Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fantasy Fiction Friendships - Cruce and Gehr - Good Friends and Great Reads Part 5




Follow Her Ladyship's Quest and enjoy my 8-part Good Friends and Great Reads blog series. Every Thursday through September 19th, I'll be sharing insights about powerful relationships between characters from my fantasy series. Join the literary discussion by leaving comments about fictional friends that felt like your friends too. And feel free to use the Good Friends and Great Reads blog prompt at your blog. We can never talk about books too much. 

See also Part 1 Dreibrand and Tytido
Part 2 Dreibrand and Shan 
Part 3 Shan and Taischek 
Part 4 Dreibrand and Faychan 

Part 5 - Cruce and Gehr

Relationships are part of strong story telling. A hero needs characters that love him, hate him, want to date him. As an author I always like to give my heroes friends to support them on their difficult adventures. In this 5th part of my 8-part blog series on fictional friendships, I’ll reveal how the friendship develops between Cruce Chenomet and Gehr Bradelvo in the Rys Rising fantasy series.

It begins with Gehr having ulterior motives. He’s a senior commander in a militia that defends frontier settlers from savages. The problem is getting worse. The militia needs more resources, so Gehr decides to try recruiting Cruce, the young heir of a wealthy family. Cruce is attracted to the chance to defend people in remote settlements. He feels he’ll be able to prove himself as a man if he becomes a warrior, and he pledges to serve the militia.

Although Gehr recruits him in order to unlock the wealth and influence Cruce can bring to the table, Gehr trains and mentors Cruce with care and compassion. Gehr would never shirk his responsibility when training any warrior. He knows how dangerous fighting the savages is. While training Cruce, he is careful not to expose him to too much danger too fast. After their first skirmish he leaves Cruce to guard a wounded comrade instead of taking him into the next battle. Gehr knows that he needs to toughen Cruce to violence in stages.

In this scene from Rys Rising: Book I, Cruce and his militia patrol have come across some shepherds slaughtered by savages. Cruce sees dead people for the first time. 



Cruce dismounted and glanced at his comrades to judge their distress. The weathered face of the nearest veteran, Hance, was calm but his eyes roved the horizon warily. Cruce approached the dead shepherds. He swallowed his distaste and tried to appear strong. The cold had frozen them and there was no stench of death except for a faint meaty smell. The blood-caked eye sockets were black and unsettling. The absence of eyes seemed to make the dead shepherds less like men. Their faces were locked into painful grimaces and Cruce focused on their bodies.
He knew that he had been told to tend the corpses because he was new. It was a way to harden him to the grim adventure ahead. He would be expected to do violence soon. He must hurt people or end up like these poor unfortunates before him. The talk was that the savages were going to be more aggressive this winter. Their attacks had been increasing for a few years now.
Cruce stooped next to the nearest dead man and tugged his cloak out from under him and started wrapping him. It was a relief to cover the mutilated face. As distasteful as the chore was, Cruce toughened himself with his sense of duty. These men, although of humble birth, were his fellow Nufalese and they deserved respect in death. His duty to defend Nufal quickened from an abstract ideal to a solid mission. His people were under attack, and his proud civilization would not be left undefended against the artless bludgeons of the savages.
Cruce finished wrapping the faces of the three shepherds with their coarse homespun cloaks. He did not see the hands of any of the men. He asked his comrades if they saw the hands anywhere, and one of the veterans grunted that the savages ate them.
“Is that true?” Rayden asked, startled to hear something even more appalling about the savages than what he had already been told.
“I don’t know,” the veteran laughed.
Rayden looked relieved that the other man was only having some sport with him, but Cruce silently disapproved of the joke. After touching the dead, he had temporarily lost his humor.
“Rayden, Asher!” Gehr barked. “Get down and help Cruce load those bodies.”
Gehr and Padrek were stalking back up the slope. Gehr stopped next to Cruce and glanced at the wrapped bodies and appeared satisfied with the job Cruce had done. Gehr’s gray eyes then met Cruce’s eyes with a friendly flash of sympathy.
Cruce said, “Commander, could you tell how many there were?”
Gehr spoke so that all could hear and said about twenty five.
“Is that a lot?” Cruce whispered.
Gehr pulled up his thick brown hood stitched with red spears and rams. “Yes,” he answered.

Bonded in battle, the men develop a mutual respect for each other over the years. When not fighting savages, their carousing is borderline legendary. They drink and pursue women like they could be dead tomorrow.

Gradually Cruce asserts himself in the relationship more. He is more cunning and ambitious than Gehr had expected, but their relationship adapts. Throughout the saga Cruce always relies on Gehr as a mentor. Gehr is like the older brother he never had. They sometimes argue about who’s in charge, but they are always on the same side. The ulterior motives and rivalry that are woven into their relationship do not undermine the camaraderie they develop through tough times. They provide an example of cooperation. Despite egos and ambitions, they are conscious and comfortable with the notion that they are strongest together. 

Find out just how hard things get for Cruce and Gehr in the Rys Rising fantasy series. 

They will struggle against many enemies from within and without in a magical world where humans do not rule. Rys Rising:Book I is a free ebook

Please leave a comment about friendships in fiction that were meaningful to you. 
 


Want to write about fictional friendships that mattered to you?  

Use the Good Friends and Great Reads blog prompt at your blog. Then fill out the form on this page to tell me about it so I can mention your blog and book here at Her Ladyship's Quest.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fantasy Fiction Friendships - Dreibrand and Faychan - Good Friends and Great Reads Part 4




Follow Her Ladyship's Quest and enjoy my 8-part Good Friends and Great Reads blog series. Every Thursday through September 19th, I'll be sharing insights about powerful relationships between characters from my fantasy series. Join the literary discussion by leaving comments about fictional friends that felt like your friends too. And feel free to use the Good Friends and Great Reads blog prompt at your blog. We can never talk about books too much. 

See also Part 1 Dreibrand and Tytido
Part 2 Dreibrand and Shan 
Part 3 Shan and Taischek


Have you ever liked someone even though you knew you probably shouldn’t? 

In part 4 of my 8-part fictional friendship series we’ll look at the relationship between Dreibrand and Faychan in The Rys Chronicles.

As the hero, Dreibrand finds himself on the underdog side of a rivalry between two magically powerful rys. Serving on the side of Shan, Dreibrand seeks information and support from the Kezanada, a notorious outlaw society that also happens to serve Shan’s enemy.

Faychan holds the rank Masterspy. He’s an aging warrior but still quite lethal and full of schemes. His main talents are knowing more than others and playing all sides of a situation. Suspicion naturally divides Dreibrand and Faychan but they cannot deny the opportunities they see in establishing a relationship.

This is the scene from The Goddess Queen when the two men first meet. Their relationship will span the rest of the series.

“What is your name?” Dreibrand asked.
“Faychan is how I am known among the Kezanada.”
“And why do you want to talk to me, Faychan?” Dreibrand asked.
“We will get to that. But first let us take the edge off this cold.” Faychan reached for a pouch by his knee.
Dreibrand flinched and grabbed his sho dart pistol from inside his cloak and Faychan withdrew his hand. “Don’t be so jumpy. I am only getting us a drink. And didn’t anybody tell you that the sho drug starts to lose its potency after a couple months?” He carefully eased his hand back to the pouch, but Dreibrand stayed defensive, wondering if his darts were useless or if the Kezanada was tricking him. Faychan pulled out a dark glass bottle and two small metal cups and commented, “I am impressed that you are so worried that you brought all of those warriors.”
“Sometimes Kezanada can come out of the trees,” Dreibrand growled.
Faychan chuckled and poured some of the liquor into the cups.
“I cannot believe you expect me to drink with you,” Dreibrand scoffed.
“A man brave enough to kill the Overlord should not be afraid of one drink,” Faychan remarked.
“Why would I share a drink with my enemy?” Dreibrand said.
Faychan put down the bottle and held a cup toward Dreibrand. “Maybe we don’t have to be enemies anymore.”
The Kezanada saw the hope light up the eyes of his guest and surmised that Shan’s general was interested in a truce. “I am drinking from the same bottle. It is not poison,” Faychan encouraged, holding the cup closer to Dreibrand.
Dreibrand did not want to drink it. He simply did not trust the man. Finally, Faychan tossed back his cup of liquor to demonstrate that it was drinkable.
Faychan sucked on his teeth then took a deep breath after downing the drink. “It is time for us to be friends. Drink with me, Dreibrand Veta,” he said.
Reluctantly, Dreibrand put the sho dart pistol away and took the offered cup, if only to show his nerve. The liquor had an unpleasant taste and he pushed it through his mouth immediately, like medicine. It rushed down to his stomach in a hot wave that radiated through his chest. Even if it was not poison, it seemed like it. Dreibrand cleared his throat twice as his body absorbed the shock.
“Want some more?” Faychan laughed.
“No. I did not come here to sit in a snowbank and get drunk with you. Now talk to me,” Dreibrand said.
Faychan seemed to appreciate the surliness and got to his business. “Very well, Dreibrand Veta. I wanted to talk to you because you killed my Overlord. Normally, he who does that would seek to claim leadership of the Kezanada.”
“I did not kill the Overlord to take his power. I killed him because he made himself my enemy,” Dreibrand said.
“But you could claim his power,” Faychan insisted. “Killing the Overlord demands a great deal of respect in our society. Many Kezanada would transfer their loyalty to you.”
Although intrigued, Dreibrand doubted the plausibility of Faychan’s suggestion. “I am not a Kezanada. I do not know your ways. And I must admit, Faychan, I do not know why you are telling me this.”

