Carla Laureano https://www.carlalaureano.com Award-Winning Author Tue, 02 Nov 2021 16:21:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://www.carlalaureano.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Carla Laureano https://www.carlalaureano.com 32 32 What I Wish I’d Known About Traditional Publishing https://www.carlalaureano.com/what-i-wish-id-known-about-traditional-publishing/ https://www.carlalaureano.com/what-i-wish-id-known-about-traditional-publishing/#respond Tue, 02 Nov 2021 16:10:58 +0000 https://www.carlalaureano.com/?p=10939 Hey, friends! I have a special feature for you today– if you’re an aspiring writer or you’ve always wondered what the publishing world is like, this is for you! I was asked to collaborate with Marginalia Manuscripts, a literary consultantcy in London, to share my thoughts on the triumphs and pitfalls of the literary life....
Read More

The post What I Wish I’d Known About Traditional Publishing appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>
Hey, friends! I have a special feature for you today– if you’re an aspiring writer or you’ve always wondered what the publishing world is like, this is for you! I was asked to collaborate with Marginalia Manuscripts, a literary consultantcy in London, to share my thoughts on the triumphs and pitfalls of the literary life.

Click here or the photo below to visit my post on their site!

Woman reading the back cover of a book in front of a table stacked with books

The post What I Wish I’d Known About Traditional Publishing appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>
https://www.carlalaureano.com/what-i-wish-id-known-about-traditional-publishing/feed/ 0
Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #16 https://www.carlalaureano.com/cfsh-fall-2021-stop-16/ https://www.carlalaureano.com/cfsh-fall-2021-stop-16/#comments Thu, 21 Oct 2021 00:00:54 +0000 https://www.carlalaureano.com/?p=10870 Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! If you’ve just discovered the hunt, be sure to start at Stop #1, and collect the clues through all the stops, in order, so you can enter to win one of our top 5 grand prizes! The hunt BEGINS on 10/21 at noon MST with Stop #1 at...
Read More

The post Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #16 appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>

Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! If you’ve just discovered the hunt, be sure to start at Stop #1, and collect the clues through all the stops, in order, so you can enter to win one of our top 5 grand prizes!

  • The hunt BEGINS on 10/21 at noon MST with Stop #1 at LisaTawnBergren.com.
  • Hunt through our loop using Chrome or Firefox as your browser (not Explorer).
  • There is NO RUSH to complete the hunt—you have all weekend (until Sunday, 10/24 at midnight MST)! So take your time, reading the unique posts along the way; our hope is that you discover new authors/new books and learn new things about them.
  • Submit your entry for the grand prizes by collecting the CLUE on each author’s scavenger hunt post and submitting your answer in the Rafflecopter form at the final stop, back on Lisa’s site. Many authors are offering additional prizes along the way!

***

I’m Carla Laureano, and I’m the author of contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and fantasy fiction! As you might guess, I have a lot of different interests, among them being travel, the outdoors, and architecture—which was why I had a great time writing my newest romantic contemporary novel, Provenance! In it, I got to explore arts and crafts architecture and interior design, as well as depict a fictional version of one of my favorite small Colorado towns.

It also gave me the chance to do something I’ve never before attempted in a contemporary novel: incorporated not one, but two mysteries into the storyline, one historical and one more recent.

Los Angeles interior designer Kendall Green has pushed her memories of her childhood into the past—abandoned at the age of five, she never truly knew her mother or why she was left behind. She just knows that no good came from dwelling on her painful history. But when she receives a letter saying she’s inherited property in the mountains of Colorado from a grandmother she never knew, she figures no good can come of digging into her past. The best and easiest option is to sell the property and fly home as quickly as possible.

But when she arrives in the small town of Jasper Lake, she realizes that plan might not be quite so easy. The town is filled with people who knew her family—and this might be her only chance to find out the truth of her past. Plus, the property she inherited isn’t just a simple house—it’s five historic houses, all built in a distinctive style by an obscure architect… and they’re in danger of being demolished to build a summer resort.

It was fun to write the slow uncovering of the truth about both Kendall’s past and the mysterious architect with a link to her family, but it was also an opportunity to explore how both the recent and distant past shapes us into the people we are today. As Kendall is welcomed into the small town that should have been her home, she realizes that no matter how much she has pretended the past doesn’t matter, it has permeated every part of her life: her choices, her relationships, her faith. The truth is slowly revealed, bringing with it awareness of her own hurts and the need for forgiveness and reconciliation in her life.

