Today marks the official kickoff of the A Wizard’s Forge Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour, and throughout the week we’ve got a great lineup helping us feature A.M. Justice’s Dark Science Fantasy novel, A Wizard’s Forge! It’s a special week, as we’re celebrating the release of its sequel, book two in The Woern Saga, A Wizard’s Sacrifice. If you’re one that loves a little Sci-Fi with your Fantasy, then this may be the story you’ve been looking for. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what our hosts have to say in the coming days, so be sure to keep an eye out for some incredible content.
A.M. was kind enough to stop by to chat about what led to the creation of The Woern Saga, what she believes makes for a good story, and what lies ahead for her, so keep scrolling for the tour schedule, more info about the book, the interview, and a giveaway!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature A Wizard’s Forge. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and every one throughout the week for some brilliant content, including reviews and more.
SEPTEMBER 30TH – THE WELCOMING
Whispers & Wonder
Armed with A Book
The Writer’s Alley
Beneath A Thousand Skies
Fantasy Book Critic
One Reading Nurse
The Book Loving Pharmacist
Before We Go Blog
OCTOBER 6TH – THE ENCORE
For more about this tour visit Storytellers On Tour.
About A Wizard’s ForgeVictoria of Ourtown lived through a nightmare to become the ruthless soldier known as Vic the Blade. Once she wished to explore the world settled by her spacefaring ancestors; now she thinks only of revenge.
Prince Ashel’s carefree days are filled with music, revels, and dreams of a life with Vic. Those hopes die when the thrust of an assassin’s knife drives him to war.
The target of Vic’s and Ashel’s wrath is Lornk Korng, a tyrant whose schemes stretch across a continent and a lifetime.
A mysterious alien race holds the key to a legendary—and lethal—power. Whoever possesses this power will hold the world in their hands. Will they save it, or doom it?
A gripping tale of empowerment and revenge plays out against a breathtaking backdrop of dark fantasy and science fiction.
SERIES: The Woern Saga (#1)
PUBLISHED: September 19, 2016 (Self-published)
GENRE: Dark Science Fantasy
About A Wizard’s Sacrifice
Conquering Fate Takes Sacrifice.
Victoria of Ourtown believes two things: that the bright, wandering star in the heavens is an abandoned spacecraft which brought her ancestors to this world and that destiny and the will of gods are nonsense. Vic used to scoff at stories of wizards too, until she acquired their powers. Once a warrior, now a secret wizard, she just wants to live an ordinary life and find a way to atone for the mistakes she’s made.
Ashel of Narath knows that the wandering star is the god who created humanity, but this difference of opinion doesn’t stop him from loving Vic. All that keeps them apart is a thousand miles and a tragic loss.
Lornk Korng needs Vic and Ashel to execute his plans for conquest. The fact both want him dead is but a trifling snag in his schemes. A bigger problem are the world’s indigenous aliens and an ancient enemy whose victory could wipe out humankind.
As plots and counterplots clash across time, Vic and Ashel must choose their allies carefully, or risk losing not only each other but everything they know.
A gripping tale of wizardry, warfare, and moral dilemmas unspools in a breathtaking blend of fantasy and science fiction.
Available October 6, 2020!
Meet The Author
I’m a Brooklyn-based author, lover of science and wit, sporadic scuba diver, and once and future tango dancer. My characters live only in my head, but they’re real, and I put them through hell.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, A.M. Since we already have your official bio, care to tell us about yourself in ten words or less?
I’m a bundle of contradictions, starting with lazy and ambitious!
What’s a day of writing like in the shoes of A.M.? Do you have any quirks, routines, or rituals?
First off, I don’t wear shoes in the house, so I never write in shoes—although in winter I usually have on a pair of cozy slippers.
Second, see answer to #1: I’m lazy so getting started and maintaining a routine is the toughest part. I also dread a blank page—it’s far easier to rewrite and revise than tackle that mercilessly blinking cursor on a field of white space.
As for quirks, I suppose my preferred creative writing position is on the sofa or the bed (another reason I don’t wear shoes while writing!). I earn my living as a medical writer, and I often think of my desk as the space where I write up clinical trials and other educational materials for doctors, while my creative work happens in a more relaxed space.
Give us an idea of how The Woern Saga came to fruition.
This is a long story; are you sure you want to hear it? Really? Well ok, here we go…
The Woern Saga began with a novel I wrote by hand in spiral notebooks when I was in high school. I’m in my 50s now, so the first draft of this book was written before many people reading this were born. (Yikes! I know!) The original story was about a 15-year-old nerd girl who was kidnapped by space Nazis (inspired by the second season of the original Battlestar Galactica). After college, where I majored in creative writing with a minor in biology and a flirtation with physical anthropology, I rewrote that original story and made it a science fantasy about descendants of marooned space travelers, with a setting inspired by Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books, and a dark spin on the country bumpkin chosen one trope. The resulting novel, Blade of Amber, caught the attention of a literary agent but never captured the interest of any publishers. Yet I loved this story and, years later, when self-publishing became a viable option, I released Blade of Amber and its sequel myself. And then, after receiving feedback from reviewers and a circle of trusted critique partners (which I wish I’d gotten before releasing these books), I decided to overhaul the series (again) and re-released it under the titles A Wizard’s Forge and A Wizard’s Sacrifice.
Can you share with us something about The Woern Saga that isn’t in any of the individual book blurbs?
None of the blurbs mention that most the characters are telepathic and routinely use “mindspeech” to communicate with each other. I originally came up with this idea as a narrative shortcut so the main character, Vic, wouldn’t have to spend valuable page-time learning the local languages as she travels through Knownearth. However, what was originally a narrative convenience developed into a lynchpin of the plot of both A Wizard’s Forge and A Wizard’s Sacrifice.
Another fun fact is that “wizardry” in the Woern Saga is not a mystical power based on magic incantations, but instead refers to the telekinetic powers conferred by infection with a neurologic parasite—the Woern. Woern infection is lethal to most humans, which explains why so-called wizards in Vic’s world are more of a legend than anything else.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for The Woern Saga?
Because the Woern Saga is as much science fiction as it is fantasy, I have read and thought a lot about how a magic system based on manipulation of matter and energy at the atomic level might work (although I can’t say how well my imaginings would hold up to a physicist’s scrutiny!). Also, the infectious aspects of the Woern are based, in part, on neurologic pathogens like the Lyme disease spirochete and herpes simplex virus, with routes of transmission similar to HIV. As a medical writer, I had a lot of fun playing with how the Woern are passed between infected people and their effects on the body, using those diseases as inspiration.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
Always the characters. I’m a pantser, and so I always think of a character first, and then follow them around as they embark on whatever journey they undertake.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
After Vic, my favorite character in the Woern Saga is Geram. He’s the sort of really solid, loyal, stalwart, and sensible friend you want at your back at all times. Everybody ought to have a friend like him.
I also love the villains—Lornk in both Woern Saga books, and Parnden in A Wizard’s Sacrifice. Lornk is fun to write because he’s like Frank Underwood of House of Cards—his aims are “good” (when he claims he wants to save the world, he means it), but his methods are as “evil” as can be. And Parnden’s dialogue was just a delight to craft. He’s sleezy and venal and crafty, and he gives a fine shave.
What do you think makes a good story?
Compelling characters and a solid payoff. There’s nothing more annoying than an ending that just fizzles. That doesn’t mean the book has to end with a huge bang—Sword of Kaigen and Return of the King have long, drawn-out denouements, but every word of those endings is precious because the authors have done such a fine job investing the readers in the characters.
Is there one particular book you hold dearest to your heart?
The one book I’d take with me to a desert island is A Wizard of Earthsea. Actually I’d probably argue for the boxed set of the Earthsea Cycle, because Ged and Tenar are my favorite characters in literature. The Earthsea books profoundly influenced me and shaped my worldview on the environment and justice and how to live one’s best life. Ged was also one of the inspirations for Ashel’s character and his personal struggles, although Ged’s way of confronting his demons is, in the end, a lot less fraught than Ashel’s approach.
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
I’m not very adherent to this practice myself, but do try to write every day. It keeps the creative wheels greased. Also, whether you write because it gives you joy or because it’s cathartic (or both), try not to lose sight of the reason you started writing. It can be hard when you start putting your work out into the world and the reception isn’t what you hoped it would be; grounding yourself in the reason you first started typing can be a bulwark against all the negative feelings that can undermine your creativity.
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
COFFEE all the way. I like tea occasionally, but my espresso machine is my most valued possession.
Winter or Summer?
Summer. I hate being cold! (Though I do enjoy sledding and snowman building and cozy sweaters.)
Physical books or Ebooks?
Ebooks. I love being able to read at night in a dark room, and not worry about spines cracking or shelf space.
Mountains or Oceans?
I love hiking and mountain air but my passion is scuba diving, so oceans, of course!
Beer or Wine?
Wine, usually, although with certain foods I prefer beer.
Books or Movies?
Hmmmm, tough one, because I love them both. If this question refers to adaptations, I’d say it really depends. I preferred Game of Thrones (even with the much-maligned final season) to A Song of Ice and Fire, because the books (so far) have gotten so bloated with side plots and characters. Books and film are different media, and I think each needs to be judged on its own merits and not the faithfulness of one to the other. That said, when an adaptation is truly awful (eg, the SciFi Channel’s heinous adaptation of A Wizard of Earthsea), I get really angry.
Cowboys or Aliens?
Gotta go with Aliens…although I do really like the film Cowboys and Aliens!
Pie or Cake?
It depends on the pie and the cake. My favorite desserts are the chocolate meringue (not chocolate cream—I said chocolate meringue) pie my godmother used to make; a dessert from Manhattan’s Edgar’s Café called “lemon cake,” but which is really a dense lemon pie—similar to a key lime pie—with a really thin layer of meringue; and warm chocolate pecan pie ala mode. But given the choice between a slice of apple or blueberry pie, or a piece of cake, I’ll usually choose the cake, especially if it’s a really moist sort of cake like a homemade tres leches cake or a Viennese sachertorte.
Rural or Urban?
Urban for now, but rural within the next five years or so.
Work hard or Play hard?
Play easy. Remember what I said about being lazy in answer to the first question?
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, A.M. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
I’m figuring out the plot of the next Woern Saga novel (which takes place about 20 years after the conclusion of A Wizard’s Sacrifice), and also ruminating on a new novel that would expand on a short story called “The Remains of the Spell,” which centers on the household staff of a sorceress.
Enter to win The Woern Saga Book Bundle courtesy of A.M. Justice!
Grand Prize: Signed Paperback Bundle (US Only)
Runners-Up: Ebook Bundle (International)
International. Ends 10/7 at 11:59pm EDT.
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official A Wizard’s Forge tour page over at Storytellers On Tour (https://www.storytellersontour.online/2020/08/29/tour-schedule-a-wizards-forge-by-a-m-justice/) to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to say!