Hey, writers! Hope the writing is going well! This week we’ve got a special surprise – the awesome Stephen Zimmer is visiting DarWrites! Stephen is a fantasy writer of Rayden Valkyrie Stories, The Rising Dawn Saga, The Fires in Eden Series, Hellscapes, The Chronicles of Ave, and Harvey and Solomon Stories. He is also a screenwriter who just finished a pilot episode for The Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart. Rayden is a tough warrior who fights for what she believes in. I wouldn’t mind going for a drink with her and her compatriots and picking their brains about fight scenes! Thanks for visiting, Stephen, and for giving us a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to shoot a TV pilot! Take it away!
The Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot production was both challenging and exciting. Taking on a genre like fantasy, on a small budget at an independent level, is never going to be an easy road, but with extensive planning and the involvement of a great many volunteers and in-kind support, we were able to achieve a production environment that could match up well with productions supported by much larger budgets.
We were very careful with our location selections, eventually finding a mixture of both private and public-owned sites that matched well with what we could do in terms of transportation, distance from the main hotel site where cast and crew from out of the area were staying, and catering needs. Some locations used are very celebrated sites in Kentucky, such as Cove Spring Park, near Frankfort, and Cumberland Falls, the site of the only remaining moonbow in the world!
The needs of many scenes were met on a sizable farm property that had a lot of wooded acreage with varying terrain, creeks, and other natural elements. The center of this property had a large cleared area from which trails radiated to other parts of the property.
It was ideal for a base camp, which we setup with RV’s, tents, trailers, porta potties, and other elements. It was less than a mile away from a house we were given access to for our caterer’s needs and our costuming/makup departments. Together, the two sites served to support the entire production, even when away from these sites. Wardrobe and props could be stored and secured, our caterer had a solid base to work from, and other advantages.
The weather was hot in June, which meant countless bottles of water had to be purchased and kept at the ready for cast and crew, and the outdoor, woodland setting of the shoot also meant a need for bug spray and the like, but at least the rains stayed away with the exception of one cloudburst near the end of one shooting day. Fortunately, we were able to catch back up later in the schedule to get what we missed that particular day.
We had one interior setting involving a cave and a few night shoots that brought in some variety with additional challenges and needs (such as more lighting, and powering those lights), but these were scheduled deeper into the shoot and by then everyone was working together very well.
As with all levels of production, everyone came together to meet all of the challenges of an independent production on location. The production was completed on schedule, and while heat and bugs made some days more difficult than others, the settings looked fantastic on screen.
Behind the scenes it was very active, and involved loads of planning and support elements, but a true indie production spirit prevailed in meeting every twist and turn head on! Lots of smiles and laughs, blood, sweat, and tears too, but a really special production was achieved; one that I believe has a very solid chance of growing into much more in the future!
Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), and the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk).
Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.
Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.
Want more? Check out Stephen’s novels! [Darlene is reading … and will review on Thursday and Friday! Teaser: I read the first book in one sitting…overnight…with coffee and it kept me turning the pages!]
Heart of a Lion
Rayden Valkyrie. She walks alone, serving no king, emperor, or master. Forged in the fires of tragedy, she has no place she truly calls home.
A deadly warrior wielding both blade and axe, Rayden is the bane of the wicked and corrupt. To many others, she is the most loyal and dedicated of friends, an ally who is unyielding in the most dangerous of circumstances.
The people of the far southern lands she has just aided claim that she has the heart of a lion. For Rayden, a long journey to the lands of the far northern tribes who adopted her as a child beckons, with an ocean lying in between.
Her path will lead her once more into the center of a maelstrom, one involving a rising empire that is said to be making use of the darkest kinds of sorcery to grow its power. Making new friends and discoveries amid tremendous peril, Rayden makes her way to the north.
Monstrous beasts, supernatural powers, and the bloody specter of war have been a part of her world for a long time and this journey will be no different. Rayden chooses the battles that she will fight, whether she takes up the cause of one individual or an entire people.
Both friends and enemies alike will swiftly learn that the people of the far southern lands spoke truly. Rayden Valkyrie has the heart of a lion.
Heart of a Lion is Book One of the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy.
Barnes and Noble Link for Heart of a Lion: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heart-of-a-lion-stephen-zimmer/1121113044?ean=9781941706213
A deadly menace stalks the shadows of the lands to the north, stirring the winds of war. Farther south, the power of the Teveren Empire spreads with every passing day, empowered by dark sorcery. Formidable legions bent on conquest are on the march, slavery and subjugation following in their wake.
Within the rising maelstrom, Rayden Valkyrie has returned to the Gessa, to stand with the tribe that once took her into their care as a child. No amount of jewels or coin can sway her, nor can the great power of her adversaries intimidate her.
With a sword blade in her right hand and axe in her left, Rayden confronts foes both supernatural and of flesh and blood. Horrific revelations and tremendous risks loom; some that will see Rayden’s survival in the gravest of peril.
Even if Rayden and the Gessa survive the trials plaguing their lands, the thunder of an even darker storm booms across the far horizon.
Thunder Horizon is the second book in the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy.
Barnes and Noble Link for Thunder Horizon: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thunder-horizon-stephen-zimmer/1126268394?ean=9781941706572
Tour Schedule and Activities
8/16 The Temple of the Exploding Head Guest Post
8/16 The Page Turner Guest Post
8/16 BOOKS TO CURL UP WITH Author Interview
8/16 Bookishly me Author Interview
8/16 DarWrites Guest Post
8/16 Sheila’s Guests and Reviews Guest Post
8/16 Sapphyria’s Books Guest Post
8/16 Deal Sharing Aunt Top Ten’s List
8/17 DarWrites Review
8/17 Bookin Around Town Author Interview/Podcast
8/17 Full Moon Bites Character Interview
8/18 BOOKS TO CURL UP WITH Review
8/18 The Sinister Scribblings of Sarah E. Glenn Top Ten’s List
8/18 I Smell Sheep Guest Post
8/19 Paranormal Pleasures Review
8/19 The Page Turner Review
8/19 Bella’s Book Reviews Review
8/19 Jeni’s Bookshelf Guest Post
8/20 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! Guest Post
8/20 The Seventh Star Blog Guest Post
8/20 Stuart Thaman Books Guest Post
8/21 MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape Author Interview
8/21 SpecMusicMuse Author Interview
8/21 Jordan Hirsch Review
8/22 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post
8/22 Discover New Authors Author Interview
8/22 Butterfly’s Booknerdia Blog Review
8/23 The Occult Detective Review
8/23 Bookishly me Review
8/23 Jeni’s Bookshelf Review
8/23 Jorie Loves a Story Interview
8/23 Readers Life With Trisha Ratliff Review