Tag Archives: books

The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider at Goodreads

The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider at Goodreads

Rinna rated it 3 of 5 stars
Dec 20, 2013

Callum Muir
Callum Muir rated it 4 of 5 stars
Nov 05, 2012

There’s been two ratings on Goodreads for Black Mask & Pale Rider (which sits at 3.5 stars out of 5), and it looks as though there are two more people who have it marked as to-read.

I love getting ratings on the book, but I’d love to even read a review. What did the reader like, what did they not like… that kind of thing. Ratings are awesome, but they don’t really matter if there’s not a review. Yes, I do know that often times readers can’t put into words how a book made them feel (even I’m lazy that way, and I need to do a review of a book I recently finished).

If you’ve read (by you, I mean all of my followers) The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider, please give it a review. Either at the site where you bought it, at goodreads, on my about page at wordpress, or send me an ask here. I appreciate any feedback that’s well crafted and considerate.

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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Fun, randomness, Writing


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A 10 Book Layout

For the rewrite of Black Mask & Pale Rider, the series is going to end up being ten books long.  Each focusing on the location that the four elven riders will end up in.  This so far is just a layout, and it may change.


Shani and Pania are introduced, along with their companions, Verit and Scales.  They discover the fabled gate between worlds, discuss the situation for a time, and eventually walk through.


Shani and Pania find themselves in very different parts of a new world, as Shani learns she is in Carrolton, Arkansas, and Pania is in the young city of Chicago, Illinois.  The year is 1863.  This new nation, not yet 100 years old, is torn by war.  Shani and Pania have one goal in mind; find each other, and find a way home.


After the two elven gunslingers meet up outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, they travel along the road toward a small village not far from Reading.  It turns out the village is plagued by a vampire.  Shani and Pania determine they need help, and make a call across the planes to Shani’s sister, Wren.  It is here that the three learn someone on Earth opened the gates, someone who wished to capture and enslave an elf.


Having put down an ancient vampire, the three ride on south, stopping in the peculiar town of Franklin, West Virginia.  On the outside, it is a normal, everyday town.  But it is protected by outcast orcs, peace loving goblins, a mischievous leprechaun, and a werewolf who has become a United States Marshal.  And here in Franklin, the Devil’s Rider has come to haunt.


The three return to their homeworld, delivering the final story of an ancient evil that plagued the elven world, as Wren presents the very story of the last years and death of this elven mage to the librarians at the House of Wisdom bordering the Desert of Semerkhet.  But they know they must return to Earth, and put an end to an even greater evil.


The three come to Oxford, Mississippi, where a vicious band of outlaws controls the townsfolk with an iron fist.  Only the figure of J. C. Walker fights back as best he can.  This old Confederate soldier finds himself between a rock and a hard place when he accepts the assistance of Shani, Pania, and Wren, along with a Chinese migrant worker named Ming.  Can they put down the villainy that is Dorval and his boys?


The deep south.  The three riders make it to Shreveport, Louisiana.  They follow the clues that will hopefully lead them to a powerful sorcerer and necromancer, but find themselves partnered with a newly freed slave as they investigate the strange occurrences at the Kingston Plantation.  They also meet a new ally in the lost Yoruba Elven Princess, Abisayo Temililou.


Having transported the recently freed slaves from the Kingston Plantation across state borders and into the Free State of Indiana, the four riders hope to find some solace in Bloomington, Indiana.  What they discover is a lich.


The experience of the Iron Horse, as the four elven gunslingers meet up with the charitable and reserved Reverend Carter Stewart.  But this train becomes a death trap that only the five can put down, as an old foe proves she wasn’t as dead as one would expect.


The last stand.  Pania is stricken by malady.  Abisayo reaches out to those they have met through the world of dreams.  As the three elves find refuge for Pania, a group of First Nations people protects them, as Chief Whitecap agrees to find a cure for Pania.  Meanwhile, Slowhand Adams, Aurela Dorchester, Sherrif J. C. Walker, Marshal Martin Derringer, Ezekiel Morgan, Dieter van Bueren, Shontaya Jackson, Ming, and the Reverend Carter Stewart hit the trail to put an end to this evil once and for all.

