How to have a Successful Book Festival, Treasure Hunters Giveaway

Dear Reader,

Today we have Sean McCartney, who I highlighted before in an interview and when I met him in person at the Ohioana Book Festival. He agreed to share his experience at the book festival, and is giving away a copy of one of his Treasure Hunters books! Read on, dear reader, read on.

– – –

I want to thank Belinda for having me here today. I’d like to introduce myself again. My name is Sean McCartney and I am the author of The Treasure Hunters Club book series. The second book, Breaking the Beale Code, was released on May 7th of this year. Belinda and I met face-to-face at the Ohioana Book Festival and she asked me to talk about my experience there.

To say I was nervous would be an understatement. When someone asked me who my protagonists were, not only did I not remember what a protagonist was, I forgot I was even an author. I’d never been to one of these before as an author or a patron.

I almost talked myself out of going with a deluge of excuses but as I look back on the festival I am glad I was there.

When I walked into building 110, where all of the authors were selling their books, I found my name tag and set up my treasure chest of books. I was sharing a table with another great young adult author. The area was not very large. In fact I felt like I was at the “kids” table for Thanksgiving Dinner.

After I was set-up I stood and waited for people to come in. I watched the other authors and wondered if they felt like I did. They seemed much more confident.

I have to say that, aside from selling a bunch of books, I was able to meet and talk with two terrific authors and people. Kristina McBride, author of The Tension of Opposites and Erin McCahan, author of I Now Pronounce You Someone Else, provided great laughs throughout the day and was a source of tremendous knowledge and information.

The festival held interviews and book readings by many authors. I was not chosen to do any of that which turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise. I was able to stand by my treasure chest and meet readers who bought my books. When I went to the representative from Barnes and Noble and told her my sales, I think she was surprised and stunned.

Overall I can’t wait to go back. I have been looking into other festivals because for an author like myself working with a small publisher, I need to be out there meeting people.

Though the day was long (two hour drive to Columbus and back) and I was on my feet for the entire event, I wouldn’t have missed it. I am looking forward to next year and the continued success of the Treasure Hunters Club series.

Thanks again for having me and please visit my web site at treasurehuntersclubbook.com and drop me a line.

– – –

Belinda here! So some takeaways from Sean’s experience, compared to other authors I’ve learned from, is that having a display catered to your book genre grabs the attention of passers-by.

Having the author standing and smiling, ready to engage? Also a huge plus. Not leaving your post is a great way to make sure you don’t miss readers, and the fact that Sean avoided looking tired I’m sure kept people coming to his spot until the end of the day.

I saw other authors there who sat behind their table reading a book. I did not visit them. I might have grabbed a postcard if they had one and it looked pretty. When you see someone talking to an author, you want to talk to that author as well.

I don’t remember if Sean had a pitch about his books, but his display was so fun-looking that I had to stop by. It was then that I realized I knew this guy! So having a gimmick, as it were, helps. It shows you put thought into your time at the festival, which tells readers that you really care.

If you’d like to win a copy of one of the Treasure Hunters books, leave a comment. We will use a random number generator to determine the winner.

Best,

Belinda

3 Ways I Knew I Write Young Adult Historical Romance

Dear Reader,

I have been struggling with my genre for almost a year now. I write historical fiction, that much I know because I write stories about fictional people set in a historically-based setting. I use real-world facts to provide the skeleton of my story, fill in details, and let my imagination run wild from there.

My stories also have a romantic element. I write about emotions, fears, hopes, dreams, struggles between personalities. I care about the vulnerability of opening one’s heart to someone else, knowing they may destroy, cherish, or be apathetic to it.

As such, I’ve been saying I write historical romances. Quirky historical romances, if I were to be precise. The quirky is because I bring in elements from the other genres I read for inspiration: fantasy, science fiction, women’s fiction, etc. My last book was pegged as gothic because of the setting, ghostly elements, and suspenseful mini-mystery.

Yet, historical romance doesn’t feel like such a great fit, either. Why? Because I read a lot of historical romances. The Julia Quinns, Candace Camps, Mary Jo Putneys, and Amanda Quicks of the world might raise a brow if they actually read one of my books. Why? I don’t write sex. I’m not interested in writing about it, I never hint at my hero/heroine having sex or even thinking about it. There is sexual tension, of course, or else they wouldn’t be attracted to each other.

