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This weekend I welcome Tracey Alley to the blog

Hi Tracey, 
 Tell us a little about yourself.

"I was born, raised and still live in sunny south-east Queensland. I come from a large, wonderful family and am married with two dogs and a cat. I've been writing for as long as I can remember but found fantasy through role-playing and Dungeons & Dragons - since then I've never looked back. I love to read and write fantasy - the escapism is wonderful. I have degrees in Ancient History, where I specialised in Egyptology, and Comparative Religions, where I specialised in ancient pagan religions. I incorporate a lot of that into my work, using old myths and legends and religious practices.  To relax I like boxing and yoga and go horse riding when I get the chance.  I’m currently undertaking my Masters degree in religion at the University of Queensland."


Today I feature Tracey's book, The Witchcraft Wars; Erich's Plea


The Kingdoms of Kaynos have been at peace for nearly a thousand years. Now the ambitions of a dark sorceress armed with a new, deadly type of magic called witchcraft threaten to tear the Kingdoms to pieces. Meanwhile, locked deep in the bowels of Zeaburg's infamous, horror-filled subterranean prison the young druid Slade is haunted by a strange, recurring dream. A dream in which his beloved father, High King Erich of Vestland, pleads for Slade's help. Convinced of the dreams truth Slade must somehow attempt the impossible and escape the inescapable Zeaburg prison in order to find and save his father. Gathering an unlikely assortment of allies along the way Slade must not only find a way out of Zeaburg prison but must also find a way to prevent what threatens to be the bloodiest, most brutal war in the history of all the Kingdoms of Kaynos. Will an unimaginable alliance, an unlikely friendship and a forbidden love be enough to save the Kingdoms of Kaynos?
Excerpt

Gingerly Slade eased himself into a sitting position on the small pallet with its infested straw that served as a bed for him in this tiny prison cell.  His eyes were still swollen almost shut, pain accompanied every breath he took caused Slade was certain by at least one, if not more broken ribs.

Text Box: Slade      Despite his growing certainty that his beloved father was in some kind of trouble, Slade couldn’t help but wonder how any trouble his father might be in could possibly be worse than his own current predicament.

     It had been a little over two months now since he had last seen the sun. Travelling through the Duchy of Karameikos, he had been arrested, tried and convicted as a spy.  It was obvious that the charge was ridiculous but the Duchy had no allegiance to any of The Kingdoms and so tended to make its own rules.  Initially Slade had not been terribly concerned, convinced he would be able to escape sooner rather than later.

     Unfortunately the opportunity had not presented itself before he had been placed in the bowels of a ship headed for this wicked island prison in Ostland.  Once on board any attempted escape was impossible.  Not only was the distance required to reach the shore too far for him to swim, but he had also discovered that, in the deep ocean, he suffered from debilitating seasickness.

     Two months ago he had arrived at Ostland’s Zeaburg prison complex and been taken to this subterranean dungeon with its smooth stone walls, mazes of corridors, little or no lighting and the constant smell of death, blood, waste and decay in his nostrils.  He had been alternatively beaten and tortured for hours on a daily basis.  His own screams blending with the cries, screams and moans of the other, unseen, sufferers in Zeaburg's nightmarish torture chambers.

     The horrors here were so great that even the rats eschewed Zeaburg, although the fleas showed no similar scruples and were an additional constant torment.  His body was covered head to toe with tiny bites from the multitudes of the awful creatures.  Slade would not have believed it was possible for a place like Zeaburg prison to exist if he had not seen it with his own eyes.  It well deserved its evil reputation.

 ******


Short Chat from Tracey : My father died shortly before my sixteenth birthday and this was, obviously, one of the major events of my life.  When I was older I cared for my mother, who had a rare type of blood cancer that progressed very slowly.  Watching my father die suddenly and my mother die slowly by degrees impacted my life enormously and they were major factors in my writing Erich’s Plea.  
 The underlying theme of the whole Witchcraft Wars series is the question of how far would you go, how much would you sacrifice to save someone you love.  I was unable, of course, to save either my father or my mother, but in The Witchcraft Wars Slade and Ursula do have the opportunity to save their father if they’re prepared to sacrifice enough.  I think that the emotional realism of my own experiences comes through in the novels in addition to the knowledge I gained from my University studies helped me to create a really realistic world environment and very three dimensional characters. 