Of course, our own pasts don’t have to involve such dramatic or mysterious events to affect us. But as Kendall learns, it’s only by truly coming to terms with everything that happened before that we can truly move forward into a fulfilling future.

***

Learn more about the book here, or find out more details about me by following me on Facebook, Instagram, or BookBub!

***

Here’s the Stop #16 Basics:

***

But wait! Before you go, I’m giving away three books to three lucky participants*—your choice of any my romantic fiction! All you have to do is sign up to get my newsletter. You can get additional entries by following me on Facebook, Instagram, or BookBub.

*Winners with US shipping addresses will receive a paperback; international winners will receive an ebook.

The post Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #16 appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>
https://www.carlalaureano.com/cfsh-fall-2021-stop-16/feed/ 9
Provenance is here! https://www.carlalaureano.com/provenance-is-here/ https://www.carlalaureano.com/provenance-is-here/#comments Tue, 03 Aug 2021 08:00:32 +0000 https://www.carlalaureano.com/?p=10631 Hello, friends! I’m thrilled to announce that my newest standalone romance/women’s fiction novel, Provenance, has made its way into the world! I’m so excited to finally share this story with you. It’s about the meaning of home and family and how they can take forms which are different than we expect but no less valid. It’s...
Read More

The post Provenance is here! appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>

Hello, friends! I’m thrilled to announce that my newest standalone romance/women’s fiction novel, Provenance, has made its way into the world!

I’m so excited to finally share this story with you. It’s about the meaning of home and family and how they can take forms which are different than we expect but no less valid. It’s about historic houses and the fight against irresponsible development and family mysteries. But most of all, it’s about how God’s hand is present in all of our days, even when it feels like we’re toiling alone. I hope this story means as much to you to read as it did to me to write!

For more information on the book and a list of retailers, please visit this page. And keep an eye on this blog and my social media, because I’m participating in some fun events and giveaways over the next couple of weeks!

The post Provenance is here! appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>
https://www.carlalaureano.com/provenance-is-here/feed/ 1
Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #12 https://www.carlalaureano.com/scavenger-hunt-mar21-stop-12/ https://www.carlalaureano.com/scavenger-hunt-mar21-stop-12/#comments Wed, 17 Mar 2021 00:00:12 +0000 https://www.carlalaureano.com/?p=10094 Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! If you’ve just discovered the hunt, be sure to start at Stop #1, and collect the clues through all the stops, in order, so you can enter to win one of our top 5 grand prizes! • The hunt BEGINS on 3/18 at noon MST with Stop #1...
Read More

The post Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #12 appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>

Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! If you’ve just discovered the hunt, be sure to start at Stop #1, and collect the clues through all the stops, in order, so you can enter to win one of our top 5 grand prizes!

• The hunt BEGINS on 3/18 at noon MST with Stop #1 at LisaTawnBergren.com
• Hunt through our loop using Chrome or Firefox as your browser (not Explorer).
• There is NO RUSH to complete the hunt—you have all weekend (until Sunday, 3/21 at midnight MST)! So take your time, reading the unique posts along the way; our hope is that you discover new authors/new books and learn new things about them.
• Submit your entry for the grand prizes by collecting the CLUE on each author’s scavenger hunt post and submitting your answer in the Rafflecopter form at the final stop, back on Lisa’s site. Many authors are offering additional prizes along the way!

I’m Carla Laureano, award-winning author of contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and historical fantasy! It may not seem like those genres have a lot in common, but my favorite thing is showing how people react to and overcome adversity, whether it’s the loss of a job in the real world or finding out they have magic in a fictional one. You can find out more about me and my books here on this site, or you can visit me on Facebook, Instagram, or BookBub for additional information. My newest release is the Celtic fantasy series starter, Oath of the Brotherhood. Here’s what it’s about:

In an island kingdom where the Old Ways hold fast and a man’s worth lies entirely in his skill with the sword, Conor Mac Nir is a musician and a follower of a forbidden faith—problematic for any man, but disastrous for the son of the king.

When Conor is sent away to a neighboring kingdom to secure a treaty, he learns that his ability with the harp is a talent that traces back to the magical foundations of a once-united Seare. But his newfound home is soon placed in peril, entangling Conor in a plot that has been unfolding since long before his birth.

Only by leaving both kingdoms behind and committing himself to an ancient warrior brotherhood can Conor discover the part he’s meant to play in Seare’s future. But is he willing to sacrifice everything—including the woman he loves—to follow the path his God has laid before him?

