Saturday, September 17, 2022

A Fantastic, Nine Book, YA Fantasy Giveaway!

Jump in on this YA Fantasy Giveaway!

 Hey Everyone,

Welcome to a fantastic YA Fantasy Giveaway

Here's the guff

We are giving away nine (9!) eBooks and a Kindle Fire to celebrate the launch of #TheLiarsCrown by New York Times bestselling author Abigail Owen.

❤️ In the desert dominion of Aryd, a dynasty of queens is built on lies, the Shadowraith haunts the darkness, and twin princesses–one born to rule, one to forfeit–have secrets to keep...

✨Paste Magazine Pick for Best New YA Books of August 2022!

✨“An addictive, action-packed, scorcher of a read!“ ~Alyson Noël, #1 NYT Bestselling Author

✨You should read this book if you love… enemies to lovers, mistaken identity, a strong but flawed heroine, a darkly brooding and morally gray hero, non-stop action, a huge magical world, scorching romance, intrigue, and sharp fantasy twists!

How to put your name in the hat

1. Fill out the form HERE

2. Entry Rules

Participating readers will be asked to fill out the entry form with the knowledge that by entering, they're agreeing to sign up for all the participating authors' newsletters.

U.S. only to avoid the international complications.

The contest will run Sept 1-30 (ending 11:59pm PT), with winners randomly drawn from the entries.

@abigailowenauthor will draw:

♥️ 27 individual winners of 1 book each from NINE authors

♥️ 1 grand prize winner who'll get all 9 books & a KINDLE FIRE!

🎉Winners announce October 1st!🥳

Participating Authors


Good luck, and let me know in the comments if you have read any of these amazing books.



Kim Falconer, currently writing as A K Wilder, has just released Crown of Bones, a YA Epic Fantasy with Curse of Shadows coming out December 6, 2022.

Kim can be found on  AKWilder TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Throw the bones, read your horoscopes or Raise Your Phantom on the site 

Thursday, September 1, 2022

What Makes A Hero? #7: Chivalry

On 1 March, I posed the question,
"What Makes A Hero?" in Fantasy fiction. Subsequently, I’ve examined the part played by the Call, Circumstance, Commitment, Courage, and meeting the Challenge.

Last month, I argued that the above qualities are essential to the making of a Fantasy hero, and embarked on looking at an array of secondary characteristics, starting with Charisma, in order to determine whether or not they’re also essential to heroism. 

Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman
So this month, I’m checking out: —

Chivalry and the Fantasy Hero

I could argue that chivalry is a uniquely Medieval concept, centered on heroes such as King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Roland and Oliver, and Robin Hood. 

King Arthur & the Round Table
However, if we go as far back as The Iliad, one of Achilles’ most important qualities, before he is overset by the death of Patrocles, is his chivalry, i.e. he is fair and generous to his friends, and merciful to enemies, always granting clemency when asked by a defeated foe. It’s fairly clear, too, that Achilles is considered the greatest of the Greek heroes because of his combined prowess at arms and chivalric behavior.

An important part of Achilles’ story arc is not only his fall from the chivalric ideal, but also his return to it: showing mercy to Priam, the grieving father, and returning the body of his son, Hector, for burial.

Achilles in "Troy"
Chivalry, therefore, has a long association with the heroic ideal in myth, legend, and fantasy tales.

When it comes to contemporary Fantasy, there are some great chivalric heroes adorning the genre. It’s impossible to go past Aragorn and Faramir in The Lord of the Rings (book version, not films, for Faramir), while Reepicheep, the heroic mouse in CS Lewis’s Narnia, is chivalric to the tip of his whiskers.


Other such heroes include Paksenarrion in the Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon, Barbara Hambly’s Dragonsbane, John Aversane, Morgon of Hed (the Riddlemaster trilogy), and Aidris in Cherry Wilder’s  A Princess of the Chameln

I would also argue that Thorn, in Joe Abercrombie’s Half A World, belongs more on the chivalric side of the ledger than otherwise—as do Kalan and—essentially—Malian in The Wall Of Night series. Prince Sigismund in Thornspell is cut from the same cloth.

Yet there are just as many heroes, many of them equally significant in the genre, that are not chivalric at all. Elric of Melniboné (Michael Moorcock) is a classic example, and although Dakeyras, the Slayer, does follow a redemption arc in David Gemmell’s Waylander, he is never chivalric—although arguably, The Thirty are. 

NK Jemisin’s Yeine Darr (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms) is a heroine of necessity, rather than idealism, and S.A. Chakraborty’s Nahri, in the Daevabad trilogy, is similarly circumstanced. Chivalry is also in short supply among Leigh Bardugo’s Crows (Six of Crows duo), although they do value loyalty to and comradeship among each other—so long as necessity and larger objectives permit. 

Alternative terms for these two groupings may be heroes and anti-heroes, although I would argue that the anti-heroes are still heroes in the end, through what they do, rather than the values and lifestyles they’ve previously espoused.

Chivalry, "First Knight" style

In other words, however reluctantly, they all answer the Call to some degree or other, based on their Circumstances, and demonstrate Commitment and Courage in meeting the heroic Challenge.

I believe there is a third group, though, which I regard as chivalry-neutral. These protagonists are essentially good people and strive to act fairly and honorably, so they’re not anti-heroes, but they’re not paladins either. Ged, in Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea trilogy, is a classic non-chivalric hero, and Samwise Gamgee is another. Amat Kyaan, in Daniel Abraham’s A Shadow In Summer, also fits the bill.

Samwise Gamgee
In the end—and despite its long association with the heroic tradition—Chivalry, like Charisma, may add luster to the making of a Fantasy hero, but is by no means essential to it.

