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

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Today's guest author is James Rourke and his fantasy novel The Eternal Struggle:

Here is the compelling cover graphic from The Eternal Struggle:

Here is the synopsis of The Eternal Struggle:

Niccolo Bontecelli and Seamus O’Malley thought their afterlife would simply be a peaceful journey to Heaven. Little did they suspect their path would lead through Hell!

Satan, seeking a final victory in his eternal struggle with Goodness, strives to gain dominion over both the spiritual realm of Limbo and Earth. Hitler and Stalin are released from Hell with orders to bring havoc to Limbo and manipulate the upcoming US Presidential election.

Niccolo and Seamus battle evil with the aid of Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Biko and other historic figures. Can they save Limbo, Earth, and their own souls, or will Satan’s soldiers achieve their malicious goals?

Here is a link to Amazon where the novel can be purchased:

Here is a link to the author's website where you can view a trailer for and learn more about The Eternal Struggle:

I have asked James to answer a few questions on the nature of his creative process:

1: What aspect of the fantasy genre has drawn you to write beneath its creative umbrella?

1. I loved myths when I was growing up, particularly Greek and Norse mythology. While mythology is its own genre there are many elements of fantasy in them that I enjoyed immensely. Beyond the entertainment value of myths there exists the capacity to wrestle with the big questions of life; questions about meaning, purpose, virtues and vice. The Eternal Struggle trilogy addresses those questions while taking the reader to exotic landscapes, introducing them to new characters and reacquainting them with historic figures. It was the historic figures that presented the greatest challenge. If the reader is persuaded to surrender to the story the sight of Abraham Lincoln wielding spiritual lightning as a weapon against Adolf Hitler makes sense...and is pure fantasy without the wizards. For me myths are not fake, they are stories where one can consider and contemplate big questions while being entertained. Fantasy is an extension of myth making and a genre where, once a world has been created, creativity reigns supreme...which can be great fun for a writer
2: Describe the mechanics of your creative process...touching on elements such as narrative perspectives and tools you prefer to employ in developing your stories.
2.For a story as big as The Eternal Struggle the use of omniscient storytelling voice was the most practical. It wasn't even a choice per say, it just seemed natural. The use of the historic characters in the book required much more conscience decision making. I wanted the historic figures to be true to themselves - as a history teacher this was very important to me - yet the environment they were in was so foreign that I has some lee way to sculpt them as well. If that "sculpting" went to far I would feel uncomfortable with what was being written and had to revisit the scene. In terms of the story arc I knew the ending of the book before anything else. Actually, for quite awhile, all I had was an ending and no idea ho to get there. Once the question, "If this is how it ends then how should it begin?" was answered I was able to create a general outline of the story and it filled in from there.

I hope visitors take a few moment to learn more about this fantasy offering by James Rourke.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

News and Various Things

Like the novel's title, the path to the publication of Journey through the Land of Shades has been a long and arduous one, fraught with pitfalls and much gnashing of teeth. In the end, as is often the case with such things, the end result has proven to be well worth the tribulations. I have become increasingly fussy over the graphic appearance of the covers that depict my novels' content and have become more insistent that the cover art be a physical representation of the vision in my mind's eye. Steven Efondo (Sefdesign) has taken up the challenge...meeting and exceeding it brilliantly...especially with Closures in Blood and now, Journey through the Land of Shades. I'm biased of course, but I absolutely adore this cover and I very proud that it will front the novel beneath.

Here is the first public view of Journey through the Land of Shades...which will be released in early July if all goes according to plan:

Without Steve's assistance in bringing these novels to life, I'm not sure I would have the desire to forge ahead and for his help, he has my most sincere gratitude.

Though The Converging Trilogy has run its course, I still cannot neglect the impact that Elizabeth Simpson and Cynara Saravic's tale has had upon my creative life. I want to share this story with as many fans of the horror genre as I can and this Is why I've decided to offer the first volume of the trilogy for free across all of the e-book platforms. In The Converging Trilogy, I believe I have captured the spirit of the genre that seems to have been lost over the course of the last decade or so. At the very least, this work can stand as my way of paying homage to a genre from which I have derived so much enjoyment over the course of my life.

