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C. M. Skiera currently lives in San Diego, California, a long way from Michigan, where he grew up, graduated from Michigan State University, and started a career as an environmental engineer. He and his wife are devoted dog-lovers who share their home with two rescue Chihuahuas.
Crimson & Cream is C. M. Skiera’s debut epic fantasy novel. He started writing Crimson & Cream in 1999, and after many twists and turns, 13 drafts, plenty of rejections, the arrival of the 21st Century and the advent of online self-publishing, the ebook was was self-published on Smashwords and Amazon in 2012. Mirrors & Mist, Book II of The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy is his latest release, and he is currently writing Warlock & Wyrm, the final book of the series.
on Oct. 23, 2016 :
This was so incredibly captivating and a page flipper. I could barely take a break from reading it, and read it incredibly . Magical, and adventurous. I would recommend this to anyone. I myself am a fast reader, I get a book, I open it, and spend around 6 hours reading it, then start my next. In this book, time was lost and I only had a few bathroom breaks, and tea breaks.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on April 02, 2016 :
I know it's only March and I still have about 75 books to go for my reading challenge this year, yet I dare to say this is the most surprising book I read in 2016!
From the epilogue on, I was captivated and C. M. Skiera kept me under his spell. Just like the maze in the caves of trolls and dwarves, every cavern of this impressive adventure brings a new set of discoveries full of excitement! My heart never stopped racing!
Looking very forward to find out what Mirrors & Mist has got in store!
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Oct. 30, 2015 :
Danger, conflict and an adventurous search for answers in a world filled with fantastical beings, kings, and magic. What better way to snag the attention of the daring inner child in all of us who dreams of living large in a world that just begs for us to conquer it? Crimson & Cream by C. M. Skiera is a surefire magnetic for reluctant YA readers.
A ragtag group of orphaned boys have banded together to become a family surviving in the bleakest of times, the odds stacked against them. Twins, Jetsam and Flotsam think and act like one, but a moment of hesitation will forever shatter their bond and force Jetsam to grow into the leader and adventurer he was meant to be. Jetsam begins a quest to discover the answers to his parents’ deaths, and discover his true heritage. With his sidekick, a stray terrier named Tramp, Jetsam sets out on the adventure of his life through a land both beautiful and deadly.
C.M. Skiera holds nothing back as he builds his fantasy world from the caves on up as he pulls the reader through the rabbit hole and we fall into his tale. Unafraid to color darkness and pain into his story, Mr. Skiera has created a realm of possibility, daring and heroic characters that one would be proud to call a friend. He writes with a crisp style and vivid detail, until one smells the dank tunnels and gropes blindly through the dark along with his characters. Evil is evil, ominous and larger than life, but Jetsam and his “family” demonstrate that loyalty and love go a long way. Absolutely wonderful reading and the perfect cornerstone for a new fantasy trilogy!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Aug. 06, 2015 :
"Always darkest before the dawn."
Crimson & Cream by C. M. Skiera is a gripping tale filled with drama, excitement and uncertainty. The author weaves a compelling, emotional fantasy that kept me in suspense and allowed for me to escape my everyday life. An adventure that plays out realistically and yet in the most unusual ways. This is a story of survival that is full of heart and humanity. The turns left me breathless and curious at the same time.
I love stories, any kind of stories that have heart and this one most certainly does have heart!
I was lured in right away and became a captive audience even though I am not a big fantasy lover. This captured my attention with the interesting characters, unusual plot line and precision writing. Very easy to get drawn into the action and unpredictability. I am now a fan.
He saw the guard round the hedge corner. The Crimson and cream surcoat sent a chill down Jetsam's spine. The man was tall and meaty, but approached swiftly, chain mail rustling and his silver helm reflecting moonbeams. With his short sword drawn, the lumbering sentry spotted Jetsam. Below his furrowed brow, the watchman's eyes glistened. The sentinel closed, telling "halt, knave" but once. Anger and greed filled his dull face, panting through his bushy mustache.
