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The Castes and the OutCastes...where dharma may be based on a lie A Warrior's Path is actually the 7th novel I've written, but it's the first one where I trusted my words enough to release it out into the world.  Before I did so, I wanted an independent assessment, so I asked for a Kirkus review, and here it is:


I especially like the part where they talk about "the ...milieu is markedly original..." and "...first-rate world building." Funny thing: they draft I sent Kirkus was the one I thought was the final, but my sister, with whom I share a brain, convinced to rewrite certain sections. All told, it turned out to be changing about 3% of the words or less, but that 3% made a huge difference.

I should also point out that this book is not set in a proto-typical medieval Europe but rather in a world that is a melange of India, Japan, and ancient Greece.

Anyway, here's what the book is about:

Two millennia ago, a demon thundered into the skies of Arisa, casting down the First World. She was Suwraith, the Bringer of Sorrows. And on the same night as Her arrival, there rose about the world's great cities the Oases, a mysterious means by which Humanity lies protected against the might of the Sorrow Bringer. It is a temporary respite. Throughout the rest of Arisa, Suwraith’s Chimeras boil across the Wildness, the wide swaths of land beyond the boundaries of the few, far-flung cities, killing any unfortunates in their path and ruling all in Her name. But always She seeks more: Humanity’s utter extinction.

Into this world is born Rukh Shektan, a peerless young warrior from a Caste of warriors. He is well-versed in the keen language of swords and the sacred law of the seven Castes: for each Caste is a role and a Talent given, and none may seek that to which they were not born. It is the iron-clad decree by which all cities maintain their fragile existence and to defy this law means exile and death. And Rukh has ever been faithful to the teachings of his elders.

But all his knowledge and devotion may not save him because soon he must join the Trials, the holy burden by which by which the cities of Humanity maintain their slender connection with one another, and the only means by which a warrior can prove his worth. There in the Wildness, Rukh will struggle to survive as he engages in the never-ending war with the Chimeras, but he will also discover a challenge to all he has held to be true and risk losing all he holds dear. And it will come in the guise of one of Humanity’s greatest enemies – perhaps its greatest allies.

Worse, he will learn of Suwraith’s plans. The Sorrow Bringer has dread intentions for his home. The city of Ashoka is to be razed and her people slaughtered.

And here's where you can buy it:




January 31, 2014, 01:37:10 PM
Re: Interviewed by That Thorn Guy... I think the coolest thing about that interview was finding out that you're an MMA fighter. You and Eldon Thompson (former college quarterback) pretty much shatter that whole stupid myth about fantasy/scifi fans being pointy-ear wearing nerds who live in our parents basements and never kissed a girl/boy.
March 16, 2015, 08:20:02 PM
Stephen R. Donaldson's Thoughts on Fantasy Here's an interesting article by Stephen R. Donaldson (hat tip r/fantasy) about fantasy. It's a nice synopsis and cogent defense of fantasy fiction. It might lean to the literary for some and come across as self-justification for others with no room for authors who simply wish to entertain and not tackle 'life issues'. But it does explain how fantasy-the oldest genre (not the oldest profession)-shouldn't be pigeonholed or dismissed. Oddly, the content reminds me of something I once read by Scott Bakker. I wonder if Donaldson has read The Darkness that Comes Before or if Donaldson was an influence on Bakker?


Reason for edit: I screwed up the link. I think I got it fixed now.

March 19, 2015, 09:22:55 PM
Tanith Lee in remembrance Recently, fantasy giant, Tanith Lee passed away. Here's a remembrance of her work from Tor.


There is an ongoing thread about female fantasy authors that should be more widely read, and there aren't many that should be higher on the list than Tanith Lee. Her books were so influential in the entire fantasy landscape, and I wish more people knew about her books, especially the Paradys novels and The Tales from the Flat Earth. She could write creepy mood and evocative setting like no one else and incorporate horrific takes on modern fairy tales. I loved Heartbeast, which was about a werewolf, but it was absolutely not urban fantasy. It was Victorian horror. But then there were some fun children stories. One I especially liked was set in India. Then there was Cyrion, a heroic warrior who was unlike Conan in that he was very cerebral in how he dished out his violence. He mainly won his battles through guile. I could go on and on about her books and stories, but I hope people will go out and rediscover her works.

Rest in peace to a wonderful author and my heartfelt condolences to those she left behind.

