Happy Thursday! Today, we're really excited to be participating in the blog tour for McCallum J. Morgan's debut novel, A Hole in the Ice! We've got McCallum's playlist for the book, as well as his top five steampunk novels, and there's even a giveaway full of chances to win awesome swag, books, and a handmade Kindle cover. So make sure to enter for your chance to win via the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post!
But before we get to all of that, how about a little information about A Hole in the Ice and its fabulous author?
About the Book
Author: McCallum J. Morgan
Publication Date: September 20, 2014
Publisher: Little Bird Publishing
Synopsis: Parsifal is a young man with an incredible secret – only, he isn’t quite sure what that secret is. All he does know is that it is something to do with a mysterious object that looks like a compass, but behaves like something from a different Realm.
As he sets off on a rich and decadent adventure across Europe with his eccentric, explorer uncle, Parsifal comes to learn one more thing about the mysterious object – there are people prepared to kill him to get their hands on it.
Accompanying on their epic quest for a mythical city inhabited by mermaids, is the bewitching Lady Vasille, unlike any woman, Parsifal has ever come across. Eloquent, beautiful and pistol toting, the Lady Vasille casts a spell over Parsifal that is both enchanting and destructive.
The question is, who can you really trust when the real world starts to slide into a fairytale?
A high epic Edwardian fantasy adventure, including Mermaids and other supernatural and fantasy creatures
About the Author
As a child, McCallum always wanted to write a book. He scribbled in notebooks, drew pictures, and lived largely in a world of make-believe. Into this fertile field a seed was planted. Notebooks began to fill and they didn’t stop. It was a soaring waltz with words among the silvery clouds and he loved it. He was thirteen.
McCallum discovered the Institute of Children’s Literature and enrolled in their writing course, Writing for Children and Teenagers. For their second, advanced, course, he rewrote those bursting notebooks. Now McCallum is eighteen and working on the sequel, and enjoying every minute of it knowing that finally, it’s real. It’s not just a pile of notebooks anymore, it’s ‘A Hole in the Ice.’
McCallum still draws and occasionally attacks an unfortunate piece of fabric with a sewing machine. He may be spotted around his home town of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, sporting his collection of bizarre clothing items, singing ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ in French, or at the bakery near his home, drinking a caramel macchiato. His day job is log home finishing. He lives with his parents in a house perched on the hillside twenty miles south of the Canadian border and takes his tea with milk and sugar in a cup and saucer.
McCallum's A Hole in the Ice Playlist!
The first song is On the Beautiful Blue Danube by Johann Strauss Jr. Parsifal mentions the song several times and he dances to it with Lady Vasille in Budapest. I love Strauss’s music, my favorite is actually The Emperor Waltz. I imagined a slower waltz, however, and Danube has some fairly rambunctious sections so I was looking for a slower version. I found a gorgeous 2001 recording by Robert Van Horne that fit the bill perfectly. I found it on Amazon (Album title Moonlight Piano) but it’s not on Spotify. Fortunately, Katie from Little Bird found this very similar version (thanks Katie!).
The second song, Postcards from Far Away by Coldplay, sounds almost like something you’d hear in a Jane Austen film, which is how I imagined the society and some of the clothing in “A Hole in the Ice.” This song could describe the sleepy, sunlit Greisley. It could also be the sweet side of Lady Vasille.
Ruled by Secrecy by Muse. The title says it all. Each character has a secret, each’s actions is ruled by that secret and the importance of keeping it secret. Plus I love Muse. Worship might be a better verb.
Made for You by OneRepublic. Probably my favorite song by OneRepublic. I listened to this when I was writing. It also has associations with Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare because I bought the album and book around the same time and listened and read simultaneously, but that has nothing to do with its inclusion here. An added note: doesn’t the beat sound just a bit like a train chugging along? This can be the train travel theme song.
The Scientist by Coldplay. I LOVE THIS SONG. And I listened to it while writing. :)
Now for the mermaids twinkling tune…drumroll. I have two options here. First I’ll steal one from the 1985 movie LEGEND. This cover version of the Tangerine Dream score by Brandon K. Verrett is piano (kisses thrown into the air) so we can imagine it’s sort of tinkly. Thus: The Dance. This is a magical, seductive song and so could also be Lady Vasille’s zeppelin waltz theme.
Option Two for the mermaids is Muse! The Gallery is creepy and that definitely fits the mermaids (okay, so The Dance is creepy, too). It sounds kind of tinkly!
Now, what I really want is for a movie to be made of “A Hole in the Ice” with score by Danny Elfman. He would write the most gorgeous mermaid theme. I love Danny Elfman’s music and I found this beautiful symphony he wrote called Serenada Schizophrana. I listened to it while I went through final edits for the book. It fits exceedingly well and was great mood music. Especially the sixth song, Bells and Whistles, I played that one every time I went through an action sequence. Along with number five, I Forget. This album is not available on amazon (You can get the physical CD there, which is what I did, but no download) and it’s not on Spotify and I don’t think iTunes has it either. So here’s a YouTube link so you can check it out, it’s gorgeous.
McCallum's TOP FIVE Steampunk Books!
1. The Matt Cruse Trilogy: Airborn, Skybreaker, and Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel. The setting are characters are so vivid. I just love these books. The story grabbed me and had me on the edge of my seat all the way through. Lots of airships, too.
2. The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman. Pullman is one of the best story tellers I have ever read. This book is excellently written and gripping.
3. The Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. The wild settings and super colorful characters are delicious. Nix’s characters are always brought to life vividly.
4. Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve. Bizarre settings, great (and extremely interesting) characters are the highlight of this imaginative book. It has the best first line I have ever read: “It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.”
5. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. I ordered it for market research and was excited by the cool cover. The first line was a big disappointment, killing demons indeed. Not my cup of tea (apparently I did not know what the book was about :( ). But it turned out alright. Beautiful Victorian setting. The characters are really really great. It got a bit too raunchy for me, especially in the later books, but it’s a great read.
I hope my definition of Steampunk isn’t too loose. I think all of these books are listed under Steampunk on Goodreads…Airborn and Clockwork Angel are maybe more “traditional” Steampunk. The Golden Compass is full of alternate worlds and strange technology and Lyra’s world definitely seems older. The movie certainly makes it look Steampunk. Mortal Engines is a futuristic Steampunk and The Keys to the Kingdom books are just plain weird, but I think with all the old fashioned stuff it fits the bill. Steampunk is, after all, a variable genre.
-----McCallum J. Morgan
So many awesome prizes here! Don't miss the opportunity to win!
Thank you to McCallum for taking the time to stop by, and thanks to you for supporting him! Also, be sure to come back in a couple of days for some more exciting A Hole in the Ice content!
--Ashley & Paul