Tag Archives: Fantasy

Light in the Darkness Micro Reviews


I’ve posted overviews of the twelve novels in the Light in the Darkness boxed set (here, here, and here), but now I want to give a quick rundown of my own impressions of them. There’s some good reading in here, from traditional swords and sorcery to contemporary magical realism, from books suitable for younger teens and up to books aimed at a more adult audience. The common thread is that all the books are about good if flawed characters trying to do the right thing in difficult circumstances. The price has gone up to $2.99, but for twelve full length novels and a handful of short stories – more than 1.14 million words of magical noblebright goodness – it’s still an amazing deal. Content note: while many of these books are suitable for younger teen readers, this is *not* a YA/all ages collection. A number of books also have more adult content, and other books, while containing nothing unsuitable for younger audiences, are not specifically YA; they feature adult characters with adult concerns. I’ve put my own ideas of the age rating at the end of each review. And now, on with the micro reviews.


The King’s Sword, by C.J. Brightley
Kemen, a retired soldier recovering from war, injury, and betrayal, just wants to leave it all behind, but when he comes across a young man on the run and learns of a conspiracy to unseat the rightful ruler and replace him with a megalomaniacal usurper, he can’t just leave the kingdom to its fate. Kemen is a wonderfully gruff and tough character dealing with the scars of his past, but also admirably patient with the young man he takes on the job of teaching and appealingly awkward around women. One of those tough but lovable heroes I can’t get enough of. Suitable for ages 13+ (clean, but with adult characters and some difficult themes).


The Emperor’s Edge, by Lindsay Buroker
Irrepressible law enforcer Amaranthe finds herself on the wrong side of the law, and uncovers a conspiracy to unseat the rightful emperor and replace him with a greedy, amoral cartel. With a colorful collection of assistants, including the notorious, stony, yet surprisingly complicated assassin Sicarius, she launches her own not-quite-authorized plan to protect the young emperor. This is the book that made me a big fan of Ms. Buroker. Memorable characters, exciting and dangerous adventures, snappy humor, a hint of romance. And explosions. Ages 15+ (some sexual innuendo and a fur loincloth).


The Last Mage Guardian, by Sabrina Chase
A young woman learns that her late uncle didn’t just leave her a house, but a magical legacy that is not going to be easy to live up to. I enjoyed this tale of a young woman learning to use magic in a world where women aren’t supposed to have magic, and her growing, awkward romance with the young man who stumbles across her secret. Ages 15+ (a “curtains-drawn” sexual encounter, with awkward aftermath).


Pen Pal, by Francesca Forrest
A lovely book. Not traditional fantasy; I would call it contemporary magical realism. It interweaves the stories of Em, a 12-year-old girl living in an off-shore community off the U.S. Gulf Coast, and Kaya, a young scholar and activist in an island nation in southeast Asia. The two are connected by a message in a bottle Em tosses into the sea that, against all odds, finds its way to the imprisoned Kaya. Both of them are involved in fights to protect their families and cultures, and end up aiding each other in unexpected ways. Beautiful and thought-provoking, and a stirring yet charming story. Ages 13+ (clean, but with some difficult themes).


Beneath the Canyons, by Kyra Halland
My book 🙂 A gunslinging wizard, feuds between ranchers and miners, magical mayhem, and romance in a fantasy world modeled after the Old West. If you haven’t read it yet, you should, but that’s just my opinion. Ages 16+ (swearing, sexual innuendo, an on-screen but not very graphic sex scene).


Into the Storm, by Angela Holder
An emotional tale of a wizard who has finally arrived at a time of peace and happiness in her life, who must make some difficult decisions in order to protect her homeland from an oncoming devastating storm. The courage of Larine and her fellow wizards, and their animal familiars, is moving and inspiring. Ages 16+ (non-descriptive sex scenes; difficult themes)


On the Shores of Irradan, by Ronald Long
This is the start of a follow-up series to the author’s previous series, but if you’ve never read the other series you can still start with this one. One member of a group of companions lost her magic in the last series, and now they’re on a quest in a land torn with unrest and civil war to find the tree that can restore her gifts. Traditional companionship/quest fantasy with humans, groups of warring elves, and other magical creatures. Lots of danger and excitement. Ages 13+ (Clean, but with some difficult themes).


Six Celestial Swords, by T.A. Miles
Magical tale inspired by ancient China meets traditional quest fantasy. I found Xu Liang, the mystic and warrior who is the main character, fascinating, especially when the demands of the real world conflict with his mystical ideals. He is joined by a number of other memorable characters, humans, dwarves, and elves, as he searches for the magical weapons that will help defeat a coming chaos. Written in poetic, slightly archaic language expressing the point of view of Xu Liang, uprooted from his native land to the “barbaric” western lands in his search. Ages 15+ (mostly clean, but the themes and language might go over the heads of younger readers; a bit of intense male/male attraction and kissing).


