Book Release: Dorothy – The Darker Side of Oz by Scott Stanford

The Darker Side of OzAs Dorothy awakes in Oz there’s no sunshine in Munchkin country, just a twisted race enslaved by the Eastern witch, and a crooked path of yellow bricks she has to take to the mysterious Emerald City, a place ridden with sinister secrets.

To get home the orphan girl treks the magical land, sometimes beautiful though often deadly, seeking help from the great wizard of Oz. The young girl struggles through a vast land of new sights, unfamiliar villages, and endures the dark forest, finding strange friends along her way. Cautiously trusting a peculiar scarecrow, he accompanies Dorothy through Oz, finding a tragic tin-man on their travels, and the cowardly lion; a victim to Mr Jack’s infernal carnival. The animal’s only hope is to be saved by Dorothy and her friends, but the ringleader and his obscure show have other plans for them.

Dorothy’s enchanting journey takes her through new, peculiar and amazing countries as Oz unveils itself. The strange friends must fight to overcome the rivers of mist, the deadly poppy fields, and beyond; whilst Kalidahs, Hammerheads and other macabre creatures stand in their way…and if they reach the Emerald City, they my find more than they bargained for.

To get back to Kansas the young girl must survive the dangers of Oz, find the mysterious great wizard, and most of all, avoid the dead-lands of the West, where the evil witch Outika breeds her carnivorous pets, and watches the strange friends’ every move. This isn’t the Oz you know, and Dorothy may never leave.

Based on the classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum

Release Notes

Available now through all major booksellers, including Amazon, Waterstones, and Fastprint, with limited signed editions and prints available through the novel’s official website:

Author’s Bio

Scott Stanford was born in a small Welsh village in 1984, and after studying Milton’s ’paradise lost’, alongside reading Bret Easton Ellis’s ‘American psycho’ started writing himself. His works spanned from epic poems to film, and amidst a number of feature scripts and other projects came a debut novel. Since then he’s been working as a novelist, and even turned down working with Samuel L. Jackson in the process.

Now releasing his fourth novel Dorothy: The Darker Side of Oz Scott currently lives in Manchester with a curious Harlequin rabbit called Dexter, and Jimmy Joyce (A loveable Labrador).

Author’s Notes

Dorothy – The Darker Side of Oz is an original novel that runs parallel to Baum’s The wonderful wizard of oz, and in writing it I wanted to make it new and exciting whilst keeping to the essence of Baum’s classic. Though this tale is deeper, and with more insight into characters and focus on the amazing journey that Dorothy takes to get home. With the characters I wanted to give them all a sense of depth and individuality, making them more than just cogs behind Dorothy. For example the ‘cowardly lion’ is very much the courageless creature Baum intended, though opposed to a little girl finding him along her path and taking the large lion as her companion without hesitation, I wanted to give Dorothy a realistic reaction to the creature (confusion, fear etc.), and give the lion his own story that affects the whole novel, a reason why he has no courage and make him a ‘rounder’ character. Even the wicked witch of the east plays a very large role in the novel, and we see how she’s destroyed the land of the munchkins and made them her slaves.

Dorothy’s journey through Oz is epic, spanning from the far east to the far west and I didn’t want to make the yellow road easy for her. She journeys through dark woods, along mountain tops, cities, villages, desolate lands and beautiful fields, so I really wanted to make her quest through Oz memorable, and give each landmark (the dark forest for example) details and dangers, and something new. I’ve written it so that each of Dorothy’s friends is as big a piece of the novel as herself, and so the reader can see the affect of journey on them as a group of strangers who become friends, and the dangers they face along the way.”

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Book Release: Dante’s Journey by JC Marino

Dante's JourneyA flash of light and Detective Joe Dante steps through. No longer on the cobblestone streets of 1961 Boston, Joe finds himself in a horrifying new world-Hell itself.

Joe was in hot pursuit of his family’s killer, drug lord Filippo Argenti, when both were killed, and isn’t about to let a little thing like death slow him down.

So, with a healthy dose of New England stubbornness and the help of a mysterious guide, Virgil DiMini, Joe must evade angry demons, and search ever-lower through the rings of the original Dante’s Inferno in hopes of finding justice for his wife and children.

