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Nightingale Novel Short Story Competition

I officially finished and submitted my short story to the Nightingale Novel Short Story Competition. It was a hard process to fit a whole story into 2500 words. The deadline is March 1st, so I’m hoping to hear how I did by April. If I don’t win, I will be posting the story to the site for you all to enjoy, with a possible bovel to follow.(wouldn’t that be exciting?). So cross your fingers for me internet family:).

J.R.

Updates to follow as they become available.

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Need something to do over the weekend?

Sometimes we just can’t find anything fun to do for a weekend.  Well look no further!  The Dean has his annual Digital Ubiquitous Film Festival, or DUFF.  It is a weekend evening event for watching movies together on Netflix.  So get an XBOX party together to watch, or leave some comments on what you’re watching.  The list is on The Dean‘s website.  Should be a good time.  Take the time to check his site out as well.  It is a great read.  Enjoy everyone!

 

Happy movie watching.

 

J.R.

Runelords: book 9

So, as you may know by now. I’m a big David Farland fan. This morning I even got the chance to have a conversation with him over Twitter. With that said, here is some great news. David told me that

February is dedicated to one thing only–finishing off the Runelords series.

After almost three years of waiting for the end of the series, I am hopeful to see it in the fall. With the book release could also come a book tour. Hopefully that will bring him to the Chicagoland area, as he hopes to expand his audience in the eastern half of the country. If you have not read the series yet, I suggest you start as a movie may be in the works. Also in the belt line is a video game, which David was speaking with a designer in Vegas earlier this month. None of these are definite yet, but let’s keep the faith here.

David recently released another book called nightingale. He is currently planning the book tour for that and I will keep you posted. Hopefully my dialogue with him continues so I can give you the latest information.

Happy reading,

J.R.

P.S. like I said, do yourself a favor and read this series. You will be glad you did.

Fantasy fiction contest

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Hey all you aspiring writers. Love writing fantasy stories, but know you can’t get published? First, you’re wrong, go to amazon and you can publish your story for free on the kindle indie bookstore. Second, tak a look at this great writing contest on fantasywritingcontest.com. It is a great chance to try to win some money, and get your story published to get your name out there. It is being hosted by Fantasy faction. They happen to be a great site for everything fantasy, of course not better than me, and give great advice for writers in their blog section. Your story will have to be original and unpublished, fantasy in genre, and no more than 8,000 words. (They don’t mention a minimum, but I would try to make it a good length story.) hurry up and get writing as they start taking stories on Feb 1st. Good writing all.

J.R.

New blog

Hey everyone. Before you ask, no I’m not shutting down this blog, but I am starting a second. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for fantasy, and I just want to share my thoughts. The new site is far less structured, but you may just get a little entertainment from it. It will be my forum of randomization. I hope you all have fun reading posts on JR’s World. Once again, this blog will continue to be updated, so please keep reading.

J.R.

The Runelords Series (first series)

Written by David Farland, or David Wolverton for his scifi fans, the Runelords brings the reader into a fantastic world of magic, runes and strange creatures. This series really brought me back into reading after years of gaming and movies. It easily does this through simplistic story telling with an over ethical hero and a truly evil villain.

Magic system: The magic system of the Runelords is what really dragged me in. In this world, the wealth of a nation is driven by a substance called blood metal. (cough* cough* oil cough* cough*). This metal is used to create small brands with runes on them. These runes are used to grant endowments through the transfer of attributes(strength, dexterity, charisma, etc, for all of my fellow D&D fans) from one person to another. Those who receive these endowments are considered Runelords. They are responsible for protecting the Dedicates, who gave up the endowment. It is important to note that the loss of an attribute has a price. Those who give up strength become feeble. Giving up charisma makes a person ugly. Even death can result if the body of a dedicate looses too much of an attribute. Remember, a person can only be a Dedicate once, but the amount of an attributes transfer differs depending on the rune and person doing the ritual. The big trick to the system is that the death of a Dedicate removes the endowment from the Runelord. If the Runelord dies, the Dedicate gets the endowment back.

World: The world of humans is a continent that is divided into three realms. Rofehaven takes up a majority of the northern half of the continent. The culture is, mostly, based off of Medieval Europe, complete with knights and castles. Sixteen nations break up Rofehaven. The Dunnwood, an important haunted forest, is located in the northwest section. The realm of Rofehaven is best known for its steel. To Rofehaven’s southwest is the Middle East-like dessert region of Indhopal. It is known for its rich blood metal mines in the south.(still sounds like oil to me). By the time the story begins, Indhopal has been united from fourteen separate nations by the villain, Raj Ahten. In the southeast of the continent lies Inkarra. As it is not a big part of the first trilogy, I will not go into too much detail. The inhabitants are a nocturnal breed of humans with very pale skin and hair, and “ice white” eyes. They are mostly seen in the series as traders who sometimes visit Rofehaven.

