Category Archives: Fantasy Stories

At Least My Pod People Could be Immortal

So much of my focus and efforts go into creating my characters (aka my Pod People) and bringing them to life through the written word, that I lose sight of the fact that once they are out there, they might live in the world of mankind forever… or as long as mankind exists, and the digital content or printed copies stay intact and available… But I, as their creator, don’t even have the potential to last too many more decades, maybe not even too many more years… weeks, or days…? I’m at that age after all.

It makes me wonder if that is why I create them.

What do you think about that? Do you write stories so that a piece of yourself will always exist, so long as there are humans out there who might read them? I know we write for many reasons, but I think I will have to admit this is one of mine.

Artwork by Jay Carpenter

When I think about that idea more, it makes me realize my Pod People have the upper hand. I mistakingly believed it was me who had the power over them, but it’s the other way around. That’s okay, so long as they do their job and stick in the minds of my readers.

And they have their work cut out for them…

Artwork by Timi Honkanen

Next Guest: Anna K. Moss – Sunday 16 Oct!

You won’t want to miss this awesome conversation! Join me Sunday when I post my next guest Spotlight Q&A with Dark Fantasy Author and Editor, Anna K. Moss.

Click on Cover to find it on Amazon, and free on Kindle Unlimited

Guest Spotlight with Dark Fantasy Author Lucky E. Noma

I’m so grateful to be able to chat with Lucky on a regular basis. Our conversations have been one of the highlights of my writing journey this summer. I’m so new at the craft, and though he’s from a younger generation, he’s never short on wise counsel and encouragement. So, here is some of that for you.

I’m also pleased to share Lucky’s character sketches from some of his works in progress.

I love the sweeping expanse of your fantasy worlds and epic stories. Can you talk a little about how long you’ve been writing and what inspired you to write fantasy? What fantasy genre best describes your stories?

Thanks for the compliment, nice words are always welcome here and thank you for setting up this Q&A. Where would the Alliance be without you?  

It’s hard to imagine that I’ve been writing for eight years now. It still feels like yesterday… Reading built my desire to write. I enjoyed Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, Glen Cook’s The Black Company, Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen and of course the fantasy bible: The Lord of the Rings. Apart from Butcher’s work, you’ll discover all the authors I mentioned above built vast worlds and their storytelling was top notch, too. So, one day, while reading A storm of Swords by R. R. Martin, I was like, “I think I need to write a book.” My mind grasped that idea and nursed it for weeks. I tried writing some stories but discovered I was writing what I’d read from other Authors and there was no originality… Oscar’s Wilde’s famous quote: “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinion, their lives a mimicry, their passion a quotation,” came to mind and I began to focus on new ideas. It wasn’t easy at first, but I managed to bring my ideas to life. Indeed, while I was influenced and inspired to write by the authors I mentioned above, my real inspiration came from being different. Writing something original. And though it can be argued that the two are intertwined, I believe the latter helped me hone my skills through the years. 

To answer your last question here, I’d like to point out that I love dark stories. Every time I tried to make my stories into sunshine and rainbows, I failed with the plot. Over the years, I tried to perfect the art of dark fantasies, and of course my stories are always high fantasies, too. 

Who is your favorite author(s)? What was it about his/her writing or characters that inspired you most?

Favorite author has to be R.R Martin. His ability to tell a story from ten to fifteen points of view is second to none in my opinion. Plus, like I said earlier, I love huge detailed worlds… and worlds don’t get bigger than Esteros, and Westeros. 

D. You got that right. Well. I think you’re on track for developing worlds in that magnitude!

The New Defeat is such an awesome title.  Can you tell us a little about it and where the idea came from?

