Tag Archives: fantasy

Lichgates: Book One of the Grimoire Saga by @TheSMBoyce #Fantasy #AmReading

25 Mar

Kara Magari squinted back up the path she’d just climbed. The gazebo’s roof peeked through the trees, evidence of where she’d been only ten minutes before. Not bad. With her finger in the air, she traced the way she’d taken, starting at the lichgate and going down over each step in her head. Her finger hovered and came to a stop, though, when she examined the base of the hill.

Built into the rock was a marble door, shrouded with overhanging roots and dangling moss that clung to its frame like bangs. She rubbed her eyes, but the closed entryway was still there when she opened them again.

She brushed her hand along the door’s smooth stone. It was simple, with only a round stone knob and a small emblem carved into the rock at eye level. The symbol looked something like a four-leaf clover made out of crescent moons.

Kara’s fingers itched on the handle, but she hesitated.

The ground trembled with a sudden force that knocked her against the cliff. The breeze stopped, dissolving with a hiss into the hot summer sky. She scanned the valley. Several somethings cracked in the ground under her feet.

Thunder rumbled overhead. A dark cloud churned in the sky, and her heart fell into her stomach; there hadn’t even been a single fluffy cloud up there ten minutes ago.

A blinding bolt of moss-colored lightning flashed, striking the ground nearby. The hairs on her arms stood on end. Heat coursed through her calves, and she caught her breath. Her ears rang.

Wait. Was that lightning green?

The cliff trembled as a boom shattered the air. It began to rain. The heavy drops pelted her skin and clung to her hair as another rumble coursed along the far edge of the valley. She needed shelter, and the last place she would go in a lightning storm was up a hill.

She turned back and twisted the door’s handle, sighing with relief as it openedunlocked. Still, as wet as it was outside and as much as she wanted a safe place to wait out the rain, she lingered on the threshold to examine the room.

Mud covered everything from the floor to the ceiling. Since there weren’t any supports to hold the roof, she couldn’t figure out how the ten-by-ten dirt shelter hadn’t caved in yet. The air within was heavy, moist with the rot of dead leaves, and her only guiding light streamed in from behind her. Roots dangled from the ceiling like stalactites reaching for the floor. The wind picked up, howling as it pelted rain against her back.

Kara tested the ground with her sneaker. The dirt floor supported her weight, so she tip-toed into the room and left the door open. Rain fell in lingering drops on the threshold before it disappeared into the growing pools of mud. She stuck her hands in her pockets and watched the raging storm outside.

A flash of dark brown blurred past her.

She jumped. A tan flicker snaked along the roof, and clumps of soil fell in sheets. She glared at the ceiling, holding her breath as the settling dust rained onto her shoes.

It had almost looked like a root moving, but that—that was crazy.

Another streak of motion raced down the opposite wall. It passed through a shaft of light, and Kara saw its pointed, wooden tip. Tiny veins sprouted from it like hairs, digging into the dirt so that it could travel.

It was a root moving.

A second spiny vine shot up from the floor and wrapped itself around her leg. It pulled. She tripped, falling into the first root as it snaked along the far wall. Dirt poured over her head, blinding her. The scent of decaying bark made her cough. The root tugged again, and she was yanked onto her hands and knees. It dragged her towards the center of the room. She reached for the knife strapped to her free ankle, the one Mom had—no! She couldn’t think of Mom. Not now.

A third root wrapped around her waist, and another grabbed her hand as she reached for the blade. The roots flipped her onto her back. With a bang, the door snapped shut. Her stomach churned. The floor disappeared. She fell, and the roots let go.

lichgates

“The writing is flawless. The kingdoms and surrounding landscapes breathtaking. The Grimoire is a piece of imaginative genius that bedazzles from the moment Kara falls into the land of Ourea. – Nikki Jefford, author of the Spellbound Trilogy

Spring 2013 Rankings

#6 Kindle Store | #1 Science Fiction & Fantasy | #1 Epic Fantasy | #1 Sword & Sorcery | #1 Teens

Now an international Amazon bestseller. Fans of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Eragon will enjoy this contemporary remix of the classic epic fantasy genre.

—————-

Kara Magari is about to discover a beautiful world full of terrifying things: Ourea.

Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother’s recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With nothing to do, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book’s untamed power. Discovered by Ourea’s royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict – a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn’t trust anyone… but she’s being hunted and can’t survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn’t know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.

For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire.