May 26, 2015, 04:05:37 PM
Re: Self Published Books - Do you read them? I try to be active here, SFFWorld, and reddit/fantasy - yes, I know that I only jot a note every few weeks, but that's just because I'm boring and have nothing really fun to say outside of my books. I stick with these three sites because I like them, they're easy to navigate, and I enjoy reading the posts. But I certainly don't want to ever come here or go anywhere else because it's necessary for marketing or something. I hate marketing and the business of publishing. I would much rather be writing or reading fantasy or sharing what I enjoy by interviewing self-published authors I've liked, such as Jacob Cooper, Jonathan Renshaw, or John D. Brown. That's a lot more fun.
August 11, 2015, 01:13:47 AM
Re: Self Published Books - Do you read them? I have read self-published novels, and there were some that I truly enjoyed and even loved. The obvious is BBlood Song which I read before it got picked up and Ryria as well. Those seem ancient so some relatively newer works that I think are as good as nearly anything out there would be Jacob Cooper's book Circle of Reign and The Shadow of What was Lost by James Islington. And one that I think is already as good as anything in the bookstores (just a shade under Blood Song as it stands) would be Dawn of Wonder by Jonathan Renshaw-it isn't with out flaws in pacing, but those are easily ironed out, but for something that comes across as innocent at first with grim happenings but isn't grimdark, this is my favorite read of the year.
August 12, 2015, 01:58:22 PM
Re: What do you think of Self-Published books? Just like traditional publishing, it's hit or miss, but there are a lot more misses than hits. But of the self-pubbed books I've read, the one that instantly comes to light as being one of the best books I've read in the past few years, self-pubbed or traditional, is Jonathan Renshaw's Dawn of Wonder. Fabulous writing in every sense of the word. This was on par with Anthony Ryan's Blood Song. For comparison's sake, I would say that Jon is better at the use of the English language while Anthony is better at plotting and narrative flow (Jon's book bogs a bit in a few places but his sheer genius with language use makes up for those deficits). Both are equally adept at creating scenes of violence and grace and characters that live on after the last page.

I would also add Jacob Cooper's Circle of Reign and James Islington's The Shadow of What was Lost to self-pubbed novels that are every bit as good as something traditionally published. James' book is very retro with a Jordanesque feel to it. Beyond the boy from nowhere, there's also a great depth to his world-building. There are mysteries that are hinted upon and a world of ancient lineage that few know about. James sometimes gets caught in the Capitalization conundrum (so do I), and the characters sometimes are a bit primitive, but overall, a great read.

Jacob's book is wow. So different. The world itself seems alive with senescence and growth. That's the first thing because it drives everything else. The story didn't track in the normal fashion I would have expected either. The heart of the story is about a young woman, Reign, and her brother. Again, strong world building with mysteries unfolding and a plot that really takes off in the last 1/3 of the book. It isn't slow until then-in fact, it was just as exciting but in a different way. However, that last third, Jacob throws everything, and I mean everything into a non-stop frenzy of a finish. It just becomes...well, read it and you'll know what I mean.

In the interest of being open, I've interviewed Jacob and Jon for my website, and Jacob has been invaluable in helping me make the jump into the audiobook market (I basically asked Nick Podehl out of the blue to read my books and was fortunate enough to hire him as the narrator for both of them-if anyone has any questions about this just PM me).

October 10, 2015, 04:44:46 PM
Re: What do you think of Self-Published books?
p.s.  *shakes fist*  damn you, davis.  you just flopped three more titles on my tbr pile.

My work here is done.  :)

October 10, 2015, 06:46:20 PM
Re: Anyone else name their pets after their favorite literature works? I didn't name any of my pets after anyone from a fantasy novel, but I did include my favorite pet, a calico cat, in my books...except in my books, she's about 7 feet tall at the shoulders, can easily outrun a cheetah, and is telepathic. Other than that, she's exactly the same.
January 20, 2016, 12:36:34 PM
A Warrior's Penance-Book 3 of The Castes and the OutCastes So a couple of things. First, the third book, A Warrior's Penance, has been complete for some time now, and it was picked up by Audible Studios for production as an audiobook. That's weird but exciting that they decided to publish the finale of a series despite not purchasing the rights to the first two books.

Even more exciting, A Warrior's Penance is scheduled to be released simultaneously in ebook, print, and audiobook format on July 12th. An omnibus ebook edition of the entire trilogy will also be released on July 12th. Here's the link for A Warrior's Penance:

And here's the link for the Omnibus edition:


June 09, 2016, 03:43:52 AM