Thinking about this made me wonder, you know, maybe I’m writing historical romances for young adults. After some soul searching, I realized there are three ways to tell that I’m writing historical romances for young adults.

1. I include enough historical detail to keep the attention of a fifteen year old, and not much more.

I make no claim to being a historian. I am, at best, a hobby historian. I’ve always loved learning, I am a very disciplined sort of researcher and can access a lot of information in a short amount of time. I had two journals full of handwritten notes from multiple primary and secondary sources for Haunting Miss Trentwood.

Yet the one complaint I hear more often than anything else about that book is I could have gone into a little more detail. Just another paragraph or two in a few spots. My point is that I had more than enough information with which to choke the story. Should I have included a little more? Yes, if it would have helped the story. It is not my goal to provide a history lesson, it is my goal to entertain, without stretching the facts of history as we know it today.

For The Rebel’s Hero, I do plan on writing an author’s note at the end of the book because there will need to be more historical background. I’m covering a part of the Civil War that you just don’t hear about as often, and I won’t be able to cover it in as much detail as I’d like within the actual story.

2. My protagonists are coming of age.

Now, Mary from Haunting Miss Trentwood was in her mid-twenties when the story occurred, which is a bit older than the traditional coming-of-age story. The fact remains that in the story, Mary goes through a change and comes into her own, as it were. She has a romance, deals with family struggles, and makes decisions about who she wants to be and what she can do to become that person. Pick up any young adult book, no matter the genre, and it will be addressing the same issues. Think of Libba Bray, Ann Rinaldi, Laurie Halse Anderson.

3. My stories are fairly straight forward.

If the protagonist is in a love triangle, you will probably be able to guess who they will pick before the end of the story. I don’t like tricking my readers into thinking they’ve figured someone out, and then writing a sort of “Gotcha!” where the character suddenly runs off with someone else. I believe I do this because in every love triangle I’ve seen in real life, only the third wheel sees the love triangle. The couple who is actually falling in love has no idea that third wheel is there.

When there is conflict in my stories, it is something where the hero and heroine need to work together… after or while they work through their interpersonal struggles. I find this is a common thread in young adult stories as well: the hero/heroine don’t quite understand one another, but they are attracted and WANT to understand each other. They go through the growing pains of attempting to become a couple, and their bond is strengthened by a common goal. Again, it is the relationship that is important to me, the coming of age within a relationship that occurs.

This isn’t to say that a young adult historical fiction doesn’t have plot twists and turns, of course.

Thoughts?

There are other ways, I’m sure, that are pointing me in the direction of young adult. But these are the three that came to mind immediately. What are some other ways to tell if you’re writing (or reading) a young adult book?

– – –

This is part of the ROW80 bloghop.

Sneak Peek #1 of THE REBEL’S HERO

Dear Reader,

So far I’ve kept to my goal of writing at least 750 words a week! Huzzah! To celebrate, here is the (first draft) of the first 850 words of the new book, The Rebel’s Hero. I would love your feedback. Are you getting a good feeling of the era, the setting, the situation?

One night, when the dense Virginia farm air buzzed with gnats that spoke of a heavy summer rain, Howard announced he had found Tempest’s husband at long last.

Tempest cocked her head to the side and shook it as though she had gotten water in her ear. Everything was as it had been mere moments ago, yet she had the distinct feeling of the world tilting on end.

Though it was dusk, and the orange sun sank lower still into the farm’s horizon, the dining room was brightly lit by candles perched in silver stands, and in the chandelier that swayed overhead. The combined brightness of the candles burned Tempest’s brown eyes so tears gathered at the corners. She cleared her throat and glanced meaningfully at the old slave Elijah who stood in the corner of the dining in his typical hunched fashion, pretending he hadn’t heard a word.

Howard never spoke of such things before the slaves. Said it was none of their business, his private matters. Which meant Howard felt far too comfortable with where he led the conversation.

“I hadn’t realized my supposed husband was lost,” Tempest quipped, smoothing butter onto her bread before dipping it into her chilled mint soup. She popped the sopping piece of bread into her mouth, focusing on the clarifying mint scent to help her stay alert to Howard’s newest scheme.

