This was originally posted on Mychael Black's blog in 2014.
Since I'm headlining on the wonderful blog of the lovely Mychael Black, I thought I'd use it to talk about a series which is near and dear to my heart: The Stones of Power.
But before I do that, I should probably tell you who I am. My pen name is M.D. Grimm and I prefer to use that identity when talking about my stories and in my different correspondences to publishers and such. It helps me separate that world from my rather "real" mundane world. I live in western Oregon and grew up loving trees and nature. I am a humongous Tolkienite (not just LOTR or the Hobbit, but everything). I've always been interested in the paranormal (only recently have I realized just how long I've been interested in it – basically my entire life), and fantasy has been wrapped up in that as well. But I tend to like the "fantasy" similar to Tolkein's: that is, it seems so real. I don't want magic without rules or limits, and fantastical creatures which, biologically speaking, couldn't really exist. FYI: I don't count dragons in what I just said: I want them in everything I read. That's another thing I'm obsessed with: dragons. I'm still waiting for that perfect dragon story to talk to me and allow me to write it.
So, that's my bio, or at least the important parts of it. Now, to my stories:
"The Stones of Power" series takes place on a world I created called Karishian. Think of it as in a different dimension than Earth. I took a lot of my mythology for Karishian from the Celts, so those who know about the Celts, might be familiar with some of the elements I play with. My main character is a dark mage named Morgorth. He is a troubled character who changes and grows through the course of the series. I have 13 books planned for it and really hope to bring it to fruition. I absolutely adore Morgorth, and his mate, Aishe (pronounced "ash") who we meet in the first book, "Ruby: Lost and Found". That story is mainly about them meeting and falling love while chasing a sorcerer who leaves destruction in his wake.
I work with many themes during the course of this series: good vs. evil, villain vs. hero, choice vs. fate/destiny, along with many others. I love working with large themes and philosophies and having my characters ask questions and try to find who they are. I myself constantly deal with these questions as well, and find it cathartic to have stories about them.
The character of Morgorth came about when I tried to create an anti-hero. I don't think I quite succeeded, but I'm still proud of my creation. Morgorth, as I said above, is truly troubled. He's been hated by other mages since he was a child, was abused by his father (not sexually, but was beaten, tortured, etc.), and carried that rage into adulthood. Morgorth has been called a villain his entire life and there was a point in his life where he embraced the title and did villainous things. That's one the themes I work with: do others create you, or do you create yourself? Was Morgorth meant to be a villain or since he was constantly called one, did he become one to fit with the mages' expectations?
It was interesting to dive into the psychology of the character and learn about his demons, his motivations. Even I continue to learn more about him as I write book after book. He took me in directions I wasn't expecting and revealed secrets I hadn't known before. I'm actually writing the fifth book right now, which has him confronting his past demons and come to terms with them, (namely, his father and the rest of his family). Morgorth is not a "good" character. He's done some majorly dark things in his past and though he regrets them, he also can't shake the desire to do them again, and lusting for the power he felt while doing them. The power over life and death can turn anyone into a monster.
That is why he has his lovely mate, Aishe. I'm seriously as crazy about Aishe as Morgorth is. When I started "Ruby: Lost and Found," I didn't have his entire history planned out yet. But I knew his core character and his bond with Morgorth, so I worked with that. The third book, "Amethyst: Bow and Arrow," which should be released in June 2014, is from Aishe's perspective. In that story we learn his history, his motivations, his own demons. He is a far less troubled character than Morgorth, but I wouldn't call him "simple." I see him as a good complement to Morgorth, a true companion, one Morgorth sorely needed. Aishe is a creature called a "dialen." Think Tolkein elves without the ethereal quality and the social structure of Native Americans (i.e. tribal nomads). Aishe is a warrior, an expert archer, and swordmaster. That's another good reason they work so well together: Morgorth really needed someone who knew how to fight by his side.
The books are done in first person POV and the first two are strictly from Morgorth's POV, with the third from Aishe's. Aishe's story was very hard to write as I wasn't quite sure what story I was trying to tell. But once I fiddled with it enough, argued with Aishe, pulled out my hair, I finally managed to find the trajectory of the plot and understand Aishe's character better. I'm very proud of that book now.
