Andi Van on Creating a Character and the new release ‘Magic Wept (The Mages’ Guild Trilogy #2) by Andi Van (guest post, excerpt, and giveaway)

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Magic Wept (The Mages’ Guild Trilogy #2)  by Andi Van
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG

Sales Links:  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon  |  Dreamspinner Press

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Andi Van on tour for Magic Wept, the new release in The Mages’ Guild Trilogy. Welcome, Andi!

♦︎♦︎

 

 

 

Once upon a time (the early 1990s), before the dawn of the internet as we know it, there was a BBS (that’s “Bulletin Board System”, and we had to use actual phone lines to dial into them via modem) in which I ran a role-playing group set in a mages’ guild. My character’s name was Trivintaie, and she was a redheaded mage with a penchant for mischief.

 

Yes, she was THAT Triv. The same Triv that starts off the whole Mages’ Guild Trilogy.

 

When I decided to revive her and write the trilogy, I knew I couldn’t make her the main character. Her time had passed, and too many other people had taken part in creating her guild for it to really be mine. So I set the trilogy a thousand years in the future and gave her world a new hero.

 

What I didn’t expect was that I’d pack it with such a diverse set of characters, most of which reflecting some part of the rainbow. It was completely unintentional, but once I realized it was happening, I was thrilled. One of my goals was to give young adults—and adults not quite so young—characters that maybe they could identify with in a way they might not have been able to before.

 

So I’d like to introduce you all to some of the new characters in the second book of the trilogy, Magic Wept.

But before that, I wanted to let you all know that there is indeed a giveaway. I will be randomly generating three winners on September 30th, all of whom will receive a plush purple cat (because nothing says magic like a K’yerin plushie—Tasis’ familiar is just full of himself enough to agree with that sentiment) and an ebook copy of Magic Wept. You can enter the giveaway at

http://andivan.com/magic-wept-blog-tour/.

And now, on to the characters.

The character I’d like to introduce you to today is Emlynn. Emlynn is a very short giantess.

 

Yeah, I know, it sounds funny. But it’s true.

 

Giants, in the trilogy’s world, are roughly twenty feet tall when they’re adults. Em, who is fully grown, is seven feet tall. This is like having a fully grown person the height of the average toddler. Among the giants, she’s made fun of for her height, and is understandably touchy about it. I hadn’t intended it when I created her, but I’d like to think she serves as a reminder that physical differences shouldn’t matter, and people shouldn’t be judged on them. As the saying goes, it’s what’s inside that counts.

 

As far as what she represents as far as the rainbow is concerned… Well, things are more vague with the elves and giants. Gender absolutely does not matter to them, in terms of attraction, and Em is no different. And while I could absolutely call her bisexual here, I’m actually going to go with pansexual, which I tend to think of as including genders outside of what’s thought of as the standard binary. (Don’t worry, my bisexual friends, your turn is coming.)

 

I adore Emlynn. She’s got a huge heart, and once she’s around people who love her as she is, she absolutely shines.

 

(Fun fact: MamaVan—that would be my mother—LOVED the giants in the first book, and demanded more of them in the second. I’d already planned on that, but I had yet to name Em when she did, so I decided to name Em in her honor. The name Emlynn is actually a mashup of MamaVan’s name.)

 

Like with Jorget, I had a choice of pulling an excerpt for Em from the beginning of the story, or from the end, where she’s gained some confidence. For her, I opted to pull something more from the middle. She’s starting to come into her own, and it’s showing, but she’s also not completely sure of herself.

 

***

Excerpt

 

“I have my strength,” Emlynn said, ignoring Reikos’s comment about Daro. “And a few spells, though the ones I know are basic and likely not much help in a fight, not unless I can get close enough to blind someone with light.”

 

“I can cast fireballs,” Jorget said, sounding rather pleased with himself.

 

“From the ceiling,” Emlynn said under her breath, though she gave Jorget a bit of a grin when she did to let him know she was teasing. Apparently he got the message, because he stuck his tongue out at her.

 

“Yeah, let’s not try any levitation spells,” Kelwin said with a grimace. “And Jorget, please, for the love of the Maker, do not try to teach Tasis a fireball spell. He just put that guild back together. I’d rather it didn’t get burned down already.”

 

Jorget made a noise of protest, but Reikos cut through it by addressing Emlynn. “You said something about light?”

 

“Yes,” the giantess said with a nod. “It’s more convenient than having to carry a torch or a candle.”

 

“Are you okay being up front with me? Because we’re going to need that light.” Emlynn nodded again, and Reikos continued. “Good. I want Jorget and Kelwin in the middle.” He looked at Kelwin and gave him an apologetic smile. “I know you can fight if you need to, but I’d rather not give Tasis an excuse to tear me apart later.”

 

“It’s fine,” Kelwin said, having expected it. He was fairly useless if they came across a serious threat anyway, and this way he could keep an eye on Jorget. The guy was definitely talented, from what he could tell, but he had no idea how to focus. Some time on the isle with Triv and the others would take care of that, but that would have to come after their foray into the depths of the mountain.

 

There was a flutter of wings, and Bahz landed on Emlynn’s shoulder. The bird had to be heavy, and his talons had to be gripping the giantess painfully, but she merely turned her head with a look of vague surprise on her face. Did the girl ever show strong emotion? I know the way, Bahz said. It’s safest if I’m up front as well.

 

“Of course,” Reikos allowed. “Well, then. Let’s go exploring.”

 

“We’re all going to die,” Jorget muttered to Kelwin as they found their place in the middle of the small group.

 

Kelwin tried to swallow down his laugh with only moderate success. “So optimistic,” he said. “We’ll get out of it alive. If we don’t, Tasis will resurrect me just to kill me himself.”

