Book Release: A Merchant in Oria by David Wiley

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Today is the big day. The novella is officially out! You can snag an electronic copy through several venues, which I’ve shared on my Author page and will share again soon.

From 8 am-10 pm (central time) today and tomorrow an event will be running on Facebook where tons of authors are helping to celebrate the release by giving away free books, hosting little games, and sharing a little about themselves.

So hop in as you are able to and maybe you’ll find an author or two that you might enjoy reading. Join in on some games for chances to win prizes.

https://www.facebook.com/events/269239190204356/

 

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If you want to order a copy of A Merchant in Oria, here are some links.

Please note: The paperback version has been delayed a little in order to ensure it is the best quality product. It may be another week before that is able to be purchased. When it does go live, there will be a post on this blog to reshare the links so you can order a paperback version if you prefer to have a copy.

https://www.amazon.com/Merchant-Oria-David-Wi…/…/ref=sr_1_1…
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/720264
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-merchant-in-o…/1126276961…
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-merchant-in-oria

 

Book Review: The Name of Death by Joshua Robertson

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Title: The Name of Death

Author: Joshua Robertson

Published by: Crimson Edge Press (January 2, 2017)

Page Count: 39 (ebook)

Blurb: Drada Koehn is a fearless, formidable fighter ensnared in a presaged war against the northern humans. When the Speaker foretells their victory upon discovery of the name of death, she sets out to unravel the mysterious prophecy. Now, bound by duty and honor, Drada faces untold horrors with her companions, searching for what may never be found. In a story of unexpected twists, she soon finds that her resolve to see the quest done will be the fortune or doom of her people.

My Take: I had the impression, after reading Grimsdalr and Anaerfell, that Joshua Robertson was a talented writer. This novella confirmed everything I believed about his talent level and more.

The tale begins with Drada, a fierce female who is on a quest to learn the name of death. Early in the tale, it becomes clear that death is pursuing her and her companions. The tale is short, yet in that space of time there is plenty of development for the characters, the location, and even some backstory about what is taking place in the world beyond what these characters are experiencing. Joshua is able to weave so much into such a short space, and it is all done extremely well. I felt like I knew the characters and some of their struggles and the reasons behind the war raging among the races.

Joshua is an author of Dark Fantasy, and there certainly is no departure from that genre in this story. But that is to be expected with a title like The Name of Death. If you picked it up seeking a happy ending, you didn’t really pay attention to the title. But this story is worth it. So, so worth it. And at the current price of FREE, there is no reason to not download and read this one. It will end up being worth the 30-60 minutes of your time.

I look forward to reading more by Joshua, including his trilogy of books now that they are all available. If you haven’t read anything by this talented author, do yourself a favor and pick up this book and start reading today.

A Merchant in Oria Releases Soon!

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I can hardly contain my own excitement because my first novella, A Merchant in Oria, will finally be available this Friday. It was a story that first begun in 2012 and I can’t believe it has finally matured into the work you will be able to purchase.

The team at OWS Ink, LLC. have been fantastic to work with during every step of the process.

Consider helping to spread the word. The more people who know about this release, the better things will (hopefully) go during the first days of this novella’s release. A good release will hopefully lead to their willingness to look at my first full novel, Monster Huntress.

Join us on Facebook this Friday and Saturday for two days full of authors coming together to help celebrate the release of the book.

Link to the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/269239190204356/

And if you are a reviewer and would like to get a review copy, please reach out to me.

Medieval Book Club: Exodus & Daniel

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Welcome to my fourth Medieval Book Club entry. For this month we read through some Anglo-Saxon poetry (in translation, of course), found free online here and here. If you haven’t had a chance to read them yet, follow this link and give them a read. Let me tell you, it was a blast reading through this poem and, if you are familiar with the stories in the Books of Exodus and Daniel, you’ll find yourself fascinated with this poetic retelling.

For May we will be reading Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich. The preview post for this one can be found here, and I am looking forward to reading that book. If you are at all interested, I would love to have you read along and come back to discuss that book on May 18th!

My Thoughts on Exodus:

I really, really loved reading through this poetic retelling of part of the book of Exodus. This was the poetic retelling that I had heard about where so much is adapted to the warrior culture of the Anglo-Saxons. We know, from reading the Bible itself, that there isn’t nearly so much emphasis placed on combat, or on shields or swords, but it is all very fitting for this culture. Also, having read Lewis’ work last month gave a greater insight to this work and how it fit in with their culture.

