fantasy, you gotta read

New Release: Dragon’s Revenge

Dragon's Revenge Cover

In search of his place in the world, Kyn visits his new friend, Ben’hyamene. Together, they meet an ailing dragon rider from the marshes of a land called the Carr. The rider recounts a people beset by anger, depression, and despair. After befriending and healing the rider, the group travels to the rider’s home. There they discover a breed of wild dragons, called drakes, which have been at war with humans for four hundred years.

One sleepless night, Ben’hyamene uses his new abilities to communicate with the lead drake. This sets Kyn and Ben’hyamene on a path that could bring peace to a conflict that’s nearly destroyed a whole people. Can revenge be set aside and enemies be called friends?

Find out in the exciting third book of the Dragon Courage series, Dragon’s Revenge by Kandi J Wyatt.

Kandi Avatar style smallKandi is a wife, mom of five, teacher, artist and author.  In her free time, she enjoys writing fantasy, writing Christmas programs, drawing using graphite and colored pencils. Portraits are her specialty. She also enjoys photography. Thank you to her photographer husband who has let her join his journey in photography as well. She is both his model and apprentice. (She still think he does a better job than her.) On occasion she’s his assistant when working with clients and when he needs a “light stand with feet”.

Webpage: http://kandijwyatt.wordpress.com/ 
Facebook: http://facebook.com/kandijwyatt/
Google: http://plus.google.com/u/0/+KandiWyatt/
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book reviews, fantasy, Indie Authors, S.M. Boyce, you gotta read

You Gotta Read: Treason

Treason by S.M. Boyce is the thrilling sequel to The Grimoire: Lichgates. Here we see much more of the world of Ourea as the different tribes are brought together in the name of peace. But when things don’t go as planned after signing the peace treaty, Kara must decide who she can trust in this dangerous land where it seems that everyone she meets is ready to either kill her or use her to gain more power for themselves. Even the vagabond begins to push his own agenda and soon Kara is left alone to defend herself against a betrayal she never saw coming.

My Thoughts

I read this book in one sitting because I could not put it down! S.M. Boyce does such a fantastic job of drawing you into the story and helping you feel the setting. I honestly hated to leave Ourea and the drama there. I was on the edge of my seat and holding my breath at more than one scene. I am a sucker for a happy ending and was really worried that the author was going to let me down, but I promise you that she brings it all together and then surprises us by changing the game altogether. You won’t want to miss this wild ride! If you haven’t yet read the first book, go right now and grab a copy of Lichgates. I promise you’ll thank me later.

Where to Get It

Amazon: USA | UK | Germany |  France | Spain | Italy

Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Buy the Paperback

 Want More?
In this series, Kara finds a magical book called the grimoire that can answer her questions and guide her toward her destiny. We’ve been given a special opportunity to peek into the grimoire, but we can only ask it ONE question. What shall it be? Leave a question for the grimoire in the comments below and on Friday, one lucky reader will be chosen to ask the grimoire their question. Will it be you?


book reviews, Brian Clopper, elementary, fantasy, Indie Authors, you gotta read

You Gotta Read: Graham The Gargoyle

Graham the Gargoyle by Brian Clopper

Graham is a young Gargoyle living in the land of Cascade, home to many magical and mythological creatures who abandoned Earth when humans stopped believing in magic.  Poor Graham has a lot on his plate.  First of all, there’s Blord and his gang of bullies who pick on Graham for being small and for befriending a troll, Graham’s best friend, Ot.  Then, there’s the fact that Graham is supposed to have his first flight in front of all the village on Friday and he hasn’t even gotten up the nerve to practice yet.  But, worst of all, is the fact that his grandfather is getting close to his Crossover, the time when an elderly gargoyle goes back to earth, climbs a church, and solidifies into stone as its protector for eternity.  Graham doesn’t want to say goodbye.  So, he decides to go with his grandfather to Earth.  After all, what does he have to live for anyway?  

