Guest Post and FREE Book!

Hey everyone!

This is a guest post to promote the fact that the first book in the Legends of Windemere series has been made permanently free.

So grab yourself a copy, and curl up to this delightful treat! I will let Charles take it away from here.

Thank you to Cyrus for helping to spread the word that Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero is now free.  Back when I started publishing this fantasy series in 2013, it was the only genre I was working in.  Now, I’ve branched out into Rated-R dystopian adventures with a lot of action and humor.  That book is called Crossing Bedlam and I’ve been asked to talk about what it’s like to write such different types of stories.

Hero Cover Final

First, you need to know what each one is about.  Beginning of a Hero follows Luke Callindor, a young warrior from a famous family who is out to prove he is worthy of his surname.  He lies to get his first adventure and finds himself facing a demonic assassin while trying to protect a royal heir in a military academy.  It doesn’t help that he has no idea who he is supposed to be guarding from the creature.  Needless to say, Luke stumbles a lot and has to depend on several new friends as well as learn what it really means to be a hero in Windemere.

Crossing Bedlam takes place in the Shattered States, which is the USA after it has been isolated by the world.  Impenetrable walls are along its northern and southern borders while a global navy prevents anyone from escaping.  Soon after the initial attack, Washington DC was nuked and the rest of the country fell into chaos.  None of that really matters because Cassidy is more concerned with staying alive and fulfilling her mother’s last wish.  A decade after the country collapsed, she is attempting to travel from New York City to San Francisco to toss her mother’s ashes off the Golden Gate Bridge.  It’s a dangerous journey filled with dangerous locals and disturbing obstacles.  On the plus side, her companion is Lloyd Tenay, a serial killer she broke out of Riker’s Island.  She had more people, but Lloyd killed them when her back was turned.

The differences between the two are actually rather cosmetic.  Both of these stories have a lot of action, are written in the same style, and look into the concept of identity.  Lloyd is trying to find his place in a new world, Cassidy is still in her mother’s shadow, and Luke Callindor is determined to earn the identity he craves.  That’s really where the similarities end because Windemere and the Shattered States have very little in common.  Leaving out genres, the worlds require different answers for the same problem.  An injury or obstacle in Windemere can be solved with magic while the same one in the Shattered States needs a more realistic, possibly technology-based solution.  That alone causes a different type of thinking for me.  I guess I have less of an imaginary cushion when working within the real world than one of my own design.

Something I had to alter was how I did research when it came to Crossing Bedlam.  When it comes to Windemere, I mostly have to create stuff and make sure it remains consistent.  There are times when I look into monsters to see if they’ll work in my world or research animals to put a creature together.  Small things pop up here and there in fantasy writing, but it really comes down to remembering your own world.  Now when it comes to the Shattered States, Google Earth and Wikipedia were my friends.  I had to see where Interestate-80 went and check out each stop for real world locations.  I needed to research tasers, vehicles, rhinos, communication devices that could work in this world, heavy artillery, pop culture references, and whatever else came up while I was writing.  I couldn’t wing it like I do with Windemere, especially since people love to catch authors with wrong information.

Another big difference is the tone of the stories and characters.  Luke Callindor is a hero and acts the part in a world with a history of such things.  Noble deeds are common and there isn’t a deep level of cynicism in Windemere when compared to the real world.  It’s also not a setting that stems from the collapse of a society.  That fact is why Shattered States has a more vicious edge to it.  Cassidy and Lloyd are survivor types who will do things that a ‘pure hero’ wouldn’t ever consider.  They’ll kill, threaten, and maim to get to the next part of their adventure.  Making a deal with gangs and warlords is perfectly fine to them even if it means innocents that they’ve never met will suffer.  It’s the way to survive their world, which darkens the tone.  Not to say that you can’t have some humor in it, which a central part of Lloyd’s insane personality.  It’s only that the jokes are going to be different in such a world.  Windemere can have some lighthearted bantering while Shattered States is more likely to have dark and perverted jokes made at the expense of someone else.  Being an author who can’t stop himself from putting humor into his stories, this can be a big challenge because the two schools can cross a bit and then I have to rethink the joke during an edit.

I’d say working with fantasy and dystopian genres is like mixing apples and oranges.  I can’t because I’ve had fruit salad with both in there.  So I have to say that it requires a different focus and mental track for each one.  Windemere has actually become the heavier of the two as it progresses because I’m working on battering characters.  Shattered States might never reach that and remain my ‘relaxed and fun’ series as I add more adventures.  Part of that is because Cassidy and Lloyd are already pretty broken, so they shrug a lot more off than Luke Callindor and his friends.  The difference results in a change in tension and stress when I’m working.  While Windemere requires less research, I feel more pressure to make sure the story is epic.  Shattered States requires a lot of research, but I can go with the flow a lot more and its feels organic.  It’s going to be very interesting when I step into another genre after one of these two ends.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this and check out Beginning of a Hero for free.  Thanks for listening to this wild ramble.


Legends of Windemere



Grab Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero for Free!

Chamber Press – Guest Bloggers and Mega Update

Hey Everyone!

Long time, no see! I know I’ve been M.I.A. for a lot of months (because I suck at blogging, among other things). But I have good reason! I’ve been working to start my own press, which is something that I have always wanted to do. So as of the end of this month I am going to be launching Chamber Press, with our first release coming out April 4th!


Our official website is going to be launching in a few weeks, and I wanted to go ahead and reach out and see if any of you would be interested in guest blogging and having your post featured on our website. You can talk about anything you want as long as it’s writing related! Also, if you want to include a link to your book or blog, we will post it on our Facebook Page (and also link to it on the website’s blog post that day, etc).

If you’re interested email me at contact @ !


We’re also opening ourselves up for submissions in March. We haven’t announced it yet, but if you are interested then sign up for our email list and be the first to know when we open up our mailbox! We will also send you a link to the website submission guidelines, etc, so don’t worry. Chamber Press is focused on publishing science fiction, fantasy, and horror. We also accept submissions for artists, but no interior illustrations at this time please.

We welcome first-time writers as well as writers who have previously been self-published!

We also have a page where you can donate to our start-up costs. We don’t have an official GoFundMe or anything like that, but we DO have a list of incentives!

Anyone who donates at least $50 gets a signed print copy of our first release, Swallow You Whole.

Anyone who donates at least $75 gets a signed print copy as well as an ebook copy in any format (.MOBI, .EPUB, .PDF, etc)

Anyone who donates at least $100 gets both the print and ebook copy, as well as a packet of fun goodies.

Anyone who donates at least $150 gets all of the above and an 8k story commission.

$250+ gets you all of the above, and a signed print copy of whatever our second release will be as well.

Thanks for putting up with my giant post – I hope to hear from you guys soon!!

Letter to my Landlord

Pierced and Packing

I’ve been meaning to do a post like this forever, now. Just a ranty post. Because my landlords are terrible and I’ve had a lot of stuff I’ve wanted to get off my chest about our 2+ years with them. (We’re leaving soon, thank the gods). If you are ever in Greensboro, North Carolina do not ever rent from Wallace and Associates. Or, if you do… just consider reading on so you know what you’re getting into.

Dear Wallace and Associates,

We find ourselves, after two years of living here, being forced to take our leave of this humble dwelling. Why? Well, there are many reasons – not the least of which is that you are raising the rent. Again. I’m sure it’s worth it. And I do appreciate the fact that you would like to start showing the place to prospective tenants for next year only about halfway through…

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New drawing for $25 Amazon gift card #contest thing

Worth checking out! Go see!

Gwen Bristol

Prizes for The Night ones Legacy contest Enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card! by reviewing the Night Ones. (See below for details. 🙂

I’m so excited about this!

While I wait for the final book cover for The Night Ones, I decided to host another $25 Amazon gift card drawing. (Some of you may remember when I did this a few years ago. I’m really happy to be doing it again.)

Here are the rules:’

1. Read The Night Ones, by Gwen Bristol

2. Post a review of The Night Ones on Amazon–here’s the link:

3. Send me an e-mail at letting me know you posted a review. If you win the drawing at the end of the month, I’ll contact you by e-mail to get a physical address so I can send you the gift card.

Here are a few more things to…

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What Makes People Buy Self-Published Books?

Tara Sparling writes

In this post, I discussed the findings of a scientifically incontrovertible study (of myself) on the factors which influenced me when buying a self-published book.

The findings surprised me (which surprised me, because I was surveying myself). I found that I knew what made me buy a self-published book when it was in front of me, but not what put that book in front of me, unless I was browsing by genre (e.g. today I feel like reading a romance set in Ulaanbaatar: therefore I will now search specifically for such a story).

It was still hard to know what put those books in front of my eyes in order to buy them; to quote one of the commenters on that post – this is the thorny issue of “discoverability”. How will we find these books in the first place?

So I did the unthinkable, and asked some other people…

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