Friday, May 6, 2016

Deep Magic Ezine: It's Awesome, Guys.

I am happy to officially announce that Deep Magic, an ezine of clean science fiction and fantasy, is coming back in its more-than-full glory in June. This magazine has craft articles, short stories, and interviews, and I'm TOTALLY on the board for the relaunch.

June 2016 Issue
(That means I get some say in what the ezine does. Also, I have an embarrassing picture on the About Us page.)

Our inaugural issue is going to be astounding, and I'm not just saying that because the first six chapters of Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet happen to be in it. We also have an exclusive interview with Brandon Sanderson (I now know where he lives), an article by David Pomerico (executive editor at Harper Voyager HarperCollins AND the guy who made The Paper Magician series happen), and short stories by Jeff Wheeler, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, and Carrie Ann Noble, among others. It's a stellar lineup and I highly suggest checking it out.

Deep Magic is also accepting submissions, so if you have a short story or some artwork and feel like making pro-rates on it, feel free to send it our way!

Please also stop by our Facebook page to see what we have brewing up for our future issues!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

DAUGHTER OF WINTER Cover Reveal and OF ICE AND SNOW Book Freebie!

Bargains. Only the truly desperate make them. Only the truly desperate need them. And always, the desperate pay.

The silence and never-ending dark of winter are all Elice has ever known, for she is the daughter of the Winter Queen. Isolated in a northern queendom with only the seals for company, she dreams of color and music and life. So when a whaling ship crashes just offshore, she doesn't hesitate to rescue the lone survivor, Adar, who quickly becomes her friend. She must keep him hidden from her mother at all costs, for if the Winter Queen discovers him trespassing, she'll kill him.

But when her mother reveals just how dark her soul has become, Elice realizes she is as much a prisoner as Adar. To ever know true freedom—ever to become the woman she was meant to be—she must flee with him. But in their flight, she begins to see hints of something more nefarious. The darkness that has taken hold of her mother is spreading, staining the world with its influence.

Unbeknownst to Elice, a bargain was made long ago. A bargain she was born to fulfill.

Daughter of Winter releases April 21st, and to celebrate, Amber is giving away the first book in the series, Of Ice and Snow, for FREE for a limited time.

  To celebrate the upcoming release, the first book in the series, Of Ice and Snow, is free for a limited time. In exchange, for your free copy share this Facebook post tweet this tweetpin this pin, and/or go ahead and share this blog post! An author's success depends upon word of mouth, so sharing Amber's giveaway will draw attention to the series. Thank you!

Thursday, April 7, 2016


Cristal is Spanish for glass. I learn things.

Oz Editorial has released its cover for the Spanish edition of The Glass Magician! Check it out!

What do you think? Here's the comparison (click for larger view):

I'm so excited to have the next book in the trilogy be released in Spanish! Many thanks to Oz Editorial for taking a chance on the series, and to all my Spanish-speaking readers!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


It's finally here! The cover for Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet

I am so proud of how this story turned out and I'm SO EXCITED to share it with you come June 28th! (Though there will be giveaways and Netgalley magic before that date, let's be honest. :))

This story is a little on the different side, so I wasn't sure what kind of cover it would get, but I think it turned out well. I've been very happy with the covers 47North has given me thus far, and this one happens to be designed by the famous Joan Wong. :)

So, let's get onto it!


The peculiar tale of an enchanted baker who creates fairy tales’ darkest
and most magical confections.

Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.

When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.

During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.


Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet is available for preorder (ebook, audiobook, and paperback) on Amazon and B&N. You can also preview the novel on Goodreads.


So, what do you think? Let me know!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Facebook Page, Whitney Finals, and Other Goodness

I have really failed at updating this blog. In better news, I finally made a Facebook page, which I do update much more frequently than this blog.

So, news.

Followed by Frost is one of five finalists for the Speculative Young Adult Fiction category in the Whitney Awards! The Whitney Awards are given to fiction writers in the LDS faith. (The Glass Magician was a finalist last year.)

Meanwhile, I've seen two cover concepts for Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet, and they're looking great! I'll hopefully have a final cover to show off soon. You can preorder the book here. (I am very proud of how this story turned out!)

This week El Mago de Papel, AKA the Spanish version of The Paper Magician, is in a March Madness cover contest hosted by Ranee S. Clark. You can see the competition, vote, and win an Amazon gift card here.

For those of you in or passing through Utah, I'm presenting at the Writing for Charity conference at Weber State University on March 19th. You can find more information about the conference here.

