DISCIPLE continues...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Elements of Sorcery blog tour

Christopher Kellen's Elements of Sorcery blog tour stops by today and I had some world-building questions for him (of course.) SORCERER'S BLOOD is the third book in the Elements of Sorcery series, and will be on sale March 1st.

Elements of Sorcery #1
What's the most dangerous thing about being a sorcerer, in this world?

The fact that the very essence that gives the sorcerer his power--manna--is actually deadly to the sorcerer and anyone else until it's transformed by the sorcerer's will. In order to be a sorcerer, the first thing one must learn is to construct a mental channel that allows the manna to be changed by the sorcerer's intentions. It's not something you can practice. If you get it wrong the first time, the manna steals away the fledgling sorcerer's soul and turns them into a monster. Only those who get it right on the first try, and then on every try after that, survive to be a sorcerer.

Second only to that is the ever-present threat of corruption. Leave an enchantment running too long and the manna will "sour" and change from azure blue to crimson red. The sorcerer usually gets to keep their soul in that case, but they are open to the influence of the ever-present Dark Gods, who lurk just beyond the edges of reality, waiting for a chance to exert their influence.

Elements of Sorcery #2
What's the best thing about being a sorcerer? Why did Edar Moncrief pursue this career?

Moncrief is a puzzle-solver. If this were a world with any kind of technology (if anyone were able to live long enough to actually invent stuff and pass it on without being thoroughly taken in by manna) he would be an engineer. He loves to tinker, to discover the reasons behind why things work. Being a sorcerer allows him to go searching for ancient works and trying to understand how his predecessors made certain seemingly-impossible things happen.

It's really the only way to satisfy his natural curiosity. The fact that it also grants him a lot of raw power helps, but it's not his primary motivation.

What sort of authority and responsibility do sorcerers have in this world?

They have a responsibility to walk their path without giving over to the lure of corruption. Some sorcerers in the past have even embraced the dark way, but they always end up insane and dead quickly in the end. Unfortunately, there's no established hierarchy of sorcerers. There's no club, no school and no 'high council'. It's just a few brave or foolhardy folks delving into the most dangerous of the arts... but perhaps it's better than living the short, brutish and deadly life that belongs to the regular peasant class.

As far as authority goes, they're more feared than respected. A sorcerer is a dark creature, the peasants whisper. Dangerous, unpredictable. They could turn on you at any moment. City folk will tolerate one for a while, generally (there are exceptions, like the city in which SORCERER'S BLOOD takes place) and peasant folk hate and revile them.

All in all, a lonely road to walk, but that doesn't bother Moncrief. He prefers to be alone, anyway.

Does Moncrief have a talent for getting in trouble, or is he just really unlucky?

Moncrief's sole motivation (at the time of SORCERER'S BLOOD) is safety and security. He wants nothing more than to simply settle back down into the lab he was forced to burn to escape the Arbiter that threatened to kill him in SORCERER'S CRIME. He's by no means just unlucky. It's his desire to understand that's gotten him into trouble so far--if he'd left well enough alone, he could still be safe in his original lab. His drive for comprehension keeps getting him into places he'd rather not be, and once you've left home behind, it's very difficult to find it again.

And to wrap it up, what's your next project?

Right now I'm working on DESTINY, Book Three of the Arbiter Codex. After that, I have a science fiction novella on my plate, as well as the other two Elements of Sorcery books before the end of the year, and maybe another sci-fi novel (following up my book SINS OF THE FATHER) if time permits. I'm always trying to keep busy!

Elements of Sorcery #3
Sorcerer's Blood will be on sale March 1st!
Six months after the events of SORCERER’S CRIME, Edar Moncrief has taken refuge in an ancient city. Within the walls of Selvaria, a war is brewing between the aristocrats and a cabal of sorcerers intent on seizing power, and Moncrief finds himself caught in the middle. Everything changes when Moncrief is assassinated… and survives. When he finds the trump card that the aristocrats intend to play in the war, he’ll have to step up and play hero, or an awful lot of innocent people will get caught in the crossfire. Does he have it in him?

