Touch the light. Hold the light. The light burns. The light runs away. Hold the light. Lock the light away.
The great spirit Vatu keeps the Sun in a box, where no thief can steal it. Once a year, the box is opened and life springs across the dark lands. The whole world belongs to Vatu. He is darkness, he is master of all. There is no hiding from him.
But Utas must try, for his daughter’s sake. She is sick from darkness, and yet she glows with a mysterious light. If Vatu can find them, he will destroy them, or worse, drag them back into his mad, dark world. Torn between duty and mercy, between justice and freedom, Utas tries to escape, but it seems inevitable that the darkness will reclaim him.
For the greatest mercy and the greatest punishment Utas can suffer is to return to his true self.
Author David Rae lives in the West of Scotland. He lives in a world of his own; a world of wonder, a world where hoards of workers spill out of factories, a world were fog and smoke shroud all kinds of creatures, a world where ruined castles, factories and houses were haunted by ghosts, gangs and memories. He lives in world where witches have been burned at the cross and martyrs have been hung on the Gallowgreen. He writes poetry and short stories and reads every trashy novel, every children’s book and every comic that comes his way.
David recently chatted with me about his remarkable story:
Is there an Author you consider your inspiration? Just one? I was that geeky, spectacled boy that always had a book under his nose. I’ve read and read my whole life. As a boy I loved Tolkien. I also love the classics. My current favorite is Amin Maalouf. If you have not read SAMERKAND then get a copy now.
What Inspired you to write your book? CROWMAN is inspired by the Native American myths about the sun being kept in a box and freed by the crow. Once I started to think about what such a world would look like, the book began to form in my head. I lived near the arctic for a few years, and I got some insight into what a world with no sun is like. It’s a lot brighter than you’d think. The moon, the stars, the northern lights and the reflection of light from the snow, all become very important. I even learned to tell the time by the position of the moon.
Although it’s often hard to select just one, do you have a favourite or least favourite character? In CROWMAN, my favorite character is MUKITO. He’s a young bandit boy who once he meets up with UTAS and ERROI changes his outlook on life. He’s not always the smartest, but honest with himself and in the end shows a great deal of bravery and resilience. The story would have been very different without him
My least favorite is GUTUZO who is a greedy, cowardly bully. He abuses his power and the people around him. He is completely self-centered.
Which one of your characters would you like to meet and why? In my latest project, I have a character called Tito. He is a bit clueless and gets into all sorts of trouble, but his heart is in the right place. He’s usually the butt of someone’s joke or victim of someone’s scheme yet somehow always lands on his feet. He’s sweet and innocent and very kind. I wish I was like that.
What is the hardest part of editing- grammar checks, reducing content, or something else? I am terrible at editing. I use all sorts of soft-wear and text to speech but I always miss something. The hardest part is not to get discouraged. No one ever wrote a first draft that didn’t need work. Thank God for editors, I say.
If you could live in a book, which one would it be- why? Well, I would not want to live in CROWMAN. It’s an interesting world for sure, but it’s a harsh world and it’s ruled by an evil spirit. Life is cheap there, and did I mention no sun.
What’s exciting you about your next project? I’m finishing the Sun Thief trilogy, CROWMAN is book one and CROWTOWER comes out in June. I’ve started on CROWBAIT, the final book, and I am surprised and excited at the way things are heading in that book.
OH I cant wait for these follow-up! Thank you so much for sharing some of your insights with us. I truly wish you all the very best success with this unique and amazing series.
My Recent 5-Star Review!
I was intrigued by this metaphysical dark fantasy from the moment I read the description. Uniquely named characters and concepts drew me in immediately and filled my mind with questions and lush imagery…a masterful book blurb to say the least!
Vatu, the great spirit of darkness. I could see him, an ethereal and all-consuming shadow intent upon absolute control. Utas, the hopeful apparition fleeing from himself, and his beautiful daughter who is delicate and mysterious. Their plight pulled me along. I was invested in their harrowing journey, their disappointments, their hopes. Symbolism and spirituality are illustrated like characters, filling the narrative with thought-provoking themes that made me pause and consider.
