Today we're bringing you a big pile of fantasy in
this Sword and Sorcery Series!
(don't let the cover suggest otherwise)
From Author J. W. Baccaro,
hosted by Fire and Ice Book Tours,
Guiding The Blue Flame,
from the Guardian Series.
I had the honor of interviewing Mr. Baccaro,
who not only took my questions in stride, but
gave very candid answers. It's a pleasure
when someone isn't shy about who they are.
Our Mr. Baccaro has also gone above and beyond
offering some pretty spectacular Giveaways during
this tour. So be sure and enter your name in
the Rafflecopter below, and secure your chance to
win any combination of this series of work.
And as always, we here at PLP love to get to know
our followers, so please leave us a comment so we
know you were here, thx, and enjoy the rest of the tour.
Sword and Sorcery, Coming of Age, Dark Wizard Fantasy
The Elemental Crystals were originally created to protect the earth. However, Abaddon the Demon Lord plans to use them to transform the earth into a realm of haunting darkness and witchery, forever. In Guiding The Blue Flame, a young but powerful Nasharin Warrior, Darshun Luthais is drawn to one of these magical crystals of immense power. He learns he‘s the fulfillment of the two thousand year old Prophecy of the Guardian. The Wizard Olchemy informs him that he is the protector and guardian the earth has been waiting for. With Darshun‘s ability to sense the Elemental Crystals, Olchemy devises a plan to obtain them. Accompanied by a small group of companions the hunt is on, in hopes to retrieve the long lost crystals before the Demon Lord claims them. During the journey, Darshun encounters Aurora, the sole survivor of a now extinct people. He falls in love for the first time, and now resents the so-called Guardian of the Prophecy role. Due to Darshun‘s naïve spirit he‘s caught off guard by Nayland, a mysterious dark warrior who confronts him about his abandonment of the quest. He reveals that he too, is a Nasharin warrior, though far exceeding Darshun in skill and power. Darshun‘s father, Mirabel saves him from death at the hands of Nayland. Outmatched and in bewilderment from the attack, a fire awakens in Darshun. He plans on reaching his father‘s level of power with a journey to Shajin Island, where Nasharin Warriors train. He‘ll be gone for only one day in Earth realm time, but due to the magic of the rigorous island, it will be seven long years for him. Entering the mystical realm of Shajin, he eagerly awaits its life threatening challenges.
From Chapter Three of "Guiding the Blue Flame."
Later that night, when Darshun lay in his bed, he kept thinking about the stories Damacoles shared with him, wondering if any truth dwelled in them. A sacrificial goddess of fire? A mischievous god of theft and murder? Surely, such tales were legendary, meant to scare children into behaving. For it was never a good thing to play with fire or to prowl the outdoors during the dark hours. No wonder the elders would conjure up such stories.
These thoughts were cut short when Darshun heard noises outside his window. They sounded like stones hitting the house and a rustling of leaves. He wondered if Repsi might be there, creeping around stealing belongings or anything that was precious to him.
Then came the worst of it yet; a voice, coming from under his bed, whispering—hissing his name twice: “Darshun...Darshun.” Then, there was an impish laugh.
Darshun closed his eyes, covered his ears and remained still, shaking, sweating—praying it would go away! His fists were clenched so tight, he could feel the veins popping out of his forearms. Then, after a while, when the noises stopped he felt ridiculous, thinking himself to be a fool. “They’re just tales.” He laughed. “And I'm scaring myself into hearing things. Heh, yes...” Sleep began to take hold, his eyes feeling heavy. “They are tales—that's all. Just—tales...”
A clutter of loud noises outside Darshun’s window awakened him. It sounded like colossal boulders rolling across the ground and hitting the side of the house. He lay in bed, trembling, not daring to see what it could be and remembering the same business earlier in the night.
Then the noises stopped, and he heard heavy footsteps trotting away over the fallen leaves. “Someone’s out there.” He climbed out of bed and walked to the window, peeped outside and saw nothing. It looked pitch black. That’s strange—a few hours ago there was a full moon. There came another crash in the distance, but this time it sounded like a crackling, furious, like the stone castle collapsing. Darshun leapt away from the window, sinking to the floor in darkness. “What is going on?” He panted with fear. “I better wake up Father.”
Stepping across the room in shadow, he grabbed a candle off a stand and set it ablaze, then made his way down the short hall to Mirabel’s room. But when he got there the bed was empty, the blankets lying on the floor. “Ah, Father. Where did you venture off to now?”
