Friday, August 7, 2015

The Alastair Stone Chronicles (+$40 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Author: R.L. King
Series: The Alastair Stone Chronicles
Genre: Fantasy 
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours

Dr. Alastair Stone, Occult Studies professor, powerful mage, and snarky British expat now based in Palo Alto, California, does his best to keep his academic and social lives separate from his increasingly frequent brushes with various malevolent forces from the supernatural side of the street. A little horror, a little humor, but mostly straight-up urban fantasy.

Stone and a Hard Place

Dr. Alastair Stone, Occult Studies professor and powerful mage, has his hands full trying to keep the two sides of his life separate as he trains a new apprentice, deals with a malevolent entity trapped in the basement of a wealthy old woman's massive home, and battles dark mages intent on enslaving it for their own ends.

Debut novel of the Alastair Stone Chronicles.

The Forgotten
Dr. Alastair Stone is back, this time teaming up with Jason Thayer, a young man hunting for his missing sister. Embroiled in a web of odd homeless people, a growing conspiracy, and deadly danger, they soon realize that even if they find Jason's sister, they might not be able to help her.

What do you do when you discover an extradimensional plot that threatens the safety of the entire world, but you can't tell anyone about it because literally anyone on Earth could be part of it?

Book Two of the Alastair Stone Chronicles.
~Guest Post!~
In addition to writing my Stone Chronicles series, I’m also a game freelancer (for the pen-and-paper RPG Shadowrun, a near-future cyberpunk fantasy game featuring elves, orks, dragons, the Matrix, massive corporations, sentient AIs, cybernetic augmentations, and pink mohawks), and I had my first novel published with them this year. I thought I’d talk a little bit about how I balance writing in someone else’s universe with writing in my own.

When you play in someone else’s sandbox, you have to be careful to respect their toys. You can’t make changes just because you’d rather something worked a different way—for example, in Shadowrun, I couldn’t suddenly decide that mages can teleport just because I need to get a character somewhere really fast. Because deep world building was never one of my interests—I always just wanted to get the characters into trouble as fast as possible—tie-in writing is quite rewarding for me. I’ve got a built-in fan base as well as a complex and evolving world and history that I can draw on without having to make it all up myself. One of the things I love about the tie-in writing I do is that I’m neither forced nor expected to use the game’s existing characters, so that frees me up to explore the most interesting aspect of writing for me—characters—without the constraint of writing someone else’s creations (and possibly mucking them up).

Conversely, writing original fiction in my own world is tremendously freeing: I don’t have to worry that something I say in my latest novel contradicts some bit of game-world history that appears once in a twenty-year-old sourcebook (and I do worry about that, even though most readers will let it slide if the story is good). If I want my mage to be able to do something, I just decree that he can do it, then figure out a way to work it into the story so it makes sense, is believable within the story’s universe, and doesn’t contradict anything I’ve said before without an explanation. By the time I finish a few books and start drawing on events in earlier ones for plot developments down the road, I’m making my own history. At some point, the books stop being a collection of standalone stories and start forming into a cohesive universe, complete with its own history, tropes, rules, and in-jokes. And that’s a huge rush for me.

Do I have a favorite between the two types of writing? I can’t say I do. Original-world writing is easier for me, for sure, but shared-universe writing always gives me a jolt of happiness when I realize that I have added in my own small way to something bigger than myself. I love doing them both.
~Try an Excerpt!~

“Dr. Stone?”

The voice was trembling, female, and sounded terrified. It took him a moment to identify it. He stared as Megan stirred again, draping her arm back over him. “Mrs.—Bonham?”

Whoever was on the other end sounded like they were on the verge of hysteria. “Dr. Stone, is that you?”

“It’s me, Mrs. Bonham. What’s wrong? Is something wrong?” He sat up a little, propping himself up on his pillows. Megan’s arm slid down over his stomach, but he didn’t even notice that she was there.

“Something’s here,” she quavered. “Something’s…happening.”

He was fully awake now. Carefully, he moved Megan’s arm and sat on the edge of the bed. “Calm down, Mrs. Bonham, please. I’ll help you if I can, but you have to tell me what’s happening.”

