01/6/14

“THE DEVIL’S HORIZON” NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!

The Devil's Horizon PaperbackMore good news! Book 3 of the Devil’s Fire series, The Devil’s Horizon, is now available in paperback (in addition to Kindle).

Click here to get it from Amazon, or ask for it at your local bookstore.

Synopsis:

The Golden Age of Piracy is drawing to a close. Captain Guy Dillahunt recklessly pursues the infamous Charles Vane across the Caribbean, risking the lives of his entire crew for one last chance at glory. Former strumpet Jacqueline Calloway uncovers a dark destiny she never could have imagined. The dashing Gabe Jenkins attempts to right the wrongs of his past, and meets an enemy he does not expect. Kate Lindsay engages in a final battle for her freedom, while friend and foe alike conspire against her. The horizon beckons, but few will survive to reach it.

01/5/14

Meet the voice of Katherine Lindsay!

Laurel SchroederThe talented Laurel Schroeder will narrate The Devil’s Fire audiobook. Laurel provides a wide array of distinctive voices and accents for each character.

“Narrating The Devil’s Fire has been one of my favorite jobs so far,” says Laurel. “I read the novel cover to cover before I stepped into the recording booth, but I still find myself on pins and needles as I record, excited to get to the next part!”

Laurel lives in Chicago, where she works as an actress in film, voiceover, and onstage. She graduated from the University of Houston with an MFA in Acting. “I’ve found audiobook narration to be the perfect avenue for all of my acting training. I love sharing stories with listeners, and especially enjoy bringing complex, well-written characters to life.”

The Devil’s Fire audiobook will be distributed by Audible early this year, available on Amazon and iTunes. An official release date will be announced soon.

Visit Laurel’s website here: http://www.laurelschroeder.com/

12/1/13

The Devil’s Tide: Devil’s Fire Book 2 Is Now Available in Paperback!

tide_adThe Devil’s Tide now joins The Devil’s Fire in Paperback. The third book, The Devil’s Horizon will be available in the coming weeks.

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

Synopsis:

Hostage-turned-pirate Kate Lindsay returns in this action-packed followup to The Devil’s Fire, and the last thing she wants is to go back to her mundane life in London. A young pirate narrowly avoids the gallows when the governor of the Bahamas enlists his aid in bringing Lindsay to justice. A pirate hunter returns to his old ways, with the demons of his past swiftly following his trail. A beautiful strumpet falls in league with Blackbeard, witnessing his despicable crimes firsthand, before she becomes a pawn in his schemes. As all sides spiral toward a fiery climax, nothing is at it seems, and the odds are in favor of death.

11/16/13

You can finally hold The Devil’s Fire in your hands…

df_adYou have no idea how long I’ve waited to make that pun.

THE DEVIL’S FIRE NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK

It’s been a long time coming, but The Devil’s Fire: Book One is now available in a beautiful trade paperback edition! Not everyone likes Kindle ebooks. Some people want to hold a product in their hands and smell the pages. Now you can. Books are as old as time, and I don’t think they’re going anywhere anytime soon.

I’ve enjoyed great sales and received emails from countless Kate Lindsay fans. Many of you have asked for a physical version of the book, and this is for you. For me, the book has been made real at last. It’s no longer just digital air.

The book is now available on Amazon and will be available in bookstores in 2014, including Barnes and Noble. The more people that ask for the book, the more stock bookstores will order. So when you’re in your local bookstore, be sure to inquire about it!

The sequels will follow in the coming weeks. Keep a weather eye on mtomerlin.com, or facebook.com/thedevilsfire.

1397993_605276172863714_411214889_oOfficial synopsis:

The waters of the Caribbean run red in this brutal tale of revenge during the Golden Age of Piracy. Katherine Lindsay, the pampered young wife of a wealthy ship captain, has left her leisurely life in London to accompany her husband to America. So far, their journey has been uneventful, even boring. But when ruthless pirates suddenly storm the ship to plunder her husband’s riches, Katherine is one of the treasures they steal, sparking a bloody chain of events that will alter the course of piracy in the Caribbean forever. Pirate and adventure lovers will find no shortage of treachery, cutlass duels, ship battles, buried treasure and much, much more.

