to sound very single-minded, but I have to say the Lord of the Rings trilogy again.  I was so impressed with how well Peter Jackson captured the look and feel of the books.   There are major differences between the books and the movie, but the core spirit remains intact onscreen and that is what is most important to me!

Last song you’d listen to: This is a very difficult choice as I am a huge music fan.  But I’d want to end things on a positive note, so I’d have to go with a Kiss song, as I’ve been a Kiss fan since the days I was exposed to Lord of the Rings novels!  While “Rock and Roll All Nite” is not my favorite Kiss song, it does sum up the magic of Kiss and as a last song would be fitting indeed!  It’s a pure expression of living life with zest and would be a great way to cross over!

First person you’d like to meet on the other side: I cannot choose one of my folks over the other, so this is co-awarded to my father and mother.  No question they are first on my list as far as who I want to see in better realms beyond.  I miss them every single day.

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I’d like to thank Stephen for allowing Occult Detective to be one of his whistlestops on his whirlwind Rayden Valkyrie Blog Tour Celebration.

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To follow along on the tour, click HERE for everywhere Stephen’s been and where he’s headed next. You can also follow Stephen via his social media presence:

Twitter:  @SGZimmer
Facebook: www.facebook.com/stephenzimmer7
Instagram: @stephenzimmer7
Website: www.stephenzimmer.com

If you dig heroic fantasy and strong female protagonists, then I urge you to order Heart Like a Lion and Thunder Horizon. They will more than scratch that itch, believe me.

BOBOD
My occult detective collection, First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum, and both novels in the Cairnwood Manor series — Shadows Over Somerset and Keepers of the Dead — are available via Amazon and other online retail outlets in both ebook and trade paperback.

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The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites Season Finale featuring Julian Vayne

Posted in Last Writes with... on April 10, 2017 by Occult Detective

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Welcome to the twenty-third installment and season finale of LAST WRITES.

The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

Julian_VayneOur final guest of the season is Julian Vayne, an occultist and the author of a number of books, essays, journals and articles in both the academic and esoteric press. He is a freelance consultant, often working in museum and heritage settings, and lives in Devon. His name is most closely associated with the approach to occultism known as chaos magick. Julian is also an initiated Wiccan, member of the Kaula Nath lineage and Master Mason.

LAST MEAL

Well the last meal, like everything else in this list, would be influenced by the nature of my death (assuming I know it’s about to happen – of course I could die at the end of this interview!). Had I suffered from the heat a sorbet of cucumber and crunchy salad would be great. Were I to expire from the cold I guess I’d want a hearty bean and beef stew or similar before my final moment of awareness. In general if I had to select something as an all purpose pre-mortem meal it would probably be a great British curry.

LAST BOOK

A last read before my last rites? We’ll perhaps something inspirational like the Tao Te Ching or an text or two such as the Heart Sutra or Poetic Edda. Something nice and long would of course allow me to cheat death for a while such as À la recherche du temps perdu. I might choose one of my own books which are, in many places, quite autobiographical which might give me a chance to focus a few last reflections on my life before it’s lights out. I suspect if death turns up at the end of this interview and I have to make a selection toot sweet I’d go for a browse through my favourite (and handily potentially endless) book, the tarot. (Probably the Coleman-Smith aka Rider-Waite or Crowley-Harris ‘Thoth’ decks.)

LAST MOVIE

The last movie I suppose could be the wonderful cinematography of something like Baraka or even 2001 if I was feeling in the mood for a retro death. I might go for something like the gruesome but also deeply spiritual Holy Mountain by Alexandro Jodorowsky or my favourite cult-pagan-cult movie The Wickerman. I might choose a deeply human story such as the wonderful Inuit produced movie Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (which is also handily several hours long) or go for a few laughs on my way out with some classic comedy – Carry on Screaming anyone?

LAST SONG

Last song, oh Gods, the humanity! Too many! Assuming we mean a song with lyrics (to exclude favourite tunes without words such as much of the classical or weirdy electronic music I love). I probably have to select a track by my late musical idol David Bowie, something like Heroes or even perhaps Rebel Rebel But maybe I’d go back to another old time musical hero and take my final bow to the strains of When the Music’s Over or The End by The Doors.

