#amreading: Jane Austen-inspired #fantasy (Feb’s 2017 Reading Challenge)

I’m sharing my thoughts on my February 2017 Reading Challenge picks, but first…

Wondering how I pick my books, where I get them, and how I choose which ones to read?

My Reading Challenge choices are based on personal interest and the fact that they fit my monthly theme. Then I either check them out of my local library or buy them. (If you’re wondering, it does help authors to check their books out of a library – it keeps that book in circulation longer and helps the library’s collection department know that at least one of its patrons is interested in that author, which might make it more likely the library will buy their next book.)

I’m not able to read all of my monthly choices (I wish) so, just because I’m giving my thoughts on some and not others, doesn’t necessarily mean they were the best of the bunch. And my site’s not monetized, so I don’t make any money if you choose to buy these books. (That’s why I often link to Goodreads, although not always).

I encourage everyone to get their books from a wide variety of places. Amazon, sure. We all do. But try to make it a point to buy from other vendors from time to time — and remember to check books out of your local library! It supports both the author and your library. 🙂

IndieBound: Find books at local independent book stores.

WorldCat: Find books at local libraries.

Shades of Milk and Honey

Features Jane Ellsworth, master glamour manipulator, and her sister, Melody, an au naturale beauty.

Months ago – just after the New Year – this was the first book I grabbed after the insanity of the holidays. It had been on my TBR list forever and I thought it would be interesting, fun, and even somewhat soothing after December’s mania. I was right. (Unfortunately, I didn’t know I’d be doing a reading challenge at the time, so I didn’t take good notes.) I do, however, remember liking many things about the book:

The magic – I love glamour magic. Fara Vanderlin from my Noon Onyx series also works with glamours and I love to see what other authors do with this type of magic. I liked that Jane refused to enhance her own appearance but was fantastic at creating sensory tableaus that incorporated not just the visual, but also other senses like sound, smell, and touch. It was fascinating that, in this society, people used galmourists like interior decorators. The richer someone was, the better glamourist they could hire. And the way the magic worked — weaved, woven, layered — was pretty cool.

It wasn’t a retelling – the story was set in an alternate version of Regency England, but it wasn’t based on any specific Jane Austen novel. I love a good redux, but it’s more impressive when writers use their inspirations as jumping off points.

The cover to the next book! There are a total of five books in the Glamourist Histories series. The cover of the second, Glamour in Glass, features a Regency heroine (I assume Jane) in… well, shades of milk and honey – but with bubbles. Makes me curious to say the least.

Heartstone

This was a retelling… of Pride and Prejudice, but with dragons. Tell me you can resist that. 😀

In the beginning, there were a lot of creatures and names to keep straight. There were wyverns, dragons, gnomes, and gryphons… beoryns, lamias, nakla, khela… Tekari, Shani…

There were Brysneys instead of Bingleys, Bentaines instead of Bennets, Daireds instead of Darcys, but I became immersed in the story soon enough.

The Fourfold God was interesting: Janna—Provider, She Who Sustains; Mikla—Protector, Shield of the Faithful; Odei—Creator, He Who Begins; and Thell—the Unmaker (i.e. Death).

And I liked that none of the characters seemed to be an exact replica of their match in P&P.

After reading it, I wished two things:

  1. That I’d chosen Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, instead of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters as my third book choice for February; and
  2. That I’d had time to read another book in February.

It would have been neat to see how Elle Katherine White’s retelling differed from Seth Grahame-Smith’s. (Have you read P&P&Z? What did you think? Are you wondering why I picked Sea Monsters over Zombies? Because the cover reminded me of Bill Nighy’s Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean. And because I felt like Zombies had gotten more than enough attention with the movie.) 

In lieu of my thoughts on Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, I offer you its You Tube book trailer link. Absolutely worth the two minutes or so it takes to watch.

My final thought on Heartstone: Giving the Drakaina (the dragon queen) some of the characteristics of Lady Catherine de Bourgh was a nice touch.

