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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Blog Tour: Anaerfell by Joshua Robertson and J.C. Boyd


Joshua Robertson was born in Kingman, Kansas on May 23, 1984. A graduate of Norwich High School, Robertson attended Wichita State University where he received his Masters in Social Work with minors in Psychology and Sociology. His bestselling novel, Melkorka, the first in The Kaelandur Series, was released in 2015. Known most for his Thrice Nine Legends Saga, Robertson enjoys an ever-expanding and extremely loyal following of readers. He counts R.A. Salvatore and J.R.R. Tolkien among his literary influences.

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J.C. Boyd lives in the Midwest with his wife and two dogs. He recently earned his MA in English Literature and is working on his debut novel for his own fantasy world. Despite growing up with Dungeons & Dragons, Lord of the Rings, and a collection of both Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms novels, J.C. has an abiding love of classics and spends his free time reading anything he can get his hands on.



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About the Book

Drast, cunning but reckless, is on the hunt for admiration. Tyran, calculating but tactless, is in search of affection. Bound by a friendship thicker than blood, the two brothers have been hardened by their father’s ambitions. Drast and Tyran are forced to set aside their own hopes and dreams during their struggle to fulfill their father’s desire for immortality. Now, the two will face skin-switchers and dragons, ultimately leading to a final clash with Wolos, God of the Dead.

Get it today on Amazon!


Keep reading for an excerpt:

The room still whirled from last night. He tried to close his eyes to keep his stomach from doing the same, but closing his eyes actually made it worse. Drast was somewhat surprised that the drink was still affecting him like this. He had been having more than his fill for—he did not know how long. How long ago did Tyran leave? His mind was too foggy to remember. And Walstan was gone, too.
Vaguely, Drast saw that the sky was just turning blue with the rising sun. At least, he was fairly certain it was sunrise. None of the hues of sunset had begun to color the sky.
“Ser Drast?”
He turned his head to the entrance into his chambers and pulled himself more upright to lean against the nightstand beside his bed. One of the serving women stood just inside of his room. “What?”
“The Arkhon wishes to speak with you.”
He was not certain what string of curses came from his lips, but the maid blanched and her face grew pink, almost to the color of her hair. The room swirled again while she spoke.
“What?” he asked again.
“I said, Ser Drast, the Arkhon instructed me to remain with you until you came to meet with him.” Her voice quivered.
She was right to fear him. Her voice was fuzzy, just like everything. But, he knew he had not been particularly kind to any of the servants of late. He had managed to avoid his father by effectively frightening the servants. Their fear, combined with late nights, ale, and sleeping until the sun set, had allowed him to avoid talking with anyone who did not enjoy a mug or two.
A few of the servants had initially joined him in drinking. He loosely recalled this maid among them. Ura? Mura? Lura?
“Kura,” he finally muttered. He had been a little too handsy and she had since avoided him like—he could not clearly comprise a simile. Like. Like? Like the moon avoided the sun? Good enough.
“Yes, Kura,” she murmured.
Drast spat at the chamber pot. He was fairly certain he missed. “Well, come on in, Kura.” He belched. “I know how we can pass the time.”




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Medieval Menagerie



Fun Facts

Writers and movie makers love to show medieval people eating hearty stews full of meat and potatoes. However, potatoes were not native to Europe, but to South America. In fact, even when they were first brought back by Spanish explorers in the 1500s, they remained nothing but a botanical curiosity for decades after. This small, lumpy tuber didn't become a dietary staple until the late 1700s. Why did the potato's acceptance take so long, despite its nutritive value?

One explanation is that the potato, Bittersweet, and Nightshade are all members of the same family. Medieval and Renaissance era herbalists would have immediately recognized its resemblance to these other poisonous plants, and assumed that it was poisonous as well.



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Monday, February 27, 2017

Medieval Monday: The Green Valley in February | Allison D. Reid

Originally posted by Allison D. Reid


Today’s post is actually a video that I really think you’re going to enjoy! It’s half an hour long, but well worth the time to watch! A small group of historians and archaeologists restored and brought back to life an abandoned village in Wales, re-creating over an entire year what life was like in the early 1600’s. This would be considered the Renaissance period, but the humble agricultural lifestyle really hadn’t changed a whole lot. Much of this would be applicable to the medieval period as well.
This episode is not the start of the series, but it is the video from February, so you can see what would have been happening at this time of year hundreds of years ago. Really, really fascinating stuff. I encourage you to take the time to watch. I will include one episode each month going forward until the year’s worth of videos run out. Aside from doing this type of thing yourself, I can think of no better way to really put yourself back in time, to see and vicariously experience life from another era. Hope you enjoy it!


