The False Gods Release Date

I was to have book 4 of the Hartland, The False Gods, series published already but one of my beta readers was delayed. I still haven’t heard back from them…. So, what I’m going to do since I’ve gotten the green light on the other beta readers is press forward. I shouldn’t have waited this long for them, especially if they don’t have the common courtesy to email me or shoot me a Facebook message telling me something like “life got in the way, sorry I didn’t finish your book”, or “I didn’t like the book and I have no good things to say about it”. That’s two things I cannot stand: lack of courtesy and lack of communication. I know they’re not dead as they’ve been on Facebook posting things. Otherwise, I’d be concerned.

Anyway, we’re aiming for a release date of July 12th! Just 6 days away. I wanted to read through the manuscript one more time, looking for any mistakes I may have missed. It’s been a while since I’ve read the book so I’m coming to it with a fresh set of eyes. I’m so excited to reveal the 4th book in the 5 book series. Book 5 is already halfway through its first draft as well. For those of you who may have forgotten what the cover looks like, here it is. Enjoy your day. I have a busy few days ahead of me!

The False Gods Cover 2

Cover Reveal for The False Gods

It’s taken a while to get to making the cover for the fourth book in the Hartland series. After some debate with my husband and a few others, we have finally decided on one! It is with great excitement that we reveal the cover today. In about a month, maybe less, depending on what the last few beta readers tell us about the book, The False Gods will become available on the market.

Be sure to let us know what you think about the cover.

The False Gods Cover 2

All Over the Place Today

As I work on book 4 in the Hartland series, my thoughts about the story are all over the place. I keep coming up with ideas for future parts of the story, some of them aren’t even for this book. Although it’s slowing me down a bit to keep having to make notes, I’m thrilled my mind is looking ahead in the story. It means I won’t stagnate on it for a while, maybe never. There is something about this series and the different way it was written from other Works in Progress that keeps me moving forward. Don’t get me wrong because of the way I wrote it, giving pieces of the story through characters, it can be difficult to write. It is one of the things that excites me. The challenge.

I have been working on book 4 now for 5 days and am already 17k into it. The problem is the ending is only vague. I know generally how I want the book to end but that’s it. No big epiphany has come to me yet. Maybe when I’m further into it, the ending will start taking shape.

I have also come up with a few ideas for other new WIPs. Sigh… The writer’s life. I don’t think we’ll ever get through our to be written list, but it’s sure fun trying.

The Wytch King Chapter 1

Arem

“It’s good you’re awake,” Trester said calmly somewhere beside him. His voice sounded distant. Arem blinked and looked toward him. His head ached. He could barely focus. “You have some answers I need.”

Arem blinked again, staring up at the tent covering. Everything seemed so vague, so confusing. And then, everything seemed to flood back toward him. “Where’s Mercea?” he asked.

“Gone.”

“What? You mean you didn’t kill her!” He started to rise, but a woman forced him back onto the bed. His head pounded, threatening to make him black out. Closing his eyes for a moment, he took in a several deep breaths. When he focused on the woman’s blurred face, he could barely make it out. “We have to…”

“That’s right. She’s gone. Now, about those questions.”

“Wait. Wait,” Arem said, frowning, interrupting King Trester again. Nausea rose up in the back of his throat. He closed his eyes, fighting back the feeling. “What do you mean she’s gone? What did you do?” Trester didn’t answer, making Arem snort. Even that made pain erupt through his head. He took in several more deep breaths. “Why didn’t you listen to me when I told you to kill her? Couldn’t you see she was different? She has a demon inside of her. We have to kill her. We have no choice. She’ll be the ruin of Hartland.”

Trester stared past him, lost in thought. Arem wished he could shake the man just so he could get one word from him. Instead, he was forced to endure the silence. Lying motionless was the only way to make the throbbing more bearable. Besides, he didn’t think the woman would allow him to rise just yet. Arem looked over at Trester again, seeing the evident worry in the man’s face.

“There’s something you’re not telling me. What is it?” Arem asked, breaking the silence. The woman with short black hair nudged him in warning. Arem ignored her as he studied Trester. “What did you learn, Trester? Tell me.”

