Tag Archives: magic

Bound (Bound Trilogy Book One) FREE for a limited time!

I know, I know. Too much promotion here these days, right?

I promise I’ll be back with something else when I have anything interesting to share with you. Right now I’m buckling down, trying to avoid wasting time on social media, and working on getting the first three books I’ll be releasing under my pen name ready for publication. There’s a lot going on here… it’s just behind the scenes.

I do have one bit of excitement to share, though! For the first time ever, Bound is free on all of its regular ebook retailers! Whether you read on Kobo, iBooks, Nook, Kindle, or those smaller ones whose names I can never remember, I’m giving the ebook away.

I wish I could say I had a big strategic reason for doing this, but honestly? It was the end of winter, I was in a funk, and not much lifts my spirits like giving something away. And between this and the paperback giveaway I just wrapped up with my newsletter type people*, I’m having a pretty good time.

Besides, we’re coming up on Bound’s third anniversary as a published book. Why not invite some new people in to explore this world and get to know my beloved characters?

So if you haven’t started the series yet, check out the links at books2read.com/bound. If you have read and enjoyed these books, why not offer a recommendation to a book-loving friend? This offer is only going to be on for a few weeks, and when it’s over, I don’t know whether or when it will happen again.

Enjoy!

Bound free promo rectangle

 

*Newsletter subscribers get the VIP treatment. Giveaways, bonuses, free stuff… want to join in? Visit my site to sign up, then watch your inbox (or spam folder) for the confirmation email. Add me to your contacts so you don’t miss anything, and enjoy!

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COVER REVEAL: Death at Peony House by Krista Walsh

Hey, everyone! I’m SO excited to be a part of this cover reveal today! Not only is Krista a good friend of mine AND one of my favourite authors, but I may… kind of… sort of be 100% sure that this is a fantastic new series of urban fantasy novels.

I kind of have an in. All I’m saying.

I KNOW THINGS.

*ahem*

Anyway, the prequel novella, The Invisible Entente, is out now. And we’ll see Daphne’s story soon. And then… I can’t say. But it’s amazing. If you like your this-world fantasy brought to you with a side of classic mythology and amazing adventure, you definitely want to check this one out.

Details on this book below. But first, LOOK AT THIS COVER! Created by the ever amazing Ravven.

peony_promo

I love Ravven. *sigh*

ANYWAY. Check this out. Then grab your copy of The Invisible Entente (free with Kindle Unlimited!) so you’ll be ready for this one when it comes out on September 20 (!!!!!!)

Sorceress and journalist Daphne Heartstone heads to Peony House, the city’s abandoned hospital, in search of a headline, but what she discovers is a dead body and a clue to a hundred-and-fifty-year-old cold case.

Detective Hunter Avery, the man Daphne loved and lost, warns her away from the case, but the ghosts of Peony House have demanded her help, and her job is on the line if she doesn’t have a story on her editor’s desk for Saturday’s edition.

Daphne has worked hard to escape her past of dark magic and blind ambition, but as she walks the balance between light and dark, she’ll learn how many promises she’s willing to break to protect the people she loves.

Oooooooooh!

BONUS: I just found out that Krista has got the release party set up! This is a Facebook event, so you can attend from wherever you are, wear whatever you want, eat and drink what you like, and not have to talk to anyone in person. In other words, the perfect party. Here’s the link. Click “interested” and “going” to get updates.


Sworn Chapter One Available Now

I asked my Facebook reader group/street team last week whether they wanted me to post chapter one for them. Opinions were divided. Some said “absolutely,” while others felt it would be too frustrating to read it and then have nowhere to go from there.

So I’m posting it here under “free fiction,” as I did with the first chapters of Bound and Torn. If you want to be teased, it’s there. If not… less than a month to wait for the whole thing!

click here

(Sworn releases January 29 on Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, and other select ebook retailers)

sworn_full


Bound A-Z: S is for Severn

Okay, so we’re most definitely NOT attempting a character interview this week. He and I aren’t on speaking terms, and quite frankly he scares the bejeezus out of me.

Instead, I’m going to offer a rough (unedited) few paragraphs from Sworn. This is obviously spoiler territory, if you don’t want to know anything at all about what’s coming. I won’t give context or even point of view, and I’ve removed a few telling details, but you’ve been warned.

I stopped breathing, as though stillness would hide me. I didn’t dare look any higher than that hand.

Don’t make eye contact. Think only of the present. I checked my mental defenses and tried not to think about them.

The long, elegant fingers tightened, and [she] winced.

