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Feeling Like an Outsider

Taylor Fenner Author Interview

Monsters & Mist is a thrilling fantasy novel that I thought was very entertaining. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Thank you! Initially I wanted to write a story about a girl whose nephew went missing who goes on a journey to find him and ends up learning about herself along the way. As the world and story unfolded it became about a group of characters that had been raised to see things one way who had to put aside those beliefs to work together.

Your characters were intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I always see a little bit of myself in at least one of my characters. Monsters & Mist was initially intended to be told solely in Andromeda’s perspective. She starts off the book feeling like an outsider – in her village, in her family even, because she looks different and acts differently, wants different things than everyone else. I often feel like I don’t quite belong, even among friends or with my family and I wanted to show that you shouldn’t feel bad because your differences are what make you who you are. All of my main characters had to go through a transformation throughout the book. Cygni, for example, didn’t think he was ready to follow in his father’s shoes but by having everything ripped away from him he became the leader he was always meant to be.

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

I think, especially now, it was important for me to get across that despite where someone comes from, what their background is, or how they were raised deep down people all really feel things the same way. We all have hopes, dreams, insecurities, and fears. There are five kingdoms in Monsters & Mist, and for generations the people from three of those kingdoms had spent so much energy hating the people of the fourth kingdom all because the god they worshipped willed them to, when if they had gotten to know those people the world could have been an equal, peaceful place.

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

I have a few different projects I’m working on at the moment, all of which are outside my usual comfort zone. My primary project is a horror novel set in an almost forgotten hotel in the Great Smoky Mountains and I aim to have it out in the first half of 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The Girl with Warrior Aspirations.
The Playboy Prince.
The Ruthless Queen.

One will seek to enslave the world. One will lead the rebellion. And one will be the catalyst.

The Warrior General with a tragic past.
The Disgraced Bounty Hunter.
The Girl with the Constellation on Her Face.

One will rise to the challenge. One will return what was once lost. And one will embrace their destiny.

Six lives. One world borne anew.

Karik’s First Battle

Karik's First Battle (The Legends of Karik Book 1) by [Evan Oliver]

After being exiled from a village unable to sustain him and his friends during the long and harsh winter, Karik embarks on a treacherous journey to find a place to stay. After multiple discussions, Karik convinces his stubborn friends to head north, where they might find shelter in one of the less populated villages. When they stumble upon a small settlement up north and are invited to stay, they reluctantly accept. However, they notice strange details around the village including its saggy construction and utter lack of population. They soon discover that many important events actually occur underground in an elaborate series of tunnels, including a strange pact with a dangerous dragon and dark secrets involving a mythological character. Karik must find a way to defeat this threat lurking in the shadows and keep his friends, and himself, alive until spring.

Kariks First Battle by Evan Oliver is a thrilling high-fantasy novella and is the first installment in the “Legends of Karik” series. However short, this first following an intriguing hero through an imaginative fantasy world that still feels grounded but deep. This reminds me of The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien in that it feels like an adventure that’s playing out in a world with a very deep backstory.

The characters are all compelling in their own way, barely riding the line of fantasy trope but bring enough unique characterization to make them feel fresh and alive on the page. The story feels like a reinvigoration of the type of fantasy story telling prevalent in the 80’s, but with a contemporary infusion of action and sense of adventure.

Kariks First Battle has a creative plot that is propelled by fascinating characters. I really feel like we’re just scratching the surface of something much grander in the Legends of Karik series. If you’re looking for an epic fantasy story where a host of striking characters set out on a dangerous adventure then you will find plenty to enjoy in this book.

Pages: 91 | ASIN: B08W73Q5D2

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The Roar of a Dragon

The Roar of a Dragon by [Robert Blanchard]

The Roar of a Dragon by Robert Blanchard is an adventurous fantasy narrated by Aidan, who begins the story from his childhood and humble beginnings in the countryside. The story develops from Aidan’s growing up on a farm and learning about the necessities of life. He details his family life and precisely how his upbringing prepares him for an initially traditional life, then unexpectedly changes. Aidan quickly discovers that the life he was raised for, and his destiny, is far more than he could imagine.

