Orison, at long last


We have come to publish Daniel Swensen, not to praise him —

Oh, who are we kidding? Let’s do both!

Today marks the release day of Orison, the debut novel of Daniel Swensen.



This is the second novel published by Nine Muse Press (the first being “Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire” by Paul Ramey, available here)

I know you have all enjoyed reading the release week posts (viewable here). Thanks to our amazing Nine Muse Press affiliate bloggers: Ruth, Angela, Lisa, Tracy and Emmie! Your creative reflections on Daniel’s characters have been a joy to read.

Thanks to my tireless partners at Nine Muse Press, Paul Ramey and Tina Ramey. Without you, I assure you none of this could have happened. Look at us manifest!

And, finally, thanks to Daniel for creating a world that I could not rest until I shared with our world.

I’d like to present the world premiere of the book trailer for Orison.


And once you’ve watched it, you can buy it…

HERE! (Amazon link)

or HERE! (Nine Muse Press link, for those who can’t use the Amazon link or need .pub copies. You can also find amazing downloads for wallpaper, banners and so forth in our media kit)

And, last of all, be sure to enter in our fantabulous Rafflecopter and share and share and share till you cannot share anymore!
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Orison: An Editor’s Perspective

As Nine Muse Press kicks off our Orison release week extravaganza, I thought I’d take a look back at the journey with this book.

The job of an editor is a strange one. After all, any decent word-processor can catch spelling or grammar errors.  My job is to cut away the excess verbiage, the clumsy sentences, the lazy cliche, drag away all that obfuscates the luminescence of the author’s vision. If a scene is in the wrong place, if the pacing is off, if a character is redundant, if the ending is weak, if the opening is slow…these are the places where I come forward with ideas to improve. They are only ever ideas; the author has the last word. But I see the potential in a manuscript. Once I get it, the work has just begun.

I do not sell my services. That is to say, I don’t work as an editor for an hourly rate (though it would doubtless be more lucrative). I only edit books that Nine Muse Press accepts for publication. If I’m doing my job right, the author may struggle with whether to strangle or hug me at any given moment.

Perhaps I should take a step back and relate why fantasy matters to me. When I started reading as a child, the fantasy genre was my first love: a common story with gawky, socially-awkward and shy girl. It swept me away to misty mountains, to faery bowers, to the Mines of Moria and the snowy woods of Narnia. I will read fantasy till I die.

It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that the protagonists were almost never like me: that is, a girl who was neither beautiful nor magical. Though there were a few notable exceptions, they were usually male: callow youths or hardened swordsmen.

When I first read Orison, I was intrigued. Calushain felt real to me, those who peopled it felt real too. There was one secondary character named Story that I fell hopelessly, irrevocably in love. Story was not beautiful nor magical. She was an ordinary girl who had been dealt a rough hand, then been given an extraordinary chance to change her life forever.

We decided Orison would be the second novel that Nine Muse Press released. And then Daniel and I started scrubbing away at the book to make it gleam. If we were content with just releasing a pretty good book, we could have published it three or four months ago. That is, a book with no errors or typos. But it would not be the book it is today.

Today, I am privileged to announce that on the last day of February in the year two thousand and fourteen, Daniel Swensen’s Orison will be a reality and you will be able to download it to your very own e-reader. Paperbacks are next, fear not, ye fellow Luddites of mine. We have so many wonderful things in store for you this week.


Every day, there will be a brand new post from a Nine Muse Press Affiliate blogger that celebrates a different character in the book. Be sure to check them all out this week, as they will have a ton of exclusive, never-before-released content. I have them listed below for your reading pleasure this week.

Sunday, Feb. 23: Ruth Long and Wrynn at 6 pm EST

Monday, Feb. 24: Angela Goff and Dunnac at 2 pm EST

Tuesday, Feb. 25: Lisa V. Tomecek-Bias and Ashen at 2 pm EST

Wednesday, Feb. 26: Tracy McCusker and Camana at 2 pm EST

Thursday, Feb. 27: Emmie Mears and Story at 2 pm EST

Friday, Feb. 28: HAPPY RELEASE DAY!

This book represents a tremendous amount of work and love and I am terrifically proud to be a part of its inception. My most sincere gratitude to my NMP partners, Paul and Tina Ramey. And, to Daniel, for sharing your world with us.


Minionmas, zombies and 15 fans

For the holidays, I ran a contest for the Dark Fairy Queen writing group minions. I called it Minionmas and the way to enter was by sharing the work of others. People gathered chances to win by sharing (and purchasing!) books and content of their fellow minions and by tagging it with #Minionmas. We had over a hundred entries, which made the #DFQ very happy.

I did this because I believe that for indie authors to ever succeed, they must band together to support each other, generously. Helping others makes them want to help you.


The winner (chosen randomly from the entries) won a guest post on Yearning for Wonderland.

