Happy Thanksgiving!

As we take time to eat tons of food we only eat once a year, spend time watching parades, football, and relatives dozing off after too much turkey, I just want to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving! I leave you with these two quotes from two very influential Americans to get you through the holiday. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” — President John F. Kennedy

“Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.” – Johnny Carson

# # #


Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse Publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.

THE DARK TIDES “stands on its own” as a fantasy/adventure novel

The Dark Tides has been out for nearly four years, and every time I read a review, it warms my heart that I made the right choice in writing this novel. As the publication of the third book in the Forever Avalon series, The Outlander War, fast approaches, I thought I should share some of the great reviews of my second novel.

“This is the second book in this series and I did not read the first. But this Science Fiction/Fantasy easily stands on its’ own as long as you read the summary too. It has all the things I love in a good book – great characters, even if there are some trolls (literally). A strong morally centered main character, who is loyal to his wife even when separated (just did a little swoon there!) and creative minor story accessories! Those are things like the crossover of the two worlds and conversations about fast food and SpongeBob!

“This is an intense read, long and detailed, but in all the positive ways. The author does a really nice job transferring between worlds and time periods. I would also say that I would be comfortable with high school or above reading this book. If you want to get lost in a book for a while – this is one to jump into.”

— Jennie Rosenblum, 4 Stars (Goodreads)

Not everything was perfect, and I love the constructive criticism I find in reviews. It makes me a better author.

“This is an epic fantasy adventure that can be read as a stand alone book, even though it is a follow on book. This book goes into full detail about everything that happens in book one. This story is like reading two different books at the same time. In part we learn about Bryan’s life in medieval Avalon when he was separated from his family. We also then have the modern day story about how Bryan’s family are now doing since joining him in Avalon.

“With a mixture of magic, fantasy and lots of imagination, we see the dark forces rising in Avalon to fulfill a prophecy. They want to bring back and resurrect Morgana le Fay, a very powerful sorceress from the past. If they succeed, she will be able to unleash the Dark Tides to cause destruction so big. It would change the whole of Avalon forever.”

— Nikki Bywater, 3 Stars (Goodreads)

I will admit, though… When you get a 5 STAR review, it does warm the heart and make me feel good about what I’ve written.

“What a brilliant and fresh idea, bringing the Bermuda Triangle into a land of fantasy! I love the characters, especially the Gil-Gamesh, The invention of this whole new world is just amazing, My only fault really is that it’s a bit too long, it would have been a bit better if it was in two parts. It’s a book for children and adults alike, anyone who enjoys fantasy, with goblins, elves and dwarve, etc…. especially if you like ‘Lord of the Rings’, you will love this!”

— Caroline Jenkins, 5 Stars (Goodreads)

“The Dark Tides is the first fantasy book I have ever read, and I will certainly be reading more. The author sets out the scene for the upcoming conflict very well and creates a very rich and interesting lore filled with customs and traditions. It is fascinating to hear the history of Avalon and it’s characters, and each one is well developed with great personalities. I found this book immersive and exciting. Brilliant.”

— Christopher Pullin, 5 Stars (Goodreads)

So, my point of all of this is a shout out to people who read books, especially those by independent authors like myself. Leave a review and help up and coming authors like myself. Just writing a couple of sentences and clicking on a however many stars you want to leave helps. Good or bad, it’s the kind of feedback we need to help us in our journey as an author. Thanks for your support!

# # #


Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.

Do your research when it comes to weaponry, both medieval and modern

Whether you’re writing science fiction or fantasy, the accuracy of the weapons being wielded is as crucial as the characters and the setting. You wouldn’t take a long sword on a dungeon crawl (for a visual, watch the first episode of the anime Goblin Slayer) nor would a U.S. Special Forces carry an AR-15 in combat. This is where your research as a writer is critical.

You can be flexible when you mix in science fiction, like steampunk or dystopian, when you mix and match weapons together. Even in some fantasy aspects, weapons have been creatively produced, like “Stormbringer” from the Elric saga or Xena’s chakram… Functional weapons but not easily wielded.

I can honestly say that my years of playing Dungeons and Dragons gave me an edge in fantasy writing. When you have calculate the length of your weapon to wield it in a dungeon, it makes you think. (Remember, in these instances, size does matter!) Add to that, my military career gave me some much needed knowledge in military weaponry, from automatic weapons to aircraft and missile technology. I know the difference between an F/A-18 Hornet and an E-2C Hawkeye, a Sea Sparrow and a CWIS.

This was my problem while I was writing my latest novel, The Outlander War: Book 3 of the Forever Avalon Series. The story begins in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, in the heart of a naval exercise, when Avalon suddenly reappears, causing disruptions on both fronts. The U.S. Navy, now circling the mysterious island, wants answers. The tensions build as modern technology faces off against ancient magic, on an island where the laws of magic supersede the laws of science, as military forces continue to surround the mysterious island, bringing both sides to the brink of war.

I have already written two books with people using various medieval weapons, so that wasn’t the issue. Now, I had to incorporate the medieval fantasy world of Avalon with the U.S. and Russian Navy as well as special forces. This took a lot of research on my part. As a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer, I served on three aircraft carriers so I was quite familiar with the aircraft, weaponry, and terminology. It was a little different in researching Russian ships, weapons, and aircraft, but necessary for my story.

Here’s an excerpt from The Outlander War demonstrating an exchange between modern military forces and medieval weaponry.

# # #

His voice trailed off as his eye caught something different on the horizon. Hunter knew how keen the eyesight of an Elf was and tried to see as well. It was a clear night, the moon waning as a small sliver of a crescent high in the sky.

“What is it?” Hunter asked. “What do you see?”

“There’s a new ship out there, one I’ve never seen before.”

“Are you sure, Feredir?” Eadric asked. “Those metal contraptions look all the same to me.”

“I have observed all the same ships for the past few weeks, that one is new.”

Try as he might, Hunter could barely make out the ship in the darkness. “Can you describe it?” he asked. “Do you see any writing on it?”

“It looks like the other large warship… the aircraft carrier, I believe your father called it, but the front of the ship is curved upward like a ramp,” Feredir said. “There is some writing on the side of the main structure but I’m not familiar with the language.”

“Show me!” Hunter demanded. Feredir took a dagger and wrote a few letters in the dirt next to the fire. Hunter didn’t understand the words, but he recognized the language. “That’s Russian, I think,” he said. “It must be a helicopter carrier of some sort.”

“Are those the machines with the spinning blades on them?” Feredir asked.

“Yes, why?”

“Because there are four of them headed our way!”

Feredir drew his bow. Hunter turned to two of the younger knights standing with them. “Pass the word down along the coast that invaders are coming toward Avalon,” he commanded. The two men took off in opposite directions to warn the other outposts. “Henri, go tell my father what’s going on! We need him here immediately!” Henri dropped the teapot and he took off running toward the main encampment.

Hunter reloaded his Lancer with two new spellshots as he and Sir Eadric crouched low behind the protection of some rocks. Feredir acted as lookout.

“How far out are they?” Hunter asked.

“Three of them are holding their position about six furlongs off shore,” he said, scanning the horizon. “I’ve lost the fourth one.”

“What?” Hunter exclaimed and jumped up to look. Eadric followed suit.

“Where did it go?” Eadric asked. Before Feredir could answer, the three men heard a whirring sound from just off the cliff. From below the edge, a helicopter rose up in the air in front of them, threatening them with a rotary mini-gun.

The three took cover as the helicopter opened fire, pelleting the ground around them with rapid-fire spray. Feredir notched an arrow and readied himself. The firing stopped for a moment and the Elven warrior stood up and fired off an arrow. The aim was true, a perfect shot at the helicopter pilot, but it ricocheted off the front windshield. Feredir got a second arrow off, but it had the same result. He dove behind the rock just as the pilot began firing again.

Feredir cursed. “My arrows won’t penetrate that infernal machine!” Hunter weighed all the options and he came up with an idea.

“I think I can help you there,” he said. He pulled up his Lancer, ready to fire. “After I shoot, hit him again. Your arrows should penetrate this time.”

Hunter took a deep breath before he popped up and fired his Lancer at the helicopter. His spellshot—a combination of magic and alchemy loaded into a cartridge the size of a shotgun shell—fired a freezing spray at the helicopter, coating the front of the aircraft in a layer of frost. The windshield froze instantaneously, and the pilot stopped firing.

Feredir quickly popped up and fired another arrow at the windshield. This time, his arrow shattered the glass and pierced the pilot through the chest. The aircraft pitched to the side and the co-pilot tried to regain control. Feredir didn’t give him a chance and he fired another arrow, killing the co-pilot instantly with an arrow through the throat.

The helicopter spun out of control as it flew over the three warriors and careened toward the ground. The engines shut down just before impact, then it crashed, exploding in a giant ball of fire. Sir Eadric and Hunter roared loudly at their victory. Feredir just stood there silently, there was a hint of a grin on his face.

# # #


Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniversepublishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.

Is it too early for Christmas decorations? You would think so…

This is what I came home to last night. Not pumpkins, skeletons, or witches flying through the night, like you would expect on Halloween. No, not me. I come home to find my Christmas tree set up already. According to my wife, she needs time to let the branches fall into place so it’ll be “just right” for the holiday. This revelation coincides with the fact that most stores spent this past week taking down the autumn colors of fall for Christmas red and green (and Hanukkah blue and silver).

It always seems like the holidays get here earlier and earlier every year. Television shopping channels like QVC have been air since July (halfway point, i.e. “Christmas in July”) selling Christmas gifts, foods, and decorations. Of course, Hallmark Channel started its non-stop bombardment of holiday movies since the beginning of October. It’s utter madness.

Look, I love Christmas. It is my favorite time of the year. I love the lights, the movies and music, the annual TV Christmas specials (Rudolph and Charlie Brown especially)., and giving back to family, friends, and your community. It’s best represented by Scrooge’s nephew Fred’s speech in the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol”…

“There are many things from which I might have derived good by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned the nephew, “Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas-time, when it has come round-apart from… the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that-as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

That’s what I love about Christmas, I just wish it wasn’t thrust “in your face” so quickly. I live with a woman who embodies the Christmas spirit all year long. I mean, the full nine yards (music, movies, 24/7, 365 days a year, with a Christmas Countdown as her smartphone wallpaper) which is something I love about her… But it’s not for me. I long for the old days when we eased into the holidays, one after the other.

Related imageToday, it is about the almighty dollar and retailers try to get as much “bang for their buck” in the short amount of time during the holidays. When I watch movies like “A Christmas Story” and “The Homecoming”, you see the simple life of what Christmas was about. From Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, you slowed down and took the time to enjoy the holiday. Now, we’re rushing around so much, before you know it, Christmas is over.

Let’s all take a breath, step back, feel “Jack Frost nipping at your nose” and listen for the sound of jingle bells. Let’s enjoy the holiday season with family and friends, good food and  plenty of libations (remember, be safe with a designated driver) and all the love and happiness it brings. So Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa. Let the continuous bombardment of Christmas commercials, movies, music and TV specials commence.



Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniversepublishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.