Why Me Lord

•June 12, 2017 • 5 Comments

My childhood was a war zone. I’m a poster child for a highly sensitive person (HSP – yeah, there’s a freaking acronym for that now) packing emotional trauma. Now I’m a seasoned veteran with a collection of scars I have names for. But hey, I’ve found my calling in the wasteland, and I write the sort of books that saved my life and mind when I was a kid.

As with any calling, we all reach a point sometimes when it all goes to hell and our calling becomes the stupidest fucking idea we ever had. Well, I’d been in that for a few days and at some point, I hit the bottom. Until yesterday.

It was a quintessential New England summer day, hot, smelling of grass and flowers, with catkins blowing in the air like snow. I went out for a ride with my husband. He’s a dark, miserable bastard too, but we understand each other. We got hot fudge sundaes and took them to a graveyard, parked in the shade and listened to Kris Kristofferson while my man gave me a tour of the graves where some of his kin and friends of the family were buried, complete with sordid details. It was a good day. And old Kris brought me back to a place I had almost forgotten.

Graveyard

At the tender age of seven, when things were bad but before they got a lot worse, my parents sent me to a summer camp called the J Bar J Ranch. It was right out on the highway outside of Houston, Texas. I learned how to ride horses, find my way to the haunted shack in the woods, and never to put my hand into a cluster of pears on a pear tree because hornets live there. In the mess hall, there was a juke box. And two songs on that juke box got into my heart and stayed with me to this day.

“Why Me Lord” by Kris Kristofferson. Feel free to replace the whole Lord Jesus thing with whatever you turn to when your world gets bleak, and you’ll get this baby in context. It’s the sort of song you put on repeat, sit with your head in your hands and sob like a drunk in a gutter on your last sorry dime.

 
“Nights in White Satin” by The Moody Blues. This song blew my mind like a portal to the Otherworld. I don’t know what it is about it, but when I hear it, my heart opens and everything changes. Or, I sob like a drunk in a gutter on my last sorry dime–but at least the moon and the stars are out.

 
Aside from writing, music is my therapy. I have a collection of playlists containing all manner of rough, dreary, pissed off, head banging music I listen to when I need to vent and go through the darkness to find the light again. And, because consciousness loves contrast, as my old therapist used to say, I also have playlists where the light shines, and I’ll close here with one of these, some background music for my calling–that is, when it’s not looking like the biggest cosmic scam ever.

 
It’s good to hit the bottom sometimes.

© F.T. McKinstry 2017. All Rights Reserved.

The Hunter’s Rede: Paperback and Giveaway

•May 25, 2017 • 3 Comments

The Hunter's Rede Cover

book·worm
ˈbo͝okˌwərm/
noun
noun: bookworm; plural noun: bookworms

1. informal a person devoted to reading.
2. the larva of a wood-boring beetle that feeds on the paper and glue in books.

I guess the first definition is what we’re looking for, here. For some reason, it hadn’t occurred to me that this term was based on some horrid little creature that eats books. It’s a good metaphor, anyway.

Ahh…books. Bound books, e-books, tablet, scrolls, whatever. My house looks like a messy wizard’s library: books everywhere, big and small, fat and skinny, old and new; books I’ve read, books I haven’t read, books I just have because, well, they’re books, and they comfort me.

Needless to say, holding a book I’ve written in my hands is wicked awesome. The Hunter’s Rede, Book One in the Chronicles of Ealiron, is now out in paperback. It’s a lovely thing, with a classy matte cover, crisp white pages and a glossary in the back.

Feeling lucky? I’m giving away a signed copy of The Hunter’s Rede on Goodreads. Giveaway ends on June 8, 2017.
Giveaway Details
Enter to win!

Not feeling lucky? No problem. The paperback is available on Amazon.

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

The Hunter's Rede, Cover ArtBook One: The Hunter’s Rede. Lorth of Ostarin is an assassin trained by a wizard unknown to his kind. He is paid very well to employ both the primeval darkness of a hunter and the ordered light of a mage, an uneasy combination he does not question until he returns home after a long assignment and trips into a turbid river of war, politics and the violation of all he holds dear. Lawless and adept, he picks no sides and takes no prisoners. When his wolfish ways get him imprisoned for crimes he did not commit, he discovers the deeper source of his ability and falls in love with a priestess who frees him to his fate. But the rift in his heart widens under the forces of love, loyalty and the occupation of his realm by a warlord who honors neither hunters nor wizards. To reclaim his homeland, Lorth must bow his head to death itself, a sacrifice that will transform him into the most powerful hunter the land has ever known.

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© F.T. McKinstry 2017. All Rights Reserved.

The Wolf Lords

•May 10, 2017 • 1 Comment

The Wolf Lords Cover Art

 
Welcome to the official, in-progress page for The Wolf Lords, Book Two in The Fylking. I’m shooting to release this in 2017. It’s coming along nicely, and I’ll be updating this page as I go.

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

The Fenrir Brotherhood is an ancient order of sorcerers who serve the Wolf Gods of the North. Traditionally hired by warlords to protect their own bloody, ambitious interests, the brotherhood now keeps to itself.

Or so it is generally believed.

The older something is, the more secrets it keeps. And with the help of the Fylking’s enemies, the secrets of the Wolf Lords are about to unleash armies of demons across the land.

Those with second sight will be the first to die.

Coming in 2017.

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

Outpost Cover ArtOutpost, Book One in The Fylking.

A race of immortal warriors who live by the sword.
A gate between the worlds.
Warriors, royals, seers and warlocks living in uneasy peace on one side of the Veil.
Until now.

“Reminiscent of some of the earliest examples of grim Norse fantasy.” – G.R. Matthews, Fantasy Faction
Finalist, SPFBO 2016

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© F.T. McKinstry 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Assassins, Sea Monsters and a Book Sale

•April 28, 2017 • 2 Comments

Trout Lily, by F.T. McKinstry

Spring Greetings!

After a long winter that ended with a bang, I couldn’t be happier to see green grass and buds on the trees. My seeds are planted in the greenhouse, the iris and lily bulbs are breaking ground, bears and raccoons are mauling the bird feeders, and the cats are shedding. Another two weeks or so and the hummingbirds will return. One of my favorite annual events, that.

In celebration of May Day right around the corner, I’m offering The Hunter’s Rede, Book One in the Chronicles of Ealiron, for $0.99 through May 3rd. This story begins the exploits and machinations of an assassin named Lorth of Ostarin, a complex character with the training of a wizard and a bent towards bringing things to their darkest ends.

The Second Edition of Book Two, The Gray Isles, is now live and available for $1.99. In this story, Lorth sails to a remote group of islands on a routine mission and is drawn into a grim fairy tale with cataclysmic proportions.

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

The Hunter's Rede, Cover ArtBook One: The Hunter’s Rede. Lorth of Ostarin is an assassin trained by a wizard unknown to his kind. He is paid very well to employ both the primeval darkness of a hunter and the ordered light of a mage, an uneasy combination he does not question until he returns home after a long assignment and trips into a turbid river of war, politics and the violation of all he holds dear. Lawless and adept, he picks no sides and takes no prisoners. When his wolfish ways get him imprisoned for crimes he did not commit, he discovers the deeper source of his ability and falls in love with a priestess who frees him to his fate. But the rift in his heart widens under the forces of love, loyalty and the occupation of his realm by a warlord who honors neither hunters nor wizards. To reclaim his homeland, Lorth must bow his head to death itself, a sacrifice that will transform him into the most powerful hunter the land has ever known.

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Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

Cover Art, The Gray IslesBook Two: The Gray Isles. In the Gray Isles, a northern realm cloaked in legends and storms, lives a secret. For thousands of years it lay only in the imaginations of sailors. Now, it has surfaced; first to Eadred, a wizard banished by his kind after being cursed by a witch; and then to Hemlock, a fisherman’s son orphaned by the sea. The collision of their paths stirs the heavens and involves a formidable wizard named Lorth, an assassin and servant to the old powers. What appears to Lorth as a quarrel between Eadred and Hemlock swiftly deteriorates into a manhunt that plunges him into a tricky world of visions, myths and politics through which he discovers that Hemlock is not what he seems. Racing time, Lorth must bare his sword against an army, violate discretion and risk his own stature in order to free Hemlock from an otherworldly fate before the forces of earth and sea are unleashed upon the mortal world.

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© F.T. McKinstry 2017. All Rights Reserved.

The Gray Isles, Second Edition

•April 20, 2017 • Comments Off on The Gray Isles, Second Edition

The Gray Isles Cover Art

Some fish stories should be taken seriously. Very seriously. Introducing the Second Edition of The Gray Isles, in which the legends of sailors and wizards collide in a tale of witchery, secrets, curses, and the birth of an immortal.

Revised and reformatted, this is Book Two of the Chronicles of Ealiron, a heroic fantasy series that revolves around an assassin called Lorth of Ostarin.

In the Gray Isles, a northern realm cloaked in legends and storms, lives a secret. For thousands of years it lay in the Otherworld, known only in the imaginations of sailors. Now, it has surfaced; first to Eadred, a wizard banished by his kind after being cursed by a witch; and then to Hemlock, a fisherman’s son orphaned by the sea. When their paths collide, a change is set into motion that the heavens watch with dread; for the legends tell, it heralds the birth of an immortal and the death of the realm.

Lorth of Ostarin is a formidable wizard with a turbulent past. An elite assassin and servant of the old powers, he is given a mission by his masters to question Eadred, a high-ranking wizard banished for breaking the codes of his order. Lorth arrives in a fog of eerie impressions to find both Eadred and Hemlock missing, a mystery that swiftly deteriorates into a manhunt that plunges Lorth into a tricky world of visions, secrets, legends, and island politics.

Some secrets are best kept hidden, and madness often hides wisdom. In his quest to lift a curse responsible for his fall and subsequent exile, Eadred has gathered great knowledge of Hemlock’s origins. Through him, Lorth reaches the sobering conclusion that Hemlock is not what he seems. Unfortunately, Lorth is not the only one who has discovered Hemlock’s secret. Racing time, he must bare his sword against an army, violate discretion and risk his own stature in order to free Hemlock from an otherworldly fate before the forces of earth and sea are unleashed upon the mortal world.

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

Novel, 170 pages
Can be read as a standalone story.
Ebook includes a Glossary and a link to Maps.
Add to Goodreads

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

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© F.T. McKinstry 2017. All Rights Reserved.

New Artwork: Summoning Fenrisúlfr

•April 7, 2017 • 1 Comment

Summoning Fenrisúlfr

“Summoning Fenrisúlfr”
Background cover art for The Wolf Lords, Book Two in The Fylking

 

The older something is, the more secrets it keeps.

Leofwine Klemet of House Earticael is a sorcerer of the Fenrir Brotherhood, an ancient order of magicians who serve Loki, Prince of Wiles and the Father of Hel. Leofwine has his doubts as to whom his masters serve, however. Given the order’s bloody, patchy history, of which Leofwine is an expert, if the brotherhood served anyone it was Othin, the Allfather, a master of sorcery and runes who reveled in the grim tides of war. A trickster and consummate shapeshifter, the Hooded One would be more than pleased to move in the shadows of Loki’s dastardly reputation.

But Leofwine keeps his doubts to himself.

Once a transcriber in the King’s Archive, and a Fjorginan spy, Leofwine now serves a hall in a remote forest as a protector of their interests. It is a thankless job, but for a lover and some shelter from his enemies, both mortal and immortal.

But Fenrir sorcerers tend to have long shadows, and Leofwine is no exception. When his enemies catch up to him (which enemies always do) and reveal a devastating secret involving someone he holds dearer than life, Leofwine goes berserk and does the unthinkable: he summons Fenrisúlfr, a demon capable of destroying the entire realm in a maelstrom of blood. This redoubtable act gains Leofwine not only the condemnation of his order but also the title of Wolf Lord, a wry designation used by otherworldly beings such as demonic warlords and sea witches to refer to the servants of Loki.

Ironic. But that’s the trouble with doubts. They can betray you and ruin your day.

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

The Wolf Lords, Book Two in The Fylking.

The Fenrir Brotherhood is an ancient order of sorcerers who serve the Wolf Gods of the North. Traditionally hired by warlords to protect their own bloody, ambitious interests, the brotherhood now keeps to itself.

Or so it is generally believed.

The older something is, the more secrets it keeps. And with the help of the Fylking’s enemies, the secrets of the Wolf Lords are about to unleash armies of demons across the land.

Those with second sight will be the first to die.

Coming in 2017.

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

Outpost Cover ArtOutpost, Book One in The Fylking.

A race of immortal warriors who live by the sword.

A gate between the worlds.

Warriors, royals, seers and warlocks living in uneasy peace on one side of the Veil.

Until now.

“Reminiscent of some of the earliest examples of grim Norse fantasy.” – G.R. Matthews, Fantasy Faction

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iTunes
Kobo
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© F.T. McKinstry 2017. All Rights Reserved.

New Release: Water Dark, 2nd Edition

•March 29, 2017 • 1 Comment

In the calm, deep waters of the mind, the wolf waits. – From Water Dark

The Second Edition of Water Dark is now available as an ebook from all major outlets. Part of the Chronicles of Ealiron, this standalone novella takes place in the same world, and features some of the characters in the other novels. It is a tale of desire and deception told on a fairy-tale landscape of arcane texts, herbal lore, visions and disasters at the hands of the powerful.

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

In the western-most crumbling halls of a mountain citadel lives a lonely wizard named Urien, a master of his art and a fledgling priest of a primordial goddess of transformation. Though his training is extensive, no training could prepare him for a broken heart. For years he has lived on the fringe after having loved and lost a powerful male wizard on the verge of ascension. But such wounds do not hide well. When he delves into the darker powers at the bidding of a shady priestess, Urien’s heart reveals itself as a grim warning from the goddess herself, in the shape of a wolf.

In the wake of this unsettling experience, Urien discovers that his most gifted apprentice, a beautiful, wild-tempered woman—and the partner of his erstwhile lover—is in grave danger. A series of swift-moving mishaps including a second warning and a badly backfired protection spell lands Urien into a love triangle that exposes not only his deepest desires but also the black machinations of the priestess who deceived him. When she wields her full power against him, he must reconcile his heart in order to save his lovers and himself from isolation and death.

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

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The Hunter's Rede Cover ArtThe Hunter’s Rede, Book One in the Chronicles of Ealiron, begins this series. It is a swords-and-sorcery tale of one warrior’s transformation by the forces of war, betrayal, wizardry and love.

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© F.T. McKinstry 2017. All Rights Reserved.

 
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