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Saturday, 20 June 2015

The Saturday Showcase featuring Megan Haskell with Sanyare ~ The Last Descendant

Welcome to another Edition of




 Megan Haskell 



 The Last Descendant

Published February 16, 2015 by Trabuco Ridge Press 


Book Description:

Trained as an elite fighter and educated in the ways of the elves, Nuriel "Rie" Lhéthannien has worked decades to be accepted into the High Court messenger service. It's a simple enough occupation, but in a realm where humans are treated as little better than slaves, it's a position she'll do anything to protect.

On a routine delivery in the Human Realm, Rie is attacked by assassins from the enemy Shadow Realm and framed as a traitor. Facing execution at the hand of an unmerciful king, she evades capture and crosses the portal into enemy lands to prove her innocence.

Surprising allies arise from the shadows, assisting her search and uncovering secrets she didn't know she kept. With the risk of discovery lurking at every turn, Rie must use every weapon in her arsenal to uncover the truth behind the attack. If she fails, death will be the least of her worries.

Featuring elves, pixies, vampires, trolls and more, Sanyare: The Last Descendant is a coming of age fantasy adventure you won't want to put down.

Book Links:

 Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), iBooksNook, and Kobo.


Author Bio:

Legend has it, I was born with a book in my hands. When I was a kid, my mom would ground me from reading in order to get me to do my chores. To this day, I can readily ignore the real world in favor of the imaginary one lurking between the pages of my current addiction. My dad — also an avid reader — introduced me to Tolkien in my late elementary years, and I never looked back. I love escaping to worlds where magic and monsters are real, especially stories with kick-butt heroines and dangerously attractive heroes.

Despite my voracious book appetite, I didn’t start creative writing until I was working as a number cruncher in a big accounting firm. With an hour plus commute by train every day, and a demanding left-brain occupation, I needed a mobile creative outlet. A pen and paper are about as mobile as it gets! As the pages began to fill, I quickly moved onto a tiny laptop, and a writer was born. Now I get to create my own fantasies!

I currently live in Southern California with my wonderfully supportive husband, two daughters, and a ridiculously energetic dog.

Author Links: 

Facebook: /meganhaskellauthor
Twitter: @meganphaskell
Pinterest: /meganphaskell
Google+: +MeganHaskell


Excerpt from Chapter 1:

With a deep breath, Rie left the pretensions of the High Court and its glittering throng behind her.  The portal stretched and squeezed, drawing her cell by cell from the hard marble hall into soft sand touched by gentle waves.  She rested her hand on the cool sandstone that arched above her head, gathering her bearings as her heart rate calmed.
Centering herself, Rie pulled the salty stink of fish deep into her lungs before beginning the two-mile walk to Lord Garamaen’s beachfront estate.  The beach was hushed, as if setting the stage for the first appearance of the sun above the hills.  Even the birds held their breath.  It was too early for the tourists and dog-walkers to be out, and only a few surfers lounged on the calm waves in the distance.  Rie savored the quiet, even if her two tiny companions didn’t.
“The human realm is so boring,” Hiinto said, spittle landing on Rie’s cheek.
She wiped it away, careful not to swat the two-inch pixie holding onto her ear, but made a show of flinging the spit off to the side.
“Why can’t we go somewhere new and fun?” he continued.
“Please.  You wouldn’t know what to do with yourself.  You’d hide in Rie’s hair the whole time,” Niinka replied from her makeshift swing at Rie’s belt.  She lounged upside down, appearing as nothing more than a trinket on a chain hanging out of Rie’s pocket, while she sharpened her claws to a precise point.
“Not true!”
Rie clenched her jaw, biting back her irritation.  They were her friends, but sometimes she wished they would act like adults, rather than siblings.
“It is true, and you know it,” Niinka said.
“Quiet,” Rie snapped, patience gone.  A headache throbbed behind her forehead.  She needed to focus.
Two men stood on the beach, directly in her path.  Still at least fifty yards away, they seemed out of place without the surfboards or exercise attire of the usual early morning crowd.  Rie paused, assessing.  The blond one crouched, taking something out of a bag in the sand.  He flipped it once, a shard of light glinting into Rie’s eyes.  The throbbing in her brain burst in white-hot light, leaving her blind to the real world as she entered a vision.
The blond man stands, facing her.  He pulls his arm back, a knife whistles toward her.  Blood streams from her belly, her shirt soaked in seconds, the sand absorbing the overflow.  The sky is all she sees, expansive gray-blue dotted with thin wispy clouds.  A small hand taps her face.  Niinka’s wide black eyes float into view. Then darkness.
Rie gasped, coming out of the premonition.  The blond man rose from his crouch, facing her.  His arm pulled back.
Sending her thanks to the gods for the warning, Rie spun left as a knife passed through the air where she had stood.  Dropping into a crouch, she scuttled behind a large rocky outcropping, just as another knife hit the sand at her feet.  She picked it up, testing the weight as adrenaline surged and her heart rate sped. Fear twisted a knot of dread in her gut.
Curuthannor’s training kicked in. This might be her first life or death fight, but he had prepared her well. She took a cleansing breath, washed away the fear and replaced it with determination. The pixies let go of their hiding spots, chattering in the clicks and whistles of their native tongue.  Rie ignored them, focusing instead on her surroundings, and her options.  Stairs wound up the cliff to her left, heading toward the street above, but a hundred feet of open space stretched between her rock and the first step.  No matter how fast she moved, she’d be an easy target.  If she ran back toward the arch, she’d be similarly open to attack.
Rie grabbed a handful of sand with her left hand, while her right hand reached behind and traded the unfamiliar throwing knife for one of two eight-inch khukuri blades in the horizontal sheath at her lower back.
“What are they doing?” she asked Hiinto.
The little pixie crawled atop the rock, his translucent wings pulled back and naked skin camouflaged to match the color and texture of the sandstone. “They’ve split up, one on each side.  They’re creeping along now, not sure what you’re doing, I think.  What are you doing?”
“Which one is closer?”
“The one near the cliffs.”
“How close?”
“Fifty feet, coming closer.”
“Are you two hungry?”
Hiinto grinned, revealing a mouth full of sharp, serrated teeth, while Niinka rubbed her hands together. “Humans taste almost as good as the elves and greater fae,” she whispered.
“Wait until they are close.  I will deal with the cliff-side man. You two take a bite out of the one on the ocean-side.”
“Yum.”  Hiinto licked his lips.
Sliding a foot or two to the left, closer to the cliffs, Rie listened for the man’s footsteps in the dry seaweed.  When she guessed he was within a few feet, Rie lunged sideways out from behind the rock and threw the sand into his face.  He sputtered, dropping his weapons and scrubbing at his eyes.  Rie dodged into range.  Her right arm snapped out and up across the man’s body, drawing a horizontal figure eight across his torso, the razor-edged khukuri knife sliding through the soft tissue of his unprotected belly like a spoon through pudding.  She pulled back and away, but not before a loud pop echoed off the cliff face.
Rie’s right leg crumpled beneath her.  She fell to the ground, blood saturating the cloth around a hole in her upper thigh.  She rolled away from the dying assassin.  Sand exploded from the impact of another round. Rie tucked in behind a driftwood log, waiting for the second assassin to make another move.  Blood seeped into her leggings, staining the blue denim a dark burgundy.  The wound wasn’t fatal, but the blood-loss was already making her feel faint.
Rie peeked out from behind the log.  The pixies were nowhere in sight.  The man drew closer, carrying his gun out and away from his body, held loose as if he had all the time in the world to deal with his target.
“Thanks for taking care of Grant,” he said, a wicked grin on his face.  “I hated his constant bragging, and now the bounty’s all mine.”
Rie kept silent, thoughts frantic for a plan.
He took a deep breath, exhaling on a groan.  “You smell delicious.  I can’t wait for my first taste.”  His tongue slicked out across an extended fang.  Blood sidhe, otherwise known as vampire.  Shadow Realm hunters of humans.


Author Interview:

Welcome Megan, and thanks for joining us today

Firstly can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a stay-at-home-mom with two wonderful daughters -- a precocious three year-old and a 11 week old baby -- who run me ragged most days. We live in Southern California with my husband and our dog, a Brittany Spaniel who has more energy than the girls! As you can imagine, life is pretty busy around here, but I manage to squeeze in writing time during naps and occasionally (when I’m not too exhausted) after they go to bed at night.

What inspired you to start writing novels for your chosen genre?
I’ve always loved reading fantasy, including almost every sub-genre. It was only natural that I write what I read!

Have you published any other novels, if so can you share the details?
I don’t have any other published novels, yet, but I do have a free short story prequel to Sanyare: The Last Descendant, called Pixie Tamer. It’s available on Amazon (US), iBooks, and Kobo.

Are you working on anything new right now?
I’m currently working on the sequel to Sanyare: The Last Descendant, with the uninspiring working title Sanyare Book 2. I hope to finish the first draft before the end of this year, but of course, it all depends on my girls.

Can you offer any advice to the fledgling authors, just starting out?
Just keep at it. Writing is like any other skill, it takes time and practice to master. Don’t be in a rush to publish, and work toward small goals that will keep you motivated.

What is your all-time favourite novel?
Pride & Prejudice. I read it at least once a year.

Who is your all-time favourite author?
I have a few, from the classics like Jane Austen and J.R.R. Tolkein, to modern authors that I follow religiously, like Faith Hunter, Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, and Nathan Lowell. I can’t pick just one!

What is your preferred method of writing:-  The plot pre-planned from day one, or just go with the flow and see what happens next?
I’m a mix. I put together a very loose outline of the major plot points before starting the first draft, but it’s a flexible, changeable thing. As I write, things invariably change, and I’ll update the outline as I go. I write in Scrivener, so this is really easy...I use their digital note cards for each major plot point (folder) and scene (text file). When I’m done with the first draft, I’ll divide the plot points into chapters, and update the note cards to match, which helps make sure I don’t have any major plot holes that need to be filled.

Are there any tips or tricks you use to get to know your characters?
I do a lot of what I call exploratory writing. I’ll write a scene from a character’s perspective, as if they’re telling the story. If it’s not the protagonist, these scenes don’t get used in the novel, but they help me understand the secondary characters’ motivations. Scenes from the protagonist usually get used in the novel after significant editing.

If you don’t like a character you’re writing about, what do you do?
Sometimes you’re not supposed to like a character. I never like my villains, so I try to make sure they get what’s coming to them.

Now, if you’re talking about boring characters or characters with limited agency...I cut them out of the novel. If they’re not interesting, they’re not needed!

If you were stranded on a distant planet:-  which of your characters would you like to be marooned with and why?
Daenor. He’s hot. Literally. :-)

Which type of book do you prefer to read?
           a. ebook
            b. paperback
            c. hardback
I almost exclusively read in ebook form. It’s so much easier than carrying around a stack of books, and you always have a new one at the tap of a finger. Now that I have an iPhone 6+, I don’t even have to carry around a second device: the screen is so big it’s almost like reading a paperback novel!

Do you have any weird writing rituals?
Not a ritual, per se, but given my current situation with the baby, I do most of my writing standing at the kitchen table while she naps in a Moby Wrap baby carrier on my chest.

Do you have any input in the Cover design of your novel?
YES! Because I’m my own publisher, I chose my cover artist (Nicole at www.covershotcreations.com) and worked with her on the design of the cover. She was incredible to work with, both as a designer and as a professional. She incorporated my ideas, giving me several different options to choose from, then made all the little detail changes I wanted until we were both happy with the final product. She communicated through the whole process, and was fast and responsive. I couldn’t have chosen better!

What is the best thing about writing for you?
I think I’m a little odd as far as writers go...I love the whole process! I love the creativity of spilling words on a page but also the critical thought that goes into the editing. And I’m thrilled that in the modern age I have the opportunity to be my own publisher. I have an undergraduate business degree, so I’m a data nerd as well as a writer. Writing brings together creativity and business skills, and gives me the opportunity to work from home. For me, it’s the best of everything!

How many novels/books do you typically read in a month?
I go through fits and spurts, binge reading for a few weeks, then not reading much for awhile. But on average, I think I read at least a book a week.

Which of the following suits you best?
     Thrill Seeker
     Mildly Meek
     Totally Chilled

Are you a:
     Laptop Writer
     Desktop Writer
     iPad Writer
     Pen and Paper Writer
YES. :-)

If you didn’t write, what would you do instead to fill the creative void?
Play piano...but not when the baby’s asleep!

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I have a long list of countries and cities I want to visit, but right now, I would take any place where I don’t have to cook or clean or worry about my girls. A glass of wine would be nice, too.


Many thanks to Megan for joining us today with her fabulous fantasy novel, Sanyare.

I'll be back next week with more marvellous authors and novels to entertain you

Until then have a lovely weekend

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