Tag Archives: writing fantasy

#amwriting: magic and creating the rules of engagement

magicEvery now and then, new authors look at me with an awestruck expression, and say something like. “I was just  writing along, and all of a sudden my characters gained the ability to use magic. I wasn’t writing a fantasy, but now I am.” (It could be any ability or thing, but we are discussing magic today.)

It is a fact that sometimes books that were outlined to a certain storyline sometimes go off in their own directions, and the story is better for it. I haven’t experienced the sudden influx of magic into story, but I have had other random events throw a curve ball at me.

The fact is, when I sit down to write a fantasy story, there will be magic, and I will have planned carefully for it. I have three worlds with three radically different systems of magic.

In my serial, Bleakbourne on Heath, sorcerers use incantations sung to certain melodies.

In Huw the Bard people can purchase magic (majik) amulets and potions.

In the Tower of Bones Series, magic and religion are intertwined. Aeos, the goddess, has decreed that all children who begin to show healing-empathy, or the ability to use the magic of the elements must be brought to the Temple and trained, for the protection of society in general. There are rules, certain things which can and can’t be done. As in real life, there are certain exceptions, but they too have limitations. No one is all-powerful.

Once magic enters your story, you must do some foot work, or your premise won’t be believable. It’s critical that you have finite rules for limiting how magic works. If your magic rules are too elastic, or you imbue too many amazing abilities into your main character, you will make them too good to be true. Readers won’t be able to relate to their story.

Each time you make parameters and frameworks for your magic you make opportunities for conflict within your fantasy world. Remember, in fantasy, conflict drives the plot.

Without rules, there would be no conflict, no reason for the hero to struggle, and no story to tell.

First you must consider who has magic? What kind of magic–healing or offensive or both? What are the rules for using that magic and why do those rules exist? Magic is an intriguing tool in fantasy, but it should only be used if certain conditions have been met:

  1. if the number of people who can use it is limited
  2. if the ways in which it can be used are limited
  3. if not every mage can use every kind of magic
  4. if there are strict, inviolable rules regarding what each kind magic can do and the conditions under which it will work.
  5. if there are some conditions under which the magic will not work
  6. if the learning curve is steep and sometimes lethal

What challenge does your character have to overcome in regard to his magic?

  • Is he unable to fully use his own abilities?
  • If that is so, why is he hampered in that way?
  • How does that inability affect his companions and how do they feel about it?
  • Are they hampered in anyway themselves?
  • What has to happen before your hero can fully realize his abilities?

Even if this aspect does not come into the story, for your own information you should decide who is in charge of teaching the magic, how that wisdom is dispensed, and who will be allowed to gain that knowledge.

  1. is the prospective mage born with the ability to use magic or
  2. is it spell-based, and any reasonably intelligent person can learn it if they can find a teacher?

Magic and the ability to wield it usually denotes power. That means the enemy must be their equal or perhaps their better. So if they are not from the same school, you now have two systems to design. You must create the ‘rules of magic.’  Take the time to write them out.

In creating both social and magic systems, you are creating a hidden framework that will support and advance your plot. Within your magic system, there can be an occasional exception to a rule, but there has to be a good reason for it, and it must be clear to the reader why that exception is acceptable.

Another important point to take note of is this: the only time the reader needs to know these systems exist is when they affect the characters and their actions. Dole this information out in conversations or in other subtle ways and it will become a natural part of the environment rather than an info dump.

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#amwriting: the point of no return

Epic Fails memeIn life we often find ourselves boxed into a corner, frantically dealing with things we could have avoided if only we had paid attention and not ignored the metaphoric “turn back now” signs.

Imagine a road trip where you are sent off on a detour in a city you’re unfamiliar with. Imagine what would happen if some of the signs were missing, detour signs telling you the correct way to go, and also a one-way street warning sign.

At some point before you realized the signs had been removed, there was a place you could have turned back. Unaware of the danger, you passed that stopping point by and turned left when you should have turned right, and found yourself driving into oncoming traffic on a one-way street.

