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Author Spotlight: Errant Spark (Elemental Trials, Book 1) by Ronelle Antoinette

Welcome to this week’s Friday Author Spotlight! Today I have Ronelle Antoinette visiting to tell us about the first book in her Elemental Trials series, Errant Spark. She’ll be sharing both a written and audio excerpt of her book, but first lets learn a little more about her.

Ronelle Antoinette lives in western Colorado with her husband, two cats, and one dog-who-believes-he’s-a-person. While she is a mother to none, she’s an auntie to what should qualify as a small army. She is an admitted caffeine addict, chocoholic, and hopeless romantic who has carried on a passionate affair with the genre of fantasy since she was old enough to read ‘chapter books’. She dabbled in creative writing for many years and even considered it as a major in college. (She ended up getting a Bachelor’s degree in Counseling Psychology.) She published her first novel, Errant Spark, in July of 2016.

Connect with the Author

Website/Blog
Smashwords Author Page
Goodreads Author Page
Amazon Author Page
Twitter
Facebook – Author Page
Facebook – Elemental Trials Series Page

About the Book

In Egalion’s Imperial court, there is splendor and luxury, but it’s also a realm of treachery and cloak-and-dagger political maneuvering that threatens to destroy the peace of two thousand years. They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but at court you can’t tell one from the other…and they change at the flip of a coin.

Twenty five-year-old Battlemage Jex Xander has a mouth which frequently gets him in trouble, while in contrast, Enari Namelum speaks not at all. When Jex becomes the target of a faceless curse-slinger, Enari, the girl he protects, must now protect him. The discovery of ritual human sacrifices and Jex’s growing inability to keep his feelings (and hands) to himself only serve to complicate matters. Passion and romance should be the last thing on their minds, but life and the Goddess seem to have other ideas.

Errant Spark is the hush before the storm, the last deep breath before the plunge. The flint has been struck and it’s possible the world might go up in flames…because love in Egalion’s Imperial court is as dangerous a thing as backroom politics and jealousy can be as much a driving force as silver and gold.

Get it today on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and Audible!

 

Listen to the Audio Excerpt, then keep reading for a written excerpt below:

 

 

“May I join you?”

Without waiting for a response, Jex Xander settled gracefully to the ground beside her. He offered her a tin cup and she took it, warily examining the contents.

“You have the look of someone who could use that.” He jerked his chin at the cup before turning his attention to his own bowl of stew and chunk of bread.

Chamomile and meadowsweet wafted up on the steam and she inhaled appreciatively, but didn’t drink.

“Oh, I almost forgot!” Fishing a flask out of his pocket, the mage unstoppered it and leaned over her, pouring a small amount of something brownish into the tea. “Not the best quality, I’m afraid, and I know it smells vile, but it’ll take the edge off your sore muscles, I promise.” He grinned at her startled expression before settling more comfortably and beginning to eat heartily.

Enari took a tentative sip and tried not to gag. It was horrid, but the warmth that spread in her belly was soothing, so she continued to drink. They sat in silence for several moments as stars twinkled to life overhead. A few even shot brightly across the sky and Enari watched them, still awed at the sheer immensity of the view above her. At the Temple, parts of the night sky had always been obscured by foliage, even when viewed from the high branches of the trees she climbed.

“Mmm, Plamen works his forge tonight,” Jex observed around a mouthful of bread, “Wonder what he’s making?”

Enari didn’t answer and after a moment, he tried again.

“Did the kvinna speak truth? Are you really still a novice?” He used the remaining crust to mop out his bowl before licking his fingers and wiping them in the grass beside him.

She nodded, still not looking at him.

“May I ask how old you are?”

It was a rude question to ask a woman, he knew, but he’d been watching her all afternoon and hadn’t been able to guess her age. ‘Young’ was all he’d determined for certain. Probably too young.

Using a stick, she drew a number in the dirt and his conscience eased. Eighteen. Not too young, then, or at least not so much that he felt guilty for looking. And he definitely had been looking. Couldn’t blame a man, really.
Well, the kvinna probably would. She seemed the excessively protective sort.

“I have a sister about your age, back in Rowan. Not as quiet as you, though,” he mused, hoping to at least get a smile out of the girl. She was exotically appealing and he could only imagine how much more radiant she would be if she smiled.

Enari stood quickly. She didn’t know how to fend off interested men and retreating to bed seemed like the easiest way out of this awkward situation.

“Novice!” one of the guardsmen called out. To Jex, he sounded more than a little drunk. “If you be done with that pretty boy, come and spend time with a real man. The night promises to be chill, but I’ll warm you well if he won’t!”

Jex rose to his feet upon seeing her uncertainty and embarrassment.

“You!” he called back, “Didn’t your mother teach you how to address a lady?”

“Mind your own business, mage,” the man retorted. He got up unsteadily and swaggered towards Enari. She hurriedly backed away, eyes darting left and right as she sought an avenue of escape.

Before the man could reach her, Jex stepped up and put his palm in the center of the other’s chest. He gave him a stiff shove, eyes dark with menace.

“Don’t be a fool. I wasn’t sent to protect these women from their own escorts but I will. I suggest you find your bedroll, friend,” he said dangerously, “Sleep it off, or you’ll be no good to anyone on the morrow.”

Enari stared at the pair with round eyes. The mage didn’t even know her, yet here he was, protecting her honor like she was some grand lady.

After a moment of glaring at each other, the guardsmen broke eye contact first. Muttering sullenly under his breath, he retreated and Jex released a sigh. He really hadn’t wanted to fight the drunken lout, even though he was confident he’d have won.

“Silent little thing, aren’t you?” Returning his attention to Enari, he reached out and touched her cheek gently.
Weariness in blurry waves of gray, spikes of hard red adrenaline and anger, fading sparks of vibrant blue lust… Goddess, she’d be so pretty if she smiled. Too pretty to stay much longer in a group of men with no one but her Sura to look after her. Stupid, stupid to send such a small party across so much open land.

Quiet thunder of a rapidly pounding heart, the sharp tang of fear-sweat, nervous little brown mouse… That man almost…he could have…and the mage. I don’t even know him, he doesn’t know me, but he stopped the other one. His hand is on my skin and…

Starting in alarm, Enari recoiled and the string of awareness that was and wasn’t hers snapped like gossamer thread. She took a quick step back and the sudden movement unbalanced her. Her sore leg muscles were unable to compensate and with a surprised gasp, she fell onto her bottom in the dirt. Jex looked down at her, clearly as startled as she.

A heavy hand grabbed the back of his tunic and the grizzled old guard captain shook him roughly. His voice was deep and his accent was rough. “She dun’a like to be touched, mageling. Keep your mitts to yourself!”

“I-I’m sorry. I didn’t know, I,” Jex stuttered and cleared his throat. “Sorry,” he finished lamely, looking back and forth between Enari and the captain, as if unsure who he was actually apologizing to. He offered her a hand up, took a look at the captain’s face, and put both of them in his pockets.

“You alright, little mistress?” the captain asked Enari.

She nodded and climbed stiffly to her feet, brushing dirt from her trousers.

“I’m sorry for startling you, Nani,” Jex apologized again. Enari smiled and waved it away. He frowned at the captain and opened his mouth.

As if guessing the younger man’s thoughts, the captain shook his head. “She dun’a speak, either.” He narrowed his eyes threateningly at Jex, thick brows beetling down even further. “But dun’a you be going and thinking she be stupid for it, mage. She ain’t.”

Jex held up his hands in placation and took a step away. “I would never!”

“See that you dun’a.” With that, the captain strode away into the darkness. Jex made a face and gestured rudely at his retreating back. Enari covered a smile.

Turning back to her, he raised a speculative eyebrow and put his hands on his hips. “He wasn’t having me on, was he?”

Enari’s expression turned distant.

“Alright, alright. Keep your secrets.” His eyes darted to the bowl of stew she’d somehow managed not to drop or spill all over herself. “Are you going to eat that?”

Author Spotlight: Marvelous Neverland of Oz by Ron Glick

Welcome to this week’s Friday Author Spotlight! Ron Glick has a new book in his Oz-Wonderland series, so he’s returning to share the first book in the series, Marvelous Neverland of Oz. He’s sharing an excerpt from the book with us today, but first let’s learn more about Ron.

Ron Glick is the author of The Godslayer Cycle, Chaos Rising, the Oz-Wonderland series, and Ron El’s Comic Book Trivia, as well as having written a screenplay adaptation of The Wizard In Wonderland. Additionally, he created the Golden Age Preservation Project as a means of making Golden Age comics more accessible to modern audiences. His expose, U.S. Political Prisoner Since 2004, broke him away from his fictional works to shed light upon political corruption in Montana.

