Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Introducing The Good Friends and Great Reads blog prompt

Looking for a new idea to jump start your blogging?

Of course you are!

Steal my Good Friends and Great Reads blog series idea and get some extra promotion from Her Ladyship's Quest.

What to do:

Write a post with this blog prompt: Describe and examine a friendship between characters in a novel. Authors - use your own novels. Book Bloggers - use a favorite novel. Post can also include a short excerpt illustrating the friendship. You can use my puppy book graphic or develop your own.

Next, tell me about it so I can mention and link to your "Good Friends and Great Reads" during my blog series that runs from August 1st to September 20th.


Starting Thursday August 1st I will begin an 8-part weekly blog series examining the many friendships that develop between characters in my fantasy series. Book lovers who appreciate character driven fiction can get to know the main characters in my novels and hopefully get intrigued enough to visit my web store Brave Luck Books and download an ebook.

Schedule for my Good Friends and Great Reads blog series:

August 1st - Dreibrand and Tytido
August 8th - Dreibrand and Shan
August 15th - Shan and Taischek
August 22nd - Dreibrand and Faychan
August 29th - Cruce and Gehr
September 5th - Amar and Urlen
September 12th - Urlen and Demeda
September 19th - Madame Fayeth and Atarek

Questions? Leave me a comment and I'll reply as soon as I can.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Golden Dice – A Tale of Ancient Rome by Elisabeth Storrs

I'm happy to announce the release of The Golden Dice by Elisabeth Storrs. I read The Wedding Shroud the novel that preceded this story and reviewed it quite favorably. Storrs is a gifted writer who weaves fascinating details from the ancient world into her stories. Please read about the novel and make time to read her wonderful stories.

The Tales of Ancient Rome series chronicles the events of a ten year siege between Rome and the Etruscan city of Veii after the marriage of a young Roman girl, Caecilia, to an Etruscan nobleman, Vel Mastarna. The first book, The Wedding Shroud, ends when war is declared. Newly released, The Golden Dice continues the story seven years later at the height of the conflict. In addition to following Caecilia who is now the matriarch of the wealthy House of Mastarna, two other strong female characters are introduced: Semni, a young Etruscan girl, and Pinna, a Roman tomb whore. Past readers of The Wedding Shroud will enjoy visiting Etruria again while others might like to venture into this world for the first time to learn how three women of the ancient world endure a war. 

About The Golden Dice

During a ten year siege between two age-old enemies, three women follow very different paths to survive:

Caecilia, a young Roman woman, forsakes her city by marrying the Etruscan Vel Mastarna, exposing herself to the enmity of his people and the hatred of the Romans who consider her a traitoress…

Semni, a reckless Etruscan girl, becomes a servant in the House of Mastarna, embroiling herself in schemes that threaten Caecilia's children and her own chance for romance

Pinna, a tomb whore, uses blackmail to escape her grim life and gain the attention of Rome's greatest general, choosing between her love for him and her loyalty to another
In this second volume in the Tales of Ancient Rome series, the lives of women in war are explored together with the sexuality, religion, and politics of Roman and Etruscan cultures, two great civilizations of ancient history.

You will find more information on the background to Elisabeth’s books in this post on her blog, Triclinium. The Wedding Shroud and The Golden Dice are available on Amazon or via other retailers listed on her website. And Elisabeth would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Book Review of The Anvil of the Craftsman by Dale Amidei

A doctoral candidate in Theological Studies accepts recruitment by a friend in the US State Department for an initiative to the most troublesome province in 2006 Iraq.

I both enjoyed this novel and admired the quality of the writing. At the end of every scene I felt the urge to keep reading. The story was revealed in an effortless flow. Characters were either easy to empathize with or mysteriously fascinating.

In the beginning the novel introduces Jon Anthony, a doctoral candidate in theology. His dissertation is rejected in a heart wrenching series of scenes that let me share in how bereft the character felt after having his life's work rejected. With student loan bills piling up, he ends up taking a contract position in the U.S. State Department headed by Colby, an old college friend of Anthony's. This is how Anthony ends up in Iraq, working as a cultural and religious advisor.

The setting in the early years of the Iraq War make the stakes high and the landscape dangerous. The character of Matt Kameldorn enters the story in Iraq. He's a U.S. Air Force Major who stalks Al Quaida agents and plotters, gathers intelligence, and sometimes assassinates targets. He reminded me a little of the main character in Apocalypse Now, but Kameldorn was not as troubled. He was good at what he did and worked hard to try to save the lives of the people on his side of the war. Kameldorn is presented with fascinating technical accuracy as he employs various surveillance devices and uses weapons. The street scenes in Baghdad came across as very authentic too, and the danger was palpable.

