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A Fan of Dragons

Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait
Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait Author Interview

The Spires of Dasny: 3 finds a new and unexpected enemy threatening the alliance. What inspired the conflict driving book three in your series?

The antagonist, Belinda, has shone her dislike of Seyra throughout the books and given the right opportunity, has the ability to get rid of her competition, even if the competition is only in Belinda’s mind.

I enjoyed the characters in this story. What aspect of character development do you find the most satisfying as a writer?

I like to make the characters distinct, complete with their own and varied personalities. When their emotions begin to show it gives the reader a fuller value of the character.

Are you a fan of the sword and sorcery genre? What books do you think most influenced your work?

I’m mostly a fan of dragons, and along with them, sword and sorcery often comes into play. Believe it or not, I can’t say any particular dragon books influenced my writing. The book that stands out in my mind because I was completely immersed in it was The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel. I couldn’t get the books of this series quick enough. She had a wonderful way of writing a prehistoric earth and the characters leapt from the pages. The greatest compliment I have ever received is when a reader compared my writing to hers in my Legend of the Dragon Child series.

What can readers expect in book four of The Spires of Dasny series?

Book 4 will give the reader a deeper understanding of what really drives the antagonist to behave the way she does. It will come with a huge twist in the story which, I hope, will have the readers gobbling up the pages. I expect this book will give us a new hero to root for, and clutch at our hearts over what occurs.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook

Continue the award-winning, epic adventures of the best-selling series, The Spires of Dasny, with the next in the series, The Spires of Dasny: 3 If you love Pern, you’ll enjoy this series!
The Spires hold onto a tenuous alliance with another kingdom. Fresh trials await when Belinda flees from home prior to a planned visit as an ambassador to the Kingdom of Stone Dragons. She jeopardizes not only herself and her dragon, but those searching for her.
What would you do to save one that you love? Belinda risks it all and her life is forever changed in ways no one could have guessed. Will this spell disaster for the Spires?

The Spires of Dasny: 3

The Spires of Dasny: 3: Three Kingdoms - The Kingdom of the Spires by [Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait]

Fresh from the battle with the Xi and stone dragons, the Kingdom of the Spires is enjoying a deserved period of peace. The stone dragons have become allies, the dragon school has tripled in size and the land is flourishing. All seems well till a piece of alarming news spurs the Spires to send ambassadors to the stone dragons. Little do they know that one of their ambassadors wants to do more than strengthen the kingdom’s ties with its new allies. The actions of this devious dragon rider threaten the newfound alliance between the Spires and the stone dragons. From diplomacy to help from the gods, Seyra, Queen of the Spires and her loyal companions must use all they have to save the kingdom from an onslaught led by one of its own.

Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait returns with her charming brilliance in this third sequel in the Spires of Dasny series. The tale of dragons, magic, and humans is entertaining and deeply compelling.

It’s never easy to craft an engaging plot, but Cheryl makes light work of this task. Using writing that teases, she gives you hints that something is up without revealing so many details too soon. This, coupled with genuine characters bubbling with personality, will definitely keep anyone invested in the story.

With expert pacing, the tale draws you in and gradually tightens its hold as it races to the anticipated climax. What you find is Cheryl speeding things up at just the right time.

It also helps that the story is easy to read and devoid of fluff which can get tedious to handle. So, it’s perfect for anyone looking to get lost in a book and lose track of time.

Also, writing fiction requires you to think in pictures. But it’s one thing to have a vivid imagination, and it’s another to find the right words to transport people into the lucid world in your head. Cheryl is brilliant at both.

And as if to say, “now you have no choice but to come back for more,” Cheryl ends with a tantalizing cliffhanger she promises to resolve in book four. That’s one book I’ll definitely be reading.

The Spires of Dasny: 3 continues the deep and intriguing story that fans have come to expect and adds a unique and unexpected enemy to the story that takes the suspense to the next level in this action packed sword and sorcery adventure.