The fourth book is pending and back to Morgorth's POV. This book's plot deals directly with something hinted at in the first book, "Ruby: Lost and Found." It was something that one reviewer claimed was a "plot-hole." I was rather perturbed by that. But then I realized the reviewer might not have known it was a series. Now my books say "Book 1", "Book 2", etc.
The fifth book actually splits between the POVs of Aishe and Morgorth. I thought it would be rather difficult but so far, I'm speeding along in it. That's very encouraging. I think I finally found an understanding with my boys. Took us long enough!
One more note before we get to the excerpts and blurbs: I have a set trajectory for this series:
Books 1-6: Morgorth and Aishe's relationship, discovering their pasts, establishing them among their peers, and basically setting up what "was" for the characters.
Book 7: I completely flip the perceived truth on its head.
Books 8-12: Morgorth has to come to terms with who he really is and the duties prescribed to him.
Book 13: The final climactic battle, (because you can't have mages and magic in a series without a climactic fire-and-blood final battle!)
So, now to what you've been waiting for!
Blurb for "Ruby: Lost and Found" (ebook and print): http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=78_89&products_id=3644
Morgorth is a mage on the planet Karishian. There is little he hates more than the Stones of Power -- gemstones infused with magick by the first seven mages ever born. So when a sorcerer gets hold of a major stone, a ruby, Morgorth has no choice but to go after him. But, to his irritation, he is not alone. Aishe is a dialen whose tribe was massacred by the sorcerer, and is now on a mission of vengeance. The attraction is instant between them, but Morgorth keeps his distance. Because of a traumatic childhood and a deadly destiny, he has no desire for emotional complications. But Aishe's very presence challenges Morgorth's resolve.
Not only does Morgorth begin to admire Aishe's strength and intelligence, but he begins to see Aishe as a friend. As their hunt continues and their time together lengthens, their bond deepens, as does Morgorth's fear. If he becomes the monster that destiny claims he will, will he hurt Aishe? Will he harm the one person who sees right through him? Who accepts him wholeheartedly? Determined to not let that happen, Morgorth keeps Aishe at a distance, but when Aishe is kidnapped by the sorcerer, what will Morgorth do to get him back?
Blurb for "Peridot: War and Peace" (ebook and print):
Morgorth is known as the Dark Mage of the North. Now all he feels is light and love as he pursues a budding relationship with Aishe, a dialen of the Ravena tribe. Morgorth hardly believes his good fortune. He has allowed Aishe into his home, his bed, his heart. He laughs more, smiles more, and feels happier than he ever has.
He should have known such bliss never lasts.
The Council of Mages, the ruling body over all mages on Karshian, knows he has Rambujek, a major stone of power -- won from a sorcerer. They also know his destiny -- to become the Destroyer. Fearful, they send two emissaries to take the stone from Morgorth, using whatever means necessary, including tricks, threats to those under his protection, and the threat of war. A war Morgorth knows he would never survive.
Conflict arises between him and Aishe. Their tenuous relationship is put into jeopardy, and their very beliefs are put into question. Morgorth doubts that he should keep Aishe in his life. Can he protect Aishe from his enemies, as well as the monster he might become?
Excerpt from "Ruby: Lost and Found":
"Down, Aishe!" I bellowed as magick flooded into my hands, and just as the sorcerer flung pure force at me, I brought up a shield that arched over my body. The force glanced off the shield and right into a house to my left. My left hand held the shield up as my right hand shot a stream of fire at the sorcerer's feet. It was a thin stream, and most didn't expect something to come at their feet. I had to break his stance. If I got him unbalanced, I could knock him unconscious or bind him and take the stone.
My shot hit home, but instead of stumbling, the sorcerer launched into the air and shot large fire blasts down on me. My shield held, but my arm threatened to buckle after every blast. This guy sure had a lot of anger issues, and that was saying something coming from me. I noticed that Aishe had found safety elsewhere, and I was thankful; dividing my energy between this asshole and protecting my companion was more than I could accomplish at the moment.
I ran behind a building and dropped the shield. I gathered air around me, elevating myself, and I shot into the air, right at his level. I saw the stunned anger on his face as I appeared in front of him, a small tornado underneath me, keeping me airborne.
"Whatever you can do, I can do better!" I said in a sing-song voice. He snarled and hurled another punch of pure force at me. Jeez, didn't this guy have any imagination? I called to the wind and used it to slap the force aside, flinging it away from me and harmlessly into the distance.
"You may have power," I taunted. "But you don't have the skill!"
He screamed and came at me bodily. He wasn't used to magick, not really, and was used to merely fighting fist to fist. I shot toward him, and we collided hard, but he had just a bit more force behind him than I did. As he gripped my shoulders, we fell from the sky. Really hating this guy, I conjured a force field underneath me as we plummeted to the ground. We crashed through the roof of a burnt house, and the force field made me bounce. The sorcerer lost his grip and was flung away from me. I landed on my feet. I staggered but gained my balance and ran toward him as he tried to get to his feet. Feeling physical myself, I leapt into the air and hit him full in the chest with both feet, sending him sprawling to the floor and smashing against the wall.
I thought I'd knocked him out, but when I reached for the stone, his eyes popped open. With violent glee, he flung force at me and sent me straight through the house, out the wall, and through the wall of another building right next door. I landed hard, and the air was knocked out of my lungs. I lay stunned for a moment, pain blossoming everywhere, and cursed myself for being reckless. It had been a while since I'd fought an opponent as powerful as me, even if he wasn't as skilled. But right now, who was flat on his back? I gasped for breath and sat up just as he appeared before me and bounced a large ball that looked like a miniature sun in his hand. He grinned and pulled back his hand. I conjured a shield but the whistle of an arrow alerted the sorcerer and he jerked away. The arrow grazed his shoulder. He snarled, and I watched Aishe nock another arrow in less time than it took the heart to beat, and send it flying through the air. The sorcerer flung away from the arrow, and I saw that he was about to toss the miniature sun at Aishe.
Bone-deep fear consumed me, and I launched myself bodily at him, just as he pulled back his arm. I gripped his wrist and gritted my teeth as the heat from the ball seared my skin. The sorcerer and I struggled, and he punched me with his other hand that held the stone. Pain shot through my head, but I never let go. Both of my hands gripped his wrist as he swung me around, making my body smash against the walls of the buildings. If I let go, he would either kill me or Aishe, and I would make damn sure neither of us died today. I braced myself and opened a channel inside my body before gripping the ball of heat and energy. My flesh sizzled, and I bit my tongue to keep from screaming in agony. I gripped it hard, and took the magick of the ball into my body, channeling it safely, making it flow from my arm to the pit of my stomach and out through the other arm. I pointed my fingers to the sky and the energy shot out, striking the sky like lightning. As the sorcerer looked at me with utter shock and horror, I flung a large punch of pure force at him and sent him flying up into the air. He never stopped and was soon out of sight.
I collapsed and gasped for breath, my entire body trembling. I thanked my mentor for teaching me how to channel another's magickal energy safely through my body. After all of this was over, I should probably pay him a visit and see if he's learned any new secret tricks.
Exhaustion finally took hold of me, and I wobbled on my knees. I opened my eyes and gazed at my hand, wincing at the charred flesh. My hand barely resembled a hand; the nerves were damaged, which meant I couldn't feel the pain, but it also meant I could see my bones. It would take a hell of a long time to fully heal.
Maybe Aishe could speed it along.
"Morgorth!" Aishe suddenly wrapped his arms around me, jolting me and sending a flare of heat at him that had him jerking back with a hiss of pain.
"It's me," Aishe said, touching my shoulder hesitantly. "Are you all right? What happened? What did you do?"
"Channeled magick," I said, finally catching my breath. I pressed my hand to my chest and lifted my face to give him a smile. "I showed that prick who's the real mage."
More excerpts at Torquere Press and at my website at: www.mdgrimmwrites.com – I have a couple of blogs talking more about "The Stones of Power" and my other series, "The Shifters" with Dreamspinner Press.
My website link to my "Stones of Power" books this: http://www.mdgrimmwrites.com/#!the-stones-of-power-series/c150v
(If you click on the covers of the books, you get a special treat!)
Well, that's all for me. If you check these books out, please leave a kind review at the review site of your choice! I need all the exposure I can get for this series.
Thank you lovely readers and thank you Mychael!
May dragons guard your dreams,