Exile’s Redemption at Amazon: http://bitly.com/1rczyyd
Lee’s Book Review Blog: http://wildhuntreviews.com
Lee’s Author Site: http://leedunning.com/
Lee’s Goodreads Page: http://bit.ly/1wB8eju
Lee has always loved writing, and wrote her first book in ninth grade. It was deplorable, though
at the time she thought herself the next J.R.R. Tolkien. Since then Lee has written several short
stories and books, but thankfully had enough sense not to publish them. Now as an older, and
hopefully more skilled writer, Lee has published the first story she deems worthy of sharing with
the world – Exile’s Redemption. She published it through Amazon in July of 2014.
In addition to writing, Lee absolutely loves reading, working on digital art (she did her book
cover and has sold several covers to other authors (including Chris Kennedy’s novel, Can’t Look
Back), wasting too much time on computer and tabletop gaming, and baking. She’s working on
the sequel to Exile’s Redemption and hopes to have it out in the second quarter of 2015.
About the Story
Exile’s Redemption is, on the surface, a fantasy adventure tale about good versus evil, but it goes
beyond that. It’s about paths taken which changed the course of history and sent a proud race
down a road of slow decline – so slow they don’t even realize that one day they’ll exist only in
history texts and children’s stories.
One of the individuals from days long past, Umbral K’hul, returns after ten thousand years of
exile. He discovers his flare of temper as a boy not only saw him banished but set the stage for
pride and ambition to run unchecked among his people. He must come to grips with his failings
and work to rebuild his people while keeping them from discovering his true identity. Adopting
the name W’rath, the elves’ first-born son, joins with a young, untried warrior and strives to save
While the story tackles serious subjects, the story is written to entertain and amuse. The
characters express themselves in unique ways, and carry the story along in a fast-paced manner.
Exile’s Redemption is very much a character driven story, quirky characters for certain, but never
Brief Character Profiles
Umbral K’hul: Ten thousand years ago he tried to murder his father. He failed and found
himself exiled to the Abyss to face certain death. Fate has opened a door and given him as
Raven: A young scholar, she has traveled to Second Home to research the truth about the first
child born to the elves, Umbral K’hul.
Lady Swiftbrook: Driven insane by demons, she is rescued and healed by a small, filthy elf,
and so starts a dangerous friendship.
Lord K’hul: Newest war leader to the elves, and lover of Lady Swiftbrook, he trusts not the
smirking new arrival at his lady’s side.
Okay, this is a scene from Exile’s Redemption between my primary male protagonist, W’rath,
and his pain-in-the-arse half-nephew, K’hul. W’rath wants to put a stop to a rather nasty practice
going on in the Elven nation of First Home, and K’hul, who has just replaced his father as “First
Among Equals” is standing in W’rath’s way. Enjoy.
Now that they were away from the others, and any possibility of public humiliation, K’hul’s
confidence reasserted itself. He faced W’rath, arms crossed, his face hostile. “You have me here
now, Exile. What do you plan to do? Chew on my ankles?”
“Really, lad, short jokes? Even among the Shadow Elf population, I’m shy several inches of
average. I’ve heard every possible insult in existence. You’ll have to work much harder if you
wish to provoke me. Oh, I know, threaten to keep my lads helpless and labeled as inher-ently
evil. That will get my attention.”
K’hul raised an eyebrow. “You’re lads? Until a few days ago, you didn’t even know they
existed. Until a few minutes ago you’d never laid eyes upon them. How can you call them ‘your
lads’ when you don’t know a thing about them? Their own councilors wanted them collared. You
just strut in and decide they should have full access to their psion-ics without first finding out
why your predecessors thought it was a bad idea?”
“Interesting.” W’rath cocked his head. “That actually came across as a coherent argument.”
“So we’re done with this, then?”
W’rath chuckled. Ah, so young, so naïve. “Of course not, lad. Those collars will come off. But
since you went to the effort to put together a logical reason for your obstinacy, it’s only fair I do
“Or, since we both know nothing you say will change my mind, we could just skip that part and
move on to where I pummel you into a jelly. A very small jelly.” K’hul made a show of cracking
“Charming. However, isn’t that a bit archaic? Isn’t the whole purpose of having a council to
facilitate communication and the exchange of ideas? Or am I mistaken and it’s really only an
attempt to put a civilized face on our government while the First’s descendant continues to bully
the rest of the population?”
