How was The Phoenix Project inspired by D.M. Cain’s love of geek culture?

How was The Phoenix Project inspired by my love of games, film and books?

Science fiction, fantasy and general geek culture have always been a huge part of my life. Growing up it was Star Wars, Marvel, anime series such as Death Note, and a fixation with the Final Fantasy game series. As an adult, I am slowly working my way through the great sci-fi and dystopian films and books of our time, and finding an immense love of all things fantasy (especially those which include immersive world-building such as Game of Thrones).

When my debut novel, The Phoenix Project, was recently I decided to delve into the themes and ideas within the book to see which of these geek influences made their mark upon my writing.

  • My protagonist, Raven, always started out as a Cloud Strife/Squall Leonheart lone-wolf type character. Headstrong, independent, steadfastly avoiding others in favour of skulking around alone. He makes no effort to befriend others, preferring his own morose company. Cloud was (and is) my all-time love. Roll on the FFVII remake <3! (Check out my Final Fantasy Pinterest board for lots of cool images)

Squall Leonheart and Cloud Strife

  • Isn’t there always something exciting, though undoubtedly disturbing, about a high-pressure, adrenaline-fuelled fight to the death? Maybe it was my obsession with computer games as a child that led me to use this concept for my first novel. Tekken was my personal favourite beat ‘em up and what really appealed to me about these games was the fact that each character had their individual strengths and special moves, but at the end of the day, the power was really in the hands of external forces (call it fate, destiny or some kind of deity).

Tekken 2 screenshot

  • One of my favourite elements to any type of game is the ‘boss battle’. That peculiar mixture of apprehension and anxiety that accompanies stepping into a fight you probably won’t emerge from (the first time I walked into the final fight with Sephiroth and One Winged Angel started playing I swear my heart stopped for a moment!). That buzz was something I hoped to communicate in The Phoenix Project when Raven is forced to battle some of the near-invincible superstars of the death matches.

One winged angel Cloud and Sephiroth

  • There is also an element of Battle Royale, The Hunger Games and The Running Man to this novel, though I like to think my book is perhaps more psychological (and a wee bit disturbing!)

Battle Royale

  • I can also see the very strong influence of dystopia in my books – Room 101 from George Orwell’s ‘1984’ inspired one section of the book, then there’s the oppressive feel to games such as Bioshock Infinite, Far Cry, Lost Odyssey etc.

1984 George Orwel

All of these influences have shaped who I am as a person, and as such, have helped me to write a book that is very dear to my heart. If you enjoy the same type of things that I have mentioned within this post, why not check out The Phoenix Project and maybe you’ll see something of yourself in it too.

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The Phoenix Project – a psychological dystopian thriller by D.M. Cain

This post was originally featured on the blog of author Wendy J Scott:

http://www.wendyjscott.com/my-blog/introducing-the-phoenix-project-by-dmcain


RELATED LINKS:

The 12 best dystopian movies – by D.M. Cain

Why I’m becoming disillusioned with the Oscars – a guest post by Alex Tipler

The Light and Shadow Chronicles – a unique immersive fantasy world

Is this the most adorable and geeky thing you’ve ever seen?

 

 

Review of Soldier Son: The Terralin Sword by D.K. Holmberg

A run-of-the-mill fantasy story with some interesting ideas

The Teralin Sword was an interesting story with some great plot points. I was particularly gripped by the concept of the mineral Teralin itself. The author developed a really cool concept with the nature of this metal and its ability to be forged into fascinating weapons. I also enjoyed the dark monks and their evil ways – they lent a brutal gravitas to the book and gave the protagonist a believable and sympathetic motive for his part in the story.

The plot itself, though dotted with some interesting ideas, was a pretty standard fantasy story. It was quite predictable and a lot of the characters and plot points fit a little too neatly into typical fantasy tropes.  The characters were a little weak and forgettable. In fact, now that I am a week past the end of the book I can’t clearly remember many of the characters at all! (There was also only one female character and she served merely as a faint romantic interest to the protagonist. This grated on me somewhat.)

The writing was generally good and Holmberg has a good style which is accessible and easy to read.