THE FIRST PERSON YOU’D LIKE TO MEET ON THE OTHER SIDE

The person I’d most like to find waiting for me in the hearafter, another really tough question! We’ll there are loads of folks from history I’d like to hang out with such as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus (who I’d also love to quiz about what went down at the Eleusinian Mysteries), through to folks like psychologist and acid priest Timothy Leary or voudou initiate and cutting edge film-maker Maya Deren. It would be nice to see my Dad who passed away a few years back and of course any close members of my family who had gone into the world of ancestors before me. In this moment (I’m working in a museum with a great collection of pre-ice-age homind remains) I think I’d like to meet a European shaman from before the iron-age.

For more information on Julian, visit The Blog of Baphomet, or follow him on facebook.

Julian’s next book, Getting Higher: The Manual of Psychedelic Ceremony, published by Psychedelic Press, will be available the 26th of April. I’ll have the pleasure of reviewing the book for all of you. Watch the Occult Detective  for details…

As for Last Writes, tune in next week as I recap our debut season and look ahead toward possible seasons to come.

The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with Sèphera Girón

Posted in Last Writes with... on April 3, 2017 by Occult Detective

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Welcome to the twenty-second and penultimate installment of LAST WRITES.

The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

sephToday’s guest is Sèphera Girón. With over twenty traditionally published books under various names, Sèphera’s main love is horror and most of her work embraces themes of occult, metaphysical, erotica, and suspense.

As an freelance editor for over ten years, Sèphera has helped hundreds of authors put their best words forward. She feels lucky that she not only can write for a living but she can help others write for a living as well.

In recent years, Sèphera has enjoyed paranormal investigations from as near as Casa Loma in Toronto to the Lizzie Borden House in Fall River and a haunted mansion in California. Her most recent trip took her to the Stanley Hotel in Colorado, the place that inspired The Overlook in The Shining by Stephen King. Some of her adventures inspired a few of her own books and stories.

Sèphera lives in Toronto.

LAST MEAL

Medium rare Filet Mignon, a loaded twice baked potato, green peas with butter with red wine,  hot fudge sundae with real whipped cream

LAST BOOK

The Shining, I’ve not read it in years and it affected me a lot, so I’d give it one final read before I leave this mortal coil. Maybe I can pick up tips on how to haunt people.

LAST MOVIE

Tommy, might as well go out rocking and rolling!

LAST SONG

Ooooooo, that’s so tough! Maybe something from Quadrophenia like Can You See the Real Me? or Dr. Jimmy

FIRST PERSON YOU’D LIKE TO MEET ON THE OTHER SIDE

One of my grandmothers

To learn more about Sèphera visit her Amazon Author Page or follow her on twitter and facebook.

 

The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with… Amanda DeWees

Posted in Last Writes with... on March 27, 2017 by Occult Detective

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Welcome to the twenty-first installment of LAST WRITES.

The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

adeweesToday’s guest is Amanda DeWees. Amanda wrote her doctoral dissertation on 19th-century British vampire literature—the perfect training, although she didn’t know it at the time, for writing Victorian gothic romance novels.Am ong these are With This Curse, which won the 2015 Daphne du Maurier Award in historical suspense/mystery. With her latest release, the novella As Vital as Blood, she returns to her vampiric roots.

Visit her website, amandadewees.com, to learn more about Amanda and her books.

LAST MEAL

Every birthday for as long as I can remember I’ve requested my mom’s special “Amazon” homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs from a family recipe. (One of my uncles claims that the recipe was given to us long ago by a woman whose nickname was The Amazon, but at this point the recipe has been in the family for so long that I think we can claim it.) It’s a meal that is both festive and comforting to me, and it captures the feeling of a warm familial embrace. I would choose that for my last meal.

LAST BOOK

Oh, this is a tough decision. Really, really tough. But Robin McKinley’s Beauty, her 1978 novelization of the “Beauty and the Beast” fairy tale, holds a very special place in my heart. It was a tremendous influence on me as a writer and remains one of my favorite comfort reads. I learned so much about characterization, world building, and creating a compelling love story from this book. I would definitely want to revisit it one last time, in part because the heroine is so lovable she feels like a real-life friend, and I would want to say goodbye to her.

