Tag: Magic

Spellcaster by George Bachman

Posted May 20, 2017

Christine Daniel suffers in ways no sixteen-year-old should and no doctor has been able to cure her. The excruciating pains and high fevers debilitating her aren’t triggered by a physical cause but by visions of a youth calling to her while fleeing a mysterious man who means him harm. This could hardly be happening at a worse time, when she and her beautiful older sister Allison are making their début in high society, like other wealthy socialites seeking matches with titled but impoverished gentlemen in Victorian England.

Christine is convinced that to stop the visions she must somehow save this youth. But first, she has to find him. She needs someone who’d know how to locate someone through means outside the known senses, the paranormal. Unfortunately, the authorities have driven underground all but one of the country’s occultists, and the reason she isn’t hiding is the only reason she might help Christine, something she wants in return. Christine must convince Allison to marry the occultist’s lover, one of those impoverished gentlemen, so that the illicit pair can share her part of the family fortune while continuing their affair.

If Christine doesn’t stop the visions by saving the youth, the pains and fevers will eventually kill her. But if she does what the occultist wants, she will betray Allison to a lifetime of misery. Can she lead her sister into a marriage with a bad man if doing so is the only way to save her own skin – literally?

[goodreviews isbn=”B06Y1FMY33 ” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Off to See the Wizard by Clay Johnson

Posted September 28, 2016

At the end of most heroic quests, after a plucky band of heroes has averted the apocalypse, all is well, and everyone lives happily ever after… (until the next book in the series.) Now, for the first time, readers get an in depth look into what really happens after the quest. This is the collected case file of the Grand Inquisitor’s investigation into the Misery Reach debacle. Read first hand as the participants try to explain their actions and make their case. Did the Demon Lord Krevassius really try to end the world just to impress a girl? Would everyone be better off if the Wizard Galbraith hadn’t invented a quest in order to stave off criticism? And what about an elf queen peeing on a Minotaur? A swordsman’s losing battle with a young raccoon? And the transvestite assassin with a heart of gold?

[goodreviews isbn=”B01BQGGGEK” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

 


Dragons Among Them by Kyra Jacobs

Posted August 21, 2016

Two secret worlds. One unstoppable passion. A fiery secret that could destroy them all. Prince Zayne Godfrey, heir to Edana’s throne, is betrothed to the lone princess of rival kingdom Forath. While his heart is not in the arranged marriage, he will do his royal duty. When he finds a beautiful stranger cornered by a pack of wolves, he doesn’t hesitate to shift into his golden dragon form to save her. She thanks him by taking one look at him and fainting dead away. Photographer Adelaide Miller is in England for a career-making shoot when a bizarre jogging mishap lands her in a dangerous, medieval-like world of royals, wizards and dragon-shifting men. Her first instinct is to find her way back, but the fire-breathing prince intent on protecting her threatens to melt her heart. Zayne’s burning passion for Adelaide not only jeopardizes the fragile peace between two kingdoms, it uncovers a ruthless plot to destroy his family. Remaining together may change Adelaide’s very definition of home—and expose one searing secret that could forever shift the balance of power in Zayne’s world.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01BMV2F3U” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


A Facet for the Gem (The Tale of Eaglefriend Book One) by C. L. Murray

Posted May 7, 2016

In a land of eagle-riding knights, bloodthirsty beasts, and a ruthless prince, no border is safe for long. And as smoke billows from the only blockade standing between the great city of Korindelf and certain doom, young Morlen races to escape the inevitable siege. Thrust from the chaos with thousands of snapping jaws on his trail, he discovers that the abilities he’s buried all his life are awakening—and it could not have happened at a worse time.
War has come, and he doesn’t dare rely on his untested talents after stealing the coveted Goldshard, which makes strength and invincibility just a panicked whisper away. His dependency on it carries him through many dangers, until it becomes an enemy far worse than those he must fight hand-to-hand. And the allies he meets on his quest are just as troubled: a legendary warrior too afraid to leave his sheltered paradise, a wizard tormented by his past, and a disgraced king who has lost any hope of saving his people.
A FACET FOR THE GEM is a coming of age fantasy that brings Morlen from distant kingdoms to sprawling airborne battles, into the fiery breath of a stony dragon and side-by-side with a lady knight who is the last person in need of rescue. Follow him as his epic adventures culminate in a final showdown against swords, fangs, and greatest of all: his own fear.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01C9JT5BY” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Guilty by Association by E.A.Copen

Posted April 2, 2016

Everything’s bigger in Texas…Including the monsters. When a young werewolf is murdered on the Paint Rock Supernatural Reservation, the local cops think it’s a drug deal gone bad. BSI agent Judah Black knows better. An occult expert, she knows magick is at work from the beginning. Using only her wits, knowledge of the supernatural and her limited magickal abilities, she must untangle a web of cover-ups and lies before the killer finds his next victim.

My Review:

Guilty by Association opens at the scene of a murder of a young werewolf. Judah Black, a federal employee, newly moved onto the supernatural reservation in Texas (populated by werewolves, vampires, and other Fae), is sent to investigate. Not only does Black have a murderer to hunt down, she has to navigate the residents pre-conceptions of her, many of whom have chips on their shoulders. That doesn’t deter Judah in the slightest. She is a strong character in her own right, with her own back story, personal problems to deal with, and she just isn’t one for putting up with any nonsense.

I really enjoyed this book. The sample grabbed my attention, and as the story unfolded and I got to know the characters, I was engaged with the rest of the story. I liked the depth to this book, not only with the plot that transpired through this book, but with the promise of more in future books. Relationships were explored, challenges met head-on, and it was far from predictable. There were plenty of twists, turns, and surprises along the way.

I certainly intend to follow the rest of this series and can see myself reading a lot more urban fantasy in the future.
[goodreviews isbn=”B01BDTO16K” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

 


DAUGHTER OF THE WOLF BY CAT BRUNO

Posted March 21, 2016

Daughter of the Wolf

How far must one travel to escape the gaze of a dark-shadowed god? After fleeing the Healer’s Academy, Caryss struggles against becoming little more than a plaything of the gods. Pregnant with a child who will be born of shadows and stars, Caryss searches for an army to protect her unborn daughter. Along the way, she finds help from a fallenmage, an exiled prince, a blood-stained shaman, and a boy who commands the skies. Yet, even with their assistance, Caryss cannot run far from the High Lord Conri, whose love for her is profaned and damaged.

Mysterious and dark fantasy filled with epic adventure and magic. Find the first book in the critically acclaimed Pathway of the Chosen series, The Girl from the North.

[book-info]

amazon

[goodreviews isbn=”B019WJUH20″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]



Review: Equivocal Destines by Raymond Clarke

Posted March 7, 2016

Equivocal Destines is one of many books I’ve listed on this website but never really found the time to read it, except now I have, and what a great little read it turned out to be, well, not so much of the little…

Equivocal_Destines_Cover_for_Kindle
In a world plagued by hordes warped by magic into creatures hell-bent on the destruction of mankind, where elemental magic holds sway and determines your lot in life, Taal is of the water, which should assure him a place among the revered rudas, protecting his city and assuring him the wealth it bestows. But centuries ago, it was a water wizard who caused The Change that precipitated all of the disasters that followed, and now, being a water wizard is the lowest of the low.

With dreams much bigger than life in Takelberorl will allow a lowly water-boy, Taal sets out on a journey that will change his world forever. In reality, he’s a typical, sixteen-year-old boy who’s only following the pretty girl, but those electric-blue eyes (and said pretty girl’s older brother) just won’t let up on the whole Destiny thing.

From the battle-scarred plains that surround the place of his birth, through regal cities and across pristine mountain wildernesses full of mysterious forces, Taal and his makeshift band of renegades search valiantly in a quest to unmask the evil forces conspiring to annihilate all races. Taking heart-pounding risks and suffering tumultuous trials, the team experiences both horrific battles and unexpected delights.

