Friday, March 9, 2018

Keith Edward English ~ an interview and his novel ~ Game of Gods (The Ruination Gods Series)

Keith Edward English

 TITLE: Game of Gods (The Ruination Gods Series)
RELEASE DATE: June 5, 2017
AUTHOR: Keith Edward English
ISBN: 978-1546361718
IMPRINT: Chimera
CATEGORIES: Fantasy/Action & Adventure

KEYWORDS: fantasy saga, epic fantasy, sword & sorcery, ruination gods, magic, demons, invasion

Keith lives in Stockton, CA, teaching Krav Maga at American Martial Arts Academy. He enjoys a nice cigar on rare occasions but cannot exist long without good beer. He absolutely loves metal and rock, In Flames and Lamb of God his musical bread and butter. Besides teaching Krav and headbanging to metal, Keith also enjoys the outdoors, its furry and feathery inhabitants, drawing, and spending time with his loved ones.


Q: If you could morph into any creature, what would it be?
A: A bird of prey, specifically a peregrine falcon if I was forced to narrow it down.
            If you don’t mind me asking, why?  
A: I admire all birds of prey for their gorgeous colors and patterns, their speed and strength, and their keen abilities and skills. The gift of flight would also be awesome! The peregrine falcon is the fastest diving bird in the world, able to exceed speeds of 200 miles per hour, which would be sweet. I would also use the ability to land ominously on people's cars right before they entered and stare at them intensely, making them late for events and work as they in turn spend hours contemplating the possibility that my appearance was an omen of ill events to come.

Q: When you think of a garden, do you picture vegetables or flowers?
A: Well, I maintain a sizable vegetable garden that I built year-round, so my answer is probably obvious. It's fun and engaging to be able to judge something I've created on more than just the aesthetic elements of it. And homegrown veggies taste so much better than store-bought. It's also fun to bio-engineer squash into man-eating, zombie-like living organisms with an insatiable love for flesh.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have an all time favorite song?
A: Metal is my go-to, but I like a ride range of rock music. I grew up falling asleep in front of these two huge speakers in the living room blasting Pink Floyd and popular 80's and 90's rock, so I have a soft spot for that genre as well. It's impossible for me to come up with an all time favorite song, but the album Soundtrack to your Escape by In Flames is my number one album.

Q: Did you like school when you were a child?
A: I did, but only when my teachers would leave me and the other kids alone. And only if they didn’t use dark sarcasm in the class room… Honestly, though, I just felt like a brick more often than not.


Q: When did you start writing and why?
A: I began writing in high school, inspired by the fantasy novels I read in the D&D and Magic the Gathering settings. I adapted a storyline to a Magic novel that created both Phalax and Zeraskyr (the protagonist and antagonist from Thoughts of Steel). Since then, writing has been something I simply have to do. Ask my wife, when I don’t get my writing time in, I become quite irritated.

Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: Music plays a big role in my inspirational process, and so does television to a lesser degree. What’s for sure though is that I do not see or listen to something and come up with a distinct idea or scene. More often my external pressures and motivators mold my ideas on a sub-conscious level. I tend to light upon my next scene or certain bits of dialogue or entire novel ideas randomly. I recall my big "ah-ha!" moment for Thoughts of Steel coming while washing dishes at Panera; best shift ever!

Q: What do you think is the hardest part of writing a book?
A: Devoting the time to actually getting the novel done is the hardest process, but rewarding all the while. It can take a substantial portion of one's life to finish a book, and it can be extremely difficult to carve out that time. Marketing is a whole other monster, though, in that you put in quite a bit of work and hope to see great results. Sometimes book sales pan out, other times they don’t and it can be hard to understand what works well and what is a waste of your resources.

Q: Describe your favorite hero? (This doesn’t have to be one of yours.)
A: My favorite hero is Erevis Cale, written by Paul S. Kemp. Cale was once an assassin who murdered the butler of a well-known noble house in a wealthy city in order to learn and feed information to a devious guild. Along the way, he found a home for himself and fell in love with the family before discovering he was a champion of the god of shadows. Cale is steadfast, wicked, sympathetic, dangerous, humorous, dark, and, most of all, conflicted. He is a fantastic character through which one can see themselves and their own decisions while always seeing hope for a brighter future ahead.


