Sneak Peek at The Amazon Heir

Sneak Peek The Next Big ThingBack in August, Debra Kristi tagged me in The Next Big Thing, where authors are supposed to answer a series of interview questions on the book they’re currently working on. I made a strategic choice to hold off until now to share because I wanted to tell you about the book that Lisa Hall-Wilson and I are finally bringing to a close. You’ll be hearing a lot more about it in the coming months.

What is the working title of your book?

The Amazon Heir

Where did the idea come from for the book?

In the summer of 2010, Lisa approached me wanting to co-write a novel and hooked me with the question, “What if the Arthurian legends originated not in Britain but near the Black Sea from an Amazon warrior’s pursuit of respect and a barbarian Scythe’s spiritual quest?”

Historians C. Scott Littleton and Linda Malcor wrote a non-fiction book From Scythia to Camelot, in which they proposed that the core of the Arthurian and Holy Grail traditions didn’t actually come from Celtic mythology. They came from the folklore of the peoples of ancient Scythia (what is now the South Russian and Ukrainian steppes) known as the Sarmatians.

According to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, the Sarmatians rose out of the pairing of Amazon mothers and Scythian fathers. Hundreds of years later, when the Romans defeated the Sarmatian cavalry and forced them to serve at Hadrian’s Wall, the Sarmatians took their folklore to Britain with them. The evidence was quite compelling.

We’ve developed the idea from that kernel together.

What genre does your book fall under?

We’re calling it historical fantasy.

The Scythians were a real historical society, and we’ve done our best to render them accurately based on our research. The Amazons are myth. The theory is that the legends of the Amazons arose among the Greeks because Sarmatian women fought alongside the men (and there’s archeological evidence that bears this out).

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I haven’t thought about it. If Lisa stops by, perhaps she’ll chime in down in the comments for who she saw in the roles.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Our catchy logline is Xena warrior princess meets Game of Thrones.

Zerynthia is an Amazon princess with more man-kills than any other. Tradition says that to take her mother’s throne she needs a female heir from a prince of Scythia, a nation feared by even the Greeks. If she doesn’t take her mother’s throne, the law condemns her family to death.

Kaduis, heir to a king with too many sons, is ordered by his father not to come home without a son from Zerynthia, but Kaduis’ secret faith in a foreign god forbids him from bedding a woman who isn’t his wife and carries a death sentence if discovered. And Amazons don’t marry.

When Kaduis’ brother devises a plot to cast doubt on the paternity of their child, the existence of both their societies is threatened.

He needs a son, she needs a daughter, only one can succeed, and time is running out.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Stay tuned. We’ll be making an announcement soon.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

We finished the first draft in about five months. We’ve on revision number three.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

We’ve struggled with this question. We’re coming at the Arthurian legends from an entirely new angle, and there are very few novels on the market about Amazons. We’re also looking to push the fantasy genre a bit by keeping our book fast-paced.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Zerynthia is notoriously known as the Lady of the Lake for rising from the water after defeat in her first battle to kill the enemy king—earning her acclaim among men and disgrace among the Amazons. In the Arthurian legends, the Lady of the Lake is the one who is said to have given Arthur Excaliber and to have raised Lancelot when his parents died. She’s depicted as always wearing white and is associated with the goddess Artemis and the protection of virginity. We had a lot of fun in the book putting new twists on those elements.

Had you heard of the Amazons and Scythians before?

Image Credit: Martin Boulanger via Stock.Xchnge

Please enter your email below to receive an update next time I post, and join me on my Facebook page.

Enter your email address to follow this blog:

Let’s Play A Game

Let's Play A GameI’ve been tagged in two fun games, so I decided to smush them together into one post.

The first is called Eleven Questions, where you get to know weird facts about your friendly neighborhood writer.

The Rules:

1. You must post the rules.
2. Answer the questions, then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3.  Tag eleven people and link to them.

Since I was tagged by both Coleen Patrick and Karen Rought, and 22 questions is too many, I’m going to take some questions from each.

1. What 3 books would you take with you into your zombie apocalypse/alien invasion bunker?

Only three is cruel, just cruel. I’d have to take the Bible, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The first is to help keep my moral compass on track and to not lose hope while zombies are eating brains out there, the second is to remind me of the usefulness of creativity and teamwork if the zombies find us, and the third is just because I love Jane Austen’s subtle humor and I’m sure I’ll need a laugh and a look back at a zombie-free time.

