Tag Archives: Fantasy

The Sun Child Chronicles—fantasy with one foot in sci-fi territory

Hello readers! Progress on the Sun Child Chronicles continues. I just returned the final round of edits on Ciarrah’s Light (book 3), to the publisher, I have the mockup of a fabulous cover from Catt Ford (which I wish I could share, but can’t), and we’re rolling on to final preparations for an October release. Since I haven’t shared here in a while, I thought I’d stop in and talk about one of my favorite things about the Sun Child Chronicles—its sci-fi roots.

Ethra, main character Lucky’s home world, has little of what we think of as technology. They still use candles for light and fires for heat, and the books are full of swords and horses, talismans and spells. But I’ve mentioned before that the core of my idea for the series came from quantum physics and string theory, which proposes the likelihood of multiple dimensions, possibly with worlds proceeding in parallel fashion on each one. In the series, Ethra and Earth are twinned worlds occupying roughly the same position in space, but with varying time streams and different environments. In book three, a third world, Terrathia, is introduced, and it could not be more different from Ethra. There, science ruled, intelligence valued above all else. That proved to be a problem in the end—for the Terrathians, but also for Earth and Ethra, after the Terrathians got desperate. Here’s one of the book’s short prologues, to give you a hint of the trouble in store for Lucky, his friends, and Ethra in Ciarrah’s Light.

Pahlanus, Ancient Prime of Terrathia, sat uncomfortably in a chair made for Earthborns in the Valley City, California boardroom of an Earth enterprise known as Allied Biotech, Incorporated. The five Earthborns present, though touted as their world’s leaders in what they called “bio-development,” seemed to Pahlanus rather dull-witted. That suited his purposes, but he wondered: if these were Earth’s best minds, how had they ever managed to uncover the secrets of DNA and gene-splitting?

In many ways, though, even the crude Earthborns had advanced their technology beyond the Ethrans. To a refined Terrathian Prime, the people of Ethra seemed farmers to a man, with no more education or insight than what was required for ploughing or woodcraft. Yet Pahlanus knew this to be deceptive. In the sciences, Ethra clearly remained a backwater. Yet it had been Ethrans who’d best learned to manipulate energy with their minds, to channel that energy work into instruments, charms, and talismans for even greater strength. This excellence could be accounted for by the sheer abundance, in Ethra, of the particular energy they employed. They called it magic, but it was life force, and it sustained their world. Perhaps because of their attunement with that deep energy, Ethrans were also the first to find the double-sided, hollow, interdimensional barrier they called Naught. And, astonishingly, they’d been the first among the triplet worlds to understand the permeable nature of that boundary and exploit its weakest sections, using them as portals to other dimensional realities—other worlds.

Pahlanus shifted the pillows stuffed between his narrow Terrathian body and the arms of the chair. They provided not-quite-enough support, and the longer he sat, the more his long spine tended to curve in ways it shouldn’t, and his tall head, with only his own stiff collar to help his undeveloped muscles, seemed very heavy. Yes, he was physically uncomfortable, and alarmingly aware of it. This was another sign of Terrathian decline, which is what had brought him to this meeting.

Life-splitting, or gene-splicing as used in Earth, had been discovered in that backwater world only forty or so years earlier, but in Terrathia time had moved differently, and many generations had passed since the appropriated science had first been used in the laboratories of great Terrathian Primes. Pahlanus himself had made the key connection, adding Ethran life-force magic as a wedge to accomplish true life-splitting. With these tools, all emotional baggage—and unnecessary physicality—had been sequestered away. The Terrathian Primes were perfected, and mining lives provided all the energy needed to keep these superior beings nourished.

After many years of progress, Pahlanus was the foremost example of the end result. He was all mind, his brain capacious, attached physically to a minimal body able to handle objects and move him from place to place. His emotional “Echo,” to use a translation of the Terrathian term, had been bundled into an ethereal, barely visible form loosely bound to him by a cord of energy. For the hundreds of years he’d lived in this state, he’d been able to ignore the presence of the Echo entirely, allowing it to feed silently from the life force he consumed in lieu of material food.
Until now.

