Blog Tour Day 16 – Renee Scattergood

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As we near the end of our monumental blog tour, Renee Scattergood does us the kindness of stopping by to discuss her work.

Renee Scattergood

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About the Shadow Stalker Series:

Shadow Stalker is a series of short novellas (episodes) that tell the story of Auren, a young shadow stalker who is being hunted by the Galvadi Empire because of their belief that she will enslave the people of the Serpent Isles.

Episode 1: The Hidden Truth

Auren Trask’s perfectly normal life is disrupted when the Galvadi invade, and she learns a startling secret about her past. A secret that will change her life forever.

Episode 2: The Delohi-Saqu’s Fate

Auren is being targeted by the Council of Elders, and the only one who could put an end to their corruption is her father. But leaving the Dark Isle would turn Kado against her.

Episode 3: Shadows’ Betrayal

After seeing the monster she will become, Auren swears not to leave the Dark Isle. Despite that, the elders are conspiring against her. To escape their scheming, she and Kado decide to explore the Dark Isle. But worse things await them in the forests.

Episode 4: Forbidden Love

Kado and Auren survive a deadly storm, but when Auren is forbidden from pursuing love with another young shadow stalker, will it be enough to drive a wedge between her and her foster father?

Episode 5: Destiny Reconciled Part 1

Auren and Kado accept that they may not be able to avoid her leaving the Dark Isle. Now they have to prepare for that eventuality. Will the training be more than Auren can handle?

 

Shadow Stalker: Destiny Reconciled Part 1 (Episode 5) Excerpt:

The sudden change in his demeanor made me giggle. It felt good to laugh again. I wasn’t sure I could.

Kado grinned. “I haven’t seen any venomous plants, but keep your eyes open.”

“Okay.” Back to business as usual. I didn’t see any of the plants either, thankfully. And there was plenty of wood around after the storm that hit a couple weeks before.

When I returned, Kado was gone. Maybe he had gone to get some wood as well, but normally he would say so. I was about to call for him when he came out of the mist nearly on top of me.

“Sorry,” he said. “Just after you left, Cathnor called for me.”

“Is everything okay?” I knew the answer to that question by the look on his face, but I hoped he would give me details.

“Not really, no. The council has begun sending emissaries to the other villages. I’m not sure what they’re up to, yet, but I think it would be best if we avoid visiting any of the villages for the time being.”

Kado didn’t have to say it. It was easy to guess. Things were getting out of control.

“There’s more. The Coalition has been defeated. The Galvadi Empire controls the Serpent Isles now.”

My legs felt like they dissolved beneath me, and I found myself on my knees. My foster father had knelt beside me, reminding me to breath. My friends, Deakan and Jade, had they been captured? Their tortured and bruised bodies filled my vision, but I forced the image away. I had to believe they had somehow gotten away and were in hiding. Deakan would never allow anyone to hurt her.

“The Council of Elders must have more support here than we thought,” I said.

“No,” he said, resting his hand on my back. “Something else is going on. They are using their authority to manipulate the shadow stalkers, and it has been ingrained in us to follow the council if the Foramar was not available. No one ever considered what to do if the council had been compromised.”

“Compromised by who?” I sat back.

“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.”

I took a deep breath, bracing myself for the reaction I would receive for what I was about to say, but I had to say it. “Kado, I don’t think I can stay here anymore.”

He ran his hand over his face. “You may be right.”

 

Demon Hunt

 

 

 

About Demon Hunt:

Auren longs for adventure and a break from her tedious life on Appolia. It’s the start of summer, and she is looking forward to her yearly camping trip with her foster father, Kado. She believes these trips are for fun, but when they arrive on Luten Isle, Kado informs her that she is a shadow stalker, and she is in training.

One morning, Auren decides to take her training into her own hands. She only means to practice seeing the veil to the shadow world, the world of the shadow people and the source of their power. Instead, she opens the veil releasing a demon, a guardian of the shadow world, into the physical world.

With the deadly beast loose, she and Kado don’t have long to hunt it down and return it to where it belongs, or many innocent people could die.


Buy Links:

You can get the buy links from my My Books page: http://reneescattergood.com/my-books/ or you can just use my author pages for Amazon and Smashwords below.

Author Pages:

Authorgraph – http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/ReneeScatts

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8507658.Renee_Scattergood

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Renee-Scattergood/e/B00NTJY1W2

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/rscatts


Social Media Connections:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/reneescatts

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ReneeScatts

Goggle+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/118427336236369690813/+ReneescattergoodAuthor/posts


My Website/Blog:

Renee Writes – http://reneescattergood.com/

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Blog Tour Day 15 – Welcome RJ Mirabal

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The Fellowship of Fantasy Writer’s Blog Tour (that is quite a mouthful) continues! Today we have a story based on the unique culture of New Mexico. I lived there briefly and had the good fortune of discovering what the most mouth-watering food on the planet tastes like. There is nothing like New Mexican food. I also had the pleasure of taking two semesters of creative writing from Rudolfo Anaya at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Rudolfo Anaya is probably best known for his novel Bless Me Ultima – a story with many levels to it. Based on RJ’s description below, it sounds like he, like Rudolfo Anaya, was touched by the mysticism that runs through the land of New Mexico.

 

Book title: The Tower of Il Serrohe (Book 1 of Rio Grande Parallax Series)

Author:     RJ Mirabal

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  • A man who has lost his way.
  • A rundown casita near the Middle Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico.
  • A bat offering a formidable quest to this unlikely hero.
  • A Portal to another valley called the Valle Abajo.
  • Clans in the Valle needing help to overcome the evil Soreyes.
  • A Tower, the mysterious source of Soreye power.

Early in the past century Teresa, a young curandera, traveled to the Valle Abajo to bring down the Tower. But the Tower still stands and Don Vargas, an alcoholic looking for escape from failure, may be the only one to destroy it.

Don travels through the Portal to the Valle, encountering beautiful Raquela and feisty Nersite who join him to fight the Soreyes. Meanwhile Nightwing, the enigmatic bat, manipulates events behind the scenes. Many surprises and revelations await as this contemporary fantasy unfolds.

Though the book ends, the story doesn’t. Coming this winter, Book 2 of the Rio Grande Parallax: Extreme Dust Storms May Exist. Many familiar characters from The Tower return along with new exciting personalities to spice up the adventure:

 

Extreme Dust Storms May Exist:

  • Esther has dreams of a valley much like her Rio Luna home, yet ominously different. A bat slams its body against her window in the night. Markey, her best buddy, thinks she might be going crazy.
  • It is five years after the final events of The Tower of Il Serrohe and Esther, a young cousin of the missing Don Vargas, is drawn to the Portal in Don’s old Casita.
  • In the Valle Abajo, an old enemy of the clanspeople returns. And a mysterious presence makes itself known.

Personal Comments: Why New Mexico Fantasy?

I’ve always loved the way fantasy and science fiction take my imagination beyond the ordinary. Realizing the obsessive creation of stories in my head meant I should be a writer, I set out to fashion a unique niche for my musings calling it Southwest Contemporary Fantasy, specifically New Mexico fantasy. Thus Don, Nersite, Raquela and all the other characters were born and sent out on their unpredictable adventures.

But like many children, they have their own ideas, and I struggle to keep up with them, attempting to tell their story as accurately as I can. I admit they share some of my life experience growing up in New Mexico with its unique culture, terrain, and climate. But at times, I wonder where these people came from!

Join me as I chronicle their adventures and challenges.


 RJ Mirabal Promo_BookCover

 RJ’s Blog Link:

RJ’s Blog: http://rjmirabal.wordpress.com/

 Buy links for The Tower of Il Serrohe:
Black Rose Writing: http://goo.gl/fZXWgF
Amazon: http://goo.gl/GvXAUT

  Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/42OHpk

  Smashwords: http://goo.gl/2LmWHu

  Signed copy from the author or other questions, email: rjmirabal@gmail.com

Blog Tour Day 14 – R. R. Brooks

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I’m very happy to welcome Mr. R. R. Brooks to my blog today. Aside from having a love of the sea, and participating in a vibrant writer’s group based out of North Carolina, he has a new fantasy novel coming out. He’s kindly agreed to give us the rundown on Justi the Gifted, a tale of epic fantasy.

 

 

 


 

 

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Justi the Gifted, an epic fantasy tale by R.R. Brooks ( www.appalachianroundtable.com ) will be published momentarily by LeoPublishing L.L.C. (www.leopublishing.net) and can be ordered from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local bookstore (they’d love for you to visit).

A gift from a god can be good.  But what if it is damaged?

Even in a story set in a time long ago, an author may need a modern device.  When Justi and a companion Gralil travel alone to a western town in pursuit of the kidnapped Princess Mercerio, I had to get them back quickly to rejoin the army.  By horse, the trip would take a week.  That wouldn’t work.