However, Joe will soon discover that behind every sin lies a secret and each secret revealed could land Joe in an eternity of hot water… VERY hot.

Author’s Bio

Originally from Boston, JC has several degrees, including Criminal Justice, Software Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, and Creative Writing.

He’s written several screenplays that were optioned and/or made advanced placement in both the Nicholls and Austin Screenwriting Competitions.

JC’s background and experiences include Security Specialist while serving in the USAF/USANG, Knowledge Engineer for Digital Equipment Corporation, 3D Animator for Camber Corp, and Information Security Engineer for FOX.

Related Links

Author’s Site
Goodreads Review

Book Trailer

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Book Release: Morticai’s Luck by Darlene Bolesny

Morticai's LuckThe first novel in the Duanor Series, a swashbuckling fantasy adventure.

Knives in the Night…

Welcome to the haunted, twin-mooned world of Duanor. Meet Morticai—reckless rogue, man of many names, ladies’ man, skilled gambler and believer in gods-given luck, expert bladesman, adept thief … and professional lawman.

The Droken, the bloodthirsty devotees of a sadistic, outlawed god, murdered Morticai’s parents, leaving him to survive alone as an unwanted corryn orphan on the meanest streets of Watchaven, a human city. Once a professional thief, he escaped the criminal underworld by joining the Northmarch, the kingdom’s elite paramilitary peacekeeping force. But even while honoring his peace officer’s oaths, he holds even stronger to his childhood vow to find and punish those who murdered his parents, and to oppose the works of Droka wherever he finds them.

Using his second-story skills from his past life, he discovers a nest of Droken that has infiltrated his own city and is commanded by powerful, nearly untouchable members of the nobility. His unofficial actions against them nearly cost him his life and his commission, but Morticai refuses to give up. Stubbornly following the lead, and aided by his loyal Northmarcher squad mates and a Knight of the Faith, he finds evidence of a shadowy conspiracy designed to embroil Watchaven and the corryn kingdom of Dynolva in a disastrous trade war that threatens to overwhelm not only Watchaven and Dynolva but all of the kingdoms, human and corryn, of Duanor.

It’s not the first time that Morticai has found himself in over his head … but it may be the last.

Check out Morticai’s Luck at Darkstar Books

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Book Release: NO Quarter by Robert Asprin

NO QuarterNew York Times bestselling author Robert Asprin, writing with Eric Del Carlo and Teresa Patterson, delves into the dark secrets of the New Orleans French Quarter in this suspenseful tale of ghosts and haunted dreams, murder and revenge, justice and unexpected courage.

Once upon a time, before Katrina…

After you’ve lived in the French Quarter for a while, you develop the cynical belief that you’ve seen it all … that nothing can get to you anymore. You and your bar acquaintances tell yourselves and each other that you’ve gotten so used to the drunken tourist idiocy and random acts of violence … that it doesn’t bother you.

That’s bullshit.

Sunshine came to New Orleans to escape her past and to catch up with her elusive dreams, but she got lost in the old city’s seductive Southern nights. The tempting dark side of the French Quarter catered to her weaknesses, offering her just exactly what she desired-cheap drugs, the wrong kind of men, and the thrill of living on the edge. Alienated from her friends and in need of help, she called out to one of them … but her message didn’t get through in time.

When she tries to go it alone, she walks down the wrong street into the wrong patch of darkness and meets the brutal, bloody end to her dreams at the point of a knife.

In another city, her death might be written off as a mugging, just another statistic on the police blotter. Not so for the NOPD, to whom the safe reputation of the French Quarter is a priority, even if the victim is a waitress and not a treasured, pampered tourist. Not so for the French Quarter locals, because no matter how far she’d fallen, Sunshine was one of their own. And no mere mugger in New Orleans or any other city would have left a victim’s body framed by the crude remnants of a botched Voodoo ritual, a display designed to insult the true practitioners of that religion.

To Maestro, Sunshine’s death represents not only a tragedy but an obligation, because he’s the one who missed responding to her call for help. A master of both the pool cue and the rapier, a man of regular habits and close secrets, he prefers keeping to the shadows-but to avenge Sunshine and to satisfy his tarnished honor, he’ll risk opening his own less-than-savory past to question.

