Thursday, July 21, 2011


Today's guest author is Scott M. Baker and his horror offering entitled, The Vampire Hunters:

Here is the cover graphic for The Vampire Hunters:

Here is the synopsis of The Vampire Hunters:

As former Boston cops, Drake Matthews and Alison Monroe thought they had experienced it all... until they found themselves tracking down a serial killer who turned out to be one of the undead. Stopping him cost them their careers and almost their lives. Thanks to an influential and anonymous benefactor, Drake and Alison find a new job ridding the streets of Washington D.C. of the vampiric threat terrorizing the nation's capital.

Only this time, Drake and Alison are not facing a single vampire but an entire nest led by Ion Zielenska, one of history's most evil and twisted masters. As the vampires indiscriminately prey on humans, seeing them as nothing more than food to satiate their hunger, they create a wave of violence that threatens to engulf the city. Orchestrating the carnage is Antoinette Varela, the mistress of the nest, who realizes that for the nest to survive the hunters must be eliminated. However, when her vendetta turns personal, the hunters find themselves in struggle they are not prepared for.

Here is a link to the novel's page on Amazon:

Here are some links where you can follow Mr. Baker and learn more about the Vampire Hunters universe:

Author blog:

Author website:



Here is a link to a trailer for The Vampire Hunters:

I hope that visitors take a few moments to explore the world of Scott M. Baker' Vampire Hunters:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Journey through the Land of Shades now available through the Amazon Kindle Store

It's taken twenty years, but Journey through the Lands of Shades...the initial volume of the epic fantasy series of the same now for sale through Amazon's Kindle Store...

The novel will be made available for all major e-book platforms over the Islena Doraux's dark fantasy journey begin!

Journey through the Land of Shades – Primer pt. 2

Journey through the Land of Shades is now available...through the Kindle Store...Full release of the novel will follow through all major e-book retailers in the coming weeks...The Antiquated World in which Islena's journey takes place is a complex and mysterious one. I have created two primers that will help prospective readers gain some insight into the nature and depth of the back story surrounding the primary tale.

Journey through the Land of Shades – Primer pt. 2

Culture, Myth and a History of Obscurity

The Antiquated Land – An Overview

Known simply as the Antiquated Land, the world that will play reluctant host to Islena Doraux’s epic journey has been so dubbed by its rather baffling condition of stasis…Through four thousand years of recorded history (a term applied in the most liberal context) and innumerable millennia prior, little in the way of technological progress has been made by the dwellers of the two continents. It would almost seem as if, having reached a certain plateau of development, the world’s inhabitants reached a unanimous accord dictating that any and all progress would come to an abrupt halt. The smelting of iron and forging of steel yielded an array of close-quarter melee weaponry that has been complimented by standard projectile weaponry, such as bows and cross-bows. The last true military innovation occurred three hundred years prior to Islena’s sudden arrival in the form of ballistae and trebuchets. Science is a nebulous concept at best in the Antiquated Lands where sorcery and the practice of numerous schools of magic provide what little medical treatments and health care that is to be had.

One of the most pervasive and peculiar qualities of the Antiquated Lands is its tendency to focus its attention solely upon itself. Perhaps this can account for the rather inexplicable fact that a maritime culture has never truly evolved despite having numerous countries that together possess thousands of miles of ocean coast. The dwellers of the Antiquated Lands seem to universally share a strictly introspective vision and seem to hold no fascination in the possibility that other lands…other cultures and races…may exist across the mighty oceans to the east and the south of the two continental land masses. Despite the relative wealth of many of these maritime adjacent nations, not one has developed either a navy or merchant marine fleet of any note. The few naval vessels that do brave the ocean waters seldom stray far from the rugged coasts. As a consequence of this distinct lack of imagination and adventurous spirit, the two continents that comprise the antiquated lands remain incredibly ignorant of the greater world and the possibly mysteries it might hold.

