Timeripper by D. E. McCluskey

Welcome to the book tour for time-travelling, sci-fi, TimeRipper by D.E. McCluskey! Read on for more details and a chance to win an amazing giveaway– a copy of the book AND a $20 or a £20 Amazon gift card!

Book Details

Publication Date: February 25th, 2021

Genre: Time Travel/ Thriller/ Historical Fiction/ Sci-Fi

Publisher: Damaged Productions


Book Description

It is the year 2288, and Earth is reeling from the most horrific terrorist attack it has ever endured.The Quest, a pseudo-religious splinter group, have taken a stance against the Earth Alliance’s authority of the planet.It is down to Youssef Haseem, now the highest-ranking official left in the EA, to build a team to face the threat of total inhalation if he doesn’t stand down and bow to The Quest’s demands. Then the leaders of The Quest disappear, and a legend emerges in the year 1888. But just who is the mysterious stranger stalking and viciously killing women on the streets of Whitechapel, London?A mission is launched! A battle of wits against time itself. A fight to be played out in the present and the past, with the fate of humanity at stake.Legends can happen anytime…


My Review

I was given a digital version of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of this blog tour. Thank you to Shannon from R & R Book Tours and D. E. McCluskey.

Timeripper is the well-known story of Jack the Ripper and his female victims in Victorian London, given a completely new and original twist. What if the victims were actually female terrorists from the year 2288, escaping through time to 1888 having caused Armageddon on Earth, and what if Jack the Ripper was actually an assassin sent back in time to track them down and give them justice? Hooked yet? You will be…

The story begins on Earth in 2288 and we are introduced to characters in a number of well-known locations around the world. Just as we feel we are getting to know these characters a purple apocalyptic cloud of mist filled with colourful lightning rolls over everything destroying whatever it touches:

“The cloud trundled across the city, leaving nothing in its wake. It was the only phrase he could think of to describe what he was witnessing. Nothing in its wake! Nothing, except dust, sand, and desolation.”

In 2288 scientists have figured out teleportation and certain people are able to escape the destruction by teleporting to a number of Orbital Platforms run by the Earth Alliance (EA) in Earth’s orbit.

Youssef Haseem is a likeable senior employee of the EA and is one of the lucky ones to escape the carnage on the Earth by teleporting to Orbital Platform One:

Since Earth had put aside its racial differences and religious intolerances, all the countries and cultures had seen that there was more to be done, more to be achieved, by working together rather than against each other. The Earth Alliance Treaty had been formed. This harmony led to fantastical breakthroughs in science and technology. Hunger and poverty had been all but eradicated, and Earth was now very nearly the Utopia many had dreamed about for centuries

Now wouldn’t that be amazing? Unfortunately Youssef’s ex-colleague Carrie Millwood is not too happy with the way of the world, and forms a splinter group to worship the power of the Higgs Storm like a deity. Carrie and six women left the Earth Alliance to set up The Quest:

The Quest was a pseudo-religious organisation of like-minded people who derived their doctrine from their quest to investigate and expose what was fake in a world dominated by the Earth Alliance. They worshipped freedom above all else. Freedom to exert their own control over their own people. They knew that was essentially a paradox, but they revelled in it.“

From a small group of anarchists the Quest had grown to be 6 million strong. This group has managed to figure out time travel and having wrought devastation on the Earth of 2288, ten of them decide to flit back to Whitechapel in 1888, the time and location of the famous grisly murder legend of Jack the Ripper. They aim to remain hidden there for one year while the Earth terraforms, such that they can begin again as leaders in a new earthly Utopia:

Freedom of religion: they wanted religion banned and for science to be revered. They wanted freedom of rule, they wanted one central government, i.e. them, to control all the governments of all the countries on Earth. They thought they had the ‘new way,’ and they wanted to enforce it on everyone.

This book is an intelligent thriller with a lot of pseudo-scientific explanation surrounding the Hadron Collider, the Higgs Bosun particle and the work the EA has been doing to master teleportation and time travel in the early pages, where the world and story premise are being set up for the reader. I am not a scientist and was able to follow most of these scientific explanations quite easily and they seemed plausible enough to me:

It was widely regarded that time travel could never be achieved due to the paradox theory. The theory stated that if it was to be invented then we would already know about it; but with this discovery, it seemed that paradox was about to be blown out of the water.

Flashbacks are used extensively throughout the book. We are taken back 20 years to witness the first successes with teleportation and of course the majority of the book takes place in Victorian Whitechapel with occasional glimpses back to 2288, “the present”. 

In 1888 an evil character who likes nothing better than beating his wife and has murderous tendencies, Aaron Kosminski, is witness to the first time traveller’s arrival, without her realizing, and decides he needs to kill all of the ten ‘witches’ he has been watching. He doesn’t realize the paradoxical laws mean that they cannot be killed by someone not of their time.

An assassin from 2288 is sent back to find them and begins picking them off one by one trying to get them to tell him their transponder codes and then ripping their tracking devices out of their bodies using a laser device – thus causing the grisly evisceration famous in the Jack the Ripper cases.

The murder and tracking device extraction scenes should probably come with a warning as they are incredibly gruesome and definitely not for the faint-hearted. I found Timeripper to be a grisly yet compelling read with a few unexpected twists; a whodunnit, as we try and figure out which of the characters from the future the assassin can possibly be – there are clues. I would recommend it to fans of serial killer style horror.

Add Timeripper to Goodreads

Available on Amazon


International Giveaway:

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About the Author

My name is David McCluskey, I am an author from Liverpool in the UK. I have written seven novels so far.  TimeRipper is my latest. I started writing about 15 years ago, being with short horror stories for children that were written in rhyme. I enlisted the services of an artist and created my very first comic from them. Interesting Tymes is a great seller at comic conventions around the UK, as it offered something that a lot of comics these days don’t, something for the children to get their teeth into (so to speak). 

I then began to create more comics, some for children, some for adults, before creating my own graphic novels. Doppelgänger is a dark psychological horror, Olf is a children’s graphic novel about Father Christmas and his reindeer, A Christmas Carol is a rewriting of the original tale, but in rhyme, and DeathDay Presents is an adult comedy based in Hell. 

From there I moved on to writing novels. My debut novel The Twelve is still my best seller on Amazon. 

I write under the name of D E McCluskey for my adult fiction, and I will be launching a children’s range of novels this year under the name Dave McCluskey (I don’t want children buying some of the other horror based stuff by accident). 

I still live in Liverpool with my partner, Lauren, and our children, Grace and Sian. We have a sausage dog called Ted, who likes to leave little sausages around the house, just to remind us why he is a sausage dog. 

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Blog Tour Schedule

May 10th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Michelle Mengs Book Blog4 (Review) http://michellemengsbookblog4.simplesite.com/

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

May 11th

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

Carrie’s Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://carriesbookreviews.com/

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

May 12th

Book Dragons Not Worms (Spotlight) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

@m_books.dogs (Review) https://www.instagram.com/m_books.dogs/

Phantom of the Library (Review) https://phantomofthelibrary.com/

May 13th

Books, Rambling and Tea (Spotlight) https://booksramblingsandtea.com/

I’m All About Books (Spotlight) https://imallaboutbooks.com/

Sophril Reads (Spotlight) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

Bonnie Reads and Writes (Review) https://bonniereadsandwrites.wordpress.com

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

Cocktails and Fairy Tales (Review) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales

May 14th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

@the.b00kreader (Review) https://www.instagram.com/the.b00kreader/

Sue’s Musings (Review) https://suelbavey.wordpress.com/

Lily Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/


Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Book Tours


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Indie Spotlight – Lyra Wolf

Today on my blog I am welcoming Lyra Wolf into the Indie Spotlight! There’s even a recipe for delicious a spiced honey cake at the end – so stay tuned…if you subscribe to Lyra’s newsletter you will receive a whole ebook of recipes based on food and drink from her Nine Worlds Rising books!