This book incorporates three things I love dearly: Ireland, romance, and fantasy fiction. If you’re a newcomer to the genre and don’t know if it’s your thing… or you’re not even sure where to start, you’re in luck. I’ve compiled a super easy, super abbreviated reference guide so the next time you’re staring down that Fantasy & Sci Fi section in the bookstore, you’ll know exactly what to look for!

Carla’s Super Simple Fantasy Guide for Beginners

My first published books were contemporary romance, so most readers are surprised to find out that I’m also a fantasy writer. The comment I hear most often is not “I don’t like fantasy” but “How do I even know if I might like fantasy?”

I get it. The genre can be intimidating, simply because it spans a wide spectrum from historically plausible to completely invented, from recognizable to utterly foreign.

So, if you’re one of the newcomers to the genre and you’re not sure where to start, here’s a handy-dandy guide to fantasy genres to guide you on your way.

High Fantasy

High fantasy is a descriptor for a story that takes place in a fully made-up world with its own rules, culture, and often its own magic. It has a high amount of fantastic or fictional elements. This is the form of the genre that most people think of when they talk about fantasy.

Examples: Lord of the Rings, A Game of Thrones, The Mark of the Raven, Oath of the Brotherhood

Low Fantasy

Low fantasy, in contrast to its counterpart, high fantasy, is a story that takes place in our recognizable “real” world, whether it be modern times or a historical time period, in which fantasy or magical elements intrude or co-exist. It has a low amount of fantastic or fictional elements.

Examples: Harry Potter, Twilight, City of Bones, Storm Front

Epic Fantasy

Epic fantasy is often conflated with high fantasy, but it doesn’t necessarily have to take place in a fully made-up world. Epic fantasy generally takes a wide-angle view, concerning itself more with big events and world-ending consequences, often involves a quest, and may follow one or very few characters through a big, overarching story.

Examples: Lord of the Rings, Tigana

Portal Fantasy

Portal fantasy is a subgenre in which the characters are literally transported by magic from the real world, through some sort of door or passage, into a fantasy world. This is a very common sub-type among children’s fiction, because it allows readers to discover a fantastic world through the eyes of a character who possesses the same points of reference as their own. In some ways, it’s a combination of high and low fantasy.

Examples: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, The Summer Tree

Heroic Fantasy/Sword-and-Sorcery

Sword-and-sorcery is often looked down upon when it comes to fantasy subgenres, but it can be of the most fun! Books in this subgenre usually focus on the fighting prowess of a main heroic character; sometimes the protagonist possesses magic himself, but often he fights sorcery with nothing more than a sword and his own cleverness. The lead is often, but not always, male. (Actually, I could do with some more female sword-and-sorcery? Someone? Anyone?)

Examples: Conan the Barbarian, The Blade Itself, Silverglass, Xena: Warrior Princess (novelizations)

Historical Fantasy/Alternate History

I’ve grouped historical fantasy and alternate history into the same category, because often authors who write in one subgenre also write in the other. The main difference is that the historical fantasy world is modeled on an existing historical culture or uses historical events only for inspiration; alternate history uses real world history up to a particular point, then diverges from it, either because of the emergence of magic or because of supernatural/time travel/magical interference. (You can also have largely-realistic alternate history that does not fall into the fantasy genre, such as The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick.)

Examples: Sailing to Sarantium, The Dark Mirror, Oath of the Brotherhood, Clan of the Cave Bear

As you can see, several of the example books fit into several different categories, including my own book, Oath of the Brotherhood. In it, I borrowed from the real-life history and culture of ancient Ireland to create a new fantasy world in which magic and religion collide and the fate of the nation hangs on the bravery of an unlikely trio of characters.

Did you discover any new genres/subgenres today? Is there one in particular that you’re excited to try? Do you have a favorite fantasy subgenre that I didn’t cover?

Here’s the Stop #12 Basics:
If you’re interested, you can order Oath of the Brotherhood on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook, or at your local bookstore!
Clue to Write Down: and ready
Link to Stop #13, the Next Stop on the Loop: Carrie Turansky’s site!

But wait! Before you go, enter my giveaway below to win your own hardcover copy of Oath of the Brotherhood and this beautiful hand-tooled leather Celtic knot bookmark!

