Real-Life Ancient Magic Books Guest post by Vanessa Finaughty

There are very few things in life I love better than a book, and if it’s old? Oh, dear.I’ve been known to Geek out about them. (Did I ever tell you I owned a reproduction Medieval manuscript?) *removes Geek hat*  So when my next guest, author Vanessa Finaughty, mentioned she had a little essay about ancient books, ancient books of magic, at that, I couldn’t resist. So without further ado, I’ll let her enlighten us on the subject. Vanessa, you have the floor.

Real-Life Ancient Magic Books

Guest post by Vanessa Finaughty

Perhaps most modern humans don’t believe in magic, but ancient humans certainly did, as is evidenced by some of the magic books that have survived the passing of time. Who knows how many more intriguing books of the same sort once existed or, better still, are yet to be discovered?

To celebrate the Wizard of Ends virtual book tour, I thought it would be fun to share a little about some of the ancient magic books discovered thus far – in the real world.

old bookThe Book of Thoth

This is probably the best-known ancient magic book, around which there is much controversy. One could write a book about the Book of Thoth – and many have – which is why this will get its own blog post on 25 October. The Book of Thoth is a collection of Ancient Egyptian texts believed to be written by Thoth, the god of knowledge and writing. Another Book of Thoth is said to exist, an ancient spell book. In it are two spells, it’s said, one that enables the reader to perceive the gods, and one that enables the reader to comprehend animals. Many believe this second Book of Thoth to be a myth, but I have to wonder…

The Voynich Manuscript

This has been carbon dated to the early 15th century, and has often been called ‘the most mysterious manuscript’. Written in an unknown language, it’s filled with illustrations of tiny naked people, astronomical charts and strange plants. Based on the illustrations, it’s believed to have six sections, namely herbs, recipes, human biology, medicine, cosmology and astronomy. Many have claimed it a hoax – a rather elaborate one, don’t you think? It has passed through the hands of alchemists and priests. It could be a book of magic… ;-)

The Sword of Moses

This is the apocryphal Hebrew book of magic. Its text is believed to pre-date the 11th century, and only a fragment of it still exists. The book is said to include descriptions of angels and ‘heavenly realms’, invocations, prayers and rituals required in order to use the ‘sword’ – a long list of magical names that appear in the book, each for a specific purpose.

The Book of Soyga

This is a 16th century manuscript that once belonged to one of Europe’s most famous magicians, John Dee. Some of it is coded, but some is written in Latin, so we know the book holds information on spells, demonology and angels.

Have you invented an ancient book for one of your stories? Have you included a real ancient book in any of them? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Wizard of Ends, book 1

Book Trailer:
author Vinessa Finaughty
About the Author
Vanessa Finaughty is an author of many genres who now focuses on fantasy and science fiction. She’s published 15 books, of which 6 are fantasy. Vanessa grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and still lives there with her husband of fifteen years, her baby daughter and plenty of furry, four-legged ‘children’.
Vanessa has always been passionate about books, and knew from a young age that she wanted to write them one day. She loves animals, coffee and the smell of wet grass, and hates liars, sweltering weather and long queues. Her interests include reading, photography, the supernatural, mythology, aliens and outer space, ancient history, life’s mysteries and martial arts, of which she has five years’ experience.

Links

Author website

Author blog

Goodreads

Twitter

Facebook

Smashwords

iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Publication dates

Wizard of Ends, Book 1: 9 October 2014

Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature: 23 October 2014

Wizard of Ends GIVEAWAY & DISCOUNT DATES

All coupons below offer a 100% discount. (Please check dates before use)

Legends of Origin, Books 1 – 3 by Vanessa Finaughty

Book 1 is permanently free.

Smashwords coupon code for Book 2: BP37Q

Smashwords coupon code for Book 3: YC54A

Valid: 24 October

11 – 13 October

Dragon Kin & other fantasy stories by Vanessa Finaughty

Smashwords coupon code: ZU52B

Valid: 11 – 13 October

16 October

Sorcery & Subterfuge by Vanessa Finaughty

Smashwords coupon code: HA38K

Valid: 16 October

18 – 20 October

The Angel’s Voice, Books 1 & 2 by Michelle Louring

Smashwords coupon code for Book 1: FH27E

Smashwords coupon code for Book 2: EN84L

Valid: 18 – 20 October

21 October

Royal Wizard by Alianne Donnelly

Smashwords coupon code: XV26R

Valid: 21 October

27 October

The Accidental Wizard by Simon Ludgate

Smashwords coupon code: FM47Z

Valid: 27 October

Thank you for being my guest today, Vanessa and for your fascinating post! I just love old books, don’t you, folks? Thank you all for coming by and enjoy the books! And Vanessa, good luck with Wizard of Ends!

