Category Archives for Fantasy

Obsidian Son – BOOK REVIEW

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I’m angry at Shayne Silvers over Obsidian Son, book one of The Temple Chronicles. I’m angry because I spent last night reading this book when I should have been working. I have too much of my own writing to do to go down this rabbit hole. Fear not, though, fair readers! The second draft of Vigil is 50% done, and I should have it finished by this weekend (consider joining the Order of the Sword for details on how to get a free advance review copy). That book will still be out on time in mid December. Still, I greatly enjoyed Obsidian Son.

First of all, Nate Temple is a great character. Unlike so many of the men in current Urban Fantasy, he’s not whiny or emo. I do have to admit that at the very beginning of the book I worried that he would turn into a hipster douche. And he does, in fact, carry shades of that. But only shades, and Silvers takes the character to a far greater depth. But it’s not just Temple himself. The supporting cast really breathes life into the story. Gunnar the werewolf and Indie the “Regular” stood out to me, in particular.

One thing I find particularly fascinating is the way in which Silvers incorporates several themes that I also hit upon in War Demons, while still writing a book that’s vastly different than what I wrote. It’s always fun to see similar subjects approached in new ways, and I really enjoyed Silvers’ touch on the topic.

The plot didn’t carry many surprises, but that never bothered me. At every turn I enjoyed the ride well enough that I didn’t mind a predictable destination. And one particular plot twist that I half-expected from the first quarter of the book never happened – thankfully. I might have taken off a full star if it had gone down that way. Sometimes the paths an author doesn’t take matter as much as the ones he does.

This is easily a five out of five star book. If you love urban fantasy – especially the kind with solid, masculine leads, Obsidian Son book is for you. Personally, I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series.

Paragons – An Anthology of Superheroes

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Look – up in the sky!

They awe us. They fill us with wonder. But most of all, they inspire us – to be stronger, faster, and smarter. Superheroes teach us how to aspire to the best versions of ourselves. Enjoy this master collection of collection of 13 tales of all-new, all-original superheroes from today’s up and coming science fiction and fantasy masters!

When the police fail to take down the super powered mobs a rogue vigilante steps up to the plate in Nightstick by Kai Wai Cheah. Peek in on a superhero marriage proposal via Blackout by Morgon Newquist. When a young nuclear engineer gains superpowers, the Soviet government wants to control her for the sake of the motherland in Stalina by Sam Kepfield.

Enjoy these tales and more by Alt-Hero novelist Jon Del Arroz, Dragon Award and Hugo Award nominee Kai Wai Cheah, Dragon Award nominee Declan Finn, and others

Paragons – An Anthology of Superheroes will be available for only $0.99 through Saturday, November 3rd – so get yours now on Amazon.com!

Lyonesse Volume 1

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Psychics, time travel, gods, and sci-fi battle angels.

A woman with the power to raise the dead. A man stranded on another world, fighting all alone for a lost cause. Zombies invading New York. Alien artifacts. Sci-Fi battle angels. Samurais fighting demons. Interplanetary detectives and lost unicorns.

Read all these and more in this amazing first volume, collecting works from the paradigm shifting short fiction service Lyonesse.

Featuring Dragon Award nominees Declan Finn, Kai Wai Cheah, and L. Jagi Lamplighter

Includes the following 16 short stories:

    • Four Weddings and a Funeral by L. Jagi Lamplighter
    • The Dreaming Wounds by Anya Ow
    • The Dragon’s Teeth by David Hallquist
    • Zombie Jamboree by Declan Finn
    • The Artifact by Dean Abbott
    • We Bury Our Own by Kai Wai Cheah
    • Number 43 by Jonathan Ward
    • The Last Winter by A.R. Aston
    • Shini Tai by C.L. Werner
    • The Case of the Unicorn by Nora M. Mulligan
    • The Harsh Mistress by Mike Murphy
    • St. Lucian’s Star by Dawn Witzke
    • A Day Without the Horned Goddess by Kieran McKiel
    • In Another Life by Morgon Newquist
    • Moonset by S.D. McPhail
    • Mile High Murder by Declan Finn

Get Lyonesse Volume 1 today or tomorrow for only $0.99, before it jumps to full price. Or subscribe to Lyonesse directly and get access to our entire back catalog (including these stories and more), plus an entire year’s worth of new stories (1 each week!) for only $6.99!

A Place Called Hope – BOOK REVIEW

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I absolutely loved A Place Outside The Wild, Daniel Humphreys‘ Dragon Award nominated debut novel, even though I don’t normally go for zombies. So when Mr. Humphreys offered me an early preview copy of the sequel, A Place Called Hope, I absolutely jumped at the chance.

