Saturday, April 18, 2015

Quest for Redemption by Sheri Velarde

SV_QuestForRedemption_453x680Inspiration comes in many forms and from many sources. The inspiration for Quest for Redemption is a combination of things. This novel started out as a Nano novel. (That’s a novel that was written in one month for National Write a Novel Month.) So really the first inspiration was just to get something down on the page and quick as the clock struck midnight. The first thing that popped into my mind was to do a fantasy love story, something with elves. I am a huge Tolkien fan and he started me on my fascination with elven kind. Seriously, who doesn’t have crush on Legolas? Am I right? Anyhow, I also wanted to have a very strong female character, not some damsel in distress. In fact, she would be the warrior, the ruler, the strong one. And that is how Zanna was born. A little of her came from Underworld mixed with Xena Warrior Princess, but in elf form. I also wanted to play with the idea of a half magical creature who had no idea what he really was. Enter Will. Part human, part sprite, part really powerful elf. Throw in some evil, because truthfully I love bad guys. Basically I wrote the novel that I would want to read. I am not going to lie, the first draft was terrible. I let it sit for a year before even tackling it and trying to clean it up for submission. Then my life became a blur or edits and tears, but I must say I am happy with the result. Quest for Redemption started out as something just for fun and became something that I never imagined.
 
Blurbs:
The fate of the realms rests on the hands of an elven princess yet to prove herself and an orphan just learning his powers.

Zanna is an elven warrior princess, who seems to have it all, yet really has nothing. Her fate is not in her own hands. Instead, it is bound to an ancient magic she has no control over. She wants to rule the elves, yet must prove herself worthy before she is accepted. She also wants to find her mate, but after two thousand years, didn't hold much hope. Her existence has become mundane, and she craves something new. A routine assignment suddenly turns into something bigger that could ruin all of them. Is she strong enough to save the world and find her own happiness too? Can she change and help change the fate of the world with her?

Will is an orphan who has always been confused by his strangeness. He keeps himself apart, separate from those around him. A chance meeting with a remarkable woman changes everything. He not only learns about himself, but about a whole other world that he is a part of by birthright. However the father that abandoned him as an infant stands to ruin his future and the future of the world unless he can be stopped.

Will and Zanna must face loved ones who work against them and their past as well as find the strength to fight a bigger enemy and save the realms from evil. Can love, friendship, family, and acceptance defeat evil before it brings the realms crashing down? Can Zanna prove herself worthy to rule the kingdom?
 
Author Bio:
Author Sheri Velarde
Sheri Velarde is an author, artist, independent comic creator and jewelry designer out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a creative soul with eclectic taste and style when it comes to her art and writing. Sheri is a multi-publisher romance author who is now branching into fantasy as well with her Defender of the Realms series. When not creating (which her fiancé argues is never), Sheri can be found spending time with her fiancé and their two dogs, reading, watching fantasy movies, attending metal concerts and just taking time to stop and enjoy life.
You can view Sheri’s work on her website/blog: http://sherivelarde.weebly.com/, on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sheri-VelardeKelly-Ryan/, and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Sher_V.
 
Quest for Redemption will be out on Three Worlds Press April 23, 2015!
Buy Links: http://www.threeworldsproductionsllc.com/?page_id=65
http://amzn.com/B00W2TDKGI
https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-questforredemption-1781118-143.html
https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Sheri_Velarde_Quest_for_Redemption?id=8-ITCAAAQBAJ
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/quest-for-redemption
 
Excerpt:
Zanna stood, stunned into immobility. While with Alana, she would have to travel the human way.
The thought slightly annoyed her, yet fascinated her at the same time. "I do not travel by vehicle, so I will be forced to ride in yours." She could still smell and see the fear in Alana, so she tried to lighten the mood. "You know I have never actually ridden in a car before."

"Really?" Alana seemed shocked.

"I have never had the need. I simply come and go in this world when I want. I usually arrive and leave the very spot I wish, and there is never a need for me to travel from place to place while in this realm. Not to mention I find the transportation of humans to be quite slow and cumbersome."

