Here Be Magic Bundle – on preorder now #Magic #Bundles #fantasy

Here Be Magic Bundle – available 4th August 2019

 

NOW AVAILABLE!!! 

Magic invites . . .

Curses and blessing, sorcerous time travel, shape-shifters, hidden enchantment and corrupted blood.

Magic demands . . .

Saving those you love, courage, betrayal and fights against unspeakable forces.

Magic promises . . .

Last best hopes, reluctant and desperate heroes, ancient power unleashed and the compulsion to overcome death itself.

Magic risks . . .

Forbidden spells and deadly bargains.

Here be magic!

From life to death, from realm to realm, from past to future and in between—dare you adventure with wizards?

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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.

Dirty Dozen Character Interview – Sorcha #Fantasy #Mythic

Welcome; SORCHA

Scorchas heart.jpg

  • Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a fully-trained sorceress, though my mother sometimes forgets this. I guess I’ll always be a child in her eyes. I’m in my early 20s, trim, active, and healthy. I’m not particularly beautiful, but then my physical appearance has never been important to me. I’m not interested in fashion or the latest hair styles. I wear sturdy, serviceable dresses and my long dark hair is usually in a single braid. My eyes are my most interesting facial feature, deep blue with an exotic slant that people often compare to a cat’s eyes. I’ve never met my father, but Mother says I inherited his eyes.

  • What is your world like? How does it differ to mine?

I believe your people would refer to my world as medieval and feudal, but those are political terms which we’ll discuss later. As far as the world itself is concerned, it is much like Earth, possessing mountains and lakes and oceans, and even deserts, though I’ve never seen one of those. The mountains near my home are tall and rugged and capped by brilliantly white glaciers.

  • Is your world populated by different races? How do they get along?

The intelligent races of my world are humans and dragons. We have the usual non-sapient creatures. Domestic animals such as horses, sheep, cows, dogs and cats, and wild animals such as wolves and bears and predatory cats.

How do humans and dragons get along? Not very well at the moment. In fact, that’s the reason for my adventure.

  • Within your culture what is the political structure?

Human society is made up of feudal kingdoms. My mother and I live in Glengorm under King Leofric. Our nearest neighbor is Rossal, which is ruled by King Dougal. Each kingdom is divided into hereditary holdings ruled by lords and their ladies. The common folk who work the land live in villages and are often represented to their lords by village elders who are elected by their neighbors for their wisdom and experience.

  • What is your greatest fear?

I’m so afraid that King Leofric will declare war on the dragons of the ice aerie that I’m considering a rash action. Mother has advised me to stay out of it, to let Leofric and his counsellors deal with the situation, but if I have the power to stop a war, don’t I have a moral obligation to use it?

  • Tell us why you’re embarking on this adventure?

To prevent a war between my kingdom and the dragons of the ice aerie, thereby saving my people. I don’t think King Leofric truly understands how completely outclassed his knights are by the dragons.

  • Tell us about your family?

My family? I don’t really have one. It’s just mother and me. My father deserted Mother before she even knew she carried me. Mother is the bravest woman I know. She’s a sorceress, as I am, and women aren’t usually accepted for training in anything more challenging than the potions of a hedge witch. But Mother refused to be held back by bigotry. She fought to be accepted and finally found a wizard willing to train her, though he had his doubts. Not about her ability. He knew she was powerfully gifted, but about her commitment. He believed women were fickle. Too prone to fall in love and desire family and children. When Mother confessed her pregnancy, he sent her away and told her not to return until she’d been delivered of the child and found it a suitable home. Mother stood up to him. She would not hide her pregnancy for his convenience, neither would she give me up. She would continue her studies and raise her child. The force of her personality and her magical potential were too much for him. She remained his apprentice and I was not given away.

  • Would you die for those you love?

Without a second thought. I’d rather not, of course, but if my death would save my people, I would sacrifice myself gladly.

  • Do you believe in magic?