My solution was a balloon.  Justi and Gralil consult with Roomul, a wise man-tinkerer who happens to have an invention and a theory.  This would work if I could fit the device to the times.  We get this description:

Roomul had Justi and Gralil fetch a long pole on which a shiny green fabric was rolled.  The old man lifted a basket as wide as two wheelbarrows and put it over his head.  He eyed the way through openings in the coarse weave and led them to a small vent steadily hissing a blue smoky gas.

He dropped the basket and said, “Don’t breathe any of that.  He went back to the shed and reappeared with a large coil of rope and a long floppy tube.

Thus the modern device of a hot-air balloon is modified to a shiny green fabric, a basket, and a blue smoky gas from Mother Earth.  They fill the house-sized balloon with lighter-than-air gas and climb into the basket.  Then they hear Roomul’s theory:

The nighttime breezes from the sea flow with great vigor in the direction of Zellingon.  By the dawn, you will have crossed the cleft and the Wark heights and see the Swamp of Snakes.  At that time, you must pull this center rope to dump gas until you descend gently to the ground.

Justi does question whether Roomul has tested this contraption.  The seer asserts, “Well, of course I have.  Right here, in fact.  No problem.”  To which Gralil responds, “You mean you got in the basket with it tied to a tree.”

The other accommodation I made to reality was to provide the passengers with blankets to deal with the cold temperature above.  A blanket came in handy when the pair had to use it as a sail to avoid collision with a rock.  After a scary overnight trip, my hero is back with the army to join in the siege of the royal city.

 

Blog Tour Day 13 – Sarah Daltry

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Please welcome Sarah Daltry, today’s guest during our crazy Fellowship of Fantasy Writer’s Blog Tour.

 

Dust Cover

 

Dust is the story of a young girl, Alondra, in another world. It’s a world that normally would be draped in magic – the kind of world traditional in fantasy. There are castles and kingdoms and all those fun fairy tale elements, but it’s also a world with futuristic features, such as teleportation and giant glass towers that reach into the sky. Picture something out of the Final Fantasy series, with less steampunk.

There used to be magic in Alondra’s world, but well before she was born, all of the kingdoms were part of war. It was a war that happened because human beings grew too powerful. They wanted more and they wanted it for themselves. No longer was man satisfied to have the power of the gods and use it for the greater good; now he wanted to be a god. Because of the fear of magic and the damage it wrought, it has been suppressed and Alondra only knows it as a hobby.

When a new villain appears, though, and the world so desperate for peace and security is shattered anew, Alondra sets out on a journey through the past. She soon discovers that the secrets people keep in order to preserve a facade of safety run deep.

I see this as a fantasy novel woven through with philosophy and moral questions, as well as a sprinkle of romance. Although there is a love story, it is not about romance, but about coming of age, about learning who you are and understanding your role in the world, and about independence and choice (as well as the associated consequences).

 

EXCERPT

PART ONE (Dust)

 

 

Now

 

Overhead, the sky is sparkling. The hills crest right below the moon and the tableau, in other circumstances, would be breathtaking. However, as I wade through corpses, I’m not focused on scenery. My quiver is by my side and I’m plucking arrows from the dead. This is not a time for waste.

I was once the type of person who was impressed by starlight; the type of person who would dance beneath glass ceilings and let the world swim in its loveliness. The sky reminds me of the parties we used to throw – parties like the one last night (or another party, not that long ago, but one that belongs in another lifetime.) The memories bring back the trill of harps and endless ripples of satisfied laughter. Now, though, when I try to recall what I felt, all I hear is screaming.

The troops are gathered, ready for my command. It is senseless. I have no military experience; no concept of how to lead. They come with their bows, and swords, and guns and they look to me for direction. My father’s last words before we watched our city fall were to assign me as his envoy. Because it is their duty to obey, the soldiers heeded his decision, even though it was clear they did not agree with it. They followed blindly, and now I stand holding the remnants of a man’s life in my quiver, having never spilled blood myself.

Over the hills, we’re not sure what awaits us but it is likely no different than the field of gore through which we trek. I look to the sky again and feel I can hear the moon laughing. Red stains the entire landscape. Where there were trees now stand charred remains and plumes of smoke. Bones are scattered across the earth, buzzards circle, and the smell of rot and death invades my senses. I want to wash myself, but even a long, hot bath could not erase the ruin that clings to me.

Behind us is only suffering. The kingdom has been shattered. Anara stands on the precipice.

Demoria, we were told, was the first city to fall, although the Demorians were fortunate in that the majority of them were stationed in camps around the other kingdoms. Syllab was ashes before the news even reached us in Kooram. While we danced and thrilled ourselves with frivolity, the world’s teleportation centers were demolished, cities were razed, and death marched on us like a silent sentinel.

