Exciting new release, HEROIKA 1, coming 25th of May!

AUTHOR JENNIFER LOISKE

I prefer my dragons alive, yet I have a soft spot for heroes and beasts. So yes, I couldn’t resist but pre-ordered HEROIKA 1! Seventeen authors writing about dragons! How awesome is that!

11143231_897184103657050_5318210832294606375_oBlurb of HEROIKA 1:

The art of dragon killing:

Dragons have been eating humans for centuries. Now heroes throughout history stalk their legendary foe. Learn how to hunt, kill, and eat the wild dragon. Never before has revenge tasted so good. A literary feast for the bloody-minded.

In Janet Morris’ anthology on the art of dragon killing, seventeen writers bring you so close to dragons you can smell their fetid breath. Tales for the bold among you.

HEROIKA 1 — DRAGON EATERS, an anthology of heroic fiction edited by Janet Morris, features original stories by Janet Morris and Chris Morris, S. E. Lindberg, Jack William Finley, Travis Ludvigson, Tom Barczak, J. P. Wilder, Joe Bonadonna, Milton Davis…

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Here is my interview with Walter Rhein

Check out this great interview with friend and fellow author Walter Rhein

authorsinterviews

Walter Rhein

Name : Walter Rhein

Age: 39

Where are you from: Wisconsin

A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:

I have a BS in English Literature with a minor in Physics. I’m certified to teach high school English and Physics. In 2001 I moved to Lima, Peru where I lived for 10 years teaching, writing and translating. Currently I’m writing for Perseid and Harren Press.  Perseid is scheduled to release a travel novel of mine about my time living in Peru.  That should be available in March or April of 2015.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My latest fantasy novel, “The Reader of Acheron,” is currently in the running at the Preditors and Editors best of 2014 poll.  Please click here and vote for “Reader,” it would be really exciting to factor in to the final results!

Also, I was recently featured on…

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2014 – Year in review

Book quotes ad 2014

  • Yare’ and Iron Song found their way into the hands of readers in:

– The United States of America

– The United Kingdom

– Germany

– Canada

– France

– Italy

– Australia

  • My new novella “Unrelenting” was released
  • I had a short story accepted for a fantasy anthology to be released in Spring 2015
  • Invited to create a speculative fiction short story for another anthology to be released in 2015 (work is underway)
  • I began work on a non-fiction book recalling my adventures while serving in the military
  • Research has begun and the outline is being built for the 3rd book in the Nephilim Chronicles

I am looking forward to another year of creativity in 2015!

My review of Ways of the Stygia – Banner by Donny Swords

A thrilling journey through Purgatory!

Banner Cover

 

A creature is pulled from the Void and set loose in the realm of Purgatory by the infamous killer, Kain. The chronicles of his arduous journey through the darkness are recorded in “Ways of the Stygia – Banner” by Donny Swords.

Banner is created to be a nightstalker, a deadly hunter that prowls the nearly endless lands of Purgatory, killing with cold efficiency. Yet something calls him to be more. Banner abhors killing from the first moment he is forced to do so, and seeks to live a life free of the torture and death that follow his brethren. His travels take him through the many horrors of Purgatory and reveal his development as a sentient being as he struggles to survive and choose where to place his loyalty. For even in Purgatory, there is a hierarchy of power, and terrible pain awaits those who get caught between the factions.

Donny Swords does an excellent job of painting a believable picture of the bleak and frightening landscape of Purgatory. He immediately captured my interest in the character of Banner, who is a being of turmoil railing against his own inherent nature and striving to be greater than his brethren who fall victim to their own base needs and desires.

I really liked the twist on the back-story of Kain, as well as that of Odin, Loki and others who were a part of this tale. But my favorite has to be the most fearsome creature of the land, Saverus the dragon. Saverus is a force of nature that has the fear and respect of all who inhabit the lost lands. Yet it is not a mindless beast. Rather, Saverus serves as a form of balance in a war-torn land.

Ways of the Stygia – Banner by Donny Swords is a dark, compelling journey through a war-torn landscape filled with powerful, scheming deities, evil, depraved creatures, lost, tortured souls, and a conflicted nightstalker seeking something more.

Grab a copy of “Ways of the Stygia – Banner” by Donny Swords today!

 

– Travis Ludvigson, author of Yare’ Darkness Bound, Iron Song and Unrelenting

My review of The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles by A.L. Butcher

A story of passion and power!

