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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Universal Warrior Profile: Asarra

Image Courtesy of Dreamstime
Asarra, an Alpha Being, is one of the original sentient lives created by Amen, and is an original citizen of the paradise city of Avernus. She was entrusted with access to the Life Engine to assist in the population of the Third World. Her gift to her creations were an affinity for nature and long life. Alas, nothing lasts forever... even paradise.

The "Battle of Avernus" was a fight for the ages. Though Asarra fought with all she was in defense of the city she loved, it left her soured against violence and conflict. After the city fell, newly-appointed Universal Guardians Yin and Yang allowed her to remain. She, and a handful of other survivors from Avernus, banded together to build a new home. It was not simply for themselves, but for her offspring upon their passing or leaving the Third World. In memory of her first home, Asarra dubbed the land 'Alfeim', which loosely translated out to "Paradise Remembered".

One thousand years after the fall of Avernus, Asarra is revered and loved as a god. Her creations often refer to her as the Great Mother or Highborne and watches over a thousand lives in Alfeim.

She has been forbidden from intervening in the affairs of her creations. However when an opportunity presents itself, Asarra will find herself in a position to decide the fate of many...

Universal Warrior: The Ring of Asarra will be released November 3rd, 2014.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Scourge Arrive

Image of Courtesy of Shutterstock

It is not known why the Scourge chose Torduin as their first point of attack.

All that is known is that no one survived. The industrious dwarves whom constructed and resided in the mountain city were caught completely unaware.

Beings who rode massive winged beasts and breathed terrible fire, plague, and suffering killed at will. They struck dozens with each terrifying pass, laying homes and forges to ruin. When the smoke settled, more than two thousand lives had been ended that day.

These beings resembled Terrans, but were infinitely more powerful. Their commander was Nero, the bloodthirsty avatar of war. He was accompanied by Semira, Atrophos, and Sephtis, the avatars of famine, disease, and death. Together they carried out a brutal campaign that resulted in the complete annihilation of the Torduin dwarves.

The Scourge spread forth from Torduin and continued a campaign of genocide that pushed both Terran and Elf to the brink of humanity.

The Dwarven people are all but extinct.

It has been nearly one hundred and fifty years since the Scourge lay siege to Torduin. For reasons unknown, they halted their genocidal campaign but continue to rule Panagaea from the cursed land of Kandashar.

Though their rule has not gone unchallenged, nothing may last forever.

And no one can trifle with gods without consequence.

Universal Warrior: The Ring of Asarra, an epic fantasy novella, coming to your Kindle November 3, 2014.

Monday, October 20, 2014

An Era Of Peace Comes to An End (On Earth)

The death of Ra'kash at the hands of Adam and Eve marked the end of the Thunder Lizards. Denizens of the Third World took shelter as as great Storm of Space rained down, annihilating what remained of the beasts.

Free from persecution, terrans, elves, and dwarves became the dominant species of the Third World and, under the guidance of Adam and Eve, began to prosper across the one-nation of Panagaea.

As humanity began to chart its own course, Adam and Eve took on a number of disciples, educating them in the ways of the gods. These scholars spread across Panagaea and founded the Twelve Provinces.

What became of Adam and Eve after the founding of the provinces is not known.

The twelve provinces flourished under the care of their leaders, learning to use what the gods had given them. Unicorns were tamed so the lands could be traveled at high speeds. Crafts were constructed so the Great Sea could be traversed. Knowledge was freely exchanged and the Third World knew an era free from all conflict.

Then, the Scourge came.

Universal Warrior: The Ring of Asarra, an epic fantasy novella, coming to your Kindle November 3, 2014.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Would Anyone Like A Free Epic Fantasy Read?

The Cover to UW: Before Red Morning, Available for Free On Smashwords

Okay, so here's the deal. On November 3, 2014, I'm going to release my epic fantasy novella Universal Warrior: The Ring of Asarra exclusively to Amazon, for the time being. This is my debut work; the first title I'll ever charge people to read.

I'm hoping to use this title to establish myself as an author and as such, I'm hoping to give away a few copies in exchange for reviews on Amazon. I have five copies available for free, and the only thing I ask in return is for an honest review on Amazon. 

If you'd like me to return the favor with a review of your work, let me know. I'd be happy too.

If you're interested in reviewing, please leave a comment.

Thanks very much for reading.

Friday, October 10, 2014

An Interview With Epic Fantasy Author James Neal

The Official Cover to "Of Blood and Blade" by James Neal

So what’s your name, and where are you originally from?

My name is James Neal, and I hail from Camdenton, MO. If you don’t know where that is, I’m not offended.

What’s the title of your book?

The title is Of Blood and Blade. It’s the first book in the Cards of Chaos series.

How’d you arrive at this title?

This title is well over 10 years old. As soon as I decided to write a novel, I decided I wanted to make it as violent as possible. While the original version of the story was indeed bloody and violent, as a story it was crap. This version has moments of intense violence, but the story is much meatier that the original.

What genre would you classify this title as?

Of Blood and Blade is definitely high fantasy. According to modern nomenclature, since the main characters are teenage boys, it fits under Young Adult as well.

Distill the story into two sentences. What is it about?

A martial king-to-be and a theatrical usurper to the throne clash, just as a mysterious stranger begins manipulating each of them into yet another game. The search for the legendary Cards of Chaos begins, and the price for each player will prove to be steep.

"The greatest thing about Derisma is that, while realistic, you get the feeling that anything can happen...and a lot of wonderful and horrifying things do come to pass."--James Neal, on Of Blood and Blade

Tell us a little about your protagonist.

Grier Solemn has been training since childhood to be a warrior, and he lives that code to the point that several of his subjects and peers believe he doesn’t wish to become king. Though untrue, Grier does learn that maybe he isn’t quite as ready for the throne as he believed. He will learn what it means to be responsible and accountable for his actions. He will also discover that those actions will always have a direct effect on his kingdom, and it will be in one of the harshest ways possible.

Tell us a little bit about this world.

Derisma is a 75% manufactured world. It’s not based on Earth, magic takes place on a fairly regular basis, and it has its own mythos and religions. Several humanoid races exist here, most of them you’d find in general fantasy texts. I didn’t try to twist the elves or dwarves into something fresh or new, or give them powers beyond recognition. What I did do, was give those stereotypes a reason to exist within the context of this world. The elves live in the woods for a reason. Dwarves live in mountains because they love creating huge monoliths dedicated to their ancestors. The greatest thing about Derisma is that, while realistic, you get the feeling that anything can happen…and a lot of wonderful and horrifying things do come to pass.

What inspired this title?

The honest answer? Magic: The Gathering inspired the overarching storyline. A few friends of mine introduced me to the card game when I was 19 years old, and despite my every attempt not to love it, I was quick to get hooked.

In the original storyline, everybody and their mother had “Cards,” which performed various magical feats. When I was done with the original story, I even asked Wizards of the Coast (who created the card game) if they would help me publish the story like they did with R.A. Salvatore with the Drizzt novels. Not only did they say no, but told me if I attempted to publish the story, I would deal with their lawyers in court. Yikes.

Instead, I let the book sit on the shelf for years, forgotten, until one of my friends asked me if I was still working on it. My friend’s interest rekindled my passion, and I decided to rewrite the whole thing from scratch. Now, there are only ten Cards, each one insanely powerful, and the only thing in common with Magic: the Gathering is the fact that they are called “Cards.”

Will there be a sequel, or more adventures in this world?

Oh definitely. Of Blood and Blade only scratches the surface of what is going on with the Cards of Chaos. I’ve already started working on the sequel, tentatively titled Of Rogue and Ruin. This time around, it won’t take me a decade to write the novel.

Also, I plan on releasing short story anthologies that take place in Derisma’s past. If fans start sending in fan-fic, I may even help publish those under the Cards of Chaos label. We’ll have to see how that works out, but it would be cool.

When and where can we expect this title?

The ebook launches on Amazon only, on October 15, 2014. As I have already been asked several times, I will be working on getting paperbacks made early next year, but there is no set date for that project just yet.

Given any thought to your next project? Care to share anything?

My next project deals with animation. I’m putting together an animation bible for my webcomic, Mandy and Murder-Bear, and will be sending that out to different studios ASAP. Just click the link if you’d like to read it.

On the publishing side, I’ll be working on the Cards of Chaos series for the foreseeable future. Once that’s done (if?), I have ideas for a story called Iriquois. I also want to write a heavy steampunk adventure, but that is still baking in the oven right now.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I just want to give a huge thank you to everyone who is, and has, backed me on this project. Avery, you know you’re one of those people. My wife, Dawn, for accepting that I needed to accomplish this dream. Then there are the countless others who said, “Okay, you have no idea what you’re doing. Do this, and see if it helps.” To all of you, it has helped.

I hope new people discover this title and are entertained by these characters, and can connect with them. If I did my job, readers will get to live outside the norm for a little while, which I believe is what continues to make writing a worthwhile passion.

James Neal also shares his thoughts on life over at his blog American Dirt. You can also find him on Twitter at @BloodandBlade. Check it out for more info on the man behind the world and keep a lookout for of Blood and Blade, which will be released on 10/15/2014!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 3, 2014

"This Is An Evil Night..." A Preview of UW: The Ring of Asarra

(c) 2012-2014 Akting Out LLC

The following is a modified, unedited excerpt from the forthcoming epic fantasy novella "Universal Warrior: The Ring of Asarra". 


What was supposed to be a routine patrol of the city's borders resulted in the deaths of three people, one of whom was on the road to recovery. Now, in the after of a terrible, unexpected end, those who witnessed the passing are left to deal with the aftermath.

Lightheaded, dizzy and in utter shock, Maeghan took two steps back and fell to her rear, spellbound by the corpse. She wanted to cry, scream out, but a ball had wedged itself in her throat, making even breathing a chore.
She coughed, collapsing her head into her hand. “This is an evil night.” She mused darkly.
For a moment, Kres didn’t speak. Leaning against the far dresser at the foot end of the table, he also found himself enthralled by the body. “I don’t understand,” He breathed, “I just don’t understand. How can this one be gone? A moment ago, we were all talking and can this be?
Maeghan shook her head. With moistened eyes and cracked voice she replied, “I don’t know.”
“What do we do now?”
Maeghan sighed and pushed herself to her feet. “Well,” she began, trying to remember the next step and distance herself from the event, “We have to tell Nootau. He needs to know.”
“What about the parents?”
Maeghan shook her head, wiping her eyes. “No.” She stated, “No, our friend was one-half Sier, and honored those traditions. We will do the same by not bringing bad news by moonlight.”
Kres nodded. “Okay, but we should at least tell Nootau.”
“You go ahead.” Maeghan nodded, “I need to see a friend.”
Kres frowned.
Maeghan shook her head, exasperated, “Please, Kres. You go to Nootau. This is something I must do.”
“Alright.” Kres finally agreed. “Let’s meet back here in ten minutes.”
“Twenty minutes,” Maeghan requested, “I need just a little time, please.”
Kres nodded. He then turned to the dresser behind him, bending over and opening the lower drawer. He pulled a long, white sheet forth and closed the drawer. As Maeghan approached the head of the table, Kres flung the cloth over the body.
Maeghan caught the corners of the sheet and the two allowed the sheet to gently cover the corpse.
They both took a brief moment to acknowledge the loss, and then Maeghan exited the infirmary first and headed to the right, towards a particular residence. It was her direst wish, at that moment in time, to be granted a respite from the presence of death.

UW: The Ring of Asarra will be released November 3, 2014. Keep following for updates.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

No More Pop-Ups, Please

You remember the early days of the internet? When you could barely type in a URL before you were flooded with so many ads for unwanted crap that you were forced to hard-reset the computer?

Blessedly, for the most part, that spam is a thing of the past, thanks to a plethora of quality adblockers that can be found for most browsers.


My fellow marketers, writers, creatives, and other ambitious people, I humbly put before you a request.

Like a lot of people these days, I follow your wonderful websites via mobile device.

So imagine my pinch-and-zoom frustration when I'm perusing one of your articles only to get that annoying square, dead center of my screen, prompting me to sign up for your newsletter.

Now, don't get me wrong; I understand the need to get your name out there, but there are so many other ways to do it. Place an invite at the bottom, or top, of each post, for example.

The most recent offender, who shall remain nameless, wasn't even a prompt to sign up. It was a prompt to follow this individual on social media, which I already do.

So please, in the name of all that is holy, stop, stop, STAHP with the pop-ups. This is 2014, people, and with the surplus of options available to us, there's just no excuse for it anymore.

Thanks for reading.