Fantasy I’m Excited For

DARK IMMOLATION, by Christopher Husberg

Let me preface this by saying I was fortunate enough to beta read for Dark Immolation, which means the following opinions are preexisting.

An amnesiac assassin, a child vampire, broken religion, and a drug-based magic system: what’s not to be excited about? Dark Immolation picks up several months after the events of Duskfall. Winter fears her friends and husband dead; Knot, Cinzia, Jane, and Astrid fear winter dead. The Cantic religion is in flux; Knot is being consistently overwhelmed by multiple personalities; Astrid is keeping secrets about her true motivations; and mad gods are pulling strings.

Dark Immolation is one hell of a sequel, one of the most interesting I’ve read in a while. Plenty of contemporary fantasy (Duskfall included) favor a breakneck pace, and while that’s fine I tend to personally favor stories a bit slower, which is why Dark Immolation really worked for me. I felt like I got to know the characters and the world more, and the story progressed at a more even pace while retaining the intrigue, magic, and mystery established in Duskfall.

**Let me also so that in addition to being a fantastic storyteller Chris is an equally talented teacher of the genre, possessing an MFA in creative writing. Any time I’ve asked him questions I come away feeling like an unofficial mentee.

8.5/10—Highly recommended

Comparable title: Mistborn: The Well of Ascension


AN ECHO OF THINGS TO COME, by James Islington

I manage a bookstore; I think it’s one of the coolest jobs. I mean, who wouldn’t love to work with books every day? I’m always looking for something new to read, so when The Shadow of What Was Lost came into the store I was immediately enthralled by the cover. Then I read the description and the reviews on the back…

For the first time since I discovered Brandon Sanderson, my immediate reaction was “Holy shit—I NEED to read this.”

And I was not let down. Davian, Asha, Wirr, and Caeden are all interesting characters in their own rights; each has a believable arc and I found myself sympathizing with their situations pretty easily. The magic systems utilized by the Augurs and the Gifted were complex and awesome, helping to put into perspective just how powerful some of these characters are and will become.

One of the coolest parts about The Shadow of What Was Lost was the way in which time travel was employed. Not everything is as it seems on the surface, which is important when it comes to such a tricky plot device, but Islington handles it deftly.

An Echo of Things to Come will be released August 22nd, 2017, which means I’ll just sit here impatiently in my corner until then.

9/10—Highly Recommended

Comparable title: The Eye of the World

Compelling Antagonists

Compelling characters make a story go. For a while now, I’ve written about and referenced Ursula Le Guin and “The War Against,” highlighting my desire to tell stories that focus on the evolution and make up of my characters as opposed to some war they have been fighting for ages. In my novel The Forger, my protagonist, Theailys An, is tasked with stopping a creature called the Darkener from releasing the Origin and ending the world.  Continue reading “Compelling Antagonists”

Writing and Paying it Forward

Paying it forward is something I believe in as a writer. As a writer, I think we are obligated to provide a helping hand to those who are starting out, or maybe someone who is looking for advice. I am by no means a professional writer, but I have worked hard to hone my craft. I have taken creative writing classes, read books on the art, and listened to seasoned professionals talk about their approach to writing, whether it’s character creation, world building, or even how they break their story up. Continue reading “Writing and Paying it Forward”

Book Signing: Christopher Husberg

Super excited to let everyone know my bookstore, the Flintridge Bookstore & Coffee House, is hosting a signing for fantasy novelist Christopher Husberg, author of Duskfall (Titan Books). Christopher had the privilege of studying under NY Times Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson (my personal favorite) at BYU.

From the back of the book:

Pulled from a frozen sea, pierced by arrows and close to death, Knot has no memory of who he was. But his dreams are dark, filled with violence and unknown faces. Winter, a tiellan woman whose people have long been oppressed by humans, is married to and abandoned by Knot on the same day. In her search for him, she will discover her control of magic, but risk losing herself utterly. And Cinzia, priestess and true believer, returns home to discover her family at the heart of a heretical rebellion. A rebellion that only the Inquisition can crush…

Their fates and those of others will intertwine, in a land where magic and daemons are believed dead, but dark forces still vie for power.

If you’re in the La Canada, CA area, do stop by! The signing starts at 7:00 p.m. at 1010 Foothill Boulevard, La Canada, CA 91011.

The Madness of Ending a Story

I like to call it a fever. Something that starts slowly and, by the end, has bloomed into a bout of full-fledged madness. This is what happens to me when it comes to ending a story and I’m at my deadline. I’m more or less pacing myself with The Walker and the Doe as I draw to its close, but I wanted to take some time to reflect on the night I finished the first draft of The Forger. Continue reading “The Madness of Ending a Story”

Harry Potter: Midnight Release & Thoughts

Harry Potter has had a profound effect on my life. It was my childhood. It was my favorite thing. When the final book came out, and then the final movies came out, I was sad. Just like that, the story was done. Sure, there was Pottermore, but it never really resonated with me. I wanted the prose; I wanted the stories.

Fast forward to July 30, 2016. I work at a bookstore. I’m helping set up for the release of the official eighth Harry Potter story. I feel like a child again; the magic has returned. The part starts at 10:00 pm; I’m counting down the seconds, dressed in my robe, with the store key in hand, waiting to let hundreds of eager Harry Potter fans, old and young, into the store to partake in a celebration of all things Harry Potter.  Continue reading “Harry Potter: Midnight Release & Thoughts”

Flash Fiction: Pustule Grumpleskunk—Sneezer

I have allergies. I’m on trial for them.

“Pustule Grumpleskunk, you stand before this council, charged with treason.”

Treason. Because I’m allergic to nearly every bloody scent this state exudes.

“I’m not trying to sneeze, your honor,” I say, twiddling my thumbs. “I swear on the nine layers of Death Hole, I’m not. I simply can’t help myself.” Continue reading “Flash Fiction: Pustule Grumpleskunk—Sneezer”