Monday, November 14, 2011

Cleanse Fire: The Kinir Elite Chronicles

Today I have the privilege of participating in a Blog Tour on behalf of Anastasia V. Pergakis and her novel, 
Cleanse Fire: The Kinir Elite Chronicles

Cleanse Fire is a fantasy adventure novel, with edge-of-your-seat action. Epic battles, suspense, and a bit of romance too! Follow the Kinir Elite as they track down a traitor and find more than they bargained for.

Complete the mission, no matter what…
Captain Derac Vidor has served Kinir for nearly twenty years. It’s his life, his blood soul. And then his Commander betrays everything Derac holds dear. Now he has to focus on his own life and his team instead of saving the citizens of Kinir.

Treason is only the beginning…
Fueled by rage, the team chases the source to their Commander’s betrayal – a powerful wizard bent on revenge. The wizard seeks to destroy the Kinir Elite, in both mind and body. No place is safe, even among their allies.

The past holds the key…
Derac’s tragic past may be the key to saving the team. But can he face the gruesome nightmare in time?

Some of the following information will never come out in the series, so I thought to share it with you all as a little "behind the scenes" info about the Kinir Elite and the type of elf it takes to be a part of their team.

The Kinir Elite are a special forces, "black ops", team with mostly top secret missions. They are still a very "public" group, unlike most black ops teams which are kept in secret, away from public knowledge. They are seen as the "super heroes" to young elves and are often the source of many bedtime stories. The majority of their missions are secret but when it's a hostage rescue situation, the news is spread around. Their country is rather small and limited in technology (compared to ours), so they don't have things like helicopters, cars, guns, etc. They use bladed weapons and bows, making for a more personal style battle/fight scenes. They use covered wagons, carriages, horses, and even dragons as their "vehicles".

They do work closely with their southern neighbours, The Tinally Elite, who are faeries. The faeries use magic and spells, unlike the physical weapons of the elves.  But the inally are limited in what they can do depending on location (can't use magic or survive long without sunlight or moonlight) and strength (if they use too much of their magic, it can drain them and they will need to rest to rebuild their power again). This why the two groups work closely together. When there is a situation underground, the Kinir Elite will step in to help as the Tinally faeries cannot operate, even minimally, in such conditions. It is the same when the Kinir elves have a situation that requires flight and/or magic of some sort.

Female elves (elfas) only recently were allowed to join the Kinir Elite, while the Tinally Elite allow only male faeries. The members of both teams (6 on each) are chosen by the Captains and Commanders of the teams; members can not apply or request to join. In order to be "in the running", an elf or faerie must serve at least ten years in the Army and five years in the Kinir Rangers/Tinally Airborne. If they are chosen - and accept the invite - they pledge to serve another twenty five years. (They live for a very long time, being elves and faeries...)

During the time in the Army and Rangers/Airborne, a person that wants to have a chance to join the Elite, must learn the following things:

  • Be fluent in 5 languages - 6 if counting the Ancient Language;
  • Pass all intelligence tests with a score of 175 or better (out of 200);
  • Be an expert in all manners of weapons;
  • Pass the Elite Aptitude and Endurance Test (Only Rangers who have served 3 years and have all the other qualifications are allowed to take this test.)

BUT even with all that, the greatest test, and the one the Elite Captain pays the most attention to, is seeing the possible recruit in action - seeing how they think on their feet in a real situation.

The Elite Test is essentially their version of "spy training". They are taking away from the Ranger base and taken to a secret facility. In order to keep the facility hidden, the Rangers that go at that time are given a sleeping sedative. Then they are transported to the secret facility and spend anywhere from two to five years depending on what they choose to specifically train in. In order to keep this explanation brief, think of this facility as a combination of SWAT school, Navy Seals SERE training, and "spy school".

Given the strong military theme in my book, I want to honor real life soldiers with my writing. Portions of my royalties from this book, and the upcoming books in the series, will go to the Wounded Warrior Project. This organization helps wounded soldiers and their families heal when they return home. You can learn more about them and read true accounts of soldiers they've helped at their website,

Excerpt from Chapter 8.

A groan escaped him as he unbuttoned his shredded tunic. His hand brushed over the crest of Kinir embroidered on the front. Two lions reared up on their hind legs, one of each side of a crown atop a letter ‘K’. Silver and green threads woven together to create a metallic green look. His fingertips felt each thread, each rise in the design. How could Palto betray us?

A ragged sigh left his lips and he tossed the uniform to the floor. He wiped the dirt and grime off his skin with a soft cloth. The water turned brown. Dried blood flaked off him and landed to float on the surface of the murky water. He couldn’t take his eyes away from the bowl. The liquid swirled, making his stomach churn.

Derac’s knees collapsed from under him and he landed hard on the floor. He dragged the cloth down his face in an attempt to wash the mines and everything from his memory. Nothing helped. When he closed his eyes he saw the tortured and starved faeries and Kie panicking in the dark.

