Author Archives: Lara
Dindi is kidnapped to be the bride of a shark... To escape she must untangle a terrible curse caused by a love and magic gone wrong.
This stand-alone novella is set in Faearth, the world of The Unfinished Song. Available here ONLY.
The Unfinished Song - This Young Adult Epic Fantasy series has sold over 70,000 copies and has 1,072 Five Star Ratings on Goodreads.
Author Archives: Lara
So I don’t live in Texas (or close enough to drive there, unfortunately) but I keep finding fun things there that make me just a little jealous. Take for instance, the movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse. This is a really awesome theater, stadium seating and small tables, where you can have a meal while you watch a movie. Or cereal while you watch old cartoons. There is one where I live (thank you, thank you!) and I love saving up for that one awesome movie that I just really want to see on the big screen with a pizza and plate of chocolate chip cookies. But there’s also a part of Alamo that isn’t in the theater.
For adults, waiting for their movie, Alamo offers associated bars, right next door, where they can enjoy a few drinks before seeing the show. Personally, I prefer the milkshakes you can order during the movie, but I found out recently that different Alamo locations have different bars, and the one in Austin Texas just sounds so much cooler than the one here.
It is called 400 Rabbits. A friend of mine noticed the name as one of the associated company’s in Alamo’s email chain, and we wondered “what sort of company would have a name like that?” Well, Google answered, no company would–but a bar does, and the bar’s website explained why.
“In Aztec Mythology, the goddess Mayahuel rules both fertility and the maguey or agave plant. Along with the god Patecatl, she protects the maguey and its fermented sap, or pulque. One night, in a fit of passion, Patecatl and Mayahuel consummated their relationship and Mayahuel found herself pregnant.
She gave birth to the Centzon Totochtin or 400 Rabbits, who were nurtured on pulque from her many breasts, and grew into the Gods of Drunkenness. These divine rabbits travel through the land, frequent parties and gatherings and deliver the gift of drunkenness to the people, with each Rabbit representing the different ways in which a person can experience intoxication.
While we encourage responsible consumption at 400 Rabbits, we hope the spirit of these divine and fun loving conejos permeates the room.”
Now can you see why I am just a little bit jealous? How many bars teach you mythology about drinking and alcohol? I will never look at rabbits the same way again.
Another amazing series from one of my favorite authors of all time, this time centering around a strange girl from the wild who has a talent with animals. Daine manages to get a job in the stables of the same royal palace that Kinght Alanna trained and serves at. But she has a terrible secret. Daine’s unique way with animals is the reason she had to flee her home in the mountains, and it’s far too powerful to keep hidden from the new friends she makes in the Kingdom of Tortall. Luckily, Tortall is far more accepting than Daine’s old home, and she soon finds that her strange powers fit in with a wizard who turns himself into a bird, a thief made into a lord, and a woman knight under the protection of the Goddess.
However, as kind as the people she meets are, Daine still remembers how the villagers from her home killed her mother and set fire to her house, for fear of Daine’s abilities. Can she really trust her new friends? Or are they just using her, because her powers are becoming very useful with the kingdom overrun by Immortal creatures taking up residence all across the land and causing trouble?
This is another Tamora Pierce book I adore, and it even has many appearances of my most favorite Lady Knight. But Daine herself quickly won my heart over, even as different from the brave Alanna as she is. Daine has the gift of talking to animals–any animals, even immortal beings from the Realm of the Gods. If people weren’t terrible, she likely would have lived a peaceful, quiet life in solitude. But, because the villagers didn’t understand her magic, they claimed she and her mother were evil witches, and drove Daine out with fire. This event changed Daine, making her less trusting of strangers (human ones) and far more secretive and cautious than she was as a child. She eventually learns to trust again, and also to be proud of her power, rather than fearing how people will see her. Which is a good thing, because those Immortals running rampant everywhere? They aren’t just looking for mischief, they’re invading the mortal realms to set up homes of their own, and they don’t want to share with humans. So the Kingdom of Tortall, and all the Kingdoms of men, are in great need of any help they can get, and Daine’s power may be just enough to save them.
The Immortals series was one that I read and reread until the binding wore out, and now those tattered books sit in a treasured spot on my shelf. So give it a try and see if you’ll fall in love with Wild Magic too!
Alanna The First Adventure is the first in a series of the adventures about Alanna- the first woman knight of the realm of Tortall. But before she earns her knighthood, Alanna must disguise herself as a boy and go through years of training as a page and a squire, then pass the Ordeal of Knighthood and survive. As the daughter of a noble, Alanna would normally be out of luck, as everyone at court would know who she is. But fortunately, her father is a recluse, and while everyone knows the Lord of Treband has two children, the most anyone can remember about them is that they are twins, but not that one of them is a girl. Also fortunate, is that Alanna’s brother, Thom, would much rather be a great wizard than a knight. So, the twins switch places, disguising themselves as each other until Thom reaches the Daughters of the Goddess to train in magic, and Alanna (now calling herself Alan) reaches the Palace to train as a page.
Alanna faces a lot of hurdles on her course to become a knight. It’s bad enough she’s the smallest of the new pages and so gets more than her fair share of bullies, but she also has to keep the secret of who she really is from those few people who become her closets friends. Friends like the Crown Prince training a few years ahead of her, and the rugged leader of the capital’s thieves. But she can’t keep her secret forever, because while boys and girls look much alike as children, they start to change right around the ages of a Palace page. More terrible though, is the growing conspiracy to assassinate the Prince, and as one of his closest friends, Alanna finds herself in the line of fire.
I love a lot of Tamora Pierce’s books, and the Song of the Lioness saga is definitely one of my favorites. Alanna is fun, brave, determined, everything I wanted to be when I was a kid. She was an amazing heroine to grow up with, because as awesome as the first book is, the other three get even better.
Okay, time to tell you about one of my favorite books of all time. The Darkangel by Meredith Ann Peirce. This story is about a girl named Aeriel. She is the servant of a beautiful, rich maiden, Euduin, who is to be married. But just before the ceremony, Eoduin is kidnapped by the frightful darkangel, with fiercely beating black wings and pale dead skin. Aeriel’s masters blame her for their daughter’s loss, and everyone gives up all hope of ever saving poor Eoduin. Even Aeriel knows there is no chance her friend is still alive, for the icari, the vampyres can drink a maiden’s blood and soul before she has a chance to scream. So, instead, she vows to avenge her friend and kill the terrible vampyre so that no other maidens are taken and no other lives destroyed.
But when she meets the vampyre again, she is stunned by his beauty—his twelve midnight wings are resplendent and his face the fairest she has ever seen. She falls unconscious and is taken to the darkangel’s castle to be a servant to his wives. For thirteen years, the darkangel has kidnapped beautiful women and wed them, stealing their souls and drinking their blood on their wedding night. These hideous wraiths wail and scream so for the loss of their souls and beauty, that they must be attended so they stay quiet. Aeriel finds the newest wife is her own Eoduin.
Aeriel is forced to care for the wives of the darkangel, and feed his terrible gargoyles, and tell the darkangel stories whenever he grows bored. She learns to love the pitiful women who had so much stolen from them, and to pity the frightful gargoyels who she knows will rip her to pieces if she ever tries to escape, but who are so mistreated and frightened, she cannot help but see them as prisoners the same as herself. She even finds that she can pity the darkangel, for he is not yet a true vampyre, not ugly and twisted and thirsting for souls and blood. The wraiths tell her that he is collecting souls for his dreaded mother, the lorelei, who drank his blood years ago and made him what he is now. She will eat the souls he brings her, and then eat his own—turning him into a true vampyre, empty and forever hunting souls to fill that emptiness, just as his six older brother do across the world in far off lands. The wraiths tell Aeriel she must kill the darkangel before he collects his fourteenth bride and steals her soul, but Aeriel has begun to love him, for she finds him to be as pitiful as all the other tragic residents of the castle. Trapped and twisted by his mother, as surely as the wives were by him.
Can Aeriel bring herself to kill the darkangel before he ruins any more lives? Or will she find a way to save him?
The Darkangel is the first book in a trilogy of Aeriel’s adventures across the land of Avaric, where the plains are pale dust, the mountains low, and the blue-white moon Oceanus hangs always in the sky while the Solstar rises and sets a fortnight apart. I dearly love this book, I cannot do it much justice trying to explain how beautiful the settings are, how rich stories, nor how emotional I get when Aeriel speaks to the darkangel or weaves garments for the wraith wives. The following books, A Gathering of Gargoyels and The Pearl of the Soul of the World, are no less entrancing and together they are one of the best fantasy stories I have ever read. If you haven’t yet, I absolutely recommend you check them out—you won’t be disappointed!
