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SPFBO 2017 Review: Where Loyalties Lie by Rob J. Hayes


Where Loyalties Lie
AuthorRob J. Hayes
Series:  Best Laid Plans 1
Published:  May 2017
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 372 pages
List Price:  US$12.99 (print); US$3.99 (Kindle eBook)
ISBN:  9781545581926 (print); ASIN:  B071D6KB7D

SPFBO 2017 Review: Where Loyalties Lie by Rob J. Hayes
Everybody knows Drake Morrass is only out for himself.

As the fires of a dying city burn on a distant shore, Drake sees an opportunity to unite the other pirate Captains under his flag and claim a crown for himself. If he is to succeed he will need allies and the Oracle named Keelin Stillwater, the best swordsman in the isles, as Drake's right hand.

With enemy ships sailing his waters and setting fire to his cities, and the sinister Tanner Black threatening to steal the throne before Drake has even sat in it, Drake must somehow convince the other Captains that his best interests are also theirs.



Doreen's Thoughts

Captain Drake has decided he wants to become king of the pirates, despite Tanner Black holding the de facto title. However, Drake’s brother, the Oracle, predicted Drake would live a long life as the Pirate King, and Drake has been planning for years on how to make that happen. With the Five Kingdoms having decided to end the pirate scourge forever simply by killing everyone in the Pirate Isles, Drake has a chance to unite Captains, crews, and islanders all under his command.
Unfortunately, everyone knows that he is always out for himself, so when he attempts recruiting other Captains, there is a great deal of resistance. In addition, the Oracle stated that Drake needed to recruit Keelin Stillwater as his second-in-command to be successful, and Keelin cannot stand Drake. All of this creates a great deal of tension in the novel which Hayes handles well.

Hayes has written a rollicking pirate’s tale with interesting characters facing complex morale situations. Although Captain Drake is far from altruistic, he recognizes that he needs to begin to give priority to others, and during the second major attack, he is the first to start boarding the townspeople on his ship to rescue them and commands Keelin to do the same. Keelin has secret priorities of his own that allow him to align his fate with Drake, despite despising the man; however, as he watches Drake begin to take command and rebuild a pirate homeland, he cannot help but become truly supportive. Keelin’s childhood sweetheart and daughter of Tanner, Elaina Black is torn between loyalty to her father and loyalty to Keelin, whom she loves; but when Keelin appears to be in love with another, there is a question about how far she will go to punish him. Nearly every major character has serious questions about where their loyalties ought to lie.

All in all, Where Loyalties Lie was strongly written, with several different arcs in the story-telling, enough world-building to capture a reader, and only enough unanswered questions to warrant a second novel without creating frustration in the reader.

I give Where Loyalties Lie a 9/10.

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Gather Around and Let Me Tell You a Story... or Two


Please welcome Rob J. Hayes to The Qwillery!



Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Gather Around and Let Me Tell You a Story... or Two




Gather Around and Let Me Tell You a Story... or Two

Today I want to tell you a couple of stories. True stories though at first they may not sound like it, but I assure you these events really took place.

First I want to tell you about the time I got horrifically drunk, went on an adventure, and ended up stealing a goat. Now I should point out that I do not remember this happening due to the aforementioned being very drunk. But when I woke up I discovered it was true. There I was, naked as my name day, and being accused of stealing a man's goat.

I was shocked, slightly appalled at myself, and honestly wondering where in the Hells was the goat. Bits an pieces of my night before started coming back to me and I used them to retrace my steps, to find out just what had gone on the night before.

Long story short, I discovered I had given the goat to a giant. A honest to the Gods 30ft tall giant. He was not of the mindset that giving the goat back was beneficial to him.

We fought. It was an epic battle. I peppered him with arrows from my glass shortbow, he swung a tree trunk at me. Harsh words were exchanged. I may have said some things that hurt the giant's feelings. But not to worry because he was dead just a few minutes later. I emerged victorious.

I collected the twice stolen goat and determined to deliver it back to its owner. The journey was long and arduous and along the way I truly became attached to the goat. He had a way about him. A way of listening. He knew when to bleat and when to shut up. We became fast friends. I named him Alphonse. It pained me to let him go, to deliver him back to his owner, but a promise was a promise and he was never my goat to begin with.

We were within shouting distance of Alphonse's farm when an ear-splitting roar shattered the quaint, picturesque scene of rolling grasslands. The roar was soon followed by the beating of great, leathery wings and the I looked up just in time to see a dragon crash down on top of Alphonse, tear into his flesh with massive claws, and then beat its wings once, twice, and was gone.

