+Book Spotlight & Announcement+ B.R. Maul [debut author] of “Portals, Passages, & Pathways”, a YAFantasy selection of epic proportions!

Posted Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

}: Book Spotlight & Announcement :{

Portals, Passages, & Pathways by B.R. Maul
Published BySelf-Published by Author, 11 March 2014
Official Author WebsitesSite | Blog | @BRMaul_author | Facebook | GoodReads
Converse on Twitter: #LandofMagnanthia
& #BRMaul
Available Formats: E-Book
Page Count: approx. 478


Portals, Passages, & Pathways by B.R. Maul

}: Book Synopsis :{

When a portal to another world cracks open just outside the small town of Riverside, it sets off a series of events forever changing the lives of two boys; one boy is chosen to lead a world to peace while the other one is chosen to tear it apart.

Simon Whittaker lives an ordinary teenage life. That is until the most powerful ring in the land of Magnanthia chooses him to become its guardian. Overnight, Simon has had to flee from something trying to kill him, seen magical spells he had only read about in stories, and stepped into the most majestic world ever imagined.

Swept away to the fantastic world that’s in the midst of a brutal war, Simon must place his life in the hands of four unlikely travelers, a swordsman, ranger, cleric, and wizard, sent to lead him down the right path. While King Elderten has ordered death to Magnanthia’s nine guardians, the group he believes is responsible for the kingdom’s devastation, Simon remains the only hope for those who believe the guardians are innocent.

Meanwhile, Jak Jakobsin has been pulled through a portal by two of Bedlam’s undead scouts. Bedlam’s overlord plans to use Jak, along with his army of undead, goblins, and trolls, to build a force so powerful that Magnanthia will be his forever. “Portals, Passages & Pathways” is a story of our greatest journey, to discover our purpose in this life, and the consequences of the choices we make to get there. “In the Land of Magnanthia” is the first novel in the series and is complete just under 115,000 words. It’s told from the alternating viewpoints of Jak and Simon.

}: Author Biography :{

B.R. Maul

A fan of fantasy fiction since he was a child, B.R. Maul has always enjoyed a good story, whether it came in the form of books or role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. Maul has lived in the heart of the Red River Valley for most of his life. He was born in Fargo, N.D. in 1974. A house fire changed his family’s course when he was a child, and in the early ‘80s, his parents took over a small family business in Moorhead, MN, where he remained for his school years.

Maul holds an undergraduate degree in secondary English education with an emphasis in creative writing. He spent a few years working as a substitute teacher, and since fall 2013, he has dedicated all of his time to writing. Maul’s first novel, “Portals, Passages & Pathways Part 1: In the Land of Magnanthia” debuts March 25. The book is the first installment in a fantasy series. Maul lives in Fargo with his wife and two kids. The couple is expecting their third child in March.

}: Jorie’s Thoughts on Behalf of B.R. Maul :{

I initially signed up for this particular blog tour wholly enthused and genuinely excited! to participate in Maul’s literary début! I had hoped to read and review “Portals, Passages, & Pathways” as its the first installment of an epic fantasy series which perked my attention due to the story-line and depth of where Maul is choosing to take his characters! A journey into a new fantasy world where imaginations are lit with anxious anticipation! An appreciator of fantasy fiction for over 17 years, I am on a Quest to seek out wicked new emerging writers in the craft as a genre; due to the enormity of how far the market has endevoured to give the hearty reader a choice in narrative, style, and voice!

Realising this novel would not release in print! or POD formats, I opted instead to showcase Maul on Jorie Loves A Story, because I had a strong belief in his novel and in his approach of the writer’s craft. I wanted to feature his début in order to help spread the word of his remarkable world taking flight into the hands of readers world-wide via e-book and e-reader release! Although, I am not able to read those formats myself, I will at times continue to feature e-book authors of whom I feel could garnish a larger net of readers (such as myself) once their able to get their stories into a printed and bound copy!

Maul is a self-published author who is going to make a nice splash in the Young Adult Fantasy arena, for providing his young readers with a golden opportunity to dig into a soundly built world full of magical intrigue and a character arc which will give all of us (irregardless of age!) the promise of what is yet to come next in the sequels! One of the key reasons I appreciate fantasy series is due to being able to re-visit the characters we’ve become attached too whilst seeing where their next chapters within their lives lead them to venture next! The cinemascope appealment of seeing all the action and heart develop through your mind’s eye with such a reel of precision to have it feel tangibly real as its read is my singular hope for each new novelist I discover!

Although billed as ‘young adult fantasy’, you might have realised by now that I, Jorie, of Jorie Loves A Story appreciates a wide spectrum of literature and one of my greatest joys is highlighting positive innovators of Children’s Literature who paint a stroke of positivity inside their stories! May Maul have a wonderful success in stitching together a readership who will be just as on pins as I am to soak into the Land of Magnanthia!

}: Author Q&A :{

{ in the Land of Magnanthia,

through the eyes of the writer }

“Portals, Passages & Pathways” is billed as “a story of our greatest journey, to discover our purpose in this life, and the consequences of the choices we make to get there.” How did you get started writing this series?

We all have a purpose in life. We just need to take time to discover what that purpose is. Mine, I learned, is storytelling. When I was a teenager I remember thinking that it sounded ridiculous to wait until the end of my life to do what my heart longed for. Unfortunately, like the majority of people, I bought into the lie I was supposed to pick a “real” career, make as much money as I could, and then retire. After fifteen years of making, spending, and chasing money, something happened. People dear to me were struck down from terminal illness, and some died. I came to realize I was on the wrong path…but, like all paths, it would still lead me to the inevitable, my own death. I’d been arrogant, and naïve, assuming I knew what tomorrow was going to bring and that there were going to be enough tomorrows so I could retire and live purposefully. I quickly got off that path while I still could and started down the right path. I began writing.

I could not agree more about our individual journey in life involving not only the acceptance of our individual gifts to partake with us as we head off in life to pursue our dreams, but in the ability to recognise that it’s the arrival of where we’re meant to be can only be lessened by the path in which we traversed to get there! All our experiences leading up to understanding our full potential and our innate gift to share with others is what makes living such a great joy! You have to remain open and cognizant of the truths which alight on your shoulders, knowing how and when to trust your instincts as much as allowing your heart to guide you!

For each door which is closed for reasons we are never quite sure of, windows start to emerge out of the ether giving us a new opportunity to pursue our innermost desire and aspirations. Sometimes it takes a ‘wake-up call’ in life to re-assert the hidden truths we always were keenly aware of but perhaps lacked the confidence to shift forward towards. Sorrow, grief, and death of loved ones enlightens us on our mortality but also, the breadth of everything we are endowed to learn whilst we live. Life as it’s lived is the greatest adventure, and keying into who we are and who we want to be whilst we’re alive is the greatest discovery we can make! Next to love, of course! Love knits together Hope; whereas Faith emboldens us to Believe in the Light of our Dreams!

As a reader, it’s easy to get lost in the world of Magnanthia. For people who haven’t read your book yet, can you describe the setting?

Magnanthia is enchanting and extremely beautiful. The spiritwood trees almost glow their colors are so vibrant, and the intricate design of sea silk, a.k.a. blue quagmire, is miraculous. Magnanthia is also monumental. Shiftwood trees grow hundreds of feet high with girths bigger than houses, and Paramount Peak is so large they say all the other mountains in Magnanthia could fit into it. The indigenous life is spectacular…and mysterious. The land has energy of its own. It’s also foreboding. A small part of it has spread like cancer to outlying lands creating a chaotic environment where glamour and wasteland collide.

My soul and spirit regenerate whilst walking in the lushness of nature, where the balance of life itself is represented in such wonderful splendor as to give us a portal in which to walk through where time itself can stand still! Our eyes can alight and adjust to the balance of the natural world’s beauty whilst endeavouring ourselves to seek a way to see the muted and bright colours which make all of nature quite majestic and lovely! Ancient trees too wide in girth to properly hug, lest to pull back our heads to see where their canopies end or begin is a world in which I long to become familiar with myself! A land in and out of harmony and in conflict against itself is surely a story which proves the full breadth of what a fantasy reader is hoping to find inside its chapters!

Simon and Jak are such divergent characters, but what are some ways that they are similar to each other?

Simon and Jak both feel segregated from the rest of the world. They don’t fit in with their peers and have a hard time relating to others. They are also both bullied. However, how they respond to feeling segregated and to being bullied are completely different.

I will always champion writers who take a bold step towards addressing, highlighting, and ruminating about the state of bullies and the bullied. I have already featured two wonderful Children’s Lit novels which give a unique perspective of not only those who find themselves bullied but the point-of-cause of how a bully starts the behaviour to negatively address their situations and emotions. The books were “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio & “The Pact” by Mitchell S. Karnes, of whose sequel will be reviewed in June 2014. I will look forward one day to seeing how you have stitched this sequence of our living reality into your story!

What do you think makes them so relatable?

They’re genuine. Simon and Jak may have different backgrounds and circumstances, but they have the same kinds of feelings, emotions, and reactions to their problems like the rest of us. They, too, want to love, be loved, be happy, and find their place in this world. And like you and me, Simon and Jak make their share of mistakes along the way.

I oft find the best way to guide and teach children (especially teens) is to give them an honest and real portrayal of real-life events or events which could develop in real-life yet presented in fictional form as an outlet and plausible platform for the heart of the messages to sink into their minds. Giving them something to grow pensive about and hopefully realise the proper ways in which to react and cope with negativity and strong emotions which effectively can lead to choices they may regret. As much as I hope it can show how strong you have to be within your own spirit and shoes to rise above the tides when bullies enter your life.

What drew you to the fantasy genre when you were a kid, and why do you think that genre has stuck with you all these years?

The adventure! There’s something about dragons, castles, heroic knights, journeys to faraway places, creatures and monsters, spells, magical items, and lost treasures that whisks me away from the endless grind of reality, straight into the depths of the wondrous imagination. The fantasy genre has stuck with me for so long because it had the greatest impact on my childhood, and for that reason, the rest of my being.

Oh, dear my, yes! That is precisely why I have been entrenched into the fantasy genre myself! I still remember being wickedly excited to see “Willow” on the silver screen in a darkened theater! The excitement of renting “Pete’s Dragon” from the video store giving me a joyous heart for ‘long weekends’! I garnished an appreciation for fantasy novels by seeking out fantasy in motion pictures; which is quite the opposite way of doing it, even though I did read a limited amount of science fiction & fantasy as a child! As I grew, I took my love of everything you’ve mentioned whilst being mindful of finding wordsmiths and world-builders who could leave me in a state of ‘awe’ and ‘inspiration’! Re-lighting our passion for our imaginations is the best gift a writer can be given by a story!

Did growing up in the Red River Valley influence your writing at all?

The Red River Valley has a unique way of growing at its own pace, almost untouched from the rest of the nation. It’s the last place to catch onto trends, fashions, and movements, if at all. I’d have to say I grew up with a rather wholesome perspective morally, spiritually, and culturally. I believe this may have influenced the fact I enjoy reading and writing young adult fiction. Our teenage years are full of first-time moments that sculpt us into the adults we eventually become. And as a writer, I find it more challenging to bring a reader into an intense moment without using obscene or abrasive language.

Whilst travelling through the Mid-West, one of my favourite stop-overs was Fargo, North Dakota & Moorhead, Minnesota, which is precisely where you hail from and create your fantasy worlds! I believe there are certain enfolds of townes and communities within our country who have chosen to forestall time a bit to keep the softer side of living intact. To go back to community stronghold of neighbourly kindness, local events where friends outweigh outside visitors, and where the pace of living is not set against a clock or a time-stamp, but rather the enjoyment of the days, the hours, and the way in which life ebbs at its own rate of arrival! Despite living in a metropolis, I believe I achieved a similar background of childhood & growing years by having a family who was rooted in the timeless belief that children deserve to have innocence and freedom to learn and grow in an environment where the outside world takes a backseat for a number of years!

You might find a curious notation of an indexed category on Jorie Loves A Story, entitled simply as “Fly in the Ointment”, which is my cheeky and clever way of speaking about what I am propelled to be turnt off inside the books I read and choose to showcase on my blog! The number one vexation I have is the abrasive and explicit use of vulgarity in literature. I’m not a prude, but if the level of its usage is bent-on shock rather than language, I am not going to be content to let it pass. Personally, the writers who endear me long-term have stories which never even think of broaching a harsher word than ‘hell’ or ‘damn’ in their novels! IF you can sort out how to keep the innocence inside your stories but reflect the stronger emotions without resorting to vulgarity, you’ll not only win me over but all readers who are gentle in spirit!

}: Author Quotation :{

“There is also much to be said about the fantasy realm
where Magnanthia is located,” Maul says. “The realm holds
true to the traditional sense of fantasy worlds, and there
are some fun and exciting new creatures
and magical

This Book Spotlight & Announcement is courtesy of:

In the Land of Magnanthia by B.R. Maul Blog Tour with JKS Communications Literary Publicity Firm

Be sure to scope out my Bookish Upcoming Events to mark your calendars!!

Return on the morrow, to read Mr. Maul’s Author Guest Post!

Similar to blog tours, when I feature a showcase for an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog.

Kindly leave a note for Mr. Maul in the comment threads about how this spotlight encouraged you to seek out his début novel! And, I want to open the comment threads in relating what you seek first and foremost out of a new release in fantasy!? What kinds of stories whet your palette of interest and are you attracted to high fantasy tales where characters have epic adventures set with a magically beautiful setting and world!? Which Young Adult Fantasy novelists do you feel are bridging the gaps for Children’s Literature to give a hearty & true story, but without the harshness or dark undertones of the adult releases!? What stood out to you about Maul’s approach to his craft!?

+ Open Invitation for Book Discussion +

+ 28 March, 2014 +

Author B.R. Maul has expressed a desire to converse with readers who pick up “Portals, Passages, & Pathways” to return to Jorie Loves A Story giving all of us a hearty discussion about the life lessons & attributes of each of the character’s arc which translated directly into the reader’s heart! I am hoping to read a print copy of the story myself one day, and therefore, this is an Open Discussion Post where the comment threads will be waiting for you to return & share your experiences & thoughts about the story as you read it! I look forward to hearing your recollections & to dig a bit deeper into the heart of the narrative!!

{SOURCES: Book Cover art for “Portals, Passages, & Pathways”, B.R. Maul photograph, book synopsis, author biography, author quotation & author Q&A (taken from the Press Kit) were provided by JKS Communications Literary Publicity Firm and used with permission. Although, the Author Q&A was provided for me to incorporate into my Book Spotlight, I chose to do so because the Questions were similar to ones I would have pitched to the author myself had I elected to host a separate Author Interview &/or Author Q&A. My replies are given to highlight a bit more insight into why I am quite eager to read this novel in print! Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Book Spotlight of E-Book (ahead of POD/print edition), Bookish Discussions, Bullies and the Bullied, Debut Novel, Fantasy Fiction, Heroic Fantasy, High Fantasy, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Self-Published Author, The Natural World, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

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