Tag: Medieval

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”]


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: P.F.Davids

Posted November 17, 2015

pfdavidsphotoI’m P.F. Davids, fantasy writer and author of Lesser Evil.  I write from my little place in Central Florida.  When I’m not writing, I’m playing tabletop games, or watching numbers go up in the latest RPG.


  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

When I was very young.  Some of my earliest memories are of making little picture book stories for my mom.  It’s really all I’ve ever wanted to do.  During High School, I did novelling as my senior career project.  College saw me take a path through the IT field, but I never stopped writing.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

A boring answer, but my bedroom.  The more unique thing is when I write: typically 90% of my writing has gotten done between 12 AM and 5 AM.  I’ve always been a night-owl, and those hours after everyone has gone to bed and before the sun rises are so peaceful and free of distractions that I can really focus on putting my thoughts to words.

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

My programming professor probably gave me the best advice (or worse, depending on your point of view): keep some candy or other snack about you, so if you reach a problem that is particularly frustrating you can take a bite and keep your calm.  This advice has worked for me in writing as well, keeping a nice stack of snacks about really helps me when I struggling with writer’s block or a certain paragraph that I know what is supposed to be said but just won’t get phrased right!  Course, probably not the healthiest habit, but it helps.

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

Joe Abercombie’s First Law trilogy really opened my eyes to modern fantasy.  Or I should, shattered my perception as to what good fantasy had to be.  While I’m not really a student of the Grimdark style (as I still like my stories to have a more hopeful or heroic overall tone), it did shape how I view my writing drastically.  I’m hoping to eventually find that perfect balance between classical fantasy elements and modern fantasy as inspired by him.

  • What inspired you to write Lesser Evil?

I was told by a certain friend that he liked my villains more than he liked my heroes.  So I decided to do an exercise where I told a story from villain’s perspective to see what I could learn from that in terms of telling my heroes story.  I ended up really liking some of the characters that I came up, so I retooled them for an upcoming NaNoWriMo challenge.  I actually failed my goal that year, but by that time I was determined to see the project through. 

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

The book is a play on the classic story of good versus evil,  with the question at the forefront being, “If a good man does evil to fight evil, can he still be considered good?”  Kester Belisario’s order is on the verge of extinction at the hands of the Serpentine Empire, and the only hope they have is to assassinate the Empire.  To this end, Kester must recruit an old enemy of the Church, a man cloaked in darkness whose evil deeds are legendary.  If they can work together without killing one another, they might just succeed.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

I don’t like to play favourites with my characters.  There are some who are easier to write than others, though.  Writing a character like Reis, who plays naturally on my darker side, and whose sarcasm matches the way I normally think, is fairly easy for me to write for.

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

Each book is different for every reader.  I will leave it to readers to decide what messages to take from it.

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

Taken from Chapter 3, the first Reis point-of-view chapter.

Why did his research always seem to take two steps back for every step forward?

Reis sighed and leaned back in his chair.  He tried in vain to wipe the sleepiness out of his eyes with his hands.  He had worked through the night, as he often did, and had been positive, as he often was, that he was on the verge of a major breakthrough.

Well, I suppose a result is a result.  Now if I could just figure out what it means.

            He could feel himself getting frustrated, a familiar anger rising up inside him.  It would not do.  Anger had its uses.  It could drive you in combat, it could motivate you to press on against rough conditions and impossible odds, it could blind you to pain and sorrow.  But alchemy required a cool, logical mind.  Reis closed his eyes and forced himself to take a few deep breaths.

Green and red, saved from the dead.  Blue and black, a life you now lack.

The annoying little rhyme played over and over again in his head.  With his eyes closed he could even see the thick spectacles of his alchemy teacher staring over him as he was forced to repeat the rhyme until it was burned into his mind.  Elixirs should all turn one of those four colors.

So why the hell is it purple?

            Reis opened his eyes, looking again at his unusual concoction.  It was not the strangest result his experiments ever yielded, but it was certainly among the most puzzling.  The color told him nothing.  At least when a failed experiment turned blue or black he could get an idea of what went wrong based on the shade.  But purple?  That was meaningless.  For all he knew, the experiment was a resounding success and he had just discovered a new type of elixir.

He raised the vial up to his nose and took a deep sniff.  The smell turned out to be just as useless as the color.  It smelled sour at first, but then he began to notice a distinctly salty scent.  None of that made sense.

Was one of Lesser Evilmy ingredients contaminated?

            He had no choice but to check all his ingredients for purity.  He grumbled to himself when he thought about the amount of tedious work that would require.  There was no getting around it, though.  Alchemy had zero room for error.  Even the smallest contaminants would cause a concoction to take on unwanted properties.  Any future experiments could be compromised if he did not ensure his stock was up to quality.

Reis got up slowly from his chair behind the lab desk and stretched his legs.  It was good to move around again after being cramped in the lab for so long.

He stepped out into the second floor hallway.  He was greeted as always by the strong smell of sulfur from one of the rooms down the hall.  For all the advances he made, he had yet to come up with a solution to stench.  Fragrant candles, perfumes, even scented cloths held to his nose failed to alleviate the stench.  He had grown mostly used to it by now, and fortunately it saw no use in his recent elixirs, so he had no need to smell it up close.

The doctors who had built this mansion had the clever idea to do so in two layers.  There was the outer layer, which encompassed the hospital and other public areas.  To separate their home from the hospital they built another layer inside it, almost a house within a house.  It made sense; it helped keep their personal and business life separate.  Plus, in the winter it was easier to warm just the living area as opposed to the whole mansion.  When Reis had found the mansion the outer layer had already fallen to disrepair, the roof rotting, the hospital leaking, the walls seemingly near collapse.  The inner layer had fared much better against the elements and Reis had been able to perform some basic repairs to get it into livable condition.  He also spent quite a bit of coin procuring quality furnishings, so he could continue to live the lifestyle to which he was accustomed.  As Reis walked down the hall he passed several comfortable chairs, their cushions plump and ready for him should he desire a break.

It had seemed like the perfect arrangement to him.  The mansion’s outwards appearance of rot and disrepair discouraged visitors and enemies alike, while inside he had all the comforts he desired.  At least, until the Empire decided to pay a visit.

The pushy colonel had left Reis little choice.  He would have preferred not making such a powerful enemy, but he was not about to be pressed into the Empire’s service either.  There would undoubtedly be consequences; the Empire knew where he lived and had surely learned of the colonel’s demise by now.  Reis wondered how long he would have before they came marching in force towards his home.

He would have to move on before then.  It would be a pity abandoning the place he had lived in so long, but Reis was not one for sentimentality.  The worse part would be abandoning his massive stock of alchemical components.  Even if he hired a cart to assist him, his stock was too large to take with him and many of the ingredients would become contaminated in the process.  Which is why it was so crucial for him to make some progress in what time he had left.

The first store room came up on the left.  The occupants before Reis had likely used this room as a child’s bedroom.  Now it was filled with shelves containing jars of powders, oils, plants, preserved animal parts and insects, dried leaves and grass, solid crystal fragments.  All the common alchemical ingredients, as well as some that were not so common, such as blood and gemstones.

Reis checked each container in turn.  He checked the seals, smelled the contents, ran the powders through his fingers.  He found no signs of contamination.  He checked the next store room, and the last one down the hall.  In none of his inspections did he find anything that suggested contamination.

No closer to solving this mystery.

            Reis was running out of options.  At this rate the only way forward would be to test the elixir, and he sure wasn’t going to drink it with no idea of what it would do.  He was going to need to find a ‘willing’ test subject.

            And he knew just where to find one.

