Spotlight: The Ventifact Colossus + Giveaway

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The Ventifact Colossus
by Dorian Hart
Series: The Heroes of Spira (#1)
Published: January 8, 2016
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 343 (Print Length)

CW: Prisoner abuse, Mild violence (sword fights)

Banished to an otherworldly prison for centuries, the monstrous Emperor Naradawk is about to break free and wreak havoc upon the world of Spira. The archmage Abernathy can no longer keep the monster at bay, and has summoned a collection of would-be heroes to help set things right.

Surely he made a mistake. These *can’t* be the right people.

Dranko is priest-turned-pickpocket, expelled from his church for his antics. Kibilhathur is a painfully shy craftsman who speaks to stones. Aravia is a wizard’s apprentice whose intellect is eclipsed only by her arrogance. Ernest is a terrified baker’s son. Morningstar is a priestess forbidden from daylight. Tor is a young nobleman with attention issues. Ysabel is an elderly farm woman. Grey Wolf is a hard-bitten mercenary.

None of them are qualified to save the world, but they’ll have to do. Even Abernathy himself seems uncertain as to why he chose them.

What starts with a simple scouting mission soon spirals into something more far-reaching and sinister. The heroes will contest with dream warriors, evil cultists, sentient gemstones, and a devious yet infuriatingly polite gentleman with a perfect mustache, on their way to a desperate encounter with the unstoppable: The Ventifact Colossus.

The Ventifact Colossus is Book One of the Heroes of Spira.

Goodreads / Amazon

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Author Info

dorian-hartDorian Hart is the author of the Heroes of Spira epic fantasy series, which currently includes The Ventifact Colossus, The Crosser’s Maze, and The Greatwood Portal. The fourth book, The Infinite Tower, should be out in February or March of 2021.

In a bygone century, Dorian graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in creative writing. This led circuitously to a 20-year career as a video game designer, where he contributed to many award-winning titles including Thief, System Shock, System Shock 2, and BioShock.

Now he writes books in his Boston-area study, serves as the stay-at-home dad for his two teenage daughters, and happily allows his wife to drag him off on various wilderness adventures. He also spends time torturing his piano, playing the sport of pickleball, losing at board games, making terrible dad jokes, and trembling beneath the shadow of his towering TBR.

Website / Twitter

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Prize: The Heroes of Spira Paperback Book Bundle by Dorian Hart – One (1) bundle of three (3) paperbacks – US & CA Only.
Starts: February 21st, 2021 at 12:00am EST Ends: February 28th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST

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Spotlight – The Pillar of Creation: Rising Shadows + Giveaway

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Rising Shadows
by Phillip Blackwater
Series: The Pillar of Creation (#1)
Published: August 14, 2019
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 404 (Print Length)

As tension rises between the southern and northern nations of the small continent of Exitium in the world of Anteris, the Elves turn to their eastern neighbors, the Humans, for help. They wish to learn the ways of combat, which they are not accustomed to, for they have always wielded a power far greater than forged steel. The Shards of Creation, mystical artifacts of great and virtually infinite power, have always been their prized weapon, but times have changed. They now face the same threat as the Humans: the southern nation known as the Ethula.

Wariel Ritch, general of the Human army, will take upon his shoulders this burden. But when a shadow of a past long forgotten threatens what little stability is left in the world, he will have to leave everything behind to stop it. Medregal Tergrast, an Ethulan king, dead for a thousand years, plans his return to the world of the living to gain back his former glory and finally fulfill his destiny by gaining control of the Shards of Creation. But is he really the threat people make him out to be?

In the meantime, in the bowels of the Human Kingdom, the reign of Dana Crystaloak is put into jeopardy when people around her start questioning her decisions. If she falls, war could break out across all lands.

 

Goodreads
Amazon

 

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Author Info:

I am a fan of fiction, mostly fantasy, sci-fi, and post-apocalyptic (amongst others), and in all its forms, whether it is books, video games, movies, or tv-shows.

The first time I truly realized how much I loved fiction, was through The Lord of the Rings’ movies (like probably a lot of people). Since then, I traveled to so many different worlds: Halo, Mass Effect, Warcraft, Elder Scrolls, Witcher, and Fallout (to only name a few). It made me want to explore my own imagination and see what worlds I could create. This is what led me to writing.

What can you expect from my books? I don’t bother myself trying to be a flowery writer. What I want when people read my books, is for them to have good time and some fun. This is what truly matters to me.

