Tag Archives: Adventure Fantasy

‘Once Upon a Curse’ now only .99 cents for a limited time!

Once Upon a Curse (Myth and Magic, Book 1)

Only for a limited time – get a copy for your Kindle or Nook copy NOW! The deal is also available in Kobo, iBookstore, and other online retailers.

“Gorgeous, haunting, and a wonder to read” – San Francisco Book Review

“An appealing way to rediscover the classic tales” – Publishers Weekly

“A beautiful addition to the adventurous fairy tale fan’s shelf” – Portland Book Review

Adobe Photoshop PDFSTEP INTO THE WORLD OF MYTH AND MAGIC…

Fair maidens, handsome princes, witches, and fairy godmothers all show their dark and dangerous side in this anthology inspired by myths and fairy tales, retold by some of the best authors in this generation and by some upcoming new talents. Told with a dark twist, focused on the lure of the gorgeous evil, this collection will take the readers on a wild ride through magical realms of Ancient Greece, old Russia, medieval Europe, and modern day America.

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THE LOATHLY LADY reviewed by ForeWord Reviews

“A true descendant of the fantasy heritage and eminently readable, this novel author builds an immersive world.”

Read the full review here

Buy the book on Amazon at:

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Newest Dragonwell titles now available through Kindle Select: read them for free now!

Amazon prime members can read free copies of “The Garden at the Roof of the World” and “The Loathly Lady” for the next three months. These two stunning historical adventures, featuring the world of the Arthurian myths and the unicorn tales of the Rennaissance Europe from two emerging new talents are the newest releases from Dragonwell Publishing. Download your own copies for Kindle and Kindle apps at Amazon:

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W. B. J. Williams on historical authenticity in fantasy

I’ve been thinking long and hard about some of the things that came up in my discussion with Dr. Gillian Polack in the CoyoteCon workshop on writing historical fiction set in the middle ages. She asserted that people write historical fiction set in the middle ages to explore the pageantry of the time, explore a thesis or educate the readers. My position was that you wrote historical fiction in any age to understand the people who lived then. After all, you can’t understand what pageantry is without understanding the people who celebrated it.

We also disagreed on where you start in writing historical fiction. She posted that you start with the history, and I wrote that you start with the person and then look to understand them in their culture at that time in history. Now, I firmly believe that you can not separate people from their history, nor from their culture, so in a way, we were saying the same thing, like two sides of a coin. You can’t understand people’s decisions, nor can you make sense of their goals and what they were trying to achieve if you don’t understand the history and the culture they lived in. However, what does it mean to start with history and culture, or to start with the person? Especially since the history, the culture, both impact the goals and conflicts that a person will face in their life. History will also impact their lives, as known events overcome them as the characters strive for their goals.

A person is much more than their time and place, however, their time and place define what the expected options are and offer up the consequences from deviation from them. As an example taken from my own fiction, a person in the eighth century France is not likely dreaming of a marriage to their beloved, but a person in the thirteenth century is not only likely to be hoping for a marriage to their beloved, their social institutions are changing rapidly to support these hopes while many held onto traditional views of parents choosing the right spouse for their children. So many of the stories of the era show this conflict unfolding. And if the character is from the south of France, they may be daydreaming of having many lovers instead of a loving husband, and the stories and songs of the region reflect this regional difference.

As an example, in the south of France, in the mid 13th century especially in the aristocracy, a woman was expected to court many lovers, and a man of station to court such women. In my Garden at the Roof of the World, the Lady Elisabeth du Chauvigny was raised to believe that one sought lovers, courting many a man to serve and worship her as their lady, but she lives on the edge of the ideas circulating in the north of France that one should marry for love. She lives in a region untouched by the Albigensian crusade, but the confusion of what is the right way to live and love complicates her life and makes her story that much more authentic to the time. As we live in a time when the definition of the right way to live out a loving relationship is also being redefined in our society, it is worth looking at her life and considering the impact of such change and confusion on the people we know and love.

Before you ask what kind of character you are writing, you need to understand the era, the culture of that time and place. That will help you define how others in your story react to the person, if their actions and decisions are viewed sympathetically or with disgust. However, in the end, a story is about a person striving, and every time and place have an infinite variation in the people who lived and strove. If you start with understanding the person, their goals, their hopes, their fears, their relationships and then put those things into the context of culture and history of the era, you will have a well defined person who fits within the history of the age, the culture of their society, and a story that pulls you into the richness of lives past and deeds worth telling.

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W. B. J. Williams is the author of THE GARDEN AT THE ROOF OF THE WORLD, a medieval adventure fantasy released by Dragonwell Publishing on August 30, 2013.

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THE LOATHLY LADY by John Lawson, upcoming on October 30

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What do women most desire? The answer to this riddle threads The Loathly Lady, an enchanting medieval adventure epic inspired by the old Celtic myth about the Loathly Lady and the Arthurian tales of chivalry. Here is what some of the advance reviews say about the book:

Publishers Weekly called The Loathly Lady “a surprising twist on familiar folk tales and Arthuriana”

A SF Crowsnest reviewer Kelly Jensen says: “I had a hard time putting ‘The Loathly Lady’ aside and the last hundred pages disappeared in a blur.”

Stuart Clark, the author of the acclaimed Project U.L.F. series characterizes the book as “Beautifully crafted. Lawson has created a world that leaps off the pages at you…A classic coming-of-age tale in a not-so-classic fantasy world…Thoroughly recommended!…Lawson puts a whole new twist on the fantasy novel. A must read.”

