Book Highlight: Prowling The Darkness

Take a journey east with Rayden Valkyrie as she undertakes one of her most harrowing adventures yet! Prowling the Darkness is the latest release in the Rayden Valkyrie Tales!

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.

Author Links:

Website: www.stephenzimmer.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/stephenzimmer7
Twitter: @sgzimmer
Instagram: @stephenzimmer7

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

Kindle Version:  https://www.amazon.com/Prowling-Darkness-Rayden-Valkyrie-Tale-ebook/dp/B07R75X26Z/

Barnes and Noble Link for Prowling the Darkness: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/prowling-the-darkness-stephen-zimmer/1131360526?ean=2940161456958

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/prowling-the-darkness

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/prowling-the-darkness/id1463010144


 

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!

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Book Review: War Remnants

Hey bookworms! Recently, I was approached by a bookstagrammer friend of mine to read and review the novella that they wrote. At first, I was a little hesitant because I have interacted with them a bunch on Instagram and was worried that if I didn’t like the book then it would be awkward. The book is called War Remnants by Moud Adel.

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Synopsis: When the price of Gate Magic is a shorter life spent with your loved ones, will you want to keep that door closed?

Prepared to give up all of his power for a few more years with his family, Rakamai, the leader of his faction, a Magic Master who swore to defend his people against those who possess special powers, believed the only way out was to offer peace. But in a world where factions love to be enemies, his dream would soon be shattered.

Yamen, a Forest Elder, reminds Rakamai that controlling Majestic animals is a power he should always fear, and trapped in another war, Rakamai has a decision to make. Protect the legacy of his people or save his son from the hatred plaguing his world.

Now, when the Forbidden Warriors, the strongest in his world, are hunting him down, Rakamai must first escape their wrath before choosing between a longer life for himself or peace for the next generation.

I can happily say that I enjoyed the book. I was really interested in the magic system and wanted to know more about the different factions and their powers/abilities. I believe that they could have been explored more and kind of wish that this was an actual full-length book and not a novella so that we could get that history and build more on this world.

The battle scenes were very descriptive and showed the range of powers that each adversary had. I enjoyed that they mixed modern weapons into the magic.

I did get a little bit lost with the names. A lot of them were very similar so at times I was getting confused as to whom I was reading about. And a lot of them started with the same letter so that didn’t make it any easier to differentiate them.

It is a great setup for a full on series and I would love to read the series and learn more about these characters.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author in the ebook format to read and give an honest review.


Watch my Small Booktuber Tag video where I talk about what it is like to be a small booktuber and all the amazing people in the community!

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Book Review: The Wizard Heir

What up reader fam? Hey Hi Hello. Any guesses what this is? These are the intros to popular booktuber videos. But I will just say, hey it’s me again. I want to start this off by saying that I successfully completed my OWLS for the magical readathon! This was the last book I tackled. It was called The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima and is the sequel to The Warrior Heir.

The Wizard Heir book on a bookshelf

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Seph McCauley has spent the past three years getting kicked out of one exclusive private school after another. And it’s not his attitude that’s the problem: it’s the trail of magical accidents – lately, disasters – that follow in his wake. Seph is a wizard, orphaned and untrained, and his powers are escalating out of control.

After causing a tragic fire at an after-hours party, Seph is sent to the Havens, a secluded boys’ school on the coast of Maine. Gregory Leicester, the headmaster, promises to train Seph in magic and initiate him into his mysterious order of wizards. But Seph’s enthusiasm dampens when he learns that training comes at a steep cost and that Leicester plans to use his students’ powers to serve his own mysterious agenda.

This sequel begins with a new character named Seph and the book is set in his point of view instead of Jack’s from the first book. It deals a lot more with wizards instead of warriors in this one.

It starts off in Toronto which is really cool and then progresses to Maine for rest of it (at least for the most part). I love when books include places that I have either visited or are a part of the country I live in.

There were magical battles. A private school. Some tense family issues. What more could you want? I really enjoyed the friendships he made and I liked that his character was very different from Jack’s.

I found that some plot points were very easy to figure out but it didn’t hinder the book’s capability to dazzle me with its magical elements. And there was more discussion about this urban fantasy’s wizarding world and the different factions of magical folk which I really liked learning about.

The wizarding world seems to be very flawed and Seph and the other characters are working to fix it so that all the factions are treated equally. I look forward to reading the next book in this series to see where Cinda takes it.

I would recommend this book for anyone that likes a good urban fantasy tale!

Book Rating: 4/5

You can buy this on Book Depository and Amazon or find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: I read this book because I wanted to. It was not sent to me in exchange for a review.


I did some book hauling while I was away on vacation because who doesn’t like UK book covers. Check out the video below to see what book I picked up!