I stared at the bloodied patch of ground where Alphonse had been just a few moments earlier. There was nothing for it. He was gone from my life forever. A sad day. I had thought, after delivering Alphonse back to his rightful owner, I might visit from time to time. No more.

The owner was there, watching from the relative safety of his fenced home. I approached, ready with my excuses. After all, I had done everything I could. I had vanquished a giant to return the man's goat. Was it my fault if a dragon decided to ruin all my good work? Apparently it was. The man only held out his hand, palm up.

I paid the man for his lost goat. A hefty sum if truth be told. Then I turned and went on my way, I had other quests to complete after all. Still, it hurts to this day. That man lost a goat and gained a few gold bits. I lost a friend.

It's possible some of you recognise most of that story. It's a quest from the Elder Scrolls game Skyrim. For the most part that story is a scripted event, playing out the same for everyone that plays it. The dragon was a random element that happened in my game alone and it's that element that made it so memorable.

My second tale concerns my younger years. I was a callous youth, cruel in some ways though I liked to pretend I was valorous. I had a peculiar pastime which involved hiding in bushes. Strange, I know, but hear me out.

There were 3 of us, a small party of like-minded individuals. We sick of being picked on by those stronger than us and were determined to take a measure of revenge. But we weren't willing to start a fight, that would be unheroic, villainous even. No, we decided to trick others into starting fights and then band together to end them.

This is where the hiding in the bushes comes from. I would find a suitably sized shrubbery and hide within it, axe drawn and ready to charge at the first sight of aggression. My friend, Bliv, was a druid and thus able to transform into a panther and stealth, remaining even more hidden than me in my bush.

The third member of our little party was... well he was bait. A young Gnome by the name of Ultimate Dragon, wearing armour that was little better than rags and carrying no more than knife. He would sit out in the middle of the road, deep into the Orc's territory and wait.

Eventually an inexperienced Orc or Troll would happen across the Gnome. He probably looked a tasty snack even to the weak prey we were hunting. We would wait while our prey taunted the Gnome who would wave timidly and beg mercy. Inevitably our prey would attack. They always attacked.

Like heroes of legend, my druid friend and I would rush to the rescue. I, erupting from the bushes with a charge and battlecry, and Bliv leaping from the shadows to rend our prey with claws and teeth.

As we looked down upon the corpse of our prey, we would cheer and laugh. Then we would run because chances are that dead Orc would be back soon enough and with friends. Maybe not the heroes of legend. Maybe not heroes at all. Looking back now, I'm fairly certain we were the villains.

This tale was another true story from my days playing World of Warcraft (WoW). It was one of the many experiences I had on that game that has stuck with me over the years.

Why have I shared these two stories? Because they are just some of the things from those two games that have inspired me, that I have taken things from in my own writings. Because they prove that playing games isn't just about walking along someone else's story lined out for you. You get as much out of them as you want, as you are willing to take.

Would my Skyrim tale have meant as much to me if I hadn't named the goat and formed a bond with it? Probably not. Would I have learned a lesson in the morality of would be heroes from my devious endeavours in WoW had I not created a heroic backstory for my character? Unlikely.

Gaming is a great source of inspiration for me, not just because of the worlds and the visuals it can impress upon me, but because I get so much more out of those games if I use my own imagination to flesh out the bits that are lacking. And I wouldn't give away those experiences I have earned for all the world.





The Bound Folio
Ragnarok Publications, June 1, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 228 pages

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Gather Around and Let Me Tell You a Story... or Two
The world is full of heroes, villains, and all the shades in between. The Bound Folio tells their stories from the tortured childhood of the legendary Blademaster the Sword of the North, to the humble origins of the Queen of the Five Kingdoms, to the death of one of the world's greatest assassins.

This anthology collects together eight dark stories of swords, sorcery, and seduction from First Earth, the setting of The Ties That Bind trilogy and the forthcoming Best Laid Plans duology.





About Rob

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Gather Around and Let Me Tell You a Story... or Two
Having served in a hundred different offices as a keyboard monkey Rob J. Hayes finally decided to follow his lifelong passion of daydreaming. After writing a small horde's worth of short stories, he released his debut trilogy The Ties that Bind in 2013 as an indie publication and followed it up with the standalone release, The Northern Sunrise, in 2014.