Hero: The hero of the series is Gaborn Val Orden, heir to Mystarria, the largest and most wealthy kingdom of Rofehaven. Gaborn is the most ethical hero I have ever seen. (sometimes annoyingly so). At some points he seems too good to be real. But, to be fair, his strong morals is used to drive the true message of this book. In David’s own words,

Young prince Gaborn Val Orden is a conscientious objector, a young man who is torn by the knowledge that those who love him and serve the best must make such a terrible sacrifice for their kingdom.

Villain: Raj Ahten is the diabolical evil entity of the series. He is shown to be the polar opposite of Gaborn. As the ruler of Indhopal, he takes thousands of endowments in an attempt to become the Sum of All Men. The Sum of All Men is a legend of how one man who takes enough endowments can become immortal and retain his attributes even after the deaths of his Dedicates. Raj Ahten gains many of the endowments through the use of money and the charisma that he has been endowed with. Because of these practices, he is considered a Wolf Lord and is hunted by the Knights Equitable. He truly is one of those villains that you love to hate.

Conclusion: So you want to know what I think of the series? The writing paints a picture of this spectacular world that you will want to know more about. The character development seem a little weak at some points, but it gives the message of how leaders should use their power without abusing it a chance to shine through. After reading the first series, I promise you will want to read the next five books. (I know only four more are listed, but he is working on book nine. I hope he gets it out this year). The story is strong and the magic system is riveting to a D&D fan, like myself. The twists and turns will keep you turning the pages of this one. All in all, I give it 4.5 swords. If you’re just getting into fantasy, this will seal the deal.

4.5 swords out of 5

J.R.

Runelords website
Runelords Wiki

Star Wars: The Old Republic; Initial Impressions: Story

Here is a great first impression review of TOR. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I have. You should also follow Kevin’s blog. It has some stellar posts.

J.R.

From the Mind of Kevin

Star Wars: The Old Republic is the new MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) from Bioware, the developer responsible for such games as Mass Effect and Dragon Age. I was a big fan of World of Warcraft back in the day, so I’ve always been interested in trying out a new MMO. As I’m also a big Star Wars fan, this game was perfect for me! In this ‘First Impressions’ series I’m going to be taking a look at each of the different aspects of the game – starting here with Story.

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It’s 2012… So What?

So what?! How dare I! 2012 should, actually, be a great year. (If you ignore that whole end of the world thing). There are a few things that have me more excited than anything else. “But what could those be?”, you may be asking. So in true nerd fashion, I have a list of things I can’t wait for.

1. My wedding- OK, I know most of you could care less about this event. In fact, some may complain that it has nothing to do with fantasy. Think of it this way. I am an extreme nerd. My wife to be is both hot, and a nerd. To me this is a real life fantasy. (OK, that was pretty sappy. But it may earn me brownie points.).

2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey- What is there not to be excited about? Not only are we getting return appearances from many beloved cast members of Lord of the Rings, but we also get to see Martin Freeman as Bilbo. We can just say this movie will be a home run. Oh yeah, let’s not forget that Peter Jackson is, once again, taking the helm. The most exciting actor for me is Mr. Martin Freeman. We’ve seen him rise from a costar in “Ali G Indahouse” to everyone’s favorite second to last human in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. (Let’s not forget his roles in “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”.). Most recently, I’ve enjoyed his portrayal of Dr. John Watson in the BBC series, Sherlock. (It’s in Netflix. You should watch it). He may have been a comedic actor for most of his career, but it will be a treat to see him in such an important role.

3. Game of Thrones: Season 2- What more needs to be said? HBO makes great shows and this has been a delight. The casting is perfect and the story is, obviously, fantastic. This series sticks to the books so well, it may be a better adaptation than the Starz series of Pillars of the Earth. (Loved that show too). Having read the series, I promise this season will be epic. (unless they royally screw the pooch). Prepare yourself for more Tyrion and Daenerys. Let’s just hope the ratings stay up so we can get the whole story. (Please don’t pull another Rome HBO)

4. Cubs World Series- OK, another non-fantasy excitement. Though it is just as unlikely as finding one ring to rule them all. Since the world is supposed to end on December 21st, it would only make sense for it to be the year the Cubs win the World Series.

If you are still reading this, thank you, and let me know what you’re most excited about for 2012. Maybe it’s on my list, or maybe it should have been. I can’t wait to hear what you can’t wait for.

J.R.

P.S. Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. It was a busy Holiday season. I can’t believe we are in month four of the blog. Thank you to all of my readers.

Redneck New Years

It’s almost New Years. You want to take your lifted truck away from the trailer for the weekend. But what is a joyous redneck to do. Just head on down to Tallapoosa, Georgia or Brasstown, North Carolina for their annual Opossum Drop. Now parking is limited on those fine streets with all the trailers taking up so much space, so make sure you get there early.

I know it has nothing to do with fantasy fiction. But I did find it a funny story.

J.R.

P.S. PETA has sent a lawyer to Brasstown to try to stop the event. The locals are having none of that.

