Home Page

Home Page
Every hero has a beginning...

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Come to Vayu-Vata for the Adventure, Stay Because You Got Captured By Demons

Hello everyone, this is 'ESB' Stringfellow, and I am the one who let the dogs out, and this is...

The Synopsis For Book IV!!!

Let us dive right into it, shall we?

Spirits of adventure... Guided by the wind... Dreams of freedom... A love without end...

 Cyankazu Omondi and Magus, warriors, spell casters, heroes and adventurers, have traveled far and seen many things on their journeys. And now they have arrived to the desert kingdom of Vayu-Vata, where their greatest story thus far was not about the destination, but the road to get there.

The two travelers face many new adversaries... thieves of the desert, a monstrous lion, a savage draco and demons of the sands... all because they promised to help a recently freed slave named Alee to rescue his beloved.

As though guided by the Winds of Fate, Cyankazu Omondi, Magus and their new allies embark on an adventure of trials worthy of the greatest heroes of legends.
Rather shiny, ain't it?
So, this synopsis kind of gives the best details about this book, but for the sake of making this a longer post, I'll just go into more detail!
Now, when I wanted to write this story, I was truly racking my brain trying to think of something, something undeniably awesome, but on the fun, adventurous side. Fresh from the ending of a war, I really wanted Cyan and Magus to have a nice and smooth story, one that gave them something exciting to do, but didn't require them to make bold or Fate-of-the-World type choices. And thus the premise of the story became this: They find a traveling merchant that owns slaves, and being the heroes that they are, Cyan and Magus free them. One of the slaves, named Alee, asks for their help. There is a woman, named Morgiana, also a slave, who he is desperate to return to and free as well. However, she is under the service of the country's most vile and feared ruler ever, King Zaman, a monster of a human being if there ever was one. After hearing his story, our heroes agree to help!
But... to save Morgiana and maybe even dethrone an evil king, Cyan, Magus and Alee must cross the great desert, the Mazan Desert. Not only do they have to cross it, they have to contend with... well, obstacles, I guess we can say.
First, they face a group of deadly thieves called the Desert Riders, and in the process they free a magical-infused horse named Rakhsh. He's like Magus, meaning that he is a normal horse who was just granted the gift of magic at his birth, which allows him to communicate via telepathy and cast some spells. I sure hope you all enjoy the interactions of Rakhsh and Magus as much as I enjoyed typing it.
After that, there is a monster lion, then getting lost in the desert after being robbed under mysterious circumstances, finding an enchanted oasis, fighting a dragon, then the dragon's master, then the dragon's master's master, who is a demon.
All of this is to say that getting to Alee's girlfriend is going to take some serious trials, the kind that create true heroes. At the end of this spirited adventure, Alee will find the strength that he needs to make the choice that will better the entire kingdom.
Now I think is the time to remind you all that I have two different covers for this book. The one above is the one used for the physical copy, which was made by my former publishers (still no idea what exactly happened to them), but the one below is used for the Kindle version.
If this invokes the thought of a desert, then its job is done.
I was able to secure the digital rights to Book IV: Fu before America Star Books went under/disappeared/ran away, which is why I got this cover for the Kindle. The font may lack that certain... Dazzle... but it is truly the best that I can do on my own. Maybe one day I'll get lucky and I'll be able to get a better cover, but for now this is it. Besides, as long as the cover looks interesting enough, hopefully it'll entice people to read the synopsis or take a look inside. After all, it's what's inside the book that counts.
Beautiful, Scenic, and lots of things to eat (you)
Now, if I could have your attention for a bit more, I would like to inform you that, out of all of my books, this is the one that would be great to have as your first. Remember, The Five Year Pilgrimage doesn't have to be read in order, each story is independent on its own. So, if you were to pick just one story to help give you an idea of what to expect but don't want to read the nearly 600 hundred pages of Path of a Hero, then this, my dear readers, is the perfect jumping on point. It's exciting, it has heart, humor and lovable characters, and chances are good that this one won't make you cry at the ending (that would be Book II: Sui).
And that is where I think I'll call it that. Until next time, my dear readers.
Sincerely, 'ESB' Stringfellow

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

War Never Changes... Unless There Are Dragons Involved

Hello everyone, this is 'ESB' Stringfellow, and I dream of being a firebender, and this is...

