Stop trying to justify “political correctness” by bashing fantasy classics

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write this week, then I heard about an American science fiction author bashing J.R.R. Tolkien as racist. When I read the article, it became even more laughable because he claimed that he was racist because of the way he portrayed Orcs as an “inferior” race.

Yes, you read that right. The greatest fantasy author of all times is a racist and a bigot because he made a make-believe race that were considered inferior by most people, i.e. those who read Tolkien and the author himself. Never in my life have I heard anything so ridiculous and self-serving. These comments seem to be coming from a man trying to sell his own books, because he sure doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Now, before I go any further, I want to inform you that I hate political correctness. I am “old school” for lack of a better word. I don’t agree with changing words just because you don’t like them. To me, free speech is everything. If you don’t like it, then don’t read it, watch it, or listen to it. However, I hate stupidity and he’s just downright stupid.

The author (who will remain unnamed as I will not promote him in any way, shape or form) said Tolkien “depicted evil creatures such as Orcs as ‘worse than others’ and said this had ‘dire consequences for society.'” Sorry, what? Is President Trump planning to turn away immigrants because he’s afraid they’ll join the dark lord Sauron to destroy America? Gimme a break!

Okay, first you have to understand what Orcs are… They’re mostly evil. Some like Warcraft depict Orcs as neutral or evil–like some do in D&D–but most portray them as evil. It’s part of what Orcs were meant to be.

Remember, Tolkien created Orcs, so all of us fantasy authors go by his writings for reference. Beyond that, it is well known that Tolkien was one of the most staunch critics of racism, fascism, and Nazism. It is well documented in his writings.

Now, here is where he gets really, really wierd. The author says, “I can easily imagine that a lot of these people that were doing the dark lord’s bidding were doing so out of simple self preservation and so forth.” Really? I guess they killed all the humans because they were afraid of Sauron, not because humans tasted good. This quote shows me that this man never read Tolkien, and if he did, he’s trying to use today’s “PC bullshit” to justify his opinion.

Why? Why do we have to do that? Why do we need to take one of the Top 5 novels in America (as per The Great American Read) and trash it because you want to be politically correct. If you want to do that, write your own damn book about Orcs being the downtrodden of society, but to me, it’s pretty insulting comparing Orcs to South American migrants (yes, this idiot did that too!)

There is a place for criticism. I have negative reviews on my own novels, and I take them to improve myself as an author. It just seems that for this author to go after a literary legend like Tolkien is more about bringing attention to himself.

You can read the article about this author and his comments here and decide for yourself. I, for one, don’t plan on reading any of his books anytime soon.

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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.

It’s no wonder I can’t sleep with the constant storytelling running in my head

“Writing is literally transformative. When we read, we are changed. When we write, we are changed. Its neurological. To me, this is a kind of magic.” — Francesca Lia

Some people find it hard to write. It’s called “writer’s block” for a good reason. I seem to have a different problem. I have multiple storylines running in my head, like a Broadway play on steroids.

These storylines are for two different books I’m currently working on. I see them in my sleep, when I’m walking my dog, waiting in the elevator, or riding on the metro. It’s a constant barrage of ideas and they won’t stop.

At times, it can be maddening. Paul Goldman said, “Closing my eyes, the scene within unfolds as it has for thousands upon thousands of years.” That’s what it feels like inside my head at times. Even when I’m doing the simplest of things, like eating dinner or watching TV, I still find my mind wandering into my stories.

I think that’s the curse of being a writer. Maybe ‘curse’ is too strong of a word, but it’s accurate. I am a storyteller. My job is to tell people the wild and wierd stories, flights of fantasy, that stirs the imagination of my readers. It’s what drives me to be a writer. I love it, no matter how much it bugs me, I absolutely love it.

This kind of inspiration is what drives me to be a writer. It fills my pasion, forges my imagination, and makes my life worth doing. I need to be driven to write even better. Whenever I speak to groups about writing, there’s a story I tell about where the Forver Avalon series comes from. I’d like to share that with you.

