Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Challenge (Circle of Conspiracy, #1) by Cas Peace - Blog Tour

The Challenge – Circle of Conspiracy –
By: Cas Peace
Published by: Albia Publishing
Release Date: April 19, 2014
Pages: 426
Friend against friend, lover against lover, ally against ally.
  Conflict is coming …   Nine months have passed since Brynne Sullyan helped forge an alliance between the realms of Albia and Andaryon. A fragile peace reigns as both sides recover from the events of the previous year. Then mysterious raiders strike Andaryon villages. Attempts are made on the life of Albia’s High King. 
As Sullyan scrambles to find those responsible, unseen enemies threaten to pull apart everything she has worked for, including her marriage.

  To betray either one would break her heart, but if conflict is inevitable, she must make a choice …
The alliance begins to crumble, and Sullyan finds herself caught between two monarchs: the king she’s sworn allegiance to, and the man she loves as a father. 

Series Synopsis:

On a foolhardy foray into a foreign realm, Taran Elijah is attacked by a terrible weapon known as the Staff. Killing its wielder, he escapes into Albia, inadvertently carrying the Staff.

Concerned by the vicious raids that follow Taran's actions, Major Sullyan of the High King's forces crosses into Andaryon to seek diplomatic resolution to the crisis. She is captured and tortured by Lord Rykan, aspirant to the Andaryon throne.

Slowly dying, Sullyan escapes his clutches. She offers her skills to the Hierarch in defense of his throne, finally confronting Rykan on the field of battle. Her handsome Captain and lover, Robin Tamsen, embarks on a desperate quest to recover the Staff. But Rykan's greedy General, Sonten, is two steps ahead of him.

If Robin cannot lay hold of the weapon before Sonten does, Sullyan's life and the lives of all Artesans are forfeit.

The race for the Staff has begun.

Review Quotes:

“Cas Peace has a most beguiling method of pulling you into this very well thought out world she has created. You simply fall in love with her characters, and then you cannot put the book down.” -P C Dodge, Amazon Reviewer.
“If you enjoy being whisked away to the realm of fantasy, I strongly suggest this unique, special read! Hands down, one of the best fantasy series I have ever read!” -Ashley L. Knight, author of FALWYN  “I have just loved this entire series. Cas Peace is a master storyteller, providing a depth and breadth of information about her worlds and their people that is just staggering. Her characters are complex and multi-dimensional, and I have very much enjoyed reading this series. I am also looking forward with great anticipation to her next novel in this series. I heartily recommend this series to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy, strong world-building and beautiful storytelling. Highly recommended!” -K. Sozaeva, Amazon Vine Voice and Top 1000 Reviewer.

"Cas Peace's Artesans of Albia trilogy immediately sweeps you away:  the drama starts with King's Envoy, continues unabated in King's Champion, and climaxes in King's Artesan, yet each volume is complete, satisfying.  The Artesan series propels you into a world so deftly written that you see, feel, touch, and even smell each twist and turn. These nesting novels are evocative, hauntingly real.  Smart.  Powerful.  Compelling.  The trilogy teems with finely drawn characters, heroes and villains and societies worth knowing; with stories so organic and yet iconic you know you've found another home—in Albia.

Now there's a fourth book on Albia's horizon:  The Challenge, also Book One in Peace's forthcoming sub-series, the Circle of Conspiracy trilogy, proof of more Albian tales on the way.  So start reading now.  I, for one, can't wait to find out what will happen next. -Janet Morris: The Sacred Band of Stepsons; the Dream Dancer series; I, the Sun; Outpassage.

Cas Peace was born in Hampshire UK, in 1957, and has lived there most of her life. Her first career was as a horse-riding instructor, and horses remain very close to her heart. She then spent 13 years working for the British Civil Service before leaving the UK to live in Italy for three years, 1991-1994. She speaks passable but by no means perfect Italian, and loves to return to Italy whenever she can.  Cas's other great loves are anything to do with animals, especially dogs and horses, (she supports many animal charities) and also singing.  Cas loves folk songs and along with her husband, who plays guitar, has performed in many a Southern England folk club. Sometimes they even asked her back! She writes folk songs to accompany her fantasy novels, and offers them as free downloads from her website.

A quick five minutes with Cas Pearce

First I’d like to say a big “thank you” for hosting me and helping to showcase my books. I really appreciate it. I had great fun answering the questions and I hope everyone enjoys reading them. And that they enjoy my books too, of course!

