viernes, 4 de agosto de 2017

Anime review - Earth Girl Arjuna

My blog isn't focused on reviews per se, but if you have bothered to look at some of my posts you'll notice I have written a few rants here and there to curb my boredom.

Today I felt like reviewing an anime that is over 10 years old known as Earth Girl Arjuna. Why would I bother to review a somewhat unknown anime that is this old?

Because I hated it.

At first sight this anime seemed really awesome. An anime that fully learned how to combine digital animation without a plastic feel that plagued a lot of tv series of that time, even for today's standards (that have been crudely dumbed down for crappy third rate animation), the animation is great.

This is one of the huge draws of this show and in that sense Arjuna showed a lot of promise.

The problem arises with everything else.

Juna is some ordinary school girl that is chosen to become a warrior that fights for Mother Earth that is being plagued by the contamination brought by humans. When she fully transformed into her Earth warrior self, she even reminds me a bit of a mixture between an elf and Captain Planet!

Yes, I grew up during the 80's and saw that idiotic tv show on Saturday mornings.

I totally dig the ordinary girl becomes a heroine for the preservation of Earth. The Princess Mononoke is my favorite Hayao Miyazaki film which shows how to tactfully deal with the struggle between humans damaging their planet to survive and the mythical godly beasts that are affected by them.

The problem is that instead of making Arjuna a really cool show with a coherent plot or any purpose, it goes in a direction that is both a mixture between ridiculiusly preachy and with no real solution. Ever since Juna has been touched by this mythical power against her will, she can feel the agony of animals dying and pesticides everytime she eats something. You'd think she'd die of starvation because she never eats anything. I always found that to be super annoying with the show.

I like her relationship with Chris, a crippled psychic boy that wants to help her fulfill her mission. The relationship is rather interesting and dynamic, mostly because Juna is a lot older than him.

One thing that strikes me about Chriss is that he bloats that he is so awesome because his mom decided it would be a cool idea to give birth to him in the ocean. Now, I'm a physician and know that a lot of women crave water births because they feel it's more natural. The debate as to whether children born in a tub do better is still open, but many Ob/Gyns believe the risk of infection and drowning overcome the benefits. Still, the few private hospitals in Mexico that offer this special kind of birth sure like to charge a ridiculously huge pricetag for it.

At the end, Juna never really accomplishes anything in the short series and Earth remains the way it is without her. Quite frankly, if you want to watch a far better series about people with supernatural powers fighting to kill humanity in order to save Earth, you should be watching CLAMP's X instead.

miércoles, 2 de agosto de 2017

Is Froylan friend or foe?

Just a short post. A super fan of my book series has commented to me recently that he has decided that the series's main antagonist Lord Froylan is now his 3rd favorite character which he oddly enough tied with Spaulding.

He used to hate him with a passion because of his nastiness, cruelty and sadism and yet his opinion of Froylan changed dramatically as he read the third novel Exile. While there hasn't been a considerable amount of people that have read up to the third novel, several people have commented that after reading the first novel, they absolutely despise Froylan and probably have no idea why I love writing him so much.

Forced to become a guard almost 2000 years ago against his will after being captured for multiple heinious crimes, Froylan initially detested his new life as an Äimite guard and that he had to obey his superiors and king. He wished to burn Salman into pieces with all of his soul, but over time, something changed in him.

Perhaps he started to find a common goal when he discovered that Salman is as cruel as himself or perhaps he enjoyed his newlyfound social position as a newly minted nobleelf that was both feared and respected by the populace. A talented fire mage and swordsman from the start, it probably didn't take him very long to move up the ranks and become promoted as a captain.

Not much is known about his initial life as a guard because it happened such a long time ago or the reason why he likes to wear his characteristic short black cape, but we do know that he asked the previous commander of the guard Lord Ferhyr about the veracity of some rumors regarding how Salman's father King Faisah died. Salman eventually promoted him to a highly coveted Senior guard position several centuries before the beginning of the series and he was one of the two guards that permanently maimed Lord Jamarnid 800 years ago.

While he will always be vicious, cruel, sadistic and a pathological liar, we start to see a change of heart in him in the third novel. As he ponders with himself about conflicting feelings of being forced to serve Spaulding who he always detested, he starts to show a softer side in the initial hopes that he could start to gain Spaulding's favor. Perhaps his initial kindness was a ruse, but it starts to seem like he has genuine feelings of appreciation for Spaulding over the following novels.

The finale of the 6th novel Quandary has a pivotal scene where he seems to have shown what his true side is much to Spaulding's astonishment. He continues to play a huge role in the unfinished Harlequins novel and I'm certain that if you give the sequel novels a chance, you'll find him to be a most versatile and fascinating character to read.

domingo, 23 de julio de 2017

Should I feel thrilled with bootlegs of my book?

An author friend sent me the suggestion a few days ago to try out this new (currently free) add on called Blasty that locates bootleg pdf copies of your books. I assumed nobody would want to bootleg my books but curiously enough, there are people out there that have been offer unauthorized copies of my books on the net.

Now, if something is too good to be true, it probably is. You don't know if the bootleg files are the real book or just a nasty computer virus to screw up your computer. My books don't cost a lot of money and An Ominous Book is free on Smashwords. Is losing your computer really worth the risk?

I have sent requests to block google searches of most of the bootleg content. However, I was mightily perplexed by this little jewel.

Apparently this website offers a bootleg of the Spanish translation of An Ominous Book (not too unsurprising given everyone bootlegs Spanish language ebooks).

The really strange thing is that my book has a really high rating, a whopping 4.5/5 from 564 votes!!!!!

I don't know if I should feel insulted or flattered. If you downloaded a bootleg copy of one of my books for free, could you at LEAST do one kind thing and review it on a legit site? Goodreads doesn't even require you to write a review or have a credit card, you can simply put your star rating. I mean, if you enjoyed my hard work for free without giving me my due credit, at least put the stars where they will actually carry some weight.

Review the book HERE.

I have to say this website called Blasty is rather interesting and the dire truth that bootlegs of my books that may or may not have viruses is a harsh reality. Even if you're a scrambling author, why not try the website while it's still free?

Check out Blasty HERE.


A new horror short story

I'm testing my skills at writing short horror. I sort of like to read horror fiction even though I'm more into fantasy and given so many people enjoy reading this genre, why not try it out?

The things I like about this new experimental project is that the story is short which gives me more chances to write it as an ongoing task. It's completely different to what I have previously written and directed at a more mature audience than An Ominous Book.

I hope you consider giving it a chance and place your comments on the work. Whenever I finish writing it, I plan on publishing it on Amazon. Enjoy!

A gruesome stream of murders has ravaged the dilapitated  town of Twin's Peak for the past few months. Jeremy is desperate to find his daughter's missing cat Tiffy and suspects he's fallen victim to illegal dog baiters. Little does he know that he is about to discover something even more heinious...

Can you solve the mystery? Read it HERE!

martes, 18 de julio de 2017

Leilandy Aethinford, a recurring villain

Full name: Leilandy Aethinford
Race: Human
Occupation: Head of the Aethinford family in Ayrtain, usurper queen of Ayrtain, warlord's wife
Amgic afifnity element: Earth
Phantom Beast: Urga (resembles a large golem)

If you have reached the end of the first novel of An Ominous Book Series, you realize Richard bumps into a blonde girl that he never met before. Leilandy doesn't play any importance in the first novel, but her strange stone collar probably saved her life.

