DISCIPLE continues...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Next Big Thing, Part II

Disciple, Part II is my Next Big Thing!

What is the working title of your book?
As you know (Bob): Disciple, Part II. Subtitled, "Claims Laid." Subtitled: "Winter's Fools."

Where did the idea come from for the book?
As a continuation of Kate's story, Part II was driven by thoughts on how teenagers wrestle with both adult responsibilities and their hormones... and the idea of "you can't always get what you want" that was so well expressed by the Rolling Stones.

What genre does your book fall under?
Hard fantasy romance, heavier on the "romance" in Part II. Part III will be heavier on the "hard." :)

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I named some actors for the three main characters in the meme post for Part I... in Part II, we meet the three saints who rule Wodenberg. So let me cast them:

Chris Hemsworth. Angry Thor: perfect.
Saint Woden: He's the saint of war that I named this fantasy universe after: Saints of War. When I saw Chris Hemsworth in Thor, he was very close to how I picture Woden -- the saint being a little older, angrier, and uncompromising. Woden doesn't need to compromise, you see, he's powerful, he's dedicated to his people, and he's right.

Well, mostly. 

Abrahan Benrubi
Saint Aleksandr: He's a crafter saint and a shape-shifter, the kind of rock-solid guy you would always want at your back. Aleks doesn't take the lead because he knows Woden is better suited to it, and he knows his advice and tempering influence are much needed. Fortunately, Woden knows this too.

I never had a solid portrait for Aleks, I'm sorry to say, other than that he's a big, teddy-bear type of guy. I kept Abraham Benrubi as a reference photo while I was writing, but if I were casting this for real I would love for this to be a chance for a big guy to strut his stuff in a serious role.  

Assad Bouab
Saint Qadeem: When I sketched out the three saints of Wodenberg, I wrote down: saint of war, saint of craft, and saint of nerds. I wanted one of them to be a clear outsider, but just as vital to the kingdom as the two native-grown saints. Yes, Qadeem was inspired by classical-era Arabic scholars -- the ones who kept science and philosophy alive after the collapse of Rome. As with Saint Aleks, I would love for Saint Qadeem to be a great acting part for a talent pool that gets unfairly overlooked: men of Middle Eastern descent.

Edit: Sometimes you're just going about your business and something smacks you right in the face. This is a still I pulled from the short film Noon. The credits tell me this is Billy Khoury -->

That is exactly the wary, analytic look -- and the hair, the beard, good Lord he's perfect. Now if only I had several dozen million dollars to make a movie...

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Kate worked hard to master her healing magic to serve in the front lines of the coming war, but now she must choose between love and duty.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be self-published -- Part I is available at all the major online retailers. Part II will go on sale April 1st.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
According to my notes, 39 days. November 15 to Christmas Eve, 2011.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Yeah, I still don't have an answer for this. Serious war, serious romance, hard fantasy. I'm not going to compare myself to GRRM, but if anyone knows another novel with the same parameters, I'd love to read it.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I wrote Disciple because I needed to. I don't really deal in inspiration.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Disciple is a six part story, and all six parts have been written. This series is not going to vanish halfway through.

Disciple, Part II arrives April 1st, 2013!
Pre-order Part II, or pick up a bundle of both parts, at Kickstarter from January 1st - 31st!
Blog tour starts here January 2nd with the No Kiss Blogfest and runs through the 31st.
Watch for three character interviews with collectible portrait wallpapers... and the soundtrack... 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hitting the ground running in 2013

Disciple's Kickstarter project begins January 1st! The Kickstarter project will be your chance to pre-order Part II and also get in on the Prologue offer... I wrote one, you see, back when I was getting settled into the Saints of War universe (that's what I call this fantasy world.) It was set before my main characters met each other, and it was a chance to work out the magic system, their personalities, things like that. Much of the magic is inaccurate, now, but there are some important personal moments in there.

I offered the Prologue as a bonus gift, when I ran the Kickstarter campaign for Part I. Since I did get some pledges at that level, I'm committed to rewriting the Prologue and publishing it for only the Kickstarter pledgers by November 2013. So if you're interested, make a pledge...

The blog tour begins here on the 2nd with the No Kiss Blogfest (have you signed up?), continues all month, and wraps up here again on the 31st.

Watch for three character interviews during the blog tour -- one with Kate, Kiefan, and Anders -- because they will come with character portraits! These portraits were created by S. Gina Shellie (link to DeviantArt.com profile) and I love them.

And watch for the soundtrack post! I've created a YouTube playlist of "theme songs" for my main characters.

See you on the 1st!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Anniversary of the Veil blog tour!

Vanna Smythe's Anniversary of the Veil blog tour stops by today! World-building is one of my personal obsessions, so my interview questions were, unsurprisingly, mostly about world-building. :)
I'm completely the opposite ;) Beyond the basics of cultural hierarchy, lay of the land, architecture,... I tend to build the world as I go along. I then make it cohesive in the revision.

