Saturday, 26 September 2015

Shadow Stalker Part 2 (Episodes 7 - 12) by Renee Scattergood


Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn't start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy. She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, Savior of the Serpent Isles. The first book, The Galvadi Invasion, is due to be released mid-2016. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter. Find out more about her, and sign up for her newsletter for a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6).

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About the Book


Episode 7: Bound by Fate


Auren's best friend was captured during the Galvadi invasion, and her rescue attempt goes awry. Now Auren finds herself in the hands of an enemy who knows her true identity…one who has the power to be either her destroyer or her salvation.

Episode 8: Broken


Auren doesn't succumb to Makari's torture, so he decides his father was right about her being the delohi-saqu. Now he resorts to more sadistic methods to extract information, which could doom the Coalition if Auren fails to resist.

Episode 9: Turning Tides


Now that Makari knows the truth about Auren, he has sworn to protect her and help her escape. But when the other guides become suspicious, Makari's loyalty is tested, and he is forced to do something he swore he'd never do again.

Episode 10: Separate Paths


Auren finally meets Shai, Kado's daughter, but she is too weak from her months of torture to escape the reconciliation center. Makari takes over Shai's cleansing sessions, but that means Auren will face daily torture again. To make things worse, Makari disappears and Auren is given a task that means taking the life of someone she loves.

Episode 11: Escape Part 1


Auren and Shai begin their escape, but it doesn't go as planned, and they are forced to adjust their plans. They are pushed to their limits, and Auren has to put her untried abilities to use or risk being recaptured.

Episode 12: Escape Part 2


Makari has decided to stay with the Galvadi for Auren's protection. Auren and Shai are on their own, and nature seems to be against them. After being seriously injured, Auren falls ill and it starts to look like they will never reach their meeting spot with Kado on the southern shore.

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Excerpt from Shadow Stalker: Bound by Fate (Episode 7)


I was tempted to travel to Appolia City through the shadow world. It would save me a three day journey, but Kado's words played on a loop in my head, "...do not travel again through the shadow world if you can help it." So I stayed to the forest for as long as I could. I left after sunset, just north of Wallanby, the suburb where Kado and I lived mere months ago. Before the Galvadi had invaded Luten Isle and changed all of our lives forever.

Though my foster father had warned me to stay away from our house, I had to see it. I needed the familiarity of it—hoping it would strengthen my resolve and give me a renewed sense of purpose. Some warmer clothes and maybe food wouldn’t hurt either. Traveling for days in the freezing cold, even with a snow suit, did nothing to boost ones morale. The street was darker than before, because none of the streetlights were lit, though it wasn’t so dark I couldn't make out the shapes of men scouting the area. Kado had been right—they were guarding the house on the off chance we returned. Without hesitating I turned and headed back to the forest, making sure to cover my tracks. I had no choice but to focus on getting to Jade, though my detour only made me feel worse.

It was almost morning by the time I reached the outskirts north of the city. I couldn't risk traveling into the city during the day, so I climbed higher into the foothills to find a place to rest and eat. I only had one ration pack left so I had to split it, hoping it would be enough to get me through the next day. My plan, if I managed to rescue Jade, was to take her to one of Kado's hideouts. It would mean a day and a half of hiking, but once we were safe and warm, it would give Jade the chance to heal. From there I intended to take her to Deakan. It was simple enough, though my plans never worked out the way I wanted them to.

Sleep didn't come easy. Even though I was relatively hidden, the slightest noise woke me. I felt safer having Kado nearby. I still had to choke back a sob whenever I thought of him. It didn’t help, knowing he was alive, because I couldn’t be sure what condition he was in. He was still blocking me, likely because he didn't want me to experience his pain or fearing for his life. He didn’t seem to understand my inability to sense him only made things worse. I would rather know he was hurt, but safe, than not know what was happening at all.

Finally, as dusk set in, I gave up on sleep. I ate the last of my ration pack and headed into the city, just as the sun was setting. The streets were eerily quiet. Thankfully the street lamps were on in the city, so there were plenty of shadows to hide in as I made my way closer to the Council Hall. The fact I didn’t see the Dansig Troops Deakan mentioned made me a little wary. Either they were stationed near the Council Hall or they were well hidden.

Unfortunately, the area around the Council Hall had fewer shadows with which to conceal myself. I still didn't see any guards or patrols, but I knew they were there, so I had to tread carefully. I was tempted to risk a shift through the shadow world to the top of the building, but I rejected the idea when I caught movement from above. They were likely watching from every angle, which made it extremely difficult to sneak past them.

"Don't move, girl," a man said from behind me.

Several things went through my head at once. My first instinct was to run, but I knew I would never outrun them. I considered the possibility of fighting and dismissed the thought immediately. They almost certainly had weapons. If I disappeared into the shadow world, they would identify me as a shadow stalker, and my cover would be blown. The only option, if I wanted to stay alive, was to give myself up.

"Turn around."

I obeyed, coming face to face with two soldiers. The one doing the talking was the older of the two, and though I wasn't familiar with the Galvadi's rank insignia, I got the impression they ranked higher than the others I had come across. There was something subtly different about his uniform too. It appeared a darker shade of gray, though that could have been because we were standing in the shadows cast by the buildings across from the Council Hall. The style was different too, and there was a thin white stripe down the side of each leg.

"Now, put your arms straight out in front of you."

"Please, don't hurt me," I said, knowing it was what they expected to hear. Hiding my fear would only make them suspicious.

"No one will harm you, as long as you do as you're told," he said in a calm, gentle tone, as though speaking to a scared child.

