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.

 

The full set! Now on Smashwords and affiliate stores!

I’m delighted to announce that all my novels and short stories – except those published via Perseid Press, or the Indie Collaboration are all available on Smashwords and its associate stores.

Formatting is not my strong suit, and I admit for a few I gave up and paid for the formatting for SW. The ‘meatgrinder’ is, frankly, a pain in the arse to work with. Even following the guidelines carefully left we with formatting errors not in the original document unless embedded in the code and invisible to mortals like myself, who don’t speak computer. Anyway ’tis done. So now the following are available on Amazon, Smashwords, I-books, Kobo (Except Books I and II), and Barnes and Noble.

Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book I

The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book II

The Stolen Tower – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book III

Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends

Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse

The Kitchen Imps and Other Dark Tales

Outside the Walls

To save swarming the page with links I’ve simply put the links to the relevant author pages for the stores.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alexandra-Butcher/e/B008BQFCC6/

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22A.%20L.%20Butcher%22?Ntk=P_key_Contributor_List&Ns=P_Sales_Rank&Ntx=mode+matchall

I-tunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/author/a.-l.-butcher/id1111700407?mt=11

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/search?query=A.%20L.%20Butcher&fcsearchfield=Author

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ALB123

If you would like be be kept appraised of forthcoming or recent publications please contact me here, or use the mailing list sign up.

 

Smashwords Summer Sale! A. L. Butcher – The Light Beyond The Storm Chronicles

It’s that time of year again – Smashwords is having their month-long Summer Sale!

For now I’m only adding the novels – but the short stories may follow.

50% off until the end of July – with this COUPON only.

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/290716?ref=ALB123 (affiliate link)

Use the code SSW50 at checkout for 50% off during the site-wide promotion!
(Offer good through July 31, 2016)

The Shining Citadel 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/352783

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/352783?ref=ALB123 (affiliate link)

Use the code SSW50 at checkout for 50% off during our site-wide promotion!
(Offer good through July 31, 2016)

 

Look out for more featured books coming over the next few days and weeks.

Happy July!

cropped-chronicles-banner1.jpg

Heroika: Dragon Eaters – Audio

Dragon Eaters audioHeroika: Dragon Eaters – Seventeen tales of monsters, myth and mayhem where the outcomes are far from certain and the winners eat the losers. Hear the tales told by Shakespearean actor Rob Goll – very delicious it is too.

This is a wonderful collection of fantasy, heroes and brave deeds from some of the brightest writers of the genre and published by Perseid Press.

 

http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Dragon-Eaters-Audiobook/B0193S0YUA/http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Dragon-Eaters-Audiobook/B0193RZ848/http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Eaters-Heroika-Volume-1/dp/B0193RZ4XI/

Back into Hell – Hell Week 2015 – Altos the Angel

Now who’d expect to find an angel in Hell, except of course his lordship, the Fallen One? Amongst the damned his presence is…unusual. So over to you… (brave angel this one…misguided perhaps but brave).

Character Spotlight

About yourself:

*Who are/were you? I am Altos, an angel on special assignment.

* Why do YOU think you’re in Hell? I am here to rehabilitate His Satanic Majesty.

Who are your friends/allies here? All well-meaning souls I consider my allies, those not entirely given over to iniquity.

Describe your home/environment in Hell. I arrived with the fallen and have watched Hell develop from total darkness to its current state. Although I hail from on high this is my home for now, wherever the Prince holds forth you will find me.

Do you have any enemies here? My adversaries are the blind passions of the damned, most significantly Vengeance.

Come on be honest, what do you think of HSM leadership? Satan is comprehensible, if not justifiable, and actually a lover of beauty in his way.

Author Spotlight

*Name and bio.

Chris Morris

* Tell us about your story for this edition. The Wager relates an incident involving Satan and Altos where militaristic hordes from all ages have gathered for a “final” reckoning.

What inspired you to use the character(s) you’ve chosen? Satan’s isolation and profound understanding of humanity are fascinating, yet very difficult to draw—in this story by resort to a ghastly and grand-scale event demonstrating the worst proclivities of his charges, the lost souls of men. Because of his proposition to the angel—his most worthy, divine audience—he can indulge his urge to instruct his eternal adversary on high. Even Satan loves company.

