Category: Seventh Star Press

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review | Hero’s Best Friend: an Anthology of Animal Companions {edited by} Scott M. Sandridge

Posted Sunday, 20 May, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Tomorrow Comes Media and Seventh Star Press – whilst I participated on the blog tour in [2014] for this title, I was unable to read the stories for review until this year [2018]. I received a complimentary copy of “Hero’s Best Friend” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What originally drew me into wanting to read this lovely anthology:

Hero’s Best Friend

What I appreciate the most about this particular collection of stories is having each of them capture the essence of a genre-bending sphere of literary delight! They are representative of their actual genres, but they sound as though they give a bit more than what those branches of literature might usually encompass at the very same time! I love fiction that takes on new meanings and new depths, whether I am soaking into a book, a short story, or even whilst immersed into the latest Doctor Who episode I am discovering for the very first time! I find that the series is the epitome of ‘genre-bending’ and brilliance of execution on captivating a person’s attention at the jump-start beginning!

Sandridge and I share a common ground for appreciating animal companions, as his top three choices match my own, as I quite literally rented “Benji: the Hunted” from the rental shoppes so often they nearly gave me the VHS tapes for free! I say ‘nearly!’ as they never could seem to get permission from corporate to do so! Oy! I was simply captivated by Benji, for the same reasons I loved “The Adventures of Natty Gann” in which Natty’s companion is a wolf; “The Neverending Story” who as the wickedest dragon on the planet! (another film in common, he mentions this elsewhere on the tour!); the Mountain Family Robinson trilogy where Crest protected the family; previously I have mentioned my affection for “Pete’s Dragon”; and many others I am failing to draw to memory today! What I appreciate about Jack London is his ability to get your heart attached to a wolf in a way that is different than Natty Gann but is a bit similar to “Due South”; a tv series which features a deaf wolf who takes interest in protecting a Mountie!

From our beginnings of noting animal companions and animals in fiction, we differ a bit on our paths after childhood because I am suspecting the video games are not the ones I’d personally play myself! I’m always going to have half a step and foot on the family and children side of the ledger, not only because I’m a future foster-adoptive Mum, nor even because I’m an Auntie at present, but because I tend to like the innocence in stories for younger generations. I’d wrap myself into a family film far quicker than I would an intense video game! I am a gamer, a title I apparently acquired at three, as I’ve been playing games on the computer since I first started using one! Wayy back when Atari was all the rage and long before Nintendo or the ability to borrow my neighbourhood friend’s Sega Genesis so I could play with Sonic, the quirky hedgehog!

The best news of all, no matter how we gather our passions for animal companions, nor where we wander to find the companions that mean the world to their masters, we each have our own ‘coveted niche’ in the genres we appreciate reading and watching! And, I for one will always celebrate the uniqueness of our individual passions if we can sometimes draw a common thread towards each other and celebrate the love of story-telling which ignites a fever pitch passion for our imaginations!

-quoted from my Spotlight on behalf of Hero’s Best Friend

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#WyrdAndWonder Book Review | Hero’s Best Friend: an Anthology of Animal Companions {edited by} Scott M. SandridgeHero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions
by (Editor) Scott M. Sandridge, Herika R. Raymer
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa
Source: Direct from Publisher

How far would Gandalf have gotten without Shadowfax? Where would the Vault Dweller be without Dogmeat? And could the Beastmaster been the Beastmaster without his fuzzy allies? Animal companions are more than just sidekicks. Animals can be heroes, too!

Found within are twenty stories of heroic action that focuses on the furries and scalies who have long been the unsung heroes pulling their foolish human buddies out of the fire, and often at great sacrifice-from authors both established and new, including Frank Creed, S. H. Roddey, and Steven S. Long.