The air is full of the stench of carnage. I continue to gather arrows as we move, but the bodies at last are thinning. The remnants of war are visible in the atmosphere and the once fertile prairie is now an arid stretch of debris. Sanguine rivers intercept our path.

“Alondra, we must continue to move. Their troops are amassing and it will not be long before they reach us. We must make camp before daybreak and I worry that we are running out of time.”

Ereditus is right; if the sun comes up and illuminates our position, the war will be over. Although the objective is to end the war, it is not to end it with my death. As our military leader and strategist (despite the fact he has never seen anything resembling war before) Ereditus is the only person who knows what the next steps should be.

I nod and continue the path through the remains of my kinsmen and my people. The sun is coming and we must get to the caves. I feel a hand on mine and turn to see Seamus. His sword is dripping crimson. Ragged marks lace his arms and hands. His eyes are dark and his sorrow is palpable.

“Only a bit further,” he says, trying to comfort me.

We have hours to go, but if we can make it to the caves, we can regroup, tally our losses, and strategize. “I, for one, am ready for a nap.”

“It is uncanny that you can joke right now,” I tell him, but he still coaxes a small smile. There is a strange security in the casualness of his comment, and his hand feels warm. I squeeze it, happy to have the familiarity of his touch.

“I aim to please.” His returned smile morphs into a grimace, thanks to the slash that runs across his cheek. It’s funny to think that only a few months ago, I was preparing myself for a date with Seamus, having my hair braided and my eyes lined with shadow, angry about something as petty as betrothal. What is marriage now that the world is dying?

As we walk towards dawn, I clench his hand tighter and try not to think on how we got here.

Then

 

“You don’t seem to be enjoying yourself.”

Around the flaming tree in the middle of the courtyard (the tree behind which I have been hiding for the greater part of an hour) the voice snakes itself through the flame. A body soon follows it, but in the flickering heat it is a mere silhouette.

“I’m choosing to take a break,” I say in my defense.

“I see. I was unaware that those who lived within the castle walls had such a thing as a choice,” he says. There is laughter in the voice, but it’s taunting. It is also accurate, and that bothers me most of all.

“Are you here to mock me?”

As he steps closer, his eyes come into focus first. He appears as a mirage, a man wrapped in fire. However, through the darkness, blue swirls glow and draw my attention. He is young, not much older than I am, and he is not shy as he reaches for my hand and brings me closer to his body. Although my parents have sent me on a number of courting visits to other kingdoms – and many princes and nobles, both young and old, have held my hand in the same way – my body responds to his touch and I allow it.

“I only speak what I see, what I know,” he argues. “I know that you are hiding behind this tree for a reason.”

Inside my mind, my mother’s voice and the day’s earlier lecture echo.

Alondra, I expect obedience tonight. There are many coming to join us for this party and I have a surprise for you. This is not a night for your antics and I will be watching. Do not make me assign you a guard again.’

I think the threat was the inciting factor. The moment I was able to slip away, I did, and I have been in the courtyard avoiding the “surprise” since. Holding the hand of this young man with sapphire eyes, it comes to mind to give my mother a surprise of her own.

“Curfew is not for a few more hours,” I whisper. “The majority of Kooram dances in the great hall: The entire village could be explored in quiet.”

The stranger picks up on the suggestion immediately. His smile is dangerous, full of knowing and mystery. I return it, because it is danger that I yearn for in the darkest hours of the night. Squeezing his hand tighter, I turn toward the gates, to lead him into the village proper.

As we cross the castle threshold, he grabs me and spins me around to face him. As my body is drawn flush with his, he leans down to press his lips to mine. It is not my first kiss but it is a kiss that demands more to follow. When we part, I know that I will be learning all sorts of secrets tonight.

Now

 

A scream distorts the sound of marching footfalls on the bleeding earth. I don’t know when Seamus dropped my hand, as I have kept my eyes trained forward; focused on the caves and what we will find. I do not want to see what the army does to make my passage safer.

However, I cannot avoid turning this time. There is something about the scream that is ceaseless. I wish I hadn’t; Seamus removes his sword from the stomach of a boy whom I guess is little more than twelve-years-old. The boy’s entrails slither along the blade and out of his wound. The woman standing behind them is the one who is screaming, but she does not move.

“Make it stop,” I ask no one in particular. “Please, make it stop.”

