Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Passage of Hellsfire by Marc Johnson

For centuries, the kingdom of Alexandria has protected Northern Shala from the monstrous creatures lurking in the Wastelands. Now, a dark force threatens that fragile peace.

Far from home, Alexandria’s princess is abducted. When a young villager named Hellsfire stumbles upon her and her captors, he rushes in to rescue her, alone and unarmed. His fear and fury unleash an uncontrollable magical force that grants him the power to save the princess—and change the world.

Hellsfire has never craved nor dreamed of power. But such magic as he now possesses has not been seen in Northern Shala for a thousand years, since the devastation of the War of the Wizards and the creation of the Wastelands.

Now Hellsfire must leave all he’s ever known, and make a dangerous journey to learn to master this wild, ferocious power—power he knows he is not ready to wield. More difficult still, he needs to master his emotions. If he can’t, the power will consume him, Alexandria will fall, and darkness will eclipse the land, destroying everyone he loves.

In the dead of cold, the spark shall burn...
Marc Johnson lives and writes in the Bay Area. He has been reading his entire life and writing for almost as long. Until magazines went away, he used to freelance on the side, covering gaming. However, his first love has always been writing fiction and he loves stories in all its forms—movies, television, video games, comics. He will always write fiction because it’s the only way to get all of the crazy ideas out of his head.

He has recently released his first book Catalyst. It’s the beginning of his coming of age, romantic, high fantasy series, The Passage of Hellsfire. Marc Johnson plans to release one book a year and finish the six book series before he dies.

What will readers like about your book?
I hope readers will relate to my main character, Hellsfire, and how he struggles with his emotions and making the right decision while growing up. No matter the time period or culture, I believe all people can relate to a coming-of-age story. They might also like the romance between Hellsfire and Krystal. Lastly, there are people that can like it for magic, wizards, elves, and monsters.

Why did you self publish?
I self-published because I believe I have a better business sense than major publishing, and can adapt with these changing times. I feel as if I can get on the ground floor of something big, have control, and make my own way.

And while I believe the market is cyclical, I don’t believe my book would be picked up. High fantasy isn’t big and my book’s not bringing anything groundbreaking to the genre.

What is your writing process?
I outline first and then I write. I usually write with my feet up and chair reclined. It’s pretty boring except when I fall over for leaning too far back.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?
It takes me about 2-3 months to write my first draft. I find first drafts to be easy. It’s rewriting and editing them to be the tough part.

What inspired you to write this particular story?
I get most of my ideas from dreams. This story came from a dream and has been stuck with me ever since. Until I finish this series, I probably won’t write other stories.



The darkness spilled into the world, waiting to engulf, waiting to consume, waiting to fulfill its purpose. The light, though weak, was there to stop it as it always was—as it always would be. The battle had gone on since the beginning. This time, the light wrapped itself around the darkness, trying to enlighten it. It was only a matter of time before the light failed.

Luckily, it was not alone.


Fierce winds howled through the winter sky. A snowstorm had swept through the tiny village of Sedah the night before, smothering everything with a white blanket. With the dawn, the storm had turned into an unrelenting rain. The sudden runoff flooded low-lying areas, damaging homes and farmland.

On the outskirts of Sedah, the storm crashed against a rickety longhouse where a young woman struggled in labor. To her, the wind sounded like a horde of dark creatures trying to tear their way in. She longed for her husband’s strong arms and steady presence, but he was forever gone from her. The searing pain of that memory matched the pain in her body. Now she had to be strong for herself. And her child.

“Push,” the midwife said. “Push.”

“I can't,” said Damara. Sweat rolled off her body with each heavy breath. Her labor had dragged on for thirteen hours, and she had already endured more than she thought possible. She had nothing left.

The sharp, tight, pain encircled her hips. Each breath felt like jagged glass stabbing her belly. She bit down on her lower lip, too tired to even cry out. With her husband gone, the miracle of life felt like the strain of death. “I'm…exhausted.”

“I know you are, but you must get through this. Just one more good push and it'll be done.”

Damara stared through the midwife as if she wasn't there, trying not to dwell on the pain. Despite the cold, winter weather, she was drenched in sweat. Her clothes clung to her skin, and the heat and humidity in the room weighed heavily on her.

“I don't understand it,” the midwife murmured. “It's the dead of winter and it feels like we're in the Burning Sands.”

Damara ignored the midwife's words. Ever since she had become pregnant, she had felt the unusual heat residing in her. The cold hardly bothered her any more. Warmth wrapped constantly through her body, sending enough comfort to remind her she wasn’t alone. Damara gathered her remaining strength. She closed her eyes and pushed past the throbbing pain, taking fast, shallow breaths. She looked at the midwife, wasting no energy on words. She gave one brief nod.

Damara took a deep breath and screamed, matching the fury of the storm outside. Her anger and determination cut through the weariness, loneliness, and pain. As if the release of her emotions released her muscles, her body gave one final heave and there was a violent, rushing pain. It was done.




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