Tuesday, April 5, 2011
FEATURED AUTHOR: Raven Clark
Ree Vera: So happy that you're here Raven. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Raven: Raven Clark is a pen name that came to me out of nowhere. I fell in love with it, to the point where I feel more like Raven than me. LOL.I use it because, aside from hating my real name, and thinking it's incredibly boring, I like my privacy. I like knowing that no matter what happens with my books, I will be able to maintain my privacy and continue to be me.
I started writing at the age of 12. I'd always been an avid reader, but never thought of writing before that. When I was 7, I saw the movie Superman for the first time. After seeing Christopher Reeves fly, I wondered what it would be like to create my own superhero. Almost immediately, my very own superhero scrolled into my head. But I still didn't consider writing. Then when I was 12, I had this fantastic teacher who drew four pictures of creatures and put them up on the board. He told us to choose one and write a story about it. 5 pages later, I gave him my story. He read it and then looked up at me and said, "You should be a writer." And the rest, as they say, is history.
I write primarily epic fantasy, though I have dabbled in urban fantasy and sci fi. I love adding romantic elements to my stories. I write fantasy because I find contemporary fiction too limiting. I love the freedom of creating whole new worlds for readers to get lost in.
Ree Vera: What is your style and why should people read your writing?
Raven: Because I go out of my way to be original, and because I'm not satisfied with just writing a book that will do well. I study the craft constantly, looking for ways to make my writing and my stories better, and I won't be satisfied until I create plots, characters, and worlds that are truly memorable, the kind that stand out in your head long after the last page.
Ree Vera: What are you currently working on?
Raven: My main project is Children of the Dragon, the first book in my Shadowsword Saga. I am also working on another project in a different genre under another pen name.
Ree Vera: Is there a place people can view your writing? Or would you like to include something at the end of this interview? Like a snippet or something.
Raven: Unfortunately, my work is not available to the public at this time, due to publication issues. But I've added a snippet from Children of the Dragon. It's still very much a work in progress, and rough, but it's there.
Thanks Ree, for doing this. I always enjoy being on your blogs.
Thanks y'all for taking the time to read about this great author! Be sure to hop over to her Facebook page and check out the posts on her own Blog. She has a knack for details in a way you won't believe.
Part of Chapter 2 from Children of the Dragon (wip)
**It's impossible to give a clip from the middle of a book like mine without a little background for context, and I already used the start on here once. So for background, Helena, our hero, (who is human and therefore not allowed to have magic) has seen a vision of a Dragonlord attacking her and decides to go to the one Dragonlord she trusts to help her without reporting her for having magic. Though trust is a relative term with any Suvia Kyan, but especially him. They have a trust/not trust sort of relationship. Dragonlords, or Suvia Kyans, are half human, half dragon - they look human, but they are bigger, and they have dragon magic, senses, agility and strength.**
When Helena didn’t answer him, the Dragonlord tightened his grip on her arm like a vise. “I asked you a question, woman. What did you do that needs Commander Kyas’ attention?”
Helena shook her head. “I didn’t do anything, My Lord.” She fought to keep her voice steady. The rank smell of onion on his breath made it difficult not to turn her face away.
The Dragonlord glared at her. Her mind raced. She could only think of one viable way to get to Kyas. Although more risky than faking a crime, it was better than revealing her powers.
“We had a bit of an argument, and I ran off. I shouldn’t have done such a thing, when he is always so good to me.”
“I’m…I’m his usik, you see.” Is it the right word for a woman romantically involved? She had heard it used by Suvia Kyan men when they spoke of their human conquests. “I have to get back before he grows angrier with me. Could you do me the kindness of taking me to him?”
The Guardsman’s eyes flashed with suspicion, but then his lips broke into a scornful smile. Her stomach twisted with humiliation under his nasty glare. Did I make a mistake? What does the word usik actually mean? He seized her elbow and she forced a neutral expression on her face.
“Come on then. I wouldn’t want to keep you from explaining yourself.” The Suvia Kyan’s tone brimmed with anticipation. “Someone ought to speak to Commander Kyas about being so lenient on his women. He indulges them with far too much freedom.”
The Dragonlord dragged Helena down the street and through a shortcut between two shops. Within perhaps ten minutes, they were out of Cheapside and in Mansion, Marin’s higher-class district. He weaved through the crowds of partiers, and the Suvia Kyans who patrolled them. Helena struggled to keep up with his stride, afraid her arm would come out of its socket if she didn’t. She longed to snarl at the man to release her, but kept her silence.
In short order, Helena found herself in front of a large, stately, marble-white hotel, the name The Golden Chalice embossed along the upper floor balcony. Hatred welled up in her at the symbol branded across the oak doors as the Dragonlord dragged her up the steps. Comprised of two inverted crescent moons, the inikon named the hotel a Suvia Kyan place of business, forbidden to humans except those who served as Kayadin.
