Friday, July 25
It's 11:45 as I type this.
In thirty minutes, I'll be over at The Romance Bistro (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Romance_Bistro
) for my big writing/publishing discussion bash. It runs until 7-ish eastern time, so please stop in if you can today. Ask a question about writing, publishing, my work, anything!
Faith Bicknell-Brown, Author and Editor
A.K.A. author Zinnia Hope
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Saturday, July 12
Many of you have read posts and blogs about the first book in my Daughters of Trinity Series called THORN OF EBON. This novella turned into a category length novel. At a touch over 40K, Thorn of Ebon is erotic high fantasy with a very unusual romance between Princess Loilati, who kicks ass when provoked, and Sir Greensleeve, a very erotic Gloaming Elf.
Like dragons? Well, this book has a dragon that's going to rock cyberspace!
And throw in some gods and goddesses who like to meddle in Mortal and Fae affairs, a dwarf and his war pony who provide comedic relief, and several other unique characters and you have a wild ride through one magical world into another and another.
Here's an excerpt from Thorn of Ebon. Watch for it August 1st at www.freyasbower.com
A falcon called from high above them. It circled and soared towards the west.
“I don’t have a good feeling about that bird,” said Loilati. “A falcon means—”
“Riders!” Dikartha yelled.
“By the Underworld,” Hestbone said. “Those aren’t just any riders. Those are Southlanders bent on battle or...slaughter.”
“But they came from the west.” Dikartha urged her horse over next to Hoggr.
Enroh shook his head, his braids swinging from side to side. “The Southlanders know Loilati is coming. They have skirted to the west to surprise us.”
A note of panic tinged Lady Evanesce’s voice. “What do we do?”
Dimly, the pounding of hooves across the plains reached Loilati’s ears and matched the pace of her heart.
The Gloaming Elf asked, “Does anyone possess magic that will thwart them?”
“I’m but a seer,” said Beron.
Everyone else stared back at Sir Greensleeve, their gazes wide, and shook their heads.
The thunder of hooves grew louder, and Loilati wished she could do more than blend with flora and fauna, wield a sword, or joust in holiday tournaments.
“Then we flee,” said Enroh. “Back to the Great Wood. If we can make it there, we might be able to lose them.”
“There’s too many,” said Beron.
“We have no other choice,” the dwarf shouted. “Now go. Run!”
Dikartha and the lady spun their horses about and kicked their flanks. With tails high, the steeds galloped full speed back the way they had come. Kaedric nudged his steed into action and raced off after them.
Hoggr raised his head high, his nostrils flaring. Prancing to one side, he shook his head up and down.
“What’s wrong with him?” Beron asked, his fingers digging into Loilati’s sides as he held on.
“He’s a warhorse,” answered Loilati. “He’s bred to fight.”
“Well, let me ride with someone else,” her brother cried. “I’m bred to flee.”
“Ach, get ye to the woods, Princess.” The dwarf turned his pony around and heeled his sides hard. The pony shrieked and pounded after the women and Kaedric as fast as his stout legs would allow.
“Flee!” Enroh bellowed as his horse charged past her.
“Hoggr run!” Loilati yanked on his reins. “Please!” She imbedded her boot heels into his flanks. The horse half reared, shook his head, and pulled against the bit. Behind her, Beron hissed his surprise and nearly cut off her air as he clamped his arms around her middle to hold on.
“Loilati, hurry!” someone called.
She glanced towards the others. Enroh had stopped his horse and turned it sideways. He motioned for her follow.
“Hoggr won’t move,” she shouted back. “He wants to fight.”
“You are his mistress. Convince him to flee.”
