Fantasy Links 4/21/17

April 21, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment
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Sorry for the lack of posts recently. Life events as usual interfere. Here are some links to keep you going. Thank you.

An article for writers about poisons.

Here’s an article about worldbuilding and choosing a weapon for your characters.

Here’s an article for readers of Brandon Sanderson and his Cosmere books.

Mythic Scribes has a writing article about Foreshadowing.

The Mad Genius blog has several entries of interest this week.

Finally, Magical Words has several links posted this week of interest for readers and writers:


Why Fantasy Matters Link

March 4, 2017 at 2:38 am | Posted in Fantasy Web Site | Leave a comment
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Welcome to March. I didn’t quite get the article I planned for today quite finished, but I wanted to share this wonderful video about Why Fantasy Matters from Unbound Worlds.  Enjoy.

Fantasy Links 1/13/17

January 13, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Posted in Writing | Leave a comment
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I’m busy working on a story, so this week’s post are some links of interest for you.

An article on writing advice at:

World of publishing for today at:

An article of grimdark fantasy books to read at:

A writing article on crafting a character driven story at:

A helpful writing article from Mythic Scribes at:

Where to Start

September 30, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment
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Looking for something different to read? Inspired by an episode of a fantasy tv series or movie? Deciding where to start can be a daunting task because the fantasy genre is large. There are many subgenres within the overall genre, so there are many possible starting points. Readers have several choices that might fit their tastes. Here are a few books where to begin a journey into a new genre.

Epic fantasy is one of the largest sub-genres and has garnered much interest because of the“Game of Thrones” tv series. Some readers start with the books but there are other books that are good too. For Tolkien, The Hobbit is an easier place to begin with his works. Lord of the Rings is excellent but rich in detail and takes time to savor. Other good starting books are:

  • The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks
  • The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
  • Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey
  • Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn
  • The Riddlemaster of Hed by Patricia McKillip

Another popular subgenre is urban fantasy which has exploded in recent years. These are books where magic, mythical creatures and the supernatural exists and interacts with our modern day world. There are many excellent starting points. Many of these books have plenty of action and interesting characters both men and women. Suggested books are:

  • Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels series)
  • Stormfront by Jim Butcher (Harry Dresden series)
  • Moon Called by Patty Briggs (Mercy Thompson series)
  • Hounded by Kevin Hearne ( Iron Druid Chronicles series)

The story of King Arthur and his knights spawned another subgenre with Arthurian fantasy. Authors explore some aspect or character from the legends to tell new stories in this sub-genre. Some books to try are:

  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
  • The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White

Finally there is for me an unofficial subgenre of mythic and fairy tale fantasy. Authors use mythology, mythic themes or fairy tales in new ways to tell thought provoking emotional stories that resonate with readers in some deep fashion. Books in this genre began with two authors, Robert Holdstock and Charles de Lint but have other authors now. Books to read here are:

  • Mythagowood by Robert Holdstorck
  • The Wood Wife by Terri Windling
  • The Onion Girl  by Charles de Lint
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Finding books to read in a new genre can be hard. The books mentioned in this article are great places to start. May the gifts of fantasy and wonder be yours. Happy reading.

Review: _The Tainted_ by Glenda Larke

November 29, 2008 at 2:07 am | Posted in Book Review | Leave a comment
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Blaze Halfbreed returns in the final book of the “Isles of Glory” to save a friend from a terrible fate. She is helped by other characters is this rousing book of adventure. The Tainted by Glenda Larke is an action packed conclusion to an immensely entertaining trilogy. The author brings the trilogy to a satisfying climax through the setting, characters and plot.

First, the setting helps the book be entertaining with its realistic portrayal. Ms. Larke creates strong images with the different island kingdoms and cultures that sound like they could exist. One island has its main city built into a cliff along a bay where the palace is at the highest level and the poor live at the lowest. Even more interesting is the island with Tenkor and the Hub. Messages, passengers and cargo are transported up an inlet on the tidal bores. The author’s thoughtful creation of the setting energizes the sense of wonder.

Next, the characters bring the book to a satisfying climax b being memorable. Blaze has a part, but it is other characters that are on the main stage in this book. Ruarth Windrider begins his new life following Flame the woman he loves. She is subverted by dunmagic and treats him horribly. He must overcome Flame’s bad treatment and coming to terms with dramatic changes to his life. Elarn Jaydon lives in Tenkor. He is a tide rider, a person who rides the tidal bore to deliver messages up and down the inlet. His father disapproves of him because of his sylv magic talent. These characters interact with Blaze and others that help them grow. Ms. Larke creates memorable characters with interesting lives through strong descriptions and dialogue.

Lastly, the author brings the story to a satisfying conclusion with the plot. The book starts with Ruarth on a shop with Flame, dealing with his new circumstances. He does not understand Flame’s behavior. She heads to an island kingdom to marry a man she hated in previous books. Elarn meets the daughter of the head Keeper. She convinces him to learn to use his sylv power and to help her with her ideas. Events in the lives of these characters pile up to a rousing end involving all the haracters from the other books. Ms. Larke weaves the plot together deftly to provide an interesting, exciting climax to the book.

The Tainted by Glenda Larke is the final book of the “Isles of Glory” trilogy. The trilogy is brought to a satisfying conclusion in this book through its setting, characters and plot. Ms. Larke is a creative writer using her experiences from living in Malaysia and Australia to create imaginative books that stay with readers for a long time. This book was no exception.

Review: _Chronicles of the Last War_ by Laura J. Underwood

November 15, 2008 at 2:16 am | Posted in Articles, Book Review | Leave a comment
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Laura J. Underwood is an author who creates interesting worlds and characters for her stories. Her stories set in the world of Keltora are vibrant with magic, adventures and memorable characters. Chronicles of the Last War is a collection of three stories of Keltora featuring the characters Eithne, Conor and Michan in a land torn by war.

“The Black Hunter” begins the story of these three characters as they meet for the first time. Eithne is a True Healer but her father decrees that she marry a man of his choosing for an alliance. She flees her family to become a healer. After her training, she joins a group of healers with the king’s militia on the war front. Conor Manahan is a sergeant in the militia. As warrior he feels something is wrong in the caste where the militia are staying. Michan is a battle mage who befriends Conor after someone tries to kill him. These three friends must fight a supernatural foe as their relationships grow in interesting directions.

In the next story “Willowherb,” the three main characters return to face new conflicts. They are on the battle field in a camp. Conor and Eithne must deal wit their budding romance. Michan senses a blood mage close by the camp along with the presence of a demon. When the demon attacks the camp, men are killed and the militia leader wants volunteers to kill the blood mage. Other problems put a strain on the characters, creating tension mixed in with the adventure of the story.

The last story, “Wyrd,” follows Eithne and Conor years later. Conor is a guard with a caravan. Eithne and their mageborn son Rhoyd travel with him. Every day the caravan gets closer to a certain place on the route that triggers dreams in Conor. He must deal with a past tragedy while fighting threats to the caravan. This is a bittersweet story with a nice ending.

Chronicles of the Last War by Laura J. Underwood has three entertaining stories set in the Celtic style fantasy world of Keltora. This Celtic Fantasy follows three people during a last fierce war. Supernatural creatures, magic and strong warriors created by Mx. Underwood provide vivid stories of interesting characters for readers. The book is available from Yard Dog Press at :

Review: _Fall of a Kingdom_ by Hilari Bell

October 31, 2008 at 2:58 pm | Posted in Book Review | Leave a comment

Three young people from different social classes face trials and threats to their kingdom. Fall of a Kingdom by Hilari Bell is the first book of the “Farsala” trilogy. The cultures depicted, the characters and plot weave together to provide an entertaining first book.

First, the author creates different cultures that makes the book entertaining. Farsala is a kingdom of tribal clans ruled by one house at a time. The deghans have a cultures based on horses and is Middle Eastern in flavor. Another culture is made up of desert nomads called the Sud. They have a strange magic that relies on talking with the spirits of things. Then there are the Hrum made up of a great empire that conquers other nations, constantly expanding. Ms. Bell’s cultures have neat interactions that make the story more powerful.

Next, the characters help the story to be entertaining by being realistic. The three main characters are in their late teens and early twenties. Kavi is a peasant peddler who has suffered at the hands of the deghans. His resentment spurs in making difficult decisions that threaten his soul. Jaain is the illegitimate son of the deghan Merahb. His father has him as an aid and teaches him tactics. He must shoulder a difficult borer in the story. Soraya is the deghan’s daughter. She is tough, but arrogant and must learn to temper the arrogance to succeed in her endeavors. Ms. Bell imbues the characters with realistic traits of growth and keeps readers interested in their exploits.

Ultimately, the plot makes the book entertaining by telling an interesting story. The plot begins in the city of Setasafon where the deghan Merahb is trying to stop a political rival who demands the sacrifice of Soraya. Her father needs to stop the rival to retain command of the army. He knows the Hrum are planning to attack Farsala. Soraya goes along with her father’s plan to help him. She is hidden away in the mountains where she meets the Suud who teach her their magic. Kavi crosses paths with the commander ad is coerced into checking on Soraya periodically. He comes into trouble when captured by the Hrum. Jaain follows his father into the battle with the invaders which changes his life dramatically. Ms. Bell’s vivid descriptions bring the story to life with action.

Fall of a Kingdom by Hilari Bell is the first book of the Farsala trilogy. This young adult fantasy follows the story of three young people whose lives are in upheaval. Jaain, Soraya and Kavi must save Farsala from the invading Hrum. Interesting cultures, characters and plot keeps the book entertaining until the end. The adventures of these three characters continue in Rise of a Hero and concludes with Forging the Sword.

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