A Hero’s Birth, available now!

Title: A Hero’s Birth

Retailers: Amazon [Kindle] [Paperback]

Genre: Epic Fantasy

 


Blurb:

After more than four months abroad, Eliza, Thomas, and Sarentha return home in the face of dire warnings and sweeping changes in the empire. They go their separate ways to reflect on their lives and look for ways to move forward. New allies and enemies emerge, and grave challenges face the up-and-coming heroes. They will need to come together, combining their wits and strengths, to overcome ancient foes. In the balance is the world of Illuma: will it enter an age of light, or will it plunge into everlasting darkness, ruled by demons and the undead?


Reviews:

Jason Berry, reviewer at The Bone Breaker rated it 5 stars and said:

What I loved the most about this book is that our three heroes start off on three separate quests/journeys, making their ultimate reunion that much sweeter. You will see Thomas begin to fulfill his destiny, Sarentha’s becoming a dragon hunter, and Eliza’s growth as a leader. And the ending… Whoa! Man, it is difficult to write this review without giving anything away. I better just say this:

Toxopeus has certainly grown as an author. If you like your fantasy filled with intrigue, suspense, and mystery, then this book is for you!

Andy Goldman, author of The Only City Left rated it 4 stars and said:

There’s definitely fun to be had in seeing where the story takes them, as the trilogy has clearly been building up to this big finale. For my taste, this single book could have been a trilogy in its own right.

Bradley Rogers rated it 5 stars and said:

Fantastic read. Riveting from beginning to end. Characters developed beautifully in this book. The world that has been created is absolutely amazing. If you enjoyed the other books in the series this will be a most delightful read. Excelent conclusion to a series. Absolute must read.


I’m quite pleased with how this series has come along. Perhaps it’s not a surprise, but I feel like the books just get better, the deeper into the series I go. While A Noble’s Quest has a strong Dungeons & Dragons feel to it, the characters are more independent by A Hero’s Birth. There’s nothing wrong with the D&D feel, but it felt good having the characters off and doing their own things, allowing me to really focus in on each of them.

I do agree with Andy Goldman that I could’ve taken more time in some of the locations, but with the book already over twice the length of A Noble’s Quest, I felt some brevity was in order. And there’s a reason I’m calling the next set the “Strongblade Siblings series.” Calling this set of Empire’s Foundation books a trilogy from the outset sort of pinned me down to just three books, where it could have probably been 4. While I say there will be four books in the next series, it could easily grow to more, depending on how events unfold. I would very much like to keep each book closer to 100,000 words, so they don’t take as long to bring out as A Hero’s Birth. This book is a beast, at 160,000 words. But don’t worry – I’m not going to slow down too much! I do still enjoy a fast-paced story!

If you’d like to read all the stories in my recommended reading order, here’s the list (short stories are only available for e-readers):

A Noble’s Quest

1100 Before Gods’ War

Demon Invasion

A Wizard’s Gambit

Dawn: A dwarven creation story

A Hero’s Birth

All of these titles are also available through Kindle Unlimited if you have it. Enjoy!

Demons and minotaurs are invading e-readers everywhere!

DemonInvasion

 

It’s my last promo for a while. I think I’ve done one for all my books this year (maybe A Noble’s Quest (The Empire’s Foundation Book 1) twice), so I think it’s time to cool off for a while, and wait for the release of my third novel, A Hero’s Birth. I gave away so many copies of Demon Invasion that I’ve been shocked at how many more have found readers over the last few days through Patty’s Promo.

And then I went kind of crazy, about mid-week. Seeing downloads starting on Demon Invasion with only the free Amazon promotion going, I thought, “Why not make a weekend of it?” So all of a sudden 1100 BGW (Before Gods’ War) and Dawn: A dwarven creation story are free to download this weekend, too.

And while I’m giving away short stories and novellas, why not pay for the privilege of doing so? I’d posted the three links on my Facebook fan page and it shot up to over 100 views pretty fast. Facebook asked me to promote it for just $7, and I said, “Why the hell not? $7 is affordable!” and downloads started coming in at an accelerated pace.


And then John Lewis over on G+ says, “Don’t advertise with FB! G+ is better!” and shares my pinned post about my writing.

I’ve got this feeling like it’s all snowballing out of control, as the free downloads pile up. Will one of the stories hit #1 on Amazon’s free category again? I don’t know. But it’s fun just throwing a bunch of stuff together and seeing how it takes on a life of its own. Who knows? Maybe people will read these freebies and give the novels a try, so the ad will pay for itself.

Demon Invasion has been sitting around #2 for Fantasy Adventure Fiction all day, and I’m so amazed to see the downloads continuing to come in at a steady and alarming pace.

Thank you everyone who’s shared my posts. You guys are awesome, and this wouldn’t happen without you.


I signed up for Amazon Associates, so I’ll be adding a code to my links to my own books, and books I review on my website. If people purchase anything through my website, I’ll get a very small kickback, which may or may not pay for this website. I have no idea if people actually buy books from the links I provide, but just in case, why not make a few cents off it (at no additional cost to you, of course!).

I’ve also set up an aStore with my books, and links to other indie author books that I’ve really enjoyed (rated 4 or 5 stars). I set up a widget on the side that shows the books with help from my website provider, Brian Racey.


 Cover art!

Macimanito Môswa

Click to enlarge

Once again, Harvey has created some wonderful art for me. I’ve submitted Macimanito Môswa (Cree for Demon Moose) to a literary festival in an attempt to win a contest (and add $250 CDN to my editing/cover art fund), and also submitted it to a magazine to see if I can find a traditional publishing home for it. I’ll hear back from both some time in the next couple months, but after I hear back, I plan to self-publish the title, since neither group has an exclusivity clause.

The cover captures perfectly the spooky nature of the story.


 And finally (these weekly diary entries have been getting awfully long, lately), I hit my 3000 word goal for new writing on A King’s Decree. It’s coming along nicely, and I’m really happy with how much I’m screwing with the characters’ heads already. I’ve only just finished Chapter 3! So many more mind games to play.

A King’s Decree, Meet the Characters

Introductions are over. False history has been shown. Now it’s time for the real meat of the story. And it’s a bit of a mind-bender.

But who are these characters coming to life in A King’s Decree? Why should you care about them, and their path?

I can’t answer that second one, except to say that it’s a lot of fun, and this is based on the original series of D&D games we played that my friend Ian asked me to write about. But I can certainly tell you about Grace, Sardo, and Traithaius, the protagonists who are featured in the Strongblade Siblings series, which begins around 450 years after the events of the Empire’s Foundation trilogy.

Grace was once known as Gregor around the gaming table. As the eldest sibling, he became the natural leader with a sarcastic sense of humour. A mercenary by trade, Gregor was highly motivated by money. That all remains the same with Grace, who’s strong-willed and caustic. Not afraid of a fight, or saying it how it is (or at least how she sees it), Grace doesn’t want to be doing whatever it is she’s been told to do. She’s moving forward into the unknown with confidence. Although she doesn’t see eye-to-eye with her siblings, and antagonizes them every chance she gets, they’re her siblings, and if anyone messes with them, they’re going to have to deal with her.

Sardo has the same name, but also gender swapped, because I wanted a story with two female leads. The old male Sardo had been a charismatic ladies man. Quick on his feet and jumpy, Sardo slips into a state of paranoia, fearing that an attack is around every corner. No one is to be trusted. That’s all the same in this book, with the exception that she’s openly bisexual. That’s not a central focus of the story. She just is. Not because she’s confused, or hedonistic, but because she loves fiercely. All of Sharrow’s children are beautiful, and even when her older sister is being a jerk, Sardo still loves her.

