Category Archives: Ramblings

Holy Slush-o-rama!

Cohesion Press is opening their submission window October 1, for SNAFU: Holy War. So don your writing pants, it’s slush time, baby!

I love this time of… slush. It’s a lot of reading, sure, but every click to open a file ignites that hope, that wonder of finding a gem within. That’s exciting stuff, getting to read stories from authors we know and those we don’t. There’s true joy in discovering new writers, discovering new storytellers, and getting their tales out into the world.

As is par for the course with a SNAFU open call, I like to write a little sumpin’ sumpin’ about what to expect from the process, discuss theme, and provide some general pointers to make this easier for all involved… <opens arms wide> … and here we are. And just a quick note: this post will be filled with ‘David Rose’ gifs… because, well David Rose.

During our last sub-window, I wrote a post on slush and what we look for, plus a general overview of the process, which will be similar although not the same as most slush piles. That will give you a guide to what we’re looking for when it comes to SNAFU stories in the most general way – remember, be on point with theme.

And this edition is a hell of a theme.

As a mate of mine pointed out, the theme of ‘Holy War’ is a “bold move”, hence the specificity of the guidelines we’ve put together, and the special notes on what we DO NOT WANT. Pay close attention to those because we understand that in light of the theme, things could get ugly. So, in short, if you come at me with your bigotry or misogyny or your white-saviour stories, you’re not going to get a look-in. Period. Write better than that, be better than that.

At its heart, the SNAFU series is action-based military horror with characters that resonate and monsters of the nightmare kind. Tales that linger. We’re not looking for slow-burn stories, we’re not looking for trunk stories either (we can spot those, don’t think we can’t). And when we say ‘military’ that doesn’t limit you to soldiers of the contemporary kind, nor does it confine you to modern or on-world settings. We’ve published everything from Neanderthal hunting parties to far-future sci-fi within the same volume.

What we care about is killer stories told well, and considering our theme, there were tropes we wanted to address that we’d rather not see, and some you shouldn’t send us at all. If the first thing that comes to mind when you hear ‘Holy War’ is the Crusades, then that’s going to be a hard sell. We expect to see a lot of those, though we’d rather not. Same with any story that has Christian didacticism (I’ve seen enough of that in our slush to last me everyone’s lifetime). Same with any white saviour stories – we’re not buying.

We want you to think outside the box with this. Do a little research if you must. Theology has a wide range of belief systems, and faith isn’t limited to popularity. Hell, create your own faith-based doctrine, revive a forgotten one. Don’t limit yourself to a Google search. Light a fire under your imaginarium and see where those sparks take you.

Action. The more the better. Let the bullets fly, give the arrows wing, let the blades sink deep into flesh. Blow some shit up. Get the adrenalin surging, blood pumping. Give us that piss-your-pants fear-filled courage. You know, all the good stuff!

Crank up the volume of your monsters, too. Give us the stuff of your nightmare’s nightmares. Give us dread, existential dread that makes you want to sleep with the light on. Make it loud… or make it quiet. The sneaky-sneak of monsters is just as terrifying as a roar that rattles the bones, sometimes more so.

Speaking of dread, one of the things I want to address here is part of the ‘do not want’ section of the guidelines, and something I saw too damn much of during our last sub-window. Just let me get out my all-caps for this: DO NOT USE RAPE AS A PLOT DEVICE/BACKSTORY!

I’ll say again: DO NOT USE RAPE AS A PLOT DEVICE/BACKSTORY!

This should not be your ‘fall-back’ to show that someone is evil or the villain in your story. If that’s the only way you can think to give a character agency, or to show a reader a particular character is bad, then you need to re-engage your imagination. Also, do not send us that shit. You’re wasting my time and yours. It won’t be published by us. “But, but, but…” I hear you say? No. Just no. This isn’t a debate.

Right, on to the last little bit of info re our slush process. We work in phases. Slush is obvs Phase 1, and where a story is either rejected or moved to a long list. During Phase 2, all stories on the long list are read again, and will be either rejected or moved to the short list. Phase 3 is where we’ll make the final decision on the ToC. No story selections will be made until the AFTER the sub window closes.

We do not provide feedback on stories that are rejected in Phase 1. We may provide limited feedback on stories rejected within Phase 2, depending on workload. Should your story make it to Phase 3 and is rejected, we will provide feedback.

We’re writers too, so we understand what it’s like sitting the other side of the desk. We try to make this process as painless and as seamless as possible. Our decisions aren’t open for debate. Oh, and you cannot reject our rejection (true story), just sayin’.

For those of you unaware, three SNAFU stories appeared in season one of Love, Death & Robots, and some other SNAFU stories have been picked-up for season two. Tim Miller reads our anthologies, so if that doesn’t light a fire under your bum to send us your best work, then… well, then… ahh… SEND US YOUR BEST WORK!

/rant

‘How To Novel’. Pt 1: Time

Carrying on from my previous post about how I “finished” the first draft of my novel, I’ve decided to chronicle the process that worked for me. I have absolutely no idea how many posts will be in ‘How to Novel’. Like the first draft of my book, I’ll know when it’s done.

Before I begin, I’m going to issue a caveat with each of these posts:

This is the process that worked for me. It may not work for you; it may not be workable to your circumstances. Take from it what you think might be achievable, tweak it to fit, or ignore completely! (Also, there will be swearing.)

Right, let’s do this!

The first thing I want to talk about is TIME. You know, that thing of which you never have enough. *shakes fist at Chronos*

TIME is a huge part of writing anything. Being able to sit uninterrupted (apparently this is a thing, being uninterrupted) and devote the time and mental space to create, to fire up the imagination is often a luxury many of us either struggle with or just plain don’t have. Or, when you do, you’re just too buggered to engage the mind to make word-babies.

I run a successful editing business, and I love my what I do. I also have the joy of working from home (pants optional). I also have a partner and children, which means my days need to be as structured as they can be if I’m to achieve all that needs achieving. Life, of course, often gives me the finger – there’s much in my day that needs doing. Trying to fit writing time into that has been a serious struggle for the last couple of years, so while story ideas and characters percolated, they never quite made it to the page.

My writing partner, the storytelling-gifted Devin Madson, kept on about MAKING TIME to write. You’ve probably heard the same from others, and while it sounds incredibly simple, actioning it was difficult especially when weighed against my business. <– See that there? I used ‘against’ because that’s how I viewed it. An either/or situation when it wasn’t the case. It was a mind-shift moment. My business and my writing weren’t in opposition, they just had to share the space.

Tangles of Time by Oli-86

Tangles of Time by Oli-86

So I took a week to figure out where I was more productive when it came to writing, as editing I can do any time of the day or night (yes, a lot of the time I pull long hours at the desk). It was morning that came out the clear winner on the writing/creativity front. That was where my time needed to be eked out. I started small – gave myself an hour each morning, and… I sucked at it.

The thing is, it’s not just about making time, it’s about GUARDING TIME. I was checking emails, doing laundry… shit, I forgot to feed the fish… that kind of thing. And I was wholly unproductive and I hated myself for it. What I wrote in those first two weeks gave me no joy. Everything about it was just… wrong.

So I reset. I guarded that time. Nothing but writing. No interruptions. No fucking social media, time-stealer that it is. And I explained it to my family, too. From this time to this time, I’m writing. I will not answer questions, I will not help you find your shoes, you know where the spare toilet rolls are kept, dammit. I trunked that last attempt at the novel, and opened a new page. One hour each morning, and I guarded that time like Heimdell guards Asgard. Was it easy? No. The pull of ‘other things’ was strong, and that required another mind-shift: it’s an hour, other things can wait an hour. And they could.

Was the writing easy? Hell no. I needed to get past the pressure that I had to write ‘x’ amount of words. And here’s a tip: you need to be kind to yourself while guarding that time. Some days I’d write a couple of hundred words, other days a couple of thousand. But you know what became easier? Guarding that time. And once I did, once I got past the guilt (fuck guilt with the power of a thousand suns), the words came. The story flowed. Yet I think the story-flow had a lot more to do with the percolating and that I was ready to write the novel. TIME gave me the opportunity to do so.

One hour a day was my minimum writing time. I upped it to two hours a couple of weeks in, and was mindful of the editing projects I had. That extra hour writing time in the morning meant I worked later into the evening on editing projects. And this is where my privilege comes in. I’m lucky that I work from home (and I work damn hard at my job, no question), but that means I can take that time. I also have a super supportive partner who loves to cook, and while one of my kids is still at school, both are older and can look after themselves. I’m fully aware not everyone is in my boat.

This is where the ‘tweaking’ comes in. If you don’t have an hour, try half an hour. Hell, take five or ten minutes and ‘sprint’ words. Set a timer, write like a demon until that bell rings. Guard that time like Heimdell. Up the time if and when you can. But form that habit. From ‘x’ time to ‘x’ time is nothing but writing time. It’s not about word count, it’s about TIME. Time to do the thing that soothes the soul.

We’re all busy. Life’s like that. And there’ll be times when you don’t feel like writing, that there are other things that need to take precedence. It’s happened to me, and I took five minutes one day as it was really all I had, but it was more to keep the habit. Once it’s a habit, it does become easier. You look forward to it, and it makes you all the more keen to ensure you do make the time. And those days you just don’t have it? Well, you just don’t have it. Be kind to yourself. Just try to not make the ‘I don’t have the time’ become the habit because it’s easy as hell to slip into it.

If you don’t have the time every day, then set aside time on the weekend if you can. Just one day. See what happens.

As I said at the beginning of this post, how I worked through writing the first draft may not work for you, but if there’s something in here you can work with, that you can tweak to your lifestyle, to all the many things you’re juggling, especially in these Covid Times, then take it and run with it, my friend. We all need more books, all need more stories to immerse ourselves in. Why not let it be your tale?

 

How to not ‘finish’ a draft and still be finished.

I’m a short story writer. I love the form – the challenge to write a complete story in limited space. It’s almost a security blanket of a sort. My happy place. My safe space. Anyone who knows me well, knows I’m terrified of writing a novel. There is video evidence of this, where you can quite literally see the fear in my eyes all the way through this. The scale and scope has always put a fear in me. But something strange happened on the way through the pandemic. I wrote a novel. Not only did I write it. I loved writing it. Loved the characters and the shitty paths they have to take. The monsters I created and the mythos I imagined onto the page. And I did in just under two months.

Let me say again. Novels terrified me.

In early March, just before the pandemic hit, I managed to slip a milestone birthday through just before everything got locked down. My best friend, Devin Madson, made the journey from the wilds of regional Victoria up to Sydney to celebrate with me (she’s amazing like that).

Dev has been a constant in her “write the novel!”, as she knows there’s been one percolating for a while. Her support and understanding, her talking me through the fear and her kicks up the bum have edged me ever closer to taking the dive. Then, and I have the exact day – May 20 – I started. I finished July 17. All 139,454 words of it.

Aaand, that’s where the title of the post comes in. You see, I didn’t write ‘End’ on this draft. I didn’t ‘finish’ in the dictionary sense of the word, or probably in a lot of people’s sense of the word, but the draft was done.

The draft wasn’t finished yet it was.

I had a moment, rather, a lot of long moments of: I can’t be finished because I haven’t written ‘End’ on this baby! A stubborn part of me insisted THERE ARE RULES! THIS IS HOW IT WORKS! KEEP WRITING UNTIL ‘THE END’! Yet the Muse was sitting back, arms crossed, shaking their head – nope, we know how it ends, there are front and middle sections that don’t hold up to that end, this draft is done.

The Muse was right. So while I didn’t ‘finish’ the draft, I finished the draft.

imagination

I’d been so caught up on how I believed a novel should be written that I was forcing myself to push on when I didn’t need to. To force myself to an end I knew, and believed I had to get down on the page even when it sat well formed in my head. I knew the destination of this story, and those last few steps along its stones weren’t needed for it to be complete. I’d also written scenes within those final chapters – steppingstones to the marks I needed to hit.

