Tag Archives: book extras

Heir of Tanaris Cover Reveal!

With Heir of Tanaris in the later editing stages and (hopefully) still on track for release at the end of September, it’s time to reveal the cover. I have been so excited to show this off!
And here’s the full spread for the paperback:
As usual, Mominur Rahman did an amazing job with bringing my characters to life. And the magical tree is pretty cool, too. That was the first thing my husband said when I showed this to him – “Cool tree!”

Here’s the short blurb, in case you haven’t seen it yet: “When Davian, a badly-injured runaway slave from a corrupted magical Source, is brought to Isamina’s healing Source, Isamina must find the courage to heal his damaged spirit, while Davian must defeat the evil within himself to become the great man he was meant to be and win the love he yearns for.”

Some fun facts about this cover:

Davian’s gloves weren’t in the original character description. But I liked them so much I added them into the book, and they became an important detail in the story.

Also, Kaniev (from Source-Breaker) and Davian are from the same region of Tehovir, the northeastern fiords, (and, I don’t know, Kaniev might even be Davian’s great-great-grandfather or something) so I gave Mominur the same reference photos to work from, featuring the same model. Here are some closeups; you can see the resemblance between the two characters, but also how the artist captured their different personalities.

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Davian from Heir of Tanaris
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Kaniev from Source-Breaker
Finally, here’s some of my mood music for the book, from the album Haven by Kamelot. The whole album is really awesome, and pretty much makes up most of the playlist for the book.

My Therapy (this is how Davian sees Isamina):

Under Grey Skies (the love song for Davian and Isamina):
Watch for Heir of Tanaris coming at the end of September (knock on wood). To make sure you don’t miss out on the release and the special low introductory price, sign up for my email newsletter.
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Character Interview: Ardavos

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Here’s an interview with Ardavos, the antagonist (it’s really kind of hard to think of him as a villain) from Source-Breaker:

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
I am Lord Ardavos, Master of Source Vadaerna and seeker after knowledge. You may simply call me Lord Ardavos, or “my lord.”

2. How old are you?
Age has no relevance to genius. However, I do worry that I don’t have enough decades of life left in which to complete my work.

Well, if you insist, I am 46 years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
I have not had contact with them since I left home in my youth to begin my training as a healer, but my parents supported my ambitions and I believe they would be proud of what I have accomplished in my life.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
*turns red* My lady Sivael is the first woman I ever kissed. Fifteen years later, she is still with me, so that must mean we both found it pleasing.

5. What is your occupation?
As I said, I am a seeker after knowledge. By training I am a sorcerer; my original training was in the field of healing. Since then, I have turned my attention to finding improved ways to store and use Source-power. One of the great limitations on the use of magic is that only one kind of Source-power can be used at a time, and the magic practitioner must either be at a Source in order to draw on its power or carry a limited amount of power with him, either within himself or in a special, magically-prepared container. I seek to take the practice of magic far beyond what is possible under current restrictions and practices.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
I am dedicated to my work, to improving the practice of magic for the benefit of mankind. I am talented in developing theorems and making precise calculations in order to predict the results of the experiments I will carry out. And I am methodical and orderly in my work.

I have always had difficulty in developing relationships with people. Very few people understand me, though some have suggested that it is I who does not understand them. However, this is an insignificant thing; I have surrounded myself with people who are grateful and loyal to me, and I feel no need for any other company.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
*turns red again* I had never given any thought to such a thing – it always seemed unimportant compared to my work – until I met my lady Sivael. After I healed her of life-threatening burns, and you can see that she has not so much as a scar from her injuries, I had a sense that she would be the one person who would understand and appreciate both my work and myself. I had a sense that… this is very hard for me to put into words, but I had a sense that if I accomplished nothing else of note, saving her life and healing her injuries would make all my work and sacrifices worthwhile. I knew that even if I never had anyone else I could trust, who could understand me, if I had her, it would be enough.

Sivael has no magical ability, but she is well-educated and does a superb job of keeping the records of my work. And she is unfailingly kind and patient with me. Even when I become excessively absorbed in my work and short-tempered, she reminds me that my work is not the only thing of value in my life.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
Studying magic. Experimenting with different ways of using Source-power. Learning and expanding our knowledge of what is possible.

9. What is your greatest fear?
That I will not live long enough to be able to make the results of my studies widely known, or that something else will happen to cut my work short.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
My magical abilities, and my lady Sivael.