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles

In an unjust world where elves are enslaved and abused, hope arrives in the form of the indomitable elf mage named Dii’Athella. Fleeing her life as a slave, Dii risks all for the chance at freedom. As she struggles with life as a fugitive, she discovers a power within that is much greater than she ever could have ever imagined.

A.L. Butcher’s first book in the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles is a compelling tale of a young elfin woman who recognizes her own worth and musters the strength and courage to free herself of a life of oppression and abuse. Not only is she a character of exceptional strength and fortitude, but she is exceptionally caring and selfless. For instance, amidst her flight from captivity, she risks her newfound freedom by using her forbidden magic to help others.

Butcher has developed characters that are believable and interesting. I particularly liked Olek, the Shadowdancer. Olek is a half-elf who walks the line between light and shadow and can be a gentle, honorable man or a ruthless killer as the situation requires. I cheered as Olek and his formidable benefactor, Archos, the Coming Storm unleashed their fury upon the slavers of the world.

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book One was a very enjoyable story that I would recommend others take the time to read. The pages are filled with action, intrigue, sex, romance, magic, and revenge, making this a fantasy novel that will appeal to a large and varied audience.

Writing Process Blog Tour 2014

Travis Ludvigson

Travis Ludvigson

First and foremost, I want to thank author J.P. Wilder for inviting me to join this blog tour. Following my responses are the next authors who are participating in the tour, so be sure to check out their sites.

 

1. What am I working on?

I recently submitted a short story for a heroic fantasy anthology to be released in early 2015.

I am spending this summer working on a novella based on the Native American legend of the Wendigo, a deadly creature said to lurk within the woods of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Canada. This will be an Urban Fantasy piece (although the majority takes place in the woods of northern Wisconsin rather than a city).

I am also doing research for the third book in the Nephilim Chronicles, which will take place during the reign of the Emperor Constantine. This book will have gladiators, pagan rituals, demons, nephilim and a great deal of action.

 

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

The use of supernatural elements in conjunction with both modern and historical settings sets my writing apart. Additionally, in my series, some of the nephilim make a choice to fight with the angels of Heaven, while others serve the demons of Hell. This is a departure from the way that other books of this type deal with the nephilim.

My series delves into several different genres. While all three books share a supernatural/religious element, the first book: Yare’ Darkness Bound, is primarily considered Supernatural Fiction or Urban Fantasy. The second book: Iron Song, is both Heroic Fantasy and Historical Fantasy.  The third book will also fit into the Historical Fantasy genre.

 

3. Why do I write what I do?

Although I have crafted many short stories throughout my life, when I decided to write my first book, I originally intended on writing Historic Fiction (Bernard Cornwell and Michael Curtis Ford being a couple of my favorite authors). In fact, I already had a number of story ideas jotted down dealing with the Romans and the Celts. But one day, as I parked my car outside of a restaurant, I looked up and saw a growth on the trunk of a tree that looked like a dragon. At that moment the story for Yare’ Darkness Bound started to reveal itself to me. I let the idea grow, and it guided me to a world of Urban Fantasy. I just went with it, and then weaved in some history to satisfy my inner historian.

After putting together the outline for the first book, the concept felt good, so I chose to expand into a multi-book series. I did not want to have characters who repeated in every book, so instead I decided to maintain a theme that carries through the series. I called it the Nephilim Chronicles because the Nephilim are the primary element that carries through all the books.

I opted to have each successive book move further back in time, as that gave me the opportunity to use my knowledge of history and my research skills to craft the stories. Iron Song takes place in 885 AD in Europe, and I really had a great time pouring over maps and accounts of the battles that took place in Frankia at that time.

Iron Song was my favorite to write because I drew upon my own Norse heritage (although I used the Danes rather than the Norwegians) to create a Viking Era tale. In addition, Iron Song allowed me to write the quintessential Hero vs Dragon story that I grew up reading. I tried to incorporate the feel of the epic Beowulf (which is one of my all time favorite books) into the story.

So, to finally answer the original question that was posed, I truly love writing about warriors and battles, especially when those battles are between forces of light and darkness. The conflict between the supernatural beings in my books represents the many struggles everyone faces as they move through their lives. Developing supernatural characters that are able to fight and move in ways that defy logic and physics makes for more exciting battles and adds an extra level of danger for all involved. Plus it is just plain fun to write this stuff!

 

4. How does my writing process work?

Whenever an idea for a story presents itself to me, I write it down in my notebook. It may be as simple as a couple of words, or could end up being an entire synopsis. Some of those ideas will become actual stories (or parts of stories) and others will remain dormant until they are needed.

