SPFBO Author Interview: D.L Gardner

In my third SPFBO author interview I spoke with fantasy author and creator of the Sword of Cho Nisi series. Book one is an entrant in the competition.


  • Hi Dianne, tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

I’ve enjoyed writing ever since I was a child and being a devote reader, I lost myself in the worlds of Shakespeare, Dumas, Dickens, Lewis, Poe, and more. I wrote mostly poetry when I was young but having a creative yearning, I expressed myself in other art forms (oil painting and music). It wasn’t until my later years that I decided to write novels. My first successful piece (I have some false starts of course) was about a boy and a dragon. I painted the dragon before I finished the novel. (It’s 3 panels 9 ft X 4 ft oil painting with copper leaf accents) and formed the story while I worked, using my grandsons as not only a target audience, but models for my MC. Since they were raised without fathers, I was especially compelled to write a story that would encourage them to be the man they wished their father had been to them. That series is titled Ian’s Realm and we did some Indie filming of a short concept film, put it in some film festivals and won a good many awards for it. It may be produced sometime down the road.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

I have always been a day dreamer! I grew up in southern CA around the time Disneyland was built and we went there the first week it was open. I can still remember the thrill of walking around in a real fantasy world and I never wanted to leave. I guess I am still enjoying being in another place, one where I have control, where I can make the birds sing, the snow to fall, or horses run in a grassy meadow. C.S. Lewis wrote “You can make anything by writing,” and I found that to be the theme of my life. Writing about the here and now, to me is boring. I need a fantasy element to stay connected.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

Sword of Cho Nisi is a three-book series that I wrote one after the other with the intention of publishing them quickly. It begins as a story (Rise of the Tobian Princess) about a young princess who makes a fatal mistake and spends the rest of the first book trying to make up for what she did. It speaks of overcoming guilt, forgiveness, and redeeming oneself, has a nice subplot romance, but becomes darker in the next two books as the main characters work through their weaknesses. I published the first book May 25 of this year and the next book; Fall of the Kings is set to launch July 9, 2021.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I’m drawn to writing male characters who have inner struggles. I put myself into all my characters though. I think if I didn’t write I’d have multiple personality disorder because I can relate to so many characters: the confused female, the wicked female, the flighty female, the weak male, the strong male, the bungling wizard, I’m all those things and more so it’s really easy for me to put myself into them. I also have some experience in psychology, so I enjoy developing backstories and why these characters do what they do…what in their childhood caused them to be the way they are.  Developing characters is the most exciting part of writing, I think.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

If you think you know what you’re doing, you probably don’t. Learn all you can and read as much as you can. Research, even if you’re writing fantasy. Learn about this world and its history and the people in it, and that knowledge will help you develop the world you want to write.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

I write in the morning when everyone is asleep, and I give myself a minimum word count every day if I’m on a schedule. To keep my stories on track, I outline my chapters before I even begin, and have character and relationship sketches. I do a lot of pre planning before I write. If I didn’t, I’d lose track.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

I plot. I need to know point A and point B. I start with a premise, a logline for the plot. Everything else develops from the relationships of the characters. What are the arcs I want to develop for each character, and then how are they going to get from A to B. I then write all the events to get them there. I develop the world as I go and sometimes move between chapters for continuity, so there is a lot of pantsing after the initial plotting.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

I want to write a spin off series to Sword of Cho Nisi. I did a Kickstarter for this series and found it quite successful and once I’m in a world I don’t like leaving! I have other stories I’ve written that I’d also like to expand, shorter, all with a fantasy element. One is historical fantasy and fans have asked for more of that world. I’m still debating on whether to do that though.

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

I’m always a good over evil girl. If it can’t happen in this world, I want to see it happen in my world.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Lord of the Rings by far. I don’t think there’s many authors that can compare to Tolkien.

My website: https://gardnersart.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DianneLynnGardner

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DLGardner2

New release is Sword of Cho Nisi Book 2 Fall of the Kings July 9

Thanks for taking part!

Thank you so much for including me!


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

The Summer Sale Continues with Heir to the Sundered Crown

The Summer Sale is already in its third week and this week book 1 in the Sundered Crown Saga is on sale for just 0.99p/c.

