The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #87: Fantasy Author Joshua Robertson Returns to the Show!

Episode #87: Dark Fantasy Author Joshua Robertson Returns

Today, Joshua Robertson, whose work has been featured a number of times here, comes back on the show to catch up and talk about exciting new developments.  He was last on the show on Episode #32 over a year ago, so a lot has happened since then!  His fan base has grown considerably, and he’s made the leap to being a full time author.

This year, he completed this trilogy of novels:


The last volume of the series, Maharia, just came out.  Click on the picture of the book below to read a preview!  Stay tuned in the near future as this series is becoming an audiobook trilogy.


He will also be a regular contributor to the fantasy site Fantasy Faction with a column on writing, cover design, and many other tips for aspiring and current authors.  (By the way, he recommends the book, The Fantasy Fiction Formula, as a great guide for writing in this genre.)  As with the last time he came on the show, there are lots of great writing tips for aspiring authors, so check out the episode for a listen.  If you are and were a Dungeons and Dragons player at any point, you may also find his take on how D and D has helped his writing.

Here’s how to reach him and find more of his work:






Youtube videolog/podcast – The Writer’s Edge

Youtube Goblin Horde – Josh and his partner have an unbelievable 9 kids together, and they run a Youtube channel about some of the things they do with their can as well as parenting tips

Crimson Edge Facebook Page and Book Club

He just finished up a gig at this year’s Brain to Books Convention, like last year, and will also be at the Soda City Comic Con this summer and Pensacola Comic Con next winter.

Lastly, he has a novelette available for free on Amazon, which you can download to checkout his writing and get a taste of his Thrice Nine Legends fantasy series (click on the cover to go to the page).

The Name of Death by [Robertson, Joshua]


It was great having Josh again on the show.  Look forward to hearing about the exciting things in store for Josh in the next year.


The ending track, called “Between Two Worlds” was inspired by some of the introspective parts (like this one) from the soundtrack The Crow by Graeme Revell.  Watch for it on bandcamp in the next few weeks.

As always, thanks for listening!


  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast, a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour, and access to retro 80s soundtrack!
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  • Listen to Long Ago Not So Far Away, the Thirteenth Hour soundtrack online at:  Join the mailing list for a digital free copy.  You can also get it on CD or tape.
  • Website:
  • Book trailer:
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #86: Worldbuilding in Scifi and Fantasy Audio From Big Apple Con 2017

Episode #86: How Scifi and Fantasy Authors Build The Worlds of Their Books

Ever read a fantasy or science fiction novel immersive enough to make you want to finish it in one sitting?

Ever wonder how the author created something convincing enough to make you sad when it ended?

That’s what today’s show is about.   It’s a Q and A panel from the Big Apple Comic Con a few weeks ago.  Think of it as a behind the scenes window into the minds of six authors who write a variety of styles within scifi and fantasy.  Some of the topics covered:

-What’s your creative process like: outline? freeform?

-Which is more important?  Characters vs. plot?

-How to create full realized characters you want to read about

-How to create characters that are true to themselves and the world you’ve created for them

-How do you find the time to write?

-Writing through writer’s block

-How much time should it ideally take for a reader to get a sense of your world?

Here are the authors on the panel.  Click on their names to go to their Amazon or GR profile pages and the book cover by their name for a representative fantasy work.

Tabitha Lord


Heather Rigney


Mike Squatrito


Sean Faye Wolfe


Joshua Blum

13th Hr BookCover6x9 amazon bigger text thumbnail3 500x759

Chris Paniccia


Many thanks to Mike Carbanaro and the staff at the Big Apple Comic Con for inviting us to speak, and thanks to Mike Squatrito for doing the legwork to get us there.


If you’re a writer or illustrator yourself (or are interested in becoming one) and are interested in the organization we were representing, you can learn more about ARIA, the Association of Rhode Island Authors, here.

The ending track, a synthesizer remixed version of “Reed Pipes That Echo,” is now out for download or streaming off of bandcamp.  (Music has always been both an inspiration and essential part of the stories I’ve created.  So you could say, it’s one of the ways I “world build.”)

reed pipes remixed.jpg

Next week, fantasy author Joshua Robertson comes back on the show.  It was great to catch up after over a year, and we covered a lot – if you liked what was discussed today, it only gets better next week, so stay tuned!

As always, thanks for listening!

(Image at the top of the screen courtesy of


  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast, a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour, and access to retro 80s soundtrack!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and@the13thhr.ost for your random postings on ninjas, martial arts, archery, flips, breakdancing, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Listen to Long Ago Not So Far Away, the Thirteenth Hour soundtrack online at:  Join the mailing list for a digital free copy.  You can also get it on CD or tape.
  • Website:
  • Book trailer:
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #58: George Sirois Redux – The Making of the Excelsior Audiobook

Episode #58: Author George Sirois Returns to Discuss the Creation of His Audiobook

Back in episode #36, fellow author George Sirois came on the show for a great conversation, and today, he’s back!

