Inspiring Warrior Fashion

12-warrior-armor-ensembles-history-770x437I love this site. Thank you Realm of History.

For those of you writing historical novels or fantasy epics, this is a wonderful article about fashionable warrior ensembles. It’s easy to see why warriors and knights needed someone to dress them. Can you imagine what it was like to get suited up, and then ride or run into battle wearing this amount of metal and gear?

via 12 Warrior Armor Ensembles From History You Should Know About

Epic Fantasy for the Fans


Under the Shadow


In the Astralasphere Spiral series, Sionnach Wintergreen leads us on a fantastical journey through kingdoms only she can create. The depth and richness of her imagination seep through into her intense, poetic descriptions: from Khydgel’s tortuous Tower of Truth, where the story begins, to the haunted Temple of Fai Lon, where it ends, I am charmed by her words, and how easily she draws us into her world through details:

In one corner, a simple black helm housed a spider and its egg sac. In another, a pair of high leather boots had begun to disintegrate, one remaining erect while the other crumbled over on its side, connected to the floor by a veil of feathery webs. In the middle of the room a desk presided, still piled with journals and parchments, magnifying disks, ink wells and a quill, an orb the size of a clenched fist, a hefty hourglass, and a chalice, the bottom of which was blackened by a dust which might at one time have been bloglun wine.

The story’s antagonist, Lord Mage Asfret, is a complex beast, an Auin Gailfen, who will stop at nothing to attain the power of the Astralasphere (a relic that can empower magic-users via crystals their wear on their bodies). With his lover, Retchen, a hideous wretch deformed by spellfire, but with the ability to read minds, Asfret rampages through the kingdom, torturing and killing, on his quest to retrieve and restore the Astralasphere. Their love is treacherous: he is a man who revels in pain, and she a woman who enjoys providing it. But only so far.

It is easy to love the purple-eyed, crooked-horned hero: Lycian. A Gailfen spellcaster, he is a sweet, gentle soul who travels with his beloved old donkey, Weevil, and his grey wolf, Ayu. How can you not love a man who cares for animals? I am not sure why Lycian allows Writheria to bully him. Does he really love her? Or, is he mourning the loss of his true love, Mylinka? Like all young heroes, Lycian is an orphan with a tragic past and harbours unknown power. He is a great man, but his true destiny is yet to unfold.

The two protagonists in this story are lovers who believe each other dead. I love this concept. I have not read Book One yet, but there is enough backstory here to persuade me that they are fated. Lycian and Mylinka reside in two different places—he in Anjilith and she in Khydgel—and I hope as I read that they will eventually find each other.

Mylinka is a healer, fostered from age twelve, by the abusive Murdoth (one of the Crooked Asp) after her father is murdered at Keep Kylari. She has a few issues. It is her mission to avenge her father’s death and regain her home. I like that Mylinka becomes a strong effective assassin bent on revenging the deaths of, not only her father, but two of her best friends, with a dagger named Mercy and a sword named Despair.

Both Lycian and Mylinka suffer greatly in this story and we learn much of their history; something I dare not divulge. Suffice to say there must be a Book Three.

The book is rich, as rich as Lord Asfret intends to be. Epic fantasy, it employs a host of characters and settings. Sionnach has provided keys to the kingdom: beautiful maps and glossaries of people, places, and terms. But, though it is complex and entirely new to me, I am able to slip inside her world and travel on this complete and satisfying adventure.

Find Sionnach Wintergreen on Amazon

Film Junkies…

If you love film, this is the site for you. Film School Rejects: Movies, TV, Culture

With movie trailers, reviews, articles, and features, you’ll find everything you ever wanted to know. They also offer “What to Watch” for those moments when you just can’t decide.

Also, check out @oneperfectshot on Twitter to see photos like this:

“I am Groot” The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

I just watched Vol 1 and can’t wait to see this.

What’s on your summer viewing list?

Of Yachts and Men (and Women)

I had a great opportunity for some research and  hands-on experience today when my friend invited me out to Mosquito Creek in North Vancouver to help scrub up her sailboat. This lively and welcoming marina is owned and operated by the Squamish Nation. Her sailboat, the Seven-n-Half % is a well-loved 27′ beauty built in California in the 1980s.


My job was to scrub the winter soot off the white cockpit (without tripping over the tiller). I climbed the ladder and worked up top while she and her grandson prepped and painted the hull. I managed to climb out to the bow (without falling off) and scrub down part of the starboard deck before it was time to load her in a sling for transport. This is how boats are moved from “the hard” back into the water.

After she settled, we boarded, and my friend manoeuvred her under power through the marina, then backed into a tight docking space using the tiller. I can only imagine what she can do with masts and sails and a good wind on open water.

In To Sleep with Stones, Michael Stryker sails through Desolation Sound, then up past Johnston Strait into the Broughton Archipelago near the north tip of Vancouver Island.  I spent some time working at light stations a few years ago, and have a feel for the marine landscape in and around Vancouver Island, but the actual plotting of that journey required lots of research. How far can you sail in a day? What are the hazards? What can happen out on the sea during a gale?

In book three, which I am writing now–working title, To Render a Raven–Estrada and his crew are forced to retake that journey, and many of the scenes occur on or around the boat. They won’t be taking a sailboat this time, though. Their power yacht will look more like this:


Who can resist a flybridge? I spent hours and hours searching online ads for boats until I found the perfect yacht. One of the perks of being a writer is that you can create wealthy IMG_2377characters with unlimited funds: white leather couches, full bar, a master cabin with ensuite…

Now I get to work out who is in this crew, what shenanigans will occur, and what misery will befall them. This was a most inspiring day.