Spending Time with Family and Great Stories

The time around Christmas is my favorite time of year. Mainly because I intentionally take some time off from working to spend time with my wife and kids, and my parents, and there’s just something magical in the air around this time of year.

One of my favorite parts of taking this time off is that I get to recharge my batteries and spend some time enjoying the stories that other people tell. Over the past few days, Barbara and I have been catching up on some great movies (and one really bad one) and I thought I’d share a few that are worth watching.

Fair warning: all four of these movies are pretty dark and some of them have some disturbing imagery. If you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, you might…actually, you will want to give these a pass. If you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, by all means, check these out. Worth the watch.


How I Live Now is a dark love story set among a raging war and nuclear fallout. It isn’t your average love story, but it’s a powerful one nonetheless. A young girl from America is sent to live with her extended family in Great Britain just before a war breaks out and a nuclear weapon is detonated over London. What happens next is a harrowing story of escape and survival. Although I’m not sure you could say this movie has a happy ending, it was a good film and I really appreciated the story.


The Returned is probably the best movie on this list. It’s dark. It’s disturbing. It has an ending that surprised me and it isn’t often that a movie will do that. A different type of zombie movie, The Returned features zombies that walk among us every day, turned back to humanity by a wonder drug that’s now running out. It was a great movie and I was pleasantly surprised by it. Definitely check it out if you’re a fan of dark movies without much humor.


I wasn’t sure about Snowpiercer at the beginning. The title didn’t do much for me and I passed it a few times in the Netflix queue before I finally decided to read the Wikipedia entry for it. I ended up reading the ending, so I went into Snowpiercer already knowing how it wrapped up. It was going to have to be a pretty good movie to make up for the fact that I already knew how it was going to play out. Fortunately for me, it delivered. Probably my second favorite of the three movies I’ve mentioned here, Snowpiercer has a great story, is fantastically directed, and has some great moments of post-apocalyptic imagery for other end-of-the-world junkies like me. I highly recommend it. Check it out.


Edited to add: I can’t believe I forgot Equilibrium! Barbara reminded me that we watched this too, and it was awesome. Christian Bale isn’t Batman, but he sure does a good job of fighting like him. Equilibrium is a great movie. Watching Bale’s transformation from the beginning to the movie to the end is an outstanding ride. The action sequences are, admittedly, over the top, but I don’t feel that it detracted from the message of the movie or the enjoyment. The message was a bit heavy handed, but it was a great movie that I’ll probably watch again just for the last half an hour or so.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m gearing up to get back to work on my own stories, but I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve liked over the last couple days in case you’re looking for something to watch instead of going out to party on New Year’s Eve.


New Book Available Today: What I Wish I’d Known

WIWIKCover3DThis won’t be of much interest to the folks who read my fiction work, but it might be valuable to any author friends who visit my page. I’ve just published a new book called What I Wish I’d Known: Tips for jump-starting your self-publishing success. These are all the things I wish I’d known when I was just starting out self-publishing. I think there’s some useful information in there and certainly some things that I didn’t understand or know about when I was starting out.

Hopefully it will help some of you getting started.

You can grab a copy (with free goodies) here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QSRPVHG

If you’d like to help me spread the word, please click the Tweet link below. Thanks!


Enter to Win : $10 Amazon Gift Card

ENTERWho likes free stuff? Everyone likes free stuff…and free money around the end of the year is always welcome, right? Right. So here’s your chance to enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card. Enter to win, share it with your friends and get more chances to win.

Enter here: http://martinfhengst.com/giveaways/10-amazon-gift-card/

Pirates of the Siren’s Sea – Kickstarter eBooks Fulfilled

Pirates-of-the-Sirens-SeaDear Kickstarter Backers:

I’m very pleased to announce that the ebooks for the Kickstarter backer rewards have been fulfilled. Please check the email address associated with your Kickstarter account for instructions on how to download your copy of Pirates of the Siren’s Sea.

Physical rewards for all non-digital tiers will be shipped out once all the items have been received from the manufacturers.

I hope you all enjoy the book. If so, please consider leaving a positive review at Amazon on the 15th of December. Positive reviews are critical to the success of an indie book.

Once again, thank you to all the backers who made the Kickstarter project for Pirates of the Siren’s Sea possible. You guys rock.


Happy Thanksgiving!

2013_11_11_7382-1morgueI hope all of you are safe and warm and enjoying the company of family and/or friends. On this Thanksgiving I wanted to give thanks for each and every one of you who has read my books or supported me in my journey as an author.

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support. I look forward to bringing you many more stories.


Listen to a sample of Volinette’s Song – Magic of Solendrea #4


Volinettes-Song-Stock-CoverSmallClick on the orange play button above to listen to the incredibly talented Carolyn Light as she narrates the audiobook version of Volinette’s Song.


Volinette Terris has everything most girls could want: a famous family, plenty of money, and a career as a talented musician. No one would expect her to risk losing it all to try and become a mage, but when the School of Sorcery opens for the Trial of Admission, that’s exactly what she does.

If only she’d known that winning a place in the Academy of Arcane Arts and Sciences would be the least of her problems. Now she finds herself accused of murder, tormented by her fellow students, and implicated in the theft of a mystical artifact that could bring about the end of the world.

And that’s just the first semester!

Buy Audiobook on Audible

Buy Audiobook on Amazon

Buy Audiobook on iTunes

Share and Win – $10 Amazon Gift Card


In order to celebrate the run up to the release of Pirates of the Siren’s Sea, I’ve made The Last Swordmage available for $0.99 on Amazon for a limited time. If you share this post/status/tweet, you’ll be automatically entered to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Winner will be selected at random from all of the reposts, shares, and retweets received. Winner will be selected at 9am EST on November 25th, 2014.

Pirates of the Siren’s Sea – Now Available for Pre-Order

Pirates-of-the-Sirens-SeaIf you subscribe to the mailing list, you’ve already received this information in your mailbox. For the rest of you, I’m happy to announce that Pirates of the Siren’s Sea is now available for pre-order from Amazon. The 6th book in the Magic of Solendrea series will be released on December 15th, 2014, but you can pre-order your copy today!

Pre-order Pirates of the Siren’s Sea Now!

Tiadaria, the last Swordmage, was once one of the King’s most trusted advisers. Now she’s fallen out of favour and has been cast out of the realm she helped save from demons and dragons. When pirates start sinking ships off the coast of Dragonfell, Tiadaria offers her services to the realm, but the pride of Kings is not easily put aside.

Unwilling to let the Imperium fall, Tiadaria approaches the King’s only daughter, a reclusive Princess unseen by the people for almost two decades. What happens next is a race against time as Tiadaria and her allies commit an act of treason to stop a corrupt sorceress from endangering the fate of the world.

Only a Swordmage can turn an act of sedition into salvation for the Imperium in this rousing fantasy tale of swords and sorcery.