H. L. Burke – Dragon’s Curse – The Dragon and the Scholar Tour

I have another guest for you today, fantasy author H.L. Burke has stopped by and she’s brought dragons! Don’t worry, they don’t really look hungry. ;) They’re just kinda guarding us. So do come sit by the fire, have some coffee, or ale, whatever you like best, while H.L. Burke tells us a little story about the latest in her fantasy series, The Dragon and the Scholar … H.L.  And do check out her giveaway below. Without further ado, H.L, The floor is all yours.

ABOUT H. L. Burke

Author H.L. Burke

Author H.L. Burke

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

Dragon's Curse by H.L. Burke

 
 On her first assignment out of the Academy, young healer and scholar, Shannon Macaulay is summoned to the struggling kingdom of Regone to see to the wounds of a young but crippled king. When the unwanted attentions of an aggressive knight and the sudden appearance of a hated dragon turn her world upside down, she decides to take matters into her own hands even if doing so proves dangerous. Finding herself strangely drawn to the company of the dragon, Gnaw, Shannon must force herself out of her safe world of books and botany to come to the aid of her unexpected ally in a strange kingdom, cursed by a fateful encounter with a dragon and the loss of a beloved prince. Can she learn to put aside her fears, and perhaps sacrifice her deepest desires, to help a friend and restore a family?

Dragon’s Curse is available on Amazon.com.

H. L. Burke on Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/H.-L.-Burke/e/B00EYQ1HLW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

H. L. Burke on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/hlburkewriter

H. L. Burke on Twitter:https://twitter.com/typativemamacat

H. L. Burke on Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7230868.H_L_Burke

H. L. Burke’s Author Website:http://www.hlburkeauthor.com/

Click here to fill out the Rafflecopter giveaway

More about H.L. Burke

There is the great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.” ~G. K. Chesterton

A long time lover of fairy tales and folk tales, I’ve always had an affinity for a “fairy tale” romance, but I’ve also been amused at popular perception of what a fairy tale romance is. Even the Oxford dictionary defines “fairy tale” as Denoting something regarded as resembling a fairy story in being magical, idealized, or extremely happy: a fairy-tale romance.”

This wouldn’t be my definition. When someone describes a love story as “fairy tale,” I want to know whose toes got cut off, who had to spend a year hopping about the swamp as a frog, and if there were any dragons involved. Usually such inquiries lead to disappointing stories about idyllic dates and rose petal paths and the like. I always wonder, have these people actually read fairy tales?

Fairy tale love can fall into the shallow, cliche of love at first sight and princesses sleeping while they wait for first kisses, but if you dive deeper into the collections (basically past anything that has been adapted by Disney) you’ll find so much more.

Love endures much in these stories. People are sent upon impossible tasks. In The Blue Bird the heroine must walk until she has worn out three pairs of metal shoes. Other leading ladies ride upon the wind, discover the Water of Discernment, and wash shirts . . . well, washing shirts may not be thrilling stuff, but it is practical. Also, sometimes heads are cut off.

As a child reading these stories, I never imagined being rescued by a prince charming. Yes, a portion of them feature this, but my favorites involved a lady–princess or peasant–going on quests to find her stolen love. Perhaps she lost him due to her mistakes. Like Psyche she could not resist lighting that forbidden candle. Other times the fault lies with a jealous stepmother or rival who set a trap to turn her love against her (and in her lover for not seeing through it).

So to me a fairy tale romance is one where the lovers face insurmountable odds and defeat them through sheer determination.

Fairy tales also do not always involve the unions of “beautiful people,” at least not right away. In fairy tales love conquers physical repulsiveness and focuses on true positives. Princes and princesses deprived of their beauty win their loves because they are kind or brave or clever.

Having the love interest cursed to another form brings the appealing prospect of being loved for a sense of self beyond physicality. The king may merely be a voice in the darkness. A bride may be a clever frog. A girl may turn to a frail old woman with the waning moon. Love truly can make any being beautiful.

And this is why I love fairy tales romances. Because they are anything but “fairy tale.”