Pages: 180 | ASIN: B098YYQSBP

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Ylmi’s Saga

Ylmi's Saga (The Legends of Karik Book 2) by [Evan Oliver]

Ylmi’s Saga: Legends of Karik, by Evan Oliver, is the second book in this thrilling saga. Book two begins with a lord of Vrania telling the tale of Ylmi One-Eye. Ylmi is a girl who learns to hunt for the survival of her family. The Jarl of the settlement, Unhost, exiles those who disagree with him and the dragon of the mountain. Unhost made a deal with this dragon to keep the gold found on their settlement. This deal is only the beginning, and the story catapults forward from there.

Ylmi’s character develops in intriguing ways throughout the story, starting out as a cautious girl and turning into a fierce dragonslayer who becomes Jarl of Dragonsrest. Along the way Ylmi bonds with other exiles and they hatch a plan to kill the dragon of the mountain. Together they slay the dragon, go to war, and give the settlement a true leader, and I loved every moment of this adventure.

The writing style is easy and fluid and keeps the focus on the action or characters. While reading you forget that this is a narration of Ylmi’s accomplishments. As a reader you can become immersed in the story and, while it does feel a little fantastic, it still delivers some hard hitting and entertaining scenes fit for Hollywood.

While I enjoyed the story, I felt that there was a lot of background and plot development to get through because this was the second book in a series. Ylmi and Karik’s character were compelling and well developed characters, but I wish all the characters in the book were so well developed.

Ylmi’s Saga: Legends of Karik is a rousing adventure story following a strong female character on a harrowing journey that is fun from star to finish. I would recommend this book to sword and sorcery fans looking for a epic young adult adventure inspired by Norse and Viking myths.

Pages: 287 | ASIN: B0975JT7NV

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The Witch Hunter General II

The Witch Hunter General II: The Oath Breaker by [Mace Berry]

The Witch Hunter General: The Oath Breaker, by Mace Berry, is about the two-thousand-year-old Inquisitor General Victor Cain. He’s a witch hunter who has been framed for murder by Gabriel/Mortifer. General Cain is confronted with Aka Manah, an enemy from his past, and learns who his friends really are. Mace Berry has written a great book that sucked me into the story. I truly enjoyed the read and the characters. I cared about what was going to happen to Victor Cain. Berry has created a unique and creative world with lots of depth to explore.

In the prologue, Aka Manah and Gabriel are introduced, but neither one of them were named right away. This makes the story feel lived in and like we are stepping into the story as it is already moving along, much like the beginning of A Game of Thrones where we enter a world with an established history and we are only catching up.

This is followed by getting into the first chapter and Victor knows that Aka Manah still lives, but I didn’t see any information as to why Victor would know this. This speaks to how invested I was with this intricate story. When the members of the High Council are introduced in chapter seven, it is so that they can choose a new Grand Inquisitor. I’m left wondering why they would be involved with this when it is explained a bit later that the High Council and the Inquisition are separate branches of the government. There are many layers to this novel that I sifted through because I was enthralled with the characters and the detailed nature of the story.

While I enjoyed the story I felt that the ending was a little abrupt. I will not give too much away here, as it is definitely worth the read, but it ends with an important change to one of the characters. Readers looking for a dark fantasy series that looks like it can easily run several novels will have plenty to enjoy here.

The Witch Hunter General: The Oath Breaker has excellent characters that I cared about, in a world that feels real (whether it’s a future Earth or a different planet all together), and a story that pulled me along. This is an enthralling fantasy adventure that is a wonderful addition to what is proving to be an epic fantasy saga.

Pages: 328 | ASIN: B09C6TX88B

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Fictional Action And A Pinch of Humor

David Earl Williams III
David Earl Williams III Author Interview

Valor Tale: Disenthrall follows a band of freedom fighters fighting to go on an epic journey to save humanity from a forgotten biological project. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

When I was growing up I played many video games. There were two in particular that inspired me to write this LitRPG series. Those games being Final Fantasy 7 (original) and Legend of Dragoon. Also some elements of the story Robin Hood and the politics of the early 2000s. I just found the concept of role-playing games to be fun and how “human” it can be by relating to people if you develop the characters right.