Still, for the time being (and for some years to come I would imagine based on my plans for the Land of Shades series) my focus will be on the recounting of Islena's Doraux's epic fantasy tale...I hope those fans who have enjoyed my writing thus far will accompany me on this long and perilous journey.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


This guest author segment features Suzy Turner and her YA Fantasy novel Raven.

Here is the cover art for Raven:

Here is the synopsis of Raven:

After the inexplicable disappearance of Lilly Taylor's parents, she has no choice but to move to Canada where she unravels some frightening yet intriguing family secrets...

Her whole life had been based on a lie. Lilly had grown up in a loveless home with a father who she had barely ever seen and a mother who was... well, not very motherly.
After they mysteriously disappear without a trace, Lilly is sent to Canada where she finds a whole new way of life. A life filled with love and people who care for her. But that's not all she discovers, Lilly also finds out that she isn't who, or what, she thinks she is.
Lilly has a very special ability and it's just a matter of time before her true self starts to shine. And when it does, her life will never be the same again.

Raven is a fantasy novel for children and young adults set in the beautiful province of British Columbia.

Here are some of the sites where you may purchase Suzy Turner's Raven:



Here are some of the places where you can follow Suzy Turner and learn more about the fantasy world of Raven:

Author blogspot:

Author web site:


I hope that visitors will take a few moments to visit these locations and discover more about author Suzy Turner and her YA Fantasy offering - Raven. I look forward to having Suzy back in the future to discuss her new projects.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Today's featured guest author is Patti Roberts and the first novel of her Paradox series, entitled Paradox: The Angels are Here.

Here is the cover art of Paradox: The Angels are Here:

Here is a synopsis of the first segment of the Paradox series:

Paradox Series: Spanning over centuries to the present day, this is a story about love, loss and betrayal. The horrifying discovery that nothing is as it seems. When there is nowhere left to run & letting go is your only choice.

Nine hundred years ago, under the complete cover of darkness, the Grigorian army rose silently from their underground lair and attacked the Bulguardian Royal Palace. The bloody and violent battle between the two most legendary houses raged on. All but destroying the majestic Royal City of Altair.
It was not the first war that Juliette had endured between good and evil. And it most certainly would not be her last.
Today: (book 1) A little girls world is turned upside down by a visitor,the Angel of Death. She finds herself trapped in a nightmare, consumed by her paralyzing loss and overwhelming grief. The haunting visions and untimely deaths of others are a constant reminder that life and death are only a heartbeat away.
She eventually befriends the unusual little girl who moves in next door with captivating violet eyes and a profound knowledge of things that far exceeds her tender years.
A saga crossing over two worlds. Two souls being drawn precariously together over the centuries.
When your destiny has been written in blood, and you are left with one burning question. Is your Guardian Angel from Heaven or Hell?

Here are just a few of the sites where you can purchase Paradox: The Angels are Here


Amazon Kindle:

Barnes and Noble Nook:

Sony Reader Store:

The novel is also available through Diesel e-books and Kobo.

Here is link to the trailer for Paradox: The Angels are Here:

To follow Patti Roberts and learn more about the Paradox universe, please visit the following links:

Author Blog spot:

Author Web site:



I hape visitors will take a few moments and immerse themselves in Patti Robert's Paradox universe...Note book 2 of this series will be featured on this blog in the near future.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Hello to all: Today, I would like to announce that I’ve decided to offer The Converging…the first novel of the intense, dark horror trilogy of the same name…for free. This initial volume is a character and story driven offering that I believe will prove intensely satisfying for horror fans, but will also prove attractive to readers who are not familiar with the genre. This price change will take effect on both Smashwords immediately. The change should come into effect on the other e-book retailer sites (Sony, Apple and Barnes & Noble) sometime over the next two weeks. Please note that Kindle will not allow its authors to offer their books for free, but Kindle owners will be able to download the novel from the Smashwords site at no cost.

Here is a synopsis of the first volume of this horror cycle:

In a profound twist on the traditional concept of Biblical demonolgy, The Converging recounts the tale of ethereal Romanian demon Cynara Saravic who after building her legend as Satan’s most prolific reaper of souls, decides she must have a soul, not for the dark father, but her own companionship. Her eighty year search for a perfect light reflection of her own darkness leads her to a small Washington town where she spins an insidious web of terror, creating a stark aura of despair behind which she can lay claim to her coveted prize.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Today's featured guest author is Tracey Alley...who returns with the final volume in her Witchwars cycle, entitled Slade's Destiny:

Here is the cover art for Slade's Destiny:

Here is a brief Synopsis of Slade's Destiny:

It is Slade's Destiny to somehow save all of Kaynos from complete, total destruction. He doesn't know how or why but he must find out because time is running out. The war has begun and Lord Michael leads out his vastly outnumbered army to face an enemy that is lethal and possesses the skill of witchcraft.
Lord Nexus has revealed himself as a traitor and it is a race to see who between he and Shallendara can open the portal to the very realm of the gods themselves. One seeks ultimate power and the other the ultimate revenge but should either of them succeed it will mean total devastation for Kaynos.

Can Slade find his father and fulfil his destiny in time to save an entire world?

For those interested in learning a bit more about Tracey Alley, the novelist, here is a short bio:

I learned to read and write at a very early age and my earliest memories are of my mother telling me stories about fairies and elves and flowers that could talk; all living in our back garden. I began writing my own stories by the time I was six or seven. So I never felt a sense of ‘I want to be a writer’ I always felt I was a writer, I just wanted to be a published writer. It took me many years to learn to write well and even more years before I came up with a story that I felt would stand the test of publication – The Witchcraft Wars.

I tend to be super critical of my own work so there are quite a few manuscripts lying around my house that other writers might have felt inclined to publish – work that I actually received very favourable feedback from editors and publishers alike but not work that I was totally happy with so I waited till I felt sure. For the most part my books have sold reasonably well and most people have liked them. I’ve had a few scathing reviews but that just tells me I’m truly a writer – no writer alive ever escapes a bad review.

The story of The Witchcraft Wars is an interesting one in itself. I remember watching an old Robin Hood movie and that got me thinking about the son whose task was to regain a kingdom for his father. At the time I was also role-playing regularly with a group of friends and I asked if they’d mind me trying out the idea of a group of adventurers who had to work together even though they came from different backgrounds, ideologies, and completely opposite points of view but that they would all be working for love of some kind – love of a friend, love of country or god, romantic love, love of parent – all different kinds of love but that love was the motivating force to weld this group together. I also wanted to show the other outcomes of the baser human emotions like greed, envy, lust for power and hidden agendas. All in all I’d say I did a pretty good job of transferring my idea into a believable fantasy environment.
As for me I live in Sth East QLD in Australia with my dog and two cats. I come from a huge, loving, wonderful family and have a wide, eclectic group of friends. I love to learn and have two BA’s – one in Ancient History where I specialized in Egyptology and the other in Comparative Religions where I specialised in ancient pagan religions. I’m thinking of going back to do my Masters soon but I’ve had a few health bumps along the way so I probably won’t enrol until second semester. I use boxing and yoga to relax, walk the dog and still enjoy role-playing or playing cards with friends. I like to set myself challenges of different things to learn and this year it’s scuba diving and photography – I may not make it but I’ll give it a try.