Billionaires, Bad Boys, and Bondage, Part 5: Kaniev

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A few years ago, I did a series of blog posts called “Billionaires, Bad Boys, and Bondage,” comparing the heroes of my books to those popular romance tropes. This ended up being a pretty popular series, although a lot of the views came through the search term “bondage boys.” Somehow, I have the feeling that a tongue-in-cheek look at how my fantasy heroes stack up against the romance tropes wasn’t what those people were looking for and they probably went away disappointed. The popular trends in romance have moved on to include such things as mixed martial arts, rock stars, and motorcycle clubs, but billionaire bad boys who are into bondage seems to be a classic, and anyway I’m having too much fun with this concept, so I decided to update the series with a look at the hero of my latest book.

So here’s Kaniev, the Source repairman from Source-Breaker, and how he stacks up on the Billionaires, Bad Boys, and Bondage index. (You can follow the links back to the older posts for more detailed explanations.)

Billionaire factor: Kaniev, like many skilled tradesmen who are in high demand, has made a pretty good living for many years at his trade. He’s good at what he does, not to mention he’s the only one in the world who can do it, so he can command pretty much whatever rates he wants for his work, and he doesn’t come cheap. As he says to one client who tries to short him in their bargaining, “You have no idea how much my services cost, do you?” As is the custom in certain societies and periods of history, he converts his money into more practical and portable items, namely, expensive black leather clothing and lots of silver jewelry. It serves as a calling card, showing that previous clients have valued his work enough to pay him generously. And he knows it looks good on him 😀

Unfortunately, the last six months, he’s run into a string of bad luck in the form of a number of Sources with problems he just isn’t able to fix. Whether it’s something weird going on that he can’t figure out or his skills are starting to slip, the results are the same: if he doesn’t fix the Source, he doesn’t get paid. He hasn’t been paid in six months and has had to start selling off some of his jewelry. If things don’t turn around soon, he’s going to be in a tight financial bind.

Billionaire rating: 3

Bad Boys – Inner Torment factor: Kaniev is a pretty easygoing, well-adjusted guy. He had a happy childhood back home in the fiords, although his uncontrolled talent for magic got him into trouble a number of times. When the previous Source-Fixer found him and wanted to take him on as his apprentice, Kaniev, who was not looking forward to becoming a fisherman like all the men in his family for generations (boring), and his parents happily agreed. He loves his work, and he loves traveling and meeting new people. Lately, though, he’s starting to get frustrated with his failures and just wants to go home and (oh, the irony) take up fishing. About now, boring would be good.

Inner Torment rating: 2

Bad Boys – Jackassery factor: Again, Kaniev is a pretty mellow, easy-going guy. He likes people and generally gets along pretty well with them. He especially likes women, all kinds of women, and he’s a terrible flirt. He knows he looks good, especially for his age, and he never misses a chance to show off. (Fransisa’s over to the side, rolling her eyes.) But it’s all in good fun, and he doesn’t mean for anyone to get hurt, though every once in a while, someone takes him more seriously than he wants to be taken and ends up disappointed. He does feel bad about that, but can’t seem to restrain that flirtatious urge.

Jackassery Index: 4

Bondage: Yes, Kaniev likes the ladies. And the ladies like him, mostly (more eye rolls from Fransisa). He isn’t looking for anything permanent, just a good time, and he certainly doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Despite the black leather, he has no desire to dominate (or be dominated); while he enjoys all kinds of women, he especially likes being with a woman who can keep up with him as his equal. Not that he’s averse to a little fun and games, but that’s all it is, fun and games.

Bondage rating: 0

So, out of a possible 40 points, Kaniev comes in at 9. So it’s a good thing he didn’t try out for any hot tormented bilionaire romances but landed in my quirky fantasy novel instead. I think Fransisa’s glad (even though she’s stil over there rolling her eyes). Though with the black leather, he might fit right in in a motorcycle club story. (He likes this idea!)


Character Interview: Brin Coltor

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The wedding of the century (at least until our younger son gets married) is over, and it was lovely, and now I’m back hard at work on the final edits of To the Gap. In the meantime, here’s an interview with Brin Coltor, the wealthy rancher from The Rancher’s Daughter. Coltor is notable in being one of the few secondary characters who appears again later in the series. If you have other questions for him, feel free to ask them in the comments. (Same goes for all my other character interviews!)

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?

The name I’ve chosen to be known by is Brin Coltor.

2. How old are you?
I am 37 years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
My family lives in Granadaia. I’ve been out of touch with them for many years. Our values, the things we want out of life, are not the same. I’ve also been estranged from my wife for many years. She was not an easy person to live with. I’m not sure why I’m still married to her; I really ought to man up and resolve the matter one of these days. I think the only reason she hasn’t divorced me by now is because of my family’s money, and because she doesn’t have specific evidence of grounds for divorce. But I’d like my freedom, and I’m sure she would, too.

