Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Blackmark (The Kingsmen Chronicles #1) by Jean Lowe Carlson

Award-winning author Jean Lowe Carlson writes adventurous epic fantasy fiction with a dark twist. Her raw worlds remind one of Patrick Rothfuss, George RR Martin, Robert Jordan, and Robin Hobb. Jean holds a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine (ND), and has a keen awareness of psychology and human behavior, using it to paint vivid characters set amidst nations in turmoil or societies with riveting secrets. Exciting, challenging, and passionate, her novels take the reader upon dire adventures while exploring deep human truths. In 2016, she was the recipient of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist medal for her dark fantasy "Tears".

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About the Book

“Blackmark is spellbinding! Strong development of characters, fully integrated storylines with intriguing plot twists, and deep world building. A fantasy novel that takes you on a journey you never want to leave!” – Michelle G., Amazon Review

“Like George RR Martin and Joe Abercrombie, Carlson writes in this genre for grown-ups, with flair and elegance. A complex world with characters that develop well, this story reveals as it builds!” - Daniel F., Amazon Reviewer

A nation's most elite warriors vanished overnight. A throne in jeopardy on the heels of murder. War devouring the survivors, fanned to fury by a shadowy cabal born of ancient magic. And the five friends who can stop it, banished to the corners of the continent as traitors. Welcome to a land where dreams die and men do what they must to survive.

This dark and gritty sword and sorcery series from award winning author, Jean Lowe Carlson, explores a complex world of treachery, passion, sex, and magic. Readers who enjoy Game of Thrones, Outlander, the Kingkiller Chronicles, or the Wheel of Time will love this fantastic adventure.

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Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

It chose me! I had a completely separate career as a primary care doctor, but I've always had epic movie-style dreams. My husband encouraged me to write my dreams down (rather than talking his ear off at the breakfast table for an hour), and I finally started to in 2012. This one dream I just kept adding to, seeing characters develop, scenes, then a plot. I soon had 50 pages, and I thought "Well, maybe I should try writing a book!" And so it began... ;-)

Did you have a hard time sharing your work with the public?

At first, yes. My work was very personal, exploring dark themes that I wrestled with in dream-work, meditation, and in my daily life. It was hard to expose all that to an audience, but once I got up the courage and put my dark fantasy trilogy Three Days of Oblenite out there, I didn't really have any qualms after that.

What genres do you write?

My key genre is dark epic fantasy, but I also write contemporary dark fantasy that sneaks over into alt-reality sci-fi and even a bit of dystopian.

Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with?

Dark romance. I have a TON of drafts going, but I need to start a pen name to get them out there. Many traditional fantasy readers don't enjoy as much sex as I like to throw in my novels, and I need an outlet for all the dark and dangerous naughty bits I like to write!

What inspires you to write?

Dreams, dreams, and more dreams. I have so many ideas from the dreams I've written down that it's ridiculous. When I see themes begin to emerge, and then characters or a plot that I could run with, it gets me so excited to write and follow where it's going!

How long does it take you to write a novel?

I write a lot, almost daily and about 2K-5K words/day, so the writing takes maybe 6 months per epic fantasy novel, and my epic fantasy books average around 200K. But it's the editing and streamlining the story that takes time. I'd say I publish a book about every 9 months.

If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

Olea den'Alrahel. She's a badass warrior Captain of the Roushenn Palace Guard who takes no shit from anyone. But she also has a really big heart and a fantastic, bawdy sense of humor. She's a renegade in a position of responsibility, and she takes that seriously, inspiring others. Plus, she wears a sexy but functional cobalt leather jerkin and a sword and longknives. What's not to love? ;-)

If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

Probably Brandon Sanderson. He's so prolific, and his worlds are so detailed and intriguing but not so complicated that they're hard to follow. It's fast and dirty sometimes, crude and dangerous sometimes, and always beautiful. And that really resonates with me. Plus, I want to get tips from someone who writes fast and publishes regularly on the business side of things, and he's great at that.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

Not until I published Blackmark, the first book of my dark epic fantasy series The Kingsmen Chronicles, summer of 2016. Even though I had released books before that, I didn't feel like my writing style really gelled until that novel. And even then, it changed a bit again for Bloodmark (The Kingsmen Chronicles #2) to be faster and grittier, more action-driven. My writing style is still evolving, but it's stabilizing now that I've been at it for about 5 years. And I certainly didn't get the hang of marketing until 2016, so I don't consider myself successful at being an indie author until I began to get that going. Marketing makes or breaks a career. ;-)

What are your goals as an author?

Publish like crazy. Market the hell out of good material. Get paid! ;-) No really, my goals are to release at least 2 novels per year for the next 10 years or more and perfect my launch strategies and write-to-market details until I am making a steady self-supporting income from sales. In five years, I plan to have an epic fantasy line, a dark fantasy line, an alt-reality sci-fi line, and a separate pen name for dark fantasy romance. My current works are really just the tip of the iceberg. I also want to network and co-author with other great authors who inspire me and support their work as they grow. The dog-eat-dog model of traditional publishing is dying. Co-supportive indie models are the new successful model.


  1. Interesting interview from a great author and audio narrator.

  2. I started Blackmark and could not stop! I'm interested in anything you want to write, including those naughty bits ;)
    Looking forward to more, best of luck with your next release.

    1. Thanks, Michael! I'm hard at work on the third novel - it should release in March 2018. Take care!


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