Elfhame – Anthea Sharp – Review #Fantasy #Fairytales

Elfhame – Anthea Sharp

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Mara is a girl with adventure in her soul, and she wants more than her mundane village and boring suitor can offer. Her life is one of few future prospects save a dull marriage, hard work and popping out children. She has no special skills of which she is aware, save more intelligence than usual, courage and a curious nature.

Prince Bran is the heir to not only the Hawthorne Throne, an-end-of-the-world prophecy, but he’s a fearsome Dark Elf. His life is filled with duty, war and magic. He is taciturn, a powerful sorcerer and fearsome warrior.

These two are linked – by a prophecy one has lived by and the other is blissfully unaware of. Aside from that, they have little in common.

Fate has her way and our two fine heroes meet; there are deceptions, battles with unpleasant monsters, surprises, unlikely friendships and a rollercoaster ending.

Told like a fairytale, the story is engaging (I read it through in a couple of hours as I couldn’t put it down), and the characters are great. Mara quickly captures the readers – feisty and brave, a bit naive but knows her own mind and is not afraid to say so. She is not a wallflower.

Bran is a sympathetic character – doing his duty and fulfilling a prophecy that will save his people, despite his own reservations, safety and happiness. The elves are seen by the humans as alien and ‘hideous’, with strange and mythical ways; the humans are viewed as primitive and weak. And both factions are proven wrong.

Well-crafted and filled with adventure this fantasy tale is definitely one for readers of mythic tales and fairy tales. Younger readers may find the monsters and the battles unsettling but this is a good read for any age.

5 stars.

New Release – Heroika Skirmishers

Heroika: Skirmishers

Conflict is a constant. When force on force is inevitable only the intrepid need come forth. Summon the Skirmishers to their eternal purpose, to face a foe who must be opposed at all cost. Gird yourself and join the brotherhood of ‘do or die.’ HEROIKA: SKIRMISHERS is an anthology of desperate struggles in far-flung time-scapes, the age-old smell of battle and death. SKIRMISHERS –Tales for the bold among you!

Universal Link https://books2read.com/HeroikaSkirmishers

Apple Books

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Barnes and Noble Nook

Kobo

Print versions available here

HABIRU by Michael H. Hanson.

A HANDFUL OF SALT by Sean Poage.

THE NAKED DAEMON by S.E. Lindberg.

SOULS OF A LION by Tom Barczak.

NITHING by Travis Ludvigson.

IN THE SEASON OF RUST by Charles Gramlich.

BLACK QUILL by Cas Peace.

OLD GOLD by A.L. Butcher

A LION IN KAMERUN By Ken Kiser

THE PATROL by William Hiles.

LA PORTE EN ARRIERE by Beth W. Patterson.

DURENDAL by Bruce Durham..

HEROIKA 1.2 BIG COIN 200512

There will be interviews with the characters and authors to follow.

New Release – Here Be Elves Bundle

Here Be Elves

Out now!

A shapeshifter who spies for the fey conquerors of the mortal world fights her urge to help an oppressed human child. Her duty points one way. Her inclination, another. How will she choose?

The only elf able to stand in for the big guy—Santa himself, away on sabbatical—can’t be found. His cohorts hire an elf PI plus partner—Diz and Dee—to track down the necessary missing fellow.

A faie knight, banished from the realm under the knowe, loves the bright world and the mortals who dwell there. But the faie king wants his knight back, and he prefers tricks and cheats for tactics.

A healer mage discovers a young man dying of fey magic on the steps of her perfume shop. Battling the fairy queen to save him puts her heart at risk.

Celtic elves, dangerous and beautiful. Scandinavian elves, mischievous pranksters. Norse elves, warriors and consorts to the gods. Santa’s elves, practical and plucky. The Fair Folk beguile imagination with their mystery, allure, and hints of madness.

Consort with the fey in the 13 tales of Here Be Elves—magic, myth, and mayhem await you.