The Synopsis of Book III: Ka!!!

I've been meaning to get this one out, but things sure have been... distracting lately (translation: I was too lazy). I'm here now, though, and that's all that matters. Read on, and discover what awaits our heroes for their third adventure...

Through force of will... No matter how dire... Heroes shall rise... and face the dragon fire...

Cyankazu Omondi, a samurai mage and hero to his people, had traveled far and learned much. Magus, a magical rodent with more fiery courage than most humans, had fought as much as he had loved. And now... the two companions face their greatest challenge yet...

In the land of Eldur, where dragon riders rule both land and sky, a fierce and bloody war was coming to a close, with Cyankazu and Magus becoming embroiled in the center of it all. After creating new friends and deadly new enemies alike, the two find themselves forced to assume command and fight a battle that seems utterly hopeless.

With inner fires as strong as the breath of the mightiest draco, the two heroes will fight to the bitter end... But at what terrible costs?

How to Train Your Dragon (Sorta)

Now that's what I call a beautiful cover! I love how the red and black mesh together and with the black dragon emblem dominating the center. Best cover I've seen on my books, to be honest, and I'll be lucky to find something just as perfect as this ever again on my own. *Sigh* Oh, well. Lets get down to business, shall we?

In this story, Cyan and Magus chance upon something that puts a little snag into their world travels: a dragon egg. The start of this story shows how Magus, quite reluctantly, becomes the "mother" to the hatchling, who is dubbed Titania.

For a whole year, Cyan and Magus raise their new responsibility and teach her (yes, a girl dragon) the basics in hunting, fighting and flying. When the time comes, the two heroes are ready to take Titania out into the wide open world, and let her travel with them for the reminder of their Five Year Pilgrimage. However, Fate deals them a crushing blow in the form of an attack by a cruel and power-hungry warmonger by the name of Lord Calvarick, leader of the Drake Raiders.

Cyan, Magus and Titania are all captured, with Cyan even being tortured and questioned, with Lord Calvarick being under the impression that Cyan works for his sworn enemies, the Draco Knights. Fortunately, an attack by those very enemies forces Lord Calvarick to leave Cyan and Magus, which gives them the opportunity to escape. During the battle, they save Titania and meet some of the Draco Knights, who prove themselves to be noble and honorable.

Now, at this point, I would like to stop giving you the entire story in abridged-form and just simply explain what this adventure entails.

In Book III: Ka, I formally establish a dynamic that I had often hinted at in earlier books. If you have been reading my other books thus far, you'll notice that dragons are both revered and feared, treated with respect at some points, and treated like monsters at others. The reason for this is because, in this world, dragons come in two different varieties: Nobles and Savages. Half of the dragons in the world are friendly and get along well with humans, and the other half is violent and a bane to all other living things. There is a kind of Kain and Abel type of in-universe-myth that explains why, but seeing as I don't mention this in the story, I won't get into it here, because that is a story for another time...

Anyway, the goal of this story was to introduce several breeds of dragons, on both sides, and show them paired with human riders and to have them in the midst of a war. And that... is pretty much it.

Cyan and Magus meet a new villain, but they also meet many new friends, and because the Draco Knights helped them escape Lord Calvarick's clutches, they stick around for a while. They also use this opportunity to introduce Titania to other dragons of her type, which could very well mean that she will choose to stay among her own kind.

However, all of that is almost forgotten as soon as it begun, because the war between the Draco Knights and Drake Raiders suddenly reaches a whole new level, and the scales tip drastically to one side, pushing the heroes to the brink of total defeat.

In this story, Cyan and Magus find themselves in a position that they've never been in before: that of leaders. But how can they lead when the odds are so overwhelming? How can they fight when death seems impossible to avoid?

Find out, in this war of the dragons...


Until next time, my dear readers.
Sincerely, 'ESB' Stringfellow

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Next Big Thing

Hello everyone, this is 'ESB' Stringfellow, and I say that Han shot first, and this is...

A Teaser For The Author's Next Big Story!!!

I figured, after so much time has gone by, now is the perfect time to share with you all a little something that I have been working on for a while now. Enjoy!