“Your king’s magic was never as weakened as you might have suspected based on your assignment,” said a cold voice. It was strong, not nearly matching what Aren had told me about Severn’s physical condition, but I had no doubt about who it was.

The potion’s light left me, leaving only fear. “Your highness,” I whispered, and dropped into a curtsy. I looked up enough to meet [her] gaze. Her face had turned into a blank mask.

“Look at me,” he ordered.

[…]

His eyes grabbed my focus and prevented wider inspection. Glacier blue and filled with confident authority, they cut through me. I let my fear take over to a degree that seemed reasonable given my story and focused on his face, allowing nothing else into my conscious mind. If he could see deeper, there was nothing I could do about it.

He released me and took a moment to glance over the rest of my face, my hair, my body. I did the same to him while I had the chance.

Aren had described him to me as he was before his encounter with Rowan. He’d also told me that Severn as he’d last met him was a shadow of his former self, weak and bent, shuffling and thin. This man was none of those things, and no description of Severn’s old appearance had prepared me for this. I saw Ulric in him, in the strong jaw and straight nose. His mouth was harder than the old king’s, and curved up slightly, pleased at what he saw. He stood tall and straight, slim yet strong, and he radiated power from every part of himself. Had I not known what he truly was…

I shuddered and looked away. I should have been accustomed to being around beautiful people by then. Appearances meant nothing, and I knew that. But his eyes, his voice, his very posture drew a person in with magnetic force that surpassed anyone I’d ever met, and I imagined it would be hard to deny him anything if he ordered it. I wondered how Aren had ever found the strength to defy him.

BONUS CONTENT:

A lovely friend and reader took a road-trip detour to get this picture. Made my day.

Okay, my month.

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Bound A-Z: R is for Ruby (or: How to offend a dragon)

R

No sudden moves, guys.

I’ve invited Ruby here for an interview. This may have been a mistake, but we’ll see how it goes. We’re going to head out to the back yard now, as she definitely doesn’t fit into my office. Just walk quietly, stay behind me, and observe.

Oh. For anyone just joining us, Ruby is a dragon. A big, red, hot-and-smoky, not-quite-trustworthy (but kind of interesting), four-legged and two-winged dragon.

Let’s go, before the neighbours start to complain.

SCENE: backyard with a white picket fence. A massive dragon, her back rising higher than the neighbour’s bungalow roof, lies curled on the grass.

Ruby: *snorts, filling the air with the scent of wilting grass* What do you want now?

KS: Just a few questions. I asked readers in my Facebook group what they’d like to know about you, and–

Ruby: Your what group?

KS: It’s a human thing in this world. You can talk to people who aren’t there, see pictures and know what’s going on with them.

Ruby: I thought that was what you did for a living.

KS: No, it’s… Huh. Actually, I guess I do. Shall we get started?

Ruby: If it pleases your imaginary friends. *stretches, claws outstretched, digging deep paths into the lawn*

KS: Okay, then. Um… Kathy D wants to know about the father of your dragonlings. If the topic isn’t a sensitive one, of course.

Ruby: *chuckles* Of course not. Strange how humans are so easily offended by things as natural as producing young. This clutch, or the ones before them? Or the ones before them? Or–

KS: Any would be fine, but I think she meant the current… batch.

Ruby: Clutch, if we’re speaking of egg-laying. I don’t care enough to remember. He didn’t have a name, of course. Most dragons don’t have hapless young humans wandering into their private caves to bestow them. He was blue, with green eyes like mine. A handsome creature and strong, but quite young. He tried to lurk in my territory after I was done with him. We couldn’t have that, of course. He might have been a threat to the young ones when they hatched. I took care of the problem.

KS: *shuffles through notes* Okay, we’ll just leave that one alone. Maggie V wants to know whether you like ketchup.

Ruby: I like to catch up to what I’m hunting. Is that what you mean?

KS: There’s some quote about “beware of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup,” or something like that. It’s a seasoning sauce. With tomatoes.

Ruby: How horrid. *tilts head* I might try it, though.

KS: Maybe later, then. I have a request from Jennifer C about your past. How old you are, why you’re bothering to talk to humans. Anything.

Ruby: *narrows eyes* Now that is offensive. What have you heard?

KS: Nothing that’s not in the books. *moves chair farther away* We know it’s unusual for a dragon to take an interest in humans, that only older dragons can speak, and that most wouldn’t let humans go after interacting with them.

Ruby: *smiles* Then how do you know more don’t talk? Perhaps we just destroy the evidence of conversations like this one.

KS: *wipes sweat from brow* Fair enough. Would you rather move on?

Ruby: It doesn’t matter. I have found myself in a strange position these past few years. As I grow older, my mind is changing. Humans seem to think that becoming more like you should be desirable, but it’s not so. Internal conflicts and unanswerable questions and motivations that go beyond the basics of survival and procreation…

*shudders*

KS: You’re saying your life was simpler before?

Ruby: Infinitely.

KS: So why take an interest? Why not cling to what you once were, which as I understand it is the dragon ideal, instead of letting tasty humans live in exchange for stories and such? It’s almost as though you want friendship.

Ruby: Mind your words, human. *drums claws on the ground* The truth is that I don’t know. I’m hardly a respectable dragon anymore, I hate what I’m becoming, and yet it fascinates me. I want to know more about the lives of other creatures, to see what happens in the world and what effect I have on it with my actions or non-actions. It’s disgusting. Move on.

KS: You didn’t say how old you are.

Ruby: *glares*

KS: Moving on. Stephanie S says, “you’re a very seasoned dragon–”

Ruby: I’ll season you for supper with that catch-up stuff if you don’t drop it.

KS: Hey, it’s not my question. Be nice, or I’ll find a Sorcerer who can turn you into a salamander. The last book’s not out yet. I’m sure we could fit it in.

Ruby: You wouldn’t dare.

KS: Try me. Stephanie wants to know whether there are any memories you’d like to share.

Ruby: Oh, certainly. I’m thinking now of back when the people of Darmid arrived in my lands, after they overthrew the magic-wielding humans who ruled them in the west. *chuckles* They were determined to rid their land of magic, and thought themselves so prepared to do so after their little scuffle. A group of them settled not far from my old home. I left them alone for the most part, but they insisted on hunting me. I moved on eventually, though never far enough for their liking. But before I left, I crept into their town in the middle of the night and set fire to a string of houses. You should have heard the screams. And one who fancied himself a proper magic hunter chased me with a long sword. Again, this was early days, and they were hardly refined in their techniques. I pinned him down, and with one claw opened his torso like I was removing his clothing. His innards–

KS: You know, that might be enough memories. Emma C wants to know your favourite colour, and Shannon A wants to know what you wish you’d done differently in your life.

Ruby: *rolls eyes, feigns choking to death, then lifts head* Are we talking about regrets, now? I’m not that much like you people. And I like chartreuse.

KS: Really?

Ruby: No. Red. And gold is so pretty…

KS: Shannon also wants to know what you’d like as a present, but I’m guessing gold would be the answer to that, too.

Ruby: No.

KS: No?

Ruby: I want the rest of the magic hunters who killed my young one not so long ago. Alive. They have much to answer for.

KS: We’ll have to look into that, though a few have been taken care of. Sarah H asks what you like to eat when humans aren’t available, and whether men or women taste better.

Ruby: *laughs* That’s more like it. Actually, humans aren’t my favourite meal. I prefer horses or deer. Fleet-footed herbivores in general. As to the other part of that… Women. But I’ll tell you that humans with magic in their blood taste better than those without.

KS: *absently* I’d heard that.

Ruby: From whom?

KS: *looks up* Um. Humans. From your world.

Ruby: *perks up* Were they consuming the flesh of their enemies?

KS: What? No. It’s… never mind. *clears throat*

Ruby: Do go on.

KS: Oh look, another question. Is there any creature you don’t like? This is from Shannon again.

Ruby: *scowls* Shannon’s nosy. I don’t like most creatures. It would be faster to list those I do like.

KS: Would you?

Ruby: No. And you’re not on the list. Last question, now.

KS: Scott H wants to know when you’re going to take over the world.

Ruby: YES. *slams fist on the ground* That’s a proper question. And the answer is “when I choose to.” *stretches her head high to look over the fence* Actually, I might take this one. Now that you mention it…

KS: Annnnnnd that wraps up my interview with Ruby. Ruby the wonderful and benevolent and not-taking-over-the-world dragon. Anything else you’d like to add?

Ruby: Yes. Tell your minions that if they ever encounter a dragon they should leave it alone. As I said, you’re not all that tasty, but we do what we must.

KS: Okay, then. Thanks for coming.

Ruby: And thank you for not making this the least interesting day I’ve spent in recent years. It was close, but you pulled it out at the end. Now, speaking of not tasty, tell me more about these humans who you claim told you–

Kate: *approaches cautiously, whispers in Ruby’s ear*

Ruby: *wrinkles snout* That’s disturbing on so many levels.

