It is with great pleasure that I finally get to announce The Darkling is now live and available for purchase! ^_^

You can follow the links to my page here: http://thescriptors.com/our-books/

Or on my blog at Bad Cat Ink: https://sites.google.com/site/badcatink/my-books

Or you can find it directly at Amazon here:http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B009RUYC7G

Or you can find it directly at Smashwords here:https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/MelodyDaggerhart

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For now, this series is available in digital format only. I will convert it to paper when the series is complete. Meanwhile, books 1 and 2 in the series, The Changeling and The Fledgling, have both been updated to take advantage of the flexibility of digital formatting.

Yesterday when I first officially launched the book, I wrote about it, and the rest of the series, on my personal blog at Bad Cat Ink in terms of what genres are encompassed. It is primarily dark fantasy, which means it’s mostly fantasy, but sprinkled with horror elements. For the fantasy bit, it’s got elves, dragons, swords, and sorcery. For the horror bit, it has vampires and other undead, as well as the tragedy and violence that accompanies this genre that explores humanity’s fears. But this series also has elements of adventure, steampunk, folklore, comedy, romance, and literary fiction to hopefully keep it well-rounded, fun, and interesting. The Elf Gate series is one long tale that was simply too big to fit into one volume—like Lord of the Rings—an epic fantasy arc, rather than three separate adventures by the same characters in the same setting. So, it’s recommended to start with book one. But even if you get all three books, that’s three books for about the price you would normally pay for one paperback. It’s a great deal.

Anyway, if you wish to read more about how various genres are important to the final product, you can read the full article here: http://themelodiousoneschronicles.blogspot.com/ . But since this is my first time discussing the series for The Scriptors blog, let’s see if I can offer a wee recap/commentary without throwing out too many spoilers.

The Changeling (Book 1)

“When an English teen tries to help an injured elf in the woods near her home, Aija finds herself suddenly, and mistakenly, abducted into the realms of the fae. But the gate between their worlds has been destroyed by a dragon, and humans are executed on sight in this kingdom.

Trapped in the middle of a dissident uprising and catastrophic conspiracy, Aija must hide among elves until Trizryn, her abductor-turned-protector, can find another gate to return her to her own world. Could reviving an ancient blood-magic alliance help both of them survive this?

This dark fantasy tale with elements of steampunk, adventure, comedy, and romance is full of swords, sorcery, and secrets. And the secrets are only just beginning!”

This is a classic portal tale where a young woman is abducted by an elf to find herself a stranger in a strange land. Given my own life, I have always felt like a stranger in a strange land, so I love the adventure and exploration that come with new places or time travel in portal tales. It’s something I grew up relating to, so that is the primary reason I wrote these books with that as the main theme.

We’re all familiar with fairy tales to some degree, but each culture has it’s own variations on parallel themes with “The Hidden Folk” and the world of mortals. But in going there, Aija discovers it’s not what she thought it would be. And she learns that human ideas about such a place and such a people are a bit like the proverbial three blind men trying to explain what an elephant truly is. Her grandmother raised her in old Scottish tales, so she’s got bits of truth, but it’s the kind of thing most humans don’t come back from … like death. She has to learn how to fit her bits of truth into this broader picture that she knows absolutely nothing about. She has to learn that elven civilization is just that—a society that has problems similar to any human society, but with an alternate history and circumstances. Throughout the series, Aija must accomplish two things. She must first and foremost learn how to survive because she’s a fugitive—humans aren’t welcome there. But this isn’t just a story about a lost girl who has to find her way home; it’s about a lost girl who must look within to find herself. She’s got no magic, no fighting skills, no knowledge or experience to lean on here. She must depend on her allies until she can take care of herself. But her character is dynamic in how she does that over the course of the series.

Trizryn, the elf who abducts her thinking she’s a spy, very quickly realizes his mistake. But in trying to remedy the situation, he ends up making matters worse. Trizryn’s character was in-part inspired by the main character in one of the very first English-language novels, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Feilding. He’s the kind of person who means well, but somehow always ends up looking like the bad guy. In many ways, his journey parallels Aija’s. He’s not trapped in a strange location, but his own life is a bit of a mystery to him. And the more that he explores that, the more he’s going to have to look for his inner strengths, just like her.

This first book is meant mainly to introduce the initial cast of characters to each other and challenge them to work with one another. The main plot is introduced, but only minor subplots can be solved for this volume. This title, like the others in the series, is intentionally ambivalent because both of the leading characters qualify as “changelings” in multiple ways. (Maybe I’ll do my next blog on cover art and titles.) If you enjoy the first book and want to continue following the characters as they attempt to overcome the main hurdles in getting Aija home again, the next books in the series are as follows.

The Fledgling (Book 2)

“Trapped in the land of the fae, English teen Aija and her dark elf ally, Trizryn, are hunted by his Derra Eirlyn summoner, Kassí. Aija needs an elf gate to go home, and Trizryn needs to steal his summoning scroll to avoid being tracked. But when Kassí does her own investigation on the crumbling gates, they all soon discover a more immediate and deadly threat in their midst. In addition to this, unknown to her, Aija has been tainted with Trizryn’s blood — the blood of a fledgling vampire.

Now they must trust the summoner to betray her vows and deliver the scroll before tragedy strikes. But can they even still trust each other?

The adventure continues in an unpredictable turn of events as Aija journeys through this magical, surprising, and sometimes frightening dark-fantasy realm.”

As if Trizryn didn’t have enough problems avoiding being tracked while trying to get his hands on his summoning scroll and hunting down another ancient gate for Aija, now he’s got to find a way to tell her he’s a vampire … and that she’s tainted with his blood. The thing I love about Trizryn is that Aija and the readers meet him before he’s turned. This is not a “vampire story”. This is a story about a person who becomes a vampire. In other words, it’s one more challenge he must cope with and explore, but it doesn’t define who he is. How he copes with it defines who he is … for the reader, for Aija, and for himself.

Aija is beginning to accept the fact that she’s stuck as a fugitive in this realm, dependent on Trizryn and the other elves … for now, anyway. She begins taking a more active interest in learning about this new realm and her fae companions, but she’s still looking for connections to humanity when plans go awry. Instead of gaining the scroll for Trizryn’s freedom, they end up having to escape Brinnan through the undercity. And in doing so she takes her first baby steps toward realizing she does have the courage and adaptability that’s required to survive in her new circumstances.

Meanwhile, Trizryn’s summoner Kassí has quite possibly found the answers Trizryn was seeking regarding the gate conspiracy, but she ends up playing a pivotal role in setting off a powder keg of events that changes everything.

The Darkling (Book 3)

“Hoping for answers on how to fix the ancient elf gates, English teen Aija and her dark elf ally, Trizryn, must deliver stolen Derra Eirlyn documents to the Deep Warrens for translation. But when their investigation on the mysterious necromancer who took control of Absin’navad leads them to a gruesome discovery, they confirm Aija’s suspicions that she is not the only human in the fae realm and encounter a legendary monster with a shocking truth about Trizryn’s heritage.

Now Ilisram wants to negotiate for the surrender of the gate documents … and Trizryn. The table turns as Aija becomes the vampire’s protector, but when his final secret is revealed, nothing can prepare them for who he really is.

The adventure darkens; the romance heightens. The comedy in camaraderie continues in the beautiful, yet cruel, land of the fae.”

With the events at Absin’navad hanging around their necks like albatrosses, the elven fugitives set out to find an alliance of warriors to help them take it back. Now that they have the scroll, they still need a means to remove Trizryn’s summoning gem. And they need help translating the much-sought-after gate documents left in their care. Their journey seeking whatever information they can find on Ilisram takes them over the mountains and into the legendary Deep Warrens of Yggdrasil, home to the dark elves of Aesethna, and other creatures who prefer to dwell in darkness.

Now fully aware of Trizryn’s vampirism and wary of what that could mean for herself, Aija decides to confront the problem by “taking the bull by the horns”. While educating herself on the care and keeping of her vampire ally and friend, she insists on learning self-defense. She takes an even more active role contributing toward their daily survival tasks and their plans. And her artifact discovery from the previous book leads her to seek more evidence that she is not the only human in the fae realms.

For Trizryn, he’s still seeking a way to right his wrong by finding another gate for Aija, but he’s more aware than ever that they are running out of time. He’s already waging a personal war against the serum that is now beginning to affect his mind, as well as his body, but if the gates continue to fall, the consequences—for both of their worlds—will be catastrophic. And when the mysterious Gray Lady plants a seed of mystery about his already dubious origins, Trizryn is eventually forced him to confront the one secret he doesn’t even know about himself. This time, it is the human who must be strong for both their sakes.

 

It’s hard to focus on just the third book when it’s part of a series. But I have to say that the third book is my favourite among the set so far. I think readers who enjoyed the first two will like the third one.  Happy reading!

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