Of course, don’t you? Its power courses through my veins. My entire reason for being is the study and responsible use of magic.

  • What is your greatest skill/asset?

My determination. Once I decide upon a course of action, nothing can deter me.

  • What is your greatest weakness (we won’t tell).

I’m very stubborn. (Another name for determination.) Once I decide upon a course of action, nothing can deter me.

  • What do you think of your author/creator?

She’s an adequate chronicler. She has told my tale fairly and well.

 

For the author

Books in which this character appears:

Also appearing in  Mythic Tales

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Links, short author bio…

 

Website: http://debbiemumford.com/

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

Newsletter: eepurl.com/bTXLhX

 

Bio:

A prolific copywriter by day, Debbie Mumford has been published in WMG Publishing’s Fiction River anthologies, Heart’s Kiss Magazine, Spinetingler Magazine, and other markets. She has also published several novels, novellas, and short story collections, including the popular Sorcha’s Children series. Debbie writes about faeries, dragons, and the supernatural for adults as herself and for tweens and young adults as Deb Logan. Find out more about Debbie’s work at debbiemumford.com or follow her on Facebook: @DebbieMumfordWrites. Join her newsletter list at eepurl.com/bTXLhX to receive an exclusive FREE story!

Swift Six Character Interview – Lord Archos – fantasy

 

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles BannerName/Race/Species/Age etc:

Name: Archos Terrian Stormrager, Lord of Tremellic, Lord of the Arcane Realms, Lord of the Storm. I am the Oncoming Storm. Lord Archos will do.

For you Lord Archos will do.

Race: I appear human, but in reality I am the last Skychild who walks this land. My father was a human sorcerer and my mother an Elemental – one of the servants of the Sky Goddess. I have met her perhaps three times. The woman who raised me as her own died so many years ago. All humans who carry magic have elven blood, and distant in my father’s line is such a lineage.

There are perhaps less than half a dozen people in all Erana who know this – for I am a sorcerer, and that alone means I am an outlaw and my secrets are deadly. If the Order of Witch-Hunters knew of what I truly am I am certain they would redouble their efforts to deal with me. As it is because of my position both as a nobleman and the relative seclusion of my home, plus monthly bribes and backhanders to those in power mean for now I am ignored. If I am careful.  Recently I have been more… forthcoming with my powers and skills and it has been noticed.

Not even I can take on large numbers of Order soldiers, especially when they bring banecrystal weapons.

Age: *Shrugs. I was born before the arrival of the last Plague and the instigation of martial law. That was centuries ago. One looses track.

Which book/world do you live in? I live in Erana. This world features in the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – which detail my adventures and those of my companions; Tales of Erana – these are tales of lore and adventure.

I’m an adventurer – why should I recruit you to accompany me? *Smiles. Because I am a Powerful Sorcerer, because I know a good deal of history and lore and because we will likely meet magic on our adventures. Despite the best efforts of the Order to irradicate it, magic persists. Can you deal with monsters, demons, terrible wounds and forbidden lore? I didn’t think so.

But then again I am not a man to take orders, from anyone.  So why should I agree to accompany YOU? Turn your question around – what can you offer me to tempt me to leave the safety of my valley?

Tell us about your companions?  How do they see you? Ah, my allies. Olek, my faithful Olek. He is a better man than I. We are closer than brothers, although to the outside world he is but a servant. Elves and half-elves can be nothing more. I trust him with my life, and he has saved it so many times. Once I took him from the execution cell – bought his life with gold and guile but he has repaid that many times over. No one knows more about me, and no one serves our needs with such devotion.  Olek is clever, and the most skilful thief and assassin in the land.

Do I have lady-friend? Yes, my beloved Dii’Athella. Poor Dii, for her life was hard and she survived with a determination and will I have rarely seen. Dii is a joy, she sees life with such wonder and such capacity to love. Despite all that has befallen her still she is kind, gentle and curious. We are bound in love and magic, nothing is stronger. Some say not even death can break bonds such as ours. I hope with all my heart we never have to test that theory, although it’s been close on more than one occasion.

Ozena is Olek’s lady. She came to me asking for aid to rescue her sister and the elves from her village. Such was young, naive and frightened; for her to as the assistance of a strange human would have taken a good deal of courage and necessity. Now she has bloomed into a talented young woman, a great archer and tracker and she speaks her mind. Yes indeed.

There are others, of course. My Steward Simon – who manages the villages and lands in my stead, especially when I am not available. He is a man whom I trust implicitly; he’s an excellent forger – and a man who sees far more than most about people. Of course, the villagers don’t know his past but Simon has served me for twenty years – and my people understand why we live as we live in seclusion. There is more freedom in Tremellic than any other settlement this side of the Far Isles. There are no Witch-Hunters, no slavers and such liberty is defended to the last man. One day I am sure the Order will come in numbers, and we will not go lightly. Simon ensures the villagers know what they have under my protection.

How do they see me? Dii loves me, Olek loves me, Ozena – I am not sure. She is a little apprehensive. I often appear arrogant and aloof – but for good reason and all know not to provoke my temper.  I  have taken many lives by my own hand and those of my allies. Do not trifle with me, and you will not feel my wrath.

Love is far more a powerful tool than fear but fear has its place. A person will die for loyalty and love of another. But the wrath of the Oncoming Storm is terrible.

What’s your most heroic exploit to date? The Shining Citadel. We found the lost elven citadel of Lor Ar’thinis. We almost died in the endeavour and the price paid was high – for the truths we found there may yet destroy us. Not to mention the loss of the Tree of Always. But we have that Power now, that knowledge and the hope it will bring when the time is right.

What’s your greatest failure? The death of my brother, so long ago. That I too late finding Dii to save her from the ‘attentions’ of the Order. That my spies and allies are not enough in number that they may be everywhere. That the Order of Witch-Hunters still blight this land with their pernicious law. I have buried more friends than I like to admit and mourned many others. The fight we fight is a costly one.

Where do you think you’ll be in a decade? *Looks thoughtful. I scry now and then to see the future but it’s a dangerous pastime; a friend told me war is coming and I believe her. I may well be dead in a decade, or up to my armpits in gore. Perhaps if I am very lucky we will triumph and free this land from the tyranny.  Who knows in uncertain times.

Do you have a great love? (This could be a person/trait/item) Dii. My Dii’Athella. Her light shines brighter than the sun and her kindness will likely save us all, should we live that long. Dii is far more than she knows, and even I know. Her magic is wild and off the old sort for she carries the Blood which Flows with the Light. Dii has bloomed like the flower which is ner namesake and we are all the better for it.

I suppose my other great love is magic. You must understand we live in a world where magic is forbidden, hunted down and chained. But magic is under the rule of no man, not in truth for it is everywhere and finds it way to be seen. The Order thinks they can stamp it out. For three hundred years they had tried and failed, although these days magic is afraid and hides its face. Magic is knowledge and knowledge is power, and freedom. One day the magic will truly return and it will no longer be a shameful secret.

 

Links to book etc

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series – an adult fantasy/fantasy romance series, with a touch of erotica.

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I

In a dark world where magic is illegal and elves are enslaved a young elven sorceress runs for her life from the house of her evil Keeper. Pursued by his men and the corrupt Order of Witch-Hunters she must find sanctuary. As the slavers roll across the lands stealing elves from what remains of their ancestral home the Witch-Hunters turn a blind eye to the tragedy and a story of power, love and a terrible revenge unfolds.

18 rated.

Audio editions narrated by Rob Goll

Audio editions narrated by Rob Goll

Universal Link https://www.books2read.com/Lightbeyondstorm1

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Separate Links

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

Who rules in this game of intrigue where magic is forbidden and elves enslaved? Journey where beliefs shatter like glass, truth is unwelcome and monsters from ancient times abound: share the romance and revenge, magic and passion, and the wages of greed in a world of darkest fantasy.

