Today my new book, RIDER OF THE CROWN, is available for pre-order on Amazon.com! The cover is by Clarissa Yeo at Yocla Designs and I think it looks fantastic (and will look great on my shelf next to SERVANT OF THE CROWN). This new book features characters from SERVANT, but the main character is Imogen, one of the nomadic riders of the Kirkellan tribes:
Imogen, warrior of the Kirkellan tribes, has never wanted to be anything else. But when the long war between the Kirkellan and the country of Ruskald ends, the terms of the peace treaty require Imogen to be married to the vicious King of Ruskald for five years. Confined to his freezing city, forbidden to fight, Imogen sees nothing but darkness in her future—until the arrival of Elspeth North, heir to the Crown of Tremontane, brings three countries to the brink of war and sets Imogen free.
Now, sent to be the ambassador of her people to Tremontane, Imogen faces new challenges as she struggles to maintain her warrior’s identity in a world of glittering ballrooms and foreign customs. As a diplomat, Imogen discovers skills she never knew she had—as well as a forbidden attraction to the handsome and charismatic King Jeffrey North. But when war once again threatens not only Tremontane but her own people, Imogen must decide: is she the warrior, the diplomat—or something greater?
Release date is 10/22. I hope you enjoy this book! (For those of you who are wondering why this isn’t a book about Zara North, don’t worry–she returns in the third Tremontane novel, AGENT OF THE CROWN, and there will be a novella about her that fits between books one and two.)
27 Senessay, evening
Today was a near-total loss. Cederic was every bit as exhausted as I was, and irritable in a way I wasn’t until I started talking to him, and we had an argument that was more of a squabble, in which he was sarcastic and I was rude. We managed to cut it short and apologize to each other, but neither of us meant it. Finally, he said, “This is pointless. Have your lunch, and take a nap, and let us see if we can salvage anything of this day after that.” Continue reading
25 Senessay (continued)
Despite what they’d said, I wasn’t surprised to find Sai Aleynten in the cavern, looking through the books on the shelves. He was dressed in a plain brown shirt with an abstract pattern in black embroidered around the neck and cuffs and brown trousers of a different shade than the shirt, so he looked less formal than usual, but he still had that distant, closed-off air he always did. Continue Reading
Rest day. I was planning to begin studying the pouvra in earnest, but Sovrin barged into my room without knocking and said, “Put the book down and get out of bed, Sesskia, or I’ll drop you in the pool wearing all your clothes.” She’s big enough that I think she could do it, so I got dressed (I’m sleeping in that long-sleeved shirt and undershorts now, and the shirt is so comfortable I don’t even mind that it’s a little large) and went with her to the bathing room. Most of the women were already there, splashing around in the big pool or lying back in one of the smaller ones. I took off my clothes and put them in one of the cubbies—I forgot to mention this, there are shelves divided into foot-wide cubbies for storing clothing off the wet floor. The large pool slopes at one end, like wading into the surf but without the waves, and at the far end I think it’s about ten feet deep. I swam down to the bottom, forgetting that I didn’t want to get my hair wet, and felt a little current that told me the water was circulating. So Audryn was exaggerating a little about swimming in their own filth, but I still wouldn’t piss in the pool. Continue reading
Later, same day
Sai Aleynten went so completely expressionless when I told him what I’d learned that I thought he’d had some kind of seizure. Eventually, he said, “How sure are you of this?”
“I can’t be sure until I’ve studied it more,” I said. “But every book I’ve ever read that taught about pouvrin had the same basic structure, and this book is the same. Or at least I think it’s the same.”
He looked at the book, raised its cover and flipped over a few pages as if the language would suddenly become comprehensible to him, and said, “We do not know its age. Surely knowledge of pouvrin could not have persisted many centuries only to be written down much later than the disaster.” Continue reading
20 Senessay (evening)
I just finished reading over what I wrote above and it makes me cringe to see how petulant I sound. Once again it turns out I was wrong in a lot of my assumptions. In my defense, Sai Aleynten was definitely at fault, too, but I probably shouldn’t have given in to my anger like that. And I can admit, now, that my first impressions of Sai Aleynten were all bad ones, and that’s predisposed me to dislike everything about him, even if he doesn’t deserve most of it. I don’t think we can ever be friends, but I’m doing my best not to hate him and his smug face—there, I did it again. He only looks smug because of the way his eyebrows are crooked and his eyes are almost always half-lidded, like he’s trying to hide the fact that he’s laughing at your stupidity. But I’ve seen him talk to the rest of the mages, and he never sounds dismissive or impatient, though he does get sarcastic at times, and that makes me a little angry, because they all want his respect, or at least his approval, and I can imagine how his scorn makes them cringe. He has some definite character flaws, but after today I’ve decided not to assign him any more of them than are actually true. Continue reading
My latest book, SERVANT OF THE CROWN, is now available for purchase in print and as an e-book at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, and more!
Things I learned during my interrogation of Sai Aleynten, better known as Smug Git:
- They have never seen magic like mine before.
- This place is a sort of cross between a school and a co-operative of magic.
- That cap could have killed me.
- My coming here was, as I guessed, a complete accident.
Obviously the thing I’m most concerned about right now is number 3, though number 4 runs a close second. How dare Terrael risk my life like that? Yes, I’m glad I can understand these people now, and no, there’s no way he could have explained the situation to me and gotten my consent, but I’m still angry. Fortunately for Terrael, I haven’t seen him since last night, when he escorted me (in silence) back to my room. In the morning, a white-robe brought me breakfast (gruel studded with raisins and sprinkled with sugar, better-tasting than it sounds) and waited for me to finish (it’s hard to eat when someone’s staring at you, did you know?) then escorted me down the hall to a chamber near the mouth of the corridor. It was a much bigger room than the “sitting rooms” I’d seen before, maybe thirty feet in both directions. There was a table made of some wood so dark it was nearly black, a long, plain thing like a stone slab, and two chairs facing each other across it, but on the long sides, so we weren’t fifteen feet away from each other. Sai Aleynten stood next to one of the chairs, hands clasped behind his back, smug gitty look on his face as usual. “Sit down,” he said, pointing at the other chair. I tried to think of something rude to say to that, but in the end I just sat. So did he. Continue reading
Later, same day
I’m in a different room now, one of the bedrooms lining the inner curve of the corridor. I learned in following Terrael—but I’m getting ahead of myself. Terrael did come back, after maybe half an hour, and gestured for me to follow him. The women didn’t stop me leaving, though I saw one of them look at the other with this expression that said she thought it was a bad idea to let the strange woman wander around with no one but Terrael to supervise. Terrael didn’t seem worried that I might run off. I don’t know what to make of him. He’s young enough, I’d guess eighteen or nineteen, that he might not be sufficiently cynical yet, but…I don’t know. He has this air of eager confidence about him I just don’t understand. But he’s polite, and he’s trying to communicate with me, and in general I’d feel bad about knocking him down and running away. So I just followed him. Continue reading
15 Senessay (I think)
I’m calling it tomorrow because the light went out at some point, and I finally fell asleep on that horrible gritty mat, and when I woke I felt better. Rested, at least. Two of them came in before that and grabbed my arms, and marched me down the hall to one of the interminable doors, which turned out to be some kind of commode. There was a porcelain basin like the ones I’ve seen in some of the big manors, only this one didn’t have water sitting in the bowl, it had water flowing through it so it was constantly cleaning itself. I was glad to see it, because I was starting to have a pressing need to piss and there wasn’t anywhere in my cell I could relieve myself. So someone is thinking of my needs, at least on that level.
They also brought me food before I slept, a couple of slices of a kind of dark bread I’d never tasted before and a bowl of thick, spicy red soup with beans and some grain that looked like wild rice, only white and bland. It was filling and strange, and if I didn’t know I was in some other country before I’d be sure of it now. Food is one of the things that varies most between places. I’m trying not to be worried that I don’t recognize it, because that means I am definitely far from home, and I don’t know how I’ll get back. Continue reading