The Four Wizards

Long ago, at the beginning of history, there was land, water, plants, animals and four master wizards. All lived in harmony. They knew no love or hate, pain or pleasure, not even life or death. They wizards were speaking while watching Tratos, the first moon, rise on the horizon. They were contrasting the different powers that Father God had bestowed upon them. This eventually lead to an argument about who was the most powerful. Reignor, the master of the elements was first to speak up. “What power could any of you yield against the awesome power of the elements? None can stand before the fire of the mountains or the water of the seas.” “Everything the elements do is for the benefit of nature,” Aamore, the master of nature shot back. They all knew that even fire, the most destructive of the elements, was a necessity of the advancement of life.

“You have lost this debate Reignor,” chided Tayna, the plane seeker, and Lada, mistress of illusion. Out of pure annoyance, Reignor snapped back. “Lada loses by default. An illusion is not even real. Anyone with enough wits can see right through your treachery. Even the wolves don’t fall for all of your spells.” It seemed a decision had been reached. Nature was the most powerful. “I think we all know what the most powerful magic is,” proclaimed Aamore. But before he could get another word in, Tayna stood up. “Of course we do. Summoning is the magic that can hold power over the rest. Only I can bring forth creatures and unnatural beings from beyond this world. And I discover more every day.”. How wrong they all were?

For days they argued. Days turned into weeks, into months. Then months turned into years, then decades. What they never knew, could not know, was that Father God had created weakness and strength into each of the magics. After nearly a century, a decision had been reached. Perfection could only come through combining all four magics. They all soon found that the task laid before them would be a grand work that would cost many seasons. But what are a few seasons to an immortal? Thirty and five seasons they waisted in vain. Attempts were made and spells were corrupted as they toiled to learn each other’s powers.

Lada was the first to notice. The powers do not bend to the wills of mages. None of them were meant for such a power as they wished for. Much time passed. Stars fell and mountains formed. The wizards studied and wrote. Thousands of tomes were written. Many were lost, some found again and others destroyed. It seemed as if all was lost. But then Tayna had an epiphany. Maybe the secret to combining the powers is to create and bend a being to its will. She spent much time and energy studying, philosophizing and explaining her idea to the others. “These matters take time,” Reignor explained, “like the movement of lands and oceans, we must be diligent in our research and consider how best we may create such a being.”. It was advise well given. To rush such a task would create an abomination.

A book, they created. A recipe of sorts. Water, protein, magnesium, potassium, iron and carbon they decided upon. All were parts of nature, along with many other ingredients. Fire would drive the being and earth would strengthen it. Imagination and dreams would be the works of Lada. Tayna would be the final part. Summoning would create community and a need for knowledge. But how to pass that knowledge? Shall they raise their creations like a bitch with its pups, or would the great experiment be better off if they had to learn for themselves?

More seasons passed as they made their decision. Oceans swelled and new lands formed. As modern Targos began to take shape a consensus was reached. Each would pass their knowledge through tomes. The works that began at the dawn of the first day were collected and stored in a cave. The cave was located where the first day had come, at the point where five rivers merged to form the Serpent.

Nine months, the wizards worked on their new creations. The first to take form was female. Beautiful to behold, she was all that Lada and Tayna wanted to be. She would grow emotionally strong, with a need to care for her mate. Through her, dreams and hopes would fester. The male took form next. He would be physically strong, with the ability to lead with aggression. They would be wonderful copies of the four. But a copy came with a price. To ensure energy and sustenance, the creations could not dine on the elements as their masters did. Instead, they would need to dine on the plants and animals, that had lived with and given guidance to the four. For that, the male was given the ability to forage for plants and harvest meat from the beasts. The female was created with an understanding of health and the usage of the food items.

At the end of that ninth month, Reignor was preparing to instill the fire of life upon the creations. But then, something unexpected happened. Two other wizards from distant lands appeared to the four, wizards that should not have existed. After all, didn’t Father God only make the four of them on that eventful day of creation? The new wizards were odd, to say the least. One wore black robes and covered his features with a mask of solid iron. Not and inch of flesh showed as he moved about them like a wisp of morning fog. “What have we here Chron?” he asked to his companion. The other was draped in a light brown cloak that drifted in the wind like a tree’s branches. Its curly blond hair framed a golden mask with a fearful smile. “I apologize for my friend’s rudeness,”. The feminine voice proclaimed from behind the mask. “I am Chron, master of time. My companion is Trace, the necromancer. We wish to bestow gifts upon your… interesting creations.”. Without a word of answer, the two strangers began their work.
After mere minutes, the strangers left as quickly as the appeared. Whatever they had done, it was finished. The time had come for the final steps. Reignor built a grand fire. Slowly he pulled the smoke and embers into the creations. Then, came their first breath. Then another and another. As their breathing continued, they opened their eyes, then stood up, then went to their knees. “Thank you, thank you,” they proclaimed, “We have much to do with our precious little time.”. That’s when the four knew what the strangers had done. The chronomancer, called Chron, had bestowed upon their creations the perception or time. It was such a simple thing that the wizards had never thought of. Time was of no consequence to immortals. That thought explained Trace’s gift. Life and death had been unknown… until that day.

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