Look, this is all a learning process for me, and while I work as an editor with authors on their novels, and know how this process works, advise how this process works… it’s a different beast when applied to oneself, especially when deep in the throes of those final chapters where you can see the end just beyond the hill. It’s so close you can almost touch it. The veritable gold at the end of the rainbow. Yet looking back, I had a bunch of gold along the way. Pieces I’d stashed in character and dialogue, in worldbuilding and plot-promise. I didn’t need the hoard at the end to know the draft was rich enough to move to the next stage. That mind-shift was necessary to understand that this draft was finished despite not writing ‘End’.

So the weekend was spent honing motivations for my two MCs (my storytellers), and three others who have major impact on the plot. I’m very close to finishing the chapter summaries that will guide and focus the second draft of The Novel (still no working title). I also have a family tree for the gods of this world, and an overly detailed mythos (worldbuilding is way too much fun it seems and I can get distracted…).

This has been a hell of a learning curve for me, but it’s also been a joy. And if you’d said to me three months ago that I’d have the first draft of a novel done by July, oh how I’d have laughed at you. If you’d told me three months ago that not only would I have a novel draft completed, but that I’d enjoyed the process and that I thought the draft was good, I’d have thought you mad.

Admitting the draft is good is a difficult thing, especially admitting it openly. I’ve been taking some big steps here, and as such, I’m going to start a series of blog posts detailing the process I’ve taken to get here. My process isn’t going to work for everyone, hell, it might not work for anyone, but if someone can get something from it that may kickstart them into tackling a novel (or a trilogy – yes, I’ve jumped with both feet), then that would be very cool.

Right then, I’m off to join the very broken Wren and the very broken Seda in their very broken world.

If you take nothing else from this post, know that you can write that first draft too, no matter how terrifying the thought of doing so is.

Also, fuck. Because it’s not a post from me without at least one curse word.

 

 

Review: The Unspoken Name by AK Larkwood

The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates series) by AK Larkwood was a gift in more ways than one. Big shouty thanks to Devin Madson for the birthday present in the form of the book, and big shouty awesomeness to AK Larkwood for the joy the story brought.

It’s hard to really box The Unspoken Name into definitive genre (apart from speculative, of course). It’s fantasy, yes. Has a shit tonne of horror (no, it doesn’t quite hit grimdark as there’s hope here). It’s part sci-fi, part portal fantasy… part space opera. Sword and sorcery, It’s a touch of everything to create something unique in its unfolding.

The world-building is wonderfully done, just enough to bring the images to incredible (and sometimes terrifying) life in our heads. The focus, however, is on the characters, their relationships, the choices they make and the repercussions of those choice – both good and bad. A lot of this book is based around choices; those we think we make and those we actually do. How relationships are not always what you think they are when you peel back those layers, when you peak behind the curtain. And not for the main character – Corswe – is this the case.

Corswe is… orc-like, although it’s not stated outright, the description of her lends it credence. As does Sethennai (Corswe’s mentor/liberator/kidnapper) is of elven appearance. As is Corswe’s nemesis, Tal – I loved his interactions with Corswe. Tal is crass, snarky, belligerent to a fault, and has very little boundaries… and conscience, really. He’s such a great character, and I’ve no doubt he was a blast to write.

The Unspoken Name

Thing is, we see growth in all of the characters in the book. Sure, not all of it is good, but as we spend most of our time with Corswe, we are her cheer squad. And when she finds what she suddenly understands is love when she meets Shuthmilli. The gentle way this moves from friendship into the more romantic is everything. There’s queer-love in this book and it is wonderfully and beautifully done.

There’s so much to rave about – magic and gods and portals and dead worlds, necromancy, revenants, fight scenes, loyalty, love, sacrifice… it’s… READ THIS BOOK!

I’ve been stupidly lucky that all the books I’ve read this year have been amazing, and AK Larkwood’s The Unspoken Name is no different.

Five out of five stars, plus a bonus star for the pronunciation guide at the beginning of the book… so SIX OUT OF FIVE STARS!

Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow

There are books that sneak up on you, teasing you with glimpses of the fantastique, of possibilities within possibilities, shaded with darkness and radiating light. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow is a tale that defies expectation, folds in on itself in a compelling origami, creating shapes and stories and Doors both beautiful and terrible.

I didn’t know what to expect from the book; I had little idea of the plot or the characters or the path the story would take… and that discovery as I turned each page was the best way to step through the Door Alix Harrow opened into January’s world.

image

 

My partner, who’s had to put up with me reading to the wee hours while he’s trying to sleep, asked me what it was about. I explained it woefully of course, because words – my words – don’t do it justice. A book within a book within a book, and magic and love and adventure and Doors and self-discovery and self-belief. It breaks the fourth wall and fifth wall… and god, all the walls. It shows the good in people and the evil, the struggle of trying to find your place in the world and of the worlds. It’s knowing you’re different, that you don’t quite fit, that an in-between girl has a foot in each world but stands in none. Defiantly so.

It’s words. Not just words upon the page (although the narrative is divine) but the power of them, the way they twist and turn and shape themselves and those around them and those who gaze upon them.

January Scaller would have the right words, and they would be beautiful. It’s her story… and the story of beginnings and middles and not-quite-ends. Even thinking of it now, I’m smiling. There’s hope, even in the darkest lines of the pages, and that spark lights January’s way… with her ever-faithful dog (I love him).

The Ten Thousand Doors of January goes onto the top shelf of my bookcase, alongside other tales that will stay with me for a very long time, and each time I walk past, I will think of Doors and magical places… and oh the possibilities.

GET THIS BOOK IN YOUR EYES!

Ahem.

Eleventy stars out of five.

 

(Oh, and a special shout-out for the cover — much pretty, such sigh.)

Review: Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

There’s a lot to be said about book recommendations from friends, they know your reading habits, but they also know when you need a change of pace, a change of genre, and something they know you’ll enjoy because the writing and the story are just so damn good. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch hit all those marks for me.

In keeping with my short-arse reviews, let’s get to this!

It’s part police-procedural, part murder-mystery, a whole lot of magic and mythos, and violence and horror and humour. And ghosts. And demi-gods. And whole other worlds that exist on the edges of this one. Sometimes those worlds overlap, and this is where the main character, Constable Peter Grant comes in. Drawn into this world of ghosts and gods and ghoulies, where magic is a stalwart, Grant comes at it with science, practicality, and sometimes just pure dumb luck. His partner in crime (or former partner), Lesley May, creates good balance when it comes to how the two tackle the serial murders and general brou-ha-ha they find themselves entangled in. And Grant’s mentor, Thomas Nightingale (and his secret society) is a bit of a stubborn enigma, but his teaching habits seem to work. They make for quite the trio.

The characters are great, and the friendships developed throughout set this up really well for the next books in the series. There’s a lot going on, but Aaronovitch layers this world and its characters with enough information for you to connect with its players while leaving just enough unexplored to want you coming back for more.

Rivers of London

The mythos surrounding the rivers of London, and how it all links together in control of the rivers and lakes and ponds and even the sewers was masterfully done. And the horror that woven through it was right up my alley. Add in the humour peppered throughout, and I was hooked.

Those familiar with London are surely going to love all the references within, and while I am unfamiliar with the ins and outs, I never once felt lost. This book was a whole lotta fun, and while the main plot was tied up nicely, there are threads definitely being explored in future books (there are eight so far).

Rivers of London wasn’t ever on my radar, but I’m damn chuffed it was put there. I enjoyed this immensely, and very much looking forward to the next in the series.

Review: Mythos by Stephen Fry

Right, so I’m a touch behind on my book reviews, but… well, it’s not like the Greek mythos is going anywhere… Ahem.

Sooo long time reader of Greek mythology, first time reviewer… not of the mythos as a whole, but the Mythos that is the book from Stephen Fry. As you can no doubt guess, Fry delves into all that is the Greek myths that most of us probably have more than an inkling of understanding, and as someone who adores the mythology from a wide variety of cultures (here and gone), this was right up my alley. Add in the cleverness and wit that is Stephen Fry and Mythos was a delight.

