Ty Johnston – City of Rogues

Title: City of Rogues: Book I of the Kobalos Trilogy

Author: Ty Johnston

ISBN: 2940000786918

Page count: 342

Genre: Epic fantasy

Price: regular $2.99, currently on sale for Kindle for only 89 cents

Author Bio:

Ty Johnston is a former newspaper journalist who has been writing fiction for more than 20 years. His great loves in life are reading, writing, beer, house rabbits and beagles. And his wife. Can’t forget her.  Find out more at his blog, tyjohnston.blogspot.com.

Tell us about your book:

Kron Darkbow seeks vengeance, and he plans to have it no matter the costs. Returning to the city of his birth after 15 years, he hunts down the wizard responsible for the deaths of those he loved only to find out another was responsible for the murders. That other is Belgad the Liar, a former barbarian chieftan who is now boss of the city’s underworld.

Following his path for blood, Kron comes across the magical healer, Randall Tendbones, and accidentally reveals Randall’s darkest secret to the world. It’s a secret about the past, a secret that has kept Randall on the run for three years. Now it has caught up with him, and Belgad the Liar is suddenly the least of Randall and Kron’s concerns. The gaze of Lord Verkain, king of of the dark northern land of Kobalos, has fallen upon Kron and Randall. And it is a gaze filled with madness.

City of Rogues is a dark action/adventure epic fantasy novel in the tradition of David Gemmell and Glenn Cook. It is Book I of the Kobalos Trilogy.

How long did it take to write the book?

Approximately one year, though I spent about four years altogether on the Kobalos trilogy as a whole.

What inspired you to write the book?

I’ve been a reader all my life, and had dabbled in short stories for many, many years with some stories published from time to time. I read most genres, but fantasy has always been one of my favorites, so it was natural for me to take up fantasy for my first novel. As for specific writers who inspired me, there are the traditional fantasy authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, etc., but I was also influenced by a lot of authors who were published during my childhood and teen years in the 1970s and ’80s, such as Robert Aspirin, Alan Dean Foster, Terry Brooks, etc. I’ve also always had a fondness for Sword and Sorcery authors, including Robert Howard, Michael Moorcock, Fritz Leiber and others. Little-known fantasy author and fellow Kentucky native Andrew J. Offutt had a big effect on me when I was young as I loved his versions of Robert Howard’s characters, especially Cormac Mac Art. Offutt’s Thieves’ World character, Hanse Shadowspawn, is possibly my favorite fantasy character of all time.

Honestly, writing has always been my life. I can’t remember a time, even when very young, that I did not have the urge to write, to create worlds and plots and characters. I can’t imagine not writing. It’s as important as breathing to me.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

I wrote “City of Rogues” mostly late at night when I got home from my day job as a newspaper editor, which meant I usually wrote about 2 to 3 a.m. Nowadays I’m a freelancer, so you’d think I’d have more time for fiction, but I’m often quite busy blogging or working on non-fiction articles. Still, I fit in my fiction writing whenever I can; I can usually work in an hour or two worth of fiction writing per day.

Research is more difficult to describe when one is talking about fantasy fiction. I’m pretty well read in fantasy literature, so that could count as some research. But I’ve also spent some time in period weapons training, through college courses and Renaissance fair work, and I believe this is important for fantasy writers. If you’re going to write about people wielding swords, I feel you should know a little bit about it. I’m no expert, not at all, but I do know it’s not so easy swinging around a great big, two-handed sword. How do I know this? Experience. And different types of swords are built for different types of attacks and combat, as are different types of armor, castles, cannons, etc. Even if the reader doesn’t know some of this basic information, the writer should because his or her characters would. As for magic, it doesn’t hurt to have some knowledge of historical magical traditions to help one form an idea of how magic will work in one’s own fiction.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

The inertia to run out and buy my next book. Actually, I hope readers have fun reading “City of Rogues.” I want them to enjoy the experience, and hopefully they’ll be back for more. While The Kobalos Trilogy as a whole is epic fantasy, I try to throw in a little of everything. Obviously there’s action and adventure, but there’s also some slight comedy, some of the horrific and even a touch of romance.

Where can we go to buy your book?



