Dragon Award Nominations – Make Yours Now

Dragon Award Nominations – Make Yours Now

I had the privilege of going to Dragon Con over the Labor Day weekend this year. Yes, I should have been at home helping with hurricane cleanup, but I wanted to go to have the chance to learn about writing, and the marketing of writing, from some of the best. And that I did. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make Dragon Con next year, but I would really enjoy the opportunity.

One of the highlights of Dragon Con comes during the Dragon Con Awards in various categories. One of the surprise nominees the last two years has been R.R. Virdi for his books Grave Measures, and Dangerous Ways. Dangerous Ways was just announced as the “Book of the Year” for 2016 by Drop of Ink reviews. Both books were nominated in the Fantasy category – they’re Urban Fantasy masterpieces. I had the chance to meet Virdi and truly enjoyed him as a person. Another author I had the chance to meet was D.R. Perry whose book, A Change in Crime, was nominated in the category of Alternative History. Perry whose series on Providence Paranormal College is highly whimsical, was equally skilled at this Prohibition era crime thriller – with a twist. She is also a wonderful person.

I mention this because you can begin making nominations for the Dragon Awards for the 2018 convention. You can only nominate once in any category, so use your nominations wisely. You can go back and nominate in another category later if you come across a worthy nominee. I’m going to be honest with you and share my nominees so far. First, in the Fantasy section, I’m pretty sure that R.R. Virdi’s newest release, Grave Dealings, is one of the best books of the year and is a worthy candidate. I seriously considered E.A. Copen’s book, Playing With Fire, for this category, but I stayed with Virdi’s book because I love it just a little more than Copen’s book. I’d also like to see Virdi get a third nomination. Could the third time be the charm? Speaking of Copen, though, her book Beasts of Babylon is awesome and a worthy nominee in the horror category. Beasts of Babylon was just named book of the year for 2017 by Drop of Ink reviews. I think this book deserves the nomination and support. I had a chance to meet Copen at Dragon Con as well and found her also to be a great person.

There’s one other book I will probably nominate: Wiser Guys by D.R. Perry. I haven’t read it yet, but if it’s the quality of A Change in Crime then I’ll be happy to lend it the recognition it deserves.

So here’s my suggestions. First, read the books I’ve mentioned to see if they’re worthy of nominating in your view. If not, then nominate your favorite books in these categories. Second, make the nominations. Third, Dragon Con is an overwhelming experience, but let me suggest that you look into going if you like those convention experiences. The experience was amazing.

Just a note on how I linked: Links on the author’s names go to their websites. Links on their books go to their Amazon pages so you can see all their work.

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Top Ten Graves Moments – Reblog

Leslie Conzatti over at Upstream Writer put together a top 10 list of moments from the Grave Report Series (the first two books). I’m sharing her first two, and then giving you a link to the rest. If you’ve read the series, do you agree with her? What other moments would you consider. If you haven’t read the series, maybe this will give you a good introduction and spike your interest.


Hit List: Top 10 Vincent Graves Moments from “The Grave Reports” by R. R. Virdi

Vincent Graves. Those who know him, love him. Those who don’t know him–have no idea what they’re missing. A man reduced to literally a soul and begrudgingly whisked through time and space at the behest of a higher power, if there’s anything Vince consistently carries with him, it’s the sarcasm, the nerdy references, the brash impulsiveness–and at the bottom of it all, the unshakable belief that he can use his constantly-repeating life to make all the difference in the world, even if he has to break a few supernatural rules to do it. It’s that heart that drives us back to him and keeps us thirsty for more–and it’s moments like these ten (in no particular ranked order) that live in our imaginations and keep us giggling even when the peril is at its greatest!
1. Scaring The Bejeezus Out Of The Old Groundskeeper
We first meet Vince Graves in Grave Beginnings… literally bashing his way out of a grave. If that’s not a totally fitting introduction for a character, I don’t know what is!
It’s not just the fact that he knows all the statistics and “insider information” about being buried in a coffin, though… It’s when he gets out, and there’s this old man standing there–Vince has the gall to greet him with the well-timed phrase, “Well whaddya know? You really can dig your way here from China!” Whereupon the groundskeeper clutches his chest and keels over… and so the fun and games begin!
2. “Supernatural Douche Kitty.”
Hands-down my favorite line from the first book, Grave Beginnings. And absolutely a fitting insight into his character. See, the supernatural don’t fight by what we mortals consider “fair.” Things like inanimate objects, gravity, empirical senses–everything is fair game when you’re tracking a supernatural entity! This was the moment, though, where things began to really take a turn for the “holy altered state of reality, Batman!” Vince is on the trail of discovering the monster who killed the person whose body he currently inhabits (yeah… it takes some getting used to…) when said entity decides to throw him off–by animating a bronze tiger statue in front of a nearby Asian restaurant! Vince responds with his customary dry wit, understating the visual of a full-size tiger made of metal chasing him down the streets of Manhattan by referring to it as a “kitty.” And from that moment on, I knew I was going to love this series forever.
To read the rest of the Top Ten, go to Upstream Writer
Author Interviews – R. R. Virdi