Finally, The Paper Magician series, paperback, is on sale on Amazon through March 12th. (Anyone else still think it's February?)

I think that's it. FOR NOW. :D

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Writing Warfare in Fiction with Terry W. Ervin II and the Release of RELIC HUNTED

I am pleased to have Terry W. Ervin II back on my blog (you'll remember him from his excellent article on participating in panels). We're celebrating the release of his newest book, Relic Hunted, which released on January 18th. You can learn more about Terry and his books on his website. You can also feast upon the treat he's offered us today: how to write warfare in fiction (an article I personally requested, because we need to know!).

Take it away, Terry!


Writing Warfare in Fiction

Epic combat scenes are a common fare in fantasy and science fiction novels. Think: Armored phalanxes armed with spears and catapults, backed by earth wizards and flame-spewing dragons vs. necromancer-controlled zombie hordes, goblin mobs and brutish ogres, backed by propeller-driven

dive-bombers and mechanized tanks reminiscent of WW II technology.

Okay, maybe that combination isn’t ‘common fare’ (unless you’ve happened to stumble across my First Civilization’s Legacy Series). The question is: How can an author bring such battles to life for the reader. Infuse them with excitement and, well, believability?

Personally, I have absolutely zero military combat experience. I don’t count the several years of U.S. Civil War reenactment, where I learned 19th Century drills and military tactics, including the basics wielding a bayonet and saber. I am competent in firearm safety and basic use, my experience mainly with shotguns and revolvers. That’s it.

Add to that, how can I convincingly write about what no author, let alone human, has experienced? For example, an interstellar taskforce made up of carriers, cruisers and destroyers encountering a hostile alien fleet, from large formations down to ship to ship combat using pulse lasers, nuclear tipped missiles, railguns, ion cannons, fusion beams, and more?

It can be done, as proven by a multitude of authors. Admittedly, sometimes accomplished more convincingly than others. In any case, here’s what has worked for me.

The first thing that I’ve done is a lot of reading, supplemented by watching various programs and documentaries that focus on various wars and conflicts humanity has engaged in over the years. My reading includes a variety of books which, if listed in detail, would take up several pages. Nevertheless, I’ll share four examples in several categories:

  1. Books that provided ideas of overall units, weapons and tactics on a large scale:
  • How to Make War by James F. Dunnigan
  • The Face of Battle by John Kegan
  • 50 Weapons that Changed Warfare by William Wier
  • Jane’s Fighting Ships of WW II by Antony Preston

  1. Books that covered tactics, responses and reasoning, including personal experiences and insight from larger to smaller scale:
  • The Battle of Leyte Gulf by Edwin P. Hoyt
  • Citizen Soldier by Stephen E. Ambrose
  • Iron Coffins by Herbert A. Werner
  • Modern Air Combat: The Aircraft, Tactics and Weapons Employed in Aerial Warfare Today by Bill Gunston and Mike Spick

  1. Novels that included depiction/tales of combat at various levels, using a variety of technologies, including magic, and equipment:
  • Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy
  • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson
  • The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny
  • World War Series by Harry Turtledove

There is also the audiovisual aspect garnered from television and movies that proved useful in supplementing the various reading material studied:
  • Babylon 5
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • Gettysburg

I can add that playing some strategic war games, mainly during my college years, such as Star Fleet Battles, Panzer Leader, Kingmaker, Diplomacy, and Global Supremacy also laid some of the foundation for depicting fictional strategies and tactics.

All of that said, I believe that #3 above is the most important and useful as it’s directly relevant in exclusively using words to depict and provides specific and varied ‘how to’ examples for me as an author.

Maybe as a writer you’re feeling overwhelmed and, as a reader, thankful it’s not your job. Really, it’s not as bad as all that.

Identify the scope of what’s trying to be achieved when writing a battle or combat scene. I remind myself I’m telling a story, not writing an extensive training manual or doctrine to be studied and employed.

Identify the POV used and focus on the knowledge and observable aspects from that perspective. Yes, as the author, I have a wider understanding of the war, battle or conflict, all the way down to the individual vs. individual level. Having that allows for depth and consistency, and much of that content won’t make the pages of the novel as it isn’t necessary in conveying the story to the reader. Think world building. An author may create an extensive world, with names and places, culture and history, but only a fraction of it graces the pages of a novel.

