Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book Review: The Veil and the Void

Book Review

The Veil and the Void
Book 3 of Hollenguard

The third entry in the Hollenguard series is an engaging adventure that will certainly please fans of the fantasy genre. With an amazing talent for world building, action, and dialogue, S.Arthur Martin once again has crafted an incredible story that grabs hold of you early on, and doesn't let go until the last word.

The story picks up right after the events of Half of Forever, introducing us to a couple of interesting new characters and catching us up on the fate of Kamil and co. after the end of the last book. After these introductions, the action picks up, and it doesn't let up until the end. Along the way, several new allies and villains are introduced, each completely unique. I especially enjoyed the complexity of Picket and her character growth, as well as Pensato, the Cadence hunter(I also had fun learning why he is called a Cadence hunter)

Just as with Hollenguard and Half of Forever(the first two books in the series), S.A Martin has a way of bringing the lands Valice and Denshire to life, drawing you into the world he has created. The desolate lands beneath the veil were vivid in my mind throughout the story. S.A. Martin has proven his skill at writing exciting action scenes that can literally get the reader's heart pumping. I did feel a little removed from the story on a couple of occasions due to the plethora of action scenes, but given that The Veil and the Void involves a massive clash between the Roukon and those striving to bring life and light back to the world, there's obviously going to be a lot of action involved.

I can only recommend starting this series from the beginning. Though The Veil and the Void does a decent job of catching the reader up on prior events, newcomers to the series would probably find themselves lost during several portions of the book. However, those who have read the first two entries in this series are in for an exciting read that will leave you wanting more. S.Arthur Martin mentions in a note at the end of the book that this is the conclusion to the story, but he has created a world that begs to be further explored, and I hope that we get to see more of Kamil and his friends, as well as the lands of Valice and Denshire in the future.


You can find out more about S.Arthur Martin on:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Alinor's Shard Cover Teaser

So, the always incredible Janette Ramos has sent me the first sketch of the cover for the Alinor's Shard novelette I'll be releasing later this year.  As I've mentioned in a previous blog, there will also be a couple sketch-like drawings peppered through the story as well.

Let me know what you think!

Brian Beam

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Dragon Gem: Chapter Three Commentary and Novelette Announcement

Sorry, this has been a long time coming.  I've been busy chipping away at The Dragon Gem 2nd edition and injuring myself one body part at a time(sometimes even two!).   Anyway, this blog post will mainly focus on a couple fun(or not so fun depending on how you look upon such things) facts for Chapter Three of The Dragon Gem 2nd ed: Walk of Shame.  Or, if you want to hear about the novelette(read: really long short story) I'm planning on releasing this year, just skip to the bottom (and I'm just putting this here because apparently I'm all about parenthetical notations today). 

*Possible Spoilers ( Unless you've already read The Dragon Gem)

*Chapter Two: Counts and Contracts was the first chapter of the rewrite to have a name change, but this is the first to not only have a name change, but exist where a chapter did not before. This is actually what used to be the second half of Chapter Two.  It's been a goal of mine to cut down these chapter lengths.  Without altering the overall length of the book, the 2nd ed. is nearly ten chapters longer so far, and that's with me only about 48% through!

*This is actually my least favorite chapter of the book, just as it was in the original release.  The main reason is it comes off as a major info dump.  Sometimes a little info dumping is necessary, particularly in sci-fi and fantasy books where entire worlds are being created, but it doesn't mean I have to be happy about writing one!

*The main reason behind the thorough explanation of Contracts is that they were originally going to be a driving plot device when Korin's Journal was still planned to be a series of novellas.  *spoiler* If you've read The Forgotten King, you know that after playing a small role in the first third of the book, Korin's Contract has absolutely no role in the story(though its history does . . . ).  Book 3 won't even have the word Contract in it.  It's amazing how different Korin's Journal has become compared to my original vision!

*For a VERY brief time, I considered making Caralys a bigger character. She was going to be one of those cliche sheltered-her-entire-life-and-now-wants-to-join-an-adventure characters.  I'm not against cliches(I know I use them as much as the next writer), but for a main character, I thought it would make her a little boring. 

*I'm a cat lover, which is the sole reason Max was written as a cat.  He is my favorite character to write dialogue for.  It's fun to write the words of a smart-ass.  I tried to find a good balance between his sarcasm and his serious, caring nature.  Hopefully I pulled that off. 

*Max was originally short for Maxus.  First of all, it seemed a little unnecessary, and also, it would've needed an apostrophe as Til's and Sal's names.  At some point in these commentaries(probably when Til' is first mentioned) I'll explain the (probably overcomplicated) use of an apostrophe after certain names.  For now, the point is that had I left Max as Maxus, he would've been Max' throughout the story.

Now, onto my novelette announcement.  You may have noticed a new progress bar on here for Alinor's Shard.  Originally, I planned to have a collection of short stories that I'd release this year.  I already had two stories written, both of which fell into more of the novelette category than short story.  However, with the decision to do a massive edit/rewrite/cover art change for The Dragon Gem, I knew I wouldn't get to work on short stories for a good while. 

However, I really liked Alinor's Shard(at one point called Aftermath) and wanted to have it available for readers.  As a small work, though, I wanted to do something a little more with it.  So, right now, Janette Ramos(the artist who did The Forgotten King's and The Dragon Gem's(for the 2nd edition)'s covers is working on not only cover art for Alinor's Shard, but a couple of illustrations that will be placed within the story. 

I'll put up some more info about the story  in the very near future, but it will be my focus after The Dragon Gem 2nd ed. and a short story for an anthology being put together for an awesome cause (Bikers Against Child Abuse).  It will definitely be out well before the end of the year, though. 

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Brian Beam