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The Legacy of Androva Series


Now that Engraved in Magic has been released, I'm faced with the very happy task of deciding what to write next. I'm pretty sure it's going to be another Beyond Androva book, but we'll see ☺. There are so many possibilities at the beginning of a new story, and I'm looking forward to getting started!

To help me decide, I spent a little time in the imaginary setting that is Xytovia's xyleander woods interviewing Kellan, one of the new characters in Engraved in Magic. Thank you very much for visiting my blog today, and I hope you enjoy meeting Kellan!

Interview with Kellan, set before Engraved in Magic

Me: Thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Kellan: (smiles faintly) I don’t have much ability to influence what happens in here. Dimension Cells are pretty good at restricting a person’s choices.

Me: I suppose so. Although you could have ignored me.

Kellan: I know. I considered it. But an imaginary visitor is better than nothing. Why are you here?  

Me: I’m a writer. I’m going to write about you.

Kellan: (silence)

Me: Is that a problem?

Kellan: (sighs) No. Even before they convicted me, I knew a biography was planned. I just… I guess I thought my imagination could do better.

Me: (hides a smile) I see.

Kellan: (folds arms) I have to warn you, I’m not interested in talking about my life history. I can’t think of anything more boring than sifting through my childhood memories. And if you’re expecting me to tell you whether I’m guilty, you’d better make yourself comfortable because you’ll be waiting a long time.

Me: I’m not that sort of writer. I tell stories.

Kellan: Stories? What kind of stories?

Me: Mainly about magicians your age having life-threatening adventures. There are enterprising villains, dangerous spells, magical journeys… that kind of thing.

Kellan: Hmm. I suppose that could be interesting.

Me: There’s romance too.

Kellan: (makes a face)

Me: There are also different worlds.

Kellan: (frowns) Impossible. I might consider participating in far-fetched fiction, but not outright fantasy. Xytovia is the world. The sun, the moons and the stars aren’t inhabitable. Those are facts.

Me: Don’t tell me you’d rather stay in here. Besides, it might be fun.

Kellan: I’d rather keep my dignity intact if it’s all the same to you, Storyteller.

Me: (considers) I suppose I could rewrite your part. It would be a lot of hassle, but if you’re really not keen…

Kellan: (eyes narrow) My part? What do you mean? I thought this was my story.

Me: I never said that.

Kellan: Obviously, I assumed it was. Who on Xytovia has a better one?

Me: You’ve been in here a long time, Kellan. Xytovia has changed.

Kellan: Changed how?

Me: I’m offering you the chance to find out for yourself.

Kellan: No. Tell me. And it had better be good if you want me to downgrade myself from protagonist to supporting character.

Me: I can’t tell you. I’m sharing this interview with readers, and spoilers would be a bad idea. But I do think it’s worth it. Your role is vital to the story.

Kellan: (sarcastically) Awesome. Next you’ll be telling me I die to save the hero.

Me: No comment.

Kellan: (rolls eyes) I never thought I would imagine a visitor as annoying as you. My subconscious must be very keen to escape.

Me: Then you’ll do it?

Kellan: (pauses) I suppose so. (brightens) Anyway, who’s to say I can’t change the story once I’m a part of it?

Me: If any character could manage it, you would be the one.

Kellan: Is that a compliment?

Me: Sort of.

Kellan: (grins) I’ll take it. When do we start?

Me: You won’t have to wait too long. You turn up in Chapter Six.

Kellan: OK. You know, you really should consider giving me my own book one day. Promise me you’ll think about it.

Me: I promise I’ll think about it.

Kellan: (nods) It’s a deal.

Me: And that’s the end of the interview. Thank you very much for reading!



To celebrate the release of Engraved in Magic, up to and including Monday 27th July 2020, the Legacy of Androva series will be at a special price on Amazon! Stealing MagicCapturing Magic, and Seeking Magic will be FREE and the other four books in the series will be priced at $0.99/£0.99 on Amazon US and UK.

You can find The Legacy of Androva series here:

Amazon UK The Legacy of Androva

Amazon US The Legacy of Androva

Spell Tracker is still free to read on this blog under the New series label. Just go to the end of the page for Chapter One and scroll up ☺


I have an update on the new series that I'm very happy to share...

Engraved in Magic will be released this month! The second book in the Beyond Androva series has a description and a beautiful cover to go with its title πŸ’œ. 

The story begins at the exact moment Matched in Magic left off, and Art is the narrator this time. I hope you'll enjoy seeing Xytovia through his eyes and accompanying him on his next adventure with Serena. I loved getting to know Art better and giving him the chance to figure out what kind of a magician he could be.

Here's the description:

An ancient criminal. A deadly trade.
Every life has a price.

Art’s fourth day as a magician isn’t going very well. Returning to Xytovia to face the consequences of his actions was always going to be a challenge. But getting lost in an enchanted wood and accidentally opening a Dimension Cell creates a complication he and Serena didn’t expect.

Inside the cell is a seventeen-year-old prisoner who says he’s from a different Xytovia. A Xytovia before the war and before mage-sickness. He also makes an extraordinary claim about Art’s magic. One that will change Art’s life forever if it’s true.

The subsequent upheaval catches the attention of a new enemy whose interest in Art’s magic goes far beyond curiosity. While Art and Serena are distracted by their attempts to abolish Xytovia’s Bonding Spell, they don’t realise the danger. They’re up against a unique and deadly skill set, and time is running out… 

The pre-order for the eBook (25th July 2020) will be up on Amazon very soon, and I'll update this post with a link when it's available. The price will remain at £0.99/€0.99/$0.99 until the release date.

Update ☺
Amazon UK Engraved in Magic
Amazon US Engraved in Magic

Kerry at Aero Gallerie has created all the Androva covers, and I love how this new one turned out. Thank you very much for visiting my blog today, and if you decide to read Engraved in Magic, I hope you enjoy it!


Life has changed so much in recent months, but the joy of escaping into a good book remains the same as ever. In fact, an imaginary journey is pretty much the only way to travel right now, and with that in mind, today’s post is a reading update πŸ“–☺. The great thing about books is that there are no limits to the journeys you can take. I decided to look at fairy tale retellings for my next reading choices, and the fairy tale I’ve chosen is Beauty and the Beast.

La Belle et la BΓͺte was originally written in 1740 by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, so it’s almost three hundred years old. The story has been retold many times in books and film, but certain elements from the original are typically retained, including a curse on the ‘beast’ that can only be broken by true love, a rose 🌹, a deadline, and a heroine who is different from her peers, often because she loves books and reading.

I spent an enjoyable afternoon researching the many fascinating choices available, and I narrowed it down to the following five books. They are now at the top of my TBR list πŸ“š. I hope you find them interesting—you may have read some of them already!—and thank you very much for visiting my blog today πŸ’•.

** Engraved in Magic is still on track for publication in late July **


A Curse So Dark and Lonely, by Brigid Kemmerer

I like the sound of this one because although it has a traditional fairy-tale setting, one of the main characters, Harper, is from the contemporary world, and she isn’t at all happy to find herself in Emberfall. It also has dual POV, so the reader has the chance to see things from the perspective of Prince Rhen (the ‘beast’) as well as Harper.

Description:

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she's instead somehow sucked into Rhen's cursed world.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what's at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall… and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Quotes:

1.     We must all play the cards the fate deals. The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but they are choices nonetheless.

2.     “I’m not going to fall in love with you,” she says.
Her words are not a surprise. I sigh. “You won’t be the first.”

3.     This was never a curse to be broken. This is a death sentence. The true curse has been the thought that we might find escape.


Cruel Beauty, by Rosamund Hodge

This version appeals to me because there are elements of Greek mythology in the story and because the premise is intriguing. Nyx starts out intending to commit an act of murder to free her people—something she’s been trained for her whole life. I imagine she won’t succeed immediately otherwise there would be no story, but I look forward to reading how the romance is presented.

Description:

Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known that her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom's mountaintop, nothing is what she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband. Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can't resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who's gotten in her way by stealing her heart.

Quotes:

1.     “Have you seen lamplight shine through dusty air, setting the dust motes on fire?” He waved a hand. “Imagine that, spread across the night sky—but ten thousand motes and ten thousand times brighter, glittering like the eyes of all the gods.”

2.     I was alone, and I had no hands to clench around my memories. I had no memories, no name, only the knowledge (deeper and colder than any darkness) that I had lost what I loved more than life. And then I forgot I had lost it. Time unwound. Prices were unpaid. The world changed.

3.     “And don’t tell me you’re sorry, because that would make you a very pitiful assassin.”
“I’m not an assassin!” My head snapped up and I saw that he was kneeling right beside me.
“Oh. I’m sorry. That would make you a very pitiful saboteur who carries a knife for nonviolent purposes.” His crimson cat eyes were laughing at me.


Uprooted, by Naomi Novik

The description caught my interest because there’s no mention of a curse to be broken. Instead the ‘beast’ is described as an ageless wizard who returns his captives to their homes after ten years of service. Also, Agnieszka sounds like a very interesting protagonist!

Description:

Agnieszka loves her village, set deep in a peaceful valley. But the nearby enchanted forest casts a shadow over her home. Many have been lost to the Wood and none return unchanged. The villagers depend on an ageless wizard, the Dragon, to protect them from the forest's dark magic. However, his help comes at a terrible price. One young village woman must serve him for ten years, leaving all they value behind.

Agnieszka fears her dearest friend Kasia will be picked at the next choosing, for she's everything Agnieszka is not – beautiful, graceful and brave. Yet when the Dragon comes, it's not Kasia he takes.

