Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, YA
Series: Legends Walk (Book 1)
A Few Questions for the Author
Q1: If you could become any one of your book’s characters, who would it be and why?
Pina. Okay, so a six-foot-tall, 200 lb guy becoming a diminutive forest sprite might not sound like a logical choice. But I had a lot of fun writing Pina in this first book and the sequel, which is currently with my beta readers. I like her simplistic outlook and connection with nature—not to mention she has some kick-ass magic of her own.
Q2: What do you consider to be the central plot of your story?
A classic reluctant hero’s journey through a landscape of good vs. evil, supported by the framework of powerful music turned magic. Music flows through Ed’s veins, making him the perfect choice to record the A-Chord’s first album, but a witch threatens his sister and presses him for information. A crazy old Native American reveals an impossible heritage that lets Ed focus music into true magic. But he’ll need help from the band, his friends, and more to save his sister and overcome the dark creatures aligned against them.
Q3: When did you know you were destined to be a writer?
Early on I knew I wanted to write fantastic stories. I consumed every bit of SciFi and Fantasy I could get my hands on, read until 2 am each night, and knew I wanted to craft tales that transport people to the wonderful places I saw in my mind’s eye. I wrote a few short stories in high school and college, but took the Navy route for my first career before getting back to typing.
About the Book
The apocalypse didn’t arrive with nuclear war or a plague of zombies, just a quiet virus that sterilized most everyone and put humanity’s future in jeopardy. Fifty years later, seventeen-year-old Ed Johnson plies his musical talents in New Philadelphia, jumping at the chance to help launch a coworker’s band. But Quinn, their beautiful bassist, is inexplicably cold toward him, and other strange things are afoot.
In spite of a growing unease, Ed shrugs off being stalked by a crazy, old Native American and a frightening crone. But when nightmare creatures threaten his sister, Ed discovers he is bound to the strangers. To get out of this mess, he must enlist the help of his friends and Quinn, who harbors her own dark secret.
But there is little time for Ed to discover the true power of music and save them, himself, and perhaps the future of the human race.
Read an Excerpt
If the woman’s face was ancient, her eyes were older still, prehistoric and primeval. The left drew down a fraction at the outer corner as if from a minor stroke. The right was wider and filled with a whitish, almost sparkling cloud of rheumy film. Her gaze chilled my blood.
“Tell me,” she repeated, and this time the gust of wind that accompanied her command sliced at me with cold, angry knives.
There was a pressure to her words, an irate teacher’s command, the audience’s breathless expectation, and the finality of a falling gavel, all rolled into one. This was the force that had been under my skin all morning, wheedling into my skull, compelling me to tell her…what? My head throbbed, making it hard to think.
“Edan, catch!” I dragged my eyes away from the old woman, toward the voice that intruded on our quiet little standoff.
Something flashed toward my face. By instinct, I snatched it out of the air. My clenched hand warmed, and the icy wind subsided. I looked back at the old woman. She had shrunken, become less foreboding. Her compelling gaze was just a glower directed not at me but at the man that shuffled toward us.
“This is none of your affair!” the woman spat. “Go back to your deserts.”
“In time.” Mr. Fedora chuckled in his cracked voice. Great, now I had two loonies to deal with, but at least he had diverted the old woman’s strange intensity.
“I have a journey to complete, a vacation, if you will.”
As the hunched Fedora joined us, the woman fell back, a pace at first, then three. Her bad eye caught a shaft of sunlight, and the white film within shifted and danced. With one last, malevolent glare she spun away and was gone. It was strange, I didn’t see where she went. I assumed back to her stand, but when I looked, the confection table had already been taken down.
Fun Book Facts
Strange Tidings is set in the fictional town of New Philadelphia near where Jim grew up. As seems to be the way with writers, several of his likes and experiences crept into the story. These include—in no particular order—soft pretzels, Rock music, and a character based on his muse, Marley the Great Dane.
The first half of Strange Tidings was drafted during the 2015 NaNoWriMo challenge where authors attempt to write 50,000 words during November. The second half of the story flowed that December followed by a half a dozen rewrites, beta reads, and the pitch to his editor from TWRP in Oct 2016.
About the Author
Jim Stein couldn’t get enough SciFi and Fantasy growing up. Libraries, drugstores, and the bookstore at the mall were favorite haunts to hunt for exciting covers and fantastic stories. He rarely found himself “between books,” and still loves to let his imagination soar with a good read.
Tangled type bars and stubborn ribbon on his dad’s Royal typewriter gave rise to Jim’s first ill-conceived attempts at high fantasy. After two degrees in computer science and three decades as a naval officer, Jim is back at it—albeit this time on a laptop with wireless keyboard and a 39-inch monitor.
To work through his plots and character development, Jim and his muse walk the river trail. Marley isn’t just a Great Dane, she’s a great listener—as long as the local cow herd isn’t pacing along beside them. It’s a shame she doesn’t fit in the kayak.
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It’s been my pleasure hosting fellow Wild Rose Press author, Jim Stein, on Notes From a Romantic’s Heart. There are plenty more blog tours to follow and another special guest expected on May 11th. I hope you’ll come back again soon!