Connect with the Author

Website
Amazon Author Page
Twitter – Ron Glick
Twitter – Golden Age Comics

About the Book

Wonderland and the Looking Glass World have been joined to Oz, saving three faery lands from destruction – but nothing is as simple as this when the Cheshire Cat is involved. Meanwhile, the March Hare leads a renegade army from Wonderland and Mombi plots to bring even more chaos in an effort to escape Oz. Glinda must delve into her own past – but will what she discovers require the greatest sacrifice of all? And as three magical realms seek to find balance, an eternally young boy makes his way to Oz with secrets of yet another faery world – Neverland. With a faithful eye to the original Baum, Carroll and Barrie classics, The Marvelous Neverland of Oz launches the next exciting chapter in the modern classic Oz-Wonderland series.

Get it today on Amazon!

 

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Alice had not led by too great a distance though. For when Ozma arrived in the throne room, it was clear that introductions had only recently begun.

“But we had tea! And you asked me your riddle.”

The little man who stood opposite the Oxford girl was possibly one of the oddest sorts Ozma had ever seen. He wore a large over-sized coat with pin-tails, while sporting a checkered pair of pants. Upon his head was a large chimney-styled hat with a bright green band around its base. From this band protruded a card which read, “In this style 10/6”. He had an oddly childish face, even though it was clear that he was older. At the moment though, the man’s face was rather blank as he looked intently at Alice.

“Who did you say you were again?”

“Alice,” said the girl. “We met in Wonderland. You and the Hare and the Dormouse were all having tea.”

“Do you have some?” asked the man, perking up.

“Some what?”

“Tea, of course,” said the Hatter. “I’ve been ever so long without a decent cup. That Hare never could make one. And the Dormouse – why, who ever heard of a Dormouse making tea? You must surely be mad for suggesting such a thing!”

“But I did not say anything like that,” insisted Alice. The girl pulled herself up and began again. “Hatter, do you truly not remember me? We were in the Queen’s court together. You were a witness against the Knave of Hearts.”

“I was?” The Hatter blinked. “How’d I do? I’ve always wondered how I would do like that. Witnesses are expected to remember, and I have never thought much about remembering. But if I had to, why, I think I might do just fine.”

“You tried to eat your teacup,” Alice laughed.

“Did not!”

“Did so!”

“Would not!”

“Would–”

“Alice, Dear,” interrupted Ozma. “Is this indeed the Hatter you knew before?”

Alice’s face turned a slight pink. “Oh yes, this is him. He has a confusing way about him I had quite forgotten, I am afraid.”

Ozma had moved across the room as the pair had bantered and now took a seat upon her throne. Jellia Jamb stood stoically behind her chair, and the Princess leaned back ever so slightly and whispered, “Are you alright? Wantowin tells me there was something amiss with your bonnet?”

The Princess could almost feel the warmth from her attendant’s blush. “He overthinks things, as he always does. The Hatter only wanted to know who made my bonnet, and he would not leave me be until I had taken it off her him to examine.”

Ozma glanced back at Jellia a moment, then looked forward again. “I see you have recovered it.”

“Oh, he was quite the gentleman once he had his way,” said the green girl.

“Sir Hatter,” called Ozma, leaning forward in her throne. “We had understood you were with the March Hare’s army. What brings you to the Emerald City?”

The Hatter started, looking up as if caught in the act of doing something wrong. His hands froze in position where they had been patting the outside of his jacket, apparently searching for something. “Did you say you had tea?” he asked after a couple of confused blinks.

“I do not believe anyone had offered you any,” said Ozma, inclining her head backwards towards Jellia. “Would you be a dear and please see about having some tea brought? I imagine we are not going to get much accomplished unless we do.”

Ozma did not have to watch to know that Jellia had likely begun to go in search of the request before the Princess had even stopped asking. The green girl was like that, always prepared before she should have been to answer anything that Ozma could wish for.

“While Jellia goes to have some tea brought, perhaps you can answer the question?”

“Question?” asked the Hatter. Then his eyes went wild and he clapped his hands merrily. “You want to riddle?”

“No, I–”

“There was one I used to wonder about,” interrupted the Hatter, “but I have long since forgotten it.”

“The one about the raven?” offered Alice.

The Hatter blinked. “What about a raven?”

“Why is a raven like a writing desk?” prompted the girl. “That was the one you asked of me.”

“Did I?” asked the Hatter. “Then what was the answer?”

“You said you had no idea,” said Alice.

“No, couldn’t have been me then,” scoffed the Hatter. “I would have given an answer if I had asked the riddle. And since I didn’t, I couldn’t have, now could I?”

“But you did–”

“Alice,” prompted Ozma again, to which Alice took a step back and folded her hands behind her.

“Now Hatter,” started the Princess again. “My question was, what brings you to the Emerald City?”

The Hatter squinted one eye and cocked his head to the side. “Not much of a riddle, but I can certainly give it a try.” The Hatter plopped down on the floor, and propped his head into his hands. “What would bring me to an emerald city. An emerald city. Bring me. Which would mean I was brought…”

Ozma was beginning to feel tense. “Hatter, this is not a riddle. It is a question.”

The Hatter looked up from his musings. “But are not all riddles questions?”

“They can be–”

“It only stands to reason that questions are riddles, then. You really should think these things through better before you speak. And now if you don’t mind…” Once more, the Hatter plopped his head into his hands. “Me. What me is in a city? They certainly do rhyme–”

At this moment, Jellia arrived with a small tin cart. Upon the cart, a delicate tea pot rested, surrounded on all sides by cups, six in total. “This was the set gifted to us by the China people of China Country,” offered the green girl by way of explanation. “We do not normally serve tea away from a table, so I fear it was all we had to place it in.”

The Hatter hopped up ecstatically. “I say, most excellently done!”

Without any presentation of care or concern for the delicate nature of the tea set, the oddly dressed man grabbed up a cup and fairly threw it onto a saucer, which somehow managed to balance itself in spite of the Hatter’s jostling about. No sooner had the cup come to rest upon the saucer than the Hatter’s hand had already thrust the teapot into the air and held it high as he poured a stream of scalding liquid out, again somehow miraculously balancing the cup and saucer in the perfect position to catch the tea. Ozma had barely a moment to raise her hand in protest before the Hatter had completed his task and was stirring avidly at the cup with a spoon he had procured from somewhere, all the while sipping at the liquid noisily.

“Hatter!” cried Ozma, feeling her own face flush. The Hatter stopped instantly, frozen in place with his lips plastered around the lip of his cup.

“Yersh?” the man gurgled through his tea.

“Will you answer my question?”

“Wha wersh yer querstshern?”

Alice reached over and lightly lowered the cup from the Hatter’s lips. “Why did you leave the March Hare to come here?”

The Hatter blinked. “Why, to be safe. That mad rabbit tied me up and left me for the corn to eat! I come here as I lum.”

Alice’s brow creased. “As you what?”

“As I lum,” repeated the Hatter. “I want to be safe, so I have come here as I lum.”

Alice looked to the Princess blankly, and Ozma could only return an equally confused look. “What do you mean by, ‘lum’? I fear I do not know that word.”

The Hatter looked rather sheepish, lowering his head, which somehow brought the forward brim of his hat down as well. “To be honest, I haven’t a clue. But if it’s what I need to do to be safe, then I can lum with the best!”

“Princess,” whispered Jellia over Ozma’s shoulder. “I think he means ‘asylum’.”

“Asylum?” asked the Princess aloud.

The Hatter’s head bobbed up and down, his hat lifting and falling repeatedly back upon his head. “Yes, as I lum!”

“Asylum is asking for safety,” tried to explain Ozma. “What you are saying makes little sense.”

The Hatter considered this for a moment. “Mmmm, no,” he said at last. “I don’t think you’ve got it right. In fact, I’m quite sure. And since I’m the one who’s asking, I must be right.”

“How do you presume that?” demanded Ozma.

“Because I’m the one who asked,” said the Hatter simply. Turning to Alice, he gave a conspiratorial wink. “Would you believe some say I am mad? Listen to this girl.”

“That girl,” said Alice, “is Princess Ozma. And if you want asylum, you should really be nicer.”

“Should I?” asked the Hatter.

Alice nodded. “You really should.”

“How would I do that? I am but a poor man, and all I have to offer is this hat.” At this, the Hatter placed his fingers delicately on the item’s brim.

“What does that have to do with anything?” asked Alice, giving a small shrug in Ozma’s direction.

“Why, you can’t be nice without buying someone’s favor, now can you?” Now the Hatter winked at Ozma. “Would you believe some say I am mad? But this girl–”

“Hatter,” interjected Ozma. “You say you are looking for asylum.” Not since the Queen of Hearts had Ozma felt her patience stretched so thin. “Why should we grant it to you? Why not go ask for this of your own Queen?”

“Well,” said the Hatter, beginning a count upon his fingers, “My own Queen took my crown and started calling himself my King and Queen, then tried to tie me up with corn.”

“I meant the Queen of Hearts,” offered Ozma.

The Hatter ticked off on his second finger. “My old Queen wants my head, I hear. Something to do with the March Hare taking the King’s crown.”

“You took the crown first,” said Alice.

