Saturday, June 6, 2015

Nicki J Markus - The Ragnarök Chronicles

The Ragnarök Chronicles

For Ragnarök will be completed....

Nothing marks Cassandra out - except her visions. She's only ever seen small, insignificant things. That is until the strange frost arrives.

With her normal life turned upside down, Cassandra is plunged into an extraordinary and terrifying world of Norse gods and rampaging giants, ancient feuds and broken prophecies.

A handsome stranger offers aid. But can Cassandra really trust him? More importantly, can she trust her own judgement when his slightest touch sets her heart and her body aflame?

ISBN (pbk): 978-0-9942346-0-5
ISBN (e-book): 978-0-9942346-1-2

Pages (print): 678
Genre: Fantasy Adventure/Mythology/Romance
Suitable: 16 years and above


Surtr had retired to his private chambers. He sat before the roaring flames that raced up and down the walls, a goblet and a plate of roasted meat on the table beside him, and pondered his existence. It was not something with which he would usually allow his thoughts to be troubled, but the visit of his sometime-nephew had left him in a reflective mood. From the moment the dust over the battlefield had cleared, life had become tedious.

Before Ragnarök he and his people had had purpose: enemies to fight and goals to pursue. But those enemies were vanquished, all goals long since achieved... so what was left for them? What reason did they have to wake each day, to eat, to sleep? He pushed his half-finished meal to the side and picked up the goblet. When he realised the cup was empty, he let it clatter to the floor.

His warriors grew restless. Training was not the same as battle. No staged tournament could ever hope to replicate the thrill of real combat, of war. Eldjötnar needed to smell blood on the air, to inhale the scent of burning flesh. They needed to feel the scorching flames at their back, within them, and raise their battle cries to the skies. Nothing less would satisfy the ravenous demands of the fire. He knew many of his guards had been upset when he let the godling leave intact. Oh, they had wanted to rend the pale flesh from his bones piece by tiny piece until his shrieks echoed around the Great Hall. And Surtr could not deny it would have been delightful sport—yet nothing more than a fleeting pleasure, over in a moment. No, he had made the right decision. The trickster would perish, and soon,  but for the present the boy was more use to him alive. He may only be a half-breed, but Fárbauti’s son was the closest thing to an enemy they had left. And Surtr needed an enemy, something to unite his people before his kingdom erupted into anarchy.

Discontented rumblings had reached his ears of late. Viewing his warriors from his throne in the Great Hall, he had noticed factions forming where before the eldjötnar had fought and died as one. It was not that he feared for his crown or his head, for he ruled with an iron fist and all knew the price of disobedience, of rebellion. However, he would not sit idly by and watch his realm descend into civil conflict. The Sons of Múspell were the supreme race now the Æsir were dust and they had an image and a reputation to maintain, regardless of how few remained alive to see it. 


Lets see if I can get through this review without giving anything away. This very lengthy story was a little slow at 1st, however, much to my surprise I became hooked. The main character is Cassandra. She has the ability of prediction, she's on a mission to help Loki save his world, not to mention hers too. Loki, the Norse God, is so not like the Marvel's Avengers. This one seems way more like-able. There is Tom, who I just couldn't figure out. He is a well built character, complex, but I couldn't figure out way he switched from harming Cassandra to protecting. The 9 Realms of world building was excellent. The writing style is flawless, and smooth. The story originality is outstanding. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Norse Mythology. I give it a 4 star rating.

Author Interview—Nicki J Markus

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Nicki J Markus and I was born in Kent, South-East England in 1982. In 2007 I went on a backpacking holiday, met my husband on a bus journey while visiting a pen pal in Adelaide, South Australia, and never went home! I married in 2011 and was granted Australian Citizenship in 2013, so here I am, a British-Australian. I currently work from home as a freelance editor and proofreader.

