Wednesday, 3 April 2013

SUNFIRE - A ReRelease

 Many moons ago, I co-wrote a two-part [so far] blockbuster of high fantasy with my  friend, Terri Beckett. Its original incarnation was titled Tribute Trail, and it was published first by Speculation Press, then by Cerridwen Press. Now the copyrights have reverted to us, we've changed the title to SUNFIRE, and self-published it.

Buy at All Romance eBooks HERE

Buy at Amazon HERE 
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Trained all his life to serve the will of the Great Goddess, Kherin is her Chosen, her warrior, mage and priest. The prophecy at his birth told of great things. Betrayed by one he trusted and taken far from his homeland, he is given as part of an annual tribute to a barbarian chief in payment for border protection

With enemies on the borders of his land threatening invasion and enemies within the tribe working against him, Rythian has no time for the whims of deities. He fights his god’s intent every step of the way. But Kherin is at his side, training him in his new god-given powers.

Two very different men, united to be forged in the fires of betrayal and conflict to be living weapons in a greater conflict. They learn trust, friendship and love so they can become weapons for their gods to wield.

Chapter One

The Goddess weaves a tapestry, and in it are all the colors and all the threads that have ever been and will ever be. Here and there in the design shine brighter strands outlining Her will, while more such filaments wait in Her lap to be incorporated. She winds one onto Her shuttle and it glistens, moon-silver and bright…

From the rise where he waited, his bay mare shifting nervously under him, Kherin could see the remains of the village. An acrid smoke from the burned out buildings drifted on the warm wind, biting at the back of his throat. The raiders had done their worst with it and its inhabitants two days ago, which was when word had come to him that the so-called Free People had not turned from their outlaw path. They were now threatening the borders of the Khassan Empire. As Khassan's Warlord and Commander, Kherin had summoned his Khori, his elite guard and the pick of the nation's army. They had ridden hard to the desert fringes, but by the time they arrived, there was nothing to be done for the people of the village save avenge them.
The rules of warfare temporarily leashed the Khori's wild desire for blood. The enemy must be warned, must be given the chance to leave in peace and go back to their arid homeland, to keep that peace and trouble Khassan no more. Kherin had sent a messenger with the terms at dawn.
Automatically Kherin soothed his horse as she tossed her head and snatched at the bit. It came to him suddenly, as such a Seeing always did, that something was about to happen—something that shadowed the sun and chilled the sweat that trickled down his spine. More fatalities? Defeat? The Khori did not acknowledge defeat. While he had led them, they had known only victories. He was the Chosen and Consort of the Goddess, ever under the shelter of Her wings. He reminded himself of this, yet still the eerie feeling persisted. Whatever was coming, it smelled as rank as the drifting smoke, forerunner of death and betrayal.
The banners above his head rippled lazily in the warm wind. He could hear the chink and creak of mail and leather behind him. His two captains, Tarvik at his left and Jeztin at his right, glanced at him, perhaps sensing his unease. Jeztin, friend of his boyhood, brother in all but blood, would know what was in his mind, as he always had. It was a shared thing that had saved both their lives over the years. Silently he sent a prayer to the Goddess. Let me be mistaken. Let this not be a true Seeing. 
It was a prayer he already knew was fruitless. Two riders were approaching—no, two horses. One with a rider, and one a led horse, wild with terror of what it carried. Just out of bowshot, the rider pulled up, and the other horse galloped crazily up the hill. Kherin found the horse's spooked mind with his own, calmed it enough to let Jeztin ride to where it stood, head down and trembling, its burden a shapeless mass strapped to the saddle, leaking blood. 

Kherin and Rythian's story continues in the sequel, Sunfire and Shadows.

Please note - this book has non-explicit m/f, m/m, f/f. Its Heat Rating is low.

Monday, 1 April 2013

I'm Prejudiced And Proud Of It

If you'd like to be in a draw to win all three of my Fool vampire stories in Mobi or PDF, leave a comment on my blog along with your contact email, and I'll make the draw on May 1st.

When I first started working as a civilian support staffer at my local Police Divisional Headquarters way back in the 80s, for the first time prejudice was aimed at me. I was a woman, and I was a civilian. I wasn't entirely sure which was lowest on the scale in the eyes of the predominantly testosterone-fueled police force back then. If I'd been a policewoman and unmarried, it would have been automatically assumed I was a lesbian. Anyone who saw the British TV shows Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes will know what I'm talking about.

But times change, and surprisingly quickly. Ten years later, those particular attitudes had disappeared, and at least two lesbians - one a sergeant, the other a Chief Inspector - had gained justified promotions and the respect of their peers. Skin colour was no longer a problem - as long as they were part of the police community. But eventually that changed for the better as well.

There were still isolated incidents, of course, and when some of us met them, we challenged them head-on and would not give ground. By the time I retired from my job, the up and coming generation of police officers were a hell of a lot more accepting of differences. BUT there is still a long way to go.

The next time I had prejudice aimed at me personally was at a small fannish convention centred on a handful of TV shows. Now, I'm no spring chicken - as old as dirt, as a friend says about herself - but I'd been writing in a couple of [now more or less defunct] fandoms for a long time, and I'd won awards. I was the oldest person there by many a year. The youngest ones gave me the cold shoulder, the questioning stares, the sniggers - why was this old bat here? - until they were told my then pen-name. They visibly struggled to relate my stories to the old bat in the room with them.

I still encounter prejudice here at home. My family Do Not Approve of my choice of writing genre.

If you've read this far, you'll know my experiences are laughably mild compared to the hatred and vitriol aimed at others. It is wrong. It is cruel, blind and destructive, and rooted in fear. In this 21st century the human race should have grown out of its petty tribalism that condemns anything other than the perceived norm, be it colour, creed, gender, physical or mental differences. It hasn't, and prejudice should no longer be tolerated.

So I am standing up to announce I'm prejudiced against prejudice. And I'm prejudiced against bigotry. And you know what? I am proud of it.

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Now for the advertising section!

On March 19th 2013 Starfall reached the end of its two year contract with Silver Publishing, and all rights have reverted to me - so I have self-published it under the auspices of my Kouros Books label, along with a brand new cover from the talented Meredith Russell!

Starfall is available from Amazon, All Romance e-Books and Smashwords, and because it is a re-release, I'm offering it for a couple of bucks LESS than the 1st edition's selling price.

Buy from All Romance e-Books HERE

Buy from Amazon HERE

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Ash is looking for his sister. He refuses to accept she's dead and he's come halfway across the galaxy to the lakes of Vermont in search of her.

Faye and Conn are on the trail of an underage runaway who has no intention of going back to Florida with them.

They all meet up in Amassol, Vermont. When Ash and Conn encounter each other, the attraction is immediate and almost overwhelming.  It's also impossible. Ash's mission and Conn's assignment, as well as rival street gangs, make sure of that.