Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Blitz : A Bond Of Venom and Magic

A Bond Of Venom and Magic by Karen Tomlinson

(The Goddess and the Guardians #1)
Publication date: October 14th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
The Wraith Lord is hunting; his prize, the key to unleashing darkness and Chaos upon the eight Kingdoms.

For Diamond Gillon the war raging in the south seems a remote danger until her home is brutally attacked. Having lost everything she holds dear, Diamond is catapulted into a terrifying new world in which legendary beasts arise, magic is condemned and half blood fae, like her, have no rights. Despite her growing feelings for her saviour, Commander Hugo Casimir, he remains a paradox – not only is he a heartless killer, he is owned by the cruel immortal fae queen; a queen who will murder her own people for magic.

As Diamond’s circumstances become ever more perilous she is drawn deeper into Hugo’s world and discovers the lengths to which he will go to save what he holds dear. Will Hugo become her friend, her protector, or – an enemy not worthy of her trust?

A Bond of Venom and Magic is a tale of two people bound by magic and secrets, but trapped in the complexities of love and betrayal. It is the beginning of an epic journey, one that will test Diamond’s resolve and determination to battle an evil that threatens not only her world but that of Eternity, the land of The Guardians and The Goddess.
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The window warrior spun swiftly in front of the door, facing Hugo with his sword drawn. Clearly he wanted to give his lord time to escape, even if that meant his own death. Before the door banged shut downstairs, Hugo stormed forward. The warrior flicked his wrist. Diamond gasped. Red magic. No Avalonian had red magic anymore. It ripple across the room like a wave of shimmering heat. Hugo roared, but not in pain.
Leaning into the onslaught of power he grinned with fiendish delight, darkness rippling around him. A shroud of silver-flamed shadow devoured the red wave, even as his powerful body charged forwards.
The warrior swore, desperately raising his sword in defence. Clearly he had expected a different reaction to his magical attack. Hugo’s wrathful bellow filled the room as he drove his sword down. Metal jarred and sparked.
“You took her from me! I can smell her blood. Now you will die!” he promised, his voice nothing like his own. It was more animalistic than Diamond had ever heard.
The warrior blocked Hugo’s blade with skill and precision. Red magic meant the ability to control heat and fire. Hugo’s blade began to glow as the other fae heated it like it had come out of a furnace. Hugo grunted but did not let go. The white-hot metal did not burn him through the glove of darkness rippling around his hand.
“Stop this, commander! We are not your enemy,” the warrior panted, blocking and spinning away from Hugo’s blades with utter confidence and no small amount of skill.
Hugo did not answer, his only response was to blast the red magic away with a veil of darkness, parrying a strike and bringing his other blade down with such force the window warrior stumbled, almost driven to his knees. Hugo blocked the warrior’s sweeping sword strike and stabbed him through the shoulder, before mercilessly slashing across the male’s thigh. A move meant to incapacitate. The warrior dropped to one knee but somehow still managed to block Hugo’s killing blow.
“Commander! Stop! She will be safer with us. If you take her back to the palace, the Queen will kill her! You know she will! We need Diamond to live! All of us do!” he panted, desperation in his voice now.
Diamond gasped as she saw the warrior’s hand drop to his boot and grasp the handle of a small concealed knife.
“Hugo!” she yelled, fighting her bonds with all her might. Pain screeched through Diamond’s wrists as the silk tightened. She screamed. It was going to cut off her hands!
Instead of killing the warrior, Hugo kicked his assailant in the chest sending him sprawling. There was a solid thud as the warrior’s head smacked into the wall and he stilled. Hugo immediately twisted to Diamond, dropping to his knees in front of her. Blood ran from her wounds, dripping down the chair arms.
“Keep still,” he ordered, pulling a dagger and slicing through the silken rope.
Sobbing with relief, she sagged against him before the pain started in earnest. Her fingers burned as blood rushed back in. Diamond whimpered, not sure what to do with herself.
Thoughts of the window warrior escaped them both. Hugo quickly slashed strips of material off his tunic. Dropping his blades he firmly bound her wrists, trying to staunch the heavy flow of blood. For a moment he leaned his forehead against hers and gripped each wrist as she fought to control her panicked sobs.
“Shh. It’s alright. You’ll be fine now. Breathe, Diamond. In…out…with me. That’s it.” Slowly her mind returned to her. With her head leaning against Hugo’s, they shared the same warm breath. She closed her eyes, her body responding to his. Her breathing slowed until it mirrored his own and she could swear she heard the distant beat of his heart.
The scuff of boots on the wooden floor had Hugo on his feet in front of her, blades ready. Diamond looked on as he faced the bleeding warrior, his face icy and calm.
“We are not your enemy,” the warrior panted. Equally calm and with slow intent he sheathed his own blades.
“Kill me if you must. But you know if you take her back to the palace, the Queen will destroy her. Let her come with me, commander. Please. I give you my word I will keep her safe,” the warrior appealed, holding his bloodied hands out to Diamond.
Hugo looked down at her, his brow bunched. Diamond shook her head frantically and grabbed at his tunic. He couldn’t be considering it
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 
I’ve always been a massive reader, and would make up stories in my head as a child as I fell asleep, (usually involving princes, and big battles) I tried writing romance stories in my early twenties but as I worked shifts and had to carry an old word processor around with me, I found it impossible to complete anything.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing? 
I have a very busy life. I work full time and have two children, a dog (and a husband) to care for, so I write whenever and wherever I can. I have learnt to block out the outside world and immerse my mind in my fantasy world.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 
Oh my goodness, I love, love love, words…far too much! So far ABOVAM has started at 260,000 words, book two was 264,000 words (now 143,000) and so far, book 3 is at 125,000 words. My quirk is, I write far too much…!!

