Dragon Moon has been honored by the League of Utah Writers (LUW) with its
Gold Quill award as the best speculative fiction novel of 2017.
The novel, the tale of the new clandestine, high stakes space race that explodes when the People’s Republic of China places a new super weapon on the lunar surface, was in sterling company with Everstar, the last installment in the Vivatera series by fellow Xchyler Publishing author Candace Thomas, which took the Silver Quill.
The announcement came at the conclusion of the LUW’s Fall Conference, held on the campus of Salt Lake Community College.
Many thanks to the editorial team at Xchyler Publishing, including Penny Freeman and Jessica Fassler, for making this long-simmering dream a reality.
A new space race explodes into violence when China sets its sights on the Moon. The aim: seize the ultimate high ground. When a Chinese-American spy brings word out of Beijing, she is assigned to help an unlikely team of Navy SEALs and Russian Spetsnaz special operators to deal with this new threat. The cost of failure: worldwide Chinese empire.
Dragon Moon weaves together the stories of the special operators, the ultra-ambitious Chinese officer who has created this new lunar weapon, and a young asteroid hunter who stumbles on the truth.
With crack editorial team Penny Freeman and Jessica Fassler, we have done our best to make sure this techno-thriller comes to you chock full of the latest in geo-politics, military hardware, intrigue, and glimpses into what I think could very well be Earth’s near-term future.
In honor of the release of Xchyler Publishing’s release of its new paranormal anthology, Beyond the Wail, it is my pleasure to spotlight outstanding emerging horror writer Alex McGilvery.
Alex McGilvery is an author living in Flin Flon, Manitoba with his wife, Alex, and three dogs. He has been an avid reader all his life and wrote novels in his early teens. He has been writing short stories and poetry ever since. In addition to his first twenty-year work, he writes a novel every year through NaNoWriMo and another with the 3-Day Novel contest. He also writes reviews, specializing in indie authors, and works on short stories for contests.
He has now published five books, most recently Sparkles and Blood, a collection of horror novellas, edited an anthology along with the Flin Flon Writers Guild, and continues to be active in the Guild. In order to pay for his writing habit, Alex works full time as a minister in the United Church of Canada. Some of his parishioners wonder at the occasionally dark and twisted nature of his writing.
What is it about fear and the unknown that pulls so passionately at the human heart? Perhaps we are drawn not to the darkness itself, but to the resolution, the overcoming of what we most deeply dread. After all, the more terrible the struggle, the greater the victory when it comes at last. Presented in this anthology are twelve remarkable stories of the darkness that overshadows us, and the resolution that may be found beyond them. They are stories of fear and oppression, but ultimately stories of hope, stories that will take you BEYOND THE WAIL.
Alex’s story in the anthology is Saint Peter’s Fish: Sam is a walking disaster of biblical proportions, but how much is he willing to sacrifice to escape, and will the Powers That Be allow it?
How did you come up with the concept of your story?
This one started as a challenge. I was responding to a blog stating never start a story with the weather. I posted the first couple of paragraphs and got a good response. When the contest came up I knew it was time to finish the story.
How did you come up with the title?
The fish in the story burps up gold coins. It is a direct reference to a fish Peter caught to pay taxes.
Please provide some insight into or a secret or two about your story.
In the first iteration of the story the climax is a bar fight in Toledo and God is a biker. That either needed a full novel to deal with, or a switch to a heavy comedic tone. I shifted it around to match better with the contest.
What was the most surprising part of writing this book?
The fork. I had no idea that blasted fork was going to show up and confuse everyone. In the end I like the concept.
What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge was not to overdo the voice of the story. It would have been so easy to fall into writing the lilt instead of the story. I kept being reminded the story came first and making the words serve the tale, not the voice.
What is your preferred writing genre?
I don’t write heavy romance or hack and slash horror. Other than that I think I have stories at least in just about every genre imaginable, and a few you’d probably never think of.
Who is your favorite author? Who has most influenced your work?
