Stephen Zimmer has had so many cool stops along his blog tour and I am so excited to be a part of the tour. I thought long and hard about what I wanted my stop to be like. I thought I could do a regular review where I tell you I love the new book, Spirit of Fire, (cause I did), I could let you know how I rated it, (4.5 out of 5), I could say buy and read this series ( which you should) but I wanted to do something different.
I had the real honor and pleasure of spending last weekend hanging out with Stephen Zimmer at Fandom Fest, as well as tons of other cool book people. Thanks to Stephen I have discovered so many authors I may have otherwise never found. Especially small press authors and one of the books that I was lucky to get my hands on over the weekend was an anthology, Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells edited by Herika R. Raymer and in her introduction she talked about small press and self-published authors and encouraged the readers to look at book fairs, conventions and local events to discover new books and authors. Which was in fact how I “discovered” Stephen he is a local writer from the Kentucky town I was living in, so we should take her advice and discover what is all around. But anyway this got me to thinking about how awesome Stephen’s books are and how I think they are a must read for fantasy lovers…. OK well everyone really. So I asked Stephen Zimmer what he thought were musts for people. I asked him his top 5 books, movies, places and foods/beverages he thought everyone could discover in their lifetime. And if you know Stephen at all you will not be surprised that Monster Energy Drink topped the Food/Beverage List.
- Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)- Perhaps the most important fantasy literature ever written, the Lord of the Rings gave literary credibility to the fantasy genre, in addition to being the godfather of epic fantasy. Middle Earth, in many ways, is a standard by which most all other fantasy and speculative fiction realms are measured.
- The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis)-While a different style of fantasy than Lord of the Rings, there are few novels in any genre that can match the celebration of life that flows through these books. The Last Battle, the final installment of this series, is in my opinion the most satisfying conclusion to a series ever. You can’t end on a higher note than this one does.
- Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)-A deep, thought-provoking novel that goes to the essence of what it means to be truly free and have self-determination. Few books illustrate an entire philosophical outlook as comprehensively as this novel does. We need a John Galt very badly today.
- Song of Ice and Fire (George R.R. Martin)-An incredible series with such an amazing range of characters and layers to the story. This series shows the power of epic fantasy and what it can deliver.
- The Bible (multiple authors)- Even if you are not of a religious persuasion, the Bible is an incredible collection of works involving a multitude of authors covering the history of a people and the birth of a religion that gripped the world. It is filled with a host of interesting characters, history, imagery, and multiple styles of writing.
- Lord of the Rings-Peter Jackson pulled off a stunning adaptation of a series that few thought could be brought to the big screen in a satisfactory manner. The right blend of physical effects and CGI, a superb cast, and so much more made these films magical for me to watch.
- Star Wars-Star Wars mesmerized me as a child. It is epic fantasy in space, on the big screen, and really inspired me to the potential of epic-scale stories and what movies could do. The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi concluded what was a timeless trilogy.
- Kingdom of Heaven-Kingdom of Heaven is simply incredible in its balanced portrayal of events during the heart of the crusades. There are good and bad individuals on all sides, and there is a subtle, mystical undercurrent to this film if you look for it carefully. Just a brilliant movie that brings to life an age in history that is near and dear to me.
- Blade Runner- Dystopian science fiction has always appealed to me, but the depth of the story and characters in this film is rarely approached in the movie world. Some very deep philosophy and concepts are explored in Blade Runner in a way that is anything but dry or dull. The visuals are extraordinary in a tale that, to me, looks at what life ultimately means.
- Spartacus-A grand epic in which Kirk Douglas pulls off a stirring portrayal of one of humanity’s greatest heroes of all time, Spartacus. This film also explores what it means to be free, and that sometimes you may have to take a stand and fight against tyranny, even if the odds are overwhelming. Truly, this a film that looks at the potential of humans to reach heights of courage, honor, and nobility.
- Caribbean- Truly a magical region to visit, the islands almost seem timeless when you are visiting them. The waters at St. Martin’s seem to be from another time and place, and the luxurious flora of Dominica echoes what I imagine the Garden of Eden to be like.
- Alaska-Rugged and gorgeous, Alaska beckons you to adventure and stimulates your imagination! The abundant wildlife and spectacular vistas make for some inspirational moments. The place resonates with self-determination and inner strength, from the land to the people that inhabit it.
- Wales-Probably the best-kept secret of the United Kingdom, Wales is incredible. From the canals with the longboats to the gorgeous hill and mountainsides draped in rich green, Wales is another land of timeless grace. Walking around the base of the walls of a castle like Caernarfon, or looking at the unique wooden spoon-sets in one of the shops, Wales has little adventures to undertake at every turn.
- Texas-Big skies that hint of infinity, and hardy landscapes that sing of endurance and vitality, Texas is a place that speaks strongly to my individualistic nature. The people of Texas reflect these qualities, exhibiting both toughness and a generous spirit that restores my confidence in human potential.
- Britain-Such a richness of history, where a short walk in London can take you from a Roman-era wall, to a medieval fortress, to a soaring cathedral, Britain is a treasure trove for those with a passion for the things of the past. Rustic scenes in the countryside, to towns surrounded by medieval walls, Britain spoke to my imagination at every turn. It is easy to see how the likes of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien thrived with such an environment. An abundance of good-hearted folk cannot be overlooked either, as no matter where I went I encountered warm receptions by the people I met.
- Monster Energy Drinks-The magic elixir itself, I can’t say enough good things about Monster Energy. Like I always say, “Epic Fantasy Requires Epic Energy” and Monster Energy is Epic in every way. The company never rests on its laurels, but is always developing new types, from the several energy drink variations, to the coffee-energy line, to its rehydration options. I have had about thirty types of Monster Energy and all of them were winners. Simply an amazing, wondrous company.
- Pizza-the most complete food in nature, if you put the right toppings on it, you can cover all of the food groups! Pizza suits any occasion, and I never get tired of it. The New York style is my favorite, but there isn’t a type that I have a problem with!
- Fried Rice-I love fried rice, and it makes up a part of so many of my favorite Chinese restaurant dishes, such as General Tso’s Chicken, Sesame Chicken, Beef and Broccoli, and Sweet and Sour Chicken. Whether beef, pork, chicken, or plain, fried rice always hits the spot!
- Hamburger-No, I’m not a steak person. I confess that I simply love ground beef and especially hamburgers. Like with pizza, you have all kinds of options on toppings, and there is nothing better in the summer than a nice grilled burger with fresh tomatoes, cheese, lettuce and a sesame seed bun!
- Beer-With lots of Irish and German heritage, beer is in my blood, from light to dark and everything in between. I love trying new types of beers from around the world, lagers, pilsners, porters, stouts, all manner of variations. A cold light beer on a hot day, or a German lager with a dinner, there are beers for every occasion!
- Paperback: 772 pages
- Publisher: Seventh Star Press, LLC (May 29, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 193792985X
- ISBN-13: 978-1937929855
One thing you will also see is Stephen's books as well as all Seventh Star Publications have kick ass art so I thought I would share a sampling of the art here. These can all be found in Spirit of Fire. Matthew Perry is the artist and he is fabulous.
Find Stephen Zimmer on Facebook
Fan Stephen Zimmer on Facebook
Order from the Publisher Seventh Star Press (Books and the some artwork as well)
Order on Amazon
And you can see what a huge fan we are of Stephen's these are hanging up at our house. :)