There’s more to John’s fiction than the Wolf Dasher series. He writes traditional fantasy literature with dragons, magic, fairies, and quests too. Despite its grounding in classic swords-and-sorcery trappings, though, John’s fantasy books have a modern sensibility, often dealing with topical issues.
John also enjoys fairy tales. The ancient fables that make up Western tradition have fascinated and engrossed him for most of his life. Fairy tales had much darker endings before getting “Disney-fied,” and John thinks the pre-happily-ever-after stories make for compelling reading. He’s re-imagined some of his favorite tales into modern incarnations, taking the basic premises of the stories, the darker style of ending, and a pinch of magic and then setting them in the 21st Century. They are, as the subtitles imply, modern fairy tales.
Check out both the fantasies and the fairy tales below, and click on the links to read reviews and purchase them.
The Sword and the Sorcerer
He wanted his father’s love. What he got instead will change the world.
Gothemus Draco – world’s most powerful sorcerer – is dead. Locked away in his tower are the tools for total domination of every city-state in the Known World. The person who possesses them can become a king, and everyone, it seems, has a claim – his warlord brother, the fairy from whom he stole a powerful artifact, even the sorceress who murdered him.
But the man who shaped the balance of power through wizardry isn’t done playing games with world politics. Just because Gothemus is dead doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have plans. Against all understanding, his magic lives on after his demise, preventing anyone from breaking into the tower.
Meanwhile, he’s left a gift for his son Calibot – Wyrmblade. The legendary dragon sword makes its wielder nearly invincible, and Gothemus has enchanted it with all sorts of new abilities.
But Calibot wants nothing to do with Wyrmblade or his father. He’s a poet with a powerful patron, and he’s been estranged from his father for years. All he desires is a peaceful life of composing verse and to one day marry the man he loves – a former soldier and advisor to the duke.
He may have no choice, though. Gothemus decreed Calibot should retrieve his body and lay him to rest. All signs point to a mysterious destiny Gothemus designed that Calibot cannot avoid.
With only the aid of his true love and his father’s inept apprentice, Calibot must leave the safety of his life at court and venture to the stronghold of those who murdered Gothemus, retrieve the body, and return it to his tower. Everyone with a stake in the future of the Known World will try to stop him, and Calibot must take care he doesn’t lose his life . . . or his soul!
The Sword and the Sorcerer is a full-length fantasy novel by the author of the Wolf Dasher series. Set against a backdrop of magic and dragons, of betrayal and greed, it is a story of one man’s journey to lay his father – and his inner demons – to rest.
She’s a witch. She heals the sick. She makes crops grow. She helps people fall in love.
But not if Charles III can help it. The prince is about to ascend the throne of Cotreur, and he’s pledged his first act will be to outlaw magic. After all, it’s only practicable by women, and it sets one before the gods. It must come from The Dark One. Some witches are even said to be able to steal a man’s will during sex.
Juliette isn’t about to let a mad zealot of a king hurt her. She’s not going to give up her art to satisfy the twisted ideas of a religious extremist.
She’ll need an ally, though. Bishop Gerard has a much more reasonable view of things. He may be a church official, but he has a much more progressive view of women and magic than Charles. And Gerard doesn’t mind throwing off his vow of celibacy when the mood strikes him. Especially with Juliette. Perhaps she can use him to alter the prince’s plans.
Charming the bishop is no trouble. But if his pleas fall on deaf ears, if Charles won’t listen to reason, then Juliette will just have to try something a little more desperate, something a little more extreme.
Juliette will use every magic available to her – including sex – to preserve her position. If Charles insists on enacting his misogynistic laws, then he is going to fall victim to her passion play.
Originally released as “The Coronation of King Charles III,” “Passion Play” is a short story that examines the collision of religion and politics, of fundamentalism and feminism. Exciting, sexy, and tense, it follows one woman’s desperate pursuit of freedom from persecution. Author John R. Phythyon, Jr. offers another taut thriller packed with page-turning adventure and thoughtful commentary on modern society. How far would you go to protect your beliefs?