Links to find the Tracey and her books online:

This weekend we welcome guest author Tiffany Berry


Tiffany Berry was born in Ipswich, England. She currently lives in small southern town in Kentucky, with her husband, two kids, dog and four horses. She enjoys reading, writing, gardening, horseback riding, and spending time with her family. 
Eternal Changes is the first novel in the Mikah Series, and the second novel, Unleashed, is scheduled to be released on 6 September 2012. 










‘Eternal Changes: The Mikah Series’
Paranormal / Urban Fantasy (YA 18–24)
After the sudden death of her father Lucy Walden’s life is turned upside down when she is forced to move to a small southern town. As she struggles with her new surroundings, Lucy finds out the world she once thought she belonged to was nothing more than a ruse to cover up a dark secret. She is a Mikah, a cross breed of two creatures from different worlds at war with each other.

Ashton Crawford, a Halfling, isn’t fazed by anyone or anything until Lucy glides into his life. He wonders why being in her presence brightens up his cold dreary existence. With a wave of his hand he lights up the dark caverns of his home and shows Lucy what life is like among the Dragomir vampires.

Two worlds, brought together by Lucy’s disappearance must find a way to overcome their mutual hatred for each other or watch as one of the darkest vampires rises and destroys not only Lucy, but the race they both sworn to protect.
 
Find Tiffany online:
Twitter  @luvnwl
Eternal Changes is available at:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eternal-changes-tiffany-berry/1109201099

Read the excerpt from Eternal Changes
 
“Welcome to Euphranor,” Malachi said. “World of the shifters. Very few know where it’s located or how to get here.”
Ashton had heard stories of Euphranor and how beautiful it was. The stories didn’t do the scene before him justice.
The trees of the forest were gigantic. The diameter of each trunk was the size of a large building on Earth. Their branches were the size of small trees and several exotic flowers of every color bloomed from the depths of their green leaves. The leaves glistened in the sunlight as if it had just rained, but the ground was completely dry.
Ashton walked over to smell a royal blue and gold fuzzy flower hanging off of one of the lower branches. He leaned forward, closed his eyes and took a deep breath. His eyes popped open and his eyebrows scrunched down in confusion. There was no smell.
“Guid day, whit the bludy heel is gonnae oan haur,” a voice, with a Scottish accent, boomed.
Ashton spun around, scanned the area, and glanced over at Malachi. “What was that?”
Malachi shrugged his shoulders and Ashton turned around, looking at the flower in front of him. He lurched back as the flower popped off the tree and flew into the air. The flower changed midair into some odd looking creature. It’s long, droopy ears puffed out as it glided to the ground. Its gold eyes glared at Ashton.
“Ye dornt see me a walkin’ around smellin’ ye, dae ye?” the creature demanded as it stalked forward, waving its long, vine-like finger at Ashton.
“Och, boy…. haur we go again,” another voice, with a Scottish accent, chirped.
A gold and black flower shifted into the same kind of creature. It’s golden and black body shimmered as its oversized vine-like feet clung to the branch. Its black eyes stared over at Ashton. “Ye got heem started an’ it’ll be a bit afair he staps.”
The blue creature’s golden eyes narrowed. “Ye stay outta it Mischuff! Females hae nae business in a male’s affairs.”
The gold creature rolled its black eyes as it flipped off the branch and glided to the forest floor. “If ye say sae, Phitz. It’d nae be sae bad if ye didne bite ‘eryone’s heed off ye come across.”
Ashton looked from the blue creature to the golden creature. “What are you?”
Mischuff smiled up at him, showing off teeth that sparkled like diamonds. “Me and Phitz, we’re Eirian. Some ay th’ best creatures yoo’ll eva hae th’ pleasure ay meetin’.”
Phitz scowled as he glared at Ashton. “An’ we hae the displeasure of a meetin’ ye. Ah was sleepin’ soondly afair ye rudely awoke me.”
Ashton knelt down. “My apologies to you both.” He looked at Phitz and then Mischuff. “I’m new to this world and I didn’t mean to disturb you.”
A horn bellowed in the distance and Phitz’s ears perked up. Phitz rubbed his gold viney hands together as he licked his lips. “It’s ‘ime tae eat!”
Excitement flared in Mischuff’s black eyes. “Ye dornt got tae teel me twice!”
Ashton backed up as the Eirians spun, flinging dirt, as they burrowed into the ground. Mischuff and Phitz took off underground, causing the dirt to rise up on the forest floor. It reminded Ashton of what was left behind after a mole dug into the ground.
Ashton turned around and listened. A soft whizzing sound floated through the air. He arched an eyebrow and looked at Malachi. “Where’s that sound coming from?”
Malachi leaned against a tree and shrugged his shoulders.
Ashton looked up. Several fairies in a myriad of colors floated down from the trees and circled around him. Each of their bodies was a different solid color, but their iridescent wings sparkled in a collage of blues, purples, pinks, and yellows. They clapped their small hands as they danced and spun in all directions as they opened their mouths and started singing. Goosebumps rose up on Ashton’s arms. The melodious sound that left their small lips tinkled and chimed through the forest. He closed his eyes and he swayed in rhythm to the music as the tension eased out of his shoulders. It was the most beautiful song that had ever graced his ears. The music ceased and Ashton opened his eyes. The fairies had vanished.

Copyright Tiffany Berry 2012 All rights reserved
 

This weekend we welcome Tristan Dearing from The Seven Spell Saga

Welcome to the blog Tristan and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.

Before we start I have a question about why on some book covers you appear with your eyes closed, and on others you have them open?
"Oh that's about how I am seeing the reality of the situations we are in and my feelings about Chloe. Funny you should notice I didn't think many people did".  
You look very young in these pictures can you just refresh my memory? How old are you?
The watercolor pictures do wonders for me. I'm 841 years old. Well preserved huh? :-) 

What is the name of the book where we'll find you? Can you tell us a little about it?
" There are six books now where you will find me. The Seven Spell Saga is the name of the series.
It’s YA paranormal romance/urban fantasy. 
The books incorporate real life with all these fantastic things going on between the characters. As the series goes on and a couple of years go by it does get a little steamy in the love scenes.
I could describe the beginning of the saga like this really, Chloe is eighteen when she moves with her family from her home in California to an English estate steeped in history, that’s where I currently live. 
Her father has bought a restaurant tourist complex there. She gets caught up in the mystery surrounding me. She’s out one day exploring the massive grounds of the estate she's living on and she stumbles across me. I do try to keep myself apart from Chloe until she uncovers my secret. 
We are instantly attracted to each other, and later as we become friends she introduces me to another guy she meets, Oliver Tarrant, which means eventually we are all three good friends. The thing is Oliver and I both love Chloe.
We do work together to save each other from the 800 year old magic spell which threatens to destroy me forever in books one and two.
The books involve, magic, time travel and an epic love story.
As the series of books progresses it spans about three years, and we do have a lot of adventures. Chloe falls in love with Oliver and with me. That’s hard at times and in book four I very nearly drive her away, but we get together again, and all seems well until the latest book, book six.
Chloe is twenty, Oliver is twenty-one and I am---- well I just told you that. We are almost used to the magic that keeps cropping up in our lives and since I saved their lives, and then Chloe saved me, we have developed some special abilities. Something very strange happens to set the scene for the final two books in the series, Bartholomew Pike’s Spell Book, is book six , which was released in June and then book seven in December, is called 'An ending and a Beginning'."

 What do you think of the author? Be honest. We won't tell.
 
"I’m certain you will tell but I don’t care anyway. She’s great. I think she really likes us three, me, Oliver and Chloe because she gives us all chance to talk, starting in book four, and she gives us all chance to really explore our feelings. She’s been committed to us so that we grow, and develop, and certainly Chloe and Oliver get to grow up, mature, and re-define their lives by the end of the series so I think that’s cool. She has let us show our love for each other with lots of romantic moments in the books, so that’s good of her."


 How do you feel about the story you're in?

 "The story is a lot about me and my history. It allows me to find things out about my family and past that have been kept from me. It gives me love and friendship. I have some very cool things happen so I really like it. It’s a love story, and about friendship and how people grow. It's a story about magic and time travel and really what people do for love".

 Do you like being a character in the books?

"I enjoy the freedom of being a character in these books because I do have a lonely existence until Chloe comes along and starts to tell my story. I enjoy having more friends and openness in my life."

 How do you see your future? Without giving anything away about the story, naturally. What do you know about your author's plans? Can we expect to see you in any future stories?
 