I do have a young daughter here in the Wildings, but the union that produced her was… unconventional. I don’t want her to be the target of misunderstandings and prejudice, so I keep her existence a secret. Don’t know how long that can last, though.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
Ah. I believe it was a young lady at my thirteenth birthday party. I’d rather not reveal her name, but she was charming. It’s a fond memory.

5. What is your occupation?
I own and operate the BC Crown Ranch in the Bentwood Valley. It’s one of the largest ranches in the Wildings, if not *the* largest.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
I’m a good businessman. I deal fairly and generously with my workers and the people in my town. And I love my daughter dearly.

I do have a short temper, and I’m not particularly good at managing my personal life.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
I want a strong, intelligent woman who can stand beside me as an equal partner in business and in life without trying to henpeck me. I do know a woman who would be my ideal partner, but… Well, I’m afraid I burned that bridge years ago. I couldn’t offer her what she wanted, a respectable marriage, and now, well, I’m afraid it’s too late.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
I love my work, both managing the business affairs of my ranch and being in the outdoors, working hands-on with the stock. The Bentwood Valley is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I also, well, I do have a bit of a reputation as a skirt-lifter, and I’m afraid it’s well-earned.

9. What is your greatest fear?
My daughter coming to harm.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
My daughter and my ranch.


Friday 5: Snippets from To the Gap

DoW4-thumbnailAlliterative weekday themes seem to be the thing now, so in the constant quest for blog post ideas, I came up with the idea of the Friday Five. Five what? Well, anything. Today, here are five snippets from To the Gap, book 4 of Daughter of the Wildings, currently under revision and slated for release in, oh, I’m gonna say July. (Note: this is not the final polished, edited, proofread version.)

1. Silas is signing himself and Lainie up to work on the cattle drive, and the boss, Landstrom, recognizes Lainie’s name:

“Well, well, well. I’d heard tell she’d been carried off by some gods-damned wizard and forced to become a wizard herself. Glad to see that’s not true and that she landed herself a fine strapping husband instead.”

A strange reason for Landstrom to not be suspicious of him, but convenient. Though Silas did have to wonder what sort of mental image Landstrom had of mages, if being a fine physical specimen — if he did say so himself — disqualified a man from being a wizard. “Well, you know how it is with rumors.”

2. Silas and Lainie getting their supplies as the drive is getting ready to leave:

Silas thanked Landstrom, and they headed off to the temporary booths that sellers of the various supplies had set up to cater to the gathering drive hands and other workers.

“Bullets?” Silas asked as Lainie headed for a booth boasting Finest Ammunition, No Duds. “You can’t sell the cattle for much if you’ve shot them, can you?”

Lainie grinned. After being Silas’s student in magic for so long, it was kind of a nice turn of the tables to be the one teaching him. “You don’t shoot the cows. You shoot the people who are trying to steal them.”

3. Lainie, who is working as an assistant cook, has an awkward conversation with her boss, Mrs. Bington, while seasoning the beans for that day’s supper:

“I still say you’re ruining it,” Mrs. Bington grumbled.

“It comes out just right when you do it like this, not too spicy at all.”

“It’s bad for the digestion.”

“If anyone complains, I promise I’ll stop.” She gave Mrs. Bington her friendliest smile, hoping to soothe her ruffled feelings.

“Hmpf. Well, it’s not for want of trying, I’ll warrant.”

“People complaining?”

“You not being pregnant yet.”

4. A special moment:

“Silas?” she murmured.

“Hmm?”

“What was your first time?”

He shifted to raise himself over her and looked down at her. His hair had come out of the leather thong he used to tie it back, and now it fell around his face. She pushed it back behind his ear. “What do you want to know a thing like that for, darlin’?” he asked.

“I was just wondering… It’s something you know about me that I don’t know about you, and that don’t seem fair.”

He laughed a little. “All right.” The laughter faded, replaced by a serious look. “But first I want you to understand something.”

“What?”

“I love you. I don’t think about anyone else, or want anyone else. It’s you I want, and you I think about. So I don’t want you worrying that maybe I’m remembering someone else and comparing you to her or wishing you were her.”

“I’m not. At least, I don’t think so.” He had pretty much settled her mind on that score months ago.

“All right, then.” He was silent a moment, then said, “It’s stupid.”

“I’m sure it isn’t.”

