Category: Fantasy

City of Masks by Ashley Capes

Posted October 3, 2016

Waking in Anaskar Prison, covered in blood and accused of murder, nobody will listen to Notch’s claims of innocence until he meets the future Protector of the Monarchy, Sofia Falco. But Sofia has her own burdens. The first female Protector in a hundred years, her House is under threat from enemies within, the prince has made it clear he does not want her services and worst of all, she cannot communicate with her father’s sentient mask of bone, the centuries-old Argeon. Without the bone mask she cannot help anyone — not herself, and certainly not a mercenary with no powerful House to protect him.

Meanwhile, far across the western desert, Ain, a young Pathfinder, is thrust into the role of Seeker. Before winter storms close the way, he must leave his home on a quest to locate the Sea Shrine and take revenge on the people who drove his ancestors from Anaskar, the city ruled by the prince Sofia and Notch are sworn to protect, whether he wants their help or not.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01KGAVMFA” 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”]

 


Author Interview: Cynthia Morgan

Posted August 30, 2015

Dark FeyCynthia Morgan or ~Morgan~ is an award-winning blogger, freelance writer, and e-book author who has written Dark Fey, The Reviled, book one of a planned fantasy genre trilogy, short stories and newsletters for various companies.  A current member of the Independent Author Network where her ranking remains consistently in the top 20 authors of the site, she has also published poetry on many poetry websites and is the author of the rapidly growing blog Booknvolume.com, which has, in only two years, amassed over 10K followers from more than 170 countries worldwide.

Morgan lives in Pennsylvania and enjoys spending time out in nature, loves animals and the environment, music, acting, cooking, astronomy, and spirituality. 


When did you first discover your love for writing?    My love for words has always been with me, even before I could write, although I have been writing poetry and stories since elementary school, but the passion truly took hold when I was a teenager.  It was then that I began working on my first novel and knew I wanted to be a professional writer. 

 

Do you have a favourite place to write? Less a favourite place and more simply the only place I have at present to do so, which is in my dining room.  However, my favourite TIME to write is when it gets dark.  When the sun goes down, the Inspiration and Creativity within me seems to switch on.

 

Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?  I am not a plotter; I don’t use worksheets or create flowcharts, but I will think a scene through for a few days before writing it.  I envision the location; I rehearse what the characters will say in order to familiarize myself with the emotions involved, the characters motivations; I try to see the scene like one from a movie so I understand all its details and nuances.  Only when I clearly see what is happening and where the scene is going do I sit down at my laptop to write it.  Then, when it’s written, I repeat the process for the next scene.

 

Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?  My preferences lean towards classic literature, Charles Dickens, Jane Austin, Tolkien and of course Shakespeare and I do tend to use language in my writing in a manner that might remind a reader of classical writing, but I also enjoy the books of Philippa Gregory.   

 

What inspired you to write Dark Fey?  The original idea for the story of Dark Fey came to me in a dream.  The imagery was vivid and compelling, so much so that I couldn’t stop thinking about it and the longer I thought about it, the more the story evolved and grew into an inspiration.  I finally sat down and wrote out what is now Chapter Six of the book.  Once I did, the wheels of my imagination started turning, spinning the scene into a tale and, before long, I realized there was enough story-line for more than one book. 

 

Can you tell us a little about your book?   Dark Fey, The Reviled is epic fantasy set in the primordial forests of mystical time in a land peopled by both Light Loving and Darkness Revering Faeriekind, or Fey.   It is a tale of Light and Darkness, of Joy and Sorrow, the Loved and the Unloved.  It shares the Trials and Triumph of Courage and Perseverance.

