My name is Theophilus Monroe. Perhaps you’ve heard of me. I’ve written and published over fifty urban and paranormal fantasies. Titles like The Legacy of a Vampire Witch, The Legend of Nyx, The Blood Witch Saga, The Vilokan Asylum of the Magically and Mentally Deranged, and The Chronicles of Zoey Grimm are some of my better-known series.
My interest in paranormal fantasy began with authors like Anne Rice and Jim Butcher. However, growing up, I read a lot of epic fantasy. I still do. I love the legends like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I’m also a fan of authors like Brandon Sanderson and R.A. Salvatore. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of progression fantasies like Will Wight’s Cradle series, Shirtaloon’s He Who Fights with Monsters, and Tao Wong’s A Thousand Li.
After devoting the better part of the last three years to urban fantasies, I decided to branch out.
I’m a full-time author. This isn’t a hobby. As I often tell my wife, most of my friends are people I’ve made up. I spend most of my time in worlds that don’t really exist.
I’m always coming up with new ideas, new worlds with unique magical systems. Some of these ideas are better vehicles for storytelling than others. Urban fantasy is a great genre—but some stories require a whole new world, a place with different magic and rules, different species.
For the last year or so I’ve been entertaining a story, a world and a system, that I couldn’t shake. It screamed at me in the shelves of my mind, begging to be born.
I needed a new genre. Urban fantasy is great, but it wouldn’t work with this story.
I settled on “epic progression fantasy.” What is “progression fantasy?” It’s a term you may or may not be familiar with. It’s a cousin of LitRPG. Like a character in a video game, the heroes in progression fantasies start out weak. They gain strength over time, they “progress” through various levels or stages until (in some books) they reach near-divinity. It’s also closely related to xianxia (translation: Immortal Heroes), a Chinese genre where characters undergo trials, meditation, or training to become transcendental beings. Progression fantasies, like Kataklysm, are westernized adaptations of the same.
What I love about progression fantasies is that every book opens up a new world of possibility for the hero. The hero gets stronger, so do the hero’s adversaries. Technically, “progression” fantasies can be urban fantasies or high fantasies and epics. There are also progression science fiction stories out there. Good stuff. “Progression” isn’t so much a genre of its own as it is a particular character arc that can fit in a variety of genres.
Writing in this genre also required a different voice. My Urban fantasies are written in the first-person. They feature snarky heroes/heroines. I needed a different persona, someone who represented the new “voice” I discovered as I fashioned my new story.
Thus, T.R. Magnus was born. Yeah, he’s still me. Don’t tell anyone. Check out the pseudo-fictional profile for T.R. Below:
T.R. Magnus is the elven half-brother of the urban and paranormal fantasy author Theophilus Monroe. Unlike his brother, T.R. writes immersive epics and cultivation/progression fantasies. He enjoys creating expansive worlds, unique magical systems, and plots that favor the unfavored. T.R. goes by T.R. because Thranduil Ravavaris is hard to say.
T.R.’s favorite color is plaid. Ketchup is his favorite condiment. He enjoys polka music.
I know what you’re thinking. Polka music? Really. I’m not a big fan, but T.R. loves it. I have to admit, it’s kind of catchy. It grows on you. Give it a shot.
Kataklysm is best considered an epic progression fantasy—but there are a few “sci-fi” elements that emerge as the gods of Ashathar are exposed and revealed for who/what they are.
What if the gods were experimenting on the world? Every three thousand years, wiping the slate clean through apocalyptic disaster. In Ashathar, a cycle of Kataklysms has reduced the world to just a few resilient “pathwalkers” who were forced to adapt and evolve to survive.
As Ashathar’s sun failed, reduced to a “red dwarf,” darkness and blight consumed the world. The only hope for survival are the Lightweavers, pathwalkers who’ve ascended to a higher form of being, who can harness the power of light, channeling it into spires that make survival possible. Only a few true Lightweavers have ascended so far and, as it often goes, when only a few hold such power, such power corrupts.
Enter two unlikely heroes:
Blaike is a miner. Born among the blighted, he’s not allowed to pursue the path. Instead, he’s forced to work the mines to harvest sunstone that the Lightweavers need to power the spires. When he discovers a large deposit of sunstone, he’s betrayed by his taskmasters who seek to take credit for the discovery themselves. Exiled and on the run, Blaike must find his own path in the blight.
Ming Yue is the daughter of a Lightweaver and an accomplished brewer of elixirs. As the second-born, she’s also forbidden from following the path. When her brother is abducted by the blighted, she might be her clan’s only hope to produce a Lightweaver for the next generation. Until a mangled and unconscious man is found in the blight. Is this boy really her brother? Or, does he an imposter, placed on the Lightweaver path in her brother’s stead. Is he a friend or an enemy? If he’s not her brother, where is he? Can Ming Yue save him from his blighted captors?
Will our hero and heroine succeed? Are they the answer to saving Ashathar from tyranny? Or, are they merely subjects in a divine experiment, puppets manipulated by gods? Are the gods friendly or are they the real tyrants?
Check it out! Get lost in a new world. You might even survive—if you can muster up the courage and resilience to follow the path.
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