"When I first found you," said General Drak, looking down at his pupil, "I saw within you raw... untamed power!" The evil general, almost casually, raised and offered Damas' sword back to him and said, "And beyond that, something truly remarkable."

Ahila, holding Masamune with reverence, told the old samurai, "There is something inside me... Something that I now know has always been there." Taking a deep breath, eyes now casting around the old forest, she then added, "And now it is awake... And I need help to understand it."

His eyes shifting to the cracks that Ahila formed in the rock, remarking how easily she caused them with so little effort, Cyan felt it prudent to inform her, "I have only seen this kind of raw power once before..." His face grimaced as the fiery memory flashed in his mind. "It did not scare me then," he said, turning a wary expression toward his new student. "But it does now."
Ahila, shocked at his words, was rendered speechless as the old samurai turned and walked away.

Damas, voice now cold as ice, declared, "The time has come for the past to die... And in this case, it would be an act of mercy to kill it." As the battle continued to rage all around them, he looked to his mother, her expression showing the slightest bit of remorse he thought, though he no longer cared. He simply told her, "It is the only way for us to move on and to become stronger."

Running through the red mines, dodging flaming arrows, Charcoal let out a mighty war cry. Amusingly, the little fairy holding on for her dear life gave her own.

As their enemies continued to pursue them, explosions and bolts of lightning coming ever closer to them, the young prince told his comrades, "We will be the spark... that will light the fires of a new age, when this tyrant is brought down for good."

The silver knight readied her spear, prompting Loki to, in an effort to bolster his own courage, shout, "Come on!"

Exhausted and lying on the ground, the rain nearly blinding him, Cyan told Ahila in a strong, emotional tone, "This is not... going to turn out the way that you hope!"

With the elements of Water, Wind, Earth and Fire erupting and clashing all around them, General Drak tells Ahila, whose face was contorted with pained concentration, "The time... has come... to fulfill... your... Destiny!!!"

"I need someone," Ahila started, her voice almost timid, "to help me find my place... in all of this."
Damas, his expression set and determined, offered her his hand...

A Hero's Path: The Last Magi

And there you have it! Pretty sweet looking, huh? I bet you're just wondering what is happening, right?





Okay, full disclaimer: Back in the day, as in a few years ago when I had like over a hundred posts on this blog (man, when did I find the time or stuff to talk about?), I would, on occasion, do joke previews. In fact, looking into that old folder, it looks like I did about a dozen of them. Usually, I did parodies of trailers for popular movies, but with my characters swapped in and the setting retold as though this is a thing that could happen in my stories. Looking through them all again, I am definitely going have to reshare them as time moves on.

But for today, you get a completely new joke preview, one that I am certain you saw through probably at the first sentence. I hope you enjoyed it!

Until next time, my dear readers.
Sincerely, 'ESB' Stringfellow

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Magic Awakens

Hello everyone, this is 'ESB' Stringfellow, and I am The Last Magi Master, and this is...

Story Details For Book II: Sui!!!

Ah, yes, time for another update, this time where I focus on the second story of Cyan and Magus' world travels, otherwise known as The Five Year Pilgrimage. Here is the synopsis...

Anger and hate... The water’s rage... A wandering light... To calm the sage...

Cyankazu Omondi and Magus, friends, brothers, heroes... The two companions continue their travels around the world, always eager to discover new places, to make new friends and to gain new knowledge. One late autumn day, near the cusp of winter, the two find themselves in a remote part of the world where they discover a new teacher of magic, one who offers to expand and help master their skills.

But first they must prove themselves by climbing a harsh and icy mountain, where many dangers lurk. Even then, after surviving the trials of ice, the two companions find themselves in a situation that runs deeper than the mysteries of the sea.