Not wanting to be alone, he decided to go outside and look for him. Darshun hoped he would find his father before whatever else lurking within the city found him. He grabbed his sheathe and sword along with a dagger, slipped into his brown leather ankle boots and cloak, then ventured outside. The darkness seemed so thick he couldn’t see two feet in front of him. “Where in the world could he be? Perhaps at Uncle Seth’s?”
Unexpectedly, a scream sounded, a horrible sounding scream like that of a frightened young girl. It echoed from every direction of the city. Then there were crackling noises and a rustling of leaves in the woods, like someone or something running through the brush.
Darshun stopped and pulled out the sword. Seconds later, the noises went silent and a wet wind came. Lightning flashed, followed by bangs of thunder. “Father!” he shouted, his voice echoing through the night-shaded city. “Where are you?” A second flash of lightning lit up the sky for a few moments revealing much of Loreladia. During this time, he saw something about a hundred feet away. It sent chills down his back.
A creature stood there and it looked to be at least eight feet tall. A set of horns rose off its skull like a bull. It had unnaturally long arms, dagger-sized claws, three wide legs—the third extending down where the groin would naturally be behind it. He swung a swaying tail while possessing dark red skin and yellow eyes. Its eyes were terrifying, glaring at Darshun with hatred. The stench it exuded was indescribable.
His heart raced. But when another wave of lightning split the sky, the creature disappeared. “Di-did—I imagine it?” Swiftly, the storm elements struck a tree, bursting it to flames. The fire lit up the surrounding area. When Darshun turned around he witnessed the creature again, this time standing about ten feet away! Its eyes flashed. He screamed and ran.
The creature chased after him. It moved like a large puppet, unsteady and off balance, probably due to its additional leg which made the thing all the creepier.
“Help me!” Darshun shouted, but no one came to his aid. He continued to run through the dark city until he reached Uncle Seth’s house, staggering into the yard. He banged on all the doors and all the windows. There came no answer. Everyone seemed to have vanished. Kicking open the back door, he ran into the house and looked around for a candle, blindly touching the small round tables in the living room. Instead, he discovered an oil lamp, recently put out, its smell spreading through the house. He ignited it and searched for Seth and Mirabel, scurrying through every room and still, they were nowhere to be found.
Darshun blew out the wick and stood still, listening to the rain beating down on the house, praying the creature wouldn’t find him. Then he felt a warm liquid hit his face and drip down his cheeks. Curious, he relit the lamp and looked above, witnessing fresh blood splattered completely across the ceiling, along with intestines driven into cracks, dangling to and fro. Darshun screamed, then put a hand over his mouth, realizing his stupidity. “Oh no,” he whispered.
As though it’d been waiting for this precise moment, the creature crashed through the front door, kicking the wood apart tightly grabbing his arm and tossing him across the room like a doll.
He hit the wall and fell to the floor.
The creature walked over, its stench unbearable, like a rotten corpse.
Adrenaline rushing, Darshun quickly stood up, drew his sword and struck the creature in its left leg, hacking off a chunk of flesh. Then he ran to the nearest window and jumped through it. He tumbled onto the muddy ground, smashing his jaw and dropping the sword. The creature reached through, grabbed his leg and began to pull him back in. Its claws dug into his skin, piercing to the bone and he screamed in agony. Punching the thing in its face didn’t seem to faze it either, it only hurt Darshun's hands. Then, he remembered the dagger he’d brought. He took it off his girdle and stabbed the creature’s hand.
It roared terribly, saliva shooting out its mouth—then released him.
Darshun picked up his sword and ran into the woods as fast as his little legs would take him. He ran and ran until he ended up being a long way off and found a thicket of bushes to hide under. He was soaking wet, and the temperature had dropped so much his breath now showed. Trying to calm down, he rubbed his sweaty face and wounded leg, which began to swell with severe pain. Soon, he would need medical attention. But these thoughts vanished when he heard a crackling of sticks. Something was coming toward him. Darshun gripped his sword and remained still. The noises stopped…nothing sounded now except the rain. Perhaps it was an animal?
Lightning struck a tree near-by and in fear, he hurriedly climbed out of the thicket. The fire burned high, giving off much light, and he knew he needed to abandon the area fast. Then, as if things weren’t bad enough, he felt a cold breath on the back of his neck—shivers of fear ran down his spine. Slowly, he turned around and there the creature stood, face-to-face with him. It grabbed his throat, lifted him off his feet and slammed him against a tree.
Its face was hideous—cut, mangled as if it’d been mutilated while decaying with disease.
Darshun vomited onto it, the vomit dripping down its bloody cheeks. “My father?” he asked tired and weary. “Where’s my father?”
Grinning, the creature pointed up at the trees.
Darshun eyes widened. Hanging by two ropes tied to their legs were Mirabel and Seth. Their bellies had been torn open and their throats cut, blood oozing like a river.
Hideously, the creature laughed and rose up its other hand, extending blood stained claws.
After the loss of his loved ones, nothing else mattered—nothing except justice or perhaps revenge. An uncontrollable desire began to overtake Darshun. Dramatic emotions of hate, love, desperation and madness surged within while sleeping beast began to awaken. “Father—Uncle Seth...” Suddenly, it happened. “Nooo!!!” he screamed in rage and fury as a red fire exploded around him, blowing the creature off its feet. The fire surrounded Darshun’s entire body. Even his pupils consisted of flame.
At first, he didn't understand what could be happening. His anger ignited, awakened or unleashed something inside of him, perhaps lying dormant and the energy magnified. He felt a bodily change in every pore, a sensation within his eyes, a tingling throughout his hair. His body became different—he seemed different, transformed.
The creature, now terrified, desperately ran for its life.
Darshun raised both hands, naturally understanding what to do and shot two streams of blistering red flames out of them. Burning through every tree in their path, the flames struck the creature and disintegrated it.
A fierce yellow light shined all around him as Darshun awoke. He screamed, crashing his head back and forth, confused, disoriented, unaware of his surroundings until the light vanished and he saw Mirabel. “Fa—father?”
“Yes son, it is I. Everything is going to be all right.”
“It was a dream—only a dream.” He sighed and collapsed, out of energy. Within moments, he fell back to sleep.
Upon seeing the flames, many Loreladians rushed over speedily, standing in the middle of the street, gazing upon Mirabel’s house—nearly ash. Seth Caelen stood there too, having sensed the disturbance in Darshun.
“Good heavens,” Mythaen greeted, running up to Mirabel. “Are you and Dar all right?”
Mirabel glanced over, then fixed his eyes back on Darshun. “Fine,” he answered.
“A candle fell.”
“A—candle?” he asked, confused. For not only was it highly unlikely for Mirabel to make a mistake like that, but candle fire burns a beautiful orange-yellow, where this fire seemed to be a blistering red. “Are you positive?”
“Yes! It was a candle, a molding of wax!” Mirabel’s tone sounded fierce, his words sounding more like a growl. He sighed, and then finished in a calmer tone, “Just an accident started from an old Wizard's candle. Everything is fine now.”
All right, that made a little more sense to the small crowd. After all, Mirabel was a keeper of magical souvenirs.
“Well, if you like, you and Dar can stay at my place tonight,” Mythaen offered. “Or perhaps in the castle?”
“You can stay with me!” Elwin blurted out, wishing to be with Darshun. “Mother won’t mind.”
“I appreciate the offer, but I will pass.” He picked up Darshun and held him in his arms. “The danger has passed and the fire is out. You can all return home now.” He turned to Seth, speaking almost in a whisper, “Accompany me for a short time?”
They walked out of the city and into the woods, abandoning the perplexed crowd. Mirabel ventured only a short distance then stopped, setting Darshun down on some soft leaves. He then swiftly made a fire.
“That was no candle accident, was it?” Seth asked, though he knew the answer.
“No, it was Darshun. Come here, look! They’re still visible.”
Seth gazed and saw claw marks around his neck with trickles of fresh blood. He also saw the wound on Darshun’s leg and shadow-like markings across his face, arms, and chest. They were now beginning to fade, like ghostly hands releasing their grasp. “Is it possible?”
“Yes. A Dream Assassin attacked him.”
“Sorcerer Dream Assassin spells are difficult to achieve. They must have the blood of the one they intend to kill. Darshun has either lived in Loreladia since we rescued him or been with you.”
“I know, I know. It doesn’t make sense. But whoever cast the spell must possess a bit of his blood. Someone wants him dead.”
“The Northern Cullach?”
“I was thinking the evil ones in command of them. Remember what Deloth spoke of? About Darshun having to be sacrificed because he was a creature of the Light, and if he lived disaster could fall upon them.”
“I remember, but what does it mean?”
“Seth, tonight I felt a power within Darshun that even I fear. It’s what awoke me earlier. The very house trembled. I heard him scream and fire shot out everywhere. He unlocked his element in his dream, his element of Fire and at only age twelve, something no Nasharin has ever achieved. His inner power is so strong—I could barely contain him. Then I carried him into the street and shielded his fire. Everything within the house was gone, everything except that—golden ball. Somehow, it rolled into the street and stopped at Darshun’s side and once again—it was glowing!”
“What are you saying?”
“The Prophecy of the Guardian and the Second Great War could be upon us.”
Seth stared at Darshun in amazement, thinking about the signs, the golden ball and the extraordinary power of this boy. Along with the threat of the Dark, Darshun’s dreams and the presence of the Archangel. “Yes, the pieces do add up. Incredible!”
“I’m not certain of it. Nevertheless, for now I will remain in the forest and continue to train him. He needs to learn how to control his element and strengthen his mind, lest another attack come.”
“All right. Don’t fret about your house. I’ll build another.”
“Thank you, my friend. And please, until I understand for certain what’s going on, do not tell anyone about this.”
Seth nodded, and his eyes darkened. “Mirabel, if the prophecy is at hand, then you know what kind of evil shall threaten not only us, but all of the earth!”
Mirabel sighed. “I know. Our only hope shall be this little Nasharin.”
amazing art from your series come from…The
Gallery of art on your website is really
spectacular, tell us more about this.
That credit has to go to my editor Leanore Elliot. She created the cover art and the fantasy images on my website. She has a large number of images on hand, and she uploaded the ones that reminded her of my story. My editor rocks!
I have to admit, the cover to the first book in the Guardian Series, Guiding the Blue Flame, at first, may cause the viewer to think “Is this a romance novel?” *chuckles* However, it reflects or symbolizes the natural beauty of the Nasharin Race. Nasharins are warriors gifted in martial arts and magic. They’re also very handsome or beautiful, colorful as well while in their Transformations. We also have to remember that their heritage can be traced back to the Holy Angels of the Heavens. Unfortunately, the forces of the Light consider the Nasharin Race to be a curse. Nasharins came about through a forbidden act, and they lust for battle much like a vampire will lust for blood.
2. I read that you are a musician. It seems to be the norm for a lot of musicians to be artist and writers, I’ve actually followed suit myself. Why do you think this is? How did you decide to write epic fantasy?
It’s subjective, so I can only answer for myself. I love creativity. I find it much more interesting than talking about the latest pickup truck model or sports car. It feels good to search your mind, discover your inner demons and angels, thoughts and desires, hopes and sorrows, and bring all of that out in music and/or writing. It’s therapeutic, in a sense. The journey it brings you on is an experience you won’t soon forget. A lot can be discovered when searching your heart
3. I watched your you-tube trailer for this book. Creating a video is no easy undertaking. I notice most book trailers are stills with interesting ways of going from one visual to the next, I’m assuming this is because of what it would really take to use live action. Yours had a nice flow, the art truly helps and the soundtrack, all of it, it paints a good picture of what the story is about ( sorry about the pun), how did you put this project together? Are you getting attention for you book with this film?
Again this credit goes to my editor/paranormal romance author Leanore Elliot. She is the editor, cover artist, website designer and book trailer creator for my Guardian Series. Hey, did I mention that she rocks?
4. How much is your family involved in this project? Does your son think it’s cool?
My wife has been there for me the whole time. When I’m stuck, or that hideous creature called Writer’s Block pins me down, my lovely wife is off to rescue me. My son? Well, he probably doesn’t know I’m an author yet because he’s eleven months old. Although when it comes to my music creations, he not only tries to bite the volume nobs on my Jackson Dinky, but he also dances to my guitar playing. I love my boy! ^_^
5. This book is defined as, Sword and Sorcery, Coming of Age, and Dark Wizard Fantasy. You want to go into this a little deeper for us and talk a bit more about the feeling of the book?
The title for book one is “Guiding the Blue Flame.” This book tells about the upbringing of the protagonist Darshun. He is “guided” by his adopted father and sometimes his dear Uncle Seth. “Blue Flame” might seem a bit odd for readers of only the first book because whenever Darshun goes into Transformation, his hair and eyes change to red, his skin fire opal and gem-like, and an aura of red flames surround his presence. However, “Blue” foreshadows the hidden power that lies within him.
My stories are fantasy, but any one of us can relate to the situations the characters have to face. There are examples of how selfish pride and mega-ego almost always lead to unhappiness and destruction. There’re examples of forgiveness, “Forgiveness is stronger than vengeance; love more powerful than anger.”
It is fantasy of course; however, I’m happy people are seeing realistic attributes and even darkness in this story. I admit it is very dark, a tale of brutality, and even some perverse sections involving the Dark Queen Talvenya. There are many reasons why I had written it like that. First: I didn’t wish to write a ‘candy-coated’ adversary. When I get involved into a tale of good versus evil, I want to feel afraid of the dark—to a certain extent. If I don’t feel threatened by the adversary or her/his minions I gradually lose interest in the conflict, and soon enough the story. I believe an epic tale must give the reader a feeling of “How in the hell are the good guys going to accomplish their task?”
Second: Book Two in the series is titled “Crossing Forbidden Lines.” The violence in that particular story is a reflection of how cruel mankind can sometimes be, and even the red in tooth in claw of Mother Nature herself. Sure nature is beautiful! I mean, one of my favorite simple pleasures in life is to gaze at a blue summer sky filled with mammoth-sized white clouds (that still remind me of marshmallow fluff!), as a warm breeze blows against me, carrying with it the delightful smells of summer or the gorgeous lilacs and majestic peonies with their immaculate scents. I swear I could get lost for hours with my face stuffed in a lilac bush or a peonies flower…I just have to watch out for the darn bumble bees and ants! And let’s not forget those adorable little fawns walking with their mother. A doe and her two fawns often cross through our yard—the little ones following her lead, strolling across the grassy land, stopping for a bite to eat at the apple tree, and then wandering into the woodlands after my German Shepherd barks at them, disturbing their snack. *laughs*
Yes, very beautiful indeed, and yet, what goes on every night within those woodlands, when the coyotes awaken, is far from beautiful. But that is the way of this world thus far, beautiful at times, but also very dark.
And thirdly, Crossing Forbidden Lines is a reflection of the trials in life that we all face, unless you are one of the blessed ones who have never tasted darkness or even seen it…but that is a rarity. Darshun learns the hard way by facing this darkness, brutality and death. It was necessary for him (and his ego), to experience the evils of the world and suffer before he could truly come to terms with what he was born to be, the Guardian of this Forbidden Realm.
6. I noticed something unusual, in the beginning of your book, you actually show the next three covers for the upcoming sequels...how did you manage this? Do you already have the stories, each book, locked down? Does your writing stay true to your original idea?
The links are there because the entire series in out. There are five installments that make up the Guardian Series. According to most readers, each book builds on the development of the characters. Overall, it’s one story. When the crisis ends in book five, the series ends (for now?). My editor thought it would be a good idea to place in the links to the others books in order for the reader to easily find them on amazon.
7. This question is always reserved for the dedication.
Your dedication goes out to your late father in particular, how did he back you on your artistic journey? And you have a very interesting line in there pertaining to your wife and son....”whose love and companionship continue to see me through the dark stages of life...” I would normally not go so personal, however, it is right in your dedication, so would you care to elaborate on this comment?
My father was very proud of me. I remember him telling everyone that I had become an author. Sure, I’m not famous, I’m not the greatest story teller or the best at grammar, but that didn’t matter to him. He was proud that I took my imagination and put it to good use. At the wake, when I stood there staring at the body of my father, I placed a printed copy of my first book beside him.
I have a lot of demons to conquer. There are hidden fears in me that I never knew were there. I sometimes feel like I’ve been to Hell and back. See, there have been times when these fears would, in a sense, manifest in my mind’s imagery to the point where I could not differentiate reality from imagination. I’ve gotten much better over the years. I realized the sole culprit was fear. Some may claim fear can save your life in certain situations, and that may be true. But for me, fear is the enemy. Fear is the opposite of love. Fear comes from the ego. The deeper you search your mind, the more you’ll discover this.
Someone once commented that the main protagonist in my Guardian Series, Darshun Luthais, is likened to a manic depressive in the first two books. I found the comment interesting because I based Darshun’s thoughts and some of his actions off myself. *Chuckles*
Life is about growing, evolving in our Consciousness. Life is about “Other,” not so much the Self, though both can be equally important. What helped me to discover this even further was the birth of my son Alexander. I won’t go into detail here, but I will end with saying one final statement, my son saved my life.
Thank you very much for this interview. I enjoyed the personal depth you allowed me to write.
J.W. BACCARO is the author of the Guardian Series. In his free time he enjoys literature--fiction and non-fiction, playing electric guitar in the heavy metal band Rigor Hill, Consciousness and NDE studies, and thinking how to intertwine his thoughts about the world's myths, legends and distinct truths into his next novel. He lives in upstate NY with his wife Melissa, his son Alexander, his two German Shepherds and his three cats.
Connect With The Author:
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Radio Interview with Author J.W.Baccaro
This giveaway will have three winners!
Giveaway One: One winner will receive books 2-5 of the Guardian Series in ebook form, in addition to a 25 dollar amazon gift card.
Giveaway Two: One winner will receive books 2-4 of the Guardian Series in ebook form, in addition to a 15 dollar amazon gift card.
Giveaway Three: One winner will receive books 2 & 3 in ebook form of the Guardian Series, in addition to a 10 dollar amazon gift card.
Enter 3/12/14-3/27/14 at midnight eastern time! USA only, please.