Friday, September 6, 2013

Book Tour--WRAGE

WRAGE by Joseph Spencer
An occult crime thriller

-What book and/or experience made you want to be a writer?

I think a number of books including Count of Monte Cristo, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes’ stories inspired me, but it was when my then girlfriend and now wife got me hooked on watching the TV show Castle that I thought why not me? I’d worked as a newspaper reporter for 10 years before switching careers, and I wanted to feel the creative outlet I had with writing again.

-What genre do you write?

I write occult crime thrillers. It’s funny after some of my friends and family read my debut Grim they said they were impressed with my work before adding that they were scared for my wife’s safety. I write dark stuff. Many people have reviewed it as not for the faint of heart.


Sometimes the toughest fight lies within yourself.

As more dark secrets come to light, the battle for souls pushes Prairieville to the brink of war in the living and supernatural realms.

Jeff Wrage swears a blood oath to Abaddon, the supernatural avenger of murder victims, to hunt the crooked cop who butchered his wife. Jeff wonders whether he can be the executioner Abaddon requires. Their pact throws the supernatural realm in chaos and threatens to trigger an apocalyptic fight for control of the afterlife between the Sons of Darkness and Sons of Light foretold in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Orlando Marino sees the death of Cyrus Black as his opportunity to restore the Marino family's stronghold in Prairieville’s organized crime scene and become a mob kingpin. He unleashes a plague, turning its victims into mindless followers. Cyrus' heir is busy rooting out a traitor and is unable to stop the coming turf war in the realm of man.

The fate of all rests with Homicide Detective Anna Duke, who steps into the shoes of her mentor while coming to terms with unrequited love. As she tries to clear the fallen hero's name, she takes on a case where corpses go missing. Her new partner is reported dead. She learns the truth about her true identity and uncovers a trail of secrets questioning her tragic past. She journeys to avert the destruction of all creation.


Chained to a rock in a dry stream bed, Jeff Wrage knew he’d become a helpless prisoner who could do nothing more than wait for his captor. Stormy skies threatened from directly above him with bright flares of lightning snaking among sooty clouds and disappearing. Out of the corner of his eye, he could detect that the sun was shining brightly on the other side of the rock.

Scant rays of brilliant sunshine peeked over the rock, reflecting bright light off a magnificent golden shrine on a bank not far from where he was chained.

This can’t be real. He’d never seen a place like this in his life.

Large wet drops crashed against his skin. The coolness of the rain streaking down his body caused steam to rise from his skin, which he noticed had turned a dark shade of crimson.

The only being this red was….

“Lucifer,” a calm voice echoed from above Jeff on the shoreline.

A giant, dressed in white armor sparkling like diamonds in the spare sunlight, stepped into view. He wielded a golden-hilted silver sword in one hand and a silver shield with the Latin inscription “Quis ut Deus” (I am like God) on the front in the other hand. He loomed above Jeff. A large gold cross ran down the center of the giant’s breastplate. A second inlaid golden cross glinted at the center of his white helmet. The helmet obscured his face, save for flawless ivory skin which radiated a blinding light. There was something across his back casting a large shadow, but Jeff couldn’t see what it was.

“You were thinking of Lucifer, whose skin is often portrayed as red,” the giant said. The ivory giant stepped into full view. From his back a pair of massive wings spanned over ten feet wide and five feet long majestically fluttering in the breeze, yet didn’t cast a shadow. The rain pelting Jeff in the eyes didn’t touch this giant. He certainly was no man. The only thing Jeff could compare it to would be—

“An angel,” the giant completed Jeff’s sentence again. “You are correct.”

-For aspiring writers, any tips?

I would just encourage them to write every day. It’s easy if you’re not a full-time writer to get out of the habit. I’d also say that no matter how much rejection you face that you need to keep going until you see your dreams through to the end.

-What’s your favorite book/genre to read?

I read mostly crime fiction or mysteries, often with some sort of supernatural or paranormal element.

-What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?

I think I improved my writing skills in Wrage. When I decided to expand Grim into the Sons of Darkness series with Wrage, I incorporated many references from religion and historical lore. The “War Scroll” from the Dead Sea Scrolls foretells of an apocalyptic fight between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness in which Light will earn eternal peace by destroying Darkness. Each son in the Sons of Darkness series will represent a deadly sin, and each son in my future Sons of Light series will symbolize a cardinal virtue. Wrage introduces the coming struggle between these two forces in both the supernatural and mortal realms.