He scrambled to his feet and dumped the murky water out the window. Full of clean water again, Derac plunged his face into it. Using the pitcher, he poured more water over his head. The dirt, he had to be rid of it. All of it.

Derac straightened and squeezed the excess water from his hair. Dried blood, chunks of dirt, and who knew what else turned the water to a thick mud. He threw the contents out the window again and wiped the bowl clean.

He yanked his brush from his pack and raked it through his black tresses. Tears stung his eyes. He told himself it was the tangles in his hair but it was a lie. How many faeries had died before the team could rescue them? How many lost their innocence at the hands of a dwarf?

Derac fell to his knees and bowed his head toward the open window. Moonlight poured in, but it did little to dispel the chill he felt in his bones.

Kie willingly entered the place of her childhood nightmares. How did she muster the courage? Why wasn’t she a wreck like him? He pulled on her strength and forced himself back to his feet. Breaking down was not going to help anyone.

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Thank you Chris, for having me here today. I really appreciate the visit to your blog.

Purchase Cleanse Fire
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In honor of Veterans Day a few days ago, I’m giving away an e-copy of Cleanse Fire! Leave a comment on this post to enter into the random drawing by 11:59 pm November 20 (Eastern Standard Time). You MUST leave your email address IN the comment so I can contact you when you win!

Everyone who leaves a comment will also be added to the drawing for a chance to win a signed hard cover version of the book when it releases December 21.

I'm having more giveaways throughout the months of November and December! "Like" the series' facebook page to keep up to date on all the events!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Variant Book Bomb

What I'm reading: Variant by Robison Wells.

Young Adult (YA) fiction  is not my genre of choice, but I can be persuaded. Oh, I'll check something out if it gets enough play, like The Hunger Games. Plus I know a number of local authors who write YA and I'm all about supporting local authors (I plan to be one in the near future). 

Because Variant was only released about a month ago, it hasn't had time to pick up traction. However, I have had occasion to listen to Rob speak at writers' conferences and met him before this year's Whitney Awards (his brainchild, btw). Oh and a good friend of mine is a good friend of his, Marion Jensen. So, Rob and I are practically BFFs and therefore I bought and read his book.

Variant begins as a bubbling creek winding its way through picturesque valleys and ends as a rushing torrent plummeting over class VI rapids. It is book one of two and we are left with plenty of questions for which there better be answers in book two. I'm sure we won't be disappointed. 

To learn more about the plot line, check out the link above to Rob's website.

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As I mentioned above, I'm only just getting to know Rob and the other amazing authors in this community. I know he's been instrumental in a lot of facets, like the Whitney Awards, and from others who know him much better, I understand there's much more admirable and amazing stuff I don't know.

In fact, go to Josi Kilpack's blog for some of those specifics.

Or check out Sara Eden on Twitter @SarahMEden

The following is taken from Larry Correia's website, NY Times bestselling author of the Monster Hunter International series. Larry gives an awesome account of how books/authors work and again how fantabulous Rob is.

I've included some of his post here, because it says it so well.

(Larry, my apologies for reprinting your blog here, but you say it SO well and I gave my $0.02 above . . .)

Mark your calender. On Thursday, November 10th, I’m going to book bomb somebody, and not only that, I’m going to ask all of you for help spreading the word because this particular author is in dire need of a boost.

Variant is an excellent read, sort of a sci-fi take on Lord of the Flies with a twist, and don’t just take my word for it, it made the Publisher’s Weekly list of the top books of the year.

Variant was one of the best books I’ve read this year. I stayed up late to read it in one sitting.

A little while ago he was diagnosed with a severe panic disorder. Basically, something in his brain chemistry has gone out of whack, and his fight or flight reflex is constantly switched on. As a result this has really screwed up his life. He has been trying to get it under control and his doctors have been experimenting with different treatments trying to find the one that will click.

Recently, Rob was laid off from his day job as a result of his illness. This is a real financial hardship for him and his family.

What many people don’t realize about writers is that we keep our day jobs until we have about five or six books in circulation, and sometimes longer depending on how well they are selling. Writing isn’t the most steady of paychecks. (I’m doing well enough now that I could just be a writer, but I happen to love my day job, so I plan on doing it for probably another year.)  You’ve got to earn back the advance and even then you only get paid every six months. Variant is Rob’s first book on the national market. He had a ways to go before he would be able to quit the day job, but his illness totally wrecked that plan.

What is a book bomb? Well, Amazon has its own bestseller list. It is calculated hourly and you are given a sales rank based up on how you stack up against the other six million books on there. It's some sort of strange rolling average algorithm, but what it comes down to is the more books that are purchased during that particular time frame, the higher you rank. The higher you rank, the more of their top 50 or top 10 lists you show up on. The more of those you show up on, the higher you go, the more attention you get, the more books you sell.

By getting as many people as possible to purchase the book on a single day, it really kicks a book up the rankings.

So mark your calenders, this Thursday the 10th.
Amazon link to Variant:

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