Monday, March 31, 2014

The Queen's Pawn by R.J. Hore: Interview and Excerpt


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Fantasy4-Queens Pawn photo The-Queens-Pawn.jpgTitle:  The Queen’s Pawn
Author:   R. J. Hore
Published: April 2013
Publisher:  Champagne Book Group
Word Count: 91,000
Genre:  Medieval Fantasy
Recommended Age:  13+


Young Harow just wanted to stay on the farm for the rest of his life, but his mother insisted he go to school in the City to study to be a priest. Now the City is in flames and he is racing across unfamiliar countryside trying to get the mysterious and sensuous Queen Reginee and her extremely annoying and very spoiled daughter Desiree-Rose to safety.

Of course there is a rebel army on their heels, black wizardry afoot, and sundry and dangerous creatures and villains, monstrous and common, seductive and evil, lurking along the way. If this were not enough for the youth to worry about, the Queen’s amorous chambermaid and bodyguard Mathilde, a smallish giantess, just wants to get him alone.


After a brief meeting with Daneld and his lieutenants, Harow, armed with a short bow, and followed by another guardsman so armed and a third carrying two spears, set off into the forest. He followed the downhill slopes, careful to mark the patterns on the trees. Remembering well the woods-lore taught by his grandfather, Harow did not wish to become lost in this unfamiliar place so far from home.

The three followed a gentle ravine until they arrived at a quiet pool of dark water surrounded by high ferns, then waited, silent. After what seemed forever, with Harow wondering if they would have to return to camp empty handed before nightfall, two deer steeped out from beneath the ferns to drink.

He and his companion loosed their shafts and both animals fell. While the guards prepared the deer for carrying, he dug in the damp earth with his sword, filling his back-sack with edible tubers and roots he recognized from his days on the farm. Gathering up their treasures, the three returned to camp and a welcoming chorus from hungry men.

“Do you really expect me to eat dead animals?” Princess Desiree-Rose stamped her foot. “Mother, this is ridiculous.”

“Now, my dear.” The queen exited from their shelter and stood up, somehow able to still appear graceful and regal even though her cloak showed the stains and dirt of travel. “We must be prepared for a little discomfort, considering our circumstances.”

“I absolutely refuse. No bath, no clean clothes, no decent food... and nobody cares.” The princess suddenly burst into tears, and pushing her way through the assembly, dashed off.

The queen motioned for Mathilde to follow after the girl, and smiled wearily at Harow. “You must forgive my daughter, Lord Rickard. When you are young, and used to being kept sheltered and safe, this must all seem very different and terrifying. Desiree-Rose did not sleep very well last night. I’m certain tonight, in the marvelous shelter you have constructed for us, will be a great improvement.”

Harow bowed and backed away to see to the evening meal. Discovering that none of the guardsmen knew anything about carving a carcass, or cooking, he set about to demonstrate how to prepare the deer by skinning and cleaning them, how to construct a fire pit and spit and commence roasting and, after finding a large pot among their baggage, how to clean and peel the tubers and roots for a soup. At last, tired and not a little hungry, he gave instructions to the guards to watch over the meal and stood up slowly, uncramping tired legs. Dried blood covered his hands, dirt stained his face. He glanced at the sky. Still an hour or so of sunlight left. Time for a wee bit of a nap before supper.

A long wailing scream split the forest air. That sound did not come from any human throat.

The queen hurried up, looking distraught. “My lord duke, have you see Desiree-Rose or Mathilde? They have not returned.”

The scream wavered and faded, then grew again in volume and pitch, sending cold shivers dashing with chill fingers along the spines of all who heard the sound. The company scrambled to their feet and stared into the depths of the forest.

Fantasy4-Author Hore photo Ronald-Hore.jpg
Ron can be found sailing on Lake Winnipeg when not writing novels or critiquing for an on-line magazine He won first prize for a Canadian Authors Association short story contest for a ghostly love story, but his preference is for longer works including a recent trio of medieval-style fantasies and the Housetrap Chronicles fantasy detective series through . Supervised by his understanding wife and a large demanding cat, most of his writing efforts continue toward fantasy, with occasional lapses into science fiction and horror.

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Welcome!   Thanks so much for visiting!  I am so excited to learn more about you and your epic fantasy The Queen’s Pawn!! So…Tell us about it.