I nodded, though I didn't miss the fact he had said harm, not hurt. Of course, his definition of harm was likely a lot different from mine. He slipped two circular black metallic cuffs over my wrists. There was a small bar attached to each, with a matching hole on the opposite cuff. They slid into each other like puzzle pieces. The bars went directly through each cuff until they were digging, almost painfully, into my wrists. The soldier didn't release them until they clicked into place and, though they were metal, they felt unusually light.

"Ouch," I said, wincing.

"Quiet, now."

They each took an arm and led me toward the Council Hall building. We bypassed the main entrance and headed toward a door at the side of the building. The elder of the two waved a key card in front of a panel, and the door slid open. We passed several doors in the wide corridor, stopping before one of them about midway down the corridor. Again the soldier used a key card to open the lock.

It was a fairly large room, with a simple desk, a small wooden chair and an unusual looking table. On the desk lay the prod-like weapon I had seen in Kado’s vision. It looked even more sinister in reality.

The soldier in charge, lifted my arms and pressed something against the cuffs. The mechanism released, allowing him to remove them. The skin on my wrists was red where the bar had been resting.

"Put these on," he said, handing me a pair of gray shorts and a shirt. "A guide will arrive shortly to begin the process of your indoctrination."

I changed into the clothes when the two soldiers left, thinking about how dangerous it would be in the current climate to escape in my new outfit. I hadn't anticipated the complication, and I should have. It was an obvious tactic, making their prisoners as uncomfortable of possible and preventing escape. Their intentions were evident in the temperature of the room. It was cold, cold enough I had to rub my arms to keep warm.

After neatly folding my own clothes, I put them on the desk and continued my efforts to stay warm, wrapping my arms around myself as I waited. I didn't have to wait long. Within a few minutes, a man came into the room. At least I thought it was a man. I couldn't see his face because it was hidden beneath the hood of a dark gray robe. His anonymity left me feeling intimidated, which was likely the effect they were going for. I backed away, even though my instincts were telling me I should incapacitate him and run as fast as I could. He held out a hand to halt me in my tracks, pointing toward the chair.

"Have a seat."

I obeyed, thankful he didn’t strap me to the table, or use the prod.

"It's late, and we have a lot to cover before you can be taken to your room. So if you want this to go quickly, I suggest you listen, answer my questions honestly and do as you're told. If you fail to do those things, I will have to get an interrogator, and I'm sure you don’t want that."

His tone was calm and placating, but the threat was clear. Either I answered his questions or I'd be tortured. He stood over me, circling slowly—another intimidation tactic.

"I am a guide, so you will call me 'guide'. My job is to make sure people new to the Way of the Galvadi are properly indoctrinated. The first thing you need to understand is everything you have been taught about the Galvadi Empire is a lie. You may not believe me now, but you will be shown the truth of my words. You will learn through a method called cleansing, which will begin when you have been properly prepared." He paused. "You should look at me when I am speaking to you."

I allowed my fear to the surface, sniffling softly as tears filled my eyes. I had purposely avoided looking at him. His circling was meant to disorient me, but he couldn't know I knew that, and hiding tears seemed a reasonable response to the situation. A normal girl my age would certainly be crying in response to being captured. So when the first tears wet my face I gazed up.

The guide knelt before me, running his thumb across each check to brush them away. "That's better. You are safe here. No one will harm you, I promise."

I nodded, taking a deep breath.

"Now, I have some questions for you." As he rose to begin the circling routine, he pulled a data pad from his pocket. "They are simple questions, so I expect you to answer quickly and honestly. What is your name?"

"Silvie Lask," I blurted the first name that popped into my head. I went to school with Silvie when I was younger, but she had moved to Seajewel Isle years ago. I prayed they had no record of her already.

"How old are you, Silvie?"

Should I lie about that too? Yes. "Sixteen."

"You're young to be on your own. Where are your parents?"

I shrugged. "I was separated from them during the invasion."

"I see. What were you doing wandering the city?"

"I was hiding in the mountains just to the north, but I ran out of food and I was hungry. I just wanted to find food," I said, allowing more tears to fall.

"We will feed you well, once you've begun your cleansing, Silvie. There's no need for you to worry about food anymore. When was the last time you ate?"

"Yesterday. In the morning."

"I see. And water to drink?"

"I've been eating snow."

"Good."

"When was the last time you had a drink?"

"Just before I left the mountain. A few hours ago, I think."

"That's fine. I know you’re scared. You've been told many lies about us, but the truth is, Silvie, we only want to protect you. The delohi-saqu has already begun poisoning the minds of the people of the Serpent Isles. It's his desire to enslave all of us, and the Galvadi have been fighting to prevent that for many years. We will teach you how to keep your mind free of his will. So there is no reason to fear us. Do you understand?"

I nodded.

The guide rested his hand on my head. "Good girl. As long as you continue to cooperate, Silvie, things will go very easily for you. Now I'm sure you’re tired. I will show you to your room so that you can rest."

As he guided me down the corridor, away from the entrance to the building, he put his arm around my shoulders. I shuddered at the contact, wanting nothing more than to shake off his arm, but I knew it would raise suspicion. If things were easier based on cooperation, I would go along with it for as long as I could. I knew what the cleansing meant, and that I would be tortured soon despite my cooperation. Maybe they would go easier on me if I appeared willing to follow their ways.

The guide stopped in front of a door, waving his own key card. When I saw inside, I realized it was nothing more than a utility closet. Everything had been removed, except for a metal bucket. There was barely enough room to lie down. I gazed at him, allowing my confusion to show.

"This is where you will stay until you are ready for your first cleansing session. It's a small space, but it's necessary. You will understand why soon. The bucket is there for you to relieve yourself, if necessary. Someone will come for you as soon as you are ready for your cleansing," he said, gently nudging me into the room.