Amazon.com 

Amazon.co.uk

Kobo

Ibooks 

Barnes and Noble

 Bundle Rabbit

Featuring

The Merchant of Elves                                               Robert Jeschonek       

The Case of the Missing Elf                                       Annie Reed    

Elf Saga, Book 1: Doomsday                                     Joseph Robert Lewis  

The Shining Citadel                                                    A. L. Butcher 

Forty Years Among the Elves                                    Stefon Mears  

Hidden in Mist                                                            Chrissy Wissler          

Blood Silver                                                                J.M. Ney-Grimm        

Hidden in Myth                                                          Chrissy Wissler          

By the Chimney With Care                                        Kristine Kathryn Rusch         

Jar of Souls                                                                 Lisa Silverthorne        

Kirwan’s Son                                                               Marcelle Dube

Myths and Magic                                                        Kevin Partner 

Destiny                                                                        Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Elves bundle cover

New Release – Here Be Unicorns Bundle – Preorder #Unicorns #Bundle #Fantasy

I am delighted to announce the forthcoming release of the latest in the Here Be series.

Here Be Unicorns

From fable to legend, these wondrous beasts enchant us. Healers or harmers, no one truly knows the heart and horn of the unicorn—dare you seek the answers?

A collection of tales featuring unicorns and magical horses. A collection of tales featuring unicorns and magical horses.

On Preorder Now – out 16th March 2019

Part of the Here Be Myth Monsters and Mayhem series

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07P7BJ2JN/?tag=kydala-20

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1454984222

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/here-be-unicorns

https://bundlerabbit.com/b/here-be-unicorns

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130765937

Here Be Unicorns

Featuring:

Hidden Eyes – Meyari McFarland

The Dreamweaver’s Journey – Diana L. Wicker

A Game of Horns – Lisa Mangum

The Hunt of the Unicorn – J.M. Ney-Grimm

Rider – Diane J Cornwell

Unicorn Magic – Roz Marshall

One Horn to Rule Them All – Lisa Mangum

Fossil History – Meyari McFarland

And The Unicorn You Rode In On – Robert Jeschonek

Escape (The Peena Colada Song) – Mark Leslie

Here Be Merfolk Bundle – Coming Soon

The first bundle of 2019!

OUT 26th Jan 2019!

I’m pleased to announce the forthcoming release of Here Be Merfolk Bundle – the latest in the Myth, Monsters and Mayhem series. This should be on sale from 26th Jan.

The call of the deep rings ever in our ears, from myth and legend to crime and mystery. Sea-people, mer and monsters, immortals and reluctant heroes feature in this sea-worthy bundle.

Featuring

The Women of Whale Rock – Kristine Kathryn Rusch

We, the Ocean – Alexandra Brandt

Oshenerth – Alan Dean Foster

Deep Dreaming – Debbie Mumford

Dolphin Knight – Robert Jeschonek

On Desperate Seas – Kate MacLeod

Fate’s Door – J.M. Ney-Grimm

The Murky Depths – Linda Jordan

Dark, From the Sea – Linda Maye Adams

Ondine – Brenda Carre

Merfolk bundle cover  UPDATED.jpg

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MYBCJG7/?tag=kydala-20

Kobo  https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/here-be-merfolk

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2U6IVoF

I books https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1450090032

Bundle Rabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/here-be-merfolk

Sinners of Magic – Lynette Creswell Reviews 2019 #Fantasy

Sinners of Magic by Lynette Creswell is a fantasy tale following the adventures of young adults Crystal and Matt. Crystal is a strange girl, haunted by visions, and odd occurrences and has no answers for her skills. After she saves her friend from drowning a strange bird arrives on her windowsill. Then answers start coming and a splendid adventure really starts. The world is interesting – with elves, sorcerers, monsters and orc-like beings. The rules of the world are strict, and inevitably get broken and this leads to more problems. There is death, there is wicked magic, there is love, courage and intrigue.

It took me a while to get into the book and to connect with the characters (it may be an age thing as they are young adults – and I haven’t been that for 25 years…). That said once the adventure gets going the story is exciting, well-written and the world well crafted. The two protagonists are out of their depth, taken to a strange realm they never believed existed, and faced with life-threatening revelations and situations but the bond of friendship doesn’t wane. I found myself really wanting Crystal to find the answers, the evil lord to be defeated and the good guys to win out. Did they? Read and find out.

I shall definitely pick up the other two books in this trilogy.

4 stars.

 

Book Spotlight – Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse – Fantasy/Bundle

Here Be Monsters

Title: Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse

Author: A. L. Butcher

Genre: Fantasy/Mythic/Dark Fantasy/Short Stories

Main character description (short).

“I am Saelth and I have come to slay your monster,” he announced. His words were bold and his demeanour bolder. Behind him rode the fiercest of his band, axemen and archers, trackers and swordsmen. A mean crew indeed and feared about the land; fur-clad and blooded, they were blades for hire.

