Author Spotlight on Mell Eight, author of The Oracle Series (And Book Contest)

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spotlight on books

 

 

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 In The Author Spotlight Today:   Mell Eight

 

The Oracle's FlameThe Oracle's HatchlingScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords is happy to have Mell Eight stopping by today to talk about The Oracle series:

Contest: Winner will win a copy of The Oracle’s Flame.  To enter please leave a comment and a email address or other method of contacting you. That’s it. Contest closes Saturday, April 5th. 

 

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Mell Eight:

Melanie very kindly asked me to stop by her blog, ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords, to talk a little bit about The Oracle Series. I’m so happy to have this opportunity to share more about the stories I love, so thank you very much to Melanie and her blog for the invite!

One of the most difficult things for me when I start writing a new book is figuring out how to make it completely unique from every other book I’ve written. This was especially true when I began writing The Oracle Series. At the time, I had just finished The Dragon’s Hoard series in which my dragons had a very specific type of society and their magic was tied to their hoarding instinct. I knew I had to go in the exact opposite direction for my new adventure in The Oracle’s Flame. I eventually chose to work inside a Monastery and with the elements of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth for the magic.

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Every single person born in the Monastery has the ability to use each of those elements, called Castes. As children they’re trained in all the basics. I think of it like primary school children who study everything there is to know at an elementary level, but they eventually graduate and go off to college where they specialize in just one degree. When the children in the Monastery turn eighteen they’re eligible to approach the Oracle to ask for permission to take the test that will determine their future. The Oracle is an all-seeing and all-knowing being. She looks into the future of each child and determines if they’re ready for the test. Dragon (Kindle), from The Oracle’s Flame, did not test until he was twenty while Ling, from The Oracle’s Hatchling, tested when he was still eighteen. To continue my metaphor, each student in the U.S. has to pass their SATs in order to get into college and their final grade often indicates what level college they’re able to get into. In a way this is also true in my Oracle Series. The children are tested and they receive power based on their need in the future.

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The testing itself is a mysterious process that only the Oracle really understands. The child enters a dark, magical room where they are imbued with power that takes the form of a tattoo on their back. The tattoo will belong to only one specific Caste—i.e. an Earth Caste tattoo might have a tree in it, but it won’t have a nearby stream or leaves rustling in the wind—and the child would only have the ability to use that Caste.

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I can already hear readers of The Oracle’s Hatching asking me about Ling’s powers. He was able to use all four elements even after his testing! I don’t want to give away too many spoilers for future readers, but there is a very rare fifth Caste where the ability to use multiple elements is possible. Ling belongs to the Ether Caste, which is part of the strife he has to overcome in his story. Because the Ether Caste is so rare, it’s not included in the list of elements.

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Which brings me to my dragons! As I said earlier, the amount of future need determines the amount of power each child receives during their testing. If Dragon’s future only included lighting candles to keep the night at bay, he might have been a Kindle in truth instead of disguise. Instead he had a mighty quest to accomplish and emerged from the testing chamber with a dragon emblazoned on his back. Each Caste has one Dragon who is always the strongest person in the entire Caste. They have the ability to manipulate their element to the highest degree, including transforming into a dragon shape during dire need. Despite their strength, the Dragons are not the leaders of their Castes. The Oracle sends her Dragons into the world to keep it safe, like Dragon’s quest to find the missing Prince of Altnoia. This leaves other high level Caste members, called Masters, to run the Caste from the Monastery.

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Each book in The Oracle Series will focus on one Dragon and his or her Oracle derived quest to keep the world safe. There are five Castes which means I am planning on writing a total of five books for the series. The Oracle’s Flame was about the Dragon of Fire, The Oracle’s Hatchling was about the Dragon of Ether, and the upcoming The Oracle’s Golem will be about the Dragon of Earth. I have future books planned for the Dragon of Air and the Dragon of Water, which I am excited to write soon. Could there be more than five books in the series? Absolutely. I won’t know for certain until the very last word is written in book five and my muses close the door on the Monastery. There are two ways there could be more books: either a new type of Dragon emerges in the Monastery, which is very unlikely at this point, or I expand the world. I have mentioned in the stories that there is an entire world out there, but I have only gone into depth about the Monastery and the country of Altnoia. A sixth book would be a step sideways, a sort of new series connected to The Oracle because it’s set in the same world, but with a new setting and new characters. I won’t focus on the possibility of more books until after book five is completed, but the ideas are percolating!

I put a lot of thought into The Oracle Series as I was creating it and I hope I was able to unravel some of it for you today! Thanks again to Melanie and ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords for inviting me to stop by.

Purchasing information for The Oracle’s Flame and The Oracle’s Hatchling can be found at Less Than Three Press.
For more information about The Oracle Series, including published books and works in progress, please visit the series’ page on my website.

 STRW: Thank you, Mell, for stopping by today! You can find the reviews for the first two books in the series on my website.  And don’t forget to leave a comment and be entered into the contest!

Contact Mell Eight at:

 

Review: The Oracle’s Hatchling (The Oracle #2) by Mell Eight

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Oracle's HatchlingLing was 18, old enough to be tested no matter his parentage.  Yet the Masters barred his way into the testing chamber when he arrived at the choosing ceremony.  forcing him to steal his way into the Oracle’s chambers.  It wasn’t his fault that his birth killed his mother, but that didn’t stop everyone at the Monastery from reviling him nonetheless. But when Ling is tested, the mark on his back is that of an egg instead of one of the four castes, leaving Ling in a worse position than when he went in.  Mocked and hated and now further separated by his tattoo, Ling obeys the Oracle when she sends him off to find employment and a life in Altnoia.

Once Ling has settled into life in the castle’s kitchen, he accidentally falls into a plot to overthrow King Edan and the Oracle who supports him.  Behind the plot is the son of the man who killed the royal family and  usurped the throne. The twin princes and their dragon killed his father and now Prince Damarion lives alone, angry and plotting in the dungeons below.  But Ling understands the pain behind the mask that  Damarion wears and starts up an unexpected friendship with the vengeful prince.  Neither man is prepared for the relationship that follows.  And where it will lead them only fate and the Oracle knows.

Not quite a continuation of the first story,  The Oracle’s Hatchling, the tale of Ling, the Hatchling of the title, is set after the events that took place in The Oracle’s Flame.  The twin Princes and Dragon now hold the throne of Altnoia but the effects of the treachery by the King’s brother continues to spread throughout the kingdom.  At its center is the son of the man who killed his brother and most of his brother’s family.  Now an orphan, Prince Damarion is the focus of all the rage and hatred the people of Altnoia felt towards his father.  Brooding, sulking, and somewhat petulant, he still remains a sad figure, one who has isolated himself from Prince Edan and the other residents of the castle.

Mell Eight manages to take two young men, different in status but not in the manner in which they both were made outsiders by events outside their control, and make them both realistic and worthy of our compassion.  Ling has suffered the worst, he lost his mother and then any place he might have had in the caste societies that live within the Monastery.  Constantly taunted and belittled, his only hope for something better, goes seriously awry or so the author makes us think.  The descriptions of the relationship between Ling and the Oracle are tender and bittersweet, almost guaranteed to bring forth a tear or two. And the moment in which Ling leaves the Monastery and everything he knows for the outside for the first time is something we can relate to, that first step into an unknown future that requires you to leave home maybe forever.

Damarion is another recognizable character.  And by that he feels like that older teen, twenty something young person, who is angry over the things that have happened in his life, things he had no control over and has acted impulsively to the detriment of all.  Our papers are filled full of these young men.  And Damarion’s anger, and sense of indignant self- righteousness and pain makes him an easy target and tool. Again we can understand his behavior and general outlook. Concentrating on only two characters made Ling and Damarion more fleshed out then the Princes because I felt we got to know these characters better. And how Mell Eight brings those two together seems just right as does the communication that starts the relationship between them.

In The Oracle’s Hatchling, we see the kingdom from the viewpoint of those that serve the most basic necessities of the castle.  The cooks, and household staff which is a nice contrast with those scenes where we are reunited with Dragon and his Princes.  There are some wonderful action scenes.  But my favorite? That has to be when we finally see what is behind that egg on Ling’s back.  That is so magical, so imaginative, that as much as I liked the entire book, that made the story for me because it was so unexpected.

Mell Eight intends to write a story about each caste in the Monastery and maybe one more that contains a surprise.  I really don’t know how she will top the surprise in this one.  I can’t wait.  The first story is obviously the Fire Caste with Dragon.  Ling’s Caste is something of a surprise which takes some explaining (see the author interview later this week). While you don’t necessarily have to read The Oracle stories in order, it certainly helps to understand the events and timelines that occur.  I continue to find the Oracle and her Monastery fascinating.  The Oracle’s Golem is next. What will the Earth Caste bring? I can’t wait to find out what is in store next for this magical series.

The first story was m/m/m, or should that be m/m/dragon?  This one is m/m.  No matter, both are imaginative and wonderful, the descriptions vivid and the action engrossing.  I loved the fantasy and Mell Eight’s world building and think you will too.  Pick them up and start reading.  The third is coming soon.

Cover art by London Burden.  I like the simplicity of the cover and the branding design for the series.

Books in the series include:

The Oracle’s Flame
The Oracle’s Hatchling

Book Details:

ebook, 20,000 words, m/m
Published March 5th 2014 by Less Than Three Press LLC (first published March 4th 2014)
original title The Oracle’s Hatchling
ISBN139781620043257
edition languageEnglish
seriesThe Oracle

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Contest Winner Announcements and the Week Ahead in Reviews, Author Spotlights and Contests

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Winners of the Book Tour Contests and Author Spotlights

 

Every Inch of the Way coverFreeFalling_500x750Angel's Hero cover

To The Very Last Inch

 

 

 

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  • Winners of The Professor’s Rule Tours (Every Inch of the Way and To the Very Last Inch) by Heidi Belleau and Amelia C. Gormley. Winners are Sonja and Flutterfli. Congratulations to you both. And my thanks to Heidi Belleau for Amelia C. Gormley for stopping by on their tour and bringing the contest with them.
  • Winners of SE Jakes Free Falling Book Tour Contest are: Kathleen Power,Robbie Bauldree, and Kassandra Appel.  They won  SIGNED copies of SE Jakes’s Hell or High Water series: Catch a Ghost and Long Time Gone.   Congratulations to all three!
  • Winner of Kerry Adrienne’s novel, Beautiful One, is Ashley E. Congratulations to Ashley E and my thanks to everyone who stopped by and left comments.

 

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Now for the Week Ahead: Short and sweet this week!  Mell Eight is a new author for me.  I have already reviewed The Oracle’s Flame, the first in her new series.  This week I start off my reviews with the second story, The Oracle’s Hatchling which will  lead into Mell Eight’s Author Spotlight on Wednesday.  Thursday  I am reviewing When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock.  I really wasn’t sure what I was going to feel about this story and it just amazed me with its intensity, and commanding characters.  Dark and a must read.  Friday is the second in Liz Boreno’s Angel series, Angel’s Truth. And finally, SJ Frost is here to finish out the week by talking about her new vampire series and book, Vampire Prince.

And its April.  Will the snow finally stop and the cherry blossoms start to bloom?  Who knows?  We can only hope….

This Week’s Schedule:

  •  Monday, March 31:        The Oracle’s Hatchling by Mell Eight
  • Tuesday, April 1:             Vampire Prince by SJ Frost
  • Wed., April 2:                   Author Spotlight & Contest: Mell Eight
  • Thursday, April 3:          When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock
  • Friday, April 4:                Angel’s Truth by Liz Boreno
  • Sat., April 5:                    Author Spotlight & Contest: SJ Frost

 

Review: The Oracle’s Flame (The Oracle #1) by Mell Eight

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5 (rounded up to 4):

The Oracle's FlameThe Oracle has looked into the future and sees nothing but devastation and ruin after the King of Altnoia, along with his Queen and  Heir are killed, assassinated by his cousin who then assumes the throne.  Missing from the carnage is the rightful’s King’s young son, Prince Edan.  Missing or dead?  Only the Oracle knows the truth.  If the Kingdom and all who live there are to survive and thrive, then Prince Edan must be found and restored to the throne.

Dragon, the newly minted Dragon of Fire, has been chosen for the job.  He must find Prince Edan and then keep him alive, a desperate mission when the forces of the Usurper are scouring the Kingdom looking for the Prince as well.  But it’s Prince Edan’s secret location that upsets Dragon most of all.  Edan is hiding out on a pirate’s ship and the last place a fire loving dragon wants to be is on the high seas and seasick.

Not only seasick and sick of the water, no one will tell Dragon which pirate is the prince.  And not even the Oracle could have prepared Dragon for a pair of sexy twin pirates and the feelings they engender inside a lonely dragon.