Across the table from Tempest sat her mother, Sophronia, just to the left of Howard. Sophronia pulled her lace shawl over her stooped shoulders and smoothed the fabric of her hooped skirt across her lap. Her pale face looked especially wan in the candlelight, and her white-blond hair had all but lost its luster in the ten years since she had married Howard.

Howard glared at Sophronia rather than Tempest for her outburst.

This elicited an apathetic, “Tempest, don’t talk to your step-daddy like that,” from Sophronia in her velvet southern drawl.

“I’ll stop if he does,” Tempest muttered.

It wasn’t funny anymore, the way Howard talked about her lack of a husband when all the other girls her age had married and born a child already. She was eighteen. She had more than enough time. Didn’t she?

Sophronia straightened her shoulders in a half-hearted shrug and sipped soup from her spoon.

“You’ll want to know the unlucky man’s name,” Howard said with a self-satisfied smile. His voice was deep with the relief of a thousand nights spent racking his brain with plans to get Tempest married and off his hands. He laced his fingers together and leaned back in his chair so the wooden legs creaked beneath his paunchy weight.

Tempest flicked her head to the side so one of her blond ringlets flew from where it rested on her shoulder. She did not particularly want to know, but she had just stuffed her mouth full of bread and couldn’t bring herself to say anything to stop him from speaking.

As long as it was not the one man Tempest could not stand to be in the same room with, no, the same house, the same county, to be honest, all would be well. She would find a way out, as always, and continue on her merry, pampered way.

“Walter Leonards’s agreed it would be beneficial to all if you were to marry him.”

Tempest choked on the bread in her mouth, audibly. Throwing her napkin in front of her mouth, she coughed up the bread, wincing at the way Sophronia half-frowned at her. Sophronia did not need to say a word, Tempest knew what she was thinking.

Come now, Tempest, you know better than to do such things. Surely you have outgrown such tomboyish behavior. You are a lady. Act like one.

Or rather, the Sophronia of old might have thought such things. Funny, how Tempest missed the sound of Sophronia scolding her. So many years had passed since Sophronia had cared enough to scold.

“In fact, Walter’s right pleased. I think this will be the match of the decade!”

Tempest glared at Howard, enraged by the way he could speak that sentence as if he and Walter were doing her a favor. Howard had to go and pick the one man she could never marry. Of course he would. Just to see my reaction.

“You’re pulling my leg,” Tempest said, shoving her chair away from the table before Elijah could help her. “You’re making fun of me.”

Howard put his hands behind his head. Damn the man, he enjoyed watching her squirm. “Walter,” he confirmed.

Tempest closed her eyes. She licked her lips and gasped her air. Walter. He used to poke her with lit matches when they were little. He once put a centipede in her shoe when they had been playing by a crick. To this day, she swore Walter had lamed her pony just to have it put down. Did one grow out of such meanness?

“No,” Tempest said, her voice breaking over the word.

Howard half-stood, resting his palms on the table that pressed into his stomach as he leaned over it. “You will marry him, or be thrown from this house. I’m not like your daddy, I don’t tolerate such wildness from females.”

Tempest looked at Sophronia, who kept her gaze on her soup. Sophronia’s hand shook as the spoon it held hovered over the bowl.

“Say something,” Tempest whispered.

It was on this solitary day that a rose petal fell. It was not known whether it happened to be dropped by a hand, or whether it had fallen by the properties of gravity. Suffice it to say, it began this story.

So, what do you think? Don’t forget to check out the other ROW80 peeps.

Interviewing Sean Paul McCartney

Dear Reader,

I’m so excited to introduce a fellow Ohioan author to you! His name is Sean Paul McCartney, and while he says he isn’t related to the Beatle, I like to pretend that he is. His first book in the series The Treasure Hunters Club is called “Secrets of the Magical Medallions,” and introduces the four teens Tommy Reed, Jackson Miller, Shannon McDougal and Chris Henderson. The series is a cross between The Hardy Boys and Indiana Jones,with a touch of National Treasure.

I’m sure you know the drill with my interviews by now, so let’s get started!

How do you transform your passion into focused research?

First I want to thank you so much for having me.

I wanted to write a series that would appeal to even he most reluctant reader. So I looked at stories I liked growing up and decided I would take the mystery of the Hardy Boys and tie that in with the action and adventure of Indiana Jones and National Treasure and The Treasure Hunters Club: Secrets of the Magical Medallions was born.