Author Interviews – R. R. Virdi

I didn’t get a chance to interview Mr. Virdi before the release of Grave Dealings, but two other authors did. I’m going to post excerpts from their interviews, and then send you to their page. Both are successful authors in their own realm. First, the interview from E. A. Copen, author of the Judah Black series and The Beasts of Babylon:

E.A: First of all, welcome and  tell us a little about your new book. 

R.R. Virdi: Grave Dealings is book three in the Dragon Award-nominated urban fantasy series, The Grave Report. It picks up with Vincent Graves waking up in a new body in Queens, New York, and already hunted by the paranormal instead of doing the hunting. No reprieve for our free spirit and paranormal investigator. He’s got 57 hours to find who’s behind a string of devilish bargains that’s leaving a line of dead bodies.

E.A.: It was really exciting to read! Now, I don’t want to spoil anything, but this book has a really unique monster. Can you tell us how you decide which monsters to use and where you find them? 

R.R. Virdi: My passion of mythology. I love reading about it all the time anyhow. That gives me a near-encyclopedic knowledge to draw from, and then I just pluck what seems most fun to me, whatever I can twist.

The full interview can be found on Copen’s website.

The second interview was conducted by D. R. Perry, author of the Dragon Award nominated A Change in Time and the whimsical urban fantasy series about Providence Paranormal College.

D.R.- You’re ready to write and have your pen and paper or computer or microphone ready. What else do you need during your session?

R.R.- Music (without lyrics) really helps me focus. I’m ADHD, so the constant engagement without distracting lyrics helps me tune out other things and set a constant workflow/pattern. I prefer what some people call, “Epic music.” It’s bombastic, orchestral, evocative, stuff from movies, games, anime.

You can read the full interview on Perry’s website.

Diving Into Grave Dealings

At last! It’s here! Fans of The Grave Report series have been waiting anxiously for the latest installment of the series, Grave Dealings, for a long time. It was worth the wait. R.R. Virdi brings Vincent Graves to life again in another great story. Yes, I had an Advanced Reader Copy so that I could write the review below. (Just so you don’t think I’m trying to hide anything.) I can tell you how much I like it by saying that the first thing I did was order a paperback copy so that I had the book in my collection. The enjoyment of the book is well worth the price.

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I have got to find a different place to read the next Grave Report book. Seriously. The edge of my seat is so worn down from this most recent book that I’m sure I’d keep falling on the floor going through another action-packed story like Grave Dealings from the Grave Report. Grave Dealings lives up to, no surpasses the standards of excellence that Virdi has established in “Grave Beginnings” and “Grave Measures,” as Vincent Graves comes back for another amazing case.

For those of you not familiar with the basic concept, Vincent Graves is a paranormal detective with a bit of a twist. He’s dead. Graves isn’t even really his name. He doesn’t know what his name is. He comes back to life in the body of the victim of a paranormal crime with the responsibility to bring the paranormal criminal to justice – which is a gentle way of saying he has to kill them. He arrives in the most unusual circumstances, depending on how the dearly departed was disposed of. In Grave Dealings, Graves wakes up sinking into a watery grave. He has to extricate himself from his bindings, swim back to the surface, and then quickly find the nearest church where he meets his contact, Church, who gives Graves all kinds of information, as long as it isn’t about him or the case. In this episode, though, Graves is hounded by another monster who tries to kill him even before the case starts. And the fun begins.