Traithaius is the most unchanged of the three. He’s the youngest sibling, and acts the part. Despite just becoming a man (this story starts on his 16th birthday), he still has some childish habits that annoy his sisters. While he is deeply interested in some vocations, he remains largely removed from those around him, instead finding solace in his own mind. Although Grace teases him relentlessly about never having had a girlfriend (using harsh, rude language aimed at belittling him), he’s pretty sure he’s just never found the right person yet. He hasn’t been interested in any men or women that he’s met, which makes him feel like an outsider, but he hopes to one day find someone who can challenge him mentally. Thoughtful and awkward, readers may get a sense that there’s more to him than what they’re shown.

Fans of my first series might be thinking, “Well, those characters are completely different from the three in the first series.” Let me just show you something quickly.

Thomas – highly protective of friends, a ladies man, and thoughtful

Sarentha – sarcastic, quick on his feet, introverted

Eliza – strong-willed, charismatic, intelligent

So yes, these new characters are their own unique individuals, but they borrow from each of the three who came before them. Why do they share those personality traits? Well, there might be a short story or two about that, eventually. Suffice it to say that I have a reason, like pretty much everything else I write.


It’s been a long time since I’ve done a word count update, but this week I wrote 4000+ words on A King’s Decree, and 1600+ words on a bonus story for fans. I’m happy to have jumped right back into the thick of things, and gone past my usual goal of 3000 words/week.

“Wait, you’re going to tell us what this bonus story is, aren’t you?”

Sure, since you asked!

My dad is one of my beta readers. I know, I know. Before you get all “family makes the worst beta readers!” on me, the reasons I ask my dad to look over my stuff are: 1) he’s read a ton of fantasy and sci-fi over the years, and 2) he’s not afraid to be brutally honest. He knows that saying, “Wow, that’s great!” won’t help me in the long run if something isn’t great. I trust him completely to tell me when something isn’t right.

So this week he e-mailed me and requested more scenes … scenes I was really looking forward to writing when I was outlining the book. But there was a problem – I’m trying to keep the book in tight 3rd person point of view, and seeing events through the eyes of Eliza, Thomas, and Sarentha. I feel like the looser 3rd POV worked for A Noble’s Quest, because there was a lot going on all over the place, and I needed to show readers a lot of cool things. When A Wizard’s Gambit went out for developmental editing, it was suggested that I try to cut it down to just the main three. I looked at the scenes I had with other POVs and agreed I could cut them, and it would actually increase the tension in the story. Information from those scenes could be related to the main characters in other ways, which wasn’t the case with A Noble’s Quest.

These scenes I had planned for A Hero’s Birth were from Ramar’s POV, and none of my protagonists were there. I had put so much thought into everything Ramar went through, and had to scrap it. I chalked it up to, “Important for me to know. Not important for the reader.” So when Ramar returned from his solo adventure, his experience was summarized into two or three paragraphs, because they were pressed for time upon his return.

The problem is, it sounds freaking awesome, and my dad wanted to read more about that. Seeing Ramar letting loose with powerful magic and wrecking many assailants sounded so amazing that not having it in the book felt wrong.

After discussing this problem, I’ve decided on a solution: bonus story. I’m going to write Ramar’s missing scenes and create a hidden page on my website. Fans who read A Hero’s Birth will find a link at the end of the book that will take them to Ramar’s story, if they’re interested in reading it. Free of charge. It won’t be terrifically long. I just wrote the first scene, and it was 1600 words. I think two more scenes ought to do it justice.


Luke from Vocamus Press made contact with a local shop called The Roundtable, which has a definite fantasy vibe to it. You can rent a table to play games from their large selection, and it’s pretty fun. The owner is planning on starting up a store where you can buy games and genre fiction books, and wants local authors to read at their grand opening. They’ll also sell books on commission there. So I tried e-mailing them this week to set up details, but haven’t heard back. I’ll be calling this weekend. It sounds like a great opportunity!

If you’re a genre fiction writer in and around Guelph, feel free to get in touch with me, and I’ll make sure you’re included in the grand opening readings.