The Winter of Swords starts when Eisa is snatched by a monster which begins the convergence of several different characters. What was the inspiration for this thrilling story?
The story was originally inspired by a song: “Protectors of the Earth” by Two Steps from Hell. I visualized a scene in a forest clearing, where an army of dark creatures, led by a terrifying six-limbed beast, faced off against a massive wolf. I wrote the sequence with the intention of having my protagonist realize that he shares a magical bond with this wolf (a spirit guardian of nature). After finishing the chapter, the story took off in a completely different direction. I’d been reading a lot of fantasy at the time, and struggled with the disappointment that so much of it was the same, and not just tropes, but theme, archetypes, and even magical creatures. I was tired of dragons and elves especially, but also of questing heroes. I wanted cool new beasts, but more so, I was looking for something that would terrify me. The answer was Doombringer – whose physical presence might only be surpassed by his cunning and intellect. I wanted a creature that characters can’t simply run away and hide from, but one that watches, understands, and hunts them. I structured the beginning of the story differently, too, as I wanted to defy expectation and convention. And heh, everyone loves a good twist! Eisa, Hunter, and Luca are integral to the overall arc in the series, but their stories don’t necessarily move as most people expect. A seemingly routine trip into the wilds to collect resources proves to be the catalyst for a much grander story in scope and scale.
There’s an assortment of varied and well-developed characters in this novel, and I found everyone to be interesting. Who was your favorite character to write for?
This is a hard question to answer, as I love all of my characters. In fact, it feels like trying to single out one of your children as your favorite. But if I had to choose, I would say that Roman is my favorite to write. As you discover in The Winter of Swords, he has a fairly tragic backstory. To me, Roman represents resiliency, honor, and an unflappable sense of nobility. He’s introspective, shy, and a bit socially dysfunctional, but it’s his relationship with his adoptive companion, Tusk, that makes him so loveable. So many people struggle to fit in, and Roman is no different. I think that, in part, is why his interactions with Dennah are so much fun for me to write. You get to see how two people from vastly different upbringings can bond and find mutual ground. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Roman is also probably the most complicated character in the series – for reasons people will see by the time they finish Before the Crow. Beyond Roman, another of my favorites was Balin – a slippery rogue in Gladeus’ employ. In the original draft of the book, Balin appeared for a total of two or three paragraphs. By the time I finished the draft I was so enamored with him and his story that I had to go back and expand on him as a character. I think those morally gray characters can add such a wonderfully complicated dynamic to the story.
I enjoyed the in depth world building in this book. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your world?
I wanted to present the concept of the “ancient evil returned to threaten the world”, but wanted to avoid the “good vs evil” light fights the dark, or the evil lord who refuses to die returns once again to enslave the world, tropes that were prevalent in Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and so many others. That in part is why the readers get to see the antagonists, too. By seeing their rebirth, understanding a bit about their fall, and their motivations and aspirations, I think it makes the conflict a little richer. I’m also a huge nerd for history. So much of the back-story in Denoril is shades of feudal Europe, the protestant migration to the new world, the concept of world war, and the effect of colonialism on indigenous people, and abolition of slavery. The theme of indigenous people plays out in with the dalan – a magical people readers don’t necessarily get to meet until a little further into the series. I think it’s worth the wait!
This is book one in the Overthrown series. What can readers expect in book two, Before the Crow?
Oh, boy! That’s the question. The Winter of Swords really sets the stage, but like so many introductory volumes, it scrambles things up and tears the characters down. Before the Crow picks right up where Swords ends in that regard, so it is definitely “binge ready”. The conflict deepens and spreads, but the cat is out of the bag to an extent, so we get to see how some of our characters start to deal with the threat, but also what might set them apart from everyone else, and in the end, help them become the heroes Denoril needs so badly. For people who read through to the end of Winter of Swords, I strongly suggest they go right into Before the Crow. They just might find some events at the end of the second book incredibly rewarding!
An intelligent, six-limbed beast snatches a girl away from her family.
An orphan confronts the darkness in his past, while a menace stalks his small town.
A young woman cast into servitude tries to forge her own path in an unforgiving world.
And an inexperienced soldier following the path of honor and duty comes face to face with a foe born from his worst nightmares.
Seemingly unconnected, this small group of normal folk will fight to survive, for an ancient evil has awakened, and Denoril will need heroes if it is to endure The Winter of Swords.
