Falstaff Books opened for business in 2016. In the five years since then, it has become one of Charlotte’s most prolific publishers, releasing about forty new titles per year. Falstaff publishes a wide variety of genre fiction, but it is especially well known as a publisher of fantasy stories. For more information about Falstaff Books, please click on the following link: http://falstaffbooks.com/about-us/
In the past month, Falstaff has released three new fantasy books by Charlotte-area writers: Blaze of Glory by John G. Hartness; One with the Wolf by Jason Gilbert; and Steel Rose by Nancy Northcott. I contacted all three of these authors and asked them for more information about their new books and to provide some background about the type of fantasy they use in their books.
Here is what John Hartness sent to me:
Blaze of Glory is the fourth “episode” of Bubba the Monster Hunter Season 5. These books are released as individual novellas that weave together a year (or two)-long story arc that is then collected into a “season” compilation, kinda like a season of a TV show. Season 5 has been building to a big crossover event between the Bubba the Monster Hunter series and my Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter series, which is something fans have been clamoring for the past couple of years. Since my mortgage is paid by keeping my fans happy, I decided to give them what they asked for. Bubba is the Southeastern Regional Monster Hunter for the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Or he was, until he got fired for going AWOL in Faerie for a year and a half (Season 4). Now, in Season 5, Bubba has to deal with making a living while hunting down cryptids and helping unravel a massive conspiracy that threatens all supernatural life on the planet. It’s a tough year for a giant redneck, and we’ll see who makes it out alive at the end of Blaze of Glory.
Bubba the Monster Hunter is light urban fantasy, grounded more in the horror comedy style, kind of like Ash v. The Evil Dead or the film Tucker & Dale Versus Evil. People who enjoyed Cabin in the Woods typically dig Bubba. He’s a giant redneck who bumbles and stumbles his way through life, supported by his best friend and tech guru Skeeter, and a host of cohorts that shore up his weaknesses, like a total aversion to planning anything. Ever. I started writing Bubba as a series of short stories in 2012, so this series has been running for nearly ten years now, with no signs of stopping. It’s an open-ended series, so as long as I continue to enjoy writing the characters, and readers keep buying the books, I’ll keep telling their stories.
Urban fantasy as a whole is a blend of fantasy and other genres, typically either romance or horror. The Bubba series definitely hearkens back to the horror side of things, and more specifically the “monster of the week” shows like the first season of Supernatural. It’s a very pulpy, light, fun series of books, but there are darker episodes over the course of the decade I’ve been working on these books. Blaze of Glory definitely has some of the darkest moments of the entire series, including a major death in the supporting cast. Killing characters is not something I do lightly, even if I do it frequently (I write a lot of books, so it’s only natural that there’s a high death toll), and I think the finale of Blaze is the best-written stuff I’ve done in the entire series. I hope that people who take a look at Bubba will look past the off-color jokes (of which there are plenty) and creative profanity (of which there is even more) and see the characters, because that’s where the story comes alive for me – in the characters.
To find Blaze of Glory, click here: readerlinks.com/l/1797805
Here is what Jason Gilbert sent to me:
One with the Wolf is the collected edition of four novellas about James Coldstone, the son of the infamous Wolf-Man. These stories are similar in feel to the TV show Psych, except if Shawn were a werewolf.
James Coldstone is a bit of a recluse, even though he’s one of the most eligible bachelors in Rock Hill, SC—after all, he’s wealthy, intelligent, attractive, and a little mysterious. He doesn’t usually meddle in the affairs of other people, choosing instead to live a quiet life in his apartment (even though he owns a legit castle: Coldstone Keep).
As he is on a wolfen romp through the woods one night, James sees a young girl kidnapped, and this sends James and his best friend Phillip on a search that will take them all up and down the eastern seaboard in their search for the missing girl. Along the way, they team up with some unlikely allies and discover that James really likes pancakes.
The stories are fast-paced and comedic even though they deal with some serious issues (like human trafficking). Yes, Phillip will whack James with a rolled-up newspaper when he’s been a “bad dog.”
One with the Wolf does fall in the somewhat broad category of urban fantasy as it is set in the regular world, but it has fantasy elements, such as werewolves, vampires, and other supernatural creatures. It has elements of “buddy-cop” as well. Much like the aforementioned Psych, these stories do feature a member of law enforcement and his sometimes frustrating, but usually humorous, best friend solving crimes together. James and Phillip are a bit like a lighter and funnier Sherlock Holmes and Watson duo.
To find One with the Wolf, click here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B092TZGNLW/
Here is what Nancy Northcott sent to me:
The Steel Rose is the second book in my Boar King’s Honor historical fantasy trilogy. It combines three of my passions, history, fantasy, and Richard III. The idea for the trilogy came from playing What If. As in, What If…a wizard could prove King Richard III, who used a white boar as his emblem, was innocent of murdering his nephews (also known as the Princes in the Tower)? What If…the wizard threw himself on the king’s mercy and was ordered not to speak until the political situation settled, and then the king died in battle? The Tudors who took power after King Richard died at Bosworth Field blamed him for the murders of the boys and anything else they could. Speaking up would’ve been fatal. What If…that wizard, fearing his descendants wouldn’t care about a dead king’s honor, then cursed the heirs of his line to not rest in life or death until the king’s name was cleared?
Every book in the Boar King’s Honor trilogy sets the Mainwarings’ quest to lift the family curse against a bigger, cataclysmic problem. In the first book, The Herald of Day, a power-hungry wizard has changed England’s history to create a dictatorship of the mageborn, a grim new reality for ordinary folk.
In The Steel Rose, Amelia Mainwaring, a magically Gifted seer, is desperate to rescue the souls of her dead father and brother, who are trapped in a shadowy, wraith-filled land between life and death as the latest victims of their family curse. In London to seek help from a wizard scholar, Julian Winfield, she has disturbing visions that warn of Napoleon Bonaparte’s escape from Elba and renewed war in Europe. A magical artifact fuels growing French support for Bonaparte. Can Amelia and Julian recover the artifact and stop Bonaparte? Or will all their hopes, along with Amanda’s father and brother, be doomed as a battle-weary Europe is once again engulfed in the flames of war?
The trilogy concludes in 2022 with The King’s Champion, which is set mostly in London during the first dark days of World War II when Britain stood alone against the Nazi threat.
To find The Steel Rose, click here: readerlinks.com/l/1794929
All three of these writers have their own websites: If you want to know more about John and his books, please click on this link: https://johnhartness.com/ If you want know more about Jason and his book, please click on this link: https://jasonhgilbert.com/ If you want to know more about Nancy and her books, please click on this link: https://nancynorthcott.com/
In thinking about these three writers, I am reminded of a trend among football fans to assemble their own “fantasy leagues.” Well, in my mind, I see these three writers as belonging to a league of their own. They are all players in Storied Charlotte’s own fantasy league.