Lee C. Conley's Blog

August 31, 2019

A Ritual of Bone Wins its first award

A Ritual of Bone has won the Readers Corner Award at FantastiCon.

Its my first award, and was really quite unexpected!!

Its not massively prestigious, but still, its something nonetheless, and its really nice to be acknowleged. It's great to know the people at FantastiCon liked A Ritual of Bone, and appreciate all the hard work that has gone into it. Also perhaps, just maybe, its not completely terrible and winning this spurs me onward with my work on The Dead Sagas series.

Hopefully it is the first of many awards! One can dream. And, check out the cool award itself, I think its 3D printed - Cool!

Thanks to FantastiCon!

Checkout my new website too
I wrote a blog post there too

Thanks for reading,
Lee C. Conley
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Published on August 31, 2019 13:19

June 27, 2019

A Ritual of Bone Release

New Covers!!!

A Ritual of Bone is Out Now!!!

It's here!
Re-edited, recovered and re-released. A Ritual of Bone, the first volume in The Dead Sagas series, is out now.

New Covers!!!

Arnar, a land of dark forests and ancient hillforts. A world where where beasts and savages lurk in the wilds and where honour & renown is all. A forgotten evil stirs, the dead are rising and fell creatures roam the night. Now only the valour and steel of men is all that stands between the living & the grasping hands of the dead.

Get it here: getbook.at/ARitualofBone
(Free on Kindle Unlimited)

Check out the books Goodreads page here > A Ritual of Bone <, and come follow my author profile too.
Thanks for reading,
Lee C. Conley
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Published on June 27, 2019 01:33 Tags: dark-fantasy, epic-fantasy, fantasy, grimdark, viking, zombie

January 4, 2019

New Covers and SPFBO

The new covers for A Ritual of Bone

I am very happy to announce the new cover is here and is glorious

Artwork is by Cloud Quinot
Layout and design by Cloud Quionot and Lee C Conley (Me)

This new cover art will be included in the new edition of A Ritual of Bone along with new maps and a re-edit by Tim Marquitz.

Check out the new maps

The release date? Yet to be announced, but will be early 2019.


So SPFBO is now into its second phase and I am sorry to say A Ritual of Bone did not progress to the finals.
My judge really didn't enjoy the gore and the horror element of the Dead Sagas (apparently grossed her out) and did not score it highly - can't please everyone unfortunately. Which is a shame because some of the other reviews have been really positive.
I still take it as a win that the writing was good enough to ellicit such a powerful emotional response from my judge, but it also highlighted some things I need to improve in the future on the editing side.

So I'm out of SPFBO 2018,
but nonetheless, I learnt alot, I met and befriended many great new people and really enjoyed the experience.
One big thing is it has given me the knowledge to massively up my game in the field of self-publishing (hence the new edition) which will deliver a much higher quality of book in the future, better covers, better editing, better everything hopefully.

What's next?

I am currently working on a BA degree in English Literature and Creative writing which I hope will improve the standard of my writing.

As mentioned the new edition of A Ritual of Bone will be released this year

Also the next book in The Dead Sagas series is nearly written and is entitled A Ritual of Flesh. I hope to have it finished before the summer and possibly released by the end of 2019, so we will see how that goes

Thats it for now. Thanks to you all for your continued support.
Thanks for reading

Lee Conley
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Published on January 04, 2019 04:27

Best Fantasy books EVER challenge

So 2019 continues with my reading and reviewing my personal list of the best fantasy books ever written (complied according to several different lists). I do this so I have sampled all the best fantasy literature out there because I just love fantasy.

I also continue to read my top picks of the years SPFBO, and there has been some excellent books so far, not one has let me down. It must have been a tough year for the judges.

This means there will likely be alot of 4 and 5 star reviews on my feed but I only want to read the very best the genre has to offer - You only live once.

Bring on the best books ever!!

Lee Conley
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Published on January 04, 2019 01:54

June 10, 2018

Training Longsword and writing (Warning! - Kick ass videos of Longsword fighting in this post)



This week I would like to tell you about fighting with a sword, in particular, Longsword

If any of you have read my Bio you will know I practice Historic Martial Arts (HEMA), in particular Longsword. I am a member of Wolfshead Westen Martial Arts and am an assistant instructor at the club. We train in various disciplines, I teach Longsword and Sword and Buckler, but we also train in Sabre, Staff, Tomahawk and Bowie knife and Knife work. Myself, and a few of the others at Wolfshead, are quite active in the UK tournaments and I am proud to say I have won myself I nice clutch of medals in Longsword and Sabre.

Now I cannot recommend this hobby enough, it keeps me fit but also teaches me accurate fighting techniques that I can use in my writing.