“I don’t know,” she sobbed. “It’s like the whole house hates me. Noises—cold winds—things slamming—”

“Is Iona there? Can you put her on for a moment?”

There was a shuffling sound and then a different voice spoke, sounding almost as frightened as Adelaide Bonham had. “Dr. Stone? This is Iona.”

He took a deep breath. “Iona. What’s going on? Is Mrs. Bonham—”

“She’s not imagining things, Dr. Stone,” the woman said. In addition to sounding frightened, she sounded like she couldn’t believe what was going on. “I can hear them too. The noises. The feelings. It’s horrible, Dr. Stone. Something’s going on.”
~Meet R.L. King!~ 
R. L. King is an award-winning author and game freelancer for Catalyst Game Labs, publisher of the popular roleplaying game Shadowrun. She has contributed fiction and game material to numerous sourcebooks, as well as one full-length adventure, "On the Run," included as part of the 2012 Origins-Award-winning "Runners' Toolkit."

Her first novel in the Shadowrun universe, Borrowed Time, was published in May 2015.

When not doing her best to make life difficult for her characters, King is a software technical writer for a large Silicon Valley database company. In her spare time (hah!) she enjoys hanging out with her very understanding spouse and her small herd of cats, watching way too much Doctor Who, and attending conventions when she can. She is an Active member of the Horror Writers' Association and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and a member of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers.
 R.L. King will be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


  1. What exactly does a game freelancer do?

    1. Hi Mary,

      Game freelancers write material for games--some of them do rules, some of them do what's called "fluff" (fiction and in-game atmosphere-type material) and some do both. I'm more of a "fluff" writer, myself.

      In my case, I write for a pen-and-paper game (think Dungeons and Dragons: reference books, dice, and characters written on paper sheets). Other game writers do work for video games, board games, or any sort of game you can think of. The "freelancer" part means we don't work for the company that makes the game directly, but are hired to do individual jobs. We're independent contractors. Many game freelancers work for multiple companies (especially those who do it as their primary job) but since I already have a day job and primarily do my freelance stuff because I love the game I write for, I just stick with the one.

      Hope that helps clear it up!
      --R L King

  2. I love that you have cats. I have a colony. Loved the picture on Goodreads.

  3. Thank you so much for hosting!
    --R L King

  4. Interesting interview!


  5. I really enjoyed the guest post and excerpt! Thank you for a great post and contest!

  6. I enjoyed the guest post and the excerpt, sounds like a really good series, thanks for sharing!

  7. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  8. Thanks for sharing the book and this giveaway with us.

  9. Interesting author post and excerpt! Thanks!

  10. A very interesting guest post! Thank you for the post and the giveaway!

  11. "... In her spare time (hah!)...." Can totally relate ... so why am I blogging now? It's one of my vices in life....

  12. Congrats to the author for being an Active member of the Horror Writers' Association

    1. Thanks! Just qualified as Active recently (on my self-pubbed stuff, which felt good!) Same with SFWA.

  13. What is your inspiration for the characters? Are they inspired by any one person?

    1. My inspiration for Stone would probably make a good blog post (or more than one!) He's been influenced by everybody from Willy Wonka (the original Gene Wilder version) to the Tenth Doctor (after the fact, since I'd been writing Stone long before I discovered Doctor Who).

      Jason was inspired by an old game character of my spouse's, along with just the general "sheepdog" archetype (the guy who protects those around him).

      For Verity, I just wanted a smart, snarky girl who could keep up with Stone. :) She's evolving a lot as the series continues.

  14. Thanks for the amazing giveaway. Which character was the most difficult to imagine?

    1. Of the main characters in the books so far, probably Ethan. A lot of people have told me after the fact that he comes across as too young and naive for 18, but I actually patterned him after some people (no individual person) I've known over the years: smart, nerdy, socially awkward, without a lot of the "armor" that most of us build up to help us see when someone's manipulating us.

  15. great books ! thanks for the giveaway ! :)