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Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - Mixing Story Styles


Please welcome Seth Skorkowsky to The Qwillery. Ibenus, the 3rd novel in the Valducan series, was published on September 1st by Ragnarok Publications.



Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - Mixing Story Styles




Mixing Story Styles.

When I wrote my first novel, Dämoren, I wanted to capture a certain feeling that I enjoyed from my favorite monster hunting movies and shows (Hellboy, Blade, Hellsing, and a few others). What I ended with was a solid action/adventure story.

Once it was finished, I started work on a sequel. Having just spent over a year on action/adventure, I needed something different. I didn't want to just rehash the same thing, so I wrote Hounacier as a mystery/horror. It was undeniable a sequel to the first novel, but of a very different flavor.

Once Dämoren hit print and many readers praised the action and international adventure, saying how they couldn't wait for the next one, I started getting a little scared. What if people wouldn't like me mixing up a winning formula? That fear welled into full blown terror by the time Hounacier was completed. I loved the book. It was exactly what I intended, but it was also extremely different than its predecessor.

I sent it in to Ragnarok Publications, wondering when I'd receive the, "What in the hell is this?" reply. Instead, on Thanksgiving night I received a message from Tim Marquitz saying that he loved it. For the first time, I voiced my concern and Tim waived that off, saying that the book was solid.

That eased my fears until a few weeks before publication day when the pre-release jitters stated up. (Seriously, if you ask any author in the two weeks before release, "Are you nervous?" you'll be answered with maniacal laughter. Or maybe that's just me.)

Reception was amazing. While some readers were disappointed that Hounacier wasn't the same as Dämoren, most were even more complimentary of the sequel than they had been for the first novel. I had effectively switched genre styles while maintaining the overall feel.

It was a great relief, especially since I'd already begun writing the next book, Ibenus, where I mixed it up again. For the third book, I decided to make it more like Dämoren with a large cast, plenty of action, and a European setting. But I also made a few significant changes.

For one, it's multiple point of view. That's a fairly drastic change, but the story demanded it. Now, instead of following a single demon hunter, we follow three.

The biggest change is the mood. Ibenus mixes the action of Dämoren, the horror of Hounacier, but has a new flavor: Romance. While the other novels had love interests, the romantic relationships were never the focus. But a central theme to the Valducan Series is the idea that our heroes are essentially married to their sacred weapons and often have difficulty with human relationships. This was a theme that demanded exploration. So, while we have all of the shooting, screaming, monsters, and action that makes the series what it is, the central aspect is romance.

I wouldn't dare call Ibenus a Romance or Paranormal Romance, not by a long shot. It's not going to draw romance novel readers into the Valducan world. It's simply a new flavor to the overall story and gives its readers something fresh.

Does mixing genre themes frighten me? You bet it does. But it's also rewarding. I never want any of my books to feel like the "same old thing." Readers would get bored and so would I. It also forces me to stretch my author wings because writing each novel feels almost like my first. My Beta Readers have gotten used to the disclaimer, "OK, I'm trying something new."

Currently, I'm working on my 4th Valducan novel. As always, I'm mixing genre styles. This time I'm toying with Spy Fiction, but that's a blog post for another day. Right now I'm enjoying the thrill of something fresh and hope my readers will, too.





Ibenus
The Valducan 3
Ragnarok Publications, September 1, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 410 pages

Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - Mixing Story Styles
After surviving a demon attack, disgraced police detective Victoria Martin tracks down the Valducans in search for answers. Recognizing her potential, and despite the warnings of the other knights, Allan Havlock, protector of Ibenus, takes her in as his apprentice.

As the Valducans travel to Paris to destroy a demon nest infesting the catacombs, the knights find themselves hunted by an Internet group intent on exposing them. Victoria, who belongs to this group, must desperately play both sides to not only protect herself, but Allan, whom she has begun to love. Ibenus, however, has other plans

Ibenus is the third book in the Valducan series, for which Skorkowsky was shortlisted as "Best Debut Author" in the 2014 Reddit Stabby Awards.





Previously

Dämoren
The Valducan 1
Ragnarok Publications, April 16, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 406 pages

Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - Mixing Story Styles
In the same vein as SUPERNATURAL, HELLBOY, and BLADE comes...DÄMOREN.

A secret society of monster hunters.
A holy revolver forged to eradicate demons.
A possessed man with a tragic past.
A rising evil bent on destroying them all.


MATT HOLLIS is the current wielder of the holy weapon, Dämoren. With it, he stalks and destroys demons.

A secret society called the VALDUCANS has taken an interest in Matt’s activities. They see him as a reckless rogue—little more than a ‘cowboy’ corrupted by a monster—and a potential threat to their ancient order.

As knights and their sentient weapons begin dying, Matt teams up with other hunters of his kind such as LUIZA, a woman with a conquistador blade; ALLAN, an Englishman with an Egyptian khopesh; MALCOLM, a voodoo priest with a sanctified machete; and TAKAIRA, a naginata-swinging Samurai.

As the hunters become the hunted, they must learn to trust one another before a powerful demonic entity thrusts the world into a terrible and ageless darkness.




Hounacier
The Valducan 2
Ragnarok Publications, March 15, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 356 pages

Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - Mixing Story Styles
Eleven years ago, atheist MALCOLM ROMERO met a god. Now he’s a demon-hunting voodoo priest armed with a holy machete named Hounacier.

After the murder of his mentor, he returns to New Orleans to catch the killer. But more is at stake when Malcolm finds himself betrayed, and his holy blade stolen. Now Malcolm’s only hope to save his soul and to recover HOUNACIER, is the Valducan knight sent to kill him, MATT HOLLIS, wielder of the holy revolver DÄMOREN.





About Seth

Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - Mixing Story Styles
Seth Skorkowsky is a writer that gravitates to the darker sides of fantasy, preferring horror and pulp heroes over knights in shining armor. He is the author of Dämoren and Hounacier, both titles in the Valducan series. Seth has also released two sword-and-sorcery collections in the Black Raven series, Mountain of Daggers and Sea of Quills. He lives in Flower Mound, Texas.



Website  ~  Twitter @SSkorkowsky   ~  Facebook


Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - So We Saved the World...Now What? - March 21, 2015


Please welcome Seth Skorkowsky to The Qwillery. Seth has a two novels out this month: Hounacier (Valducan 2) and Mountain of Daggers (Tales of the Black Raven 1). Both novels are published by Ragnarok Publications.



Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - So We Saved the World...Now What? - March 21, 2015




So We Saved the World...Now What?

It seems that many sequels subscribe to the formula that every installment should up the stakes from the previous one. We need a bigger threat, a harder foe, and a greater risk for the heroes — that's the formula. Hollywood has made billions with it.

Dämoren was an international action novel that (SPOILERS) ends with the surviving heroes saving the world from a giant monster/demigoddess and an army of demons. It doesn't get much bigger than that. So what now? Am I to offer my readers TWO giant demigoddesses and an even bigger demonic army to escalate the stakes? That sounds like a bigger obstacle, sure. It also sounds terribly boring.

I don't want my Valducan books to be something that can be summarized as the, "Save The World From Monsters" stories. The series is about the Valducan knights and their demon-hunting adventures with their holy weapons. So instead of making the stakes bigger, I decided to make them personal.

Hounacier changes the game by focusing a different knight: Malcolm Romero. Readers will remember Mal from Dämoren, but he was a character that we never really got to know that well. He butted heads with Matt Hollis and because of that, he butted heads with the readers, too. Now we get to follow him and learn who he is and where he came from. The novel follows Malcolm as he attempts to solve the murder of his adopted father and mentor, and then as things go from bad to worse, Malcolm struggles to save his very soul.

While Dämoren took place in five countries, the majority of Hounacier is set in the city of New Orleans. I'd hinted at Malcolm's expertise on that city in the first book, and of his relationship with voodoo. Now we get to fully explore those things, and see how he operates in that particular world.

We still have monsters, actions, and twists, but we're not plotting along the same path as before. We're expanding the world that we've already been introduced to, and we're going to see it much more intimately than we could have before.

The stakes are big, the emotion is intense, and (in my slightly biased opinion) the story is engaging. Bigger does not mean better. Better means better.





Valducan

Hounacier
Valducan 2
Ragnarok Publications, March 14, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 287 pages
Cover by J.M. Martin

Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - So We Saved the World...Now What? - March 21, 2015
Eleven years ago, atheist MALCOLM ROMERO met a god. Now he’s a demon-hunting voodoo priest armed with a holy machete named Hounacier.

After the murder of his mentor, he returns to New Orleans to catch the killer. But more is at stake when Malcolm finds himself betrayed, and his holy blade stolen. Now Malcolm’s only hope to save his soul and to recover HOUNACIER, is the Valducan knight sent to kill him, MATT HOLLIS, the wielder of the holy revolver DÄMOREN.


Dämoren
Valducan 1
Ragnarok Publications, April 14, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 Pages
Cover by J.M. Martin

Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - So We Saved the World...Now What? - March 21, 2015
Fourteen years ago a pack of wendigos killed Matt Hollis’ family and damned his soul. Now, Matt is a demon hunter armed with a holy revolver named Dämoren.

After a violent series of murders leaves only fifty holy weapons in the world, Matt is recruited by the Valducans, an ancient order of demon hunters. Many of the knights do not trust him because he is possessed. When sabotage and assassinations begin, the Valducans know there is a spy in their ranks, and Matt becomes the core of their suspicions. Desperate to prove himself, and to protect Dämoren, Matt fights to gain their trust and discover the nature of the entity residing within him.




Tales of the Black Raven

Mountain of Daggers
Tales of the Black Raven 1
Ragnarok Publications, March 9, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 294 pages
Cover by Alex Raspad 

Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - So We Saved the World...Now What? - March 21, 2015
Some call him hero. Others, a menace. But everyone agrees that Ahren is the best thief in the world. Whether he’s breaking into an impregnable fortress, fighting pirates, or striking the final blow in political war, Ahren is the man for the job.

After being framed for murder, his reward posters named him the Black Raven. To survive, Ahren finds himself drafted into the Tyenee, a secret criminal organization whose influence stretches across the world. Their missions are the most daring, the most dangerous, and the penalty for failure is death. When no one else can do it, they send the Black Raven.





About Seth

Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - So We Saved the World...Now What? - March 21, 2015
Seth Skorkowsky was born in Texas in 1978. He currently lives in Denton, Texas, with his wife, and works for the University of North Texas. His short story "The Mist of Lichthafen" was nominated for a British Fantasy Award (long list) in 2009. Dämoren is Seth's debut novel and was recently nominated and shortlisted for the Reddit Fantasy Stabby Award for "Best Debut Novel."

He recently signed a two-book deal with Ragnarok for his "Black Raven" sword-and-sorcery collection. When not writing, Seth enjoys travel, shooting, and tabletop gaming.


Website  ~  Twitter @SSkorkowsky   ~  Facebook

Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - Mixing Story StylesGuest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - So We Saved the World...Now What? - March 21, 2015

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