Having signed a deal with Ragnarok to re-release The Ties that Bind trilogy, Rob is happy to announce his follow-up series, Best Laid Plans (set in the same world), will also be released by Ragnarok starting in 2016.

When not writing Rob is usually found either card gaming, computer gaming, board gaming, dice gaming, airsoft gaming, or pretending to be a Viking.

Website  ~  Twitter @RoboftheHayes  ~  Facebook

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Stories are Written on Paper, Not Stone - May 28, 2015


Please welcome Rob J. Hayes to The Qwillery.  The Price of Faith, the 3rd novel in The Ties That Bind trilogy, was published on May 5th by Ragnarok Publications.



Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Stories are Written on Paper, Not Stone - May 28, 2015




Stories are Written on Paper, Not Stone

I hit a strange type of writer's block the other day. It wasn't that I couldn't get the words down on screen, but that I suddenly realised I had no idea where the story was going in the next chapter.

I consider myself a fairly organic writer, an architect rather than a gardener, a pantser rather than a planner. That being said I do tend to have a rough outline, in my head at least, when I begin a new story. I know who the main characters are, their strengths and flaws, their goals and their past, and I know where I want their arcs to begin and end. I know (most) of the main plot points, and have a good few big events that are going to happen along the way including who will turn up to the event, and who won't walk away from it. In every story I sit down to write I know my beginning, my middle, and my end. What I generally don't know is most of what happens in between. I like to leave that up to the characters.

So while writing Best Laid Plans (the new duology being published by Ragnarok Publications in 2016 – I had to get a plug in here somewhere), one of the characters who started out with a supporting role began taking up more and more of the spotlight. It's her own fault really, she turned out to be such a compelling and deeply flawed individual that I had no choice but to focus more and more of my (and the story's) attention on her.

While I was happy to focus more and more attention on this engaging character (with little regard to what it meant for the larger scope), the other day it presented a problem. I encountered one of my planned plot developments (quite a major one) and realised it no longer made any sense. The chapter just didn't flow well in the light of this character's development and her current identity within the story, and worse still was that it actually detracted from the character she had become.

I um'ed and I ah'ed, I procrastinated and deliberated. Eventually I came to the decision that the plot point just no longer made sense and needed to be removed in its entirety. This unfortunately meant a lot of careful editing of previous chapters (including the removal of at least 2 chapters), but it felt right. This character had come into her own, going from strength to strength, and I wanted to perpetuate that, even if it meant major changed to the story as a whole.

There is a moral to this little stream of consciousness I present to you and it is this. If you are writing a story, you should always be open to change. Maybe the story takes an organic twist you didn't see coming until you put it down. Maybe you realise something simply didn't make sense from the start. Maybe your beta readers/agent/editor sit you down and tell you something is crap and it just needs changing. I'm not saying you should pull a Lucas (changing things after the fact because... well it doesn't matter, Han still shot first), but you should always be open to making your work better. Sometimes better involves shifting the spotlight a little, sometimes it involves a chainsaw. Be bold, but be open minded.





The Price of Faith
The Ties That Bind 3
Ragnarok Publications, May 5, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 480 pages
Cover by Alex Raspad 

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Stories are Written on Paper, Not Stone - May 28, 2015
Separated and miserable, Thanquil Darkheart and Jezzet Vel’urn both have their reasons for wanting to leave the Dragon Empire. Jezzet flees from the wrathful fury of an Empress scorned while accompanied by the ever insidious Drake Morrass, and Thanquil sets out to find and judge his one heretical loose end.





Previously

The Heresy Within
The Ties That Bind 1
Ragnarok Publications, November 10, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook
Cover by Alex Raspad

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Stories are Written on Paper, Not Stone - May 28, 2015
Thanquil Darkheart is an Arbiter of the Inquisition, a witch hunter tasked with hunting down and purging heretics. Thanquil Darkheart is also something else, expendable.

When the God-Emperor of Sarth tells Thanquil there is a traitor operating among the highest echelon of the Inquisition he knows he has no choice but to sail to the city of Chade and follow the Emperor's single lead.

The Black Thorn is a murderer, a thug, a thief and worse but he's best known for the killing of six Arbiters. These days he travels with a crew of six of the most dangerous sell-swords in the wilds.

After a job well done they find themselves on the run from the law once again but the boss has good news; a new job, the biggest any of them have ever pulled. First, however, they need to evade capture long enough to secure travel to the free city of Chade.

Jezzet Vel'urn is a Blademaster; a swords-woman of prodigious skill but she knows that for a woman like her in the wilds there are two ways out of most situations; fight or fuck. Truth is, all too often for Jezzet's liking, it comes down to a combination of the two.

Jezzet is chased half-way across the wilds by a vengeful warlord until she makes it to the free city of Chade. Instead of sanctuary, however, all she finds are guards waiting to turn her over for some quick gold.



The Color of Vengeance
The Ties That Bind 2
Ragnarok Publication, January 19, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 388 pages
Cover by Alex Raspad 

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Stories are Written on Paper, Not Stone - May 28, 2015
Beaten, battered, and damned near broken with a bounty on his head so large he’s tempted to turn himself in, the Black Thorn finds himself on trial for the crime of being him. Despite the impending probability of death he has but one thought on his mind; taking revenge against the Arbiter who took his eye.

In order to carry out his vengeance Thorn must first escape Sarth and recruit a new crew, each one with their own designs on revenge.





About Rob

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Stories are Written on Paper, Not Stone - May 28, 2015
Having served in a hundred different offices as a keyboard monkey Rob J. Hayes finally decided to follow his life long passion of daydreaming. After writing a small horde's worth of short stories (many of which can be found on his website), he released his debut trilogy "The Ties that Bind" in 2013 as an indie publication and followed it up with the standalone release The Northern Sunrise in 2014.

Having now signed a deal with Ragnarok to bring "The Ties that Bind" to traditional paper publication Rob is furiously working away at a follow-up series set in the same world.

When not writing Rob is usually found either card gaming, computer gaming, board gaming, dice gaming, airsoft gaming, or pretending to be a Viking.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @RoboftheHayes

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Of Gods, Demons and Witches - January 19, 2015


Please welcome Rob J. Hayes to The Qwillery. The Color of Vengeance (The Ties That Bind 2) is published today by Ragnarok Publications. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Rob a Happy Publication Day.



Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Of Gods, Demons and Witches - January 19, 2015




Of Gods, Demons and Witches

So my debut trilogy (The Ties that Bind) features a fair few witch hunters; I call them Arbiters and their superiors, Inquisitors, and they serve the God Volmar. I've long loved the idea of witch hunters and on First Earth (the fantasy world the trilogy is set upon) I decided to give them the same sort of magic they abhor in others because I love a bit of hypocrisy. Of course with the inclusion of witch hunters I'd be remiss if I did not also include some fairly powerful witches.

Now not all witches are evil, nor are they all women, at least not on First Earth but one and all they are hunted by the Inquisition and it's Arbiters. In fact witches are so heavily persecuted on First Earth they are bordering on extinct and those that have survived are forced to run and hide. The Inquisition's reach is long and its servants are powerful in large part because their God, Volmar, is powerful.

The basic premise of magic upon First Earth is that no matter what it is being used for; Runes or Charms, Blessings or Curses, or straight up sorcery, the Arbiter or witch has their own reserve of magic to draw upon, their own limited pool of power. Some of these uses, however, require much greater reserves than the witch has direct access to; in these cases the witch has the ability to request magic from a greater power than themselves. Some may request that power from a specific source, such as Arbiters aligning themselves with Volmar, whereas others make more of an open request not caring which power, be it God or Demon, answers. In this way the witch becomes a conduit for the power of the God or Demon, the magic is supplied to them from this greater power but the witch shapes it into whatever form they require. However, at the same time as receiving power for their own use, the witch becomes a conduit for the God or Demon to effect First Earth through the witch. Think of it as the law of equivalent exchange.

It's worth mentioning at this point that most Gods and Demons do not reside upon First Earth but in the Void (a separate realm barely understood by the people of First Earth), and they are unable to directly effect it for the most part but require a conduit. This is not true of all Gods, there are some (such as the seas Goddess, Rin) who do reside upon First Earth and who can directly effect the world in many ways.

I like to use this example to explain it (mainly because it allows me to use the word “discombobulate”):

A witch wishes to use the sorcery “discombobulate” which requires X power but she does not have X power. She calls out to any God or Demon who will listen to lend her X power. A Demon responds and the witch becomes the Demon's conduit. X power is granted to the witch which she shapes into the sorcery “discombobulate”. On another part of First Earth the Demon uses X power, allowed into the world through the witch, to possess a small boy, turning that boy's actions to further the Demon's agenda on First Earth.

Of course being the conduit for a God/Demon's magical power is draining both in mind and body which severely limits what a witch can do. Only through training and practice can a witch use more powerful sorceries and more frequently before the strain becomes too much for them.

