by Josh Powell
On their way to apprehend a temple thief, Gurken Stonebiter, a templerager of the temple of Durstin Firebeard, and Pellonia, a little, but infuriatingly clever, girl stumble onto a quest to save a town from an evil dragon. The dragon is demanding sacrifices of maidens, and the town is fresh out. Can they discover a way to sate the dragon's bloodlust and save the town?
Along the way, Gurken and Pellonia meet up with Maximina, a half under-elven woman that also happens to be a tad psychic, a ranger with a dash of necromantic ability, a smidgen of samurai training, and just enough time living as a rogue to acquire the ability to sneak up on and stab a foe in the back. Maximina is full of clever ideas on how to gain a tactical advantage over her foes, and on occasion they even work.
During their adventures, Gurken, Pellonia, and Maximina face a snarky unicorn, do battle with a terrible frost giant, contend with a rival adventuring party bent on their utter humiliation, and confront the end of the world in the form of an evil sorcerer and a teeming dragon horde. Can they save the world one more time?
“We’ve run out of maidens,” the mayor told the crowd in the morning, shaking his head sadly. The mayor stood beside a wooden pole with chains and manacles attached to it. The manacles were empty. “I’m afraid that last night, the last maiden in the city, shall we say… disqualified herself.”
“Trollop!” said a voice in the crowd.
“In about five minutes, the dragon will be here and we’ll all be scorched and eaten alive. Please, don’t panic. There’s nothing to be done.”
The people in the crowd looked around at one another.
“Can’t we still pretend she’s a maiden?” said a voice in the crowd.
“A good idea, for sure,” said the mayor. “But the dragon can tell these things, he’s got a unicorn with him. I’m afraid we’re doomed. Nothing to be done about it.”
“You can’t fool a unicorn,” someone in the crowd shouted.
“How about a male maiden? I’m sure we’ve plenty of those. Roger here, for example.”
“Hey! I’m not a maiden!”
“Sure, sure, we all believe that.”
“It’s no good anyway. The dragon quite prefers that the maiden in question be a woman,” said the mayor.
“The dragon’s really quite particular,” another voice criticized.
“What about a young maiden? I mean, technically, if we can just find someone young enough…” said someone in the crowd. He turned and looked at Pellonia, as did the rest of the crowd.
~Buy DRAGON APOCALYPSE on Amazon.
AN INTERVIEW WITH JOSH
-What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always been into fantasy. From a young age I played role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, read fantasy novels from authors like Piers Anthony and Steven Brust, and video games like warcraft. Since I now have two young children, I have a lot less time to play role playing games and writing scratches that creative itch for me. Dragon Apocalypse builds on the fun world that began in The Berserker and the Pedant. The Berserker and the Pedant is a funny fantasy adventure that takes place in one tiny piece in this world, and exposes the reader to a few scenes that show there is more going on in this world than meets the eye. Dragon Apocalypse expands the worldview, introducing some interesting and distinctive locations, and more deeply explores some locations introduced in the first book.
-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?
If I could do one thing, I think I’d like to go on a quest with Maximina Nobility. She’s a half-under elven (don’t call her a drow!) woman who learns new skills very quickly but is easily bored and so never quite manages to master any of these skills. She tries very hard to find unusual tactical advantages to any situation, but they end up backfiring as often as they succeed.
That personality trait is actually based on one of mine. When my wife and I used to have time to play games together, I would always win the first few times we played a new game because I learned the rules more quickly and took quick advantage of different gaming interactions, then after a few plays through she would learn the game more thoroughly than I did and would beat me the rest of the time. Consequently, we have a rather large gaming collection...
-Give us a fun or interesting fact you learned researching this book.
There are an amazing variety of Celtic runes and many have some rather hilarious and unbelievable descriptions. The African pantheon of gods has many interesting characters and stories. The dragon Omumborombonga’s name is borrowed from the primordial tree of life that gave birth to the first man and woman. It neatly solves the chicken or the egg problem, neither came first, the tree did.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks and pizza with?
I would go with Gurken, Pellonia, and Arthur together because the way the three of them interact is hilarious. Gurken is the gruff dwarven berserker, Pellonia a fun loving fear nothing little girl, and Arthur the intellectual. The way they play off of each other is comedy gold and they are much more fun as friends that they are separately.
-If you could go back in time and give your pre-published self one piece of advice, what would it be?
To follow my instincts, they are right. Just keep trying new things and see what works. If you’ve got a story in your head that just won’t let go, start writing it even if you have to put down something you’re already working on. Also, start sooner in life. The sooner you start, the more experience you’ll gain. If you love reading, start writing and making your own stories now. Sure, the first few might suck, but you’ll get better and like any skill you won’t get better except through practice. Also, don’t be afraid of letting other people read what you’ve written, you can’t get better unless you know what other people like and what they don’t, but take any feedback with a consideration that the reader only knows what they like and what people like them like, even if they don’t like your work, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just means it’s not for them. Find people that enjoy what you write, and use them as your alpha/beta readers.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
Straight up romance novels, because I’ve never read them. Romance readers are such passionate (pun totally intended) readers though, I won’t rule it out totally for the future.
JOSH POWELL, wielder of the Sommerswerd, destroyer of the thread, expeditioner to Barrier Peaks, discoverer of his magic talent, and venturer into the Tomb of Horrors is known for having survived a harrowing adolescence full of danger and fantasy. He's gone on to write The Berserker and the Pedant and Dragon Apocalypse and is currently working on the yet to be named third book in the series.
He also spends some not inconsiderable amount of time wiggling his fingers over a keyboard as a software engineer. He lives with his wife, Marianne, and two amazing children, Liam and Chloe, in sunny California, where winter is, most decidedly, never coming.
Find him online:
Josh Powell will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn host.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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