Whether you're a fan of Epic Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Science Fiction, or just animal stories in general, this is the anthology for you! So sit back, kick your feet up, and find out what it truly means to be the Hero's Best Friend.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1937929510

Also by this author: , Hero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, Gifts of the Magi

Series: Anthologies from Seventh Star Press


Also in this series: Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy, , A Chimerical World, Hero's Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions


Genres: Fantasy Fiction


Published by Seventh Star Press

on 12th February, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 472

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress)
Available Formats: Trade paperback & Ebook

Genres: Short Story | Fantasy | Animals in Fiction

Converse on Twitter: #HerosBestFriendAntho & #7thStar

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Stories inside: Hero’s Best Friend:

Joy Ward: “Toby and Steve Save the World”

Frank Creed: “Dusk”

Cassie Schau: “The Hunter’s Boy”

Steven Donahue: “Grit”

Jason Cordova: “Hill 142”

Herika R. Raymer: “Dook”

Essel Pratt: “Brothers”

Lisa Hawkridge: “Ezra’s Girl”

S. H. Roddey: “Look What the Cat Dragged In.”

Steven S. Long: “The Wolf Sentinel”

Laura Anne Ewald: “Memorandum”

Cindy Koepp: “The Hat”

Ian Hunter: “Scarheid in the Glisting”

Steven Grassie: “The Masterless”

David Wright: “Wind of Change”

Renee Carter Hall: “The Emerald Mage”

Nick Bryan: “The Violet Curse”

Lillian Csernica & Kevin Andrew Murphy: “The Restless Armadillo”

Douglas J. Ogurek: “Stuck on the Squigglybounce”

Sheila Deeth: “Passage”

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About (Editor) Scott M. Sandridge

Scott M. Sandridge Photo Credit: Stephen Zimmer, taken on a book convention floor.

Scott M. Sandridge is a writer, editor, freedom fighter, and all-around trouble-maker. His latest works as an editor include the Seventh Star Press anthologies Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, and the two volumes of A Chimerical World, Tales of the Seelie Court and Tales of the Unseelie Court.

Photo Credit: Stephen Zimmer, taken on a book convention floor

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Posted Sunday, 20 May, 2018 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Action & Adventure Fiction, An Editor Point of View, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Anthology Collection of Stories, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Convention, Bookish Discussions, Fantasy Fiction, Genre-bender, Imaginarium, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Science Fiction, Seventh Star Press, Short Stories or Essays, Speculative Fiction, The Writers Life, Tomorrow Comes Media, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Writing Style & Voice

Stories on the Rise | An interview in 3 parts: two actors & the film-maker behind “Rayden Valkyrie: TV Pilot” by Seventh Star Studios

Posted Wednesday, 23 August, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 3 Comments

Stories on the Rise Banner created by Jorie in Canva

The Rayden Valkyrie TV Pilot began as a crowd-funding project via Kickstarter. Once funded production began and the pilot grew into a project which is now finding position within the current television market to gain traction to be built into a full production of a serial. This interview goes behind the scenes – where two of the pilot’s actors share their takeaways with being a part of the pilot and where the film-maker behind creating ‘Rayden Valkyrie’ (the character based on his novels) shares a few secrets with his readers, his future audience and those of us who have followed his publishing endeavours (via Seventh Star Press and their authorly collective) in the book blogosphere.

Seventh Star Press is one of the first publishers I started to host for during the Autumn of 2013 shortly after I launched Jorie Loves A Story. This interview was conceived to shine a light on the pilot which is the secondary focus of this lovely blog tour which illuminates the series which launched the pilot.

Follow the Journey of Rayden Valkyrie the tv adaptation | Tweet your Support

Read Stephen Zimmer’s blog post about why he wanted to produce the pilot

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I can well imagine what you might be thinking – why is Jorie showcasing a Sword & Sorcery story-line involving Heroic Bloodshed and steeped in Viking History? Not quite her typical cuppa is what is most likely coming to your mind, eh? And, in this regard – you would be right! It’s a series of stories penned by an author I appreciated finding when I first read Chronicles of Ave (in 2013) entitled the Dark Sun Trilogy. Except for the Vikings – as I first had an introduction into Anglo-Saxon early histories & the presence of the Vikings through my readings of Avelynn (of which I will be re-exploring this Autumn as I read the sequel!). Add to the random things which become introduced to you as you explore Literature and Ancestral passageways, I recently started seeing the Vikings threading into my own ancestral past – something I’ll touch on as I read Edge of Faith!

