#NewRelease – THE HEIR TO ALEXANDRIA by Susan Leigh Noble

Release day is finally here! Now available only on Amazon for just $2.99 is my latest novel The Heir to Alexandria.

Book Blurb

HeirAlexandria_ebookcoverBelieved the descendants of the Gods themselves,

The Alexandria line ensured peace,

Until they were brutally murdered.

But rumor spread a maid escaped with the youngest daughter.

Now as the world rushes toward a period of unrest, the nations’ Kings continue their 200-year-long-search for the Heir to Alexandria – the one person who can bring peace and stability through divine power.

Alista has her own search – for the parents who abandoned her as a baby years ago. When her only lead proves to be a dead end, she heads to the capital with a reluctant escort. Grayson is just following his aunt’s order, but he would rather be on one of his solitary scouting missions for the Landra Guard. However, when Alista unintentionally curses a guard in front of the King’s court, everything changes for both of them.

Now forced to travel to Covington for testing, danger lurks at every turn as a secret society strives to prevent the return of the Alexandria line. Are Alista’s visions of the future enough to save herself and those traveling with her?

Excerpt – Chapter One

The rough hand pressed down over her mouth. Alista’s eyes flew open. With the moonlight behind the large figure, she couldn’t make out any details of the man hunched above her. But his foul breath washed over her making her stomach flop. He rolled her onto her back, pinning one arm to the ground.

The vision hit as Alista struggled to reach her knife hidden under her bedroll. She saw the man’s sinister smile as he attacked a woman. The images of his past came fast. She felt the fear of his victims, the pain he bestowed on them and his pleasure at his actions. Her stomach turned. A wave of nausea swept over her as the vision ended.

The man climbed on top of her, pinning her to the ground. He moved his hand away from her mouth, caressing her jaw with his coarse fingers. Alista heard movement in the camp, but the man didn’t turn. The sound of someone rifling through her bag reached her as her fingers found the cool handle of her dagger.

A scream pierced the cool night air.

The man on top of her twisted around to look behind him. Alista took the moment of distraction to pull out the knife. She jabbed it forward, sinking it into the man’s belly. He turned to face her, a gasp escaping his lips. Shaking, Alista wiggled out from under him. The man clutched at the blood gushing from his stomach. Her own stomach lurched at what she had done. She scooted away as the man staggered to his feet.

She tore her eyes from him to the large wolf standing on the other side of the dying fire. Its jaws were still clenched on the throat of a second intruder. The wolf’s yellow eyes briefly met hers and then flickered to the man beside her. The wolf released its hold on the dead man’s neck. It leapt toward the wounded man, knocking him to the ground.

Crack!

Alista gasped as she heard the wood break. The man pushed at the wolf as the beast sunk its teeth into his neck. She barely heard the gurgling sound as she reached forward and pulled the broken basket from beneath him. She cradled it in her arms. Tears streamed down her face. What once had been a beautiful, handcrafted basket was now nothing but a heap of wood fragments.

She looked up to see the wolf watching her. In the moonlight, she could see the two lifeless bodies. An image from her vision flashed before her eyes, and she knew she was lucky to be alive. The men had no intention of only robbing her camp. She shuddered. The wolf had saved her again.

“Thank you,” she murmured as the wolf disappeared into the forest.

She sat the basket down and reached for her bedroll. She began to roll it. There was no way she could stay here tonight. Quickly, she put away her supplies that had been dumped on the ground. She glanced at the body lying next to them. She couldn’t bring herself to look at his torn throat. She kicked dirt onto the dying fire until the flames disappeared. In the moonlight, she surveyed the camp one more time before hefting the pack onto her back. With one last glance at the bodies, she began walking.

In the back of her mind, she could hear Raynor warning her that traveling at night was never a good idea. It wasn’t because she couldn’t see the roots and rocks on the trail. It was the Night Stalkers. Alista shuddered. She was fortunate to never have seen one. But she couldn’t forget Raynor’s brush with the huge bug-like creatures. He told the story many times.

Raynor had been foolish enough to be traveling at night, believing the extraordinary clear evening with its bright moonlight would keep the Night Stalkers away. He had not seen the two black creatures until they were almost upon him. Their heads would have come up to the middle of his chest if he had stopped to allow one near him. As it was, he ran as soon as he saw them but with their long, thin legs, the Night Stalkers covered the ground quickly. He swore he felt one of them touch his back as he ran into the meadow. At the top of the hill, he had thought he had lost them but one of them sprang through the air. He barely escaped.