11/8/13

Endless Fun in the Golden Age of Piracy: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Review

A kinder Blackbeard... at first

A kinder Blackbeard… at first

When I wrote the chapter in “The Devil’s Fire” which describes a pirate ship broadsiding a Spanish galleon in a tumultuous Caribbean sea at the height of the Golden Age of Piracy, I never expected I’d be able to experience such a thing. The latest Assassin’s Creed game has allowed me to do that, and a whole lot more.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag gives the player free reign of the Caribbean, starting in 1715, when history’s most infamous pirates made their names. The seamless transition between sea and land is exhilarating. As you explore the Caribbean, you’re free to furl your ship’s sails and leap into the crystal blue waters and explore any island you happen across. The gameplay yields to the wants of the player, rather than the other way around. You can attack ships, hunt whales and sharks, explore mysterious coves and Mayan ruins, or wander an island town and engage in a tavern brawl.

Black Flag stars Edward Kenway, a Welshman who has temporarily (he hopes) left his wife in order to pursue fortune in the Caribbean. He naively tells her he will be gone a year, two at the most. But Kenway’s plans change when he stumbles upon a Templar conspiracy.

Those who are unfamiliar with previous Assassin’s Creed games, which have constructed quite a complicated mythology, need not worry. Black Flag continues the story but doesn’t require players to have a deep knowledge of prior games. While the same Templar conspiracy that propelled Assassin’s Creed 1, 2, and 3 also runs through Black Flag, the story is fairly easy to get a handle on. It may carry the title of a popular franchise, but this is a pirate game through and through.

Edward Kenway’s story weaves conveniently in and out of history. He meets up with Edward “Blackbeard” Thatch (not Teach, in this telling), Benjamin Hornigold, Charles Vane, “Calico Jack” Rackham, and Anne Bonny, just to name a few. Kenway acts as a behind-the-scenes instigator, sparking key events in history but wisely remaining under the radar. When Woodes Rogers claims Nassau and turns out all pirates, Kenway helps Captain Vane set a ship on fire in the harbor as an act of defiance. The incident is just one of many that actually occurred. Hornigold’s surrender to Governor Rogers, which earned him the bile of his former compatriots, was particularly fun for me to watch, given Hornigold’s part in The Devil’s Fire series.

Anne Bonny plays a large role

Anne Bonny plays a large role

Edward Thatch’s transition into Blackbeard is natural and surprisingly poignant. This is a slightly different interpretation of the man who would become the feared Devil of the Caribbean. He is not an overly cruel man who kills beyond necessity, but he plays up a frightful visage when it becomes clear that it will take him that much further.

Black Flag does not brush over the details, including the large role that women played in piracy. Kenway has run-ins with Mary Read and Anne Bonny. Bonny is a fiery Irish lass who takes what she wants when she wants it.

The graphics are stunning. The gorgeous Caribbean sea stretches for leagues, with beautiful, realistic water effects. Islands are green and lush, and the sandy beaches are white and inviting. The weather is unpredictable, and before you know it you might find your ship caught up in a violent storm, struggling to avoid dangerous funnels that stretch from the clouds to the sea. Rogue waves can be just as devastating as a frigate’s broadside.

There are three major cities: Nassau, Kingston, and Havana. Liberties have been taken with the geography, but that is probably a necessary evil when making a game that is both fun to play and easy to navigate. In concurrence with history, Nassau changes drastically over the course of the game, beginning as nothing more than rundown shanties and evolving into a bustling town.

