The story behind the legend of Avalon — An excerpt from the Forever Avalon series

avalon-12I know I’ve talked about what inspired me to write the Forever Avalon series, but inspiration is one thing … Creating the legend of a new realm of magic is another. I know I could have created my own world—like Middle Earth, Azeroth, the Four Lands or Westeros—but I was trying to set my stories based partially in our world, using the myths and legends I grew up with. That’s why I chose Avalon. It is somewhere that people have heard of before, yet since there are no specific accounts about it in detail, so I could make it into the world I wanted it to be.

I want to tell you my story of Avalon and the best way to do that is to go back to the beginning. Here is an excerpt from Forever Avalon. I hope this will help to explain my idea for the island of Avalon and how it exists in our world today. Then, maybe, you’ll continue the journey through The Dark Tides: Book Two of the Forever Avalon series and The Outlander War, the next installment coming soon.


Bryan walked over to the fireplace, tossing in a few logs to stoke the fire. “Tell me,” he started, “what do you know about King Arthur?”

Both Stephanie and the children were confused by his question. “What?” she asked.

Bryan turned around and sat on a tall stool by the fireplace, continuing to smoke his pipe. “King Arthur. You know, the Knights of the Round Table, Merlin the Magician, quest for the Holy Grail …
etc., etc.”

She was completely lost by what he was saying to her. Bryan saw the confusion, taking his pipe and tapping it against his hand so the ashes fell into the fire, as he began to tell his tale.

“No matter what you may have read in books or what movie Hollywood made, King Arthur was real … The stories are true. He united all of Britain into one kingdom, through the power of his sword, Excalibur, and that of his trusted advisor, Merlin the Magician.

“And like the stories say, he was fatally wounded by his illegitimate son, Mordred, at the Battle of Camlann where he eventually died. Merlin knew that with Arthur’s death, the age of magic would come to an end and he could not allow that.

“The legend tells of the last of Arthur’s knights, Sir Percival, throwing Excalibur back to the Lady of the Lake as Arthur was carried out to sea to the island of Avalon. That part of the story is only partially true.

“Arthur was taken to Avalon, but not as the legends described. In reality, Merlin combined his power with that of Excalibur to purge man’s world of all magic. He created a kind of mystical wormhole—for lack of a better term—sucking everything magical into it and bringing
it here to Avalon.”

Stephanie stared at him in disbelief. “Avalon? We’re on the Avalon?”

“Yes, this is the magical island where all things of legend and myth now exist. Elves, Dwarves, unicorns and dragons as well as trolls, goblins, ogres and other assorted dark creatures. Merlin brought them all to Avalon, beginning a new age of magic here.

“You see, the laws of science don’t exist here, only the laws of magic. Cell phones, computers, automobiles—nothing mechanical or electrical like that can function in Avalon. Over the years, people have tried to make machines work, but they could never do it. The best inventions to hit these shores that actually work were gunpowder and indoor plumbing.”

The kids laughed, but Stephanie was still struggling to comprehend what Bryan was telling them. “That’s why practically everyone on Avalon can use some kind of magic,” he added.

“Is that how you were able to make the sand and water turn into dragons?” Rose asked her father.

“Yes, exactly. I’m known as a DragonMage. I can cast spells that are elemental in nature, like dragons. You know—earth, fire, water, and air,” he said as he held up his pendant and showed it to them.

Stephanie saw the subject was getting off track. “So, how big is this island and why isn’t it on any maps?”

“It’s roughly the size of Texas, give or take a few miles,” he explained. “You see, Avalon exists outside the normal plane of existence, in another dimension. It’s cloaked from the real world by a magical barrier.”

“But if it exists in another dimension, how did we get here?”

Hunter asked. Bryan moved over to the table, sat down across from his family and poured himself a cup of tea. “Over the years, the barrier protecting this island has weakened.

“Over the years, the barrier protecting this island has weakened. The wizard’s council theorized that storms in the Atlantic caused instability in the barrier, allowing people and objects to pass through. Something else they’ll probably chalk up to global warming I suppose,” he said as he took a sip of tea. “Anyone who passes through the barrier ends up on the southern beaches of the island, where I found you.”

They all stared at him in silence and disbelief. “Well, why do you think they call it the Bermuda Triangle?” he exclaimed. “Planes, boats and people have been disappearing for years—usually in bad weather—and they all ended up here on Avalon. The ones who survive either adjust to living in a medieval society or end up as a slave or dead.”

“So what’s your story? How did you adjust?” Stephanie asked somewhat sarcastically, using her fingers as quotation marks to emphasize her words. Bryan sensed the tension in her voice, realizing that the truth was hard for her to accept.

“Actually, my story begins back at the beginning of Avalon,” he told her, leaning back in his chair and filling his pipe again. “You see, when Merlin cast his spell, some humans came along with him and all the magical beings to Avalon. Among them were Sir Percival and Queen Guinevere. Together, they organized the people to build a new home. We call it New Camelot.

“No sooner did they finish when they were attacked. The forces of darkness, led by the sorceress Morgana le Fay, wanted to destroy Guinevere and enslave the humans, so she gathered together goblins, trolls and other evil creatures who would side with her.

“Fortunately, the Elves of Alfheimer came to the human’s aid and formed an alliance with New Camelot. They united under the banner of the Pendragon, but they needed someone to lead them into battle. That someone was Sir Percival.”

“Did he take up Excalibur and become the new king?” Rose asked.

“Not exactly,” Bryan explained, “Excalibur was shattered by Merlin’s spell. Merlin knew that New Camelot was united under Queen Guinevere; so they didn’t need a king, but they needed a champion.