That safe place where you could have turned around before you entered the danger zone was the point of no return for your adventure. Fortunately, in our hypothetical road-trip no one was harmed, although you were honked at and verbally abused by the people who were endangered by your wrong turn. You made it safely out danger, but you’ll never take a detour again without fearing the worst.

In literature what is the point of no return? Scott Driscoll, on his blog, says, “This event or act represents the point of maximum risk and exposure for the main character (and precedes the crisis moment and climax).”

Epic fantasy, which is what the novels in my Tower of Bones series are, generally features a plot driven by a chain of events, small points of no return, each one progressively forcing the protagonist and his/her companions to their meeting with destiny. These scenes of action form arcs that rise to the Third Plot Point: the event that is either an actual death or a symbolic death, but which forces the hero/heroine to be greater than they believed they could be.

For me, in a gripping story, the struggle may have been fraught with hardship, but the actual point of no return is the event that forces the ultimate showdown and face-to-face confrontation with the enemy.

What if you aren’t writing epic fantasy? This series of “arcs of action” driving the plot comes into play in every novel to some degree—the protagonists are in danger  of losing everything because they didn’t recognize the warning signs, and they are pushed to the final confrontation whether they are ready for it or not.

During the build-up to the point of no return, you must develop your characters’ strengths.  Identify the protagonist’s goals early on, and clarify why he/she must struggle to achieve them.

  • How does the hero react to being thwarted in his efforts?
  • How does the villain currently control the situation?
  • How does the hero react to pressure from the villain?
  • How does the struggle deepen the relationships between the hero and his cohorts/romantic interest?
  • What complications (for the hero) arise from a lack of information regarding the conflict, and how will he/she acquire that necessary information?

800px-Singapore_Road_Signs_-_Temporary_Sign_-_Detour.svgCalamity and struggle create opportunities for your character to grow, so it is your task to litter your protagonist’s path with obstacles that stretch his/her abilities and which are believable. Each time he/she overcomes a hair-raising obstruction, the reader is rewarded with a feeling of satisfaction.

It doesn’t matter what genre you are writing in: you could be writing romances, thrillers, paranormal fantasy, or contemporary women’s lit—for all fiction, obstacles in the protagonist’s path make for satisfying conclusions. I say this because the books I love to read the most are crafted in such a way that we get to know the characters, see them in their environment, and …uh ohh…. Calamity happens, thrusting the hero down the road to divorce court, or trying to head off a nuclear melt-down. Sometimes our hero finds himself walking to Naglimund, or to the Misty Mountains with nothing but the clothes on his back.

Calamity is the fertile ground from which adventure springs, and most calamities are preceded by a point of no return. Identify this plot point, and make it subtly clear to the reader, even if only in hindsight.

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#amwriting: L.E. Modesitt Jr.: creating depth without dumping info

Fall of AngelsOne of the most difficult aspects of writing is creating the sense of history without resorting to an info dump. It is a fine line to walk, because too much information will cause the reader to stop reading, and not enough will also make them close the book. What we are looking for is a happy medium, a narrative that incorporates some history, but only the bits that are needed to move the story forward.

That ability to create the past while describing the present is one that author L. E. Modesitt Jr. has, and is shown to its best advantage in his masterpiece Fall of Angels. Written in 1997, this is the sixth installment in one of the most enduring fantasy series of modern times, The Saga of Recluce.

This saga takes place over many generations and explores both sides of the conflict, with not usually more than two books dealing with a particular protagonist.

Modesitt Jr. knows his world. It is clear when you read his work that he understands the environments and societies he is writing about, and he knows the moral values of the three cultures who clash in this series of books. In Fall of Angels he takes the reader back  a thousand years, to the origins of the conflict that is explored in the previous five books, but the world the angels find themselves stranded on feels familiar–because the author knows every aspect of his world.

In this series as a whole, Modesitt Jr. examines two radically different magics–the black of order vs the white of chaos. This is the central theme of each tale in the saga, and the protagonist is either of the black or white persuasion. In a few books there is a grey area of magic where the protagonist embodies both, but always the price of magic and the responsibility of those who wield it is a central theme in this series.

In Fall of Angels, Modesitt explores the side of order, the black magic of healing and building.

The story opens on the bridge of a battle-cruiser, the Winterlance. The crew is human, and are in the military service of the UFA, which is comprised of the planets of Heaven.

The crew of the Winterlance is from the various cold planets of Heaven. Most are from Sybra, the coldest planet, but a few are from Svenn, a more moderate planet. This limits where the Angels can comfortably live, making high altitudes their favored homes.

They are about to enter a battle from which they will likely not return, fighting  against the Rationalists, the humans from warmer planets, and with whom they have been warring for thousands of years. The Rationalists are an extremely patriarchal society, and are also known as Demons.

In the opening pages we meet a crew that, by happenstance, is made up of women, with only three male crew members. Nylan is the ship’s engineer, and, as are all the officers, he is connected into the ships neuronet, the mental command center that completely controls the ship and its environment.

Ryba is the ship’s captain, and while she and Nylan have a sexual relationship, there is no doubt that she is in command. I didn’t say romantic, because though they sleep together and care for each other, there is no romance involved.

The energies expended during the battle are such that the Winterlance is thrown into an alternate universe, above a strange planet. With no way to return, they are forced to land.

Unfortunately the first thing that happens is they have landed on a world previously colonized. It probably happened in the same way, but by the Rationalists of the warmer worlds of Hell. The lord of the land immediately attacks them, and the conflict is on.

All Angels are not equal. Nylan is half-Svenn. The Sybrans cannot take the heat of their new world and are pretty much trapped in the cool mountains, but he can go lower, into the warmer areas, although he too suffers from the heat.

While the maps in this series are not very good, or really even useful, I feel sure the author must have a file with worldbuilding information for this series in it. Some forethought and planning went into creating Recluce, Candar, and the other continents that become locales for action in this series.

One type of tree is deciduous, with triangular gray leaves, and only loses half of them during the winter, the others curling up and remaining on the tree though the bitter cold. He knows the plant-life, and the animals native to this new world, and he knows the terrain and doesn’t contradict himself over the course of his narrative.

Modesitt Jr. shows us all of this, without resorting to telling. Information about the worlds of both Heaven and Hell and how the struggle to survive on the world of Recluce affects the marooned crew is doled out as needed, in conversations. The knowledge is dispensed organically, in such a way that the reader doesn’t see it as backstory.

Modesitt Jr. takes the concepts of traditional gender roles and twists them inside out. If she hadn’t been thrown out of her universe, Ryba would never have had the chance to rise any higher than she already had, as women are considered technically equal, but there is a glass ceiling that women rarely break through.

In their new world, Ryba makes sure the three men know they are now the ones with lesser stature. After viciously trouncing him bare-handed when he challenges her, Ryba coldly tells Gerlich, “I could amputate both your arms and you would still retain your stud value.” This comment is all we need: Ryba is determined to build a culture where women have all the power and men are simply a means to reproduction. She is deadly, calculating, and will ruthlessly use anyone to achieve her goal.

Her actions show us this. 

Nylan is a strong man but he is not a leader, and feels like he has no other options, other than to march along with plans Ryba sets down for them. Using their failing technology he forges the weapons and builds their tower so they can survive the first winter in their mountain home. Ryba develops a talent for prophecy and becomes a slave to ensuring her own visions come true, while Nylan develops the foundations of order magic.

the chaos balance l.e. modesitt jrAs events unfold and his relationship with Ryba disintegrates, he grows confused and unsure of what to do. He is a man with a temperate mind, believing in equality with neither sex having the upper hand. A few of the women feel the same way he does, but all are unwilling to go against Ryba, believing that while she is hard and unforgiving, she is better than the society created by the Rationalists, where women are property.