As you’ll see in the show, George decided that the way he wanted to get his young adult scifi tale, Excelsior, out there as a audiobook was to record it himself.  Way back when I was learning about making covers for The Thirteenth Hour, I came to the realization that when it comes to things like this, it all comes down to money or time.

If you decide to go the professional route and outsource parts of the creative process, you might get a professional product but you give up some autonomy and generally pay quite a bit (that you justify to yourself as an investment in quality and peace of mind).  But if you opt to do it yourself, you have to deal with the sometimes exponentially steep learning curve of cramming years of knowledge into the bare minimum needed to shoehorn yourself into getting the job done.  There may still be significant expense (sometimes due to trial and error), and there’s the significant time sink that comes with what a professional might be able to do more efficiently.

However, one thing debates such this sometimes forget when focusing on practical talking points such as these is simply the enjoyment to be had in simply doing.  As sole proprietors of businesses (as independent authors essential are these days), it pays to understand as many different aspects of the business as possible.  There’s no better way to understand those details than by doing them yourself (at least once).

And that’s what George did to make his ideas into a reality.  There’s a lot there in his story, so like minded souls, take note.  What’s the harm in going for something you want, George says in the interview.  And why not?  At the end of the day, who else is there to give the necessary permission?


Click on the link to check out the audiobook version of Excelsior on Amazon.

And audiobooks seem to be getting their due after years of being the red-headed stepchild of the literature.  Here’s the full text of the Wall Street Journal on the rise of audiobooks.

George will be making appearances (if you’re local to St. Louis, MO USA) at the following places in the next few wks:


- (now since past, though more good info if you’re a writer hoping to connect with others in and around St. Louis, near where George lives)

Connect with George online at:


GR profile:





References George discusses on the show:

No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty, on writing a novel in 30 days

The Stressed-Out Writer’s Guide to Recording Your Own Audiobook by Kirk Hanley

On that note, as always, thanks for listening!

P.S. If you have any interest in getting into audio like George did or wanted to start your own podcast, check out this free guide here.  It’s a guest post I did for fellow author Kelly St. Clare on podcasting as cheaply as possible and has a wealth of info on audio production in general, most of which I learned by trial and error!  Check it out, and start podcasting as more than an amateur!  WIN!



  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Free online streaming of the growing Thirteenth Hour soundtrack:  Stay tuned to a full 45+ min album coming in the next few weeks!
  • Website:
  • Book trailer:
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #35: Interview with Author Angela B. Chrysler

Episode #35: Swords, Flux Capacitors, Norse Myths … Interview with Angela B. Chrysler

Angela, the creator of the Brain to Books cyber blog tour, took time out of her busy schedule to talk for an hour.  We covered a vast amount of info: Back to the Future Delorean shirts, why having a flux capacitor is a good life decision, the Moon Patrol soundtrack, how her personal collection of weaponry influences her writing, why all the fuss about book reviews from the point of view of a reader and author, how persistence factors into writing, publishing, and life, and much, much more.



Email Address:


Author Bio:

 Angela B. Chrysler is a writer, logician, philosopher, and die-hard nerd who studies theology, historical linguistics, music composition, and medieval European history in New York with a dry sense of humor and an unusual sense of sarcasm. She lives in a garden with her family and cats. Read More

Social Media Links

Official Site
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Profile Page

Story Time on YouTube – if you ever have have had a desire to create a podcast, consider doing what Angela is currently doing, as referenced on the how to create a podcast post done for Kelly St. Clare’s blog.

Dolor and Shadow (Tales of the Drui Book #1) Official Page

Fire and Lies (Tales of the Drui Book #2) Official Page
Broken Official Page

Books Discussed on the Show


 Dolor and Shadow Large

Genre: High/Epic Fantasy

YouTube Book Trailer:



As the elven city burns, Princess Kallan is taken to Alfheim while a great power begins to awaken within her. Desperate to keep the child hidden, her abilities are suppressed and her memory erased. But the gods have powers as well, and it is only a matter of time before they find the child again.

When Kallan, the elven witch, Queen of Lorlenalin, fails to save her dying father, she inherits her father’s war and vows revenge on the one man she believes is responsible: Rune, King of Gunir. But the gods are relentless, and when a twist of fate puts Kallan into the protection of the man she has sworn to kill, Rune obtains a power he does not understand.

From Alfheim, to Jotunheim, and then lost in the world of Men, these two must form an alliance to make their way home, and try to solve the lies of the past and of the Shadow that hunts them all.


 Broken by Angela B Chrysler 1600x2500

Genre: Memoir/Psychological Thriller/Non-Fiction

Awards: Finalist of the 2015 Wishing Shelf Awards

YouTube Book Trailer:


And Death it calls as the stone crow breaks. Streaks of blood malform its face. Death becomes its withered eyes and the shadows whisper, “Lies.”

When a young journalist, William D. Shaw, seeks out Elizabeth, an acclaimed author, in hopes to write her biography, the recluse grants him twenty-four hours to hear her story. What unfolds are events that teeter on the edge of macabre and a psychological thriller.

