Renee Writes

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Author Spotlight: The Thousand Scars – A #Fantasy Novel by Michael R. Baker


Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! This week I have Michael R. Baker visiting with his fantasy novel, The Thousand Scars, the first book in his Counterbalance series. He’s also shared an excerpt from the book, but first let’s get to know Michael.

Michael R. Baker studied history at University of Sunderland, and at last he found a use for his degree. The idea for Counterbalance came off the back of an exhausting bus journey, ironically starting an even longer voyage into writing and publishing fantasy. Alongside his passion for storytelling and worldbuilding, Michael is an avid video gamer and cartographer, bringing his fantasy world and others from the mind onto paper reality. The Thousand Scars is Michael’s debut novel, and the first of the epic fantasy series.


Connect with the Author

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Goodreads Author Page
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About the Book

What is Counterbalance?

Counterbalance tells the brutal story of a land in turmoil, as two desperate superpowers battle for survival in a war of terror and clashes of morality. A complex series, it involves bloody battles and sieges, vengeful necromancers, rampant mercenary companies, a young man desperately searching for a new home, and powerful conspiracies.

For good or evil, The Thousand Scars shall bleed the world…and they will save it. Or will they? The first book of the series releases on December 9th, the opening book of this epic fantasy series.

Get it Today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Keep reading for an excerpt:

War will reach us soon. The white haired patriarch of Valare, Lazarus Oltor, sat at his wide, oak desk, his already wrinkled brow furrowing. He glanced up to the window. Outside lay the city, blanketed in a dense cloud of fog. It was quiet, sounds muffled, the normal hustle and bustle subdued. Even Lancil, his pet falcon, was not his usual vocal self.

Footsteps rang out on the marble floor. Piez Vertigen entered the Atrium. He stopped before Lazarus’ desk, bowing low, his eyes puffy and grey. He’s tired. They all were.

“Morning, my Jaal.” The youthful man’s perfunctory smile did not reach his eyes.

Lazarus grimaced. The formal title of Valarian leadership still sat queer, even after twenty years. “Please, there’s no need to call me that.”

Piez chuckled. “Just force of habit, Lazarus. Apologies . . . my Jaal.” His shrewd eyes gleamed and this time the smile was real.

Piez Vertigen was young for a chancellor. His father Samuel had died during the siege when he was just a baby, and Lazarus had become something of a surrogate father to the boy. He was a good man, and intelligent. Just like his father. Although Lazarus was the supreme leader of Valare, most of the day-to-day business of running the city was down to Piez. That suited Lazarus. Valare belongs to him, not me.

“I’ve recruited another two hundred men into the Keep Guard,” Piez said.

“Good. They can join Cassel for training drills. It’s essential we hold the port.”

Piez shivered, looking pointedly at the open windows. Lazarus’ chambers were cold, but he didn’t feel it, in spite his old age. “I apologize for the chill.” he added. “Should I call for a fire?”

Piez shrugged. “No need. I won’t take up much of your time.” He glanced over the table where Lazarus was sitting. It was littered with old letters, maps, and details on the city’s defenses.

“Anything from across the Tangent?” Lazarus asked, as he did every day. Instantly, Piez’s face darkened.

“Not today. We’ve kept a lookout across sea. I sent out the few warships we have left, though I fear they won’t see much in these conditions.” He grimaced. “The Dominion has already broken the lines and attempted invasion. The Empire’s forces cannot hold the tide much longer.”


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Author Spotlight: Cassidy by Andrew Gates

Welcome to this week’s Friday Author Spotlight! Today Andrew Gates is visiting with his book, Cassidy, a spinoff of his The Color of Water and Sky series. He’ll be sharing an excerpt from the book later, but first, let’s get to know Andrew.

Formerly an on-site educator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, Andrew Gates is now a Virginia-based science-fiction writer and magazine contributor. He is best known as author of the Color of Water and Sky series.

Gates has always been fascinated by science-fiction and fantasy ever since he was a kid. His writing style has been compared to that of Isaac Asimov, author of the Foundation series. Gates’s multiple POV writing style focuses on world-building and large scope politics. Though his stories take place in a fictional world, his characters are realistically portrayed and grounded in reality.

When Andrew Gates is not writing, he enjoys running competitively and watching films.

Connect to the Author

Amazon Author Page
Smashwords Author Page
Goodreads Author Page
Facebook Author Page

About the Book

The world thinks them dead. But they are very much alive. After a deadly attack from an unknown enemy, Captain Sara Gessetti and Lieutenant Damien Saljov are separated from the Cassidy X20 experimental submarine and left to drown in the depths of the Atlantic. Cut off from society, from technology, even from each other, both pilots struggle to survive in this harsh new world, where danger lurks around every corner. But they are not alone. The surface holds many dangers, and some of them come from within…

From the pages of The Color of Water and Sky, this official spinoff story takes place in parallel to books 1-3 in the series.

Get it Today!

Amazon | Smashwords

Keep reading for an excerpt:

He turned to the holographic projector on the table and activated it. Instantly, a 3D image of a submarine concept filled the room. It spun ever so slightly to give viewers a look at all sides of the craft.

“I present to the Oceanic Committee, the first submarine since the Descent capable of shallow water exploration. Finally, we will have the proper tools to answer that great question of the surface. More durable than a simple probe, smaller than the Nautilus E10 and cheaper to produce than even the Ray 4T-80,” he explained. “Ladies and gentlemen of the committee, if you agree to fund this project, you are investing in answers to world’s greatest mysteries. Thank you.”

