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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A Fiery Preview

Hello everyone, this is ESB 'Stringfellow' and I love the nightlife, and this is...

A Preview For Fiery Chaos!!!

Today, I want to share a little bit of my new book, a look inside if you will. What I'm about to show you comes from Chapter Five: Chasing Fire, where our heroes, having recently met, must find the Fire Medallion, the source of Ahila's connection to the Fire Stone's massive power. I hope you enjoy...

The journey through the forest was uneventful, though with each step Charcoal took, Ahila and Loki grew more anxious. Behind any tree or shrub could be a Helheis soldier, just waiting for them to reveal themselves.
Fortunately they saw nor heard anyone, perhaps all thanks to Charcoal’s choosing to take the path less traveled, having took to the trees running alongside the road. He moved with great speed and uncanny agility, weaving around countless trees, clomping up slanted rocks and leaping through the air over various obstacles, as though this was a path he had trained himself to run numerous times. In no time at all, Charcoal took his passengers to the very edge of the forest, with Dagonet not too far in the distance.
With the sun sinking lower and lower on the western horizon ahead of them, the grime-filled town was starting to become lit like a beacon, heralding another night of debauchery. However, there was something different, and an eerie aura seemed to have been emitting from the place. Also, it was ominously silent, like a den of monsters.
Then they saw them, several flags flapping in the wind. Black with stylized green snakes, the banners of Helheis hung high on several buildings and on the walls of Dagonet.
“Looks like those Helheis guys decided not to destroy the town,” Loki observed in a hushed voice.
“Too bad,” Ahila said with a slight edge, having developed bitter feelings towards the townspeople that literally threw her at the feet of Sergeant Copper. Thinking aloud, she said mainly to herself, “It is a wonder that King Caltaur would let such a place continue existing.”
“Ah, well, he hates it just as much as you do,” Loki informed her. “He’s been trying to either renovate or wipe the place completely off the map for ages, but a sad little fact keeps preventing such a thing from happening.”
Turning half a glance to Loki, Ahila asked, “What sad little fact?”
Loki opened his mouth for a moment but then held back, appearing pensive. “Hmm, how to put this delicately...” he said. “Um, lets just say that the Deadly Sins of Gluttony and Lust really make quite a profit here and these are the kinds of people who really don’t feel a need to leave all that behind.”
Suddenly sickened, Ahila replied, “Sorry that I asked.”
“Yeah, but don’t think too badly of Dagonet,” Loki told her as he looked out towards the town of deviants. “They’re not all bad, they just... choose to live a carefree life,” he said at length.
That hardly assuaged Ahila’s negative view of the place and she prayed to the Fire Stone that she would never set foot in that place ever again.
After several moments of silence, Loki said, “We’ll wait here until it gets darker, then we’ll head for the forest on the other side of Dagonet.”
“Would that be safe?” Ahila inquired, fearing to be spotted by a patrolling Helheis soldier.
“We’ll keep our distance, stick to the shadows,” Loki told her. “Also, no lights for us, that way they can’t see us in the dark. And don’t worry about us, horses can see in the dark better than humans, and Charcoal can practically walk blindfolded all the way back to Alcar Castle,” the youth assured Ahila, who was immediately comforted by this fact. She definitely felt a strong sense of trust towards Charcoal, who always carried the appearance of seriousness and attentiveness. If ever a problem were to arise, Ahila knew that she could always count on Charcoal so she felt less scared.
When the time came, when the sun was barely equivalent to the light of a flickering candle and the only source of light came from Dagonet and some scattered stars across a cloudy sky, Charcoal started his trek across the plains that surrounded the town.
The horse, keeping Dagonet to his right side, stepped with carefulness and with a speed that did not cause too much noise. He kept the town considerably far, almost to the point that one would have to walk almost three hundred feet just to be within the field of the town’s numerous torches. Though Charcoal kept his pace calm and undisturbed, where even his breathing and beating heart seemed normal, the horse felt a sense of foreboding from Dagonet.
Occasionally on their long trek to the forest, Charcoal would steal a glance towards the town, feeling a mounting sense of danger from it. Charcoal was not a horse to know fear. He was never scared of anything, as though he was literally born without fear. However, that did not mean he was careless or foolish. Every time he looked towards Dagonet, he felt something from there that would send most other creatures running for their lives. Something unnatural was in that town, something that was not human. It was something monstrous, just waiting to be let out of its cage.
Charcoal, for all of his courage, strength and speed, knew that whatever rested in Dagonet was something that he could not fight and win against. So instead, for the first time in his life, he had to avoid a confrontation, especially if it meant preserving the life of his rider.
As for Ahila and Loki, the longer it took them to reach the opposite forest, the more exposed they felt, hardly daring to draw breath. Like Charcoal, they could tell that there was a terrifying presence lurking within Dagonet, and if not for the horse’s limitless courage, they would have taken a two or three mile long detour around the town. With Charcoal, with his great speed, they felt confident that they could elude detection or capture.
Even then though, when the gigantic stone pillar that erupted from the earth came into their view, Ahila and Loki could not suppress a shiver from running down their spines.
Fortunately, no one saw or heard them, and after what felt to be hours of slow and cautious trotting, Charcoal and his passengers reached the forest’s edge, almost leaping into its concealing shadows.
Feeling a sense of relief wash over her, though still keeping her guard, Ahila whispered as Charcoal went into a faster trot, “Should I make a light?”
“Not yet,” Loki whispered back as his horse moved about the trees. “Wait until we get back to the road, and only if we really need it.”
Soon they reached the road and Charcoal stopped to survey the area, even sniffing the air like a bloodhound. After a moment he turned his head completely to the side so he could stare at Loki, giving a brief snort.
Licking his lips, Loki said in a voice that sounded more calm than he felt, “Charcoal says there aren’t any Helheis guys about but they have been through here recently. Maybe even closer than we’d like.”
Ahila found it amazing that he was able to discern all of that from just one snort. She wondered if he was simply making it up for unknown reasons but instead she asked, “So what do we do?”
“Well, we need to stick to the road so we can find that tree,” Loki answered. “You know, the one where we found you,” he added.
Ahila paused, trying to remember that conversation that oddly felt like ages ago rather than just that morning. “A tree that looked like it was nearly split in two?” she confirmed as much as asked.
“Yeah, that one,” Loki replied. “We’ll take the road, but no fire, Charcoal can manage enough,” he said, adding, “but the first sign of danger, we bolt right back into the woods.”
Ahila swallowed hard, suddenly feeling extremely thirsty, and commented, “Sounds like the best we can do.”
Loki nodded, and with that Charcoal began his walk onto the road and started following it, his gait quick though not too fast.
As they progressed through the darkened forest, with visibility nearly nonexistent, Ahila, Loki and Charcoal had to rely heavily on sound and instincts. Fortunately Charcoal was the better of the three, so whatever sense of alarm Ahila felt was usually for nothing. Loki, having spent years with his trusted horse, knew that so as long as Charcoal was calm, then there was no reason to fear... not yet at least.
Eventually, after hearing a loud screech that nearly made Ahila jump off of Charcoal, she asked Loki in a voice that betrayed her nervousness, “Are... are there any... monsters in this forest?”
Loki, even in the near-total darkness, could see the fear in Ahila’s eyes, which were pale red he noticed, which struck him as curious. Putting it aside for now though, he answered her question. “Nothing too bad,” he told her. “Goblins, imps, maybe some trolls, who shouldn’t be a bother to you because they despise fire,” he said in a low voice, casting his eyes from side-to-side. “However, my main concern would be the Helheis cutthroats,” he added, which did nothing to bolster Ahila’s spirits.
Gripping unintentionally onto Loki’s hand, which was wrapped around her waist so he would not fall, the little fire mage muttered to herself just loud enough for the youth to hear, “I swear... If we get through this night alive... I am never leaving the Fire Shrine again.”
Loki would almost have to agree... Almost only because he heard from stories that the Fire Shrine was located either inside an active volcano or a volcanic wasteland, neither of which were places that were on his list of things to see or live in.
They rode in silence for a long time, keeping their ears alert for any forms of threat, though they never detected any. In less than an hour, Charcoal came to a sudden stop.
“We’re here,” Loki declared, indicating the faint silhouette of a large oak tree, which was long dead and appeared to have been the victim of a giant’s axe, just as the youth had said.
“Finally,” breathed Ahila, having felt enough tension on that night to last her a lifetime.
Loki dismounted and helped Ahila do the same, and once both were on the ground he said, “Now’s a good time as any for a little light.”
Nodding in accordance, Ahila raised her right hand and produced a small flame, which hovered calmly over her fingertips. “Where did you find me, exactly?” she asked as she cast her eyes about the road.
Loki, actually impressed of Ahila’s magic, started looking around as well. “I think...” he began, walking a few feet to the side of the road, “it was right here.” He knelt, his hands searching among the leaves, twigs and grass. Not too far ahead of him was a small incline, a knoll that led further into the woods.
Ahila slightly recalled having a fall, feeling her body rolling and tumbling downhill before losing consciousness. Without a word, she crouched down to begin searching, huddled next to Loki so that they could see by her magic fire. It was not easy for her to search, because she had to hold up the flame and use her splinted left hand to check the ground. She thought of making the fire hover on its own but she never learned how to accomplish it without concentrating too hard.
It was a slow and arduous work, with Ahila and Loki squinting and rummaging through weeds and bushes. Charcoal walked close by with his nose to the ground, though he was mostly focusing on the sounds of the forest, keeping an ear out for any signs of danger, and with Ahila’s flame giving away their presence, there was a real possibility of danger finding them.

