The Dead of Summer Book Sale

It’s hot outside.

Really. F’ing. Hot.

It’s so hot, I’m putting Dirty Black Summer on permanent repeat.

It’s so stifling, spiders are invading my house to escape the beating sun.  Big spiders. Poisonous spiders.

It’s so murderously muggy, birds are falling to their deaths in my yard.

And I’m deadly serious about those last two.

In this summer of dying animals, roasting insects, and melted Kindles, you’ve got two choices for how to spend your leisure time:

1. Head outside and bake with everyone else

2. Grab an e-book and put your heart on ice

I’m here for you.

Introducing the Down the Dark Path Kindle series. Four e-books. The first in the series is $0.99. The other three are only $1.99 each.

DDP mini 1

Book I. Introduction to the darkest fiction epic you’ll ever read. Your price: $0.99.

 DDP mini 2 DDP mini 3 DDP Mini 4

What’s it all about?

In Malog, the sun never shines and the rain never ceases.

Sorcerers from the ancient world gather to plot the end of all things. A civilization better left in its grave crawls to the edge of resurrection. As Andelusia, the beautiful but unwilling sorceress, turns against herself, Graehelm’s last warriors stand on fields of bones to face the Furyon hordes.

If the Grae fail, annihilation awaits.

If Andelusia sips once more from the darkness, she will reign as queen to watch the world die.

Each book is also available as a sexy black softcover.

It’s never been easier to start your journey Down the Dark Path.

J Edward Neill

(Art by Amanda Makepeace and Eileen Herron)

Casting for Nether Kingdom the Movie

Nether Kingdom. Makepeace_DevourerofStars-500x358

The last movie book in the Tyrants’ trilogy.

Pretty much the darkest thing ever.

So the cast has to be perfect, right?  Kinda like this one.

 

Let’s get to it…

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Andelusia

Emmy Rossum – She’s back again as Andelusia Anderae. She’s more powerful and beautiful than ever. Everyone wins. Except her enemies.

 

Unctulu

Timothy Spall – Notable for his excellent and creeptastic work in Harry Potter and Sweeney Todd, Tim will make a sublime, wicked, and barbarous Unctulu come to life.  Part-time assassin, full-time vulgar sadist, I wouldn’t pick anyone else to pull this role off.

*

Tom Hardy Daedelar

Tom Hardy – Ladies, feast your eyes. Good acting lovers, feast your hearts. Tom Hardy has the chops to pull off pretty much any role, but in Nether Kingdom he’ll shine as the quick-witted, womanizing pirate Daedelar. Is he good? Is he bad? Wait and see…

 

 

 

*

Nephenia

*

Christina Hendricks – Of Mad Men fame. She’s strong. She’s badass. And she gets to play the no-BS role of Nephenia, Princess of Yrul. No man stands a chance with her, save for one…

 

*

 

Thresher

Nathan Jones – Remember this guy from Troy? He was only onscreen for about a minute before Brad Pitt killed him, but he definitely left an impression. A massive, dangerous, inhumanly strong dude is needed for the role of Unctulu’s sidekick, Thresher. Lock Nathan behind a few hundred lbs. of iron armor and give him a sword big enough to cut the world in half. And afterward, he can pull off double-duty as the undead horror, Myklokain. Get to killin’, Nathan.

*

Voice of the Ur

Benedict Cumberbatch – Most of you know about him. He’s killing it in Sherlock, and more recently, his leading role in The Imitation Game.  But in Nether Kingdom, we’ll never see his face. He’ll be voice-acting only, a la Sauron in the Hobbit movies. Only this time, he’ll be even more diabolical. He’ll be the one and only voice of the world…ending…Ur.

 

*

Grimwain

 

Richard Armitage – Mass murdering, swashbuckling, king-butchering, nation-destroying. Leave your Hobbit and Robin Hood roles in the dust, Richard. As the wicked Lykaios, you’ll pretty much get to be the worst dude ever. Have fun. If I could act, this is the role I’d want.

 

Marid

 

UnknownMarid of Muthem. Finally, I’m stumped. We’ll need someone young, British, and believably cast as Andelusia’s lover. He’ll have to be innocent, yet full of wanderlust. Plus pitifully in lust with our heroine. Suggestions??

*

And reprising their roles from Down the Dark Path and Dark Moon Daughter:

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Saul

Daniel SouthernSaul of Elrain. Crankier than ever.

 

 

*

 

Garrett

Henry CavillGarrett Croft. Good guys gone bad.

