Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age – Charles E. Yallowitz on ‘Food and Drink’ @cyallowitz

Dear friends and readers,

It is always difficult for a blogger to find a blog post worthy of the grand finale of the year. This year, however, it was an easy choice for me. As you may all know, Charles E. Yallowitz published the last book in his Legends of Windemere series, Warlord of the Forgotten Age, on December 21, 2017. His guest post covers the topic Food and Drink – a highly suitable topic for the last day of the year 2017. Please join me in a warm welcome to Charles:

Thank you to Karen for offering to host my guest post and being a part of the promotion for Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age. This is the last book of my 15-volume fantasy adventure series, so I’m hoping to have it go out with a bang. I’ve been looking back at this personal adventure and found one odd that repeatedly comes up in my writing: Food and Drink. My characters seem to always have something to snack on or sip at when they’re talking unless it’s on the road. People ask me why I keep including this and I guess now is as good a time as any to come up with some reason.

  1. Might as well get the confession one out of the way. I’m either eating while writing or pushing through a scene to get to lunch. At the very least, I have a bottle of seltzer that I keep chugging from. You know how they tell you not to go grocery shopping when hungry? Well, it seems I have the same reaction when writing on a barely full stomach.
  2. Like many people, I grew up in a house where meal times were when you discussed things. If it wasn’t time for a meal then you and your friends had a fast food joint involved in the daily adventure. Maybe you just hung out at home and made sure there were snacks and drinks. My point is that for many people interactions in real life has a ‘food/drink’ factor. This can range from making a plan to track down the ice cream man to putting out the ‘good cheese’ for guests. There’s no reason that fictional worlds shouldn’t have this aspect of reality.
  3. Favorite foods and drink are a staple of being a three-dimensional character along with any other quirks. On the opposite end of the spectrum is if they hate a food or have an allergy. We tend to overlook them because they rarely make an impact on the overall story, but they can be essential to making a character relatable. For example, Delvin Cunningham in Legends of Windemere loves coffee. He has been drinking it since his second appearance and even went out of his way to buy a collection of ‘coffee rings’. This is a set of enchanted rings where each one has a different flavor and he can mentally determine the temperature. At some points, he pours the drink directly into his mouth, which helps make this a memorable quirk of the character.
  4. On a larger scale, you can reveal parts of a culture or region with food. More fruits and vegetables than meat shows where agriculture is. Local delicacies can show if a people enjoy spicy food, dishes that others find gross, or a total lack of spices. It’s like in the real world where one of the first things we think about when it comes to many cultures and countries is the food. If I say Jew, you might think Matzah Ball Soup. Japanese sushi, Italian pasta, Germany sausage, Irish beer, and the list keeps going, so you can create the same for a fictional world. If you’re using Earth then this is simply something to keep in mind.
  5. Characters have to eat. Seriously, you have no idea how often I see readers asking when characters eat and go to the bathroom. At least the dining thing is clean enough to show without feeling sick.
  6. Tone can be set by having a meal because the food and drink can be used as atmosphere. Whether I do it consciously or not, I’ve used them to set a specific stage. Consider three of the most common drinks in fiction, especially fantasy. Water is casual and can show a moment where simplicity is more important than taste. Ale tends to be found in taverns where guards are let down and there is a casual friendliness to the scene. Finally, wine denotes a fancy event and raises the expectation for manners and etiquette.
  7. To be completely honest, I find food and drink actions to be some of the easiest ones to interject into scenes. People will naturally stop talking to take a drink or eat some food without losing too much of a step in a conversation. We probably all know somebody who will take their time drinking in order to gather their thoughts. These bring about a much more visual picture than using nothing more than facial expressions and voice tone. Also, I write adventures that require my characters be on the move, so food and drink are top of the supply list.

Again, a big thanks to Karen for hosting me while I promote Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age. Hope to see people in the comments and please feel free to check out the finale.

Author Bio & Social Media

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

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All cover art done by JASON PEDERSEN

Catch the rest of the LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE on Amazon!


Dear friends and readers,

thank you for reading my blog in 2017.

I am looking forward to seeing you again in 2018.  🙂

Happy New Year!

Peace, coffee, and a cheesecake.  🍀🍀🍀

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Hills and Valleys (The Ambeth Chronicles, #3) by Helen Jones #BookReview @AuthorHelenJ

 

The author sent me an ARC of this book (mobi format) in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Plot
(by Goodreads)

‘Sometimes things call to us until we can no longer ignore them. And Ambeth is calling you, Alma.’

After the events of the Harvest Fair, Alma is finished with Ambeth – they can find the missing Cup and Crown without her. But Ambeth is not finished with her. First the mystery of her dead father comes back to haunt her, then the Dark reach out, hoping to trap her once more.

And then there’s the strange power she seems to have…

Genre(s): Kindle eBooks
> Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy
> Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult
Books
> Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy
Series: The Ambeth Chronicles, #3
Length: 300 pages
Release date: 2016-05-25

Teaser


…Then she pulled out the little notebook from Caleb, her fingers moving over the embossed leather cover as she remembered his joy in giving it to her. She started to cry. After a few minutes she stopped and looked for a tissue to wipe her eyes. She finally found one, clean but crumpled, in the front pocket of her pack. She picked up the notebook again, her fingers going to the leather ties that fastened it. But then she stopped. She wasn’t ready, not yet. Putting it back in her pack she closed the zip, then left the room and went downstairs.


My Opinion

This book finds Alma – having turned her back on Ambeth.

With Hills and Valleys, Helen Jones continues the wonderful Ambeth Chronicles. It is an enjoyable and compelling read, focussing on the events after the Harvest Fair – in Ambeth as well as in Alma’s world. Thorion, Deryck, Ellery, Alma – their lives have changed. Alma and her family visit her grandmother; her parents consider it having a healing effect. Helen Jones paints a clear picture of Alma’s and the other characters’ mind sets while the story evolves. I was drawn very close to Alma and her story – an invisible friend and ally. The characters are complex, believable with their flaws and virtues. The story is nicely woven and has a wonderful flow; it was easy to get hooked. I love how some secrets are solved and new mysteries come up, it is fine balance. I am looking forward to reading the next book.

This is a book for you if you like young adult fantasy, urban fantasy, believable and often very likeable characters.

The third book in The Ambeth Chronicles series; the last chapters let me expect a promising fourth book. A book I definitely need to read.

Recommended!

In brief:

Cover ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Writing ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Plot ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Characters ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Mood Suspenseful
Pace Fast, steady
POV Third person – past tense
Language :mrgreen:
Violence 😳
Sexual content :mrgreen: – 😳

About the author

Helen Jones loves to write. That’s all there is to it. Born in the UK, she lived in Canada and Australia before returning to England several years ago. The thought of finding magic in ordinary places is one that inspires her; when she was a child she did find a strange valley and hear a scream – the incident stayed with her and was the starting point of the Ambeth Chronicles.

Helen has worked as a freelance writer for the past ten years, runs her own blog at http://www.journeytoambeth.com and has contributed guest posts to others, including the Bloomsbury Writers & Artists site. Ambeth is not the only world she plans to visit in her books, but it’s where she is now.

When she’s not writing, she likes to walk, paint and study karate (when housework and family life permit!) She’s now working on several other novels unrelated to Ambeth, enjoying the chance to explore other fantasy worlds.

Connect with the author:

Amazon:  Helen Jones

Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading.  Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you?  What did you think about Hills and Valleys?  Or – if you did not yet read Hills and Valleys – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂

 

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Out now: Path of the Traitors (Legends of Windemere, #14) by Charles E. Yallowitz @cyallowitz

On the eve of destiny, the fate of the champions are in the hands of those they once called Enemy.

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Hated and distrusted, Queen Trinity must leave the shadows and reach for redemption.

With their final battle on the horizon, the champions are faced with a long-lost piece of the prophecy.  Unable to search for the crests that are rumored to be the key to survival, they must turn to a band of their former enemies for help.  Sinister desires and hopes for redemption collide as Queen Trinity of the Chaos Elves leads the hunt and struggles to keep her companions on the path of heroism.  Monsters, traps, mysteries, and their own pasts will rise up to stand in the way of these people who have spent their entire lives committing sins. Throughout it all, another old enemy is lurking in the shadows and determined to claim her own delicious prize.