Barnes & Noble:




Any other links or info you’d like to share?

My personal blog:


My beer blog:


Excerpt from book:

Kron was checking the throwing darts in the back of his left glove when he felt a tug at his shoulder. Looking back and down he saw a long, thin dart with a round ball of mud at one end sticking out of his hanging cloak mere inches from his arm. For a second he did not realize what he was looking at, then his training and instincts kicked in.

From out of the darkness came two charging figures, one tall and one shorter, each with lengthy swords pointed in Kron’s direction. Kron had only a moment to realize the tall figure was a foppishly-dressed man while the other was a woman who moved with grace and speed.

Kron would have none of their games. He had been surprised, but he knew how to extricate himself from such situations. He slung out his grappling hook, listened briefly for it to attach itself to the side of the roof, then dove head first into the garden.

Two jabbing blades missed him by inches.


The Skull Ring – Scott Nicholson

Title: The Skull Ring

Author: Scott Nicholson

Page count: 320

Genre: mystery/suspense

Price: $2.99

Author Bio:

Scott Nicholson is the author of 10 novels, including The Red Church, Speed Dating with the Dead, and Drummer Boy. He’s also published three story collections and the novella Burial to Follow, as well as three comic books. His web site is www.hauntedcomputer.com

Tell us about your book:

Julia Stone is piecing together childhood memories when she discovers a mysterious silver ring. Her lawyer boyfriend is turning strange, her therapist is aggressive, and the handyman turns up whenever one of those odd incidents occurs. When Julia connects the strange incidents to her past, she is targeted by a sinister cult.  She has to trust the handyman to help her flee through the remote mountains, but she doesn’t know which side he’s on.

How long did it take to write the book?

Nine months.

What inspired you to write the book?

Research in False Recovered Memory Syndrome and Satanic Ritual Abuse, and a general distrust of psychiatry.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

I read the DSM-IV and case histories of the syndromes, and the obligatory Internet research on Satanism. Julia is a reporter like me so a lot of that experience comes from real life. Except the part about Satanists wanting to claim my soul.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

I see my books as little journeys, usually asking spiritual questions. I hope people emerge with a better understanding of themselves and why they are here.

Where can we go to buy your book?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Skull-Ring-ebook/dp/B003980ELA

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/9523

My  web site: http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/skullring.htm

Any other links or info you’d like to share?


Excerpt from book:

I locked the door.

Julia’s sweating palm gripped the doorknob, the click of the tumblers still echoing inside her skull. Would he be inside, waiting, his lungs holding a hateful breath? The years fell away, and for a moment, she was a child again. A scared little helpless—


That was Memphis, this was Elkwood. This was the new and improved Julia Stone, the one who was on the path to healing. Imaginary creeps no longer stalked the alleys of her mind. Thanks to Dr. Forrest.

Julia let the door swing open and squinted into the dark throat of the house. Nobody home. Nothing to fear, just the bland patterns of her furniture to welcome her. Just another day in her new normal life.

She went inside, not letting herself look back. When you were cured, you didn’t care what was behind you. Forward was all that mattered. Forward, another step, even though something was wrong with the coffee table.

At first she thought they were small boxes of food, maybe delicate chocolates or caviar, arranged in a line across the table. Something Mitchell would buy her to make up for a slight. But how did the packages get inside?

Her legs carried her closer, her fist clenched around the mace canister. The row of squares weren’t boxes. She touched them in the dimness, let her fingers track over the raised surfaces. Wooden blocks.

She picked up the nearest one, her breath catching. Tilted toward the window, the letter caught enough light to show its cruel hook, its sharp teeth.


She placed the block back on the table, casting a look down the shadowed hall. Nothing there but dark and darker.

Her hand trembled as she picked up the next block in line. She lifted it six inches before she dropped it, and the wood clacked against the wood of the table and tumbled under the couch like an oversized dice.

She didn’t need to read the letter to know what it said. Because the next block was the same, and so was the next.


She slapped the blocks off the table and knelt on the carpet, her heart playing her ribs like a mad xylophonist, the melody broken, the rhythm spastic, the blows landing much too hard.

