Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Greatest Sin Blog Tour (Exclusive Excerpt)

The Fallen 
For hundreds of years, the Blaukenev clan has wandered across Tilzam, from one end to the other and back. Each wagon carries history, love, laughter, pain, sorrow, and secrets. Their greatest secret of all may be Chavali, the clan Seer. 

Spirits claim/use/save/damn her. 

With her gift/curse, nothing surprises her anymore, no one keeps secrets from her. She, on the other hand, has more than enough secrets to keep. Secrets of her own, secrets of her clan, secrets of the world, secrets she even keeps from herself. 

There are always people who want secrets. 
Some will do anything to get what they want. 

The Fallen is the foundation of the story of The Greatest Sin, of a world adrift from its God that desperately wants Her back. Chavali's comfortable, predictable life will be ripped apart and burnt to ashes as she's forced into the middle of that struggle. Change, she hates it passionately. It hates her right back.

Reviews for The Fallen:
"As every reader knows there are certain books we don't want to end, and when we finally do close the book, we seem to grieve it. Well, The Greatest Sin, is definitely one of those books. The author did a great job pulling me into the story immediately, and then keeping me there. The story moves along at a good pace, allowing the reader to connect with the characters, while keeping the action flowing. The main character, Chavali, is mystical, strong, and caring, making her very likable. I found this book to have everything a great fantasy needs, from humor to action. I can't wait to read the next book in this series. Do yourself a favor and read it." - Kim S.

"The other reviewers are right. The Fallen is an excellent fantasy read! As I was reading through it, I could almost picture this Lord of the Rings type of hobbit village meets gypsies. And reading The Fallen was like stepping into this fantasy world of theirs and getting a behind the scenes peek at their lives. You'll want to read The Fallen when you have a lot of time on your hands, it's not a short read! Also, I would describe this book as an EPIC fantasy! The authors have created such a world that it would be a shame to not continue this series." - Carrie January

Excerpt from The Fallen:

“Come in.” They did not speak the clan tongue in front of Outsiders, not without dire need, lest someone overhear enough to translate it and learn it. Instead, they spoke Shappan, the dominant language of Tilzam. Nearly everyone knew it, regardless of country or native tongue. Along with the words, spoken in the light accent of the clan, she lifted a hand to gesture to the stool opposite herself. “You are welcome here.”

He was timid as a mouse and small like one, too. Keino could probably lift this man over his head with one hand, or break him in half over his knee. Chavali watched him take small steps and dart his eyes all around. “Um, you’re the Seer?” His Shappan was obviously better than her own, she could tell even with so few words spoken.

“Yes. No one can see into the tent, it is safe, you are safe here. Sit, be calm.” Coaxing a scared little man onto the seat was not her preferred way to spend her time, and she stifled a sigh and a roll of her eyes. “If you do not sit, I cannot help, yes?”

“Oh, right. Of course.” He moved quickly, practically jumped onto the stool while shooting terrified looks all around the tent. “I’ve just never done anything like this before, and, um, I’m worried about…”

Holding out her hand, she kept her tone calm and patient. “Give me your hand. I cannot help if I have no connection to you.”

His audible gulp made her want to roll her eyes again, but he tentatively offered her his hand. As she seized it, the spirits rushed him, eager as always for new people to interact with. DearCreatorIhopeyoucanhelpmeI’mdoomedthisissocrazy

“Calm,” she told him, shutting her eyes to make it easier to focus on this pile of crap. “If you do not calm down, I see nothing, just a bouncing jumble of nervous. Deep breath in through your mouth, out through your nose. Come, do this a few times.”

His thoughts began to settle as he followed her orders. It became less a rushed mush and more actual coherent ideas. Amy is going to kill me for this. I shouldn’t be doubting her, but I am, and I need to fix that. She’s a sweet girl, this is all my fault.

“I see a name. A-something, Anna? No, Amy. Does this name mean something to you?”

As expected, he gasped a little. How does she know that? Is this the real thing? If she knows that, she must know if she’s seeing Marcus or not. “Yes, that’s my wife.”

“You worry about her, you think she is meeting someone else?”

“Yes!” His mind flooded with images of Amy, who he loved, deeply, but also with images of a man much more virile than himself. That other man wore armor and used a blade for his work. A city guard, perhaps, or a soldier.

“There is another name, with a…’c’. But not at the front, maybe in the end? No, no, the middle. Arcu, Marcus. Yes, Marcus. He wields authority.”

“Yes, he’s in the Order of the Strong Arm, one of their knights. I need to know.” He already knew, of course. That was the beauty of what Chavali did. All the answers were in his mind already, he just needed someone else to say it out loud because he couldn’t, the poor fool. People really were the same no matter where she went.

Still, it wasn’t good to just say things like this aloud with no feeling or props, or anything to give her an air of more authority than just pulling things out of the air. Her free hand dipped into the pouch tied to the thin belt around her waist (it also held a small blade in a sheath at the small of her back), pulled out five objects at random and tossed them on the table. Keeping hold of his hand, she peered down at the bones, finding it amusing that all five were actually bones. The pouch also had crystals, stones, and even bits of shell and wood, all minimally shaped and etched with ink-stained runes by her own hand.