Synopsis: He who bargains with monsters beware! A hero forges an unholy bargain with a witch and learns magic never forgets.

In a land of forbidden magic, a mysterious cave holds both riches and danger for three adventurers who discover a mighty treasure and a terrible secret.

 

Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse Excerpt

© A. L. Butcher

On the nights when the moon rose to its fullest, its light a silver sheen upon the roof of the Great Hall, a terrible monster came. His voice was like the rasping of flesh on a blade, his countenance blighted and ugly, twisted like melted flesh with great weeping sores and a putrid smell. Many warriors had tried to vanquish this foul creature, and now their bones lay with the prince’s in the barrow to the east of Eadsham, the settlement that had been forged by blood and toil by the first king, Aedwin. Widows were aplenty and many children made fatherless from this awful beast. Doors were bolted and barred, and not even the lord himself dared to face it. Such was his shame.

The king grew ever older and wishing to marry a man of bravery and honour to his daughter messengers once more rode out north, south, east and west in search of a hero, one with the fortitude to face this cursed beast, as they had done so many times before. On a night when clouds covered the moon’s light and rain fell in drops the size of marbles, the sky was rent with lightning as a great human warrior rode to the gates of the village. “I am Saelth and I have come to slay your monster,” he announced. His words were bold and his demeanour bolder. Behind him rode the fiercest of his band, axemen and archers, trackers and swordsmen. A mean crew indeed and feared about the land; fur-clad and blooded, they were blades for hire.

“We have slain creatures from nightmare and beasts that made grown men piss their drawers. Your curse will be lifted if the price is right!” His band nodded, for their rates were high indeed so that only lords and kings could afford their blades.

“No weapon forged by man can vanquish it! You’ll simply earn your place in the Hall of the Dead,” someone called.

Saelth looked around for the one who had spoken. “Then I shall go to the Halls of the Dead a hero, not one who cowers behind the table, or beneath the bed. I am no coward, nor simpering woman. Nothing is all powerful, or unable to be vanquished, save the gods.”

Why should readers buy this book?

The Warrior’s Curse is a tale of greed, adventure, monsters and the price of magic, set in a dark fantasy world. But it’s also a tale of people, their weaknesses and what some will do for power. It is a story within a story, as we start with a group of adventurers plundering a cave and learn of dark deeds and unholy bargains.

If you like mythic style fantasy, fast-paced adventure with a twist then you’ll love this.

Warriors Curse

Links etc.

Universal Link – all the major e-book stores)  https://www.books2read.com/WarriorsCurse

Amazon.com audio http://amzn.to/2Ei0EGe

 

Print

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1534782052/

The Warrior’s Curse also appears in Here Be Monsters

books2read.com/HereBeMonstersBundle

boxset Monsters

New Release! Here Be Fairies Bundle

OUT NOW!!!!!!

Here Be Fairies Bundle

https://bundlerabbit.com/b/here-be-fairies

Universal Link https://books2read.com/HereBeFairies

Amazon https://amzn.to/2GTpU6V

Amazon UK https://amzn.to/2HvhsYD

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/here-be-fairies

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2EFK3rd

I-books https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1370755892

Fairies, fair folk, imps, trolls, and pixies—they haunt our myths from Ireland to Iceland and everywhere else. Join in the fairy fun, or fairy fear, as good, bad, and mischievous they show themselves. Dare you take the trip to Fairyland? No one who returns is ever quite the same.

A 13 -book fairy bundle.

Fairy bundle cov

Featuring:

 

Flower Fairies by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Bride Thief by Brigid Collins

Feyland by Anthea Sharp

Phouka by Liz Pierce

The Giving Year by Alexandra Brandt

Summerland’s Paladin by Diana Benedict

Real Girl by Leslie Claire Walker

The Troll’s Belt by J.M. Ney-Grimm

The Clockwork Fairy Kingdom by Leah Cutter

The Kitchen Imps by A. L. Butcher

Faerie Fruit by Charlotte E. English

By Winter’s Forbidden Rite by DeAnna Knippling

Dark Dancer by Jaleta Clegg

fairies boxset

 

Here Be Dragons Bundle – #Fantasy

Here Be Dragons – Myth, Monsters and Mayhem

Vol III 

They stalk our myths and hunt our past—dragons—humankind’s greatest and oldest foe. Good, bad, legendary and deadly. Dare you enter the dragon’s lair?