As father and daughter make their way, they are joined by a melange of artfully created characters: Erroi, the warrior, whose body and spirit are independent of each other and who travels in dreams. He is beautifully silent and deliciously mysterious. Mukito, a boy whose cruel stepfather has left him few alternatives other than thievery. The innocent Zintoa, and noble Eskanza. The characters are elaborate, simple, fully-developed, flawed and entirely captivating.
The narrative is rich with unfamiliar people and places, intriguing me page after page. Dialog forms much of the story, yet there are descriptions that whisk the reader away. Poetic tangles of dream-like reveries adorn the journey, some so intricate and imaginative I simply had to read them again….and again! There were times I wasn’t sure what was reality and what wasn’t and I was reminded of an episode of STNG, ‘Masks’, where the hunt of Masaka and Korgano parallels the birth of Athena at the Parthenon.
Mythological and magical, Rae’s Crowman is a masterpiece of epic fantasy, conceptual and allegorical fiction in which I would willingly immerse myself book after book after book.
I hope you’re intrigued and will take a moment to look David up:
Connect with David on Twitter: @DRDVDRAE
Let me tell you a little about the beginnings of creating this story. I’m thirty years old now. But the idea for The Journals of Ravier series started back when I was fifteen. It was in the Fall, the first week of school. Oh yeah! I almost forgot to mention I was homeschooled K – 12th grade. Though not an ideal way to grow up, as I spent a lot of time alone, I survived. A lot of things happened, prior to school starting that year. I was never the same. This story helped me to stay sane, during a time in my life when I was lost and lonely; hurting so, so bad inside. I needed an escape. And I got it through writing that first horrible, ugly draft in a spiral-bound notebook. It’s true what the battle-scarred authors say. First drafts are never pretty. The original story began with something like this: ‘What if horses had wings, and could fly? A boy once found this horse, and he named her Angel. He found her in the woods by his home. A boy named, Tyler Craven. This is their story.’ Not a good beginning, I’ll admit. But it was a beginning.
In 2005, around the time Hurricanes Katrina then Rita hit, is when I made the start. It was such a sad year. Yet a good year. Lovely Texans opening their hearts to their Louisiana neighbors . . . that was a beautiful thing. Recently home from a lengthy visit to Texas, my heart was bursting with so many emotions. Through it, I found a love for writing. And here I am, fifteen years later. My third book will be out, at the end of this year or sometime at the start of 2021.
In 2013, I changed the focus of the story. I made it better. Closer to what it is now. Caucasian Tyler Craven became Tyler Malik Ravier—half Caucasian, half Iraqi. Angel was renamed to Awngelic and then finalized as Awngeleik, similar in sound to the name of Angelique. I won’t even mention what Gemma Galloway’s name used to be. I will say this, however. Tadashi’s name was Ted! Amira was Gloria. All the characters were Caucasian. But I changed that, in 2013. Started thinking of new things. New names. New storylines. Then I wrote a rough draft, in 2015. That draft became the foundation for the first three books in Tyler Ravier’s series.
I’ve spent countless hours dreaming of the landscape of Muraine, tweaking it as needed . . . I wanted something unique. See, I grew up in a place with few trees around. Southwestern Wyoming. Always took twice as long for trees to grow to a “normal” size. It was a place at risk of droughts, well, quite a lot. Very dry. Unbelievably windy. Lots of snow, in the winter (usually). As you can imagine, I wanted a place vastly different to escape to. A place with lots of trees. Hence, Paragon was born. A model of excellence. The ideal sort of place I’d love to escape to. I later realized it needed a foreign name. Therefore, Pawv’Ragaen it became. I think that was in 2014.
Writing the books in this series has been a wild ride. I never thought I’d be an author. Though I’m self-published, I’m proud of it. Proud of the work I’ve put it. My writing isn’t perfect, but it is heartfelt. I’m honored to be the author, who’s steering Tyler’s story. Being a writer is so many things, really. I hope the product of my imagination wins you over. And know that I’m just warming up. I can feel it. Tyler demands that more be said than what the three books contain. And who am I to stand in the way of an amazing story being told through his eyes? Truly, there are days I simply feel like the characters are writing the story. That I’m their voice. Lol! I feel what they feel. I laugh with them, cry with them, cheer for them. As they grow, I grow. Not the other way around. Being a writer has changed who I am, as a person. I’m better, kinder, stronger. I actually like who I am. I didn’t, before. I simply existed. But that’s not living.
In parting, I must tell you . . . if you want a dream badly enough, chase it. Don’t give up. Just know that it takes time. Persevere.
J.R. Vaineo is a self-published indie author, residing in Salt Lake City, UT. In 2018, she published her first book: Kings of Muraine. When she’s not writing, she and her husband, Jessie, have many adventures together. Mostly in cooking, hiking, photography, analytical talks, and fawning over their two adorable fur-babies.
While J.R. Vaineo writes mostly fantasy fiction—combining elements of epic, portal, paranormal, and dark fantasy—she enjoys reading all genres; except, perhaps, for horror stories. After finishing a creative writing program, through the Institute of Children’s Literature, she continued to improve her craft of writing. In 2013, she graduated with her AA degree in psychology. During that time, she expanded on many things, especially focusing on what would prove invaluable for fleshing out characters and plot twists. What started out as a writing prompt, in 2005, has now become a nine book series she is currently working on: The Journals of Ravier. Sometimes, she is quite jealous of the characters’ abilities, found within her own writing. If that is a sign of anything, it is this: Obsession.
All the best,
Find Julie on:
Where to Purchase
Barnes & Noble:
Thank you so much to Julie for taking time out of her busy schedule to share her story with BnV and Word Mongery and Musings 🙂
Book reviews are a marvelous thing. For an author, each one is the Holy Grail; an invaluable treasure we are ever searching to acquire. Yet, I have found very often after reading a review that I want to know more. Whether the review is for one of my own books or a tale I want to learn more about, I am always left wondering what else the reader thought.
Limited in most cases to under 300 words, reviewers typically choose and use their lexicon wisely, but how do you adequately summarize a daring adventure, sweeping romance, or beguiling mystery of over 100K words with so few?
Being a creative problem solver, I have thought about this repeatedly, wondering how to free the reviewer of the constraints of social media attention spans and give them the opportunity to pontificate pleasingly and profusely.
Here enters the Reverse ‘View. Note the apostrophe, please. It’s placement is intentional. Not only does this title indicate what you are about to see or read is not what you might anticipate, but it denotes, in this case, the omission of the letters INTER.
How often have you read an author interview? Come on now, be honest; how often have you actually read the entire thing? I confess, I’m as guilty as most, but what if I interviewed YOU? We do it all the time. We ask each other what we thought about the movie we saw over the weekend, how the restaurant we went to compared to others; we even ask each other about books we’ve read.
We interview each other. So why not interview READERS about the books they’ve read? This is what you want to know…not what the author wants to tell you to make you buy it, but what the reader thought. Was it good or an epic failure? Did you read it all in one weekend because you couldn’t put it down? Why? What made it so good?
Now, imagine if YOU could read the reader’s interview and then ask them whatever it is YOU want to know. It a nifty notion, not? (Ok, I love alliterations, but ‘lest I digress..) Enter the Reverse ‘View. An interview of a reader. An interactive interview! Interested? (sorry, it was right there!)
Before I lose you…In the coming weeks (and months, depending on how much YOU like them) I will be posting a series of Reverse ‘Views. Interviewing readers about books you may or may not have ever heard of… and giving YOU the opportunity to ask them questions too (in the comments, of course!)
I hope you will enjoy them. I hope you will join them. And, of course, ultimately, I hope you will read them 🙂
Beautiful photograph found on Pinterest. Credit Gratefully Acknowledged to the Original Photographer and Artist. Thank You.
The Kalis Experiments (Tides Book 1) Kindle Edition
by R.A. Fisher
Syrina is a Kalis: a master of disguise, assassin, and spy. Her kind has served the High Merchants’ Syndicate for a thousand generations.
She receives a surprising gift from her master, and she realizes something isn’t right. The High Merchants don’t do anything without a reason.
When things don’t add up in an otherwise normal investigation, she follows the trail to the steam-powered city of Fom. There, she learns of a machine that could end civilization a second time.
Will Syrina stave off disaster, or seek revenge?
My 5-Star Review:
An absorbing Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Steampunk/ mystery saga that makes me wish for a T.V. Series!
The Kalis Experiments, Book One Tides, has opened a brand-new world of Sci-Fi adventure. The world building is immaculate, in-depth, and so original I found myself re-reading entire chapters just to fully appreciate all the subtle details and intricacies R.A Fisher has woven into his exceptional tale. The main character is equally unique, well-conceived, and thoughtfully introduced, allowing readers to identify with her despite her alien nature.
Thoroughly enjoyable and written with a likable prose style, I am eager to see where the author takes the story through the rest of the series.
I’m honored! Just discovered this #5Star #book #review of #DarkFey The Reviled
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The novel established an exciting fantasy world
July 16, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition
I love to read unique texts, and this one certainly is one. The author has a voice and an interesting style of writing, which complimented this metaphysical novel. I enjoy fantasy, especially one that deals with fey or elves, and this one beautifully merges the world of the light and dark fey. I enjoyed the development of the characters, especially the main character Ayla, who won my heart right from the start due to her empathy and genuine willingness to help. I found the character of Gairynzvl most entertaining, as he is the one who keeps being tested throughout the story. There’s a constant tension between the main characters as well as the darkness and light sides, which keeps you turning the pages.
The novel established an exciting fantasy world, and since it’s the first in the series, I look forward to read on.
Review by SacredGeometryBlog
THE REVILED: Book One of the Dark Fey Series, by Cynthia A. Morgan, is a five star read. It is a fantasy with some very unique characters and an imaginary world. It reflects real life battles between good and evil. There is love, friendship, determination and loyalty. The story is very engrossing, entertaining and an enjoyable read.
Book review by International Writers Inspiring Change
A wonderful review of my first book, The Reviled
A thought provoking and compelling dystopian world that will change the way you view justice…
A man fights for life—and redemption—in D. M. Cain’s riveting new novel, The Phoenix Project.
Britain has descended into chaos as violence and terrorist attacks seethe across this once-peaceful country. Outraged by the steady stream of lawlessness, citizens demand a harsher penal system, and the Phoenix Project is born.
In prisons across the country, inmates fight to the death in a weekly bloodbath while the nation cheers them on.
Raven Kennedy, a prisoner who has never forgiven himself for his unspeakable crime, struggles against his own guilt and self-loathing. But even as the real war wages on within himself, Raven is forced to battle some of the prison’s most ruthless killing machines. Can he survive long enough to unravel the anger and regret that shackle him—and one day find the forgiveness he seeks?
After reading the book’s cover description, I was already intrigued to learn more, not only about the history of this futuristic society where brutality has become the norm, much as it had been in Roman times, but also by the main character, Raven. It did not take long to connect with his tortured soul as he was beautifully and lovingly developed; his pain and the trials he faces to survive, outwardly and inwardly, are poignant and marvelously developed in a story that delves far beyond the gladiator theme I originally envisioned.
Aptly named, The Phoenix Project tells a stirring, vivid tale of a self-destructive soul who eventually discovers Hope and Renewal through the inspirations and insights provided by those he meets on his journey. Entertaining, yet thoroughly provocative, Raven’s story captured my imagination and, very quickly, my heart. I unreservedly gave this book 5-Stars.
D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for US publisher Booktrope. She has released two full length novels: The Phoenix Project – a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future, and A Chronicle of Chaos – the first in a dark fantasy series. She is currently working on the next novel in the series, ‘The Shield of Soren’, and a novella to accompany it. You can read more about her via her Amazon Author Page here: http://www.amazon.com/D.M.-Cain/e/B00LTTX3PA/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
And you can grab your copy of The Phoenix Project Here: https://www.amazon.com/Phoenix-Project-D-M-Cain-ebook/dp/B0195A6AYK
I hope you enjoyed this review, the first of more to come 🙂 After all, we cannot grow if we do not make the attempt, right?
As soon as Jean stands in the sun’s ruby light, a world of darkness draws him and Princess Linka in. The Nordic royalty – albino Eternals of myth – transport their guests deep beneath the Arctic ice to the legendary city of Hvit.
Their mother, Queen Serena, offers the pair sanctuary, but all is not right. Betrayed by the royal family and almost drowned in an orca hunt, Jean must leave Linka behind. His mood is darker than ever and the world will feel his fury. Renewing old acquaintances, Jean must solve the mystery of who manipulates him and the deepening saga of his parents’ deaths. Now, Jean fights for more than just himself; he fights for love.
Once again, aided and abetted by the increasingly manic Merryweather, and the mysterious beauty that is Princess Aurora, Jean seeks retribution. Both hunter and hunted, trapped between wolves of land and sea, all directions point north. Jean must return to Hvit, the cloying, lavender stench of death, and the never-ending quest for blood.
Having thoroughly enjoyed my initial foray into author Richard Ankers unique vision of a futuristic vampire tale brimming with gothic imagery, steampunk ingenuity, and engaging, well-developed characters; I was eager to immerse myself yet again into the shifting landscapes of Earths far distant future. Told in first-person voice by the lead character who is neither grotesque vampire nor human, Eternal Lord Jean relates his tale through a seductive combination of cynical mirth and revealing honesty.
In this second installment of the distinctive trilogy that seamlessly pairs a vampire tale with dystopian, sci-fi and steampunk elements, Jean finds himself in the legendary city of Hvit, home to the incomparable Nordic Royalty: Albino Eternals who live amid the wastes of the Arctic in a close-knit community and unexpected brutality. Jean quickly discovers how valuable any alliance with the Nordics can be, particularly the newly introduced, mysterious Nordic Princess Aurora.
For me, the graceful, immensely powerful, often stoic Nordics ‘stole the show’. I found myself repeatedly reading the passages that described their super-human (and even super-vampiric) capabilities; their enigmatic home deep in the ice of the Arctic plain, and their shocking hunting prowess. Nordic Prince Grella became an immediate favourite, as his brooding personality and unpredictability left me eager to know more about him.
Jean’s quest to understand the truth about those who try to manipulate him, as well as the truth of his own life, leads him full circle, which is as metaphorically ingenious as it is compelling reading. I highly recommend delving into this little-know gem of a tale!
Bravo, Richard! Again!
Learn more about book one of the series in my review of The Eternals
By Mary Yarde
War is coming to Saxon Briton.
As one kingdom after another falls to the savage might of the High King, Cerdic of Wessex, only one family dares to stand up to him — The Du Lacs.
Budic and Alden Du Lac are barely speaking to each other, and Merton is a mercenary, fighting for the highest bidder. If Wessex hears of the brothers’ discord, then all is lost.
Fate brings Merton du Lac back to the ancestral lands of his forefathers, and he finds his country on the brink of civil war. But there is worse to come, for his father’s old enemy has infiltrated the court of Benwick. Now, more than ever, the Du Lac must come together to save the kingdom and themselves.
Can old rivalries and resentments be overcome in time to stop a war?
Having only recently finished the first book of this series, which I enjoyed thoroughly; I was delighted to have the opportunity to voraciously dive right into the second. I was not disappointed. Not only has Mary Yarde meticulously researched the history of the 6th century in which the story takes place, allowing readers to experience how different life truly was so long ago, but she draws the reader deep into the mystery and intrigues of the plot. She spins a web of romance, lust, violence, and the darkness of self-loathing.
Merton emerges as the dark anti-hero in this part of Yarde’s epic saga, and readers are hard pressed to not like him, in spite of so many things that might make him unlikeable. I found myself aching because of his sorrows, yearning with him for something more, and hoping with him when love reaches out to touch him. The characters of Yarde’s tale are complex and bound together through dichotic and intense associations that twist the moment you think understand them!
Although there is enough backstory to make this a standalone, you would be cheating yourself if you did not start with the first books of the series. Highly recommended and absolutely enjoyed, this reader is anxiously awaiting book three!
Undeniably 5 Stars!
Emilia: The darkest days in history of Nazi Germany through a woman’s eyes
This story is dedicated to all the victims of sexual slavery in German concentration camps, who had to endure inhumane suffering under the Nazi regime.
For many years after the atrocities had been committed, both sides – the abusers and the abused – still vehemently denied certain aspects of the Holocaust, and even the victims refused to admit the ugly truth about their incarceration, some out of fear, some out of shame, until several women decided to break an unofficial oath of silence, and brought their stories to life. This book is based on one of those stories.
Emilia is a young Jewish woman, whose life slowly turns into a nightmare as she finds herself facing a dreadful choice: to secure her family’s very existence by offering herself to one of the men who had put her behind the walls with barbed wire, or perish together with the least fortunate ones. Only, the Krakow ghetto and her very first abuser pale in comparison to what is yet to come, as she’s being sent to a place that soon will turn into her own personal hell and that will scar her for life…
‘Emilia’ tells the darkest tale honestly, drawing the reader into this fictional young woman’s harrowing life as subtly and surprisingly as Emilia herself was drawn, yet it shows so accurately what happened to countless victims. You cannot help connecting with Emilia as you turn page after page, reliving her nightmare told with startling candor.
This is an inspiring tale of courage, yet the horrors of war fill every page. Ellie Midwood successfully conveys this young woman’s tale of rape and abuse through poignantly compelling, as well as frighteningly sadistic, characters; transporting the reader into the heart of a young woman desperately trying to survive.
Not for the faint of heart, Emilia’s story shares more than just the dreadfulness of her darkest days; it goes beyond them into her determination to recover and find renewal, emphasizing the strength of Positive Resolve and Power of Hope that all survivors understand.
5 Stars Without a Doubt!
Dark Fey The Reviled just earned this Amazingly Enthusiastic Review 🙂 I cannot describe how delighted I am and how honoured to be compared to such a skilled author as Cassandra Clare!
PLUS the Award Winning 5Star Fantasy Dark Fey The Reviled is now only 99Cents Just in time for the Holidays!
With over 50 reviews and an average rating of 4.7 out of 5.0 stars, you can’t lose! Honestly, have I ever steered you wrong? 🙂
Heavensgate Joy by Leo Kane
Death is obsessed with her.
Angels adore her.
Evil desires her.
Joy, the unloved child of the local virgin miraculously resurrects years after drowning in the North Sea. Everyone craves her company, but no-one remembers her for more than a fleeting moment.
Stalked by Death, Joy becomes trapped in Heavensgate, where she falls victim to the demonic supernatural, Jake. She is willing to sacrifice her immortal soul for his love. He wants to defile and destroy her.
Can she escape Heavensgate, or will the Beast steal Joy from the Mortal Realm?
A Tumultuous tale about tortured souls.
I shall begin by saying that this is definitely not a standalone: If you haven’t read Heavensgate Hope and think you can jump into the story in this second book, your thoughts will end up more twisted than the main characters. Yet having stated that, I will also say that Leo Kane has written a masterful sequel to her initial story, filling page after riveting page with confusion, disarray, and enough steam to power a locomotive from the character you love to hate and hate to love: Jake.
As the story delves deeper into the incursions and capitulations of the main character, Jacob, and draws in the new, haunting character of Joy, you are lead down an increasingly twisted avenue into the darkness, connecting you in an extremely powerful way to the tortured soul(s) about which Leo write. You begin to THINK you understand; then the carpet is pulled out from beneath you, leaving you re-reading frantically trying to figure out just what you missed. But the truth is, you didn’t miss anything and that is the Brilliance of the author’s writing which allows you to experience the inescapable chaos of the main character(s).\
I found myself emotionally and mentally drained after reading this second installment, yet thirsty for more! Bring on Book Three, Leo…I’m ready….I think!
Read more about Leo Kane’s character in the recent Character Interaction she did with Booknvolume