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Tags: Aaron Bunce, adventure, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, dark fantasy, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, magic, military, mystery, nook, novel, overthrown, publishing, read, reader, reading, shelfari, smashwords, story, sword and sorcery, The Winter of Swords, writer, writer community, writing
The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.
Gold Award Winners
Silver Award Winners
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The Final War Begins is a dystopian sci-fi novel of a fractured society and the people trying to bring peace to the colonies. The story starts as Lieutenant General Bastien is running from the law. He’s wanted for murder and is running to avoid execution. Bastien is an easy character to root for and he had me empathizing with him right from the beginning. He’s a soldier, but one with good and careful judgement.
Queen Marie Dubois was a character I did not like as much but still loved how fierce and determined she was. Marie’s voracious nature had her kill her father so she could assume the throne. She then turns to Bastien to get rid of her sister Belle. With an exciting plot twits, Belle tries to do the same thing her sister had in mind and turn Bastien against Marie. This turn of events makes the book thrilling to say the least and shows how unpredictable this novel is, which keeps you on the edge of your seat.
There is a strong theme of technology throughout the book that is used deftly and subtly so that you always know this is the future and you can’t wait to see what things S.A. Asthana has dreamed up. Cube the robot is tasked with hunting down Bastien. Cube has a few human features and qualities, like familiarizing himself with emotion through music, which made him endearing. Every character we’re introduced to is developed thoroughly, leaving you with complex and intriguing characters. Marie had extraordinary physical abilities, General Crone is as firm as his job required, and Belle brought balance to the story when other characters appear mean. The main character, Bastien, was everything I would want to see in a protagonist in a fantasy novel.
If you enjoy thrilling fantasy novels, then you will love this book. The author has given the characters contrasting roles that make the plot unfold easily and builds tension organically. Every chapter focuses on a single character; which helped me follow the plot. The adventure, shock, politics, murders, tension among characters and the suspense after every chapter will give you an adrenaline rush. The Final War Begins is a top notch dystopian science fiction novel.
Pages: 287 | ASIN: B07LD73841
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Jake Drecker, a special operator, pursues a mission across country borders to neutralize a terrorist cell, which may be holding an American missionary hostage. When Jake’s boss, Lt. Colonel Mike Sanchez, wonders at Drecker’s insistence and the CIA’s apparent carelessness for his and his team’s safety. The mystery of motivations and history of the missionary begins to settle in for both men. As the rescue operation becomes more and more dangerous, Drecker and Sanchez begin to believe that they may have bitten off more than they could chew.
Military thrillers are always ripe with adventure and thrilling pacing, yet Tim Moynihan’s Prodigal Avenger, seems to subvert his trope. His style is crisp and light and sails over the narrative with ease. There are plenty of nitty-gritty details and numerous mentions of military jargon to please even the most extensive army aficionados. Set in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the setting is immediately visceral and relevant, given the extensive USA presence there in the last 18 years, although Moynihan avoids labeling or commenting on the political foibles that led to the conflict. The mentions and reflections of faith were unexpected, but felt surprisingly welcome, especially in the face of such dire circumstances.
Drecker and Sanchez play off one another quite well and give an almost classic “brothers in combat” that is present in most military dramas, yet Moynihan plays his hand slightly closer to his chest by not allowing either man to be too intimate to the reader. This keeps us at a distance when observing the violence and chaos that occurs throughout the story. There is special attention to show how in war, black and white isn’t clear and that no one is purely at fault nor innocent in war. That kind of appreciation for warfare is rare in these sorts of patriotic, Americanized thrillers and Moynihan must be commended for his discerning prose.
The only fault I found in this book would be the loose ends. Considering how complex and confusing the operation becomes over time, this is no surprise, but the careful narrative never becomes overtly twisted so as to confuse the reader further. The loose ends otherwise will have us begging for answers and one can hope that Prodigal Avenger does not leave Drecker and Sanchez behind.
Any reader of military thrillers or military adventures stories surrounding the Middle East would be well served by reading these.
Pages: 248 | ASIN: B07KX5K894
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Boomerang Will Not Return follows a stealth bombers crew as they travel back through time and must battle for the future in the past. How did the idea for this novel start and how did it change as you were writing?