To Bone, a waiter, and his girlfriend Alex, Sunshine was family, and the pain of her savage murder is made even more crushing by their recent estrangement from her. Because of his past connection to Sunshine, and because of a bitter, public argument with her, Bone becomes a suspect in her murder. When Sunshine’s ghost begins to haunt his dreams, he comes to the realization that just clearing his name won’t be enough for him. Even justice won’t be enough. His heart cries out for vengeance, and Alex refuses to be left out of his quest.

But what can three ordinary people do that the police can’t? As fate draws Maestro, Bone, and Alex together in the hunt for the murderer, they find unlikely allies among the street people, bartenders, performers, and other denizens of the French Quarter. Their hunt leads them through the darkest corners of the Quarter, into the dangerous depths that lie beneath the benign “party-town” surface of the old city-and into shattering revelations about themselves.

Death and destruction lie in the turning of the Tarot cards, and blood will lead to blood before honor and desire are satisfied.

“A hard-boiled mystery, over Easy” — William R. Page

A note from Tom Knowles, publisher of DarkStar Books, to the fans of Robert Asprin

NO Quarter isn’t exactly Bob Asprin’s last book—there are others forthcoming from outlines and partials—but it is the last book he completed, wrote through from beginning to end. It’s also unique, for two reasons:

First, Bob’s friends and those fans who got to meet him at conventions and filks will easily recognize his somewhat fictionalized self portrait in the character of the mysterious, pool-playing fencing master and wise man/wise guy known as Maestro. Bob often put his personal philosophy into the mouths of his lead character, but to create NO Quarter and Maestro, he anted up a bit his soul.

Second, NO Quarter is a suspense/dark fantasy novel that is a crossover/spin-off from a fantasy series—something that has not, to my knowledge, ever been accomplished before by any author. Although the fantasy and horror elements (voodoo, tarot readings and precognition, ghosts) in NO Quarter are less in evidence, it is set in the same milieu as Bob’s Dragons Luck and Dragons Wild novels. Fans of that series will already be familiar with NO Quarter’s two protagonists, Maestro and Bone, as well as other denizens of NO Quarter’s dangerous, haunted, and clannish French Quarter, from their minor roles in the strange life of Griffen McCandles, the Dragon gambler.

NO Quarter is remarkable in other ways as well.

Bob planned this novel with Eric Del Carlo after they met and became friends in the French Quarter. They alternated chapters, Bob writing Maestro’s viewpoint, Eric writing Bone’s. What shines through both writers’ prose is a love for the old French Quarter that existed before Katrina smashed in to alter it forever—a love that neither excuses nor attempts to conceal that city-within-a-city’s dangers and disappointments.

Maestro’s chapters are classic Asprin, this because Maestro is the classic Asprin hero … just written a bit darker, more reminiscent of his Thieves World than his Myth Adventures. The inimitable Asprin humor is there throughout, along with the tension between student and mentor, and the journey of self-discovery that both of them take during the course of a friendship. Bone’s chapters, written in Eric’s distinctive voice, offer an acerbic contrast that complements and highlights Asprin’s characterization of Maestro. The two characters, as did the two writers, work well together and push each other in new directions.

When Bill Fawcett offered the book to DarkStar, Bob and Eric had brought it to a third-draft level. Because both authors had other commitments, Bob suggested that long-time friend and author Teresa Patterson, who was familiar with the French Quarter and its culture, give the book its final polish to smooth out its rough spots. We signed the contract … and then, not long after, Robert Asprin—my friend and a friend to just about everyone who met him—closed his eyes for the last time.

Despite that sad occurrence, we pushed the project on to completion. Eric and Teresa’s edits and refinements resulted in a novel that I believe is a fitting tribute to our friend, Bob Asprin. DarkStar published it in a quality trade paperback edition in November 2009.

Because the major chain stores are deadly serious about categories, you’ll likely find NO Quarter in the mystery section instead of the SF/F section beside Bob’s other books—but make no mistake, it’s an Asprin book, and in my opinion, one of his finest works.

Check out NO Quarter at DarkStar Books.

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