Use the Medieval Monday Index to discover more topics relating to daily life in the Middle Ages.



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Dark Clouds are Gathering. Can you Weather the Storm?

Some pretty ugly weather rolled across the U.S. yesterday and overnight. We caught some of it where I live, though other parts of the country fared much worse. Bright flashes of lighting filled our living room, and great cracks and booms shook the house. You couldn’t see the rain in the pitch dark outside, but you could hear it beating against the siding and roof. The weather alerts were sounding from my phone every 5 minutes, sending my anxiety levels up a few notches each time, and my 6-year-old was squeezing the life out of my arm as we sat on the couch together. We live in a modern, sturdy house—something book characters don’t always have, particularly those living in a medieval or other historical-type era where the weather’s benevolence is crucial to survival. 
As I sat there in a comfortable well-lit room, with the lull of the T.V. to distract me from the tempest outside, I was reminded how weather can play a significant role in a story, or even become a character in itself.  It can set the mood for a single scene, or shape the entire plot.  Weather can grow crops, or destroy them, it can fill sails or sink ships, level homes, and flood streets.  Its temperature extremes are sometimes deadly.  Long periods of unchanging weather can affect the mental states of those subject to its effects. For those characters out on the road, the weather can give them an easy-going, pleasant journey or an uncomfortable, and even dangerous one. If a fictional society is largely agrarian, bad weather has the power to completely destroy it—no armies needed—by bringing about starvation and sickness.  In a time before radar and weather apps, sudden changes in weather would no doubt have been mysterious and alarming to the average person. By the time they knew bad weather was coming, there wasn’t much time to prepare.
Do you have a favorite book in which weather plays a significant role? If you’re a writer, how do you handle weather in your own stories? Is it something that just lurks in the background, rarely seen, or are your characters keenly aware of its impact on daily life? Have you ever written a story in which the weather actually took on the role of a character?



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Sunday, February 26, 2017

#EpicWorlds Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Giveaway on #InstaFreebie | Renee Writes

Originally posted on Renee Writes:


 

Check out the Epic Worlds Science Fiction and Fantasy Giveaway

Get over 75 ebooks free!




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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Saturday Sneak Peeks: Demon Hunt (It's on Sale)! | Renee Writes

Originally posted on Renee Writes:



Designed by Kathryn Jenkins at Magical Designs

I know I said I was going to give you a sneak peek of the short story I'm working on, but I totally forgot that I have Demon Hunt (A Shadow Stalker Prequel Novella) on sale for 99 cents until the 10th of March. So I wanted to give you a sneak peek of that this week. Then you'll get a sneak peek of the short story next week. I swear!

Auren tried to turn and run, but she couldn't make herself move. The demon was right behind her now. It roared loudly, then Auren felt something slam into her back knocking her to the ground. She was somehow out of the shadow world, but so was the demon. She jumped to her feet to run, but the demon was too quick. It raked its huge claw across her back. She heard the tearing of her clothing and skin moments before the pain hit. The demon stood over her as she lay face down in the dirt, screaming. Just when she thought it would land a killing blow, it bellowed out another roar and ran off, kicking her a few meters with its foot.
"Damn it, Auren. What have you done?" Kado said, kneeling beside her.
She had no idea where he came from. He stood and appeared to be considering going after the demon. The thought of being left alone terrified her. The demon tore her back open, and she didn't know how badly she was bleeding. If he left her, she might die before he could get back. She wasn't even sure if there was anything he could do for her.
"Kado, please," she cried when he took a few steps away from her.

If you'd like to read more, remember it's only on sale until the 10th of March!

Demon Hunt


$0.99

Auren and Kado accept that they may not be able to avoid her leaving the Dark Isle. Now they have to prepare for that eventuality. Will the training be more than Auren can handle? *Prices may be higher in some stores. I have no control over this.