So, how about you? Did you read any of my Feb 2017 Reading Challenge picks? Are you reading anything else? Can you think of any other Jane Austen-inspired fantasy? If so, let me know in the comments! Tomorrow, I’ll share March’s reading picks.

Advertisements

Author Interview: Juliette Cross on Dogs, Dragons, Romance, and Writing

My guest today is Juliette Cross, author of the paranormal/fantasy romance DRAGON IN THE BLOOD. Since Juliette and I both have labs, there are DOG PICTURES!!! I also ask her about some other fun topics: Gothic romance, worldbuilding, the biggest challenge of writing characters that are human-dragon hybrids, and the hero and heroine from her novel. She’s offering the chance to win a $25 Amazon eGC. Details below. Welcome, Juliette!


Jill: I read that you have a black lab, Kona. I have a chocolate lab puppy, Tug. Labs are known for their loyalty and their chewing tendencies, at least during the first year or two. Has Kona ever chewed anything she shouldn’t have? Feel free to share any Kona stories and a picture!

Juliette: OMG! Kona chews EVERYTHING! We’ve bought her several chew toys of her own, but she’s so playful, she loses them under furniture then steals stuffed animals and toys from my five-year-old’s room. We recently went on a family vacation and Jackson came back with a stuffed otter. The first day we were home, Kona was hiding in the corner with it. Jackson said, “Kona ate Bodie (the otter’s name) and now he can’t see anymore.” Kona chewed off the eyes first as she always does. Good thing we love her!

You’re a fan of Gothic romance. Me too! Have you written any Gothic romance stories? Any favorite Gothic romance authors or titles you can share?

Ooooo, my favorite topic. Actually, a good bit of my writing has dark elements, settings, and emotional threads, similar to Gothic literature. I’d say my historical paranormal THE DEEPEST WELL is the most Gothic of my romances that I’ve written thus far. Demons and darkness abound in that one. As for my own favorites, most of my friends already know that JANE EYRE is my favorite book ever written, and it’s also considered Gothic lit. The misty moors, the brooding hero, the unlikely heroine, the mystery in the attic—all of it appeals to my love of the Gothic romance.

I love to hear about how authors build their worlds. Are there any behind-the-scenes details you can tell us about Gladium Province, the Morgon Guard, Nightwing Security, or the Wastelands of Aria?

I think it’s important to know that while Gladium Province prides itself on its desegregation laws and mixture of the populations of humans and Morgons, just like in the real world, there are people who hate for no reason. And no law can change that. As for the Morgon Guard, I’d like readers to know this is the global police force for all Morgon provinces. However, it’s also their military. It is expected for all Morgon males to do service time in the Morgon Guard, but of course there are always rebels who don’t. Nightwing Security is a private security team started by the Nightwing family living in Gladium to protect the interests of Morgons living and working in the city. But they are now more than guns-for-hire. They work with the Gladium Precinct as well as the Morgon Guard to help maintain law and order.

As for Aria, I can tell readers that my inspiration for this frozen wasteland was the “Wild West” of America. Outlaws flee there to escape punishment and to live on the fringes of society. And just like in the old west, all those passing through must beware of dangerous predators and hostile natives.

What was one of the biggest challenges of writing characters who are Morgons—human-dragon hybrids?

The only thing I find difficult is during technical scenes where I must remember they have wings and so they move, sit, stand, even have sex differently than humans. And because of their wings, they even think differently, especially during travel. This inspired some interesting scenes, such as their conversation with the Morgon priest they meet on their first stop in Aria.

Sounds like your hero and heroine have some great chemistry! Can you tell us something about them that you haven’t yet shared?

Hmmm, I’d probably share that Valla wants nothing more than to give in to her desires for Conn, but she often resists because she’s afraid this will make her weak. She doesn’t think like most women because she never had a woman’s or a mother’s influence growing up. What she doesn’t realize (which Conn does), and it takes her a while to do so, is that Conn’s love will only make her stronger. Luckily, my heroines and heroes always learn from their mistakes.


Dragon In The Blood

More about Dragon in the Blood

When desire bites, there’s no patience for a slow burn.

While all seems quiet in Gladium Province, the Morgon Guard—the global justice force for the dragon hybrid race—knows their enemy is rebuilding its forces in the underground.

Valla Moonring, an assassin for the Order of the Morgon Guard, is ordered on a mission into the Wastelands of Aria—a formidable, icy wilderness fraught with all manner of dangers, including outlaws, deadly weather, and big-game predators.

To her great distaste, she’s partnered with a Nightwing Security operative, Conn Rowanflame, a Morgon with the aggravating ability to get under her skin. While she takes her mission seriously, Conn’s confident charm throws her off balance, a dangerous place to be in conditions like these. Especially when cold nights require close contact.

Sensual attraction binds them ever closer, igniting a passion of unexpected force—the soulfire. But when the hunters become the hunted, their bond could prove perilous. Even fatal…

DragonInTheBlood_Teaser2

Available at Amazon


More about Juliette

Juliette lives in lush, moss-laden Louisiana where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab, Kona. Multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy romance, she loves reading and writing brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.

You can discover more of Juliette and her books on her website.

More about the Giveaway

Juliette is giving away one tour-wide $25 Amazon eGift Certificate. To enter to win, click here for the Rafflecopter form. For my complete giveaway rules, click here.

Thanks for a great interview, Juliette!

#Fantasy #Romance Author Linda K. Hopkins on Dragons – Fable or Fact?

Today’s guest is Linda K. Hopkins, author of The Dragon Archives. Set in the medieval period, these tales tell of the dragons that roamed the earth in days gone by. At the end of her blog tour, Linda is giving away one $20 Amazon gift card. Details below. Welcome, Linda!

The Dragon Archives Banner

Folk tales and mythology are littered with stories about dragons. Fire-breathing monsters in the west, benevolent and magical creatures in the east. Some legends tell of dragons with human features, while other myths suggest human dynasties that could trace their lineage back to dragons. The blood of a dragon could be poisonous or magical, and the creatures flew at great speed. Sightings have been recorded throughout England, some as recently as the seventeenth century. So perhaps, like the legends of Arthur, the stories are rooted in truth. Maybe there is more to the tales than mere myth.

We all know that dragons are huge, that they fly and that (at least, western dragons) breathe fire. We laugh at the idea that they are real, but maybe, just maybe, there really were huge monsters flying the skies. Is it possible? If we free our minds from the idea of a flesh and bone behemoth that weighs as much as a plane, then perhaps we can peer through the mists of time and tale, and see these magnificent creatures gracefully soaring above the clouds, circling on air currents high above the earth. Like a hot air balloon, our giants of the sky were not created of flesh and bone as we know it, but were filled with gas and heat that freed their huge frames to rise above the earth and take to the skies. Like birds, their bones were hollow, creating a strong but light-weight structure. Their tough hide was made of keratin scales, beneath which was a layer of muscle and sinew which gave them their massive strength. The huge wings which sprung from their backs were framed in bone and covered in a thin, silk-like material that gave propulsion and manoeuverability. Their huge bodies were filled with hydrogen, a highly combustible gas. And when hydrogen mixes with oxygen it produces – flames!

So did dragons exist? You will need to come to your own conclusion. As for me, these magnificent creatures walk into real life each day as I relate their stories from the Archives.

More about The Dragon Archives

Bound by a Dragon

Bound by a Dragon

At twenty-two, Keira Carver needs to find a husband, but the prospects in her small medieval village are not pretty slim. So when Aaron Drake, a handsome stranger, takes up residence at Storbrook Castle, set deep in the surrounding mountains, Keira takes notice.

Just as interesting is the fact that a fire-breathing dragon has also moved into the neighborhood, and is rumored to live in caves beneath the mountain fortress.

What exactly is the connection between Aaron Drake and the dragon? And when the dragon rescues her from the unwanted attentions of some village boys, who will set out to rescue her from the huge, scaly, fire-breathing monster?

Available for Free

Amazon    Kobo    iTunes    BN

Continue reading “#Fantasy #Romance Author Linda K. Hopkins on Dragons – Fable or Fact?”