I no longer had to force my fear to surface. I knew that solitary confinement was part of the torture, but had not anticipated such a small space. As soon as I understood I was expected to spend a prolonged period of time in a box, I began hyperventilating.

"It's not as bad as it seems," the guide said, gripping my shoulder.

"I'm claustrophobic."

"Then this will help you overcome your fear." He gave my arm a squeeze and guided me more firmly into the closet.

I forced myself not to resist. A loud sob escaped as the door closed on me.

Monday, 21 September 2015

The Dragon Tempest Blog Tour: Featuring Allison D. Reid

Allison D. Reid was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her love for medieval fantasy was sparked by the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, which fed both her imagination and her spiritual development. When at the age of thirteen her family moved to Germany, her passion for medieval history and legend only increased, and she found herself captivated by the ancient towns and castles of Europe.

Allison returned to the United States to study art and writing at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. She earned her B.A. under the tutelage of the well-renowned and prolific writer Andrew Salkey, a student of her other great inspiration, and the father of fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien. After graduating from Hampshire College, Allison moved to Connecticut. There she got the opportunity to attend seminary and further explore her faith before returning to her home state of Ohio.

Allison now lives in the Miami Valley area with her husband and children. She continues to work on her first published series while taking care of her family, editing for other independent writers, and managing a home business.

Contact the Author



About Dragon Tempest


The Dragon Tempest offers a collection of short stories in a variety of fantasy genres, including dark, light, adventure, and epic. Creatures from all worlds abound: dragons, angels, centaurs, witches, gods and goddesses, and those lurking below the water’s surface. Whether you’re moved by tales of battle and bloodshed, suspense, humor, or enlightenment, The Dragon Tempest will leave you craving more from each author. Such a diversity of great fantasy tales to enjoy will leave no room for disappointment.

Judges

Allison D. Reid
KJ Hawkins
D.B. Mauldin
Joshua Robertson

1st Place Winners

Christine King
Katie Roxberry
Winter Bayne
Jane Dougherty
Wilson F. Engel, III

2nd Place Winners

Christine Haggerty
Randall Lemon
Deborah Jean Anderson
J. Abram Barneck
Louise Findlay

3rd Place Winners

Samuel Milner
Karen Brown

Buy The Dragon Tempest on AmazonSmashwordsiTunesBarnes & Noble, and it is also available in print on Createspace.


Allison's Other Work


A Short Story in The Magical Muse which can be purchased on Smashwords


Journey to Aviad


Threatening clouds and fierce storms besiege the city of Tyroc. More frequent and powerful than ordinary storms, young Elowyn, a weaver’s daughter living in the outskirts of the city, senses something disturbing and unnatural about them. She soon realizes that the storms are but a warning sign of much more frightening things yet to come.

Terrifying wolf-like creatures emerge from the depths of the wilderness at the bidding of a dark master. His name found only among the crumbling pages of ancient texts, the re-appearance of Alazoth and his Hounds is a dark omen for the people of Tyroc and beyond. Only legends remain of the heroes and prophets whose blood was shed ages ago to banish him into the abyss, which should have remained his prison for all time. How he has been released is a mystery, but all the old stories agree that death and destruction are sure to follow.

With the Hounds inching closer each day, the city of Tyroc caught up in religious and political turmoil, and her home life no less turbulent, Elowyn has nothing left to rely on but her meager courage and a budding faith in Aviad, the Creator. She and her sister, Morganne, set out on a remarkable journey that challenges everything they have ever known about themselves, the world, and the path that Aviad has laid out for them.

Get it on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords


You can also find a complete listing of Allison's book on her Amazon Author Page


The Challenges of Self-Editing: Producing a Quality Manuscript without an Editor


Whether you intend to self-publish, look for an agent, or submit your manuscript directly to a traditional publisher, editing is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your book is taken seriously. No matter how interesting your story is, or how passionate you are about telling it, a manuscript riddled with errors will turn off prospective publishers and readers alike.

Hiring a professional editor with good references is, of course, highly recommended. Many talented writers struggle with basic grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Even those who don’t will still have difficulty editing their own work because they are too close to it. Ever read the same paragraph so many times that your brain fills in what “should” be there rather than what is actually there? It happens to everyone. But readers will catch the mistake even if you don’t, which is not what you want when your name is on the cover of the book.

What if you simply cannot afford an editor? Should you toss aside your pen and give up on all your dreams of becoming a published author? Definitely not! There are still plenty of things you can do to ensure you’re presenting the best manuscript possible. As someone who is both an author and editor, I am happy to share a few self-editing tips that really work. Just don’t expect to catch everything in one read-through, and don’t do a rush job. Editing is a multi-step process that requires a lot of time and patience, which is one of the reasons why professional editing costs so much!

  • Do separate edits for proofreading and comprehensive editing. 
Proofreading is limited to checking for proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Comprehensive editing looks for things like story flow and organization, inconsistencies, repetitiveness, plot holes, weak writing, and character development issues. This part of the process may require re-writing or even stripping out whole sections of your story that aren’t working. Trying to focus on comprehensive editing and proofreading at the same time is like trying to follow two different television programs at once. You will inevitably lose focus on one while you’re paying attention to the other and miss crucial elements.

  • Use an editing checklist.
There are lots of different checklists out there on the internet for writers and editors. Some deal with straight editing and formatting issues, some go into plot and character development, constructing well organized chapters, or other aspects of the writing process. Know your weakness as a writer/editor and find a checklist that will help you address that weakness.