I always loved the time travel stories starting form the classic tale of the H.G. Wells The Time Machine and movies such as Time After Time, Back To The Future trilogy and the Terminator movie franchise. The idea for Boomerang Will Not Return came to me from two motion pictures featuring time travel, The Philadelphia Experiment and The Final Countdown. The novel had evolved from a short story I wrote titled Sword of Gabriel, which featured my story protagonists accidentally traveling back in time because of the time and space altering comet called Gabriel. I wanted the story to have a broader aspect and therefore the battle to save history happened in both past and resent.
Time travel is rife with paradoxes. Were there any challenges to writing because of this?
Yes, the time travel paradoxes presented an interesting challenge to me as a writer. The general theory of relativity does not forbid the time travel, but there are technological and moral questions that arise from the use of such an invention. I wanted my time travel story design to be simple and straightforward, and let the readers use their imagination as to how the process of time travel in my story had occurred. The best part about working on a time travel story is that it offers a possibility of a new timeline, where temporal interference alters history as we know it. Time travel is a great tool for entertainment and I hoped to make the best of it.
Your characters Stugel, Hartmann, and Crown are interesting and well developed. If Hollywood came knocking who would you cast to play your characters?
Characters are the ones who drive any story and I had a great time developing them to make them realistic and interesting. I am a military history buff and I learned that in any conflict there are decent people on both sides, who were caught in the maelstrom of war and did their duty to the best of their ability even if it was for a wrong reason. And if I was fortunate to be approached by the Hollywood agents with a movie offer and given a casting choice, I would probably cast Liam Helmsworth as Hartmann, Jennifer Lawrence as Crown and actor Alexander Ludwig as Stugel. I think they would be good for the roles.
Do you plan on continuing this series in another book?
Well, I would like to do it, except that I think the story had a definite ending and final resolution. If I decided to change history in my novel, then yes, I think a sequel or two might have been in order. Time travel story ideas are definitely on my shelf for the future projects, and as soon as I am ready, I shall develop another time travel tale with a new and fascinating plot that hopefully will be interesting and enjoyable.
It was supposed to be a simple mission–deliver six nuclear missiles back to the United States onboard the most advanced Stealth bomber in the world. The B-3 Boomerang is a super weapon that knows no equal. Nearly invisible to radar and lethal, it’s a paragon of present-day military technology. And America’s enemies want its secrets. What no one expected was an aerial phenomenon that catapults the plane and its crew from the present day to the year 1942 into the heart of Nazi Germany.
With their plane disabled and captured by the Nazis, Major Richard Hartman and his copilot, Captain Deana Crown, are forced to fight for survival in a hostile land decades away from home. With the plane’s superior technology and its nuclear onboard arsenal, the Nazis could win the Second World War. The battle for the future will happen in both past and present. The pilots trapped in time now have a new mission: to save history at any price.
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What happened in Vietnam … didn’t stay in Vietnam.
It came home with us!
As one reviewer described the book, “Patrick Hogan pulls off what most cannot – invoke emotion using non-fiction. Fair warning, his description of the Vietnam War will make you angry, depressed, sad, and happy all at the same time.”
This edition of Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War, is an account of war – a tale of anger and determination – a chronicle written in sorrow and hope. It’s the story of countless veterans who served in Vietnam and many of their children.
The book is both a memoir and an investigational voyage into all the issues the U.S. government doesn’t want you to know about the Vietnam War.
It’s not just another paperback about Vietnam or Agent Orange. Rather it’s a “silver bullet” which cuts through to the heart of the circumstances and chemical used during that war—toxic enduring herbicides and insecticides—which in some cases are still being used to this very day all over the globe, even right here in America.
So, forget everything you’ve heard from the government and what you think you know about the Vietnam War because you will be absolutely stunned by what the US government had willingly dumped on Vietnam and its own troops.
Posted in book trailer
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Rogue Genes, by Jardine Henry Hart tells the tale of Tommy McConachie. Abandoned at birth as a one day old baby at the hospital, he was adopted by nurse Marge and her husband Joe. After her husband died suddenly Marge found herself raising Tommy all alone. As he became a teenager he began to rebel and after spending time in a boy’s detention center he joined the army. After serving time in the Special Service Tommy returned home, but his time in the army had left its impact. When his beloved mother passes away he is intent on seeking revenge.
