Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Circle of Tivedon by Ryan Shorten: Tens List and Excerpt: Book Babes Blog Tour


Ryan Shorten was born in the early 1970's and grew up in Southern Ontario Canada. From a young age he was introduced to the world of Fantasy Fiction by the likes of Tolkien, Pratchett, Brooks, and Salvatore.

His love of reading turned into a passion for writing shortly after finishing his post secondary education at Ryerson University in Toronto. While studying Media Arts at Ryerson, his visual imagination was further developed through the use of film, video and digital imaging.

His recently published first full length novel 'The Circle of Tivedon' is Book One of a planned trilogy.

Author Links:

Attending Tivedon should have been the most exciting time in Jayl's young life. However, when inexplicable things begin to darken the hallowed halls of of the school and he's accused of murder, Jayl finds himself thrust into a quest to save himself, his home, and ultimately all of Tiertyn itself.

This book is Clean.


The next morning Jayl rushed through breakfast and practically forced Heret and the others into their woolen cloaks. Every one of the students had signed up for the trip to the city, and the dining hall had been buzzing with excitement. Trips into the city were a rare luxury for the students. The break from their studies, even if for a day, was enough to have all of them jabbering at each other as they hustled through the courtyard. Even the normally reticent Terra seemed excited as the students waited for their escort at the castle’s main gate. It was another beautiful fall day. The sky was clear and the air crisp and cool.
The instructions and rules had been brief, but clear. Everyone was to meet at the gate at the eleventh morning bell. An escort would then take the group to the center of the city, Tivedon Square. From there the students would be allowed to explore the city for the afternoon. They were to meet back in the square no later than the fourth afternoon bell, and all students were to wear their Sigils at all times, and use them as identification. Lastly, under no circumstance was any students to be left on his or her own; groups of three or more were strongly recommended.
Their escort turned out to be Toamus, the castle guard Myah and Jayl had met when they first arrived at Tivedon. Jayl was pleased that Toamus had drawn escort duty. He had gotten to know the guard a little during his many walkabouts around the castle. He had been a guard at Tivedon for the past seven years with the last two at the post of Captain. Previously, he had been the Captain of the elite personal guard for none other than the Prince of Ellesmare. Why he left that esteemed post, however, was left unanswered, even when Jayl asked about it on a couple of occasions. Toamus, nonetheless, was more than amicable in every other topic of discussion. His harrowing tales of battles and brawls when he was an infantryman in the service of King Horold of Ellesmare, kept Jayl on the edge of his seat. Even when Jayl was pretty sure some of the stories were more than just a tad exaggerated.
It took nearly a bell for the students to wind their way down to the massive fountain that marked the center of the city. Before Toamus could issue one more gruff warning about staying out of trouble, the students melted away into the bubbling busyness of Tivedon. Jayl, Heret, Calum, Rishi and Myah decided to visit the Merchant’s Bazaar, an infamous market that brought in traders from all over Tiertyn.
“Look at that place!” Heret exclaimed, pointing to a queer tent that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. Jayl couldn’t be certain, but he would have sworn that it hadn’t been there a moment before. “The sign says ‘Mystical Malformations,’” Heret continued. “We’ve got to go there!”
“You guys can go there, but I’m going to get my lunch!” Calum said, nodding at Rishi, who put a hand on his own stomach in agreement.
Jayl rolled his eyes — were these two ever not hungry? — and looked questioningly at Calum. “But Cal, Toamus said we shouldn’t split up.”
“We’ll catch up just as soon as we grab some food,” he said, looking over at Myah. “Care to join us?”
Myah glanced at the tent and then back to Jayl. She shrugged and motioned for Calum to lead on.
Jayl began to protest but Myah silenced him with a quick squeeze of her hand before turning and heading off down the lane, leaving Jayl and Heret on their own.
The curious-looking tent held to its name. From the outside the canvas was painted a multitude of colors that called to mind a patchwork rather than any particular design. While it was only about eight feet wide, it more than made up for that in height. Jayl had to crane his neck to see the little flag that flew from the top of the pointed roof.
The outside was odd enough, but the inside was altogether abnormal. From the instant he and Heret entered, Jayl felt that he was suddenly miles from the Merchants Bazaar. The tent’s interior was strangely spacious —Jayl was sure it was at least a few feet wider on both sides than what it seemed like from the outside. But that wasn’t possible, was it, he thought, giving his head a small shake. It must have been his imagination, or perhaps a trick of the eye due to the collection of oddities that covered almost every square inch of the room. A strong smell of burning spices coming from what looked to be a small brazier in the center of the room filled his nostrils and temporarily blinded his eyes.