Fire was the only thing the Night Stalkers feared. Alista recalled hanging on Raynor’s every word as he described running toward the forest. He fumbled for his fire rod in his waist pouch. When he entered the woods, he paused to throw down the special mix of fire starter he carried. Scraping his knife across the fire rod, he ignited a branch. He used his torch to drive the Night Stalkers back. Even now, she felt the knot in the pit of her stomach at his narrow escape.

Her mind was so preoccupied by the thought of Night Stalkers that she was to the middle of the meadow before she saw the tiny winged figures. She stopped, her mouth dropping open. She hadn’t believed fairies existed.

Daintily, the small-winged men and women danced around in a circle. The women wore flower petals as dresses and swung little lanterns as their wings beat softly. Some men played pipes or harps while others clapped in time to the music. Then one of the fairies saw her and motioned her forward.

Without a thought, Alista obeyed. The fairies surrounded her. She knelt in the soft grass as the fairies began their dance again. They circled around her. In turn, they bowed or curtsied. She nodded to each. Her eyes grew heavy. She wiggled the pack off her back. Using it for a pillow, she laid down. The fairies continued to dance around her, their music lulling her to sleep.

Click here to buy and read the rest…

Today’s Featured Author: A. Wrighton

Today I am pleased to welcome fellow fantasy author A. Wrighton to my blog.

Interview

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I’m one of those weirdos who is from Los Angeles and then stays there to live and work in Los Angeles. Side note, I have visited/lived in 43 states so I have left my sunny sandbox but, I am an oddity. I currently live along the Los Angeles/Ventura County border lurking closer to the marine layer and beaches.

Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

I do write full time, but I also have a day job. I guess that means I work two full time jobs… which probably explains why I don’t really sleep. My day job entails the entertainment industry, agents, and casting directors – it’s 100 miles a minute and non-stop creative & challenging fun. Every moment I have a break at work (lunch) or at home (single mom) I am writing. I write in the car with Bluetooth audio notes. I scribble scenes and dialogue in notebooks and napkins. I just don’t stop. I’m sure when I’m older it will catch up to me but until then I’ll keep on trucking.

How do you conceive your plot ideas?

Random sparks. Random thoughts. I see a little girl stare into space too long and I imagine what she’s looking at. I think of a sneezing attack and I wonder what might really be the cause. I read, I watch documentaries, and I just enjoy life. There are endless possibilities and if I just relax, they’ll hit me. I may not start writing them all into full concepts just yet, but I keep a file of story sparks (ideas) and anything I’ve thought of in relation to them.

Please tell us about your current release.

My current release is the first book in a genre-bending fantasy series called Dragonics & Runics – Defiance. It introduces the story of a resistance movement composed of dragon riders determined to unleash a prophecy to dethrone a tyrannical dictator that has done the unthinkable – a magic genocide. Defiance gets the ball rolling and introduces the key players on both sides of the battle – Council and Resistance. It also gives hope and inspiration that nothing is as it seems and that sometimes the definitive line between good and evil is actually quite blurred. Defiance also introduces my style of writing where I genre-bend (or blend) and push the boundaries of traditional genre fiction.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

Yes, historical personas and some real life people I have encountered or learned about in passing. I think that many of my readers know who is who historically in my novels as some are obvious (tyrannical genocide-hungry dictator ring a bell?) while others are quite intricate and delicately woven together so that who they might be isn’t revealed until much later on in the series.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

My two favorite characters haven’t actually appeared in the series yet so I can’t really say much about them. I always find it fascinating how different readers have different favorites. As for disliking? Hell yes. Out of all the baddies, I can’t stand Lady Diesden the most… which makes her quite fun to write.

 If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

The next book is set to be released late this summer and is called Allegiance: Dragonics & Runics Part II. This book continues where the first left off and rejoins the Rogue Dragonics and their Resistance movement to find the Five Catalysts and The One destined to save their realm with the prophecy. We get to meet a few new people and learn a little bit more about what happened politically and emotionally in the Soleran Realm for things to get as bad as they have been. And…happily, we get more insight into our Rogues and meet one of the strongest females in fantasy fiction (though I am biased).