This book is filled with all things a suspense novel should have; action, suspense, anxiety, surprise, anticipation and of course plot twists.
Rogue Genes has quite a number of characters. The story begins and evolves around Tommy, his mother – Ticker, and his two best friends, Sparrow and BB. The characters are well developed and the relationships are realistic and believable. Soon, other characters are introduced, all with their own unique and interesting stories.
Tommy is portrayed as a strong male character and the reader gets small insights into his past life in the military and the violence he encountered, and hints of the violence in his future. He is an intense and deeply loyal man who is searching for a woman to love and be loved by.
The introduction of such a woman adds interest and direction to the story. Her character is the polar opposite to Tommy and provides a clever contrast. She has had a stable, if not sheltered, childhood. I felt that some of the bizarre coincidences and twists were a little far-fetched. Although these bizarre coincidences are part of the story, at times the intertwining of the relationships becomes almost unbelievable.
Rogue Genes is still a deeply provocative and gripping read. Like all good thrillers there is plenty of action, and the reader is constantly kept guessing. It is ultimately a story of self discovery, and of course, a journey to see if good will eventually overcome evil.
Pages: 308 | ISBN: 1925834409
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What begins as a carefree adventure among siblings turns deadly in a heartbeat when Eisa is left alone following the violent deaths of her loved ones. Snatched from the scene and carried away by what can only be described as a monster of epic proportions, she is left wondering why she was allowed, or perhaps chosen, to live. A story seemingly unconnected to the tumultuous lives of Julian, Roman, Dennah, DaeGeroth, Balin and Gladeus soon becomes much more clearly interwoven into the experiences of all of the them. None of them could have predicted the evils that lie beyond the wide expanses of beautiful countryside they all know so well.
The Winter of Swords, by Aaron Bunce, is a stunning visual of fright-filled fantasy, old world charm, and a wide assortment of well-developed characters. From the moment I began reading of Eisa’s experience in the wilderness, I was swept into a world of creatures and hidden realms from which I found it difficult to separate myself–the hallmark of effective writing. Eisa’s entire ordeal set the stage for some of the most fantastic imagery I have read in a long time. Not many books can boast such horrifying beings so vividly described and so dreaded by even the reader.
Roman, one of the chief characters in Bunce’s work, has the most poignant subplot in my opinion. His backstory tugs at the heartstrings. The scene set by Bunce at the farm owned by Garon is a step-by-step reveal of one heart-wrenching horror after another. It is an artfully written chapter that has the feel of a slow motion movie scene set to an emotionally-gripping score.
Though Bunce’s book is filled with delightfully terrifying images, for me, there was none quite like the scene that takes place involving Julian in the simple town of Craymore. When an author can conjure up a visceral reaction with the mere mention of the sound of a horn in the distance, you know you have found an author to follow. More unsettling than the beastly gnarls was the powerful commandment of the horn’s sounding–wonderfully ominous and capable of provoking a sense of mystery.
Bunce has managed to give readers a novel rich with dialogue. Not every book of this genre is able to carry out a plot so heavy with character interactions. Many books rely on narrative to tell the story, but Bunce is more than capable of telling the tale via characters’ thoughts and exchanges.
While it is solidly based in fantasy, the element of mystery is strong throughout the plot, and that is one of many striking factors in Bunce’s work. Bunce has created a spectacular work of fiction which will appeal to readers who enjoy fantasy with incredible creatures, high drama, and an assortment of strong lead characters.
Pages: 818 | ASIN: B07MCX4CFD
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David Crane’s Boomerang Will Not Return is a time-travel book set in both the 21st century and 1942-era Germany. It involves three central characters named Stugel, Hartmann, and Crown. One day, Hartmann and Crown fly a secret military plane to deliver cargo to the United States. They were chosen to test it and successfully take off into the skies of Germany. However, soon after flight the bomber gets warped into 1942 Germany due to the influence of a time bending comet. There, they’re intercepted and need to find a way to escape. Hartmann must use his wits and work together with Crown to successfully escape the clutches of their enemies.