LAST MOVIE

I usually gravitate toward movies with more story to them, but there’s something about Sally Potter’s 1992 adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando, starring Tilda Swinton, that keeps me coming back to it. It’s a visual feast with an almost hypnotic quality, and it ends with Bronski Beat’s Jimmy Somerville as a gold-lamé-clad angel singing in the sky. What better way to usher in the afterlife?

LAST SONG

I’ve been listening to Kate Bush a lot lately, so I’m very tempted to choose “Moments of Pleasure,” in which she remembers friends she has lost. It’s a beautiful and uplifting testament to the power of memory to keep our loved ones alive in thought after they’ve died, and that would be a comforting sentiment to have in mind during my last moments. But for a song judged purely on how much happiness it brings me, I might instead have to go with the Flying Pickets’ 1984 cover of Yaz’s “Only You,” surely one of the most beautiful a capella pop performances ever. All those cascading notes surrounding a sweetly yearning lyric are just too lovely not to listen to one last time…and I would totally sing along.

FIRST PERSON YOU’D LIKE TO MEET ON THE OTHER SIDE

This may sound like the witterings of an overly romantic girl who has watched Somewhere in Time too many times—all of which may well be true—but it’s been at the back of my mind for many years. A friend used to tell me about a relative of hers, a brilliant young man who died tragically and too soon, and she always talked about how much he and I would have had in common had he lived. For some reason the fancy captured me that he and I might have been meant for each other. I’ve never forgotten this man I never met, and it would be lovely to be greeted by him on the other side.

Or Christopher Reeve. Because between Superman and Somewhere in Time, his would be a welcoming face indeed.

The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with… Michael West

Posted in Last Writes with... on March 20, 2017 by Occult Detective

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Welcome to the twentieth installment of LAST WRITES.

The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

mwestToday’s guest is Michael West, author of Cinema of Shadows, Spook House, The Wide Game, Skull Full of Kisses, and the critically-acclaimed Legacy of the Gods series.

A graduate of Indiana University, West earned a degree in Telecommunications and Film Theory, and since that time, he has written a multitude of short stories, articles, and reviews for various on-line and print publications.

He lives and works in the Indianapolis area with his wife, their two children, their turtle, Gamera, and their dog, King Seesar.

.:.

LAST MEAL

Seafood enchiladas. My two favorite types of food are seafood and Mexican food, so combining them would be the way to go.

LAST BOOK

Stephen King’s The Stand. This and ‘Salem’s Lot are my two favorite books of all time. I re-read them every few years, and it always seems like I find something new with each reading. I would go with The Stand because it’s a longer work, and it might give me a bit more time to live. LOL

LAST MOVIE

ALIENS. I have been a fan of the Xenomorph for nearly my entire life, and this is my all-time favorite film. Flawlessly combines Action, Horror, and Sci-fi. Character, plotting, and effects… A perfect film.

LAST SONG

Either Hotel California by The Eagles or Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. These are two of the greatest songs ever written, and I really couldn’t go wrong with either choice.

FIRST PERSON YOU’D LIKE TO MEET ON THE OTHER SIDE

This is a tough one. There are so many people who have left this world that I would love to meet, everyone from George Washington to Prince, but I think I would like to sit down and have a drink with Edgar Allan Poe. I think, as a Horror writer, that would be a great way to start eternity.

For more information on Michael, visit his official homepage, Amazon Author Page, or follow on twitter and facebook.

The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with… Jim McLeod

Posted in Last Writes with... on March 6, 2017 by Occult Detective

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JIM McLEOD

Welcome to the nineteenth installment of LAST WRITES.

The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

jimToday’s guest is none other than Jim Mcleod, who, along with being the first person born on Christmas Day in 1971 in the whole of the UK, a championship winning rugby captain, and a Scottish and British kickboxing champion, just so happens to be the founder and driving force behind the UK’s largest independent website dedicated to the world of horror — Ginger Nuts of Horror.

.:.

LAST MEAL

At the risk of sounding like a cliched kilt wearing Scotsman, it would have to Haggis neeps and tatties, and more precisely the haggis that my Nan used to make. I have fond memories of my helping my Nan make the haggis and the smell associated with grinding up sheep hearts and lungs and mixing them with her special blends of herbs and spice and oatmeal is one that brings make deep and happy memories.

Many people think that all haggis tastes the same, but haggis like a good whisky has a unique taste and you a can instantly tell if the haggis is a good one made with love over a cheap mass produced one.