Lyra Wolf is a Swiss-American author of fantasy and mythic fiction. Raised in Indiana, home to a billion corn mazes, she now lives in Central Florida, home to a billion mosquitoes. She enjoys drinking espresso, wandering through old city streets, and being tragically drawn to 18th century rogues.

When Lyra isn’t fulfilling the wishes of her overly demanding Chihuahua, you can find her writing about other worlds and the complicated people who live there.

Lyra has earned a B.A. in History and M.A. in English.


Welcome to my blog, Lyra! Congratulations on the recent release of your second book, Chaos Rising, which I thoroughly enjoyed! What made you decide to publish your books independently? 

Oof! I spent a year deciding if I wanted to stay independent or go trad. Seriously, I woke up in cold sweats during the night. Do not recommend. 
I had to really zero in on what I wanted. What could trad offer me, vs what could I do myself?
In the end, the main deciding factor came when I realized this would be a six book series. If I went trad, I would have to sell my rights to them, which cool, that’s how publishing works, however…My concern was if the series didn’t perform as well as the publisher liked, they would cancel the series half way through and then, due to them owning the rights, I wouldn’t even be able to finish the stories of the characters I have grown to love. 
I didn’t want to risk the loss of these characters, nor the ending I am working towards. It is integral to me that this series is completed and the story I envision is told all the way through. 
Staying independent gives me the certainty that this series will be finished. 

Well I am very glad you didn’t risk losing these characters as I am on tenterhooks to find out what comes next in the story for each of them!
What are the benefits of being an indie author?

I think this is the most popular answer always given this question, but it’s because it is the truth. For me, and many indie authors, the main benefit is control. I can source my own professional editor that believes in the story and is not going to try to twist it into something else. I can set my own pace and deadlines, which allow me to publish relatively quickly. I can find and contract amazingly skilled cover designers that will work with me on branding. 

It’s really exhilarating to be able to have a say in all the layers of producing a book, from start to finish. Is exhilarating the right word? Maybe exhausting? No, no. It is exhilarating.

What challenges do indie authors face?

Many hats make lots of work

While having control is fantastic, it also has its own price, and that is being the wearer of many hats (some of them silly with bells on the ends), each needing big chunks of your time. As much as I want to be writing 100%, I have to split time between marketing, sourcing various professionals, social media, and building a brand. It can get really draining really quickly. But, that’s what all my bags of emergency chocolate I have stashed away in secret drawers are for. 

Being an indie author is very much being a small business owner, with all its stressors and rewards.

What advice would you give to aspiring indie authors?

Be kind. Be supportive. Be your authentic self, because YOU is what sets you apart from everyone else. It’s very easy to get lost in the hustle, and start looking at the top of the mountain you are climbing, but you have to ground yourself and take it one step at a time. 
There are so many wonderful writing communities throughout social media, especially on Facebook and Twitter. I’d encourage anyone to especially join the 20booksto50 Facebook group, as it’s filled with authors of all levels sharing what works and giving support.

What have you learned from being an indie author?

Perseverance and consistency is key! Being an indie author isn’t a sprint, but a marathon. I have to remind myself of this fact daily when I fall on my face onto the pavement. 

And finally…What else can we look forward to seeing from you in 2021?

2021 is going to be a busy year for me with lots of exciting releases! Chaos Rising, book 2 of The Nine Worlds Rising series, just released April 9th, with book 3, That Good Mischief, slated for release late 2021.
In summer I will also be releasing a novella, titled Thunder, Blood and Goats.
Of course, there is also ANOTHER super secret project that will be releasing this year and… that’s all I can say about that. I cannot wait to share it with you all.

Thank you very much for joining me on my blog today, Lyra! I can’t wait to read That Good Mischief and find out more about the secret project!!


Truth and Other Lies (The Nine Worlds Rising, Book 1)

Nothing is trickier than the truth.

All Loki the trickster god of Asgard wants is a quiet, peaceful life where he’s free to needle Balder, occasionally stir up the inter-realm porridge pot, and get Thor to dress in women’s garments (for all the best reasons).

Getting beset by sudden, painful, and terribly inconvenient visions of blood, ash, and death are definitely not on his to-do list. But, because of some small, ridiculous remnant of caring that refuses to be extinguished, Loki feels he must save Asgard…and that means warning Odin, his least favorite god (next to Thor).

But getting the gods to believe the boy who cried Fenrir is harder than it looks, and time is running out, not just for Asgard, but also for a mortal woman named Sigyn who may just hold the key to Loki’s future.

Loki is about to find out the hard way that the only thing crueler than truth are the lies behind it all.

Read my review of Truth and Other Lies here

Add Truth and Other Lies to your To Be Read List here

Buy Truth and Other Lies here:

Amazon US: www.amazon.com/dp/B085ZQ5DJN
Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B085ZQ5DJN
Universal: mybook.to/truthandotherlies


Chaos Rising (The Nine Worlds Rising, Book 2)

Let’s start Ragnarok, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.

Nothing pisses off a trickster god more than being imprisoned for five hundred years and not being able to annoy Thor. There are other reasons, secrets, and promises behind Loki’s rage, but that’s for Loki to know and the gods to find out—preferably painfully.

When the chance to start Ragnarok presents itself, Loki feels the apocalypse is as good a way as any to burn Asgard to the ground. And, it is, until the gods reveal their own teensy, tiny little surprise for Loki.

Suddenly, Loki has every reason in the worlds to stop them from ending. But this is Ragnarok, and one does not simply stop the apocalypse. 

Chaos is all well and good, so long as Loki is in charge of it. Except chaos isn’t about to start taking orders from anyone, not even the god of pot-stirring himself, and it has a universe to destroy… 

Read my Review of Chaos Rising here

Add Chaos Rising to your goodreads To Be Read list here

Buy Chaos Rising here:

Amazon US: www.amazon.com/dp/B08J4FKZYB
Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08J4FKZYB
Universal: mybook.to/chaosrising


That Good Mischief (The Nine Worlds Rising, Book 3)

Temporary cover – cover reveal coming soon!!

A lover’s quarrel is one thing, but your lover turning into a thousand-foot fire giant?

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Loki and Sigyn had gone full Midgardian, settling down in California, with Loki going off to toil for their daily bread. So what if his nine-to-five is actually working as a knife-for-hire? Ocean views aren’t cheap, and neither are engagement rings.

When Sigyn collapses, Loki senses a darkness growing within her, and he knows only one god who may be able to stop it before it possesses her completely. However, asking for help from the man you swore to never see again carries its own price.

Even with Ragnarok on the table again (and, again, not Loki’s fault…really), it’s the least of Loki’s problems, especially when buried secrets start surfacing.

Lies are unraveling, the truth is spinning, and consequences are flying faster than Loki can run and he might lose Sigyn forever.

Either to the darkness, or to his own lies.

Add That Good Mischief to your goodreads To Be Read list here

Pre-order That Good Mischief here:

Amazon US: www.amazon.com/dp/B09181K81P
Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09181K81P
Universal: mybook.to/AtRealmsEdge


Lies, Knives, and Apples (Free stand-alone novella for newsletter subscribers!)

Never cross a trickster when death is on the line..

For Loki and Odin, it was supposed to be a typical night out for a couple of Norse gods with the regular drinking, carousing, and contests to see who could eat the most whole roast cows in a row—in other words, the usual. 

But when a group of Jotnar attack—totally throwing a spear in their plans, Odin is mortally wounded, and only one of Idunn’s golden apples can save his life.

