Category Archives: Witches

Reminder: Coming Soon: The Sceptre of Morgulan: The Cover Reveal

Hi All,

This is a repost because our list of hosts has been updated. Please find the complete list of hosts below.

The date for the Cover Reveal for my next novel, The Sceptre of Morgulan, has been set. The Sceptre of Morgulan is the second book in my series From the Ashes of Ruin. It was preceded by Bk. I: The Children of Lubrochius, and the prequel: Drasmyr.

The Cover Reveal will be hosted by GoddessFish and it is scheduled for October 13th, 2015. On that day, we will be visiting a large number of blogs on the web, each of which will be sharing a graphic of the cover. We will be responding to comments and inquiries on each of the sites participating for the duration of that day. We will award a $20 Amazon Gift Card to one randomly selected commenter on the tour (that’s one for the entire tour, NOT one per site). The list below is a list of participating sites as it stands today. We expect more to join between now and the actual Cover Reveal; so, stay-tuned. We will be awarding a $10 Amazong Gift Card to one randomly selected host: So, if you wish to host for the tour make sure to contact Goddess Fish to set that up. The book has an awesome cover (designed by Digital Donna); I’m sure you’ll enjoy the event.

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Reminder: Coming Soon: The Sceptre of Morgulan: The Cover Reveal

The date for the Cover Reveal for my next novel, The Sceptre of Morgulan, has been set. The Sceptre of Morgulan is the second book in my series From the Ashes of Ruin. It was preceded by Bk. I: The Children of Lubrochius, and the prequel: Drasmyr.

The Cover Reveal will be hosted by GoddessFish and it is scheduled for October 13th, 2015. On that day, we will be visiting a large number of blogs on the web, each of which will be sharing a graphic of the cover. We will be responding to comments and inquiries on each of the sites participating for the duration of that day. We will award a $20 Amazon Gift Card to one randomly selected commenter on the tour (that’s one for the entire tour, NOT one per site). The list below is a list of participating sites as it stands today. We expect more to join between now and the actual Cover Reveal; so, stay-tuned. We will be awarding a $10 Amazong Gift Card to one randomly selected host: So, if you wish to host for the tour make sure to contact Goddess Fish to set that up. The book has an awesome cover (designed by Digital Donna); I’m sure you’ll enjoy the event.

1: Long and Short Reviews
2: Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin’
3: Independent Authors
4: Sharing Links and Wisdom
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I’m Looking for Reviewers for my Novel

Hi All,

 

This is an open request to any fantasy aficionados out there. I have previously published the novels “Drasmyr” and “The Children of Lubrochius.” “Drasmyr” is the prequel, and “The Children of Lubrochius” is Book I in my series “From the Ashes of Ruin.” I am nearing the final stages of Book II “The Sceptre of Morgulan” and I’m looking for reviewers. If you have read the prequel and Book I, great, I’m hoping you will consider reading Book II and reviewing it for me in exchange for a free download (ebook only). If you have not read any of my books, I’d like to recruit you to review all three: “Drasmyr,” “The Children of Lubrochius,” and “The Sceptre of Morgulan.” Deal will be the same: free ebooks (all 3) in exchange for an honest review of each (although “Drasmyr” is free for everyone). If you start the series and decide you don’t wish to continue, let me know and I will drop your name from my list of reviewers. No hard feelings.

 

Just for your information, although a vampire has a major role in this series it is not a romantic role. The vampire in this series is evil; he’s kind of my sinister alter-ego. It is nothing like “Twilight.” The series as a whole could best be described as a cross between “Dracula” and “The Lord of the Rings,” or perhaps an AD&D style story. Additionally, you should be informed that I am planning two more books for this series, so that in the end it’ll be a four book series with a prequel, or five books in all.

 

I would ask that all reviewers post a review on Amazon and on Smashwords. Especially Smashwords.

 

If you are interested, send me a DM on Twitter: @MatthewDRyan1. Then we can exchange e-mails and go from there.

 

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Matthew D. Ryan

Author of “Drasmyr” and “The Children of Lubrochius.”

 

Movie Review: Seventh Son (3 ½ *’s)(2015)

            Seventh Son is a movie inspired by the novel The Spook’s Apprentice. I think there is also a novel or a series of novels out there entitled The Seventh Son of a Seventh Son which has some connection to the movie as well, but I’ve read neither, so I can’t say for sure. Anyway, the main character of this book is Tomas Ward, the apprentice of Master Spook, Gregory. A spook is a man who hunts down evil spirits and creatures. The main antagonist in the story is an evil witch queen named Mother Malkin who leads a group of lesser witches in a bid for absolute power.

The story begins with Master Gregory imprisoning Mother Malkin in a deep dark pit, covered with iron. He thinks this will hold her forever, and so he leaves her. However, ten years pass; the iron covering rusts; and the blood moon rises. As her power peaks, Mother Malkin escapes and begins to plot revenge. She kills Master Gregory’s current apprentice and he is forced to find another. Enter Tomas Ward. He is the seventh son of a seventh son (as all Spooks are). Master Gregory seeks his family out, pays the parents a significant quantity of coin, and recruits Tomas. Pressed for time, Master Gregory endeavors to train Tomas on the go. He barely survives the first evening in Master Gregory’s home because he encounters an infernal skeleton that animates and attacks. Only the intervention of Master Gregory saves him. Still, believing he lacks the time, Master Gregory still insists on seeking Mother Malkin out and training Tomas on the go. The movie follows the standard fantasy quest from there. There is a love interest, a few conflicts, lots of special effects, and so forth.

Strengths: the characters were interesting and well-developed, the story was consistent and semi-decent, and the special effects were good (as most modern movies are). The acting was fine and the dialogue was decent. Weaknesses: the plot was somewhat lacking. It was pretty much standard fantasy quest type stuff … no surprises. My biggest complaint isn’t so much a complaint as it is a warning concerning the portrayal of witches. They are portrayed in the typical Western way. Witches are evil (except for one who isn’t), servants of demons and hell. There is no exploration of the religion of Wicca in the film. For me, this is fine, because I kind of like the demonic witch figure for the purposes of story-telling. That said, such stories tend to do a disservice to real witches. Real Wicca does not involve Satan-worship or the casual practice of evil despite what some groups might say. In Wicca there is a God and a Goddess (or a Goddess and her Consort). If I want to know what a witch believes in, I will ask the witch and not someone from a different religion that has a skewed view of her. Anyway, I could probably go off for pages on Wicca and its misinterpretation, but I’ll just leave that topic there.

Anyway, Seventh Son was okay, but nothing to write home about. I’ll give it three and a half stars out of five.

Book Review: Emperor of Thorns (Mark Lawrence) (4 *’s)

Emperor of Thorns is the third book of Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire series. You can find my reviews of the preceding books here: Prince of Thorns and King of Thorns. I’ve been looking forward to this book, and I enjoyed it considerably. It continues the story of Jorg Ancrath, now a king, 20 (I think) years of age. He’s still ruthless and basically corrupt, but he has grown to care for his pregnant wife and soon-to-be born son. And now he has his eyes set on the throne of the Emperor which has been vacant for over one hundred years.

The story begins with Jorg Ancrath and a small contingent of his loyal forces being escorted by the Gilden Guards to the formal meeting of the kings to select an emperor called the Congression. Much of the present day tale follows him and his journey on the road. He encounters undead creatures of various sorts: common undead soldiers, and more powerful lichkin. Throughout there are flashbacks to Jorg’s adventures five years ago when he traveled to radiation poisoned lands in search of ancient technology, the land of the Moors to meet a powerful caliph and his mathmagician, and to Vyene, the seat of the empire. He has his trials and tribulations along the way, influenced by both modern magic and ancient technologies (that’s kind of a funny twist I just noticed: modern magic and ancient technology). The whole leads to a climax in the Empire’s throne room where he confronts the horror of horrors: the Dead King, leader of the unholy armies of the dead.

