Friday, March 31, 2017

Let me send you my free ebook!

Free Ebook from Awakening: download chapters 1-8 http://DNFrost.com/free #TotKW An exclusive sample by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part of a series.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Launching Apollo's Raven: an inspired collaboration

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Launching Apollo's Raven: support for her new book http://www.dnfrost.com/2017/03/launching-apollos-raven-inspired.html An inspired collaboration by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part 6 of a series.
This post is Part 6 of a series to augment the Guest Resources available for free download. Start with Part 1 here.

This and other guest-inspired content is gathered in my Guest Directory for you to explore.

Enjoy!


After connecting in Part 1 of this series, I worked together with Linnea Tanner to create a map of ancient Britannia for her new book, Apollo's Raven. I kept in touch with Linnea after the map was done, and when the time came for her book to launch, I reached out to her to see if I could help promote her book. I loved Linnea's concept of a historical fantasy set in the world of the ancient Celts, and I wanted to do my part to help her unique concept reach its audience. When we finished, Linnea also wrote this post about our collaborations on her blog.

To promote her launch and ease the pressures of troubleshooting her new author website, I spruced up my original blog posts about our collaborations. Linnea was kind enough to let me mirror my two guest posts from her website onto mine. My three-part series about my work with Linnea expanded to five posts, but I wasn't done yet. I wanted to read and review Linnea's book.

Check out these Guest Resources for more inspirational content!

I was going to wait and purchase her book after its launch, but I realized my review wouldn't be very supportive if I published it so late. Through my work with the Tales of the Known World saga, I learned that a book launch goes best when there are reviews ready beforehand. But I didn't know how many Linnea had already accrued, so I asked her what her preference would be.

In order for my review to be ready for her book launch, Linnea sent me an advanced reading copy of her novel, which I read in a matter of days. After writing my review, I shared it with her along with some of the insights I learned about publishing through Amazon. Then I prepared to publish my extensive book review for Apollo's Raven on the same day as her launch. Meanwhile, Linnea wrote her own story about our collaborations, and we awaited the book launch eagerly.


And be sure to subscribe to Linnea's awesome website, if you haven't already!


That's it for this post! Up Next: My review for Linnea's first book... Coming 4/10.

You can download Guest Resources here, or start your adventure below.




Welcome inside TotKW Books. Your gripping fantasy adventure awaits. http://DNFrost.com/adventures Where can I send your free ebook?
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Where can I send your free ebook?


   


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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Great Questions: inspiration & spark

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The Great Questions: understanding life's mysteries http://www.dnfrost.com/2017/03/the-great-questions-inspiration-spark.html #TotKW Inspiration and spark by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part 1 of a series.
This post is Part 1 of a series to augment the Author's Manifesto available for free download.

This and other inspirations of mine are gathered in the Spark Directory for you to explore.

Enjoy!


In high school, the addled grief of my teenage world finally drove me to seek answers to the great questions about life. Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Without a family religion to foster answers for me, I started my quest in scientific discovery. Surely mankind with all its technology could unlock the mysteries of the universe. I delved into quantum mechanics, and learned that the core particles of matter are just energy waves that pop in and out of material state.

Then I learned that the energy waves were actually clouds of potential energy waves that sometimes collapse into physical form. Then I learned that it's the act of observing this cloud that causes it to collapse. Like a marshmallow left unwatched in the microwave, every speck of matter in the universe swells up and expands into an unstable cloud, only to deflate when you open the door to peek. Something about perception causes non-physical energy to condense into physical matter. Why did observing the world affect the world?

Check out this Author's Manifesto for more of my inspirations!

As I explored this mystery, I encountered a growing mass of scientific evidence proving that human focus directly affects the physical universe. Extensive experiments with random number generators over the past 50 years have repeatedly shown that focused attention affects the randomized output of these electric circuits. Countless studies demonstrate that when people ask the program to generate more of a certain number, the output is skewed in their favor. Since electricity is just the flow of electrons, and electrons are just clouds of potential energy, I concluded that something about human thought was affecting how those energy clouds condensed into particles inside the computer circuits.

