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Princess in Exile Release Day!

Princess in Exile Ebook CoverToday sees the release of my fifth book, Princess in Exile. Even more exciting for me is the fact that this book continues the story of Princess Alecia Zialni, whom readers met in my first ever published book, Princess Avenger.

I can’t tell you how exciting and satisfying this day is. I can finally give my readers what they’ve been craving since Princess Avenger first hit the marketplace. And there is more to come in Alecia’s story. Here is the blurb:

Princess Alecia and shapeshifter Vard flee Brightcastle, pursued by mercenaries, with Vard battling transformation into his least controllable form- the bear. They travel to a lost city, hoping a sorcerer there may help Vard master his gift. The lovers soon discover he has his own devious agenda. Will Vard and Alecia escape? Can their love survive Alecia’s fear of Vard’s animal forms? What secret does the princess hold with the power to destroy Vard’s trust?

The answers to all this and more are contained in the pages of Princess in Exile, the dark sequel to Princess Avenger.

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Princess in Exile- teaser

Princess in Exile Ebook CoverPrincess in Exile- Brightcastle Saga Book 2 isn’t far away now. Release day is the 13th of April! Here is a little more information to get your imaginations churning. If you haven’t already read Princess Avenger, then now is the time to do it. It’s available FREE by clicking the link to the right. If you read on Kindle, then you can get it in a duo with The Lady’s Choice, by clicking World of Thorius boxed set- two books for $2.99.

Princess Alecia Zialni flees her arranged marriage with the help of the dangerous Vard Anton, shapeshifter and former army captain. Blinded by love, they believe they can have a life together but every encounter with the mercenaries sent to find them, pushes Vard towards his least controllable form- the gigantic brown bear.

Desperate to find a mentor who will help him control his transformations, Vard travels with Alecia to a forgotten city where a powerful sorcerer resides. But this wizard is in league with the dark elves and the lovers soon discover he has his own dangerous agenda.

Will Vard and Alecia escape the clutches of the sorcerer who would use Alecia’s position to advance the dark elven cause? Can their love survive despite Alecia’s fear of Vard’s animal transformations? What secret does the princess hold that has the power to destroy the trust Vard has in her?

The answers to all this and more are contained in the pages of Princess in Exile, the dark sequel to Princess Avenger.

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4 weeks until The Elf King’s Lady!

0515 The Elf King's Lady_FinalActually it’s less than four weeks as this is late! Last week’s winner was Pam and her favourite hero, described in five words was: Blonde tall blue eyed hero.

That is certainly one of the stereotypical heroes and a favourite with many. My favourite is more like General Kain Jazara from The Elf King’s Lady or Captain Vard Anton from Princess Avenger– tall, dark, brooding and mysterious; a man not easy to get close to but one who is loyal once he falls in love.

This week, to mark four weeks from release of The Elf King’s Lady, I want to shift the focus to the girls. Please describe in four words, your ideal heroine. The winner can select any one of my books for their very own.

Until next week…

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The Avenging Princess Returns

Princess Avenger Ebook coverYes, you heard it here first! The avenging princess Alecia is back and looking better than ever. After much thought, I decided to self publish my first two titles, previously published with Penguin Australia: Princess Avenger and The Lady’s Choice. Both have new covers and will be available from all good ebook retailers.

The Lady's Choice Cover- newAdded to that news, I have plans to complete the trilogy begun with Princess Avenger:

Book 2 of the Brightcastle Saga is Princess in Exile– already written and in the editing process.

Book 3 of the Brightcastle Saga is The Queen Returns

The covers of these two books I will hold close to my chest until closer to their release dates.

Also remembering that this year sees the release of my two Momentum Australia titles: The Lord and the Mermaid and Love Alliance. You can read an outline of these stories on my Coming Soon page.

Next week, the cover reveal of The Lord and the Mermaid is planned so watch this space! It’s release date is June 2015.

 

 

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The Witch

Wicket Witch of the WestMagic is integral to high fantasy and ‘the witch’ is central to the magic in many of these stories. The witch or sorceress wields her magic for good or ill and is often maligned. Popular culture is adorned with witches of all kinds, from the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz to one of my personal favourites, Polgara in David Eddings’ Belgariad series. Classically, the witch is hideous, with warts and whiskers. She might fly on a broom and make potions which can turn a man into a toad or make a princess sleep for a hundred years. Our fairy tales are full of nasty witches.

SorceressHowever in high fantasy, it is very common for a sorceress to be a force for good and also to be beautiful. Polgara could shift into the shape of an owl and was a powerful positive influence in the communities she worked in. The Aes sedai in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series were servants of all and devoted to various and distinct pursuits. Whether they were healing the sick, fighting wars, seeking justice and knowledge or mediating in kingdom disputes, they were virtuous- most of the time.

Hermione GrangerThis is one of the attractions of fantasy: that there is such variety. Your witch can be the most evil woman who has ever walked your world or she can be the saviour of that world. She can be the heroine or she can be the mentor, guiding the hero in his coming into power, as Polgara did for Belgarion and Moraine did for Rand in The Wheel of Time series.

Belatrix LestrangeIn Princess Avenger, I have a ‘classic’ witch, Hetty, who is Princess Alecia’s mentor. Alecia has no mother so Hetty fills this void and is always on hand to give sage advice or heal a wound if Alecia gets herself into hot water. She crops up again in The Lady’s Choice where a spell she casts at the behest of Squire Ramón causes a bucket load of trouble.  In The Lady’s Choice, Benae appears to be a normal woman, but she can speak mind to mind with her horse and she can delve and heal with her mind.

The Lady's Choice Cover- high resI guess it’s not surprising that much of magic is centred on healing. In my fantasy world, medicine was primitive and a magical cure could save a queen or send a valued soldier back to the battlefield. Many modern techniques and medicines are still regarded as magical.

But no matter how the magic is used, witches in fantasy stand apart. They may do good but they are regarded with suspicion because they aren’t understood. This makes them lonely and puts them at risk. They guard their privacy and often live in a community in disguise. Witches and sorceresses live their secret lives with the people but their influences can extend right to the throne and beyond.

No wonder I love fantasy!

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The Fantasy World

Kain JazaraOver the last two posts I’ve outlined the sword and the quest, two critical components of high fantasy and both very close to my heart. Today, my exploration will lead us into The Fantasy World.

Coastal Scene (123)- cliffsIn many fantasies, the world takes on the status of a character and many authors spend innumerable hours in what we writers call world-building. For some authors, the world will come first and they won’t start writing until all the rules and geography of the world is in place. Many readers love being taken out of their land and dropped into the middle of a different realm, one that can come to be as familiar to them as their everyday surroundings. If the author has done their job, the fantasy world makes sense to the reader and everything that occurs in the story follows the rules of that reality.

High fantasy worlds are antiquated, their technology roughly Middle Ages or pre industrial. Life is hard, people die young of diseases, wars are fought in hand to hand combat, ladies wear extravagant gowns and the men, breeches. Travel is by foot, horse or carriage and food is harvested by hand. The world may even have a map as most authors want to be able to visualise their worlds. Maps help the author to get distances and travel times right as well as directions. As a fantasy reader, I love maps as they help me to orient myself in that world.

RainforestThe most important aspect of high fantasy worlds which sets them apart from reality is magic. Magic can take many forms. It may come from witches and warlocks or from the forest itself. Dragons and other creatures can have magic powers. In Princess Avenger, the magic potions of Hetty the witch come up against the transformative talents of Vard the shape shifter. Benae, in The Lady’s Choice, had a magical talent for healing and also the gift of being able to speak mind to mind with her horse Flaire. Magic in fantasy stories is only limited by the imagination of the author. It is what takes a life a drudgery and pain and creates wonder and light and perhaps a triumph of good over evil.

The Lady's Choice Cover- high resSo, imagine the world of the Middle Ages, add magic and you have The Fantasy World. No wonder so many of us are captivated by this genre.

 

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The Quest

Arrow in full kitIn fantasy stories, there is usually a quest or an epic journey towards a goal. This often involves much travel and exposes the reader to exotic characters and locations. What sort of goal am I talking about? The journey is usually undertaken by a hero or heroine with the help of others. They may have to find a mythical sword or convey a magical ring of power through enemy territory in the hope of destroying it; all the while, keeping the object from falling into the hands of the evil lord, of course.

There may be several books needed to finish the tale. In Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, the quest was to destroy the dark lord for once and for all. Hero Rand had to come into his power to achieve this as did many of the other characters.

Benae prayingThe fantasy genre is the champion of the series and the reason for this is the quest. You don’t solve all of the world’s pressing concerns in one book, especially if your hero must grow into their power before they can achieve their goal. The momentum of the quest swings back and forwards between good and evil, keeping the reader on tenterhooks. At the close of each book, there will be an ending, but not THE ending.

Princess Avenger High Res CoverIn a fantasy romance, the hero and heroine will be on a quest to win true love, but both may also have secondary journeys. These often get in the way of the primary goal which is a happily ever after. In Princess Avenger, Vard and Alecia are drawn to each other, but Alecia’s vendetta and Vard’s need for a mentor threaten the achieving of their true love. The same could be said in The Lady’s Choice. Ramon’s quest to find Alecia, and Benae’s drive to marry a wealthy prince, make it almost impossible to achieve a future together.

The Lady's Choice Cover- high resAt the end of a long quest, when the reader has devoted hours to following the hero on their journey of growth and achievement, there is nothing more satisfying than the attainment of that goal whether it be peace on Earth or true love.

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Fantasy Swords

Knight with SwordOver the next few months, I thought I would outline some of the fantasy icons and in particular, high fantasy. This will give readers an idea of the influences in my writing.

One of my favourite fantasy icons is the sword. This weapon features in most high fantasy stories. Its importance as a weapon of this genre can’t be denied but its value goes much further than that. Proficiency with the sword is a given when you’re dealing with an alpha male hero. Usually this hero will be a blade master and the insignia on his sword may reflect this. An awareness of fighting a blade master casts fear into the heart of opponents. There also may be a learning of sword play as a hero grows into his power as Rand did in The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.

Kain JazaraSword play is romanticized as a dance in many fantasy stories. The opponents move around each other, using forms that may be named and creating a mesmerising spectacle for those watching and reading.  The sword of a blade master may be manufactured of special metals, imbued with magic that means the blade will never lose its edge and there may only be a limited number of that sword created. This enhances the value of such a weapon and the wielder becomes the stuff of legend.

Of course the sword may be unique and magical such as Excalibur, the mythical sword of King Arthur. His ability to draw it from the stone proclaimed his kingship although many say the sword in the stone and Excalibur were not one and the same. It doesn’t really matter and Excalibur played almost as large a role in those stories as King Arthur himself.

Princess Avenger High Res CoverThere are no special swords in my stories as yet but there are swordsmen, for whom the sword is merely an extension of the hand. My hero Vard from Princess Avenger is a supreme swordsman, able to best anyone in the kingdom. His proficiency with this weapon is in stark contrast to his struggle to master his shape shifting talents. His battle to control his animal transformations is the crux of why there must be more to tell between Vard and Alecia.

Ramón, my hero in The Lady’s Choice, has come into his mastery of the sword since Princess Avenger, determined to thwart Vard and rescue Alecia. Lady Benae has other plans when she meets Ramón, seeing in him a man of honour and courage who moves with the fluid grace of the master bladesman.

The Lady's Choice Cover- high resAnd so you see there is romanticism in the sword; in its beauty, its magic and even its power. Whether the sword is pulled from a stone, rises from a lake, is handed down from father to son or found in a dusty chest under a bed, each has a tale to tell and a part to play in high fantasy stories.

 

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Fantasy Creation

Mermaid 1(123)Wow, it’s been a while since I last blogged and I can only blame the fact that I’ve been held prisoner by the process of creating my next manuscript. Love Thy Enemy, the story of beautiful mermaid Merielle and her dashing sea captain Nikolas Cosara has been put aside, awaiting a publisher, and I’ve turned my attention to secondary characters from The Lady’s Choice: Ramón’s sister Lady Alique Zorba and the dark and dangerous army captain Kain Jazara.

Alique ZorbaThe two strike sparks off each other when they are brought together by Nikolas Cosara and then find themselves up against the burgeoning invasion by dark elves into the kingdom. Kain is faced with the daunting prospect of having all that he has known ripped from him and Alique must decide if she can accept the startling revelations from Kain’s past.

We are introduced to new characters who will inhabit coming books and one of these is Gwaethe, an elven princess. The cast of characters is ever expanding but many readers will want to know if we are ever to return to the love story of Alecia and Vard from Princess Avenger.

Kain JazaraLet me reveal that part two of their love story is already written and again awaiting a publisher. I hope to have some news on that before the end of the year. In the third part of the trilogy, I plan to draw together the stories that have gone before and Vard and Alecia will have the happily ever after they deserve.

I wish to finish this by thanking you all for your support. Please be assured that the kingdom lives on and new stories are being added with all your favourite characters. Who is your favourite so far?

 

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Bernadette Talks

Destiny Promo PhotoI’ve been excited about the response to Dr Monique’s review of Princess Avenger. Her words really resonated with you, the reader, as proven by the number of views of Book Review-Princess Avenger. As an author, the most gratifying thing of all is connecting with your reader and hearing their impression of your words on the page. This passage of Monique’s says it all for me:Princess Avenger High Res Cover

I really enjoyed the book and became completely engrossed in the story.  I felt a connection with the characters and found myself being swept away with the emotion and passion pouring out of the pages.  I would read for chapters on end and forget where reality was, drawn into the life of the princess, feeling like I was right there next to her hiding in the dark alleyways.

I feel I’ve succeeded in what I set out to do with Princess Avenger: to entertain the reader and allow them the ultimate escape; to take them to a magical world and let their imagination do the rest. I thought you might like further insights into Princess Avenger and what writing means to me and so I’ve included the link to this Youtube video, recorded in August 2012. I hope you enjoy it.