Bret James Stewart
I love to read and write. When I was a child and envisioned my future, I saw myself smoking a pipe in a study, happily studying. My dreams have come true! I praise the Lord, who has given me the ability to pursue my dream.
I have many varied interests, and this has resulted in me writing in many different genres and styles. I greatly enjoy hiking, playing games, and learning. I fill my professional and hobby time with these endeavours.
I live in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina surrounded by National Forests and State Parks. This definitely helps with the hiking trail reviews I write--see www.blueridgehiker.com. I love music in virtually all genres and almost always have something playing.
I am also a lifelong learner. I am currently attending school. In addition to official/professional studies, I always have a book going that contributes to my knowledge in some fashion.
I have been called into ministry and am a Christian Druid focusing upon proper Christian stewardship of the environment. I am also a member of the inter-faith druidic organization of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA) www.aoda.org. My goal is to have a specifically Christian Druidry website up soon providing Christians and others with resources to fulfill this often-neglected area of God-given responsibility.
Writing is an art for me. I have no interest in catering to fashion or whim in order to strive for a runaway best seller. I craft each book with love and create what I feel to be the highest quality book possible. Of course, some books are more artistic than others. With some of the non-fiction, for example, "highest quality" can simply mean accuracy. Other areas, such as poetry, are exclusively artistic, so "highest quality" means I do it to the best of my ability. If I can touch someone's life in a meaningful way, then I consider my book a success.
I am lucky enough to have grown up in the small town of Brevard, North Carolina. Much of my family still lives in the area. I have two grown sons who have left home, leaving me with my feline buddy, Petit-Leon, le Chronicleer du Fay.
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Tales From Transylvania
by Bret James Stewart
In dreamscape versions of familiar settings, good and evil vampires, deadly wizards, brooding faeries, ghosts, other horrors, and the recesses of the human mind all demonstrate that, things are not what they seem. These illusions often crumble with devastating consequences for those involved. These tales, set in recognizable settings, seem even stranger than they would in an unknown setting.
Codex Rosmanicus: Twelve Tales of Enchantment ~Compiled by Jaren the Traveller
by Bret James Stewart
Codex Rosmanicus: Twelve Tales of Enchantment Compiled by Jaren the Traveller
The literature of the past fascinates the modern reader. Part of this fascination is the paradox of the time and distance that creates a sense of the alien while remaining relevant in the present. Such literature is both ancient and modern. Some of the most interesting examples of such work can be found in the c
The Dragon's Lullaby
by Bret James Stewart
Published: March 27, 2015
The elven illusionist, Shadowbender, his sister, Oceana, and their mismatched allies have the only copy of the magical spell that can prevent the dragons from awakening out of their millennial slumber. They must race against time, dogged by the Cult of the Wyrm dedicated to killing them, to find the birthplace of the creatures and use the spell before the dragons throw the world back into chaos.
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Smashwords book reviews by Bret James Stewart
on Feb. 16, 2015
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
And, to be honest, this is one of the best books I have ever read.
To start, the cover is well done. It looks almost exactly like the design of the AD&D Complete Handbook series from TSR, but I don’t know if Iscah is a Dungeons and Dragons gal or if this is coincidental. Regardless, it is fairly plain, but this nests well with the way the book is designed and arranged. It is also appropriate as pegasus (as Iscah pluralizes the word, and accurately, as she explains in the notes) and unicorns are featured in the book. The interior maps are semi-professional, by choice. They add to the overall aesthetic and really help with understanding what is going on since the book involves, to varying degrees, the interaction of several domains, at least in the background. The book is divided into Acts and Chapters, which adds a dramatic element, obviously, and it does make the book seem more engaging.
The book involves a number of characters, but the protagonist is a heroine, Seventh Night, who is named after a harvest festival. Once I could get Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night out of my head, this worked for me. Iscah is telling the primordial faerie tale as if this is the original telling. As I was reading, I kept thinking, “Oh, okay, that’s where THAT comes from,” but, of course, it is the other way around, or is it? Faerie tales, part old wives’ tale, gnomic device, and psychological crux for how we humans view and deal with the world, are in a constant state of flux. Many of the tropes of folklore are present. Iscah handles these well and gently so they are never overriding or interfere with the story flow. Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White, and others are alluded to, or perhaps I should say, certain plot elements are shared. The presence of these tropes actually serves to make the story more enjoyable as it creates a sense of nostalgia for the world that never was and always will be. It reminded me of Tolkien in this respect.
To say it plainly, Iscah has simply written a rousing good tale. The story is not mere dross smeared over a faerie tale canvas. The story would work on its own as the characters are well-developed, the interaction between characters believable, and the villains even have redeeming qualities (and we get to see some of their points of view, which is always a plus in my book). I fell in love with all the female characters except the haglings—some of whom, you might imagine, were actually maidens in disguise, which means I fell in love with them, too, afterward, but I digress. No, I don’t digress. I have a major crush on the sorceress (later Andomare); I haven’t been in love with a character so strongly since Laurana from Dragonlance or Eilonwy from The Prydain Chronicles. Anyway, the story follows the adventures of different sets of characters, with the primary being Seventh Night. Iscah switches back and forth between groups, including villains, and this makes the story fast-paced and gripping. The addition of the universal faerie tale tropes as mentioned above serve as the icing on the cake that is the story itself.
The story itself is a romance, in the literary sense, in the vein of Shakespeare’s The Tempest or Arthurian legend. The combat scenes are exciting but not graphic. There is no profanity or sexual content, and I am pleased to see new authors writing clean material that is up to snuff—or better, in this case. The world is enchanted, but not in an over the top way. Again, it would be along the lines of Arthurian legend, the world is much more fantastic and dangerous than our world, but enough of the normal is there to make it realistic and recognizable. This is a stylistic I truly enjoy. The book contains wizard of varying degrees of power, the creatures I mentioned above, and other folkloric entities such as a Cyclops, a sea serpent, and a moat monster. It is set in a sword and sorcery world, so there are knights, damsels in distress, and plenty of other fun things to encounter. My only fault with the book is that it is too short. Fortunately, Iscah is at work writing new material for the setting, including a new book about my girlfriend Andomare (hey, this is a fantasy, right?) Other characters are going to be addressed in the future, too, which makes reading Seventh Night an even better investment of your time.
For some reason, I wasn’t into the book until the second chapter. I don’t know if I was just “off” when I started, or if it took me this long to get into the style. In any case, if you feel the same way, stick with it because there’s tons of good stuff headed your way. I recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy, faerie tales, or just a good story, in general. The writing style is easy to read, the action and events interesting, and the book is error-free. There is the happy ending one would expect, but it was achieved in a way I did not expect, which I guess makes it a surprise cliché ending. Read it, and you’ll see what I mean. I am very much looking forward to reading more from this author.