 

“Necromancy is forbidden,” Emlynn reminded him from the front of the group, Bahz still riding on her shoulder, quite at home there.

About Magic Wept


Jorget has no surname, no blood kin, and no hope of using his magical ability while he remains at Archai Castle, where the mad king reigns. With magic still outlawed, every experiment he performs could cost him his life. So when his mentor, the royal priest Denekk, is ordered to send Jorget on a journey to find a magical weapon, the young man jumps at the chance to prove himself. What he doesn’t realize is that things are never as simple as they seem.

Kelwin Tiovolk has settled into life in the Mages’ Guild of the Dragon’s Claw with his beloved, guild leader Tasis Kadara. But when word arrives that the king is searching for something to destroy the guild, he knows he has to leave behind the comfort of his new home to save what Tasis worked so hard to rebuild.

With enemies around every corner, Jorget and Kelwin need to pull off a miracle in order to save the guild. Luckily, they’re more than ready to stand strong together and keep what’s precious to them safe.

 

About the Author

 

Andi Van is a foul-mouthed troublemaker who lives near San Diego with a baseball bat that’s forever being used for things other than baseball, and a fondness for rum and caffeine (though not necessarily together).

Andi is fluent in three languages (English, sarcasm, and profanity), and takes pride in a highly developed—if somewhat bizarre—sense of humor.

Social media info:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DefiantAndi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/defiantandi

Love YA Fantasy? Check Out This New Release and Special Excerpt! The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1) by Julia Ember

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The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1) by Julia Ember
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Meghan Moss

 

Sales Links:

Harmony InkAmazon | Barnes & Noble 

Blurb

Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

Exclusive Excerpt

The day I became an inhabitor, Mistress Lhamo had carried me into the forest outside the capitol and left me there. I was eight and small, so small that the robes the academy gave me swathed my body and made me look like a slug as I trailed fabric behind. She set me down on a tree stump and kissed my hair. Then she had wandered back through the trees to the city without a second glance. I guessed, then, I had been expendable to her. If I didn’t work out, then Jakar had plenty more poor children and orphans to choose from.

I held a ragged stuffed owl against my chest as I shivered and prayed, repeating the words of the spell I’d been taught. Master Amo thought I might attract a doe or a hare. Something agile, he said, but shy and timid. Something to match me so I wouldn’t feel conflicted within myself. I just hoped nothing would eat me and that Mistress Lhamo would return soon.

Sunlight dwindled, and the forest got darker and colder. I paced around the stump. The terror of being eaten had ebbed, replaced by the more insidious fear that I wouldn’t be chosen at all, that the rest of my friends would go on to be inhabitors and I would become an outcast—a failure with nowhere to go and doomed to a life of begging on the street corners.

I threw the owl on the ground. It had been a present from Master Amo when he selected me two years before. If they were going to reject me now, then I didn’t want the stuffed bird anymore either.

The wind carried a pungent scent into my nostrils. It was sweet yet musky, tinged with something sour. I breathed more deeply and looked around for the source. At the edge of the forest clearing, a deer carcass lay stretched out and mutilated. Her throat had been torn out, and dark brown blood was splashed over her tan hide. Even in death, the doe had a calm, gentle look in her unblinking eyes. I had bitten my lip and struggled not to cry. There was my doe, just like Master Amo had said.

A growl made me turn. A large, lean cat with rose-gold and white fur lowered its belly to the earth. Its yellow eyes bored into me, and its tail flickered back and forth. I sucked in a breath. I’d seen a tiger up close before, rubbing its cheeks against Master Lin’s thigh before it turned and snarled at an apprentice who drew too close. But that tiger had been orange and black, normal. This creature looked like something out of a temple painting, as though her fur had been expertly flecked with tiny pieces of gold leaf by a monk’s skilled hand.

The animal’s haunches had tensed. Her legs had gathered to pounce. But instead of terror, I felt calm. She tackled me, pushing me down with an enormous paw. Her claws were sheathed, and the pad of her foot rested over my heart. My breath stopped as I understood late what it all meant. The tiger rolled me onto my back like a cub, licking my chin with her barbed tongue. My arms, still chubby with baby fat, curled around her neck.

When her weight settled over me, I felt the acceptance in the silky embrace of her fur. And for the first time since I left my real family, I felt something like love. But her message was clear: I would never control her. From that moment, when our souls connected and I became an inhabitor, I knew I was the vulnerable one and she would forever be protecting me.

About the Author

Originally from Chicago, Julia Ember now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. She spends her days working in the book trade and her nights writing teen fantasy novels. Her hobbies include riding horses, starting far too many craft projects, PokemonGo and looking after her city-based menagerie of pets with names from Harry Potter. Luna Lovegood and Sirius Black the cats currently run her life.

Julia is a polyamorous, bisexual writer. She regularly takes part in events for queer teens. A world traveler since childhood, she has now visited more than sixty countries. Her travels inspire the fantasy worlds she creates, though she populates them with magic and monsters.

Julia began her writing career at the age of nine, when her short story about two princesses and their horses won a contest in Touch magazine. In 2016, she published her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, which also focused on two girls and their equines, albeit those with horns. Her second novel, The Seafarer’s Kiss will be released by Interlude Press in May 2017. The book was heavily influenced by Julia’s postgraduate work in Medieval Literature at The University of St. Andrews. It is now responsible for her total obsession with beluga whales.

In August 2017, her third novel and the start of her first series, Tiger’s Watch, will come out with Harmony Ink Press. In writing Tiger’s Watch, Julia has taken her love of cats to a new level.

Media Links:

Website: http://www.julia-ember.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jules_chronicle

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/juliaemberya

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/juliaemberwrites

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13734129.Julia_Ember