A varied cast of talented voice actors bring every character to life. I particularly enjoyed Blackbeard and Bonny’s voice actors. The sound design is excellent, from the crashing of waves against your ship’s hull to the strange animal ambiance that accompanies nightfall in an island town or jungle setting. Brian Tyler’s (Watchmen) score is very cinematic, with a catchy main theme that I found myself humming when I wasn’t playing.

While I’ve progressed through most of the story missions, I’m nowhere near done with it. I’ve got plenty more whales to kill, ships to broadside, forts to terrorize, shipwrecks to investigate, and islands to explore. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is a must for anyone even remotely interested in pirates.

07/16/13

“It’s too violent!”

The Devil's Fire LogoI get this a lot.

My pirate books are too violent.

Let’s think about that for a moment. I wrote The Devil’s Fire specifically because I was tired of fanciful, romantic pirate stories. In reality, there was nothing fanciful or romantic about being a pirate. Quite the opposite. It was a horrible life that soured even the most innocent sailors. It is no wonder that after months at sea pirates so viciously swarmed upon the first vessel they came across. Their thirst for water, which was satiated with the poor substitute of rum, was swiftly confused with a thirst for blood.

I received an email recently asking if I would be so kind as to edit a young adult version of The Devil’s Fire series. I love the phrase, “Would you be so kind?” because it implies that anything less than compliance would be unkind.

The short answer is no, I will not be so kind, because this is not a kind story. It’s a gritty pirate story specifically written for adults. The fact of the matter is pirates are rarely treated seriously in any form of entertainment, and they haven’t been for some time now. There are hordes of romantic pirate novels out there. The modern view of 17th-18th century pirates is far removed from the reality, and I think that’s why the violence and profanity in The Devil’s Fire is so shocking to some readers.

Pirates were not nice people, and they did not live long lives. They often died terrible deaths. There were a thousand ways to die in a ship battle, few of them pretty. There is nothing romantic about being stabbed in the gut by a sword or shot in the face with a musket ball… let alone being impacted by a cannonball.

Now imagine a woman amidst these starved monsters. Should that be a fun tale? Should she fall in love with the man who murdered her husband? Should she be unaffected by her experience? I’m not interested in telling the story of a complacent woman among pirates, who swoons half-naked in the captain’s arms while the sun sets in the distance.

Everyone wants to be a pirate, or at least wanted to be one when they were younger. Pirates symbolize freedom from conformity and responsibility, and that is always a romantic notion. If I’ve done my job, The Devil’s Fire should make you think twice about wanting to be a pirate. Pirates did not lead the easy, happy-go-lucky lives that movies would have you believe. The irony of their lawless abandon is that their lives were typically harder than if they had simply conformed to the societal standards of the time.

There is nothing young adult about an innocent woman being kidnapped by pirates. Nor do I think it would be appropriate to turn such a story into a passionate romance. I would have trouble respecting a heroine who gave her soul to the man who destroyed her life.

I have no difficulty respecting Kate Lindsay.

05/20/13

The Devil’s Horizon is coming July 3rd!

The wait is almost over! The Devil’s Horizon is on track for a July 3rd release date on Amazon Kindle.

Official synopsis:

Ready your weapons and steel your courage. The third novel in “The Devil’s Fire” series is the most unpredictable entry yet, certain to broadside your expectations!

Captain Guy Dillahunt recklessly pursues the infamous Charles Vane across the Caribbean, risking the lives of his entire crew for one last chance at glory. Former strumpet Jacqueline Calloway uncovers a dark destiny she never could have imagined. The dashing Gabe Jenkins attempts to right the wrongs of his past, and meets an enemy he does not expect. Kate Lindsay engages in a final battle for her freedom, while friend and foe alike conspire against her.

The horizon beckons, but few will survive to reach it.

03/21/13

“The Devil’s Horizon” Preview Chapter: Meet Gabe Jenkins

3_DEVILSHORIZON_NEWTo make the wait a little less painful, here’s a preview chapter from The Devil’s Horizon, introducing the character of Gabe Jenkins. Enjoy!