This story picks up very closely where the first book left off, and it hits the ground running. The primary story concerns Pete, the amputee Marine, and Charlie as they set off on a new mission to bring some real Hope into their world. The stakes are high and compelling, and the characters are just as fun as ever.

The story focuses more heavily on the Marines this time out. On the one hand, that was really fun. On the other, it leads to my two actual complaints about the book. First, the title is excellent and a wonderful followup given the ending of the first book. But despite the title, very little of the book actually takes place in Hope. Second, I really missed Miles.

I strongly suspect the sequel will deal with both of those issues, however – especially given some of the revelations at the end of this book. And boy, are there some doozies!

If you loved the first book, this worthy sequel won’t let you down. I give it five out of five stars, and I can’t wait to see what Humphreys has coming next!

Cursed City – BOOK REVIEW

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As I prepared to publish and market my latest novel, War Demons, I set out in search of other, similar novels. Cursed City by William Massa quickly rose quickly to the top of my list. It turns out that male leads represent an endangered species in urban fantasy novels. Many of the books sold in the genre should actually sit in the paranormal romance category. I hold nothing against that, but War Demons doesn’t fit with that crowd at all.

Neither does Cursed City. Book one of Massa’s Shadow Detective series, this book packed in the fun. It’s pulp as hell, and I mean that in the best possible way. Mike Raven, the hero, provides a welcome breath of masculinity in an estrogen dominated genre. Furthermore, he lives up to the primary duty of a protagonist: he’s interesting.

The writing is simple and straightforward. At first, that worried me. But a few chapters in it became clear that the simple writing is intentional, in the tradition of the old school pulp writers. This kind of deliberate simple writing is actually a challenge to accomplish, and it makes the book very accessible. And if I hadn’t already overcome that objection, the twists in the final act more than compensated.

A quick, thrilling read, this book started in the middle of the action and only paused for a few breaths along the way. I give it four stars out of five, and I look forward to finishing the rest of the series. I highly recommend it to fans of male led urban fantasy. It’s available right now on Amazon for only $0.99, or you can pick it up for free on Kindle Unlimited like I did.

[Cross posted on PulpRev.com.]

Fade – BOOK REVIEW

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Longtime readers will already know that I’m a fan of Daniel Humphreys work. They’ll also know the caveat that I have to provide: Dan and I “attended” the same online writing class from Larry Correia, and we’ve participated in the same closed Facebook group that resulted from that class. He’s also provided an excellent blurb for my new novel, War Demons. With that said, these are my honest opinions on his first urban fantasy novel, Fade.

Fade is book one of the Paxton Locke series. Paxton Locke, unsurprisingly the series’ protagonist, suffered a rather unfortunate childhood. I can’t go into that too much without spoiling the book. Suffice to say, he also developed a bit of magical power. As the book begins, he’s using that power to help rid unfortunate people of the traumatized ghosts that haunt their homes. But then one of those ghosts gives him a message from beyond the grave. Everything hits the fan from there and the plot explodes.

I don’t actually want to say a lot more than that, because this book has a ton going for it in the plot department. Paxton Locke manages to out-Dresden Harry Dresden. Read it for yourself and enjoy it.

I loved Humphreys’ A Place Outside the Wild enough to give it five stars even though I’m not a fan of the zombie genre. I am, however, a fan of the urban fantasy genre. When you add Humphreys’ fantastic writing to a genre I love, the result is truly amazing. I blew through this book faster than I could blink, and my only complaint is that Dan is busy writing the sequel to his zombie book instead of this one. Thankfully, he’s nearly finished with that book, so we should be getting the sequel to Fade sooner rather than later.

If you liked War Demons, you should definitely check out Fade while you’re waiting for the sequel. It won’t disappoint you. This is one of the easiest five star reviews I’ve ever given.

War Demons

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Today I’m very pleased to announce the launch of my debut novel, War Demons.

When he came home, so did they…

Driven by vengeance, Michael Alexander enlisted in the Army the day after 9/11. Five years later, disillusioned and broken by the horrors he witnessed in Afghanistan, Michael returns home to Georgia seeking to begin a new life. But he didn’t come alone. Something evil followed him, and it’s leaving a path of destruction in its wake.

The police are powerless. The Army has written Michael off. Left to face down a malevolent creature first encountered in the mountains of Afghanistan, he’ll rely on his training, a homeless prophet, and estranged family members from a love lost…

But none of them expected the dragon.

Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden collides with Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International in this supernatural thriller that goes straight to Hell!

 


 

I’m very happy with how this ended up for my first book. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what early readers have to say:

  • Recommended for anyone who enjoys the more action-packed branch of urban fantasy, particularly if they wish for more explicitly Christian protagonists and story worlds without wanting to inflict the glurge of official Christian Fiction™ on themselves.
  • The twists and turns don’t stop and the reader will rarely, if ever, see them coming. Michael, Peter, Jim, and Abby are all well developed and dynamic characters. None of them leave the tale the same people they were when they came in. Newquist knows how to create tension (every chapter ends with a cliffhanger), but he makes sure you care about these characters before he literally throws them into the fire. War Demons is a fun quick read that will leave you looking forward to more from the world of Michael Alexander.
  • An excellent first novel. It has its own flavor, but I’d compare it favorably to the Monster Hunter Chronicles by Larry Coriea. Guns and monsters, good stuff.
  • Mr. Newquist has delivered a solid debut work in the vein of early Larry Correia or Jim Butcher. Fans of the latter two authors will devour War Demons.

You can get your Kindle edition through Amazon today for only $2.99, or free with Kindle Unlimited. If you still prefer the feel of physical books, you can get the paperback for $9.99.

Vigil: First Draft Complete

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Time for a writing update, and the news is good! The biggest news is that I’ve completed the first draft of my next novella, tentatively entitled Vigil. That title is subject to change, and the text itself still needs to go through editing. Vigil picks up one of the two paths left hanging at the end of War Demons and runs with it. The working start of the book description:

There’s a demon in the church.

When Peter Bishop received the Sword of Saint Michael the Archangel he understood right away that dragonslaying would be part of the gig. After all, he first bonded with the blade while fighting a dragon back home in Georgia. And when there’s dragonslaying, saving damsels kind of comes with the territory. But he never expected he’d have to rescue a damsel from a dragon under an ancient medieval church in France. On Easter Sunday. During the Easter vigil mass.

Now Peter’s stuck eighty feet below ground with the damsel, a faithless priest, and a little girl to care for. Thankfully, the stray dog showed up to help.

The extraordinary mashup of Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files continues in Vigil.

Look for Vigil in December. It still needs a strong editing pass, a cover, and some other work before release.

Next on the agenda is Spirit Cooking – book two of The Prodigal Son series and the direct sequel to War Demons. The outline is about 80% done, so I’ll hit the ground running later this week or early next.

Congratulations 2017 Silver Empire Dragon Award Finalists!

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Three Silver Empire and Lyonesse authors managed to score an impressive four Dragon Award nominations between them. How’d they pull off this feet? Our own Declan Finn managed to score two all by himself!

Silver Empire authors who received nominations this year include:

Ms. Lamplighter also served as editor for my own upcoming novel, War Demons.

In addition, two future Silver Empire authors also received nominations this year.

Congratulations to all of these fine authors for their well-deserved nominations!

I’d also like to say congratulations to my personal friends and friends of Silver Empire who also received nominations this year: Richard Paolinelli, Brian Niemeier, Vox Day, and John C. Wright.

Hymn of the Pearl – BOOK REVIEW

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Last Friday, an unexpected gift appeared in my e-mail inbox: Brian Niemeier’s new novella, Hymn of the Pearl. Full disclosure: in case you didn’t guess from the previous sentence, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. As a longtime friend, this flew straight to the top of my reading list.

Unlike most of Brian’s previous work, this one is short. It’s also a quick, easy read. Given my current schedule, I liked that. Other readers might find it disappointing. Then again, at $2.99 its price reflects that.

Brian’s use of fate as the mechanic for a magical system utterly fascinated me. Given how much fantasy work is out there that I haven’t read, this may not be truly original. But it was new to me, and I really enjoyed it. It drew me in and left me with a lot of unanswered questions. The author, however, clearly understood the system and had it all mapped out. That made it function well in practice.

Even more, the interplay between the two competing “classes” of wizards made for some interesting thought. It carried the weight of an honest religious argument, but without the baggage of real world religions to bog it down.

The author also skillfully weaves personal character struggles with sweeping political entanglements, and the threat of an actual war hangs over everything.

This book kept me fascinated from the beginning. If you’re a fan of Brian’s earlier works, you’ll definitely enjoy it. If you haven’t read his others, Hymn of the Pearl is a great place to start. Highly recommended. 5 out of 5 stars.

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