Oct
3
2013

DD at the Collingswood Book Festival

If you’re in the neighborhood of Collingswood, New Jersey this weekend (October 5th), you’ll want to go to the Collingswood Book Festival. Double Dragon will have a table at the festival, so stop by and visit some of our authors and maybe get an autographed book!

For more about the festival, click here.

Jul
31
2013

A Bard in the Hand

Adventure! Drama! Mystery! Humor! It’s all here in the newest TALES OF FORTANNIS anthology from Double Dragon!

A BARD IN THE HAND is the second book in this series, featuring stories set in the world of Michael A. Ventrella’s Double Dragon novels ARCH ENEMIES and THE AXES OF EVIL. BardInHand-510

Here are the cover blurbs:

“Magic. Knights. Werewolves. Doppelgangers. Elves. There’s no telling what will pop up in Michael A. Ventrella’s Fortannis fantasy series when he invites other writers to play in his sandbox. No need to wait for any ‘extended editions.’ These stories are good to go now.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, author of the Hugo-nominated JAR JAR BINKS MUST DIE and SHH! IT’S A SECRET.

“A very fun anthology of tales in a world both expected and very different indeed! In A BARD IN THE HAND, Michael Ventrella and others revisit the world of Fortannis and emerge with tales to astound, amuse, and bemuse; here is sword-and-sorcery to stand well next to that of Leiber and Moorcock, and ordinary people swept up into events far larger than they which can still be addressed with some common sense and cleverness. A young woman makes a choice, and faces the consequences of choice and the price of learning, while another duels in darkness for the soul of a child, and an old man recounts an adventure of his youth that kindles a spark in those who listen. A fun book, well worth reading!” – Ryk Spoor, author of PHOENIX RISING and GRAND CENTRAL ARENA.

“Curl up in your favorite chair with your favorite beverage and get ready for adventure, action and derring-do—it’s all here!” – Gail Z Martin, author of ICE FORGED

This edition features the following tales:

“The Mystery of the Black-Bearded Dwarf” by Michael A. Ventrella: Terin and his fellow squires find themselves in dwarven lands, having to solve a murder where everyone has a motive and an alibi. Can they figure out whodunnit and prevent the dwarven clans from going to war?

“Embarrassing Relations” by Bernie Mojzes and Bob Norwicke: After defending Ashbury from an unspeakable horror from beyond time and space, Maris Goselin finds herself with a new assignment: help the Duke avoid spending quality time with a gibbering out-of-town relative. It seems easy, but Maris soon realizes that although the relative may be insane, insanity is relative, and sometimes making a living has life-threatening consequences.

“Knight’s Gambit” by Tera Fulbright: A newly ordained Knight learns that some things really are black and white.

“Curso and the Perilous Purple Pixie Problem” by Roy C. Booth and Brian Woods: Curso and his friends find themselves traveling to a mysterious cave in order to save a pixie who may be more trouble than she’s worth.

“A Hero of Padrin’s Hold” by Mike Strauss: Sometimes a hero does things that are necessary, and sometimes it is best when no one knows.

“The Golden Gifts” by Laurel Anne Hill: Artha, a biata gifted in magic, must outwit a powerful necromancer. Only a few hours to complete this task remain. If Artha succeeds, her brother’s dying daughter will rest in peace forever. Failure, however, will doom Artha and her beloved young niece to the ranks of the undead.

“A Hero is Born” by Davey Beauchamp: A young man finds himself traveling with a mysterious and possibly crazy bard — which leads him meet a group of villains out to awaken a long-asleep powerful creature. If only a hero would arrive …

“The Vacarran Corsair” by Jesse Grabowski: The streets of Dockside were never the safest of places, even in broad daylight, and even for a skilled pirate. This is a place for homeless children, wealthy and ruthless thieves, and corruption. Here, even the heart of a pirate can change. Loss of innocence can sometimes remove thoughts of plunder and loot … sometimes.

“The Chandler’s Tale” by Henry Hart: Pursued by monsters, a boy becomes lost in the elven wood where he learns that some things are worth dying for.

“Beyond the Bitter River” by Jon Cory: After being banished from the kingdom, Sarlon races for the border, pursued by the king’s guards. His only hope lies in a mysterious elven girl who has taught herself how to do magic … poorly.