The characters themselves tell us this in their conversations, so the author doesn’t have to dump information.

Modesitt Jr. gives us a morality tale, as true speculative fiction does. But, rather than spelling everything out, he dishes it up through actions and conversations in such a way that the reader makes the connections themselves. While in many of his books Modesitt Jr. can be too cryptic, giving the reader little to no backstory to explain things, in Fall of Angels he strikes the perfect balance between too much information and not enough.

This balancing act between too much backstory and not enough creates a depth to the story that draws the reader in, suspending their disbelief, and holding their attention for the entire novel.

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Elements of the story: Crafting magic systems

Green_Angel_Tower_P1I am thrilled that Tad Williams is writing another series of books set in Osten Ard. Tad is an author who  absolutely understands the craft of writing fantasy. He knows what makes epic fantasy EPIC. There is just the slightest hint of the rebellious indie in his work, which makes it a little wild. But more than that, Tad understand how important it is to make the limitations and roadblocks forced on the protagonists power the narrative.

If you love epic fantasy and have not read his powerful trilogy, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn–you should.

In Tad’s work, magic systems feel natural, organic and are not all powerful. I love epic fantasy books where the magic systems have been as well thought out as the political systems, and the characters are limited in what they can do with them.

I despise books where the hero/heroine can do anything, and be as awesome as she/he needs to be, all because he/she has a special power. No need to worry about planning that mission, because our hero can read minds and predict the future–he knows exactly how to thwart Evil Badguy. Several boring scenes later, an opportunity for something interesting turns up, but no! The author has blessed his favorite supercharacter with (cue the fanfare) amazing magic powers that have no explanation, and apparently no limits.

If you are writing fantasy, consider this–Infinite abilities instills infinite boredom in me as a reader.

Let’s talk about magic. Who has magic? What kind of magic–healing or offensive or both? What are the rules for using that magic and why do those rules exist? Magic is an intriguing tool in fantasy, but it should only be used if certain conditions have been met:

  1. if the number of people who can use it is limited
  2. if the ways in which it can be used are limited
  3. if not every mage can use every kind of magic
  4. if there are strict, inviolable rules regarding what each magic can do and the conditions under which it will work.
  5. if there are some conditions under which the magic will not work
  6. if the learning curve is steep and sometimes lethal

Even if it does not come into the story, you should decide who is in charge of teaching the magic, how that wisdom is dispensed, and who will be allowed to gain that knowledge.

  1. is the prospective mage born with the ability to use magic or
  2. is it spell-based, and any reasonably intelligent person can learn it if they can find a teacher?

Mists_of_Avalon-1st_edMagic and the ability to wield it usually denotes power. That means the enemy must be their equal or perhaps their better. So if they are not from the same school, you now have two systems to design. You must create the ‘rules of magic.’  Take the time to write them out, and don’t break the laws, without having a damned good explanation for why that particular breaking of the rules is possible.

Limits make for better, more creative characters. In the Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley made the magic a natural outcome of religion, something only a few characters had access to, and they paid a great price each time they used it.

Lets pretend we have a mage, Gerald—we’ll make him a lowly journeyman mage, just allowed out of magic school on his own. Events beyond his control occur, and only he can rid the world of Stinky Sam. Sam is a very powerful, very naughty wizard, who will crush young, untried Gerald with no effort whatsoever.

Let’s say Gerald has a few skills at the beginning: he can draw water out of the air for drinking, and maybe he can use the elements of fire and lightning as weapons. Can he also use magic to heal people?  Can he heal himself?  What are the rules governing these abilities and how do these rules affect the progress of the story?  When it comes to magic, limitations open up many possibilities for plot development.

For this to be a good story, our bad guy, Stinky Sam, must be a master in whatever area Gerald has chosen–and he should have a few skills and abilities Gerald might never learn.

the night circus by erin morgensternThis means Gerald must work hard to overcome the obstacles set in his path by Stinky Sam.  With the successful completion of difficult tasks, and overcoming great hardships, Gerald will learn what he needs to know about his magic/gifts, and acquire the ability to counter Stinky Sam’s best efforts in the final showdown, although it will be difficult.