“Did not!”

The Oxford girl was about to protest, but the Princess cut her short.

“Alice!” Ozma had to calm herself, offering an apologetic look to her Oxford guest. “Please, we will never finish if you let him goad you on.”

The Princess turned back to the Hatter, but her guest had once again acquired the teapot and was now dancing about as he streamed more liquid into his cup, sipping up its contents as fast as the tea could be poured. “Would you please stop that?” demanded the girl on the throne.

The Hatter’s head darted from one side to the other, yet never seemed to miss his rhythm of dancing with the tea. “I would certainly try, if only I knew what a ‘that’ was. Is it this girl over here? I know, she is just so tall and annoying. Why, she won’t even drink tea!” At this, the Hatter once more brought the teacup up to his mouth and began slurping loudly.

Ozma lowered her head and shook it from side to side. “Hatter, you may have asylum until such time as we decide what to do with you.” Looking up once more, she turned to her assistant. “Jellia, will you be so kind as to find quarters for the Hatter? It seems he will be staying awhile.”

Author Spotlight: Rise of the Darkwitch by Ziv Gray

Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! This week I have Ziv Gray with the first book in her series, Rise of the Darkwitch.

Born in Belfast on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, Ziv Gray writes for inclusion.

Passionate about issues of mental health and LGBTQA+ rights and representation, Ziv seeks to highlight social issues – but can’t resist the allure of sci-fi and fantasy.

Ziv lives in Northern Ireland with husband Barry, rescue Lurcher, and four guinea pigs.

 

Connect with the Author

Website
Blog
Amazon Author Page
Twitter
Facebook
Tumblr

Sign up for updates!

 

About the Book

 

Emmy’s a freak. They call her a Darkwitch. A demon.

All her life as an abused apprentice in Krodge’s Apothecary, she’s wondered: who am I? When the Masvams attack, Emmy loses her home, her mistress, her life – but the changes bring more knowledge about her heritage than she ever dreamed of knowing.

The Masvam crown lies at the tips of Prince Mantos’s fingers, but his brother wants it more. Bandim will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He’ll use dark magic. He’ll even kill.

There’s more to Emmy than the moons’ light shows.

Mantos faces a dark choice: kill his brother, or be killed.

Both must answer the question:

Who are you?

Get it today on Amazon!

 

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

 

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I’ve been writing since I was fourteen, and found it to be the best way to cope. I had difficult teenage years, dealing with mental health issues and being queer in a Catholic school. The easiest way to work through my problems was to write. The habit stuck, and sixteen years later, I’m a published author.

What genres do you write?

Young adult fantasy primarily, but also historical fiction.

What inspires you to write?

Helping young people to deal with their own issues. My aim is always to let young LGBTQIA people see themselves in fiction, not as victims, but as protagonists with epic storylines.

How often do you write?

Every day, without fail. Sometimes it’s only a few hundred words, but I do write every day.

How long does it take you to write a novel?

Six months from start to final edit, usually.

What authors and books have most influenced you?

Cliché as it is now, the Harry Potter series. Also David Eddings’s Belgariad and Malloreon books. More recently, George R.R. Martin.

What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?

Self-publicising. Self-publishing is essentially easy. You follow the steps and boom, your book it out there. Getting people to actually buy it is the difficult bit, and I’m not very good at getting people to do that.

What made you decide to self-publish?

I decided to be brave and just go for it! It hasn’t been easy and I’m still learning a lot. Essentially, I was fed up of waiting to be found.

What fears do you have about writing and being an indie author? How do you cope with your fears?

I fear I’ll languish in the bottom of the charts until the end of times… Or that I’ll waste a huge chunk of money on advertising that does not thing for me.

What is your writing process?

Bum on seat, earphones on, 25 minute timer set–and go! Repeat until exhausted.

What are you working on now?

The sequel to Rise of the Darkwitch.

What inspired your current work?

It’s turning out to be a YA inspired by Game of Thrones and Harry Potter. Perhaps a strange combination, but there’s magic and murder. Just not as much as in A Song of Ice and Fire.

What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?

I suppose it was having the courage to persevere and get it done. It’s so hard when you have no idea what the outcome will be. There’s nothing worse than seeing ‘zero sales.’

How do you market/promote your work? Have you found something that works really well for you?

I find this to be the most challenging part of the indie publishing process. I’m not good at self-propelled. I’ve found that playing around with my price point has worked to stimulate sales. Also, offering the novel free on KDP for a week was helpful, although I don’t know if I’ll be re-enrolling for another 3 month term.

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