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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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Shadow’s Master – Epic Fantasy Review

Shadow's Master (Shadow Saga, #3)Shadow’s Master by Jon Sprunk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this series and this final book. While the first book was my favorite, Shadow’s Master had a lot going for it. Sprunk’s action as always is top notch and so are his descriptions and setting. Caim, I got into right away and was totally engrossed, watching as he follows blindly into the teeth of danger.

This time around, I found myself less attached to Josey. Something about her felt lacking. This may have been because I was so into Caim. Then there was the questionable feats she managed considering her state. Despite this flaw, by the time I got to the meat of her situation when her major obstacle arose, her PoV made for better reading that caught me up, although I did find myself wondering “How did she do that and not …” I’ll chalk it up to what Hirsch tells her at the end.

Beyond that, the battles were thrilling and the magic at the climax was something to behold. Some may find a fault with Caim’s grasp of being able to do what he did, but the man was special in many ways. This time around there were no great plot twists, but the unfolding events were nicely put together at a pace that should keep any reader going.

I would recommend this series to any of my fantasy friends. Thank you for the good read, Mr. Sprunk. I look forward to what you write next.

View all my reviews

 

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Epic Fantasy – The Shadowbearer has a cover.

Here is the cover for my latest book.

Image

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Announcements, Epublishing

 

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The Shadowbearer – Aegis of The Gods prequel

Here is a snippet of chapter 1 to the new novel and prequel to Aegis of the Gods. Enjoy.

Chapter 1

Knight Commander Stefan Dorn surveyed the battlefield below him from his vantage point astride his horse. The oncoming Astocan army stretched in a long line that disappeared into the shadows of the mountains behind them. The Knight Commander grimaced. “Fools. They’re dead.” With a shake of his head, he let out a resigned sigh. “Prideful and stupid to the end.” It pained him to see such a waste of good men even from his enemies. Their general should have listened to reason. Together they could have averted the upcoming bloodshed.

“The way the Astocans would tell it, it’s bravery of the highest degree.” Knight General Garrick shrugged, broad shoulders made even wider by the pauldrons of his plate armor. He twirled his mustache around his thick forefinger. “They give their lives for the pride to claim they bent knee to no one. They would say their gods and people deserve nothing less.”

Atop his brown gelding, Knight General Kasimir snorted. “Too bad their gods aren’t fighting this battle.”

“Indeed.” Stefan nodded. As a believer in the gods, he understood how a man might wish to have the deities on their sides in a battle like this, especially if that man was an Astocan. He pursed his lips as he scratched at the annoying black stubble under his chin.

Overhead, the sun blazed, and the mountains of the Sang Reaches cast long shadows from which the Astocan army boiled in numbers to dwarf Stefan’s forces. The smell of horse, sweaty men, and metal choked the air as his cavalry spread to his left and right. Up ahead his infantry advanced.

“I still don’t understand your concern for them.” Garrick shook his head.

“You wouldn’t. Not after what they did—”

Stefan cut Kasimir off with a glare. “They’re men with families and livelihoods like us.”

“Never like us,” Garrick snapped. “Lose this battlle today and they would enslave us all, rape our women, and pillage our cities.” Nostrils flaring as they often did when he was angry, Garrick pulled so hard on his mustache Stefan wondered if his friend felt any pain at all. “So you’re right, Kas, I wouldn’t understand, not after how they made me suffer. But I know what it means to you, Stefan.” He nodded to the Knight Commander. “You have way more honor than I ever will.”

“Thank you.” Stefan dipped his head to Garrick. “You don’t give yourself enough credit, old friend. You’re as honorable a man as I have met, regardless of how you try to hide it.” Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the thin form of Knight General Mensa as the man made to say something. The Knight Commander spurred his horse forward a few steps. The King’s errand boy could wait a bit longer.

From across the battlefield, drumbeats, blaring horns, and the stomp of marching feet echoed. The jangle of weapons and the trundle of carts from Stefan’s army played accompaniment. In tight formations, armor dull and dusty, his infantry lines awaited their commands.

A buzz, like flies alighting on a bloody corpse, filled the sweltering air. Shot from the blackness beneath the drab grey and green mountains, arrows darkened the sky.

