Category Archives: Fantasy

Featured Author: Helen Boswell

Blogger Author Exchange 1new

As part of the ‘Not so Secret Santa: Author/Blogger exchange‘ at Consuming Worlds, the spotlight, today, is on Helen Boswell, author of the Mythology series.

Helen and I had a very interesting interview session over a series of emails and she wrote a bit of Fast Fiction for her readers. I hope you enjoy getting to know Helen as much as I did.

WickedCover

Excerpt from the second book of the Mythology series,  The Wicked

Her grey eyes soften with understanding. “I’m fine. Really.”
I touch her face, running my thumb across her cheekbone. “I might need some convincing,” I say in a low voice.
A small smile plays on her face, and she slides her hands up my chest and around my neck. Relief fills me, relief that Hope is all right, that any doubts she might have had about me are gone.
Her eyes don’t leave mine, her lips part slightly, and my heart starts to race. We move toward each other at the same time, my arms drawing her even closer at the moment we kiss. I take in her breath as my own, her mouth melding with mine in total perfection. I run my hands down to the small of her back, and she knots her fingers in my hair and curves into me. The feel of her body against mine stirs up an entirely different sort of hunger.
Nothing matters except for her.
Nothing.
A small sound escapes from her throat, and my need ignites like flames in the darkness.
The bell rings, totally killing the moment. Doors burst open in the hallway, and the stairwell starts to overflow with people and commotion.
“Oh, there you are! I’ve been looking everywhere for you,” a voice exclaims. It’s Sylvia.
I groan and briefly press my forehead to Hope’s before breaking away from her.
“Hey, Sylvia,” Hope says, squeezing my hand once before letting go. She turns her face up to mine. “See you later.”
Her cheeks are flushed, and I inhale and slowly let out my breath. I drag a hand over my face as I watch her leave, the urge to chase her growing exponentially with each step she takes away from me. It’s not some stupid possessive needy thing. I know she’s mine as much as she knows I’m hers.
But the second she disappears around the corner, the feeling resurfaces. The one that will always stick with me. The one when I thought she was leaving me for good, right after she saved my life last semester. When I was full of regret that I let her down.

Interview with Helen Boswell:

Other than a love of reading, who or what inspired you to write?

I’ve been writing stories ever since I was little. I’m not exactly sure what inspired me, but I love the challenge of assembling a story from start to finish — it’s like assembling a big puzzle with lots of layers.

Mythology is a YA urban fantasy, which other genres do you think you might like to write in?

While I do have book three of the Mythology series in the work, I am currently taking a short “break” to write something completely different. It’s a NA dark romance — nothing paranormal or fantasy-driven at all. Although I do tend to write by the seat of my pants, so you never know what will happen. 🙂

Would you consider writing non-fiction?

The first book I ever published was non-fiction. It’s about the conflict between science and religion, and I wrote it when I took a year-long sabbatical off from work. In my other life, I teach biology at a small university.

Do you have a favourite fantasy series or book ? Something that you could re-read a hundred times

I love the entire Harry Potter series (who doesn’t?). One of my favorite books (though more horror than fantasy) is Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood. And I will happily read anything by Stephanie Parent.

If you were a character in your favourite fantasy series/book, who would you be?

I would be the main female character, Hope. She’s strong, logical, speaks her mind, but has a big heart and would do anything for the people she loves. And plus, she gets to be with Micah 😉

Do you like writing fast fiction?

And yes, a fast fiction story would be fun

These are my prompts for your fast fiction: 

The past few years are a blur.

As the girl walked past, her lurid green socks and bright red shoes caught my eyes.

The length of your story and the position of the prompt lines are up to you. I hope you enjoy writing it.

FAST FICTION:

The past few years were a blur. One moment, I was walking across the stage receiving my high school diploma. The next, I was sitting on top of an apartment building in the freezing cold. Next to me was a man who was armed with an arsenal of deadly weapons. He was twenty-two, also selected for this strange assignment for his special abilities. I was only eighteen, but my ability to somehow predict the future had gotten me here.

“Do you target her yet?” This was the first I’d heard his voice since he called me this morning before we met face-to-face. But upon hearing his voice again, something stirred deep inside me. It was a memory of something, but I couldn’t place it.

I opened my eyes and crept up to look over the ledge. As the girl walked past, her lurid green socks and bright red shoes caught my eyes, and I pointed at her. My hand was shaking, and I quickly drew it against my chest so he wouldn’t see.

“There she is,” I whispered. “Red shoes. Black hair.”

He nodded and raised the sight of his sniper rifle. I squeezed my eyes shut and waited for the shot that would save the world.

Helen _Boswell

Author Profile

Originally from upstate New York, Helen Boswell spent several years of her early adult life tromping around in the city of Buffalo, New York with frequent trips to Toronto, Canada. These two cities in particular serve as inspirational settings for some of her works, and while Helen has since moved to live in the southwestern United States, she will have fond memories of urban life and high-heeled sneakers for all eternity.

Helen earned her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University at Buffalo and dedicates her time to teaching science to college students, spending time with her family, and eating chocolate while writing.

Find out more about Helen at www.helenboswell.com.

 

Advertisements

Excerpt: Far-Knowing by Melinda Brasher

Far-Knowing Book Cover

“I picked this up from a trader a few days back. Would you take a look at it, tell me what you think it’s worth?” Kallinesha kept the ring in her fist, out of sight, so Daistar would have to take it in his own hand to examine it.

He stared at her fist, stared into her eyes. Then he reached out and she dropped it into his waiting hand. Instantly she felt more alive, freed of the sleep enchantment bound to the ring. She set her hand on her dagger, just in case.

He turned it over in his hand several times. His eyes should be drooping by now. He should be thinking of his nice soft bed, the smooth linen, the quiet peace of an afternoon nap. But when he spoke there was nothing sleepy about his words. “It’s gold, I believe, but not very fine work.”

The baron leaned forward. “I hope you didn’t pay much for it.”

What? The beauty enchantment should have dazzled a man like the baron, who clearly liked his comfort. But when Kallinesha looked again at the ring, it no longer sparkled as before.

Daistar was staring at her again, and she feared she’d exposed her surprise.

“Maybe if you put it on…” she faltered.

He slid it halfway down his ring finger, twisted it, held it out to admire it, then took it off again. He grabbed her wrist, roughly, and pressed the ring into her palm. The sleep enchantment, she knew at once, was gone. How had he broken it so quickly? Mistress took hours to unravel spells as strong as the ones they’d cast. This was power as she’d never before seen. She had to stop him. She tightened her hold on the dagger. She’d only have one chance. It had to be his throat. But his hand was still on her wrist, and he tightened his grip.

“I wouldn’t, if I were you,” he whispered, as pain burst into life where he touched her.

His other hand, she saw, was on his own dagger, and she was sure beyond any doubt, without any magic to tell her so, that he’d had a lifetime more practice than she had. A mage and a warrior.

She took her hand off her dagger, jerked away from him, and stood up.

“Baron Selkimear, I believe I must see to my servant. Thank you for the sumptuous refreshment.”

She fully expected not to live to see the outside of the dining hall.

Buy it now : Amazon

 

http://www.melindabrasher.com

Heritage (The Grimoire Saga #3) by S.M.Boyce

HeritageKara Magari isn’t normal, even by Ourea’s standards—and in a world of shape-shifters and soul stealers, that’s saying something. To the royalty, she’s a loose cannon. To the masses, she’s a failure. But Kara’s arrival in Ourea started a war, and she’s going to end it. An ancient isen named Stone takes an interest in Kara’s training, and it turns out he has more answers than he originally led her to believe. In an effort to unearth a secret that might end the bloodshed, Kara instead discovers an ugly truth about her family—and how much she has in common with an infamous mass-murderer.

Braeden Drakonin has slowly rebuilt his life after the betrayal that tore it apart. His father wants him dead, and frankly, his so-called allies wouldn’t mind that either. Private alliances are formed. Secrets are sold. Tension is driving the armies apart. A single battle will end this war, and it’s coming. Braeden may be a prince, but it will take more than that to survive. He must take the fight to his father’s door—and win.

Goodreads

Heritage (The Grimoire Saga, #3)Heritage by S.M. Boyce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Buy Links:

Amazon I Barnes & Noble

Blog Tour

Review

Heritage is all about life lessons and inheritance. Kara, finally learns to be a hero and is no longer the social outcast of the masses and the scapegoat of Ourea’s rulers. Boyce surpasses herself in the skilful manipulation of characters and it leaves you wondering, who is good or evil? or, how many shades of grey are there? As Kara finds out, at an expense, heroes are not knights in shining armour, their heroism depends on perception and the telling of the story.

Heritage is also all about relationships and unlike the previous two of the Grimoire Saga, Boyce has concentrated on developing relationships more than weaving the fantasy world. In a way Heritage is more of Paranormal Romance than Fantasy Fiction. Whether, Heritage will set a tone, for the rest of the series, is yet to be seen.

However, the slower pace is probably the lull before the storm. The forces of Ourea are gathering and changing sides swiftly, like a rising crescendo before an impending war. Every character has their own agenda and Boyce makes it all very believable. You can actually relate to some of the crises and recognize the reasons for personal vendettas.

On the whole Illusion promises a lot of drama and action in Fall 2014. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

S.M. BoyceInternational Amazon Bestseller. Fantasy Author. Twitter addict. Book Blogger. Geek. Sarcastic. Gooey. Odd. Author of the action-packed Grimoire Saga S.M. Boyce is a novelist who loves ghosts, magic, and spooky things. She prefers loose-leaf tea, reads far too many books, and is always cold. She’s married to her soul mate and couldn’t be happier. Her B.A. in Creative Writing qualifies her to serve you french fries. Boyce likes to update her blog a few times each week so that you have something to wake you up in the morning.

Connect with the Author:

Giveaway:

One Lucky Winner will get a Signed Copy of Lichgates (Grimoire Saga #1) by S.M.Boyce.

Giveaway Open to US Residents Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Treason (The Grimoire Saga #2) by S.M.Boyce

TreasonKara Magari ignited a war when she stumbled into Ourea and found the Grimoire: a powerful artifact filled with secrets. To protect the one person she has left, she strikes a deal that goes against everything she believes in. But things don’t go as planned.

Braeden Drakonin can no longer run from who—and what —he is. He has to face the facts. He’s a prince. He’s a murderer. He’s a wanted man. And after a betrayal that leaves him heartbroken, he’s out for blood. To survive, both Kara and Braeden must become the evil each has grown to hate.

Goodreads

Treason (The Grimoire Saga, #2)Treason by S.M. Boyce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Buy Links:

Amazon Barnes & Noble

Blog Tour

Review

Treason starts right where we left Kara and Braedon in Lichgates and is very fast paced. Boyce does not spend too much time with further descriptions and plunges right into the story. When I finished Lichgates I expected certain turns that the story might take in Treason. But I was surprised and delighted to find unforeseen twists in the plot. While Lichgates was a brilliant debut novel with stunning descriptions and imagination, Treason showcases Boyce’s skills in character development and storytelling. She is exceptionally good at creating villainous characters. While Carden’s villainy will leave you outraged, the others are plotting, scheming and sometimes normal people.

What I also liked about Boyce’s style is that she rarely leaves any questions unanswered for too long. You don’t have to wait till the end of the series to find out what was left for Kara by her father. Moreover Kara matures into a powerful figure and Braeden stops being confused all the time. Romance and relationships play a large role in Treason and I believe it sets a tone for future books in the series. Another character, who develops into a pivotal role is Twin. While reading Lichgates I formed certain opinions about her and I am sure all readers will, but Twin’s role in Treason is quite different from what I had expected. To avoid spoilers, I’ll just say, I am still expecting Twin to become a character with more shades of grey.

The versatility of Boyce’s storytelling is revealed by the fact that she doesn’t have too many obvious cliffhangers holding the plot together. Instead, she has new characters with their own twists in the tale. The political nature and the feuds make Ourea really believable but I couldn’t help drawing parallels with real world situations. As a result the underlying tension and strain in the book is quite palpable and makes it a faster read. I finished reading Treason faster than Lichgates!