When I’m not writing, I am: A husband. A father of three cats. Reading, gaming, or watching movies and tv shows. A big hockey fan. And when I’m done with all of that, I’m a big geek and collect a lot of stuff (No, I’m not a hoarder, I swear!).

Website
Twitter

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Awakening + Author Interview

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A Gripping Modern Day Norse Mythology…

 

 

By Kevin D. Miller

Title: AWAKENING: BOOK ONE OF THE BERSERKER CHRONICLES
Author: Kevin D. Miller
Publisher: BiFrost Books
Pages: 336
Genre: High Fantasy / Epic Fantasy / Action and Adventure / Norse Fantasy / Viking Fantasy / Norse Gods and Goddesses

 

A megalomaniac god is pursuing a millennia-old vendetta, and Leif must learn to wrangle a newly awakened power to either become a hero or a villain. He will leave his old life and run from creatures he believed were reserved for myth and legend. He travels across the realms while struggling to tame the blinding rage that comes with his new demi-god like power. Will Leif survive the intra-realm quest and prevent Ragnarok or will he fail to control his awakening?

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3n7EAQ8

 

 

Prologue


Alexander never thought that he would live long enough
to enjoy quiet nights like this. He noted it was a particularly cold night as
he stepped onto his back porch. His breath sent out a little fog, and he
marveled at how peaceful winter could be in the Icelandic forest. The freshly
fallen snow sparkled as the Northern lights flashed through the night sky.
Alexander never grew tired of watching their fiery dance. He only wished his
wife, Helga, was still around to enjoy the peace and quiet. Sighing contentedly,
Alexander reached down, grabbed a bundle of firewood, and turned to head back
inside. Suddenly he froze. He felt it, a tingling he hadn’t felt in a long
time, danger. Scanning the surrounding forest, Alexander couldn’t see anything
out of place, but the feeling that something was out there, something that
didn’t belong, still pulled at him like the tide. Alexander stared into the
darkness for a few more moments, but the forest remained silent, unwilling to
give up its secrets. Alexander shrugged and went back into his house. For the
first time in years, he locked the door behind him.

As Alexander sat by the fire, the warmth failed to
chase away the feeling that someone or something was out there roaming his
forest. A familiar howl rang out from deep within the forest, pulling Alexander
out of his thoughts. A second later similar howls answered. Alexander could
identify each individual wolf by their howl; he had known this pack for years.
Settling back in his chair, he envisioned the wolves in full force. The howls
continued to ring across the forest. In all his years living in the forest,
Alexander had never heard so many wolves at once. They sounded agitated. They
must sense it too, he thought.

Alexander groaned as his knees popped and his old
bones protested the sudden movement of getting to his feet. It was as if his
body knew what he was planning to do and was voicing its discontent. It had
been decades since he had been in a fight, but it seemed he was being called
out one last time. Hell, Alexander thought, I may see Helga sooner than I
thought. Pulling on his thick wool parka, Alexander grabbed the double-bladed
ax he used to chop wood. The weight felt comfortable in his hands. The ax had
been his weapon of choice from the time he was strong enough to swing one. His
mother had pushed him to branch out and learn to use other weapons, but it
wasn’t meant to be. The ax was the weapon of his ancestors, and he honored them
by using it. The cold hit Alexander like a hammer, clearing his senses and
waking him up to the world around him. The Berserker had laid dormant inside of
him for decades now, but Alexander could feel the old battle lust stirring
within. The forest had gone too quiet, the howls of the wolf pack had died
down. Goosebumps speckled Alexander’s body as the tension in the air thickened.
Alexander knew why. A predator not of this realm stalked his forest.

Alexander silently crept through the forest. The snow
crunched lightly beneath his weight; his senses screamed at him to turn back,
but he ignored them and pressed on. It had been decades since he had felt the
thrill of a fight, and he relished the feeling.

A bird pierced the silent forest with a loud squawk.
He peered through the tangle of trees and branches; he could barely make out a
blotch of darkness that seemed to be darker than the surrounding forest. As he
moved closer, the air blew warm breaths on his face with each step. Alexander
was within ten feet of the odd black blotch when he noticed that the snow had
completely melted away. Steam rose from the freshly uncovered earth in a circle
around the object. Thick drops of water splashed down from the tree branches
above, puffing into steam upon hitting the forest floor.