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Friday, February 24, 2017

Author Spotlight: Errant Spark (Elemental Trials, Book 1) by Ronelle Antoinette | Renee Writes

Originally posted on Renee Writes:


Welcome to this week's Friday Author Spotlight! Today I have Ronelle Antoinette visiting to tell us about the first book in her Elemental Trials series, Errant Spark. She'll be sharing both a written and audio excerpt of her book, but first lets learn a little more about her.
Ronelle Antoinette lives in western Colorado with her husband, two cats, and one dog-who-believes-he's-a-person. While she is a mother to none, she’s an auntie to what should qualify as a small army. She is an admitted caffeine addict, chocoholic, and hopeless romantic who has carried on a passionate affair with the genre of fantasy since she was old enough to read 'chapter books'. She dabbled in creative writing for many years and even considered it as a major in college. (She ended up getting a Bachelor's degree in Counseling Psychology.) She published her first novel, Errant Spark, in July of 2016.

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About the Book

In Egalion’s Imperial court, there is splendor and luxury, but it’s also a realm of treachery and cloak-and-dagger political maneuvering that threatens to destroy the peace of two thousand years. They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but at court you can’t tell one from the other…and they change at the flip of a coin.
Twenty five-year-old Battlemage Jex Xander has a mouth which frequently gets him in trouble, while in contrast, Enari Namelum speaks not at all. When Jex becomes the target of a faceless curse-slinger, Enari, the girl he protects, must now protect him. The discovery of ritual human sacrifices and Jex’s growing inability to keep his feelings (and hands) to himself only serve to complicate matters. Passion and romance should be the last thing on their minds, but life and the Goddess seem to have other ideas.
Errant Spark is the hush before the storm, the last deep breath before the plunge. The flint has been struck and it’s possible the world might go up in flames…because love in Egalion’s Imperial court is as dangerous a thing as backroom politics and jealousy can be as much a driving force as silver and gold.

Get it today on AmazonSmashwordsBarnes & NobleKoboiBooks, and Audible!


Listen to the Audio Excerpt, then keep reading for a written excerpt below:


