Fantasy Promo – Dar Tania

Hey folks!  We’re winding down what I’m calling the “month of Dar Tania,” but it’s not too late to pick up this awesome book!  Eric K. Barnum’s introductory novella into his Forsaken Isles series mixes incredible fantasy with dashes of religion and philosophy.  It all combines to make something truly magical and otherworldly.

Dar Tania, provides a solid foundation for Barnum’s other books in his series, but it stands strong even on its lonesome.  It does what it sets out to do, introducing you to not only the history of the Forsaken Isles, but also to Barnum’s strong writing and interesting characters—not to mention its divine dragons.  Woven together, each of these individual threads becomes something magical.

Thousands of years have passed with the dragon god Alerius watching over his many tribes of barbarians eastward on the Forsaken Isles. Waiting for just one of them to hear his mother’s divine voice, he has guided and driven his people to be worthy of their name – Morbat, children of dragons. Dar Tania, daughter of the Tribe of Horses is the first to face her Coming of Age test, pray to the Mother, and have that prayer answered. She becomes the first priestess of Tiamat and joins herself to Alerius’ dream of building an empire spearheaded by paladins and divine warriors.

I don’t have any shortage of great things to say about Dar Tania.  It’s a delightful read, and even though it’s around one hundred pages, the writing is clever and concise enough to give you a tremendous amount of details.  For Barnum’s entry into fantasy literature, this sure seems fleshed out and strong.

You’ll definitely enjoy Dar Tania, so why not pick it up on Amazon today?  It’s free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

We also had the privilege of interviewing the author.  Barnum is definitely an author who you like to get in the mind of.  Check out that interview now!

Dragonspeaker has released!

Hey folks!  It’s new book day, and it’s a very special one for us today. This marks the first step into a new journey.  While all the books that came out in Tales of Tellest (as well as the Tellest Legends campaign’s Lord of Thunder) focused on established characters in the Tellest brand, this newest adventure introduces a brand new set of characters from a continent that we’ve heard of but never seen.

Not only that, but it allows us to explore a race that was only witnessed in short stories or deleted scenes.  The kaja are one of the first anthropomorphic races I’ve written about—we haven’t had a chance to play with centaurs or minotaurs, but we did have a story about kobolds.  In any case, this is definitely the longest tale I’ve told where an anthro character is the star of the show.  Kaiyonani is an awesome character who is only going to grow as we give her and her dragon companion some meatier stories in the future.

Kaiyonani knows what it’s like to be a cat of the Kehara desert. The harsh sands around her tribe’s oasis are hot and savage, and there are enemies abound throughout the region. The one thing her people had to rely on was their fierce dragon ally, Iraneth.

But now, the dragon is dead.

Kaiyonani’s grandfather fulfilled the role of dragonspeaker. It is a title that is passed down from one kaja to the next, though it usually changes hands because a mortal has died—not one of the majestic winged creatures they call friend. The next dragonspeaker has been named, and to everyone’s surprise, it is Kaiyonani who is destined to take up the mantle. She must venture across the desert, to lands unknown in order to make the bond with her own dragon companion,

But can she survive the cruel wilderness and dangerous creatures that call Saveon and the Kehara Desert home?

Dragonspeaker just released today, and it’s available for the low introductory price of just 99 cents.  You can’t beat that!  Why not check it out on Amazon today?

Interview with Eric K. Barnum

It’s been a while since our last interview feature, but I can promise you, it’s been well worth the wait.  Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with Eric K. Barnum, a kindred spirit in some ways who has walked a very similar path with his fantasy series.

You’ve likely seen our big push for the first book in his Forsaken Isles collection, Dar Tania.  Today, you get to see what we talked about, what makes Barnum tick, and understand just what makes his series so ridiculously appealing.

 

Tellest: Welcome to the interview.  It’s great to have you here.  We’ll start you off with one of the questions that I ask all our interviewees, because I think it’s always such a fun discovery for fans and readers.  What inspired you to start writing?

Eric K Barnum: I have an analytic mind; it’s my professional career at the moment. When I found myself analyzing books, movies, comics, and games in light of this idea for a novel, world and universe, I realized it was time to start writing. I wanted to tell a story where magic and gods made balanced sense. The confusion between what is magic versus divine is something I address as a core theme in all my writing.

