A return to hard-hitting, gritty sword and sorcery with an iconic and inspiring main character, the Rayden Valkyrie Tales are a growing collection of stand-alone novellas that will elate fans of the genre!
The Prowling the Darkness Blog Tour features reviews, interviews, guest posts, video, and top ten lists! As a novella, Prowling the Darkness is a shorter and quicker read for reviewers too!
About the author: Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk), and the forthcoming Faraway Saga (YA Dystopian/Cross-Genre).
Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.
Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.
Book Synopsis for Prowling the Darkness: Dark rumors and whisperings of unholy sorcery bring Rayden Valkyrie to the remote city of Sereth-Naga.
There she finds a populace cowering in fear of the city’s ruthless, mysterious rulers, who remain behind the high walls of their citadel.
An even greater mystery surrounds the city.
Something is prowling the darkness.
Something that has kept the enigmatic rulers for centuries from escaping Sereth-Naga to spread their wickedness to other lands.
Prowling the Darkness is a stand-alone novella that is part of the Rayden Valkyrie Tales.
Guest Post: Building the World of Rayden Valkyrie
The world of Rayden Valkyrie is an exciting and diverse one, filled with a wide array of lands, cultures, creatures, and characters. More and more of this world is being revealed through the two collections of novellas featuring the Rayden Valkyrie and Ragnar Stormbringer characters.
It is a world that is distinct and different from the world of Ave portrayed in my epic fantasy Fires in Eden Series. I strive to have a more ancient world feel in Rayden’s tales, while also hinting of an even more ancient age, remnants of which make their appearances in the various adventures and tales.
My approach to world building focuses upon creating realistic and well-rounded cultures, some of them historically-inspired, and others original in nature. Each culture has a full history of its own, heroes and leaders, a religion, means of trade (whether barter, or coin-based), a geography that it inhabits (and that geography, hosting certain types of plants, wildlife, terrain, weather patterns, and natural resources, will have a significant influence on the kind of culture that develops within it), and an interrelation with other lands or elements of that world (which can be antagonistic or benevolent in nature).
I think that good world building embraces a comprehensive approach to each culture. The reader may not get to experience all aspects of a land or culture in a given tale, but the author needs to have the foundation in mind so that the dynamics of the culture, behavior of the characters from it, and other elements flow naturally through the course of the narrative and action. I recommend avoiding the urge to “info-dump”, though a little extra info may be useful in certain situations, when soaking in something major in the story like a large new city.
Having a solid understanding of the world and its various lands and cultures provides great fodder for storytelling. The conflicts between cultures/realms can be reflected in the interactions between characters, create dynamic encounters, and much more.
A good understanding of the world in the author’s mind can also be the source of inspiration for new stories. This is precisely how the novella Prowling the Darkness came about. It is a stand-alone tale, but it takes place right after the events in the novella Blood of a Queen. It features a remote city-state called Sereth-Naga ruled over by an enigmatic group of beings called the Sharir-Mord.
The people of Sereth-Naga are inspired by the people of ancient city-states and areas of Persia, while the Sharir-Mord’s inspiration is entirely original in nature.
The culture of the people in the city of Sereth-Naga has been strongly affected by the Sharir-Mord, to the degree that the people are almost like cattle to the Sharir-Mord “Farmer”. The presence of an even more ancient world is reflected in the entities lurking in the darkness in the land around Sereth-Naga, who become a very pivotal part of the story. Like the Sharir-Mord, these entities are derived from an original inspiration.
Rayden Valkyrie goes alone into this world, among the people, the Sharir-Mord, and the legendary entities prowling the landscape around the city. While I do not get to reveal everything about the culture of the people, the things in the darkness, or the Sharir-Mord, their cultures inform everything regarding the actions and decisions of the characters that Rayden meets and encounters.
I am confident that by the end of the story, the reader has a great feel for this part of Rayden’s world, and that Sereth-Naga has an organic and realistic atmosphere about it. Ultimately, I find that I am in a very good position for future tales that involving one of the groups encountered during Prowling the Darkness. All of that is made possible by comprehensive world building.
I invite you to read Prowling the Darkness for yourself and begin your exploration of Rayden’s dynamic and diverse world!
Tour Schedule and Activities
8/7 Armed with a Book http://www.armedwithabook.com Review
8/7 I Smell Sheep http://www.ismellsheep.com/ Guest Post
8/7 Fragile Winds http://mariadkins.blogspot.com Guest Post
8/8 The Most Sublime http://www.themostsublime.com Review
8/8 Breakeven Books https://breakevenbooks.com Guest Post
8/9 Armed with a Book http://www.armedwithabook.com Interview
8/10 Horror Tree https://www.horrortree.com Guest Post
8/10 Sheila’s Guests and Reviews http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com Guest Post
8/11 Speculative Fiction Spot http://specfictionspot.blogspot.com/ Guest Post
8/12 Literary Underworld http://www.literaryunderworld.com Guest Post
8/13 Jazzy Book Reviews http://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com Video Interview
8/13 The Book Junkie Reads https://thebookjunkiereadspromos.blogspot.com Guest Post
8/14 Stuart Conover’s Homepage https://www.stuartconover.com Top Ten’s List
8/14 Bookish Valhalla https://www.bookishvalhalla.com Review
Links for Prowling the Darkness
Barnes and Noble Link for Prowling the Darkness: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/prowling-the-darkness-stephen-zimmer/1131360526?ean=2940161456958
July was a busy month for me but I still managed to read 5 books! Check out my wrap up to see what I thought about them!