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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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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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Deathspeaker – New Fantasy novel

This is an excerpt from my newest WIP that I started today. A nice little tease if I do say so myself. It’s set in Denestia but several thousand years after the current events in Aegis of the Gods.

Deathspeaker

 

When the dead spoke to Marius, he listened. Not that he often had much choice. They were persistent that way. And annoying.

Today, they’d told him whom he needed to visit here in the city of Pante. They seemed to enjoy these trips and the ensuing results as much as trying to goad him to take the power they offered without the necessary protection. He always resisted no matter how enticing he found the proposition. After all, if he partook of their temptation, one like himself would be paying him a visit, maybe even his own brother. If that happened, someone would die.

He smiled. What a dilemma. Tricky bastards.

For a moment, he waited for their agitated whispers in rebuke of his thoughts. He cocked an eyebrow when none came. Unusual for them considering they were as pompous and overbearing as most monarchs. Still no response. Not even a muted rustling in his head. He frowned as he stored that tidbit of information.

His old mentor would have scolded him for considering the voices to be something as mundane as the dead. Master Dorn would have said they were the murmurs of the essences that made up the world. Marius found it easier to accept them as random lost spirits able to speak in his mind. Much simpler than to believe the rainbow bands and swirls of color he saw, which represented the essences, were somehow alive. Talking colors. Imagine that. He gave a derisive snort.

 

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The Shadowbearer, new epic Fantasy, released


After much hard work, here it is, the finished book. Thank you all who have supported me and do support me, and enjoy my books. I sincerely hope you enjoy this one.

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 and his birthright from the grips of the shade. When failure is not an option, which will he sacrifice for a chance at victory?

The Shadowbearer is a rousing and engaging prequel to Etchings of Power and a worthy addition to the Aegis of the Gods series.

Purchase The Shadowbearer from:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

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Epic Fantasy – The Shadowbearer – Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Several hours later, after Mensa and the Zar Selentis left to return to the capital, Stefan sat at the table in his pavilion. Two candles in glass holders occupied the table’s center, their perfumed scent overriding the odor of sweaty men. Illuminated by flickering light, the map before him displayed his forces. He removed the pins representing the Alzari Matii. By now, they were well on their way back to Benez under Mensa’s command. Men were going to die because of the King’s order. A great many. In the days to come, the first to perish would mainly be Astocans. Some might say their deaths weren’t much of a loss. Eventually, his own men would number among the dead. A sense of helplessness crowded over him, and he sighed. Yet, he harbored no regrets for his announcement. Somehow, some way, he needed to stay true to his word.

“So what now?” Kasimir asked.

“We do as we have always done … save as many of the enemy as we can,” Stefan said.

Garrick grumbled a protest under his breath.

“I know how you feel about them, Garrick.” Stefan recalled the sight of Garrick’s mangled body and face after his torture by the Astocans. “But this was the one thing King Nerian, myself, and the High Council agreed upon: We would be different from other conquerors and choose to save most of those we defeated, give their people choices. This way, the common folk won’t think of us as tyrants—a lesson history taught us.”

“Use force as necessary for victory and compassion when the battle is won,” Kasimir said. A quote from Henden’s The Disciplines of Soldiering.

“Exactly.”

“I understand.” Garrick let out a resigned breath. “I still don’t like it.”

“What I don’t get,” Kasimir shifted in his seat and peered at the map, “is why the King ordered us to kill them all and now has withdrawn our Alzari menders.”

Stefan nodded. “Yes, I wondered the same myself. I can’t remember Nerian changing plans without conferring with me in person. So why now? I swear … I feel as if something is amiss back home. I don’t trust Mensa. Any man who is so quick to do anything without questioning motives often has his own plans.”

“You think he had a hand in this?” Garrick scowled.

“Not likely,” Stefan said. “The man barely knows the ass end of a horse. Someone else may be using him, or he’s smarter than any of us suspects. Anyway, unless I speak to Nerian himself, I’m not changing how we do things. We’ll mend as many Astocans as we can.”

“How are you going to accomplish that without our Alzari?” Kasimir leaned back in his chair, armor creaking as he did so.

Read more of Chapter 2

 

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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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