Start of 2020 – Latest News

After several requests, I’m pleased to announce that my Clovel Sword Saga Volume 1-3 is now available on Kindle Unlimited. A paperback version is also in the works and should roll out in the next couple of weeks.

These backstories were previously released as stand alone novellas. Now you can read the combined edition on Kindle Unlimited. The early adventures about Urith of Esterblud focus on his unsettled past as a mercenary fighter and treasure seeker.

Other Works in Progress

My Christmas kept me busy with new ideas and story lines coming. The following is a tentative schedule for upcoming releases. You can follow the real time progress with the draft chapters that I put out on Wattpad. Click on the links below to find out more.

First out of the gate for 2020 is the follow on story of the Clovel Sword Saga. The Bleeding Mountains novel finds Urith seeking work as a mercenary in the troubled lands of Rarfell. Right now it looks like a late February release date on all the online retailers.

The Curse of Blackbane should follow in mid summer. This is my first real push into historical fantasy. If you like pirates, angels, and demons, this story could fit the bill for you.

Shadow over Charax is probably the next book released in 2020. In a fantasy world falling under the dark shadow of necromancy, a smuggler must escape the clutches of the undead.

For those waiting on the next Ray Irish book, I suspect that will finish in late 2020 since I’ve just begun working on it. However, I might become suddenly inspired to bring Black Hanna (my first horror story), Madness of Dreams (horror, dark fantasy), or Dream Wraith (portal fantasy) into the top of my list. Sometimes the characters just want to get out.

Graves Peril – Another work in progress on Wattpad!

Fantasy and the Medieval Setting – A Question of Accuracy

After reading the postings and comments about high fantasy (link below), I thought I would throw in my 2 cents worth. Half of my books are fantasy and I’ve found myself struggling with the ideas of historical accuracy in my Clovel Sword series.

Interesting Analysis and Comments on Fantasy

Originally posted on Legends of Windemere: Joan of Arc Various questions come up when someone wants to write high fantasy and many of them are completely understandable. They may deal with magic, various races, and creating a world that isn’t Earth. Yet, there are other questions that you can see why they are asked, but…

Does Fantasy Have to Be Medieval? — Author Don Massenzio

For better or worse, I came to the stories originally hindered by my background with a history degree. I say hindered because I’ve tried to maintain accuracy in the weapons, equipment, structures, etc. based upon Northern Europe on Earth circa 600-800 AD. My fondest recollections of early reads include Beowulf as well as the Viking mythology stories. Therefore, the chain mail armor, swords, shields, spears, axes, and bows along with fighting techniques I incorporate into the stories. At times, my readers mention similarities in my stories with the time, even when the main characters ride long-neck creatures that look like a small giraffe while they take on gods.

While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the questions and conversation in the blog comments highlight the puzzle. Historical accuracy in a fantasy world, particularly high fantasy, starts with the familiarity of the works by Tolkien and Lewis. The stories remain popular. They are a starting point for many readers, as well as the authors in their expectations. Since the reader already has the world of castles, magical creatures, knights in armor, etc. embedded in their memory, does an author need to build a new world? Setting a story in a new, yet familiar place, following similar rules about magic, creatures, and customs allows the writer and reader to focus on the characters, their development, etc. It’s really more comfortable in many ways than trying to build an underwater world. Developing sympathetic main characters that communicate telepathically, eat smaller animals raw while following the mating rituals of fish is a much higher hurdle.

Add to this is the popularity of writers like George R.R. Martin, who develop such intricate storylines. I believe this leads to an expectation from the reader about the level of detail. Influenced by those who are successful leads the writer to imitate the level of detail and accuracy. I would argue the same pattern extends to the reader. After enjoying a genre, author, or type of story, the buyer looks to the familiar and comfortable in their next purchase. They can picture the line of archers along the castle’s battlements while Orcs and Uruk-hai attack in line formation while carrying sword and mace. When they see the cover showing similar characters and backgrounds, I would argue that the reader gravitates toward it.

None of this is to say that medieval settings must be the focus of a fantasy story nor that there should be a requirement for historical accuracy. In my opinion, publishers rely too much on past fantasy stories to show them the future. But they can’t be faulted entirely since they follow what sells for them. Readers and writers must blaze the trail by looking at those writers who are opening strange, new worlds with intriguing characters.

Merry Christmas to One and All

The month came and went too quickly. For me, this is the time to reflect upon the best memories from your childhood. It’s funny, but my main memories are the moments of anticipation, the tree in the same corner of the living room near the fireplace, and the trips to my grandparent’s houses. The presents I received are barely recalled. I hope my son has similar memories in his future.

Black Friday from the Author

Well, it’s close to another Christmas (and my links to 50% off printed books are below).

Latest news: I’m wrapping up work on two more books (hopefully to be complete by end of the year). Here are their working titles and a short description about the stories. You can find

The Bleeding Mountains: A Clovel Sword Saga (click link to read the first two draft chapters on Wattpad)

This is Saga #4 and a full book of Urith’s adventures in the time before the Clovel Sword Chronicles. Not long after the death of his wife and father, the Esterblud warrior travels into the kingdom of Rarfell as a volunteer to fight against a tribe known as the Borrs. Before he joins the volunteers, the capital city is overrun and the king killed.

In a series of twists and turns, Urith finds himself escaping with the young queen and a new comrade. However, their freedom is short lived and Urith nearly dies. Returning to kill his betrayer, the Esterblud must grapple with his need for vengeance and the honorable ideals to help those in need. To make things worse, Urith finds himself in unfamiliar waters of diplomacy trying to stop an embittered queen from causing a war between his homeland and the powerful kingdom of Cahmais.

Shadow Over Charax – A new fantasy book. (click link to read the first two draft chapters on Wattpad)

It is a world where the necromancer, Pirwa, extends his power over the remaining kingdoms using the cruel butchery of his undead ‘gravers’. Pirwa plans to unleash his hordes upon the last two bastions of those who follow the ways of the Chara.

The fortress island of Charax is one spot that stands in the way of the necromancer. However, the fortress is much like the society, a decaying symbol of the past. Strict social and economic stratification allows the Chara to control the island along with the help of pirates who dominate the waters.

When an offer of quick wealth leads Hilko, a young smuggler, into his betrayal. The man uses his ability to communicate with ghosts to aid in his escape. Ending up on a ship filled with pirates, Hilko slowly understands the power of the object he’s stolen. In his quest to avoid the ‘gravers’ and comrades with ulterior motives, Hilko discovers that true friendship and loyalty can come from any social class, living and dead.

Christmas Savings on MY PRINT BOOKS

Click on Graphic to receive the paperback for savings over retail.
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