Five Photographs: Rebekkah Niles (and the “Us” versus “Them” mentality in #writing)

Today’s guest is Rebekkah Niles, who’s here with her five photos. (For those of you who missed earlier intros or who stumble across this later, I’m doing a “Five Photographs” guest blog series this spring. I asked a bunch of writers to submit five photos and answer a brief list of questions.)

In Rebekkah’s interview she touches on an interesting phenomenon in publishing today — the “us versus them” mentality. There are more than a few examples of this attitude out there, among them, self-pub versus traditional. I pose the question: Is trying to be a hybrid author really the biggest challenge facing writers today? 

Rebekkah also shares a little bit about her book Into the Tides and she’s offering a giveaway: one signed print copy and two ebooks. Details below. Welcome, Rebekkah!

Something that represents something unique about you

 

Rebekkah Niles Unique

I’m a geek, with a deep love of fantasy, and have a special appreciation for dragons. Plus, my friends and I like to joke that we each have an ‘inner dragon’–that little piece of us that’s easily distracted by shiny things, loves sitting the sun, and thinks giant shelves of double-stacked of books are an extension of a dragon’s natural hoarding instincts. Really, that’s why I have a collection of loose bulk gemstones (surprisingly inexpensive, actually)… I’m part-dragon; it’s in my instincts.

[Jill: ha! love it.]

Something that represents where you live

Rebekkah Niles Dogwood

North Carolina’s state flower is the dogwood, and these flowers trim the streets and forests everywhere you go in spring, right about until the wisteria and azaleas take over in late April and early May. In fact, North Carolina is a beautiful flower-filled state, with something in bloom from late February through early December (at the least!). On the downside, it’s also bug-heaven, so if you plan a visit, bring bugspray.

Your pet(s) or plant(s) or thing you care for (besides your human family/friends)

Rebekkah Niles Bard and Sonnet

Bard and Sonnet mostly ignore each other, and only snuggle if it’s on a lap–but for pets, they will cuddle.

Something (not someone) that really frustrates you

Rebekkah Niles Bride

While my fiance is the delight of my life, and there are some fun things about the process, I have to say wedding planning is the most frustrating thing in my life right now. Tell me again why everything costs so darn much? Fortunately, my fiance makes it all worth it. Though now I understand why everyone always seems to joke about eloping…

Something that brings you joy (besides writing)

Rebekkah Niles Tea

I think this picture might be cheating, because it has four things that make me happy: tea, sunshine, plants, and spending time with my true love. Nothing like sitting outside on a beautiful day with our little patio garden, sipping a lovely coconut oolong and relaxing together!

Interview

What’s the elevator pitch for your latest published novel?

In Into the Tides, a disaster causes magic to drown the American South, including Kelly’s parents. Kelly discovers her music magic might be able to save those lost… but she’s tone-deaf, and if she tries and fails, it will cost her everyone else she loves.

What are you working on next?

In the sequel to Into the Tides, former rockstar Trax tries to control an unstable magic to regain his music… but the magic is growing, and if he can’t master it, it will destroy him, the woman he can’t stop thinking about, and possibly everyone around them.

What are you currently reading?

Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series. Angels in New York–Immortal creatures of immense power, they rule the world with little care for the mere mortals who inhabit it; but when one goes bad, an angel will have to turn to a mortal woman to save them all. I can’t put these down.

What are you currently watching (TV shows)?

Castle! Oh my goodness, Fillion’s great in everything he’s in. It’s no Firefly, but it’s more than enough to leave me in stitches.

[Jill: I haven’t seen Castle but I loved Fillion in Firefly/Serenity. Doubt there’s anyone following this blog that hasn’t seen that show/movie, but if not… go stream!! So bizarre that it was cancelled. Movie was good way to wrap it up but more seasons would have been great. Such well drawn characters and a fun universe.]

Favorite fantasy creature, villain, or weapon not from your own work?