(18 rated)

Now in audio narrated by Shakespearean actor Rob Goll.

Universal Link  https://www.books2read.com/ShiningCitadel

Amazon.com http://amzn.to/2c5LghC

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Brief appearance in

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

What stalks the land cannot be, but is.

Where magic is outlawed a troll Shaman calls from her deathbed to her heiress, Mirandra Var, daughter of the storm. Mirandra vows to find her missing kin, sort friend from for, and claim the dangerous secrets guarded by unthinkable creatures. If she succeeds she will become the leader of her tribe. If she fails there will be no tribe to lead.

Universal Link https://www.books2read.com/StolenTower

Amazon.com http://amzn.to/2ivJjeL

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2hKF4Ns

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

I-books http://apple.co/2iBiA2E

Bundle Rabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/products/detail/stolen-tower

 

Swift Six Character Interview – Estella Delcour – Dark Fantasy

Swift Six Character Interview

Character Name: Estella Delcour

Which book/world do you live in? The Shadow Crucible, set in medieval London.

Tell us about yourself

I am the person you least suspect, they deem me holy yet I am not.  I inspire love and hatred in equal measure.  My manor is empty of guests, it is a court for demonic fiends you will never see.  I hold audiences with demons more than the living.  I delight in walking among the Templars, the Clergy, and the Royal Courts hearing their barren truths; for those who speak do not know, whilst those who know do not speak.  How they would love to burn me at the stake.  A dark trail follows me and it will follow you, if you betray my name or the words I now share with you.   I am a seer, not the mediocre kind, I see beyond the heavens into the macabre game between Samael and the Throne.  I have been hither to an unsuspected spectator, until the blind one finds out I have been watching all along.  I am hunted, to be a precious cog in his dark machinations

 

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? My greatest strength is my magic, I am strong enough to hold back from giving into the demons that plagued me all my life, and stubborn enough to stand up to Lucifer. I am my own person and I do not let society dictate to me. I am very resourceful and know how to play the social games that allow me to hide in plain sight. I am ready to sacrifice everything not to give in to an evil master, I am determined to break free of the chessboard of the Gods.

My greatest weakness is my confusion of the meaning of my life; the fact that I feel that I am a pawn in other people’s game renders me bitter and unpredictable, prone to rash decisions. Anything that threatens my sense of identity makes me flee.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc).

The Crone is dear to me, she is the facet of the Goddess that I cherish the most, comforting and austere, she is the strength I seek to emulate.

The Horned God: who gave me a higher purpose and my freedom.

Mikhail, I knew he was a product of his upbringing but he has the same spirit as me, the same need to defy the establishment on earth and heaven.

What does ‘heroism’ mean to you?

Making the tough decisions that no one else wants to make, often forcing their hand for the greater good. It’s the ability to foresee the outcomes and make sacrifices for the sake of humanity. But it is also overrated; people are dying for meaning and would often throw their lives away for recognition. Heroism is a form of leadership, where you take the initiative and forge the destiny of others. But for me it also means taking the blame and the risks that nobody wants to undertake.

What do you think of your ‘creator’?

I think she sees the world around her as a dark place and if she could, she would disappear into the worlds she creates. She is disenchanted with humanity and seeks the sublime truths and answers to ancient enigmas. The lack of magic in her world saddens her and she wishes she could pull back the veil and see what lies beyond, for she believes the ancient myths and stories hold a grain of truth and there is more to the universe than everyone sees.

Give us your favourite piece of advice: Everyone is seeking recognition and a sense of purpose, you take that away from them, you undo them and make of them an enemy, the meaningless of life terrifies people. So, if you want to make friends with them, attune your purpose to theirs and suddenly they are your best friend.

