Tag: Epic Fantasy

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: 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

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!

Lesser Evil by P.F. Davids

Posted November 10, 2015

Kester is one of the last surviving defenders of the Church of True Light. With the Serpentine Empire closing in, Kester finds himself on a desperate mission to recruit the aid of one of the Church’s greatest enemies: a man who is often called a demon. When his ideologies are tested, Kester must choose between upholding the tenants of the Church and completing his mission.

There is nothing Reis wants more than to be left alone to his research. But when the Empire comes knocking, Reis is left with no choice but to fight back. Knowing the imperials will not stop coming for him, Reis is left with one path. If his research is to continue, Marcus Serpentine must die.

Together, the two may have a chance to cripple the greatest military force the world has ever known…if their conflicting ideals don’t make them kill each other first.

[goodreviews isbn=”B015JAQ10I” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

The Vorbing by Stewart Stafford

Posted November 7, 2015

Where do vampires come from? It is a question as old as recorded time. At last, you are looking at the answer. The Vorbing, the first novel in The Dubhtayl Saga, provides vampires with their own creation myth.

Nocturne is an isolated village terrorised by the savage NightLord Deadulus and his vampires every night. Vlad Ingisbohr wants to free his people from their reign of terror and avenge his father’s death at their hands. So begins an epic quest to confront the forces of darkness. It takes Vlad from Nocturne to Dubhtayl’s capital city Mortis to seek help. Pursued relentlessly by the vampires, Vlad uncovers a shocking revelation on the origins of vampirism in a cave that reveals his real enemy to him for the first time. Vlad’s own fate is brought into sharper focus by another revelation simultaneously.

It instantly raises the stakes for the final war of annihilation on the slopes of Vampire Mountain. Will Vlad meet the same bloody end as his father? Is the revelation about his fate true? WiIl the bloodthirsty vengeance of the vampires be even more ruthless if they are victorious a second time? Read the new fantasy/horror novel The Vorbing and find out.

[goodreviews isbn=”B0162713PU” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

Author Interview: Julius Bailey

Posted October 23, 2015

Julius BaileyJulius Bailey is a proud though unobtrusive resident of Oklahoma, and though many have seen him at some point or another few might acknowledge the fact. His interests include a list of things considered archaic, strange, and/or beguiling. Having delved into the realm of fantasy many years past, he now finds it one of his most steadfast allies. His debut fantasy novel, Strife Of The Mighty, can be found on Amazon.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

I’d say that it was somewhere around twelve or thirteen years of age. It was back then that I unearthed my up till then unknown love for reading; unexpectedly a love for writing followed. I read a lot of fantasy, and the different worlds I was introduced to and the numerous adventures I discovered pulled at me. No, they enthralled me. That’s when I found my calling. These uncharted worlds and fantastical tales were marvelous to me; they transported me from the current world I inhabited to another. By and by, the thought occurred to me, Well, if other folks can do it, why can’t I have a try?

So I did. And, wouldn’t you believe it, I really enjoyed it! It was incredible, wielding the power to create new things. Entire continents were at the mercy of my pen (ok, pencil), whole races of people or creatures were subject to my whim, and a fantastic tale was mine for the weaving. As I delved the deeper into my stories, I gradually came to realize that I was also delving deeper into myself, and I found that interesting. My skill increased with time, but when I first began writing, and even for a while after, I did not write for the purpose of simply getting better. I wrote because I enjoyed it.


  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

Yes. In my bedroom with the windows shuttered and silence all round. Occasionally, if I am in a writing standstill or a certain mood, I’ll listen to soft music to aid my creativity. But unlike some people I don’t write my best in areas that are too open, such as outside or in a large room. I need closeness and privacy to function at my top capacity.


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

Not really. I do make it a point to set aside an hour or two every day, but the time of the day doesn’t really matter (unless it’s early in the morning; the words simply won’t flow at 7am). I also try to write whenever I’m hit by sudden inspiration, but as we all know that doesn’t always work out. I find that trying to adhere myself to a strict routine makes me feel unnecessarily bound, and that should never be the case with something you love.


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

The two authors that have had the heaviest impact on me are C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Of the two, Tolkien’s influence has been the heavier. Unlike a surprising number of people my age, I take a keen interest in the lengthy eloquence of what many call ‘archaic language’. Tolkien is a master of this. His tales of Middle-earth were rife with action, suspense, lore, and even some romance, yet it is the way in which he describes all of these things that makes them especially enduring. He brings his world to life in vivid imagery, and his characters in striking imaginings. His battle scenes are an especial gem. Also, Tolkien’s world-building was wholly complete. He had his own languages, his own histories and legends, and they were all believably applicable to whichever of his invented cultures were using them.

I learned from him and his style, and it inspired me and my writing. By the time I had seriously begun the work that would become Strife Of The Mighty, I was earnestly regarding the formulas that Tolkien used to craft his craft.


  • What inspired you to write Strife Of The Mighty?

The desire to mold a realm of my own and then have the pleasure of reading about it is a good answer, I think. It was about a year (give or take) after I discovered my love for writing that I decided it was time to take the next step— time to write my own full length fantasy novel.


  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

Strife Of The Mighty is the first book in what will become a collection of several books in an epic and exciting fantasy series. It tells the tale of the toils and adventures of the people of the kingdom of Vrandalin, in a time when threats from legend arise, hope decreases, and those who are thought weak discover their strength. It is epic fantasy in its truest form, catering to the olden, high style.


  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

Oh, come now. You know I can’t answer that. I love all of my characters, even the evil ones; for me to choose to set one on high above all the rest in this respect would be sooo wrong. However, I will say that there is a special place in my heart for Brandegan, Parma, and Merch (I know, I know, that’s three characters.).


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

It does. Several actually, but most of these are left up to the reader, and I would like to leave them so. But a few of the main things Strife Of The Mighty focuses on are perseverance, choosing one’s own path when all other influences seek to squelch that choice, and daring to hold to something that is shunned by all.


  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

Of course! Here’s an excerpt from Strife Of The Mighty:

Brandegan quickened his run. Ahead of him the lights had begun to recede, melting into the night like wraiths. There were no more shouts either. All around silence again crept forward. Just before he could reach them, the last of the fires vanished. Brandegan was just about to dash after them, but something halted him. The heavy forestry round about was still, too still. Brandegan became aware of an intense watchfulness, and as he listened, a shroud of dread descended upon him.

     Suddenly he felt, rather than saw, a shadow shift beside him. Next moment, he was hurled forward, heaved from the earth as though he was weightless, and tossed like a wind-blasted reed. Hardly had he struck the ground when a dark weight fell on him, crushing him down. He heard a snarl, and then four enormous claws, sharp as blades, raked his side. He fought back, lashing out with Rithlir, but a great, hirsute paw gripped his arm and, with a massive strength, pinned it to the ground.Strife of the Mighty

     Then Brandegan saw the eyes. Hovering just before his face, they shone as red fire, feeding the darkness with their terror and harboring within them the insatiable spirit of the Dread Palace. Even as they gazed down on their prey, the malice behind those eyes was kindled to sudden wrath, for here at last was their scourge, here at last was the thorn long sought.

     But just before teeth as deadly as the edge of Rithlir found their mark, there was a dazzling flash. Shadows leapt up and fled, the darkness was pushed back, and in that moment Brandegan’s adversary was revealed. Greater in stature than any beast of the wild stood Daugruil. As other Gragmarr, his forelegs loomed up, broad and strong. His back, arching downward near his hind-legs, was covered in coarse, crimson fur, and his great muzzle was lined with dagger-edged teeth. Now he stumbled backward, thwarted from his intent by the blinding, silver flare.

     Brandegan leapt to his feet as soon as the weight was lifted. His side throbbed in agony, and blood had already soaked through his raiment. But he heeded it not. The insatiable spirit of malice that burned in the eyes of this Gragmarr he knew…


  • What would you say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Strife Of The Mighty?

That’s easy: Writing it! Had I known, when I started out, that writing a novel would have been so very difficult I think I might have quailed. I’ve learned so much along this journey, and I’ve gained and lost much as well. I’ve sweated, slaved, wept (almost), roared, whispered, coaxed, and I’ve spent and lost money by reason of things I knew not of. But the pros vastly outweigh the cons. I’ve grown both as an individual and a writer. I’ve discovered those things that can either make or break a novel. I’ve found new friends and formed alliances, and have been introduced to the wonderful community of indie authors. But greatest of all I believe (besides the first reason), is the fact that I’ve learned how to write. Properly.


  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Strife Of The Mighty?

That I can literally write until my brain aches like a drum’s nerves after it has been beat on all day in a tribal festival (if a drum had nerves). Okay, in all seriousness. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that it is essential to never believe that you have reached the pinnacle of your skill; you can always push for something greater. And if you try hard enough, really try, and are willing to learn and sift the rubbish advice from the golden advice, you will continue to rise. And also patience. I’m not naturally all that patient. I like to see results to things quickly. Sometimes it’s a marvel to me that I was able to make it through Strife Of The Mighty at all! The rewrites were painstaking! The filling in of the plot was torturous! The constant editing was indescribable! Yet I stuck with it. I had to. By an inner sense I knew that I had to. I had to see this work to the end. Several times I almost rushed into certain decisions that would not have turned out well for me, but something always withheld me from these ill opportunities. Patience was a main factor that saw me through.


  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Be hardworking, be resolute in your craft, and be patient. A big thing I encounter in aspiring authors is the lack of determination. They find that they enjoy to write, launch into writing a novel, and then, upon discovering how difficult writing said novel is, waver and eventually drop off the tracks. Being a writer takes dedication and patience. These are the two most important things. No, skill is not the most important thing. If you have real dedication to your craft you will always be seeking to hone it; you will ever be striving to make yourself better and in doing so you will become better. And patience will see to it that your determination has two legs to stand on.


  • Anything else you would like to say?

Just that I enjoyed this interview, and wish all of my fellow fantasy authors the best of luck! And also I render a heartfelt thank you to all the indie author supporters. The reviewers, the bloggers, the interviewers, and the fans. All of your help is never forgotten, and you guys are more important than words can describe.


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

Yes indeed! I am currently working on Book Two of the Chronicles of Vrandalin, in which the adventure continues, new things are revealed and discovered, and sacrifices are made. And upon its completion, I shall delve into a few new realms. The Lael chronicles have only just begun!


Strife Of The Mighty is available here! http://www.amazon.com/Strife-The-Mighty-Chronicles-Vrandalin-ebook/dp/B00T5IW9DE

Julius’ blog http://juliusbailey.blogspot.com/

Julius’ Twitter https://twitter.com/kingdomwanderer

Julius’ goodreads  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13491222.Julius_Bailey

Author Interview: C.S.Woolley

Posted September 1, 2015

by C.S.Woolley

FB_IMG_1441107513934C.S. Woolley was born and raised in Cheshire, just south of Manchester in the UK, went to University to study English in Hull and now lives in Nottingham. The 29 year old is a currently a crime and fantasy writer but plans to expand into other areas as early as next year. C.S. Woolley enjoys reading, computer games, free climbing, horse riding, is something of a movie buff and loves writing whilst NCIS is on.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

I was really young, as far as I know I have been writing stories since I could pick up a pen. We were encouraged to write in primary school, but I used to write plays and stories to read and perform to my extended family all the time. Some of my earliest attempts at writing I still have as my mum saved them.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

I love writing outside. There is a long grassy embankment down by the river close to where I live that I love to go and sit beside with a notebook and write for hours. It has led to some very severe sunburn in the summer. I love writing in new places as well as in hotel rooms. Hotel rooms are oddly productive places for me to work. There is a lot less distraction in them than in my home, where I spend most of my time working. I spend quite a bit of time writing in The Food Bar, a local café about five minutes from my home, I know the staff and owner and always get a warm welcome. I tend to go there when I have no idea what I should be writing next or when I can’t concentrate.

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

I write at least 3,000 words a day, not all of them end up in the finished books, but forcing myself to get something out every day helps me keep moving forward. On days when I am really struggling to get there I will write for fifteen minutes, have a fifteen minute break and then write for fifteen minutes, repeating this for 3 hours and seeing where I get to. Most of the time this gets me to 2,000 or even 3,000 words and other times after the second fifteen minutes I just keep writing. I have a pretty strict publishing schedule to keep to, so even when I am not feeling great I still write – does tend to take a lot longer though. I also tend to write whilst the TV is on, my brain is quite a busy place so I have the TV on as a distraction to some of the busy stuff so the book stuff can filter through. There are days that music works better and a rare handful where silence is needed, but generally things like NCIS, Porridge, House, Red Dwarf, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Scrubs, How I Met Your Mother, things I have seen before and watched so many times I can quote the script make me much more productive. Disney does not make me productive – music or movies, just end up watching the movies and singing.

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

When I first started writing I just wrote because I loved reading and stories and didn’t have any aspirations of being an author until I got to high school. When I got to high school everyone was talking about careers and I knew that I wanted to write. It wasn’t until I published Shroud of Darkness after 12 years of writing it that I found an author that I wanted to be like. My best friend, who is my plot editor, he read Shroud of Darkness and said to me that the style reminded him of his favourite author, Raymond E. Feist and that I should read his work. He did point out that my style was similar but not quite in the same league, which I would agree with 100%. I have gotten about halfway through reading all of Feist’s work and can honestly say that I aspire to write like he does and produce something as wonderful as his Riftwar Saga.

  • What inspired you to write Rising Empire: Part 2 and Part 3

The problem I constantly seem to come across in my fantasy books – there is so much in my head that has to happen to the characters that it won’t fit in one book. Rising Empire: Part 1 was written as a prequel to Shroud of Darkness, to try and add some history to the world and tell the story about the characters that came before who have a passing mention in the narrative. Whilst I was writing Rising Empire: Part 1 it soon became really apparent that everything wouldn’t fit into one volume and it needed to be broken down into at least one other book. I decided to make it another trilogy, not only for balance (the other books in the Chronicles are in or planned to be in threes) but because I didn’t want to jump in five year increments throughout the second book to make the timeline make sense and skip over some of the details for the sake of getting everything into just two books.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

They are the second and third volumes in the Chronicles of Celadmore and a lot of what happens in these books affects the plot of the series as a whole. There are some things that happen through the Rising Empire trilogy that will not be explained until much later on in the series, but hopefully they will lead to “oooooohhhhhh” moments when everything finally slots into place. There are quite a few new characters in these books and readers get to learn a little more about the bad guys of the books from their perspectives rather than just through the eyes of the heroes. There are more character deaths, not quite on a George R.R. Martin scale, but I would advise readers not to get too attached to anyone. I don’t want to give too much away as I have a nasty habit of accidentally spoilering people, but, the war is still going on, you get to see Mercia and Kasnata in the same place for the first time which gets a little tense. The minor characters from Rising Empire: Part 1 have a much bigger part to play and things get a lot worse and messier for Celadmore before they get better.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

Such an innocent, but loaded question. I always feel like such a bad person for admitting that I do have favourite characters, it’s like saying you love your children more than the others, but I do have favourites. In the Rising Empire trilogy I love General Yoav, but overall my absolute favourite is Caslo Morgan in the Shroud of Darkness trilogy, so favoured I haven’t decided if I’ll end up killing him or not.

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

There are a couple of messages that I’ve tried to weave into the narrative, the overriding one is of not giving up. I’m not particularly kind to my characters, they get put through some terrible experiences, but they don’t stop, it may take them some time to pick themselves up and keep going, but they don’t stop going after their goals. Some of the goals for the characters change and some ultimately fail, but they keep going. It’s the message of the series as a whole really. Even the strongest and wisest of all the characters have moments when they want to give up, but there is always something they can cling onto that keeps them going.

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? 

Kelmar sat brooding. So far he had failed in his mission to capture the two princesses of Nosfa and the Order, and had become so frustrated with his own failure, he had ordered his own men to attack and kill the young girls.

He knew that had he returned to Delma with the blood of the daughters of Kasnata on his hands, then there would have been no force on Celadmore that would have kept him from suffering at the hands of the Queen of the Order.

Then there was Renta to consider. He had taken no pleasure in killing Kasnata’s general, especially in the way he had chosen to inflict torture upon her, leaving her to bleed instead of offering her a noble warrior’s death. She had stolen his victory from him in securing the princesses’ safety and he had hated her for that. His anger had been so all-consuming that he had wanted to inflict pain and suffering on the general for denying him his victory.

Renta had managed to kill two of his men and render three of others unfit for duty and the Duke wasn’t entirely convinced that they would ever be able to fight again.

Renta had been careful not to kill all those that had assaulted her, but instead had delayed DeLacey’s forces for long enough so that Mathias had been able lead the party to Tulna, where they were now out of his reach. Kelmar had taken his frustrations out on the Condor General of the Order in manner that he considered beneath him.

“I’m sorry, Renta.” Kelmar said softly to himself and shook his head. There were many things in his life that he regretted and how he had chosen to murder Renta, the satisfaction he felt and the words he had said to the woman he would have once called friend, would haunt him for the rest of his life. He had left men behind in order to prepare her body to be sent back to Kasnata. The three men would deliver it and then return home to report to the king and queen. He at least hoped that they would be allowed to return to Delma after.

He knew that Kasnata was a woman of honour, who would not harm his men for the actions that Kelmar had taken, however, the other members of the Order, especially those that served under the Condor General, might not be so understanding.

From where he sat, Kelmar could see the oasis of Tulna on the horizon, or at least he could see the lights in the largest building in which the princesses were now safe. There were plenty of old wives tales about the oasis and those who lived there, but Kelmar had not expected to meet with a warrior as strong as the woman that had single-handedly caused his men to retreat. There had been something in her eyes that made him wonder whether the rumours of immortals residing there had more truth to them than most realised. But whether Tulna held immortals or not, he had to retrieve the princesses.

“Rider approaching.” A lookout shouted, breaking into Kelmar’s train of thought. “Messenger.”

Kelmar stood and moved his gaze from Tulna to where the lookout was indicating the messenger’s approach. The messenger seemed to be in no hurry to arrive, his horse was walking at a sedate gait, not even a hint of swear or foam on its coat. The messenger wore a hood that obscured his face; even when he was less than a stone’s throw away from the Duke DeLacey, and a thick cloak that seemed to be rather unnecessary given the warmer temperature of the desert, even in the depths of Wentrus.

“You have news for me?” Kelmar asked with irritation as the messenger finally reach him and dismounted.

“Impatient as always.” The deep voice that greeted Kelmar from inside the hood caused the Duke to drop to his knees.

“Your majesty.” He stammered.

“Get up,” King Durlich said in a bored voice, “I have travelled a long way to talk with you and do not need to waste time on ceremony out here.”

The Duke rose to his feet and looked at the king. It had been a long time since Kelmar had seen him, but not long enough for all the changes that the Duke could see in the king’s appearance to have occurred.

As he lowered the hood, Kelmar could see that the king had aged at least ten years since their last meeting and there was a distracted look in his eyes, one of focusing on thoughts and problems of far away, rather than on the here and now.

“The princesses are in Tulna.” Kelmar announced.

“And you are not.” The king said disdain. “What happened to all the men that were with you? There is but a fraction of them here now. You were supposed to acquire the princesses in the Palace of Abergorlech.”

Kelmar bowed his head in shame. He had not yet sent a report to Delma on their progress and he knew that he king riding out to find them was a sign of how displeased he was but the lack of results.

“Neesa was waiting for us. We dispatched the household but the whore of the king killed the men that I took with me to the fortress. The princesses escaped and were met by Mathias of Roenca, he kept them out of my reach. There was one occasion where we had them cornered but General Renta of the Order and Tola of Roenca stopped us.” Kelmar explained, trying not to turn his description of events into an excuse for failing in his duty.

“Where are they all now?” The king growled.