How do you translate your research into an entertaining narrative?

Actually the characters drive the research. The Treasure Hunters Club is always looking and researching lost treasures. It also helps that they have a guide in the form of famous treasure hunter “Diamond” Jack Reed, but really it is Tommy, Jackson, Chris and Shannon’s overall curiosity that keeps the story going.

How do you sneak an underlying message into your entertaining narrative?

I teach history so I try and sneak the facts of history in my story like Michael Crichton or Dan Brown. The key for me is to teach the readers without them knowing they are being taught. That is why in the first Treasure Hunters Club novel I go to great extremes to show how research is done and what goes into it. The club uses the library and books as well as the computer. I want the readers to see that answers are not always in front of them and they have to really look to find it.

My books are meant to give kids a fun and exciting ride and allow them to imagine they are part of the club on the adventure.

Thanks Sean for taking the time to answer my questions! If you’re excited to learn more, contact Sean at seancoach AT juno DOT com.

Interested in being interviewed?

I’d love to profile you on Worderella Writes, especially if you are an indie author, and most especially if you are an indie historical fiction author. I look forward to learning more about you and your upcoming projects!

Book: Neverwhere

Title:Neverwhere
Author:Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fiction
Length:370 pgs.

Summary: Stuck in a relationship and job where he is a whipping boy, Richard Mayhew breaks free of his daily not-caring ritual when a bloodied girl dressed in rags literally drops at his feet. By helping her, he loses track of his entire existence (literally), and must embark on a journey through “this city of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels, if he is ever to return to the London he knew.”

Excerpts:
pg 7 – There are four simple ways for the observant to tell Mr Croup and Mr Vandemar apart: first, Mr Vandemar is two and a half heads taller than Mr Croup; second, Mr Croup has eyes of a faded china blue, while Mr Vandemar’s eyes are brown; third, while Mr Vendemar fashioned the rings he wears on his right hand out of the skulls of four ravens, Mr Croup has no obvious jewelry; fourth, Mr Croup likes words, while Mr Vandemar is always hungry. Also, they look nothing at all alike.

pg 49 – To say that Richard Mayhew was not very good at heights would be perfectly accurate, but it would fail to give the full picture. Richard hated clifftops, and high buildings: somewhere not far inside him was the fear–the stark, utter, silently screaming terror–that if he got too close to the edge, then something would take over and he would find himself walking to the edge of a clifftop and stepping off into space. It was as if he could not entirely trust himself, and that scared Richard more than the simple fear of falling ever could. So he called it vertigo, and hated it and himself, and kept away from high places.

pg 93 – Varney looked like a bull might look, if the bull were to be shaved, dehorned, covered in tattoos, and suffered from complete dental breakdown. Also, he snored.

Why should you read this book?
I love Neil Gaiman. This is the second book I’ve read by him (Stardust was the other). I saw the movie MirrorMask and loved it. Gaiman’s tone is clever and funny; when you read his books you feel like he is sitting there telling you a story, rather than you reading a book (especially so with Stardust, where the characters are more archetypal). His descriptions are precise, accurate, and oftentimes hilarious because he doesn’t give any of his characters a break; see my excerpts above for an example.

If you like Doctor Who or Monty Python, this is a book for you. If you write fiction that takes any hint whatsoever from fairy tales, mythology, or legends, Gaiman is an excellent example to read to get a feel for what other writers are doing. (Another good example would be Marquez, but I’ll save that for when I review Of Love and Other Demons.) Gaiman, to me, is what I imagine the Grimm Brothers were to their contemporaries. All three men take inspiration from life, make the most mundane or horrible facts fantastical, and demand in the nicest way possible that you get something out of the story by the end. I highly suggest reading the author note at the end to really drive this point home.

Book: The Glass Harmonica

Title: The Glass Harmonica
Author: Louise Marley
Genre: Paranormal Historical Fiction
Length: 369 pgs

Summary: The year is 2018 and Erin is the premiere virtuosa on the glass harmonica, an instrument that, over the centuries, has been known to make its player and select members of the audience go mad. Though she publicly denies these rumors, secretly she is terrified they are true once she starts to see visions of a girl who does not exist.

The year is 1761 and Eilish Eam, an Irish orphan, has been plucked from her unlucky existence to play Benjamin Franklin’s new invention: the glass armonica.