It wasn’t that the bones were only props - they had meaning for Chavali. It was that they weren’t tools for divining. In this context, she used them as prompts, as ideas for how to word things. “Mmm.” Starting with the one closest to him, because she didn’t like having them out of her control for any longer than necessary, she picked up a chicken wing bone, displayed it, then deposited it back into her pouch. “Pain of the soul, for you.” The next was a finger bone, from Seer Marika’s dead body. “Betrayal. Face down, the betrayer is a woman.” A bone from the paw of a dog was next. She liked that dog enough to preserve a part of him. “Love, but face down, so actually just lust.”

This was all so stupid and predictable. His mind raced as her words confirmed everything he feared. The next, a horse’s tooth, was an amusing addition. “Secrets. Many secrets.” The last one almost always turned up when she did this. It was a chunk of unidentified bone, picked up some time ago just because of its odd shape. “Fear. There is much fear through all of this.”

She needed nothing more from this man to make her pronouncement, and she didn’t care in the slightest if it turned out to be true or not. They would be gone tomorrow morning, and likely wouldn’t return for several years, if ever. Letting go of his hand, she gave him a mildly sympathetic look. “The bones have spoken. She has betrayed you, and you must deal with that in your own way. The bones, I think, suggest you confront it head-on, but this Marcus may not be wise to cross.”

He nodded, resigned. “Thank you.”

“It is not a thing I wish to be thanked for. Good fortune to you.” She watched him get up and leave, and snorted at him as soon as the tent flap was shut again. Idiot. He was, of course, the first of today’s parade of idiots and twits, each of them with a story as uninteresting as the next, a story Chavali had heard dozens of times before.

Adjusting to her new life as a soul-bound agent of the Fallen has Chavali pushing herself harder than ever before. Between learning to fight, dealing with idiots, and climbing stairs - lots of stairs - she has little time to waste on thoughts of the future. Or the past. 

When another agent fails to report in, Chavali is sent on the mission to discover her fate. Ready or not, she saddles up for a new adventure with new dangers. 

The search takes her to Ket, a coastal city slathered in mystery. There, she faces ghosts from her past and demons of her future as she seeks answers. All she seems to find are more questions. 

Plague, murder, lies, espionage...this city harbors much more than meets the eye, and maybe too much to handle.

Excerpt from Harbinger:
Eldrack sat behind his desk, closing a folder and setting it aside. With lines in his face, comfortably worn clothing, and gray in his hair, he looked like what he was: a clerk of advanced years with adventures well behind him. His office suited him with small potted plants, books on shelves behind him, and worn, comfortable furniture. “Ah, Chavali.” He smiled at her and gestured to the chair across from him, then saw Harris. His smile didn't falter and he showed no surprise at seeing the man. He gestured for Harris to sit in the chair beside hers. Lacing his hands together on his desk, he looked at her expectantly.

“The mission went smoothly.” Digging in her pack, she pulled out the wooden box with the roses and slid it across the desk to him. “This man and his companions were bandits. They tried to rob and kill us. He survived. I did not think it wise to turn him loose. He has an interesting and useful skill set, as well as a base of knowledge in certain unusual areas, and I thought perhaps he might be a valuable asset for us.”

Eldrack opened the lid of the box as she spoke, then shut it without touching the roses. His eyes flicked over Harris. “I see. What do you think of him otherwise?”

Chavali shrugged. “He has issues with authority not derived from fear and strength, but also a quick enough wit and knows better than to stab the hand that feeds him. He can be counted on to hold secrets close so long as he is treated fairly and fed well.”

Harris stared at her. “Uh, thank you?”

Eldrack's smile grew broader, and suggested he stifled down amusement. “I'll take that to mean you feel her assessment is fair. I trust your judgment, Chavali. You can leave him here.”

Taking that as a dismissal, Chavali stood and nodded to him. She had nothing else to say and left the room, shutting the door behind herself. At the doorway to the stairs, she paused and looked up, then down. On the one hand, she could use a good meal. On the other, she wanted a bath and to go see her clan.

“Chavali! Welcome back.” Eliot came down the stairs in fresh, clean clothes. “We should spar.”

Her shoulders slumped. “Not now. I returned only minutes ago. Tomorrow.”

“Bah.” The short, slim man cuffed the air in front of her with a rough hand. “Do you expect your enemies to sit down and wait while you fill your belly and take a nap? Tired and cranky is the best time to practice what you already know.” He ignored the withering glare she gave him and grabbed her hand. “It's good for the digestion you'll do later, when you get a chance to eat.”

His thoughts informed her that if she didn't cooperate, he'd follow her around until she gave in. “Fine, fine,” she snapped. He only wanted to help her protect herself. “At least go to my floor, so I have a short walk to my room when we are done.” So much for seeing the children today. She yanked her hand away and climbed the stairs to the tenth floor with him. “How long have you been lurking, waiting to ambush me?”

Eliot gave her his sly little smirk, the one that spoke of mischief. “One of the things I like the best about you is your ego.”

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About the Author:

 Lee French lives in Olympia, WA with two kids, two bicycles, and too much stuff. She is an avid gamer and active member of the Myth-Weavers online RPG community, where she is known for her fondness for Angry Ninja Squirrels of Doom. In addition to spending much time there, she also trains year-round for the one-week of glorious madness that is RAGBRAI, has a nice flower garden with absolutely no lawn gnomes, and tries in vain every year to grow vegetables that don't get devoured by neighborhood wildlife.

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