As a boy, Joseph Spencer immersed himself in the deductive logic of Sherlock Holmes, the heroic crime fighting of Batman and Spider-Man, and a taste for the tragic with dramas from poets like Shakespeare and Homer.

Joseph Spencer lives in central Illinois and has a full-time job as a manager at a 9-1-1 emergency communications center. He graduated summa cum laude from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications.

He’s the author of the Sons of Darkness series of occult crime thrillers inspired by the Dead Sea Scrolls. The “War Scroll” from the Dead Sea Scrolls foretells of an apocalyptic fight between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness in which Light will earn eternal peace by destroying Darkness. Each son in the Sons of Darkness series will represent a deadly sin, and each son in my future Sons of Light series will symbolize a cardinal virtue.

Joseph worked as a newspaper journalist for ten years in large regional daily newspapers at Peoria, Ill., Burlington, Iowa, Martinsville, Va., and Grand Junction, Colo. Five years ago, Joseph switched careers to join public safety because the outlook of the newspaper industry wasn’t too bright. That’s when he started thinking about a fiction writing career because I missed the creative outlet of writing. Joseph has been writing fiction for the past 2 ½ years.

Visit Joseph’s website. Connect with him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @josephspencer00.

Check him out on Google+, Goodreads, and Linkedin.

YouTube trailers

Hey readers,

Chained to a rock…ouch.

Follow the rest of the tour here.

And don’t forget to comment for a chance at a prize.

Joseph will be awarding a $25 Starbucks gift certificate to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Something About Fantasy

Good Wednesday,

I recently read a review of a fantasy book I enjoyed. This review, however, came from someone who didn’t quite enjoy the book as much as I did, and their review included many complaints about the story. No way do I think that everyone should like the books I like, but one of this person’s issues caught my attention.

The review’s writer was annoyed that the book’s tech level was reminiscent of both Medieval and more industrial revolution-type stuff. Upon reading this, I deduced one of two things about this reader. Either they just wanted something else bad to say about the book, or they are unaware of one of the biggest characteristics of the fantasy genre.

Fantasy is just that, fantasy. It is fake, fantastic, imaginary, fictional, pretend. Epic fantasy in particular is whatever the author wants it to be. The world can function however the author wants it to. Magic can have whatever powers and impact the author wants. Seasons can happen (or not happen) in whatever order (or no order) the author wants. Technology can exist in whatever mode the author wants. The beauty of fantasy is that it does not need to follow the rules of the real world, thus a world that includes tech from various parts of Earth’s history is totally acceptable.

There you have it—something about fantasy. Something important to boot. I’ve talked to people who hold the belief that all fantasy worlds are “just earth with different place names and some magic thrown in.” My urge upon hearing this opinion is to pat those people on the head and tell them “it’ll be all right, child.” 

Thanks for reading.

@desantismt on Twitter

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How to Give a Good Critique (Part II)

Hi folks,

I’ve been very MIA lately. I had pages of thesis due Friday (I submitted 60 of them), and my Teaching Popular Fiction class began last week. Don’t be surprised if, in future, there are posts about teaching.

There isn’t a post about teaching today, though I hope something is learned. Back in March I wrote a post about giving a good critique. I’d like to add to it.

-How not to word a critique—“You need to do the following.”

Even if something would improve a story/fix confusion, starting with the words “you need” is not a good way to convey this. The idea of a critique is not to come off as if you are attacking either the writer or their work. Critiquing, yes. Criticizing, no. To the writer, “you need” says “I know better.” Even “There needs to be” is better. That says “in order for the story to work, from my perspective, the following needs to happen.” Be careful with this, though. Use only when explaining things that have already happened that, as of yet, do not make sense. Do not say it about things that have not happened yet because that is telling the writer how to write. And no one likes that.

-Listen to your critique partners

And remember what they say. If they repeat themselves about a change they are making, don’t say you didn’t hear them or that you didn’t know. On top of this, do not back up your “I didn’t hear/know” with your version of how you want the story to go. That will, in all likelihood, not be received well.

Now, “take these broken wings (lessons?) and learn to fly.”

Thanks for reading, and I should be back to posting more regularly.

@desantismt on Twitter