Tuesday, November 18, 2014

HENGE - Illustration: Characters to Represent the Seasons

Yesterday I had the honor of guest blogging for CBY Book Club. The theme was to pick a character from HENGE to represent each of the four seasons. I found this to be so fun that I chose to illustrate for it too!

Hope you enjoy.


Morgan, the protagonist, would be winter. Morgan loves the comfort of staying home by the fire. Her heart is chilled from her terrible past, but she dreams of a day when her heart will thaw. With her fiery spirit, Morgan is prepared to weather any storm.


Guinevere, Morgan’s best friend, would be spring. She loves flowers, gardening, animals, and comfortable weather. Every spring she is excited to do a good cleaning for a fresh start and fill her dorm in Camelot with freshly picked flowers.


Vivian, one of Morgan’s rivals in Arthur’s Round, would be summer. She enjoys swimming in the pool to stay healthy and fit. She also prefers summer fashion: wearing light clothes, sunglasses, and elegant sandals. With her cool attitude and icy water magic, summer is no sweat for her.


Isolde, another member of Arthur’s Round, would be autumn. She loves the crisp wind, the scent of changing seasons, and romantic weather. She plays with the falling leaves by using her wind magic. She loves curling up with a hot beverage and reading stories of legend and love.


My favorite season is summer so I have to admit I can't wait for winter to end. What's your favorite season? I hope you enjoyed the illustrations!


--Realm

Monday, November 17, 2014

HENGE - Release Week Recap

Good news. HENGE paperback has been sent out for proof! Stay tuned for when it's available. 

The eBook had a nice release week on Amazon as #6 Arthurian Bestseller and Hot New Release:





The tour with Candace is still going on!

Here's a few hightlights from reviews:



"I’ve never wanted a sequel so bad (okay since World After, Murder of Crows.. etc) Anyway, HENGE IS THAT GOOD. We always have some problems about first book in a series, this one is too much awesome to hate. Its perfection."



"Awesome magic, a fantastic plot line that is detailed and twisty as they come, and a dark and suspenseful characters and storyline that will have you guessing who the bad guy is and just what exactly is going on until the last page. I loved Henge."



"Yes, it’s kinda dark, but it’s full of so much fantasy elements that weave their own magic and pull you in that you will keep turning the pages to know what’s about to happen! The story of Camelot, Merlin, and King Arthur has never seemed so interesting as it is being set in modern times!"



"I highly recommend this book, it’s so creative and unique and will have you grinning from ear to ear."


Also links to guest blogs and interviews:

My Guest Blog on Cover Design
My Guest Blog on Modernizing the Arthurian Legend
Interview: My Take on the Arthurian Legend
Excerpt: Morgan meets Lancelot for the first time
Excerpt: Merlin follows Morgan in the library

Merch you can win... Arthur's Round Badge (it's not real gold but it's almost like the one Morgan and Merlin wears!) plus signed postcards! (Comes with signed paperback.) Also other prizes such as gift card, paperbacks, and ebooks. Enter here now!




Readers--if you read HENGE and enjoyed it, please post your review on Amazon! I need your help to find an audience for the Le Fay Series so that I can strongly continue this series! You can impact the series in a big way--every action counts.

Here's the tour schedule for this week:

11/17
Leeanna.me – Review
Deborah Jay- Review & Excerpt
CBY Book Club- Guest Post
11/18
Avid Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Second Run Reviews- Review & Interview
11/19
Reading Addict – Excerpt
Curling Up With a Good Book- Author Interview
Gin’s Book Notes – Review
11/20
Bookhounds YA- Author Interview
11/21
Alice Marvels- Guest Post

THANK YOU!


--Realm

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

HENGE - Kirkus Reviews

I was very relieved to receive a positive review from Kirkus. I was uncertain since CLAN was fortunate enough to get a great review from the usually hard to please critic and HENGE was quite different from my debut.