“This quick short story has intrigue, sex, politics, and action. I have to say, it’s one of the best short stories I’ve read and well worth the price.”
–D. Fidler, Amazon.com reviewer
Beauty & the Beast: A Modern Fairy Tale
Be careful what you wish for. . . .
Rory Bellin dreams of a better life. As a senior at Lawrence High, she yearns to be taken seriously for her accomplishments – she’s editor-in-chief of the school paper, president of three clubs, and on track to graduate with a 4.0 GPA and admission to Yale. But all anyone, even her mother, cares about is LHS regaining its former football glory and winning a state championship.
Caleb Johnson dreams of a better life. He aches to be able to lead Lawrence High to its first football championship in eighteen years and to date the most beautiful girl in school – Rory Bellin. But, as the third-string running back, he never plays, he has a face no one could love, and, whenever he tries to talk to Rory, his usually glib tongue turns to clay.
But maybe Mr. Nickleby, the mysterious new English teacher and newspaper advisor, can help. He has the key to both of their desires. He’s willing to make their dreams come true.
Of course, getting what you wish for has a price. But that doesn’t matter, right? If you want something badly enough, you’ll do anything to get it, no matter what it costs. Even if it’s your soul.
Beauty & the Beast: A Modern Fairy Tale is a contemporary take on the classic story by the author of the Wolf Dasher series. John R. Phythyon, Jr. weaves a dark fairy tale both familiar and fresh about understanding what’s important, finding one’s place in the world, and the consequences of obsession.
Be careful what you wish for . . . you might just get it!
“Sleeping Beauty: A Modern Fairy Tale”
He wanted to save her. He got it all wrong.
Carl is the only one left. All Beth’s friends were sad when she fell into a coma two years ago at the age of fourteen. But life moved on, and so did they. Except Carl. He still comes to see her. He still visits two to three times a week, talking to her and hoping she will wake.
Her mother, Marie, is insane. She stares constantly through a thick haze of cigarette smoke at Carl whenever he visits Beth, watching him, evaluating, plotting.
Marie knows the truth. She knows why Beth is in that coma. She knows it was Rex, Beth’s father, who did it. She knows he hired a witch to cast a spell on her Pretty Princess until she is old enough to marry, until his hand-picked protégé wakes her with True Love’s First Kiss.
But if whomever Rex chooses can break the curse, then so can Carl. He’s loved Beth since he first met her in Sixth Grade. Marie knows. She has a plan. And maybe she’s not as crazy as everyone thinks.
First, though, she’ll have to convince Carl to believe in magic. Then she’ll have to encourage him to defy Rex. That won’t be easy. Rex hates Carl. He put Beth into that coma to keep Carl away from her. And Rex has a wicked temper.
Marie is determined, though. She’s going to get her Sleeping Beauty back. And Carl is going to help . . . whether he likes it or not.
Can True Love’s First Kiss really break the curse, or are darkness, insanity, and self-doubt too strong?
Set in modern times, “Sleeping Beauty” is a creepy reimagining of the original fairy tale. Much like ABC’s Once Upon A Time, it offers a fresh look at an old story.
It explores what happens when parents go too far to protect their children. All parents struggle deciding when to hold on tightly to their children and when to let go. Rex and Marie get it all wrong. A cautionary tale, “Sleeping Beauty” reminds us there is a fine line between love and obsession, between care and cruelty.
Winner of the Indie Book of the Day award!
–Kendra L. Metz, Amazon.com reviewer
“Sleeping Beauty is an enjoyable short story with character development that defies its length. It’s a quick read, but the tale lingers. Unnerving, haunting and well worth the purchase price.”
–RunningInHeels, Amazon.com reviewer
“. . . a fast-paced and truly enjoyable short.”
–Mark Abrams, Amazon.com reviewer