I started exploring philosophy and psychology, trying to unravel the mystery behind how thoughts affect the universe. I read about Behaviorism, Dualism, Solipsism, and other philosophies of the mind. I studied cognitive and developmental psychology, sociolinguistics and cultural anthropology. While I developed my Tales of the Known World saga, I immersed myself in humankind's innumerable ideas about life, God, and the universe. I began scrutinizing my own mind - how were my thoughts causing changes in the world around me? The answer I stumbled across was simplistic and profound.

That's it for this post! Up Next: My path to the great awakening... on 5/17.

You can download the Author's Manifesto here, or start your adventure below.




Welcome inside TotKW Books. Your gripping fantasy adventure awaits. http://DNFrost.com/adventures Where can I send your free ebook?
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Where can I send your free ebook?


   


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Monday, March 13, 2017

Darkmage by M.L. Spencer: a book review

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Darkmage by M.L. Spencer: a potent, savage, and unique fantasy http://www.dnfrost.com/2017/03/darkmage-by-ml-spencer-book-review.html A book review by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part 4 of a series.
This post is Part 4 of a series to augment the Guest Resources available for free download. Start with Part 1 here.

This and other guest-inspired content is gathered in my Guest Directory for you to explore.

Enjoy!


To earn four stars, a great story must surprise me with something I didn't see coming. Darkmage by M.L. Spencer is Book Two of The Rhenwars Saga, an epic fantasy saga that spans two realms and over a thousand years. Though billed as Book Two in the series, this is Spencer's debut novel, published first though not first chronologically. I received a free PDF ebook of this novel in exchange for an honest review, and I first connected with M.L. Spencer when I reviewed Book One in Part 1 of this series.

Here is my finalized review of Darkmage:
This is the story of a man who's lost everything, a raw descent into madness, heroism, and sacrifice. With duty and the letter of the law at bitter odds, this honest man must do something so hard, it devours him.

Grotesquely genuine, this artful story explores the tortures of a hard-pressed hero who must become evil so he can destroy evil itself. His redemption is his own damnation, and his ethical struggles resolve with bittersweet satisfaction. Spencer's work is potent, savage, and unique in its examination of the human condition.

Check out these Guest Resources for more inspirational content!

Returning home after two years in exile, acolyte mage Darien Lauchlin receives his magic powers mere moments before the city is destroyed in an act of heinous betrayal. Driven by ever more dire threats to his homeland, Darien must shoulder the terrible burdens of his station, alone in a world rife with suspicion and abomination. His ultimate end: to seal a deadly portal by surrendering his own soul to the Netherworld. Staring down this infernal eternity, Darien struggles with grief, ethics, and ultimately his own humanity as he fights to save a homeland he no longer deserves to be part of.

As with Spencer's Book One, this novel was a pleasure to read. The manuscript was polished, descriptive and engaging. Spencer's writing style continues to bring to life her fantasy world with exquisite detail. Spencer paints her world with deft strokes and has an especial knack for describing the natural surroundings of each scene. Stormy skies, brilliant sunlight, sweeping prairie, and sere mountain views formed the anchor within which Spencer's unfolding plot came to life.

Both Spencer's novels so far have explored the boundless gray areas between right and wrong, and how much the human spirit can endure while navigating those tricky and unrewarding waters. I loved Darien's character the whole way through, and I'm impressed with the way he evolved from a swarthy acolyte in love to a responsible and potent mage determined to save his homeland from destruction.

But when it came time for Darien's final turn from responsibility into depravity, the change felt somewhat sudden, though not as sudden as the character changes I noted in my Book One review. Darien's shifts in personality were well-primed and inevitable. They felt justified, necessary, even reasonable. But there's always something painful about a beloved character slipping into the tarnished depths of amorality. Like any defining moment, Darien's turning point felt too brief, too haphazard, too irrevocably final. But despite the change and its inherent suddenness, I still loved Darien all the same.