There are many other aspects of the governing realities that characterize life in the antiquated lands that are equally perplexing. Some of the topographical features that shape the two continents are as mystifying as the oddly static people who inhabit them. The first of these baffling geographic anomalies is known as the Blighted Lands...a virtually uninhabitable expanse of scoured rock and lifeless sand that spans the entire northern third of the eastern Continent. Amongst the academics and historians of nations there is much conjecture that this significant portion of the continent was devastated by a great cataclysm…most likely man-made and very possibly magical in nature. This is pure hypothesis as there is no historical record or evidence to substantiate this claim.

The eastern and western continents are separated by the Great Mother…a bottomless chasm that runs the entire length of the continent and is spanned by three natural stone causeways that connect the eastern continent with each of the three Cornerstone Nations. While it is generally held that the land was once one mass and a great geological event cleft that land in two, no one has been able to produce a viable explanation for the fact that the chasm has never filled with water or that the ocean waters has simply not flowed into its seemingly depthless void. As is often the case in such circumstances, this lack of a plausible explanation has given way to a host of theological speculation and theory and it is now generally accepted that the Chasm was created by deities for some grand and unknowable purpose. Many religions with darker predilections engaged in the practice of sacrificing humans to their dark deities by throwing them into the chasm, though this practice was assiduously discouraged by ruling monarchs in recent times. Historians speculate that the three stone causeways which span the Great Mother were created by the stone molders of Natzurdan, whose mastery over nature allows them to liquefy and shape stone. There is no record that can either validate or refute this particular claim, though the perfect structure and symmetry of these causeways does make this explanation seem logical.

As perplexing as these two geological anomalies would seem, they pale in comparison to the River Hiberas. Running along a north-south orientation, the fast flowing river spans the entire length of the western continent and serves as the western border for the three CornerStone Nations. No living being (and indeed, no inanimate object as well) has ever crossed the mighty river. While it appears that the river banks hold mere water within its confines, the reality is considerably more astounding…and lethal. Violating the vertical plane of the river leads to an in immediate incineration that is spectacular and absolute in its totality. The occupants of the Antiquated Lands quickly came to discern that the Hiberas River was meant to serve as an inviolable barrier the purpose of which has roused endless debate. Was the barrier meant to protect the inhabitants of the Antiquated Lands…or keep them from entering the land on the far bank? As no living being has ever managed to surmount the barrier and return, the answer to this question remains shrouded in mystery.

On the opposite bank of the River Hiberas lies a land shrouded in occluding mists that has been dubbed The Land of Shades. Though virtually nothing is known of this territory, its prevailing mystery has inspired a wealth of lore and myth that has become the very fabric and weave of legend throughout the Antiquated Lands. The most commonly held conception, subscribed to by both fringe cult and popular theological scholar alike, is that the Land of Shades is really a purgatory…a repository for either lost or possibly evil souls who have been denied access into the afterworld and have been consigned to roam the twisted, fog-shrouded landscape delineated by the River Hiberas. Through the centuries, profiteers and zealots of every stripe have attempted to surmount the barrier of the Hiberas and venture into the Land of Shades, but these attempts have invariably been met with catastrophic failure and the shrouded land remains as mysterious and inaccessible as the stars in the firmament.

Dominant Cultures circa the Coming of Islena Doraux

The centuries prior to Islena’s to the Antiquated World were characterized by turbulence, violent upheaval and a prevailing flux that saw nations rise and fall like wheat before the scythe. Much of this chaos was caused by a rapacious hunger for land, wealth and dominion, but conflicting political and religious ideologies also served as the catalyst for the prevailing climate of anarchy that has afflicted the land. One of the resonating effects of this constant upheaval has been the dearth of enduring and definitive cultures…those nations that continuously define the course of history. The scouring sands of time have effaced one ascendant nation after the other from the pages of history and only a handful have found the wherewithal to persevere and not only survive…but actually flourish.