As I’m sure many of you are, I am a big fan of the Fantasy genre. In fact it’s pretty much all I read. We all love our sword wielding heroes and villains in our books. In fact, I can hardly imagine a fantasy novel without a sword.
Since I was a young lad, I have always been obsessed with swords and a few years ago I decided I would learn how to use one. So I started training in English Longsword, then quickly found German and Italian Longsword also. We study the actual sources from the middle ages to learn and interpret the lost arts of swordsmanship. Studying treatises of the old masters - Lichtenhauer, Meyer and Ringeck for German. Fiore and Vadi for Italian. And for my English in which I specialize, Ledall and Harlien. They recommend sticking to just one style but I couldn’t help myself and before I knew it I became fairly well versed in several styles.

Then I started to notice it in my reading, I noticed other authors had obviously done their research in to swordplay. I noticed it in my own writing, my understanding of martial mechanics coming through on to the page to make (what I believe) a more realistic fight scene. I was conscious not to overdo it though; I did not want to end up writing sword porn (something I have seen some authors get carried with, perhaps without realising).

Anyway, I wanted to talk about my swordsmanship and its impact on my writing.
But I also wanted to show you all a few videos of real Longsword plays in action so below I have posted a number of videos.

A few links to my Longsword Sparring videos for your enjoyment :

(I am the big guy in black, I wear a club patch on my breast and have my coat of arms on the thigh of my skirt.)

Longsword 6: https://youtu.be/mxuyF5S2ek8 (Me starting on the right )

Longsword 5 furious exchange: https://youtu.be/QFzmdtbzqHc (Me starting on the left)

Longsword takedown: https://youtu.be/v1RkHFbB3uE (Me on the right taking down my buddy lance)

Longsword 1: https://youtu.be/nAmTOCP9wJ4 (Me on the right)

Longsword 2: https://youtu.be/0Uug_7kGDCw (Me getting taken down by my Instructor)

Longsword 3: https://youtu.be/mu-58wDFOjk (Me starting on the left)

Longsword 4: https://youtu.be/nVsPFqj-wfA (Me starting on the left)

Heres a few pictures of my current sparring sword
Its a Sigmund Ringeck 1300 - 1500 sparring replica


Anyway, only slightly writing related but nonetheless I hope you enjoyed the blog post this week

Lee Conley

(My family Coat of Arms under which I fight)
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Published on June 10, 2018 07:31 Tags: fight, fighting, hema, longsword, martial-arts, sparring, sword

June 6, 2018

Volume I : Part 1 ???

Greetings once more,

Volume I : part 1? Seems like an odd title.

I would like to take a moment to explain why I have split The Dead Sagas Volume I into separate parts.
In the end it all came down to page limits while publishing. I couldn’t fit the entire Volume I into one book so I had to separate the parts.
Now fortunately the separate parts do stand alone as single novels rather well. Once I realised it was too long, it also allowed me to concentrate on the editing of the 1st part and brought release forward. The second book is currently now being edited and re-drafted and is due for release as soon as possible.
I am hoping the second book will contain the final, parts 2 and 3, in a single book, which will be a longer book but hopefully will fit within my page limit. And, at some point, I hope to find a publisher willing to publish the entire thing in its entirety in one Volume as an Omnibus as initially intended.

Now, story arc wise Volume I, follows the same general story line through all its parts, but has distinct separate sections which make up the 3 parts.
Volume II however is a different story arc, it still involves characters and events continuing from the first Volume but mostly tells an entirely different side to The Dead Sagas.
So for this reason and as the different Sagas in the story itself are all written in volumes by the scribes of Arnar, I am eager to keep the theme of The Dead Sagas : Volume I/Volume II etc. as the main title. But that leaves me with the separate parts named “Part 1/Part2” which when put together as it currently stands leaves quite a cumbersome title e.g.
The Dead Sagas Volume I : Part I

Now, this is how the scribes of Arnar would have written the title in the Great Histories but in reality it is a cumbersome title.
So, to correct the odd and somewhat plain title, I can also announce here that I am considering including a subtitle in the next editions of the The Dead Sagas Volume I.
These may change but at the moment:
Part 1 may become subtitled – Part 1 : A ritual of Bone
Part 2 may be subtitled – Part 2 : A ritual of flesh
Part 3 – as yet undecided.

These plans are still in development and may not be implemented
But I hope this blog post has explained why I chose to separate Volume I and why I have named it as I have

Thanks for Reading
Lee Conley
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Published on June 06, 2018 00:07 Tags: fantasy, grimdark, horror, zombie

June 5, 2018

The Guitar Teachers Grimoire


It’s been all, "Dead Sagas this, Dead Sagas that." Well that is understandable as that is my new release and current WIP. But let’s take a moment to look at my first book.
The Guitar Teachers Grimoire - An advanced guitar tuition book.

Now, alongside writing, my main “day job” has always been as a guitarist. I have taught and played guitar professionally for nearly 20 years now. I found myself as a teacher of guitar tutors, with many tutors and post grad musicians coming to me to further their knowledge. I am well versed in advanced theory and lead guitar and specialise in exotic scales.
I noticed there was a huge gap in the market for advanced guitar tuition books, there appeared to be a myriad of beginners’ books but nothing for advanced guitarists. As a teacher, there appeared to be very few advanced theory reference books, so I had to keep my own notes for reference. I decided to start collecting my notes and eventually developed the intention of one day releasing a book. It took seven years of planning and drafting, but eventually I produced The Guitar Teachers Grimoire.
I would like to tell you a little about it now.

The Guitar Teachers Grimoire is a complete encyclopaedia of chords, arpeggios and scales with supporting theory all explained and arranged for easy quick reference. It is ideal for advanced guitarists or guitar teachers looking to expand their knowledge and also beginners alike. The book has been written to be the perfect grade companion, with every chord, arpeggio and scale for any grade syllabus and more such as an in depth look at advanced scale systems. It includes multiple positions across the fretboard, modal systems, Jazz scales and also an extensive collection of exotic scales from different cultures around the world.
The Grimoire looks at each chord, arpeggio and scale in depth, explaining how each is constructed, explaining which intervals are used to give each its particular sound and feel and show you how to use them correctly in your work. With the Grimiore you can learn how different chords and scales interact in different keys, enabling you to construct chord progressions correctly and play awesome lead over the most complex of progressions.
I wrote it specifically to be one of the best advanced guitar books on the market.

So here’s the pitch – “Are you a great guitarist? I bet you are, and every great guitarist needs this book just in case your full Japanese Pentatonic across the entire neck slips you're mind or perhaps you're too drunk to remember your Spanish Gypsy scale...
The Guitar Teachers Grimoire - is a complete reference encyclopaedia of guitar scales, chords and arpeggios, crammed with example licks and theory. Delve within this mighty tome to discover for yourself the hidden secrets of the guitar.”

Anyway, if you’re a guitarist and this looks of interest to you, it's out now on Amazon!

Available now via the links below

UK : https://amzn.to/2kH7V69

US : https://amzn.to/2kKmplW

Canada : https://amzn.to/2JrfrQz

Thanks for reading

Lee Conley
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Published on June 05, 2018 13:50 Tags: guitar, guitar-theory, guitar-tuition, music, no-fiction

June 3, 2018

Lets talk about the Dead - Zombies, Zombies, Zombies (The Dead Sagas)


So I would like to talk about the Dead!

They go by many names: Living Dead, Walking Dead, Zombies, Walkers (if you watch that show), Infected… so many different names and takes on the concept of the reanimated corpse.

As some of you are aware, these undead creatures feature prominently in my new novel The Dead Sagas, Volume I, Part I. Now, some of you may be put off by the word “Zombies” and indeed it is not a word that appears in my novel – Not once! To me the word conjures up thoughts of 70s & 80s horror movies (which by the way I love!) and the myriad of remakes and re-workings which we have all seen many, many times since then. In fact, a whole “Zombie” genre has been spawned.
However, these creatures appear also appear in D&D and gaming and often in our beloved Fantasy genres. A certain, perhaps little known series (*laughs to himself) called “A song of ice and fire” or to the masses “Game of Thrones” even uses the rotting horror that is a risen corpse. It is a subject that seems to have captivated us throughout the ages whether we are a fan of them or not. But I didn’t want to write just another Zombie novel.

So for those of you who are a fan of the Zombie genre, you may be wondering what type I have used in the book?

Do I want running zombies or slow stumbling zombies? - Always a big question to the zombie genre fan.
G E Ramero’s slow zombies are a classic. Tabletop gamers will be familiar with them from D&D (possibly what inspired him). The slow shambling hordes, slow - yet inexorable. The same “walkers” still used today in the popular show TWD. Slow but still nonetheless scary.
Then, of course, there are the running types. These scary as hell running zombies feature prominently in some of the newer zombie film remakes or like those in ASOIAF.
Or, do I want not actually dead, but “infected” as seen in the films 28 days/ weeks later or I am Legend.
Now, personally I also love the Deadites from Evil dead – The idea of a greater evil which can re-animate the dead (amongst other things). But which would I use?

Well I wanted all of them, one way or another. I wanted all sorts of evil spirits and demons and possession and things like that too. I wanted a full on living dead experience for my readers.
So I set about planning and writing, testing different concepts until finally I think I cracked it and found a way to get everything I wanted.

*************** Concept Spoilers ahead*****************

No plot spoilers but a small glimpse into the Undead concepts I have used in The Dead Sagas

If you don’t want to know, stop reading now!!!

**************** Concept Spoilers ahead***************

There is no magic as such in the world of The Dead Sagas but there sort of is as well?
Confused, curious… good!
The Dead Sagas uses the idea of a terrible ancient darkness which can possess and animate a corpse. This darkness can overwhelm and bend a mortal mind to its will. Those touched by it can become possessed by it. But it is not strong enough to fully break through to the mortal world. It can be invoked into a corpse and re-animate it with its dark essence. This essence is a trace of darkness, not strong enough to achieve true conscious life, but instead leaves a mindless re-animated corpse bent on destroying life which it cannot have.
Those who are living, who are not taken by the darkness but instead are tainted with it through a wound are simply driven mad and become ghoul like fiends who upon their death rise up again in undeath.

So I have slow shambling, stumbling Dead (either re-animated or turned through death) who can spread the taint of darkness. (classic zombies)
The not yet dead ghouls who are tainted and cursed with the madness of the darkness – The cursed ones, who then die and join the ranks of the dead anyway. (scary clever running monster zombie type things)
And some few who are possessed and haunted by the greater consciousness of the evil darkness.

Now, how to kill the dead – you will have to read to find out but suffice to say it is not as simple as the conventional genre would have it.

So, without giving much more away, this concept allows me to come up with so many interesting and fun things to write about (and that’s just the dead – there’s still the cannibals, plagues, politics and wars, the characters and the overall story.) There is still so much more about the Dead I cannot mention without spoiling certain elements of the books – it gets quite interesting I can assure you.

But still, I hope this brief glimpse has piqued your interest and you would like to take a look into the world of The Dead Sagas.

Thanks for reading,

Lee Conley
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Published on June 03, 2018 02:57 Tags: fantasy, grimdark, horror, zombie

May 28, 2018

Last day in The Dead Sagas Giveaway for Kindle


Hi everyone,
I'd like to say a big thankyou to everyone who has got themselves a copy of The Dead Sagas Volume I : Part I in the free Kindle giveaway this weekend. Your support has been truely overwhelming so far. I hope you all enjoy it and please let me know what you think.

If you havent got your copy yet, theres only one day left until the promotion closes. The promotion ends tonight at Midnight (PDT - Pacific Time) for you guys in the US and 8am (GMT) for us here in the UK.

Go get your copy now before its too late!

US: https://amzn.to/2qPVWG5

UK: https://amzn.to/2qWLkFj

Australia: https://amzn.to/2HopQfF

Canada: https://amzn.to/2Kb0xeE

Thanks again for supporting The Dead Sagas.
Feel free to drop me a message. It would be a pleasure to hear from you and enjoy the book.

Yours sincerly
Lee Conley

The Dead Sagas Volume I : Part I
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Published on May 28, 2018 04:01 Tags: dark-fantasy, fantasy, free, giveaway, grimdark

May 26, 2018

FREE giveaway weekend has started - Get my new book The Dead Sagas FREE now!


As some of you may be aware I have recently released my debut novel The Dead Sagas Volume I : Part I
The question is would you be interested in a free copy of my newly released book?

I am running a free giveaway promotion for the next 3 days (Satuday 26th until Monday 28th of May), and would like to use the oppourtunity to get a copy of my book to as many people as possible for free.

This Dark Fantasy Epic combines dark malign horror and gritty adventure as the Dead Sagas unfold in a world where honour and renown is all, where beasts and savages lurk in the wilderness, and where sword, axe and shield is all that stands between the living and the grasping hands of the dead.

Set in a early medieval/dark age european style fantasy world an ancient evil is accidentally unleashed causing the dead to rise. A sort of Fantasy Grimdark, Zombie novel. There are elements of supernatural horror, cannibals, possession, all sorts of terrible nasty things happening and a fresh take on the undead themselves. But also real life, a people, a culture, family, love, loss, humour (although sometimes grim). The story is closely character driven from several points of view to tell the full story of the events unfolding in the book. Find out more on the book's blurb at the amazon sales page.

If my book sounds of interest to you, I hope you would consider getting a free copy over the next 3 days I have posted a number of links below to get a copy.

US: https://amzn.to/2qPVWG5

UK: https://amzn.to/2qWLkFj

Australia: https://amzn.to/2HopQfF

Canada: https://amzn.to/2Kb0xeE

Feel free to drop me a message. It would be a pleasure to hear from you.

Yours sincerly
Lee Conley
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Published on May 26, 2018 10:19 Tags: dark-fantasy, fantasy, freebook, giveaway, grimdark