 

 

T: Surely you’ve had some works and authors that helped to inspire you along the way.  Do you have anyone you’d be able to specifically reference as an influence?

EB: About 10 years ago, I decided to find and read as many of the “old stories” as I could get my hands on. Gilgamesh, Beowulf, Grendel, Cantebury Tales, Diary of Genji, Art of War, Bhagavad Gita, Way of the Pilgrim, Apocrypha, both religious and enduring stories. A common theme, for me at least, was a story of balance between the divine and our world… that then gets thrown off somehow. Contrasting this to the high fantasy genre where the hero and main characters are either out of balance or trying to restore balance, I realized that if you interject “magic” – or in scifi “tech” – into those same stories, they kind of fall apart. Gilgamesh and Enkidu just aren’t the same story if, when they go to Upanishaptim/Noah (of Noah’s Ark), they get magic. That whole story wouldn’t exist with magic. So, how do you balance them? I started making notes and jotting thoughts down from the stories I had read. Not critique, but if from this lens of magic being out of balance, is the story still epic? The Forsaken Isles started taking shape.

 

T: The Forsaken Isles world that you’ve built has a huge focus on magic, religions, and of course dragons.  How did you manage to keep track of everything?  Do you have a Forsaken Isles bible you made for yourself?

EB: I do. It’s a collection of now-ratty notebooks with handwritten and printed notes, sketches, and spreadsheets. Tolkien’s Silmarillion really drove it home to me that organization of stories, characters, and places is key to a great tale. I also have pictures from various Dragon magazines cut out and taped into various parts of my notebooks for fun too.

 

T: The Silmarillion eventually found its way into the hands of the people.  Martin’s got the World of Ice and Fire.  Do you think as your world and the stories therein continue to grow, people might see a fleshed out version of those notebooks to help understand just how vast everything is?

EB: In the 1980s, Marvel Comics released this campy series around an evil book called the Darkhold. Characters would interact with it, get magic, and clash with the superheroes. It was goofy fun. What you’re asking, I think of as my Darkhold Project. Much the same way you have Tellest, I plan on eventually releasing “The Darkhold Project”, which will be a story of the multiverse incorporating notes, but told from the perspective of souls trapped in the Darkhold. Bomoki’s Gate introduces the Darkhold where it is used to try and determine why Bomoki wants a certain objective. In my next book, Syliri & Bruce, the Darkhold is introduced in more detail. It’s a book that is also the middle realm of the Abyss. Rather than being a demon lord, like Lolth or Orcus, it’s a sentient book that influences and participates in the world through the pages of itself. It knows things through soul capture. As it finds something new and different, it manipulates its readers to the soul it next wants by sharing fragmented bits and pieces of knowledge. It’ll have awesome artwork where my sketches, like this one, will be fantastic. I do sketches like this for all combat scenes in my writing.

  

 

T: Your books have some familiarity with the Forgotten Realms books that a lot of fantasy readers have grown up with.  At the same time though, Dar Tania and the subsequent stories invoke a breath of fresh air in the genre.  How did you toe the line between something that’s been established in writing before and a brand new, powerful story?

EB: To the extent that my stories are about clerics and paladins in a dragon-based religion, I can see that. The similarity ends there. The Dragonlance Chronicles and War of the Twins are some of my favorite books. How did Raistlin become so evil? Yet, even when reading these, the interaction of magic and the gods felt weird to me. Hickman and Weiss were probably too bound to 2nd Edition Dungeons and Dragons rules on the heels of TSR’s Deities and Demigods publication. It’s the story of a mortal mage, Raistlin, who opposes an evil god, from whom he seems to derive his magical powers. Magic is either presented as a limitation to being a god, or somehow not accessible to its worshippers. In a world with non-godly magic, what does anyone—god or mortal—get out of worship? Is it really just healing, as The Forgotten Realms suggest? Why wouldn’t everyone just worship and practice Magic?

I also explore the paladin archetype in depth and it is unique. The archetypal characters of mages, fighters, etc. are familiar to all high and dark fantasy. The inclusion of dragons as a key element and the way they interact with the world can be explored on my blog at darmalcor.weebly.com or through the stories themselves. Like angels serving a goodly god, dragons worship and serve their own gods and their own agendas. There are micro and macro-scale battles of peoples, ideas, and religions. The Isles are Forsaken not because they needed a name, but because they are populated by refugees from the ancient empire of Merakor, which fell to the dark elves during a nexal inversion. The refugees forsook Merakor for the isles.