“With the help of the Dwarves of the Gilded Halls, the shattered pieces of Excalibur were forged into two weapons—Twilight and Dusk, the Twin Swords of the Dragon Moon,” Bryan proclaimed as he put his pipe down on the table, stood up and drew the two swords from their hilts showing them to his family. “These swords would be used to defend all of Avalon against evil, tyranny, and corruption.”

He held out the gold sword, letting them see it up close. “Twilight is the sharpest blade ever made; it can cut through anything. The magical light that shines from this blade will pierce any darkness.”

Bryan then held out the black blade. “This is Dusk, blackened by the darkness that sickened King Arthur because of Morgana and Mordred. It’s a soulless void that sucks the life out of my enemies. These swords represent the balance between order and chaos,” Bryan concluded as he sheathed the swords and sat back down.

“To distinguish himself as a champion and not a king, Percival changed his name. He called himself the Gil-Gamesh, a name he had heard during his quest for the Holy Grail. It was the name of a hero in ancient Persia and now it was the name of the champion of Avalon.

“For thousands of years, the descendants of Percival have taken up the mantle of the Gil-Gamesh, defending the people of Avalon from generation to generation.”

“What a minute,” Ashley said, “That guy Biscuit called you Gil- Gamesh.”

“That’s right,” Bryan answered. “I am the 37th Gil-Gamesh.”

“But that’s not possible,” Stephanie inquired. “How can you be a descendant of Percival? You’re from our world, not Avalon.”

“Well, it seems that before the Battle of Camlann, Percival became deathly ill and was taken in by a widowed farmer and his daughter somewhere in southern Wales,” Bryan explained. “The woman nursed Percival back to health and fell in love with him, even though he was
devoted to both God and to his King.

“Percival got better and left the farm, but not before the young maiden took something from him, probably when he was asleep. His journals talk about a night when his dreams were filled carnal lust for this young farm girl, which is why he decided to leave as soon as he was well enough.”

“She had sex with him while he slept?” Stephanie asked.

“Ew-w-w, gross!” Hunter remarked.

“So it would seem,” Bryan said, sipping his tea. “As a result, Percival’s descendants remained in the outside world. I am a direct descendant of Sir Percival Peredyr. It is that genetic makeup that allows me to wield the swords.”

“I don’t follow you,” Ashley inquired.

“Well, you see, since Percival and his descendants have been the only ones ever to wield Twilight and Dusk, the swords have become attuned to Percival and his descendants—sort of like a magical DNA link.

“Over 500 years ago, the 36th Gil-Gamesh, Ethan Peredyr, was assassinated along with his entire family. The realm was thrown into utter chaos. With no one to defend the realm, dark forces raised havoc across the land.

“However, in that dark time came a prophecy … A descendant of Percival would come from the outside world to take up the mantle of the Gil-Gamesh. So the lighthouse and this house were built,” Bryan said, motioning to the surroundings, “and when anyone came through the barrier, the Outlander was tested to see if he was the descendant the prophecy spoke of.”

“Tested?” Stephanie asked, “How?”

“Only a true heir of Percival can wield the Twin Swords of the Dragon Moon. Anyone else touching the swords is consumed by their power. Many died during that time until I came through. Call it fate or destiny—I am the heir of Percival and it is my duty to serve Avalon
as the Gil-Gamesh.”


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.

Sexy vampires, super zombies and nice demons? What has happened to the fantasy genre?

I know this blog post may get on some people’s nerves, so haters be warned before you read any further. I just feel a desperate need to address this topic. Countdown to troll hatred in 3, 2, 1 …

What the Hell has happened to the fantasy genre? I remember a time when vampires, demons, witches, and warlocks were evil creatures bent on the domination of mankind and must be destroyed or contained. Nowadays, it seems like these creatures of the night are sexy, desirable and something we all aspire too.

draculaI mean, I grew up when Hammer films were the mainstay of horror. Christopher Lee was the best Dracula ever, period, and made the prince of darkness something to be feared. New, according to movies like Dracula Untold, he was a father, husband, and a great leader, admired by his people who took on the curse of vampirism to save his people. It made him out to be sympathetic, not terrifying. That’s not the Dracula of legend, nor is it the one portrayed by Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee.

It’s as if society, as a whole, wants to make evil desirable. I truly believe this shows the moral decay as a whole. Evil is no longer something to be destroyed outright. It’s something we want to change, to help through compromise not killing.

TV shows like Once Upon a Time and Lucifer want us to believe that it’s not the villain’s fault for being evil, it’s just that they had a bad day or a miscarriage of justice happen to them that caused them to turn evil. Really? Tell that to the victims of Ted Bundy, Adolph Hitler, or ISIS.

darth-vader-in-the-empire-strikes-back-jpgThis is why, in my opinion, that Star Wars gets it right. There is a true distinction between good and evil, the light and dark side of the force. Yes, they did make Darth Vader sympathetic and brought him back from the dark side, but he only turned through the machinations of a truly evil villain in the Emperor. Manipulation is one thing, but when you show truly evil characters (like the devil himself in Lucifer) to be good guys, that’s where I draw the line.

I mean, Vader himself shows no heart, no compassion until the very end, and it cost him his life. Kylo Ren is the exact opposite. He wanted to rid himself of any good inside of him and killing his father (spoiler alert, Han Solo) was how he accomplished that. He is now beyond redemption. That is the definition of a true villain.

Making evil sexy is the media’s way of tamping down the morals of society. We no longer aspire to be heavenly, angelic or good hearted people. Bad is the new good. Being bad is sexy, no matter who you step on or kill to get there. There are so many examples on TV and in the movies that make this point for me, they’re too numerous to mention.

Yes, there are also many examples that stick to the philosophy of good vs. evil in the classic sense. These are mostly those from the superhero genre, like The Flash, Arrow, Agents of Shield, and Supergirl. However, even Marvel steps into the dark side with their Netflix series Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, but again, their villains are not sympathetic nor appealing (i.e. Kingpin and Kilgrave).

This is why there are no good villains in the Forever Avalon series. I show a distinct division between good and evil. Good is good and bad is bad, no gray lines here. Evil is not something to be desired or wanted, it can only be destroyed. There is no distinction as necessary as this today. I’m not trying to get political here, but we would be better people, a better society if we purge that evil and hatred from our lives, starting with our media.


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.

Exploring the mind of a writer is a lot like spelunking

img_7945I saw a great quote from Victor Hugo on Facebook the other day. He said, “A writer is a world trapped in a person.” That’s so true, especially for those of us who write science fiction and fantasy. The world we create in our stories began inside us. You have to dive deep into that world to find all the different facets of what you create. Like spelunking, you never know what you’re going to find.

A writer puts everything he or she is into the story, put together bit by bit from the recesses of their mind. It may take years to develop a story, sometimes less and sometimes more. For me, it all began with a friendly game of Dungeons and Dragons combined with more than 10 years of sea duty in the U.S. Navy.

I’ve told you all before how, during my formative years as a young sailor in the U.S. Navy, I spent most of my off-duty hours with a small group of friends playing D&D to kill time on our long deployments at sea. This led to dreams of me and my family living on a magical island filled with everything from medieval fantasy. It was from those dreams that I created the world of Forever Avalon.

I found it quite easy to translate my skills as a D&D “Dungeonmaster” into creating my story. Actually, it’s a very similar trait, except for the grammar and spelling. My story even started out the same way as it began, with a dream.


The dream … It’s always the same.

Bryan, my husband, was dressed like a medieval knight. He’s in a fierce battle, fighting for his life. Monsters, goblins I think, swarmed around him like angry bees. He fought them off with a fury I’d never seen before. He wielded two swords—one blade was black as night, the other shined like
the sun.

The numbers were too great for him and one of the goblins got through. The creature jumped on his back and stabbed him through the heart with a dagger. He screamed in agony. I felt his pain. He fell to the ground as they continued to beat down on him until he disappeared in a sea of monsters.

I wake up screaming. It’s always the same.


It’s funny how something as simple as a dream can grow into a world all its own. This kind of creativity comes about in so many different ways. Ray Bradbury said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” I find this absolutely true. Whether it’s a blog post, a simple tweet or a few pages of my next novel, If I don’t write something every day, I start to get a little stir crazy.

Writing is that form of expression that helps us through the best and worst of times. Writing is an escape from the real world into that place we created within our mind. I go there every chance I get and, through writing, try to bring as many people as I can with me. Why don’t you come in and join in on the adventure? What have you got to lose?


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 atInkitt.

53-years-old and still a child at heart

The late, great actor George Burns said, “You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” That is so true.I turned 53-years-old yesterday yet, according to my wife on more than one occasion, I am still a child at heart. That is absolutely true.

maxresdefaultI still have that spark of imagination, that child-like demeanour that keeps you young at heart. I love to watch cartoons, read comic books, play video games and, in general, feel and act like a kid again. What’s wrong with that?

We’ve been trying to keep that spirit alive through every means possible. I mean, look at movies like Big and The Kid, for example. They try to teach how being that little kid again can help keep us grounded by keeping our hopes and dreams at the forefront.

One of my favorite TV shows is Doctor Who. I know it’s hard to fathom what a 2,000-year-old Timelord has to do with being young at heart, but give me a minute. The 11th Doctor, Mat Smith, was one of my absolute favorites. He could act like a child yet become a serious adult, switching back and forth all the time. I love that idea. That’s what we all need to be.

There are plenty of times when need to be serious adults, but every once-in-a-while, we need to let that inner child loose. It helps keep us young and alive. It’s that spark that helps me as a writer. That little kid in me is a dreamer, thinking about magical islands, flying on the back of a dragon, weaving magical spells.

That’s why I love playing Dungeons and Dragons. You need that child-like imagination to play the game. It’s hard to imagine crawling through a dungeon, fighting off hordes of goblins with nothing but a magic sword without tapping into your imagination. That same imagination works its way into things when I sit down and write. It’s the same feeling I get when I play a video game or watch a cartoon. It sparks that inner child and fills me up with wonder, hope, and dreams. I can’t escape it and I really don’t want to.

So, I may have 53 candles on my birthday cake, it’s not how old I truly am inside. There, I’m still a little boy playing with his Micronauts and watching Superfriends and Speed Racer on a Saturday morning. In my heart and soul, that’s where I’ll always be.


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.The Outlander War can be previewed at Inkitt.


Enter the half-demon named Abdel Ben Faust: An excerpt from THE OUTLANDER WAR

0e03a44Whenever you’re writing a story, you always need a good villain. Villains are the bane of your heroes existence. In fantasy, a good villain is usually a powerful warlord, an evil sorcerer or sorceress, or maybe a grotesque creature. In the case of Abdel Ben Faust, it’s a little bit of everything. He’s a half-demon and a master swordsman, the perfect killing machine, available for the right price.

You’ll meet Faust in the third book of the Forever Avalon series, The Outlander War. It’s currently available for preview at as part of their “Story Peak” novel contest, where three manuscripts will be selected for publication if it gets more than 100 people reading the book. Yes, sorry for the shameless plug but a writers’ gotta do what a writers’ gotta do.

Faust has everything a writer looks for in a villain:  Strength, guile, intelligence and no morals whatsoever. He’s a perfect sociopath who thinks only about himself and his needs. I think of him like a Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy, killing without remorse. You can relate to his heritage and his upbringing as the cause for his apathy, but to me, he made that choice all on his own.

