The Blog of Sid Love is hosting a giveaway event for the readers and fans. This is your chance to win some FREE ebooks – written by some well known M/M authors! The event which began on 15th April, 2013, is soon ending with the last author being featured today. Currently, “G.A. Hauser”, “S.L. Danielson”, “Nephylim”, “Laura Harner” and their books are featured for this purpose.
RJ Scott’s giveaway contest has ended. I wish to thank all those who took part in that giveaway and also, good luck to you! The winners of all the giveaways will be announced on May 1, 2013 and the books will be sent out to you by May 2! Till then, enjoy the on-going and upcoming giveaways…
The Contests that are still on:
The author featured on my blog today is none other than ANDREW Q. GORDON, who is an amazing author and equally amazing person to get to know.
Andrew Q. Gordon writes across most genres, and though he might deny it, high fantasy is still his favorite read. He and his partner spend most of their free time raising their eighteen month old daughter.
First, thank you Sid for asking me to participate in your first multi author promotion. Being among so many other really talented authors makes it tough to keep up. Thanks again for all the hard work. I think it turned out to be a great event.
What to write
I’m sure every author has a million different germs of an idea for a new book swirling around their in head. I know I do. But which one first? Which one at all, even? What makes one choice better or easier to write than the next?
I’ve written stories in several different genres. Among them, contemporary, contemporary romance, fantasy, and paranormal. I learned early on, some categories sell better than others. Romance is king – or queen, depending on your view. Nothing compares when measured by sales, reads, reviews, or fans.
But what if that’s not your passion? I find that my ideas are driven more by the characters themselves than by the genre. What does that mean? Mostly that I ‘see’ the characters first then see their setting. And while there is an element of romance to all my stories, in that each of the main characters typically has a significant other, the story is more about the plot than the romance.
Recently I read an article where an agent discussed two options: 1) write what’s popular, the ‘give them what they want’ approach and 2) write what you feel; the ‘follow your heart’ route. There are clearly pros and cons to each. While neither is a guarantee for success, the first approach is ‘safer’ in that if you write what the reader is asking for you have a greater chance of selling more copies and/or gain more readers. On the other hand, you’re trying to fit your characters and ideas into some preformed mold.
Writing what you feel might not fit in with current market trends, but there is the chance you could be or make a whole new trend. Of course, that’s like winning the lottery. For every Twilight, Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, or Harry Potter that breaks out a new ‘it’ genre, the landscape is littered with those that tried and failed. But to be one of those that succeed? That would be more gratifying to me than selling a like number of books that fit the ‘me too’ mold. [Though let’s be honest, any of us would probably take the sales either way.]
Given that I prefer to write what I feel, it’s not surprising that I’ve yet to publish a novel in the traditional M/M romance genre. Second Shot, which I posted for free on Gay Authors, is one of those contemporary romance stories and I’d have to say it is probably the work that has gained me the most ‘fans.’ But for now, I’ve been doing more fantasy and paranormal. My last book – The Last Grand Master – is high fantasy and will be a six or seven book series. My next release – Purpose – is a contemporary paranormal story. Both have elements of romance, Purpose perhaps more than the other, but romance isn’t the primary conflict/plot.
For me, I’ve always loved fantasy, superheroes, magic, imaginary high tech gadgets, etc., so fantasy, sci-fi and paranormal are a perfect fit for me. But when I wrote and posted Second Shot and the current weekly free flash fiction on my website – Wednesday Briefs – I realized I also like the contemporary romance stories. I have several ideas for stories in both contemporary and in the sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal genres. Each of them is a work in progress to some degree or other. Which will come next? I’ll let you know when they decide.
THE LAST GRAND MASTER
[Book 1 of Champion of the Gods]
In a war that shook the earth, the Six gods of Nendor defeated their brother Neldin, god of evil. For the three thousand years since, Nendor and the Seven Kingdoms have known peace and prosperity. But then a new wizard unleashes the power of Neldin. Meglar, wizard king of Zargon, uses dark magic to create an army of creatures to carry out his master’s will.
One by one, the sovereign realms fall. Soon the only wizard who can stop Meglar is Grand Master Farrell, the Prince of Haven, the hidden home of refugees. An untried wizard, Farrell carries a secret that could hold the key to defeating Meglar—or it could destroy the world.
While helping Nerti, queen of the unicorns, Farrell saves Miceral, an immortal muchari warrior the Six have chosen to be Farrell’s mate. But Farrell approaches love with caution, and before he can decide how to proceed, Meglar invades a neighboring kingdom. Farrell and Miceral find themselves in the middle of the battle. Farrell pushes himself to the limit as he and Miceral fight not only to stop Meglar but for their very survival.
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Rated 4.5 Star by The Blog of Sid Love
Prince Farrell of Haven sat cross-legged, hovering three feet above the ground, dwarfed by the stone pillars on either side. A gentle spring breeze swept softly over his skin and lifted his long brown hair as he faced the mountains. The morning sun slowly began its westward journey.
He closed his eyes and felt the area around him, from the dips and curves in the land forming a shallow bowl before him, to the hoof-hardened Plains of Gharaha at his back.
The nape of his neck tickled as a droplet of sweat ran down, but he tuned it out, feeling instead for flaws in the walls. He needed the dimensions to be perfect. Anything less threatened his chances of defeating Meglar, the greatest and darkest wizard of their time.
Balance and symmetry, that’s how this weapon would work. He blinked his eyes open, satisfied. The twin stone monoliths were six hundred feet apart and fifty feet tall. The mountain had been smoothed and polished to a height of exactly three hundred feet. From tip to tip, his work extended two miles from end to end; one mile on either side of the gates directly in front of him. When closed, the gates would be entirely undetectable. Even by a great wizard. Even by the greatest wizard.
Yes, the left side felt perfect; now for the right.
As he closed his eyes and refocused on the right side, an eagle screeched in the distance. Another screech cut through the air, and with it came a tingle. No matter how he tried to ignore the piercing sound, he couldn’t. No ordinary bird called to him.
Reaching out with his senses, he tried and failed to locate what his ears told him he should find. Startled and annoyed, he roused himself and looked up. A pair of brilliant blue eyes, mere inches from his face, greeted him.
Discipline and training couldn’t stop him from pulling back. Mouth agape, he stared at the enormous white eagle hanging motionless before him. An avatar.
“Most Holy Sky Father,” Farrell said, slowly lowering one leg and then the other to kneel before the image of Honorus, first of the gods. “How may I serve you?”
“Rise, favored son, your labors in My service have earned you the right to stand tall before Me.”
Farrell stood and took a quick breath. The force of an avatar’s voice in his mind always unnerved him. He sought some measure of calm in the pale blue eyes of his God.
“My Sister, Lenore, has need of you. She will send Her servant, who will explain what is required. Her need is great and loathe though I am to ask you to suspend your work here, I believe this will ultimately aid you in the fight with Meglar. I ask that you accompany Her servant and render such aid as you may.”
Farrell bowed his head once in acknowledgment. “Master, whatever assistance I may give, I shall. Can I know the nature of the aid they require? And how will I know Her messenger?”
Did he see amusement in the avatar’s eyes? Could an avatar even be amused? “You will be told of your task by Her servant and you will know Her servant on sight.”
“I hear Your words Lord and will serve Your Sister to the best of my abilities.”
“I expect no less of you, my son.” The white eagle began to fade, adding, “Know this, Farrell. The time of your solitude is about to end. On this quest you will find your mate among those who serve Lenore. Be not afraid to embrace love even in these trying times. Strength can be found in the love of another. Do not maintain the walls you built to shelter yourself from hurt. The union between you and My Sister’s servant will grant you strength in the difficult tasks that await you both. Consider it My gift for your unswerving devotion to Me and the arduous path I set you on. My blessings on you and your labors.” With that, Honorus left, leaving Farrell to mull His words.
Before he could digest what happened, detection spells warned him that someone approached. Thoughts of avatars and a life partner vanished as years of training spurred him to action. Peering across the almost-empty prairie, Farrell instinctively gathered power.