“Dreamed Tortures” by Mark Mensch: Nigel finds himself in the home of his long lost love, Kayleigh –however not everything is as it seems. All actions have consequences and the people he relieved of their valuable artifact have some type of payment in mind.

Jun
16
2013

Why Zombies and Why Now?

Zombies are a popular topic at conventions these days. Assemble a bunch of horror writers talking about monsters and the discussion often turns to, why zombies and why now?

It was on a panel attempting to answer this question that the idea for my zombie story Chilling Out occurred to me.

We’d deliberated the evolution of zombies and their current status as a favorite monster. Much of the conversation circulated around the idea that zombies serve as a reflection for the turmoil that has rocked our world since the beginning of the new millennium.

It made me wonder…in our technological world, what would the contemporary zombie do? Certainly the tech-savvy zombie would attempt to use all of the modern conveniences we take for granted. The line, “At the current temperature of seventy degrees, I figure my shelf-life is about half a day” popped into my head. And that became the seed of the story.

In a post apocalyptic world it would likely be the tried and true, old-fashioned remedies that would work the best. Ultimately our connection to each other would become our most valuable commodity.

Jun
4
2013

Reviews of Vampires Inc

Vampires Inc.

- An Urban Fantasy Novel -

Rick Taubold & Chris R. Hosey

Reviewers: She Said – Gloria Lakritz / She Said – Penelope Adams

Book: Vampires Inc.

Authors: Rick Taubold & Chris R. Hosey

Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing

Genre: Vampire Urban Fantasy

Rating: Mature

Vampires, Inc. is the first novel of a trilogy that follows 22 yr old vampire, Adrian Shadowhawk, and his mentor, Eli Howard.

These are not your classic vampires. They don’t have fangs (regrettably for some); they’re not predators. They still require human blood (voluntary donations), but they also eat regular food. They have telepathic powers. And they are mortal.

Thousands of vampires exist in the world. At one time normal humans, now they are infected with a unique, transmissible-by-blood virus that has changed them. For centuries, most vampires have lived a peaceful existence in secret among humans.

140 yrs ago, Eli Howard murdered his slaveholder’s family during the temporary madness brought on by the infection. In 1905, he helped quell in a violent conflict started in Europe against humans by dissident vampires. Since then, Eli has kept to himself, trying to erase the violence in his past. He teaches at a Detroit college, to help humans better themselves. Adrian Shadowhawk, on the other hand, is less judicious in his behavior, and flaunts what he is to his human friends.

Then, Cyrus Hayes, the vampire behind the murder of Eli’s first love, arrives in Detroit. On a quest to make vampires the master race, Cyrus performs unconscionable experiments on humans. With the future of humans and vampires at stake, Eli can no longer stay in the background.

gloria lakritz – she said: | Penelope adams – she said:

4****Stars

I must say first off…I loved this book! What a refreshing, exciting opening to a new trilogy. The focus on this story went into several different directions, and the reader is introduced to many new faces, each having enough substance in their personalities to not confuse. Most of the characters were very likeable or hate-able; using the latter for the villains. We learn the authors concepts of what their human/vampire world entails, with councils and laws, and how they were formed.

We first meet 140 yr old vampire Eli Howard, a black college history professor and also mentor of 22 yr old vampire Adrian Shadowhawk. Howard, born a slave in the Deep South, killed his owner and family during the blood lust, after receiving the virus by being bitten, and turning him into a vampire. We have not heard actually how Adrian came to be vampire, he just shrugs when asked and says he is better off this way than when he was human. This is a story I imagine for another time.

Two brothers, Seth and Ben, have been estranged for a long time. Ben goes to his vampire brother asking for help for his son Jonathan, asking Seth to infect his tragically ill son, so as not to lose him to death. Jonathan is just 10 yrs old and will need someone to aid in his teachings. Eli inherits this young man to mentor.

We can see the household changing from one of two people living together to becoming a family. 17 yr old human high school student, punky rapper Drake Radley, the son of Ethan and Valarie Radley, and heir to Radley Biotech, finds his way into the ‘family’ as well.

Vampires formed a Council in 1905, after a great upheaval. This is when older vampires either helped serve, like Ysabel de la Cruz, or dropped out completely living quiet lives away from the fray, like Eli Howard. Things are changing in the city of Detroit, and Eli fears his city needs some cleaning up from the threat of violence that is growing.

We are now armed with information that a sinister foe from Eli’s past, Cyrus Hayes, is working feverishly, wanting to make vampires the master race. He wants to perform deadly experiments on humans. Will he use Biotech for his deadly plans? Eli is torn now, since he wanted to kill Hayes years ago, and was asked by his mentor not to. Now he can no longer stay silent.

Eli and his fellow vampires are not predator/prey vamps, but the ones who were originally human, eat regular food, have no fangs, are strong, have telepathic powers and wish peace and co-existence with the humans. They were humans infected with a unique, transmissible-by-blood virus that has changed them into what they are.

This is a wonderfully quick moving and exciting story of computer hacking, murder, torture and deceit. It is paced well and to lessen the angst, we also find the forming of a family cemented by trust and respect, and there are enough fun moments with the camaraderie of the three boys who now consider themselves not only brothers, but want to be blood brothers.

Although this is a series, there are overlapping stories still to learn, but for this book there is some closure of sorts and I look forward to follow what tidbits are left open.

Review by Gloria Lakritz

Sr Reviewer and Review Chair for the Paranormal Romance Guild

3.5***’Stars

As Professor Eli Howard is leaving class, he comes across a couple of thugs attempting to rape a young girl; he comes to her rescue, and in doing so, opens a new chapter in his life.

Eli has a deep dark secret and an even darker past; he is a vampire. He lives in a rundown section of Detroit, and shares his home with Adrian Shadowhawk, a young vampire he is mentoring. After the incident at the University Eli decides that he and Adrian should attempt to clean up Detroit, but before they can begin their campaign, an old enemy from Eli’s past resurfaces.

Eli is asked to take in a child newly turned to a vampire and teach him how to live with his new life and Adrian will bring a human teenage boy into their lives who will have a strange connection to Eli’s old enemy.

The author’s have decided to give us a new and different type of vampire. They are human, don’t have fangs, eat normal food though they do need blood, they can be killed, can go out in day time, but have sensitive skin and eyes, and live amongst non-vampires going about their daily lives. They are not immortal, although they do age slower than their non-vampire counterparts so they live longer lives.

Eli was a slave before he was turned, and after turning, went on a killing spree until he was eventually taken in by an older vampire who taught him how to live his new life. As he grew older, he separated himself from the vampire community, keeping in touch with only a few friends and living a peaceful, quiet life. He chooses to be a pacifist but is not a weak man and if pushed, can and will show his not so peaceful side.

Adrian is the complete opposite of Eli. He hasn’t been a vampire for many years, he is young and he likes to go out and party, and has even told a few humans what he really is. He often pushes Eli’s patience to the edge, but he does respect Eli and proves his loyalty more than once.

While the story is Eli’s and to some extent Adrian’s, the human teenage boy Drake and 10 yr old newly turned vampire Jonathan are key players as well. When we meet Drake, he is your typical spoiled rich kid. He is rude and disrespectful to his parents, and likes to rap, which was a little annoying but soon stopped.

Young Jonathan is a scared little boy who doesn’t know what is happening to him, but soon learns just what he is capable of. Eli’s old nemesis Cyrus Hayes is a nasty, crazy as can be bad guy and the perfect foil for the goodness of Eli. We meet a number of other vampires in the story, some old friends and some new.

I enjoyed the story but found myself putting it aside after reading a chapter or two. I couldn’t get a handle on the style in which it was written. At times it felt like a YA book, yet there was sex and some pretty extreme violence, which lead to some confusion for me as to who the target audience was.

My issue with the writing style aside, this was an interesting take on vampires and I was completely taken with Eli and company. I loved the concept and the story took me in almost from the beginning. There is an interesting little twist at the end and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series to see what happens. I’m hoping we get to learn more about Adrian’s past and discover more about little Jonathan’s newly found powers.

I think anyone who wants a more “human” vampire, and likes a good strong lead character, is going to enjoy this book.

Review by Penelope Adams

Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

Now that the reviewers have read each other’s thoughts…

Enter Penny, to do a Dual Review with me, for the book Vampires Inc. that we have just read!!! This story is a collaboration of two authors, Kevin R Hosey and Rick Taubold, and is the first in their series. Although beginnings of a series are sometimes slow for world building purposes, this book has left both Penny and I with the desire to continue on for more. I cannot say enough about the different vampire factors that play into this story. Vampirism here is a virus, and we the reader do not yet know where it came from. The disease is still an abomination to humans, and that’s why I was so empathetic towards Jonathan’s father. His ten year old son was dying before his eyes, and he made a decision to have him receive the virus rather than never see or hold him again. Had to be torturous, yet I would too search my soul the same way for my child.

I was intrigued by the entire story. The fact that vampirism is a virus was an excellent way to introduce the reader to vampires that weren’t “the living dead” but humans with a few quirks. I agree it had to be a difficult decision for Jonathan’s father to make, and I’m not sure I would have been able to do it myself. I liked the way Jonathan’s uncle stepped up and said if I do this, I do it with help and not just leave this child to make it on his own. I think another interesting twist to this story was the fact that while it was essentially Eli’s story, he was by no means the main character. It was almost as if there were 2 or 3 mini stories taking place at the same time. Normally that would have driven me crazy but I really didn’t have any problem following the different “mini” plots.

It was sad that the two brothers had lost their relationship because of the virus. Jonathan’s dad now had to reach out to his brother for help and the virus connected them. I cannot wait to see what transpires with the others. We still have not heard about Adrian’s past. Drake is less annoying, finally stopping rapping and having to grow up. Eli, now having to come to terms with what his presence in this familial setting is, and how this is all to play out! Yes, the story went in a few directions, but did not confuse. Maybe it was the voice you found child-like in your review that took the reader carefully down many paths… All in all, I am starting Book two this week, called Vampires Anonymous. On to the next chapter.

You might be right, that the voice of the story may be what I found childlike. I was happy to see Drake stop with the rapping. When I first started reading I thought “oh no, I’m not going to be able to put up with this for the entire book”, but he did settle down. Adrian was an interesting fellow and really stepped up and took responsibility as the story unfolded, I was proud of him. Like you, I’m getting ready to read the next book in the series and find out what happens next.

Good night Gracie.

Nite George

Q&A with Authors Rick Taubold & Chris R. Hosey

1. We found out that vampires are actually human with just a blood virus that makes them different; will we ever find out how that virus began?

We will most definitely reveal the origin of the virus, and it may come as a shock when we do. This is one of the unexpected “big reveals” in the story.

2. Will we be seeing more of Drakes Dad?

Drake’s Dad will be seen again, and our plan is to give him an important role later in the series.

3. We know that vampires can be killed but do live longer than than humans, we’ve also seen older vampires who haven’t seemed to aged all that much. Just how old can a vampire live to be (in human years) before they die of old age?

An interesting question that needs a bit of explanation. First, our vampires age about one year for every ten human years and will die after the corresponding number of “vampire” years. When we conceived these novels and had ten-year-old Jonathan as a character, we didn’t want to have him remain a kid for an extended period. We used the normal biological concept that humans grow until they’re around 20 years of age, then start their “decline” after that. Therefore, anyone turned into a vampire under this age will grow and mature roughly normally until that age. After that, their slower vampire aging takes over. We base this in part on the virus enhancing the immune system to keep the boy in good shape for an extended period. It seemed like a good compromise with a good genetic and scientific basis. The super-enhanced immune system also explains why humans who may be dying of an otherwise fatal disease may recover once changed into a vampire. At the same time, it’s not a fountain of youth. Anyone changed after age two goes into slowdown mode at that point. For example, Eli Howard was 21 when changed 165 years ago, so he’d appear to be around 40 now.

4- We will be reading the second in the series , when will the 3rd be finished?

The short answer is that we don’t anticipate the story being finished for a couple of years, due to other obligations of Chris and I. We are also re-editing books one and 2 for this stories future. We are happy you have shown interest with our project and look forward to reading your reviews

Thank you for allowing us to read your books and we will look forward to talking to you after we finish Vampires Anonymous, next on our agenda.

