Tag Archives: Dark Fantasy

Book Review: ‘The Streets of Nottingham’ by Auckly Simwinga

Title: The Streets of Nottingham

Published: 23rd February 2018

Author: Auckly Simwinga



A tragedy will echo through history and force the world into chaos once again…

In The Streets of Nottingham, the world has been broken by a cataclysmic clash between the mother of creation and a god-king. Only one small village has escaped this breaking: one which prays to the mother whose distant mercy masks a deadly and merciless force about to erupt.

In that village, there lives a young man who struggles with the long, unrequited love of a childhood girl and a refuge whose boundaries are marked by chaos.

After their village is attacked by wraiths, the young man embarks upon a quest to find a city called Nottingham, a place that ancient scrolls describe in detail, but a place that is reportedly impossible for anyone to ever reach. He wants to travel there to find a healer that the scrolls mention, to try to save the love of his life, a beautiful young woman named Marika, and bring her back from the dead.



It starts with a sort of poem about a healer in the streets of Nottingham that some may need but not know how to find. Hidden meanings within the lines, like riddles to crack to see what it is really telling you. It all comes from a scroll in the ‘great book’ that hopefully has the answers Adam seeks. He must try and figure it out to get there and find the one to help – though this quest is for him alone (well apart from his ever-loyal horse Shadow).

The time line does jump around from here a bit but isn’t too hard to follow. It’s like we are following the journey Adam takes in the present as he remembers events of the past. It’s a perilous journey to find a way to bring back the one he loves after her life is drained by the one they pray to – the Mother aka Rain. Her heart has been darkened by the loss of the one she loves and in the process the world looks like it is set to break again in her destructive path.

Paranormal gods and goddesses are around to cause trouble and chaos but some there to help. It’s a battle of gods waging war with each other and unfortunately humans are stuck in the crossfire with no escape as it looks like the world is being pulled apart and back together again for the second time.

Interesting darker fantasy and mythical elements throughout, whether with what happens at the village or on Adams journey to find a way to bring back his love. He may have felt he never really fit in but is he about to find out why on his quest?

Intriguing read and if you are looking for a quick fantasy adventure quest this is the book for you. Just don’t go in thinking it’s actually about Nottingham. With it being a mythical place it might have been better to give it a more mythical name.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Author Interview: ‘Bad Dreams’ by Kenneth Buff

About the Book:

We all have nightmares, but not all of us have to live them. Johnathon Clarke did. His bullies beat him. They humiliated him. They stole his life. So at the age of 17 he took it away with a bullet from a gun.

In Hell John finds himself working out his existence in the mailroom, until he’s given the promotion he died for–he becomes the forger of nightmares, the giver of bad dreams.

With his new position, John makes his assignments feel the fear he’s felt his entire existence. He does this until he’s assigned a young girl named Danielle. Danielle’s not much younger than John was, and the circumstances surrounding why she’s been assigned are troubling. They’re troubling because he disagrees. Now John must decide between continuing this life of torture and scares, or using this dark gift for something else, something that could help this girl who needs him.


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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US


Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’m a special education teacher by day, writer by night. I’m also a dad, and a husband, so I stay busy.

I’ve always enjoyed writing stories, every since I was a little kid. I used to write stories and put my and my friends in them in my elementary days. My original stuff (kid-teenage years) focused on being funny and smart, ala Mel Brookes style. There was also usually a touch of science fiction or fantasy (which has carried over to my adult style).

I still have stories that throw in some dark or ironic humor (some of my short stories, like A Plutonian Wife, or Re-Tailoring You are good examples), but I mostly focus on just writing good stories, and whatever happens happens.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I try to do the whole special writing place, but mostly that just wastes time for me. Driving to a coffee shop takes me 15 minutes, and when you’re juggling as much as I am that eats into writing time. I do it in my office, late at night when the kids are asleep. I turn on my special writing lamp, maybe play some music if I’m editing, and I get to work.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Sometimes they come from conversations with my wife (my favorite one of these was The Second Coming of Cortez), but mostly they come from random places when I’m bored. In the age of smart phones (I didn’t have one until 2014) it’s a lot harder to get bored, which makes the ideas come in slower. I’m considering giving up social media, not necessarily for this reason, but if I do it’ll definitely help my writing.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

Sometimes. Depends on how long I’ve been thinking about it. Bad Dreams is one I started writing in 2005 but didn’t complete until 2012, so I had some ideas. That said, the second half was all written on the fly. I’d stop and plot things out (rough ideas, that often changed as I wrote, but it gave me a road map) and then get back to the keyboard, crafting the next thing.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

Sci-fi and dark fantasy. Those are the stories I’ve always loved. My first love was movies. Terminator 2, The Crow, Dark City, and Mad Max, are just a few movies that have heavily influenced me as a writer. (There’s a lot of What Dreams May Come in my novel Bad Dreams if you look—as far as how things function).

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

My latest book is a novella in my Dick and Henry series called The Wedding. That’s a series about a space pilot who becomes a detective and his sidekick robot. For the lead (the detective, Dick), I’d probably like to see an unknown, or someone who can pull off a 30 something Harrison Ford. For Henry I’d like someone great at voice acting. Someone who can show curiosity, intelligence, and innocence all at once (they’ll need good comedic timing too, as Henry is often unintentionally funny, the way any good robot should be).

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

As Stephen King says, if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write. King is my favorite, but I also love PKD, Hugh Howey, and random stories by random people here and there. I’m always reading something. I try to jump around genres so I don’t get bored and so that I can try and absorb something different for my own writing. I also love craft books on writing (I’m currently reading a craft book right now).

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

The Joy of Craft, and 10 Reasons Why You Should Delete Your Social Media Accounts.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

11/22/63. Just a great story. Has all the things that make King great at what he does.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Don’t do it for money. Ignore all the blogs, books, and videos out there of “indie authors” trying to sell you classes on how to “market your book.” It’s all a waste of money and time. You want to be a writer because you like writing stories. So just do that.

When it’s time to edit, find someone who will do it for free (a friend, family member, whoever…yourself if you have to! But read it in a different format. On a Kindle or printed out if you have to edit it all yourself). When you’re done editing and need a cover make it yourself on Canva or in Photoshop. Then publish it online (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.) and move on to your next story.

I don’t recommend chasing an agent for traditional publishing. I found it a waste of time, and just made me angry.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

Probably just my website. I haven’t posted there in a while. As you can see, I’m considering deleting my social media accounts as I don’t see the benefit to them (the way they impact my behavior negatively seems to out weight any benefit). My Amazon page has all my stories I’ve published, but I do occasionally post on my website or on my author Facebook page what I’m doing next.


About the Author:

Kenneth Buff was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. He moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma in 2007 to attend Oklahoma State University. He graduated in 2013. He currently spends his days working as an elementary special education teacher and his nights at Aspen Coffee, writing his next novel.

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Book Blitz: ‘The Forked Path’ by T.R. Thompson

Title: The Forked Path

Wraith Cycle Series Book 2

Author: T.R. Thompson

Genre: Dark Fantasy / Horror



About the Book:

Future and past entwined.

Despite the victory over Cantor Cortis, the dark power still spreads. Nightmare creatures are wiping out villages all along the southern edge of the wild Tangle forest, causing a stream of refugees to flow into the capital of Sontair in the hope of finding protection.

All who helped overthrow the Nine Sisters of Redmondis have been touched by what they experienced and those they lost. Dark visions sap Petron and Daemi’s strength even as they try to heal the rifts within Redmondis and forge a new path for the wielders, crafters, and guards who make up its three main schools.

Wilt must enter the Tangle to seek out the source of the power that calls to him. Visions of the past seen through other eyes haunt his days, and he finds it harder and harder to resist the pull of his wraith form.

The Guardian is old and weak, and the Tangle is no longer secure…


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Shade had to admit it. He was lost.

He hadn’t thought it possible. He’d spent all his life in the Tangle, wandering its paths, listening to its low murmur and avoiding the random cruel tricks the Others liked to play. Now though, none of the surrounding trails seemed familiar. As soon as he found one worthy of pursuing, it seemed to curve around on itself until he was somehow back where he started.

He’d even tried climbing some of the trees, though they too resisted his efforts, bending themselves out of his way and shifting branches and boughs suddenly out of reach. Finally he’d glimpsed the late afternoon sky and got a sense of direction, but as soon as he was back on the forest floor, the trees seemed determined to shepherd him away from his chosen path. After only a few steps he’d be faced with an impossible solid wall of trees that even his thin figure was unable to squeeze through. And so he’d be forced to turn around and try to flank them, but the forest always seemed one step ahead.

And the Others, their voices much clearer now, as though they too were all converging on this one spot. Their conspiratorial whispers seemed to leak out of the shadows to fill his ears.

A challenge!

So soon?

Long overdue. Look how weakened we are.

But none have succeeded. Even the strongest of us.

And little Shade hopes to succeed?

He squeezed his eyes closed and tried to ignore them. Nurtle had warned him about this as soon as she’d seen the cloak the Guardian had gifted him. How it would open certain doors, certain paths that normally remained closed.

Future and past entwined.

The words on the clasp that had held it. The words forced out of him. Had he brought this on himself? Or was it the Guardian, drawing him ever deeper. Was this what Nurtle had feared?

Time to climb, little Shade.

Climb for your life.

Or your death.

It’s all the same to us, you know.

Shade let their words wash over him, not paying attention to their meaning. His mind was buzzing, as though the forest’s song itself had grown in strength. Their words were just another breeze in the leaves. He kept his eyes closed and let the voice of the forest hum his heart into stillness.

When he opened his eyes again, he was deep in the forest, the light dim, the high sun blocked out by ranks of close-growing trees. The air was thick and muggy, heavy with moisture and the warmth of rotting things, making it hard to breathe.

He was standing in front of an enormous trunk, easily twenty feet across. It was the biggest tree he’d ever seen.

The Challenge Tree!

How high can little Shade climb?

How fast?

Not high or fast enough.

Not a runt like you.

Hurry up and start, boy.

About the Author:

T.R. Thompson is an Australian speculative fiction author. He lives in Belgrave on the outskirts of Melbourne with his wife and two young sons.

When not writing or reading, he spends too much time gaming and taking long meandering walks through the forest that always seem to end up at a tavern.

Website: www.trthompson.com

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Release Blitz and Author Interview: ‘Between the Shadow and the Shade’ by Coleman Alexander

Title: Between the Shadow and the Shade

Author: Coleman Alexander

Genre: Dark Fantasy, High Fantasy,

Coming of Age

Release Date: 21st June 2018



About the Book:

In the deep heart of the forest, there are places where no light ever shines, where darkness is folded by pale hands and jewel-bright eyes, where the world is ruled by the wicked and kept by the wraiths. This is where the Sprites of the Sihl live.

But Sprites are not born, they are made. On the path to Spritehood, spritelings must first become shades. They do so by binding a shadow: a woodland creature, who guides them through their training. Together, they keep from the light and learn to enchant living things, to bind them, and eventually, to kill them.

Ahraia is a shade who has bound a wolf for a shadow, as strong a shadow as there has ever been. But while her wolf marks her for greatness, Ahraia struggles with the violent ways of her people. Illicit as it is, she would rather be running wild beneath the moons. But a test is coming, and the further she and her shadow wander out of the darkness, the deeper they wander into danger. Ahraia’s time is coming and what awaits her at the end of her test will either make her or kill her . . .

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Excerpt #1

“Do wolves have names?” Ahraia murmured aloud.

The wolf’s thoughts burned like dim flames, ill-conceived beyond instinct. Her shadow’s ears tucked back nervously. She was thinking of the plains and the moons and her pack.

We tell stories about the moons, Ahraia conveyed, making her thoughts known to the wolf. They were wolves once, like you, sisters who roamed the plains. My people tell the story of the Blood Wolf and the Dark Wolf, but my favorite is the story of the Bright Wolf. Ahraia ran her finger’s through her wolf’s fur, knowing how unspritish that was to admit. The Blood Moon and Dark Moon were smaller and slower—they didn’t burn like the Bright Moon. Her shadow didn’t care. Her ears stood straighter; she was listening.

The Bright Wolf was the strongest wolf to ever walk the lands, Ahraia thought to her wolf. Losna was her name, and it was known from Everdark to Everlight. But one day, Losna’s mother was killed by the Dae-Mon. So bitter and angry was she that she leapt into the sky to chase after the Dae-Mon. Losna became the Bright Moon, the Masah, the great hunter of the night. Now she spends her night ruling over the world and her days chasing the Dae-Mon. That is why the wolves call for her. Because they love her. And they miss her.

Ahraia let her mind fall into silence. They walked for a time, dodging between slivers of moonlight that fell to the forest floor.

Losna, her shadow thought.

“I will call you Losna.” The name rolled off Ahraia’s tongue and rumbled in her heart. She nodded, as though it was decided. “It’s a good name,” she said, running her fingers through her shadow’s fur.


Excerpt #2


Ahraia’s mother knelt before her, a summer breeze rustling the silver-white hairs that had escaped her tarry-vine.

“Do you know the true purpose of our shadows?”

Ahraia used Losna to steady herself, clutching tightly to the thick clump of fur at her neck.

To guide us as shades? she conveyed. Her eyes and ears tipped down as tears dripped over her cheeks.

Three years had passed since she returned from binding Losna, and, since that day, she had heard her mother’s voice many times—but this would be the last.

Fog swirled from the opposite bank, spilling out over the waters of the Winnowlin and hiding the stars above. Her mother’s cheek bled from the Posturant’s cut, her mark of defeat.

Her mark of condemnation.

If she was nervous, she didn’t show it. Her stark-white eyes were fixed on Ahraia, her ears upright and face a veil of calm. Ahraia’s own lip quivered, and she couldn’t help as a stricken sob escaped.

Stop that, her mother conveyed. Golden veins darkened across her eyes, like tendrils of clouds crawling across the Bright Moon. It shows weakness. And you of all shades can’t show weakness.

Ahraia dragged a light-scarred hand across her face and sniffed hard. Losna nuzzled her, her tongue scratching across her wrist.

That’s better. Her mother wiped the remaining damp from her cheek, ignoring her own bloodied face.

“The true purpose of a shadow is not to guide the shade—but to make a sprite of her. Our shadows are a measure of us. They choose us as spritelings, when we are weak and naïve, grown of soft roots—and they leave us as sprites, hardened and sharp, cut from stone. But it’s what lies between that makes us who we are.”



Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

Originally, right around the time I graduated high school, I spent most of my days dreaming of adventure and worlds beyond our own. For some reason, I started to write down these thoughts and they quickly turned into a story (I remember clearly that the first few pages were drivel, the likes of which I’m sure the world has never suffered before). From there, I suddenly realized that books came from people and I could be one of those people. Before that, I had just kind of assumed authors were like astronauts and you had to be perfect to make a book. But a compulsion was born and I began to create my own story and have been ever since. That was almost fifteen years ago, and somehow I still feel like I’m just getting started.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I like to write in the mornings, typically, as early as I can physically get up (used to be four o’clock but now is five —kid’s make everything tougher). I used to be a night owl, but I never got anything done. Now, I wake up and the world is quiet. Everyone is sleeping, and it seems easier to get my mind going. I’ve gotten to the point where I can write anywhere, but I prefer to be at my desk, in my office. I was particular in the desk I bought, and the chair too. They’re both comfortable and big. I would consider them as my favorite items in my house. In recent years, I’ve come to enjoy writing on vacation as well, particularly if there’s a good place to sit in the mornings, preferably with a view.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

That’s a great question and one I couldn’t possibly begin to understand. To be totally honest, I don’t know. I used to think they were from me—some amalgamation of my life experiences jumbled up and spit out by my subconscious—but nowadays, I don’t know. I’m starting to ascribe to the belief that they don’t necessarily come within. I think there is truth in the idea of muses and right now they aren’t happy with me because I’ve spent too much time getting this book out there rather than writing my next!

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I generally have a good idea of the direction and overall framework of the story. I can’t begin to write without knowing the premise, and that generally drives the structure. Within that framework, however, I have no control. Sometimes, I get into a scene or piece of dialogue and things go haywire. Sometimes that’s a great thing, while at other times, it can derail me for weeks. It all depends on a clear understanding of the characters and their motivations. If I know their driving forces well, the scenes that go off script generally work out for the best.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I write fantasy. Initially, I was drawn to the genre for the adventure and for the wonder it presented. Now, those reasons continue to a source of joy, but the main reason I write fantasy is because of the range of issues it lets me approach. Fantasy can be dark or light. It can be deep or frivolous. It can deal with personal stories or epics. And it does so in ways that can still be an adventure.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

For my other books (not yet released), I have most of the cast chosen. But for this one, it’s different. Between the Shade and the Shadow is a story of sprites— elf-like creatures of the night, and so no human cast really fits my ideal character. So in this case, I would want a bunch of unknowns!

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I try to read a lot, and I generally have one or two audiobooks queued up as well.  My favorites include Patrick Rothfuss, J.K. Rowling, Tolkien, Brandon Sanderson, and Pierce Brown. I read a lot of non-fiction as well, though that depends on what I’m trying to immerse myself in at the time.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I just finished up the third book in Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Series. I haven’t decided what I want to do next.

9: What is your favourite book and why? 

The Name of the Wind is my favorite book. The music alone (in a book!) gives me the chills and the writing is phenomenal. Harry Potter is the series I wish I could re-read from scratch because the characters feel like close friends and I regret every time I finish the books. The Lord of the Rings is my all time favorite and sparked my interest in fantasy. And lastly, I love The Slow Regard of Silent Things. I think it’s such a unique book about a strange and broken creature. I do NOT recommend this book unless you are a fan of The Name of the Wind AND a huge Auri fan. So, as you can see, I don’t have an answer.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

I think you have to cultivate the mindset of always trying to grow and learn. No one is a great writer from the get-go, and so you have to be willing to improve incrementally and continually. My favorite books on writing are Steven Pressfield’s, The War of Art, and Steven King’s, On Writing. Both have helped me immensely, and I think it’s better to take advice from someone like them rather than me.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

My website: therealmless.com

My Amazon Page: www.amazon.com/Coleman-Alexander/e/B07BTJNCPR

My Goodreads Page:



About the Author:

Coleman Alexander lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, exploration runs deep in his blood. Whether visiting the remote wilds of Alaska or the imaginary lands of his books, he is happiest with his head in the woods or the mountains. The farther off the beaten path the better.

His favorite author’s include J.R.R. Tolkien, Patrick Rothfuss, and J.K. Rowling, and his work is influenced by a great number of fantasy and science fiction movies and books. Music plays an integral part of his writing process, and he is always diving down the rabbit hole for new musicians.

Between the Shade and the Shadow is his debut novel, but is only the first piece of a much greater world he is creating, the world of The Realmless.