 

In the mystical realm of Jyndari, a relationship between two unsuspecting, yet kindred souls who are separated by far more than social stigma, blossoms in secrecy that could shatter both their worlds. Ayla, a Light loving, Guardian of Childfey hides more than a few secrets; secrets that isolate her and set her apart. Secrets that bring her to the attention of one who comes in shadow and silence; one who watches, waiting for the ideal moment to step from the darkness, reveal the truth about himself and alter the course of her life forever.  Gairynzvl is a Fey of the Light who was abducted DemonFey at the age of seven.  Stealing him from his home and the family who loved him, they forced him to endure The Integration.   During the torturous process of cruel disregard and abuse, he was forced to commit acts of savagery designed to break the spirit and turn young fey from the Light to create a monster instead, but Gairynzvl clung to hope in spite of everything. 

 

Fifteen years later, he finds the one spoken of in the ancient texts; The Guardian whose extraordinary gifts of empathic telepathy might be the only reason she trusts him.  Quietly, patiently, he reaches out to her, speaking to her out of the darkness through the whispers of his thoughts.  If she listens, she might understand, but if she reveals their secret he could lose his life at the hands of the Fey Guard.

 

Through an act of treason and a battle with a full legion of Reviled, he escapes his captivity and with Ayla’s aid Gairynzvl undergoes The Prevailation, an ancient ceremony that transforms him back into the fey he once was, but nothing can instantly heal the torment and grief that haunts his mind.  This anguish still connects him to the darkness; not to the DemonFey who created it, but to those he had to leave behind: the other abducted childfey who suffer The Integration every day.

 

Can he convince Ayla and The Temple Elders to allow him to return to the Uunglarda, the realm of The Reviled?  Will they risk a savage war in order to rescue a few childfey?

 

Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?  Yes, although it’s rather like having a favourite child.  Still, I find Gairynzvl increasingly intriguing as I write him.  He continues to grow in complexity and often feels very real to me (although I believe if your characters are not real to you, as the writer, they certainly will not come across convincingly to the reader.)  I sometimes find myself apologizing to him for what I’ve put him through and, although it was not intentional, he has become the lead character in the second book of the series, Dark Fey, Standing in Shadows. 

 

Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?  Beneath the drama; behind the romance; and perhaps in spite of the darkness it contains, Dark Fey shares a message of Hope for the seemingly hopeless.  It is about the discovery of the abilities that may set you apart, but also allow you to offer something unique and the potential that exists within all of us to turn from the darkness of the world around us in order to do something good. 

 

9)  Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? I am always happy to entice a prospective reader and offer a full free chapter on my blog at:  http://wp.me/p3C4k1-2WK  but here’s a small excerpt for the uncertain: 

 

Clutching her candle, she drew a deep breath, kissed the tot’s head reassuringly and darted along the hall toward his cribroom.  A small lantern stood upon his night table, she only need reach it and light it in order to keep him safe.  She stopped at the darkened doorway and peered inside, her sight piercing the ebon shades and her own glimmering aura lending illumination.  Stepping into the dark interior, she reached immediately for the lantern, yet even as she touched its cool, brass sheath a shadow contracted in the far corner of the room and she froze in instinctive terror.

The shadow grew darker, denser, then spread outward into the dimness of the room not brightened by Ayla’s small candle.  Roshwyn in her arms squealed and began to cry louder and she cradled him more tightly, protecting him with her diaphanous wings as her mind spun in alarm.

 

Light the lantern!  Speak the words of protection!  Flee!

 

It was too late.

 

A Dark One stepped out of the shadows and glared at them with ophidian eyes.  The flame in her hand guttered and threatened to go out, but she had no other means of protecting it than repeating her lighting spell with a timorous tone.  Shadow swirled about the Dark One like smoke curling around embers and she watched in perfect dread as he slowly reached out his hand toward them.

Hook-collage comp

10) What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Dark Fey? There have been several hurdles along the course, but initially the challenge was simply to finish it.  I have quite a few books in varying stages of development, so committing myself to concentrating on one from beginning through to completion was no small undertaking.  The next test was to start working on book two: Standing in Shadows, which took several months to finally inspire me.  And, of course, as is the case with many Indie Authors, there is the ongoing challenge of finding representation by a credible agent and publisher.