Fry takes the gods and demi-gods with all the foibles and their strengths to create a vivid retelling of some of the stories that I’ve come to know and love. There’re monsters and mortals and mayhem – just the way mythos should be. What sets this apart from other bland mythos retellings (I’m looking at you Neil Gaiman), is you can see the love and enthusiasm Fry has for the mythology. Also, I swear I read this in his voice.

mythos
All the players are here: Gaia, Cronos, Zeus, Hera, Hermes, Hades, Persephone, Demeter, the Muses… it’s quite the list! The births and deaths and the oh-so-much sex are given a contemporary flourish and humorous bent that only Fry could pull off (yes, I see it, let it go…). He makes them relatable, makes them, well, I guess you could say ‘human’, and that always been the joy of the Greek gods and goddesses — they are who they are and you just need to deal.

One of the things I most loved about the book were the footnotes. Fry’s love of language shines through here, and the footnotes show the birth of words into our common lexicon – word nerd’s delight!

Highly recommended.

Heroes is the next Fry instalment, and I plan to hit that later in the year.

Oh, and the covers are all the pretty, too.

Review: The Bone Ships by RJ Barker

I am not a boat person. Or a ship person for that matter. My gut doesn’t agree with the waves other than to paint them with some technicolour. I am irrationally rational about my fear of the beasties that live in the deep. But I would walk the fucking slate with Joron Twiner and Lucky Meas.

The worldbuilding in The Bone Ships is spectacular, and those that inhabit not just the cruel seas but Tide Child are a cut above… a cut above a jib (take that seafaring lingo!). The bone ships in The Bone Ships are literal ships made of bone – sea dragon bone. And while most are of glorious white, lit by corpselights, and the pride of The Hundred Isles, we sail with Joron and Meas on a black ship. A death ship where all onboard have been condemned, they just await the Hag’s justice, their fate as black as the bones that make up Tide Child.

I’ve decided that all my book reviews will be short this year, because time and poor and all that jazz. But I can’t go past making special mention of the gullaime, the bird-like creature who commands the winds. It was a stand-out for me, but more so the friendship it develops with Joron. The characters make this book, and they are as different as they are wonderful and awful and sad and hopeful. The battles are hard and desperate, but the characters who walk the slate of Tide Child, truly do make this book. From Farys to Solemn Maffaz, Mevans and the Courser, the gullaime and Garriya.

 

the-bone-ships-cover

I loved this story, and cannot wait for the next in the series. RJ Barker has created a vivid, atmospheric world and peoples that are rich in their layering and resonate in their being. There’s a little bit of us in all of them.

Special shout out for that cover, too. Swanky AF.

(Small mention re the language and created words in the book; I’ve seen some people balk at this, but I had no trouble with it at all — they were close enough in spelling, and context really is everything, ey?) 

Review: The True Bastards by Jonathan French

FUCKING GLORIOUS!

 

True Bastards

I should say more; go into delicious detail about Fetching driving this story and the beautiful inner and outer conflict of her struggle as chieftain of a hoof. Of the revelations and hits given along the way. About the roller-coaster of emotions I rode and how I laughed and commiserated, and even how one scene had my Fitbit log my reading of it as exercise (I shit you not). I mean, it has half-orcs riding hogs, elves and halflings, centaurs and frails, thicks and thrices, wizards and magic, barbarians and gods and fighting pits… But FUCKING GLORIOUS covers it.

The True Bastards is the second book in The Lot Lands series, and if you loved The Grey Bastardsthen you’ll adore this.

Ten stars out of five (fuck you, math!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FESTIVUS BOOK PIMPING: THE GODBLIND TRILOGY BY ANNA STEPHENS

Hear ye, hear ye, FESTIVUS PIMPUS! FESTIVUS PIMPUS IS HERE!

Cutting it right to the wire here for the Pimpus of the Bookus, but I can’t let this year’s Festivus go past without shouting from the rooftops how fucking excellent The Godblind Trilogy by Anna Stephens is. Like, stop reading this post, click that link, and go buy it. I’ll wait. <flaps hand> Off you go.

<insert Muzak here>

So… we good? Brilliant.

The grimdark trilogy consists of three books (obviously): Godblind, Darksoul, and Bloodchild. I finished the last this year, and it was bittersweet. So attached had I become to the characters and the storytelling that I didn’t want it to end. But end it did, and I had serious bookhangover afterward. There’s a brutal beauty to Stephens’ storytelling; it drags you in and doesn’t let you go. The characters, though, the characters…

I could wax lyrical for hours on these books, but trust me when I say the only disappointment you feel from this trilogy is that it has come to an end.

Let’s look at some blurbs, shall we?

GODBLIND:

Godblind

The Mireces worship the bloodthirsty Red Gods. Exiled from Rilpor a thousand years ago, and left to suffer a harsh life in the cold mountains, a new Mireces king now plots an invasion of Rilpor’s thriving cities and fertile earth.

Dom Templeson is a Watcher, a civilian warrior guarding Rilpor’s border. He is also the most powerful seer in generations, plagued with visions and prophecies. His people are devoted followers of the god of light and life, but Dom harbors deep secrets, which threaten to be exposed when Rillirin, an escaped Mireces slave, stumbles broken and bleeding into his village.

Meanwhile, more and more of Rilpor’s most powerful figures are turning to the dark rituals and bloody sacrifices of the Red Gods, including the prince, who plots to wrest the throne from his dying father in the heart of the kingdom. Can Rillirin, with her inside knowledge of the Red Gods and her shocking ties to the Mireces king, help Rilpor win the coming war?

DARKSOUL:

Darksoul

In the besieged city of Rilporin, Cdr. Durdil Koridam orders the city’s people to fight to the last rather than surrender to the surrounding armies of the Mireces and their evil Red Gods.

Outside city gates, the uneasy truce between King Corvus’s Mireces and the traitorous Prince Rivil’s forces holds, but the two armies are growing desperate to force a breach of the walls before the city’s reinforcements arrive.

Meanwhile, prophet Dom Templeson reaches Rilporin. The Red Gods have tortured and broken his mind, and he ends up in Corvus’s clutches, forced to reveal all of his secrets. And what he knows could win the war for the Mireces.

Elsewhere, in Yew Cove, only a few survivors remain from a Rank of thousands of Rilporian warriors. Dom foresees the important role one of those survivors, Crys Tailorson, will take on as the events to come unfold. As Crys grows into his position as a leader, that role becomes clearer—and far darker. Will he be willing to pay the price to fulfill his destiny?

BLOODCHILD:

bloodchild-final

In this epic grimdark conclusion to the Godblind Trilogy, heroes, armies, and gods both good and evil will battle one last time, with the fate of the world itself at stake. . .

The great city of Rilpor has fallen. Its walls have crumbled under the siege by the savage Mireces; its defenders have scattered, fleeing for their lives; its new rulers plot to revive the evil Red Gods using the city’s captured, soon-to-be-sacrificed citizens.

Now, with the Fox God leading the shattered remnants of the Rilporian defence and the Mireces consolidating their claim on the rest of the country, it’s up to Crys, Tara, Mace, Dom and the rest to end the Red Gods’ scourge once and for all.

While the Rilporians plan and prepare for one final, cataclysmic battle to defeat their enemies, the Blessed One and the king of the Mireces have plans of their own: dark plans that will see gods resurrected and the annihilation of the Dancer for all time. Key to their plan is Rillirin, King Corvus’s sister, and the baby–the Bloodchild–she carries.

As both sides face their destinies and their gods, only one thing is clear: death waits for them all.

There’s a fuck-tonne to love about this series, and I can do nothing more than scream into your face: BUY THESE BOOKS! So…. BUY THESE BOOKS!

Special shout-out to the cover artist, too. I have the trilogy in hardcover, and the art is divine.

Recommended for everyone, but also those who love grimdark, dark fantasy, epic fantasy, swords and shit, gods both good and evil, characters that dig into your soul, epic battles, and killer storytelling. Oh, and this ain’t for the faint-hearted, either. You’ve been warned… or challenged, either or…

BUY THESE BOOKS!