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Category Archives: Writing

Goodreads Giveaway, The Shadowbearer in Print and New Cover

Goodreads Giveaway, The Shadowbearer in Print and New Cover

It’s been a while in the making but the Shadowbearer finally has a print release. Here’s the cover and a Goodreads giveaway to go along with it.
The Giveaway: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/33816-the-shadowbearer

The Cover.

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Cover Art for next fantasy book

The next Aegis of the Gods book is almost ready. There’s something to be said about good covers, and I have worked to try come up with covers that will draw my reader in. I hope my fans appreciate the effort. Covers have always been a drawing point for me, even now when I read primarily on my tablet. When browsing, I always go cover first before I read the blurb and a sample. I just feel the cover is important. Not as important as the contents of the book, as you truly can’t judge a book by it’s cover (sorry, I had to), but a good cover might tell you that the author or publisher cared about what his book looked like to his potential reader.

having said that, here’s some early work on my latest cover.

 

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A Weekend of Free boooks

Dear reader,

Several writers from the Alexandria Publishing Group will have books for free over the weekend of September 14-16.

Among those are:

The coming storm by Valerie Douglas

Elon of Aerilann, Elven advisor to the High King of Men, helped negotiate the treaty between Elves, Dwarves and men. He suddenly finds that fragile truce threatened from without by an unknown enemy and from within by old hatreds and prejudice. With the aid of his true-friend Colath, the wizard Jareth and the Elven archer Jalila, he goes in search of the source of the threat.

Ailith, the Heir to Riverford, fights her own silent battle. Her father has changed, but her quest to discover what changed him puts her life and very soul in danger and leaves her only one direction in which to turn. Elon.To preserve the alliance, though, Elon will have to choose between his honor, his duty and everything for which he fought.

(Click the title or the image to visit Amazon.com for the book.)

 

Magnus Opum by Jonathan Gould

A story about a little person in a very big world.

Magnus Mandalora never thought he would leave the safe confines of the small homely village of Lower Kertoob. He certainly never expected to end up in the middle of a long-running war between the saintly Cherines and the beastly Glurgs. But when circumstance places him in such a dubious position, he finds himself on a rollicking adventure where nothing is quite as it seems.Magnus Opum is an epic fantasy that’s slightly skewed – Tolkien with a twist.

(Click the title or the image to visit Amazon.com for the book.)

The Shadowbearer by Terry Simpson

Knight Commander Stefan Dorn, leader of the Unvanquished, has known only war, death and, victory. All in the name of his loyalty to King Nerian the Lightbearer, a man he idolized.Until now.Everything he thought he knew about the King, his people, and his world is coming to an end. At a time when there should be peace, he’s once again called to war.Torn between shocking changes at home, his family, loyalty to his men and his King, Stefan wishes only to enjoy life away from the battlefield. But with the new campaign comes a rabid, unforgiving enemy and a potential cataclysm.Follow him as he fights to save his family, his people, his honor, and his birthright from the grips of the shade. Can he save them all? If not, which will he choose, which will he lose?The Shadowbearer is a rousing and engaging prequel to Etchings of Power and a worthy addition to the Aegis of the Gods series.

(Click the title or the image to visit Amazon.com for the book.)

Cataclysm by Stephen H. King

Crystal isn’t sure what to think when she learns that she’s married to and has children by Mars, the God of War. She knows that she’s not giving him up to his ex-wife, the Goddess of Love, without a fight. Venus has other plans, though, and the goddess and the mortal woman square off.

At the same time, Crystal has to deal with Sorscha, the shape-shifting thrakkon who has fought by the side of Mars as a silver dragon, and served him as a beautiful woman, for longer than Crystal can imagine. The thrakkon calls her husband Master, but can Crystal trust her?

Join the rapid action and occasional humor as Crystal follows her husband to Olympus, the dive bar for the gods, as well as through a destroyed Bay Area, looking for survivors of the cataclysm as well as clues on how to defeat a goddess.

(Click the title or the image to visit Amazon.com for the book.)
 

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Epic Fantasy review: King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2)King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brilliant.

I was twenty pages from the end when I had to stop to write this review before I forgot what I had to say. I have never done that before.

King of Thorns is better than the first book. It is brutally brilliant, gruesomely good, and amid the carnage offers slivers of a rainbow before snatching it away in a world and future as grim and real as any out there.

Amid the wickedness that is Jorg Ancrath, you will find wit and wisdom to match. Sometimes almost too much for a young man of eighteen. But then, he is not a normal young man, or else why would Lawrence tell us his story? He is special in every way and so is this book.

From characterization, to prose, to style, to setting, King of Thorns is carefully laid out in ways that capture the imagination, whether good or bad or ugly. The writing just feels so natural, so Jorg. Take the two passages below.

“It being Sunday, the cook prepared a special treat for us. Snails in garlic and wine, with saffron rice. The snails came from local cliffs. A big variety as thick as a child’s arm. But let’s face it, snails are just slugs with a hat on. The main dish looked like large lumps of snot in blood.”

“But they’ll sing songs about Quick Jorg for years to come. Fast with one sword, faster with the other,” she said.

Those two are just miniature snippets of hundreds of passages in this book that speak to the style, and in fact, are nowhere near the best there is, but are worthy examples.

Whether in act of defense, murder, or the twines of manipulation, Jorg tells his story in gripping fashion without any apology. Simply put, his will is indomitable, his hunger for revenge and power near insatiable, he’s conniving and cruel, but he is no less spellbinding to read. At times, he has the tiny touches of compassion that make you think he’s coming around, that he is human after all, before he disabuses you of the notion.

Five days it took me. This is the fastest I remember reading in a long time. I was simply transported into this boy, this tale, this world. And I want more. No. I NEED more.

There will be naysayers as there were for Prince of Thorns. To them I shrug. They simply do not understand Jorg or the condition of humanity than when driven to extreme circumstances, might surface in any one of us.

Thank you, Mr. Lawrence.

P.S I read those last twenty pages. The ending was nothing short of amazing with a great plot twist and some classic unscrupulous Jorg.

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Ashes and Blood: Book 2 Aegis of the Gods

Here is the prologue to Book 2, Ashes and Blood.

Prelude to Ascension

They arrived at the gathering within the featureless chamber as they always did. A portal slit the air from left to right, turned sideways, and opened into the shape of an eye. Wreathed in oily smoke, many-faceted eyes reflecting the torchlight, tentacles blacker than midnight, the creatures stepped through one after the other. Armor of chitin and ebon steel glistened, and their wriggling minions appeared as if from nothing.

There were nine of them in all, each at least twenty feet in height. Nine netherlings.

Despite the fact that dreams had no physical effect on reality, she still shied away from them. But being in a dream had no bearing on the miasma emanating from the netherlings. Death, decay, the perfume of fresh blooms, wet earth after new rain, the northern chill, the burning heat of the lava-filled chasms in the Broken Lands. The odors and sensations were all too real, each one overriding the other for scant moments.

Faces shrouded in light and shadow, their forms insubstantial, people by the thousands took a step back. Rulers, nobles, merchants, teachers, philosophers, historians, soldiers, even the poor were represented within the crowd. She could not discern their expressions, but the gasps and whimpers told their own story. Each person wore their sect’s colors.

White, Shadow, and Gray.

She almost spit on the blackness below her where there should have been a floor. Those in gray were supposedly spies among the Gray Council, but the thought and worse yet the sight of the color brought on a loathing she found difficult to contain. She calmed herself with the knowledge that nothing the Gray could do would stop the ascension.

“The first is almost to the boy.” The netherling’s voice was as blank as her surroundings.

“The era draws nigh.”

“The gods die, the world remade, new gods ascend.”

As often as she’d attended these gatherings, she still found the singularity of their voices disconcerting.

“You have all done well to guide the world as needed for this to come to fruition.”

A murmur rippled through the crowd. The netherlings’ heads turned toward the disturbance. Space cleared around a male, his clothing one of shadow. He stepped forward.

“You bring news, young one?”

She sucked in a breath. Only another netherling would dare approach as this man did. She frowned. They hid themselves even among the common people?

“Yes, masters. I have discovered a place between the worlds where Prima lives. It is beyond what we may have anticipated.”

“Nothing is outside our calculations, young one.”

For the first time, she noticed a definite scoffing tone to the answer.

“Those who oppose already know of its existence,” the man said, “One of their own has been within its borders.”

