Monday, December 22, 2014

Realm Explorers Part XXIX: Visit the Frozen Wastelands of the North with John Williams and James Colletti

Welcome to Realm Explorers!  In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors.  Enjoy your travels!  And don't forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book. 

Authors' names:
John Williams & James Colletti

Title of book and/or series:
The Crimson and the Frost

Brief summary of the story:
For untold millennia, the harsh frozen wastelands had been ruled by the immortal King of Winter. His power so absolute, no one dared to challenge his dominance until a mysterious old man in crimson robes and his devoted followers took up residence in the heart of his realm. In their possession was a strange and powerful artifact known as the Heart of Polaris. The ancient stone radiated a dome-like aura that protected their town from the extreme conditions of the frozen North.

The King of Winter arrived to cast out the trespassers but when he reached out toward the veil of magic energy a stabbing pain shot up the length of his arm. A wave of contempt rose in him at the insolence of those who dare deny him access to a vast section of his own kingdom.

For centuries the town had lived in peace, undisturbed, while the wicked king waited patiently for his chance at revenge. Now, the Heart of Polaris has gone missing and there is nothing to stop the King of Winter and his army of savage grimghouls from launching a full-scale invasion.

But the expulsion of the intruders will not satiate the King's of Winter's age-old thirst for vengeance. When the town's magic combines with his own he will have to power to bring on a new ice-age. The fate of the entire world hangs in the balance as two powerful adversaries head down a collision course toward war.

Brief description of the location you created for this story:
Blanketed across a desolate landscape sits a sprawling town like an island of warm radiance amidst a stark, frozen canvas.  The architecture and atmosphere is part carnival and part old-world, European hamlet. The buildings were constructed in various sizes and styles, yet it all works in harmony.  In  the center of this mythical metropolis is a tall, glistening tower fashioned from tourmaline. At the very top sits a chamber that houses the Heart of Polaris stone. The tower harnesses the artifact's energy and from the spire cascades a faint dome of pink and amber hues that shimmers and flows like the Aurora Borealis...that is until the Heart of Polaris goes missing.

If we were to visit as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
For a hot beverage that will send your tastebuds into overdrive, visit the Heavenly Grounds coffee shop...or if you want to treat yourself to some of the world's greatest cuisine, stop by the Perfect Palette. I recommend bringing your manners; the master chef can be a bit of a curmudgeon. There are also so many wondrous discoveries to be found beyond the doors of the Chateau Crimson including an enormous greenhouse/atrium and a great-room full of priceless collectables donated by past kings, emperors and other significant historical figures. You will find priceless works of art, statues, old, yet immaculately kept tomes written in various languages and a whole host of weapons and armor. Just, please keep your distance from the entire rear wall of the room. It is the one that appears to be crafted from black ice.  You may be drawn to the soft pulsations of lighter blues and violets which crackle with vine-like electric currents just beneath the surface of the wall. This is Vast, the all-seeing wall. Touching it is highly prohibited...the last person who did almost went mad.

Also, if you come across a hallway with no doors or paintings or decorative wainscoting...only walls and ceiling of smooth stone I would suggest you stay clear of it and move along. It eventually leads to an imposing, medieval looking iron door...the type of door that is meant to keep people out…or secrets in. If you open that door, you will see a stairwell descending into pitch darkness. Please shut the door and walk away.

What dangers should we avoid in the frozen north?
The lands beyond town are quite hazardous. Besides the frequent sub-zero temperatures, treacherous snow covered terrain, ever shifting and breaking ice and the very likely possibility of becoming hopelessly lost, these lands are also patrolled by a vicious lot known as the grimghouls. Vaguely canine (or one knows for sure), the lithe movements and confident gait of these ferocious beasts across the frozen landscape are akin to the great hunting cats of the Serengeti. They are magical creations of the King of Winter, born of the winter elements. Their animated bodies were created from chunks of ice, snow, and a soupy slush that perpetually circulates and swirls along their powerful forms like a canine-shaped ice flow. Within the mass of translucent ice and slush that make up their bodies, glows a blue iridescence. It is as if their insides are alight in azure flame. Their temperament is hateful and their sole purpose is to do the bidding of the wicked Winter King.