Dew Wilder is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Well, his first name is based on my initials. His military experience somewhat mirrors mine. Just like Dew Wilder, I had a close relationship with my grandfather too. From the story and two games I mentioned above that I got my inspiration from – I kind of took bits and pieces of each main protagonist mixing it with my personality. I didn’t want to make him too much of an archetypical hero. I wanted him to be grounded somewhat close to reality.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The central themes in this book deal with government corruption, oppression, and media control and censorship (more mirroring a lite version of Communist China), the futility of war (a lot of inspiration from the political propaganda of the Vietnam war and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and how the politicians benefited from such while the service members were strung along), the disconnect of the social classes, and just plain fun fictional action and a pinch of humor and memes.

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

The 2nd book should be out the latest in October 2021. I feel it’ll be better than the first. The main cast of characters get together and have a lot of fun.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook

Where there is hope, there is freedom… Dew Wilder and his band of freedom fighters, known as – The Aurora Blade, contend with the police state that is the country of Mesovilla. While fighting to restore the eroding civil freedoms against the oppressive Helix capital government; Dew copes with his re-emerging past pain and struggles. Dew and the friends he meets along the way, go on an epic journey to prevent the end of humanity itself as a forgotten biological project returns to haunt them all.

I Imagine A Lot Of Strange Stuff

Darren Joy
Darren Joy Author Interview

A Viral Imperium follows an undead exiled thief who sets out to save his sister and must wrestle for control of a vicious magic that threatens to devour him. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve always loved characters like Iskaral Pust from Malazan Book of the Fallen, a servant of shadow who’s also nuts. A minor character, but one whom I could never get enough of. Same with Tyrion Lannister from GOT’s, with his unique wit and turn of phrase. When I decided Threadfin was undead and I gave him a magic that was trying to gobble him up, the story evolved quickly with such characters in mind. The entire world grew from Threadfin. Once I had him, I had the story, and the series. I also don’t mind admitting that I suffer from Functional Neurological Disorder (FND), and during the worst times of my illness, I often imagined it was a form of magic draining the strength out of me. I imagine a lot of strange stuff, but some of that went into Threadfin’s development too. There were times, I felt undead myself. I think, without FND, I might not have created him the way I did.

Threadfin is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Threadfin isn’t a hero, at least, not in the usual sense. He’s no coward either, but he has suffered damage by experiences both real and perceived. He’ll run, if running is the best option. The one constant he’s always had in his life is his sister, and when she’s in danger, there’s no question he will do whatever he can to save her. He has a clear view of the line between the living and the undead, but even when this becomes blurred, he has a strong sense of right and wrong, of a stronger impulse to protect, even if he grumbles about doing so. Just an ordinary guy, who happens to be undead. I didn’t want him to be a hero or a typical undead character with dark motives. Threadfin is just someone who happened to be born undead, and who is thrust into situations he’d rather not be in. However, when he is, he knows what he has to do, and sets about doing it.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The main theme I explored has to do with our fear of what’s different. We see it all the time with racism, sexism, homophobia – the list is endless. Imagine if the undead existed, or giants for that matter, and they weren’t all that bad as folks go. No different from us. How would we react? Often, in society we see segregation of those not like us, those who are just too different, whether it be for cultural, religious, racial, or other reasons. I also wanted to explore the idea of magic itself. Magic can be equated with power, with the ability to harm, or to do good. If magic existed in the real world, what would that look like? Would militaries, governments, or the elite have control of it? Would some types of magic be considered evil and others good? Or would magic simply be a destructive force, all good overshadowed? I have no idea, but it’s fun to explore such themes.

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

Currently, I am working on book 2, A Malignant Fetch, which is available for pre-order already, and will be on sale from November 8th 2021 on Amazon. The story will again follow Threadfin Todder and some new characters as they enter the world of the Grim. While Threadfin’s magic is on the blink, his reflection is up to no good, and feeling like the most useless undead mage ever, he sets out to find the girl who stole existence, and get them both back. Not to mention, to do something about that dratted reflection of his.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

The plagues had ended, and the purges had wiped out those grave-maggot scum … or so they thought.
Threadfin Todder is undead, an exiled thief with little magic worth spit. When he learns of a threat to his sister, he sets out to save her.
Brother exiled, father murdered, and hunted by a pock-faced usurper on the throne, Aiyana Todralan fights to save her people.
Pursued by a shapeshifter who wants his half-soul, Threadfin must reach Aiyana before a horde of invading giants. To succeed, he must wrestle for control of a magic so vicious, it may devour him.
Brother and sister are thrust into a maelstrom of fantastical beasts, fallen angels, and undead souls. They will discover an enemy so powerful it threatens to unravel existence itself.
A Viral Imperium is an epic dark fantasy for fans of Greek, Roman and biblical mythologies, dark magic, and lost souls.

A Viral Imperium

A Viral Imperium: The Plagueborn Series Book 1 by [Darren Joy]

A Viral Imperium follows Threadfin Todder, a reliable and idealistic character with clear motives that is fun to follow throughout this dark fantasy novel. He has strong morals, a sharp tongue and a clear vision on how he sees his world. Threadfin sets off on a journey to keep himself and the people he cares about safe while he is sought after by different characters with different motives. He seeks freedom for himself and to keep the darkness of his world at bay. During his journey he often gets visions of his sister who seems to be in need of help, this threatens to derail Threadfin from his main goal, as he often is left deeply worried about her.

This is an enthralling fantasy novel with a wonderfully deep backstory that is well conceived and unveiled in a way that always seems like there is more to uncover. At its core the story is about protecting worlds and defending them from the undead. The atmosphere of the book is mysterious and secretive with a lot of the plot taking place in dungeons or in the wild. The story does a great job of laying the groundwork for different places and settings that beg to be explored further but just feel like part of the worlds lore; which brings me to compare this to Game of Thrones in how names of people and places are provided and they slowly start to fall into pace in dramatic fashion as the story progresses.

The story jumps from perspective to perspective, every chapter often following a different character. This ensures readers are constantly engaged with the story to make sure we know who we are following and what is going on; again a fantastic parallel to the superb writing of George R. R. Martin. I spent a good portion of the novel intrigued with piecing together the connections and once I understood how all the minor story lines related to the main story line of Threadfin I was engrossed with the story.

All the characters in the story felt well developed as well, with their own interesting quirks and particular personalities that made them creative if not relatable.

A Viral Imperium is an epic fantasy novel for readers that enjoy their fiction deep, layered, and thoughtful. This was a fun sword and sorcery novel that utilizes Greek and Roman mythology in imaginative ways.

Pages: 403 | ASIN: B099644WYP

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Alone In A Strange World

Amanda Maynard-Schubert
Amanda Maynard-Schubert Author Interview

The Bards Of Birchtree Hall follows a young woman who moves to Ireland and discovers a family secret that reveals a whole new world and changes her life forever. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I have always loved Ireland and have been fascinated by the lore of the druids and pagan peoples. As a lover of fantasy stories, I knew that Ireland was always going to inspire my story, so I researched all I could about the Tuatha Dè Denann and the Celtic gods and goddesses. Having spent much of my childhood reading books about the Greek and Roman deities, it was wonderful to explore another system of immortals.

A lot of my inspiration also came from nature and music. Music, in particular, has been a constant presence in my life – indeed, I cannot go a day without listening to some form of music! It is a language that transcends time and space, and I loved the idea that we are all connected by this mystical force. The same goes for nature – we cannot survive without it, and it certainly carries its own magic! For my Bards, I wanted to highlight that their sensitivity to the elements and the vibrations that unite every living thing is what enables them to do what they do. Their power is inherently built into their blood, but, like ordinary humans, the way they use their gifts is unique to them. Having been lucky enough to visit Ireland in 2019, and to experience what it is like to be completely surrounded by nature without the influence of human activity, it really inspired me to express this magical feeling in a story, and to explore the myths and legends that make their history so fascinating.