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Author Interview: ‘The Gloaming, Rise of the Stealth Vampire Elder’ by ML Worthingham

About the Book:

In the aftermath of the mass slaughter of vampires in eighteenth century Europe Valentin tries to keep the fragile covenant not to kill mortals intact through a strategy of abundance. Working from the shadows as vampire elders rule the three nests of modern day Amsterdam, he attempts to manage the finances of the continental vampires while mentoring the newly turned American Steve.After dealing with a vampire hunter in Amsterdam, Valentin, Karolina, and Steve travel to the primal vampire nest in tunnels beneath the Mother of Cities to attend the annual council of elders ruled by Lord Makru. Things go horribly wrong though when a newly turned American girl on summer break tells a mortal everything about the vampires, but fails to feed on him, spurring yet another descendant of vampire hunters into action.

Karolina’s plans to start throwing feeding parties on unsuspecting mortals again after two and half centuries are put on hold as unrest in the four London nests spills over to Amsterdam, resulting in violence and the true death for some. When she and Viona finally start throwing feeding parties at the mansion in Amsterdam and the palace in the Mother of Cities another summer concludes with shocking developments and heart breaking loss.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I grew up in Mill Valley, California and as a teenager wrote several short stories. For a number of years work got in the way, so I didn’t write. A few years ago, I started reading more fiction again, and writing. The Gloaming is my first completed novel.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I do most of my writing in the evening and at night. I can write almost anywhere, but I do need some quiet so I can concentrate. I started the Gloaming in my hotel in Amsterdam.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

It’s a combination of stuff I just make up and life experiences.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

Before I start the book, I have about one third of the story in notes – the plot, main characters and the ending. I typically have some pages already written, but don’t always know where they will go in the story. From there I start writing from page one, fleshing out the story, adding new characters, and new obstacles I hadn’t thought about. This part of the process yields interesting new characters and situations. The final third is outlining, connecting chapters, longer term wants, obstacles, and resolution scenarios to the final chapter. The final chapter typically is in rough form before I connect it to the rest of the story. Finally, there are the rewrites, about five to seven, in which I connect characters and situations more fully to events later in the story and flesh some characters out.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

This is my first completed novel and it’s best described as urban fantasy. I think over the last few years I was influenced the most by George RR Martin’s “Song of Fire and Ice” series, so fantasy seemed like the best place to start. Also, I had been thinking about the vampire myth for a few years so it fit right into that.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

I’m not sure I have a dream cast, but the main characters would have to be from Europe since that’s where the majority of the story takes place. Karolina especially would need to be Czech.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

As I mentioned right now it’s Martin, recently reread all of the Game of Thrones books. I have been reading Layton Green’s Dominic Grey series. Also, lately some Hemingway. Longer term John Steinbeck has always been one of my favorites.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I just finished “The Sun Also Rises” which I had never read. Also, I’ve been doing some research on Druids so “Druids A Very Short Introduction” by Barry Cunliffe. I’ve come to the conclusion we really just don’t know much about the ancient Druids.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

I would have to say Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. He does such a great job describing the locations and characters.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Write. I know that sounds obvious, but just keep writing. It doesn’t have to be toward a finished project. It can go nowhere, but write. You should read the books out there on fiction, but be careful you don’t fall into trying to follow a formula. It’s about the story above all, let the characters and their situations write the story. The other thing is to read as much fiction as possible. Understand why you like or don’t like what your reading, and apply what you have learned.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mlworthingham

Twitter: @mlworthingham


About the Author:

ML Worthingham is a dark fantasy writer and author of The Gloaming. He began thinking about the first book during a trip with friends to Amsterdam in the spring of 2002. Originating out of his dissatisfaction with the current artistic imaginings of the vampire myth he envisioned a dark alternate reality interlacing known history with the unique violent history of the continental vampires of Europe. Work on the first book The Gloaming, Rise of the Stealth Vampire Elder began in Amsterdam during the summer of 2014.

ML Worthingham grew up in Mill Valley, California where he started writing fiction as a teenager; spent time traveling all over the US for work, in Europe mostly for pleasure, and currently lives in Silicon Valley. When he isn’t writing or delivering innovative new technology he can be found traveling the world, mountain biking, or just getting another cup of coffee.

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