Welcome to this week’s Friday Author Spotlight. This week I have R.R. Brooks with his novel, Justi the Gifted.
Robert R. Brooks (R.R. Brooks) holds a chemistry degree from Princeton and spent his career doing pharmaceutical R&D. Now living in western North Carolina with a wife and two enormous cats, he writes both fiction and nonfiction. A dozen science fiction and fantasy stories have been published (e.g., .The Deist, Xenolith, The Vision Vase, and To Believe or Not). His play, a comedy historical piece, was performed in 2005 and 2007. The epic fantasy novel Justi the Gifted was published by Leo Publishing in January 2015 (excerpt at www.leopublishing.net). A science fiction-thriller novel, a mystery novel with co-author A.C. Brooks, and a second fantasy novel are underway. He is a member of the Blue Ridge Writers Group, the Appalachian Round Table, the Brevard Authors Guild, and the N.C. Writers Network. He maintains author’s pages on Facebook and Amazon.
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About the Book
A gift from a god can be good. But what if it is damaged? This epic fantasy novel for adults and young adults is a character, coming-of-age story set in perilous times. As invading barbarians bring slavery and human sacrifice to the Kingdom of the Zell, the old god Li decides to modify his creation and confers the Sense of Justice on a peasant boy of Ortun. But Justi gets a damaged gift and is left with a wild killing power, a lethal flame he can’t control. The mysterious and alluring Mercerio is also gifted, and prophecy foretells that the children of the gift must meet. When Justi is driven to Mercerio, her mercy talent tempers the angry flame within him, at least while they are near. But enchanted animals, attempted assassinations, uncertain seers, battles, and kidnappings keep them distant. An even greater barrier—a seduction—blocks their union. When Justi reluctantly uses his power to rescue Mercerio, the price is steep—the very thing he has always feared happens: he kills an innocent. Shocked, Justi finds his future and his love in doubt.
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Keep reading for an excerpt:
Clearly Stren didn’t want to talk about it, so Justi stretched, breathed in the woody mossy scents, and joined his friend in the warm pool. They were still swimming when Tirea arrived. She posed on the sand with her hands on her hips and surveyed the pool, smiling.
Justi noticed her first. “What are you doing here? This is our spot.”
“Really?” Tirea studied the spread-out clothes and then the two bathers. “Who gave it to you?”
A gurgle of falling water was the answer. The boys backed away from the shore.
“Well, I see that you think it’s yours.” Tirea picked up an undergarment, holding it at arm’s length in two fingers. “We girls will try to remember that when we use it.”
“Fine,” Justi said. “Now put that back and go.”
“I have something to tell you, Justi—”
“Can’t this wait until later?” Stren said.
“You mean when you have some clothes on? Don’t be concerned. I’ve seen you boys swimming here before.”
“What?” Stren said, sinking down until only his head was above the water. “You shouldn’t be snooping around where you don’t belong.”
“Walking in the woods is not snooping.” Tirea gathered up the clothes and walked to the edge of to pool, grinning. “Don’t you want these?”
Stren stepped into a hole and his head disappeared under water. He came up sputtering. “We’re not coming out until you leave. We’ll get them ourselves.”
Tirea dumped the clothes on the boulder. “All right. Quit fussing like cows who want to be milked. Goren wants you to visit him, Justi. Sooner rather than later. He asked me how you were doing.”
“You’ll have to ask him about that.”
Justi came half way out of the water. “This makes no sense. What aren’t you telling?”
Tirea sighed. “All right. I was visiting Goren and the thing about Morul just sort of came out. Goren was really interested.”
“Why did you say anything to the seer?” Justi, more than miffed that she was stirring things up again, fought an impulse to grab Tirea and shake her.
“He asked about you. I told him the most important thing I knew.”
“You’re making such a fuss over nothing,” Justi said, feeling as trapped as a pig in a butcher’s pen.
“Goren thinks what happened is important—”
“Maybe you think too much. Now go.”
“I’m going. I wouldn’t want to embarrass you.” Tirea patted the garments and went into the woods.
Justi and Stren waited, listening to footsteps climb the path. When the sound disappeared, they emerged from the pool.
“We should dry off before we get dressed.” Stren stepped over sand and pebbles to a bright patch of sunshine and stood with his arms spread. “So you’ll see Goren, right?”
“I don’t know. I’ll think about it.”
A rustle from the woods sent them both to crouch behind the boulder.
“Very cute. Both of you.” Tirea’s laughter faded as she ran off. Still damp, the boys scrambled into their clothes.