AISFP Podcast 265 – Michael R. Underwood, SHIELD AND CROCUS

Underwood_SHIELD_CROCUS_Front_Cvr-1Timothy C. Ward, author of the authorized Sand fanfic, “Scavenger,” interviewed Michael R. Underwood about his Superhero Epic Fantasy novel from 47North, Shield and Crocus. Michael shares about how Shield and Crocus is different than his Geekomancy Urban Fantasy novels, how he’s grown as a writer, and the latest news on Lee Harris’s new job at He also discusses what we can take from the Amazon vs. Hachette dispute. If you have a Patreon account, share the link in the comments below with a brief description of what your patrons will support you in.

About Michael R. Underwood:

Michael UnderwoodMichael R. Underwood is the author of GEEKOMANCY, CELEBROMANCY, ATTACK THE GEEK, and the forthcoming SHIELD AND CROCUS and THE YOUNGER GODS. By day, he’s the North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books. Mike grew up devouring stories in all forms, from comics to video games, tabletop RPGs, movies, and books. Always books.

Mike lives in Baltimore with his fiancé, an ever-growing library, and a super-team of dinosaur figurines & stuffed animals. In his rapidly-vanishing free time, he studies historical martial arts and makes pizzas from scratch. He is also a co-host on the Hugo-nominated Skiffy and Fanty Show.


Michael is offering a giveaway of a set of a paperback, an ebook, and an audiobook CD of his novel, Shield and Crocus. To enter, describe in the comments section a Fantasy character that you would turn into a superhero and how. US and Canada only.

Fun links: exclusive excerpt of Shield and Crocus

Jason Gurley, cover artist and author of Eleanor Imprint Submission Guidelines

Hachette’s Slides to Investors by Hugh Howey

The Cost of a Good Book by Brian McClellan

Cover to Cover #470: Amazon vs Hachette, or Authors Are Doing It For Themselves


Episode 265 Sponsor: Whispers from the Abyss on Kickstarter

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Timothy C. Ward
Executive Producer

ScavengerTimothy C. Ward has been podcasting since 2010, first as AudioTim, and now with AISFP. His newest story, Scavenger: A Sand Diver Tale, is available on Kindle and Smashwords for $.99. His novel in progress, Order After Dark, is a Post-apocalyptic Fantasy set in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss. Sign up to his author newsletter for updates on new releases.

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  1. I would turn Smaug into an invisible dragon and his alter-ego would be an eco warrior (human shaped) who spends his weekends hugging trees and communicating with Carl Sagan using a ouija board.

  2. Converting a fantasy character into a superhero?

    Muire, the last Valkyrie in Elizabeth’s Bear’s Edda series, is tailor made to be made a superhero by simply transporting her in time and place to Gotham, or perhaps Marvel New York. Just the clashes alone she’d have with Thor–box office!

  3. I’d really love to see The Fool from Robin Hobb’s Farseer series in the modern world. He’s already got the ability to become just about anyone, and the ability to see patterns and (sort of?) read thoughts. I’d further give him the powers of invisibility. He wouldn’t fight with brute strength, but he’d always be there, behind all the massive shifts in the system. And he’d probably have another brutally flawed but loveable superhero as his partner. Actually, maybe he’s Alfred…

  4. How about Mr. Giggles (aka Giguhl the Mischief Demon) from Jaye Wells’ Sabina Kane series and have him be a cross between Thor and Grumpy Cat in occupied France during WWII. His Clark Kent persona can be that curmudgeonly feline ferrying messages and such behind enemy lines, while his ass-kicking demon identity can spring out for some good ol’ fashioned Nazi stompin’.

  5. Most of the characters I feel are worthy of superpowers — meaning they’d use them wisely and also have multiple chances to apply such gifts in their fictional realms — either already possess extraordinary capabilities or would not wish to have them. I read primarily SF&F with plenty of paranormal thrown in for spice. But, I also carry on relationships with the rest of the available genres. Accordingly, one of the series I follow is a contemporary mystery involving a PR/marketing lady and her noir cat, Louie. If the superpower god ever allows for Miss Temple Barr to have a gift for silent sneaking, invisibility, super-hearing, etc., that would be very fun. Altogether, I thoroughly believe that the Midnight Louie has superpowers. Pick up Carole Nelson Douglas’s Midnight Louie series for a breezy humorous read, and it’s great for the non-SF, non-paranormal person. I’m glad I can appreciate books of all sorts. Signing off, currently, Amazon Top Reviewer #4,184 bookwormpov (at) gmail (dot) com

    • I missed the “how” part of the Q. Our PR/PI protagonist bounces between two male interests in the series. In my fanfic imagination, the stage magician, Max, turns out to be using “real” magic in his acts along with “real” magical artifacts. Max teaches Temple the basics for invisibility and disspelling sound (pun intended), so she can investigate quietly (because he knows she’ll do it anyway). Meanwhile, Temple finds that dabbling in occult powers has side-effects, such as hearing much of the narration of the book by her cat that only the readers have been privy to thus far. She “knew” Midnight Louie had been talking to her all this time, but who knew he held such strong opinions!

  6. I was going to nominate R. A. Salvatore’s “Drizzt Do’Urden” but when you think about it, he’s already a superhero.

    So, my thoughts turned towards a more dark character: Joe Abercrombie’s “Logen Ninefingers”. When he goes berzerk there’s no stopping him (a little like Hulk, I guess). That would be his weak side, which is always good to create the suspense, to break the invincibility of a superhero. Superman has Kryptonite, The Bloody Nine has his going berzerk. We could give him some magic abilities that he could draw from the nature. He already has a hint of this therefore we can increase his powers to make them significant enough. And after a nice costume and a magic battle axe we would have our medieval super hero: Super Bloody Nine.

  7. Piggy from Lord of the Flies. Instead if using his glasses to focus sunlight and make fires, he’d have real heat vision powers. Maybe then someone can impose some law and order on those damn kids.

  8. Heather Sturgill says:

    I would like to recreate Little Red Riding Hood into a modern, urban superhero by giving her the strength to stop the monsters in a fantasy present.

  9. Sam McDonnell says:

    Maybe Jorg from the Broken Empire? Although he is more likely to be a supervillain than a superhero! Another option is Vlad from the Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust. Despite being a criminal I think he could accomplish some decently heroic stuff.

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