Jayl walked over to a bookcase that seemed to be leaning too far over to actually remain right side up, while Heret examined a large glass tank filled with murky water. Big bubbles floated up from the bottom in a zigzag pattern and burst on the surface. The tilted bookcase was filled with old, worn and discolored books and pieces of parchment covered in a language Jayl had never seen.
“You’ll need a Werzig Third Eye if you want to read any of those, my young friend.” An old scratchy voice startled both of the boys.
“W-what…?” Jayl asked, spinning around and swallowing his heart, which had lodged itself in the upper regions of his throat.
Standing between Heret and Jayl was a creature straight out of a children’s tale. Barely five feet tall, the man — at least Jayl thought it was a man — had bushy grey eyebrows that overshadowed a small, wizened sun-baked face. A tiny nose that barely provided a proper perch for half-moon spectacles poked out above a wisp of a mouth that seemed to constantly twitch. This motion made quite the amusing seesaw dance of his white mustache. He wore a deep black velvet robe that touched the floor and trailed behind him. It was cinched at the waist with a soft brown belt. A single silver medallion hung from a chain around his neck.
 “A Werzig Third Eye, of course,” the little man-creature replied, leaving Jayl with the impression that the nature of this strange object should be as plain as the nose on his face.
“Oh, okay,” Jayl replied with a skeptical look in Heret’s direction.
Shuffling towards Jayl, the small man stopped short and shook his head. “But where are my manners! I don’t get many visitors anymore. I am Mervish Moonsle. Welcome to my humble shop.”
“It’s a pleasure,” Heret replied as he leaned forward and practically pressed his face against the tank, which was bubbling much faster now. “By the way, what’s in here?” he asked, tapping his fingers against the glass.
“So where were we? Oh yes, the Third Eye. Here try this,” he said, ignoring Heret as he rummaged in a fold of his robe. After a moment he produced a small monocle dangling from a gold chain and extended to Jayl.
“Uh, thanks,” Jayl replied, taking the monocle and trying hard not to notice Mervish’s hand.
The man’s fingers were almost as long as Jayl’s whole hand and his nails were a strange, deep bluish color. Jayl had never seen anything like it. He quickly looked away, then lifted the monocle to his right eye. Almost immediately, his view through the glass piece began to swirl and twist, making his head jerk back instinctively. Before he could experience whatever was going to happen next, a splash, followed quickly by a choking sound, came from Heret’s direction. Jayl tore his eye away from the monocle and looked over to see a thick brackish green vine emerging from the tank and wrapping itself around the neck of a wide-eyed Heret.
“Heret!” Jayl ran to his friend and began pulling on the vine. “Don’t worry, I’ll get this off you.”
“T-th-anks,” Heret gurgled, now turning a light shade of blue.
“You won’t get it off that easy,” Mervish replied. “That’s a whele whelp. Here, let me.”
Mervish wobbled over to the side of the tank and stepped up onto a short stool. He rummaged in his robe again, and this time produced a small blue bottle with a wooden stopper. He quickly pulled out the cork and dribbled a few drops of a yellow viscous liquid into the tank. Almost immediately the vine unwrapped itself and disappeared below the surface. Heret doubled over, clutching his throat and gasping for air.
“I’m so sorry, I should have warned you. Whele whelps aren’t much for company.”
“You don’t say!” Heret said breathing deeply. He straightened up and rolled his eyes. “I thought we were getting along fabulously.”
“Maybe we should go,” Jayl said quietly.
“Go? Oh no, you can’t go yet. We’ve got so much to talk about,” Mervish said.
“We do?” Heret and Jayl spoke in unison.
“But of course. You two are from Tivedon, aren’t you?”
Heret and Jayl stole a quick, surprised look at each other.
“Uh…maybe?” Jayl stammered, remembering Toamus’s many warnings. He had no idea what to say, or whether it was safe to trust this man with any information at all, let alone where they lived and studied.
Mervish looked back and forth between the boys, a small smile temporarily stilling his ever-twitching mouth. “No need to fret. All will be explained in good time. Now, may I have a look at your Sigils please?”
“I…I don’t know.” Although he didn’t feel at all threatened by the little man, he was still completely unsure of who he was, or what he might want.
“Here,” Heret said with a shrug. He rooted around in his tunic and pulled out the leather cord that held his Sigil. “But try anything funny, or if I see a glimpse of that ‘hooly whelp’ thing again, and…”
Mervish huffed and waddled closer to Heret, peering up at the silver medallion that hung down from Heret’s outstretched hand. Like Jayl’s Sigil, Heret’s had Tivedon’s twin towers on one side, but on the other side was a seascape with great waves crashing against the side of a cliff.
“Mmm…hmmm, yes, I see. Quite a good one for you, I think. How about yours?” He turned to Jayl.
Jayl reached into his tunic and pulled out his own Sigil. Even though the lighting was dim inside the tent, the reflection off the silvery surface was intense.
“Ah! The mind’s eye, is it?” Mervish said after a brief pause. “Yes, yes. Great things, great things!” His voice trailed off as he shuffled over to the brazier and dumped in a clump of dried herbs and flowers from a small pot resting beside it. The flames flared up, sending a puff of purple smoke toward the ceiling. The smell made Jayl’s nose wrinkle involuntarily.
“So, I imagine they’ve told you then, have they?” Mervish asked. He plopped himself down in a low overstuffed chair beside the brazier.
“Told us what? And who?” Jayl replied, still cautious.
“Who, who?  Who do you think?  Wytund, of course. Or perhaps Halwenth?  Is Salvren still around?  Yes, I guess he probably is, isn’t he?” Mervish rambled on, mostly to himself. “They’ve told you about your Sigils, haven’t they?” He spoke as if the very idea couldn’t possibly be untrue.
“No, they haven’t,” Jayl replied, looking over at Heret. His friend appeared just as dumbfounded as Jayl felt.
“So much to talk about then, yes? I never did agree with their line of thinking, did I?  No, no. Not Mervish Moonsle, that’s for sure—”
“Look,” Heret broke in, “are you going to tell us something useful about these things or not?”
“Well, my impatient friend, that thing you hold in your hand is a Sigil of Tivedon. And from what I can tell, you have no idea how powerful it can be. I’ve seen Sigils that turn their wearers invisible when commanded. Or others that temporarily give their masters the strength of twenty men. Or ones”—he paused, glancing briefly towards Jayl—“that allow control over other’s minds.”
“So how does it work?” Heret asked eagerly, as both he and Jayl moved closer to the strange little man.
“Hmm…yes, how do they work? An interesting question with an answer that is not the same twice,” he said, twitching his moustache. “Mind you, before any Sigil can yield to its bearer’s desire, it must be set free.”
“Set free?” Jayl moved closer to the brazier. “What do you mean, set free?”
“Just that. Set free, but not by you. No, no, you haven’t a thimble enough of the power that requires …but I know someone who does.”
“WHO?” Heret nearly shouted.
“That, my young friends, will cost you,” Mervish said with a grin.
A loud whooshing sound emerged from the brazier, and the little flames flared higher, turning from a soft orange and gold to an angry red with streaks of blue and green. Jayl heard a distant rumbling that got increasingly louder, and began to shake and billow the walls of the tent. Mervish seemed as startled as Heret and Jayl. They all ducked and dodged as items began to roll off shelves and fall out of baskets hanging from the ceiling. Heret and Jayl made a dash for the entrance.
“But wait! I didn’t…,” Mervish cried from behind, stopping both of them in their tracks. Jayl turned, feeling decidedly un-heroic. He hadn’t even bothered to help the old man, who must be faring worse than him. But oddly enough, Jayl saw that Mervish hadn’t been calling out to them at all. The little man’s back was partially turned, and he seemed to be looking at something just above the brazier. The air in the tent seemed to shiver and Mervish twitched and cowered as if being scolded, though Jayl couldn’t hear any voice or sound other than the rumbling.
“What is he doing?” Jayl mumbled to himself, but his thoughts were cut short as Heret pulled him forcefully through the flaps of the tent. Together, they came crashing down onto the hard-packed, dirt laneway outside.
“Heret…we have to…he was…” Jayl spluttered, his head swimming from the unceremonious landing.
“There you are! Where have you been? Were you two in there the whole time?” Myah seemed to be talking way too fast for Jayl. He made an effort to clear his head as he and Heret picked themselves up off the ground. “What were you doing in there?” Myah’s voice contained an air of concern.
“Myah, you have to see him!” Jayl said, once his eyes could focus again.
“See who?”
“In there?”
“Yes…why are you looking at me that way?”
“Uh, Jayl?” Heret softly tapped him on the shoulder. “I think you’d better turn around.”
Still confused, Jayl slowly turned. The garish little tent he had fallen out of only moments before was gone, and another structure now stood in its place.
“Imryaahl’s Ghost!” Jayl said, bewildered. “Where’s the…what the…is that a bathroom…?”
What had once been Mervish’s Mystical Malformations was now unmistakably a simple public toilet — a dirty white tent that stretched over a wobbly wooden frame with makeshift “Lords” and “Ladies” sign plates hanging above the respective openings.
“That’s impossible…,” Jayl remarked again. He looked over at Heret, who seemed only slightly less confused. “Heret, you were there, right? I mean, that was real…Mervish, the water tank with that vine that choked you…the burning flowers…”
“Yes Jayl, it was real. Believe me, my friend, staring at this privy I’m wishing it wasn’t, but yes, it was most definitely real. That is, unless we both just had the exact same hallucination.”
“Choking vines? Burning flowers? Would someone please tell me I’m not the crazy one here?” Myah said.
“I think perhaps we should move along,” Heret said, lowering his voice. “We’re starting to attract a crowd.” He motioned over his shoulder.
Sure enough, a handful of people had stopped and were now listening to their conversation. The most noticeable was a tall, slender man whose sharp facial features poked out of the cowl of his dark traveling cloak. The man turned and Jayl saw that he wore a bronze breastplate beneath. His nose was pierced with a small silver ring and his dark eyes had a penetrating menace. The dark man sneered briefly before turning and moving on. Jayl noticed all his teeth were sharpened to points.
“Come on, I need a drink. I’ll even buy!” Heret said as he moved between his two friends and guided them down the market lane. 


