The Many Faces of Fantasy

Fantasy Books, Dark Fantasy Books

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I moderated a panel last year on “The Many Faces of Fantasy”at Denver Comic Con. Getting the crowd involved, I asked them to shout out the many sub-genres contained within the Fantasylabel. I quickly ran out of fingers and toes.

My point: Fantasy has a little something for every reader. Into the Victorian era and steam powered contraptions? Try Steampunk. Do you lean toward tales of Horror? Dark Fantasyis for you. Maybe you have a fuzzy spot in your heart for Romance. Yep. Fantasy Romanceis a thing.

This genre could be a month-long blog series on its own, so I’ve decided to share my favorite sub-genres with you:

Urban Fantasy aka Grumpy Magical Character in a Modern City

  • The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
  • Something from The Nightside by Simon R. Green
  • Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore
  • Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka
  • The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne (Great Author and Awesome Person)
  • Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
  • A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin
  • Pariah by C.R. Richards (Shameless Plug)

High and/ or Epic Fantasy Adventures

  • The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by J.R. R. Tolkien
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  • The Dragonbone Chair and its series by Tad Williams
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini
  • The Sword of Shannara series by Terry Brooks
  • Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan (YA)

Dark Fantasy

  • The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
  • The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney (YA)
  • Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman (Sub-genre is my opinion)
  • Heart of the Warrior series by C.R. Richards (Shameless plug!)
  • Phantom Harvest by C.R. Richards (2014 Best Fantasy Award Winner)

Have I missed one of your favorite books? Please share in the comments. I’m always looking for good books to read.

Fantastical Links

Goodreads Fantasy Books Lists

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Dark Fantasy: The Best Parts of Two Great Genres

@Luis Louro- Stock.Adobe.Com

Dark Fantasy is my creative playground. I love reading it almost as much as I love writing it. This special genre takes the magic of Fantasy and mixes it with the terrifying themes of Horror. Still not clear on the difference between the three? Here is my oversimplified cheat list:

@Konstantin Yuganov – Stock.Adobe.Com

Fantasy – Epic adventure involving magic and some sort of quest

Horror – Story themes designed to tap into your darkest fears and scare the hell out of you

Dark Fantasy – An Epic adventure with magic and a quest that unearths your darkest fears

Urban Fantasy – An adventure involving magic and some sort of quest, but takes place on the mean streets of a modern-day city

Curious about Dark Fantasy? offers a list of awesome books in the genre. Perfect for the season!

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Oh Curses!

“What kind of books do you write?”

This is the most common question I get in a crowd. My answer – Horror and Dark Fantasy – never fails to surprise the non-writers in the group. I’d say 90% of them respond with an “Oh. You look like someone who writes children’s books.” (Snort) I admit it. I’m a short, cheery looking lady in her 50’s who really does look like she should be writing children’s books about purple elephants or orange kangaroos.  Those, however, are not the stories I’m given.

Fascinated by the constant struggles of Good vs. Evil, I write stories with characters who have a foot on each side. Gruff mutant tracker. Murdering convict. Pariah and thief. These aren’t your typical “Dudley Do-Rights” of the world. Which brings us to our blog topic and another question I’ve gotten from readers.

“Oh, why must you curse so much in your books?”

Looking at the characters I’ve just listed, it’s pretty self-explanatory. I keep my sarcastic answer deep inside.

“You’re okay with the sex and bloody violence, but it’s the occasional F Bomb you get heartburn over?”

I typically write about characters who wander on the seedy side of the street. They hang out with the dregs of society. Their dialogue has to be authentic to the story and the setting. Bill Dolan (Lost Man’s Parish) is a convicted murderer in a prison city. If I had him say “shucky darn” rather than a strong expletive, he wouldn’t be real for the readers and he’d probably get beaten up. This truthful (and hopefully helpful) answer usually sets them to nodding. I’m not sure if this is in understanding or agreement.

Cursing can be useful in underscoring a character’s personality. Using it, however, for the shock factor doesn’t make sense in this day and age. Make sure it’s organic to the story. There are times when it isn’t appropriate and can be off putting. In my upcoming Epic Dark Fantasy, The Lords of Valdeon, cursing would be as out of place as “shucky darn” in a prison. In the world of Andara, gentlemen don’t curse. There are those among them that do though. You’ll find an occasional “Bastard” thrown in there, but typically it describes someone as the bastard son of so and so.

Word choices are important. Enhancing the story is good. Awkwardly pulling the reader out of the story is bad.