What inspired you to start writing, and when? It was back in 2001, and it wasn’t planned. My husand and I had been working and living in Italy for a few years, but when we returned to the UK, I didn’t immediately get a job. It was December, cold and wet, and I was bored. So I began writing out a little scene I’d had in my head since watching a kid’s TV program in the 70s. (It was called Tarot, Ace of Wands, if you’re interested!) This tiny little scene, the premise of which was: What if you’re someone who is born with a special power that you haven’t a clue how to use? Who could you turn to, and what lengths might you go to in order to learn about your powers? took me over and eventually snowballed into a huge, 450,000 word plus “novel”. Once I realized it was far too long for a single novel, I split it into three, and the first Artesans of Albi trilogy was born. 

Tell us your latest news? The latest news is that my fifth Artesans book, The Circle (second in the Circle of Conspiract trilogy) is coming very soon. With luck, it might even be available before this blog/review tour is over!

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest work? The Challenge and The Circle expand upon the nature of the mysterious Baron who is trying to stamp out the Artesan craft and destroy all Artesans. This character’s influence appeared only fleetingly in the first trilogy in the form of the Staff, a terrifying and deadly weapon that Taran, one of the main characters, stumbles upon so disastrously. In the Circle of Conspiracy trilogy, the Baron implements a daring and destructive plan that will have realm-reaching consequences. 

How long did it take you to complete? Once I realized I was a writer, and began to have faith in my own talents, I completed all nine of the Artesan novels in three years. So, as I began writing in December 2001, the final novel, The Gateway, was completed in late 2004. Each trilogy took one year to write, and was written as a single, continuous book. Only later, when I came to edit, did I split them into their three parts. Mind you, I continue to work on the four novels not yet published, and hope to publish the last one, The Gateway, in December 2016.

Are any of your characters based on real-life friends or acquaintances? As far as their natures are concerned, no. But there is a character based on real life, if you can call it that. The High King of Albia, Elias Rovannon (the “King” mentioned in the titles of my first three books) this based on UK actor Sean Bean’s portrayal of Richard Sharpe, from Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe novels. 

Tell us about your cover. Did you design it yourself? The concept of each cover is my own, but unfortunately I don’t have the skills to create them myself. The cover of King’s Envoy (which was first published in 2011 by Rhemalda Publishing, later reissued under my own imprint Albia Publishing) was created by artist Eve Ventrue. It was my first experience of cover design and I loved every minute of it. Eve was very clever in realizing the composition I had in my mind, and also digitally creating the Tangwyr, the fearsome beast menacing Taran. Since becoming a self-published author, I have worked with the incredibly talented Mikey Brooks. He reworked the covers of King’s Champion and King’s Artesan, and continues to make my books look fabulous with his skills. He’s an author in his own right (see his MG Dream Keeper Chronicles and children’s books) and he also formats. He’s amazing, and I’m proud to call him a friend. Check out his books and work here: 

Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? I’m definitely a panster. I didn’t have a clue how to write when I began, and certainly not how to plot a novel. I like to just go with an idea and see where it takes me; allow my characters to lead and drive the action. It’s great fun watching them get themselves out of the impossible situations I like dropping them into! Having said that, I’ve also written a non-fiction book, For the Love of Daisy, and naturally, that had to be carefully planned. It was cathartic to write, but a completely different experience. I don’t think I will try plotting any new fiction I might write!

Do you have any advice for other writers starting out? It’s now easier than ever for new writers to get information on the industry or to get their work “out there”. Conversely, it also harder to get your work noticed, due to the huge amount of choice available to readers. Therefore, it’s even more vital to produce something of quality - both within a book’s covers as well as on the cover’s outside. Learn the craft of writing as best you can. Make your ideas, and the way you present them, as unique as possible. ALWAYS get a professional to edit and copy-edit your work, because no writer can self-edit adequately. Make your writing something you can be proud of, and then you can be sure others will enjoy it too.

Ok, now some fun questions….

Coffee or Tea? Definitely coffee, although not too strong.

What is your favourite colour? Yellow. It’s a happy color, the color of sunshine.

Winter or Summer? Ooh, hard one. I don’t like Summer temperatures that are too high, but I do love a crisp, dry, snowy Winter.

If you could have one superpower what would it be? The power to convince people to live harmoniously with each other and Nature. There’s too much arrogance in the human race - we seem to think the entire Universe was created simply for us to mess up. It makes me very sad.

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November 25th4 Cover To Cover – Excerpt / Spotlight
November 26thPinky's Favorite Reads – Author Interview
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December 1stA_TiffyFit's Reading Corner – Review
December 1stJess Resides Here – Author Interview
December 2ndRooms with Books – Author Interview/Excerpt 
December 2ndPenny Writes – Review
December 3rdPaul Kater – Special Feature
December 3rdThe FlipSide of Julianne – Author Interview
December 4thJourneys & Life by Oregonmike – Review / Top Ten
December 4thCabin Goddess – Special Feature
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  1. Sharon, you have a great blog here. Thank you so much for helping me promote my work, I really appreciate it.

  2. I can't thank you enough for all of your participation and support. You rock. xx