I have been hooked on fantasy and science fiction since preschool when I watched Star Trek the Original Series with my family on TV. Then came Star Wars at the theater when I was 5, and a few years later, I discovered the joys of reading fantasy with the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. I quickly moved up to stronger stuff like Conan, and I currently like The Song of Ice and Fire.
The elements I like most about the genres are the high stakes (save the world, overthrow the empire, etc.), the diversity of characters, and how magic or extraordinary technology allows plots to expand in interesting ways. The ability of fantasy and sci fi to include analysis and criticisms of social conditions like religion and politics is especially fascinating as well. When this is done in conventional humdrum fiction, people and readers descend into arguments about whether an opinion is valid or the historical information is accurate instead of assessing the concepts themselves. These interfering issues are not present in the purely metaphorical works that occur sometimes in fantasy and science fiction.
Of course, fantasy and sci fi can just be fun as well. I love a good hero or heroine and villains can be the best of all. And there is something therapeutic about picking up a sword or blaster and solving the problems of the world.
My taste in genre has inevitably married itself to my love of writing. For some reason I am a person capable of writing novels. The act of creating thousands of pages of fiction does not overwhelm me. Making it a good work of fiction is the hard part that requires countless hours of editing and rewriting and lots of daydreaming too.
I have written a four-novel epic fantasy series entitled The Rys Chronicles. The individual novels of the series are: Union of Renegades, The Goddess Queen, Judgment Rising, and The Borderlands of Power. I produce my novels in paperback and ebooks, and readers all over the world have been kind enough to allow me to entertain them.
Currently I am in the midst of writing another fantasy series. I expect this one to be 4 novels as well, and, as of February 2009, I am closing in on completing Book II. This series is still untitled and I won't be publishing it until it is complete. This process allows me to fine tune everything throughout the novels.
When I'm not writing, my other passions include cooking, growing food, reducing my consumption of fossil fuels, and reading.
Where to find Tracy Falbe online
Where to buy in print
Love Lost: Rys Rising Book IV
by Tracy Falbe
Price: $4.99 USD. 190860 words.
Published on October 17, 2012. Fiction.
In this breathtaking conclusion to the series, unleashed monsters born of cruel spells test the mettle of the sturdiest warriors. Soul wrenching chaos consumes the faith of thousands. Torn between his need to protect his secret lover and son and his legitimate family, Cruce struggles through ever worsening battles until he finally wagers his life against the most favored warlord of Onja.
New Religion: Rys Rising Book III
by Tracy Falbe
Price: $4.99 USD. 194170 words.
Published on February 14, 2012. Fiction.
Onja opens a two front campaign meant to expand her dominion over the western tribal kingdoms and bring misery and ruin to Nufal. She commands Amar to lead marauders into Nufal. Excited to be set loose upon new and foreign lands, he attacks without mercy and even dares to fight magical tabre. In the west, Onja’s holy war rages as she continues to crush old idols and remake society.
Savage Storm: Rys Rising Book II
by Tracy Falbe
Price: $4.99 USD. 198680 words.
Published on October 28, 2011. Fiction.
When Onja enthralls the savage Chatapaka people of the remote north and unleashes their brutal hordes upon vulnerable Nufalese settlements, the militia is overwhelmed. Cruce Chenomet and his comrades struggle to save the fleeing settlers. Cruce quickly loses hope but keeps his courage as he confronts the savage storm.
Rys Rising: Book I
by Tracy Falbe
Price: Free! 178440 words.
Published on August 7, 2011. Fiction.
Onja can control what others see. The day will come when everyone sees things her way.
Enjoy this unique epic of complex heroes and villains that engulfs readers from many angles. Packed with primitive energy, the intertwining stories and rising stakes of this fantasy world will indulge your cravings for intrigue, bravery, desire, and freedom.
The Home Canning Guide for Everyone Who Eats
by Tracy Falbe
Price: $0.99 USD. 12910 words.
Published on May 14, 2011. Nonfiction.
Preserve the bounty of your garden, support local growers, claim control over ingredients, increase your food security, and enjoy great tasting foods better than anything from a factory. All of this is possible with home canning. This short guide quickly presents everything you need to know to safely preserve jams, fruits, relishes, pickles, soups, and tomatoes.
Get Dicey: Play Craps and Have Fun
by Tracy Falbe
Price: $5.99 USD. 27460 words.
Published on February 17, 2011. Nonfiction.