The dragon, Gnaw, has survived a battle with Sir Roderick. Worried about him, Shannon comes to his cave to see to his wounds.

“Gnaw lay in the dark, trying not to concentrate on the throbbing puncture in his wing. It was a flesh wound and a clean one at that, but it still hurt like the devil and the prospect of infection worried him.

When he heard the approach of another person his heart skipped a beat. He had not the energy for a second battle today and fleeing, in the dark, with a wounded wing, would be difficult. He breathed deeply. The approaching human smelled of crushed herbs, tea leaves, and books. He sighed in relief.

“Gnaw! Gnaw!” Shannon called out. He managed enough of a flame to light the pile of branches and illuminate the cavern again. She rushed to his side. “Are you all right?” she stammered.

“Aye, no thanks to that rabid lap dog you set on me,” he snorted. “My advice, put that one down.”

“I didn’t set him on you,” she sniffed.

“Well, he seemed convinced you wanted him to do it,” he said. “Of course, he was obviously insane. He kept coming after me when most men would’ve been lying on the ground in tears or running for the hills.”

“And you still let him live,” she smiled at him.

“I did? That was careless of me. I’ll be more thorough next time.” He lay his head back down.

“Thank you; he’s too much of an idiot to see that you had mercy on him, but for myself, I thank you. If you had killed him he would have died because of me, and I don’t know if I could sleep at night with that on my conscience.”

“You wouldn’t be responsible for his idiocy.”

“Are you hurt?” she pressed.

“No, well, not much.”

“May I see?”

He unfurled his wing towards her. She winced.

“I’ve never bandaged a wound like this. I mean, the wound isn’t unusual but . . .”

“It’s on a dragon?” he pointed out.

“Well, in a wing, I was thinking. During my training, I treated an injured bird, but the structure was a little different and a lot smaller. I think I can figure out something, however. Hold still, please.”

He winced a little bit but didn’t make a fuss as she cleaned and bandaged his wound.

“All done,” she said. “I’m so sorry you were hurt.”

“I’ve had worse.” He carefully folded his wing back against his body and lay still. He glanced out of the cave. “It is well after dark. You trip over your own feet enough in the day time. It’s a miracle you made it up here without breaking your neck.”

She grimaced.

“Well, I was worried about you, and I couldn’t exactly ask Roderick if you were all right. Still, I hope you are fine with me staying the night. I don’t want to make the descent until sunrise.”

“Of course. I can fly you down at dawn,” he said.

“Are you certain that is a good idea?” She caressed his wounded wing.

“I’m hardly crippled,” he scowled. “It will be fine.”

She nodded and rubbed him behind the ears. His ego bristled. He wasn’t a lap dog or a barn cat. What did she think she was doing? Oh, that felt good.

He shut his eyes with a contented moan as she continued to rub the back of his head and neck.

“I am not sure if you are a witch or an angel,” he murmured.

“Semantics,” she teased.

He laughed.

He let himself doze off, only marginally aware of what was going on around him. After a while he realized she had stopped her massage and opened his eyes to find her asleep, her head, arm, and shoulder draped over his neck. He curled his head back again to form a cradle for her body and listened to her breathe.

Such a pretty little thing. Would it be wrong to keep her?

 

 

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it folks? Thank you for stopping by, H.L.! Good luck with Dragon’s Curse. Folks, if you’d like to get a copy, again, Dragon’s Curse is available on Amazon.com.

Story Subscription Details!

Juli D. Revezzo:

Some information about author Jolene Dawe’s new story subscription. She’s a fine writer who’s work has been compared to Catherynne M. Valente among others. If you love fantasy stories, do check it out.

Originally posted on The Saturated Page:

There has been enough interest in this that I’m going to do it! (Really, one person being interested in this would be enough. You guys. You. Guys.) Suddenly, imminent dental work is less scary. You. Rock.

What is the Story Subscription?

It’s basically that. I’m offering a pay what you wish, with a minimum of $5, and in exchange, you receive a previously unpublished short story or story installment of no less than 4,000 words. I am not looking for more than $5 for each installation but because a number of people have suggested they’d be willing to pay more than that, I’m leaving that option open.

edited to add Because people are both opting to pay for multiple installments up front and also opting to pay more than $5 for one installment, please specify when buying multiple installments at once, otherwise I’m going to assume the latter. Thank you!

View original 499 more words

Summer Splash hop 2014

I’m taking part in the Indie Writers Unite Summer Splash. There are (or will be) lots of interesting authors involved, so pop by and see them… here.

