Posts Tagged ‘KD Sarge’

Happy Book Birthday to In the Forests of the Night by KD Sarge

Happy Thursday, squiders! Today’s the launch of the second book in KD Sarge’s fantasy series, In the Forests of the Night.

If you guys know me at all, you know I adore fantasy forests, so the title alone is exciting.

(Fun story: I had a short story that was published last year called The Night Forest, but I’d originally titled it Forest of Night. But then KD–who had been referring to this book as “Hiro II”–let me know about the potential for title confusion and I had to change it.)

As a Keeper-Apprentice, Hiro Takai followed his master everywhere. The adept Eshan Kisaragi taught him swordcraft and spellcasting and demon-fighting, but it was only after Hiro’s Kindling that he learned what Eshan couldn’t teach him. Such as what could go wrong in a ritual that tied the soul of a human mage to a creature of elemental power. Or how quickly the Keepers could turn on their own.

Damaged and dangerous, Hiro fled, seeking the one person he knew would help—his teacher and his beloved, Eshan.

Now, though—Hiro found Eshan, in the midst of a battle he could not win and would not lose. Now Eshan’s body lives but lies withering, while his soul clings to the elemental tiger…somewhere. Hiro can feel it to the south, in lands his studies never reached, where demons are unknown but spirits walk the paths of the Forests of the Night—and sometimes wander out.

Hiro has one chance to save his beloved. If he can find the tiger, if he can retrieve Eshan’s soul before his body fades, a way may be found to make his master whole.

With a failed priest and a possessed boy as guides, with a mad phoenix in his soul and a growing understanding of just how little he knows of magic, Hiro will follow wherever the tiger leads.

As Hiro searches for his lover’s soul, Eshan, more than half-mad from the sundering of his being, meets a child fleeing both his family and himself. Together, they stagger across the continent, in need of aid that only Hiro can give…if he can find them in time.

It’s currently only available on Amazon, but it should be available on other platforms shortly. An excerpt is also available over at Turtleduck Press.

The first book in the series, if you’re interested, is Burning Bright.

Book Announcement: Even the Score

I’m pleased to announce the release of Turtleduck Press‘s latest book, Even the Score!

even the score ebook cover 200x300

One, two, three,
How many will my victims be?
One, two, three, four,
How many more to even the score?

When Taro Hibiki leads a survival class into the backwoods, he has two goals: to prove himself as an instructor, and to propose to his beloved Rafe before he loses his nerve completely. In the wilds might seem a strange place for that, but it’s where Taro feels most at home—and the only place the couple can escape all their other responsibilities.

On BFR, proud colonists say the name stands for “Big Effing Rock,” and brag about their planet’s dangers. More treacherous than bomb bugs or sight scamps, though, is a human seeking vengeance. Soon Taro’s students are dropping one by one, and no matter what Taro does, the killer stays a step ahead. Worst of all, Taro comes to suspect that the students are targets of opportunity—that the ultimate goal is Rafe.

Taro would die for Rafe in a heartbeat, but who’s going to take care of Rafe if he does?

As it happens, the killer has a plan for that, too.

Buy it now!

KD Sarge writes for joy and hope, and works for a living. She has tried her hand at many endeavors, including Governess of the Children, Grand Director of the Drive-Through, and Dispatcher of the Tow Trucks. Currently KD loves her job at a private school for children with autism.

Past accomplishments include surviving eight one-year-olds for eight hours alone (she lasted about ten months), driving a twenty-foot truck from Ohio to Arizona by way of Oklahoma, and making a six-pack of tacos in twenty-three seconds.

Writing achievements include the Weightiest First Draft Ever, as well as eleven other, much lighter, completed novels. She has somewhere between five and ten universes under construction at any given time, writes science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, smut (in many genres), and means to one day undertake a cosy mystery. A widow, KD lives in Arizona with her biological daughter, her internet daughter, two cats, and a hermit crab named Bob.

KD can be found on the internet at kdsarge.com or turtleduckpress.com. Follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook, where she mostly talks about cool things she found when she should have been writing.

Fantasy Race Series: Elves

Wrapping up our fascinating fantasy race series is KD Sarge, here to tell us about elves. Like faeries, elves are an extremely versatile race, with many different interpretations, from tall, ethereal creatures to small, trickster types. They tend to be associated with nature and have pointy ears. But I’m going to turn things over to KD so she can educate us.

Pretty Elves and Pointy Things

I love elves.

There. I said it. I’m that girl. I love elves, with their pretty hair and their pointy ears and their blood-covered swords–

Yeah. Those elves. Eventine Elessedil, old and wounded, trapped with a demon in Elfstones of Shannara. Cutter, taking on Madcoil, or any of the other foes that little elf took down with his little bitty shiny sword in ElfQuest. Rayek in ElfQuest, being a magnificent jerk. Movie-Legolas. I love reading the Lord of the Rings, but I didn’t really love Legolas until the movies. I know many fans complained about his stair-skating and oliphaunt killing, but not me. I loved it.

I guess I just love when pretty and bada$$ coincide. I’d like my butt-kicking with a side of eye-candy, thank you very much. So you can guess that when I write fantasy, I want to toss in elves.

It’s not as easy as it looks. Writing elves well is actually hard as heck. Why? Let’s take a step back—what makes an elf an elf?

I asked on Twitter. “I’m writing a blog post about fantasy genre–when I say “elf” what do you think of?” Answers included “immortal forest Vulcans!” and “Tolkien, ElfQuest, magic, nature, big ears, elegance, beauty, wisdom, forests and big old trees.”

Sounds like a good checklist to identify elves: magic, nature, big ears, elegance, beauty, wisdom, forests and big old trees.

I think many readers would point to Tolkien when asked about elves. The stories existed long before he came along, but Tolkien is the one who put the “Fair” in the Fair Folk. He made them Good People. He set the standard.

It’s a high standard. Of those who have read LOTR, who can’t close their eyes and picture Lothlorien? A flet, a mallorn, Galadriel? Yet, to me, there’s something missing. Tolkien’s elves are beautiful and mysterious—and hard to love. Though movie-Legolas is very much like book-Legolas, it took movie-Legolas (helped by Orlando Bloom’s face†, yes, but not solely BECAUSE of that face) to make me love him. This was also aided by having a most wonderful Gimli to play off.

And now I’m into “what makes a good elf?”

On the other end of the spectrum from Tolkien’s distant elves, Terry Brooks took readers into the elven city in Elfstones of Shannara and I’m not sure it was a good thing. In their home city his elves seemed awfully…human. Better organized, a good bit “greener” but yeah. Taken out of the forest they lost maybe too much mystery. I liked Ander Elessedil very much, but he never seemed like an elf to me. Eventine, fortunately, I’d met before.

But do you even remember the elf brothers in Sword of Shannara? Neither do I, because I didn’t research for this post. I wanted to talk about what worked and didn’t work for me, and my measurement was what I found memorable. My intensive research for this post was 1) years of reading fantasy and 2) checking if I had a question on how to spell a name or Elvish word.

“Elf” is one area where it’s too easy to rely on stereotypes. The writer says “elf” and the reader knows all they need to know. It’s an easy trap to fall into. Am I the only one who can’t remember the name of a single elf in Raymond E. Feist’s Magician series? I so incredibly loved parts of that series, but the elves, which ought to be a shoo-in for this particular reader, I barely remember existing except around what happened to Tomas. Magic, nature, big ears, elegance, forests—yep, it was all there. Just exactly elvish, so I forgot to pay attention.

Opposite of that, of course, are Wendy Pini’s Wolfriders in ElfQuest. I could spend the rest of this post and a few more days talking about them, because I remember and adore them all. But I’ll just mention that Nightfall is one of my favorite kick-butt ladies of all time, and get back to my point. Checklist. Thing.

You couldn’t call the Wolfriders elegant. And wisdom—well, Cutter spends most of his travels trying to collect a bit of that. His struggles and successes are marvelous, but still, not many would be asking him for advice. Magic—unlike the Sun Folk and to a greater extent the Gliders, the Wolfriders have very little magic. They have pointy ears, yes, but their huge old tree was burned down, and they had to leave the forest.

In ElfQuest, Wendy Pini took everything I knew about elves and gave it a twist. She populated an entire world with different kinds of elves who didn’t always trust each other, who did things differently, who grew and evolved on their own but still had a fundamental connection on a level that humans just don’t seem to get, that kept them all elves…I had to pay attention. And I loved it.

As the saying goes, I’ve got some big shoes to fill, but I think I’m better off taking my own route. When I sat down to write my own elves, I thought about elves I’ve loved, and why I loved them. The goal was to create a culture that was most exquisitely elvish—with a good twist.

It’s not easy, but it sure is fun, walking in my very own pair of elven boots.

 

†Full disclosure: I am very fond of Orlando Bloom’s face.

 

KD Sarge writes fiction in many shapes and sizes. Her Dream’verse novels are available through Turtleduck Press, but they are science fiction. Her elves have not yet been released up on an unsuspecting world, bwahaha. Find her at http://kdsarge.com, or follow her at http://twitter.com/KDSarge.

Alpaca vs. Landsquid: The Noble Landsquid

Today’s entry is brought to you by KD Sarge.  KD writes science fiction and fantasy. She is the author of Knight Errant and His Faithful Squire (coming in August), both from Turtleduck Press. Neither contains landsquid, but she does have two-thirds of a fantasy trilogy that includes a few. Follow KD on Twitter at twitter.com/kdsarge or lurk on her site at kdsarge.com.

In Defense of Landsquid

When the lovely Kit Campbell asked me to do a guest post in defense of landsquid during Landsquid Versus Alpaca week, I jumped on the chance. Once I’d squished that chance flat, though, I wondered. Landsquid versus alpaca? Like in a fight? That’s easy.

Too easy.

Anyone knows that in a battle to the death, the landsquid is going to win every time. Yes, the alpaca has a weight advantage and that killer instinct, but the landsquid has tentacles. As anyone who has faced the Kraken can tell you (probably through a seance), it’s the tentacles that get you. Once the landsquid has latched onto the soft underbelly of the unwary alpaca…

But that is a gory scene, and one easily avoided by never letting a landsquid scent the smug self-satisfaction of your average alpaca. So rather than detail such a doomed match, I thought I’d expand on the awesomeness that is the common landsquid.

Did you know there is another area, besides cage-fighter and pet, where the landsquid surpasses all other animals? Indeed! It’s travel. Certainly the common landsquid cannot carry the weight an alpaca can, but consider its many advantages:

1) It will never step on your foot. It may wriggle across, but the landsquid’s mass is spread out, and this does not hurt nearly as much as the toe-smashing you’ll get from any alpaca.

2) Less food to carry. Sure, an alpaca can graze, but what if there’s nothing for it to eat? Lie down by a hungry alpaca and you’ll wake up wearing nothing but your boots and garters. The landsquid, on the other hand, can subsist on a diet of nothing but dry scotch and small rocks.

3) The landsquid, as mentioned, spreads weight across its many legs, allowing for safer travel on steep terrain. Ever had an alpaca trip over its own feet and pitch you into a near-bottomless canyon? That won’t happen with the landsquid. A means of transit more reliable than tentacles may not exist.

4) Landsquid are great climbers. That rare and valuable cliff-flower growing fifty feet above your head? Gain your landsquid’s cooperation (see: dry scotch) and that flower is yours. (Note: the beasts are not useful in mining. Not unless you like cave-ins, anyway. Also, do not use in lieu of a canary. You will be dead long before the landsquid begins twirling its tentacles and whistling showtunes.)

5) Alpacas spit.

6) Most livestock are banned from taverns, but landsquid are welcome. The reason? Before they are weaned, landsquid learn that washing dishes = getting dry scotch. What other beastly companion can not only earn its own refreshment, but possibly yours as well?

7) In dire straits, you can wear a furry landsquid with no damage to yourself or the squid. Try doing that with an alpaca. (Note: apply dry scotch before attempting.) Sure, you can shave an alpaca for a warm coat, but do that in the high country and that beast will be toes-up by dawn.

8.) Landsquid can go anywhere. Take an alpaca in the desert and it will melt, take it on a ship-journey and it will spend the trip hanging that long neck over the side. Landsquid love playing in the rigging of a sailing vessel. They adore desert sand (If your landsquid vanishes, do not fall for the ant-lion* trick. Simple bring out your scotch bottle, shake it, and move on. The squid will follow and you won’t have painful sucker-marks to tend.) They swim. They swing through jungles as handily as any ape.

9) Landsquid are a dude- (or chick-, if such be your preference) magnet. I’m telling you. Those big, staring eyes, the soft, pettable fur, the restless tentacles…the hotties can’t keep their hands off. Play your cards–and your squid-earned booze–right, and you won’t sleep cold a night of your journey. If the locals don’t meet your exacting standards, you always have a landsquid to snuggle! (Further note: warmth is the only reason to take a landsquid to your bed. Versatile they may be, and easily plied with liquor, but they do have limits.)

Now you know. Leave the alpaca to the hipster, the flashy wanderer with his trendy sandals and multi-functional tent. The well-seasoned traveler chooses landsquid.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antlion#Sand_pit_traps