What are you currently working on? I’m narrating audio books; I’ve completed The Sacred Band a novel by Janet Morris and myself and I, the Sun by Janet Morris. Next up is Shards of the Glass Slipper II: Queen Alice, by Roy Mauritsen.

Name the last two books you’ve read – tell us about them. Re-read The Golden Sword by Janet Morris, the second volume in her Silistra series quartet and The Best Poems in the English Language by Harold Bloom, his compendium of great poetical works and a great starting point for those like me who seek a chronological framework in which to appreciate the history of poetry in our language.

What marketing tips/writing advice can you offer other authors? Until you’ve found your storytelling voice as distinct from those writers you admire, write only what you know as passionately and articulately as you can without distorting your effort by trend-following or obeisance to niche-market rules and practices. Find and write what only you can and love the moments of total immersion necessary to bring them to life.

Heroes in Hell (series)

Random Friday

Here’s my character interview with Olek.

Barbara G.Tarn - writer

Hi guys,

I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever!

erana bannerLet’s welcome today’s guest! Tell me a little about yourself (name, age…)

My name is Olek, I am also known as the Shadowdancer. My age? I suppose I’ve seen 40 summers or so. I am the man-servant of Archos, Lord of Tremellic. Although I have other more…unusual skills. I’m a thief and an assassin, a spy and a cheat. Those are among my better qualities (winks).

a lady in a medieval gown sitting on a stone and reading a book(chuckles) My kind of guy! Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Black hair shot through…

View original post 939 more words

Character Interview Number Thirty-One – The Thiefmaster

Tell Us About Yourself

Name (s): To you, I am the Thiefmaster, the lord of the Watchers and the master of shadow.  To my closest friends I have a name the same as other men.

Age: Shrugs. Sometimes the years are too many, sometimes not enough. Old enough to be wise to the world. Young enough to still be surprised by it.

About you: I am the Thiefmaster, I control the underground thief networks of Varlek and a goodly portion of Erana. My word is law among the outlaws and thieves, yet there are others to whom even I bow. The Shadowdancer knows all, and the Oncoming Storm, he is the man to whom we all answer.  Of course there are many who dispute this. The truth is relative, depending on whom you ask.  My thieves watch, they steal, burn, rescue, kill, smuggle and provide aid to those who otherwise would have none.

I am the Thiefmaster, and like the Shadowdancer and the Oncoming Storm I do not exist.

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? Hahaha, you jest? I am the Thiefmaster in a world where law is nothing more than a tool for oppression. I kill, I steal, I deceive. I am fiercely loyal to my friends, to my people and deadly to my enemies. I am an outlaw.

Would you kill for those you love? Yes. Of course. Have you listened to nothing I’ve said?

Would you die for those you love? Take a guess…

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? Strengths – I am loyal, my blade is sharp, and my wits sharper. I know all that happens in my city.

Weakness? I’m hardly likely to reveal those now am I?

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why? I have a daughter Ephany – she’s a good girl. Much like her old dad.

My thieves. My spies. My lord, the Oncoming Storm.

Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions? I like horses. And cats. We have a few to keep the rats at bay. There are many rats in the under-city and not all of them work for me.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I died once. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. It did teach me a great deal.
Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.

Erana – what can I say? It should be a beautiful world, but the Order of Witch-Hunters ensure it is not. Slavers roll their filthy wagons and ply their despicable trade. The trade of flesh pays well. Magic is illegal, but magic persists. We have ….an arrangement with the Society of Hidden Secrets – the underground mage group – and I hold some magic of my own. Not spellcasting, I leave that to the sorcerers, my magic is of shadow and speed.

Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? If so do you follow one of them? Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour. It pays to honour the gods when one lives beyond the law. Officially they don’t exist – but then again neither do I. Many things officially do not exist – that does not stop them being real.

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? I do not travel as much as I used to. These days there is a lot of paperwork to do… that said I go if and when I am needed. Some things cannot be trusted to underlings.

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) Kakistocracy? A man cleverer than I told me that means government by the worst people in the state – yes I’d say we have that.

Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another? We have elves, half elves, trolls and humans. Humans don’t like anyone much. The humans blame the elves for the wars and the Plague, the elves blame the humans for their enslavement (with good cause) and the trolls stick to their mountain homes for the most part. The humans believe them to be savages who eat people. It’s not true. You can’t trade with your food.

Author notes: A.L Butcher

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book I

The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book II 

Just One Mistake – featured in Nine Heroes and Tales of Erana – Volume One

http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Erana-I-Alexandra-Butcher/dp/1508403538

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.

Author Bio

A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series, and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genres.  She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.

Blog: https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430414.A_L_Butcher

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alexandra-Butcher/e/B008BQFCC6/

Twitter:@libraryoferana

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarkFantasyBeyondTheStorm

Review – High Couch of Silistra – Janet Morris – Sci-fi

So where to start? As one would expect from Janet Morris there is a lot more to this story than a simple science fiction tale. Firstly the protagonist is a woman, and a strong one at that. Estri is not your screaming maiden waiting to be rescued. She’s a feisty woman, who knows her worth, knows her skills, and her failings and above all she knows herself.

Estri is more than a woman of pleasure – for on her world this is no shameful profession. As Well Keepress she is much sought after, and highly skilled, but she is also teacher, student, lover, friend, fighter, diplomat, businesswoman, a slave, mistress and so much more.

Silistra is a world of contrasts – its people long-lived, its terrain in places inhospitable and its morals unusual. Fertility is everything in a world where the people rarely breed successfully. Duty, or Chaldra is everything – be that duty to oneself, one’s people, or the world in general.. A world misunderstood by the others, but attractive for many reasons, not least its Well Women must stand for its uniqueness and protect its beliefs. In many ways Estri is Silistra – wise, with hidden dangers, intriguing, alluring, complex and misunderstood.

Duty, power, sex, the complexities of relationships between men and women, and how they can change, fate, courage, loyalty, betrayal, personal journeys, fear, and adventure fill every chapter. The sex is not overdone, considering the context and although there is violence that too speaks of the power play which is core.

The world building, as with Morris’s other novels, is rich, complex and totally believable. For the duration of the tale Silistra is real. The characters, too, are a mix of good and bad, but no way clear cut. These are living, breathing characters with all that entails.

This is not a book for those of a faint heart or who cannot see deep within a tale for what lies therein. It’s a book to make the reader think. It’s a book of great stature, and storytelling of the finest sort. Of course it’s also a book for those who seek a heady adventure beyond the stars.

This is a book I couldn’t put down. 5 stars.

Book Review – Oblivion’s Forge – Simon Williams

Book Review – Oblivion’s Forge

by Simon Williams

4 stars.

Let me start out by saying I enjoyed this bookJ

World: The world of Aona is very intriguing, with a rich and long history, of which the reader gets enough of a peek at to draw one in. It’s a complex world – with various races and factions, magic users, peasants, tyrants and heroes. Most of whom don’t like one another much. Aona is a world of half-forgotten myth and ill-remembered gods. And it seems such mystical beings are set to return.

Oblivion’s Forge is dark, with a world on the edge of apocalypse, many people in thrall and prepared to do whatever it takes to please whichever religion/faction they serve.  I’d say good and evil aren’t clear cut. Certainly a surprise twist where a villain becomes an unwitting hero shakes the reader’s ideas of good and evil, and who serves whom.

The author gives many hints of what is to come, who REALLY runs the show and a dark history. It helps to know this is the first book of the series, and so I hope unanswered questions will be addressed in later books.

Characters:  There are a LOT of characters in this book, and some play a far greater role than others as one would expect. However the point of view jumps around and in places I found it hard to keep up with who was doing what.  Vornen – the main male character is most interesting. He has a dark and mysterious past, which we learn a little about. Haunted by the Gates which have appeared he is not his own man, and he is quite fatalist (with good reason). I had a lot of time for this character, he is brave in his own way and decent, at least in a world which is being torn apart. His befriending of a lost pilgrim leads to monumental events. He also has his flaws, which makes him both worthy of pity and respect in equal measure.

The shifting point of view was distracting and unless I missed something (which is certainly possible) at least one of the characters seemed to disappear.

Writing: There is some wonderful imagery. The world is painted well enough to give the reader a taste but not too much that it detracts from the story telling.  There were a few technical issues, but they were a few and overall didn’t diminish the reading experience for me. In places the prose is almost poetic.