The Queen’s Pawn is the story of a young scholar, in a burning besieged city, mistaken for a duke and thrust into the responsibility of getting the queen and her obnoxious daughter to safety. Just about everything goes wrong. They travel across country, face strange and terrible creatures, and discover their safe harbor isn’t. I try to keep it light and have a lot of fun torturing the hero by throwing all sorts of women at him, including the queen’s maid and bodyguard, a small giantess who just wants to get him alone. When I finished this novel I wrote down two sentences, one for the theme of each of two future books with these characters, if it ever got that far. I have started working on book two.    

Tell us about your next release.

My next release is Dark Days, the second in my Dark Lady trilogy. It’s written in what I describe as medieval-style fantasy. It follows the story of a princess, orphaned at ten, and the struggle with forces inside and outside the kingdom for the throne. I didn’t start to write a trilogy, but when readers started asking, I decided to give it a try. I hadn’t plotted out what happens next, but I knew the characters well enough so it didn’t take me long to get back into the story and run with it. The third in the trilogy, Dark Knights, comes out in August. Already my editor asked the question, ‘do you know what happens after that?’ I suspect I do.

Who is your favorite author?

I have a lot of favorites. Two who come to mind are George R.R. Martin and Guy Gavriel Kay. In his Song of Ice and Fire series, Martin creates believable characters and does an excellent job of world building. I enjoy Kay’s writing. He takes myths and legends and stories out of history and turns them into fantasy. Characters are well drawn and his worlds are believable. They are both the sort of author I enjoy reading over again.


What was your first sale as an author?

Probably my first sale was a short story to an anthology. I was submitting to anthologies while trying to write novels. My short stories kept coming back with comments from editors (twice) that the short story sounded like it should be a novel instead. I submitted two shorts to an editor, was told one almost made the cut, but the one she rejected quickly was a vampire tale and she was doing a vampire collection next. Would I like to submit a new story to that? I did, it was accepted, so I appeared in the modern vampire collection Evolve in 2010 with my story Chrysalis. My full length novel, The Dark Lady was picked up in 2011 and came out in early 2012.

What does your significant other and family think of your writing career?

My wife encourages me, my children and grandchildren read my stuff. The large resident cat insists on breaking my concentration to be fed. He’s on a strict diet, has gained 5 lbs. I just had my wife covering for me at a Lit Fest this weekend on the book table while I did my duty on panels and readings.


Does your wife read your stuff?

Hah! She wouldn’t read the early drafts, but said she would read them when they were finally published. It’s like pulling hen’s teeth. I don’t think she has gotten all the way through any of my full length novels now in print, or any of my fantasy detective novella series. She has her favorite authors, a very limited list. I haven’t made the cut yet but she still keeps me around.


Plotter or Pantser? Why?

I am definitely a pantser. The best example I can use is my fantasy detective series of novellas, The Housetrap Chronicles. I take an exciting mystery or thriller title, mess it up, and then sit down and write a story that fits the title. I don’t start with an outline, just the title. Of course, by now with six of these completed, I know the main characters pretty well. Examples of my titles are: Dial M for Mudder and The Hounds of Basalt Ville. Fun to write. Even with my full length novels, I start with a bare-bones idea and go from there. I do make lots of notes once I get started, sort of outlining in reverse. I guess I’m a pantser because I want to get on with the writing. I write to find out how the story ends. So far it works well for me.


Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

An interesting question because I have to stop and think about why I have changed. Both the Queen’s Pawn and The Dark Lady were written to music. Usually a singer song-writer called Heather Dale who does what I can best describe as medieval fair or Arthurian music. Just the thing for the sort of tales I was writing at the time. I seem to have gotten away from listening to music and now write in complete silence. Of course it may have something to do with my radio- Cd player is on another desk in my office and surrounded by piles of paper making it difficult to get to. I don’t really know.


What do you do to unwind and relax?

I have a sailboat that is supposed to be relaxing. However I usually manage to get caught in a storm (two thunderstorms so far) so I can’t really think of it as relaxing. I did buy a sports car. Of course I can’t relax too much in that either, but it’s fun. I read when I can find the time, watch a bit of TV, listen to music or public radio. Probably mucking about with one of my Housetrap Chronicles tales is about as relaxing as I get, unless you count cutting grass or shoveling snow. I know! I go for a walk every morning before breakfast. Clears the head, gets me some fresh air and exercise, and creates some new scenes and dialogue for my writing habit.


Giveaway Details:

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

  • GRAND PRIZE:  One winner will receive 5 surprise fantasy eBooks from Champagne Book Group.

Giveaway is International.

Each of these authors is part of this amazing tour
and will be featured separately & together
Thank You Champagne Book Group for
Making this tour possible!

