Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Harbingers VBT

The Quest Continues To Stop A Killer "Curse!"

Dame Jessamine is a knight errant with a spaceship for a steed, a woman of science in a galaxy rife with superstition. Follow along as she continues her mission for truth within the barony of Nidaros!

A mysterious crop-withering blight spreads through the barony's soil. The court magicians have blamed two siblings of spawning the crisis through witchcraft. Convinced of their innocence, Jessamine has rescued and now secretly harbors Verahl Naustvik aboard her spaceship. Meanwhile, his sister Thordia flees to the Harbinger, a crashed space station from the distant and more enlightened past.

Approaching the Harbinger is an act punishable by death, but Jessamine won't let that stand in the way of a second rescue. Thordia, and the Harbinger's surviving technological secrets, may be Nidaros' only hope against the blight. Jessamine prepares to embark—only to be betrayed and set upon by vengeful court magicians.

Now, one wrong word or gesture will lead to deadly charges of witchcraft. Jessamine must protect the Naustviks and brave the Harbinger, all while striking a balance between ritual and reason. If she can't maintain the peace long enough to discover a cure for the blight, the entire barony will starve—unless its far-off masters decide to "restore order" with military action first!

Harbingers is Book Two of the Sword and Starship series of science fiction/fantasy adventure.

Dag held silent. He was surely scowling at me, but I couldn’t see it and didn’t care. With my right arm, I lowered Ormyr to a seat against the rock again. His limbs obeyed, but he seemed absent mentally, eyes glazed over. I learned the hard way that he was still paying attention when his hand darted to the bolt in his thigh. He tore it out with one swift movement.

“Damn it!” I cried. It just figured he wouldn’t listen. This bit of stubbornness might’ve cost him his life. Heart pounding and hands shaking, I dug into my first aid kit for bandages.

“I’m uninjured.” Ormyr rested his head against the rock.

“I don’t need your denial on top of everything else,” I snapped, struggling to rein in my irritation. That, plus the fog and the dizziness? Not good signs, but I couldn’t worry about myself just then. “Dag, turn on that light again. I can’t see too well.”

“Gamla sk√≠ta,” Dag spat. “I’m not helping him!”

“No, you’re not. You’re showing him the power the Naustviks gave you.” There. Something to appeal to the kid’s bravado and sate Ormyr’s curiosity about how Dag had come to wield the Shipbuilder relic. But if Ormyr cared about such a thing at the moment, he gave no sign, his gaze remaining detached.

Dag edged over to my makeshift surgical arena. The bright light cut on again, which the boy aimed directly at Ormyr’s eyes at first. The master adept’s only response was to squint.

“Lower, Dag,” I said.

He complied. Eventually.

Ellis, thanks so much for stopping by. So, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a 35 year-old Pittsburgher, married with one cat. I went through school thinking IT would be my career, but here I am writing full-time. After 10 years in the corporate world, it came time for a change. I don’t regret making the switch for a second!

Along with novels, I also write and edit articles for The Daily WTF, a chronicle of IT-related horror/humor (sometimes it’s hard to pull them apart).

How did you get started writing?
As a kid in middle school, I wrote fanfiction in notebooks. Then the Internet came along, and I got to meet and swap stories with people who somehow shared this hobby that I never realized other people had. My goal was to write a novel someday, so gradually, I left behind fanfic and delved into original work.

What was the inspiration for your book?
There are many! It’s a common question, so I hope to give partial answers over the course of this tour that will eventually form a big picture.

The novel started out in 2006 as an unfinished short story that I decided to expand—and boy, did it ever take off! One huge influence was The Demon-Haunted World: Science As A Candle In The Dark by Carl Sagan. In the 1990s, Sagan sagely wrote about how, despite humanity’s technological progress, people were turning away from science and critical thinking in favor of false beliefs that feel good. Sadly, it’s a trend that’s shown no sign of letting up. With every generation, fewer people understand the principles behind the technology they use. People still deny climate change. Anti-vaccination pseudoscience and quack medicine have caused thousands of illnesses and deaths. Fake news has changed the course of global economies and governments. Skepticism seems to be at an all-time low.

The Sword and Starship series takes this trend to its extreme. The people live in the ruins of an advanced technological civilization that collapsed centuries earlier. Almost no one knows how the tech works, and without any other explanation present, it’s considered “magic.” Anyone outside of a narrow sanctioned elite who uses “magic” is persecuted as a witch. With modern medicine and science forgotten, people rely on amulets, spells, and pleas to unseen forces—none of which actually work.

What’s the one genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
With the experience I have from Sword and Starship, I could probably knock a noir detective novel out of the park. As a Trekker, I also wouldn’t mind coming up with the next big “Wagon Train to the stars.”

Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?

Romance and erotica. Full respect to those writers and fans, but I just can’t read or write that stuff.

What are you up to right now? Do you have any releases planned, or are you still writing?
Right now, I’m outlining Book 3 of Sword and Starship, which will follow Harbingers. I’ll start drafting as soon as I have a pretty good idea of what should happen.

Alright, now for some totally random, fun questions. Favorite color?
Yay! :) I love blue, although most of my wardrobe is black.

Favorite movie?
Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Always gets a laugh out of me!

Book that inspired you to become an author?
There’s no single book that did it, but A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle has a special place in my heart. I must’ve read it a hundred times growing up. The characters and their adventures are fused into my mind.

You have one superpower. What is it?

Teleportation. I’d be able to travel the world, and maybe even the galaxy, instantaneously and for free! Who wouldn’t want that?!

You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
Carl Sagan, Bob Ross, and Mr. Rodgers would be hard to pass up. I’d have so much to learn from them about kindness and the universe.

Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
The book is first-person from the prospective of Dame Jessamine. As a consequence, her thought process is the most like mine. Like her, I frame my worldview with compassion. We aren’t here to judge, we’re here to be helpful.

That’s all from me, thanks so much for taking the time to stop by!
Thanks so much for having me over! If anyone has additional questions, feel free to post them in the comments!

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Don't forget to visit the other stops on the tour.

Author Bio and Links:
Ellis has always loved staging adventures in her head before going to sleep each night. When she was twelve, she started putting these adventures on paper.
For the next twenty years, she wrote with varying degrees of seriousness, but always as a hobby. In that time, she fell in love with Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, the original Star Trek series, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. Science fiction became her favorite domain to work in, but she also enjoyed reading fantasy, horror, Western, and detective stories, and incorporating their elements into her work. One of her favorite things to do was make people laugh.

Ellis denied being a writer for decades. But then she sold articles to The Daily WTF, and a short story to Analog Science Fiction and Fact. After quitting her full-time job to finish her first novel, it was time to own up to writing as her calling. She's currently an editor at The Daily WTF, and having the time of her life penning novels and short stories.

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  1. Thanks so much for hosting me, and thanks to everyone reading this post! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have. I plan to stop by later this evening to answer any comments that come in. Thanks again! :)

  2. Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)


  3. Looks like a fun read. I hope that I win. Thanks for the giveaway. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  4. I love all I have read so far, and I really love the cover. Good job!