“Incoming!” boomed the voices of the silver-armored Knight Captains. Their warning rose unnaturally over the trumpets and drums echoing from the enemy’s ranks.

The men of Stefan’s Setian infantry legions brought forearms up to shield the eye ports of their helmets.

The buzz grew in intensity. Arrows began to land, pinging harmlessly off imbued steel plate.

“Be ready!” the Knight Captains yelled as the barrage ended.

Several horns blared down the cavalry lines to Stefan’s sides.

Stefan brushed a stray lock from his face then raised the looking glass to his eye. Despite their location at the base of the mountains some six hundred feet away, the encroaching Astocan soldiers sprang into his vision as if he stood among them. Their archers were preparing another volley.

“Infantry. Formations,” Stefan called out.

The trumpets sounded his order.

Two ranks of shield-bearing swordsmen marched forward. Spread from left to right, they made up the vanguard. A similar formation of pikemen wielding twenty-foot spears followed them ahead of an additional double rank of swordsmen. Behind the column of foot soldiers were Stefan’s ranged legion consisting of bowmen, operators, and Cardian slaves. In unison, over twenty thousand sabatons stomped. The impact with the parched earth resounded—a mocking challenge to the Astocan archers’ efforts.

“Return fire,” Stefan said.

The trot of a horse’s hooves accompanied Knight General Mensa’s appearance next to Stefan. Mensa made to speak, but Stefan spared the small man a look, eyebrows raised. Mensa’s mouth snapped shut, his bulbous nose flaring. With a gloved hand, Mensa dabbed at his sweaty forehead.

Horns announced Stefan’s command. At the rear of the infantry, the small complement of bowmen stepped forward. They drew fletchings to ears. Bows twanged and arrows loosed.

Stefan’s gaze followed the flight of the Setian arrows. As expected, they fell woefully short. No man could fire as far as the Astocans and the monster bows they wielded. A derisive cheer rose from the Astocan legions. Stefan smirked.

“Slow forward,” Stefan said to Kasimir and Garrick arrayed on either side of him.

With nods, they called out the order. The trumpeters blew. In response, the Setian heavy foot surged ahead, a step at a time. Their boots drowned out all else.

Across the plain, in numbers like swarming brown ants, the leather clad Astocans dispatched their infantry. Their cavalry spread to their flanks, lances upright, tassels blowing in the wind. Mounted archers moved among them. Stefan gave a wry smile. Renowned for their horseback archery, the large men deftly handled their mounts while firing their oversized bows with deadly precision. The sight was a thing of beauty or terror.

Read more here.

Chapter 1 : The Shadowbearer

 

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GIR 12 Days of New Year blog hop: Author Interview: Jonathan Gould

Say hi today to Jonathan Gould as part of the GIR 12 Days of New Year blog hop!  Jonathan is the author of Doodling.

Terry C. Simpson: How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

Jonathan Gould: Not really very long at all. I just happened to be in that mood where I was looking for a story to write. I’d just completed a year of studying creative writing and was really tired of doing writing for classwork assignments rather than writing for myself.

It must have been around 10-11-ish at night when my wife made a comment about how she felt the world was moving so quickly. That got me going. I’m not sure I had a lot of sleep that night. My brain just wouldn’t stop. What would happen of the world was moving so quickly that somebody actually fell off?

The next morning, early on, I was sitting at the computer, writing what at that point was little more than a short piece about a man falling off the world. I had no idea at that point that it would actually turn into something more. It felt to me like I was just doing a bit of Doodling, but of the literary kind, rather than the drawing kind. That’s why I decided, when this strange little piece actually evolved into a genuine story, I decided to retain the title Doodling.

Terry C. Simpson: How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

Jonathan Gould: I suspect there’s an awful lot of me in all of the characters that I write.

Neville Lansdowne (the main character – the one who actually falls off the world) is very much like me. A quiet sort of person who spends a lot of time wondering around, observing things, and never quite understanding what is going on. Then again, Neville seems a lot better at organising people than I am. He actually manages to get people to pay attention which is something I’ve always struggled with.