Jetsam still held his ground, paralyzed with indecision.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on Jan. 28, 2013 :
CRIMSON and CREAM-The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy
by C.M. Skiera
( A portion from the Prologue)
“Hate unnaturals,” Yduk Thiern murmured. “Always have, always will.” He stroked a hairy mole on his chin, while his boot sole slid back and forth across the desiccated surface of a coney skull rotting in the brushwood. The bashful breeze ruffled not a hair on Yduk’s eggshell-bald head. His greasy moustache hung too heavy to be bothered by a timid zephyr. Clad in burnished black-lacquered buckskin, he wore a hand-and-a-half sword on his hip and a crossbow over his shoulder. Dwarfed by the larger weapons, a deadly-thin dagger also hung at his belt. He stood unmoving—tall, lean, and hard—blending with the shadows. Now, past midnight on a cool summer’s eve in the low foothills south of Dwim-Halloe, he waited beneath an ancient Elven tree-tower. An unnatural lived inside. In the oak forest sprinkled with whitebeam and wych elm, a giant ash loomed overhead, silvery barkmagnificent in the moonlight. Long ago, the elves constructed a slender dwelling wound around the trunk, high in the concealing branches. Now the elves were gone, and a fugitive mage resided in the woodland spire. The Southlander intended to collect his bounty. The tracker scrutinized the rangy tree. With no ladder or low branches, he wondered how he would ascend to the elevated entrance of the unnatural’s dwelling. To Yduk, unnaturals proved the most dangerous prey. Wily and incalculable, they presented a risky confrontation. Yduk suspected enchantments guarded this venerable ash. Wards, illusions, or any variety of perilous trigger spells might protect the tree tower. After thoughtful deliberation, he decided not to ascend. He wouldn’t underestimate his adversary. Could wait him out, he pondered, he must come down—but that might take days. This particular unnatural wasn’t necessarily evil, nor had he committed any atrocity Yduk knew of........ OVERVIEW:
Hounded by watchmen, trolls, goblins, and a relentless bounty hunter, thirteen-year-old Jetsam dreams of the day he'll no longer have to run for his life. A victim of circumstance burdened with a stubborn unlucky streak, each sunrise ushers in more difficulty for the resilient adolescent. An avalanche of life-changing events forces him to boldly decide his future.
This book recounts Jetsam's adventurous tale of flight and discovery as the fugitive orphan unravels the tangled mysteries his tortured past while securing his tenuous future.
Jetsam has lost everything; his family has been murdered and his birthright to attend the School of Magic has been revoked. To survive he has joined a gang of orphans who scour the tunnels under the city for food and supplies. His new life is riddled with dangers ranging from creatures that also live in the tunnels to the city guards who have no patience for orphaned kids. Even with all of the adversity the children face they have managed to create a happy home for themselves until further tragedy strikes forcing Jetsam to leave Dwim- Halloe. Jetsam's only hope of ever having a normal life is to find the most wanted man in the land, Seryn Vardan. His quest will not be easy. Yduk the bounty hunter is hot on his trail and the lands are packed with peril.
CRIMSON and CREAM is filled with action. It's a fantasy adventure of a character that you want to win, Jetsam. The author, C.M.Sciera created a book that was easy, it felt like you were right there. Amazing job of writing.
His descriptions of the creatures and surrounding were so lifelike. This is definitely a keeper. You don't want to put this book down. It was a story of survival of the fittest and searching for the truth. You just can't put this book down. You turn the page and you can't wait to turn the next. The author can't write the next two books fast enough, since this is a trilogy. Hope they come out soon.
The book is full of MAGIC! There is never a dull moment when you think you want to quit reading. It holds you, and tight. The book has just a little violence, death and sadness. Parents read this and decide if you think your younger readers should read it.
Jetsam had lost everything, his family, his birthright to go to the School of Magic. He met up with a gang of orphans. They went through the tunnels under the city to scrounge for food and anything they could find. This life is full of danger. Creatures that live in the tunnels, city guards who, for some reason, have no tolerance for. They overcome the adversity they face everyday. The create a home filled with happiness. Then the happiness is broken. His only hope of something even close to normal is a search that won't be easy. The bounty hunter is behind him and the- there is danger everywhere.......
This book allows you to use your imagination and let it roll.
About the Author:
I’m a middle-aged man from Michigan who now lives in California with his wife and two rescue dogs. I work as a professional environmental engineer to pay the bills. I've been writing as a hobby since the mid 1990s.
I started writing Crimson & Cream in 1999, and after lots of twists and turns, 13 drafts, plenty of rejections, the arrival of the 21st Century and the advent of online self-publishing, it's finally here. Whew!
I received this book as a complimentary copy for this unbiased review.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)