Enter to win all three!

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Last Priestess blog tour

Welcome to Elizabeth Baxter, fellow Magic Appreciation Tour author!

We’re celebrating the release of The Last Priestess today. The Last Priestess is a fantasy novel by author Elizabeth Baxter. Purchase the book today!

There is a name that is uttered only in whispers. The Songmaker. A ruthless rebel mage, he is bringing civil war to the once-peaceful kingdom of Amaury, enveloping all in a tide of violence. For Maegwin, a tormented priestess, the path forward lies in forgiving her temple's enemies—but she dreams only of revenge. For Rovann, a loyal mage haunted by his failures, salvation might be found in the unthinkable: defying the very king he swore to protect. If they are to succeed they must form an unlikely alliance. For someone must stand against the Songmaker. Someone must save Amaury from his dark designs. But first, they’ll have to learn to trust each other.

And so a magical fantasy of darkness and redemption begins.

Read an excerpt:
Hands grasped her beneath the armpits and pulled her up. She tried to stand, feet scrabbling against the platform, but her legs kept folding beneath her. The hands lifted her onto a stretcher.

The crowd erupted into a chorus of angry shouting. Someone — Shador? — said, “Open the gates. Disperse the crowd and make sure nobody hangs around outside. I’ve seen riots start this way.”

Everything went dim and from the silence, Maegwin guessed she had been taken back inside. She was lifted onto something soft. Cool hands probed her neck. After a moment, they retreated.

“Will she live?”

“I think so.”

There was the chink of a kettle and the sound of pouring water. A hand lifted her head from the pillow.

“Maegwin? I need you to drink. It will help you.”

A cup was set against her lips and a warm liquid dribbled into her mouth. She swallowed reflexively. The fluid tasted bitter and it scraped her throat raw, as though she was drinking molten metal. She gasped, slumping back onto the pillow.

“Give it a moment. It will pass.”

About Elizabeth Baxter:
I've been a bookworm since I was five years old. The first book I ever read was about a boy going shopping with his mum. I picked it up from my brother's bedroom floor and suddenly those strange shapes on the page made sense. I could read! Hallelujah! I was soon working my way steadily through the school library and it wasn't long before I realised that stories about dragons, elves and great big talking lions were by far the most interesting. And that was it, my obsession with fantasy fiction was born.

I wrote and published my first book when I was six. This was a rip-roaring adventure tale called “The Golden Pheasant,” about, well, a golden pheasant. I wrote out three copies on bits of paper pulled from my school books, bound them in covers made from old cereal boxes, and gave them out to my teachers. And that’s it. I was a writer!

When I’m not writing I enjoy playing tennis (badly), playing the guitar (very badly) and watching cricket whenever I can. I’m also intent on cramming as much world travel as I can into one lifetime. Funny, but my list keeps getting longer. You can never see it all can you?

Places to connect with Elizabeth Baxter:
Author blog
Amazon author page

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Coming in March...

I will be busy preparing Disciple, Part II for publication and writing posts for my blog tour in April. The presskit page has been updated with official release information. Goodreads has a page for Part II. And I'm working on appendix material; a conversation I had recently has nudged me toward writing a second new bit for that...

Look for the Spring Equinox Sale over at the Magic Appreciation Tour -- Disciple, Part I will be 99 cents for only three days, March 20 - 22. Then it will return to $2.99.

Plus, I'm revising Disciple, Part V and Part VI for my beta readers. I've got some new story ideas simmering now that Disciple is finished, both fantasy and science fiction.

So it may be a bit quiet here in this blog. I will still be posting over at my writing blog, and tweeting my daily progress. Fortunately, the work is keeping me from getting too stressed out about April 1 -- and I'm confident I will be ready before the drop date. No fooling!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

In honor of Valentine's Day, Disciple, Part I is now only $2.99 

Back cover: 
The saints favor her, else-wise a peasant girl like Kate Carpenter would never be apprenticed to the kingdom’s master healer. But her patron saint also marks her ready for the duty of tending to a mission that must cross the ice-bound mountains. Their little kingdom faces invasion by a vast empire and desperately needs allies; across the snow-filled pass, through the deathly thin air, is a country that’s held off the empire and may be willing to lend an army.