I created Abdel Ben Faust from a character I once created in my early days of binge-playing Dungeons and Dragons during my misspent youth. He was a half-orc fighter with (natural rolled) 18/00 strength. I haven’t introduced Orcs in Forever Avalon yet, so instead, I made him a half-demon. His heritage plays a major role in The Outlander War. For now, I wanted to give you a glimpse into the pure evil by introducing Abdel Ben Faust to you.


On Avalon, South Essex was known as a city of artisans. The finest craftsman could be found in South Essex of all mediums—wood, metalwork or canvas—as well as exceptional tailors, tinkers, and tradesmen. It was a town full of the finest shops you could ever find outside of New Camelot.

The Black Swan was one of the most reputable taverns in South Essex, with the finest wine and spirits in all of New Camelot. The food at the Black Swan also had a reputation for being the best served in all Avalon. But even the best places can attract some unsavory characters.

Inside, the tavern was brightly lit with the glow of candlelight and roaring fires. The rooms were decorated in the finest silk drapes and tapestries of red and black. The décor epitomized the name of the tavern as swans could be seen represented in various shapes and sizes from statues to wall sconces.

While the rest of the tavern was crowded, as usual, the back of the room was empty, except for one guest. The owner did this at the request of the guest but also so his other patrons wouldn’t be subjected to his company.

He sat alone with his back to the wall, gorging himself on rare roasted beef and bottles of 500-year-old Aldinian Whiskey. He appreciated spirits, especially rare ones, and he always came to the Black Swan whenever he was in town because they always carried the best.

His name was Abdel Ben Faust, a mercenary by trade and considered by many as the finest swordsman on Avalon. His long black hair was pulled back tightly in a ponytail, exposing his pointed ears and long face. A scar ran from his left temple, across his nose, and down his right cheek … A reminder of being cut from his mother’s womb. His mustache was long and thin, hanging down below his chin, but that was where his true heritage showed through.

His skin was reddish-brown and, from his chin, grew horns that resembled a goatee, twisted like braided hair. Abdel Ben Faust was a half-demon, the son of a witch and an Incubus, conceived during a blood moon in a magical ritual. His mother died while giving birth to him. He had to be cut from her womb by the same clerics that killed his demon father.

Faust was raised a slave, tormented regularly for his demonic form, but in his torment grew strength and resolve. He molded himself from slave to warrior, becoming a master swordsman, available to the highest bidder.

He has avoided conflict with the Gil-Gamesh since his return to Avalon thanks to an innate ability from his demonic lineage. Faust can conjure “demon holes” to move from place-to-place, unseen. Demon holes were doorways of black smoke, fire, and brimstone. Only binding him in iron chains prevented him from using his power.

Faust came to South Essex to indulge his tastes while the Gil-Gamesh and the rest of the Knights of the Round Table moved to the coast to protect Avalon from the Outlanders. He knew there would be no trouble coming to the Black Swan and drinking his fill before moving on to his next job.

The curtain to the back room was pulled aside as young Finnick Devereaux, son of the Earl of South Essex, Sir Robert Devereaux, stepped in. The young man was nearly 50, young for a noble of Avalon. His dirty blonde hair, dashing good looks and fine clothes endeared his upright lineage. He pulled a handkerchief from his inside pocket and waved it in front of his face as he tried to dispel the stench coming from Faust.

“He is here milord, just as I said,” Finnick said to someone behind the curtain. A robed, hooded figure stepped through, walking right past the young noble.

“Good … Leave us Finnick, and make sure we are not disturbed,” the hooded figure said.

“Are you sure you want to do this milord?” Finnick asked. “The last man who interrupted Abdel Ben Faust while he was eating had his head chopped off and tossed into a stew pot.”

“Not worry, I’ve come bearing gifts,” he said as pulled a bottle from out of robe pocket. Finnick just bowed and left the room, closing the drapes behind him.

The stranger walked up to Abdel’s table but stopped when he drew his sword as he chugged down the last of the whiskey, resting his blade across the table. It was a broad sword, nearly four feet long, with a jagged edge etched along the top edge of the blade. Wisps of smoke rose up from the sword, as if it was burning, as the runes etched on the blade glowed softly. This was Deathsong, a cursed blade that only Abdel Ben Faust could wield and he did so very well.

“I’d think twice before sitting down,” Faust warned as he finished his drink. The stranger just placed the bottle down in front of him. Faust dropped his own bottle to examine the gift.

“Can it be?” he exclaimed. “Panaque, distilled from the vines of the dryads of Meliai, over 4,000 years old!” He popped the cork and smelled the delicate bouquet of the fine spirit. He looked up at the stranger and nodded his head to the chair in front of him. The hooded figure sat down as Faust sheathed his sword and poured himself a drink.

“So to what do I owe this honor and who do I have to kill to keep this bottle?” he asked as he took a sip of the delicious liquid.

“The bottle is yours, Abdel Ben Faust, a gift for listening to what I have to say,” he began. “But first, I have a question for you. Last year, when Morgana le Fay was resurrected, why were you not part of her forces at the Battle of Idlehorn Mountain? Surely a swordsman of your caliber could have turned the tide in her favor.”

Faust seemed to be insulted by the stranger’s accusation but took it in stride for the moment. “Her cause was lost from the moment she began,” he scoffed as he took another sip.

The hooded man seemed irritated by his answer but just sat back and listened. “Why do you say that?”

“Because she let the Gil-Gamesh live,” he answered. “You don’t give someone like the Gil-Gamesh any glimmer of hope. She should have killed him when she had the chance. That’s always been the problem with despots like Kraven Darkholm and Morgana le Fay. They want that power but they want to gloat about it in the process. That’s what got them killed.

“I don’t side with losing causes,” he concluded as he downed the last of his drink. “I’ve answered your question, now you answer mine … What do you want?”