Visitors Coverage

Book Review: The Warrior Heir

It’s about time I bust back into the world of……FANTASY! I started a new series that was recommended to me by my boyfriend (yes, I am bisexual if you didn’t know…surprise). The first book of the series was called The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima and I loved it. I feel like I have been reborn into the world of books. Either that or I read a lot of duds so this one brought me back up to good standards of books. I probably just missed fantasy because it has been so long since I have read this genre.

The Warrior Heir book on a bookshelf

Synopsis: Before he knew about the Roses, 16-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohio town of Trinity. Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high schoolers. Then one day Jack skips his medicine. Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than ever before. And it feels great – until he loses control of his own strength and nearly kills another player during soccer team tryouts.

Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself: he is Weirlind, part of an underground society of magical people who live among us. At their helm sits the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing The Game – a magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death. The winning house rules the Weir.

As if his bizarre heritage isn’t enough, Jack finds out that he’s not just another member of Weirlind – he’s one of the last of the warriors – at a time when both houses are scouting for a player.

This book was a really great start to a series. The main character Jack reminds me of Percy Jackson and the series seems to have that kind of vibe going for it. I love anything to do with magic so it was nice to jump into a series with a lot of promise.

Honestly, the book started right away with a pretty intense action scene and I had decided to just read a little before bed. 100 pages later and now 2 am, I finally decided to go to sleep.

The book even caught me off guard at points which I loved. I hate when a book is too predictable.  The magic system that is built in this series is really cool. There are different types of magic users and they all have their own special sets of skills. Wizards are the all-powerful ones but then there are sorcerers, enchanters, and warriors that each have their own unique abilities. The warriors are very rare and the different wizard families will pit them against each other in battle. The winning wizard family gains control over the society if their chosen warrior wins in battle.

It reminded me of the Hunger Games as well (which is a good thing) in the sense that young teenagers are put into a fight to the death situation that they don’t really have any control over.

I can’t wait to dive into the second book in this series because I am not ready to be done with this magical world the author has created and the wonderful cast of characters that she has built up and fleshed out. Did I mention that all the characters are very well fleshed out?! Because they are! The only character I found slightly annoying was Jack’s aunt Linda. She just bothered me for some reason.

I have to read a couple of other books but I know I will be thinking about this series in the back of my mind until I jump into the next one. All in all, if you like fantasy or any of the series I have mentioned above, then give this one a chance.

Book Rating: 4.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: I borrowed this book from my boyfriend’s bookshelf and read it because I wanted to (and he wanted me to as well).


I recently uploaded my Booktube Newbie tag video so check it out below if you are interested. I would love it if you subscribed but that is completely up to you!

Ponden Home Interiors

Book Review: Looking For Dei

New book review for you bookworms! This one was called Looking For Dei by David A. Wilson. It was fantastic! I loved this book and did not want to put it down when I picked it up for quick reading sessions.

Looking for Dei and a coffee

Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Nara Dall has never liked secrets. Yet it seems that her life has been filled with them, from the ugly scar on her back to the strange powers she possesses. Her mysterious father refuses to say anything about her origins, and soon, she and her best friend must attend the announcement ceremony, in which youths are tested for a magical gift.

A gifted youth has not been announced in the poor village of Dimmitt for decades. When Nara uncovers the reason, she uses her own powers to make things right. The decision sets her on a path of danger, discovery, and a search for the divine. In the process, she learns the truth about herself and uncovers the biggest secret of all: the power of broken people.

This book was really good. I had been in a little slump of reading books that couldn’t hold my interest or were just not doing it for me but I am glad to say that this book refreshed me.

I really like how it portrayed magic and how to use magic objects as if they had an inner sight to them. And the play on using runes to funnel magic through was awesome. Who would have thought to get a rune tattoo and be able to use this magic whenever you desired. It played right into my inner nerd and back to my good old model building and battling days.

The main character Nara was a likable character. You could tell that all she ever wants is for the people around her to be happy. You can feel the mystery behind her past grow more intense as the storyline progresses. She has such strong power and you get to join her on her discovery of the immense power she has within.

I actually really like Kayna. She is one of the villains in this story but I just loved how emotionless she was. She had one purpose and it was to become very skilled with her magic to further her position in the political society.

I found Bylo a little boring but every character can’t steal my love so I guess that is ok 😛

There were some very obvious religious aspects to this book but it wasn’t so bad and thrown right in your face that you would just get upset with it. It was finetuned and incorporated into the story as part of the characters upbringing/understanding of their past.

I won’t say anything about the ending because I don’t want to spoil it but I will say that it was intense and everything I hoped for the ending to be. There is definitely hints at a sequel and I really hope it happens! Hear that David! When you write the next book, let me know so I can get it 🙂

Book Rating: 4.5/5

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in physical paperback format by the author for an honest review.


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