And that, I feel, is a good enough time to stop as any (if I post any more, I fear that I'd end up posting the entire chapter). This gives, I hope, a sense of how the story feels, how the characters behave in general and it provides the taste required to get you hooked. If you like it, then how about clicking on the link to the right so you can get Fiery Chaos  now, on Kindle or paperback.

Until next time, dear readers, stay safe.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Fire In The Sky (And Ground [Even The Freaking Water!])!

Hello everyone, this is ESB 'Stringfellow' and I am the Man from U.N.C.L.E., and this is...

The Post Where The Author Talks More About His Newest Book!!!

 First, just as a reminder, here is the cover, again:

It is about Fire. And Chaos. Other Elements Also Included!

Today, I want to talk about the lead characters, our heroes and villains. But first, a bit of story background:

As mentioned in the synopsis, this world has magical relics referred to as the Elemental Stones. Each one represents the four major elements of fire, water, earth and wind. In pure it-only-makes-sense-in-a-fantasy-setting, the Stones are the source of their respective element, which basically makes them akin to gods like Zeus or Thor. Their power is truly godlike, and they require guardians to keep safe their power, so they rely on the Elemental Guardians, mortals chosen every generation to protect the Stones. Each Guardian is given a magical item that allows them to channel the Stones' element, giving them immense power.

In time, the Stones and their Guardians faded from public knowledge, becoming mere legends. Regardless of this, new Guardians are still chosen throughout the ages, who adhere to their duties in utmost secrecy. This works out pretty well for untold centuries, until one day a mad warlord decides that he's worthy of godhood...

Now, here are the main characters:

Character 1: Ahila Brigandu

Ahila is a fourteen-year-old girl who is the daughter of Phyros and Hilda Brigandu. Her father, Phyros, starts the story off as the current Fire Guardian, but due to the aforementioned warlord, he is forced to pass the mantle of Guardian to his daughter years before her time.
Ahila spends the entire story struggling with the godly power that was thrust onto her, given only one mission from her father: Keep the power of Fire from falling into the hands of the main villain. As the story goes, Ahila suffers loss, trauma and utter despair. There are times where she feels overwhelmed and desires nothing more than to break down and stay down.
Fortunately for her, she has new friends that help her get through her ordeals, and eventually she gains the courage she needs to face the greatest threat to the Elements.