By the end of their journey, those who survive will learn that being a hero is more than simply stepping into the light.

Dive into the adventure on Amazon for $2.99!
Find it on Goodreads!

Excerpt: The Aura Syphon

A gurgling causes the two women to pause and look into the pit where the shadows are swirling among the jagged stones. Two black tentacles lance out of the ground and wrap around Yola’s waist, the ooze-dripping projections turning silver at the taste of her magic. Attracted to the stronger energy, the aura syphon yanks the immortal into its slime-covered maw and becomes a metallic beast. With its armored skin, the camouflaged predator is now visible and resembles a sea anemone with the body of a beetle. The jagged rocks are fused to the animal’s exoskeleton and there are six jointed legs that help it scurry out of the pit. Standing over Trinity, the creature opens a faint crease on its body to reveal a bulbous eye with a star-shaped pupil. It pauses to shove a few tentacles into its mouth and hit Yola with pulses of electricity to stop her from struggling. It changes from silver to gold when she attempts to break free, her efforts being quickly drained by the monster.

“Let the crazy woman go before you get killed,” Trinity whispers to the aura syphon. She creates a fireball in the hopes of getting its mouth open, but her spell is ignored. “No reason to have a snack when you have an eternal meal in your belly. Maybe we can have a trade. Can’t believe I’m trying to bargain with this thing. Well, I gave you a chance, so I’m going to blow you up before things get worse. Hope you heard that Yola and are bracing yourself.”

The beast gurgles before releasing a blast of sticky strands that lock Trinity in place. Instead of going after the trapped chaos elf, the creature turns its attention to the helpless army. Having had its fill of magic, the aura syphon is ready to gorge on fresh meat and opens a second mouth that is filled with knife-like teeth. Heading for Sir Harbiss, it is stopped when a chunk of earth erupts beneath it and flips it back into the pit. Unsure of where the attack came from, the aura syphon leaps out and reveals several eye stalks that search for an unseen enemy. A cutting wind lops off half of the projections, but Yola’s potent energy revives them and protects the crystalline armor plates. When the spell comes back around, it bounces off the new defense and bursts against a hill. Blasts of fire strike the beast from behind, so it sprouts a fan-shaped tail of water that douses the flames.

Looking around, the aura syphon stops when it sees that Trinity is nowhere to be seen and there is a hole where she once stood. Spikes grow from the predator’s belly and it slams against the ground in the hopes of impaling the chaos elf. The hiss of escaping gas is heard an instant before an explosion sends the shrieking animal into the sky. Careening towards a solitary cloud that is very low to the ground, the beast catches the scent of an aura that revives the one currently in its gut. Passing through the cloud, it finds its legs caught in a net that runs down to where Trinity is hiding behind a hill. With enhanced strength, the channeler slams the aura syphon into the ground and delivers a leaping stomp to its soft upper body. Instead of ejecting Yola, the creature opens its skin to swallow the chaos elf’s leg up the knee.

“Fine. Backup plan it is,” Trinity mutters, synching her aura to that of the imprisoned immortal.

Releasing as much magic as she can without killing herself, the channeler creates a power surge within the aura syphon. Unable to absorb or redirect so much energy at once, the predator tries to reject the grinning chaos elf. Plunging her fingers into its flesh, Trinity refuses to be thrown off and continues her assault. Blisters appear on the hard exoskeleton and the metallic color flakes off to reveal the natural black of the tentacles. Without warning, the gold returns and the animal explodes with enough force to collapse the ground. Before she can escape, the channeler falls into the pit and is buried beneath the icy dirt.

Need to catch Legends of Windemere from the beginning? Then click on the picture below!
First book, ‘Beginning of a Hero’ is free!

Ready for the newest adventure in Windemere? Find out if Queen Trinity earns redemption or will return to the Baron’s side!

 

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog:  www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter:  @cyallowitz
Facebook:  Charles Yallowitz
Website:  www.charleseyallowitz.com

 

Annie’s Story, Blessed With A Gift (#1) by Deborah A. Bowman #BookReview @Bowmanauthor

 

The author sent me a copy of this book (mobi format) in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Plot
(by Goodreads)

Annie’s Story, Blessed With A Gift” is based on life in Colonial Massachusetts from 1630 to 1648. Annie’s message is timeless. Her shining spirit reveals that “History Does Repeat Itself” as we watch the treatment, abuse, and bullying of women, children, and individuals with special needs in today’s modern society. In Annie’s lifetime, babies born with birth defects and their mothers were banished or put to death—their names cleansed from all church and legal records. Yet, have perceptions changed that all that much? Have they changed enough? The answer is a resounding, “No!”

Annie came to me in an age regression that somehow slipped into a past-life regression by an Instructor of The National Guild of Hypnotists. Instead of returning to my childhood—WHAM! like hitting a brick wall—I was in someone else’s body, crushed in a pitch black hole, surrounded by wood and earth. This is how I met Annie; or rather I should say, I became Annie.

The Colonists laughed at Annie’s dwarfed appearance and sluggish way of talking. My conscious mind of the 21st century, however, realized that Annie was mentally slow, stunted in growth, and lacking in social and emotional development. I also knew she was innocent and childlike as well as an incredible telepathic savant, blessed with a gift from the Spiritual Universe. Hence, began a quest that has spanned years. I made amazing discoveries about a time in American history that many generations have tried to eradicate or conceal as was done with the Witch Hysteria of 1692-93, nearly half-a-century “after” Annie lived. This story of love and faith, coupled with the inequality of different people—now called “special” people—begs to be told. “Annie’s Story” is about an unusual child growing up in Colonial America, who is “Blessed With A Gift.”

Genre(s): Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction
> Genre Fiction > Metaphysical
> Historical Fiction > Scottish
Books > Literature & Fiction
> Genre Fiction > Metaphysical & Visionary
Series: #1
Length: 275 pages
Release date: 2017-01-02

 

Teaser


“Does the wee one yet breathe?” Frances blurted out.

Agnes reached down – she just couldna’ help it – and wrapped the small babe in The Blackbain Plaid, cuddlin’ the wee lassie in her arms. “She’s burnin’ up with fever!” Agnes exclaimed. “Why have ya’ taken her from the Mutha‘? Ya’ said James and Mary? This is my? Mine own…”

“Granddaughter,” Lachlan finished for her.

The vision Agnes had seen a mere thread of, less than a minute before, came back to her full-force and crystal clear. She saw and recognized the two bodies in the soiled bed.

“Nay, naught my Mary!” she screamed. Lachlan grabbed The Tartan with the baby as Frances rushed forward to catch the old woman and ease her down to the packed earthen floor.


My Opinion

This book leads you back in time, introducing you to Agnes Blackbain and her granddaughter Annie.

With Annie’s Story, Blessed With A Gift, Deborah A. Bowman has written a story that will stay etched in your memory. It is a very unusual and captivating read, drawing you into Annie’s world. During a regression, Deborah A. Bowman encountered Annie – who then became a part of her. She carefully develops the story about Annie and the people around her, painting a clear picture of Annie and life in New England (1630 – 1648) while the story evolves. Annie is likeable, complex, and hopeful. The story comprises historical elements (among others the Puritans, Salem, witches); it has a steady pace, comprises interesting turns, and has a really good flow. I have been keeping my fingers crossed – hoping the best for Annie – sometimes smiling, sometimes having to cry.

This is a book for you if you like historical fiction, the metaphysical, food for thought, and if you like intense female characters.

A sequel has been announced and – I am looking forward to reading it.

In brief:

Cover ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Writing ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Plot ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Characters ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Mood Dark, hopeful
Pace Steady
POV Third person – past tense
Language 😳
Violence 😳 – 😡
Sexual content 😳

 

About the author

Deborah Bowman has been sharing her stories and poems her whole life–her first poem published in a 4-H magazine at just 12 years old. She loves just about all genres of fiction and collects classical literature. Deborah’s recent selections are close to her heart. She has a passion and a crusade for the headline-driven factual material which she weaves into novels and novellas. She is also child-like and whimsical!

Deborah has a 20+-year history as well as formal education in writing, editing, proofreading, and publishing. She believes strongly in helping first-time and seasoned writers alike create quality books and eBooks at clasidconsultantspublishing.com. She does free reviews and critiques. “Books are timeless; readers are forever.”

