Book Excerpt: “The High King’s Will” by M.A. Ray

Today I am lucky enough to be hosting an excerpt of M.A. Ray’s newest book, Steel For The Prince: The High King’s Will. I hope you’ll all take the time to read, and if you enjoy what you see, pop along to Amazon to support this fantastic author!

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They found a tiny space filled to bursting with bookshelves, drawers, and dust. A couple of gray, fluffy fairies drifted around, and a book fairy slept on top of a teetering stack. Diamond-shaped cubbies, stuffed with chart tubes of all sizes, covered an entire wall, and Eagle crossed straight there. “I’m going to look at the books,” said Fox, and he nodded and turned back to the tubes. He read peeling labels in Traders’, wanting to take down every last one for a look. Charts of Kuo and Kirun, charts of the world, charts of Long Knife and Windish. His fingers itched for them all, but at last he found a map of Rodansk.

He pulled it out from among the others in the cubby—and pulled it out—and pulled it out. It was much longer than it looked, and he balanced it carefully as he took it to the table nearby. He unscrewed the end and shuffled it free. The chart itself was so big he had to walk around the table to weight it down with stones from a basket sitting on another table. The greens and browns of the land and the blue of the ocean stood out bright on the calfskin. He grinned to see it. Pretty soon he’d be seeing the places on the chart for real, at least some of them. He found Whalehame, a little way in on the south coast, and he took a sheet of paper and a lead pencil from the writing kit on the same table to copy the map, at least as much as he needed, and probably more besides.

He was well into the task when someone came in and surprised him with the pointed ears of the People. “Hi!” said the boy, swallowing, and his smile glowed. He had short, silvery hair, eyes like aquamarines, and a glittery piece of rainbow something in his fist, from which he’d bitten a chunk. He was quite a bit younger than Eagle, maybe Stag’s age, but the same height—and the strange coloring—a High One’s bastard, or Eagle’d eat his own stockings. It happened sometimes. Not often, but sometimes. “I’m Bee. Are you a Squire, too? I didn’t know any of the People were in the Knights.” Bee said all this very fast, and left Eagle blinking.

“No, we—”

“I just signed up. I’m so excited! Asra says she’s going to take me to Hayed! We came here on a ship, and we’re going to take another one to get there. Did you come here on a ship, too?”

“Rodansk is an island,” Eagle pointed out, tapping the chart in front of him.

“Oh! Of course you’re right. Want a bit?” He held out the glittery stuff. Eagle shook his head, making a face. It already had a bite in it, and besides, he didn’t know what it was. Bee struggled to tear a piece off with his teeth. “It’s quite good once you’ve chewed it a while,” he assured Eagle.

“What is it?”

“Unicorn poop,” he said, beaming again. Nothing Vercingetorix dropped looked like that. “Not really,” Bee added hastily, at Eagle’s stare. “It’s candy. I’ve got another packet. It comes with these great cards. Look.” He rummaged in his pockets and thrust out a shiny foil packet with a hideous, fat purple unicorn on the front.

“You look,” Eagle said. “I’m trying to—”

“You open it up,” Bee said desperately, demonstrating. A tiny spray of sparkles erupted from the packet. “And see, there’s the candy, and also all the cards, they’re famous adventurers. So ace. Brodnax.” He showed Eagle the card, which pictured a man with a jaw like a rock. “I’ve ten of him, he’s done a thousand things at least. Oh, here’s Mishell Jenhwyfar, I haven’t had her yet, she found the Crystal Cave, and here’s a new one.” He flipped it over to read the back, and Eagle returned to his notes.

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AUTHOR BIO

I’m a lover of fairy tales, comic books, classic fantasy, and power metal. I keep my meat shell in Wisconsin these days. I won’t tell you where I hide my heart. I’ve got a husband and two kids, and they’re the only reason I leave Rothganar.

BOOK LINK

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01770ISOA

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Book Review: “The Service” by M.A. Ray

Title: The Service (Saga of Menyoral: Book 2)

Author: M.A. Ray

Genre: High Fantasy

Rating: ****

 

The more I read of the Saga of Menyoral, the more I want to shout very loudly for all to hear that everyone needs to read these brilliant books. How these works aren’t already widely known mystifies me.

Of course the writing style is just as beautiful as book one; fantastic imagery without being dull or droning on, snappy prose that draws you in and keeps you reading, wonderful narrative voice. The world-building is one of my very favourites in recent years, simply because Rothganar is so vast, and still so mysterious. The story premise itself is fantastic, and by the end of this book we have a lot of hints as to where this may all be going in the future, making it very difficult for me personally not to sit my butt down and not move until I’ve read all of the books currently available.

All this already high praise aside, there is something even better that makes these books so enjoyable, and that is the characters.

Dingus, the complex and easy to relate to hero of the story, has undergone such fantastic development, made me as a reader so proud of all he has accomplished for himself. I love how he’s not been written as they typically “perfect” protagonist, because it makes him so much more real. He’s awkward and angry, but he’s also shy and funny, and his progress already has been an absolute pleasure to read. He’s still learning who he is, still recovering from everything that’s happened to him, but his courage and determination are endearing, just as much as his flaws are. Personally I think it makes him that much more likeable.

The relationship he has with Vandis is far and away my favourite thing, because it always is so heart-warming and natural. The masterful way their interactions have been written makes the reader feel their trust in each other and know that Dingus will always be safe with Vandis, just as Vandis will always be safe with Dingus. The crusty old knight has made a huge difference in his life, but equally the other way, too. The father/son love they have for one another is by far one of the best I’ve ever read.

All in all, once again I’d like to say that if you enjoy the fantasy genre then you should definitely be reading these books. The author, M.A. Ray, has a bustling Facebook page, and a great website, should you want to have a gander.

“Battered, But Not Beaten”

Dear Hesitant Newbie.
Dear First-Time Rejectee.
Dear Crushed Confidence and Wounded Belief.
Sod everyone else.
You are not a writer because of other people.
You are a writer because you love it.
You are a writer because it’s part of who you are.
You are a writer because you can’t not be.
Yes, it’s hard.
Yes, it’s much easier when people love what you do.
Sometimes what you write will not be good.
Sometimes what you write will be beautiful.
Sometimes what you write will flow like warm honey on toast.
Sometimes what you write will feel like prying your own ribs apart.
People may tell you it’s unoriginal.
People may tell you it’s glorious.
Perhaps the world needs your novel.
Perhaps the world couldn’t care less.
You may get picked up by a big publisher one day.
You may not.
But you are not here for validation.
You are not here to have your ego stroked.
You are here because You Have Something To Say.
Say it.
Work hard.
Don’t give up.
Believe in what you’re doing.
Sod everyone else.
Sincerely,
Battered But Not Beaten.