Last week, I announced that I’d be exhibiting my Matter of Manred Saga at Newark Comic Con 2016 and talked at some length about all the things I felt I had to do to be prepared for my first ever author appearance. Although the cosplay, the great artists, and all the special guests are certainly reason enough to be excited, I have to admit that the greatest thrill of the day is going to be sitting next to this very special and talented woman all day: C. L. Schneider, author of the adult fantasy trilogy, Crown of Stones.
I’ve never actually met Cindy in person; we’re “internet friends,” fellow indie authors who have crossed paths while promoting our work online and working with other indie authors in various online forums. But her Crown of Stones trilogy immediately struck me for its anti-hero, its adult-themed dark-fantasy setting, and its very unique approach to magic.
Especially in this age of Harry Potter, Divergent, and Hunger Games success stories, there is a tendency to hear “fantasy literature” and think “young adult” or “children’s literature,” forgetting entirely that the genre has a long and respectable tradition of addressing adult themes and situations. Yes, many fantasy fans cut their teeth on the genre as children, but (in my own case) this meant works of fantasy such as the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson, in which the main character denies everything about being a hero and even rapes a woman at the end of the first act. Hardly “kiddie lit” material.
The Crown of Stones Trilogy
C. L. Schneider’s Crown of Stones trilogy reminds us—with a vengeance—that Fantasy isn’t just (or even mostly) for children.
Just have a look at the blurb and you immediately see that this is not kid lit, by any means:
From a land long-divided by prejudice and fear, comes the story of Ian Troy, a magic-user bred for war. Reviled for their deadly addiction to magic, Ian’s people suffer in slavery. Drugs suppress their wills and their magic. Their once great empire lies buried, lost beneath the sand and a thousand years of secrets—until Ian unearths the Crown of Stones. Ignorant of its true purpose, Ian wields the circlet’s power and brings peace to the realms, but at a terrible price.
A decade later, scarred and guilt-ridden, Ian has rejected his heritage and his magic. Old enemies have resurfaced and new ones have risen to seize the Crown of Stones. Unwittingly drawn into the conflict, Ian’s addiction reawakened.
Caught in a web of obsession and lies, Ian returns to the past to save the future in a time-spanning journey fraught with loss, betrayal, torture, friendship and love. His beliefs and convictions, his knowledge of magic and history are challenged as Ian unlocks the mysteries of The Crown of Stones. Despite devastating personal consequences, he clings to a hope for peace. But how much is he willing to sacrifice? How much burden can he carry? And how far can a man fall before he can’t rise again?
Beings capable of fantastic acts of magic are often portrayed as superior in some way: they can do things that “mundanes” and “muggles” cannot; they hold power, whether political or religious or social or all of the above.
Not so here.
Prejudice, addiction, drugs, violence. These are the themes we see repeated everyday in our own nightly newscasts. These are the subjects we deal with in our own adult lives, our own families, and our own communities.
In the world of C. L. Schneider, the ability to wield magic is a stigma, the wielders of magic reviled and oppressed. I’m reminded not so much of Harry Potter as of the X-Men, where mutants are feared and persecuted for the power they possess, or the recent MCU Captain America: Civil War and DC Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, where the powers-that-be have very real concerns about small groups of people who can level whole city blocks and cause thousands of human casualties and billions of dollars in property damage just by getting into a scuffle with their fellows and their nemeses.
So when the opportunity to exhibit at Newark Comic Con came up, and I cast my mind toward working with a more-seasoned partner for my first public appearance, I immediately thought of C. L. Schneider, who lives and works out of the Greater New York City area as I do, whose work I admire, and whose gritty, adult-themed, dark-fantasy setting complemented my own. And I was thrilled when she accepted my invitation!
If you’re not in the NYC area, I hope you’ll tune in to our Facebook event, where I’ll be live-posting from the Con throughout the day!
And if you are in the New York City area, I hope you’ll visit us at Newark Comic Con 2016 on Saturday 20 August and come to admire this great dark fantasy author as much as I do!
C. L. Schneider
Born in a small Kansas town on the Missouri river, C. L. Schneider grew up in a house of avid readers and overflowing bookshelves. Her first full-length novel took shape in high school, on a typewriter in her parent’s living room. With a main focus in adult epic and urban fantasy, she also dabbles in the occasional science fiction or post-apocalyptic story.
Her adult epic fantasy trilogy, The Crown of Stones, tells the dark story of Ian Troy, a man born with an addiction to magic. She’s currently working on an adult urban fantasy series entitled, Nite Fire.
You can learn more about C. L. Schneider and her work at clschneiderauthor.com where you can read reviews, excerpts, sneak peeks and teasers, subscribe to her newsletter, and follow her journey as an indie author on her blog, Heading Down The Yellow Brick Road. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Google+, where she spends most of her time talking about books, zombies, coffee, and the daily up’s and down’s of writing.
Newark Comic Con is the leading pop culture event of New Jersey’s largest city.
and the most thrilling artists and figures in the culture.
Saturday August 20, 2016
9:00am – 8:00pm
Waterfront Place (Behind Bear Stadium)
1100 McCarter Hwy
Newark, NJ 07102