One of my favorite descriptions came with the details of the pillars representing God’s presence:

Heaven’s beacon climbed every evening, a second miracle,
it held fast wondrous after the sun’s setting,
shining with flames across that nation,
a burning beam. Glittering it stood over the archers,
with blazing limbs. The shelter of their shields shone,
the shadows dissolving, the deepest night-shades nearby
could not conceal their hiding places. The heavenly candle burned. (107b-115)

This new night-warden must by necessity remain over the army,
lest the desert-horror, the hoar heath-terror should end
their lives with a fearful seizure of a sea’s storms.
This scout had fiery hair, blazing beams—it threatened
the terror of fire in that army-troop, a hot flame,
so that he would consume the army in the wilderness,
unless they heeded to brave-hearted Moses.
The shining army shimmered, the shields glittered,
the shield-warriors saw the righteous way, the sign
above the masses, until the sea-fortress at the end
of land stood against the people’s force, eager on the forth-way.
The battle-camp arose; the wearied revived themselves,
meat-thanes brought food to the proud ones, restoring
their power. The sailors spread out their tents across the hills
after the trumpets sang. That was the fourth camp,
the resting-place for the shield-warriors beside the Red Sea. (116-34)

Clearly this is expanded from a small source, but the writer in me absolutely applauds many of the additions that were made because they add some flavor and detail to the story. There were references back to Moses’ early days and the plagues that released them from Egypt (okay, really it only referred to the final plague: the death of the firstborns) and I really would have been interested to see how that was all handled by Anglo-Saxon poets. Or what happened during Moses’ trip up Mount Sinai to lead the men to cast a golden calf (I imagine that would be a glorious description of feasting and revelry, with generous gold-givers and many casks of mead being downed).

And with the details in here, I am really surprised that there isn’t an Anglo-Saxon poetic version of the book of Joshua. It seems that the first ten chapters, at least, would align really well with the culture because of the conquest into the Promised Land.

My Thoughts on Daniel:

This was perhaps the more interesting of the two poems this month. I was surprised that it was longer, and equally surprised that the main focus would be on the two dreams and their interpretations. This poem seemed to have two primary purposes: to demonstrate the power of God to those who depend on him (as shown with the furnace and the lengthy praise & exultation there), and to demonstrate the pitfalls of pride (as really seen with the second dream). In fact, it really hammers that point over the readers’ head:

Daniel could not speak so many truthful words
unto his master through the craft of his wisdom,
but that the ruler would heed them,
the lord of middle-earth, but he puffed up his mind,
high from his heart—hard would he be punished for this! (593-97)

Then the king of the Chaldeans chanted a great boast
when he looked upon the city-works, the fortress of Babylon
towering so tall in its riches, with the fields of Shinar
wound about it—that the chief of armies
had wrought it all through a great miracle.
Then he became obstinate over all men,
overly proud in his heart because of the special grace
that God had given him, a realm over men
and the world to wield in this human life: (598-607)

“O my city, you are mighty and wide-renowned,
which I have built to my own glory, a roomy realm.
I shall keep my rest in you, a seat and a home.” (608-11)

Then, on account of this boasting, the lord of men
became seized and departed into flight,
alone in his over-pride above all men.
So he went forth as men do in days of struggle,
upon the most bitter path in God’s punishment,
who, living through, soon regain their homeland,
and so did Nebuchadnezzar, after the enmity of God,
swift from the heavens, had punished him terribly. (612-21)

I really think they would have nailed the Lion’s den, but sadly it did not appear in this poem. Yet it is still a great read, if in a very different way from the Exodus poem. This has more of a moralistic feel to it than Exodus, or even Genesis, did.

Questions:

  1. What were your overall impressions from reading the poems? Were there parts of either poem that really stood out to you as being more enjoyable to read in this format?
  2. Which Biblical stories would you like to see done in Anglo-Saxon form? They did the Genesis stories, Exodus, and Daniel. Are there any other stories or books in the Bible that stand out as ideal for Anglo-Saxon poetry? My thoughts are that Samson and Joshua would be prime candidates.
  3. While this is certainly no replacement for Scripture, do you think an approach like this could make the Bible, or parts of the Bible, easier for today’s readers to read and enjoy while still taking away key principles from Scripture?

Book Review: Bright Needles by Anais Chartschenko

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Title: Bright Needles

Author: Anais Chartschenko

Published by: Self-Published on March 19, 2014

Pages: 58

Blurb: Bright Needles is uncompromising poetry. Myth is mixed in equal measure with gritty realism.

My Take: Uncompromising is right. The poetry in much of this collection is raw, unyielding, and is enough to break even the hardest of hearts for the young girl who experienced so much pain and hurt to the point where numbness set in.

My own expertise in poetry is not among modern poets, but this small collection is packed with what I found to be quality poetry. It evoked emotion, whether pain or rage or straight numbness. Raw talent drips through verse after verse, line after line. The reader also hopes, after reading this somber collection, that pouring these words out helped to provide a sense of healing and closure to the situations described.

It is clear, by the end, that Ms. Chartschenko is a poet to watch and her newest release, The Weightless One, should prove to be an excellent and unique read because it is a novel told in verse. Her talent in verse is apparent in this collection, and I fully expect the same talent shining through in that versified novel.

Medieval Book Club Preview: Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich

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One of the first woman authors, Julian of Norwich produced in Revelations of Divine Love a remarkable work of revelatory insight, that stands alongside The Cloud of Unknowing and Piers Plowman as a classic of Medieval religious literature

After fervently praying for a greater understanding of Christ’s passion, Julian of Norwich, a fourteenth-century anchorite and mystic, experienced a series of divine revelations. Through these ‘showings’, Christ’s sufferings were revealed to her with extraordinary intensity, but she also received assurance of God’s unwavering love for man and his infinite capacity for forgiveness. Written in a vigorous English vernacular, the Revelations are one of the most original works of medieval mysticism and have had a lasting influence on Christian thought. This edition of the Revelations contains both the short text, which is mainly an account of the ‘showings’ themselves and Julian’s initial interpretation of their meaning, and the long text, completed some twenty years later, which moves from vision to a daringly speculative theology.

Elizabeth Spearing’s translation preserves Julian’s directness of expression and the rich complexity of her thought. An introduction, notes and appendices help to place the works in context for modern readers. 

This is the fifth entry into the monthly Medieval Book Club, and this is a work I am actually looking forward to quite a bit. Last year I was able to read a short introduction to Julian of Norwich, and she led quite the fascinating life. So when it was time to select the twelve works for this year, there was little chance I would leave off Julian’s primary work. Being able to read both the long and short text should be great because it will allow us to see what made it and what was removed. Do they provide the same overall experience, or is a lot missing if someone reads just the short text? It is also nice to find books which mention further reading that an interested reader can check out. I do hope you’ll join me in reading her work this May and come back to discuss it.

Here is the breakdown of chapters:

  • Introduction
  • Further Reading
  • Translator’s Note
  • Short Text
  • Long Text
  • Appendix 1: List of Showings
  • Appendix 2: Original Texts of the Revelations
  • Appendix 3: Margery Kemp’s Meeting with Julian

Will you join me in reading this book? You can pick up a copy on Amazon at this link. If you have a different version, or pick up a Kindle Version, that will suffice as the discussion will really center on the Long Text and the Short Text so it will not be dependent on using this version. The post for this book’s reading will be on May 18th, which is the third Thursday of that month.

Check out the full list of books we’re reading this year for the Medieval Book Club.

Liebster Award!

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untitledAllison D. Reid nominated me for a Liebster Award last week! I was quite surprised and honored that she thought to include my blog. Thank you, Allison, for the honor…it was fun reading your own answers. Before I jump into the questions and my own answers, I’d best share what the rules are for everyone else reading this post, and for those I’ve nominated in turn (the list is at the bottom of the page).

– Say thank you to the person who has nominated you for the award.
– Answer the 11 questions the person has asked you.
– Nominate 11 people (comment on their blog to let them know).
– Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions

Allison’s questions to me:

1. What is your favorite book, or if you prefer, your favorite author?

Well this one is quite easy, although five or ten years ago the answer might have been very different. My favorite author, without question, is J.R.R. Tolkien and my favorite book is The Hobbit, although I think The Children of Hurin, The Silmarillion, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy all deserve mention in the same conversation. They are all excellent reads, and each is unique in its own way.


2. Is there a country you have always wanted to visit, if so where?

This is another one that shifted in recent years. I used to really, really want to go to Scotland. I still do. But I think I’d want to go to England first, followed by Iceland, then New Zealand, with Scotland coming in fourth now.


