Rys Rising Fantasy Series on Sale at Smashwords

Every July, Smashwords invites authors to participate in the site-wide promotion known as the Summer Winter Sale. This reflects the international reach of the ebook retailer.

Whether the weather is summer or winter for you, Smashwords is the scene of a month-long deluge of free and discounted ebooks. Multiple formats are available, so readers can load their ebooks on to the devices of their choice.

I routinely take advantage of the sales promotions at Smashwords, and this month is no exception. Everyone can save 50% off any titles in the Rys Rising fantasy series at Smashwords. Sale ends July 31.

Savage Storm – A Personal Favorite

The second book in the Rys Rising series is Savage Storm. Although as an author I like all of my novels, I do admit to an extra fondness for Savage Storm. Writing it was pure fun despite it being an epic and gritty novel. The sheer defiance and bad behavior displayed by many of the characters delighted me.

I’m especially proud of Demeda’s betrayal of her father and whole tribe. They were abominable to her, but she showed them her power in the end. She aided Amar in his conquest of the kingdom as part of Onja’s holy war.

There’s so much more in the novel, that I promise the above statements won’t spoil a thing.

Buy Savage Storm at Smashwords for only $2.50 this month

The next two novels are on sale as well. I’ll share my memories about writing New Religion and Love Lost in future posts.

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40 Free Fantasy Ebooks Available at Prolific Works

Find a new fantasy story to read this summer. Visit the giveaway page.

In cooperation with Art of the Arcane, I’m participating in a fantasy ebook giveaway at Prolific Works. This site makes it easy for readers to load their free downloads on their devices.

The giveaway has 40 fantasy titles from creative authors, including my novel Union of Renegades. The variety of book offerings should satisfy anyone’s taste. You can find elves, zombies, vampires, fairies, and tigers. Choose from deadly serious dramas to humorous adventures.

This is a short-term giveaway. It only lasts until July 15, so don’t miss your chance to browse the free titles and download something for free.

free fantasy ebook

Excerpt from Union of Renegades

The prisoners squinted when they were led into the morning sun. The grime of Taischek’s prison had smeared their blue robes and they plodded down the castle road to the city under heavy guard. Prime Rysmavda Arshen was the foremost prisoner, and the warding crystal on a silver chain around his neck had been replaced by manacles and iron chains on his wrists. Thirty rysmavda and acolytes trailed behind Arshen, but few expressions matched the fury on Arshen’s face.

Astride a chestnut horse with a white mane and tail, King Taischek led the procession and Arshen hurled condemnations at the back of his monarch. He warned of Onja’s killing fire falling from the sky and he told the Temu warriors that surrounded him that they were as good as Deamedron already. Arshen called for the other rysmavda to join him in haranguing their captors, but only a few added their voices to the threats of the Prime Rysmavda. Over a week in prison with no sign of Onja’s magic to save them had worn on the faith of some, and others were too afraid to speak and draw attention to themselves.

Crowds overflowed onto the castle road, and people packed the streets leading to the city square. Some people started throwing rocks at the rysmavda, but Taischek quickly ordered a few warriors to stop them before those who liked to throw rocks encouraged those who had not thought of it.

In the city square Baydek Hall stood across from the rysmavda temple of Dengar Nor. Named after the Temu monarch who founded the bureaucracy, Baydek Hall housed the offices of government officials. The steps of Baydek Hall were broad and designed as a platform for public announcements, parade observation, and sometimes trials. The steps would be crowded today with the thirty-one prisoners on display.

Warriors held back the crowd, and Taischek watched as the prisoners were lined up in their chains. The name of the King flew off the lips of many in the crowd as they hollered their support. The rysmavda had been in prison for over a week now, everyone had heard about the looting of the Dursalene temple, and people were beginning to believe that they had a chance to defeat Onja. No righteous firestorm descended to punish the tribe, Taischek seemed as healthy as ever, and the report was circulating that he had actually killed rysmavda.