The fire-lizards in Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern. Yeah, having a dragon would be awesome… but these tiny arm-sized dragonets are too cute, and quite a powerhouse of their own when they put their minds to it!

Biggest challenge facing writers today?

I’d say the biggest challenge facing writers today is the temptation of the “versus” mindset: a lot of people say things like “self-publishing versus traditional publishing,” or “Amazon versus Barnes and Noble sales,” or “e-book versus print,” but the truth is, it’s not a competition. Publishing isn’t a one-size fits all venue, nor is it limited to just one approach. When we have more options open to us than ever, everyone wins; but when writers try to undermine each other or claim there is only one right way to do things, it makes all writers look bad and could well end up limiting our options in the future.

[Jill: This was a really interesting thing to pick as a writer challenge to talk about. I agree. There is definitely an “us versus them” mentality about some things. I can think of a few others… Lots of drama outside of our stories as well as in them. I’ve often thought about what produces that “to your corners” attitude. Maybe it’s just a reflection of our current culture. In the U.S. at least, it seems as if everything is becoming more and more polarizing. Is it because we live in uncertain times? I doubt it. Each generation and every industry has faced uncertain times.

Is it because we feel compelled to live life faster and more efficiently than ever before? Perhaps… Maybe it’s easier for people to just decide they’re in “this group” versus “that group” so that every time an issue needs to be addressed or a question needs to be answered they can look to the group for direction instead of taking the time to research the issue/question and analyze it for themseves. Do I think that’s right? No.] 

How can we meet that challenge?

The best way to rise up to the challenge is to educate each other while supporting one another. There’s more options to writers now than ever before, but if we undermine one another, no one wins. On the other hand, joining national writers’ groups, educating each other on best practices, and knowing the difference between “bad for me” (such as publishing method or genre choice) and “bad for all writers” (such as vanity publishing or rights-grabbing clauses in contracts) can make publishing better for everyone. The best thing writers can do is share information on what works for ourselves, while being welcoming to writers who offer new or different ideas. When writers help writers, everyone wins.

[Jill: Agreed! “Bad for everyone” is as different from “bad for me” as “bad for me” is from “bad for this book.” Regarding self-pub versus traditional: ideally, each writer will decide which method of distribution is best for each individual project.

For what it’s worth, I’m seeing less us versus them attitudes with respect to the self-pub versus traditional debate. I think many writers are starting to realize it would be great to do both. Maybe trying to be a hybrid author is the biggest challenge facing writers today? 😀]

Rebekkah Niles
Rebekkah Niles

More about Rebekkah

Rebekkah Niles writes contemporary fantasy with romance and a touch of geekery. She lives in North Carolina with her cats and her fiance. Her lair has more wall space devoted to bookshelves than clothes or desk, and several art prints from her favorite fantasy artist, Nene Thomas, fill up what’s left.

When not writing her own fiction, she daylights as an editorial assistant. Outside work, she can be found writing (of course), reading, drinking tea, playing video games, and trying not to kill her plants.

You can also find her on her blog or on her website.

More about the Giveaway

Rebekkah is offering one signed print copy (U.S. only) and two digital versions of Into the Tides. To enter the giveaway, click here for the Rafflecopter form. For my complete giveaway rules, click here.

Thank you, Rebekkah, for the great interview, giveaway, and fun photo collection! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. For those of you celebrating Mother’s Day this Sunday, I hope you have a happy one!

Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter of RWA #Writing Workshops March 2014

Check out FF&P’s

upcoming workshops:

CONFLICT OF MYTH

03/03/2014 – 03/16/2014

Myths have been called collective, shared dreams, and come to us from virtually all civilizations which have existed for the last 7,000 years.  This workshop, influenced by the philosophies of Joseph Campbell and Manly Hall, will focus on selected Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Celtic, and Native American myths to understand their esoteric themes and conflicts, which still ring true to the modern heart.

We’ll first look at the structure and components of myths and their meanings.  Then, we’ll compare classical mythical conflicts to contemporary movies to develop a better understanding of how these ancient conflicts can play out on a modern stage.  Finally, we’ll study how to incorporate these conflicts into our current work to resonate more deeply with our modern readers.