Like other Primes, Pahlanus increasingly found himself aware of both physical and emotional discomfort, for the separation from the Echo had weakened. Terrathian life force, even supplemented as it had been by the energies of Ethra and Earth, had become scarce, for in their exuberant pursuit of perfecting themselves, his kind had failed to realize the resource did not infinitely renew itself. As Terrathia died, they’d taken emergency measures and stockpiled life-force energy, enabling them to create a small, temporary, substitute world. It could not be sustained indefinitely, but it must be maintained until the Primes of Terrathia had regained sufficient strength and physicality to colonize elsewhere.
To do that, they would need a vast amount of pure life force.

Pahlanus cleared his long, serpent-slender throat, preparing to speak in the reedy remnant of his voice. He surveyed the five heavy-featured Earthborns present, and then locked his gaze on the glowing eyes of the single Ethran attendee. In a deplorably emotional quest for vengeance and power, this woman had cooperated with an experiment of Terrathian science. That test had succeeded. Though technically dead, the Ethran woman now existed and acted in a kind of quasi-location between Naught and the living worlds.
The Earthborns at last ceased their prattle and looked toward Pahlanus expectantly. He spoke, his words barely loud enough to break the silence.

“Gentlemen, my lady Liliana. We need your children.”

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Filed under Harmony Ink, Lou Hoffmann, Sunchild Chronicles, Uncategorized, YA Fiction

Wake up, blog! We’ve got a post! Wraith Queen’s Veil is coming this fall from Harmony Ink

Hello! I let the blog sit undisturbed for so long, it fell asleep—at least that’s how it seems. But there are things coming up, particularly, book 2 in the Sun Child Chronicles series will be out this fall. It’s called Wraith Queen’s Veil, and today I’ve got a (not official) blurb for you, and a short excerpt. Also, I started a facebook group (click here) for announcements and various fun (hopefully) things related to the series. I’m officially inviting you, and if you know anyone else who might be interested, they’re invited too!
WQV title graphic

Here’s that blurb:

When Lucky arrives in Ethra, the world of his birth and destiny, he expects a joyful reunion, but the first thing he notices when he reaches the Sisterhold—his home—is something false behind his mother’s smile. In a matter of weeks, the Sisterhold becomes agitated with worries and war plans. People he trusts—like the wizard Thurlock—frequently can’t be found. His mother seems angry, especially with Lucky. Even Han, the warrior uncle he has come to rely on and love above all others, maintains a sullen silence toward him.

When Lucky’s resentment builds to the breaking point, his bad decisions put him and his friends, L’Aria and Zhevi, in unthinkable danger. Han Shieth arrives to help, but he can’t claim invulnerability to the hazards and evils that threaten at every turn. Events launch Lucky, alone, on a quest for he-knows-not what, but every step brings him closer to his identity and full strength. Self-knowledge, trust, and strength lead to smarter choices, but even his best efforts can’t render his world truly safe, now or for the future.

… and the excerpt!

Shoulder to shoulder, Lucky and Zhevi crept out from the cover of the thicket and into a night of inky shadows, starless and with no hint of the moon. The only light seemed to be coming from all the eyes. Glowing eyes—in pairs, of course—studding the rim of the shallow bowl in which they had made their camp.

“I knew this camp was too easy,” Zhevi whispered.

Lucky gulped in response.

“Get your sword.”

“What do I do with it?”

“Anything except hurt yourself, the horses, or me. Just get it!”

“What about arrows?”

“Luccan, it’s too dark and they’re too close. Sword. They’re coming!”

The eyes slowly closed in on them, followed by shadows blacker than the rest of the night. They hadn’t tied their mounts, and now as the predators drew close, the horses began to whinny nervously. Soon at least one of them let out a blood-chilling scream and bolted, scattering some of the creatures on the way out.

“Cats,” Zhevi said. “Damn! They’re dawn cats! Luccan, listen to me. These cats are really, really vicious. Deadly. But they’re called dawn cats because that’s when they kill. They close in on their prey—”

“Like they’re doing to us, right now?”

“—in the hours before dawn, and then just as day breaks, they strike. And it’s almost impossible to survive. Or so I’ve heard. That’s why their other name is death kittens.”

Frightened beyond clear thinking and appalled at the image that nickname conjured, Lucky pushed his hair out of his face, and asked, in a hoarse whisper, “Kittens?”

“Um, yeah. Also thrall-gazers, because if you look at their eyes long enough… well just don’t do it, okay? Oh, and also they’re sometimes called venom cats.”

“Just guessing here, but maybe they bite?”

dawn cat from pixabay cougar-718092_1280

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Filed under GLBTQ fiction, Harmony Ink, Lou Hoffmann, Sunchild Chronicles, Uncategorized, YA Fiction

Key of Behliseth characters: these are a few of their favorite things

Key of Behliseth coverHi everyone! I’m having a little fun with my characters today! Someone asked me for a list of five things my characters could not do without, so I tracked down Lucky, Thurlock, and Han, and asked them to remember where they were and what they needed on the day Lucky turned fifteen. That’s the day Chapter One (Pale Blue, Wicked Cold) of Key of Behliseth begins. They each named a few things, and I figure I know them well enough to add a couple. If your interest is piqued and you’d like to know more about the book, a good place to start is here, at Dreamspinner Press online, which has description (aka blurb) and the first chapter. You can also find the info and purchase links at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Oh! Almost forgot… You may have noticed I started a contest with my first blog post here on Queerly YA, but I haven’t announced a winner. That’s because I want to include anyone who comments on this blog and answers this question: What is one ingredient you can’t do without in a book?. Could be a character thing, a plot thing, beautiful cover, whatever!
Colorful Heart With

Now, here are those lists.
First

Five things Lucky can’t live without:

  • Maizie—his canine best friend.
  • Ramen noodles—he doesn’t have much money, and a boy’s gotta eat!
  • Man With Dog

  • The strange belongings he had in his pockets when he landed in a world called Earth three years earlier—they are the only remnant of a childhood he doesn’t remember.
  • Honest work—he is genetically unable to lie without pain, so petty crime is out of the question.
  • The petty criminals of Valley City—they make up most of the clientele he does chores for to earn enough money for his and Maizie’s necessities.

Next

Five things the wizard Thurlock can’t live without:

  • Sweets—maple bars, candy, lots of jam on his toast. He’s a thousand years old and still has all his teeth, but I’m guessing he’s used magic to keep them.
  • Instant hot chocolate—one of the things he’s found in the world of Earth that he thinks is far more wonderful than magic.
  • Image of zen balance still life, abstract peaceful background, s

  • The M.E.R.L.I.N. device. Sorry, no explanation here, but it’s in the book.
  • Help keeping his blood pressure down—mainly with tea, aspirin, and reminders to “breathe.”
  • His umbrella, which may or may not really be an umbrella.

Last, but not at all least

Five things the gorgeous hunk of a warrior, Han, can’t live without

  • Order and simplicity.
  • His weapons, dragon’s hide shield and sun metal sword, bow and arrows (especially flame arrows, throwing knife, fists and feet.
  • Loyalty and honor.
  • han sword rain from -for wallpaper-

  • His industrial lawnmower, the refrigerator and range, washing machine, and the microwave, which are the only pieces of Earth technology the wizard will let him have.
  • Valley city rapid transit (see above—the wizard won’t let him buy a truck).

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Comment to enter the drawing for an ebook of Key of Behliseth.

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Filed under GLBTQ fiction, Harmony Ink, Lou Hoffmann, Sunchild Chronicles, YA Fiction