Grab a copy on Amazon here

epic fantasy novel sword and sorcery

Cover reveal for an outstanding urban fantasy book

 Nite Fire: Chain Reaction

One of my favourite authors, C.L. Schneider, is on the countdown to releasing her latest novel – Chain Reaction: Book 2 of Nite Fire (an epic urban fantasy series). I’m super excited to share the cover with you. Inspired by a compilation of several scenes within the book, the cover features empathic shapeshifter, Dahlia Nite, in her (mostly) human form. The artwork was created by the amazing cover artist, Alan Dingman.

C.L.Schneider Nite Fie: Chain Reaction cover reveal urban fantasy

Blurb

If anyone can tell the difference between monsters and humans, it’s Dahlia Nite. For nearly a century, she’s hunted one to protect the other; safeguarding humanity from the creatures that slip through the torn veil between the worlds—creatures like her. But the lines are blurring. As people begin mutating and combusting on the streets, Dahlia realizes a strange affliction has descended upon Sentinel City. The mysterious ailment strikes all walks of life, from the posh, high-end nightclub district to the homeless community. Its victims, driven to random acts of savagery, are drawing attention too fast to cover up.

Assigned to the case, Dahlia and her human partner, Detective Alex Creed, investigate the deaths. But all they have is questions and bodies, and a public on the verge of panic. Working behind the scenes with her self-appointed sidekick, Casey Evans, Dahlia struggles to discover what, or who, is behind the alarming transformations. As the violence spreads and the mystery unfolds, she wonders: are the victims still human? Were they ever?

Chain Reaction is the second book in the Nite Fire Series.

Nite Fire: Chain Reaction - epic urban fantasy dragon shapeshifters

Curious about the series?

Read excerpts at clschneiderauthor.com

Check out the trailer for Flash Point (bk#1)  https://youtu.be/C041ClBpihI

Catch up with book #1 before book #2 comes out! http://mybook.to/NF1

Chain Reaction will be available for paperback and up for pre-order soon. Subscribe to the newsletter for information on the official release date http://bit.ly/2EgLFfr

C.L.Schneider Nite Fie: Chain Reaction cover reveal urban fantasy

About the Author

C. L. Schneider

Award-winning epic and urban fantasy author C.L. SchneiderC.L. Schneider is an award-winning independent author of adult epic and urban fantasy. Born in a small Kansas town, she currently resides in New York’s scenic Hudson Valley Region with her husband and two sons. Her published works include the epic trilogy, The Crown of Stones, and Flash Point, the first book in her urban fantasy series, Nite Fire. Book two, Chain Reaction, will be released in early 2018.

Learn more about C.L. Schneider, and the worlds she creates, at clschneiderauthor.com where you can read reviews, excerpts and sneak peeks, join her Street Team, and subscribe to her newsletter. An active part of the indie author online community, you can connect with her on social media, where she is often found chatting about the daily ups and downs of a writer’s life.

Published Works

All titles available in paperback or for Kindle. Read free with Kindle Unlimited.

Nite Fire: Flash Point (Bk 1)

The Crown of Stones: Magic-Price (also available on Audible)

The Crown of Stones: Magic-Scars

The Crown of Stones: Magic-Borne

Epic and urban fantasy novels by C.L. Schneider

Connect

Twitter  https://twitter.com/cl_schneider

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/CLS.Author

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/clschneiderauthor/

Google+  https://www.google.com/+CLSchneider

Goodreads  https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomCLSchneider


 

Related Posts:

Cover reveal for C.L Schneider’s new fantasy book!

 

 

My first radio interview!

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to be interviewed on Radio Leicester by the wonderful Emma Boydell. Having heard my recent segment about Marvel’s latest movie, Black Panther, I was invited to feature on the show to talk about my writing.

Emma was particularly interested in the epic fantasy world I have created and how my series works.

You can catch this 20-minute interview (with a few song breaks!) here

fantasy author writer DM Cain epic immersive fantasy fiction worldbuilding radio interview
Fantasy author D.M. Cain and Radio Leicester presenter Emma Boydell

Related links:

The Light and Shadow Chronicles – a unique immersive fantasy world

The Shield of Soren

A Chronicle of Chaos

New fantasy titles coming this year!