My Thoughts
What an incredible story Brian Clopper has crafted for us.  It made me want to scoop up my children and snuggle up for a good old-fashioned story time.  I think this book would make a wonderful read aloud.   At first glance, I thought it would be a good book for second or third grade as it is so small, written as a short chapter book.  But, in the end, I believe it would be a wonderful tool for instruction in 4th-6th grade as well.  It has some very good vocabulary to introduce and the way it covers such powerful topics as bullying, overcoming fears and death is nothing short of brilliant.  A short read, this one packs a punch.

Where to Get It
Just click on the format of your choice

Amazon Kindle

B&N Nook 

Lulu Print 

 

Want More?

Come back Friday to hear what Brian Clopper, author of Graham the Gargoyle, has to say to about brainstorming new ideas for stories.  Some of them are pretty fun and crazy.  So, don’t forget to tell a friend to come back and check it out.  Then, you can have some brainstorming fun together.  See you then!

~ Heather

book reviews, fantasy, Indie Authors, Roger Eschbacher, you gotta read

You Gotta Read: Dragonfriend

Dragonfriend by Roger Eschbacher

Though I enjoyed reading this adventure set in the middle of King Arthur’s Camelot, don’t be deceived.  This is not just another knight’s tale!  The young page, Leonard, serves a knight who is more gentle than brave and he longs to lift them both out of the low position they hold in the kingdom.  While other knights fight dragons and feast at the king’s table, Sir Ronald chases off crows from gardens and then dines on a skinny goose in his crumbling, half finished castle.  Leonard devises a plan to elevate his master when he meets a desperate dragon seeking a knight to end his misery.  When the plan goes horribly wrong, Leonard finds himself on a dangerous quest to redeem them all and in the process uncovers a plot to end Camelot for good.  Can this unlikely hero save the day?

My Thoughts

Marvelous work by the fabulous Roger Eschbacher!  This book is fun, funny and quite an adventure!  Although he begins with a well-known legend in the form of Camelot, the author takes the reader into a whole new realm of creatures and magic we have not seen before.  Even some of the most vicious creatures are creative and endearing in this version of the fabled kingdom.

I know boys and girls alike will find this story fascinating and fun.  My daughter might complain that it gets a bit “yucky” during the battle scenes, but not more than would cause any normal fifth grade boy to yell out “cool!” as he reads through it.  In turn, the boy in my house might not appreciate the innocent crush Leonard has on Maiden Glennys, but my daughter will eat it up.  A marvelous balance that is hard to create as an author and I believe Eschbacher has done it superbly.

Where to Get It
Just click on the format of your choice

Amazon Kindle
Amazon Print
Barnes & Noble Nook
Barnes & Noble Print
Smashwords 

Want More?
Roger will stop by tomorrow to share some of the most common questions he gets from young readers.  Did I mention that Roger is not only an incredibly talented author, but that he is a totally cool writer who has worked with cartoons like Scooby Doo and The Littlest Pet Shop?  Come back tomorrow and see what he has to say to aspiring writers – like YOU!

Gotta read,

Heather

book reviews, fantasy, Free book giveaway, Indie Authors, new authors, S.M. Boyce, you gotta read

Gotta Read: The Grimoire: Lichgates

>The Grimoire: Lichgates by S.M. Boyce

This week’s book is one that I could NOT put down.  Not only was it mesmerizing as a reader, but it inspired me as a writer.  Maybe it is because parts of it remind me of my own personal work.  Or, perhaps it is the detailed and beautiful world-building.  It certainly had something to do with the depth she infused into her characters.  From the beginning of this book, I was smitten.  By the end I was reaching for a pen to rewrite scenes in my own work, in the hopes of capturing some of the energy and beauty for myself.

The story begins with a young woman, Kara, hiking through the forest in the northern Rockies when she unexpectedly passes through a Lichgate, a magical doorway into a hidden part of our world.  She discovers a powerful book, the Grimoire, and finds herself entangled in a dangerous web of political intrigue, deadly secrets, and racial war.  Guided by a dangerous prince who must live in constant disguise, she is never certain who she can trust.  As everything that matters to her is stripped away, she must take on a new identity and find a way to promote peace in a world determined for war.