Q: What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
A: I'm working on the third novel in The Ruination Gods series, currently titled Revival of Fire. The reader sees through the eyes of the supremely powerful gods, making for some extremely interesting viewpoints and ideas that are definitely relatable to state of our country currently. The novel brings to bear the main theme of the series, that life is always worth living, and happiness is always attainable, even after suffering devastating loss and tragedy.

Q: Do you have a new book coming out soon? Tell us about it.
A: Revival of Fire will likely come out sometime mid-2018. I am currently at 60,000 words, and hope to finish the novel before the beginning of the new year.

Q: How can we find you? Do you have a web page, FaceBook page or any buy links?
A:  Yes, I do. Here are the links. 


The universe trembles as the gods that preside over it begin bending it to their will, destroying those unfortunate souls caught in their wake.

Phalax has become a puppet of a god and is forced to obey his demented will, laying waste to the very people he once protected. As Baronfall struggles to recover from the demonic invasion, another threat appears from the mountains, Phalax acting as its spearhead. Stuck inside his steel prison, Phalax watches, helpless and withering, as he demolishes everything in his path. The gods think themselves untouchable, but they are not the only ones who hunt. If the cosmos is going to burn, so too will the gods that pull its strings.

"Shit, shit, shit!" The string of expletives flowed from the wizard's mouth even as he pulled his consciousness from the realm of magic cascading throughout the universe and back into his physical body.

Micale opened his eyes and looked up at the man but stayed seated in his meditating posture. Today was the first day that he'd awoken and not been inflicted by extreme fatigue and a need to sleep after even the easiest of activities. He took the opportunity to mentally assess his weakened body and begin fortifying it with his mind.

"Edmund, what is it?" Micale asked.

The wizard straightened his back and stepped back from the table he had been hunched over. A suggestion of grey was beginning to creep into his brown hair. "It's Phalax. He's being controlled by Hakmrid like a puppet. He's laying waste to Arnamos, Micale."

Micale allowed the bit of preposterous information to sink in and become a truth. He stood up and walked over to Edmund on firm legs which made him seem as strong as an ox compared to his condition just days earlier. "Why would Hakmrid do such a thing? We were all called on by our gods to save Zepzier and now he's destroying it? It makes little sense."

"Yes, it would make little sense for a god to command that of someone. The steel your friend wears is no longer his to control, it controls him." Edmund sighed when Micale shot him a confused and, above all, suspicious look. "This is when you say, 'you're not telling me something'."

Micale silently waited for Edmund to spill the truth, bidding him to continue with his eyes.

Edmund had wanted to tell Micale the whole truth from the beginning but he was unsure how the man would react to the knowledge. To know that his entire life was a lie and that all the death and strife that Zepzier was subject to was just as meaningless. It would be a difficult thing for Micale to grasp but he felt like he had come to gain an understanding of the man's character over the past few days. Micale wouldn't forsake what would need to be done, he hoped.

"Sit then." Edmund motioned to a chair near the table but both men stopped dead when a loud thud shook the front door. Grasping the lines of power once more, Edmund reached out beyond the walls of his home with his mind and latched onto the man breaking in. He seemed fairly normal and Edmund nearly dismissed him as a drunkard attempting a robbery. A twinge of magic bit back at Edmund, though, so miniscule that he nearly missed it.

The mask shielding the man from immediate recognition all but evaporated and Edmund whispered, "Athosdaeus!"

Micale took off at a sprint around the shelves and tables that turned Edmund's dwelling into an effective maze, his aim the front door. Still a dozen strides from it, the thud came again and this time blasted the door from its hinges.

Already Edmund was lost in his art, his eyes rolled back into his head although he remained aware of his surroundings, shaping power and pulling events from across the cosmos to a point before him. The officer that entered resembled a simple captain, draped in armor and a waistcoat, sword held in one hand while another, shorter one swung from his hip. Before Edmund could unleash the power he'd manifested, the man changed.

Athosdaeus usurped the officer's body, his face contorting painfully for a brief moment from the possession. Then, the god launched toward Edmund, a pulse of power crashing into the desks and shelves, shattering beakers and splintering wood well before he collided with them. In the wake of the destruction, Athosdaeus closed on Edmund in moments and a thick blade of blue energy crackled into existence, replacing the steel he once held, gripped in two hands.

Edmund seized the solar flare he'd trapped in the lines of power rippling through the universe and pulled it through to the portal he opened before him. He focused the blast of heat and light into a column that slammed into Athosdaeus' chest and stopped him in midair, red arcs of lightning angrily snapping at the surroundings and shattering pieces of wall like a whip might. A blue dome of light flashed before the god to protect him, but Edmund's ray ate away at it quickly until the flesh of the man Athosdaeus had possessed began to peel away and burn.

With a shout, the god slipped beneath the blast devouring his borrowed skin then swung his blade toward Edmund. A flash of blue devoured the column of destructive power Edmund emitted and ruined the connection he'd established, abruptly ending his spell. The two stared at one another in the momentary space of emptiness, then Athosdaeus pressed forward once more.

Singing and setting the very air aflame, Athosdaeus cut at Edmund over and over again with his conjured blade. Edmund slipped away from most, lines of power feeding his muscles with superhuman reflexes, blasts of white erupting from the point of contact each time he failed to dodge. He felt his defenses failing more with each strike that landed, close to dissipating altogether as he barely escaped his doom.

The blade cut down twice then horizontally once in the time it took Edmund to blink. He weaved away from the first, took the second atop his head, his aura of defense exploding and dying in response, then stood still as the third came for his head. The power he'd absorbed thus far erupted anew from his forearm as he raised it to interpose the blade. The blue blade dissipated in the blast of golden light. A sword of thin steel running to a hilt of white bone materialized in Edmund's hand and he slammed it through the heart of the officer Athosdaeus had possessed.

Enchanted and possessing the pressure of a dragon's bite with each thrust, the blade shattered the meager defense of armor and magic encasing the man then split his heart in two. Bones were pulverized and the man died instantly.

Edmund looked up from the puppet to see Micale burst into the open doorway. An officer, unpossessed at the moment, appeared and received brutal treatment for doing so. Micale's hand shot forth like a viper striking at a mouse and caught the edge of the officer's breastplate armor. He yanked and the man came into the house flailing his arms about then crashed into a large bookshelf.

With his left hand, Micale ripped the man's helm to the floor then sent his elbow crashing into the officer's face. Micale hadn't the time to don his armor so the man was spared his life. His nose exploded as the bones cracked and compressed. Micale allowed the man no respite as he grabbed him by the back of the neck and arm then used his weight to run the only semi-conscious officer into the opposite wall. His lights were immediately, but not permanently, snuffed out when his forehead connected with the doorframe.

Edmund appeared at the doorway as the officer crumpled. Several officers stood outside, still the operators of their own bodies. Immediately, Edmund discovered why.

Atop the three story building across from his house, there stood six others. The light of the night's several moons and a few large planets positioned behind them cast them in shadow, but Edmund recognized each one intimately.

"Micale, to me!" he screamed as he ducked back inside the house.

Before the fighter could react, Edmund wrapped an arm around his midsection and took flight over the tables in his way. The roof above exploded, raining debris down on the two. Large slivers of timber and chunks of concrete slammed against the sphere of protection now encasing the two, the strain of keeping the spell active causing such pressure to grow in Edmund's head that he was sure it would erupt. Blood streamed from his nose and ears as he bent down and snatched a black bag from the floor.

The ground suddenly opened beneath them with a deathly roar, the floor vanishing as though it never existed and a massive pit yawning wide to swallow all that stood atop it. Every shelf and table tumbled down into the pit for a brief moment as Edmund kept his hold on Micale and worked at the clasp of his bag simultaneously. Once it popped open, dim lines of light leapt from within and tied to every single item that was even now descending into the pit, including Micale's armor. A great whoosh sounded accompanied by a whorl of color. The maelstrom ended as abruptly as it had begun and the pit below was completely empty, every item pulled into the portal within the magical case.

Edmund felt doom descending on him before he glimpsed it as he put the tips of two fingers to Micale's stomach. He looked up as a column of hellfire converged on him from above, the power in its flames devastating enough to obliterate both him and Micale. A roar filled Edmund's ears and drown out all thought.

Darkness fell, and with it an ultimate wave of cold.
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