JC Boyd

The Release of Strong Armed by JC Boyd!

Strong Armed Cover


Balvoc had always earned his bread with blood on his hands. But when he is forced to protect an amoral merchant to keep his wife safe, he must decide whether his wife's life is worth the havoc caused by Sin-sim's greed.


J.C. 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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1.    When did you start writing?

As I recall, my brother suggested we write stories one lazy, summer afternoon. I thought the idea was ludicrous, but being the younger, I followed his lead. The memory still lurks in the back of my mind as one of the best. Over the years, Joshua has continued to push me to write, so it is only fitting that my first published work, Anaerfell, was co-authored with him.

That lazy summer afternoon was in about 4th grade. I started writing my first novel, a horror story which featured kids from my class. Unsurprisingly, I did not finish. A similar attempt with a fantasy novel in junior high brought similar results. Not until my fourth attempt at writing did I finish my first novel, completing it my senior year of high school. The final product still makes me cringe, but elements, themes, and even characters from that book still creep into what I write now.

2.    What motivates you to write?

After I had first put my highly illegible pencil to paper, I never really put it down again. While my brother certainly pushed me, he knows as well as I do that I don’t do anything I really don’t want to and his task would have been fruitless if I didn’t find something engaging in the task.

In the end, what motivates me to write is, well, everything about the process. I love putting down the first words as much as I do the last. I cannot help but getting swept away in the imaginary world I create with the characters I craft to face that world. I enjoy tropes as much as I enjoy turning tropes on their heads—one of my first pieces in the fantasy genre featured an evil Gandalf character, seeking to betray those he was meant to help. 

However, the ideas and characters only inspire me as much as the words themselves. In fact, my family still pokes fun at me about reading the dictionary during my high school years. While I, like many of my contemporaries, list Tolkien as a major influence, I like to think I do so from the evidence of his philological background within his works rather than his epithet as the Father of Modern Fantasy.

3.    What genre do you write in and what made you choose this particular genre?

While much of my reading has been in Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy, and Sword and Sorcery, I tend to lean (quite heavily) toward Dark Fantasy. I don’t know that I really chose Dark Fantasy. I simply realize that this is the genre in which I write. Because I like to play with certain tropes, I tend to lose traditional aspects that make me a writer of other subgenres. As I mentioned earlier, it is not so much that I dislike these tropes, but I cannot always reconcile myself to them within my stories. I have a desire to have exceptionally flawed individuals and, coupled with my rather morose outlook on life, they generally fail or step on others to achieve their goals. Real heroes are both rare and special. I simply haven’t found one in anything I write.

4.    What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?

I want to write stories I can stand behind with which people can identify. But I want my readers to have to think. I want more than simply a good book. I have read plenty of good books, at the end of which I can exclaim, “Thumping good read!” I then put down the book and never open it again. I don’t want to be in that stack. I want my readers to finish my story and immediately hand it to a friend (or stranger) and say, “Read this and then come talk to me. I need to discuss it with someone.” 

Ambitious, I know.

5.    Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?

I would like to say that I don’t, but it just wouldn’t be true. I have simply figured out an effective way of dealing with it for myself. When I encounter writer’s block, I usually end up pacing. I walk back and forth in my house and talk to myself. A lot. Usually I talk through the plot, themes, character motivations. And my workout ends with me spouting dialogue back and forth to myself. I have found that the most people deal with their problems by talking and if I let my characters talk to each other, I usually figure out what had me stumped to begin with.

6.    What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?

Start over. I have seen too many authors carrying the same novel around in their back pocket’s for years, trying to get it published without luck. They edit the piece over and over again, but can’t get it accepted. I am sure there are plenty of people who would like you to stick with your tattered manuscript, but throwing it out and starting over is usually best. If you are married to the story, read a chapter and re-write from memory. Don’t keep editing. You are a better writer at the end of your novel than you were at the beginning, but editing can only do so much.

7.    Please, tell us about your work. 

My first published work is Anaerfell, co-authored with Joshua Roberston, in the Thrice-Nine Legends setting. Strong Armed will be released on 08 March 2016 in the same setting. Meanwhile, Joshua and I are working on another co-authored novel, which will take place in a setting of my own creation.

The Release of Anaerfell

By Joshua Robertson and JC Boyd

Erzebeth convulsed. Her fur and skin shedding away while she wheeled about on the ground in agony. The bones readjusted and organs reset from beast to human. Where a beast had stood was now the naked figure of Erzebeth. Cuts and scratches patterned her body, but none were fatal.

Tyran had no place for modesty. The Vucari woman, within the privacy of the ice dome, struggled to her feet. Again, her dark eyes met his own, filled with compassion.

“You need to be put down, young Red.” Her voice was calm as her feet crossed in front of one another, closing the distance between them. “Your power is greater than any I have seen before, even from the Anshedar.”

“What?” Tyran said, forehead wrinkled with confusion. He had never heard of the race before, whether beast or otherwise.

“You are like a rabid dog, young Red. You are the perfect companion, loyal, and possibly even loving somewhere deep inside,” Erzebeth bit her lip. Her breasts, barely covered by her dark hair, touched the front of his chest. She halted her feet. “But, you are tainted by a disease that is stronger than the goodness in you. You cannot be left to live in this world, or you will corrupt every living thing around you.”

Tyran tilted his chin, lips parting. His free hand touched her pale skin, as whitish as the ice fortress that veiled this moment.

“You would taint me, young Red.” She stepped up on her tiptoes. “As with the rabid dog, you need to be put down.”

He grabbed her by the back of the neck, and pulled her to him. He kissed her with more force than he had ever kissed any woman.