I don’t have one favourite author. When you read fifty to a hundred books a year, you need to keep branching out. I have been known to pick random books off library shelves in an attempt to find new people to read. Now being a reviewer takes care of that. As for influence, I love people who can write complex and layered stories and make them look easy, Kristin Cashore is a newish author I particularly like.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing novels in grade school. I never stopped being a writer. Now I sort of get paid for it.
Given unlimited resources, what would be your ideal writing environment?
I keep joking about a desert island with power and wifi, and probably a fridge.
Where do you actually write? Do you write on a schedule?
I have an office in the basement which I share with our library and our freezer. I have a wonderful view of the neighbour’s peeling paint when the curtains are open. I don’t have a schedule, but try to work an hour or two a day.
What is your writing drive? The power that keeps you going when your writing gets difficult?
I’m sure when they autopsy me, they will find the claw marks from stories trying to get out of my head faster than my fingers will write them. The stories demand to be written. What keeps me going is discipline. If I am a writer, I will write. Whether I feel like it or not is not part of the equation.
Name one entity that you feel supported your writing, outside of family members.
I’m a member of a local writing group. We share stories and critiques.
How does writing impact other parts of your life?
Sometimes people who hear my more twisted stories worry about my mental health.
What activities best give your brain a break? How do you unwind?
When I’m not writing, I like shooting pictures with my camera. I’ve been planning to make a few more knives for my collection, but it will wait until warmer weather now.
What are some of your other published works?
In order of publication, The Unenchanted Princess, Playing on Yggdrasil, Sarcasm is my Superpower, By the Book, and Sparkles and Blood.
What is your advice to writers?
Write. Really. You aren’t a writer if you don’t write. Then find someone to help you deconstruct your writing to help you make it better. Then write some more.
What’s up next for you?
I’m bringing out another collection of novellas in November called The Heronmaster and a middle grade book for Christmas called Unboring the Princess. I’m also resubmitting a fantasy novel which is the first in a trilogy. I’m in the initial planning stages of a collection of my romance stories called ‘Romantic Shorts’.
What is your favorite snack while writing?
Beer, or coffee, scotch is good, but in small amounts. In terms of food, whatever I can scrounge up.
If you had three wishes, what would they be?
I wouldn’t bother with wishes. If they were handed to me, it would be cheating and I’d miss the story of the journey. Someone else can have mine.
Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?
My wife is named Alex, same as me. My first published book was written as a gift for her. She is in some way the inspiration for all my stories, but she doesn’t read them. She makes me read out loud, usually in the middle of the night.
Just for fun nerd list:
Star Wars or Star Trek? As a kid, we watched Star Trek every week, but I don’t have a strong preference.
Hunger Games or Divergent? neither
James Bond or Jack Ryan? Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana
Sherlock: Robert Downey, Jr. or Benedict Cumberbatch? Not a Holmes fan.
Spock: Leonard Nimoy or Zachary Quinto? As an old fart, Nimoy.
X-Men or Avengers? They haven’t made a Mighty Mouse movie yet?
Batman or Superman? Mighty Mouse
Beatles or Rolling Stones? Supertramp
Vampires or Werewolves? Carnivorous Frogs
LARP or MORPG? I used to DM for D&D complete with manuals and weird dice.
Learn more about Alex, his publications, and what tickles his brain:
Marissa’s Gifts & Books, a charming local independent bookstore, is hosting a signing of the new second edition of A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk, with its gorgeous new cover, Friday, October 9th, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.
Anyone interested in an electronic Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) of the new Steampunk anthology “Steel & Bone” from Xchyler Publishing? It’s free in exchange for an open and honest review on Amazon or Goodreads. PLUS…<drum roll please>…I’ll give any ARC reader who posts a review a printed copy when the book comes out in a few weeks.
My story in the anthology is “Sindisiwe”, a story set in my “A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk” universe, the story of giant Zulu mech Shaka’s lost teenage daughter, who is living in slavery on the island of Zanzibar.