 

The post Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #12 appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>
https://www.carlalaureano.com/scavenger-hunt-mar21-stop-12/feed/ 148
The Myth of the Magic Swordsman (Or Why There Had to Be a Training Montage) https://www.carlalaureano.com/magic-swordsman-training-montage/ https://www.carlalaureano.com/magic-swordsman-training-montage/#comments Mon, 18 Jan 2021 09:00:26 +0000 https://www.carlalaureano.com/?p=10008 I’m a sucker for battle and swordplay in fantasy novels. It probably comes from my own martial arts background—I studied the Korean art of Tang Soo Do for five years and earned my first-degree black belt, then moved on to kung fu where after two years, I earned an intermediate rank in the White Lotus...
Read More

The post The Myth of the Magic Swordsman (Or Why There Had to Be a Training Montage) appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>

I’m a sucker for battle and swordplay in fantasy novels. It probably comes from my own martial arts background—I studied the Korean art of Tang Soo Do for five years and earned my first-degree black belt, then moved on to kung fu where after two years, I earned an intermediate rank in the White Lotus style. Shortly after that, I took up foil fencing at a studio in Southern California. While the studio is best known for stage fencing, I, having a bit of a masochistic personality, asked for the strictest teacher they had and ended up with a former Russian Olympic coach whose favorite word seemed to be “Again!” Between having gotten soundly beaten in my Chinese weapons training and being quickly humiliated by my fellow students in this western martial art, it became pretty clear to me that all the depictions in fantasy of farm boys who pick up a sword for the first time and show a preternatural ability with it are just… well, fantasy.

That’s why when I decided to use the weakling-to-warrior trope in my own novel, I wanted Conor’s progress to be based on something other than wishful thinking. Enter the training montage section of the book.

Sure, a lot more is going on in the time that Conor spends with the Fíréin brotherhood than just learning the sword (I’m really not giving anything away here… after all, the book is called Oath of the Brotherhood), but if I was going to have him fight some spectacular battles, I was going to make sure that he had legitimately earned the skills to do so. It’s one thing to be able to pick up a sword and defend yourself against the average landholder who doesn’t fight for a living; it’s another to hold your own against professional warriors. I gave him some natural talent with which to accomplish these feats, but mostly I gave him single-minded determination and a compelling reason to become one of Seare’s most skilled swordsmen.

While the making of a warrior might be a common theme in fantasy novels, the making of Conor into a warrior was based in sound, if somewhat brutal, reality.

Do you enjoy fight scenes in adventure, fantasy, and suspense novels? Which book has your favorite one? Comment below for your daily entry to win your own copy of the limited hardcover edition of Oath of the Brotherhood and don’t forget your extra one-time entries as well!

Oath of the Brotherhood HC Release

The post The Myth of the Magic Swordsman (Or Why There Had to Be a Training Montage) appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>
https://www.carlalaureano.com/magic-swordsman-training-montage/feed/ 8
Win a hardcover copy of OATH OF THE BROTHERHOOD! https://www.carlalaureano.com/win-a-hardcover-oath-jan21/ https://www.carlalaureano.com/win-a-hardcover-oath-jan21/#comments Sat, 16 Jan 2021 20:34:43 +0000 https://www.carlalaureano.com/?p=10025 This week, I’ve been sharing the background and inspiration for my new release, the inspirational Celtic fantasy, Oath of the Brotherhood, as well as offering a chance to win your very own hardcover copy! (Outside US-winners will receive an e-book.) To enter to win, simply complete the one time entries (newsletter sign-up/social media follows) and comment on...
Read More

The post Win a hardcover copy of OATH OF THE BROTHERHOOD! appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>

This week, I’ve been sharing the background and inspiration for my new release, the inspirational Celtic fantasy, Oath of the Brotherhood, as well as offering a chance to win your very own hardcover copy! (Outside US-winners will receive an e-book.)

To enter to win, simply complete the one time entries (newsletter sign-up/social media follows) and comment on any or all of the following blog posts. A comment on each individual post will get you an extra entry.

The World of Seare: Character Inspiration

The World of Seare: Setting Inspiration

Oath of the Brotherhood: Deleted Scenes

The World of Seare: Ancient Ireland

The Myth of the Magic Swordsman (live on Monday 1/18)

Get started with the widget below and then feel free to click through the posts above for your extra entries! Good luck!