“I want you to lead an army to take Avalon out of the grips of the Pendragon’s and the Gil-Gamesh,” the stranger said without skipping a beat.

Faust just laughed under his breath. “Well if you wait long enough, the damn Outlanders with all their technological weapons will do it for you.”

“Oh, I doubt that,” the stranger impugned. “If the Gil-Gamesh is as resourceful as you say, then all I have to do is wait until he restores Avalon as it was before, hidden from the outside world. Then, we tear Avalon apart, taking the throne and killing him in the process.”

Faust was not convinced by the hooded stranger’s plan. He laughed again as he poured himself another drink. “Well in the first place, you’d need an army at least 10,000 strong,” Faust calculated. “Hell, the goblins don’t even have half that number anymore, and the trolls are all whipped lackeys for that Shield Maiden now. So where is this army you speak of?”

The stranger reached into his robe and pulled out the ruby amulet, still glowing from the strong magic’s imbued within. Faust just looked at the amulet, unfazed and uncaring. “What’s that supposed to be?” he asked.

“The key to controlling the most powerful army in creation, the Wraith Legion of Purgatory!” Abdel Ben Faust was stunned, aghast at the stranger’s claim. The Wraith Legion was an army of fallen knights, trapped in purgatory because of some dishonor or shame that fell upon them in life. They served a penance, keeping the demons of the underworld in check until, one day, they’ve earned their place in Heaven.

“No one can control the Wraith Legion. It’s impossible,” he exclaimed.

“You can with this,” the stranger said, dangling the amulet. “With this amulet, they will follow your every command. You will be their General, Abdel Ben Faust, and you will conquer Avalon for me.

“In return, I will give you the Twin Swords of the Dragon Moon as payment, for your collection.”

It is known that Abdel Ben Faust has, over time, collected the sword or weapon of every knight, every warrior and every monster he ever bested in battle. He kept his collection hidden from prying eyes. He liked to savor each and every victory by looking at the weapons of his fallen enemies hanging on the walls of his vault. Adding the swords of the Gil-Gamesh would be the centerpiece of his collection.

The stranger had intrigued Faust with his offerings but wasn’t convinced completely just yet. He needed to know something more. “Who are you?” he asked.

The hooded figure stood up and peeled back his hood, revealing his face to Faust. The half-demon was stunned as he recognized the face almost immediately. “You? But that’s impossible, you’ve been dead for centuries, millennia even! It can’t be you!”

The stranger pulled the hood back over his head and sat back down. “I assure you, it is me, Abdel Ben Faust. I have many machinations at work, but I need a general to lead my army. You are the one man I can entrust with this task because I know that you will only accept my offer if you believe it can succeed.

“So will you, will you join me?” he asked. Faust sat there, stroking his chin, contemplating all the stranger has offered him. After a few moments, he raised his glass to him.

“When do we get started?”


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 andiUniverse.The Outlander War can be previewed at Inkitt.

What is our obsession with fantasy?

51130757_Psionic_BowmanWe’ve all experienced it, some more than most. It is an obsession that we can’t explain nor can we understand ourselves. With me, it began in college in the 1980s, where I was introduced to Dungeons and Dragons. That’s where I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

Hello, my name is Mark and I’m addicted to fantasy!

It was automatic for me. I created my first D&D character and started my adventure into role playing. From that point on, I was obsessed with it and could think of or do nothing else. I played every weekend, from Friday night straight through to Monday morning. I even became a Dungeonmaster and ran my own game. I even went as far as to join a local group with the Society of Creative Anachronism.

I went to see every sci-fi/fantasy film that came out in the 80s, from Dragonslayer to Krull, Conan the Barbarian to The Beastmaster. On television, I watched Xena or Hercules, even The Dungeons and Dragons Saturday morning cartoon. It was like a drug and I couldn’t get enough. I started reading anything and everything, from Michael Moorcock’s Elric saga to J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks’ Shannara Chronicles and C.S Lewis The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Even after I joined the Navy, I continued to play D&D. I found friends aboard the ship and we played during our duty days and off-duty hours. When I eventually stopped playing, I turned my obsession around and started writing, and it was from that, I created my Forever Avalon series. I was able to tap into my fertile imagination, fueled from all those years of role playing games, movies, television and inspiring stories from other authors. It was a magical journey that I’m still riding on, even today.

Josie Glausiusz wrote in Scientific American, “Daydreams are an inner world where we can rehearse the future and imagine new adventures without risk. Allowing the mind to roam freely can aid creativity—but only if we pay attention to the content of our daydreams.” She also said that “When daydreaming turns addictive and compulsive, it can overwhelm normal functioning, impeding relationships, and work.” I can honestly attest to that determination.

When I played D&D, I ignored a lot of things to play the game. It was a deep-rooted obsession that drove me out of college, without a job or education and into my military career in the Navy. In that sense, it did me a big favor. My career in the Navy made me the writer I am today.

You have to tame your obsession, even more, today. With the internet, video games and better CGI effects in movies, there is a resurgence in the fantasy genre that gives us more to do and see. From Warcraft to Lord of the Rings, fantasy has taken center stage again. We have the chance to see our dreams in full color, high-definition, and 3D.

Glausiusz said, “Yet to enhance creativity, it is important to pay attention to daydreams.” That’s where we, as authors, filmmakers, and even musicians find our muse and translate fantasy into words, images, and sounds. That is, at the heart of it all, why we love fantasy. It is a means to escape from reality and bring everyone else along for the ride. It’s why I don’t mind living with my obsession.


SKU-000941753Forever 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. The Outlander War can be previewed at Inkitt.