My background is languages and I still try to pursue that as much as I can; although, now I live in Australia I no longer get my long weekends in Prague or Paris to practise like I used to. I am interested in all forms of the arts—theatre, cinema, music (I sing and play several instruments), sketching, photography etc.—and I have a great love of history, folklore, and mythology. Many of these hobbies find a way to seep into my writing either through the storyline or characters.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

Two years ago I would have described myself as a seat-of-the-pants girl rather than a planner when it comes to writing; however, this has changed a little in the last year or so as I started to write longer stories with more complex plots and more characters. Now I would consider myself to sit somewhere between the two camps.

Short stories I still just sit and write without much preparation beyond deciding on names, a rough plotline, and a sense of the main characters’ appearances. For novels and novellas, though, I tend to work through the following process:

1) Scribble some initial ideas for plot and characters on paper

2) Mull everything over in my mind for a few hours/days as needed

3) Create characters profiles for the main characters (including physical appearance and personality/background)

4) Jot down some major plot points/chapter points to see roughly where I want to story to go

5) Commence writing!

So, while I still don’t plan everything to the tiniest detail in advance, preferring to see where the characters and story take me, I do give myself a basic path to follow and I make sure I know the characters really well as that helps me decided on their motivations and how they would act in different circumstances.

I tend to do three to four drafts. My first draft is usually the shortest as I mainly want to get the storyline down. The second draft I go back and fill in more detail on character feelings and scene descriptions. And then the third and fourth drafts, I cut out anything unnecessary and tweak the prose.

What books have most influenced your life?

Wow, so many it’s always hard to decide which books and authors to list for these questions. I read widely (pretty much anything apart from true crime and chick lit) but my favourite genres are literary fiction and paranormal/fantasy. Some of my favourite authors include: Dante, Shakespeare, Pushkin, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Victor Hugo, Milan Kundera, Haruki Murakami, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Charlaine Harris, Anne Rice, Clay & Susan Griffith, Deborah Harkness... the list could go on and on!

In terms of books influencing me, I guess different ones have had an impact at different times of my life. In my teens Les Misérables was hugely important to me, in my early twenties, Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin. Right now, in my early thirties, The Poetic Edda means a great deal to me.

Can you share a little of your current work/projects with us?

Of course! In terms of my paranormal/fantasy writing, I branched into self-publishing this year. As well as The Ragnarök Chronicles, I also released two of my older novellas (both reworked/re-edited), Day-Walker and Time Keepers, and now I am writing a new paranormal/gothic novel that I hope will release (either self-published or through a publisher) in 2016.

Meanwhile, I also delved into the world of MM writing in 2014 and am continuing with that, using the alternate pen name Asta Idonea. I already have three short stories published in anthologies, with one more coming in June 2015 and three others under consideration for September and December anthologies. My first MM paranormal novella will be released towards the end of the year and at present I am working on two MM novels. One is a paranormal romance and the other a collection of contemporary MM short stories based on myths and fairytales.

In Twitter Fashion use 140 characters or less, sum your book for us.

Can Cassandra trust a mischievous stranger who offers aid when her world is turned upside down by Norse gods, giants and ancient prophecies?

How did you come up with a story that was such a whirlwind of events?

I decided to write The Ragnarök Chronicles when I was rereading the Norse myths. I’d previously studied and fallen in love with the myths when I was writing my BA (hons) dissertation on Tolkien and I wanted to revisit the stories after finally seeing the Marvel Thor films. (I came to them a bit later than most after discovering Tom Hiddleston in The Hollow Crown.)

I’d previously had the idea for what would eventually becoming the opening chapter of the novel, but at the time I’d not had a story where it would fit. Rereading about frost giants, the idea of Cassandra’s vision of frost suddenly slotted into place and the rest followed from there.

What began as a simple story idea quickly became a labour of love, and this book has more personal meaning to me than anything else I’ve written so far, not least because I had something of a religious epiphany whilst writing it and became Lokean.

I wanted to write Loki as I’ve always seen him, with a strong basis in the original myths. He’s not perfect—he’s something of an anti-hero—but what I’ve always loved about the Norse gods is how human and recognisable they are. They are none of them perfect, they all have flaws, and that makes them wonderful as characters.

I wanted to write a story around the Norse gods that could be read and enjoyed by someone with no knowledge of the original myths, but which would also hold many references and special moments for those who do know the stories. I hope I have succeeded!

How long did it take you to write it, and did you have any writer’s block along the way?

I wrote and edited The Ragnarök Chronicles over the course of about nine months. I was only working part-time last year and so had plenty of free time in which to write. No, I had no writer’s block at all during this story. Once I started, it all just flowed out of me. Loki was ever my inspiration and he led me onwards until the story was told.

Will we be seeing a follow-up book to this story?

Not as such since the story ends with a certain finality. When I first started writing, I was thinking this would be a trilogy, but then I ended up self-publishing and so released all three parts in one book straight off the bat. Cassandra and Loki’s tale is over, but I am returning to the Norse myths briefly in one of my forthcoming MM releases and I’m sure I will do so again in the future as I love the stories and they’ve become a huge part of who I am.

If you could pick an actor to portray your two main characters on the big screen who would it be and why?

Well, in The Ragnarök Chronicles by main pair would be Ben Barnes and Lily Collins. Both have already proven themselves in fantasy/paranormal movies. Lily has a nice look for Cassandra—she even looks a little like the image on the book cover!—while Ben is very close to how I’ve always pictured Loki in my head. He has a great blend of maturity with a mischievous smile. Plus, he’s hot! :)

What secret talents do you have?

Well, I can sing the entire score of Les Misérables (and several other musicals) by heart. Does that count? I guess foreign language learning is my main skill... I speak a couple fluently and have basic–intermediate proficiency in several others. I also have a good head for quotes and my husband hates watching both Lord of the Rings and The Avengers with me as I constantly rattle off the lines a few seconds ahead of the actors.

Nicki J Markus Social Media


Character Interview

So, I have been asked to come here and take charge of Melissa’s blog. Stupid word, blog. Oh well, never mind. Normally I would not bother with such mortal nonsense, but I have some free time on my hands and I never was one to deny myself the chance for a little harmless fun. Cassandra will never know....

I suppose you wish to learn something about me. Not all that surprising really since I am a god and rather awe-inspiring. My name is Loki and no doubt many of you will have heard of me. Let me make one or two things clear straight away, though: I would never wear a horned helmet, Þórr is not my brother, and I am not a frost giant. Now that is settled, let us move on.

My reasons for being in Miðgarðr? Why, they are manifold and beyond the comprehension of all but a few of the more intelligent amongst you. Suffice to say I am trying to set things right. Yes, you heard me. I really am not as bad as the other gods have always liked to make out. Things have gone awry, not just in Ásgarðr but in all the realms, and as the last of the Æsir it falls to me to find a solution.

I thought I had it all worked out, but recent events have caused me to rethink my strategy. I have found an ally in Cassandra. She does not trust me yet, but she will. She will have no other choice if she wishes to live and save her realm. She already desires me—Well who could resist this form?—and soon she’ll put aside her lingering doubts and will follow wherever I lead.

Speaking of which, I should depart. Weight matters such as the future of the nine realms require my attention and I cannot spend all day making pointless conversation with mortals. So go back to your short little lives. I am a god and do not require your assistance. Then again, if you feel so inclined, the odd offering would not go amiss. Just speak to Cassandra. She will tell you what to do.

Buy Links

Amazon US (Kindle):

Amazon UK (Kindle):ök-Chronicles-Nicki-J-Markus-ebook/dp/B00SW0TV46/

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Barnes & Noble (NOOK):

Kobo (EPUB):

Amazon US (Paperback):ök-Chronicles-Nicki-J-Markus/dp/0994234600

Amazon UK (Paperback):ök-Chronicles-Nicki-J-Markus/dp/0994234600

The Book Depository (Paperback):ök-Chronicles-Nicki-Markus/9780994234605

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

The cover is beautiful and the story sounds interesting! Keep up the good work :)

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