The third installment of Hero & Heroine is out! The magazine features stories in many diverse fiction genres, by authors such as Marion Zimmer Bradley, Tracy Falbe, and our very own Tara Maya, as well as many others.
Courage & Honor.
Romance & Passion.
Magic & Science.
We’ve included many genres of speculative fiction in Hero & Heroine Magazine. You’ll find everything from Hard Science Fiction to Steamy Paranormal Romance, from Steampunk to Time Travel, from High Fantasy to Urban Fantasy. All the stories, whatever the subgenre, have Happy Endings, or at least Happy For Now endings… and although not all the stories include a love story, any that do end Happily Ever After.
“Over the Hills and Far Away,” by Douglas Kolacki
A powerful curse can become an even stronger blessing.
He didn’t know what he was in for when he married a movie actress’ doppelganger in a magical land. But this will be the least of his worries when their greatest threat emerges from the woods…
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal, 3,600 words
“An Orc at the Ball,” by Michael Stephens
An Orc goes to the Spring Ball…
When Scagie an Orc of the Bog decides to go on her own to the Spring Ball, what she finds on the dance floor is more than just a boring High Court ceremony.
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Young Adult, 6000 words
“Attack on Vetanium,” by Tracy Falbe
A surprise attack.
Dreibrand and Miranda are nurturing settlements in Nufal. Shan, the king of the rys, has recently redeemed this land that had been left in ruins for thousands of years. To everyone’s shock and horror, two tabre rise from a long hibernation. They are the sole survivors of an ancient war with the rys, and they have come for revenge….Dreibrand and Miranda are the hero and heroine of The Rys Chronicles. At this point in the saga, they are nurturing settlements in Nufal. Shan, the king of the rys, has recently redeemed this land that had been left in ruins for thousands of years. To everyone’s shock and horror, two tabre have risen from a long hibernation. They are the sole survivors of an ancient war with the rys, and they have come for revenge.
Genre: Epic Fantasy, 4,100 words
“The Speed of Love,” Deborah Walker
Love is patient…
They move at a different pace than humans. What can bridge the gap?
Genre: Science Fiction Romance / Flash Fiction
“The Corn Maiden,” by Tara Maya
A woman without memories…but not without a past.
The childless couple had always yearned for a child. Then they found a lovely, fragile maiden in a field and took her in. But she is not like other young women…
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Flash Fiction
“The Falcons of Narabedla,” by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Flung into the far future…
In 1957, Mike Kenscott, a veteran of the Korean, is back home in the Sierra Nevada mountains, trying to re-adjust to civilian life, when he suddenly finds himself flung into the far future. To the people of this era, when two suns shine in the skies of Earth, Mike is known as Adric, master of the Crimson Tower, warlord and conqueror.
Mike’s only chance to return to his own identity is to find the Keep of the Dreamer. To do that he must determine who is friend and who is foe, evade the terrible falcons of Narabedla—whose touch can enslave a man’s mind—and possibly start a revolution.
But the biggest battle will be inside his own mind—because the real Adric wants his body back…
Genre: Retro Future / Science Fiction, 12,0000 words
“First Steps of a Hero,” by Judith Rook
He has a lot to learn…
Escaping from the local bully is part of David’s life, but when the bully threatens his sister, the peaceable young school-leaver must turn into a hero as best he can.
He needs help, and he gets it – from an enigmatic man who lives in a parallel dimension. But with the man comes a danger which could threaten the safety of Earth, and only David can deal with it.He needs help, and he gets it – from an enigmatic man who lives in a parallel dimension. But with the man comes a danger which could threaten the safety of Earth, and only David can deal with it.
Check out all these awesome stories available in this summer’s new issue and check out past issues over on Amazon!
I don’t know about the rest of you, but my favorite fantasy creatures throughout my life are—without question—dragons! I know I’m supposed to like mermaids or unicorns more, and I do like them (I certainly love unicorns as much as it is humanly possible to love anything you’ve never really met) but they cannot compare to dragons. How can they? Dragons can be large or small, they can fly or swim, they can breathe fire or ice, they come in every imaginable color. They can be soft and silky, or sharp and iron-hard. Dragons can be made of rock, or steel, or clouds, or grass. They can live anywhere and eat almost everything, from sheep to diamonds. It all depends on what type of dragon you want, and it will be.