(Note: there may be spoilers from here on out. Be forewarned)

Daniel Kim has been murdered by unknown paranormal creatures and dumped into the ocean. What better way for Vincent Graves to begin a case than falling deeper and deeper into the water. He gets out of the water, and begins his quest to solve his body’s murder. While Graves is trying to do that, other forces are seeking to kill him. Along the way he runs into an old friend who apparently had feelings for the person who used to inhabit the body Graves is using now. This makes for some awkward relationship issues along the way. We’re introduced to a new character who brings Graves and company into the 21st century with her computer hacking and blogging skills.

Graves and his old friend outwit the monsters trying to kill him, and discover who had put the hit out on him only to realize that this was part of an old deal comes back to haunt him, and he gets dragged to a paranormal ball in the Neravene. (Do be careful who you deal with, it will come back to haunt you in the most inconvenient ways.) During the ball, his services become a highly valued gift, when he proves himself in a life or death match; meanwhile, his “date” to the ball causes all sorts of trouble in what was a “coming out” party for her.

Still, the case goes on and the time Graves has left keeps dropping. Graves puts it all together when he notices how many friends of the meat skin he’s using seem to have been unduly successful, and yet, still were dying. In the end, Graves takes on the monsters killing Daniel Kim and his friends off and crushes them, solving the case so that he can say good bye to friends old and new and get ready to move onto the next case.

As you read through this book, you’ll realize that Virdi is holding a mirror up to society, and to each of us. What are our dreams? What are our ambitions? What would we do to accomplish those dreams? What kind of deals would we cut to gain success. You cannot read this book without reflecting on those questions, and the answers might scare you. Still Virdi does this in such a skillful manner that you don’t realize that you’ve done it until after you’ve finished reading the book.

Book 3 of the Grave Report is COMING SOON!!!!

I don’t think there’s anything more exciting for an author than a new book release. I shared my excitement about E. A. Copen’s newest book “Playing with Fire” and told you that two of my favorite authors were about to release new books. The next book to be released will happen on November 13 when R. R. Virdi releases the third book in the Grave Report called “Grave Dealings.” The kindle book is available to pre-order right now at the link to the book above. I’ll be releasing my review of the book on Tuesday, November 13, but I wanted to let you know that this book was coming.

Virdi has become one of my favorite authors. Were he to release a phone book, or a cook book, I would be one of the first in line to buy it. I can’t give you any details of his new book, yet, but I can tell you what Mr. Virdi said about Grave Dealings on his preview page.

Don’t make deals with the paranormal. They’re better at it than you, and they never play fair.

Paranormal investigator and soul without a body, Vincent Graves, did just that—a deal made in desperation. Now it’s coming back to bite him in the middle of a case.
He has 57 hours to investigate a string of deaths involving people who’ve made some devilish bargains. Too bad devils don’t deal in good faith. It’d be easy enough, if he didn’t have to deal with things such as:

  • Being hunted through the streets of Queens by a dark elf with a motorcycle fetish.
  • Ending up the target of a supernatural hit.
  • An old acquaintance dragging him to a paranormal ball where he could end up on the menu.
  • And having one of his closest guarded secrets brought to light…

    Not great for a tight clock, because if he doesn’t get to the bottom of this case in time, Vincent and company might just lose their souls.

    Dirty deals are never done dirt cheap. And the supernatural always collect—big!

Again, trying to avoid spoilers, but I can tell you that this may be Virdi’s best book yet. I can’t wait to share my review of this book with you. If you like Urban Fantasy, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t know I liked it until “Grave Beginnings,” if you like Detective stories with a twist, you need to pre-order this book now! And, if you want to get a head start on the deaths and lives of Vincent Graves, you can check out the series page here. Go ahead and order them all. You’ll be glad you did.

Dragon Con Nominations Are Out!

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!

Every Little Bit Helps

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 Measuresand 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.