The third surviving member of the Ayrtainian royal family, she starts to have friction with the Earlrose siblings because she believes she deserves to become the queen due to her age even though Richard has a stronger blood claim. Forced to endure a grueling ordeal due to Ayrtain's strange customs when a king dies, her initial disdain for Richard's immaturity grows stronger with each passing day.

Initially cordial to Trevilin, she requests the jolly elf to train her in sorcery who agrees to the condition once the mourning period ends. With an acute talent for sorcery, she awakens her mana and soon summons her Urga for the first time.

Little did everyone know, her phantom beast hasn't grown in size absurdly quickly because of her innate talent. Vincent notices something strange happens when he uses sorcery near her presernce when she wears her prized stone collar. He soon suspects something is amiss when he quickly runs out of mana everytime she is nearby.

The sweet yet mature girl eventually returns to her family estate and discovers something amazing in a locked room in the basement: her deceased mother Sarahi had a small lab that was filled with chemical ingredients. It didn't take long for her to locate her mother's most deepest secret: Sarahi had scattered papers all over the lab with the recipe to create söma, the mysterious potion that can awaken sorcery.

Armed with a powerful bargaining tool, she allies herself with a loyal knight of her family named Ralph who agrees to help her claim the throne in the condition that she teaches him how to use sorcery.

Her plan comes into action when Nelida confesses that she purposely murdered her family. Leilandy attempts to attack Nelida with her Urga, but her beast is easily defeated and Nelida escapes to the Haraaldi wastelands.

Armed with a viable excuse to arrest Richard for alleged conspiracy, she forces her cousin to live in house arrest in his old family estate while she slowly obtains the loyalty of Ayrtainians. Meanwhile, she begins a plan to murder her cousin and claim the throne as her own but things don't turn out as she planned and becomes forced to request her arch-nemesis King Salman's help to invade the Haraaldi lands and defeat Nelida.

Things don't exactly go as planned and she is forced to leave Nelida alone and ponders what became of Richard who managed to flee Ayrtain with Vincent's help. During the entire one year voyage that Richard lives in exile, she is arranging for her coronation on her birthday. However Richard isn't going to allow her to get away with it...

Leilandy is rather interesting even though I personally dislike her. She miraculously survives the crash with only two surviving cousins that she never met before. Forced to endure a grueling ordeal during Ayrtain's national mourning, her initial disdain for Richard turns into hatred. She seems to act cordial with Trevilin and Siri during theirbrief visits, but it's in reality just for convinience in the hopes Trevilin teaches her how to use sorcery.

Leilandy grows up and becomes a cruel woman in the 5th novel A Calamity. Forced into exile from Richard, she ends up in Hataraji and marries a warlord named Kumar out of mutual convinience. When Trevilin foolishly enters Hataraj to spy on her, she takes advantage of her fully developed sorcery and imprisons her in Kumar's palace. She always had a huge hatred of elves and she lashes her revenge on poor Trevilin that began the whole series of events of the novels when he brought the Earlrose siblings to Spaulding's castle instead of locating another Ayrtainian noble family to adopt them.

She's evil, wicked and cruel, but deep down she's a person that suffered great pain when her family cruelly died. The events that she triggers continue to have lingering efefcts even in the 6th novel...

sábado, 15 de julio de 2017

Click farm scams on Kindle Unlimited is wrong!

I am indeed very disgruntled and wanted to write a quick post. I just read via twitter today that a handful of unscrupulous authors are hiring click farm services which according to Amazon isn't even against the rules to artificially jump the rankings to get their name out there when the books aren't up to par.

Look at this example, Dragonsoul by Kayl Karadijan. The book was released in October 2016, around the time I published An Ominous Book and the book "magically" jumped to rank #1 of Sword and Sorcery in Fantasy and #28 all-around Amazon in 24 hours!!!

The book was hovering around the 300,000-500,000 range, better than my books but this doesn't make any sense.

This isn't butt-hurt envy, the guy obviously hired a company where 200 bogus Amazon accounts rented KU copies of the book at the exact same time and artificially inflated his ranking to top seller status in a really short amount of time. Seems like he isn't alone.

Tim I Guring's rankings for The broken people from god's land magically boosted to the top 2000 in Amazon USA.

Looking at the blurb and preview of both books, while neither book is atrocious, neither reached this mark on their own merits. Do a search and neither book launched huge publicity or author newsletter swaps. No awards from writing contests either.

It's authors like these that make readers think all indie authors suck and are con artists. I know a few authors and have made online friendships with them. They don't seem like this sort of ilk, just ordinary people that love to write stories and share them with the world. While there are people out there that stoop down to these bad practices to place their name out there, I would never do such a thing.

If people give bad reviews to An Ominous Book because they hate the ending or how I write, I will accept the criticism with a smile and thank them. Will my books ever reach bestseller status someday from their own merits? I don't know the answer, but you are free to read my books and see for yourself.

If you read my books, write an honest review and suggest your friends to read them.

As for these authors, please don't imitate them giving all indie writers a bad name. Tell people about buyers beware and discourage this practice.

Making readers connect with a book's character

I love writing even if it's just a hobby for now. I also love writing complicated characters that evolve over the course of the story. Everyone changes even if it's just a little. Apparently doing that is a really difficult writing art although I just recall what I like the most of a popular 80's anime Saint Seiya and the ever dramatic Gundam and these kinds of things come easy for me.

One thing that strikes me a lot when I read reviews of my books is that people seem to love Spaulding's character. I can agree, he's awesome and multifaceted. His ignorance of human customs and spelling mistakes is a running gag in the series. He's fiercely loyal to those few that earn his trust but he's indifferent and blatantly rude to those that he doesn't deem to be worthy. The problem is that the characters he riles up the most for no explained reason just happen to be the Elf King himself and his second in command Lord Froylan.

Spaulding constantly gets into trouble with Salman and Froylan although the reasons are slowly revealed during the course of the story. Salman equally dislikes him because of his rudeness and Froylan tries to gaslight him to force Spaulding to punch him in the face and obtain the excuse he's always been looking for to arrest him.

Froylan's dream of arresting Spaulding becomes a reality in the second novel Separation and he ensures that Spaulding is psychologically tortured for as long as possible for Salman's ulterior purposes. Spaulding soon discovers his behavior won't get him anywhere during his incarceration under Lord Eufurel's watch and with the well intentioned suggestions of an old friend of his named Nahar that just happens to be one of his prison guards, he starts to feign compliance if only to earn the loosening of his restrictive new life.

Spaulding over time seems to become used to this new sense of normalcy and has memorized the names, faces and personalities of the 100 immortal male guards that constantly watch over him. Nahar and Hirmirel are the guards that treat him with the most utter kindness, others like Eufurel are only harsh with him when he's disobedient and some are cruel sadists such as Gerasha that love to belittle and humilliate him whenever they have the chance. It soon grows obvious that in just a few scenes that Spaulding grows to utterly detest Gerasha perhaps even more than he hates Salman.