Excerpt from upcoming ‘The Shield of Soren’

Hexborn A.M. Manay epic fantasy high fantasy Kindle scout young adult sword and sorcery

Fantasy inspired by the English Reformation

Today, A.M. Manay is talking about her young adult high fantasy novel Hexborn.

Hexborn and the English Reformation

Inspiration can come from many places.  In the case of Hexborn, my fantasy novel currently up for nominations on Kindle Scout, one of my sources of inspiration was the Reformation. Take a look.

From Hexborn:

Gasps filled the village Temple as Brother Edmun began reading the king’s declaration regarding his takeover of the Church of Bryn.  He stopped and glared at them over the top of the paper until they quieted, then continued.  Shiloh, sitting on the front bench, could feel eyes upon her back when he got to the section about the cleanliness laws.  Her Da patted her arm and gave her a grin and a wink, and she relaxed.

There was plenty else in the declaration for everyone to get upset about.  King Rischar claimed the right to seize church property and to take a portion of the required tithes for the use of the crown.  He had expelled the Patriarch on grounds of treason and had seized all of his property in Bryn.  All shrines dedicated to Patriarchs, both current and past, were to be destroyed.  Rischar claimed the right to appoint bishops and to purge those loyal to the Patriarch.  Those priests who refused to accept the king’s headship of the church were to be arrested.  Rischar declared his marriage to Mirin annulled.  By the time Edmun was finished reading it all, his congregation sat in silent shock.

For the first time in Shiloh’s life, the service did not conclude with a prayer for the Patriarch.  The silence lifted as soon the people were dismissed.  Every wife in the village shook her head and clucked her tongue.  Shiloh eavesdropped as she helped Edmun put away the chalice and scrolls, the candles and incense. 

“If Queen Mirin can be tossed aside, any one of us could . . . This Zina he’s marrying.  She musta put him up to this . . . I’ll be damned if I’m sharing me table with the Unclean.  I don’t care what that paper says . . . In the Teeth, we keep to the old ways.  Who’s gonna stop us?  Lord Blackmine never sets foot in our hills.  Afraid of the Feralfolk, most like . . . The Ferals sup with the Unclean, ye know . . . Say what you want about the Usurper, but she never tried to take over the holy church . . . You can bet the tithes will go up, now the king’s got his fingers in ‘em . . . Me mum taught me the Patriarch of the Holy Church was the Elder reborn.  I’m supposed to stop believin’ it on account of some letter from the City?”

***

I am a sucker for historical fiction, and as a Catholic turned Presbyterian who is married to a Hindu, and as someone who attended thirteen years of Catholic school, I have an interest in the Protestant Reformation.  Last year marks 500 years since Martin Luther upended Christianity, so it seems especially appropriate to be releasing a fantasy novel inspired, in part, by the mingled political and religious conflicts swirling around the acts of rebellion against the Roman Catholic Church.  I was particularly influenced by the English Reformation and the actions of Henry VIII.

Much like Henry VIII, King Rischar of Bryn has a wife he wants rid of and a religious leader who won’t permit him to cast her aside.  He is also in need of gold, and the Church has plenty.  Thus, he kicks out the Church’s supreme religious leader, called the Patriarch, and declares himself head of the church in Bryn.  Like Henry, he is more interested in expediency and gaining wealth than he is in changes to theology or ritual.  Some of his advisors are, however, genuinely interested in reforming some religious abuses, and the king goes along with some of their desired changes.

Also, as in Henry’s case, conflict ensues.  Priests and noblemen are purged, imprisoned, and exiled for continuing to support the Patriarch.   Even many ordinary people continue to support the Holy Father in secret.  The conflict simmers below the surface and occasionally erupts into violence, and it helps to motivate an incipient rebellion that the main characters in Hexborn are attempting to quash.

Do you have any favorite works of fiction inspired by actual historical events?  Share them in the comments, and then please do head over to Kindle Scout to nominate Hexborn for publication.  Remember you’ll receive a free copy of any book you nominate that is chosen!  Many thanks to my host and to all of you!