 

 

Archmyr

Lee PaceThe Pale Knight, Archmyr Degiliac.  Bad guys gone…well…badder.

 

 

*

 

Ghurk Ghurlain

Daniel RadcliffeGhurk Ghurlain. A quick role, to be sure. But another one who’ll get to crush on Emmy Rossum. Better than Hermione, anyway.

 

It’s gonna happen.

It’s only a matter of time.

Nether Kingdom – Spring 2015

J Edward Neill

Nether Kingdom Cover Reveal!!

Ur Knight NK Cover Sketch Ver 2 - Copy

It began eons ago.

I had a dream. A throttling, terrifying, I-remember-every-detail kind of dream.

A few days after I had it, I drove to a craft store, bought a giant parchment-paged journal, hand-painted the cover, and wrote my dream inside. I made maps of the places I’d imagined. I designed a Dungeons & Dragons setting based on the worlds I’d seen. I invented games using tiny fragments of the story I’d unlocked inside my head. I obsessed over it for a long while.

And then I let it go.

For many years, it lay dormant inside me. It became a fantasy never realized, a story I daydreamed of, but rarely spoke of. It was destined to fall into my mind’s cobwebs. And likely, to be forgotten.

In the early 2000’s, everything changed. On a frigid winter night, with no one else near, I experienced thoughts I’d not entertained before. Alone in the dark, I started naming the places I’d dreamed of. I drew pictures of people who existed only in my head. I knew I couldn’t hold it in any longer.

I decided to write a book. Three books. Almost a million words. Already 10+ years of my life.

The books:

Down the Dark Path

Dark Moon Daughter

Nether Kingdom

All three follow Andelusia Anderae, Garrett Croft, Saul of Elrain, and the terrifying agents of the Nether. I like to think of it as the darkest of all dark fantasy trilogies, but in truth it’s stuffed with love stories, tales of sacrifice, and allegories for redemption and the true meaning of courage.

And yet…

Behind all my machinations, all three books are based on a single dream. One evening’s nightmare, if you like. The books truest subject is man’s primal fear of darkness and the unknowable experience of death. And it’s not until the third and final entry in the trilogy that I get to show the true antagonist. The monster behind the curtain. The demon under the bed.

Ladies and gentlemen, the cover of Nether Kingdom:

NetherKingdomWebLg

Art by Amanda Makepeace. Conceptualized in the abyss.

Yes. That’s one of the Ur. Aka: One of the tyrants of the dead. Special thanks to Amanda Makepeace for breathing unlife into it. If you’re in need of spectacular custom art, please look Amanda’s way. She did two of the three Tyrants’ covers. And I love her for it.

Within the next six weeks, Nether Kingdom will hit stores in e-book and paperback form. It’s significantly shorter than Down the Dark Path, but longer and assuredly grimmer than Dark Moon Daughter.

With it, the Tyrants of the Dead trilogy will come to an end.

And I can lay this thing to rest. At last. Forever.

Until I start the prequel – Darkness Between the Stars

***

Nether Kingdom

Spring 2015

J Edward Neill

NK Ebook File - Copy

Softcover Edition of Dark Moon Daughter!!

The next few weeks promise to be new-release heaven. 

So let’s get it started with:

Book II in the Tyrants of the Dead trilogy

Sequel to the darkest of all dark fantasy epics

As the enemies of mankind plant the seed for mankind’s end, Andelusia must decide:

Fight them…

…or join them.

Dark Moon Daughter – Alternate Art softcover edition now available (and on sale!) via Amazon:

Dark Moon Daughter New Kindle Cover

And in 2015, the trilogy reaches its terrifying conclusion with Nether Kingdom.

Read on.

J Edward Neill

Who am I…really?

Mask

Truth is, a time long ago I loved the simpler things in life. To sit in green fields and watch the sun come up. To strut through the city and chase pretty girls. To spend endless summer days making mischief with my friends. I was young, foolish, and utterly full of myself. Those were good days.

Those days are done.

After my accident, nothing has been the same. I don’t feel like myself most of the time. I think perhaps I’m sick, very sick. I hear voices telling me to do terrible things. And after all these years, I find myself listening. And why not? Better to accept what I have become than spend lifetimes waging war against it.

It doesn’t matter what I look like. I’ll tell you anyway. I’m short for the modern age, only 5’11”. I have dusky  hair and grey eyes. I suppose I’m what you’d consider athletic. The girls used to say I was lean as a whip, but nowadays men look at my ropey muscles and cringe. I’m faster than they are. I’m stronger. I don’t ever get hurt. Ever. They think it’s unnatural. It so happens they’re right.

More than my body, people fear my mind. They think I’m crazy, but that term is so…vague. I have something inside me. It’s like poison, but it doesn’t kill me, not quickly anyway. No, I’m not insane. What some might call obsession is merely disclipline. I’m driven to do what I do. I’ve moved on to better things than happiness, relationships, or life. Religion, one might call my new way of thinking. Truth, I prefer to say.

I hardly feel human any longer. I can’t identify with people like I used to. It’s just that we’re all so damnedly fixated on staying alive, we’ve forgotten what it means to die.

* * * * *

I didn’t used to be this way. I swear. I was optimistic, ambitious, and faithful. Well…anymore I’m just not. I’ve been through so much. I’ve been kidnapped, imprisoned, threatened with death. My teachers have lied to me again and again. I’ve been walked on, hoodwinked, and abused. It’s a miracle I’m still alive.

So it’s high time I start living for myself. I was supposed to be married. It might’ve been wonderful, but the more I think about it, the more I know settling down isn’t for me. I want more from this world than a ring on my finger and a roof over my head. I want to live. I want to travel to the mountains, the forests, and every tiny little city in-between. I might be old and brittle before I do it all, but no matter. I won’t be kept. I’m in charge now. I and no other.

I know I don’t look the same as I used to. You probably wouldn’t even recognize me. I’m leaner, but stronger, if that makes any sense. My hair is black and my eyes…well…my friends tell me they’ve gone grey. I suppose it’s all the years on the road that’ve changed me. I’m no longer a child. I feel confident. I feel ready. The world is mine and yours, but mostly mine.

And yet, despite everything, all I want is to be loved.

 Faceless

Who am I…really?

Can’t say I know anymore. I’m the biggest actor on the world’s grandest stage, but in gaining my fame I’ve lost my sense of self. I’ve played kings, aristocrats, and knights, but I’ve also played soldiers, peasants, even women. I’m not a braggart. I’m not arrogant. But it’s true; I’m the best. Step outside your door and ask your neighbors. Chances are they’ve heard of me. Honestly, if you haven’t, where’ve you been living all this time?

 So it should come as no surprise that I’m looking for another role, another person to pretend to be. It was never about the show itself, but the applause at the end. And by applause, I mean you…yes you…standing there with your mouth open and your eyes wide. Maybe you’re in awe, but more likely you’re terrified. That’s good. That’s exactly the reaction I wanted. Because this isn’t really a play. It’s real life. And you never saw me coming.

I’ll be honest with you. Don’t take it as a sign that I care or that we’re going to be friends; we’re not. But the truth is it’s been so long since I’ve not worn a mask, I’m just as terrified as you are. I talk big and act bigger, but I’m not doing this show for myself anymore. I’m not the playwright or the director. I’m occupying the stage, but I’m not setting it. I’m working for someone else. The pay is awful, the hours never-ending. Doesn’t matter. I have to see this next act through to the end.

If I don’t, it’ll be my last.

 * * * * *

I’m so old I can taste the dust between my teeth. My bones pop when I walk and my body hurts all the time. When people tell you that growing old is like sailing gently into the twilight, they’re lying. At my age, pain is king. And with pain comes anger.

I couldn’t tell you when it was I began to feel my rage. One eve, I woke up from an impossibly long dream and knew my contentment was at its end. To see the world through my crusty eyes annoyed me. To ache with every damnable step filled me with frustration. Worse yet, whenever I saw another person, I just…I don’t know…felt the urge to end them.

And so it’s true. All I am is a husk of my former self. I’m tall and strong despite my brittle old body, but I’m so ugly no one will look at me. I’ve given up all sense of dignity. I don’t bathe or change my ragged clothes. I’ve not spoken to anyone in such a long time that my voice is but a creak and a whisper. Doesn’t much matter, I suppose. I don’t want to talk, not to you, not to anyone. My anger has become hatred. My loss of self fills me with loathing for everyone young, beautiful, and alive.

If I were you, I’d stay away.

* * * * *

No. I don’t have multiple personality disorder. Well…maybe sometimes.

Each of the above is a character sketch from Dark Moon Daughter, Book II in the Tyrants of the Dead trilogy.

With love,

J Edward Neill

The official Tyrants of the Dead glossary

Three Books

Six Nations

Dozens of Characters

One Civilization bent on Mankind’s destruction 

 

TheOrbOfSoulsSlider

 

Welcome to the official Tyrants of the Dead glossary. Herein you’ll find descriptions and blurbs for every major character, place, historical event, and artifact appearing in the Tyrants’ trilogy. This appendix is for all the folks who’ve read the books and for those who are thinking about it. Fear no spoilers! No major event taking place in any of the three books will be revealed.

Scroll down to begin!

 

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CHARACTERS:

Andelusia Anderae – A young woman from the tiny Grae village of Cairn, Ande (as she’s known to her friends) dreams of a life that is not hers. She is the title character in Dark Moon Daughter.

Archmyr Degiliac – Also known as the The Thillrian, The Pale One, and the Pale Knight.  The son of a hated Thillrian lord, Archmyr murders so many of his father’s rivals as to be branded a butcher and forever exiled. He comes to prominence after being captured by the Furyon Empire and recognized for his ruthlessness.

Arjobec – A captain in Furyon’s legion, the aging Arjobec serves as a guide and oftimes moral compass for his master, Dacin of Dageni.

Bruced (Bru-sed) – Fiercest warrior of Gryphon, but soft-hearted and loyal. Bruced’s hatred of the Grae province of Mooreye is legendary.

Dacin of Dageni – The youngest of the Furyon warlords…and the most powerful. Dacin was raised in the brutal Furyon province of Dageni, largest of the slaver colonies. He defeated the hated Davin Kal in the span of three years, and is swiftly recognized by the Furyon Emperor as the warlord most capable of destroying Graehelm.

Daedelar – A swarthy Thillrian captain-for-hire, Daedelar boasts of having once sailed to Cornerstone and back.

Dank – Also known as Dancmyrcephalis or the Little Man, Dank is an advisor to House Gryphon, a well-traveled sage, and (as some believe) a sorcerer dabbling in black magicks. His oaths to himself far outweigh any promises he makes to Graehelm or its lords.  

Emperor Chakran – Furyon’s suzerain. To seize the Furyon throne, Chakran allies with Malog, rumored stronghold of the world’s last (and most wicked) sorcerers. Chakran desires the rebirth of Tyberia, a legendary nation he believes is his birthright to rule.

Emun Gryphon – Lord of Gryphon, and most popular of Graehelm’s Councilors.

Garrett Croft – Friend of Rellen, and most feared soldier of Mormist. To earn redemption for crimes against Graehelm, Garrett makes an oath to Emun Gryphon to forever protect the Gryphon household.

Ghurk Ghurlain – A captive in Thillria’s dreaded Sallow province, Ghurk is the son of a powerful Thillrian lord.  

Grimwain – A swordsman and fallen knight. After being exiled from Romaldar for making threats against the Romaldarian king, Grimwain travels east to the Mohrlahn, seeking the aid of the Anderae.

Jacob Nure – Nephew to the ailing Grae king and renowned for his martial prowess, Jacob is closest in line to the throne.

Jix – A diminutive Thillrian man in the service of King Orumna. Jix is tasked with fulfilling many of Orum’s strange requests.

King Orumna – The most corpulent and ineffective king Thillria has ever known. King Orum prefers to eat his way to prosperity than do anything to advance his kingdom.

Lord Ahnwyn – Lord of the Graehelm stronghold of Gallen Hold. Leader of the famed Triaxe Knights. Warden of the south.

Lord Lothe – Lord of Graehelm’s Barrok province, and the general of Graehelm’s northern army.  

Lord Tycus – An ambitious Thillrian lord. Tycus is often fair, but just as often harsh.

Marid of Muthem – A young soldier in the employ of Duke Ghurlain, Marid is woefully in love with Andelusia.

Marlos Obas – A cranky captain of the Gryphon guard, Marlos is appointed by Rellen to lead a cadre of soldiers to Mormist.

Myklokain – Rumored to be a member of Grimwain’s family, Myklokain is long-dead, but not.

Nentham Thure – Lord of the hated Grae province of Mooreye. Tall and crow-beaked. Councilor Nentham is universally disliked by his peers and rumored to have designs on Graehelm’s throne.

Nephenia of Yrul – Daughter to a high Yrul lord, Nephenia is married off to a Romaldarian noble in the hopes of gaining Yrul’s complicity during the war to come.

Ona – A mysterious and stunningly beautiful young woman from far southern Thillria.

Rellen Gryphon – The only child of Emun and Sara Gryphon, and the youngest of the high captains in Graehelm’s military.

Revenen – The Lord of Malog. Eldest of the Archithropian line.

Saul of Elrain – After Saul’s family is displaced by raids from the north, Saul bargains with Elrain’s king. In return for the promise of his family’s safety, he accepts the grueling task of delivering an important letter to the lords of Graehelm.

Sara Gryphon – Emun Gryphon’s wife, and the wisdom behind many of his policies.

Ser Arjobec – A Furyon captain, guide, and among the most trusted of Dacin’s advisors.

Ser Endross – Hardiest (and luckiest) of Ahnwyn’s knights, Endross is perhaps the noblest soul in all of Graehelm.

The Ur – An ancient civilization from beyond, beneath, and between the spirit realm, the Ur desire vengeance against mankind for removing them from power.

The Uylen – A race of cursed humans living in a haunted Thillrian forest. In recent years, it’s rumored the Uylen have wandered far from home seeking fresh prey.

The Warlock – The son of a powerful Archithropian decendant, the Warlock’s plans for Thillria are far-reaching.

Thresher – A masked iron knight in the service of Romaldar, the terrifying Thresher accompanies Unctulu and relentlessly hunts Romaldar’s enemies.

Unctulu – A loathsome servant of Romaldarian lords, Unctulu is entrusted with the care of the Needle, an ancient Ur artifact.

Vom – A powerful pupil in Revenen’s care, Vom trails Emperor Chakran throughout the war to ensure the Emperor follows Malog’s plans.

Wkhzl – A weary old shopkeeper in the Triaxe fortress city of Kilnhome. The strange relics contained in his store are like no other in the world.

Wrail – A wicked man from the nation of Romaldar, Wrail claims to possess powers of the Archithropian line.

 

DepthsofUndergrave1md

 

PLACES:

Archaeus – Capital city of Romaldar. Filled with white marble towers and elegant stone dwellings. Archaeus is also home to the dreaded Wolfwolde.

Cairn – A small village in northwestern Graehelm. Andelusia’s home. Cairn is a peaceful place, but harbors more than a few dark secrets.

Dageni – A smoking, pitted, volcanic province of Furyon, Dageni is home to tens of thousands of slaves who toil to extract precious Dageni ore.

Darken – A stinking, swampy forest in southwestern Furyon. Darken was once the site of an Archithropian burial ground, and is avoided by all wise folk.

Denawir – Capital city of Thillria. Denawir’s gardens are legendary, but less so its king, Orumna.

Elrain – Far north of Graehelm, Elrain’s colonies surround a massive lake. Scholars postulate Elrian was the site of the earliest battles between Archithrope and Niviliath.

Furyon – Not quite the foul, reeking realm Graehelm’s lords predict, Furyon is a land of beauty and deep culture. Until, that is, Emperor Chakran remakes it to serve the war against Graehelm.

Graehelm – The largest of the modern nations, Graehelm is ruled by both a king and an oligarchy of councilors. The Grae lands are largely inhabited by the decendants of Niviliath, the losers of an ancient war against the Ur-worshipping Archithrope.

Grandwood – The vast forest in Graehelm’s heart. Home to the hugest trees in all the world. Grandwood itself is larger than most smaller nations can claim.

Gryphon – The home of Eumn, Sara, and Rellen Gryphon. The old-world city is placed strategically between the Graehelm capital and the troublesome Mooreye province.

Illyoc – The largest city in Furyon. During the Emperor’s rule, Illyoc is transformed from a peaceful trade hub into a stronghold of war, complete with vaulting black towers and cathedrals to house Furyon’s nobles.

Malog – The black citadel of Furyon. Home to the direct decendants of Archithrope. Not built by mankind.

Midnon – A black fortress hidden somewhere in Thillria, Midnon is the Warlock’s stronghold.

Mooreye City – With seven gates and mighty walls, Mooreye City, citadel of Nentham Thure, has long been a source of worry for the rest of Graehelm.

Morellellus – Furyon’s prime trade port, and the harbor for its armada of warships. Morellellus was once a simple trade port, but has been completely remade by Chakran into a fearsome city.

Mormist – The mountain and forest realm of eastern Graehelm. Mormist is the buffer land between Graehelm and the sea (and Furyon).

Romaldar – A realm of vineyards, rolling hills, and silver lakes. Romaldar’s people have always envied Graehelm, but have long lacked the power to make a meaningful challenge to their northern neighbor.

Sallow – In Thillria, no place is more feared than Sallow. Its twisted trees and slate-capped mounds have long sheltered the dark, dismal Undergrave.

Shivershore – Southernmost province of Thillria. Hard to reach, harder to endure. Lying next to the Selhaunt Sea, Shivershore lives up to its name.

The Cornerstone – An island created by the Ur. A twisted, magical place where nothing ages. The site of the bottomless pit built by the Ur to ensure the doom of mankind.

The Nether Chamber – A dungeon far below Romaldar’s capital city, Archaeus. Thought to be a breeding cavern for the spirits of the Ur.

The Undergrave – A network of caverns below Thillria. The caves run too deep to be man-made, and yet…

Thillria – Weakest of the world’s nations, Thillria’s sometimes brutal climate and lack of resources render it uninvolved in the affairs of more powerful lands.

Triaxe – Mountainous home of the sturdy Triaxe knights. Southernmost vassal of Graehelm. Triaxe is also home to Erewain, largest mountain in the known world, and the legendary site of mankind’s final battle against the Ur.

Verod – A crumbling castle in westernmost Mormist, Verod was once home to a huge Graehelm garrison, but no longer.

Yrul – A great valley surrounded by sharp, jagged peaks, Yrul is home to a proud, strong people who are hated by most civilized lands.

 

Grae Map Public View File

 

EVENTS OF HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE:

Archithropian War – The two thousand year-long war between rival nations, ended only after millions of deaths, countless cities turned to ash, and entire swaths of landscape brought low.

Destruction of Davin Kal – The precursor to Graehelm’s invasion. Emperor Chakran ordered the death of the Davin Kal as training for his protege, Dacin of Dageni. 

The Rebuilding of the Five – Legend tells that during the Archithropian war, the lords of the east, having failed to subdue Niviliath after a thousand years, chose to unearth and remake five artifacts of the Ur and use them to destroy their enemy. In truth, only one was remade. The others were simply found…and used

The End of Tyberia – Little is known about the supposed realm that once stretched from Elrain to Thillria. Scholars say it was a powerful kingdom fractured and divided by Graehelm lords of old. This claim alone is enough for Emperor Chakran to propel Furyon into war against the Grae.

 

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ARTIFACTS AND RELICS:

The Ur Blade – Though never called by its true name in the books, the Ur Blade was fashioned to be the destroyer of all other swords. When used in battle,  the Ur Blade can summon Ur fire and draw upon its wielder’s passion in such a way as to make them nearly invincible.

The Eye – Some believe The Eye was one of the five artifacts left behind by the Ur. This is untrue. The Eye was fashioned by men, and is merely inhabited by the Ur.

The Greyblade – Fashioned from a fallen meteorite by a master Romaldarian weaponsmith, the Greyblade is given to a powerful knight during his search for Grimwain.

The Moonblades – Grimwain’s twin swords. Pale as milk. Almost translucent. Utterly unbreakable.

The Needle – Several Needles have been found since the fall of the Ur, each with a different power. One in particular, the largest and most deadly, is unearthed by a Romaldarian knight in a graveyard under the moonlight.

The Orb – Rebuilt twice since the fall of the Ur, the Orb of Souls was the prime weapon of Archithrope and of Malog. The giant black sphere, lined with pale tines at its base, feeds upon death in order to enslave the living and ultimately ensure the Ur will be resurrected.

The Pages Black – A book of ten pages, each containing a different and increasingly more horrific power. The Ur despise the Pages, for the powers therein belong to them, and yet they adore whenever a mortal uses one of the spells.

The Tower – A common misconception is that Malog is also the Tower. Untrue. The Tower lies in Thillria, existing as a conduit for the Ur to influence mankind, among other things.

Wkhzl’s Dagger – A knife given freely away by the shopkeeper Wkhzl. It’s not meant to harm the living, but has a different purpose entirely.  

 

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Copyright 2014 – All rights reserved

J Edward Neill

Author of the Tyrants of the Dead dark fantasy trilogy

Author of The Sleepers and Old Man of Tessera

Down the Dark Path

 

Sketchbook for the end of the world

 Let’s face it. I’m likely the worst artist on Tessera. If you want beautiful, colorful, deep art, check here.

Otherwise…let’s dance.

A few months back, I shared a few sketches I drew ages ago during the inception of Down the Dark Path. Each sketch depicted a fragment of the story as I’d originally dreamed it. My pattern was: I dreamed it, I drew it, and years later, I wrote epic fantasy novels about it. It sounds simple. It wasn’t.

Recently, I dug up about forty additional sketches.  Most (read…all) I sketched during my early twenties. They’re simple, sometimes juvenile, and somewhat faded by years spent moldering in an ancient paper envelope.  Even so, to this day they reflect my early conceptual visions of the Tyrants of the Dead series. If I were a true artist, I’d spend my time painting reimagined masterpieces for each one.

But I’m not.

So you get sketches…

Gryphon Inn

 

We begin with a tower deep in Grandwood. It’s ten stories high, surrounded by oak trees, and hides a wizard’s laboratory in its walls. I named this tower Gryphon. About ten years after this sketch, I wandered back to it. I decided Gryphon needed to be an entire city, not one lonely tower in the woods. And so Gryphon, home of Rellen, was reborn.

 

 

 

 

Knight 1

This was my original concept sketch for Rellen Gryphon, one of the heroes of Down the Dark Path and Dark Moon Daughter. Rellen later lost his halberd, became younger and blonder, and sat atop a horse instead of a bizarre, long-snouted mutant mule, but his pose…reining up to watch the Furyon horde draw near…still belongs to him.

 

 

 

 

The Whisperers

 

Long ago, I only had the vaguest notion of what the bad guys in the Tyrants series looked like, but this is how they began. I’m not spoiling anything, because the modern-day Ur look very little like this trio. And yet, somehow…I still remember the night I dreamed them. White eyes… Pale as death… Whispering black thoughts into fragile minds…

Hmmm…

 

 

 

Ghoulish

Nothing fancy about this dude. Every other sketch I created in the beginning just happened to be of a ghost, a ghoul, or a skeletal horror. I suppose this guy could be the murderous spirit who shows up in the swamps of Furyon. You’ll just have to read it and decide for yourself.

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KiraniSexy Elf

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It’s no secret. Women are usually more pleasant to draw and dream of than zombies, ghosts, and stone towers. These two ladies were characters who lost their spots in Down the Dark Path during the great 200k-word ‘let’s make this novel more serious’ culling. Even so, I remember them, though these drawings do them no justice.

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Soul Orb Sketch J

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Now we’re getting somewhere. This is my first sketch of the Soul Orb. (The final version graces Down the Dark Path’s cover.) Notice the ghoulish faces at the Orb’s base and the demonic eyes gazing out of its center. This is among my favorite sketches.

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Night Wisdom

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My original concept for Dark Moon Daughter’s antagonist, the Warlock. He later lost the horns and the jewelry, but kept the hood. Because…you know…every diabolical wizard needs a sinister cloak to hide behind.

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What are YOU looking at

And lastly, a bit of adolescent fun. The original Andelusia was sassy, sneaky, and completely willing to use her beauty to snare men’s adoration. Here she seems to be saying, “What are you looking at?” And yes, she’d have used that knife. You probably had it coming.

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That’s pretty much all the sketches I have related to the big fantasy trilogy. Maybe someday, after I write my fiftieth novel and the ideas cease to flow, I’ll get some art lessons.

I could definitely use ’em.

Love,

J Edward Neill

Author of the Tyrants of the Dead dark fantasy trilogy

Author of The Sleepers and Old Man of Tessera

Down the Dark Path

Triple Bill: A new release, an upcoming release, AND a blog tour

It was a dark and stormy night…
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No really. It’s dark and storming outside. I’ve got the extended version of Return of the King thrumming in the background, a three year-old slumbering beside me, and an eerily chilling mid-May gale rattling the windows of my tiny apartment. It’s quite perfect, really.
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Sleepers
So let’s get this started. I’ve got a fresh new release simmering on Kindles and e-readers. The Sleepers, my latest quick-hit short story sci-fi horror, is out now. Originally, The Sleepers was meant to be a full-length novel. 160k words, I dreamed, an epic sci-fi saga if ever there was. But in a rare fit of realism, I decided committing another year to an already loaded schedule would’ve been foolish. So I trimmed out about 154k words, carved away all the clouds, and cut to the quick and brutal chase. The result is another tale in the vein of Old Man of Tessera.
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Shrine

A shrine for DMD. Yes, the blades are real. Yes, they’re sharp. Yes, they’re but a tiny fraction of the armory hanging from my walls…