While toggling the lines of insanity, Elizabeth examines her past filled with neglect, rape, abuse, torture, and pedophilia. The more Elizabeth delves into her psyche, the more William witnesses the multiple mental conditions Elizabeth developed to cope with a life without love, comfort, protection, trust, physical human contact, affection, therapy, or medication.

With the use of existentialism, I wrote Broken in an attempt to philosophical determine what I had become and why. Instead, I found the awareness I needed to seek help. Broken is the road map I took to arrive at “Awareness” and seek medical attention.

Angela B Chrysler BUSINESS CARD back


Starving Artist Section: where I talk about making a few bucks on the internets!  This week’s app is Nextrack, which pays you (via gift cards, albeit slowly) to work out.  It works via mpoints/mplus points, which is a point system used by a number of other games and apps.  You can only redeem so many per day, but you can also earn free coupons and such.  Nice little bit of positive reinforcement for maintaining an exercise habit.  Available for Android and iOS.


Schedule for the next few weeks:

4/18/16: Episode #36: a conversation with author George Sirois

4/25/16: Episode #37: fantasy author Kelly St. Clare

5/2/16: Episode #38: knife throwing

Thanks for listening!


  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Website:
  • Book trailer:
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #32: Guest Fantasy Author Joshua Robertson and New Song Preview

Episode #32: Live Interview with Fantasy Author Joshua Robertson and Preview of New Ending Song

Today, I’ve very pleased to welcome dark fantasy author Joshua Robertson to the show.  It was a fun conversation and a chance to talk about all kinds of things related to fantasy, writing, and the like.

Turns out that we had very similar journeys in writing – he created a fantasy world as a kid (1999) and then re-edited the manuscript for a long time until recently publishing the stories he’d worked on since adolescence.  In fact, his first novel released publicly, Melkorka, he re-wrote 7 times!  Holy persistence, Batman!

He also discusses some of his most recent works, including Dyndaer, which was just released.


If you’re curious about some of the short stories that we read and discussed on the podcast, here are titles and links:

A Midwinter Sellsword – an ongoing short story series based on a table top game world.

Grimsdalr – a retelling of the Beowulf myth

Anaerfell – the short story that introduces readers to the Thrice Nine Legends series – Josh recommends that new readers to his works start here.

Josh’s ongoing story on Wattpad, The Eadfel: Game of Houses, is available here.

The story that I’m trying to turn into a novel, the modern retelling of the sleeping beauty fairy tale, is on Wattpad here.

If you’re an author or considering becoming one, Josh discusses a lot great information I wish I’d known years ago!  To use a handy but one of those annoyingly overused catchphrases of internet marketing, he brings a lot of high value content to the conversation (as well as to the podcast)!  Pay particular attention to his discussion on the importance of listening to your critics, making personal relationships with people on social media, starting the process of building your audience early (before publication – if you recall nothing else, remember this!!), the importance of a mailing list, and what he found most helpful as a young writer.

And … if you’re an author and are interested in publishing a short story through Josh’s publishing company, Crimson Edge, check out this anthology entitled “Maidens and Magic” – still taking submissions until 6/1/16.  Check it out!

Author Bio (links to Goodreads)

Joshua currently lives in Alaska with his wife and children. In 1999, he began crafting the world for Thrice Nine Legends, including Melkorka and Anaerfell. He is also the author of the A Midwinter Sellsword and Gladiators and Thieves in the Hawkhurst Saga. His short story,Grimsdalr, is inspired by the tale of Beowulf.

Social Media Links




Twitter – look for the #fantasychat

Youtube videolog/podcast – The Writer’s Edge

Crimson Edge Facebook Page and Book Club

It was great having Josh on the show.  Josh, if you’re seeing this, know you’re welcome back anytime!


Before I go, I’ll leave you with a work in progress – as I mentioned, The Thirteenth Hour is getting an ending song.  Since it’s a book inspired by 80s films, I figured it needed an 80s style ending song replete with synthesizers and electric guitars.  It’s not done, since the vocals still need to be worked in, but I’ve finally finishing recording the instrumental parts, which you can listen to here, on The Thirteenth Hour soundtrack page on Bandcamp.  Look for updates on the soundtrack page on Instagram (@the13thhr.ost).

star glow cover 6x9 front

Amazon giveaway for the children’s book, Your Star Will Glow Forever, is open until 3/22/16!  Stop by to see if you can score a free copy.  Mailing list subscribers find out about future giveaways and days when books go free early!

As always, thanks for listening!


The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #27: Special Edition – Podcasting for Authors

Episode #27: Podcasting for Authors

This is an episode that breaks a little from my so-called tradition of talking about escapist entertainment and discusses things that may actually have, well … practical use to you if you’re an aspiring writer or artist.

This past week, fantasy author Kelly St. Clare was kind enough to host an article I did on podcasting as easily and cheaply as possible.  (If you haven’t checked out her great series, The Tainted Accords, do yourself a favor and do so!)  She, in turn, discussed her recent experience with the social media crowd speaking site, Thunderclap.