Haggis for me just embodies the Scottish spirit, rough and ready, full of flavour and packing a hefty punch. Like us it’s a social thing, it’s meant for sharing with friends, and family. When you eat haggis, it gives you connection to your fellow countrymen who came before you. It can be a real spiritual experience.

LAST BOOK

At first, I thought this question would be a hard one to answer, but as soon as I thought about it, I realised that it could only ever be Ray Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree.”

Bradbury is a master storyteller; his lyrical prose is one of the most evocative voices ever committed to paper, and “The Halloween Tree” for me is the most evocative. I love Halloween, and this book is the perfect example of the spirit of Halloween, but more importantly it is one of the best books about friendship and doing the right thing.

The bond between the boys and their love of Pip, always brings a tear to my eye. The scene where Moundshroud tells them about the deal they will have to do to save Pip is one of the most heartwarming, yet chilling scenes ever written.

And even though Pip doesn’t really feature in the book, he is such a wonderful character, so much so that i tried to bring up my children to be like him. I must have read this book at least hundred times, I have read to, and listened to my kids read it to me numerous times and seeing the light of joy in their eyes as they read it just makes me so happy. So much so I bought half a dozen copies of it to donate to Ella’s school book drive this year.

LAST MOVIE

This is a real hard one to answer, part of me wants to be all intellectual and go for for a film that has a lot of meaning, but to be honest the one film that I would want to see one last time would have to be the original Disney Jungle Book. I just love it, to me it is the perfect mix of a great story, great characters and a brilliant songs. It’s the sort of film that cannot help but lift my spirits.

LAST SONG

I grew up in Britain at the tail end of the punk movement and missed out on it by a few years. The two tone and Ska revival was my first musical movement. It was a weird time in Britain, the BNP was in full swing and the country was a dark place both socially and politically. However growing up in St Andrews meant that you were to a certain degree sheltered from the worse of it.

Politics and social relevance was something just just didn’t appear on a thirteen year old’s brain. Until the music of groups like The Special, The Selector and Madness started worming their way into your brain. These groups made you think, made you look at your sheltered life in a totally different way. I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today without the influence of these groups on my young mind. For the last song it would have to The Specials’ Ghost Town, a haunting and brutal look at the state of my country in this dark time. Even now almost 40 years since it first hit the airwaves it still has the power to chill me to the bone.

FIRST PERSON YOU’D LIKE TO MEET ON THE OTHER SIDE

That’s and easy one to answer, it would have to be my Dad. And the first thing I would say to him be “I know you loved me, and I love you to”. Like many people I had father who ran his own business, he was a man who worked to provide for his family, a man who worked himself into an early grave. I had a strange relationship with him, because I never really saw much of him I never fully connected with him, and it is only now as a father myself that I fully appreciate just how much he loved us and how much he did for us. He may not have always been there, but he always cared. He was good man, I just wish I had more time to appreciate just how good a man he was.

For more on Jim, follow him on facebook and twitter, and be sure to visit the Ginger Nuts of Horror website.

The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites with… Steven Shrewsbury

Posted in Last Writes with... on February 27, 2017 by Occult Detective

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Welcome to the eighteenth installment of LAST WRITES.

The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

shrewsburyToday’s guest is Steven Shrewsbury, a fantasy and horror author with well over 300 tales published online or in print.

I was first introduced to Shrews via his Dack Shannon and the Majestic Universe occult detective stories.

Other works include Bad Magick (with Nate Southard), Stronger than Death, Hawg, Godforsaken, King of the Bastards (w/ Brian Keene), Bedlam Unleashed (with Peter Welmerink), Hell Billy, and many more.

Steven lives in rural Illinois with his wife and sons.

LAST MEAL

Mashed potatoes, with milk gravy…pork chops; corn on the cob; apple pie with ice cream made by the Amish

LAST BOOK

GODFATHER by Mari Puzo. love it. entertaining

LAST MOVIE

THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES

LAST SONG

Johnny Cash, GONNA SIT ON THE PORCH WITH MY OL GUITAR

FIRST PERSON YOU’D LIKE TO MEET ON THE OTHER SIDE

My dad. He’s waiting for me. I’ve got so much to tell him

For more information on Shrews visit his official website, Amazon Author Page, or follow him on facebook or twitter.

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