“I’m the bully? You’ve already made it clear you expect the collars to come off regardless of
the outcome of any discussion. In fact, you used threatened violence to lure me here in the first
place. So be it. It worked well enough for the First, I’m only too happy to continue the tradition.”
W’rath had only a fraction of a second to chide himself for underes-timating his nephew before
the huge First Born smashed a granite-like fist into his jaw. He attempted to roll with the punch,
but the lad’s speed shocked him, and W’rath felt the bone shatter. Most people wouldn’t expect
someone of such size to also have the agility and quickness of a hunting cat, but W’rath, of all
people, realized he should have known better.
The force of the blow sent him flying across the room. He landed and continued to tumble across
the floor until a wall brought him to a bone rattling halt. He spat out blood and teeth, but already
felt his body regenerating, knitting the bone back together. Another fifteen minutes and he’d
completely heal. Of course, K’hul wouldn’t allow him to regen-erate in peace. W’rath’s father
“I knew without your psionics you’d lose miserably in a fight,” K’hul gloated, “but really, Exile,
I still expected better. What were you thinking? Is this how you go about turning me over your
knee and giving out a good paddling?”
He swaggered over to W’rath, hands on hips. “Did you think because I’m younger than you, you
can lord it over me? Or, maybe you think I’m just some big, dumb fighter you can tear apart with
your self-imagined superior intellect? Lesson one, Exile, never underestimate your opponent.”
I agree entirely. With the speed of a striking snake, W’rath lashed out with his legs, hooking
onto K’hul’s ankle with one foot, and smashing the side of K’hul’s knee with the other. A
resounding crack echoed off the walls as the knee exploded. K’hul crashed to the floor, howling
in pain and surprise. The entire dojo shook with the force of his massive body splitting the
With reflexes honed from years of surviving in the Abyss, W’rath sprang up and forward,
smashing K’hul’s ruined knee, causing the First Born to nearly bite through his tongue in his
efforts to keep from bel-lowing in agony. Even so he could not help but cry out as the Shadow
Elf launched himself into the air using the shattered knee for leverage. The older elf fell back
earthward, smashing the elbow of the hand that had seconds earlier broken his jaw. He tumbled
forward and came to rest with his knee against K’hul’s throat. He pressed just hard enough to
make it clear how easily he could crush the huge elf’s windpipe.
K’hul went to brush the Shadow Elf from his chest only to find his other arm pinned to the floor
by a knife, which hummed with faint magic. Tendons neatly sliced, the embedded knife kept him
from healing. For now the arm lay useless. He starred up into W’rath’s furious face in horror.
“If you ever strike me again,” W’rath said, struggling to enunciate through broken teeth, and a
partially healed mandible, “your current injuries will seem but pleasant memories. I shall break
every joint in your body, and then march up this puffed up chest of yours to smash every bone in
your face. If your bloodline to the First survives as unsul-lied as you claim, you may regenerate
perfectly, but odds are you won’t present quite as handsome a visage as you’re used to.”
K’hul gaped at the Shadow Elf, confirming W’rath’s suspicions that no one had ever dared
speak to the young warleader in such a manner before. K’hul nearly choked on the blood from
his partially severed tongue. W’rath grinned. “Oh, yes, the various races of elves may differ in
a great many ways, but one thing you can always count on is our vanity. Lad, you may hate me
with every fiber of your being, but by all the ancestors you hold dear, you will respect me.
W’rath’s smile widened. “And now … if you don’t mind, I do believe I have won our …
Lee Dunning’s Q&A
Each of the Fellowship has taken part in a Q&A to let readers know a little more about themselves and their process. Below is Lee Dunning’s Interview.
Q: Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Lee: I started out young down the path of the nerd and never veered from my course. I cut my teeth on Peter S. Beagle and J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien got me hooked on elves and I’ve been writing adventures with them since high school. I’ve published one book – it came out in July of 2014.
Q: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Lee: My book is named “Exile’s Redemption” and is the first in a series collectively known as “The Shadow Chronicles”. The series is the culmination of years of reading fantasy, gaming, drawing and painting. If I had to blame anyone for obsession, I’d have to point to my sixth grade teacher, Dixie Gaisford, as she’s the one who turned me on to Tolkien.
