Tuesday 8 October 2019

Guest post: Beasts of the Frozen Sun by Jill Criswell

Beasts of the Frozen Sun
Jill Criswell
(Frozen Sun Saga #1)
Publication date: August 6th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Burn brightly. Love fiercely. For all else is dust.
Every child of Glasnith learns the last words of Aillira, the god-gifted mortal whose doomed love affair sparked a war of gods and men, and Lira of clan Stone knows the story better than most. As a descendant of Aillira and god-gifted in her own right, she has the power to read people’s souls, to see someone’s true essence with only a touch of her hand.
When a golden-haired warrior washes up on the shores of her homeland–one of the fearful marauders from the land of the Frozen Sun–Lira helps the wounded man instead of turning him in. After reading his soul, she realizes Reyker is different than his brethren who attack the coasts of Glasnith. He confides in her that he’s been cursed with what his people call battle-madness, forced to fight for the warlord known as the Dragon, a powerful tyrant determined to reignite the ancient war that Aillira started.
As Lira and Reyker form a bond forbidden by both their clans, the wrath of the Dragon falls upon them and all of Glasnith, and Lira finds herself facing the same tragic fate as her ancestor. The battle for Lira’s life, for Reyker’s soul, and for their peoples’ freedom has only just begun.


For me, the most fun scenes to write are ones with action or romance. There’s a scene in Beasts of the Frozen Sun where Lira winds up a hostage of one of Reyker’s arch enemies. It’s very cinematic and has a mix of all the things I love—an action-packed emotional battle scene, followed by romantic confessions and a bit of kissing. There’s a lot of meaning packed into a handful of pages, and I had a great time writing it.

Here’s an excerpt of the action:  

The axe tore the air as Reyker leaped.

Ulver dodged a half-second before the blade reached him, and it slammed into rock in a drizzle of sparks. As Reyker spun, Ulver drew his axe, and they crashed against each other, weapons and bodies colliding, stumbling from one side of the cave to the other.

Between swings, they threw punches and kicks. They weren’t just fighting to kill—this grudge ran deep, forged years ago in the blood of Reyker’s kinsmen. They wanted to tear each other to pieces.

They didn’t notice me pick up the broken spear.

Ulver thrust a kick into Reyker’s knee. He staggered. Another kick sent him to the floor. With Ulver bearing down on him, he rolled onto his back, bracing the axe handle across his chest to protect his body from the Dragonman’s falling blade. The handle cracked, absorbing the blow.

With another strike, it would snap. 

Before Ulver swung again, I stabbed the spear into his ribs. He roared, turning to aim his weapon at me.

Reyker’s axe lodged into Ulver’s thigh. The Dragonman screamed.

Grabbing his arm, Reyker planted his foot on Ulver’s chest and rocked backward. Ulver flew over Reyker’s head and hit the ground, his weapon skidding away. In an instant, Reyker was up and the axe was in his hands. He raised it high, brought it down fast.

Bone crunched. Blood flowed.

And an excerpt of the romance:

I ran my fingertips over the black flames of his warrior-mark. “I don’t care who you were. I know who you are, Reyker. My friend. My wolf.” And so much more, so many things I had no words for.

I touched my mouth to his. Reyker pulled me closer and I sank against him, my arms slipping behind his neck. His hands stroked the length of my spine, settled in the small of my back. I felt the rise and fall of his chest with every breath, the pound of his heart vibrating between my breasts.

He pulled away too soon, shaking his head. “Not here.” He glanced at the pools of blood, the dead bodies. “When I kiss you more it will be in a beautiful place.”

I thought of gallows and dungeons, of homes burnt to ash and blood soaking into snow. “There’s nothing beautiful left.”

“There is,” he promised. “We will find it. You will see.”

Author Bio:
Jill Criswell is a writer of Young Adult Historical Fantasy. She was born and raised in the swamps of northeastern Florida. She earned degrees in English and Psychology and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida. Her greatest passion, besides reading and writing, is traveling the world; she's visited fifty countries across six continents, falling in love with places like Iceland, Namibia, and Cambodia. She works as a university English teacher and lives in South Carolina, near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with her husband and daughter (who is named after a volcano in Iceland).



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