Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Music: Interview with US Composer Chris Porter


It's time for music again and we love to find out new sounds. Today we're excited to introduce an awesome composer. Read on to find out more about his music and career!

Please tell us a little about your background and where you are from. 
I’m originally from the state of Michigan in the U.S., but I currently live in Okayama, Japan. I spent a year studying abroad at Kyushu University in the city of Fukuoka in 2009/2010. After returning home to graduate from university, I decided to move back to Japan. I’ve been living here since 2011.

How cool that you've adapted so well! Do you play any instruments? Which ones?
I’m most proficient at guitar, but I also play a little piano. I must say that my performance skills have taken quite a hit since I’ve become so focused on composing. Back in high school and the following few years, I was constantly in bands and was performing shows several times a month. I had lots of reason and opportunities to practice guitar because of that. Now the bulk of my music work is composing and arranging, so I don’t have the time I once did to dedicate to playing. I'm also married and have a son now. However, I still look up guitar tabs just about every week and jam out to some old favorites when my wife and son aren’t home (sometimes even when they are...).

I'm sure they enjoy hearing you jamming the guitar! Who was your greatest influence to follow in the music career? Why?
My biggest influence is definitely the Japanese video game music composer Yasunori Mitsuda. Hearing his score for the Playstation RPG Xenogears was a revelation and it’s where my love affair with game music began. I had enjoyed game music in the context of the games themselves since I was a little kid, but Xenogears was the first soundtrack that I actively sought out and purchased. In fact, I didn't even know they made physical soundtracks to video games until then. After several years of listening to game music, I started to experiment with digital audio production and began composing my own music in the style of video games.

That's great that videogame opened a window to your other musical talents. So besides Mitsuda's influence, what drove you to start composing scores?
After many years of casually writing music in the style of the video game soundtracks that I loved so much, I decided one day that I really needed to try to compose for an actual game. The way I found my first composing gig was actually quite interesting. I posted a status update on Facebook asking if anyone was making a game, or knew someone who was making a game, and needed a composer for it. A friend of mine who I studied abroad with replied that he had a classmate who was getting their degree in game design and was working on a game. He put us in touch and his friend brought me on to write the soundtrack to his game “Why is the Princess in a Magic Forest?!”

Wow, how exciting! What's your favorite movie/game score? Has it helped shape your work in any way?
As I mentioned above, my favorite game soundtrack is Xenogears. Choosing my favorite movie score is a bit difficult. I’m going to break the rules and choose four. I’d have to say it’s a tie between Jurassic Park (John Williams), The Last Samurai (Hans Zimmer), The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Howard Shore), and Swallowtail Butterfly (Takeshi Kobayashi). I’ve probably listened to those four movie soundtracks more than any others and all are very special to me in their own way. I can’t say that I’m influenced as much by film music as I am by game music, but I enjoy listening to it immensely.  

I'm a huge fan of John Williams and Hans Zimmer too! How do you draw inspiration to compose?
When I’m composing for a game, I get the most inspiration from the game itself; either from scripts, sketches, screenshots, conversations with the developers, gameplay footage, or actually playing the game myself. I feel like nothing can inform the direction the music should take more than your own intuition as a composer while interacting with the game itself.

That's very interesting! And do you prefer to compose at night or during the day? When are you most creative?
I used to prefer composing at night, but my schedule changed a couple of years ago and now I get most of my work done in the morning. However, during particularly busy periods, I’ll find myself utilizing both ends of the day equally.

The muse is always present, then! What's the favorite music you've created? What inspired it?
My absolute favorite type of music to write is RPG-inspired World/Folk/Orchestral, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at my discography! I have seven published albums, including six video game soundtracks, but none of them are for RPGs. Don’t get me wrong, each and every one of those was a joy to create, but I’ve always dreamed of composing for an RPG. A few years ago, I wrote over thirty tracks for an indie RPG, but due to unforeseen circumstances, development has been on hiatus for a long time and I’m not sure if it will ever get finished. Fortunately, you can hear all of that music as I was able to post it on my SoundCloud account. You can find it in the playlist called "Turn Back Time Soundtrack". I wrote approximately thirty tracks for another RPG called “A Story of the End – Revere” that is on track to being released, but it’s still in the post-production stage.

However, just because my published albums don’t reflect my composing preferences doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping myself busy composing music in that style. My favorite collection of my music is for an album that’s releasing on June 5th called “Leaving Home: An RPG-Inspired Journey”. It’s an album filled with RPG-style town, city, and exploration themes that I compiled into a kind of grand journey. My good friend, the amazing artist Jonathan Griffith, created the cover art and absolutely nailed it. He really did an amazing job with it! As you listen to the album, you can more or less look at the album art and follow the adventurers on their journey from place to place. I’m so excited for the release and can't wait for everyone to hear it.  
 
I can't wait to listen to it. Sounds fantastic! Besides your new album release on June 6th, what are you working on now and what are your plans for the future?
I’m currently working on an arrangement for an upcoming video game tribute album being put out by Materia Collective. After that I have another huge project that I’ll be co-producing (but that’s top secret for now so I can’t divulge any more details). There are also a few soundtracks that I'm working on for games that are still in development. 

Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share some of my story and music with you and your readers!

Thank you so much for your time and we wish you much success in your career!

To connect with Chris Porter: www.cportermusic.com
Follow him on twitter: https://twitter.com/CPorterMusic 

Make sure to listen to some of his albums by clicking on the links below. They're great!





 


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Books: Interview with Greek Romance Author Charis Mavros (Χάρης Μαύρος)

Today we have the pleasure of introducing you to Charis Mavros. Find out more about this talented Greek writer in the interview below.

Where are you from and what's your background?

I come from the beautiful city of Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece. I could refer to my studies or to various distinctions, but I do not think that these are the ones that define the background of a man, but his family, his friends and his relationships in general. As for the last part, I was fortunate to grow up and be loved by an excellent family and to meet people with a pure soul.

That’s the best background one can have, full of love. When did you realize you wanted to write and when did you start writing?

I started writing when I was a child. The process became more systematic at the age of fourteen as a need for expression and mental decompression, resulting from various difficulties of that period.

Writing is indeed a great form of expressing oneself. What genre do you write and what's your target audience?

I believe that the genre of my books is primarily romance, with some elements of thriller.  I think that genre is not representative of a writer who has too many things to say. Personally, I use it as a vehicle to examine, on a psychological level, social behaviors and the human soul in general. 

Check out his short story Everywhere with you, available in English on amazon:


How many books have you published so far? Have you been published in any other publications or journals?

I have written two books so far, "Up to Four" by Thermaikos publications and "Love is not buried on Tuesdays" by Savvalas publications. My first novel concerns the sexual relationship of four people, two men and two women who simultaneously conclude an erotic quartet. While they are four, they seem to be a simple pair of two.
My second novel is titled "Love is not buried on Tuesdays" and concerns the relationship between a middle-aged woman and a man who is half her age, during the economic crisis in Greece. The story examines how two different generations face the crisis with the background of a karmic, majestic love.

That sounds interesting, and it’s great that you were able to incorporate the contemporary situation of Greece in your writing. Do you have a favorite quote?

I don’t have favorite quotes. Life cannot be defined by a few phrases. Just as a novel consists of many different opinions that many times overturn one another, so is life itself. Moreover, something that is functional for someone may be dysfunctional for someone else.

Good observation. Do you have a favorite author? Has this author or his book(s) influenced your writing in any way?

My favorite author is Doris Lessing. I consider her writing to be special and distinctive. I try not to be influenced by writing styles, but subconsciously the books we admire affect our writing, as all things we love are being absorbed to become part of us.

She’s a great literary influence. If you could be a character from any book, who would you like to be? Why?

No one in particular. I do not envy the lives of others, whether they are real or products of imagination.

What are you working on now?

Having finished my third novel and waiting for it to be released, I have started my fourth novel. It is a novel that will strip off the family institution and Puritanism that still characterizes our society.

Looks like you’re very busy writing and publishing. Where can we find out more about you and your writing? 
 
You can find out about me on my blog “www.onlinegreekbook.wordpress.com”, on my facebook page as Χάρης Μαύρος - Charis Mavros, on my instagram as “charismavros” and you can ask any questions about my books at my email mavroscharis@gmail.com

Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

I would only advise them first to live and then to read.  Thank you.

Thank you so much for your time! We wish you success in your writing career and hope your books will be available in English soon!



Follow Charis Mavros at:




Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Blog Tour: Sexuality and It's Impact on History by Hunter S. Jones

Welcome to the book tour!
This is a highlight tour for the book everyone is talking about!
Sexuality and It's Impact on History: 
The British Stripped Bare
ASIN: B07CS3MKGC
ISBN-10: 1526714493
ISBN-13: 978-1526714497

Written by 
Hunter S. Jones
and
Emma Haddon-Wright, Annie Whitehead, Jessica Cale, Judith Arnopp, Gayle Hulme, Dr Beth Lynne

Would you swig a magic potion or plot to kill your husband in order to marry your lover? These are just two of the many romantic and sexual customs from British history that you will explore as eight authors take us through the centuries, revealing that truth is stranger than fiction when it comes to love. From bizarre trivia about courtly love, to techniques and prostitution, you’ll encounter memorable nuggets of provocative information that you'll want to share.



It's all here: ménage a trois, chastity belts, Tudor fallacies, royal love and infidelity, marriage contracts (which were more like business arrangements), brothels, kept women, and whorehouses. Take a peek at what really happened between the sheets. Each story provides you with shocking detail about what was at the heart of romance throughout British history.

