Title: Tales from Virdura
Author: Graham Downs
Series: Kingdom of Virdura (Book 2)
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: June 1 2016
Source: Author via RBTL Book Promotions
Explore Virdura, a world full of fantasy, magic, and drama.
Find out what happens when a dashing young farmer's son swoops a neighbouring daughter off her feet.
Meet Queen Tricia and the Royal Wizard Solon. Or Queen Celeste, her daughter, as she continues to struggle to come to terms with her new role as queen after the death of her mother.
Or read about Tobin the Bounty Hunter as he takes down Jarvis, a merciless criminal who brutally slit a blacksmith's throat.
All these stories and more await you in Tales From Virdura, a collection of flash fiction stories that take you deep into the world and the lives of the characters who inhabit it.
If you enjoyed reading A Petition to Magic, this might just be your next read.
You'll find out more about old characters and meet new ones. You'll read prequels and origin stories, and you'll read original stories taking place in new locales within the Kingdom.
｟This book can be enjoyed as a companion to, or separate from, A Petition to Magic Book 1 in the Kingdom of Virdura Series.｠
Top Ten Books
1. Dangerous Voices by Rae Carson
There are very few short stories that capture the imagination like this one does. The writing is amazing – not a single word wasted, and the ending is stunning. As a short story author myself, this story is now the benchmark against which I compare my own writing.
2. Mold by Lindsey Goddard
Another short story, this time a horror. This one is deep, gut-wrenching stuff, which forces you to re-evaluate your beliefs and what you know about the human psyche. Again, really tight writing. It’s also really, really creepy.
3. It by Stephen King
Stephen King is quite possibly my favourite fiction author of all time, and It is easily my favourite Stephen King book. This book is on the opposite end of the spectrum to my first two favourites. Never mind not being a short story, this is a mammoth tome. But it’s one I couldn’t put down. It took me a whole month to read, and in that time I got to know all the characters intimately, as if they were old friends. I was sad when I finally finished this book.
The themes that It explores are numerous – from alcoholism to social anxiety. It’s beautifully crafted and “scary as hell” (as the King himself might say), with just the right amount of description. And again, the characters are so relatable. I even felt myself feeling for the monster, more than once!
4. Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson
Another story that’s on the shorter side, although not as short as either Dangerous Minds or Mold. What struck me about Perfect State is how effortlessly Sanderson transports you into the totally unfamiliar, alien world in which it is set.
From the first page, from the first line, I knew that this world was like nothing I’d ever experienced (or read about) before, but after only a few paragraphs, it felt like home. Then, the descriptions of the trials that the characters are thrown into, along with their motivations, made perfect logical sense to me.
It takes a talented writer to be able to do that.
5. Resonant Blue by C.J. Marsicano
Resonant Blue is not the kind of book I would normally read. It was written by a friend of mine, from a writing group I belong to on Facebook.
It’s the story of a teenage girl from Japan, struggling to make it in the music business. But really, if you know nothing about the music business, you’ll still love it.
A true piece of modern literary fiction, it describes some terrible, terrible things, in such a way that I felt physically ill in parts, while reading it. I just love the quote from the blurb:
"Kid, you're too young, too punk, and too female to be in a real rock and roll band."
6. Sweet Violent Femmes by Holly M. Kothe
This is a literary collection of short stories about women scorned in some way. What struck me about it was how vivid and visceral the situations were. While I’m very sure that the stories are (mostly) fictional, it honestly felt to me as though the author was speaking from personal experience.
It’s a book that I think all men should read, so we can understand the hurt we cause women sometimes. I swear, this grown man shed a tear or two while reading these stories. Women are supposed to be our rocks, without whom we wouldn’t even exist. Why do we persist in treating them so horrendously?
7. Writing Fight Scenes by Rayne Hall
I’ve read a few of Rayne Hall’s “Writers’ Craft” books, of which this is one, and I can’t say I’ve ever been disappointed. Rayne is a former traditionally published author and professional editor, who now publishes both fiction and non-fiction independently. I believe my writing has benefited immensely from reading her work.
8. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
This is a book that proves, once again, that it’s extremely rare for a movie or television show to be better than the book. I watched the first season of the TV show, but it didn’t really grab me. I read the book about a year later, and oh my word! This is easily the best fantasy novel I’ve ever read.
9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I read the book long before the movie came out. It’s another rare genre for me to read (Dystopian Science Fiction), but I’m not sorry I did.
As with many of the other books on this list, the raw emotion that comes through in the characters is exquisite, and it’s very hard not to “get” what the author’s trying to say about the human condition. We’re definitely headed back to Roman times, where people bayed for blood in the Colosseum. That is, at least, if we’re not careful.
10. Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind
In contrast to A Game of Thrones, I was completely in love with the TV series, Legend of the Seeker, a couple of years ago, and I was very sad when it was cancelled after only two seasons.
It wasn’t until much later that I discovered that it was based on a series of books by Terry Goodkind. It’s not as though I didn’t like the TV series (I really, really did); it was that the book was so much better.
Now, similarly to A Game of Thrones, this book (and series) is a testament to how good Hollywood is at dumbing things down, and how you’ll never learn empathy from watching TV: if you want that, you’re just going to have to read a book!
Graham Downs is a South African author. He was born in Alberton, in Gauteng, South Africa, and now lives in Germiston with his wife. Aside from being an independent author, he is a computer programmer in Rivonia.
Since publishing his first book (A Petition to Magic) in 2012, he has published four more, including his latest, Heaven and Earth: Paranormal Flash Fiction. This is a collection of six flash fiction stories, ranging from straight-up horror to downright weird.
Although he has always had a passion for writing, it wasn't until December 2012, at the age of 32 that Downs finally decided to unleash his imagination onto the world at large. The result was A Petition to Magic, a short fantasy story about a wizard who cannot perform magic, and a queen who demands his help.
Following on the success of A Petition to Magic, Downs was asked by fellow author Darren Worrow in 2013, to contribute a story to a charity anthology called I am not Frazzle, benefiting the Devizes Community Centre for Children, in the United Kingdom. He eagerly accepted, and penned Stingers, which was included. The anthology was released in December of 2013. (Stingers was released as a stand-alone story on 16 June 2014.)
While I am not Frazzle was being prepared for release, Downs released his second story, Heritage of Deceit, on 1 December 2013. It's a modern day thriller, and tells the story of a man working in an office, who stumbles across what he believes is a relic from an old genocide.
In October 2014, in time for Halloween, Billy's Zombie was released. It is a very short horror story, about a high school boy whom everyone thinks is a freak. In an effort to exact his revenge on his tormentors, he borrows a book on necromancy from the library, which he successfully uses to raise a zombie from the dead.
Wanting to continue his foray into the horror/paranormal genre, he went on to publish Heaven and Earth: Paranormal Flash Fiction in April 2015. This is a collection of six flash fiction stories in the horror/weird fiction genre.
His newest work is due for release in June 2016, and is now available for pre-order. It's called Tales From Virdura, and it continues the Flash Fiction format. However, he decided to revisit his roots, so to speak, as this collection expands upon the world and characters introduced in his first published story, A Petition to Magic
In addition to his published works, Downs has written many free flash fiction stories and essays, in a wide variety of genres. They're all available for free on his blog. You can also find a monthly crossword puzzle there, sometimes with prizes for solving it correctly. Find both his free writing, and the monthly crossword puzzle, by visiting his Blog.
Graham Downs is always working on new stories, in a variety of different genres, and he hopes to go from strength to strength as he releases better and better writing, and his popularity continues to grow.