 

The Story Telling

Equivocal Destines tells the story of Taal, a fifteen, going on sixteen, year old water wizard. Life is simple. He works in the fields watering crops three times a day, lives with his mother in pitifully poor conditions, and owing to the fact he is ‘of the water,’ he gets very little respect from his fellow citizens.

This story begins with an introduction to Taal, his good friend Rah, and some of the shenanigans they get up to. These two young men may well live under the threat of hoards attacking their walled city at a moment’s notice, but they must also deal with girl problems (if only she would notice him), peer rivalry and compulsory weapon training.

The plot is weaved at a steady pace as the reader is introduced to what life is like in Takelberorl. It is a dull life, broken only by the arrival of carnival acts and a weapons fayre…and without meaning spoiling too much for you, the recent movements among the hoards.

My thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed Equivocal Destines. I couldn’t help but like Taal, although I found myself pitying his predicament, I mean, who wants to be ‘of the water’ when it was the water wizards who caused ‘The Change,’ effectively ruining the world for future generations? Despite this, Taal has strong morals, a strong bond with friends and family, and at the times that matter, he has the courage to do the right thing.

The writing is very descriptive, and the story blends through this. Although it takes a while for the physical ‘journey’ to  commence, the emotional journey begins from page one.

If you enjoy fantasy books with depth to the characters, and rich world building, then I would highly recommend Equivocal Destines, even though there is a sharp ending (cliffhanger) which leaves you yearning to read the next book in the series.

 

amazon

 

You can follow Raymond Clarke at:

Amazon

Website

Facebook

Twitter


Where Shadows Fall by Tom Fallwell

Posted March 4, 2016

The Rangers of Laerean are the protectors of the people, the heroes of Hir. Their exploits are legendary and their great deeds recounted in tales across the ages. These are the stories that will be told for generations.

The Rangers face their greatest challenge when they discover that a horrific and deadly dragon is wreaking destruction and death throughout the land of Hir. But the dragon is not their only worry, as it soon becomes apparent there is a conspiracy of dark forces set on destroying the Rangers. Lies, rumors and mysterious assassins threaten to turn the people against the Rangers as they find themselves betrayed by those they would never suspect and the Regions of Hir are thrown into political and economic turmoil.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01APYF1G8″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Forestium by Christopher D. Morgan

Posted March 4, 2016

Joshua, a young woodsman, is approaching the age of decision. Despite the tales of his father having died in a skirmish with another tribe, Joshua’s dreams are telling him otherwise. The young man yearns for the truth and decides to enlist the help of his village elder to guide him. Armed with little more than the cryptic musing from the ailing elder, Joshua sets off to find the Oracle with his best friend and an imp, who is travelling the land to find others of his kind. It isn’t long before they stumble into a beautiful and ingenious young woman who is herself on a journey of discovery.

On the way to the Oracle, Joshua comes by some curious magical artefacts. Can these help him to find his father? An evil and malevolent creature of the underworld known only as the Goat learns that Joshua has possession of some of the magical orbs needed to open the Portallas, a permanent gateway that links worlds together. Enraged, the Goat sends his dark forces to thwart Joshua and to prevent him from fulfilling his destiny.

Travelling through fantastic landscapes, the four travelling companions meet strange people and creatures alike, and must use all their cunning and ingenuity to find the remaining magical orbs. Will Joshua find all the magical artefacts needed to open the Portallas and free his father?

PORTALLAS – FORESTIUM is full of twists and turns, as Joshua goes on a veritable roller-coaster ride of challenges that will test his courage and emotional strength.

http://portallas.com

[goodreviews isbn=”9780994525703″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

 


Author Interview: E.A.Copen

Posted February 26, 2016

Guilty by associationE.A. Copen is the author of the Judah Black novels, an urban fantasy series. She’s an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy and other genre fiction. When she’s not chained to her keyboard, she may be found time traveling on the weekends with the Society for Creative Anachronism. She lives in beautiful southeast Ohio with her husband and two kids, at least until she saves up enough to leave the shire and become a Jedi.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

I must have been five or six. I wrote this short story about a girl who ran away from home to live in a rose garden. At the time, I was in a rough place. I was a foster kid and I was always trying to run away. I didn’t have a sense of home. Writing about a girl who runs away from home only to discover how tough life can get when you don’t have a mom…It was cathartic, even if I didn’t understand it at the time. I’ve been writing ever since then. It’s my therapy.

  • Do you have a favorite place to write?

In my head because everything sounds way more epic in there! Seriously, though…I’d like to have a tiny little soundproof room but I make do with the desktop in the dining room.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

The only thing I absolutely have to have when I’m writing is music. I can’t write without it. In fact, I generally pick a single song for each scene and just put it on repeat. While that might be annoying to some, I think it kind of helps me zone out. It doesn’t matter to me if it has lyrics or not as long as the mood fits what I’m writing about.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I’d like to be as good as Jim Butcher one day. Considering that each book he releases is written better than the last, that’s never going to happen. He’ll always be about thirty times better than me. What he did with Changes…That’s what I want. That’s just beautiful writing, cover to cover.

  • What inspired you to write Guilty by Association?

That’s kind of a long story and it starts with Twilight. Wait a second and hear me out. See, my step-daughter was obsessed with those books and I just didn’t get the appeal. At about the same time, I was taking a class in college where we had to read Dracula. I’d read it before but, this time, one question really stuck with me. How had Van Helsing gotten so good at vampire hunting? How did he know so much about vampires? The answer I eventually arrived at was that Van Helsing had to be at least half vampire himself. Who better to hunt vampires than a half vampire, right?

With all that in mind, I entered a writing contest where I had to plot, write and edit a novel all in 72 hours. I challenged myself to write a story about vampires that explored the answer I’d come up with and, if it was better than Twilight, I was going to publish it. Back then, it was much more Constantine meets Underworld than it is now and the protagonist was male (and a half vampire exorcist). I’ll leave it to the readers to decide if I succeeded.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

Well, having just talked vampires to death in the last question, I can tell you there aren’t really any vampires in it. I think there are one or two but they don’t play a major role. This book is mostly about what it means to be a monster. Where do you draw the line between man and monster? Which one is really scarier?

It starts out as a murder mystery but evolves into a story about the people who slip through the cracks, the ones who live on the edge of society because there’s nowhere else for them to go. That’s where monsters are born. It’s also where heroes are made. Sometimes, they’re one in the same. That’s kind of the idea behind the whole series and it starts with the murder of a homeless guy.

comingsoonGBA

  • Do you have a favorite amongst all your characters?

I have a particular soft spot for Ed, one of the werewolves. I like to take popular tropes and kind of turn them on their head a bit. Werewolves are supposed to be strong, fierce and threatening. Ed’s anything but. He plays fetch and would rather be at home playing WOW than hunting monsters. Just the same, he gets caught in the middle of everything and shows a certain strength of character that wouldn’t be there if he were big on the machismo.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Newton’s third law of motion says for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I think that applies to more than just physics. We create our monsters and our heroes. We build them with our words and our actions. Every person you interact with needs a hero, even if it’s in some small way. You’ve got to choose whether or not you’re going to be their hero or their monster. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as it is in the book. Simple acts of kindness can ripple a long way.

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Guilty by Association?

The biggest challenge has been overcoming my extreme self-doubt. There’s always this little voice in my head that tells me that I’m not good enough. One day, I decided not to listen to that voice. The voice didn’t really go away or anything. I just ignored it for one day. On that day, I hired an editor. She eventually told me what I had wasn’t complete crap and continued to make it better. I love my editor. My greatest achievement is sort of linked to that big step. By reaching out to others, I’ve gotten to be a part of this amazing community of writers online. I’m no longer that socially awkward grammar nerd writing about werewolves at 2am…Okay, so that hasn’t changed. But I’m not doing it alone anymore. I have friends that understand why 2am is the best hour for such things.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Guilty by Association?

I really suck at romance except when I’m not trying. This book has no romance. I tell everyone that who reads it. Yet everyone has come back to me with favorite character pairings. I find it really funny how much chemistry is there even though I actually edited a major romantic arc OUT of the story!

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

If you want to write bad enough, you will find a way. The devil himself won’t be able to stop you. My oldest has moderate to severe autism and I was his primary caretaker while writing this. I also went to college full time and worked full time. Finding time to write is only an obstacle if you let it become one. All the talent in the world isn’t going to make up for the time you need to sit down and spend writing. As my mother would say, “Do it, don’t talk about it!” Tough love, sure, but you didn’t think this was going to be easy, did you?

  • Anything else you would like to say?

I just want to remind people to leave reviews for the books they read on websites like Amazon and Goodreads. Those reviews really help indie authors become known and they do make a huge difference. Please don’t forget to leave reviews!

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Oh, yes! If all goes well, the Judah Black series is plotted to include at least 16 novels. I also have a space opera series of 4 novels in the works called Broken Empire. The first book of that will probably come out between books 3 and 4 of the Judah Black novels.

End with links to Blog /FB & Twitter etc

Website/Blog: http://ea-copen.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EACopen/

Twitter: @authoreacopen

 

 


Rhuna, Keeper of Wisdom by Barbara Underwood

Posted February 19, 2016

In the distant past, when a utopian civilization built the pyramids and other megalithic structures using magical powers, a young girl named Rhuna learns the truth about her father and the enemy that caused his demise. The idyllic civilization in which she flourishes and finds love is threatened by this old nemesis and only Rhuna possesses the special inherited skills to stop him.

[goodreviews isbn=”B008YN2QMK” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Jessie Delacroix and the Sanctum of Shadows by Constance Barker

Posted February 3, 2016

When Jessie and her friends witness the grisly aftermath of three unusual murders, they enter a realm unlike any they’ve ever known in search of answers. Jessie’s still getting used to seeing her dear departed Mother and Granny in spirit form, along with the neighboring shape shifter. However, three mysterious doorways in the Inn’s basement promise more adventure, more mystery…and more newly-discovered abilities. Will Jessie, her friends Cammy Jo and Ginny, her little Beagle Arthur, and some help from Granny be enough to solve the crime, or will they be lost forever in the Sanctum of Shadows? Find out in the new installment of the Whispering Pines Mystery Series.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01AFBLU70″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


The Crimson Claymore by Craig A. Price jr.

Posted January 18, 2016

The brave warrior Searon is haunted by the deaths of his wife and children at the hands of the savage reptilian draeyks, who are on a bloodthirsty rampage. He walks the land of Calthoria alone and thirsty for vengeance. He hunts the creatures down one by one, showing no mercy.

But Searon is a one-man army—and no match for the legions of murderous draeyks. Lucky for him, the powerful wizard Karceoles finds him during his travels and enlists Searon in this coming war. Karceoles believes Searon can unite the races to defeat the draeyks once and for all.

Searon discovers he can do more damage with Karceoles and a band of warriors they find along the way. But as the war rages in earnest, Searon must make a choice: Is it more important to destroy the draeyks at all costs, or will his quest for vengeance endanger the lives of his new brothers and sisters at arms?

[goodreviews isbn=”B017ZTTLIA” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Author Interview: M. LaRose

Posted December 17, 2015

The Flower Eater

  1. LaRose is the pen name of an American writer of fantasy who lives in the New England state of Vermont, an area known for beautiful woodlands and bucolic farms. Like many of the characters in the old-world fairy tales that she admires, LaRose lives in a forest that constantly inspires her imagination with its mystery.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

I have always loved stories.  The first thing I can remember intensely wanting, was the ability to read.  Before I entered elementary school, my mother was friends with another woman who had taught her daughter to read at the age of three. When we visited them, I’d sit with this other little girl, who was younger than me, and she would read her books aloud while I hung on every word. One day I asked her to read a certain picture-book and she agreed, but added, “I’m picking the next book.” This was totally fair, but I hated the fact that I had to rely on someone else to read to me.  It felt like someone else held the key to the garden of stories that I wanted to enter.

By the time I was in second grade I had written my first story (about some fuzzy monsters) and decided I wanted to be an author when I grew up. I used to wander around with stories playing in my head, and whenever I told them to other children, they would listen with great attention – I guess you could say that I started creating and sharing my own garden of stories way back then.

  • Do you have a favorite place to write?

A: I write at home (rather than out in coffee shops or other public places).  I live in a very small cabin without an office, or even a desk, so I write on my laptop, either sitting on the couch or at our breakfast bar. In the summer I would love to write outside, in my quirky flower garden, but so far I don’t have a spot outside where I can read the computer screen clearly!  I hope to someday have a covered porch or awning that will allow me to write outside.

  •  Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

Not really! But when I was writing the final chapters of The Flower Eater I did write every evening, as I felt the momentum of the ending pulling me along. Ideally, I would like to write every day, but I don’t always find the time, or the feel the urge strongly enough, especially since I have a full-time day job. I’ve recently begun writing short stories and entering them in contests, and the contest deadlines have helped me finish some good stories.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

There are so many writers I admire that this is difficult to answer! I tend to skip around among writers and genres, rather than focusing one.  But I know I’ve been deeply influenced by fantasy books I read in childhood, including The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe; and The Hobbit, as well as Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass.  As a teenager, I read The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo, and was very intrigued by the scene where a priest declares his love for a gypsy, and begs her to run away with him.

  • What inspired you to write The Flower Eater?

When I was a child I read a lot of old-world fairy tales that had been collected in a huge series of volumes that were available in our town library. The intensity, emotional depth, and magical elements of those fairy tales really appealed to me. My parents divorced when I was six years old, and there was a largely unspoken but tacitly powerful belief, on my mother’s side of the family, that after my father left her, my mother never fully recovered from the heartbreak.

In my novel, The Flower Eater, I explore ideas around heartbreak and emotional breakdown, as well as the concept of taking and breaking vows. I’m also very interested in psychic powers and the possibility of alternate dimensions, and those feature in my novel, The Flower Eater. The title came to me first, and hovered around in my psyche for many years before I finally began to write the book. The plot came to me over the course of fifteen years, as I slowly wrote the novel in my spare time. Certain scenes came to me very suddenly, out of the blue, and felt very much like magical or divine gifts for which I am very grateful.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book? 

Here’s the “elevator pitch” for The Flower Eater:

In a world of medieval magic, a young priestess is enthralled by a handsome blacksmith into breaking her sacred vows. A crisis of faith and passion launches her into an astral dimension where mysterious flowers beckon and an evil prince flexes his psychic powers toward world domination.

  • Do you have a favorite amongst all your characters?

Trilla, the heroine of The Flower Eater, is still on my mind. Her story continues in the sequel that I’m currently writing. I’m also fond of Trilla’s best friend, Brea, and Trilla’s true love Venn. Recently, I wrote a short story about a mermaid and I enjoyed conjuring that character so much that I may write a novel, or a collection of short stories, about the mermaid.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Yes. As the reader follows the main character, Trilla, they’ll see an over-confident young priestess wrestle with the darker sides of herself and the world she inhabits. The Flower Eater is about overcoming one’s lowest, self-centered, potentially evil, desires, to see the larger picture and work for the greater good.

  • Q: Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

Here’s a brief teaser from The Flower Eater:

In the pattern of the watching crowd, a spot of pale blue began to catch my eye each time I passed it.  A gentle color, vividly pale.  The Song-Sister’s voice and the Bell-Sister’s music reached a crescendo.  I leapt into the final steps of the Dance, twirling rapidly to the spot on the stage where I’d begun.  With a flamboyant twist of legs and skirts, I kicked and jumped, then fell to a sudden landing with my sisters.  Chests heaving from exertion, arms raised, we were done, our features glowing but as still and composed as the faces of the statues above us.

I looked out into the crowd and saw the swatch of pale blue color that had caught my eye.  It was a woman’s dress, worn by a maiden of my age: a stranger, someone from other parts, come to see the new Priestesses dance.  Near her stood Brea’s parents and siblings, and her aunt Rissa.  Next to them, I spied Uncle Verd and Aunt Fara gazing at me with awed smiles and shining eyes.  I smiled back, very slightly, to show that I saw them.  Then, suddenly, my eyes were drawn upward, toward the back of the crowd, where a dark-haired man fixed me with his gaze.  Harnn was there, staring at me.  For a moment, I stared back without thinking, my heart jumping inside me at the sight of his handsome features, fixed on mine, from across the throng.  The memory of his passionate kisses flared through me like a flaming arrow.  Then I tore my gaze away.  The serenity of the Trance was gone in an instant.

  • What have been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing The Flower Eater?

Besides finding the time to write, my biggest challenge was dreaming up the plot. When I began to write The Flower Eater, I had only a vague premise about forbidden love and broken vows, and knew I wanted to write in the fantasy genre, but the plot was not clear in my mind. Because I had come up with the title first, that title stimulated my imagination to ask questions that eventually led me to write various plot scenes and twists. There is one major plot twist that I resisted when it first came to me, but the idea wouldn’t go away. Once I allowed myself to take the story in that direction the plot began to open itself, like a flower, in my mind. That was an amazing experience, but it also took years for me to put all the words down on paper.  My greatest achievement is that I finally completed the story to my own satisfaction – and that most readers so far have enjoyed it.  It also felt good when Kirkus Reviews called The Flower Eater a “magnificent debut” and “delightfully entertaining story” – that was really nice!

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing The Flower Eater?

The Flower Eater is the first complete story I’ve written since childhood, and it took me about fifteen years to write, during which I was not writing any other fiction. I learned a lot about perseverance, editing, and trusting my imagination. For most of my life, I’ve struggled with procrastination, so learning to persevere and complete my writing is probably the biggest thing I’ve learned.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Write a story that appeals to you. And if you’re easily shaken by criticism, do not share it with anyone until you’ve finished it to your own satisfaction. If you want to sell your writing, you will have to handle feedback and criticism at some point, of course, but first just get the words down on paper. Then set it aside for a while and re-read it later, as if you were a stranger who knew nothing about the story. If you don’t like editing, hire a good editor.

  • Anything else you’d like to say?

Just my thanks for this interview!

  • Do you have any future works planned?

Yes, I’m working on the sequel to The Flower Eater, and hope to get that largely completed by next summer.  I just finished writing my first short horror story (about an evil clown).  And I have a short fantasy story in progress that features a woodland nymph. And, as I said earlier, I may write more stories that feature a mermaid.


Twitter @TheFlowerEater

Facebook: The Flower Eater by M. LaRose

Thank you for your interest!

*******

 

 


Author Interview: C.C.Hogan

Posted December 12, 2015

C.C.HoganC.C. Hogan was dragged up in North London in the nineteen seventies and spent many years in the media industry doing whatever it took to not kill clients. Making the leap into novels, he is working in two directions at the same time – a massive fantasy project called Dirt that is a saga spread over twelve books, and a series of novels set in London.


1) When did you first discover your love for writing?
I suffered a series of teachers when a child who punished me for my spider writing, bad spelling and general inability to write the rubbish they wanted me to write. For some reason, it did not kill my interest in words and communication and I have been playing with ideas ever since. The invention of the word processor probably was the most liberating thing that has happened to me, and I have been attempting to write something for years.

2) Do you have a favourite place to write?
I have a dream place to write which I have yet to realise; a tiny, two-roomed cottage overlooking a welcoming sea. You will find it in The Fight for Dirt. In lieu of that, I have a big, comfy chair sat before three large monitors and a large rug covered desk. My monitor wallpaper is the key maps of Dirt so that I am always reminded where I am meant to be and what I should be doing.

3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?
Not especially. Since I am writing full time at the moment (while pulling in bits of panic work to pay bills), I just wake up, switch on and write.
I am, at heart, a story teller and believe that the written word is a poor substitute for the spoken word. In consequence, I read out loud constantly, sometimes even as I write. This probably makes me pretty antisocial, but then isn’t that what writers are meant to be?

4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?
Two: Illiwhacker by Peter Carey and Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake. Both these writers have the ability to take the fanciful, exaggerated and incomprehensible and make it sound perfectly sensible. This is a rare talent and a powerful one. Although my current books are not as mad as those, I hope I have managed to make my characters believable and plausible, even if they have wings…

5) What inspired you to write Dirt
I should answer this by saying that I was out walking on a desolate moor when I looked up and saw, pushing against the highest winds, the beautiful form of a flying creature. Watching as the sun caused the vision to shimmer and distort, I thought of the dragon and how beautiful a world with such creatures would be.
However, the truth is that I sat down one day and wrote down a pile of ideas for books, each of them little more than a sentence, and I stopped when I got to the one about a young man trying to rescue his sister.
Yeah, I know, boring, but most brilliant ideas start that way. That is the joy of creativity; wonder out of the humdrum.

6) Can you tell us a little about your book?
In essence, Dirt is fantasy road-trip as Johnson Farthing races across the world of Dirt, hanging onto the back of a beautiful Sea Dragon, to rescue his captured sister. Yet, this is only the first small wing-beats in a huge saga that will take the young man from the poverty of his life and thrust him and his friends into war.
This is a tale of heroism, but the heroes are ordinary; they are pie sellers, well-diggers, goat-herders, all working together with dragons who are intelligent and cultured and do not live in damp caves.
As the story unfolds, the world of Dirt opens up for the reader and becomes, perhaps, the central character; a multi-layered persona of good and bad, beauty and ugliness, wonder and simplicity.

7) Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?
Mistry, who we first meet partway through Dirt, which is the first book in the saga, is a very important character for me. She is only fifteen when we meet her, but she is thrust into the role of a hero as much as anyone. She has been working with her father from the age of ten and she is responsible and clever, but she is also young and being the hero weighs heavily on her and she does not always cope well.
She may be the bravest of them all, but she is also the most reluctant, and I think she represents how many of us would be in real life – we might do the brave thing, but it would scare us stupid and we would battle an inner fight not to just run away.

8) Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?
I have always been puzzled why in this world where we celebrate the hope of democracy, so many of our fantasy novels are about kings and queens. Even in Narnia, the young heroes run a feudal society.
So in Dirt, high fantasy it may be, but my heroes are fighting for freedom and equality. My main characters, male, female, human and dragon, are strong, but they are also ordinary. They are not super-sexy or scantily clad, but they are you and me and they want to do what is right.
More importantly, they are all looking for what we all look for – a home.

9) Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? 
This is a very short extract from the first book of Dirt and is just to give a sense of a couple of the characters. Picking an extract that is not simply the first chapter is difficult because there are so many twists and turns that would be either inexplicable or a terrible spoiler.