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Here is what John Lawson himself says about writing this book:

Back when I was in college, to complete my foreign language requirements, I enrolled in a Middle English class.  I was tired of studying French, and perhaps it appealed to me the idea of surprising some drunken fanfaron at the Renn Faire with my fluency.

It was much to my surprise (and pleasure) when I discovered that the class was less about the language and more about the literature.  Just enough of Middle English was taught to enable us to read the works in their original forms.  Term papers dealt with researching words so old and obscure, they weren’t even in the OED.  Most of it was very familiar–Beowulf, Chaucer, Malory, de Troyes–but one piece came as a great surprise to me, The Tale of Florent by John Gower (an analogue to his friend Chaucer’s Wife of Bath tale), and I carried that story with me for over 20 years, waiting for the opportunity to use it.  I have even kept the text book in which I first read it.  (But please don’t look it up if you’re unfamiliar with it.  There’s no need to spoil things.)

In previous interviews, I explained that in addition to exploring new regions of the world of the Seven Kingdoms, each of the books in the Witch Ember Cycle also carried a theme.  The first book, Witch Ember, was heavily influenced by Arthurian Romances.  The sequel, The Raven, borrowed from the Norse Sagas and Eddas.  And Sorrow drew from Regency romances and Gothic horror.  For The Loathly Lady, I wanted to create a fairy tale.  As a prequel to Witch Ember, and with its Medieval setting, the book also leaned heavily Arthurian myths and fables, but really it was the tone of the old style Grimm’s fables that I wanted to capture.  So I adopted as many of the conventions as I could.  The themes of three.  The repetition of introductions and alliteration.  The nesting of stories within stories.  And the fantastic and the grotesque.

Back in 2000, when I was writing Witch Ember, I was still carrying that Loathly Lady story around, and as the book developed, it became clear that two of the minor characters (who in fact ended up have a major impact upon the protagonist) were the perfect vehicles for my fable.  It is with great satisfaction that I was finally able to bring their story to light.  I didn’t so much as want to write a fairy tale as I did tell a story that could become one after, say, a 1000 years of retelling.  I’d like to think that characters like Esmeree and Squirrel could be easily imagined entertaining young urchins gathered around the stage of the Mill, regaling them with the tale of Brandywine, the White Lady, and a dragon.

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Sign up to follow this blog and to receive our newsletter to learn more about this exciting new release. Pre-order it in Dragonwell Publishing Bookstore or at major on-line retailers including Amazon.com

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THE PRINCESS OF DHAGABAD by Anna Kashina: Reviews and Giveaways

It has been over a year since the publication of Anna Kashina’s romantic Arabian-style fantasy THE PRINCESS OF DHAGABAD, but we are still getting great reviews for this book, especially in the wake of its sequel THE GODDESS OF DANCE receiving a silver medal at ForeWord Book of the Year Awards. Here are some great review quotations for THE PRINCESS OF DHAGABAD:

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NEW REVIEWS:

Historical Novel Review: “inexorable and completely satisfying love story that features history, philosophy and myth.  What’s more, I felt the author made the idea of an ancient force of nature falling in love with the young and innocent heroine believable, rather than creepy. Sensuous and intelligent, The Princess of Dhagabad is set within an alternative universe where gods, djinns and sorcerers do magical and philosophical battle. The Spirit of the Ancient Sands is  the first book in a trilogy by a talented new author.” Read the full review at this link.

Erin O’Riordan at Pagan Spirits: “Kashina’s writing is very sensual, very vivid, not only in sensory detail but also in emotional detail…This is a well-told fantasy tale with enough action and romance that fantasy-lovers will find it compelling.” Read the full review at this link.

The Princess of Dhagabad and The Goddess of Dance also received great reviews from Publishers Weekly, RT Book Reviews, Portland Book Review, ForeWord magazine, SF Crowsnest, Mythprint, and others.

SPECIAL THIS WEEK: Help us spread the word about our books by tweeting, sharing, and blogging about them, or posting reviews at any major sites. E-mail us the links to get $5.00 gift certificates to the Dragonwell Publishing Bookstore.

PLUS: we will raffle a $10 Amazon gift certificate for every 20 entrants.

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THE GARDEN AT THE ROOF OF THE WORLD reviews and giveaways

Several wonderful reviews have been recently posted for W. B. J. Williams’s THE GARDEN AT THE ROOF OF THE WORLD:

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Kelly Jensen at SFCrowsnest writes: “‘The Garden At The Roof Of The World’ is delightfully easy to read. The story has a fairy tale quality, but quickly disabuses the reader of any notion the happy ever after will be easily won. It is not a children’s book. The torments of the demons are very adult in nature. Many of the battles and trials are bloody. Not everyone survives…Recommended for fans of fairy tales and mythology and anyone who enjoys an epic quest with all the inherent twists and turns.” Follow this link for the full review.

Claire O’Beara at freshfiction.com says: “Fantasy fans will enjoy this mix of European and Sanskrit folk tales with rich invention and travel lore.” Follow this link for the full review.

Publishers Weekly writes: “This modern fantasy in the style of a medieval romance tackles themes of love and lust, faith, and the nature of the divine.” Follow this link for the full review.

Margaret McGaffey Fisk characterizes this book as “a thinking novel wrapped around a powerful story with characters you can love facing untold dangers and risking everything on their holy mission.” Follow this link for the full review.

Buy your own copy today at Dragonwell Publishing bookstore, Amazon.com, or other major retailers.

SPECIAL THIS WEEK: Post a on-line review and/or add a product link at your web site or in any social media and e-mail us the link at dragonwellpublishing(at)gmail(dot)com to receive a $5 gift certificate to the Dragonwell Publishing bookstore.

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