Sometimes rocky starts bring the most fascinating friendships. 

Despite the constant undertow of mistrust that accompanies Faychan, he does possess some charm, and Dreibrand finds himself drawn to him as a mentor figure. Faychan is older, unashamedly black-hearted, and a font of wondrously cunning advice. Dreibrand values these abilities.

Faychan mostly wants to manipulate Dreibrand as a front man so he can work from the shadows. Dreibrand recognizes Faychan’s strategy, but how long can he avoid the role that Faychan wants for him?

The interaction of these two characters represents the concept of using friendships to get ahead. It’s not just about mutual affection and respect. The men want to gain from each other. Such business-oriented relationships are always vulnerable to the demands of ambition.



To follow the exploits, triumphs and setbacks these two men experience in a magical world, read The Rys Chronicles. The first novel Union of Renegades is a free fantasy ebook at Brave Luck Books. 

Please leave a comment about friendships in fiction that were meaningful to you. 

Bonus

Listen to the promo for The Goddess Queen audiobook that is nearly completion. 




Want to write about fictional friendships that mattered to you?  

Use the Good Friends and Great Reads blog prompt at your blog. Then fill out the form on this page to tell me about it so I can mention your blog and book here at Her Ladyship's Quest.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Work in Progress Update: Finished Writing a Difficult Chapter This Week

Various Instruments of Torture. Note the fine craftsmanship. Everything was made with so much care and detail back then. Image credit: Wikipedia.

Over the past week I've been writing a chapter that was difficult to do because it contained torture. My work in progress Werelord Thal is set in Renaissance era Bohemia and there are witches and people accused of witchcraft in it. My heroine Altea got caught and faced torture to make her confess to her crimes. She isn't a witch, but torture will make anyone say anything. That's why it's unreliable for interrogation.

My challenge aside from writing about human cruelty was torturing my heroine but leaving her in a condition from which she can recover. I didn't want to kill her, but after studying Renaissance torture techniques I learned that most of them were not anything you would recover from.

Although I left her in pretty bad condition, I am satisfied that she can recover but that she was tortured enough to confess and in a historically accurate fashion. And she did confess. You would too.

I'm pleased with how the chapter turned out. She's broken and despairing. Don't worry. I'll rescue her. This is what makes reading fiction so thrilling. I'm sure some readers would prefer that she be rescued prior to torture. She would have liked that too, but one of the points of the novel Werelord Thal is that society was in upheaval during the Renaissance and people were tortured willy nilly. It was all very gruesome. One of my research sources even stated that although torture is described as Medieval, it was practiced much more during the Renaissance when various status quo powers were threatened by challenges to their authority. Boss man never goes down without a fight.

Visit Brave Luck Books to download and read the free 4-chapter preview from Werelord Thal.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

I was interviewed for the Adventures in SciFi Publishing podcast



Thank you to Tim C. Ward producer of Adventures in SciFi Publishing for interviewing me for his podcast. Today my episode went live. I flapped my jaws about my novels and my characters, talked about indie publishing, and some of my writing methods.

Listen and you can find out what is #1 on my editing list. If I can't get past the #1 question I have to try again.

Doing the interview was fun. I learned to use Skype for the first time. I don't really know if I was brilliant or embarrassed myself. Hopefully my comments landed somewhere in between.

In general I recommend the Adventures in SciFi Publishing podcast. Tim interviews many great guests. I've been listening to his show over the summer and I've been inspired by all the authors dedicated to their writing. I'm not alone in my passion for what I do.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fantasy Fiction Friendships - Shan and Taischek - Good Friends and Great Reads Blog Series Part 3




Follow Her Ladyship's Quest and enjoy my 8-part Good Friends and Great Reads blog series. Every Thursday through September 19th, I'll be sharing insights about powerful relationships between characters from my fantasy series. Join the literary discussion by leaving comments about fictional friends that felt like your friends too. And feel free to use the Good Friends and Great Reads blog prompt at your blog. We can never talk about books too much. 



Part 3 - Shan and Taischek

An epic adventure with the goal of overthrowing an oppressive tyranny is going to require calling in a few favors. In this third part of my 8-part series on fantasy fiction friendships, I reveal the moment when a favor for a friend changes everything.

Exiled from the rys homeland of Jingten, Shan must seek the help of his long time human friend Taischek, King of the Temu Tribe.

The rys exile and the human king have a history going back to Taischek’s youth. Shan saved Taischek when he was a teenager from a fiery execution at the hands of a rival tribe. Naturally grateful, Taischek pledged his unswerving loyalty to Shan. Of course as years went by, he came to think that nothing would ever come of his fateful pledge.

Enjoy this scene when Taischek realizes that Shan has come to incite rebellion and put Taischek’s tribe at the heart of it.

The accountants had finished packing their records into wooden chests and Taischek hurried them out. Reclining among his many pillows, Taischek clapped his hands and a servant appeared from behind curtains carrying a tray of goblets and a pitcher of wine. Too impatient to suffer the fuss of the servant pouring the wine, Taischek seized the pitcher and began sloshing wine into the cups.

“Bring us food,” he barked, and the servant obediently disappeared on his errand.

“What have you been doing with yourself, Shan?” the King inquired pleasantly.

Sipping his wine, the rys replied casually, “You know me, making life difficult for Onja. Contradicting her every order and general feuding.”

“Did she finally kick you out?” Taischek asked as a joke.

“Yes,” Shan said simply.

The humor faded from Taischek’s face, and he kept his suddenly serious gaze on Shan as he handed Dreibrand the last cup of wine. Gratefully, Dreibrand accepted the drink, noting the King lacked a couple fingers but made up for them with rings.

“I hope to discuss business with you, Taischek,” Shan added.

Taischek suspected the meaning behind Shan’s words but shook his head adamantly. “Not today, Shan. Let us speak of serious matters tomorrow. The Temu celebrate tonight. We go to war against the Sabuto Tribe in three days and this day is only for pleasure.”

“Excellent idea!” Shan agreed readily, knowing it would please Taischek. The delay of a day meant little to a rys. Shan continued, “We are fortunate to arrive before your celebration. Dreibrand, the Temu have the best parties.”

“Of course we do!” Taischek cried, relieved that Shan had not pursued his business. “Tonight we shall enjoy ourselves so that we can take the warpath with memories of joy.”

Xander whooped with agreement and drained his goblet. The King called for another round, and Dreibrand had to hurry through his wine in order to take more.

Too dignified to rush through anything, Shan declined more wine and asked, “Why are you in this tent? Fata Nor has a wonderful guest house.”

“Yes, and all of my wives are in it,” Taischek grumbled. “I’m sick of them. I’m glad it’s the war season.”

###

Eventually Shan and Taischek will discuss serious matters. When Taischek must risk the thousands of lives under his control, an intense story will ensue. To enjoy a character-driven epic sample The Rys Chroniclesfantasy series. You can get the first novel Union of Renegades as a free ebook. Maybe you’ll make new fictional friends and care about what happens to them. 

Please leave a comment about friendships in fiction that were meaningful to you. 

Bonus:

Listen to this sample from The Goddess Queen: The Rys Chronicles Book II audiobook when Shan and Taischek quarrel about how to use their army.





Want to write about fictional friendships that mattered to you?  

Use the Good Friends and Great Reads blog prompt at your blog. Then fill out the form on this page to tell me about it so I can mention your blog and book here at Her Ladyship's Quest.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Garden photo of little toad on apple illustrates natural pest control


Over the years I've been developing my yard into an edible landscape inspired by permaculture principles. I don't use any poisons to kill weeds or insects. I do this for many reasons. The foremost reason is that I don't want to poison myself or my family. I also choose natural methods because they work long term and don't destroy the ability of my land to be productive.

In the book Gaia's Garden I learned how using insecticides sets in motion an ever deteriorating situation with the insect life on the land. Insecticides kill predatory insects and the insects that trouble the plants. Predatory insects reproduce more slowly than the herbivores. Therefore once the insecticide wears off the bugs that trouble the plants come back quickly whereas the bugs that eat them take longer to recover from the poisoning. The result is an ecosystem out of balance in which the herbivore insects have the upper hand and their predators are always lagging. People who manage insects chemically therefore always need to use more poison because their infestations come back with vigor because there are no predators.

Because I don't use poisons my bug damage is minimal. My goal with my garden is to craft an ecosystem that includes giving me as much food as possible. Predatory insects can reproduce and hunt and they keep other insects in check.

Other insect predators abound as well. I have snakes, frogs, and toads all over too. The lovely picture above shows a tiny toad perched on a ripening apple. All toad has to do is wait for something to land on the apple and then it eats it. That little apple tree has not been sprayed with anything by the way and the apples have no damage whatsoever, which I mostly credit to the wasps that are prevalent in my yard. Wasps lay eggs on caterpillars that hatch and kill the caterpillars. So if you have lots of wasps, you will be troubled by caterpillars very little.

Because it is August, my garden is producing several pounds of food every day. I'm busy cooking it, freezing it, and of course canning it.

If you'd like to learn from my experiences with home canning and get a few good recipes, please read The Home Canning Guide for Everyone Who Eats. I published it in 2011 and many people have appreciated its content.

You can buy a printable PDF ebook version for $0.99 from Falbe Publishing.

Or download it from your preferred retailer:



Monday, August 12, 2013

Cover Reveal: Forever Husband by Vanna Smythe

Congratulations to fantasy author Vanna Smythe on the completion of the final part of her Anniversary of the Veil series. Forever Husband will be released in September. Read about the novel and visit the links to learn more about Smythe and her novels.
Forever Husband is the third and final installment in Vanna Smythe's Anniversary of the Veil series, and brings the story of Kae and Issa to a satisfying conclusion. While the book can be considered a standalone novel it is greatly enhanced by first reading the parts one and two of the series, Protector and Decision Maker. Forever Husband will be released in early September. 

Links to the other books in the series:

Protector (Anniversary of the Veil, Book 1): http://amzn.to/SKXvui
Decision Maker (Anniversary of the Veil, Book 2): http://amzn.to/VoMGAw

Friday, August 9, 2013

Inside the Mind of an Author by TC Southwell


Today I happily welcome TC Southwell, a South African fantasy author who writes good books and lots of them. I loved her novel Demon Lord, and was happy for the chance to participate in her blog tour.  Her blog tour is promoting the novels The Queen's Blade I and II. Enjoy a 40% discount on The Queen’s Blade II, Sacrifice for 3 days, 10 – 12 August at Smashwords.


 

Inside the Mind of an Author by TC Southwell

If it’s a fantasy author’s mind, it’s a weird place! Magical realms abound, chockfull of fearsome creatures and wonderfully strange heroes and heroines. I can’t speak for all authors, but my fantasy worlds are always alive and well in the back of my mind, just waiting for me to spend time in them. My characters’ lives continue there, but in the everyday way that everyone’s does, although theirs are obviously a little bit different. I’ll occasionally encounter Blade out for a stroll with Chiana, or sneaking her into an alehouse to watch a troubadour and entertain her with his insights into the patrons. He’s a people watcher, even though he has more of a life of his own now. I’ll see them having tea and picnics in the garden, or sipping wine in front of the hearth. I leave them alone in their more private moments, however.

I often visit Sabre and Tassin at their new estate, and listen to them arguing with Tarl, Kole, Martis and Estrelle. They still argue a lot, especially with Kole, and he and Tarl argue the most. Sabre enjoys their little spats, and, when arguments grow heated, steps in to put an end to them. Those are the two worlds I visit the most, but I also occasionally catch glimpses of Bane and Mirra as they relax in some alien world. Their lives are still interesting to me, but not book worthy. I have to wait until they set off on a new adventure, and until they do, there’s no real, which is to say, engrossing, channel for me to tap into. Blade is taking a long break right now, but sometimes the breaks there don’t match the time here, so it’s not certain when he’ll become embroiled in another conflict or embark on a new escapade.

So, the mind of an author is always an interesting place full of the people from his or her books, if they’re anything like mine. Perhaps other authors live in the real world more of the time, and only visit their magical worlds when they write. Of course, I also spend time in the real world, but I find my fantasy worlds far more interesting, even when the characters there aren’t in the middle of an adventure. In my experience, life is never dull for an author, with fresh escapism available whenever this world becomes a bit too humdrum. It’s always been like that for me, so I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

Discover all of Southwell's novels at Smashwords.  

Enjoy a 40% discount on The Queen’s Blade II, Sacrifice for 3 days, 10 – 12 August at Smashwords.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fantasy Fiction Friendships - Dreibrand and Shan - Good Friends and Great Reads blog series part 2


Follow Her Ladyship's Quest and enjoy my 8-part Good Friends and Great Reads blog series. Every Thursday through September 19th, I'll be sharing insights about powerful relationships between characters from my fantasy series. Join the literary discussion by leaving comments about fictional friends that felt like your friends too. And feel free to use the Good Friends and Great Reads blog prompt at your blog. We can never talk about books too much. 

 


Part 2 Dreibrand and Shan

People enjoy experiencing friends sticking together through difficult circumstances. Friendship is a powerful force and we all can relate to it, and that’s why great character friendships make great books.

In this second part of my 8-part blog series on friendships in my fantasy novels, I want to shed light on the relationship between the human warrior Dreibrand Veta and the powerful rys Shan.

The relationship begins with an admittedly Godfatheresque style.

Shan is developing a base of followers before he challenges Onja for the rys throne, and he wants to recruit Dreibrand. Dreibrand needs badly to escape Jingten with his lover Miranda and he must agree to be Shan’s friend in exchange for help.

Their friendship deepens as time goes on. Dreibrand becomes truly devoted to Shan because of the rys’s kind heart. Shan abhors using his magic for violence although he must do it because it is the only way to defeat evil.

Shan appreciates Dreibrand for his loyalty. And even though Dreibrand is only a man and Shan is a vastly superior being, Dreibrand’s bravery still inspires him.

As the saga progresses, Dreibrand also must become the keeper of one of Shan’s great secrets. And Shan becomes the one who can reward Dreibrand with the fulfillment of his greatest ambition.

For many years love thrives between the man and the rys, but new conflicts arise and the friendship falters and they must stumble down the path of regret, reconciliation, and forgiveness.

Consider this difficult scene from The Borderlands of Power when Dreibrand believes he must face life bereft of his greatest friendship.



“Dey, why have you been so kind to me?” Dreibrand asked.

The rys paused. He looked over his shoulder at the warding crystal on Dreibrand’s sword that marked him as a special friend of his King. With the lamplight gone, the cool blue glow of the crystal revealed to Dey the lingering twilight of Dreibrand’s love for Shan.

“I have seen suffering now and I think I prefer to help than hurt,” Dey responded, but then he met Dreibrand’s eyes and added, “I also know that King Shan would want me to help you. If he were here, he would help you.”

“Do not be so sure of it,” Dreibrand said. He turned his face away and pressed it against a fur. The soft pelt of the dead animal comforted him far more than memories of his lost fondness for Shan.

Dey pitied the desolation of the human man, who had basked in Shan’s love and then had it ripped away. The rys departed quietly and Dreibrand tumbled into fitful sleep bedeviled by dreams of grief and blood.

If you want to contemplate maintaining a friendship with a magic being whose power often threatens to corrupt him, read The RysChronicles. You can start it by downloading the first novel Union of Renegadesfor free.

Please leave a comment about friendships in fiction that you found memorable.

Bonus:

If you like audiobooks listen to this scene from Union of Renegades when Dreibrand and Shan agree to become friends. 



Visit Brave Luck Books to get the whole 19-hour audiobook of Union of Renegades.


Want to write about fictional friendships that mattered to you?  

Use the Good Friends and Great Reads blog prompt at your blog. Then fill out the form on this page to tell me about it so I can mention your blog and book here at Her Ladyship's Quest.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sneak Peek at werewolf novel work in progress Werelord Thal


Download a 4-chapter preview from the work in progress.

I am closing in on completing the manuscript for Werelord Thal. I'm styling it as a historical paranormal romance. It should only be one or two more months before I'm done writing it and can move into editing, which is the stage when it truly begins to become ready for readers. 

Until then, I'll present this little excerpt from Chapter 26. 

Characters in this scene:

Thal
Valentino, a Condottiere originally from Milan
Regis, a musician of Venice

Setting:

A tavern in Prague

           
            “There’s money to be made in war,” Valentino said.
            “Then why do soldiers always want for pay?” Thal asked because it was common knowledge that soldiers earned promises more often than hard coin.
            “Commanders get paid far more often,” Valentino said. “You could be a commander. I can see that men will follow you.”
            Thal did not doubt that assessment, but knowing he could control men and perhaps even inspire them to violent deeds if need be was not the same as wishing to do so.
            “I want no part in killing others for no reason,” Thal said.
            “Oh someone has a reason every time, and he’s the one paying to put men in the field,” Valentino said to alleviate Thal’s ignorance. Thal’s moral high ground amused the naturally cynical Valentino.
            “My killing is done for my own reasons,” Thal specified.
            “So the huntsman does kill more than just the animals in the forest, as I’ve heard,” Valentino said.
            “Thal stood in our defense against bandits. We employ him as our bodyguard,” Regis said, quite possessively.
            “And there’s no competing with what a musician can pay,” Valentino joked.
            Regis frowned. He did not like the direction of this conversation at all. He would have to keep reinforcing his message of peace with Thal. Hopefully he could keep him from going gun shopping tomorrow.
            “I think my friend is clear about not wanting to be in your war business,” Regis said.
            Valentino stirred the horseradish left on his plate, making it pink with bloody juice. “Perhaps he has not considered the opportunities soldiering provides criminals. Serving a good cause has spared many a man the gallows,” he said.
            “Don’t let him threaten you,” Regis said hotly.
            “We’re just talking,” Thal said, and his friend frowned but shut his mouth because he knew that his loyalty and fondness could not protect Thal.
            “What cause have you to call me a criminal?” Thal wondered with faux innocence.
            Valentino smiled. His full lips framed good teeth. “I’m the sort of man who also knows bounty hunters,” he said.
            Thal pierced him with a threatening gaze and a discouraging chill scampered down Valentino’s back. 
            “Is there some bounty offered for me?” Thal said.
            “Letters are circulating throughout Bohemia offering twenty gold florins for your capture on charges of Devil worship and shape changing, among other things,” Valentino said. He had just learned these details that afternoon after engaging in some strategic gossip.
            “Is twenty gold florins a lot?” Thal said.
            Valentino laughed, recognizing a man who possessed no remorse for his crimes. “It’s not bad,” he judged.
            “It matters not. I won’t be caught,” Thal said.
            “Be reasonable, man! You have to sleep. Someone will get to you, but I can protect you. We’ll give you a new name and I’ll set you up as one of my commanders. With a little training you’ll be magnificent. Wars are brewing, more than usual, and the powers that be won’t be scrutinizing who's making things happen for them on the ground,” Valentino said.
            An outburst of loud voices in the main dining room erupted into a shouting match between two men. Regis leaned out of the alcove to see. A big woman smacked the fighters, but the argument still intensified. The men were dragged outside.
            Thal paid little heed to the action. He stared at the table, deep in thought.
            “Do you believe the charges against me?” Thal asked quietly under the noise.
            Valentino shrugged. “I don’t care. The way the world is going I’m going to be called a heretic or worse no matter which side I work for.”
            “I don’t worship the Devil,” Thal insisted. His lack of denial about shape changing implied admission of it. Valentino looked to the musicians to see if they were shocked, but apparently Thal’s unholy habits were not news to them. The Condottiere suddenly wondered if he was grabbing a tiger by its tail, as the silk traders would say. But he was a man accustomed to living an exciting life, and the qualities he saw in Thal were too tempting. Good men possessing bright minds and daring hearts and in trouble with the law were rare. 

Follow this blog to watch for updates about this upcoming novel. Or download the 4-chapter preview and get on my readers' list for email notifications. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

August 4th Only - free kindle ebook by Jill Edmondson



Today only, Blogger friend and Canadian mystery author Jill Edmondson is giving away to Kindle readers Rat Bastards and Tea Pots, a mini-book with criminous short stories and poems.

Her Goodreads Event for the giveaway has this to say about the collection:

"The Locket" tells the story of a wedding, an omen, and voices from the other side... A picture really does say a thousand words.

"The Eraser" is the story of a man who wants to disappear and start all over. But he erases much more than just his own life...

Plus three amusing poems about crime and mysteries!

REVIEWS

"The short stories were interesting and well written, making it a great read."

"A group of short stories, well written showing a wide spectrum of talent for story telling. Each tale is unique and stands on its own. Fun, quick read."

"This was a fun read. I love the author's perspective on life and the living. Unusual and quirky (in a good way) The only thing I found wrong with this is that it was too short. I am waiting, not too patiently, for Jill's next book. Please let it be soon." 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Friendships in Fantasy Fiction Part 1 Good Friends & Great Reads blog series

Follow Her Ladyship's Quest and enjoy my 8-part Good Friends and Great Reads blog series. Every Thursday through September 19th, I'll be sharing insights about powerful relationships between characters from my fantasy series. Join the literary discussion by leaving comments about fictional friends that felt like your friends too. And feel free to use the Good Friends and Great Reads blog prompt at your blog. We can never talk about books too much.


Part 1 - Dreibrand and Tytido from The Rys Chronicles


Powerful friendships are not unique to the fantasy genre, but often needed. Plots driven by small groups battling powerful forces benefit from some firm friendships. A hero really needs someone who’s willing to defend his back, especially when it involves hordes of nasty orcs.

Some famous mainstream examples are Sam and Frodo and Harry Potter, Hermione and Ron. When everything turns against you, friends become the difference between survival and defeat.

As an author of 8 fantasy novels, I’ve enjoyed crafting important friendships within my epic stories. I consciously chose to engineer some friendships while others developed organically as I drafted each novel.

In this first part of an 8-part blog series on fictional friendships, I will examine the friendship between the main character of The Rys Chronicles Dreibrand Veta and the man who becomes his most trusted lieutenant, Tytido of Clan Gozmochi.

Although Dreibrand has other crucial friendships, his relationship with Tytido is remarkably genuine. They are two men loyal to each other who enjoy each other’s company. Tytido is the man Dreibrand will share a pipe with and trust the lives of his family with.

Even so, Tytido begins in a somewhat subservient position in the friendship. Dreibrand is the leader. He’s more worldly and better with women and he’s faced greater dangers. Dreibrand acts as a mentor to Tytido. He is not threatened by Tytido and wants him to have as much success as possible. However Tytido offers critical value as well. He is an important advisor to Dreibrand who is learning to navigate a new culture. Because they are men born of different civilizations, they have interesting philosophical conflicts and find each other intellectually satisfying.

Working toward common ambitions, the two men can depend on each other. They provide an example of friendship and loyalty that is fulfilling in itself without me having to inject conflict into their relationship to drive the narrative. Plenty of external forces provide substantial conflict throughout the novels to keep Dreibrand and Tytido on the same side.

In this scene from The Goddess Queen, Tytido seeks to deepen the terms of his fledgling relationship with Dreibrand on the eve of battle.

They sat by his fire and talked business. Eventually a lull came to the conversation and then Tytido cautiously asked, “May we talk as friends? We may never get another chance.”
The request surprised Dreibrand. He had always maintained some professional distance as the commander, but when he thought about it, Tytido was his friend.
Dreibrand smiled. “Do not sound so pessimistic, Tytido. We will win and we will live.”
“Yes, Sir—Dreibrand. But I was taught that I must accept my death before I enter battle so I will not be afraid. I have done that but I am curious about something, and I would like to know in case I am dead soon,” Tytido explained.
“My people would not talk of death before a battle, but what is it you want to know?” Dreibrand said.
Tytido looked a little embarrassed and he leaned closer and said quietly, “I want to know what you did that you had to go so far from your homeland. People think a crime has driven you from your home.”
Guardedly, Dreibrand demanded, “Who says I am a criminal?”
“It is gossip, rumors. It is no one person. But Dreibrand do not worry about it. The Yentay respect you and do not care what it is. People are only curious,” Tytido said.
“Then what are these rumors?” Dreibrand asked.
“Well, the most popular one is that you killed Miranda’s husband,” Tytido said.
Dreibrand actually laughed, relieved that it was so far from the truth. “No. I have never seen the father of her children, but from what she tells me, I would kill him. Miranda left him before I met her,” Dreibrand explained.
“Then what is it?” Tytido pressed.
Dreibrand sighed and stared at Tytido, trying to truly judge the man. He trusted Tytido but his secret had to stay where it was.
“Tytido, my family is a very old family in Atrophane, and once very powerful, but not so much anymore. I came west seeking a new fortune because I had none to inherit. And that is the truth. As a friend, I ask you to leave it at that,” Dreibrand said.
“So you are not going to tell me,” Tytido surmised.
“I would rather your curiosity kept you alive,” Dreibrand said.
Tytido grinned. Even knowing that Dreibrand held something back, Tytido was glad to know that he went to battle at the side of a friend.

Readers intrigued by how this friendship develops are invited to Brave Luck Books to download the free fantasy ebook Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I so you can meet Dreibrand from the beginning. 

Please leave a comment about friendships in fiction that you found memorable. 

Bonus:

Listen to an audio excerpt from The Goddess Queen. It’s the opening from the novel when Dreibrand takes Tytido out to dinner at a tavern.


The Goddess Queen: The Rys Chronicles Book II is currently being recorded as an audiobook. Support the production and download 2-chapter episodes for $1.50 each.


Want to write about fictional friendships that mattered to you?  

Use the Good Friends and Great Reads blog prompt at your blog. Then fill out the form on this page to tell me about it so I can mention your blog and book here at Her Ladyship's Quest.

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