Oath of the Brotherhood HC Release

The post Win a hardcover copy of OATH OF THE BROTHERHOOD! appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>
https://www.carlalaureano.com/win-a-hardcover-oath-jan21/feed/ 17
The World of Seare: Ancient Ireland https://www.carlalaureano.com/seare-ancient-ireland/ https://www.carlalaureano.com/seare-ancient-ireland/#comments Sat, 16 Jan 2021 09:00:06 +0000 https://www.carlalaureano.com/?p=9999 While Oath of the Brotherhood is 100% fiction, I enjoyed using a backdrop of the real culture of Ancient Ireland from about the 3rd century to the 7th century for my fictional Seare. We tend to believe that the peoples and cultures outside Rome at that time were barbarians (partially thanks to the fact that...
Read More

The post The World of Seare: Ancient Ireland appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>

While Oath of the Brotherhood is 100% fiction, I enjoyed using a backdrop of the real culture of Ancient Ireland from about the 3rd century to the 7th century for my fictional Seare. We tend to believe that the peoples and cultures outside Rome at that time were barbarians (partially thanks to the fact that most of our records come through the Romans…) but in truth, Ireland was an advanced civilization with customs and habits that are much more consistent with our understanding today.

  1. The ancient Irish loved bathing. – While people on the continent either didn’t have access to or were suspicious of daily baths, the Irish were extremely fastidious with their personal hygiene. Bathing was quite usual among the upper classes, and stories from the era reflect that guests were often offered the use of a bath when coming to a keep or monastery. There is also plenty of evidence that the upper class warriors would bathe while on the march or encamped during war, which suggests that cleanliness was of the utmost importance.
  2. The ancient Irish were obsessed with their hair. – It wasn’t just cleanliness that was important (though we’re told in many manuscripts that clean hair should be combed smooth after the daily bath), but fashion as well. Both men and women wore their hair long and in elaborate coils, which must have been done with some sort of primitive curling iron and suggests the interest of professional hairdressers. Men are also spoken of having their hair done in “hooks and plaits and swordlets.” The illuminations in the Book of Kells backs up this standard of fashion, as every figure within it, including the angels, has his or her hair elaborately dressed.
  3. The ancient Irish wore kilts. – We associate the kilt with the Scots after the 17th century, but drawings, carvings, and illuminated manuscripts well before the 11th century demonstrated that the garment was worn in Ireland as well. Likewise, the tartan pattern may have had its origins in Ireland, though traditionally the pattern is tied to a county or province and not a single clan. While this clearly would have been historically correct, the kilt is so strongly associated with Scotland that I decided not to incorporate into the world of Seare. Instead, men wear knee-length tunics, over which is worn a close-fitting jacket or vest and leg-coverings/trews/trousers, which is also consistent with Celtic tribes in the first millennium.
  4. The ancient Irish (almost) worshipped weapons. – Weapons in pagan Ireland were so important that they were sometimes treated as though they were sentient or outright worshipped. This gave rise to the practice of swearing oaths of them, a practice that I borrowed with the Fíréin and their oath-binding ceremony. Of course, the oath-binding sword was a little more special than the standard blade…and if the ancient Irish had’ve come across that in the course of actual history, it would be understandable that they’d think it had a mind of its own!
  5. The ancient Irish didn’t necessarily raise their own children. – There was a centuries-long tradition of fosterage, not just within the very wealthy, but in lower classes as well, where children would be sent to live with another family within the clan. They might be sent away as young as a year old and brought back at marriageable age (seventeen for boys, fourteen for girls). In the meantime, the children would be raised as a member of the foster family and be educated according to their station; sometimes this was done for love, others for payment. Regardless, the ties between foster-child and foster-parents were often stronger than those with their birth parents and considered sacred. While I’ve nowhere seen it spelled out why this is a principal feature of Irish culture, it seems reasonable that it was done to strengthen ties within a clan and outside individual bloodlines. Children could also be sent to literary or ecclesiastical fosterages, where they would be educated as scribes or priests. A number of early Irish saints were fostered in this manner, and it seems a reasonable way to educate acolytes for specialized service. As Oath of the Brotherhood begins, it’s differences on what constitutes an appropriate education that gets Conor in hot water and has him sent to a neighboring king as a hostage for their peace treaty.

While many of the other details of Seare were changed or completely invented, Ireland’s rich history and surprisingly advanced culture was the perfect canvas upon which to build a new fantasy civilization.

Did you learn anything new? Leave me a comment below and get your daily entry to win a hardcover copy of Oath of the BrotherhoodAnd don’t forget to complete your one-time tasks for extra entries!