The winner was J. Whitworth Hazzard and his very insightful post on the perils and pleasures of being an indie author is below. Please read it and leave some #minionluv in the comments.

And, for what it’s worth, he actually has 16 fans.

15 Fans

By J. Whitworth Hazzard

As of today, I have exactly fifteen fans. Trust me, I counted them carefully.

For someone who’s put out three serials on Amazon, been in four anthologies, and won a score of flash fiction contests, that doesn’t seem like a lot, does it? It’s not a mistake.

Mistakes were big for me in 2013. I learned some big lessons this past year, in what I consider my journey from novice to almost-but-not-quite-published writer.

My biggest lesson was that now is my time to fail. In all sorts of wonderful, spectacular ways. It’s not a bad thing to fail, either. It’s a very, very good thing. Off the top of my head, I can rattle off failures in grammar, plotting, editing, formatting, cover art, hiring contractors, critiquing, marketing, and networking. Hell, I even pissed off one of my beta readers so bad, they don’t talk to me anymore. I screwed up. And I’m glad I’m doing it now.

The small scale failures have helped me to balance my enthusiasms. There’s less pressure to be perfect and more incentive to take risks. When you allow yourself to take risks, you’ll wind up with stories that don’t fit into a marketing category, but damn if those aren’t the stories that are fun to tell. Dead Sea Games, a plucky little tale about a teenage survivor of the zombie apocalypse in New York City isn’t the kind of work that attracts the six-figure, debut novel deal. Those aren’t going to land on my desk. Realistically, (and this is a hard truth to swallow) my craft just isn’t there yet.

If some dark fairy queen did drop off a contract with lots of zeroes attached, I’d likely start having anxiety attacks. My work is fair on most days, good on some, and great rarely, and though I wish that readers would give authors second and third chances, I don’t think that’s realistic. With the world filling up with authors of the published and self-published kind, and entertainment of all other stripes filling the small voids, a reader’s time to invest is shrinking rapidly.

Fifteen fans are enough for me. I love them. I know them. And they’ll get me through this awkward phase. This horrible, ego-crushing stage where you have good ideas and good intentions, but can’t seem to translate them to success, either on the page or on the bottom line of sales. I hope I eventually grow out of this stage, but it takes a kind of fearlessness/obstinacy to keep making these mistakes.

Fifteen million fans would crush me under the weight of each tiny error and my journey would be over. But my fifteen fans forgive me my blatant overuse of commas, my melodramatic cheese, and the giant plot holes regarding zombies on the streets of New York. These fans are the basis of my motivation. They sustain me.

I think of myself as a storyteller. Happiness, to me, is sitting around a campfire telling ghost stories. I’ve watched eyes light up as you unfold mysteries and hit those punch lines with perfect timing. That is what I’m hooked on, and if I only ever get to tell stories to a room of fifteen people…well, that’s good enough for me.

Get J. Whitworth Hazzard’s first book, Dead Sea Games: Adrift, for only 99 cents on Amazon – you’re sure to be hooked!



One and half million people used to live on the island of Manhattan. Used to. Now—after the Emergency—all but a tiny fraction of those wander the streets as the living dead, searching for human flesh to devour. Jeremy Walters is one of the few survivors, living on the rooftops, making every day count adrift in a sea of zombies.

The adults may be content just to be alive, but Jeremy knows that the Colony is a cruel joke. To a teenager, just existing isn’t enough. Without hope, without a future, without any chance of escape, they might as well all be dead.

When two of their own go missing, this fifteen-year-old boy with a bad attitude and reckless streak a mile wide is determined to go after the lost survivors and bring them home. He’ll teach them all what it means to be a true hero. Zombies, gangs, and treacherous NYC landscape are the least of Jeremy’s worries. He’s got to come back alive—or his mother will kill him.


About the Author

J. Whitworth Hazzard lives in the vast cornfields of Illinois with his wife, and four nearly perfect children.  A Geek-for-Hire by day, J. Whitworth has worked for over a decade fixing minor computer problems, some of which he did not even cause.   He prepares technical documents for a living and tries not to include any zombies in reports on server upgrades and network outages (although not always successfully).

Dr. Hazzard has a PhD in molecular biophysics that he now uses to figure out how to scientifically justify the existence of mythical creatures.  Trained in science and critical thinking, J. Whitworth spends his leisure time writing fiction that would make his former professors cringe.  He has been a life-long writer and has spent more than his fair share of time writing about all kinds of ridiculous things.  His dream of writing for a living started in the 5th grade when his five page story “The Blood and Guts 500” entranced and thrilled his classmates.  His passionate prosody received a standing ovation and from that day forward he was hooked on the art of story telling.

Follow Dr. Hazzard’s adventures in fiction on:

Twitter: @Zombiemechanics (https://twitter.com/zombiemechanics)

Facebook: J. Whitworth Hazzard (http://www.facebook.com/jwhitworthhazzard)

Web: Zombiemechanics Blog (http://zombiemechanics.com)