Author Interview: William Ray

SelfPubFantasyMonth

Today marks the first ever Author Interview on Off The TBR! William Ray graciously accepted my interview request and I want to take a moment to thank him.

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Ray is the self-published author of the Tales Of The Verin Empire series which at this point consists of two full length novels, Gedlund and The Great Restoration and a short story, A Case of Eager Heirs . You can read my reviews of those novels by clicking on the links in the titles above. Continue reading

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The Great Restoration: A Tale of The Verin Empire Review

My Post

Author: William Ray
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date:  2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 483
(I received a copy of his book from the author in exchange for an honest review)

Gaslight, elves, goblins, secret societies, kidnapping, detectives, and black-powder fantasy. All of these come together as William Ray continues his Tales Of The Verin Empire series with The Great Restoration. Where Gedlundthe first book in the series was a mix of black powder fantasy mixed with sword and sorcery while on military campaigns at the boundaries of the empire, for this installment Ray took a different approach. In fact he kinda went with a slightly different sub-genre. The Great Restoration is a detective-mystery story set within both the heart of the empire and one if its recently acquired territories. Continue reading

Gedlund: A Tale Of The Verin Empire Review

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Author: William Ray
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date:  December 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 627

(I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Black powder weapons, railroads, steamships, spear chucking goblins, zombies, vampire lords, lightning giants and magic.

That was a list, not a sentence, but did it get your attention?

In Gedlund, William Ray takes blackpowder fantasy and merges it with sword and sorcery. What he produced is a war story set in a fantasy world that seems almost real. You know, except for the goblins and vampires and whatnot. So let’s get to it… Continue reading

Still Around…Still Reading…

In case you were wondering, yeah I’m still here. As I mentioned a few weeks ago in my Is The Month Over Yet post things have gotten a little hectic around here. Between the kids’ extra-curricular activities and a crazy busy work schedule that hasn’t calmed down for nearly a month my average night lately has me sitting down to relax somewhere between 9:00 and 10:00 PM. At that point I just don’t have it in me to blog. The weekends haven’t been much better. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not really complaining…well maybe a little…but seriously I enjoy the kids’ stuff and being busy at work is good job security (in theory) so I’m only partially complaining.

Now, I may be too tired to blog, but I’m not too tired to read! Which means I’m starting to get way behind on reviews, not just random posts about anything book related. And I feel really bad about this guys. Most of what I’ve been reading lately are books I’ve either requested, or that have been sent to me by a publisher/publicist (which I agreed to accept)…which means I kinda owe it to them to get the reviews done. The only problem is my best time to write is on the weekend and I will probably be working the next couple of weekends. This sucks. But whatever, it is what it is.

Anyway, below is what I’ve been reading and what I hope to get reviews up about soon.

img_3604Smoke Eaters by Sean Grigsby

Dragons VS Firefighters. Need I say anything else? I really enjoyed this one. Fun sci-fi/fantasy mash-up with hints of Ghostbusters. If you don’t want to wait for the review just know that I really liked it and think you will too. Unless you don’t like dragons or firefighters, or ghostbusters…but then you’d just be weird.

 

 

img_3605-1The Song Of All by Tina LeCount Myers

Fantasy in a Scandinavian setting. Have I ever told you how much I like snow? I kinda love it. This book actually hit on a bunch of my reading goals for the year. Debut author…check. Non-western European setting…check. Independent/small press or self-published author…check. Books with snow…check. OK that last one wasn’t on the list but c’mon. I even ended up with an extra copy of this one and held my first book giveaway. The problem was I didn’t really like it. I’m still trying to figure out why and how I want to review it. Like is it just not for me or something else? Stay tuned…

IMG_3798.jpgApex Magazine: February 2018 Issue

One of my goals this year is to read more short fiction. One solution to that has been to buy more short story collections in book format. The other solution I hit upon…crazy I know…was reading some sci-fi/fantasy magazines. Then two things happened. I discovered Apex is published right here in Lexington, and I read one of the short stories for the month and absolutely loved it. So I bought the issue. This will be my first review of a magazine and I’m kind of excited about the different format.

img_3599Gedlund: A Tale Of The Verin Empire by William Ray

This is my current read and I’m about half-way through. So far I’m loving it. It’s blackpowder fantasy (which I thoroughly enjoy) with goblins, elves, and the undead. yeah.

Ray has also done his homework when it comes to some of the details of 19th century army life and it gives me all the feels. In a previous life I was a re-enactor (story for another day) and as I read I’m like “that! exactly that!” Ah memories. Anyway I’m really looking forward to the second half of the book.

Well that’s it for now. I’m gonna try really hard to get a new review up sometime in the next week.  But then again I had said I wanted to get one posted last weekend and it didn’t happen. We’ll see. In the meantime happy reading, and let me know what you’ve been enjoying lately.

My TBR Short Stack: 2/17/18

We’re in Pigeon Forge for the weekend celebrating my father-in-law’s birthday. We’ve got an awesome cabin but unfortunately no WiFi which means I’m writing this on my phone (yay data plan) and not typing it on my laptop so please bear with any formatting issues.

OK things are slightly out of hand. My TBR pile has grown so large it can’t really fit in the cabinet by my reading chair. I may have to buy a bookshelf for it. I blame no one but the authors who keep writing books for me to read. I mean I appreciate what you do for me authors, but I can only read so fast.

Anyway I thought I’d post a quick update on the books on my current short stack. These are the books I expect to read over the next month or so (I average about one a week). As always this list is subject to change and usually does. Continue reading

Best Books Of 2017

It feels a little strange to be writing this post today. I started 2017 with a goal of trying to see just how many books I could read in the year. There was no set amount, I was just going to note a few words about them as I went and post pictures to facebook and twitter with pictures of my bedside bookshelf as it filled up with each read. By the end of the year I was blogging and writing reviews. So who knows what I’ll be doing this time in 2018.

Last night I took a look back at my list. I read 47 books in 2017. I’ve discovered that’s not a lot compared to some of you but I feel pretty good about it. I’ve put the full list at the bottom of this post. There’s some really good books in that list. I didn’t get to read as many works published in 2017 as I would have liked and there were a lot of great books to come out in the SFF world this year. I wish I could have got to more of them.

Anyway, for this post I’ve listed the seven books that I either gave a five star review on the blog, or that I would have given a five star review had I been blogging at the time I read it. Four of the seven are debuts! Not all of them fall into the speculative fiction focus of the blog but I do read a wider selection. You’ll even notice some history books at the bottom where I’ve listed all the reads of the year. So here you go…my best of 2017 in the order I read them. Continue reading

Blackwing Review

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Author: Ed McDonald
Publisher: ACE
Published: October 2017

“Slowly realizing I like grimdark more than I thought I did.” That was my reaction just a few chapters into Ed McDonald’s dark, gritty, and bloody debut, Blackwing. If this book doesn’t make you a fan of the grimdark genre nothing will.

Hope, Reason, Humanity: The Misery Breaks Them All.

“Under its cracked and wailing sky, the Misery is a vast and blighted expanse, the arcane remnant of a devastating war with the immortals known as the Deep Kings. The war ended nearly a century ago, and the enemy is kept at bay only by the existence of the Engine, a terrible weapon that protects the Misery’s border. Across the corrupted no-man’s-land teeming with twisted magic and malevolent wraiths, the Deep Kings and their armies bide their time. Watching. Waiting.”

Continue reading

Promise Of Blood Review

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By: Brian McClellan
Publisher: Orbit
Published: April 16, 2013

Black powder and magic clash in a tale of rebellion and vengeance set in a world reminiscent of revolutionary France in Brian McClellan’s Promise Of BloodThis first installment of The Powder Mage Trilogy is gritty, action packed, and filled with intrigue. If you’re a fan of the fantasy genre and haven’t already picked this one up, run to your local bookstore (or online account) and get it. Trust me. Continue reading