Thursday, 29 January 2015

Hello, friends!
Today I'm showcasing the latest release from Perseid Press - it's The IX, by Andrew P. Weston. Below you will find information about Andrew, and also a piece he wrote about how he came up with the idea for The IX. Below that, you will find my review of his novel, which I really enjoyed and can thoroughly recommend. Please try it yourself, and share with your friends!
Happy Reading!

                                   


Andrew's Author Bio:

Andrew P Weston is a military and police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.
A criminal law and astronomy graduate, he is a member of the British Science Fiction Association and British Fantasy Society, and is a contracted writer of both fiction and poetry for several publishing houses and a growing number of well established magazines. In his spare time, Andrew assists NASA on one of their research projects, and amazingly, still finds the time to submit regular educational articles for Amazing Stories and Astronaut.com.
When not writing, Andrew enjoys holding his breath, being told what to do by his wife, and drinking Earl Grey Tea whilst dressed as Captain Jean Luc Picard.
Make it so...

If you would like to find out more, visit his blog or website at:
Blog:
Website:


Now it's over to Andrew:

How I Came Up With The IX:
I undertook the writing of The IX following an animated discussion during a Royal Marines veterans reunion dinner in the early part of 2013. Military history has always been a hobby of mine, and several ex-colleagues started a debate as to the true fate of the legendary lost 9th Legion of Rome. Five thousand men marched into the mists of Northern Caledonia (Scotland) around AD100 – 120 and were never seen again.
That conversation stayed with me for several months until I happened to catch an old movie on TV, Millennium. In that film, time travelers visit the present day and steal passengers from doomed aircraft with the intention of repopulating a barren world of the future.
I am an avid science fiction buff, and the conversation from the reunion dinner immediately sprang to mind. Obviously, I began to imagine what if?
What if they were taken? Not into our future...but somewhere and somewhen else entirely. And what might it be like if their antagonists were also snatched away with them?
I started to let that though roll, and came up with a nice twist. Would it be a good idea to include other groups of refugees from varying time periods, and throw them together into a nightmare scenario where they had to face death all over again?
It took a great deal of research and preparation, but I was very pleased with the resulting outline, as it provided a fresh approach to an exciting genre.

And the rest–as they say–is history. :-)

Many thanks, Andrew, for giving us that insight into your work. Now here's my review of The IX:

There has been much debate about the fate of the Ninth Roman Legion (the IX) which disappeared from historical records around the year 108. In his excellent new novel, author Andrew Weston gives us his take on what befell the legionnaires and what use they made of their specialized knowledge in the time following their mysterious disappearance.

An entire civilized world faces destruction at the hands of a seemingly unstoppable enemy. An enemy that spends the lives of its forces so extravagantly there seems to be no intelligence behind it. To combat this ravening force the Ninth, along with Native Americans, ancient Caledonians, American civil war fighters and 21st century armaments experts are snatched from Earth and transported to this beleaguered world to help find the key to understanding and destroying the enemy.

As a premise it’s exciting enough, and the writing certainly doesn’t disappoint. There’s tension, confusion, action and suspense aplenty. Yet the strength of this novel, in my view, rests in the characters Weston has created. It’s impossible not to get involved with them; from the events prior to their being snatched from the familiar and dumped into chaos, to their struggles to understand, through to their determination to use what skills they possess to aid the strange civilization that “saved” them. The IX is a tour de force and Weston’s skills as a writer and plotter are plain for all to see. I’d definitely recommend this book for all lovers of great and exciting fiction, regardless of genre.


So what are you waiting for? Click on the links and go grab your copy of The IX!







Monday, 24 November 2014

The Challenge and The Circle Blog Tour



Hi Everyone!
I'm really excited because today is the start of my Lady Reader's Bookstuff Blog/Review tour for The Challenge and The Circle - the first and second books in my new trilogy, Circle of Conspiracy. They are also the fourth and fifth consecutive novels in my epic, heroic Artesans of Albia fantasy series! Keep watching the official Blog Tour site for THE CIRCLE COVER REVEAL on Friday 29th November!

Oh - and don't forget the Giveaway! There's a £25/$25 Amazon Giftcard to be won, plus ebook versions of ALL of my novels - including the BRAND NEW release, The Circle! See the widget below!