© Helen Lowe


Previous Posts:

January: Looking Forward To An Heroic 2022

March: What Makes A Hero -- and The Call

April: What Makes A Hero #2: Circumstance

May: What Makes A Hero #3: Commitment 

June: What Makes A Hero #4: Courage

July: What Makes A Hero #5: Challenge

August: What Makes A Hero #6: Charisma


About The Author:

Helen Lowe is an award-winning novelist, poet, and lover of story. With four books published to date, she is currently completing the final instalment in The Wall Of Night series.

Helen posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog, monthly on the Supernatural Underground, and tweets @helenl0we.


Monday, August 15, 2022

Turning Readers' Guilt to Delight

Pause by Yaoyao Ma Van As

Recently I experienced readers' guilt. With so many books on my TBR list, and the privilege of being asked by authors for cover copy quotes, I painted myself into a corner by saying YES to everyone... just as my editor sent pages for rewrites with a crazy deadline attached. The results? Having to say, "Not yet..." to myself and to requesting authors, and subsequently feeling guilty because of it.

That's when I discovered that readers' guilt is an actual thing. People feel it all the time and it doesn't help the shui. The good news is there are things you can do right now to release the problem and turn any hint of guilt into delight.

If you have ever felt anxiety over failing your, or other peoples', expectations, consider these guidelines from NetGalley, the site that is all about staying ahead of the textual wave, guilt-free.

First of all, if your GoodreadsNetGalley or physical bookshelf is crammed tight with books yet to be read--what's known as shelf overload--don't worryIt can feel like a burden, but there are things you can do to see it differently. 

First, agree with yourself that you will only add a new book when you have read and reviewed a precious one. It's zero population growth for your TBR list, I promise!

Then, contemplate your feedback ratio. This is important if you have goals to support and help promote books you love, and if you want publishers to start, or continue, approving your requests for ARCs (advanced reader copies) of your favourite authors.

Image by Vocaloidlober690

Note: One of the best things you can ever do for an author is to leave a review (a single one can be posted on multiple sites don't forget).

Still, it can be challenging to keep on top of the reviewing process. One way to deal with any feedback gap is to set aside a single day of the week, or month, just for writing your reviews If you assign the first Wednesday of the month, for example, to reflect, review and update your shelves, you'll be way ahead in no time. The guilt lifts just thinking about this plan.

Another consideration is the DNF pile, the books you did not finish. It's tricky because you want to give each story and author your best, but you also don't want to spend time on something you aren't enjoying. It might help to set a page goal and decide when you reach it if you will continue. That way, you aren't constantly struggling with it as you plough ahead. If by 40 or 60 pages you really don't want to continue, then don't. Making a considered choice is not something to feel guilty about!

Most importantly, set goals you are happy with and give yourself credit for the books you do read and review or share on your social media. Your time and energy are gifts that all authors are deeply grateful for. 

So, let go of the guilt, and reframe your thinking no matter how many books you have yet to read. 

As Stephan King says, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” 

Let's honour the magic, and port them around with reverence and delight!


* * * 

About The Author:

Kim Falconer, currently writing as A K Wilder, has recently released Crown of Bones, a YA Epic Fantasy with Curse of Shadows coming out December 6, 2022.

Kim can be found on AKWilder Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Throw the bones, read your horoscopes or Raise Your Phantom on the site

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Galleys, Giveaways, & Special Offers!

Two of our Supernatural underground authors are having fun with giveaways, net galleys, and special offers currently so we thought we’d share the good news with y’all right here!

AK Wilder (AKA Kim Falconer’s) eBook Special, Plus NetGalley (Squee!)

For a limited time only, AK Wilder’s  Crown of Bones eBook is on special for $1.99:

"In a world on the brink of the next Great Dying, no amount of training can prepare us for what is to come...

A young heir will raise the most powerful phantom in all of Baiseen.
A dangerous High Savant will do anything to control the nine realms.
A mysterious and deadly Mar race will steal children into the sea.
And a handsome guide with far too many secrets will make me fall in love.

My name is Ash. A lowly scribe meant to observe and record. And yet I think I’m destined to surprise us all.”

Curse of Shadows
, out December 6th, 2022, is available to reviewers on NetGalley:

For fans of epic fantasy with adventure and romance, Curse of Shadows reveals a world of unique magic, breathtaking action, and unforgettable love.

Amassia teeters on the brink of the next Great Dying.

The second sun has returned as our Bone Throwers foresaw—casting the nine realms into war.
My name is Ash, and I fell in the battle for Baiseen. But I’m awake now, slowly putting the pieces back together.
My Heir has lost his throne.
My sailor is gone.
And there is an emptiness inside me I can’t explain.
Amid the chaos, someone must collect the original twelve whistle bones from all corners of the world. Marcus is named to lead the cause, but with his volatile phantom, he’ll need diplomacy as much as his sword. And we are not the only ones to seek the bones.
Yet succeed we must.
Because if we don’t, it will be death to all…”


Helen Lowe’s Giveaway!

To celebrate 85 years of The Hobbit , JRR Tolkien’s legacy, and her own great love of myth, legends, and all things epic fantasy, Helen’s giving away a copy of The Hobbit and The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night, Book One.)

Entries close at midnight, Monday 15 August (NZ time) and Helen will post the result on her blog on Thursday 25 August.

To enter, just email her at contact[at]helenlowe[dot]info with “Giveaway” in the subject line and your name and contact details in the body of the email.

The full details are on Helen’s blog, here:

The Hobbit, Tolkien’s Legacy, and A Giveaway!

A great opportunity to read, re-read, or gift these fabulous stories to new readers, so enter away!