A nexus is a concept different in my world. They serve as travel points between planes in the multiverse. The world of the Forsaken Isles is in the center of the nexuses of Creation/Good, Chaos/Abyss, and Warp/Evil. When thing happen, like the dark elves wiping out the good empire of Merakor, it actually moves the entire world closer to the nexus of Chaos. This creates a cascade of destruction, cataclysm, and change. Similar things can happen if the world moves closer to Creation or Warp with the results you’d expect. Time flows because of these nexuses interacting with the world.

 

T: Speaking of the flow of time, Dar Tania, Malcor’s Story and Bomoki’s Gate all came out within a short amount of time and the latter two are fairly expansive.  Can readers expect to continue seeing your books release at an accelerated pace like this?

EB: Yes. My fan reactions and reviews on Amazon have suggested that there might be more appetite for the 100 page books. I personally prefer large books in my own reading. I find them more satisfying and immersive. As such, my initial publication goal was to have Dar Tania and Malcor’s Story release within sight of Bomoki’s Gate. My next two books will be shorter ones, like Dar Tania. One will pick up 5 years after Dar Tania. The other will pick up after Bomoki’s Gate. Following that, I have 10 candidates for another larger (400 pages +) book, but want my writing to be more informed by reader feedback. So far, these characters in Dar Tania have been very popular: Dar Tania, Princess Alaura, the ranger Bruce, and the white dragon patriarch Ynt’taris.

 

 

T: Your character names are so exotic sounding.  How do you come up with them?

EB: The people of Dar Tania’s tribe began as barbarians. This book is about their transformation into a ‘modern’ magic-wielding empire. The nations around them came from Merakor. They have more traditional names. Part of this comes from having played a lot of RPGs where players could not come up with cool fantasy names. My concession to such players was, “Okay, fine. Name your warrior Stephen. Your character’s family came from Merakor.” I also try and come up with names suggestive of how a character is.

 

T: The Forsaken Isles books are a bit darker and focus on some heavy dramatic elements.  Do you think it’s also suitable for a younger audience?

EB: I first read The Hobbit when I was 8 years old. I imagine my writing as PG13 with R-Rated themes. As a movie, depending on how graphic some of the violent combat scenes became, I can see my writing being R-Rated. This is not my desired goal though. I want readers to appreciate brutality as the tactical expression of ideas at war. To that extent, I have had a few younger readers enjoy Dar Tania. They have all been prolific readers familiar with the fantasy genre. I certainly never attempted to write for a younger audience. But, when I started seeing a few reviews and emails from young readers and their parents, I decided to incorporate them by using easier names, like instead of “main gauche” for an off-hand blade, I would write “long dagger”.

 

T: What do you find challenging in writing fantasy?

EB: Interviews with my test readers have shown that the more I struggle with writing a character, the more they love it. As my readership expands, I’ll be curious to see if this remains a theme. In Dar Tania, one of the hardest characters to write was Prince Rowland. I thought for sure that readers would see him as a trope, a foil for other ‘good’ characters at best or a decadent noble staid in his inheritance. I was shocked when readers told me they saw him as a tragic character. I use my blog at darmalcor.weebly.com to explore some of these ideas in more detail.

 

T: Because your books take place in vastly different time periods in your world, you’re forced to leave some people behind.  Has that been difficult for you?

EB: Time is kind of relative when you have some races, like elves and dragons, living forever. It matters to shorter-lived races but, in all fantasy, it’s stretched out. Because gods are actively involved and exist in a different sense of Time, I actually have fun with it. When Time first started moving, the immortal Eldar reacted to it differently but universally considered it a lethal poison. As such, writing in the contemporary time frame of Malcor’s Story and Bomoki’s Gate, there are enough references to the foundation era of Dar Tania that I view Dar Tania, not as a time gapped story, but as a story-version glossary and history of Morbatten. Even though it’s set many centuries before “contemporary” time, for those with magically-lengthened lives like the priestesses, you’re only talking about four generations.

 

T: You’re a father of three.  Do your children ever influence your writing, in or outside of the Forsaken Isles?

