Dreams of Fire and Gods now available in one cheap bundle!

Dreams of Fire and Gods BundleDreams of Fire and Gods is a trilogy of high fantasy novels set in the kingdom of Dasak, which is on the brink of civil war. At the same time the emperor and his regent in the east prepare for battle, another war is brewing—a war between the gods that threatens to completely destroy the kingdom and leave no survivors.

When these novels were first published, there was a long gap between books two and three, leaving readers hanging. But now Harmony Ink has now released the entire trilogy as one low-cost bundle! Get the entire saga for just $9.99!

A thousand years ago, two factions of gods, the Stronni and the Taaweh, nearly destroyed the Kingdom of Dasak by warring for the land and the frightened humans who lived there. Then suddenly the Taaweh vanished and the Stronni declared victory.

In the present day, tensions escalate between the emperor and his regent to the point of war, which will be nothing compared to the war that comes with the Taaweh’s return. Join the regent’s son and apprentice mage Sael and his vagabond lover Koreh as they dodge assassins, rescue the Taaweh queen, and take journeys through the underworld in their quest to save their world from being destroyed in another confrontation between the gods.

Buy Links: 

Harmony Ink/Dreamspinnerhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7517

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Dreams-Fire-Bundle-James-Erich-ebook/dp/B01BLKYT9A/

Excerpt:

“I SAID I was sorry,” Koreh repeated, exasperated.

“And I said I don’t care.”

Sael stood facing the fire with his undertunic held out to catch the heat. It wasn’t very modest, but he didn’t think Koreh could see anything from where he was standing. Geilin had grown tired of the argument and lay down to sleep after drinking his tea. The old man lay wrapped up in his cloak, facing away from the fire.

“I don’t really think you’re slow.”

“Now that Master Geilin’s told you I’m not.”

Koreh groaned in frustration. “Look. I don’t know how much training it takes to become a vönan—”

“A lot!”

“All right,” Koreh continued, “fine. But it just seemed to me that, after ten years of training, you’d be a little further along.”

Sael glared at him. Was this Koreh’s idea of an apology?

“As Master Geilin already told you,” he responded coolly, “I’m doing as well in my studies as any other tenth-year student. Better than most. I just can’t cast when I’m rushed. I have to concentrate.”

“So, you’re not rushed now. Let’s see you throw a fireball. Just a little one.”

“We’re supposed to be hiding, remember?” Sael snapped. “It’s bad enough we had to light a fire to dry off. If I start throwing fireballs around, they’ll be seen for leagues in all directions.”

Koreh’s derisive snort was the last straw. Sael turned and stalked over to the edge of the clearing. After searching the underbrush for a moment, he found what he was looking for—a sturdy branch about the length of a walking staff.

Koreh was watching him with a smirk on his face when he returned to the fire.

Trying to ignore him, Sael lifted the branch up over his head so it lay horizontally. Then with both hands gripping it firmly, he said, “Grab hold.”

“Huh?”

“I’ll show you something not even your Taaweh could do. Now grab on!”

Koreh hesitated only a moment before accepting whatever challenge Sael was offering him. He approached the boy, looking him dead in the eye before reaching up with one hand to grab the staff.

“Both hands,” Sael insisted, “and hold on tight.”

“Yes, little lord.” Koreh’s voice was mocking.

Sael frowned. “Hold on tight, or you’ll die. I mean it.”

“Fine. I’m holding on.”

The apprentice vönan closed his eyes and began chanting under his breath. It wasn’t easy, because in order for Koreh to grasp the staff, he had to press his body against Sael’s. And he was still naked. That was incredibly distracting, even with the linen undertunic separating their bodies. But the thought of further humiliation if he failed forced Sael to focus.

In the dark, with Druma obscured by clouds, Sael knew his power would be very limited. He could feel the magical energy he’d stored up during the day like a fire burning in his chest and head, but not nearly as hot as he often felt it—the pervasive fog had prevented him from drawing much power, even at midday. Still, it should be enough.

Sael chanted under his breath, ancient words given to men by the gods that simultaneously unlocked channels in the body for the energy to flow through and protected the body from the energy it channeled. This was one of the reasons the training of a vönan was such a slow, painstaking process—it took years to learn how to channel the energy safely before a master would dare allow his pupil to experiment with powerful spells. Every apprentice at the academy had heard horror stories of overzealous pupils bursting into flames. The stories may not all have been true, but the masters never bothered to contradict them.

When the chant ended, Sael opened his eyes to find Koreh watching him with apprehension. Clearly the magic of the Stronni still made him very uncomfortable. He looked as though he were about to say something when the staff suddenly jerked upward, lifting both young men off the ground.