 

Summer Splash 2014

GRAND PRIZES #1 and #2: Kindle Paperwhite and a $50 Amazon Gift Card GRAND PRIZES #3 and #4:  40 free eBooks gifted by our authors and 15 autographed books

and even more listed on the hop’s main page. Aside from the overall hop prizes, I’m personally giving away a copy of my brand new book CHANGELING’S CROWN and a faery themed goody made by  Kitty Britches Boutiqu. In case you’re curious, this is the fairy wand I’ll be giving away:

 

If you’re curious, here’s the synopsis for Changeling’s Crown:

 When Ianthe began her career as a faery godmother, she stumbled so badly that Snow White will probably never speak to her again. After a long suspension, she’s finally been given a chance to redeem herself…but everything on this latest assignment is going wrong.

But why?

Worse, she definitely doesn’t need an attractive mortal man distracting her from her duties. Of course, needs and wants are two different things.

Briak has had his eye on Ianthe for a very, very long time, but he’s been waiting for just the right moment to make his move. Despite the fact all hell’s about to break loose on his watch, he can’t resist the opportunity to insert himself into her earthly assignment. Can he convince Ianthe of her true calling and thereby win her heart? Or will his subterfuge ultimately cost him her love?

Do you believe in faery godmothers? ;) Leave me a comment with your email address, so I can contact you if you win.

(Addendum: I probably should add: my portion of the giveaway is US only)

Author Gary F. Vanucci chats about dragons, elves, and the walking dead….

Fantasy author Gary F. Vanucci has been involved in the fantasy genre forever. He’s written an RPG along with his multi-volumed high fantasy series Realm of Ashenclaw, complete with elves, magic-wielding soldiers, and assassins! Now he’s sidestepped into the horror/dystopian subgenre with his new release Wake the Dead. I invited him to take time out of his busy schedule to chat with us today.

Hi Gary, thanks for your time. When did you start writing, and who are your influences?

Gary F. Vanucci: I started a science fiction book back in ‘99-2000 or so and never finished it. My father, a pianist, passed away in 2010 and I decided to take the craft a bit more seriously as I felt he died with the music still in him. I did not want to do that. I have always been a huge fan of R.A. Salvatore, George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Michael Moorcock, Howard and the like, and have always been a huge fan of fantasy, sci-fi, horror and comic books. And so, while laid off in 2010, I began to write a fantasy series. This was inspired by the concept of an entire world that I had begun creating in the late 1980’s and into the 90’s for an RPG which I used as the basis for the Realm of Ashenclaw/land of Wothlondia.

 

I’m sorry to hear about your father but… OMG! Another Moorcock fan. Be still my heart! :) So I guess that answers my next question: What made you fall in love with fantasy novels?

 

Gary F. Vanucci: The escapism it provided and the imagination that it awoke in me. No matter how bad a day, no matter how many real stresses or responsibilities I have, I always found it very easy to lose myself in a fantasy world. The allure is immeasurable.

What can you tell someone who has never read the Realm of Ashenclaw stories about them?

Gary F. Vanucci: Firstly, it has a good deal of satisfying and familiar elements that the genre offers. The tales themselves are founded in a richly detailed world, where an eclectic group of people with varying skill sets, hailing from different lands and upbringings, are handpicked for a very dangerous assignment. They all come together agreeably, but have very different motivations for completing the quest. I like to think that I have put a slight twist on the common fantasy archetypes and such, but it still has very common elements that one would desire in an epic fantasy. I also have some other changes and surprised lined up in the near future for fans of the series.
Of your books, what do you enjoy better, writing the characters, or the storyline itself? Or the world building?

 

Gary F. Vanucci: I enjoy it all! Creating the characters is the most fun, followed by the storyline, and then the world building, though I do put in the effort on all facets. I’d go so far as to say that I take the world building seriously enough to have released a D&D 4th edition compatible supplement that has quite a bit of detail in it, which can be found in hard copy on Amazon/CreateSpace and in digital format at RPGNOW.
Your body of work is quite vast, how do you keep up such a pace?

Gary F. Vanucci: Well, I am actually a slow writer and reader, to be honest. I try to write a certain amount of words per week, and hit the goal at least half the time. :) I do feel that I put in a lot of hours going from one job to the writing on most nights. I watch minimal TV, try to avoid distractions and keep my focus when writing. Also, I do have a close knit support group that makes this much easier to do.