Here are some of the locations where you can learn more about Tracey Alley and the Witchwars Series:

Author website:



Purchased at:

Purchased at:

I hope that visitors take a moment to explore the world of Tracey Alley's Witchwars and Slade's Destiny.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Journey through the Land of Shades – Primer pt. 1 – Overview

Like all well-crafted epic fantasy novels, Journey through the Land of Shades is a story rich in mythos, history and cultural diversity. Conceptually, the novel draws its inspiration from the Arthurian cycle of tales that has so intrigued me through the years. Indeed, these novels are my way of paying homage to the legend that has inculcated the love of fantasy in my heart and helped fuel my creative passions. Having said this, I can also declare that this homage is paid obliquely and even the most fanatical of Arthurian zealots might well miss the subtle weaving of the old legends into this complex tale. My intention here was not so much to elaborate on the old legend (indeed, who could possibly think they were condign to that daunting task) as it was to absorb aspects of Arthur’s epic fable and inconspicuously sew it into the fabric of this story.

Journey through the Land of Shades is an epic tale of high fantasy that is divided into two distinct, but related tales. The first segment will be three…possibly four novels in length, while the second segment will recount events that take place some seven years after the conclusion of the first cycle and will probably be two volumes in length.

The first novel of cycle one introduces the reader to the primary antagonist…Islena Doraux. The novel’s teaser provides a rather generalized introduction to the novel’s primary theme:

Islena Doraux was an extraordinary woman living an ordinary life. Daughter of the Tempest…this memory whispered at the edges of her consciousness; echoes that were the stuff of legend in a dozen worlds. An ancient nemesis would reach across the boundaries of our reality and draw Islena into an antiquated world in search of the Proclamations of omnipotence and compel her on a Journey through the Land of Shades.

As this teaser would intimate, there is much more to Islena than her immediate world and the things that give it texture and depth. It is in the underlying theme of the novel that I pay homage to the influence that the Arthurian legend has exerted over both my creative direction and my general love of epic fantasy. Daughter of the Tempest…Champion of Light…Mother of Iniquity; these three ascendant souls stand as sides of an equilateral triangle that has spun endlessly through the eternal river of time...the physical manifestations of an conflict that has been fought at different junctures through the history of a thousand worlds…a thousands realities. With each tragic resolution these three adversaries are set adrift in time’s current until the inevitable moment of confluence when they will fight their battle again. In our world, beyond the veil of legend and myth, they were known as Arthur, Gwenyvere and Morgana. In an antiquated world, where time seems frozen and progress is measured in centuries, these three will come together yet again to resume the struggle for apotheosis…and should the Mother of Iniquity stand at the apex of the triangle when the final blow is struck, the flow of time will stop and her darkness will extinguish all hope…every flower of salvation and light.

This next section is an excerpt from the first volume of Journey through the Land of Shades and serves as an elaboration on this pivotal concept.

As she gazed down upon the sleeping form of Islena, Myrhia's senses were alight with a deluge of images and compelling emotions…some joyous, some poignant. From the depth of her peaceful slumber, could this woman even begin to suspect the vast wealth of power that her living vessel of flesh and bone contained? The enchantress thought not.

"Ah, but I do my sweet," she cooed over her unsuspecting captive, murmuring the words as if to a newborn.

Indeed the image was an apt one. Islena was about to be reborn…shattered and remoulded in the shape of the Queen's infinite ambition. On impulse, the Queen leaned forward and kissed the other woman's prominent cheek. In the embrace of the Queen's spell, Islena stirred but did not awaken. The deep brown eyes closed and the angelic face turned toward the ceiling, where the play of frolicking gargoyles had been captured on plaster and paint.

Through the long twist of years, Myrhia had never lost faith in the inevitability of her destiny. Even the horrific moment of rebirth, wet and baffling, in the gullet of stone that had been her place of exile she had not experienced the towering, twisting emotion that assailed her now. Even through the private anguish of betraying Artumas, her single-minded dedication to her quest for omnipotence had not faltered.

Now she stood on the brink of deification and Myrhia was shocked to discover the cool presence of self-doubt. She had been robbed on other occasions, in other worlds. Just when triumph had appeared certain, she had suffered humiliating defeats at the hands of her eternal enemies…the champion of the light and the daughter of the tempest...these two indomitable spirits who had always succeeded in defeating her.