Still some distance away, a mount galloped hard for his position. Flat, treeless, and magically kept free of tall grass and scrub, Gharaha offered little cover for any who made their way through the hidden, guarded pass. Yet the rider made it more than halfway across the plains already. Why hadn’t the spells worked properly?
Farrell scanned the prairie, using magic to be sure only one horse rode toward him. He focused on the solitary figure. Closer—impossibly closer, he realized.
“Could it be?” he whispered to the cold stones beside him. Enhancing his sight again, he confirmed his suspicions—no rider. A smile stretched his cheeks. Beyond any doubt, Lenore’s messenger had arrived.
Fighting Meglar his whole adult life, he readied a defensive spell out of habit. Exhaling, he let the power drain away. One did not greet Lenore’s messenger with aggression unless he fancied the wrath of the Goddess. He shook his head. Not particularly. And Honorus’s had been clear: Lenore wanted—no required—his help to fight Meglar.
Ignoring how naked he felt, he breathed deeply, noting how fast the mount closed the still considerable distance between them. Surely he had time to go inside to alert his staff?
Checking again, he decided he might not. No, better to wait.
A unicorn. He studied it as it galloped toward him. Brilliant green eyes and pink flaring nostrils with a pure white coat shining softly as if the unicorn had just completed a light morning run. How incredible.
He lost track of how long he stared, but when he blinked the messenger had nearly reached him. Definitely a good thing I stayed, he decided.
With a grace belying its speed, the unicorn charged up to him. For a moment he wondered if it would race past him in a whizzing blur, but it halted an arm’s length from him.
“Wizard.” The voice in his mind was definitely feminine and less overpowering than the avatar’s. “Blessings from Her holiness, Lenore. The Blessed Mother sends Her regards to the Prince of Haven and seeks your assistance.”
He almost laughed. Who in the Eight Gates of Neblor dared speak for the Goddess of the Earth? But he caught himself in time; Lenore had a special bond with unicorns
“Honorus’s blessings to you as well, Unicorn.” Not knowing her name, he addressed her in the same way she greeted him. “Welcome to Haven. Honorus told me to aid you and your mistress, though I don’t know what assistance you require.”
She pawed the ground and tossed her head slightly, reminding him of a petulant child. Farrell bit down on his tongue to suppress a chuckle.
“I already stated that Lenore requires your assistance. I have been sent to bear you to where you are needed.”
He jerked back at her curt tone and searched for the proper response. Of course he’d go with Lenore’s messenger, but did she expect him to simply hop on her back and be off? Beyond needing to be prepared for a fight, arrangements needed to be made for governing Haven in his absence. His mind raced through the myriad of things he needed to handle before he could leave.
“Forgive me if I offend you,” he said carefully, hopefully with the right amount of politeness, “but I’m at a disadvantage on many levels. To start, you know who I am, but I don’t know your name.”
“My name is Nerti, Wizard.”
“Pleased to meet you, Nerti. Can you tell me anything more than Lenore has summoned me? I’m certain if She took the time to send one so noble as you to fetch me, Her need must be great. I hope I’m sufficient to Her task.”
“Meglar has attacked our home. My sisters and brothers have sought aid from all we can trust, and have assembled at the mountain fortress that is my home. Unfortunately, there are no great wizards among our ranks. Nor do our allies, the Muchari, produce wizards among their kind with any regularity. Thus we are forced to seek your assistance.”
“Muchari? If I were not speaking with a unicorn, I would say they’re nothing more than legends.”
“Wizard, there is no time for idle banter. Meglar has assembled an army and though Muchari are indeed formidable warriors, we are hopelessly outnumbered. What wizards we have are mostly old humans who sought out the Muchari to spend their last days in peace. They will not be able to withstand all that Meglar’s army throws at them in their attempt to capture our home. We require your skill.”
“I understand,” Farrell said absently. A dozen thoughts all sought attention at once as he tried to tie all the information thrown at him. Nerti clearly wanted to leave immediately, but he needed some time. Better to delay a few minutes than race off unprepared. “Actually, I don’t understand. I have no army ready to march from Haven and liberate your people. If, as you say, you are hopelessly outnumbered, I won’t tilt the scales in your favor.”