"Lovejoy (Clan, 2013) mixes up tradition for her own uses, beginning with her daring choice to make the legendary evil sorceress Morgan Le Fay a young, sympathetic hero."--Kirkus Reviews

I was extremely flattered and honored that HENGE was mentioned as a blend between Harry Potter and Hunger Games--which are two undoubtedly impressive MG-YA series that I deeply respect. With humbleness, I hope fans of both series will enjoy HENGE.






Thank you again, Kirkus! It was an honor as always. 


--Realm 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

HENGE - Happy Book Release Day!

HENGE eBook is out! I hope you'll love the world and characters as much as I do. I started this series in fall of 2011 and I'm so excited for Morgan le Fay's journey. Thank you everyone for supporting me! I appreciate all your comments, sharing of links, and the book reviews. You guys are now the ones who will be bringing life to the world of Le Fay. If you enjoy the book, please do share the information with others. It's the only way for a book to thrive and I appreciate any help! As I mentioned, the paperback will be coming out within a couple weeks so if you're interested in the paperback please check back to see the status. (It takes a little longer to format because it contains illustrations drawn by me.)




Follow this link to buy HENGE!

I'm cracking open this very special bottle of mead from Avebury that I got from the UK during my travels:




The honeybees of Avebury (the largest stone circle in Europe) created the honey for this mead. Both Avebury and Stonehenge took part in inspiring the Henge in the Le Fay Series so my fiance and I thought it'd be appropriate to save this bottle for the HENGE release. 


Here's some music that reminds me of HENGE. Party on:


Cheers everyone!


--Realm

Monday, November 10, 2014

HENGE - Get Ready!

HENGE will release tomorrow! I'm so excited for you to meet Morgan and Merlin. The day starts out with a very nice review from Paula at Her Book Thoughts. Thank you, Paula!

Dear readers, if you want the eBook as soon as it's out, please pre-order for your convenience. Paperbacks will be coming in shortly within the week or two.


!! Morgan VS Merlin !!


GET READY






Get in the mood for HENGE... 
Listen to Roundtable Rival by Lindsey Stirling:






This week, the blog tour through Candace launches! 
Here's the schedule for this week:



11/10
11/11
WS Momma Readers Nook- Author Interview
11/12
Victoria Simcox - Excerpt
Book Briefs- Review
11/13
Mythical Books - Author Interview
11/14
Books and Ashes - Review
Hope to Read - Excerpt
Candace's Book Blog- Review

11/15
11/16
Booklovers Life- Guest Post


Until tomorrow!


--Realm

Friday, November 7, 2014

HENGE - Pre-order Now Available!

Good morning, everyone! The pre-order for HENGE eBook is now open! If you'd like the book as soon as it releases without having to remember the exact date, this option's for you!




I am so so excited! Happy Friday!

Xo,


--Realm

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

HENGE - One Week Away!

Hello, everyone! HENGE comes out next Tuesday! 11/11/14. The eBook will be the first version available. The following week the paperback will release.

I have an art post planned for next week to celebrate and there will undoubtedly be many updates from me. 

The 2-week tour for HENGE begins at Candace's blog next Monday. I'm super excited about it because I got to do some fun guest blogs and an art post.

Also, in case you don't know who Morgan le Fay is, I recommend reading up on her prior. She's a fascinating piece of legend--a powerful and complex sorceress.

Ok! 

Next week. See you there?

Yay!


--Realm

Friday, October 31, 2014

HENGE - Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from the Le Fay Series! I hope your day is full of myth and mystery. For Halloween I am making ghoulish goulash and pumpkin fougasse.   

This year Morgan le Fay is dressed as a medieval sorceress: 



HENGE is out in... two weeks!


--Realm

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

HENGE - Preview

The book release is near! I got the HENGE proof back and am preparing to release the book in two weeks. Below, I am sharing a sneak preview of the book! It's a portion of the first chapter. I hope you enjoy meeting Morgan and Merlin for the first time!







____



After the audience stops clapping, the announcer looks down at his list. “Next… sixteen-year-old fire user Morgan le Fay from Tintagel!”

I swallow. I won’t have time to warm up after all. I rush toward the stage, trying to keep my head up though my legs are quivering. The crowd of people from all over the country is a sea of shadows below me. Camera flashes glimmer like stars. Below the stage, the King’s Cabinet members are seated, wearing fancy suits, gesturing with their cigars. Though they are chatting with each other, they eye me intently.

Music plays: aggressive drums and a flute that follow along with a woman’s haunting song. Putting my hands up, I focus on my fingertips turning as hot as coals. As I concentrate, I grow heavy as force accumulates throughout my body. This is my favorite feeling in the world. Hot energy spawns in my heart like the sun and travels through my arms. My veins burn. My body becomes like the earth, sizzling with flowing lava. The energy sails to my hands, down to my fingertips. Fssssttt—fire sputters to life centimeters from my fingernails. Instantly I become as light as a feather, all the weight having been channeled out of me. The crowd oohs and aahs.

I dance and whirl, trailing fire behind me. It arcs high into the air, drawing gasps from the crowd. Sweat trickles down my forehead, but I do my best to look elegant as I create brilliant, roaring ribbons of fire that hug and spin around my body. I have never performed fire in front of anybody before, and I feel like I’m revealing a big secret. Out of the corner of my eye a young man peers at me from backstage, his eyes full of wonder. I glance at him only once through a blur of gold and red sparks.

Letting the fire retreat back into my hands, I bow as the music finishes, making sure to keep my hot, and possibly still-sparking, hands away from my clothes. Setting my outfit ablaze would be an embarrassing finish. The crowd erupts in applause and cheers. I crack a smile and bow again.

As I walk backstage the young man who was staring at me beams with perfect teeth. Suddenly the temperature in my face rises, and it doesn’t help that I just got done working with fire. I wipe the sweat from my face with the back of my hand and study him. The bright light above shines through his long lashes and illuminates his ash-blond hair and blue eyes, which are the shade of a partially cloudy sky. A somber and wise blue. A smattering of faint freckles dots his nose, like raindrops. He even smells like rain. I have seen a few good-looking boys on the streets of Tintagel before, but I’ve never been hit multidimensionally by someone’s attractiveness.

“You were amazing,” he says to me with a slightly Welsh accent. “I’ve never seen fire like that. Where did you learn it?”

I want to tell him that my grandfather was Hector de Maris. Though Grandfather died of old age ten years ago, he left behind hundreds of articles and interviews that chronicled his life: he was the Maven to King Constantine II; he was rumored to have touched the Grail. But I can’t mention him. I can never speak of Mother’s side of the family. Father warned me that I would never get a job anywhere if people knew Morgause de Maris-Orkney was my mother.

“Thanks,” I simply say. “I’m self-taught.”

“What’s your name?” he asks.

“Morgan. What’s yours?”

“Merlin.”

“Oh, neat—Merlin, like the falcon.”

I vaguely remember merlins occasionally soaring through the forest during my childhood. Merlin certainly is not birdlike, though he does seem like an ethereal creature that stepped out of some sun-dappled woods. I study his clothes. He wears a light blue suit and matching tie. He notices my stare.

I clear my throat. “That’s a nice tie. Did your parents get it for you?”

Merlin averts his eyes but maintains his smile. “I don’t have parents. These clothes were donated to me.”

I color as a pang of guilt pricks me for making an assumption. “Ah, well, it’s really nice. Better than my old clothes.”

“I think your clothes look nice too,” he says.

The way he looks at me gives me a boost of confidence. “I see that you’re dressed in blue,” I say, smiling. “Are you a water user?”

He nods. On TV, water users are often categorized as boring splash makers. Maybe he chose formal wear because he doesn’t plan on physically moving around too much.

The announcer speaks. “Next, we have a water user… sixteen-year-old Merlin Ambrosius from Wales!”