“It is.”

“Tell me, and I’ll decide if it’s stupid.”

5. Lainie tries to tell Silas she’s concerned that his fear for her safety is beginning to cloud his judgment:

“I want you safe too. If something happened to you, I don’t know what I would do. I’ll do anything to protect you — except ask you to be less than the man you are. So don’t you make yourself into less than the man you are for my sake.”


Couple Interview: Silas and Lainie

With three books out in the Daughter of the Wildings series, I figure it’s time for a couple interview with Silas and Lainie. This is about book 3-ish, and virtually spoiler-free (except that they’re together, which I don’t consider a spoiler because the books are partly romance and because if you know any of my work, you know the hero and heroine always end up together):

Silas and Lainie 1 - Mominur Rahman1. How did you meet?

Silas: I had just arrived in Bitterbush Springs and found myself in the middle of a shootout. During the shootout I sensed a burst of magic close by. At the time, I was on the hunt for the source of some magical power I’d been sensing, so when the gunfight was over I went looking for the person the magic had come from.

Lainie: When the shooting started, I got scared and hid behind a barrel, and put up a magical shield. My brother Blake got killed in a shootout just a few months before, so it really scares me when the bullets start flying. When the shootout was over, Silas came over to where I was and asked me if I was okay, and escorted me on my errands in town in case there was any more trouble.

2. What was the first thing you noticed about the other person?
S:
The first thing I noticed about Lainie, of course, was her power. Bright and strong and clean, with a feel or flavor to it that was different from the Granadaian power I was familiar with. When I first saw her, hunkered down behind that barrel, I took her for a boy, because of her slim build and the men’s clothes she was wearing. As soon as I got a closer look at her pretty face and her figure, though, it was clear she was all woman.

L: He was tall, and so handsome, and looked just a little bit dangerous, but he was so kind and polite to me.

3. Did you know when you met that you would end up together?
S:
No idea at all. I was just passing through on the hunt for a renegade mage. Since she was an untrained mage, my legal duty was to either send her back to Granadaia for training or Strip her of her power. I knew that neither of those options would endear me to her. And anyhow, marriages between mages have to be approved by the Mage Council, and I knew that a Wildings-born mage from a mostly Plain family would not be considered an appropriate match for me.

L: I had no idea, either. I was smitten with him almost right away, but he was just passing through town on business of his own; there was no reason for him to hang around and no reason why he should be especially interested in me.

4. What do you like best about the other person?
S:
Well, she’s smart, strong, brave, pretty, an amazing cook, an even more amazing lover —

L: (blushing) Silas!

S: But more than any of that, she’s just.. her. She’s Lainie. That’s what I like best about her.

L:
(still blushing) Silas is all those things – except handsome, not pretty, and not that much of a cook except for critter on a stick, as he calls it. But he’s so kind to me, and so patient while he teaches me to use my power, and he sacrificed a lot to keep me safe. And also, I’m not sure how to say this, but he lives, you know what I mean? I mean, he’ll think about things before he acts — usually — and see what the lay of the land is, but when he’s ready he jumps right in and does it. He doesn’t spend his life hemming and hawing off to the side. But yeah, mostly, he’s him. And that’s what I like about him.

5. What is something you enjoy doing together? (Besides the obvious!)
S:
What else is there?

L:
(blushing even harder) Silas, really!

S:
We like doing pretty much everything together. Training in magic, traveling, hunting – we’ve taken a few jobs to track down missing family members and the like, shooting practice, bathing —

L:
Oh gods, I’m so embarrassed.

S:
Sorry, darlin’. *smooch*

L:
But you get the idea. We’re a team. We’re partners. I can’t think of anything we don’t like to do together. Even lately, when money’s been tight and we have to be on the lookout for other mages who might know about us and the laws we’ve broken and such, we’d rather be in it together than out of trouble and not together. You know what I mean?

6. How has the other person changed you?
S:
Before I met Lainie, I was already committed to protecting the Plain settlers of the Wildings. But since I met her, it’s become much more personal. Lainie isn’t Plain, of course, but her Pa is, and the people she grew up among, and she’s definitely of the Wildings, not of Granadaia. On the other hand, since the people in her own hometown tried to hang her for being a mage, I’m a little less patient with the Plain settlers’ hatred of mages. I don’t know if that’s affected my commitment to protecting them, but I see them less as the victims in the struggle between mages and Plains than I used to. Mages have done a lot of wicked things, but Plains aren’t entirely innocent, either.

The other way she’s changed me is that I used to not be afraid of much of anything. But now the thought of her being hurt or killed or captured scares me to death. I wouldn’t want to live in a world without her.

L: Silas showed me that not all mages are inhuman monsters with no heart and no soul, which is what I’d always been taught, and he helped me to accept my own power and be proud of who and what I am. He’s teaching me to use my power to help people, not hurt them. My life has changed a lot, living on the run with him, on the wrong side of the mages’ law, instead of still being at home, working on the ranch and marrying the man my Pa meant for me to marry. But I don’t regret any of it.

Silas and Lainie - Mominur Rahman7. What are the biggest differences between you? How important are these differences?

L: Well, he’s from an elite family of Island mages, and I was born to Plain parents who don’t have a lot — I mean, for folks in the Wildings, my Pa does all right with his ranch, but he worked his way up from nothing and compared to a rich mage family in Granadaia, I guess we’re still pretty poor. And Silas is thirteen years older than me and knows way more than me about a lot of things.

S: None of that seems very important, though. The biggest difference that matters is that she always wins at Dragon’s Threes and I never do. She had to ban me from playing for money. Oh, and she can control powers found in the Wildings that I can’t. That doesn’t bother me; I think it’s mighty impressive, and it’s come in handy a time or two.

8. What do the two of you have in common?
S:
Magic. A love for the Wildings, for the beautiful country out here and the freedom. A commitment to protecting Plain folks from mages who want to take away their rights and freedoms. A hope that one day, mages and Plain folk can live peacefully side-by-side in the Wildings. And our love for each other.

L: That pretty much covers it. Well, and we both like horses, and think the same things are funny.

9. What are the greatest challenges you have faced in your relationship?
S:
Well, besides the fact that our marriage is illegal under Granadaian mage law, and I also broke the law by not making her go to school in Granadaia or Stripping her, and she can do a few things with magic that are supposed to be impossible and just in case they aren’t they’re also illegal, and we’ve got renegade mages and Plain folks trying to kill us and mage hunters hunting us, and we’ve spent a good amount of time homeless and broke… nothing, really.

L: I’ve almost lost him a few times, and I’ve almost died a time or two. It’s scary, knowing how much danger we’re in, but it also makes us appreciate each other more. No matter how bad things are, we’re just glad to be together. And there was a time when I was afraid he didn’t really want to be with me, he just got himself stuck with me because my Pa made him marry me. But he’s showed me pretty well that isn’t true and he does want to be with me.

10. What does your family think of your partner, and what do you think of your partner’s family?
S:
My family has not met Lainie, and likely never will, since I’ve pretty much cut myself off from all relations with them. I doubt they would approve of her, a Wildings girl born of Plain parents; her power came from her grandmother, the illegitimate daughter of a married mage and a Plain servant. As for her family, her Pa is a good man. I have a lot of respect for him, and I mean to keep the promise I made him to take good care of his daughter. Her mother and brother are both dead, but I’m sure I would have liked them as well.

L: My Pa didn’t like Silas at first, because he’s a mage. But after he rescued me from Carden and saved my life and put himself on the wrong side of the mages’ law to do what was best for me, I think Pa started to respect him. If they had time to get to know each other better, I think they’d get on pretty well. Silas’s family… I know he don’t think much of them, and from what he’s told me, they sound like the kind of mages I was taught to hate and be afraid of. But if they raised a son like him, I have to think they can’t be all bad.

11. What role does magic play in your relationship?
L:
Magic’s what brought us together. Mages is what we are.

S: I would love her even if she wasn’t a mage —

L: And I would love him if he wasn’t a mage, too.

S:
But working together so closely, and both of us knowing what it’s like to have power and use it, I think that brings us closer together than we would be, otherwise.

12. What are your plans for the future?
S:
Keep our freedom and stay alive.

L: Well, that, and it would be nice if we could find a place to settle down and live in peace, get some land of our own, raise some cattle. And if we could get the fertility block removed from Silas — the Mage Council puts it on all mage children, and it can’t be removed until the Mage Council approves their marriage — if we could find a way to get the block removed and have some kids together, I’d really like that. I’ve always wanted to have children. But even if we can’t, maybe we can find an orphan to adopt — there aren’t many, folks in the Wildings take care of their own, and if a child loses their parents, their other kin or friends and neighbors will step in and care for them. But if we could find one, we could have a family that way.

S: I’d like that, too, but first we have to stay out of the Mage Council’s hands and not get ourselves hanged by any Plain folks.

13. “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” How is this true for the two of you?
L:
Working together, we’ve helped some people, and stopped some powerful and dangerous renegade mages. We’ve done some good.

S: Working together, teaching each other, loving each other, we make each other stronger. Like Lainie said, we’re a team. We’re partners. And together, we can do great things.


Character Interview: Orl Fazar

PictureHere’s an interview with Orl Fazar, the drifter and renegade mage from Bad Hunting (Daughter of the Wildings Book 2):

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?
I’m known as Orl Fazar. Maybe it bears a resemblance to my real name, maybe it doesn’t.

2. How old are you?
I’m 33 years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
They’re mages. More powerful than some, maybe not as powerful as others. You might have heard of them. Or maybe not. My parents had ambitions for me, which I like to think I’m carrying out in my own way.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?
It’s been so long, and there’s been so many women since then, I don’t remember. It was probably a girl at school, but I was taken out of school when I was twelve or so, so I was pretty young.

5. What is your occupation?
I’m just a simple, peace-loving mage, looking to make a better life for myself out in the Wildings away from the Mage Council. They call me a rogue mage, but just because I don’t care for authority doesn’t make me a renegade.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
Like I said, I’m just a simple mage, minding my own business, don’t mean harm to no one. I’m pretty smart; you’ve got to be, living by your wits out here in the Wildings. I’ve beat some of the best gamblers in the Wildings at Dragon’s Threes, using some, let’s say, little tricks of my own. And no filthy blueskin’s been able to get the better of me yet.

My worst qualities? Well, I reckon I’ve got my weaknesses like any man, but I don’t think they do any harm.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?
I’m on the lookout for a nice Wildings gal with mage power. Keep the gift in the family, so to speak. I do like a woman who’s feisty. The harder they fight, the better I like it.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?
Well, heh heh, see my answer to your last question. Other than that, I just enjoy being a peaceful fellow, not bothering anyone and not having anyone bother me.

9. What is your greatest fear?
I don’t really think I’ve got anything to be afraid of, except getting hauled before the Mage Council. I’ll give up everything else before I let some damned hunter take me in.

10. What is your most treasured possession?
My freedom and my power. Material possessions just don’t mean much to a fellow like me, so long as I have those other things.


Character Interview: Arbrey Carden

PictureTime for another character interview! Here’s Arbrey Carden, the man of mystery from Beneath the Canyons, Book 1 of Daughter of the Wildings. I don’t have a picture of Carden to display, so here’s his first appearance in the book, as a bit of introduction:


All at once the shooting stopped. “What’s all this, boys?” a deep, resonant voice called out from nearby.

Now Silas raised his head. Three men lay sprawled in the street. One was writhing in pain, the other two were still. The combatants who were still standing had all lowered their guns and were looking at the Rusty Widow. Silas turned his head to follow their gaze. A tall man with a hearty build, handsome, pale face, and luxuriant black mustache was standing in front of the saloon. He wore a finely-fashioned black suit and black flat-brimmed hat, and had a lace-and-ruffle-bedecked house lady clinging to each arm.

Silas stood up, making sure his hat was still in place, and brushed dust from his long brown coat. He kept close to the wall, in the shadow of the overhang, curious about this man who had the power to stop a gunfight just by appearing.

“Dinsin an’ Winnard threatened me, Mr. Carden, sir,” Gobby said. “Me an’ the fellas was just defending ourselves.”

“Go back inside, my dears,” the black-suited man said to the house ladies. “No need to worry yourselves.” The ladies retreated into the saloon, and Carden stepped down from the wooden walkway into the street. He stopped in front of Gobby, shaking his head. “Don’t tell me you went into the Bootjack again, Gobby,” he said. “You know damn well that’s rancher territory. You’re stupid enough to keep going in there, you deserve whatever you get.” Though the words were harsh, the deep voice was genial. The crispness of a Granadaian accent underlaid his informal Wildings speech.

And now here’s Carden to tell us a little about himself:

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?

My name is Arbrey Carden. It’s a highly respected name among those who are privy to such knowledge.

2. How old are you?

I am 34, in the very prime of my life. I enjoy both the wisdom, experience, and sophistication of years, and the good looks and vigor of youth.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?

They’re quite prominent, of course, and quite respected among certain exclusive circles. I’m sure you probably wouldn’t have heard of them.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?

I believe it was Lorinda… Something. Her family had a townhouse and a seaside estate next to ours while I was growing up. She’s long been married to someone else, but she did give me quite the taste for feminine companionship.

5. What is your occupation?

At present I am involved in overseeing the acquisition of a certain ore of unusual and interesting properties. I’m sure you’ll understand if I say that my employers require the greatest discretion and I am not presently at liberty to reveal their identities.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?