“Weasel!” Mab-Tok shouted out as he landed nearly on top of them. “I need your help; Fren-Eirol has broken a wing!”
“What?” Farthing was dismayed. Suddenly all their plans were collapsing again.
“Magician, if we can hurry, we can fix it before it becomes a serious problem, she just caught it a few minutes ago. Jump on my back.”
“Can you take me?” Weasel had never flown on something so much smaller than a sea dragon.
“Of course, or I wouldn’t suggest it and I don’t have the hang ups of those big lumbering idiots on the hill.” Weasel shrugged, and pulled himself up on the back of the small dragon, like a child climbing onto a parent. To Farthing’s complete amazement, the small dragon just jumped into the air and headed straight off as if the magician weighed nothing. He and Jipperson stood watching the dragon disappear into the distance toward the village.
“So, a healer too, your Mr Weasel.” Jipperson said thoughtfully. “And a Bach-Iachawr and a sea dragon? My, but you have collected together an interesting crew, Mr Farthing.” He looked at the young man. “Come on lad,” he said in a much less formal tone. “Looks like they be headed for our Inn. Suppose we should be hurrying along?” Farthing nodded and the two headed up the road.
Fren-Eirol was leant back and braced against a tree with pain in her huge eyes as Weasel had hold of her wingtip and pulled.
“Harder, magician, I have to have it straight!” Mab-Tok could be a bully, but he knew what he was doing.
“Fren-Eirol,” started Farthing.
“Shut up boy!” the large sea dragon growled from between clenched teeth. Suddenly there was a sickening snapping sound and Map-Tok slapped a soaked dressing over the wing bone near the tip.dirt1

“Got you!” he shouted with triumph. “Okay, let it go … slowly!” Weasel gently released the dragon’s wing and she sagged against the tree with an audible sigh of relief.
“I haven’t done that since I was young,” Fren-Eirol said with a note of dismay as Mr Jipperson the elder appeared from the pub with a big pale of what looked like steaming warm water. “Oh, bless you, sir!” the dragon exclaimed and downed the contents in one gulp. Farthing blinked; he had rather assumed the water was for the wing. “Oh, and that had rum in it too!” A broad smile grew over Fren-Eirol’s face. Now it was young Mr Jipperson’s turn to look dismayed. He picked up the bucket and sniffed.
“Mr Jipperson,” he addressed his brother a little more abruptly than usual. “Exactly how many bottles of my rum did you empty into this pale?”
“Not enough for you to fret about, Mr Jipperson,” the elder brother replied with a smile. “Just the two…”
“Two!” Any pretence at formality disappeared in a flash. “Ronald, if I am short at the end of the week, you will be brewing me a new batch personally!” So, they did have first names, mused Farthing.
“Brother mine, I would never deprive you of your precious tipple, I have three crates in store, just in case.”
“Really?” The younger brother looked taken aback. “Well, Mr Jipperson, in which case, the large young lady here can have another to ease the agony.” But the large young lady was already out like a light, her head tilted backwards and her tongue lolling out.
“Strong spirit and dragons are an ill-advised mix,” Mab-Tok explained. “Don’t get me wrong, we like the taste, but we don’t handle it very well. Still, it will help the healing, which is why I ordered it.”
Farthing’s smile became a frown as he walked over to Mab-Tok. “Thank you Mab-Tok, but how long will it take to heal?”
“Well, it is not as dramatic as it sounds. What she did was catch the top of the tree and she had torn a bit of the cartilage. The dressing I have put on will set hard and that means she can fly, with a little care, but we should delay a day, I am sorry to say.”
It was much less worse than Farthing had feared. He had worried that they had been effectively grounded. The elder Jipperson was looking at the sea dragon with interest. She had slowly slid off the side of the tree and was lying on the ground belly up. Weasel had taken some of her cloths from the bag she had brought back and laid them over the dragon.
“Will she be alright, Mr Weasel?”
“She will be fine, Mr Jipperson,” Weasel told the older man. “Her headache should take her mind off her broken wing,” he added with a grin. “And not wishing to leave her feeling like an exception in the morning, shall we adjourn to your outside tables? Mr Jipperson, would you oblige us with some flagons of your finest stout?”

10) What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Dirt?
Keeping track of a complicated and rich world. I realised part way through writing book one that I was running into trouble in several ways. I was naming everyone I met, I had no real idea how big the world was and I did not know how fast dragons fly. If I was to write a story that took in an entire continent, then I had better get organised. So I stopped and started that horrible process of planning properly.
I have written a few articles on planning and one of the most regular comments I get is, “I am an instinctive writer and planning gets in my way.” Well, rubbish. Good planning, I have discovered, does not get in the way, it liberates. Because I know exactly where I am heading, chapter to chapter, and I have complete notes on every character, place, weather pattern and time line, my writing has improved.
In particular, it has helped my dialogue. My characters talk a lot and it is the strongest area of my writing; removing the worry about where I am going has allowed me to have a lot of fun!

11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Dirt?
Much to my surprise I have found that I could be far more dedicated than I have been at any time before in my life. My world has been wrapped up in the media industries working with journalists, actors, musicians and some other amazing creatives, but most of the work has been glimpses of a whole and I have suffered from boredom very quickly.
With Dirt, it has been different. After many years of writing, I actually finished my first novel, The Stink (the first of the London novels) in 2014. It was a huge achievement for me and I was keen to write another, though I was fairly certain that I might not actually manage it. Fun to try!
Now I have published four more and have two more waiting to be edited and another part written. I just can’t let go. As I sometime say, I am addicted to it now and it might be a problem.

12) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
Pretty much what I have just said – let yourself become addicted, become obsessed. Keep writing, even if it is rubbish. Don’t stop for anything. In my old job, commercial pressures kept you on your toes. Writer’s block didn’t exist; clients did not believe in it and so neither could you. So, whatever we all did, we kept creating, knowing we would have to sort it out in the edit.
Same applies to writing a novel. Plan fully – I mean, write pages of notes – and then just write and write and write. At some point, it will just go Click.

13) Anything else you would like to say?
I have gone the self-published, indie author route for my books. Why? Simple; I could not find an agent. It has been an interesting learning-curve and one I am only part way up, but I have learned several very important lessons. The first is that there are a hell of a lot of really, really good writers out there that cannot get agents, and a lot of really bad writers who have.
Secondly, we live or die on reviews and they are terribly difficult to get. A part of me thinks that we have become our own worst enemy and indie authors are continually on the lookout for the lengthy, great review. But actually, any review or comment of any length is brilliant.
If you read a book by an indie author and you liked it, just post on Amazon, Smashwords or wherever you bought it a quick note. “I loved it,” or “Great book,” or something simple is all that is needed. You don’t have to spend hours writing a huge commentary dissecting every word. Just a thumbs up – that means so much to us all!

14) And finally, do you have any future works planned?
I have another six (or more) Dirt books to write and that is going to keep me occupied for some time, however I have other projects too.
I wrote a Young Adult book called The Stink which people love, but I haven’t managed to shift. I want to get that moving and write the sequel. This is not fantasy, but about a group of young people starting a band in 1976. The sequel is set two years later when they go on tour in the back of a knackered old van. Should be interesting.
I also have planned more London novels and possibly a tome of poetry too.



Blog: http://cchogan.com
Dirt website: http://aworldcalleddirt.com
The Stink website: http://thestinkbooks.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cchoganauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/cc-hogan
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00CPQT8VY
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTIWHEj-Q6cxylom4Tgod2A
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Its_CCHogan
Ello: https://ello.co/cchogan

Video Links:
When Be-Eirol met Mab-Aneirin and Weasel

The Stink trailer
https://youtu.be/njIVj1ewwk8


The Legends of Mythrous: Strange Lands by B.G. Myhan

Posted December 11, 2015

When Kyle Halloway learns that his dad wants to move away from their comfortable life in Florida and move to the Bahamas, Kyle thinks his dad is crazy. And when Kyle’s dad tells him they are taking a 17th century tall ship to, ‘sail in style’ as Kyle’s dad put it, Kyle knew that this wouldn’t be like any trip he had taken before.

But when their old ship finds itself in the middle of the biggest storm in centuries, Kyle finds himself alone on an island chain that nobody has seen in more than a century. Come join Kyle as he sets sail and finds himself on an island chain lost in time. A land where pirates still pillage, leprechauns will steal your gold, and dragons reign at the top of the food chain. A land that has been a prison for the elves, dwarves, fairies, man, and any other unfortunate creature stuck under the great barrier. A prison that Kyle has now found himself locked in.

[goodreviews isbn=”B018S2553I” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Dirt by C.C. Hogan

Posted December 7, 2015

If Johnson Farthing thought that life as poor cart pusher in the coastal town of Wead-Wodder was going to be his lot in life, then he was about to get a rude surprise.

