Amanda’s Books and More

An Exciting Mix of Politics, Magic, Wit, and Possibly Unrequited Love

Dead Letter was my introduction to Benjamin Descovich’s epic fantasy series Dragon Choir. He has gained my admiration with his literary skill. His writing style is formal, but not austere. It’s intellectual, but not difficult to comprehend. He mixes politics, magic, wit, and the possibility of unrequited love. There is adventure, suspense, and mystery. Who is behind the worst crimes and what is a dead letter?

The content is young adult appropriate. Descovich’s characters are well developed. His heroine, Kettna, is personable with weaknesses, strengths, driven by love and a sense of duty to her fellow Calimskan citizen. The conflict in her relationships adds further layers to the story. For example, her relationship with her parents isn’t perfect, especially not with her mother, and her boyfriend is missing or not wanting to be found. There are twists in the story with a few loose ends at the end that will leave you wanting to read more! I am certainly looking forward to reading more books in the series.

Check out Amanda’s Books and More!

The Book Addict’s Reviews

I am now a Huge Fan!!

Jump on Board this Amazing Series!!!!

This was a really good read! I’ve been a huge fan of detective mixed with fantasy stories since I first started reading the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I don’t know if there is a special button I’m supposed to be pressing on amazon to find this wonderful mixture, but since I haven’t been able to find a book that is just as good as that series elsewhere I highly recommend reading Dead Letter. I imagine the sequel is just as awesome, so you should already go ahead and buy that while you’re still shopping!

The setting is awesome, and character development is there! It’s refreshing and fun. Full of cool twists and turns. I don’t even know what more you could want from a book???? Nothing. That’s what.

I don’t say this often, but I think this author may become a new favorite of mine.

Although a warning for those who are a bit faint at heart. There is some gore, not much but a bit to throw you off if that’s not what you like in books. But if you don’t have an issue with the gore then I recommend you click buy immediately ūüôā

Dead Letter Cover is Hot Property

I’ve been getting so many compliments about the cover art on Dead Letter!

You can see why. It is so eye catching and dynamic. The colours have really come alive and the shadows and smoke add the perfect sense of mystery to match the story inside.

I love it and I’m so glad that my readers love it too.

This post is a massive shout out to the cover artist, award-winning illustrator, Amit Dutta aka Monkey Bread.

Thanks a bunch, Amit!

You ROCK the set!!!

deadletter_cover_600

Amit captured a scene in the novel with more magic than I ever hoped would be possible. The cover shows Novice Kettna, casting a modified cantrip called Hot Hand.

She grasped the lock on the door with her super heated hand and focussed all her remaining mana into the spell. The lock went red-hot then yellow and the timber around it smoked and cindered. Kettna’s legs gave way, her body weak from the intense magical strain, but she would not let go of the lock.

I just love the detail of the magical tattoos brimming with power! Especially the visual description of some symbols being triggered and others not. Fantastic stuff!

Check out more of Amit’s portfolio on Tumblr and his Deviant Art page.
Find him on Facebook.
Get in contact and commission him for your next project.

Want a free copy of Dead Letter?

Click here for more details.

Big Al’s Books and Pals

Rip-Roaring Adventure
Full of Intrigue and Espionage
Five Stars!
Elrin is a young man, not yet twenty, trying to find his way in the world without his father. He‚Äôs currently serving as a messenger between a priest he trusts ‚Äď Herder Kleith ‚Äď and the Guild Master. Nosing around the Guild Master‚Äôs study, waiting to deliver a missive, Elrin picks up a mysterious dagger to study. When he overhears secrets between the Guild Master and an unknown source his life is suddenly in jeopardy. Narrowly escaping the Guild Guards, Elrin flees to Kleith who dresses Elrin in priests robes and sends him across land and then to the Hoard Islands to seek the Dragon Choir for help. Kleith is unable to see the dagger in Elrin‚Äôs possession, but knows it well. It belonged to Elrin‚Äôs father, Arbajkha, who has been missing for over half of Elrin‚Äôs life.
Thus begins this rip-roaring adventure full of intrigue and espionage between political and religious leaders who wish to hold power over all the surrounding nations and the sea. Elrin inadvertently ends up with an eclectic band of diverse rebels who wish to free the Jandan slaves and restore justice to all. As with every epic fantasy there are many characters, but I found each one fully rounded and unique. I had no trouble liking or identifying with all of the heroes. The bad guys were the most vile ever to live. There are epic battles with swords, magic, and arrows on land and cannons with black powder at sea as pirates join in for their share of the spoils while still aiding the rebellion.
There are prophecies to decipher, ogres, evil redeemers, mage priests, drakkin type warriors, a beautiful assassin, a confused naval captain with a decent heart, hobbit type humans, dwarfs, a young elemental acolyte they name Amber, and dragons to boot! This intelligently told story is bound to sweep you up as the plot twists and turns with each new revelation. If you love intricate high fantasy epic adventures, Dragon Choir is worth checking out. A small warning though, this book does end in a cliff-hanger that will have you waiting on the edge of your seat for the next book.
Rating: ***** Five stars
Check out Big Al’s Books and Pals website here.

Dragon Choir Hit #1 in Amazon Charts!

AMAZON_BESTSELLERA massive thank you to all my supporters in the UK and Canada who helped Dragon Choir reach dizzying heights and made me an Amazon Bestseller!

  • #1 for Epic Fantasy
  • #1 for Sword and Sorcery
  • #1 for Contemporary Fantasy

DragonChoirEbook_COVER_600

With your support I also broke the top ten overall!

  • #4 overall in the UK and Canada

With all of your help Dragon Choir even cracked the top #100 in the USA, the toughest market of all!

I am so very thankful to have such a great response to my promotions for Dragon Choir. Still buzzing with the excitement of the past week riding the charts so high.

Thanks Amazon and thanks to my fabulous fans of fantasy!

Amit Dutta

Amit is an award-winning concept artist with a knack for environmental design. Looking at the technical expertise displayed in his works, you would never guess that he is self-taught. While working a day job¬†in IT as a senior technical analyst, Amit burned the midnight oil painting nights and weekends, before he made the inspirational leap all artists dream of … working¬†full-time for his¬†art.
He has carved a career for himself through hard work, passion and a dedication to improving his skills.
Not only is he busy working on freelance work, he has dedicated his time to help other visual artists enhance their skills. Improve your craft with¬†content rich art lessons via his Youtube channel. Amit’s contributions to budding and emerging artists are¬†a fine example of how¬†creatives can¬†work better together. I’m a strong believer¬†that when artists share their¬†talents and collaborate, we build a stronger, more fertile art community.
Check out my favourites from his portfolio.
stealin_by_m0nkeybread-d9kvmum
Stealin by Amit Dutta
the_last_outpost_by_m0nkeybread-d6mipeh
The Last Outpost by Amit Dutta
the_city_of_dimah_by_bigbwana-d4nc5nb
The City of Dimah by Amit Dutta
pole_station_alphaomegaomicronzeetheta_5_ay0_ay0_by_bigbwana-d4qaus3
Pole Station AlphaOmegaOmicronZeeTheta by Amit Dutta
amit_dutta___vurtmaze_png_by_m0nkeybread-d93iox1
Vurt by Amit Dutta
the_final_voyage_by_m0nkeybread-d8qdxeg
The Final Voyage by Amit Dutta
heathen_brotherhood_colony_outpost_by_m0nkeybread-d6j7dxn
HEATHEN – Brotherhood Colony Outpost by Amit Dutta
4_seconds_to_green_by_bigbwana-d4n6qwv
Four Seconds to Green by Amit Dutta
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Amit’s talent has been recognised by the world famous studio, Weta Workshop. His work was¬†was handpicked and published in Paul Tobin’s¬†Science Fiction and Fantasy showcase White Cloud Worlds Volume 3. He features alongside other New Zealand greats famous for their work on¬†The Lord of the Rings, Mad Max: Fury Road, King Kong, Chappie, Chronicles of Narnia, Avatar and District 9.
If you are in New Zealand you can check out his work being shown in the Imaginary Worlds exhibition which is open until 8th Feb 2016.
Check out more of Amit’s Portfolio on Tumblr and his Deviant Art page.
Find him on Facebook.
Get in contact and commission him for your next project.

Fan Art First

Dragon Choir has it’s first work of fan art and I am blown away with excitement!

Zix was one of the first artists to feature on my site with her beautifully detailed vector art.

Check out what Zix has created.

Elrin and Minni by Zix
Elrin and Minni by ZixPainter

Fans of Dragon Choir will see how beautifully the relationship between these two characters has been captured. Both looking up at the stars like they see the future, yet from different perspectives. For me, it captures the moment they find common ground.

Elrin and Minni (WIP) by Zix
Elrin and Minni (WIP) by ZixPainter

I was so touched by this image, I asked Zix if she would let me in on how it was created.