In any event, this particular episode touches on some of the material in the post above.  But whereas the post walks you through the creation of a podcast, this audio clip is more of a dialogue about why podcasting may be of help to you as an author/artist and discusses some suggestions about what you can do with it as a platform (e.g. interviews with guests, behind-the-scenes stories, influences, etc).

I reference the article “1000 True Fans” by Kevin Kelly in the podcast.  It’s talked a lot about in marketing circles, and folks like Tim Ferriss often cite it as a model for developing a dedicated following.  On a smaller scale, working towards a dedicating podcast following has the potential to accomplish much the same thing in a way that’s more difficult to achieve with traditional social media, which can be more superficial and ADHDish.

Stay tuned for more on this subject in the future, as well as a live guests on the podcasts!

Lastly, Kelly St. Clare was kind enough to host an upcoming rafflecopter giveaway for The Thirteenth Hour on her site.  Stay tuned for more info in the coming days.



Today, fellow fantasy author Kelly St. Clare, author of the Tainted Accords series, and I are doing post swaps.  I’m doing a post on podcasting for her site, and she’s writing about her recent experience with Thunderclap for the recent release of her third novel, Fantasy of Fire.  Given that we both did Thunderclaps around the same time, I was excited to know what Kelly’s experience was like.  Thanks, Kelly, for sharing your thoughts!  Those of you considering doing Thunderclaps in the future will definitely find her insights helpful.  


Thunderclap was founded in 2009 and has gained popularity in the last two years. The site claims to help “Generate major awareness for event announcements.” In a nutshell, anyone can start a campaign by creating a message for their event; a concert, book launch. Object of the game: To collect at least 100 supporters over Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr so your message is sent once via your supporter’s social media.


Setting up your Thunderclap

The process to create your own campaign is straight forward. You head to and click ‘Start a Thunderclap’ – It requires you to create an account (free) and you have the option to make a profile. You will also need a Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr account.

After this you need to create a message. Luckily, this is easy as well, with the examples provided by other authors and artists.

Once completed, you will be given an option to select whether your campaign is small, medium, or large. Respectively, you will need to get 100, 250, or 500 supporters. Depending on your audience, select the appropriate size. Remember, it’s hard to get followers to actively support a link! As a guide, I have 350+ subscribers, 800+ facebook likes, and 2500 twitter followers, and I selected the small campaign (100 supporters). Because herein lies the catch. If you do not get your pre-selected amount of supporters, your message will not be sent out. In other terms: If only 99 people support you, no thunderclap.

Tip: Include a couple of hastags in your message.


Promoting your Thunderclap

You have your campaign. Now you need to gain supporters. Below is a list of what worked well for me with my young adult fantasy readers.


  • Lengthy messages to explain what a Thunderclap were less effective than posts with short messages. My most effective post message was “I need more clicks. Time is running out!”
  • I got a higher rate of supporters from my viewers sharing posts (i.e. A viewer shared my post and their friends then supported my campaign).
  • My posts were more successful when I specified supporting was free.
  • Making Thunderclap support a condition of entry into a small giveaway gave me 1/5 of my campaign goal (I offered an e-book).

It is HARD to get people to do more than a simple ‘Like’ or ‘Retweet.’ Remember, you are competing against everyone else who needs support; the marathon runners, those with sickness, and charities. These are worthwhile campaigns! And it means your followers are probably overwhelmed with requests to help on a day-to-day basis.

But with any self-made luck you will get there. Once you have achieved the minimum amount of supporters, Thunderclap will send you a message saying your campaign is 100% successful. Celebrate when this happens, because you will be one hundred percent over Thunderclap by this point.

Tip: If you are struggling for numbers, check out the facebook and goodreads groups dedicated to supporting thunderclaps.


Did My Thunderclap Campaign Help My Event?

I managed to convince 104 people to support me. This gave me a ‘Social Reach’ of 133,995 across Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

My message was sent out and…

Top rankings: 662 paid listing (#3 Bestseller in Dark Fantasy, #11 Bestseller in Adventure)

Which is great! But the total clicks from my Thunderclap Campaign…

Total clicks: 242

Now, this is where Thunderclap tells you to upgrade in order to get your campaign analyzed. It was $45 to do so – needless to say for 242 clicks I chose not to. Without the analysis, all you will get is number of supporters, social reach, and total clicks.

What does 242 Total Clicks translate to?

Best case scenario for my Thunderclap campaign: 242 downloads (DL) of my new release.

Let’s compare this to other campaigns I have done for nearly zero effort or a small fee.

– Amazon Free promotion day: 4700 DL, with increased sales for 2 weeks afterward.

– Book Promotion Sites (Awesomegang, bookbub, kboard) priced between $10-$30. Result: 300-1000+ discounted DLs.



242 clicks. Better than nothing! But was it worth the effort of promoting and – although not spending actual money – spending the time to generate supporters? Time which could be spent writing and…well, earning money!

But who cares? Because when I was promoting my Thunderclap I was still promoting my book! Right? To test this theory I analyzed my facebook statistics.


NORMAL PROMOTION POST (with review excerpt and buy link): 177-200 reader views.

(NB: A small giveaway increased numbers of both THUNDERCLAP and NORMAL posts)

Looking at the above, Thunderclap campaign posts were seen by less than a third of readers than my usual posts.

There is no doubt that 242 clicks to my Amazon page would have helped my rankings there. And these clicks may have resulted in sales. However, I feel this effect would be negligible when compared to my pre-order numbers and other release day promotions.

 The real question is: Do I think my Thunderclap campaign was worth it? Or, better yet, would I do it again?

No to both.

Perhaps results vary between different professions. Perhaps a change of message would result in more clicks. Or maybe if it was sent at a different time of day and time. Maybe a different picture. Maybe if the first in a series were promoted (I did my third book) then the results would be better. Seeing as I made no mention of the series placement in my message, I doubt this. However, these are all variables which could potentially increase the Total Clicks.

The Total Click yielded was pitifully small considering the Social Reach. And the work I did to generate support was not as effective as my normal posts which contained direct buy links.

You now have the details of my experience with Thunderclap, so the decision is yours. Will you be Thunderclapping your next release?

If you enjoyed this post, then please check out my other Dear Aspiring Author blogs.

Thank You to Joshua Blum for having me!

Kelly St. Clare

Kelly St. Clare

Author Biography

When Kelly St Clare is not reading or writing, she is lost in her latest reverie. She can, quite literally, drift past a car accident while in the midst of her day dreams, despite the various police sirens and chaos. 

Books have always been magical and mysterious to her. One day she decided to start unravelling this mystery and began writing. Her aim: To write stories she would want to read. As it turns out, this failed miserably. Do you know what it is like to read something you’ve written? Impossible. Not to mention, the ending is ruined before you’ve begun. Never-the-less, Kelly loves it and wishes she had more time to squeeze it in between her day job as a physiotherapist.

Fantasy of Frost, the first title in The Tainted Accords, is her debut novel. Two of the three sequels, Fantasy of Flight and Fantasy of Fire, are now available. 

A New Zealander in origin and in heart, Kelly currently resides in Australia with her soon-to-be husband, a great group of friends, and some huntsman spiders who love to come inside when it rains. Their love is not returned.

Follow her via Newsletter at, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

If you would like to read her coming-of-age epic fantasy novel, Fantasy of Frost, then you can view it here. Or read the first five chapters on Wattpad.


Blog Tour Con’t: Featured Author – Joshua Robertson

This blog recently hosted three authors in the #NYNB2016 blog tour.  I’m going to continue the author-featuring with this post, though it technically isn’t part of the past tour (though it could have been).  Today, we’ll be taking a look at epic fantasy author Joshua Robertson’s work, especially his book launching today, Dyndaer, Book 2 in his Kaelandur Series.  (Pictures below direct to Goodreads.)


Book Spotlight _ Dyndaer

Dyndaer Excerpt One

A woman, unlike any Branimir had ever seen, emerged from the crowd and occupied the remaining chair. The bow slung over her shoulder, and the quiver on her back were the last things Branimir noticed. She was shorter than most Anshedar with an oversized head, a scrawny neck, and a sickly, thin frame. Yet her skin, smooth and colored a reddish brown, darker than Branimir, caused him to lean toward her. A sash, red as blood, hung across her shoulder, angled over her small chest.

She sat with her back stiffened and chin jutted forward. Pushing long black strands behind her ears, she introduced herself, “Hanna Bretka, daughter of Briv, from Danduher in Haemus Mons.” She sloshed her mug onto the table after taking a gulp.

“Branimir and Dorofej,” Bran said, “And, excuse my asking, but what are you?”

Her eyes swelled like an owl, a circular black center and the rest filled with a cerulean orb. The colored ring twinkled like the Ojenek in his pocket. “What do you mean what am I?”

Adamus and Dorofej merged in laughter.

“Kras,” she said, “I am a Lilitu. How would you not know my kind? The Kras frequent trade with the Lilitu in Halderon.”

Branimir rubbed the back of his neck with a crooked smile, and meekly shrugged. He could not take his eyes off of her.

What are you?” Adamus repeated, wiping a tear from the corner of his eye. “Best thing I have heard in two months. Having you travel with me never tires, Hanna.”

“Glad to please you, Adamus,” Hanna muttered, rolling his name off her tongue. “Is this why we detoured to Cavell? I thought we were aiming for debauchery, not expanding on our alleged friendship.”

Here’s what one pre-release reader thought:

… Robertson writes unlike any other author I have read. He engages the reader quickly to draw them in, and keeps them there! There was even a part in the book when I was reading where I found myself in the story with the characters. I subconsciously slowed my breathing and was afraid to make any noise because I didn’t want the characters to get caught! I have never felt that way in reading before. I was speechless after reading it.