I can also see myself in most of the other characters in the story. Their irrationality is something I can definitely relate to. Like the Toaster People, I’m sure if I was marooned on an asteroid in the middle of nowhere, I’d also have a totally illogical need for some sort of appliance that I’d really have no use for. And like the Aimless Girl, I do spend a lot of time being led from here to there without any sense of where I’m going.

Terry C. Simpson: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

Jonathan Gould: Writing characters is always one of the most enjoyable parts of writing to me. Especially when my characters are usually quite simple and clear – a bit like cartoon characters – where they often have a single defining characteristic.

Once I’ve figured out what that characteristic is, I’ll think about how that can best be expressed. It could be something about their appearance, or the clothes they’re wearing. But most likely it’s going to be in their speech. I’m a very wordy writer and writing dialogue is what I enjoy the most (coming from a sketch comedy background). It’s really important to me that each character has a unique voice. That could involve some catchphrases (like the “spoilsport/party pooper” used by the Party People) which are really fun to play around with and vary so they don’t get stale. But it’s also more generally in the things they say and the way they say them. I try to hear the dialogue in my head so I can get a sense of how each character sounds.

The other important thing about the characters is that each of them must have their part to play. Over the course of writing Doodling, I came with a bunch of characters I liked a lot, but who I eventually discarded as they did not have a role to play as the story developed.

Terry C. Simpson: Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

Jonathan Gould: Apparently there is according to most of the reviews I’ve had. It’s funny because as a writer I definitely don’t try to put messages into my writing. I just think of ideas that interest or amuse me (like a man falling off the world). I think because the ideas I work with are so rich, the “messages” just seem to emerge naturally. For example, most readers suggest that Doodling is about getting away from the hustle and bustle of modern life and taking time to enjoy the little things. And they’re not wrong. I’d be lying if I claimed that I was totally ignorant of the presence of these “messages” but they’re not the primary motivator for my writing.

Ultimately, what is important to me is story. Getting readers engaged and involved through strong characters and a clever, well-constructed plot (as well as a few laughs), are what matters most. If readers want to pull more out of what I have written, then I know that I’ve managed to create something that has a bit of depth to it, which makes me feel like I’ve really achieved something as a writer.

Terry C. Simpson: Do you have any rituals that you follow before sitting down to write?

Jonathan Gould: One very powerful ritual. It’s called procrastination. I’ll spend lots of time doing other things, avoiding the actual writing. Often I’ll go back and read a bunch of other things I’ve written. I claim it’s to get me into the right frame of mind for writing. I could be lying to myself. Ultimately, writing can be a bit frightening. What if that idea that was so great in your head is crap once it’s on the page? Sometimes you don’t want to know.

Terry C. Simpson: Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

Jonathan Gould: One with lots of money and an insatiable appetite for books.

Seriously, I suspect my “ideal reader” is someone a lot like me. Someone who enjoys a laugh, doesn’t take themselves too seriously and spends a lot of time being confused about how little sense the world in general makes.

My experience is that people like that can be any age and either gender. There’s a lot of them around. I just need to figure out where they’re all hiding.

Terry C. Simpson: What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

Jonathan Gould: As I mentioned previously, I think the hardest bit is trying to translate the ideas in your head into something that works on the page. My brother-in-law pointed me to a great Lou Reed lyric – “Between thought and expression lies a lifetime”. I think it sums it up beautifully. You can have the greatest idea in your head but if you can’t figure out how to express it on the page, whether that’s through characters, description or dialogue, then it’s just not going to work.

It’s about communication. You have to get the best bits of the idea in your head into a form that will put it into the heads of your readers.

Terry C. Simpson: Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?

Jonathan Gould: I have so many notebooks filled with lists of thoughts and ideas, I’m pretty close to needing a separate notebook to list out all of those other notebooks. Ideas always come and go. I’ve lost some pretty good ones over the years. And some pretty bad ones won’t leave me alone. Alas for the difficulties of the creative life.

Terry C. Simpson: Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

Jonathan Gould: This is where I get to quote my hero, Douglas Adams. It’s in a wonderful, non-fiction book he wrote called Last Chance to See where he and a zoologist went around the world searching for endangered species (and goddamn it, that’s exactly why I want to be a famous writer too).