Creative Commons License
The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider by Tim Holtorf is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

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Posted by on July 4, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing


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Book Review: Carmilla

I just finised reading Carmilla, a gothic tale about the first vampire story ever published.


Here’s a quick synopsis of the publishing details from the wiki entry and from the Amazon page.

Carmilla is a Gothic novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. First published in 1871 as a serial narrative in The Dark Blue, it tells the story of a young woman’s susceptibility to the attentions of a female vampire named Carmilla. Carmilla predates Bram Stoker‘s Dracula by 26 years, and has been adapted many times for cinema.  Although Carmilla is a lesser known and far shorter Gothic vampire story than the generally-considered master work of that genre, Dracula, the latter is heavily influenced by Le Fanu’s short story.

The character of Carmilla is listed as a fictional lesbian on the wiki entry as well.  Now for the premise of the book.

Carmilla takes place from the point of view of the young woman, who is seduced by Carmilla.  Everything takes place from what she sees and experiences.  A quick synopsis of the book can be summed up in this Editorial Review from Publisher’s Weekly.

Generally acknowledged as a major influence on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this novel, originally published in 1872, is the very first vampire thriller. Le Fanu, often compared to Poe, was a Victorian writer whose tales of the occult have inspired horror writers for more than a century. Seemingly by happenstance, the mysterious and beautiful Carmilla comes to stay with the young and virtuous Laura. Laura, who has been living a lonely existence with her father in an isolated castle, finds herself enchanted with her exotic visitor. As the two become close friends, however, Laura dreams of nocturnal visitations and begins to lose her physical strength. Through much investigation, the gruesome truth about Carmilla and her family is revealed. Though the basic premise of the story, that of evil targeting pure innocence, is familiar to anyone who is vampire savvy, this haunting tale is surprisingly fresh, avoids cliche and builds well to its climax. Particularly interesting are the sexual overtones that develop between the two women. Follows’s reading is flawless. In particular, her ability to capture Laura’s naivete so convincingly will have listeners feeling almost as shocked as Laura as the unwholesome truth unravels. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The book itself was a very fast read, and contained a lot of the kind of prose found in novels and novellas published in the late 19th Century.  The language is flowing and robust, but quite easy to read.  Very good descriptions of the characters are given, and even the actions that each undertakes, although, all of that through the eyes of the young woman, Laura.

This book is an excellent addition to anyone who likes gothic tales, and in particular, vampire stories.  As what is considered the very first vampire story, it’s also of interest to note that it contains heavy lesbian connections while leaving a lot to the imagination of the reader.

For those looking for a book which contains queer representation, plus a good gothic tale, this early (even first) vampire tale is one to look for.

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Posted by on June 24, 2014 in Fun, randomness


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It’s the day after my birthday, so…

…shameless self promotion!

From time to time I’ll post up information about the first book I’ve written, called theAdventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider.  Here’s a little synopsis about the book, which is a western/fantasy.

Elven magic meets gunslinger grit. What happens when two elven travellers find themselves in the United States in the middle of the Civil War? The Adventures of Black Mask and Pale Rider tells the story of two elven women who’s curiosity gets the better of them.

The wild ride takes them from the Union to the Confederacy and back again. Along the way they make enemies and friends and learn a little bit about this world, and about themselves. An adventure of six guns and sorcery.

The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider isn’t the only book I’ve written, Canyons of Steel is also available.  Here’s a quick synopsis.

What happens when an old gun hand makes a decision to turn his life around and set a new course? In Canyons of Steel, Johnathon Tiberius Walker makes the choice of turning his back on the underground military of the Red Hand and try to make right his own sins. All because he wants his daughter to live in a better world than he does.

Both my first book, Black Mask & Pale Rider, and my second book, Canyons of Steel, are available for purchase online through many different online book sellers. (where both books were published)

  1. Tim Holtorf Author Spotlight the front page store for my books on (both in paperback and in kindle versions)

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider
  2. Canyons of Steel (both in paperback and in kindle versions)

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider
  2. Canyons of Steel (price not listed and currently out of stock)

  1. Canyons of Steel

Barnes & Noble (for the Nook)

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider

iTunes iBook store

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider

At present, I am working on a science fiction adventure called Rocket Fox.  If things go as planned, it should cover nine books in total.