Kate: Goodnight, folks!

Big thanks to everyone on my Facebook page and group who provided questions for the interview! I hope the answers were satisfactory.

If you don’t want to miss out on future fun, join us at http://www.facebook.com/katesparkesauthor


Bound A-Z: Q is for Queen

Hmm. This is awkward.

I had the loveliest image I wanted to share for this topic, relating to future events in the trilogy, but I can’t find the original source to credit them. Since I don’t want to be Stealy McThievypants, we’ll have to do something else.

*shuffles through files* Queen, queen, queen…

We haven’t really heard much from them in the Bound trilogy, have we? We know Severn’s mother is the queen of Tyrea, and that Ulric hardly ever spoke to her again after Severn’s little stunt regarding Aren’s mother. We know she has no magic. Aren explained to Rowan in Bound that Sorcerers and Sorceresses can’t have children together, and the king certainly wanted strong potential heirs. The queen of Tyrea has a strong influence over her son (or she did, once), but she hasn’t showed up on the page.

I do have a little something in the works, though. A prequel novella that takes place a few decades (or a little more) before the start of Bound, and this one set in Belleisle and Tyrea. This one won’t be going up for sale when it’s finished, but will go out to newsletter subscribers as a special bonus to say thanks for supporting my work.*

So just because we’re talking about queens today, and because it’s been so long since I got to participate in WIPpet Wednesdays, here’s a thin slice of description from the rough draft of that novella.

 

A broad pile of ornate fabric and curly brown hair swept into view, an astonishingly corseted lump of woman escorted by a white-haired young man. Jewels twinkled in her hair, crowning a face that was somehow round and pinched all at once, as though a generously endowed and once-beautiful lady had caught the middle part of her face in a slamming door. The rich brocade of her many-layered skirts brushed against the floor with every tiny step she took.

 

It’s not much, I know. Can’t spoil things, though, and I think you guys are going to like this one.

Well, if you like romance and danger and forbidden love and origin stories (sort of) and seeing established characters when they were younger and very different from how we’re used to seeing them.

It’s been a bit of a shock, actually.

So there you have her, the current queen of Tyrea.

Next week: R. Hmm. If only I had a character or two whose name started with R…

*sign-ups are free here, and new subscribers get a free download of The Binding, the existing prequel short story.


P is for Potioner

Alas, we find ourselves at another entry that leaves me struggling to not post spoilers. And man, does this topic develop in the next book.

One of the interesting things about writing a series is how things develop in unexpected ways. I don’t remember when I decided that there were two types of magic in the world I was creating, or when I realized how very different they were. It was one of those things that just seemed to exist, a discovery rather than an idea.

I’m afraid I’m as guilty of underestimating Potioners as some of my characters are, though. You see, when things started out, I thought there were strict divisions. A Sorcerer’s magic is internal, whereas a Potioner uses her perceptions and skills to manipulate magic outside of herself. They were healers, typically. Important people in their way, but nothing on the level of a Sorcerer.

Not real magic.

My characters showed me differently as I wrote their stories. It wasn’t until I drafted The Binding that I realized a Potioner was responsible for Rowan’s condition–I’d assumed it was a magical curse of some sort. But Elisha showed up with her ointments and herbs, and I learned that healing isn’t the only thing a Potioner is capable of.

Emalda introduced me to the range of skills a Potioner might have, but it wasn’t until I slipped into Nox’s mind that I truly understood the experience. I learned what it’s like to feel magic pulsing through a plant, to hear them calling silently, to sense the potential of a thing. I understood then that Potioners are far more than the glorified chefs or chemists that Aren (and so many people like him) take them for. Their magic might not flow through them as it does a Sorcerer, but it’s there.

And now we come to SPOILERTOWN, so I won’t say much. I will tell you that I’ve met another character who changed everything. Actually, she showed me something that was in front of me from the beginning, and I had overlooked it.

You see, there are several levels of skill when you’re a Potioner.

There are those with basic skills, mostly learned from books with a little kick of natural talent thrown in. They may be competent craftsmen, but there’s little art to it. Little of themselves thrown in.

There are the gifted ones, those like Nox and Sara who sense the power and potential in everything around them, who work from instinct as much as from lessons. They are the artists, using their gifts to build on learned skills and create something entirely new. They’re the innovators.

And then there are the truly great ones, who can–

No, I’m not telling.

All I’ll say is that though Nox thinks she’s mastered her art, she still has a lot to learn.


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