There’s just one problem…Idunn is missing, and everyone is pointing the finger at Loki (who really resents that he’s always the first god they suspect, even though they usually are right).

Between getting his back thrown out (literally, Thor rips out his spine in a tantrum) and Odin sliding closer to death with every second, Loki has his hands full…of knives.

It’s a game of triple-crossing a double-cross, which should be child’s play for the trickster god. But with the fate of Asgard and the man he loves hanging in the balance, even Loki’s luck may run out…

Add to your goodreads To Be Read List here

Buy here:

Amazon US: www.amazon.com/dp/B0865SB321
Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0865SB321
Universal: mybook.to/LiesKnivesApples
Newsletter: https://lyrawolf.com/newsletter/


Recipe:

I have a love affair with food, and because of that, I mention food as often as I can in my work. One food that makes an appearance quite a bit are honey cakes…either being eaten, or thrown during fights with Jotnar in your cousin’s fortress during a wedding gone wrong.
ANYWAY, here is the recipe I created myself for a Spiced Honey Cake, just the way Loki would make it if, you know, he baked instead of just stabbing everyone. 

Spiced Honey Cake
Because there is always an occasion for cake, even if the occasion is murdering your enemies.
Ingredients
1 cup flour, whole wheat1 cup flour, all purpose1/2 tsp baking soda1 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp clove1/4 tsp nutmeg1/2 tsp salt3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature1 cup honey1 tsp vanilla extract4 large eggs1/4 cup sour cream (can sub with yogurt)1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Method
Pre-heat oven to 325F.
Grease a 9-in round cake pan.
In a bowl, place flours, baking soda, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk together. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, place butter, honey, vanilla, and eggs. Mix well. Stir in flour mixture, sour cream, and (if desired) walnuts.
Once mixture is well combined, pour batter into the prepared cake pan.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 20 minutes in pan on wire rack. Invert cake onto serving plate. Allow cake to cool before serving.
If desired, can be dusted with powdered sugar or topped with fresh fruit.


Who’s next on Indie Spotlight?

Jonathan Nevair is a science fiction writer and, as Dr. Jonathan Wallis, an art historian and Professor of Art History at Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia. After two decades of academic teaching and publishing, he finally got up the nerve to write fiction. Jonathan grew up on Long Island, NY but now resides in southeast Pennsylvania with his wife and rambunctious mountain feist, Cricket.


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Born in Salt by T.C. Weber

I’m thrilled to share this brand new Dystopian Thriller, Born in Salt by T.C. Weber with you all today! Read on for more details and a chance to win a digital copy of the book, in your format of choice!

PSSSST! It’s also available for review! Contact R&R Book Tours for more info!

BornInSalt_ebook_cover_FINALBorn in Salt

Publication Date: May 1st, 2021

Genre: Alternate History/ Dystopian

Fifty years after a coup replaced President Franklin D. Roosevelt with a fascist dictatorship, America is a land of hopelessness. Ben Adamson, a 19-year-old farm boy in southern Illinois, wants only to spend his time fishing and hunting. But when his dead brother demands justice for his suspicious fate in a colonial war, Ben and Rachel, his brother’s fiancée, are drawn into an underground revolutionary movement.

After staging a rally against the war, Ben and Rachel are arrested by the Internal Security Service, who have perfected the science of breaking people. Ben is given a choice: betray the rebels, including his best friend from childhood, or Rachel will be lobotomized.

Although traumatized and addicted to a powerful drug, Ben refuses to doom anyone he cares about. Can he find a third option? Can he free Rachel and strike back at the dictatorship, while dodging the suspicions of police and rebels alike?

Excerpt

The New Bethany Town Square was a small grassy space in front of the county courthouse. Main Street split into two here, running to either side of the square and the courthouse before recombining. To the south of the square, it ran past most of the stores. To the north, it passed the city and county police stations, then a stretch of newer buildings and houses.

The year after I was born, 1965, was the twentieth anniversary of retaking the Philippines from the Japanese, forcing them into an armistice. Every town got a statue. In New Bethany, the government erected a marble Marine in the middle of the town square, rifle held high in triumph. It wasn’t an ideal spot to call for an end to war, but it was the only public space in town.

Rachel lived only a few blocks from the square, but I insisted on picking her up. The police would have seen the flyers by now, and might want to arrest her before we even started.

I was late again. Rachel stood on her front porch, wearing her funeral dress and tapping a foot. She carried a paper shopping bag in one hand, and scowled at me.

“Sorry I’m late.” At Rachel’s insistence, I’d put on my suit, and it took me forever to get the damn tie right. “Are you sure you want to do this? Talking to people one on one is a lot safer.”

Her face tightened even more. “It’s a little late to back out now. Besides, God blesses the righteous and Jake will be with us.”

I led Rachel to the truck and opened the passenger door for her. “Let’s get it over with, then.”

I parked on Lincoln Street, just off Main, and we hopped out into chilly gloom. Dark clouds gathered in the west, threatening rain. I focused on the task—swung down the tailgate and pulled out the mike and amp I’d borrowed from Jesse, the band’s bassist. He’d kill me if they got wet.

The amp had a power inverter so you could run it off a car battery. Together they weighed at least a hundred pounds, so I’d strapped them to a stand-up dolly. No mike stand, but I had enough to carry as it was. I handed Rachel the black microphone case and cables and she slipped them in her bag.

A couple dozen people were in the square, wearing coats over Sunday suits or dresses, the women’s hats sprouting feathers of near-extinct birds. I recognized Alyce and maybe half the others.

Rachel’s face fell. “I was expecting a lot more.”

“Maybe they’re afraid,” I said. “Or it’s the weather.”

“Or they don’t care. The weather is fine.” She straightened. “We’re early. More will come.”

My stomach seized. Figures squatted or lay on rooftops around the square, pointing guns and cameras.

Atop the three-story law office building, a suited man held a long-lensed camera. Next to him, a man in black body armor braced a high-powered rifle on a tripod while another peered through binoculars. Opposite the courthouse, on the First Consolidated Bank roof, more of the same. On the east side of the square, city police aimed guns out the second-floor windows of the column-fronted City Hall.

The courthouse itself had a peaked roof. After the coup, the government had added a wooden bell tower on top, from which, I supposed, you could see the whole town. Beneath the purely decorative bell, half hidden by white columns, a dark-suited man stared at us through binoculars. A sheriff’s deputy pointed a rifle with a fancy scope.

I’d never seen anything like it. Security for visiting politicians, sure, but nothing like this.

The clock on the bottom of the tower read 12:18. We had twelve minutes to prep or escape.

“Do you see the snipers?” I whispered to Rachel.

“Yes.” Her voice quivered. “But we’re not doing anything wrong. They’re just trying to intimidate us.”

She was probably right. They wouldn’t actually shoot us. Or would they? We were easy targets, standing still in the open. They could take their time and go for a head shot.

Past the bank, I spotted Paul standing outside the New Bethany Diner, sipping soda or something from a jumbo-sized paper cup. No sign of the others. Not surprising, since the group hadn’t approved our rally. And it was better Sarah wasn’t here—that would just add to my worries.

Rachel hugged Alyce and other people she recognized, then reached in her bag and pulled out my brother’s portrait, the one that had been propped on his casket at the funeral. She leaned it against the base of the soldier statue.

Behind the picture glass, Jake smiled at me. I plugged the mike into the amp and clipped the amp to the car battery. I flipped a switch and the power light turned green. I tapped the mike, and the speaker thumped.

I wanted to hurry this up and waved Rachel over. I handed her the mike. “You’re on.” The battery would last at least an hour, but I doubted we would have that long.

Rachel examined her filigreed watch. “Let’s let the crowd grow.”

