Almost a year ago, someone pointed me to a series of books starring a hard-nosed, female, supernatural investigator by the name of Judah Black. Her job is to investigate crimes committed by or against supernatural beings: werewolves, zombies, vampires, fairies, etc. I had read the beginning of another series in the Urban Fantasy genre, more on that in a couple of weeks, so I was more open to the books than I might have been before.
I fell in love with the books almost immediately! I love seeing a strong female lead portrayed so effectively. Of course, before I saw how well E. A. Copen wrote the story of Judah Black, I was drawn to the setting: Paint Rock, Texas. “Where is Paint Rock?” you might ask. My standard answer is “Go to the middle of nowhere and take a left.” I know that because I used to live I Paint Rock when I was pastor of First Baptist Church there. For a small town, it’s a great place. The people are wonderful. Copen doesn’t deal with the people who live there, because of the nature of her books, but she does an amazing job of showing the physical attributes of the area and I have enjoyed reading about my old stomping grounds.
I’m bringing this up now because….insert drumroll here….Judah Black #4 is being released on October 31! This book is called “Playing with Fire” and I can tell you that Copen does an amazing job of continuing the story. I’m excited that this is coming out now! I’ve had the privilege of reading an Advanced Reader Copy, ARC, and I told my wife that she‘ll want to buy it the instant it comes out! (I don’t let her read ARCs when I get them, but she’s chomping at the bit to read this book.) I will be posting my review on the 31st. If you haven’t read any of E. A. Copen’s books, let me suggest you check out the Judah Black series. You can find her Amazon page at E. A. Copen. You’ll notice a couple other books outside of the series. The Fairchild Chronicles is good, but, to be honest, her later work is much better. “Beasts of Babylon” shows how much she’s grown as a writer in a very short time. That’s an awesome book and introduced me to Western Horror – a genre that combine two genres I didn’t like before.
If you’ve read her books before and you just want a shot at “Playing with Fire,” the pre-order link is here. If you pre-order the Kindle version, it will be delivered as soon as possible so you don’t have to wait to read it. Order now….don’t get burned.
One of the oldest Science Fiction (etc.) Conventions is Dragon Con. The nominations for Dragon Con Awards are out. I want to urge you to register to vote. Then, vote! If I may influence you on a couple of votes. Best Paranormal Fiction: I would suggest Dangerous Ways by R.R. Virdi. I really enjoyed this book and it’s worthy of this award. I should note that this is his second nomination. The other book I would recommend is A Change in Crime by D. R. Perry in the Alternate History Category.
So, how do you sign up to vote? Go to the Dragon Awards Voting Sign Up Page and fill out the form. Then, when you get the form, vote! Both of those authors I recommended are good indie authors, and we need to support them!
There is a great way to support up and coming artists of all types: Patreon. With Patreon, you can choose artists that you like and support them by giving them as little as $1 per month. Artists offer different incentives for increasing levels of support, making you a part of an exclusive club. Let me put you at ease on one point: I am not asking for money through Patreon, so this post is meant for information only. Of course, I know many different people who have set up Patreon accounts for their work as an author. I want to highlight a couple. The link to their Patreon account will be connected to their names.
The first is E. A. Copen. She does a great job of crafting her stories and making you stay up way later than you planned when you start reading her work. She is best known for her Judah Black novels set in a small town in west Texas called Paint Rock. (And I love the stories not just because I’ve lived in Paint Rock!) She just released Beasts of Babylon which is different – a paranormal western horror story which I really enjoyed and she’s also got a new series called Broken Empire coming out soon. She’s an author that deserves any kind of support you can give.
The second is R.R. Virdi. He’s best known for his Grave Report Series (Grave Beginnings, Grave Measures, and the soon to be released Grave Dealings) and the first of the Books of Winter, Dangerous Ways. He has some other things coming out as well and the man’s creativity and talent are mind-blowing. He and Ms. Copen are friends. I found out about Ms. Copen through Mr. Virdi. Both of them are wonderful people and if you start supporting them, I have no doubt that one day, you will thank me.
Obviously, there are other authors and artists on Patreon. You may need to be on Patreon. Many of the artists of the middle ages had wealthy sponsors who allowed them the chance to paint. Your support can make you a digital age sponsor where, no one person can sponsor another completely, but working together, we can help support the arts.
E. A. Copen is a great Urban Fantasy Writer. To be honest, I used to think that. Then I heard about her latest book, Beasts of Babylon, a Horror Western and I wondered why she would write something like that. I decided to read it even though I don’t like horror and I’m not a big fan of westerns. Ms. Copen is not a great Urban Fantasy Writer, she is a great Writer who knows how craft an intriguing tale that grips you from start to finish, no matter what the genre. She is on my “must read” list for sure. (Spoilers ahead)
I was weirdly fascinated by this story that slowly unveiled a town where the sheriff fought to hide the obvious, even though it had already cost him his wife, sort of, and their kids. His wife, Ana, on a mission from God or the Devil, who knows, Copen keeps us guessing there, doesn’t cotton too well to death. She keeps coming back from the grave to continue on her mission, which she thought, at first, was a mission to kill the paranormal creatures that had killed her and her children.
When she can’t get the sheriff, her husband (?) to get a posse to help her, she turns to the other side of the law. The problem with the wrong side of the law is that the right side of the law is tracking them down. When circumstances bring both sides into contact, everything comes to a conclusion as Ana and the others meet the creatures for life and death battles. The twist at the end opens the door for more from these characters, and I hope it comes soon.