Loilati looked to the west. The riders rode enormous warhorses. Although not as large as Hoggr, they still presented a frightening image advancing towards her in a blot of black, brown, sorrel, and gray, their hoofbeats growing louder with each passing second. Horned helmets adorned each rider’s head; some of the marauders held swords in the air, others spears. One rider in the front carried a long pole with the Southlander’s banner atop it. A gust of wind pointed the flag due east. The South’s emblem, a red falcon with talons and wings outstretched, presented a bold image against a black background. The wind continued to bluster across the plains, as if heralding their arrival. The faint aroma of filthy, sweaty men and hot horseflesh offended Loilati’s nose.
She looked back at Enroh. Beyond him, the women and Kaedric kept riding, their capes whipping out behind them, forms growing smaller until they passed over the farthest rise. Between them and Enroh, the dwarf had somehow realized that she and the elf were not behind him. He whirled his pony around and charged back towards them.
“Beron, get off the horse,” said Loilati.
“Are you serious?”
“Get off of Hoggr!”
“Nay, Loilati. Father sent me to—”
With her elbow, Loilati jabbed backwards. Air rushed out of her brother’s lungs, stirring the hair on one side of her face. She turned in the saddle and shoved him off Hoggr’s back. Beron’s eyes widened an instant before he plummeted over the side and landed in a heap of long arms, legs, and tan cape in the tall grass.
“Freya went to Thor to get you,” Loilati addressed her steed. “I suppose you shall protect me...yes?”
Somehow, the horse understood her words. Hoggr danced to one side, his great hooves sounding hollow on the ground.
Scrambling away, Beron stared up at her, his eyes full of shock. “Have you taken leave of your senses, Sister?”
“I’m the reckless one, the favorite.”
Enroh and Sir Hestbone pounded towards her. “Princess, what are you doing?” the dwarf’s gruff voice reached her, but she ignored his query.
“Attack!” Loilati yelled.
The great steed lunged forward nearly unseating her. The wind screamed through Loilati’s ears as Hoggr raced over a rise and down the other side. The reins and her fingers tangled in his mane. She squeezed her knees as hard as she could to keep from falling off. Although huge in size, riding such a large animal felt like she was careening down a hill in an empty, run-away wagon, each jolt so hard she feared her teeth would fall out.
“I pray you know what you are doing,” she screamed, but the wind ripped her words away.
The band of riders drew closer. Upon seeing the colossal horse barreling towards them, they halted. Perhaps they were uncertain, or perhaps merely stunned that only one rider raged across the plains.
“Freya, hear me,” said Loilati. The wind stung her eyes, and tears trickled from their corners. “I know not what to do.”
Hoggr thundered straight for the Southlanders. The men urged their steeds into action again, and faintly, a battle cry fell upon her ears.
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Sunday, July 6
In my latest newsletter, I offered a free PDF to subscribers. I've decided that I'd like to offer it to some of the groups I belong to as well. The free e-book I'm offering is called Without Camouflage.
Genre: magic realism
Length: about 4,000 words
BLURB: Fran's on the run from a murderous ex-husband. Securing herself in a mountain cabin, she makes friends with her neighbor, Charlotte, a nature artist. Charlotte relays some Native American legends and leaves Fran one of her paintings as a gift, but when Fran's ex finds her, it takes more than a legend to save her life.
If you'd like a copy of Without Camouflage, just send an email to fbicknellbrown@ gmail.com (close the space) and put FREE PDF in the subject. I will email a copy of the story to you. The lovely Jambrea of my Avoid Writers' Hell group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Avoid_Writers_Hell) created a cover for it on very short notice. Thank you so much Jambrea! If you'd like to visit her, the ebook includes her info.
Also, I hope that some of you will sign up for my newsletter. I'll be offering free reads, excerpts, and contests, but I work very hard at publishing material in it that is unique from the traditional newsletters. Here's the link: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bickbrownZHnewsletter
NOTE: Be sure to set your membership to individual emails and to set your email to allow html coding should you like to see the graphics included in it.
Summer blessings going your way,
Faith Bicknell-Brown a.k.a. Zinnia Hope
Managing Editor of WildChildPublishing.com/Freyasbower.com
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