EB: I have three daughters, who love different genres.  But, we bond over anime like Full Metal Alchemist, Studio Ghibli movies, and Bleach. I like to imagine that, one day, they’ll read my stories. Until then, they ask and I share the stories with them storyteller style around campfires. The other thing is that the fantasy genre struggles with women characters sometimes. I blame the 1990s for sexualizing everything. I want my stories to have strong female characters who approach things on the same—but different where being female makes it different—footing as male characters. The reviews by women appreciating strong female characters tells me I’m on the right track. Having more female participants in the fantasy genre would be a good thing.

 

 

T: Between having three children and a day job, how do you find the time to write such expansive stories?  What would you recommend to other writers who are trying to nail down a schedule?

EB: Even with a busy job, I get a lunch break. You’d be amazed at how many words you can pen to paper when you only write 15-30 minutes a day. That gets you through the hard parts of a first draft. Other times, the story writes you and suddenly you’ve written pages and pages. You don’t get to the epiphany moments if you don’t slog through the harder parts. Unless you’re a devil for outlining, you’ll also lose your story thread and character sense. It’s important to write every day. Everyone has 15 minutes. I don’t have very many vices except writing and hiking so it works out for me. There’s so much info about writing out there, from blogs to books to read about writing, but at some point, you need to start writing. Most people at my work show up at 9. I hit the gym at 6, and am at work by 730. That gives me 1.5 hours at my work to know if I’ll have time to write.

 

T: What are you working on, and when can we expect your next book to drop?

EB: In my world, there are two kinds of creatures: those that existed before Time flowed – the Eldar, and those that came after – the Fallen. The dragons worshipped by Dar Tania and her people are eldar dragons. The story introduces a gorgon named Syliri who acts as a zookeeper for the dragons. They collect monsters for Syliri to petrify so that Dar Tania’s fighters can get a sense for size, weaknesses, and strengths of various creatures. A ranger, named Bruce, falls in love with her. I plan to release Syliri & Bruce as two 100 page novels in late summer and am almost done with my first draft of each. Their story is one of unlikely love, their exploration of Morbatten’s borders, and their fight against Set’s Dream. In my world, Set is a demon god so powerful that the others bound Set in sleep forever deep in the Abyss. In his dreams, Set spawns monsters throughout the multiverse. Dar Tania introduces this concept – that monsters are terrible not because they’re necessarily evil but because they’re trapped in Set’s Dream and do not see the same world we do. Syliri & Bruce will be set 5 years after Dar Tania.

 

 

T: Are there any other sneak peeks you can give us at upcoming characters and creatures we might see?  With ten possible books hiding in the wake, you’re sure to have plenty of storytelling ammunition!

EB: Paladins will always be a focus for me. I love them. While each story might have a variety of ‘bad guys’ there will always be a main bad guy: Dar had Rowland, Malcor had Talai the Khasran Lich, and Bomoki’s Gate had Bomoki and Orcus. Syliri & Bruce will feature the Slaads. Slaads are extraplanar monsters who exist in the most twisted hierarchy imaginable. At their highest levels, they seek to awaken Set, the Mother of Nightmares. By intruding into Set’s Dream, they gain power and use it to consume life thereby increasing their own power even more. These are not the slaads you’ll find in old TSR reference guides.

There is also a civil war brewing around Dar with some of the tribes not understanding how and why their entire culture has changed. I already discussed the Darkhold Project. On a different project, while I haven’t had time for reader feedback yet, I have a big story to tell about a race whose god goes insane. So that they don’t die as a race because of their god’s insanity, they raise up a hero and send the hero to slay and replace their god. It pits magic against godly power and the will of the Tehran world against their own god. For readers of my books, you might appreciate who twisted this world from a dominion perspective.

Thank you for the interview, Mike. This has been great. I wish you all the best with Tellest. I’ve been enjoying your Mageborn story. I hope you and your readers enjoy Dar Tania. May these worlds of imagination inspire your own.

T: And thank you for the opportunity, Eric!  This has been a very entertaining look inside your head and the world of the Forsaken Isles.  We wish you the best, and can’t wait to see what you have in store for us.  Many happy returns!

Silver Serpent Cover

We have a lot of books coming out this year (and next), and we’re still not 100% done with the writing or the art, so it’s always great when we have something in place, don’t you think?

