Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Jonathan J. Michael and his epic fantasy series, Blood of Azure.
BLOOD OF AZURE SERIES
Four races with powers dictated by the seasons seek balance and prosperity. However, life instinctively primes itself for survival, and when one race commands the touch of death, all others fall in line. Tyranny plagues Azure as an immortal ruler governs the knowledge of the seasons and those wielding its power.
Four young protagonists, Stone, Jaymes, Goose, and Astor, each navigate their way to escape his shadow and reclaim their freedom. Simple ambitions for young souls. But little did they know, they would uncover the secrets the realm is built upon, and the unique talents they each carry. Their ignorance allows the knowledge of the seasons to escape into the world around them little by little, and with it, a power loosing anarchy upon the realm. A power most aren’t worthy of wielding. It is up to Stone and his companions to tame that power and reclaim the balance.
Four seasons to balance the land. Four sages to balance the life.
SEASON OF SACRIFICE, BOOK 1
Courage is for the bold. It is not for Stone McLarin. He’s been in hiding for four seasons after being orphaned by the Taoiseach. He doesn’t care for the heroic antics of avenging his parent’s death or securing his freedom. He only desires one thing—to protect his sister’s life.
This proves challenging when his sister, Jaymes, possesses a rivaling power of decay to that of the tyrant ruler’s. She’s a threat to his dominance, and there will be no escaping his shadow.
When the Taoiseach manipulates his way into Jaymes’s life and steals her away, Stone has no choice but to follow. He must venture into the heart of the tyrant’s domain and figure out how to penetrate the impenetrable. And if he succeeds there, he will have to slay the most powerful man in Azure.
In a world ruled by decay, what chance does life stand?
Season of Sacrifice is part one of the Blood of Azure series—an epic fantasy full of grim encounters, heroic adventures, unique magic, and a captivating world to explore.
Author’s Note: Contains explicit language and some graphic descriptions.
SEASON OF SUFFERING, BOOK 2
A villain in his own mind, Stone McLarin is labeled the hero for murdering a man.
Not only is Stone weighted down as a hero, but he’s idolized by the dominant religion, and he’s the sole protector of the knowledge of the ages. The pressure of the entire realm is on his shoulders.
Carib Reign, a shapeshifter building an army of immortals, plans to purge the Crimson Capital to find this hidden knowledge. His motive, to give the people of Azure the freedom they deserve.
With many adventures along the way, Stone will lead the charge to defend the Crimson Capital against the Immortal Army. Should he fail, anarchy is inevitable. Death for all Azure, a possibility.
Where there is life, death anticipates. But what if death is abandoned? Life will rebel.
Season of Suffering is part two of the Blood of Azure series—an epic fantasy with both light and dark hearts. You’ll experience many fantasy tropes, clashing swords, unique magic, fantastical beasts, and a wide range of Azure’s scenic terrain.
Author’s Note: Contains explicit language and some graphic descriptions.
About Jonathan J. Michael
Jonathan J Michael was born and raised in the greater Seattle area in the scenic state of Washington. Jonathan is an advocate of science, nature, and exploration, which has a heavy influence in his debut series, Blood of Azure.
When I drive down the freeway, I often want to veer onto the backroads and head for the mountains. When I’m at an evening gathering, I’m eager to step outside and gaze at the stars. When I’m on a ferry, I’m at the guardrail staring into the depths wondering what kind of leviathans lurk below. I’m an explorer, and since I’m not on the next Crew Dragon headed for the ISS, fantasy novels let me have what I seek. I write to explore a world of wonder.
Why I Write Fantasy
by Jonathan J. Michael
A waterfall pours from the clouds. Flying fish dance around it in a thrum of idiocy, searching for food. My spear flies, piercing two or three. The predator becomes a meal today. I move to retrieve my catch, and the looming shadow appears again. I halt, wary of its existence. What is it? It hovers above the clouds, just over the waterfall. A thin line drops from the fluffy ceiling, something glowing on the end of it. Something sweet. Is that…is that neverweed? It only blooms once in a cycle. It’s not time. I beat my fins. The sweet aroma draws me in, nearly irresistible. The idiocy of fish continues to circle around themselves, and only scatter when I get within an arm’s reach. With a swift jab, I snag the neverweed. Bubbles fill the dense air around me as high velocity projectiles shoot downward. A dark net encapsulates me, sending me skyward.
My imagination is my limitation. If there’s consistency within the realm, it works. Even if it’s consistently inconsistent. The thrill of discovering ridiculous ideas is fun. I intend to write an entire series surrounding that paragraph. And when I find a way to pull all the ridiculousness together in a logical manner, it will be exhilarating. That is why I write fantasy. I can turn idiocy into brilliance with the right flow of words.
The dense air grows denser as I’m pulled upward. I touched the ceiling once. When I was a child testing my limits. But never have I flown into the clouds. We don’t go into the clouds. The air is nearly unbreathable. As it thickens, I can feel the heavy weight on my lungs. Suddenly, all is clear. The pressing weight lifts and shocks my system as the air above the clouds is quite the opposite. Too thin to breathe. I gasp, trying to fill my lungs, but I cannot get enough air. I must return to my world, beneath the clouds. I don’t belong up here. I pause for a moment, as I realize the serenity of the space surrounding me. A blue ceiling spanning across the sky. Not the marbling whites and greys I’m accustomed to. And the sun shines brightly. I only ever witness it once a cycle, but in a fraction of what I’m sensing now. Its warmth fills me. The energy pours into me. I try to sprawl out to take it in, and remember I’m trapped within a net, being hoisted to a dark silhouette above me. And I struggle to breathe. How do I escape?
My protagonist pops into a new world. A world with a taste of beauty and novelty. But also, a world of threat and toxicity. It creates wonder. Wonder I have no limitations to explore. My protagonist has limitations, perhaps, but not the writer. That’s why I write fantasy. To explore new worlds.
I can breathe, but hardly. I’ve trained for this. It’s no different than when we submerge ourselves to the depths where the neverweed grows. Deep beneath the dense oceans. I flatten my lips, allowing a slow stream of the thin air to fill my lungs. I continue letting it in and balloon my chest as far as it will go, then slowly exhale. This is just to calm my nerves. It’s a new world up here. The tribe will be thrilled to hear about this. If I return. I continue my slow breathing exercises. I open my diaphragm as I inhale, hold my breath for a short second, then slowly exhale. The fresh air replaces the low-quality air hunkered deep within me. I do this several more times, and my breathing gets easier, as long as it’s slow and methodical. Once I have my breathing under control, I unsheathe the sickle at my waist and slice at the netting. A hole opens, and I fall through it—an experience I’ve never encountered. Panic takes hold. I haven’t trained for this. My fins beat against the air but do nothing. My arms flail but have no grasp on the air around me. I’m too heavy up here, the air cannot support my mass. I gasp, forgetting my breathing techniques as I plummet. A puff of clouds catches me, and it quickly turns back into my ceiling. A dull, grey, comfortable ceiling. I’m safe.
A common experience for humanity. A wonder to my protagonist. Can you imagine not knowing what it’s like to fall? He lives in a world where falling doesn’t exist. It’s an untouched experience for him. That’s why I write fantasy. To experience the world from different perspectives.
There are so many reasons to write fantasy, but for me it all boils down to exploring ridiculous ideas, discovering new worlds, and experiencing them through different eyes. Fantasy opens the mind and hacks away boundaries.
Find Jonathan J. Michael
Buy the Blood of Azure Books
Yes, there is a giveaway
Jonathan J. Michael will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish.
My Favorite Excerpt
From Season of Suffering: I step away from the blood-soaked terrain and reach into my belt pouch, withdrawing a few seeds. I ponder over them for a moment. My fury subsides. But not completely. Just enough for me to regain my senses. Pain floods my body. I get down to one knee and drop the seeds into the soil, brushing remains of the decaying forest floor over top of them. I press hard into the soil with both hands.
One sprout emerges from the ground ahead of two others. All three grow to knee-high in size before a plumage of green needles sprouts from the top. Then branches spill away from the still thickening trunk and begin to form digits. The trunk itself, on all three saplings, rips from the ground and splits at the base, each forming digits as well. Dark eyes spring open and flutter as they wake.
I rise above the forest children. They stand attentive, awaiting instruction. “Arbormen, there is no battle this time, my apologies.” I speak candidly to them. “I require you to send a message. Find Iron Valor and tell him of what happened here. Tell him it is time. Go.” The forest children scurry into the waking forest without hesitation and vanish amidst the undergrowth.
Retribution will be delivered. But first… First, I must deliver my family back to Azure.
Jonathan J. Michael — we appreciate your sharing your series Blood of Azure with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.