Shan waited with Dreibrand and Miranda just inside Baydek Hall. Warriors and bureaucrats milled around the lobby, taking turns looking out the doors and windows. The sound of the crowd outside filled the three story high lobby like a strong wind in a hollow tree. Shan and his friends were tucked in an alcove beside the main doors, and beyond the glossy pillars, they could see the backs of the heads of the rysmavda lining up on the steps.

Miranda wet her lips and noticed that she was breathing faster.

“Are you all right?” Dreibrand asked.

She nodded but looked afraid. Dreibrand understood her fear. Taischek and Shan had asked him to give his testimony about the Atrophane Empire in the east where Onja had no control. He had addressed large groups of soldiers on countless occasions but he had never spoken to the public. Under the Darmar’s censure, all Vetas were excluded from pursuing a political career.

Dreibrand clasped her hand and told her not to worry.

“I hope no one has to be killed,” Miranda said.

“They serve Onja; just remember that,” Dreibrand reminded her sternly.

Download the complete novel Union of Renegades for free.

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Heyday of Fantasy Adaptations for TV Appears to be at Hand

Streaming in general has launched a golden age of television. Productions from the small screen are attracting top talent, and the fantasy genre gets a place at the table too. As someone who grew up with a dearth of fantasy adaptions for television, I was excited to learn how many fantasy and sci fi novels are in development for streaming services like Amazon, Netflix, and Apple.

With the completion of the Game of Thrones television series, others are eager to replicate its success. Amazon, as usual, is strutting about like top dog with its deal to produce an original Lord of the Rings series. With rumors of a multi-season commitment and a total $1 billion budget, it could be absolute bliss.

Although I feel that Arthurian legends are overdone, Netflix might have a good idea with its upcoming production of Cursed. Set in the Arthurian world, it’s supposed to feature a female character who eventually becomes the Lady of the Lake.

Apple might be on to something brilliant with its production of the Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov. It’s been too long since classic science fiction was produced for viewers.

Despite my natural love of the Lord of the Rings, I’m most excited about Amazon’s other big fantasy project, which is Conan the Barbarian. I very much admire the movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The original adventures by R.E. Howard have great potential to translate into episodic television.

With so many fantasy adaptations headed into production, I can hope for some good entertainment in the coming years. I have diverse tastes, but fantasy is always the genre that I want the most.

Download One of My Free Fantasy Novels

Discover a gripping epic fantasy series. Read Rys Rising: Book I by Tracy Falbe for free.
Rys Rising: Book I – Access Free Download Now

A young warrior ruined and near death is saved by Onja a mysterious rys female. Forsaking all that he was, he will take the name Amar and serve his new magical mistress. A lord among outlaws he will become, feared by kings and called the dro-shalum or curse demon by the common folk.

Access Free Download Now
Union of Renegades tells the story of a rogue imperial officer and escaped slave.
Union of Renegades – Access Free Download Nowhttps://sowl.co/Vj4Pl

The epic begins as Dreibrand Veta and the conquering Horde of the Atrophane Empire reach a mythic Wilderness that beckons with a magical call to glory. But Onja, Queen of the rys, a race far more powerful than the greatest human state, guards this land. She has the power to imprison souls and her genocidal rage is legendary. Everything is at risk for her desperate enemies, the union of renegades.

Union of Renegades – Access Free Download Now
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Early Modern Witch Hunting and Modern Crime Investigation

I got to do lots of interesting research for the historical setting of the Werewolves in the Renaissance series. Crime and punishment for witchcraft are at the heart of the first novel, and I learned that the Early Modern period in Europe laid the foundation for criminal investigation to this day.

Most any person is familiar with formulaic crime stories. A crime happens. Evidence is documented. The guilty are accused, tried, and punished. Justice is served.

Except that following a procedure does not justice make, and the bureaucratic methods of modern crime investigations have their roots in the infamous Inquisitions of the Roman Church in Medieval times.

Educated Investigators

In the book “God’s Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World” the author Cullen Murphy wrote, “Looking at the Inquisition, one sees the West crossing a threshold from one kind of world into another. Persecution acquired a modern platform – the advantages afforded by a growing web of standardized law, communications, administrative oversight, and controlled mechanisms of force. It was run not merely by warriors but by an educated elite.”

The infamous witch hunting manual “Hammer of the Witches” or “Malleus Maleficarum” by German inquisitor Heinrich Kramer in association with Jakob Sprenger is an example of standardized communication explaining how to ferret out heretics and witches. Published in 1486, the book promoted the reality of witchcraft, insisted that women were more susceptible to it, and instructed magistrates on how to find witches, interrogate them with torture, and conduct the trials. Although the Church discredited the book in the early 1500s, its definitions and sadistic methods remained widespread, resulting in terrible tortures and executions of thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands of citizens throughout Europe until the 1700s.

In 1532, Charles V the Holy Roman Emperor decreed that torture was allowed to determine the validity of witchcraft accusations. This action indicated the increasing importance placed on making society obey a single worldview. Burning at the stake was the punishment. With the legal doors wide open to the use of torture, all kinds of fantastical stories came from the mouths of victims because torture will make people say anything, especially when led on by questions specifically meant to confirm heresy and allegiance to the Devil.

In my novel Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale, witch hunting is an important part of the plot because the werewolf Thal is hunting the men who tortured and killed his witch mother. The Jesuit brothers Vito and Miguel represent the educated elites promoting the persecution. For them it is part of their career ladder. By persecuting witches and heretics they gather more power onto themselves through fear and violence. I did not have them use the “Hammer of the Witches.” Instead I made up a title for Miguel’s witch hunting manual because it’s fun to do stuff like that when you’re a novelist. While administering a campaign of terror in Prague, he refers to “The Identification of Heretics, Sorcerers, and Witches and Methods for Gaining Confession,” which happens to be the newest title on the subject in my fictional version of 1561 Bohemia.

I’ve long been fascinated by beliefs in witchcraft and witch hunting in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe because it is so horrifying. Imagine going downtown in your home town and seeing people, mostly women, being burned alive. What a vicious form of social control. The fear that people lived under must have been very psychologically punishing.

In Cullen’s book “God’s Jury,” his whole point was that secular governments of the modern world have taken the Inquisition play book quite to heart. The criminal needs only to be codified as some horrible other such as communist, drug lord, terrorist, or protester and then “the unthinkable becomes permissible” like authorities reserving the right to torture the accused or take their children.

It’s all still going on today but not as often in public view. My novel Werelord Thal offers an engaging way to experience these historical realities while giving the persecuted real magic powers to defend themselves.

Download a Free copy of Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale

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Smashwords Fantasy Sale 50% Off Rys Rising Series

Through the end of May, I’m running a Smashwords promotion on all titles in the Rys Rising series. These novels were the fifth through eighth books that I’ve written. They serve as the prequel series for my first fantasy series, The Rys Chronicles.

Rys Rising is an epic fantasy that tells of events 2,200 years prior to The Rys Chronicles. At this time, the ancient kingdom of Nufal is ruled by the magical tabre race. The tabre created the rys, but did not like the results. Tabre religious leaders were also split on whether the rys should have been made at all. This is source of internal strife within tabre society that complicates their ability to defend themselves throughout the story.

Nufal is under attack by the rys as led by Onja, an ambitious and powerful rebel. She plans to destroy the tabre utterly and install herself as the ruler of all. The series portrays this momentous time from both sides of the conflict, and often from the point of view of the humans serving their magical masters.

Save on Ebooks at Smashwords

I’ve activated 50% off coupon codes at Smashwords through the end of May. This creates an excellent opportunity to download a great fantasy series at a reduced price. The epic can be your mental summer getaway inside your tablet.

Read an Excerpt from Savage Storm: Rys Rising Book II

At the outskirts of the camp, Amar halted his group and had men unload the two boxes of treasure. Amar proceeded to the center of the camp in search of Lax Ar Fu. Four men followed him, carrying the heavy boxes.

The Lord of the Kez was under a large tree where a freshly killed deer was hung up and being gutted. With the bloody spear still in his hand, Lax Ar Fu was flush with high spirits from the hunt and he turned to greet Amar with a disarmingly happy expression.

“At last my young rogue returns to his lord,” Lax Ar Fu announced in only a mildly scolding tone.

He held his arms wide and swaggered out of the shade. The hot sunshine sparkled on his hard bare chest draped in a fresh catch of gold necklaces strung with quartz and gemstone beads. His smooth scalp revealed every nuance of his skull and the black makeup around his eyes made his brow and cheekbones look especially strong.

Amar saluted him and dropped respectfully to his knees. “For the glory of Vu, I bring the Temulanka retainer and the ransom for the Sabar’Uto Princess,” he said.

Lax Ar Fu chuckled. “So you turned over your little pet that you kept hidden from me,” he remarked triumphantly, glad that Amar had given up something he obviously coveted.

“I did not hesitate in my duty,” Amar said. He remained on his knees but watched Lax Ar Fu carefully as he sauntered closer.

The men set the boxes down and opened them.

Lax Ar Fu said, “Rise, Amar, let us admire my treasure together. You have done well. I have much to teach you this summer. It will be good to have you close for a change.”

Amar got up. He watched impassively as Lax Ar Fu poked through the treasure boxes with the end of his spear. At the second box he commented that it looked a bit less than full. He then turned his black-clad gaze onto his notorious lieutenant. “Have you been stealing from your brothers?” he said.

“Why would I take so little?” Amar rejoined with a hint of offense.

Concern flickered across Lax Ar Fu’s features, but he quickly buried it with a leader’s confidence. “You were supposed to be here two days ago. Yesterday at the latest,” he complained.

“We paused to celebrate our triumph in teaching the Temulanka to respect Vu,” Amar explained.

“It must have been quite a celebration,” Lax Ar Fu murmured. “I suppose you took some time to play with your little princess before turning her ruined ass over to the Temulanka.” He laughed lustily as if Amar had played the funniest joke ever.

Amar disliked Lax Ar Fu talking about Demeda and he wished that thoughts of her did not bother him, which left him doubly irked.

Lax Ar Fu returned his attention to the second chest and squatted next to it. He shifted some gold and silver ingots around the box, mixing it with the jewelry, and said, “Either you let the Temulanka short us or someone has been dipping into my treasure.”

Amar walked around Lax Ar Fu and placed himself so that the box was between him and the Kez Overlord.

“Are you seriously accusing me of stealing from you?” Amar said.

Lax Ar Fu looked up at his brash young outlaw. He had easily detected the exposed claws behind Amar’s words. A tingle of excitement shivered along Lax Ar Fu’s nerves. He had a sense for when a man was going to challenge him. It had been years since the last time he had dispatched an uppity Kez brother, and Lax Ar Fu did not flinch from the primal call to defend his rank. Battles such as this were what he was meant for.

Amar kicked shut the chest and Lax Ar Fu had to snatch back his fingers. “I can hardly steal what is mine,” Amar said.

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Nook Audiobooks 50% Discount on Fantasy Series

Busy schedules sometime make it hard for fans of the fantasy genre to fit in time to read epic novels. Audiobooks, however, are easy to fit into downtime while riding a train, walking the dog, or doing mindless work. At Nook Audiobooks this month, you can save 50% off the regular price of the audiobook versions of Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I and The Goddess Queen: The Rys Chronicles Book II.

fantasy audiobook

Save 50%

Get the Union of Renegades audiobook for only $4.49 at the Nook store this month.

Continue listening to the saga and get The Goddess Queen for only $4.49 in the month of May.

Nook fantasy audiobook

No subscription is necessary for listeners to download audiobooks from Nook. Don’t miss this opportunity to get 35 hours of epic fantasy entertainment for a low price.

Union of Renegades introduces the hero Dreibrand Veta, who makes a fateful decision to abandon his position in an imperial army and seek his own fortunes in a mysterious land. He soon becomes embroiled in a dispute between two powerfully magical beings, known as rys. He sides with Shan, the challenger to Queen Onja. She has ruled the western tribal kingdoms as their Goddess for over two thousand years.

In the sequel, The Goddess Queen, Dreibrand leads Shan’s armies against Onja who has summoned an ancient horror to defend her throne. Enslaved ghosts with the power to kill answer Onja’s call, and only Shan can defend his human allies from her servants that cannot be touched by any physical weapon.

This exciting fantasy series was the first one that I wrote. I published the novels in 2006 and 2007, and the books remain popular to this day.

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Free Google Play Fantasy Book With Great Reviews

Don’t Miss This Fantasy Author on Google Play

The free series starter, Rys Rising, has maintained a 4.2-star rating out of 99 reviews at Google Play Books. Thousands of readers worldwide have enjoyed this gritty fantasy novel by an indie author. As a free Google Play fantasy book, it costs you nothing to give it a try.

Rys Rising dives into the history of the fantasy world created in The Rys Chronicles to reveal the origins of Queen Onja and the destruction of the ancient kingdom of Nufal. The novel builds into a 4-book fantasy series that tells a saga from many points of view.

A young warrior ruined and near death is saved by Onja a mysterious rys female. Forsaking all that he was, he will take the name Amar and serve his new magical mistress. A lord among outlaws he will become, feared by kings and called the dro-shalum or curse demon by the common folk

Always a Free Google Play Fantasy Book

My book marketing is based on the concept of the free series starter. You can always have a chance to download the complete first novel of any of my series to see if you like it. Some people get hooked and go on to buy the rest of my books and provide me with a meager reward for wasting years of my life writing novels instead of getting a haircut and a real job.

Download Rys Rising at Google Play for Free

When I wrote this series, I dared to push the narrative in ruthless directions. The story tells the story of the rise of the rys Onja, who becomes an unstoppable magic user who brings many peoples under her total domination.

The novel has resonated with some readers who craved a carefully crafted saga in a fantasy world. Here’s a sampling of some reviews from Google Play:

“Highly recommended for Fantasy fans. Rich in characters and a great place to escape to.”

“Fantastic book, looking forward to the next book.”

“Awesome read full of action and through enjoyment.”

Downloading a book to read from Google Play is easy for anyone with an Android phone or tablet. If you want to escape into a “Game of Thrones style” epic fantasy, choose Rys Rising at Google Play or look for it at your favorite ebook retailer.

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Smashwords Coupon Code for The Rys Chronicles Box Set

Fantasy readers worldwide can snatch up The Rys Chronicles Complete Series ebook box set at Smashwords for 45% off. This box set bundles all four novels of the series: Union of Renegades, The Goddess Queen, Judgment Rising, and The Borderlands of Power. Coupon code BW43M is valid through May 5, 2019.

This is the first 4-book series that I published way back in 2006 and 2007. What a long time ago! These novels continue to sell to this day, and I’m grateful for the many readers who’ve bought and enjoyed my novels over the years.

This value bundle normally sells for $8.99. At 45% off, you can get the fantasy series for only $4.94. Simply click the “buy with coupon” button to apply the discount automatically.

I like to toss up discounts at Smashwords from time to time to attract new readers on that platform. I can offer deep discounts at this ebook retailer because I earn the greatest share of the sale there compared to other retail outlets.

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Finding Stock Images for Book Cover Art

Top Places to Find Royalty Free Stock Art for Book Covers

While I’m editing the final manuscript of Werewolf Castle: Werewolves in the Renaissance 3, I need to develop the book cover art. Unless I want to commission custom art for a cover, I start the search for appropriate stock art for a book cover design. Although I have commissioned fantasy art for my book covers in the past, my werewolf series has been designed using stock art.

I use what’s known as royalty free stock art. This means that I don’t owe anyone any royalties based on the sales of the works made with the stock art and photos. For a single price, I gain the rights to use the images for commercial applications. The site that I choose to buy images from will specify the precise details of the royalty free agreement.

I’ve used some different sites over the years to find art for book covers and promotional banners. For the most part, they are quite similar in terms of price and terms. They even have largely identical collections, so I can’t really recommend any one company as standing out from the pack.

These are some of the major stock art providers online:

Generally, these companies require that you purchase credits that are then exchanged onsite for the images that you want. Pricing varies according to image size, resolution, and usage rights. The credit buying levels always seem to be cleverly designed to make one spend a bit more than would be necessary for what I need. But I always need to get a new image for something eventually so it works out. Pay close attention, however, to expiration dates attached to credit purchases. Paying for credits and then losing them would be a bummer.

All of the stock art providers include useful tools for customers. After creating an account, I can create folders, or light boxes as they are sometimes called, to save images to. This helps me organize my findings as I browse images that might possibly work for my design. For example, when creating the book cover for Journey of the Hunted, I collected images of a woman who would represent the female character who I wanted to feature on the cover.

An example of book cover art made with royalty free stock art.

I’m able to download low resolution or watermarked images to test in designs before I make a purchase. It’s important to use this approach to avoid spending money on an image that ultimately does not work for my design idea. I determine probably about 90 percent of the final design before actually buying the stock art.

Free Sources of Stock Art

Many websites draw in traffic with the promise of free stock art. Any web search will produce lists of different sites to visit for free to download images. I find the quality and selection available at the free sites to be inferior to paid downloads, but sometimes a free image will work for a background, or I get lucky and find a decent free image that works for a blog post or promotional image.

When I’m scrounging for free images, I like to use Pixabay.com. Search results here deliver free images and sponsored suggestions from Shutterstock.

Selecting stock images is by far the most time consuming process of developing a book cover design, at least for me. I have to sift through many images before making final decisions.

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Fantasy Authors Join My ProlificWorks Giveaway

Now accepting submissions through April 30th.

Connect With New Readers During Month-Long Promotion

If you’re not familiar with ProlificWorks (formerly known as Instafreebie), you’re missing out on an effective book marketing platform. The site attracts readers with ebook giveaways offered by member authors. In addition to individual ebook giveaways, authors can organize group giveaways that have a greater potential to attract traffic.

I’ve currently set up the Dark and Daring Fantasy Giveaway for the entire month of May. Submissions are open for titles. I approve most entries as long as they are complete stories and fit the theme in some way.

Submit Your Ebook Today!

Authors can join ProlificWorks for free, but you won’t be able to collect emails from readers who download your ebook.

Paid memberships enable integration with your email list service. You can make collection of emails from readers optional or mandatory. My titles currently have an optional status, and I still gain new email list subscribers every week.

If you think you want to try out this marketing service, use this link to initiate a paid membership. Email marketing is one of the most effective forms of book marketing, and free ebooks attract new subscribers.

The giveaway will go live for readers on May 1st. ProlificWorks makes it easy for readers to open ebooks on their devices. It’s a popular site. I gain hundreds of downloads a month and dozens of new email subscribers without really doing much. I’m sure I’d get better results if I could pay more attention to book marketing.

Free Fantasy Ebooks by Tracy Falbe

I also provide free ebooks to email newsletter subscribers right here at my website. Check out my free fantasy ebooks.

Union of Renegades

The epic begins as Dreibrand Veta and the conquering Horde of the Atrophane Empire reach a mythic Wilderness that beckons with a magical call to glory. But Onja, Queen of the rys, a race far more powerful than the greatest human state, guards this land. She has the power to imprison souls and her genocidal rage is legendary. Everything is at risk for her desperate enemies, the union of renegades.

Rys Rising

A young warrior ruined and near death is saved by Onja a mysterious rys female. Forsaking all that he was, he will take the name Amar and serve his new magical mistress. A lord among outlaws he will become, feared by kings and called the dro-shalum or curse demon by the common folk

Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale

Thal embodies the ancient magic of the pagan past. He challenges a world conquered by a spiritual system that denies the flesh and forgets the Earth. Although wanted for Devil worship and shape shifting, he still boldly walks the streets of 16th century Prague. Jesuits hunt him. Mercenaries fear him. Musicians sing his praise, and women are captivated by his alpha swagger.

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