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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Navigating the icy granite world of Versula ~Sunday Sample from Heritage Avenged by Marsha A. Moore

My Sunday Sample is from Heritage Avenged, the second of five Enchanted Bookstore Legends, an epic fantasy romance. I hope you enjoy this taste of the adventurous tale of magic, danger, dragons, wizards, and romance. Find descriptions and purchase links for all five books below.

In this scene, Lyra and Kenzo, her magical owl friend, must travel into the cold, granite territory of Versula to meet the evil alchemist in his retreat away from the Dark Realm. She badly needs a favor from him in order to help Cullen, her wizard lover, who has been seriously injured. Along the journey, Lyra gains a ride across the unusual, rugged terrain with some dragon friends, Gea and Yasqu. Even with these dragon escorts, the pair are not exactly welcome guests to the retreat.

Once all were arranged, the two dragons took flight again, this time remaining low by following a maze of canyons. With her agile maneuvers into hidden passes, it was apparent Gea knew her way through Versula. The gold dragon’s wings rippled as if she swam rather than flew. The smooth ride allowed Lyra to relax and take in the stark beauty they passed. In many ranges, the dragons sailed around huge mushroom-shaped granite tor.
They traveled a long time, maybe close to an hour. She and Kenzo alone would have spent weeks, even if they knew this route.
A hazy light of dawn allowed her to see more details. Farther north, the stone became mottled with dark gray circular patches against a tan background. Statues rested amongst the tor—goddesses in flowing gowns posed with an array of unfamiliar animals. Wings, horns, and fins attached to odd-shaped bodies in unusual positions. What looked like a giant platypus wore short curling horns on either side of its duck bill as well as wings set on its shoulder blades. A child-like goddess stood frozen with her hand stroking the fur on its back, her head thrown back with a wide smile covering her face. Lyra wondered if Tarom ever willed his statues to life since they wore such animated expressions. That would certainly be a playground for the bizarre.
The odd spectacles held Lyra’s attention and also made her curious about the nature of the man she intended to convince to train her. The stone figures certainly served as road signs, indicating they approached his retreat. But with cimafa as guards, he didn’t have any real need to hide.
Gea made another turn, and at the end of that chasm stood Tarom’s retreat. An imposing Gothic castle façade sat against a promontory, hundreds of feet above the level they flew. Designed from the local gray granite, it stood apart from the surrounding gloom with its ornate form. Pointed arches made the building seem even taller and more foreboding. Slender towers surmounted lower ones, achieving dizzying heights. A skeleton of flying buttresses flanked the walls. Wide arched windows were festooned with networks of tracery, while leaded glass rose panes decorated the gables. As they drew closer, Lyra saw intimidating gargoyles adorned the junctions of roof planes, serving as waterspouts.
The sound of laughter, like from a group of happy children, echoed off the walls of the ravine. Lyra snapped her head back and forth, looking for the sources, but only saw immobile granite figures. After hearing more laughter from a deeper, male voice, she fixed her eyes on the walls. At this close distance, many more statues populated the outer grounds of the castle, some made distinct on pedestals, while others stood hidden in inventive ways among outcroppings.
Finally, she discovered a source of noise. One goddess let out a peel of warbling giggles as she elbowed the shoulder of a half goat, half man beast. Her neighbor raised a hoof to point at Lyra and guffawed as though seeing some hilarious spectacle—not a warm welcome at all.
Gea slowed for the first time since taking flight.
A single cimafa patrolled the sky around the promontory.
The hairs on Lyra’s arms stood on end. No rider or ice drakes accompanied it, but that one could be more than enough trouble. She watched its slender black barbed tail slither up and down. Sleek and armored with spines, it didn’t have Gea’s thick musculature…didn’t need to when its defense was sucking souls away from ill-fated attackers.

Information about the Enchanted Bookstore Legends:

The Enchanted Bookstore Legends are about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become one of five strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1200 to present day. Each Scribe is expected to journey through Dragonspeir, both the good and evil factions, then draft a written account. Each book contains magic with vast implications. 

Lyra was first introduced to Dragonspeir as a young girl, when she met the high sorcerer, Cullen Drake, through a gift of one of those enchanted books. Using its magic, he escorted her into the parallel world of Dragonspeir. Years later, she lost that volume and forgot the world and Cullen. These legends begin where he finds her again—she is thirty-five, standing in his enchanted bookstore, and Dragonspeir needs her.  

When Lyra reopens that enchanted book, she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save the good Alliance from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. While learning about her role, Lyra and Cullen fall in love. He is 220 years old and kept alive by Dragonspeir magic. Cullen will die if Dragonspeir is taken over by the evil faction…Lyra becomes the Scribe.  

Purchase Links for books in the series:
Quintessence: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Five
Seeking a Scribe: Enchanted Bookstore Legend One
Lyra McCauley is a writer and loves fantasy novels, but until she opens a selection from bookstore owner Cullen Drake, she has no idea he’s a wizard character who lives a double life inside that volume…or the story’s magic will compel her from the edge of depression to adventure, danger, and love. 

His gift to Lyra, the Book of Dragonspeir, was actually her copy, misplaced years ago. Lost in her pain following divorce and death, she fails to recognize him as her childhood playmate from the fantasyland. Friendship builds anew. Attraction sparks. But Lyra doubts whether a wizard is capable of love. She’s torn—should she protect her fragile heart or risk new love? 

Opening the book’s cover, she confronts a quest: save Dragonspeir from destruction by the Black Dragon before he utilizes power of August’s red moon to expand his strength and overthrow the opposing Imperial Dragon. Lyra accepts the challenge, fearing Cullen will perish if evil wins. Along with magical animal guides, Cullen helps her through many perils, but ultimately Lyra must use her own power…and time is running out.

Heritage Avenged: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Two

Lyra McCauley receives an alarming letter from the coroner who evaluated her deceased aunt, originally thought to have died of cancer. The news causes Lyra to take leave from her job and travel from sunny Tampa to the frozen island community in northern Michigan. Questioning whether Dragonspeir magic was responsible for her aunt’s death, she resolves to learn the truth and accepts the Imperial Dragon’s appointment into the Alliance sorcery training. 

Additionally, becoming proficient in magic craft is the only way she can bridge the gap between her mortal human world and her lover’s. Cullen, a 220-year-old wizard, is dependent upon his Dragonspeir magic for immortality. He is her only family now; she cannot lose him.

Evil forces block her and try to steal her inherited scribal aura. Riding a stealth dragon, a cloaked rider pursues Lyra. Both the Alliance and Dark Realm alchemists lay tricks and traps. Her aura equals that of the first and most powerful Scribe, but will Lyra’s novice training allow her to discover the truth…and find a life with Cullen? Or will the Dark Realm keep them apart?

Lost Volumes: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Three 

When Lyra McCauley learns residents of Dragonspeir’s Alliance are suffering with a deadly plague, she doesn’t heed the warnings of her fiancé, wizard Cullen Drake, to remain safe in her human world. After all, she’s the present Scribe—one of five strong women in her ancestry who possessed unique magic, each destined to protect the Alliance against the evil Black Dragon of the Dark Realm. With Cullen dependent upon Alliance power to maintain his immortality, the stakes are doubled for Lyra. 

She leaves her college teaching and puts herself at risk for the community afflicted by black magic. To find a cure, she and Cullen travel into the vile, lawless underworld of Terza to strike a bargain with an expert. Their efforts further enrage the Black Dragon, vowing to decimate the Alliance and avenge the murder of his heir.

Lyra must secure the three lost volumes of the Book of Dragonspeir. Written by the three earliest Scribes, each book contains energy. Possession of the entire set will enable overthrow of the Dark Realm. Following clues into dangerous lands, Lyra and Cullen seek those volumes. His assistants, Kenzo the tiger owl and Noba the pseudodragon, prove invaluable aids. Only if they succeed, will the Alliance be safe and Lyra reach closer to the immortality she needs to live a life with Cullen.

Staurolite: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Four

Lyra McCauley, current Scribe of the Alliance, is the only one who can decode magic hidden in the recently retrieved ancient texts written by her ancestors, the first four Scribes. Information in those writings can help Lyra locate the four missing keystones, which will restore power to the Alliance and allow overthrow of the Dark Realm. With peace restored, she and her beloved, Cullen, could finally marry.

Time is short with the Black Dragon’s Dark Realm increasing attacks to avenge the death of his heir. Many innocent lives are lost. Alliance residents are forced into hiding. Magicals and blue dragons follow leadership of the Imperial Dragon and the other three Guardians into battle to defend the Alliance.

While Lyra unlocks the ancient magic, she opens herself up to scribal powers from her ancestors. She alone can fight the deadliest of the Dark Realm’s forces—the cimafa stealth dragons—but at a cost. The energy flux threatens her health and ability to learn where to find the missing keystones. Can Lyra overcome this shrewd tactic of the Black Dragon to decimate the Alliance?

 Quintessence: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Five 
~the final volume~

Barbaric Dark Realm warfare threatens to overtake all Dragonspeir lands, including the Alliance. Lyra McCauley, the fifth Scribe of the Alliance, finds herself in a desperate competition to gather four missing keystones. Those amulets of the four natural elements guarantee victory for the side possessing them. The Dark Realm’s alchemist, Eburscon, beats her to finding the water gem, the Pearl of Pendola. Three more keystones remain: the fluorite containing earth energy, the moonstone of the sky, and the fiery, dangerous Emtori Ruby.

The powerful gems, stolen centuries ago, channel astral energies and can restore much-needed Alliance power—the last hope. The wizard, Cullen, who is Lyra’s beloved, relies on Alliance magic for his immortality and will perish if the land falls to the Dark Realm.

Lyra uses her rare magical energies of quintessence and the Staurolite, governor of the four natural elements, to guide her to the hidden keystones. However, greed and power drive opponents, who challenge her in close pursuit, planning to destroy the Alliance, or to claim the power of quintessence for themselves.

The Dark Realm captures the ten-year-old Alliance seer, Kessa. Her abilities can give them information about the locations of the keystones, complicating Lyra’s plans. Will her love, allegiance, and quintessence allow her to save Cullen, Kessa, and the Alliance before the Dark Realm claims all of Dragonspeir?

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. For a FREE ebook sample of her writing, read her historic fantasy short story, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.