Epic Fantasy

Nicholas C. Rossis

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts


Who is Nicholas C. Rossis?

Nicholas Rossis lives to write and does so from his cottage on the edge of a magical forest in Athens, Greece. When not composing epic fantasies or short sci-fi stories, he chats with fans and colleagues, writes blog posts, walks his dog, and enjoys the antics of two silly cats, one of whom claims his lap as home. His children's book, Runaway Smile, earned a finalist slot in the 2015 International Book Awards.


Finding Inspiration

Like many authors, I’m asked on occasion where I find inspiration for my stories. The answer varies. Many of them stem from a dream. Others, from something I’ve read, or even a song that I’ve heard. Usually, the initial idea bears little resemblance to the final story.

This is particularly true of short stories; one of my favorite genres. To illustrate my point, here is how I came up with each of the stories in my recently published collection, Infinite Waters: 9+1 Speculative Fiction Short Stories.


The Things We Do for Lust

Beware of Greek gods bearing gifts

As a Greek, I grew up with ancient Greek myths. I was listening to some theories about Greek gods the other day. Everyone seems to have their own theory about them, describing them from anything between aliens to Atlantis refugees. “The Things We Do for Lust” offers a light-hearted alternative. Trekkies will probably enjoy the many Star Trek references.


The Twist in the Tale

A confused woman meanders through a sleepy town. But not all is as it seems

“A Twist in the Tale” came to me while reading on Alzheimer’s. What if the warped reality of those suffering from this terrible disease is actually based on fact? What if we pity them only because we can’t see the full picture?


James' Life

A man with nothing to look forward to but oblivion, discovers it's not that easy to escape his life

“James’ Life” is lighter in nature, despite the heaviness. I was reading about advances in 3D technology. What if video technology evolved to the point of the characters having their own feelings about what was happening to them? How happy would they be repeating the same mistakes night after night?


What's in a Name?

A cruise has an unexpected ending

I thought of “What’s in a Name?” while listening to Little Blue by The Beautiful South. I wrote two versions of this story; one in a tropical setting, and a second in a science-fiction one.


The Lucky Bastard

How far will the luckiest man alive go to escape his luck?

I was going through a rough patch when I thought of “The Lucky Bastard.” Life can throw us a whole lot of curveballs, but where would we be without them? I started wondering how important these times are to us. Would we be able to appreciate a life with no hardship whatsoever? Would someone who has led a perfect life be happy, or deeply miserable, unable to enjoy and appreciate any of their achievements?


Two's a Crowd

Blood runs thicker than water. Especially when you spill it.

The idea behind “Two’s a Crowd” came to me from a comic I read as a young teenager, and that I was thinking about the other day. A man has a recurring nightmare. Every single night he fights axe-wielding monsters in a bloodied battlefield. When a monster kills him and the police find his body, they are baffled as to why anyone would commit murder with a large axe. However, once again, it is the nature of reality that’s really questioned here. “Am I a butterfly dreaming I am a man, or a man dreaming I am a butterfly?”, as Chuang Chou put it.


Is There a Doctor in the House?

A high school student just loves to experiment

A late-night special lies behind “Is There a Doctor in the House?” It is the tongue-in-cheek story of a well-known doctor’s son. What would he be like, as an awkward teenager? Would he continue his father’s experiments?


Sex and Dinner

A timeless combination. Or is it?

“Sex and Dinner” was a Valentine’s special I wrote for my blog, stemming from a discussion with a couple of friends about the strange ways species use to procreate.


Would You Like Flies With That?

Nothing's scarier than a supermarket.

“Would You Like Files With That” is pretty much copied verbatim from a strange dream I had. I simply added the Halloween aspects when I published it on my blog as a Halloween special.


Infinite Waters

A woman seeks her future at a carnival. She discovers more than she expected.

Finally, I wrote “It’s in the Cards” as a contribution to the Rave Soup for the Writer’s Soul anthology. It comes from another dream, and was published there in December 2014, and became the container for these other stories under the new title, “Infinite Waters”.


 Author at Work

As you can see, an author can find inspiration in pretty much anything. So, if you see me sitting on a chair, listening to music, and staring at a wall, please keep in mind that I’m not lazy: I’m actually hard at work!


What readers are saying about Nick's fantasies:

"Philosophical ideas woven into science-fiction stories that read like classic stories by the masters, often with a delightful, thought-provoking and unexpected twist at the end."
"Phil K. Dick is up on a cloud laughing with glee"
"From the very first sentence I realized I was not reading a book, I was going on an adventure."


Rawls E. Remy

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts

  • Author: Rawls E. Remy
  • Genres: Epic Fantasy, YA, Adventure, Christian, Speculative Fiction
  • Book: Misfits of Harlow Book #1 of the V Chronicles Series
  •  Official Site

Bio

Rawls E. Remy dwells in Rivendell and other imaginary worlds, and dreams of becoming an epic swordsmaster, learning how to ride a wild dragon, mastering the art of drawing/painting, and to one day fluently speak Tolkien’s language of the Elves. She lives off of chocolate, iced coffee, good humor and fantasy. When she isn’t writing or blogging, Rawls can be found either sitting outside in the sun with a book in hand, or pedaling away on her bike, or working to create that next piece of art. She is an Epic Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Steampunk, and Christian author in the making, with her first Epic Fantasy novel set to be released in 2016.