When his beautiful younger sister Rustina is kidnapped along with the daughter of the country’s ruler, Farthing chases them across the world of Dirt carried by an incredible Sea Dragon and accompanied by a strange magician.

But this is just the start, and soon what began as an adventure, will plunge them all into war.

Dirt is a world where dragons are an intelligent, cultured people, magicians cannot destroy mountains with a magic wand and the heroes have no wish to become tyrannical kings and queens.

But through all the dramatic events, the battles for life and death, Dirt is a place of humour, love and ultimately, the quest to find a home.

[goodreviews isbn=”B0178HJUY4″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

Behind the Story

On the face of it, Dirt is another High Fantasy, but there are some very important differences.

Firstly are the dragons. They are huge, but they don’t blow smoke. They are cultured, have a complex society and have a right to the world as much as the humans.

Then there is what they are all fighting for. I have always been puzzled that in our democratic West we are so enthralled by stories where the heroes are Kings and Queens, absolute monarchs who run a feudal system – and that includes Narnia! So, my heroes are ordinary. They are goat farmers, cart pushers, sergeants, fisherfolk, dragons and they are fighting for freedom.

The Dirt Website

Dirt is a complex world and an important part of the story is the forgotten history of the people and the multi-layered, complicated societies of humans and dragons.

I have been creating a website that is not only is for promoting the books but includes an in-character written library of information about the world of Dirt.

Called The Abbey, after one of the key locations in the books, it will be an ongoing project where I add more and more information as I get time. http://aworldcalleddirt.com/abbey/

Because of the risks of spoilers, I am protecting parts of some articles so that visitors are warned “Open if you have read The Fight for Dirt.”

Currently the site lists all the characters with more detailed information on some of the primary characters, plus background information on Dragons, religion, politics, some maps, descriptions of the continents and so on. You can read all about the dragons here: http://aworldcalleddirt.com/abbey/history/natural-history/dragons/

The Books

There will be three series in total, each one taking place in a set time frame. Each series will consist of the core story over three or four books plus additional novels, standalone short stories and other related material. This is a huge project and that I hope will keep the reader entertained for some considerable time!


Arcadis: War! by George Kramer

Posted November 17, 2015

A war is imminent between the three primary colored powered sorcerers (e.g. Red, Blue and Yellow) and the secondary colored powered sorcerers (e.g. Purple, Green and any other colored derived from the three primary colors).
The most powerful sorcerer, Arcadis, must confront the secondary’s and try to align both primary colored powers and the secondary colored powered sorcerers because a much wider war is brewing.
Arcadis goes through a metamorphosis which augments his power which will be greatly needed in the next book!

Amazon reviews

 

[goodreviews isbn=”B00U1TO6KK” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Bound to Survive by Sharon Gibbs

Posted November 11, 2015

~~~~Bound To Survive is a Finalist for Action/Adventure~~~
~~~In the 2015 IAN Book of the Year Awards ~~~

Welcome to Solencia, a realm where the people live in peace and Wizards govern…

Until that fateful day, treachery swept across the land to slaughter the magic upon the mountain.
Told of in prophecy, a boy is torn from the love of his family and is ‘Bound’ with magic to survive. He is hidden from those who seek to destroy him as the people struggle to survive under the rule of a tyrant Lord and his evil Sorceress, and magic becomes a hidden art.
Over the years, the young boy grows discontent…
Until the day, a secret is revealed… a journey begins… and a choice is made.
A choice, which will be for all in the realm.
Join Christopher and his friends as they begin a journey of discovery, a coming of age tale, which will see them face danger more than once and have them hatch a daring escape. Race with them across the country in a bid to save his love from certain death and find out how a secret will change the world they live in. Bound to Survive is a coming of age story of sword and sorcery, wizardly love, war and intrigue steeped in a mystical age of magic.

***For a limited time, you can get the Prequel, of the Magic Within Series, Beginnings, Part 1 for free – click here to find out more > sharonagibbs.wix.com/author-sharongibbs ***
[goodreviews isbn=”B00S6FAU6A” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Dragon Guardian: Water by Aida Jacobs

Posted October 19, 2015

Having joined her soul with the Fire Dragon, Marin now finds the powers of the Water Dragon awakening within her. However, before she can join with the second dragon, she finds herself abducted by pirates! As though that were not troublesome enough, the land of Primordya finds itself facing a new, impending war upon its shores in addition to the constant threat of Nahga–leaving Marin’s companions unable to rescue her.

Alone in the middle of the ocean, Marin must find her way back home if she is to have any hope of achieving her destiny…

But how can she when she finds herself suddenly bereft of her powers?

[goodreviews isbn=”B010N4SOI2″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Author Interview: Brenda J. Pierson

Posted October 16, 2015

BJP Author PhotoHey there, Indie Sci-Fi/Fantasy! I’m Brenda J. Pierson, epic fantasy author hailing from Tucson, Arizona. My bio pretty much says it all: writer, bookworm, avid gamer, lover of tacos, and crazy cat lady. If the term “geek” is associated with it, I probably like it. I’m into everything from Doctor Who to Magic: the Gathering. If I have to pretend to be normal, I like to hike, camp, and crochet too.


  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

My first foray into writing was when I was six years old, believe it or not. I was desperate for a pet rabbit, so I wrote and illustrated a “book” called My Take Care of Bunny Book in order to convince my parents I was responsible enough to have one. It didn’t work out—I did draw a picture of me walking the bunny on a leash, after all—but I’ve never really stopped writing. I started my first fantasy novel when I was 19 and I’ve been at it ever since.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

My amazing husband has helped me turn the spare bedroom of our house into an office, and him and my dad (an amazing carpenter) worked all summer making me a giant writing desk. It’s my own private space where I can think and work, and I only have to share it with the kitties. I’m so blessed to have it.

  •  Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

I do my best writing when I’m half asleep, funnily enough, so I try to get to work as soon as my husband leaves for work. 2-3 hours 5 days a week is usually my standard writing schedule. Too much more than that and my creative juices run dry, and that’s just ugly.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

When I grow up I want to write like Brandon Sanderson. His Mistborn novels, and more recently his Stormlight Archive books, are sheer brilliance. But my very first writing inspiration and still one of my all-time favorite novels is The Demon Awakens by R.A. Salvatore. There’s something magical about that novel that just gets me all excited, no matter how many times I read it.

No Hill Without Treasure Cover

  • What inspired you to write your first book?

My debut novel, Soul of the Blade, was inspired by a piece of driftwood and a nap. I’d found this awesome root in a creek while on vacation, two branches joined at the bottom. Being the weirdo I am, I kept it. On our way home I dreamt this piece of driftwood was a magnificent double-bladed sword with the soul of a snarky assassin inside. It took me several tries and about four years to figure out how to make the novel flow, but it was well worth the effort.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

Soul of the Blade is about an assassin who gets his soul stuck in an enchanted sword, and in order to save himself he has to save the world. My second novel, No Hill Without Treasure, is about a man who has to battle half-sentient Destruction magic monsters while fighting the same magic within himself. I’m also the co-editor of Wings of Renewal: A Solarpunk Dragon Anthology, which is a massive collection of stories revolving around dragons and green energy.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

Oh goodness. I love all my characters, but I do have a bit of a soft spot for the villain of Soul of the Blade. He’s just really, really evil and loves it.

  •  Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

I write a lot about overcoming inner darkness, breaking out of what the world expects you to be, and finding your true self and living the life you want. Soul of the Blade has a running theme of trust and acceptance, while No Hill Without Treasure strongly focuses on creating your own destiny rather than following what fate seems to have set out for you.

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? 

Sure! Here’s the opening to Soul of the Blade.

Aeo stormed into the king’s dining hall, sword bared, a trail of muddy footprints in his wake. It had taken little more than a glare and a grimace to send the ornamental guards scurrying away. Pathetic. They were supposed to protect the king? They were a waste of good armor and steel.

