Spotlight: Rival Gates Visits to Talk About His Fantasy Book!

Today, we're doing something a little different. Fellow Solstice author Rival Gates is stopping by to talk about his fascinating fantasy book!

Hello, Rival! It's great that you're visiting MLB.  :)




 Hello! Thanks so much for having me!




My pleasure, of course! So, let me ask a few questions since you're here...

All right.


Can you tell us a little about your latest book? When did it come out and where can we get it?

This is a story of Linvin Grithinshield trying to locate the fabled Red Sapphire in order to become a champion for the helpless and the weak with its great magic.  Another party also has sought the gem and has killed his parents in an effort to get the components necessary to find it.  It will not be enough to just find the magic stone.   Linvin must prove himself worthy of its power along his quest.

It was published in December, 2013 and can be purchased at Amazon and Barnes & Noble


So, what inspired you to write your book? How did you get into writing fantasy?


I have loved fantasy ever since I read The Chronicles of Narnia as a child.  I read many different authors but always found problems with their stories.  So I endeavored to create a story without the gaps and flaws I kept finding.  My work is not perfect, but it answers the questions many books leave in the air.


Great! What, do you feel, sets this book apart from other books in the genre?


I spend a lot of time on character development.  The characters must change throughout the book and in order to do that they need a solid foundation.  Many books give a quick overview of the character and move on.  I am much more in depth.

All right.

So...give us a teaser or two if you can.
Teaser One

Linvin was still. He closed his eyes and tried to put aside the events of the day. At last he spoke, “My life makes no sense to me. There I was, growing up with my parents and then out of nowhere my father tells me, ‘I must send you away, son. You are destined for something greater than the life I can provide. The greatness in your future lies down a separate road than I must travel. To prepare for that, I must send you to the greatest teacher you could have, Sedemihcra.’”
“‘You will be trained to be a soldier, a commander and a leader of men. He will also train you to use your mind to solve problems that force alone cannot solve. He will set you on the right path. When the time is right and your training is complete, I will send for you to return home.’”
“I asked him what was at the end of my path. He had such passion in his voice as he told me, ‘One day you will make an unrivaled difference in the lives of others. The weak, the helpless, the oppressed; all will one-day look to you as their champion. They will be counting on you. I will be counting on you.’”
“‘To send you away is the hardest thing I have ever done. Your mother is against this but the time has come for you to begin your training. There is so much at stake, son. You will have the chance to stand up to tyranny, oppression and all the evils of the world. That task will fall to you alone. You can rise to the challenge or turn your back. If you do turn away though, millions of people will suffer. Terrible storms are on the horizon. You are the only shelter the people will have. So you see, my son, that is why you must go.’”
Anvar sat his stein on the rail and began to pace. “Your parents agonized over the decision and your mother was indeed set against the entire idea, but in the end, your father would not defer. He sent you away because he knew that you needed training.”
Linvin finished his ale and refilled the great vessel. “I had many years to ponder those words as I grew up in Valia. It never made sense to me but I had to trust my father’s judgment.”
“So here I am at last, summoned home to fulfill my destiny. As it turns out, I am destined to be a merchant or politician and marry some cold, greedy woman who comes from the right family. I will settle down, make more money and be a proper member of society.” Linvin’s tone had been sarcastic and his movements, grandiose.
He approached Anvar in a combination of frustration and anger. “So, dear uncle, best friend of Dirk Grithinshield, is this the life for which my father sent me to be trained?”

Teaser Two

It was at that moment of uncertainty that Linvin and his cavalry attacked from the rear along the entire line. The goblins were so preoccupied with the happenings in front of them, that they paid no heed to the cavalry in the rear, forming a line along the length of their formation. Bewildered goblins never saw the strikes coming that cut them down. The phalanx was so tightly packed that Linvin’s troops could not miss.
Linvin struck like thunder with his long sword. He slashed to his right and then his left, dropping goblins with each stroke. As quickly as he could swing his sword, he would kill another.
Linvin was not alone in his success. His cavalry cut deep swaths into the rear goblin ranks. The cavalry maintained their line and did not get too far ahead of each other in order to avoid being surrounded.
The discipline observed among the goblins seemed to bleed away in the chaos. Indecision took center stage. Due to the close formation, they could not turn to fight without dropping their pikes. But without their pikes, they would be at a great disadvantage to the horsemen. It led to carnage on an unprecedented scale, courtesy of Linvin’s cavalry.
Indecision gave way to panic as the majority of what was once a phalanx dropped their spears and drew their melee weapons. Rather than continue to be attacked from behind, they chose to turn and fight as best they could.
The change in tactics could not have come at a better time at the shield-wall. The front line had collapsed and Sculla’s men were on the verge of being routed. With most of the pikes discarded, there was at last a moment to hasten fresh troops to the line and reform the wall. Personally taking the lead, Sculla ordered an advance. They marched with their wall intact to the front of the goblin line and engaged.
The cavalry was meeting with more fierce resistance with the change of weapons. Their progress slowed and they began to take losses.
Linvin was striking more swords then armor as his enemy rallied. At least one goblin had kept his spear. He struck Linvin’s horse with a killing blow. The steed stood on its hind legs and then fell to its side.
Linvin was thrown to the ground with his sword and shield flying from his hands. His helmet fell forward, covering his eyes. With a swipe of his forearm he knocked the helmet off.
A goblin stood above Linvin with his sword in hand. He was ready to strike. He propped his arm in front of him and braced for the blow. Nothing happened. Linvin looked again and saw a blade erupt from the goblin’s chest before sending him to the ground. Left standing behind the body was an astonished Fardar.
Linvin could not believe it. They exchanged a brief nod. Linvin regained his feet quickly, holding a sickle-sword and hand ax. He immediately struck right past Fardar’s head with the sword. It caught a goblin in the face that was about to kill Linvin’s savior. There was no time to thank one another. The two stood back-to-back and continued the fight.
Linvin slashed at the hamstring of one, as he buried the ax deep in another. Drawing back quickly, he stabbed and chopped at two more. The flailing of his arms made him a difficult target to approach. It also made him lose sight of Fardar.
The moments passed like days. For every goblin that fell, another filled his place. There appeared to be no reprieve from the endless enemy surge.
Linvin’s swipes slowed to show his growing exhaustion. Reluctant goblins encircled him and probed for weakness. One broke the circle and charged him. Linvin dispatched him quickly but turned to see the others rushing his position. He chose a side, attacking with what strength he could give. One goblin fell, then another. He felt the weapons strike his armor in the back. Before he could turn, a sword gashed his left bicep. The ax fell from his hand as his arm dropped. The blow knocked him backward. He lashed out at the offender with his sickle-sword, slashing across the throat.
Linvin stumbled, but retained his feet. With no one before him, the exhausted general turned to strike behind. His blade picked up speed as he spun around. In an instant, his blow was stopped in mid-swing. In astonishment, Linvin looked at his arm and saw a hand clasped around his wrist. His eyes followed the hand to its source and found it to belong to Sculla. He was smiling at his general.

Riveting excerpts!

So, I'm sure readers are curious about your next writing project. Can you tell us what you've got cooking up now or is that a secret?

Book two, The Sapphire Crucible, is out now and the third book, Mandrean Revenge, is due out this year.  I am about half way done with book four, Repercussions Abound 

All excellent titles! How exciting!

Thanks so much for stopping by to tell us about this book, Rival!

My pleasure!

Readers, you'll just have to pick up a copy of this exciting fantasy story!  ;)
Here is the blurb.
General Linvin Grithinshield was used to enemies trying to kill him on the battlefields of the medieval world of Lavacia. Now he has the fear of being killed anytime, anywhere. He thinks he is summoned home from the goblin wars to oversee the family merchant empire after his father’s disappearance; and for a while he is right. Then his mother is assassinated and Linvin’s true purpose is revealed. He must seek out and find the all-powerful Red Sapphire and claim its might before the murders find it…or him. With new dangers around every turn in an ever-escalating spiral of violence, he must prove himself worthy of the gem and lead his party to success against insurmountable odds. To fail would mean death for far more than just him. The world, itself, could fall into permanent shadow and darkness.

Sounds thrilling!
Oh, and don't forget to pick up your copy now! Rival is running a 99 cents offer for the Kindle version. How awesome is that? Go for it!
About the Author:  
I was born in Port Huron, MI and was the youngest of four surviving children.  At the age of five my father took a position as a magazine editor in Toronto, Ontario Canada.  We moved to a large city just outside Toronto called Mississauga.  The different cultures and demographics to which I was exposed formed many of the ideas for my story.  
When I was thirteen, my father’s declining health forced him out of work and our family struggled.  It was at that time that I decided to channel my negative energy into a constructive purpose.  I set out to write a short story about a magical gem called the Red Sapphire.  My brothers teased me that such a stone was simply a ruby.  That irony was part of the attraction for me.  After all, who would be writing about a Red Sapphire?  Years went by and we moved down to my Father’s home town of Harrow, Ontario on the shores of Lake Erie.  It was a drastic change from city life and I found myself retreating more and more into my ever growing story.  By age fifteen I had a two-hundred page hand written manuscript.   
Advancing from high school to college at Michigan State University there was little time for writing and the project sat in a drawer in my parent’s home.  In spite of my lack of attention to writing, every night I would fall asleep working out details of the book and the series to follow. I met a wonderful woman at Michigan State who agreed after graduation to become my wife.  As we started our family I began a career in retail management and sales.  For over twenty years I excelled in the field and even incorporated some of my knowledge into the book.  I hold my position in the greatest esteem. While I rewrote the story several times on my computer, I did not attempt to publish it until the longest supporter of my writing, my mother, became terminally ill.  She told me the last time I saw her how proud she was of the story I had created and made me promise to publish it and share it with the world.  With the loving support of my wife, our three children and the help of the good people at Solstice Publishing, I am fulfilling that promise.   
When my father (ever the editor) read the book, he told me how proud he was and that somewhere he knew my mother was equally proud.  I present to you the first part of the saga which is my life’s work, Quest for the Red Sapphire.  May it bring you as much joy to read as it has brought me to write.
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