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in the frozen north?
Most of the residents of town are peaceful folk but there are a handful that have some serious fighting skills. For instance, Tracker (that's her nick-name since she never knew her true given name) is a scout and, of course, a tracker. She and her great-wolf companion Loki are typically the only ones who venture out in the wilds outside of town. She is self taught in various styles of  martial arts and her weapon of choice is a retractable metal baton. However, before the end of this story, the entire town will be forced to summon within them a fighting spirit and the courage  to persevere through one of the most terrifying times of their centuries-old lives.

What types of supernatural/ fantastical beings might we encounter?
Most notably, the King of Winter is a god-like, unpredictable force of nature. He is one of the many sentient personifications of nature's elements. He is a lean figure with a long white mane, sharp features, and a complexion of pearly, iridescent blue. The gaze of his silvery-blue eyes has been known to send a rush of icy fear through the souls of even the bravest of men. There are also his minions, the above mentioned grimghouls...but they aren't the only magic-born creatures in his arsenal. He has at his disposal telepathic frost-eagles that watch over his lands and thrust images into his mind if some occurrence needs his attention. There are other frightening creations, conjured by the King of Winter, that make an appearance toward the end of the story that I would rather not give away.
Two other 'forces of nature' make, what I would call 'cryptic' appearances as well.
The head of town, the “Crimson Wizard” as some call him, is also immortal. His followers are a collection of elves from all regions of the world that have joined his cause over the centuries.

What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
Well, the Heart of Polaris is at the heart of this story. It started out as a red sunstone but was later infused with a dose of extraordinarily potent magic by one of the most powerful beings in the entire universe. One of its many abilities is to protect the town and its residents from the harsh surroundings. Under close observation you will notice thousands of tiny facets radiating prisms of light that dance to a pulsating rhythm. Just below the jewel’s undulating surface appears to be a limitless depth within, like a roiling crimson ocean. I would love to get into detail about its origin and how it got its name but that is one of my favorite chapters and I wouldn't want to spoil it. There is also another potent magic that plays a significant part of this story called the Soul of Winter. I can't really get into that either ;-)

Is there any advanced or unusual technology?  If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
The elves, with their superior ingenuity, created the tower in the center of town. At the top is a chamber that houses the Heart of Polaris stone. The tower acts as a conductor for the stone's magic creating an an atmospheric aura protecting the town from the elements of the extreme north. Fortunately, it protects from the King of Winter as well since he is the personification of those harsh elements.

What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
There is a small debate regarding global warming and the impact humanity has made on the planet.

Author Autobiography:
Cousins and co-authors John Williams and James Colletti are close in age and have been a creative team for as long as they can remember. The pair shares a common drive and tenacity that has transformed all of their creative aspirations into realities.
From early childhood John and James would dream of being famous musicians, air-guitaring to their favorite bands. In their teen years they decided to leave the world of pretend and with the determination that came naturally to them, they taught themselves how to play guitar. Forming the rock band Soulvyne with a handful of other talented musicians, they recorded an album, performed all around New York State and opened for such notable acts as Blue Oyster Cult and King's X.  
            As movie and television buffs the pair, once again, was determined to be a part of another industry they loved. Through the years both have had successful careers producing and editing for such companies as MTV, VH-1, Miramax, FOX, The Speed Channel, Food Network and TruTv as well as directing nationally broadcasted music videos and an internationally released independent film.
Outside of their hectic careers they would find the time for a more personal creative outlet away from all of the stress and deadlines of the entertainment industry…writing. They collaborated on a handful of screenplays and used their industry contacts to shop them around. There was one co-written script they both were particularly proud of. One film producer in England read it and said, "I love this! It would make a great movie but right now we'd have a tough time raising the 150 – 200 million it would take to make a film this epic and grand-scale. It is too new and unknown by the masses. There is a reason the Harry Potter movies got made, that series had a huge built in fan base  from the books. Maybe scale your story down.” Never ones to compromise, John and James decided to tell their tale another way. So they re-worked it into what has become their first novel The Crimson and the Frost. During the novel writing process the story became so much more than the screenplay ever was and they are even more proud of it.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)?  

Where can readers connect with you online? 

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to the frozen north.  Questions about the world or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to Gelia City in Realm Explorers Part XXX!
-Annie Douglass Lima


Anonymous said...

These books sound very intriguing! I think we will be reading more fantasy books at our house!

Tina at said...

It's obvious this world has been really well-thought out. Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday! Happy New Year!