Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Coming Storm by Valerie Douglas

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Elon of Aerilann, Elven advisor to the High King of Men, helped negotiate the treaty between Elves, Dwarves and men. He suddenly finds that fragile truce threatened from without by an unknown enemy and from within by old hatreds and prejudice. With the aid of his true-friend Colath, the wizard Jareth and the Elven archer Jalila, he goes in search of the source of the threat.
Ailith, the Heir to Riverford, fights her own private battle. Her father has changed, something's wrong, but her search for answers puts her life and very soul in danger and leaves her only one direction in which to turn. Elon.
To preserve the alliance, though, Elon may have to choose between his honor, his duty and everything for which they've fought.


Valerie Douglas is the author of The Coming Storm series of epic fantasy. A prolific writer and a genre-crosser, much to the delight of her fans, in addition to classic fantasy she writes romance, suspense, and as V.J. Devereaux, erotic romance. Who knows what will pop up down the road! Happily married, she lives in the beautiful Ohio farmland with her husband, two dogs, three cats and an African clawed frog who delights in tormenting the cats from his tank. 


The mother bear had put up a terrible fight to save her cubs, as such will do when their young were threatened. All around the clearing the dirt was torn up, the underbrush crushed and the trees marked with blood and fur. It had been a valiant but futile effort on the part of the bear. Little remained of her and her offspring except for the blood, the shattered bones and
a few traces of offal. They stank but not nearly as much as the reek of something else, something that chilled Elon's blood.
"Kobold," he said, quietly into the unnatural silence of the wood, mute testimony to the fact that the predators that had done this still remained somewhere near.
They hadn't reckoned on kobolds. Although there had been reports of something killing down here, they'd thought it was perhaps a young orc or a boggart. So far from the borderlands, it would've been more likely by far to be a rogue bear.
It wasn't the bear that had gone rogue.
Every sense was alert, his eyes as much on the destruction here as on the least twitch of a branch against the breeze.
Around him, the eyes of the other Hunters scanned everywhere, down in the shadows, up into the branches and all around. Bows were strung and arrows were notched against what they couldn't see.
"Aye," Colath said, kneeling in the dirt next to a particularly noxious heap of offal and scat. Looking up, he gave Elon a significant look. "More than one."
Elon looked closer, not that he had any doubts as to true-friend's assessment. The signs were unmistakable. The coldness in his belly spread. Colath, his true-friend, paxman and most trusted companion, was vulnerable down there. Especially to kobolds, who ran low to the ground.
"Kobolds don't travel in packs. Something's wrong here. Get back in the saddle, Colath, and quickly."

Interview with Valerie Douglas

What will readers like about your book? If they've missed classic/epic fantasy,  the kind of book you can disappear into for hours, filled with excitement and complex, compelling characters you want to spend time with, then they will love this book. Or at least, that's what one review said. 

Why did you self publish? For the freedom of it. Traditional publishing is too locked in to the idea whatever they think is 'hot' right now. That's why you see bookstore shelves filled with paranormal romances - knockoffs of Sookie Stackhouse and the Twilight series. Not many traditional publishers want to take a chance  on other genres and styles - which I think cheats the readers. I've always believed there's room for all kinds of stories. Self-publishing has opened those possibilities, giving readers a much broader choice of books to read. 

What is your writing process?  I'm what's called a 'pantser' , I write by the seat of my pants. It usually starts with a single scene in my head, then the 'what happens next...?' and I'm off and running until the first draft is done. For me, it's like being part of the story and transcribing what I'm seeing, hearing, even smelling. It's all evocative. By the time I reach the end of the book, I know more about the characters, what drives them, I know details and places, so I do the second draft pretty quickly, and sometimes a third. Then I walk away for a little while, work on other projects, before I do an editing draft and send it off to my beta readers, who then pick it apart. Which becomes part of the final editing process. 

How long does it take you to write your first draft? Well, this one was pretty unusual even for me. I literally wrote the entire first draft in 72 hours of non-stop stream of consciousness writing - no sleep, drinking coffee and eating pistachios. *laughing* Second draft took a little over a week, but that's because I let myself sleep. 

What inspired you to write this particular story?  I had this crucial scene in my head, it's near the end of the book, if you read it you'll know EXACTLY which scene I'm talking about. (I can't describe it, spoilers!)  It just popped into my head in all it's epic glory - Elon striding through the crowd, Jareth at his heels... and then I had to know how they got where they were, and what happened next. I wanted to tell a story of honor and glory, loss and triumph and I think I did that.

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