Tag Archives: Fantasy

Book Blitz: ‘Black Stone of Vallanir’ by R.D. Villam

Title: Black Stone of Vallanir

Northmen Saga – Book 1

Author: R.D. Villam

Genre: Fantasy

About the Book:

“I can judge friends. Or foes. I know which one is a big wolf, which one is a small dog, and which one is a small dog who only pretends to be a big wolf. You, big wolf.”

William, a young blacksmith, has promised his mother not to go to the northern lands and find out about his father’s killer. But after he kills several bandits by the river, he has no choice but to flee north and break his promise. He joins a small army of fishermen who will fight the Northmen who want to raid the southern villages. He meets his toughest opponent, a beautiful but fierce girl named Vida. A warrior princess who wants to unite her people.

Whose destiny will win?

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

About the Author:

R.D. Villam is an Indonesian author/writer. He has published several fantasy books in his country and now bringing his stories to the world to fulfill his dream. 

He also founded Indonesian Kindle Authors, a small group to assist fellow Indonesian writers in publishing their books on Amazon Kindle Book Store.

Social Media Links:

Website: www.rdvillam.mailchimpsites.com

Twitter: @rdvillam

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rdvillam

Instagram: www.instagram.com/rdvillam20

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Author Interview: ‘Chambers of the Heart’ by B. Morris Allen

About the Book:

A heart that’s a building, a dog that’s a program, a woman who’s sinking irretrievably – stories about love, loss, and movement. A collection of speculative stories from author and editor B. Morris Allen.

  • Chambers of the Heart – when someone else’s heart is your home
  • Building on Sand – your own child or the child that needs you now?
  • Blush – when everyone else wears a mask, what’s it like to bare your face?
  • Minstrel Boy Howling at the Moon – magic, music, and … buffalo?
  • Fetch – she may be a simulation, but out on the edge, she’s one man’s best friend
  • The Humblebract Expedition – a play date for a dying child can only end in tragedy, right?
  • When Dooryards First in the Lilac Bloomed – a doorway to opportunity and change, if only they can understand it
  • Some Sun and Delilah – a sunny island, an abandoned temple, and … truth?
  • Crying in the Salt House – the house is built from tears, or so they say
  • Full of Stars – jar half empty, jar half full
  • Memory and Faded Ink – the aliens are perfectly human … and just as flawed
  • Fountainhead – arranged pairings never work, especially with different species
  • Adaptations to Coastal Erosion – what do you do when your spouse just sinks away, literally?
  • Outburst – Earth is dead, and the one remaining orbital can’t be saved, can it?
  • The Irrigation Ditch – they came to hide, but didn’t realize it was from each other
  • Dragons I Have Slain – take hope where you find it

Cover art by Bonnie Leeman.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Excerpt:

“Chambers of the Heart” excerpt.

Despair and Ecstasy are the simplest. Ecstasy is the small and cozy room of a cottage that looks out on a broad meadow in the forest. In the spring, elk come to posture and to mate, and the wildflowers bloom on every side. In the fall, mist dances in silver swirls framed by gold and bronze and copper trees. It is always spring or fall.

Despair is a vast, dark hall of low ceilings and small windows. In winter, snowdrifts sometimes cover the windows so that they are only squares of gray against black stone. In the summer, shafts of hot, bright light do nothing to warm the room, and only blind us to the room’s darkness, so that we must carry candles to the Master’s hard throne. It is always winter or summer.

Ecstasy and Despair are the simplest chambers, and the worst, and they are where the Master spends his time.

Author Interview:

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

I started writing a long time ago, when I was about 6 (so about 50 years ago). One of my very earliest pieces was preserved by my (probably mystified) parents, and can be found here: “The Orange Donkey” (https://www.bmorrisallen.com/oddities/the-orange-donkey/). I’m not sure it was my greatest writing accomplishment, but it is an early one.

Our house was full of all sorts of books, and I became a voracious reader from an early age, but I didn’t really try to write until college, but I didn’t have much tenacity — lots of starts, very few completed stories. One of those did become my first published story much later, but I didn’t take writing seriously until I finally decided to treat it like a job. I was, for the first time in decades, between jobs, so when my spouse left for work, I sat down to write all day. Much to my surprise, it mostly worked.

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

Ideally, I write when inspiration strikes, but I found after decades of trying that that’s a really terrible approach for me — inspiration and opportunity rarely coincide. Instead, an ideal time would be on a non-workday, after breakfast, with my spouse out gardening, the music on, and me covered with animals. It’s really a question of mindset; once I get going (which can take an hour), it usually flows reasonably well. Of course, there are some days when nothing works, and everything I write is terrible. On those days I just give up and do something else.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Everywhere. I get ideas constantly and forget half of them. But I have a file with hundreds of others. Sometimes the file notes are cryptic — there’s at least one that I know was a great idea, but I just can’t decipher what it was. I get a fair number of ideas from misheard lyrics. Or, much more rarely, from correctly heard lyrics that really struck me. That’s the case with at least two stories in my latest collection: “Minstrel Boy Howling at the Moon” is a straight steal from the title of a Jimmy La Fave song. “Dragons I Have Slain” is similarly a lyric from a Jon Lord song that bothered me, since I wouldn’t kill a dragon; the story was my way of working it out.

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?

Both. I’m definitely a discovery writer — I find out about most of the story as I write it. But I almost always have a sense of the mood that I want to leave the reader with at the end, and I will often have a broad sense of the arc — where the story starts and where it ends. Sometimes I have a clever line, or an image, or a concept. I don’t usually start with characters — they emerge from the piece as I go.

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

I almost entirely write science fiction and fantasy. I have a number of mainstream novels in mind and have written a number of mainstream stories, but there’s just limited time to write, and the SFF ones are the ones that are most fun.

My interest in SFF very definitely came from a childhood Christmas present — the complete set of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom books (recently made into the terrible movie, John Carter of Mars. I’d read some SFF before then — Alan Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, a few others — but when I found Barsoom, I immediately turned away from most of the ‘serious’ literature I was reading and turned mainly to science fiction and fantasy.

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

My latest book is a short story collection, Chambers of the Heart, so I’ll answer instead with my first novel, Susurrus. It’s essentially the story of how an evil sorceress came to be one, tracing a sweet, desperately poor orphan as she finds a foster father and learns a little magic. In this world, each country has its own magic, and she’s uniquely able to learn more than one type, and to carry them across borders. Only, the more magic she learns, the worse her life gets, until she turns bitter and cruel. It’s a dark story (but there’s a happy ending), and it’s focused on this one woman, so I’d want a strong, talented actor to play her — Viola Davis would be perfect for the role. 

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

I read whenever I can. Sadly, between a full-time day job and running an SFF magazine (Metaphorosis), that’s not as often as I’d like. My favorite authors are probably Patricia A. McKillip, Roger Zelazny, Orson Scott Card (politics aside), James Thurber, Richard Adams, Richard Llewellyn, Dava Sobel, M.J. Engh, M.K. Wren. I could go on for ages. And of course I’m a fan of the authors I publish in my magazine and anthologies — newer voices like Vanessa Fogg, Molly Etta, L. Chan, Jason Baltazar, L’Erin Ogle, Laurel Beckley… Again, I could go on and on.

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

I’m re-reading M.K. Wren’s fantastic SF romance, Phoenix Legacy trilogy; Gate Thief, the second book in Orson Scott Card’s Mither Mages trilogy; Gardner Dozois’ The Best of the Best collected from his Year’s Best Science Fiction; and I think one or two others.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

That is a remarkably difficult question. If I really had to choose one, it might be Songmaster by Orson Scott Card. But I’d try to sneak in The Owl Service by Alan Garner; How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn; The Prince in Waiting by John Christopher; and After the Festival by George R.R. Martin.

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

Read. In my view, the key to becoming a writer is to read — a lot. Read constantly and read widely. I said that I read mostly SFF, and that’s true, but I’ve read a lot of other things as well. You don’t even, frankly, have to think analytically about what you read — just read a lot and you’ll absorb a sense of what works, as well as a rich vocabulary. Equally important, a sense of what you like and why.

Write. This sounds obvious, but many writers will tell you the same. You’re not a writer until you actually write something down, and ideally tell a complete story, and this latter part is much harder than it sounds. Don’t do what I did and waste decades assuming inspiration and opportunity will coincide. They won’t. Take writing seriously and work hard at it. Eventually, someday, what seemed daunting and impossible will turn easy and fun.

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

I’m middle-aged, so social media is not my natural milieu, but I’m on Twitter pretty often @BMorrisAllen and @Metaphorosis. I’m very occasionally on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bmorrisallen.

About the Author:

B. Morris Allen is a biochemist turned activist turned lawyer turned foreign aid consultant, and frequently wonders whether it’s time for a new career. He’s been traveling since birth, and has lived on five of seven continents. When he can, he makes his home on the Oregon coast. In between journeys, he edits Metaphorosis magazine, and works on his own speculative stories of love and disaster. His dark fantasy novel Susurrus came out in 2017.

Find out more at www.BMorrisAllen.com

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Book Blitz: ‘In the Dark’ by Kaelyn Buzzo

Title: In the Dark

Author: Kaelyn Buzzo

Genre: Fantasy / Paranormal Fiction

About the Book:

“There are monsters in this world. Ones that cause trouble, ones that will not show themselves, ones that tell lies, and ones that stalk your nightmares. Mine has come to meet me in person.”

Kalea lived a simple, carefree life, on the threshold of entering college. That is, until one of the monsters found her. And kidnapped her. Taking her away from her home and throwing her into a place of darkness and screams. Of pain and torture.

On the cusp of giving up all hope, she finds a chance to escape and stumbles onto a secluded mountain property in Colorado. There are strange men here, kind, but they have secrets they’re not telling her. Meanwhile, her Monster is searching for her, and unexplainable things are happening.

In this thrilling supernatural adventure, readers will follow Kalea as she finds her place in a world full of monsters, magic, and madness. They’ll grab hold of the dark secrets that surround her, the fierce friendships in her new community, and the strength of her fortitude as she barrels through tragedy to learn who she is, what she can do, and who she is meant to become.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Barnes & Noble

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Screams and shouts echoed throughout the humid night’s air. My heart rapid-fire against my chest.

The sounds of her struggles cut off. The raged warrior cry abruptly morphed. Terror combined with unimaginable pain heightened the pitch of her voice, latching onto me as I peeled farther and farther into the bare forest. My throat squeezed, but I pumped my arms faster. Her screams followed me, the steady stretch of distance dimming the heartbreaking confession of agony. A loud crack slammed into my senses causing me to stutter in my stride. A branch had broken underfoot. I couldn’t hear much over my rushed footfalls and ragged breathing. They had to be following me. Were they close? Breathing down my neck? Back of my neck tingling, I pushed harder. Faster. Far away from here. From them

Air whistled past. Branches smacked my skin. Rocks stabbed my bare feet. My muscles burned, begging me to relent. To ease my pace. But I couldn’t, not now. If I was caught, a promise of a much more painful fate than my lack of endurance awaited me.

Blood and dirt marred the once-white material of the formless dress I was forced to wear. I endured a relentless pace. Sweat soaking my skin. Add in a dash of humidity, a whole lot of fear, and I was drenched, the dress clinging to my body like a second skin.

When I was first captured, I’d plotted and planned every second I was awake. How far I would go to get out, what I would do to them once I got out. Bitterness raked my insides. But what could I do? Nothing. I was powerless. Weak. Helpless. That point had been absorbed harshly and quickly after my first—and only—attempt at escape. I didn’t try again.

I had given up hope. Until tonight.

I would have rotted in that cell if it weren’t for her. She created a window of opportunity. A small one, but one that couldn’t be wasted. And yet, I had hesitated for the barest of moments.

That hesitation might cost me.

***

Time passed. I wasn’t sure how much.

I moved on autopilot. Fearful and paranoid, I ran and ran, sustaining my pace with an innate sense of direction. Somehow, I didn’t run into a tree or—God forbid—off a cliff. My muscles were screaming.

The terrain blurred past as I continued on as if the hounds of hell were nipping at my feet. In the dark, the trees loomed over me. An eerie presence at night, now comforting, as if I were being shielded in the cover of their bare branches. Everything was dead and dark here. The trees had no leaves or greenery. There was no grass, only dirt and rock. Life had been sucked out of this place. 

Inconvenienced by my rebellion, would they kill me on the spot? Or would they take me back and make me plead for death? I shuddered, hardening my resolve to keep going. To hurry. For there was one solid conclusion in what would happen if they took me back.

I wouldn’t make it out a second time.

I scrambled for a plan, mind racing at a pace rivaling my feet. Find shelter and food. Somewhere to lay low and recoup. Resentment that burned like acid had me surging forward with renewed fervor. Laying low was impossible, and not because of the current state of my clothes and matted hair that hid my natural blonde coloring. What kept me from being considered invisible, from blending in, wasn’t removable. Etched into my skin was a sour reminder of who and what would find me if I stopped running. If I was caught.

Flames steadily encroached, penetrating my lungs and making it hard to breathe. The fire spread to my legs as I pushed on. White clouds ghosted past as I gasped for air. The night air had grown chilly, my sweat-soaked gown worsening the conditions tenfold.

Out of nowhere, a blast of wind slammed me in the face, momentarily blinding me. I gasped in shock and then again in fear, for when I opened my eyes, I found myself surrounded, but not by pursuers. Gusts of air encircled me, and I shrieked as my feet left the ground. I tried grabbing onto some sort of anchor, a stray root or branch, but what I could only describe as a typhoon of wind enveloped me, leaving me helpless to its tempestuous force. Absolutely terrified now, I clutched my limbs to my torso and covered my head. 

Then, as abruptly as it had come, it was gone. I yelped, my back smacking the forest floor. I lay there, stunned, dragging in air like a banked fish.

Grass cushioned my forearms and hands, replacing the barren ground of sticks and dirt. Lush greenery covered almost every inch of space available, the rich color of plants boasting the bountiful nutrients provided to them. Birds flitted about, chirping happily and singing to anyone who would listen. The aura of this place was so…light. Sunlight peeking over the curtains of the mountains contrasted heavily to the eternal darkness I had escaped from.

Steeling myself, I stood up on shaky legs. I examined the surrounding luscious oaks, tall pines, and rich flora for hints of danger, like say, sudden typhoons. My concerns were left graciously unfulfilled. Seeing no other option but to adapt to the turn of events, I warily trekked forward into the unknown. 

The pulsing urgency to run, to move, had dissipated.The tension tightening my shoulders lessened the further I traveled. Wherever this was, they weren’t. The hairs on the back of my neck, previously ramrod straight, steadily flattened. More than once, I staggered. Invisible metal chains dragged behind me as I pressed on. My lungs were able to catch a break at this ambling pace, but my legs? They were giving out, and I wasn’t far from giving in. The luscious forest floor was increasing in its appeal as a makeshift bed.

Still, an inexplicable sensation prevented that from occurring. It drew me forward, a magnetized pull from deep inside my gut. Tugging at me when I paused for too long, the energy to rebel nonexistent. The charged sensation willed me to persevere. To blindly follow. 

Eventually, the tree line receded. A beautiful two-story wood house came into view, standing in the center of a large clearing. The porch lights were off, along with the indoor ones. It appeared empty, but too well-kept to be abandoned. Maybe it was a vacation home for a rich family with three kids and a St. Bernard. My legs were starting to give out as the adrenaline rush abandoned me. My feet dragged as I wobbled closer. Grass caressed my shins as the sun languidly rose higher into the sky.

In the removal of shadow, in the dawning of light, the house was like a beacon. I was the puppet, and the house was the puppet master. That, or whatever awaited inside.

It was unsettling how quiet it had gotten. The song of birds gone, the rustle of leaves silent, as if holding their breath. Waiting. Watching. 

I reached a wide set of stairs leading up to two massive double doors. Legs shaking, my knees knocked together. Halfway up, my legs decided they’d had enough. My knees cracked on the wood stairs, splintering the skin. I cried in silent frustration. On my hands and knees, I crawled the rest of the way, cursing whoever deemed it necessary to design houses with more than a single story.

Somehow, I managed to drag myself up to the thick, oak doors. Beyond it lie what had called me here. I stretched a hand up, hovering over the gold handle. A tear fell as I shut my eyes. I prayed. Prayed that the door was unlocked. God, let there be no one inside. I had nothing left in me to run or defend myself. I had to open the door. Holding my breath, I lowered my hand, pressing down against the cold metal handle. 

Someone above must have been listening, granting me mercy. The door creaked open.

The strangest sensation hit me. One of coming home after a long time away. The intensity rocked me, hitting my chest and squeezing it tight. A relieved sob left me, along with my breath.

Bonelessly I fell to the floor. Sleep finding me.

***

Sunlight crept into my vision. I was being pulled out of the comforting relief of sleep. I groaned, covering my eyes with an arm. Then groaned again for a different reason.

What did they do to me this time? It felt like I had carried a bag of bricks across the country. Twice. My body was battered. I was stiff. My joints ached. I shifted to test for any blatant signs of injury. Pangs came from my feet and knees, but otherwise, the only other pain was the soreness of my muscles. Hushed sounds reached me from nearby. My head began to pound, and as the sounds continued, my ears started to ring. The simple noise triggered something in my memory.

That’s when I remembered the screams.

Remaining where I was, I listened for what woke me. Fear slammed into me. Fear at what I heard—the sound of urgent whispers nearby. Unmistakably deep and throaty in pitch.

Male.

I scrambled upwards on all fours, wincing at the cries and pangs of my hurting body. I ignored the figures that flinched back at my abrupt movement. I had passed out in the entryway, with the door still hanging open. Without sparing another glance at the figures, I rushed outside on aching limbs.

“Wait!” A deep voice hollered.

I had been foolish, passing out and leaving myself vulnerable. No matter how exhausted I’d been. If they didn’t have me arrested for breaking and entering, then I’d be taken to the hospital or the police station based on my outward appearance alone. Either one would end up with questions and nosy reporters, which I couldn’t afford.

Nothing would stop them from retrieving me. A human would be a tasty snack in their way. A badge and a gun were of little consequence to them. I wanted to prevent the meaningless loss of lives—and whoever was chasing me now would be no match for what was coming.

I refused to go back. 

I crashed back out through the open door. I didn’t bother with the stairs, throwing myself over the railing. I rolled forward until I came to stand on two feet.

“Holy crap.” Another voice said somewhere behind me.

I didn’t bother to hear what else was said. I bolted. All my focus on the tree line in front of me. Please don’t follow, please don’t follow, please don’t follow. When I heard the sounds of feet pounding closer, I urged my heavy limbs faster with a whimper on my lips. Entering the edge of the forest, I dodged trees and rocks the size of minivans. The effort strenuous on my sore limbs. My heart raced in fear with the strain of pursuit. I desperately hoped it was equally as challenging for my new pursuers to follow. Yet, the sounds of their footsteps remained persistent. 

A loud roaring found my ears, the sound drawing closer ahead as I raced forward. A cluster of trees came into view, a clear blue sky lying behind them. Freedom, it said. Freedom is here.

“Stop!” A voice yelled, “That drops off to the river!”

My breath seized. The sound of rushing water roared louder and louder, consuming me. 

“I’m sorry,” I whispered to the sky. Sorry for not being strong enough. Fast enough. For wasting your sacrifice. For having to resort to this.

I tilted my head upwards to embrace the warmth of the sun on my face one last time. Sucking in a ragged breath, I clenched my hands and pulsed my arms faster.

Kade, grab her!”

They wouldn’t be quick enough.

It was a bittersweet feeling. I wouldn’t have to fear for my life. Looking over my shoulder and covering up my footsteps in order to hide my presence. But that bubble of relief was popped by the knowledge that I would never see my parents again. I would never bathe in the sun’s warmth or see my parents’ smiles. I would never get a chance to live again. But it would be better than fighting to survive in confinement. It had to be. Going back would drown what was left of my soul in acid. I was not going to die by their hands. I would not let them take that unique piece of myself that made me—me. They would not receive the pleasure of ripping my body and soul apart any longer. 

Rocks jabbed my bare feet, but I didn’t care. The stabs of pain would be the last. I reveled in that fact as I ate up the last few strides to the edge.

“Nooo!” A chorus of voices roared.

I jumped.

Blue sky and sunshine welcomed me into its motherly embrace—and didn’t quite let me go. I didn’t fall, plunging to my death in the river below as gravity intended. Something held me suspended above the river, smoothing away unshed tears as I curled into myself. Like a doll, I remained helpless as a brief touch of light caressed my cheeks with whispers carried in the wind. Words that I could make out clearly past the angry roaring of the river below. A calm strength spoke to me.

It is not your time, child of mine.

The voice was unhindered by the roaring of the river and the gusts of wind rushing by. Clear as a bell and as unwavering as the rising sun. He spoke. Gentle, yet firm. He told me of what was to come. Warning me of the evil that did not discriminate. That would take down any in its path of greed and destruction. How I would need these very strangers I ran from at my side to succeed. His words struck a chord within me. My mission to come was one of trial and pain. Weariness dragged my consciousness, pulling at me like a determined child. Would I find no rest?

Vaguely I thought how weird it was to be having hallucinations as I fell to my inevitable demise. But who was I to judge? I was about to die.

A distant flapping of wings beating reached my ears, and then I was released from the suspended embrace mid-fall. All at once the angry roar of water and the whipping of air returned. I was dropping. I shut my eyes as the raging water below rushed to meet me. 

I was free.

Sitting on the porch at home, I snuggle into a fuzzy blanket. A cup of hot chocolate warming my hands.

A soft, feminine laugh echoes through the open window beside me. A male voice responds in turn with a bellowing laugh, and I snicker quietly into my cup.

The screen door creaks open, my mother stepping out. Wavy brown hair falls to her shoulders, gentleness in her caramel eyes as she looks at me. 

“Okay, honey. We’re going to head out for dinner.” 