Alexander continued to move slowly around the dark
object but didn’t see anyone or anything. Creeping ever closer, his feeling of
unease intensified. As Alexander stepped around the inky darkness, the heat had
him sweating through his clothes. He stopped dead in his tracks. His blood ran
cold. From the back, the round black object drank in all the available light,
but now that Alexander was in front of it, he could see it opened up to a world
of fire and lava. Alexander knew what he was looking at; he just couldn’t
figure out why it was here. The dark blob was a bridge to another realm.
However, it differed from any bridge he had used in his youth. This thing was
more like a rip in the fabric of reality. Whoever did this was immensely
powerful. Peering into the gateway, memories from a lifetime ago came flooding
back to him. Muspelheim, the realm of fire and lava. The home to an
unimaginable evil. It was a place he had hoped to never see again.

As if in answer to his thoughts, something rose out of
the molten river that lay beyond the bridge. Alexander’s stomach backflipped as
he recognized the creature that was steadily stalking towards the bridge. It’s
the beginning of the end, Alexander thought. Ragnarok is here.

As the being stepped through the bridge and into
Alexander’s world, the frigid forest air hissed and steamed in protest to the
fiery monster’s trespass into Midgard. Alexander stared up at the molten giant
and thought he looked even taller than he had appeared decades ago. Alexander
backed up, making sure he was out of range of the monster’s hulking sword. He knew
a fight was inevitable. Alexander closed his eyes and freed the dormant
Berserker, embracing the longforgotten thrill of the fight. Icy fire burned
along his veins as his muscles grew and strengthened. Alexander knew, even in
his enhanced state, that he was no match for the force of nature that stood
before him. He only hoped to fend the giant off long enough to create an
opening and run for help. Hopefully, with luck, he could lose the creature in
the forest.

Alexander opened his eyes, filling his old frame and
flooding his veins with the familiar icy burn of the Berserker. Any thoughts of
running vanished as a thin red haze of rage colored the edge of his vision.
Fear and doubt evaporated and was replaced with excited determination at the
chance to cross blades one last time with a worthy foe. Who gives a damn that
I’m well into my sixties? Alexander thought. “I am the last of an ancient and
powerful Berserker clan, bestowed with the power of Thor, chosen to defend
Midgard from invaders such as you. How dare you step into my realm, Surtr,”
Alexander growled. “You aren’t welcome here. I will say this one time; return
to Muspelheim or face my wrath.”

Surtr’s molten eyes studied Alexander. A voice
Alexander had hoped to never hear again thundered in the clearing. The fire
giant’s voice washed over Alexander like an oncoming forest fire.

“You arrogant and foolish Midgardian. Do you have any
idea who you are speaking too? Face your wrath? Don’t think I don’t remember
you. You are one of the few beings who was lucky enough to escape me the first
time we fought. You will not be so lucky this time. By Hel’s will, I have been
given a second chance to finish the fight you started many years ago.”

“You think I’m afraid of you, giant?” Alexander
boasted, “I have faced hundreds of enemies and killed them all. Last time we
faced, we were in your realm, but now,” Alexander gestured around. “You are far
from Muspelheim. I have the advantage here.”

Surtr laughed and pointed his massive sword at
Alexander. “You truly don’t know what I am, do you? I cannot be killed by the
likes of you.”

Surtr blurred, moving with a speed no normal human
could track. But luckily for Alexander, he wasn’t a normal human. This also
wasn’t his first fight. Alexander had been waiting for Surtr to make the first
move and was ready for him. Surtr’s burning blade slashed through the air mere
centimeters from Alexander’s face as he dodged out of range. A blast of
scalding air washed over Alexander as Surtr’s blade sliced through the air.
Alexander rushed forward, relishing the speed his Berserker state granted him.
Alexander hoped to throw Surtr off by attacking him head on. Slashing upward,
Alexander attempted to split open Surtr’s unarmored stomach. Before the ax hit,
Surtr lashed out, kicking Alexander square in the chest, causing him to fly
backward. He slammed into a tree trunk with a bone crunching crack. Alexander
felt the ancient pine sway back and forth from the impact. Snow rained down
from the branches above, pelting him in wet kisses. Alexander struggled to
catch his breath. Damn, that hurt. I can’t afford to take too many hits like
that, Alexander thought. Struggling to his feet, Alexander felt every cell in
his body struggle with the pain. He suspected a few of his ribs cracked, but nothing
felt permanently damaged or out of place.