“That’s your Majesty,” Galtrand growled. “He is King of Cascade and deserves respect. Show it.”

“Respect is earned. Keeping me detained here is not the way to earn my respect or trust.” Arem looked to Trester again who still hadn’t said a word. He could see the worry in the man’s brilliant blue eyes and the lines which had formed around his frowning mouth. “Well, your Majesty, what did you learn? What’s troubling you?”

“I’m not entirely certain,” Trester answered in a gentle voice. He sat down and met Arem’s eyes. “Mercea, or whatever she is now, seemed to recognize me for something. I’m not sure what or who, but I know it frightened him, her, or whatever she is now.” He placed his hand over his mouth, squeezing his lips together, as he sat in deep thought. Arem continued to stare, waiting for the man to explain further. “It doesn’t make sense. I know it. It had thought De’Nae had killed me. I sensed it wanted, no, it needed me dead. I plan to discover what the reason is. It also said I was related to Mercea.” He fell silent once more, staring at the far wall of the tent. Arem guessed the man was replaying the conversation he’d had with the demon. “It said I had no idea what I am and why I’m so important. The creature wouldn’t give me an answer. It might have told me had you not told me to kill it. It was all just poor timing.”

Arem laying there, thinking back to the battle. He barely remembered anything after Mercea had choked him. No. Not Mercea. It was the demon. Part of him wondered if she hadn’t enjoyed it a little herself though.

“Tell me, you at least tried to kill it.”

“I did, but she vanished. Admittedly, I don’t know how to feel about it. I…” Trester took in a deep breath and sighed it out. “I want to save Mercea. She doesn’t deserve such a fate. I don’t understand how this happened to her.”

“I don’t either. The Servants are supposed to be protected against such things,” Arem stated, remembering everything he had learned about the Servants when this had begun. “De’Nae must have found a way around it. She had power I couldn’t possibly begin to describe.”

“As do you. I know no other wytch who can do the things you can.” The statement came out more as an accusation.

The tent fell into silence again as they remembered the battle outside of Dawn Stone. It had gone by in a blur as they tried to remain alive and see the war ended. Arem remembered entering the king’s chamber and finding the glass globe empty. He remembered the fear racing through him at what it had meant. He remembered seeing Mercea down on the steps to the palace with demons bowing to her as she slaughtered them.

“He said something to me as well.”

Trester looked to him, frowning. “How do you know it was a he?”

Arem studied the king. Somehow their future was intertwined. He just didn’t know how yet. “He said I must know the secret then. When I asked him what secret, he told me it didn’t matter. He could feel its presence inside of me.”

“How do you know it’s a he?” Trester repeated.

“I came across a few things while researching the Servants which led me to believe the demon inside the globe was Verite.”

Trester scrutinized him for several moments. “What presence in you?” he finally asked. “You aren’t one of them, are you? It’d explain your different abilities.”

Arem laughed. “No.” He sat up, surprised the woman had allowed him to. He looked between the three in the tent with him. His eyes widened. It was so obvious now. “Of course!” As he rose, two sword points met him, making him remain where he was. “Is that really necessary?” he asked them. “I’m a wytch. If I had wanted to harm King Trester, I could have done so from where I was.”

“Tell me what you know. It’s the only way you’re leaving here. I’m done playing games. We’re running out of time.”

Arem sighed heavily. He met Trester’s eyes and knew the man would use his magic on him.

“About a month ago, I discovered demon’s blood increased my power. I was using it throughout the fight to augment my abilities to ensure the men who traveled with me and I survived until we had accomplished our goal.” He fell silent, realizing he didn’t know what had befallen Relyck or the other man. “They survived, right? Verite didn’t kill them, did he?”

“They’re outside, waiting for me to release you. They were going to try to stop me from taking you, but something changed their mind.” Trester shook his head, smirking. “They said I had no right. I suppose they were right, but here you are and you still owe me answers.”

“I’m surprised.” Arem had never expected such loyalty from them. Trester looked to him for an explanation. Arem knew he didn’t owe the king anything, but something compelled him to explain. “When I first learned about this… this ability, it had been in an accident during a skirmish with some demons at the Desert border. I killed some of the soldiers. I couldn’t control the power and it made me crazy. The first time it happened, I remember very little of it. It took nights of me experimenting with it to learn control.” When he saw the woman and Trester glance at each other, he was curious. “Anyway, they hadn’t trusted me. I didn’t blame them. All it would really take is an accident and I could kill them all. So, that they’re outside, waiting for me, is a bit of a surprise.”