You might remember seeing Seventh Star Press titles pop up now and again on Jorie Loves A Story, as this is one of the first Indie Publishers I started to host for as a book blogger whilst finding myself readily engaging with their eclectic offerings across Science Fiction, Cosy Horror (smirks) and Fantasy – including Urban Fantasy (where I found out I love cheeky fey humour); anthologies of the Fantastical and Horrific (this side of Cosy, of course!), Altered Historical time-lines, a dash of Superhero Fiction and a pinch of Space Opera! However, if was the DRAGONS and Murkens (shifters) who stole my heart the most!

When this tv pilot originated on Kickstarter, I took stock and interest of it’s journey towards production – not only because I have been following the career of the writer behind the pilot – but also due to my personal passion for film-making (with an eye on Indies) which led me to cheer from afar for this little project would not only find traction with a (potential) audience but it would gain the backing it needed to go into production. Kentucky is one of those states which is known for film-making but hasn’t quite captured awareness of being one of the better states to conduct film business inside; a bit of a surprise to myself, as the film world isn’t as big as one would perceive – there are certain regions where film-making has legs to grow and develop in a viable economy prime to allow for said growth to reshape the active market. Kentucky thus stands on the fringes of being more of a forerunner rather than a secondary option! This is another reason why I wanted to highlight this pilot – as it allows others to start to take notice of how film and television are continuously shifting how they are being utilised in our backyards.

I continued to oversee the journey when videos popped up on YouTube – both for promotion of the pilot being filmed and for the process of taking it into production. There isn’t a lot I missed between the conception of the idea and the birth of the pilot – all of which, I have happily cheered on Mr Zimmer and his lovely cast and crew – seeing how they were shaping his vision for this story to take flight and to be brought to a visual audience who likes well-written stories with fierce historical roots and a well produced production to boot!

Finding out a bit more about Kentucky in the process – from location shoots to how the natural elements were broached into the background of the pilot itself was quite enjoyable, too! I love how you can find elements of our world set within the otherworlds of Fantasy – as it not only helps root you into the story but it offers a beautiful gap between the fantastical fictional realms and our living realities. Getting a chance to converse with two of the actors attached to this pilot was heartwarming as I truly loved how they approached my questions – they gave me answers which I feel helped bring a rounded introduction of the pilot to my readers and to those visitors on the blog tour itself – as it’s a step outside what might have been expected to be found! I love surprising my readers – it is a joy unlike all others! Also, I wanted to anchour their replies to Mr Zimmer’s – giving the presence of three different perspectives on the same subject – thereby, giving you an up close and personal definition of who Rayden Valkyrie is and why the pilot is such an important project.

So you see – sometimes I might surprise you – some stories interest me even if perhaps on the surface you might think it wouldn’t be something I’d be akin to liking! Besides – of all the cross-related tv series Mr Zimmer mentioned as being ‘one’ of a similar feather to Rayden Valkyrie – there is one from my own past which I admit, I did enjoy watching: Xena: Warrior Princess! Come now – who didn’t like watching Xena? Lucy Lawless played her to perfection!

Grab your favourite cuppa and sit back for a conversation in 3-parts!

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Posted Wednesday, 23 August, 2017 by jorielov in Action & Adventure Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Heroic Bloodshed, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Saxon | Viking History, Serial TV | Film, Seventh Star Press, Stories on the Rise, TV Serials & Motion Pictures

Blog Book Tour | “Gray Widow’s Walk” (No.1 of Gray Widow Trilogy) by Dan Jolley Jorie reads her 2nd #SuperheroFiction novel!

Posted Sunday, 26 June, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a stop on the “Gray Widow’s Walk” blog tour from Seventh Star Press. The tour is hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media who does the publicity and blog tours for Seventh Star Press and other Indie and/or Self Published authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “Gray Widow’s Walk” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I wanted to take a second foray into ‘Superhero Fiction’:

Aside from my obvious affection for the #AwesomeJones series by AshleyRose Sullivan (see Review) you could say I’ve had a hankering for a sequel and/or a completely new slice of Superhero Fiction to take a bite out of whilst I’m awaiting the forementioned series to return! In addition, on the small screen I’ve become so entranced by the new SuperGirl series I can only hope the transition to a new network doesn’t prove fatal for it’s longevity and the integrity of the series remains true to it’s core; as noted on my Twitter Profile I self-declared I’m SuperGirl’s BFF! You could say I have a classic appreciation for certain superheroes and the legacy approach to continuing their stories; as to me, SuperGirl honours the legacy of her universe whilst bringing it forward into the 21st Century.

