#ShareAReviewDay – THE PRINCE’S MAN by Deborah Jay

While Marcia is ensconced in her writing cave, I thought I’d hijack #ShareAReviewDay with the latest review for the opening novel in my Five Kingdoms epic fantasy series, THE PRINCE’S MAN.

I’ve had a tough few weeks (months, really), and this lovely review helped lift my spirits:

REVIEW:
D. W. Peach
5.0 out of 5 stars  Wonderfully written
September 24, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining and skillfully-written fantasy novel. I was particularly taken with the tight narrative, not a wasted scene or conversation, every word counting as the story unfolded. This contributed to a quick pace and complimented the well-considered plot that comes together with a satisfying ending. Though the first in a series, The Prince’s Man can also be read as a stand-alone.

All that good stuff, and then there’s more… the characters are fabulous, deeply flawed and sympathetic at the same time. The relationship between Rustam and Risada takes center stage. There are hints of a romantic attraction but the reader is saved from moon eyes and heaving chests by a very real tension based on past experiences, current loyalties, and objectives. Despite being allies, there’s a lot of loathing going on here. I love that.

Elves, trolls, and were-cats throw the story into the classic fantasy genre and are integral to the plot and underlying theme of the book. The political machinations are realistic enough to be recognizable today. Prejudices, bigotry, genocide, and beliefs in cultural superiority are alive and well in her world-building. The characters are forced to revisit their worldviews, but just like in real life, they will only open their eyes so wide. And Jay doesn’t hold back on the brutality.

I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series and seeing what happens to the two main characters as well as a host of others who intrigued me no end. Recommended for anyone who loves a good fantasy.

Available at most outlets HERE Continue reading

#FREE for the first (and only) time – THE PRINCE’S MAN #Fantasy

While Marcia is clearing up her dead moss monster following Hurricane Dorian’s unwelcome visit, I thought I’d quickly share the news that book #1 in my Five Kingdoms fantasy series, THE PRINCE’S MAN, is part of a FREE boxed set. So, if you’ve hesitated about trying it, you can pick it up now without parting with a cent.

It’s marketed as ‘Dark Fantasy’, but that’s only on the grounds the books contain some violence (sword fights, anyone?) and darker themes. To be fair, I haven’t read the others, so I can’t vouch fully for their content, but this was the second set put together by Patty Jensen, the other set having the criteria of being ‘wholesome and sweet’.

The set is currently sitting pretty in the top 10 free fantasy books on Amazon, but it can always do with a few more downloads – PLEASE SHARE!

You can find it at any of these outlets:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WCDBVDC
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/sorcery-warlocks
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sorcery-warlocks-patty-jansen/1132903657?ean=2940163744749
Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1476156119
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Patty_Jansen_Sorcery_Warlocks?id=XQ6oDwAAQBAJ

Deborah

Find me at:

https://deborahjayauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

Amazon author page: https://viewAuthor.at/DeborahJay

Newsletter sign up and FREE Five Kingdoms short story: https://eepurl.com/bPZcmT

Release day! The Prince’s Protege is available on all channels & The Prince’s Man is on #sale #0.99

A quick announcement that my latest story is out there in the world!

The Prince’s Protégé is available from today in all outlets, at the introductory price of $2.99 – if you enjoyed THE PRINCE’S MAN and THE PRINCE’S SON, you are going to want to read this one!

If you haven’t tried them out yet, what better chance than to pick up #1, The Prince’s Man for $0.99, for the next two weeks only.

When I set out to write The Prince’s Man, I began with the tagline ‘Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’, because those are two of my favourite books/movies.

