Book Review: Krampus The Yule Lord

bookKrampus: The Yule Lord by Brom


SummarySet in Appalachia, Krampus the Yule Lord is a twisted fairytale about a failed West Virginia songwriter who gets ensnared on Christmas Eve in an eternal war between a not-so-saintly Saint Nick and his dark enemy Krampus, aka Black Peter, an ancient trickster demon. Krampus the Yule Lord is Gregory Maguire (Wicked) meets Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell) in the realm of Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, as Clive Barker (Mr. B. Gone) works his dark sorcery from the shadows. Once again featuring Brom’s chillingly beautiful artwork throughout, Krampus the Yule Lord is a feast of wonder straight from the kitchen of Sweeney Todd.

My Review: First of all, that summary is all over the dang place. I couldn’t hardly figure out what they were trying to say with all the name dropping. I picked this book up because I’m familiar with Brom’s work; both his art and his writing. Ultimately, I had a hard time deciding between a three and four star rating. I would have given it a three for the passive writing. There is a lot of telling rather than showing and at times it read slow because of it. Oh, but the story. It was vivid, imaginative, and even with the passive writing I still wanted to know what happened next. Ultimately, story wins over writing style and the Yule Lord gets a four star rating.

Brom takes the mythologies of old and blends them into our chaotic, disbelieving world. It’s a new take on Christmas, its traditions and figures, and religion. I love how he interwove the old religions with what we know today. It’s a beautiful tale. To summarize better than the…summary, you have a cast of characters that are relatable and three dimensional. Jesse happens upon the eternal battle between Krampus and Santa Claus and finds himself mixed up in the ongoing war between the two imposing forces. He learns that there’s more than meets the eye and is exposed to another layer of our old world that he (nor we) ever knew existed. Though there are dark elements to this story, the book leaves you with a tear shed and renewed hope. You can tell Brom did his research into the mythology behind the intricacies of our current beliefs.

Would I Recommend It? Absolutely! If you like unusual viewpoints on traditional stories and retellings, this is the book for you. However, I think if you are a hardcore Christmas lover you’ll either love or hate this book.

Magic Vs. Technology

hatHello Mishkamigos! (I totally stole that from Misha Collins btw) XD I know we’ve gone over Magic and Science (with technology included) but today, whilst doing some world building myself for Dragon Bloode: Rebirth, I thought of the timeline and technology. What I mean is, in a world with magic is technology necessary? Would it advance as quickly? In our own world technology is like magic. It fixes things. Cures. Extends lives. Makes life more convenient. Doesn’t magic do the same thing in fictional settings? Of course, just like technology, magic can go the other way as well. It can wreak havoc. Cause problems on a massive scale and while benefiting some will do harm to others.

laptopDB:C takes place in the 1984-5th year of the Draak Empire. As I wrote the entire history of the empire and brief history of Alperin that is where the dates landed. I planned out historical dates and happenings, borrowing inspiration from real history, and ended up in that timeline. Well, when most people think of those years they’re reminded of shoulder pads, MTV, Rainbow Brite, and Pepsi (or is that just me?). So I sat and thought, “Why is it that in so many fantasy books there is almost no advanced technology?” It feels as though when magic is present, technology isn’t necessary. Or it’s slow going at best.

Of course there are always exceptions. I know there are novels and shows out there that have the two coexisting. I myself prefer one or the other. Because then I suppose it’s Science Fiction versus actual Fantasy genres. I could go off on a tangent about how the two are always shoehorned together in some bookstores anyway. >.> I’m wondering what others think of this subject. This is just food for thought myself and a way of dipping my toes back into the blogosphere. Woo! I’ll be posting regularly again. I think. Sort of. Possibly? 😀

And now I have to plug. So sorry. Until next time!



Dragon Bloode: Covet

Dragon Bloode: Covet is $2.99 in ebook and $14.99 in paperback at most online retailers.

Short Advice


Dragon Bloode: Covet

There is a sea of blogs around the internet offering advice to writers. Some of it’s good, some of it’s bad. I follow a few of these blogs and today I came across one that gives 5 Things To Consider Before You Write An Epic Fantasy.

Would you like to know my advice? Here we go.

Do you want to write an epic fantasy? If the answer is yes, then write an epic fantasy. Done. Easy. Moving on!

I have a new world building blog on the way, but I for one get tired of people putting terms and contingencies on a creative process and felt I needed to make a shout out. If you want to write an epic fantasy then write an epic fantasy. If there’s a story bubbling and brewing within you, write it! Don’t think about the readers or what will sell. Think about that world and the stories in it. Your passion will bleed through and readers always love that. If you love it, readers will love it. So the key to this advice is: be prepared to work hard. Get that story done, edit the hell out of it, make the changes you need to and accept the fact that there will be mistakes and changes necessary. No one’s first draft is perfect. That’s my advice. Not what to write, but the work to put into it.

I believe in you! 😀

Don’t Fear The Reaper

grim-reaperThere are two things in life that are certain: death and taxes. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in reading how my characters pay their taxes. Although they most certainly do. To be fair, I have briefly covered the subject of taxes in other blogs. Anyway! We’re here to talk about the death of a character.

Who’s dying? And why?

I don’t believe in unnecessary character deaths. It has to serve a purpose. Whether it’s as motivation for the remaining heroes or as a sacrifice to allow the bad guy to carry out his evile plans, don’t have death for the sake of death. It’s a fine line to walk really. A character’s death can be an obstacle the hero of the story has to push through. A character can die suddenly and alone in the night, but the jarring reality of how frail life is can be the outcome, making the hero doubt herself and creating another hurdle to clear. Of course there’s also the old revenge on the death of a loved one cliche as well. I’m not saying everyone has to die in big explosions or for an obvious reason, but don’t do it for shock factor.


The how of a character dying is as important as the why. This must be calculated. This must be natural and fluid to the story. I’ve written stories where characters unexpectedly died. It threw me off. It jolted me. I can only imagine how it would jolt a reader. But that adds to the realism. I would think to myself, “How can they possibly survive this?” and then it would work out for the better. The story would somehow move on and improve and become more three dimensional. Speaking of which, be careful when putting your characters through impossible to survive situations. You want it to be believable. Speaking of making it believable…

Drama vs Realism

You have to ride that fine line in any story between drama and realism. You want the moment to be memorable, especially if it’s a main character, but not overdone. Things to keep in mind are that in real life not everyone dies in the arms of a loved one. Sometimes death is sudden and there are no last words. Last words are dramatic, but not always necessary or realistic. Sometimes it can take someone hours to die and sometimes it’s in an instant. And not everyone will die the same way. Your larger than life villain may poof unnoticed by the celebrating heroes. The old soothsayer who guided your party may die alone on the side of the road traveling to meet them.

Some other things to consider are the most common causes of death. Perhaps your hero’s father isn’t murdered by dragons, but dies of a heart attack in his sleep. Instead of the villain exploding from a sudden burst of magic, they have a stroke from all of the magic coursing through their veins. Of course in the realm of magic and mayhem people seem to be gifted with a higher constitution, but not everyone will be. There will be varying degrees of toughness just like there is in our own world.


Sometimes a character’s death isn’t the end, but you have to be careful. There are ongoing jokes about shows like Supernatural and Buffy where the main protagonists die and come back so many times that it’s an acknowledged thing by the productions themselves. Depending on the genre and feel you want for your story, you might want to avoid the soap opera style of dun dun DUN moments. When is it appropriate to bring back a character from the dead? When you have a plan. I would only bring someone back because I had a plan for them to before they died. I mean, don’t bring someone back just for the sake of convenience or drama. If you have a plan then you can tie in the means by which they return before they even die so that it makes sense and doesn’t come out of nowhere.

When Characters Refuse To Die

The Will. That’s what I like to call it. We all know it. When a character refuses to do what you want and goes about things their own way. When a character we planned a dramatic death scene for refuses to go quietly into the night. The Will is when we mutter to ourselves about the strong will of people who live only in our imaginations and those who don’t understand smile at us while considering phoning in to the local mental health facility on our behalf. Listen to that character. If they refuse to die, then it’s worth the consideration that they will serve a better purpose later on in the story.

Until Next Time…

I’m sure you noticed that I haven’t posted as regularly as normal. I’ve been very busy and to be honest I’m running out of topics with substance. I don’t want to put in “filler” blogs or something that wastes both of our time. Instead I’m planning to post less often and if I get any urges for filler it’ll be in the form of a book review. I’d rather have substance to my blogs over spam. When I think of a good topic to cover I’ll put up a blog. Whether that’s once or five times a month, that’s what I’m shooting for.

On another, and brighter, note! Dragon Bloode: Covet is now available in paperback! If you buy the paperback you get the ebook free! Also available in ebook everywhere they’re sold.

The Literary Birds & Bees

10781463If you’ve read my book, Dragon Bloode: Covet, then you know I have sex in it. I have a lovely little 18+ warning at the beginning, but it’s not exclusively for the enthusiastic fun time in bed. It has violence, and some swearing, as well as the sex. Why did I include it? I get asked that a lot. I’m going to have to point to a quote of George R.R. Martin:

“I can describe an axe entering a human skull in great explicit detail and no one will blink twice at it. I provide a similar description, just as detailed, of a penis entering a vagina, and I get letters about it and people swearing off. To my mind this is kind of frustrating, it’s madness. Ultimately, in the history of [the] world, penises entering vaginas have given a lot of people a lot of pleasure; axes entering skulls, well, not so much.”

I’m inclined to agree. I’m not going to argue whether or not sex should be included in a story. That’s up to the writer and it’s a very personal decision. Is my own novel an erotica? No. It’s a high fantasy with sex in it. It has violence in it. And swearing. And other adult themes. It’s an adult book, but not in the pornographic sense. Although I’m sure some would argue that even though sex takes up a few thousand words of my 130k+ novel, it’s a sex book.

Do I think there’s anything wrong with eroticas? Nope! They’re a genre just like any other. Write what you want has always been my motto. If that’s a smutty smut smut go for it! But back to the point, today’s blog isn’t going to be an argument in favor of adding sex to your book. It’s like I said above, it’s the writer’s decision. For whatever reason don’t be afraid to add it or use it if it’s something you think can contribute to the story. Instead I’m going to offer suggestions for implementing sex into your own story with a focus on novels that aren’t erotica.

Don’t Just Throw It In There

Speaking of novels that aren’t erotica, don’t throw it in for the sake of titillation. Make sure the sex has a purpose. Ensure it does something to move along either a relationship or a plot point. Or if you do throw it in for the sake of having it there, don’t do it too much. In an erotica every excuse to throw in the sheet shuffle is accepted. In a regular story or depiction it can cheapen things. What I mean is throwing in a lot of unnecessary sex into a story that’s not supposed to motivate the reader with titillation takes away from the rest of, and more important points of, the story.

There Are Still Basic Rules To Follow

The simplest way to put it is this: If it’s illegal to do it, you shouldn’t include it. In other words, even though graphic sex in novels is more widely accepted you still have basic rules to follow. Don’t include rape titillation or sex with minors. You can include those elements in your story if they’re a part of the plot, but don’t include terminology that would drive the reader to titillation. This also includes incest, animals, and anything else that might come across as taboo. Like I said, if it’s illegal to do it, don’t include it.

Don’t Use Hilarious Terms

So this is definitely my opinion, but if you’re going to include the horizontal dance in your novel, commit. Unless you’re going for a comedic affect I wouldn’t use the terminology of “sword” and “rod” and “garden” and “globes of pleasure” for example. You’re not dancing around the topic or fooling anyone by using silly terms. If anything the terminology can take your reader out of the moment. If you can describe the detail of a sword withdrawing from a man’s body with entrails coming out, sex shouldn’t be different. You don’t have to be incredibly graphic, but don’t use terms that would make the reader giggle through what otherwise could be a dramatic moment.

Cut It Down

Edit the sex like you would any other sequence. Does it feel too long and drawn out? Cut out some passive verbs or unnecessary actions. Don’t use it as filler either. You also don’t always have to include every step. You can open a scene when they’re finishing up or end a scene where they begin. Too much titillation can numb the reader and not have as much affect. Make it as long or short as it needs to be like any other action.

Different Folks, Different Strokes

There are different types of sex. It can be affected by the relationship, personalities, and circumstances. Some people make love, others hate…wrestle. XD Do the people like each other? Do they love each other? Is it pure lust? Would they be willing to cater to the other’s needs? Or is it take/take? Are their lives in danger? Did they just reunite after years of separation? Not to mention any fetishes they may have. A friendly reminder: fetishes aren’t necessarily taboo. A fetish can be something as simple as wearing socks.

Until Next Time…

If you don’t want sex in your book, don’t have it. It’s simple. This isn’t about pressuring you to do something you don’t want to, only suggesting guidance if you’re looking to include it. Until next time! Keep on keeping on!

Dragon Bloode: Covet is out everywhere ebooks are sold.



World Building Part 13: Magic


Howdy! Another Monday and another World Building blog! I know, sometimes I amaze myself with how much detail one can possibly go into. And while some of it may overlap, I’d rather overlap than miss something. Today we’re going to talk about magic, so let’s get started!

Who Has It?

Who possesses magic in your world? Everyone? A select few? Every tenth person? It can go either way or have other factors determining who possesses magic. In my own world, Alperin, only select races possess magic. The elves, the dragons, and the fae. Any humans who possess magic have the blood of those races somewhere down the family line. In Anne Coffer’s book, Edge of Ridiculous (sorry but I’ve read it recently and I’ll use examples probably from here on out XD), magic is a natural resource like air that’s accessible to everyone, but they have to learn how to channel it properly.

Someone doesn’t have to be born with magic. They could have access to a magical item or it’s learned like any other skill. Determine who has magic or magical capabilities in your world. If anyone does.


Once you know who has magic, is it accepted? Whoever possesses magic can determine that, and vice versa. For example, if only the followers of EVILE GOD MAN THING have magic, then that would make anyone in the normal realm suspicious if they too have magic. Association is an important influence on acceptance. If in the history of your world only evil people wield magic, or in turn only good, it can affect how society perceives and accepts/rejects it. In DB:C, which takes place in the Draak Empire, only the dragons are allowed to possess and use magic. Anyone else who does is tried for heresy because of their suspicions of fae spies.


Who is the authority on magic? Who determines laws? Who determines if magic users are outcasts or welcome heroes? Who in the religious houses and government determine what magic users can and cannot do? Who’s in charge? In Harry Potter you have the Ministry of Magic. It makes sense for there to be an authority on magic practices and laws as there would for any other branch of government and laws. Is it a council? A group of elders? A single worshiped figure? Is it exclusively magic users or non-magic users? Is it a mixture of both for the sake of variety in points of view?

Schools Of Magic

When I say schools of magic I don’t mean the literal institutions (although that does come later), but the different types of magic. Take a look at the way Skyrim divides magic schools. I quite like there being a focus on specific types of magic. It’s realistic for there to be different types of magic just as there are different types of everything else. It can depend on the individual. Even if you don’t name specific schools, you can have a broad spectrum of variety. Such as destruction, healing, and manipulation. For each school there’s likely a place of learning, books, artifacts, teachers, etc. And there can even be division within the school itself. For example, in the school of destruction there could be a divide between those who believe in using fire spells to destroy their enemies while others only argue fire should be used to save lives in the winter. Are there schools of magic that are forbidden? Like necromancy?


Who qualifies to teach magic? If it’s a radical concept is it just Jim Bob down the street who’s dabbled in healing most of his life? Is there a school they graduate from? Are there degrees? Are there master/apprentice relationships? Do magic users go rogue and learn for themselves? If magic is present in everyone then magic would likely be a subject included in the curriculum of the current education system you have set up in your world.


If magic is acceptable, what kind of schools are there? At what age do young students begin to learn? Is there a safety concern? This can affect how young or old someone is when they learn magic. And where do they start? What kind of curriculum do they have? If you wait too late to teach someone magic it can get out of control, but due to the nature of magic if they start too young they might could hurt themselves or someone else.

Besides places of learning, what establishments are there? Where does the authority on magic meet up? Is there a government building for it? An office? Is there Jane’s Wizard Emporium where you can rent out magic services? Is there a group of old lady mages who fly around saving the world from mayhem? Where’s their secret layout?


If there’s an authority on magic there are laws. In fact if there is no authority on magic there are no doubt laws. If magic exists there’s going to be laws made about it. Whether the laws are to forbid magic or to tone down its uses you need to determine what laws there are, who made them, where they fit into your governmental structure, and how it affects everyday people as well as those they’re meant for.

Let’s also not forget that there are laws at the local, state/province/regional, and national level. Depending on your world’s borders and government they’ll extend beyond that. In one town it may be okay to use magic to heal while in another it’s punishable with a fine.

Laws Of Magic

I’m not repeating myself! When I think laws of magic I think of laws of physics. “A physical law or scientific law is a theoretical statement “inferred from particular facts, applicable to a defined group or class of phenomena, and expressible by the statement that a particular phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions be present.”–Wikipedia. There’s a limit to almost everything and magic is no exception. What are the laws of magic and their limits?

Can magic make someone fall in love? Or only lust? Can the human body only take so much magic use before it’s torn to shreds? Can a mage who’s gifted in fire in the school of destruction manipulate only existing fire? Or can they call it from the air? Laws of magic basically equates to limits of magic. And there will be limits. For the average person at least.

How Is It Conducted?

How do the vessels of your magic conduct it? Do they recite spells in a specific language? Can changing the slightest inflection or accent change the spell? Do they have conduits to focus their magic such as wands? Do they have to do hand gestures? Is it a combination of these things?

If you do decide that they focus their magic through conduits, remember it doesn’t have to be a wand. Wands are traditional and hella cool and even their design makes sense as they come out to a point from the hand. It’s natural to use our hands as direction, especially if you’re directing a force from within yourself. You could use gloves, or rings, staves in place of a wand. If you’re feeling slightly comical there’s always the option of having it focus out of another part of the body…such as the nose. XD


Magic isn’t just limited to people. There are magical artifacts scattered throughout real history and more so in the history of fantasy worlds. The Nazis were obsessed with finding and using magical artifacts during their height of power. In D&D there are entire parts of manuals talking about magical artifacts. Consider what those artifacts could be. Would they be obvious and shining and shimmering with power? Or would they be ordinary objects? Do the artifacts serve as the source of magic power or simply amplify the user’s capabilities? Are the artifacts intelligent? Where did they come from? Who made them? What purpose do they serve? An example of what could be considered a magical artifact is the one ring from the Lord of the Rings. Can anyone use the item? Or does it have to be someone with knowledge of magic? Can a hapless hobbit come across it in a cave and change the fate of the world with it?

Something else to consider, can animals use magic? If so, is it limited by their intelligence? Is it a second nature to them? Does the fox put thought into her ability to turn invisible, or is it a conscience decision?


I think what I mean is obvious here, but still consider what sort of texts you have on the subject of magic. Are they accurate? Who wrote them? What makes that person an authority? Are there forbidden texts? Are some required for school? Is the book an artifact itself?

Deities & Origin Of Magic

You may already have a god/goddess of magic. If not, consider the religious structure of your world and determine what unearthly force may drive magic. Or magic can be a natural resource like in Anne’s book. Basically answer the question: Where does magic come from?

Until Next Time…

For some reason I’m having trouble thinking clearly, so as a warning I might edit and add more to this post later. Until then, however, I hope it’s helpful in further fleshing out your world. When will these world building posts stop? NEVER! Although seriously I still have more ideas and details for us to go into. I imagine by the time we’re all done with these you’ll have a lively, realistic, and three dimensional world. I hope! ❤ Until next time!

Dragon Bloode: Covet is out everywhere ebooks are sold.



It’s Monday! Monday! Monday! Today we’re gonna talk about talking! Ba dun tch! Or rather, dialogue. Dialogue is just as important in any story as description, setting, or action. If dialogue is unnatural or long winded it can ruin the flow. If it’s fast and witty you can get some good laughs. Dialogue can affect a scene as much as any other element so it’s crucial to make those words count.

I think the most prominent thing to keep in mind is how believeable the dialogue is.

Listen To Yourself

Next time you talk to someone on the phone or interact with anyone listen to yourself. Or better yet, record your conversation (with the other person’s permission) to get a sense of how people really talk. Do you contract a lot? Do you say “gonna” instead of “going to”? (I do!) Listen to your own natural flow of conversation. A lot of us have different writing voices from our regular speaking voices. Dialogue is the time to be as short and natural as possible. Go to a crowded place and listen to other people talking (without being creepy). What’s the natural flow of conversation?

Read It Out Loud

Once you’ve written your dialogue take the time to read it out loud. Does something feel strange to say? Maybe consider changing it. Do you stumble over a saying or does it feel long winded? People shorten their conversations naturally. I know some common advice is to read your entire novel aloud and dialogue is no exception.

Subject  & Conversation Partner

The subject being discussed can affect conversation. If your characters are discussing a recent death there may be more hesitation as they’re trying to find the right words. They may use a different selection of words than they would in everyday speech. For instance, if someone died that term is usually changed to “passed away” in the presence of someone mourning that death.

Also consider who they’re speaking with. You talk to your boss differently than you do to your spouse right? (I hope XD) And in turn you talk differently to your children than you do to your spouse. Consider each character and how they would talk to the other person. I do a sort of MPD thing where I consider each character’s point of view while writing their discussion. Also, how does the character feel about the other person? Do they dislike them? Are they scared of them? There are many factors to consider when building a dialogue.


I’m a little particular about accents. This is purely my opinion so you do what you want, but something I’ve run into are accents that are like another language. First thing, I don’t want to have to read a sentence five times to try to figure out what someone is saying. My opinion is if you want it to be known someone has an accent, say so in the other parts of character description. “His southern accent is thick, “Hey there. How’re you doing?” I think that’s much easier than “Heeeey thar. How y’all doin?” Or you can say, like my friend Anne Coffer did in her upcoming book, “she speaks with an emphasis on the “s” and it’s drawn out.” Rather than writing out, “Ssssssso what have we here? Sssssomeone unexsssssspected.”

Another thing to consider is stereotypes. Not everyone from that land or country or ethnicity is going to have the stereotypical accent. If they’re from the same area they will likely speak the same as your characters. Otherwise it can really be offensive.

If you must put something unique in to put emphasis on the accent, I suggest replacing a single word. Like in the example above you could say, “Hey there. How y’all doing?”

The one exception is when you want your character to have a hard time understanding someone. This creates realism for the reader as well. Neither of you have any idea what they’re saying. XD

This is just my opinion. If you want to accent that up you go right on ahead. I only mention it because I’ve had to put down a book or two because a main character had an accent that was difficult to understand.


Consider how nonnative speakers might talk. I’ve noticed that when learning a new language we have a tendency not to take short cuts that native speakers do because we want to be accurate more than quick. We also don’t use as many contractions or idioms or sayings. If someone who is nonnative is told an idiom there might be confusion as well to its meaning.

Consider what part of the land they’re from and they may have a varying dialect. For example, in the U.S. in the north everyone says “soda” or “pop”, but here in the south we say “coke” for everything. It doesn’t mean making up a new or different word. I know what sodas and pops are, but I call them coke. We always say, “Do you want a coke?” “Sure, I’ll have a Dr. Pepper.”

Shorten It

In real life we shorten our words constantly. We speak in the most effective way possible. Instead of “I’m going to the store for some bread and I might pick up some milk while I’m there.” you’re more likely to say, “I’m gonna go to the store. Be back later.”

Here’s an example of the difference taking out a few words can make:

“What are you doing?”

“I’m just cleaning out the fridge.”

“And why are you doing that?”

“Because I spilled a bottle of V8 and I don’t want the shelves to get sticky.”


“What are you doing?”

“Cleaning out the fridge.”


“I spilled some V8.”

To me the latter reads more naturally both out loud and on paper. Then again it’s entirely subjective I suppose.


Something that has always bothered me in movies is no one says “hello” or “bye” when talking on the phone! In real life consider when greeting someone, on the phone or for the first time that day, there’s an etiquette. Introductions, saying hello, asking how someone’s day is. And in turn it’s polite to return the questions and answers. It’s just a little extra something to consider. In real life you don’t just stop talking to someone either. You end the conversation with a parting goodbye. Unless you’re angry I suppose, but that’s another example of how you can use dialogue to increase emotions.

Until Next Time…

I hope, as always, this helps to fix any dialogue problems you may be having! Until next time keep on keeping on!

Dragon Bloode: Covet is out everywhere ebooks are sold.