3. What do you enjoy about blogging, and how has your blog changed in unexpected ways since you started it?

It is great to connect to other writers, bloggers, and readers. My blog changed from being a place for my own writing in 2012 and has evolved several times since then. I’ve tried book blogging, Indie Author promotion, Scripture Study, and book clubs. It is hard finding a niche, and that is okay because right now the flexibility allows me to take on more when time allows and drop other things when I need to free that time for other things. Right now the plan is to review a few books as I can, to continue the Medieval Book Club, and try to network with other authors while promoting information about my own book releases coming up.


4. What’s your preferred writing and/or blogging space?

I don’t really have a preferred space because it is all done at my desk. I do have some Middle-Earth maps on the wall and usually a playlist with either Lord of the Rings soundtracks or Brunuhville playing as I write. But the space itself is very simple.


5. How do you find inspiration?

Reading other writers. Seeing other Indie Authors finding success. Having a multitude of stories dancing in my head that demand to be told and an imagination that can always find inspiration for new stories.


6. What do you like to do for fun when you need a break from writing (or from your blog)?

Playing board games. Not Monopoly and Scrabble and those other games, but the modern wave of board games. There are excellent ones out there, hundreds and hundreds of better games than you grew up playing. And I’d love to talk about them with anyone interested!


7. What started you down the road of writing and/or blogging?

I’ve always had an interest in writing, but blogging in 2012 when I was creating flash fiction, so to speak, and posting them on my blog was what really cemented things. Not only did it lead to the creation of Ava and the Monster Huntress series and of the starting scenes for A Merchant in Oria, but it also helped me to connect to some great authors. One of whom I still am connected with and am eagerly waiting for her Elven Games book to see the light of day. 😀


8. Are there any Indie authors you would recommend to readers looking for a good book?

In no particular order:

Allison D. Reid
Andrea Lundgren
Joshua Robertson
Lillian Oake
Beth Hammond
Stephanie Ayers
A.L. Mabry
Josh Brown
Alex Ness
Patrick S. Baker
Anais Chartschenko
Elin V. Pettersson

And many others who I have missed but are equally worthy of mention and many others whose work I still have not read!


9. How do you keep yourself motivated?

Here is a secret: I don’t do well at this. Motivation comes in waves, where I can spend weeks pouring heart and soul into writing and then months without writing a word beyond the blogging. My seasons of writing come and go, but with a novella releasing this month and the possibility of a book in the near future, I am hoping to see more writing blossom in 2017!


10. What superpower would you choose and why?

Forget superpowers, just give me a T.A.R.D.I.S. and I’ll call it even. I’d much rather be able to travel through time and space than be able to fly, be invisible, have superhuman strength, etc.


11. What four people would you invite to a dinner party; contemporary, historical, or fictional?

I’m going to copy Allison’s own answer here, because I would provide the same answer, including the intimidation factor:

I would go to the Eagle and Child and sit down with the Inklings for an evening. I’d be completely intimidated by all of them, of course, and I doubt they would think much of my writing, but it would be a dream come true to just be in their company.

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Now here are my nominations for the Liebster Award! (In no particular order):

Lillian Oake
Stephanie Ayers
A.L. Mabry
J.K. Allen
Stacy Overby
Emma T. Gitani
Anais Chartschenko
Katheryn Avila
Andrea Lundgren
Joshua Robertson
Jamie Lapeyrolerie

And the 11 questions, some the same and/or similar to the ones answered above.

1. What is your favorite book, or if you prefer, your favorite author?
2. Is there a country you have always wanted to visit, if so where?
3. What do you enjoy about blogging, and how has your blog changed in unexpected ways since you started it?
4. What is your biggest fandom and how did your fandom start?
5. What is the best book you’ve read so far this year? What books are you looking forward to reading still in 2017?
6. What do you like to do for fun when you need a break from writing (or from your blog)?
7. What started you down the road of writing and/or blogging?
8. Are there any Indie authors you would recommend to readers looking for a good book?
9. What is your favorite method of connecting with your blog readers?
10. What is the craziest thing you can remember wanting to be when you grew up and why did the younger you want to be that?
11. What four people would you invite to a dinner party; contemporary, historical, or fictional?

A Merchant in Oria – Social Campaigns

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The cover reveal is still to come, but in the meantime the wonderful people over at Our Write Side have started up a Headtalker and a Thunderclap campaign to help spread the word about this upcoming release.

Don’t know what those are? They are very simple. You sign up to allow Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/LinkedIn permission to make a one-time post on the day of the book’s release. It will auto-generate a message for you, which you are able to customize as you desire.

