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Not Only Dragons

Since the late 2015 publication of my first novel, Malevir: Dragons Return, my readers assume I write only fantasy fiction. They are correct in part. That novel is long, brimming with dragons, magical creatures, hard-slogging medieval-ish peasantry, and a nasty if changeable villain. In the recently completed first draft of its sequel, Where Dragons Follow, I’ve narrowed the field of characters and focused on a very few dragons. The old villain returns, albeit immaterial, to wreak havoc.

I said the reader would be correct ‘in part,’ because I am also the published author of many short stories, in After Hours (print), bewilderingstories.com, http://www.horrorseek.com/home/horror/darkfire/ficarch.html, http://www.fictitiousthejournal.org/, and the Fall Fantasy Anthology out of Cloaked Press in Autumn, 2017.

Inspired in different ways by writers Karen Russell and Mavis Gallant, I have crafted stories that explore death, obsession, and twists of fate. Russell’s work encourages me to dive into surrealism. Gallant’s stories insist on penetrating character studies sculpted with an elegant pen.

The Malevir series will finish with a third volume. It will reveal the true nature of its mysterious and sad, vengeful villain. Stay tuned.

Aurykk portrait (2016_05_22 17_23_45 UTC)

Review: Conversation in Sicily by Elio Vittorini

“What is a man?” Vittorini asks. Downright depressed and unhappy with his life and work in a northern Italian megalopolis seems to be the answer as the narrative begins. The narrator’s impromptu return to his native Sicilian hamlet, 15 years after his departure, begins a series of conversations with sharply defined characters he meets along the way and in his home town. Each successive interaction with people as varied as fellow travelers on a train heading south, his mother, or the ghost of his brother, forces the narrator (in an end note Vittorini asserts the book is not autobiographical) to deal with his anomie and face his demons.

Review-The Last Days of Magic

Mark Tompkins as crafted a dynamic exploration of the latter days of magical energy in Eire. Although Tompkins introduces many characters with unfamiliar names, Celtic and otherwise, they remain vivid, psychologically compelling, and essential to the narrative. His list of magical creatures is long. I’d like to know if Tompkins invented their attributes, perhaps based on myths and legends.
The clever prologue and epilogue pull the reader into the narrative and leave her hoping for other tales, especially about his contemporary character, Sara Hill. We assume Sara’s magical heritage will inform her life in interesting ways.
The novel is definitely adult fantasy. Graphic sex and violence, lots of chopping, piercing, and disemboweling make this less of an appropriate choice for kids under 14. I’m well past that young age, yet those descriptive passages are sometimes hard to stomach, as it were.

But the fourteenth century in the British Isles and France was violent and fraught with conflict. So totally unlike our own (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

 

Fantasy Genre Tropes Galore!

A mild satire inspired by Pulver and Burke’s list of fantasy novel tropes and clichés

“And just what qualifies you?” the Priest of the Pram gods asked.

“We’re short, for one thing,” the half-meter tall, dumpling-shaped man replied.

“Not so little. I’ve seen smaller.”

“Small enough to be called Little People and we come from a land that’s like medieval England.”

“Could help. What else you got?”

“We have about five wins against a few corrupt wizards and…”

“Just five?”

“And an evil tyrant in an extremely difficult to reach kingdom, beyond the Pramidian Ocean and past the range of Dire Woe Mountains.”

“So?”

“Who just happened to be my father.”

“You battled your own father?”

“Not exactly. He died just as we stormed his castle’s keep.”

“Stormed?”

“Well, snuck into.”

“You and who else?”

“My twin—I met her for the first time in the village nestled beneath the castle walls.”

“Nestled beneath?”

“That’s how we talk.”

“Anyone else?”

“A knight on his last quest for the perfect…”

Impatient, the Priest of Pram interrupted again. “Your adventures lack a certain something.”

“Oh, sorry, wait. I nearly forgot her (how could I do that?): Shana of the East, the clever former royal servant who stole the throne of Mordred II of the Wolds and Bournes, a misguided sorcerer if there ever was one, who died from his own poison brew. She led us.”

“Why didn’t you say that in the first place?” The Priest of Pram nodded to his acolytes gathered around him and the little dumpling spokesperson. “You are most suitable. Five lattes, one sugar, two no foam no sugar, two caramel syrup. Got that?”

“On it, Boss. I can call you, ‘Boss?’”

The Priest of Pram winked and dismissed the band of merry little ones with a wave of his hand.