Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Reviews - Forging of a Knight

Sunday Reviews Week 3


Forging of a Knight

I thoroughly enjoyed Hugo Negron's Forging of a Knight, though it did take me a little bit of time to truly get into the story.

The story follows Qualton, a man wishing to follow in the footsteps of his father as a heroic knight. His father fell in the war against Those That Stand in Shadow, leaving Qualton with only his magic sword and his legacy. On the path to knighthood, Qualton meets up with a half-orc named Glaive(the interactions between the two are brilliantly crafted throughout the book) and faces unimaginable dangers and terrors in his quest for knighthood.

I had some trouble getting into the prologue at first. It initially suffers from the weight of too much detail, the  characters described down to their exact personality traits in a matter of paragraphs. It didn't take long for the action to pick up, though, and pull me into the story.  After the prologue, Negron does away with the excessive, tightly packed detail, the story moving at a brisk pace from the first page of chapter one until the end.

You can tell that a lot of thought and effort went into developing Forging of a Knight's world. The lands, and the creatures that inhabit them, are full of life, bringing a sense of realism to Negron's fantasy world. Qualton and Glaive are incredibly well developed, and I love how the their association causes both characters to grow throughout the story.

If you are a fan of swords and sorcery fantasy, somewhat in the vein of Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms, this is definitely worth checking out whether you're a young adult, or even an adult like me. 



Forging of a Knight is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Find out more about Hugo Negron at:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Influences and Bittersweet Endings

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting my favorite fantasy author, as well as one of my biggest influences, Brandon Sanderson.  It's always a wonderful feeling to meet someone who has influenced something that you are passionate about and to be able to let them know how much their work has meant to you.

For any who don't know about Sanderson, I can't recommend his work enough.  He is fairly well known for his creative worlds and magic systems.   His Mistborn trilogy is my favorite collective fantasy work of all time.  If you enjoy fantasy and haven't read Mistborn: The Final Empire, I suggest remedying that situation as soon as possible.  If you'd like some pointless trivia, Sanderson was also college roommates with Jeopardy super-champion Ken Jennings.

The biggest thing he has been known for over the past five years is taking over The Wheel of Time series after Robert Jordan's unfortunate and untimely death in 2007.  As you may know, The Wheel of Time is a massive fantasy series started in 1990.  Up until Jordan's death, there were 11 books, millions of words, and hundreds of characters.  Brandon Sanderson was approached by Jordan's widow to finish the Wheel of Time series, using pieces already written by Jordan and his massive amounts of notes.

Sanderson, like many younger fantasy writers today, was massively influenced by Jordan's WOT series and jumped at the chance to help finish a series that had helped inspire him to become a writer in the first place.  He has since written the final three books of the series.

There aren't many writers who could have pulled off the feat of taking the reins of such a huge story with its dozens upon dozens of intertwining plots and characters.  There also aren't many writers who would have had the guts to undertake such a project.  Jordan's WOT has a huge following of dedicated fans who had amazingly high expectations for the series' conclusion.  Though I have not finished the final book just yet, I can say that Sanderson has handily met those expectations.  He finished this series not only as a skilled author, but as a dedicated fan himself.

Anyway, I mention this because I met Brandon on his book signing tour for The Memory of Light, the 14th and final book in the WOT series.  If you like fantasy and need a new book(aside from The Forgotten King coming May 10, 2013 ;) ), give his work a try.  You won't be disappointed.

Anyway, here's pictures of me with two of my biggest writing influences.  The first is me with Brandon last night.  The second is my wife and me with the late Robert Jordan during his Knife of Dreams book tour back in 2005.

I made sure to pick up a second paperback copy of Mistborn: The Final Empire as well to A)Help support the local bookstore the signing was at and B)To have it personalized for my 2 yr. old in the hopes that maybe in 10-12 years I'll get him into Brandon Sanderson's work too.  For now, my son will be more entertained by the other book I bought for him there: Mr. Duck Means Business :).

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Brian Beam

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Reviews - Shaman: Book One/Book Two

Sunday Reviews Week 2

 Cover for 'Shaman: Book One'

Shaman: Book One/Book Two

Shaman is an incredible urban fantasy from S.W. Sondheimer. This may be her debut novel, but you'd never guess it from the quality the story and style of her writing. The story mainly follows Misha Devlin as he comes into his own with his Shaman powers and the struggles and sacrifices he faces in order to save his friend, Harker, from a vicious blood curse. And of course, there's some demons to deal with(literal and figurative) and the presence of Lucifer(as a good guy, no less!)

Each character in Shaman is brimming with personality and charm.  Sondheimer has a way with dialogue that helps make the characters real, pulling you head first into their world. Honestly, few writers I can think of pull this off as well. There is just an organic feel to the characters, their dialogue, and their world. I can only imagine how much time the author must have spent fleshing out Shaman's story.

If you're looking for a great urban fantasy, or heck, a great story in general, definitely check this one out. There's a little bit of something for everyone in Shaman(action, romance, magic, good vs. evil, etc). Shaman is not an easy book to put down and I'm anxiously awaiting a sequel(I know, the first one just came out, but it's that good). Well done Mrs. Sondheimer!  


Shaman: Book One and Shaman: Book Two are available on Amazon and Smashwords.

Find out more about S.W. Sondheimer at:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Reviews - INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders

Sunday Reviews Week One

I'm going to try to start posting a book review every Sunday of both indie and mainstream books.  Maybe you'll find some great new books and authors to check out!

INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders is a wonderful debut release from L. Leander. The story follows Bertha Maude Anderson, a girl who grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina in the 1800s. She is unsure of her place in the world, feeling she wants more than her small town home in Appalachia. When a gypsy circus comes through her town, she falls in love with the lifestyle the gypsy troupe leads--as well as being intrigued by a young man named Paytre and his elephant, Cecil--and finds herself convinced to leave her home and family behind to join The Romanoff Brothers Circus as Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders. The story is told from Inzared's point of view as she assimilates into they gypsy culture, finds love, uncovers a mystery that threatens the circus and the well being of its performers and animals, and settles into her namesake as Queen of the Elephant Riders.

L.Leander has done an excellent job of accurately capturing the time period and the gypsy culture and you are truly pulled into the world of a travelling gypsy circus in the 1800s. The characters are very likable and realistic with dialogue that feels natural and fits the characters well. You really get to know the characters and connect with them. The story has a little bit of everything you could want in a book: romance, mystery, suspense, adventure, tragedy, and comedy. This is truly a book that can be enjoyed by just about anyone, no matter your typical genre preference.

This is L.Leander's debut novel, but from the quality of the writing, you would never guess it. Inzared is wonderfully written, plotted, and edited. Once I had started it, it was a challenge just to put it down. If this is only the beginning of what she has to offer, I can't wait to see what's next!


You can get INZARED on Kindle through Amazon here.

Find out more about L.Leander at:

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Forgotten King Book Trailer and IU Flash Fiction Anthology

First, I know that The Forgotten King is still a few months from release, but I wanted to go ahead and share the book trailer.  Thanks again to Pluto Revolts for allowing me to use one of their songs (DeMonstra/Collisions Reprise) for the trailer.

Secondly, two flash fiction pieces I wrote for the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Contests in 2012 are featured in the Indies Unlimited:2012 Flash Fiction Anthology available for Kindle for $.99 on Amazon!  Each of the 56 pieces are 250 words or less and tell a story based on photography prompts.  There are some truly talented authors in the anthology, so give it a look!

The trailer and Indies Unlimited: 2012 Flash Fiction Anthology cover are posted below.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Brian Beam