This is my stop during the book blitz for Trials and Tribulations, these are two anthologies set in Faith Hunter’s Rogue Mage universe. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 20 February till 5 March. You can view the tour schedule here.
Trials (Rogue Mage Anthology #1)
By Faith Hunter, Diana Francis, Misty Massey, Lou J Berger, Ken Schrader, Spike Y Jones, Christina Stiles, Tamsin Silver and Melissa McArthur
Genre: Anthology/ Urban Fantasy
Age category: Adult
Release Date: November 28, 2016
21 Vignettes and Short Stories set in Faith Hunter’s World of Thorn St. Croix.
The Rogue Mage world began long ago, when the epic battle between the High Host and the Darkness was won and lost. TRIALS takes fans of Thorn St. Croix into the past, before the opening pages of BLOODRING. These stories, set in Faith Hunter's Rogue Mage world, are adventures with new characters and old, facing dangers unimaginable. And they must save the world all over again.
If you ever wondered what happened between seraphs, kylen, second-unforeseen, mages, seraph-touched, spawn, humans, dragons, and their creatures before the series, now is your chance to delve deeper and wider. TRIALS features new short stories from nine authors—including Faith Hunter—and vignettes from the Rogue Mage role playing game.
TRIALS will be followed soon by TRIBULATIONS, and then by the omnibus TRIUMPHANT.
TRIALS Authors: Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, Lou J Berger, Ken Schrader, Spike Y Jones, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Christina Stiles, Tamsin Silver, Melissa McArthur.
TRIBULATIONS Authors: Faith Hunter, Jean Rabe, Spike Y Jones, Christina Stiles, and Lucienne Diver.
You can find Trials on Goodreads
You can buy Trials here:
- Barnes & Noble
by Jean Rabe
(late Summer (Southern Hemisphere) 105 PA/2117 AD)
The trees along the river had been as big around as grain silos—a long time ago. Agata D'Cruz had seen pictures of the rainforest in books in the convent’s library. The Amazon basin was still thick with green as far as she could see, but the decades since the Apocalypse had slain the giants with their foliage so dense it had blotted out the sun.
Z would be easier to find without them in the way.
Much had been harvested for building materials and medicine, cut down and burned for farmland, before the Apocalypse and since. Good that a drug cartel controlled the land now, Agata thought, so the forest could return to its ancient majesty—just not before she'd finished her business here. Armed with expensive Chinese weapons and trained to fight, the cartel soldiers kept the harvesters at bay while traveling between transient forest camps and the cities and villages, pedaling their murky wares and instilling fear.
But the cartel hadn't managed to keep her out.
She’d deftly avoided them so far, though there had been a couple of too-close-for-comfort episodes, and one that sent her braving the caimans by hiding in the root-tangled river shallows. Just enough to get her heart hammering wildly; not enough to prevent her from coming back. The prize was too great to give up on.
The maps of the basin she’d razored out of the convent’s books had proven valuable. They’d led her to the old places where people lived before the divine conflagration and to where they'd left behind curios and ornaments—not terribly far beneath the surface—in demand in the coastal cities. She’d amassed enough wealth that she no longer needed to risk the cartel's patrols to scavenge, but she came back to the river anyway. Agata liked to dig in the dirt and reveled in the surprises she unearthed. More than that, she dreamed of the singular find that would make her famous and take her anywhere in the world she wanted.
She’d been searching for it for the past three years. Today she would find it. All the clues had fallen into the right places.
There was a beautiful sameness to the rainforest—all the shades of green run together like watercolors in one big smear, reaching up to touch a sky that today was ash-gray and domed the world with a bleak and unforgiving pall. A storm was coming, and soon; the air had that wonderful teasing scent to it.
Rock formations were scattered along her course, stones brought to the surface a century or so ago when the forces of Darkness fought the seraphs even here. Harsh winds and pounding rains helped sculpt the formations, and man-made explosives had contributed, creating twisting spires that looked like the upraised limbs of giant corpses.
River bones, Agata called them.
“Earth rais’d up her head,” Agata quoted from a poem she’d committed to memory as a child. William Blake had been one of her favorite studies. She stared at a tall, artistic-looking rock that pressed against the trunk of a possumwood. “From the darkness dread and drear. Her light fled. Stony dread!”
Agata adjusted the large pack on her back, froze, and listened. The birds had stopped singing, so she crouched behind a big fern growing bush-like on tree bark. Maybe a predator was around, a large cat looking to eat monkeys. Maybe a cartel band. Her legs cramped, but she didn’t move. Sweat ran down her brow and into her mud-brown eyes. It was a hotter than usual August.
After a handful of heartbeats she saw it, some type of animal-meld creature, looking mostly like a tiger, although there were no such cats in the basin. Twice the size of a jaguar, with an orange and black overlarge head and tall pointed ears that swivelled as it prowled. Its tail was serpentine, twitching slowly, and along its back and on its back legs were dark greenish scales. It looked dangerous.
She breathed shallowly, her hand in her pocket, where she kept a switchblade. The cat-thing crept out of view, and she relaxed. Minutes later the birds resumed their songs. Agata caught sight of a scarlet macaw pair flying lazily overhead. Whatever threat the hybrid posed had passed.
“How sweet I roam’d from field to field,” Agata mused as she stood and worked the cramps out of her legs. “And tasted all the summer’s pride.” She tipped her face up, the sweat running away from her eyes. There was no breeze to cool her. Maybe the coming rain would help.
Agata paced out fifty steps from the twisting rock. She couldn’t see the river from here, but she was parallel to the bank and could hear it—comforting. Kneeling, she fumbled in the large pack, retrieving a top-of-the-line pre-Ap handheld metal detector and one of her prized map pages. She’d studied this particular map so often in the past several weeks that it was practically engraved on her brain. Still, she scanned it one more time, double-checking her notations along the borders.
“Should be right about here. Everything points here.” All her research, her time searching. “It is here.” But the metal detector picked up nothing. Maybe it was here -- the lost city -- and all of its gold had been discovered and removed centuries ago. But she would have read about that, right? “No. It’s here. Here here here.”
Agata turned south, paced off another fifty steps, and tried again. “Suck toads.” Nothing. Five paces west, around a thin palm, more pacing—a grid search pattern. A little black-and-white monkey followed overhead. She retraced her steps and paced out seventy-five, parallel to the bank. The metal detector finally clicked. The screen showed a weak reading of precious metal down ten meters, and a stronger one at the fourteen-meter mark—a lot stronger. “Suck toads and back again!” she hooted. The monkey chittered and hopped as if sharing her happiness.
Most of her previous finds she’d been able to hand dig with just a shovel, a meter or two at most. Admittedly those expeditions had been just to fill time and her pockets while she researched and pursued her true goal: finding more wealth than she could spend in a thousand lifetimes.
Agata pulled a two-stage directional charge out of her pack, attached the detonator, and pressed the charge into the loam, spinning her shovel around to use the handle to shove it deeper. She skittered back several feet, taking cover behind a shagbark, and pressed the remote activator. The forest floor shuddered and the double-explosion spooked parrots, which shot out of the branches, screeching. Her monkey shadow screamed and fled, and after a few moments everything went eerily quiet.
Interview with Misty Massey
Interview with Misty Massey
What was it like to play in the Rogue Mage world?
Oh golly, it was thrilling and terrifying at the same time. After all, this is an established world that was created by someone I love and admire very much, so I couldn’t screw this up.
Was it hard to develop your character within the confines of the Rogue Mage world?
Not really. The character of Grog was someone I’d come up with long ago, for another project that failed. I only had a few pages written when that other project folded, but I kept the fragment because I loved Grog so. I knew that someday I’d complete his story. When Faith approached me about TRIALS, I knew that was the world Grog belonged to, so I pulled out the fragment and got to work fine-tuning him into someone that fit into the Rogue Mage reality.
Tell us about your character.
Grog is a young human, who begins his story mired in the confusion of insanity. He lost his mother during the Plague of Insanity, and was then abused badly by a demented preacher who wanted to use Grog to make people follow him. During his time with the preacher, a Seraph witnessed the preacher’s abuse and decided to bless Grog with a gift of power, although Grog had no idea how to use it, and the stress of it all drove him into madness.
When your story was finished, how did you feel about your character and story?
I loved him even more than when I began to write him. I’ve spent my life suffering from depression, which can sometimes feel like utter madness. Many of the behaviors I ascribed to Grog were based on feelings I’ve experienced (although I’ve never succumbed completely, thank goodness.) My story was a trip into the worst of my own terrors, and a way out again.
Tell us about your other projects.
My second novel, Kestrel’s Dance, will be released in 2017 from LoreSeekers Press, and I’m very excited about that. I’m editing Lawless Lands: Tales From The Weird Frontier, an anthology of weird western stories (featuring one from Faith Hunter herself!) for which we’ll be running a Kickstarter in a few weeks.
There are other projects in the works, but alas, I can’t talk about them yet. Sorry!
The Trials Authors:
Lou J Berger
Spike Y Jones
Tribulations (Rogue Mage Anthology #2)
By Faith Hunter, Lucienne Diver, Spike Y Jones, Jean Rabe and Christina Stiles
Genre: Anthology/ Urban Fantasy
Age category: Adult
Release Date: December 30, 2016
17 Vignettes and Short Stories set in Faith Hunter’s World of Thorn St. Croix
The Rogue Mage story began with the post-apocalyptic novels BLOODRING, SERAPHS, and HOST, when epic battles between Thorn St. Croix and the forces of Darkness were fought. TRIBULATIONS (Rogue Mage Anthology Vol. II) takes place during and after the series timeline. These stories and vignettes, set in Faith Hunter's Rogue Mage world, are adventures with new characters and old, facing Darkness and an uncertain future.
The relationships between seraphs, kylen, second-unforeseen, mages, seraph-touched, spawn, humans grow deeper, and the battles with dragons and their creatures grow more dangerous. TRIBULATIONS features new short stories from five authors—including Faith Hunter—and vignettes from the Rogue Mage role playing game.
TRIALS and TRIBULATIONS will soon be followed by TRIUMPHANT—the paperback omnibus (both Anthology Volumes I and II in a bound format).
TRIBULATIONS Authors: Faith Hunter, Jean Rabe, Spike Y Jones, Christina Stiles, Lucienne Diver.
You can find Tribulations on Goodreads
You can buy Tribulations here:
- Barnes & Noble
The Tribulations Authors:
Spike Y Jones