In my Crax War Chronicles, the main character, Security Specialist Keesay, has a far different perspective and available knowledge than his superiors, whether he’s serving in the trench line, fending off the advancing Crax air and armored offensive, or attempting to survive a Crax hit-and-run landing assault, assigned to defend the research lab deep within the Io colony, until help arrives—if it arrives.

Being written in first person POV, the only description and events available to the reader are those available to Specialist Keesay. But, as the writer, I’ve already determined the Crax objectives, ships, equipment and numbers they have available, and the tactics and backup plans they’ll use. I also have the resources, plans and strategies Specialist Keesay’s side will employ.

From there I just write what happens. What Keesay personally observes, is told or witnesses through cameras, sensors or other reports. His emotions and responses, and those of the characters around him. I keep in mind the effectiveness of grenades, shotguns, magnetic pulse pistols and medium-duty laser carbines, as well as the caustic pellets, molecular saws and tactics of the armored and energy shield-protected Crax, and of their Stegmar Mantis allies, with their CO2 powered firearms sending sprays of toxin-coated needles.

In addition to thoughts and actions, I include the senses. Yes, sight and sounds, but tactile and especially smells are important in relaying the desperate struggle to the reader.

But how do you get it to flow? Make it real to the reader?

First, I remember that I am telling a story, and relay sufficient action, movement, thoughts and emotion, dialogue, and sensory description to the readers so that they can create the action in their minds’ eye. No amount of words and description can match the readers’ imagination.

Then I work to pace it. Get the wording and description right. The amount of dialogue and movement and reactions set properly for the reader to make it—the conflict occurring—theirs.

How do I know if I’m doing it right? I draft and re-draft. I read it orally, and share with a trusted reader. If I’m stuck or unsure, I go to the work of another author or two (category #3 above), ones who I’ve enjoyed reading and have relevant examples of combat—similar to what I’m trying to achieve. I read and re-read those sections, paying attention to wording and pacing and description and more. Determine what made it work for me. Then I apply what I learned (or re-learned) to my own scene and writing style. Make it as real and believable of a fictional combat, of a struggle, as I can.

I’ve been told in person and through reviews that I do a good job of writing combat scenes. If you’re a reader interested in epic action-adventure fantasy with a fair bit of combat (the main character is a mercenary), then consider giving my First Civilization’s Legacy Series a try. If you enjoy science fiction, with a para-military/space opera bent, consider my Crax War Chronicles. And if you’re a writer, and are struggling to write some of those difficult combat scenes, take a look at what I have to offer, and maybe one or more of my books will end up in your own category #3 above. Or, contact me if you would like more information on the books listed and not listed in the categories #1-3 above.


Terry W. Ervin II is an English and science teacher who enjoys writing fantasy and science fiction. His First Civilization’s Legacy Series (fantasy) includes Flank Hawk, Blood Sword, and Soul Forge.

The Crax War Chronicles, his science fiction series, includes Relic Tech and Relic Hunted (his most recent release from Gryphonwood Press).

In addition to writing novels, Terry’s short stories have appeared in over a dozen anthologies, magazines and ezines. Genre Shotgun is a collection containing all of his previously published short stories.

To contact Terry or learn more about his writing endeavors, visit his website at and his blog, Up Around the Corner at

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

MACHINATIONS by Hayley Stone: Cover Reveal

Perfect for fans of Robopocalypse, this action-packed science-fiction debut introduces a chilling future and an unforgettable heroine with a powerful role to play in the battle for humanity’s survival.

The machines have risen, but not out of malice. They were simply following a command: to stop the endless wars that have plagued the world throughout history. Their solution was perfectly logical. To end the fighting, they decided to end the human race.

A potent symbol of the resistance, Rhona Long has served on the front lines of the conflict since the first Machinations began—until she is killed during a rescue mission gone wrong. Now Rhona awakens to find herself transported to a new body, complete with her DNA, her personality, even her memories. She is a clone . . . of herself.

Trapped in the shadow of the life she once knew, the reincarnated Rhona must find her place among old friends and newfound enemies—and quickly. For the machines are inching closer to exterminating humans for good. And only Rhona, whoever she is now, can save them.

Pre-order Machinations today!

And don’t forget to add it to your list on Goodreads!


Hayley Stone has lived her entire life in sunny California, where the weather is usually perfect and nothing as exciting as a robot apocalypse ever happens. When not reading or writing, she freelances as a graphic designer, falls in love with videogame characters, and analyzes buildings for velociraptor entry points. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in German from California State University, Sacramento.

Machinations is her debut novel, releasing June 14th, 2016 from Hydra/Random House.