Today, we’re showing off artwork for a new property featuring an old fan favorite.

Silver Serpent essentially shows us the origins of our favorite ranger in green, Steel Tip.  Back then, he’s doesn’t go by the oft-mocked moniker, though.  Instead, he’s the protege of the legendary Silver Serpent, a vigilante who has protected the archipelago of Ippius for generations.

This story fully embraces the superhero feel of the series, so we did some really cool things with our characters.  We were lucky to have our artists, RedPear and DLeoBlack on hand to bring these characters to life.  Above, you’ll see as things are sliding into place.

Here, things are cleaned up a bit more, and we get our first look at the various characters in a more colorful form.  You can see our two de facto heroes on the right side, while monstrous beings like the gargoyle-like creature in back and the man made of water in the front seem to have their sights set on the Silver Serpent and her young pupil.

We took our characters out of the piece in order to clean various things up.  The aurora was given a less clunky feel, while the stones surrounding this lookout point were left a little more weathered.

Moving forward, we added our characters and the fire back into place.  Our gargoyle lost a little weight, the heroes gained a few extra details, and our man made of water is just a little splashier.

Finally, we made one last change.  We weren’t in love with the color of the Silver Serpent’s hair or her pose, so Leo scrapped the whole thing and redid her.  Turned out great!

Silver Serpent will release in September of this year!

Character Art – Bolt Thunderfury

Hey there folks!  My do we have a treat for you today.  It’s been just under a year since we began working with Hozure (formerly Skence), and we’re so lucky to have had such a wonderful relationship with him all this time.  He’s become one of our most prolific artists, and it all started with a piece he did on Bolt Thunderfury twelve months ago:

Of course, since then, his art prowess has increased tenfold.  We asked him to go back and try his hands at making our characters pop even more than the last time the characters saw the light of day.

Now, it should be noted, Bolt was a special piece for us.  When we told Hozure we wanted to tackle these characters again, he was all about it.  He even did Bolt for free for us—he was the last one, and we technically didn’t have it on order.  So when we received it, it was a complete surprise!

Comparing the two makes it incredible to see how far Hozure’s come.  It’s like night and day, and that’s an incredible feat considering how good his art already was.

And here you have our Thunderfury adoptee in all his glory with a nice background behind him.  Hope you liked seeing what a year’s worth of increasing talent can do!

Lord of Thunder Released

Ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to announce the official launch of Tellest’s phase two.  Lord of Thunder has released today, and I’m excited to bring a follow-up to Bolt Thunderfury’s first adventure.

We’ll see how the book does on Amazon, but just remember, every ten weeks from here on out, another Tellest adventure is coming your way.

Once again, this is just the beginning…

Character Art – Gaston Camlann

The renowned sage, Gaston Camlann, has been one of the longest running characters in my series.  He’s mentioned in The Bindings of Fate, and I used his name in a few “about Tellest” articles because I needed an in-universe scholar to talk about various things, like the world, the Strain, and so forth.

When we first brought him into the limelight, in Mageborn, he became one of our favorite characters.  He speaks to the world almost as if he’s outside of it.  In a lot of ways, I feel as though he’s an extension of me.  Gaston has all the right qualities you’d want in a person, but he’s still somewhat flawed.  Think of him as your grandfather all those times you made him mad.  He doesn’t want to get angry, but sometimes you see it!

In any case, we had a few instances of Gaston already on display thanks to our “generic” short story panel that you see from time to time.  But when we asked Hozure to give us a version of Gaston that belonged entirely to him, he didn’t disappoint us.

We had a lot of interesting poses presented to us, each with their own sense of whimsy.  But one of them stood out more than the others, because it also had more of a sense of Gaston than the others.

Here, you can see Gaston with one of his favorite things: his books. As much a scholar as a sage, Gaston’s love of knowledge and wisdom is a base thing for him.  It’s what makes him tick.  It felt like it would have been a lost opportunity not to feature him moving those old words around like that!

As things moved around, and lightning was implemented, our spectacular sage jumped off the screen even more.  Everything about him seems scraped right out of the back of my mind.

And here you have our final look at Gaston Camlann.  As we said before, Hozure did a magnificent job of capturing this incredible arcanist, giving him a delightful feel and sense.  This isn’t the last you’ll see of Gaston.  Keep your eyes peeled in the weeks and months to come as we reveal more characters in this great fantasy world!

Sprite Arts – Rhinotaur

Can you believe that we’re down to our penultimate set of sprite arts?  Mind you, that’s just for characters, but we’re getting ready to get moving with this card game.  It’s insane! We’ve been through humans, and dwarves and elves and gnolls and goblins…

We’re wrapping up with two more villainous races, and the first one up is the rhinotaur:

lannis-jarl noth-vox raia-doath wrexa

Now, it’s important to note that rhinotaurs are technically not so evil as some of the other races that they align with.  Among the so-called bad guys, only the gremlins and the lagano are more easy-going than the rhinotaurs.  It’s just that these poor saps are generally really dumb, and easy to manipulate.

Side note: did you know that we have a good and evil quotient that we use to determine whether or not a race in Tellest is predetermined to be willing to work with another race?  Now you know!

lannis-jarl-4x

Lannis is as classic as you can get as far as the rhinotaurs go.  He comes from the more well-to do city of Theria, and is employed as a guard.  Typically, these fellows are very reserved and tend to stay by themselves in the wilderness.  If they dwell with others in a larger pack, it usually numbers in an area less than a dozen.  Lannis, meanwhile, hangs out in a city with thousands of other rhinotaurs.

noth-vox-4x

Noth happens to be one of those other rhinotaurs from the city of Theria.  He works in service to Cerox, the god of thunder among his people.  As a paladin in the order, he is meant to uphold the values of his people and the will of his deity.  So, when the whispers of Cerox told him to travel to the mysterious dungeon, he knew it was time to take up his axe and sword and go prove his faith.

raia-doath-4x

Raia is our first rhinotaur from another locale.  Whereas Theria is a bustling city, Jecraskia is a more reserved landmark, meant for pilgrims and faith militant.  Those who travel there don’t often stay long, but Raia, an aspiring mage, finds her way back there from time to time.  She is good-hearted, and filled with wisdom, despite the limitations of her people.

wrexa-4x

Our final rhinotaur adventurer is Wrexa.  You’ve heard of a bull in a china shop, right?  Can you imagine a rhino in one?  In all honesty, Wrexa is a fairly competent thief.  When the going gets tough, though, she finds herself causing more trouble than she solves.  She’s not from either of the aforementioned places as the other rhinotaurs.  She comes from the slummier city of Ceros.

rhinotaur-4x

That about wraps up our look at the rhinotaur of Tellest and our mystery card game.  We’ve got one last set of adventure sprites coming your way soon, so keep an eye out!

 

Dragonspeaker Thunderclap

Hey there fantasy readers!  I have something to big to ask you about, and I’m wondering if you can spread the word as well.

We’ve got a campaign going on to try and get Dragonspeaker in front of as many people as possible when the book releases on the 23rd of this month.  It’s on a platform called Thunderclap that is 100% free.

Now, that might sound like something that you’d see our other Tellest hero Bolt take credit for, but it’s actually a cool social media experience.  With Thunderclap, an author (or musician, artist, etc.) calls on his allies to band together and cry out an important message in solidarity, all at once.  Just like with Kickstarter, the campaign is only successful if enough people lend their hand.  In the case of Thunderclap, it’s not your money that your pitching in, but your voice.

Since Dragonspeaker is a new series, it needs all the help that it can get.  I would be extremely appreciative if you’d consider taking a stop over to our Thunderclap campaign page.

There, you’ll see the message we want to send out when Dragonspeaker releases:

Just below that, you’ll see a set of buttons that you can click on to lend your support:

You can click on any or all of those buttons to add yourself to that “supporters” number at the top right of the first picture.  Remember, we need 100 supporters total in order to get the message out.

After that, Thunderclap will take care of everything for you.  They’ll post a message on your behalf to your chosen social media feed.

Kaiyonani thanks you, and I do too!

Dragonspeaker releases on the 23rd of May, and I’m hoping to give it an explosive debut.  Tune in for more news along the way!

Fantasy Promo – Dar Tania

Update: We have some great news about Dar Tania.  Next week, on May 8th through the 15th, Dar Tania will be just 99 cents on Amazon.  Don’t forget to pick it up!