The way the novel also peered into the minds of terrorist cell leaders and the people they recruit was quite gripping. The evil manipulative nature of these leaders who cared nothing about spreading ruthless bloodshed was darkly interesting.

Later in the novel when Kameldorn and Anthony become acquainted and work together on a State Department mission, I was very impressed with the flowering of the Kameldorn character. He had initially been interesting because he was a lone wolf warrior and good at what he did. But in Anthony's company more of his personality came out. The two men hit it off a bit and develop a mutual respect for each other. The warrior and the philosopher created stimulating foils for each other and I enjoyed the chance to see a bit of humor in Kameldorn instead of just the deadly serious stuff.

The Anvil of the Craftsman is a political thriller. It's not the type of novel I usually read, but the title caught my eye. Yes, the title. I just loved that phrase and discovered that the author writes novels as well as he names them.

For a thoughtful, exciting, and well crafted read, I recommend The Anvil of the Craftsman.

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/113403

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Anvil-Craftsman-Jons-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B006K9Q4W8/

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-anvil-of-the-craftsman-dale-amidei/1107713680?ean=9780984025114

Dale Amidei website http://www.daleamidei.com/

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I Rode the Knight's Horse at Black Rock Medieval Fest

I make no secret that I enjoy a nice Renaissance Faire, or Black Rock Medieval Fest as they call it at the Olde Town Village in Augusta, Michigan. When I saw that the performing jousting knights were selling rides on the majestic Percheron horses I got in line. Was I deterred that only little kids were doing it? Nay! I had never been on a horse that big before and I wanted to know what it felt like.

According to the Percheron Association of America these horses "range in height from 15 to 19 hands high, most are between 16-2 and 17-3 hands high. They can weigh up to 2600 pounds with the average around 1900."

That is a very big and powerful horse! If you look at my photo you can see that the horse's back is about the height of the man's head, so I was sitting almost 6 feet up in the air. The view was tremendously different up there. I definitely felt superior to the low class underlings scurrying about on the ground. From the back of that horse, I could easily imagine myself as the lord and master of my adoring serfs.

The raw muscular power of the horse moving beneath me was an impressive sensation. That horses so often willingly share their power with us never ceases to amaze me. During my short ride on the horse named Billy I imagined the Knight in his heavy armor charging on this noble beast and swinging a weapon. That is not something I would ever want to face. When a knight on a war horse is coming at you, I strongly recommend retreat.

Later in the day when I watched the jousting performance I empathized with the Knight who was unhorsed. That was a long fall he took and I shudder to think what it does to one's back when you slam into the ground encased in metal.

Black Rock Medieval Fest is still going on every weekend through August 4th. If you're Southern Michigan go have some fun. The performers are full of joy, the vendors have many interesting wares like swords and corsets, and the woods are lovely and shady.

I'm the author of 8 fantasy novels set in Medieval style worlds of magic. For some epic reading and lots of action with warriors on horses visit my web store Brave Luck Books. Free ebook samples and bundle discounts are available. Ebooks, Print, and Audiobooks are available worldwide.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Union of Renegades by Tracy Falbe included in Smashwords RWA Promotion in Atlanta

I'm pleased to announce that I've been included in the promotional package that my distributor Smashwords is sharing at the Romance Writers of America convention in Atlanta, Georgia July 17th to 20th. Convention visitors who pick up a bag of goodies from the Smashwords team at the convention will get a thumb drive with over 100 free romance ebooks in epub and Kindle formats, including Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I by Tracy Falbe.

This is the most romantic of my epic fantasy novels. It begins the love story between Dreibrand an ambitious military officer and Miranda an escaped slave. They become a power couple that will rule a vast realm but not without terrible risks and grim sacrifice.

Please see the whole announcement at the Smashwords blog:

Smashwords: Smashwords Romance Authors Promoted at RWA Atlanta...: Attendees of the Romance Writers of America national convention in Atlanta this week will discover a special treat.

Union of Renegades can be downloaded for free at Brave Luck Books. Additionally there is an audiobook version too, available worldwide. 

Fun excerpt about temple virgins from fantasy novel Judgment Rising

Judgment Rising: The Rys Chronicles Book III is also available as an ebook worldwide.