A noise behind her, louder than her heartbeat. Nothing, she knew. She would be strong, because this was Elkwood and bad things couldn’t follow her here. She wouldn’t look, because cured people didn’t jump at every imagined sound.

She couldn’t help it. She turned.

The creep stood on the porch, six-foot two.

Metal glinted in his fist.


Tonya Plank – Swallow

Title: Swallow

Author: Tonya Plank

ISBN: 9780615280998

Page count: 402

Genre: General Fiction / Women’s Fiction

Price: $14.99 paperback, $3.99 e-book

Author Bio:

Tonya Plank worked as a criminal appeals attorney in New York for many years. A former competitive ballroom dancer and a longtime balletomane, she writes the dance blog, “Swan Lake Samba Girl, which has been lauded by James Wolcott of Vanity Fair and Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal and has been cited in those publications as well as CNN.com, the New York Times ArtsBeat blog, and the Washington Post. Swallow, her first novel, won the gold medal for best regional fiction in the 2010 Independent Publisher Book Awards and the gold medal for women’s fiction in the 2010 Living Now Book Awards and was a finalist in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards and the National Indie Excellence Awards. She lives in New York and blogs at www.tonyaplank.com.

Tell us about your book:

The novel follows Sophie Hegel, a shy New York lawyer from small-town Florence Arizona, known not for the Renaissance but for housing a large prison. She’s just graduated from Yale Law and landed her first job when, one evening she feels a fist-like ball at the base of her throat. Diagnosed with psychological condition Globus Hystericus, this “fist-ball” wreaks havoc, causing her difficulty eating, speaking, and eventually breathing. With a cast of characters that includes a pornographer father, a sister with a knack for getting knocked up by denizens of the town pen, a tough-talking fashion maven, a painter of male nudes, an eccentric Sing Sing-residing client and a bevy of privileged Manhattan attorneys and judges, Swallow is a dark comedy about the distance that can separate fathers and daughters, and about a young woman’s struggle to survive in a world of pedigreed professionals for which she has no preparation.

How long did it take to write the book?

It took me about a year to write the first draft, then another two years of revisions.

What inspired you to write the book?

I suffered from the disorder and wanted to write about it. I also worked as a criminal appeals attorney for several years and had developed strong feelings about the criminal justice system and wanted to write a little about those as well.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

I was working full time when I wrote the book, so it helped me immensely to take writing workshops. That way, the workshop became my social life and I’d be forced to have something decent to show my friends and classmates each week.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

I hope they come away with an understanding of what it’s like to suffer from an anxiety disorder and some sense of what it’s like to be a New York City public defender. But I also tried to write everything in a humorous way so I hope they’re entertained as well!

Where can we go to buy your book?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Swallow-Tonya-Plank/dp/0615280994/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1278524431&sr=1-1

BarnesandNoble.com: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Swallow/Tonya-Plank/e/9780615280998

IndieReader.com: http://www.indiereader.com/shop-book_detail.htm?id=197

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/12099

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
My website and blog are at: http://www.tonyaplank.com/swan_lake_samba_girl/

Excerpt from book:

It was like something out of a Freudian case study — the result of a repressed memory of choking on Herr so and so’s semen at six months of age or something insane. But as a lawyer, I’d always operated in the realm of logic; never cared much for the repressed memory thing, or for the idea that everything is sexual. Which is why I was so nervous about seeing a shrink. They weren’t all Freudians, I tried to reassure myself – only the psychoanalysts, right? It didn’t matter anyway; I was rather desperate at that point. Just focus on the “positive,” I told myself: with a food neurosis and a psychologist, in your measly nine months here, you’re on your way to becoming the consummate New York woman, Sophie Hegel.

. . .

Dr. Ames seemed decent. He didn’t mention semen or repressed memories, although he did elicit a clarification when I’d told him I was having problems swallowing: “Food, you mean?” He was fortyish, a bit pudgy, with a round cherubic face that emanated contentment like a white beluga whale. And he had an eye like Sartre’s — I always forget the exact term — lazy eye, deviating eye? I resigned to call it his “Sartre eye.” At first it threw me a bit because it didn’t seem like he was looking directly at me when he talked. Then, for that very reason, it began to make me feel more at ease. Like he wasn’t staring me down or sizing me up.