Roll the Dice on Orconomics and Gain +4 Happiness

imageOrconomics: A Satire
(The Dark Profit Saga Book 1)
Author: J. Zachary Pike
Publisher: Gnomish Press
Pages: 385
Genre: Satirical Fantasy
Twitter: @jzacharypike
Facebook: JZacharyPike
Website: JZacharyPike.com

One of the things I love most about the fantasy genre is the how easily I can emerse myself in that particular world. While I never had the opportunity to play Dungeons & Dragons as a youth, I did play World of Warcraft. What an amazing experience! A world of endless borders where I could walk end-to-end, and even without seeking out battles or quests, I could simply explore the world of Azeroth.

Of course it was easy to lose oneself for hours, nay days on end: Farming for coins and saving to purchase epic armor or weapons, traveling to city centers to get the best deal on a trade, selling items I created through my “talents”, talking to Non Player Characters (NPC) and searching for quests. I definately can not leave out the time honored tradition of looting our defeated enemies, ending up with either torn animal hides or a Legendary Weapon.

It’s been a few years now since I last played since I played WoW and I have to say I often miss it.

Why the walk down nostalgia lane? Because while reading Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike I was immediately transported to those fun days running quests and looting my dead enemies. When I was approached with an offer for a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review, I did not know wha to expect. My past camping experience aside, the premise of the novel is intriguing enough to pick up.

J. Zachary Pike

J. Zachary Pike

The adventuring industry drives the economy of Arth, a world much like our own but with more magic and fewer vowels. On Arth, professional heroes are hired to slay fantastic creatures with magic weapons. The beasts’ treasure is hauled back to town and divided among investors.

Since his career as a professional hero ended in failure decades ago, Gorm Ingerson’s life has been a cycle of petty crime, heavy drinking and avoiding the Heroes’ Guild. But when the Dwarf helps a Goblin secure its NPC documents, he quickly finds himself in the clutches of the guild’s enforcers.

It will take all of Gorm’s Dwarven resolve to survive political intrigue, fundamentalist lizard men, purse kobolds, healing potion addicts, and worse. Yet even if he succeeds, it may not be enough to protect his party from the dark secret behind their quest.
Orconomics is a joy to read. J. Zachary Pike is a Master Dungeon Master and weaves a fantastic tale that is funny, full of adventure and

If you’ve ever sat around a table with multi sided dice, creating wild adventure and trying to determine if the spell your wizard cast indicted +4 physical damage or -2 Intellect drain, or if you’ve immersed yourself in an MMORPG, then this novel is for you. Even if you have NO. IDEA. WHAT. I. JUST. WROTE,  but you enjoy the lighter side of Fantasy, then this novel is for you.

Roll the Dice. Get ready to Level your Fantasy Reading this Summer.  Orconomics should be on every fantasy lover’s reading list this summer.

+4 Stars out of 5.

Download your copy of Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike today! CLICK HERE. 

Special thanks to Sage Adderley and Sage’s Blog Tours for letting me participate in this tour.

image

Advertisements

Worth Mentioning – with special guest author, J. Zachary Pike

We are pleased to have J. Zachary Pike visiting us today at Astounding Books as our guest blogger. Pike was once a basement-dwelling fantasy gamer, but over time he metamorphosed into a basement-dwelling fantasy writer. A New Englander by birth and by temperament, he writes strangely funny fiction on the seacoast of New Hampshire. His novel, Orconomics, is available now. 

An excerpt from the novel can be found below. Give it a try and enter to win a FREE digital copy of the novel on a Kindle Paperwhite! You can see more of his work at jzacharypike.com, or drop him a line on Facebook or Twitter.

On Writing by J. Zachary Pike

image

I’ve found plenty of tips over the years for creating three-dimensional characters, and I’ve followed more than a few of the good ones. But I seldom see many tips for building interesting worlds, which I find odd. After all, a fantasy setting can be deep and fascinating or flat and uninteresting just as much as any character can. As I created Arth for my own books, I found it helpful to think of my world as another character, and in so doing try to make it as three-dimensional as possible.

The World is Flat

When a character is simple and stereotypical, they’re often described as flat and two dimensional. There’s nothing wrong with a two dimensional character in passing—simple characters are a critical element of storytelling. (Imagine how horrible the last book you read would be if the author delved into the past, motivations, and flaws of every person who appeared in the book.)

A simple, underdeveloped world can also come across as two-dimensional. Such a simple world might make a good stop for the interdimensional traveler / spaceship crew. Think of all the bizarrely gimmicky worlds that the original Star Trek visited, or the satirically stereotypical planets on Futurama. They make for some great gags or philosophical points, and they’re fun to visit, but you probably wouldn’t want to set a novel there.

How a World is Like Another Character

A character isn’t a person, and a fantasy world isn’t a place. They’re both constructs for telling stories and conveying themes. Your characters’ strengths, weaknesses, flaws, and redemption (should) all serve to shape your story and advance your plot. Creating a world is the same way: it’s a tool for advancing the plot plot. The easiest way for me to keep that in mind is to think of Arth as another character.

Here are some of the ways that helps me.

  • I try to give my world “flaws.” It’s easy to see if a character is too perfect, or too evil, or just too… flat. One key indication of a two-dimensional character is a lack of flaws (or redemptive qualities for villains.) But a world can be too one-note as well, and a good way to prevent that is to give it “flaws.” it a counter-themes, something that takes it in the opposite direction. One example from Arth is the balance between military and financial forces— on the one hand, the world is full of violence and constant danger, but at the same time a stable economy with advanced financial markets has grown not just despite the conflict, but because of it.
  • I use two-dimensional characters to create three dimensional cultures. Part of what makes our world so interesting is the diversity of perspectives and attitudes that you find in any group of people. If all of my minor characters are of one mind and purpose, or even clearly divided along predictable lines, my world would be missing out on some engaging conflict. II try to give the minor characters a variety of voices and perspectives, so that together they’ll create a picture of a more fascinating culture.
  • I think about my world’s character arc. A character that doesn’t advance or change over the course of a story is a dull one, and the same goes for a setting that isn’t impacted by the character’s actions. I try to outline the way my heroes’ actions will change their world, and what that does for Arth narratively.

Your mileage may vary, but it always helps me to think of my world as another character, If you’re thinking about writing fantasy or speculative fiction, I highly recommend giving it a try.

Book Excerpt from Orconomics: A Satire

imageLegend held that Andarun had once been the greatest city on Arth, in the early ages when it was the high seat of the kingdoms of the Sten. Then the Sten betrayed the rest of mankind and were subsequently wiped out in retaliation. The armies of Man were quickly driven away by a dragon, which was followed by hordes of Lizardmen, who fell to the Gremlins, who were slain by an Ogre tribe, and so on and so forth. By the time the Freedmen liberated the city from the rule of Ogmar the Mad, one could barely walk down Central Avenue without tripping over a priceless relic from a long-faded conflict. Of course, no one could even venture near a sewer grate for fear of giant spiders or Venomous Scargs or any of the other monstrous denizens that had never fully been expunged from the city.

Ironically, these ancient threats were key to Andarun’s rapid gentrification. Dangerous monsters and abundant treasure attract heroes. Wealthy heroes in need of gear attract merchants. Well-to-do merchants attract industry. Industry needs workers, who need developers for housing, who need builders and laborers, who need services. The ancient ruins beneath Mount Wynspar fertilized a blooming economy on its surface. Within an age, Andarun was again the greatest city on Arth, this time built atop the most deadly dungeon on Arth.

In Andarun, one could wake a nameless fear or two just by digging a wine cellar.

“The city’s built on big steps carved into the mountain back when the Sten were around,” Gorm told Gleebek as they made their way through Andarun’s crowded streets. “The lowest step is called the Base, and the top is the Pinnacle. Every step starts in the Ridge,” he said, pointing to the rough cliff face that cast the western side of the city in shadow, “and ends at the Wall.” He turned and pointed to the giant stone edifice that made up the eastern mirror of the Ridge.

“A zabba,” Gleebek said with a low whistle.

“Aye. The Wall and the Ridge cast long shadows down here on the lower steps. But Andarun rises to their tops, so up near the Pinnacle, where the uppity-ups live, the Wall ain’t much taller than a hedge. Good views, I’m told.”

“Da grongo?”

“Everything’s better by the Wall—the view, the light, the smells. Course, everything’s more expensive too. Makes Andarun almost like a map of society, ye see. The higher up the mountain ye go, the higher your status. The closer to the Wall ye are, the more money ye have.”

“Grong, da nub’root Hupsit—”

“So if we get separated, head down toward the Base and west to the Ridge. Eventually, ye’ll come here.” Gorm rounded a bend and gestured down an alley that was deeper and darker than most swamps.

“Ga’pab?”

“Welcome to the Underdim,” grinned Gorm. “They don’t get any more Ridgeward or Baseward.”

Interested in visiting Arth? There’s never been an better time, because right now you can win one of several free copies of Orconomics—including a digital copy on a Kindle Paperwhite. CLICK HERE Enter to win on my contest page. 

The Immortals Is An “Instance” Where The Tale Comes Out On Top

imageThe Immortals, Part One
Shadows and Starstone
Author: Cheryl S. Mackey
Publisher: Amazon Digital (Dec. 2014)
Pages: 85 (Novella)
Genre: Fantasy
Twitter:  @Writezalot
Facebook:  Writezalot
Website: Writezalot.com

A thousand years ago the gods known as The Four created the Immortals to protect and defend their world against an invader known as the Dro-Aconi—and then vanished. Left to fend for themselves, the three races of Ein-Aral and the Immortals banded together to save the world.

Ivo, Jaeger, Jadeth, and Emaranthe must protect a desert village and its hoard of Starstone. Can the companions battle inner demons long enough to defeat legions of enemies and keep the enemy from stealing the Starstone, or is this merely the beginning of an even greater quest?

I’m not going to bury the lede here: I’m giving Shadows & Starstone – Part One of The Immortals –  3 out of 5 stars. Cheryl Mackey has written an enjoyable tale set in a world filled with mystery, magic and intrigue. There is an amazing story here and the reader will definitely want to keep reading more stories set in the world of her novel, The Unknown Sun.

Mackey does a great job of world building, setting the tone and pace for her future stories. There is a lot of action and the story and character development move along quite nicely.

As a former World of Warcraft player (Level 80 Dwarf Hunter – “For the Alliance!”) the story and our heroic class-based band of warriors  felt very much like a raiding scenario, or what we geeks refer to as “an Instance”:  a mage with AOE, a druid-like healer, and two DPS Warrior Brothers battling progressively harder mobs or enemies till the fight culminates in an intense Boss Battle.

I very much enjoyed this story, however, it fails in some places, which is why I started the review with praise. I don’t want deter you from reading this series, but it did have a few issues.

The battle scenes are overly described.  The final half of the novella is essentially a slow motion fight scene where we see every drop of sweat fall slowly to the ground, every look and gaze made by our heroes, every furrowed brow slowly furrowing and weapons being slowly drawn, dropped, and picked up again. It’s like one of those slow motion fight scenes in a movie where the bad guy fires a gun and for what seems like ten minutes all you see is the flash from the gun, the bullet slowly leaving the barrel, the casing being slowly discharged and falling slowly to the ground as the bullet moves across space, (again slowly) towards the intended victim. It’s a cool scene, but sometimes it’s over used.

There is a certin obsessiveness with the description of the physical movements of eyes, other facial movements or responses. (furrowed brows, gazing eyes, upturned mouths, smirks, braids and hair movement, gasp, hisses, etc.)  Used occasionally, these physical movements tell their own story.  Used repetitively it becomes, well, repetitive.

In the end, Mackey’s story shines and THAT is the magic of the novella. The characters are richly drawn, the world is vast and mysterious, and the hints of dangers and evils to come kept me engrossed till the end.  I look forward to further exploring this world.

I was provided a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review. I hope you take a chance on this amazing author and give The Immortals, Part One a chance. Again, I give this 3 out of 5 stars.

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to interview Cheryl Mackey, (You can read the full interview BY CLICKING HERE)

Now get going and download your copy of The Immortals today by CLICKING HERE! 

Spotlight on Astounding Authors

I’m giving you a heads up right now: it’s going to be hard to pick which of these Astounding Authors’ novels you’ll want to read this week. We have three novels so interesting that you may want to read them all!  Click through the link and give them a try.

imageThe Dragon Scale Lute
Legends of Tivara, Daughter of
the Dragon Throne. Vol 1
Author: J.C. Kang
Publisher: CreateSpace (Feb 2016)
Pages: 484
Genre: Asian Fantasy
Twitter: @JCKang804
Facebook: LegendsOfTivara
Website: JCKang.info

Kaiya’s voice could charm a dragon.

Had she lived when the power of music could still summon typhoons and rout armies, perhaps Cathay’s imperial court would see the awkward, gangly princess as more than a singing fool. With alliances to build and ambitious lords to placate, they care more about her marriage prospects than her unique abilities.

Only the handsome Prince Hardeep, a foreign martial mystic, recognizes her potential. Convinced Kaiya will rediscover the legendary but perilous art of invoking magic through music, he suggests her voice, not her marriage, might better serve the realm.

When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan– Kaiya’s childhood friend and his half-elf sidekick (or maybe he’s her sidekick?)– discover mere discontent boiling over into full-scale rebellion, Kaiya must choose. Obediently wedding the depraved ringleader means giving up her music. Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.

Discover the Legends of Tivara, Daughter of the Throne and download The Dragon Scale Lute today! CLICK HERE!

 

imageThe Unknown Sun
Author: Cheryl Mackey
Publisher: Amazon Digital
Pages: 330
Genre: Fantasy (YA)
Twitter:  @Writezalot
Facebook:  Writezalot
Website: Writezalot.com

Seventeen-year-old Moira is haunted by the accidents that claimed her parents and sisters. When a strange boy who seems to know too much about her past attacks her, Moira fears death will come for her a third time. She is rescued by twins Airi and Belamar, the winged heirs to the throne in Skyfall, and taken to safety in their world.

But Skyfall is dying, and the Immortals who had protected Airi and Belamar’s world have been missing since the Great War. Moira, Airi, and Belamar must find a journal left by the twins’ deceased mother, Tanari, that tells of a prophecy that must be fulfilled to find the Immortals known as The Unknown Sun so that Skyfall can be saved.

Deeper, darker, secrets unravel around the three friends as a revolution threatens their quest and the boy who tried to destroy Moira on Earth hunts them. Tanari knew more than she had let on, and within her journal a story is more than it seems, the past foretells the future, and a far-reaching plan is unveiled.

Why did Tanari reach across time and space to entrust a simple human girl with saving Skyfall? Who are the mysterious “Four” mentioned in the journal? And why does another Immortal want her, and The Unknown Sun, dead?

Find out by CLICKING HERE and downloading your copy of Cheryl Mackey’s The Unknown Sun.

 

imageA New Divide
Author: Nathaniel Patrick Sanders
Publisher: Amazon Digital (Dec. 2015)
Pages: 271
Genre: Sci-Fi / Dystopian
Twitter: @omg_ItsSanders
Facebook: Nate.Sanders.3998
Blog: Thefarandfew.blogspot.com
Website: Anewdivide.com

Book One of Three

In the distant future, the people from a former Earth have created peace by converting war into a form of sport known as Gravityball.

War has been abolished, civilizations have flourished like never before, and now superstar athlete Collin King has won the hearts of billions by conquering his nation’s circuit for the fourth year in a row.

Hours after celebrating his victory an ancient ruler decides to end the peace when he condemns Collin’s world for the crime of being free. During the despair, suffering, and annihilation of his people Collin discovers he holds a genetic key to immortality, witnessing his ideals of greatness change as they are plunged into question. And as he evolves into the voice of reason for humanity—he becomes the center of the first violent conflict that has been experienced in over one thousand years.

A New Divide follows Collin King on his journey of adversity shortly after he is liberated from his destroyed home world. It’s the story of life, love, choice, and the power of desire – and what that can accomplish.

Travel along on the journey by CLICKING HERE and downloading your copy of A New Divide by Nathaniel Patrick Sanders.

 

Spotlight on Astounding Authors

As we put the wraps on March is Reading Month, I hope you take a look at some of the Astonishing Authors we have this week.  While I cannot read and review every novel that comes across through my email, I hope this feature helps both the Authors and you, the reader. Its very easy to download or order these interesting novels: Simply click on the titles below. Hopefully you will return here to Astounding books and let us know what you think. if you posted a review on your own site, feel free to leave us your link.

We’d also appreciate it if you took the time to head over to Facebook and LIKE our page Facebook.com/AstoundingBooks.

 

imageI Am
Author: Michael Drakich
Publisher: Traanu Enterpises (Dec. 2015)
Pages: 320
Genre: Sci-Fi/Space Opera
Twitter: @Klaato1957
Facebook:  michael.drakich
Website: MichaelDrakich

Genius, wealthy and life regenerated, Adam Spenceworth is living the dream aboard his custom spaceship run by Mum, his first designed AI, protected by Gort, his first robot, and occupied by Eve, his sexbot. With each regeneration he returns to start over as a twenty-five year old man ready to enjoy the pleasures of his success. What could go wrong? Except, maybe, planetary wars, territorial space battles, alien invasions, and the disturbing fact that each regeneration is taking exponentially longer than the one before bringing him into one galactic crisis after another.