Character 2: Loki Aeson

With Ahila being the one where heroism is thrust upon her, Loki is the guy who gets dragged into it by pure accident. He is another youth of fourteen, orphaned since he was just a baby and raised by his father's best friend. Loki acts as a foil to Ahila's personality. Where she is serious, he is goofy. Where she is formal and old fashioned, Loki is casual and aloof. Whereas Ahila is a daughter of an all powerful Guardian (and being a Guardian herself), Loki is a normal boy and the son of a knight who went missing and is presumed dead. He has no magic, no special weapon or anything that makes him stand out from others his own age.
However, what he lacks in magical powers or weapons, he more than makes up for with pluck, charisma, a jest and several nicknames for Ahila, such as Fire Queen.
Oh, and also he has this strange ability where he can easily talk to animals. It isn't like he understands them in a way that he hears them speaking his own human language. It's more like an instinctive ability to guess with incredible accuracy what animals are saying or emotions they are expressing. This comes in very handy whenever it comes time for him to translate what the next character is saying...

Character 3: Charcoal

Charcoal is a male horse, partnered with Loki. In the country that Loki lives, horses are everything. The greatest among them are remembered just as often as their human riders, treated with respect and immortalized after great feats of courage and loyalty. It is a shared dream for Loki and Charcoal to become warriors for their king and queen, to join the ranks of the Horse Riders. However, the two have earned some unfavorable reputations. Loki, for instance, is a known prankster and has caused a headache or two over the years. Charcoal, however, is very different from other horses.
How different? For one thing, he is rather wild for a horse bred in a stable. His wild attitude caused him to be too difficult to be tamed by the usual trainer. With Loki's unusual ability to calm even the most aggressive animal, Charcoal fell into his care and the two had been inseparable ever since. Granted, that isn't the only thing that sets Charcoal apart from other horses. He's also a bit short tempered. He also fights dirty, using his hooves to intentionally knock people in the heads if they threaten him.
Above all else, though, Charcoal is a horse without fear. He'll charge mountain lions, armed enemies, anything, without a trace of fear. Where others would shake in their boots at the sight of a dragon, Charcoal would just give it a death glare.
Honestly, I think he's my favorite character of the whole bunch.

Character 4: General Drak

This guy is the previously mentioned warlord. He is the ruler of a kingdom called Helheis, which is a greatly militarized domain. There, the strongest, the most cunning and the most cruel rules. To live in Helheis is to live by an extremist's idea of what it means to be a warrior. They live, breathe and die in the belief that battle is everything. Because of this upbringing, paired with a dangerously large ego, General Drak believes with every fiber of his being that he is worthy of becoming a god.
He always had an inquisitive mind and a thirst for knowledge, equaled only by his lust for more power, which led him to discover that the Elemental Stones are real. After years of research, experiments and planning, General Drak devises a way to steal the powers of the Elements, with his mad ambition serving as the central threat of the story.

Character 5: Sergeant Copper

He is General Drak's second-in-command, the most loyal of the Helheis army. Sergeant Copper serves the purpose of showing how devout he is to his master's cause, easily shifting his worldview on a whim just so it can be more aligned with General Drak's. He is the epitome of a fanatic, willing to lay his life down in order to please General Drak but also fearing for his life whenever he causes his master to become angry. In the end, Sergeant Copper has no agenda or ambition of his own except to continue making General Drak proud of him.
Granted, that doesn't mean that Sergeant Copper is beyond that of mere soldier/follower. He is a high ranking warrior with no sense of mercy, empathy or morals. He is a complete sociopath, having no remorse in killing anyone who comes across his path. He is the kind of guy who sees no difference in killing an enemy on a battlefield and murdering a child who simply got in his way.
Sergeant Copper is sadistic, cold and vicious. General Drak should be lucky that he doesn't have any Starscream habits.

That is that. Those are your main characters, the heroes and villains. Before I finish this up, I think I'll address a few things about them.

First, yes it seems that I have an odd thing about creating heroes who get their start at fourteen years old. I did it with Cyan, now I'm doing it with Ahila and Loki. Please, don't ask why. Just blame it on the things that I enjoyed in my youth that influenced me at the time when I first created these characters. You know, things like Avatar: The Last Airbender or Kingdom Hearts. At least I didn't make Charcoal a magical talking horse. I very much wanted to make a non-magical animal a main character but make sure that he was established as very different from normal animals. He might not be, say, Superman, but he sure as hell is a Batman.

Second, to head off complaints about the villains being one-dimensional, let me just say... I don't care.

Well, I used to care, but then things got really bad in the real world and true, real-life evil has shown us all that real-world villains really are that one-dimensional. We see them making power grabs for no reason but for the sake of obtaining power. We see them doing every cruel trick, short of mass genocide (but only in certain countries), to keep that power. We see real villains, right the hell now, being villainous for no reason other than it pleases them.

So, please don't tell me that my villains aren't realistic (aside from the magic, of course) because gaining power just for the sake of it while crushing innocent lives on the way is happening in the real world as I type this. In fact, in retrospect, I feel that I hadn't pushed the psychopathic zealot enough in this story.

Honestly, if I could go back and add something, it would be a scene where General Drak accidentally kills one of his followers  in a fit of rage/temper tantrum, look at said follower's broken and dying form and say, "Look at what you made me do!" Then, his other followers would nod sagely and agree, expressing that the one who got killed really did do something to earn that fatal blow. And then, to truly seal the death-cult portrayal, the follower would use his dying breath to utter, "You're right, this was my fault." ...And all he did was just stand there.

Well, on that dark and depressing note, I'll see you guys next time. Stay safe out there.

Sincerely, ESB 'Stringfellow'

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Hottest Update

Hello everyone, this is ESB 'Stringfellow' and I have a Hun-Gurrr, and this is...

The Newest Book Created By The Author!!!

Does anyone else realize how many "fire" related titles have already been taken?

 People, I am incredible happy to bring this long overdue update (it's been almost two years!) to let you know that I have not been idle.

I mean, for one thing, I work at retail, so any typing I get is very sparse. That means I can not, despite how very much that I want to, churn out a book every year or two. However, I truly feel that all of the work I put into this new book was totally worth it. I feel like this is my best one yet.

Here is the synopsis...

The Wind howls with the screams of the damned...

The Earth tears itself apart to consume the unfortunate...

The Water rages to violently wash away all in its path...

Only Fire remains to prevent the onslaught and destruction...

On the Great Continent of Colinaus, supposedly the birth place of gods and magic, a great and powerful secret remained hidden for millennia. The Elemental Stones...

For so long, these fabled and ancient relics had been lost to society they were regarded as nothing more than simple myths, stories told to incite awe and wonder. However, one man, a king of wars, believed them to be real and vowed to make their power his own. His thirst for power and his arrogance knew no bounds. So great were his beliefs that he considered himself worthy of godhood. In the end, though, his actions will create a terrible imbalance to the forces of the Elements. In his pursuit to fulfill his lofty ambitions, he will throw the world into danger, threaten to unleash untold chaos.

As the War of the Elements begin, all hope will fall onto the shoulders of the Fire Guardian... and she is only fourteen years old.

So, what do you think? I'm going to wait a bit before I talk it up some more, but in the mean time you (yes, YOU) can take this opportunity right now to check it out on Amazon (links to both paperback and Kindle versions are in the side bar to the right). After all, given how things are going, I hear that there's no better time to settle in with a nice long book (this sucker is 571 pages!).

So, get your Fiery Chaos today!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A New Start

Hello everyone, this is 'ESB' Stringfellow, and I have a lovely bunch of coconuts, and this is...

An Update Regarding The Author's Books!!!

I am as pleased as punch to announce that I have taken the chance to republish my books on Amazon! All of the links to the right in the "Books by the Author" section have been updated and will now take you to the new versions of my books, where none of them, I promise you, are priced at four hundred dollars (I'm still scratching my head at that one). If you find that the links don't work, or that they're taking you to the wrong place, then tell Amazon as well as myself, and we'll try to figure it out together.