Among other talents, I am a bold and savvy businessman, skilled in the management of money and labor. The fruits of my labors are of great benefit to whatever locale I’m presently working in. I’m also quite good at persuading people to do things that are in their best interests though they may not realize it at the time.My worst qualities, well *fake self-deprecating laughter* I’m afraid I’m an adamantly confirmed bachelor. Although I suppose it’s arguable as to whether that’s bad or good.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?

I like a woman who is elegant in appearance and manners and can pass as well-bred (though she might not be in reality), but who is also free of silly, over-nice inhibitions in matters of pleasure.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?

Well, aside from keeping company with the sort of women I described above, I enjoy making money, whether it’s through an exciting new business venture or a well-played game of Dragon’s Threes.

9. What is your greatest fear?

What could someone in my position, with my abilities and resources, possibly have to be afraid of?

10. What is your most treasured possession?

I value having the money, freedom, and position to make my way in the world independently, as well as belonging to that elevated circle of people who have the means and intelligence to enjoy the more refined and sophisticated pleasures of life.Beneath the Canyons is available in ebook and paperback at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | OmniLit | Smashwords | CreateSpace | DriveThruFiction

Read the first chapter here.


Meet My Character: Lainie Banfrey

Welcome to the Speculative Fiction Showcase Meet My Character blog hop! Last week’s stop was at Aurora Springer’s site. Aurora Springer is a scientist morphing into a novelist. Whimsical stories in weird worlds. Science fiction and fantasy, love and war with a spice of humor. Aliens and outer space! Check out her blog to meet her alien character Sa Kamizan Veedak.
Lainie Banfrey

Mominur Rahman illuminatedimages.co.uk

Last time I did a Meet My Character blog hop (that one was with one of my Goodreads groups), we got to know Silas Vendine, hero of Daughter of the Wildings. This time it’s leading lady Lainie Banfrey’s turn.

1) What is the name of your character? Is he or she fictional or a historic person?

Her name is Lainie Banfrey. She’s fictional (but don’t tell her that!).2) When and where is the story set?
The story is set in the Wildings, a fantasy world inspired by the American West of the 1880s. Non-magical people have fled from persecution in the mage-ruled civilized land of Granadaia to settle in the wide-open Wildings.3) What should we know about him or her?
Lainie is the 19-year-old daughter of a moderately prosperous (though far from wealthy) cattle rancher in Bitterbush Springs. It’s just her and her father; her mother died when Lainie was 6 years old, and her older brother was killed in a shootout between feuding miners and ranch men. She’s a hard worker, tending to both ranch chores and housekeeping, and she’s an excellent cook. She’s proud of her full 6-year education at the Bitterbush Springs Town School, and she loves to read all the penny-thriller novels she can get her hands on.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his or her life?
Lainie was born in the Wildings to Plain (non-magical) parents, but she inherited magical power from a grandmother who was a mage. Mages are hated and feared by the Plain settlers, so Lainie has to hide her power. She’s torn over her power: she wants to be able to use it to do good, but she’s been taught all her life that wizards are monsters with no heart and no soul.

When a dangerous renegade mage comes to Bitterbush Springs and stirs up a feud, Lainie meets Silas Vendine, a bounty hunter on the renegade’s trail. To her, he seems like the man of her dreams, even though he’s a mage. Lainie’s power is discovered by Silas, who is legally required to either Strip her of her power, which would leave her a helpless, mindless shell, or to take her to Granadaia to be trained in magic, a process that would probably destroy the young woman she is and turn her into the monster she’s afraid of becoming. Lainie refuses to go along with either option, and Silas can’t bring himself to force her.

Lainie teams up with Silas to stop the renegade mage. The renegade discovers her power, and then the whole town finds out about it, with the result that her whole life is uprooted and sent in a direction she never imagined.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?
She wants to learn to use her power while remaining herself and not becoming a monster like she’s always been taught mages are, and to use her power to protect the peace and freedom of the people of the Wildings. At the same time, she wants to convince the settlers that not all mages are evil, and eventually make it so that mages and Plain folk can live together peacefully.

6) What is the title of the book(s), and where can find out more?
The series is Daughter of the Wildings (click to go to the series page for book extras, buy links, and more information).
Book 1: Beneath the Canyons (now available)
Book 2: Bad Hunting (now available)
Book 3: The Rancher’s Daughter (coming soon)
Book 4: To the Gap
Book 5: City of Mages
Book 6: For the Wildings

7) When was the book published?
Beneath the Canyons was published November 2014, and Bad Hunting was published just a few days ago, Feb. 20. Anticipated release for The Rancher’s Daughter is May 2015.