Gerasha is an interesting character to write. He's horrible and demeaning to those that are weaker than him but he once again appears in the 7th novel as a completely changed character. After surviving the bloody siege fully unharmed by remaining on an undesirable rural post, word began to spread among the guard that Eufurel wrote an edict ordering Gerasha to be immediately transferred after he viciously tortured Spaulding for no reason for hours. Gerasha becomes ridiculed, ostracized even by his own friends and imprisoned on several occasions because he fought against guards that mocked him. After 100 years of being constantly transferred across undesirable rural posts and unable to see Spaulding, Gerasha has fully changed and becomes a completely different person. Humbled to a despairing degree, he strives to gain Lord Damantin's trust in the hopes that he will be transferred to the palace and serve under Spaulding.

I personally like how Gerasha changes even though he is just a supporting character that appears in just a few scenes in the second novel. We don't get to see his transformation, but his character is fully humbled from the dire treatment he suffered between the 2nd and 7th novels. He becomes absolutely devoted to Spaulding to a degree that might seem ridiculous and wants to become his most loyal guard.

Spaulding on the other hand transforms a lot during the novels as the secrets of his dark past are slowly revealed. He seems cold and distant to the children at first wishing to simply remain in the comforts of his castle or killing criminals during his incursions of a ranger without any incentive to have a family of his own. After some quarrels with the children, he starts to enjoy their company and becomes truly fond of Richard. At the end of the first novel, he has opened up to the children who got to know his kindness. He accepts the punishment Salman gave to him for his rudeness but he still harbors hatred for Salman and the Äimite guard.

His persona changes in the second novel albeit in a very cruel manner. Isolated and tortured relentlessly in Eufurel's prison, he tries to feign forced politeness to the guards but his hatred for them never wavers for unknown reasons. He becomes jaded from the experience which is something that causes resentment in Richard in the third novel. Spaulding has formed a shell over him due to the difficult circunstances he lived in for almost 5 years and barely says a word or smiles. Spaulding has a mission that Richard doesn't seem to understand at first.

I won't spoil what happens to Spaulding halfway into the 3rd novel, you will have to read it for yourself. However, I like it how Spaulding suddenly becomes fully different at the end of the 3rd novel. Suffering from severe amnesia, his personality has been locked with the character we meet at the end of the 1st novel, still with a huge appreciation for Richard but somewhat distant yet affable to the guards.

The 4th novel reveals Spaulding getting used to his new and challenging life. Frustrated that he cannot remember almost 7 years of his life, Froylan takes advantage of his situation and tries to shelter him from any bad experience that could trigger him to remember everything with disastrous results. Froylan tries to initially tolerate him and perhaps even like the elf that he used to belittle so much. The two of them start to form a professional relationship dynamic that continues in the following novels.

However Spaulding is getting tired of this life. Forced to remain locked inside of the king's palace for 11 years under the excuse that there aren't sufficient guards to properly protect him, he feels like something is missing but the medics can't find anything physically wrong with him. It is at the end of the novel that he remembers the tragic events of the 2nd and 3rd novels and he tries to come to peace with that harsh reality. Due to Garain's intervention, Spaulding in a mad fit grudgingly pardons Froylan's life but forces him to be imprisoned. After coming to terms with the harsh reality of everything that he did, he entrusts Garain with the enviable position as the new commander of the guard and embarks on a journey to unite the exiled clan.

Spaulding changes a lot during the novels. He becomes more patient, amicable and open towards meeting new people. He starts to harbor feelings of respect for a select few Äimite guards but still remains somewhat distant and cautious. Damantin continues to trigger a positive change in him as he finds a kindred spirit that also endured a difficult life. His relationship with Froylan continues to be a nonstop battle of wills where each party hides things from the other that causes multiple events in the story. Damantin continues where Garain left off and tries to prove to Spaulding that the guard is noble and fully loyal to him. The 7th novel continues this slow voyage with Gerasha's strive to serve under Spaulding.

Sincerely I love deep and complex characters and I hope people enjoy the novels as well.

Haven't read the first novel yet? Check it out via Amazon.

miércoles, 12 de julio de 2017

A 5 star review for An Ominous Book from Readers Favorite

This is really exciting. I love reading reviews and this is the first exhaustive 5 star review for my novel. Here it is!

Reviewed by Sefina Hawke for Readers' Favorite
An Ominous Book by Nancy Foster is the first book in the young adult epic fantasy series titled An Ominous Book Series. This is a book and series that would appeal most to an audience made up of primarily young adults who enjoy fantasy fiction with elves, and who do not mind a bit of violence and mild swearing. Lord Spaulding had the absolutely perfect life as an elusive mortal elf who ruled the Kasimma Clan, but his life was quickly turned to chaos when his best friend, Trevilin, delivered two orphaned children to him that were his blood relatives. Richard and Nelida Earlrose's appearance on Lord Spaulding’s doorstep drive him to go on a quest to deliver the two human children back to their kind. Will Lord Spaulding succeed in returning the children or will dangerous magic waylay his mission?

An Ominous Book by Nancy Foster has a cute cover that showed four of the main characters. I personally liked the fact that the cover was kept simple as it allowed me to gain a clear picture of the characters without being distracted by too many visual elements. The story line itself was well chosen and it reminded me a bit of The Hobbit with how both Bilbo and Lord Spaulding end up pulled into a quest based on the contents of their doorstep. I found myself greatly enjoying Lord Spaulding's character, especially in relation to how he interacted with the two children. Overall, I greatly enjoyed reading this book and I am excited for the sequel! 
 Visit the review URL HERE.
As an extra tidbit due to the 5 star review, I now have the bragging right to place this nifty sticker on my novel. I love it!

Curious to see if the review is warranted or not, check it out via Amazon.

Cheers and happy reading!

domingo, 9 de julio de 2017

Let's give it a hoot for yet another fantasy/horror book giveaway

I'm not participating in this specific event, but I'm just writing a quikie post to inform you that there's another giveaway going on during July. You might find a book that could fancy your interest.

Click HERE and enjoy!

viernes, 7 de julio de 2017

I need your help!

While it's true that the 7th novel Harlequins is still incomplete and I'm up to my usual strange antics and writing chapters of other novels, but I do have a hunch chunk of it written, a whopping 19 chapters!

Okay, in reality I've written more than that, but the 19th chapter ends in a really good point of the novel and it becomes the ending of the first half of the story which focuses on Hama's voyage from meandering peasant to the nation's highly revered princess.

The draft is available for free on Wattpad (in case something bad happens to me and I croak, it's officially out there!).


To increase interest and publicity, I'm starting  headtalker campaign. The bad news is that this is the first time I do one of these things and I accidentally placed 200 people instead of a smaller amount of people. I have very few so I need your help to spread the word!

How? that is simple! Just click on the link that you will support via facebook, twitter, tumbler or linkedin. If I get the minimum supporters, the message becomes sent to everyone that agreed to lend a hand. If I unfortunately don't reach that minimum, well, nothing gets sent.

Your account won't get hacked or anything and in the very least, I could gain a huge fan following that will finally convince me to finish the novel. Tell your friends!!

Click HERE and thank you!

miércoles, 5 de julio de 2017

What's the big hooplah with Fate/Stay?

I don't know if it's because of my age or that I grew up with 80's and 90's anime and the things that I expect in an anime are simply different from the stuff being bombarded these days, but I simply can't get myself into this specific anime.

At first sight, the first Fate/Stay series had everything I would want for a popcorn action fest: good animation, great character designs, magic and an interesting story that is loosely based on Christianity. I'll even forgive the overt moe-ness surrounding some of the female characters because they strive to aim this show at more mature audiences that don't settle with just some other dumb fanservice slapstick comedy.

I truly believed I was going to like this series and so, I watched the first two episodes of the original series. I was bored out of my mind.

A secret religious society where the characters posess magic, it initially gave me a vibe that reminded me of Trinity Blood (without the emo vampires in priestly garb). I don't mind some talking because I'm a hardcore fan of Gundam which prides itself on character development. However, this anime was so boring, I just had to give up. Maybe if I had seen this show back in 2012 when I worked in a village without internet, tv and pretty much nothing better to do over growing corn in the backyard, I would have continued watching it out of despairing boredom, but unfortunately I had other shows to keep me happy and never gave it a second chance.

Fast forward two months ago, and some people at my job were watching the new Saber series (is it a sequel?) on Netflix claiming it's the best show ever and I truly made an attempt to watch an episode out of politeness. Damn, they just stand there talking about the Holy Grail is super important and some dude is a mage whatever and they are just standing there talking, talking, talking. It's so profound, isn't it?

Maybe I'm just being cruelly unfair to a series that has a lot more to offer other than characters in elaborate costumes just talking to eachother for 20 minutes about some super important future event that never seems to happen, but I have been unable to find this series to be interesting. The animation for today's standards seems to be pretty good, they obviously put their money into this work. However, given everyone is talking nonstop doesn't seem to be hard to animate. Just use the good old tricks of older cell animation anime and recycle cells over and over again.

There is probably something about this show that I have been completely incapable to appreciate given it has a huge fan following. But again, I don't like that One Piece has been running for 700 episodes and Luffy has still been unable to locate the mystical treasure either. Maybe I should cut down on the anime running these days because clearly I can't appreciate it (I did love Yuri on Ice and Fafner never let's me down) and stick to reading fantasy novels.

lunes, 3 de julio de 2017

A July 2017 fantasy book giveaway!

It's been a while since my book has last been in a giveaway. I love participating in them because not only my newslatter gets tons of new subscribers that could possibly become new fans of my work, I get to nab free copies of interesting books for my huge TBR pile.

Grab a free fantasy book today!

From July 1st-31st 2017. Click HERE!!!

On an unrelated note, I am officially on vacations. They will sadly be very brief but I'm feeling very eager to continue writing the missing scenes of the unfinished 7th novel Harlequins. I also wish to draw a little bit so if you haven't subscribed to my newslatter to be among the selected few that get free ARC copies and other freebies, click HERE!

My paperback giveaway was a success and congrats to Becky Roe that won the super rare autographed copy of An Ominous Book. I'm thinking of doing autographed poster art that will be exclusive to my newsletter members. Be sure to subscribe here!

sábado, 24 de junio de 2017

The unlikely trio

I truly loved writing A Calamity. The 5th novel of my elf fantasy series, it was the easiest novel to write and quite a rollercoaster of emotions both happy and sad at times. You'd be surprised to know that I wrote the draft in only 4 weeks albeit the constant editing took far longer than that.

Writing Damantin is always fun. Cunning, deceitful but with a heart of gold, he's an intriguing character with a troubled past. Living in exile due to the sins of his ancestors and being present when his father Sharad was cruelly murdered when he was a child, it was only natural that he would grow up with a tint of hatred against the Elf Kingdom. Despite his cool demeanor, the Äimite guard had their eyes set on him from the start and even though Spaulding believes he and Adinjandanir are trustworthy guests of his palace, the guards are just counting the days before Damantin makes a mistake in order to arrest him.

Without spoiling the fun twists in the novel, Damantin ends up arrested due to a misunderstanding and nearly perishes in prison at the hands of Lord Garain. When Spaulding discovers the truth, in a fit of rage he orders Garain to be forcefully dismissed from the guard, stripped of any social title he once had and exiled from his nation forever.

After losing everything, Garain ends up in Ayrtain and is grudgingly allowed to take care of a severely infirm Trevilin until he is healthy enough to be repatriated by Spaulding. Knowing this might be the last time he ever interacts with the friendly elf that is Spaulding's best friend, he yearns for the chance to someday see Damantin and beg for his forgiveness.

This is where one of the fun twists of the novel begins. Trevilin is resting in a garden when Damantin is casually strolling by with his hawk and the two elves meet face to face. Trevilin attempts to use sign language but Damantin is incapable of understanding him and quietly walks away.

Distraught, Trevilin tells the story of the mysterious foreigner to Garain and he nearly collapses on the ground when he realizes Trevilin might have possibly met Damantin without even realizing it.

With a recovered sense of determination to right his previous wrongs, Garain runs off to find the elf he unjustly harmed and finds him inside of a barn. Damantin oddly enough doesn't take revenge on the dishonored guard and asks him to take care of his pets and belongings for a few days. Out of every possible reaction Garain expected from the elf, being asked for such a strange favor wasn't on the list.

Garain returns to Aetherfeld Castle with Damantin's belongings and tosses his backpack on Pieran's lap who was comissioned by Spaulding to act as Trevilin's bodyguard during his convalescence. The guard that still considers Garain to be an Äimite, he feels somewhat offended by Garain's behavior but at the same time curious to know why Damantin is resting in Ayrtain. Both guards become increasingly flustered when they find Froylan's scroll among his belongings and decide to confront Damantin at once.

Without spoiling the plot further, I find the power dynamics of these three characters to be real fun. One of them is a longtime captain of the guard with a seemingly mundane mission, a dishonored guard that is trying his best to prove himself in the hopes of being allowed to someday return to the kingdom and resume his lifelong duty as an Äimite and a foreigner demonic elf that is trying to find his place in a hostile world. Damantin would have never conceived the possibility of sleeping under the same roof with the elf that nearly murdered him but Trevilin manages to guilt-trip him into staying for a night which ended up being a handful of weeks.

While Garain and Pieran seem to test Damantin's patience every now and then, he starts to have a feeling of comradery with the two guards which only strengthens in the 6th novel. I really enjoy the scenes where the three elves are together and it's always fun to write scenes where Damantin and Pieran are together.

domingo, 18 de junio de 2017

Gulraj the terrible

I personally like to write about multifaceted villains. I don't like the line where the good guys are fully good and the bad guys are fully evil.

Spaulding is stubborn, disobedient and has an ulterior agenda that causes him a lot of trouble during the course of the series. He is willing to spare the lives of some of his enemies, but he will not hesitate to execute criminals or those that he considers to be incorregible villains. It could even seem odd that he spares Lord Froylan's life in two occasions despite everything the guard did to him.

Many of the heros of the novels are indeed not goody good shoes. However, I like to keep my villains interesting and even to a point, I can sort of understand why Leilandy became a villain even though I think she had no need to treat Trevilin with so much cruelty after how nice he was with her in the second book.

One villain that rises above the rest in the realm of malice is Gulraj. Tioja's half brother and the current ruler of an exiled harlequin clan, he posesses a rather powerful demonic beast that gives a huge gift to a sacrifice and then takes something equally valuable away and transfers the gift to Gulraj.

He makes a brief appearance at the end of the 6th novel as an elderly harlequin but he really shines in the unfinished 7th novel.

There are a lot of secrets from his clan that abandoned Almjarhad several centuries ago and the 7th book begins to show some of them. He is indeed a terrifying villain but he's at the same time somewhat charismatic albeit in a very different way from Froylan and has his own agenda.

