The Rolling Writer

Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet 113- Sonya

It’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors! Every Sunday, a bunch of writers post 8-10-sentence snippets from their WIPs on their blogs. There’s a lot of reading, commenting and great writing. Click on the link to see the full list.

The Forsaken Crown comes out in just a few days, so I’ll share another snippet from it. While Kendryk is fighting it out in the council chamber, the other main character, Sonya, is having a run-in with a group of raiders on the eastern frontier. Zeki is Sonya’s horse. Edited from the published version.

Sonya drove straight for the nearest raider, a woman with a dark leathery face under a shaggy hat.

The woman held two curved blades, guiding her pony like she knew her business.

Sonya grinned. She knew her business just as well, and met the woman’s steel with her own as they crashed together.

The pony backed up, then danced sideways.

Zeki turned straight into them, and Sonya’s sword came down onto the woman’s shoulder. These sorts seldom wore armor of any kind, and this woman was no exception. Sonya’s blade bit into her, and the woman screamed.

Sonya drove her sword straight down, dragging the woman to the ground, and the pony ran off without a second glance.

Sonya pulled her blade free of the body and looked for her next target.

 

Sonya, an ambitious mercenary intent on commanding her own army, vowed nothing would stand in her way. But then she ran afoul of the most powerful woman in the empire. Humiliated and condemned, she must now struggle to survive.

Kendryk has a vast kingdom to rule, though he isn’t old enough to do it on his own. But when he learns his regent,  Duke Desmond, wants to seize the throne, the stakes turn deadly.  With no one he can turn to, young Kendryk is forced to rely on an outsider.

Now their destinies have intertwined and the fate of the kingdom is at stake. Can Sonya and Kendryk overcome their pasts and mistrust to find a path to victory? Or will the forces arrayed against them triumph?

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Book Review: Smoke Sky by Amy Braun

It seems like it was just last week that I reviewed another prequel novella of Amy’s: Amber Sky. It was actually a month ago, and now there’s Smoke Sky, which takes place after Amber, but before Crimson Sky, first in the Dark Skies trilogy.

To survive in a horrific world overseen by bloodthirsty monsters, young thief Gemma will do whatever she must to see another day. Even though that means working for a damaged man convinced to make her a permanent member of this thuggish family. 

So when her employer tells her that he’ll release her from his clutches, Gemma is obviously skeptical. Especially since the job is easy enough– recruit the two marauders that the gang has been spying on to take her place. 

But as Gemma lies to Nash and Sawyer, she commits the greatest mistake a spy can make–– she begins to see them as friends, and perhaps more. Soon, she will have to choose: Sacrifice two strangers to ensure freedom from a brutal future, or risk her life to save them… 

Set two years before the events of CRIMSON SKY, this prequel novella tells the story of how Gemma met Nash and Sawyer, and what prompted her to chose their safety over her own. While best enjoyed before reading CRIMSON SKY, this bonus story can be read at any time or enjoyed as a standalone.

 

While I enjoyed Amber Sky, I might like Smoke Sky just a bit better. Gemma is a wonderful protagonist; Braun specializes in writing these badass, yet intensely human female characters. As always the action scenes are amazing, and I found myself holding my breath more than once.

The Hellions- particularly unlikable monsters who feed on humans- are super scary, but the human bad guys are worse. At least to me, the element of psychologically toying with their victims is especially unpleasant. Which makes Fletcher, the main bad guy, bad in a super-creepy sort of way. Fun!

Though I’m not a big fan of romance, I adored Gemma and Nash’s burgeoning relationship. They seem extremely well-suited to each other, and his sweetness was the perfect way to meet her cautious vulnerability. I also enjoyed the verbal sparring between Gemma and Sawyer. These guys will make a great crew!

The story pulled me along so effectively, I read this in almost one sitting. Always a sign of a great read!

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Get The Forsaken Crown Paperback Now!

Even though the ebook won’t be live until the 13th, you can already get the paperback version of The Forsaken Crown. It’s only $9.99, which is around half of what my other books cost. Just as pretty, though a bit skinnier. Click on the cover below to get yours.

the-forsaken-crown-pb

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Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet 112- Kendryk

wewriwa2It’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors! Every Sunday, a bunch of writers post 8-10-sentence snippets from their WIPs on their blogs. There’s a lot of reading, commenting and great writing. Click on the link to see the full list.

I missed you guys last week! I was having a lovely long weekend off in Eugene, Oregon, during which time I did as little as possible. It was nice, but now it’s back to work. The Forsaken Crown releases December 13! You can check out the cover and blurb below.

This book takes place about 7 years (please don’t look at my timeline too closely!) before Rise of the Storm. Kendryk is fifteen, and already Prince of Terragand, although a regent is in charge until he turns seventeen.The regent-Duke Desmond-constantly sidelines Kendryk, but in this snippet our little prince barges in on a council meeting uninvited. Edited from the published version.

“Your Grace,” Duke Desmond said, his tone smooth, his eyes unpleasant, “There’s no need for you to be here; we can take care of everything.” The duke was tall, blond, and nearly handsome but for the reptilian cast to his blue eyes. Kendryk never looked into them for long.

“I know.” Kendryk resolved to stay calm. Gaining a reputation for throwing childish tantrums was not helpful. Though he hadn’t ever thrown a tantrum—just raised his voice a little—someone had started a rumor to that effect. Kendryk suspected Desmond, though he couldn’t prove it. “But it’s time I became involved in Terragand’s everyday affairs.”

Kendryk slid into a chair at the foot of the table; he’d see he got his rightful place at the head at the next meeting.

 

the-forsaken-crown-med

 

Sonya, an ambitious mercenary intent on commanding her own army, vowed nothing would stand in her way. But then she ran afoul of the most powerful woman in the empire. Humiliated and condemned, 

 Kendryk has a vast kingdom to rule, though he isn’t old enough to do it on his own. But when he learns his regent,  Duke Desmond, wants to seize the throne, the stakes turn deadly.  With no one he can turn to, young Kendryk is forced to rely on an outsider.

Now their destinies have intertwined and the fate of the kingdom is at stake. Can Sonya and Kendryk overcome their pasts and mistrust to find a path to victory? Or will the forces arrayed against them triumph?

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The Forsaken Crown Cover Reveal!

Because I’m releasing two books close together, this one has mostly lurked quietly in the background. #8Sunday participants got a tiny sneak peek, but aside from that, I haven’t said much about it. But since it comes out December 13, I thought I’d better get to it!

The Forsaken Crown takes place about 7 years before Rise of the Storm, and concerns Kendryk’s early adventures in politics and dealing with mean people. Sonya is another main character, created just for this story. I hope you love her as much as I do. You’ll also catch more than just a glimpse of our favorite villains. So here you go; cover and blurb below.

the-forsaken-crown-med

Sonya, an ambitious mercenary intent on commanding her own army, vowed nothing would stand in her way. But then she ran afoul of the most powerful woman in the empire. Humiliated and condemned, she now must struggle to survive.

 Kendryk has a vast kingdom to rule, though he isn’t old enough to do it on his own. But when he learns his regent,  Duke Desmond, wants to seize the throne, the stakes turn deadly.  With no one he can turn to, young Kendryk is forced to rely on an outsider.

Now their destinies have intertwined and the fate of the kingdom is at stake. Can Sonya and Kendryk overcome their pasts and mistrust to find a path to victory? Or will the forces arrayed against them triumph?

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#8Sunday: Winter of the Wolf Deleted Scene-Elektra

wewriwa2It’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors! Every Sunday, a bunch of writers post 8-10-sentence snippets from their WIPs on their blogs. There’s a lot of reading, commenting and great writing. Click on the link to see the full list.

Winter of the Wolf is live! I’m running a little launch sale, and including several deleted chapters, but only until the 23rd. More details below.

From the files of It Never Happened: I cut a scene where Kendryk and Anton visit Edric Maximus before going in search of Kendryk’s family. While Elektra and Anton do meet in this book, it happens much later. Originally, I had them meet in Edric’s library in one of the early chapters. Elektra is brushing up on her theology in preparation for a conversation with Kendryk, and Anton has been napping in front of the fire. She wakes him up accidentally. Edited from the published version.

“Anton Kronek, at your service,” he bowed, still smiling.

Elektra couldn’t tell if he was mocking her, so she kept her look haughty and said, “Elektra Inferrara,” then extended her hand.

The smile fled. “The Empress Teodora’s daughter?” He took her hand all the same, though his lips never touched it and he dropped it quickly, as if he afraid he might catch something.

“Yes,” she stared at him unsmiling, and asked, “I’m sorry, are you one of Prince Kendryk’s servants?”

His smile returned, “I’m here with the prince, but I’m not a servant; I’m one of his cavalry officers and his traveling companion.”

Elektra tried to remember any Kroneks among the Moraltan nobility, but none came to mind. “How nice,” she said, “where are you going?”

“Galladium,” the boy replied, and then his face fell, “I shouldn’t have said that; it’s a secret.”

Anton likes the ladies, but it’s unlikely he’ll warm up to a daughter of Teodora’s. At least not this one. Read more ›

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Winter of the Wolf Launch Special!

wwbanner

Winter of the Wolf is here! To celebrate the launch, I’m offering it at $2.99- half price- until the 23rd. In addition, I’m including seven chapters worth of bonus content at the end- deleted scenes that didn’t make the final cut for various reasons. Those will only be available for the first few days as well. So be sure to grab your copy before the 23rd!

Here’s what early reviewers are saying:

“Christina Ochs brilliantly balances court intrigue and human emotion in this book, without compromising the strength of the characters.”

“Rippin’ good yarn, edge of the seat all the way …….”

“My only possible complaint would be that, even though it’s the longest book in the series yet, it still didn’t seem long enough. I can’t wait for book five!”

Click on the cover to get your copy. Read more ›

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Free Historical Novels on Instafreebie

historicalinstafreebie

For the next few days, I’m part of another Instafreebie promo, but rather than join my usual fantasy crowd, this time we’re promoting historical novels. This includes historical romance and historical fantasy, which is why you’ll see Rise of the Storm there. Click here, then choose which books you want. They’re all free in exchange for signing up to the author’s mailing list.

If you scroll down, you’ll see some books are also available through Kindle’s matchbook program. This means if you buy the paperback, as a holiday gift for instance (hint hint), you get the ebook free. Rise of the Storm is listed there as well, but all of my paperbacks are set up with free ebook matching.

One more day until Winter of the Wolf goes live! I’m a little excited. 🙂

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Character Profile: Elektra

elektraUnsurprisingly, Teodora is not a very hands-on mother. For the most part, that’s a good thing; her charming personality hasn’t really rubbed off on her children. Still, having Teodora as your mommy dearest is bound to leave its mark, and as her oldest child, Elektra has had to bear the brunt of her … eccentricity.

As Teodora’s heir, Elektra enters the story way back in Valley of the Shadow. She’s only thirteen, but being sent on a military campaign so she can inform on her mother’s general and nemesis-in-chief, Brynhild Mattila. When Mattila defeats King Arryk, Elektra narrowly escapes being married off to him. Recently widowed, he’s really not in the mood to hang out with anyone related to Teodora.

On her way back to her mother, our good friend Braeden temporarily loses his mind and kidnaps Elektra, intending to kill her and send head to her mother. Against all odds, Elektra turns out to be a fast talker and convinces Braeden to help her kill her mother instead. But she’s lying, and when she betrays Braeden, things get crazy.

Elektra is my wildcard. Compared to many of the other main characters, her personality isn’t very strong. She hasn’t really figured out who she is.

She’s extremely ambitious, and really wants to be empress someday. But so far, she has very little to back up that ambition, aside from a bit of canny resourcefulness and some military ability. She’s plain in appearance and of average intelligence. Perhaps her most interesting feature is a streak of religious fanaticism, encouraged by Livilla Maxima, someone Elektra considers a mentor and one of the few people she loves.

That religious fervor has brought Elektra through a number of trials and setbacks, but in Winter of the Wolf, it will be challenged like never before. Elektra becomes more important than ever, but she’s still a pawn, and frankly, getting sick of it. She’s one of the characters I’m most looking forward to writing in the next book. There’s still no telling what she’ll do!

 

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Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet 110- Maryna

wewriwa2It’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors! Every Sunday, a bunch of writers post 8-10-sentence snippets from their WIPs on their blogs. There’s a lot of reading, commenting and great writing. Click on the link to see the full list.

From Winter of the Wolf: Kendryk and Gwynneth’s daughter Maryna has traveled to her uncle’s kingdom in an attempt to flush out Teodora’s plot against him. After being crowned heir to the kingdom, Maryna is attacked by an assassin who sneaks into her room late at night. For some reason, the guards outside her room can’t get in. Fortunately, Natalya gave Maryna a knife. Slightly edited from the published version.

Her guards were breaking down the door, and she prayed they’d be inside soon; in the meantime she had to stay alive.

Maryna saw a dark bundle on her bed, and launched herself onto it, knife first. She gritted her teeth as the short blade plunged into soft flesh, followed by a scream.

She yanked it out and plunged it into another spot, but the body under her reared up, throwing her onto the bed.

Now they sat on top of her, but Maryna still held her knife. She needed to kill this person before they killed her.

She gripped the knife and pulled back, hoping she could hit a soft spot. But then she felt something cold against her throat and a low voice in her ear. “Goodbye, Princess.”

Maryna screamed as the blade bit into her skin.

Read more ›

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