A frolicking space drama filled with references sure to strike home with any science fiction aficionado. CLICK HERE to begin the adventure!

 

imageBlood to Blood
Book One in the Angelica Brown Series
Author: Ife Oshun
Publisher: Papa Grace Pub. (Dec. 2013)
Pages: 251
Genre: Paranormal & Urban
Twitter: @IfeOshun
Facebook: AuthorIfeOshun
Website: IfeOshun.com/

Enter the world of Bostonian teen Angelica Brown: budding pop star and descendant of an immortal race of sun-loving blood drinkers known as Shimshana (the folks that created vampires).

Defying her parents’ traditions of higher education, Angel plans to ditch high school to be a singer. She’s got an amazing voice, but she’s also maturing into a full-grown Shimshana complete with fearsome power and insatiable bloodlust. What’s worse, her soaring vocals are now capable of destroying everything, and everyone, within earshot; including her girl group, their mysterious producer and Angel’s hunky new blood donor. To top it off, she must prove her worthiness to live by passing the tests in her Mahá–the ancient, mandatory coming-out-party for new-born immortals.

Will Angel survive her Mahá and quickly learn to control her new abilities? Or will her killer instincts bring her promising career, and her life, to an end?

Enter the world of Blood to Blood by Ifeo Shun!  Download your copy by CLICKING HERE!

 

imageSurviving the Improbable Quest
Heroes of Distant Planets, Book 1
Author: Anderson Atlas
Publisher: Synesthesia Books (Oct. 2015)
Pages: 271
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy
Twitter: @andersonAtlas
Facebook: Anderson.atlas
Website: www.andersonatlas.blogspot.com

Allan has lost so much: his Olympic dreams, his parents, the use of his legs, his voice. When life is at its bleakest, its darkest, Allan and his uncle are almost drown by a flash flood. Allan must save his uncle, even if it’s the last thing he does. Allan crawls for help, a seemingly insurmountable task for a paraplegic.

Suddenly, Allan is transported to another planet by the least likely thing, a flower. A fire erupts inside Allan. He bursts with drive, purpose and determination.

He unleashes a drive deep within his muscles. It’s a familiar feeling, one he felt during swim meets and competitions. The strange and dangerous world he’s found himself in is just another lap.

In a blaze of utter resilience, Allan finds his voice, his soul and his heart. He escapes the creepy Jibbawk and the Lithic Furies and Killian Crow.

No one has met anyone like Allan before, and they never will again. He is Allan Westerfield: adventurer, comedian, nephew, friend, paraplegic.

Heroes of Distant Planets begins HERE with Surviving the Improbable Quest. Get your copy today!

 

imageEast of Everything
Author: A. O. K. Simpson
Publisher: Amazon Digital (Dec. 2015)
Pages: 228
Genre: Contemporary Literature
Twitter: @aoksimpson
Facebook: AOKSimpson
Website: Aoksimpson.com

This is East London, where talk is cheap and beer is dear and everyone but you has an ironic tattoo. And this is a story of millennial men: of cobbled identity, flawed friendship and terrible love.

René Dubois-William is thirty, and at a low ebb in his life. Jobless, loveless and living with his indulgent mother, there appear to be no limits to the depths of his degradation. But a chance encounter with a couple of old school friends—the infuriatingly charming Madoc, and Niceguy™ Howard—will set all three on a tortuous path of self-discovery; careering wildly through betrayal, redemption, triumph and despair.

Will René finally find love with the remote and enigmatic Flame? Can Howard hang on to his bored and restless girlfriend, Anna? What will Madoc do with the body?

Find out all this, and more, in…  EAST OF EVERYTHING. CLICK HERE and download your copy today!

Spotlight on Astounding Authors

I’ve almost begun to enjoy this segment of our site more that the actual reviews! It’s great reading all of the wonderful book descriptions we get each week. We can’t possible read them all, but you can help us!

Once again we are featuring a diverse selection of novels from Astounding Authors that are hoping you take a chance on them and read their stories. High Fantasy! Steampunk! Dystopian Sci-Fi! (We seem to get a lot of Dystopian novels. Must be a trend…) and a Young Adult Historical Fantasy novel! Take your pick, read and review. Let us know what you thought.

All of our featured novels are available for downloading and purchase through the links provided. Be sure to follow our authors on Twitter and Facebook to keep up-to-date on their current projects. (And while you are at it, head on over to Facebook and like US as well! CLICK HERE TO LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

 

imageTheo Blinkerson and the Copper Coffin
Author: Gregory Butron
Publisher:  Amazon Digital (Nov. 2015)
Pages:  190
Genre: Dystopian Sci-Fi
Facebook:  Theo Blinkerson
Goodreads: Gregory Butron
Website: Gregory Butron

When someone sets out to destroy all electrical technology on the planet, it’s sometimes best to hide under the softest, fluffiest blanket available. Other times you have to run screaming from dangerous robots. In the worst of times, you find out that your best friend has forgotten that you exist, and that you have to ride the world’s longest elevator with the scary girl you only met two days ago. Theo Blinkerson is about to have all of those times.

CLICK HERE to order your copy of Theo Blinkerson and the Copper Coffin.

 

imageWarphan
(The Anavarza Archive Book 1)
Author: Jim Mulcey
Publisher: Compass Hill Press (Nov. 2015)
Pages:  348
Genre: High Fantasy
Goodreads:   J_D_Mulcey
Website:  JDMulcey.com

Join an epic journey across a rugged world bathed in magic, where war is coming in more ways than anyone knows.

Cayne discovers a magical plant and believes his life is about to change forever. Unfortunately, he’s right. Faylin just found out she’s a shapeshifter and now her village is hunting her. Darwan broods over his fall from grace and turns to pyrus, a magical drug that will take more than it will ever give him. Burke takes a righteous stand and must pay the price.

Embark now on an adventure where some will rise, and some will fall, and all will struggle to survive the coming darkness. CLICK HERE to begin your journey!

 

imageIrons in the Fire
(Chronicles of Talis, Book 1)
Author: Antonio Urias
Publisher: Amazon Digital
Pages: 346
Genre: Steampunk / Fantasy
Twitter: @Antonio_LUrias
Facebook: Antonio Urias
Website: Antoniourias.wordpress.com
Goodreads: Antonio_Urias

The City of Talis is a fragile beacon of civilization on the edge of the Faërie Lands. Beyond lies a wilder world of dark enchantments and terrible wonders, but behind the city walls humans and faëries live together in uneasy peace—until an explosion rocks the city and long smoldering tensions threaten to ignite.

As the Commandant of Police, Baron Hessing has maintained stability for decades. But with a murderer on the loose, an anarchist bombing the city, and rumors of a faërie uprising, he is starting to loose control. Hessing finds himself caught in a web of interlocking conspiracies and he may need to choose between saving his city or his family.

Into this maelstrom appears the Countess. Trained from birth for a single purpose—vengeance—suddenly she’s everywhere from secret catacombs to the halls of power. Beset by enemies on all sides, it will take all her training to succeed in a city on the brink of revolution. Plans are in motion centuries in the making that will change the fate of Talis forever.

Begin the Chronicles of Talis by CLICKING HERE to purchase your copy of Irons in the Fire.

 

imageThe Bookminder
Author: M. K. Wiseman
Publisher: Xchyler Publishing January 2016
Pages: 333
Genre: Young Adult / Historical Fantasy
Twitter:  @FaublesFables
Facebook:  FaublesFables
Website: MKWisemanAuthor.com

Magick is forbidden in the Limska Draga valley. But that won’t stop sixteen-year-old Liara from pursuing her birthright. Orphaned by a magickal attack, and now outcast from the tiny village of Dvigrad for petty thievery, she dares to hope she’ll find the answers she craves in the company of the local wizard, Nagarath.

But the anticipated apprenticeship is denied her, the mage electing to train her not in the art of magick, but the keeping of books as a wizard’s librarian. The road to Liara’s future seems paved all in dusty old tomes, until an unexpected attack on the village she left behind sets the two exiles on a collision path with destiny.

With danger lurking in the valley, Nagarath realizes he’s kept the truth of Liara’s heritage from her too long – a powerful secret that could not only tear down the walls she has long placed around her heart, but awake the darkness gifted to her by an unknown father.

Discover the secret of Liara’s heritage by CLICK HERE and getting your copy of The Bookminder today!

A Few Astonishing Moments With… Cheryl Mackey

imageWelcome back. We are once again sitting in The Last Cafe at the End of the Internet, having a cup of coffee, and getting ready to bring you another great interview with an amazing author. This week we are spending a few astonishing moments with author Cheryl Mackey.

Cheryl lives in Southern California with her husband and 2 sons. Her books The Unknown Sun and The Immortals parts 1 and 2 are both young adult fantasy and available at Amazon.  She currently has a flash fiction story published online at The Prompt Magazine.  She has a MFA in Creative Writing and enjoys games, reading and, of course, writing. Her favorite genres to write and read are Fantasy closely followed by Space Opera and Dystopian.

imageAstounding Books (AB): Welcome Cheryl and thank you for joining us today. We are seated here in the Last Cafe at the End of the Internet. What can we get you to drink?

Cheryl Mackey (CM): Tea drinker here! Mostly iced tea. I prefer plain, boring black tea but I’ve tried various flavors.

AB:  What drew you to write fantasy novels over other genres? 

CM:   I was drawn to fantasy because it is 100% imagination. As a child I could escape into a world of my own making or one made by great fantasy authors. Anything is possible and I revel in the unique, odd, or magical. Without fantasy our world would be a whole lot more boring.

AB:   You’ve been very busy with publishing three novels. What’s up next for you?

CM:   Currently I am about a ¼ of the way through the third book in The Immortals series. I hope to have it out sometime this fall. I’m really excited about this book because it’s the book that answers the questions asked in the previous two. A fourth book will follow to bring the ultimate conclusion.

imageAB:   Growing up, who were the authors that left the biggest impression on you or later influenced you as a writer? 

CM:  I was influenced by a range of authors and genres as a child/teen. Isaac Asimov, JRR Tolkien, LM Montgomery, Madeleine L’Engle, Judy Blume, and more. Asimove and Tolkien taught me that the world is limitless in your imagination and Montgomery, L’Engle, and Blume taught me that girls can do and be anything too.

AB:   What was that first thing you wrote that you were either most proud of or vividly remember as being that one piece that will always stay with you as a young writer? 

CM:   In my 20’s, when I was too cowed by my family to ever believe I could follow my dreams, I wrote a modern version of the Beauty and the Beast fable. It sucked. It really was bad, but I had zero knowledge of how to even be an author then. When I went back to college for my MFA in Creative Writing in my 30’s I dragged that terrible manuscript with me and made it the focus. I used what I learned to make it better. I am still proud of it and it will always be special to me, but I’m not sure it will ever be published either. It’s…too personal, a gauge of my life as a writer, a stepping stone to my current success.

AB:   You brought along a photo. Tell us about it.

imageCM:   Family vacation in Las Vegas approx 1983. I’m the pig-tailed girl in the middle behind the toys. We were set loose in Circus Circus while our parents gambled (several cousins and my brother and I) and essentially cleaned out the place. That’s maybe a fifth of our haul. One of our many crazy family vacations we went on up until I was 18 or so.

AB:   What are you reading right now? 

CM:  I am a weird reader. I have 2 quirks that always freak people out. I reread favorites religiously and I don’t have a to be read pile. I read what I buy, one thing at a time, and I’ve just finished a great fantasy series by Landon Porter called Rune Breaker. I really really suggest fans of classic adventure type fantasy read the series.

AB:  I’m going to take a quick break to get more coffee. Go ahead and Interview yourself till I get back…

CM:  Cheryl, Why did you waste your 20’s worrying that your family wouldn’t approve of you being a writer?

CM:   Good question Cheryl…Because I was not convinced I could ever be one. I gained confidence in my 30’s and became an author. And I was right. They don’t approve… but I don’t care.

AB:   Ok, I’m back. It was a short line. Now some fun questions: Star Wars, Star Trek or Doctor Who?

CM:   That’s not fair! I’m a big geeky fan of all 3! Literally. I fangirl.

AB:   Who Shot First (Han or Greedo)?

CM:   Come on! Everyone knows Han shot first!

AB:   That will do it. Thank you again for joining us Cheryl in The Last Cafe at the End of the Internet and good luck on your next projects.

I hope our readers will check out Cheryl’s works. Her books The Unknown Sun and The Immortals parts 1 and 2 are available at Amazon (Click on the Links). You can follow Cheryl Mackey on Twitter: @Writezalot, Facebook:  Writezalot, Instagram: csmackey_author and on her webpage: www.writezalot.com