Q: Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Lee: I do digital art to help me visualize the characters. Sometimes I write little flash fiction pieces to accompany the pictures, which allows me to explore the character’s personalities.
Q: What authors or books have influenced you?
Lee: Peter S. Beagle and Tolkien were my original influences. My more recent influences have been Martha Wells (especially for her female protagonists), Joe Abercrombie, and Steven Erikson.
Q: What are you working on now?
Lee: I’m working on the sequel to “Exile’s Redemption”. It’s tentatively titled, “Exile’s Shadow”.
Q: What is your best method or website for book promotion
Lee: The two most successful things I’ve done in terms of promoting my book is making book marks (through Vistaprint) and having a canvas bag made with my book cover image on it and carting it around. I constantly have people comment on the bag, at which point I dig out book marks and hand them out.
Q: Do you have any advice for new authors?
Lee: Don’t write in isolation. Find some like minded folks and start a writer’s group. I found mine by taking some creative writing classes at the local community college and making friends.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Lee: Don’t just talk about writing a book someday. Do it. Now.
Q: What are you reading now?
Lee: “The First Five Pages: How to Stay Out of the Rejection Pile” by Noah Lukeman
Q: What’s next for you as a writer?
Lee: More writing, of course.
Q: 3 or 4 books for deserted island?
Lee: “The Last Unicorn”, “The Fellowship of the Ring”, “City of Bones”, and “Gardens of the Moon”.
Q: What inspires you to write?
Lee: My mortality.
Q: Tell us about your writing process
Lee: I think about the characters and story for a long time – months even. I juggle ideas about endings. Endings help me determine everything else. Once I know where I’m going, I simply have to decide what route can get me there.
Q: Are you an outliner or a seat of the pants writer?
Lee: I’m a hybrid. I block out a loose framework. I can tell you that in the first part of the story this, this and this will happen, and then in the next part of the story these important events will occur. I essentially outline in four big chunks with important elements making up each of those parts. I go into the story knowing what the beginning, middle and end should contain. However, a lot of the details get resolved in a more spontaneous fashion. This can and does get me into hot water sometimes, and leaves me with large, overwritten scenes. Fortunately, I like editing even more than writing, so once the first draft is down, it’s weed wacker time.
Q:If you are an outliner, what do you use to outline? Whiteboard? Software?
Lee: Note cards. You can write things down on them and then move them around as needed. Sometimes as I write I discover that a scene I envisioned happening at point C would actually work better at point B.
Q: Do you create character sketches before or during your writing?
Lee: If you mean actual sketches then in a way, yes. I do digital art and I develop a visual disign for my characters that way. If you mean skethc as in, writing down what their favorite food is, no. I think about my characters obsessively, so by the time I actually sit down at a computer to write about them, I know them as well as I know myself.
Q: Do you listen to or talk to your characters?
Q: How do you interact with your characters while you are writing?
Lee: I don’t really interact with them. I visualize them in scenes, especially action scenes. I watch through my mind’s eye how theire body’s flow in combat, what sorts of expressions they make during conversations – things like that. I also have music mixes designed to reflect the personalities of each of my characters. When I’m writing from, say, W’rath’s PoV, I play my “W’rath MIx”.
Q: What advice would you give other writers?
Lee: Write and read every day. Read outside your chosen genre sometimes, it will help you grow your ideas and expose you to know possibilities for your writing.
Q: How did you decide how to publish your books?
Lee:I’m a bit of a control freak, so I decided some time ago I wanted to self-publish. I knew how I wanted my characters to look on my cover, and the idea of having little to no say on that with a publisher, had a lot to do with my decision to do everything myself.
Q: What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Lee: I think as people become more skilled with using the tools required for doing self-publishing, we’ll see the stigma associated with in indie publishing lessen. The overall quality of selfl-published books will go up. I think we’ll see an increasingly larger number of established writers (those who have always published their works traditionally) will go the hybrid route, continuing to publish through the big six, but also going the indie route with some of their pieces. A lot of older works which have reverted to their creators are finding a second life through indie publishing. Sometimes authors like to write something outside their norm, stuff a traditional publisher might find too risky to touch – those are also going to make it into the book stores through self-publishing. There will be growing pains, but overall I see it as an exciting time of transition.