Tag Archives: high fantasy

Author Update

Well, it’s May, 2016. I have nothing else to write about tonight, so I figured I would do an author update to fill people in regarding my current writerly adventures. I’ve joined a Writer’s Group, which is cool. I’ve been itching to do so for several years, now; I just was having difficulty finding one. But no worries, I found one that meets at the local library. Actually, I wasn’t the one to find them: One of my associates at the Food Shelf found the ad in the newspaper and cut it out for me. Woo hoo! Thank you, Dorothy!

Anyway, I was in a big slump for almost three months, maybe even longer. But the Writer’s Club rescued me from the doldrums. They brought a successful published author in to give a talk and that talk got me psyched for writing again. I’ve churned out, oh, I don’t know, seven chapters in about five weeks or so. Very productive. I think I have maybe one or two chapters left in total and then I will have finished the rough draft of Book III of From the Ashes of Ruin. Also, I’m still trying to publish a few short stories. Oh, and I have a novella in the works which I shall shortly release and give away for free. It has nothing to do with my current series, but it’s a cool tale nonetheless. It was kind of an escape from the series; it let me relax my brain and chew on something different for a while. (At the time of posting, I have officially completed the rough draft of From the Ashes of Ruin.)

Anyway, that’s the news!

Fantasy Literature: The Role of the Assassin

They slip through shadows, hidden from view. Walking softly, to sneak up on you (Hey, that rhymes!). The silent killers of the fantasy world: Assassins, paid in gold to cut someone’s throat. They are a formidable foe both in rumor and in action. But do they have a proper place and function in a fantasy world?


The difficulty with assassins is the lack of moral clarity they engender. I read a book once (I think it was The Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb) about the life of an apprentice assassin. It was interesting enough, as far as it went; the assassins described were in the direct employ of a king, and that, I guess, gave them some legitimacy—or, at least, that was how the author intended to give them legitimacy. For myself, I would probably avoid making an assassin a protagonist in a novel. There is just something too cold in taking money for killing that prevents me from using them as such. Still, although Robin Hobb did a good job and everything, it was always in the back of my mind … yeah, this guy really isn’t a good guy (of course, maybe that’s the pot calling the kettle black considering how my novels are progressing … wink, nod), even though this is a fun read.


Anyway, I like using assassins as weapons of the antagonist. They’re great for developing political intrigue. The nobles are plotting against each, jockeying for power and position, one hires an assassin, the others respond in kind, and all hell breaks loose. People dropping dead left and right. Great stuff. My favorite type of assassin is, of course, the legendary ninja of Japan. Trained since birth as the ultimate killing machine. Woo hoo! I based my own super-assassins known as bloodseekers on the Japanese ninja. I intend to introduce one in the next book. It’ll be great. More chaos. More blood.


Anyway, those are my thoughts on assassins in fantasy literature for today.

Guest Post on Farish’s Freehold

SceptreMorgulan_ebookcoverI have a guest spot on a fellow writer’s blog that will last for the next few days. The owner of the blog is a man by the name of Lincoln S. Farish. We met through Twitter and arranged this promotion for my book The Sceptre of Morgulan on his blog—a site dedicated to horror and dark fantasy entitled Farish’s Freehold. Technically my book is more fantasy than horror, but it does have strong horror elements running through it. Specifically, it features a gothic-style vampire much more in the line of Bram Stoker’s Dracula than Stephanie Meyers Twilight. My vampire is evil and diabolical. You wouldn’t want to date him. There are also a number of demons scattered throughout the series, so there is that dark element as well.

Anyway, you can find my promotion on Mr. Farish’s blog here: http://farishsfreehold.blogspot.com/2016/03/matt-ryans-got-witches-bounty-hunters.html

It’s pretty intense. Make sure you check it out.

The general link for the site is: http://farishsfreehold.blogspot.com

Pressure Points in Fantasy Literature

One of the topics I’ve been interested in lately is pressure points. I purchased a couple books on the subject from Barnes and Noble and read up on it. What I wanted to find was a complete map listing all the pressure points in the body and how best to use them, so I could experiment on myself with this or that technique and see what happens. I’m still looking. I found a book on Shiatsu Massage and Acupressure and that listed a great many of them, but not all. A number of those listed were on the back of the body and, therefore, more difficult to access, particularly in a fight. I have a black belt in the martial arts, so I know a couple from that endeavor, but I would like to know more. As it happens, I stopped studying martial arts right when we were beginning to learn about such topics as chi and pressure points. I know enough to know both are real, but I lack all but the most rudimentary skill in either.


What is a pressure point? I’m not sure I know how to define it properly. It is a point on the human body where, when pressure is applied, the flow of chi can be interrupted. This can result in pain or relief from pain depending on the amount of pressure applied and the condition of the body prior to the application of pressure. Chi (or a person’s physical life force) is said to flow through meridians that exist throughout the body. Some have equated meridians to nerve pathways in the body. Again, I’m not sure if that is actually the case, or if meridians are something else entirely. I do know that chi can do a number of things that our current understanding of nerve energy does not allow.


Anyway, as far as fantasy literature is concerned, my interest in pressure points stems from my use of martial arts in my novels. I haven’t used martial arts in my novels a lot yet—other than as a general understanding as to how combat works—but I have a character on the horizon, who is essentially a ninja, although I don’t call him that. He has a thorough understanding of pressure points and how to use them; he has even mastered the dreaded “touch of death.” In any event, I wouldn’t expect the “touch of death” to be thoroughly discussed in a book I purchased at Barnes and Noble (if it, in fact, exists … which is a big if) but I did want to find a map of all the points known. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case.


The best way to learn about pressure points remains through a qualified teacher and instructor in martial arts, acupressure, or acupuncture. There’s only so much a book can tell you. But I lack the money for formal training. Besides, I’m not trying to become a master of the arts; I’m just curious. Anyway, they have a unique place in a fantasy world—and the advantage of using them in a fantasy world is that they can be altered and changed to the writer’s preference. The “touch of death” may not exist in the real world, but there is no reason why you can’t use it in a fantasy world. Likewise, other effects can be thrown in; and it will remain believable, because it is, in the end, a fantasy world.

“From the Ashes of Ruin” Blurb Blitz Blog Tour


Goddess Fish Promotions is sponsoring a blog tour for my series, From the Ashes of Ruin. The tour began on February 1st, and will last until February 19th. We are currently in the 2nd week of the tour. It is primarily a Blurb Blitz Tour, meaning that every stop will have a blurb and excerpt from one of the books. The Blog Schedule is listed below. The books in the series so far include: Drasmyr (The Prequel), The Children of Lubrochius (Bk.I), and The Sceptre of Morgulan (Bk.II). Also, make sure you check out the sponsor of the whole tour–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 and NOT my web-site) a $15 Amazon Gift Card.

    Blog Schedule

February 1: Room With Books
February 1: Linda Nightingale…Wordsmith
February 2: Edgar’s Books
February 3: Kit ‘N Kabookle
February 3: Writer Wonderland
February 4: fuonlyknew
February 5: Blog of Jacey Holbrand
February 5: Beyond Romance

February 8: LizaOConnor
February 9: The Snarkology
February 10: Cover2Cover
February 11: Hope. Dreams. Life… Love
February 12: Two Ends of the Pen

February 15: Dina Rae’s Write Stuff
February 16: Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews
February 17: Natural Bri – review
February 18: With Love for Books – review
February 18: Who She Reads
February 19: Where the Story Comes First
February 19: Around the World in Books

Fantasy and Demons


A ways back, I wrote an article for my newsletter (sign up here, if you are interested in receiving future mailings of my newsletter) dealing with demons. It was a light-hearted foray into a potentially serious subject. I say ‘serious’ because I’m not entirely certain if real-life demons are fiction or reality. Those familiar with my life story might know that I suffer from a psychological disorder and a delusion that revolves around demons. So, forgive me if I take them more seriously than you might be inclined to.


Anyway, most of the different religious sects across the globe believe (or at least through much of their history did believe) in demons. They developed various rites to exorcise demons from possessed people (that is drive them out). I’ve never studied demon lore and I have no idea how to perform such an exorcism. I just want to point out that there may be a ‘demon phenomenon’ whose underlying reality is markedly different from what the religious believe it to be.


According to the religious a demon is a spirit or entity that can harass or even possess (that is, take over) a regular human being. When this happens, a priest or even witch doctor is needed to drive the demon out. However, in this modern age the whole concept of a demon seems kind of archaic, a throwback to primitive times. Nowadays, most psychiatrists and medical doctors would attribute demonic activity to psychological disorders. Even things like uncontrolled telekinesis and other such phenomena could be explained if we allow that the brain is hideously complex; it might be responsible for such activity at an unconscious level.


Anyway, back to my original point. I am a fantasy author. And I write about demons. However, I will be the first to admit that I did not do massive amounts of research on the subject of ‘real’ demons existing here on Earth. What I “know” of demons I’ve gathered from a miscellany of sources throughout my younger reading years: I’ve been influenced by AD&D, my Catholic upbringing, and other sources, but I never seriously studied the subject under the auspices of the aforementioned Catholic Church. So, basically, I may have made mistakes in my so-called demonic lore.


And I have no intention of trying to fix those.


