Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall- The Write Reads Ultimate Blog Tour

EYibC4aWoAIlHxyMagic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma.So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more.In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma. (taken from Amazon)

Thank you to the author for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Also, thank you to The Write Reads for allowing me to join the book tour. This book is available now.

Every once in a while a book comes along that reminds me why I love the fantasy genre so much. I’m happy to say, this is one such book. So, brace yourself: I’m about to wax enthusiastic. Let me just roll up my sleeves, crack my knuckles, and…here we go!

As many great stories do, this starts with a youth who wants more. Volke is a gravedigger, but he wants to become an arcanist, leave his small island home, and travel the world. He wants to be a hero. An arcanist is someone who has a magical bind with a fantastical creature which allows the arcanist magical powers that correspond to the creature’s magic.When Volke gets his dream, it doesn’t quite go as planned. It turns out that the person he’s looked up to his entire life might just be a murderer. And Volke needs to stop him.

I found Volke to be an interesting character. On the one hand, I loved his determination and desire to be a hero. On the other, he could throw a rocking pity party. It made him extremely believable and, surprisingly, still likable. I have to say, though, my favorite character was a certain drunk mentor who stole every scene he was in.

One thing I enjoy about the fantasy genre is the opportunity to be creative. There’s no limits to what is allowed when creating a fantasy world, and author Stovall took advantage of that. The world is remarkable. The sheer amount of thought put into the history and customs are astonishing.And the creatures! White harts, phoenixes, harpies, and more! You’d think having such a huge variety of creatures would feel like too much, but it’s quite the opposite. Each has its place and function in the story. I was a huge fan of the scenes involving the white hart in particular because it was such an original way of using that fantastical creature.

The book never lagged, and no character was superfluous. I was able to sit back and enjoy the confidence with which Stovall wrote. I love being able to disappear into a fantasy world for a while!So? Who should read this book? Everyone. Enjoy!

Shami Stovall is a multi-award-winning author of fantasy and science fiction, with several best-selling novels under her belt. Before that, she taught history and criminal law at the college level, and loved every second. When she’s not reading fascinating articles and books about ancient China or the Byzantine Empire, Stovall can be found playing way too many video games, especially RPGs and tactics simulators.

If you want to contact her, you can do so at the following:Website: https//sastovallauthor.com
Twitter: https//twitter.com/GameOverStation/
Facebook: https//www.facebook.com/SAStovall/
Email: s.adelle.s@gmail.com

Interview with an Author: Deck Matthews

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I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to join Beth from Beforewegoblog in interviewing fantasy author Deck Matthews.

First off, tell us a little bit about the Riven Realm series. 

The Riven Realm is an epic fantasy story told through a series of novellas. It’s a bit of a different approach to fantasy, a genre known for its massive, doorstop tomes—like the A Song of Ice and Fire books or basically anything by Tad Williams. I enjoy the big books and eventually hope to write a few myself, but the idea behind The Riven Realm books was to write in shorter, episodic installments.

My reasons for this are two-fold. First, I only write part-time. My full-time gig is working as a front-end web developer. Between that and my responsibilities as a husband and father, my time is finite. Working in smaller installments has allowed me to release at a more rapid rate (though still not as along as I’d like).

Secondly, as a reader I sometimes like a break from all the huge fantasy novels. My hope is that readers will be able to relax with a quick and entertaining read—sort of like streaming a quick episode of your favourite TV show instead of sitting down for a Lord of the Rings marathon!

I loved the way magic works in your books. How did your version come to exist, and did it change at all from its conception to the final draft? 

Thanks! The magic of Varkas started in the very first scene of my very first draft, in which I referred to a “Flameborn Prince.” Even as I wrote the words, I knew that this was the seed of the world’s magic system. The next chapter of that draft featured a young man who was “joined” to a raven, which was the beginning of what became melding magic.

I tend to be pretty organic with my initial drafting, so I just kind of let the magic evolve through the initial framework of the story. It was only later that I went back and started to codify the system, parsing the magic into six distinct forms and setting out the rules for each.

There’s still a lot to discover, too, and more about the magic will be revealed over time.
Were there any books or authors that inspired you to start writing? 

Absolutely. I started writing my very first fantasy novel shortly after first reading David Eddings’ series The Belgariad and The Mallorean. That novel was actually a co-authored effort with a friend, who was highly influenced by Terry Brooks’ Shannara books, so I picked those up next. In retrospect, Brooks ended up having an even greater influence on me as a writer!

What drew you to fantasy (either reading or writing it)? Do you have a favorite book? What do you love about it? 

That’s a great question. For me, I think the answer comes in several parts. Even as a very young kid, I tended to be drawn more toward the fantastic. My favourite toys and cartoon were Masters of the Universe, which has its roots in Sword & Sorcery and obvious influences from stories like Conan (though reworked for children, of course). There was just something about the sword-wielding hero that always appealed to me as a kid, and it’s stuck with me.

Beyond that, there’s a sense of escapism, a sort of juxtaposition against the rigours of our postmodern, hyper-connected and technology-saturated world that can be highly appealing to me.

Outside of the reading that I did while working on my literature degrees during the early 2000’s, I’d say that 85-90% of what I’ve read for leisure has been fantasy or science fiction. Even with science fiction, I tend to prefer universes like Star Wars, which are basically just space fantasy!

All of your characters are unique and stand out. Which character of yours was your favorite to write? Was any character harder to develop or write about?

I’m pretty much obliged to say that I like writing all my characters, aren’t I? I love them all in their own way. That being said, I do tend to find myself really enjoying the scenes written from the perspective of Palawen Ty. Despite her quiet personality, she does tend to be a bit rash and impulsive, which has led to some pretty fun action sequences!