In medieval fantasy, it’s all about the weapon

Excalibur_IVYou know the old saying that “the car makes the man” don’t you? Well, in medieval fantasy, I like to think that “the weapon makes the man” or woman in some cases. There have been many legendary weapons that have made their way through the fantasy genre. You know their names:  Stormbringer, Mourneblade, Sting, Mjölner, Frostmourne, and of course, Excalibur. These weapons are as well know as the warriors that wield them.

I too have dabbled in creating mythical weapons. In the Forever Avalon series, Lord Bryan MoonDrake, the Gil-Gamesh of Avalon, wields the Twin Swords of the Dragon Moon, Twilight and Dusk, forged from the shattered remains of Excalibur. There’s also Steinknuse, the hammer/axe of Dwarf Master Dinius of the Gilded Halls. In the upcoming third book of the series, The Outlander War, I will introduce the Edenstar, sword of the first high king of the Elves.

However, today I want to touch on a few particular weapons. These are not as well-known as some of the previously mentioned blades, but they are unique in the realm of fantasy. So, let’s call these my Top 5 Obscure Medieval Fantasy Weapons from movies/television. These are weapons created solely for the cinema and/or TV.

Hawk#5—The Elven Mindsword from Hawk the Slayer (1980)—When it comes to obscure weapons, you don’t have far to look than this British 1980 sword and sorcery romp starring Jack Palance and John Terry as two brothers fighting for the throne after Voltan (Palance) kills their father, With his dying breath, the King gives Hawk (Terry) the last Elven Mindstone and imbued the power in a sword, giving Hawk the power to control the weapon telepathically. That’s about the crux of it. The only saving grace of this movie, besides Palance’s over the top performance, is Patricia Quinn of Rocky Horror fame as the sorceress. It’s not a lot for #5 but it’s the best I can do.

Beastmaster_caber#4—Caber from Beastmaster (1982)—This is one of those great “guilty pleasure” movies because it has everything in it:  A brooding warrior, a damsel in distress, an evil sorcerer and an army of raiders. Marc Singer is Dar, a prince who was taken at birth and branded by a witch, giving him the ability to communicate with animals. When his adopted family is killed, he goes off seeking revenge. He takes with him his father’s sword and caber, a hinged throwing blade. While Dar doesn’t use this a lot in this movie, when he does it’s a pretty cool weapon, similar to the glaive Blade uses (not to be confused with the other glaive coming up shortly).

three_blades#3—Tri-Blade Sword from The Sword and the Sorcerer (1980)—This has to be one of the bulkiest, most unwieldy weapon of my list, but it’s also one of the coolest. What knight wouldn’t want a broadsword with three blades where two of the blades shoot out. That’s what attracted me to this movie, that sword. It is totally impractical, but yet so desirable a weapon. The movie follows the standard plot of most 80’s “sword and sorcery” films of that era where a boy seeks revenge against the evil tyrant who killed his family and stole the throne. The boy named Talon (Lee Horsley) becomes a mercenary and helps a princess stop the same tyrant (played by veteran “evil doer” character actor Richard Lynch). Again, not a great movie except for a memorable weapon that every D&D player tried to create.

krull_1050_591_81_s_c1#2—Glaive from Krull (1983)—Again, a classic 80’s sword and sorcery movie, but this one is mixed with a little science fiction as a star-hopping megalomaniac called the Beast brings his army of Slayers to the planet Krull to destroy and dominate the planet. After and alliance and a wedding between Colwyn (Ken Marshall) and Lyssa (Lysette Anthony) ends with her being captured by the Beast, Colwyn searches for allies and a mythical weapon called the Glaive. The Glaive is a starfish with retractable blades that flies through the air, controlled by Colwyn. Unfortunately, you don’t see it used until the end of the movie, and then it’s only used briefly to rescue the girl and kill the beast, only to be lodged in his chest and hurled into space with him, which to me was the producer’s way of trying to get a sequel. One of the great things about this movie was the early, on-screen performances by a very young Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane.

Before I get to my #1, just a few honorable mentions, including the spear from Dragonslayer, the Klingon Bat’leth from Star Trek, and the Atlantean Sword from Conan the Barbarian.

xena-social1#1—Chakram from Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001)—She got her start in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys but Xena, the Warrior Princess (played by the incredible Lucy Lawless) held her own for six seasons of great television. And by her side, besides Gabrielle (Renee O’Conner) was her trusty chakram. This circular metal blade was deadlier than Tron’s Identity Disc. Xena could incapacitate dozens of enemies at once and the chakram would return to her hand, just like Mjölner. I would never want to challenge her to a pool game because she knows how to redirect her chakram as good as Captain America throwing his shield. It seemed like such a simple weapon yet it really identified Xena’s character. In fantasy, she became as legendary as the weapon associated with her.

I know some of you may have some disagreements with my list or some additions, I’d love for you to comment below. I’d like to keep the discussion going on these amazing weapons forged in fires of fantasy.


51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Forever 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.

I’ll take my inspiration where I can get it

My family has been picking on me lately as to what I watch regularly on TV. Being unemployed at this time, I spend a lot of time on the computer, looking for jobs and/or writing. I like to listen to movies and television shows to keep the creativity flowing. I know some people prefer music, but for me, it’s a product of my environment.

You see, as a retired Navy Journalist, I served primarily on aircraft carriers. At sea, my office workspace doubled as the shipboard television station. Because of the rotating shift schedules of sailors at sea, we kept the television on 24/7. So, the movies and the television shows provided to us by the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) played constantly.

Thus my conundrum. It’s easier for me to write when there is noise, like that of a television, playing in the background. It’s hard to explain but I think that having to sit down and write or work at my computer goes smoother when I can listen to something in the background. It seems to make me work harder to focus my thoughts and think about what I’m doing, but that’s not why they’re picking on me.

thtbotfa25_cleanFor some reason, I have been focused on certain movies to keep me inspired, especially The Hobbit movies, Lord of the Ring trilogy, anything Star WarsThe Martian, Pacific Rim and a few classic 80’s “sword and sorcery” guilty pleasure movies like Ladyhawke, Krull and Dragonslayer. The repetition at which I watch these movies has earned me the ridicule of my wife and children, but to be honest, I can’t help it.