So this is the basics of the magic system I created for The Ties that Bind. I have explained it here partly in the hope it will tease you into picking up the series to find out more and partly because I think it helps to illustrate how complex and satisfying a magic system that uses definite laws and restrictions can be, and hopefully how important it is to have one in place when creating a fantasy world.





The Color of Vengeance
The Ties That Bind 2
Ragnarok Publication, January 19, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook
Cover by Alex Raspad 

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Of Gods, Demons and Witches - January 19, 2015
Beaten, battered, and damned near broken with a bounty on his head so large he’s tempted to turn himself in, the Black Thorn finds himself on trial for the crime of being him. Despite the impending probability of death he has but one thought on his mind; taking revenge against the Arbiter who took his eye.

In order to carry out his vengeance Thorn must first escape Sarth and recruit a new crew, each one with their own designs on revenge.




Previously

The Heresy Within
The Ties That Bind 1
Ragnarok Publications, November 10, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook
Cover by Alex Raspad

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Of Gods, Demons and Witches - January 19, 2015
Thanquil Darkheart is an Arbiter of the Inquisition, a witch hunter tasked with hunting down and purging heretics. Thanquil Darkheart is also something else, expendable.

When the God-Emperor of Sarth tells Thanquil there is a traitor operating among the highest echelon of the Inquisition he knows he has no choice but to sail to the city of Chade and follow the Emperor's single lead.

The Black Thorn is a murderer, a thug, a thief and worse but he's best known for the killing of six Arbiters. These days he travels with a crew of six of the most dangerous sell-swords in the wilds.

After a job well done they find themselves on the run from the law once again but the boss has good news; a new job, the biggest any of them have ever pulled. First, however, they need to evade capture long enough to secure travel to the free city of Chade.

Jezzet Vel'urn is a Blademaster; a swords-woman of prodigious skill but she knows that for a woman like her in the wilds there are two ways out of most situations; fight or fuck. Truth is, all too often for Jezzet's liking, it comes down to a combination of the two.

Jezzet is chased half-way across the wilds by a vengeful warlord until she makes it to the free city of Chade. Instead of sanctuary, however, all she finds are guards waiting to turn her over for some quick gold.




Upcoming

The Price of Faith
The Ties That Bind 3
Ragnarok Publications, May 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook
Cover by Alex Raspad 

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Of Gods, Demons and Witches - January 19, 2015
Separated and miserable, Thanquil Darkheart and Jezzet Vel’urn both have their reasons for wanting to leave the Dragon Empire. Jezzet flees from the wrathful fury of an Empress scorned while accompanied by the ever insidious Drake Morrass, and Thanquil sets out to find and judge his one heretical loose end.





About Rob

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Of Gods, Demons and Witches - January 19, 2015
Having served in a hundred different offices as a keyboard monkey Rob J. Hayes finally decided to follow his life long passion of daydreaming. After writing a small horde's worth of short stories (many of which can be found on his website), he released his debut trilogy "The Ties that Bind" in 2013 as an indie publication and followed it up with the standalone release The Northern Sunrise in 2014.

Having now signed a deal with Ragnarok to bring "The Ties that Bind" to traditional paper publication Rob is furiously working away at a follow-up series set in the same world.

When not writing Rob is usually found either card gaming, computer gaming, board gaming, dice gaming, airsoft gaming, or pretending to be a Viking.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @RoboftheHayes


Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes: Flawed Characters – Nobody Likes a Goody Two Shoes - November 12, 2014


Please welcome Rob J. Hayes to The Qwillery. The Heresy Within was published on November 10th by Ragnarok.



Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes:  Flawed Characters – Nobody Likes a Goody Two Shoes  - November 12, 2014




Flawed Characters – Nobody Likes a Goody Two Shoes

Nobody likes a goody two shoes. OK so that statement isn't entirely true as people do occasionally like to hear about heroes and heroines of uncompromising virtue; if they didn't Superman wouldn't be nearly as popular as he is given his ridiculously dull set of powers. However, there is a reason Batman is the more likeable hero of the two: he's flawed.

In literature, film, and media the general populace always seem to gravitate more towards anti-heroes. We, as a people, love stories of heroism and valour but we also want to be able to connect to our heroes, to be able to see them as people and not Gods and it's part of our makeup that we connect to and empathise with flaws much more readily than strengths.

For a simplified example:

If I see a character with a mighty beard I don't automatically think “What a glorious beard. I, too, sport a beard so I will cheer for you.” however, if I see a character struggling to quit smoking because they enjoy it even though it's bad for them, I immediately empathise with that character because I've been there and done that and know their pain.

It's simplified and those are external examples rather than internal ones but I believe it makes the point. Flaws attract us to characters, not strengths.

This is the golden rule I used when creating the characters that populate the world of The Heresy Within. Each of the three main characters had to have a multitude of flaws to go along with their strengths, each one would be an anti-hero:

Jezzet Vel'urn suffers from some pretty serious self doubt, knowing how strong she is but also doubting her choices and where they lead but she is also tougher than old leather and driven to survive no matter what comes.

Thanquil Darkheart has issues with authority along with a kleptomania disorder that leans more towards the mania, but he is also tenacious and good natured despite the grim world around him.

The Black Thorn is a paranoid sociopath but with a loyalty and honour all of his own.

And these are just the protagonists and a few of their traits; The Heresy Within features a large supporting cast each with their own peculiar set of flaws and strengths.

Here in the real world we all have flaws, not one of us is perfect (not even me), and we're all a little bit crazy and we like our heroes and heroines of fiction to be the same way. Once we're connected to those characters on an emotional level we can laugh along with them, cry along with them, feel fear along with them and, eventually, even mourn their passing (I don't necessarily mean their deaths but those special times when you finish a book and suddenly something feels like it's missing almost as if you just said goodbye to an old friend).

It's human nature that we connect to, empathise with, and fall in love with flaws. BUT we fall in line behind strengths.





The Heresy Within
The Ties That Bind 1
Ragnarok Publications, November 10, 2014
eBook, 396 pages

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes:  Flawed Characters – Nobody Likes a Goody Two Shoes  - November 12, 2014
Thanquil Darkheart is an Arbiter of the Inquisition, a witch hunter tasked with hunting down and purging heretics. Thanquil Darkheart is also something else, expendable.

When the God-Emperor of Sarth tells Thanquil there is a traitor operating among the highest echelon of the Inquisition he knows he has no choice but to sail to the city of Chade and follow the Emperor's single lead.

The Black Thorn is a murderer, a thug, a thief and worse but he's best known for the killing of six Arbiters. These days he travels with a crew of six of the most dangerous sell-swords in the wilds.

After a job well done they find themselves on the run from the law once again but the boss has good news; a new job, the biggest any of them have ever pulled. First, however, they need to evade capture long enough to secure travel to the free city of Chade.

Jezzet Vel'urn is a Blademaster; a swords-woman of prodigious skill but she knows that for a woman like her in the wilds there are two ways out of most situations; fight or fuck. Truth is, all too often for Jezzet's liking, it comes down to a combination of the two.

Jezzet is chased half-way across the wilds by a vengeful warlord until she makes it to the free city of Chade. Instead of sanctuary, however, all she finds are guards waiting to turn her over for some quick gold.





About Rob

Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes:  Flawed Characters – Nobody Likes a Goody Two Shoes  - November 12, 2014
Rob J. Hayes was born somewhere south of the cockney wastelands in a small town called Basingstoke. He grew up with all the usual boy toys including Lego, Star Wars figures (complete with working lightsaber action) and plenty of Transformers. Playing with these toys inspired his imagination and as soon as he was old enough he started playing with swords wooden sticks.

At the age of fourteen he started writing but, like most fourteen year old boys, everything had to be either a vampire, a werewolf, or have superpowers. Thankfully, like most fourteen year old boys, he eventually grew up... a bit.

After four years at University studying Zoology and three years working for a string of high street banks as a desk jockey/keyboard monkey Rob ran away to live on a desert island in Fiji for three months. It was there he re-discovered his love of writing and, more specifically, of writing fantasy.

Now based in Derbyshire, UK, Rob has a variety of hobbies when he’s not madly scribbling his next epic, that, unsurprisingly, are fantasy themed. He regularly plays card games based on the A Game of Thrones and the Netrunner universes and attends tournaments throughout the UK. Rob also enjoys Airsofting: the act of running around a forest with fake guns shooting (being shot by) his friends.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @RoboftheHayes

SPFBO 2017 Review: Where Loyalties Lie by Rob J. HayesGuest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Gather Around and Let Me Tell You a Story... or TwoGuest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Stories are Written on Paper, Not Stone - May 28, 2015Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes - Of Gods, Demons and Witches - January 19, 2015Guest Blog by Rob J. Hayes:  Flawed Characters – Nobody Likes a Goody Two Shoes  - November 12, 2014

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