  • Don’t edit when you’re tired or emotional.
Good editing takes calm, focus, and a rational, objective state of mind. Never try to edit when you are tired, stressed, emotional, distracted, rushed, or otherwise mentally impaired. This can greatly affect what you find, the changes you make, and how you feel about your work as a whole. If you are feeling overly critical toward your piece, set it aside for another day so that you don’t get discouraged, or get a second opinion from someone you trust to be honest with you. Your critical mood might be a reflection of something else going on in your life, and not related to your writing at all.

  • Don’t always read on screen. 
With computers this is tempting. After all, paper and printer ink cost money, and bulky manuscripts take up space. But I guarantee you will find different kinds of errors on the printed page than you find when you are reading on a screen. Just have your computer version handy so that you can make quick edits as you go. This will save you time and headaches. Also, read out loud every once in a while. If a paragraph or sentence is difficult or confusing to say, it probably still needs some work.

  • Watch your tenses and point of view.
One of the most common issues I find when editing for others is shifting tenses and point of view. Correcting these issues can be very frustrating and time consuming, but are absolutely necessary. Most stories can be comfortably written in past tense (was, had, etc.), third person point of view (he, she, they, etc.). Present tense can lend speed and excitement to a story, but is difficult to sustain throughout a long piece of writing. First person writing has the advantage of being very personal. However, you are limited to the feelings, knowledge, and experiences of one character. Deciding what tense and point of view works best for your particular story is up to you. But once you decide, you need to stick with it and be consistent.

  • Use your word processor’s grammar and spell check…with caution.
Most of us agree that the grammar checkers in our word processing software programs are mediocre at best. Every once in a while, use them anyway, just to see what they find. Spell checkers are important too, but don’t rely on them too heavily. They will not tell you if you’re using the wrong word (bare vs. bear for instance). Both are spelled right, and they sound the same, but they obviously have very different meanings.

  • That being said, good writing is not only about grammar.
Make sure that your sentences vary in length and rhythm. Change up your word choices to keep the writing interesting, and eliminate redundancies. If you feel like you’re using certain words and phrases too much, you probably are. Do a quick search in your word processing software to find out. Don’t be afraid to expand your vocabulary, and remember that the thesaurus gives words of similar meaning. Not every word it gives you will be interchangeable. If you are not sure about the nuances behind a word’s meaning, look it up in the dictionary before you use it.

  • Look up what you don’t know.
If you’re writing about a specific place or time in history, or your characters have special skills or knowledge that you don’t, do some homework rather than make assumptions or skimp on details. A good editor will always check your facts to a reasonable extent, but if you are self-editing, you will have to take responsibility for this on your own. If you really struggle with grammar, punctuation, and spelling, invest in a style book, like The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, or even The Chicago Manual of Style, which is what professional fiction editors typically use as a reference. There are also relatively inexpensive online courses you can take to help you improve your writing and editing skills.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 
Use beta readers. Ask friends, relatives, other writers, or anyone else who takes an interest in your writing to voice their opinions. You don’t have to agree with every proposed change, but don’t be thin-skinned about the feedback you get either. When someone takes the time to read your writing, view their suggestions as an opportunity to make your work the best it can possibly be. Nobody’s perfect.

  • Read your chapter or story backwards—literally! 
This is a good exercise for the end of your editing process, when you’re trying to catch those final stray errors that keep eluding you. When your mind isn’t automatically filling in what it thinks should be there, your brain can more easily notice the things that shouldn’t be there.

  • Know when it’s time to quit.
You’ve read and refined your piece so many times you’ve lost count. You’ve run out of beta readers, friends, and relatives. You’ve scoured the internet for tips and tricks, and have used them all. Now it is time to just let go and give yourself a break. Even professional editors will tell you that you’ll never find every single mistake, and as you grow and mature as a writer, there will always be things you want to go back and change. But you can’t hang onto a single piece of writing forever. At some point it will be time to publish your piece, pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and move on to the next challenge…probably marketing. But that is a topic for a whole different article.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Dragon Tempest Blog Tour: Featuring Louise Findlay



Louise Findlay writes fantasy (generally short stories) and inspirational poetry. She enjoys reading and writing about mythological creatures such as angels and demons but has a soft spot for vampires. Louise is currently in the midst of writing a vampire novella about two vampire clans whose deputy’s clash in a big way, entitled A Spy in the Sagax Vampires.

She generally writes ebooks but she’s apart of a few anthologies which are in print and plans to release a print version of a collection of poetry at Christmas time this year.

Connect with the Author



About Dragon Tempest


The Dragon Tempest offers a collection of short stories in a variety of fantasy genres, including dark, light, adventure, and epic. Creatures from all worlds abound: dragons, angels, centaurs, witches, gods and goddesses, and those lurking below the water’s surface. Whether you’re moved by tales of battle and bloodshed, suspense, humor, or enlightenment, The Dragon Tempest will leave you craving more from each author. Such a diversity of great fantasy tales to enjoy will leave no room for disappointment. 

Judges

Allison D. Reid
KJ Hawkins
D.B. Mauldin
Joshua Robertson

1st Place Winners

Christine King
Katie Roxberry
Winter Bayne
Jane Dougherty
Wilson F. Engel, III

2nd Place Winners

Christine Haggerty
Randall Lemon
Deborah Jean Anderson
J. Abram Barneck
Louise Findlay

3rd Place Winners

Samuel Milner
Karen Brown

Louise Finday contributed the short story Vicious Vines in the anthology


This is the last straw. Humans have trampled over nature for the last time. Watch the plants fight back in the form of a human at one with nature. Will nature succeed in eradicating the humans or will an unexpected foe turn up in an effort to survive?

Buy The Dragon Tempest on AmazonSmashwordsiTunesBarnes & Noble, and it is also available in print on Createspace.


Check Out Louise's Other Work


The Rogue’s Odyssey


Heroes with an edge are always fascinating and when the metier is poetic, the romance tends to rise exponentially because, after all, everyone loves a rascal who’s only a heartbeat away from being on the wrong side of the tracks, but who somehow always battles on to win the day, whether that’s fleeing from dastardly henchmen, or fighting a terrifying dragon.

Available on Smashwords


The Magic Christmas Dragon & Other Poetry Tales


There was a dragon that hated Christmas because Santa never gave him any presents. Every year he tries to ruin it for everyone in Wintaru. Read the tales about fairies, elves and goblins who try and thwart this dastardly dragon.

Available on Smashwords and Lulu


The Author’s Nightmare Story: Regina’s Curse


(A Once Upon A Time Fanfiction Piece)

Operation Mongoose 4x21 4x22 AU. For Regina the cruellest thing was to have had hope in the past and then have it ripped away from you. Regina's worst nightmare is her Mother and the Author has enacted her worst possible nightmare. Can Regina protect Henry from the Queen of Hearts? Does Emma have magic in this alternate Enchanted Forest? Who will become the new Dark One?

Can be read on FanFiction.net


Character Interview with Kathryx from The Sole Vampire Series: Vicious Vines/The Vampire's Revenge/Entombing a Vampire


Tell us a little about your world, and where you fit in?

In the point of time of Vicious Vines, I was a just a fledgling eager to prove myself. Martel was my mentor and I wanted to gain some notoriety for myself. I didn’t want to hang on his coattails.

Where is the best place to visit in your world? What places should visitors avoid?

There are the three realms: Earth, the Darkside and the Dawnside. Humans can only walk the Earth but we magical creatures had access to either the Darkside or the Dawnside depending on what spectrum your species lies.

Who is your enemy? What makes you enemies?

The people that oppose me. Although archenemy is Mayra. That snivelling mage dared imprison me for centuries. I would make her pay. In this adventure though that person is Vira, a naïve human. She was destroying my kind and the humans. I refused to relinquish my immortality and starve to death.

What are your goals? What would you like to achieve?

Fame? Fortune? Really adventure. I love the wandering lifestyle. Being stuck in one place for years on end is boring.

What is your greatest fear? How did you overcome it?

Being trapped for eternity. Mayra buried me in an earthen tomb. After that I became claustrophobic. I thank Lucifer that I succumbed to hibernation and missed most of the centuries. I don’t know how long I had to endure before it took over.

What is the most important lesson you've learned about life?

Don’t be brash. Don’t fight enemies if you don’t know their weaknesses. I learnt that one well in Entombing a Vampire when I tried to challenge a Light Mage.

Do you have a secret you've never told anyone? Would you tell us?

Yes. When I accessed the lost magical powers of vampires in The Vampire’s Revenge, something happened. I unleashed a terrible beast upon all the realms. To find out more you will have to read the upcoming short story in The Sole Vampire series.

What is your favorite food? If it's an usual one, could you describe it for us?

Blood of course. I am a vampire after all. It nourishes me and it gives me a feeling of invincibility. It also fuels my magical powers.

What was your greatest achievement?

Surviving. Surviving the transformation to a plant and returning to a vampire. Not one of my brethren lived through that.

What was the most exciting adventure you've ever been on?

In The Vampire’s Revenge, my first visit to my ancestral homeland was interesting to say the least. There was an entire new realm to explore. Sadly there wasn’t enough time to do said exploration. Another day, another year.

Name some of your bad habits.

Recklessness in my youth. Pride. I don't back out from a fight and I can hold grudges for centuries.

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be? Why?

My restlessness. I cannot live a cosy life like many of my brethren once did. I have to wander and travel to stay sane. My wanderlust leads me into danger and inevitably deaths on my hands.

What is your greatest virtue? Why do you think this is so?

Perseverance. It is the virtue of any vampire. It is our nature to survive whatever the cost. I've lived despite numerous silver burns and run ins with light magic.

Would you ever or have you ever lied? How do you feel about lying?

I’ve lied to my mentor, Martel before. Usually to achieve some freedom for myself. Lying is a game. A challenge of the mind to see if you can outwit the person you’re lying to and make them believe what you say is the truth.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

The Dragon Tempest Blog Tour: Featuring KJ Hawkins

KJ Hawkins is a young fantasy author making her way into print. She has had a strong love for fantasy since she was nine years old.

As an adult the magic stayed with her inspiring her to write stories of adventure and magic. Hawkins, at her best, brings personality to every word she writes, exciting her readers with every page.

Fun Fact

KJ Hawkins is actually a pen name taken from the initials of her real first and last name. Hawkins came from her favorite childhood film, Treasure Planet, the lead character is James Hawkins!

Connect with the Author


About Dragon Tempest


The Dragon Tempest offers a collection of short stories in a variety of fantasy genres, including dark, light, adventure, and epic. Creatures from all worlds abound: dragons, angels, centaurs, witches, gods and goddesses, and those lurking below the water’s surface. Whether you’re moved by tales of battle and bloodshed, suspense, humor, or enlightenment, The Dragon Tempest will leave you craving more from each author. Such a diversity of great fantasy tales to enjoy will leave no room for disappointment.

Judges

Allison D. Reid
KJ Hawkins
D.B. Mauldin
Joshua Robertson

1st Place Winners

Christine King
Katie Roxberry
Winter Bayne
Jane Dougherty
Wilson F. Engel, III

2nd Place Winners

Christine Haggerty
Randall Lemon
Deborah Jean Anderson
J. Abram Barneck
Louise Findlay

3rd Place Winners

Samuel Milner
Karen Brown

Buy The Dragon Tempest on Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and it is also available in print on Createspace.


KJ's Other Work


Trisha's Escape: A Short Story in The Magical Muse


Get it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble


A Father’s Protection 


The land beyond The Forest of Ferrês belongs to the kyres mortal enemies the twin-tailed foxes. Standing on the borders DarkDeath will have to plunge into the unknown to save his adventurous pup.

Will he be able to find Digger and make it out alive? The battle to protect his own will be tested when DarkDeath faces off against an old rival. Death lingering over his pup’s head will test his strengths as DarkDeath braces himself for battle.

Now Available for Pre-order on Amazon Kindle and Nook


An Interview with the Author


Why did you decide to be a writer?

I wouldn't say I decided to be a writer. It more or less chose me. When I was younger, I loved reading and writing stories. After awhile my love of writing left me due to my issues with English courses. However, I never stopped reading, and finally, in my freshman year of high school, I found my love of writing again. Thanks to my biology teacher who asked everyone in the class one day what we wanted to be. I didn't know what I wanted to be, and he took one look at me and said I was going to be an author. That being because I had a book in my hand everyday.

Do you have a "day job"? If so, what do you do?

Yes, actually I have two. The first one is my own business, The Book Stalkers and Dragon Knight Chronicles. The second one is working as office help and as a caregiver at Visiting Angels.

I spend a lot of time between writing and my own businesses on the computer. So being able to work for Visiting Angels gets me out of the house and socializing. It is also a big plus helping those that need the assistance.

What genres do you write?

Fantasy, duh :)

Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with? If so, what is it and what attracts you to it?

I would have to say that some romance/dramas have caught my attention, along with mystery and horror. But if I had to pick one I would like to dabble in I would have to say romance.

Like most women I haven't found Mr. Right. The idea that I can create a world for my character to find love really interests me. I am more career oriented right now so the idea living through my written words kind of helps me through those lonely times.

What inspires you to write?

This is a hard one...hmmm. I would say that I get inspired by life. I meet people, see wonderful places, and have animals that have me laughing. All these reasons make me want to write.

Of course I also have several characters in my head that are screaming to get out. So that doesn't help much either.

What are your goals as an author? Where do you see yourself in five years?

Like most authors, I would love to make a full time career out of my writing. I, of course, would always run my business, The Book Stalkers & DKC. They have been a big part of my advancement as an author into the indie community.

In five years I would like to have my Half-Blood Academy series going strong. Along with having the first full novel of Tarzinea on shelves. Other than that, I am looking forward to what the next five years will bring.

Does your family support you in your writing, or are you on your own?

I get support from my mother regularly. She is a big fan of my writing when I am actually able to finish something. Where my sister and I are concerned that is a different situation all together.

What made you decide to self-publish?

When I first started working on my own writing, I wanted to submit to big publishers. I grew up reading books from their businesses. When I was in the researching phase, I found several authors that self-published.

I fell in love with their books and wondered why they weren't traditionally published. So with their help, and researching some more, I made the best decision of my life, to self-publish.

Maybe one day I might try, just for the heck of it, to get published through a small press, but right now I am happy with doing it myself.

Are you a pantser or outliner?

I used to be a pantser till my author friend, Renee Scattergood, converted me into an outliner. There are still times when I am outlining that I will stop and write for awhile. Then, when I get to where I stopped in the outline, I will start figuring out the next section. I mainly do this because I get too excited or impatient to wait.

How do you come up with the titles for your books? Do you find it difficult?

When I come up with titles, I try to figure out the purpose of the book or story. It can be a bit trying, but I will make a list, sometimes small, sometimes huge. I will go through and pick my favorites then ask for feedback from other authors and friends.

I only have to do that every once in awhile when a title really stumps me. The last few titles have come easy since they run into a theme, since they are a part of a short story collection.

Friday, 18 September 2015

The Dragon Tempest Blog Tour: Featuring Randall Lemon

Although Randall's driver license says he lives in northern Indiana, he has actually lived in the vivid landscape of his imagination for most of his life. He has lived out these fantasies as an actor and director in numerous theatrical productions. He taught in English, Speech and Theater bringing the love of literature to countless students over a thirty-four year career. He was a world class role player for many years and at one time was ranked number 1 in the world and was never ranked below third in the world in all that time.

Randall did some writing for various magazines early in his career but put all that on hold while teaching, getting married and raising a family. Now Randall has returned to writing. Since December, 2013, he has had one shared novel (Gryffon Master: Curse of the Lich King) and nineteen short stories published in fourteen separate anthologies. He is enjoying himself immensely and hopes that his stories will bring a sense of joy to those who read them.

Contact the Author



About Dragon Tempest


The Dragon Tempest offers a collection of short stories in a variety of fantasy genres, including dark, light, adventure, and epic. Creatures from all worlds abound: dragons, angels, centaurs, witches, gods and goddesses, and those lurking below the water’s surface. Whether you’re moved by tales of battle and bloodshed, suspense, humor, or enlightenment, The Dragon Tempest will leave you craving more from each author. Such a diversity of great fantasy tales to enjoy will leave no room for disappointment. 

Judges

Allison D. Reid
KJ Hawkins
D.B. Mauldin
Joshua Robertson

1st Place Winners

Christine King
Katie Roxberry
Winter Bayne
Jane Dougherty
Wilson F. Engel, III

2nd Place Winners

Christine Haggerty
Randall Lemon
Deborah Jean Anderson
J. Abram Barneck
Louise Findlay

3rd Place Winners

Samuel Milner
Karen Brown

Buy The Dragon Tempest on AmazonSmashwordsiTunesBarnes & Noble, and it is also available in print on Createspace.

Randall contributed Tears of Regas in The Dragon Tempest


Being a god isn't all that easy and it certainly can be far less than fun. Regas has lost his mentor and only real friend recently. This left him feeling oddly lonely. Why oddly, you might ask? Because Regas was the god of solitude one might think that he would be content in his loneliness, but you would be wrong.

Now Regas has decided to find a companion by taking a human and granting her the divine spark. But even the best laid plans of mice and gods oft go astray.

More about Randall


Randall took a sabbatical from writing and that period of rest lasted almost three decades.  At one time Randall was a regular fixture of the role playing community.  He was one of the top ranked players from the inception to the end of the RPGA ranking system.  He also served as a high ranking tournament judge, marshal and coordinator of various events at Gen Con and other gaming conventions.  During that time, he was a frequent contributor to Polyhedron magazine perhaps best remembered for the creation of one of the most beloved establishments in the Living City, “Embrol Sludge’s Eatery and Seashell Shoppe.”  Along with a co-author he created the adventure known as “Eye of the Leviathan.” Randall also wrote articles for Video Review Magazine and the Quarterly Journal of Speech.

Hailing from Northwest Indiana just across the line from Chicago, Randall graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor’s degree.  While at Purdue he was a winner of the prestigious Purdue Literary Awards contest.  He then received his Master’s degree from the University of Southern California and did some work toward the PhD at the University of Illinois.  He taught high school for thirty-four years, has two children and a wife, all of whom he loves dearly. 

Now Randall has returned to writing.  This time he is concentrating on flash fiction and short stories.  “The Treasure of Freedom” is Randall’s first endeavor with A Good Tale and he looks forward to many more.  Recent publications by Randall include the round-robin novel, Gryffon Master:  Curse of the Lich King, the story, “A Mouser, a Keg of Rum and a Gunnery Mate” in the Anthology, World of Pirates and Randall’s story, “Mercy Killing” in an anthology called Lava Storm:  In the Neighborhood.  He also has two stories each in the anthologies, Dangerous Days and Aspiring Writers 2013.


Randall will have some of his short fiction showcased in a number of anthologies scheduled to come out in 2014 or 2015 and is currently working on a solo attempt at a fantasy novel.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Flight of Destiny by Francis H. Powell

My family background and some history.


I come from a family of five. I am the youngest, perhaps the free spirit of the family. I was educated at various schools, before going on to Art Schools, to do a degree in painting and an MA in printmaking. I loved most of my time at Art school, having experienced a painful time at school, where I was an outsider. Moved to Austria in 1995, lived there for two years and began teaching English as a foreign language. Alongside this I have always followed a lot of other creative activities, including music. During the nineties, did many concerts/raves and some short tours, playing electronic music. While in Austria, began to write stories. Moved back to England, where upon pursued teaching career, including teaching English (literature/language) and Art. Decided to move to France at the end of 1999 have lived there ever since and have taught among other things British and American culture and Architecture.

This my life in depth.


What better way to put all my angst into short stories. Born in a commuter belt city called Reading and like many a middle or upper class child of such times I was shunted off to an all-male boarding school aged eight, away from my parents for periods of up to twelve weeks at a time. In such an institutions, where I was to rest until my seventeenth year, there was no getting away from the cruel jibes hurled at me from taunting tormentors. My refuge was the arts room, where I started to find some kind of redemption from the stark Dickensian surroundings, whose aim was nurture the army officers, businessmen, and gentry that dominate the class ridden world I was born into.

The seeds were sown, I was an outsider, Happier times were to follow, I went to art school, where I attempted to exorcize my time spent at school. At eighteen I turned my back on a parentally enforced weekly visit to church and my head was filled with a range of nonconformist ideas. While at my first Art college through a friend I met a writer called Rupert Thomson, who was at the time in the process of writing his first book “Dreams of leaving”. He was a bit older than myself, me being fresh out of school, but his personality and wit resonated and despite losing contact with him, I always read his latest published books with not only great expectation and unabashed admiration, but also a fascination for a person I had really looked up to, his sentences always tight, shooting arrows that always hit the mark. 

My yearning to be creative stayed strong and diversified, from my twenties through to my thirties and forties I made electronic music, doing concerts, in front ecstasy infused crowds, at a point I was making videos and short films. When the age of the internet arrived I was really able translate my creative endeavors into something really tangible. 

To earn a living I have worked as a teacher. I moved to Austria where upon I thought I would try writing. It is sure that my writing at that time was rough and rugged and without direction. I dived into a story about immortality, the story remains vegetating on some dusty floppy disk. Then tried short stories for children with illustrations to go with them. 

It wasn’t until I was in my mid-forties that my writing took shape. I was at this point living in Paris, France. I spotted an advert for short stories. The magazine happened to be called Rat Mort (dead rat) I sent off a short story, in the hope it would match the seemingly dark world the magazine seemed to embroiled in. I got no answer. Not put off I sent two more stories. Finally I got an answer. It seemed the magazine editor was a busy man, a man prone to travelling. 

It seemed my first story really hit the right note with him. His name was Alan Clark. He had a flat in the Montmartre area of Paris, where he seemed known to all, especially those who frequented his favorite drinking haunts. He offered me many words of encouragement. I was writing stories that were coming into my head at regular intervals, as if a monster had suddenly awakened. I was writing them on scraps of paper, less I would forget them, while I travelled on the Paris metro, going about my teaching work with staid business types. I had found a format for writing that worked, as well as a hunger to write about the demons of my past that still haunted me. 