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? 
In my head…got loads of ideas in there! But I also take note of the world around me, and I mean everything. I love to visit old castles and houses, I listen to the news and the tragedies that befall people. I also really love to people watch. I have met a great many people in the course of my work and take note of personalities that annoy me or that I find endearing and try and incorporate them somewhere.

When did you write your first book and how old were you? 
When I was in my early twenties I wrote a romance. I didn’t finish it but I found the manuscript years later at the bottom of a drawer. It was terribly corny!!

What do you like to do when you're not writing? 
There are never enough hours in the day for me, so I make time for things as well as writing. I am a very active person and like to keep fit. I love to walk in the hills with my dog but I also swim and go to the gym at least once a week and I run if I can find the time. I am a karate instructor but I cannot find the time at present to take a class. I practise pad work and fighting skills with a friend of mine at the gym as often as I can. I also make time to read too… I don’t watch TV much anymore as I simply can’t fit it in.

What does your family think of your writing? 
My daughters love the idea. My oldest twin is a big reader. They were the reason I started writing again. ABOVAM started life as their bedtime story and evolved from there. My husband does his best to understand my obsession with books, not to mention all the time I’ve dedicated to ABOVAM. He’s getting there…. My parents and sisters have been extremely supportive and encouraging, which is great, and I could not have done this wihtout the support of a few close friends who have held me up when I have been down, and told me that the book was good enough for other people to read.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? 
I’ve always been someone who likes to achieve my goals but I never thought I’d get to achieve writing one book, let alone have the ideas in my head for a complete series. I learned that I am a damn sight more determined than I ever thought I was and the more people told me I wouldn’t manage it, the more I knew I would.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? 
A Bond of Venom and Magic is my first full novel. I have completed and am editing book 2 and have more or less written book 3. I have also started a prequel about the Queen of Avalonia that I would like to use as a free gift for mailing list sign ups in the future.

Speaking of favorites which is your favorite character, couple or thing to write about? 
Hugo is by far my favourite character, followed by Attion. I think it’s because they seem so strong physically but inside they have lots of issues that make them interesting. I also love writing about relationships…its so exciting to see where things go with characters.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? 
If so, what are they? Honestly I think writing is such a personal thing. The bits of advice that have stuck in my head the most are: ‘finish your story’, even if you only write a small amout each day. If you don’t finish you can’t progress; and ‘stay true to your own story.’ I fell foul of trying to ‘fit in’ to what an agent or readers might want, and ended up deleting and changing my story to suit others until it didn’t feel right for me and I lost my way. I had not deleted the files completely and when I became tired of trying to conform to traditional publishing ideas,agents and trying to second guess what people want, I went back to my own ideas and story… and it felt goood!

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? 
At the moment I don’t have a huge following as my book is not released, but I love to hear from readers. It can be random things people talk about, but the feedback and reviews from the Advanced Reader Copies has been fantastic! I will chat with anyone on my Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/events/939682869486905/ or twitter https://twitter.com/kytomlinson It’s also fantastic to meet some very lovely people. I talk with my readers about ABOVAM but I also chat with them about everyday things too, family, writing, work; that sort of thing whatever happens to come up.

What do you think makes a good story? 
Tension, angst, love, hate, a beginning, an exciting action-packed middle and a cliffhanger ending (or a satisfying ending for a stand alone or series conclusion) I love some sexual tension and competition between the protagonists. I also think every story needs a few wonderfully evil villains, plot twists are good but not always necessary and can sometimes be distracting, as can too much description and complicated political systems…too much brain ache!

