Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Magical World of One-eyed Men, Large Intelligent Cats That Understand English, and Giant Mutant Owls: Feasting with Panthers by Lyle Blake Smythers VBT Pit Stop Apr 27

 Congratulations to A reader: Winner of eBook giveaway!

On Feasting with Panthers from the author -

Lyle Blake Smythers:
I am most pleased to be launching on this cafe tour.  I look forward to introducing readers to a magical world of one-eyed men, large intelligent cats that understand English, and giant mutant owls. Inspired by some little-known traditional stories found in an old edition of the Arabian Nights, I twisted these tales to suit my own purpose and used them to ensnare my four narrators in a larger pattern of sinister intent.

I wanted to work within the framework of standard heroic fantasy but add fresh elements to give the reader an experience never felt before. Not just sorcerers and a quest (they are there) but a hallucinogenic drug, green snow, a boy turned into a monkey, a convention of puppeteers, an outdoor festival where people come to see a magic trick only performed once a year. Also bloody revenge. Please join me.

Click on the image to visit Lyle's Meet & Greet at the VBT Cafe.

I'm very excited to introduce Lyle to you. His book sounds so intriguing. Lyle is featuring a giveaway to one lucky commenter. Details below. Please help me give him a warm welcome!

Louise: Lyle, welcome to my blog! I’m so excited you could join me for a chat. When did you first decide to submit your work to be published? Tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.

Lyle: I’ve been trying to write novels since the sixth grade, throwing them away before they were finished, and moving on to new writing projects, each time getting a little more experience and knowledge of how this mysterious process works. FEASTING WITH PANTHERS was the first book I felt sufficiently satisfied with to pursue its publication with any real dedication. It made the rounds of just about all the traditional mainstream publishers and no one wanted it. At the same time I was sending out queries to agents, around fifty or sixty of them, with no success. My breakthrough came when I started to submit to the small presses, who are doing wonderful work with offbeat or unusual fiction. This is what I have written.

We found the first one-eyed man at dawn...

So begins the highly original fantasy tale of warrior poet Catalan, when he and his band stumble upon a handsome acolyte near death in a mountain pass. But when the acolyte reveals his mystical vision, the
poet finds himself at the center of a War Game between two mysterious sorcerers. To unravel the mystery, Catalan and the agents of the War Game must seek the missing pieces of an enchanted chess set in a quest complicated by deceit and treachery, in which nothing is what it seems.

Ingeniously weaving together citations throughout the text from a variety of sources including Yeats, Milton, Joyce, Poe, Baudelaire, the King James Bible and many more author Lyle Blake Smythers serves up a truly literary feast.
Louise: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing?

Lyle: Because of my busy schedule, I can go as long as one or two weeks between writing sessions, during which time I am frequently thinking about what’s coming next in my work in progress and making notes to myself. I frequently find myself writing in a leather armchair at the cigar shop where I buy cigars, because they have a smoking area inside that is climate controlled. It’s a nice place to relax, look over my notes, and start trying to make more literary magic.
Louise: Please give us a sneak peek at your future books. What’s on the horizon?
Lyle: My work in progress is a blend of dark fantasy, New Weird and urban detective noir.  A little China Mieville, a little Jeff Vandermeer, a little Philip K. Dick, a little Raymond Chandler., in a realistic, complex real-world setting combining elements of both science fiction and fantasy. Two supernatural beings from Irish mythology, the hero Finn M’Coul and Viledark, the Hog Who Ate the Sun, are running a private detective agency on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., when they come across a new sex drug that increases the male orgasm but also kills and only works on gay men. Their search for a missing boy leads them to Sin, a psychotic supervillain who claims to be the original model for Fu Manchu. I have not yet sold this book to a publisher.

Right now Feasting can be pre-ordered from Barnes & Noble at B&NIt will shortly be available on Amazon and from my publisher at Pink Narcissus Press which is also how people can connect with me if they have comments or questions. I am also on Facebook.

We are going to be giving away a free copy of the e-book version of my novel to one of the readers of this blog. Interested readers should leave a comment here that includes their email address. I will select the most intriguing poster to be the winner. Readers who follow me during this entire virtual book tour and post at each blog stop will be entered for a drawing to win a print of the outstanding cover art by Duncan Eagleson.  Information on the other websites and dates of my appearances can be found below: 

April 23 - Meet & Greet at VBT Cafe' Blog
  April 25 - Interviewed at Writing Innovations E-zine
  April 27 - Interviewed by Louise James
  April 30 - Guest Blogging at AZ Publishing Services
  May 2 - Interviewed by Margaret West
  May 4 - Guest Blogging at Immortyl Revolution
  May 8 - Interviewed at Reviews & Interviews
  May 10 - Interviewed at Immortality & Beyond
  May 14 - Reviewed at Books, Books, and More Books
  May 16 - Guest Blogging at MK McClintock's Blog
  May 18 - Guest Blogging at Mass Musings

Lyle Blake Smythers is an actor, writer and librarian in the Washington, D.C., area. Since 1976 he has performed in over 100 stage productions, including three appearances at the National Theatre. He has published fiction, poetry, satire and literary criticism in Manscape, FirstHand, Playguy, The William and Mary Review, Insights, School Library Journal and Children?s Literature Review. He is a
former children’s librarian and is currently providing cataloging support for an ongoing project at the Library of Congress.

Visit Lyle on his Web site and Facebook



  1. I can see that you have been influenced by many writers and assume you read a lot. Who is your favorite author and how did they influence this book? Great cover by the way.

  2. Loved the interview. Thank you for hosting Lyle :)

  3. I really like writers with a flashy style and therefore adore people like William Faulkner and James Joyce. Although I enjoy thrillers that are quick reads, the equivalent of a popcorn movie, when I am in the mood I find it incredible to immerse myself in a tangled and challenging book that makes me work to "get" it.

    Readers should therefore not be surprised to find one of the four narrators of Feasting telling his part of the story in a stream of consciousness mode. My excuse is that he has been given a hallucinogenic drug to make him talk, but really I am having fun as a writer.

    I hope it's as interesting to the reader as it is to me.

  4. My last comment was more about writing style than content, so I would like to add that there are other writers with whom I compare myself when I try to describe Feasting. I usually mention Michael Moorcock, Peter S. Beagle, Gene Wolfe, and Ursula K. Le Guin. These references only work with people who read a lot of fantasy, of course, so if I'm talking to someone who's not a fan I am sometimes reduced to throwing in remarks about Hercules, Conan the Barbarian, and Lord of the Rings. You know, all that magic/monsters/swords/violence stuff.

  5. Lyle, thank you again for visiting with me today.
    A Reader, thanks for stopping by and asking a great question!
    BK, as always, you're very welcome.
    Have a great weekend everyone!