You can tell that David Crane has down his research by how in-depth he goes with the weapons and environment of the past. I loved how suspense was kept throughout the book with Hartmann and Deana Crown’s efforts to get through wartime Germany. I personally think the subplot with busting the Russian spies was highly entertaining. However, even with the suspenseful action I didn’t feel it warranted as much attention. It distracted from the main plot line. I would have wanted to see more of the main plot line with our two heroes, as it was much more engaging. There were times in the book where I was left unsure of whether the heroes would actually come out unscathed or not. There was a bit of foreshadowing that let me down, but otherwise the suspense palpable throughout. The interactions that Stugel had with our central characters were interesting, even in the past. Their relationship actually seemed realistic and not forced. Deana and Hartmann were also well-structured, having skills which made them seem balanced and not overpowered. They were also human, having actual worries and even moments of doubt. Emotion like that isn’t seen a lot in spy or government involved movies. Another thing I really found interesting was how the book didn’t represent all of the enemy soldiers as bad, which was a nice contrast from other books which involve the prewar environment.
Crane managed to write a book that captured both sides of the fight. The way he represented the secret government services were all pretty well done. I found this book to be both entertaining and interesting.
Pages: 209 | ASIN: B00LAD30EE
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Voice of a Crimson Angel Part III brings an end to the expansion and Chancellor Venloran has won. What were some stories that were important for you to wrap up in this book?
Most important was the story of the Marconi women and Valerie Iglesias. I wanted readers to see the horrifying reality and choices Julissa and Zaneta dealt with, and I’m hoping there’s a diverse reaction to the end result. Will readers see Julissa a s a hero, a radical, a terrorist, or just a lost soul? As for Valerie, I just wanted to expand on her background. I wanted readers to feel the tragedy behind her character: a simple bookworm who wanted to have a family someday, and yet she was turned into a monster for Venloran’s own ends. These women are products of the society they live in, and I hope that was communicated through their stories.
In this book, did Julissa’s character mostly writer itself, because she’s already well defined, or did you want to take her to new places?
A little bit of both oddly. By the third part of the arc, her character is well-established, very true. Still, I wanted her to have one last adventure, or more specifically one last chance. There are many themes in the book, but one of the central points is Julissa’s final few choices. She is faced with the ultimatum many times in VOCA Part III: escalate the violence of the war or take a step back. That’s why I added several scenes with her and David Armano. Julissa’s anger and pride are both weapons against herself and her enemies. One of my favorite scenes in the book will forever be the horse-riding scene between the Marconi mother and daughter. Though this may be their end, I believe readers will appreciate the journey Marconi experiences.
I found this book to be thrilling and savage. Was this a fun book for you to write?
The VOCA trilogy was fun as all hell to write. Writing books is fun for me in general, but some are more stressful than others to write. EOK Part III: Ballad of Demise was one of the most difficult to write, namely because the enormous changes to the story I added in after the outline phase. VOCA Part III: Remembrance was fun because the vision pretty much stayed true to my original outline. Not only that, but I finally got to explore some of the more obscure moments in the history of the UNR. Basically, fleshing out the lore beyond references and actually showing it. Reverence and EOK had battles within forests and buildings, and now in the VOCA trilogy whole cities are now theaters of combat. This was the vision I had for the book, at times claustrophobic, and other times epic.
What are you currently writing and when will it be available?
I try to stay busy, and I’d like to think I’ve outdone myself. Not to brag, because it took many sleepless nights, pots of coffee, and early morning runs to get it all done. Well, close to being done, because I’m still not quite there yet. First things first, on May 31st Avenge the Silenced will be released. It is currently in the editing phase and will be available for a preorder by April 1st. Beyond that, the next chapter in the saga is being written, codename Scourge of Men. It will explore many new characters while also expanding on many formally obscure characters. Perhaps most important of all, Scourge of Men will explore Secretary General Vanzetti and his own empire, the Allied European Federation.
The Expansion is over. Chancellor Venloran has won. Julissa Marconi, however, is not done fighting just yet. If she cannot claim victory, then she and the Crimson Angels will claim revenge. With Mexico lost, the resistance decides to strike at the homeland itself. Unable to turn back, Julissa and her fellow soldiers are now in for the fight of their life. In the final weeks of 2051, a new war will be fought that will test the limits of both sides. There will be no justice or mercy. This decisive battle will be decided by whoever gives into their full, unrestrained, savagery.
Prepare to read the heart-stopping final entry in the Voice of a Crimson Angel trilogy. Complete the tale that expands on the Reverence saga.
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