What have you found most helpful in marketing your book?  What have you found least helpful?  Is there anything you want to warn authors to stay far, far away from? 
The most helpful thing in marketing for me has been real people! Some people are just genuinely nice and want to help. I love people like that. They have been generous and supportive and willing to share my work. I have spent hours and hours learning about marketing and attending webinars and reading advice, but at the end of the day no-one really knows what will work. I don’t have a massive budget for marketing at the present time as funding the publishing process can be expensive. But I am lucky enough to have a job that I can work over-time in. I have asked other authors what has worked, and joined writers groups and monitored what works for authors in those groups. I would advise researching any sites you are going to give money to for services. Get feedback and testimonials before you part with your cash. There is a lot of rubbish out there.

Who created your cover art?  If you did it yourself, could you explain how you did it?  If someone else did it, how did you hear about their services?  What was it like working with them? 
I absolutely love my cover art. I was initially torn between two cover artists, but I am glad I went with Jonas. He is young and self-taught and is thoroughly amazing! He has built up a massive on line following and is so fabulous with fantasy art. Initially Jonas produced a cover that I felt was too dark for a fantasy aimed at the YA market but before I could tell him he had already sent the sketch of the cover we have now. I fell in love with it immediately. I had an idea of what I wanted and he nailed it without me even having to vocalise it. I found Jonas on Deviant art and emailed him. He is most active on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jojoesart/

Do you have an editor?  Did you edit your own manuscript?  Do you have advice for other authors editing it themselves or hiring someone else? 
Editing your own manuscript is an absolute must! You have to be honest and brutal with cutting bits you don’t really need. If you are like me and love your words this is an extremely painful process! And no matter how many times you go through your manuscript you need to get it Beta read. This is also very painful. Only give it to people you know will be honest but also constructive in their criticism. Editing is a very expensive process but a very necessary one. I chose an editor from another book series I read that wasn’t unaffordable but I still needed to do more corrections after ARC feedback and they are still coming in, so don’t rely completely on someone else.

Where have you decided to publish your books? 
(Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, etc.) All of the above for e-books and I am giving Amazon Create Space a go for my print books…we’ll see how it goes.

Did you format your own book?  Did you run into any trouble formatting it?  
Do you have any advice to fellow authors about formatting their books? I am super busy doing everything else for the book launch and did not want to even try and figure out formatting, so I have paid for a formatter for the ebooks and have just approached a formatter for the print books.

Do you have a current work in progress or a book coming out soon? 
Tell us about them: Like I have mentioned I am currently deep in the throws of editing book 2 of The Goddess and the Guardians series. This series will be 4/5 books long. In Book 2 Diamond and Hugo have to figure out their magical issues nad much much more in order to survive. Diamond learns many new skills with weapons and magic, and Hugo learns much about himself. We also get to see Diamond singlehandedly battle the wraith lord…..Yay! I have many more books in my head, one in particular that keeps creeping into my thoughts; but that’s way down the line and the characters will just have to wait their turn!!

Karen Tomlinson is the author of The Goddess and the Guardians series of Young Adult fantasy books. Book one A Bond of Venom and Magic will be released October 14th 2016.

Karen has always been an avid reader. Her taste in books is eclectic but she likes nothing better than an exciting fantasy, set in a new and magical world. She lives in Derbyshire, England, with her husband, twin girls and her dalmatian, Poppy. Karen trained as a nurse and currently works as a resuscitation and clinical skills trainer, this involves training a wide variety of health care professionals and medical students in acute patient care. In addition to writing, and reading whenever she can, Karen likes to keep active. She has been training at Shotokan karate since being thirteen, likes walking, mountain biking and (for something completely different) cake decorating. She is currently working on book two in The Goddess and the Guardians series.

About me!

As soon as I could read I spent hours getting lost in the new worlds books could give me. Spending my pocket money had to be done (obviously) but not on sweets, well, not many…I spent my money on books. Back then it was Enid Blyton’s Famous Five which sparked my young mind. I didn’t rest until I had the whole set, then I migrated to the secret seven…(there was no Harry Potter then) As a teenager I would trawl through all my mum and dad’s discarded books. It was probably highly inappropriate for a thirteen year old to be reading swoony Mills and Boon romances followed by Ian Flemming, Alistair Maclean and Wilbur Smith!

Because I read anything and everything I could get my hands on back then, I now have an eclectic taste in books. I will read anything that catches my eye and absolutely love illustrated book covers! In my late teens I discovered fantasy and that genre has stayed my firm favourite. I am and will always remain a complete sucker for a fantasy with kick ass characters and worlds steeped in magic and romance!

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