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Title:  Finding Eve
Author:  Rita Bay
Published:  September 2013
Publisher:   Champagne Book Group
Word Count:  13,500
Genre: Shape-shifter Paranormal
Content Warning:  Adult content
Recommended Age:  18+


Nicholas Lyons, chief physician to the Lyons clan of shape-shifters, has mourned the death of his promised lifemate until a rogue shapeshifter reports having seen her at an exotic animal sale. Accompanied by Marie Lyons who is no stranger to the dark side, her new lifemate Anthony, and the imperious Lady Bat, he embarks on a frantic search for Eve through the dangerous world of exotic animal trafficking.

Eve, whose first memories are of recovering from an injury at an isolated animal refuge, has lived through a succession of owners in a world filled with cages and cruelty. When Eve meets Marie at the exotic animal sale, she begins to have flashes of a different life – a life in which she was something other than feline. Her last sale, however, has landed her as prey to exotic animal hunters and the clock is ticking.


Fantasy4-author Rita Bay photo Rita-Bay.jpgAbout the Author:

Rita’s journey began on the Gulf Coast. Over the years, she lived and/or traveled in the eastern US and Western Europe. While juggling family and work, she participated in archaeological digs, earned a black belt in Shotokan karate, prospected for gold and crystals, camped across Europe, and volunteered with the American Red Cross Disaster and Education Services. Rita has worked as a registered nurse, educator and school system administrator. She lives with her family on the Gulf Coast, except when she’s in Atlanta, at least for now.

Rita is published in multiple genres with several publishers including paranormal and erotic novellas (Champagne Book Group – Champagne Books and Carnal Passions), historical novels (Siren BookStrand), and contemporary F/M and M/M novellas (Secret Cravings). She posts random bits of historical trivia about western history and culture on Rita Bay’s Blog at


Fantasy4-The Pact photo The-Pact.jpgTitle:  The Pact
Author:  Graeme Brown
Published:  May 2013
Publisher:  Champagne Book Group
Word Count:   17,000
Genre:  Dark Epic Fantasy
Recommended Age:  12+


Enter the world of Will Lesterall, a boy who’s grown up in the safety of his father’s castle.

Tales of the outside world ruled by warring kings and creatures of nightmare have never seemed a threat, yet on the night celebrating two hundred years of the sacred Pact that has kept Fort Lesterall safe, intrigues ripen, and in the course of a few hours Will is confronted with a choice greater than he can comprehend.

Join an unlikely hero as destiny pulls him into the middle of an ancient conflict between fallen gods and ambitious women, one that demands blood, both holy and wicked, and the power of an ancient fire bound in steel. As swords clash below a watching wood, hope and betrayal war as fiercely as fear and valor.

Whether he lives or dies, Will Lesterall will never be the same.


Fantasy4-Author Brown photo Graeme-Brown.jpgAbout the Author:

Graeme Brown has been enchanted by the epic fantasy genre since he was a child, and consequently he started creating his own world with its stories at the age of thirteen. Influenced by writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Jordan, and George R. R. Martin, he has finally brought the first of those stories to life with his debut title, a short story called The Pact—48 pages that will whisk you away to a dark, medieval fantasy world with gritty realism. When he’s not writing, he can be found exploring number theory problems or writing computer programs, training for a marathon, or unwinding in a yoga hot room. He has also explored other facets of art, both as a hobby and a profession, including vector graphics, pen and ink, classical piano, and web design. He just finished writing the first of many sequels to The Pact, A Thousand Roads.


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Title:   Tower of Obsidian
Author:  L. T. Getty
Published:  February 2013
Publisher:  Champagne Book Group
Word Count:  115,000
Genre:  Epic Fantasy
Content Warning:  Minor Violence
Recommended Age:  13+


When Kale mac Tadhg is betrayed by his Lord’s men, he is sent on an impossible quest: slay a witch in a tower, and end a people’s curse. Both Kale’s best friend and brother-in-arms Aaron Smithson and former betrothed Aoife of Westgate set out to rescue him, but their journey takes them into the uncharted waters and Northwestern Nordic colonies, to a land cursed and all but forgotten. They begin to realize that there is some truth to old legends. Kale’s rescue comes at a price—for by the time Aaron and Aoife know where to search, like so many before him, Kale is bound to the ancient tower’s fate.

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About the Author:

L.T. Getty started writing her first novel in junior high, and hasn’t really stopped since. She’s studied kendo, is an open water scuba diver, and has recently taken up archery, and hopes to learn to do it horseback some day. When she’s not writing, she works as a paramedic. When she is writing, it tends to be rather cheeky.


Thank You Champagne Book Group for
Making this tour possible!
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