I’ve always felt a bit sad and frustrated for James Bond, because he is never permitted to develop as a character beyond the super smooth spy with no real life of his own. I wanted to start with a similar character, and allow him to grow and change from his life experiences. Enter Rustam Chalice – ‘ridiculously good looking’ (according to one reviewer), suave ladies-man, accomplished spy, and a vain, shallow man at the start of the story…

Being a first time fantasy author at this point (I’d previously written non-fiction and SF), I freely admit I was quite heavily influenced by Tolkein’s creations, but added my own ideas and slants to create a unique world with a history all its own that shapes the societies of The Five Kingdoms, in which the rest of the series takes place. Today, #3 in the series debuts, but believe me, there are lots more to come…

Find THE PRINCE’S MAN on sale at AMAZON, and a choice of OTHER RETAILERS

Find THE PRINCE’S PROTEGE on special release offer at AMAZON and OTHER RETAILERS

 

#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger, Deborah Jay: how do you write ‘what you know’, when you write fantasy?

Thanks, Marcia, for the opportunity to be featured guest blogger here on The Write Stuff this week. I’m so thrilled this wonderful blog is up and running again after all your trials and tribulations. We missed you!

‘Write what you know’ is one of those rules all authors come across. But when you’re writing a fantasy novel, how can you do that?

With book #3 in my Five Kingdoms fantasy series releasing next week, I thought I’d share a peek into how I chose to incorporate a little of what I know into my imaginary world. You might notice a bit of a theme across my covers…

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One of the draws of writing fantasy is the ability (necessity) to create your own world from scratch, but it’s nevertheless important to have enough similarities with the real world for readers to have an easy frame of reference. If everything is unfamiliar, they have to work too hard at understanding what’s going on to enjoy following the plot, or find empathy with the protagonist and supporting characters.

If I’d wanted, I could have given my characters 6-legged, horned critters to ride, but as a professional horse rider (my day job, lucky me), I decided to give them regular horses. Well, slightly enhanced, almost regular horses!

This enabled me to inject some realism into the world of the Five Kingdoms, with small details of horsemanship and horse behaviour that bring the horses to life as characters in their own right. Here’s a snippet featuring one of my favourites:

* * * * * * *

At this time of day, only one horse stood inside. Fleetfoot, Rustam’s bright bay Shivan stallion, dozed on his feet in the middle of the walkway, disdaining an actual stable. None of the stable lads would dream of trying to coax him into a loose box—he’d shown them how such an attempt would end within half a day of his arrival in the barn. Fortunately, as the season was so warm, the lad in question had dried out quickly after his dunking in the water trough.

Fleetfoot acknowledged Rustam’s arrival with a shake of his neck, his long black mane swishing from side to side. Rustam patted his shoulder. “It’s good to see you resting, my friend. We’ve an important task ahead.”

He ran a hand along the stallion’s muscular crest beneath the heavy fall of mane, marvelling as always at the softness of the horse’s hair. Fleetfoot bent his neck around and blinked at Rustam, who sighed. “I’m guessing the hardest part will be persuading Risada to stay behind. Ouch!”

He leaned against the stallion’s shoulder, pushing hard until the horse lifted the hoof he’d planted on Rustam’s foot. “What was that for?”

Rustam hopped a few steps, before rubbing the top of his abused foot against the back of his other calf. He’d never held any illusions about the weight of the substantial animal even before being trodden on. “That’s going to be one almighty bruise, thank you very much. What did I say to offend you?”

Fleetfoot arched his neck, lowering his head until he matched eyelines with Rustam. His expression revealed both dismay and disapproval. Rustam shook his head. “For someone who can’t utter words, you have an amazing ability to express your opinions. You think Risada should come with us, don’t you?” Fleetfoot bobbed his head down, once, twice.

* * * * * * *

Each of my books features several named horses who have their parts to play in developing the characters of their riders, instead of being just a means of conveyance. I find human/horse (or indeed, any animal) relationships bring out greater personality depths, and in the case of horses are often a means of strengthening and deepening certain traits, such as patience, empathy and humility. Exactly what they do for those of us fortunate enough to work with them in real life.

DO you follow the ‘write what you know’ rule? Please tell me in the comments: it’s always fascinating to hear other writers’ thoughts on the ‘rules’.