Another parallel I noticed between both Spencer's novels was the way she crafted each story's opening. In the prologue of each book, a character dies, the death sending ripples of implication throughout the rest of the story. Though a thousand years apart, the start of each book also depicts a similar scene - a stormy night in a mountain city, and a woman alone in the rain. Even the women's names seem similar, Meiran in this novel and Merris in Book One.

Of course, parallels like this are intentional, and I found myself contemplating Spencer's reasons. The stories of both books are a thousand years distant from each other, and yet the stories were instantly correlated, connected in some transcendent way.

I cannot attest to what she hoped to achieve, but for me, this sense of continuity established an expectation as I read, the expectation that the stories would somehow continue to be correlated as Book Two progressed.

What a great delivery! Book Two maintained that sense of connection to Spencer's first book as the story unfolded. Not only did the events of Book One have an impact on the events of Book Two, but even some of the long-dead characters from Book One made appearances, otherworldly and imminently crucial to the tale at hand.

Whether or not this sense of connection was Spencer's intention as she crafted her books, I can say that it enhanced my enjoyment of this book, and it also enhanced my appreciation of Book One.

While the plot of Spencer's saga focuses on apocalyptic dangers and the hard-pressed souls who must avert those dangers, aspects of her fantasy world are reminiscent of the Game of Thrones series. In Darkmage, Greystone Keep stood for five hundred years at the Front, holding the Pass of Lor-Gamorth against the invasions of the chaotic Enemy who dwell in the Black Lands. Fans of George R.R. Martin may notice parallels to the icy Wall that barricades the chilling Others of the north, and fans may sense the sworn fraternity of his Black Brothers within Spencer's men of Greystone.

In addition to these features of Spencer's world, her story is one of mortal anguish and political intrigue, themes omnipresent in the Game of Thrones series. A proud and beloved theme in fantasy depicts the unwilling union of nations to defeat the most vile threat of all, and Spencer's novel Darkmage resounds with this triumphant reluctance. But unlike the infamous works of Martin, magic is more prevalent in Spencer's diverse society, and a number of her cultures have adapted to the presence of magic in everyday life.

The magic of Spencer's world is itself a wonder. Of all the ways to express magic in a fantasy world, Spencer envisioned a planet pulsating with a magic field. Similar to the magnetic field of Earth, Spencer's magic field flows around the planet, all-encompassing but also variable. Earth's magnetic field fluctuates from place to place, stronger in some regions and weaker in others. Spencer's magic field follows similar force lines, converging into powerful vortexes in some locations and canceling out into magical dead zones in other places.

I found Spencer's unique planetary field as a really great expression of magic, and I loved how she showcased the specific areas where the field was absent or too violent to wield. In the null zones with no magic, mages can neither be detected nor empowered by the magic field they rely upon so heavily. In contrast, the magic vortexes are cacophonies of flowing power, and mages foolish enough to draw in that power are obliterated in its wake. I love how Spencer's mages must take special care to shield their minds from the magic field within these vortexes, endangered by the very field that empowers them elsewhere.

I was also delighted to meet the Jenn, a nomadic tribe of horsemen reminiscent of a now-extinct culture from Book One. I really liked that earlier culture, and I was sad to learn that after an apocalypse and a millennium, they had not survived. But though Spencer doesn't outline the history or ancestry of the Jenn, I have hope that they are somehow descended from that beloved tribe wiped out long ago.

Other aspects of Spencer's world-building were equally delightful. Her numerous deities feature prominently in the cultures of the Rhen. While there is no overt interaction with deities themselves, Spencer accentuates the reality of these gods through the magic and miracles witnessed in her unfolding tale.

Darkmage by M.L. Spencer http://mlspencerfiction.com/darkmage.html
My favorite deity was Isap, the goddess of death, whose priestess is a prominent supporting character. The undeniable reality of the goddess's power gives credence to every deity in the Rhen, leaving the reader in true trepidation about the unknowable whims of very-real gods.

Though Spencer frames the whole of Darien's painful quest in no uncertain terms, I was gratified by how much room for surprise she maintained within the story.