She sighed and touched the flesh of her forearm. The gesture was odd as if meant to reaffirm her continued existence. Her immortal soul had never been reborn into such a powerful incarnation as this one. As if her virtually limitless magical powers were not enough, this particular world, despite its persisting ignorance, had managed to concoct the most powerful icons of power the medieval mind could conceive of. They were so close, so attainable, that the enchantress could feel their force radiating through the delicate bones and exquisite flesh of her latest body.

There, wrapped in embroidered satin, lay the means by which Myrhia would attain the fabled talismans. She stepped closer to the volatile beauty and stopped abruptly, jolted by an instant of perfect awareness; absolute comprehension of her present position in the current of destiny. Peering back along the river of time, she beheld the moment of her creation and the gaping wound of malevolence from which she had been birthed.

On the bed, Islena moaned thickly and thrashed about in anguish. A closed fist shattered a heavy clay basin which had been left on a nearby night stand. As powerful as her angst was, it lacked the power to rouse her from Myrhia's enchantment.

For her part, the enchantress stood in the center of the room, swaying like a sapling beset by a winter wind. Consumed, she closed her eyes and permitted the vision to carry her away. The void, dark and forbidding, loomed up at the center of all things. The night Queen correctly surmised that she was baring witness to the moment when the human soul had first been conceived. From the heart of the darkness came the first flicker of a spark which erupted into an argent blaze of blinding magnitude.

As the light unfurled like some glorious flag, Myrhia keened and threw her hands up in an unconscious gesture of warding.

Time continued to track and the two cornerstones of human nature drifted through time and space. Moved to awe, she watched the two forces clash like invincible juggernauts. From their violent coupling there came the offspring whose name was ambivalence, and daughter of the tempest.

Ambivalence was a fickle and inherently imperfect child, but both parents coveted its love and aggressively sought to gain control of its soul. From the incestuous relationship there came the eternal battle between good and evil with the daughter of the tempest serving as the fulcrum upon which the eternal conflict hinged.

Through the deepest reaches of time these three forces floated, each culled and courted by the other, waiting for…the beginning. For countless billions of years, the relationship between the three remained constant and would likely have not changed had it not been for the intervention of God…or perhaps the random and equally arcane workings of universal physics.

Whatever the initial catalyst, the physical universe was born, and with it, the engine for perpetual change. When the first prototype of modern man slunk out of the Darwinian slimes of the evolutionary waters, the age old conflict gained direction and purpose. Slowly, inexorably, the three abstract forces resolved themselves into physical beings.

"We are the three incarnations!" Myrhia whispered in a voice tremulous with awe. The three forms floated through the labyrinth of time and space, coming together at different junctures through the ages. On these occasions, the universe reverberated with the thunder of their meeting. The affects of these confrontations echoed through the pages of history books from a thousand different cultures...a thousand different worlds.

Though the actual bodies changed to suit their needs, these incarnations remained bound together in their quest for ultimate and unequivocal control over the soul of this new being…man. Eventually, Myrhia discerned that this relationship had a distinctly geometric shape…that of an equilateral triangle.

With mounting excitement, she watched as it twisted and wound its way through the river of time, rapidly approaching the moment in which she now found herself. Armed with this new acuity…this heightened perception, the enchantress gleaned a new understanding of her own nature, not to mention the nature of the strange creature who lay before her. As the vision came to a point of intersection with this present reality, she began to smile and then to laugh.

As the moment of impact came and went, Myrhia opened her eyes to find Islena curled into a foetal position, whimpering pitifully. The enchantress crossed over to where she slept and began to tenderly stroke her brow, stilling Islena's anxiety with a comforting touch.

The Queen correctly surmised that the unsuspecting pawn had shared the identical vision. ‘Not surprising that she might quail in terror,’ she thought, ‘just as I now soar in jubilation.’

The three forces were bound together in an infrangible triangle, and at the moment of this particular confluence of time and space, Myrhia stood at the apex.

On the broadest level, this is the intrinsic primary theme of Journey through the Land of Shades. Islena Doraux is the Daughter of the Tempest and though she is cognizant of this truth only as a glimmer of unresolved memory, she is a strong woman, driven by the lust for physical perfection and forged by dark and turbulent emotions that fuel her passion.

As the novel opens, Islena finds herself faced with the same tribulations that afflict the lives of most people…a faltering marriage and the incessant pull of her own fading ambition. However, a seemingly chance encounter with a powerful clairvoyant reveals an imminent and terrible destiny that will soon sweep away the mundane foundations of her normal life in a catastrophic tide that will pull Islena into a conflict the impact of which will reverberate through every world and every reality like a death knell. Islena finds herself torn away from her family and life and set adrift in an antiquated world where a savage war of conquest and survival has consumed every life being. Heralded by all as a creature of prophesy, Islena finds herself embroiled in archaic world’s merciless struggle where every side regards her as the fulcrum on which the outcome of the battle will pivot. Desperate only to find a means of returning to her lost life, Islena soon learns of the three Proclamations of Omnipotence…three icons of power…vessels that contain the accrued knowledge of the three most powerful civilizations the antiquated world has ever known. To her despair, she further discovers that it is believed only the one of prophesy can vivify the icons and unlock their recumbent power. Her situation becomes all the more desperate when she discovers that all sides would compel her to wield the icons in the name of their cause. Driven by a ruthless despot…an ancient adversary who evokes past memories of a legendary struggle…Islena is unwittingly forced to embark on a search for the Proclamations of Omnipotence…a search that will eventually lead her through the fabled Land of Shades.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Today's respondent on the Author Insight Segment is Farida Mestek. Her YA Fantasy novella Almendra was featured last month on my book feature segment. Here are Farida's responses to my two questions.

1. What is it about your chosen genre that has inspired you to write beneath its mantle?

My imagination. I always imagine myself away and writing about an imaginary land where the course of things runs according (or sometimes against) my rules seemed like the thing for me. I don't think I ever planned on writing a fantasy story. I certainly was never a fan of the genre until Harry Potter came along, but I always loved the concept of magic and the possibility to use it within the limits of my story so it had to be a fantasy story. And then Almendra is such an out of this world thing that I simply couldn't place her within the confines of the real world. Thus she lives in an imaginary, fairy-tale land, inhabited not only by humans and animals but also by strange and even silly creates. She knows as little about her world as the reader at the beginning of the story, because she has never left The Upper Kingdom until that point and it's all very new and amazing and sometimes downright creepy and dangerous. She is looking for love — because it's supposed to get rid of the curse of unhappiness, loneliness and gloom that hangs over her own kingdom — but she has no idea what it really means and so her first choice is a disastrous one. It leads to devastating consequences and changes her forever. It's a fairy-tale with a twist and as a fairy-tale it's simple and straightforward. However, I have big plans for Almendra and The Upper Kingdom! In time, I intend to expand it into a three-book novel that will be quite complex and show more of the kind of magic that I like.

2. Describe the mechanics of you creative process...including aspects such as narrative and perspective choices and the basic idea-to-culmination approach you use when writing a novel.

I always start with a general outline of the story. I usually see the beginning and the ending clearly enough but as to how my characters get from point A to point B is often a mystery that I solve along the way. As I work on the outline, I'm putting the dots together, but I get plenty of surprises during the actual writing. A thought will strike me. A character will suddenly reveal something that I had no idea about. Writing is like playing a game: you know your destination, but as to the ways and means of getting there and the final result, well, I leave it up to chance and my imagination. However, I'm a very orderly person and I need order within my story, that's why I'm trying to be as detailed as possible during the outline stage. For example, with «Almendra» I estimated that I'd need ten chapters to get her where I wanted to and I also knew that each chapter would see the beginning and the ending of a certain point of her journey within its limits. I like each chapter to concentrate on one period, place, conversation, etc.. It helps me move the story forward. But I'm also great at procrastination and sometimes I work on an outline as long as I work on the book. And sometimes I can leave it off before I reach the end, because I get bored, and start outlining something new and I have to carry all the things I haven't written down in my head. And I forget things too, so when I come back to an abandoned outline, I either have to go back and remember or come up with something new.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Today's featured guest author is Tim Garrity and his horror novel - Clinical Lycanthropy:

Here is the cover art for Clinical Lycanthropy:

Here is a synopsis of Clinical Lycanthropy:

Mark Enos arrives in his native Massachusetts fresh off a tour of duty in Iraq a broken man. Destitute, drug addled and racked by recurring nightmares, Mark sinks deeper into darkness and despair until one night he is attacked by a strange beast. In an instant Mark’s life begins to turn around; physically he feels stronger, the nightmares disappear and he begins to pick up the pieces of his broken life. Though seemingly blessed with a second chance at life Mark begins to question his ‘gift’ as his injuries heal at a preternatural rate and he begins to encounter a series of strange happenings. It isn’t long before Mark feels that the beast that set upon him that fateful night was no ordinary animal and that its bite transformed him into something monstrous and terrible. Mark’s fears of being cursed are only intensified as a series of grisly murders occur around town and all clues seem to lead to him. As Mark is forced to run from the authorities the panicked townsfolk are left to wonder as the full moon rises just what stalks their streets and prowls their backyards, a disturbed young man or a savage beast?

Here is a brief bio for author Tim Garrity:

Tim Garrity is the author of Vargulf, a self published work which garnered honorable mention in the category of General Fiction at the 2009 DIY Book Convention as well as the 2009 New England Book Festival. Vargulf was also awarded a bronze medal in Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Award in the category of Horror. Currently, he resides in Boston

Here are a few locations where visitors can follow Tim Garrity and learn more about Clinical Lycanthropy and his other works:

As always, I hope guests will take a few moments to follow these links and learn more about Tim Garrity and the world of Clinical Lycanthropy.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Today's featured author is Franz Mclaren, author of the Clarion of Destiny Fantasy series. Today, Franz returns to respond to my posed question...What is it about the fantasy genre that inspires you to create under its umbrella. I find that the responses to this and other questions of a similar nature can provide insight not only to the nature of the work, but also provide a glimpse into the nature of those who create these works.

A few days ago, George posed the following question to me, "What is it about your chosen genre that compels you to write?"

My initial gut response was a flip (I do a lot of flip), "because it's fun". It is. However, after having some time to think about the question, I realize that it is more than just a satisfying way to pass the time.

I grew up in a difficult time, in a difficult place. I learned early that writing provided a much needed escape. Due to my circumstances, I gravitated to horror short stories as a release. They enabled me to create worlds that were far worse than I was experiencing. By comparison I had it pretty good.

When I grew up and decided that it was time for my writing to wear long pants, I tried my hand at a horror novel. Much to my surprise, in spite of my efforts to channel the tale, it turned out as a fantasy. And there I found something new. Instead of using writing to envision worlds so terrible that my own seemed pleasant, I found that I could create worlds that were places I would like to be. In these lands I could never outgrow wonder. New and exciting experiences were never more than a few pages away. Here, I could know the wonderful and wondering parts of childhood forever.

I still write horror occasionally. It is like taking a vacation to keep everything in my daily life fresh. But now, my heart, mind, and imagination are hooked on fantasy. I would much rather build places I want to be than places I want to avoid.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Today, fantasy author Maxwell Alexander Drake, author of the Genesis of Oblivion series, returns to answer to questions on the inspirations and technical aspects of his creative process.

1. What is it about the fantasy genre that inspires you to create beneath its umbrella?

In a word… I am a geek.