About the presenter, Susan Sipal

S.P. Sipal is published in fiction and nonfiction through articles, short stories, and a novel and is an editor at Musa Publishing. Best known as an analyst of the Harry Potter series, she’s spoken at numerous fan and writer conferences at the national, international, and online level.  Her most recent release is a short story entitled “Lighting the Sacred Way,” set in ancient Ephesus, and included in Journeys of Wonder, volume 2.

For more info, click here.

DRAGONS ALONG SILK ROAD

AND BEYOND

03/03/2014 – 03/16/2014

Here, there be dragons! No matter where you go in the world, take a look at the folktales and the myths in the culture you’re in, and more likely than not you’ll find a mention of a dragon or two. Some of them will be described as green or gold or red, some of them will be described as having wings and some won’t, some of them will be described as having five claws, some four, some only three, some even have more than one head. The details don’t matter, though, because it’s clear that there are legends of dragons wherever you go.

Ranging from the dragons that play an important part in Chinese culture all the way to the legend of Quetzalcoatl found in Central American culture, they are all around us, whether or not we recognize them by name. Stories about dragons have been around as long as human society itself, and they reflect the society in which they reside. The term “dragon” itself is of Greek origin, meaning “a serpent or python,” and it can also mean “to see clearly.” Wherever the legend of the dragon appears, they represent society, culture, and wisdom (thus the “seeing clearly” part), since dragons are often referred to as having spiritual qualities.

Join Eilis Flynn and Jacquie Rogers as they take a trip around the world in search of dragons. Whether you make use of the legend of the dragon in your own stories doesn’t matter, because you’ll find that examining the legend of the dragon up close is really an examination of yourself and your story.

About the presenters, Eilis Flynn and Jacquie Rogers

Jacquie Rogers’ first burning desire was to be a baseball announcer, but that didn’t work out so she decided to write romance novels. Her latest novel is the third in the Much Ado western romance series, Much Ado About Mavericks. Faery Merry Christmas is her latest fantasy release. Jacquie is owner of Romancing The West, a popular western blog, and teaches online classes on various writing topics.

Eilis Flynn has spent a large share of her life working on Wall Street or in a Wall Street-related firm, so why should she write fiction that’s any more based in our world? She spends her days aware that there is a reality beyond what we can see … and tells stories about it. Published in finance, romance, and comic books, she lives in verdant Washington state with her equally fantastical husband and the ghosts of spoiled rotten cats.

For more info, click here.

To see FF&P’s full workshop schedule, click here.

To propose a future workshop, please contact me.

Ice Storm!

By now, I hope everyone has recovered from Nika, this winter’s latest lashing. Where I live, schools were closed for three days this week, we lost power and, unfortunately, lots of tree limbs. (One tree fell on our garden shed, but none hit our house). Things are pretty much back to normal today but, for fun, here are a few pictures I took while surveying the luckily-not-too-extensive damage on Wednesday.

There be dragons!

(and other things)

dragon

Crashing Wave
Crashing Wave
Frost Giants
Frost Giants

older

younger

Winter Wasteland
Winter Wasteland
Glad the power's back on!
Glad the power’s back on!

Wishing everyone a warm, safe weekend!

Epic Fantasy Romance Author Marsha A. Moore on the Fifth Element

Marsha A. Moore recently published the fifth and final book in her Enchanted Bookstore Legends series, Quintessence. She’s here to tell us a little bit about both the book and the alchemical element it was named after. She’s also offering the chance to win one ebook set of the entire 5-part Enchanted Bookstore Legends series and five ebook copies of Quintessence: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Five. Welcome, Marsha!

epic fantasy romance, Marsha A. Moore, Enchanted Bookstore Legends

The Exalted Power of Quintessence

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 must use her rare magical energies of quintessence to guide her to the hidden keystones before her opponents, who plan to destroy the Alliance, or to claim the power of quintessence for themselves.

So what is Quintessence, and how will it help Lyra?

It’s an 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.

