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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Balefire Chronicles: Balefire and Moonstone by Cynthia Gael

Title: The Balefire Chronicles: Balefire and Moonstone
Author: Cynthia Gael
Release Date: September 15, 2010 
Publisher: Gypsy Shadow Publishing


For Tommy Hopkins, the idea of witches is ridiculous. When he turns eighteen, Tommy will be the new Witchfinder General, a line that stretches back to the original, Matthew Hopkins. The Witchfinder General directs WFG Ltd., the richest company on the face of the earth, providing clean, non-polluting power—though few know the power they sell is drained from witches. Then Tommy meets and falls in love with Anya Blanchett, poor, friendless…and a fire witch of an ancient line. Now Tommy must learn to believe in witches so he can save the girl he loves—or is he destined to turn against her?

Welcome to Author Offerings, Cynthia. I’m so pleased you could join me today. What is your Offering?

CG: Thanks for having us!! We released Book One of The Balefire Chronicles entitled Balefire and Moonstone in September.

What is Balefire and Moonstone all about?

CG: Witches and witchfinders. Love and magic. Ooh, and there’s a curse in there too. Ultimately, this first book revolves around the discovery of self, magic, and love for our main characters.

That sounds awesome. How did you come up with the idea?

CG: Well, Cynthia Gael is actually two people, the fabulous K.G. McAbee and myself, Cynthia Witherspoon. We came up with the idea over lunch a year ago, and now we’re working on book three. I’ll admit, we’ve been surprised at how easy it has been to create the Balefire universe, and how it continues to grow with each book and short story we write.

I know this is book number one in the series The Balefire Chronicles. Did you begin writing with a series in mind, or did your muse take over?

CG: We liked the idea of doing a series, but again, didn’t count on how easy it was going to be. This is the first time I’d ever collaborated with anyone, and Gail’s been absolutely wonderful! We have this whole psychic link thing going on which spurs us forward, story after story. Maybe it’s our muse, or the writing gods. I’m not sure, but I’m grateful for it!

As a multi-published author, what advice do you have for those just beginning a career as a writer?

CG: It’s really just four words: Read. Write. Submit. Repeat. And don’t take ‘no’ for an answer either. Listen, I know rejections are hard. And so is finding time to sit down and build the worlds of your imagination. But if you truly love to write (and not just the idea of being a writer), then you’ll do it. G. and I both lead crazy lives, with jobs and husbands and dogs. But we love what we do, and there’s nothing that’s gonna come between us and our keyboards!

Tell the readers about your backlist.

CG: Gail’s is much, much longer than mine since I started out as a short story writer. Some of my more recent work has been published in the following anthologies:

Pellucid Lunacy
An Honest Lie Volume Two
By Mind or Metal

Gail has several novels published with a variety of publishing houses, including
Calderwood Books, which has her Dream Realm winner for best YA fantasy, THE DARK LEGACY, and its sequel, THE ISLAND PRISON. She’s also got books at Uncial Press, Double Dragon Press, Wild Cat Books, Moonstone Books and others. She’s also had over seventy short stories published in zines and anthologies. Her most recent sales were two shorts to Untreed Reads: “BLZ” and “Keep Your Friends Close.”

What are you working on now?

CG: We are each working on our half of the third book of The Balefire Chronicles: Balefire and Bloodstone. So far, so good! We still have all ten of our fingers!

Do you have an evil day job, if so, how do you find time to write?

CG: We’re always writing. Yeah, I know, it sounds clich√©. But it’s true! Scenes hit us, or great dialogue, or new characters and stories whether we’re at our jobs or not. That said, we do set aside every other Saturday to get together and write in front of the keyboard. Or go over the things we’ve already been working on. Or just to talk and brainstorm.

What is your creative process?

CG: Oh, now this is a tough one! More often than not, one of us will pop up and say ‘I want to write about ’. So on our next get together, we brainstorm, then outline (I’m a stickler for outlines), and get started. More often than not, our outline turns into a loose roadmap of where we’re going in the story/book because our characters do surprise us with ideas of their own.

What does your family and friends think about you being a published author?

CG: It’s fun to be recognized for what we do by friends and family, and publications, and doing interviews like this one. Many of them don’t know how we find the time to write, much less how we come up with our ideas. But overall, we’ve gotten a really good reception to our work. And we’re awfully proud of it!

It’s December again! I can’t believe Christmas is upon us all ready. What are your holiday plans?

CG: Nope. No plans here. We’re too busy writing!

Do you go all out with decorating?

CG: Who has time to decorate when there are so many books to be written? And read?

What would be the perfect Christmas gift for you?

CG: A Kindle. Or a Nook. Or the chance to do our writing fulltime. Yeah, that’s what we want! Writing fulltime!

Thank you so much for being here. Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know?

CG: We’d like to thank all of our readers, and especially our friends in the UK! They helped Balefire and Moonstone into the Top 100 on’s Bestseller list for Young Adult Romances, and we’re so thankful to them!

And before we go, can we get a juicy excerpt from Balefire and Moonstone?

CG: Of course! We hope you all enjoy it!

Excerpt from BALEFIRE AND MOONSTONE by Cynthia Gael. Published by Gypsy Shadow Press. ISBN 978-0-9844521-6-3

Tommy was asleep.
I sat in silence, surprised at how comfortable it was, just lying next to him in the sun by the water.
He needs this, Annie. This rest, free from the dreams of the dead. Of the dying.
The voice that had announced his arrival now whispered as if afraid he would hear it. It broke the quiet, the tranquility. I pulled my hand back after it spoke, stood up to walk over to the water’s edge.
I refused to let the guilt set in; not yet. It felt as if this day shouldn’t have happened.   Too easy.
And all because of the spell.
Would he be here if it had never been cast?
I sighed as I bent down and picked up a rock. A flick of my wrist sent it across the water.
Yes. Eventually, he would have. Your paths were meant to cross, child.
I don’t deserve this day. This . . . peace. He is here because I’m selfish. Nothing more, nothing less.
Each pebble left tiny ripples across the pond. I focused on the thin lines I created, one upon the other, until my thoughts were lost within them.
The sun had slipped farther beneath the tree line than I realized when I came back to my surroundings. Tommy was right where I left him, his arms folded behind his head and his eyes closed to the late afternoon sun.
Magic or no, I felt lucky to have had this time with him.
Almost normal.
I sank onto the ground next to him; I reached out to brush at a piece of grass stuck against his cheek. His face turned into my hand as I did something I never do.
I giggled.
The sound must have awakened him; his eyes opened.
“Welcome back.” My voice was soft as looked up at me. The gamut of emotions that crossed his face was too hard for me to read, so I gave up trying. Instead, I gestured toward the sun dipping low on the horizon, leaving the sky a paled version of the dawn.
“It’s getting late.”
He leaned up on a single elbow, those blue eyes darker than I’d ever seen them. Tommy’s free hand reached out to grasp the side of my face and my breath caught in the back of my throat as I felt his thumb brush against the skin beneath it. He leaned up, slow and careful, to press his lips to mine. I had to admit, I was startled. But what surprised me the most was how I responded. It wasn’t until we parted that he threw a crooked grin in my direction.
“Sorry. I don’t know what just came over me.”
“Don’t . . . don’t apologize.” I smiled despite myself. “Never for a kiss, at least.”
The grin grew wider as he sat up, faltering only when he began to notice the darkening skies over the water.
“Geez. How long was I out?”
I chuckled as I stood and reached down to take his hand.
“Long enough. You looked like you needed it though.”
As his palm touched mine, what felt like an electric hum vibrated through my system and I stifled a gasp. The beating of my heart increased against it, and once he was on his feet, I released him. I made sure my back was to him so the expression of shock wouldn’t give me away.
What was that? I hissed to the voice as the sound of his steps followed mine before I turned to face him. Tommy looked as surprised as I had a moment ago. At this point, I didn’t know what to say.
Or what to do.
The voice laughed inside my head. I knew I’d gone crazy the other day. It was again confirmed.
Voices, ghost images of Tommy. Impulsive kisses and now, electrical touches.
Yeah. I’m too far gone for help now.
I waited for him. It didn’t take him long to reach my side.
“It’ll be dark soon. I don’t want them sending a search party out for us if I don’t get you back in time.”
He laughed as we began to walk up the path. “Yeah, Grand can be pretty brutal when she wants to be. She really knows how to snap you back in line if you get out of it.”
The fading light showed how right the voice had been about Tommy needing sleep. The pallor in his face had all but disappeared, the darkness under his eyes dissipated. He looked better than he had since he got here, and I secretly thanked this sacred place for helping him.
We chatted on the way back. As we approached the house, a groan escaped as I recognized the car in the drive next to Tommy’s.
Ivy was home.
I could almost hear the questions sure to hit me the minute I got inside.
We said our goodbyes quickly. But just before he reached the car, I remembered something he had told me.
“Tommy . . . wait.”
He turned with the small smile back on his face. I hated to see him leave, but I knew his visit would have to come to a close before the night came. The bouquet of lavender was still lying where I had dropped it earlier, and I grabbed it and slipped the green ribbon out of my hair. My hair fell down my back and around my face, but I shook it out of the way as I tied the ribbon into a bow.
I was back to him in less than two seconds.
“Here. Take these to your Grand. From you. She seems like she’s been through a lot. It’ll make her smile.”
I saw no reason to tell him lavender was also for a blessing. Great to chase away negativity.
Tommy took it and tilted his head as he turned it in his hands. “But . . . I mean, thanks and all that, but honestly we’ve got so many flowers in the house, the smells would just choke you.”
“Trust me, Tommy. These aren’t the hothouse ones everybody on the face of the planet has been sending you guys. Besides, tell her they are just for her. It’ll make her feel better. It’s lavender . . . an herb for calming.”
We smiled at each other and he turned to go, waving the bouquet at me before he climbed back into the car; the brilliant color of it seemed to have dulled in the fading afternoon.
When he was with me, the happiness I felt had multiplied. Yet the guilt that had threatened by the pond began to set in as he pulled out of the drive. The light afternoon we had shared didn’t belong to me, and I knew it. With his kiss still on my lips, I felt as if the wind had been knocked out of me.
It was because of the spell. All of it. I had done magic. A working. And now I was going to have to make a choice and suffer the consequences.
The sudden sadness was overpowering as I gathered up the remaining flowers and threw them aside for later. The pinks and pale yellows of the sky had turned to a rich purple as I moved inside; I ignored as best I could the curiosity in the expressions of Evie and Ivy. Their questions about Tommy would have to wait.
I walked with the heavy steps of a dead man up to my room before shutting the door to close off me from the world.
A love not freely chosen is not really a love at all.
I sank across the bed and buried my head in the crook of my arm.
It’s enslavement.
I knew what I had to do. Yet I loathed the very thought of it. I fought with the defiance of a stubborn child, but I was better than that. When I sat up, I had made my decision.
I have to let him go.

                       And don't miss book two in the Balefire series!

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