So, to share my love of dragons, I’m going to list my top five favorite dragon books—and the amazing dragons in them!Continue reading
Great news everybody! Tara and seven other amazing authors have made a special Faerie themed Giveaway on Instafreebie. But they’ll only be available till this Friday, so get them fast! Click the links below for your free books~
Mask: The Unfinished Song Book 7 by Tara Maya
War of the Fae Book 1 By Elle Casey
Faelorehn: The Otherworld Series Book 1 by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson
Tales of Arilland by Alethea Kontis
Falling For Fire by Talia Jager
Dark Promise by Talia Jager
A Dark Faerie Tale Series Books 1 & 2 by Alexia Purdy
Lotus: Daughter of Darkness by C.J. Pinard
Feyland: The Dark Realm by Anthea Sharp
It’s summer~ a time for flowers and dirt, water sprinklers and shady grass. I’ve got my vegetable and herb garden planted and have already enjoyed a few harvested radishes and salad greens! But there are lots of fun garden things to do that don’t involve veggies, like–Fairy Gardens!Continue reading
One of my favorite fantasy creatures as a teenager was vampires—they were cool, had nice clothes, did whatever they wanted, and stayed up as late as they wanted. Okay, so they could only really stay up at night—I was young and silly, and easily pleased, staying up at night was one of the best super powers a character could have in my opinion. In any case, this love of vampires meant I collected a lot of books about vampires. Anne Rice, Bram Stoker, Laurell K. Hamilton, Hideyuki Kikuchi… there wasn’t actually a lot, was there? At least compared to now, where vampires are all over the place. Man, was I born in the wrong decade.
Anyway! One particular vampire book really caught me for a few years, because it was so different from all the other vampire books of the time. If you know any of the above authors, you’ll know their stories are all about adults and vampires. There just wasn’t a lot of teen fiction involving vampires back then—except for one. Silver Kiss by A. C. Klause. Now this book was intense! Not only was it about a teenager and vampire, it was also a romance! And a tragedy… Yeah. Back then, I’m pretty sure adults were trying to convince all the youngsters that vampires were too dangerous for anyone but an adult, because almost every teen-vampire book I found basically replayed the end of Romeo and Juliet. Silver Kiss wasn’t any different, but something about the heartfelt emotion of the characters made the bittersweet ending more bearable.
The book starts out with Zoe, our protagonist. She is a young teen whose mother is dying in the hospital, leaving her father with no time for her since he’s always by his wife’s side. Her best friend doesn’t have any time for her either, because she has no idea how to deal with death and is more concerned about her family moving to another state. Zoe can’t even visit her mother because the doctors say she “exhausts” her mother too much. She’s alone. So, she stops sleeping, forgets to eat most of the time, and wanders around the park at night when the house gets too quiet to bare. It is on these walks in the dark that she encounters Simon.
Simon, as you may have guessed, is a centuries old vampire. He spends his nights eating rats, and stalking another vampire, who both turned him and murdered his mother many years ago. By day, he rests in a large suitcase filled with the dirt of his birthplace, hidden in an abandoned building. Simon finds himself curious about the girl who walks around the park in the middle of the night, and soon discovers she is as alone as he is. The ever closer approach of her own mother’s death becomes another similarity he feels between them.
As they meet more often, Zoe and Simon find a kindred spirit in each other, as well as a willing listener to their pain. They give each other solace and understanding as they learn from each other how to face the loss of death in their lives. For Zoe, she learns how to mourn with Simon, when everyone else leaves her alone. For Simon, he learns to accept the demise of his family, and himself, comforted by the fact that Zoe will not leave him alone. They grow close because of their similar pain, but discover that staying by each others side, they can sooth that pain enough that life is still worth living.
I’m not ashamed to admit that this book made me cry the first time I read it, and maybe I teared up when I read it again to refresh my memory. It’s a dark love story, and the only happy ending is in the characters’ own belief that life is precious, death isn’t the end, and the knowledge that even when people leave you, you aren’t alone. It’s a pretty heavy message for a teen vampire book to give, but it does so beautifully and it certainly reached me. I know there’s tons of vampire books to check out now, but I definitely recommend The Silver Kiss as a must read for any vampire fan!
Hey everyone! This is Lara, and I’ve got to apologize for the long blackout! My computer caught a bug and I’ve been trying frantically to save files and pin down whatever was causing the problem. Tara, of course, has been busy with her adorable baby and couldn’t help me. Hopefully now we’ll be back to regular updates!
For now, have a preview of a future post~