Book Addicts Unite

Indie Publishing is a journey. No wait. Maybe journey isn’t the right term. Indie Publishing is an exploration mission. There you go. Every path I take holds something new. It could be a new way to reach readers or a dead end. You never know until you get there.

This week my literary exploration vessel is mooring at the shores of Choosy Bookworm. I’m seeking a way to connect with new readers and hopefully get a few reviews for my urban fantasy, Pariah. They have a free “Read and Review” program I’m pretty excited about on two levels. Here’s how it works:

As an Author: I submitted my book for review by Choosy Bookworm. Quality checks are important to build trust with their reader community. They also accept pre-published books now. Big bonus. I plan to use this option for my upcoming epic fantasy, “The Lords of Valdeon.”

Pariah’s feature date started on July 14th. Readers select my book from a list of many others (the selection is awesome by the way) and commit to read it within 2 to 3 weeks. All this is free to the reader. Choosy Bookworm then sends me a list of names and emails at the end of the day. I “Gift” the readers a copy on Amazon and send them a thank you email, reminding them to put the all important disclaimer at the end of their review. This meets the Amazon TOS guidelines.

I listed Pariah for 30 Readers. There are still spots left. If you enjoy urban fantasy and would like to participate, here’s the link – Free Copy of Pariah. I’d love to hear your feedback on the book.

As a Reader: Talk about a Book Addicts dream! Choosy Bookworm features free books from a wide selection of genres. You’ve got your choice of new authors and pretty established favorites. I’ve found at least two books I’ve already read on their site. Oh pooh!

Free books. Personal contact with the author. What better way to sate a book addict’s cravings?  Here’s the link for Choosy Bookworm’s feature page – Awesome Free Books.

Start Spreading the News

Start spreading the news.

I’m leaving today.

I wanna be a part of it – New York, New York!

Frank Sinatra does it better. And it’s not really me who’s going to the Big Apple. My dark fantasy (aka urban fantasy), PARIAH, will be on display in print and eBook at this year’s BookExpo America May 27 – May 29th. BookCon Days are May 30th – 31st.


Fantastic! Stupendous! Ummm – what exactly is BookExpo America (BEA)? I didn’t know either until I started exploring new approaches for building readership. BEA is the leading book and author event in North America. It lasts for three event-packed days and features 600+ authors, hundreds of new titles, and the largest show floor in North America.

In the past, BEA was attended mostly by publishers, booksellers, librarians, distributors and the media. BookCon was added in 2014, allowing ten thousand members of the public to explore new titles and meet attending authors. This has really opened things up for Indie Authors like me. Interested in taking a look at these new titles? Check out Combined Book Exhibit’s Catalogue  of participating authors! BTW – PARIAH is #288.

He’s a jolly old elf. Not!


Focus on Fantasy

It’s Christmas time. What could be more festive than a story about an elf right? Uh…no. Jin isn’t the jolly, happy kind of elf. He’s a bit grumpy after having been framed for murder. Of course there’s the demon after him too. Pariah is featured with other new releases by several of my author friends.


Millennia have passed since the corrupt of Seelie society were banished from Otherworld. Abandoned in the Human Realm, their Descendants keep to the shadows, secretly controlling criminal organizations and swaying governments. Jin, a Seelie Descendant, refuses to swear allegiance to any Clan. Marked as a pariah, he is banished from their society. One ill-fated evening, Jin breaks the rules to visit the family he left behind. A chance meeting with an old enemy draws him into a murderous plot that could propel the Human Realm into a bloody war. His warning of insurrection goes unheeded. Determined to keep the plan secret, the conspirator summons an ancient demon with a taste for Seelie blood. It’s reward? A pound of Jin’s flesh.

On the run with a Death Mark on his head, Jin is desperate to find the cunning spider behind the conspiracy. With the help of Gracie Berry, a pre-cognitive with a hidden past, Jin searches for their allusive enemy before his ruthless hunters find their target.

Available for Purchase






Barnes and Noble


Also available on iBooks

“5 of 5 Stars. Recommended!” Ashley’s Paranormal Book Blog

“This was a great read and I’d be happy to get my hands on another C.R. Richards book soon!” Unabridged Andra

“Pariah is officially in my top five funniest books to read list this year.” MAD Hoydenish

“Richards writing transported me into her world.” – SBM Book Obsession

Check out the special December Edition of my Books and Banter Newsletter for more information about today’s story. The newsletter features new book releases from several talented authors. Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Mystery and Suspense, and Romance. You’re sure to find a good read!

Pariah Book Review Tour Wraps Up


The Pariah Book Review Tour comes to an end today. Sad, but true. It’s been a fun experience visiting these tour stops over the past month. I want to thank my readers (old and new) who stopped by to support the tour. You are awesome!

A special “Thank You” goes out to the wonderful Blog Hosts who featured Pariah. Below are the links to their reviews of my book. Check out other authors they feature as well. You might just find your next favorite read.

Stop 1 – Ashley’s Paranormal Book Blog (October 15, 2014)

Stop 2 – Unabridged Andra (October 22, 2014)

Stop 3 – MAD Hoydenish (October 29, 2014)

Stop 4 – SBM Book Obsession (November 5, 2014)

This tour was organized by the fantastic folks at Goddess Fish Promotions. I highly recommend their services!

I’ll announce the winners of the Host and Visitor Amazon Gift Cards soon. Don’t forget! You still have a chance to enter through today on SBM Book Obsession.


Hittin’ the Road


(Bus Clip art by

The Tour Stops have been booked. The virtual bus is loaded. All that’s missing is you!

Pariah Review Tour – Oct 15th thru Nov 5th

Follow the Tour for a chance to win a randomly drawn $25 Amazon Gift Card via rafflecopter!


Tour Stops by Date:

October 15: Ashley’s Paranormal Book Blog

October 22: Unabridged Andra’s

October 29: MAD Hoydenish

November 5: SBM Book Obsession

A special THANKS to Goddess Fish Promotions and the four awesome Bloggers who are hosting Pariah during the tour! I’ll be back to posting on DTJ Oct 22nd.

A Look Back A Look Forward

It’s October 1st and I have to wonder where September went!  It was an exciting month on the writing front.

A Look Back


Colorado Gold – The month started in one of the best ways I could imagine. I joined several of my fellow authors at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference in Westminster, Colorado. Attending gave me the opportunity to get great advice from some well-established authors in my genre. In turn, I hosted a table for new members and was able to spend time helping them to hone their pitches to agents. I was thrilled to see such a large turnout for the Friday Night Book Signing. We took over a huge area in the hotel! There are more of us each year. So good to see!

New Book Baby – Pariah, my newest fantasy novel, was released on Sept 15th. It was an intense experience getting the book ready to go for eBook and Print Copies. I was publishing to Amazon KDP and Createspace for the first time. My 102 fever definitely added a level of challenge I didn’t need. I think my years as a techie helped get me through the process. OR the software is just that user-friendly.


Dream Come True – During the past week, I had one of my life long dreams realized! I had some exciting news from the wonderful representative of the Arapahoe  (my home county) Library District in Colorado. My books are being added to Arapahoe Library’s Colorado Author Collection! I’m not sure yet if they will be available in eBooks only or if they will carry print copies as well. Trust me. If I see a print copy on the shelf, I’ll be taking pictures!

A Look Forward

Pariah Book Tour – October is going to be an exciting month too. My virtual book review tour begins on Oct 15th. It will run each Wednesday for four weeks. Don’t forget to follow the tour for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


The Vegas Connection

Bellagio Vegas Christmas 2011 003

It’s release week! Time for some fun. In honor of my new book baby’s arrival, I’m going to share some fun facts about its creation. All of my story ideas come to me in my dreams. Most of the time, I see a vivid scene that becomes the focal point of my books. Pariah’s inception started with a woman (Gracie) who – through a case of mistaken identity – ended up witnessing a slave auction by human traffickers. She sees a man who is struggling to break free (Jin) from their captors and tries to search him out, hoping he can help her escape.

After I had the set up, I asked myself where two such different people could meet in a bizarre situation like a secret club. My answer? VEGAS BABY! Glitz, glamour and gambling. It was the perfect place with the perfect reputation for naughty behavior. I hopped on a plane and spent a few days in December on the Vegas Strip. If you haven’t experienced Vegas around Christmas time and love to people watch, I highly recommend it.

Bellagio Vegas Christmas 2011 004[Christmas Time at the Bellagio]

The story really started to come together when I attended KillerCon at the Stratosphere a few years ago. Las Vegas writer and friend, C.R. Moss (they call us CR Squared) took me around the real Las Vegas where the inhabitants of the city reside and spend their time Off Strip. A true kindred spirit, she was game to show me good places to hide a body and areas of the city where secret clubs might be found. 😉

I hope you have as much fun reading this book as I had researching and writing it!


Available for Purchase:






Barnes and Noble


Also available on iBooks