These movies inspire me. I love the stories, the visual effects, the characters, just everything about them. I enjoy watching them over and over again as if I was watching them for the first time. It reminds me a lot of when I was a teenager and went to see Star Wars for the first time. I loved it so much that I went back and saw it every weekend for as long as it was in the theaters. I must have seen it 20 times. I did the same thing with The Rockey Horror Picture Show, Conan the Barbarian and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The misspent youth of my young adult life was spent in movie theaters.

Today, it furthers my want to be a successful writer and see what I write up there, whether on the silver screen or on TV. It is, I think, the dream of every writer to take their stories tot he furthest reaches possible. When you listen to the metal twang of steel in a swordfight or the hum of a lightsaber, it brings those vivid images to the forefront and sets your mind in motion.

To me, that is where inspiration comes. It’s the things we see, we hear, we taste, we smell that gets all electrons firing off at the same time. It gives writers, like me, the confidence to write the next chapter in our stories. So whatever inspires you to write, ignore the naysayers and just give into it. Whatever works for you is what’s important.


51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Forever 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.

Why be a writer when it costs you time, money and leaves you open for criticism? Because …

My journey as a self-published author really began more than 30 years ago. A college dropout, with very little education or ambition to show for it, I decided my only option was to join the military. With my background in art and writing, I was offered the chance to be a Navy Journalist. I jumped at the opportunity and enlisted.

During my first few years in the Navy, I got married and started my career aboard the aircraft carrier USS FORRESTAL, stationed in Jacksonville, Florida. I also began a steady diet of playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends, to pass the time during those long deployments at sea. Back then, before video game consoles, the internet and satellite TV, D&D was the only distraction available to pass the time.

That’s where my stories began to develop. You see, when you’re spending a large number of off duty hours playing D&D, missing your wife and newborn daughter while deployed thousands of miles from home, it can mess with your head. In my case, I started having a recurring dream about me and my wife, trapped on an island filled with magical fantasy creatures. The dream changed as my children grew older, they started coming into my dream. Finally, I decided I had to start writing it all down.

During my last deployment in 2001, I started developing the story of Forever Avalon. I used my family as inspiration for the family in my novel, including using their middle names as the names of my characters. It took me a few years to really develop the story until it was finally completed in 2004. The funny thing is, when I finished the novel, I stopped having the dream. It seems there was a purpose to it after all.

From that point on, it was just a matter of finding a publisher. I sent out my manuscript to various publishers but got rejected multiple times. I was finally contacted by James A. Rock Publishing and they offered to publish my book, for a price. Now, I didn’t know a lot of self-publishing at that time and it seemed to be a great opportunity. They helped me get my novel in the proper format, had an artist do the cover and put my book online.

The first thing I discovered about self-publishing was that the publishing companies are not book editors and they don’t really edit manuscripts. After Forever Avalon was published, I sent copies of my book to all my family. My mother, bless her heart, sent me two pages of spelling and grammatical errors she found in the book. That was a truly humbling experience. My publisher let me pull the book, make the proper edits and then sent it back out.

The next thing I discovered about self-publishing is that publishers don’t publicize your novel. I spent every minute of my time calling book stores to see if I could set up a book signing, contact and pay people to review my novel, and set up social media to advertise my book. You wanted to be just a writer, but I discovered that in the world of self-publishing, you have to be a jack-of-all-trades instead.

I took the lessons learned from my first novel and applied it to my second one when I self-published The Dark Tides. That brings me to my third lesson in self-publishing … MONEY. You have to invest a lot time and money into getting your work out there for that slim possibility someone will notice you and maybe, just maybe, you can go from self-published author to best-selling author. That’s the dream but, unfortunately, it’s not always the reality.

Self-publishing can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive, but in all honesty, I wouldn’t change a single thing. Even if one or two people read my book and fall in love with the stories and the characters I created from that dream all those years ago, it’s worth it to me. I will continue to strive to be a storyteller to those who will listen to me.

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.

Why do humans always hang out with Dwarves and Elves in fantasy novels?

4449747-3801600654-triolEver since I got into fantasy, especially with those long weekends in college of 24 hour binge sessions of pizza, beer and Dungeons and Dragons, there seems to be a pattern with adventure groups. You will always find a human travelling with a Dwarf and an Elf (or some combination thereof). We’ve read it in Lord of the Rings and the Shannara Chronicles and seen it in movies and television. I don’t think you can write a fantasy/adventure story without that combination.

I know that many will say this is the trap writers fall into, creating something that has been seen and used over and over again. I can even remember that God awful D&D movie (with Jeremy Irons, Marlon Wayans and Richard O’Brien from Rocky Horror fame) with the same combination of human, Elf and Dwarf in their midst. It seems to be an endless chain of events in magical fantasy stories.

So the question is, as writers, why do we do it? For one thing, it boils down to diversity. That seems to be the strong sentiment in society today … The need for more diversity in our lives and our media. We’ve struggled with diversity for the past 200 years. It’s hard to bring different cultures and races together and, putting it into stories, is easier for most people to comprehend.

thor-gallery-1-2011-a-lA great example I see is the changing diversity in comic books today. In the past few years, we have seen classic Marvel Comics characters change from male to female, white to black, including Captain America, Thor, Captain Marvel, and Wolverine just to name a few. The same could be said for television and movies. I remember all the trolls complaining when Michael Clark Duncan was cast as Kingpin in the first Daredevil movie or when Idris Elba was cast as Heimdall in Thor. It never bothered me because I don’t look at the color of their skin but at the skill of the actor, and in both cases, they were very successful.

