10 Outstanding Fantasy Movies

Most authors have dreamt about their books being made into movies. If I am ever one of those lucky enough to see this dream fulfilled, I’d want ‘my movie’ to be in league with these outstanding fantasy movies (in no particular order – except for Avatar):

1. Avatar (2009)

2. Priest (2011)

3. In the Name of the King (2007)

4. Ladyhawke (1985)

5. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010)

6. Hansel & Gretel, Witch Hunters (2013)

7. The Last Airbender (2010)

8. Thor (2011)

9. Lord of the Rings (all three – 2001 to 2006)

10. The NeverEnding Story (1984)

What’s your favourite fantasy movie?

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Extract from Dragon Kin and other fantasy stories

Extract from Dragon Kin and other fantasy stories: Jeepers’ Creatures

Dragon Kin and other fantasy storiesJeepers was still learning the spells in the beginners’ section and had barely mastered the simplest spells in the book, but now he flipped to the middle, turning the pages carefully until he found the spell he was looking for. He grinned in glee. A creature for anything. It conjured half-dragon, half-human creatures that would do his bidding. He placed the candles in a triangle in front of him, then dripped dragon’s blood in a semi-circle above the triangle’s tip. He pointed at the candles and zapped them alight, then leant forward and began the chant, tense with anticipation.

The moment he started, blood-red smoke rose from the dragon’s blood. It splashed onto the flames, sending them higher than Jeepers’ head in sparks of black-red. The smoke wafted upwards, quickly fogging the small cave. Jeepers continued to chant. When he said the last word, there was a soft pop, a few loud grunts, and then silence. Jeepers was almost too afraid to look. The book warned about using advanced magic before you had mastered the basics. It could have disastrous effects, simply because your mind wasn’t properly tuned in at the time… or if you lacked the power to complete the spell once the creatures appeared. There were a number of other reasons advanced magic might backfire on a novice, but Jeepers hadn’t got around to reading them all yet. Continue reading

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4 Simple Steps to Help You Survive Organising Your Virtual Book Tour

organised_woeOrganising a virtual book tour can be daunting. With good planning, however, it can be fairly stress-free. At the risk of blowing my own trumpet, I’m probably the most organised person I know – I have a list or folder on my PC for almost everything, from work- to personal- to book-related things and everything in between, and so many reminders on my cell phone that my dad is amazed I don’t have one to remind me to breathe. Like certain of my friends and family, some of you may laugh at this, but I don’t mind at all, because it’s the reason that organising a month-long tour for my recently released fantasy series, Wizard of Ends, was relatively free of panic and stress, despite the fact that I am working full time and have a teething baby in the house most of the day. Due to my planning, I could enjoy the tour and answering comments rather than panicking about the extra time it cut from my schedule.

You, too, can organise your virtual book tour in a way that enables you to have fun with it.

Here’s how, in 4 simple steps: Continue reading

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Just published – Wizard of Ends companions

It’s been a stressful last few days, with my husband being rushed to hospital after an angle grinder fell on his foot and then, on my way home from the hospital, witnessing an armed robbery. Three days later, hubby had a foot operation and was back at home with us late the next day. There are a few weeks of stress ahead, as he’s unable to do much with his leg in a cast, so if you see me acting a little crazy, it’s probably due to sleep deprivation and trying to be the Energiser Bunny with no energy.

On a more positive note, a few minutes ago, I published the promised two Wizard of Ends companion books, both of which you can download for free. These companions are ‘a little something extra’ to thank my readers for the support.

WoE magic companion_thumbDelve into the world of Ancient Egyptian and Irish magic, discover ancient magic books and ‘magical’ plants, and learn the difference between modern science and ancient magic. A real world school of wizardry? Yes, it exists! Healing magic in today’s world and modern attempts to use magic? Yes, those are real too.

