Sunday, May 1, 2016

Guest Post: Annie Douglass Lima Enslaves Us All

Hullo! I have the privilege of spotlighting a new release that I’m happy to recommend. Those of you who obsessively stalk my blog no doubt recall how, on January 29, 2014, I interviewed Annie Douglass Lima about her book Prince of Alasia. I was quite polite and praised the book for taking what I felt was a very predictable and even clichéd story and executing it well. I also questioned—
Now this. THIS is fantasy!
(Credit: "The Monster That Ate the World" by Tiffany Liu.)
simply for the sake of discussion—whether the book really deserved its fantasy categorization given that, while it takes place in a fictitious kingdom, there are no fantastical elements to the story, and it could easily have taken place during some vaguely medieval period in Earth’s history. Annie and I belong to the same group of Christian Indie Authors and she has brought this line of questioning up many times since to warn other authors off from being interviewed on my blog.

I didn’t read anymore from Annie’s Annals of Alasia series. Wasn’t interested. I liked Annie and hoped her books would do well but was personally underwhelmed.

Oh, but how that has changed!

Really, the reason I picked up the first book in Annie’s latest series is that I felt I owed her. I don’t specifically remember what for because she’s been a great supporter of mine, with a lot of encouragement, and even basically providing a free edit for The Savvy Demon’s Guide to Godly Living and Go Make Disciples (before you ask: I am paying her for her services for my next book!). When I asked how I could best thank her for her support and generosity, she asked if I wanted to review her new release, The Collar and the Cavvarach. I was happy to—but I wasn’t holding my breath. In addition to my lukewarm reaction to her previous book, I had gotten to know her as someone whose command of English grammar was impeccable. It was so impeccable, in fact, that for every proofreading edit she submitted that I gratefully accepted, I rejected two more, simply because I felt they were too formal for my casual writing style. I was a little afraid, in short, that reading this new book—and what the crap is a cavvarach, anyway?!—would be like reading a technical manual, or perhaps something written by Watson: grammatically correct but dull and soulless.

Have I mentioned how wrong I was?


I'm only willing to post this because my
wife doesn't read this blog.
The Collar and the Cavvarach was a delight to read. It transported me to a well-built world with fully realized, compelling characters that I had a hard time putting down. And, yes, all with grammatical excellence. I won’t make this intro any longer—my review is posted if you want to read it—but here’s the “too long; didn’t read” version: as I write this, I’ve already preordered my copy for the sequel, The Gladiator and the Guard. In fact, I did so as soon as I found out it was available. And I can’t wait.


And now I’ll turn you over to Annie. She’s got your standard blog post telling you all about it, and then an exciting excerpt from the new book…that I’m posting, but not reading. I want to be surprised. 

*****************

I'm excited to announce that my young adult action and adventure novel, The Gladiator and the Guard, is now available for purchase! This is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach


First Things First: a Little Information about Book 1: 




Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire's most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie's escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?



What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?



The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone.  Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).  


Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with "have a rack"), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.






Click here to order The Collar and the Cavvarach from Amazon 

for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!



And now, The Gladiator and the Guard, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!







Bensin, a teenage slave and
martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused
of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early
death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue
him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment
designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his
choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty
of the arena system and
seize his freedom before that system crushes him?


Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard in Kindle format from Amazon 

for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!




Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard from Smashwords (for Nook or in other digital formats) 

for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!





Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and
later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her
husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at
Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since
her childhood, and to date has published twelve books (two YA action and
adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of her
students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially
fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.








Connect with the Author Online:






Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of The Collar and the Cavvarach!




Or find the giveaway at this link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ad2fd99a3/?



*********************************


To the right lay the main entrance for spectators. The wide walkway leading up to it was lined with banners showing Red Arena athletes in action, striking down opponents from other arenas or brandishing blood-stained weapons. At the other end was a smaller locked door, the one through which Grand Imperial competitors accessed the Competitors’ Cave.
Steene walked beside the arena building, looking for more ways in. There were no windows, only concrete walls painted with murals of gladiators in combat. Finally he found an unlabeled metal door with no handle on the outside, just a keypad and a slot through which to slide an ID card. This must be the employee entrance. He tried pushing it open, but of course it was locked, and no one answered his knock. A security camera was pointing down at him from up above; he waved and mouthed the words Can I come in? But there was no response, no indication that anyone had seen him.
Further on he came to a garage door big enough for a truck or bus to drive through. But it, too, was firmly sealed, with no visible way to open it from the outside. He found no other entrance in that wall.
Steene walked all the way around the arena toward the building on the other side. The parking lot didn’t extend that far, but a walkway ran beside the wall. There was no shade out here, and the sun was beating down on him from a cloudless sky, as usual in Jarreon. He wiped a trickle of sweat off his forehead, wondering if the gladiators trained outside in the heat or if they had air conditioned practice rooms.
At the back he found another parking lot, a much smaller one, obviously for private use only. He couldn’t get in, but through the fence he saw another of those garage doors. He knew from watching the arena games on TV and occasionally in person that visiting warriors from other arenas hung out and warmed up in this building before the games started. Perhaps their bus brought them in through here. But he still didn’t see any way that a person could enter without an access code or a remote control for the door.
He walked around the fenced-in parking lot and its tall, locked gate, then back around the arena to where he had started. Finally he ended up back at the main entrance, which he checked again, just to make sure. But the tall double gates that would open to let fans in during the games were firmly closed and locked now. Through the narrow slit between them, he could see a heavy bolt.
There has to be a way to get to their main office. That was probably the door with the keypad. Obviously Red Arena wasn’t eager to welcome visitors except to watch their games.
Steene stared at the building, which must house the training and medical facilities as well as sleeping quarters for the gladiators. He wondered how close Bensin was right now and what he was doing. What’s life like in there? How are they treating you? What kind of training are you getting? How does it compare to my training? Are they preparing to have you killed — or teaching you to kill?
Steene went and knocked again, waving once more to the camera. “Hi! Could I come in?” he called, just in case there was some hidden microphone.
No response.
“I need to talk to someone in charge,” he announced to the closed door. “How do I make an appointment?”
Still no response.
Out of ideas, Steene turned and trudged back to the truck. Well, I failed. Again. What was he going to tell Ellie?
When he turned the key, the truck wouldn’t start. That was nothing new. Steene tried again, and then again, but it still wouldn’t start. Now that was new. He tried no fewer than eighteen times, with exactly the same result each time. Nothing.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing about my Krillonian Chronicles! Sorry my grammar expertise is too much for you. ;-P I hope your readers enjoy hearing about the books!

    ReplyDelete