Nonetheless, Zanna elegantly bent her long frame into the passenger side, slightly curious to see why many humans loved their cars so much. Sitting inside one, she felt rather cramped and uncomfortable, and while it was a fast means of transportation for a human, she didn't understand what was so special. Maybe one had to be human to fathom why vehicles fascinated them so.
Alana very nervously started her car and began to pull out. "Aren't you going to put your seatbelt on?

We don't want to get pulled over."

"Excuse me?" Zanna had no idea what the sprite spoke of.

"The human law enforcement requires all people within a vehicle to wear a seatbelt." She pointed to the belt around herself.

As she pulled the belt and fastened it like Alana's, Zanna asked, "What is it for?"

"Protection in case of an accident. Stops you from flying through the windshield," she explained.

"How curious. You know it is completely unnecessary for me. But if it will keep human law enforcement from interfering, so be it. The less I have to deal with humans, the better."

The drive to Alana's home did not take as long as Zanna expected, especially considering she was used to arriving in places almost instantaneously. She actually found the trip rather interesting, seeing the human world in a way she had never experienced before. The tall metal buildings and the harsh exteriors held a beauty to them in their angles and order that she had never realized before. While she could never give up the open airiness of the magical realm, viewing this realm as a human gave her some insight into humans and their nature. Alana pulled into the parking lot of a very tall and nice-looking apartment building. She turned off her car and Zanna could see that she was once again trembling.

"What are you going to do to me and my mother?" She spoke so quietly that a mere human would have had a hard time hearing her.

"I am going to gather information. The more I hear about how little you know, the less inclined I am to punish you. I would like to know why you and your mother, who have magical blood, cannot enter our world. It is your birthright. If you cannot enter our world and have not been allowed those privileges of being two-natured, then I cannot punish you for not following our laws." Zanna tried to smile and reassure Alana that she meant her no harm. Judging by the look on her face, it worked.

Zanna had been told before that when she smiled at humans and stared directly into their eyes they believed whatever she said. It came in handy when questioning them before erasing their memories.
Alana took a deep breath and stepped out of the car. Zanna attempted to follow, but forgot to take off the seatbelt and found herself still restrained. To her surprise, Alana giggled, and after a moment, so did Zanna. That shocked her even more. She rarely laughed, let alone giggled like a young girl. Kalan had been right saying that something was up with her tonight; she definitely was not herself.

As Alana took the lead, she said, "My mom's going to freak out that an elf is coming to our home. She always talks about how strong, powerful, and beautiful elves are. She's going to be so pleased, but mad that I didn't call to warn her that you were coming."

"I told you I mean no harm to your mother. There is no need to warn her."

"No, you misunderstand. She's going to wish she had time to clean and dress nicely for you. To make our home and herself more presentable to you," Alana explained.

Zanna was about to answer that this would not be necessary, but they had just walked inside the apartment building and a young man in the lobby, apparently leaving, walked right toward them. Alana and Zanna both stopped talking, not wanting to be overheard. Zanna also noticed that Alana's posture stiffened, and she could smell a little fear coming off her once more. She could tell that, this time, she was not the one causing the reaction. Zanna glanced and saw that Alana was blushing and peering shyly at the young man coming their way.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Three Things I Learned While Writing Her Heart's Surrender

History is one of my passions. I love “going” back in time to discover what our ancestors were like and how they functioned, which shows how much we've changed as a society. Here are a couple of things I learned while writing this book.

1) I had to bend the rules a little to make the story work.

When the Vikings invaded the UK, they settled around the Orkney Islands, in Ireland, England, and Scotland. Among a lot of other places too, but the part of Scotland where I wanted my Vikings doesn't appear to have actually had many, if any. So I pushed them farther north with the Saxons and set up a kingship for them. One of the bad guys in the story, Ingvar the White Raven, became king of the area and snuffed out his Saxon neighbors. I fandangled the names of the native people a bit, giving them a little Old English and Scottish flair.

