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Salve !

Welcome to this latest newsletter from Purple Toga Publications, home of Assaph Mehr's ancient past, Eric Klein's future,  and protagonists current. You're here because you joined the mailing list through a giveaway or participated in one of our projects, but you can leave any time.

Since this is a second email this quarter, let's just straight to the juicy bits, shall we? Like, who won the Amazon gift-cards?!?

But first for something (almost) completely different...

There's an interesting cross-promotion for books spanning both Fantasy and Mystery. Most of you on this list are familiar with my own take on this combination, but I thought you'd appreciate finding out other authors who mash-up those genres.

So if you need some reading material while we're working on our next releases, check out the Thrilling Mystery and Fantasy Tales promotion!

And the Amazon gift-cards go to...

Last month we announced a giveaway for Amazon gift cards. While the reviews we asked you to help share were on the lighter side of life, the money is real.

So without further ado (a drumroll is not an "ado"), let's announce the winners!

Err, actually, before we announce them and you skim and delete the email, let's just remind you that we'll be running the same giveaway again in June and July!

Okay, NOW we can announce the winners...

The big one, aka US$ 15 gift card, goes to <bass drum-roll> Lynn Kempner!

And the two "consolation" US$ 5 gift cards go to <bongo-drums roll> Heather L. Cassaday and EM Swift-Hook!

Hope you guys have some good stuff on your wish-lists! We, naturally, recommend books. The world needs more books.

And, like we promised, we've reset the counts since June 1st. So go and share those reviews again, and get in the June drawing to win your own gift-card!

Share again during JUNE for ANOTHER CHANCE to win MORE gift-cards!
And NOW for something (really) completely different

Also as promised, here's a short bit to entertain you. This time it's from Eric Klein, talking about the poetic inspirations behind his Sci-Fi romp The One.

My publisher has asked me for a new story, or something about my writing. I would like to digress to William Shakespeare for a minute. You see, I was marked by o’l Bill very young by Gene Rodenberry.

Maybe I should explain. I was born shortly after the start of the original Star Trek series and my parents would take me to watch at a neighbor that had a color TV. Thus, when Star Trek: The Original Series episode Dagger of the Mind aired on November 3, 1966 I was watching. The same for By Any Other Name on February 23, 1968. The first was roughly based on Macbeth and the second on Romeo and Juliet. So, as you can see, even before I was two I was exposed.

Now you may ask, “That’s nice, but what does have to do with your writing?”

A very good question, and I am glad you asked.

While working on The One: A Cruise Through the Solar System I wanted to use music, but realized that the only power stronger than the IRS is the RIAA – and they are very happy to sue people for using actual song lyrics in books. This led to researching what was in copyright, and I realized that Shakespeare was long out of copyright.

This led to the Twelfth Night party to celebrate the play of the same name. Here I could play with / abuse / quote all the Shakespeare that I could want (Shakespears Sister notwithstanding).

Back in high school I wrote a class project and as best I can recall it went something like this:

To breathe, or not to breathe, That is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous aliment known as hay fever,
Or to take antihistamines against a sea of problems they cause
And by opposing end them. To suffer dry mouth and fuzzy headedness,
Or to breath no more; and by no more to suffer
The head-ache and the thousand coughs and tissues
That my nose must suffer should I wish to breath.

I may have deviated from the original class project, but you get the idea. It was a really bad spring pollen season, and I needed to vent.

So now I am writing Shakespeare for space, and this old class project came to mind. This led to the following, excerpted out of The One:

Our first piece is from Madame Sul-Te-Wan and is entitled ‘To Breathe or not to Breathe, an Ode to My Helmet.’”

Madame Sul-Te-Wan steps to the center stage. “Thank you. I started writing this while recovering after losing my hand in an accident at Messina Chasmata on Titania. In the bed next to me was a ring rover who had been lucky enough to be saved after a problem with his suit’s air. It seems he was in debt and had tried to save some money by growing and compressing his own air. He had gotten the mix wrong and was lucky enough that another ring rover was close by when he started to send out his mayday. He was there for two weeks, tied to a breathing machine while they printed out and then implanted new lungs for him.

“To breathe or not to breathe, that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler to farm and grow my own air or suffer
The slings and arrows of the outrageous prices that the commissary charges.
And if I should compress my own air, what of the sea of troubles it could entail?
And by growing them, to risk getting the mix all wrong and to sleep - perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub!
For in that sleep death may come.
Thus leaving in orbit this mortal coil
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would choose to float off out of time
When he himself might his quietus make?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
’sThere's the respect for those who sell a safe product,
With a bare bodkin? Who would these fardels be - these merchants who charge so much but do not walk in space?
‘Tis better to pay for quality than
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
Or to live no more.”

The room broke out into whistles and applause.

The similarities from the first to the second should be obvious, and it tickled me to be able to “reuse” an old concept in the story. In fact, there are a lot of such “Easter Eggs” I the novel, many of which no-one seems to have found (even when given hints). For example, the is a great music reference to ZZ Top, that seems to remain unnoticed. But these came from a kind writing philosophy that more or less combines:

  1. Write the book you want to read
  2. If you enjoy writing it, there is a better chance people will enjoy reading it.

So far, the feedback I am getting is that these are working, as those in my target audience (people who like old-school science fiction) find the story perfect. Those who prefer the new Star Trek movies (more Star Wars-like) with their emphasis on non-stop action tend to like it a little less.

I hope that this helps explain a little about my writing, and if you have questions please pass them back to Purple Toga or on my Facebook Author page and I will try to answer them in a future newsletter.

That's it for now. Hope you found something for your edification and amusement. For those who missed them and want more, the top, content-rich blog posts from last few weeks are:

Cost of Living (in Ancient Rome)

Milestones (or, the art of blogging as a key to a successful author platform)

Swaggering Scallywags (or, How to Swag: CafePress vs Zazzle vs RedBubble)

Until next time,

Videas Lumen,

Assaph Mehr

Purple Toga Publications

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