The massive table, a single slab of cedar polished to a mirror shine, was set with a feast that could have fed a small village. Haunches of meat, loaves of bread still steaming from the ovens, bowls of custards and more things Aeo didn’t care enough to identify. The smells combined until it was a sickening mixture of grease and sugar.

Fewer than a dozen posh noblemen were seated around the table. Aeo’s sword-arm itched to slay these gluttons like the stuffed and basted carcasses they gorged on.

He lifted his sword, letting the gleaming steel reflect the firelight. A few of the men glanced at him, but the meal continued more or less uninterrupted.

Aeo walked up to the table and dropped his sword directly on its center. Metal clanged against wood and table settings, upsetting several goblets of wine and splattering pudding on the nearby nobles.

The decadent meal was forgotten. Conversation hushed as every eye turned to him.

“Next time you send me on a contract, at least make it a challenge.”

He pulled a nobleman’s scarf, emblazoned with the crest of Halkron, soaked in the wearer’s blood, from his pocket. It followed his sword onto the table. Aeo smirked as the noblemen around the table blanched and fingered their own scarves.

He turned his eyes back to his employer’s. The man was short and pudgy, soft from a life of rich food and richer pockets. Aeo could reach him and slit his throat before he even realized he was in danger.

The king of Arata dabbed at his chin, leaving a smear of oil on his face. He tried to intimidate Aeo with a steely look of power and control. Aeo did his best to contain his laughter. That might work on politicians and sycophants, but Aeo was an assassin. The world’s best assassin. Empty threats didn’t scare him. But then again, not much did.

The king waved his guests away. They tried to maintain their composure as they scurried away from Aeo. Aeo just smiled. He could smell their fear even through their suffocating perfumes.

When they were alone, the king leveled his gaze at Aeo. “Do the words ‘secret mission’ and ‘tell no one’ mean nothing to you?”

Aeo stepped around the table, helping himself to tender duck and soft, fresh bread. “Please. Anyone could have infiltrated that camp. Your nephew may have been the prince of Halkron, but he was a miserable strategist and an annoying little twit. No one will miss him.”

“My sister may!” the king replied, slamming his ham-sized fist onto the table. A moment later he winced and rubbed it. “Don’t doubt the harlot’s love for her son. He was the closest thing she had to civilization in that barbarian’s court.”

Aeo rolled his eyes. The king acted like Halkron was some gods-forsaken land filled with heathens and animals, when all that separated its people from Arata’s was a river and a slightly darker shade of hair.

“That boy was her life.”

“And now he’s dead.” Aeo licked grease from his fingers.

“If anyone were to find out I was involved …” The king stood and started pacing, pausing to pick up the bloodied scarf with two fingers. “You were supposed to eliminate my nephew and make it seem as if another Halkronian was to blame. How can that plan work if you show evidence such as this to anyone you run across?”

The scarf fluttered back to the table.

“Are you saying you don’t trust those whom you dine with, Your Majesty?” Aeo teased.

“I can’t afford for this plan to fail,” the king replied. He fiddled with his many rings, sending flickers of gold and gems sparkling around the room. “Arata desperately needs a reprieve from this war. Halkron’s first strike caught us off-guard, and we’ve yet to recover from it. If it became known I had my nephew killed, Halkron will hit us with everything they have. Our army can’t stand against that.”

Aeo snorted and reached for a goblet of wine. “Families.”

He continued to pick at the nobles’ plates while the king paced and muttered. Aeo ignored him. The man may be ruler of the richest nation on the continent, but he was an idiot. The only reason he still held his throne is because of Aeo’s subtle political influence. Or his blade. Whichever.

While Aeo enjoyed eating the king’s feast and watching him sweat, another man entered the dining hall. He was close to Aeo’s own not-too-impressive height, but where Aeo had the solid look of a well-muscled warrior, this man was thin like a scholar. He held himself rigidly, as if the serenity plastered on his features masked the tension of a drawn bow. Aeo kept himself calm by sheer willpower. There was only one person in Arata who could make Aeo feel like a guilty child, and this was him.

Even the king, who was supposed to be the ultimate authority in all of Arata, did his best to remain invisible around this man. “Mage General,” he greeted.

“Your Majesty,” he replied. Somehow he managed to make the title sound like a mockery instead of a respect. It might be the only thing Aeo liked about him. “Allow me to extend my regrets at the loss of your nephew.”

The king shot a glare at Aeo. “I just received the news myself. How did you hear?”

“I am a mage, Your Majesty. Surely you can’t think Halkron is out of my reach.”

“Of course not.”

Aeo shook his head. He may as well kiss his boots and offer him the throne at this rate.

The Mage General looked toward Aeo. He inclined his head in the tiniest, most insincere greeting Aeo had ever seen. “I trust you are well?”

No thanks to your training, Aeo thought. Years of conditioning to turn me into the king’s assassin didn’t set me up for the happiest life in the world. “I do my best with what I have,” he replied.

“And that is all we have ever asked of you.”

The Mage General turned away, brushing Aeo off as if they had never spoken.

Even though the mage’s eyes were averted, Aeo didn’t dare release the shudder building inside him. Any contact with the Mage General, no matter how trivial, always left Aeo with a sheen of cold sweat on his forehead. One look into his eyes and Aeo could almost feel the man’s magic intruding into his thoughts, twisting and tearing them apart in order to make him obey. It didn’t matter that ten years or more had passed since his conditioning had been deemed complete. Aeo would never be able to hold onto his confidence in that man’s presence.

While Aeo tried to maintain his composure, the Mage General grasped the king’s pudgy arm and pulled him aside. From the tone of their whispers and the king’s scowl, it was clear he wasn’t happy with the topic. The Mage General grew more animated as he pushed his point, waving his arms toward the west and pointing to the ground as if to stab it with his forefinger. The king shook his head, without much conviction, not even trying to argue after the first few attempts.

“I’d hoped it wouldn’t come to this,” he said aloud, his tone weary beyond imagining. He didn’t look back to the Mage General. Instead, he raised his eyes to meet Aeo’s. “I have another contract for you.”

“So soon?” Aeo asked. “I’ve not had any time to enjoy my coin.”

“Your drinking and whoring will have to wait. This is urgent.”

Aeo sighed. “Of course it is.”

The king glared at his sarcasm, but Aeo just stared back. He took another drink of wine, not blinking.

The king looked away first. Coward.

“You say you want a challenge. I’ll give you one. Have you ever heard of the Bok’Tarong?”

Aeo shrugged. “Rumors. It’s supposed to be some kind of enchanted, double-bladed sword. Wherever it shows up, people die.”

“Do not discount such legends so quickly,” the Mage General said as he approached. The intensity in his eyes made Aeo put his food down, at least for a moment. “The Bok’Tarong is very real.”

“If you say so.”

The Mage General glared at him like he was a child in need of a good beating. Aeo had seen that look–and received the corresponding beatings–many times in the past. It took all of his willpower to return the glare without flinching.

The king interrupted their contest of wills. Aeo wasn’t sure whether he did so to stop it or because he was unaware of it. “How would you like to take that blade for your own?”

Aeo paused. That would be plunder worthy of his skill. And if the rumors were true, Aeo would never have competition for the title of best assassin in the world again. Not like there was much as it was, but still.

“You know my rule. I will not slaughter without reason. My target must have earned his death.”

“Yes, yes, the assassin with a conscience. I remember. The one thing we couldn’t beat out of you.” Aeo quirked an eyebrow at that, but said nothing. The king didn’t seem to notice. “I assure you, whomever bears the Bok’Tarong has more blood on his hands than you do.”

“And with the Bok’Tarong in your possession,” the Mage General added, “the tide of war will turn in our favor.”

Aeo saw something he didn’t quite understand in the Mage General’s eyes. He wasn’t just supportive of Aeo taking the Bok’Tarong–he was pushing for it. For reasons Aeo couldn’t begin to fathom, the Mage General needed Aeo to have it. “What’s so special about this sword, anyway?” he asked, forcing his tone to be one of calm and disinterest.