In great fantasy, evil is very strong, and has great magic–but there are rules.  The evil one might be a bully and he may have some awesome skills, but he’s not omnipotent, or there would be no story. All magic systems have limits, which means he has a weakness. With the discovery of the antagonist’s limitations, your character has the opportunity to grow and develop to his fullest potential in process of finding and exploiting it.

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Elements of the story: calamity, villainy, and the hero’s struggle

Tolkien's art work for Hobbiton-across-the-water

Hobbiton-across-the-water, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Most writing coaches agree that the first 1/4 of your story is where you reveal your characters and show their world while introducing hints of trouble and foreshadowing the first plot point. That is the first act, so to speak.

The Calamity:

Something large and dramatic must occur right around the 1/4 mark to force the hero into action, an intense, powerful scene that changes everything. Quite often, in epic fantasy the inciting scene will be comparatively disastrous, and one that that forces the protagonist to react. He/she may be thrust into a situation that radically changes their life and forces them to make a series of difficult decisions.

  • What incident or event will occur at the first plot point?
  • What negative effect does this event have for the protagonist and his/her cohorts?
  • How are hero’s efforts countered?
A conversation with Smaug by J.R.R. Tolkien

A conversation with Smaug by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Villain:

Conflict drives the story.  We know a great story has a compelling protagonist, but in order to have a great conflict, you must also have a great adversary. The hero has an objective, and so does the villain.

  • Identify the opponent–who is he/she, and what is their power-base?
  • What is the adversary’s primary goal, and who or what are they willing to sacrifice to achieve it?
  • Do the hero and the villain know each other, or are they faceless enemies to each other?
  • How does the adversary counter the hero’s efforts?

In fantasy, and often in thrillers and horror, we have an adversary who is capable of great evil. They may have supernatural powers, and at first they seem invincible. Their position of greater power forces the hero to become stronger, craftier, to develop ways to beat the adversary at his game. A strong, compelling villain creates interest and drives the conflict. Write several pages of back-story for your own use, to make sure your antagonist is as well-developed in your mind as your protagonist is, so that he/she radiates evil and power when you put them on the page. If you know your antagonist as well as you know the hero, the enemy will be believable when you write about their actions.

Bilbo comes to the huts of the raftelves by J.R.R. Tolkien

Bilbo comes to the huts of the Raft elves by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hero’s Struggle:

Now the story is hurtling toward the midpoint, that place called the second plot-point. The characters are acting and reacting to events that are out of their control. Nothing is going right-the hero and his/her cohorts must scramble to stay alive, and now they are desperately searching for the right equipment or a crucial piece of information that will give them an edge. The struggle is the story, and at this point it looks like the hero may not get what they need in time.

Their weaknesses must be first exploited by the adversary, and then overcome and turned into strengths by the hero. The hero must grow.

During this part of the story you must build upon your characters’ strengths.  Identify the hero’s goals, and clarify why he/she must struggle to achieve them.

  • How does the hero react to being thwarted in his efforts during the second act to the midpoint?
  • How does the villain currently control the situation?
  • How does the hero react to pressure from the villain?
  • How does the struggle deepen the relationships between the hero and his cohorts/romantic interest?
  • What complications (for the hero) arise from a lack of information regarding the conflict, and how will he/she acquire that necessary information?
  • Midway between the first plot point and the second plot point, what new incident will occur to once again dramatically alter the hero’s path? This will be a turning point, drama and mayhem will ensue, perhaps offering the hero a slim chance. What stands in his/her way of realizing that small chance and what will the hero sacrifice to attain it?

the hobbitThe first half of the book can be exciting or a bore–and because I’m always growing as an author, my new rule is “don’t write boring books.”

I say this because the books I loved to read the most were crafted in such a way that we got to know the characters, saw them in their environment, and bam! Calamity happened, thrusting them down the road to Naglimund or to the Misty Mountains.