 

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

Getting the book ready to be published was a brand new challenge for me.  Going from cover design, interior formatting, editing… oh, editing.  Thankfully, I had great help from talented cover designer and an editor who cut me deal.  Oh, and many friendly proofreaders.  Couldn’t have done it without them.

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

I learned I am capable of a complete book, from beginning to end to publication.  Really, something I was not sure I would be able to do.  Now that I know I can, I can’t imagine anything stopping me going forward.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Yeah, write.  It seems simple, but just sitting down and writing is much harder than it sounds.  Getting those words on pages is a great struggle for all writers, particularly new writers.  I suggest taking a crack at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) one November if you are the kind whom a deadline would be beneficial.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Support your local bookstores!  (Also, small bookstores, I wouldn’t mind your support as well)

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

I’m currently working on the second book in the Lesser Evil trilogy, which I will make an official announcement of in a couple of day.  And being a trilogy, you can expect a third book as well.  I’m also in the planning stages of major series, which I can’t go too much into right now (mostly cause the notes are such a jumbled mess right now), but it is a single series with each book telling the journey of a single character.


You can find Lesser Evil on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lesser-Evil-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B015JAQ10I/

And Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26705917-lesser-evil

You can follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pfdavids/

And Twitter: https://twitter.com/PFDavids

 

 


Review: Lesser Evil by P.F.Davids

Posted November 13, 2015

Lesser Evil

P.F.Davids contacted me to ask if I would read Lesser Evil and provide an honest review in exchange for a copy, however, it is available on Kindle Unlimited so I obtained the book via this method.

Lesser EvilKester 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.


The story telling

Lesser Evil begins at the heart of a conflict between Serpentine’s imperial soldiers and the Church of True Light. It begins in medias res, introducing the reader to the conflict, the stakes, and key characters while moving the story forward. The first paragraph sets the scene briefly: ‘bodies littered the room ahead,  stripped bare with faces twisted in agony,‘ while the reaction and interaction between Demos, Collette and Ottone orientates the reader with current events.The narration blends smoothly with the dialogue. The narrative voice in each of the chapters is clearly defined and where used, reads like the POV character’s natural thought process.

The environment brings to mind that of a medieval setting with its transport by horseback, sword battles, old buildings and secret passageways…

As the story progresses the reader is introduced to Kester, a young soldier in the Church of True Light, recently promoted to a position of responsibility, he devises a plan that may yet save the Church from annihilation.

My thoughts

If you enjoy a work of fantasy with a ‘light versus dark’, ‘good versus evil’ premise than I believe you will enjoy this book. The atmosphere is established early on, as are the motives of both the Church of True Light and Serpentine. The characters are multi-dimensional, with each of the key characters having shared and personal obstacles to overcome. Throw a little alchemy into the mix, a pinch of a misunderstood ability with balanced pacing and tension and you have a book promising a great read.

As I warned the author is our email exchange, I am not one of those people who can force myself to read a book that does not hold my interest (I’ve been known to give up on books after the first few pages), but with Lesser Evil I found myself orientated into the history, world and characters needs early on. The writing lured me into the tale P.F.Davids has penned and held my interest. With each page turned I found myself wanted to read and learn more and look forward to the next installment of the Lesser Evil trilogy.

Author Links:

Website: http://www.pfdavids.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PFDavids

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

Goodreads profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14391176.P_F_Davids

 

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The Knight’s Apprentice (Knights of the Immortals) by Catrina Taylor

Posted November 12, 2015

Meet Cerita Guzman. Typical teen with all the responsibilities of an oldest child, in a struggling single parent household. After stumbling across a final rite performed by a man in a suit of armor, Cerita finds herself questioning everything she’s ever known.

Is Atlantis real? Are the creatures of myth? Could she be one of them?

With her best friend, a classmate, and the mysterious knight, Cerita begins an adventure to find the truth that’s been hidden in plain sight.

Pick up book two today!
amazon.com/gp/product/B00YN5RE52

[goodreviews isbn=”B00Y7E6B4E” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

 


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 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.