“It is, indeed, enchanted,” the Mage General replied. “One of the few enchanted weapons in the world.”

“What does the magic do?”

A pause, no longer than the blink of an eye. “Only the bearer of the weapon can be sure of that. The communion between bearer and blade is what makes the magic so potent.”

He was hiding something. Aeo was sure of that much. He knew more than he was saying, and that didn’t bode well for Aeo. The magic didn’t worry him, but the Mage General’s intensity did. If this was some plan to be rid of him …

The king, in a rare moment of insight, had noticed Aeo’s hesitation. He stepped in front of Aeo, leveling as firm a gaze as he could muster on him. “Your next target is the bearer of the Bok’Tarong,” he announced.

The order reverberated in Aeo’s head. The words burrowed through his thoughts and into his heart. Whether or not Aeo would have accepted was no matter anymore. The king had ordered–Aeo would obey. He didn’t have a choice anymore. His conditioning as the king’s assassin guaranteed that.

Aeo rose from the table and drained his goblet. “Where can I find this man?”

“He travels without reason. Who knows where he is now?”

Aeo glared at the king. “Then how am I supposed to find him?”

The king shrugged as if he couldn’t be bothered with details like that. “Ask around. Commoners love to tell tales. Someone who’s seen this sword will want to brag about it.”

“That isn’t much to go on.”

“You say you’re the world’s greatest assassin,” the king replied. For the first time in their long partnership, Aeo heard something bordering on true authority in his voice. “Surely that means you can find one man with a remarkable sword.”

Aeo squared his shoulders. If the king would challenge him, then Aeo would show him just how great he was. “The next time I see you, Your Majesty, the Bok’Tarong will be mine.”

He spared a glance at the Mage General, but little else. He wouldn’t say anything to him until he returned with the Bok’Tarong. Then he’d have something to rub that arrogant look off the Mage General’s face with.

Soul of the Blade Cover

  • What would you say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing?

One of my biggest challenges has been against myself. I have a host of medical problems which leave me constantly fatigued and in pain, so putting in the time day in and day out to actually make progress is a huge achievement for me in the first place.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing?

I’ve learned I really do need a plan. At first I’d get a single idea and start writing without a clue where I was headed. Years of painful rewrites and deleting entire chapters has taught me to take it slower and figure out the story I want to tell before I charge in blindly. But I’ve also learned to trust my instincts. Some of my favorite plot twists or unique elements have come from an off-hand comment I made while writing, or a phrase I put in without thinking. Sometimes I think my subconscious is a better writer than I am.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Write a lot and read even more. Take every opportunity you can to learn more. And never, ever, ever give up.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Just thank you. Thanks to everyone who reads indie books, who writes reviews, who works to spotlight the little guys. The fight against obscurity is demanding and sometimes it feels like we’ll never get noticed. So to everyone who supports indie authors: y’all rock. Thank you.

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

I do! I have a prequel novella to Soul of the Blade, titled Soul of the Guardian, that’s due to release very soon. I’m also working on a new novel called Joythief. It’s set in a Persian-inspired fantasy world, with a poison that kills the part of a person they love the most. My protagonist is a princess-turned-thief who has to fight to preserve magic and save the world while losing her skills and identity as a thief.


WoR Cover

 

Buy my books here: www.amazon.com/author/brendajpierson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorBJPierson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Author.Brenda.J.Pierson

Website: www.incandescentphoenix.com

 

 

 


Crossbones: Episode 1 by Stefan M. Nardi

Posted October 15, 2015

A thrilling, swashbuckling new fantasy for fans of Jim Butcher, the Starz TV series Black Sails and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.For two hundred years, the world of Alarisia has lived through a great age of piracy. Men take to the seas to seek their fortune or die trying. Controlled by the seven pirate lords and hounded by the world navy, they sack and pillage their way across the oceans. But not all prosper under their rule, for many the pirate lords create only misery and death. Dean and Eldric Whittaker have never known their parents, orphaned in a pirate raid on their village the two brothers were raised by the mysterious wizard Rorschach. The only clue to their heritage, their strange abilities to control the elements of Ice and Fire. Harboring a hate for the pirate lords and a thirst for revenge, the brothers set out on their own voyage. But in a world inhabited by monsters and ruled by men with the power of gods, can they survive long enough to achieve their goal?

[goodreviews isbn=”B0122J434U” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian by William L Stuart

Posted September 10, 2015

When Aidan and Maggie find a fairy cross while rock-hunting with their grandfather, it’s just an oddity. But when they discover there is an elf imprisoned in the stone and set him free, they and their grandparents, Nana and Beebop, are attacked by Dark Elves and forced to flee to the magical world of Celahir.

In Celahir, Findecano – the elf the children freed from the fairy cross – leads them on a quest to recover gemstones stolen from the Elven Bow by the Dark Elves. Without the restoration of the gemstones to the Elven Bow, the balance between good and evil in Celahir – and the human world – could tip toward evil.

[goodreviews isbn=”B008WV90JQ” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Era of Darkness: The Apocalypse Begins

Posted June 18, 2015

Special Promotion: Want to read the FIRST THIRD of this book FOR FREE before you decide whether to buy? Well over 100 printed pages (almost 40,000 words) – longer than some full eBooks. Visit my website via my Amazon Author Page.

First Impressions

The first few pages of an Era of Darkness introduces the reader to the fantasy world of Emaran. The book opens on the Monastery of Omnroc, set in a harsh and unforgiving environment. The reader is introduced to Amaeris and Mevin, two of the monks responsible for chronicling the history of their people.

Mevin is in his tenth year of study and is talented at his work. Amaeris is an elderly monk – experienced, knowledgeable – and he has a task of  great importance that Mevin must complete.

I have only so far read through the first chapter, and this book promises an exciting read. It’s engaging, well written and invites the reader to participate in what looks like an epic read. , although I have to confess to liking longer reads.

[goodreviews isbn=”B00WUCNWJ2″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Blood in the Fire

Posted June 15, 2015

Click to read an excerpt


My initial thoughts

Blood in the Fire is written in the first person, and the standard of writing is very high. It begins at a point close to media res and the writing style (and story) was quick to entice me. It begins with feel of a mainstream fiction novel, but soon changes its tone, and through the course of a conversation, back story is established with ease.

I’ve only read a few pages of the book so far, but this is one I intend to take a further read of. There’s no other reviews as yet, but this book does have two five star ratings on Goodreads (and I’ve added it to my ‘to read’ list).

This book is marketed as being suitable for young adults with magic and fantasy, and from what I’ve read so far, it looks like it might be an enticing read.

 

[goodreviews isbn=”B00W343PQW” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Roderick Roach

Posted June 14, 2015

[goodreviews isbn=”1625160186″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Equivocal Destines by Raymond Clarke

Posted April 7, 2015

The first page of this book made me laugh, in just one paragraph and a sentence, Taal’s character jumped off the page. Sixteen years old and employed to tend a field full of crops, he’s doing what anyone would do in a dreary, dead-end job – he’s daydreaming. What made me laugh, however, was the way he scolded himself for doing it and then heads straight back to his thoughts.

Equivocal Destines is told in the third person, and the standard of writing is exceptional. You can really ‘hear’ Taal’s voice as his thoughts battle on between dreams and responsibility.

Turning the page brings an introduction to the landscape, but the story doesn’t stop while this information is provided. Taal’s perception of facts, an introduction to his friend and a brief hint to events that feature later in the book makes it interesting reading.  The writing is descriptive, but every sentence moves the story forward as action, backstory and characterisations are revealed at a balanced pace.

Despite intending to only read a few pages to assess it, I found myself at the end of the sample before I realised it, and have since gone on to buy the book to read in full.

[goodreviews isbn=”B00SZ63XY6″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]