Excerpts:
pg 116 – It was the terror that lurked in [Erin’s] nightmares, that stalked her when she was weakest, most vulnerably. It was the fear that made her snap answers to stupid questions, made her impatient and angry at the probing and pushing of interviewers and reporters and historians. She was afraid. She wasn’t afraid of her wraith, of ghosts or visions or manifestations. What she feared was that, like her predecessors, like the ancestral virtuosi who had first played her precious and mystical instrument, her nerves were breaking down. She was afraid she was going mad.

Why should you read this book?
This book is well-written: all the characters have backstories and motivations, and the setting is fully realized. Despite this, I felt no connection with the characters. I read the entire book, but I never felt drawn to the story, wondering what would happen next. And I should have, because this was an interesting idea. As a musician, I loved the history of the glass harmonica; as a historian, I thought Marley’s depiction of Benjamin Franklin was great; as a scientist, I loved the idea of applying music to neuro-therapy. As a writer, I thought something was lacking, which may be because the back cover copy made the story seem more action-oriented, a time-travel similar to The Lake House (which defies so many laws of physics and time-travel, even).

A pleasant read, the one thing that really annoyed me was Marley’s use of “’twas” and “’tis,” beyond the 1761 dialogue. For example: Eilish pushed the basket again, trying to make her two seed coins clink together. Talk brought no food. ‘Twas money she needed. In my opinion, Marley should have stuck with a first-person narrative for the 1761 story, and third-person for the 2018, if she wanted to write like that. But then, another reader will find it charming, and think I’m crazy for not liking it. Such a subjective profession this is…

Book: Poison Study

Title: Posion Study
Author: Maria V Snyder
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 361 pgs

Summary: Yelena has murdered a man. And the punishment for death, for any unnatural death, even accidental, is execution. Luckily, the Commander’s food-taster has just died, and Yelena, being the next up for execution, is offered the job by the Commander’s right-hand man, Valek. As her tasting and smelling skills improve, Yelena’s survival instinct (a droning sound emitting from her mouth) turns out to be a sort of raw magic. And in a land where magic is outlawed, punishable by death, Yelena finds herself facing death from all angles.

Excerpt:
pg 104 – “You remind me of a pretty bird, willing to sit on the windowsill as long as nobody comes too close, but prepared to fly away if somebody does.”

Why should you read this book?
It’s an entertaining read. I was most intrigued by Valek, who surprises Yelena with the facets of his personality, and therefore the reader. The political intrigue wasn’t the most groundbreaking, but then, the story was more a fantasy coming-of-age than anything else, so I can forgive that. I liked it enough to look for the next book, Magic Study, but I have to admit that Yelena’s horrible past just didn’t really come across with fervency. But once again, that may not have been the point.

Book: Animating Maria

Title: Animating Maria
Author: Marion Chesney
Genre: Regency Romance
Length: 160 pgs

Summary:This is the fifth book of the School for Manners series in which twin sisters Amy and Effy Tribble advertise that they can make eligible matches for any troublesome yong woman. This time, however, they have a perfect client: Maria Kendall. She is pretty, well-mannered, graceful, and has a rich dowry. Unfortunately, there are two problems in Maria’s way: 1) she tends to daydream a lot because 2) her parents are gaudy, self-important, and like Mr Collins about Lady Catherine de Bourgh from Pride and Prejudice, know the monetary value of everything they own (and like to reflect upon that). Her parents have chased away every eligible suitor in Bath, and now Maria journeys to London, where she meets the Duke of Berham. Can Maria climb down from her dreams to see the quality in the Duke? Can the Duke get past the common Kendalls?

Excerpts:
pg 87 – The fact was that that glorious present had made Amy feel attractive and fascinating, and when a good-hearted woman feels attractive and fascinating, she quite often is.

Why should you read this book?
This is one of those light reads that I always suggest to my mother. The romance is traditional, which is my specialty, and means that the physical romance never gets past kissing, or, as in this case, a little petting (and that’s usually after the couple has agreed they’re going to marry). Chesney does a good job of making the characters fun to read about, and you do think about them after you’ve finished the book, which I always consider a victory for the author. I will say, however, that I was a little disappointed by the ending, because Chesney uses a quick fix to get her couple together, and then sets us up for the sequel.

Read this for a good example of traditional romantic fiction and an easy read.