Once I have a good story idea, I write a loose outline that takes me through the story from beginning to end. I stress “loose” because it is a basic framework to keep me moving along. I frequently add and delete ideas, and may travel far from the outline before coming back again. The main reason for my outline is to identify when major events occur so that I can reference it throughout the project and maintain a level of continuity in the story.

I also spend a good deal of time brainstorming character names and researching the environments in which my story takes place. Iron Song is set during the Viking Age in Europe, so I devoted time to researching the geography of the land, historical figures of the time, town names, the animals that live in the region, types of weapons and tactics that were used, etc. While the story is fantasy, it is historical fantasy, so I wanted to ensure there was accuracy in both the setting and characters.

I maintain a notebook that has a list of all of my characters names and their bios, so that I can use it as I develop the story. Some of the characters may not make it into the story at all, but are waiting there anyway, just in case.

Once I have a solid grasp on the storyline, I begin writing. I like to start at the beginning and work straight through towards the end, but that isn’t always possible. If I get stuck somewhere, I may leave that for a bit and work ahead or conduct more research. Or if my muse drags me towards another part of the book, I may write a scene and then mark it for insertion later in the story.

After the endless hours of creativity have resulted in a finished draft, I walk away for a day or two (and sit back with a mug of dark beer to celebrate my accomplishment). Then I come back and read over the story, editing as I go for spelling and grammar. Once complete, I go through the story again, looking at the structure and details of the story, and making changes to ensure a smoother flow.

Once changes have been made, I read over the whole story again, making any other tweaks that seem necessary, before calling it a final draft and preparing for going to print.

Then comes marketing, which is an entirely different animal altogether.



 

Below you will find the next authors who have joined in this blog tour. Head on over and check out their work!

 

RobRoy McCandless

R.A. McCandless has been a writer both professionally and creatively for nearly two decades.  He was born under a wandering star that led to a degree in Communication and English with a focus on creative writing.  He is the author of the urban fantasy “Tears of Heaven”, short stories “Through the Sting of Fairy Smoke” in the “Nine Heroes” anthology, and “He Who Tells the Tale” and the historic fiction novel “The Second Cut” (due 2014).  He continues to research and write historical and genre fiction, battle sprinklers, and play with his three boys.

http://robroymccandless.wix.com/ramccandless

 

 

Walter Rhein

Walter Rhein is the author of Beyond Birkie Fever, The Bone Sword, The Reader of Acheron, and the short story “The Act of Sleepless Nights” which is part of Nine Heroes: Tales of Heroic Fantasy. He was born in Wisconsin, but moved to Lima, Peru in his twenties. There, he supported himself by writing, teaching, translating and editing. He currently splits his time between Wisconsin and Peru.

http://www.heroicfantasywriters.com

 

 

 

My review of Tears of Heaven by RA McCandless

Tears of Heaven cover

An ancient Nephilim, SIG .45s and a whole lot of attitude!

This is an entertaining book filled with intense action, interesting historical flashbacks, great use of witticism and a supernatural protagonist who struggles with all too human problems and emotions.

Tears of Heaven is the story of Omedelia-bar-Azazel or “Del” and her fellow Nephilim who serve as agents of the Throne of Heaven, tasked with destroying fallen angels or “rouges” who have taken up residence upon the earth.  While this mission is of the utmost importance, Del doesn’t do it out of a sense of loyalty or the kindness of her heart. She has a deep seeded anger towards the Throne and the mighty angels that constantly demand both her service and allegiance. Yet her conflict with Heaven doesn’t stop her from wielding her SIG .45s with deadly purpose against the rouges.

Fans of the books of Rob Thurman, Jim Butcher or of the “Supernatural” television series will greatly enjoy this book.

From the start of Tears of Heaven, the gun-toting Nephilim Del takes no prisoners as she does battle with the forces of darkness. Del is a strong, yet conflicted woman who personifies what it means to be a true heroine.

I really liked the way that McCandless painted a picture of angels who showed deference to the plight of humanity, at times even reaching a level of animosity towards them.  The angels in this story are not the typical compassionate beings of light floating around the earth saving people. Instead, these angels are deadly warriors who kill without hesitation or regret.  As the protagonist Del points out so clearly in the book, “People think they want to meet an angel, but they really don’t. The awful truth is that meeting an angel is the scariest, most life-altering moment of any mortal’s short existence.”

The flashbacks to Del’s much earlier life helps to illuminate the events that turned her into the hardened warrior she had become.  This back story helped me connect to the character, as it described a much different time in her life, revealing a softer side of this deadly hunter.

“Tears of Heaven” by RA McCandless is a superb book that I highly recommend.

My Review of The Crusader by JP Wilder

The Crusader cover An exciting adventure! The Crusader takes the reader into the dark underbelly of the Crusades.  The protagonist Aaron rides with the “Dark Men” carrying out special covert missions meant to hamper the enemy.  These missions are far removed from the battlefield charge, and instead are carried out in darkness to kill all the heathens they encounter.  The time he has spent serving among the Dark Men seriously alters his previously held ideas of honor and glory on the battlefield.  Yet, by undertaking these missions, Aaron and his companions have been given the promise of absolution for their many sins and a place in the kingdom of God. Rayfe the Darkstalker is a vicious killer who also happens to be the man Aaron must follow on a dangerous mission against a stealthy and equally deadly adversary.  This mission will put both his martial training and his loyalty to the test. Wilder delivers believable characters, exciting battle scenes and a solid story all around.  This was a fast read that held my interest from beginning to end and left me eager for the next book.

My Review of Nine Heroes

 

Nine Heroes Cover

This compilation brings together an outstanding group of writers who deliver a series of compelling tales of the act of heroism in its many and varied forms.  I was especially pleased with the variety of the stories and the fact that a number of the heroes struggled not only with their foes, but also with their own flaws and shortcomings.

In Black Sword, veteran writers Janet and Chris Morris  bring heroic fantasy to life through the eyes of the mighty Rhesos.  He battles with foes of flesh and blood while dealing with his own inner turmoil and a search for a sense of his true self.  Rhesos is a fearless warrior who deals decisively with all comers, yet struggles to understand his place in the world.  Great battle scenes combined with a deeper philosophical journey made for a satisfying read.

The Act of Sleepless Nights by Walter Rhein provides the reader with a very realistic portrayal of Kinter, a soldier and leader who’s flaws are many and well know to his men.  Yet for all of these flaws, an inherent sense of morality drives him to make the hard choices that others will not.  The is a solid story of a damaged leader who’s personal life is a far cry from ideal, but who’s actions in the field speak volumes about his true character.

To Kill a Myth by Jesse Duckworth is a story about having the courage to stand up for what’s right, not matter the cost.  The characters Mattock and Delilah, risk all to destroy an evil that has plagued the land for time indeterminate.  Duckworth shows how much one will sacrifice for love, but also delves deeper into the way that evil takes many forms as it inserts itself into society.

Bravery comes in all ages as becomes quickly apparent when 15 year old Rasi dives headfirst into a valley of flying death to save an innocent in: No Life Too Small by Douglas R. Brown.  Rasi is the embodiment of the hero who faces down seeming insurmountable odds to protect those unable to protect themselves.

Barczak’s To Live wets the appetite with the rise of a gladiator who’s returning memory brings with it the realization that his sword and his life are one in the same.

Dozen by Shane Porteous thrusts the reader into a harrowing attack by bloodthirsty beasts with an appetite for human flesh.  The protagonist Seutzingol shows his mettle as he puts his skills to the test against these beasts and makes the choice to stand and fight to help a stranger in need.  As you read “Dozen” you may find yourself looking out a darkened window just to be sure the beasts aren’t coming for you.  Sacrifice and honor are the most apt words to describe the message conveyed by Seutzingol and his acts of heroism.

Just One Mistake by A.L. Butcher tackles another type of bravery and heroism.  Coel the minstrel lives a life that was thrust upon him by his past.  An orchestrated encounter forces him to take on a mission in which he is subject to the possibility of imprisonment or death, situations far more than what your typical minstrel tends to risk.  He displays both resolve and courage in facing the danger and taking on a mission which will strike a blow against a vile part of the flawed society in which he lives.

In Witness to Death by Teel James Glenn, the reader follows Shouette, a warrior priest of Kova as he uses his finely honed skills to bring evil to heel.  In the process he is able to offer his protection to one, and a sense of closure and relief to others.  Shouette shows what it is to have courage as he genuinely feels fear, but acts in spite of that fear to do what must be done.

Through the Sting of Fairy Smoke by R.A. McCandless is another great example of the flawed, corrupted hero.  Pel Rogue is a champion who’s addiction has taken control and driven him down into a dark place.  Yet he finds within him a strength that has lain dormant to help him face his difficult trials.  McCandless gives the reader a look into the damage inflicted by addiction and how even the strongest hero can be brought down and must battle his inner demons before he can rise again.

Nine Heroes is a fantastic book and a very entertaining read that I would highly recommend to all.