Sexuality and Its Impact on History: The British Stripped Bare chronicles the pleasures and perils of the flesh, sharing secrets from the days of the Anglo-Saxons, medieval courtly love traditions, diabolical Tudor escapades—including those of Anne Boleyn and Mary Queen of Scots—the Regency, and down to the ‘prudish’ Victorian Era. This scholarly yet accessible study brings to light the myriad varieties of British sexual mores.

Reader Review published by Chick's, Rogues, & Scandals


"As soon as I got offered the chance to review this book, I jumped at it. True it’s not my usual reading material but I was intrigued by the premise of this book, it caught my attention. I do like how very easy to read this is, I have read history compilations before that I found very difficult to connect with and hard to follow, due to the amount of scholarly wording. But this is beautifully written so that everyone can enjoy it. You don’t have to be a scholar or someone with a hundred A level’s in history to be able to enjoy it, I can guarantee that if you enjoy learning about less known aspects of history then this is the book. I am so pleased that I got the chance to read it, it is way beyond my expectations.

This is a fascinating compilation of stories written by seven incredible female writers who know their craft well, they come together to tell seven stories of how sexuality and the varied custom’s over eras has influenced British History. With a look into all aspects of sexual history including tales of Lady Godiva, Medieval love traditions, shocking tales from the Tudor court and prostitution during the Victorian era.

Each section is carefully crafted and cleverly written, it enriches the mind and this whole book is hugely satisfying, knowledgeable and highly addictive to read. Each chapter is a different story and written by a different author, and as such it keeps the reader engrossed and you are compelled to keep turning the pages to see what comes next and see what new little titbit from history you will garner. Each tale is fascinating to read, they are thorough and wonderfully researched that keeps the whole thing very real and adds to the enjoyment that you get from the overall book.

There isn’t anything I don’t like about it, it has something from every aspect of history. It is a wonderful read that captivates you and keeps you turning the page.

Hugely recommended!"

Available in ebook & Paperback format
Amazon UK

Pen & Sword Publishing


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Books: Interview with writer J.E. Reed


We'd like to introduce you to writer J. E. Reed, whose forthcoming book is available for pre-order. Find out more about this amazing author below and be sure to pre-order her book!

Please tell us where you are from and a little bit about your background. 

I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio and have lived in this area most of my life. After high school I attended massage school and have owned my own business for the last three years. Though I love what I do, my true passion is writing fiction.

When did you realize you wanted to write and when did you start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid, though I never thought I would be writing something for the general public. When I was in middle school I aspired to write a book, but never finished it. The draft is still sitting in a binder in my closet. It wasn’t until I played around with fanfiction that I realized I could write a book. People genuinely enjoyed my writing and fanfiction gave me the chance to practice my craft and learn as I went. 

That’s a great way to start. What genre do you write and what's your target audience?

I write fantasy, though I’m not opposed to writing other genres. The main character in my first novel is married and in her twenties. I would argue that it falls in the New Adult category, but I know this is somewhat controversial. I’m certain young adults would enjoy the novel as well.

Fantasy is a lot of fun, I’m sure your audience is wide! How many books have you published so far? Have you been published in any other publications or journals?

My first novel, Running with the Wolves, is set for publication July 12th and is currently available for pre-order. The sequel is in the making and I anticipate is being published early next year.

Fantastic! Tell us what your favorite quote is and who wrote it.


Absorb what is useful, Discard what is useless, Add what is uniquely your own. -Bruce Lee

That’s a great quote, thanks for sharing. Do you have a favorite author? Who? Has this author or his book(s) influenced your writing in any way?

This is a hard question for me and I feel like it changes often. At the moment I’d have to say George R.R. Martin and Christopher Paolini. I’ve recently fallen in love with Martin’s books due to the Game of Thrones and the vast complexities of the characters. I started with the show and have since moved to the books.

I followed Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle from the very first book and love the way he writes and portrays the characters. I’m a big fan and can’t wait to see what his next upcoming work involves.

Those are great authors. If you could be a character from any book, who would you like to be? Why?

Well, in most of the books I read, the characters are always facing terrible situations so I’m not sure I’d like to be any of them. If I absolutely had to choose I would say Hermione from Harry Potter.

Smart answer! They do face lots of challenges that are sometimes way to hard to overcome. What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished the rough draft of my sequel to Running with the Wolves and am also penning a short story in the narrative of a favored character by my early readers.


Congratulations! Where can we find out more about you and your writing?

You can visit my web page at: http://www.bhcpress.com/Author_J_E_Reed.html where you will find a little about me and connections to my social media links. My book is also listed along with links if you are interested in pre-ordering Running with the Wolves.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

Believe in yourself. The imagination is a powerful thing and if used properly, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

Thank you so much for your time and we wish you lots of success on your upcoming release and your writing career!

Pre-order the book here: