Life Defined

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Free Days: Empyreal Fate

Greetings and Good Mornin', Readers, Writers, Friends, Acquaintances:

I am happy to announce my fantasy novel's first-ever FREE day! That's right; you heard correctly: Today, everyone has the chance to obtain a free Kindle eBook of Empyreal Fate. Don't have a Kindle? No problem! Amazon has a nifty link that lets you download a Kindle app for free: click here. That way, you can read Empyreal Fate at no cost: on your computer, smartphone, Tablet, i-device, etc... So if you're interested in a fantasy read with a bit of romance, suspense, betrayal, and darkness (not to mention... elves) - all tied together with poetic, archaic language, then you will want to give Empyreal Fate a try. And if you are so kind as to read it, I am always appreciative of reviews.

What are you waiting for? The realm of Llathala awaits~

Filled to the brim with forbidden love, an ancient evil, and a nation in disrepair, Empyreal Fate is a tale of riveting bravery and mortal corruption.

The land of Llathala lingers on the brink of war between men and elves, a dark history surrounding each race. Stirred by tensions of the land, a shadow of the past reemerges, taking precedence in reality and consuming the very soul of mans’ mortal weakness. Darrion, the son of a poor laborer, is ensnared in a hostile world, forced to choose between loyalty to his king or the counsel of the elves. Yet Fate has other plans in store, tying his course to Amarya, an elven royalblood of mysterious quality and unsurpassable beauty. But this forbidden connection incites betrayal from members of their own kin, marking them as traitors to the crown. In a land torn asunder, only Fate’s decree can allow such love to coexist with an ancient enmity.

                                    Behold: A Llathalan Annal: Empyreal Fate – Part One.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

New Release: "Crown of Ash" by Steven Montano

Good Morning, Mates:

How is the world on this fine day? Though it's hardly begun, I can tell it is going to be a swell Monday indeed; I can taste it in the air. To begin, I am honored to introduce author Steven Montano to my blogsite. He writes dark, epic fantasy novels with a dystopian, military flavor. And, as his website attests, he incorporates real vampires in his work. Today, we are to be treated to an excerpt and a blurb of Mr. Montano's latest novel, Crown of Ash, which is Book #4 in his Blood Skies series. So, without further ado, fetch your favorite drink (preferably hot cocoa), flip on some tunes for effect (how about New Age?), and poise your attention to Mr. Montano's latest piece:


Crown of Ash Excerpt: The Winterlands
He looks out from the void.
He is nothing.  A ghost presence.  A phantom. 
Trapped in a land of whispering voices. 
He has been there for so very long.
The world is saturated in darkness.  It slithers down the trees like rain.
Years have passed since he first arrived in that dismal place.  His face is leathery and rough, and he wears a thick beard.  His hair is long and unkempt.  His skin has gone dark, saturated by the soot atmosphere.  His lips are dry and his eyes sting from the dark grit that constantly lashes the landscape. 
Everything is black and cold.  The land, the trees, even the other inhabitants of that cloying realm are suffused with shadow.  It drips from every pore. 
The sky is a frozen slate of perpetual dusk.  Light shines from just over the horizon and drenches everything in an eye-numbing glaze.  The freezing wind smells of rot.
He’s come to know this land of torn red mud and black ooze.  There are few cities, all of them in ruins.  He travels past briny pools of black water and dark trees with branches weighed down by deathly pale fruit.  He avoids reptiles that breathe caustic slime and carnivorous plants that fan and pulsate like living organs.  He circumvents blood swamps and fields of moldered bones.
He isn’t the only human in that dominion of shade.  He spies natives in the distance, primitive and murderous people who roam the land in small bands.  They ride on the backs of shaggy mammoth beasts with scorpion tails. 
He sees phasing fliers, unstable bats the size of whales.  They soar low through the undine fog and howl at the ground as they search for prey.  Their riders are horned humanoids with staffs of dark fire and cloaks of mirrored scales. 
He is a stranger there, a refugee.  He walks and walks and dreams of escape, but he has been there for so long he’s almost given up hope.  The shadow world has him, and it will never let him go.  He tries to remember the world he once belonged to.  It was a scarred world, damaged beyond measure, but it was his home.  He’d protected it from danger more times than he could remember.  Never before had he appreciated it as much as he does now. 
The worst times for him are when he looks into the water.  He hugs himself tight in his cloak to shield his body against the freezing wind as he stands over clear p
ools of ice and salt.  There are only a few of those pools, derelict bodies of steaming cold liquid so utterly pale they are like liquid suns on the face of the ebon landscape.  They stare like white eyes up to the darkness of the sky.
When he stands near them he sees into the world he used to call home.  The visions are always random flashes that last just a few moments, but he finds himself staring into them more and more as the years go by. 



Crown of Ash Blurb

Eric Cross and his team have been to hell and back, but their journey isn't over yet.

Marooned in the remote criminal city of Blacksand, the only way for the mercenaries to get home is to help a local crime boss protect his territories from the Ebon Cities.

To complicate matters, Danica Black is also being hunted by The Revengers, a powerful band of corrupt prison wardens, while Cross himself is trapped in the Whisperlands, a realm of darkness controlled by a cadre of evil mages known as the Shadow Lords.

The team will battle their way through corroding wastelands and deadly vampire outposts, but even their considerable skills might not be enough to save them from the cruel machinations of the Shadow Lord’s mysterious master, a malevolent creature who has manipulated their destinies right from the beginning…

Return to the world of The Black in Book 4 of the BLOOD SKIES saga!

Crown of Ash is available on and Smashwords!
Catch up with the rest of the series on!


Steven Montano is a full-time accountant and the author of the Blood Skies series.  He enjoys dark music, depressing cinema, cooking, hiking, and spending time with his crazy family.  He lives in Washington, where he desperately prepares for the vampire apocalypse.

Visit Steven’s official website,

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