If there is any truth to demon lore, I don’t want to inadvertently give a recipe for someone to try to summon a demon in real life. Hence, the lore in my novels is basically misinformation. I’ve heard this or that where wizards would use salt (I incorporated that bit a little in my latest book) or some other detail, but all the details and information are summoned mostly from my imagination. If you try a ritual detailed in my book, be assured: it won’t work—even if demons are real and not figments of the imaginations of disturbed people; you need more than a circle cut in stone to summon them. Also, in my book, all the demonologists are evil, and the rituals described are likewise evil. After all, in my mythical fantasy universe summoning demons requires a blood sacrifice. Don’t do that in real life. If it’s an animal, it’s unnecessary, cruel and very uncool. If it’s a human, it’s murder, no ifs, ands, or buts. Not that I’d really expect someone to re-enact something they read in a fantasy book. But I had to write about something today; so, I chose this.


That’s all I wanted to say today.


From the Ashes of Ruin” Blurb Blitz Blog Tour


Goddess Fish Promotions will be sponsoring a blog tour for my series, From the Ashes of Ruin, during the first half of February. The tour will begin on February 1st and will last until February 19th. It will be primarily a Blurb Blitz Tour, meaning that every stop will have a blurb and excerpt from one of the books. The Blog Schedule will be listed shortly. There’s still a lot of open slots, so if you are interested, please contact Goddess Fish Promotions. The books in the series so far include: Drasmyr (The Prequel), The Children of Lubrochius (Bk.I), and The Sceptre of Morgulan (Bk.II). Also, make sure you check out the sponsor of the whole tour–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 and NOT my web-site) a $15 Amazon Gift Card.

Announcement: Upcoming Blurb Blitz Virtual Tour for “From the Ashes of Ruin”

As of November 2015, I released my latest novel, The Sceptre of Morgulan, for general consumption. It is the second book in my series, From the Ashes of Ruin. In honor of the release, I am doing a Blurb Blitz Virtual Tour for the entire series so far, including the prequel. There will be excerpts and blurbs from each book. That’s right; you’ll get tantalizing excerpts not only from The Sceptre of Morgulan but also from The Children of Lubrochius and Drasmyr. Once again, Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing and handling the tour (They do a great job). The tour will run three weeks from Monday, February 1st through Friday, February 19th (M-F only, I believe). We will post a schedule when more information becomes available. Also, note that an Amazon Gift Card will be awarded to a randomly selected commenter on the tour (Note: comments on matthewdryan.com do NOT count, NOR do comments on my blog).


Hope to see you on the tour.

Behold: The Updated New Cover for “Drasmyr”

I’ve been wanting to update the cover of my first novel, Drasmyr, for quite some time. I finally got around to it just this past week or so. If you want to let me know what you think about the new cover, contact me on Twitter: @MatthewDRyan1 . If you wish to purchase the novel in ebook form, click here; or in pbook form, click here (It may be a few days before I upload the new cover to lulu, though). Here are the two covers side by side:

Drasmyr, The Novel

The Original Cover.


The New Cover.

As you can see, I merely added a few things. I liked the original cover, but I always felt it lacked something. With only the building really being visible on it, it was difficult to figure just what the story was about. You could tell it was meant to be sort of creepy, but that’s about it. And also there is the blood-like writing. That effectively sets a tone, but in my view, having seen it listed next to other covers many times on-line, it looked a little sloppy or even amateurish sometimes. Particularly because it didn’t convert well to thumbnail pics. The blood was unclear and served only to confuse the writing making it difficult to read when small.

As far as the new pic is concerned, I am quite pleased. The female vampire adds some body to the pic, and the sinister cloud vampire does the same. Deciding on the correct pic for the cloud vampire was really a struggle. We went through a number of different options. The first designs involved human-like vampires, but eventually we started experimenting with the cloud. We added a face. Blurred the face. Then emphasized the eyes. And the wolf was a nice add on, too. Overall, I think it makes a much better cover.

So, I’m just doing this private Cover Reveal on my own site and nowhere else to reveal it for the first time. You should feel privileged to view it. Oooh. Ahhh. 🙂

Again, if you want to let me know what you think about the new cover, contact me on Twitter: @MatthewDRyan1 .


Goodreads Giveaway: The Sceptre of Morgulan

The Goodreads Giveaway has begun!

In celebration of the release of my latest novel, The Sceptre of Morgulan, I’m holding a giveaway on Goodreads from now through December 30th. The novel is Book II of my series, From the Ashes of Ruin. It was preceded by the prequel Drasmyr, and Book I The Children of Lubrochius. I will be giving away three free hardcover copies of the The Sceptre of Morgulan, one each to the three winners of the giveaway. Winners are determined randomly by Goodreads. For more information and to sign up for the giveaway, follow the link below:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Sceptre of Morgulan by Matthew D. Ryan

The Sceptre of Morgulan

by Matthew D. Ryan

Giveaway ends December 30, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway