Friday, 16 August 2019

Book Review — The Warrior With The Pierced Heart: The Shadow of the Raven: Book 2 by Chris Bishop #HistoricalFiction #AngloSaxon


The Warrior With The Pierced Heart
The Shadow of the Raven: Book 2
By Chris Bishop


In the second book in the exciting and atmospheric Shadow of the Raven series we rejoin novice monk turned warrior, Matthew as he marches ahead of King Alfred, to Exeter to herald the King's triumphant return to the city, marking his great victory at Edington.
It should have been a journey of just five or perhaps six days but, as Matthew is to find to his cost, in life the road you're given to travel is seldom what you wish for and never what you expect.

In this much-anticipated sequel Chris Bishop again deposits the reader slap-bang into the middle of Saxon Britain, where battles rage and life is cheap. An early confrontation leaves Matthew wounded, but found and tended by a woodland-dwelling healer he survives, albeit with the warning that the damage to his heart will eventually take his life.

Matthew faces many challenges as he battles to make his way back to Chippenham to be reunited with King Alfred and also with the woman he wants to make his wife. This is an epic tale of triumph over adversity as we will the warrior with the pierced heart to make it back to those he loves, before it is too late.




“In life the road you’re given to travel is seldom what you wish for — and never what you expect…”

Matthew was tasked with riding on ahead of King Alfred’s army to announce his imminent arrival in Exeter. Matthew knew the risks of going through the forest, but speed was of the utmost importance, and therefore, the risk, he considered, was worth taking.

But as Matthew lies on the forest floor, with an arrow in his heart, he knows that not only did he make a mistake, but that he will never see Exeter yet alone King Alfred again. There is nothing left for him to do except listen to the desperate battle and the cries of his men as they succumbed to a Viking ambush. He can only pray that the Vikings will allow him to die quickly. However, the Vikings take delight in misery, and they are not known for their mercy.

As bleak as it might be, God, fate, whatever you want to call it, has not finished with Matthew yet. Nursed back to health by a Celtic healer, Matthew must confront an even bigger challenge, one in which new friendships will be forged, and enemies faced.

Will the Warrior With The Pierced Heart, be victorious, or will his enemies vanquish him, once and for all?

Brutal beginnings can only lead to unmerciful ends, and there are those aplenty in The Warrior With The Pierced Heart: The Shadow of the Raven Book #2 by Chris Bishop. This book is not for the faint-hearted. Bishop throws his readers straight back into the action, and the story begins with a slaughter. This fast-paced narrative continues throughout the course of this book. There is hardly a moment to catch one’s breath as the story continues to pick up momentum. The more I read, the more immersed I became in the story and the characters that graced the pages.

Like before, in Book 1 of The Shadow of the Raven, I simply adored Matthew. He has grown spiritually as well as worldly. Matthew has tasted defeat. He has danced with death, and yet through it all, his still-beating heart dares to hope. Matthew is a protagonist that readers can really get behind. He is not only brave and honourable, but he also makes mistakes, and I think that is what makes him so appealing. Matthew finds himself fighting for not only his own life but for those around him. He is appalled by the atrocities he witnesses, and he desperately desires to help, even when there is nothing he can do. Matthew is a character who is continuously conflicted. The things he has done, the things he has seen leave their mark, which I thought made him very human in the telling.

Bishop has introduced several new characters into the story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Aelred and Brother Benedict as they try to help Matthew on his journey.

The antagonists are once again the Vikings, in particular, some slavers, who are vile and cruel, but they are not the only ones. The people who Matthew fought at Edington to protect, turn their back on him because of superstition. He has come back from the dead and therefore must be in league with the Devil. This, I thought, was wonderfully insightful. Christianity was the religion of King Alfred and therefore his people, but the religion of their forefathers still had a hold on them, and this made things far more difficult for Matthew than they needed to be, and it makes absolute sense for Bishop to have written these scenes this way.

The breathtaking historical accuracy of this book has to be commended.  Reading The Warrior With The Pierced Heart was like stepping through time. I found myself in this foreign yet strangely familiar world that we call The Dark Ages. I thought the Dark Ages was masterfully portrayed and as historically accurate as the surviving sources allow it to be.

Not only does Bishop excel at writing vivid battle scenes, but he also demonstrates the hardship of everyday life and how dangerous it was to live during this time. If you like your fiction battle-heavy, then The Shadow of the Raven series would undoubtedly appeal.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.


Pick up your copy of
The Warrior with a Pierced Heart

Chris Bishop

Chris Bishop was born in London in 1951.  After a successful career as a Chartered Surveyor, he retired to concentrate on writing, combining this with his lifelong interest in history.  His first Novel, Blood and Destiny, was published in 2017 and his second, The Warrior with the Pierced Heart was released in July 2018.  Both form part of a series entitled The Shadow of the Raven.

Chris is a member of the Historical Writers’ Association as well as the Historical Novel Society.

Connect with Chris: Website • Blog • Twitter • Goodreads.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

#BookReview — Storytellers by Bjørn Larssen #HistoricalFiction


Storytellers
By Bjørn Larssen



In March 1920 Icelandic days are short and cold, but the nights are long. For most, on those nights, funny, sad, and dramatic stories are told around the fire. But there is nothing dramatic about Gunnar, a hermit blacksmith who barely manages to make ends meet. He knows nobody will remember his existence – they already don’t. All he wants is peace, the company of his animals, and a steady supply of his medication. Sometimes he wonders what it would feel like to have a story of his own. He’s about to find out.

Sigurd – a man with a plan, a broken ankle, and shocking amounts of money – won’t talk about himself, but is happy to tell a story that just might get Gunnar killed. The blacksmith's other “friends” are just as eager to write him into stories of their own – from Brynhildur who wants to fix Gunnar, then marry him, his doctor who is on the precipice of calling for an intervention, The Conservative Women of Iceland who want to rehabilitate Gunnar’s “heathen ways” – even that wicked elf has plans for the blacksmith.

As his defenses begin to crumble, Gunnar decides that perhaps his life is due for a change – on his own terms. But can he avoid the endings others have in mind for him, and forge his own?





“There is a story you might enjoy. It’s a good one… I think.”

A bag full of money and a story in exchange for temporary shelter would seem like a fair deal to some. But not to Gunnar, who prefers the company of his dog to that of society. Still, the money will come in useful, and Sigurd is a good storyteller. And besides, Sigurd would be gone from his home as soon as his ankle had healed. It was only a temporary situation.

However, this is no ordinary story that Sigurd is telling. This is a story about love, hate, jealousy and murder — a heartbreaking tale where evil seemingly triumphs. But worse is yet is to come in this enthralling narrative, for this is a story that has yet to have its ending written.

As Gunnar struggles with his dependence on alcohol, he finds himself in the very midst of Sigurd’s story. He is no longer listening to the story. He is participating in it. The only question is, will Gunnar survive to tell the tale?

Set in Iceland in the 1920s, Storytellers by Bjørn Larssen, is one of those books that is not only shamelessly compelling but one that is utterly captivating and it does not let go of you until the very last full stop.

Storytellers was everything I wanted it to be, and then some. It is the kind of book that is next to impossible to put down. One more chapter was not enough — I had to read on. I had to find out what happened next. It is addictive to the extreme. This is the kind of book that will keep you reading long into the night. Storytellers is Larssen’s debut novel, and he deserves to feel justly proud at what he has written.

Storytellers is actually a story within a story. We follow Gunnar’s life, but we also follow those that are in the story that Sigurd weaves, which I thought was very well done and made this book something very special indeed.

Larssen has a wonderful novelist eye for human detail, and this insight, this understanding of human nature is beautifully portrayed through his interpretation of Gunnar. Gunnar is an unlikely protagonist. He is a recluse. He cares not for personal hygiene. He is selfish and bad-tempered. He also has an alcohol addiction and has to endure the demons that come with that. There is nothing, on the face of it, that suggests that he could be the hero of this tale, and yet he is. Gunnar is forced into situations in which he feels totally out of his depth, and more often than not, he turns to the bottle to help him through this. However, there is a deep longing inside of Gunnar to do the right thing. To stop drinking. Through Gunnar, Larssen has shown his readers exactly what human frailty looks like. Larssen also shows how much courage is needed to defeat your demons. Kudos, Mr Larssen.

Sigurd is the antagonist of this tale. He is manipulative, devious and cruel, and yet at the beginning, he had my sympathy — who would want to find themselves in a louse and flea-infested house with a man who cares more for his horse than he does for himself? But, through Larssen’s fabulous narrative, we discover that Sigurd is not what or who he seems to be. The development of Sigurd’s character is gradual — he keeps everything very close to his chest. He is a very private and secretive person. But Gunnar naively takes him at face value, and Sigurd exploits that. I thought this was incredibly effective and worked really well.

The historical detailing in this book has to be commended. This era has been painstakingly researched, and it shines through in Larssen’s writing. The realism in this story is almost tangible. I cannot praise this book enough. I loved every syllable, every word, every sentence. Storytellers is a real treat.

If you are looking for a tense, powerful and compulsive historical thriller, then look no further than Storytellers by Bjørn Larssen.  

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.


Pick up your copy of
Storytellers

Bjørn Larssen

Bjørn Larssen - writer, blacksmith, mathematician, graphic designer, model (not all at the same time) was made in Poland. He is mostly located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, except for his heart which he lost in Iceland. Born in 1977, he self-published his first graphic novel at the age of seven in a limited edition of one. Since then his short stories and essays were published in Rita Baum Art Magazine, Writer Unboxed, Inaczej Magazine, Edurada.pl, Homiki.pl, and Holandia Expat Magazine. He is a member of Alliance of Independent Authors and Writer Unboxed.

Bjørn used to speak eight languages (currently down to two and a half). His hobbies include sitting by open fires, dressing like an extra from Vikings, installing operating systems, and dreaming about living in a log cabin in the north of Iceland, even though he hates being cold. He has only met an elf once. So far. 

Connect with Bjørn: Website • Twitter • Goodreads.





#BookReview — The Duchess of Gracechurch Trilogy Box Set by Catherine Kullmann #HistoricalRomance #RegencyRomance


The Duchess of Gracechurch Trilogy Box Set

By Catherine Kullmann


A Regency celebration of friendship, family and love.
Book One: The Murmur of Masks
Desperately in need of security following the sudden death of her mother and unaware that his affections are elsewhere engaged, a distraught Olivia accepts Jack Rembleton's offer of a marriage of convenience. When Olivia meets Luke Fitzmaurice at a ball given by the Duchess of Gracechurch, Luke is instantly smitten but Olivia cannot respond. An unexpected encounter with Luke at a masquerade ten years later leads to a second chance at love. Dare Olivia grasp it? Before she can decide, Napoleon escapes from Elba and Luke joins Wellington's army in Brussels. Will war once again dash Olivia's hopes of happiness?
Book 2: Perception & Illusion
Cast out by her father for refusing the suitor of his choice, Lallie Grey, accepts Hugo Tamrisk’s proposal, confident that he loves her as she loves him. But Hugo’s past throws long shadows as does his recent liaison with Sabina Albright. All too soon the newly-weds are caught up in a comedy of errors that threatens their future happiness. When a perfect storm of confusion and misunderstanding leads to a devastating quarrel with her husband, Lallie feels she has no choice but to leave him. Can Hugo win her back? Will there be a second, real happy end for them?
Book 3: The Duke’s Regret
A chance meeting with a bereaved father makes Jeffrey, Duke of Gracechurch realise how hollow his own marriage and family life are. Persuaded to marry at a young age, he and his Duchess, Flora, live largely separate lives. Now he is determined to make amends to his wife and children and forge new relationships with them. Flora does not know how to respond to her husband’s suggestion. Can Jeffrey break down the barriers between them and convince her that his change of heart is sincere? Flora must decide if she will hazard her heart and her hard won peace of mind for a prize of undreamt of happiness.





I adore Regency Romances, so when Catherine Kullmann approached me and asked me if I would be interested in reading The Duchess of Gracechurch Trilogy Box Set, well, of course, I said yes!

The box set contains three fabulous romance books:

The Murmur of Masks.
Perception & Illusion.
The Duke’s Regret.

I am going to approach this review as I approached the box set — one book at a time.



The Murmur of Masks


“She needs to find a safe harbour...”

But is Jack Rembleton the answer to all her worries?

When her mother dies unexpectedly, Olivia Frobisher only has her uncle to turn to — for her father and brother are at sea fighting the French. But her uncle is of advancing years, and if anything were to happen to him, Olivia would be destitute. Her only answer was to marry. But what did she know of men?

Marriage to Jack wasn’t what Olivia had expected it to be. Even though this was an arranged marriage, Olivia had hoped that love might grow between them. But alas, no. It seemed that Jack did not have it in him to love anyone. But at least Olivia is safe, that is something is it not...?

Olivia is determined to be content, and she was, sort of, until she met Luke Fitzmaurice. It was only then that Olivia realised — too late — that she had married in haste.

From the busy port of Portsmouth to the thrill of a masquerade ball, The Murmur of Masks by Catherine Kullmann is what Regency Romance is all about.

I fell in love with this book within the first few pages, and I simply adored Olivia and Luke. Their romance is ten years in the making, which made this book refreshingly different from other Regency Romances that are out there. Luke is the kind of man that makes ladies swoon. He is dashing, witty, and more importantly, kind. Luke really could have anyone he wants, but he is hopelessly in love with Olivia. Likewise, Olivia has deep feelings, feelings that she dare not dwell on, for Luke. It is only in a moment of wild abandonment when she lets herself feel and experience things with Luke when she realises just how much she has missed out on. Olivia was a character that I could not help but like.

The Murmur of Masks is absorbing and heartwarming, but Kullmann also shows what living in the Regency period was like. This was a time of morals and manners. Kullmann demonstrates how difficult it was if you loved where you should not. Jack marries a woman he is not in love with and who he will never be in love with. He marries to avoid a scandal or worse, for Jack is utterly and irrevocably in love with his esteemed colleague. In an age where homosexuality was illegal, I thought Kullmann demonstrated most admirably what an awful situation it was when to do something as simple as falling in love was considered a crime. Kudos, Ms Kullmann.

The Murmur of Masks is absolutely fabulous.



Perception & Illusion


“I assure you that I will never marry Mr Malvin...”

Lallie Grey finds herself in an impossible situation. If she stays, she will be forced to marry the vile Mr Malvin. If she stays, she will face her father’s wrath. The only option left to her is to run away.

Hugo Tamrisk was enchanted the moment he met Lallie Grey. She is so different to the women he usually spends time with. He would like to get to know her better. But when he sees Lallie and her lady maid at an inn and in obvious distress, his honour and integrity demand that he offer Lallie his help. However, due to the circumstances of his intervention, Hugo has no choice but to offer Lallie his hand in marriage.

Lallie did not know what she would have done without Mr Tamrisk’s help, and she is more than a little in love with him when he proposes. She looks forward to a long and happy life with him. But a dalliance from Hugo’s recent past threatens to destroy their new-found love. 

From desperate beginnings to the sensuality of a masquerade ball, Perception & Illusion by Catherine Kullmann is an example of historical romance at its best.

Kullmann has given her readers a courageous heroine in Lallie, who is not afraid to stand up for herself and a dashing hero in Hugo who will do anything for the woman he loves. Mix into this several wicked antagonists, the etiquette of the Ton, the hint of a scandal, and the battle to save a marriage, along with a good dollop of humour, makes Perception & Illusion a real winner.

Kullmann has a keen novelist eye for what is entertaining as well as being able to pen the most beautiful and believable of romances. I adored this book from beginning to end. Unquestionably brilliant.



The Duke’s Regret


“I am aware that I have been inconsiderate, even negligent, both as a husband and a father. I wish to make amends...”

Flora had only been seventeen when she had been forced to marry Jeffrey. He had not cared for her and nor she for him. In the years that had past, she had wondered what life would be like without him. If it were not for her children, she would have... She would have what? Sought a divorce? She had most certainly thought about it, but the scandal... Flora was 35 years old, was the rest of her life to be as loveless as the first half?

Falling in love with Meg had been easy, and there had been no place in Jeffrey’s heart for his wife. But Meg had been dead these many years, along with his baby daughter. But while grieving for them, he had failed to see the treasure that was right in front of him. It was time to be a proper father to his and Flora’s children. And it was time to be a proper husband to his wife. The only question is, has he left it too late?

Filled with romance and passion, The Duke’s Regret by Catherine Kullmann is a story about the power of forgiveness.

What a wonderfully romantic tale, Kullmann has weaved. Jeffrey and Flora’s marriage has been a loveless one. But now Jeffrey has seen the light. He wants his family, and he wants his wife. I thought Jeffrey’s characterisation was incredibly insightful, and once again, Kullmann shows precisely what it was like to marry where there is no love. Jeffrey’s devotion to his mistress and his grief at her loss was heartbreaking, but his determination to become a better man, to become a father to his children and a husband to Flora made him not only likeable but very real in the telling. The Duke’s Regret is a book about second chances, and it is a delightful read.

Flora, likewise, was a fabulous heroine. She has been the model wife, but she longs for love with all her heart. Her doubts at Jeffory’s sincerity is understandable, but Flora wants what her friends have. She wants a husband who loves her, and she is willing to take a mighty leap of faith on Jeffrey’s promise.

I thought this book was a fantastic addition to the trilogy.

The Duchess of Gracechurch Trilogy Boxed Set would make a wonderful gift for those who love the romance of the Regency era. Perfect romantic escapism.


I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.


Pick up your copy of
The Duchess of Gracechurch
 Trilogy Box Set


Catherine Kullmann

I was born and educated in Dublin. Following a three-year courtship conducted mostly by letter, I moved to Germany where I lived for twenty-five years before returning to Ireland. I have worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector.

I have a keen sense of history and of connection with the past which so often determines the present. I am fascinated by people. I love a good story, especially when characters come to life in a book.

I have always enjoyed writing, I love the fall of words, the shaping of an expressive phrase, the satisfaction when a sentence conveys my meaning exactly. I enjoy plotting and revel in the challenge of evoking a historic era for characters who behave authentically in their period while making their actions and decisions plausible and sympathetic to a modern reader. In addition, I am fanatical about language, especially using the right language as it would have been used during the period about which I am writing. But rewarding as all this craft is, there is nothing to match the moment when a book takes flight, when your characters suddenly determine the route of their journey.

Connect with Catherine: Website • Twitter • Goodreads.


Saturday, 3 August 2019

#BookReview — Across the Fourwinds (The Maidstone Chronicles #1) by Shane Trusz and Darryl Frayne #Fantasy #Historical

Across the Fourwinds
(The Maidstone Chronicles #1)
By Shane Trusz and Darryl Frayne


Most high school grads hold a world of opportunity in their hands. Will and Morgan hold the fate of two worlds. 

Since his mother’s tragic accident, Will has been a loner. And for good reason: he claims to see strange creatures emerging from the forest near his home. Ostracism is a way of life until he meets Morgan, a fencing champion with everything going for her—except a dark family secret. 

In pursuit of answers, these unlikely friends enter the forest and discover a magical kingdom threatened by a powerful enemy. When a young sage reveals their true identities, Will and Morgan join a small but courageous resistance on a quest to save the Fourwinds. 

Can friendship and hope stop the swelling tide of destruction from breaching the portal into our world? 



“I believe what you saw was a creature called a harvester...”

Morgan Finley’s life had changed when her family moved to Cochrane, Cleveland, Ohio. Her father, who had been so supportive of her fencing career, and so loving, has became someone Morgan and her mother fear.

Will Owens’ life had been blessedly normal until his mother had died in a tragic accident, and his father, unable to live without her, killed himself. Now Will sees things that are not there — strange creatures with glowing eyes and evil intents crawling out of the Arden Forest. But, no one believes him because no one else sees what he does. The whole town thinks him mentally ill, as do the doctors. Ostracised by those he grew up with, Will must endure a terrible isolation. He is friendless and alone, that was until the day he met Morgan. Not long after that, the strange creatures crept into the town, and people began to die.

From the small sleepy town of Cochrane to the mysterious yet beautiful land of the Four Kingdoms, Across the Fourwinds (The Maidstone Chronicles #1) by Shane Trusz and Darryl Frayne is a story that is not only radiant in its narrative but reads with an almost lyrical sense of movement and grace.

Written with a great deal of imagination and energy, Across the Fourwinds is one of those books that a reader can quickly lose themselves in. I found myself transported to a land where anything was possible, and mythical creatures ruled supreme. You will find them all here — the elusive elves, the treacherous gnomes, the frightful minotaurs, the wary yet beautiful mermaids, and of course, the mighty dragon. This book is the epitome of fantasy.

But, this book is no fairy tale. These are dark days for an evil Dark Queen threatens to destroy not only the Four Kingdoms but Earth as well, and she is growing more powerful by the minute. Thrown through a gateway, Will and Morgan find themselves on an adventure of a lifetime as they join forces with Rowe of the Nest to destroy the Dark Queen — it is the only way to bring order and peace back to the land. Trusz and Frayne have penned some highly appealing characters. Will’s story pulled at my heartstrings. Everyone thinks he has lost his mind and avoids him because of this, at times, even Will believes he is ill — if no one else can see these demon-like creatures then surely they are just a cruel trick of his imagination? When Will finally discovers the truth and realises that he is gifted with the sight, the relief he feels is tempered only by the fact that he has no idea how to defeat these dark monsters. I thoroughly enjoyed watching his character grow with confidence throughout this story. Will is a young hero who a reader can really get behind. Likewise, Morgan is a wonderfully dynamic young woman who is brave and courageous, but also fearful of the world she finds herself in. Her outrage at the injustice she sees and her compassionate heart made Morgan an unforgettable character.

There is one other character that I have to mention, and that is Rowe. He is brave and honourable and kind — the perfect guide for Will and Morgan as they navigate this foreign land. I thought Rowe was fabulously portrayed. His compassion and his foresight made him an extremely likeable character.

The setting of this story is luxuriantly detailed, and even though it is fictional, it feels authentic. Kudos, Mr Trusz and Mr Frayne.

Across the Fourwinds (The Maidstone Chronicles #1) is a real treat for lovers of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.


Pick up your copy of
Across the Fourwinds
Amazon UK • Amazon US


Shane Trusz

For as long as I can remember, I've had the soul of a gypsy. Having lived in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, and Haiti, I seem most comfortable when there's change brewing on the horizon. 

My adventure into the world of writing began just as my life was coming to an end, or at least it seemed that way for a time. When I was 15, I was diagnosed with Recurrent Idiopathic Pericarditis. Overnight, I went from a typical teenager with great parents, growing up in Cochrane- snowboarding, mountain biking, and playing any sport with a ball- to being laid up in bed for weeks at a time in terrible pain. Living in the deep north, we were 8 hours away from an MRI machine and for a while, things didn't look so good as doctors struggled to figure out what was happening, and why. The pericarditis would come back a few times a year throughout my teenage years and for a while, I lost my way. I remember being rushed via air ambulance to Toronto and my Ante Linda had sent along a book for me, The Sword of Shannara, by Terry Brooks. I wasn't a reader back then, and when I finally succumbed to the boredom (imagine being in a bed for weeks in a world before the Internet), I finally cracked the cover and my world was forever changed. 

Life doesn't always end up the way we think it should, but isn't that part of the ride? Hard lessons are sometimes necessary to prepare us for the next big adventure as we journey towards leaving this world a little better off than when we arrived. 

After finishing the original Shannara Trilogy, I started writing. I can't remember when exactly I started, but I do remember having a plethora of ideas as I tended to do a lot of daydreaming, especially in school. I spent years writing books that will never see the light of day as I cut my teeth learning this new craft. To this day, if I don't get my ideas down on paper regularly, I feel out-of-sorts.

My greatest challenge as a writer stemmed from the fact that I loved to write massive stories, and conversely, struggled to no end with the countless tiny details of flushing out something great. Shortly after moving back to Canada from Haiti, I reconnected with an old friend, Darryl Frayne. I knew Darryl was just about the complete opposite of me, in that he loves to mine the gems found beneath the extra words that don't belong on the page. He works down in the weeds, pruning and clipping and shredding and planting and changing the paths as required to develop great story. The magic that unfolded was...well, I suppose you can be the judge. 

In the in-betweens, I married my high school crush back in 1998. Joy has added all manner of color to my life and to this day, makes life an absolute thrill ride. When our son came along in 2004, well, I love viewing the world through his animated features and cannot wait to see how he is going to leave the world better off than when he arrived.

Darryl Frayne

I was born in Ontario, Canada and have lived in various places in Ontario as well as brief stints as a post-secondary student in Wisconsin, Missouri, and British Columbia.

After university, I married my best friend and we settled in Langley, BC. I never imagined we would stay in Langley for long, but here we are, decades later. And I love it. 

I've worked in the graphics industry since university to help pay the bills and raise two amazing sons. But my love of research and writing has never faded. It led me to pursue an M.A. at Regent College in Vancouver (2007) and to write numerous articles online.

As far as I can remember, my journey into writing began when I was about 11 or 12 years old. I had always enjoyed stories, so I experimented with some comic-book style writing. I would draw my characters in small boxes, complete with talking bubbles for dialogue!

My favorite books growing up include The Wizard of Oz, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings. As an adult, some of my favorite fiction writers include Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, and more recently, Michael J. Sullivan. I also have an affinity for YA stories with believable, endearing characters created by authors like J.K. Rowling, Kate DiCamillo, Rick Riordan, and Suzanne Collins. I could list so many others; there are far too many wonderful stories to read!

I am grateful for my timely meeting, subsequent friendship, and working relationship with Shane Trusz. He has a great gift for storytelling, conceiving grand adventures, and passionately spreading the word about our books. Although we are different in many ways, I am constantly surprised at--and thankful for--the way our gifts unite to form unique, enjoyable stories.

Connect with the authors: Website • Blog.