Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the two hundred and sixteenth, is of epic fantasy novelist TM Shannon. TM Shannon is also offering an eBook Rafflecopter giveaway. Click the link for your chance to win.
T. M. Shannon works a full time job processing invoices, is one half of a dynamic duo making rent and car payments, and has the fortune to be living with a head full of ideas – a bit hard to get out when taking care of a 99% well-behaved son. His first ever published work, The Torment, The Shadow, The Heart (The Hero of Talbadas, Volume 1) has already moved over 430 copies.
Catching the writing bug at an early age, his forays with the pen met boredom, and rejection a total of three times – two with the very book he calls a “six-year labour of love.” Enough for him, the project sat gathering dust.
Vowing to regain the momentum to write once he became a published author, the moment he heard about self-publishing through CreateSpace he decided to get out there and do it himself – leading to an epic edit and a proofing run all but over now, ready for 2nd Edition release. He also intends to continue on with his book’s sequel, and release it later this year – given he is already well ahead in his project, it should not come as a surprise.
If you ask him, self-publishing is worth it, especially when used as a stepping-stone into the bigger written world. KDP select is worth it to build some early momentum, especially with Kindle Free Days; and Facebook ads work to accumulate Kindle Free Days sales.
During his time in Kindle Free Days he got within the top 20 Epic Fantasy for Free, and occupied spaces opposite Tolkein and Martin in the paid section. He also made his book into a “This Is SPARTA!” meme as a bit of fun.
All humour considered, he takes his work and his story very seriously. The Torment, The Shadow, The Heart is an Epic Fantasy with a Heroic and Historic bent, exploring both the good and evil sides of human nature, and making use of authentic martial arts.
The Torment, The Shadow, The Heart (The Hero of Talbadas, Volume One) is an Epic Fantasy novel with elements of Historical and Heroic Fantasy. Blurb: As the king of Talbadas nears his end, and treasonous parties seek to usurp the throne, young farmer Halm Dresden discovers that his father’s dying advice, the actions of two Elves, and a nightmare vision have put him on a destined path. While impressionable youth and some of his friends join this treacherous league, Dresden has a sword made and prepares for looming conflict.
And now from the author himself:
My first big story was a Science Fiction with flight sequences and Space Marines taking the fight deep in enemy territory. It’s still floating in mind, and will make a return. But something happened in between; instead of the gun I took up the sword.
It’s name was Diablo, a video game in which I took the “role” of a fighter, a mage, or a thief, and embarked on an epic campaign to slay thousands of monsters in a dungeon on the way to take out the title’s demon. Game play was simple: click a monster to kill it. It didn’t matter it was very banal, because behind it was one of the most impressive stories I’ve read
I had begun down the fantasy road. I envisioned a world of mages, dragons, and war, and an epic adventure throughout it. Interesting to me, I got to 50 pages and got bored with the stagnant story. I went back to games, movies, even sat down to read LOTR a second time (to truly appreciate it, except the songs), and came up with a Role Playing Game of my own.
I had a story plotted out, big in scope like Blizzard had done with Diablo and Diablo II. I envisioned the player rising from mediocrity to greatness, driven to lofty heights by heroic deeds. As Mel put it of William Wallace in Braveheart, “I hear he’s seven feet tall, and if he were here today he would consume the English with fire from his eyes, and bolts of lightning from his (posterior)!” I reached a dilemma – I reckoned it was good idea, but I didn’t know how to program, didn’t know who to ask about making my idea a reality.
It fell together quickly, built on another idea I had between times. Before I knew it, I had the back story of Fate and Destiny, made use of Norse mythology to drive my people’s religion. Soon enough, a hero named Dresden stared out at the dawn, and his companion, the Elf Velmia asked of his thoughts. An interlude, a look of his destined vision, and I went to the very beginning: a farmer mucking out a pig pen.
I call on a lot of inspiration for this book. First and foremost I have to thank my history teacher for teaching me about the Viking period. A heaven where everybody gets drunk and fights, and gets brought back to life the next day to do it all over. The reason why Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday have their names. A brief hint of the battle at the end of all time. And of course long-boat raiders, but that’s another story I have planned.
Mostly my inspiration is drawn from myth, movie and manuscript. After Lord of the Rings came Beowulf, a truly powerful journey (especially thanks to Seamus Heaney’s translation). At the time, I was already up Braveheart and Gladiator. By then, Schwarzenegger was the best-known barbarian, Conan. And long before them all, I wanted a Lightsabre and a Death Star to destroy.
These are the stories I enjoyed most growing up. I would never know it then, but I would one day bring my own to life.
I wrote. I finished the first instalment, then the second, and got mostly through the third. I slowed down a bit. It was good to me, but in bad shape. The fight scenes had to be the best, so I wanted something to help me envision them better. It happened to be a longsword, and $135 later I owned one (still do, except its rusting somewhere).
Things picked up a bit – I knew what a sword weighed, it felt good to swing it. I nearly clobbered myself trying to pirouette like in Robin Hood. Then it happened again: an unexpected gift turned up. Instead of a story idea, it was Mark Rector’s Medieval Combat – translated from the 1467 Hans Talhoffer “fechtbuch.”
I had in my hands an authentic fight manual, with vivid pictures drawn five centuries before. Since adding the 1459 Talhoffer to my collection (through Jeffrey Hull’s Fight Earnestly) – complete with the actual fighting lore of Johan Liechtenauer’s Twenty Directives translated into English. More pictures, siege warfare, even a bit about medieval science!
Since then, The Torment, The Shadow, The Heart gained intensity to its martial arts, and a rare hint of realism more than, “He swung the sword, catching his foe off-guard and spilling his blood.” Now I have footwork, winding and swatting. The plough and ox guards. The skuller strike and setting aside.
Truth be told, I sat on my work since then. Until I found out about CreateSpace, and putting my work out there for the world to read all by myself. Sure it’s not a runaway success, but to me it means the world; it’s the inspiration I’m taking to keep on going. I vowed I’d complete my work the minute I became a published author; having achieved my goal, its time to keep going!
The Hero of Talbadas will have his end, but that’s not curtains for me. I have plenty of other ideas, including another fantasy or two, my sci-fi dream from long ago, and I also hope to enter the real world – both historical and modern, and of course with the action and thrills I crave.
Of course, I intend for there to be a point. A story should have emotion, humanity, and my characters should have frailty. But that’s for the future. For now, I am a proud Talbadan from the town of Kirim, finding myself on a destined path after hearing my father’s dying advice, receiving a nightmare vision, and suffering Elvish actions.
I am Halm Dresden. The Torment, The Shadow, The Heart is the start of my journey. It’s my hope that you’ll enjoy the journey, too.
You can find more about TM and his writing via…
- Amazon author page – links to Kindle and paperback sales: https://www.amazon.com/author/tmshannon
- His direct blog: http://tmshannon-author.blogspot.com.au
- His secondary blog, this furthers the “history” behind the fantasy world he created: http://historyoftalbadas.blogspot.com.au
- ‘The Torment, The Shadow, The Heart’ Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/TheTormentTheShadowTheHeart
And synopsis of his book:
“To a kingdom facing darkness, a Hero will come…”
As the King of Talbadas nears his end, and treasonous parties seek to usurp the throne, young farmer Halm Dresden finds that his father’s dying advice, the actions of two elves, and a nightmare vision have put him on a destined path. While impressionable youth and some of his friends join this treacherous league, Dresden has a sword made and prepares for looming conflict…
In association with the Virtual Book Tour Café, TM Shannon is also offering an eBook Rafflecopter giveaway. Click the link or picture below for your chance to win.
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