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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Monday Morsel: Siege – An Extract from In the Company of the Dead



Welcome to the Monday Morsel feature, where I share short extracts from the first draft of my adult epic fantasy/fantasy romance, In the Company of the Dead.

* * *

Men appeared in the gaping gate of the old ruined wall, a mere dozen or so, with bows slung over their shoulders. Lyram pulled the eyeglass from his belt, goosebumps prickling his skin. Not bows; crossbows. And there, in the trees behind the crossbowmen, the horses they must have used to arrive so quickly. They began pulling the weapons from their shoulders and winding winches.
The messengers scattered at sight of the crossbowmen. Speed was their one hope, their mail useless against a quarrel, but crossbows were slow to load. Lyram leaned forward, clenching the battlements with his free hand, and the eyeglass pressed almost painfully into his eye socket as he willed the horses away.
One of the riders jerked, the impact of a quarrel throwing him out of his saddle. The horse shied violently, but the man’s foot caught in the stirrup, and the horse dragged him out of sight.
          A murmur of dismay rose from the watching soldiers. Lyram clutched the eyeglass tighter, sweeping the scene to try and find the other two riders.

* * *

Thanks for dropping by! Don't forget, this is a first draft, and as such won't be perfect. If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment, and In the Company of the Dead will be available in the future. I aim to have the first draft finished by the end of March. If you'd like to sample more of my writing, check out my novella Confronting the Demon.
If this is your first visit to Monday Morsels, find others in the series by clicking on the ‘Monday morsel’ tag, or go to the first installment.

More about In the Company of the Dead:


Lyram already crossed a prince, and now he finds himself on the brink of crossing a god.

Son of a duke and second in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after assaulting the crown prince. When a hostile army arrives to besiege the castle, he believes the prince wants him removed – permanently.

As though answering their prayers, Ellaeva, the Battle Priestess of the death goddess, arrives unexpectedly. But she has not come to break the siege. Instead, she is in pursuit of a necromancer of the evil god of decay. When misfortune after misfortune befalls the beleaguered defenders, Lyram realises the necromancer is hidden within the walls, sabotaging the very defence.

Against the backdrop of clashing gods, Lyram must fight to save himself from the political machinations of his prince, and the dread plans of a necromancer. But as the siege lengthens, he realises the greatest threat may come from another quarter — a woman sworn body and soul to a god tempts him to pay a terrible price.


Friday, 24 January 2014

Taglines, Loglines and Headlines for ITCOTD… Confused Much?



As part of being more organised about my book’s structure from the beginning, I’ve been thinking about taglines, loglines, and headlines.

Wait – aren’t those the same thing?

Close – but not quite. The differences are hard to explain, so here’s an example using the movie Alien:

Logline - "An alien monster stalks the trapped crew of a spaceship." A logline is a one sentence pitch.

Tagline – "In space, nobody can hear you scream." This is catchy, perfect for marketing.

Headline "Alien devours spaceship crew; heading for Earth?" Kind of like a news headline.

The catch is that inventing them is really tough. Brain strain tough. This is what I’ve come up with so far for In the Company of the Dead:

Logline "Lyram has already crossed a prince; now he finds himself on the brink of crossing a goddess."

Alternate logline"A prince wants him dead; the necromancer to an evil god wants to use him; he wants a woman who belongs to Death."

Tagline – "Royalty hath no fury like a goddess scorned."

Alternate tagline – "In the game of gods, the stake is more than just your life."

Headline "Prince wants rival dead – goddess joins the fray."

As you can see, I’m still banging around a couple of possibilities for the logline and the tagline. I’m leaning for the second logline. It’s a complex plot, more complex than Alien, and this one captures the main conflicts of the primary plot line the best I think. I’m also tending to the second tagline, but may keep the first one for use as well. 

What do you think? What do you like? What don’t you like?

 

More about In the Company of the Dead:


Lyram already crossed a prince, and now he finds himself on the brink of crossing a god.

Son of a duke and second in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after assaulting the crown prince. When a hostile army arrives to besiege the castle, he believes the prince wants him removed – permanently.

As though answering their prayers, Ellaeva, the Battle Priestess of the death goddess, arrives unexpectedly. But she has not come to break the siege. Instead, she is in pursuit of a necromancer of the evil god of decay. When misfortune after misfortune befalls the beleaguered defenders, Lyram realises the necromancer is hidden within the walls, sabotaging the very defence.