 

11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Dark Fey?  Much as my characters, I’ve learned how to trust my own ability (as a writer) and have found confidence in promoting my work through my blog as well as social media.  I have also “found my voice”, as it were, and have learned to be true to my own style.  I am still learning about the art and magic of words, as well as the intricacies of the industry, and hope never to stop.

 

12)  Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?  Trust yourself, Be True to your craft, don’t be afraid to fail (as long as you learn from your errors) and Never Stop Trying.  They might all be prosaic, but they are also time tested and true.  Always remember, even great literary giants, such as Charles Dickens, started out as Self-Published J

  

13)  Anything else you would like to say?  Being a self-published author is all about finding and taking hold of new opportunities and I should like to thank you for the opportunity to share a little of my story with your readers.  

 

14)  And finally, do you have any future works planned?   Book Two of the Dark Fey Trilogy is nearing completion.  Standing in Shadows is set for an Autumn release and, of course, afterward, Book Three of the Series (the title of which I have not yet released)  I also have a Historical Fiction Romance/Drama novel I am working on, as well as plans to release books of poetry. 

 

Dark Fey, The Reviled is available in eBook and paperback formats through:

Amazon : http://goo.gl/NJtg3h 

And Barnes and Noble: http://goo.gl/3YfC67 


 

Find Morgan on these social media sites:

Her Blog:  www.booknvolume.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MorganBC728

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

Independent Author Network:  http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/cynthia-morgan.html

Pinterest:   https://www.pinterest.com/cynthey728/booknvolume

About.Me:  https://about.me/MorganBC728

 Dark Fey


Rising Empire

Posted June 18, 2015


Excerpt

“We assume he has been alone with the queen for the last few days and yet no one seems too concerned about it. He seems to have the trust of a lot of very suspicious individuals. If I were an assassin or a spy, then that is how I would infiltrate our people.” Misna observed with a shrug.

“You are an assassin, spy and infiltrator,” Amalia said with a raised eyebrow.

“Then perhaps we should be more mindful of General Bird than we have been.”


First Impressions

A quick skim through the first few pages has revealed what promises to be an exciting read. A brief prologue introduces necessary information, and the first chapter begins in medias res – with action, inner thoughts and dialogue enticing the reader into the story. The tone, voice and writing style are of a high quality, and recent five-star reviews seem to indicate that Rising Empire could  be a must read for readers of the fantasy genre – I’m certainly adding it to my ‘to-read’ list.

[goodreviews isbn=”B00G9QOX7A” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

 


The Price Of Immortality

Posted June 13, 2015

[goodreviews isbn=”1499668899″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Out of the Darkness (Sample)

Posted March 25, 2015

I’m not sure where to begin with this review. The book was quite unlike anything I’ve read in recent years. After the first few pages, I came to realise there wasn’t going to be dialogue interaction anytime soon, but rather than getting irritated by the rather telling style of writing, I found I was too engaged with the story to put it down. Told in the third person, the sample of Out of the darkness covers the birth of an unnamed child, his early years and a brief introduction into his gladiator styled training.

The narrator, for the sample at least, limits what is seen to the eyes of the child. The upbringing is harsh; without parents, guidance or comfort, the child must learn about the world around him through his own experiences. Some are painful lessons, some are less so, but the child does learn – his survival depends on it. [spoiler]Taken from his locked cell, and with a limited understanding of language, he suddenly finds himself training among other children, and the cost of failure is really quite brutal.[/spoiler]

Considering the style of the narrative, and the sole focus on the child, the writing is very engaging. Information is given only as the child discovers it, and can be likened to a series of subtle hooks, each reeling the unsuspecting reader deeper into the story.

It wasn’t until coming to the end of the sample that I came to realise just how committed I was to the story. I went on to purchase the full book.


The Return of Innocence

Posted February 21, 2015

[goodreviews isbn=”0595389880″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

 


The Ghost in the Closet

Posted January 29, 2015

Review of sample in progress.