2. What was your first job?

I worked at a riding stable, mucking stalls and exercising the horses. It’s not nearly as glamorous as it sounds in books.

3. If you were stuck on a deserted island, name three objects and three people you would want with you.

The items are pretty easy to choose. I’d want a solar-powered Star Trek replicator, a fully stocked Kindle with a solar-powered battery and internet access, and a homing beacon that transmits “This Is the Song that Doesn’t End” in the houses of the five most powerful people in the world until one of them rescues us.

For people, I’d obviously want my husband. I’d also take my friend Meighan because she likes camping, we can talk for hours, and she and Chris get along well. For my final person, even though I have a lot of other loved ones I could take with me, I’d like to have Survivorman Les Stroud just in case my brilliant plan of the replicator and homing beacon fails.

4. If you could be any animal, what would you be?

My cats have a pretty good life—eat when they want, play when they want, sleep when they want. They have someone to clean up after them and cuddle them. I don’t think it’d be a bad life to be a cat in my house.

5. If you could get on a plane right now to a foreign country, where would you go (all expenses paid)?

Italy. I went once when I was 19, but I didn’t get to see the Blue Grotto, Tivoli, or the catacombs in Rome, so I’ve always wanted to go back. And yes, I do know it’s a touch morbid that one of the places I’m dying to see (no pun intended–okay, maybe a little) is basically an underground cemetery.

6. If you decided not to be a writer, what would your other dream job be?

I’ve always thought it would be fun to be a zookeeper, but I’m not sure I’d like it as much the first time one of the baby animals died or had to be moved to a new zoo.

7. What song is stuck in your head right now?

“King of Anything” by Sara Bareilles

8. What is one talent that you’re hopeless at, but you wish you had?

I’d love to be able to paint with oils. Or create glass mosaics. And juggle. Not all at the same time.

9. If you could go back in time for one day, what time would you revisit and why?

I’d like to go back to my wedding day so I could enjoy it a little more. We had amazing food that I barely got to eat, and by the time we did the cake cutting and first dance, I was asleep on my feet. Plus, I’ll never get to wear a dress like that again in my life.

10. What is one trait or physical characteristic that you are proud of/love about yourself?

I really like that I have green eyes, which is strange because when I was a kid, I desperately wanted blue eyes.

11. What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done in your life?

I did a high ropes course (going close to 66 feet above the ground) outside of Brisbane, Australia, and I’m absolutely petrified of heights.

I was also tagged in the Lucky 7 Meme by Debra Kristi, Emma Burcart, Nova Lovette, and Melinda Collins. Even though I normally have a policy against posting unpublished work online, this game seems like a lot of fun so I’m going to play along 🙂

The Rules:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs, and post them as they’re written.
4. Tag 7 authors.

My co-writer already posted a snippet from page 77 at Girls With Pens, so I’m posting from page 7. Each year the Amazons and Scythians meet for the sole purpose of producing warrior offspring (an ancient version of a one night stand except that they actually want to get pregnant). The Amazons keep any girls, and they’re supposed to return any boys to the Scythes, but they claim no boys have been born in years. Kaduis, heir to the Scythian King Over All, has been commanded by his father the attend the Rites…

“Forgive me, my lord,” Jadon said, “but I do not understand why this causes you such unrest. Surely the Amazons will not kill your child if they know they risk war with Scythia.” 

“The Amazons love war as much as Scythia, but their numbers are few now. They will not risk war.” Kaduis tipped up his cup and drank. “But what would your Adonai say of our Amazon Rites?”

“Adonai forbids sexual relations outside of marriage.” Jadon’s words were quiet yet firm.

“I believe your god is the Most High God, more powerful than all others. I believe that your god can preserve my people, and yet my father commands me to defy your god’s laws. Do you understand my dilemma now?”

So I get to tag others who might like to play. Your choice whether to play both games, one, or neither. (If I haven’t tagged you but you want to play, consider yourself tagged and I’ll stop by to check out your answers/snippet if you link to me so I know.)

Rebecca Enzor

Jess Witkins

Lena Corazon

Liz Schulte

Reeta Raitanen

Samantha Warren

Jennette Marie Powell

Jennifer Jensen

Here are your questions:

1. If you could have one magical power, what would it be?

2. You have to give up one of your five senses. Which one would you choose and why?

3. What’s your super-secret Hunger Games survival skill?

4. If it wasn’t illegal and/or cruel, what exotic, wild animal would you want as a pet? (If Lena answers these, I bet she chooses sloths. You should see the adorable videos on her site.)

5. You’re given a chance to co-write a book with any author (living or dead). Who do you choose and why?

6. An asteroid is barreling toward the earth. There’s nothing you or anyone else can do to stop it, and it’s large enough that it will pulverize the planet so that no one survives. It strikes tomorrow. How do you spend your final day?

7. We all have one way that we’re terrified of dying. My husband is afraid of drowning, and I’m afraid of being burned alive. What’s yours?

8. You can only have one dessert (including candy and all salty snacks) for the rest of your life. What’s the one you have to have?

9. If you could bring one fiction character to life, who would you want to meet?

10. Favorite kind of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?

11. And because I loved this question–what are the three things and three people you’d want stranded on the deserted island with you?

(Is it weird I want to answer my own questions?)

Enter your email address to follow this blog:

Versatile Blogger Award

In early November 2011, I officially launched my blog Life At Warp 10. You can imagine how thrilled and honored I was when, less than two months later, one of my favorite bloggers passed along the Versatile Blogger Award to my baby blog. Thanks so much to fantasy author Jessica O’Neal for giving me this award! If you haven’t yet checked out her site, be sure to go there next because you don’t want to miss her series on the characters of Harry Potter or her awesome post on learning to shoot a bow.

Versatile Blogger Award

One of the conditions for accepting this award is that I need to share seven things about myself.

(1) I’m a stray animal magnet. Literally. They show up at my door, and I’m incapable of turning them away. I currently have seven cats, down from my high of 12.

(2) I’m writing a historical fantasy for the ABA with Lisa Hall-Wilson that asks, “What if the Arthurian legends originated not in Britain, but near the Black Sea from an Amazon warrior’s pursuit for equality and a barbarian Scythe’s spiritual quest?

(3) When I was 10, I broke a boy’s nose. In my defense, it was an accident, and I’ve felt bad about it ever since, but apparently I have a mean right hook.

(4) I enjoy editing. The biggest compliment I ever received about my editing skills was that I “make the page bleed red.” (*Shameless Plug Alert* I offer manuscript critiques for fiction, as well as various levels of editing for fiction and non-fiction if you’re looking to hire a freelance editor. *End Shameless Plug*)  

(5) I play the flute and violin, can play very simple songs on the piano, and played percussion in my high school concert band. I can’t sing. At all. It’s painful to listen to.

(6) I can eat an entire large pepperoni pizza by myself (and then some).

(7) When I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, I received the Governor General’s Silver Medal, which means I had the highest GPA of all the students who graduated from my university that year. When I graduated with my master’s degree, I graduated summa cum laude. Yet I have to have my husband remove my digital camera memory card because I can’t figure it out.

The final part of the Versatile Blogger Award is to pass it along to 15 recently discovered blogs that I think deserve recognition. I’m going to loosely interpret “recently discovered” to mean “sometime in the last year.” (In alphabetical order because I’m like that.)

Amber West – A Day Without Sushi

Angela Wallace – Believe, Dream, Awaken

August McLaughlin – Savor the Storm

Coleen Patrick – Read. Smile. Repeat.

Debra Kristi – Sparks In the Fire

Emma Burcart – Occasional Epiphanies

Fabio Bueno – Diamonds & Rust

Gene Lempp – Unearthing the Future

Ingrid Schaffenburg – Threadbare Gypsy Soul

Jenny Hansen – More Cowbell

Lena Corazon – Flights of Fancy

Lisa Hall-Wilson – Through the Fire

Myndi Shafer – Blogging Barefoot

Nicole Maggi – From Getting the Call to Seeing the Book on the Shelf

Samantha Warren – Stealing Starships

If you’re one of the people I passed the Versatile Blogger Award on to, I hope you’ll also pass it along, but there’s no pressure. If you don’t want to do it now, you can always do it later, and I know some of you have already received it (but I love your blogs enough to second the award).

Enter your email address: Delivered by FeedBurner