I caught sight of Gray Widow’s Walk earlier in the year whereupon I chose to contact the author via Twitter – as part of me questioned if this was a complete step outside my zone of comfort and/or slightly this side of the line to where I could lay my hat inside the universe Jolley created!

It’s always a good rule of thumb to contact an author if your on the fence about one of their stories and/or their debut; this is something I’ve started to get into the habit of doing since I began a book blogger, as much as finding Twitter is the bridge of equality between readers and authors directly. I cannot express how many times I’ve randomly reached out to authors; either who have found me or of whom I have found myself (via their tweets, my local library, another book blogger’s blog, Shelf Awareness, author and/or publisher newsletters or [insert] the myriad collective route I take through bookish news as a possibility!) on Twitter for a spontaneous convo either straight into our respective feeds or through DM. Sometimes I like to opt for a convo privately if it’s a questionable genre choice of mine, where I feel I have more freedom to articulate my concerns, as the word count is blessedly absent!

This is why I was full of gratitude to Mr Jolley (as expressed in this tweet) for taking a moment out of his hectic Hollywood meet & greet tour (on a potential project in development) to chat with me for a short spell! His honest feedback and method of illuminating an analogy of character development through another series (Jessica Jones) provided me with stellar fodder to chew whilst I made my final thoughts in regards to being tempted to read this novel or whether to take a pass on it. I watched the trailer for Jessica Jones even though my computer is deaf due to a lightning surge last Summer, I was able to gather the vibe about her fierce confidence and independent nature!

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Here’s what truly stood out to me:

I wanted to ask you about Gray Widow — as I am a sensitive reader, are the darker elements in the story something a cosy girl could handle? I’m not into outright gore or anything and I’m not keen on a lot of strong language but do make exceptions if it’s not a norm but included here or there.

Jolley responds: Hmmm…the coarse language is not pervasive, so you should be okay there. A lot of the parts with the central antagonist, however, do get awfully intense–he’s the “horror” part of the book. It’s not overwhelming, though. Maybe if you read the parts with Simon knowing there’s something coming, you can prepare for it?

Gore intense or just psychologically intense? I can handle psychological intensity. Can you relate a film to the same level of emotional intensity, I might be able to know then if I could handle it. Good to know about the language!!

Jolley responds: I think, at its most chilling, it’s a bit like Se7en. I hope you do decide to give it a shot, though, because I’m very proud of Janey as a character, and I think she’ll resonate with a lot of people.

I never saw Se7en but I did see “The Bone Collector” with Angelina Jolie. I think those two are spoken about in the same line of breadth for chilliness so in this case, I think I’ll be alright! This is the upper tier of what I could handle, though. Thus, it will definitely push me a bit out of my comfort zones which is a good thing because I like doing that! I have the tendency to seek out literature that will challenge me – I am only cautious because I do get *freaked out of my skull* quite easily, but knowing this going in, I’ll know there will be bits of the story that will chill my bones!

I fell for the premise and I agree, Janey by appearances is writ strong and the type of girl you can stand behind as there is this layer of unknown she’s not even thinking of realising is at play in the overall scheme of things.

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I am sharing this snippet of our conversation as a precursor of my review, if on the odd chance your a reader similar to me whose cautiously curious about new genres & new ways to bend a story into a new dialogue of exploration but aren’t entirely sure you can handle the components of the story — this will give you a good idea about my process as a reader & how I try to ask pertinent questions to flesh out whether or not I can handle reading a novel that may or may not previously have crossed my mind to read but has curiously caught my eye to read now! In other words, I purposely remain open-minded in regards to Literature’s corridors. Even if I run into disappointments, I never regret being open to new ideas and new styles of crafting a story.

As an aside, when Mr Jolley broached if I had ever attended a ComicCon, I had the sudden realisation I had completely missed an opportunity! I have future plans to attend book conventions, literary festivals, Steampunk conventions and literary symposiums but a ComicCon? I clearly overlooked something quite obvious – as being able to attend my second Sci-Fi Convention has been a goal of mine since I met Jonathan Frakes and Peter David in 1997!