2) I had no idea the Viking reach was so far out into the world.

You think Vikings, you think Sweden, Denmark, you know, cold places. You can easily figure in the UK, although I had no idea Normandy referred to 'northmen' which is, of course, the Vikings. While doing research, I was astounded to learn than the Vikings had a huge influence on Russia, which I mention the hero, Hella, has visited, and even Byzantine. The Vikings set their longships to sail from Greece to Turkey and even into Africa. Amazing!

3) By the 11th century, they'd discovered North America.

This doesn't factor into Her Heart's Surrender, but I found it incredibly amazing. There are all kinds of hoaxes suggesting Europeans made it to the New World much sooner than we can historically prove, but the Vikings actually made it to North America and would have colonized but for the aggressive Native Americans they encountered. That's saying something, because we're all well-aware of how mighty the Vikings were, but it was unlikely they were willing to send great armies to foreign shores just to colonize there. Too impractical, although their discovery of the Canadian coastline was.

BLURB:
Taken from her village as a child, Ealasaid has lived under the iron rule of a Viking king for far too long. The only good to come out of her life is her son. As long as the king lives, their freedom and hope for the future seems dismal. Despite her contempt for the king and his bloodline, she's drawn to Hella Ingvasson, the man who kidnapped her, and the plight he faces when the king dies.

His father's final demand is that Hella must wed if he's to claim the throne. What better revenge than to marry the thrall his father hated most? Despite her fears Hella will become like his father, Ealasaid agrees to marry for her son’s sake, but she quickly learns her husband’s battle scarred body provides more pleasure than nightmares.

Word comes that her brothers also survived the raid and have assembled an army. They march toward a Norse settlement with the intention of revenge. Unless she can reach her brothers and convince them not to slaughter the man and people she's come to love, Hella may become another bloody stain on history's tapestry.

Excerpt:
“You seem troubled, Hella.” His name rolled from her lips smooth as wind through the oaks. “Shall I send for Erik or Bjorn? Company might soothe your nerves.”
Erik would have to be informed of Ingvar's plan should Hella fail to marry, but he didn't want to share it yet. “They'll suggest we drink ourselves blind and let the problem wait for tomorrow. There are not enough tomorrows to prevent my trouble.”
Her lips puckered, a clear sign she wanted to ask, but there were limits to her curiosity.
There wasn't any harm in telling her. Everyone would learn his plight soon enough. “It's about my father's last wish.”
“Ingvar speaks from beyond the death veil.” She quirked an eyebrow. “What does the old king require you to do? Will you unite Northumbria to conquer Byzantium or Spain?”
“No, it's much more difficult.” He tore the end off the bread and ripped it into little bits. “I must take a wife or lose Solstad.”
Ealasaid stared, then burst into laughter.
“I'm pleased my troubles amuse you.” He smashed his hand on top of the crumbs. “Explain how my misfortune is a cause for laughter.”
She wiped tears from her eyes. “You've fought battles others would run from. You grew up in the White Raven's shadow. You take what you want and leave nothing behind. I find it difficult to see how marriage is a horror you cannot face.”
“Indeed, my sorrows are reason for mirth.” He shoveled scalding soup into his mouth and swallowed. She wouldn't have dared talk to his father this way, but Ealasaid had never held her tongue around him. “Be gone. Instruct another thrall to bring the rest of my courses.”
“You must have dozens of conquests. Surely one would make a suitable wife for the new king of Solstad.” She twirled a pale strand of hair around her finger. “Inga the butcher's daughter? She's fair of face and quick to laugh. Or Giera. The daughter of some jarl or the other north of here.”
“You're not helping. Go on, leave.”
“As you wish, m'lord.” She curtsied then turned for the door. “May the gods resolve your inheritance issues and favor you with a mighty queen and a hundred strong Viking babies born with clubs in their hands.”
About the author, Allison Merritt:
A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she's not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.
Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that's gathering dust after it was determined that she's better at writing fluff than hard news.
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