Some say the ability of seeing ghosts is a gift, but after losing her job, Dumdie Swartz says, “Hogwash”. Since she was a child, Dumdie has seen ghosts and has developed several quirks to cover the fact so she wouldn’t need to explain herself or be exploited. When her boss witnesses several of these occasions, he fires her, thinking that she suffers from a mental issue that could be a liability to his business. Without a job and money, Dumdie becomes just another old, homeless woman living out of her car. As winter approaches, her luck changes, and she secures a private room in a homeless shelter, but it isn’t as private as she thinks. The ghost of the former owner of shelter haunts the room where she died, searching for the misplaced will that guarantees the shelter would continue to exist as she so desired. Dumdie must make a decision. Does she continue to hide her gift in fear of upsetting people or appearing insane? Does she go out on a limb and try to save the shelter, the room they have given her, and herself in the process.[goodreviews isbn=”B00K1S9SMM”]


Gaspar The Thief

Posted January 16, 2015

[goodreviews isbn=”B007T9I7I2″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Death’s Keep by Sommer Nectarhoff

Posted January 5, 2015


My thoughts on Death’s Keep…

It was the book’s title and blurb that attracted me to Death’s Keep, and upon turning to the first page I wasn’t disappointed. There is a very brief prologue, which I didn’t feel aided the story in any way, but the first chapter did a great job of hauling me into the story.

Death’s Keep is quick to orientate the reader with Kartos, the regulations the residents live by and the hardship experienced. As early as page one, scene descriptions and character introductions introduce the reader to Lokk, engaging in what he does best. Everything is told from the protagonist’s perspective, guiding the reader into the story at a steady pace. The telling of backstory is subtle, and at no time did I feel overwhelmed with information, despite there being a variety of people and places. Each paragraph moves the story forward, and there is a good balance of action, internal thoughts and descriptions.

Lokk is a likable and well developed character, a feeling I found strengthened as the story progressed. Without giving any of the story away, I did find some of the scenes quite vivid (I missed the ‘horror‘ part when grabbing the sample). It is a dark story, and a very good read, with an ample supply of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.

The writing is of a high standard and has been very well edited. The narrative voice entices the reader to engage with the story. The level of foreshadowing in Death’s Keep is very good and I able to work out where the story was going just prior to it being revealed. [spoiler]There was one sudden surprise the reader wasn’t prepared for, but it didn’t spoil the book as a whole.[/spoiler]

Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable read. I read beyond the sample length and fully intend to buy the second book – Sons of Stone

[goodreviews isbn=”B00OGTDRNI”]


Iron City Rebels by John Donlan

Posted January 5, 2015

The Iron City is the industrial city at the heart of an empire ruled by the wealthy and the politically powerful. An urban dystopia where the poor and the disenfranchised are used for cheap labour.The rich elite plot and scheme amongst themselves, while one of their number plans something terrible, and aims to use the rebel faction of idealistic freedom fighters known as the Fist of Truth as a pawn in his scheme. Meanwhile, a young man inadvertently steals an item which may bring those plans tumbling down. In the run-down slums of the Skein, one woman will lead the Fist in a daring plan to rescue their leader, and in so doing, set up a confrontation which will have long lasting implications for the entire city.


My Thoughts

Iron City Rebels was my first forage into the genre of Steam Punk, which (according to Mr. Google), has a Victorian England ‘feel’ to it, and has an emphasis on steam as the main source of power.

This book certainly en-captured both of these elements. The first chapter is very ‘Victorian,’ as a couple of tea-leaves (thieves) are in the process of breaking into a house. The inequality between the rich and the poor is established clear early on, as is the Steam Punk element, and the reader is introduced to the ‘world’ of the Iron City Rebels at a steady pace.

I have to say, I was totally engaged with this book from the first page. It was a fascinating introduction into a genre I’d only heard about before now. I was a little confused with a certain ‘gadget’, but  Donlan is quick to dispel this confusion as further information about its workings are revealed in later chapters (and it is a rather a remarkable gadget, I might mention).