Dyndaer Excerpt 2

“You told me that I would never find joy,” Branimir went on. “I can’t help but think the rune staves might be right, mainly when I think of these past several weeks.”

“Oh.” Dorofej shuffled out from the shadows, rejoining them near the fire. He appeared disgruntled, despite his words. “We have shared pleasant times together, yes? I say, do not sum up all arduous times to be grievous.”

“I was only telling you what I was seeing,” Drak explained. “I did not mean anything by it.”

“All the same, your words have stayed with me,” said Branimir, scooting over to make room for Dorofej.

“I say, Hanna did warn us that we may create our own future by thinking that we know what to expect, yes? Emotions can create your reality if you are not careful,” Dorofej softened his gaze.

Drak sniffed through his nose. “The rune staves tell what will happen. Branimir cannot change it, no matter how he feels about it.”

Dorofej furrowed his brow. “Know that for certain, we do not. Regardless, whether our paths are fixed or not, we choose how we walk them. Dangerous, it is, to find comfort in sadness. Leads only to more sadness, it does.”

“I like that thought,” Drak granted, and then grinned wide. “Feelings are unseen and untouched by anyone or anything. Fate cannot tell you how to feel.”

Branimir held his face, pondering the wisdom of the two. “Telling yourself how to feel seems easier to think about than to do.”

“Such is the task of the living, yes? I say, our minds are riddled with grand ideas and limited enthusiasm to see it done. Driven towards the things we wish to avoid, men are. Drink, does the drunkard; fight, does the warrior; and on and on, it goes.”

“Is it not what they want?” Branimir asked.

Dorofej lifted his eyebrows, “What do you want, Branimir?”

“I want…” Branimir may have never thought about the question before. He had always been entertained with trying to survive, the question of what to live for was beyond his knowing. Yet, upon taking a moment to think, the answer was not hard to come by. “I want happiness, Dorofej.”

Dyndaer Buy Links



Barnes and Noble


As you can tell from the pictures above, there are a number of other books in the series – Book 1: Melorka, as well as the stand-alone volume, Anaerfell.  If you enjoy Joshua’s writing, as his readers seem to do, you’ll want to check out his extensive back-catalog of books!  And, for the authors among you, make sure to check out his youtube podcasts (link below).


Dyndaer Excerpt 3

The demons of the Netherworld chased him. Four-legged, wolf-like creatures, known as Dreka, rammed their goat horns at Branimir. The gray, wrinkled skin clung to their gaunt frames. Thin lips were stretched back giving sight to the rows of teeth on the tops and bottoms of their bloodied gums.

Branimir tumbled, swinging his weapon and feeling it tear through flesh as easily as a hot blade through frost. For a moment, he may have heard Dorofej’s riddlesome voice—no, his cry—but Branimir had not the time to listen. Bran had to scramble, and sneak, and stab.

And stab. And stab. And stab.

The urgency of the battle and the demons thumped inside of his head.

“Stop!” A familiar voice, again, cried in desperation.

Crimson splattered his vision as his dagger cut through skin once more. His blade loved the taste of blood; he felt the need to drench it again.

Pain stung his leg, but it was quickly forgotten as demon after demon lunged for him. The Dreka were ever persistent in their attack. He spun, and twisted, and disappeared to avoid every demonic beast soaring through the air, vicious teeth aimed for his throat. They would not reach him. For a moment, he thought he saw a flash of Hanna’s wide eyes, but they looked unfamiliar. Treacherous. Evil. Besides, his dagger was already cocked behind his ear and he felt incapable of restraining himself.

Author Bio

Joshua currently lives in Alaska with his wife and children. In 1999, he began crafting the world for Thrice Nine Legends, including Melkorka and Anaerfell. He is also the author of the A Midwinter Sellsword and Gladiators and Thieves in the Hawkhurst Saga. His short story, Grimsdalr, is inspired by the tale of Beowulf.

Social Media Links





Youtube – The Writer’s Edge – for all you authors out there, check out this podcast Joshua and his fellow authors have.  Here’s a link to an episode where they discuss how to write a fantasy novel:



Guest Post by Author Angela B. Chrysler: The Psychology and Subconscious of the Fictional

How do you create good characters?  The dilemma of every author.  In this guest post by fiction and fantasy author Angela Chrysler, she writes about one way of creating good characters – by delving into their psychology to give them depth, and, in the process increase interest and relevance to the reader.

In turn, I have written about a similar topic – using fiction writing itself as a kind of therapy and how stories bind us together as a human race.  You can find it on Angela’s blog here:

Speaking of which, before we get to the post, Angela references some of her own works in the post below.  You can find out more about her books at

Tales of the Drui Book #1 3D


Click on the picture below for information on one of her latest, a dark fantasy, with an equally dark and epic trailer.  Check it out!

And now, without further ado, here she is.


A blank page. Endless possibilities stare back at the writer. They start with a character that stares back up at them—nameless, faceless, void of identity and gender. So the writer invents a face. A name is chosen (unless you are H.G.Wells), and with it the first of an identity is formed.