Quotes:

1.     I’d been watching only to be sure he actually left; it took nearly all the caution left in me not to throw something down at his head, and I don’t mean a token of my regard.

2.     He looked at me, baffled and for the first time uncertain, as though he had stumbled into something, unprepared. His long narrow hands were cradled around mine, both of us holding the rose together. Magic was singing in me, through me; I felt the murmur of his power singing back that same song.

3.     Then he spluttered at me, “You impossible, wretched, nonsensical contradiction, what on earth have you done now?”


Heart's Blood, by Juliet Marillier

I’m interested in reading this version because Whistling Tor is described as a safe haven for Caitrin. That’s a little different to the traditional construct where the heroine is imprisoned by the beast against her will.

Description:

Whistling Tor is a place of secrets, a mysterious, wooded hill housing the crumbling fortress of a chieftain whose name is spoken throughout the district in tones of revulsion and bitterness. A curse lies over Anluan’s family and his people; those woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom.

For young scribe Caitrin it is a safe haven. This place where nobody else is prepared to go seems exactly what she needs, for Caitrin is fleeing her own demons. As Caitrin comes to know Anluan and his home in more depth she realizes that it is only through her love and determination that the curse can be broken and Anluan and his people set free.

Quotes:

1.     Trust can be a hard lesson; hope still more difficult.

2.     I cannot expiate my sin, yet I am compelled to try. My mind will not let me rest. There must be something I could have done, some way I could have acted, something I could have changed to snatch victory from bitter defeat.

3.     “How could you not know?" His voice was full of wonderment. "You changed me utterly.”


Hunted, by Meagan Spooner

I can’t wait to read about Yeva. She’s described as a hunter who is very familiar with the forest, but it’s also clear she has no first-hand experience of magic or fairy tales. The book’s description doesn’t give anything away in terms of who the ‘beast’ is and how much of a challenge Yeva faces.

Description:

Beauty knows the Beast's forest in her bones—and in her blood. After all, her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering its secrets. So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters out of their comfortable home among the aristocracy and back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman.

But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. The Beast.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange creature back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of magical creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin, or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Quotes:

1.     There's no such thing as living happily ever after — there's only living. We make the choice to do it happily.

2.     It’s the wanting that brought me here, to her. To another soul as empty as mine, and yet not empty at all, because it’s so full of everything I thought only I ever felt. Her soul against mine feels like music, like a heartbeat, like magic. Like beauty.

3.     She hated the indecisiveness of people in town, how they waited to make decisions, took weeks or months or years to settle, until the decisions were made for them by inaction.


I'm making good progress with Engraved in Magic, the sequel to Matched in Magic, and it seems like a good time to reflect on how things are going with the story. I've mentioned before on this blog that I'm not a planner. Despite my best efforts to define plots in advance, I never succeed, and I figure out each book while I'm writing it.

That said, Engraved in Magic is a sequel. And sequels are a little different because I obviously have a fixed starting point and usually some ongoing plot lines to pursue as well. For today's post, I thought I'd compare the story I'm writing to the story I intended to write by way of a top ten plan v reality list ☺.


The Plan
The Reality



1
Art to take over as narrator.
Yes, Art tells the story. It’s been a challenge for me to get to know him because he’s lacking in self-confidence, but he has a kind of quiet determination that’s very appealing. One of my beta readers sums it up by saying that Art is much more of a Darius than a Jax!



2
An extended timeline for the story. Matched in Magic happened over just four days, and I expect Engraved in Magic to be longer.
No. I’m pretty sure Engraved in Magic is going to be around four days too. There seems to be a lot happening in Vayl since the sponsorship model was overthrown.



3
Galen, Serena’s brother, to get the chance to help the Ricard family.
Not exactly. The Ricards and mage-sickness are definitely a part of the story. But it’s not Galen who takes the lead.



4
A new villain.
Yes. I always try to introduce a new villain/threat with every book, although the identity of the villain is proving a little difficult to pin down this time. I’ve changed my mind once already.



5
Character development for Xavic Dantail.
A little. There is the potential for Xavic’s story to be part of a future book. He's popular with beta readers, so we'll see.



6
A meeting with Darix, Art’s brother.
Yes. In fact, Darix is a bigger part of this story than I expected.



7
Different/new magic either in the form of spells unique to Xytovia or something invented by Galen.
There is a lot of brand-new magic/history revealed in this book, but it has nothing to do with Galen. Sorry, Galen… but you did get Surviving Magic all to yourself!



8
No significant new characters except for the villain.
No. This didn’t work out as I thought it would because a new character turned up early in the story almost from nowhere, and he grabbed the limelight immediately. His name is Kellan.



9
Art to become more familiar with using magic.
And then some! Art discovers that he’s not an ordinary magician in a way that dramatically changes the course of the story.



10
Art’s and Serena’s relationship progresses.
Yes. They made a promise to stay together at the end of Matched in Magic, and I’m trying to make sure they keep it. This story is not about Art and Serena breaking up.

It looks like about half of what I planned is happening (kind of) the way I planned it. I don't think that's too bad. At least I know it's worth making a top ten next time!

Engraved in Magic is currently scheduled for a late July release date. I hope everyone is keeping safe and well, and thank you very much for visiting my blog today. Happy reading πŸ’•.


“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering; these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love; these are what we stay alive for.”
– Dead Poets Society

I love reading poetry. The right poem can brighten a happy day and soothe a difficult one. It can give you a different perspective. It can motivate and inspire you. And it can sometimes take your breath away.

Today's post contains three positive poems that I hope you enjoy. Thank you very much for visiting my blog, and I hope everyone is safe and well πŸ’•.

Writing update: Although it's been a little challenging to make time for writing recently, I'm happy to say that Engraved in Magic remains on track for a late July release ☺.

May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.

― Chief Dan George

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

― Sara Teasdale

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

― Emily Dickinson


In the words of Stephen King: Books are a uniquely portable magic. Escaping into a book is as easy as opening (or clicking on) the cover. It doesn't cost much, and there's very little in the way of limits about where you can go and with whom.

Once a year, I create a blog post that illustrates the importance of opening lines when choosing a new book to read. Without going into detail about the challenges our world is facing right now, it seemed like a good time for this post. As before, the ten YA books in the following list all have one thing in common: I decided I was going to read them before I'd reached the end of the first page.

“Stories want to change, and it is a librarian’s job to preserve them; that’s the natural order of things. The Unwritten Wing of the Library, for all its infinite magic and mystery, is in some ways a futile project. No story, written or unwritten, is static. Left abandoned too long, and given the right stimulation, a book goes wrong in the head. It is a story’s natural ambition to wake up and start telling itself to the world.

The Library of the Unwritten, by A.J. Hackwith

“One day there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story. Once there was a world called Kelanna, a wonderful and terrible world of water and ships and magic. The people of Kelanna were like you in many ways—they spoke and worked and loved and died—but they were different in one very important respect: they couldn’t read.

The Reader, by Traci Chee

Love is for children, said the girl.
Death is for fools, said the shadow.
Darkness is my destiny, said the boy.
Allegiance is my undoing, said the eagle.
Suffering is our fate, said the beauty.
And they were all horribly wrong.

We Hunt the Flame, by Hafsah Faizal

“They were not gentle. And why should they be?
After all, they did not expect her to live past the next morning. The hands that tugged ivory combs through Shahrzad’s waist-length hair and scrubbed sandalwood paste on her bronze arms did so with a brutal kind of detachment.

The Wrath & the Dawn, by RenΓ©e Ahdieh

I’m gonna miss the Draft.
The Hadfield is disintegrating around me. Black arcs of quantum lightning are melting the ship’s hull to slag. My spacesuit is screaming seventeen different alarms, the lock on this damn cryogenic pod still won’t open, and that’s the one thought blaring in my head.

Aurora Rising, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

“Senior year is begun.
Is begun sounds cooler than the more normal has begun, because if you say it right, you sound like a lone surviving knight delivering dire news to a weary king on the brink of defeat, his limp hand raking his face with dread. The final breach is begun, your grace. The downfall of House Li is begun.
I’m the king in that scenario, by the way, raking my face with dread.
For senior year is begun.

Frankly in Love, by David Yoon

“Everyone dreams of marrying a prince—except for me. I am nothing more than a pawn for my mother’s revenge on the seven kingdoms. For she was betrayed by those close to her, scorned by her true love and cast aside like garbage. In return, she raised her adoptive daughters to be as beautiful as diamonds, cold as ice, formidable like the ocean, and as wicked as they come.

Of Beast and Beauty, by Chanda Hahn

“The rain was falling sideways in the Marsh. It was never a straight downpour. It was always crooked. Just like the people here. Con artists and hustlers and crocs, the lot of them.
Anyone can be a saint until they’re hungry enough.

Sky Without Stars, by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell

“Of all the awful things demons do, keeping Latin alive when it deserves to be a dead language might be the worst. To say nothing of ancient Sumerian. And ancient Sumerian translated into Latin? Diabolic.

Slayer, by Kiersten White

“Magic was outlawed in all four kingdoms—and that was putting it lightly. Legally, magic was the worst criminal act a person could commit, and socially, there was nothing considered more despicable. In most areas, just being associated with a convicted witch or warlock was an offense punishable by death.


A Tale of Magic, by Chris Colfer

Would you read any of these books based on the way they begin? Perhaps you already have πŸ™‚. Thank you very much for visiting my blog today, and I hope you find lots of great reads in 2020!