On the Eve of Battle – The Rise of Kings

Well, 2 years after it was promised, Book 2 in the Changelings saga is finally here. It doesn’t matter that it was essentially written four years ago – which, coupled with my desire to expand the story – caused me so. many. freaking. continuity errors I nearly lost my mind – it’s here now. It’s here and I love it.

Oh, and FYI – forewarned is forearmed: Book 2 is totally the Empire Strikes Back of the series. Just in case anyone was wondering, or hoping for resolution – no. I mean, yes, in a way, but no. Sorry.

In the midst of editing, I realized the truth. While Into the Mist could *technically* be a stand-alone story, Book 2, The Rise of Kings could not. It demands you read the first book (which is free, on July 13!!), and it hopes you read the final chapter, Book 3 (which, I’m happy to announce, is tentatively titled The Memory of Myth).

That said, I love it. I love where it takes Sean and Maureen. I love the people they become in this story – and I love the side characters. If anyone wants to have an in-depth conversation about Martin or Mared (or Elisabeth, or. . . well, you get the idea) hit me up on Twitter or Facebook. I’m not kidding. I love them all and I hope you do, too.

So, here’s to an updated website (hey, we have shopping carts – you all know you want signed copies!!), and a book three years in the making.

Thanks for sticking with me.

. . . Oh. . . I almost forgot! Here’s an excerpt from Changelings: The Rise of Kings. Enjoy!

He came at them not with flame or trembling light, but through the hollow call of a judge’s gavel. His were no longer the shrieking voices of faceless monstrosities, but the sonorous tones of men who claimed to speak for God. With them, Nuada attempted to lay to waste the keepers of memories, the tellers of tales, and the wise women of the woods.

Sean tossed in his cot, aware he was caught in a dream but helpless to do anything about it. He could not force himself to wakefulness, and though he tried, he could not take command of the dream.

As the parade of men and women passed before him, each doomed to die for nothing more than sharing the glimmer of magic in his blood, his powerlessness turned to fury – to action. He would save them.

He had to.

He stood before judges, and attempted to put out flame, but they did not see him, and the flame merely rose higher.

Briefly, tantalizingly, others would see him – those who stood at the edges, neither jeering the condemned nor sobbing for their lives. They could hear his words, and they peered at him with concern in their eyes. He urged them to speak, to stand up for the hunched crone who could not have poisoned the Smyth’s cow. She who had brought their youngest into the world with those careworn hands, and cooled the fevered brow of their brother as he lay with the sweating sickness should not be condemned for imagined evils.

But those who could hear him and see him were almost worse than those who could not. Their concern turned to fear – to hatred. How dare he single them out?

Those who knew, who could sense his otherness, turned on him. They did not want to know. Not anymore.

Night after night he dreamed. All those who could see, and feel, and reach across the barrier to touch his heart – Maureen’s heart – were bright dots that lit the earth. And night after night, they winked out of existence.

The earth darkened – lit only by the fires of those who burned.

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Hidden: Dubh Súile Speaks

D: My name is Dubh Súile mac Alasdair.

A: No, it is not.

D: We’ve been over this, A.

A: I know, but how can you open a post with that? It isn’t your name (name changer)!

D: I thought you were going to give me the floor today.

A: Oh. Yeah. Sorry. Go ahead. I’ll shut myself up in this blue box over here. Gee, I wonder what that – wheeee!

D: That she roams free upon this earth startles me.

I am Dubh Súile mac Alasdair. Some know me and say that I am kind. Others say that I am powerful and merciless. Others still see a battle-scarred young man whose father – a king of his people – was slaughtered before his eyes.

Then there is me. There is the me I show to you all, the me that exists here within the mystical lines and dashes of code that make up the internet. There is the me that exists within the stories A has allowed herself to see and write thus far. Then there is the me that she has yet to write. She has seen glimpses, and she has shared them with you in poetic form as she searches for more ways to feel who I am. As she looks deeper within the soul she has carried in her head for these many years, the me that is will begin to shine.

I was born in 668 near Loch Ussie in what is now Scotland. My people and their history are gone from this world, but we were princes once. We counseled kings, and won for them wars. We were apostate, yet monks of Rome taught our young together with venerable Druids. I was raised to join them, these priests of dying gods. I was taught to be the greatest of their number, and lead them, while my brother would lead our clan.

Instead, I ran away.

I was young, foolish and in love. I was betrayed and saved in one breath. I lost and was not gracious in defeat. Time tempered my soul – time, war and a journey into myth that afforded me as much as it stole from me.

Now I no longer run.

Who am I? What is in the hidden window of my soul?

I am Dubh Súile mac Alasdair and I am powerful. I am the son of kings. The blood of old gods flows in my veins yet I alone control my destiny.

I am merciless, but I will not countenance suffering nor allow treachery to take root in my heart.

I am tender and know love well. The memory of my Mairead’s touch warms my soul, and I smile, although it is through tears.

I walk alone. Doubt brought me to my knees, and duty has torn me from the side of all those who were dear to my heart. I risk much to right old wrongs and see to it that those who come after me may walk freely upon this earth.

I am Dubh Súile mac Alasdair and I am flawed. I am human.

The heart of humanity is resilient and I have watched it beat unfailingly throughout these many centuries – and it beats within this old body, yet. It carries me through the deepest terrors of my soul and gives me hope that one day A will finish my tale and allow my journey to end. When she does, I will finally be at peace.

Hidden: Dubh Súile Speaks was brought to you by The Queen Creative’s Prompts for the Promptless: Johari Window.

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PS: This is the last Prompts for the Promptless of Season 3. Season 4 starts up again on January 7!