In most cases, the career is selected and a plot is built around this character. You see conflict, strengths and weaknesses being shaped and assigned. Habits, hobbies, and a back story is eventually selected and, by the time the book makes its way into the hands of a reader, that character leads the story on to the conclusion.

Some readers put the book down and the analysis begins.

“Shallow. One dimensional. Contradicting behavior.”

This is the part where the author pulls their hair out screaming to the muse, “What did I miss?”

What indeed.

The back-story was there. The name, the history, the conflict, but the reader is right. Something was missing.

In the ten years I’ve spent examining the writing world, and the thousands of writers who I’ve debated with, one topic seems to always be neglected in character building. The human psyche. The subconscious.

I will be the first to tell you, adding a subconscious to my characters was one of the hardest things to accomplish, especially having no degree in Psychology. For Kallan, Rune, and Bergen, I took the advice of one of my favorite authors. “Write what you know.” (Mark Twain)

I know me better than anyone else. I didn’t just give Kallan a back story. I gave her a complex with that story. I gave her my complex.

I’m going to step away to one of my most favorite shows for a moment. M*A*S*H. There is an episode when the main character, Hawkeye, is working his way through triage when they come to a soldier with wet clothes reeking of mildew and swamp water. And so begins the psychology of Hawkeye.

Hawkeye begins to sneeze. He starts to scratch at a rash that isn’t there. Hawkeye is surrounded by a full medical team. He is a surgeon himself, and they know, after some simple tests, that this isn’t anything physical. They call in the Psychologist. Dr. Freedman (Rest in Peace).

The sneezing is so intense, that Hawkeye can not operate. Dr. Freedman arrives and viewers get to witness the therapy session that follows.

You see the denial, the conscious mask Hawkeye wears that allows him to remain in denial. “My cousin and I were fishing,” he says. “We were out in a boat and he saved me.”

“How did he save you?”

“Well, I was in the water and he…he saved me.” Hawkeye scratches at his chest. Freedman glances at Hawkeye’s hand.

“How did you get in the water?” he asks.

The session continues, and Hawkeye releases a Freudian slip that clues Freedman in on the fact that the cousin Hawkeye so admired was the one who pushed him into the water to begin with. The event traumatized Hawkeye, but the cousin devalued Hawkeye’s trauma and laughed, calling Hawkeye a clutz. Viewers have the rare privilege of watching Freedman walk Hawekeye through denial, into awareness where Hawkeye can accept the truth and finally, after thirty years, grieve. All of this because Hawkeye smelled the swamp water that triggered a subconscious memory he had forgotten.

The event isn’t brought up again, but it did one thing. It added definition to Hawkeye’s character. A level of definition only the subconscious can give.

I applied the same method to Kallan, Rune, and Bergen.

Because of my limited knowledge in psychology, I pulled on what I know: grief and an inability to accept death. I took a week and studied the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Negotiation, Depression, Acceptance. After witnessing more than twenty deaths by the time I was twelve years old, I was an expert on this topic.

I assigned Kallan the same inability to accept death and assigned her a need to become powerful enough to stop it. Frankenstein is one of my most favorite books. The same need I too have. I lived vicariously through Kallan, giving her the powers I wish I had to stop the dozens of deaths I saw (A total of sixty by the time I was thirty-two). Suddenly, I was moving Kallan through the five stages in Dolor and Shadow.

I then moved on to Rune. A king burdened with a need to protect, a need to end the grief. He too had witnessed the death and he saw what denial can do to a person. He watched the second stage—Anger—consume his brother. He watched the Negotiation devour his father and fuel his madness. He watched the Denial destroy his mother. Rune knows of the process, although he never calls it what it is. He knows and he understands how Dolor can become a Shadow and kill.

He makes that Shadow his nemesis and when he sees his political enemy, Kallan who seeks to destroy him, hording that same Shadow, Rune moves to fulfill his vow and help Kallan. Rune is the character I wish I had. The hero I so wanted who came in and took me by the hand to help me through that grief I suffered alone.

Bergen, I reserved for last. Bergen, I burdened with failure. An inability to save his loved ones…over and over and over. It consumes him. He never stops. He becomes stronger, more determined, but he is up against a Fae goddess. He can’t possibly best her, but he must try. The inability to save his loved ones haunts him, and Bergen is unable to give up.

In all three of these characters, I bestow my final issue. One that I still am not able to accept myself, an inability to accept their own weaknesses and limits. I often summarize Kallan by saying her greatest weakness is accepting her limits and her own weaknesses.

I live every day biting off more than I can chew. I burden myself with the need to accomplish more than I am able. In addition, I have an eye for spotting weaklings in need. (We call this identifying with the victim). I have a need to rescue, protect, and save regardless of my own limitations.

I have the makings of a cat hoarder. I see a stray cat on the street and I am overwhelmed with a need to take her in and protect her. I see a homeless cat in a shelter and am consumed by a need to adopt the cat. “No one else can do it. I must do it. Only then can I know they are safe.” My husband keeps this in check.