Luckily, years of training had taught Alexander to
never let go of his weapon in a fight. Even in his old age, he still had the
wherewithal to keep hold of it. Alexander used his ax as a crutch and looked up
at Surtr. His enemy hadn’t even bothered to follow up his attack; he just stood
there studying Alexander.

“You’ve grown old, Berserker. You weren’t a match for
me decades ago. You certainly aren’t one now.”

Alexander eyed the giant, “Ha, I’m just warming up,
Surtr. Before long I’ll have you running back through that bridge, crying to
whoever sent you here,” Alexander boasted. However, deep down he knew he was
finished. That kick had hurt him more than he cared to admit. His back was
ablaze with pain and his legs felt like wet noodles. I must have damaged my
spine when I hit the tree, Alexander thought. “This fight will be over before I
get a chance to heal,” Alexander grumbled.

Alexander eyed the fiery giant and quietly thanked the
gods he had the foresight to leave a letter to his Berserker heir. He had
wished he could have had more time with his daughter and grandson. He’d wanted
to introduce them to the idea of realms, gods, and supernatural creatures
slowly, but as with all great plans, it fell apart. Alexander could only hope
they would find the journals.

There is no way this attack is random, Alexander
thought. A being such as Surtr doesn’t leave his realm unless provoked, and for
a bridge to open right in his backyard, linking Muspelheim to Midgard – it was
too much of a coincidence. The gods were moving against each other; he could
feel it.

Wincing in pain, Alexander steeled himself.

Whispering reverently, Alexander breathed into the icy
wind, “Odin, Allfather, my time on this mortal plain has come to an end. I, one
of Thor’s anointed, choose to die with an ax in hand, and can only hope to be
welcomed into the halls of Valhalla.” A raven cawed an answer to Alexander’s
prayer somewhere in the trees. Even though Surtr was far stronger than him,
Alexander couldn’t just roll over and die. That wasn’t the Berserker way.
Taking a deep breath, Alexander took a two-handed grip on his ax, feeling the smooth
grip of the handle form perfectly to his weathered and calloused hands. He
charged, bellowing a war cry. Surtr moved in as well, sensing the fight was
coming to an end. Surtr brought down his massive sword in an attempt to split
Alexander in two, but Alexander saw it coming and blocked the attack with his
ax. Sparks flew in all directions as the two blades met. Alexander’s ax blade
chipped and bent along the edge where it met Surtr’s sword, but that didn’t
faze Alexander.

Quick as lightning, Alexander swung for Surtr’s
outstretched forearm. Alexander thought he had scored a hit, but it merely
bounced off Surtr’s thick hide. Alexander, unwilling to relent, swung a
horizontal slash meant to take the giant in the knee, but Surtr’s burning blade
materialized and Alexander’s ax slammed edge first into the flat of Surtr’s
broadsword with a loud clang. The resulting tremor ran up Alexander’s hand and
arm, causing them to momentarily go numb. Dodging to the left, Alexander
averted a savage punch aimed for his head.

Alexander ducked and dodged Surtr’s onslaught. He
never gave up, always looking for an opening to attack. Spinning the ax between
attacks, Alexander continued to duck and dodge, waiting for the giant to make a
mistake. Alexander knew he couldn’t keep this up for much longer, but he
couldn’t waste his attack either.

Alexander backed away. Overconfident, Surtr grew
bolder with each attack and was swinging wildly. Just as he had hoped,
Alexander’s opportunity came as he ducked under a slash meant to take his head
off at the neck. Ducking under the smoldering blade, he stepped in as Surtr’s
blade slammed into an ancient pine tree. The force of Surtr’s blow nearly cut
the massive tree in half, but luckily for Alexander, the blade stopped
three-fourths of the way through.

It only took him a second, but that was all the time
Alexander needed. Alexander knew this was his only chance, and he swung with
all his might. His blade hit Surtr in the stomach. Sparks fluttered to life as
Alexander’s ax impacted Surtr’s hardened skin. A look of shock crept across
Surtr’s face; Alexander’s blade carved out a shallow cut. Surtr blurred,
attacking faster than Alexander thought possible. Not knowing where the attack
was coming from, Alexander flung himself backward, but it wasn’t fast enough.
Surtr’s blade buried itself deep into Alexander’s right shoulder.

Alexander crumbled, falling to his knees as Surtr
pulled the blade free in a spray of blood. Alexander’s vision blurred. Through
the pain, Alexander focused on a thin trickle of molten orange blood seeping
out of the cut chiseled into Surtr. Surtr followed Alexander’s gaze and looked
down. He dabbed lightly at the bleeding wound.