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Notation on Cover Art: One of my initial questions regarding this novel was about the cover art design; most specifically the shadowy & ominous background for which the Gray Widow is highlighted in the foreground; I elected not to reveal what Mr Jolley told me as he hadn’t spoilt it for me but clued me in a bit to what it wasn’t – as let’s just say I thought it parlayed closer to what a ‘widow’ might be in the world of ‘insects’ but it was actually a foreshadow to a larger part of the plot! From a ‘first look’ perspective I did not quite see it the same way; ergo, it was quite ingenious for those who are entering this story outside of reading Comic Books & Superhero Fiction as a mainstay of their literary wanderings! Keeps us guessing!

The tech of the suit for the Gray Widow is truly what caught my attention – that is one seriously creatively designed suit for a superhero, isn’t it? I could see how stealth & flexible the material was meant to jolt her through her actions but it’s just seriously a kickin’ wicked outfit! I also presumed she had some martial arts in her background given the weapons of choice in her hands!

Blog Book Tour | “Gray Widow’s Walk” (No.1 of Gray Widow Trilogy) by Dan Jolley Jorie reads her 2nd #SuperheroFiction novel!Gray Widow's Walk
by Dan Jolley
Illustrator/Cover Designer: John Nadeau
Source: Publisher via Tomorrow Comes Media

“The only thing in this world you can truly control is yourself.”

Janey Sinclair’s ability to teleport has always been a mystery to her. She tried for years to ignore it, but when tragedy shatters her life, Janey’s anger consumes her. She hones her fighting skills, steals a prototype suit of military body armor, and takes to the streets of Atlanta, venting her rage as the masked vigilante dubbed “the Gray Widow” by the press.

But Janey’s power, and her willingness to use it, plunges her into a conflict on a much grander scale than she had anticipated.

Soon she encounters Simon Grove, a bloodthirsty runaway with a shapeshifting ability gone horribly wrong…

Garrison Vessler, an ex-FBI agent and current private defense contractor, who holds some of the answers Janey’s been searching for…

And Tim Kapoor, the first person in years with a chance of breaking through Janey’s emotional shell—if she’ll let him.

But as Janey’s vigilantism gains worldwide attention, and her showdown with Simon Grove draws ever closer, the reason for her augmented abilities—hers and all the others like her—begins to reveal itself. Because, high above the Earth, other eyes are watching. And they have far-reaching plans…

Gray Widow’s Walk is Book One of the Gray Widow Trilogy, to be followed by Gray Widow’s Web and Gray Widow’s War.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781941706398

Also by this author: Dan Jolley (Interview) Gray Widow Trilogy

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Superhero Fiction, Suspense


Published by Seventh Star Press

on 13th May, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 344

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress)
Available Formats: Softcover, E-book

Converse via: #GrayWidowsWalk + #GrayWidowTrilogy & #7thStar

About Dan Jolley

Dan Jolley

Dan Jolley started writing professionally at age nineteen. Beginning in comic books, he has since branched out into original novels, licensed-property novels, children’s books, and video games.

His twenty-five-year career includes the YA sci-fi/espionage trilogy Alex Unlimited; the award-winning comic book mini-series Obergeist; the Eisner Award-nominated comic book mini-series JSA: The Liberty Files; and the Transformers video games War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron.

Dan was co-writer of the world-wide-bestselling zombie/parkour game Dying Light, and lead writer of the Oculus Rift game Chronos. Dan lives somewhere in the northwest Georgia foothills with his wife Tracy and a handful of largely inert cats. Gray Widow’s Walk is his first adult novel.

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Posted Sunday, 26 June, 2016 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Content Note, Crime Fiction, Debut Novel, Fantasy Fiction, Genre-bender, Horror, Indie Author, Life Shift, Science Fiction, Seventh Star Press, Speculative Fiction, Superhero Adventure, Superhero Fiction, Suspense, Tomorrow Comes Media, True Crime, Twitter convo with Author ahead of reading story, Urban Fantasy, Vulgarity in Literature