Blurb

The world fell to ruin long ago at the hands of the Vampiric Emperor, and according to prophecy he will soon return from the dead to finish what he started. There is only one power that can stop him, an ancient power of a soul reborn, only shedoesn’t know it yet…

Living with the enemy. That’s what happens to Cyrus Sole when her elven people cast her out for being a half-blood with Elemental powers—feared even by her own family. She finds herself in the capital of elven kind’s most hated enemy, at the only place able to teach her how to master her power over metal: the elite school of the D.G. League. But there are obstacles. It’s a school for “boys,” and they hate elves. In this kingdom, elves are slaves.

Cyrus must create a new identity for herself, praying she can hide behind it until her training is complete—and hope she can survive her unusualnew classmates:

Aken the dreamer and prankster; Hercule the broody, fire breathing noble; Zartanian the shy and blossoming swordsman; genii-like Bakaro of the desert sands; Lykale the suspicious genius; and Mamoru the mysterious puppet master.

Did her life take a turn for the better or the worse…?


Excerpt

“Hey!” she called out, “There’s no reason to throw rocks. Leave him alone.”

Did she just say that? Out loud? When she was only one person, and they were seven?

Oh crud. Too late to back down now.

“Well well, boys. Looky who it is!” The tallest elf gave an unpleasant grin.

“Hehe, I guess their kind come in packs, don’t they?” smirked a second. “Where one is, there’s bound to be more.”

All eyes fixed on her and they took a step near.

A frightened breath escaped her throat and she took a step back before catching herself. ‘No, I can’t let people bully me forever!’ She dashed forward, placing herself between the gang and the cage. The humanoid imprisoned within eyed her through narrow, shadowed lids. “They are people too! They have feelings, same as you,” she affirmed.

“Puh-leeze. Don’t try ‘n get us with the ‘they’ve got feelings and emotions’ bit. We don’t care!” mocked the tall boy through a sneer, and they edged closer. “Hey, I know~ How about you come play with us? You motherless tramp…”

Her hand gripped the iron pole by which the death-cage hung, steadying herself, her mind in a race for what she should do. She had to think fast as the gang moved close, circling her. How had she moved that spoon before? How had she manipulated the metal?

The scraping of footsteps ceased, and she looked up. The elves had stopped, suddenly motionless; eyes bulged wide and jaws slack, staring at something. Puzzled, she followed their gaze over to her left hand touching the pole—an ordinary iron pole, only pieces of iron were separating and peeling off, liquefying and elongating, reaching out like fingers bearing knife-point tips…fingers flying forward like thrown knives.

AaaaH!” They hollered, ducking and leaping aside.

“She’s a freak like them!”

“She’s a monster!”

“Quick, call the Hunter Elves!”

The seven boys split up, sprinting in all directions, off to get the Hunter Elves Corps—her worst nightmare.

‘Oh no, nonono! They’re coming for me; they’ll kill me; they’ll sentence me to a death-cage!’ Panic took hold. ‘Forgive me, Lord God, I should’ve kept it secret… My life is condemned—condemned to execution! They’ve been waiting for this chance to get rid of me.

This was the end. The end of everything.

“Girl!”

She jumped at a husky voice suddenly spoke at her back, and half turned toward the cage, raising her eyes up to meet the man’s intense gaze. Already tears of fright streaked her cheeks.

“Girl, set me free and I can take you away from this place.”

Away…what? How? They would track her down! They were called “Hunters” for a reason!

Despite her despair, she imagined the cage’s bars bending open—eyelids closed and right hand fingers outstretched.

Brrrreeee—kk!

The iron bended, almost snapping off, enough for him to climb out and drop down onto starved-thin feet. The gaunt humanoid stumbled from having gone who-knew-how-long without using his legs. But his blood’s Healing capability must already be working its rejuvenating power or else he couldn’t stay standing—the average humanoid would be wailing agony and require a wheelchair.

‘Woah, their resilience is amazing! Wish I had inherited that bit from Mom…’ Out loud she asked if he was sure he could make it.

He waved her concern aside. “I can handle myself without life-energy, missy.” He grabbed her arm and pulled her with him down the nearest alley. “You know this town better than I do. Guide me to the edge, and I’ll take matters from there.”

A sudden chill ran through her veins. She was speaking to one of her mother’s kind, and he was holding her arm.

Who was it that had killed Mother? Could these humanoids really be trusted? She swallowed. But then, what choice did she have right now? Her life among elf kind was over.

She nodded, taking the lead and making sure to keep to narrow and dim alleys and pathways. There was one place she had to stop by first. If she really was leaving Elvenstone for good, then there were some important things she had to bring with her…


 Connect with Rawls

 Chronicles: Misfits of Harlow will be available in print format and ebook format in bookstores worldwide 2016. Keep up-to-date via any of the links above.


Angela Interviews Rawls E. Remy

 Angela: I want to take a moment to welcome Rawls E. Remy, soon-to-be author of Misfits of Harlow (V. Chronicles: Book 1).

Thank you so much for speaking with me, Rawls E. Please take a moment to tell us about your book.

Thank you for having me, Angela.

Misfits of Harlow focuses on the lives of a group of misfits, foremost among them Aken-Shou and Cyrus. Much of Book 1 revolves around Cyrus the elf as she is chased out of her hometown and banished for the power she possesses. She finds herself in enemy territory—a people who hate elves—and creates a disguise she will have to live under.

She is of mixed blood: half elf, and the other half elves’ bitter enemy, and she is an Elemental Manipulation user. When her own kind turn on her because of these secrets, she is forced to run away and begin a new life in Draethvyle city—within the kingdom of elf kind’s enemy. But she has to hide her half-elf blood, hence the need for a disguise. As if that wasn’t enough trouble, the school she wishes to attend in order to develop her Elemental power with metal happens to be a school for “boys.” Girls with Elemental power are rare, and so the focus is on training males. She must pull out her tomboy side and hide her entire identity.

The story follows Cyrus and her new group of misfit comrades through daily training and schooling they must endure to master their Elemental powers and to one day become a part of the elite guardian force: the D. G. League. We are also shown the sad state their world and kingdom is in, the tragedy of war, the resulting hatred between humanoid kinds, aristocracy life, abuse, and slavery. It is clear that things need to change, and Cyrus and Aken-Shou are determined to do just that.

Angela: How did you come up with the idea for your book?

It was a gradual process. But I would say that my time living in Italy was where the idea first began to blossom. European stories, their myths and legends of elves, fairies, vampires, trolls, etc. sparked my imagination, and this series is the result.

I must also say that Lord of the Rings and Narnia helped fuel the ideas running through my head, and classic animes grew my interest for Asian cultures and languages.
Angela: Stories always require some form of research. What kind of research did you do for your book?

A lot of weapons and combat research. Names and language research. Different peoples in V. Chronicles have similarities to cultures and languages of our world, so I studied some things about other countries. For example, Japan’s language and culture, Romania’s architecture and myths, Finland names, and Western European architecture and clothing.
Angela: Which scene or chapter was the hardest for you to write?

The chapter that details the harsh past of Zarren, who is a sub main character in the series, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to write. He’s a survivor of abuse, and knowing that there are so many children and young people in the world suffering through the same thing is what made it so difficult to write.
Angela: Please describe your favorite scene or chapter in your book and tell us why it’s your favorite?

One of my favorite scenes is when Zarren and his twin brother, Elijob, are walking a long, dirt road, and they come across fields of wild flowers. It’s their first taste of freedom, and the world is beautiful and bright in ways they’d never seen before. It is also one of their happiest memories together, and it stays with Zarren forever.
Angela: Which of your characters do you relate to the most (or) who is your favorite character and why?

Such a hard question to answer! I feel that every character, in some way, is a part of me, and I like each of them for different reasons. Aken is entertaining and gets into trouble. Zarren is the sweetest thing ever, despite all that he’s been through. Mamoru is mysterious, wise, and a “big brother” figure. Hercule is a resilient noble, who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Ellefsen, my favorite antagonist, who brings villain humor and cunning to a whole new level, is a character I have lots of fun writing. So basically, I can’t choose. :)

Angela: I once read that every author is simply a compilation of his/her favorite authors. Which authors have done the most to influence your writing and why?

In my younger writing life, my influences were mostly the places we visited as I grew up in Italy, and the shows I watched on TV. It wasn’t until high school that I really got into reading the big authors. Among my favorite were Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Masashi Kishimoto, Robert Jordan, and Brian Jacques. Their work showed me how to create the worlds I’d been wanting to. They showed me how to formulate battles and strategies, taught me of ships and sailing, and of weapons and combat. I also really enjoyed how much personality they put into each of their characters, and I liked all the different races they’d created. This influenced me to create my own races, cultures, and character personalities.
Angela: “Story” has always been the center of all human cultures. We need it. We seek it out. We invent it. What does “story” mean to you?

It teaches us something, tells us about ourselves, and shows to us both the bad and the good. To me, that is what “story” does, and why it has meaning.
Angela: Tells us about your next project.

Because V. Chronicles is a series, my next projects are book 2 and 3, and several novellas. Also, on the side, is my Steampunk Fantasy blog series: Madnes Solver. No that is not a misspell; go find out why and read it on the blog.
Angela: Where can we find you and your book?

You can find me at my author website and blog: Rawlse.wordpress.com. My book, however, is currently being edited. I will keep everyone up-to-date on my book’s status through the blog and monthly newsletter.
Angela: Thank you, again, so much for speaking with me.

Thank you for having me, Angela! It’s been a pleasure.

 See the Brain to Books Blog Tour Giveaways with Lu!

 A Brain to Books Production

Josh de Lioncourt

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts

  • Author: Josh de Lioncourt
  • Genres: Epic Fantasy/YA/NA
  • Book: Haven Lost (Book #1 of the The Dragon’s Brood Cycle series)
  • Official Website

Bio

Josh de Lioncourt was born and raised in California and enjoys writing projects in a wide variety of fields, including fiction, music, software, blogging, and tech articles. As a blind enthusiast of Apple products, he has written on Apple accessibility for Macworld and Maccessibility. He hosts or participates regularly on several podcasts in various genres, and writes and records music with Molly, his other half. Josh enjoys the works of Stephen King, the music of George Michael, Masters of the Universe, and Los Angeles Kings hockey.


Accomplishments

As a blind technology enthusiast, I try to raise awareness of accessibility options and issues for visually impaired users, with an emphasis on Apple products. I host the Maccessibility Round Table Podcast to that end, as well as Masters Cast, a podcast devoted to the fandom of Masters of the Universe.


Blurb

Legends never die; they just go into hiding …

Sixteen-year-old Emily Haven, heroine of the girls’ hockey team at Lindsey High, has spent her young life keeping two secrets: her rapidly deteriorating home life and the seemingly supernatural power that makes her a star on the ice. When she begins seeing visions of a lost and ragged boy reflected in mirrors and shop windows, a series of events unfolds that tears her from twenty-first century Minneapolis and leaves her stranded in another world with horrors to rival those she has left behind. Lost amidst creatures of fantasy and legend, she is forced to confront the demons of both her past and future to unravel the riddle of the mysterious boy and embark upon a journey to uncover long forgotten histories and the dark, cloaked figure in the shadows behind them all. Caught between opposing forces of a war she does not understand, Emily must find new strength within herself and, above all, the will to remember her friends.