It is not the first death I have seen and I am certain it will not be the last. I want to feel compassion or empathy, but the blaster in the dead boy’s hand tells me that Seamus’ blade is the reason I am not dust.

At my side, Theomore flinches at the pitch of her screams, but he readies his aim and the bullet enters the woman’s windpipe, bringing a sudden and eerie silence. Her body joins the boy’s in the dirt. Their blood, mingled in the pools forming below them, glides in an unhurried stream to my boot tip. I wonder about the stories that used to run through that blood. I didn’t recognize either of them. Were they Kooramen who hated us for the luxury of our lives? Did they come with the army from another land? Were they simply people who misunderstood the targets of their violence? The answers are forgotten in the scarlet slicks.

“And we continue,” Ereditus says, taking the boy’s blaster. The woman was weaponless.

This time, Seamus does not jest. He does not take my hand. He joins me in walking toward the caves, but I can see that the dead boy burdens him. I do not have the words to console him. The wretch had been aiming for me and that fact truly resonates for the first time. I am eighteen and I have lived a life of silliness, yet, according to my father as we fought in vain to save our city, I am now the greatest threat Anara faces as death reigns – and I don’t know why.

 

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Sarah’s Author Site

Blog Tour Day 11 – Viv Sang

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Please welcome Viv Sang who joins us for today’s blog tour post. She cut her teeth on many of the classic fantasy stories many of us are familiar with. She’s now an author with several titles to her name and more to come.

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I can remember writing a story about a dog when I was quite small. I know I was small because I spelled ‘of’ as ‘ov’ all the way through. I can’t actually remember how old I was though.

Later, at school, I enjoyed writing stories. If we were given an essay that was mainly descriptive, I did not enjoy it nearly as much. I remember that I once wrote a story of 20 pages in my exercise book. I enjoyed doing it. I have no idea how my teacher enjoyed marking it, though! I remember that I got a good mark for it.

Later, in my teens. I wrote a ‘book’. It was a romantic story about a group of girls going on holiday to Italy and meeting a group of Italian boys and some English boys. It all ended tragically though, as the main Italian boy was killed in a car crash when visiting his English girlfriend.

Reading has always been a passion of mine. My mother used to say that you could forget about talking to me if I had my head in a book. Story telling seemed to follow this quite naturally. I told myself stories all the time, but only myself. I think this changed when I started playing Dungeons and Dragons, but here I am getting ahead of myself.

I trained as a teacher in Manchester, and while on my second teaching practice, which was in a junior school in Irlam, just outside Manchester, I was teaching a class of 9 year olds. At the end of one lesson, a boy, with the wonderful name of Fred Spittal, came up to me with a book in his hand.

‘Have you ever read this, Miss?’ he asked.

I replied that I hadn’t. The book in question was one of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

‘Well.’ said Fred, ‘you should. It’s very good, but you ought to read The Hobbit first as it sets the scene for these books.’

A few weeks later I was in the college library and I saw The Hobbit on the shelf. Of course. I got it out and was immediately hooked. I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, then the C.S.Lewis books. There was little else in fantasy at that time though.

Many years later, I was teaching at a secondary school in Croydon, London, when a couple of my colleagues started talking about Dungeons and Dragons. I said I’d always wanted to play and so they suggested I join them in a game with several other members of staff. We played each lunchtime until they both left the school and then I became the DM and started a club for the pupils. It was during this time that I created a scenario that I called The Hunt for Sauvern’s Sword. During this time I also discovered the Dragonlance Chronicles, which I also enjoyed tremendously. I would also recommend Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time and Brandon Sanderson’s Mistwraith books. There are so many fantasy writers who have influenced me. Robin Hobb, Marian Zimmer Bradley, Terry Pratchett, Terry Brooks, Susan Cooper, Stephen Donaldson, David Eddings to mention just a few.

During the summer one year I decided to turn this scenario into a book. There was no thought of putting it into print at this time, though. I wrote during the holidays between exam marking and lesson planning. When I retired I found t he time to finish it.

I don’t think that many of my players would recognise it now, though. When writing it, it took on a life of its own, and the characters had quite a lot to say in its development. I am sure that any authors reading this will understand what I mean. Perhaps non-authors will wonder about it. Characters can suddenly say or do something that you had not planned. This certainly happened a number of times, especially a revelation made by my young thief! I believe that Tolkien had no intention of putting Boromir’s brother in The Lord of the Rings, but he ‘came wandering out of the forest of Illian.’

What was intended to be a single book has now morphed into several under the title of The Wolves of Vimar. As yet I don’t know exactly how many books there will be. The first two are available from Amazon, (The Wolf Pack and The Never-Dying Man.) The third will be published, I hope, early next year. I am also working on a novel based in Roman Britain and I have a recipe book in print too.

Viv’s Author Website

Viv’s Blog

Viv’s Goodread’s Page

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About The Wolf Pack

An ancient, mysterious prophecy turns up in an old book. This leads apprentice mage, Carthinal, to a search for a long, lost artefact. He and his seven companions all meet, seemingly by chance, but there are hints that maybe the gods themselves are taking a hand in the quest.

All the characters have had to make life-changing decisions to bring them to where they are now, and during the quest they need to face their innermost fears and overcome them. There are dangers and surprises awaiting them before they attain their objective and return home, and an implacable foe searches for them.

They will find love and tragedy in equal measure, and none of them returns home unchanged

 

Excerpt

The Most High of Kalhera looked at his visitor.

‘This is most irregular. What you propose is possible, but forbidden.’

The magister replied, ‘I realise that, Your Holiness. That’s why I’ve come to see you. I need your permission to perform the rite, and to provide a cleric who can do it.’

‘You would deny Kalhera some souls. She doesn’t like that, you know. If you deny her these, she will demand some others in recompense. That is the way.’

The magister looked the Most High in the eye. He held the gaze of the other as he told him, ‘It will not be for all time.’

He held up his hand as the Most High opened his mouth to speak. ‘I cannot say for how long these souls will be denied to Kalhera.’ he went on, ‘It may be a few years, or it may be millennia. Your Holiness, I have had a dream. Sometime in the future these souls will be returned to Kalhera. Please grant me permission to perform the rite.’

The Most High looked at the magister and then he rose. ‘I will go and commune with Kalhera. If she permits it, I will grant you both your requests, permission to perform the rite and a cleric to perform it. I believe it requires both a Cleric of Death and a mage?’

With that, the Most High of Kalhera, Goddess of Death and the Underworld left the room through a door obscured by a black curtain.

‘Symbolic, I suppose,’ thought the magister.

They carried the body of their king across the land and over the mountains until they reached the place he had asked to be his final resting-place. It was a beauteous place. A deep, forested valley surrounded by high mountains and with a steaming lake in the bottom. The lake was fed by water from deep within the volcanic mountains and was a warm and pleasant temperature. It had been the king’s favourite place in the entire world, albeit not in his own lands. It was here that he had met his true love. She was not mortal, but his love had been reciprocated and he wished to be near her in death.

The king was buried in a burial mound that they prepared, and then they prepared two others, one on each side. They interred their king with due ceremony for all there were only fourteen of them there. The magister had half expected a fifteenth, but then she may have been watching from hiding, as she was shy of people. He looked at the others.

‘Are you all ready?’ the elven magister asked the assembled young warriors.

‘Yes!’ they chorused.

He looked round the group of twelve. They were so young. He had asked for volunteers, and they were all more than eager. At the beginning, that was. Now one or two of them seemed more than a little afraid. Not that he could blame them. It was a very frightening thing he was asking of them. He noticed the youngest of them was visibly trembling. He was a lad of only sixteen turns of the sun, and yet he had volunteered readily enough when asked. The old elf sighed. Better give them one last chance to change their minds. He hoped that not too many did or maybe there would not be sufficient for the task. Certainly twelve was the recommended number, but maybe less would suffice.

‘There is no censure to any who wish to change their minds. It is a fearsome thing you are volunteering to do.’

One member of the group looked at the youngest. ‘Are you all right, Bry?’ he said. ‘No one will think you a coward if you withdraw.’

‘Maybe not, but I would,’ replied the young man. ‘I said I’d do it, and do it I will.’

‘So be it,’ the mage said. ‘Form the circle.’

The twelve young men formed a circle around the mage and the cleric of Kalhera, who had also accompanied them on their journey. They drew their swords and knelt, sword tips on the ground and hands clasped over the hilts. They bowed their heads.

The young man known as Bry closed his eyes. He did not know what was to happen, only the outcome. His fear was almost palpable. The others felt it too, but they were all warriors, and none of them, not even Bry, allowed it to affect their determination to go through with it. Bry heard the cleric begin his chant in the centre of the circle, and then the mage joined with a chant of his own. The two chants seemed to weave around each other, in and out until the two men seemed to be chanting one chant.

‘A bit like a choir singing in harmony,’ Bry thought.