10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Circle of Tivedon
by Ryan Shorten

1.      This novel was a true ‘labor of love’ in that it took over 10 years to write.

2.      After comments from an Editor, some of the original character’s names were changed (new name/old name: Myah/Sylle, Terra/Tuleve, Rishi/Xitath, Kreven/Zelkiv, Brone/Chalak, Calum/Cereth)

3.      The very first draft was over 125,000 words. Final edit is just over 78,000 words.

4.      In the first draft, all major characters had their own introductory chapter. After editing, only the two of the main characters are introduced (together) in their own chapter.

5.      Before writing a single word of the book, the map of Tiertyn was drawn first.

6.      The cover art of the book was done by an artist in the United Kingdom.

7.      The city of ‘Brant-Fiord’ in the book was named after ‘Brantford’ which is the birthplace of the author.

8.      A good portion of the book was written in airport terminals and hotel rooms. (The author travelled quite extensively for work during the writing.)

9.      The strong female characters in the book are inspired from the author’s own family. Namely his mother and wife.

10.  Somewhat modeled after the ‘Lord of the Rings’, the story of ‘The Circle of Tivedon’ will be set over three books (no, it won’t take 20 years to write the next two J).


Tour Sign-Ups: The Circle of Tivedon by Ryan Shorten

January 7 - Love. Pray. Read. *Excerpt, author spotlight

               - I am a Reader, Not a Writer *Guest Post and International Kindle giveaway

January 8 - Fangirl Hostess *Excerpt

January 9 - Megz Madd Readz *Review

January 11 - Book-A-Holic *Review, Paperback US/CAN giveaway and excerpt

January 12 - Fangirl Hostess *Review and Kindle International giveaway

                - Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews *Top Ten and excerpt

January 14 - Bookwyrming Thoughts *Excerpt

                - Sher A. Hart: Writing as Art *Interview and International kindle giveaway

January 15 - YA Reviews and News *Review

January 16 - Mom with a Kindle *Interview, International Kindle giveaway and excerpt

January 17 - tHe crooKed worD *Review

January 18 - N/A

January 19 - Howling Turtle *Guest Post

January 21 - Forget About TV, Grab a Book *Review and Giveaway

                - S.A. Larsen * Interview and giveaway

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