Kate knows about frostbite and the everyday injuries of wilderness travel. She can heal those.

She’s not ready for the attentions of a ne’er-do-well knight and the kingdom’s only prince, though.

And she isn’t ready for the monsters that harry them night and day, picking off their archers first, wearing the party to exhaustion, pushing Kate beyond the limits her healing abilities.

She must keep them alive, or her blood will be on the snow too.

...and the romance will continue April 1st 
with Disciple, Part II


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Magic Wakes tour

I'm always glad to host book tours, and especially glad when it's a friend. Charity Bradford is a fellow Unicorn Bell host, and her first novel The Magic Wakes will be on sale soon!

Banner 3

I want to thank L. for hosting me today. One of the things I admire the most about L and her amazing book is her world building skills. When I read Disciple, that’s one of the things that grabbed me from the very beginning.

There are so many levels and details that go into creating a new world. Today I’m going to talk about one aspect of my planet Sendek—the rules of magic. I’ll fess up and tell you that I didn’t sit down and think this out until after finishing the first draft. That meant a lot of tweaking and rewriting after I figured out my system. So my suggestion is plan these kinds of things before you start writing.

Here are my notes dealing with magic on my planet, and a few thoughts on how the rules might change how Talia views it.

The rules of magic 
Magic is hard work
Magic requires effort. There's a kickback effect for magic used, a sort of karmic boomerang that will slam the user with a force equal to that which the user applies. Mainly, a draining or exhausting of life energy. It will renew, but the magic user is rendered weak until they have time to recover. Prolonged use of magic can in effect kill you if you do not pull energy from other life sources. If you take life from other sources you shorten or end their life depending on how long you steal energy.

The only sources of energy that a mage can draw from without noticeable effect are the suns. Of course, this also shortens the life of the suns, but the energy drawn from them is so infinitesimal that it is almost immeasurable.

This won't eliminate the use of magic—after all, if you know the punch is coming, you can brace for it. And magical defenses will be effective. The majority of people will choose not to use magic on a regular basis, especially in a scientifically advanced society like Sendek.

Magic can be augmented by group work 

Magic works on an individual basis, but a group of people working together can make the spell more powerful and sustain it longer. Especially helpful if the group consists of young or inexperienced mages.

There will be a few rogue mages, hungry for power, and they will gather like minded people to their cause.

(Mini Spoiler) Magic is tied to the planets seeded by the dragons

Sorry, you’ll have to wait for this one since it is directly tied to the series finale.

Effects of the rules of magic 
These magical rules will have the following effects:
  • Because it is so rare, its practitioners will aim big—the main goal of evil magic will be the acquisition of power, good magic to protect the defenseless from the power hungry.
  • Magic will be a tool of war. 
  • Sendek specific—scientist will want to study the differences in those who have magic and those who do not in an effort to duplicate the effect.
  • Eventually, with Talia’s help, they will use magic to push science farther than they could without it. 
The laws of magic (these may look familiar, wish I could remember where I found them)
  1. Law of Magical Reaction: Every action has an equal and opposite, but aligned, reaction.
  2. Law of Magical Inertia: Inertia holds; spells in force tend to remain in force unless acted on by an opposite force. Spells in latency tend to remain in latency unless acted on by an opposite force. For my purposes, TIME and DISTANCE are forces that weaken spells.
  3. Law of Magical Conservation: Magic, mass and energy all conserve. Magic conserves by returning to the wildlife, planet core and into space.
  4. Law of Spellcasting: The force of the spell cast will be equal to the energy used multiplied by the number of casting magicians, minus conversion energy.
  5. Law of Spellshielding: The damage done by a spell will equal the energy sent minus the capacity of the buffer (or defending mage).
  6. Law of Harm: Every spell used to inflict harm, damage, pain, or death, no matter the nature of the target, carries a negative charge. Degradation of cellular structure similar to radiation poisoning, death of surrounding nature, possible death of caster (dependent on strength of mage, strength of spell, strength of defender)
  7. Law of Neutrality: Anything that carries a neutral charge can be affected by and drawn to either positive or negative charges. Neutrality is a position of weakness, not strength.