I would really like to ask Boyce, whether she considers playing chess akin to writing the Grimoire Saga. Treason reminded me of a convoluted game of strategy with pawns in a major role. I would recommend Treason to lovers of fantasy fiction, but it is essential to read Lichgates first and absolutely vital to read Heritage, if you don’t want to lose your mind, wondering, what happens next?

S.M. BoyceInternational Amazon Bestseller. Fantasy Author. Twitter addict. Book Blogger. Geek. Sarcastic. Gooey. Odd. Author of the action-packed Grimoire Saga S.M. Boyce is a novelist who loves ghosts, magic, and spooky things. She prefers loose-leaf tea, reads far too many books, and is always cold. She’s married to her soul mate and couldn’t be happier. Her B.A. in Creative Writing qualifies her to serve you french fries. Boyce likes to update her blog a few times each week so that you have something to wake you up in the morning.

Connect with the Author:

Giveaway:

One Lucky Winner will get a Signed Copy of Lichgates (Grimoire Saga #1) by S.M.Boyce.

Giveaway Open to US Residents Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lichgates (The Grimoire Saga #1) by S.M.Boyce

Grimoire Saga #1Kara Magari is about to discover a beautiful world full of terrifying things—Ourea. Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother’s recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With no way out, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book’s untamed power. Discovered by Ourea’s royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict—a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn’t trust anyone… but she’s being hunted and can’t survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn’t know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.

For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire.

Goodreads

Lichgates: Book One of the Grimoire Saga (a Young Adult Fantasy Series)Lichgates: Book One of the Grimoire Saga by S.M. Boyce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
View all my reviews

Buy Links:

Amazon I Barnes & Noble

Blog Tour

Review

A Lychgate or a Lichgate is the name of a traditional roofed entrance. I was delighted to find the how little details can help build up fantasy world. Lichgates in S.M. Boyce’s world are magical entrances or portents to Ourea and its various kingdoms. This clever weaving of lost language items makes Ourea even more believable. Although I found similarities with several epic fantasies, they did not put me off, instead it enhanced the pleasure of reading Lichgates and strengthened the magical premises of Kara Magire’s new world. The appearance of a female Vagabond  may have shocked the Oureans but I really enjoyed reading about the development of a female magical protagonist. However much I like Harry Potter, Eragon , or Ged of the Earthsea trilogies, there is something about a female mage that most fantasy writers don’t do justice to. They are almost always fobbed off as supporting cast for a brilliant plot.

The plot develops slowly but the pace quickens around halfway. A slower pace allowed Boyce to build up the interpersonal dynamics of Ourea in greater details but it might deter readers who like to cut to the chase quickly. To those I would suggest that they read on because the Grimoire Saga shows great promise and I can’t wait to read the rest!

I like the fact that Braeden is a character with many shades of grey. In the beginning you might think that this is one of those fantasy romances but you will be pleasantly surprised. Kara and Braeden share a great chemistry but what they want from life and their roles in this fantastic drama is completely different. What could have been a bit more imaginative was a term for the royals. Calling them Bloods doesn’t compare with what Boyce has shown she is capable of. However, I am happy with Bloods as long as the rest of the saga is as good a read as Lichgates.

S.M. BoyceInternational Amazon Bestseller. Fantasy Author. Twitter addict. Book Blogger. Geek. Sarcastic. Gooey. Odd. Author of the action-packed Grimoire Saga S.M. Boyce is a novelist who loves ghosts, magic, and spooky things. She prefers loose-leaf tea, reads far too many books, and is always cold. She’s married to her soul mate and couldn’t be happier. Her B.A. in Creative Writing qualifies her to serve you french fries. Boyce likes to update her blog a few times each week so that you have something to wake you up in the morning.

Connect with the Author:

Giveaway:

One Lucky Winner will get a Signed Copy of Lichgates (Grimoire Saga #1) by S.M.Boyce.

Giveaway Open to US Residents Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway