Article

8 Noteworthy Resources for Fantasy Authors – Creating a World

Whether fantasy authors use worlds resembling the real one or far removed from reality, the world must be understandable and relatable to the reader. The resources below can help them create a great world and fill it with interesting characters.

Creating Realistic Fantasy Races and Creatures 

The Difference Between Good Worldbuilding and Great Worldbuiding 

World Building Brainstorming Topics & Questions

Guide to Writing Fantasy Settings: Finding the Right “Ethos” for Your Setting

Developing Fantasy Cultures

Five Dualities That Can Replace Good and Evil

Character Development Checklist – Medieval and Fantasy 

Building a Fantasy Army: Leaders

Book Reviews

The Kurtherian Gambit Part 2; Michael Anderle – Review

We Will Build (The Kurtherian Gambit Book 8) starts the next story arc in the Kurtherian Gambit series. Bethany Anne and her cohorts have successfully subdued the various factions of vampires and werewolves throughout the world and begin preparing their next line of defense for the anticipated alien attack: a base on the moon.

In It’s Hell to Choose, our friends find themselves under attack from governments, corporate cabals and miscellaneous criminals, all of which want control over TQB Enterprise technology. Bethany Anne continues to build her personnel base on earth and in space. But when the attacks literally hit too close to home, she decides to Release the Dogs of War. Among the battles, a new clan of weres shows up, and it is unclear if they are friend or foe.

In Sued for Peace, the Chinese discover why it’s a BAD idea to attack Bethany Anne or anyone under her care. The alien Yollin learn that lesson as well in We Have Contact. Still more conflicts – mostly from humans – occur in My Ride’s a Bitch, until Bethany Anne finally has enough and retaliates a final time in Don’t Cross This Line.

The action, interesting characters, relationships and dialog from the previous books continue in these volumes. Engineering and computer tech receive more attention, as does alien technology, but this doesn’t overwhelm the story or the people pulling everything together. Most of the typos and font changes from earlier books have thankfully been cleared up. After this many volumes, a character list would be of great help – people show up, sometimes without explanation, and it is hard to remember if they were in earlier books or not. The only complaint I have is that life in space has become too blasé, too routine, too quickly. Even the characters have commented on this! Regardless, I am still enjoying the series, and can’t wait to continue the adventure.

Note: As stated before, these are NOT stand-alone books, just convenient, novel-size chunks of a large story. People come and go and the dialog frequently refers to past events. To fully appreciate the story, you need to start with Death Becomes Her and proceed from there.

Note 2: At the end of We Will Build, Anderle gives several other indie authors the chance to introduce themselves and their work to his readers. Great info, and even more books to explore! He also includes excerpts, review notes and small blog notes throughout the collection, which are wonderful insights into his life as a writer.

Note 3: Anderle and other writers have begun writing short stories and novels set in this universe. These are offshoots and sequels, some of which introduce or explore characters that show up in the main series. They are well worth reading; keep an eye out for their reviews in the future!

You can find out more about Anderle on his webpage and on Facebook .

You can purchase his books through these affiliate links:

We Will Build (The Kurtherian Gambit Book 8) 
It’s Hell to Choose (The Kurtherian Gambit Book 9)
Release the Dogs of War (The Kurtherian Gambit Book 10)
Sued for Peace (The Kurtherian Gambit Book 11)
We Have Contact (The Kurtherian Gambit Book 12)
My Ride is a Bitch (The Kurtherian Gambit Book 13)
Don’t Cross This Line (The Kurtherian Gambit Book 14)
The Entire 14-Book Series!!

Book Reviews

The Kurtherian Gambit Part 1, Michael Anderle: Review

I discovered this series when a post for Death Becomes Her showed up in my Facebook feed. Since all the books were on Kindle Unlimited, I took a chance and started reading. And kept reading. The first story arc includes Death Becomes Her, Queen Bitch, Love Lost, Bite This, Never Forsaken, Under My Heel and Kneel or Die.

Death Becomes Her introduces Bethany Anne Reynolds, an operative in a black agency who takes grief from no one, her father General Lance Reynolds, and a variety of individuals both human and … not. Bethany Anne’s world is thrown for a loop when she finds she has only six months to live. General Reynold’s world is thrown out of whack when the world’s chief vampire calls in a debt of honor, which can only be paid with Bethany Anne’s life. Both Bethany Anne and her father step up to these challenges and their lives take even weirder turns as the book progresses.