Sael had been prepared for it, but Koreh panicked for a second, scrambling for a tighter grip.

Sael couldn’t help laughing as the staff came to a stop about ten feet above where they’d been standing. “Don’t fall.”

“I’m fine.” Koreh’s startled expression turned to one of defiance. “Is this all you had to show me? We’re barely off the ground.”
Suddenly he gasped as the staff flew upward again, this time coming to a stop just a short distance above the treetops. Koreh hooted in delight.

“Quiet!” Sael said under his breath, though he was secretly pleased. “You’ll wake Master Geilin.”

Koreh ignored him, laughing and twisting his head this way and that to take in the unusual vantage point. “Take us higher!”

“Hang on, then—tight!”

Now that the spell had been cast, it took little effort for Sael to control it, like turning the wick up on a lantern. He felt the energy flowing from his core increase and the two of them began to soar upwards. Higher and higher they climbed, until the light from the campfire seemed far, far below. Despite the night being overcast, the Eye cast a soft blue-gray light over everything, diffused through the clouds, and the gently waving treetops stretching off into the distance all around them seemed ethereal and beautiful.

He feared for a moment he’d overdone it. If Koreh lost his grip, Sael wasn’t sure he’d be able to save him from falling. But Koreh was laughing now like a young child being spun around in his father’s arms.

He was loving this and had dropped all pretense of superiority. When his eyes met Sael’s, Sael saw admiration in them for the first time. And he knew that he would do anything for that look.

But then he glanced past Koreh, and what he saw made his blood run cold. A vast number of tiny spots of light dotted the ground in the distance, hazy in the mist but still visible. They weren’t the lights of Mat’zovya—he could see those on the far side of the lake. These were just beyond, in the fields between the old city and the new. They had to be campfires.

Hundreds of them.

“We’re being followed!” he exclaimed.

The cover for “Gods” has been finalized!

GodsFSHere is the cover for my new YA fantasy novel, Gods, designed by the fabulous cover artist, Paul Richmond!  (Paul designed the first two in the trilogy, as well.)  This is the third and final installment in the Dreams of Fire and Gods trilogy.

One of the things that jumps out immediately, if you’ve seen the first two covers in the series, is how misty and blue it looks, compared to the others.  That’s because the valley of Harleh, in which much of the story takes place, is enveloped in a mysterious bluish cloud cover.

The novel is scheduled for release on October 17th!  I also have a chat scheduled for that day.  I’ll post about that again when it rolls around.

An Interview with James Erich (Me) at The Boys On The Brink Blog

I’ve been posting about this on my Facebook page, but I can’t believe I’ve forgotten to post it on my blog!

Jamie Deacon, over at The Boys On the Brink Blog, posted an interview with me here.  There is also an excerpt from Seidman accompanying it here.

Thank you very much, Jamie!

In other news, Dreams of Fire and Gods: Dreams is done with post-production and will be released on this coming Saturday, the 15th!  There is an author chat with me on that day, on the Harmony Ink Facebook page, so I hope to see some of you there!

Dreams of Fire and Gods: Dreams has a cover!

We’ve just been through some rough drafts of the cover for book one of Dreams of Fire and Gods and this is what the finalized cover looks like!

The art is by Paul Richmond, who I’ve worked with in the past, and I think it does a great job of showing the struggle between the gods of night and the gods of the day in my fantasy kingdom of Dasak — and doing so in a way that really grabs your attention!

We’ve finished the first rounds of edits on the novel and it’s scheduled to be released on December 15th through Harmony Ink Press!

“Dreams of Fire and Gods: Fire” has been accepted for publication!

I just signed the publishing contract for Book Two of my Dreams of Fire and Gods YA fantasy trilogy with Harmony Ink!  This one is simply called Fire.  I don’t exactly have a blurb yet, but here’s the description I included in my cover letter:

While Sael and his father, Vek Worlen, attempt to keep their respective cities from coming apart under the strain of frightening magical influences or being destroyed outright by the gods, Koreh is informed of an extremely dangerous plan that the Taaweh have to rescue their goddess from the Stronni:  a plan that only he and Sael can carry off.

In the meantime, a young man named Donegh begins to piece together what happened in Harleh Valley, as he makes his way through an increasingly alien landscape, intent on carrying out his mission to assassinate the Dekan of Harleh, Sael dönz Menaük.

Book One (Dreams) entered the editing queue last week and the cover is also being worked on now.  I’m dying to see what the art department comes up with!

Of course, this also means I have to finish Book Three.  I’ve begun it as a NaNoWriMo project this month, but so far I haven’t written much.  The problem is, I just finished (and submitted) an adult novel last weekend, so I’m a bit worn out creatively.  But hopefully, I’ll perk up and get moving on Book Three this coming week!

“Dreams of Fire and Gods: Dreams” has entered the editing queue!

Book one of my YA fantasy trilogy has now entered editing!  I just approved the blurb today:

A thousand years ago, two factions of gods, the Stronni and the Taaweh, nearly destroyed the Kingdom of Dasak by warring for the land and the frightened humans who lived there.  Then suddenly the Taaweh vanished and the Stronni declared victory.

Now, as tensions escalate between the emperor and his regent, Vek Worlen, the Vek’s son, apprentice mage Sael dönz Menaük, finds himself allied with a homeless vagabond named Koreh. Together they flee the capital city and make their way across a hostile wilderness to the Vek’s keep, mere steps ahead of the emperor’s assassins.

But Koreh has dreams—dreams of the ancient Taaweh—and he knows the looming war between the emperor and the Vek will be nothing compared to the war that is about to begin. The Taaweh are returning, and the war between the gods may destroy the kingdom once and for all.

I talked to my publisher this weekend about changing the title of the first book from Awakening to Dreams.  This is because it occurred to me when I finished book two that the first book does focus on Koreh’s dreams a lot — they frequently occur at chapter breaks.  And the second book features fire in the form of fireballs being hurled at the city by the Stronni, while the last book has the gods (the Stronni and the Taaweh) finally confronting each other on the field of battle.  Therefore the titles will be:

Dreams of Fire and Gods: Dreams
Dreams of Fire and Gods: Fire
Dreams of Fire and Gods: Gods

Not particularly brilliant, perhaps, but I think it works.

Book one should be released this December!

Another Excerpt from “Dreams of Fire and Gods: Awakening”

Okay, so last night I was in a romantic mood and posted one of my favorite scenes in the developing relationship between Sael and Koreh — something humorous, with a dash of sex thrown in.

This morning, I woke up and realized that this may have given people the wrong idea about the book.  It isn’t just a silly gay sex romp with a thin veneer of fantasy painted over it.  It actually has a very detailed world, with a complex mythos and warring factions of gods in it, along with a war between the emperor and Sael’s father, Vek Worlen.  (Vek is a title given to the emperor’s regent in the eastern half of the kingdom.)

So here’s a scene that hopefully appeals more to fans of the fantasy genre:

In the darkening twilight, the forest seemed to close in on him, until the sounds of Sael’s chanting grew muffled and far away.  He could feel what Geilin had talked about — that there was something wrong with this place.  But Sael’s spellworking disturbed him even more.  He’d as soon wait until it was over, before returning to camp.

Koreh smelled the creature before he saw it.  A rotten smell, as though he’d stumbled upon the carcass of a dead animal.  He screwed his face up in distaste, nearly gagging on the stench as he searched the underbrush with his eyes for it.  When he turned around, he saw something huge and monstrous lumbering towards him out of the shadows.

It creaked and rustled as it moved, like old bare branches swaying in the wind.  Its hide was a patchwork of matted, rotting fur — wolf, bear, elk, a dozen others Koreh couldn’t identify — held together with dirt, dried leaves and pine needles.  And as it drew nearer, Koreh could see bones jutting through in places.  Its head was the skull of a bear, with great hollow eye sockets and monstrous fangs, yet it was crowned with the antlers of a great stag.  From somewhere deep within its hollow chest, came a rasping, menacing growl.

Koreh backed away, aware that the thick brambles behind him would make it impossible to run in that direction.  He wondered for just a second how the dried, dead thing would fare against one of Geilin’s firebolts.  But the old man was too far away, even if he were up to fighting the creature.  Koreh would have to save himself.

But there seemed to be some kind of…force emanating from it — an almost palpable aura of dread.  Koreh felt certain that it wasn’t just his own fear holding him rooted to the spot.  He’d never felt terror this intense in his entire lifetime; it was paralyzing him.  He wanted to drop into the earth and escape, but he was unable to make his mind obey.

He knew he was about to die.

Would the thing eat him?  Did it even have a stomach?  Perhaps it would somehow incorporate him into its body.  Koreh had heard tales of demen with animal bodies, but the heads or faces of men.  If he hadn’t wanted to scream before that thought passed through his mind, he certainly did now.  But no sound would come from his mouth.

Suddenly two things happened at once.  The beast charged, letting out a horrible bellow, and the leaves on the forest floor in front of Koreh swirled upwards, as if caught in a whirlwind.  Within the leaves was a dark shape, like the figure of a man, but impossible to see clearly.  It seemed to be wrapped in a cloak made entirely of shadows.  Koreh couldn’t tell if he was looking at something solid, or not.  In places, it seemed almost transparent, and the leaves seemed to pass through it, as they fluttered through the air.  The figure slid silently up out of the ground, whirling around to strike at the monster with a shimmering staff.

Frozen, Koreh watched the butt of the staff thud against the beast’s skull.  The staff, at least, was solid and there was a resounding crack that sounded far too loud to be mere wood against bone.  The creature’s skull blazed with a shimmering blue fire.  It roared in pain, swinging its great antlered head in a deadly arc.  But there was nothing for the antlers to strike.  The sharp, jagged points swept through the shadowy cloak without ever tearing or snagging it.

In the next instant, two other figures rose up out of the forest floor, in swirls of dead leaves and twigs and dark cloaks.  They surrounded the beast, striking at it quickly, as it thrashed about in pain and anger.  Wherever the staffs struck its mottled, patchwork hide, blue light flickered briefly.   The light lapped upward like flame, but left no scorch marks.  The creature was clearly suffering great pain and as it writhed and thrashed about, Koreh felt a momentary flash of pity for the thing.

Then its legs gave out beneath it and, with a great rasping exhalation, it tumbled over and lay still.  Just as quickly as they had appeared, the shadowy figures spiraled down into the leaves and dirt, and vanished.  They might never have been there, save for the corpse they’d left behind.  And that looked as if it had been dead for weeks, if not months.

Koreh was shaking.  Somehow he’d managed to hold onto the wood he’d been gathering, though he hadn’t been conscious of clutching it.  It was rapidly growing dark now and he wanted nothing more than to run back to camp.  But some perverse sense of curiosity made him approach the dead thing.

It lay absolutely still.  Cautiously, Koreh kicked the massive bear skull with one foot.  The head came loose from the neck with the sound of rotted parchment tearing and rolled away from him, coming to rest with one of its antlers propping it up.  Empty eye sockets stared back at him.  But apart from that, the creature did not move.

 

Trying to Finish Book Two of “Dreams of Fire and Gods” (and an excerpt from Book One!)

So this is my first official writing deadline, since I became a published author.  I promised my publisher that I would have Book Two of my Dreams of Fire and Gods YA fantasy trilogy done in two months.  It’s coming along, and I haven’t run into any serious stumbling blocks (having an outline really helps!), but it’s not going as quickly as I’d hoped.

The day I stayed home sick with a migraine this week was my most productive day, yet.  (And yes, I really did have a migraine.)  I think it’s becoming clear that I can write at a good pace, as long as I have the time.  But of course, all writers with day jobs lament the lack of time they have to write.

But it just occurred to me that I haven’t posted any excerpts from the first novel yet, so just to whet everyone’s appetite (I hope), here’s a short scene from Dreams of Fire and Gods:  Awakening, which I believe is going to be released some time in December.

In this scene, our two young heroes — Sael, who is the son of a nobleman, and Koreh, a peasant — have to pretend to be married in order to get a private room in a tavern, rather than sleep in the common room.  They are with Geilin, the sorcerer to whom Sael is apprenticed.  There are two words in this scene from the language they speak in the kingdom:  nimen, which can mean a spouse of any gender, and ömem, which refers to a special type of seeress (and a healer, in the context of the scene).

Married!  Sael realized, of course, that Koreh had just said that so they could have a bed to sleep in, in a private room, and for that he was grateful.  But now he couldn’t get images of him and Koreh sharing the bed – as nimen – out of his mind.

Not that Sael really had any idea what that was like.  Some of the girls back in the capital had flirted with him on occasion, but he’d never had any interest in pursuing anything with them.  No doubt Koreh had plenty of experience.  And Sael also had no doubt that Koreh reveled in coming up with ways to embarrass him.

Will he try to…do something?

Sael’s stomach was in knots, just thinking about it.

The innkeeper had noticed that Koreh was injured, which wasn’t much of a feat — the entire right side of Koreh’s tunic and breeches, from his stomach to his knee, was soaked with blood.  He knew of no ömem who would take kindly to being dragged out of bed, at this hour of the morning.

“Me wife, though,” the balding, grizzled man told them, “ain’t so bad wi’ a bandage.  She kin fix ya up – leastwise ’til mornin’.”

The man’s dialect baffled Sael, but Koreh and Geilin seemed to understand him.  His wife came out of the kitchen, when he called for her.  She then clucked over Koreh’s wound for a few moments, before dragging him out to the kitchen, where she could clean it properly.