 

GABE

Astrid was a pretty thing, as long as she smiled with her mouth closed. Her big crooked teeth marred an otherwise youthful, slender face, framed in full golden locks that curled without any incentive and rested on porcelain shoulders. She had big brown eyes and full red lips, ripe for kissing. Her bosom didn’t exactly fill his hands, and her hips were too narrow, but her lovemaking was always so energetic that Gabe was willing to forgive her physical scarcities. When it was his turn to take control, he grabbed her by the waist and flipped her over. She shrieked with delight as he grabbed a handful of her hair and pulled her head back. He exhaled into her ear. “Do you want me to stop?”

“No,” she gasped, reaching back to rake her nails along his thigh. Continue reading

12/14/12

Movie Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit review by Matt TomerlinThe main problem with movie critics is that they’re doing a job. Many of them were clearly paying more attention to their watches than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Personally, I relished the time spent in Middle Earth. The leisurely pace allows every scene to flourish and breathe. This is old fashioned cinema.

Martin Freeman does a good job as the intentionally stilted Bilbo, who is far more courageous than he knows. Freeman never goes over the top with his performance, and he’s somewhat of a relief from the oh-so-innocent Frodo. However, my favorite character was Thorin. Richard Armitage was perfectly cast. The relationship between him and Bilbo is the heart of this movie, and it builds toward a wonderful payoff. If this hadn’t worked, nothing else would have.

I don’t think any narrative magic would have me reciting all of the dwarves’ names on command, but they are all visually distinctive, and they feel like individuals. They are constantly moving and talking, and I’m sure I missed a lot of what they were saying because their dialogue is not always focused on. Every once in a while I’d catch some hilarious bit of background dialogue.

The cameos were nicely done, especially Bilbo and Frodo (Elijah Wood does not age). I loved that the older Bilbo sequence takes place *right* before Fellowship begins. Christopher Lee’s scene mostly foreshadows coming events with Saruman, although he already seems so dark that it’s kind of strange no one sees his betrayal coming.

The movie is not as emotional as any given Lord of the Rings movie. Dramatic beats are not milked for everything they’re worth, and the camaraderie never gets as hammy as it could get in the previous movies. I found this to be a welcome relief.

Most of the effects are a step above Lord of the Rings, which makes the bad effects all the more jarring. Azog The Defiler looks surprisingly awful, as if he wasn’t finished. I’m honestly not sure why this character was CG. The Goblin King, on the other hand, is exceptionally detailed (with a chin that will have parents exchanging nervous glances). The warg effects are pretty much just as flawed as they were in The Two Towers (especially when they’re running around in a field in broad daylight).

Despite some questionable effects, this movie was very easy on the eyes. The detail and scale of Goblin Town (which was the inspiration for Pirate Town in The Devil’s Tide, FYI) blew my mind. I can’t wait to watch this part again, because there’s so much going on. Gollum and his cave look great. Rivendell is absolutely stunning. I wanted to pause the film at times just so I could drink in every detail of an image, even though Peter Jackson kindly lingers on establishing shots.

A 6.3 Earthquake jolted our theater in Anaheim right as Bilbo was posing his final riddle, but no one made any move to leave their seats. In fact, I heard this exchange: “Was that an earthquake?” “Yes. Shh.”

The action scenes in the final half are excellent, although I found the thunder battle somewhat tedious, and I’m not sure it even needed to be in the movie. Sure, it looks cool, but it didn’t serve much of a purpose. The physics are more cartoony than Lord of the Rings. Characters can survive falling from ridiculous heights or being crushed by debris.

Howard Shore’s score is like a familiar warm blanket. Themes from Lord of the Rings seep into several scenes. The heroic dwarven theme is so stirring that I wanted to jump into the action and fight alongside these guys. I’m guessing Shore will add more themes in future installments.

The final moment is touching. Again, Jackson never gut punches you with emotion in this film, but I did get a sizable lump in my throat when Thorin finally sees Bilbo for who he is.