Calamity combined with villainy creates struggle, which creates opportunity for great adventure, and that is what great fantasy is all about.

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Talking with Erika M. Szabo

Field Roast holiday roast croppedWe survived another Christmas! The refrigerator is bursting with leftovers, and we had a wonderful dinner with one of our sons, and one of my brothers. Life is good! The carnivores said the turkey was good, but surprisingly to me, given the amount of teasing I endure at their hands, the Hazelnut Cranberry Holiday Roast en Croute was the star of show, with little of it being left over. The world did not stop in its orbit as the vegan meal was consumed with gusto, and no one left the table hungry!

I’m always intrigued by the way other authors think, and today, Erika M Szabo, author of The Ancestors’s Secrets series, has consented to answer a few questions for us.

CJJ: Tell us a little of early life and how you began writing:

ES: I became an avid reader at a very early age, thanks to my dad who introduced me to many great books. I started writing educational books twelve years ago when I received my PhD in Alternative Medicine. I love animals, therefore I created the Read for Animals anthology series and published two books with authors and poets to help animals. The story idea for Ancestor’s Secrets series came from my Hun heritage, from the legends and history. I created a magical, fantasy world using bits of real historical facts and incorporating real life events from my years of working as a trauma nurse into the story.

CJJ: I love that you are able to draw on your heritage for your work. Tell us about your most recent book.

ES:  In the Ancestor’s Secrets series, present and past blends into a paranormal fantasy tale with intriguing clan secrets, magical heritage, love triangle and Ilona’s exciting and dangerous life in a secret society. Ilona is a young doctor settled into a world of logic and reason. She inherits a world of traditions, well-kept secrets and magical powers, and is left to piece together her clan’s past, using nursery rhymes taught to her by her mother. Learning some of the secrets not only confuses her, but places her in mortal danger.  When a sinister man appears, Ilona connects his presence to a series of mysterious deaths. He can influence others to kill her, but why can’t he touch her? There are clues around every corner, and the elusive answers draw her further into the hidden world of her people.  As if the mysteries aren’t enough, her life becomes more complicated when she meets a dashing stranger. Although he saves her life by putting his own life in danger, she senses evil in him. The first book of The Ancestor’s Secrets series raises questions such as: what if there is a secret society exists hidden among us with its strict rules and fiercely enforced laws, and certain members come to possess magical powers? What if finding love, despite the obstacles thrown our way, is possible? What if we could have the power to visit the ancestors in the past and create our own future?

CJJ: That sounds intriguing! How did you come to write this novel?

ES: On a rainy afternoon I couldn’t find any new book to read. I was moping around, browsing my bookshelves, mumbling to myself. After a while my daughter had enough and snapped at me, “Mom, stop whining! If you haven’t a book to read, then write one.” Her challenge shocked me, but I started playing with the idea. I’ve never excelled in following rules or formulas, so I discarded the instructions I found in “how to write fiction” books, and made up my personal rules. At first, I started playing with the story just for my own enjoyment, I thought, writing the swirling ideas in my head was far better than being haunted by them. I kept writing for months, and soon I realized that I never had so much fun doing anything in my life before.

CJJ: I always wonder, and my reader do too, do you have a specific ‘Creative Process’ that you follow, such as outlining or do you ‘wing it’?

ES:  When I started writing the novel series, I only had a vague outline of the story in my mind, and I kind of let the story develop on its own. Some parts are totally different now than I had originally planned.

CJJ: Many of us write fantasy, but how does your work differ from others of its genre?

ES: The Ancestors’ Secret series is an epic fantasy, heroic romance series written mostly in diary style with paranormal magical powers, ancient legends, love triangle and time travel.

CJJ: We each write for our own reasons, but why do you write what you do?

ES:  My favorite genre to read I love to read is magical realism/fantasy stories, therefore it is my favorite genre to write as well.

CJJ: I know why I chose the indie route for my work, but I’m curious as to why you’ve chosen this path.