Koreh returned with the bloody tunic in one hand and a fresh linen wrapping about his middle.

“Goodwife,” Geilin said with a bow, “We are indebted to you.”

The woman smiled warmly and replied, “No’ at all.  But I hope ye know better than t’ go near them ruins, now – ‘specially at night.”

Geilin raised his eyebrow at this, no doubt wondering just what Koreh had told her.  But he smiled and replied, “I think we’ve learned our lesson.”

The woman led the three companions upstairs to a small room with two beds, and left them, after lighting the tallow candle on the nightstand.

The beds were small, but large enough to accommodate both young men in one, and the blankets looked fairly clean.  The single nightstand between the beds had a chamber pot under it, which Sael desperately hoped nobody would use in front of him.

His anxiety at sharing a bed shot up sharply when Koreh shucked his breeches, tossing them onto the floor with his tunic.  Since he had no undertunic, that left him stark naked, yet again.

“You aren’t sleeping with me like that!” Sael practically shrieked.

Koreh had been about to crawl under the blanket, the night air being a bit on the brisk side.  He stopped and glanced over at Sael.  “Why not?”

“Don’t you have any modesty, at all?”

“No,” Koreh replied, sounding irritated, “And I have no intention of sleeping in those blood-soaked breeches.  They’re sticky and they’re already getting stiff.”

Sael turned to Geilin with a pleading expression, but the old wizard merely shrugged.  “He does have a point.  I suppose you could loan him your undertunic, if his nudity makes you uncomfortable.”

“But then I’d be naked!”

“Well, yes,” Geilin agreed.  “I suppose it’s a matter of which makes you more uncomfortable:  Koreh being naked, or you being naked.”

Sael wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that.

“I suppose,” Geilin went on, “that I could loan him my undertunic.”

The thought of seeing Geilin naked was even more disturbing to Sael than either of the other possibilities, so he grudgingly replied, “Nevermind.  He’s been running around naked half the time, anyway….”

Koreh slipped under the blanket and gave Sael a cocky grin.  “Come to bed, nimen,” he said, patting the mattress beside him.  “Help me warm up.”

“Drop dead.”

Geilin stripped down to his undertunic and lifted the covers on his bed.  “Sael, it’s very late.  And we’re all very tired.  Get into bed, please, so I can blow the candle out.”

Sael removed his outer tunic and breeches, glad that his linen undertunic went down to his knees.

“He’s probably going to grope me, while I’m sleeping,” he muttered, as he climbed into the bed.  Koreh shook his head and sighed, then rolled away from him.

Geilin said, sleepily, “Koreh, keep your hands to yourself.”

Then he blew out the candle.

The room wasn’t completely dark.  The rippled glass panes of the solitary window let in a pale gray light from the Eye of Druma outside.

The bed was already warming up from Koreh’s body and Sael had to admit it felt good.  He was exhausted.  But just as he settled in, Koreh said quietly, “What?  No goodnight kiss?”

Sael groaned.

New Book Contract!

The map for my new fantasy novel “Dreams of Fire and Gods: Awakening.”

I’ve just signed a contract with Harmony Ink Press for my YA fantasy novel Dreams of Fire and Gods: Awakening!

I’ve been working on creating this fantasy world for about a year and a half now.  The map on the left is unfinished and still pretty crude — for one thing, there are no towns or locations marked — but it’s the general layout of the kingdom.  In the first novel, my heroes, Sael and Koreh, travel from southwest to northeast across a good part of it.

Here’s the description of the novel I put in my cover letter:

A thousand years ago, the kingdom was nearly destroyed, as two factions of gods — the Stronni and the Taaweh — warred for the land and the frightened humans who lived there.  Then suddenly the Taaweh vanished and the Stronni declared victory.

Now, as the likelihood of a war between the Emperor and his regent, Vek Worlen, approaches, the Vek’s son, Sael, finds himself allied with Koreh, a homeless vagabond, as he flees the capital city and makes his way across a hostile wilderness to his father’s keep. 

But Koreh has dreams — dreams of the ancient Taaweh — and he knows that the looming war between the Emperor and the Vek will be nothing, compared to the war that is about to begin.  Because the Taaweh are returning and the war between the gods may destroy the kingdom and all who dwell there.

I’ve been working on part two, but it hasn’t been going very fast, because so many other things have been distracting me lately.  But I’ve just promised I’ll have a final draft in two months, so now I have to buckle down and get it done.  Failing to meet my editor’s deadline would be a very bad thing.

I’m told we have a tentative date for the release of part one by the end of this year!