It takes minutes to contribute to the campaign and makes it so you don’t have to try and remember to post about it on the actual release date. We need 100 people for the Thunderclap to be a success, so please consider taking a moment to sign up and help spread the word.

Thunderclap: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/55573-a-merchant-in-oria-debut

Headtalker: https://headtalker.com/campaigns/a-merchant-in-oria-release/

And as a bonus treat, here is the blurb for this upcoming release:

 

Firion is a young merchant descended from generations of merchants. His first big break comes along when he sets out to trade with the wealthy dwarven kingdom of Oria. He has always dreamed of visiting this grand kingdom, having heard his father describe it in detail a hundred times when he was younger. But when Firion arrives in Oria, he is jarred by the details present that contradict with the image etched in his mind.

Something dark and sinister seems to be afoot in Oria, but Firion knows he is no hero. He is just a simple merchant, and what can an ordinary person do in the face of danger and deception?

Announcement: Coming Soon

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If you are a regular follower of the blog you may have noticed a sudden decrease in posts. I would like to say that all of that extra time has gone into writing, but I can honestly say that a good chunk of it has. I’ve been working hard at getting my first novel polished with one more big revision before trying to get it accepted.

I’m at a point now where I can feel confident about the timeframe for finishing those revisions and, if all goes well, this book could be coming out this fall.

And if that wasn’t exciting enough by itself, I also have a novella coming. April 28th is the tentative release date.

And there is a cover. Oh my, is the cover fantastic. OWS Ink, LLC. is impressing me at every step in this process, and I hope that all of our hard work will pay off. A cover reveal is coming soon. Very soon. There is a teaser image at the bottom of this post.

So apart from the occasional review, look for the next slew of posts to contain a cover reveal, preorder information (and why you should preorder!), and then release information. So keep on checking back! I will finally have a book in print, with just my name on it, after years of short stories, anthologies, and rejections. And I couldn’t be more excited to have you read it and share your thoughts.

So, coming soon:

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Book Review: Priceless Treasures and Ghastly by Thomas Olivieri

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Title: Priceless Treasures and Ghastly: A Slight Collection of Hallowe’en Tales and Miscellanea

Author: Thomas Olivieri

Published: October 25, 2016

42 Pages

Blurb: THESE days, Hallowe’en is a night of ghosts, celebrated by people who can longer believe in them, a day of tricks, treats, and twilight. A night when — sanctioned by custom — the proudest and most willful child politely begs for candy at strangers’ doors and the most docile child transforms in a monster. It is a day to celebrate neither the carven pumpkin nor the illuminating candle, but rather the shadows that they cast, and the unseen things that flit about them. Perhaps it won’t be this way for long — it is becoming increasingly commercialized and is losing its uncanniness as it moves away from the days of All Hallows and All Souls — but it promises to remain so for a while yet. The night of ghouls, the night of saints, and the night of penitents make an uncomfortable arc — they stand for three aspects of life that don’t fit in very well our society anymore, but will always remain part of us. The stories, poems, commentary, and images in this slight collection have been designed to return you to those strange old times. They are not particularly horrific or terrifying — rather, they are uneasy, uncanny, and gently unsettling, harkening back to the folklore of fairies and saints, knights and dragons, mead halls and castles, masquerades and Hallow-Mass gatherings. We hope that you find them whimsical and off-beat. We hope that you find them unusual and bizarre. We hope that you have a Happy Hallowe’en

My Take: This was a great little collection of flash fiction and poetry that revolves around a Halloween theme. Each addition in this volume, whether written or illustrated, helps to add to the theme that seeps through the collection. It is definitely a fitting volume to be read during the month of October, something I was unfortunately unable to do. However, it really evokes the holiday’s theme well.

As with every collection, some stories really shine more than others based upon each individual’s taste. They are all great to read and interesting in their own way. There are some darker tales, such as “Snakes and Cigarettes”, and there are those which dip into genre fiction, such as “Kings and Saints and Knights”. With such a small volume, and the short length of each inclusion, you will find yourself flipping the pages quickly until you reach the end. In fact, the biggest complaint I had was that it ended far too soon. A longer piece, or a few more shorter pieces, would have been a welcome inclusion.

This is definitely a volume worth reading through, and Thomas Olivieri is an author worth keeping your eye on. I am confident more great fiction will appear under his name in the future.