"I’m in this for the long haul because the author likes me and because I am a principal character. I feature strongly in book six and seven; there is also a spin off in the pipeline at the moment. There will be more books about each character, or a couple after the saga has ended, because it sets us up for the next few hundred years or so of our lives. In book six just released, we all start to think about what we will do in life and then book seven consolidates that. I can’t say too much as it will give the plot away."

Let's say they make a movie about these books. Who do you want to play you, and why?

"That’s so hard to answer.
For two reasons, I want to play me LOL and I don’t know many actors. Also I think it might be hard to find someone enough like me for the author not to just say well you do it Tristan LOL
Seriously, I can’t answer. I suppose if it were to happen the author better sit in on the casting and make the decision as she knows exactly what I look like, all my mannerisms and what I sound like."

Tell us three things you really love and please don't include people.

"I love horses, and animals in general.
I never get to say much about this but I love the sea.
I love the countryside.
Can I have one more?"
Yes okay,
"Apples, I love apples, music, and swords, I love swords too" (smiles). 


You know that's more than three things don't you?
(Smiles again) "I love so many things, after all 800 years is a long time to fall in love with the beautiful things in life."

    


This Sunday we welcome author Alan Skinner to the blog

For the last two decades, Alan Skinner has travelled across the world, working, reading and writing his way across America, England and Europe before returning to his adopted Australia. There, he settled to finish the stories he began while travelling.
His first book, in 2009, was Blue Fire and Ice, book one of The Land trilogy. The book was first published by Sibling Press, a publishing house set up to publish his own books as well as a few books from people he had met on his travels.  Blue Fire and Ice was followed by its sequel, Furnaces of Forge, in 2010. 
 That same year he also wrote and published Brimstone, the first book in the new Earth, Air, Fire and Water series. In 2011, Sibling Press released all its books as ebooks to supplement the print versions.
Alan continues to write. Currently, he is working on The Last Mountain, the third and final book in The Land’s Tale series, and Hourglass, the sequel to Brimstone. He is working on several adult novels, plus the final two books ion the Earth, Air, Fire and Water series. In between books, he completed a play, Daisy Chain, which was premiered in Melbourne in August 2010. The play was produced and directed by his daughter, Eryn, for Rouse House Theatre Company, which had been founded by Eryn.




Book One of The Land’s Tale series
When Beadledom is ravaged by a string of unquenchable blue fires, they turn to their unpredictable neighbours, the Muddles, for help. The Muddles agree to help combat the firs and to help discover who is setting them – and why. As events worsen, it is thought that the secret lies far to the north in the forbidding High Mountains. It is agreed that two people from each of the races will travel to the mountains to discover the secret of the blue fire. They are accompanied by a great Muddle bear called Miniver. And so seven unlikely heroes set out to find the secret of the blue fire and the identity of the mysterious arsonist who will stop at nothing to destroy them all.
Full of the most unusual characters and packed with intrigue, humour and adventure, Blue Fire and Ice is the first in an exciting new series of books about The Land.

Book two of The Land's Tale series




When two accident-prone young Mymidots devise a plan to provide unimaginable power to their factories using the source of blue fire, the people of the Land find themselves divided. Even the animals of the Land, sensing the malign power that has come to the Land, prepare for rebellion. Amidst the chaos, two strangers, bent on revenge and destruction, appear in the Land.  With their deadly creatures, the spoorhounds, it seems no one can stand up to them. Crimson, one of the heroes of the High Mountains, is determined to try, even though it might take a greater sacrifice than anyone could imagine.

 Book One of the Earth, Air, Fire and Water series



From the author
Background and concept
Brimstone, the first of four books in the Earth, Air, Fire and Water series, is aimed at slightly older teens than The Land’s Tale books – though it has to be said that adults have given it the most glowing reviews.
Again, I wanted a classic adventure story rather than a fantasy. And, like all good adventure stories, the main character was to be an outsider, someone who had to overcome not only their inner doubts, but the prejudices and narrow-mindedness of those around them. I also wanted the main character to be a mid-teen female, just beginning to understand herself. And in a profession not known for its female practitioners.
So was born Jenny: a young Eurasian girl who had lived all her life in the isolation of a great forest, who is taken by a great alchemist to be his apprentice. For this great alchemist – Richard Antrobus – has recognised that Jenny has abilities that even she hasn’t yet discovered.
The setting for the book is fictional. I didn’t want it to be seen as an historical adventure, set in a specific place, so I created the city state of Vale and its rival, Cleve. It was important that the era – though not specified - was alive, recognisable and accurate. Set between the middle of the 16th century and the early part of the 17th century, the period is faithfully re-created.
The alchemy had to be realistic, not just another way to work magic in the story. (In fact, there isn’t any magic in the book at all. It is all about the magic of the special powers that people have inside them.) Brimstone depicts alchemy the way it was: the forerunner to modern science.
Brimstone has all the ingredients of a great adventure novel: an intelligent, resourceful and courageous heroine, a ruthless and pitiless villain, a dashing, slightly mysterious hero, and steadfast friends. As one book reviewer observed:
“All this makes for a lot of FUN. There’s action, there’s humour, there’s a bit of fashion, there’s a bit of chemistry and there’s even a little gore. FUN!”

PREVIEW BRIMSTONE
THIS EXCERPT HAS BEEN PROVIDED FOR THIS BLOG BY ALAN SKINNER




Chapter 1

Queerwood


One day, when winter had almost run its course, a man reined in his horse outside a small cottage in the middle of the forest. A second horse trailed behind, and he let the lead rope fall as his own mount stopped. He looked around the dwelling. Everything was neat and well kept. To one side was a pen occupied by plump, scratching chickens and behind that was a sty, home to three pigs and a sow with a heavy belly. A garden bed, bare except for a few winter herbs and some eager shoots of green, lay on the other side of the house. Behind that was a barn and stable, both as well cared for as the cottage. The people who lived within took pride in their home and tended it lovingly.

Richard Antrobus dismounted. His long black cloak swirled round him as he swung from the saddle. For a man his age – he had weathered fifty-four winters – he moved gracefully. Whether the slight grimace that came to his face was from the long ride he had just endured, or because of what he was about to do, wasn’t obvious.

Antrobus walked to the front of the cottage. From inside came the voices of two women, talking easily, the way that family who are also friends do. The door was open and he stepped into the shadow of its frame. He took a deep breath, then spoke.

‘I have come for your daughter.’

They were the first words Jenny ever heard Richard Antrobus speak. His voice stilled their chatter; his shadow stretched into the cottage, over the rough floorboards and the wooden table covered in herbs, roots and flowers. When she looked across at him Jenny couldn’t make out any of his features. He was a large black shape, eclipsing the sun at his back.

She looked at her mother, and saw she was struck silent with grief and fear. She wanted her mother to say something, to make it all not true. But she knew there was nothing that could change what would be. So, she went to the alcove and put her few articles of clothing into a rough cloth sack. She kissed her mother’s wet cheek and felt her arms close around her. Jenny smelled the lavender on her skin and the gardenia in her hair, and felt the reassuring texture of the russet shift that covered the trembling woman’s body. She wanted to stay as she was, folded in those slim, light brown arms. But she forced herself away, walked past the figure filling the door frame, and left the cottage. The smell of bay and burdock followed her into the sunlight.

Jenny knew she would never see her mother again. It pained her to leave without saying goodbye to her father. She had lived in this forest her entire life. All she loved was within these woods and all that loved her lived in the cottage she was leaving.

She walked to the horses, hearing his footsteps behind her. He pointed to the horse he had been leading and she swung into the saddle. She kicked her mount into a walk and headed it along the path away from the cottage. Jenny promised herself that she wouldn’t cry, nor would she look back. Even when she heard the wailing of her mother, her name called over and over, she kept her promise. She turned her heart into a rock of anger against the man who rode beside her.

Jenny was not even fifteen. Yet she rode through Queerwood, the ancient forest of Vale, by the side of a man she had never met.

Please visit Bookmasque.com for Alan’s comments, reviews, links and even dome wallpaper downloads.

BUY links for the books
Brimstone
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Apple iBookstore
Kobo

Blue Fire and Ice
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Apple iBookstore
Kobo

Furnaces of Forge
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Apple iBookstore
Kobo

Alan's Work in progress
Buckle and the Pirate, a picture-storybook for early readers with illustrations by Serena Riglietti. Currently being developed for release as an interactive app.
Master Quickly, and adult literary novel due for release late 2012
Falling Apples, adult literary novel due for release in 2013
The Last Mountain, the third and final book in The Land’s Tale series.
Hourglass, sequel to Brimstone.