At one point, they were traveling with some German backpackers who so fit the stereotype of what you’d expect German backpackers to be like (ruthlessly efficient and scornful of all others) that Adams became quite upset – he felt that as a writer, you should never reinforce stereotypes. So he didn’t. He decided they weren’t German, they were Latvian, and described them as such for the rest of the book.

Anyway, that’s a round-about way for getting to the actual advice. Never reinforce stereotypes. It’s a rule I try to follow – when I feel like my characters (or ideas) are veering into cliché, I’ll always try to work out a way to subvert them.

And a bit of extra advice – read Last Chance to See – you won’t regret it.

Terry C. Simpson: Have you written any other books

Jonathan Gould: Yes.

I have had two children’s stories published as school readers – titled A Right Royal Day and Madoop and the Mountain Mower. They’re both about short kings but unfortunately I don’t think they’re generally available – certainly not on Amazon.

In addition to Doodling, I have another self-published ebook titled Flidderbugs. It’s kind of a fable/satire and again, I’d by lying if I said I didn’t think there was a message there.  But mostly, it’s meant to be a funny story about a bunch of insects with some strange obsessions.

Am I also allowed to mention upcoming work? I have a novel I’m planning to publish soon (Doodling and Flidderbugs are more novella length). It’s called Magnus Opum and is a kind of epic fantasy with a twist. I like to describe it as Tolkien meets Dr Seuss.

Terry C. Simpson: Where can people learn more about your books?

Jonathan Gould: At my blog: http://daglit.blogspot.com

 And at my sell pages:

DOODLING:

 Amazon

Amazon UK

Smashwords 

Barnes and Noble

FLIDDERBUGS:

 Amazon

Amazon UK

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble

Thank you so much  for doing this interview, Jonathan. You can connect with Jonathan on facebook or twitter.

 

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Fantasy Author Interview: M. Edward McNally

Yes, yes, today I have the pleasure of interviewing a guy who always manages to make me laugh in the facebook groups we are in. Not only that but he’s an author of epic fantasy, M. Edward McNally. As a double treat, I also got to interview his character Matilda Lanai from his Musket & Magic Fantasy, the Norothian Cycle. (The Sable City, Death of a Kingdom, The Wind from Miilark)

Terry Simpson: What is your book about?

M. Edward McNally: Muskets, Magic, and Matilda Lanai. 😉

Terry Simpson: How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

M. Edward McNally: Hard to say.  For about a ten year period I had stopped writing fiction, but during that time I had a “world-building” hobby.  Just on a lark, I sort of designed a primitive world where magic functioned as much as technology, and made my way through several centuries of cultural, political, and economic evolution.  It was kind of like a game of “Civilization” I played in my head.

While my intention was not to write a series of Musket & Magic Fantasy books, or even one book set in my world, a few years ago some of the people “living” there started talking to me. I didn’t have a choice after that, as Tilda Lanai is kind of pushy. 😉

Terry Simpson: What inspired you to write this particular story?

M. Edward McNally: This story specifically started to roil because of two different images I got in my head.  The first was of a lone young woman on a grassy steppe, under a gray sky.  She was walking slowly toward a wounded warhorse, holding out a bright red apple in one hand.  That turned out to be Tilda.

The other image was of a samurai and a Roman Legionnaire fighting shoulder-to-shoulder to hold a foot bridge against an army.  Not geographically or temporally possible in the real world, of course, but an image that stuck with me, and inspired two supporting characters.

Terry Simpson: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

M. Edward McNally: My favorite is Tilda Lanai, as she would not let me say anything else.  The story, and series, are complex, with several diverging plotlines moving in time with the main one, but Tilda is the central figure around which the others depend.  It really is her story, I’m just writing it down.

Terry Simpson: Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

M. Edward McNally: Not sure how “likability” factors in, but for me the most unusual is a sorceress named Nesha-tari, who is half-Lamia.  On her mother’s side.  You know: Attract men, then eat them to live.  She is also however half-human, so her efforts to live with herself while doing what she must to stay alive were interesting for me to try and handle as a writer, and hopefully will be the same for readers.

Terry Simpson: How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

M. Edward McNally: I’m a “pantser” as a writer and a believer in character first.  Once I know (or think I know) who the players are, and what they want, I basically start writing just to find out for myself how they get to where they are going.  Of course that means the re-writing/editing stage is critical for me, to make sure there is a story being told.

Terry Simpson: How has your background influenced your writing?

M. Edward McNally: Though I am writing in the Fantasy genre, the motifs are probably less “Medieval European” than is typical.  There are as many Polynesian, Central American, and Asian influences to the cultures involved.  This may be the result of being a “mutt” myself: A half-Irish/half-Mexican from the US “South.”

Terry Simpson: Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character in your story because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you, his or her creator?

M. Edward McNally: Totally.  I wrote one of these series books completely convinced a particular character was going to die at the end.  They wouldn’t go down.  Bent the plot significantly in a direction I did not think it was going to go, but actually when things like that happen they are some of my greatest joys as a writer.

Terry Simpson: Have you written any other books

M. Edward McNally: In addition to the fantasy series, I have a number of short story collections (mostly of the “contemporary” genre) available for free from most retailers (though a couple are still 99 cents on Amazon.  They are all titled “Eddie’s Shorts – Volume #.”

Terry Simpson: Where can people learn more about your books?

M. Edward McNally: Easiest place is on my blog at. http://sablecity.wordpress.com/

That is both the homepage for the series, where additional background materials (maps, glossary, histories) can be seen, as well as the place where I mumble about writing, interview fellow authors (every Tag Line Tuesday) and the like.

———————————-

Without further ado, meet Tilda Lanai

Terry Simpson: Who are you?

Tilda Lanai: Who am I?  You asked me here, right?  Sorry.  I’m Matilda Lanai, but my friends call me Tilda.  Actually, everybody calls me Tilda.

Terry Simpson: Where do you live?

Tilda Lanai: The port of Souterm, in the Empire of the Code, at the moment.  Though that’s mainly because I can’t go home to the Islands right away until some issues with my Trade House…or former Trade House, anyway…get worked out.  Also, I’m sort of moving around a bit here in town as there is this detective of the City Watch who thinks I murdered a gem merchant. Which I did not do.  I *did* try to sell him a necklace with a Devil’s Curse on it, but…it’s kind of a long story, actually.

Terry Simpson: Are you the hero of your own story?

Tilda Lanai: Everybody is the hero of their own story. (wink)

Terry Simpson: What is your problem in the story?

Tilda Lanai: Oh, to have just one!  That would be wonderful!  But really, since I arrived on the mainland about a year ago, I’ve had any number of problems.  Or at least, I’ve made friends with people who have problems, which for me is the same thing.  If you are my friend and you have a problem, it is my problem, too.

Terry Simpson: Do you embrace conflict? / Do you run from conflict?

Tilda Lanai: Neither.  I find it easier to sneak up behind conflict and whack it in the head with a club.

Terry Simpson: How do your friends see you?

Tilda Lanai: I hope they know that I mean it when I say they are my friend.  Where I am from, the Miilark Islands, we don’t give friendship away that easily.  It means something to us when we do, and it’s for life.

Terry Simpson: How do your enemies see you?

Tilda Lanai: Again, I’d prefer they didn’t see me coming.

Terry Simpson: Do you have a hero?

Tilda Lanai: I did, he…um…he didn’t make it.  It’s kind of hard to talk about, wasn’t that long ago.  Sorry.

Terry Simpson: What is your favorite item of clothing? Why?

My Guild Cloak.  I trained as a Guilder in the service of House Deskata for three years, and the cloak is sort of the sign of that, for an Islander.  It’s black, which is handy at night, and the inner lining of emerald green represents my House…or what was my House, rather.  Nice triangular cut, too, so I can get my hands inside in case I need…anything that it otherwise conceals.

Also, as I technically left the Islands a month before completing Guild training, this wasn’t a graduation gift.  I had to buy it myself, and I am *not* taking that as a loss, even when it gets…um…soiled.

Terry Simpson: Do you keep your promises?

Tilda Lanai: Always.

 

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