And when Darien offered up his beautiful and poignant parting gift for the two he loved most in life, I loved how he graced them with an undying legacy that would both remind them of his love and remain with them for all their days, as he himself could not.

Overall, this book was potent and raw, a laudable Book Two that makes me look forward to the release of Spencer's third and fourth in the series. Published first, this novel has been available for some time, so after I shared my finalized review with Spencer, I posted the review to Amazon and Goodreads.


And be sure to subscribe to M.L. Spencer's reader group, if you haven't already!


That's it for this post! Up Next: The third book in Spencer's saga... Coming soon.

You can download Guest Resources here, or start your adventure below.




Welcome inside TotKW Books. Your gripping fantasy adventure awaits. http://DNFrost.com/adventures Where can I send your free ebook?
Your adventure awaits.
Where can I send your free ebook?


   


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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Puzzles and Sequels: an inspirational resource

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Puzzles and Sequels: fun inspirations from the novel Darkmage http://www.dnfrost.com/2017/03/puzzles-and-sequels-inspirational.html An inspirational resource by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part 3 of a series.
This post is Part 3 of a series to augment the Guest Resources available for free download. Start with Part 1 here.

This and other guest-inspired content is gathered in my Guest Directory for you to explore.

Enjoy!


After I reviewed Melinda's first book in Part 1 of this series, I found myself wanting to read her second book too. I'd already fallen in love with her cool maps, particularly the marked differences between her Book One map and her map for Book Two. I found her second book, Darkmage, on her website, where I read a preview of the book and enjoyed a cool puzzle app where I could assemble the book's cover.

I loved the idea of turning my own book's maps and art into fun puzzles, so I did a little homework and tried making a few puzzles myself. Turns out it's really fun and addictive. Now my Maps of the Known World mini-series contains a fun puzzle of each map to assemble! I'm grateful to Melinda for inspiring this idea, and I hope my own fans will enjoy puzzling along with their favorite maps.

Check out these Guest Resources for more inspirational content!

After I played around with puzzles for longer than intended, I returned to Melinda's web page for Darkmage and followed the link to her Amazon sales page. There I saw that her second book is available in paperback and for Kindle. However, I don't have a Kindle, and though Amazon offers a Kindle Cloud Reader that lets you read Kindle ebooks on any device, I find that the app makes my favorite ebook device run pretty slowly.

I contacted Melinda about other formats for her second book, and Melinda graciously offered either an EPUB or PDF format for her book. Of the two, I prefer PDF ebooks, mostly because EPUB files require a reading app much like the Kindle MOBI files do. Since I was straightforward about my intention to write another in-depth review on my website, Melinda was kind enough to send me the PDF free of charge. I'm excited to be reading another book by M.L. Spencer, and my full review of the novel will be available soon.

You can read more about
at Darkmage by M.L. Spencer here.

And be sure to subscribe to Melinda's reader group, if you haven't already!


That's it for this post! Up Next: My review of Melinda's Book Two...

You can download Guest Resources here, or start your adventure below.




Welcome inside TotKW Books. Your gripping fantasy adventure awaits. http://DNFrost.com/adventures Where can I send your free ebook?
Your adventure awaits.
Where can I send your free ebook?


   


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Saturday, March 11, 2017

M.L. Spencer: an inspired collaboration

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M.L. Spencer: connecting with this fantasy author http://www.dnfrost.com/2017/03/ml-spencer-inspired-collaboration.html An inspired collaboration by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part 2 of a series.
This post is Part 2 of a series to augment the Guest Resources available for free download. Start with Part 1 here.

This and other guest-inspired content is gathered in my Guest Directory for you to explore.

Enjoy!


In Part 1 of this series, I wrote a review for Darkstorm, Book One in The Rhenwars Saga, an epic fantasy series by M.L. Spencer. I first met Melinda in an authors group on Facebook, and we shared some fun conversations about maps. I am a huge proponent of maps, and Melinda's two maps were super cool in how they related to each other.

Her map from Book One showed a southern continent divided by a mountain range, as it was during the time of that story. But her second map showed the same continent a thousand years later, to set the stage for her events of Book Two. I loved the way Melinda made a millennium of drastic change so visual on her maps, and we inevitably began discussing the plot events that led to the changes in her world.