Now, what are the differences, you must be wondering. Basically The Five Year Pilgrimage series is unaltered, but there are a few things in Path of a Hero I'd like to mention. For one thing, I cleaned up some more writing mistakes, but I also took the opportunity to take out the word okay whenever it was used by someone who was not Magus. Why? Because I felt that was a slang/informal word that should be used more sparingly, thus helping to make Magus' way of speaking stand out more, and I only thought of doing that until AFTER my first time publishing Path of a Hero.

A couple other changes I did had more to do with gaining newfound knowledge over the years, which made me want to make things more appropriate. One of them was General Demana's outfit, which originally was on the sexy side, but after learning that was an overused and even problematic trope, I decided to give Demana a new outfit that reflects her status as a warrior more. The last change I did was refer to Sa'Phi'Ro's sword, Muramasa, as an odachi. When I first wrote Path of a Hero, I never bothered to ask if a katana-like sword that was six to seven feet long was named anything else, and to my slight embarrassment, I asked rather on the late side. But that has been changed now, and hopefully for the better.

If you are, by any chance, someone who has purchased and read Path of a Hero before, you might find that these changes are not great incentives to buy it again, and I will not blame you. All that I ask is that you tell your friends/family, if they had not read my book yet, to give this version a shot (that way, I'll actually get royalties).

Oh, and also, I added a relabeled map of Trino.

Now you can follow Cyan and Magus' "Path" to "Heroism"

Hopefully, that does turns out good (I haven't had the pleasure of seeing it myself yet outside of digital previews) and you'll be able to read the labels well enough. My fingers are most definitely crossed!

Now, there is the other difference that will stand out with all of my books that I had published with America Star Books, and that is the covers. I would like to share them with you now...

Where Darkness slowly engulfs the Light.

So, first up is the Path of a Hero cover, which I feel captures the idea of Cyan slowly losing his Light to Darkness. Not really half Darkness and half Light, but the sense that Darkness is indeed growing.

A Temple With a View!

Book I: Chi had to have some earthy hue to it, so I created a cover that had some various shades of brown to it. I also wanted to have a temple in it, to convey to the readers the location that this story takes place, the Tu Long Academy.

Blinded By The Light!

In Book II: Sui, there are two things going for it: A water theme and magic, and definitely lots of magic. So I used this mystical looking image that I found and gave it the best watery color that I could get.

Enter The Dragon!

Shockingly, Book III: Ka's cover came out looking almost exactly the same as its original! I found myself wondering if America Star Books had used the same cover creator that I did! And I must confess, I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to find a dragon image/emblem that I could use, but I lucked out!

The Colors of the Wind?

Hmm, starting to wonder if I had done right with Book IV: Fu's cover when in comparison to the others. I still like it, but I can't help but wonder if I could've done better. Oh well, I'll be sticking with it, no doubt, even if it does seem to lack a certain wind factor.

A Heavenly Light.

And finally, we come back to Book V: Ku, where I did a little color addition at the top and bottom of the cover so as to not have pure white there whenever it gets printed into a physical book (a flaw I had discovered only after getting some copies for myself).

So, what do you think? I know they don't quite have the cool factor of the old covers, especially when they're all missing that wonderful katana sitting beneath the words, which had become something of a regular recurring theme. But hey, I make do with I got, and the main thing is that my books are all on Amazon now and at much more reasonable rates.

If you find yourself having trouble, again, contact Amazon and inform me as well so that I can also contact them. This is my first time publishing on my own, with so many books at once. Things are bound to have a bump or two along the way (trust me on this).

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

Monday, June 11, 2018

If "Almost Heaven" Had A Monster Infestation

Hello everyone, this is 'ESB' Stringfellow, and I am Holding Out for a Hero, and this is...

The Synopsis For Book V: Ku!!!

And this is it! The latest and final book in my series (but definitely not the last we'll ever see of Cyan and Magus, I assure you), and where my next post will undoubtedly be an update or maybe even a sneak peak at my next story or a tease of what I'm writing now! Or who knows, because it might be another whole year before I post something again! But for now, let us talk about A Hero's Path: The Five Year Pilgrimage: Book V: Ku!

Hearts shackled by fear… A monstrous abomination…

Heroes of Heavenly Light… Bring forth salvation…

After five long years, the pilgrimage finally reaches its end…

Cyankazu Omondi, samurai mage, and Magus, magical companion, have journeyed and seen much of the world, making friends and enemies alike, helping those in need and, just as often, inspiring others to follow their heroic examples. After all of their adventures, the two are ready to return home to the Continent of Trino… but a seemingly innocent walk into a quiet village known as Leto greats them with one last ordeal, one last need to offer their help to those who suffer.

Plagued by constant monster attacks, the villagers desperately need true heroes to save them, and the two friends rise to the occasion. But not all is as it seems… As they stumble upon secrets and monsters alike, and their lives put in more danger than ever, a new hero steps forward… However, with heart and spirit dominated by fear, can Artemis Selena truly find the courage within and the kind of heroism that is limited only by the sky?

In a story that takes place mostly during daytime, I give you a starry night as a cover.

Now this is it, as mentioned in the synopsis, the story that marks the ending of the Five Year Pilgrimage series. But that still doesn't mean you have to read this one last. It is a story that has a few references to past adventures, but none of them are a strong part of the plot. You can very much still read this without needing to know everything else that came before it. I mean, I do info dump for your convenience.

But what is this story about? I'll gladly tell you.

In this adventure, Cyan and Magus chance upon a very humble village that has two major problems. The first one is that it is under constant monster attacks, ranging from the small goblins to the mighty behemoths. And the people of the village do not have the means, weapons or skills and knowledge to fight such beasts. And that's just their first problem.

Their second one comes in the form of their "heroes." That word was put into air quotes for a reason, trust me, because the ones fighting off these monsters are not heroes. They are mercenaries, thugs and bullies. Their names are Obnock, the leader, Mauthe, the brute, Hyles, the weapons master, and Lupus, archer and explosive expert. These four men take advantage of the villagers' inability to defend themselves, charging them large sums of money and demanding to be given whatever they want for free.

Cyan and Magus, being the true heroes that they are, don't like what they are seeing, so they step in to take care of the monster problem, which in turn would force Obnock and his cronies to leave. However, they require help, and thus our new character steps forward, one Artemis Selena.

Her story is fraught with tragedy and trauma, having lost her family save for her adopted brother, Telephus. Her grandfather, in particular, was killed by a particularly gruesome monster when he and Artemis were hunting years prior to this story, and it left her emotionally scarred. The very thought of that one monster turns her dreams into nightmares and paralyzes her with crippling fear.

In this adventure, it is not just about Cyan and Magus saving this village. It is also about inspiring Artemis to find her own strength to face that which she fears most and to learn that courage is not in the absence of fear, but despite it. By the end of this story, Artemis will become a new hero, one that I hope you will become quite fond of.

But wait, there's more!

But I'm not telling you here and now! If you want to know what else goes on this in adventure, then buy the book and see for yourself! After all, I don't want to spoil anything!

I will say this, though: This is the one book where I really let Cyan use the full extent of his abilities. If you read the previous books and thought Cyan was performing at the top of his game, then you haven't seen anything yet! Because this time, after five whole books, Spirit Swords finally make their big comeback!

Now, it's not that Cyan has abstain from using his Spirit Swords for the last five years (for new readers wondering what I'm talking about: spiritual power in the form of sword attacks), it's just that I never had Cyan in a situation where he really needed to use them, except for some offscreen instances. After all, his Spirit Swords are basically the equivalent of a tank, and you wouldn't use a tank to take care of someone with a knife, would you?

And with that comparison in mind, you're probably thinking, "Wow, if Cyan had been holding back in all of these other adventures, where he fought dragons, a warlord, a magi master, and demons, what in the world is he facing in this one that warrants bringing out the 'big guns?'"

Well, only one way to find out...

Sorry, my sister hasn't drawn a specialized picture for this story yet.

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

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