A simple twist in events, and realization by Aidan, propels him into a different life. He constantly struggles with dreams of his mother and a past and future that he learns to accept. The challenges of Aidan’s coming of age and developing into a solid and noble role are well-written with deep compassion and ambition.

As Aidan struggles with his fate and many obstacles ahead, he also grapples with his emotions and struggles to fulfill his soldier training. The book is more than a fantasy as it’s a deeply personal account of a young man’s transition from a naïve farmer’s son to someone who can make a difference in battle and beyond.

The characters are well woven into the story, shaping Aidan’s life and development into a bigger world that’s dangerous and exciting. It quickly becomes increasingly clear that Aidan’s life will play a significant role in a conquest that will require him to prove himself. The story beautifully explores Aidan’s life and his inner thoughts during his growth. He narrates every stage of his journey with exceptional clarity, with just enough detail and flavor to continuously engage the reader.

The Roar of the Dragon is a fantastic story of adventure and fighting battles, both literal and personal, with a rich character layer and development. Each scene is well described to paint authentic, rustic landscapes in a surreal fantasy world that comes to life. Aidan’s life is full of vibrant action that keeps the pages turning once you begin reading. He faces both external forces, from dragons and war, and his internal conflict.

The book is an incredible read, and you’ll easily move through the story quickly with anticipation for the subsequent development. The Roar of the Dragon is entertaining and well structured, detailing Aidan’s ability to face and conquer various levels of conflict in a unique fantasy world.

Pages: 280 | ASIN: B074BCDYTH

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Monsters & Mist

Monsters & Mist by [Taylor Fenner]

Monsters & Mist by Taylor Fenner is a thrilling fantasy novel that goes to great lengths to develop a fully realized world with attention paid to even the tiniest details. Intriguing characters are painstakingly developed to ensure we, as readers, understand their motivations, so when they are thrust headlong into precarious situations we are certain to be biting our nails.

This was an engrossing action adventure novel with characters that are well fleshed out and a story that is engaging and rich with creative details and imaginative lore.

Readers are provided with a bit of Esternwhorl history at the beginning of every chapter. This serves to provide even more backstory and world building for readers who like to be consumed by their epic fantasy novels. This reminds me of books found throughout the Elder Scrolls video game where a whole other world feels like it is being built behind the scenes as you progress through the story. I felt like this Esternwhorl history could easily become its own companion novella with how much details is provided in this suspenseful fantasy novel.

Is this a character driven story or a plot driven story? I think this story transcends either category because I feel like the momentum of the story is pushed forward, at different points, by different aspects making for a very engaging read as we move from one tense situation to another, and one from one intriguing character to another. Once we get past the world building, the 400+ pages of this book fly by in a whirlwind of emotionally charged story telling.

Monsters & Mist is an engrossing story that I highly recommend to anyone looking to lose themselves in a fantasy world that is richly imaginative. From an author who has clearly honed her craft through her young adult paranormal fantasy Eternals Trilogy, Taylor Fenner provides readers with a vibrant fantasy story.

Pages: 418 | ASIN: B08VWFN9S5

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A Land the Dragons Would Inhabit

Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait
Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait Author Interview

Queen of Dragons finds an uneasy peace shattered when Elky and Ustice are taken and the Spires are spurred into action. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from book one?

Thank you, Thomas. In this book I wanted to show how even one life is missed from a community. The beginning of the story expresses, I think, the feeling of loss each individual of a community feels and the joy at the recovery of that person. This part of the story leads to the ‘why’ behind the crime which is the focus of the book.

I really enjoyed the world your building in this series. What were some sources that informed this world’s development?

I lived in California for many years, close to the mountains. Hiking trails along those mountains gave me a keen sense of a land the dragons would inhabit–the outcropping of mountains close to the ocean with the scent of sea spray that hangs in the air is much like The Spires of Dasny.

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

I don’t prethink themes, they occur naturally through the writing process. The sense of loss was one theme, a joyful return another, redemption yet another. Mainly in this book I wanted to show the growth of the characters and the challenges each of them face with that growth. It’s not necessarily a ‘coming of age’ book, but it does touch on some of those emotions and the growth each character experiences.