I have been a fan of fantasy since I was about six. You name it and I have probably read, watched, listened to almost anything in the sci-fi or fantasy genre. I really have no interest in writing in any other. And why should I? In both sci-fi and fantasy, a writer can break the bonds of our “politically correct” society and be free to write anything. Case in point, talking about human slavery, and the pros and cons of it as it relates to our society makes people uncomfortable. Yet, in a magical fantasy setting, a writer can really sink some teeth into the subject and explore both sides of the coin. These two genres are very liberating for probing deep emotional situations in a completely hypothetical realm. And with great conflict comes great drama – which is what I use to entertain my fans.

2. Describe your creative process in terms of you narrative choices, its mechanics and the perspectives you employee to create you own unique voice.
In learning the way I write, most people think I am absolutely insane. Yet, I think the way I write is the reason everyone says I create such wonderful characters. Before I write a scene, I sit and have conversations with myself, sometimes with four or more people at once, and the real “me” is not even involved. If that is not the definition of insanity, I don’t know what is. I love to act out the parts. I sit (or stand, or pace, jump, fight, crawl, roll around, etc.) in my office and act out what I am going to write. This may sound crazy, but if something sounds dumb said out loud, it will read dumb as well. I need to become my characters to be able to write them well. I think John Travolta is an excellent example of this. He “becomes” his characters for the duration of the filming of a movie. Even off set. That may sound creepy, especially when you consider some of the psychopaths he has portrayed. But, he delivers an outstanding performance because of it. I take the same approach to writing. If I can become my characters, really understand what drives them, I can write them better.

So, I put myself in their mindset, attempt to feel what they feel. This lets me say what they would say and act how they would act.

As for the “technical” aspects, like POV choice, etc., that is pretty straightforward. I am not a fan of first person narrative, nor of present tense. So, I write in third person past tense. To me, it is the Narrative Mode that has the most flexibility and the greatest opportunity for reader immersion.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


HOME LOST By Franz Mclaren

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become increasingly averse to the notion of review the artistic works of others in a public forum of any kind. Thus, it is a pleasant relief when I read a novel that allows me to offer a heart-felt praise for the work under consideration. Home Lost is the initial offering of Mr. Mclaren’s Clarion of Destiny fantasy series and revolves around his young protagonist, Leena, who is a village hedge witch in training. The novel opens as the young girl returns from a trip to the mythically symbolic Garland tree to discover that her home village has been ravaged and her family has gone, alone with most of 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 during which she will unravel the mysteries of her own monumental destiny. I will not delve into specific plot details here, rather I will concentrate on the tone and style of Mr. Mclaren’s writing. I’m not sure if this novel was intended for the consumption of a young adult audience, but Home Lost is a comparatively simply fantasy offering, but many complex fantasy offerings begin this way and evolve as they progress (Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan being a case in point). It is a pleasant and easy read that will not require a detailed score card to keep track of the pantheon of Gods and religions that one would need to wade through Steven Erikson’s Malazan books of the fallen. This relative simplicity does not detract from the fact that this novel is a tremendously pleasing fantasy read that is suited for genre lovers of all ages. What I particularly enjoyed about Mr. Mclaren’s novel is sense of innocence that permeates every page…every sentence of the story…so far removed from the cynicism and vitriol that seems to have infected so much of our literature and indeed, every aspect of life in today’s world. I find myself thinking of this novel in terms of adjective that I have not associated with the fantasy genre in some time…sweet and endearing. Even the resolutions of the story’s many conflicts were often achieved without the obligatory spilling of buckets of blood and mountains of viscera and this demonstrated a creative sensibility that I have seldom seen. From the technical perspective, Mr’ Mclaren’s writing evokes comparison with Terry Goodkind in his use of staccato narrative and the interrogative as a means of exploring a character’s internal thought process in any given situation. This narrative mechanism suits the story quite well.

The most lasting impact of this novel from my perspective is what compells me to give it the highest recommendation…this is a fatasy story that has been written with both innocence and a gentle grace that is as refeshing as it is delightful. If the story is a reflection of the man who penned it, Franz Mclaren is a man who I would personally like to know and whose perspective on both life and literature is all too rare. Excellent and recommended to fantasy lovers of all ages.