Tag Archives: witches

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


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.

Current List of Hosting Blogs
1: Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews
2: Andi’s Book Reviews
3: Pressed Leaf Publishing
4: fuonlyknew ~ Laura’s Ramblins and Reviews
5: Rose and Beps Blog
6: Brooke Blogs
7: Gin’s Book Notes
8: Readers Writers Connect
9: Linda Nightingale…Wordsmith
10: Sandra’s Blog
11: A to Z Reviews
12: Writer Wonderland
13: The Write to Read
14: Welcome to My World of Dreams
15: It’s Raining Books
16: Straight from the Library
17: Long and Short Reviews

Fantasy World-Building: Magic Systems

One task a fantasy writer faces during the process of world-building for his world is developing a coherent magic system. I use ‘coherent’ with a grain of salt, for what is magic but something that doesn’t exist in our own world that does not follow the normal rules of logic and science. Still, most fantasy writers today would argue that a good fantasy magic system is one that follows its  own inherent and consistent set of rules, much like science does. In a way, a fantasy writer’s magic system is his or her own “parallel science.” The purpose of any magic, be it a spell or potion or something altogether different, is to accomplish some end more quickly and efficiently than normal means allow. In that regard, it is similar in function to technology. Indeed, I believe it was Arthur C. Clarke who said that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Why is this so? What is the connection between the two? Basically, both provide either a shortcut for a mundane effect or, even more intriguing, the only possible means for something more spectacular. You wish to dig a hole? Technology gives you a shovel and then later a shovel truck (if that’s what it’s called—can’t seem to recall a more technical name); magic gives you a snap of the fingers and the deed is done. Magic also allows other feats, some of which might be deemed impossible—at least, as far as our current level of technology allows. Teleportation, demonic summoning, fireball … all these are outside the normal scope of the mundane. Actually, a fireball could be managed with technology, and teleportation is, I think, currently being studied and developed, but demonic summoning, at least, is not on the radar anytime soon (we’d need proof of demons first).


Basically, current thinking is that the best magic systems are those that adhere to and follow rules. That way, they don’t provide an “easy fix” if the writer happens to write himself into a corner. If the magic system is clearly delineated, he can’t just summon up some random spell to get his character out of a fix. The magic system will not allow that if it has rules and, most importantly, limitations. That said, I’m not sure I agree. Some days I do. But some days I feel very contrarian: who are we to say that some enterprising author cannot develop a magic system that defies easy encapsulation? Perhaps, it embodies pure randomness or is the “system without a system” or something else equally provocative and mysterious. I leave to some enterprising writer to buck the trend and do so.

Old Movie Review: Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

The movie Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is based on the series of books by Cassandra Clare. They are young adult novels and, going by the movie, seem to be in the same sort of genre as the Twilight series. There is a young girl with supernatural powers, a few possible romantic love interests, and a cauldron of supernatural beings surrounding her: angels, demons, vampires, werewolves, witches, and warlocks. It’s set in modern day New York, so you have that element as well.


The story revolves around the young girl Clary Fray who witnesses what she believes to be a murder in a night club one night. This brings her to the attention of Jace, a half-angel butt-kicking Shadow Hunter, at around the same time she comes to the attention of the bad guys in the film. The bad guys are rogue Shadow Hunters who are fond of summoning demons and doing pretty much whatever they want. Clary’s home is attacked while she’s not there and her mother mysteriously disappears. Now it’s up to Jace and Clary to figure out who Clary is, where she came from, and why all this supernatural stuff seems to be centered on her while at the same time, locating her mother and putting an end to the forces of darkness. Like I said, it’s got vampires, werewolves, witches, warlocks, demons, and the hinted presence of angels. Lots of butt-kicking going on.


Strengths: the characters were well-rounded, the plot made sense—although there were a couple places where some better explanations were warranted: specifically, I’d like to understand the pentagram at the end better. What was the bit with the column of fire and how did that relate?—the special effects were good, the pacing was good most of the time—there were a few points at which it seemed to drag. And the ending seemed to drag out, in my opinion. Weaknesses: other than the ones I’ve already mentioned, nothing too glaring sticks out except … I have to take issue with the dalliance with incest. I know it’s 2014 and virtually all the old social mores have gone to pot, but are we going to go there? Really? Ick. Ever since Luke and Leia … Ick. Ick. Maybe the author will work it out in some fashion, but honestly, I wish it had never been brought up. Finally, it’s worth pointing out that this film never really gripped me. It was okay, but unexceptional. Maybe the book was better. I don’t know, as I never read it.


I’ll give Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (the movie) three stars out of five.

Movie Review: 47 Ronin (4 *’s)

47 Ronin is the latest movie starring Keanu Reaves. It is a retelling of an ancient folk tale of the Japanese culture. It is set in ancient Japan in time where fantastical monsters, witches, and demons were real. Keanu Reaves plays Kai, a human half-breed (Caucasian and Japanese) servant in the house of a powerful Shogun. Because he is a half-breed, his is of lowly stature. No one respects him, except the Shogun and his daughter, both of whom care for him. The daughter, in particular, falls in love with him.   The story begins with Kai and a hunting party tracking a mythical beast. Although Kai’s skills lead the party to the beast, they disregard his warning and advice, and try to take the beast out immediately. The result is nearly a debacle, with the beast tossing Samurai around like toy dolls, until Kai heroically slays the beast to save one of the Samurai. Unfortunately, that Samurai takes the credit for the kill and still treats Kai with scorn. At the time, Kai sees a white fox whom he later learns is a witch bent on doing his lord harm. With her magic, she bewitches the Lord’s champion so that Kai must fight in his place to protect the family honor. Unfortunately, in the midst of combat, his deception is revealed. His opponent is about to execute him, when Mika (the lord’s daughter) rushes to his side. His life is spared, but at the cost of great honor. Then, the witch bewitches the lord causing him to attack a guest. From such dishonor as that, only ritual suicide can offer any cleansing. With the lord dead, the enemy shogun is given permission by the Emperor to marry Mika. The lord’s samurai are banished as ronin (masterless samurai) and Kai is sold into slavery. What follows is the story of the ronin’s revenge with the help of Kai.   Strengths: the acting was fine (although I think Keanu was a little forced in places), the action was excellent, and the special effects were good. I liked the sinister Japanese witch and I liked the characters Kai and Mika. Feminists might object that it’s all about the men going to rescue the poor helpless damsel—which is true—but it’s basically an ancient fairy tale: cut them some slack! Weaknesses: I think I expected too much, because it did not fully grip me. The story was straightforward and logical, and maybe a bit too simplistic. Still, it was an enjoyable way to pass the afternoon.


I’ll give 47 Ronin three and a half or maybe four stars out of five.


Remember: I’m still running a contest with a signed hardcover copy of my novel Drasmyr ($25 value) and a Drasmyr bookmark as the prize. You can find the details of the contest: here. I encourage everyone to sign up for my newsletter and post a response.