In Queen Bitch, Bethany Anne learns more about her new abilities and begins to define her new role as vampire queen. She works with and gains the devotion of a team fighting against evil, both human and non-human.

Love Lost, Bite This, Never Forsaken, Under My Heel and Kneel or Die continue Bethany Anne’s quest to enhance her team and develop her own spy network, navy, scientific and financial empires. Her ultimate goal is to not only to protect the weak and helpless, but the entire world. Before reaching that goal, however, she has to deal with misbehaving vampires in Central and South America, unruly weres in Europe, a potentially evil AI and locate a base large enough for all the people she is acquiring.

When I saw that this series has a projected total of 21 volumes, I was extremely skeptical. Most series peter out after 3 or 4 volumes, and later ones are seldom the same quality as the first few. However, I can now see how this series can hold its own for the projected run. Anderle has set up a situation – and the characters to deal with it – that can easily fill these volumes. He has combined urban fantasy, military fiction and science fiction into an intriguing story with great potential.

I love these books. Bethany Anne is a kick-ass lady with a strong sense of honor and desire to help others. She is a natural leader who easily recruits others to her cause. And what a wonderful collection of characters they are! The action includes a lot of fighting, swearing and general mayhem, yet retains a focus on why the fighting occurs. (And since Bethany Anne dislikes uninspired swearing, the profanities are hilariously creative.) Anderle’s gift for “show, don’t tell,” great dialog and interesting characters and relationships makes the books a joy to read. The only negatives that have jumped out at me are some spelling errors and frequent changes between regular and bold fonts. While this is helpful when Bethany Anne is communicating with her resident alien, it is distracting and annoying at other times. Despite these flaws, I highly recommend this series for anyone looking for fun, engaging and addictive reads.

Note: These are NOT stand-alone books. They are convenient, novel-size chunks of a large, glorious story. People come and go and the dialog frequently refers to past events. To fully appreciate the story, you need to start with Death Becomes Her and proceed from there.

You can find out more about Anderle on his webpage and on Facebook.

You can purchase his books through these affiliate links:

Death Becomes Her (The Kurthurian Gambit Book 1)

Queen Bitch (The Kurthurian Gambit Book 2)

Love Lost (The Kurthurian Gambit Book 3)

Bite This (The Kurthurian Gambit Book 4)

Never Forsaken (The Kurthurian Gambit Book 5)

Under My Heel (The Kurthurian Gambit Book 6)

Kneel or Die (The Kurthurian Gambit Book 7)

The Kurtherian Gambit Omnibus 01 – The Fans Version: Death Becomes Her – Queen Bitch – Love Lost

 

 

 

 

Book Reviews

Christmas Bear Brothers Complete Box Set, Harmony Raines: Review

A crucial indicator of my really liking a book is that I want to read more by that author. A few weeks ago, I reviewed Return to Bear Bluff by Harmony Raines, which did not compel me to read more of her work. However, I came across her Santa Paws in another collection and immediately looked up the other two books in the series: Christmas Catastrophe and Bear Humbug! These three books make up the Christmas Bear Brothers set and they are delightful.

Each book starts exactly the same – a scene with Dermot, Damon and Declan discussing their plans for another Christmas on duty as paramedic, firefighter and sheriff, respectively. Their lack of mates and cubs threaten to dampen any cheer associated with the holiday. Then each book follows one brother as he finds his true mate and overcomes various obstacles to finally enjoy Christmas together.

The brothers and their mates are interesting characters, and the predicaments they find themselves – and each other – in are fun and entertaining. I greatly enjoyed reading these Christmas stories and am now looking forward to discovering more gems by Harmony Raines.

You can find more about Harmony Raines and sign up for her newsletter at her website  or follow her on Facebook

Affiliate links coming up!

Each book can be purchased separately or all three in the box set.

Santa Paws

Christmas Catastrophe

Bear Humbug!

Box Set

Article

10 Noteworthy Lists for Authors

To create quality work, authors need quality resources. Below are 10 lists that will help them in this quest.