Ever been in a casino and wished you knew how to play craps? Read Get Dicey and you'll learn which bets to play, how to play them, and most importantly which bets to avoid. Written by a Las Vegas craps dealer, here's your inside scoop on how to play the most exciting game in the casino.
by Tracy Falbe
Price: Free! 9430 words.
Published on October 1, 2010. Fiction.
For almost two thousand years Queen Onja has ruled the rys, a super race that occupies a high mountain valley. Her powers exceed the magic of all other rys, except perhaps her loyal young ward Shan. Onja instructs him in high magic, but one lesson triggers a moral crisis in Shan and sets him on the path of dangerous ambition. Read the beginning of a stunning conflict between two super beings.
The Borderlands of Power: The Rys Chronicles Book IV
by Tracy Falbe
Price: $4.99 USD. 149820 words.
Published on March 3, 2009. Fiction.
Nufal is invaded and human warriors fight alongside their rys and tabre champions in a grueling clash of muscle and magic. Grim struggles smash strategy into chaos, and loyalties degenerate into desperate choices for survival. Tempet and Alloi, driven by their desire for revenge upon the rys, push King Shan deep into the violent reservoir of his power.
Judgment Rising: The Rys Chronicles Book III
by Tracy Falbe
Price: $4.99 USD. 201310 words.
Published on March 2, 2009. Fiction.
The heroes of The Rys Chronicles epic fantasy series face new challenges when an ancient foe rises from the dust of a lost civilization and joins forces with the flourishing Atrophane Empire that desires control of the whole of Ektren.
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Smashwords book reviews by Tracy Falbe
- The Gateway (An Epic Fantasy Novella)
on Dec. 16, 2009
Solid heroic fantasy. For readers desiring battle with beasts of a chaos lord, this is good reading.
- Demon Lord
on Feb. 17, 2011
The terrible Black Lord of the Underworld is locked out of the green and living Overworld by seven wards set by ancient mages. This evil fallen God cannot rise to break these wards so he must twist and trick a human to do it for him. A woman is taken to the Underworld and her son cut from her womb. Raised by cruel demons and other creatures, this boy is named Bane. Vicious tortures and wicked tests make him strong as he grows. He looks to the Black Lord as his father, who imbues Bane with dark powers. As a human, Bane can go to the Overworld. When he is grown he becomes the Demon Lord and sets out to break the seven wards.
The only hope for the Overworld is a sweet and innocent healer girl, Mirra. Her Sisterhood of healers raised her to undo the evil of Bane with her glorious and selfless goodness. During her upbringing, she was sheltered from anger, arguments, conflict, and any unpleasantness. She is pure and giving and guileless and believes in the goodness of the world. A riveting psychological drama unfolds as these two opposing characters influence each other. Mirra is taken prisoner by the Demon Lord as he spreads terror and destruction across the world, marching from ward to ward and breaking them. Bane is intellectually stymied by Mirra's inability to hate him. She even cares for him because she cares for all things. Bane tortures her but will not kill her, despite repeated demands from the Black Lord that he do so. Gradually Bane becomes protective of Mirra although he refuses to accept that she is stirring human feelings within him.
But the progress of Mirra's good influence is slow, and Bane remains stubbornly loyal to the Black Lord. Wards continue to shatter beneath the Demon Lord's awesome power and the suffering of the world grows worse each day.
Demon Lord is a tremendous fantasy novel packed with demons, trolls, depraved humans, and scuttling horrors of the night. Massive mountain fortresses fall. Towns are ravaged. Storms toss ships at sea. Wards holding back the Black Lord are hidden in a great crashing waterfall or insulated within a colossal monolithic crystal. Mirra learns the terror of being chained to a sacrificial altar. Bane rides a demon steed. Every paragraph and chapter of this novel rushes headlong into gripping action and terrible trials as Bane and Mirra grapple with their worst fears.
Southwell's writing flows and is filled with stunning landscapes and lucid insights into the characters' tortured thoughts. And chapter by chapter the seeds of romance reluctantly germinate in the hostile soil. The age old story of a woman trying to change a man for his own good and the good of the world underpins this wonderful fantasy filled with dark horror, cruelty, and persistent hope.
Demon Lord is the first book in a series and I will definitely be reading more of T.C. Southwell's fantasy fiction. Getting a copy of this novel is as effortless as kneeling before the Demon Lord. It is a free ebook download at Smashwords.
- Jak Phoenix
on June 20, 2011
Canadian author Matt D. Williams has produced a witty, entertaining, and action-packed space adventure with his novel Jak Phoenix. The main character by the same name is a free-wheeling space captain with a clunky old ship, the Tempest, held together by salvaged out-of-date parts. Jak, whose piloting skills range from brilliant to lunatic, makes excessive demands on his beloved craft all the time while his one-person crew consisting of Baxter works diligently to cobble together software that keeps the ship's systems running. Hobbled by bad luck and poor planning, Jak makes a sporadic and mostly inadequate income salvaging materials and accepting what transit work comes along. He thinks he's going to finally make a good score when he seeks to claim the Balarian Tablets that are valuable ancient relics lost on a desert planet.
Of course the salvage mission goes horribly awry, mostly because of a dragon, but especially because Jak's old associate and now rival Murdock wants the treasure too.
As the story progresses, recovering the powerful Balarian Tablets becomes central to the plot. A beautiful Balarian woman named Cyan wants to restore the tablets to her homeworld, where their power will sustain the world's ecology. She teams up with Jak and Baxter in a round about sort of way and they pursue Murdock across the Azore's Crown Galaxy. Murdock, despite his wicked disregard for all life, proves to be the least of Jak's problems. Murdock actually means to sell the tablets to the dreaded Captain Cartrite who has been building a mini empire in the galactic fringes. Cartrite is prolonging his life with technology, building an army of advanced and mostly disposable soldiers, and planning to take over the rest of the galaxy and reshape its citizens according to his warped vision of perfection. Tapping into the Balarian Tablets promises to be Cartrite's ticket to supreme power.
Jak of course becomes pivotal in stopping Cartrite's madness, and the stakes of the novel keep going up. There are space battles, traps set in nebulas, escapes from terrifying laboratories, blaster fights in close quarters, and sneaking around in maintenance shafts. The novel Jak Phoenix unabashedly follows every formula and cliché popularized by the sci fi genre. There are overheated engines, remotely-detonated explosives, hacking into defense systems, self-destructing ships, and all of these things were perfectly acceptable and wonderful to me. I love sci fi adventure and the motifs of the genre were lovingly executed by the author.
But the real charm of this novel is its humor. The wit of Williams is artfully low key, and reading Jak Phoenix made me chuckle quite a bit. I enjoyed picking up the novel because I knew it would make me smile and laugh. The novel is full of delightful scenes like this:
"The Tempest's computer had a female voice, although it was not Jak's first selection from the three settings programmed into the operating system. Jak's nonconformist nature subconsciously forced him to insist on an alternate choice, due to the fact that so many pilots and captains chose a female voice for their ships. He had tried the other options. The supplied monotone, generic computer voice, scared the hell out of him and the sophisticated male voice made him uncomfortable. He quickly realized why so many people went with the female setting."
I happily recommend Jak Phoenix to readers who enjoy solid plotting, fun characters, and adventure. The action is plentiful and Jak is a hero easy to root for, and he needs you to root for him. He's daring and good-hearted, but definitely not an overachiever. Throughout his death-defying adventures, most everything goes wrong except his pants falling down. Matt Williams' writing is crisp, clear, and flows from scene to scene effortlessly. He's a writer who has definitely spent more time with Han Solo than the average wookie, but he channels his inspirations in an admirable fashion.
- Jak Phoenix 2: The Markazian Deception
on June 29, 2012
He quickly uncovers that the people in charge of Miralto are gutting the resources of Markazia, enslaving its inhabitants, and lying to the Miralto public about all of it. Guerrilla rebels are constantly attacking the system, and Jak soon falls for their gutsy and attractive female leader Karina. Although some people might dislike how unbelievably stupid Jak is with the rebel leader, this was actually one of my favorite aspects of the novel. Stupid is Jak's specialty, and he quickly performs several dangerous favors for the rebellion and alienates his best friend Baxter. My husband also read Jak Phoenix 2 and he summed up Jak's motivation as "anything to get in the panties." I found Jak's behavior very endearing because it was so genuine. People do blockheaded things because of pesky physical attractions all the time. Someone is doing it right now.
Overall, Jak Phoenix 2 is an emotionally driven action-packed adventure. Jak is tested hard by his falling out with Baxter, and he suffers some very bad consequences for his spring break attitude with the rebel leader.
The novel was tightly plotted and the characters were vivid and believable. Compared to the first novel, I am forced to say that it was not as laugh out loud funny. It still was humorous but the story was anchored more by its serious aspects than a desire to be funny.
Jak Phoenix 2 is an exciting read that diverted me from the cares of my life. There is always something going on: explosions, fist fights, crashes, and high speed chases. Jak sorely regrets his foray into gainful employment, and I suspect that he will be gratefully pursuing freelance salvage work in his next adventure.