Against the backdrop of clashing gods, Lyram must fight to save himself from the political machinations of his prince, and the dread plans of a necromancer. But as the siege lengthens, he realises the greatest threat may come from another quarter — a woman sworn body and soul to a god tempts him to pay a terrible price.


Monday, 20 January 2014

Monday Morsel: Leavetaking - An Excerpt From In the Company of the Dead

Welcome to the Monday Morsel feature, where I share short extracts from the first draft of my adult epic fantasy/fantasy romance, In the Company of the Dead.
* * *

         Rain had sliced down out of a grey sky, soaking the cavalcade to the bone as they waited patiently to be off, sluicing from the armour of the knights and leaving pennants hanging raggedly. Thundering rain on cobbles muffled all sound more than a foot away, and Drault must have known that when he came.
         Taking Lyram’s hand, Drault smiled without showing his teeth, a smile that never reached his eyes. ‘It is uneventful in the borderlands, I hear. I will pray to Ahura to keep it that way.’
         And he widened his smile, teeth gleaming, but not a hint of warmth reaching his eyes. His grip tightened until Lyram feared his bones would surely crack.
         Nothing more than that, and a prayer to Ahura for safekeeping which, while unusual, was not entirely nonsensical. Death, after all, was her realm; she had power to bring it or keep it. But he could not shake the memory of that fox’s smile, all predatory cunning. 


* * *

Thanks for dropping by! Don't forget, this is a first draft, and as such won't be perfect. If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment, and In the Company of the Dead will be available in the future. I aim to have the first draft finished by the end of March. If you'd like to sample more of my writing, check out my novella Confronting the Demon.

More about In the Company of the Dead:


Lyram already crossed a prince, and now he finds himself on the brink of crossing a god.

Son of a duke and second in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after assaulting the crown prince. When a hostile army arrives to besiege the castle, he believes the prince wants him removed – permanently.

As though answering their prayers, Ellaeva, the Battle Priestess of the death goddess, arrives unexpectedly. But she has not come to break the siege. Instead, she is in pursuit of a necromancer of the evil god of decay. When misfortune after misfortune befalls the beleaguered defenders, Lyram realises the necromancer is hidden within the walls, sabotaging the very defence.

Against the backdrop of clashing gods, Lyram must fight to save himself from the political machinations of his prince, and the dread plans of a necromancer. But as the siege lengthens, he realises the greatest threat may come from another quarter — a woman sworn body and soul to a god tempts him to pay a terrible price.




Friday, 17 January 2014

Confronting the Demon: The Making of the Book Trailer

Last week I shared the book trailer made for Confronting the Demon by the amazing Lydia Kurnia. Here is a behind the scenes look at how the trailer came into existence. Enjoy!



In case you missed it, here's the book trailer itself.



Illustrations by Isaia (worldsbeyond.lydiakurnia.com) and Lydia Kurnia (lydiakurnia.com).
Art direction by Lydia Kurnia.
Cover illustration by Nadica Boskovska (theswansmaiden.deviantart.com/gallery/).
Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com).

Monday, 13 January 2014

Monday Morsel: Stranger In the Mirror



Welcome to the Monday Morsel feature, where I share short extracts from the first draft of my adult epic fantasy/fantasy romance, In the Company of the Dead

In this scene, our main character has retreated to his suite after an altercation with his captain and his aide, who quite frankly think their lord is losing his wits. As they part ways, the captain admonishes Lyram to clean up his act and shave, leaving our hero wondering why he allows his captain to get away with such insubordination.

* * *

Lyram’s razor blade sat on the washstand next to a pitcher of water. He dipped a finger in and shivered at the icy chill. Nevertheless, he picked up his razor and the silvered glass and examined his jaw.
Coarse blond stubble coated his chin and cheeks. How many days since he’d last shaved? He didn’t recall. What caught his eye, though, was the way his hair hung raggedly about his face. When had he cut it? Hacked it off with a knife, more like. Bloodshot blue eyes stared back at him, mocking. He dropped the razor. It clattered into the washbasin as he placed the mirror down with more care and turned away.
But above the desk, as mocking as his reflection, hung the portrait of his younger self, clean-shaven and staring imperiously with clear eyes out of the canvas, his shoulders squared and cloak flung back to reveal a sword. A solitary portrait, and years old now. The more recent painting he’d left in the capital.
That one had Alharne in it.

 * * *

Thanks for dropping by! Don't forget, this is a first draft, and as such won't be perfect. If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment, and In the Company of the Dead will be available in the future. I aim to have the first draft finished by the end of March. If you'd like to sample more of my writing, check out my novella Confronting the Demon.