Of all of the countries of the eastern continent of the Antiquated Lands, Emercia is the one nation that has managed to resist the seemingly inexorable drag of slow disintegration (or perhaps, implosion would be a more appropriate descriptor). Blessed with a wealth of natural resources and a favorable climate for both forestry and agriculture, Emercia has also had the good fortune to be ruled by a virtually unbroken string of rulers who were shrewd and often benevolent by the standards of the day. Consequently, Emercia prospered economically and developed a competent, professional military that managed to insulate the country from the rampant chaos that churned beyond its borders. With the coronation of the dynamic and visionary king Artumas in the decades prior to the coming of Islena Doraux; Emercia looked to take on a new role on the Eastern Continent. Rather than remain aloof from the affairs of the continent, Artumas actively sought to bring a measure of peace and stability to the fractious nations, who had known only warfare and discontent as long as can be remembered. Perhaps, Emercia’s greatest achievement under the legendary king was the opening of formal relations with the CornerStone Nations of the Western Continent. With the coming of Myrhia and her eventual ascent to the throne, all of Artumas’ monumental accomplishments were undone.


Located in the frigid, mountainous north-eastern corner of the eastern continent, Redia is the dark reflection of everything that Emercia has aspired and evolved to become. Redian societal structure is broken down along clan lines, united (rather tenuously) under a ruler who is ensconced on the throne only after achieving victory in a brutal single combat tournament known as Rizarhchen. Perhaps more than anything else, this method of selecting a ruler is indicative of the nature of the people who inhabit the inimical mountains and forests of this snow-covered nation. The Redian clans spend much of their time engaged in clan feuds and political one-upmanship, but their relationship with the rest of the eastern continent has been unvaryingly hostile and destructive. Suffused by a general proclivity for lawlessness and violence, Redia has preyed ruthlessly upon its neighbors, especially the country of Fairmarch which has the misfortune of being located immediately to the south of Redia. For centuries, the citizens of Fairmarch endured raids from bands of marauding Redian clansmen who came to pillage the weaker nation and gather slave labor for the distant northern mines. When Artumas ascended to power in Emercia, one of his first priorities was to stop these savage incursions and ‘put the Redian beast back in its box.’ In cooperation with the Jerhia, Emercia succeeded in doing precisely this and now Redia sits as a brooding, isolated nation that is perceived with wariness and distrust by the other nations of the Eastern Continent. When Myrhia usurped Artumas’ throne, she elevated Ynthrax, one of Redia’s most notorious clansmen, to the position of her supreme commander and integrated Redian mercenaries into her conventional armies…elevating the lawless element of Redia from a dangerous nuisance to a terrifying menace to be feared and reviled.


At the onset of this initial tale, the Lamish have never been officially recognized as a nation, nor have they ever established an enduring place of residence for any length of time. In reality, the Lamish are a disparate group of itinerants that is comprised of the Diaspora of nearly every nation on the eastern continent. Considered shiftless and unscrupulous by many, this group has been persecuted relentlessly and has been forced to drift aimlessly around the continent to avoid harsh treatment from many rulers, who regard them as a nuisance at best and a menace at worst. At the time of Islena Doraux’s arrival, the Lamish are in danger of extinction, having earned Myrhia’s lethal ire.


One of the revered three CornerStone Nations, Jerhia is a structured country devoted to the military sciences and disciplines. The country is governed by a military oligarchy led by a Maxim Tier Marshall and each citizen of the nation lives a life devoted to mastery of one form of military discipline or another. Marriages are arranged with the notion of fostering and augmenting specific physical and mental attributes and much of everyday life is regimented by the needs and imperatives of the nation’s ubiquitous military machinery. Despite this rigid societal structure and total militaristic orientation of the country, the Jerhia do not consider themselves to be a repressed people, rather, the average citizen has embraced the concept of devoting their lives to the service of Jerhia’s military idea. Devotion to duty is a sacrosanct principle upon which the foundation of the nation’s cultural has evolved. More surprising still is the nation’s unwavering adherence to moral and ethical ideals throughout its long history. The Jerhia have consistently and vehemently opposed tyranny and aggression, intervening in conflicts where they believed they had the moral authority to do so or for the protection of ethnic or religious groups who lacked the wherewithal to defend themselves against persecution. Like both Natuzurdan and Metocan, Jerhia decided to close their causeway and severe relations with the eastern continent when the nations of the east refused to set aside their petty and violent squabbling. Two decades before Islena’s arrival, Emercian King Artumas brokered a new accord with the CornerStone Nations and normal relations between the two continents resumed. Jerhia and Emercia were largely responsible for bringing a period of prevailing peace and tranquility to the east that quickly evaporated when Myrhia began her campaign of conquest. Previously thought to be virtually invincible on a conventional battlefield, the Jerhia suffered a series of stunning and debilitating defeats and have been forced to the very edge of the Great Mother by the relentless advance of Myrhia’s sorcery-fueled juggernaut.