 Links to book

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Crucible-Blind-God/dp/1590794141

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-shadow-crucible/t-m-lakomy/9781590794142

Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-shadow-crucible-t-m-lakomy/1124245404?ean=9781590794142

Book Spotlight – The Shadow Crucible – Dark Fantasy

Title: The Shadow Crucible: the Blind God

Author: T.M Lakomy (Tamara Lakomy)

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Main character description. Estella Delcour (Tsura) A seer and the Lady of Redfern Manor. She is the most far-seeing of all the Twilit folk, who sees the divine game played between Samael (the blind god) and the Goddess.

Synopsis:

In a world where angels, demons, and gods fight over the possession of mortal souls, two conflicted pawns are ensnared in a cruel game. The enigmatic seer Estella finds herself thrown together with Count Mikhail, a dogmatic Templar dedicated to subjugating her kind. But when a corrupted cardinal and puppet king begin a systematic genocide of her people, the two become unlikely allies.

Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All organized religions are shops orchestrated to consume mankind. Every deity, religion, and spiritual guide has been corrupted, and each claims to have the monopoly on truth and salvation.

In a perilous game where the truth is distorted and meddling ancient deities converge to partake of the unseen battle, Estella unwittingly finds herself hunted by Lucifer. Traversing the edge of hell’s precipice, Estella and Mikhail are reduced to mere instruments. Their only means to overcome is through courting the Threefold Death, the ancient ritual of apotheosis—of man becoming God.

Brief Excerpt 250 words:

“I want to liberate you from your thraldom,” he said. “I have watched over you all, my tender flock. I am Lucifer, the morning star, the first to greet you with my love into this life, and the last to claim you on my dark stallion of death. I have come to free you.” His persuasive voice was soothing and nurturing, like a gentle river rippling mildly over soft bedrock. The cardinal found himself in a daze of awe, and within him woke his longing for power and lust for dominion. “Come to me, let me free you, and we shall destroy the Twilit world that has robbed you of the gifts that you so deserved.” The fatherly voice of the angel was indignant yet gentle, and he beamed at the cardinal who nodded back eagerly. “Let me into your heart, then. Lead me into your house, in this false edifice erected in the name of God, and let us together find the lost sheep in the house of God. I am his true son, after all, prince of the world.” He glided towards the cardinal, his numerous nacre wings extending into the chamber. They shed their own pearly light, and it seemed he floated like a silver vision. The angel knelt beside the cardinal, gazing into his watery eyes. “Let me into his house.” The voice was slightly more pressing now. The cardinal, dazed, nodded in agreement. With a satisfied smile, the angel touched the cardinal’s chest with a slender finger, right at his heart, and breathed over him. The cardinal groaned, falling instantly asleep

Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)?

The novel challenges the reader to examine the roots of their beliefs and explore the other aspects of the Abrahamic faiths that are seldom discussed. It questions the disparity between paganism and current religions, finding the salient thread that connects our subconscious thinking. It also interprets Gnosticism in a modern way specifically the topic of apotheosis.

 

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Links etc.

Amazon

Waterstones

Barnes and Noble

 

www.blueprints.org

Book Spotlight and New Release- Dragon Moon – Fantasy

Dragon Moon Release!! JULIE NICHOLLS

 

Hey peeps!! I’m happy to announce that my latest Young Adult Fantasy, Dragon Moon is available for pre order at the fabulously low price of 99c! This is a huge saving, and from Thursday 13th October, the price will be $3.45 so get it while it’s on offer!

Save the dragons, unite the races, no sweat.

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I’m nineteen and wish I had a clue about my future. Instead of my own bed, this morning I woke in the strange land of Lur Neval. My name is Scarlett, but the Nevalese call me Dragon Mage. Seems it’s my job to preserve the all-important dragons and oh, while I’m here, bring peace to the warring clans. Piece of cake if I can outwit Madoc, the manipulative, evil seer who wants every dragon destroyed. Whatever it takes, I’m here to fulfill my destiny under the light of the Dragon Moon.