I joined the U.S. Navy in 1983. Back then, we didn’t have the internet, video games, or satellite TV. Many Sailors spent their off duty time playing board or card games. Me… I played Dungeons & Dragons. My friends and I would seal ourselves away in the #4 aircraft elevator mechanical room late at night and spend our off duty time playing D&D. It helped pass the time when you’re deployed for more than six months from your wife and kids.

dnd5For me, these late night D&D sessions fueled an already active imagination. Combine that with missing your wife and newborn baby daughter and it can lead to some rather strange dreams. During my first deployment, I started having a recurring dream of being with my wife and daughter on an island of fantasy and magic, lost in time and space. That dream evolved and grew with each of my deployments and subsequent birth of my other children.

In 2001, I was deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (yes, lucky me to have served on my favorite starship’s namesake!). Although I wasn’t playing D&D at this time, the dream stuck with me. However, it was more detailed and elaborate than ever before, so I decided to start writing it down. I spent my off-duty time writing my story, putting it together in a cohesive story. By the time my deployment was done, Forever Avalon was born. My story was complete.

The funny thing is, after I finished writing the book, I stopped having the dream. It disappeared completely. It served its purpose, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. D&D helped me develop my imagination and writing has given me an avenue to use it. Its who I am, in my heart and in my soul. I am a writer. So let the band play on. It just fuels my passion.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a book/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.

If you’re not watching Overlord, then what the Hell is wrong with you?

Although Overlord is in its third season, it doesn’t seem to be getting the hype like the third season of Attack on Titan or Sword Art Online. To be frank, that really pisses me off. This is an anime everyone should be watching.

It has relatable characters, a fantasy world we’d all want to jump into, formidable allies, and magical power beyond belief. Add to that a bevy of gorgeous vampires, succubus, and battle maids at your command, and you’ll realize it’s every nerds dream come true.

Overlord, in a nutshell, is about a gamer who stays logged into his favorite fantasy game while they shut the server down for the last time. Then he suddenly finds himself and all the NPCs (non-player characters for any noobs reading this) transported to a fantasy world with all their powers and abilities intact. He decides to set out and take over the world.

Anyone who has spent a weekend playing D&D nonstop, or pulled an all-nighter on Warcraft can relate to the main character, Ainz Ool Gown. Here is a guy who spent all his free time away from social angst by gaming, creating the most powerful undead sorcerer ever. Now he really is that sorcerer in a real fantasy world. Besides his constant monologing, it’s fun watching him read self-help books on being a good leader, learning how to interact socially with others, and ward off the affections of a certain succubus who lusts after his bones.

Other guardians who serve him are also creepy and fun. Demiurge is the coolest demon ever. You never know what he’s capable of. Shalltear is a vampire who will kill you without thinking and yet is the biggest where (when it comes to Lord Ainz that is). Albedo is, well, Albedo. She wants nothing more than to love Ainz, serve his every whim and wish, and have his baby too. These guardians are as ridiculously overpowered as they come, and yet, they have some very human flaws. It’s what makes them endearing.

That’s what I find so interesting about this anime. Here you have a collection of the most evil undead monsters ever assembled and yet you want to be with them. Their funny, cute, sexy, and even caring (at times). Even some of the people in this new world are more monstrous than they are.

Anime has its share of gamers going to worlds based on their in-game experiences, but Overlord is different. Because the main characters are not human, you see more of the humanity in them, and less in the other characters.

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

Monsters, myths, and legends are on my pages and in my dreams

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You know how your dreams can seem real, even though you know it’s just a dream? For a fantasy writer, it’s like living with an entire world inside your head. When I played Dungeons & Dragons, it was even more vivid when you played. It was like living in that world, even though you know its not real.

That’s what I love about being a writer, especially a fantasy writer. No matter how bad things are in the real world, all I have to do is sit at my computer and step into my fantasy world. You have to wonder if this is how it was in centuries past. When people sat around and listened to the storytellers spinning their yarns about giants, dragons, and Gods, did they feel the same as me?

I’ve been talking with other writers via social media and we all have the same ideas behind our stories. It’s like there’s a genetic quirk for fantasy writers, or if you like, geeks in general. We all have that same built-in mechanism that lets us close our eyes and open them into a whole new world (no, do not start singing the song from Aladdin!)