In this excerpt Sandin Promentro is at a banquet before he leaves to campaign again in the Wilderness that separates the Atrophane Empire from the lands of the magical rys.

When Sandin had first returned home from the historic journey into the unknown world, the attention and respect from his people had been welcome, but now he was anxious to return to the Wilderness and leave their awe behind. Their curiosity had grown tiresome after five years and the same barrage of excited questions was hitting him again.

“Lord General, are the western creatures really magic?”

“Lord General, what does a rys look like?”

“Lord General, will you make a treaty with these magic creatures?”

“Lord General, is the King of Jingten as great as I have heard?”

Sandin looked directly at the person who asked that question and said, “Greater than you can know.”

The people who heard his answer paused thoughtfully as if trying to imagine something they could not.

Finally, he reached his table and settled down with his close associates, who were more accustomed to his fame. He held the chair for Haley, and, as she sat down, he noted the silver that now mingled with her golden curls. He wondered if any of the gold would be left when he returned to Atrophane. Even at mid-life, Haley was a beautiful woman and Sandin was proud of her. She maintained their political connections superbly and she raised their son well. Haley really embodied his Atrophaney existence, but he could never fully join her. Nothing heated his blood like empire building, like claiming foreign lands and soaking up the power of leading an army and knowing that he was the ultimate law. He imagined it as being Darmar without most of the hassle.

Servers came by with more wine and the first course of food.

Watching the girls go by, Haley commented, “I suspect that these temple virgins may not be as chaste as their title implies.”

Carfu, who sat on the other side of Sandin, joked, “Why Lady Triesto, I believe that is covered by the don’t ask, don’t tell policy.”

Sandin shared in their laughter but then scolded his wife for starting rumors.

“I never started a thing with a temple virgin,” Haley insisted and got another laugh.

Ebook available at Brave Luck Books

Monday, July 15, 2013

Magik and Mayem Massive Fantasy Book Giveaway Drawing

During the Magik and Mayem Giveaway Blog Hop you can discover new authors and their splendid fantasy novels and enter to win great prizes.

Prize #1 from Tracy Falbe

Here at Her Ladyship's Quest you can win a PRINT PAPERBACK copy of Judgment Rising. Comment at this blog with your email address to enter my drawing. (You must have a U.S. shipping address to qualify.)

A paperback copy of this 5-star rated epic fantasy could be yours. Comment at Her Ladyship's Quest from July 15th to 19th to enter the drawing. (U.S. shipping address required.)
Prize #2 Main Prize Package

One lucky winner will receive all of the following. PLEASE USE THE RAFFLECOPTER FORM TO ENTER DRAWING FOR MAIN PRIZE PACKAGE.

Ebook Yseult by Ruth Nestvold
Ebook bundle Season 1 Boreal and John Grey by Chrystalla Thoma
Ebook bundle Dark Elf by Willo Nonea Rea
Ebook Caitlin's Book of Shadows by Juli D. Revezzo
Print book Raingun by John Blackport
Ebook Aundes Aura by Ryan Sullivan
Ebook Seeking a Scribe by Marsha A. Moore
Ebook bundle The Underground Trilogy by Anna Kyss
Ebook Rune Breaker by Landon Porter
Ebook Judgement Rising by Tracy Falbe
Ebook The Chosen by Annette Gisby
Ebook New Zealand with a Hobbit Botherer by John & Annette Gisby
Gift certificate for amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hop all of the author's blogs for more prizes and more entries for the main prize package!


Sunday, July 14, 2013

My blog tour in review

The prize has been awarded and the review stops are over for Rys Rising: Book I. I picked up 4 positive reviews, 2 of which got added to Amazon US and 1 was added to Barnes & Noble.

Hopefully these reviews will help me gain a few new readers as time goes by.

My favorite part of the tour was interacting with the questions left at the blog.

One commenter asked me who was my favorite character to write?

This was my response:

"It’s so difficult to say who was my favorite character to write. So many of them please me in different ways, but since I have to pick I’ll say that Amar was a thrilling character to write. He’s a winner and gets away with things, and I adore the fantasy of being an outlaw."

Another person wanted to know if my novels were young adult. 

I suppose they're not, but it's hard for me to know what young adult is. Does that mean an 11 year old or a 16 year old? If I'm to believe new research about brain development, then a young adult is 25 years old.

Anyway perhaps "young adult" is code for no sex, so I said that my novels are not labeled young adult because they have sex in them. Of course when I was a teenager I loved coming across sex scenes in novels, so kids that are curious about sex should read, read, read!

I enjoyed doing the blog tour, and appreciated the help of Goddess Fish Promotions. It seems that these tour companies have become important for reaching book reviewers, who are too booked up to respond to requests from individual authors.

I'm certain to do more blog tours in the future. I think they are a good tool for gaining extra exposure and reviews on top of my steady trickle of guest posts that I arrange myself with other gracious bloggers.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Art of Shaping a Story

Today I welcome guest blogger Aramis Barron. He's originally from Michigan just like me, and claims the very bookish city of Ann Arbor as his hometown. He's the author of Roaming Cadenza and Dustland Requiem. He's obviously put a lot of thought into the craft of storytelling and he shares his insights today. 

The Art of Shaping a Story

by Aramis Barron

Many authors I’ve spoken to over the years talk about how hard it is to put a good story together (though I doubt they’d openly admit it).

They have these brilliant ideas in their head that just don’t seem to translate well to paper.

Sure enough, if you look through the number of one-star and two-star books on Amazon, for example, you’ll see a number of stories with great teasers but poor ratings. Why is that?

I think Patrick Rothfuss (New York Times bestseller and author of “The Name of the Wind”) described it best when he talked about “the shape of a story.”

It isn’t just having a great idea, or premise, or whatever else that gets the job done, but how it’s packaged and presented—stories are, after all, art.

To illustrate this point, I’ll be discussing Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane,” so if you haven’t read it yet, you may want to stop here (and pick up a copy of the book—it’s wonderful).

Without giving too much away, the book explores the recounting of a man’s unusual (and traumatic) childhood experiences. We learn almost nothing about him before he tells us of the people he’s come to visit, and begins to backtrack to what he considers “the beginning.” The story progresses, at times with after-the-fact notes from the narrator (which become particularly important near the end), and finally concludes with him going about his life.

At first read this sounds pretty generic, and to an extent it is in order to avoid spoilers, but the takeaway is how Neil chose to shape his story. For example, why have the main character remember the events rather than just experience them first-hand, like most stories? In this case, it’s because the protagonist’s memory itself is a plot device, and that alone changes the entire dynamic of the story. This also allows Neil to jump around a bit, and provide an adult’s commentary for a child’s perspective (since the protagonist is recalling his childhood). Were this story written from a contemporary perspective rather than past experiences, much of the storytelling—the atmosphere—would be lost.

So to anyone having trouble putting a story together, I offer this: look at the shape of the story. The characters and plot are important, but just as much so is how they’re shared with your audience.
Other than that, I’ll offer one other piece of advice (from Neil Gaiman, no less):

Write. Finish things. Keep writing.

Aramis Barron is the author of the Bard’s Folktale series, the most recent of which, “Dustland Requiem,” was published June 2013 and is available now on Kindle and Smashwords.

Roaming Cadenza: 

Dustland Requiem:

About Aramis Barron

Aramis Barron is an American writer, originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, who focuses on novels and short stories with a side of poetry. When not in search of new things to scribble on, he’s doing what people do best–leaving a good story.

Roaming Cadenza: 

Dustland Requiem:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Book Bloggers Get Their Say About Rys Rising starting July 8th

Thank you to Goddess Fish Promotions for arranging a review-only tour for my fantasy novel Rys Rising: Book I. I appreciate the time and effort the participating bloggers have taken to read the novel and write up their honest reviews about it.

The blog tour runs from July 8th to July 12th. Readers will be able to enter the prize drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card during the tour.

These are the host blogs:

(I'll update this list with the direct URLs to the reviews as they are published throughout the week.)

If you've read Rys Rising and would like to leave a supporting comment at any of these blogs, please do so. You can even enter the prize drawing. I'll be monitoring the blogs all week to respond to any comments or questions that are left about the novel during the tour. 

About Rys Rising: Book I

Onja can control what others see. The day will come when everyone sees things her way.

This unique epic of complex heroes and villains engulfs readers from many angles. Packed with primitive energy, the intertwining stories of this fantasy world will indulge your cravings for intrigue, bravery, desire, and freedom.

Read more about the novel and the whole series at Brave Luck Books
Currently available as a free ebook right here at this blog

Also get the paperback in these countries:


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

2 New Audio Chapters from The Goddess Queen released

Listen to this sample from Chapter 23 The Road to Jingten. 

Then enjoy the next 2-chapter episode from The Goddess Queen fantasy audiobook. The novel is well on its way to being completely recorded. Until then support the production and buy mp3 audio episodes at Brave Luck Books.