Let’s welcome a fellow Lyrical Press author who has a book releasing today as well. Thank you, Antonia, so much for joining us here at Playground Mystique!
Cindy: Let’s start off with a little bio. Give us a peek in to your life:
Antonia: Hiyas Cindy and everyone! I’m really excited to be here. A peek into my life huh? Well, I’m a thirty year old, born and raised Batli-moron (Baltimore, MD). I work in as a lab technician for Johns Hopkins University and love cats, reading, writing and playing Final Fantasy XI. I’m also a dragon lover, which you’ll when you read my Tales of the Rikashi Series.
C: When did you know you wanted to become a professional author?
A: I think I’ve always wanted to be a professional author. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I went through a period right after college and before I met Del where I wasn’t writing (about 2 years) where I was miserable. So this is a real dream come true for me.
C: What inspired the story of your series, Tales of Rikashi?
A: It kind of evolved in a weird way. I’ve always seen my muse as a dragon shifter and I needed an idea for NaNoWriMo, so I started thinking about what if my muse had a brother? I’m a big Anne McCaffery fan so the idea of dragons has always been in my head.
C: An entire world of dragon-shifters seems like quite an undertaking. How did you go about constructing the culture and mythology?
A: I tried to pull bits and pieces from real mythologies and cultures and made a mish-mash to create the Rikashi cultures. They are a matriarchal society with a very pagan-like religion. I picked all the pieces of religions and cultures that I think are interesting and mixed them up to get what you see in my world.
C: The first book, The Quickening, has such a charming, engaging plot, especially the character Aer. Could you give us a little insight into this sexy shifter?
A: I love Aer, he’s so funny. He’s got a really quick temper but he’s just as easily diffused. Don’t tell him I told you this, but he’s really just a big teddy bear. He acts grumpy to cover that up.
C: The Gathering is a continuation of the Tales of Rikashi. Did the series come to you all at once or did the story reveal itself in stages as you wrote?
A: I got the idea for The Gathering after I finished The Quickening but the other books in the series have come to me while working on The Gathering.
C: All right, shameless self-promotion time. Let’s see the gorgeous cover and read an excerpt from The Gathering.
A: LOL of course :
The sleek black limo rolled to a stop in front of the giant granite steps, and I opened the car door, not waiting to be assisted. I left my bags, knowing they would be brought in, likely to my old rooms. Once a room was claimed, it remained yours to use whenever you wished.
I hurried up the steps and into the manor house. With little conscious effort I walked the path to Calidan’s rooms. The hallway approaching his bed chambers was lined with sobbing Rikashi of all three remaining clans. Whatever troubles were brewing, sorrow was quelling it for the moment, at least here.
I paused at the closed double doors that led to his bedroom, needing a moment to make certain I was in control of myself. Before I could knock, the door swung inward on silent hinges. A golden-haired female stood on the other side.
“You must be Shirak,” she said with a sad smile. At my nod, she stepped aside. “He’s been asking for you. He hasn’t much time left.”
“There is nothing you can do for him?” I asked, assuming she was a Surion.
She shook her head. “All my powers cannot rescue a body ravaged by time, youngling. Go see him now.”
I nodded again and stepped into the bed chamber. It smelled of cinnamon, Earl Grey tea, and death. I did not think I would ever be able to drink Earl Grey again.
My feet made no sound on the thick carpet as I moved forward. Calidan’s son, Severick, rose from a chair in the corner, glaring at me as he left the room. I shook my head; that one had never liked me.
Calidan lay on an impressive gilded four-poster bed, his eyes closed, and for a moment I feared I was too late. But then I saw the slow rise and fall of his chest, and I could hear his labored breathing as I moved closer.
“Calidan?” I called, keeping my voice low.
His eyes fluttered open, and a smile touched his lips. He lifted a hand and waved me forward. I knelt at the edge of the bed, taking that hand carefully in mine. “Lazing about in bed when there is work to be done, sir?”
A rolling exhalation of breath was all the chuckle he could manage. The old Rikashi’s mouth worked up and down, but his voice would not work.
“Do not try to talk. You need to rest so you can get well. You said when I left I was not finished with my training.”
He shook his head. Whatever he needed to tell me was important enough for him to make an attempt while on his death bed. I reached for his mind and found it as feeble as his body looked. I could only pluck a few words from his fading thoughts—tariel, jewel, protect.
Another frown pulled the corners of my mouth. “I do not understand, Calidan.”
He sucked in a rasping breath, letting it out with the words he tried to speak. “Jewel…duty…protect.” His hand went to his throat, tugging at a chain there. “Yours now.” He placed something warm in my hand and with a sigh, closed his eyes again.