First in a series: The Kingdom of Delfinnia is plunged into darkness after its royal family is assassinated. When Luxon emerges as the first wizard in a century, he’ll have to join a band of noble allies and fulfill his destiny as the prophesied hero. Perfect for fans of Raymond E. Feist!

PUBLISHER DESCRIPTION

A realm torn asunder by civil war will give rise to a hero. The Kingdom of Delfinnia is in chaos. After Assassins kill the king and his family, the barons now battle one another for the crown. Unknown to them, one heir yet lives. As the civil war worsens, dark things begin to stir in the vast Eclin mountains.

Horrors long thought destroyed have returned and led by an ancient evil begin to march upon the war-torn kingdom. Meanwhile, in the mage city of Caldaria and as all hope seems lost, a young man named Luxon will discover his powers. The first wizard for a century, he is the man who will one day be known as the Legendary and the hero will give the realm its greatest king.

Sent on a quest to find the hidden heir, Luxon teams up with the legendary monster slayer, Ferran of BlackMoor, the deadly yet beautiful Witch Hunter Sophia Cunning and the noble Knight of Niveren, Kaiden of the Marble shore.

Together they travel the realm battling deadly monsters, assassins, and the most feared enemies of them all, the servants of the dark lord Danon himself, the evil N’Gist cult.

The Heir to the Sundered Crown is a heroic fantasy tale filled with action, battles and magic that will ignite the imagination and set the stage for an epic confrontation between the light and the darkness.


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

Voyage for the Sundered Crown Audiobook out now!

I am delighted to announce that Voyage for the Sundered Crown is now available to get in audio format and as per usual the excellent Joseph Tweedale has smashed it out of the park!

This is the definitive way to experience the Sundered Crown Saga and Joseph does an amazing job at bringing all of the characters to life in a way that only audio can.

You can get your copy on Audible, Itunes and ACX.

Win an Audiobook Code!

To celebrate the books release I’m giving away 10 codes. All you have to do to be win one is post a review of any of my books on Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo or Barnes and Noble take a screenshot and send it to matthewolney9@gmail.com.

All qualifying entrants will then be added into a draw with the winners announced via the <a href=”http://&lt;!– wp:paragraph –> <p>All qualifying entrants will then be <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/groups/212672018752900″>added into a draw with the winners announced via the </a>Sundered Crown Facebook Group.</p> Sundered Crown Facebook Group.


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

The Summer Sale 2021

If you’ve been following me for a few years then you’ll know that every year I hold a Summer Sale to give you excellent folks new books to read throughout the holidays and with this blasted Covid virus still about who knows whether we will all be put into lockdown again. To that end here is the schedule for the book promos and their sale prices. Enjoy! And please leave reviews of any books you do choose to get. 

Sale begins June 1st

1st to the 6th – Danon (FREE)

7-13th – The Nightblade (0.99p/c or FREE if you sign up to the Newsletter)

14-20 – Heir to the Sundered Crown (0.99p/c)

21-27 – War for the Sundered Crown (0.99p/c)

28th – 4th July – Quest for the Sundered Crown (0.99p/c)

5-11 – Voyage for the Sundered Crown (0.99p/c)

12-18 – The First Fear (0.99p/c)

19-25 – The Temple of Arrival (0.99p/c)

26- 1st August – Terran Defenders: Genesis (0.99p/c)

2- 8 – Terran Defenders: Rebirth (0.99p/c)

9-15 – Blood of Kings (0.99p/c) 


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

Author Interview: Ron L. Lahr

In today’s author interview I speak with US fantasy author Ron L. Lahr about what he’s working on and why he enjoys the most about the fantasy genre.


  • Hi Ron L. Lahr, tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write? I am married with two grown daughters, which is what affords me the time to write. I love reading, gardening, cooking, baking and working on old cars. I have wanted to be a writer since I can remember and started during high school. I chose to stop writing and get a degree and a career to support my family. Now I have the opportunity to get back at it.
  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre? Fantasy is my favorite genre to read and write. It has been since I read the Lord of the Rings in junior high. There are many things I love about it, the sense of wonder, good versus evil, and honor mattering.
  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together? My current project is the Kathaldi Chronicles, an epic fantasy trilogy. Dirk, a thief and sarcastic jerk, is the narrator of the story. He and some friends end up accidentally fighting an ancient evil to save the world. The first two books, Children of Kathaldi and Assassins of Kathaldi, are out on Amazon as ebooks and book one is also available as a paperback and an audiobook on Amazon and Audible. I am just finishing up the first draft of the final book, Destroyers of Kathaldi, so it should be out by the end of the summer.  The challenge of writing this trilogy was finishing the third book during the pandemic. With everything else that has happened over the last year it took me much longer to finish the third book than I thought. I like to think that I’ll be back on track very soon.
  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them? I enjoy writing all sorts of characters but my favorite is the narrator of the Kathaldi Chronicles, Dirk. He’s a thief, scoundrel, sarcastic jerk, braggart, and believes himself to be quite the ladies man. However, he is also a loyal friend willing to put his life on the line for you. He’s funny, mean, and gets to say things I would never say in a million years. That is definitely fun to write.
  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned? The biggest thing for me is to just finish the first draft before you start rewriting and editing. Get something done and then work on making it perfect, or at least better.
  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track? I’m awful at meeting deadlines so any tricks I use are worthless. I need some new tricks!
  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)? I am a hybrid. I do create an outline and write pages of notes but the finished story has a lot more stuff in it. Sometime my characters just say or do something while I’m writing that I hadn’t ever thought of and I almost always go with it, even though it can mean a lot of extra work to ensure it fits with the rest of the story. I’d say I’m one third plotter and two thirds pantser.
  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres? All of that and more! I have plans for new series, I will be releasing some humorous books and stories, and I have more plans for the Kathaldi Chronicles, including some anthologies where I write a few short stories and the rest are by other authors, and more books with Dirk and other books that cover different time periods and characters. I’m a planning fool!
  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach? I prefer good to triumph over evil but I don’t mind if it’s a close call and lots of good guys die in the attempt. There can be a fair amount of dark and I don’t mind a bit.
  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars? This is a tough one because I love all three of these. Lord of the Rings has probably had the most influence on me, the books, although I loved the movies, too. The Harry Potter books were about the only thing my oldest daughter would read and we eagerly awaited the publication of each one and then when the movies came out it was our special thing to go see them together. She gave me the Blu-Ray set for Christmas one year. And Star Wars? I was a kid when Episode IV came out and it changed everything for just about everybody.  I simply cannot choose. It’s like trying to choose between your own children – impossible!

(Please include any social media links – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.)

Amazon series page: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B089GW4FVW

Amazon for Children of Kathaldi (book 1): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B089FNJHB7

Audible for book 1: https://www.audible.com/pd/Children-of-Kathaldi-Audiobook/B08KHSZXRG

Amazon for Assassins of Kathaldi (book 2): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KNW5TT9

Free audiobook of a prequel short story: https://talltaletv.com/dirk-goes-to-church

Website: www.Kathaldi.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Kathaldi

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LahrRon

Email: RonLodellLahr@gmail.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8508877.Ron_Lahr

To join my email list: https://bit.ly/39FIcSu

Patreon: www.patreon.com/RonLahr


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

PRE-ORDER Heroes of the Sundered Crown & The Crimson Blade

Hi all, I hope you’re well. Some big news! Heroes of the Sundered Crown, Book 5 in the Sundered Crown Saga is now available to pre-order on Amazon and other major retailers.

To give me enough time to get it finished and as polished as I can (I’m a one man band remember!) I’ve set the release date for December 21st 2021. 

Pre-order your copy via the link below. 

Introducing the Crimson Blade

The world and lore of the Sundered Crown Saga expands in the Crimson Blade. Discover how the order of assassins came to be and how they came to serve the N’gist. Read the synopsis and preorder below.


Killers, Murderers, Assassins.

The Crimson Blades strike fear into the hearts of all who cross their path. 
When Valyn, a low born merchant, sees his wife and children murdered by the Knights of Niveren for wielding magic, he embarks on a quest for revenge that will cut a bloody swathe through the Kingdom of Delfinnia.

As he embarks on his deadly quest for vengeance, he will be embroiled in the realms criminal underworld and encounter an ancient evil that promises him the power he seeks to enact his bloody retribution.

With the Crimson Blade in hand, Valyn will become an unstoppable killing machine but in exchange, he must sacrifice everything, including his soul. 


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

Author Interview – Jeffrey Bardwell

In this week’s author interview I chat with dark fantasy author and creator of the Metal vs Magic Universe Jeffrey Bardwell. Join us around the campfire and settle in.


  • Hi, Jeffrey Bardwell. Tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

I’ve been writing and publishing dark fantasy with a mix of dragons, steampunk, and romance since mid 2017. I have published six novels, two novellas, and one anthology all set in my Metal vs Magic Universe. I love creating new worlds and populating them with interesting characters. When I’m not shackled to my keyboard,  current hobby endeavours include practising my puff pastries, building a Roman style woodworking bench, and growing every type of berry under the sun. I think my favorite cultivar is the haskap. What a name!

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

I love that good fantasy is a story with wondrous impossible broad strokes grounded in tiny realistic details. Riding dragons? Well, be certain to describe the aereal formations and how the leather harness is constructed. Steampunk armor? Well, don’t forget to show your characters slogging through all the upkeep and maintenance.                                       

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together? (include release date etc here)

My latest project involves wrapping up the fourth book in my dark fantasy / romance / intrigue series: The Tyrant’s Peace, The Mage Conspiracy series. I’ve been wrestling with this one for over a year due to various work and health shenanigans. This series is far more complex than others I’ve written because each book interweaves a related suspenseful intrigue and romantic adventure plot with their own unique sets of conflicts and characters. So, each novel is more like writing two novels. The prospect of pushing forward and finally finishing the series with Book 5 gives me a warm happy glow. Book 4 is coming out April 15, 2021.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I like taking the most evil, despicable villains and making them sympathetic and even loveable at times by allowing the reader to relate to their human motivations. Everyone is multifaceted and has more than one reason for why they do things. I like to impart that quality into all my characters.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Stop outlining, world building, and composing long character treatises. Just write the bloody book already.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

I get a feel for how much I can write per day given my current additional responsibilities. Then, I set realistic goals and buckle down. That is at least the plan, which sadly gang aft agley. Giving your timeline generous fudge factors to account for hiccups and the unforeseen is prudent lest you get burnsed.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

A bit of both. My outlines are the broadest strokes simple story beats with motivations and conflicts for the three main characters. Even so, I will often stray from this as the evolving characters reveal a new path while I’m telling their stories. I often leave the last third of the outline especially vague just for this reason.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

I have three currently ongoing series that I really need to finish. Then, I have four more planned in the future, which I will be writing one at a time. Of these seven series, I already have all the covers designed for four of them. Get your covers done in series batches, folks! Saves time and money later, and allows you to consider series branding as a cohesive whole. My novels all have heavy cross genre elements, so genre hopping is as simple as leaning harder on one point of that epic fantasy / romance / steampunk trifecta. One of my current series is a military fiction (steampunk dragon hunters), the other a coming of age story (prodigy artificer), and the last a court intrigue (spy with magic disguise).

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

I like stories where the heroes aren’t pure saints, and the villains aren’t pure demons. Give me some nice shades of gray, complex character motives, and juicy betrayals.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

I should really side with Tolkien on this one–epic fantasy for life–but in truth I enjoyed all those franchises. Each auteur has influenced me in their own way.

Follow Jeff on social media

Dark Epic Fantasy Website: https://jeffreybardwell.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16676565.Jeffrey_Bardwell

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B071RXS994

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jeffrey-bardwell


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

Author Interview – Thomas K Davis

It’s been a while since my last author interview but I’m glad to say they’re back thanks to a huge increase in the number of authors wanting to take part. In today’s author interview I speak with Science Fiction writer Thomas K Davis.


Hi Thomas tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

Hey, I’m Thomas K Davis, author of the Versatile Layer book saga. I’ve always been a huge Sci-Fi fan. I loved shows like Farscape, Battlestar Galactica, and films like Blade Runner 2049 and Valerian- City of a Thousand Planets. Media like this has influenced my own work. I write fiction that has meaning but knows when to not take itself too seriously.

Versatile Layer is a 9-part Epic Space Opera. The best way to describe Versatile Layer would be Romeo & Juliet meets Star Wars. Our two main characters meet completely by chance and fall for each other. They’re separated again by a tragedy that leads to a war between their two peoples. Their quests to reunite gets wild. There’s Exo-suits, Elite soldiers, Robots, Alien Amazonian warriors, jet packs, assassins, a war raging in the stars, gangsters, heck there’s even a cowboy. The setting and battles are epic but the heart of the story is personal and character driven.

Each book is self-contained with treads that weave into future instalments. Kinda like Marvel movies. In fact, the average read time for my books is about 2 hours. They’re fast paced. I’ve been told that reading my work is like have a movie play out in your head. And that was my intent when I sat down to write them.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

You can really just let your imagination run wild. You’re creating this world with a set of rules. What are the rules to your universe? Are they loose and cartoonish?  Are they realistic? Meaning, if a character falls 30ft onto the hard ground, do they just walk it off? Or are they seriously injured, like in real life. Are your characters swashbuckling like Jack Sparrow with little care for the laws of physics or their own safety. Or are they in a stand-off carefully considering their strike because one miscalculation means certain death?

Answering these questions and establishing these rules is what I love about writing.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together? (include release date etc here)

I just released the 8th book in the Versatile Layer Saga: THE BLOODLESS REVOLUTION. It’s the final battle for planet Samael. The exiled princess, Adeola M’falme, has gathered her freedom fighters and is ready to remove her cruel brother from the throne. But his forces, led by the ruthless Master Mega, have other plans. Will Adeola be able to liberate her world without sparking a full-scale civil war? It was released on Jan. 26, 2021 and can be found at the following link. http://versatile-layer.com/books

There were a lot of moving pieces and characters to manage in this chapter and I’m very proud of the end result. The cast really expanded over the last few books and I had to tie all of their stories together for this major event. I feel like every character has a satisfying arc and contributes to the resolution in a significant way. There’s still one more book to go with another cast of characters and that’s going to be the final conclusion to the series.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I write a lot of tough female characters. Since the aliens in my story are basically Amazons from space, it makes sense.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Every once in a while, let a character do a thing that doesn’t affect the overall story. In life people express themselves in ways that don’t matter at times. In ways that only matter to them. If you know your character, then when they’re random, you’ll know why they did that random thing and the audience will accept it because you as the writer put it in with confidence and purpose.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?
  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

I have a clear goal and a conclusion I’m trying to reach. I always know the beginning and the end of a story. So, I write those out asap. I don’t outline at all. I’ll be going about my day and scenes will start to play out in my head. That’s chapter 9, that’s chapter 5. If you have a clear vision of where you’re going, you don’t need a map.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

I’m editing the final instalment of the Versatile Layer series. After that, I’m planning to jump genres. I’m planning to write a dark comedy about vampires. I have the title and some of the characters. I just have to nail down the events, plot, and theme.

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

I can go either way. Currently, I’ve been deep into Attack on Titan which is a seriously dark story. Thought provoking, violent, hopeless at times. You don’t even have a clear idea of who the villain is because most of the cast is so morally compromised.

But on the flipside, I’ve also been enjoying My Hero Academia (I know, anime.) which is a very hopeful series. It’s full of triumph over challenges and incredible moments of perseverance.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

L Before “The Rise of Skywalker” I would have definitely said Star Wars. But after that film, ugh. So much potential squandered. Cringe worthy levels of fan service that hinder the story. (takes a deep breath.) Anyway, I haven’t seen or read any of the Harry Potter series. So, “Lord of the Rings” wins out.

Follow Thomas via –

Website: http://versatile-layer.com/books  

FB Page: http://facebook.com/versatilelayer

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/badpope

Twitter: https://twitter.com/UmojiLegend

 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/188090.Thomas_Davis


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

The First Fear on Sale for just 0.99p/c

It’s sale time again folks, this time my epic fantasy The First Fear is available to buy for just 0.99p/c from Amazon, Apple, Nook, Kobo and more retailers.

Here’s the blurb to entice you into getting yourself a copy. If you love creative world building, super powered beings and plenty of action this is the book for you!


The Supreme rules the world.

For years beyond counting the people have lived in fear and served her will while she reigns with an iron fist. Her servants the Venerable Chamber and her feared Hollowed stalk the land hunting those who may have the Power to challenge her. The Empowered Ones.

Once, they defended the world from all terror using their abilities to harness emotions into supernatural abilities. Now only a few remain, but hope is not yet lost.

Elian, a young man living at the edge of the Imperium discovers he too possesses the Power with devastating consequences for both himself and the people he loves. Forced to flee from the Supreme’s most deadly agent The First Fear, Elian encounters a ragtag band of rebels known as the Liberators and a group of Gifted led by the charismatic Empowered One, Vavius who believes that the key to overthrowing the Supreme lies in the ruins of the ravaged lands of the once mighty Kingdom of Aeranyth.

Can Elian survive long enough to develop his newfound abilities and help them turn the tide against the Supreme or will he die trying?

Reviews for The First Fear

“Fans of Sanderson will love this one.” – The Bookwyrm speaks
“This was such a great book! LOVED it!!! Highly recommend!” – Amazon reviewer
“Really good ideas and a fun read!” – Amazon reviewer
“Amazing world building” – Amazon reviewer


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

AFTERLYFE Movie Review

I haven’t posted a review in a while but when I heard of this short movie, I just had to do one. From Wagyu Films comes their first officially released movie and whilst it’s a short it’s bloody good.

What is it?

AFTERLYFE is a horror movie that pulls no punches and in its 20 minute run down has more scares and excellent world building than most of the crap coming out of Hollywood these days.

Created by a small studio and on a low budget the movie does an impressive job of both looking like a much bigger budget production and fully immersing in the viewer.

A Short Movie with a Tall Reach

It doesn’t pull any punches; its short run time doesn’t allow for that and that is one of its strengths. It wastes no time diving into the action by setting up the scene that is both mysterious and immediately scary.

With all that’s being on regarding the Covid pandemic, the opening shot of a man waking up inside a body bag in a dark hospital room with an oxygen mask on his face taps into the fears over the virus. It also gives the movie a 28 Day Later vibe which I absolutely love.

It’s creepy AF

Our as yet unnamed protagonist frees himself from the body bag to discover that there are people in similar bags all around him. The lightning is excellent as the man leaves his room and begins to explore the oppressively dark hospital.

As he ventures down a corridor, he sees other rooms containing other ‘patients. In one room he encounters a man covered in bandages who gives a disturbing performance as someone who is absolutely petrified.

This is where I have to mention the music in this movie. It’s subtle and creepy rising and ebbing in perfect unison with the tension on screen. The tension builds and a female voice cuts into the eerie quiet, that made me jump. The hero finds a walkie talkie and asks the woman questions about his situation, her answers are vague adding to the sense of uneasiness. We learn that the hero had been in a car accident, but the woman says, ‘this isn’t a hospital’. A WTF moment if ever there was one.

The script is great with the exchanges between the man and woman in particular believable and unnerving. The horror aspect itself is done better than some big budget movies with a particular scene of ‘something’ stalking the dark corridors genuinely creeping me out. It definitely succeeds in its attempts to scare and does it in a way that doesn’t rely on obvious jump scares and over the top gore.

A scene where the hero encounters another ‘survivor’ who is armed is perfect as it subverts much of the audiences’ expectations as we realise this isn’t just another zombie survival movie. In fact, that scene flips things on its head entirely to the point where I then felt concern for the ‘survivor’ more than the protagonist. Needless to say, the thing we saw earlier stalking the corridors makes another appearance and its suitably horrific.

To say any more about the plot would ruin the twist and shocking revelations, in short, the writing was great. There was only one point where I could see the twist coming, which as any writer trying to throw an audience off the scent of a big reveal can attest is incredibly hard to pull off.

If this review has piqued your interest, then watch it below!

Is it worth a watch?

Yes! For a debut movie Afterlyfe is excellent and I can’t wait to see more from Wagyu studios. They plan to release more short horror movies as well as a full length movie called Patriarch that looks very promising.

Final Verdict – 9/10


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.