"There are always choices when you use your brain instead of your brawn." - Carmen Sandiego
Hall of Fantasy
- The Spirit of Tolkien
- Types of Fantasy
- The Nine Magics
- I am Ian E.S. Adler
- The Bookshelf
- Hidden Gems
- Song Triad
- Riddle Mastery
- Heroine Archetypes
- Champions of Light
- The Role and Proper Usage of Magic Thingamajigs
- GRRM the Anti-Tolkien
- Rumors of the Wheel
- Race in Fantasy
- The Power of Names
- LGBTQ+ in Fantasy
- Here Be Dragons
- The Final Lesson
- The History (& Golden Age) of Fantasy
- Fantasy Book Tiers
- Artist vs. the Art
- Magic vs. Mental Illness
- How to make your own System of Magic
- Golden Sun
- Contact Me?
- The Cynnahu Saga
- Winds Untamed
Saturday, October 1, 2022
Sunday, September 25, 2022
Okay, so a couple weeks back (more or less) I posted the about the third Editorial Review of my book The Last War (The Cynnahu Saga Book 1) done by Literary Titan. Well, Literary Titan always interviews the authors whose books they review, so below is mine. Here is a link to the actual interview on their website if you prefer.
To Create My Own Earthsea
The Last War follows five heroes as they embark on dangerous quest to rediscover the secret of the Elder Song. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
Strange as it may seem, I found out about the Elder Song a bare moment before Loremaster Aneirin did. I knew from the start that the five were going to summon the power of the Dragonkin using the Shrines, but how they were going to achieve that – i.e. the setup – was a mystery to me until a heartbeat before Aneirin heard of the Elder Song. However, while the setup came organically in that sense, the Cynnahu Saga itself is directly inspired by the late Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea Cycle; in short, her Archipelago inspired me to create my own.
I remember first reading The Earthsea Cycle in elementary school, hearing the mage Ogion of Re Albi say “To hear, one must be silent.” And I still remembered those words when I took the series up for a second and third time, years later. While the rest of my generation went to Hogwarts with Harry, I traveled by ship to the School of Roke with Ged.
Isn’t that interesting? I openly and sincerely adored Middle-earth and idolized the wizard Gandalf, but it was Ogion the Silent who I related to: “He spoke seldom, ate little, slept less. His eyes and ears were very keen, and often there was a listening look on his face.” I also remember being struck with the fact that Earthsea was an Archipelago, the first I had ever encountered in a Fantasy, with no true main continent to journey across; rather the journeying was done by ship, in the soul, and on different Isles each of which had a special distinction – its own personality, if you will. I was so struck that even at so young an age I decided that if I were ever to write a Fantasy book then it would take place upon an Archipelago. I knew I wanted a mages’ school, a ruling Archmage, and ships. Interesting is it not? I idolize The Lord of the Rings, yet never felt the need to create my own Middle-earth.
Your characters are all unique and detailed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
Most simply came to me, cliche as that sounds. However, I tried to have them represent something I felt needed a voice. Archmage Hoth is my idea of an ideal leader. Myrriden is a single father who is not afraid to show how much he loves his son and surrogate daughter. He represents rank, power and skill coupled with humility. Emrys is not unlike myself at his age, nervous and following the rules fervently, yet possessing an inner flame and smarts. He is not the stereotypical brash “boys will be boys” hothead and is instead deeply thoughtful. Sakura is a girl who had everything she loved taken from her in an instant, and now seethes with a need for vengeance. She represents trauma that takes time to heal but is smart and would fight to the death to defend her still living friends. Volcan is the mysterious and unwillingly funny figure you can utterly trust and who keeps surprising you, because every good Fantasy needs such a character.
Stormlady Mica leads the blue warriors because I have noticed that, in Fantasy, women tend to use their wits and magic while the men lead the actual glorious cavalry charge; women have the special powers while the men use swords. This is hardly an ironclad rule and, even if it were, there is nothing wrong with it – indeed I love countless books that employ this storyline tactic. But I wanted to flip the coin. I wanted a woman wearing armor and leading the land’s most elite warriors into white-hot battle while the men wrestled with matters of magery.
Loremaster Aneirin in the scholar in me, for I love historical research and adore archeology. Yet just as much he – and the grey nobles in general – portray my firm belief that the best societies are deeply aware of their own history and learn from their past. Instead of trying to gloss over or justify the genocide of the Dragonkin, most modern Cynnahu folk – thanks to the Loremasters – are appalled by their ancestors’ deeds. Furthermore, I prefer wars won in ways beyond mere military tactics and/or magic as otherwise it is boring. Which is why Aneirin uses his scholar’s training to unravel ancient mysteries, his work being crucial to the war effort and the quest for the Elder Song despite never fighting.
Did you plan the story before writing or did it develop organically while writing?
A bit of both. I had what I like to call beacons – major events I wanted to happen because they were turning points in the story – but getting there was up to me. I was like a ship captain sailing unknown waters towards the distant lighthouse then, upon reaching it, setting out for the next. So I planned the story insofar as the beacons went, but everything in between developed organically while writing.
This is book one of The Cynnahu Saga. What can readers expect in book two?
Book two, Dragon Guardians, will hopefully be out by this time next year. Hopefully. I am making no promises as life has a horrid habit of getting in the way, but the book is fully written – meaning all that remains to be done is editing. Indeed, even the rough draft of book three, Mages’ Legacy is complete.
Friday, September 23, 2022
“Crimson flags borne on horses of white, see them ride, ye children of light." – The Ballad of Eldwal
Vorodin's Lair, Book Two of J.V. Hilliard's Warminster Series is out! As some may recall, I wrote an Official Review on Book One, The Last Keeper, and loved it, so I am greatly looking forward to jumping back into that marvelous and unpredictable realm. After I finish the Nine Realms series by Sarah Kozloff, of course. In the meantime, I have a soft spot for book trailers (which is why I made one for my own), so here is something fit to get one netted and hooked on J.V. Hilliard's most excellent work.
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
I have, to put it mildly, spoken extensively regarding the Spirit of Tolkien that birthed and continues to run through the best of modern High Fantasy, as well as its conspicuous lack in the Grimdark genre founded by George R. R. Martin in what I name the Treason of the Intellectuals and Isengard. But I am not here to further litigate Fantasy literature today. Rather I shall post a musical rendition of the song "The Dragon Is Withered" which the Elves of Rivendell sing as Bilbo and Gandalf return to the Shire from Erebor at the end of The Hobbit, for I feel that it conveys so well that bright morality of Fantasy's Forefather.
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
The author invests much of the
narration with dialogue, creating a colorful plot and development
throughout the book. This technique gives the characters more dimension
so that we understand their motives, while the storyline never falters
and will keep you turning one page after the next. While this
action-packed, strategic tale follows what many readers may find to be a
familiar fantasy storyline, it’s a rich, vibrant tale with unique
characters and a fantastic world will keep you looking forward to the
Monday, September 12, 2022
What talent hides unseen within each breast?
Begrimed, bejeweled, and all the rest,
Till soothing sun calls forth a sleeping bud,
Or rain reveals the gold beneath the mud.
Saturday, September 10, 2022
I just finished Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta, the third and final book of her Lumatere Chronicles.
When I first began this series I had grimdark suspicions of it, yet not only was I wrong, it turned out to be one of the most memorable series I have ever read. A harrowing yet amazing Fantasy that is unquestionably unique in its own way and to the point that I do not think I have ever read such a tangle of love, pain, and politics. Filled with a heartrending magic in its curses, prophesies, and gods' blessed dreams, woven together with such emotion and complexity both political and arcane that it was at times surreal and always unpredictable, it was a joy, after so much death, sorrow, and regret, to watch love, peace, and forgiveness triumph as a new generation is born to Charyn and Lumatere.
A toast to Finnikin of the Rock & Isaboe of Lumatere, Lucian of the Monts & Phaedra of Alonso, Froi of the Exiles & Quintana of Charyn, Gargarin of Abroi & Lirah of Serker, Arjuro of Abroi & De Lancey of Paladozza (and his children), Trevanion of the River & Beatriss of the Flatlands, Perri the Savage & Tesadora of the Forest Dwellers, Sir Topher, Rafuel of Sebastabol, and of course Vestie of the Flatlands and Tariq of the Citavita and Jasmina of the River. You broke the curses and will beyond doubt bring peace to Charyn and Lumatere.