EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads Sunday Spotlight w/Givewaway: The Ghost In Exile by Jamie Marchant

Welcome to EskieMama & Dragon Lady 
Sunday Spotlight!

Today we are spotlighting Jamie Marchant's
The Ghost In Exile!

Enter below for a chance to win 1 of 2 paperback or 1 of 2 ecopies 
of The Ghost In Exile from Jamie Marchant (4 winners)

Jamie Marchant's 
The Ghost In Exile!

The Ghost is going to hell. Not even the goddess can forgive his sins: assassin, oath-breaker, traitor (an affair with the queen earned him that title). No one can ever learn the princess is his daughter. To keep this secret, he flees to the land that turned him from a simple stable groom into an infamous killer.
His mission now? To find evildoers and take them to hell with him. But when an impulsive act of heroism saddles him with a damsel who refuses to be distressed, her resilience forces him to questions why he really ran from his daughter.

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Q & A with Jamie Marchant about The Ghost In Exile!

Tell us about The Ghost in Exile.

The Ghost in Exile tells the story of how a naive stable groom in the king’s employ becomes the legendary assassin known only as The Ghost. He was so good at getting into his victim’s rooms it was rumored he could walk through walls. His mother named him Ahearn, but he changes his name to Darhour after he makes his first kill. After a decade as an assassin, The Ghost becomes sickened by killing and swears a vow at the goddess’s holy altar never to kill again. Unfortunately, he has to break this vow to save his daughter’s life. The novel interweaves the past and present. The reader learns both what set Ahearn on the path to becoming a killer and how after, breaking his sacred vow, Darhour is finally able to find peace with himself and with the goddess.

What initially inspired you to write The Ghost in Exile.

Using the name Darhour, The Ghost was a minor character in my first novel, The Goddess’s Choice. I fell in love with the character. I have an affinity for the tortured soul, and The Ghost most definitely falls into that category. After finishing The Goddess’s Choice, I wanted to tell his story. His background, which is only hinted at in The Goddess’s Choice, cried out to be told. The Ghost wouldn’t leave me in peace until I had done so. As one reviewer put in, “While he sounds like a ruthless, heartless character, after learning his story, I couldn't help but really fall in love with him and really felt for all the horrible trials he had to go through.” While The Ghost is introduced in The Goddess’s Choice, it isn’t necessary to have read that novel previous to The Ghost in Exile.

Tell us little about the characters The Ghost in Exile. 

I’ve discussed the protagonist above. The two other most important characters are Brigitta and Phelix. Phelix is part of his past, Brigitta his present. Phelix has been many of my readers favorite character. He is an assassin that teaches the young Ahearn the tricks of the trade. Despite being a killer, Phelix has a sense of humor readers love. He always speaks of himself in the third person and tells Ahearn that “someday he may be better than Phelix, although nobody is better than Phelix.”

Brigitta is a captured foreign slave who The Ghost rescues on impulse. He promises to help her get back to her husband and children. She seems utterly helpless at first, but she doesn’t remain that way for long.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Getting Brigitta, the damsel who refuses to remain in distress, right. First, she was too weak, a total victim. Then, she was too harsh and bloodthirsty, etc., etc. I completely rewrote her character about five times. I think I finally find the right balance of vulnerability and strength. The only thing that remains of the original woman is the name. 

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 

I’m not sure what it says about me, but probably my favorite part to write was when the young, still innocent, Ahearn first arrives in Saloyna, to which he was exiled as a consequence of his affair with the queen. They drop him off with nothing but the clothes on his back. He doesn’t speak the language and knows very little about the culture. Unsurprisingly, things don’t go well for Ahearn, and he is soon fighting the dogs for scraps of meat the butcher throws out. Like I said, I love the tortured soul, and this chapter tortures poor Ahearn.

What are your future project(s)? Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers about this book/series.

I’m going to combine these two questions because my future projects and the series are connected. The Ghost is Exile is a side story to my main series, The Kronicles of Korthlundia. The first two volumes of the series are available on Amazon and other online book sellers. In The Goddess’s Choice, the crown princess Samantha fears she’s mad; no one but she sees colors glowing around people. The peasant Robrek Angusstamm believes he’s a demon; animals speak to him, and his healing powers far outstrip those of his village’s priests. Despite their fears, their combined powers make them the goddess’s choice to rule the kingdom of Korthlundia. Samantha’s ability enables her to discern a person’s character through their multi-colored aura, and Robrek’s makes him the strongest healer the kingdom has seen in centuries. But their gifts also endanger their lives. Royals scheme to usurp the throne by marrying or killing Samantha, and priests plot to burn Robrek at the stake. Robrek escapes the priests only to be captured by Samantha’s arch-enemy, Duke Argblutal; Argblutal intends to force the princess to marry him by exploiting Robrek’s powers. To save their own lives and stop the realm from sinking into civil war, Robrek and Samantha must consolidate their powers and unite the people behind them.

The story of Robrek and Samantha continues in The Soul Stone. In which, the Crown Princess Samantha and peasant sorcerer, Robrek, struggle to solidify their rule in the aftermath of the king’s murder. They are opposed by those who seek power for themselves and desire to prevent their marriage. As if that wasn’t enough, a deadly curse begins to spread throughout Korthlundia. While Samantha fights against priests, enemies, and her closest advisers, Robrek sets off to discover the source of the curse. He learns the reason the goddess chose him as king: to defeat the Soul Stone, a stone capable of sucking the soul out of its victims. Their archenemy, the Bard Alvabane, awakens the Soul Stone and plans to use its power to reclaim Korthlundia for her people, a people driven out over a thousand years ago by the hero Armunn. Armunn had to sacrifice his life and soul to contain the Soul Stone. Will Robrek have to do the same?

I’m presently at work on the 3rd book of the series, which is as yet untitled, in which Robrek and Samantha struggle to deal with the aftermath of the Soul Stone destructive power, only to have new problems arise.

Now an exciting excerpt from The Ghost In Exile!

Ahearn smiled at the queen. “Your Majesty, could you maybe be a little nicer to them? I don’t like the things they say about you.”

“I told you not to call me ‘Your Majesty’ when no one’s around. You know why I have to act like I do. We can’t afford anyone getting the slightest suspicion about us. I couldn’t bear it if His Sulis-cursed Majesty hurt you in any way.”

Ahearn grinned at her continued demonstration of how much she cared about him.

“I promise I’ll make for my rudeness,” she said in that throaty voice that drove him wild. “Race you to the stream!” She touched her heels to her horse, leaving him behind.

As Ahearn took off after her, he felt a tightening in his groin. Holy Sulis, how did I get so lucky that a woman like her wants a nobody like me? Even though Hellfire could easily outdistance her mare, he stayed behind her, enjoying the view. Besides, she got huffy when she lost, and he definitely didn’t want that.

Fenella laughed as her horse’s feet splashed into the edge of the stream. Ahearn had never heard anything quite so musical. He jumped off Hellfire, looped the reins around a branch, took a blanket off the saddle, and laid it on the ground. He hurried to help Fenella dismount. She slid down the full length of his body as he lowered her into the stream. She turned her face up to his, and he kissed her deeply. Without warning, she wrapped her leg around his and jerked him off balance, falling on top of him into the stream. They came up together, laughing and dripping wet. Her dress clung to her body, leaving little to the imagination. He grabbed the dress around her waist and pulled it up over her head; she wore nothing underneath. He cupped her ivory breasts and found her lips again. He moved his hands down her body until they found the smooth firmness of her buttocks. She was so small he had no difficulty boosting her against him and carrying her to the shore. He lay her on the blanket, quickly tore off his own clothes, and lay down beside her.

“Oh, Hearn,” she whispered. “Make love to me.”

He readied her as quickly as he could and slipped himself slowly inside her. He hadn’t gotten deep yet when he heard the crunch of a footstep behind him and felt the cold sharp point of a sword on his back.

“I think you’ve done enough, you rutting swine,” a harsh voice commanded. “Stand up and turn around. Slowly.” Certain he was about to die, Ahearn eased himself out of the queen and stood.

He turned to find Lord Caedmon holding the sword on him. Behind Caedmon, Duke Connor, the king’s chancellor, approached, accompanied by two vicious dogs. “You should have let him finish, son,” Duke Connor said. “It isn’t good for a man’s health to be left in that condition.”

“His health is of little concern now that he’s completed his service to his country,” Caedmon grunted.

Ahearn didn’t understand what they were talking about. He wanted to fall to his knees and beg for mercy. But why humiliate himself when he had no hope for leniency? He licked his lips and looked at Fenella, who’d wrapped the blanket around herself. She looked far more angry than frightened. Maybe she didn’t understand the consequences of what they’d just been caught doing. “Don’t hurt her, please,” he whispered.

Duke Connor laughed. “Hurt Her Majesty? I wouldn’t think of it. She is carrying Korthlundia’s future—His Majesty’s long-awaited heir.”

“Like hell I am.” Fenella jumped to her feet. “Solar is a wrinkled old man. He hasn’t been able to do it in months. This baby,”—she touched her stomach, still smooth and flat—“isn’t his.”

Ahearn stared at the queen. “You’re pregnant, Fen?”

Duke Connor smiled nastily. “The continued stability of the joined kingdoms requires that Solar have an heir. Since he’s unable to beget his own, he needed someone to do it for him. I’ve informed His Majesty of your vigorous efforts on his behalf.” Ahearn stared at the duke, mortified at the thought of the fifty-year-old pervert looking on and evaluating his performance. “Now that you’ve done your part, I’ve been ordered to ‘take care’ of you.”

Ahearn dropped to his knees, afraid he was either going to faint or vomit. His Majesty set me up! Holy Sulis, how could I have been so stupid to think no one knew?

“No!” Fenella screamed, seeming to understand for the first time how bad the situation was. “Don’t hurt him! It’s all my fault! I just wanted . . . I just wanted . . .”

“Wanted what, Your Majesty?” Duke Connor asked, as if what she wanted was of no concern.

Fenella’s words cut like the sharpest sword. “You smug bastard! No one knows better than you what I wanted! I told you I wouldn’t be given to an old man to be used as a brood mare! But nobody listened! Not you! Not my father! And not His Sulis-damned Majesty! But I’ve had my revenge! I got a stable groom with shit on his boots to do what the great Solar couldn’t!”

Ahearn felt like he’d been kicked in the gut. “Fen, you can’t mean that. I thought . . .”

“I’m afraid thinking played little part in your activities,” the duke sneered. He nodded, and Ahearn felt something smash into the back of his head. He fell to the ground, his skull erupting in pain. He tried to move, but was struck again. 

Author Bio:

Jamie Marchant is the author of the epic fantasy series, The Kronicles of Korthlundia. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies—Urban Fantasy (KY Story, 2013) and Of Dragon and Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds (Witty Bard Publishing, 2014)—The World of Myth, A Writer’s Haven, and Bards & Sages, and She teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. She lives in Auburn, Alabama, with her husband and four cats, which (or so she’s been told) officially makes her a cat lady. She is the mother of a grown son.

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