My Thoughts
Sounds awesome, right?  It is!  This book is full of action from the very beginning.  There are deadly creatures at every turn and Kara struggles to stay just one step ahead with little to guide her in this dangerous place.  It will keep you turning pages, believe me!  

The characters are just as detailed as the many and various creatures.  Imagine different races that are not only distinct in their appearances, but in their abilities and how they live.  Can they ever learn to respect one another and work together?  Must they always fight and consider each other enemies?  I adore what Boyce has done with the prince in this story, Braeden.  As if it isn’t fabulous enough that he lives in constant disguise, hunted by his own father and feared by all others, he softens for Kara, showing a side of himself, and his kind, that none believe to exist.  I think even he is surprised by it.  How incredible it is that Boyce is able to convey all of that to us in a way that feels as though we are discovering Braeden as he is discovering himself.  Wonderful work!

Watch this author, friends.  Her sequel, Treason, is expected to come out this summer.  I am on pins and needles for this one.  I can hardly wait to see what happens next to Kara and Braeden.  Will they finish their quest or die trying?  

Where to Get It
Just click on the format of your choice!
Amazon Kindle 
Amazon Print
Barnes & Noble
The Grimoire Trilolgy site

Want More?
The author of The Grimoire will be here on Friday to share with us her tips for fighting writer’s block and how to gather new story ideas.  The best part: she’ll be giving away one FREE ebook. Just leave a comment below to be entered to win. Winner will be announced on Monday. Use the buttons below to share this with friends and come back for more on Friday.  You won’t want to miss this!

Gotta Read,
Heather

fantasy, Free book giveaway, Friday, Indie Authors, Keith Robinson

>Free Book Friday (the Thirteenth)

>It’s Friday the 13th, people!  I’m not very superstitious, but when I saw that we had a Friday the 13th coming up, I set out to find a good book to share with all of you who love the creepier tales.  Unfortunately, I don’t read a lot of creepy tales these days.  I’ve outgrown them, I suppose.  So, when I mentioned this dilemma to my daughter, she pointed out the book I had been telling her about recently, Island of Fog.  “It sounds pretty creepy, Mom.”  Well, I wouldn’t have put it that way, but there are certainly a lot of secrets hiding on the Island of Fog.  So, grab a copy and dig in.  Or, better yet, leave a comment and win a free copy of this exciting book!  We’ll announce the winner on Monday.

Today I have the honor of introducing you to the fabulous author, Keith Robinson.  He’s working diligently on the second half of this series and has made quite an impression on fans, even catching the attention of the fabulous Piers Anthony.  Today he shares with us the process of building his series from the ground up.  So, take a peek into how it all began with Keith Robinson.