Book Review

Emily is a high school hockey star in Minneapolis with an extremely dysfunctional family life. For the most part, she is a typical teenager, except for her strange ability to know when and where another player on the ice is going to move. One day it all changes when she starts seeing the reflection of a boy in mirrors and windows and, when she gets home, she finds her mother dead of a drug overdose. She runs away and when she awakes she is in another land, another time, another world? Haven Lost is the tale of Emily's discovery of what is important to her and her life in this strange place. She makes friends, decides without any prior knowledge of people who is good and who is evil, and sets out on a quest she doesn't understand. Along the way she picks up a best friend in Celine, a ward in Michael, and someone who just might become more than a friend in the future, Corbbmacc. Together they travel the land, looking for the answers that they need to understand what is going on. Josh de Lioncourt has done a wonderful job of mixing history, fantasy, and magic together into a tale that is compelling and exciting.

Haven Lost is set to be the first book in a series titled The Dragon's Brood Cycle. This first book sets the story up very well; you have a grand adventure, and it is not a short adventure either. It takes time to tell, yet the story never seems to get bogged down or drag; it is always moving along and begging you to turn the next page and keep going. The answers always seem to be on the next page. Josh de Lioncourt is a wonderful storyteller in that he is able to keep your attention and have you guessing the entire book. I never saw the reveal from the last three pages coming until I got to them, and that is not usually the case with most books. This book and series has the potential to sky-rocket into the forefront of youth and teen reading, possibly becoming the next Harry Potter series.

—Michelle Randall, Readers’ Favorite

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LRe4rv76J0


Read an excerpt

She fell to her knees in front of the mirror, unable to tear her eyes away from the strange boy with the pony-tail and the torn and ragged clothes. She could see every minute detail of his attire, from the thick red and black thread that had been used to mend his jeans and jacket, to the filth and tarnish on the old-fashioned fastenings.

He reached out toward her, and as he did, her own reflection in the mirror winked out. Only his face stared out of the dusty glass. His eyes were full of hope and sadness, and seemed the eyes of a much younger child. Those eyes spoke of suffering and loss, and Emily’s heart called out in recognition. She thought she saw the flicker of flames behind the boy, and then she was reaching out to him as well.

Their fingers met. She clasped his in her own, feeling their warm, rough reality, and wanting to give comfort as much as receive it. Such a simple action. Such a mundane, human gesture. And with that ordinary decision made, two worlds changed forever.

“Yes,” she whispered, and watched as the breath of that word fogged the glass between them, spreading until it filled the world with a cloudy, white mist.



J. Edward Ritchie

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts:

  • Author: J. Edward Ritchie
  • Genre: Epic fantasy
  • Book: Fall From Grace from the Fall From Grace Series
  • Official Site

Bio

J. Edward Ritchie is a novelist/screenwriter specializing in world creation and action epics. A fan of all things genre from films to comics to video games, his work explores the intricate, primal balance between good and evil. He is dedicated to writing stories that embody the fantastical and uncompromising entertainment that has inspired his career.”


Blurb

Heaven: a paradise of all that is pure in Creation. Led by brothers Michael and Satanail, the Angelic Host is a testament to cosmic harmony and love. When an unprecedented revelation threatens to uproot their peace, a schism splits the Host’s loyalties. Every angel has to make a choice: faith or freedom. Good or evil.

Salvation or damnation.

War consumes Heaven in the first and most destructive loss of life that Creation will ever know. As brother turns on brother, the fate of both Heaven and Earth rests in the hands of the Creator’s chosen son, Michael. How far will he go, what will he sacrifice in the name of their Father, to protect his family?

Witness the tragic downfall of a civilization as told from both sides of the bloody rebellion. More than myth, more than legend, Heaven’s war will forever stand as a harrowing warning that even the purest of souls can fall from grace.


Review

“Vividly descriptive, Fall From Grace takes you directly into the depths of the greatest battle of all time. With gorgeously sculpted characters, J. Edwards Ritchie draws you into the heart of the conflict from the first page. His talented story-telling is strikingly expressive, allowing you to feel every emotion – whether it be joy or agony – as if you were living the story firsthand. I found Fall From Grace to be highly addictive, pleasantly eloquent, and terrifyingly descriptive in places (in a good way, though). His character work was so on-point that I could feel my heart break as the beautiful society began to unravel. With a fabulous use of adjectives and emotions, Ritchie was able to paint a picture of this stunning world- granting you the ability to envision it clearly in your mind. I was thoroughly blown away by the twists and turns taking place in the plot- you couldn’t truly hate any of the characters on either side of the war after being brought into their horrors, their pain, and their souls.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys fantasy, sci-fi, or an ol’ fashioned good vs. evil story.”

Review from blogger/author Elisha Neubauer. 


Excerpt

From the author...

The following excerpt takes place when the forest region of Raqia, full of defenseless refugees, comes under siege by Satan’s legions. Alone, Michael has to confront the demons to provide the refugees an opportunity to escape. The passage highlights the intense action and poetic prose of Fall From Grace.

Michael wove between the trees at a breakneck pace, racing behind the flames burning towards the heart of the rainforest. Smoke obscured his vision, and one feather, one muscle, aimed in the wrong direction would propel him into a trunk. Feeling the heat intensify, he flattened his wings and barreled through a wall of fire into the refugee camp.

It was a massacre.