Were you inspired by a particular culture or time period, when you created the world of the Veil?
I've always been fascinated by the middle ages, the role of the Catholic church in those times, and sword fighting and royalty and all else.  For this reason, the entire Anniversary of the Veil series is set in a medieval-like world. This doesn't mean that the world I created is entirely historically accurate, though.  I did, however, model it on  the model of life in medieval times in Europe. There's many small villages and towns, each with a church and a priest to oversee the spiritual guidance of the people.

The world itself is governed by a High Panel of Priests, though there is also a King who oversees the more day-to-day affairs of state.  It is, however, the priests who have the final say in most matters.  The priests also have their own army of Protectors who assist the King's guards in policing the Realm.

What's your favorite little world-building detail?
That would have to be the priests' secret army of assassins, the Pure Ones. These men are totally ruthless and have no human emotion left, except for the desire to do as commanded by the High Panel.  The King doesn't know of these men, nor do the majority of Protectors, except for the top commanders.

Do you have a favorite reference/research/inspiration source for world-building -- costumes, weapons, etc?
I love watching historical documentaries and movies and reading historical book, so that's where I draw most of my world-building ideas from. I'll also check some Internet resources to get a more detailed account of anything I want to use. But like I said, I don't strive for historical accuracy, nor is the world the most important aspect of my books. For me, it's all about the characters ;)

It's always tricky to keep magic from creating characters who are too powerful, too able to just wave a wand and solve all the problems. How did you keep magic in its place, in your novels? <
Well, actually, my main character, Protector Kae, is all powerful. The way I've dealt with this not making everything too easy for him, is by having him come to his full strength gradually. The magic in the world I created can only be practiced by some, while the general public is kept ignorant of its existence.  Protectors can all use this magic, but are only told so once they become Protectors. It is the same with Kae, and before he can master his full potential he still has a lot to learn.  Also, the most important choices he must make, the ones that could shape the outcome, can't be avoided or made easier through use of magic.

What are you working on now?
I just finished Decision Maker (Anniversary of the Veil, Book 2) which concludes the story I started in Protector. Next, I will write a shorter prequel to the series, and then Book 3 which will wrap everything up.  

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cover reveal: Disciple, Part II

At last, it's time to officially unveil the cover of Disciple, Part II. Artwork by Unreal Studio (DeviantArt page).

Back cover text:

The prince first kissed Kate Carpenter for fear of missing the chance if they didn’t survive the journey home through the monster-prowled mountains.

Now that kiss seems like a fever dream. It’s back to work for her, back to the fellow physicians jealous of her talents and the sneers of an infirmary director who wants her shipped off to some tiny village. Kate means to be on the front lines to save lives. She’s worked too hard to overcome her past to let them deny her the chance to serve her homeland when the enemy’s army reaches their kingdom.

The grand jousting tournament is a chance to prove she can manage combat wounded, and at the royal Solstice banquet Kate means to prove she isn’t an ignorant peasant girl anymore.

But the prince’s kiss still haunts her. Their paths keep crossing, and the easy familiarity they earned on the journey home is a welcome escape from their duties. It’s a small slip from chatting to kisses.

This is no time to be distracted by romance -- a vast and powerful empire is coming to slaughter anyone standing between them and the kingdom’s magical fount.

Kate ought to break both their hearts, for duty’s sake.

Read a sample from Disciple, Part II. (it's not the sample that was included in Part I.)

Disciple, Part II arrives April 1, 2013!
Pre-order Part II, or pick up a bundle of both parts, at Kickstarter and help cover production costs. The Kickstarter project starts January 1!

In other news, I am finishing up the first draft of Part VI (the end!) and then tackling the second draft of Part V. My beta readers will be getting a Christmas present...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Feel Real Fantasy blog tour

Today’s stop on the Feel Real Fantasy blog tour celebrating the completion of the Rys Rising series by Tracy Falbe introduces readers to Alloi, a mighty magic user full of love.

Age: One hundred sixty eight
Physical appearance: Tall, dark grey skin, black hair, black eyes, feminine
Special skills: Charisma, kindness, battle magic, mindreading, controlling animals, inspiring loyalty, and shielding magic
Magical Items: Herself

Alloi is a female tabre and the devoted twin sister of Tempet. She is an elite magic user of the reclusive Drathatarlane Sect. She serves as an ambassador to the Kwellstan Sect. Tabre civilization is divided between the two Sects.

The leaders of the Drathatarlane Sect plan to use Alloi’s immense power to restore their Sect to its former glory and undermine the Kwellstan Sect’s authority throughout Nufal. Although Alloi is committed to this rivalry, she is driven most by compassion. Her role in her Sect’s schemes and conflicts is an unfortunate duty.

Alone among the entirety of the tabre race, Alloi feels sympathy for the rys Dacian when he is a prisoner of the Kwellstan Sect. All rys are reviled by tabre as abominations that should never have been created, but Alloi is able to see the brilliance within Dacian. She even offers to help him, but he knows that she alone cannot undo the prejudice of her race toward his. He rejects her assistance and chooses outright war instead.

