beth_bernobich: red mushroom (arrow)
First a brief summary of the man.

Lord Markus Khandarr first came to court when Baerne of Angersee was king. He was in his early forties at the time, but already an acknowledged master of magic. Not many people knew about his background, however, and Khandarr preferred it that way. He came from a poor family, and having earned a degree from Duenne's University, he worked his way up from minor mage, to minor functionary at court, finally receiving the courtesy title of Lord. From there, he gained the trust of the king's grandson, Armand of Angersee, and stepped into the role of King's Mage and Senior Councilor when that same young prince inherited the crown.

All that is backstory. It doesn't really tell us about Markus Khandarr the man.

So who is Markus Khandarr?

Read more... )
beth_bernobich: alice (alice)
Just over a week ago, I had Mohs surgery on my right hand for skin cancer. Because the stitches went across the back of my hand, I have spent the past week at home, unable to do much other than read, awkwardly pet the cats with my left hand, and type a few posts or tweets one-handed. Things had steadily improved over the week, and I had hopes of getting some writing done over the weekend, but then came a migraine, my hand turned blue and numb, the area around the stitches turned bright red and acquired some blisters, and once I got over those, a stomach bug attacked.

This morning, the stomach bug is...mostly over. (I might not eat solid foods today.) However, I can type two-handed without any aches or shooting pains, and I can grip a coffee cup handle, so it's time for me to go back to the dayjob. I will be glad to get out of the house. Not so glad that this puts me back in the locked windowless room. (At least it has good AC.)

In happier news, Google Alerts brought me the news that Queen's Hunt is on the long list for the 2013 David Gemmell Legend Award. I'm pleased to be in such splendid company.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (arrow)
So who is Raul Kosenmark anyway?

Just as Ilse was once a minor character, Raul had an even smaller role. In the much earlier draft of Queen's Hunt, Valara Baussay escapes from Osterling with Galena as her guide. Ilse stays behind to confuse the trail, but she sends them to her friend and advisor Raul (no last name) in Tiralien. He provides them with disguises and some proper gear, and sends them on their way. Possibly some snark was involved.

But just as Ilse took over the series once I wrote Passion Play, Raul became much more than a bit player. He's an influential noble and major player in high stakes politics. To Ilse, he is also employer, teacher, friend, and lover.

Read more... )
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (ballet dancers)
It's a Supernatural Solstice at Tynga's Reviews!

I'm on deck today, with a double-giveaway: the winner will receive signed copies of Passion Play and Queen's Hunt. For more details, plus an excerpt from Allegiance, go here:

http://www.tyngasreviews.com/2013/06/ss-giveaway-with-beth-bernobich.html
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Rose Fractal)
Magic, that rare and dangerous current, and yet the ordinary world was filled with reminders of its presence. Crushed grass, the tang of forests, the rich perfume of new blossomed wildflowers. Was it, as the old scholars insisted, only a matter of setting your gaze in the right direction? And if that were true, why were so many blind to it? (— Queen's Hunt)

When I set out to create the magic system for my River of Souls books, I wanted something different from the rules-and-regs kind of magic, where you memorized spells or gestures. Or the kind where you created magic through special ingredients or with magical implements such as wands. There's nothing wrong with the spellbook and potions kind of magic. I just wasn't interested in using that.

At the same time, I also didn't want magic to be an inborn quality, or gift. Nor did I want the magic to be a force inside the user, something you could run out of, like physical strength. Again, there are some nifty books with these magic systems, but I wanted something else.

So if it's not either of these, what is it, then? )

Book Day!

Jun. 4th, 2013 09:00 am
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (spouting whale)
Today is Book Day for the paperback edition of Queen's Hunt!

Ilse Zhalina has left to start a new life, leagues from her estranged lover, Raul Kosenmark. The quarrel that ended their relationship was quite public, and quite fake. They hoped to mislead Raul's enemies so he could continue to influence the politics of the kingdom and stave off an ill-advised war, while keeping Ilse safe. Ilse is set on her own quest to find one of the three fabled jewels of Lir. In her search, she encounters a woman who has one jewel in her keeping.

"The promise of Passion Play is realized in this complex sequel, a tale of intrigue among kingdoms on the brink of war." —Publishers Weekly
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (tea cup)
The paperback edition of Queen's Hunt will be released this Tuesday, so I thought I'd share a few of my favorite snippets from the book...

"He drugged my wine," Ilse said. "Then he kissed me. No, I kissed him. I'm sorry." "For what?" Raul asked. "For kissing Alesso? I would have kissed him, too, no doubt, if he had poisoned my wine."

I am an ox, he thought, recalling his mother's words. His mother had always used the name with affection. Even so, Gerek hated how it made him feel—large and awkward, a lumpish beast. But today the sky was bright, the breeze clean and brisk. And there was Kathe, holding out her hand.

Miro lifted his gaze to the king's. They were of a height—both tall and lean, both with dark, deep-set eyes, black with a hint of indigo, like the storm clouds in summer. Karasek had seen portraits of the king through the centuries, before the deep lines marked his face, before his eyes turned cloudy with age. The resemblance was strong between them. More than once, Miro had wondered if they shared an ancestor. Or was the king himself Miro's ancestor?

Even through the enveloping magic, she could hear the wind thumping against the Mantharah, like a vast fist hammering on a door. Or like an angry supplicant, demanding satisfaction of its god.

I love him, Ilse thought. He does not come to rescue me. He comes to deliver me weapons.

What about you? What are your favorite snippets or scenes from Queen's Hunt?
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (celestial map)
Last week, I talked about the kingdoms and other lands of Erythandra and beyond. This week it's about Ilse's journey through those lands.

When we first meet Ilse, when she still calls herself Therez, she lives in her father's household in the city of Melnek. Melnek is a major port city on the eastern coast of Veraene, close to the border with Károví, so there's a constant flow of ships from other provinces and kingdoms. (And some less official overland connections with smugglers who travel the more dangerous mountains passes.) Her world is the wealthy merchant class, the talk mainly of ships and fees and contracts. Salt tang permeates the air, and the eastern horizon is the open sea.

Therez herself has never lived anywhere but Melnek, but she's heard stories of the larger world since childhood. Her father and grandparents came to Melnek from Duszranjo, an isolated province in western Károví. Her brother, Ehren, spent a year at the university in Duenne, in central Veraene. She too hopes to spend a year with relatives far, far away from her father's household.

So when she runs away, she aims for Duenne. )
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (celestial map)
Or rather, kings and queens and the lands they rule.

As you know, dear reader, the River of Souls trilogy and its associated stories are epic fantasy, so there's a lot of talk about kingdoms and empires and political intrigue. I've written about Ilse and her own personal story in last week's post. This week, I wanted to cover more about the world she lives in.

Read more... )

eep!

Feb. 1st, 2013 07:52 am
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (cat on a wire)
I'm very, very, very—ahem, very pleased to report that Queen's Hunt made the 2012 Locus Recommended Reading List.

(And I am very pleased to be in such fine company.)

ETA: The list is online now.
beth_bernobich: alice (alice)
Galley pages for the paperback edition of Queen's Hunt just landed in my in-box.

Copyedits for Allegiance are due to arrive around February 21st.

Meanwhile, I am wrestling with my still-untitled novella. I'm pleased with the first third, and I will be pleased with the ending, once I've revised it. The middle section, however, is too workman-like in its prose, where the prose exists, and I suspect I'm missing the vital insight that will both add sparkle and give the plot that extra push.

Meanwhile, here is a link to the first-ever fanart for Passion Play. Color me delighted!
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (snobbish pig)
Tynga's Reviews is holding a Paranormal Summer Camp throughout August, with stories, giveaways, reviews, and interviews. Today it's my turn.
beth_bernobich: alice (alice)
So. Queen's Hunt just came out, and I'm deep in edits for Allegiance, which ends the trilogy but not the series. Edge of the Empire takes place in the last century of the Erythandran Empire, with Ilse and Raul in a previous lifetime. (My tagline for that is pirates, sex, and magic.)

After that, if the series sells well enough, I can submit proposals for more books. And I do have notes and even complete rough drafts for more. The thing is, most of these other books are *not* about Ilse and Raul.

