Tag Archives: Fantasy

Coming Soon: Death-Bringer

My next book, Death-Bringer,  is just a hop, skip, and a jump away.  Be looking for a cover reveal soon.  Here’s an idea of what to expect:

War is coming to the Norwood!

Arlyss Quarrel is oblivious to the threat. He dreams of marrying the girl-next-door and starting a family of his own far away from his demanding father. But when he injures his best friend in a shearing accident, he is sent away to the local lord to become a warrior.

So begins a maelstrom of political intrigue, vengeful invaders, and jealous gods.  At its center stands a single warrior with a dark blade who leads the defense of the Norwood against the invaders. Can Arlyss avoid the dangerous path set before him by the mysterious warrior, and find the happy ending he always dreamed of?  Or will he fall under Death-Bringer’s spell?

Check out this excerpt:      

“What am I going to do with you, Companion Arlyss?” He clasped his hands behind his back. “You killed a man in battle and most likely started a blood feud with a prominent Vilk clan.” He rocked on the balls of his feet as he made each point. “You are a Quarrel, a member of one of Norwood’s prominent families, and your loss would be an inconvenience to my lord. You are young and inexperienced, too inexperienced to be made a full warrior, and yet my lord wishes to make an example of your accomplishment.”

“I am not a warrior,” Arlyss interrupted. “I got lucky.” Things were happening too fast, and he tried to think of anything that would stop it. “I gave away the coat,” he blurted.

The Primus cut him off with a slash of his hand. “A warrior,” he said, “cares more for his spear-mates than he does for himself.” His face actually softened for an instant. “This is not an argument against you.”

Arlyss felt his shoulders tense up once more and fought to hold back sudden tears. He wasn’t ready to be a warrior. He didn’t know if he ever would be. He wondered if this was how Durwyn had felt the night before the battle.

The Primus stepped in close so that they stood face-to-face. “Arlyss Quarrel, I told you the day we met that you may earn the title of warrior. Ready or not, young companion, that day has come.” As he stared into Arlyss’s eyes, his own eyes glowed with a sudden intensity that made Arlyss want to curl up into a ball. “You will be the greatest warrior the Norwood has ever seen . . . I swear it.” He let go of Arlyss and pulled back with a shudder. 

Arlyss’s hair stood on end. It felt like the words had not come from the Primus alone. He mouthed a prayer to the Spirit of the Norwood to protect him from the wyrd the Primus had lain upon him.       

The Primus looked similarly affected. He took a deep breath and let it out. His left hand slid around to his back to stroke the sheath of his black sword. “You will seek out the lord’s armorer tonight so he can make a warrior’s coat.” Now the Primus pulled his hand away from the sword and was all business with his ever-present severity and critical eyes. “On the last day of the funeral feast, you shall present yourself to the Lord of Luton and swear your loyalty to his cause.” He looked past Arlyss as he concluded, “A warrior does his duty.”

The Primus turned and marched out of the stall.

I will be sending out advance reader copies soon.  More to come on that, but don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re interested in posting a review.

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Fred on the Head

Tomorrow my wife is going to have her head examined.  I don’t know what took the doctors so long.  I’ve been telling her she needs to have her head examined for years.  Of course, this is a CT scan to check her sinuses (or so they say).  I’m thinking I’ll go along and slip them a fiver to look a little deeper.  No one in their right mind chooses cleaning over cooking, or eats Brussels sprouts voluntarily (Or lives with me for as long as she has).  I’m guessing they’ll find a few screws loose.

Of course, I wouldn’t dare let them look inside my head.  I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t let me back out of the hospital.  Luckily, if you really want to know what’s floating around up in my noggin it’s easier and cheaper than a CT scan.  Just head over to Amazon where The Eastern Factor is being released today.



Words are so interesting.  Why do we “release” a book?  Is it a wild slavering thing that must be tamed before we dare release it into the wider world?  Actually, that does make sense.

So if you want a peek inside my head, go get yourself a copy.  I can’t guarantee the book is completely tame, but I’ve tried my best to housebreak it (Sort of).

Also, you can still get a free copy of The Order of the Wolf as part of the Secret Worlds— Fantasy Giveaway.

Also also, I’m giving away 5 copies as part of my Book Blitz today.


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Goodreads Giveaway Finished

My Goodreads giveaway completed on September 30th.  I gave away 5 signed copies of The Order of the Wolf to promote the coming release of book 3 The Eastern Factor.

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 I had 604 people sign up for the giveaway.  I’m considering this a success, because 604 more people have heard of me and my books than before.  Whether those that didn’t win go out and buy a copy is another matter.  You can buy Order of the Wolf and Stenson Blues on Amazon or Kobo.  They are available as an ebook or paperback.

If you didn’t win, there will be more chances.  More giveaways and sales coming up until The Eastern Factor is released in January.  Stay tuned.




Filed under Books, Fantasy, Marketing, Reading, Writing

Must Read Fantasy

George R.R. Martin is on everyone’s lips because of Game of Thrones.  Many people have seen the HBO series, but I’m sure many fewer have read the books.  In addition to Martin, Tolkien and J K Rowling are also household names, known way beyond the fantasy genre.  These are the mass media darlings, but are they the heart and soul of the fantasy genre.  I say no.

The genre has changed over the years.  It seems like YA fantasy is very popular, but wasn’t it always that way?  Fantasy is one of those literary genres that has always been accessible to readers of all ages.  It cracks me up to see the YA fantasy section in the bookstore.  It’s just marketing because of the success of Harry Potter.

So if you’ve already read Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, and are waiting for Martin to finish writing Game of Thrones, what should you read? Well since I’m an old dude, I’m going to give you my recommendations for the best fantasy series of the last several decades.  (I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones I have read and can recommend)

  • Glen Cook – The Chronicles of the Black Company; The Dread Empire.
  • Roger Zelazny – The Amber Chronicles.
  • Mickey Zucker Reighert – The Renshai Chronicles.
  • Michael Moorcook – The Elric Saga.
  • Steven Brust – Vlad Taltos Series.
  • Dave Duncan – A Man of His Word; A Handful of Men.
  • Katherine Kurtz – The Chronicles of the Deryni.
  • Terry Pratchett – Discworld Novels.
  • Tad Williams – Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn
  • Janny Wurts – The Cycle of Fire; Daughter of Empire.
  • C. S. Friedman – Cold Fire Trilogy.
  • Harry Turtledove – The Videssos Cycle.
  • Jennifer Roberson – Chronicles of the Cheysuli; Sword Dancer.
  • Raymond E. Feist – The Riftwar Saga.
  • Louise Cooper – Time Master Trilogy; Books of Indigo.
  • Eric Van Lustbader – The Sunset Warrior Trilogy.
  • Patricia A. Mckillip – The Riddle-Master of Hed trilogy.
  • Lawrence Watt-Evens – The Obsidian Chronicles.
  • Angus Wells – The Books of the Kingdom; The God War.
  • David Farland – The Runelords.
  • L.E. Modesitt Jr. – The Saga of Recluse.
  • Steve Bein – The Fated Blades.
  • Patrick Ruthfuss – The Kingkiller Chronicle.
  • Jim Butcher – The Dresden Files.

I almost feel bad about leaving Wheel of Time off this list because it started out so good, but I couldn’t keep reading it much like Game of Thrones – They both grew into this huge web of story arcs that lost my interest.  Anyway, this is my list.  I do prefer my fantasy a bit dark and gritty, but they don’t all fit in that category.  Many of these books are a bit older, but hey, so am I.  Try a couple of these if you haven’t read them already.




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I am an Anime Junkie

I’m not quite sure why I’m so embarrassed to admit this.  Well, I know that I’m a grown man that likes to watch cartoons, and some people think that’s weird, but I’m starting to get old enough that I don’t care.  To tell the truth, I’ve never truly cared about what other people think, but I’ve always been introverted, which makes me predisposed to not share such information with the world.

So, I’ve always liked cartoons.  I watched them as a kid, I watched them as a young adult, and I watched them with my kids when they were young, but at some point I stopped watching cartoons.  My kids got older, and I stopped watching TV in general for a while . . . and then I discovered anime.

It took me some time to appreciate the form.  My first introduction to anime was several years ago when Sailor Moon was on American television.  My daughter watched it, and so I watched it with her.  She liked it so much that we bought her the first season on tape (yes, I said tape.  You know—VHS ).  I liked Sailor Moon okay, but it didn’t floor me or anything.  My daughter started watching other anime, but at this point she was a teen and watched it up in her room – it was the “parents are uncool” phase, or maybe we were disconnected.  It depends upon your perspective.

We connected again after high school, and I watched Pretear with her.  Again, I wasn’t blown away, but it was enjoyable.  Finally, a couple of years ago I procured a Netflix account, and I started checking out different anime shows, and realized how good they can be.  Check out Darker than Black: it is still my favorite anime series.

For me, the best thing about anime is that it is made for adults.  Not all of it—there is some goofy stuff coming out of Japan too, and I’m not talking adult cartoons, but cartoons produced with adults in mind.  I like the fantasy & sci-fi ones the most, but I like other genres as well.  Anime has helped me regain my love of cartoons without having to watch the stupid cartoon crap that’s out on American television.

So if you like cartoons, and you like a good story, give anime a shot.  There are so many to choose from, you’re bound to find a story you like.

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Hello . . . Hello . . . Hello!

Sounds a little echoy in here. (Yeah, I know that’s not a word.)  So my blog has been a bit empty lately.  I have no excuses, but I’ll make up a couple anyway.  I could say that I’ve been immersed in deep thought working on my latest novel.  I could say that I’ve been visiting family for the holidays.  I could say that I’ve been travelling for work an awful lot.  These are all true, but the real reason for my silence is Dragon Age: Inquisition.

I have been very busy with work and travel, but I’ve been spending much of my free home time with the latest Dragon Age game.  I’m not a huge gamer compared to many, but I do like to play on my PS3.  It is how I unwind in the evening.  Usually it might be one or two evenings a week, but since I got this game I’ve been playing too much.  There, I said it.  Luckily, my wife doesn’t read my blog, so she doesn’t have to know that I admitted my obsession.

I promise to do better, right after I beat the crap out of the big bad guy and his dragon.

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Stenson Blues Now Available

Stenson Blues Now Available

Stenson Blues, book 2 in the Kingdom of Haven series is now available on Amazon. Download it to Kindle or buy the paperback—either way, I’m happy. If you like it, please leave a review. I appreciate any feedback.

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May 29, 2014 · 3:04 pm

Coming in January — Stenson Blues: Kingdom of Haven Book 2

Coming in January -- Stenson Blues: Kingdom of Haven Book 2

Olaf the Unlucky

Olaf Stenson wasn’t exactly sure when his luck went bad. Most said it started the day he fell and twisted his leg out of shape, but that was only the final straw on his unhappy slide from favor. With the death of his parents at a young age, his grandfather killed, and his uncle exiled, the cards had been stacked against him from the beginning.

Olaf had accepted his fate until his long-lost uncle turned up with a kingdom. To change his luck, he must travel to the his uncle’s new domain at the farthest reach of the Seven Kingdoms, learn how to survive cut-throat politics – especially those of his own family, and help his uncle regain control of their vast financial empire. To make matters worse, he doesn’t have much time to do it. The Empire of Jewel is stirring in the east, threatening everything he hopes to gain.

Olaf is determined to earn a new nickname, but does he have the strength of will to overcome his own physical limitations and a lifetime habit of capitulation. Upon his success rides not just his own future, but that of his new-found uncle and the fate of the Seven Kingdoms.

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December 17, 2013 · 1:21 am