I looked at the amulet nestled on my palm. It was a beautiful star shaped gem. A myriad of colors sparkled within its depths. It seemed to pulse with a light of its own.
“Calidan, I cannot accept this.”
“Yours to protect.” The words rang in my mind, and the amulet flashed. A wave of dizziness took me briefly. A tone, sharp but not unpleasant, sounded in my ears. Faces flashed in my mind, twelve of them. Five were male. Five were female. The final two faces were blurred and difficult to make out. To my surprise, Aerandir’s face was one of the visible ones. My own face flashed last in my mind, the image lingering before fading. It was over as quickly as it had begun.
“What in the hell was that?” I murmured, staring at the amulet.
No answer came from my mentor. I put a hand on his shoulder, and I knew. Calidan was dead.
C: There’s a third book in the series, Black Velvet. I know from your blog that BV is in line edits. Could you give us a sneak peek ‘unedited’ excerpt from the book, just to tease us?
A: Sure thing. Keep in mind, this is still in editing stages and is not the final copy.
“You have all lost your minds. I. Am. Not. Going. To. Texas.” I stood in the center of the living room of Less’s London townhouse, gazing around at nine pairs of eyes, one set staring from a computer screen, all looking back expectantly. If they thought I was going to go after Jett, they were sadly mistaken.
I turned my back on them, folding my arms. I was acting like a child. I knew it, but I was not going. I couldn’t. Daddy had barely allowed the trip to London, going to the United States was out of the question.
“Amara, you are the only one of us with any hope to bring him back.” Shirak’s voice, calm and soothing, washed over me.
I glared at his face on the computer screen, putting my hands on my hips, fighting against the Gwindor calming power, coming at me from all directions. “Why? Why me?”
Shirak cocked an eyebrow at me, while the others hid their smiles behind their hands. I knew why they wanted me to go. I knew and I wished I could forget it, but I couldn’t. When I let my mind wander, I was drawn back to it. That day. That kiss.
Jett had come to the house with the others, bearing the body of the Great Dragon, Lancelot. His dark, wavy hair brushed his shoulders, black wings folded to his back, his muscular chest was bare and black jeans hugged his strong thighs. After seeing the body stored, he’d come back to the main hall and his eyes had met and held mine. Those dark eyes, there was such hunger in them. It had sent a shiver up my spine. Everyone else had faded until it was just the two of us.
I had tried to pay attention to Aerandir relating all the details about the fight and the sudden appearance of the wings now sprouting from Josephine’s back, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t take my eyes off Jett as he stalked toward me. His hand had shot out, cupping the back of my neck, pulling me to him with gentle but undeniable force and…
I shook my head, looking at Arafin. “What?”
“You got goo-goo eyes again, lass.”
I frowned at him, heat creeping into my cheeks. “I do not. I never get goo-goo eyes, and even if I did they most certainly would not be for him.”
I could feel their humor through our bond, and it only made me angrier. How could I have “goo-goo eyes” for such a callous, conceited, cocky male like him? For Bahamut’s sake he wasn’t even a full Rikashi, had no family to speak of. Daddy would kill me for so much as looking at him. But, the warmth, strength and tightly coiled restraint of him still tormented my dreams.
“So it is decided then?”
“No, it is not,” I snapped at Shirak. “I am not going after him. You do it. You’re our leader, right?”
He looked at me with a grin tugging the corners of his mouth as he pulled his fiancé to his side, into view of the web cam. She waved. “Gem and I are trying to get back into the Library at Alexandria. I believe that Leviathan can help us enter undetected.”
“My high and mighty big brother reduced to breaking and entering?” Aerandir chuckled.
I turned my gaze on the blue-haired male. “You do it then. You’re Shir’s brother, that makes you second in command.”
Like his elder brother, Aer shook his head. “Sorry, Amara, I’m not leaving Phi, and she’s not flying right now. Not with—” He cut off, glancing at the pale yellow wings rising behind his wife then down to her beginning to round stomach. Jo just rolled her eyes and waved him off.
I started to turn on each of the others but Shirak interrupted. “Amara, we would not ask this of you if anyone else could do it.”
“We don’t need him,” I protested feebly. “If he wanted to help, he would have stayed. He would answer us.”
C: What next can we expect from Antonia Tiranth?
A: Right now, book four is rolling around in my brain, nothing on paper yet. I’m writing a series based on the Tarot Kings as well. King of Swords has been accepted at Red Rose Publishing and I’m about a third of the way through King of Cups.
Thank you again, Antonia, for being our guest today. Rush out and buy The Gathering today! And if you haven’t purchased the first book, do that, too 😉 Chat with Antonia all week on the Playground Mystique Yahoo group. And find out more about this exciting new voice at the following locations: