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Embracing the Darkness – Book Trailer

What lurks in darkness cannot hide from the light.

Jasce Farone, previously known as the Angel of Death, has returned to Orilyon as commander of the Paladin Guard in hopes of locating his long-lost sister and settling down with his fiancée, Kenz. But now that peace has come to Pandaren, Queen Valeri is hosting the Gathering—a meeting of five kingdoms, and among those invited are the Vastanes, whose war crimes have not been forgotten. And though the rulers of each kingdom claim they want peace, ulterior motives hide in the shadows.

As the Gathering begins, lethal magic-hunting creatures terrorize the people, and Spectrals are reported missing. Jasce is forced to choose between the search for his sister and the survival of the kingdom he has sacrificed everything to save.

In this second installment of The Darkness Trilogy by award-winning author Cassie Sanchez, Jasce, Kenz, Kord, and Amycus return and are joined by a new cast of characters to battle political intrigue, foreign magic, and mystifying beasts. Jasce will need all his magic—and more—to defend those he loves, while resisting the familiar embrace of the Angel of Death, who demands blood at any cost.

Roland Of The High Crags – Book Trailer

Warrior. Monk. Wizard. He is Roland Of The High Crags.

As a warrior monk he has taken vows to protect humanity from all forms of evil. To protect the innocent and the weak, and to unflinchingly face his foes, no matter the odds. For centuries, that meant that the Bretan monks faced the hordes of Dragon armies who pushed Mankind into the snow-capped mountains of The High Kanris.

But one day, a dragon nobleman asks Roland to take his remaining heir, a seven-year-old dragon princess, and save her from those who wish to destroy her. Accepting the challenge, Roland decides to raise the child in the ways of The Bretan, and teach her the vast magical powers of the Bretan Way.

Yet in his heart he knows the truth; that the child is the ultimate weapon, designed by the Dragon gods. A weapon forged in Dragon magic and charged with the command to destroy the entire human race. Yet Roland sees a glimmer of hope, a way to defy the prophecy. A way to take the ultimate weapon and turn it against the gods themselves.

It’s a gamble filled with treachery and betrayal, but it is a chance to end the forever war. For Roland, there is no choice but to accept this role.

And so, the adventure begins.

Skull’s Vengeance

This historical fantasy story is set in the first century AD, where Brittania is at constant war with Gaul. The protagonist, Catrin, is a Celtic warrior who has a difficult romantic decision to make when her secret Roman lover, Marcellus, refuses to join her as her king in Brittania. She can either live without him in her homeland or live with him in Rome as his scorned foreign mistress.

I enjoyed the depth of Catrin’s character and how her bravery manifests throughout the story. She is a strong female protagonist that reminds me of Lagertha’s character in the TV show Vikings. Catrin has a wicked half-brother, Marrock, who is a powerful sorcerer who will stop at nothing to destroy her. I reveled in Marrock’s character probably just as much as Catrin’s character. I enjoy a good villain and I think that it’s the villain that really sells a fantasy story, to me anyway. Catrin has no option but to join forces with former enemies. The dramatic turn of events throughout the novel is unpredictable and makes it difficult to choose when to put the book down. I was always interested in seeing how Catrin was going to handle the next twist.

As the fourth book in a series, the action relies on the considerable backstory to make sense of the plot. Tanner does make an effort to fill in the details to get the reader up to speed. I think this book is better as a continuation of an epic rather than as a standalone story, but if you don’t mind missing a few details you’ll still find plenty to enjoy in this novel. The best part of this book, for me, is the way the action is set amongst real-life history and well-known legends. The story fits within the lore of King Arthur and mystical Druids, giving this novel an authenticity that many fantasy stories lack.

Skull’s Vengeance is an evocative and gripping fantasy adventure that long time fans of the series will heartily enjoy. This is a fast-paced read that will appeal to fans of epic fantasy that are looking for a bit of history infused in their fantasy lore. Skull’s Vengeance has well-defined characters, a deep backstory and a well-drawn plot. I think it’s best suited to adult readers who don’t mind some graphic violence and sex scenes.

Pages: 402 | ASIN: B0BC2GCFGG

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To Create My Own Earthsea

Ian E.S. Adler Author Interview

The Last War follows five heroes as they embark on dangerous quest to rediscover the secret of the Elder Song. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Strange as it may seem, I found out about the Elder Song a bare moment before Loremaster Aneirin did. I knew from the start that the five were going to summon the power of the Dragonkin using the Shrines, but how they were going to achieve that – i.e. the setup – was a mystery to me until a heartbeat before Aneirin heard of the Elder Song. However, while the setup came organically in that sense, the Cynnahu Saga itself is directly inspired by the late Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea Cycle; in short, her Archipelago inspired me to create my own.

I remember first reading The Earthsea Cycle in elementary school, hearing the mage Ogion of Re Albi say “To hear, one must be silent.” And I still remembered those words when I took the series up for a second and third time, years later. While the rest of my generation went to Hogwarts with Harry, I traveled by ship to the School of Roke with Ged.

Isn’t that interesting? I openly and sincerely adored Middle-earth and idolized the wizard Gandalf, but it was Ogion the Silent who I related to: “He spoke seldom, ate little, slept less. His eyes and ears were very keen, and often there was a listening look on his face.” I also remember being struck with the fact that Earthsea was an Archipelago, the first I had ever encountered in a Fantasy, with no true main continent to journey across; rather the journeying was done by ship, in the soul, and on different Isles each of which had a special distinction – its own personality, if you will. I was so struck that even at so young an age I decided that if I were ever to write a Fantasy book then it would take place upon an Archipelago. I knew I wanted a mages’ school, a ruling Archmage, and ships. Interesting is it not? I idolize The Lord of the Rings, yet never felt the need to create my own Middle-earth.

Your characters are all unique and detailed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Most simply came to me, cliche as that sounds. However, I tried to have them represent something I felt needed a voice. Archmage Hoth is my idea of an ideal leader. Myrriden is a single father who is not afraid to show how much he loves his son and surrogate daughter. He represents rank, power and skill coupled with humility. Emrys is not unlike myself at his age, nervous and following the rules fervently, yet possessing an inner flame and smarts. He is not the stereotypical brash “boys will be boys” hothead and is instead deeply thoughtful. Sakura is a girl who had everything she loved taken from her in an instant, and now seethes with a need for vengeance. She represents trauma that takes time to heal but is smart and would fight to the death to defend her still living friends. Volcan is the mysterious and unwillingly funny figure you can utterly trust and who keeps surprising you, because every good Fantasy needs such a character.

Stormlady Mica leads the blue warriors because I have noticed that, in Fantasy, women tend to use their wits and magic while the men lead the actual glorious cavalry charge; women have the special powers while the men use swords. This is hardly an ironclad rule and, even if it were, there is nothing wrong with it – indeed I love countless books that employ this storyline tactic. But I wanted to flip the coin. I wanted a woman wearing armor and leading the land’s most elite warriors into white-hot battle while the men wrestled with matters of magery.

Loremaster Aneirin in the scholar in me, for I love historical research and adore archeology. Yet just as much he – and the grey nobles in general – portray my firm belief that the best societies are deeply aware of their own history and learn from their past. Instead of trying to gloss over or justify the genocide of the Dragonkin, most modern Cynnahu folk – thanks to the Loremasters – are appalled by their ancestors’ deeds. Furthermore, I prefer wars won in ways beyond mere military tactics and/or magic as otherwise it is boring. Which is why Aneirin uses his scholar’s training to unravel ancient mysteries, his work being crucial to the war effort and the quest for the Elder Song despite never fighting.

Did you plan the story before writing or did it develop organically while writing?

A bit of both. I had what I like to call beacons – major events I wanted to happen because they were turning points in the story – but getting there was up to me. I was like a ship captain sailing unknown waters towards the distant lighthouse then, upon reaching it, setting out for the next. So I planned the story insofar as the beacons went, but everything in between developed organically while writing.

This is book one of The Cynnahu Saga. What can readers expect in book two?

Book two, Dragon Guardians, will hopefully be out by this time next year. Hopefully. I am making no promises as life has a horrid habit of getting in the way, but the book is fully written – meaning all that remains to be done is editing. Indeed, even the rough draft of book three, Mages’ Legacy is complete.

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The people of the Archipelago of Cynnahu are used to war. Aeons ago their ancestors conquered the old continent, wresting it from the native Dragonkin whom they wiped out in a land-shattered conflict. Then, five hundred years later, new invaders arrived from the unknown south, the mireborn Naga, the snake-folk of Nag Isle who the Cynnahu folk have been ceaselessly fighting in the millennia since. But nothing prepared then for what was about to happen. A time foretold by an ancient Seer and Archmage speaks of a time when the Archipelago must fight its Last War against the Naga, a time when five heroes – Traveler, Orphan, Survivor, Student, and Lord – will set sail to rediscover the secret of the Elder Song.

Only they are not heroes. They are Myrriden, the footsore mage and single father; Sakura, an orphaned and homeless girl seeking vengeance; Volcan Darkrod, the enigmatic Fire Mage; Emrys, Myrriden’s nervous son; and Archmage Hoth, the unflappable Leader of the Cynnahu folk.

Guided by an ancient riddle recently uncovered by the famed Loremaster Aneirin, these chosen five must a run a race of swords, spells, and dusty scrolls – for while the Elder Song was crafted to summon the primeval power of the Dragonkin to save the Isles, it has, down to its very name, been forgotten. Will the courage and wits of two eleven-year-olds and three vastly different mages be enough to free purposefully hidden secrets from forces older than the Isles themselves and reunite the scattered Song while fighting a desperate war on land and sea? Only two things are certain: where swords fail scrolls may prevail, and that humanity stands at doom’s edge and time is against them.

An Omnipotent Trickster

Author Interview
Craig Weidhuner Author Interview

Mystical Force Volume 4: Many are 1, 1 is 0 follows a sorceress who wants to unleash an omnipotent being to take control of the world for her, while a knight tries to prevent this from occuring. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The character of 0 (Zero), I based him off of ‘Q’ from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He was one of my favourite characters from TNG. It’s a classic idea, the omnipotent trickster who uses his powers to meddle in the lives of our heroes for his own amusement. This story was a means to set up 0’s introduction, as he’ll play an important role in the series later on, although it isn’t obvious. 0 is a being with god like power, and like a god, he works in subtle ways that many of us don’t realize. To quote an episode of Futurama, “When you [God] do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.”

What was your favorite character to write for and why?

That would be 0. As I stated, I based him off of ‘Q’ from Star Trek: The Next Generation. 0, like Q, is less of a villain and more of an annoyance to our characters. Like Q, 0’s antics may appear to be nothing more than irritating our protagonists for his own twisted sense of pleasure, but underneath he’s secretly trying to help our heroes. It’s a case of him secretly testing our characters. Because he’s an omnipotent trickster, it was great fun having him troll the others, such as the scene near the end when appears before the Order of the Cross, taking the form of (the Christian depiction) God, and later the Pope. Or how he uses his powers to make two countries go to war over Twinkies. I’ve always liked that Monty Python style of humour, that either makes you laugh or ask “What the hell was this guy high on when he came up with that?!” (for the record, I wasn’t high on anything! I don’t do drugs.)

What was one of the hardest parts in Mystical Force Volume 4: Many are 1, 1 is 0 for you to write?

Near the end when Knightwalker “defeats” 0 and sends him home, undoing all the chaos he’s caused. Everyone except our main characters forgets all his antics. When I got the manuscript back from my editor Tereza (a wonderful editor, who really goes above and beyond to help make this series what it is) she asked why they’re the only one’s who remember. Honestly the only real answer I had was that since 0 would be returning at a later date, I didn’t want to go through the process of introducing him all over again. It’s like that Star Trek TNG episode Hide and Q, Q suspends time when his visits the Enterprise. When time resumes later, only the main characters seem aware of what’s happened. Everyone else seems oblivious to Q’s meddling. That’s why I added the part explaining that 0 allowed them to remember so that when he returns he can enjoy their reactions of “OH NO! Not you again!!” That’s part of his character, he loves trolling others. The idea of being an irritant to ‘lesser’ beings amuses him. Like a mischievous child tormenting insects because he’s bored.

What is the next book in the series about and when will it be available?

First let me just add, that I’m also working on a new series set in the same universe called Liberator: the People’s Guard, which should be out very soon (or depending on when this is posted, it may already be out). But in regards to Mystical Force volume 5, I’m currently finishing up the manuscript. Hopefully that one will be out sometime next spring. (I’ll be alternating between Liberator and Mystical Force for the duration of those series). Now what will volume 5 be about? Back in volumes 2 & 3 I teased that Scarlet Knightwalker came from the future because in that time Shi-ria trained an apprentice, died and her apprentice (along with Mystic and Sister Rose) turned evil and took over the world ruling it as a totalitarian dictatorship. Hence why Knightwalker came back to change history. Volume 2 ends with Shi-ria seeing this as a possible future along with one where she lives and her apprentice becomes a Taman Knight. Volume 5 introduces this apprentice. A teenage girl named Chiyoko, who comes from a broken home. A girl Shi-ria takes under her wing as she sees a bit of herself in this girl, a reminder of how she used to be before becoming a Taman Knight. We also get a sneak peek at the “descendant of the darkness”, a young man with shadow based ninja powers. I suppose you could say this is where the main plot of the series really beings.

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Shi-ria tries to stop Dead-Eye from stealing a magic scroll, only to learn it was Zolida who hired her. Why does Zolida want this scroll? Unfortunately, neither Shi-ria nor Scarlet Knightwalker have time to figure that out. When Shi-ria is badly injured fighting Zolida, Scarlet Knightwalker is forced to turn to someone she doesn’t fully trust, Mystic, in order to save Shi-ria’s life.

Meanwhile, Aanjay and Jimomaru are once again determined to destroy Sister Rose as revenge for the Order of the Cross persecuting them. Aanjay and Jimomaru soon find themselves getting some unexpected help from Zolida, who uses the stolen scroll to bring some help of her own. Help in the form of a new being named 0, a being from another dimension. A member of a species called the 1, 0 is an omnipotent entity with the powers of a god and the personality of a bratty child, tormenting insects because he’s bored.

Zolida tries to get 0’s help in punishing humanity. However, things quickly spiral out of control. First 0 uses his powers to turn Tokijin into a human and then turn Rose into a demon. Before long he’s turning all humans into demons, knocking planets out of orbit and causing all manner of chaos for his own entertainment. It seems no one, not even Zolida, is able to stop him. Is there anyone powerful enough to control this mad god? Or is the world doomed to an eternity of insanity at the hands of this omnipotent prankster who sees reality as a game and all living beings as little playthings for his own amusement?

A War That Will End War

J.L. Feuerstack Author Interview

Over the Breadth of the Earth is the second book in your Saga of Fallen Leaves series. What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from book one?

Volume II sees the conflict between Heaven and Hell move into the modern era. I wanted to explore the interconnectedness of the past century and the changes that accompanied the world becoming ever smaller. In continuing the existential theme of the series, I wanted to explore if modernity is more or less isolating for the individual, as compared to previous eras of history. I also wanted to consider the desire for a “war that will end war” and the notion that a lasting conflict-free world could be established. This is the goal of humanity at the outbreak of the Great War and both sides of Celestial characters throughout the saga. In this volume, I really wanted to examine the compromises and sacrifices one is willing to make toward reaching such an end.

Did you plan your character’s development or did they grow organically as you wrote the story?

I started with a loose outline of how I wanted the characters to develop. However, I also left room for the situations they endured and their shifting motivations to guide them. In some instances, I was surprised by the growth of the characters. Many of the big decisions Schitz and Zinc made were not set in stone until I got to the critical point in their story.

What scene in the book did you have the most fun writing?

I really enjoyed writing the scene set to the folk song High Germany. The song has such contrasting emotions. In one stanza it mentions drinking in ale houses and getting married. In the next, it curses the “cruel wars” for sending England’s sons far from home. It felt like a perfect fit for the scenes of battle juxtaposed with the medical advancements associated with the outcomes of the battles. It was also very enjoyable because the song fits so well with the saga,which stretches over many eras. I love tying together different ages. High Germany was written either about the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714) or the Seven Years War (1756-1763), but it fits perfectly for the scene set during the Second World War. It was a lot of fun to incorporate the song into the story.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m currently editing And They Marched Up, Volume III of The Saga of Fallen Leaves and writing Volume IV. These volumes fit together with I & II like pieces of a puzzle. They’ll give insight into some of the minor characters from Volume I & II and expound upon many of the subjects from the series. And They Marched Up, Volume III should both be available in January 2023.

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Over the Breadth of the Earth presents the continuation of the eternal struggle between Angels and Demons. The story follows the on-going battle as God and Satan pit their armies against each other on an ever increasingly complex and global scale.

Lord Zinc II and Schizophrenia “Schitz” Incenderos Nervosa continue balancing their intricate existence while battling the enemy, coping with duplicitous elements within their own ranks, and trying to ensure their survival. Their rivalry stretches across the vast globe from the killing fields at Gettysburg to the barren steppe of Kursk and even into the treacherous streets of Fallujah.

Throughout, these bold cavaliers interact with some of the modern era’s fiercest fighting units (the Waffen-SS, the Viet Cong, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and more). Utilizing a myriad of ever evolving weaponry and coordination, Zinc and Schitz attempt to stay one step ahead of friend and foe alike.

The Last War

The Last War by Ian E S Adler is an epic fantasy adventure and the first installment in a series, with ambition and action consistent throughout the book. It’s a legendary quest with lots of dragons, prophecies, magic, and mythology, all of which play an essential role in a war with the potential for catastrophic consequences.

The story is set in the Archipelago of Cynnahu, where humans defeated the Dragonkin in an ancient battle. They are now in danger from the snake-folk of Nag Isle and must devise a survival plan. A band of five unexpected companions, two children, and three mages are on a journey to solve a riddle. Their ultimate aim is to summon the awesome power of the Dragonkin, which has perished in history.

Adler created a rich and imaginative world populated with interesting and well-developed characters encompassing the depth of their history and mythology. Fans of the fantasy genre will be enthralled by the level of detail and visual delights that bring this story to life, pulling the reader right into the action. It’s a satisfying read that focuses not only on war and action but the wisdom and strategy the young characters, Emrys and Sakura, must face when solving puzzles and challenges.

The author invests much of the narration with dialogue, creating a colorful plot and development throughout the book. This technique gives the characters more dimension so that we understand their motives, while the storyline never falters and will keep you turning one page after the next. While this action-packed, strategic tale follows what many readers may find to be a familiar fantasy storyline, it’s a rich, vibrant tale with unique characters and a fantastic world will keep you looking forward to the next installment.

Pages: 281 | ASIN: B0BCDRQN7C

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The Annihilation of Ashar

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The Annihilation of Ashar, by Trevor Bartlett, is the story of The White Wolf and the Crown Princess of Ashar. Unknowingly, they bring about the end of the Kingdom of Ashar and try to usher in a new age of salvation.

The story begins with a prisoner, unable to be broken by the Inquisitor, and defying death at every turn. The Crown Princess, Isabella, becomes curious about this prisoner and what he may offer to the kingdom. The prisoner, Sven, takes a liking to Isabella and reveals his true nature. He is a god, metamorph, and the savior of Ashar. Sven is looking for his second, someone equal to him, and the elves are convinced Isabella may be who he is looking for. When her brother, the Crown Prince, betrays Sven and orders his execution the metamorph shifts and brings destruction to the kingdom. Isabella stands against him after losing her family, her kingdom, and everything she has ever known. Isabella dies, is transported into the ethereal plane and shown Sven’s past, then revived to ensure he works by her side to save Ashar. Together, they will be ushering in a new age over the entire realm.

The writing style in this epic fantasy novel is engrossing throughout. As a reader, you feel fully immersed in the story. The plot unravels methodically, ensuring a high level of intrigue as we slowly learn more, this also leaves readers wanting more. The relationships between the characters is intricate, and I really enjoyed the surprising depth to their back stories. The relationship between Sven and Isabella is my favorite and I enjoyed following their characters and watching their relationship develop.

I hope this is the first book in a series because the world being built here feels big and the lore feels deep. There are a lot of questions left unanswered, and I feel this story is not over yet. I can’t wait to read the sequel. The Annihilation of Ashar, by Trevor Bartlett, is a rousing fantasy novel. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoys adventure, magic, and fantasy.

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