CoverBack cover: The Magic Wakes
Talia has a secret, one that will save her world and yet rip it apart. Only she can decide if the price is worth it.

Scientist Talia Zaryn has always had visions of an alien invasion and of her own death. She’s kept it a secret, hoping they are nothing more than childish nightmares. But when her face in the mirror matches that of her dreams, she fears the dreams are prophetic. Talia must prove that life exists beyond their planet, Sendek; perhaps then people will prepare to fight.

Talia’s work at the Space Exploration Foundation leaves no time for personal relationships, but Major Landry Sutton isn’t looking for a friend. He’s looking for a traitor. His ability to sense emotions convinces him Talia is that traitor until a touch sizzles between them. In an instant their minds are connected and they can communicate telepathically. Just as the two begin to trust each other, the invading force arrives.

Talia and Landry must uncover the secrets of Sendek’s past if they hope to defeat these terrifying creatures. And Talia is the key—if only she can learn to trust the magic coursing through her veins.

Buy The Magic Wakes at Amazon
Charity's FacebookTwitterBlog
The Magic Wakes on Goodreads

Friday, February 1, 2013

World Building Blogfest: Excerpt

It feels strange to be posting an infodump as a sample of Disciple, Part II. That's not a good way to draw in readers! But this is the last day of the World Building Blogfest, so here you go:

Elect Parselev wrote a letter at his desk while I sat in the spare chair and read the book he’d handed me. His office was cool despite the beam of sunlight through the window under the south-facing eaves, but smelled pleasantly of drying bergamot and mint. I sat with legs crossed on the seat, leaning over the book and tracing my finger across the words as I worked them out. Parselev had written it himself, years ago, and he had sketched illustrations in the generous margins. His work was as fine as any craft-hand’s.

“Did you see these starving people yourself?” I asked.

His quill stopped scratching. His voice was quieter than I expected when he answered. “I did.”

“Was it a drought?”

There was no indication of who the people were, or where; he merely described the stages of starvation as they manifested in flesh and kir. The few faces included were ordinary enough, though I saw no Blessings.

“When Arcea conquered Suevia, miles of crops were burnt and grain stores captured or destroyed. Without food and without seed for the spring, no drought was needed. Arcea was little inclined to aid a people who had fought them so hard. Or to allow Wodenberg to aid them. I made those observations during a diplomatic mission to Temitte.”

My gaze lingered on the black ink sketch of a man’s bony hand with the kir whorls overlaid in red. I wondered how much would be lost in the spring, for a moment. “Arcea left them to starve? My parents never spoke of starving after Wodenberg conquered Englia.”

“Our wish was to incorporate Englia, not to rape it. Saint Ethmund was slain, yes, but the people were not left helpless as the Suevi were.”

Ethmund had been the saint of Englia; my parents had spoken of him often enough. “Surely the Suevi elect still defended their people?”

“A saint is more than a leader and protector. He is the link between the founts of his kingdom and his people. When Saint Seaxneat was killed, every elect, blessed and disciple was left with what kir they had or what they could draw from others. Arcea’s elect and the saints they sent to murder him, however, had the empire’s kir to tap and they took ownership of Suevia’s founts as well. She lost her saint, her royal bloodline, her elect, many of the blessed as well… and the common folk starved. They will do no less, here. Now, I need to finish this letter.”

My gaze crept to him, as he inked his pen, and my heart quavered in my chest. Arcea would murder him, if they could. Kiefan. Would they kill Anders, for being the king’s bastard? Me, for being the Elect’s student?

Thanks for stopping by -- there's been a lot of good stuff posted for this blog tour!

Disciple, Part II on sale April 1st!

Read a sample of Part I, Chapter 1 • Read a sample of Part II
Cover and blurb for Part I or Part II

Goodreads links:
Disciple, Part I • Disciple, Part II

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