“You’re up. Good luck,” I say and give him a quick wink.

He blushes. I don’t think I’ve ever given anyone a wink in my life. Maybe performing fire has given me a rush of boldness.

Still pink in the face, Merlin keeps his head down as he walks onto the stage. As the light centers on him, he looks up at the ceiling like he’s spacing out. As I watch him, waiting for him to do something, I become embarrassed for him. What is he doing? He blinks a few times. Regardless, the pianist begins his song. Classical—clean and simple.

A ball of water appears in the air above his head. It wobbles around in a circle, fighting gravity as the water bloats. The crowd laughs, watching the struggling blob. Merlin continues to look up—he blissfully closes his eyes, as if he’s under a spring rain shower.

The blob starts to quiver like jelly, precariously close to collapsing. Before I can flinch, it’s falling. Then the blob sprouts wings. Dovelike wings. The crowd gasps. The water bird rises up above Merlin and flies with glassy wings that undulate and catch the light with each flap.

I scrutinize the water bird, my neck craning. The complexity of manipulating a thin sheet of water without breaking form… how is it possible? The delicate but heavy wings fight the laws of physics.

The bird splits up into more birds—all equal in size, which means that Merlin can produce water with ease. My fists clench as I continue to watch him. I’ve never seen someone so young able to make complex shapes. Six gleaming birds fly in circles around Merlin. They then separate above his head in a geometrically perfect hexagon. Merlin also understands spatial precision. The birds all turn toward the center, above his head, then fly at each other, collapsing with a succession of splashes. The crowd gasps again.

The water doesn’t fall down. It turns into a rose. Wavering, crystal petals. Diamond thorns. A water rose that traps the stadium light inside it.

The amount of control it must take to fight gravity, to form water into those petals, those thorns.

The piano music cascades as the rose divides and loops into the air, bending into letters.

M

o

Morgan

My cheeks grow hot. The letters turn into six roses again, twisting together, winding, winding. The roses coil into a caterpillar. A butterfly bursts from the caterpillar. Then the shimmering butterfly flies into his hand. He closes his hand around it with gentle slowness, his eyes cast down. When he opens his hand again, it’s dry.

Then he bows.

People are so stunned that they forget to applaud. Slowly someone begins to clap, and then everyone is screaming and hooting and cheering. The applause crashes into my eardrums, each clap striking at my heart. A standing ovation. Some people are even wiping tears from their eyes.

I stare, bewildered. I couldn’t have anticipated this. Merlin was supposed to be like those kids I watched on TV who accidentally used water, making a little splash, staining their clothes as if they wet themselves. So where did Merlin learn his magic?

The show goes on in a fog as my mouth goes dry. In my peripheral vision, as distant to me as figurines going round and round on a jewel box, other contestants dance and show their magic. Nothing directly catches my eye. I want to fast-forward to when the judges rank us. All my childhood, I stayed sheltered with no friends while other kids went to school and played. I spent my time practicing fire magic by the sea. I have no distractions from my goal. My will is pure, driven by madness. “Nothing is more powerful than madness,” my mother used to say.

After the final show the announcer talks loudly, but his words don’t reach me. I hear him say my name, and I walk up to the stage with mechanical stiffness. It feels as if it’s all happening in slow motion. The crowd is still a blur. He swings a heavy medallion around my neck.

It bears the number two.






(End of HENGE preview. I hope you enjoyed reading! If you'd like to read the rest, stay tuned for the book release on 11/11, or contact Candace or me for a free review copy, and add HENGE to your Goodreads book shelf!)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Artist in Cascadian Subduction Zone

This month I had the honor of being the featured artist in Cascadian Subduction Zone magazine which is focusing on women and the gaming world. It's the first time I've gone more in depth on my background and I also show a range of art from videogames to my novels, including images from HENGE. The cover features my artwork from CLAN. The magazine also contains a lot of articles from talented people in the industry, so I hope you'll check this out! 




I got the printed version... Check it out!







--Realm