 Next up, the imminent release of Dark Moon Daughter – Book II in the Tyrants of the Dead series. I’d hoped to release it about a month ago, but difficulties with the cover art resolution slowed the process a bit. Being hand-painted, photographed at a dozen different angles, and touched up via every graphics program known to man, the cover and I have waged a mini war for several weeks now. But now it’s done with. By May’s end, the sequel to the darkest, epic(est) fantasy novel ever will hit stores in softcover and Kindle formats. Next week’s blog will be fully dedicated to the story behind Dark Moon Daughter…and the upcoming final book in the trilogy, the chilling, world-ending Nether Kingdom.
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Last but hardly least, I’m trying my hand at a blog tour. A few weeks back, the talented and sharp-witted Michael Munz gut-shotted me on the web. While I’m still sharpening my teeth on the necks of Twitter, Facebook, Tessera Guild, and Down the Dark Path dot com, it seems other forces lurk in the shadows, plucking a few lucky souls out of the void.
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A little bit about Michael:
An award-winning writer of speculative fiction, Michael G. Munz was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Washington State in 1977 at the age of three. He studied writing at the University of Washington, and currently dwells in Seattle where he continues his quest to write the most entertaining novel known to humankind and find a really fantastic clam linguine. Check out his slick website here. Gauging from the titles of his books, Michael appears to be not so different from me, a lover of grim themes.
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Now, the essence of the blog tour:
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What I’m Working On:
Now that I’m finished with The Sleepers and Dark Moon Daughter, I plan on taking two weeks off to vegetate, after which I’ll crawl to the very bottom of my mind’s dungeon. Nether Kingdom, Book III in the series, awaits me in the darkness. It’s already in final draft phase, but I’ve cover art to commission, trimming to do, and extra shadows to stuff between each page. I’m more excited about this book than anything else I’ve written. It’s a culmination for me, the pinnacle of the blackest mountain.
I…can’t…wait…
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How Does My Work Differ From Others of its Genre:
Obviously I choose some pretty dark themes. I like writing about antagonists, about the reasons they turned wicked, and how easy it is for good people to wander into evil behaviors. It happens in real life all the time, only we tend to gloss over the why and how, instead focusing on the cut-and-dried, you’re either good or you’re bad point-of-view. I’m willing to say most fantasy novels drill into the plot more than the characters. I prefer character pieces, little dots of light against dark backgrounds.
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Why Do I Write What I Do:
Most of my characaters and plots are dreamed. As in literally. I dream them. The concept for the Tyrants of the Dead series: dreamed up in one night. (The character names and personalities came later). The Sleepers and Old Man of Tessera: also dreamed up in single nights. What typically happens after I have an involved dream (or nightmare,) is that it sticks with me until I write it out. Everything I put to paper, I do it to expel it from my overcrowded head. I love my dreams, but I fear what might happen should I stop writing them away. ‘Stay ahead of the train,‘ I tell myself. ‘Or it’ll run me over.’
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How Does My Writing Process Work:
I’ve read a lot about other writers’ processes. Some of it is fascinating stuff. Others not so much. Truth be told, my process is boring. I dream it. I write it. I edit the crap out of it. I release it. It’s slow, but satisfying. I prefer to write at night, surrounded by candles, wine, and eerie soundtrack music, but none of these things are required. I don’t ever suffer from writer’s block. I don’t typically agonize over outlines or character sketches. I just let the words fall out. I love the intricacies of language, conversation, and conflict, and so, like the ocean, the waves of ideas never really stop crashing against me, the shore.
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Artist Highlights:
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John R McGuire
A fellow guildmember and North GA dweller, John is a novelist and a heavy hitter in the local comic book scene. His latest release, The Dark That Follows, is all over Amazon. I like to compare John to Atlas. He bears the weight of many worlds on his shoulders, but still keeps holding it up.
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River Fairchild
River’s book, Diamonds and Dust, sits in the on-deck circle of my books to read. River is quite a character, zinging pretty much everyone and everything (deservingly so) via Facebook and Twitter. Check out her website here, and show her some love.
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Amanda Makepeace
Another fellow guildmember, Amanda is an artistic machine. Aside from the great marketing and cover work she’s done for yours truly, she paints and sketches her way across the natural world with an eye toward the fantastical. Check out Amanda’s ever-growing portfolio here.
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It’s late. I mean late, late. Time to fire up a small glass of Scotch,  turn RotK off, and head off to bed. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll dream up a new book…or three.
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Until next time,
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