Check out these Guest Resources for more inspirational content!

I also showed her a few of my maps from Awakening, particularly the map of Old Ryerin. Included in my book for its relevance, this map shows the realm of a now-extinct forest and the high civilization of tree elves who used to dwell there. In all my other Maps of the Known World from Book One, the region where Old Ryerin once stood is now a vast desert referred to only as the Badlands. This intentional discrepancy between my maps followed similar motivations as Melinda's two maps of her southern continent.

After we chatted about our maps and their plot-related intentions, Melinda and I agreed that we'd enjoy reading (and reviewing!) each other's books. A common practice among indie authors, this classic review swap helps each author get a new review, which in turn helps their online visibility and marketing efforts. In exchange for the promise of fresh praise, Melinda sent me a free copy of her ebook, and I sent her a free copy of mine.

Note that I don't always agree to a review swap, even when one is offered to me. The obvious trouble with review swaps is that each author is practically obligated to give the other a great review. If I don't feel confident I'll enjoy the book, I decline a review swap. And if I read the book and can't give it at least four stars, I contact the author prior to writing my review, to respectfully rescind our review-swap arrangement. For me, it's important that my review is both honest for readers and helpful to the author.

As expected, Melinda's great story was a pleasure to read, and I had no trouble writing honest praise for her work. And in exchange, Melinda wrote some great Praise for Awakening after she finished reading my novel. We each shared our reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and for a while we left it at that.

However, I also wrote a detailed book review much too long for Amazon, since I had long-term plans to feature reviews of good books on my website. After I got things configured for my book reviews mini-series, I contacted Melinda with a preview of her feature and got permission to use her book's cover image within my review post.

You can connect with Melinda
at M.L. Spencer Fiction here.

And be sure to subscribe to Melinda's reader group, if you haven't already!


That's it for this post! Up Next: Inspired to read Melinda's second book...

You can download Guest Resources here, or start your adventure below.




Welcome inside TotKW Books. Your gripping fantasy adventure awaits. http://DNFrost.com/adventures Where can I send your free ebook?
Your adventure awaits.
Where can I send your free ebook?


   


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Friday, March 10, 2017

Guest Resources: an inspiration directory

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Guest Resources: download your inspirational content guide http://www.DNFrost.com/guest A resource directory by D.N.Frost @DNFrost13 Part of a series.
This post is part of a series to augment the Guest Resources available for free download.

The best and latest guest-inspired content is gathered in this resource guide for you to explore.

Enjoy!


Hello, there! Thanks for your interest in the people who inspire me. My name is D.N.Frost, and I'm a fantasy author, fictional cartographer, and avid reader. As I work to share my Tales of the Known World saga with the world, I encounter a number of different people with assorted interests. When our interests coincide, I get inspired to write about them, and sometimes we end up collaborating together!

Whose work has inspired me so far? I love reading good books and learning new things. I've benefited from some great resources on writing, storytelling, history, and running a creative business. To get to know the people and projects that inspire me, please enjoy this collection of short project memoirs and book reviews.

Download your inspirational content guide Guest Resources here.

These are stories of my collaborations with and appreciation for other people. You'll learn about my projects with other platforms and see my book reviews for fellow authors. Find out what I'm reading and what I consider great writing. Whether you are a world-builder, a fantasy fan, or an indie author looking for new connections, this download introduces you to the best hidden gems the web has to offer.

This resource directory also links to a number of guest inspirations and longer blog posts, so you can delve deep into your favorite content. I'm proud to offer you this compilation of great people from around the web, and I hope you use this resource to broaden your own horizons.

That's it for this post! Check out the latest guest-inspired content for more.

You can download Guest Resources here, or start your adventure below.




Welcome inside TotKW Books. Your gripping fantasy adventure awaits. http://DNFrost.com/adventures Where can I send your free ebook?
Your adventure awaits.
Where can I send your free ebook?


   


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Hello, there! Connect with me:
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