This woman was not Isolde. This woman was battle hardened, and a warrior. She was not plain.
She grabbed his shoulders and returned the embrace, her tongue touching his lips. Her body was far warmer than his own, as if it were heated by the darkness.

He did not know what he was doing in this moment. It may have likely been the first time that his mind was clear from thought, acting without thinking. Though, in time, he may consider that when his death was nigh, he found that this was something he wanted to do before death found him.

The crashing against the ice pulled him from the moment. Tyran pulled back, moving the Vucari’s hair from her cheek. “You won’t kill me, Erzebeth.”

“No,” she breathed. Her hands fell to his chest. “But, it still needs to be done.”

Interview with Joshua Robertson and JC Boyd

1.  Tell us a little bit about this project: what was it like working with another author?

JC: Far more rewarding than I would I have thought. I had always figured that trying to co-write something would end up a muddled mess, ending with anger and donuts, but that was definitely not the case. Although, it probably helps quite a bit that Joshua and I have worked together for years, so I know how to handle his over-exuberance and he knows how to handle my moodiness. The best part, though, was the fact that he really helped to compensate for some of my weaknesses as a writer. I just hope that he can say the same for me.

JOSHUA: Haha, absolutely! Yes, JC and I developed this idea for a book in 2004.  We wanted to create something that captured the themes of friendship, loyalty, and sacrifice. As with many writers, life continued to get in the way of writing the story. But, as brothers, we could not really escape one another’s pestering to get it done, and after eleven long years, Anaerfell is the final result of the original idea.

2. Describe your favorite scene (without giving away any spoilers).

JOSHUA: Oh man! No spoilers? There is a scene in the second half of the book when Tyran and Drast are discussing the best strategy going into battle. Drast’s response to Tyran makes me chuckle about every time I read it. Then again, most everything that comes from Drast makes me laugh.

JC: I, too, really enjoy most of the scenes with Drast as a central figure, because he never failed to surprise me—no matter how much of a hand I had in his creation. But my favorite scene has to be with the pair of them chatting towards the end of the novel. Joshua and I tried hard to earn the genre of Dark Fantasy with this novel, and when the two brothers have their heart-to-heart, I think that the novel finally finds its home, solidifying who they are, what they have done, and what they are leaving behind.

3. What can your readers expect from you in the future?

JOSHUA: I am releasing Book 2 of The Kaelandur Series in a few months called Dyndaer. This is the sequel to my best-selling, dark fantasy novel called Melkorka. For those who do not know, Anaerfell is the prelude (but a standalone novel) in the same world.

JC: Let me first say that nothing is set in stone. Joshua and I have toyed with a couple of other co-written works in the coming year or two, but I am not about to give away any spoilers. I joined him in Aenar, and if all goes well, he will be joining me in my world all too soon. I also have personal projects, which I will certainly be playing with in the coming year, including a novel set in Aenar with a character from Aenarfell—see if you can guess who!

4. Do you have any advice for authors just starting down the self-publishing road?

JC: Come back to your keyboard (or pencil, or pen, or voice-to-text program, or…smoke signals?). Joshua and I spent years playing with the concept of Anaerfell. It is easy to get discouraged or to struggle to see the end of the daunting process that is authorship, but we came back to the idea time after time until we had the words to say what we needed to say. If you leave, just make sure you come back again.

JOSHUA: I agree with JC. There is a lot of advice out there, but to echo what he is saying, I think the best advice is to keep writing.

5. Fun question: Your favorite movie producer of all time calls. Not only does he/she want to make your book into a movie, but he/she wants your help in a) deciding where to film and b) who to cast in the lead roles. What location would you pick and who would you case?

JC: I would hand the phone to Joshua. We had a bit of a “Ha ha, what if” conversation about this exact situation a few weeks back, and I told him that I could not resolve myself to make changes to Anaerfell for a movie. I would be such a pain in the neck for any producer that the movie would likely never get made. We determined then and there that I was not allowed to have any part of it.

JOSHUA: I am partial to Scotland or Ireland, and it would closely match the environment, but so would Newfoundland. Kevin McKidd (Gray’s Anatomy, Brave, Percy Jackson) would play a good Tyran. And, I would love to have Zach Ward (Chicago Fire, Resident Evil, Postal) play the role of Drast.

6. Fun question: What’s your favorite part of Halloween?

JOSHUA: I enjoy the history of All Hallows’ Eve with the change in seasons being a bridge into the world of the dead. And bonfires!

JC: Carving pumpkins. I can do without the candy, the children, and the pranks, but pumpkin carving is actually quite a bit of fun. I don’t know that I am very good at it, but I can still pretend.

The Highly Anticipated Release of Anaerfell

by Joshua Robertson & JC Boyd

The Blurb

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. The two will face skin-switchers and dragons, ultimately leading to a final clash with Wolos, God of the Dead.

Author Bios

Joshua currently lives in Alaska with his wife and children. In 1999, he began crafting the world for Thrice Nine Legends, including Melkorka and Anaerfell. He is also the author of the A Midwinter Sellsword and Gladiators and Thieves in the Hawkhurst Saga. His short story, Grimsdalr, is inspired by the tale of Beowulf.

J.C. lives in the Midwest with his wife and two dogs. He is currently pursuing his M.A. in English Literature while continuing to craft his own dark fantasy world.  Before he had completed junior high, J.C. had received his first box set of Dungeons & Dragons and devoured the J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He has had a passion for the fantasy genre ever since.

The Teaser

Check back tomorrow for an excerpt and some other fun information!