Located in the central third of the Western Continent, Natzurdan is home to the powerful, but pacifistic nation of earth-lore wielders. The Natzurdan are devoted to the preservation of nature’s beauty and work tirelessly to ensure that the natural order of the land remains harmonious and unmarred by the presence of man. The verdant majesty of Natzurdan is living testimony of the degree to which the Natzurdan have succeeded in maintaining the delicate balance between humanity’s pervasive needs and the integrity of earth on which all living things rely. As a reward for this unflagging dedication, the citizens of Natzurdan have been rewarded with the power of earth-lore and the ability to manipulate and mould stone and living timber. Amberdias, Natzurdan’s capital, stands as an edifice to the concept of humanity living in harmony with Nature. Every structure in the magnificent city has been constructed from living wood and sculpted bedrock. At the time of Islena’s arrival, the Natzurdan are governed by Morzhian, an elder whose selection comes at the culmination of a series of arcane rituals. His ascension to this role is believed to have been sanctified by Euronia, the Antiquated Lands’ generally accepted Goddess of the land and the creatures that dwell upon it. With a strong aversion to the spilling of blood and taking of life, The Natzurdan’s opposition to Myrhia’s campaign of conquest is strictly passive.


The last of the unofficial coalition of CornerStone Nations is Metocan. With their oddly translucent skin and elongated cranial features, the Metocan are the most distinct race to be found in the Antiquated Lands (with the exception of the Ulgak, who are a sub-species of the Metocan and who are rather disquieting in appearance). The country itself is perpetually shrouded in swirling mists, the origins of which are as mysterious and daunting as the people who dwell within them. The entire culture is dedicated to the academic study and practical applications of sorcery and magic. Metocan is ruled by an Inner Circle, consisting of six mages and a Grand Mage. It is this group that dictates every aspect of the practice of magic and sorcery within the nation’s borders. At the time of Islena’s arrival, Inos holds the title of Grand Mage and his policies have imposed a complete prohibition of the study or application of all disciplines of magic involving necromancy or blood magic. It is Metocan augury that first divines Myrhia’s intent to draw Islena Doraux into the Antiquated Land and have her seek out the Three Proclamations of Omnipotence. Though gifted with powerful sorcery skills and weaponry, even the Metocan are no match for Myrhia at the time Islena is drawn into the terrible conflict.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Impact of Characters on Their Creators - Guest Author Tracy Falbe - The Rhys Chronicles

I've long believed that it was imperative that a writer being willing to expose a piece of their creative souls to the reader...affording that reader to see the living, breathing entity behind the paper and gain a sense of the humanity that inspires the flow of words across the page. Writers create characters, but often those characters can influence and affect their creators in ways we could never have anticipated...I have provided a glimpse into the way that Elizabeth Simpson helped shape my personal philosophy towards virtue and perseverance...In the next series of guest posts, other authors will do the same...The first of these Is Fantasy Author Tracy Falbe (Rhys Chronicles).