Strengths: the writing was excellent, the story gripping and sufficiently convoluted to keep me engaged, and the plot was well done. Weaknesses: I’ve said in my prior two reviews that I was not fond of the character of Jorg as a main character since he’s basically evil. He’s grown on me to a certain extent, and I do enjoy his adventures now. He’s grown a little: he cares somewhat for his wife and even more for his son. That doesn’t justify anything he’s done, and makes the juxtaposition between himself and savior of the realms an odd one, to say the least. Finally, I was raised Catholic and the prevalent corruption throughout his Church did not appeal to me. He can paint his Church any way he likes, of course, and the modern Catholic Church has known some well-deserved criticism for its moral failings at times, but not one of the priests in these novels really measured up to any of the priests I have known in my life.

Anyway, I enjoyed the book and I’ll give Emperor of Thorns four stars out of five.

Movie Review: Into the Woods: (4 stars) (2014)

Into the Woods is the latest musical released into theatres by Disney. It follows the tradition of many animated features, but is a live-action film with lots of singing. It showcases a lot of talented actors and actresses in it. The most significant are: Meryl Streep (as the witch), Emily Blunt (as the Baker’s Wife), Johnny Depp (as the Wolf), James Corden (as the Baker), and Anna Kendrick (as Cinderella). The tale told incorporates four famous Fairy Tales into a single tale woven around a Baker and his wife.

The Baker and his wife are childless. At the beginning of the movie, they learn that this is the result of a curse. A witch offers to reverse the curse, if the pair obtain four special items integral to four concurrent fairy tales: a cow white as snow, a golden slipper, yellow hair like corn, and a cape red as blood. The cow, of course, belongs to Jack (Jack and the Beanstalk), the slipper belongs to Cinderella, the yellow hair belongs to Rapunzel, and the red cape belongs to Little Red Riding Hood. Desperately, the Baker and his Wife enter the wood in search of the four items, items with which the owners may not easily part. Each tale interweaves with the others creating a tapestry of mystery and magic.

Strengths: it was a musical, so the acting qua acting (love that word) was minimal, but what there was was very good. There was lots of singing, and the singing was well-performed as well. The special effects were good, and the plot was engaging. The dialogue, via song and sometimes not, was also good. Weaknesses: the movie was dark at times, possibly too dark for the very young. However, it was rated PG, not G, so I would think that parents should be cautioned against bringing the very young to the film. My biggest complaint comes at the end. And it has nothing to do with plot, acting, or dialogue. One of the last musical numbers played in the song had questionable lyrics. There was a lot of “There is no right or wrong,” or something to that effect. Disney did the same thing briefly in Frozen, an animated film I richly enjoyed. I just do not think it is a good idea to try to instill in our children that there is no moral truth. Yes, I get the notion that we all make mistakes. But you can only understand a mistake through a moral lens. The music itself was fine … it was just the words were not appropriate, I think. Also of concern to parents, I’m sure, was when the Baker’s Wife and Cinderella’s prince (married prince, at that) had a brief tryst in the woods.

Despite its flaws, it was still an enjoyable film and I’ll give Disney’s Into the Woods a full four stars out of five.

Movie Review: Maleficent (2014) (4 *’s)

Disney’s Maleficent is the latest reimagining of a Disney children’s tale as a rated PG film—more palatable for adults, but not quite as intense as a PG-13 or higher film. It is based on the Disney classic Sleeping Beauty, my favorite as a young child (I mean, it has a dragon! What more do you want?) Maleficent stars Angelina Jolie in the title role, Elle Fanning as the Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), and Sharlto Copley as King Stefan.

 

The story begins with the younger years of Maleficent, a female human-sized fairy living in the fairy moor right next door to the human kingdom. One day she finds a young human boy who is trying to steal a small gem from fairyland. She makes him give it back and the two of them become friends. As time goes by, their relationship deepens. When Maleficent turns sixteen, Stefan gives her what he says is true love’s kiss. Unfortunately, things don’t last and he becomes an infrequent visitor lured away by the honors, riches, and desires that dominate the human world. Maleficent is hurt, of course, but she survives. She goes on with her life. But soon the king of the human kingdom turns his eye toward her moor and conflict ensues. This conflict forms the backdrop of the entire Sleeping Beauty story. But it’s Sleeping Beauty with a twist. Maleficent is set up as a sympathetic character for the movie.

 

Strengths: the acting was good, the plot good, and the special effects were quite remarkable. I couldn’t find any logical holes in a single viewing. The life lessons were decent; the message about love well-taken. Weaknesses: my biggest problem with the film is that since it is based on Sleeping Beauty it would likely draw a very young crowd in spite of the PG rating. It’s not as bad as a PG-13 rating, but even so, redefining Maleficent as a misunderstood heroine will likely be confusing to the very young who are familiar with the original tale. Further, I felt that Disney missed an opportunity to reconcile King Stefan with Maleficent—such would have made a powerful tale of forgiveness that would have been very instructive. As it was, the ending was okay, but perhaps a little dark for the very young.

Anyway, I’ll give Disney’s Maleficent four stars out of five with a warning that some of the plot may be too mature for the very young. Still, it was a good movie.

Book Review: The Last Unicorn (Peter S. Beagle, 4 stars)

I read this book, Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, as part of an assignment from a Goodreads reading group. I’d read it before, many years ago, but I didn’t remember a thing from the novel, which really isn’t a good sign. The novel tells the story of the last unicorn who lives a life of ease as a solitary immortal creature in her woods until one day she overhears two woodmen discussing the disappearance of all the unicorns as they travel through the woods. She cannot believe that she is the last of the unicorns and so goes on a quest to find the others.

 

Soon, however, she is captured by a witch and her traveling band of entertaining circus sights: a lion that appears to be a manticore, a dog that appears to be Cerberus, and a few other illusions like that. But she’s got two real amazing creatures: one hideous harpy, and the ever elusive unicorn who she managed to capture while sleeping. Schmendrick the magician, one of the witch’s lackeys, helps the unicorn escape. The witch and her other henchman are killed and the unicorn now has a traveling companion: Schmendrick. After a few more brief adventures, they pick up another traveling companion: Molly Grue. By this time they’ve learned that the legend is that the unicorns were driven into the sea by the Red Bull. The Red Bull is a mystical beast that is under the authority of the wicked King Haggard who lives in a cursed castle in a cursed land. So, the last unicorn heads off in search of King Haggard, his castle, and the Red Bull. Can the last unicorn stand and face the Red Bull, the beast that has systematically all but eradicated her brethren? Find out and read the book. I’ll tell you no more.

 

Strengths: the prose was excellent. Perhaps, too excellent. A few times I caught the author rhyming dialogue and I thought that was inappropriate. Still, good prose helps a story a lot. The characters were reasonably well-developed: they each had their own little quirks. I liked the unicorn up until she fell in love. Actually, that’s not true. I liked her up until the point she turned tail and ran from the Red Bull and was so easily cowed by the creature. I just wish my heroes were more heroic, even if they are unicorns. Weaknesses: first would be the cowardice of all the unicorns who preceded her. The Red Bull took them one at a time with little fight. Second, it took me a while to get into the story. I read it mostly for the reading group, and the first half of the book did not really appeal to me story-wise. It just seemed sort of blaahh. But it picked up at the end and everything was resolved to my satisfaction.

 

I’ll give Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn three and a half, or maybe even four stars, out of five.

Review of Drasmyr at Cirsova

A fellow blogger has reviewed Drasmyr on their site. They will also be posting an interview with yours truly later in the week. Check it out.

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Announcement: Upcoming Cover Reveal for The Children of Lubrochius

Goddess Fish Promotions is sponsoring a Cover Reveal for my book, “The Children of Lubrochius” on March 3, 2014. The Cover Reveal will last the entire day and will give a look at the cover for my new book. The blog tour schedule is currently in development (see below). Make sure you check out the sponsor of the Cover Reveal–Goddess Fish Promotions–it wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Also, I will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter on the tour (for those who comment on the tour sites—not atoasttodragons) with a plastic Reaper miniature from the Dark Heaven line. It is of an Eldritch Demon and is excellent for collecting, or to use in gaming, so make sure you comment on all the sites to up your odds of winning on March 3rd.

Hope to hear from you on the tour.

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