The Allure of Fantasy
For the past few years, the MM Romance group on Goodreads has organized the ‘Don’t Read in the Closet’ [DRitC] event. Readers find a picture that speaks to them. They explain what the picture means and then ask an author to write the story. The stories are posted on both Goodreads and on a website where readers can download the story for free in whichever format they choose.
There were a wide mix of things, but when you toss out things I don’t like—BDSM (not IRL or in fiction), Gay For You, (don’t get me started), Tentacle (I so don’t get this, sorry to all who do)—the remainder were contemporary romance or Sci-fi/Fantasy/Paranormal. I went with Fantasy. Here’s the prompt I selected:
Now, those who’ve read Kim’s work extensively know she is quite the Mistress of Fantasy Fiction Extraordinaire. It’s something of a fan boy moment to be talking fantasy to her readers, but I’ll try to keep my fawning to a minimum.
I’ve always loved fantasy books, one of the first books I read just to read, was The Lord of the Rings. After that I would scan the fantasy aisle at the local B. Dalton (a relic of my lost youth that is sadly gone forever) and bought darn near every fantasy book and/or series I could find. I would say there are two different ‘classes’ of books, those that follow the mighty hero, i.e. the wizard with all the shiny toys and awesome spells, and those that follow the Frodo Baggins of the world. I think for the most part I prefer to write from the mighty wizard’s point of view.
When it came time to write Ashes of Life, I opted for a different approach. I wanted to write from the everyday man’s point of view. The guy who wanted to save the world, but who didn’t have the power to match his or desire. I wanted the perspective of the man who had everything at stake, but could do little effect the outcome.
One of the more difficult things about fantasy is world building. Doing it in under a trilogy is an achievement. Although the event didn’t have a word limit, the time frame—45 days, 60 days max—created its own cap which made it that much harder. That made this story that much harder.
My focus was to create the world with enough detail that it kept the story together, but not so much to bog it down and eat up the limited words I had to work with. The result? I made the story less about the magic, or the fight and more about the relationship between Thane, the everyday man who saves the phoenix, and the phoenix Eraq, who is at the heart of the battle to save the world.
I hope I struck a good balance. If you get a chance to read the story, let me know if I succeeded.
You can download the book for free in ePub, Mobi or PDF from the MM Romance Groups website: Ashes of Life, by Andrew Q. Gordon
Ashes of Life, By Andrew Q. Gordon
When Sergeant Thane asked his best friend and second in command, to go riding, he had no idea how much his life would change. Taken by his horse to a forest that shouldn’t exist, Thane hears a cry for help.
Answering the plea, Thane releases a phoenix—Eraq—from his centuries long imprisonment. Eraq’s first act of freedom is to claim Thane as his own.
But the phoenix is more than he appears. A mage-shifter, Eraq sets his sights on the man who answered his call for help. Thane returns the interest despite learning that his act of liberation has set in motion events that will change the world.
When he learns his relationship with Eraq places him at the center of events beyond his understanding, Thane refuses to abandon the man he’s come to love. Even if it hurtles him toward certain death.
About the Author:
Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of eighteen years, their young daughter and dog. In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day and not get the shakes.
Social Media Links:
You can find his books at
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On Facebook: www.facebook.com/andrewqugordon,
On Twitter: @andrewqgordon,
Or just email him: firstname.lastname@example.org