Why? Because I don't want to write a series where the characters simply face one generic obstacle after another. In Allegiance, Ilse and Raul will conquer...not the world, but the difficulties they've faced through a dozen lives. I do have short stories about their life after the trilogy, but nothing novel-length that brings them up another notch. That might change, but for now, I want to tell the stories about other kingdoms and other people whose paths crossed Ilse's in Queen's Hunt and Allegiance.

Now, readers and publishers might not agree. If that happens, I might find myself writing all those other books in my queue. (It's not as though I don't have ideas for other stories.) But at some point, for my own satisfaction, I want to finish up those "extra" novels. Once I do, we'll see what happens.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (spouting whale)
The three winners for my double-giveaway contest are...

*drum roll*

Lexi (PRationality) (8 points!)
Francene (catalogermom) (5 points)
Cynthia (fairiesnest) (5 points)

Each of you will receive a signed copy each of Passion Play and Queen's Hunt. Please email me with the following information:

1. Name and mailing address
2. If you have any preferences for the inscription
3. If you prefer hardcover or paperback for Passion Play

(My email address is on my LJ user profile page.)

Congrats on winning! And thank you to everyone for participating!
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (girl and balloon)
Queen's Hunt is officially out!

This is my third book to venture out into the world, and the second in my River of Souls series. The way I described it once is that in Passion Play, Ilse is an apprentice to magic, to politics, to independence. In Queen's Hunt, she becomes a journeyman, both literally and figuratively, as she sets off into the wider world.

I haven't forgotten the contest. Winners will be announced around noon EDST today.

first!

Jul. 12th, 2012 09:33 am
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (ballet dancers)
Bookscan reports the first sale of Queen's Hunt! Last week! In NYC!

This makes me unreasonably happy.

[livejournal.com profile] pnh wisely counseled me not to look too deeply in the abyss of Bookscan. He's right, of course. But first sightings, whether in stores or a sale, are fun.

Friends who know say it's likely a bookstore employee. I did not know this, but books show up first in NYC stores as early as a couple weeks before release date. Books bound for stores farther away are probably still on the truck.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (sparkle kitties)
…until Queen's Hunt comes out.

As you might have noticed, I haven't done any promo. There's been the move, the house, the heat, the dayjob, the new Ilse & Raul story that tackled my brain…

But! My author copies should arrive soon, which means it's Double Giveaway Time!

Why is it called Double Giveaway? Because the winners (there will be three) each get signed copies of both Passion Play *and* Queen's Hunt.

How to enter:

Share this post on Facebook (+2 points)
Tweet about the contest (+2 points)
Post an entry on your own blog (+5 points)
>>> Add up your points and comment here (+1 point)

You can also just post a comment here (+1 point)

Who wins:

The three people with the most points. If there's a tie, random.org will pick the winners.

What you win:

1 signed copy of Passion Play
1 signed copy of Queen's Hunt

More Important Details:

The contest runs from today until Release Day, when I announce the winners
With Passion Play, you have your choice of hardcover or paperback
For Twitter and blogs, remember to link back to this entry
US/Canada only (sorry!)

ETA: Remember to post a comment here with your point total, and where you tweeted or posted, otherwise I can't tell who did what.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (cat on a wire)
Feedback on ALLEGIANCE is showing up. (Yay! Thank you!) I'm thinking about plot issues, but I don't want to start any serious revisions until 1) we've moved, and 2) my official editorial letter also makes its appearance.

My short story idea died. Again. I wrote up some notes and filed them in my idea folder.

I am getting images and such for a follow-up River of Souls novel. It's about secondary and minor characters from QUEEN'S HUNT and ALLEGIANCE, set in Karovi, in the aftermath of MAJOR SPOILER. A draft of this novel exists, but several plot lines have shifted when I wrote ALLEGIANCE, so it needs a complete rewrite. Alas, I can't start anything new at the moment, but I might indulge myself by writing that scene with Maryshka and a shirtless Jannik.

House renovations are in progress. Bedrooms repainted. Pool repairs nearly complete. Contractor engaged for exterior painting and the new kitchen. Move-in date in two weeks.

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