Here is the tour schedule:

November 24th – J E Haldeman/ Fenix Fire Designs – Guest Post/Playlist

November 24th – Inside Mikey's World – Character Interview

November 24th – Penny Writes – Review

November 25th – A Book and A Cup of Coffee – Review

November 25th – 4 Cover To Cover – Excerpt / Spotlight

November 26th – Pinky's Favorite Reads – Author Interview

November 26th – Deal Sharing Aunt – Review/Interview/Top Ten

November 28th – Donna K. Weaver – Review

November 28th – Dogs Moms Visits – Excerpt/Spotlight

December 1st – A_TiffyFit's Reading Corner – Review

December 1st – Jess Resides Here – Author Interview

December 2nd – Rooms with Books – Author Interview/Excerpt 

December 2nd – Penny Writes – Review

December 3rd – Paul Kater – Special Feature

December 3rd – The FlipSide of Julianne – Author Interview

December 4th – Journeys & Life by Oregonmike – Review / Top Ten

December 4th – Cabin Goddess – Special Feature

December 5th – Pixie Vixen Book Reviews – Guest Post




The Challenge Cover Copy:

Friend against friend, lover against lover, ally against ally. Conflict is coming …
Nine months have passed since Brynne Sullyan helped forge an alliance between the realms of Albia and Andaryon. A fragile peace reigns as both sides recover from the events of the previous year. Then mysterious raiders strike Andaryon villages. Attempts are made on the life of Albia’s High King.
As Sullyan scrambles to find those responsible, unseen enemies threaten to pull apart everything she has worked for, including her marriage.




The alliance begins to crumble, and Sullyan finds herself caught between two monarchs: the king she’s sworn allegiance to, and the man she loves as a father. To betray either one would break her heart, but if conflict is inevitable, she must make a choice ...


The story so far:



Trilogy One, Artesans of Albia Series Synopsis:

On a foolhardy foray into a foreign realm, Taran Elijah is attacked by a terrible weapon known as the Staff. Killing its wielder, he escapes into Albia, inadvertantly carrying the Staff. 

Concerned by the vicious raids that follow Taran's actions, Major Sullyan of the High King's forces crosses into Andaryon to seek diplomatic resolution to the crisis. She is captured and tortured by Lord Rykan, aspirant to the Andaryon throne. 

Slowly dying, Sullyan escapes his clutches. She offers her skills to the Hierarch in defense of his throne, finally confronting Rykan on the field of battle. Her handsome Captain and lover, Robin Tamsen, embarks on a desperate quest to recover the Staff. But Rykan's greedy General, Sonten, is two steps ahead of him. 

If Robin cannot lay hold of the weapon before Sonten does, Sullyan's life and the lives of all Artesans are forfeit.

The race for the Staff has begun.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Gates of Atlantis - Battle for Acropolis


Hi, Everyone! Today on Peacewrites we are celebrating the new MG fantasy/adventure series THE GATES OF ATLANTIS! This is a shared series, written by six awesome authors, each of whom have created characters that the others are free to use. Yet each novel concentrates on that author's specific characters, and each is a separate ATLANTIS adventure.

You will find author pics, bios, and the other five book covers below, but first I'm going to concentrate on just one of the books in this series, BATTLE FOR ACROPOLIS by my dear friend, fabulous writer, and talented book cover artist, MIKEY BROOKS.
 Below you will find my review of his book, and then an interview I was lucky enough to get with him. He gave some cool and insightful answers to my questions - check them out! After that, you will see the other book covers in THE GATES OF ATLANTIS series, plus pics of the authors and their bios. And finally, there's a REALLY cool giveaway to enter, so don't forget to scroll to the bottom!
OK, peeps ... here you go!

Cas Peace (short)  review of BATTLE FOR ACROPOLIS:
       BATTLE FOR ACROPOLIS is a fun and exciting read. The main characters are Talon, a thirteen-year-old lad with strange eyes, strange powers, and an even stranger destiny, and his foster sister Hattie, a girl with a most unusual lineage. The novel starts out like it's going to be a school drama, with Talon unintentionally burning down his school library. (Don't worry - there are no spoilers here!) However, it soon becomes clear that Talon has been singled out for something, by someone - only he has no idea for what or by whom. When Hattie decides to take drastic action in order to find the person depicted on a postcard she received, the two kids embark upon a journey that is exciting, frightening, character-forming, and magical. Talon in particular will have to grow up real fast in order to fulfill the destiny mapped out for him. The kids meet others in the shared world of Atlantis, and each has their own unique part to play in the city's future.
       I loved the feel and movement in this novel. I've read some of Mikey's previous MG novels and am a fan - particularly of his series The Dream Keeper Chronicles. He always seems to know how to reach into the minds of his young characters, maybe because he has young children himself, or maybe because he has never really grown up! Whichever it is, he has a gift and he uses it well. I wish his novels had been around when I was growing up; they would certainly have had pride of place on my bookshelf!
      I would definitely recommend BATTLE FOR ACROPOLIS, I'm sure it will be a best-seller. :-)