Carter sat down and powered off the hologram. He felt a smile form on his face. His short pitch had gone just as well as he’d hoped.

The room was quiet now. The EOs simply sat in silence, as if they were each waiting for another to speak. Otto adjusted in her chair, cleared her throat and eventually broke the awkward quietness.

“Thank you, Dr. Brown. As you can imagine, I have a few questions about your project. Firstly, if we were to fund such a project, what kind of timeline are we looking at?”

Carter leaned forward and spoke clearly into the mic.

“Assuming it all goes to plan, we can have a prototype developed by the end of summer. We can begin testing shortly thereafter.”

“And how long will the testing phase take?”

Carter sighed.

“That is harder to answer,” he explained. “It is difficult to predict an accurate testing period for projects like these. Sometimes it takes a few months, sometimes a few years.”

“I see,” the Chairwoman said. She adjusted in her seat again. “And how many crewmen would be needed to operate this craft?”

“Two, ma’am. One pilot and one co-pilot.”

Otto leaned back in her chair and let out an exhale.

“I must say, Dr. Brown, what you’re selling here seems quite impressive. If you can actually deliver something like you’re describing, that would be a remarkable achievement.”

Carter smiled. Those words were like music to his ears.

“I am glad to hear it,” he replied, hardly able to contain his excitement. “Trust me, I can deliver.”

“I’m sure my esteemed colleagues have many questions of their own. We shall move onto them in a moment, but before we do, I have just one final question for you, Dr. Brown. If your project gets funded and you actually build this thing… what would you call it?”

“I would name it something bold, something catchy, something that evokes the feeling of adventure,” Carter responded. “I would call it Cassidy.”

Author Spotlight: The White Arrow by P.H. Solomon

Welcome to this week’s Friday Author Spotlight! Today let’s welcome back P.H. Solomon with the third book in The Bow of Hart Saga, The White Arrow. Later he’ll be sharing an excerpt from the book, but first, let’s get reacquainted.

img_4163-editP. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

Connect with the Author

Amazon Author Page
Smashwords Author Page


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About the Book

From the author of The Bow of Destiny, Fantasia Reviews 2016 Book of the Year, and An Arrow Against the Wind comes the thrilling conclusion of The Bow of Hart Saga

Bound to prophecy, his destiny balanced on an arrow’s tip.

This unique epic fantasy will keep you turning pages as Athson marches toward his inevitable destiny.

With the Bow of Hart in hand, Athson is hunted by his enemies. His mistakes haunt him as much as his past.

Hastra the Withling reveals Eloch will send an arrow for the bow. Magdronu plots to thwart the prophecy as his trolls march on Auguron City.

But when the arrow arrives, it is from a most unexpected source and lands in unforeseen hands. Events twist like an arrow in flight.

Can Athson overcome his past and his failures to use the Bow of Hart as intended against Magdronu? The archer and the bow await the coming arrow…

Pick up the last book of The Bow of Hart Saga because it’s “quietly addictive.”

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Apeth pushed himself to his feet and then knelt before Athson. He touched Athson’s head and whispered a word Athson never heard clearly, but it echoed across his mind in a moment that passed like hours.

Wellness covered Athson in an instant like a raincoat donned in a sudden downpour of rain. The cascade of sickness rolled from him. The fever fell away. The dizziness ceased, and his vision snapped into clarity along with his thoughts. Weariness clattered from his limbs like chains from a prisoner. He gasped in delayed reaction to the Withling’s healing.

Apeth Stellin withdrew across the fire and rolled his bedding. “I was wondering why I was withheld from healing you. And now it’s clear.”

Athson stood. “I don’t follow you.”

“We need to move.” Apeth pointed toward the cave entrance past the mule. “That wandering star is a sign. We aren’t the only ones to have seen it. You can bet Magdronu is seeking the arrow. North is our way, but choices lie ahead for you.”

Athson shoved the last of his venison in his mouth and chewed. In his mind, there was but one choice. “I see one way ahead.”

Apeth tugged at the brim of his hat, and his blue-eyed gaze twinkled at Athson. “Oh, you have choices. What to do with the bow. Whether to finish this quest and find the arrow.”

With his arms spread wide, Athson lifted his gaze to the darkened cave roof rising above them. “Don’t you see? There’s no need for choices. Everyone’s dead that matters to me. My father. Limbreth. My companions. I can only see my way to one thing now, and that’s bartering for my mother.”

“That’s a choice to let the curse on you continue to grasp your life, Athson, continue to let Magdronu’s evil control you. You have a choice to stop it.” Apeth stepped close again, intense but not threatening. “As for Limbreth, by your dream, I wouldn’t assume anything about her fate. But there are choices ahead. Will you go as far as Marston’s Station with me before you make your final choice with the bow?”

Athson nodded. “I’ll go that far. I need supplies. But there’s no other choice for me.”

“Oh, but there is. Your dreams indicate something you must face.” Apeth gathered his things and paused in front of Athson.

Athson crossed his arms. “What must I face?”

“That you are gifted to be a Withling, asked to serve Eloch with everything you’ve been given.” The Withling strode toward the mule.

Athson’s head spun anew, but not from fever. Light from the wandering star shone in the entrance of the cave and lit the Bow of Hart where he’d left it near the mule. His anger rose in a sudden shout. “No!”

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