 

Buy Links

Amazon UK goo.gl/HolHgO

Amazon USA goo.gl/WXyIdl

Kobo goo.gl/TMrKcV

Smashwords goo.gl/jQszpx

Nook/B&N goo.gl/utlgGe

iBooks goo.gl/66Jbwu

 

Don’t forget it’s available at the ridiculous price of 99c until release day which is 13th October, 2016

Go get it!

Magic in the Middle Ages – Course Review

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#Coursera #Fantasy #Medieval

https://www.coursera.org/learn/magic-middle-ages/

3.5 stars out of 5.

I’d been looking at this particular Coursera Course for a while, as it looked pretty interesting and good research for the books.

Here’s the summary from the Cousera website About this course: Magical thought has always attracted human imagination. In this course we will introduce you to the Middle Ages through a wide conception of magic. Students will have an approach to medieval culture, beliefs and practices from the perspective of History and History of Science. Popular magic, as well as learned magic (alchemy, geomancy and necromancy) will be addressed. Moreover, we will also deal with how eastern practices and texts influenced western culture. In July 2016, the course will contain a brand-new module devoted to astrology. Magic in the Middle Ages offers a captivating overview of medieval society and promotes reflection about certain stereotypes associated with this period.’

So did it fulfil this? Yes and no.

Let’s start with the ‘yes’. There was a lot of information to be learned in only 5 weeks – personally I would have liked another week or so. That said I was actually doing another, totally unrelated course at the same time and probably didn’t do this justice. The lectures were taught via video (and I’ll cover that later), with transcripts available, plus some selected reading, tests and two short assignments.

Each week covered a slightly different topic:

Unit 1 – Introduction to Medieval Magic

Unit 2 – Magic and Heresy

Unit 3 – From Magic to Witchcraft

Unit 4 – Magic in Islam

Unit 5 – Astrology and Geomancy

Of these the first three were the most interesting, although it was also interesting to see how Islam viewed magic – as opposed to the far more negative view of the Western Christian views. This particular module was probably the trickiest (not least because of the more unfamiliar names and terms) and I think more time could have been spent comparing the different cultural and religious outlooks, had the course been longer.

Magic permeated the Middle Ages, be it ‘healing’ magic, natural magic, or the more sinister type. In many ways it ran alongside religion, although it goes without saying that the religions of the day weren’t happy about it.  To us, in the modern world, much of it seems really odd, and for many secular societies or individual the whole concept of magic and religion is very outdated. Yet it was important to those who dwelt in a world not ordered by science and technology, where seasonal changes, illness, and belief could literally be a matter of life and death.  Magic was a way of trying to control what was often uncontrollable, to even the odds in a dangerous world. Religion and magic shared many aspects and Christianity itself (and Islam) hold many magical elements – including miracles, foresight and much more.

The topics were certainly engaging and thought provoking – especially the fact that many suffered imprisonment, torture and death for ‘heresy’ simply because of malice, ignorance or wishing to maintain older beliefs.  If the ‘magic’ wasn’t of the right sort, then people suffered. It was interesting to see the differing types of magic, and practitioners – from the wealthy intellectual court astronomers and magicians to the simple ‘cunning folk’. This builds on past study, at least for me. I’d agree it’s a good foundation for further research.

Was it useful  for writing fantasy? Yes, I think so as it gave a broad outline of medieval magical ideas to build on, and the prejudice surrounding them.

So the ‘no’.

The sound quality was bloody awful. The mix of tutors were all heavily accented and the recordings were of poor quality, with echoes, background noises, random volume changes and at one point a random question about King Arthur popped up on screen and froze the vid until it was answered. I found it far easier to just read the transcripts, but even then they were a little choppy.

As you’ve probably guessed I feel that the course should have been a bit longer – everything was a bit rushed. To be fair I didn’t utilise the discussion forum much.

The second assignment was a bit confusing – the grading questions were different to the points asked for discussion.

Overall a 3.5 for this – mostly because of the awful technical issues. Clean up the sound quality and this would be an engaging course.

 

Back Catalogue 2 – Dii and Archos

Originally posted on https://kyrahalland.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/love-magic-guest-couple-archos-and-dii/ for Valentine’s Day 2014.

  1. How did you meet?

Archos: Dii’s magic called to me across the Realms of Magic. She had touched and helped a magic Mirror, one of the old elven artefacts even though Mirror magic is rare. That old Mirror called to mine, I had to see who had activated it. As for actually meeting… I only wish it had been in better circumstances, Dii was imprisoned in an Order fort and was very badly hurt. She almost died.
Dii: He saved my life. I cannot remember first meeting as I was unconscious but I recall our first meeting after I awoke. Archos is a powerful man, and I was very daunted. I had been a slave and I assumed I would be his Kept – his bound concubine. He was very kind, he did not treat me like the others had.

  1. What was the first thing you noticed about the other person?

Archos: By the gods she was beautiful and her magic was like nothing I had seen before. So wild yet so much Power.

Dii: Archos was very kind to me. He is very handsome too.

3. Did you know when you met that you would end up together?

Archos: I wanted her from the moment her magic called to mine. I risked my life and my freedom to find her. We are bound in blood and magic, there is no stranger bond.

Dii: As I explained I had lived as a slave before. If Archos had taken me as a Kept I would have stayed until he tired of me. Elves have no rights, and sorceresses are forbidden. I am so lucky Archos loves me for myself. He does not treat me like a slave. At least here in Tremellic we are equals. It took me a while to realise it.

4. What do you like best about the other person?

Archos: Despite everything which has been done to her Dii retains her kindness. She is also an unbelievable lover.
Dii: He treats me like an equal.

  1. What is something you enjoy doing together? (Besides the obvious!)

Archos: We do a lot of research together. Magic is very fickle and there is always so much to learn and tame it. Dii is very clever but she looks at it in a different way. I can be over confident and she will ask questions.

Dii: Research, sex and sometimes we will go up to the hills and simply enjoy the open air. Sometimes we will do all three at once.

Archos: Laughs.

  1. How has the other person changed you?

Archos: I have never loved anyone as deeply as I love Dii’Athella. She has brought me so much, and assuaged my loneliness.

Dii: I think I am more confident.

7. What are the biggest differences between you? How important are these differences?

Archos: Dii rarely loses her temper. She can calm me down like no one else can. I am known for my stormy temperament.  She is very much younger than I, so she has much to learn. Her life before I found her was very sheltered, but not to keep her safe. Elves are slaves and cannot move freely so her decision to leave the house of her Keeper must have been difficult, although knowing what he put her through I am not surprised she did, no one should endure it. Consequently she is like an enquiring child in many ways, with an appetite to learn you rarely find.

 

Dii: Archos is much clever than I am. He knows so much. Of course he is a human, well he looks human so he can move about far more freely. It means he can go to the city, or to our little….trading port without me. I cannot leave Tremellic alone. Although now things are more difficult, even a human can be arrested if there are suspicions he is a mage. Vague suspicious are enough and there are more than vague suspicions these days.

  1. What do the two of you have in common?

Archos: Magic of course, research, lore. Getting freedom for the elves and mages is very important to us.

Dii: I would agree, although I am not sure we are ready to fight for elven freedom just yet.  The Witch-Hunters will have other ideas. There are many plans to make.

9. What does your family think of your partner, and what do you think of your partner’s family?

Archos: my family are here. Everyone adores Dii.

Dii: I have no family but those around me.

10. What role does magic play in your relationship?

Archos: Magic is who we are. Our very being is magical, especially mine. Magic tends to demand much, but it also brings a lot of passion. There is nothing to match sex spiced with magic.

Dii: giggles knowingly.

11. What are your plans for the future?

Archos: That remains to be seen. There is much to do, much to learn and many risks to run.

Dii: I would like to live to see the elves free but who knows. As Archos says there are many risks.

Perhaps we will travel again.

  1. “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts” How is this true for the two of you?

Archos: Magic combined is stronger than magic separated. Dii is skilled in light magic and she is a wonderful healer. My skills are more combat magic, elemental magic.  Working with another who understands what can and cannot be done, and what must be done first is important. Having the woman I love beside me means there is nothing I will not face.

Dii: Archos has many skills I do not, but he sees things in a different way. He is charming but he does not see matters from a woman’s way. Sometimes a woman needs to deal with other women. Many of the women, especially the elven women, have endured terrible treatment at the hands of slavers and they would not confide in a man, especially a human man. My friend Ozena talks to them a lot, but there are some matters which can only be discussed with someone who has themselves experienced it.

Dii and Archos appear in The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles and The Shining Citadel.

Review – The Shepherd’s Crown – Terry Pratchett

Review The Shepherd’s Crown

5 Stars

Not perfect but extraordinary.

The last book in the Discworld Fantasy series was always going to be a book which made the reader emotional. Sir Terry Pratchett was, perhaps, one of the greatest British Fantasy writers and his books are funny, intelligent, witty, evocative and adventurous. The Discworld series has brought me many happy hours, and I am sure will continue to do so. I can happily read them over and over and always find something new, always chuckle at the rapier wit and always loose myself in the pages.

The first Pratchett book I read was Reaper Man, lent to me by my boyfriend for a long train journey. I was laughing so much I had tears streaming down my face. I am sure everyone on the train thought I was mad. I think the Discworld got me into fantasy big time.

Since then I have enjoyed every book in the series, watched the screenplays, animated plays, directed an amateur production of Maskerade, and even collected the diaries (even the clown one and I hate clowns). Discworld was a big part of my reading life. I was terribly sad to learn of Mr Pratchett’s death far too young from such a terrible illness. That said he has left a great legacy, and maybe his public fight against the disease which took his life but not his creativity, or his spirit, may bring the disease and its research to the fore.

The Shepherd’s Crown is a book of endings, of uncertainty and then determined inevitability towards the future. Many of the other reviews of this book speak of an air of frustration, the sense of things being left unfinished and I agree. All of those are there, and yet there is also the sharpness, the wit and the sense of adventure one would expect from a Pratchett book.  Characters die – and the Discworld is left rather emptier without them. Just as the literary world is left rather emptier with the death of Terry Pratchett. I must confess I had a bit of a cry over this one.

So enough of the eulogy, what about the book? Firstly it isn’t perfect. It isn’t QUITE as polished as some, but it doesn’t matter. After all very few authors can write quite so many books, and certainly not pen a book in the last few months of a terminal illness. The book is still complete enough to be enjoyable and it’s a fitting final book. A path travelled with familiarity and fondness but still a few rough patches is still a worthy path to take.

The story picks up after Wintersmith and the banishing of the elves – the elder witches return, and sacrifice is there. The fight is not without cost. It is more for the younger audience but death, duty, life and love are all covered. The Witches again do battle and the MacFeegles are, as always, mischievous and crafty in a very lovable way.  Tiffany is character with many qualities, and they are all tested. Granny Weatherwax’s conversation with Death is poignant one can’t help thinking of the Reaper Man waiting at the door, and bowing his head to the author as well as the greatest witch.

It’s not Pratchett’s greatest work, but despite the rather rushed ending, the not quite perfect character of Geoffrey and his intriguing goat who isn’t explained, it’s still a Discworld novel. It’s still a damn good read, a bit darker, a bit starker, a bit less full of life and a whole lot sadder, but yes it’s still a great read. I think the circumstances of the book’s very being give an air of the extraordinary.

Mind how you go, Sir Terry. You’ll be missed.