A Guest Post from Jonathan J. Michael, author of the epic fantasy Blood of Azure Series
Four races with powers dictated by the seasons seek balance and prosperity. However, life instinctively primes itself for survival, and when one race commands the touch of death, all others fall in line. Tyranny plagues Azure as an immortal ruler governs the knowledge of the seasons and those wielding its power.
Four young protagonists, Stone, Jaymes, Goose, and Astor, each navigate their way to escape his shadow and reclaim their freedom. Simple ambitions for young souls. But little did they know, they would uncover the secrets the realm is built upon, and the unique talents they each carry. Their ignorance allows the knowledge of the seasons to escape into the world around them little by little, and with it, a power loosing anarchy upon the realm. A power most aren’t worthy of wielding. It is up to Stone and his companions to tame that power and reclaim the balance.
Four seasons to balance the land. Four sages to balance the life.
This post contains affiliate links. View the full disclosure statement here.
Book 1: Season of Sacrifice
Courage is for the bold. It is not for Stone McLarin. He’s been in hiding for four seasons after being orphaned by the Taoiseach. He doesn’t care for the heroic antics of avenging his parent’s death or securing his freedom. He only desires one thing—to protect his sister’s life.
This proves challenging when his sister, Jaymes, possesses a rivaling power of decay to that of the tyrant ruler’s. She’s a threat to his dominance, and there will be no escaping his shadow.
When the Taoiseach manipulates his way into Jaymes’s life and steals her away, Stone has no choice but to follow. He must venture into the heart of the tyrant’s domain and figure out how to penetrate the impenetrable. And if he succeeds there, he will have to slay the most powerful man in Azure.
In a world ruled by decay, what chance does life stand?
Season of Sacrifice is part one of the Blood of Azure series—an epic fantasy full of grim encounters, heroic adventures, unique magic, and a captivating world to explore.
Author’s Note: Contains explicit language and some graphic descriptions.
Book 2: Season of Suffering
A villain in his own mind, Stone McLarin is labeled the hero for murdering a man.
Not only is Stone weighted down as a hero, but he’s idolized by the dominant religion, and he’s the sole protector of the knowledge of the ages. The pressure of the entire realm is on his shoulders.
Carib Reign, a shapeshifter building an army of immortals, plans to purge the Crimson Capital to find this hidden knowledge. His motive, to give the people of Azure the freedom they deserve.
With many adventures along the way, Stone will lead the charge to defend the Crimson Capital against the Immortal Army. Should he fail, anarchy is inevitable. Death for all Azure, a possibility.
Where there is life, death anticipates. But what if death is abandoned? Life will rebel.
Season of Suffering is part two of the Blood of Azure series—an epic fantasy with both light and dark hearts. You’ll experience many fantasy tropes, clashing swords, unique magic, fantastical beasts, and a wide range of Azure’s scenic terrain.
Author’s Note: Contains explicit language and some graphic descriptions.
Excerpt from Season of Sacrifice (Jaymes)
I rush back to Ellia and Persia, bracing myself for another duel.
Ellia sits propped up against Persia. The last of the wolves are toppled over her. One with its lower jaw removed from its skull and another with her claymore protruding from its spine. She looks up at me with a cold, empty stare.
“You’re alive,” she mumbles.
I help her remove the dead weight and pull her to her feet. She’s missing a chunk of sinew on her thigh. If it were me, I wouldn’t be able to stand.
Then, I remember the damage done to my own body. I look down to see I’m covered in blood. Much of it my own. My calf has a small bite, and my lacerations have reopened. The pain drops on me like an anvil as my berserk emotions fade. Exhaustion swathes over me, and my body gives out.
Ellia, on the other hand, not only remains standing but walks with a half-eaten thigh. She pulls a small jar from a pouch at her waist and rubs the contents onto her wound. She does the same for my wounds.
“Persia is worse off than us,” she comments.
I can’t help but admire her courage and strength. I’ve never met a woman I’ve aspired to be.
Guest Post: The Hardest Part About Writing
I am a self-published author early in his career. And because I have no business telling you what’s hard in the world of a well-established, traditionally published author, this post addresses the hardest parts I’ve witnessed to date. So…for the noobs, feel free to read on to understand what might crush you, with a suggestion or two how to avoid the bookstacks from falling on you. For the potential readers, you get to bear witness to the turmoil us authors endure to stir your emotions. And for the established authors, feel free to read on for a laugh at how easy the noob life is. I can only imagine this journey is like leveling up in a video game. We’re dodging bookstacks now, but when we get to level 99, we’ll be figuring out how to tame fire-breathing dragons with quill and parchment, and make the readers scream and cry on the pages while doing so.
Putting words on the page is easy once you’ve started. Getting started, not so much. Stockpile your ideas. I don’t practice this as well as I should. I’m at a stage in my career where the next series might be a couple years off, but I’ve recently contemplated getting two series going at once. And I have the beginnings already written down. There are many authors who manage several ongoing projects with success. However, if that isn’t your gameplan, it doesn’t mean you don’t need the ideas now. White parchment can be chilling when sitting down to write if you have no place to start. And I wouldn’t be surprised if this is where most authors claim writer’s block. It’s because they’re not stockpiling when the inspiration flows. Starting anew, whether it’s a new series or even a new book in a series, typing on that blank page can be like etching your words into stone. A good place to start is The Story Equation: How to Plot and Write a Brilliant Story from One Powerful Question, by Susan May Warren. This book won’t spark inspiration for a story, but once you have it, this book will help you figure out how to expand upon your ideas and organize it into a properly delivered story.
Finding Inspiration Too Late
I imagine there’s a day in an author’s career when the inspiration flows constantly, and the ideas are stacked as high as the bookshelves in their gorgeous library filled with leatherbound books. Until that day comes, you might have to finish at least one book. Maybe a dozen. I only have two books released, and I’m already looking back on ways to enhance what I’ve already written. Write the new ideas down, but don’t dwell on what is already published. This will be a downfall and has potential to create impostor syndrome if you’re early in your career. Keep looking forward. And keep logging those ideas for future use.
A daunting task more than it is hard. Editing can be intimidating, relentless, and mind-crushing. This all depends on your editing process and the quality of your first draft when you step away from it.
My first draft of my first novel was repulsive. If this is where you’re starting, expect editing to be the biggest challenge. If the internet could speak (Oh wait…it can speak. My mind was just blown.) then you’d hear this everywhere. But editing doesn’t have to be terrible. There are several resources to help you streamline the process and to recognize what errors to look for before sending it to the professional editor. It does take time and effort—don’t lie to yourself. One resource I recommend is, Self-editing for Self-publishers: Incorporating—A Style Guide for Fiction, by Richard Bradburn. This book will help you create a style-guide to maintain consistency among other things. It’s a good starting point to create a routine.
Waiting for Success
Ooh, a sale! Oh, a few more sales! Hey! Weird…why does my mom have three copies of my book on her coffee table? Ooh, a post like! Oh, a five-star review! Oh, wait. Where are the rest? Waiting for success when you don’t know what it looks like is painful. And I doubt there are many, if any, who haven’t been here.
Before you look for success in numbers, you should ponder what it looks like to you. Success differs for every person. It could be a super-yacht so big bridges must be dismantled to get out into the big blue. It could be a fan page dedicated to your work. It could be five five-star reviews. Or it could be any number of things in between. Set goals you have control over. You don’t have control over reviews. But you do have control over the content that will earn you those reviews. You do have control over how often you release a book. You do have control over your marketing strategy. Set goals. Define your success based on what you have control over. Then measure it from there.
Yeah, so pretty much everything about writing is hard except for putting the words on the page. But it isn’t worth doing if it isn’t hard. Or something like that.
About Jonathan J. Michael
Jonathan J Michael was born and raised in the greater Seattle area in the scenic state of Washington. Jonathan is an advocate of science, nature, and exploration, which has a heavy influence in his debut series, Blood of Azure.
When I drive down the freeway, I often want to veer onto the backroads and head for the mountains. When I’m at an evening gathering, I’m eager to step outside and gaze at the stars. When I’m on a ferry, I’m at the guardrail staring into the depths wondering what kind of leviathans lurk below. I’m an explorer, and since I’m not on the next Crew Dragon headed for the ISS, fantasy novels let me have what I seek. I write to explore a world of wonder.
One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.