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

From Defiance: Dragonics & Runics Part I, I’d prefer to be Princess Chloe since she gets the best of everything. She’s a tomboy, a princess, a ruler, and a friend of dragon riders who’ll do anything for her. Hello? Free dragon rides! That, and she has one hell of a personality on her and her dresses are beautiful too.

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

Green grapes, ice water, dried cranberries, yogurt, granola & Café du Monde French Roast coffee with hazelnut and vanilla. Oh, and sometimes I like to make Elvis Crackers (graham crackers, peanut butter, chocolate chips, and banana).

Do you have an all time favorite book?

Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass is an absolute favorite of mine. I love the written material, the poetry, the movies, everything. And man, did Tim Burton nail it. I could fall asleep to that rendition over and over and over… you get the idea.

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

Jane Austen because she is a quintessential chic lit author and because she had this amazing way of creating and revealing characters. Man, to pick her brain for five minutes would be divine. The other author I’d like to meet would be Hemingway – sober. Okay, so that might come off as a cheap shot but he was a genius sober – writing. He was a creative crazy while drunk and depressed. To sit and have coffee with Hemingway in Spain would be a creative moment to remember for a lifetime. And, who knows, maybe I could convince him not to shoot himself… write more, ya know?

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I have severe dyslexia. I got through high school by memorizing the text parts I would have to read out loud in class (having a photographic memory definitely helped). I took AP courses by the boatload and none of my teachers ever realized I was severely dyslexic – not even my English or Creative Writing teachers – until I took AP Calculus. Luckily, my calculus teacher worked with me so I’d not only pass but that I wouldn’t be flagged with a learning disorder. When I went to high school, if you were recorded as having a learning disorder, you couldn’t do extra curricular (I did theatre) and you couldn’t take as many AP classes as I wanted. If it hadn’t been for that teacher working with me through lunches and breaks, I wouldn’t have been able to jump into college the way I did. And no, none of my college professors – history, politics, linguistics, science, or writing – ever realized I was dyslexic. So yeah, thanks Mr. Mansfield. You are amazing and I owe you… about a billion solved equations.

Book Description

DefianceRule #1: Stay the Udlast away from the Dragons.

Rule #2: Defy the Council or die trying.

WHERE DOES IT END?

Over a generation ago, the Council ordered the systematic extermination of the magic wielding, Runic Race. In the face of the damning orders, a few Dragonics refused to participate and instead demanded justice. But their call to defiance came too late – no Runics survived. Now, those against the Council’s oppressive reign have long since been outcast to the fringes of society – their numbers and determination dwindling.

Alaister Paine, Commander of the Rogue Dragonics, leads the Resistance with little hope of success, until he deciphers one of his predecessor’s logs. Within the cryptic text, Alaister reveals that one Runic – a girl of untold power – was hidden from the Council’s grasp. Find the girl, and the Rogues will finally be able to enact a long lost Prophecy to bring freedom back to Solera.

Trouble is… they are not the only ones searching for the last Soleran Runic.

Check out the book trailer for Defiance AND also for the upcoming Allegiance.

About the Author

A WrightonA. Wrighton has been imagining flights of wild fancy since before she could figure out how to tie her shoes. Her love of writing, creating, and imagination has led her through a life full of flights of fancy and amazing adventures. A. Wrighton’s literary efforts were first noticed in grade school and again in college where she was held at grade point and commanded to switch majors and write. Since that fateful day in autumn, she has followed her creativity’s calling and went forward to earn honors in a BA in English as well as honors in a MFA in Creative Writing.

A. Wrighton writes sci-fi/fantasy (her passion), historical fiction, character-driven fiction, romance, and suspense. She also writes feature screenplays, TV spec scripts, and the occasional short film. Her literary influences include: Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Anne McCaffrey, Simon Winchester, T.A. Barron, & Agatha Christie. In her spare time, A. Wrighton mentors fellow writers – local and online – and hosts a developmental editing service.

A. Wrighton resides somewhere in the beautiful Ventura County and loves her native city of Los Angeles. She lives with her amazing family and two dogs and often finds herself writing in little neighborhood joints – a cup of coffee or tea at her side.

You can find out more about A. Wrighton on her website or on Dragonics & Runics Series website.

You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase Defiance: Dragonics & Runics Part 1 on Amazon.