As the war between the tabre and rys escalates, Alloi is driven to use her great powers in ever more violent battles. Despite her kind heart, she strives to kill her enemies. Although her power can protect whole armies from rys onslaughts, her greatest magic remains her ability to make others love her. She will use this to switch the religious faith of many humans to her leadership. In the end, the only scraps of mercy granted in the hellish conflict will derive from her selfless capacity to forgive.

Author’s feelings about the character:
With Alloi I wanted to work with the concept of great power with a good heart. She is almost always kind and polite. She is considerate of others, even humans who are generally regarded by most tabre as livestock you can talk to.

She is full of love and other tabre remark that she is “too good for us” or “better than us all.” Although she abhors violence, she still plays a crucial role throughout the war. Her magic supports her fierce twin brother who is a mighty warrior. Her vast spells also shield many warriors from rys battle magic. In Alloi I explored what it would feel like to be a wonderful almost angelic being but still have to endure the hatred of enemies. She fights because she will not let those who depend on her perish. Both the humans and tabre of Nufal need her power and the ideals of her heart do not outweigh their need.

From Rys Rising: Book I
The dusk deepened and the glow crystals throughout Alloi’s house brightened in response. She felt pity for Dacian. He and all his kind were an abomination, yet he seemed a noble being. Perhaps he was even better than all the tabre for not lashing out with violence after so much provocation.

Filling with affection, Alloi bent down and brushed his forehead with a tender kiss. Dacian’s eyes opened and she withdrew, embarrassed.

Dacian sat up and moved away from her. He groaned as the pain from the crosha returned but he waved her away.

“I must go back to the Altular,” he said.

“Dacian, no!” Alloi cried.

“It is the only way,” he said bitterly. “I can’t think with this pain eating my mind. I must rest and then find a way to get this off me.” He dug his fingernails into the skin around the crystal as if he might physically rip it from his flesh.

“Dacian, I will help you, I swear,” she insisted.

Embattled and alone, he was sorely tempted by her offer, but there was nothing to gain by accepting help from a Drathatarlane. Miserably, he explained, “Alloi, you have been kind, but I cannot accept your help. Jingten is controlled by the Kwellstan Sect. If I side with Drathatarlane, the Kwellstan might punish all rys.”

He stood up to leave. Alloi jumped up to prevent him. “Please, Dacian, I can help you!” she pleaded.

“Are you sure?” he demanded bitterly. “Are you sure the Drathatarlane will help a rys?”

Alloi hesitated. “I will convince them to aid the rys,” she said.

“You can try,” he said and headed for the door.

From New Religion: Rys Rising Book III
“Alloi,” Cruce said. “Alloi.”

Her eyelashes fluttered, and he brushed a lock of her silky hair behind her ear. She was so beautiful, and he felt an intense need to care for her.

When her eyes opened, they beamed with magical light that illuminated a tear rolling down a cheek. “They hate us,” she whispered from an abyss of unhappiness.

Cruce reached for his canteen and helped her drink.

Mer groaned and all the tabre started to rise from their faint. Tempet murmured for his sister and they clasped hands.

“Did you stop them?” Cruce asked, unable to be patient.

She sat up and rubbed her head. The battle of wills in which she had just participated had astounded her, and she felt altered. This lonely hillside so far from home chilled her, yet the burning need of the human next to her inspired her. She had already sensed how he was willing to fight their enemies, no matter the risk, and he deserved an explanation.

“May I call you Cruce?” she asked politely.

He nodded, surprised by her thoughtfulness.

She continued, “Cruce, we confronted the two who rule the rys. They are Dacian and Onja. Their wickedness is the creation of the Kwellstan Sect. We have come to help end this abomination. We blocked their attacks until we exhausted them. Hopefully they will not be able to harass us for a few days.”

Cruce wasted little mental energy trying to imagine their amazing deeds. “So we can go on?” he asked.
Alloi sighed. “Oh, we are tired. In the morning we will go.”

Cruce wanted to go that instant, but he knew that moving his men down the trail in the dark would be slow and likely hazardous. If they waited for morning light they would make better progress, but he hated the delay.

Sensing his impatience, Alloi said, “You need rest. You cannot fight without it.”

Cruce hung his head. “Divine Lady, I cannot sleep.” He clenched his fists, needing to fight his enemies that were beyond his reach.

“Will you let me help you?” she whispered and he knew that she referred to the spell of sleepiness.
Although he had hated it before, he welcomed its peace now, especially from her.

Alloi sensed his consent. “Set aside your sword,” she said.

He surmised that his sword was blocking even her magic. He walked over to the pine and propped his sword against its trunk. When he returned to Alloi, he laid down on the ground. Only the gentlest soothing tap of her magic was needed to guide him to sleep.

Tempet stood over the human male. “You like this one,” he commented.

“So do you,” Alloi said.

“He is brave,” Tempet said. “But having these humans in our midst will take getting used to.”

Tracy Falbe invites you to give her characters a chance to feel real to you. The Rys Rising fantasy series is driven by magic, passion, bravery, ambition, conquest, and defeat. Rys Rising: Book I is a free ebook and hopefully your gateway to an epic reading experience.

Start reading Rys Rising for free and enter the prize drawing.

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