Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{January 3, 2012}   Interview and Giveaway with Stephen Zimmer and Seventh Star Press

Stephen Zimmer has been so gracious to stop by the blog and answer some questions about the new Singles he’s writing, and that his publisher, Seventh Star Press, is promoting among their authors. Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker, whose literary works include the epic urban fantasy series The Rising Dawn Saga as well as the epic medieval fantasy Fires in Eden Series. So, without further ado, I give you Stephen Zimmer:


Seventh Star Press has recently announced that they will soon be releasing their Seventh Star Singles, an eBook series where each short story is setwithin the world that their authors write in.  What gave you the idea of creating the Seventh Star Singles?

Initially, it was just having a ton of background material developed for the two series I have, the epic fantasy Fires in Eden series, and the epic-scale urban fantasy Rising Dawn Saga.  They’ve been building up since the mid 1990’s, and I’ve created full histories, geographies, and more for the worlds that the books are set in. There are so many things that can be expanded into stories that won’t necessarily make it into the novels. 

I thought that it would be great to have an outlet for such stories, and thought that a concept like this would be viable for the other SSP authors.  It gives readers of my series a lot more content to enjoy, and adds more depth to their experience, and it also creates fully independent stories that new readers can try out. 

Ebooks are perfectly suited for this kind of approach, as the cost of doing something like this in print would be far too much.  Fortunately, there was a lot of enthusiasm for this idea within the SSP family.

You currently have three new singles set in your world of Ave, the primary setting in the Fires in Eden series.  Could you tell us a little bit about them and how they relate to the series?

Land of Shadow, Lion Heart, and Into Glory Ride are the first three stories in the Chronicles of Ave, the short story collection set in the world that the Fires in Eden series is based in. 

In the Fires in Eden series, a brawny warrior race with dog-like (thick-jawed, like pit bulls) faces called the Trogens are introduced, fighting on the side of a figure called the Unifier.  It is explained that one reason they are serving in the Unifier’s forces is due to some promised help in a long-standing conflict in their homelands with an Elven race. 

My Elves are closer to the Norse/Germanic myths of Elves, much darker edged than you find in a lot of fantasy series.  Into Glory Ride is the tale of a young Trogen warrior who sights the approach of an Elven raid nearing his homeland.  He happens to be among the first group of sky riders among the Trogens (there are races of flying steeds in this series), and the approaching raid presents him with a momentous decision. 

It is a story heavy with action, and it is a great look into the Trogen world that explains a great deal about their conflict with the Elves.  For readers of the series, this story will explain quite a bit, but for those who have not read the series, it is a fast-paced, action-driven tale that will give them a taste of what Ave is like, as well as some of its more unique occupants.

Land of Shadow takes the reader into the depths of the Shadowlands, which have only been mentioned in a few places within the novel series so far.  A woodland hunter/warrior named Gunther, who is one of the main characters in the Fires in Eden series, has a pack of robust, large creatures called Jaghuns that he raised from a pair of young ones he found in the Shadowlands.  Yet only a few references and inferences are given to the reader in the novel series.

In Land of Shadow, a band of Avanoran mercenaries are followed as they seek out a propitious site to build a fortress. The dangers and formidable races dwelling in the Shadowlands are explored along the way, giving readers of the novel series a deeper appreciation of the Shadowlands’ nature, and perhaps leaving some hints about what will be coming in the novel series.  As with Into Glory Ride, it will give new readers a tale filled with action that gives a good look into the world of Ave.

Lion Heart reveals a never-before introduced area of Ave, far to the northwestern region of the Sun Lands.  A people called the Amazu, who are heavily inspired by the Zulu Nation of our own world, are described.  Sigananda, who later becomes a legendary warrior among the Amazu, is shown in his earlier years, soon after gaining full warrior status among his people.  He is sent on a quest when it is discovered that a pair of malevolent Wizards named Gibini and Enundu have used their arts to create something that could destroy the entire Amazu realm.  This particular story is interesting because most everything about it is brand new for readers of the series, as well as new readers.   Those reading the novels have not even heard of the Amazu people yet, so this one should be a great deal of fun for them!  (and I have some more such lands just ahead in the short story series)

Will the Singles you, and other authors of Seventh Star Press, write be stand alone stories, or ones that flesh out current novels, adding more information to certain events within the novels?

The Seventh Star Singles can all be read as stand alone stories, but they do provide more content for fans of the series they are affiliated with.  Steven Shrewsbury’s new Gorias stories give those who have read the novel Thrall more insights into Gorias La Gaul’s character, and his experiences.  Michael’s stories are connected to a specific place, Harmony Indiana, which is a root of a number of his horror stories.  The Chronicles of Ave will be giving quite a bit out about the history of Ave, but I can see a few short stories being set in a time concurrent with the events of the novel series.  The same thing is true for my Annals of the Rising Dawn, which will contain short stories ranging from the pre-Flood period all the way up to the time where most of the events in the novels are located. They will all be stand alone tales, but certain ones will undoubtedly have connections with, and additional material related to, the events portrayed in our novel series.

Do Singles need to be read in conjunction with the novels in the series, or could a reader pick up the Single and follow the story without having read anything else by the author?

They can be read entirely on a stand alone basis, and we hope readers will give these a try, as they are a nice way to sample the various SSP authors.  There is absolutely no need for the reader to be familiar with the various series or novels in order to enjoy these stories. 

What is the difference between these Singles and novellas that authors sometimes write in-between their full-length novels?  Will there be a page length limit for the Singles?

They are generally going to be short stories ranging in size from 2,500 words to 10,000 words.  Novellas could appear at some point, but most likely would get their own treatment, as the Seventh Star Singles are designed to be a steadily growing short story collection. 

Are you planning on writing Singles to accompany both of your series?

There will be many more if all goes well.  I am almost finished with a couple of more, in fact.  There’s a good chance that some of my horror fiction may see light in the context of this series as well.  Definitely expect much more to come.

What else can you tell us about the Seventh Star Singles that readers should know?

They’re very inexpensive at 99 cents apiece, and they do not require a huge time commitment, so I hope that readers will give a few of these a try.  If readers enjoy any of our stories, I encourage them to check out the novels related to them, and please do not hesitate to write up a GoodReads review, Amazon review, or other online activity like that.  These types of things are highly helpful to authors such as myself, Michael, and Steven. 

Stay tuned to Seventh Star Press, as I have a hunch that some of the other authors will be coming aboard this series soon enough.

Thank you very much Shana, for interviewing me and introducing the new series!  I really hope you enjoy these short stories as much as I love writing them.


Thank you Stephen!  It’s been a pleasure having you on the blog today!

And NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!!!  Seventh Star Press is giving away all EIGHT of their ebook Singles to three lucky winners!

What the three winners will win:

  1. Goodnight by Michael West
  2. For the River is Wide and the Gods are Hungry by Michael West

Click the links above to see the synopsis and cover information for the first six titles.  Michael West’s Singles are not yet updated on the Seventh Press Website as they are that new!

All you have to do is enter your name and email in order to win, but there are extra entry options if you’re interested!

To enter you must:

  • Be 13 years or older (or have parent/guardian permission)
  • Fill in the required information on the form below (extra entries optional)

Click this ENTRY FORM to enter!

This contest is open INTERNATIONALLY (as long as you can read the EBook) and will end January 18 at 11:59 EST. Please only enter once. The winners will be announced in a separate post on January 19, and will receive email notification! Please read my giveaway policy and leave a comment!


Thanks again Shana for the chance to be on your site! And anyone reading the interview, feel free to leave questions here or reach out to me on Facebook, Google+, and my website. I always have time for readers! :)

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