In the end, Cyankazu and Magus will face the wrath of the great magi master, Aokigahara, whose might equals that of a terrifying tsunami...
As far as you know, no Smurfs were harmed in the making of this cover.
Alright, alright! A synopsis that gives a little more detail to the story, rather than a brief "Previously, on Path of a Hero," that was used for Book I: Chi.
In this synopsis, I give the bare bones of the story: Cyan and Magus, one late autumn day, find an old magi master, who offers to help them learn new ways to do magic. Said magi master is named Aokigahara Fuji... and he is the only new main character in this entire story.
You see, unlike Book I: Chi, I had the very simplest story idea: Have Cyan and Magus discover that their magic is growing stronger and get a new mentor in magic to teach them how to properly use it. However, there is most definitely a lot more to the story than that, to help pan it out, if you get my meaning.
For example, the harsh and icy mountain/trials of ice thing, that was added to give more excitement early on in the story. You get to see Cyan and Magus brave a harsh environment, feel the struggle to reach the top, and face ice themed monsters, such as the ice wasps!
NEVER tell an ice wasp that its wings are too small to lift its fat body!
But, again, the real core of this story is to give Cyan and Magus slightly more magical skills and knowledge and to interact with a teacher. And I must say, I am really proud of how the chapters focusing on their training turned out. For one thing, it's not just our two heroes reading books. This is magical training, for crying out loud! The two are put into controlled situations where they have to use their new skills in magical duels, and I got to say, I make magical duels look fun.
So yeah, that's basically all there is to this very simple stor...
Wait, what's that?
Oh my, I nearly forgot! Aokigahara Fuji has a darkness welled up inside him, which is close to bursting like a dam, unbeknownst to our heroes. So, the questions are: What kind of powers are growing inside Cyan and Magus, and how did they get there? What kind of training will they receive, and how intense will that training be? And, above all else, will they survive the tsunami-like rage that their new mentor had been carrying around inside of himself for several decades?
Find out in this tale where, shockingly, learning can be fun! And maybe a little life-threatening... In Book II: Sui, I expect you'll be swept up, like one who stands too close to the ocean.
Until next time, my dear readers.
Sincerely, ESB 'Stringfellow'
P.S. I know that Book II: Sui is not available on Amazon right now (remember how America Star Books disappeared?), but seeing as this is the one title whose contract had actually expired by now, I feel that I can go ahead and republish it, and yes, I do have at least an email that proves that I requested the contract to expire. I might still get into contact with some lawyer or attorney general or something before making a final decision, however, so I will let you know how it turns out. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Everyone Was Performing Martial Arts!

Hello everyone, this is 'ESB' Stringfellow, and I am a stone that you can not squeeze blood from, and this is...

The Beginning Of The New Book Series!!!

A new adventure awaits...

And there it is, the cover to my first book of the new series that I wish to share with any and all fantasy fans. Looks like the picture is cut off on the edges, but you can still clearly see the title, "A Hero's Path: The Five Year Pilgrimage: Book I: CHI."

How about we take a look at that synopsis, shall we?

Lives lost... An innocence broken... Swords drawn... A promise unspoken...

In deepest despair... Hearts turned black... A warrior’s redemption... To bring the light back...

Cyankazu Omondi, after enduring trials of body, mind and spirit, had become an honorary hero of his homeland, all at the young age of fourteen.

However, being so young, Cyankazu felt that he had to better himself so as to make his people proud and to be truly worthy of the title of A True Hero. Thus he embarks on a quest, accompanied by his greatest friend and animal companion, Magus.

Together the two companions will travel far and wide, and through their heroism create a new legacy that will encourage those that they meet. They will help others to discover their own potential, strengths and courage to do what they thought they could not.

The first will be the youth known as Xang Jade...

Now, this being the first book after Path of a Hero, I wanted to give a bit of a... refresher, I guess you could say, about Cyan and Magus' first adventure. Next, I wanted to set up just what these two will be doing in this particular set of books, The Five Year Pilgrimage series. The idea was not just to have Cyan and Magus be all heroic and save people and the world, over and over and over, but to help and encourage those that they meet to also become heroes...

Aaaaaand that last line is all you get about the whole book itself, a reference to the main character, Xang Jade.

Who is she? What is her story? And how do Cyan and Magus factor in?

The answer to those questions are as follows: Xang Jade is a fourteen-year-old girl who lives on the Shang Continent, a place that is highly praised and regarded as peaceful and prosperous. It is also the home of a place called The Tu Long Academy, the most prestigious martial arts school in the world.

Not the Jade Palace, I swear!

This academy, for over a thousand years, has created the most highly skilled martial artist and served as the cornerstone of Shang Culture. Jade actually lives there, with her family, where she starts off as a temple maiden. Basically, she's just a servant, cleaning or sewing or serving meals.

If that made you cringe with anticipation at what exactly Shang Culture is like, then you already know what I'm setting this story up as: The traditions of the Shang Continent are very gender based, where only men and boys can do things like become martial artists, and women and girls serve their country best as housekeepers.

Jade calls B.S. on this notion, so her story is that she secretly trains herself in martial arts.

However, with a very selective organization known as the Brotherhood of Earth teaching its members the highest forms of martial arts, including a secret style, away from prying eyes, Jade has no hopes of attaining her goal, which is proving her full potential.

That, my dear audience, is where Cyan and Magus come in... Cyan, wide-eyed at the academy's reputation, decides to see if he can make the cut, he and Magus never catching onto the Men Only mentality until after the fact. Instead of dropping out, they decide to stay and help Jade achieve her true potential, to help her realize her dream of becoming a monk.

But how do they go about it? What fury of the Brotherhood do they risk facing if found out? And what of Jade's family? Will they be supportive... or will they be an obstacle?

Find out, in the down-to-earth first adventure of Cyan and Magus' world travels!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Bringing The Author Back

Hello, everyone, this is 'ESB' Stringfellow, and I have a bone to pick, and this is...

The Long And Largely Overdue Author Update!!!

Wow, it sure has been awhile since my last post. Last thing I did was inform readers (if I even have any) was that I was going to Tri-Con. That was last June...

SORRY! I am so, so sorry that I've been gone for so long (at least I wasn't gone as long as the last time I let this blog go quiet [three years, for those who are wondering]). All I can say is that it just got away from me, where Life just kept happening, getting in my way and making me not feel the need to get back to blogging. For one thing, my computer died... Took a little while to get a new one. Then my truck broke down. Then my tablet, which I was using to type my next story, stopped working, so I had to get a new one. Throw busy time at the place that I work (sadly, these books do NOT put food on the table), any down time I had was just dedicated to catching up on a whole lot of laziness. Know what I mean?

Bottom line: Blogging is like exercising. If you let yourself stop for even a little bit, that little bit will eventually turn into months of putting it off.

Well, now is the time. This is me getting back into my exercises. I'm going to keep blogging until detailed posts for each of my books are up, maybe some more pictures, and updates of what I've been doing/working on for the last year (remember the aforementioned tablet?).

However, and this is a big one, there's something of a problem that I need to share with you all. For those who don't know or can't recall, my first five books were published through a little company called Publish America, which changed its name a few years ago to America Star Books. They took care of everything for me after I handed them the manuscripts. The conversions to book format, the covers, the printing, all of that stuff that I have no idea of doing on my own. And they were nice... for a little while.

Maybe I should have seen the warning signs at the beginning, but then again, the beginning was over nine years ago, when I published my first book, Path of a Hero. It was a different time then. I don't think I've even heard of Kindle at the time, nor can I recall at the top of my head just how old Kindle is. Anyway, they seemed fine at first, even if their pricing of my book seemed outrageous. I did it with a gleam in my eye and a dream in my heart that I would be able to make something of myself so long as my story was in book form, ready to be bought by the masses. Heck, I even saw Publish America's author discounts (where sometimes they would give them up to 90% off!) was a good enough bonus for me to buy my own copies and resell them at a fairer price.

But... that feel-good and I'm-Now-A-Published-Author drive wore out, and in more recent times, after my publishers changed their name to America Star Books, I had a powerful longing for something better. I thought that I would keep publishing with them until the Five Year Pilgrimage series was done, but shortly after publishing Book IV: Fu, I just couldn't shake my unease with them or get excited like I used to.

By that point, I had finally caught up on my internet and found out that Publish America/America Star Books had a... less than stellar reputation, and their track record was actually growing worse. So, after publishing Book IV: Fu with them, I decided (after reading some blog that I can't remember that highly motived me) to try my hand at self-publishing through Amazon... and let me tell ya, I wish I had gone with them a long time ago.

Don't get me wrong. Amazon hasn't made me able to quit my day job, but I now know that they are exactly what I really needed, a service that in honesty should have been America Star Books M.O.

I can publish my books completely for free at Amazon, both paperback and Kindle (yes, it may shock you to know that America Star Books actually charged you to convert a book that they published for free into an ebook. I really, really wish that I had know what B.S. that was a long time ago now). Not only that, but I can set the price myself, and they don't have be to outrageously expensive. Whereas America Star Books would charge somewhere between $20 to $30 for an average sized book (say, about two hundred pages), I can set the price for $10 or even less (but I won't get as good as a profit margin, so that really is the best I can go without charging too high). In the end, I am incredibly happy to have gone with Amazon now, even if it is a little late to the party.

And frankly, it is a damn good thing that I made the switch, because sometime in the Fall of 2017, America Star Books has... vanished, I think is the best way to put it. "Have gone under," is another way of putting it. "Have emptied their safes full of money and gold bars and fled in the dead of the night so as to avoid prosecution for fraud," is yet another, more cynical way of calling it.

This is why I'm not sharing a link to their website. Not because I no longer wish to the give them the traffic... but it's Gone with a capital G.

Like I mentioned earlier, their reputation wasn't that great to begin with (and yet I remained loyal and hopeful), and it only got worse as time went on (where I became less loyal and more dissatisfied). And in all honesty, I have no idea what the Hell happened. When I looked into it about a month ago, they just seemed to have disappeared, and this leaves a conundrum for me.

Now, before they went under/fled, I exchanged some emails establishing that I wished to pursue self-publishing, with the Kindle version of Book IV: Fu being my first  foray into it. Remember, America Star Books only published the paperback version, opting to sap me of money to do something that I could, as it turned out, do for free on my own. This is why there are two different book covers for the same book.

Another thing that I made clear with them was that I wished for my contracts to expire when their time came, because terminating beforehand would cost me $99 per book, which really, really sucked.

But that was before they disappeared. Now, I have no idea. Following the links to my older books show an unpleasant picture. Despite that America Star Books seem to be no more, the books they had published are still available on Amazon, but things are wonky. For example, Book III: Ka is being priced at $440! What the Frack?!

So, here's the problem that I face: If America Star Books is truly gone, does that mean all of my contracts with them are null and void? Can I, with my rights as the author, take my original manuscripts and just start all over, publishing Path of a Hero and all the other A Hero's Path books through Amazon?

Or will America Star Books decide to come back like a bad cold and sue me for breaching the contracts? The very ones that I can't even terminate now because I have no way of contacting them?

If by some miracle a legal expert reads this, please, do not hesitate to send me a message. Otherwise... I'm definitely leaning in the direction of taking my chances. After all, I did tell them to let the contracts expire, meaning that we had an agreement for all rights to return to me. The way I see it, them disappearing just bumped the expiration date up to last Fall.

Well, I think, I rabbled on long enough. Hopefully, I am indeed back, and I will get posts about The Five Year Pilgrimage book series up within the next few weeks. And, more importantly, I'll be able to get the series republished, but that will take a bit of time, seeing as I'll have to make my own book covers now.

And lastly, I am happy to share that sometime between Tri-Con and now, I published the last book of The Five Year Pilgrimage! I give you Book V: Ku! Available in both Kindle and paperback. So, if you're interested, give it a go! Remember, reading the previous books are not required! Like the others, this is a standalone adventure with very little references to past events, and nothing that's worth knowing in order to follow the story (I mean, it's not like I have one or two character's death haunt our hero, right?)!

Do me a solid... because I now have truck payments to make.

Maybe one day, I can get a paid illustrator, 'cause my sister has a day job, too!

Until next time then, this the author, signing off!

Friday, June 2, 2017

TriCon Away!!

Hello everyone, this is ESB ‘Stringfellow,’ and I am Iron-something-or-other, and this is...

The Author Telling You That He Is Going To TriCon!!

What’s a TriCon, you may ask? It basically boils down to a little slice of the more popularly known Comic Con (tm), right here in the Wild and Wonderful state of West Virginia! For one day, people from the tri-state area of Huntington, WV gather to celebrate their love of comics, games, costuming, toys and all things nerdy.

And yours truly has his very own booth there, where I’ll be selling copies of my books, giving away prizes and artwork done by my sister, on Saturday, June 3rd! Here’s to hoping to another excellent year, where I see many great costumes, buy posters and toys, and maybe even sell a few things myself.

Wish me luck, True Believers! (Shout-out to Stan Lee)

Sincerely, ESB ‘Stringfellow’