Deborah has various upcoming projects, but is always happy to hear from you and connect on social media.

Connect with the author:

Amazon:  Deborah Bowman
Buy links:  books2read.com/u/bxqZRJ

Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading.  Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you?  What did you think about Annie’s Story, Blessed With A Gift?  Or – if you did not yet read Annie’s Story, Blessed With A Gift – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂

 

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The Magician’s Workshop, Vol. Two by Christopher Hansen and J. R. Fehr #BookReview @HansenFehr

 

The authors sent me an ARC of this book (epub format) in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Plot
(by Goodreads)

Return to the world of The Magician’s Workshop: Where Dreams Become Reality.

In Volume Two, the Festival of Stars has finally arrived, and the Color Ceremony is about to commence. As children from all over the islands gather to stand before a puller, one question remains: who will have a Color, and who will be found void?

Rejoin your favorite characters as they step forward and receive a label that will have the power to dramatically alter the course of their lives forever.

Genre(s): Books
> Teens > SciFi & Fantasy > Fantasy > Coming of Age
Kindle eBooks
> SciFi & Fantasy > Fantasy > Metaphysical & Visionary
> Teen & YA > SciFi & Fantasy > Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery
Series: The Magician’s Workshop, # 2
Length: 396 pages
Release date: 2016-11-22

 

Teaser


Aaro is-a Tree didn’t understand why he felt compelled to get on this boat in the dark of night. He didn’t have any clear reason to go where it was sailing; in fact, he’d really rather not be going there at all.

“Are you sure it’s a good idea to come with me to the festival?” asked Malroy is-a Shield. “You hate the Color Ceremony.”

“I don’t hate it. I hate what it does to kids,” Aaro answered as he stepped of the wooden dock and onto Malroy’s sailboat, a small cutter that looked to be twice as old as the two men were. …


My Opinion

This book reintroduces you to the group of kids living in the magical islands of O’Ceea. The upcoming Color Ceremony and the possible results affect all O’Ceea inhabitants.

With The Magician’s Workshop, Volume Two, authors Hansen and Fehr continue the wonderful fantasy story about O’Ceea and the importance of colours. It is a very enjoyable and compelling read, drawing you in as the kids and their clans prepare for the Color Ceremony. Hansen and Fehr carefully elaborated the characters, and their stories and interactions, still leaving the readers room for imagination; I still adore the blue wallaroo. I was drawn rather close to the kids – it was fun being an invisible friend. The characters are of sufficient depth, believable with their flaws and virtues; the authors’ care for each of them shows. The story is very nicely woven and has a wonderful flow. I am eager to read volume 3 – as soon as the story is continued!

This is a book for you if you like magic, urban fantasy, food for thought, believable and very likeable characters, and/or the teen and young adult genre.

Recommended!

In brief:

Cover ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Writing ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Plot ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Characters ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Mood Suspenseful
Pace Steady
POV Third person – past tense
Language :mrgreen:
Violence :mrgreen: – 😳
Sexual content :mrgreen:

 

About the authors

The first glimmering Chris Hansen had that there was far more to reality than he had ever imagined occurred six days after his ninth birthday.
“Christopher!” cried a wise, old sage. “Life is full of deep magic. Miraculous things happen all the time and all around us, if you know where to look for them.”
Full of expectation and childlike optimism, Chris began searching for this magic, prepared to be surprised and amazed by it. And he was: he found Wonder! Now he’s chosen to write stories about it.

When J.R. Fehr popped out of the womb, he knew there was more to the world than the four boring hospital walls that he was seeing. “Zango!” his newborn mind exclaimed as he saw people appear and disappear through a mysterious portal in the wall. As a child he found life wowtazzling, but as he grew older the cold water of reality hit him, and the magic he once knew vanished. After spending some wet and shivering years lost in a joyless wasteland, he once again began to see magic in the world. He writes because the Wonder of true life is far grander than anything he ever thought possible

 

Connect with the authors:

Website:  www.oceea.com
Amazon:  J. R. Fehr

Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading.  Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you?  What did you think about The Magician’s Workshop, Volume Two?  Or – if you did not yet read The Magician’s Workshop, Volume Two – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂

 

 

 

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