It’s crazy, but lately my mind has been totally focused on a new story I’m writing, The Last Magus. Don’t worry, I’m not stopping the Forever Avalon series. I’ve already written Book 4 and I just sent Book 3 to the publisher to begin editing and layout. It’s just an idea that came to me and I’ve been running with it for the past few months. It’s been dominating my mind when I’m walking my dog, sleeping, and writing. The story plays out over and over again in my head, from wherever I’m at in writing it to the end. It’s like it’s on a frickn’ loop.

As its playing out, I’m writing dialogue, creating background imagry, character development, the works. It’s like I’m a movie director and the set is inside my head. I don’t know whether to love it or hate, mainly because it can be all consuming. When you’re at your job, and you’re trying to get work done, and all you can do is think about the next chapter in your story, it can be frustrating. It’s times like this that I wish I could be a fantasy writer full time.

It’s hard being a part-time writer, which I’m sure many others can relate too. You want to spend every waking moment writing, but there’s just not enough time in the day. I think that’s why I spend my nights dreaming about my story. Even when I’m asleep, I’m writing my novel.

I think for some people, this can lead to sheer and utter madness. But for a writer, it’s just another day at the office. We’re already a little mad anyway.

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

I miss those long weekends of eating pizza, drinking beer, and playing Dungeons & Dragons!

untitled.pngI turned 54-years-old today. One more year until I qualify for a senior citizen discount. It’s sad when you think about it, but is it? I can remember turning 18 like it was yesterday.

I was a college student, attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Penn. During the week, I attended classes and worked at the Original Hot Dog Shop near the University of Pittsburgh campus. I spent my weekends going to The Rocky Horror Picture Show (I played Eddie and Brad at the Castle Theater) and playing Dungeons and Dragons with my close group of friends. It was a time to be young, dumb and … well, you know the rest.

I’m married now, with three grown kids. Someday soon, I’ll be a Grandpa … A Grandpa who’s also a Dungeon Master. That sounds pretty cool when you think about it.

I don’t think I could do those long, late night, pizza and beer weekends today. I mean, we would go from Friday to Sunday night, play non-stop with a few hours, in between, of sleeping “where you sat or fell” as it were. I made some close friends during my time there, friends I lost track with when I returned home and joined the Navy.

That was the one thing I loved about Dungeons and Dragons. It brings people closer together. I played D&D in high school, college and in the Navy. Every time we got together to , I made good friends. We lived, we laughed, we played. When you think about the bonds that a group of adventurers has in the game, we shared that same bond.

People have used D&D as a scapegoat, that it’s evil and leads people to Devil worship. Bulls*#t! It was a game, and a damn good one at that. It expanded my imagination that made me the author I am today. I created the entire world of Forever Avalon from those wild weekends and late night D&D sessions. It was awesome.

Today, everything is about electronics and technology. People leave it to others to write the story, and build the characters. They fight the battles with their fingertips, not their mind. We are losing touch with that spark of imagination that makes us who we are.

I’m older now, hopefully a little wiser, and I do miss those times when I was young and free to spend my weekends playing D&D with my friends. But, you know what, it made me who I am today. It is a part of my history that I’ll never forget it. I do miss the old days, but right now, I’ve got to keep looking ahead. Better things are coming, just wait and see!

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51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Chapter 3 of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.

Watching anime, reading comic books, and playing D&D is the foundation of my imagination

darkagesI love everything sci-fi/fantasy. I can remember reading X-Men and Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes comics in the 70s. I remember watching a wide variety of Japanese anime on UHF (if you don’t know what it is, look it up youngling) like Speed Racer, Marine Boy, Ultraman, Gigantor and others. I use to draw my favorite superheroes, cut them out, and play with them like action figures, and watch Superfriends every Saturday morning. I had all the “Glow in the Dark” monster models like Dracula, The Wolfman, and Frankenstein. I watched Hammer horror movies on late night TV, with Christopher Lee as Dracula. It was a great time to be a kid!

This was my youth, my influential years, and it was filled with everything geek, which explains why I didn’t date a lot when I was young too. In any case, these memories are the foundation of my imagination; but even then, my imagination was quite limited. At that time, my goal was to be a comic book artist. I spent every waking moment creating my own characters, their origins, etc. I was focused on that.

I went to college, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh , where I was still focused on being a comic book artist. Then, I had an awakening. I started playing a game that changed my life forever … Dungeons and Dragons! It was like a fire was lit inside me and it started burning brighter and brighter with each passing moment. My imagination was on fire!