The invasion targeted Thrones, snagging the healers with propelled nets then scooping them from the battle. All other angels were killed. Demons above bombed the area while those on the ground hacked down trees. The toppled trunks crushed whole areas of refugee tents. Wooden Raqian homes intertwined with the branches splintered upon impact, strengthening the fire. Rope bridges snapped and slashed across the hysterical mob.

The oldest trees awoke to fight back against Satan’s legions. Pronged branches slapped the demons down to the detritus, and tangles of roots dragged them underground.

“It’s Michael!” A refugee called out from the mob.

The refugees had no weapons or means of defense. With the canopy ablaze, they fled on foot but trampled over each other in a mad dash for safety. The forest floor was a craggy terrain of broken bodies.

A demon heard the refugee and hurled a spear at his chest. Michael was too far away to intercept it…but Raphael emerged from behind the fiery blockade and caught the spear. He led a force of Thrones into the battle, each drenched in lake water to ward off the heat.

“Get back!” Michael shouted. “They want the Thrones.”

“We will not cower.” The hearth of Raphael’s spirit had been reignited. He lifted a tree limb pinning a trio of angels and slung them over his shoulders. “Thrones, secure the injured. Leave no one behind!”

The Thrones began a systematic evacuation of the wounded that allowed Michael to focus on the healthy refugees. Through the smoke, he spotted a thin section of trees not yet burning.

“Angels, stay behind me and move west to the forest’s edge! Link hands and flap your wings to part the flames. Do not stop!”

Michael’s clear instructions quelled the panic. He positioned himself between the refugees and the main force of demons. The selfish marauders could not resist such a precious trophy, and luring them to him would give the refugees a chance to escape.

“Murderers! Release your prisoners and flee…or forfeit your lives to the Creator’s wrath.” Michael shed any restraint, mercy, or empathy.

“Lord Satan is our only Creator,” a demon replied. “And his wrath isn’t aimed at us.”

“Is it not my life you desire?”

Michael spread his arms and wings, the muscles sweating from flames licking down the remaining upright trees. He valued every soul, but the demons responsible for Raqia’s downfall gave up their chance for redemption with the slaughter of helpless innocents.

“COME AND CLAIM IT!”

Thousands of demons converged upon Michael, fighting through each other in a demented competition to spill his blood. With only fists and courage, he met them head-on in a display of heroism that would become an everlasting measure of valor in the annals of Creation.

Time slowed to a fluid crawl for Michael as his power, skill, and passion to protect the innocent sustained him in the typhoon of violence. A storm of blades carved into him from all sides, but he stood his ground in the eye of the hurricane.

Every neuron in Michael’s brain activated, firing synapses that made it seem as if the demons were moving through liquid. His punches connected unhindered and sent ripples through their skin. Streams of blood floated in the air like ribbons. His heartbeat was a gradual bell of thunder that tolled for each fallen foe, but he did not fight with Satan’s egomaniacal rage. Michael fought for others using the serenity of his blessed union with the Creator. He fought for the refugees, for the Host, for Heaven, and for the very future of goodness. He fought to restore the balance of Creation.

When the normal flow of time resumed in Michael’s mind, demons were piled fifty-deep around him in a corpse circle as broad as a small village. He was doused head-to-toe, glistening in the flames like a ruby champion of the Creator. The air still festered with demons, but they kept at a distance. Their courage (what passed for it) was tamed.

“IS THAT ALL YOU HAVE?”

“They have me.” Azazel descended from the canopy, daggers dripping with angel blood.


M.E. Vaughan

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts:

  • Author: M.E. Vaughan
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy, Celtic Mythology, Arthurian Legends
  • Book Title(s): The Sons of Thestian from The Harmatia Cycle
  • Official Site

BIO

M.E. Vaughan was born in England on the 15th of September, 1992 under the full name ‘Madeleine Emily Vaughan’. In her life-time she has lived in an assortment of countries across Europe, the Middle & Far East, as well as a family home in Horsham, built in the middle of a dragon forest. During these travels she discovered a passion for stories which went on to encourage her to overcome problems with dyslexia and pursue her dream of writing.

In 2011 she undertook a Creative Writing degree at the University of Winchester, for which, in 2014 she received a 1:1. During this time, her short story The Seas Own was published in an anthology by Zharmae Publishing Press, who went on to pick up her trilogy The Harmatia Cycle. The first book The Sons of Thestian was written when Madeleine was 17, and was published in 2015.

Accomplishments: When Madeleine isn’t writing, she enjoys composing, drawing, reading and practising Washinkai Karate, for which she is a 1st Dan. She leads the local Folk & World Music Choir, runs Creative Writing workshops for Children, and is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Winchester.


Book blurb:

The Prince Jionathan is plagued by visions of death. With the King on his death-bed, and the tyrannical Queen in power, the Kingdom of Harmatia lies in peril. Fleeing the city in fear of his life, Jionathan is shadowed by Rufus Merle, a young, secretive magi tasked with bringing him home. Now, with the help of a fearsome sidhe warrior named Fae, they must traverse a dangerous faerie-wood together. Against bandits, faeries and cursed priestesses, these unlikely friends travel a path fraught with danger, not least from the blood-thirsty Night Patrol and the dark conspiracy that shrouds them.


Book review:

In the same way that a musician absorbs and reconfigures the influences of other players and bands, The Sons of Thestian synthesizes a wide array of influences from Medieval Arthurian legend and Celtic folklore to more recent classics of the fantasy genre such as The Lord of the Rings and the Game of Thrones and Harry Potter series. As the first novel in Vaughan’s Harmatia Cycle, this novel begins a saga that has the same degree of scope and resonance as so many that have come before it, but Vaughan’s own alchemy integrates her influences into a result that feels completely fresh and also serves as a reminder of why a fantasy epic can inspire such devotion in readers. The most enduring examples of the genre create a world so rich with imagery that you don’t want to leave, a cast of characters so textured and engaging that they begin to feel like old friends. In building the world of Mag Mell and by giving us such layered characters as Prince Jionathan (pronounced Yo-nat-han), Rufus the Magi, Fae the Sidhe, and a host of others, Vaughan has created an epic that is endlessly absorbing, even addictive.