This takes me back to the end of one movie I can not watch. Schindler’s List. I identify with the victim remember? I can not watch this film without wanting to save the millions who were lost in the concentration camps. And I failed…it’s a burden I have to live with every day. I have nightmares of being stuck in Hiroshima and being helpless to save the thousands/millions who died by US technology.  

At the end of Schindler’s List, Schindler falls to the ground and says, “I could have saved just one more.”


Schindler identified with the victim as well and, like me, he did everything in his power to save those who needed help. And no matter how many Schindler saved, it still wasn’t enough. He needed to save just one more.

How many saved would have been enough? I smile. I know the answer. When there are no more who suffer…anywhere, ever again. This is the true burden of identifying with the victim.

I watched the first thirty minutes of Schindler’s List (I turned it off right after they killed the one-armed Jew and then open fired on the children in the hospital. I was fifteen years old). I also watched the last two minutes of Schindler’s List. I also know the premise is about Schindler creating a list to save victims from the concentration camp. Schindler saved hundreds. It was barely a drop in the bucket.

From that little bit of information, I was able to assess his need to help, to rescue, to save. The writers of Schindler’s List did an excellent job not neglecting his psychology. Without it, the entire movie would have been “just another movie.”  

It is the psychology that gave Schindler’s List the impact it had. It is Hawkeye’s subconscious that gives that episode the impact it had.

One more example I love drawing on because so many of us can relate to this one. Daryl Dixon in the Walking Dead. The writer’s outdid themselves with this little number. Yes, you have the most awesome Daryl portrayed by Norman Reedus. Yes, you have the unstoppable, dia-hard redneck. But that isn’t what we all relate to. This isn’t why we swoon.

It is his psychological make-up that steals our hearts. Daryl stands in the stables with Carol who gets close to Daryl. This scares him and he pushes her away. Carol takes it. She is impassive and not assertive, so she holds in the abuse while Daryl (and her late husband) lash out at her. Daryl is scared of intimacy. Terrified of having anyone close to him because anytime anyone got close to him (his brother), it hurt him. Remember Beth? It only re-affirmed that when he lets people get close, he gets hurt.

But he wants to be close. He’s lonely. It’s natural, so he strengthens his relationship with Carol until it scares him again and he lashes out. He yo-yo’s between what he wants—a friend or companion…to not be alone—and self-preservation, a distorted perspective that has taught him that having a companion will hurt him.

Carol is just as fun to analyze. She has learned a similar lesson.

In psychology, there is passive, assertive, and aggressive. I believe, a healthy mind toggles between the three, spending most of the time on assertive (My assumption based on an educated guess). Assertive is having the strength to stand up to an abuser, but not identifying with the aggressor and lashing out. This is where bullies come from. Bullies identify with the aggressor and lash out at smaller beings (animals or people) to feel empowered and feel like they have gained back some of the control they have lost. Merl Dixon. Carol’s husband.  

Daryl is assertive.

Carol is passive.

Well, she starts off as passive. This is really amazing to watch! Carol starts off as an abused house wife. She holds in her pain and takes it. She may even feel she deserves it. She sees the same pain in Daryl and this is why she latches on to him. She identifies with him. She identifies with the victim.

Apply Daryl’s own subconscious issues and now you have a match made in heaven. Carol, being passive, has all the patience in the world while Daryl works out his own issues.

Carol learns to be assertive from Daryl. Their friendship helps Carol come into her own. I’m waiting for Carol to identify with the aggressor and become the bully. It’s started with the boy in season five…kind of. I’m curious to see how far it will go.

I doubt Carol and Daryl will ever kiss or form a sexual relationship. Neither have the psychological makeup to entertain that possibility, not without some serious therapy and mental changes from both. Carol is almost there, but Daryl has a long way to go…if he gets there at all. Beth’s death mentally set Daryl back. Logically, I just don’t see it happening at this point.

The one thing these characters have in common is that they are fictitious, in Schindler’s case, a fictitious depiction of a real man. Psychology adds a level of character development rarely seen in literature. Many writers insert their character’s psyche on a subconscious level. Some get it right while others get it very wrong (Fifty Shades of Grey). Some writers insert psychology without realizing that is what they are doing. Psychology is the secret ingredient that brings fictional characters to life. It’s what makes us fall in love with the good guy, cheer on the underdog, and loathe the bad guy. In almost every case, we despise the person who identifies with the aggressor.

Next time you watch a movie, read a book, or write a story look for it. Analyze the characters. And when you have a moment or two, read up on psychology. 


Angela B. Chrysler is a writer, logician, and die-hard nerd who studies philosophy, theology, historical linguistics, music composition, and medieval European history in New York with a dry sense of humor and an unusual sense of sarcasm. She lives in a garden with her family and cats.

You can read more of Ms. Chrysler’s writing and accomplishments at


Angela B. Chrysler The Author of Dolor and Shadow