New author, new series.  Both things make this reviewer extremely happy.  Add a dragon or two and things get just that much better.  The Oracle’s Flame, the first in The Oracle series, sets the foundation for this universe and the stories to come.  The story begins in the Monastery, built into and under the Sacred Mountain.  In this ancient building, more city than single structure, the Oracle and the Four Castes live and carry out the Oracle’s plans.

Mell Eight has created a wonderful, fascinating universe for this series.  The Oracle herself is thousands of years old, exchanging human bodies as is necessary but retaining the knowledge and feelings of all the Oracles inside.  At the moment, the Oracle is a young girl, the previous body/person having recently perished.  Into her personal chambers she calls for her new Dragon of Fire.  As Dragon proceeds down the hallways of the Monastery, he recalls the chain of events that made him the Dragon of Fire only three days prior.  Inside the Oracle’s chambers lie the testing room into which all the young are called to be tested.   When they leave it will be as a member of one of the Four Castes, Air, Water, Earth, and of course, Fire.  Each young person leaves changed in appearance and with a tattoo marking their new position and Caste on their backs.

For Dragon, his hair has turned cherry red, the color of flames.  And his eyes are the bluest of blues that you find in the hottest center of a candle’s fire.  All members of the Fire caste have red hair and blue eyes after testing.  But only one has the red dragon tattoo on his back, signaling his high position.  And only the Elder Flame is higher in the cast then the Dragon of Fire.  So many rich details….and the author continues to add continuously to the atmosphere and minutiae of the Monastery and the world created within to the reader’s delight.

But  Mell Eight has the dragon leaving this mesmerizing location for a mission he must succeed at otherwise the Kingdom of Altnoia will be lost. From deeply serious to highly humorous and back again, the narrative swings merrily as Dragon boards the pirate vessel in a most unusual manner, assuming a lower caste position to hide his true nature and lowly name to go along with it.  Quite naturally, a fire dragon will not be pleased to be surrounded by water, rained upon and or tossed about by waves.  And at all times, it is easy to remember that Dragon is also quite new as a Dragon of Fire and out on his own for the first time in his life.  It’s an all around precarious position for Dragon and the author makes the most of it here to our delight and sometimes consternation.

There are many other characters involved in this story, including a pair of brother pirates, twins Shev and Shov. Physically identical, they couldn’t be less alike in personality.  But both brothers are attracted to Dragon who is confused by his attraction to them both and unsure of what it all means.  There is a charming naivete and innocence to Dragon, one recognized by the brothers and other pirates aboard.  I enjoyed the fact that aspect of Dragon’s character was valued rather than exploited by those around him.  And that aura of innocence that surrounds Dragon makes the relationship that finally evolves between the three of them not only something the reader will be able to relate to but all aspects of their unusual relationship as well. That The Oracle’s Flame involves a m/m/m relationship as well as one that includes twincest feels as though it was meant to be instead of something kinky or misplaced.  It does occur towards the end of the story for those readers who find these elements not ones they normally read but the events that lead up to it feels natural and not strained by circumstances.

What will everyone find marvelous?  Oh, the wonder when an angry dragon takes flight!  Mell Eight makes us feel the fury and the beating wings, the fire as it explodes upon contact and the happiness of a dragon when a tiny flames dance in his hands.  During those moments, Dragon is so alive, so unbelievably real and magnificent that you wish dragons were as real as Dragon feels on the pages before you.  Of course, he felt that way too as he moaned with seasickness and shivered under the onslaught of a torrential rain, pitiful and endearing always.

Ultimately, it’s the characters that make a story or series.  In The Oracle’s Flame Mell Eight has provided us with many to love and wonder about.  I only wish that I had seen more of the fight to win the throne.  How satisfying that would have been.  But I was happy with this tale of love and adventure and thrilled with Dragon and his twins.  I think you will be too.

Cover art by London Burdon.  Minimal but it works for the story and as series branding.

The Oracle series includes:

The Oracle’s Flame, #1
The Oracle’s Hatchling, #2

Book Details:
Publisher’s Warning: Contains twincest and a threesome relationship
ebook, 18,700 words
The Oracle’s Flame at LT3 Press

Published November 20th 2013 by Less Than Three Press LLC (first published November 19th 2013)
original title The Oracle’s Flame
ISBN13 9781620042823
edition language English