The plot unfolds with a dying king, a plotting queen, dangerous wizards, and a prince on the run—either away from his destiny or toward it. As King Thestian lies on his death bed, the young Prince Jionathan flees the city and kingdom of Harmatia, fearful of the king’s first wife Queen Reine and the machinations of a group of rogue shape-shifting Magi known as the Night Patrol, who justify murder under the guise of keeping the city streets safe. The prince also carries with him the heavy burden of the assassination of his older brother, Sverrin (pronounced Suh-ver-in), the former heir to the throne. The king and queen, along with Jionathan’s mother Eliane, send Rufus, a young Magi with heavy burdens of his own, to find the prince and bring him home. Rufus easily catches up with Jionathan in the forest beyond the city, and he and the prince forge a close but uneasy bond as the pair tumble from one dire circumstance to the next.

While on the surface, the novel appears to be a classic hero’s quest, but the series of double-crosses, triple-crosses, and twists make it difficult to pin down exactly who the heroes and who the villains truly are, breathing new life into the standard quest narrative. Even with the vast scope, and high page count, the book is tightly written—chock full of gripping battles and action sequences, quiet romantic moments, and dangerous confrontations with fearsome creatures. The pacing of the action is quick and no detail is insignificant, building to a conclusion that will leave the reader breathless and wanting more. 



Ed Ireland

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts:

  • Author: Ed Ireland
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy
  • Book: A New Dawning from the Chronicles of the Free People Series
  • Official Site

BIO

Ed Ireland is a very proud product of the streets of South Philadelphia. He draws on his memories of people, places and events from his life there as well as the rest of the world he has known.

His list of home territories includes Pennsylvania, Nevada, Texas, California, Colorado, New Jersey New York, North Carolina and currently, Florida. He has been a sometimes frequent visitor of Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Arizona, and Maryland. Every one of these locations has provided him with people and places that inspire his work. Countless memories from them, some good and some bad, fuel his passion for building people, not just characters in his tales.

Confucius once said. “Wherever you go, go with all your heart”. It has become his mantra and an ideology he embraces fully. His age has not diminished his urge for wandering, although he promises his move to Miami, Fl is the last. He claims he will settle down for good in Florida. Maybe the spirit of Hemingway is calling…

Perhaps the people are drawing him. He has always been a people-person for the wealth of opportunity they provide. He says that "a good variety of people in one’s life is like a rich tapestry of inspiration to a writer. People come equipped with personalities, quirks and tales that keep writers in material for a lifetime."

Ed was born in 1954 in Philadelphia. He is a doting father of two and is fiercely loyal to the Philadelphia Eagles, The Beatles and classic horror films. He enjoys time in the kitchen as of late, saying that cooking is fun for him now that he understands that it too, is an art. He enjoys photography, playing in Photoshop and he freely admits to his vice of being addicted to World of Warcraft. His passion is animal rights and he campaigns to end the persecution of wolves. His religious and political views are private; nevertheless, they make themselves known throughout his work.

So, that is the author, for all it’s worth. He explains that his sarcasm is described as epic, but also that he is a caring and good man. He says that he’s not sure of that. He says this on the subject...

“I think a good man treats others well no matter what. I treat others as I want them to treat me, but if they don’t then I treat them as they treat me. I prefer to think of myself as a just man. Nevertheless, when we reach our end, what we think of ourselves is worthless. In the end all that matters is what our judges, whoever or whatever they may be think of us. In the meantime, I’ll live life the way I enjoy, I’ll write what I enjoy and I’ll be a smartass for as long as I like.”


 Accomplishments

Mr. Ireland is very active in helping promote other Indie authors via his website. Also through #Indiebooksbeseen, a great group dedicated to bringing indie works into the light. He will also offer free copies of his books in exchange for donations to Autism Awareness and Runningwiththewolves.org.


Book Blurb:

For twenty years the Clans have kept the peace. They have spent their days and nights away from the boundaries imposed by the Goddess. They kept true to her word and allowed the years to pass without incident.

In Rahz Ahmoon, the old order is about to pass and the greatest threat the Clans ever faced returns, bringing depravity and terror to the destruction. Along the tranquil shores of the Shimmering Seas, another threat looms. A threat the Clans have been dreading for twenty years. These two incidents will return them to the most savage days they have ever seen.

In Bandashar, rebellion and plague rise to defeat the loyal. Hol stands ready to defend the fair lands of Dagor as Bandashar dies amid flames of prejudice and hate while purgatory fills the world with flames of tyranny and betrayal. In Wraithwood the Queen is abducted as a mysterious journal in Var Libra hints at both the creation of the world so long ago and the destruction of it so close to the present.

Hellion and Fire must do the best they can amid all of these waves that are about to crash onto the Clans. As the climax draws closer, they both wonder many things. They wonder, that when the last secrets of Var Libra are exposed, when the last cities have scattered their ashes, when the last echoes of a world at war are silenced and when the last breaths of the Clans are drawn…

Who will remember their story? Who will insure that the world will know what happened? Who will keep them alive in story and song so that the world does not forget? Or will the world cease to exist as well?


Interview with Ed Ireland

Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when
you’re not writing?

Well, I’m not too complicated. I have a touch of the Gypsy in me but I think my rambling
days are behind me for good now. Writing for me was a pleasant surprise. I started really late
in life and am still honing this gift for storytelling. When I’m not writing, I love cooking,
exploring new places and I have an unhealthy addiction to World of Warcraft.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?) List other titles if applicable.

This is actually my eighth book. Ninth if you count the release of the full trilogy in one book.
For this tale, we started the series with Fire At Dawn, shifted into The Stormrider and now
finish with A New Dawning.

What genre do you enjoy writing the most and what is this book about?

I enjoy bringing new worlds to life, so fantasy is my favorite genre. A New Dawning is the
final book in a trilogy started so long ago. The entire series was designed to mirror societies
woes and place them in a fantasy setting. This book continues that trend. The story spans
more than 20 years in the lives of Hellion, Fire and their clan. Some people might say it's a
war story with a good amount of romance in it while others might see a romance with a war
setting. There's no getting around it, the Chronicles of the Free People is filled with
interesting characters, villains you'll love to hate and a storyline that brings you across a
lifetime of love, hate, romance, honor and betrayal.

What inspired you to write this book?

The original concept was a glance at a picture entitled “Spirithunter” by artist Christy
Grandjean. As soon as I saw it, I knew this character had a tremendous story behind him. My
wife also was an inspiration for the co-protagonist. She’s unlike any other woman I have ever
known and I felt she needed to be immortalized in some way.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

The first book, Fire At Dawn was just a play on the character’s name. The series title was
difference. I looked at the characters and tried to fnd the one thing they prized above
everything else. It was their freedom, hence the title Free People. Like all freedoms, it’s never
guaranteed and often very costly.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that
particular image/artwork?

The cover is all me. My concept, my work, my design. I spent hours in Photoshop
transforming a tiger’s eyes to a woman’s eyes. When I was satisfied, I used that as the
background for all 3 books. I recently put them up for critique and they don’t trend favorably.
Oh well, I wanted the uniform look to the series so maybe I’ll dabble with them in the future.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

Maybe it’s a writer thing or maybe I’m just nuts, but as I write, I can “hear” the character’s
voices. From his frst syllable, Titan has always been Sean Connery. Fire has always been
Jane Seymour and Hellion was Harrison Ford. Thankfully, these characters would be CGI so
there would just be voice actors.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Of course, J.R.R. Tolkien was the first serious writer I read. The Hobbit and LOTR books were
almost required in the late sixties, and he taught me to stretch my imagination to the limits.
Among today's writers, I’m a big fan of Gregory Maguire. His Oz books have taught me to
always look at both sides of the story.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the
shower)?

I do have my ritual. I like to wake at the crack of dawn when the rest of the world is still
asleep. I put on the water and make my Bigelow’s Earl Gray tea and eat 3 Chips Ahoy
cookies. At that time, my muse is satisfied and we get to work.

Are you a plotter or do you write by the seat of your pants?

Oh, I am a pantser all the way. I start the story and let the characters take over and drag me
through whatever fun they can think of. I am quite fond of saying I’m not so much a writer as
I am a stenographer.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on
liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources
you recommend?

Names are definitely important. Who’s going to read a book where the protagonist is called
“that guy”? Sometimes I like a name based on how it rolls around in my mouth. Other times
I’ll search for a name through international baby name data mines to fnd an exotic name
with meaning.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any
advice on how to deal with the bad? 

There are no bad reviews. Well, except the ones that say “Your book sucks! You suck!” If it
looks and sounds as if a lesser ape wrote it, I simply toss it. Other than that, there are no bad
reviews. People are either telling you why they loved your work, or they are offering
suggestions as to how to improve your work. Either way, you don’t walk away empty handed.

Do you see writing as a career?

No, I’m fond of eating and sleeping indoors. There are certain sacred cows in the author feld
and no matter what, they will never be replaced. Even though self-published indie writers are
making their way at a much better rate, I think the majority of people still hold on to their
cows. I watch book clubs on Goodreads rehashing Sherlock Holmes and books like East of
Eden. Until that changes, I don't see this as anything but a passionate hobby.
Which of your books was the most fun to write and why?

No need to think on it. For pure fun it was Crime Scene. It was a subject I enjoy going over
(the Kennedy assassination) set in a city I love (Philadelphia) featuring characters I grew up
around. I got to talk like I normally do, foul-mouthed and angry and I got to bring out all the
stops. Memories of when I was a kid, of my Uncles and the way they did things…despite my
last name, I’m Italian. Ireland is my step-father’s name. Plus I got to research 3 diferent
cities and I’m a sucker for research work.

What is your favorite snack food?

The aforementioned Chips Ahoy are a favorite. Potato chips are another vice. At the other
end of the spectrum, I can sit and eat a bucketful of ripe strawberries.
What do you want your tombstone to say?

“Go Away! You Had Your Chance!” I have this feeling that after I kick it, some asshat
publisher will read one of my books and declare me to be “a genius wordsmith” and every
scrap I ever wrote will go on to be a best seller. My heirs will live a great life and eventually,
my daughter will write a tell-all book and I’ll be vilified.

What is your favorite Halloween costume you’ve ever worn? Provide photos if
available!