While the couple would seem beyond terrifying, I almost kind of like a Gulraj-Hama pairing. Hama would never willingly marry him, but I do enjoy drawing them together. When I have the free time, I wish to start drawing the cover of the 7th novel Harlequins with the two of them together in full attire in Photoshop.

I hope to continue writing the unfinished novel and someday hopefully finally publish it.

Are you interested in starting to read this series?

Get a free copy of a preview of the first novel HERE.

Read the first novel of An Ominous Book on Amazon and Goodreads. My book is continuously getting 4 stars reviews!

viernes, 9 de junio de 2017

I just watched the new Wonder Woman film

This isn't officially a movie review blog, but given I sometimes post random posts, I'll just take the chance to place a few comments about this Hollywood flick.

Hollywood has wanted to release a Wonder Woman film for quite some time and it was around 2012 when they were very close to doing just that with an unknown actress. However, between the cinema failures of Elektra and Halle Berry's horrid Catwoman film, releasing a movie of a powerful female comic book character was too risky. It also didn't help that fans didn't like the costume all that much.

In all fairness, the actress wasn't a bad cast, but the costume looked more like something you'd see in Comic-Con. I guess this was going to be a dud.

Regarding the new film where we got to see tidbits of Gal's character in that boring Batman vs Superman movie, I think Gal was well cast for the character. Whatever political opinions you have of her, I think her acting was quite suiting for the character and her more buky frame really gave her the title of a real world Amazoness. Let's face it, Hollywood is full of actors and musicians with political ideas that I don't really agree with yet that doesn't mean I'll just want to ban everything. However there are limits. Madonna's little tirade regarding burning down the White House when as far as I know she isn't even a US citizen didn't seem to be all that funny to me.

I'm not so sure about Chris Pine's character. He isn't exactly the most versatile or talented of actors and his character just seemed to be there saying the lines and enjoying the $$$. I found his character to be rather forgettable and it weakened the amusement factor of the film. Putting aside his acting, I also question what is going on with the character.

Okay, so he wants to save Europe from a mustard gas attack (just isolate atropine and inject yourself with a milligram of it!). He's a spy and loves England (Chris is so miscast in this role that it was hard to believe he was supposed to be a British national. I saw this film dubbed to spanish so I have no idea if his accent is convincing, but I'm rather certain it wasn't). The guy also shows up in an island that is not only inhabited by lots of available women of reproductive age, none of the inhabitants know about War World I. While delivering a crypted chemical recipe book to his army might seem compelling, most normal guys that are weary of war would probably just say, screw the army, I'm going to live in this magical island that is inhabited by lots of lusty women. Yet he just doesn't seem to care about Wonder Woman's affection or anything. What a weird male lead.

The token sidekick characters try to be funny, but they don't beat Mr. Marcus from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Heck, Henry Jones that was played by Sean Connery only stains a soldier's face with ink and scares some pigeons and yet he killed more enemies than the sidekicks in this film did. They could have killed all of the supporting characters and the plot wouldn't have hurt.

I liked Gal's acting and the way her character is a mixture between confidence and naïvety of the nature of mankind, but this is one of those movies where the villains are far more interesting characters than the good guys. I was infinitely more curious to know why chemical woman with crappy mask and her love buddy, Mr. angry German soldier toss some mustard gas into a meeting room and run off like they were playing a childish prank. How did they meet? Do they love eachother or just chaos? I cared more about them than the good guys.

The movie has a sort of uneven pace. Lots of boring filler talking scenes alternated with some battle scenes that are either rather well done and others with so much CGI that they look cartoonish instead of awesome. The movie would have been more impressive if the battle CGI was toned down and the battles more realistic. They seemed too clean with a plastic covering. Nothing to do with the grittiness of Saving Private Ryan.

There are some nice scenes going on that make it a mildly enjoyable movie, but the boring scenes were so boring I ended up playing with my cellphone. Might be worth it for the eye candy as a rental. I'll give the inevitable sequel the value of the doubt.


sábado, 3 de junio de 2017

A new Lord Damantin drawing

Once again, I'll make a quick post. Lord Damantin is a popular character from my book series yet I have relatively few drawings of him (I have more drawings of the series protagonist Spaulding).

I love to paint a completely blank canvas with Photoshop but you have no idea the amount of hours it takes to make a drawing out of scratch with the program. The protrait of the third novel Exile featuring Lord Froylan was rather easy to do but other drawings took me ages and ages because the proportions of the body were just weird and it's a pain in the rear to fix things (please recall I am not a graphics designer and what little I know about Photoshop, I learned on my own with trial and error).

I'd love to have more drawings of my fantasy book series, but time constraints makes that impossible. I stumbled a few months ago into an awesome online program called paintschainer that allows you to colorize images, but the program chooses whatever colors it feels like and any attempt to recolorize the image seems to worsen things.

It's awesome that Paintschainer has aligned itself with another Japanese website and it not only colorizes your drawing, it adds basic yet critical elements of Photoshop. Layers, layer style, resizing, layer visibility in %, erase tool, select color tool and more colors to choose from.

While it's not even remotely as powerful as photoshop and it doesn't include a select tool meaning the edges of my image were erased in order to make the Japanese house background visible, I'm quite amazed with this program's simplicity and the fact that I can colorize an image with whatever background I feel like within less than 1 hour.

I am definitely going to continue using this program and will be uploading more artwork whenever I am inspired or have the free time. Given the insane pressure oven cooker that my current job is, I desperately need a healthy outlet and this is helping me a little to release the steam.

The original hand drawn image.

The awesome magic of an automatic digital colorization tool and a nifty Japanese house background to set the mood. Trevilin was always fond of the epic awesomeness that is Lord Damantin from the special moment the two elves meet eachother in the 5th novel A Calamity and after joining the Äimite guard, it's only natural they would spend a lot of time together in National Palace.

If you have read the books, you'll eventually realize Trevilin keeps his black hair shorter than before after the events in the 5th novel and leaves it medium length. I think the only screw up in the drawing is the fact that the neck scar isn't shown on the colorized drawing.

domingo, 28 de mayo de 2017

A hidden facet of Lord Damantin

Lord Damantin is indeed a really awesome character in An Ominous Book. Quite frankly I have no idea how he popped up. It's like, in which moment of my life could I have ever concieved such an awesome character? When I was writing the scene where he appears in Diaspora (he briefly appears in the 3rd novel Exile but I have already mentioned in an earlier post that I am a really weird person and the first book of this series that I wrote was Diaspora), I wanted to prove to Spaulding that not only was the exiled elf clan really bizarre and "different" from the rest, I wanted the clan to have a member that was beyond amazing. Strong, excellent in sorcery and fencing, handsome, brave, noble, a unique yet entrancing personality and pretty much all-around awesome.

I was in my bedroom one Saturday morning just typing in a hurried frenzy with a tad too many Red Bulls and the second it came to naming this unique character, I sort of recalled that villanous character in Sailor Moon R for a brief instant and the name Damantin simply appeared on the keyboard. I blinked for a moment and realized that the name was just so suitable for this new character that I kept it.

For weeks I was imagining the amazing scene where Damantin summons his demonic beast and it was a huge joy when I finally went around to writing it. The Arcana has the unique shape of a floating eyeball with elongated red and blue eyelashes that resemble tentacles. The beast can shoot energy beams with a potentially inifite amount of destructive power, the capacity of carrying passengers (albeit Damantin uses this ability as a last resort because he feels pain whenever something touches the ultra sensitive eyeball) and the huge military advantage of long distance espionage that doesn't require Damantin to be in full meditation.

Whereas normal beasts require the user to be in meditation to engage in long distance espionage, Damantin's unique ability allows him to verbally relay what the Arcana is seeing in real time. Yet another reason why Froylan was so desperate to invite him to join the guard.

Damantin has many facets that are hard to discern at first sight. However, one of them that intrigues me the most is his love life. He somewhat admitted to have slept with random women (given he has visited a pirate haven named Yurtoda Bay, it isn't out of the possibility that he's visited a brothel or two during his long lifetime), but has Damantin ever really loved a woman before?

One of the more peculiar scenes of A Calamity (book 5 of the series) is when he wakes up fully nude in a bed alongside a very attractive female guard named Kerfalmin. She drugged him and they slept together (albeit Damantin has no memories of what happened). While he was expectedly very upset, he later on bumps into her in Richard's castle in Ayrtain dressed in his clan's robes and she rudely slaps his face and insults him. At that moment, a spark appeared in his heart and he started to harbor feelings for the arrogant guard.

While we discover in the 6th novel Quandary that their relationship fizzled with few hopes of them getting back together, I thought this drawing would be fun to make because it's an aspect of Damantin that is seldom seen in the novels.

I hope you enjoyed it although Damantin never kisses Kerfalmin wearing his clan robes in the story!

sábado, 27 de mayo de 2017

A new Trevilin drawing

I feel a bit frustrated that I currently don't have enough free time to devote to drawing the characters of An Ominous Book using Photoshop. I did this quickie Trevilin drawing and I'm mostly pleased with the result.

Trevilin's neck becomes badly burned halfway into the first novel and he begins to cover the ugly scar with a velvet collar. I'd like to assume this is what he wears when he rests in Tindenfarel Palace when he's not working as a ranger.

I'll try to find a little chance whenever I can to draw characters from my novel series. I hope you enjoyed it.

miércoles, 24 de mayo de 2017

I hate Kaspersky Antivirus

In the era of archtypical 3 second attention span of a millennial and the upbringing where my generation grew up expecting every company to treat its customers like a king such as Amazon (whereas companies that treat customers like crap such as Blockbuster ran out of business), you'd think companies would learn from Amazon.

I mean, it's just the 6th most powerful and wealthy company in the world.

And yet once again because I suffer from something beyond agravvating to my limited patience every year, I wanted to vent my frustration somewhere. Kaspersky Antivirus is a really great antivirus program but the customer service of the company is worse than crap. If you have had a good experience with kaspersky, maybe it's because it's less gawdawful in the country of your residence. I'm specifically focusing on the Latin American website where the code of law is: we don't care about customer satisfaction, give us your money.

Last year I downloaded the total security program where it supposedly has more bells and whistles and included a discounted Android protection service for 2 years. The software worked fine and when the code expired, I did autorenewal from within the program.

Lo and behold! Kaspersky is such a "brilliant" company that they sold me an activation code for a much cheaper and less artsy fartsy  antivirus program from their repertoire. I didn't buy this code from the internet website, I did it from their total security software. You'd think as a company if you had a client that was willing to fork 49 USD for a fancier program, you'd sell them the 49 USD program.

Oh, but not Kaspersky! They sold me the cheaper 24 USD regular antivirus. I thought the cheaper price was a client loyalty coupon code.

So I purchase without knowing a new code for the "wrong" program without realizing Kaspersky has like 40 gazillion  "slightly" different antivirus programs that have almost the exact same software name. Obviously the fancy smancy program didn't accept the activation code and I was left without an antivirus for over 10 days without understanding WTF is going on.

I need my computer for my employment and I can't be without a computer just because a company like Kaspersky sucks so bad.

10 days passed and I was expectedly riled. I asked a coworker from my job what is a fast way to get my voice heard when it came to complaining about crappy customer service and she suggested me to open a twitter account. Before that day, I never even bothered to visit that website, I never cared about it but I followed her advice and created my current account and started spamming Kaspersky with hate messages.

After fighting online for hours, I finally grabbed a hold of someone from the company that realized they sold me the cheaper antivirus program and sent me a link to download it. I managed to get a functional antivirus on my computer but it left a really awful spoiled flavor in my mouth. I mean, I spent $ for almost 2 weeks of an antivirus service that the company didn't want to pay me back or anything from no fault of mine.

This is the kind of piss poor customer service that made many companies end up bankrupt. And now, I wanted to take advantage of a 30% discount for renewal and once again, the activation code the company gave to me seems to be utterly worthless. I just hate this!

I am going to have to bow my head to the crap Kaspersky overlords because 22 usd is 22 usd, but I swear! 2018 I'm changing antivirus company. One company that offers a good program that doesn't treat its customers like crap. I always had a good experience with ESET, I might go back with them.

Kaspersky SUCKS!

domingo, 21 de mayo de 2017

An update of the unfinished 7th novel

It has been ages, but I finally wrote a whopping 1000 new words of the unfinished 7th novel of An Ominous Book, Harlequins.

I had been in a writers block for months regarding this novel. 70% of the draft has been written including the surprising ending, but the prelude to the final battle evaded me. I am glad to say I wrote a connecting scene and brushed a little text of some other scenes.

The exciting final battle hasn't been written yet where we will get to see Gulraj cause some long awaited havoc but this written scene is sure a huge help.

I don't know when I'll have some free time to continue writing, but maybe I will get to finish this novel before 2017 ends afterall.

In the meanwhile, there's 6 published novels that are still more than sufficient time to keep you busy while I continue finding scant moments to write and finish the elusive 7th novel.

Cheers everyone!

You will someday get to read Hama's adventures!

sábado, 20 de mayo de 2017

An Ominous Book giveaway

Have you been reading my blog and felt interest in giving An Ominous Book a chance but you would prefer to read it in paperback?

I'm running a giveaway that is offering a rare autographed copy of the first book in the series. You just have to sign up and cross your finger you might be the lucky one that is chosen!

Feel free to tell everyone you know to sign up for the contest as well. It will run until June 15th 2017.

Good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

An Ominous Book by Nancy Foster

An Ominous Book

by Nancy Foster

Giveaway ends June 15, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

martes, 16 de mayo de 2017

Character profile: Lord Froylan, a despised villain (part 1)

Name: Lord Froylan
Race: Elf
Associated Clan: Igitur
Birthday: April 20th
Bloodtype: B
Sorcery: Fire
Phantom Beast: Levanant (resembles a two tailed lizard that is constantly enveloped by flames)
Occupation: Commander of the Äimite guard/Former convict/Former criminal/Former shepard
Known relatives: He murdered his entire family for unknown reasons

An elf with a hardened demeanor that causes a strong impression wherever he goes, Froylan is one of the main antagonists of An Ominous Book and also the character I enjoy writing about the most in the series.

Froylan doesn't make his grand appearance until the final third of An Ominous Book, but his name is repeated on several occasions creating a great buildup when the reader finally gets to meet him. And it's quite a sight! Tall, muscular build, attractive yet his face is hardened and cold, he always wears his medium length light blonde hair in a ponytail and parades everywhere with a short black cape.

Many characters in the series including Spaulding like to secretly make fun of his ridiculous cape, but Froylan causes such a strong sense of respect out of fear of his cruelty that nobody would ever dare say it to his face.

Froylan greets Spaulding with contempt on his face one late summer night when Lord Pieran brings him, Nelida and Herb to King Salman's palace. The guard mocks Spaulding's cuestionably poor taste of attire and forcibly invites him to ride on his Levanant to National Palace. While Froylan directs Spaulding to his assigned gustroom to rest before the morning meeting the following day, he takes every chance he can get to aggravate Spaulding sufficiently in the hopes he would have an excuse to arrest him. He even goes so far as making fun of Trevilin's misfortune but Spaulding shows sufficient restraint much to his disappointment.

The following morning, the three children are finally reunited and get to see beforehand the Elf King in his throne room during an official meeting. Like always, Froylan stands by his Master's side as his most trusted bodyguard and adviser. Spaulding is soon invited into the throne room and Froylan relishes the excruciating moment a guard punches Spaulding in the stomach as punishment for skipping the annual festival without a suitable excuse.

However, before Froylan could enjoy the sight of Spaulding's arrest, Master Lord Salman decides to punish him with poverty and unemployment for 10 years which causes him to lose his temper and protest. Salman doesn't relent and forces him to agree to the condition and allowing Spaulding to return to his castle in Tesafar with the three children for 6 months.

Several days later, Spaulding is discharged from the palace infirmary and greets Salman in a private guestroom where Froylan is patiently awaiting with an unsigned edict. Without showing any emotion, he delivers the scroll to Spaulding who signs it allowing his clan to be paid a decreased dowry in exchange for helping the children to return home with their nobility titles intact. The second Salman signs the edict; Froylan grabs the scroll and leaves the room without ushering any words.

The following day, Spaulding and the children are ready to return to Tesafar but Froylan takes the opportunity to mock the obstinate hero of the story and inform him that he was going to personally bring the children back to Ayrtain. Spaulding was disappointed by the plan but tried to remain polite with the guard.

6 months later, Froylan arrives with an annoyed look on his face hoping the two week trip to the border with the children would soon end. At this point it starts to be become fairly obvious that even though Froylan is the most feared and respected citizen of the Elf Kingdom after Master Lord Salman, the Elf King occasionally orders him to perform duties he is morally against but he obliges nonetheless. After exchanging some extra insults with Spaulding, Froylan leaves the city with the three children.

The following summer, Spaulding is forced to visit National Palace for the summer festival and he is greeted by Salman and Froylan. Spaulding is invited to a guestroom where Froylan eagerly burns two letters that were written by Richard and Herb in front of the distressed elf's face. As part of the conditions of his punishment, whenever the children wrote letters to Spaulding, the guard is obliged to confiscate all correspondence and Froylan was tasked with burning the letters in front of his face.

While this sounds terrible enough, Froylan becomes even worse in the second novel Separation.

Are you curious enough to get to meet Lord Froylan and see if he is as evil as he seems? Get a preview copy of An Ominous Book HERE.

Some other time, I'll continue with Froylan's character profile with his many appearances in the sequel books.

sábado, 13 de mayo de 2017

Militaries and Fantasy or How to Build an Army

Militaries and Fantasy or How to Build an Army

Military history is a bear. Humans have been fighting each other longer than history can record. It is an overwhelming subject, and a two-thousand word article cannot possibly do justice to it all.
Military bodies are diverse. There are millions of ways an army can be organized, and its effectiveness is valid as long as it works to counter whatever opposition it encounters. Therefore, to add substance to any military organization, a world creator should focus on the macro aspects before deciding on how many men are in a regiment or how range attacks and foot soldiers are combined into a single fighting unit. This is the one area in worldbuilding where starting from the bottom will not work.
When designing an army, outline the following aspects before delving too much into the details.
Here is where mission statements and codes of honor come into play. Militaries are created to either conquer other lands or defend its own. A military can undoubtedly do both, but essentially one takes precedence. An army that is designed for offensive campaigns and conquest does not need to be evil. The need for water and land resources is a powerful driver for men to rise forth and do battle.
The great kingdoms began when a single warlord, general, king or leader managed to unite multiple clans or tribes (Alfred the Great, Clovis, Genghis Khan). These great consolidated forces were often the result of conquest, but not always. Forces would constantly unite for a common cause.
Normally, when creating a world, the military is already set as an established institution to provide the attack or defensive power that governments and communities need. However, if there is an emerging nation or civilization in place, a military body should evolve alongside it.
Law enforcement and security entourages are types of armies. A group of soldiers can be worldly veterans, or they can be town guards. An army should have clear delineations. It would make sense for soldiers to police a new colony while laws are revised and any resistance or unrest is quelled, but consider carefully whether it makes sense for a king’s regiment stationed outside the walls of a strategic town to have to leave their posts to chase down a mugger. It is not unheard of for soldiers to pull this kind of double duty, but the area of responsibility should be established somehow. Otherwise armies and law enforcement will become simple generic fillers.
I know I mentioned before that specifics are not important when designing an army, but the sourcing and manning of armies should be addressed. Is the army a group of professional soldiers or is conscription in place? What is the quality of life for these fighters? Do the soldiers get paid well? Do they get paid at all? How easy is it to stockpile and replace weapons? How are the armies fed, and who shoulders the cost? How do soldiers train for battle? Use these questions to add the details needed to portray the strengths or weaknesses of your armies.
As an overall guideline, armies should have the latest and greatest technology of the era. If gunpowder has been discovered, cannons should be part of the weapons cache. If the concept of flight is known, the military should have mechanical airpower at their disposal. Unless there is clear strife between the military and scientific (or magical) communities, cutting edge weapons and equipment should be in the hands of the armies. That being said, this rule-of-thumb does not apply to special magical weapons and artifacts, since these special objects are the seeds of the fantasy genre formula.
This is possibly the most important factor for determining the effectiveness of an army. This is usually based on the purpose for the army, but it is not the same thing. Military philosophy can be a complicated subject, but it can also define the military body. The overall behavior of a fighting force reflects the underlying philosophy that drives these soldiers to do battle. Consider the following three questions:
Is this army evil or good? To most of us, world domination is seen as an evil concept. It can be argued that mankind would benefit from a single leader or government, but the very thought seems to threaten our concept of liberty and human rights. But true evil runs deeper than simply conquering nations. Overtaking a city in order to spread ideology or partake in its resources does not make an army evil, since they are only doing their jobs. Rejoicing in the suffering of a town while raping it and razing it to the ground, however, does.
How does this army value life? Are civilians to be respected and protected or are they nothing more than a resource to be used? What happens to the vanquished? Are they kept as prisoners? Are they disarmed and released to fend for themselves? Do they become slaves? Or are they killed off like a colony of pests?
What is the meaning of honor? Codes of honor are the unwritten rules of a soldier. Honor dictates behavior, sportsmanship, loyalty, and teamwork. When a group of people follows a common set of rules, it allows for better communication, a strong esprit-de-corps, and method of self-discipline that allows for better empowerment within regiments and units.
The great thing about magic is that it is the source of energy for the creation or execution of fantastical things. Magic does not require much explanation as compared to, say, science and technology. Star Trek used many respected scientific theories as the foundation of their futuristic technology. If something does not make sense to readers, they will have a hard time suspending disbelief. Fantasy and science fiction readers are generally pretty savvy when it comes to science and modern technology. It takes much more logical explanations to draw in a reader of science fiction. But magic does not need to be explained in depth. It’s magic!
But because magic does not exist in our reality, there is nothing to use as a historical basis for an army of necromancers or conjurers. Any kind of strategy for magical attacks and defenses can only be gleaned from the imagination of a great fantasy writer. There is nothing that can prove or disprove the effectiveness of magic in battle. Can the fireball of a high-level caster melt a stone wall? We would not think that likely in real life, but in a fantasy world there is nothing to disprove the power of a wizard mighty enough to create the heat needed to melt stone. The only limitation is a writer’s ability to have the reader suspend disbelief.
So with that in mind, why does magic seem to take a back seat when it does to warfare in fantasy settings? Why does magical power appear to be the last resort in the climax of a multi-book saga? I read a lot about magical swords and rings and flying horses and great eagles that serve as cavalry. I have read several stories where dragons are steeds or sources of magic not to be trifled with. I have read about magical schools; I have even used this premise myself. I have read about a small group of magic-users embedded in mundane fighter units. I have also read about bold adventurers soaring through the skies on a flying beast, jousting and dog-fighting with an opponent in an aerial duel that the loser really should not be able to survive.
But I can’t recall reading about a battlefield with fireballs and lightning bolts flying back and forth in precise tactical patterns, with some neutralized by waterballs or rendered harmless by magical shields protecting the casters as they frantically wave their hands to defend their ground. I can’t think of a story where battalions are appearing and disappearing, teleporting from one flank to another, making the war zone look like a strange game of Chinese checkers as they shoot volleys of magic missiles at groups that teleport out of danger to a more strategic spot. Maybe I am just reading the wrong books. If anyone knows of a fantasy book or series that deals with magical warfare in depth, I would love to find out about them.
I have an idea regarding the answer to the above question. Just because magic exists in a world does not mean that magical armies must be established in that world. There can be very good reasons why magical armies are so rare. Magic in itself could be an extreme rarity, thereby limiting the ability to form and train a magical fighting unit. Handling magic, such as the need to memorize a spell to perform a single cast or the incredible amount of concentration needed to execute a spell, can create considerable constraints. There could be treaties in place forbidding the use of magic in battle. There could be a much more convenient way for countries to win wars. So it is not unrealistic not to have magical armies. It is just not very common to read about magical warfare.
Psychic powers are a fantasy attribute, but the subject seems to work better in the paranormal segment. The fantasy genre mainly focuses on these five main psychic areas:
Telepathy – The ability to read and control minds and sense emotions. This can be as basic as spying on someone’s thoughts or as deadly as disabling all cognitive function and rendering the target a simpleton. A psychic can also use telepathy to perform illusion tricks.
Telekinesis – The ability to move and control objects. Great for ballistic attacks.
Teleportation – The ability to transfer oneself from one location to another. This can also apply to different planes, worlds, dimensions or whatever. A good offensive use of this field is to banish enemies or even summon otherworldly monsters. Spiritual traveling (astral projection) can be classified as a subfield of teleportation. A more accurate term for this would be psychoportation, but it is still a form of teleportation, just not in a physical sense.
Psychometabolism – The ability to heal or harm living things. This can also include metabolic enhancements, such as increased strength or cold or heat resistance.
Divination (Clairvoyance) – The ability to predict the future and see or scry events taking place far away, or even at a different time or dimension. It is a great reconnaissance tool.
ESP should fall within this area since it is that sixth sense which allows a psychic to perceive things that non-psychics can’t. But my own divination powers tell me that many would disagree and place ESP under the telepathy field. It is a sound argument, but I don’t fully agree with it.
It goes without saying that one or two powerful psychics can easily develop the ability to destroy an army unassisted. But a good way to design psychic warfare is to compare it to how the Internet influences the world today. A single click can send a message to millions instantly. Charismatic leaders and movement champions are currently using social media much like a psychic would reach the minds of the masses. Machines and infrastructure grids are controlled online over wireless connections. Countering a psychic army can consist of mental ‘hackers’ who can disrupt and disable psychic connections, steal valuable information and communications, and at the very worst, erase the mind of the psychic, temporarily or permanently.

Sadly, war and conquest is part of our nature, and we have yet to evolve to the point where our intellect and our appreciation for human life and peaceful coexistence is able to overcome our instinct to fight those who differ in looks, values and spiritual beliefs. There are still many problems we need to figure out how to solve. But hopefully we will eventually get there.

I'm reposting a really excellent article that was posted regarding the creation of a military faction in a fantasy series. An Ominous Book places a huge amount of interest in its combined military.

Basically the Elf Kingdom's defense system is divided into three parts: Local civilian military that can have their own distinctive uniform and protect the designated lands of their clan, rangers and Äimite guards.

We get to briefly know the city guards of Tindenfarel that wear distinctive blue uniforms in the first book. It's hinted early in the story that not all clans have foot soldiers. The Kasimma Clan doesn't seem to have an organized defense force because of the remote geography of its capital Tesafar and the diminute size of the clan. The Kasimma Clan barely has 5000 members and only a handful of them (such as Spaulding and Hamarin) are sufficiently powerful mages.

Rangers are the most common law enforcement organization in the nation. As Spaulding has mentioned in the first novel, if you have decent fencing and sorcery skills, pretty much any elf can train to become a ranger. While it isn't unheard of to see nobleelves become rangers, Spaulding is probably the only incumbent clan leader to become a ranger. Under usual circunstances, he should have never been granted permission because his clan doesn't have other blood related nobleelves to cover for his duties, but King Salman granted him an exception because he is a rare dual mage.

What do rangers do? They work a few months each year patrolling the uninhabited forests in a specific region of the country to ensure there aren't common criminals. They usually engage in armed combat against ordinary human criminals that cannot use magic, but they might face elves that unanimously are capable of using sorcery on occasion. If they have a hard time defeating a criminal, they can ask their supervisor Äimite guard that is always a captain to lend them a hand.

Occasionally, rangers of exceptional talent and work ethic can be invited to the Äimite guard by higher ranked guard. It's also one of the reasons why elves join the ranger army because it gives them a chance to hone and prove their skills in the hopes of being invited to the prestigious guard. If an elf no longer enjoys being a ranger, they can quit the profession anytime. They are paid money for each month they are on service. There are approximately 20,000 rangers although not all of them are on duty at a given time. They usually work in the same geographic region each time they are on duty.

The third army of my series is the prominent Äimite guard. The Elf King's private army and personal security force has less than 4000 members but they always stir a lot of attention wherever they go. Always dressed in a monotomous black uniform, they evoke fear and respect from the civilians and become guards for the rest of their lives with absolute loyalty to the incumbent king. Higher ranked guards such as captains are the only ones that can invite new members although the Elf King can write a reccomendation letter.

Joining the guard is a permanent duty albeit they have an initial 4 month boot camp where they will either select or discard potential candidates. If a candidate has second thoughts about joining the guard, they can purposely fail the training and be released from this commitment. However, once they perform the oath, they will be executed for desertion if they attempt to leave it. There are dozens of tidbits of information about the guard that are scattered all over the novels making it a very diverse and effective army with dozens of varying tasks.