“The idea of them lying under a cloudy night sky came to me accidently, while I tried to fall asleep (it’s a normal thing when inspiration comes to you just before you’re going to enter dreamland … at least in my life).
Since I’m not a professional artist, there were new things for me to work on: first of all, of course, the perspective. I had to stop drawing from time to time to study the¬†anatomic form¬†of my left hand for hints. Secondly, it was interesting to think of their outfit, with which I spent quite a lot of time. Colouring is always the most interesting step for me, so I put a lot of effort into it … as always ūüôā And the third new thing was painting the grass with this¬†perspective, I tried my best there…”

Zix, you have done me a very special thing by creating this picture.

Thank you so much!

You can check out more of Zix’s works on her Deviant Art page.
A left field connection here… She¬†has done a fantastic Robert Downey Jr. too.¬†If you are a fan like me, you’ll love it!

Andrey Vasilchenko

Andrey is¬†one of the finest hands in fantasy illustration I’ve come across. He illustrates¬†fantasy themes both with original flare and old world technique. There is something about Andrey’s¬†style that reminds me of his great countryman¬†Ilya Yefimovich Repin. (Even Repin¬†dipped his brushes in magic when he did‚ÄĒthe world famous‚ÄĒSadko¬†in the Underwater Kingdom). That said, in my opinion, Andrey gives Repin a run for his money with fantasy art. Check out my favourites from Andrey’s collection.

Reward by Andrey Vasilchenko
Reward by Andrey Vasilchenko
Slave by Andrey Vasilchenko
Slave by Andrey Vasilchenko
The Hunt by Andrey Vasilchenko
The Hunt by Andrey Vasilchenko
Waterfall by Andrey Vasilchenko
Waterfall by Andrey Vasilchenko
Castle by Andrey Vasilchenko
Castle by Andrey Vasilchenko
Magician by Andrey Vasilchenko
Magician by Andrey Vasilchenko
Forest Demoness 2 by Andrey Vasilchenko
Forest Demoness 2 by Andrey Vasilchenko

Andrey is a freelance illustrator and has been picked up by Alawar Entertainment Inc, who are responsible for the tremendously addictive puzzlers that have hit it big as apps, including¬†projects such as¬†Treasures of Montezuma 4, Treasures of Montezuma¬†–¬†Arena and Farm Frenzy 4.

Treasures of Montezuma Arena - background by Andrey Vasilchenko
Treasures of Montezuma Arena – background by Andrey Vasilchenko
Check out more of Andrey’s awesome¬†art at his Deviant Art page and his ArtStation page.
Find him on Facebook.
Commission him to do your next project via his website.

Recycle Art

Recycle Art began ten years ago and first began selling their magnificent steel sculptures to the public four years later. Each work of art is made out of reclaimed car and motorbike parts sourced from local junk yards. Designers, welders and helpers make up a fifteen person team that tackle any sized project.

The Recycle Art Gallery The Recycle Art Gallery

As well as forging their own artful designs, Recycle Art can create a custom sculpture just for you. They are so good at what they do, all you need to supply is a picture or a model.

Skinny Dragon - 50cm by Recycle Art
Skinny Dragon – 50cm by Recycle Art

Good things come in small packages. This little delight reminds me of Prisella, from Dragon Choir.

Chinese General by Recycle Art (custom order from model)
Chinese General by Recycle Art (custom order from model)

This guy is the legendary general, Guan Yu, (best call him Guan Gong in case his spirit gets offended) made famous and then deified for his role in the Three Kingdoms period. I love Chinese history and I’m¬†a sucker for Chinese folklore. The¬†stories about him are a beautiful artful confusion (not confucian) of both.

Warrior - 2.2m by Recycle Art
Warrior – 2.2m by Recycle Art

Medieval walking dead warriors are much more frightening than the modern day urbanite variety. Look at the imagination that has gone into the kit on this guy.

Dragon Coffee Shop - 15m by Recycle Art
Dragon Coffee Shop – 15m by Recycle Art

I love¬†a coffee as much as any stereotypical writer out there, but I must say that I would trip over myself to get into a coffee shop that looked as monumentally awesome as¬†this. Who’s in with me?

Glad - 5m by Recycle Art
Glad – 5m by Recycle Art

Never fear. If the big¬†dragon won’t let you near her hoard of¬†coffee beans, just call in the 5m Gladiator to distract her.

Dragon 2012 - 2m by Recycle Art
Dragon 2012 – 2m by Recycle Art

The attention to detail on these dragons is phenomenal. The postures and anatomic proportions really demonstrate the skill of the artists.

Dragon 2014 - 2.5m by Recycle Art
Dragon 2014 – 2.5m by Recycle Art

While I have focused on my favourite fantasy creations from Recycle Art’s portfolio, be aware that Recycle Art do far more sculptures in every¬†different style imaginable. They have cars, motorbikes, animals, dinosaurs, insects, fairies and furniture…anything. If you can think it, these guys can sculpt it. They are a seriously talented and dedicated team of artisans.

Browse their online portfolio at www.recycleart.ch
Like them on Facebook.
If you are in Switzerland or passing through, drop in:

Im Spilhof 3

5626 Hermetschwil bei Bremgarten AG

Switzerland

Get in contact now and commission a sculpture for yourself or your corporate headquarters for guaranteed attention.
info@recycleart.ch
+41 56 633 30 66
+41 79 677 89 90

Sebastien Hue

Sebastien is dedicated to the CG art scene. Not only does he produce his own fantastic works and deliver outstanding commissions for his clients, Sebastien gives back to the CG art community via tutorials and workshops in various publications including Advanced Creation Photoshop, 3D Art Direct, Advanced Photoshop, and more.

He has also featured in two fantastic books alongside the best in the business:

Digital Mayhem 3D Landscape Techniques which shows the secrets to creating stunning landscapes and Digital Mayhem 3D Machine Techniques which is a detailed and innovative guide to professional machine images. These books are a must for any aspiring CG artist and are filled with hundreds of masterpieces from the top talent in CG art. Both are Compiled by Duncan Evans, launch Editor of 3D Artist Magazine.

With all the above you’d be quite proud, but Sebastien’s talent has also led him to work with big names in publishing across the globe such as¬†Harper Collins¬†(USA), Imagine Publishing¬†(UK), Oracom (France) and Baste√Į Lubbe (Germany). The games industry picked up on his skills¬†and he has worked with majors like Iceberg Interactive with a long¬†catalogue of sci-fi strategies and Ukando, indie creators of Alien Tribe 2. Because I’m a big believer in indie¬†art I’m sending a super digital high five to the folks at Ukando, Keep up the great work! Alien Tribe is one of my favourite ipad games. Who knew that I’d be featuring the artist behind Alien Tribe’s¬†awesome¬†artwork. It’s a beautiful world.

Attraction by Sebastien Hue Attraction by Sebastien Hue

I just love the action in this scene. I can imagine it just like a movie with the ships screaming through the tumbling asteroids and the slow dance of the planets in the background.

The Emperor's Spire by Sebastien Hue for the game Horizon. The Emperor’s Spire by Sebastien Hue for the game Horizon.

Here is a piece that game developer L30 commissioned for their game Horizon (get it on Steam to satisfy your appetite for space conquest).

From Another Age - Concept 5 - Extractors by Sebastien Hue From Another Age – Concept 5 – Extractors by Sebastien Hue

I’ve paraphrased Sebastien’s explanation: The Mecha Nation use advanced technologies to pump and extract water. They send¬†huge extractor spaceships to explore and drain the liquid like gigantic squid-shaped parasites. They bring the cargo back to the main station and thus fuel a¬†planet of their own. Basically it’s a planet powered by nuclear reactors and protected by a heavy plasma shield.

Sweet Sci-fi to nourish your soul!

Dragon's Anger by Sebastien Hue Dragon’s Anger by Sebastien Hue

If you think Sci-fi is all Sebastien can do…think again and take in this dragon. Fine work indeed. That bad boy is ready for the hunt.

The Lost Ship by Sebastien Hue The Lost Ship by Sebastien Hue

The Lost Ship¬†is a¬†work that makes me think of the tall ships from my¬†Dragon Choir¬†series. The jagged mountains and the sunset could have been painted straight from the pages. This piece¬†shocked me when I found it because I wrote a scene just like this for a yet to be released novel in my book¬†series.¬†For me, this is the magic of art, where¬†an artist creates¬†perfect resonance with a thought or feeling of another person.¬†I am really touched by this and so grateful to have discovered such a talent. I’m sure you feel the same.

Sebastien has so many more epic works in his portfolio. Make sure you check out the links below for more.
Join him in the Deviant Art community.
Follow Sebastien of Facebook.
If you want your project to have galactic impact check out Sebastien’s website and commission some spectacular digital art.¬†www.shue-digital.com