I glanced at mine. 12:30.

More people arrived. But half were cops—city police, county police, state police, and eight men wearing silver long-sleeved shirts, black pants, and matching ties. Their caps bore a perched eagle clutching a saber and whip. Internal Security.

New Bethany’s gray-haired police chief paced back and forth, carrying a megaphone. The Internal Security troops stared at us, long batons and compact submachine guns fastened to their belts.

My knees shook. “Rachel, I’ve got a bad feeling. Really bad. We should go, right now.”

Available

Amazon | Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Smashwords

About Author

TW author photo

Ted Weber has pursued writing since childhood, and learned filmmaking and screenwriting in college, along with a little bit of physics. Trapped at home during the “Snowmageddon” of 2010, he transformed those interests into novel writing. His first published novel, a near-future cyberpunk thriller titled Sleep State Interrupt, was a finalist for the 2017 Compton Crook award for best first science fiction, fantasy, or horror novel. The two sequels, The Wrath of Leviathan and Zero-Day Rising, are also available. His latest release, Born in Salt, pits an Illinois farm boy against a ruthless fascist government that took power in a coup. Mr. Weber is a member of Poets & Writers and the Maryland Writers Association, and has run numerous writing workshops. By day, Mr. Weber works as an ecologist, and has had a number of scientific papers and book chapters published. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife Karen. He enjoys traveling and has visited all seven continents.

For book samples, short stories, and more, visit https://www.tcweber.com/

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The Last Prince by E.G. Radcliff

Book Description

In a hellish city, the fate of a young boy rests on the very thing he fears most…

Robbed of his childhood by tragedy and betrayal and forced onto the streets, only fury makes young Ninian feel whole – and in a world of gangs and fae, Ninian is more than willing to fight for his life.

But it doesn’t take much to topple a life which is already balanced on the edge of a knife. And by the time a desperate Ninian realizes he’s crossed the wrong person, it is much, much too late.

In his frantic struggle to right his collapsing world, Ninian’s furious, bloody efforts are dredging up history he’d rather forget – the past is tired of being held at bay, and even fighting cannot protect Ninian from himself. 

So when he meets a crimson-eyed stranger, a boy so broken he refuses even to speak, Ninian does not believe he has the capacity to care.

He is wrong.

And that will change everything…

(A full-length prequel to The Hidden King)


My Review

Cover by Micaela Alcaino

I read a digital copy of this book and thoroughly enjoyed it!

Part One of The Last Prince, a prequel, starts off seven years before the beginning of The Hidden Prince and explains the circumstances of how Áed and Ninian met and their immediate connection. Ninian’s love and caring attitude saves Áed emotionally from his terribly violent beginnings and, equally, Áed saves Ninian from memories of his abusive childhood and makes him stronger in much the same way.

The Last Prince also tells of how Ninian became involved with the gang for which he becomes a highly respected fighter in order to pay for food for himself, Áed and eventually their ward, Ronan. 

Part Two jumps forward seven years to the same timeframe in which The Hidden King is set and since the reader already knows the tragic outcome of Ninian’s gang involvement from the first book in the trilogy, this whole second part is tempered with sadness and an ominous feeling begins to take over as the story moves on towards its conclusion… 

Similar to The Hidden King, The Last Prince is full of beautiful prose – I really love E G Radcliff’s talented writing style and the character building is masterful:

The gray streets slid by as they walked through the city, passing familiar old buildings and crumbling tenements, dirty cobblestones and cracked windows. Despite the ordinary dinginess of his surroundings and the faint prickle of nervous anticipation in his gut, Ninian felt sunny. He dropped an arm over Áed’s shoulders, unable to keep his good mood from showing on his face. Áed smiled too and held Ninian’s waist.

I would highly recommend The Last Prince to people who enjoy low fantasy with romance, well developed characterisation and gorgeous prose! There are a fair few violent fight scenes and hints to Ninian’s abuse as a child to be aware of, if such things disturb you. I cannot wait to read the conclusion to the Coming of Áed trilogy The Wild Court, out soon!

Buy The Last Prince here

Add The Last Prince to Goodreads here

Ninian fighting by EG Radcliff

About the Author

E.G. Radcliff is a part-time pooka and native of the Unseelie Court. She collects acorns, glass beads, and pretty rocks, and the crows outside her house know her as She Who Has Bread.

Her Coming of Áed fantasy series is crafted in the dead of night after offering sacrifices of almonds and red wine to the writing-block deities.

You can reach her by scrying bowl, carrier pigeon, or @egradcliff on social media.

Read an interview with E.G. Radcliff here


Out soon The Wild Court by E.G. Radcliffpreorder here!

Cover by Micaela Alcaino

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In the Shadow of Ruin by Tony Debajo

Book Description

King Jide Adelani has ruled the lands of the Yoruba in West Africa for many peaceful years, but now his kingdom is in turmoil and the cold grasp of death’s embrace is closing in around everything he holds dear.

Jide spent years garnering the respect and loyalty of the tribes in the hopes of uniting them into one cohesive empire when his half-brother, Prince Olise, returns from banishment to claim the throne as his own.

The offspring of a union between the late King Adeosi and the evil enchantress Ekaete, the bitter Olise has devoted the last decade to one purpose; to seize the throne and rule the kingdom. If he fails, he risks his name being erased from the history of the tribes.

With the support of his mother, a powerful witch whose name is whispered in fear across the lands of the tribes, the outcast Olise now seems unstoppable in achieving his goal.

Facing overwhelming military might and dark forces that he cannot comprehend, Jide must either choose to ignore the warnings of the gods, and seek help from those who also practice dark arts; or risk losing his kingdom.

Category: Action Adventure, Mythology, Historical Fiction
Publisher: De-Bajo


Character Artwork by Thea Nicolescu (reedsy.com/thea-magerand)

Shango – God of Thunder
King Jide – Ruler of the Yoruba tribe
Dimeji – Blood guard
Ekaete – Jide’s stepmother
Enitan – Jide’s youngest son
Yemoja – River Goddess

My Review

I reviewed this book on behalf of Rosie Amber’s Book Review team #RBRT. I was sent a digital copy by the author in exchange for an honest review – thank you Tony Debajo!


In the Shadow of Ruin, the first book in The Fractured Kingdom series, is a fascinating insight into Nigerian culture, history and folklore.

A war is raging between King Jide and his half brother, prince Olise in Yoruba, West Africa.

There comes a time when every man must stand and fight, discarding all his fears and embracing his fate.

This novel is written from multiple points of view and each one is engaging and intriguing. There are also many tribes and names to get used to – which I found a little confusing. There is a useful list of the tribes and characters and a glossary at the beginning of the book for the unfamiliar African terms, but I find when I’m reading a digital copy of a book I tend not to refer back to these as often as I might with a print version.

We learn through flashbacks that Jide’s mother, Bunmi, died soon after his birth after making a pact with the river goddess who demanded a life for a life. Following her death King Adeosi hastily married Ekaete who is known to practice occult black magic, known as juju. King Adeosi’s health declined in conjunction with the growth of Ekaete’s baby. She didn’t leave his side until he passed away, which suggests she was poisoning him.

In the present her son, Olise, is now at war with King Jide and Ekaete is using all kinds of black magic to help his cause. Olise, via his mother’s counsel, has taken captive the children of the various tribal leaders in order to force them onto his side in the war. Jide, however, is a respected and merciful king.

Olise’s birth would henceforth be attributed to the single moment the destiny of the tribes was irrefutably altered.

Selfish Toju, wise Niran and the youngest Enitan, are King Jide’s three sons and each are written with a distinctly different personality. They managed to escape the palace while Olise’s army sacked their capital city of Ile-Ife. The two eldest are fleeing together at first, later splitting up, along with their blood guards, having seen their mother dying in the palace. They are driven by vengeance for their Mother’s death and a need to keep their bloodline alive and gain followers to take on their uncle Olise. The youngest son, Enitan is traveling in a different direction, towards his mother’s family, unaware that his father and brothers are still alive.

Tony Debajo has a lovely writing style with delightful turns of phrase:

he looked at his peers hoping that someone would speak up for him, but they all seemed extremely interested in anything else in the room; a lizard scurrying across the floor, a fly buzzing lazily in the room, anything but Soji.

The boy took his seat at one side of the fire, his men arrayed about him like the spikes on a porcupine’s back, all bristling with spears.

When Toju arrives at the lands of the Hausa, the northern horse lords, we are treated to some beautiful descriptions of the palace and the local architecture and the impressive engineering feats of this people. The worldbuilding in this novel is extremely well done and makes for an easy to imagine landscape and immersive experience.

The pace of this novel flows fairly steadily with increases during the fight sequences. I found it difficult to put down and really enjoyed all the lore and back stories that added colour to the misery and determination of the battle scenes. I would recommend it to anyone intrigued by African lore and culture, and the ever present long-feared hint of black magic in the background:

Others suggested that if you took a cane to a large banana tree in the dead of night during a full moon, witches would spew from the tree and howl into the night skies like birds released from a cage, taking your sight along with them, and henceforth you would live a life of sickness and suffering.

I would also recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well-written story about the conflict of good vs evil.

Buy In the Shadow of Ruin here:

US: www.amazon.com/Tony-Debajo/e/B08YWZP4WJ

UK: www.amazon.co.uk/Tony-Debajo/e/B08YWZP4WJ

Add to your Goodreads To Be Read List here:

www.goodreads.com/book/show/57425735-in-the-shadow-of-ruin


About the Author

Tony Debajo was born in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. Shortly after, his parents moved to London, England, where he lived until he was six years old, then the family relocated to Nigeria. He lived there for 11 years before coming back to England. Tony studied Civil Engineering at the University of East London and has worked in this field for seventeen years.

Tony’s inspiration for his novel comes from his time spent in Nigeria, where he became fascinated with the culture of his heritage.

His passion for reading comes from his love of tales of ancient civilisations, enthralled by their way of life, beliefs, and cultures. He devours any books he can lay his hands on about the Roman empire, the Mongol empire, ancient Greece, Nordic civilisations, but most of all the mythology associated with these people.

He soon realised that his country of origin was equally rich with traditions, tales of ancient gods and acts of heroism and decided to tap into that world. Although he found a wealth of material covering Western African civilisations, he could not find books and stories compelling enough to shed light on these fascinating people and attract readers unfamiliar with African history. So, he decided to write one.

Garnering tales and folklore remembered as a child, some of which would have been passed down through generations and typically told around fires, he began writing his debut novel, In the Shadow of Ruin, which grew as he wrote and will now be a series called The Fractured Kingdom. Tony hopes to bring to life his characters and set them free into the world.

For more information on the forthcoming book series, please visit his website https://www.de-bajo.com/books and subscribe to his newsletter for more sneak previews and giveaways.

Connect with Tony Debajo here:

Email: tony@de-bajo.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tdebajo
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/de_bajo_author/
Website: https://de-bajo.com/books/


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First Lines Friday – May 7th 2021

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by @Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? If you want to make your own post, just follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

I just finished reading this book and thoroughly enjoyed it – my review will be here on my blog in a couple of days...

The rain started just as Jide made his way through the forest. He travelled light to move quickly and unencumbered. His only items were a pouch strapped to his back containing the offerings he had been asked to bring and an ornate dagger sheathed at his hip. The blade had been carried by six generations of his line, the Adelanis. Passed from father to firstborn son. It had always been worn or within reach of the bearer and he was loath to leave it behind, despite the misgivings of his counsellors. He had been warned that weapons would be perceived as a threat by the seers, but the king did not relish the idea of being completely unarmed in the presence of such men. He had given way to every other concession requested of him, but this would not be one.


And the book is…

Book Description

King Jide Adelani has ruled the lands of the Yoruba in West Africa for many peaceful years, but now his kingdom is in turmoil and the cold grasp of death’s embrace is closing in around everything he holds dear.

Jide spent years garnering the respect and loyalty of the tribes in the hopes of uniting them into one cohesive empire when his half-brother, Prince Olise, returns from banishment to claim the throne as his own.

The offspring of a union between the late King Adeosi and the evil enchantress Ekaete, the bitter Olise has devoted the last decade to one purpose; to seize the throne and rule the kingdom. If he fails, he risks his name being erased from the history of the tribes.

With the support of his mother, a powerful witch whose name is whispered in fear across the lands of the tribes, the outcast Olise now seems unstoppable in achieving his goal.

Facing overwhelming military might and dark forces that he cannot comprehend, Jide must either choose to ignore the warnings of the gods, and seek help from those who also practice dark arts; or risk losing his kingdom. 

Buy In the Shadow of Ruin here:

US: www.amazon.com/Tony-Debajo/e/B08YWZP4WJ

UK: www.amazon.co.uk/Tony-Debajo/e/B08YWZP4WJ

Add to your Goodreads To Be Read List here:

www.goodreads.com/book/show/57425735-in-the-shadow-of-ruin


About the Author

Tony Debajo was born in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. Shortly after, his parents moved to London, England, where he lived until he was six years old, then the family relocated to Nigeria. He lived there for 11 years before coming back to England. Tony studied Civil Engineering at the University of East London.

Tony’s inspiration for his novel comes from his time spent in Nigeria, where he became fascinated with the culture of his heritage.

His passion for reading was built on tales of ancient civilisations. He was enthralled by their way of life, beliefs, and cultures. He devoured any books he could lay his hands on about the Roman empire, the Mongol empire, ancient Greece, Nordic civilisations, but most of all the mythology associated with these people.

He soon realised that his country of origin was equally rich with traditions, tales of ancient gods and acts of heroism and decided to tap into that world.

Garnering tales and folklore remembered as a child, some of which would have been passed down through generations and typically told around fires, he began writing his debut novel, In the Shadow of Ruin, which grew as he wrote and will now be a series called The Fractured Kingdom. Tony hopes to bring to life his characters and set them free into the world.

Email: tony@de-bajo.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tdebajo
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/de_bajo_author/
Website: https://de-bajo.com/books/


Related Posts


Indie Spotlight – K.R.R. Lockhaven

Today on my blog I am joined by debut fantasy author K.R.R. Lockhaven.

K.R.R. (Kyle Robert Redundant) Lockhaven used to love writing as a kid. Starting at about ten years old, he wrote about anything from dragons to sentient jellybeans. Somewhere along the line, he lost that love. But now as a firefighter, husband, and father of two sons, he found it again. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find the really good stuff from back then. So this adult-written shit will have to do.

​Kyle is a huge proponent of summer camps for burn survivor kids. One dollar from every book he ever sells will go to the Washington State Council of Firefighters Burn Foundation, sponsors of Camp Eyabsut. For more info, or to donate money or time, go to www.campeyabsut.org

My Site- https://www.krrlockhaven.com
Read an interview with a dragon here.


Hi Kyle, welcome to my blog. What made you decide to publish your book independently?

I decided to publish my book independently because it didn’t fit into any preconceived notions of what was deemed “publishable” by traditional publishers. When your book is a humorous fantasy, with a relatively small target audience, you don’t exactly have agents knocking down your door. I know–well, I feel in my heart, anyway–that there is an audience out there for my book. I think that certain people are going to love it, and the early reviews are bearing that out. But finding that somewhat niche audience and getting my book into their hands is not something that interests traditional publishers.