 

Having that support helps a lot. *nodnods* Your new book, Wake the Dead, just released. You’d written zombies before, in Realm of Ashenclaw series, now they’re a central feature and their mayhem affects our world. How did you decide to write this story, rather than return to your secondary-world fantasy realm of Wothlondia?

 

 Wake the Dead by Gary F. Vanucci Gary F. Vanucci: Well, firstly, I love the undead! Secondly, I was having minimal success gaining traction with the fantasy writing and decided to switch it up for a change of pace. While I enjoy the Realm of Ashenclaw greatly, it has not gotten the exposure that I wanted…yet. So, I was inspired to write a no-holds-barred zombie apocalypse novel as I wanted to see what I could do in another genre, using a modern setting as well as write for a strictly adult audience. I was pleased with the results and so far, it has done pretty well for me. I am working on the 5th book of the RoA series as well as a Wake the Dead companion piece, of which there will be more.

 

Will a reader of the Beginnings saga see these heroes (Rose, Ganthorpe, Dinah, etc) again at some point?
Beginnings Box set
 

Gary F. Vanucci: There are always more plot twists and scenarios in my head for future stories in the RoA, not centered around these heroes, so yes! I plan on doing a great deal more in that world over the next few decades, so fantasy fans stay tuned! Unfortunately, I have a full time job already that really cuts into my writing and creative time, or else I’d be releasing 3-6 books a year instead of maybe 1 or 2. Such is the life of a part time writer!
True. What advice can you give to a fantasy author contemplating indie publishing?

Gary F. Vanucci: Be prepared to work your butt off. Fantasy is much harder as you need to create everything from scratch. Magic, the world, its history, the characters, the social and political structures, and so on. It is not for the faint of heart. Of course, I could say that about all writing really, but fantasy and even science fiction are much more immersive. Anything where you need to create more than just characters, you have your work cut out for you! That being said, it is that much more rewarding.

 

I must admit, that’s the part I love the most about writing and reading fantasy! :) And finally, where can my readers find out more about you and your works?

 

Gary F. Vanucci: All of my Realm of Ashenclaw series is on Kobo, Barnes and Noble, CreateSpace, Amazon, Smashwords and iTunes. As of now, Wake the Dead is exclusively with Amazon and will be for a while longer. I can also be found occasionally lurking at any one of these places: WattPad, the Independent Author Network, Eye on Ashenclaw/Ashenclaw.com, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Smashwords and Goodreads, where I am currently hosting a giveaway for two signed copies of Wake the Dead.

(Wothlondia Rising is also free on Amazon, right now.)

Sounds like you are keeping busy. Thank you for taking time out to meet with us! We will look forward to them all. Folks, if you have any questions for Gary, feel free to leave a comment. And I hope you enjoy his works. ;) I think you will!

 

Author Gary F. Vanucci

Author Gary F. Vanucci

Gary Vanucci was born in Pennsylvania in 1968. He enjoys writing, reading, music, art, anything at all that promotes creativity and activities that push the mind beyond conventional thinking. He has spent time as an amateur singer/songwriter and has spent multiple decades creating role-playing scenarios and playing games amongst various genres. Years of reading graphic novels, comic books, fantasy/science fiction novels and the like has led him to discover his true passion—writing!  His education includes a Bachelor’s of Science in the field of Information Technology and an Associates of Arts in the field of Graphic Design. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”  ~Aristotle.

Recharging the batteries…

Yesterday, I had lunch with my girlfriends, authors Marsha A. Moore and Patty G. Henderson. :) I always enjoy seeing them, and recharging my batteries. I feel a little something like this now…

charging cat

I always do love seeing my gals. After our lunch, I’m raring to show you my pretty new cover and book but… Patience, my dears! It’ll be a little longer.  We’ve all got so many new projects bubbling.  Yes, the creation process is the best part but, you know? I also can’t wait to see them all out. I blame it on springtime. :)

In other news… Do you use a Nook? I see Barnes and Noble finally put my paranormal romance novel Passion’s Sacred Dance on sale. If you’ve been waiting for that, it’s available here. It’s showing the $.99 price, but I don’t know for how long.

My friends with Kindles, the sale price is still in effect for a limited time for you all, too. Meanwhile, I’ve got some revisions to do on book two in the series.  I hope to have more news for you on the book’s progress, in coming months. *rubs hands gleefully*

 

(Cat image from LOLshelf)