“We do not hope to defeat Meglar’s army, only survive long enough to escape to another safe home. As I said, Muchari count few wizards amongst their number and those who have the gift are rarely above the lowest grades. My sisters and brothers have no ability to manipulate magic though we are made of it. We need your help moving everyone to a safer place. The wizards who reside with us are too few to protect the city for long and open our passage.”
Now he understood. Honorus didn’t need him to fight an entire army, just protect the city long enough for everyone to escape. Right, so much easier.
“Very well, now I understand. Unfortunately I can’t open a Door to a place I’ve never been. We’re going to have to ride there, unless you’re able to supply me with a clear image of your home.”
“Wizard, it isn’t that easy,” Nerti said. “Northhelm is not accessible via magic Doors unless—and here I rely on the wizards’ words to explain it to you—unless you have been granted permission to bypass the city’s protections. I was told you would understand.”
“Unfortunately, it means we must ride to Northhelm,” Farrell said. “Had Lenore sent someone attuned to your city’s protections, I could open a Door from here to there. Wizards are taught that no one, no matter how strong, can override a sealing spell once engaged. I disagree but haven’t tested my theory yet. If I’m wrong, I’ll end up stuck between this moment and the next.”
“Wizard!” Her mental “yell” snapped his head around. The piercing green eyes that looked so ancient and wise suddenly seemed closer together and less friendly. “We have no time for you to daydream!”
He resisted the urge to roll his eyes. “How exactly do we get into your city if it’s already besieged by Meglar? Do you know of another connected Door somewhere?”
She dashed his slim hope of good news when she shook her head.
“The only way to reach the city is to fight our way in. Your skill and my speed will have to suffice to gain us entrance. The Blessed Mother said you were equal to the task.”
“Somehow I had a feeling you’d say that.” He tried to formulate a plan, but he had more questions than answers: the size of Meglar’s army, the distance to the fortress, how many weapons did he need, Nerti’s speed and stamina. He shook his head to clear his mind. “I need to collect some things before we set off. If we’re to fight our way in, I need to be prepared.”
Without waiting for a response, he turned his back on her to stare at the hidden gates that marked the entrance to Haven. A frown wrinkled his face. Using the front door meant creating an uproar as everyone would turn out to see Nerti. Wasteful as it might seem, he opened a Door to his workroom. That would alert his mentors, Wesfazial and Erstad, that something unusual had occurred and bring them immediately to his rooms. Better than wading through a mob.
His frown deepened.
“Nerti, we need to use a Door to reach my workroom, otherwise we’ll draw too much attention. That will cause my mentors to investigate what’s happening. They will attempt to convince me not to ride off alone.”
“You will not be alone, Wizard.” Her causal tone almost brought a smile to his face. Clearly she did not lack for confidence.
“That said, are you able to use a Door?”
“I neither affect a Door nor am I affected by one, if that is what you ask.”
“It is.” Satisfied, he reached out his left hand. A long, black staff flew from its perch against the monolith to the left. The sound of wood on flesh broke the otherwise silent plains. Capped on both ends in platinum and cuffed with several silver bands, he always carried this staff into a fight.
Speaking softly, he touched the platinum end to the ground and moved it upward. A pale blue-green trail of light remained where the black wood passed. When it reached seven feet above the ground, he paused for a heartbeat. Four feet to the right, another pause. Finally he brought the staff down, letting it linger on the dusty plains.
Once he drew the outline, he stretched his right hand into the space between the lines and pushed forward with his will. A burst of light filled the area he just marked off. When the flash dissipated, a room lined with shelves and tables replaced the view of grass and mountains. Without a word, he stepped forward, followed closely by Nerti. When both cleared the threshold of the Door, Farrell waved his hand absently behind him. The light seemed to collapse in on itself, leaving the pair alone in the semi-dark room.
Another distracted wave and light slowly filled the workspace.
* * * * * *
How many gates are there to Neblor?
Winner can have their choice of either The Last Grand Master or (Un)Masked
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