*          *          *

Hello folks.  It’s been a couple weeks since our last stop in the Otherworld, but we have a doozy for you today.  If you’re a fan of the Tellest books, you’ll likely get a kick out of the works of author Eric K. Barnum.  His influences are very similar to mine, and he’s got a very similar flavor.  I’d go as far as to say he’s better equipped than I was when I first started out—it won’t hurt my pride to say that I wish I had his talents all those years ago.

Today, we’re focused on Dar Tania, a book by Barnum which provides a stage for the longer books that follow.  Dar Tania is a short novel, but it has tremendous value.  It introduces you to not only the history of the Forsaken Isles, but also to Barnum’s strong writing, interesting characters and powerful plot elements.  More importantly, Barnum does an excellent job of weaving each of those individual threads into something magical.

Thousands of years have passed with the dragon god Alerius watching over his many tribes of barbarians eastward on the Forsaken Isles. Waiting for just one of them to hear his mother’s divine voice, he has guided and driven his people to be worthy of their name – Morbat, children of dragons. Dar Tania, daughter of the Tribe of Horses is the first to face her Coming of Age test, pray to the Mother, and have that prayer answered. She becomes the first priestess of Tiamat and joins herself to Alerius’ dream of building an empire spearheaded by paladins and divine warriors.

I don’t have any shortage of great things to say about Dar Tania.  It’s a delightful, robust read, and even though it’s around one hundred pages, the writing is clever and concise enough to give you a tremendous amount of details.  For Barnum’s entry into fantasy literature, this sure seems fleshed out and strong.

You’ll definitely enjoy Dar Tania, so why not pick it up on Amazon today?  It’s free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

Sprite Arts – Orcs

Hello hello hello.  It’s time once again to look at our upcoming card game and all the beautiful pixels that encompass it.  Today is a bigger update than usual, thanks to our next race being all about honor and glory.  The orcs of Tellest have long before made their peace with elves, dwarves and humans, and they’ve been left to prosper.

Just because we’d consider these some of the good guys though, that doesn’t mean they aren’t tough as steel and sharp as nails.

alaz-leoric barak-gauth crass-callie foegen-liath tersek

Just as with all of our other races, you can see that these orcs are all very different from one another.  Although they do have one unifying feature it seems: skulls.

Let’s take a closer look at each of them, shall we?

alaz-leoric-4x

Al’az Leoric is a proud warrior from Felwain.  Anytime you’ve ever thought of an orcish hero, you’ve likely had a vision somewhat similar to Al’az.  He came to the aid of a group of excavators who swore that their mine was beset upon by demons.  Single-handledly, Al’az stayed behind to give the miners a chance to escape.  They brought the mine down with him inside it.  When he awoke, he was surprised to find himself outside another dark cavern: a dungeon with untold treasures.

 

barak-gauth-4x

Barak Gauth is a warrior priest, also from Felwain.  He’s not quite as tough as he looks, but then, he isn’t as dumb as he looks either. Barak has learned how to preemptively heal himself an allies from arcane influences.  It really is a sight to see, but he’d just as soon club your head in than offer you a show.

 

crass-callie-4x

Crass Kallie is a priestess from the dismal orc city of Trenton’s Blade. They’re not exactly known there for their hospitality, or their honor, for that matter.  What Kallie lacks in moral values, she certainly makes up for by her dark reputation.  Some say she’s dabbled in nearly all the dark arts, from demonology to necromancy, but nobody has been brave enough to inquire to her directly.

 

foegen-liath-4x

Another resident of Trenton’s Blade, Foe’gen Liath is an assassin who prefers the shadows to an open battlefield.  She’s been able to rein in her rage and anger for the sake of clandestine meetings and vicious killings.  As unlikable as you’d imagine she would be, Foe’gen has found a family that appreciates her and her skills in the form of the assassin’s guild.

 

tersek-4x

Ter’Sek is one of our established characters.  He first appeared in The Enemy Within at the very end, and there are plans to see him in the next “mainstream” Tellest title, though who knows when that’s going to come out.  Ter’Sek is a shaman who assisted the dwarf, Gunnar, with protecting a tunnel between Blacklehn and Raleigh. His home is Genger-Mar, but he hasn’t seen it for some time.

 

orcs-4x

And here you have all of our orcish adventurers, side by side.  Let us know what you think of this set while we prepare the last two races for you!

The World is in Your Hands