My journey into rebellion - writing the character Dreibrand Veta

by Tracy Falbe, author of The Rys Chronicles fantasy series

Readers often like to know how authors get their ideas for characters. A portion of my ideas come from my attempts to interpret my feelings. The hero of The Rys Chronicles, Dreibrand Veta, was born of rebellious feelings inside me. He was a young military officer who had done everything that he was told to do to succeed in society. But his mammoth ambitions could not be content with what his society was going to give him. Dreibrand wanted more. He craved true wealth and power, and he was willing to defy convention and authority to get them. And, since I write fantasy novels, I could put a sword in his hand and an army at his back to help him along because violence is most often the rootstock of power.

What feelings inside me could have prompted this strong-willed adventure for Dreibrand? I conceived of him at a time when I reeling with discontent. I had been in the work force long enough to realize that the world was just not that into me. I also realized that I was not especially enthusiastic about towing any company's line. It's hard to get excited about someone else's profits. While trying to figure out my path in life, I've done a bit of rebelling. I've walked away from jobs. I've pulled up roots and moved across my country twice. I've devoted myself to my dream of being a fiction writer and connecting with an audience. None of these things would have happened if I had done what I was supposed to do. People are supposed to stay at their job if the job is willing to have them. It's the safe thing to do. People are typically disinclined to move away from friends and family and all they know. Trust me it's difficult, and I have respect for immigrants who have left their homelands entirely.

When writing Dreibrand Veta, I consciously invoked my rebellious inclinations. But is he just a hard guy who will kill whoever gets in his way? He starts out like that, but after all he is the hero of the epic, so he connects with his humanity bit by bit. Eventually, there comes a time when he gives into a plea for mercy when he should make the killing blow. He does this to honor kindnesses once shown him. And ultimately he overcomes his pride and ends a war instead of fully punishing his rivals. He does this for the sake of peace. The Rys Chronicles covers seven years of Dreibrand's life, and during that time he starts a family. The experience of being responsible for others besides himself helps him to learn the value of peace and the grinding cost of war. As his author, the journey I took with him was one that wove rebellion with restraint. The hunger of Dreibrand's desire was satisfied before it shifted into gluttony.

Writing Dreibrand was always very liberating for me. When I invited Dreibrand into my head, there were no problems that could not be overcome. And if I wanted to indulge my primitive side and slay some enemies, then that was fine too as long as it was for the right reasons.

Like all my characters that I create, I miss writing Dreibrand. He was fun and daring and got his way a lot. He got to be in charge and have lots of treasure. And he was close friends with the most powerful being in the world, the rys Shan. Adventures like these are never going to happen to me, but I can tap into my grandiose feelings and summon characters to act them out in novels. When I dig into my feelings, sometimes a character looks back at me and he or she sets up shop in my imagination for a while.

Occasionally I get a request from a reader to write more novels in The Rys Chronicles. It's been many years since I wrote Dreibrand. I'm not sure if he and I will ever meet again, but it is not outside the realm of possibility. I certainly know where to look for him.
Get to know Dreibrand Veta for yourself as he deals with swordfights, spies, romance, backwoods skirmishes, epic battles, and his older brother. Union of Renegades is a free download at

Friday, July 1, 2011

Elizabeth Simpson and the impact of characters on those who create them

There are many aspects of creative writing that are truly mystifying even to those who have devoted their lives to the art. Writing the Converging Trilogy was a twenty year undertaking and as I look back over those two decades and the process of evolution I’ve undergone, both as a writer and an individual in the world beyond…I realize that this series of novels and the characters I created to populate the Converging’s landscape, have left a lasting impression upon me in ways I could never have anticipated. I’ve often been asked about my creative process or more specifically, “Where I learned to write like that?” I suspect that those who pose the question find my response rather odd because my writing style is highly intuitive and is simply the way I naturally write…In that time, I’ve received some fairly effusive praise for the series and I’m still rather uncomfortable with the compliments because I’ve always felt that the stories wrote themselves and I was simply medium through which they were recorded.

With this notion in mind and as the Converging’s final word was committed to paper, my thoughts turned to the character of Elizabeth Simpson…and through her, I finally came to some epiphany of what it really means to be an weave tapestries with words and emotions…to create characters whose lives and struggles can reach out beyond the printed page and leave an indelible mark on those who have shared their journeys.

I spend a portion of each day trying to learn more about the specifics of marketing in the new age of social media. In this process, I have heard the sage advice to ‘write to an audience’ and to ‘tailor your writing to their specific needs.’ While I have no doubt this works for those who have advocated the concept, I could no more write this way than I could draw down the moon. It’s simply not how my creative engine operates.

When I first took up the pen and began writing the first volume of the Converging the character of Cynara Saravic…the novel’s truly vile antagonist…was set firmly in my creative eye. Elizabeth Simpson, who would fall victim to Cynara’s demonic allure through the course of the novel, was to be a main character to be sure, but she was a nebulous creature whose character would be defined by the flow of the story. I mentioned that my writing is mostly intuitive and this was never more than case than it was with Elizabeth. As the story began to gain tangible shape, she spoke to me…quietly and with whispered grace and dignity and through the course of the 1,800 pages plus journey, Elizabeth’s tribulation-filled journey became the primary focus of the tale. Elizabeth came to define herself and endured the depths of despair and the heartache of ineffable loss that I contrived to heap upon her throughout the story with a stoic dignity. She suffered all of these things and through her grace, taught me the nature of perseverance, dignity and compassion even in the shadow of her own grief. Though provided with every opportunity to do so, Elizabeth fiercely refused to surrender her grip on the fundamental virtue of her nature and found the wherewithal to stay true to whom and what she was. When I first decided to write this horror trilogy, it was my aspiration to craft a horror story that would pay homage to all that I loved about the genre, but to also weave a tale that could transcend its limits and resonate with everyone who might embark upon reading it. If I have achieved this at all, it is to Elizabeth Simpson that all the credit must go.

I recall the night I finished the epilogue of Closures in Blood (the final novel of the Trilogy) in the summer of 1995. As I was inclined to do, I reread these final page and came to the stunning realization (one that I was unaware of during the actual writing) that I had just crafted one of the most poignant and heart-wrenching pieces of story-telling I had ever written…I had taken everything from Elizabeth that an omnipotent creator could take and in the end, had given back only the slim prospect of hope that was nebulous at best. Elizabeth endured even this with her customary grace. I recall how, through those twenty years, she taught me who she was and how best to recount her tale…and I know that I see her as a daughter…a friend and an example that I can look to when faced with my own trials to overcome.

One of the greatest compliments I ever received as a writer came when a fan of my series approached me (an avid reader who had never read a horror offering prior to mine) and told me that the conclusion of the final novel had left her crying unabashedly…not an easy emotion to arouse with a horror story. I was pleased because I knew that I was not alone in feeling the emotions that this ending evoked and also because I could take comfort in knowing that I had succeeded in telling Elizabeth’s story precisely as she would have wanted me to.

I’m not sure where a novel’s characters go once their tale has been told, but where ever Elizabeth Simpson might be, I hope she has found comfort and happiness there in exchange for all she has taught me about writing…and about life.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


I just wanted to post a reminded that the initial volume of the Converging trilogy is now available for free as an is the link to the Smashword site where the free dowload can be obtained...

For those not familiar with this dark horror series...I just wanted to post the novel sequencing for the three books.




On another topic, JOURNEY THROUGH THE LAND OF SHADES will be available for purchase from Smashwords and the Kindle store  in the second week in July and should be available through all other platform stores in the two weeks following this....There is another George releasing a fantasy novel on July 12th...and I am looking forward to that one as well!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Journey - one ends, another begins - Franz Mclaren and Me

Over the course of the years that I’ve been writing for public consumption, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a number of people (both in person and virtually) who I immediately liked and who enriched the entire author’s experience. A few months ago, I decided that I would devote a period of my time to helping other independent authors garner a measure of recognition for their creative efforts. The road of the independent author is a particularly difficult one, fraught with no dearth of daunting obstacles and it occurred to me that it might be easier to surmount these by working together, rather than taking the go-it-alone, competitive route. If nothing else should come of this particular venture, my recompense will have been had in developing friendships with other authors from every corner of the globe.

