First, we were asked to pick four writers to invite to this blog meme and that proved to be very difficult. I have a lot of comrades who are writers and who are certainly worthy of consideration. After much debate, however, I decided to focus on those whose output, or at least some of it, could be described as noir fiction. This is in keeping with Richard’s picks for his post. My four are David Cranmer, Bernard Lee DeLeo, Patti Abbott, and Anonymous-9. Here’s a few words about them and why I invited them to discuss their Next Big Thing.
David Cranmer is the creator and editor for Beat to a Pulp, which is the name of both an online magazine and of a publisher that has helped revitalize noir fiction. David has put together several important collections of noir stories in the Beat to a Pulp series, and, under the name Edward A. Grainger, has written an influential series of hardboiled westerns about the characters Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles. David has even invited other writers to play in his world and some excellent stories have been generated by that invitation. You’d be doing yourself a favor to check out David’s websites and his writing.
Bernard Lee DeLeo is a prolific writer who has written a number of books that are available for the Nook and Kindle. His general style combines high intensity action blended with a good sense of humor. Here’s what I had to say about DeLeo’s Cold Blooded. “An assassin is given the task of killing a woman who is under witness protection. Instead, something draws him to her emotionally, and he takes on the task of protecting her and her tween-aged daughter from a host of murderers. Who better to save someone from assassins than the coldest blooded killer of them all. This is an exciting thriller, full of brutal action, but not without a sense of humor. The assassin, Nick, is about the baddest bad ass ever. Good characters, good story, good read.” Check Bernard’s stuff out.
Patti Abbott is a versatile writer whose best known work so far has fallen into the noir arena. I read her collection of short story gems called Monkey Justice and reviewed it both on Amazon and on Goodreads. However, her most recent story is a western, which is up over at Beat to a Pulp. One of Patti’s great strengths is her characters and you should treat yourself to some of her writing.
Anonymous-9 lives in the non-writing world under the name Elaine Ash. Several years ago her short story, “Hard Bite,” single-handedly stretched the boundaries of modern noir fiction. Now, Hard Bite the novel is available. Elaine is also a talented editor. Here’s what I said on Amazon about her first collection of stories, which included “Hard Bite.” “A collection of noir/crime stories that really push the borders of the genre forward. Many of these are award winning or award nominated tales, and the awards are deserved. Definitely not the same old, same old stuff. Full of fresh, if twisted, tales.”
Now for the section where I discuss my latest work.
My latest published work is a novella entitled Under the Ember Star. It was published by Borgo Press, an imprint of Wildside, and included as one half of a “Double,” with my book on one side and The Battle for Eden by Mark E. Burgess on the other. Later, the two novellas were published as separate ebooks.
Here’s a synopsis/teaser for Under the Ember Star:
Ginn Hollis was fourteen when her father's mysterious death left her alone on the planet Kelmer. She's grown up since then. Kelmer is a harsh world, an old world: its people are ancient, its civilization long fallen and dimly dreaming under a brown dwarf sun the natives call the Ember Star. But now, long dormant forces are beginning to stir on Kelmer, forces that could destroy the planet forever...or bring it back to life. One being stands at the center of the turmoil. His origins are veiled, his destiny is unclear. Everyone wants a piece of him. Only Ginn Hollis can protect him--if she can save herself first....
What is the hook? What’s this book really about?
Under the Ember Star is, in many ways, a science fiction mystery. Who is the strange being who hires Ginn Hollis for protection? What is the nature of those who make the planet Kelmer their home? Who are the architects of the technology that allows life to survive on the planet’s surface. Before the story ends, all these questions and more are answered, and there’s a lot of action in the process.
Here are a couple of review excerpts:
“UNDER THE EMBER STAR by Charles Allen Gramlich is a rousing science fiction tale of a streetwise young woman named Ginn who was left to her own devices at a young age when her archaeologist father was killed. She lives on Kelmer, a distant human colony world, which features a native humanoid species, hostile terrain, an enigmatic past, and a cooling sun that promises to slowly worsen the planet's climate. Ginn is hired by an inscrutable member of the native species for a job that will take her into Kelmer's wilderness, battling human and alien foes who seek to stop their quest, in an effort to learn more about the planet's origins and the involvement of a long-lost alien species. Gramlich's worldbuilding is superb; Kemler never ceases to seem like a real place, and Gramlich's construction of a relatively primitive alien culture in a tense but not entirely antagonistic relationship with human colonists is some of the best I've seen in years. This fast-moving, well-written adventure yarn is an exceptional science fiction story.” -- From Andrew Byers.
“This review is for Under the Ember Star (one half of this back-to-back paperback double); it is also available via e-book as a stand alone novel. Charles Gramlich is an accomplished author, and this tale fully demonstrates his story-telling ability. The strong female lead character, Ginn Hollis, is an orphaned human who has grown up on a distant colony world; part of the population is human, and part is a resident alien species, ancient and mysterious. The planet itself is old, full of brooding mystery as its sun slowly cools in the twilight of its life. Ginn must take on the job of guiding an alien client through the wilds of this world, overcoming obstacles both human and inhuman to fulfill their quest. Gramlich's story moves with pace, but combines the action with strong character development, set in a fleshed-out world that has depth and solidity, making the reader feel like this is a real place with real people and problems. The feel of the book reminds me a bit of Leigh Brackett's work, and she is one of my favorite authors. Great story; I highly recommend it.” --From “AuthorVet”
What inspired the book? Where did you get your idea?
The inspiration for most of my writing comes from the great stories I’ve heard and read over the years. Two particular writers inspired Under the Ember Star. These were Leigh Brackett and C. L. Moore, who both wrote of wonderful characters involved in furious action on strange and alien worlds. Just as such writers gave me many hours of enjoyment, I hope to do the same for a new generation of readers.
What genre is this book?
Under the Ember Star would be considered Science Fiction, particularly under the sub-label of Space Opera. It’s not hard science fiction, but it’s definitely not a fantasy. I put a lot of effort into getting the world and culture right. The science is there and it’s important, but I put more emphasis on the characters and action.
Where and when can I read the book?
Under the Ember Star is available both in print, as part of a Wildside Double with Mark E. Burgess’s The Battle for Eden, and as a standalone ebook. It’s available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Wildside itself, as well as at other online stores.
Wildside Press Ebook