Wow! Would you just look at this cover! I’m happy to share with you, this beautiful dark fantasy, In Solitudes Shadow by David Green. Read on for details and a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card.
The Banished have returned, and they will have their revenge.
Zanna Alpenwood, a powerful mage, stands atop Solitude’s walls staring down at an army bent on invasion. Two hundred aged and forgotten Sparkers are all that stand between the Banished and the nation of Haltveldt.
With time running out, Zanna is forced to reach out to her estranged daughter, Calene, and set her on an impossible quest. In doing so Calene must decide between her masters and her own conscience, as she teams up with unlikely allies to forge their way over land and sea. Will they arrive in time to save the fortress of Solitude from destruction?
Only one thing is certain. Ruin is assured if Solitude falls.
The moon hid behind the highest rise of the Peaks of Eternity. Black clouds hung heavy in the sky. Zanna’s senses felt dull. They told her there should still have been rain. A storm with thunder and lightning. Instead, it felt as though the night held its breath. “Master?” Arlo asked, his voice subdued as he stared out over the walls. “Does the darkness scare you?”
“You get used to it,” Zanna replied, putting an arm around his shoulders.
“No, I mean tonight. There’s something… odd.”Zanna glanced at him. She felt it too. The night held a strange quality. All too quiet, but a tense quivering underpinned the silence. Feeling eyes on her, shescanned the rampart and saw they were alone. At first, she thought it her imagination, but faint sounds drifted to her. The sound of whispers that lingered at the edge of her hearing.
“You’re right, Arlo,” she said, gazing across the ramparts. Lit braziers dotted the walls that ran a half-mile in each direction. She drew their flames inside her, the sensation thrilling her. Arlo’s eyes widened at the depth of her power. Zanna kept pulling fire into her, her limbs filling with warmth, heat, power. It made her feel alive, to the point she wanted to keep drawing, to not let go. A struggle every Sparker contended with.
“We need light.”
Quivering with energy and almost at her limit, Zanna lifted her hands to the skie sand unleashed a fountain of flame across the heavens, lighting up the plains for miles below them.
“Oh, teeth of the gods,” she whispered, taking in the sight below before darkness swallowed the flames. She turned to Arlo. The colour had drained from his face and tears filled his wide, blue eyes. His fingers dug into the stone ramparts as he gripped the wall.
“Raas preserve us. Get Protector Garet. Run. Can you do that?”
Arlo nodded and shot away, leaving Zanna alone. She looked out over the ramparts again. The darkness hid them as they spilled over the distant hills. An army marched across the slate plains towards Solitude. Thousands of them. The Banished were coming. And less than two hundred Sparkers, with a single apprentice, stood in their way.
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PUTTING THE SOLITUDE IN SOLITUDE’S SHADOW
You’ve probably visited this site and noticed the banners for In Solitude’s Shadow—an epic, character-driven dark fantasy, they say—and seen a guest blog spot by some bloke called David Green. Well, you’re reading in now, so let’s say you have.
Who’s David Green? That’s me, and In Solitude’s Shadow is my first foray into long-form fantasy writing, after thirty-odd years of reading it (thirty-one since I read The Hobbit for the first time at the age of seven, to be precise. How do I know? I still have the same copy, with my name, age, and address scrawled in it. I must have had wild dreams for the future, as my address included which planet, solar system, and galaxy I lived in… but that’s another story.)
So a little about me; I’m a ‘dark fiction’ writer, which means while I love me some fantasy, I dabble in other genres. Horror and sci-fi, mostly. Though I do enjoy noir. In fact, my first series is an urban-fantasy paranormal noir, in my crazy attempt to throw as many genres into one book that I could. I get notions like that from time to time. I’m Irish, but grew up in Manchester in the not-so sunny UK, before moving back to the not-so sunny Galway at the tail-end of the 00s. Three years ago, I became a stay-at-home dad to a wonderful little boy who’s my partner-in-crime in all things, but I needed something else to do.
Writing became that thing.
I’d always harboured ambitions to write, but my old familiar friend—the Doubt Monster, I call him Doug—would convince me not to bother.
“No one will care,” Doug would whisper, prodding me to play more Xbox, or read something good. “You won’t be able to do it.”
I’d nod my head and park my dreams for a little longer. But then my son came along, and you know what? I wanted to have something to make him proud. One printed story in an anthology. That would do me. Just one thing he could see, aged seven, maybe like when I read The Hobbit, and he could say, “My dad did something? Who knew?”
So I practiced. I went to creative writing lessons, and was invited to read a little story I wrote about the time I had to spend almost forty hours of my life dressed in a female bunny suit to a room full of people. Her name was Dot. Probably still is, for all I know. But mainly, I kept all my scribblings to myself.
Then came the pandemic.
Now, what I didn’t realise about writing was that it’s quite a lonely business. Shock horror, I know, I know. I’m quite famed for missing the obvious. But the pandemic took that to new levels. Gone were the creative writing classes. A weekly book group I joined was no more. Housebound in lockdown, I considered what to do. I could stop; go back to the Xbox, become great at increasing my waist size.
Or I could take it more seriously, get that one printed story. Just one.
A few months later, after immersing myself in a wonderful online writing community, getting that interaction and advice, I got my story. Then came another, and another. I had the writing bug. And each time, I moved closer and closer to writing fantasy, after avoiding it at first; how could I, Mr New Writer, hope to create anything as fine as the stories I loved?
Well, you try.
I had the idea for In Solitude’s Shadow for years. Not fully refined and formed, but the spark lived inside me. But I hadn’t written it. Then I saw an upcoming call from Eerie River Publishing, a wonderful imprint of dark and delightful things, announcing that they would be open for dark fantasy standalone novels and series from June 1st to June 30th 2020.
This was my chance.
But… I hadn’t written it. And we were in May.
I spent a day thinking about whether I could do it. I’d need to give some things up (Xbox, movie night, a few TV shows on the back burner) but if I set myself daily goals, got my trusted beta reader onboard, I could do it, couldn’t I?
I thought of my son, two years old then, and realised yes. All I could do was try.
I wrote every night into the small hours. Alone in my kitchen, on my couch, in my bed. Anywhere I could type. I’d thought writing a lonely business before, but throwing yourself into writing a novel in a month… that’s something else.
Lonely… but rewarding.
I’d created it. The idea in my head. The working title, The Banished, changed to Solitude’s Shadow (no In, at that point). An apt title; not only for the themes in the book, but a novel written during a pandemic lockdown, mostly in the middle of the night. And what’s more, my beta reader loved it. As did the next set of eyes, who gave me some valuable advice before it was ready for submission.
One evening, a few weeks later, I got a message from Michelle at Eerie River Publishing, telling me she was reading it. Another few nervous hours later, another message. “I’m still reading this, I’m over halfway through.”
Soon after, a third message. “Can we talk?”
I ignored my first instinct of saying “NO!” and heading for the hills.
We talked. We made plans. We discussed the positives and the parts that needed more work, then Michelle stopped and asked: “Wait, you do want to publish with me, don’t you?”
I didn’t give it a millisecond of thought.
“I really think you should call it ‘In Solitude’s Shadow,’ though, don’t you?”
Almost a year later, and the book is ready for people to read. It’s nerve-wracking, but exhilarating. I’m hard at work at the sequel, but not forcing myself into as much Solitude this time.
So what’s the point of this blog? If there’s one thing I’ve learned since beginning my writing journey, it’s this: try. You have an idea you think no one will ever read, ever care about looking at? They won’t if it’s still in your head, or on your hard drive. If you have an ambition to write, or to create, or to try something new, go for it. Don’t let you stop you.
You never know what might happen.
I hope if you pick up In Solitude’s Shadow, you enjoy it, and find something of worth. While it pays respect to many things I love in fantasy, I believe it offers unique spins and perspectives and if nothing else, is a fast-paced ripping yarn.
For now, happy reading.
David Green David Green is a writer of dark fiction. Born in Manchester, UK and living in Galway, Ireland, David grew up with gloomy clouds above his head, and rain water at his feet, which has no doubt influenced his dark scribblings. David is the author of the Pushcart Prize nominated novelette Dead Man Walking, and is excited for his fantasy series, Empire of Ruin, debuting in June 2021 from Eerie River Publishing.
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