I moved to the USA from England in 2001 and started writing ISLAND OF FOG the following year.  It was a long process writing bits here and there, honing my skills, and also switching from British English to US English (which I felt was necessary if I ever planned to submit a manuscript to a US publisher.)  In 2008 I made a concerted effort to finish the novel, then sent it to a professional editor.  This was the first time anyone other than myself had read it, so I was nervous. But she loved it.
I had one copy printed by CreateSpace just because I wanted to see what it “felt” like, but once I held it in my grubby hands, I decided to go ahead with self-publishing. This was in April 2009. Somehow I ended up being “discovered” by the local library (by word of mouth) and from there I did book talks, signings, interviews, and so on, all in the local area. My books are in three public libraries, several middle schools, and on the shelves at the local Barnes & Noble (next to J. K. Rowling!). Meanwhile, bestselling fantasy author Piers Anthony favorably reviewed ISLAND OF FOG in his July 2009 newsletter, and because of that I was contacted by an agent who wanted to represent the book as a potential TV/movie property.
The book started out as a single novel, but even before I finished writing it, I’d decided to make it into a trilogy. So the second book, LABYRINTH OF FIRE, came along in November 2009. This was a six-month turnaround from start to finish, a vast improvement over six years! Clearly I had figured out what I was doing. The third book, MOUNTAIN OF WHISPERS, rounded off the trilogy in August 2010.
But as I was finishing that third book, I decided I wanted to continue the story further. Even though the trilogy had ended, I saw no reason not to start another 3-book arc. LAKE OF SPIRITS continues the story but also starts a new arcing subplot. Naturally the series is now intended to be six books (possibly more); I’m currently writing the fifth, ROADS OF MADNESS, and will start on the sixth later in the year. There seems to be an endless number of angles I can explore in this series; my only dilemma is which I should choose.
Writing a series has many benefits. The characters are established in the first book, and the rest of the series is spent expanding on their personalities. It’s a cliche, but when you write/read other books in a series, there’s a sense of “putting on a comfortable sweater.” You can be with old friends again and join them on a new adventure. And from a purely business point of view, once you sell readers on that first book, they’re going to want to get the rest in the series. It’s a no-brainer in terms of “cashing in.”
I often use a single point of view in my writing. The entire FOG series is seen through the eyes of twelve-year-old Hal Franklin. I’ve been very careful to ensure that every word of narrative is from his POV and doesn’t temporarily jump into someone else’s head. This approach works well for me, and I think it draws readers deeper into the story. For one thing, they’re not continually jumping from character to character where one subplot might, unfortunately, be less interesting than another. Also, it helps convey a greater sense of mystery; when you read a chapter about a villain plotting his Great Scheme early in the book, the reader is then more knowledgeable than the main protagonist, and it can be frustrating waiting for him to catch up. Being firmly inside the main character’s head throughout means we know only what he knows, thus heightening the mystery.
But this approach does present limitations. Occasionally a scene will take place that I would love to describe but can’t because the main character is not there. He can’t be everywhere all the time, and it would seem forced if he was. So, sadly, once in a while that scene happens “off-camera,” which itself can be a challenge. Careful plotting is needed in these instances.
Then again, careful plotting is ALWAYS needed, so nothing new there. I wrote my first book organically and ended up rewriting or deleting entire chapters when I realized I was going in the wrong direction. Writing a chapter summary beforehand means I go through that same plotting/thinking process early and can therefore avoid writing chapters I don’t need!

Want to win a free copy of Island of Fog?  Leave a comment below and you are entered to win!  The winner will be announced Monday.  *** If you are visiting us from Facebook, you need to leave Facebook and come back to us through your browser in order to leave a comment. ***

book reviews, fantasy, Free book giveaway, Indie Authors, Keith Robinson, you gotta read

>Gotta Read: Island of Fog

> Allow me to pretend that I posted this yesterday.  I haven’t been feeling well and as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been in a bit of a writing funk, which has put me behind schedule a bit. However, I just couldn’t wait to tell you about the Island of Fog.

I recently read the book, Island of Fog by Keith Robinson.  What a thrilling adventure!  It tells about a group of families who have moved to a mysterious island, covered constantly by fog.  Each family is raising a child on this tiny island and the children grow up wondering about life beyond the fog.  What is happening on the mainland?  Will they ever return to find out?  What caused their parents to move them all here and why won’t they talk about it?  

Hal Franklin is twelve years old, like the other kids on the island, and he is tired of all the mystery, of all the secrets, and especially of all the fog.  When Hal’s friend Robbie discovers a cave where all the fog seems to be coming from, they decide to cover it up with branches.  If they can stop the fog, then maybe they might be able to see the mainland, or at the very least, the sun.  This starts a dangerous chain of events that include wild and terrifying monsters, hidden secrets, and sudden transformations that leave the children struggling to understand what it’s all about.  When a visitor arrives at the island one day and takes over the school house, the children don’t know whether to trust her or fear her.  She may hold the key to understanding what is really happening on the Island of Fog or … she may be the one who destroys them all.

My Thoughts:
This book kept me turning pages furiously into the night.  Excitement, mystery, secret powers and bizarre monsters.  It has everything!  I would recommend this book to readers over fourth grade and I just know my kids are going to eat it up.  Personally, I don’t know many adults who wouldn’t enjoy this book, too.  The ending is a complete surprise (Kudos, Mr. Robinson, on that excellent turn of events, by the way) and I was happy to discover that this was only the first book in an extensive series.  Happy news for fans like me who can’t get enough.  