Tales of dragons, their friends and their foes.

Available for pre-order now! Released 31st March 2018

Dragons boxset.png

Available on

Here Be Dragons on Bundle Rabbit

Kobo

Amazon. com

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

I tunes

Featuring 13 fabulous dragon-themed stories.

The Crown and the Dragon – John D. Payne

Dragon Writers – Lisa Mangum

Of Blood and Scales – A. L. Butcher

Devouring Light – J.M. Ney-Grimm

Ascension of the Whyte – Karen Wrighton

Of Dragons and Centaurs – Deb Logan

Night of the Clockwork Dragon – Louisa Swann

The Legend of G and the Dragonettes – Russ Crossley

The Dreamweaver’s Journey – Diana L. Wicker

Graybill – Rita Schulz

Star-drake – J.M, Ney-Grimm

Like at Loch Ness – Karen L. Abrahamson

Winter Glory – J.M. Ney-Grimm

Dragon cover FINAL.jpg

 

Dirty Dozen Author Interview J.M. Ney-Grimm

Author: J.M. Ney-Grimm

 Please tell us about your publications. I write fantasy in which the intimate and personal intertwine with the great forces of history and culture. Most of my stories are set in my North-lands, a world inspired by the watercolor illustrations of the Danish artist Kay Nielsen. My novels include: Troll-magic, Livli’s Gift, Caught in Amber, Fate’s Door, and The Tally Master. I also have a handful of novellas (plus a few short stories), among them: Sarvet’s Wanderyar, Hunting Wild, and Winter Glory.

Caught in Amber

What first prompted you to publish your work? In 2007, I re-discovered Maddy Prior’s amazing song ‘The Fabled Hare.’

Listening to her powerful lyrics and expressive voice, I grew suddenly aware that time was passing, I was getting older, and I didn’t have forever.

The imagery of the hunter and hounds closing in on the hare made me feel as though death were snapping at my heels.

If there was something I really wanted to do, something I had not done yet, I’d better get going or I might miss my chance entirely.

I didn’t ‘click the publish button’ in 2007, but that year and that song were the beginning of my publishing journey.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’? I do some of each.

I prefer having a skeletal outline at the start of a story. Doing without —pure ‘pantsing’—feels like walking a tightrope over Niagara without a safety net. Very uncomfortable! And yet…I’ve done it.

Once I awoke in the middle of the night, so afire with inspiration that I got up out of my bed to write the first scene of what would become the novel Caught in Amber. I didn’t work out an outline until I was a third of the way through the book!

More usually, I sort out the foundational plot line before I start writing. I need to know what happens, but (oddly) I need to not know how it happens. I discover the how as I write, and that keeps the story feeling fresh to me.

Even when I follow an outline, I always feel free to ‘have a better idea.’ Sometimes my outline writhes like a river in flood!

 

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey? I’m going to pretend you asked me about my writing journey. 😉 Because there’s a piece of advice that I really, really needed and didn’t get, way back when.

For some reason, I thought that the process of writing was much more cut-and-dried than it ever could be. Why I thought this, I don’t know. Perhaps because I formed the impression when I was very young, at age ten or eleven.

But the result was that, when I sat down in my early twenties to write my great fantasy novel, and didn’t get anywhere with it, I concluded that I must not be made of such stuff as goes into the bones of real writers.

I longed to write novels, and believed I could not. I spent more than two decades believing this and writing poetry and story vignettes and gaming adventures instead.

And then I listened to Maddy Prior’s ‘The Fabled Hare’ and got serious about my creative aspirations. I read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, did every last one of the written assignments in the book, and read several of the titles in its bibliography.

That’s when I encountered Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande, and one of her suggestions set me free.

So the advice I wish I’d gotten? Find out how other writers do it! Not just one or two, but dozens. Ask them. Read biographies. Whatever it takes, find out.

Because if I’d learned that there are as many ways as there are writers, I might not have concluded so wrongly that I was not a writer. I might have been writing novellas and novels (as well as poetry and vignettes and gaming adventures) between 1980 and 2007. I might not have been so unhappy in my creative desert.

 

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Do not go there! Reviews are a reader space. What reader wants to write his or her honest opinion and then discover that the author of the book has been peering over his or her shoulder the whole while?

 

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters. Good plot. Awesome world-building. Technically perfect.

