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  • Writer's pictureRosie J.

A chat with fantasy author Sean R. Frazier + book review of his new release "Mage Breaker"

Updated: Jun 5


Hi friends!!


It's time for another Book Review!


I meant to post this back in March, but life has been extremely hectic (which I'll likely address in this weeks IWSG blog hop post), and I haven't had the time to pull this together. But, better late than never, right?


I've known Sean R. Frazier via Twitter for quite a while now. I think I first started being active in the Twitter writing community around 2016/17 and connected with Sean pretty early on.


It's been so cool watching his journey as an author all these years, so today, I'm happy to bring you my review of his fantasy novel Mage Breaker that was released in November 2023 by Creative James Media, followed by a Q&A with Sean!


The spoiler free book review...

Cover for Frazier's book Mage Breaker featuring a blond woman holding a sword over her shoulder and a golden gun with a city backdrop

[Click the picture for the Amazon link or find it at the end of the blog]


I was lucky to get to read this back in 2020 as a beta reader, and more than happy to read it again at release.


Mage Breaker is a fast-paced science fantasy novel that follows Ellyne, a grumpy, anti-magic retired warrior who brings a golden gun to magic fights and gets dragged into helping the Mage Breaker, Nicole, who is the most powerful, but also young and naive, human magic user. The unlikely duo start out at odds in this opposites attract friendship that blooms throughout the course of their adventures as they seek out magic's dark secret and evade the different magic using factions that are hot on their trail.


If you're looking for a book that has two badass female leads, then this is a book for you.


If you're looking for a book that's a page-turner and doesn't slow down, then this book is for you.


If you're looking for a book that presents a familiar but different world with multiple non-human groups and a unique approach to magic in the society (including where magic comes from), then this is the book for you.


Sean has a distinct voice and sense of humor that he imbues throughout the book. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Mage Breaker wherever books are sold.


Q&A with Fantasy Author Sean R. Frazier


I am delighted to have a little interview here with Sean to dive into being a writer, different types of publishing, Mage Breaker, and Sean's upcoming projects!


Thanks so much for answering some questions for my blog today!


I've got some broader writing questions as well as some specifically for Mage Breaker.


First off, you self-published a series (The Forgotten Years) prior to Mage Breaker, which is published through the small publishing house, Creative James Media. I talk to a lot of writers who are trying to decide between self-pub and traditional publishing. As a hybrid author, can you speak to your decision to go through the querying process for Mage Breaker as someone who had self-published before?


Sean: First of all, and I want to make it very clear, BOTH forms of publishing are equally valid–it all boils down to preference.


That being said, I had several reasons for querying and trad-publishing Mage Breaker. First, I felt I wanted the experience. I wanted to learn from the process and see how it worked.


More practically, however, I wanted a partner. I wanted someone who could take the tasks I’m not particularly good at (covers and blurbs for example) and make them shine.


Piggybacking on that, how has your experience has been with a small press? Many writers just starting out the querying process overlook small presses, so I'd love to hear about your experience or any words of wisdom or reasons why you shouldn't overlook those awesome small presses.


Sean: Most of us dream of that huge book contract with one of the Big 5 and we build that up in our minds as our endgame. The reality, however, is largely different in many ways.


Thus far, with Creative James Media, I’ve gotten to work closely with everyone to make my books the best they can be. I’m grateful to have them in my corner to help with the entire process and any questions/ideas I might have.


Small presses certainly don’t have the resources and the clout of the Big 5, but they should never be overlooked. They truly want your books to succeed and they often work harder than larger publishers to make it happen.


Alright, let's talk about Mage Breaker. Sean, I hate naming things, and you have so many unique names in this book. Kithrak. Grika. Illserate. Squama Juice. Flocia. Iksillix. I could go on! How do you do it? How do you come up with these names? Any tips?


Sean: First of all, I’m notoriously terrible at naming things, to the point my family hesitates to let me name any of our cats and dogs. So when I set out to name something, it takes me probably five times longer than most. Often, I’ll drop something as a placeholder and then, once I come up with a better name, I go back and replace all instances of the old name.


Sometimes, something goes through several names and I’m STILL unhappy with the final decision.


I do try to find names that represent the thing being named, however. The Kithrak are aliens, so their name sounds a bit alien. The grika are savage monsters, so their name loosely fits that.


Naming stuff is difficult and I try not to just randomly assign names without some sort of relation.


As for how to name things? Sometimes when I’m really stuck I look around me and combine the names of two things and go from there.


I've read book one of The Forgotten Years, and Mage Breaker is really different. The Forgotten Years is more of an epic journey adventure fantasy type series from reading book one, but Mage Breaker is a fast-paced urban fantasy that gives me an edge of sci-fi vibes as well. Do you feel like you found your style with Mage Breaker or do you think you'll go back to The Forgotten Years type book eventually?


Sean: Mage Breaker was certainly my first deviation. I’ve always been a fan of high/epic fantasy–both reading and writing. With Mage Breaker, I initially intended to try sci-fi but my brain ended up with an urban fantasy flavor. I actually think it’s more of a “science-fantasy” than straight urban fantasy. I thoroughly enjoyed writing in this genre and it felt great to stretch a bit.


I’ll definitely go back to fantasy books, but I’m not sure in what aspect. Maybe more Forgotten Years, maybe something entirely different.


My current project is another stretch, so I’ll need to get through that first.