Where to Get It:
You can find Island of Fog at Amazon.com, or Barnes and Noble.  I downloaded my copy from BN.com as an ebook and read it on my ipad with the Nook app.  You can also find all of Mr. Robinson’s books at his fabulous website, unearthlytales.com



More to Come:
Come back tomorrow to hear from the author himself.  He’s offering a free copy of his book to one lucky reader.  Just leave a comment below and you are entered to win!  The winner will be declared on Monday. *** If you are visiting us from Facebook, you need to leave Facebook and come back through your browser in order to leave a comment. ***


Gotta Read,
Heather

fantasy, free book, Friday, Indie Authors, Jessie Sanders, world building

>Friendly Free Book Friday

>
Happy Friday, Friends!  This week we have a special guest among us.  On Wednesday I shared with you one of my new favorite books, Into the Flames.  Today we are delighted to welcome the author, Jessie Sanders, as our guest.  In addition to writing, Jessie is an editor who shares her special skills with new authors to help them improve their fabulous work before it meets the world.

Today she shares her thoughts on how to build a better fantasy world.  Thanks, Jessie!

You might have heard it said that your story is like an iceberg. Well, it’s true. The tiny

tip that you see at the top is the story that your readers get to read in book form. The rest,
hidden under the surface, is everything that you, the author, know about your world and
your characters. Without the bottom of your iceberg, the tip of it will just float away,
baseless. Scary, right?

The core of every fantasy novel is a well-established fantasy world. Remember the
detailed inner workings of JK Rowling’s Ministry of Magic? How about all they ways
that Meyers’s vampires differ from the original legend? Both these authors took the time
to develop their worlds in such a way that you could step into it and really live it.

There is a very simple question that you need to ask yourself every time you begin
working on creating a world: What makes my world special? Even if you have a lot of
similarities to other fantasy novels (and it’s something that will be inevitable), you need
to have your own special take for your story and build from that. After you’ve deduced
what is special about your world, you can build it up into something that everyone will
want to enter with you.

If your story is set in a completely different universe, then Patricia Wrede, author
of Dealing with Dragons, has created a great checklist to get you thinking about
everything you will need to know about your world. The questions include things like
your country’s climate and geography, the rules of your magic system, and the type of
currency your characters will use.

The rules of your magic system are important whether you’re in a galaxy far, far, away
or just under some subway tunnels in London (that’s a reference to Neil Gaiman’s
Neverwhere, in case you want to check it out). High fantasy author Brandon Sanderson
has some great rules to consider when working through your magic system: Sandersons-First-Law. In my novel, Into the Flames, one of the characters mentions the rules that govern their superpowers. Rahab, the main character, expresses disbelief that there is such a thing. But even though Rahab doesn’t know it, I’ve been running her and her friends’ lives by a set of rules that
governs what they can and can’t do. In the end, the restrictions to their superpowers raise
the stakes and make the ending more exciting.

Even if your characters use magic sparingly or never at all, you still need to know what
would happen if your bad guy suddenly decides to use your version of the cruciatus curse
to torture your hero. Take your main character through a typical day in his life. What
types of magic might he encounter, and what would happen if something went totally
awry? Why is that what happens? In every scenario, what could possibly go wrong?
Figuring out alternate paths for your story to take ultimately makes the path you choose
much stronger.

Remember whenever you’re creating a new world that it’s great to let others’ works
inspire you, but you should never mimic anyone else’s ideas. If you love the idea of a
magical train that has a secret train station, then put one in your story! But make sure to
make it your own. This world already has a Platform 9 ¾, and we don’t need another. But
we do need whatever your imagination can bring us! Take the time before you delve into your
plot to sit down and really hash out what your world will look like and how it will work.
Your readers will thank you, and it’s actually a lot of fun!

* * * * * * *

Did you think I forgot the free book for Friday?  Well, to celebrate the release of Jessie Sanders’ first book, her publisher, Consortium Books, is offering one special reader a free copy of Into the Flames.  Leave a comment below for a chance to win.  Then, on Monday, we’ll announce the lucky reader that gets to take home Into the Flames.

Gotta Write,
Heather