The next stop on the Meet My Character blog hop is yet to be determined; I’ll update when that’s set up.


Character Interview: Lainie Banfrey

Lainie Banfrey teaser

Meet Lainie Banfrey from Beneath the Canyons (Daughter of the Wildings Book 1):

1. What is your full name? Is there anything significant about your name?

My name’s Lainie Banfrey. There’s nothing significant about it; it’s just a plain old name. But it’s my name, and I like it.

2. How old are you?

I’m 19 years old.

3. Tell us about your family. What do you like and not like about them?
It’s just me and my Pa, Burrett. He owns a big ranch in the Bitterbush Valley. My mama, Vera, died of a fever when I was six, and my older brother Blake got killed in a shootout just a few months ago. It didn’t have nothin’ to do with him, he was just minding his own business and some miners just started shooting things up, pissed off at a ranch hand who said something they didn’t like. I really miss both of them a lot. Blake and I were real close, and it’s hard to believe he’s gone.

I love my Pa and we get along pretty well, running the ranch together, but we don’t agree on everything. He’s real picky about what men I’m allowed to talk to – he’s got his own idea about who I should marry, and that’s just how it’s going to be. And he don’t want me using my magic power. Most Plain folks hate wizards, and he’s no exception, but with him it’s personal, you know? But he won’t tell me why he hates them so much. And I want to be able to use my magic, but I know it’s wrong, and I don’t want to be someone my Pa will hate. So it makes me feel all torn up inside sometimes.

I’ve also got my mare, Mala, and two cattlehounds, Bunky and Snoozer, and then there’s Rat, he’s a fat old orange-striped tabby tom with one ear. The other ear got chewed off by a rat, his first big catch when he was about five ninedays old. We’ve got a whole bunch of barn cats, but Rat’s the one who decided I’d be his special person.

4. Who was your first kiss, and what did you think of it?

I’ve never kissed anyone. My Pa is really protective and don’t like me being alone with a man, and I think every man in the Valley knows if they try anything my Pa’ll come after them with a shotgun.

5. What is your occupation?
I’ve been working on our family’s ranch almost since I could walk. I take care of the house and the cooking and cleaning, and also do a lot of the ranch work, mend fences, herd cattle, stuff like that.

6. What are your best and worst qualities?
I’m a hard worker, and I always try to do the very best I can at whatever I do. I’m a good cook, and everyone says I ride herd on the cattle as good as any man. I also love my Pa and do my best to honor him and be a dutiful, obedient daughter, even when we don’t agree on things.

I guess I’m kind of stubborn sometimes, and sometimes I want to see things the way I want them to be instead of the way they really are. And sometimes I’m not very honest with my Pa. I don’t lie to him outright, but sometimes I don’t tell him everything because I also don’t like arguing with him.

I don’t know if my magic power’s a bad quality. I don’t think it should be, but everyone says magic is wicked and evil, and I don’t know, maybe it would make me bad whether I want it to or not.

7. What quality do you value most in a romantic partner?

I want a man who’s honest and a hard worker and who treats me good and with respect. If he wants to protect me, that’s good, but I don’t want to be treated like I’m stupid or fragile. It would be nice if he’s nice-looking, though I’m not real picky about that, and if he’s smart and fun to be with and talk to.

And… I guess this is silly, but I’d like a man who makes me feel all tingly and glowy inside, a man like the heroes in the penny-thriller novels. None of the men around here are like that, especially the man my Pa has his eye on for me. He’s a good man, just not very romantic and exciting. So I guess all that’s okay for stories, but real life don’t work that way.

8. What is your favorite thing to do?

I love riding my horse Mala out on the range, and I like to cook, and read the penny-thrillers. Most of all, I like playing Dragon’s Threes. I always win, too. 😀 Men who’ve never played with me before can’t believe it when they get beat by a girl!

9. What is your greatest fear?

I’m afraid that because I’ve got magic power, that means I’ll turn into a monster with no heart and no soul, like everyone says wizards are. I don’t feel like a heartless monster, and I don’t want to do no one any harm, but maybe using magic just makes you that way whether you want to be or not.

10. What is your most treasured possession?

My horse Mala, and my certificate from the Bitterbush Springs town school – I went for the whole six years, starting when I was 9, and passed all the examinations – and the bird-in-a-cage quilt my mama made for me before she died.

Beneath the Canyons is available at Amazon.