On the downside I’d say the last couple of chapters where unnecessary – unless as a lead in for the later books. The problem was fixed – sort of – and suddenly a character we meet mid way, and doesn’t seem that important suddenly comes to the fore, with her master. It reads as the start of a new book, to me at least.

OVERALL

A good read with a rich, complex world, intriguing plot and fine characters. A bit hard to keep up with the rapidly shifting point of view (to be fair to the author I was reading this over a relatively long period) but certainly engaging enough to keep me reading. The plot itself pulled the reader in, as one found oneself cheering the heroes along as they struggled in a world of chaos and strife, and curious about what it was making the midden hit the windmill J.

I’d recommend this author for fans of dark fantasy, dystopia and dark fiction. I’ll be picking up Mr William’s other books for sure and continuing to learn the fate of Aona and it’s people.

Character Interview Number Twenty-Seven – Arael – Fantasy/YA/Children’s Books

Name (s): Arael

Age: 9

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. “Tall, with red hair, green eyes, and pointed ears.”

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? “All elves have a moral code.  We care for our world and the creatures who live in it, and do what we can to protect both.  The elders believe this includes killing those who threaten it with their harmful and disrespectful behaviour, but I personally believe that killing is never the right thing to do.  I know for a fact that there are many other elves who agree with me.  It is unfortunate that these elves are not among the elders who write and enforce our laws.”

Would you kill for those you love? “I do not think so.  I would most certainly try to avoid doing so, and would hope that I was strong enough to stick firmly to my beliefs that killing solves nothing even when placed in such a situation.”
Would you die for those you love? “Perhaps.  Though I hope I shall never need to find this out.”

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? “I have given this some thought, but I still have no idea.  I think it is common to struggle to admit to your weaknesses, and I do not feel that anything stands out as being a strength where I am concerned.”

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why? “The person I am closest to is my identical twin sister, Derwyn.  We have rarely been parted throughout our entire lives so far, and we are best friends as well as being siblings.”

Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions? “I love all animals; we elves generally do.  We have no pets, since we do not believe in forcing animals to be kept in cages.  Animals should be free.”

Do you have a family? Tell us about them? “As I already mentioned, I have an identical twin sister named Derwyn.  As I also already mentioned, we’re very close, and we’re best friends as well as being siblings.   I have no other siblings.  My Father is the elven king, and my Mother his queen.  This, as you might imagine, means they are often quite busy and have little time to spend with Derwyn and myself.  When we are a few years older and it is time to prepare us for the day we will rule, they will pay more attention to us.  In the meantime, my sister and I have a governess, who is responsible for both our education and our care, though she is generally so relaxed in her observations of us outside of lesson time that we can escape for hours at a time without her noticing.  This is how it works if you are a member of the royal family, though I dare say the governess is supposed to be more observant than she is.  I am unsure whether it will be Derwyn or I who take our Father’s place, but I hope it will be her, since I feel she is better suited for the task.”

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? “I was 5 years old the first time that I saw a human find his way in to our world through one of the magical doorways.  I watched him be killed for the crime of being a human.  I had seen no sign of violence from this man, and yet he was killed.  I felt it was wrong, but when I confronted my Father he just told me the stories of the old wars as though this made it acceptable for the human to be killed.  I swore that day I would do all I could to avoid it happening in the future.  I have since discovered that many other elves feel the same way about it.  This is why we did not report it when the human child, Polly, entered our world.”

Do you have any phobias? “I fear that the elders will turn us in to violent beings with their law that humans should die for simply entering our world.”

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. “I can not swim very well.  With the lake separating our tree town from the mainland we elves are taught to swim at an early age.  But I just can not get the hang of it.  I can just about keep myself from drowning, but that is the best I can manage.  My sister, Derwyn, is a strong swimmer, like almost every other member of the elven population over the age of 3.  But not me.  It is one of the few ways we differ.”

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.

Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? If so do you follow one of them? Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour. “My world has no religion.  We care for animals and nature, because you have to care for your world if you wish to live a healthy life in a healthy world, and especially if you wish to leave a healthy world behind for your descendants to survive in.  But we do not believe in any God, Goddess, or other spiritual being.”