Welcome to Ourea, where only the cunning survive.

—————-

Novels in the Grimoire Saga:

Lichgates (#1)

Treason (#2)

Heritage (#3) – Available Fall 2013

Illusion (#4) – Available Fall 2014

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Fantasy

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

 Connect with SM Boyce on Facebook & Twitter & Pinterest

Deadlines & Sanity, What’s the Connection? @NRNadarajah #Fantasy

18 Feb

Allow me to tell you about a little something I learned when I was just a wee little lad. Several times a week, my dad would sit me down and ask me: “so, what’ve you got planned for the day?” It was a simple question, and one I should’ve had an answer for each time he asked. But that was usually never the case. I hardly ever had an answer for him, and when I did, it was a fleeting thought about something that I might’ve wanted to do a day or two down the road.

“You need to make a schedule,” he’d then tell me. “Make a schedule and organize your thoughts. Create a checklist or something like that. You’ll be more productive that way.”

Did I listen to him? I’d like to tell you that I did.

So, how have I managed to write two YA fantasy novels, as well as two other picture eBooks for adults, while sticking to my deadlines without driving myself barking mad?

You’ve guessed it. I finally started listening to what my old man had to say. Here’s how I’ve incorporated his advice into furthering my productivity and finding success along the way.

Every Sunday, I’d take about five to ten minutes out of my time and sit down to make a checklist. Trust me on this. Make a list and write down everything you’d like to accomplish that week. And then when you feel like you’ve listed out and scheduled your entire week, add a few more items you’d like to accomplish.

There are seven days in a week, which equates to 168 hours. That’s a whole lot of hours just waiting to be used up (or wasted. That decisions up to you). 168 hours. There’s so much we can do in that time. There’s so much we can accomplish, and yet, the majority of us find that we’re only ever able to complete a fraction of what we intended to finish. The reason, I find, is because for the most part, we end up wasting our time trying to figure out what to do next, or how to kill that time which is given to us.

This is where the checklist we created comes into play. Take it as a challenge to accomplish each and every item on that list. Because you’ve already written down the things you’d like to get done by week’s end, there is little or no time wasted trying to get yourself organized. What’s more is that you’ve written down more than you can accomplish. Try your hardest to get all of it done. Chances are you won’t. But by reaching for the stars, you know how the rest of this cliché goes.

So how does making this checklist and trying to complete the items on that list help you meet your deadlines and remain sane while doing it?

Creating that list and hoping to check off the items as you finish them isn’t enough to get the job done. Sometimes, it is. However, along the way, we tend to bite our nails, repeatedly bang our heads on the table, grit and bare our teeth at our laptops hoping for some miracle to happen, take naps to calm our mounting frustration, etcetera, etcetera, and another etcetera, why? Because we tend to look at the project as a whole.

Don’t do that. It can be rather overwhelming considering the amount of work that needs to be done to complete whatever it is that you’re trying to complete.

Instead, take a deep breath. Relax. And while you’re making that checklist to start the new week, remind yourself to take this one day at a time, one step at a time. And while you’re at it, remind yourself why you’re doing this.

No one’s forcing you to be a writer.

This is your passion. Your choice.

You’re pushing yourself beyond your mental endurance because you want to see your book, your creation, come to life.

So why stress over that deadline and hurt yourself while trying to meet it.

You’ve got the tools. You’ve got the want and the will. And now, you’ve that magical little checklist to guide your way. So start cracking and start checking off those items as you breeze right through them.

If you’re a writer, you’re reading this, and you’re trying to meet a deadline, always keep one thing in mind. We’ve already embarked upon a quest that makes us partly insane. So tell me, fellow writer, what’ve you got to lose?

DreamCaster

Haunted by memories of his massacred settlement, sixteen-year-old Weaver seeks cover in a hidden refuge among the remains of a ruined city. In the midst of building a new life, Weaver discovers that he has the amazing power to cast his dreams into reality. Convinced it’s just an anomaly, Weaver ignores it. That is until he learns of a mysterious man who shares the ability, and uses his power to bring nightmares into existence and wage war on the world. The peaceful life Weaver hoped for begins to unravel as waves of chaos begin to break loose about him. In a race against time, Weaver must learn to accept his role as a dream caster and master his new power, before his new home is destroyed and humanity is pushed to the brink of extinction.

Buy @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Fantasy

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Najeev Raj Nadarajah on Facebook & Twitter

The Wings of Dragons (The Dragoon Saga) by Josh VanBrakle #excerpt #fantasy

15 Feb

Excerpt 3

Grasping the rock Balear had thrown at him, Iren whipped around and launched it, not bothering to aim or even care what he hit.

In truth, he could damage little. His chamber had little adornment: a hard bed with three discarded blankets and a dresser with the few outfits he’d fished from the trash. The only object of merit was a large painting hung on the wall beside the dresser. As if guided by fate, the rock struck its frame, and the artwork clattered to the floor.

The harsh sound yanked Iren from his temper. He knelt and retrieved both the stone and the fallen painting. They were his finest treasures. The stone, little more than a black pebble, had come from the ocean. The surf had tossed it until it had worn perfectly smooth. Years ago, one of the castle children had brought it home, but his mother had commanded him to get rid of it. Iren swiped it that night, his only possession that had ever touched the sea.

As for the painting, while he couldn’t truly claim to own it, he still considered it his. It had hung in this tower since long before he arrived, yet it apparently held such low value that no one bothered to remove it when he took up residence. Still, he couldn’t help feeling a deep attachment to it, the only thing in his room he hadn’t stolen or pulled from the garbage.

Iren surveyed it closely. “No harm done,” he whispered with relief.

Returning the painting to the wall, Iren stepped back and took in its splendid image: a serpentine dragon. Though unsigned, the painting’s remarkable realism made the great beast almost come alive. Blue streaks and hairs off its spine accentuated its gleaming white body. Its wings stretched beyond the painting’s borders, so that they appeared to extend forever to the heavens. Though its mouth opened wide in a silent roar, its expression invoked not terror but majesty.

The painting’s frame held a small plaque that read, “Divinion, the Holy Dragon.” Iren smiled, proud of his unshared knowledge. It gave him a small satisfaction, knowing something the vast majority of the populace did not. Though everyone called Haldessa’s tallest spire the Tower of Divinion, few understood the name’s origin. Growing up, Iren overheard mothers tell their children that long ago, the tower served as a temple to worship dragons, sacred creatures that brought balance to the world.

Of course, no one used it for that purpose now. Nobody believed in the dragons anymore. Most had forgotten that they even had names, let alone what those names were.

As Iren looked at the dragon’s face in the artwork, though, for a moment he saw more than a painting. The creature stared out at the room with sky blue eyes, eyes that eerily matched Iren’s. Their gaze bored through his body, and a sudden hopelessness washed over him. Barely conscious of his actions, Iren backed away from the painting and collapsed on his bed, burying his head in his hands.

The Wings of Dragons

From fantasy author Josh VanBrakle comes an epic new trilogy of friendship, betrayal, and explosive magic. Lefthanded teenager Iren Saitosan must uncover a forgotten history, confront monsters inspired by Japanese mythology, and master a serpentine dragon imprisoned inside a katana to stop a revenge one thousand years in the making.

Lodian culture declares lefthanded people dangerous and devil-spawned, and for Iren, the kingdom’s only known Left, that’s meant a life of social isolation. To pass the time and get a little attention, he plays pranks on the residents of Haldessa Castle. It’s harmless fun, until one of his stunts nearly kills Lodia’s charismatic heir to the throne. Now to avoid execution for his crime, Iren must join a covert team and assassinate a bandit lord. It’s a suicide mission, and Iren’s chances aren’t helped when he learns that his new katana contains a dragon’s spirit, one with a magic so powerful it can sink continents and transform Iren into a raging beast.

Adding to his problems, someone on Iren’s team is plotting treason. When a former ally launches a brutal plan to avenge the Lefts, Iren finds himself trapped between competing loyalties. He needs to figure out who – and how – to trust, and the fates of two nations depend on his choice.

“A fast-paced adventure…led by a compelling cast of characters. Josh VanBrakle keeps the mysteries going.” – ForeWord Reviews

Buy @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – YA epic fantasy

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Josh VanBrakle on Twitter

Website www.joshvanbrakle.com

Storm Without End (Requiem for the Rift King) by RJ Blain @rj_blain #excerpt #fantasy

14 Feb

“Do you think they’ll actually go to war this time?” she asked, lifting up the missive and waving it in the air. The vellum crinkled, giving it the appearance that it had been read and considered several times.

“That isn’t our concern,” Breton replied. He hesitated before continuing. “It wouldn’t surprise me. Kelsh and Danar have always been at war. The question is whether or not it’ll be official this time. Unless they call the Council, we can do nothing.”

“If we don’t find him before someone else does, they’ll go to war with us.” Her brow furrowed as she picked up one of the root quills and dipped it in ink. The scratch of writing was the only sound in the room until she finished the reply. “We’ve been practicing since it happened.”

Breton didn’t need to ask what she spoke of. Something was happening, but he didn’t know what. No one did. He wasn’t certain if he could call it evil, but it wasn’t good either. There was one thing he was assured of: Whatever caused the feeling was dangerous and it was affecting all of the Guardians.

“Do Arik’s Queens feel it too?”

Riran nodded. “We want to help find him, but we can’t risk our mares. None of us have geldings or stallions. But, we can free you of this work and make it so you can go out and find him for us.”

She refused to meet his eyes, staring down at the vellum as though it held the secrets of the world within the letters written on it. The corners of Breton’s mouth twitched up.

“By ‘you’ do you mean me or the Guardians as a whole?”

Riran thrust the sheet of vellum at him. He took it and read through the document. The message from Kelsh was neither report nor letter, but the vague sort of missive that Breton hated the most. It wasn’t addressed to a man. It wasn’t even addressed to the Rift King or His Majesty. Even worse, the tone of the writing was so dismissive that Breton wanted to shred the page.

The sight of Kalen’s handwriting partnered with the careful and neutral tone of the Rift King hurt. The pressure in his chest grew until he wanted to lash out from the frustration of it all. She’d done it just right, even mastering the flicked curl added to many of the letters. It was a Kelshite habit that Breton hadn’t quite managed to convince the Rift King to remove from his writing.

“Are all of you this proficient?” Breton asked.

“Yes,” Riran replied.

“Get this mess cleaned up and I’ll think about it,” he said. He lifted Gorishitorik from the desk and held the old sword in the crook of his arm.

“We’ll need a few days.”

“Fine. Oh, Riran?”

The woman looked up from the stack of papers in front of her. “What is it?”

“Scheme against Kalen again and I’ll separate your head from your shoulders. Understood?”

Riran paled and jerked her head in a nod. Inclining his head, Breton turned and walked through the room, not caring how many of the stacks he bumped against on his way out.

StormWithoutEnd

Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.

When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.

But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Fantasy

Rating – PG – 13

More details about the author

Connect with RJ Blain on Facebook and Twitter

The Curse Giver by Dora Machado @DoraMachado

26 Nov

Chapter One

Dread stared at Lusielle from the depths of the rowdy crowd. Concealed under a heavy hood, only the stranger’s black eyes dared to meet her gaze among the growing throng. The man’s eyes refused to flinch or shift from her face. His stare was free of the hatred she had gotten from the others, but also devoid of mercy. He held on to her gaze like an anchor to her soul, testing her fortitude, knowing full well her fears’ vast range.

She had always been meant for the fire. Even as she had escaped the blaze that killed her parents and burned the inn to the ground, Lusielle had known that the flame’s greedy god would return to claim her life. But she hadn’t expected it to happen after days of torture, surrounded by the raging mob, found guilty of a crime she didn’t commit, betrayed and condemned.

The town’s cobbler, one of her husband’s best customers, tightened the noose around her neck until it cut off her breath. She had waited on him countless times at the shop, and had always padded his order with a free measure of coriander to help with his wife’s cough.

But none of the town’s inhabitants seemed to remember any of her kindnesses as of late. On the contrary, the crowd was booing and jeering when they weren’t pelting her with rotten fruit. They treated her as if she were a common thief.

The brute who had conducted her torture shoved the cobbler aside, tying her elbows and wrists around the wooden stake. Orell. She remembered his name. His bearded face might have been handsome if not for the permanent leer. Like the magistrate, he wore the king’s burgundy colors, but his role had been more vicious. Had he been granted more time, he might have succeeded at extracting the false confession he wanted, but the magistrate was in a hurry, afraid of any possible unrest.

Orell yanked on the ropes, tightening her bonds. The wound on her back broke open all over again. She swallowed a strangled hiss. It was as if the thug wanted her to suffer, as if he had a private reason to profit from her pain.

But she had never seen him until three days ago, when he and the magistrate had shown up unannounced, making random accusations.

Lusielle couldn’t understand any of this.

She knew that the king’s justice was notoriously arbitrary. It was one of the main reasons why she loathed living under King Riva’s rule. But she also knew better than to express her opinion. Ruin and tragedy trailed those who dared to criticize the king. That’s why she had never mentioned her misgivings to anyone.

What had she done to deserve this fate? And why did they continue to be so cruel? After all, she wasn’t fighting them anymore.

True, she had resisted at first. Out of fear and pride, she had tried to defend herself. But in the end, it hadn’t mattered. Her accusers had relied on the testimony of the devious liar who had turned her in—Aponte Rummins—her own husband.

The mock hearing had been too painful to bear, too absurd to believe. Aponte swore before the magistrate that Lusielle was a secret practitioner of the forbidden odd arts. It was ridiculous. How could anyone believe that she, who had always relied on logic, measure and observation to mix her remedies, could possibly serve the Odd God’s dark purposes? And how could anyone believe Aponte’s lies?

But they did, they believed him as he called on his paid witnesses and presented fabricated evidence, swearing that he himself had caught her at the shop, worshipping the Odd God. In the end, it had been her husband’s false testimony that provided the ultimate proof of the heinous charge for which Lusielle was about to die.

Burning torch in hand, the magistrate stepped forward. Still in shock, Lusielle swallowed a gulp of bitter horror and steeled for the flames’ excruciating pain. She didn’t want to die like a shrieking coward. But nothing could have prepared her for what happened next.

The magistrate offered the torch to Aponte.

“The king upholds a husband’s authority over his wife in the kingdom,” the magistrate shouted for the crowd to hear. “There can be no protests, no doubt of the wisdom of royal justice if a husband does as he’s entitled to do by his marital rights.”

Aponte could have forgone her execution. Considering the magistrate’s proclamation, he could have chosen a different punishment for her. Instead, he accepted the torch and, without hesitation, put the flame to the tinder and blew over the kindling to start the fire.

“Go now,” he said, grinning like a hog about to gorge. “Go find your dark lord.”

Lusielle glared at the poor excuse for a man who had ruined her life many times over. She had known from the beginning that he was fatally flawed, just as he had known on the day he claimed her that she couldn’t pledge him any affection.

But Aponte had never wanted her affection. He had wanted her servitude, and in that sense she proved to be the reluctant but dutiful servant he craved.

Over the years he had taught her hatred.

His gratification came from beating and humiliating her. His crass and vulgar tastes turned his bed into a nightmare. She felt so ashamed of the things he made her do. Still, even if she loathed him—and not just him, but the slave she had become under his rule—she had tried to make the best of it.

She had served him diligently, tending to his businesses, reorganizing his stores, rearranging his trading routes and increasing his profits. His table had always been ready. His meals had been hot and flavorsome. His sheets had been crisp and his bed had been coal-warmed every night. Perhaps due to all of this, he had seemed genuinely pleased with their marital arrangement.

Why, then, had he surrendered her so easily to the magistrate’s brute?

Aponte had to have some purpose for this betrayal. He was, above all, a practical man. He would not surrender all the advantages that Lusielle brought to him—money, standing, common sense, business acumen—without the benefit of an even greater windfall.

Lusielle couldn’t understand how, but she was sure that the bastard was going to profit handsomely from her death.

The scent of pine turned acrid and hot. Cones crackled and popped. The fire hissed a sinister murmur, a sure promise of pain. She didn’t watch the little sparks grow into flames at her feet. Instead, her eyes returned to the back of the crowd, seeking the stranger’s stare. She found him even as a puff of white smoke clouded her sight and the fire’s rising heat distorted his scarred face’s fixed expression.

The nearing flames thawed the pervasive cold chilling her bones. Flying sparks pecked at her skin. Her toes curled. Her feet flinched. Pain teased her ankles in alarming, nipping jolts. Dear gods. They were really going to burn her alive.

Lusielle shut her eyes. When she looked again, the stranger was gone from the crowd. She couldn’t blame him. She would have never chosen to watch the flame’s devouring dance.

A commotion ensued somewhere beyond the pyre. People were screaming, but she couldn’t see through the flames and smoke. She flinched when a lick of fire ignited her shift’s hem. A vile stink filled her lungs. Her body shivered in shock. She coughed, then hacked. Fear’s fiery fingers began to torment her legs.

“Come and find me,” she called to the God of fire.

And he did.

Curse Giver

Award-Winning Finalist in the fantasy category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Fantasy/Dark Fantasy

Rating – PG-18

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Dora Machado on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.doramachado.com/