Neala is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

When I was a young teen, I remember reading the books by author Tamora Pierce, which follow strong, independent girls as they grow and mature into who they want to be, often overcoming adversity and opposition, while always staying true to themselves. As a shy, quiet teen, these girls became role models to me – they inspired me and I drew a lot of strength from them. As an author now myself, I wanted to be able to give other young girls a protagonist who was utterly and completely relatable, someone they could see themselves in. Neala is not flawless or perfect. She has moments of doubt, she has days where she struggles and things become overwhelming, and she doesn’t always have the answers. For me, I needed Neala to be a true sixteen-year-old girl; someone who is still working out who she is, who can be socially awkward at times, yet still grounded. I wanted her to be the hero I needed when I was that age – a girl who could absolutely be my best friend in real life.

When Neala starts discovering her power, the magical world she is part of, and that she is particularly unique in what she can do, it was important to me that she approached all this in a very natural way, because the reader is discovering all of these things as Neala does. Having her doubting what she is seeing, of trying to rationalise what is happening as anything but magic, and navigating each new revelation as best she can, it makes her a relatable character and helps the world unfold around the reader in a very real, tangible way. Neala is, in many ways, an ordinary girl. My driving ideal behind her creation was bringing to life a girl who readers could connect with, relate to, and, ultimately, grow with throughout the story.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

For much of my life, I have wondered who I truly am, and what my purpose is. This quest for self-discovery, I believe, is one that many people experience. Particularly young people. One of the reasons I love writing for YA is these teens are just beginning to find themselves, and to explore the wider world around them and how they fit into it. It is a time for experimenting, for trying new things, and for finding people who make them feel like they belong. This is the core theme of my book, and will be for the trilogy as a whole. In a world that seems to be changing and evolving at a much faster rate than it has before, it can be so easy to lose ourselves in the flurry of life. For Neala, this is expressed in her struggle to cope with the sudden loss of her father and the subsequent relocation to the other side of the world. Everything she knew about herself and her world has literally just been swept out from under her, and she finds herself having to learn and adapt to a very new version of who she is.

This theme, this longing we all have to feel connected, not only to others like us, but to ourselves in general, is one that plenty of people can relate to; certainly not just teenagers. Part of what appeals about Neala is she gives us a way to vicariously go through our own journey of self-discovery, of learning about what we are truly capable of, and, sometimes, our hesitation to take that leap into the unknown, particularly when it all gets too overwhelming. Friendship becomes vitally important to Neala; by connecting with others like her, to people who understand what she is going through and who can share in her experiences, Neala begins to feel more comfortable and confident in herself and her power. The theme of family, community, and friendship is also one that was important for me to explore, because the people we surround ourselves with can truly impact our growth, for better or worse. Not just for Young Adults, but everyone who has felt lost and alone in a strange world!

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

I am very excited to be releasing the sequel to ‘The Bards of Birchtree Hall’ very soon! Pre-orders will be opening in September for a November release. The book is titled ‘The Vengeance of The Morrígan’, and it follows Neala and her friends as they come to grips with the choice they made at the end of book one, and the consequences that follow. The world they find themselves in is nothing like the one they imagined; the scars of betrayal run deep through the land, and the Guardians are not welcome here. Navigating a world where mistrust and suspicion hangs like a shroud over the land, and war is imminent, Neala and her friends learn the truth about why the Gate was created and what they must do to restore balance to the worlds. Because the Morrígan, the Goddess of War, is coming for vengeance on those who have wronged her. And no one is safe.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Neala Moran knew that moving to Ireland would change her life…but she never imagined this.
From the moment she arrives, strange things start to happen – things she cannot explain.
Why did her unusual birthmark – the pale one in the shape of a leaf – start hurting the moment she touched that tree? How is a gigantic horse with glowing yellow eyes materialising from the ocean? And who is the mysterious visitor who speaks to her in her dreams calling her ‘Neala Stormbringer?’ Neala also discovers a long held family secret – she is a Bard. Part-human, part-Faerie – ancient magic flows in her blood and she now must learn to control her elemental powers to discover the meaning behind her affinity with thunderstorms.
Because danger is coming…a threat that no one is prepared for. The Otherworld – home of the Fae and other magical creatures – has been sealed off for centuries by a magical barrier known as ‘The Gate.’ But it will not hold forever…
The Guardians are being summoned. Their purpose is to protect.
Will Neala risk everything to save the ones she loves? Or will she turn her back on her destiny?
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