If you haven’t read any of my Five Kingdoms novels yet, #1, THE PRINCE’S MAN goes on sale next Friday at $0.99 in all stores, the same day as #3, THE PRINCE’S PROTEGE releases with an introductory price of $2.99

Mar 19 sale

Each book has a stand alone story arc, but they have ongoing threads leading towards a final showdown in book #4.

If you HAVE read books 1 & 2, this is what #3 looks like, and is available now on Amazon pre-order,

launch promo

thumb nailDeborah Jay writes fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she has time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many horses, and her complete inability to cook.
She has a dream day job riding, training and judging competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under her professional name of Debby Lush.

Connect with Deborah elsewhere across the web

BLOG        FACEBOOK         TWITTER           PINTEREST        GOODREADS

AMAZON

If you fancy trying out a FREE Five Kingdoms story, sign up to my mailing list HERE – you can always unsubscribe if it’s not to your taste.

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Other books by Deborah Jay

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#$0.99 #SALE – THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in THE FIVE KINGDOMS #EpicFantasy series

Hi Marcia and all – waves from the UK.

I hope you all had a great Christmas? For me it’s all about joining up with the family and taking time off work without feeling guilty. The best thing is, after Church, my sister-in-law cooks the best ever goose with all the trimmings – a huge blessing as any of you that have read my bio will know that I can’t cook!!!

There was a tinge of sadness this year as this was our first Christmas without my father, who died in July at the grand age of 98, but my mother, at 97, is still with us 😀

I set up a WORLD WIDE SALE for the Christmas period, $0.99 (or the equivalent) for my award-winning first in my epic fantasy Five Kingdoms series, THE PRINCE’S MAN, and as it’s gathering pace, I’ve decided to let it run on into the new year. So until January 4th, if you haven’t already indulged, why not grab a copy at this tiny price?

New Year sale

Available at:      AMAZON       B&N        APPLE      KOBO

Please share!

 

#Win this bundle of #FANTASY books


This is a quick hijack of The Write Stuff for the fantasy readers amongst us…

How would you like to win this fabulous bundle of fantasy books? Oh, and it includes one of mine (The Prince’s Man).

You can enter the competition HERE, and also find free stuff from the authors of these books and more.

Competition runs until April 14th, but why hang around, go, enter now!

Lovely people, please share this competition using the buttons below, or any other way you care to use – the more entries the better!

Release day – THE PRINCE’S SON #EpicFantasy #sale

Yay! THE PRINCE’S SON is out there in the wide world!

Or on the internet, at least…

I would be very grateful if you lovely people would share my news

Today is release day for THE PRINCE’S SON, book #2 in The Five Kingdoms series, though as you’ve probably gathered if you’ve been here a while, I can’t abide cliff hanger endings, so once again this volume contains a complete story along with continuing threads of the series arc.

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Think ‘Lord of the Rings’ with a ‘Game of Thrones’ edge

She sought a husband, but found a destiny

Nessa Haddo has been raised to pursue what every young noblewoman needs: a suitable husband. Unfortunately for her, as a younger twin, her prospects are limited. Things start to look up when she lays eyes on the handsome foreign envoy sent to escort her sister to an arranged marriage, but her romantic fantasies quickly entangle her in events beyond her darkest nightmares.

Compared to his last mission, ex-spy Rustam Chalice’s new assignment sounds simple: wrangle an unwieldy bridal caravan across a mountain range populated by bandits, trolls, werecats, and worse, try to cajole a traumatized princess out of her self-imposed isolation, and arrive on time for the politically sensitive wedding. What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, Lady Risada—the woman who haunts Rustam’s dreams—is struggling to adjust to a normal life. All her carefully honed assassin’s instincts scream warnings of foul play, yet she can find nothing obviously amiss.

And deep in the halls of a mountain clan, an old enemy plucks his victims’ strings with expert malice.

* * * * * *

I’ve shared a few excerpts in the run up to this day, and here is one more short snippet from Chapter 1

Excerpt

Nessa flung the doors open and hurried into the pleasantly appointed sitting room. Enya appeared scant moments later through the connecting door from the servants’ quarters.

Nessa pounced. “Enya, who is the delectable young man with the scar?”

The maid’s pretty round face lit with an impish smile. “That, my lady, is Rustam Chalice.”

“No!” A shiver of excitement ran up Nessa’s spine. “The Rustam Chalice? Really?”

“Yes indeed, my lady.”

Enya bobbed her head in emphasis and several blonde curls slipped from beneath her cap. She reached up, trying to stuff them back in, and Nessa stepped over to help her. The young noblewoman sighed in envy of her maid’s crowning glory. Not that she begrudged the girl her doll-like prettiness or her mop of golden curls, but as ever Nessa wished she had been born with something more striking than her straight brown hair and hazel eyes. While her irises had unusual streaks of light and dark colouring—the only visible difference between her and Julin—people had to inspect them closely to notice.

And surely it would take something special to get a second glance from the infamous Rustam Chalice.

Even Julin appeared mildly interested and asked: “Did he come by that mark in the fire? How sad; he must have been very handsome before.”

So Julin had noticed, but she was wrong—the scar made him all the more attractive. Nessa dragged her attention back to Enya.

“… already had it when he was captured. The way I heard it, it was punishment from the goddess for being vain, although some say it was for daring to use magic.”

Nessa pursed her lips. In her opinion anyone who looked that good had a right to be vain. And as to the other, she found it hard to believe the power responsible for saving their kingdom from the vile pretender might be abhorred by the goddess.

Magic! Ugh.” Julin shuddered. Nessa opened her mouth to point out where they might be now if Rustam Chalice hadn’t used magic when something else struck her.

“But how come he’s here? I thought using magic got him exiled, with his life forfeit if he entered Tyr-en ever again.”

“He’s here under diplomatic protection,” explained Enya, who had obviously quizzed the other servants. “He’s a special envoy for the Kishtanian king.”

“Oh!” exclaimed Nessa as a thrilling notion struck her. “Do you suppose he’ll be travelling back to Kishtan with us?”

* * * * * *

Now for the important bit!

You can buy THE PRINCE’S SON for the next few days at the special introductory price of $2.99/£2.44 at the following stores – just click on your choice of store and it will take you to the appropriate site.

AMAZON          B&N(Nook)       iTunes(Apple)       Kobo           Goodreads

So grab your copy before the price rises, and join Rusty and friends on another high stakes adventure.

For those of you who still like to read a ‘real‘ book, the PAPERBACK (a chunky doorstop of a book) will be out in a couple of weeks time, just in time to be a Christmas present, even if it is to yourself…

And just in case you haven’t yet read volume 1, THE PRINCE’S MAN, and you want to start at the beginning (a very good place to start…) it’s currently on sale at $0.99/£0.99, so what are you waiting for?

Amazon                 B&N                   iTunes            Kobo              Scribd

****PLEASE SHARE****

Thank you!

#ExcerptWeek – THE PRINCE’S SON by Deborah Jay #EpicFantasy

For excerpt week, I’ve decided to share a final sneak peek at book #2 in The Five Kingdoms series before I release it early November – yay!

And here, for the first time anywhere, is the beautiful cover…

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Here’s the blurb:

Nessa Haddo has been raised to seek what every well-bred young lady desires: a suitable husband. Unfortunately, as a younger twin in a land where superstition deems her cursed, that dream seems unattainable. When she sets her sights on the handsome foreign envoy sent to escort her sister to an arranged marriage, Nessa’s romantic fantasies entangle her in events beyond her darkest nightmares.

Compared to his last escapade, ex-spy Rustam Chalice’s commission sounds simple: wrangle an unwieldy bridal caravan across a mountain range populated by bandits, trolls, werecats and worse, try to cajole a traumatized princess out of her self-imposed isolation, and arrive on time for the politically sensitive wedding.

Meanwhile, Rustam’s former covert partner, Lady Risada, finally has what she needs, though not what – or who – she wants. Struggling to adjust to life outside the game, all her carefully honed assassin’s instincts are screaming warnings of foul play, yet she can find nothing obviously amiss.

And deep in the halls of a mountain clan, an old enemy plucks his victim’s strings with expert malice.

Now for the excerpt:

(To put this into context, Risada is heavily pregnant at the time of this incident. Oh, and it’s UK spelling.)

Small tapping sounds drew Risada’s attention back to the stairwell. About two thirds of the way up, the crouched figure was driving something into the wall. Without fully straightening, he moved across to the spindle opposite and wrapped something around it before tugging it taught.

“You promised no one would get hurt!” Bel protested. “If they trip over that they might break their necks!”

“That, my sweet Bel, is the idea.”

Risada’s maid took a step back, and although she faced away from the corner where her employer hid, her horrified comprehension radiated from her stiffened back all the way down to her shaking knees.

“And now, dear Bel, it’s time for your reward.”

Bel turned and fled, straight towards the entrance beside Risada’s hiding place. Risada caught the glint of steel in the assassin’s hand and barely stopping to think, thrust out a foot and tripped the running girl. A hefty dagger whistled through the space where Bel’s torso had been a moment before. Bel squealed and scrabbled along the ground, stumbling to her feet as she vanished around the corner.

Risada peeked around the shoulder of the statue shielding her, and her eyes met those of the man on the stair. He shrugged. “Oh well, this wasn’t how it was supposed to happen, but I suppose it will do as well.”

Lowering her estimation of her opponent’s professionalism for wasting time on speech, Risada slipped her small dagger from its concealed sheath beneath her breast, and assessed the situation. Screaming for help would do nothing. As Bel had stated earlier, the guards were all outside at this time of night, and the bedrooms were towards the back of the house, so too far away for anyone to hear. Bel had vanished, but whether she would raise the alarm was doubtful; she would probably think only of herself. Risada’s sole weapon was her small dagger, and she was hardly in peak physical shape for this sort of work.

On the other hand, as she watched the cocky son-of-a-whore swaggering down the staircase towards her, she realised she still possessed an element of surprise. He clearly had no idea she, like him, was a trained assassin.

“Please,” she added a small quaver to her entreaty. “You don’t have to do this.” Continue reading

#ExcerptWeek – THE PRINCE’S SON by Deborah Jay

Marcia, your wish is my command…..

Here is another excerpt from the book I am currently editing – THE PRINCE’S SON, sequel to THE PRINCE’S MAN.

* * * * * *

Bay Iberian

When Rustam gave a small whistle, the bay stallion ghosted out of the early morning shadows.

Rustam ran a hand along the stallion’s muscular crest, his fingers sliding through the cascade of black mane to the warm sleekness of the silky hair beneath. “I really hate to do this, boy, but you’ll have to stay behind this time.”

A pair of huge, dark eyes regarded Rustam with reproach before Fleetfoot shook his head vigorously, long strands of mane whipping from side to side to slap Rustam sharply across the face. “Ouch! I’m sorry, really I am, but even you can’t climb a goat trail; I need you here, to keep the others safe. They can’t look after themselves the way you can.”

Fleetfoot heaved a large sigh and rubbed his forehead against Rustam’s shoulder. Leaning into the equine embrace, Rustam caught sight of one of the grooms rolling his eyes to the sky. Crazy, that’s what they thought he was. He smiled privately and kept his silence. It wasn’t their fault they couldn’t see the tiny bit of magic flowing between him and the magnificent animal. When the lads talked to their charges they communicated with tone of voice and a few easy words, achieving a level of trust and affection any human might gain with a horse. But for Rustam’s entire life it had been so much more than that. The ease with which, even as a child, he’d been able to catch the naughtiest ponies; the calmness he’d instilled in the wild black mare no one else could handle, and the way that over the years of their service together Nightstalker had always sensed where he was, and when she was needed.

It wasn’t until they journeyed into Shiva that Rustam understood it to be an attribute of his elven blood; he was a Horsemaster in more than mere words. Now, with a Shivan bred steed, that link was even closer.

“You know they think I’m soft in the head for talking to you, don’t you?” Fleetfoot snorted; horsey laughter if ever Rustam had heard it. He slapped the hard-muscled red shoulder. “It’s not funny!” He shook his head, drawing the dark thread of his thoughts back together. “No, nothing about this is funny.”

He stared into the liquid depths of eyes turned wary. “I need you to keep this lot safe, hear me? I don’t know how long we’ll be gone, or if you’ll be secure here. Watch over them, for me, yes?”

Fleetfoot snorted again, head nodding up and down. Rustam draped an arm over the stallion’s withers and bent forward to bury his face in the abundant mane. With his eyes shut, he inhaled the glorious scent of horse, and felt his muscles relax. He was leaving the caravan with the best possible guard he could arrange, in the absence of a small army.

* * * * * *

For those of you who have read THE PRINCE’S MANrsz_pm-ebook_flat_2 never fear, Nightstalker is only absent on maternity leave 😉

CIMG2427And here I am with another hobbit hole 😉

Deborah Jay writes fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many dressage horses, and her complete inability to cook.

Jay’s debut novel, epic fantasy THE PRINCE’S MAN, won a UK Arts Board award, and was an Amazon Hot 100 New Release. Second in the series, THE PRINCE’S SON is due out this summer.

Her Urban fantasy, DESPRITE MEASURES, is the opening novel of the projected five book CALEDONIAN SPRITE SERIES, and the stand alone short story SPRITE NIGHT is also now available.

In 2014 she published the multi-author SFF anthology, THE WORLD AND THE STARS, which features her SF short story PERFECT FIT.

She is also the author of several non-fiction equestrian titles published in her professional name of Debby Lush.

Find out more about Deborah at http://deborahjayauthor.com/ or follow Deborah on twitter, facebook, Pinterest  and Goodreads.

#ExcerptWeek & Blurb – THE PRINCE’S SON by Deborah Jay

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Those of you who follow my blog have already seen this blurb, but for those who haven’t, this is the back cover copy for my soon-to-be released sequel to THE PRINCE’S MAN (epic fantasy).

THE PRINCE’S SON

Nessa Haddo has been raised to pursue what every young noblewoman needs: a suitable husband. Unfortunately for her, as a younger twin, her prospects are limited. Things start to look up when she lays eyes on the handsome foreign envoy sent to escort her sister to an arranged marriage, but her romantic fantasies quickly entangle her in events beyond her darkest nightmares.

Compared to his last mission, ex-spy Rustam Chalice’s new assignment sounds simple: wrangle an unwieldy bridal caravan across a mountain range populated by bandits, trolls, werecats and worse, try to cajole a traumatized princess out of her self-imposed isolation, and arrive on time for the politically sensitive wedding. What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, Lady Risada—the woman who haunts Rustam’s dreams—is struggling to adjust to a normal life. All her carefully honed assassin’s instincts scream warnings of foul play, yet she can find nothing obviously amiss.

And deep in the halls of a mountain clan, an old enemy plucks his victim’s strings with expert malice.

Excerpt

Something moved beyond the picket line.

Nessa froze. Her heart stopped beating, and then thudded so loudly she was certain whoever was there must hear it. Surely it had to be one of their party slipping away to relieve themselves? It could not be either Rustam or Sala unless they had circled around beyond the horses, and why would they?

She stumbled an involuntary step back, gave a little cry as metal dug into her back, then realised she was pressed up against one of the ribs of the wagon.

The shadowy figure stopped, appeared to be sniffing the air.

That made up her mind. No human scented like that. She did not know what it was, but it wasn’t one of them. Continue reading