Mar
4
2013

Correction to Calendar

March 18-29, David Litwack is scheduled for an 11 day, 44 stop blog tour for There Comes a Prophet, scheduled for March 18-29

Mar
4
2013

March Event Calendar (so far)

March Events:

March 4: a review of Toni V. Sweeney’s Downfall (Book 5 in the kan Ingan Archives) is available at Two Lips Reviews: http://www.twolipsreviews.com/content/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8784&Itemid=36

March 6: Robert W. Birch will be at Raine Delight’s website: http://authorrainedelight.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/welcome-robertw-birch-today

March 15: Michael Ventrella will be a guest at Lunacon science fiction convention in New York on the weekend of March 15: http://2013.lunacon.org/

March 17: Linda Nightingale (as her alter ego Bianca Swan) will be blogging at Manic Readers

March 18-29, Robert Latwick is scheduled for an 11 day, 44 stop blog tour for There Comes a Prophet, scheduled for March 18-29

March 20-24 Elenora Sabin (writing as E. Rose Sabin) will be at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts March 20-24 in Orlando, FL: http://iafa.highpoint.edu/annual-conference/

If you have an event (blog, book signing, convention appearance, etc.) or a review appearing this month or any other promotional appearance, please let me know. I’ll put it on the calendar. Please include a link, if possible.
–TONI

Mar
3
2013

Imagine a Demon Who Looks Like an Angel

This is the premise for On Wings of Desire.  Released 2/28/13, Wings is my first book from DDP.  Let’s talk about demons, shall we?

 

The word demon is probably a derivation of daio, meaning to divide.  The
name was generally used for spiritual beings of a lower order that interfere between
gods and men.  Many believe that the
Nephilim, or sons of the Grigori, the origin of the demon.  In the Book of Enoch, we are introduced to the Watchers, the angels who
fell from grace because they took wives from amongst mortal women and sired
giants (the Nephilim). 
Although Enoch is not an “inspired” book and not
found in the Bible, it is quoted in the Book
of
Jude.

 

In On Wings of Desire¸ the hero Salseph is an angel created by the
fallen angel Paimon to look like an angel. 
Paimon isn’t one of the Grigori. 
He was with Lucifer in the original Fall, and he is General of
Hell.  His beauty sets Seph apart from
the fiendish creatures brought into existence by the other fallen angels.

 

In one scene, Paimon tells
Salsepth, “The other angels are like children with Play-Doh, each trying to
produce the most abominable.”

 

Paimon created Seph for his
pleasure, but the young demon spurns his creator.  As punishment, the fallen angel forces Seph
to perform humiliating missions of seek and destroy.  He is assigned a target, must seduce the
woman and destroy her life, leaving her in tears.  Seph despises his job and sees the second war between Heaven and Hell as a way to
escape.

 

Gloria Landry, the heroine, has a
bad track record with men.  Though a
short history, she always seems to choose the wrong one.  When a breathtakingly handsome man rescues
her from a violent storm, she is convinced she has found the right one.  Until she learns he is a demon.

Oct
24
2012

Gail Z. Martin on Characters of Questionable Virtue

Characters of Questionable Virtue

Double Dragon publishes four of fantasy author Gail Z. Martin’s ebooks: The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven and Dark Lady’s Chosen.  In these and other stories, Gail often relies on characters whose choices and actions place them outside the bounds of polite society.

Q:  So we had to ask, what’s so attractive about characters of questionable virtue?

A:  If you want to be truthful, I think everyone has questionable virtue depending on the circumstances.  It’s said that integrity is what you do when you think no one is looking, or no one will find out.  That being said, few people would qualify for sainthood.  Case in point—lonely stretches of highway with no police cars in sight.  How many drivers faithfully keep to the speed limit?

So some of my characters are basically honest people who are thrown into extraordinary circumstances who do what they have to do to survive.  Others are characters who make it a habit to walk on the wild side.  Maybe they were thrust into those situations, or maybe they had a choice, or maybe it’s been so long that they don’t remember.  They follow their own rules, and maybe their own code of honor, but they definitely color outside the lines.  And they’re really fun to write about!

Q:  Your books have a variety of smugglers, thieves, vagabonds, whores, con men, assassins and murderers—and those are the good guys.  How did a nice girl like you end up in a rough fictional neighborhood like this?

A:  If everyone plays by the rules, you might have a cut-throat chess game, but it’s going to be short on action and adventure.  Dangerous times call for people who can think outside the box—and play outside the rules, especially when the society that enforced the rules no longer exists.  Maybe I’m a product of the modern zeitgeist, but I keep being drawn back to stories set during a kingdom’s or civilization’s collapse.  In that kind of a setting, the people who can adapt quickly and think on their feet will be the ones who survive.  They’re going to bend some rules along the way.

Q:  In your new book, Ice Forged, the fate of the kingdom rests on a small group of convicts and a disgraced lord.  How did you decide to write their story?

A:  Society believes it knows how to pick a winner, but history shows that conventional wisdom is often wrong, especially when the rules change and the chips are down.  I thought it would be fun to get to know a group of people who have been exiled and imprisoned, only to find out that when the kingdom is brought to its knees, they may be the only ones who can save the day.  I love it when the arbiters of society are wrong and the ones who don’t fit in end up the winners.  I guess I’m a fan of the underdog.

You can download an excerpt from Ice Forged here: http://www.4shared.com/office/VJ9BoRdD/Ice_Forged_Excerpt_3.html

Oct
5
2012

“The Green Knight’s Apprentice” Blog Tour

Double Dragon author, Virginia Chandler, will be releasing her next book on October 17th.   Follow Virginia on her October Blog Tour and see what she and bloggers are saying bout the book and her journey as a writer:

“”While reading it I constantly felt like I was reading one of Lloyd Alexander’s stories, which says a great lot of the writing style. Both of them hold high good descriptive style and draw you in until you finish the book. Yet with the entire magical world it still keeps you grounded with vivid images of damp forest and warm candle lights, which make you feel right at home.” – Flying Over a Forest

“”The story is difficult to put down to go do anything else. It holds the reader’s attention without allowing distraction, and comes to an unexpected and jarring—though not unpleasantly so—conclusion. It is an excellent reworking in spirit of the oldest parts of the Arthurian saga, and is a worthy addition to it.” – Anne Wingate,

“A glint of gold among the dull embers of contemporary fantasy fiction. For those who love the deeper, darker aspects of the Arthur legends this is definitely one not to miss.” John Matthews, NY Times best-selling author of Pirates and How To See Faeries.

Tour Stops include:

(Dates still available for bloggers to participate. )

Oct 1: Books Through the Garden Window

Oct 2: Flying Over a Forest

Oct 3: Brainy Bistro

Oct 4: Ayslyn’s Corner

Oct 7: Miraselena

Oct 8: Lilac Wolf & Stuff

Oct 11: Brainy Bistro: Media Edition (Guest Blogger)

Oct 14 : Double Dragon Publishing Blog (Guest Blogger)

Oct: 15: Raiding Bookshelves (Guest Blogger)

Oct 16: Raiding Bookshelves (Review)

Oct 17:  RELEASE DATE


Jun
1
2012

Interview with Double Dragon Author Michael A. Ventrella

Reprinted from Juniper Grove blog

Today I’d like to welcome author Michael A. Ventrella to Juniper Grove! Michael is here to promote his book THE AXES OF EVIL!

Michael A. Ventrella’s second fantasy novel THE AXES OF EVIL (the sequel to ARCH ENEMIES) was released in 2010. He is editor of the TALES OF FORTANNIS anthologies, and his pirate short stories have appeared in the anthologies RUM AND RUNESTONES and CUTLASS AND MUSKET. He’s currently working on a novel about a vampire who runs for President.

Michael is one of the founders of the biggest fantasy medieval live action roleplaying groups in North America and currently runs the Alliance LARP. His Rule Books and Players Guides are available in all formats.

He is also the founder of Animato which, in the late 80s, was the first major magazine dedicated to animated films. He has been quoted as an animation expert in Entertainment Weekly and in various books.

At his website’s blog he interviews other authors, editors, agents and publishers to get advice for the starting author.

In his spare time, he is a lawyer.

Michael has graciously submitted to an author interview! Check it out below:

Without giving too much away, can you tell us what THE AXES OF EVIL is about?

One barbarian prophecy says the legendary hero Bishortu will unite the three warring tribes. Another tribe has a prophecy that directly contradicts this, and they want Bishortu dead. And a third tribe, which may or may not be comprised of werewolves, refuses to let anyone know what their prophecy says. Meanwhile, the Duke on whose land the barbarians sit wants them all gone.

In the middle of all of this is squire Terin Ostler, who has been mistakenly identified as the great Bishortu. Under the Duke’s orders to get rid of the barbarians, he heads to their lands without the slightest idea of what to do.

Along the way, he has to avoid crazed assassins, fearsome werewolves, lovesick barbarian princesses, and confused goblins while attempting to figure out the meaning of the magical and mysterious Wretched Axes.

Nobody said being a hero would be easy.

THE AXES OF EVIL is my second novel and is the sequel to ARCH ENEMIES, but you don’t have to read the first to enjoy the second. The first few chapters can be read on my web page: www.michaelaventrella.com It’s available in every format possible (paperback, e-book, kindle, nook) except direct downloading into your brain, but my publisher is working on that.

What was your inspiration to write this book?

You know those fantasy stories about a prophecy where The Chosen One will save the day because he controls The Force or is the Son of a God or possesses some special power no one else has? And then he wins in the end by using the Magical Sword of Noonah that only he can weild?

I thought: Well, what if they got the wrong guy?

So my “hero” Terin is a kid who is mistaken for this Chosen One. In ARCH ENEMIES, he is thrown into the middle of a war and told he’s the one who will save the day. He has no idea what to do, doesn’t know how to use a sword or cast a magic spell, and definitely does not want to be there.

Talk about your reluctant hero!

I really enjoy writing the kind of story where an average person with no super powers saves the day by being clever and resourceful. It says to me that all of us can be heroes by being brave and smart.

THE AXES OF EVIL continues on in that vein, only with a much more complicated and convoluted plot.

Please tell us, in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

I’ll quote from one of the reviews: “Humor, danger, and a twisted tangle of unlikely prophecies makes for a page-turning adventure” – Gail Z. Martin, author of The Chronicles of the Necromancer series.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Twists and turns. All of my novels and short stories contain numerous unexpected plot surprises. Reviewers and readers certainly have commented upon them!

They all make sense in the long run, however – when the twist happens, you suddenly realize that the clues had all been there beforehand.

This takes quite a bit of preparation and outlining. No one should ever read my books or short stories and think that I am making it up as I go along. Everything is planned, and every scene is important.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a published author?

I have lots of advice; it’s the theme of my blog (“Learn From My Mistakes!”) in which I discuss what I have learned in the business as well as interview authors, editors, and agents.

What do you think makes a good story?

Too many unsuccessful authors think stories are about plots. They’re not. They’re about characters. The important thing is not what the story is about – it’s who the story is about. No one will care about your intricate plot if they don’t like your characters.

Do you have any writing projects you are currently working on?

I have a few projects:

First is my third novel BLOODSUCKERS. It’s about a vampire who runs for President. The main character is a reporter who discovers that vampires have been secretly controlling things from behind the scenes for thousands of years. He is framed for the attempted assassination of the candidate but is saved by an underground group that monitors the vampires. He goes on the run, constantly one step ahead of the vampires that want to silence him and the FBI that wants to arrest him. The only way he can clear his name is to prove that vampires exist – but who would believe such nonsense?

Like all my work, you’ll find humor, unexpected plot twists, and constant adventure. It’s currently in the editing stage and should be out later this year.

Second is a middle-grade novel involving a young lad who runs away from an orphanage and joins a pirate crew. I’m combining two of my already published stories and expanding them. It’s called GET KRAKEN!

Third is the second in a collection of short stories that I am editing. The stories are by various authors but all take place in the world of my two fantasy novels. The collection is called TALES OF FORTANNIS and the first book, A BARD’S EYE VIEW came out last spring. (Can you tell I like puns for titles?)

If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

The live one, because otherwise conversations would be dull.

One food you would never eat?

I’ve been a semi-vegetarian since 1976 when I was just starting college. I still eat fish, though. I try to eat well and avoid canned food and other processed garbage but I do admit liking junk food every now and then.

Do you have any hobbies outside of writing?

Years ago, I started one of the first major Live Action Role Playing groups in America, now known as Alliance LARP, with chapters all over the US and Canada. (See www.alliancelarp.com)

Other than that, I am an attorney so that takes a lot of time, but I also get involved with political campaigns. I used to play bass in a number of bands, but haven’t been involved with that much lately.

Thank you Michael for that insightful interview!