This is book two in The Spires of Dasny series. What can readers expect in book three?

In book three of The Spires of Dasny, the readers will be propelled into a much larger world. They begin to learn of other kingdoms and how they can benefit them or destroy them. Along with this discovery is an ancient lore that plays out with the main characters of Seyra, Grifton and Elky. What is the meaning behind it and will it help them or come at a cost? It is my hope to expand this series by focusing on these different kingdoms and the impact each plays with The Spires of Dasny.

I am aiming for the release of book three, The Kingdom of the Spires, by fall 2021, and with any luck, much sooner!

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook

Continue the Epic adventure of The Spires of Dasny, an international best selling book, with the next in this series; The Spires of Dasny: 2<>
An uneasy feeling of peace fills the kingdom of the Spires that splinters when it’s discovered Elky, the shining light of the people and dragons alike, vanishes along with her fated dragon, Ustice.
Why would these mysterious people take Elky and her dragon? What do they want? The answers to those questions spurs the Spires into fast-paced action as they battle to save their kingdom and world from complete annihilation.

The Spires of Dasny: 2: Queen of Dragons

The Spires of Dasny: 2: Queen of Dragons by [Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait]

The Spires and the surrounding regions bask in the peace that has lasted five years since the bloody battle of Garneth. But a new conflict looms as strange people abduct Elky and Ustice, her dragon. The king of the Dragons and Spires, Dreyth and Seyra, his fated human rider, must now team up with other Spires warriors to rescue Elky and her beast. Their quest spirals into a new adventure that sees the Spires faced with a full-blown war against sorcerers wielding hypnotic magic and a strange breed of dragons. Amidst all this, the people and Dragons of the Spires also try to come to terms with the Dragon king’s decision to choose Seyra, a human, as his queen. Faced with internal and external conflicts, the fate of the Spires hangs in a delicate balance.

Queen of Dragons is the second book in Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait’s epic fantasy series, Spires of Dasny. A riveting fairy tale fantasy with a story featuring dragons, magic, and enchanting folktales. All of these elements are effortlessly woven together to create a rich and thrilling story.

The authors fantastic use of descriptive writing pulls you into a unique fantasy world that is filled with emotionally-charged moments that surprise at every turn.

At this point I fell like C.R.C is an expert at creating compelling and grounded characters that are easy to empathize with, if not relate to. Initially, I felt some distance, but I soon connected with Seyra and her dragon’s relationship. As the story unfolded and both revealed their hearts, their relationship became more meaningful and reflected something more familiar.

C.R.C holds keeps the tension high right up until the end. Even after what you’d call the final battle, the author introduces a gripping twist that threatens to ruin the happy ending, but keeps you completely engrossed in the story and desperate for another book.

As a bonus, you get to enjoy a teaser of the next part of the series. A great way to get a glimpse of what to expect in the next book. And from the little I’ve seen, it will be just as entertaining.

Pages: 194 | ASIN: B08SL8RHBW

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The Elemental Union

Shanna Bosarge
Shanna Bosarge Author Interview

Devian follows an orphan with a mysterious past who discovers powers that could either end the war or destroy the world. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

When I started writing, in the early 2000’s, the plot an premise changed many times, but Sterling and Brom were always the central characters. At first, Sterling relied heavily on Brom to save her, but after watching Appleseed – I was convinced I needed a strong female character that could hold her own in any fight. Brom was always tough as nails, but he has a vulnerable side that he holds tightly to his chest – the two together make one heck of team.

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

I wanted Sterling to be someone we could all relate to – she has many flaws, but she loves fiercely and is loyal to her friends and family to a fault. I didn’t want her to be a the perfect heroine – Sterling gets into a ton of trouble because of her inability to control her temper, but not only that – trouble follows her wherever she goes. Though she pushes people away, she really wants someone to hold onto – and Brom may or may not be that someone. Never mistake Stelring for a damsel in distress.

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

The main theme of series is Balance – without Balance there is chaos. Right now the world is in chaos and a new balance must be found. Devian is the start of the journey to find a balance that will save humanity.

This is book one in your Elemental Union series. What can readers expect in book two?

Sterling’s Devian powers are still developing and she’s learning more about her past. As time goes by new threats appear on the horizon in the form of a mysterious voice only she can hear and a horde of demon graekull. The voice she hears comes to her in a language she’s never heard, but can oddly undestand. Is this voice connected to the influx of demons? Book Two follows Sterling as she learns more about her Devian abilities and who she really is.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Shanna Bosarge’s breakout novel introduces Sterling Rin’Ovana — a complex, beautiful, and dangerous woman who forges toward a powerful future despite her unknown past.

Resentful of the silver eyes inherited from a mother she never knew, Sterling must learn to put aside the wayward glances and the whispered insults of those who see her as a monster. Silver eyes that also betray her as a Devian, and the hunted quarry of the Severon.

Born in the midst of a battle between her Veillen father and graekull demons and the blood of her dying mother, Sterling is secreted away by Hemi — a trusted family servant. She grows in peace and safety until the Severon find her, years later. As they destroy the people and the places she grew to love, Sterling battles their constant push to capture her, as well as her own regret over the trail of destruction that follows her escape.

No amount of Hemi’s training could prepare Sterling for the relentless pursuit of the Severon. As she flees, Hemi’s dying words ring in her ears — urging her to find shelter in the land of Kai’Vari, the place of her birth. While she hopes to find a place to finally call home, she returns to the millennia old battle between man and demon, as well as fear and mistrust from those who should instead protect her.

She also finds — as her Devian powers emerge — that she may either be the key to ending the ancient battle, or the catalyst to the world’s destruction.

Choice, Prejudice, and Love

Sean P Valiente
Sean P Valiente Author Interview

The Lightning Knight follows a young noble who is reluctantly tasked with training a boy that is destined to save the world. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The story sort of found itself in a way. I love the idea of the classic hero’s journey, but wanted to have a twist on it. I found having Oliver in the role of mentor, and the story from his perspective was super interesting. Beyond that, I loved the idea of having the mentor not really knowing much more than the person he was training. It really makes it seem real and lived in, versus the cookie-cutter this is the hero and you know what his deal is.

Oliver is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

I really wanted to capture the essence of what it was like to be a teenager – the extreme emotions, the big thoughts and ideas with the lack of experience and maturity, and all of that. He really starts out a bit naïve to how the world works, and his sheltered wealthy life hasn’t done him any favors with what’s really going on in the world. He teeters on the line of extreme emotions, particularly confidence and lack thereof. I wanted someone who really could exemplify the goodness of being a teenager, and the angst and confusion as well.

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

Some major themes were haves vs have nots, identity, choice, prejudice, and love. The story really tries to touch upon a bunch of different things but ultimately at the end of the day, it’s about adversity and how you handle everything life throws at you, good or bad.

This is book one in The Knights of Nine series. What can readers expect in book two?

Book two will follow a different character to begin with until they meet Oliver and continue his journey. We’ll get to see a different part of the world, and even a different culture or three.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Magic isn’t real. Not anymore and not like it used to be. Or so I thought…

16-year-old Oliver Quartermain doesn’t believe in magic anymore. But who cares? He has it all: he comes from a rich and noble family and doesn’t have a care in the world. But how quickly that can all change.

In the space of a few moments, Oliver’s life is turned upside down when he is tasked with protecting and saving the very magic he never believed in. But that’s not even the half of it. The only way to save magic is by training a young boy named Po Pondarion, who is destined to save the world.

Not only does Oliver have to train the young and totally clueless Po, but he also has to battle an evil secret organization bent on destroying them, all while deciphering the secrets of a Magical Codex. Oliver enlists the help of his unlikely best friends, Roc and Yokel, as well as the Knight Angels, secretive vigilantes he’s only recently met, to help him train Po and save the world. That should be simple, right?

Will this merry band of misfits be able to train the young Po in time for him to learn the secrets of magic and save its very existence forever?

The Lightning Knight is a gripping epic fantasy that will have you on the edge of your seat, eagerly flipping to the next page. Let yourself become emersed in this rich and magical world and join Oliver and Po on the adventure of a lifetime.
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