“Yes. We are aware. However, the one we chose unleashed Prima into the world. The guardians will be drawn to it as they are to him. Kill the first before he secures the boy. When the others reveal themselves to the boy’s calling or to Prima, do the same. He must not learn to use his gift.”

“Yes, masters.” The man bowed from the waist.

“The same goes for all of you. The young one has served his purpose. Kill him and his mentors.”

Licking her lips with anticipation, she awoke from her dream to the glowing walls within the Iluminus.

 

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Fantasy Glossary for Aegis of the Gods

So after resisting for a while and being told by some that they understood most things about my world, I gave in to some who didn’t. I want each reader to grasp the majority of how my world works, and though I’ve worked hard to not info dump and to show my world and how the magic works, some might find certain things hard to grasp. I am partially to blame for this because I do drop quite a bit of the world’s names early in the story and more often than not, the explanation comes in the subsequent chapters. Does every book need a glossary? No. But I have now agreed with some of my readers, that some parts of my world is so involving, and that I use much of that within my world early enough in the book, that a glossary would only help rather than hinder. With no further ado, and thank you again, readers and fans. Here’s the glossary so far for the Aegis of the Gods series. It has been included in the newest edition of the book as of last night.

If there’s something you would like to see added. Please drop a comment. I’ll see what I can do.

GLOSSARY

Alzari – Matii who wield mostly the Forms, strongest in earth essences and metal. Ancestors of the Setian.

Amuni – One of the gods of Streams, specifically, shade. Brother of Ilumni.

Ashishin – Matii who serve the Tribunal and often represent the god Ilumni and the Streams, specifically light and heat. Most of the Granadian peoples are descendants of the Ashishin. They often bear the title of Shin or High Shin.

Astoca – A kingdom within south central Ostania. Their people, the Astocans, are cousins to the Cardians. (See Namazzi)

Bana – A kingdom in eastern Ostania. Their people are the Banai and worship Humelen and the Forms.

Bastions of Light – Towers along the Vallum of Light and located at strategic points within Granadia that can be used to send warning of an impending attack to the Tribunal.

Cardia – A kingdom far south in Ostania. Their people, the Cardians, are related to the Astocans. (See Namazzi)

construct – A sentient entity created from essences.

Dagodin – A Matus who cannot Forge but can wield items imbued with Mater called divya.

Darkwraith – A type of shadeling created by merging the sela essences, spirit, and shade of a Matus.

dartan – A massive beast of burden, bigger than any horse. It has 6 legs, hardened skin, and a shell into which it can withdraw its legs. It also has a long snake-like neck and is a meat eater. Originally created during the Luminance Wars.

Deathbringer – A type of Matii used by the Felani and others, said to be already crazed Matii. Only the Felani know how they’re controlled.

Denestia – The world where this story takes place, said to have been the crowning achievement of the god Ilumni who defeated his brother Amuni for its possession.

Devout – A priest who serves Ilumni and goes on pilgrimages to do the Tribunal’s bidding, often preaching the word of Streamean worship and its virtues.

divya – An item imbued with Mater.

Dosteri – A race originating in Everland who later inhabited Granadia.

Elements of Mater – The completed essences that make up the Flows, the Forms, and the Streams. (See Mater)

Erastonia – A kingdom in Everland.

Erastonian – Powerful warriors from Everland, specifically from a place called Erastonia. They possess some of the strongest Matii within the known world. Their main task is defending the Great Divide and killing any shadelings that happen to escape from the prisons contained with the Divide.

Essences – The individual strands of power that make up the elements of Mater.

Everland – The northernmost continent in Denestia.

Exalted – Mythical leaders of the Tribunal.

Eztezian – The Eztezians were the descendants of the gods. Great warriors and the most powerful Matii to grace Denestia. They were tasked with protecting Denestia from the shade and from itself. Driven mad by their overuse of Mater however, they almost destroyed the world. They created the Great Divide, which brought about the shade’s defeat. Then they turned on the gods, sealing them in the Nether to prevent future wars and the creation of more creatures like the shadelings.

Felan – A kingdom is western Ostania. Their people are known as the Felani.

Flowic – The religions named after the elements of Flows and its gods.

Flows – The combination of two essences—primarily water and air that make up liquids known as the Flows. There are other variations that involve other essences. E.g Water and cold to form ice. Heat, air, and something flammable to create fire.

Forger – A Matus who can Forge essences of Mater

Forging – See Materforging

Formist – The religion named after the elements of Forms and its gods.

Forms – The combination of three essences—earth, metal, and wood, that make up solids known as the Forms. There are other variations of solids that can be enhanced by using other essences, as well as other essences not in this umbrella that can be used to form solids. (See example in Streams.)

Gerde – Stoneform beasts with eight-legs that bear similarities to crabs, but were the size of ponies.

Granadia – The Western continent of Denestia. Have been at conflict with most of Ostania for millenia.

Harna – A kingdom in northern Ostania. Followers of Formist religion. Descendants of the Sven.

Humelen – One of the Gods of Forms, specifically earth.

Hydae – A world formed by Amuni when he lost to his brother Ilumni.

Ilumni – One of the gods of Streams, specifically, light. Brother of Amuni.

Imbuer – A Matus who can imbue properties of essences into an item to create divya.

kinai – A special plant that draws on essences, used in many healing formulas and potent drinks. Said to enhance the user’s strength, stamina, and agility.

Luminance War – An ancient war when shadelings escaped the Great Divide and swept across Ostania.

Mater – Mater is the core elemental power which exists within everything. It makes up the three elements the gods represent and their individual essences. Mater drives all worlds. The three elements are the solids of the Forms, the liquids of the Flows, and the energy of the Streams. Those are further broken down into separate essences. For instance, earth, wood and metal are a part of the Forms. Heat, cold, light and shade are a part of the Streams. Water and air are a part of the Flows. Finally, there’s sela essence, a combination of life and death which sits outside the three elements and is required for anything to live or die. (See Streams, Flows, Forms.)

Materialize – Ability to Forge a portal between two places for travel.

Materforging – The act of wielding the essences or elements of Mater.

Matersense – The ability to open up one’s mind to be able to sense or see nearby essences within the elements of Mater.

Matus – One who can sense Mater (Plural – Matii) Not every Matus can manipulate or Forge Mater. What essence a Matus is strongest in is often determined by bloodline. However, one can train to become adept in other essences. It is difficult and takes powerful Matii to wield essences from two separate elements simultaneously. It is considered to only be an ability of the netherlings or gods to wield all essences within all three elements at the same time.

Mystera – Schools built throughout Granadia for the purpose of teaching and recruiting Matii.

Namazzi – Matii who wield mostly the Flows, ancestors of the Cardians and Astocans.

Netherling – Primordial beings from the Nether, said to have been the ones to bestow their power on the Eztezians in order to save the world. This act was part of their revenge against the gods for their experiments.

Ostania – The Eastern continent of Denestia. Have been at conflict with most of Ostania for millenia.

Pathfinder – Powerful Matii, trained by the Tribunal, who have passed the ultimate tests of control over their emotions, which ensure they will not succumb to the temptations of the power the essences promise. They are used to hunt Matii who break the laws governing the use of Forging or those who go insane. They often accompany Ashishin to protect the Ashishin from attackers and from themselves.

Raijin – An elite assassin corps within the Tribunal.

Sanctums of Shelter – Similar to the Bastions of Light but more powerful and arrayed along the mountains in Northern Granadia to protect from any direct incursion by the shade through the Great Divide.

Scorpio – A massive crossbow–type weapon that fires large metal projectiles.

Senjin – A sport played with a leather ball, featuring 14 combatants, 7 per side, on a field spilt into 6 parts, with two halves. The team to score three times first, wins.

Seti – A kingdom in north western Ostania. Their people the Setian are descendants of the Alzari. (See Alzari)

Shadelings – Creatures created in the God Wars, primarily by the god Amuni, and his followers by experimenting with netherlings and the essence of shade. The effects of the couplings can be seen within some of the strange beasts within Denestia.

Shin – The respectful title given to Ashishin Matii.

Shunyata – A place within each person where they can separate and control their emotions. Also the place where sela essence is stored within any living being. Also known as the Eye.

Streamean – The religion named after the elements of Streams and its gods.

Streams – The combination of four essences—light, heat, cold, and shade that make up energy. The energy can be used in the forming of the other elements e.g cold is needed to form ice which is part of the Forms and part of the Flows.

Sven – The earth elemental peoples that inhabit the Nevermore Mountains in north eastern Ostania. Descendants of the Svenzar.

Svenzar – Form elementals that reside in mountainous areas. Their power resides in earth, metal, and wood.

The Aegis – Said to be a power or a person who would help either protect the gods or defend against their resurgence.

The Chronicles – Said to be sacred tomes written by the Eztezians themselves and their descendants, dictating the past and the future of the world.

The Disciplines – A set of rules and pointers on how to govern and lead soldiers.

The Eye – See Shunyata.

The Great Divide – A massive rift in the land created by the Eztezians to defeat the shadelings. It runs from north to south across central Everland, and is guarded by the Erastonians.

The Iluminus – Named after the god Ilumni, it is the central city, learning hub and home of the Tribunal and its Matii.

The Nether – A realm between the worlds thought to be the origination of Mater, the gods, and netherlings.

The Stone – The great hidden city where the Svenzar and Sven live in northern Ostania.

The Unvanquished – Stefan Dorn’s elite troops in Ostania.

Travelshaft – Tunnels developed by the Svenzar using the Forms, where time is slowed and speed increased to allow travel between large distances in a small amount of time. Said to somehow be constructed between the Planes of Existence.

Tribunal – The founding society of Ashishin among the Matii. They determined what was needed for the Matii as a whole to function in their proper roles as protectors and mediators. Eventually, the different Matii split apart due to conflicts in ideals, philosophies and religions. The Tribunal rules in Granadia. They left Ostania where most of the other Matii fled, to fend for themselves.

Vallum of Light – A massive wall imbued with Mater and erected by Eztezians within the Tribunal to separate Ostania from Granadia.

Warping – A Forging by powerful Matii, using the sela essences of something recently killed, to twist the essences in a specific area, thus rendering them unusable for a period of time.

Wraithwolf – A type of shadeling using a combination of wolf or other canine type beast, as well as the sela of a person, and essences of shade.

Zar – The respectful title given to Alzari Matii.

 

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The Dragon’s Path : Epic Fantasy Review

The Dragon's Path (The Dagger and the Coin, #1)The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hmmm. Where to start. Well let’s say the rating system here on Goodreads won’t reflect this one correctly. I consider it a 3 and a half. But I’ll have to tag it with a three. Why not at least a 4?

Well, not that it wasn’t a good book, because a 3 says it was a good book. Let’s start with what I loved.

The world and most of the characters fascinated me. The plot was well-laid out and offered some nice surprises and fit together quite well throughout.

The many races, the histories behind them and the descriptions, foreshadowing and setting kept me going and made the world so believable. I could have used some more on the religions for me to better understand them since they ended up playing a big role at the finale.

Cithrin was a wonderful, amazing character. I was hooked on watching her maneuver, grow and change. The whole aspect of banking and dealing was phenomenal. She was so well done I felt for her and in ways, the book could have been just about her, Marcus and Geder and I would have been fine with it.

Geder had his good points but in the end he just seemed the same guy oblivious to the fact he’s being used. When will he learn did I keep asking myself? For a well-educated person, he came off more than a little … dumb, may be too harsh a word.

Marcus Wester, I enjoyed seeing him play the father figure and relive that old pain.

Dawson did little for me. He was basically “This is where status x person’s should lie in society.” Not once did he waver from that. He was simply too predictable.

Here’s my issue with The Dragon’s Path. I’m a magic and action man. When you have a book with such a vivid world, created by dragons and goddesses, I expect the magic to be more upfront. In this book, it was so downplayed as to be irrelevant although it wasn’t. It is what made the difference in the end.

Lack of action. I like my sword fights. There wasn’t a single one that stuck out for me in this book. In fact, my best memory is of Marcus practicing with some others and the very brief fight to hold the gates of Camnipol. The book just seemed slow at times because of this. All the nice plots and characters should eventually culminate in some nice action is how I feel. For the most part, this didn’t.

For a lover of action and magic, this just did not bring enough especially considering the incredible potential there to do so. However, most of the main characters provide enough and the scope of the world and what is to come has made me get book 2 and I will be reading it. I’m hoping he goes more into what I enjoy in the next one.

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