ES: The first edition of my novel series was published by a traditional publisher. I was not satisfied with the editing, book cover, formatting, as well as the full control they had on the story. I decided to break the contract, form my own publishing company and edit, format and publish the story the way I like it.

CJJ: I had a similar experience! What advice would you offer an author trying to decide whether to go indie or take the traditional path?

ES:  Both have advantages and disadvantages. If your book is accepted by a traditional publisher, read the fine lines of the contract and if it doesn’t suit you, then go indie.

I so agree with you, Erika!  Thank you for visiting today, and I can’t wait to read these books!

erika szabo protectedbythefalconebookBook 1, Protected By The Falcon

Ilona is a doctor and is ruled by logic, yet when she starts to develop unusual powers, her beliefs change and she’s thrown into a world of mysteries, traditions and secrets. Nursery rhymes taught by her mother lead her to discover her clan’s past, which still exist with its fiercely enforced laws. A dangerous dark man stalks Ilona who is unexpectedly rescued by a handsome stranger, Zoltan. As their relationship grows, her feelings for best friend, Bela, starts to fade. When her life and the future of her people become threatened, she must gather all her courage and use her inherited powers to fight back. Infused with Hungarian legend, the twisting plot keeps the reader turning the pages of this extraordinary fantasy story. The Ancestors’ Secret series is an epic fantasy, heroic romance series with magical powers, ancient legends, love triangle and time travel that is a great read for fantasy lovers and also suitable for young adults.

http://www.amazon.com/Protected-Falcon-Ancestors-Secrets-Book-ebook/dp/B00LNBSKIY

erika m szabo ChosenbytheSwordebook (2)Book 2, Chosen By The Sword

In book one, Protected By The Falcon, Ilona is thrust from her easy and steady life and forced to face the unknown, which prompts her to discover the ancient tribal secrets. The rules of her ancient Hun clan that still exist with strict laws suffocate her, but she is resourceful and daring. She discovers secrets and obtains unimaginable powers to protect her sister, who bears the next leader of the clan. If she does not succeed, the fate of her people is at stake. She must sort through her own feelings about the men in her life. Will she choose Bela, her best friend, or the handsome and noble Zoltan? From the time when her people were nomads, the castles of the 14th century to the present, travel through time with Ilona as she struggles to overcome the obstacles placed in her path by ruthless individuals who want to inflict their rule on the Hun clan. The Ancestors’ Secret series is an epic fantasy, heroic romance series with paranormal magical powers, ancient legends, love triangle and time travel that is also suitable for young adults.

http://www.amazon.com/Chosen-Sword-Ancestors-Secrets-Book-ebook/dp/B00RAGLWVI

Short Bio of Erika M. Szabo:

ErikaMSzabo I became an avid reader at a very early age, thanks to my dad who introduced me to many great books. The writing bug bit me much later, on a rainy afternoon, when I couldn’t find any new book to read. My daughter had enough of my moping around and snapped at me, “Mom, stop whining! If you haven’t a book to read, then write one.” Her challenge shocked me, but I started playing with the idea. What if there is a secret society with strict rules and laws exist hidden among us? What if certain members come to possess magical powers? What if those abilities could be used to do good or evil? I’ve never excelled in following rules or formulas, so I discarded the instructions I found in “how to write fiction” books, and made up my personal rules. At first, I started playing with the story just for my own enjoyment, I thought, writing the swirling ideas in my head was far better than being haunted by them. I kept writing for months, and soon I realized that I never had so much fun doing anything in my life before.

If you are interested in seeing more of Erika’s work, here are her links:

WEBSITE: http://www.authorerikamszabo.com  

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Erika.M.Szabo.ND.Author

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/ErikaMSzabo

LINKEDIN: http://www.lnkd.in/N64qzw

GOOGLE: https://plus.google.com/112402888400847638099/posts   

PINTEREST http://www.pinterest.com/erikamszabo/

SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/GoldenBoxBooks

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