The number five was considered very lucky and extremely sacred by ancient magicians. Lyra McCauley is the fifth Scribe of the Alliance, from a long line of strong female ancestors who were her predecessors in the role. As the fifth Scribe, Lyra is destined to connect to the master power of Quintessence.

The Black Dragon’s Dark Realm has mounted attacks so strong, the good Alliance is nearing defeat. Thousands of innocent lives are in danger. Astral connections, stolen centuries ago, are desperately needed to restore magical strength to the Alliance. Both its Guardians and residents now look to Lyra and her new powers of Quintessence to save them.

In this final book of the Enchanted Bookstore Legends, I visually illustrate when Lyra embraces her innate tendency toward Quintessence, by changing the light of her aura and the powerballs of aura she fires in battle from golden to violet in color. Historically, a violet hue has been used as a symbol of spirituality, corresponding to the divine spark of Quintessence.

So what happens when Lyra unlocks this Quintessence power?

She first encounters this difference when engaged in an aerial dragon battle with the Dark Realm, which is led by the evil alchemist, Eburscon. Previously, her powerballs lacked precise aim. To steady her shots, she often needed to borrow power from her beloved Cullen, the Imperial Sorcerer of the Alliance. However, the precision of her new Quintessence powers are exacting, unmatched by any allies or enemies. The quantity of Quintessence aura she compresses into her usual size powerball make her arm ache after just a few throws from the rush of power passing through her extremity. This takes her by surprise!

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 he succeeds in taking Lyra’s Quintessence for his own use, the Dark Realm will overtake the good Alliance. Its residents will be killed or enslaved, Lyra will be left comatose without her aura, and her beloved Cullen will perish without the Alliance magic he relies upon to maintain his immortality. The risks are huge. Find out if Lyra will be able to master her new power in time to block the attacks of evil on her, Cullen, and the Alliance—in Quintessence: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Five.

Thank you, Jill, for hosting me today!

References:

Real Alchemy by Robert Allen Bartlett, Ibis Press, 2007.

The Complete Book of Amulets and Talismans by Migene Gonzalez-Wippler, Llewellyn Publications, 2009.

More About the Enchanted Bookstore Legends Series

epic fantasy romance, Marsha A. Moore, Enchanted Bookstore LegendsThe Enchanted Bookstore Legends are about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become one of five strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1200 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.

Lyra was first introduced to Dragonspeir as a young girl, when she met the high sorcerer, Cullen Drake, through a gift of one of those enchanted books. Using its magic, he escorted her into the parallel world of Dragonspeir. Years later, she lost that volume and forgot the world and Cullen. These legends begin where he finds her again—she is thirty-five, standing in his enchanted bookstore, and Dragonspeir needs her. epic fantasy romance, Marsha A. Moore, Enchanted Bookstore Legends

When Lyra reopens that enchanted book, she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save the good Alliance from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. While learning about her role, Lyra and Cullen fall in love. He is 220 years old and kept alive by Dragonspeir magic. Cullen will die if Dragonspeir is taken over by the evil faction…Lyra becomes the Scribe.

More About Marsha

epic fantasy romance, Marsha A. Moore, Enchanted Bookstore LegendsMarsha A. Moore is an author of fantasy romance. Much of her life feeds the creative flow she uses to weave highly imaginative tales. The magic of art and nature often spark life into her writing, as well as watercolor painting and drawing. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transformed into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Marsha is crazy about cycling. She lives with her husband on a large saltwater lagoon, where taking her kayak out for an hour or more is a real treat. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical! She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and recently completed a year-long Kripalu-affiliated yoga teacher training program. The spiritual quest of her yoga studies helps her explore the mystical side of fantasy.epic fantasy romance, Marsha A. Moore, Enchanted Bookstore Legends

Marsha can be found online here:

Clicking on the covers will take you to their Amazon pages. Click here for the Rafflecopter link to enter to win one complete set of the Enchanted Bookstore Legends series and one of five ecopies of Quintessence. Good luck! Thank you and best wishes, Marsha!