So now we come to the interview Mikey gave me. I really loved all his answers - see what you think!
Ok, Mikey, many thanks for agreeing to this interview. Here's your first question...
1) Can you tell us why you choose to write MG fantasy novels? What is it about this genre that draws you?
I believe I write it because this was the genre of book that first gave me my love of reading. I was a teen when I picked up the Oz series by L. Frank Baum and it opened a world to me that I never knew could exist. Books then became very important to me. When I got older I tried to read the more “grown up” books but very few grabbed me like middle-grade books do. Maybe it makes me feel young? What I like most is touching the hearts of the young readers who pick up my books. They are what make writing worth it.
2) Have you tried writing in any other genres?
I did when I was studying at the University for my degree. I actually won a couple awards and had some nonfiction published in literary magazines. I always come back to writing middle grade though. I just love the age group and the ideas of be in between places; the books that straddle the realistic and the fantastical.
3) What inspires you as far as plots go - where do you get your ideas from?
When the Atlantis authors set out on this adventure we had in mind a basic plot for the series. That being Atlantis is in trouble and the magical creatures that reside there need to fix it. We all spoke of magical creatures we’d like our characters to be. Once I decided on what Talon was (I won’t spoil it here) I then tried to think of the best way for him to discover it on his own. So I’d say for this project it was just a group of creative writers brainstorming. Most of my ideas come from children. If you listen to what they say without them knowing it can spark a wild fire of ideas.
4) What do you enjoy most about the writing process? Are there aspects you don’t like?
I like the world building. I like to explore places that no one else has been before. There is something magical about creating your own world. I also love doing the research. For the Gates of Atlantis I got to read old texts about the lost city and explore rumors about the Bermuda Triangle. It was all very fun to do. Aspects I don’t like…well I don’t care much for the editing part. Even with a degree in English I’m not too keen on grammar and punctuation.
5) Has writing changed you as a person, and if so, how?
My wife would say I live in my head more often than I used to. I am constantly thinking about what will happen next in my book. I do find myself wanting to be a better person after writing about all these characters that continually change for the better.
6) Which do you like best - your writing or your artwork?
Oh goodness. You might as well ask me which of my children I love more. There are days that I have to express myself in words, other times I have to do it with art. I guess what I like best is when I can bring them together.
7) If you weren’t a writer or an artist, and you could be anything, what would you be?
Can I be a superhero? If I could be anything I’d want special powers to help other people. If I could have any job in the world I’d want to run a children’s book store. No kidding! It has always been a dream of mine.
8) If Battle for Acropolis were to be made into a film, who would you choose to play Talon?
Oh man, what a question! Let’s bring on the film! Brace yourself Hollywood. The problem is the kids grow up too fast. I think Chandler Canterbury could pull Talon off. He is still young and has a hard edge look to him. He was in the film The Host.
9) What does your family think about what you do? Do any of your children show signs of being as talented as you?
I think my wife would like me living in the “real” world a little more often than I do. Other than that everyone is so supportive. The girlies love to tell people what daddy does. My oldest, Bean, wants to be an author/illustrator like her dad. I have noticed she has a talent for art. So does my second oldest, Buggy. I think they all will go far in whatever field they decide to flourish.
10) Have you, or would you ever consider naming a child after a novel or film character?
Ha! It is funny you should ask this question. I did not set out to name my children after character’s from my books but they do seem to find their way in. I don’t share publicly my children’s names but if you’ve read my books, you’d probably find them. For this book I swore to my wife I wouldn’t include one of our kids’ names in it…but…yes always the but, one of the other authors happened to name their main character my daughter’s name. So much for promises. 
11) What is next for author Mikey Brooks? Apart from seeing your books selling worldwide, where would you like your writing to take you?
As long as I can continue to write and share my stories with kids I will die a happy man. Do I dream of success? Of course I do. What author doesn’t want their books to be successful? However, success can come in many different forms. As long as kids are asking me to write, I have found success. Oh, and I dream about that movie deal, too. J

Thank you SO much, Mikey, for that great interview! Now, let's see the other book covers in THE GATES OF ATLANTIS series, and learn something about the other authors. After the bios, you will find a list of links where you can buy these fabulous books:


Laura Bastian grew up in a small town in central Utah                         
and now lives in another small town in northern Utah.
She always loved stargazing and imagining life outside her
own little world. Though they grew up only thirty miles apart,
she didn’t meet her husband until they went to college. A graduate
of Utah State University with a degree in Elementary and Special
Education, Laura has been using that training as she raises her
children and writes make believe worlds. You can usually find
her on her laptop either typing away, or on social media interacting
with friends.
Buy her books here:
www.amazon.com
www.barnesandnoble.com






Jaclyn Weist is an Idaho farm girl who grew up loving to read.          
She developed a love for writing as a senior in high school,
when her dad jokingly said she was the next Dr. Seuss
(not even close, but very sweet). She met her husband, Steve,
at BYU and they have six happy, crazy children that encourage
her writing. After owning a bookstore and running away to have
adventures in Australia, they settled back down in their home in
Utah. Jaclyn now spends her days herding her kids to various 
activities and trying to remember what she was supposed to do
next.
You can purchase Jaclyn's books here:
www.amazon.com
Find Jaclyn here:
http://jaclynweist.blogspot.com




Juli Caldwell                                                                                        
This is where I tell you about how amazing and
interesting my life is. Sorry to disappoint you with
my non-glamorous life, but I'm a normal person
who loves to read and loves to write. I've written
romance, YA paranormal, and mid-grade fantasy--
who knows what I'll try next? I just listen to the
voices in my head and let their stories out. I'm
married to my favorite person, and together we're
raising two hilarious daughters and a dog who
dances gangnam style for treats. La vie est belle!
You can find Juli's books here:
www.amazon.com
Find out more about Juli here:
twitter.com/ImJuliCaldwell
julicaldwell.blogspot.com


Wendy Knight is the bestselling author of                                         
the young adult series Fate on Fire and Riders
of Paradesos. She was born and raised in Utah
by a wonderful family who spoiled her rotten
because she was the baby. Now she spends her
time driving her husband crazy with her many
eccentricities (no water after five, terror when
faced with a live phone call, no touching the
knives…you get the idea). She also enjoys
chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis,
watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping
is also big—her family is slowly working toward
a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S.
You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi
nearby, wearing ridiculously high heels for
whatever the occasion. And if everything works
out just right, she will also be writing.
You can find all of Wendy's books here:
www.amazon.com
You can find more about Wendy here:
Blog:http://www.wendyknightauthor.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorWendyKnight
Twitter: https://twitter.com/wjk8099
Instagram: http://instagram.com/wendyjo99
Wattpad:http://wattpad.com/WendyKnight


JR Simmons lives in Northern Utah with his                                            
wife and 4 boys. He loves spending time with
his family and coaching his kids in all of their
different sports. He is an avid gamer and is very
excited that his boys are picking up on his hobby.
JR was recently introduced to triathlons and has
since found that he loves the sport. Most nights
he can be found either sitting down with a good
game or hunched over his iPad writing.
You can purchase his book here:
www.amazon.com
Find J.R. here:
twitter.com/jrsimmons_3
jrsimmons3.wordpress.com


                                            
           The Gates of Atlantis Links

Banshee at the Gate:
Paperback | Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks

Guardians of the Gates:

Secrets of the Mine:
Paperback | Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks

Magicians of the Deep:

Madness Behind the Throne:
Paperback | Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks

Battle for Acropolis:



Now we come to the extra-cool part - the GIVEAWAY!








a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 24 April 2014


Welcome to Peacewrites, everyone! From April 21 until May 2 2014 I am promoting the latest book in my Artesans series. The Challenge is the fourth Artesans book, and it is also the first book of the Circle of Conspiracy trilogy. 

Read on for the back cover copy, and don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY
 at the bottom of this post!

Friend against friend, lover against lover, ally against ally. Conflict is coming …

Nine months have passed since Brynne Sullyan helped forge an alliance between the realms of Albia and Andaryon. A fragile peace reigns as both sides recover from the events of the previous year. Then mysterious raiders strike Andaryon villages. Attempts are made on the life of Albia’s High King. As Sullyan scrambles to find those responsible, unseen enemies threaten to pull apart everything she has worked for, including her marriage.

The alliance begins to crumble, and Sullyan finds herself caught between two monarchs: the king she’s sworn allegiance to, and the man she loves as a father. To betray either one would break her heart, but if conflict is inevitable, she must make a choice …



Now read what acclaimed fantasy, sci-fi, and non-fiction author Janet Morris has to say about the Artesans of Albia series:

Cas Peace's Artesans of Albia trilogy immediately sweeps you away:  the drama starts with King's Envoy, continues unabated in King's Champion, and climaxes in King's Artesan, yet each volume is complete, satisfying.  The Artesan series  propels you into a world so deftly written that you see, feel, touch, and even smell each twist and turn. These nesting novels are evocative, hauntingly real.  Smart.  Powerful.  Compelling.  The trilogy teems with finely drawn characters, heroes and villains and societies worth knowing; with stories so organic and yet iconic you know you've found another home—in Albia.

Now there's a fourth book on Albia's horizon:  The Challenge, also Book One in Peace's forthcoming sub-series, the Circle of Conspiracy trilogy, proof of more Albian tales on the way.  So start reading now.  I, for one, can't wait to find out what will happen next.
Janet Morris: The Sacred Band of Stepsons; the Dream Dancer series; I, the Sun; Outpassage.

    
 


Here’s where to find all four Artesan books:
US Print:

US Kindle:

UK Print:

UK Kindle:

Now Enter The Challenge Giveaway to win some way cool Prizes! There will be one
 FIRST PRIZE WINNER, and TWO RUNNERS-UP!
Good Luck!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

WordPress users please copy and paste this link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f0acc33/

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

I'm very excited today to have author Janet Morris on my blog talking about the events in her life that enabled her to get inside the hearts and minds of her heroes. Janet and Chris Morris contributed the short story "Black Sword" to the Nine Heroes anthology recently published by Stencil Press. I was privileged to be copy-editor on this work and so I know how brilliant the collection is.
Read Janet's post and then follow the link below to get your copy of Nine Heroes!

In the anthology Nine Heroes, Chris Morris and I introduce our hero, Rhesos of Thrace, who was killed by Diomedes at Troy and resurrected by his mother, the Muse Kalliope.  When we meet Rhesos, he’s hazy about the circumstances surrounding his death and resurrection, but he knows what he is:  a hero of mythological proportions.  And so he begins a journey to reclaim his memories, his past, and revenge some wrongs done him.

To write heroic fiction, fantasy, or mythic tales, you must feel the hero in your blood, hear the call in your heart.  These were the moments that started me on the hero’s journey:

I was three years old, and female, playing with three or four older children, all boys, on our street.  The fattest, biggest boy punched me in the stomach, and he and his friends dragged me into a garage and locked me in a closet there.  I screamed until, somehow, my parent’s handyman heard and rescued me.  I can still remember those big black arms, enfolding me, picking me up, and my head against his shoulder, looking back at the horrified boys.  My parents questioned me, and did the rest.  I never knew what happened, beyond the fact that those four boys never troubled me again.

I was four years old, playing in a mud puddle, and the dalmation who lived down at the end of our street charged me and bit me.  The family story goes that I threw myself on his back and bit him in the neck.

I was six years old, in the first grade, and was made teacher’s helped because I could already read and write.  I was assigned to help a slow-witted boy learn how to write his name but instead of listening, he crumpled up his paper, grabbed the crayon from my hand, and ate it.  I called him “stupid” aloud, and I was then taken to the principal’s office for telling the truth.

I was nine years old, and had been saving for two years to buy a horse by writing book reports, for which I received 25 cents per report – if my mother approved each report as proving I had actually read the subject book.  When I had saved $175.00, we found a horse for me.  He ran away with me every day, whenever I turned his head back toward the barn.  I couldn’t tell my parents, or they would have taken him away from me.  Finally the old man who ran the barn, tired of seeing that horse run me into the barn at hell’s own page, told me:  “Swing your leg over, as if you want to dismount, honey.  He’s a cow horse.  He’ll stop.”  So I learned to face a danger no words can express, and to take even more dangerous action for a desired result.  I’d swing my right leg over, hanging on for dear life, and my horses would stop – every time.

I was ten years old, and my parents came to the barn and insisted that my fifty-pound, seven year old sister be allowed to ride my horse.  I knew what was going to happen, as soon as she turned the corner in the paddock that led toward the barn.  Sure enough, my horse Koko broke into a run, my sister bounced precariously, my mother screamed, and I stepped out in front of my horse, arms and legs spread wide.  He stopped; my sister wasn’t killed, and my father said I could still keep the horse, since I had warned them not to let her ride him and risked my life to save my sister.

At ten in the paddock with both my parents watching, I heard the hero’s call to duty on that day.  Later I would realize that among humankind is a caretaker class, who will do what is needed, despite the risk, and that I was among that class.  Then, I knew from all my reading of mythology books that I was indomitable, and from horse books that no horse would ever hurt me and that, to a horse, a girl is just as good, as brave, as strong as a boy, and so I found my way down that path through life, from challenge to challenge.  Even by that age, the heroic model from mythology was so much a part of me that never again, after that first awful day, would a gang of boys lock me in a closet so that I had to find another to rescue me.  I would be that other, the hero, not the victim – as often as I could manage it.


http://www.amazon.com/Nine-Heroes-Tales-Heroic-Fantasy-ebook/dp/B00IMPCYQ8/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395545221&sr=1-4&keywords=Walter+Rhein






Monday, 24 March 2014

Researching Forts and Castles for Fantasy Novels: A Post by R A McCandless in the Nine Heroes Anthology series

Ladies and Gentlemen, our first ever anthology Nine Heroes has been released and in celebration of that we are doing a series of posts called "That is the moment when". Each post deals with an experience or experiences that each author who contributed to the anthology has had that helped shape the way they write or tell stories.

This time around we have RA McCandless, who contributed the short story 'Through the Sting of Fairy Smoke' to the anthology.

Nine Heroes: That is the moment when . . .

It was November of 2013, at Fort Rinella on Malta.

That is the moment when I realized just how important, and how impressive, even small fortifications could be, and why I loved writing about them.  I’d been all over the island nation checking out the massive turrets, bastions, towers, walls and defenses of the Knights Hospitaller, and they were all fantastic.  It was research and inspiration in one for a heroic fantasy author.  You definitely understand that the men who held claim to Malta and dedicated to a life of piety, were trained and skilled in war and violence.

But the British-built Ford Rinella, constructed between 1878 and 1886 to house and defend an Armstrong 100-ton gun, is what really brought the concept of siege-craft into sharp focus.  This was brought to my full and complete attention when the tour guides, dressed in an era-appropriate red British uniform, led us along the approach, which bent sharply to the right just as we approached the counter-escarpment.  Twenty firing points line the defensive wall, part of a sheer drop into a dry moat about thirty feet deep.  Five of the firing points were manned, and additional reenactment volunteers began to mass-fire blanks in our general direction.  The noise of the commands to aim and fire, given in quick succession, followed by the booming report of weapons, gave me pause.

Considering the approach from an attacker’s point of view, you’d have to order men down that death shoot.  Without any kind of armor or shielding, it would take hard, fast running and a great deal of luck to avoid the massed fire coming from all twenty of the firing points when full manned.  This doesn’t take into account at all the assault required to breach the moat, pull open the solid siege door (which had its own firing point) and then attempt to storm into the fort proper . . . which had its own defenses.  I haven’t even mentioned the caponier with additional firing ports, defensive ditches and narrow choke points throughout the rest of the small fortress.

Reading about castles and towers and fortifications is one thing.  Even visiting them helps give a good sense of scale and perspective.  For an author this first hand knowledge is invaluable.  But actually seeing, even as a reenactment, soldiers moving into position with their weapons to repel an attack . . . that’s quite something.

Explaining attack or defense or even a soldier’s day-to-day life to an audience in the context of heroic, valiant or villainous even dastardly deeds is what made the experience so rewarding.  The thrill of fear in just the approach, the resolve of the defenders in their position of tenuous strength – it’s the very essence of any good story.  Objective and challenges, set-backs and triumphs are an author’s main stock in trade.  The goal, though, is to take the reader to a place that is so real that if they ever actually go there, it won’t be for the first time.

Nine Heroes is available in both paperback and kindle.