A Writer’s List of Mythological Creatures and Beings

Supernatural Collective Nouns

23 Literary Collective Nouns

Collective Nouns

Collective Nouns for Animal Groups

Collective Nouns for Animal Groups (2)

Animal Adjectives

Obscure Color Words

100 Jobs for Fantasy Characters (That Aren’t Knight or Peasant)  

Royal Hierarchy (European/Medieval)

I will be posting more lists in the future. If you don’t want to wait, you can find many similar items of interest on my Pinterest page. Just follow the link at the end of the post!

Book Reviews

The Mail Order Bride and the Chocolatier Book 4, Lucille Chisum: Review

Books 1-3 in this series introduced readers to husbands Dominic, Luigi and Isidore and their wives, sisters Noreen, Doris and Ellen. This book continues their story as they scheme and contrive to match Fire Chief Eugene with a love of his own, their friend Ruth.

The characters in this series are great fun and a joy to read about. Of course, happy endings are great – and the desserts mentioned all sound delightful! My only issue with the book is that while it is supposedly set in San Francisco during the 1800s, it doesn’t convey a strong sense of that time period. Scattered throughout the book are mentions of a mail run to Ohio, travel by stagecoach, a plank road for the stagecoach, other roads “muddy and pitted from the horses and wagons,” buckets and cisterns of water for fire control, and Eugene tipping his hat to Ruth. That’s about it. While the women “know how long it will take to get everything ready” for different events there are no clues about how long that actually is, nor the difficulties they might face. Cooking in the 1800s was not easy, yet the women in the book don’t seem to have any problems. Except for Eugene’s hat and Ruth’s wedding dress, there are very few descriptions of garments worn by any character. A brief mention, especially of the women’s clothing, would have helped set the time period more firmly. While Noreen “can’t visit often,” she still manages to make a regular morning gossip session before she goes “off to the bake shop on the other end of town.” Slightly contradictory; plus, how does she get there – walk, ride, take a cab? No clue is given, nor how long it takes. Finally, the dialog reads much more contemporary than I expected. The phrases “spill the beans,” “becomes a lost cause,” and “sensing that something fishy might be going on” just didn’t strike me as correct for that time period. I would have preferred a stronger sense of the 1800s in the tale; otherwise this was a very enjoyable book.

Affiliate links below.

The Mail Order Bride and the Chocolatier Book 4 can be found in Christmas Miracles: Mega Mail Order Bride 20-Book Box Set

Book Reviews

Trust, Doubt, and a New Beginning, Indiana Wake: Review

Another mail order bride book this week, one by Indiana Wake. A murder takes place in Philadelphia and the victim’s two daughters are missing – are they victims as well, or the killers? Sheriff Phil Wallace aims to find out. Lenox Samson, a saloon keeper in Memphis, recruits a group of mail order brides for the men in town. Candy says she is looking for a better husband than the one her father selected for her back home, but is she a true bride, or one of the missing daughters and possibly a murderer? Dustin thinks he’s found the perfect match in Candy, but when he learns of the murder and doubts set in, will true love conquer all?

Confused? The first few chapters left me that way. While the basic story line and characters are interesting, the point of view changes at the start are bewildering. Sheriff Phil investigates the murder in the prologue, but is never mentioned again. Lenox presents the various women and some of the townsmen in chapter 1, but while she appears on and off again in the book, only this chapter is from her point of view. Candy and Dustin meet in chapter 1, but their points of view don’t take over until chapter 2. Having a different point of view in the prologue is understandable, but the change from Lenox to Candy and Dustin felt awkward. I didn’t like having to wait until chapter 2 to figure out who the main characters of the book were. I am guessing that since this is the first book in a series the author is setting up the series. Perhaps the subsequent books will make more sense. I do want to find out if the daughters are in the group, so I plan on reading more in the series!

Affiliate links below. (When you click through and buy anything at Amazon – not necessarily a book, I get a small commission at no cost to you. See the sidebar for the full disclosure statement.)

Trust, Doubt, and a New Beginning (Mail Order Brides on the Run Book 1) is part of two sets on Amazon. The first is a two-volume set here , and the Christmas Miracles: Mega Mail Order Bride 20-Book Box Set.

You can find more about Indiana Wake and receive 2 free mail order bride romances by joining her newsletter.