Mage Breaker features two kind of unlikely heroines. Ellyne is trying to keep her head down for the most part, and Nicole is inexperienced (not her fault). In one of our exchanges on Twitter you said, when comparing your first series to Mage Breaker:

My Forgotten Years series is much more of "boy books" for lack of a better term. Mage Breaker, if anything, probably pisses off the same crowd that is still pissed off about Rey and Captain Marvel.

Give us some insight into that and into what themes you explored with Mage Breaker.


I think, traditionally, a lot of fantasy books written around when I grew up were geared toward boys. Whether they were the main consumers at the time, I’m not sure, but I wrote The Forgotten Years in that style.


There are strong women main characters in those books, but the cast is more men than women.


Mage Breaker, however, follows two women as the main characters. They’re the movers and shakers, they know what’s going on, and they’re changing the world. They’re in it to overthrow the government, neutralize magic’s alien stewards, and to free everyone who dwells within the magical prisons they don’t even know contain them.


They don’t set out to do this at first, but they figure out pretty quickly they’re the only ones who can.


Is it too spoilery? Why is Ellyne’s gun golden? Or why did you decide to make it golden?


Sean: Ellyne once thought very highly of herself, so the golden gun fit her persona. She had the gun modified mechanically so it’s got several qualities most firearms wouldn’t have. Its true origins, however, haven’t been explored.


Yet.


Often we think of urban fantasy as being set in a place we recognize like Los Angeles or Atlanta or New York City. But Mage Breaker is in Karnascus on the planet Seralune. It still feels like a human adjacent society. Or like it could be a futuristic or transformed Earth. Was that your intention? Did Earth ever exist in this universe?


Sean: It’s a concept I toy with all the time–where my worlds exist. I don’t want to tie my books to reality too much but whether they’re in the same universe as ours… I’ll never rule that out.


Whether they all exist in the same universe regardless… there might be more to come on this in the future.



Do you have other Mage Breaker related books coming out? I know it was originally a stand-alone, but I've heard some whispers... any chance for a prequel for Ellyne? The hints at her part in the war and her prior relationship with one of the antagonists piqued my interest.


Sean: There is indeed a sequel, Mage Breaker: Eight Bullets, due out in August, 2024.

Mage Breaker was absolutely supposed to be a standalone book. I wrote it with that intent. My beta readers, however, felt there was more to tell and began asking questions. My publisher, too, asked if there was another book.


The beauty of the first book is it truly is a standalone book. If you skip the epilogue, you’ll find it wraps up nicely, albeit, you’ll probably still have questions. The epilogue explains a couple of things and then basically hints at a sequel.


If you were to pick up Mage Breaker: Eight Bullets without reading the first book, you’ll find it to also be relatively the same. I recommend reading the first book, of course, but the second book does work in the backstory organically so the reader knows what’s going on and what happened before.


What's next? I've got an ARC copy of The Last Available burning a hole in my Kindle. Want to tell us a bit about that?


Sean: The Last Available gets back to my fantasy roots, but in a different way.

I like to say it’s my “Your Mom” joke book. There’s a little of something for everyone, whether it’s puns, gaming tropes, movie tropes or just asshattery.


It’s ridiculous, silly and funny. Think of it as if Douglas Adams were to tell a fantasy story about six of the most incompetent adventurers trying to save the world. I wrote it as a side project right around the time Covid hit, and I decided everyone could use a laugh.


[Note: The Last Available is now available since I'm two months late with posting this blog. You can buy it here: The Last Available ]



Any parting advice for writers?


Sean: I don’t usually give any writing advice except for one thing: Every writer’s journey is different. Find what you want to do and how you want to do it, then do it. You don’t have to follow Stephen King’s advice on how to do it. Be skeptical of anyone who says “you MUST do X”.


Consider all advice–hear it and think about it but feel free to ignore some or all of it.



You co-host a podcast – What the Book?for Indie Authors and the Writing Community. Can you tell us a little bit about that? How’d you get started in podcasting and what people might hear on this one? 


Sean: We always feature a different author/writer/creative each week and we discuss their projects. More than that, however, we get to know them and our discussion usually explores a wide range of topics.


And we often go off the rails. We are usually laughing more often than not. We don’t take things too seriously.


I lucked into co-hosting. One of the hosts was stepping away and I was asked if I wanted to pick it up (I’d previously been a guest). Not really an exciting story, but things happen in a myriad of ways.



I’ve got links to where to buy Mage Breaker and The Last Available in the blog, but where else can we find you online?


Sean: I’m literally everywhere. I’m surprised people aren’t tired of me by now. The main place to find me is my website at https://SeanRFrazier.com


That’s where I post (or try to) updates and blogs as well as provide links to my books and socials.


I’m also on Bluesky, Threads, Instagram, Facebook, and even TikTok. But it’s probably easiest to find me on Twitter (@thecleftontwain), at least until it implodes.









Let me know in the comments if you pick up Mage Breaker or The Last Available and what you thought. Or if you've already read them, I'd love to hear about that, too!


Be sure to follow Sean on social media. One hundred and ten percent worth it.


If you do check the books out, don't forget to leave a review for Sean on Amazon and Goodreads and follow him on social media to keep up with all the awesomeness!


My next book review is TBD but I'm reading a couple of lovely ARCs right now and I'm hoping to get to snag an interview with one of them.


Until next time, friends.


Rose



an outline of a rose in bloom

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