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The Lamplighters - Press Release

Local author J. Gabriel Gates

launches new fantasy book for middle grade readers

Marshall author J. Gabriel Gates has released a new middle grade fantasy book, The Lamplighters.

Best known for his young adult urban fantasy “Luck Gods” series, this release marks Gates’ ninth published novel, and his first for middle school-age readers.

“So many of us first fell in love with reading when we discovered fantasy books like Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit or The Golden Compass,” Gates said. “The Lamplighters is my attempt to rekindle for a new generation that feeling of pure adventure that classic fantasy books capture.”

The story takes place in a mythical city cursed with eternal night. Monsters called vexors lurk in the dark, and a corps of young heroes called lamplighters must keep the lamps lit that keeps the monsters at bay. When two young lamplighters are trapped in the dark beyond the city walls, they must journey through magical lands, encountering outlandish allies and dangerous foes on their way to rescue their friends and, perhaps, unravel the secret of their city’s curse.

Gates is no stranger to launching new books, and has recently been experimenting with alternate platforms for sales and marketing besides the typical ones: Amazon, Facebook, and brick-and-mortar bookstores. He first launched The Lamplighters to select supporters with a Kickstarter campaign, which concluded in December. The project hit its funding goal in only three days and raised over $2000. Much of the interest came from TikTok, where Gates has amassed over 13,000 followers.

“TikTok has an incredible Booktok community and is an amazing tool for authors,” Gates said. “I can make a video in ten minutes and reach potentially hundreds or thousands of new readers. I’ve also made friends and met lots of authors to network with. As an indie published author, it’s a game-changer. Kickstarter was a great experience, too. My readers stepped up to support, and the new platform also allowed me to connect with readers who weren’t familiar with me or my work.”

Gates was originally published by HCI Books, original publishers of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series, but recently began his own publishing venture, Steed Publishing and Media, LLC.

“I love having control over my work and having the ability to put out the books I’m most passionate about—like The Lamplighters,” Gates said.

For writers interested in learning more about independent / self-publishing, Gates is teaching a workshop at The Franke Center January 29th. More information is available at

The Lamplighters is available in hardcover, paperback and ebook wherever books are sold. For more information, visit

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