Oath of the Brotherhood HC Release

The post The World of Seare: Ancient Ireland appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>
https://www.carlalaureano.com/seare-ancient-ireland/feed/ 14
Oath of the Brotherhood: Deleted Scenes https://www.carlalaureano.com/oath-deleted-scenes/ https://www.carlalaureano.com/oath-deleted-scenes/#comments Fri, 15 Jan 2021 09:00:00 +0000 https://www.carlalaureano.com/?p=10001 Oath of the Brotherhood has had many, many iterations over the years. It was a book I started when I was still working full time in marketing: I’d spend my lunch hours researching and my evening hours writing. So somewhere in the land of unusuable 3.5-inch floppy disks are some renditions that I hope will...
Read More

The post Oath of the Brotherhood: Deleted Scenes appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>

Oath of the Brotherhood has had many, many iterations over the years. It was a book I started when I was still working full time in marketing: I’d spend my lunch hours researching and my evening hours writing. So somewhere in the land of unusuable 3.5-inch floppy disks are some renditions that I hope will never ever see the light of day. (Excuse me while I go set fire to them to ensure that fact.)

But while preparing for this launch, I started sorting through my old drafts and came across a version that I actually, surprisingly liked. This prologue didn’t end up in the final cut because, while it was a compelling introduction, it didn’t fit with the book’s pacing and took away some of the impact of the book’s reveals. So I got rid of the prologue completely, started with a variation of chapter one, and that’s the one that’s in the book that’s (hopefully) in your hand. Normally, I don’t share abandoned clips because they either don’t fit the final version of the story, but this one I feel introduces the secondary characters in an intriguing way…

Original Prologue

Riordan climbed the long, winding flight of stairs in the ancient keep, his feet moving silently on the stone steps, only the slightest breath of air that guttered the candles to betray his passing. It was late, well past the time the other brothers, save for those on watch, should be in bed. The meeting had been carefully calculated to garner as little attention as possible, but even if it hadn’t been, he could make himself nearly invisible, the presence of others who possessed the same skills notwithstanding. Riordan was considered one of the finest warriors of the Fíréin brotherhood, and it was not simply because of his skill with the sword.

Still, even if the brothers themselves had little interest in the news he carried, there were others who did the bidding of the darker forces of the isle, who would give dearly to know the message he carried. Once, such stealth in the heart of the Fíréin’s power would have been unnecessary: the ancient keep of Carraigmór which overlooked Ard Daimhin was warded by powerful Balian magic, a type that had been long forgotten in Seare, as far removed from their little tricks of mind and shadow as the ocean from a raindrop. Now, its power was weakening, gradually, imperceptibly, insidiously. Shreds of mist appeared in the trees, or on the surface of Loch Ceo, as if merely waiting for an opening, an invitation to enter the walls of Carraigmór itself.

Riordan put away those dark thoughts as he approached the terminus of the corridor, which dead-ended into a closed door. He lifted his hand to knock, even though he knew it was unnecessary. The Ceannaire had undoubtedly known he was coming before his foot touched the first step. Sure enough, when he swung the door open, the single occupant didn’t need to turn from his post by the window to greet him.

“Is it done?”

The voice was pleasant, well-modulated, elegant even, at odds with the leader’s compact, powerfully built stature. His reddish-gold hair was bound in a single long braid as was the Fíréin custom, his face clean-shaven in contrast to the current Seareann fashion. When he turned, Riordan as always found himself struck by the youthfulness of his features, even though he had known Liam since they were much younger men. His eyes, however, held a newfound wisdom and sorrow, as if his mantle of responsibility had grown steadily heavier.

Riordan remembered he had been asked a question and bowed his head slightly. “It is done.”

Liam smiled then, an expression that lit his face and erased any shadow of pensiveness. “I take it was as easy as you expected?”

The formality lifted, Riordan settled himself in a chair and regarded his friend with an eloquent shrug. “He owes me. Had it not been for my foresight—and politicking—it might be Fergus sitting the throne of Tigh instead of Galbraith. I just don’t think he expected me to call in my favor on behalf of his son.”

“I’m sure he didn’t,” said Liam lightly, taking a seat across from Riordan. “Especially since Clan Maonagh has never been a friend of the Mac Nir.”

Riordan studied Liam closely. As always, he sensed the things that the Ceannaire left unsaid, the insights meant only for him. “It’s a long game you play, my friend.”

We play,” corrected Liam, “and not long now. I was put into this position of leadership for a purpose greater than the Fíréin. I’ve always known that, but I hardly expected to see these times come to pass so quickly. Surely you feel it. The wards around Ard Daimhin weaken daily, even as the gifts grow stronger in Daimhin’s blood. We will see the High King sit the throne of Seare in our lifetime, mark my words.”

A chill rippled over Riordan’s skin, but he was not sure if it was from anticipation, or foreboding, or both After five hundred years of division and strife in Seare, the return of the High King was something to be eagerly anticipated, but from the few prophecies to which he was privy, he knew that the return of Comdiu’s chosen leader would be presaged by darkness and destruction.

“You think my nephew has a role to play in all this?” asked Riordan doubtfully.

“I know he does. To what degree remains to be seen. Comdiu only shows me what I need to know in order to do His work. And I know that the boy’s fosterage is vital to his future.” Liam smiled reassuringly then, and his voice took on a more calming tone. “Don’t look so worried. For all our planning and clandestine meetings, our Lord has matters well in hand. He hardly needs us to do His bidding to achieve His goals. Remember, the outcome is already written, the end of the journey known since the beginning of time.”

“’But the path of the faithful is perilous and fraught with sorrows as well as blessings,’” quoted Riordan.

Liam’s gaze went distant then, an unsettling look that made Riordan think he perceived things in his mind’s eye that were far beyond this small upper floor chamber. But he only said softly, “It is indeed, my friend, it is indeed.”

* * *

Hundreds of miles away, in a highland fortress across the Amantine Sea, a young girl awoke in her chamber, her heart pounding. Somehow, she knew that beyond the safe stone walls of her home, a decision of great importance had been made, one that would change the course of her life. It was a weighty revelation for a girl merely five years old, but she was long accustomed to messages being delivered this way.

“What’s wrong, poppet?” whispered the sleepy nursemaid from her pallet across the room. “Did you have a bad dream again?”

The little girl shook her head and lay back down again. Instinctively, she knew that these were not things one spoke of openly. As she drifted off to sleep once more, two images remained in her mind: a craggy, towering fortress carved from a mountain, and the face of a little blond-haired boy.

What do you think? Does this pique your interest for the book? Does it surprise you to find that books go through so many iterations before publication? Leave me a comment below as your daily entry to win a limited edition hardcover copy of Oath of the Brotherhood.

Oath of the Brotherhood HC Release

The post Oath of the Brotherhood: Deleted Scenes appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>
https://www.carlalaureano.com/oath-deleted-scenes/feed/ 14
The World of Seare: Setting Inspiration https://www.carlalaureano.com/seare-setting-inspiration/ https://www.carlalaureano.com/seare-setting-inspiration/#comments Thu, 14 Jan 2021 09:00:32 +0000 https://www.carlalaureano.com/?p=9995   I often get asked if I visited Ireland for research purposes when I wrote this book. I have visited Ireland, long before I ever conceived of this story idea, but even if I had, it wouldn’t have been much help. The Song of Seare series emulates Ireland in the dark ages (I took inspiration...
Read More

The post The World of Seare: Setting Inspiration appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>
 

I often get asked if I visited Ireland for research purposes when I wrote this book. I have visited Ireland, long before I ever conceived of this story idea, but even if I had, it wouldn’t have been much help. The Song of Seare series emulates Ireland in the dark ages (I took inspiration from the third to the seventh century A.D.), and the Ireland in the time of St. Patrick was a much different place than it is now.

For one thing, a great majority of the island was forested. Trees were particularly important to the Celtic religion of Ireland, and druidic rituals were often held in groves of trees. Over time, the forests started to disappear, partly because of the growth of bogs, and partly because as the population grew, woods were needed for building purposes. Still, Irish law (the Brehon laws, which is perhaps the oldest sophisticated legal system in the world) made very specific provisions for how and when wood and shrubs could be cut and set out penalties for those who violated them.

So, while there are wide open emerald-green spaces in Seare as we think of Ireland today, the descriptions of the old forest that surrounds the abandoned fortress of the High King are a much closer depiction of what ancient Ireland would have looked like. In fact, the closest we can probably get to those ancient trees are the old growth forests of Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe.
 

 

Oath of the Brotherhood HC Release

The post The World of Seare: Setting Inspiration appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>
https://www.carlalaureano.com/seare-setting-inspiration/feed/ 11
The World of Seare: Character Inspiration https://www.carlalaureano.com/seare-character-inspiration/ https://www.carlalaureano.com/seare-character-inspiration/#comments Wed, 13 Jan 2021 09:00:17 +0000 https://www.carlalaureano.com/?p=9982 Typically, when I’m writing a book, it all starts with the characters. Even when writing fantasy, which takes extensive world-building and preparation before the first word goes on the page, I have a conception of the people who will populate my story world. In fact, it’s usually a character that won’t let me go that...
Read More

The post The World of Seare: Character Inspiration appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>

Typically, when I’m writing a book, it all starts with the characters. Even when writing fantasy, which takes extensive world-building and preparation before the first word goes on the page, I have a conception of the people who will populate my story world. In fact, it’s usually a character that won’t let me go that starts the whole idea in the first place. That character for me was Conor MacNir, a highborn lad whose naturally good and peaceable character was seen as a detriment in his place of birth. When tested, I wondered, would he crumble, or would he find a thread of steel in himself that he didn’t know existed?

Join me for a visual introduction to the characters of Seare as I envisioned them… and don’t forget to enter to win your own limited edition hardcover copy of Oath of the Brotherhood! (International winners will receive an e-book.)

Conor Mac Nir

Conor jerked his head up and stared forward while the king’s gaze roamed over him.

One corner of Galbraith’s mouth twisted in displeasure. “Tell me, have you started your training yet? Sword, bow, spear.”

“No, my lord.” Conor’s voice came out strangled, forced from his constricted throat.

“Then what exactly have you been doing for the last nine years?”

“Studying, my lord.”

“Studying?” Galbraith’s tone changed, a note of curiosity in it.

Conor’s heart lifted slightly. “Aye, my lord. History, mathematics, literature, astronomy, law, languages—”

“What languages?”

“I can read and write the common tongue, as well as Ciraean, Levantine, and Norin. My Melandran is passable, and I know a bit of the Odlum runes.”

Galbraith stared at him for a long moment. The hall fell silent but for the crackle of torches and the occasional rustle of a lady’s gown, every eye riveted on the spectacle before them. Then, in one swift movement, Galbraith reached over and ripped the sword from the scabbard in Riocárd’s hands. The ring of metal echoed in the hall as the blade stopped a fraction of an inch before Conor’s eyes.

“The only language our enemies understand is the language of the sword.”

Aine Nic Tamhais

None of the patients taxed Aine’s skills, considering a single touch revealed what ailed their bodies. She made her examinations and assured them she could mix a remedy back at Lisdara. Soon, her wax tablet was full of names and notes, and the crowd dwindled to only a handful of petitioners.

When the last patients had been seen, Mistress Bearrach strode to Aine’s side and took the tablet without asking. She scanned the notations, clucking her tongue. “Too fast. You don’t spend enough time with the patients.”

Aine’s cheeks heated. “Do you think I got the diagnoses wrong?”

Mistress Bearrach’s scowl returned, but her black eyes twinkled. “I have no doubt they are correct. But it won’t do to make it look so easy. People begin to ask questions.”

Aine swallowed hard. “I don’t understand what you mean.”

“Don’t you? When you touch them, you know what’s wrong with them, just as you felt the wards.”

Aine tried to deny it, but her dry mouth wouldn’t form the words.

For the first time, the old healer looked at her kindly. “I know how difficult it is to keep such a thing secret. There shouldn’t be a need. But even here, different can be dangerous.”

 

Eoghan of the Fíréin Brotherhood

The path emptied into a secluded yard where several brothers, including Master Liam, drilled with unsharpened practice swords. The clash of metal ceased when Eoghan came into view, and voices hummed, undecipherable. Conor peered around the corner and saw Eoghan take up a sword and face two of the older brothers. Master Liam stood aside, watching.

Conor crept closer, aware he was trespassing on a private gathering, and flattened himself against the rocks.

With the sword in his hand, Eoghan transformed, seeming to grow taller and more confident. He assumed a guard stance as he waited for an attack. When it came, he sprang into motion with a speed and fluidity that made Conor’s jaw drop. The boy met each attack effortlessly, ducking in and out of range with amazing ease. Even with his unpracticed eye, Conor could see he was just toying with them, testing his skills. His opponents, on the other hand, were doing no such thing.

 

For more about Oath of the Brotherhood or to view your purchase options, visit the book page. Then enter the giveaway below to win your very own copy!

The post The World of Seare: Character Inspiration appeared first on Carla Laureano.

]]>
https://www.carlalaureano.com/seare-character-inspiration/feed/ 22