What do you see as are the main benefits of being an indie author?

I think the biggest benefit of publishing independently is the freedom you have. For instance, I got to find an artist that I loved and have a cover of my book made exactly how I wanted it. A traditional publisher may not have gone for a cover with a dragon and a taco truck on top of the Space Needle, but I love it. I also commissioned some propaganda-type posters for the inside of the book, which turned out great. In those processes, I got to be like a director, shaping everything about the book into a finished product that I feel great about. It’s entirely probable that someone directing those things at a traditional publishing house would create something that would generate more sales, but there’s a warm sense of ownership (for whatever that’s worth) in the way I was able to do it.

It is a great cover, I’m glad you stuck to your guns with it! What challenges do indie authors face?

Publishing independently is also very challenging. The toughest part, for me, is finding that audience I know is out there. Marketing and building an online presence are not things that I am very good at, try as I might. Shameless self-promotion does not come natural to me, even though I know it is so important for someone publishing independently. There is a Catch-22 aspect to finding an audience, too. It’s hard to build an audience without having a well-known book, but it’s hard to have a well-known book without having an audience. I know that many independent authors have found many creative ways around this, and I’m hoping that I can find mine.
The other challenging aspect is the money involved. I was lucky with the publishing of my book, as my wife (an absolute saint) and I were able to make my dream become a reality through some creative financial gymnastics. But unfortunately, not everyone is able to do that. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on this project. When you have editing, cover art, printing, marketing, reviews, audiobook creation, and all the little unexpected costs, it can add up fast! I know I’ll likely never recover that money through my book sales, but you never know… Hope springs eternal in my naive heart.

That is certainly something to bear in mind for aspiring authorsI hope you find your audience and recoup as much money as possible! What advice would you give to aspiring indie authors?

I don’t think I’m in much of a position to give advice just yet, as I’m still in the early phases of this journey. I’ve basically just assembled my eclectic mix of traveling companions (an elf, a dwarf or two, maybe a Smurf?). We’re about to set off on a perilous journey, in which success is far from guaranteed. If I make it back alive, I’d love to offer my hard-won wisdom to anyone willing to hear it. Until then, I can only offer regards and well wishes to everyone out there undertaking similar quests.

Fair enough, I understand Smurfs make great traveling companions! What have you learned so far from being an indie author?

I have learned a lot through this process. The first thing that comes to mind is that I learned about the existence of the writing community. There are a ton of great authors, reviewers, bloggers, podcasters, and all kinds of bookish people out there in the world, and most of them are truly interested in lifting each other up, which is so nice to see. It’s great to interact with people who love books as much as I do, too. After interacting through Twitter, my book made its podcast debut on the Fiction Fans Podcast, who were nice enough to take a chance on an aspiring author.
I’ve also learned that reviews seem to be everything, more or less. Finding people to review your book should be one of the top priorities for any aspiring author. I used a site called BookSirens to try and find ARC readers, with very limited success. But I know that things like that have worked well for other authors. I was able to pay for a Kirkus review, and, even though it still doesn’t seem quite real to me, my book earned a starred review. I don’t yet know what that’s going to mean as far as book sales, though. I’m trying to get the word out as much as I can, even managing to shamelessly work it into an answer on this very interview 🙂

What can we look forward to seeing from in 2021?

My book, The Conjuring of Zoth-Avarex: The Self-Proclaimed Greatest Dragon in the Multiverse, made its debut on April 1st, 2021! It is now available on all of the major online retailers in paperback, ebook, and even audiobook form (the audiobook was so fun to make! The narrator, Jay Spaulding did a fantastic job bringing my story to life!). 

Thank you for joining me today, Kyle, and I wish you lots of luck with The Conjuring of Zoth-Averex: The Self-Proclaimed Greatest Dragon in the Multiverse and any future projects you may have!


The Conjuring of Zoth-Avarex

Kept hidden by the United States government for decades, the Site is a place where magic is real. But that doesn’t mean that everything happening there is sparkly. Soul-sucking policies and layers of stifling bureaucracy threaten to take all the fun out of magic.

Harris, a newbie Conjurer, starts his first day of work at the Site bursting with excitement: he’s been brought on for an extremely big project happening the very next day. In a triumph over its habitual inefficiency, the Site manages to carry out its plan and conjure an actual dragon to be used by the military.

The dragon (Zoth-Avarex, the self-proclaimed greatest dragon in the multiverse) immediately eats the person next to him, snatches a “princess” from the ranks of the Conjuring Department, and flies away to the Space Needle. There he manipulates the media, outwits the Site’s bumbling management, demands sixty-three billion dollars’ worth of treasure (because Smaug was said to have had sixty-two billion in his hoard), threatens to destroy the city–and installs a couple of food trucks.

While this book skewers the same fantasy genre it gleefully inhabits, it also pokes fun at corporate culture, today’s obsession with wealth and celebrity, and our denial that life is anything more than meets the eye. Hapless Harris, believing in magic all along, learns to apply what he’s picked up between the pages of fantasy literature.

Kirkus Review

Sue’s Musings’ Review

Add The Conjuring of Zoth-Avarex to your goodreads list here

Buy The Conjuring of Zoth-Avarex here:

Amazon: smile.amazon.com/Conjuring-Zoth-Avarex-Self-Proclaimed-Greatest-Multiverse-ebook/dp/B08TCFHY9T/
Audible: www.audible.com/pd/The-Conjuring-of-Zoth-Avarex-Audiobook/B08XZQD27P


Who’s next on Indie Spotlight?

Lyra Wolf is a Swiss-American author of fantasy and expert character tormentor. 

Originally from Indiana, home to a billion corn mazes, she now lives in Central Florida, home to a billion mosquitoes. She loves Mozart, traveling, theme parks, and raising procrastination to a fine art.

When Lyra isn’t fulfilling the wishes of her overly demanding Chihuahua, you can find her writing about other worlds and the complicated people who live there. 

Lyra has earned a B.A. in History and M.A. in English.


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The Conjuring of Zoth-Avarex: The Self-Proclaimed Greatest Dragon in the Multiverse

Book Description

Kept hidden by the United States government for decades, the Site is a place where magic is real. But that doesn’t mean that everything happening there is sparkly. Soul-sucking policies and layers of stifling bureaucracy threaten to take all the fun out of magic.

Harris, a newbie Conjurer, starts his first day of work at the Site bursting with excitement: he’s been brought on for an extremely big project happening the very next day. In a triumph over its habitual inefficiency, the Site manages to carry out its plan and conjure an actual dragon to be used by the military.

The dragon (Zoth-Avarex, the self-proclaimed greatest dragon in the multiverse) immediately eats the person next to him, snatches a “princess” from the ranks of the Conjuring Department, and flies away to the Space Needle. There he manipulates the media, outwits the Site’s bumbling management, demands sixty-three billion dollars’ worth of treasure (because Smaug was said to have had sixty-two billion in his hoard), threatens to destroy the city—and installs a couple of food trucks.

The “princess” is the twin sister of Harris’s crush Ana, and the fiancée of his new friend Jake. Harris, Ana, and Jake team up with a rule-breaking magician on a quest to send the smart-ass, narcissistic dragon back from whence he came. They’ll need to travel to storied realms in order to find the magical items needed to defeat the dragon. As they quest through red tape and various familiar fantasy elements, Harris will need to somehow make his timidity, inexperience, and idealism work for him. Meanwhile, tension rises as the “princess” has escape plans of her own, and the Site management sends an alternate hero off in a rowboat to visit a surfing Merlin—a mission that ends up a lot more perilous than anyone had anticipated.

While this book skewers the same fantasy genre it gleefully inhabits, it also pokes fun at corporate culture, today’s obsession with wealth and celebrity, and our denial that life is anything more than meets the eye. Hapless Harris, believing in magic all along, learns to apply what he’s picked up between the pages of fantasy literature.


My Review

I was sent a digital copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review – Thank you, K.R.R. Lockhaven!

Fresh out of magic school, Harris is nervously starting a new job as a Conjuror at The Site, a place in Washington state where magic was discovered in the 1940s and kept secret from the general public by a magical protective bubble.The Site is described as a kind of cross between the ultimate bureaucracy found in movies such as Office Space and an Area 51 for magic.

The story is told in third person from the perspective of Harris. When Harris first enters The Site, the chaos described reminded me of Will Smith entering the HQ for the first time in the movie, Men in Black. In fact there are many nods to popular movies and fantasy novels throughout the book.

The Conjuring of Zoth Avarex is also full of plenty of tongue in cheek wit. For example, when Harris conjurs a cute sloth-like flying imp called Xop we are told:

It was almost too cute, as if some writer was trying way too hard to create a clichéd adorable animal companion.

The scene having been set, the dragon is conjured and immediately the pace starts to pick up. Zoth-Avarex has a big ego and a snarky attitude:

I’ve got more magic in a scale on my ass than Merlin, Gandalf, Dumbledore, and Tim the Enchanter combined.

Marian, Harris’s manager seems to be the only laid back member of management at The Site, who is not completely obsessed with rule-following and form-filling. She along with nerdy Harris the Conjuror, heroic Jake the firefighter and brave Ana the Caster end up forming a team trying to rescue beautiful Sylvia, Ana’s sister, who the dragon has taken off to Seattle’s Space Needle as his “princess”. He demands as much gold as Smaug had in his lair in The Lord of The Rings as a ransom.

Meanwhile Peter and Chris from the Site are off on another quest, searching for the ring of Broceliande, undertaking challenges and meeting Merlin along the way, and the dragon is courting the media with his ideas on how to improve the politics and societal failings on Earth and particularly in America.

There is a particularly funny alternative ending where the dragon ends up getting voted in as the President of the USA, hoarding gold in the White House and using a game show format to gain a female princess/companion who is of royal blood from Europe.

I would thoroughly recommend this book to fans of humorous light-hearted fantasy who like dragons, quests, found family, magic carpets and adorable animal companions.


About the Author

K.R.R. (Kyle Robert Redundant) Lockhaven used to love writing as a kid. Starting at about ten years old, he wrote about anything from dragons to sentient jellybeans. Somewhere along the line, he lost that love. But now as a firefighter, husband, and father of two sons, he found it again. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find the really good stuff from back then. So this adult-written shit will have to do.

​Kyle is a huge proponent of summer camps for burn survivor kids. One dollar from every book he ever sells will go to the Washington State Council of Firefighters Burn Foundation, sponsors of Camp Eyabsut. For more info, or to donate money or time, go to www.campeyabsut.org

untitled image

My Site- https://www.krrlockhaven.com
Read an interview with a dragon here.


Related Posts


Cold from the North by D. W. Ross

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Cold from the North by D.W. Ross, organised by Storytellers on Tour. Please take a look at the other amazing bloggers who are also taking part in the tour here. Many thanks once again to Justine and Timy for having me on this tour.



Book Information

Cold from the North by D.W. Ross

Series: Onyxborn Chronicle (#1)

Published: November 14, 2020

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Pages: 470 (Print Length)

CW: Violence, Gore


Book Description

Driven by the promise of an ancient prophecy which will bring the dark ways of an old god back to power and prominence, an army of invaders swarms Ogulf Harlsbane’s homeland slaughtering all those who oppose them.

Along with his people, Ogulf must seek refuge from this savage force. In his search of sanctuary, he is tasked with finding the one person who can put a stop to the onslaught.

Doing so will send him across lands and seas, have him and his closest friend navigate the intricacies of a civil war, and try to win the help of the princess fighting for her throne.

If he fails, darkness will prevail and the reign of the Onyxborn will begin.


My Review

I read a digital copy of this book, thank you to Timy and Justine and to D.W. Ross for sending it to me.

Cold From the North is a Norse inspired fantasy set in the frozen northern country of Gelenea. It has been frozen for a couple of years now with no respite from the cold, crops have died out and everyone is weakened by hunger and the cold. The cold is so fundamental to the setting and well-being of the characters at the beginning of the story that it almost has a persona all of its own.

Ogulf Harlsbane and around eight hundred of his fellow townsfolk must embark on a perilous journey south over the Widows’ Trail from their town of Keltbran, in Broadheim. They are fleeing an invading army threatening them from the north. The Widows’ Trail is a tremendously difficult mountain pass and they lose a large number of their group along the way including someone important to our main character, Ogulf.

This loss hits Ogulf hard, especially since it was caused by his great friend Melcun trying to save them all from the archers who were catching up to them, by using his burgeoning sorcery talents, which broke the bridge they were crossing. The invading army has caught up with them at this point and they would not have survived had Melcun not cast his spell, but the inhabitants of the land of Broadheim are distrustful of sorcery, believing only the gods should have such power.

Death was chasing them now; the cold had been mobilised into an army of blades and malevolence that had stolen his lands and slaughtered his people.“

This whole beginning section of the story as the people of Keltbran negotiate their way over The Widows’ Trail is very exciting and tense as the townspeople have to flee, leaving behind everything they know. I think it was my favourite part of the book. 

It also establishes the wonderfully heartwarming friendship between Meclun and Ogulf and his close relationship with his father, Rowden, the Earl of Keltbran and their leader. Having barely made it over the bridge safely, Ogulf is very relieved to see his father is also safe, but now people are aware of Melcun’s abilities. This leads to some anger amongst a few of the townsfolk, especially from Prundan, a loud and obnoxious, stubbornly opinionated man, who does not approve of magic users. Rowden is the ‘Voice of Reason’ among their group and is able to calm things down. 

I really enjoyed the characterisation in this book.  The main characters are well-rounded and their motives are clear and make sense. You are never left questioning why a character acted in a certain way.

Rowden has felt somewhat lost since the death of his wife and rather than being an arrogant leader, he appears thoughtful and vulnerable:

Rowden stroked his beard again. ‘I suppose you’re right. I just feel lost in a way. I am the earl of a pile of ash with only half my townsfolk, no chieftain, and a butcher, farmers, and an innkeeper for captains.’

Ogulf is a thoroughly nice guy who is very considerate of his friends’ feelings. He is also generally empathetic and wants nothing more than to save his people. He has been given a mission, which was entrusted to him on the journey by his dying chieftain. He must deliver an axe to someone called Feda and it may save their world! Unfortunately he has no idea who or where Feda is, but being the resourceful chap that he is, this is soon no longer a problem.

Meclun is insecure and struggling with his developing magical powers, having had to hide them all his life. He knows nothing about his abilities or the history of magic in his land and is in dire need of some form of training.

The much depleted group makes it south to Luefmort, known as the gate to the Shingally Empire, and enjoys hospitality from Lord Hanrik and his son Danrin. 

Shingal is a much warmer and peaceful kingdom but they are aware a threat is coming and are prepared to change their old ways. Prince Zickari is a kind of reformist – his mother is still on the throne but soon he will be king. This far south, Ogulf enjoys the feeling of warmth from the sun and it feels like he and Meclun are starting to thaw out somewhat, along with Oglun’s tactical abilities and Meclun’s sorcery. No longer concentrating on warmth and not freezing or starving to death they are able to focus more on their particular personal strengths. 