“May I join you?”
Without waiting for a response, Jex Xander settled gracefully to the ground beside her. He offered her a tin cup and she took it, warily examining the contents.
“You have the look of someone who could use that.” He jerked his chin at the cup before turning his attention to his own bowl of stew and chunk of bread.
Chamomile and meadowsweet wafted up on the steam and she inhaled appreciatively, but didn’t drink.
“Oh, I almost forgot!” Fishing a flask out of his pocket, the mage unstoppered it and leaned over her, pouring a small amount of something brownish into the tea. “Not the best quality, I’m afraid, and I know it smells vile, but it’ll take the edge off your sore muscles, I promise.” He grinned at her startled expression before settling more comfortably and beginning to eat heartily.
Enari took a tentative sip and tried not to gag. It was horrid, but the warmth that spread in her belly was soothing, so she continued to drink. They sat in silence for several moments as stars twinkled to life overhead. A few even shot brightly across the sky and Enari watched them, still awed at the sheer immensity of the view above her. At the Temple, parts of the night sky had always been obscured by foliage, even when viewed from the high branches of the trees she climbed.
“Mmm, Plamen works his forge tonight,” Jex observed around a mouthful of bread, “Wonder what he’s making?”
Enari didn’t answer and after a moment, he tried again.
“Did the kvinna speak truth? Are you really still a novice?” He used the remaining crust to mop out his bowl before licking his fingers and wiping them in the grass beside him.
She nodded, still not looking at him.
“May I ask how old you are?”
It was a rude question to ask a woman, he knew, but he’d been watching her all afternoon and hadn’t been able to guess her age. ‘Young’ was all he’d determined for certain. Probably too young.
Using a stick, she drew a number in the dirt and his conscience eased. Eighteen. Not too young, then, or at least not so much that he felt guilty for looking. And he definitely had been looking. Couldn’t blame a man, really.
Well, the kvinna probably would. She seemed the excessively protective sort.
“I have a sister about your age, back in Rowan. Not as quiet as you, though,” he mused, hoping to at least get a smile out of the girl. She was exotically appealing and he could only imagine how much more radiant she would be if she smiled.
Enari stood quickly. She didn’t know how to fend off interested men and retreating to bed seemed like the easiest way out of this awkward situation.
“Novice!” one of the guardsmen called out. To Jex, he sounded more than a little drunk. “If you be done with that pretty boy, come and spend time with a real man. The night promises to be chill, but I’ll warm you well if he won’t!”
Jex rose to his feet upon seeing her uncertainty and embarrassment.
“You!” he called back, “Didn’t your mother teach you how to address a lady?”
“Mind your own business, mage,” the man retorted. He got up unsteadily and swaggered towards Enari. She hurriedly backed away, eyes darting left and right as she sought an avenue of escape.
Before the man could reach her, Jex stepped up and put his palm in the center of the other’s chest. He gave him a stiff shove, eyes dark with menace.
“Don’t be a fool. I wasn’t sent to protect these women from their own escorts but I will. I suggest you find your bedroll, friend,” he said dangerously, “Sleep it off, or you’ll be no good to anyone on the morrow.”
Enari stared at the pair with round eyes. The mage didn’t even know her, yet here he was, protecting her honor like she was some grand lady.
After a moment of glaring at each other, the guardsmen broke eye contact first. Muttering sullenly under his breath, he retreated and Jex released a sigh. He really hadn’t wanted to fight the drunken lout, even though he was confident he’d have won.
“Silent little thing, aren’t you?” Returning his attention to Enari, he reached out and touched her cheek gently.
Weariness in blurry waves of gray, spikes of hard red adrenaline and anger, fading sparks of vibrant blue lust... Goddess, she’d be so pretty if she smiled. Too pretty to stay much longer in a group of men with no one but her Sura to look after her. Stupid, stupid to send such a small party across so much open land.
Quiet thunder of a rapidly pounding heart, the sharp tang of fear-sweat, nervous little brown mouse… That man almost…he could have…and the mage. I don’t even know him, he doesn’t know me, but he stopped the other one. His hand is on my skin and…
Starting in alarm, Enari recoiled and the string of awareness that was and wasn’t hers snapped like gossamer thread. She took a quick step back and the sudden movement unbalanced her. Her sore leg muscles were unable to compensate and with a surprised gasp, she fell onto her bottom in the dirt. Jex looked down at her, clearly as startled as she.
A heavy hand grabbed the back of his tunic and the grizzled old guard captain shook him roughly. His voice was deep and his accent was rough. “She dun’a like to be touched, mageling. Keep your mitts to yourself!”
“I-I’m sorry. I didn’t know, I,” Jex stuttered and cleared his throat. “Sorry,” he finished lamely, looking back and forth between Enari and the captain, as if unsure who he was actually apologizing to. He offered her a hand up, took a look at the captain’s face, and put both of them in his pockets.
“You alright, little mistress?” the captain asked Enari.
She nodded and climbed stiffly to her feet, brushing dirt from her trousers.
“I’m sorry for startling you, Nani,” Jex apologized again. Enari smiled and waved it away. He frowned at the captain and opened his mouth.
As if guessing the younger man’s thoughts, the captain shook his head. “She dun’a speak, either.” He narrowed his eyes threateningly at Jex, thick brows beetling down even further. “But dun’a you be going and thinking she be stupid for it, mage. She ain’t.”
Jex held up his hands in placation and took a step away. “I would never!”
“See that you dun’a.” With that, the captain strode away into the darkness. Jex made a face and gestured rudely at his retreating back. Enari covered a smile.
Turning back to her, he raised a speculative eyebrow and put his hands on his hips. “He wasn’t having me on, was he?”
Enari’s expression turned distant.
“Alright, alright. Keep your secrets.” His eyes darted to the bowl of stew she’d somehow managed not to drop or spill all over herself. “Are you going to eat that?”



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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pre-Order Maharia: Release March 15, 2017 | Joshua Robertson

Originally posted by Joshua Robertson:


The ebook for the third and final book in The Kaelandur Series is now available for pre-order! News on the print book will soon be available.
Branimir has remained hidden from the enemy, withholding the cursed dagger from their erroneous hands. When a stranger arrives, and offers the chance to end his never-ending battle, Branimir sets off for the City of the Gods for answers. Now, hoping his faith has not been misplaced, Branimir undergoes his darkest adventure yet. He can only trust that he has the courage to survive the truth.
In valor there is hope!

PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON



NEED BOOK 1 OR 2?

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Branimir is a slave to the mighty Highborn. Unwittingly, his masters forge a copper dagger capable of destroying the Ash Tree. Drawn along on the quest to remedy the mistake of his masters, Branimir becomes the most unlikely of heroes in an inimical world of magic and mayhem.

NOW ON SALE FOR 99 CENTS!



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Branimir emerges from the Netherworld as a living legend and learns the Ash Tree is still in danger from the cursed dagger, kaelandur. An old friend compels Branimir to finish what they started at Melkorka. Once again, the former slave must keep kaelandur out of uncertain hands, while struggling to separate heroes from villains and friends from foes.

$2.99 ON AMAZON




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$0.99 Multi-Genre Book Special! | Renee Scattergood

Originally posted by Renee Scattergood:


 

100+ Novels, Anthologies and Box Sets Available for $0.99 each!

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The Hawkhurst Saga

Ten years ago, Argus Gunther escaped Hawkhurst, thinking he had left behind a desolate life and a forsaken name. Though, when he is lured back to complete a contract, Argus discovers he can't bury the past so easily. Pulled instantly into Hawkhurst's daunting political games, Argus is forced to navigate through his nightmares. Now, while in search for his freedom, he must decide whether or not there are worse fates than death.

4 BONUS STORIES INCLUDED:

THE NAME OF DEATH (EPIC FANTASY)
GRIMSDALR (EPIC FANTASY)
JACK SPRATT (HORROR)
THE PRINCE'S PARISH (HISTORICAL FICTION)

$3.99 Kindle

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fantasy Art Wednesday | Allison D. Reid

Originally posted by Allison D. Reid:


Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Wednesday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.

Night has fallen on the old quarter of the city. Far in the distance a castle rises up to meet the moon; two equally unattainable destinations. This is, after all, the poor quarter, and I am not here by chance. Only the brazen and the rats–including the worst of human vermin–dare to emerge at night. Or the desperate, like myself. I watch the guards as they pass below, crossbows raised and ready. They’re always on edge during night patrol; a state that often leaves behind tragic consequences. I hope not to be one of them, though I am as like to find one of their arrows in my back as I am the dagger of a thief. But travel I must, to someplace far beyond this hell. Beyond even that castle in the distance. A new life, a new destiny awaits me out there, if I can but escape. There are many who would keep me here by force if they had any suspicions about my flight. I must elude them all…

“Night Over the Poor District
by ortsmor



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WIP Wednesday: #AmWriting Like Crazy! | ReneeWrites

Originally posted on Renee Writes:


This has been a crazy year so far. I'm really glad I went back to my old style of writing where I work on more than one project at a time. It really works for me.
I've got three projects going on at any one time now. I've committed myself to writing one short story a month. If it's not for a specific publication, I'll release it on its own. Then when I have enough of them, I'll release them as an anthology for those who prefer bigger books as opposed to smaller ones.
The first one is going to be released the 15th of March. I'm in the process of editing it now, so it should be done in plenty of time. I can't wait for that. I'll post a sneak peek of that story this coming Saturday, so keep an eye out for that.
Of course, there's Shadow Stalker, and I've been doing some writing for that as well. Episode 19 is due to be released the 5th of April. I really think people will love Part 4. There are going to be a lot of surprises. ;)
And finally I'm still in the planning stages with my first book in the A God's Deception series, but I'm almost ready to start outlining the book. I expect I should be finished writing by the end of April and then I can start the editing. Of course, this one I'll be submitting to Crimson Edge and hopefully publishing with them, so I can't give a projected release date at this point. But I'm going to hope for the end of the year on that one.
It feels great to be writing more regularly again and actually getting stuff done. And I think I enjoy having something to publish more often too. Between the short stories and Shadow Stalker episodes, I should have something new each month. Sometimes even twice a month. So it's really exciting.
Oh, and I should also mention, with the short stories, I'll be experimenting with other genres. They'll all pretty much be in the horror/thriller/paranormal/dark fantasy category because that's what I tend to write, but if you have a suggestion or a challenge for me to write in a completely different genre (just for the fun of it) leave a comment below or contact me! I'd love to hear from you.
Until next time... happy reading!



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