DISCIPLE continues...

Friday, January 24, 2014

A FLIGHT OF MAREWINGS by Kristen S. Walker

Welcome to A Flight of Marewings by Kristen S. Walker! Don't miss the Rafflecopter giveaway below! I wanted to interview one of Kristen's characters right off the bat -- Galenos is a mercenary and the leader of his own company, but he's not your usual bloodthirsty cutthroat...

Normally, mercenaries are just in it for the money and sometimes the glory... but you want to bring peace? Why?
My original reason for becoming a mercenary was the money, because there were few alternatives for me to support myself at the time. I guess that I also wanted some of the glory that my father earned during his years of service. But since then, I’ve spent years fighting in battles. I’ve seen friends and soldiers under my command die for a politician’s greed. I’ve see innocent civilians killed and their livelihood destroyed. I think that all but the most blood-thirsty soldiers come to long for peace sooner or later. In peace, I believe that our city can thrive and become known for more than just our military strength.

Are there personal reasons involved in this?
There is a sense of guilt for my own actions, but I know that I can’t make up for what I’ve done. More importantly, I want my children to grow up having choices other than priest or soldier. If a child of mine could have the opportunity to get a good education, or own a trading company, or whatever they were passionate about, then my own sacrifices might be worth it.

What will become of your mercenary company if you succeed?
Recruitment numbers would definitely go down, because we would need fewer fighters. Monster hunting is also worth less pay than warfare, so I think many soldiers would quit the company to seek other opportunities. I think there would be some demand for peacekeeping exercises. The Storm Petrels would probably not be disbanded even in peacetime, but I think that the company’s approach would have to adjust to the change in market. This would obviously be disappointing to some of our members, but I hope for a better future for many of them, when they can retire from fighting and find a less-dangerous profession.

Why do you feel qualified for the political responsibilities of a dukedom?
I worked closely with the lake duke, Basileos, during the last ten years of his life, and I learned a lot about the unique demands of Kyratia City during that time. I also have working relationships with some of the other neighboring cities and their rulers, and I hope to use those political alliances to my advantage. It’s my belief that this city has been torn apart by rival factions for too long and the wants of these special interest groups have been prioritized over the needs of the average citizen. My strategy is an overhaul of our government system to eliminate as much of this misappropriation of resources as we can, and achieve a more equal society.

And a question for you, Kristen: What are you working on next?
While I do have lots of ideas for more books in the Wyld Magic series involving Galenos and many other characters, I’m returning to my first series, YA Urban Fantasy, for a sequel to Small Town Witch. I’m hoping to release Witch Hunt this spring and follow up with the last part of the trilogy, Witch Gate, in the summer or fall.

A Flight of Marewings
Korinna's life gets turned upside down when the ghost of her father suddenly appears. Her father was duke of Kyratia City and he wanted Korinna to marry his warlord, the foreign mercenary Galenos, and inherit his title--but the city's Council has other plans. When the Council denies Korinna's right to rule, she decides to join Galenos's mercenary company and tame a wild marewing in order to take the city by force. But people whisper that the late duke's untimely death was murder, an induced madness that forced him to dance himself to death--and now that madness is spreading. Can Korinna become a marewing rider and conquer Kyratia in time to save everyone?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Blogfest: Love is in the air!

As you may know, the fourth part of my Disciple series arrives on March 1st. Disciple is a gritty fantasy romance: magic, war, low-tech surgery, and falling in love with the wrong people.

Charity's blogfest is a great chance to premiere the first sample of Disciple, Part IV!
When she discovered she was pregnant with Prince Kiefan's child, Kate had to marry. Her friend Anders volunteered, claiming it would be strictly a marriage of convenience. Over the last several months, Kate has come to question both his feelings and her own -- and worries what protective, jealous Kiefan would do...

Rafe burbled against my shoulder. I tossed a quartered log down by the hearth and lifted my son in both hands. “Good-morn, sweetling. Your fourth Saint-day, now — what shall we do this time? We’ll go to the disciple’s dance at noon. You’ll get to see everyone during the meal, I’m sure. You were everyone’s favorite last week. But what to do this morning?”

He turned his head, and it lolled to one side. Anders leaned in to kiss his chubby cheek and Rafe’s mouth gaped open. Meaning to smile, I was sure.

“Come and watch the horses,” Anders said.

“He loves the horses.” I settled him back on my shoulder. “He always kicked, when I was riding.”

“Of course he did.”

I looked up; Anders’ flaxen crest hung to one side, loose, and a smile tucked up the corner of his mouth. His hand touched my arm and he leaned closer to kiss my cheek. I turned against his scratchy stubble to kiss him back, and slipped one arm around him. A squeeze, warm and close, smelling of horses.

Love him while he’s here. My throat tightened, of a sudden. Anders’ arm loosened, but I kept my grip on him. He hugged me again, easily persuaded. And nuzzled against my temple, in place of a question.

So easy to kiss him, if I dared, to be the wife he should have. If only Kiefan had seen something in the duchesses. If only he’d sounded more glad to try —

Anders’ mouth touched mine, gently tipping my face up. My breath caught, my heart skipped a beat in fear. I pulled back, my arm around him stiffening to an arm’s length. He went still, tracking me with the calm, unruffled gaze he used on skittish fillies.

“I’ll not put you in danger,” I said. Until I knew Kiefan agreed with me.

Anders’ gentleness shifted to resolve. “I’m not afraid of him.”

I heard a door open; Will was awake. “Let him find a bride,” I got out before Will shuffled into the kitchen. He tossed out muttered greetings, rubbing his eyes.

Anders shot me a measuring glance before he cuffed his brother and started up the talk of horses. It would have to do until we had another chance to talk. Rafe gurgled against my shoulder, fussed a little. “We’ll watch the horses this morning,” I told him.

Disciple, Part IV on sale March 1st! Get a reminder!

Disciple, Part I is FREE at Amazon and Smashwords!

 Disciple Half-Omnibus on sale February 1st! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

QUINTESSENCE by Marsha Moore

Welcome back, Marsha, and congratulations on finishing your Enchanted Bookstore series! Quintessence is on sale now at Amazon -- and check out the Rafflecopter giveaway below!

What is the Dark Realm's motivation, in your world? 
The battle between the good Alliance and evil Dark Realm lands of Dragonspeir has endured for centuries, as far back as the eight-hundred-year recorded history of the Alliance.

While Dark Realm power is black magic, relying heavily upon the methods of alchemy, the source of Alliance power is astral energies. Those external powers correspond to the natural elements of air, earth, fire, and water. Each Alliance magical being gains his/her unique tendencies from the star sign of nature under which he or she is born. Individuals may appeal to their star to gain or modify their magic in times of need. More importantly, the Alliance, as a collective, gained magical power by using a powerful device that channeled astral energy. The continuous influx of energy maintained Alliance superiority over the Dark Realm.

Centuries ago, the Dark Realm stole the keystones needed to operate that channeling device, hoping to weaken their opposition. The forces of evil quickly overtook and nearly decimated the Alliance…until the coming of the lineage of Scribes. The Enchanted Bookstore Legends are about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become the fifth of a line of strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1,200 to present day. Each Scribe is expected to journey through Dragonspeir, both the good and evil factions, then draft a written account. Each book contains magic with vast implications which empowers the Alliance in new ways.

Is this a case of nature or nurture? Could it have gone another way?
It is probably an extended case of nurture. The struggle between the two lands spans a history of eight hundred years, so it is difficult to analyze the origin. However, two alchemists who are very influential in the struggle tend to waver in allegiance between the opposing sides. This indicates that shades of gray do exist, that there are both some good and some evil qualities to be found in each land.

If the Dark Realm wins, what do they plan to do?
If the Dark Realm wins, the Alliance’s astral source of energy will cease to exist. All magicals of the Alliance will lose power. Those who advanced to the highest levels of magical ability have been able to use astral powers to remain alive for hundreds of years, incapable of being killed by ordinary means. Without Alliance power, those individuals will perish…including the Imperial Sorcerer, Cullen, who is the heroine Lyra’s beloved.

Without the magicals to protect them, the residents of the Alliance will be tortured, killed, or forced into slavery, as the Dark Realm’s Black Dragon has promised.

Being part mortal and part magical, Lyra would survive takeover by the Dark Realm. However, she has recently gained the master power of quintessence. Quintessence is a real alchemical term, referring to the fifth essence or element, ether, the constituent matter of the heavenly bodies. The other four natural elements are air, fire, earth, and water. This fifth element is superior to the others. It is the divine spark hidden in all things, the reflection of the Celestial Fire. Quintessence is formed by the perfect balance of the four natural elements. The harmony of the fifth power is an exalted state.

Upon realizing Lyra has gained control of her quintessence, the evil alchemist, Eburscon, schemes and plots to steal that power so he may rule all of Dragonspeir. As one of the most learned men in the land, he is a formidable adversary. If Eburscon succeeds in taking Lyra’s quintessence for his own use, Lyra will be left comatose without her aura, unable to fight for her beloved Cullen, the Alliance Guardians, and residents.

Tell us about a few more dragons that you didn't mention before -- everyone loves dragons. 
In Quintessence, Lyra finds herself in a compromised situation at the Qumeli tribe’s encampment on the edge of Dark Realm land. In her attempt to escape the tribespeople and their extreme black magic, she encounters a flock of wild pseudodragons.

Throughout the series, we’ve come to know and love the pseudodragon Noba who is Cullen’s wizard’s familiar. Pseudodragons are much smaller than true dragons, being only three feet long, including their tails. Noba has a heart of gold that melts people. However, he surprises everyone when Cullen and Lyra travel into the mysterious underground world of Terza. There, the lovable and na├»ve little dragon becomes a real star. Pseudodragons originated in that strange land, and Noba discovers the incredible strength of his heritage. He isn’t just a sweet pseudodragon wizard’s familiar, but also a powerful Matan, capable of altering the use of all magic in his presence.

This flock of wild pseudodragons behaved much differently than Noba. They remained distant and cautious, perching and chattering in trees like monkeys as they watched Lyra. She tried everything to gain their help. It was only when they caught a whiff of Noba’s scent on her did they offer their assistance. Pseudodragons, wild or tame, were definitely among the most interesting dragons in the Enchanted Bookstore Legends.

What's up next for you?
After the super-interwoven plot of a 5-part, high fantasy epic series, I’m looking forward to shifting gears a bit. I’m excited to be working on a few magical realism books, a slightly different fantasy subgenre. The next release will be a paranormal mystery set in a yoga studio. I’m eager to work with new parameters of magical realism—a more character driven plot than I’ve done before. It will be a wonderful new experience for me!

Quintessence: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Five
by Marsha A. Moore

Barbaric Dark Realm warfare threatens to overtake all Dragonspeir lands, including the Alliance. Lyra McCauley, the fifth Scribe of the Alliance, finds herself in a desperate competition to gather four missing keystones. Those amulets of the four natural elements guarantee victory for the side possessing them. The Dark Realm’s alchemist, Eburscon, beats her to finding the water gem, the Pearl of Pendola. Three more keystones remain: the fluorite containing earth energy, the moonstone of the sky, and the fiery, dangerous Emtori Ruby.

The powerful gems, stolen centuries ago, channel astral energies and can restore much-needed Alliance power—the last hope. The wizard, Cullen, who is Lyra’s beloved, relies on Alliance magic for his immortality and will perish if the land falls to the Dark Realm.

Lyra uses her rare magical energies of quintessence and the Staurolite, governor of the four natural elements, to guide her to the hidden keystones. However, greed and power drive opponents, who challenge her in close pursuit, planning to destroy the Alliance, or to claim the power of quintessence for themselves.

The Dark Realm captures the ten-year-old Alliance seer, Kessa. Her abilities can give them information about the locations of the keystones, complicating Lyra’s plans. Will her love, allegiance, and quintessence allow her to save Cullen, Kessa, and the Alliance before the Dark Realm claims all of Dragonspeir?

The Enchanted Bookstore series on sale at Amazon

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