Book: Once Upon a Marigold

Title: Once Upon a Marigold
Author: Jean Ferris
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 272 pgs

Summary: The hook on the front cover of this book reads Part comedy, part love story, part everything-but-the-kitchen-sink. This book is actually a young adult fantasy, and I didn’t realize that until I found the book in that section of my local library, but hey. I have loved Ferris ever since I read her Rosie & Raider trilogy (Into the Wind, Song of the Sea, and Weather the Storm). …I can’t believe I remembered the characters and titles without looking them up. Seriously, I read these books when I was thirteen. Anyway, Once Upon a Marigold is about Christian, a little boy who runs away to live with a forest troll, and spends his developmental years roaming the forest and reading every book he can “borrow.” All the while, Christian uses his foster father’s telescope to watch the goings-on in the royal castle across the river, and subsequently, falls in love with the “ugly duckling” Princess Marigold. This is a time when p-mail (aka pidgeon-mail) is modern, when Queen Mab of toothfairy fame is losing control of her business, and when a curse may not be a curse after all.

Excerpt:
pg 48 – And that was how their long p-mail correspondence began.

April 19. I’m 17. I’m an Aries. Why did you decide to write to me? – Marigold

You seemed so absorbed in your book. I wanted to know what you were reading. – C

For some reason, he was reluctant to tell her his name. The more anonymous he stayed, the bolder he felt–as if he were someone else, an alternate version of himself, a version who casually corresponded with a princess. A version who couldn’t tell her his own birthday because he didn’t know it.

You can see me? – Marigold
P.S. What does the C stand for?

He thought her first question sounded a bit alarmed, as most people would be if they found out they were being watched. But the fact that she’d added a P.S. meant she was curious about him, which he took as a good sign. He debated a long time about how to answer.

Sometimes I can see you. The C stands for my name.

Why should you read this book?
Because it’s actually pretty funny, and funny is hard to do in books. It starts a little slow, but the characters are vivid, and interesting, and are people I wouldn’t mind knowing in real life. And let me tell you, writing young adult fiction is hard. You have to get the exact amount of detail in there so the reader understands just what you want them to understand, without losing their interest. The plot runs really quickly as soon as Christopher starts to interact with Marigold, and you’ll find yourself skimming just to know what happens next. But don’t do it. Read it thoroughly and enjoy the pacing and narrative voice, and learn something from it. Once Upon a Marigold is great for anyone wanting to learn how to speed up their story, and to make their characters seem vivid (if a little stereotyped for some of the secondary roles).

Book: Green Rider


Title: Green Rider
Author: Kristen Britain
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 480 pgs

Summary: Karigan G’ladheon has been unfairly kicked from school because she, the daughter of a mere (if rich) merchan, insulted a spoiled heir in a sword fight. Instead of facing the suspension board, Karigan decides to run away from school and make her way home. Seems like a good plan, until a rider dressed in green with two black arrows in his back blocks her path and asks that she finish his mission by sending an important message to the king. Being the spontaneous girl she is, Karigan accepts, and thus begins the typical fantasy story about the journey from being an innocent, ignorant, yet fiesty, schoolgirl to an experienced warrior who may not know what her future holds, but at least knows she has the strength to withstand just about anything.

Why should you read this book?
Ok, I admit it, I picked this book up because it had the word “green” in the title and I basically love all things green. I was actually searching for a different book, one that was actually on my reading list, when I stumbled upon this one. All in all, a good read. Nothing spectacularly interesting, Britain tends to rely on a lot of fantasy cliches. The redeeming factor, thankfully, is the main character. Karigan is a strong female lead in a predominantly male-led genre, and is easy to relate to despite her dangerous path.

I will say, however, that this book felt long. It was interesting, but I put it down a couple times because Karigan’s “wild ride” lasted almost half the length of the book. By the time Karigan reaches her destination, there’s a lot left to happen and I inwardly groaned at where my bookmark sat in the pages. Read this if you’re looking for a strong female lead who has more on her mind than the usual stereotypic schoolgirl, and be as confused as I am that a “mere schoolgirl” still apparently attracts kings and lords and dark elves. How old is Karigan, anyway? And why can’t we have stand-alone fantasies anymore? I hear the sequel is even longer than this was, which has me thinking twice about reading it. A respectable read, but nothing to inspire the writing muse, in my mind.