He felt a little strange, light headed almost, and then there was a sudden wrenching pain, which seemed to be accompanied by a crack. It was gone almost as soon as he felt it and he wondered if the spell had failed. He dared to open his eyes. Yes, something had gone wrong for there were his companions still kneeling in place. He glanced down at himself. Yes, there were his hands grasping his sword. But just a moment! What was that lying in front of him? With horror, he realised it was his own body. The spell had worked after all. He was dead, but his soul was tied to Vimar. He would remain here to guard the body of his King until the prophesied time came.

The group of twelve warriors looked at their bodies. A little sadly, thought Bry. He himself was thinking of all the things he had not done in his sixteen years. He would never now marry and have the love and companionship of a woman, never hear his children and grandchildren laughing and playing. Never again eat a good meal or get drunk with his companions. For centuries to come he would patrol this lake and the hidden tomb in the caves below, protecting them from harm until the eight came. The Wolves.

Available at Amazon

Available at Barnes & Noble

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Available at Amazon

Blog Tour Day 10 – Charlotte Babb

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Charlotte has been at this indie publishing business for a while now, with six books and several short stories to her name so far. Sit back and enjoy this brief interview with Charlotte.

Tell me about your favorite character from your work. What about them makes them unique? What are their quirks and why will we enjoy reading about them?

 

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20 Hours to Charles Town
When an airship madam arranges a secret meeting, can she trust her crew and a rogue operative to keep her clients safe from his handlers, her allies, and an anarchist?

The main character from my WIP is Elvira O’Sullivan, madam of an airship brothel who has arranged for a secret meeting of diplomats to be held during their trip from New York City to Charles Town, South Carolina. This steampunk story is set in an alternate timeline in which the American Revolution failed, and a number of countries have colonies in North America, circa 1840.

Elvira, or Madame as her employees call her, is always dressed in the latest fashions, tight-laced, coiffed, bejeweled, and made up to perfection, but she prefers loose silks and leathers against the cold of the airspace where she lives. She rarely touches ground, as she feels vulnerable in the man’s world below her. She needs the persona and the appearance of the rich and powerful for her clients to see her as an equal in business if not in social status.

She uses the brothel as a front for gathering financial and political information, which she dispenses to her favored wealthy and powerful clientele. This excursion is a step up from her usual business into international politics. She wants to expand her behind-the-scenes influence to prevent a war between the colonies because it would cut into her business and channel money away from her into munitions and warfare.

Texas seceded from Mexico, but it has yet to be recognized as a nation. Recognition of Texas would help her expand her excursions further west, and she could trade for their new resources including helium, which would allow her to expand to California.

She finds that some of her protocols have been violated and that several dangerous people are on the excursion to Charles Towne with the intent of discrediting her and causing an international incident to spark the war. They have 20 hours to find and neutralize these infiltrators while keeping the clients safe.

She is not “the hooker with a heart of gold” but more a solid brass magnolia, one who can be ruthless or who can bribe one of her women with the promise of a college education and training in finance if the woman can get the information she wants to negotiate a deal with the Texican client. Her many businesses employ women in other capacities—manufacturing, retail sales and health care—she provides housing, education, and a living wage for the many women and their children who make up her information network. She feels responsible for them, but she insists that they follow her rules.

Her weakness is that she does not trust anyone, despite her reliance on her network of informants at all levels of society, on the crew of her airship, and on the women who work for her. She never allows herself to be vulnerable, so she is incapable of feeling love even for her bodyguard who is her partner. At her deepest levels, she feels unlovable, the result of growing up as a child prostitute. She has overcome her past mentally, but retains much scar tissue on her soul.

She must face her vulnerability and trust that her people share her goals when her control of the ship is taken from her, and her best bet is a rogue operative who has turned on his agency.

20 Hours to Charles Town is scheduled for release in late Spring 2015.

 

Charlotte’s Books

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Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil 
A dead cellphone calls with a job offer and a promise of dragons.

Giving up what’s her self-esteem for coffee, her last chance to redeem her life comes as a job offer to be a fairy godmother. But Faery is shrinking, the other fairy godmothers have disappeared, and nothing she does turns out right.