Hexborn A.M. Manay epic fantasy high fantasy young adult sword and sorcery
Hexborn by A.M. Manay

A.M. Manay biography A.M. Manay author high fantasy epic young adult sword and sorcery

A.M. Manay is an award-winning fantasy author in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also a former inner-city chemistry teacher, a wife and mother in a multi-racial family, a lover of comic book movies, a Lupus warrior, a Clerk of Session, and a 9Round enthusiast.

She loves to write page-turning stories with complex, diverse characters who inhabit interesting worlds.

 

Book Link for Scout Campaign

Hexborn A.M. Manay epic fantasy high fantasy Kindle scoutyoung adult sword and sorcery

Author Links for A.M. Manay

Email: ammanay@gmail.com

Website: www.ammanay.net

Blog: http://ammanaywrites.blogspot.com/

Facebook: facebook.com/ammanaywrites

Twitter: @ammanay

For anyone who leaves a comment EVERY DAY of her blog tour, you will go into a drawing for an autographed paperback of her YA FANTASY NOVEL:  “HEXBORN.”

Related posts:

New dark fairy tale The Forest of Trees is released

Brand new fast-paced fantasy

The Black River Chronicles

The Shield of Soren

A Chronicle of Chaos

New fantasy titles coming this year!

So, I’ve been out of the loop for a while now (thanks to my gorgeous new arrival <3) but I am pleased to say that this year I am back with two new titles in the Light and Shadow Chronicles series!

Two novellas – ‘Genesis of Light’ and ‘Origin of Shadow’ will be released in 2018 and I will begin edits on the recently completed full length novel ‘The Sins of Silas’. How exciting!

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The Black River Chronicles

Today I am delighted to hand my blog over to the wonderful L.G. Surgeson who has just relaunched her stunning Black River Chronicles series. She’s here to tell us a bit about it:

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About the Chronicles

The Black River Chronicles is a series of the tales that follows the exploits of The Aberddu Guild of Adventurers – a rag-gag collection of mercenaries, thieves, priests and misguided hero-types that seem to wonder into the path of fate with worrying frequency. It’s an odd life as an adventurer,  particularly when you joined up for fame and fortune but find yourself up to your knees in the middens of history.  In the first three stories, the adventurers take on ancient evils,  wicked demon-worshippers and a maniacal God in the full knowledge that unless they rob someone on the way home they won’t get paid.  Some of them will live, some will die and some will last forever. Join the adventure and follow the Black River to see where it leads.

SOFpromo

Praise for the Chronicles

The Summer of Fire:

“… the characters carry the day. I loved the characters and there are plenty of them.”

“This was a good book, very captivating”

The Winter That Follows:

“The characters are rich and deep, and give the feeling of having lived. I look forward to the next in the series.”

The Freetown Bridge:

“The story moves on quickly and brought me to genuine laughter and even a heartfelt tear. I am surprised that this is the first book by Surgeson; with a start like this I expect great things to come!!”

“An excellent first edition of a novel to rival the current fantasy fiction favourites.”

About the Author

author profile 3LG Surgeson is a writer and teacher who lives in a cottage by a river in a little Welsh village with her long-suffering partner and their two cats. She writes novels and articles in the spare time she creates by avoiding the housework and pretending to be a hermit. She likes to write fantasy adventure stories and quasi-autobiographical tales about teaching, which are equally fantastical and no less adventurous but have fewer elves. She also writes articles and blog posts about subjects close to her heart, normally education and mental health. When she’s not writing, she likes to poke about in her garden, pretending to grow things and disturbing the fairies. Her cats like to help. They aren’t good at it.

 

Social Media Links

Blog

https://aberdduadventures.wordpress.com/

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/LGSurgeson/

Twitter

https://twitter.com/LGSurgeson

Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/lgsurgeson/

Amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/LG-Surgeson/e/B006K18OTM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6093663.L_G_Surgeson

Brand new fast-paced fantasy

My brand new epic fantasy novel The Shield of Soren has just gone live on Amazon!

Grab your copy here

What an amazing journey the author leads you on! With remarkable characters, a sensational and catchy story line, and a captivating ending, you won’t want the story to end.  Amazon reader

The characters are superbly written. Amazon reader.

This is a great fast-paced fantasy with very memorable characters. Amazon reader.

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