“Tola and Mathias are with the princesses in Tulna. Renta is dead.” The Duke confirmed.

“Good, then at least the barbarian bitch will know what it is to lose someone she cares about.” The king snarled.

“Sire?” Kelmar asked in confusion.

“Prince Jayden is dead. He was murdered by the bitch Queen when the prince and our armies came across her and a small portion of her army.” The king spat on the floor.

“My apologies, sire. My prayers –” Kelmar began but the king cut him off by raising his hand.

“Save your fawning, you disgraceful worm. You will get those princesses out of that place and return them to Delma, even if it kills you. And if extracting both of them is too taxing for you, then I will settle for one of them.” The king snapped and remounted.

“Sire, won’t you stay in our camp tonight, then tomorrow I can send some men with you as an escort to ensure you return to Delma safely.” Kelmar offered. The king looked down at the Duke from astride his horse and scoffed.

“There is no protection your men can offer me, DeLacey.”

Rising Empire 2

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Rising Empire: Part 2 and Part 3?

Actually finishing them. I had two things happen that really made me want to give up writing altogether, the first was one of my books was plagiarised – copied word for word and published with someone else claiming they wrote it and then about a week after having to deal with lawyers getting it all sorted, I got a really nasty review that just made what little motivation I had left disappear completely. If it weren’t for a group of people that work at my local game store (yes, I go into this game store so often I am now friends with all the staff) I wouldn’t have written either of these books; so some of the characters were named after the four of them and Rising Empire: Part 2 is dedicated to them.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Rising Empire: Part 2 and Part 3?

I’ve learned that my way of working has changed since I first started writing and that it’s probably a very good thing. Every book I write, I become more organised and when I get to the point when I think I’ve had enough of a series, I find I really haven’t and can’t wait to start writing the next one.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Don’t think that as soon as you put a book out there that it will sell. It takes years of working to get to a point where people are willing to even look at your book on free promotion let alone part with money for it. Anyone who tells you they wrote a book and put it out and went to number 1 in the best sellers in the first week is either incredibly lucky, has paid a lot of people to download their work or is lying. Don’t live and die with every review either, not everyone is going to like your work and when you do get bad reviews, it’s actually a good thing – shows readers that you aren’t just paying people to give you five star reviews and some of the lower ratings can be constructive. Some people are just out to be nasty though and get a rise out of you, don’t let the haters bring you down and if they do, make sure you have amazing people around you to get you back up again. Write for yourself, if you do that, then you’ll always be happy with what you produce and will be producing the best work you can and don’t pay too much attention to “writing rules” – most of them work for a narrow group of people and art has never been about creating something that follows rules.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

A huge thank you to several people: Laura, Dave, Mike and Mark, you guys are great, thank you for the distractions and encouragement. John and Abby for always being supportive and amazing, Sam and Emma for just being themselves, Jenny for her love of the series and pestering me to keep writing it and Joe and Dave for always being interested in what I am writing.

Anyone wanting to get a copy of Rising Empire: Part 1 can get a free copy (less than 500 available) from http://www.instafreebie.com/free/goCr3 up until 1st October or until all the copies are gone.

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

Well by the end of 2025 I am aiming to have at least 139 books finished and published if not 145. I’ve been told that I think big. In the immediate future I have a charity book raising money for the British Heart Foundation coming out on 21st October, Standing by the Watchtower: Volume 2, which is a collection of short stories from me and some other authors. On 30th November the fourth book my crime series, the Lily & Rose Saga, is due for release and 31st December When Darkness Falls, the seventh book in the Chronicles of Celadmore, is slated for release.


C.S. Woolley Fan Page – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorC.S.Woolley

Mightier Than the Sword Fan Page – https://www.facebook.com/MightierThantheSwordUK

The Chronicles of Celadmore Fan Page – https://www.facebook.com/ChroniclesofCeladmore


C.S. Woolley – @TheCSWoolley

Mightier Than the Sword UK – @MTtS_UK

Website: www.mightierthanthesworduk.com

Rising Empire

Posted June 18, 2015


“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”]


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”]

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”]