Trester met the woman’s eyes again who stared at him accusingly. Trester turned back to Arem with a grim face. “I had a similar accident out on the battlefield. When the blood first touched an open wound, I sent out ice crystals in every direction, killing several demons, and unfortunately, some of our own men. It was an accident and I wasn’t sure what it had meant. However, I believe it’s worth exploring. After the initial surprise of the increase to my power, it was easy to control. It seems the demon inside of Mercea sees something to fear of it, even if I find the idea disgusting.”

“You were able to control it just like that?” Arem felt a twinge of jealousy. Trester stared at him for several moments. Arem sighed again. “I’d like to know what the demon meant by secret. I don’t expect you to know it, but is this the secret? Also, why would demon blood augment a wytches’ power? I’ve been asking myself this for a while now.” Trester turned from him and nodded toward Galtrand. Arem watched the guard approach him. “Trester, please. What do you know? What aren’t you telling me?”

The King of Cascade met his gaze. A deep worry had settled into his brilliant blue eyes. He gave a single nod to Galtrand before looking toward Arem again. “I must swear you to secrecy on the matter before I can tell you anything. The world isn’t ready for such information, especially after everything that has happened. Even if you swear it, I’m not certain I can trust you. Mercea never could. You must have given her reason for that.”

“I swear my silence,” Arem stated. Trester stared at him long and hard, making him sigh. “I will swear an oath of blood if I must.”

Trester didn’t respond immediately, still studying him. Arem met his stare. “No. I don’t think it’ll be necessary.” The king looked toward the others in the room before meeting his eyes again. “Somewhere in our past, our ancestors mated with demons to form wytches. It’s why being a wytch runs in bloodlines.”

Arem had no idea what to say. It sounded impossible. What human could possibly want to breed with a demon? Had it been by choice? Did the demons make it happen in an effort to control humans? There were too many questions racing through his thoughts to properly form. He looked to Trester, hoping the man had an explanation.

“Why would they do that, your Majesty?” he asked when silence ensued. “I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t see myself being… uh…. intimate with one of those monsters.”

Trester gave him a half-smile. “From what I understand and from what the book I read told me, wytches were created to help the Servants fight evil. It might not have been a choice for some people.” Trester shook his head. A distant look came to him before he sighed. “It doesn’t matter. The Servants couldn’t trust the wytches because of our heritage, so we were cast aside. Because of the power running through our veins, the rest feared us. They still do. If they were to discover this information, I’m afraid the fear would only grow.”

Arem met Trester’s serious eyes. “Am I free to go?” he asked. Trester nodded. As he took a step forward, he stumbled. The woman caught and held him upright. Arem blinked back the pain.

“I have a Mender coming to the tent to look over you. I suggest you stay and allow him to see to your wounds.” Arem sat back down on the bed, thinking it a good idea. “All I ask is you stay near. We’ve discovered something remarkable and I think we’re going to need each other before the end.”

So, Trester had felt it, too. When Arem met the king’s eyes, he saw determination in them. “Are you planning to go after Mercea?”

“Yes. If she is in fact my ancestor, the only remaining family I have left, I owe it to her.” Trester fell silent for a moment, playing with the hilt of a dagger at his belt. “Besides, she’s a Servant. If we can somehow save her, wouldn’t it be worth it? How often has Mercea saved Hartland? How often has she risked everything to make certain we’re safe? We owe it to her. If I have to, I’ll make the others see it as such.”

Arem hesitated in answering. He’d been through a lot with Mercea. She had never trusted him. She had made certain he knew it. Now, he knew why. Mercea was one of the oldest Servants still alive. She probably understood more about wytches than a wytch did. She certainly knew about their ancestry. He also wondered who in Mercea’s family had mated with a demon. It could explain her distaste for wytches.

A small smile twitched at the corners of his mouth as he imagined the look on her face if he was the one who discovered a way to save her. He imagined it would be much the same look when she saw him standing there, behind her, planning to kill her.

“You have my word, I’m not leaving.”

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Demons and Kings Chapter 1

Arem

From where he stood on top of a sand dune, he stared out across the glistening sand. His brown eyes took in all the dead bodies; demon and human alike. All the blood soaking into the sand. All the dismembered body parts. There were less bodies littered across the ground than he had expected.

Sadness came to him as he stared at them. He looked to each of their faces, some were mutilated beyond recognition. Horrific images flashed through his mind as he remembered the battle. He knew it could have gone much worse.

He felt for the families who had lost someone here today. Sorrow encompassed his eyes as he stared at the few remaining bodies of demons. At one point, they, too, were human.

The battle was over, except for a few fights. Unfortunately, Arem knew the war wasn’t. There was still much to do. Mercea knew it and had already started making plans. If not for him, she’d still not know what was happening. He hated how he had to deceive her to get her to see what King Barend was doing.

She would have ended up in Carthoda on her own, but it would have ended in disaster. She would have never escaped and King Barend would have her. Arem didn’t know the kings plans. He didn’t imagine they were beneficial to anyone but the king.

Even if she didn’t admit it, she had needed him. He hated the fact he had to manipulate her and put her in danger, but the Servant hated wytches and hadn’t wanted to listen to him. Things could have gone so much easier if she’d just listened to him.

His eyes landed on Urian’s shifting body. He watched Ogden crawl out from under it, unscathed. The moment he saw the man, Arem understood what had happened. From the look of awe on the others’ face, they did as well. He wondered if the man knew what he’d gotten himself into by accepting Servanthood. Ogden’s life had changed forever. He could no longer do what he thought was right. He had to do Their bidding.

Arem turned his gaze to Mercea. She would go after King Barend in a futile attempt to reverse the damage the man had caused. There wasn’t a way. He had researched and researched and had tried and tried. He had even managed to capture a few demons in an attempt to turn them back. It was only then he had killed his sister when there was no hope left for her.

During his research of trying to reverse what was done to his sister and countless others, it was how he had discovered information about the Servants of the Old Gods. It was how he had discovered who Mercea was, though he hadn’t discovered why Barend wanted her.

It was pure chance he was in the throne room when King Barend had given the order to capture Mercea. De’Nae had assured them the Servant wouldn’t be a problem. After reading about her, Arem had known otherwise and knew he had to act. He knew he couldn’t allow King Barend and Queen De’Nae to gain access to her. He could only imagine what they wanted of her. As he had listened to their orders, it was then Arem had started forming a plan to counter the king.

At the time, all he had wanted to do was run a dagger through the man’s heart for everything he’d done. He hadn’t acted, knowing he couldn’t get close enough. There were too many guarding the king. Too many creatures ready to kill him at a moment’s notice.

From where he stood on the sand dune, he looked down to Trester. The man was killing demons who hadn’t disappeared. The Seeress appeared behind him from nowhere. When Arem realized what the woman was planning, it was too late.

Her dagger sunk into Trester’s chest. She said something to him wearing a twisted smile before showing herself as the Queen of Carthoda. And then, she vanished.

Arem raced down the sandy hill, sliding in places to reach the man faster. He knelt beside him. Trester’s pulse was weak and his breathing so shallow he appeared dead. Blood was pooling under the man, soaking into the sand.

Placing his hands over Trester’s wounds, Arem closed his eyes to concentrate. A pale light erupted from his hands. Trester’s skin stitched back together. Trester gasped, breathing life into his lungs again. He attempted to sit up. Arem steadied him.

“Easy friend, you’re weak. Don’t overdo it. You’ve lost a lot of blood.”

“Rosha,” Trester whispered.

“Yes, I know. I saw what happened. I’ll tell the others. Stay still.”

“You’ll tell us what?” Mercea asked in her cold tone. He looked up at her and sighed. “What did you do to him?”

“Nothing,” Arem answered through clenched teeth. “Why would you think it was me? Why would I even do this? There was no reason to.”

“It was Rosha,” Trester whispered. He tried to rise, but Arem forced him to stay. “Janessa!” Trester shoved him away. “I have to get to her.”

“Why? What did Rosha say?” Arem asked.

“She said she couldn’t let any of the Stone’s live.” Tears streamed down his cheeks. “Don’t tell me she’s dead. Please, don’t tell me she’s dead.”

Mercea turned her fierce, golden eyes, specked with green, on him, as he hurried toward the palace. Arem faltered. He knew she hated him. She viewed him as a coward. She thought him a man who’d run when things became difficult. He had never imagined she’d think him a murderer though.

“Where were you hiding?” Mercea asked. “You just seemed to have disappeared. Again.”

“He helped save your life quite a few times, Mercea,” Ogden said, coming to his defense. “He saved my life, too.”

“Let him explain.”

Arem stared at her in silence. After Ogden had rushed up Urian’s side, he had raced up the sand dune to protect him and Mercea. He couldn’t continue from where he was. Demons were swarming him. Fighting his way to the top of the sand dune was difficult but he had made it. From there, he could see everything. He could see where his magic was needed.

“Rosha isn’t Rosha,” he answered, refusing to argue with her.

“Is she who you thought she was?”

“Yes. She stabbed Trester, changed her appearance, and disappeared. It seemed she wanted Trester to know who killed him before she left.” Arem fell silent for a moment. He met her eyes. “She was never so powerful before. It worries me how she obtained that power.”

“Did you try to stop her? Or was that part of your plan as well?”

Arem growled at her. “There was no time to! How was I supposed to stop her! I was up there, protecting you,” he said, pointing to one of the tallest sand dunes.” He turned away from her. “Forget it. It’s not worth my time. The point is, she possess power she shouldn’t.”

Mercea frowned. “It doesn’t make sense. Why would his wife pose as a Seeress who he’d then kidnap? Why would she go through all that trouble? If I was her target, why didn’t she just kill you and attempt to take me back at the lake?”

“You’re right. It doesn’t make any sense, but I know what I saw.”

“I think she was planning to come back to you, Mercea, when we found her in the Spindle Mountains,” Trester said. “She didn’t know we were there. She didn’t know King Barend sent us as back up. He doesn’t trust his wife. I don’t blame him. When we found her, she was circling back. Maybe she was returning to you to capture you.”

“Why wouldn’t she try to escape though? If she is as powerful as she seems, it would have been easy,” Ogden said, frowning. “Why allow herself to be captured, and let it continue for so long?”

“I think it was because of me,” Trester answered. “She was most curious about me. I thought it was because she saw an opportunity for freedom with me. I’m uncertain what her real plans were or why she didn’t try to kill me sooner.”

The moment they entered the courtyard of the North Gardens Palace, silence hit them. Arem looked about. His eyes landed on King Maik. He was holding the limp form of a woman’s broken body against him. He wept silent tears. Galtrand sat there, staring at them. Emotionless. Unable to move.

Trester’s face paled as he hurried to his sister. He didn’t touch her. He stood there, staring at her lifeless face. His clenched jaw accompanied the fists at his side. A dark look came to his brilliant blue eyes, turning them several shades darker.

Mercea stared at the woman, grim-faced. A look of defeat and great sorrow sat in her eyes. Arem studied her for several moments, wondering what it meant.

“Heal her, like you did me,” Trester said. Arem looked to him in surprise. “Heal her, damn it! Save her!”

“I can’t bring back the dead, Trester. There’s nothing I can do. I’m sorry.”

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Started Book 4

While book 3 in the Hartland series, The Wytch King, is with another set of eyes in its final editing stages, I have begun to work on book 4 in the series. I am already a little over 1200 words into it. I found very little sleep last night as my mind kept jumping to everything I wanted to include in this book.

Now, this morning it’s a struggle to get everything out in a manner that makes sense. I have a word document open for the story and One Note for all the other things which keep popping into my mind to include but has no place in the story yet. Needless to say but am going to say it anyway, I have several chapters already planned out. A few of them are almost finished as I keep thinking of things for them. Now, I just have to get to them in the story and the right time line.

So excited to start another segment of the story. So far, there are 6 books planned for the entire Hartland series though it could turn into more.

Book 1 in the series is called Servants of the Old Gods It’s under an old pen name.