Like myself, Franz Mclaren is a fellow fantasy and horror novelist and like myself, Franz is rather along in years. Thus we share common passions and perhaps…common perspectives of being old soldiers in a young warrior’s game. Whatever the reason, I found a sense of the kindred spirit in communicating with Mr. Mclaren. Franz has recently released the final volume of his Clarion of Destiny fantasy series, entitled Journey's End:

Those who know me well, will know that I have a natural aversion to posting reviews…especially reviews of independent authors. I’m rather dubious of the currency to be gained by posting a positive review of an indie author's work just as I am all too aware of the damage that can be done by the casual cruelty that often accompanies a negative review of an author whose stock is yet to be defined. After reading the first volume of the Clarion of Destiny series…Home Lost…I decided to make a rare exception to this self-imposed rule.

I will let the review speak of itself in the hopes that the sincerity of my reaction to this novel will be readily apparent even to the most cynical of readers:

Home Lost is the first of Mr. Mclaren’s Clarion of Destiny fantasy series and revolves around Leena, a village hedge witch in training. The novel opens as the young girl returns from a trip to the symbolic Garland tree to discover her home village ravaged and her family gone, along with the other village inhabitants. The opening volume focuses on Leena’s attempt to discover what has befallen her family…a journey that will lead her on an epic quest to unravel the mysteries of her destiny. I will not delve into specific details. Rather I will concentrate on the tone and style of the writing. Perhaps this novel was intended for a young adult audience, but Home Lost is a comparatively simple fantasy tale, but many fantasy tales begin this way and evolve as they progress. It is a pleasant, easy read that will not require a score card to keep track of the pantheon of Gods and religions that one would need to wade through other fantasy offerings. This simplicity does not detract from the fact that this novel is a tremendously pleasing tale suited for genre lovers of all ages. What I enjoyed about Mr. Mclaren’s novel is the innocence that permeates every sentence of the story…far removed from the cynicism and vitriol that infects much of our literature in today’s world. I find myself thinking of this novel in terms of adjective that I have not associated with the fantasy genre …sweet and endearing. Even the resolutions of the story’s conflicts were achieved without the obligatory buckets of blood and viscera and this demonstrated a creative sensibility I've seldom seen. Technically, Mr. Mclaren’s writing evokes comparison with Terry Goodkind in his use of narrative and the interrogative as a means of exploring a character’s internal thought process. This mechanism suits the story well.

The lasting impact of this novel is what compels me to give it the highest recommendation…this is a fantasy story with both innocence and a gentle grace that is refreshing and delightful.

Franz and I take markedly different approaches to the crafting of creative fiction, but these are technical and mechanical differences. If there is a commonality that links us as creative writers, I believe it is to be found in our perspectives on good and evil and the inherent distinctions that separate the two…distinctions that have become increasingly obscure in much of today’s fiction. In Franz’s fantasy offering, these distinctions are made refreshingly obvious from the outset. In my admittedly darker works, the reader will be required to sift through that darkness, but fundamental belief that there should be a discernable difference between the actions of the protagonist and the antagonists of the story is there to be found. It is adherence to this belief that good should be held to a higher account, that is never sacrificed in the name of expedience, that stands as a commonality between Franz and myself.

In the weeks to come, I will release the first volume of my fantasy series, entitled Journey through the Land of Shades. Along with this first installment, I have decided to include the first chapter of Clarion of Destiny: Home Lost along with the review that I have posted above. In the spirit of reciprocity, Mr. Mclaren has graciously agreed to do the same in Journey’s End…for which I am most grateful. I hope readers of both series will take the time to read this bonus content and then go on to explore the creative universes of both writers…For my part, I will post reviews on The Clarion series as I read each volume and I look forward to working with Franz over the course of the years to come.
You can learn more about the works of Franz Mclaren at