How can she put together the happily ever after each of her clients wants with her boss standing in her way?
http://bit.ly/Maven2ed
$5.95 Kindle $15.99 Paper

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Maven’s Fractured Fairy Tales

Fairy Godmother Maven Morrigan has her own way of making the happily ever after come true for The Frog Prince, Rumpelstiltskin and Beauty and the Beast. Three fractured fairy tales to bring you a smile
http://bit.ly/eMFFT

$2.99 Kindle $5.99 Paper

Separate stories also available $0.99

Bubba and the beast: http://bit.ly/BubbaBeast

MavenStiltskin: http://bit.ly/MavenStilt

Fairy Frogmother:   http://bit.ly/FrogMom

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Just a Smidgen of Magic: Enchantment at the Edge of Mundane

Five flash fiction stories of magical encounters in the modern world.

http://bit.ly/Smidgen

$2.99 Kindle, $5.49, Paper

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Walking Off Heaven’s Shore

A ten-piece bucket of Southern fried flash fiction.
http://bit.ly/WalkShore
$2.99 Kindle $5.99 Paper

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Turning Point

A short-short about a cup of coffee on a sunny morning and a decision about changing one’s life.
http://bit.ly/TurnPoint
$0.99 kindle


 Brief bio of Charlotte Henley Babb, Author

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Web designer, social networks manager, blogger, novelist, and online writing instructor, Charlotte Henley Babb has been writing since she was four, and now makes up fractured fairy tales for people who have survived beyond the love’s last kiss. Where the stories are for people over 20 who have survived marriage, divorce, child-rearing, post-graduate education, bankruptcy, empty nest, and widowhood?

Charlotte Henley Babb writes them.

Her first novel, Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil, was published in 2012 and was awarded the Sharp Writ First Place in Fantasy and Science Fiction. It also received an honorable mention in the 2014 National Federation of Press Women communications contest for adult novels.. She has self-published short stories in ebook and print format, doing the technical work, cover design, and layout herself.

Charlotte has taught English in high school and junior college, written procedure manuals, and edited association newsletters. She has presented at education and writing conferences on using the Internet, blogging, and writing science fiction. She brings to any project a number of experiences: technical writer, gasket inspector, wait staff, fabric and craft retail associate, craft artificer, secret weapon, and telephone psychic. Currently she manages the website, social media presence, and monthly newsletter for Sherman College of Chiropractic.

Connect with Charlotte Henley Babb

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+CharlotteHenleyBabb/posts/p/pub

Blog Tour Day 8 – Debbie Manber Kupfer

As the headline says quite emphatically, today is day eight of the Fellowship of Fantasy Writers Blog Tour. My guest today is Debbie Manber Kupfer, a writer (of course) with a fondness of cats. Today she discusses her new book Argentum and introduces us to one of her characters.

Gromer the Green and the Pea Soup

(From Argentum (P.A.W.S. 2) by Debbie Manber Kupfer)

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I love my literary children. There are so many characters that make me chuckle or guffaw. Old friends, like Joey, the animagus kangaroo (who was a character I created especially for my son Joey) and Ian the chimp who lives in St. Louis zoo, and is fond of monkey jokes and banana daiquiris, or new friends like Gordon Frakes, the (very annoying) Canadian exchange student, who happens to be an animagus Canada goose, or Oswald the Ostentatious, the flamingo animagus who runs the New York P.A.W.S. Institute and is a lot more formidable than he looks.

But my favorite new character in Argentum has to be Gromer the Green, the old magician that lives in a cave in Snowdonia, Wales. Here is a little snippet from the first scene when we meet him:

On the stovetop in the kitchen area sat a large cauldron, and Quentin walked over to it and peered inside. Green liquid bubbled in its depths. What wondrous potion was this old magician concocting?

“Pea soup!” said Gromer, and he grabbed a wooden spoon and stirred the contents of the cauldron vigorously. He then lifted the spoon and sucked on it. “Hmmm! Needs more wizzlewoop, methinks! What do you think?” And before Quentin could object, Gromer took the spoon and jammed it into Quentin’s mouth.

The soup was boiling hot and scalded Quentin’s throat as it went down. Quentin gagged, but Gromer just waited. “Well?”

“Oh, um, definitely more . . . wizzlewoop.”

“Yes, that’s what I says, you can never get enough wizzlewoop. Very rare it is, but I knows where to get it, knows me a spell for that. Old Caradog never knew the spell. His pea soup was never as sumptuous as mine.” Gromer looked up at Quentin, “Who were you again?”

Read more about Gromer in Argentum, and discover how it all began in P.A.W.S.

 

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Debbie Author

Debbie Manber Kupfer grew up in London and lived in Israel, before somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a puzzle constructor and writer. She lives with her husband, two children, and a very opinionated feline. She is the author of P.A.W.S and Argentum and has short stories in several anthologies including Fauxpocalypse, Shades of Fear, Darkly Never After, and Sins of the Past. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything! Connect with Debbie on her blog http://debbiemanberkupfer.wordpress.com/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DebbieManberKupferAuthor .