The New Defeat… hmmm. December 2019, I wasn’t feeling too well, and was down for about two weeks. While sick, to lull myself to sleep when movies and music failed, I formed up stories. One story stood out which later became the title mentioned above. It was meant to be about a peculiar race, called the Zoryks. Their existence was one of survival as they’d lost their traits or superpowers. They were preyed upon because of this weakness and envied by most around them. Our protagonist had the great destiny to save his world while many only saw his poor mental health. The new defeat was supposed to reflect the sadness of being weak and misunderstood. I for one enjoyed building the world of the be defeat called the Paraworld. A continent made up of six races namely the Zoryks, Lerans, Yubs, Wingyads, Kraskors, and Solbies. Each race had its peculiar trait, and some traits were funny. For example, Zoryks became drunk from drinking honey, and had diseases like the sad sickness, the falling fingers… Other races like the Yuban (Yubs) were naturally bald, head to foot, while Wingyads had the ability to fly. There’s a lot of political intrigue too, and the villains had reasonable personalities. Book two should be out soon. 

D. That’s a great story. Our readers can click on your book cover at the end to link to The New Defeat on Amazon.

I’ve had a chance to preview some of your current works in progress and I’m excited to see them in print. Can you tell us about some of your favorites?

I’m excited about a few stories, like Thirty: Rise of the Dead which is the book of Thirty: XXX released last year. However, I’m more excited about When a Kingdom Bleeds Lords Weep. I’ve been working on this for 8 years. I’m after perfection with this story though I know it’s impossible to write a perfect book. I poured my heart into this up to a point where in 2018 I went through books one and two (over 200k words at the time) and burnt both manuscripts.  Everybody says, “You’re allowed to have shitty first drafts,” but I was having none of that. I started the project again, and I think its release is coming soon.

D. I was hoping you would share this story. When you first told me that, it impressed the heck out of me. You literally burned your manuscript to force yourself to start from the beginning again. It’s the kind of thing many of us might have wanted to do ourselves at one point but lacked the courage. Lucky is giving us a sneak peek at his cover for When Kingdom Bleeds!

The New Defeat is just one of your published books. Where can we find others? Can you point us to your short stories?

Thanks Darci, for this opportunity to point a finger toward my short stories. I have a few available here.

Which of your characters in all your writing is your favorite, and why?

That’s an exciting question, Darci. I’d like to go with Julian Mars-Stalker on this one. He’s the first son of a popular lord in the Province of Samolin. Samolin is a province in the Kingdom of Markia, and they belong to the Sanem Continent. The Continent where When a Kingdom Bleeds is set. His father had high hopes for him, whereas Julian desired the simple things in life. What I really loved about Julian was his ability to rise to every scenario thrown at him. I also liked the way he talked. Sometimes he came off rude, and at other times he was like an angel. My favorite quote from him is: “When the young do their business which the old call folly, the old should stick to their wisdom and preserve their warnings for those without lust.”

D. I love that line. What an elegant way to tell someone to stick to their own business! 

You are also so creative in illustrating your worlds with AI digital art. Is that something you do to relax and want a break from writing, or is it a passion of its own? What other creative outlets do you like to explore? 

Thanks for the compliment again, Darci. I think writing as a form of art should be expressed in other forms too. I love the idea of creating and I’m not good at drawing nor experienced in making state of the art videos. A.I art can come a long way to make it seem like you know what you’re doing when creating, and that’s why I use it as a tool. But if I had the experience or enough dollars to hire professionals, I’d stick to my writing. 

D. What I love about your images is the drama they convey. I’m drawn to the dark portentous things going on and want to know what will happen next. 

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about meeting you and other writers in our Fantasy Sci Fi Writers Alliance is that we are from all over the globe. So many different experiences! How did you first come across the group, and what perks have you discovered from being involved with a writing community?

It was all down to Eric B. Hunter’s effort. He invited me and helped me through with the basics. He’s such a nice guy, and I like the community which grew afterward in the name of Fantasy Sci Fi Writers Alliance. I think the Alliance has been fun. You get to meet nice people from everywhere and it’s been a very supportive community. 

D. Yeah. This is a good place to note that the original group has been around for a while, before Eric and Anna got the brilliant idea to brand us as the Fantasy Sci Fi Writers Alliance. And with that branding and all the current events inspired by it, the group is growing fast. If you want to learn more, click on my Alliance page.

What has been your biggest highlight of the last year?

Being alive. 

D. I’m with you there, my friend. These past few years have been tough. Here’s to celebrating still being around!

What are you most excited about over the next year?

I really can’t say because life changes in a heartbeat. I’ll keep things simple and hope I become a better writer. 

D. That’s a good way to go. And all the best to you.

What are your plans for future publications?

I’m working toward releasing Thirty: Rise of the Dead, The New Defeat two, When a Kingdom Bleeds Lords Weep and The Château between now and next year. A publishing deal? Maybe… Ha, laughs an indie author. 

D. I know you’re close on many of those. Even one publication down will be a huge accomplishment. You’re always reminding me that it will happen in time and that’s good advice. I know it will happen for you, too!

Any parting advice to those who dream about writing?

I’d go with R. R Martin’s advice, which has helped me through the years. “Write every day, even if it is only a page or two. The more you write, the better you’ll get. But don’t write in my universe, or Tolkien’s, or the Marvel universe, or the Star Trek universe, or any other borrowed background. Every writer needs to learn to create his own characters, worlds, and settings.”

Thank you. 

D. And that does sum up the challenge for a fantasy writer. This has been great, Lucky. Thank you so much for the conversation. All the best!

Spotlight Sunday 9 Oct – Guest Lucky E. Noma

I can’t wait to share my conversation with Lucky! Join us this Sunday and meet a writer hugely influenced by George R. R. Martin. And you will see it coming through in our chat and his writing. Lucky is one of those people who are generous with their time in helping others on their creative journeys, so it’s a real pleasure featuring his work this month. I also enjoy his A.I. artwork so much, I asked to use it in my promo. Enjoy!

Click on book cover to find it on Amazon

An End at Barfleur – A Short Story

This 1,650-word story is a journal entry in Book One, Ursus Borealis, in The Starlight Chronicles series. I found it rather fun to write a story …

An End at Barfleur – A Short Story

An End at Barfleur – A Short Story

This story is a single journal entry in Book One, Ursus Borealis, in The Starlight Chronicles series. I found it rather fun to write a story within a story within a story. It nestles in a chapter featuring Kuliana Hada, a character that appears throughout the series, who is an Anurashin Captain of the Guard. Cynthia is her ancestress.

Cynthia’s story is incorporated into an actual historical account about the White Ship that sailed in 1120 as described. Its sinking changed history.

An End at Barfleur

I am Cynthia, a marked maiden, a human born with a destiny entwined with a race from another world. I was trained to fight alongside my mate Aldric and his pack with the guidance of my magus Zigan Meshara of the Order of Hala against three rebellious princes who were banished from the planet Anurash.

This sounds impossible, I know. But you will just have to take my word. That is, if you are from the realms apart from this hidden place beneath a volcano, and this missive makes its way to you as I hope.

My life started on a farm in the county of Anjou. Then it changed forever when I met a bear from Normandy.

After immersing myself in the astonishing world of my mate and the kingdoms of the shifters, learning there was life beyond this Earth and before reaching the heavens took only a few extra pints to swallow it down. That, and meeting Zigan. It turns out Zigan and I are old souls and have done this dance before.

How my soul was chosen for this repeated Earth-bound destiny is a mystery, but my magus spent much time over wine in our chateau sharing what he knew of our history or rather, the history of the prophecy of the marked maidens.

As for Zigan, up till we met… in this time, he had spent his life training with the Order, which included studying the records in the extensive archives and all forms of alchemy, in addition to being honed into a warrior. Even more astonishing, he could transform into a stunning feline I learned was called a tiger.

For eight years I experienced what it was to be part of the Pack, to be soulmates with its alpha, to be one piece of a wondrous whole, and we were successful in our purpose, keeping the machinations of the princes from the human population, and mitigating the damages.

This is the part at the end of our story and writing it down is agony because it chronicles the event that halted our purpose violently, tore me from those I loved, and marked the beginning of my slow and lonely death. Still, it must be told.

It takes place starting mid-morning of the 25th day of the month of November in the year 1120. We arrived at Barfleur near the coast of Normandy, after confirming the location of the current scheme of Aviel Enair, the oldest and most formidable of the three sibling princes. We lacked the details, but we knew his scheme would involve the sailing vessel known as the White Ship, renowned for its speed and beauty, and now carrying the only legitimate heir to King Henry I across to England.

~~~

Frustration gripped me, and I wrapped my arm around myself, trying to catch my breath after having run the length of the docks. I called out to my mate behind me, “It is just as we feared, Aldric. The ship has almost reached the Quilleboeuf!”

There were three hundred souls sailing away as I spoke, other nobles as well as the heir, and the loss would be catastrophic to the burgeoning English monarchy. When we learned the king’s seventeen-year-old son, William Adelin, desired to sail on this elegant vessel while his father sailed ahead of him, and that Aviel had set his sights on it, we considered the hazards the Anurashin prince might exploit.

The ship had a good reputation and so did its captain, Thomas FitzStephen, whose father had taken the prince’s grandfather, William the Conqueror, across the same sea. The only evident risk was sailing past Gatteville, where hidden rocks like the Quilleboeuf lay waiting for careless sailors. But FitzStephen was surely used to navigating such hazards.

I breathed in the salty air to sharpen my mind while I considered our options. The raucous calls of seagulls ebbed overhead as they congregated, fought, then flew off with morsels of fish as their prize. Despite the size and piercing eyes of the warrior next to me, we stood unnoticed among the throng of bodies rushing towards their duties on the bustling docks.

“You must call Zigan, my love,” Aldric said, drawing me to his side and offering his warmth as I shivered from the urgency of our task and the breeze cooling the sweat of my exertion.

Though we were French, our purpose as part of this prophetic trio was to protect the balance of power fated for this world. When the princes interfered, it fared badly for the indigenous populations, according to Zigan’s archives.

That meant we trained to take risks, and we discovered this scheme by becoming captives of the princes while each enjoyed inflicting painful retribution on us for our past successes. But Aviel allowed his brothers’ torment to go only so far, which we’d learned to count on, though we didn’t understand it, and our plan included an escape.

It went perfectly, until we ran into a trap and had to leave our pack behind to fight, which also delayed our arrival, and a worry was taking hold in me that the last eight years of joy and strife might culminate on these docks. Still, I pushed on.

After placing the insides of my wrists together, my tiger appeared, first as an image on my skin, then as a man stepping out of a gray mist, calmly taking us in with fathomless dark eyes. His markings glowed bright gold against his bronzed arms, and his silky black hair waved in the breeze.

“We need to get aboard that ship, Zigan.” I pointed to the sails disappearing north along the coast to Gatteville. “Can you haze us there?”

“I can, but I may not have enough energy to get you back.”

Aldric said, “Let me go with him. If the ship were to sink and Zigan cannot return us both…” He let that thought trail off as he looked at me in that fierce way that melted my heart. The powerful love I had for this man, this larger-than-life Norman-born warrior who shared the spirit of a mighty brown bear, still overwhelmed me after all these years. We had not taken one moment of our time for granted, knowing the dangers inherent in my destiny.

Clutching his hand, I said, “But I must be the one on that ship, Aldric. We have no idea what is planned, and we need my instincts as a marked maiden.”

“You will be noticed. I can blend in and discern the situation. We must go now, as they approach the rocks.”

I stood on my toes and brought his face to mine, peering into his brown eyes to see his bear gleaming at me, a magnificent beast he could transform into at will. Our lips came together for a precious moment before I stepped back.

Zigan gripped my mate, nodded to me reassuringly, then they disappeared. I took shelter and waited. In less than thirty minutes they were back.

Aldric and I stepped towards each other as he gave his report. “Nearly everyone on board was drunk on wine and betting on a race to beat the king to England. The ship sailed fast, pushing its limits. Not more than ten minutes after we arrived, it hit the rocks and foundered.” I gasped in dismay, but he assured me the king’s son made it to a lifeboat.

Suddenly, warriors in the garb of another time appeared in a heavy mist that seemed to have blown in from the sea. They surrounded us. Zigan and Aldric drew their swords, and I followed with mine.

The sound of steel rang out, and we held our own against a dozen, until my sword was knocked from my hand. Strong arms grabbed me from behind. Aldric’s roar shook the planks beneath our feet. But the Anurashin warrior held me fast and kept me from my mate’s reach, letting the others leap in between us, forcing Aldric to slice his way to me.

The warrior said in my ear, “The prince has his sights on you, maiden. Did you not think he would find you?”

“He may have found me, but he’ll not have me!”

Springing my knife from my sleeve, I lunged back, shoving it between his ribs, and twisting it. The warrior grunted in pain, but his grip did not loosen. Aldric dodged blades, slammed his fist into faces, and rammed bodies, while I tried to pull free.

Zigan moved so fast; arcs of blood hovered in the air where he last appeared. But when he hazed close and tried to free me, the warrior jerked us back and two others lunged for him. To my utter horror, they took his head.

My knees gave out at the unbearable agony ripping through my heart, then my entire being, as Zigan’s soul was wrenched from mine with brutal force. Never had I imagined our bond could be so viciously severed, or that the warrior magus was anything but invincible. A sickening realization plummeted like a stone in my belly. This was Aviel’s plan. Why he let us escape before. He’d orchestrated the entire thing for this purpose. To kill my magus. To take me. To destroy the Pack de Normande. The chaos wrought on the monarchy was only a bonus.

What was left of my heart was crushed to pulp when Aldric stepped into the path of a blade not bothering with the pain, to reach for me, desperate to save me as he felt the agony of my loss, and our loss to come. The mist I dreaded grew thick, and I sensed I was breaking into tiny pieces. None of this could be happening!

The devastated face of my mate told me he had come to the same incomprehensible conclusion while he watched me fade into bits, so close to him our fingers nearly touched.

I poured my heart and soul into my words. “I will love you forever!” The sound that followed was the mighty roar of a broken and wounded bear.

The sound that followed was the mighty roar of a wounded bear.

Isa Loves my Pod People…

Sam and Priss are super loveable Pod People… more stories for them in the works. Don’t you love Isa’s fairy wings?!! Find it on Amazon with bonus …

Isa Loves my Pod People…

Isa Loves my Pod People…

Sam and Priss are super loveable Pod People… more stories for them in the works. Don’t you love Isa’s fairy wings?!!

Find it on Amazon with bonus content, works in progress and a couple of my favorite short stories, with awesome book covers. Hey, the tiniest stories warrant covers as much as their big cousins.

This includes Isa’s lovely review…

This is a special week for so many reasons – to celebrate, enjoy a huge discount on my books 😊

Ursus Borealis and Drago Incendium

Indie Author Spotlight this Sunday!

Stay tuned – Interview will be posted 14 Aug 2022!

Join me here on Sunday for a fun and inspiring Q&A with Indie Swords & Sorcery Fantasy author from Down Under, Douglas W. T. Smith.

I plan to feature more of my writer and creator friends here on a regular basis. We’re all going through the myriad of stages to improve our writing, market our books and grow our reading community. This will be a place to glean tips and inspiration through it all.

Shadow of the Wicked now on Audio!

Priss Starwillow & the Wolf, Enchanting Characters in an Enchanting World, all in 5,000 words.

I’m working hard to get this out to the world, and this weekend would be the perfect time to enjoy a FREE short story. It was a winner in a writing challenge, and I promise it’s a fun read, with characters you will love immediately. Click on the cover for a link to your Nook Book at Barnes and Noble. You can find it on Apple Books, Scribd, and Kobo as well. Those links can be found on My Books page. If you don’t have access to these online stores, email me and I’ll send you a copy. I would love to hear what you think.

Sharing 😄 Grab your copy! Today is the LAST day a Door into Evermoor, my YA fantasy, is FREE on Kindle!

Today is the LAST day my YA fantasy, A Door into Evermoor, is FREE on Kindle!  Come get you some portal story adventure with a magic revolver named …

Today is the LAST day a Door into Evermoor, my YA fantasy, is FREE on Kindle!