Tag Archives: fantasy

War of Nytefall, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you night stalkers and day walkers. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio. The only show that brings you characters from the books you love. We’re in for a real treat today, because my guest is the harbinger of a new race. Okay, it’s a race of vampires, but still evolution at work and all that. “Let’s give a big welcome to Clyde.”

“Thanks for having me. Though, it’s kind of strange having people outside of my gang giving me a warm welcome. Vampires aren’t really loved and neither are thieves, so the combination doesn’t make me many friends.”

“Glad to have you on. My notes say that you were once a regular vampire, but something happened during the Great Cataclysm. What can you tell me about that?”

“First, I’m going to admit up front that it wasn’t my finest moment. I wanted to really mess with the Duragians who are followers of the Sun God. They love destroying vampires, we enjoy killing them, and the cycle goes on for eternity. I was already on their hit list for a few treasury robberies and pretending to be their god for about week, which you’d think would get me more hate than it did. Anyway, my plan was to steal their holiest of items called the Orb of Durag. No idea what it did and I really didn’t care. The point was to take it out of their central temple and gloat for a couple months before tossing the thing into a volcano or something. I steal more for the thrill than the money.

“In my defense, the plan was a good one. I got their attention with some evil deeds and let myself get arrested. That way I was already in the temple and didn’t have to fight through the city. Now, Duragians execute vampires using four priests that use powerful sun beams to slowly tear the prisoner apart. I was supposed to pull off the heist before it got that far, but things went a little awry. Okay, I actually did start getting torn apart and then the Great Cataclysm hit. I was in too much agony to see what was going on, but I heard screaming and the ground shook. Next thing I know, the entire temple and city are sucked into the earth. I was trapped down there for fifty years, which felt like a lot more.”

“That’s terrible. Were you awake the whole time, conscious, whatever?”

“The thing is that the city and temple were intact, so everyone who survived the initial disaster were alive down there. I had about two hundred mortals to feed off of, which ran out pretty quickly. You don’t really imagine that you’ll be stuck in such a situation for very long, especially when you have friends up above. I had no idea the Duragians and hunters declared war on the vampires, so my gang was busy. There was digging the first year, but that stopped for some reason. I played around with my illusions and wandered around the ruins to avoid going insane from solitude. Not much one can say about being trapped down there with only your subconscious to talk to.

“It did have a happy ending, which turned out to be a chaotic beginning. The Duragians began digging again, but they only made the first hole bigger. I didn’t want to go charging out into another execution, so I stayed below. That’s when my old partner Mab finally arrived to check on me. I don’t know what she was planning as a rescue mission, but it failed nearly as badly as my Orb of Durag heist. Crazy woman is lucky she wasn’t killed and I got out to slaughter all those mortals. Probably would have jumped in earlier if I’d known I wasn’t the same vampire I was before.”

“Not the same, how exactly?”

“A little background info for the delicious folks at home. In Windemere, vampires can use magic and are physically superior to mortals. That’s as long as they stay out of the sunlight or wear a night cloak. Once you’re in the sun, you’re weakened and easy pickings for anyone that wants to kill you. I no longer have that problem, which is why I’m called a Dawn Fang. Knock me into the light and the worst that will happen is a sunburn, which is something I really thought was a thing of the past.

“That’s the thing that gets the most amount of attention though. Mortals would be terrified of a vampire that stays strong in the sunlight and Old World vampires use that as the main reason we’re abominations. Can’t say I disagree, but I’d say having a pulse and being able to eat real food are freakier. I mean, I get nourishment from blood, but I can also pack away an entire wedding cake for energy. Gregorio, my original maker, thinks it helps us maintain our monstrous physical abilities and special powers. Unlike Old Worlds, Dawn Fangs can’t use magic, but we each have three unique abilities that we can use. So, you never know what you’ll get with one of my kind.”

“That’s kind of cool, and scary at the same time. One person does not make a new race. How did the Dawn Fangs come to be?”

“To be fair, I never wanted to become a new race and was hoping I’d be the only one. It didn’t work out that way because of an accident. Somebody inadvertently . . . Okay, I’ll stop being nice about this. A situation arose where a friend was going wild and decided to take a bite out of me like I was the chef’s special. We learned that my blood can transform Old World vampires into Dawn Fangs. Not a good thing since I wanted to keep this whole mess a secret. While I haven’t tested it, we’re pretty sure a mortal can be changed through a special bite in order to be turned. I haven’t decided on if I want to do that though.”

“That’s a tiny bit gross. So what about children? Can you produce children who are Dawn Fangs? To me that makes a race.”

“I seriously doubt that since we’re still kind of undead. Even if the males got their parts to work, I don’t think the females would have any eggs after being corpses for a couple hundred years. Then again, it really depends on what you consider producing children. The mortal method might be beyond us, but changing someone by blood or fang is how all vampire species procreate. A fresh turn might have the body of an adult, but they’re technically a child in the eyes of our society. They need to be nurtured and taught like anybody else.”

“Earlier, you said Mab rescued you. That’s a pretty telling commitment. What’s the deal between you and her?”

“Well, I want to politely point out that she tried. If I can’t live my blunders down then she can’t either. That being said, Mab and I were partners before I ever made the gang. Has to be going on about five hundred years now that we’ve been doing heists as a duet. I wish I had more to say about our first encounter, but it wasn’t anything special. We were both vampiric thieves working the same territory and eventually bumped into each other. So, it started as a rivalry, which was made worse by her being in a guild while I was an independent. I suggested we go off on our own, which led to her demanding that I prove myself. That’s where this little golden necklace comes into play–”

“For our listeners, it looks like a little gold ear of corn. Go on.”

“This thing is actually worthless, but the guild master had given it to his wife or sister or some woman he lived with. I didn’t bother asking for a family tree when I took the thing from her in the middle of a busy marketplace. Not busy enough to hide in a crowd, so it was basically me pulling a lift in broad daylight with guards and merchants staring in my direction. Didn’t attract any attention either. Thinking back, that was probably the first heist I did for a thrill instead of the money. Well, a thrill and Mab.

“Our partnership did turn more romantic around the time our gang began getting more of a reputation. Guess we started to feel like mother and father to all the others, but we had a falling out of sorts. Nothing that ended the partnership, which is obvious since she was the only one who believed I was still alive in the ground. We had an anniversary coming up and Mab asked a friend who tends to remain nameless for seduction tips. The conversation got weird, the friend thought she was being asked to take Mab’s form to pull a seduce and switch, and the real one walked in at the worst time. Yeah, I’ll admit that as a master illusionist, I really should have seen through the disguise or at least noticed something was wrong. Took me about a month to grow all my organs back and the friend required two because she didn’t get out of there with her skin. I mean, Mab got so pissed off that she flayed the other woman and that led to bones get broken . . . Let’s just say vampires don’t hold back in these situations since we can survive a lot of physical trauma. We’ve even been known to snap the spine of a friend to stop them from rushing into a bad situation.”

“So what was the first thing you did when you re-emerged? Some people might go for a pizza.”

“The first thing I did when I got back to the surface was cut off my hair because it was down to my ankles. Needed clothes too and then there was figuring out why Mab took so long getting to me. After that, I had to visit an old friend in the city of Nyte for some business and to let everyone know I wasn’t dead. Once Mab and I realized I wasn’t a normal vampire, we went to where I should have gone in the first place. That would be to Gregorio Roman, who is at least two thousand years old and the vampire that turned me. The Old Fang is like a father to me and he’s easily the smartest person I know. If anyone could figure out what was going on with me, it would be that half-blind gnome. Good thing I brought Mab with me because he has this thing about hugs. He just loves them, but prefers it to be from women, which is why I take her along so often. Oh, she might be listening to this. Eh, I’ve gotten in trouble for a lot worse than that.”

“And now you’re trying to get the band back together. Tell us about that.”

“I don’t really understand Windemere any more, so I feel rather lost. Not a good thing for a guy who can punt an armored ogre over an entire castle. I figure getting my old gang back together is a way to create a sense of comfort and normalcy. Many of them are dead, but Mab, the Vengeance Hounds, and Decker are still alive. That third one isn’t a full member, but I trust the good General with my life. These people understand me and, at least if they learn my secret, I know they’ll help me instead of treat me like an abomination. If I can get in close with Xavier Tempest of Nyte too then it’s even less of a risk.

“The only problem here is that we have this messy war, so the gang won’t be able to do heists like the old days. We have to act as a special squad for Nyte, which means we’re more soldier and mercenary than thief. Still, I think we’ll get back to basics one day. For now, I’m happy to be back among friends who can prevent me from going full monster.”

“Full monster?”

“I’m not really sure how to explain this because it’s more a feeling than a concrete idea. That and it makes me come off a little weak and unstable. Even compared to the other Dawn Fangs, I’m insanely powerful because of what the Great Cataclysm did to me. The tradeoff for this seems to be that I’m always a few steps away from losing control and making ground chuck out of everything in sight. I mean, I just have this sensation in the back of my head that there’s a primal savagery aching to be unleashed. Part of me is tempted to let it out and see what happens, but I’m not sure it’s something I can come back from. This is another reason I want to be back with my old gang. With trusted friends around, I feel stronger and I know they’ll pick up on signs of danger. Worst case scenario, they put me down before I can go too far. It’s what I’d do for them.”

“I wish you the best in keeping the monster at bay. Any closing thoughts for our listeners today?”

“If you enjoy action-filled adventures and vampires that aren’t searching for jailbait then check out my story. I mean, I’m not a noble hero like that Luke Callindor kid and his friends, but I’m highly entertaining. By the way, I haven’t been on Earth ever since the author guy moved me to Windemere. Know where I could pick up a cheesecake and maybe a few pints of hospital grade blood?”

“Sorry, robot girl. No blood here.

“Listeners can learn all about Clyde and the Dawn Fangs in the book War of Nytefall, by Charles Yallowitz. This is the first volume in a series and is a great time to jump on board what promises to be quite the adventure. I’ll post all the info on the website after I go off the air.

“Don’t forget to use those sharing buttons today. Charles has done it for many of you, and he deserves a bit of payback now.

“For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

In the wake of the Great Cataclysm, a new predator will emerge from within Windemere’s shadow.

For fifty years, Clyde has been trapped beneath the earth while the vampire kingdom has been gradually losing its war against the Sun God’s followers. Only Mab believes that her partner survived his holy execution and is determined to bring him back to the city of Nyte. Retrieving the vampiric thief is only the beginning as he comes out of the ground stronger, faster, and possessing abilities that their kind have never witnessed throughout their ancient history. Thrown into the war, Clyde must be careful to hide his true nature while fighting alongside his old friends. Too bad he is having so much fun being free that keeping his secret might be the furthest thing from his mind.

Will anyone be ready for the inevitable rise of the Dawn Fangs?

Pick up your copy here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CBQXLBV/

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

You can find Charles on the following social media sites:

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz

Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

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Working away here

I intended to update last night, but with a great new review I felt like that served me better. Actually, I got three new reviews over the weekend, but Robbie blogged about it and that means a lot to me. (Thanks, Robbie.)

Over the course of the last two days, I’ve managed about 5000 new words on my project. My characters made it to their destination city and are researching their options. In the mean time, another assassin is lurking about. There is a bit of small monster mayhem going on too. My main character, James, has been approached by a man with a shady plan. The new guy calls himself Johnny Jump Up. This little encounter led to James going missing.

Johnny has a past, and I’ll weave a bit of that into the story later. Particularly how he came by the name.

This one is tentatively called Voyage of the Lanternfish, and it’s pirate themed. I made a general piracy board on Pinterest, and it’s good for inspiration. There are some great angler fish images there. I chose the term Lanternfish for my fantasy story. I’d love to share one, but I don’t want to step on anyone’s copyright. You may want to check it out on Pinterest.

In author terms, I’m fast approaching the end of Act One. This is where the plan fails and the bottom falls out. I’m really looking forward to getting there. The section I’ve been writing involves a bit of deep tension. I like to jump ahead and get to the action, but some scenes like this are necessary.

One of the tough decisions I made was to set this in a fantasy world. This was an attempt to distance myself from a certain popular franchise. This means I need alternatives to places like Tortuga. It also requires me to include a few fantasy creatures, like the owlcats I referenced a couple of times. I plan to glance off some of this, just to give the world some flavor. Things like saltwater bay frogs, and pelicanfish. I’ll come up with a few more, but may not use them all.

What I need to be doing is chipping away at some blog tour posts. I have another book ready to go, and I want to release it before summer, because summer has been pretty dismal in my experience. I need ten posts, and really need to start on them.

In other news, I wrote and scheduled my next Story Empire post. It’s up on Wednesday. I also exchanged enough material to complete another of Lisa’s interviews. I admit to pecking away at these. I’m a bit ahead of the game, so I’m using that time to work on my story.

My wife and I are both off tomorrow, and that usually doesn’t lead to new fiction. This may be a good time to start working on those promotional posts.

I’ve also neglected blog reading, Twitter, and the rest. Maybe I’ll spend some time catching those up.

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Why Windemere needs Champions, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Don’t touch that dial. No, seriously, it may be cursed now. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you the characters from the books you love.

We’ve had our share of evil warlords, fallen angels, and general baddies on the show before, but never one the gods took a direct involvement in. My special guest today is none other than Baron Arthuru Kernaghan. “Welcome to the show, Baron.”

“My pleasure to be here. It’s nice to interact with non-demons for even a little while.”

“My research provided me with a little bio, and it says here that you have an on-again slash off-again relationship with a woman named Zaria. What’s that all about?”

“To say my marriage to the Goddess of Purity is complicated would be an understatement, so I will try my best to explain the situation. We were both mortals and worked in a traveling circus. I was a beast tamer and she was the resident swordswoman, which was fairly unique during that time. She was chosen to save the gods and I, being her friend and eventual husband, fought alongside her. At the end of our travels, she joined their ranks and I was left behind with a broken heart.”

“So how does one go from human to becoming a god?”

“When the gods have openings in their ranks, they may choose a mortal with the properties to replace them. Other times, they will find a mortal who becomes so powerful that it is better to have them ascend. In most cases, it involves being chosen, which is a system that I have never truly understood. I prefer the exceptions where a mortal gains godhood by their own hand.”

“That probably put a damper in your relationship with Zaria.”

“I supported her rise until she helped create what is known as the Law of Influence. This states that the gods cannot get physically involved in the lives of mortals. I was now a mortal and my wife was a goddess, which meant we could no longer be together. My petitions fell on deaf ears and I was basically cast aside after sacrificing so much. Zaria did try to find a place for me among the gods, but nothing happened.”

“Okay, so off again. But you had a plan to undo the Law of Influence.”

“More or less. At first, I sought to create such an imbalance in Windemere that the gods would have to get involved. I became the greatest warlord in history with the hopes of proving that the Law of Influence was a mistake. As the years progressed and my plan did not, I turned towards conquering everything. If the gods have no followers then they have no true power and I would make worshipping them punishable by death. Unless I found a way to ascend myself and then I could make the gods pay in person. It helps to be flexible and change your goals as situations evolve.”

I dunno, Brain. What do you want to do tonight?”

“Pardon me?”

“So did that plan work out?”

“Not the way I intended, but isn’t that always the case? I had discovered a way to become the new God of Destiny, but the object I needed was lost. My forces were searching for it, including a young man named Gabriel. He came to me in the hopes of earning greatness and warned me of these champions destined to destroy me. Perhaps I was still a little naïve back then because I never realized that his true goal was to kill me himself and prove that destiny could be undermined. As much as I hate that man for targeting me and eliminating many of my children, I will admit that I like his ambition and goals.

“To continue the story, Gabriel did find me the Ring of Destiny and I took it before he could don it himself. That made me a god and I attempted to make the others suffer. At least, I went to Ambervale intending to do that, but my reunion with Zaria took precedence. She had a point that I could finally be with her and I enjoyed my brief time, but I was still far too angry that I had been left to suffer for so many years. After all, I’d promised my soul revenge.

“That was my mistake. I wasted too much time trying to live a life with Zaria that I had given up on and I was cast out of history before I could reach my goals. Some may say the conceiving of our daughter makes the experience worthwhile, but we’ve never had a close relationship. I do fear that the Law of Influence has hurt Dariana just as much, if not more, than me.”

“Seems like a strange path, but happy ever after, right?”

Not in the least. As some may realize, Gabriel is the current God of Destiny, which means he stole my title and power. He was angry about me trapping him in the Chaos Void and his mood soured even more when he realized the Law of Influence prevented him from killing me. I was only an immortal and not a god. His decision was to trap me in the Chaos Void and erase my existence from history. Imagine living forever and being locked in a cage where nobody can find you. It was worse than that.”

“Come on, Baron. They wouldn’t just arbitrarily decide to do that. What did you do?”

“Gabriel can be such an angry and immature child when he is wronged. He lashed out at me because I tried to kill him. I feel he also wished to show his power in front of the other gods in order to prove he was stronger than them. Do not think I am trying to say I am a good man or even a victim. I did horrible things that earned the proper amount of wrath. Torture became a hobby of mine and I sought to improve upon the trade as often as I could. Quite frankly, I have to be honest and say that I’d have been destroyed if that insufferable Law of Influence didn’t exist, but then I wouldn’t have turned to evil in the first place either.”

“So you’re making another play at getting on-again with Zaria. You do realize she’s the goddess of purity, right?”

“Sadly, I think I’ve run out of chances and we’ve both gone too far down our different paths. I do take some joy from knowing we had a daughter. Dariana may have been made into a champion and sent against me, but she is still a symbol of the life I could have had.”

“So how’s that going to work into your plan? Do you have to turn Dariana to the dark side or something?”

“Dariana is free to do as she wishes. I would like for her to join my side, but destiny is difficult to destroy. Free will does play a role, which means I must leave the final decision to her. That is not to say I will go out of my way to kill her like the other champions or even fight her at full strength if I must. Perhaps I can defeat my enemies and destroy Gabriel’s plans before Dariana and I are forced to fight to the death. Sadly, we’ve been put at opposite sides of the chess board.”

“Baron, I usually wish people the best of luck at the end of these interviews, but this time not so much. I hope you can reunite with Zaria and reconcile your differences with Dariana. She’s nice, I’ve met her before. I can’t wish you luck in battle against the Champions. That’s the best I can do. Any closing comments for our listeners today?”

“Thank you for your kind words and I understand why you would wish for me to fail. I seek the conquering of an entire world, but I assure everyone that I will only be cruel to those who stand against me. Ruling entirely by fear will lead to revolts and failure. I’d much rather lead through a strong grip alongside an air of kindness.”

“You can read all about The Baron in the Legends of Windemere series, by Charles Yallowitz. The final book is out now, and it’s called Warlord of the Forgotten Age. I’ll post all the deets on the website after I go off the air.

“Help your favorite robot girl out, and use those sharing buttons too. I think the Baron would do it for you, and Charles has shared and reblogged many of these episodes for his fellow authors.

“I’m always looking for guests, so if you have a new release, or a promo push, contact me and get your character on the show. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

Whether in darkness or light, every path inevitably comes to an end.

As Gabriel, the Destiny God, determined centuries ago, his chosen will face Baron Kernaghan for the fate of Windemere. Through many victories and losses, the champions have stood together and prepared for this great battle. Now that the Baron’s influence stirs those with evil hearts, they have run out of time and must travel to Shayd. Yet, there are more secrets for them to uncover before entering a battle where the only way to survive is surpassing limits and putting everything they have on the line. Through it all, Gabriel’s statement that he made them destined to fight, but winning was not set in stone rings in their minds.

Will the champions usher in an Age of Heroes or become the sacrifices for an Age of Darkness?

Book link-  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078KHZFSS/

 

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz

Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

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Beyond Barlow, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Hello all you Lost Boys and Merry Men, you misplaced children of all stripes. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show out there bringing you the characters from the stories you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today my special guest is Ford Barlow, he’s a runaway stepchild who falls in with a group similar to himself. “Welcome to the show, Ford.”

“Are you…are you of the gods…from out there?”

“In a manner of speaking. And where are you currently?”

“Right here. I mean, in the woods. I wanted to get away from the others for a bit, ya know? And I found this totem in this glade. I’ve never seen one like this before, with lady parts and all.”

“Oh yeah. Now please speak clearly into the ears of the magic totem. Now, Ford, what would make a young man leave his home so suddenly?”

“Well, I’m ashamed to say I made a bad mistake, you see, and someone got hurt, well, killed if I’m honest. I didn’t mean to! It just happened, so I had to leave. I took to these woods and been here ever since.”

“But I understand you’re not living like an animal. There are others in the forest. What can you tell our listeners… um, the spirit thingies about them?”

“Oh yeah! I met these folks ‘bout my age. They call themselves the Wayward Boys and they took me in, treat me good.”

“Camping out with your buds, and living off the land doesn’t sound so bad.”

“No, it ain’t so bad at all. We got along all right, but sometimes are better than others. Winter’s awful hard. Cold cuts right through to the bone and there’s never enough to eat. Whenever we wasn’t all bundled up in our hideout, we’d be out sniffing ‘bout the towns for this and that. I’m ashamed to admit, ma’am or mistress, we take from others now and again when needs must. But I tell you true, it’s not by want, not on my part. All I want’s to get my father’s axe back to him. I took it when I wasn’t thinking straight and, well, I just want him to know I’m better than that.”

“That’s kind of a deep well. Could you maybe slip back one night and leave a note tied around the axe handle?”

“Well, I can’t write and neither can any the Boys, and we don’t have nothing to write with even if we could. And besides, there’s something creeping around out there just now, something nobody’s ever seen before. It’s like demon’s magic or something. Don’t know what it is, but it ain’t good.”

“Ford, I really hope you can find closure with your father somehow. You have to remember that life goes on though. What do you think your future holds?”

“Don’t know…You’re of the gods, maybe you could tell me!”

“Well, um. I guess you have to accept your circumstances and make the best life you can. If you don’t like something, change it.”

“That would be nice… The Boys want to keep me around and I don’t know how I’d get away. Even if I did, where would I go? I couldn’t go back home. They don’t want me back.”

“That’s a problem, for sure. Maybe you can work your way up in the group and find a new life somewhere else?”

“Hmmm, that’s a thought maybe!”

“Any final thought for the, um, spirits today?”

“I just want to give my thanks for the help of the gods.”

“Thanks for, you know, entertaining the spirits today, Ford.

“If you want to read more about Ford and his friends, pick up a copy of Beyond Barlow, by Jason R. Koivu. I’ll post all the deets on the website. Please use those sharing buttons today to help spread the word. I know Jason would do it for you, and we could probably trick Ford into doing the same. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

blurb

Ford Barlow is banished from his home and the clansmen he loves after a tragic accident forces him into joining a band of thieving boys. Adventure and fun abound and it seems Ford has found a perfectly fine new home until a mysterious massacre chases the boys away from their beloved woodland hideaway. They pass through a magical and dangerous forest into the arms of conniving bandits. These vicious men and his conscience push Ford to the brink of his moral limits in Beyond Barlow.

Review snippet

“The story was so full of twists and turns that I had trouble putting it down…” – Jasmin Brooks, Amazon user

You can pick up a copy of Beyond Barlow right here.

You can catch up with Jason at jasonrkoivu@mail.com, or on his website.

 

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Warlord of the Forgotten Age

Charles Yallowitz is a good friend of mine. He has appeared on my blog many times, and me on his. If you are the kind who read comments, you’ll find us getting into some fairly deep topics on one site or the other. Charles has what I see as a major accomplishment. He’s completed the final volume of his Legends of Windemere series. As a writer of stand-alone books I am in awe. This series is epic fantasy, and epic in proportion at fifteen volumes.

Many months ago, we got into a discussion about writing characters of the opposite gender. This isn’t something that comes easy to every writer. Our discussion morphed into the following post, and it’s part of his blast to announce Warlord of the Forgotten Age to the world. Read the post, join in the discussion, and get your copy of the book. I’ll also note that if you’re one who likes to wait for completion before starting a series, this is the time to jump on the Windermere train.

Oh, and if you would use those sharing buttons, we would both appreciate it. I’ve released enough books to know that spreading the word is super important.

Thank you to Craig for helping me promote Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age, which is also the last of the series.  That works for the necessary sales pitch because I want to get to the fun.

A while back, Craig wrote a guest post for my blog about how he writes female characters.  This is a question I’ve seen come up a lot in forums with people asking members of one group how they write characters from another.  It’s almost like readers are surprised when a man writes a strong, interesting female character or a woman comes up with a great male character.  Although, more the former than the latter because many female authors admitted that they find heroes and villains easier to write than heroines and villainesses. By the way, ‘villainesses’ is a word that doesn’t get used nearly enough   So, where do I stand on this?

Honestly, I never really thought about it until now.  Since I was a teenager, I focused more on how the characters acted and evolved.  The gender was important only to denote romantic interests, pronouns, clothing, and physical appearance, but the core of my characters was to make them human.  My heroines had to be able to pull their weight on teams and have unique skills that made them stand out.  In my earliest stories, I gave all of my characters roles and the female protagonists did tend to fall into caster and healer roles.  Only recently did I revisit these characters and redesign all of them to flush them out more.  To be honest, the males weren’t any better, but I think most of us have started out with flat characters.

In regards to the women of Windemere specifically, I started with a character that was introduced in the connected D&D game.  Selenia Hamilton isn’t the best example of how I write female characters.  The reason is because she’s a tough, legendary mercenary who now runs a warrior school, but has eliminated her femininity to the point where she’s very masculine.  A lot of authors seem to think this is the way to go for a ‘strong, female’ character.  I considered changing her, but realized she’s one of Windemere’s pioneers in terms of proving women can be strong warriors.  So, it would make sense that she went this route and paved the road for characters like Nyx, Sari, Kira Grasdon, and Dariana. Does this mean Selenia Hamilton is a bad character?  Not in the least, but it does show one way I used to think when it came to creating tough heroines. The thing is that you do have people like this in the real world, so I don’t see why it would be a problem to have fictional versions.  I’ve met plenty of women who decided that the only way to get ahead is to act more like a man. So, here we have me observing different types of women (men too to be fair) and using the variety.  After all, not every character of the same gender has to be the same.

That’s really the biggest thing that’s helped me write female characters in general.  I look around to see how women respond to things, listen to what they would like to see in heroines, and watch for various personality traits.  This really began because of Nyx, who is easily the most powerful hero in Legends of Windemere.  Seriously, who’s going to try and tell her that she’s not?  Nyx started as my wife’s first D&D character and I worked with her to do the transition from game to book.  I had to keep the personality the same while making it deeper and more flexible since she was going to be facing monsters instead of finals.  It wasn’t easy because the game Nyx wasn’t nearly as powerful, but still ran into battle and tended to get knocked out in the first round.  Mages are NOT supposed to rush into hand-to-hand, which is why the book version knows how to fight and has a massive defiance streak.  This experience led to me doing the same thing, but it gets difficult with characters that don’t have a real-life counterpart.  For those, I paid attention to heroines and villainesses from movies, shows, games, books, and whatever else I could find. I was looking at how other creators handled female characters and went on forums to see what people thought.  Usually, I found more complaints than praise, but it helped me figure out the details.

After all of that, I still came up with one important fact that I use for all of my characters.  It doesn’t matter if they’re male or female.  I write about heroes who stand for good and villains who wish to do bad.  They’re motivations, personalities, and abilities might be different, but all of them stand for something more than what’s between their legs.  I want all of my characters to be seen as strong and flawed, which is why I pay more attention to the core than the fleshy coating.  Personally, I think that should be the goal.  Make a strong character of either gender that everyone can enjoy and you’ve done something special.  Thanks again to Craig and hope people check out Warlord of the Forgotten Age to see how Nyx, Sari, and Dariana do against the Baron.  Oh, I guess the guys will be there too.

Author Bio & Social Media

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

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All cover art done by JASON PEDERSEN

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Heartstone, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Hey there, all you casters and spell slingers. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my special guest today is Sylvie Sirx, of The Drowned Tower. “Welcome to the show, Sylvie.”

“Glad to be here, Lisa.”

“My bio doesn’t actually say this, but a girl can read between the lines. You have a conundrum. Your friend Jack wants out of the Drowned Tower, and you have a pretty sweet deal there. I mean, apprentice to the head of the Tower and his heir apparent. So, give us the scoop; are you going to leave with Jack or stay put for the big payoff?”

“You… um, you jump straight to the good stuff, don’t you? Well, I don’t hate that. But to tell you the truth, I don’t plan on leaving. I’m perfectly content where I am. Now, that might sound disappointing to all you listeners out there—and really, it is to most. You won’t believe how much backtalk I hear about my decision to remain, but like you said, Columbus Cephas, my master, is head of the entire Tower, a position that will be handed down to me upon his passing. Many have died achieving less. I know more than a dozen master-less practitioners that would jump at the chance to stand where I do.

“Besides, what’s not to like about the Tower? Practitioners are free to stay and live out their lives in comfort, regardless of talent or skill, so long as they abide by the rules of the Institute. Not a bad deal, I’d say. Their rules can be a tad stifling, but they aren’t entirely unreasonable.

“Still, what I want can only get me so far. Master Cephas is pushing for me to participate in the upcoming Choosing. An offer of apprenticeship in the Diamond Alps doesn’t come every day after all. Really, he’d be better off endorsing Jack. He’s been the obvious choice from the start, and more importantly, he actually wants to go.”

“Is there anyone you can talk to about this? I mean, I’ve met Jack. He’s a little brash, but he has some worthy goals. Is he running from the oppression of the Tower, or pursuing those worthy goals?”

“I can tell you this, if I’m still in the running at the end, I’d find a way to back down. What are they going to do? Drag me kicking and screaming all the way to the Diamond Alps? That would just be a headache for everyone involved.

“And Jack, he… well, he wants to do a lot of things. His dreams are grander than most. Certainly grander than mine. His lineage isn’t anything to scoff at either. A prominent family name will serve him well in the future—and he knows it. But it’s hard to say for certain what exactly it is he’s doing. He spins you around with a lot of talk and opinion, then gets upset when you can’t follow. If anything, I’d say he’s pursuing his goals in order to escape the oppression of the Tower.

“Rather than simply deserting and being chased for the rest of his days, he wants to change his world from the inside. But people fear change. They also fail to realize when they might need it. I doubt his views will be well accepted, especially in the Alps. He’s a bit like the First Zenith in that regard. A group of four practitioners that reformed the entire Institute, abolishing slavery and crafting many of the councils and regulations that we have today. Though Jack goes against most of them, the fact that he’s looking to change things through the proper means is worthy of respect.

“And look, ages later, the First Zenith are regarded as apotheoses. Worshipped across Ferus Terria with statues built in their honor. Oddly enough, I can imagine a statue of Jack somewhere with people kneeling in devotion before him. But whenever I think of them singing songs of praise, all I hear is him spewing a mouthful of Íarre curses in response.”

“Sylvie, maybe you can both take an internship at the Diamond Alps. That allows you to keep your master happy, and still hang out with Jack. Do you both practice the same kind of magic? That way you aren’t competing with each other.”

“We don’t. I’m a Conjurer. We control one specific elements all our lives—fire, wind, you get the picture. Jack’s an Elementalist, and Elementalists are a different breed entirely. They’re able to draw upon all the primal forces in nature and use every element to their advantage. They’re powerful, to be sure, but are the master of none types. The Elementalists are special in that they’re a dying breed. They’ve dwindled over the years, and no one knows why. So, every Elementalist that’s born is carefully watched after. Conjurers, in comparison, are more common and are usually trained in other skills to be more rounded.

“There are other kinds of practitioners, too. Healers and Amorphs. My older brother belongs to the former, which is self-explanatory. Healers carry ungainly grimoires on their person at all times, and most are trained in some form of hand to hand combat. Amorphs, on the other hand, can take the form of animals, though their eyes always remain the same—black and abysmal. There is a certain group within the Alps that are specifically educated in identifying and tracking Amorphs.

“While those are how practitioners are officially classified, there are also sub-types for those gifted with magic in their veins, but don’t have the ability to properly draw it out, or for those that simply want to pick up other skills. Embrocologists, for example, create tonics and salves. Gavinists survey the land and Enchanters use charms.

“But I’m just going off on you, aren’t I? Regarding what you first said, I suppose we could both go to the Alps, but I’m mostly set on staying in the Tower. It would have to be a truly spectacular offer for me to even consider going.”

“About that. My bio says you like to hang out in someplace called Archive 19. What’s so appealing about that place? I mean is it a cool bar or coffee shop?”

“No, nothing like that…”

“So, if it’s more of a quiet place, maybe you could ask the chick inside the rock you found.”

What! Jack told you about Her? Of all the—Silas’ holy pyre! When I get my hands on him, I swear… Well, since he’s already loosened his tongue, the rock is officially called a Heartstone. It’s an old, enchanted thing meant for storage. Use the proper spell, and you have your own tiny room for your luggage. Convenient, isn’t it? I thought so, too, but the one I found is… infinitely creepier. There’s a woman inside, no, surely she’s some kind of ancient, heinous being. She likes to whisper things. Riddles, mostly. The first time I heard her sing, my blood burned, as if she was calling out to me for— I… I think I’ll stop there.”

“I wish you luck in deciding which path you’re going to take. Any last thoughts for our listeners today?”

“I know Jack had a segment before me, and even though he’s prickly, he can be persuasive when he wants to be. Don’t let him corrupt your views of the Institute too much. He’s only expressing the opinion of one side after all.

“With that said, if any of you happen to come across him, send him to my archive, would you? I have more than just a bone to pick with him.”

“You can read all about Sylvie and Jack in The Drowned Tower, by Nicholas Rinth. I’ll post all the links on the website.

“Help me keep the lights on around here, by using those sharing buttons on the way out. It’s simple, it’s fun, you get to help someone. I know Sylvie and Nicholas would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

“If the future was bared before you, would it still be yours?
If the past could chase you, would you run from it?
If the world crumbled tonight, would you carve your own?”

Freedom is out of the question for practitioners of the Institute, and any supporters otherwise are dealt with violently. A system Sylvie Sirx neither refutes, nor endorses—born from an enviable family, talented in her skills, and entirely too content with her position, her path has always been a straight one… until now.

Her qualifications backfire when an elder from the north descends upon her home for a Choosing. He calls upon the Drowned Tower’s most sought after practitioners for a simple job that ends in blood, and then Sylvie’s blissful world erupts. She finds herself in the company of the Elementalist, Jacques Dace, an insufferable but deadly enthusiast of personal reform. Together, they’re swept into a spiral of powerful magic and ancient grudges. Where truth bends, stones whisper secrets of the past, and their home lies at the heart of what could very well be Ferus Terria’s next recorded war.

And for once, she is forced to choose a side, learning for herself what it means to master fate.

 

Author Bio:

Nicholas Rinth is the author of Sitting in Silence and the NA fantasy series, Heartstone. He currently lives lakeside in the southern graces of Savannah, Georgia, where he spends his time fantasizing about other worlds and working on his next novel.

LISA BURTON RADIO: JACK INTERVIEW

Contact Nicholas Rinth:
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The Drowned Tower is Available for Purchase Here:
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The Idea Mill #31

It’s been a long time since we visited the Idea Mill, here on Entertaining Stories. I’ve kept my eyes open for articles, and they haven’t been all that good lately. In typical fashion, I  always wait until I  have three – but two good ones show up at the same time, leaving me with four.

If this is your first visit to the Idea Mill, I  have a category in the sidebar where you can check out the previous posts. I  use push feeds to send me news about things that might help my fiction. Think of them like Muse food. I  can’t possibly use them all, and maybe something will bring your own Muse to the table.

Our first article involves humans returning to the moon one day. Scientists have long speculated there might be underground lava tubes on the moon that would make a great location for a human colony. A team of Japanese and American scientists proved the theory, and they even identified a suitable location.

In speculative fiction, you can always change things up to suit yourself. Maybe you want Mars instead; shouldn’t be a huge leap of faith. Maybe you want some basis for a fantasy where one of your races lives in underground colonies. This could be a starting point for your research.

I really like the image in the article that shows a huge underground cell holding a city the size of Philadelphia with plenty of room to spare. If you think of Earth’s atmosphere as being similar to an ocean, then why couldn’t you fill the entire cell with oxygen and allow the inhabitants to moon-hop without space suits? I think I could sell that in a story. If you get plants to grow, they might even help with the oxygen. You can read the article here.

That giant cell where the people must live is also a perfect setting for horror of some kind. Help is a long way off, and you can’t just run away.

Our next one involves a new finding that the squirrel fur trade may have helped spread leprosy in medieval England. I think what amazes me the most is the idea there even was a squirrel fur trade. I mean squirrels never seemed to make much of an impact on the red carpet decades ago when fur was in fashion. Marilyn Monroe never posed snuggled inside a squirrel fur stole and nothing else. I can see trade like this spreading diseases way back then. They didn’t have some of the regulations, FDA, and other folks watching over them.

Need a fantasy character who hasn’t been done to death? Tired of burley woodsmen and handsome princes? How about a squirrel fur trader? How about a bunch of orphans who catch squirrels to survive? Could there be a fur trader’s guild in your fantasy city? Maybe even a guild war when opossum fur starts becoming more economical?

Learn about the spread of disease by squirrel fur trading at this site.

Our next article involves an idea that’s been floating around for a long time. Mosquitos carry a lot of diseases that are harmful to humans. They are also hard to control using current methods, because the old methods were so devastating to the environment. When I first read about this, the idea was to introduce a deadly mosquito venereal disease into the larger population in hopes that it would kill them all off. That idea never went away, it seems. Today it’s back with a new hair-brained basis. The FDA has approved a method of using sterile male mosquitos to introduce into the wild. In theory these would mate with the bad mosquitos (apparently the bad ones are always females) leaving all the eggs as duds.

Now, if this could actually happen, repeated treatments could lead to an extinction of the bad mosquitos. Their method cracks me up, though. They will produce these mosquitos in a lab, then hand separate the males from the females, before boxing them up to ship to areas where Zika and yellow fever are prominent.

If they’re going to use labor to hand separate the mosquitos, I almost think they’d be better off to send that same labor into the swamps with fly-swatters. Anyway, you can read the article here, then we’ll speculate about it.

Maybe you caught on to the term in the article about weaponized mosquitos. If they can manipulate the little buggers to this extent, it isn’t much of a leap to turn them into biological weapons to use against humans. Some of this might even play into my next novel that I’m going to call Grinders. (I need to give it some thought.) Maybe you write thrillers, and can pit the CDC against a terrorist cell utilizing weaponized mosquitos to carry out its evil plans. Maybe you want to project this out a few years and have the Endangered Species Act trying to protect the now-endangered bad mosquitos. It could be CDC vs the Endangered Species Act, while the terrorists are getting away.

Like I said, I hold some of these articles for months, then always seem to get two at the last moment. This time is no exception, so we have one more. Where the mosquito article bordered on mad science, this one moves right in and sets up shop. Scientists have been merging human and rat brains in a laboratory. They even have a cute name for the human parts called organoids.

This one plays right into my Grinders novel, and I already have rats involved. The article explores the idea of ethics and rights if the animals are part human, and questions what kind of consciousness they might have. I’ve got news for them, all animals are conscious to a degree. They all protect their babies, understand the need for food and water, and many are much more incredible.

Writing a courtroom type story that’s reflective of the Scopes Monkey Trials, one where eventually a rat testifies, seems like low hanging fruit to me. It could be good, but it’s just not what I write. I can see a plague of intelligent rats causing all kinds of problems. Maybe they set up street gangs and start taking lunches from school children. They form organized raids on restaurants and bakeries. Maybe they even fight back by using swarms of biting rats to kill those who oppose them.

It wouldn’t take much of a stretch to use other species if you have the science behind this project. You could go all Michael Chichton on the story. Read the article right here.

One of the fun parts, and it gets harder with four articles, is to rough out a story using all the articles. I have space, a medieval fur trade, and two modified animals to deal with…

A colony of humans is living on the moon in a fully functional underground city. They are dependent upon Earth for many of the things they need for survival. These people are dependent upon a line of super intelligent rats to help them delve deeper into the lava tubes. The rats can explore places we cannot go, and assess whether it’s worth digging through to the next area.

It’s cold on the moon, and the rats want something warmer than their natural fur. A shipment of squirrel fur arrives from Earth, and a cottage industry is born – making fur coats for rats. The fur is infected with a virus that is deadly to humans. The best hope is in the form of modified mosquitos that will transmit a cure for the disease. However, the cure is deadly for the rats.

While the ship carrying the cure is on its way, the rats rise up to destroy the humans before they can destroy the rats.

That’s it, some ideas to kick your Muse in the pants; check. A corny outline to have some fun with; check.

I’ve got to say the last two have me thinking, and I think the Research Sirens are on their way to the writing cabin.

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