Helena staggered behind him as the Guardsman pulled her through the doors and across the marble floor of the lobby. Dozens of humans, all dressed in traditional, coarse white robes of slaves in service to the Dragonlord race, rushed about the lobby. They scurried the faster at the growled commands and threatening looks from their masters. All wore pastel sashes about their waists.
During Autumnfest, generous Suvia Kyans allowed their Kayadin to dress in costume with the other humans, and some even gave a night off. No such generosity here. Disgust coiled in her gut. The Kayadin went about their work in silence, heads bowed. None of the slaves dared look at her.
The Guardsman marched Helena past the front desk, offering a nod to the Suvia Kyan attendant on his way to a winding staircase. He yanked Helena up the steps behind him and she winced at the strain she felt on her arm. Unnerved, it occurred to her just how strong Dragonlords were. How much damage would he cause if he summoned his dragon?
“You know,” the Dragonlord said, “were you my usik and you got away from me—which you would not—I would whip you until you howled.”
A shudder racked her frame at the menace in his tone. Helena tried to pull free of his grip but he yanked her the harder up the steps. Pain shot through her shoulder and she bit back a wince. The Dragonlord stopped on a landing halfway to the top of the stairs, and Helena glanced up to see a row of double doors leading to a dozen suites. A golden banister ran along the wall up the stairs. Is Kyas in one of those rooms? Can he hear me?
He turned to her and shook his head in disgust. “I am not surprised Commander Kyas would have chosen you. He has always had odd tastes, including a taste for insubordinate women. You may be beautiful, but you are far too self-possessive for your own good.”
Helena suppressed a gag as his fowl breath filled her nose. The Dragonlord seized her chin and forced her to meet his eyes.
“Do you know what we do to women who forget their place?”
Helena twisted, but his fingers bruised her cheeks. She’d play a role to get to Kyas, but not to the extent that this man could handle her so.
“Let go of me,” she snarled.
“Hardly the way a usik behaves.” Suspicion radiated in the Watermaker’s voice. He seized a fistful of her hair and yanked her head back.
Desperation roiled in her. Helena rose her voice just enough to be heard beyond the first floor. “I would never behave this improper with Lord Kyas, but I don’t think he’d take kindly to one of his officers handling me. Release me now, or My Lord will make you wish you hadn’t gotten out of bed this morning.”
“If in fact he really is your Lord, and you really are a usik.”
“What in the Great Dragon is going on out here, Galik?” A deep voice rang out from above them.
Galik’s head spun around and he released her. Helena glanced up.
Kyas Danshar leaned out over the banister at the top of the stairs. The double doors to his room stood open behind him. His chiseled features looked weary, probably from a long shift patrolling the city. His golden eyes narrowed in annoyance with the disruption Galik had made.
Helena hid her relief at the sight of him, even as familiar attraction, unnatural in its fierceness, heated her blood.
Kyas was dressed in full uniform, in the process of clipping on one of the shoulder clasps for his cape. If only he didn’t blow her cover…
His gaze fell on Helena, then shifted to Galik. His mouth tightened and she had the impression that he’d seen Galik handling her. Understanding crossed his features and she knew he’d heard everything, including Galik’s use of the term usik. She gave him a pleading look. Please, please tell me you’re getting this!
A smile of amusement played at the corners of Kyas’ lips. Helena’s heart plummeted. Oh, he wouldn't.
After a heartbeat, Kyas’s voice filled her head.
Do you trust me?
Worry bubbled inside her, but Helena quashed it and braced herself. Do what you have to do.
Before Galik could register the look they exchanged, Kyas’ features changed. His jaw clenched with a threatening hardness. “So you saw fit to defy me, I see?”
Helena blinked up at him, startled by the convincing anger. “I…”
“Commander Kyas.” Galik turned and marched her up the steps “It looks like I caught you on your way out and just in time.” Helena felt a twinge of worry at the smugness in his voice, that of one about to uncover a conspiracy.
“You have allowed your kindness to run away with you, Commander Kyas. Your usik seems to have forgotten herself.” He pushed her at Kyas so that she stumbled across the space toward him.
Kyas stepped forward and caught Helena under the arm before she could fall to the floor. “You forget yourself as well, Galik.” His eyes blazed. “I am quite capable of disciplining my own women, thank you.”
“I’m sorry, Commander, I thought…I was sure…” Helena could hear the confusion in his voice.
Without warning, Kyas’ strong hands tightened on Helena’s arms and he jerked her to him. Her eyes widened. Two heads above her, his granite-like features twisted into a look of fury.
“And you. Did you think you could get away from me, woman?” He put his face in hers, intimidating. “Did you really think I would let you escape my bed before I was finished with you, slave?”
She stared at him and her face heated. Slave. His bed. Oh no. Behind her, she could feel Galik’s gaze, watching for any sign of a ruse.