Rise of the Storm, by Christina Ochs
Sprawling, fascinating, complex fantasy based on the beginnings of the 30 Years War. Young Prince Kendryk, the popular ruler of a peaceful land, must choose whether to follow his conscience and embrace the teachings of a radical priest who warns of a coming apocalypse, even though it means defying a ruthless Empress. As the empire and surrounding nations spiral down to war, Kendryk and a number of other memorable characters must find a way to survive and to fight for what they believe is right. Ages 15+ (references to rape; heavy and complex historical themes).


Hope and the Patient Man, by Mike Reeves-McMillan
A gentle story set in a steampunk world, of a mage who tried to curse her cheating boyfriend but accidentally cursed herself instead, who has to find a way to remove the curse so she can have a relationship with the man who loves her. This is mainly a love story, with some other subplots centering on relationships, gnome’s rights (because gnomes are people too!), and Hope (the heroine’s), er, hopes to advance in her magical career. Ages 16+ (on-screen but non-consummated sexual encounters, and related themes).


Lhind the Thief, by Sherwood Smith
This is the only book in the set I haven’t looked at yet, but it’s very highly spoken of in other reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, and I’m looking forward to reading it. My impression is that it’s suitable for YA audiences.


The Keeper and the Rulership, by Emily Martha Sorenson
Magic is forbidden, but Ranah can’t stop herself from growing it. As if that isn’t trouble enough, she’s at the age to be choosing a serious suitor, but can’t seem to get that to work out right, either. Solidly YA fantasy about a young woman trying to find her place in a world ruled by status and laws that she just can’t quite fit into. Ages 13+.

Light in the Darkness: A Noblebright Fantasy Boxed Set contains 12 full-length novels and some bonus short stories, and is available for only $2.99 at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Smashwords

Light in the Darkness: A Noblebright Fantasy Boxed Set


And now for cool thing #3: Beneath the Canyons is going to be in a multi-author boxed set titled Light in the Darkness: A Noblebright Fantasy Boxed Set, available Oct. 18. Several months ago, I got involved in a discussion about noblebright fantasy on a writer’s board I belong to, and some time later, C.J. Brightley, who started the discussion, invited me to participate in this boxed set. Being in a mult-author boxed set is another thing I’ve always wanted to do, and I would really like to see the concept of noblebright fantasy become more widely known, so of course I said yes!

So, what is noblebright fantasy? From the boxed set’s description, “Noblebright fantasy characters have the courage to risk kindness, honesty, integrity, and love; to fight against their own flaws and the darkness of the world around them; and to find hope in a grim world.”

Basically, it’s the opposite of grimdark, where life sucks, the bad guys cheat and win, the good guys are corruptible, and anyone who isn’t corruptible is a chump and a fool and probably dies an ignominious death.

Some more definitions of what noblebright is and isn’t:

Noblebright is not equivalent to YA or children’s books. While many (but certainly not all) YA books might fall into the category, noblebright books can also be very much for and about adults, from an adult perspective, about adult characters with adult lives and concerns.

Noblebright also is not necessarily “clean.” There can be violence and swearing and sex. The emphasis is different; noblebright won’t tend to wallow in blood and guts and bad language or glorify violence or purely exploitive or hedonistic sex.

Noblebright is also not the same as Christian fiction. While many or most Christian fantasy novels are probably noblebright, the core concepts of noblebright, that there exists objective right and wrong, it’s worth it to try to do what’s right no matter how hard it is, and anyone, no matter what wrongs they’ve done in the past, can try to do better, are not restricted to Christianity. I’m a Christian myself, and my books have been noted as having a Judeo-Christian worldview, but they are not explicitly or implicitly about Christianity or Christian characters.

The key is in the outlook: in noblebright, it’s worth it to try to do the right thing even in the face of impossible odds; goodness, selflessness, love, compassion, honor, and nobility (of character, not of birth) matter regardless of the forces arrayed against the characters. Even if things don’t turn out perfectly, there’s still hope, and there’s honor and comfort in knowing you did the right thing.

Finally, noblebright does not mean happy perfect people doing happy perfect things in a happy perfect world. It means good (if flawed) people choosing to do the right thing in the face of opposition and difficult circumstances, no matter how hard it is. After all, being a good person and doing the right thing when things are going well is easy. Being a good person and doing the right thing when the world is against you and it would be easier to do the wrong thing is much harder (and more interesting to read and write about!).