In today’s world, the percentage of people who believe in magic as a real phenomenon cannot be easily calculated, as the number of believers is considerable, yet magic is not accepted as real by the general population. Are people who believe in magic nuts, or is there something to it?

Download it for free from Smashwords.

WoE companion_thumbThis companion to the Wizard of Ends fantasy adventure series includes character interviews, a guest post written by the series’ main character, Lashlor Leaflin, insights into the series, its characters and the author, and the first chapter of Books 1 and 2.

Download it for free from Smashwords.




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Guest Post & Extract from Harmony Kent, Author of Elemental Earth

EDIT: WordPress apparently suspends blogs for posting promotional materials from professional book tour companies – I say ‘apparently’ because I can find no mention of this in the WordPress TOCs. However, my blog was suspended for the last few days for sharing this tour post. Thus, I have removed all the promotional materials (which was only the book cover, really). I may have to remove this entire post, though – I will check with WordPress if this amendment is okay. Apologies to Harmony for this.


Today I bring you a guest post and extract from YA fantasy author, Harmony Kent. Enjoy!


I wrote all the time as a kid, but it wasn’t always well received. I guess children tell it like they see it, and when I wrote about the world around me, the grownups didn’t always appreciate such a clear mirror!

Needless to say, I grew up and my mirror was more than a bit cloudy. All my energy went into dealing with life: relationships, job, just getting through each day. So, the writing fell by the wayside. I just didn’t have the confidence or the time.

Then I made a decision that changed my life: I took ordination as a Buddhist monk and lived in a temple for thirteen years. I worked through a lot during those years, and I found a confidence and contentment I had never known. Life was good.

In 2007 I underwent routine surgery, and unfortunately it went very wrong. I was left disabled and in a lot of pain for the next three years. In 2010 I had one of my legs amputated in an attempt to improve the situation. Although I still experience lots of pain, I am not as debilitated as I was pre-amputation. So, while it didn’t give me the fresh start I had hoped for, it did offer me some relief and improvement.

I stayed in the temple for six years after the injury, but couldn’t follow the schedule, or do the tasks I would normally have done. So, just shy of two years ago, I made the decision to leave and return to the world. I was forty years old, not very mobile, and starting my life from scratch. I didn’t have any belongings, or anywhere to live. I was literally beginning life anew.

Once all my basic needs were taken care of, I had to find something to fill my time and keep my brain occupied. Very quickly, I found a story begging to be written, and so I sat at the computer and began to type. The Battle for Brisingamen was born. As soon as I had finished that one, another story idea was pestering me, and so I continued to write.

Two years on, and I have three books published, with more on the way. I also offer editing and proofreading services for other authors. As well as being a busy book reviewer. I have met many online friends, and my life is so full.

My second book, The Glade, received an IndieBRAG Medallion in July – which is a difficult award to achieve. Only ten percent of all books submitted are offered the medallion. My latest book, Elemental Earth, was released just six days ago, and is my first young adult novel. I am already working hard on the sequel: Air-born.

When life as you know it comes to an end, and you find yourself asking ‘what now?’, don’t give up. Don’t despair. Yes, it’s hard. But, it is also a great opportunity to re-invent yourself. There is always a way. Had my injury not occurred, I would probably have still been living a cloistered life under monastic vows. However, the life I have now is so rewarding and fulfilling, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

The change was scary, and I felt isolated for a long time. But, I kept going. Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? For me, life really did begin at forty.

Extract from Elemental Earth (Book 1 of The Mysteries) (young adult fantasy fiction)

“You turned the god of gnomes into a garden ornament?”

Sarah looked closely, but couldn’t tell if her dad was annoyed or amused—perhaps he was both …

Whilst 15 year old Sarah may be struggling to regain her feet, after being ripped from her everyday mundane life and ending up in a whole new dimension, she still knows how to have a bit of fun along the way. The Earth Elemental isn’t the only one whose feathers she manages to ruffle, and it’s only been four days. Meanwhile, her best friend is missing, and big trouble is brewing. She soon has a lot more to worry about than what happened to her phone or iPod, or even how much of an idiot Caleb obviously thinks she is.

Elemental Earth is the first book in The Mysteries series, and is aimed at Young Adults. Even if you’ve already reached an age where the young ones might call you ‘old enough’, if you’re still young at heart then you’re bound to enjoy these books just as much as the next—err—younger adult.

Age aside, perhaps we should be more worried about what further havoc Sarah’s antics might be about to wreak on the universe as we know it? We’d probably all be sleeping a lot more soundly if she’d only stuck to applied maths and the odd pillow fight. But no, sadly the lure of the proverbial rabbit hole proved just a tad too much. And now she’s taken the plunge, there’s no turning back.

About the author

Find out more at: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk
Twitter: @harmony_kent
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HarmonyKentOnline

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Extract from Doorway to Destiny – a 13-book sci-fi fantasy bundle for only 99c!

Earlier this year, fellow author TC Southwell and I published Doorway to Destiny, a 13-book bundle for only 99c. We put together this great deal for iBooks’ month-long promo, which ran from mid-September to mid-October. The promo was such a success that we decided to make Doorway to Destiny available until the end of February 2015.

boxcover_thumbWith eight novels by TC Southwell and three novels and two anthologies by Vanessa Finaughty, this box set offers fantasy and sci-fi lovers escapism that will keep you up long past your bedtime. Dive into fantastic worlds and meet fascinating characters whose trials and tribulations will enchant and inspire. Discover how a vengeful assassin reshapes the fate of three kingdoms and share in a quest to discover the origins of mankind, then follow the tale of a young queen’s fight to be free with the aid of a combat cyborg. Two short story anthologies spice up the fare with dragons, sorcerers and magic galore, and a child of another god strives to save his world from mankind’s ravages. When a mortal dark god treads a tragic path as he rises to destroy the Overworld, a brave young girl risks her life to try to change his savage ways. Each hero and heroine takes a definitive step through a doorway to destiny as he or she seeks to right wrongs and save worlds.

During the course of the next few weeks, I will be sharing extracts from Doorway to Destiny for those of you who haven’t already read any of the books included. Today’s extract is from Sanctuary for the Devil, Book 1 in my Legends of Origin series. Enjoy!

Extract from Legends of Origin, Book 1: Sanctuary for the Devil

Arthean’s muscles went weak and he barely registered the surprise on Liam’s face when Nairel breathed fire as he battled to keep his hold on Noka – if he let go, his spine may snap in the turmoil. Hollowness ached in the pit of his stomach when the wind whipped Jolither’s shouted warning to him. “It’s a creature of magic!”

No wonder it couldn’t see the others. It probably hadn’t been created to attack them.

Who would want to kill a monk?

Noka dived again, then darted this way and that. The ryokin was agile and powerful. Arthean knew that Jolither could undo the magic, but it may not be in time to save him or Noka. His chest tight and breath coming in painful gasps, Arthean remembered Abbot Jergor’s dream… in which Arthean had died. I’ve evened the odds. If it comes to pass, you must fight. The dagger! Abbot Jergor had seen him die, but had given him a chance to change the future he’d dreamt of.

Arthean pulled the dagger from its belt sheath and grasped it in a clammy hand, grateful that the silver studs gave him grip. He brandished the blade and clutched Noka’s neck fur so tightly that his hand went white. The shadow creature slammed into them from behind and Noka was flung forwards. The shadow pounced, semi-solid in that moment. Arthean swept the dagger at it as it passed. It yelped in pain and launched itself away. Noka snarled. Jolither and Shalise chanted, but the wind swept the words away from Arthean.

An icy draught assaulted Arthean’s right leg and he looked down to see Noka’s skin flap beating in the wind. Blood wept from the wound the shadow creature had ripped in Noka’s flesh. Anger and fear built into an Arctic rage in Arthean’s chest, burning in a cold fire, then surging upwards.

Fuelled by outrage, Arthean waved the dagger and screamed, “You want me? You can’t have me!

The shadow creature came in again, this time on their left. Noka flapped his mighty wings once and soared upwards on a current. The shadow shot up after them. As it came near, Arthean leant down and took a swipe at it. He missed, but it didn’t. Noka shrieked in pain and plummeted. Arthean’s right leg was thrown from its resting place and whipped over the ryokin’s back.

The shadow creature had torn him loose.

Purchase Doorway to Destiny for only 99c (limited-time offer)

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About the authors

TC Southwell

TCSouthwell2_smaller2T.C. Southwell was born in Sri Lanka and moved to the Seychelles when she was a baby. She spent her formative years exploring the islands – mostly alone. Naturally, her imagination flourished and she developed a keen love of other worlds. The family travelled through Europe and Africa and, after the death of her father, settled in South Africa.

T.C. Southwell has written over thirty fantasy and science fiction novels, as well as five screenplays. Her hobbies include motorcycling, horse riding and art, and she is now a full-time writer.

Author website
Author blog

Vanessa Finaughty

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESVanessa Finaughty is an author of many genres who now focuses on fantasy and science fiction. She’s published 15 books, of which 6 are fantasy. Vanessa grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and still lives there with her husband of fifteen years, her baby daughter and plenty of furry, four-legged ‘children’.

Vanessa has always been passionate about books, and knew from a young age that she wanted to write them one day. She loves animals, coffee and the smell of wet grass, and hates liars, sweltering weather and long queues. Her interests include reading, photography, the supernatural, mythology, aliens and outer space, ancient history, life’s mysteries and martial arts, of which she has five years’ experience.

Author website
Author blog

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I finally took the plunge and… published with Amazon

On 17 October, I finally gave in to the urge to see what so many authors were raving – or ranting – about… and went through the motions of setting myself up at Amazon. Despite the fact that I’ve been debating whether or not to publish my books on Amazon for years, it still felt like a spur of the moment decision – in other words, terrifying!

don't panicI’ve had a rather negative opinion of Amazon up until now, due to the fact that you cannot make your book free on Amazon when you publish (more about that later in this post), and Amazon changes authors’ book prices without notification or permission (you have no choice but to put up with this if you publish with Amazon), along with all the negative things I’ve seen other authors and the media say about the company. Apparently the ‘changing book prices’ are sometimes due to the fact that people in different countries see different prices on books – which is more than a little annoying, since it seems South Africans are charged more for books than other countries, judging by the fact that Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature’s price is displayed on Amazon as almost double what I priced it. I’m curious – do non-South Africans see the price as $2.99 or $5.69?

That said, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was shooting myself in the foot by not publishing with Amazon. I’ve seen too many authors state that they would not have ‘made it’ if they had not published their books with Amazon, and came to the conclusion that I would be a fool not to see for myself. I think an author’s choice of distributor and/or publisher plays a big part in whether or not an author is successful, and a lot of luck is also involved. However, to be a success, most authors also need to put a lot of effort into marketing their books, and I am taking advantage of all the tools and Amazon-friendly websites available.

So I’ve taken the plunge… and published the first two books in my latest series, Wizard of Ends, with Amazon. Only time will tell if this was a good move.

oopsSo far, I’m impressed with Amazon’s fast customer service response. I did something really daft when publishing my books – I missed seeing the ‘author’ option in the ‘contributor’ field, and, since something has to be selected in that option, I named my editor instead of myself. I corrected this immediately upon noticing it (thank goodness I took a look at the book pages as soon as they were live!), but, before I’d noticed, I had set up an Author Central account – also in my editor’s name instead of mine! Amazon doesn’t give you the option to change your Author Central username yourself, so I had to send an email request for it to be corrected. I received a reply within hours to say it was sorted, despite the fact that it was a Sunday!

My one annoyance thus far is one I anticipated – Amazon does not allow you to publish your book as ‘free’. There is a way around this, however, but it’s a bit of a hassle. I priced the book the same as the other books in the series, and then clicked the ‘tell us about a lower price’ link on the book page for Wizard of Ends, Book 1 once it went live on Amazon. Where it asks for a link to where the book is sold at a lower price, I pasted the Barnes & Noble link, where the book is free. It took a few weeks, but Book 1 is now free on Amazon.

Book 2 is currently listed at $5.69 – I would like this to be $2.99, the same price it is everywhere else. I don’t feel it’s fair that readers who purchase from Amazon pay higher prices. I’ve heard that the prices are matched faster if more people report a lower price elsewhere, so I’d appreciate it if you have the time to report the lower price. The Amazon book link for Book 2 is here, and the Barnes & Noble link for the ‘lower price website link’ is here. Thank you!

uhmI’m still uhming and aahing about publishing some of my other books with Amazon. I will publish all the future Wizard of Ends books with Amazon, since the series is already published there, but haven’t made up my mind yet about my Legends of Origin series or my short story collections.

I’ve decided to give it a year – that should be enough time to ascertain if it’s worth publishing with Amazon or if it has the potential to be (or is) self-sabotage. I won’t be joining KDP Select, of course. I think it’s unwise to put all your eggs in one basket and, the more places your books are sold, the greater the number of readers who have access to them.

If any of you have published with Amazon, I’d love to hear your experience – your gripes as well as the things you love about Amazon.

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An end to the Wizard of Ends tour, but not the books

The Wizard of Ends virtual book tour comes to an end today. I hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as I have!

Today’s post is 10 Facts About Vanessa Finaughty, hosted by Juneta at Writer’s Gambit. I hope you learn something about me you didn’t know ;-)

I’m sad the tour is over – it’s been heaps of fun! I have to admit, however, that I’m also a little relieved. It’s been as much work as it’s been fun, and I’m looking forward to a few days’ break before I continue writing Book 3 in the series. I think candlelit bubble baths and earlier nights are just the things to prepare me to continue with Lashlor’s adventures.

I’m happy to report I’ve gained some new readers during the tour, and I hope you all enjoy the rest of the series. A writer is nothing without readers, so, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!

A huge thank you to all my tour hosts too – I couldn’t have done it without you! You are all amazing people and I look forward to showcasing you and your work on my blog in the coming months.

If you missed any of the tour posts, you can find links to each post on the itinerary. Please go and show my hosts a little love and consider following their blogs if you aren’t already. I’m sure you’ll find regular interesting content on all of their blogs, along with plenty of new books to sink your teeth into.

Before the release of Wizard of Ends, Book 3: Mountains of Eclador, readers can look forward to the publication of two Wizard of Ends companion books, both of which will be permanently free. The first book will contain all the tour’s character interviews, character biographies, character guest posts, extracts and anything else that I’ve written related to the series, and the second book will contain all the tour posts relating to magic in the real world. These are my gifts to you and future new readers, just something small to say thank you for your support.

WoE companion_thumbWoE magic companion_thumb








Have an awesome weekend, and happy Halloween!


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10 ‘Magical’ Plants

Today’s tour host is Michelle Louring, who will be sharing a guest post from me about how to write about nameless characters. I hope the post is helpful to fellow authors.

10 ‘Magical’ Plants

Today, we know that myriad plants have healing properties. We see it as science or nature, but ancient humans saw magic in these plants, which were used not only for magical rituals, but also for healing purposes. It’s beyond me why more natural remedies are not used in treating today’s ailments – with no harmful side effects, as is the case with modern drugs, one would expect these natural treatments to be the first choice. Sadly, it’s all about the money, and drug companies cannot make money from plants everyone can grow in their gardens at home, which is why, I believe, plants with ‘magical’ healing properties are downplayed, not mentioned at all or used to create pharmaceuticals.

Let’s take a look at some of these ‘ancient’ plants, many of which you may not have realised are so useful to humanity.

1. Mandrake_blog1. Mandrake
The mandrake plant’s roots and berries were once used as an anaesthetic or painkiller, but, by the Middle Ages, it was used solely in the practice of magic. When worn as an amulet, mandrake was believed to bring wealth to the wearer or make soldiers invisible to their enemies. German troops in World War 2 believed this too, and wore mandrake around their necks. It didn’t work, of course, as is evident by the fact that Germany lost the war, but perhaps that was because the cosmic Powers That Be deemed the Nazis unworthy of such aid.

2. Willow_blog2. Willow
Willow bark was used by the Ancient Greeks to ease rheumatic pains, and chewed by the Ancient Egyptians to relieve headaches and fever. Modern research discovered that the bark contains salicylic acid, which led to the development of aspirin. Perhaps modern medicines can be stored for longer than uprooted plants and do not need the care that living plants do, but I still think natural is best and we should all be chewing willow bark instead of popping an aspirin each time we have a headache – assuming, of course, the plant grows in your region. That said, there are myriad plants that can ease the same ailments, so, if we looked hard enough, I’m sure we would discover that each region is home to at least one such plant.

3. Aloe_blog3. Aloe
The aloe plant, which was believed to protect one from evil, can also be used to treat skin conditions such as bruises, sunburn or rashes, and the sap is known to ease haemorrhoids and have positive effects on the tonsils, gums and eyes. Pulverised Aloe leaf also stops some wounds from bleeding.

4. Pomegranite_blog4. Pomegranate
In ancient times, pomegranates were symbols of fertility. In modern times, we know it has high antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties, and is believed to decrease inflammation.

5. Tamanu tree_blog5. Tamanu tree/laurelwood
Ancient humans treated the tamanu tree as sacred and a gift from nature, and believed the gods secreted themselves in its branches. Today, the seeds’ oil is believed to regenerate tissue, and it’s thus used by many cosmetics manufacturers as an ingredient in skin creams. The tamanu tree’s leaves can be used as an inhalant to treat vertigo and migraines.

6. Vervain_blog6. Vervain
Vervain was a sacred plant to the Druids, who used it for healing, divination, purification, ritual cleansing and consecration, amongst other things. The Romans used it on altars to honour the goddesses Diana and Venus, King Solomon is said to have used it to cleanse the temple, Ancient Druid priests used it for sacrifices, and sorcerers used it in spells. It was also worn around the neck to ward against headaches and venomous bites, and for good luck. Vervain has aphrodisiac qualities and its medicinal uses are almost countless. It can be used to effectively treat fevers, ulcers, bladder afflictions, muscle spasms, headaches, bowl pain, haemorrhoids and rheumatism, and many more ailments.

7. False Unicorn_blog7. False Unicorn Root
False unicorn root has been used by Native Americans and trained midwives for hundreds of years. Ancient humans wore it around their necks for protection when pregnant, and to restore balance and inner peace, believing it to contain powerful magic. Today, we know that it strengthens and normalises the reproductive system, and can also bring relief for ovarian pain, ovarian cysts, menstruation, morning sickness, symptoms of menopause, infertility, digestive problems and water retention.

8. Wormwood_blog8. Wormwood
Ancient humans used wormwood to counteract poisoning by toadstools, hemlock and sea dragon bites, and to call on the spirits of the dead. It has great medicinal value, and can be used to treat fever, appetite loss, gall bladder and liver disease, worm infections, intestinal spasms, an upset stomach and general pain, and can be applied to the skin to heal wounds and insect bites.

9. Basil_blog9. Basil
Jewish folklore has it that basil gives strength to those who are fasting, while European lore sometimes states that it represents the Devil, and African lore claims it protects against scorpions. In Europe, it was placed in the hands of the dead to ensure a safe journey to the afterlife, in India it was placed in the mouth of the dying, and in Ancient Greece and Egypt it was believed the plant would open the gates of Heaven for the dying. It’s known to eliminate phlegm, strengthen the stomach, reduce stress, alleviate asthma, help treat diabetes and promote digestion. In vitro studies have determined that basil oil also has potent antiviral, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, and that it might be a good treatment for cancer.

10. Cannabis_blog10. Cannabis
I’ve saved the most controversial ‘magical’ plant for last. The Ancient Chinese saw cannabis as a symbol of power over evil, and believed that the plant enabled one to see devils and communicate with the spirits. They also used it to treat malaria, constipation, absent-mindedness, rheumatic pains and general pain. In Africa, it was used as an antiseptic, and to relieve haemorrhoid pain and restore appetite. The Germanic peoples believed the goddess Freya lived inside the plant’s flowers and that ingesting the flowers would fill them with a divine force. Many believe that even Jesus of the Christian Bible used cannabis oil to heal and relieve pain. Today, it’s been proven that the Cannabis plant can be used to treat a variety of ailments – in fact, almost anything that relates to the body’s cells not being in the state they should be. Its medicinal uses include appetite stimulation, pain relief and prevention of infection, and it can also be used to treat epilepsy, rheumatism, glaucoma, arthritis, ear infections, muscle spasms, migraines, depression and mood disorders. In fact, until around 1937, most muscle ointments, corn plasters and fibrosis poultices were made from cannabis extract, and it’s believed that even the anointing oil Jesus used contained cannabis extract.

Have you used any of these plants to treat an ailment and, if so, what were the results?

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Extract from Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature by Vanessa Finaughty

Today’s tour host is Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, who will be sharing a character interview with Wizard of Ends’ MC, Lashlor Leaflin. I hope you all find it interesting!

Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature

Wizard of Ends, Book 2_BlogThe back of Lashlor’s neck prickled. The horses’ odd behaviour stank of magic.

He sighed. “If the horses refuse to walk, we’ll have to go on by foot.”

Most of the men groaned at the thought of having to carry all the supplies themselves.

“Or I can go on alone,” Lashlor offered.

“Forget it,” Amkesh said. “The king warned me you might suggest that and ordered me to forbid it.”

“You cannot forbid me from anything. I’m not one of your men.”

“I can if what you do goes against a direct order from our king.”

Lashlor glowered at the captain. “Fine. Whatever. Let’s get moving.”

They had barely made it around the bend in the canyon when an inhuman wail cut the silence. The soldiers drew their swords, but no enemy appeared for them to impale upon the sharp blades. The wail came again. The soldiers scanned the canyon walls, most jumping when a third wail came, this time from seemingly among them.

Lashlor gave a choked laugh. “It’s just the wind.”

“How sure are you?” Amkesh asked.

Lashlor was fast growing tired of being asked that. “I sense no presence here. Do you?”

The others shook their heads, and Xain said, “But we are not magic users. We cannot sense presences the way you can.”

Lashlor shrugged. “Well, you see nothing and no one, and I sense nothing and no one. Therefore-”

One of the soldiers near Xain stumbled onto his hands and knees, as if he’d been shoved.

“No one, you say?” Xain muttered, whirling to find his comrade’s attacker.

Another two soldiers stumbled, one falling to his knees.

Lashlor closed his eyes and used more power than usual, but still, his inner vision saw nothing.

Then he noticed it…

A faint green glow in the air, invisible to most human eyes.

“It’s a disruption field,” Lashlor said. “That’s why I sense nothing.”

“Do we need to flee, wizard?” Amkesh asked, spinning on his heel as something unseen pushed him.

Lashlor looked around. So far, no harm had been done, a few bruised egos aside. However, no matter how playful they were, most spirit creatures eventually grew bored with these sorts of antics and became violent.

“I think that’s a good idea,” he replied.


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