Friday, October 21, 2011

Bloodstone Blog Tour, Contest and Guest post

Looking for a job? Have you ever thought about becoming a demon fighter? Well, you've come to the right place! Today we have a guest post by non other than Mab Vaughn from the Deadtown series by Nancy Holzner. 
Nancy is also offering a tour-wide giveaway- readers can enter at each stop for a chance to win 1 of 5 books being offered. That's right, folks. 5 book giveaways and 5 lucky winners! Each of the five winners gets his/her choice of a signed copy of Deadtown, Hellforged, or Bloodstone. This giveaway is open to US only. Good luck!

Fill out the form for your chance to win!
Programme for Apprentice Demon Fighters

Hello. My name is Mab Vaughn, and I'm a retired demon-fighter. Well, perhaps semi-retired would be
more accurate. One never knows when one's services may be required.

I come from a long line of demon slayers, stretching back to Ceridwen, a Welsh goddess well known
for her shapeshifting ability. My race, the Cerddorion, have opposed demons since our mutual origins.
I have trained many a Cerddorion demon fighter, including my niece, Victory. Recently Vicky has
undertaken to train an apprentice of her own, a young, so-called “zombie” named Tina. So I thought
it would be helpful to put together a training programme for Vicky to use. Other experienced demon
slayers thinking of taking on an apprentice may find it helpful, as well.

Years 1-3: Know Your Enemy

Before an aspiring demon fighter can even begin to think of actual combat, it is essential to understand
the nature, habits, strengths, and weaknesses of the demons eventually to be encountered in the
field. There's simply no point in charging in unprepared, trying to fight (for example) a Glitch, using
techniques best suited for opposing Drudes. To do so is, quite frankly, to court disaster. A Glitch is
an anti-technology demon; a Drude is a nightmare-causing demon. Combat in the technological realm
requires a completely different strategy from fighting in the realm of dreams. Anyone who fails to
understand this has no business fighting demons.

So a firm grounding in the fundamentals of demonology is the necessary first step in any training
programme. The apprentice must gain an encyclopedic knowledge of demons before proceeding. For
this phase of training, the indispensable text is Russom's Demoniacal Taxonomy. Yes, it's dry. Yes,
it's lengthy. And yes, it's a couple of centuries old. But there's no better resource on demons. If an
apprentice cannot get through the book due to tone or length, that apprentice should not—indeed, must
not—continue training. As for age, some argue that Russom's has become dated, yet how much have
demons changed over the centuries? Very little. I can vouch for that from personal experience.

For the first three years of training, the apprentice must become thoroughly familiar with the contents
of Russom's, to be supplemented by other texts as required. Written reports, oral reports, and frequent
pop quizzes are the best means for demonstrating knowledge. In the third year, the apprentice may
move on to analysis of complex scenarios, such as “Is it likely that Imps and Hellions would form an
alliance? Why or why not? In the event of such an alliance (whether likely or unlikely), describe the
best strategy for defeating the enemy.”

Year 4: Introduction to Weaponry

After the apprentice has demonstrated a thorough understanding of the demon world and its
inhabitants, it's time to introduce weaponry. This year is reserved for gaining familiarity with the
different types of weapons. I recommend the following units, in order: the properties of bronze, bladed
weapons, projectiles, and techniques to enhance weapons' effectiveness (holy water, sacramental wine,
basic spellcraft, etc.).

Although the apprentice may view and handle individual weapons during this phase, the apprentice
should not use them, even in mock combat. The goal of this year is to know the different weapons
available and understand, in theory, which weapons are most effective against a particular type of

Years 5-6: Combat Fundamentals

This phase marks the beginning of the apprentice's physical training. It begins with a fitness regimen
designed to prepare the apprentice for combat training. Assign weight training to bolster strength and
long-distance running to increase endurance.

When the apprentice meets a high standard of physical fitness, weapons training—using wooden or
blunted weapons—may begin. The course of instruction should include swordplay, axes, throwing
(knives and spears), archery, marksmanship, and hand-to-hand combat. In Year 6, the apprentice may
accompany the instructor on demon-fighting excursions, but only as an observer.

Year 7: Advanced Combat

If the apprentice has progressed satisfactorily through the previous phases of training, advanced combat
may begin at this time. A word of caution, however: Do not embark upon this final phase of training
unless the apprentice has thoroughly mastered all previous phases. It is useful to test the apprentice's
knowledge and skills before proceeding. Better to spend another year or two on an earlier phase as
needed than send an unprepared demon fighter into the field. Too many have perished from going into
the field too early.

Advanced combat begins with a review of combat skills already learned—this time with sharpened
blades. The instructor must not pamper the apprentice during drills; demons most certainly will not
do so in an actual combat situation. Next, the instructor conjures small demons for the apprentice
to fight under controlled circumstances. The apprentice continues to accompany the instructor to
demon exterminations, moving from observer to back-up as individual progress warrants. Finally, the
apprentice takes the primary role in an extermination, with the instructor providing back-up. When
the apprentice has successfully exterminated at least one of each of the main types of demons without
excessive assistance from the instructor, the program is complete.

Bloodstone, the third novel in Nancy Holzner's Deadtown series, is now available. For information
on Nancy and her books, visit her website. You can also find Nancy on Facebook and Twitter, and
blogging with other fantasy authors at Dark Central Station.

*Don't forget to check out the other stops on the book tour (only a few dates remaining) for more chances to win great books!
*And fill out the form for your chance to win Bloodstone! You can't win if you don't play.


mnjcarter said...

Wow, that's quite a few years and alot of work to be a demon fighter!!

Great giveaway!!

Rain Maiden said...

I don't think I would be a good Demon fighter...the flaming sword is a nice touch though.

Anonymous said...

Hi, everyone!

Sorry for my late arrival. I was helping out at a writers workshop in Albany, NY today. I'll stop by tomorrow, as well.

@mnjcarter Mab doesn't mess around when it comes to training demon slayers! She's kind of like a drill sergeant with a heart of gold (but she does her best to hide the heart of gold part). Vicky tries to be as tough with her apprentice, but she's not quite there yet.

@Rain Maiden To tell you the truth, I'd be a lousy demon fighter, too. :)

Thanks for reading my post!

Anna (Bite Club) said...

Sounds like a lot of work to me, but after reading the books it does seem rather necessary. Vicki just wouldn't be the awesome demon fighter that she is without all of Mab's instruction. I'd probably excel during the early years when everything involves reading, but not so much with the fighting part.