The editing is of a very high standard. There were a few typos here and there, (I stress the few), but certainly nothing to jar you from the story.

In my opinion, Iron City Rebels is an excellent debut novel, well worth a read, and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

[goodreviews isbn=”B00N7OR0MW” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


The Soul Conductor

Posted December 11, 2014

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows C.S.Evans that the Soul Conductor is placed in a medieval setting – except it’s not your every day, run-of-the-mill sort of medieval. From the very first page the reader becomes embroiled in the lives of the Soul Conductors; a peaceful community of people who are born with the sole purpose of guiding souls to their final destination.

‘Quinn is one such being. He is a Soul Conductor. And he’s one of the best…

He’s also a very decent sort of guy. He’s loyal to his friends and family, devoted to his work as a Conductor, and has a strong desire to see justice done.

‘So, what happens when it suddenly goes disastrously wrong?

What happens is that you get a marvellous story, entwining the livelihood and traditions of the medieval era with a dash of the fantastical and supernatural. It is the age old battle between good and evil, but there is so much more at stake than just the mere preservation of life.

‘Quinn must rely on the loyalty and strength of friends, new and old, if he is to discover what really happened to him and prevent innocent lives from being lost – along with their souls’

 ***

Evans’ debut novel was an absolute pleasure to read. I was hired as a beta-reader for The Soul Conductor (a sort of pre-reader), and charged with the task of checking the manuscript for potential structure, plot, continuity and characterisation issues. The only problem with this book however, was that I kept being drawn into the story. After resisting the lure of Evans words in the first couple of chapters, I gave up trying to make notes and read it in its entirety.

During my initial read (at least until I succumbed to the story) I notated my reaction to the events of the first two chapters – my joy, my horror, my elation – which I provided to Evans, and everything I experienced was as she intended. In my opinion, Evans has a real skill in capturing the essence of a ‘moment’ and translating it into words.

I read The Soul Conductor twice in the end – firstly to enjoy the reading experience it offered, and secondly to provide my comments on potential areas for development (although they were few and far between). Evans was quick to orientate this reader into the story. There is a good balance of narration and dialogue, with naturalistic interaction between the characters. If the fantasy/supernatural genre is of interest to you as a reader, then I am confident you will not be disappointed with Evans first offerings as an author.

 


Death’s Keep

Posted December 11, 2014


The Book of Lokk: Death’s Keep tells the story of a young thief. Lokk lives in Kartos, a bustling city that lies beneath the shadow of the Dark Temple. The priests rarely pass beyond its high walls, and when they do, it is only to collect the dead and escort the condemned to the dungeons. It is a cruel, harsh life, and Lokk somehow manages to survive from day to day, but he is about to ‘enter a world where evil knows no bounds…’

It was the book’s description that attracted me to The Book of Lokk: Death’s Keep and I wasn’t disappointed. It begins with a very short prologue, which I didn’t feel aided me in any way. The story would begin just as well without it – the first chapter is where this story begins.

The reader is orientated with the story as early as page one, with scene descriptions and character introductions taking place as Lokk does what Lokk does best. Everything is told from the protagonist’s perspective, guiding the reader into the story at a steady pace, without overwhelming them with a stream of unusual names of people and places. Every paragraph moves the story forward with a good balance of action, internal thoughts and descriptions.

I found Lokk to be a very likable and well-developed character, a feeling that strengthened as the story progressed. Without giving any of the story away, I did find some of the scenes quite vivid (I must have missed the ‘horror‘ part of the genre listing). It is a dark story, and it is a very good read. There is an ample supply of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.

The writing is of a high standard and has been very well edited. The narrative voice entices the reader to engage with the story. The level of foreshadowing is very good and I able to work out where the story was going just prior to it being revealed. There was one sudden surprise that I don’t believe was foreshadowed, but it didn’t spoil the book as a whole.

Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable read, and fully intend to buy the second book: The Book of Lokk: Sons of Stone: 2