Lower your eyes! Do it! Now!
Much as she loathed to show him any submission, the urgency in Kyas’ thoughts left no room to ignore his words. She jerked her head aside, eyes downcast.
“Well, what have you to say for yourself?” When she didn’t reply, he shook her.
“I’m sorry,” Helena breathed. Her chest heaved against the cool steel of his breastplate.
“I’m sorry, what?” he snapped.
Confusion swam over her until she heard him in her head, his voice touched with amusement.
You have to say it, girl, otherwise, he’ll get suspicious. You chose the part of usik, so you must to play it out. You have to say ‘Master,’ and you have to say it fast.
Helena flashed a glare at him. She saw the gleam in his eyes before she lowered her gaze. I hate you.
No you don’t. “Yes what?” Kyas bit out.
He’s loving this. Rage boiled in her. It took all her will to force fealty into her voice. “Yes, master.”
“Commander, if I may speak freely for a moment?” Galik’s voice shook, despite the casualness his words implied.
“I’ll have words with you as soon as I deal with her.” Kyas turned Helena toward the bedroom, but instead of sending her into the room, his huge hand seized the back of her neck in an impression of force.
“I have been more than generous with you, usik, but perhaps you need motivation to remember your place, hmm? In there and await your punishment.” Kyas shoved her toward the doors.
Helena stumbled into the room and forced herself not to glare over her shoulder at him. A few paces inside, she froze and stared at the middle of the luxuriant bedroom suite. Oh, creation save me. His bed. Why did I do this?
A four-poster affair swathed in gold and green silks, the bed dominated the room, reducing the finely carven oak desk and nightstand at either side to a footnote for all their elegance. Opposite the bed, a set of glass doors with thick velvet green curtains led out to a wide terrace. I won’t be able to escape that way.
“What are you standing there for?” Kyas growled. “On the bed, now!”
Helena’s breathing filled her ears. She forced her legs to bring her across the room and dropped onto the side of the bed. Kyas yanked the doors over as he began talking to Galik. Helena had a feeling he left them open a crack on purpose. The men’s voices drifted from the hall and she strained to hear.
“Commander Kyas, I think you need to keep a stronger hand on your women,” Galik said. “And while we’re on the subject, your Kayadin, too. I see the way you treat them with such lenience. Your kindness is… admirable…but it could cost you a great deal.”
Helena widened her eyes. Was Kyas’ behavior toward her what Dragonlords considered kindness? What barbarians! Confusion warred with her surprise at the threat; if Kyas wasn’t careful, he could find himself in trouble for his compassion toward women, and perhaps toward her as a human. As a commander, wouldn’t Kyas’ rank put him beyond contestation? She was missing something, but what?
“Perhaps if you had sworn her to the Oath of Silence the moment you bought her, you would not find yourself in this mess, Commander,” Galik added now. “There are things about our race humans mustn’t know, which makes allowing a slave to escape a serious offence.”
Helena heard a thump near the door, as if Kyas shoved Galik against the wall. “Galik, shameful as the incident with this woman is for men of our position there are plenty of compromising situations I have found you in, which could find their way to the Dragonwatch Board of Directors.”
Galik snorted. “Like what? You don’t have anything on me, Commander.” But his voice sounded strained.
“I know you’ve been stealing bags of white snuff after raids and selling them.”
“How did you—”
“I have my ways,” Kyas said. “If you say anything about this, the Board of Directors will hear of your little operation. I doubt Chairman Colgar Jassar would care if one of his most highly decorated officers let a freshly purchased slave leave his hotel when she hasn’t been with her master long enough to know much more than his name.”
“You surprise me, Commander. I had you pegged for the noble hero. Very well. You got out of this one. But I know there is something going on here. Sooner or later you will make a mistake, and when you do, neither your rank, your obscene wealth, nor all your political connections will save you.”
Helena heard him stumble and she knew Kyas had shoved him off. “Nice to see we have an understanding. Return to your post at once.”
The tension left her muscles as she heard Galik move toward the stairs. Until Kyas spoke.
“You had better be in that bed by the time I get in there,” he said as he opened the doors.
Helena swallowed. He’s just keeping up the act until Galik is gone. He sounds so real!
Kyas swept into the room without looking at her, his cape a swirl of crimson around him. He moved to shut the doors and stopped. He rounded on her and Helena’s mouth dropped at the look of anger on his face. His huge shoulders tensed.
“You cause so much trouble for me,” Kyas snarled. “I’ll teach you to behave like that!”
Mystical white light flashed from his fingers and became a whipcord that stretched between his hands. Helena bolted to her feet. He swung the whip with a loud crack against the floor.
Helena tried to back away, but lost her balance and fell onto the bed. They were alone now, Galik was gone, but the angry look on Kyas’s face didn’t change. He stepped toward her and his fist tightened on the whip.