In his grave voice, Surtr intoned, “You are the first
to injure me in decades. Be proud as you go to your death.” He heaved the sword
above his head, “Give my regards to the Aesir. Their rule over the realms has
ended. Ragnarok begins.” Reverently, he brought his sword down for the killing
blow.

Alexander, broken and bleeding, moved on reflex,
brought up his ax in an overhead block, but it wasn’t enough. Knowing that his
time had finally come, Alexander hoped he had made his ancestors proud and that
his family would be ready for what was to come. The Berserker mantle that he
had held for so long would finally pass on.

A flutter of wings and a caw from the onlooking raven
were the only sounds in the silent forest as Alexander slumped back, dead.
Surtr took a long moment to stare down at his fallen foe before turning and
disappearing through the bridge.

 

 

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3n7EAQ8

 

 

 

 

Author Interview:

1. What inspired you to write this book? 

The idea for Awakening first came to me back in 2016. I was at home with my girlfriend, Amy. We had just decided to give the History channel’s show Viking’s a try and in the first scene, the main character Ragnar has a vision of Odin during a battle. That’s when the idea hit me, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a modern day Viking story where the Norse gods were real, I thought as the character Ragnar turned away from Odin and started fighting again. I have always had an interest in mythology, especially the Norse pantheon. After a few weeks of research, I felt I had learned enough to begin outlining the plot of my story. Then as I would commute to work I would expand on my ideas while in traffic, playing out different plot lines and stories in my head. Once I felt I had a good mental overview of where I wanted my story to go, I sat down during my lunch break at work and began writing Awakening

2. Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

How stressful the  publication process is. Luckily for me I had the help of a phenomenal editor that walked me through the publishing process, but even with her help, I was a mess of nerves during the final steps of the publishing process. The reason for my nerves was when I ordered my first proof for my book from a printing company, the book arrived missing the first fifteen pages. Which, from an outside observer might not seem so bad, it was just a proof, some may say. No one saw it so no worries. Which is true, but it also showed me that even with all the printing companies safeguards, mistakes can still happen. And in our modern world you really only get one chance to make a good first impression. To hook a potential reader for life and god forbid there was a printer error like that when my book went live, it could end me even before my writer career begins. So for those first few days after my book went live, I was a nervous wreck. I kept expecting to see a comment pop up on Amazon or receive a text from a friend saying there was something wrong with my book. Thankfully nothing went wrong and I can now move on to the next stage in an authors life, the nervousness of hoping people enjoy their story, ha ha.

3. How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

I personally did not find the actual writing of the book to be that hard. I very much enjoyed that part. There is a joy to building the world your book is set in. Then exploring it through writing. A tip I found useful was to pick a specific time each day to sit down and write. It helps you get into the habit of writing. Then after a week or two of following your routine, you will find that it gets easier and easier to switch your brain into creative mode.  Another tip is before you start your writing block, check your email, Instagram, Twitter and whatever social media feed you use one last time, then turn off your WiFi. That way there will be no push notifications to distract you or pull you out of the zone.  Hopefully with the WiFi disconnected, it will also discourage you from surfing the web. This one is definitely easier said than done and to this day I still slip up, but it is a good habit to get into.

4. What are your immediate future plans? 

I wish I could clone myself several times over so I could fully devote myself to the numerous stories I want to write. But alas, there is only one of me, so I have to shelve the many book ideas I have until I have completed The Berserker Chronicles. I recently finished my second draft of Ascension and am hopeful to have the book ready to be published around this time next year.

 5. What was your favorite part of writing this book?

That’s a tough one to answer, but if push comes to shove, I would have to say the world building aspect of writing my book. During Leif’s quest for vengeance he travels to several beautiful and strange realms in his universe and one of my favorite pastimes in the early stages of writing Awakening was to close my eyes and imagine I was Leif walking through the realms for the first time. Feeling the breeze from the Alfhiem forest on my face or the oppressive heat of the lava rivers on Muspelheim. I absolutely loved it. It made the realms more real to me and hopefully for my readers as well

Kevin D. Miller is an attorney in Southern California who spends his two hour commute listening to Science Fiction and Fantasy books on Audible or dreaming up plots for future book ideas. When he isn’t working, Kevin can be found spending time with his girlfriend Amy, and their two dogs Pepper and Riley or hiking and kayaking in Big Bear.

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