In Lord Hanrik’s castle they talk to a wise man whose mind is addled, but who explains to them that the invading army is probably from Visser and that they are most likely the Order of Maledict who follow a prophecy known as the ‘Onyxborn prophecy’.

Here Melcun also meets Crindasa, a mage who offers to try and teach him during their short stay in Luefmort. She teaches him the story of Loken and it reads like a well known fable. He is very taken by both her looks and knowledge of magicka.

The magic system in Cold From the North is an interesting one in that power is drawn by a mage from certain mountain peaks known as the ‘Peaks of Influence’. However the power of these peaks is not infinite and they can be drained by overuse. Melcun learns that the ‘Peaks of Influence’ were first discovered by Loken and that they feed the powers of magicka within a sorcerer. He finds that he is feeling stronger and more powerful since he is further south and near live peaks now, which will be pushing their power out to him and feeding his abilities as opposed to the dormant peaks of influence in Broadheim:

Broadheim was the strongest country in all the realm when it came to magicka and all things arcane. But when Medin tried to invade, they used the collective powers of all the Peaks in Broadheim to create The Chasm and the great expanse of The Throws. They intentionally drained all the life of their Peaks in the hope that doing so would keep any further invaders from the north at bay.

Cold from the North is a plot-driven story and as Ogulf and Melcun travel through the land of Gelenea we discover more about the world and get to know plenty of new characters through Ogulf’s eyes. He seems to be a pretty good judge of character. He decides he likes the peaceful Hanrik and Danrin almost immediately and enlists Danrin’s help in the next stage of the journey, which takes them to Essalonia, a country embroiled in civil war, whose leader is called Feda Essel. Could she be the Feda they are looking for?

We discover that King Nadreth of Visser is indeed the leader of the invading army. He hopes to fulfill the Onyxborn prophecy with a teenage girl sorcerer called Nevea, who was found in the Keltbran temple. She is an incredibly powerful mage and it seems that there is little hope to win against an army on whose side she is fighting.

Cold From the North does not read like a debut. The world-building is solid, the battle scenes are well-written and exciting and the characters are believable. I am excited to read the next installment in The Onyxborn Chronicles and to find out if the axe Ogulf has been carrying to Feda is indeed as important in the fight against the evil army as the Essalonians believe.

Add to your To Be Read list here:

www.goodreads.com/book/show/55891167-cold-from-the-north

Buy here:

US: www.amazon.com/dp/B08NDXFDSR/
UK: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08NDXFDSR/


About the Author

D.W. Ross is an author who took the boredom of lockdown 2020 to another level by deciding to write a book despite having no experience in doing anything of the sort before – to say he never thought he would get this far is an understatement. One book has become a series, and now there is no stopping his creative mind as he plots books daily that he will absolutely never get to writing. Cold From The North was his first novel, with follow up The Darkest Dusk due out in 2021 with the closing novel of the Onyxborn Chronicles coming in early 2022. When not writing, he can be found watching pro wrestling, reading fantasy, dystopian and thriller novels, gaming, lifting weights and eating chicken wings. D.W. lives in Scotland with his wife.

Website: https://www.swordscastleswords.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DWRoss8 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/d.w.ross/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5640630.D_W_Ross


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Master of Sorrows (Silent Gods #1) by Justin T. Call

Book Description

You have heard the story before – of a young boy, orphaned through tragic circumstances, raised by a wise old man, who comes to a fuller knowledge of his magic and uses it to fight the great evil that threatens his world.

But what if the boy hero and the malevolent, threatening taint were one and the same?

What if the boy slowly came to realize he was the reincarnation of an evil god? Would he save the world . . . or destroy it?

Among the Academy’s warrior-thieves, Annev de Breth is an outlier. Unlike his classmates who were stolen as infants from the capital city, Annev was born in the small village of Chaenbalu, was believed to be executed, and then unknowingly raised by his parents’ killers.

Seventeen years later, Annev struggles with the burdens of a forbidden magic, a forgotten heritage, and a secret deformity. When he is subsequently caught between the warring ideologies of his priestly mentor and the Academy’s masters, he must choose between forfeiting his promising future at the Academy or betraying his closest friends. Each decision leads to a deeper dilemma, until Annev finds himself pressed into a quest he does not wish to fulfil.

Will he finally embrace the doctrine of his tutors, murder a stranger, and abandon his mentor? Or will he accept the more difficult truth of who he is . . . and the darker truth of what he may become . . .


My Review

Master of Sorrows is a fantastic debut novel. It is the first in The Silent Gods series.

Seventeen year old Annev de Breth is training to be an Avatar of Judgement at the Academy in his home village of Chaenbalu. Meanwhile his mentor and protector Sodar is secretly training him in how to use his magic, while employing him as a deacon. He must hide his magical abilities and his physical disability, or the villagers will brand him a ‘Son of Keos’ and stone him to death if they find out.

This is an original and exciting coming of age story with an interesting take on the theme of prejudices towards those with magical abilities and deformities or disabilities from those who are non-magical.

There are many imaginative tasks and unusual obstacle courses set for the teenage acolytes of the Academy, who wished to raise to the rank of avatar, which are really well described and easy to visualize. It was great to see Annev making moral decisions as to how he wants to proceed – should he help his less able companions or go all out for himself?

Both Justin T Call’s storytelling and world building skills are very impressive. The story moves along at a steady pace with everything steadily falling into place and making sense as the reader progresses. There are a few different settings used, the Academy, the woods, Sodar’s church, Janak’s castle in Banok and all of them are full of descriptive detail and believable.

The characters are well-written and most of the teenagers’ characters develop as the novel progresses.

Annev in particular develops from being a caring and sensible yet naturally curious boy, doing the tasks his mentor sets for him. He has to grow up pretty quickly and come to terms with his place in the community and what his ideal future could hold for him, and to realize the serious dangers he could be in if he were to leave the village, due to his exceptional heritage. We see him grapple with the morality of telling lies to his superiors and peers, keeping his true nature hidden, while trying to choose the best path forward for himself without hurting or endangering anyone he loves.

Sodar is a very likeable wise old magical mentor and father figure to Annev – thousands of years old and fiercely protective of his ward. His loyalty and patience with Annev knows no bounds.

Annev’s love interest, Myjun is particularly prejudiced against anyone with a scar or disability and I found myself wishing he would wake up to her innate nastiness and pay more attention to his mentor’s advice that they should flee the village.

Fyn is the typical school bully who eventually learns to respect Annev and realizes it is better to work together for a common goal than be all out for himself.

Titus and Theron are Annev’s loyal sidekicks and trusty companions, who begin to find their own strengths and stand on their own feet as the story develops.

Kenton is Annev’s jealous adversary. He will follow Annev as a leader because he has been ordered to, but feels no respect or loyalty towards him and leaves him to die at one point without thinking twice about his decision.

The story has plenty of action sequences, edge of the seat fights, both magical and non-magical, and witches, scary monsters and mysterious creatures coming out of the shadows.

I really enjoyed Master of Sorrows and I am excited to read the upcoming sequel, Master Artificer!

Buy here:

www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XJ8DKF3/

www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07XJ8DKF3/

Add to your Goodreads TBR here:

www.goodreads.com/book/show/39308821-master-of-sorrows


About the Author

Justin Call graduated from Harvard University in 2012 with an ALM in Literature and Creative Writing. He has studied fantasy literature for almost two decades and is the author of Master of Sorrows, Book 1 of The Silent Gods tetralogy. Justin is also the CEO of Broomstick Monkey Games and co-designer of the games Imperial Harvest, Royal Strawberries, Royal Scum, and 8 Kingdoms. He currently lives in Park City, Utah with his wife, his two sons, his Great Dane (Pippa) and his St. Bernard-Mastiff (Herbie).


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