New Pickles


In the first paragraph of Seeking Solace, Juvenot–a minion of the villain–is remembering the taste of new pickles. If you’ve never enjoyed a new pickle, I pity you. Go to any real delicatessen in NYC and you’ll have some with your pastrami. Ted’s Montana grill also serves them. They’re cucumbers that have been left to sour for only a short time and haven’t been heated. They are crunchy, fresh, sour and tangy. A villain isn’t a villain unless he appreciates some of the finer things in life.

Anna’s Blog with Suzanne Johnson about Dragons

Dragons and Characters’ Inner Conflicts with Anna Steffl and Giveaway!

Posted by Stephen Jones on June 17, 2014 in Blog, Featured

There Be Draeden

I’d wager a thousand gold crowns that dragons have lurked in the caves of the human imagination as long as humans have had imaginations. Every major culture brings them to life through every form of art. Chinese dragon dance, anyone? They are big creatures and embody big ideas like evil, power, control of the elements, and luck.

But I like my dragons in books because though they still are big idea beasts,solace photo no matter how detailed the writer’s description, they are still subject to my imagination. And any author with half a wit uses the dragon as symbolism of a hero’s interior conflict. In books, dragons are personal. They are the ones who most closely resemble the first imagined dragons, beings built inside a single mind to answer a soul’s question. Why do storms rage and flood my house? Why did a fire destroy my crops? Why is the emperor so much more powerful than I am? Why is my neighbor luckier than I am? Where do the ugly and frightful things come from? How do I explain the things beyond my control?

I write dragons, but call them draeden because that’s how the fantasy thing rolls. While developing the two dragons in my Solace trilogy, they seemed to spring out of nowhere, but now looking at how the novels works, at my characters’ (and my own) internal and external challenges, I can clearly see how these beasts came to be more than monsters to be slain. Continue reading

A Who’s Who of Solace

The People, Places and Things of Solace


Superior Madra Cassandra—head of the Solacian order

Hera Arvana Nazar (Hera Solace)—tasked with finding a champion to wield the Blue Eye

Hera Musette—spiritual advisor to Lady Martise in Acadia

Heran Kieran—a Solacian brother


Prince Gregory Fassal—heir of Sarapost

Captain Myronan Degarius—leader of the Frontiersmen who carries Assaea, a blessed sword

Sergeant Jamis Micah

Corporal Salim

Corporal Nat

Chancellor Degarius—Degarius’s father

Lina—Degarius’s deceased grandmother

Stellan—Degarius’s deceased grandfather


King Dontyre Lerouge

Prince Chane Lerouge—by inheritance carries Artell, a blessed sword

Princess Jesquin Lerouge—Hera Arvana’s student

Lady Martise—widow of the king’s brother, hostess to Solacians in Acadia

Attaché Honor Keithan—assistant to the prince

Lord Sebastion—an impoverished nobleman

Miss Gallivere—a friend of the princess


Sovereign Alenius

Breena—the sovereign’s beloved

General Sibelian Aleniusson—adopted son of the sovereign

Cleric Nils—the sovereign’s former advisor

Cleric Rorke—chief cleric of the Worship Hall

Captain Juvenot—keeper of Seraph

The asher—a newly made eunuch

Captain Berlsen—of the Fortress Guard


The Scyon—a spirit recalled from Hell

Seraph—the poison draeden

Megreth—the fire draeden

Ancient Heroes

Lukis—ended Reckoning with the blessed sword Artell

Paulus—ended Reckoning with the Blue Eye and the sword Assaea

Mariel—founder of Solace


Assaea—a blessed sword thought lost

Artell—a blessed sword kept by the Acadians

The Beckoner—a device that resurrects dead spirits into a new body

The Blue Eye—a device that can kill by drawing souls into Hell