Lost Souls: Deception is here!

LaurelODonnell_Deception300x450Were you wondering what was going on with the three Lost Souls, Samantha, Ben and Christian?  Deception is finally here to continue the urban fantasy series!

Here’s an excerpt:

Ben looked down at his feet.  He didn’t know what to say to Cora.  There was no easy solution to her situation, but every moment he was away from her, he thought she might be trying to get more power.  He felt obligated to stay with her, to help her resist.

“You know, I was thinking.  About that angel.  About how to go with her.”

Ben shook his head.  “We’ve gone over this, Cora.  There’s only one way you can go with her.  And making the Jump is out of the question.”

“If I absorb enough power–”  Ben continued to shake his head with even more conviction and Cora hurried to continue.  “Then she would come for me.”  She grabbed his arm.  “Listen to me.  All I have to do is absorb some power from the Souls, not all of it.”

“No!  That’s not going to happen.”

“There’s no other way.  You know it.  I want it to be over.  I want to be done with this unending life.  I think that I’ve earned it.  Six hundred years!”

“Draining Souls is not an option.”

“I won’t hurt them!  They can recharge.  I won’t kill them.  I just need energy.  Just to make the Jump.”

“Into some poor human?”

“No.  I’ve really thought about this.  It should be into a human who is dying.”

Ben’s gaze swept her face.  No Changed wants to Jump into a dying human.  What would be the point of that?  How could they hurt humans that way?

“Maybe someone in a hospital.  Someone sick.  I just want the angel to come for me.  I want her to…take me.”

Ben sighed.  There was no other way for Cora.  As a Changed, there was only one way to die.  “It would take centuries to build up that kind of energy.  The kind of energy you need to make the Jump.”

“I need Souls, Ben.  Please, don’t think bad of me.  But I need their energy and I need it soon.”

“No.  I won’t do that.  I won’t help you with that.”

“It’s the only way.  I need the energy to make the Jump, otherwise, I’m stuck here.”

Ben shook his head.  He wasn’t going to offer up his friends.  He didn’t want her draining them.  “Don’t ask that of me, Cora.”

“Maybe some of them will help us.  Maybe some –”

“You know they would never do that.  Not with you…like you are now.”

Cora flinched and then nodded.

Ben saw the glimmer of hurt in her black eyes before she turned away.

“There has to be a way.  I mean, we have the Regen Chambers.  Eugene has a Regen bed.  It’s not like I’ll drain them completely.  I’d never do that.”

“They won’t do it.  You know that.”  Ben couldn’t even tell any of them he had found Cora.  The others would come after her.  “And I’m not going to ask them to.”

Cora’s brows came together.  “If you’re not even willing to consider that option, then you think of something!”  She crossed her arms.

Ben opened his mouth to argue with her, but then snapped it shut.  It was no use.  “I’ll think of something else.”

“There is nothing else!” Cora shouted.  She sat back.  “I’m stuck here.”

“You’re not alone.  I’m here.  I’ll help you.”

“You couldn’t help me before.  You couldn’t stop me from changing.”

Ben winced at the truth in her words.  “Cora –”

She fazed away from him to the tree.  “Stay away from me before I drain you.”  And then she vanished.

The Battle of Agincourt

My medieval romance, The Angel and the Prince takes place during the one Hundred Years War between England and France.  It started in 1337 and ended in 1453.  All of the battles during the war were fought on French soil.  One of these battles was the Battle of Agincourt.  This battle is one of the turning points in The Angel and the Prince as well as the war.

The battle of Agincourt was fought in a narrow strip of open land between the woods of Tramecourt and Agincourt.  The English were hopelessly outnumbered, with some estimates being the French army having 50,000 men and the English army 10,000.  The English were tired from marching and illness.  The night before the battle, King Henry V ordered all his men to silence in order to stay focused.

The French were confident of victory, not merely because of the size of their army, but also because of the number of nobles who considered themselves better then the English archers.  The chronicler Edmond de Dyntner states there were “ten French nobles against one English.”

On the morning of the battle, King Henry gave a speech, rousing the spirits of the weary Englishmen.  He told them the French had boasted they would cut off three fingers from the right hand of every archer, so he could never draw a longbow again.

The field of battle, that narrow strip of open land, was muddy from recent heavy rains.  This favored the English whose armor was lighter.  The French monk of St. Denis describes the French troops “marching through the middle of the mud where they sank up to their knees. So they were already overcome with fatigue even before they advanced against the enemy”.  Once knocked to the ground, the fully armored French knights would have a hard time getting back to their feet to fight.  Some knights, so overly encumbered by their armor, actually drowned in their helmets.

