Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Interviewing fantasy author Kinley Baker

I'm so happy to have a terrific fantasy author, Kinley Baker, here today, answering my questions about her new release, Denied. This book is an awesome follow-up to Ruined. Kinley is offering a Kindle gift copy of Freed, her new novella, as a giveaway today to one lucky commenter!
 
In Denied, after most of Caleb’s world in Varner was destroyed, he seeks acceptance in the Shadow Shifter Kingdom. What is he required to do in order to gain acceptance? Is he the only one of his people to join that kingdom?

Caleb is fighting for the right for him and his men to be accepted by the Shadow Shifters. The problem is that King Vale and the Shadow Shifters have never done anything like this before. They don’t know what’s required. Vale knows that their Ancestor gods must decide, but the actual requirement to gain acceptance is a huge part of the story. I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s very definitive.

Tabitha believes Caleb can help her improve her abilities as a warrior. Why Caleb? What qualities does he have that makes her think this? 

Tabitha knows the men of the Shadow Shifters will scorn her for her desire to fight. Caleb wants to help train her to protect herself because he failed to protect his own women. He just doesn’t want her to ever face true battle, which is where they clash. They’re at odds in the long-term, but their immediate goals are still the same. It suits them both for her to gain skills. He’s a foot taller than her as a seven foot tall man and heavily muscled, as well as highly skilled, so he can definitely help her.

Tabitha’s goals conflict with the foundation of Caleb’s original culture. Briefly describe this difference. Do her goals bother Caleb?  

Caleb comes from a culture that reveres women and protects them above all else. That’s why the loss of their women and children was so devastating. He doesn’t understand Tabitha’s desire to fight. In the first scene he sees her he thinks to himself that she’s the first woman he’s ever seen with a blade. He only wants to protect her. Her desire to fight is a direct contrast to that. But she challenges him. He starts to see that if his women of the Varner had known how to protect themselves, it would have given them more time for the men to return from battle and save them.

Tabitha can benefit from training with Caleb, helping her reach her goal of becoming the first female appointed to the king’s guard. What does Caleb stand to gain from her?

Tabitha is Caleb’s destined mate. He has to everything to gain from every moment he spends with her. His whole culture resolves around finding their mates and treasuring their women above all else. Tabitha and Caleb’s differences mean they must work toward finding a way to be together. To Caleb, this is foreign. To Tabitha, this is also foreign because a man has never intrigued her in this way before, even if she doesn’t feel the bond in quite the same way as Caleb.

Ultimately, Tabitha and Caleb must work together to stop a horrific evil force. What might happen if they fail?

They’ll lose the Well of Souls, the sacred power source of the Shadow Shifter kingdom.

Briefly describe the magical systems of your world. How do those who are empowered gain their abilities? 

The Shadow Shifters shift through the shadows of their Ancestor gods. Their powers stem from the Well of Souls, which holds the soul of every Shadow Shifter who ever lived. 

Caleb’s people have physical belts of steel that hold their essence, their heketoro. They are seven feet tall warriors from an alternate realm called Heketoro. They don’t think they have any magic, but they discover differently. Once they find their arohas, their destined mates, they gift their heketoro. But they find it’s not so easy when it’s not gifted to the women of their home realm. The story is about combining two cultures, and figuring out how they can all live together, or if they can.
 
DENIED  
SHADOWED LOVE, BOOK TWO 
By Kinley Baker
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press

When invaders brutally massacred the women and children of the Varner, Caleb witnessed loss and destruction on a scale few can comprehend. As the leader of a race on the brink of extinction, his only hope for survival is gaining acceptance into the Shadow Shifter Kingdom. Struggling with new customs, he meets Tabitha, a woman who challenges his limits. 

Refused the right to join the king’s guard because of her gender, Tabitha must be stronger than the men to prove she deserves to be the first accepted female Warrior in the kingdom. She believes Caleb will help improve her abilities, until she learns her goals conflict with the foundation of his culture. 

When the realm is attacked, Tabitha and Caleb must come together not only to fight, but to find the strength to win against an evil with the potential to destroy everything they revere most--including each other. 

Add DENIED as To-Read on GoodReads! 



DENIED EXCERPT:

Right before entering the next clearing, Caleb caught a flash of color contrasting against the green. He paused, moving aside a few leaves so he could peer through the opening. His attention caught on a tantalizing sight.

A woman moved in a dance of lethal grace with her eyes closed. She swung her blade with the skill of someone long trained. Challenging only the air around her, it was clear she strived to improve her form.

Her beauty was only enhanced by her bare, capable arms. The sleeveless shirt and pants she wore were nothing like the robes of the Shadow Shifters’ traditions. Her biceps and triceps flexed, illuminating well-formed muscles.

Amusement slid through him. This was the first time he’d ever seen a woman with a blade. And he couldn’t help but admire her. Part of him knew he should admire no female other than his aroha, his fated mate. But the other part of him was intrigued by this display of warrior patience.

The women of his people had never been trained in battle. It was Caleb who had failed to protect them. The female in front of him didn’t look like she needed protection, and the concept baffled him.

A man should always stand between a woman and a fight. And if they failed to protect as Caleb had his own people, then the man should carry that weight around forever, and the guilt, just as he did.

Need for redemption soaked into his veins. Perhaps he could help this female improve her form to make up for his other failures.

“You’re dropping your left side,” he said, moving out from behind his cover.

Her head whipped around, her sword following with force. The very tip aimed toward his heart. Five feet separated him from the lethal point. He was not yet in danger so his gaze trailed from the sharp blade to connect with her gaze.

Honey-colored eyes clashed with his. Awareness shot through him. He did his best to hide his response. His entire world shifted, the foundation reforming in the blink of a second. The change. The moment every man of the Varner desired. The finding. Of the one woman meant to be his mate.

How many times had he imagined this moment?

The warrior woman was his aroha. His body pulsed to life. For the first time his lust awakened in response to another, just as the old tales stated. His muscles tensed, everything inside him urging him to act, urging him to brand. He was ready to make her his.

The fire in her eyes held him back. As well as the vivid distinction that this woman with a sword was far from a delicate female of the Varner. From his experience the past two years and the difficulty of fumbling his way through foreign cultures for the same length of time, he knew it was better to keep his revelation to himself. For now. She might not sense the connection like he could, like the women of the Varner had been able to.

His fascination overwhelmed the new ache in his groin. She was extraordinary. He’d never seen another woman like her. Fierce and strong with steel in her gaze. Beautiful, mighty . . . his. The core of him roared that this miraculous creature belonged to him.

“Who are you?” She jabbed her blade forward an inch.

He barely kept from smiling at her demand. “You’re dropping your left side when you turn.”

Her chin jutted up. “Are you such a fine warrior that you feel yourself worthy of dispensing unsought advice?”

“Some would say.” He moved closer to her.

She tensed, but didn’t attack. Perhaps it was the foot and inches of his height advantage that stalled her.

The sun shining through the trees bestowed a glow off her light brown hair, giving her an ethereal aura. Strong features curved with womanhood invited him to touch.

His hand almost reached toward her before he stopped himself.

Every inch of him yearned to claim his woman, his destined mate, his aroha.

His fingers ached to touch her and make sure she was real. Even if it was only to correct her sword form. Could he really have found the woman he’d searched for all of his adulthood after thirty-three years of living? He needed to brush her skin and make sure he wasn’t fantasizing. Although he knew this must be real because he had never imagined a woman like her.

He closed the distance between them.

“What are you doing?”

“Showing you how to keep your side up.”

After hesitating, she finally lowered her blade. “They say we aren’t supposed to speak with men from the Varner. The villagers call you giants.”

“We aren’t much different from you. And I’ve never seen a female Shadow Shifter train with a sword. I don’t think you’re a woman who abides by the rules.”

Was that a flush in her cheeks? He moved around to direct her arm. When he hovered near her, his front almost touching her back, she glanced over her shoulder warily. He kept himself far enough away so she couldn’t feel the press of his male interest. He ignored the flustered feeling inching up his spine. He’d never been snared by a woman’s scent.

He wanted to inhale her natural fragrance and brand it to his memory. In this open area near the forest where so many aromas mingled, hers stood out—a citrus blend of foreign fruit mixed with the spicy scent of flesh dampened from exertion.

His fingers closed over her grip on the blade. He showed her how to turn without dropping her side.

“Perfect,” he said, unsure if he meant the improvement in her form or the feel of her soft flesh against his roughened palm. He freed her with reluctance.

With a little space between them, she tried again, flawlessly turning.

She frowned. “Thank you.”

“I am impressed by your skill.”

“It’s not enough.”


RUINED: Shadowed Love Book One
By Kinley Baker
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press


BLURB:

Jessa is one healing away from death. Under the thrall of her gift, the Court's Senior Healer risks giving her life in exchange for her patient's.

Vale is a rebel ruler. When his brother is killed, he's given the throne and the decree from the Court to produce an heir or lose his family's hold on the land--and his deceiving advisors aren't afraid to use murder as a weapon if their directive to stay away from the Senior Healer goes unheeded.

But Vale burns to possess Jessa. The heat between them leaves a wake of smoke, and even the powerful forces above want to bind them in a union that lasts forever. Vale taking another would be a betrayal neither could survive.

Their enemies fear a child born of such a powerful Healer and Warrior, but the true threat lies in the bond forged in shadows and fused in fire.

Barnes and Noble                 Kindle        Amazon Paperback  
book trailer on YouTube: http://youtu.be/aG2oSaUZeJM

 
Check out Kinley’s new novella, Freed, set in the world of The Shadowed Love series

BLURB:

After mortal invaders slay a Shadow Shifter woman, Queen Ella knows there is more blood on the horizon. As the most powerful Sensitive in the village, Ella has always known she’s destined to save the kingdom. But her task seems impossible. She must move the Well of Souls to a new realm to save her people or risk failing the Ancestor gods.

The woman King Falon loves will never love him back, despite a binding marriage built on regal decorum. Falon’s first duty is to his people, and he only wants to provide the Shadow Shifters with a safe future. He must assert his power to gain the respect of the warriors.

Harder still, King Falon must accept the salvation of his people lies with his own Queen Ella, a woman who speaks madness... a woman he’s always loved, but hardly knows.

EXCERPT:

Chapter One

The Mortal Realm, 657

King Falon looked up at the darkening sky, and a heavy burden settled inside his chest. Where were their Ancestor gods?

From his castle balcony, he stared over the hills of his homeland in Northern Britain, the place the Shadow Shifters had always called home. Their history and their hearts were embedded in these lands.

The mortals had always been a danger, but his people had escaped their persecution. That was no longer the case. The martyrs wanted to annihilate the Shadow Shifters, a race who thrived in the darkness, who thrived in the shadows, who thrived in the night.

Holy believers were coming for them, without any understanding of what they attempted to fight. The Shadow Shifter village had remained protected on these hills, with their Ancestor gods watching over them. Now, their existence was threatened.

“It isn’t your fault.” The sound of Pavel’s voice came from behind him.

Falon couldn’t bear to face his oldest friend and advisor. “Then whose is it?”
“We knew we couldn’t stay hidden here forever.”

“Why must they attack during my reign? Why must this fall to me?” He sighed. “For centuries, peace existed for our people.”

 New to the throne, newly wed, newly orphaned. Too many firsts weighed on his shoulders. He didn’t know how to handle the burden.

Pavel seemed to read his mind. “The Ancestors would never give you this challenge if they didn’t believe you capable of discovering a way to provide for our people.”

His friend had so much faith in bodiless apparitions. As the Spirit Teacher, perhaps Pavel had to have faith. But Falon struggled. He’d always struggled.

“That girl--” He couldn’t finish. Seeing the mutilated body of one of his people had made bile rise to his throat. His people had looked to him for answers, and he’d nearly crumbled in front of them.

“You did your duty per our traditions and honored her family.”

Falon had done his duty, but the young girl’s face. He’d never forget it.

“When do you think they’ll come?”

Pavel sighed. “After their savagery, it could be this night, it could be a fortnight. I do not have the answers.”

“We must prepare the Warriors.” To stop his people from being destroyed.

“Then you’ll fight?”

“What other choice do I have?” He glared at his friend, freeing his frustration.

“None that you see.”

“I don’t have time for riddles.”

Pavel smiled. “You never did.”

“I’ll do whatever’s necessary to protect our lands and the Well of Souls. We can’t afford to allow the mortals access to our sacred power source.”

“I trust you’ll do what you must.”

His friend might have too much faith. Falon studied their lands for another long moment, watching the sun fall into the lure of the mountains.
“Of course I will.” But when he glanced back again, Pavel was gone. He had a way of disappearing.

Falon knew he couldn’t dwell on the events of the past week. A young girl was gone, killed by bloodthirsty strangers, but the rest of his people remained. He could not allow her tragic death to befall the whole.

He strode through his private chambers to an adjoining room, deciding not to use the shadows to shift so he could take a deep breath and collect himself. After passing through the doorway, he came to an abrupt halt.

His breath caught at the sight before him. A woman of supreme elegance stood in the last flickers of light, staring out at the disappearing sun from her balcony.

Heavy, thick robes lined her luscious form. Beautiful velvet in a rich blue color fit snugly to her curves. A crown of entwined flowers sat proud atop her head. Her delicate profile showed her true regal magnificence.

Light hair curled down long and brushed against the fabric of her dress. She stood, ethereal, like an Ancestor goddess in his midst. Perfect. Untouchable. Supposedly his.

She didn’t turn to look at him, although he knew she always knew when he entered the room. This was a woman of ultimate power, the strongest Sensitive in the kingdom. And one of only a few in the village who seemed to glow with magic.

So soft. So kind. So distant.

She was his wife. His queen.

And so far out of reach. He wanted her with a desperation that made him ache. But he often thought his wanting of her would be the death of him. He couldn’t allow it to be the death of his kingdom.

“We’re expected for the evening meal.” His tone was rigid.

Her stance remained the same, as if she couldn’t hear him.

“Ella,” he said.

She didn’t move.

Ella made him question himself in a way no one ever had. As a royal and now a king, he wasn’t used to scrutiny. No one seemed able to read his shortcomings as easily as his wife.

His patience frayed. Defiance was not a battle he needed to wage this day. Especially against the one woman who was supposed to stand by him always. Newly married and he’d already learned. The wife he’d married for love would never love him back. And she’d never be on his side.
***

War. Ella’s blood boiled with the truth. The scent of blood drifted on the horizon. As the sun faded behind the mountains, her people’s safety faded with it. She felt this truth as surely as she felt her nails curling into her palms.

Loss. The wind swirled with it. Inevitable sacrifices lingered in their future, but she couldn’t define what they risked. Everything inside her yearned to place the pieces into a discernible pattern, something she could give to the king to use. But for the first time in her life, answers eluded her.

Were the Ancestors punishing her? She stared into the angry gray clouds and questioned. Something she’d rarely had to do. As a Sensitive, she’d always known the truth. Not now. Everything was changing, evolving, yielding, one day into the next, a whirlwind she couldn’t stop.

Despair. She could feel the pain in the air, like a blade suspended in time, destined to kill through the ages, destined to harm. A tear slid down her cheek. She was supposed to save her people. She’d always known it. But how?


About the Author:
Kinley Baker is the author of the fantasy romance series, Shadowed Love. She read her first romance at the age of thirteen and immediately fell in love with the hero and the genre.

She lives with her husband, Benjamin, and her dog, Joker, in the Pacific Northwest. Ruined, Denied, and Freed are all available now from Crescent Moon Press.

Look for a new paranormal romance series in 2013. As a firm supporter of all supernatural lifestyles, she writes fantasy, paranormal, and futuristic romances.

You can find Kinley at www.kinleybaker.com

 
~ ~ ~
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance: Book One, SEEKING A SCRIBE, and Book Two, HERITAGE AVENGED. She has also authored the Ciel's Legacy series, with fast action mermaid/pirate storylines: TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE and TORTUGA TREASURE.  For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

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