 

More about In the Company of the Dead:




Lyram already crossed a prince, and now he finds himself on the brink of crossing a god. 

Son of a duke and second in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after assaulting the crown prince. When a hostile army arrives to besiege the castle, he believes the prince wants him removed – permanently. 

As though answering their prayers, Ellaeva, the Battle Priestess of the death goddess, arrives unexpectedly. But she has not come to break the siege. Instead, she is in pursuit of a necromancer of the evil god of decay. When misfortune after misfortune befalls the beleaguered defenders, Lyram realises the necromancer is hidden within the walls, sabotaging the very defence.

Against the backdrop of clashing gods, Lyram must fight to save himself from the political machinations of his prince, and the dread plans of a necromancer. But as the siege lengthens, he realises the greatest threat may come from another quarter — a woman sworn body and soul to a god tempts him to pay a terrible price.


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Book Trailer – Confronting the Demon, a High Fantasy Novella



Confronting the Demon is available from:
 
Amazon - goo.gl/ZYMjmK
Barnes & Noble - goo.gl/Wbd2Eu
Apple - goo.gl/Zm2rBr
Kobo - goo.gl/ZYMjmK

Or you can pick it up here on my website: ciaraballintyne.com/BooksCiaraBallintyne.html

Book trailer credits:

Illustrations by Isaia (worldsbeyond.lydiakurnia.com) and Lydia Kurnia (lydiakurnia.com)
Art direction by Lydia Kurnia
Cover illustration by Nadica Boskovska (theswansmaiden.deviantart.com/gallery/)
Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

I am lucky enough to work with Lydia Kurnia in my day job. She is both a fantasy writer and a fantasy artist, so she is definitely more talented than I! The trailer turned out better than my wildest dreams, and I can’t thank her enough. Do be sure to stop by her website to check her out.

Thanks for watching, and in the words of Lydia, feel free to share with your family, friends, enemies...  Anyone who may enjoy and benefit from it!

Monday, 6 January 2014

Monday Morsel: Exile – Excerpt from In the Company of the Dead



Welcome to the very first of the Monday Morsels feature on Flight of the Dragon.

Each Monday I will be sharing a brief snippet from the first draft of my work-in-progress, In the Company of the Dead, what will be a full-length adult epic fantasy novel. Bear in mind this is a first draft. I’m sharing it with you to bring you along on the journey, and the finished product may be quite different, nor do I pretend my grammar is perfect without the intervention of my editor. I’ll be aiming for ten lines, but may cut short or go long if there is a natural place to break in the action.

This snippet comes from the first chapter, from the first six hundred words in fact.

* * *

The memory still burned; his summary dismissal by the king occurred before the entire assembled court. My king did not dismiss me. Prince Drault is behind this. He pulled a flask from his belt as he shunted the memory aside, and took a draught. The liquor burned hot down to his belly as Maddok’s report rolled to a close.
‘Two thousand men?’
‘Near enough.’ Maddok coughed, and red flecked his lips. ‘Near as I could count. Mostly foot. A hundred cavalry, perhaps.’
Lyram’s gaze caught on the blood staining his scout’s lips. It’s not the first time I’ve lost men in battle. No, it wasn’t. Just the first time since Alharne.

* * *

So, that’s it for today. I hope I’ve intrigued you enough to see you back here next Monday for another morsel – no, I’m sorry, I won’t be continuing where I’ve left off today. That’s not the point of this feature! But if you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment, and In the Company of the Dead will be available in the future. I aim to have the first draft finished by the end of March. If you'd like to sample more of my writing, check out my novella Confronting the Demon.

More about In the Company of the Dead:

Lyram already crossed a prince, and now he finds himself on the brink of crossing a god.

Son of a duke and second in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after assaulting the crown prince. When a hostile army arrives to besiege the castle, he believes the prince wants him removed – permanently.


As though answering their prayers, Ellaeva, the Battle Priestess of the death goddess, arrives unexpectedly. But she has not come to break the siege. Instead, she is in pursuit of a necromancer of the evil god of decay. When misfortune after misfortune befalls the beleaguered defenders, Lyram realises the necromancer is hidden within the walls, sabotaging the very defence.


Against the backdrop of clashing gods, Lyram must fight to save himself from the political machinations of his prince, and the dread plans of a necromancer. But as the siege lengthens, he realises the greatest threat may come from another quarter — a woman sworn body and soul to a god tempts him to pay a terrible price.


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