Sound good? Here’s the lineup of books in the boxed set:

  • C. J. Brightley – The King’s Sword: A disillusioned soldier. A spoiled, untried prince. And a coup that threatens the country they both love.
  • Lindsay Buroker – The Emperor’s Edge: A law enforcer being hunted for a crime she didn’t commit must work with a cold-hearted assassin to save the only person who can clear her name.
  • Sabrina Chase – The Last Mage Guardian: Most thought the Mage Guardians simply a myth, but their old enemy knows better–and of their number only one remains to thwart his plan of magical domination and revenge.
  • Francesca Forrest – Pen Pal: It starts with a message in a bottle and ends with revolution.
  • Kyra Halland – Beneath the Canyons: A bounty-hunting wizard and a rancher’s daughter with untrained powers must stop a renegade wizard who is tampering with dangerous magic.
  • Angela Holder – Into the Storm: A massive hurricane will destroy Elathir unless Larine and her fellow wizards sacrifice everything to stop it.
  • Ronald Long – On the Shores of Irradan: Ealrin Belouve and his friends travel to a new land and face new dangers in search of a tree that may restore magic to one of their own.
  • Mike Reeves McMillan – Hope and the Patient Man: A talented young mage must overcome a curse to be with the wounded hero who loves her.
  • T. A. Miles – Six Celestial Swords: The dragon Chaos threatens the magical world of Dryth. Xu Liang sets out on a quest to unite the only six magical blades that can save it.
  • Christina Ochs – Rise of the Storm: When a renegade priest prophesies an imminent apocalypse, a conflict is sparked which will tip a continent into war.
  • Sherwood Smith – Lhind the Thief: Lhind enjoys life on the run, taking what she wants, until her secrets are uncovered one by one.
  • Emily Martha Sorensen – The Keeper and the Rulership: In a world where mathematics and magic are forbidden, Raneh’s growing magic and can’t figure out how to stop.

Most books in this set are appropriate for ages 13+, but Hope and the Patient Man [and, I would venture to say, Beneath the Canyons] is appropriate for ages 16+.

Light in the Darkness will be released on October 18, but right now it’s available for pre-order at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

The current price is only 99 cents. That might have to go up, but I know that Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo have pre-order price guarantees where even if the price does go up later, if you pre-order at the 99 cent price that’s what you pay.

I’ll be taking a closer look at the books in this wonderful and diverse collection over the next couple of weeks, along with posting links to other blog posts about it, so watch for those. You can also learn more about the noblebright movement at noblebright.org. And in the meantime, don’t miss out on being able to get Light in the Darkness for only 99 cents!

Cover Reveal: Flare by Rabia Gale

I love pretty book covers, so today I’m happy to welcome author Rabia Gale, here to show off the cover of her upcoming novel Flare (The Sunless World, Book 2). Take it away, Rabia!

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today!

I’m delighted to reveal the cover for my upcoming release, Flare, Book Two of The Sunless World, an epic fantasy series with a steampunk flavor.

[Kyra sez: Isn’t that a fabulous cover!]

Rafe and Isabella are back

The mages of old saved their world, but left it in eternal darkness. Now it’s time to bring back the light.
After two years of training his magical gifts, Rafe returns home to a land wracked by war. Desperate states struggle to protect their resources of luminous quartz. Magic pulses and earthquakes devastate a world on the brink of extinction.

Rafe’s old enemy Karzov has gathered a band of prodigies obedient to his will. He seeks the power of the ancient mages for an audacious and sinister purpose. It’s up to Rafe and his ally, Isabella, to stop him—and undo the mistakes of the past to put their world right again.

Flare will be out in September 2016!

The Sunless World series


 “Quartz: The Sunless World introduces a rich and credible backdrop to the adventures of her characters, with a deadly political mire underlying the bright colours of high society.” – By Rite of Word Reviews

“This story is fast, fascinating and highly recommended.” – Amazon.com review

The Sunless World series begins with Quartz (Book One) and Flux (A Sunless World Novel).

About the Author


 I create weird worlds full of magic and machines, and write characters who are called on to be heroes. I’m fascinated by light and darkness, transformation, and things that fly. Giant squid and space dragons appear in my work—you have been warned!

A native of Pakistan, I now reside in Northern Virginia, where I read, write, doodle, avoid housework, and homeschool my children.

Find me online at:
Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter

Author Spotlight: A.J. Norfield


Introducing author A.J. Norfield, here to tell us about his debut novel Windcatcher (which is discounted on Amazon this week!):

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi everyone, A.J. Norfield at your service. Proud father of two adorable rascals and happily married. And not unimportant: debuting author of the Stone War Chronicles. My days are filled with working in the world of conservation, while the nights allow me to construct adventurous worlds, inspired by mythical creatures that I’ve admired all my life.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I remember “writing” when I was very young, creating my own cartoons. However during my teens and twenties I’d rather enjoyed the reading side of books, than the writing side. I always had the intention or wish to write my own book(s) (like many people do, I expect). There was no doubt it would fall in the fantasy genre, heavily focused on dragons. So a few years ago the time seemed right to undertake this new adventure and I was able to finish my first novel as a result of it.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write? 
Dragon adventures fantasy, which officially falls under epic fantasy (if I had to choose an “official” genre). Dragons have captured my imagination since I was a youngster, from reading to movies, from drawings to now writing. They have this majestic feel that ties into my admiration of nature that creates the perfect combination for exciting tales of danger and wonder.

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
‘Windcatcher’ is my debut novel. I was very nervous to put it out in the world at first, but slowly I’m settling into the fact that many people really like the story. And what’s there not to like? The stakes are high, the action is plentiful and you’ll be able to meet a very special dragon, who will steal the readers hearts, from the moment it arrives in the world. The reviews it gets are amazing, I’m truelly humbled by them. It has become clear that those readers that enjoy books like the Dragon Riders of Pern and Eragon are very likely to enjoy my first steps in authorship, as well. Which is not surprising as Anne McCaffrey is one of my all-time favorites and a huge inspiration.

Currently I’m working on ‘Wavebreaker’, the second book in the Stone War Chronicles Series. The story deepens, new characters are introduced and a new dragon will see the light of day. The additional main character is to be a strong female lead whose storyline will run parallel with that of Raylan and Galirras as they continue their journey from ‘Windcatcher’. I hope people will grow to love her just like they do Raylan and Galirras, as her world is turned upside down and has to flee for the oncoming dangers from the East.

5. “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
My lovely newly made worldmap is available here: http://ajnorfield.com/worldmap/
The known world’s continents represent three different dragon teeth. This comes from the old history of the Tiankong Empire, a nation that is still much of a mystery in book I of the Stone War Chronicles. The kingdom of Aeterra is where Raylan, the main protagonist, grew up. It entered a stable period after the last great war, focusing on trade and prosperity. The story is set in medieval (fantasy) times, with slight modern sets of life. While the world is divers and grand, filled with the good and the bad of the people that live in it.Doskova is the third, large player on this world’s stage. It lays in the East. A dangerous and dark continent, where our main characters will discover a danger that will impact the world.After completing ‘Windcatcher’, I feel like the world is really coming into its own as I continue to explore the many exotic places and landscapes in ‘Wavebreaker’. Because of my background in conservation, I really enjoy implementing nature and animals into the story, to make the world feel more real, as well as add value to the story of men.

6. Introduce us to one of your characters. What do you like about them?
I would like to focus on the only female character in the group of friends for this interview: Xi’Lao
She is the whole reason why their group travels to Doskova in search of the ancient relic. She’s reserved and calculating, traveling from the Tiankong Empire to request the aid of Aeterra’s king in locating their nation’s most valuable piece of history, while the empire is in chaos.

Still, she’s as mysterious as the Empire she comes from, as Tiankong actively refusing entrance to any outsiders. As a character, she combines a vast amount of knowledge, with a high skill in combat—which makes her a valuable member of the team. Then, as the story unfolds, people will see the deeper layers of why she is so driven to get the relic back, and the many aspects of one’s life that influence your decisions along the way.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
There are actually many tiny references to other books, movies and videos games in the story. Though, they might actually be way too subtle to be noticed by anyone. Other than that, I never really realized how much emotion a writer can transfer to the reader until I read that I made a grown woman cry. It must seem pretty weird to see someone jumping up and down from joy in their living room, because they made a person cry… ^_^

8. What music do you listen to while writing?
For the action scenes I often will listen to Two Steps from Hell, or Kamelot. Movie music or game music like ‘Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture’ are really enjoyable as well. However, as soon as I have to write complicated emotions or conversations, I tend to write in silence, as not to get distracted from the words I wish to put down on paper.

Where to find A.J. Norfield:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Windcatcher is available at Amazon (discounted through May 27, 2016 or read free with Kindle Unlimited!)

Author Spotlight: A.L. Butcher


Today I’m happy to welcome fantasy author A.L. Butcher to the blog.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, and thanks for having me today:) I’m A.L. Butcher (Alexandra), British author of fantasy, fantasy romance, mythic and short stories.

2. When did you start writing, and why?

I’ve always been creative, making up stories and imaginary friends and worlds so I guess that means forever;). If you mean when did I start writing professionally that would be about 2012, although technically that was when I first published. The actual book took about a year.
Why do I write? It keeps me sane, it helps me cope with anxiety, stress and it makes me happy. Also I write because I have stories to tell. A writer is who and what I am.

3. Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

I grew up in a little town in the South Eastern UK. My family liked to read a lot, and we were encouraged to be creative. Both my father and grandmother made up stories, and my mother would take us to the theatre quite a bit.

I have a sister who’s an English and drama teacher, one whose an artist, and a grandmother who was a local historian.

4. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?

As I said I mainly write fantasy fiction – for the most part it’s definitely adult – sex and sorcery as it were, but some of the short stories have less of the adult scenes. Much of my work is heroic fiction/mythic fiction. I’ve just produced a short collection of fairytale-esque stories (not adult rated – suitable for all), and that’s just been made into an audio book.

I’m also a poet, but that’s mainly written just for myself. I have a couple of horror short fiction stories, which have been produced for anthologies.


5. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
The Kitchen Imps and Other Dark Tales is my latest. It’s a collection of darkly humorous fairy tales featuring the titular imps, a rather bemused god, an enchanted kitchen and a canny thief who outwits a greedy king. The last is a retelling of an ancient Egyptian tale.
Hopefully the imps and their friends will return in later stories.I’m also working on the second edition of my second novel, which should be republished shortly and in audio later this year. It’s be re-edited, and expanded slightly.

Currently I have two novellas in progress. The first relates back to an event in book II – but from a different perspective, and the second is an expansion of a story written for an anthology, featuring a bard who becomes a reluctant hero. Both of these will be part of the Tales of Erana series – the companion series for my novels.

6. “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
Erana is a fantasy world where magic is illegal and elves live as slaves. Magic is everywhere, it neither knows nor cares it’s illegal, for the rules of men are of no consequence to it. Unfortunately for those who are magical – the mages, adepts, musician adepts and magical creatures they must hide what they are or risk imprisonment or death at the hands of the ruling Order of Witch-Hunters. There are elves, trolls, humans and magical entities such as elementals, gods, and semi sentient objects. It’s a pretty dark world, run by martial law, and ruled by fear. Even the humans are not safe, for the Witch-Hunters and the slavers basically do what they like and anyone who defies them ends up enslaved or dead. It doesn’t stop the resistance, but it does make it a lot more dangerous.

Book I follows a young elven sorceress who runs away from the house of her wicked slavemaster; she must survive in a world where her very existence is illegal. During her adventures she helps rescue some other elves taken by slavers, meets a mysterious and powerful nobleman who is not all he seems, and has to come to terms with who she is and what she is.  Book II continues their adventures when they seek out a lost city, and magic box which might just turn the tables for the resistant. They must battle a foe long thought gone, and find out some terrifying truths. There is intrigue, betrayal, love, magic, lies, truth, battle, passion and monsters.

Book III follows some of the characters from book II as they try to find the source of a mysterious illness and the disappearances which have taken the lives of friend and foe alike, and the main character must prove her worth to lead her tribe.


7. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Book I:

  • Dii – Dii, or Dii’Athella is the elven sorceress. She’s pretty naïve in book I – she’s been a slave most of her life and knows little about the world. She’s clever, kind and very troubled.
  • Archos – he’s a human (sort of) sorcerer, resistance leader and nobleman. He’s charming, passionate and deadly.
  • Olek – he’s a half-elven ‘servant’ to Archos. In truth he’s a thief, assassin and spy.
  • Ozena – she’s a young forest elf whose village is raided by slavers. Archer, hunter and tracker she brings help and then must seek out her sister, who was taken in the attack. She’s also pretty naïve, life in a small forest village does NOT prepare one for the harsh reality of rule by the human overlords.

Book II:
All of the above, plus:

  • Marden – a human warrior and Witch-Hunter playing a very dangerous game.
  • Th’alia – an elven scholar sent to seek out Dii and Archos and captive of Marden.
  • M’alia – twin sister of Th’alia – and a captive mage who must not only survive her incarceration but keep the Witch-Hunters on the wrong trail.
  • Talfor – Trollish lord, warrior and bear-changer. The son of the local troll Shaman he accompanies the above group and is instrumental in the adventures and discoveries.

Book III:
M’alia, Talfor plus:

  • Mirandra – sister of Talfor and heiress to the Shaman of Var. She must survive her proving to lead, and discover the whereabouts of her missing kin.
  • Ephany – half-elven thief/whore who works for the resistance and acts as ‘bodyguard’ to the trolls in the human lands in the Emerald Valley.
  • Gregori – human merchant and adventurer who seeks knowledge of his kin and to right a perceived wrong.
  • Danyan – elderly human mage in hiding residing in the Emerald Valley who sets out to also answer the question of the mysterious disappearances.

8. What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating people and places.

About the Author:
A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series, and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genres.  She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys.  Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.Blog | Goodreads | Amazon author page | Twitter | Facebook

A. L. Butcher’s books are available in ebook, paperback and/or audio at:
Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | CreateSpace

Read on for excerpts from The Kitchen Imps and The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles:

Continue reading

Author Spotlight: C.M. Boers


Today I’m happy to welcome YA fantasy author C.M. Boers to the blog, to answer a few questions about her series The Obscured.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m 29 years old. I’ve had many majors in school, including many in the healthcare field, but I only have a certificate in Medical Transcription. I have three kids who keep my world spinning and two dogs, a Mastiff mix, and a Great Dane.

2. Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Arizona from the age of 2. My series is based in Arizona so much of the Arizona scenery and landmarks are talked about in the books.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I write Paranormal Fantasy for YA. But I have considered branching out a bit after I finish The Obscured series. Only time will tell. I enjoy that I can create something, something that makes me want to be a part of it.


4. What music do you listen to while writing?
A few of my favorite bands to listen to while writing are X Ambassadors, Imagine Dragons, Ed Sheeran, MisterWives and many others.5. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
Book three of The Obscured series will be coming out in the fall of this year.

6. “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
My series is centered around a girl named Abby. Abby is uprooted from her life and moved to another state where life get crazy and out of control very fast. Immortals are now her friends, and she suddenly has enemies that were capable of the unthinkable. Throw in a gift of her own, and her head is spinning. Check out Obscured if you want to know more!


7. What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I think the best part of writing is that what I’m writing will be read by so many people, and touch their lives. Somehow it will have an impact on their lives whether they hate my books or love them, I will have impacted them in some way, something not many people can say.Obscured is available at Amazon
Divulge is also available at Amazon

Where to find C.M. Boers:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Sneak Peek: For the Wildings

Just to prove I’ve been hard at work, here’s a sneak peek from For the Wildings (spoilers redacted):


Lainie woke up on a cold stone floor in a dark room. Moonlight streamed in through a single small window high up on the wall; more dim light shone from somewhere behind her. Memories came to her mind, the battle with Lord Astentias, and then a violent blast that had sent her flying –

She sat up, groaning at the aches and pains that flared into life all over her body, and looked around the room. The window wasn’t barred, but it was too high and too narrow for anyone to be able to climb through. Three of the walls of the small cell were solid, made of hard-baked mud brick; the fourth had a door of iron bars set into it. On the other side of the door, a barrel-chested man with the copper badge of a deputy pinned to his vest sat at a desk, feet propped up on the desktop, snoring softly. A half-empty whiskey bottle stood on the floor by his chair. Lainie and Silas’s gunbelts were piled on the desk. Lainie pushed her face against the bars to get a better look to either side of her cell; she was on the left end of a row of four cells. “Silas?” she whispered loudly.

His hand appeared from between the bars of the cell at the other end. “Over here, darlin’,” he answered, likewise keeping his voice low. “You okay over there?”

“I’m fine. I’m kind of sore.” In truth, she felt like she had fallen off her horse. Everything felt bumped and bruised and scraped, but at least nothing seemed to be broken. “How are we going to get out of here?”

“Don’t worry, I’ll have us out of here right quick. Let’s be ready to restrain the good deputy there if he wakes up.”

“I don’t think he’ll wake up; it looks like he’s got a good dose of whiskey in him.” At that moment, the man at the desk let out a loud, gasping snore. Lainie froze; the deputy mumbled to himself, then fell quiet again.

Lainie let out a long breath; still, she kept a wary eye on the deputy, a thread of power at the ready to bind him if he woke up. A soft chunking sound came from the other end of the room, then the barred door of Silas’s cell swung open. Noiselessly, he walked over to Lainie’s cell and set the forefinger of his left hand against the lock. The ring on his finger pulsed with faint light, blue streaked with amber. With a murmured word and a slight gesture of his finger, the tumblers in the lock turned and the lock came open.

“That was too easy,” Lainie whispered as she stepped out of the cell.

Silas nodded. “There was a charm on the locks that probably alerted someone when I opened them. We better hurry.”

They went quietly to the desk and buckled on their gunbelts, then left the jailhouse, managing to not wake the deputy. Outside, they stood in the shadows of the covered walkway, pressed back against the wall of the building, looking to see if the way was clear. “How come you never showed me how to do that unlocking spell?” Lainie asked quietly.

“I wouldn’t want to corrupt your morals, Miss Lainie,” Silas said with a wink.

“It’s far too late to be worrying about that, Mr. Vendine.” Lainie looked around at the dark, deserted street. The night was cold and quiet; the moonlight shone on the snow frosting the roofs of the unburned buildings and piled along the edges of the street. “I wonder where that boy got to.”

“I didn’t see him in the jail,” Silas said.

Lainie’s heart froze. “I hope they didn’t hang him after they locked us up.”

“Mister?” a voice said from nearby. “Ma’am?”

Lainie just about jumped out of her skin. She and Silas spun towards the voice, hands instinctively going to their guns. A skinny figure stood at the opening of the narrow gap between the sheriff’s office and the neighboring building – Jimmo, the boy who’d nearly been hanged. Lainie willed her heart to stop pounding like a herd on the stampede. “Thank the gods, they didn’t hang you,” she whispered.

For the Wildings, Book 6 of Daughter of the Wildings, coming in late March! To keep up with release news and special offers (including a free copy of my next short-story collection, coming soon), sign up for my email alerts. No spamming, and I won’t share your information.

Reading Roundup January 2016

Time for another roundup of some more books I’ve read and can recommend. I’ve got quite a backlog, and this won’t be all of them, but the book I’m reading right now, The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson (book 6 of the Malazan Book of the Fallen) is about a gazillion pages long (over 1200 in the paperback, 17500 locations on my Kindle), so it’s taking a while to read, which will let me get caught up with the reading roundups.

Oh, and while I’m here on the blog, if you’re wondering about progress on For the Wildings, it’s coming along steadily. I finished the major revision and am now on the editing pass where I fine-tune the dialogue, descriptions, action, and pacing. It’s over 74,000 words, quite a bit longer than the other books in the series, so it’s taking a while, but I am making steady progress.

And now, on with the books.

Nica of Los Angeles (Frames, #1), by Sue Perry
If you think you’ve had weird days at work, wait till you read about Nica’s day. It starts with three new sets of clients for her new private eye business: pushy godparents looking for their missing goddaughter, a couple of sinister meth heads, and an otherworldly pair with strange abilities, and ends up with Nica embarking on an adventure through parallel worlds filled with talking buildings and murderous books to uncover and stop a danger that brings all three of her cases together and threatens all the dimensions. Witty, cerebral, surreal, terrifying, and entirely original urban fantasy/mystery. Highly recommended.

Ghost in the Stone (Ghosts, #5), by Jonathan Moeller
This series keeps getting better. Lots of exciting fun as Caina deals with a complex assassination plot, a mysterious force turning her fellow Ghosts to stone, an assassin she keeps crossing paths with who she finds herself attracted to, and, oh yeah, the spirit of a dead evil sorceress who’s living inside her. Caina’s a great character, tough, smart, focused on her ideals and willing to do whatever is necessary, but also vulnerable enough to make me hope everything will turn out ok.


Ghost Light, by Jonathan Moeller


The Fall of Kyrace, by Jonathan Moeller
A couple of exciting short stories from the world of the Ghosts series. Ghost Light has Caina facing another bizarre magical incident, while The Fall of Kyrace goes back into history to give some backstory. Fun, quick reads for fans of the Ghosts series.


Ghost in the Forge (Ghosts, #6) by Jonathan Moeller
And still this series keeps getting better. Caina, her new guy Corvalis, and the rest of the gang are off to a mysterious city of sorcerers to try to prevent them from auctioning off a devastating weapon to the highest bidder. Danger, action, and sorcery abound, and I liked seeing Caina grow as she deals with trust issues in her relationship with Corvalis and faces her prejudice against sorcerers in dealing with his sister, a renegade Magus. Plus, magical mechas. What more do I need to say?

The Mages of Bennamore, by Pauline M. Ross
Another intelligent, engaging tale from Ms. Ross’s Brightmoon Annals. Prickly, secretive Fen is facing middle age without family, friends, status, or security in the rigidly-ordered Holdings when her employer commits socially correct suicide after his fleet sinks. Badly in need of new employment, Fen, a Recorder (something like a secretary and business manager) accepts a job with the new mages in town, sent from conquering Bennamore to grace the people of the Holdings with their magic. Highly recommended if you like intelligent, original fantasy with a hefty dose of romance and characters who’ve already experienced a good bit of living. (full review)


Klondaeg Saves Fromsday (Klondaeg, #1.5) by Steve Thomas
A Very Special Holiday Episode in the saga of Klondaeg the Monster Hunter. Klondaeg goes to spend Fromsday, the holiday honoring Fromdon, god of coconuts, with the frog-people, and, with the help of a dangerous and stubborn tree-ape, helps a father and son discover the True Meaning of Fromsday. A fun and hilarious sendup of all those heartwarming Very Special TV Episodes, but not without its own heartwarming message.


Smite Me, Oh Dark One, by Steve Thomas
Discover the true origin of the “farmboy with a destiny” in this tale from the world of Klondaeg the Monster Hunter about the pantheon of gods (including O’Plenty, God of Pots of Gold and Other Treasures, Fromdon, God of Coconuts, and Buti’col [say it out loud; took me a while to get it!], Goddess of Whatever Passes For Love These Days). Acerbus, God of Darkness, tries to avoid carrying out his duty to destroy the world; hilarity and millennia of fantasy tropes ensue. Very funny, and also thought-provoking at the same time.

And that’s it for now. This is only half of the books on my list; I’ll be back with the rest soon!

Featured Author: Elle Jacklee

Once again, I’m pleased to feature Middle Grade/YA fantasy author Elle Jacklee, this week’s spotlight author in my Goodreads group. (Read more about Elle and her books here and here.)


The Wunderwood Series

The Tree of Mindala (Book 1): Miranda Moon’s vivid imagination has gotten her into trouble more times than she can count. This time, she’s been suspended from school. So her straight-laced younger brother, Marcus, blames her when they’re relegated to their late grandparents’ old cabin over Halloween weekend. But when Miranda finds a curious trinket, they’re mysteriously whisked away to Wunderwood, where magic flows through the trees and everyone already knows their family name. A place even Miranda never imagined.

Just as they arrive, a sinister warlock, Thornton Crow, is freed from a long banishment. He resumes his deadly agenda to find The Tree of Mindala, the source of all the realm’s magic. As Miranda and Marcus discover branches of their own family tree that they hadn’t even known existed, they learn that Thornton has a score to settle with anyone in their bloodline. Especially them… Though justice has always had a way of being naturally restored in Wunderwood, Thornton’s latest evil deed just may be the tipping point.

When Miranda discovers her own role in Thornton’s release, she knows it’s up to her to stop him from stealing not just magic, but also hope. With travel companions that could as easily be foes as friends, and only the cryptic words of a prophecy to guide her, Miranda must decide if she can carry out the task that will either save Wunderwood… or doom it forever.

The Tree of Mindala is available at Amazon.

Watch for The Triad of the Tree (Book 2) coming in mid-March!


Etchings and Embers (A Muirwood Novel):
Mairryn knows she will never be a learner at an Abbey. The sheltered daughter of a humble farmer, she dreams only of traveling the realms and learning from experiences, if not from tomes. But now she’s married to Earl Magnus Adair, and people are calling her Countess. After her father’s recent death and a season of storms that ravaged her family’s crops, the Earl’s proposal had seemed like the solution to their problems. But from the beginning, he’s far from a loving husband, and the nagging mystery of why he’d pursued her so relentlessly is never far from her mind.Theobald Cirun, a young steward from Forshee, is given the unlikely task of teaching Mairryn to ride horseback. His lessons are one of the few highlights in her mostly-desolate days. Theobald opens her eyes to a whole new world, and soon Mairryn discovers her own connection to the Medium and the shocking answers to the mystery that’s plagued her.

But when Earl Magnus’s own horrifying secret is revealed, Mairryn must decide if she can make an impossible sacrifice for someone she loves. Someone only she can save. Someone she hasn’t met yet…

What Jeff Wheeler, author of the original Muirwood trilogy, had to say: “I’ve read all the new Muirwood stories on Kindle Worlds. What impressed me about this one is the author took a very minor character (Colvin’s Pry-rian steward ‘Theobald’ who gets maybe two or three mentions in the entire trilogy) and provides a wonderful and detailed story involving him and ties in several other mysterious elements of my plot. And not only that, she made it into a novel! This is exactly the kind of story I was hoping to see when I signed up for Kindle Worlds.”

Etchings and Embers is available at Amazon.


About Elle Jacklee:

My professional titles have included software programmer, bilingual sales rep, and proposal specialist. But my favorite title, besides wife and mother, is author. It’s the only one that lets me call daydreaming “research.” My love for the outdoors is my greatest inspiration. I live in Wisconsin with my husband and two young sons, none of whom are in a hurry to grow up, and that’s just fine with me.Where to find Elle:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Author Spotlight: Emma Woods


Today I’m happy to welcome Emma Woods, author of YA dystopian fantasy Beasts and Savages:

1.Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a small town girl from the Midwest, and the oldest of four. Our house was crazy most of the time, with kids playing everywhere, so when I wanted to escape, I’d find a quite place or slip to my room and read. I was a book nerd/marching band geek, and Girl Scout and wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. I went to college to become a teacher, but fate had other plans. I think if I would have taught, I may not have taken the initiative to write and publish, so in a way, I’m happy where I am.

2.When did you start writing, and why?
I’d like to think that writing has always been and interest, or even a hobby I’ve had for most of my life. Does that make me a  lifetime writer? I don’t know, but I didn’t decide to become a published writer until about nine months ago.

3.What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I write mostly YA stories, because they are my favorite to read. I love writing because it is my escape. I have all these stories playing in my head. Why not write them down and share them with the world?

4.What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
My latest, and first, book series is The Beastly Series. Beasts and Savages is the first book in the series. The second book is in the works and coming along nicely, thanks to NaNoWriMo. It is due to be released on April 1, 2016. For the title, I plan to pick three of my best ideas and have a Twitter poll to let my readers pick it.

5.”Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
The world in Beasts and Savages is one where women and men live in separate communities. The women’s cities are highly controlled and full of technological advances. The men live in small villages in the wilds and rely on women for medications and offspring. When girls come of age, they change into beasts with the sole instinct to hunt, mate, and kill a boy. To keep order, hunts are staged twice a year and most girls only hunt once.

6.Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Lea is a born and bred hunter, who endures changing into a beast for a few days once a month. When women are in full-on beast mode, their instincts take over and all sense of reason leaves them. They have one goal: to find a boy, mate with him, and then kill him. Lea is able to control her instincts better than most, and refuses to kill.  She also one of a few who remembers changings, which means that she remembers every agonizing movement of her teeth dropping, bristles pushing out of her skin, and sudden sensitivity to light and sounds. I like how she follows her moral compass and isn’t afraid to ask hard questions.

Tanner is a green eyed sweetheart who doesn’t have a clue. Lea is the first girl he’s ever met, and he doesn’t know how to treat her. He’s a bit protective, strong, and isn’t afraid to stand up for himself against other boys, but he does have a fearful respect for his father, Locke. He’s known  as the obedient son. I like that even though he has feelings for Lea, he’s not a push over. When he thinks Lea needs put in her place, he tells her.

Miller is a villain that we come to  understand. Maybe not like, but at least we learn why he’s a villain. He hates Lea, and all women from the start, and does terrible things to her. At one time Miller and Tanner were friends, but the presence of Lea puts a rift in their friendship. I like that he has a back story, a reason for being evil, instead of just being mean because that’s what he knows. But be warned, his reason doesn’t mean you’ll hate him any less.

7.A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
I wrote five endings to Beasts and Savages, and at the urging of my final beta reader, rewrote the one I had settled on again just 48 hours before I sent it to my formatting person to submit for publishing.

Beasts and Savages is available at:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Where to find Emma Woods:
Website | Goodreads | Facebook