When you hear those stories about people spending an entire weekend playing D&D, drinking beer, ordering pizza, playing a never-ending game. Yes, it’s true, because I did it. I was spending my weekends, constantly playing D&D, either as a player or Dungeon Master. It carried over when I joined the Navy. I played with a group on duty nights, weekends, and when we deployed. It was a mainstay of my daily life, and it was those games that forged my imagination.

Those experiences made me the man I am today. Those trips into the fantasy world of D&D helped me develop my skills as a storyteller. It was through D&D that I created the world of Forever Avalon. Though I don’t play anymore, there are so many of things that continues to fire up my imagination as I write. The slew of movies, like Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and King Arthur; TV shows like Game of Thrones, Merlin, and Arrow; and video games like Warcraft, League of Legends, and Assassins’ Creed; all of these make a jubilee of fantasy for a writer like me.

I’ve written stories almost all of my life, but I never really considered myself a writer. I wrote stories for my high school newspaper, and as a Navy Journalist. It wasn’t until my first book was published that I really began to consider myself as a writer. Since then, I’ve published one other book, The Dark Tides, and working on publishing my third book, The Outlander War, this year. Even in my full time job, I am now (by definition) a writer-editor for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). I have reached my dream job, writing full time.

Now, to continue living the dream. There are more stories waiting to be written, and I hope you like them.

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51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Chapter 3 of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.

It’s St. Patrick’s Day! Time to drink green beer and see some leprechauns

As we enter March “Like a Lion” (How about that snow!) we reach the holiest of days for Irish-Americans, alcoholics and fantasy role-players alike … St. Patrick’s Day. As such, I am reminded of a great book I read as a young adult in the 80’s. Hobgoblin by James Coyne was published in 1981 at the height of the popularity of Dungeons & Dragons. It is often compared to another novel, Mazes & Monsters by Rona Jaffe (and an equally fun movie starring Tom Hanks, believe it or not), but Hobgoblin is unique because of its Celtic mythological influence.

Hobgoblin is just a game. Ballycastle is just a house.

Scott is just a lonely teenage boy….

Until one Hallowe’en, a Hobgoblin kills everyone he loves.

hob3The story revolves around Scott Gardiner, a teenage boy who becomes obsessed with “Hobgoblin,” a fantasy role-playing game based on Irish mythology, as his life “in the game” and “in reality” slowly blend. Like Mazes & Monsters, Coyne treats the playing of role-playing games as indicative of deep neurotic needs, of which I can attest to from my formative years of non-stop D&D. In these books, the protagonist is, or at least appears to be, suffering from schizophrenia or some analogous condition as the attainment of mature adulthood is accompanied by the abandonment of role-playing games. Like Jaffe, Hobgoblin was published at the height of D&D‘s popularity and the intense media coverage of the “Egbert steam tunnel” incident (i.e., urban myths wherein role-playing gamers enacting live action role-playing games perish, often in the utility tunnels below their university campuses).

You see, I experienced some of the same when I was playing D&D. The whole “D&D will make it so you can’t distinguish from fantasy and reality” line was drilled into me constantly. Fortunately, I didn’t listen, but that’s beside the point. D&D was a great tool for me, as an author, to grow my imagination and create the world of Forever Avalon.

As for Hobgoblin, what I love about this book was how it used legends and fantasy characters from Celtic mythology. I never knew about these characters, like Brian Boru, Morrigan, and Lugh. I think it was this novel that led me to the idea in my Forever Avalon novels to bring all the different mythos together onto one magical fantasy island (no pun intended).

In researching mythology for Forever Avalon, I decided that if I was to bring all magic to one place, the mythologies were not all British, but rather from all mythological creatures around the world. Dwarves from Scandinavia and Germanic, Faeries and Elves from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, Giants from the Russian steppes, etc.

I bring this up because that’s what I learned from Hobgoblin. When I started playing D&D, the game focused on a variety of mythologies, including Greek (when it came to Clerics and the Gods they served, that is). But when we played, I think many focused on the fantasy and didn’t divide up magical creatures from this mythos or that mythos.

Hobgoblin showed me that myths do have a cultural and ethnic origin and we must respect those origins. For example, when I wrote The Dark Tides, I created Togo, a small island off the coast of Avalon, where the descendants of African slaves made a home for themselves. I had to research African culture and mythology, everything from Aido Hwedo, the Rainbow Serpent, and the legend of the Orisa and Eledumare. I learned so much and also how similar many myths are to each other.

When you look across multiculturalism, the stories, myths and legends have an almost universal appeal. They also have many similarities. For example, cultures around the world tell stories about a great flood. In many cases, the flood leaves only one survivor or group of survivors. For example, both the Babylonian “Epic of Gilgamesh” (ha, if you read my books you’ll understand why this is funny to me) and the Hebrew Bible tell of a global flood that wiped out humanity and of a man who saved the Earth’s species by taking them aboard a boat, i.e. the story of Noah (and not the Russell Crowe movie that absolutely bombed). Similar stories of a single flood survivor appear in Hindu mythology as well as Greek and Aztec mythology.

Our stories are what unify us as the human race. So raise a pint this St. Patrick’s Day and toast Hobgoblins, Brian Boru and all the leprechauns we’ll see after too many beers. After all, there may be another story just waiting to be told.

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51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverseThe Outlander War can be previewed at Inkitt.

The 80’s rocked, in more ways than one, thanks to movies like Krull

I can honestly say I loved the 80’s. The 80’s were the decade that started our trek into the new millennium. Think about all the technology that came out of the 80’s:  Personal computers, cell phones, cable TV, video games and VCRs. Add to that the music, movies and television, Dungeons and Dragons … The 80’s was where it all started.

The biggest impact on me from the 80’s was the movies. Not just The Empire Strikes Back, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Conan the Barbarian and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but cult classics as well, like The Beastmaster, Dragonslayer and Krull. These are movies that I can watch again and again and never get tired of them.

krullMy children just don’t understand my infatuation with these classics. They look at the special effects and laugh at how bad it is. True, it’s not the same as the CGI of today, but it has a quality of quasi-realism and camp that today’s movies lack. These were movies done on location and large sound stage sets, not shot completely in motion-capture or green screen, with robust orchestral music to drive the story.

Let’s take Krull, the sci-fi/fantasy adventure, for example. It’s about a conqueror from space called The Beast and his army of Slayers as they try to enslave the planet of Krull. The adventure is a love story between a young prince, Colwyn, and his new bride, Lyssa, after she is captured by The Beast. Colwyn recruits a rag-tag group of thieves and escaped prisoners to rescue his princess and save their world. It is a wonderful mix of sci-fi with magic, fantasy and adventure thrown in. In case you haven’t noticed, I love this movie.

The Slayers were strange creatures with interesting weapons. Their swords had long hilts. They fired an energy weapon from one side of the hilt then flipped it around to use the sword in hand-to-hand combat. They could scale walls with ease, hide underwater and, when they died, a hideous worm-like creature broke out of the armor and dove underground. They had a death-howl that I have yet to hear repeated in other movies. Like I said, quite unique.

The real star of this movie was something you only saw briefly at the end, the Glaive. It really is such a simple weapon, five retractable blades in what looks like a metal starfish. It simplicity in its design makes it very cool, especially how Colwyn used it to fight The Beast. He controlled its flight with his mind, reflecting the Slayer’s and The Beast’s blasts right back at them.

Then, their’s the cast. These were stars before they were stars. I mean Freddie Jones, Liam Neeson, Robbie Coltrane, Alun Armstrong, and David Battley just to name a few. The cast also included a seven foot tall cyclops who could see the future, but only when he would die. If he strayed from his appointed time of death, he would die a painful death instead of a peaceful one. The Beast was a grotesque monster they barely showed until the end, hinting that it lived up to its name.

This movie is only one example of why the 80’s rocked. The script was full of classic movie quotes that made this movie stand out, especially to geeks like me.

“Freedom? We have it! And fame? Nah. It’s an empty purse. Count it, go broke. Eat it, go hungry. Seek it, go mad!” — Torquil (Alun Armstrong)

Add to that, Krull also has an abundance of scary and fantasy creatures. Besides The Beast and his Slayers, there’s shape-shifting Changelings, assassins that kill with a touch, and a giant white spider that’ll make anyone suffering from arachnophobia a fright. The Fire Mares are the coolest horses to have, running so fast that their burning hooves can carry you through the air.

If you haven’t seen Krull, find it and watch it. It’s a fun adventure that will inspire you like it has me. As a fantasy writer, Krull is the kind of adventure I want to write about. The more fantastic, the better. It’s what adventures are meant to be. As they say on Krull, “Each to his fate!”

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51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverseThe Outlander War can be previewed at Inkitt.

It’s Christmahannukwanzadan! Time to spread some holiday happiness with gifts!

Merry Christmas! Happy Hannukah! Happy Kwanza! Happy Holidays! … Okay, now that that’s all out of the way, here’s the real reason for this week’s blog. I love to give gifts so I would love to give away five signed copies of my novel, The Dark Tides. This is my Christmas gift to you, but there is a slight catch.

I don’t want to give away my book to just anybody. I want to give it to real fans of the magical fantasy genre. So, I’ve devised a little contest. Below are five questions related to 80’s fantasy films, in my view one of the best decades for this genre. Answer the questions correctly in the comments section. The first five people who answer correctly will receive a signed copy of  The Dark Tides, just in time for Christmas.

All I ask in return is a review on Goodreads for me, to support a struggling independent author. So, without further adieu, here are your trivia questions:

  1. What are the names of the animals from the 1982 fantasy film The Beastmaster?images (2)
  2. Lee Horsley, who starred in the 1982 fantasy film The Sword and the Sorcerer, played a detective in what popular 80s TV series?
  3. p4895_p_v7_aaWhat were the names of the elf, faerie, and dwarves that helped Jack rescue Lily from the Lord of Darkness in Ridley Scott’s 1985 fantasy classic Legend?
  4. images (1)What was the name of the King’s daughter who offered herself as a sacrifice to the dragon in the 1981 fantasy film Dragonslayer?
  5. Name the pro-football player who starred in the 1982 fantasy film Conan the Barbarian and what NFL team did he play for?

STK463898Here’s a BONUS question. The first person to answer this correctly also gets a signed copy of my first novel, Forever Avalon. I hope you know your Saturday morning cartoons!

Name the six characters and their respective character classes from the Dungeons and Dragons (1983-1985) cartoon TV series.

Good luck to everyone out there. Please include an email with your answers so I can contact you to get a mailing address if you are a winner. Thanks for participating and, once again, Merry Christmahannukwanzadan!

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51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverseThe Outlander War can be previewed at Inkitt.

Why can’t my dreams write my book for me?

e468bf21e67b6fef45a081e8d9986f2fI’ve read a lot about the psychology of dreams. Anais Nin said, “Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.” I tend to believe that because, in my dreams, are the very pages of every story I’ve written and have yet to write.

Dreams are the grandest stage of all, where everything you can imagine plays out in a world that never ends. In my dreams, I can be as rich as Bruce Wayne, as smart as Tony Stark, and as powerful as the Hulk. I can live in the heart of New York City, on a magical, fantasy island or even on another planet. That’s the beauty of dreams. The possibilities are endless.

Many creative people got their start from something as simple as a dream. George Lucas said, “Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you imagine it.” This from the man that created an entire universe, you know there’s something to it.

My dreams are where I get my best work done. Earlier this year, I finished the third book in the Forever Avalon series, The Outlander War. I’m in the process of having it edited right now, so I’ve started working on the next novel in the series. I have days where I can’t sit in front of my computer and write, yet in my dreams, the story is so vivid and pronounced. Why is that?

I know what I want to say, I know what order I want to put the words on the paper, I know how the story should go and yet … NOTHING! It’s as if, from the moment I wake up, everything shuts down, as if the actors have finished the play for the evening and are going home. It’s so frustrating. I wonder if I should forgo sleep, stay up late and just try to force it out.

“Sigmund Freud said, “The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.” If you can look past all the psychological babble in that quote, the word you’re looking for is ROAD. You have to follow the road to get to the meanings behind those dreams and to be able to write them down.

It took me more than 20 years of having the same, recurring dream to finally write it down into what is the Forever Avalon series. I’m hoping it won’t take another 20 years to write this next chapter in the series, but I know that I have to be patient. If I follow the road, it will take me where I want to go.

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51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverseThe Outlander War can be previewed at Inkitt.