Moving closer to present times, the desire to put together an anthology seemed to resonate in my mind. The Flight of Destiny evolved slowly. Many trans-Atlantic exchanges between myself and two editors seemingly far away. This evolution took my writing to a new level and the stories more depth and resonance.

As a writer.


I have had poems and short stories published, in books, magazines, and on websites. I have had short stories published in an arts magazine called “Freakwave”. 

Connect with me.


About my stories in Flight of Destiny


Flight of Destiny is a collection of short stories about misfortune. They are characterized by unexpected final twists, that come at the end of each tale. They are dark and surreal tales, set around the world, at different time periods. They show a world in which anything can happen. It is hard to determine reality and what is going on a disturbed mind. People's conceptions about morality are turned upside down. A good person can be transformed by an unexpected event into a bad person and then back again to their former state. The high and mighty often deliver flawed arguments, those considered wicked make good representations of themselves. Revenge is often a subject explored.

Some of my favourite characters in the book.

Bugeyes


We live in a world of body image stereo types, are perpetuated by the media. Those unfortunate beings, born with abnormalities, could face a lifetime of cruel jokes, and in this story's case rejection.

Bug-eyes was destined to a life of toil. As his mother, Lady Harriet Lombard, remarked gruffly when holding her swaddled first born, "He has disproportionate eyes," adding tersely, "the child's abnormal." As she handed the squalling reject back to the doctor, she decreed, "Drop it down the well for all I care."

Maggot


“If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can't buy” Not all follow this proverb. A rich person thinks that his money will buy the beauty of a young girl, while her father thinks her sale will solve his money problems, both are in for a surprise, even the most beautiful of apples can go bad.

Maggot was enraged and banged his fist on the table! Knives, forks, spoons and plates flew into the air, tossing food everywhere. Up to this point, the banquet had been cordial, even good-humored. Necessary pleasantries and toasts had been exchanged. But as soon as serious negotiations had begun, as soon as money was brought into the equation, everything quickly went wrong.


Get it today on Amazon!

Monday, 7 September 2015

The Dark Tides: Book Two of the Forever Avalon Series by Mark Piggott

Mark Piggott enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1983, beginning a 23-year career. He served on three aircraft carriers and various duty stations as a Navy Journalist before attaining the rank of Chief Journalist. Now retired, he is the public affairs officer for Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Va. His first novel, Forever Avalon, was published in 2009. He and his wife, Georgiene, live in Newport News, Va. They have three children.

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About the Book


Lord Bryan MoonDrake-as he is now known-has attained the rank of the Gil-Gamesh, protector of the realm. He helps his wife and children build new lives in a medieval society. But all is not well in the kingdom. Dark forces arise to fulfill a prophecy to resurrect Morgana le Fay, the most powerful sorceress in the history of Avalon. If successful, she will unleash the Dark Tides to destroy the line of Pendragon once and for all. To save his family and his king, can the Gil-Gamesh overcome incredible odds and powers beyond his comprehension to rid Avalon of Morgana’s evil forever?

An Excerpt from The Dark Tides


The Cult of Darkholm came to rise after the Gil-Gamesh killed Lord Kraven Darkholm in a wager by battle … A duel to the death. The death of Lord Darkholm meant the end of the line of Morgana le Fay. The cult believed that they must kill the Gil-Gamesh in order to restore balance to Avalon.

“How many more of you fanatics do I have to kill to end this idiocy?”

“You cannot kill us all Gil-Gamesh … Death cannot kill that which never dies!”

“Never say never zealot!” the Gil-Gamesh shouted as he leapt at his attacker, swinging Twilight down toward the cultist’s head. But before his sword strikes, he cried “Incandesco!” causing Twilight to burst with bright light.

With the attacker temporarily blinded, Hunter and Nevan drew their GunStars and fired a volley at the attacker. The spell shots erupted as a single fiery projectile that split into many fiery projectiles.
The cultist waved his wand and chanted “Caligo Obscurus Cimmerii”—an incantation Bryan had never heard before. Tendrils of darkness flowed out of the wand like an octopus attacking its prey. It reached out to form a protective shield in front of the cultist, swatting at the meteor swarm to dissipate as it impacted on the barrier.

The Gil-Gamesh couldn’t believe his eyes. He’d seen spells that blocked magical attacks or deflected them, but never cancel them out like that. He knew he had to take a different tact against this madman.

He sheathed his swords and motioned for Hunter and Nevan to back off. The cultist expected the Gil-Gamesh to attack him, swords swinging like a whirlwind, as he is known. He tried a different tact against the champion of Avalon.

“What’s the matter Gil-Gamesh? Are you afraid to use your vaunted swords against me? They are the only reason you have any power on Avalon. Without them, you are nothing,” he taunted.

“You know, I’ve been here for more than 18 years …” Bryan lamented as he removed his gloves, tossing them to as he untied his cloak, letting it fall off his shoulders. “… One would think you idiots would take the time to do your homework.”

“Acheron Draconis!” he commanded. His body erupted with magical energy as it flowed around him until it takes the form of a dragon that acted as an extension of him. The people of Emmyr stared in awe of the Gil-Gamesh, but especially Ashley and Andrew. She had seen her father do some amazing things before, but nothing like this. 

The cultist quivered slightly as fear raced through his body. He wondered if he made a mistake in taunting the Gil-Gamesh, but he stood firm.

“I am Lord Bryan MoonDrake, Gil-Gamesh of Avalon, 17th DragonMage of the Wizard’s Council,” Bryan announced as he cupped his hands in front of him, drawing power from ground and focusing it through the dragon stone that hung around his neck. His eyes pulsated with magical energy in an unnatural glow. “You are sadly mistaken to think that I am powerless without my swords. But that is a mistake I will gladly help you resolve!”

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