“Wish me luck, sweetie,” my father stage-whispers to me. “I heard she’s an expensive date.” My mom smacks his chest, her eyes twinkling. Her hand rests on my father’s chest, his arms encircling her waist.

I roll my eyes playfully at their shenanigans. “Have fun!” I holler as they stroll to my dad’s truck. “And be back by midnight or you’re both on dish duty for a month.”

“Ok, Mom!” They yell back past their laughter.

Shaking my head, I settle back down into the cushions, watching their car leave until the red taillights are no longer visible. I take another sip of my drink, feeling the chocolatey goodness warm its way down to my stomach. Resting my head back on the back of the porch swing, I revel in the cool breeze and peaceful night. Eyes drifting shut.

I wish I would have known what would happen once I opened my eyes. If I had, I would have never fallen asleep. I would have made my parents bring me along with them. I would have done something, anything different. 

About the Author:

A born and raised Floridian, Kaelyn Buzzo has been an avid bookworm since childhood. She loves the power of words and the stories that draw you in so powerfully, it feels as if you are experiencing every touch, taste, and emotion yourself. Kaelyn wanted to give readers that visceral experience with In the Dark, her debut novel which she wrote mostly from her local coffee shop. She is also a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach who writes about veganism, mental health, and body image, all themes that feature prominently in her book along with her love and faith in God as a Christian.

When she’s not reading, writing, or coaching, Kaelyn is playing volleyball or hanging out with her two smaller furbabies (her three-footed cat named Raja and her half-blind dog named Milo) or on her family’s farm with her much larger furbabies, two Quarter horse Paints named Titan (aka Grumpy) and Winston.

Social Media Links:

Website: www.kaelynbuzzo.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/author.kaelynbuzzo

Facebook: www.facebook.com/InTheDarkBookSeries

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Cover Reveal: ‘Desperate Tides, Desperate Measures’ by Brett Salter

Title: Desperate Tides, Desperate Measures

Series: The Talisman Series Vol. 5

Author: Brett Salter

Genre: Fantasy / Magical Realism

About the Book:

Looks like our heroes can finally put an end to the nightmare that was Scarabadon, The Juggernaut.  And it seems everyone’s favorite Synergist Knight and Master Dragon have fixed their Talisman issue too.  Having thwarted every attack The Tyrant King has thrown at them to this point, The Alliance believes that they can endure any challenge as long as they remain together.  Now, having the upper hand seems like the perfect opportunity to seek out more allies and even more of the realm’s mystical Talismans. Could this be a “happily ever after” for our ensemble of motley heroes?  Or is this peace just a fool’s hope and just as temporary as the changing tides?

The Talisman series will reveal the clandestine workings of the dragons and their knights who embrace the role of protecting our world from The Tyrant King and his evil minions. Whichever side controls the Talismans and their magic will determine the destiny of the world. The question is, what are these Talismans, and how can they be used for the good of humanity and the dragon dens?

The Talisman Series:

The Search for Synergy: The Talisman Series Vol. 1

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Amazon UK

Amazon US

Riders of Fire and Ice: The Talisman Series Vol. 2

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Amazon UK

Amazon US

Windy City Ruins: The Talisman Series Vol. 3

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Amazon UK

Amazon US

The Battle for Verdana: The Talisman Series Vol. 4

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Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the Author:

My background in writing stems mostly from the inspiration I found as a kid when I read Fantasy and Sci-Fi books. These include The Chronicles of Narnia, The Xanth Novels, The Time Quintet, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and everything from Shakespeare to Dr. Seuss. In my formative years, I joined several punk rock bands and wrote songs, poetry, and short stories aplenty. As an adult (?) I took on a dare and wrote the first book in my Talisman Series. I loved the feeling it gave me and the idea of inspiring others so much that I kept writing until I had an entire series.

And now, a massive head’s up! I am NOT a professional writer. That’s why I write MG/YA instead of High, Epic Fantasy. I do all my own writing, my own editing, my own promoting, and my own stunts with my extremely limited free time. If you are okay overlooking a few typos and coma splices, then we can be friends. If you are expecting the next George R.R. Martin, then my apologies. I write for kids like my own and tell stories meant to entertain. Check out my books if you like action, dragons, and zany characters.

Stay cool and keep a wary eye out for portals!

Social Media Links:

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/16878722.Brett_Salter

Talisman Series Fandom Wiki page:  www.the-talisman-series-by-brett-salter.fandom.com/wiki/The_Talisman_Series_by_Brett_Salter_Wiki

Authorsden: www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?AuthorID=214341

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Author Interview: ‘The Witchfinder’ by J. Todd Kingrea

About the Book:

In a post-apocalyptic world where tyranny and medieval torture reign supreme and witch burnings are an everyday occurrence, a top Witchfinder must confront the very Church he serves when he learns of its dark past and twisted plans for the future.

The Church of the Deiparous rules with an iron fist and its rising star, Witchfinder Imperator Malachi Thorne, is committed to leading its cause. Thorne is a man on the fast track to greater things so when a convicted traitor and heretic escapes his grip, he won’t tolerate it marring his perfect record. 

As he pursues his quarry, he must confront demons, sorcery, and a cult of witches out for his blood. But when Thorne comes face to face with the Church’s dark past and its twisted present, his faith is tested to its limits. Now Thorne must decide who and what he believes in—and what he will do about it.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Reviews:

The Witchfinder transports you to a dimension filled with sorcery, deception, and triumph. Thorne’s journey captivates the reader, taking you on a rollercoaster of emotions that is perfectly tied up by the end of the novel. A great read for those interested in fantasy, mystery, and magic.” Anastasia Wood, NetGalley Reviewer

“This was an amazing read! The story was very original and the world building was phenomenal. Kingrea does an incredible job detailing the world and characters making it very easy to visualize.” Hailey Vraney, NetGalley Reviewer

“a great book. World building was on point, character development, action! It was everything that I was hoping it would be… Can’t wait for more from this series!” Jasmine Book, Goodreads Reviewer

“Very original story and worldbuilding. Great discovery and I highly recommend it!” Mackenzie Bernatchez, Bookseller

Author Interview:

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

My earliest recollection of writing is from around 1974-1975.  I was a fan of the Tarzan comics published by DC and Marvel during those years.  I remember sitting in my tree house in the backyard and writing a story in which I was Tarzan.  After that I don’t recall writing—or wanting to write—as a way of expressing myself.  My dream was to be an artist (preferably drawing comics for Marvel and DC).  I created my own Avengers-style comic with my friends and I as the heroes (naturally!) I knew I wanted to pursue some sort of career in the art field, so my attentions were directed there.

In 1979 and 1980 I discovered “Dungeons & Dragons.”  By this time my appetite for fantasy had moved from Tarzan to Conan the Barbarian, Tolkien’s The Hobbit (still one of my favorite books of all time) and The Lord of the Rings, and anything else I could get my hands on.  Little did I know that my introduction to D&D would lead me to where I am today.

Some friends and I created a gaming organization on our college campus and after a while there were different people running games and different people playing games nearly every night of the week (fantasy games, superhero games, science fiction games, and more).  However, as the 1980s progressed I found myself becoming burned out with D&D.  I looked around for another game and genre to explore and came across “Call of Cthulhu.”  Having been a fan of horror movies and horror fiction all my life, I knew I had found my new game!

I began reading everything by H.P. Lovecraft (and his colleagues) that I could find and started a “Call of Cthulhu” game campaign.  As the 1980s transitioned into the 1990s, I began writing my own game scenarios for my friends to play through.

That was really my launching point.  Around that time “The Unspeakable Oath,” a CoC fanzine appeared.  I submitted scenarios and articles to it, and though I didn’t get paid a penny it was great experience. By the mid-1990s I had my first (paid!) work in print with several others in the pipeline.  Being influenced by Lovecraft and others, I tried my hand at short stories that aped his work.  Two got picked up for publication in two different anthologies.

It wasn’t until 2010-2011 that I began to think seriously about trying to write a book. Dove Christian Publishing picked up my manuscript Carrying On the Mission of Jesus and the 12-week devotional was published in 2013. I followed that up in 2016 with Bullied! Confronting and Overcoming Six Major Obstacles to Church Effectiveness, released by eLectio Publishing.

Around that same time, I began writing DVD and Blu ray reviews for “Screem” magazine.  I also wrote a couple of book reviews for “Video Watchdog” before it unfortunately ceased publication.

Knowing that I could write non-fiction, I wondered if I could also write fiction? Toward the end of 2015, I began to research for The Witchfinder.  I bought and read books that would help me develop my fictional world, and I started jotting down anything that came to mind that might be factored into the story.  Much of 2016 was taken up with research, character creation, world-building, and plot development.  It took about a year to finally get to a third draft and a place where I was confident in shopping it around.

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

I don’t think I have a particular time that I favor. I’ll write in the morning, afternoon, or evening if I have the time. When the weather is good I sit on my front porch, but I’ve worked on material just about everywhere I can carry my laptop!

3: Where do your ideas come from?

I think all story ideas stem from one simple question: “What if…?” What if the Nazis had won World War II? What if JFK hadn’t been assassinated? What if Frodo had kept the One Ring? For The Witchfinder, the question I asked: what if the Inquisition of the Middle Ages became the basis for a whole society?

I pick up ideas and “what if” questions from movies, books, personal experiences, and history. Sometimes an idea gets lodged in your mind and you can’t do anything until you’ve put it down on paper. That happened to me early in 2021. I’d finished a non-fiction book on crime scene investigation and one case in it caught my attention. It was one of those “How in the world did this crime go on for so long without anyone noticing” moments. Immediately, an idea for a story took root. I contacted the author of the crime scene investigation book to see if he knew if anyone had fictionalized the case. No one had, to his knowledge. So much as Jack Ketchum did with The Girl Next Door, I decided to take the true crime case and explore it from within.

So, ideas can come from just about anywhere. The trick is to start taking notes the moment one strikes you. If it’s something that pulls you in and won’t let go, it’s probably a story that needs to be told.

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 start by making an outline of the whole story—at least the key scenes and overall arc that I want to use. Once I’ve tinkered with the outline to my satisfaction, I begin to write. Normally after a few chapters the story begins to take me in a new or slightly different direction than what I outlined. Most of the time I go with that to see where it takes me. After all, I can always come back to the outline if necessary.

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

The Witchfinder and the whole Deiparian Saga are what I call post-apocalyptic fantasy (not sure if that’s a “real” sub-genre or not but I like it!). It’s set in an undetermined future dystopia where humanity has clawed their way back to a medieval level of technology and society.

As I mentioned in the first question, my first real exposure to sci-fi and fantasy came via comic books. When I started picking out my own novels I gravitated toward Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories before moving on to Tolkien, Moorcock, Anthony, and Leiber. What drew me to this genre was my imagination—picturing myself in the stories. Like most people who find their way into the genre, it was an escape from normal life. A chance to become someone else. To visit new worlds without leaving your bedroom. 

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

Oh my…I’m not really sure! The only celebrity I had in mind when creating the characters was Kata Mara. I imagined her as the perfect Teska Vaun. But for everyone else? I didn’t have anyone specific in mind. I’ll leave that to the casting director whenever the Deiparian Saga gets picked up for theater or streaming service (fingers crossed, hint, hint!)

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

I do tend to read quite a bit, both fiction and non-fiction. Most of the non-fiction is related to research I’m doing for a story. But I also like to toss in some true crime books from time to time! Favorite authors include H.P. Lovecraft (but not his politics or racial tones), Ramsey Campbell, Clive Barker, James S. Murray and Darren Wearmouth, and C.J. Tudor.

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

I’m currently working my way through A God in the Shed by J-F. Dubeau, Falling Upward by Richard Rohr, and The Black Death by Philip Ziegler.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

My favorite would have to be the Bible. I’ve read it through several times and always find something new in it. And since I’m an ordained pastor, it’s pretty important to my day job!

In the fantasy genre, I’d still have to go with The Hobbit. I read it not long before the Rankin-Bass animated adaptation aired on television in 1977, and it solidified my love of all things fantasy.

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

Just get the first draft written! Take that story that’s rattling around in your head and put it down on paper. It doesn’t matter how messy, ugly, incomplete, or lacking you feel it is. No one should see the first draft but you anyway, so it doesn’t matter what shape it’s in. Also, don’t edit as you go along. You’ll never get the first draft finished if you do that. Once the story’s out of your head and onto paper then you can tinker with it. Author Shannon Hale is quoted as saying “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” You can’t build a sandcastle without sand. You can’t edit a story in your head before it’s been committed to paper. Get it out and get it down. Then you can dive into the really hard part!

Make sure you read a lot. And write regularly. You may not be able to write 500 or 1000 words every day. But write what you can when you can. Keep at it! And be sure to read reference books on the craft of writing. You can learn a great deal that will benefit your writing that way.

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

I’m on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JToddKingrea, Twitter at @JToddKingrea, and Instagram as www.instagram.com/jtoddkingrea. I wanted to keep all my social media under the same name to make them easier to find. My website is www.jtoddkingrea.net, and the publisher’s site is bhcpress.com.

About the Author:

J. Todd Kingrea is the author of the Deiparian Saga. The Witchfinder is his debut novel. An ordained pastor, he lives with his wife in Tennessee with their dogs, plenty of 80s metal, and an ever-expanding movie collection.

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