Hello! Happy Friday, friends!!
Hope this week has been going well.
As you may have previously seen – I’d had planned for ‘Piece of Me‘ to come out on December 1st. Due to some happenings (which I wish I could say more of – but can’t just yet!) I’m pushing it back to the 15th. You’ll know exactly why in the next weekish here and it’s a great reason!
So let’s chat a bit more about ‘Piece of Me.’
Piece of Me
Prepare to return to the world that first appeared in ‘For Balder Walks.’
I had an idea pestering me for some time after writing Balder. I wanted to expand upon the world that I’d created and bring some life to the ‘other things’ that might inhabit that world.
I also found that as time went on, I wasn’t really writing any strong female characters. Maybe it’s my comfort level of writing male based stuff, but the only female based characters I’d really created were Rose, Jane & Penny from ‘Jane: the 816 Chronicles,’ and a lot of people seem to really love those characters.
So, I took some time and created my character first. I jotted out Kari in as complete form as I could. What her childhood had been like, her family, her life arc. Then I started to fill in the details. Then, in true Steve fashion, I took some time to create something devastating for her. And thus the path was laid before her about what this story would be about.
There has been some really stunning pre-release reviews from people already. I have to say – it’s made me pretty emotional seeing this one come together and then finding out other people are getting just what I’ve attempted.
“This story is akin to an adult fairy tale that melds horror with wonder, sparing no details of violence or trickery. Ultimately, it forces the main character to face irreversible hard choices, which she confronts with aplomb. Reading this book is like watching an epic movie in your head.” – Janie C – Goodreads review.
At it’s heart – Piece of Me is a story that follows a woman who will do absolutely anything to be reunited with her family. A decade ago, her husband and son left on a hunting trip – wanting to pad their food supplies before the winter arrived. They never came home.
So, now Kari waits for them.
This is a dark, epic fantasy with hard horror leanings. There are creatures that live in the dark, there are predators that hunt humans and there are other humans who want to stay alive when food is dwindling in such a harsh climate.
“Stred not only wove this beautiful, harrowing story of friendship and deception and sacrifice, he also built an entire world full of desolate landscapes, terrifying and hideous beasts, this world, the world beyond, and the realms between. He crafted his story so we, the readers, do not just read the feelings and emotions of the characters, of the world.” – Lauren, Goodreads review.
Before I’d wrapped up ‘Piece of Me,’ I’d actually written another short story set in the same world.
‘Poppa?’ was something I’d had in a short form for some time, trying to execute into a longer narrative. I ended up editing and modifying it for feature during last year’s Christmas Celebration at Kendall Reviews.
You can read it here;
Christmas At Kendall Reviews: ‘The Girl Who Hid In The Trees’ Author Steve Stred delivers a wonderful ‘festive’ short entitled ‘Poppa?’
Both ‘For Balder Walks,’ and ‘Poppa?’ will be included with the release of ‘Piece of Me’ as a bonus. For Christmas at Kendall Reviews this year, a third short that takes place in that world will also be available, one that tells us a bit about a character in ‘Piece of Me’ that we never find out what happens to them. See keep an eye out for that.
“The world that MC Kari lives in is a brutal, frozen, cold and unforgiving place! The landscape is filled with valleys, hills, mountains, rivers and forests that during the winter months are frozen, windswept and covered in snow measured by the foot! Creatures inhabit these forests, creatures of the night!” – Valerie, Goodreads review.
As for the release of ‘Piece of Me’ – it will be available in ebook and paperback again. At this point, I’ll only be doing these two versions, but will absolutely be doing a limited hardcover at some point. The cover is gorgeous.
This was created by my usual artist Mason McDonald. My father in law – Peter Lush took a stunning photo of his fire pit for me in Fort McMurray, which I then had Mason modify and adjust to be used.
“Piece of Me is a tale of the all consuming darkness of grief and what it does to the person or persons it touches. Stred has done a fabulous job in showcasing this without pandering to stereotypes or being overly sympathetic – this is not a pity party. But due to his fresh and bold approach at detailing grief, Stred has created a tale that is unlike anything you would have read before.” – Ross Jeffery, Author of Juniper
The ebook will be a last celebration for you all. This year has been an absolutely outstanding year for me both on the writing side and on the reviewing side – but more importantly – on the personal side. I’ve connected with so many great people and forged fantastic friendships. I love helping to support everyone and build folks up – and to everyone who does that to my stuff – thank you!
I never want price to be a barrier to enjoying my stuff. Yes, I need to be paid for my work – all artists should, but as things grow and expand, I can still offer some discounts where and when I can.
So for the first two months – from December 15th, 2019 until February 15th, 2020 – the Piece of Me ebook will be $0.99 US as a thanks. After that it will return to the usually $2.99 rate that I usually have all of my ebooks set at!
“Kari is a great protagonist: pitted against a largely male cast of men and monsters, all of whom harbor their own plans for her, she knows and relies on her own beliefs and talents.” – BP Gregory, Author of Flora & Jim
“While I’ve given you a starting point of the plot, this piece has depth I can’t begin to describe without spoilers. You will enjoy the pull of magic, a trip into other realms and planes of existence, and more wonderful, hideous creatures than you know what to do with.” – Zen Bookworm, Goodreads review
As for the paperback, I’m not sure on the pricing yet. I always try and keep them fair and low, but with this cover, I may need to a gloss finish (like Invisible) and let it pop!
“I’m ever amazed by this authors huge imagination to bring stories to life, characters you cry over and the emotional response he brings to you.” – Kim Napolitano, Goodreads review
A lot of the mythology in ‘Piece of Me’ was inspired by Norse and Scandinavian history. I did use my author imagination to modify and adjust as needed – so apologies, no offence is meant to anyone from those regions.
To say I’m excited for this release is an understatement. It’s a story that I absolutely adore and I think the character of Kari may become my all time fave character – both a character I’ve created, but anyone who enjoys my stuff will fall for her.
I hope you all will enjoy.
I just want to touch on Ritual a bit, because it’s the little train that could. This thing is still chugging along and I’m really surprised and pleased with the response. I’ve said it a few times – but I expected a lot of 1 and 2 star reviews for this one because of the depraved content. That most seem to think it was a fun read, says a lot about just how diverse the horror reading world is!
So thank you!
Remember – it’s always a $0.99US ebook!
Lastly – I want to touch on some music I’m digging and what’s up in life!
If you’ve read my blog or followed my tweets or even enjoyed my Tunes From the Crypt feature on Kendall Reviews – you’ll know I love Hardcore.
Well – the godfathers of Hardcore have a number album coming out and they’ve just released a new song – and it crushes.
Agnostic Front – Spray Painted Walls
Gatecreeper – Everlasting
These guys just pummel and the new album is ferocious. Would love to see them live!
Dimmu Borgir – Mourning Palace (Live)
One of my fave Borgir tunes, this band was played in heavy rotation while writing Piece of Me. One thing I love about this video is the one orchestra member who is clearly a Dimmu fan!
Cradle of Filth – Blackest Magick in Practice.
Another stunning song from a band I love. This was also in heavy rotation during the writing. Dig it!
To wrap this longer post up – life has been great, if not hectic. I’m still getting over the remnants of a head cold and we’ve been hit with snow! Mr. Man is now getting excited for Christmas stuff – the lights, Frosty and Reindeer, so I think this holiday season will be really neat.
Hope all is well with you and your’s!
Take care and chat soon