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February 1, 2020

"This is a brilliant read. Wonderful well-written plot and storyline that had me engaged from the start."-B

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On the Homefront

This past Thursday saw us without electricity as we had to upgrade our old-style fuse box, something that was giving us no end of trouble. We were actually switching over our insurance when we learned that we could save money by changing to circuit breakers.

This ended up being a no-brainer, as the money we spent on an electrician will be paid back in less than two years from the savings on insurance. It did mean, however, that we were without power for a large portion of the day. I have a laptop, but Windows 10 decided I needed all sorts of updates and so I ended only being able to outline. Thank Saxnor for my new Samsung tablet!

What I think makes a good fantasy story!

Though I primarily read historical fiction and fantasy, there are some aspects of fantasy that I find quite attractive. From a writing perspective, as well as that of a reader, here are some of the things that I look at when picking a book to read.

First and foremost, I must be able to pronounce, or at least read the character's name. Nothing puts me off faster than seeing some unpronounceable gibberish that hurts my brain to think about. That doesn’t mean, of course, that the names cannot be unusual, merely that they should be easy on the eyes.

Secondly, I like to see other races present. Humanoid races work best for me, and I like the idea of exploring themes of race relations with Orc, Dwarves or Elves, despite them commonly being derided as tropes. The advantage of these, somewhat familiar races, is that the reader usually has some preconceived ideas of what they are like, allowing you to dive right into the story. Of course, from an author's point of view, it enables a writer to turn some ideas on their head and perhaps introduce a new wrinkle into the race.

Of course, maps are a staple of most fantasy stories, but it can be overdone. Something simple, which introduces the main points of interest along with some other essential landmarks usually fits the bill. This is one area that I find a little harder to deal with in an ebook since flipping to a map is not as easy in that medium. Maps should also be easy to read in whatever format the reader is using, which these days includes phone screens or small tablets. Imagine trying to look at a map of Middle Earth on just a phone!

There are other elements I look for in books, of course, including unique characters and a plot that makes sense, but then again, that applies to all books, not just fantasy.

What do you think is essential in a fantasy story? Shoot me an email or post on my facebook page!

One day since release, and the reviews are in - 5 STARS!

"I LOVE this one!" - Wendy

"...top-notch world-building and characters." - Maurice

"Love this series almost more than the first one!" - Helen

"Paul has kept the soul of true fantasy alive. A great read." - Michae

"Paul J. Bennett has another awesome series on his hands." - Jill

"This novel is written in the author's usual polished, highly readable style and is a treat to read." - LM

"Once again Paul Bennett takes us on a thrilling journey that will leave you wanting more!" - Pamela

Immerse yourself in a land steeped in magic and mystery as Paul J Bennett's The Frozen Flame series continues in his newest tale, Embers!

Read Embers today!

Win a FREE eBook! To enter, all you need to do is answer Daisy & Tilly's question below.

Congrats to Cherie who won last week's Giveaway. Brendan Frasier's Mummy won by 10% of the vote!

Character Inspiration – The Stormwind/Sartellian Family

Natalia Stormwind was an NPC (Non-Player Character) in one of my games. During an adventure, I thought it might be interesting to have them visit her family for an old-fashioned ghost story. I created an old house that the family had lived in for generations, and then populated it with some eccentric magic users. I had already decided that the Stormwinds were all-powerful Water Mages, but the question arose as to what they would do should a child be born with different magical potential, for example, Fire Magic.

It was then that it occurred to me that the ‘family’ wasn’t just a group of mages that shared a bloodline, but one that shared their magical inheritance. At that point, I decided that only Water Mages could belong to the family. If a non-Water Mage was born, then they would be shipped off to ‘relatives’ that could best handle whatever type of magic was detected. This led to the development of the Sartellian line, an offshoot of sorts.

The concept of the Volstrum, as detailed in the novel Ashes, didn’t come about till much later. When I was revamping the character of Natalia for the book, I wanted her and Athgar to both experience being an ‘outsider’. He among the Orcs, she among high-born mages, and it was natural to look at a magical academy.

So that’s how an eccentric family became one of the most powerful groups of mages on the continent in The Frozen Flame series.

Every other Monday at 5:30 PM EST (-4UTC)
Next Session - February 10

Did you miss my last Facebook Live Video about my favourite historical fiction movies?  

Check it out here on Youtube!

Work in Progress Update


After a lot of preliminary work and research, I have finally started writing Tempered Steel. This story forms the prequel to my new series, Power Ascending, that plots the rise of two individuals through their various careers.

Charlaine deShandria rises through the ranks of the Temple Knights of Saint Agnes, while Ludwig Altenburg rises through the ranks of the nobility. In order to do this series justice, I mapped out the Petty Kingdoms on a scale of approximately 100 miles to the hex (I use a hex overlay for estimating distances). I then detailed out the kingdom where Tempered Steel takes place (at 10 miles per hex) and then an even more detailed map of the barony where the story takes place (at 1 mile per hex).

I did all of this using a program called Worldographer (http://worldographer.com/). It makes it nice and easy to map things out and is free, though you can license it if you wish more capabilities. I wish I had access to this program years ago when I was running my RPG adventures, it would have been so much easier to draw maps!

Until next time, Happy reading!

Author Spotlight!

Check out these featured books that are free, discounted, or new releases.
These authors are returning the favour by sharing my books with their readers.

Balance of Magic: Ruthless wizards vie for a vacant throne. The result could alter the balance of magic and doom their world. A wizard lord is dead, the result of an exotic scheme made possible by an amulet known as the Eye of Obscurance, What if the amulet falls into the wrong hands? With a throne vacant, a rival wizard lord seeks to expand his power...

Legend of Tal: Tal Harrenfel was once a legend of many names — Ringthief, Red Reaver, Magebutcher. But, now retired, those days of heroics and villainy are behind him. Or so he likes to tell himself. When a beast comes down from the mountains and threatens his home village, Tal once more oils his sword, restrings his bow, and dusts off his cantrips, and...

The Last Stand: Celia is about to break her vow. As the head priestess of the most powerful dragon temple in the empire - Celia is a shining example of knowledge, purity, and unquestioning loyalty to the imperial couple, the legendary dragongods themselves. Sworn caretakers of their citizens, the priestesses must awaken the power of the spirit arts in others and guide the next generations...

Canticle of Magic: Hunted by the Mother of Vampires, this noble fae must find a way to fight or end up as prey. Lorelei and her companions have killed the sorcerer Zaos, but it has attracted Daan’s attention. The Mother of Vampires refuses to give up until their power is hers to consume. Determined to defeat her, Lorelei and her friends navigate a path once traveled by the fabled Empress of the Elphyne Empire...

Kat Drummond: My name is Kat Drummond. I'm a university student, my best friend is a hardcore goth, and I've got a ghost of a knight from another world living inside my head. Oh, and I hunt monsters. It's not that unusual in this world of magic and monsters. There's a beast on the loose everyday in Hope City, and someone's gotta put it down. And that someone is me.

Book Deals & Giveaways

While you wait for the release of my next book, here are some great stories for your TBR pile!

Did you miss any past Giveaways & Deals?

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