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Let the research begin

So yesterday, I let it slip out that a friend of mine (Claire) began talking about making The Heroic League Project into an actual webcomic.  Right on!  Very cool!

I know less than nothing about writing comic scripts.  Yeah, I’ve written two novels, and even that process was long and tedious.  There’s a lot of background stuff that has to be done in writing a novel.  Everything has to be described.  So a lot of questions began cropping up; do I describe each panel; how do I set up dialogue; is this like writing a script for a stage play or television show which I also know zero about doing?  I needed answers, and I need to learn.

Fortunately, I live in the 21st Century, and there’s a thing called the Internet!


One of the first sites in a google search (Creative Comic Art: Tutorial On Writing Comic Script Basics), plus three books I can purchase to help learn the comic writing process.  I’m all about learning what other writers have done before, especially if it means I don’t have to nag people (warrenellis, ruckawriter, kellysue, gailsimone, and mattfractionblog, you are wonderful writers whom I follow on tumblr, but I’m pretty sure you don’t want me nagging you about writing comics, ergo, THE INTERNET!)  Tip for the kids: the Internett can produce some good search results along with a large amount of crap.  You just have to be able to filter out what you don’t need from what you do need.

That one site alone won’t be the be all and end all of my research.  I’ll also most likely look into the three books they suggest.




Which, I’ve also put all three of them on my wishlist at (’cause, I’m Canadian and buy stuff through the .ca, not the .com).  Which reminds me, here’s my wishlist!  My birthday’s only 9 days away!

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Posted by on June 1, 2014 in Fun, randomness


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Heoric League Project: Valley of the Damned

And early work from Canyons of Steel, as John Walker takes his team and joins agents from the FBI, CIA, Interpol, the RCMP, MI5, and the Mossad to take down a group affiliated with the old Nazi Party of World War II, a group of powerful mages known as the Weavers, and an ancient elven vampire.

Science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes collide as Walker enters the Valley of the Damned.

Valley of the Damned

Creative Commons License
The Heroic League by Tim Holtorf is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Creative Commons License
Canyons of Steel by Tim Holtorf is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at


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Amanda Patterson (Happy Birthday, Max Brooks, born 22 May 1972 Five…)


Amanda Patterson (Happy Birthday, Max Brooks, born 22 May 1972 Five…).

Today is Max Brooks’ birthday!  Don’t know who he is.  He is the author of World War Z.

Happy Birthday, Max Brooks, born 22 May 1972

Five Writing Tips (From Publisher’s Weekly)

  1. Just do it. Writing, like anything, takes practice and discipline, and I’ve found that discipline comes from a lifetime of repetition. I started writing when I was 12 and it’s made the action as normal as any other activity.
  2. Drafts. Nothing is more intimidating than a blank page. Writing in drafts helps to diffuse some of that pressure. My rough draft has one goal; to write “The End.” I have the next 200-300 drafts to make it good.
  3. I always write for me. I write what I want to read. I have no idea what will be popular, but if it’s a story I like, at least I can guarantee that it’ll have one fan.
  4. I’m very careful who I let proofread my unfinished work. Too often people will want to rewrite the entire story or take it in a direction I never intended. Vetting proofreaders over time allows me to find eyes and brains that want to help me get where I originally intended to go.
  5. I married the right person! That’s the most important tip I can give to any artist. It’s hard out there, unpredictable, distracting, and, at times, heartbreaking. My wife knows me better than I know myself and is critical in keeping my mind and heart on the right track. Without her as my battle-buddy, who knows where I, and my work, would be.

Three Quotes

  1. Before I’m a zombie nerd, before I’m a science-fiction nerd, I am a history nerd.
  2. I wrote ‘The Zombie Survival Guide’ because I wanted to read it, and nobody else was writing it. All I’ve been doing with everything I’ve written is answering questions that I had.
  3. Zombie books were going to be my passion projects, but certainly not pay the bills. I thought I was going to have to get a real job on a sitcom or something, and have my zombie books to remind myself I was still a writer at heart. I never thought I could actually pay my bills and write what I wanted.

Brooks is an American horror author and screenwriter. He is the son of comedy filmmaker Mel Brooks and actress Anne Bancroft. He is well-known for World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War.

Source for Image

by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

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Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Fun, randomness


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