In fantasy, it’s not about the color of the skin but the race of the character. There has always been an intense dislike and  suspicion between humans, Elves and Dwarves. You see it in the characters of J.R.R. Tolkien and others. I too “ran the gambit” when I put together the friends of the Gil-Gamesh in my Forever Avalon series. I wasn’t trying to be similar like Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli from Lord of the Rings. It just seemed natural to me as if I was playing a game of D&D.

To give you an example, here is an excerpt from my latest novel in the Forever Avalon series, The Dark Tides, where the Gil-Gamesh, Bryan MoonDrake meets Dwarf Master Dinius Oddbottom and the Elf Eonis for the first time.


Every man and women wanted to shake the hand of the new Gil-Gamesh, or even just touch him on the arm. Th e talk around the tavern grew louder and louder. Even the bards were already making up songs about the new Gil-Gamesh and how he stood up to Constable Durm.

Bryan sat down as Lily brought him a fresh pint of ale. Th rough all the excitement, he noticed that Dinius never stopped eating and drinking. Bryan was amazed at his ignorance. “Well now, Gil-Gamesh …” Dinius ascertained, “… You sit down and drink with a Dwarf and don’t tell him
who you really are?”

“I apologize Master Dinius,” Bryan retorted, “My deception was necessary to maintain a low profile during my Grand Tour of Avalon, especially now since I’m travelling alone.”

“Alone?” Dinius asked. “I thought Sir Thomas was travelling with you?”

Now Bryan wondered who this Dinius Oddbottom was. How does he know Sir Thomas? “Sir Thomas is heading to Cornish on a personal matter,” Bryan interjected. “He’s meeting me at Strongürd Keep aft er I confer with the Wizard’s Council.”

Dinius nearly choked on his drink when he heard this. “You’re going to Strongürd alone? Are you mad? Th at’s takes you through Blackbriar Forest? Every cutthroat and brigand will be waiting for you in there?”

“Well, I’m going to have to deal with them sooner or later,” Bryan insisted. “It might as well be now. I’m not going to cower like a frightened child.”

Dinius smiled at the brash attitude this young man had. “Well, I am heading back to the Gilded Halls and it just so happens that Strongürd is on the way there. That is, if you don’t mind the company.”

Bryan thought about his proposal. He didn’t know this Dwarf, so it could be a trap for an easy kill to collect the bounty. Before he could answer, an Elf approached their table. He was handsome with long brown hair. His pointed ears stuck out through his hair. He wore a shining chain mail under a green and brown wrap and a long green cloak. A long sword hung at his belt and a bow and quiver were slung across his shoulders.

Salüs dai Tulafáir Gil-Gamesh, I am Eonis,” he introduced himself, placing his hand over his heart and bowing—a sign of respect in Avalon. “I bring you greetings from the Elves of Alfheimer.”

Bryan stood and extended his hand to Eonis. Th e Elf took it as a sign of human friendship. “Thank you Eonis. I hope to be in Alfheimer sometime soon to pay my respects.”

“I will inform Lord Baldrid of your intent,” Eonis concurred. “We will anticipate your arrival.” Eonis quickly turned his attention to the Gil-Gamesh’s companion, whom he recognized.

“Master Dinius,” he said, bowing again with respect. “What brings the Lord of the Gilded Halls to this corner of Avalon?”

Bryan turned to Dinius with a look of disdain at the Dwarf he’s been buying drinks and food for all night. “Lord of the Gilded Halls, huh?” he inquired. Bryan’s heard about the Gilded Halls, the home of the Dwarves of Avalon. It seemed Dinius Oddbottom wasn’t what he appeared to be. “I guess I wasn’t the only one ‘hiding in plain sight’, eh Master Dinius?” Bryan joked.

Dinius gulped his ale, aware that his own deception had been uncovered. “Yes, well, Sam makes the best ale this old Dwarf has ever tasted,” he tried to explain. “I come here from time to time to satisfy my thirst.”

Dinius got up from the table and walked over to Bryan. “Forgive my deception lad, but the Wizard Browbridge mentioned you may be coming this way and, knowing that I frequent the Weathered Wren, he asked me to keep an eye out for you … Indiscreetly that is.”

Now everything was starting to make sense to Bryan. “I suppose Archie sent you too?” he asked Eonis.

“Sir Charles, actually …” Eonis explained. “He asked me look in on you as well. Th is was a logical stopping point on your journey to Strongürd Keep so I came here and waited.”\

“And is there anything else I should be aware of?”

“Besides an embarrassed Dwarf and Elf, nothing at all,” Eonis bemused, attempting a joke, something Elves were not known for. “But truthfully, Gil-Gamesh, Blackbriar Forest is no place for any man to go alone, including you.”

“He’s right lad, just think of us as close companions on your journey,” Dinius added.

Bryan couldn’t believe it. Since his arrival on Avalon, people who never knew him had gone out of their way to protect and aid him. The devotion to the Gil-Gamesh was overwhelming to him.

“Alright, you can accompany me to Strongürd,” Bryan noted. “We’ll be leaving in the morning. Until then, good-night.” Bryan walked over to Sam to ask about his room. Sam motioned for Lily to escort Bryan upstairs to one of the rooms at the tavern. Eonis and Dinius kept a close eye on him until he disappeared behind the door.

“Well, that didn’t go as well as expected,” Dinius lamented. Eonis looked down at him, visibly upset.

“It may have helped if you didn’t scrounge food and drink off him all night,” he declared. Dinius huff ed and returned to his seat.

“A Dwarf’s got to eat, you know,” Dinius told Eonis, drinking down his ale then belching loudly as he finished his meal.


51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Forever 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.