As a reader (not a writer), I want them all. If the characters aren’t great, I have no interest. If the plot is stupid, I get cranky. If the world-building is unconvincing, I get thrown out of the story. If there are grammar errors, I’m tempted to email the author with the necessary fix. Gah!

I believe I’m known as what one writer calls a ‘fussy reader.’ That’s being kind!

As a writer…what can I say? I go for all four. One of my writing mentors told me that I need never worry about grammar or word choice; in her words, I’m stellar at that.

My readers tell me that my world-building is so thorough that they feel like they are ‘watching a movie on the insides of their eyeballs.’

Another writing mentor says that plot is clearly one of my strong points.

And yet more readers claim that the relationship dynamics between my characters feel utterly real.

 

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? A surprising amount! I’ve heard those who don’t write fantasy speculate that fantasy writers need do no research at all: they can just make it all up.

Nope!

Because my world is make-believe featuring magic and fantastical creatures, it is all the more important that I get the details of living there right. Horses better behave like the real beasts. The combination of wet and cold better be appropriately dangerous. Travel attempted under medieval conditions better be realistically inconvenient. And so on.

I’ve researched the horse sandals of the ancient Romans (horseshoes weren’t invented until 500CE), the forging of Bronze Age swords, the details of how fishes’ gills work, and more.

 

How influential is storytelling to our culture? To be human is to be a storyteller. We remember our past with story. We predict and plan for our future with story. We make meaning out of our present with story. We cannot be ourselves without story.

That’s an existential answer to a more grounded question, but I stand by it. 😉

 

Which authors have influenced you the most? I love the sense of wonder present in the fantasy of Robin McKinley. I adore the cultural creativity in C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series. The poetry of Patricia McKillip’s storytelling inspires me. And the great characters within the amazing worlds of Lois McMaster Bujold carry me completely out of myself.

 

What is your writing space like? All I need is my laptop! I prefer quiet, but I can write amidst noise and hullabaloo if need be. (I learned how when my kids were still little and would nestle against me while I tapped away on my keyboard.) When I had a badly broken foot (doctor’s orders to keep it elevated and bearing no weight for 10 weeks, so as to avoid surgery), I learned to write while semi-reclining on the couch. I got so used to this position that I use it still!

 

Tell us about your latest piece? My novel The Tally Master released in April 2017. Here’s a little bit about it:

Seven years ago, reeling from a curse in the wake of battle, Gael sought sanctuary and found it in a most perilous place.

The citadel of a troll warlord—haunt of the desperate and violent—proves a harsh refuge for a civilized mage. But Gael wields power enough to create an oasis of order amidst the chaos.

Set in the Bronze Age of my North-lands, The Tally Master brings mystery and secrets to epic fantasy in a suspenseful tale of betrayal and redemption.

 

What’s your next writing adventure? I’m really excited about the novel I’m working on now. Its tentative title is To Thread the Labyrinth. Here’s a bit about it:

Ohtavie de Bellay craves safety. Craves obscurity. She seeks solitude and secrecy and shadows. Because only hiding holds death at bay.

But Ohtavie fears that all her care—decades of prudence—won’t be enough. No, she knows it won’t save her.

One day an angry mob will come to drag her forth from her long retreat and stone her. Or pinion her within her refuge and burn it down around her. Or, worst of all, summon the executioner who will hold her unmoving with his enigmatic magic, while his great axe parts her head from her living body with brutal precision.

So Ohtavie lurks and hides and fights her fears alone.

Until that one day arrives, bringing…no mob, no stones, no flames, and no axe.

Just one sweet-faced girl who threatens Ohtavie with something more perilous still.

A gripping story of quiet courage and fortitude.

 

Is there a message in your books? I don’t deliberately include a message, but I suspect my most cherished beliefs seep into my fiction.

There is hope. If the first attempt fails—or the second, or the third—try again. How you do a thing will shape who you become, as well as the ultimate result. You are loved. There is beauty in existence. ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’

 

Links

Website: http://jmney-grimm.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009200970533

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JMNeyGrimm

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/315055.J_M_Ney_Grimm

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/J.M.-Ney-Grimm/e/B006QRFNAS/

 

J.M. Ney-Grimm lives with her husband and children in Virginia, just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She’s learning about permaculture gardening and debunking popular myths about food. The rest of the time she reads Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, and Lois McMaster Bujold, plays boardgames like Settlers of Catan, rears her twins, and writes stories set in her troll-infested North-lands.