Probably the most challenging character to write is Tiberius. Due to his blindness, I’m writing his perspective based on non-visual stimuli. He spends a fair bit of time in contemplation and conversation, which is relatively straightforward, but the few action sequences in which he finds himself presented a unique challenge.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? 

Hands down, the best money I ever spent was my purchase of Scrivener. It’s been a hugely beneficial application that has really helped refine my overall workflow.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

That’s a really interesting question, and I’m not sure that my answer will be the sort of thing that anyone might expect.

I used to dream in French.

I’m Canadian, and we have two official languages here—English and French. When I started school, my parents enrolled me in the French Immersion program, which saw me fully immersed in French during my school day. All my classwork and homework was in French, so I’d often spend six to eight hours a day reading, writing and/or conversing in French. It became such a part of me that it would occasionally become the language of my dreams.

I don’t use French nearly as much anymore, and I haven’t dreamed in that language since I was a kid, but the experience has remained with me. For me, it’s a remarkable example of just how tightly language is bound up in our consciousness!

What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult) 

I’ve worked on a range of different characters. In The Riven Realm, my primary characters are a range of different ages. Caleb and Palawen are both young adults, while Carvesh, Avendor, and Shade are all in their 30’s. Tiberius’ is 62.

Later this year, I’ll be releasing a new novel I wrote for my daughters. It’s titled The Portal of Tears: Beyond the Shimmering, and tells the story of thirteen-year-old Trisha Banymor.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? 

For sure. My larger vision for Varkas as a whole is to build it as a broader fictional world, almost like Dragonlance or Star Wars. The events of The Riven Realm are only one of the stories I plan to tell. I plan to build connections between these stories. At the moment, astute readers find small connections between the novellas and the current short stories. More connections will develop over time, too.

Finally, if you had a dinner party and could invite three people, alive, dead or fictional, who would they be?

The grandparents I’ve lost—my paternal grandfather and both grandmothers—in full health. I lost both paternal grandparents before I published my books, and my maternal grandmother’s health was already failing. I’d love to be able to talk with them more about it.

But more than anything, I’d just want one more chance to say “I love you.”

Amazon.com: The First of Shadows (The Riven Realm Book 1) eBook ...

Impostures by Al-Hariri (translated by Michael Cooperson)

Impostures (Library of Arabic Literature Book 65) - Kindle edition ...

Fifty rogue’s tales translated fifty ways

An itinerant con man. A gullible eyewitness narrator. Voices spanning continents and centuries. These elements come together in Impostures, a groundbreaking new translation of a celebrated work of Arabic literature.

 Impostures follows the roguish Abū Zayd al-Sarūjī in his adventures around the medieval Middle East—we encounter him impersonating a preacher, pretending to be blind, and lying to a judge. In every escapade he shows himself to be a brilliant and persuasive wordsmith, composing poetry, palindromes, and riddles on the spot. Award-winning translator Michael Cooperson transforms Arabic wordplay into English wordplay of his own, using fifty different registers of English, from the distinctive literary styles of authors such as Geoffrey Chaucer, Mark Twain, and Virginia Woolf, to global varieties of English including Cockney rhyming slang, Nigerian English, and Singaporean English.

Featuring picaresque adventures and linguistic acrobatics, Impostures brings the spirit of this masterpiece of Arabic literature into English in a dazzling display of translation. (taken from Amazon)

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This is available for purchase now.

When I read the description of Impostures, I immediately thought of a comedic play and I think that colored my expectations a little. It was far from what I expected, and I feel very lucky to have read this enthralling book.

One of the fascinating things about this book is the number of styles translator Michael Cooperson uses: from Shakespeare to Twain, and everything in between. It was so very cool! I don’t know anything about the original text, aside from what is spoken of in the introduction, so I don’t know how closely Cooperson stuck to the original, but I could tell he put a lot of effort into keeping the spirit of it, so to speak.

It did take me a while to get through this book. It’s what I call a “smart read,” meaning it was difficult for me to focus on it during the noisy parts of my day (I have a toddler tornado). Much of what made this an intriguing read was the brilliant way language was used throughout.

Readers who like the feel of language as much as the dialogue in a story will like this book. There’s something about it that feels very special. I’m struggling to put what I mean into words, but it’s more than just a collection of stories. It’s incredibly unique and I wish I could have read this with other (smarter-than-me) people, just to have the opportunity to discuss its nuances.

This is one of those books that I’m glad I read, but will probably not read again. Some books are like that. I fully enjoyed it,  and recommend it to anyone who likes to stretch their reading muscles and try something different.

Giveaway!

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Hi, everybody! I think we can all agree that 2020 has not been our friend. In fact, it’s been a load of awful. However, I recently achieved an unexpected and amazing milestone. It made my day (week, month) and I’d love to spread a little of that happiness to other people. This is my long-winded way of saying I’m doing a giveaway. I’ll be giving away four $25 Amazon gift cards next Friday.

As much as I love interacting with people on Twitter, it’s all the wonderful people who talk about books with me that I really want to show extra appreciation for. That’s you all! So, you don’t need to share this on Twitter, or do a tap dance (although that would be awesome), or anything like that. To enter, just comment below and tell me what book you’d use it on. I mean, unless you plan on using it on a toaster or something. Totally your prerogative. I just need a comment below so I know to enter your name into the giveaway. I’ll draw randomly, and let you know if you win- so check back next week!

Thank you all for making 2020 booktastic (yep, I’m making up words now)!