Wish I had photos. We were doing a haunted house to raise funds for my son’s little league. I
found a werewolf mask that came in 4 pieces. Each piece had to be set with spirit gum and
then make up across the face and all four pieces. Took me almost 4 hours to get everything
perfect including the teeth, hair, hands and the rest of the costume. Drove like that from
Philly to Jersey and scared the crap out of the toll collector on the bridge. Well, I was on the
2nd fLoor with a breakaway chain holding me and a strobe light. About an hour into the
event, I get a yell from the hallway…”Police…we’re coming in.” The police came in,
complimented me on the makeup and then told me I had to stop. Their reasons made
sense…outside, the front lawn was filled with very angry mothers and their crying children. I
had to apologize and show all the kids it was makeup.

Do you have an embarrassing moment you’d like to share?

I was sick, let me make that perfectly clear. The medicine was making me gassy. I was in
WalMart with my wife, daughter and my wife’s aunt. Well, at one point I sneezed and lets
just say the gas leak was louder than the sneeze. About 6 people all snapped their head
around to look at me. Embarrassed, I looked for the comfort of family and all I saw was the 3
of them ducking into an aisle laughing their asses of.

What makes you laugh/cry?

In my post-menopausal state, I find almost anything can get me to cry now. I have this weird
empathy now where thinking about Dumbo’s mother singing “Baby Mine” gets the eyes
watery. Forget watching “Old Yeller” or “Marley”. Hell, a good Hallmark card can get me
there. Conversely, things that shouldn’t be that funny have me in stitches. Watching a
zombie catch a victim is always good for a chortle. Traditionally, if you want to hear my best
laughs, just slip the Honeymooners or the Three Stooges into the Blue Ray.


Character Interview

Our interview today is with an enchanting lady with a heart as big as the world and the ability to take down a squad of angry Repticans in minutes. Please welcome Fire, Mistress of the White Tiger Clan and wife to Hellion. How would you describe your Clan?

My clan is the center of my world. Filled with good people who would do anything for
each other. My clan is the life work of Hellion and the other clan members. It is what
the model of a caring and well balanced society should be. Everyone is responsible for
their lives and actions.

Your bravery at Kre'een has been described as legendary. How would you
describe it?

I would not describe it as legendary. I get no joy out of fighting. No one wins in a war,
both sides lose. I fought because I was backed up against a wall and I was not going
to see more of my people die. Given the option I would always want to try to resolve
things peacefully, but here there was no peaceful solution.

You have been linked to the Goddesses Bastet and Sekhemet. How close are
you?

I view them as my mother figures. I get strength from them. They are my guides on
how I will live my life. They have taught me balance. I once struggled with how to live
my life, wanting only to have peace and only see the goodness in people. I came to
realize through them, that in this life there must always be dark and light, good and evil
to keep a balance.

Describe Hellion and don't leave out any of the good parts.

Hellion is the other part of my soul. They say that in the beginning we all had one body
with two heads, four arms and four legs. The Gods began to fear the potential of our
power and split us in two condemning us to spend our lives looking for the other
half....My search ended many years ago the day I met Hellion. His heart, his bravery
and his selflessness know no bounds. Any one who calls him friend or family is lucky.

What were your early days in the Clan like?

I was scared. I was very young and felt out of place. I had a fear that no one would
accept me because I was not born into the clan. I felt afraid to get close to anyone
because I thought they would be taken away. Lucky for me all the clan members
opened their hearts to me. And Hellion was never far from me, he made himself the
one constant I could always count on.

Tell us about your relationship with Lavrine.

Lavrine has been many things to me. She’s been a teacher foremost, insuring that I
learned as much from her as possible. She taught me everything from the basics as in
how to perform ritual to the more complex healing arts. She taught me which herbs
treat which symptoms and how to prepare them. She was also a second mother to me
when the situation needed a mother’s gentle touch. I think her wisdom and kindness
helped shape me into the person I am today.

Tell us about your elemental power. What is it like to wield such a power?

I have the power of fire. I have markings on my hands that begin to smolder and then
fire will form. It was scary at first to have that happen. At first I could not control it, and
sometimes even now I think it is still beyond my control. I feared that I would
accidentally hurt someone. As time went by I learned to manipulate it. I realized that
the Goddess had given me this power so that I might be able to help my people and
others.

Of all the assets you bring to the Clan, what do you think is your best?

I think my best asset is my nature. My nature is to be the voice of balance. I feel I instill
that balance in others. I want there to always be peace, I want others to see the good
in themselves and everyone else. I also understand that there will be times when
peace is not attainable with out a fight.

How was raising Luna different from raising Ember and Firestorm?

It was no different in my eyes. She is my child just as if I had given birth to her. I
always made her understand that. I treat her no differently than I treat Ember and
Firestorm. She is loved equally and disciplined equally. I never allowed anyone to treat
her as anything other than the daughter of Hellion and Fire.

Things change in life. Where do you see your life in ten years?

In 10 years I see myself and Hellion still blissfully in love, surrounded by our friends
and family. I can see myself living out the rest of my days in peace with my love. There
will be adventures, of that I am sure because when your husband is the great Hellion,
adventures are never far off. In this life or the next, Hellion and I will be together and
doing the things we love together.



Giveaways

Everybody can grab a free copy of Fire At Dawn, the first book of the series. Just visit
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/398349 and use the code QT36N for a free copy.
Everyone that visits my website and signs up for my mailing list will get a copy of The Stormrider, the second book of the series for free. I'll send the code via the first newsletter after the tour ends.

Finally, the first three people that can tell me the names of the original five clans will receive The Chronicles of the Free People Trilogy Box Set, containing the entire story of Hellion and Fire. Mail your answers to me via the member's area on my website. To help, there will be a map of the Freelands that shows the locations of the five clans on the website for 1 day only. You can see it on August 6th.

Good luck and have fun. 

Click here for additional giveaways on the Brain to Books Blog Tour.