In The Angel and the Prince, Ryen de Bouriez, the heroine and French knight, voices her concerns of the coming battle to her brother, Andre:

As banners were furled around lances and knights began to remove their rain-drenched armor, Andre returned to Ryen’s side, nudging his horse up beside hers.  “You’re shivering.  You should get out of those wet clothes,” he murmured.

Ryen barely heard him.  She felt her horse slide and looked down.  Thick mud sucked at the animal’s feet, engulfing his hooves.  She scanned the field to see that all around them the ground was wet, and as the men and horses trod through the camp they created even more mud.  On either side of them, rows of trees stood tall and majestic, encroaching upon the field as if they were anxious to see the upcoming battle.  “This field is not suitable to battle the English.  We should retreat to more solid ground,” Ryen said.

Andre was silent for a moment as his gaze swept the field. 

“The ground is slick and with the weight of our armor, let alone our horses, I’m afraid that we will have trouble,” she added.

He looked across the field to the English camp.  “Henry’s men have traveled a long way.  They are tired and far from home.  They will be easy to defeat.”

“The field is too narrow, the men packed in too tightly.  We will have trouble using the archers.  I can’t see what the constable is thinking, waging battle here,” Ryen mused.

“I disagree with you.  With all our men, how can we possibly lose?”

Ryen glanced at him, her brow creased.

“Do not worry, Ryen.  The coming morn will bring our victory.”

That arrogance will be the downfall of the French, Ryen thought.

###

She looked away from the messengers to study the French positions.  The constable had placed the army between Tramecourt on their left and Agincourt on their right, thus firmly blocking the English army’s route to Calais.  But the field before them was restricted to about three quarters of a mile by the woods that fringed the two villages.

She frowned as she noticed that most of the French nobility seemed to have pushed themselves to the front of the line in their eagerness to participate in the expected massacre of Henry and his army.  The dukes, counts, and barons had displaced many of the lowborn archers and crossbow men who were so crucial to the successful execution of the battle plan; how could they be effective if they were too far back from the line of attack?  She shook her head.

“Did you hear that the constable has promised to cut off three fingers of the right hand of every archer taken prisoner so that none of them will ever draw a bow against us again?”

Ryen turned to see Andre stepping out of the tent.  She pretended she hadn’t heard his query.  The idea turned her stomach.  “I have an ill feeling about this battle, Andre,” Ryen said, staring into the distance toward the enemy.

Ryen was right.  On October 25th, 1415, the English defeated the French in one of the most famous battles in the one Hundred Years War, the battle of Agincourt.

Read The Angel and The Prince!

Excerpt from The Angel and The Prince

Here’s an excerpt from my medieval novel, The Angel and The Prince!  Enjoy!

             Even now, she could not concentrate.  He filled her mind, dominated her thoughts.  She wanted to see him, to touch him.  Ryen imagined being held in his strong arms, pictured how tenderly he would gaze at her, and then lower his lips to hers –

            She shook her head harshly, driving the thoughts from her mind.  He is the enemy! she told herself.  Even as she did so, she reined in her horse, allowing Lucien to pass her, a scowl clearly creasing his brow.  Andre was next, his eyes boring into hers with concern.  Then, the rest of her knights filed by.  They were weary from the long ride that was bringing them ever closer to De Bouriez Castle, and some grumbled as they rode by.  Ryen paid them no attention.  Her eyes were searching the middle of the column of men where the prisoners were guarded.

            She spotted him immediately.  His tall form sat straight in the saddle.  With the sun behind him, his bare shoulders glowed red.  His hands were bound and his ankles were tied beneath the horse, but the guards still game him a respectful distance.

            “You certainly don’t look like the Prince of Darkness I pictured,” Ryen heard one of the guards say as they drew closer to her.

            “They must give out titles to any beggar off the streets in England,” another mocked.

            “Where are your horns?”

            “Where is your legendary strength?”

            “If this is the best England has to offer, then we have nothing to worry about – isn’t that true, dog?”

            “Come on.  Show us how strong England is,” one of the men goaded.

            Bryce’s head remained bent, his eyes lidded as if he were resting, but Ryen saw his shoulder muscles bunch and release, noticed the stiff set of his jaw.  She knew if he were not bound he would have her men’s hearts in his hands.

            “He has no strength.  Why, my woman could bring him to his knees.”

            “And she’d like it, too,” the second guard guffawed.

            The first guard clubbed the second with a clenched fist. 

            “Do you think he understands us?” the third man wondered.  “Maybe he speaks no French.”

            “He understands,” Ryen said, guiding her horse up beside Bryce’s.  “Look at his eyes, see how they burn with hate.  All the fires of hell are locked within his body.”

            “And they burn only for you, Angel,” Bryce said in English, his dark eyes swiveling toward her.

            Ryen felt herself being swept away by the heat of his gaze.  Her heart began to pound, and flames of excitement burned up and down her spine, leaving her weak.  She could not tear her eyes from his.  As the horses moved, their thighs bumped, and even through the chain mail she wore, she could feel the strength in his legs.  Ryen felt a tremor race through her body.

            “Have you come to torture me with kisses?” he wondered in a husky voice.

            Ryen could not take her gaze from his lips as they caressed each word.  Remembering their kiss, she felt her own begin to tingle.  Finally, Ryen looked away, licking her lips as she did so.  Bryce’s soft chuckle reached her ears and she straightened her shoulders.

            “Apparently, your legend precedes you,” Ryen stated, quickly changing the subject.  Bryce did not answer, and Ryen raised her eyes to his.  She saw the frown of confusion that darkened his brow.  “Many would meet you.  And make you suffer for the sins of your king.”

            Bryce’s jaw tightened.  “Sins I would gladly suffer for.”

            Ryen watched him, amazed at the regret she felt constricting her chest.  They would throw him in the dungeon or have his head on the executioner’s block.  Either way, Ryen wished…

            She had no right to wish anything where he was concerned!  He’d murdered her people.  He’d pillaged French towns.  He had the most mysterious eyes…

            Ryen dropped her gaze again.

            “Perhaps the Angel of Death’s heart is not made of ice, as the stories say,” Bryce ventured.

            Ryen steeled herself against the emotions she felt stirring in her heart.  “You are mistaken.”

            “Am I?”  He chuckled softly.

            Ryen glanced at him.  It was a mistake; she knew it immediately.  He was staring at her, the corners of his lips curved up in a smile.  Warm tingles shot up her spine; fire ignited in her lower stomach, warming her.  She wanted to touch him.  She felt an overwhelming urge to run her fingers through his mane of wild black hair and was shocked to find herself leaning in to do just that.  She quickly straightened.  She was shaking with the emotions he aroused in her.  She had to escape the trembling that raced through her body.  It wasn’t right!  She spurred her horse and returned to where she belonged…the front of her army, wishing she could flee her emotions as easily as she had the Prince of Darkness.

 

Characters

Whew.  What a weekend!  Thanks everyone who stopped by for the grand opening of HSC Contest Reviews.  Don’t forget that a new contest will be reviewed every Sunday.  Be sure to stop by and get the review before choosing which contest to enter.

Today, I’m going to talk about one of the most important things in your writing.  Voice is important, that is how you tell your story.  Plot is definitely important.  But I believe that the most important thing in your writing is your characters.  There is a lot of pressure placed on these poor people.  They can’t be two dimensional, you as the creator must give them life on the page.  You must make your readers sympathize with your characters, cheer them on in their adventure, cry at their lose and ultimately love them as much as you do.

Not an easy feat.  These characters must be as real to your reader as the person they pass on the street or in the grocery store.  How does a writer go about doing this?  How do you make a character so real that your reader feels what the character feels?  There’s no magic spell for this, sorry.  It comes from hard work and dedication.  Some writers start with a back story for the character.  Some writers start with a flaw.  Some characters are formed from necessity.  I take a piece of my heart and instill it into each and every one of my characters.  J  Not literally.  But each character is a part of me. 

I name them first.  Just by giving them a name is giving them birth.  And then comes the description.  What do these characters look like?  What color hair?  What color eyes?  How tall?  Any scars?  What makes them unique.  What makes them different?  Some authors even find a picture from a magazine or on the web to visualize their characters. 

Have you ever played SIMS?  You create a person in the beginning, much as I suggested above.  Hair, eyes, name.  Now you have your character.  The only problem is, they have no mind of their own.  Give them wants, give them desires.  Give them a past that affects what they do today.  Give them loves and give them people who are important to them.  Make them human. 

What do you do to make your characters come alive?

Laurel
http://www.laurel-odonnell.com