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? “Elves are free to travel where they wish in our world, though being the elven princesses my sister and I should officially not travel out of sight of the tree town unescorted.  Nobody would dare to stop us if we revealed who we were, but we tend to wear plain clothes when we sneak out.  The only people who would dare to stop us if they recognized us would be our parents, and they are generally too busy to notice unless we are gone too long.  Oh, and our governess, though it generally takes her some time to notice we are gone unless we miss lessons.  The only time we travelled very far was when we went with Polly to look for the purple pumpkin.  Every other time we have remained within a couple of hours walk of our home.  It was only our knowledge of geography from our lessons that allowed us to easily know which direction to take with Polly.”

Name and describe a food from your world. “Most of our foods are just like those from the human world, but we do have a couple that are unique to our world.  I shall name and describe my favourite berry.  It is called a silbery, and is a very sweet fruit.  As the name suggests, silberries are silver.  They look just like silver strawberries, and taste like a cross between a strawberry and a kiwi fruit.”

Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world? “I have read that many people believe that elves are magical.  This is not the case.  There were once magical elves, just as there were once magic users in the human world, but they are all gone now.  There are still some magical items in our world – such as the purple pumpkin – and those items can be used to perform magic.  The purple pumpkin, for example, grants wishes.  As for how magic is viewed in our world… For the most part people do not think about it.  We know the magical items exist, but until we need their magic we spare them very little thought.  There are also the magical doorways, which appear randomly to connect our world to other worlds.  These are viewed as being very dangerous, due to the risk of being stuck forever in a world that is not your own, and are usually avoided by any elves who see them appear.”

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) “We have both a royal family and a council of elders.  Officially it is the king and queen who rule, but it is common knowledge that they make no decision without the approval of a majority of the council of elders.”

Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another? “The only race in our world is elves.  Once other races shared our world, but after the great wars they were banished, and none visit now.  A few humans have strayed in to our world through the magical doorways, but since humans were the cause of the great wars all those years ago, any human who enters our world is put to death.”

Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people.“The most well-known legend is the legend of the doorways.  The legend says that there was once an elven wizard with so little patience he poured his magic in to the soil in which he had planted seeds to make them grow immediately, just so that he could avoid having to wait for nature to do the task in its own time.  His attempt worked, but it had an unexpected side effect; it created ripples in the universe that created magical doorways to other worlds.  But these doorways were unstable, and those who found them and passed through them found themselves trapped in a world that was not their own.  Sometimes people would search for years before being lucky enough to stumble upon another doorway, and there was no guarantee it would be one back in to their own world, since it could lead to another world entirely.  These doorways allowed other races to enter our world, and many stayed, and were welcomed at first.  But when the humans’ numbers grew they wanted to claim the world for themselves.  The result of which was the wars known as the great wars, which led to the elven population shrinking considerably, and all other races being banished from our world forever.  Legend says each race was sent through a different doorway when one appeared next, starting with the humans, and that those races each claimed a world for themselves.  Most of us avoid the magical doorways now, but sometimes curious humans will stumble through a doorway, and from the first time this happened it has been the law in our world that any human entering our world should be put to death, since they were the cause of the great wars that divided the races and worlds.”

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? “We have no technology, and there is nothing I could not live without that nature does not provide.  As long as I have food, water, and shelter, I can be happy.  Though, of course, I would prefer to also have my sister, Derwyn.”

Does your world have any supernatural/mystical beings? Please tell us about some. “The answer depends who you ask.  Some would say that it does, because they would consider elves to be mystical beings.  However, since elves are the only humanoid race that populates our world, we do not consider ourselves to be either supernatural, mystical, mythological, or any of the other words I’ve heard are used to describe us in other worlds.  So, as far as we are concerned, it does not.  However, others may disagree.”

Within your civilisation what do you think is the most important discovery/invention? “I think that the most important discovery is the purple pumpkin, since without it Derwyn and I would have had no chance of saving Polly before the elders learned she was in our world.”

***

Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links

Arael is one of the main characters of the story “Quest For The Purple Pumpkin” in the “Wyrd Worlds II” anthology.  Get your copy at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/478114

Author name: Victoria Zigler

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/toriz

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz

Facebook author page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler

Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.com