Author C.R. Richards is in the holiday spirit, and giving away some incredible gifts this month! Check out my post for her “Stocking Full of Prizes” tour for your chance to win some incredible items:
Amazon Gift Card
A Snuggly Stuffed Lion
Signed Copies of Both Books in the Heart of the Warrior Series
Check out the exclusive author interview before you enter the two giveaways available at the bottom of the post!
The Obsidian GatesHeart of the Warrior, #2
~Author: C.R. Richards
~Released: November 17th 2017
~Length: 585 Pages
~Genres: Fantasy, Adult Fiction
The epic tale continues. A new covenant has been forged in the chaos of war. Its price is nothing less than the Bearer of the Lion Ring’s soul.
The rivalry for dominance over the continent of Andara has taken a dark turn. Eternal enemies – the Jalora and the Sarcion – pit their forces against one another in bloody battle. Good weakens, betrayed by the very humans it has sworn to protect. Valdeon, its stronghold on Andara, falls to sword and flame. The fires of its destruction are set alight by barbaric invaders from across the sea. Their brutal hand conquers the land in a night, exiling the Lords of Valdeon – Sacred Guard of the Covenant. Cut off from the center of their power, the Jalora’s greatest heroes are helpless to defend their homeland.
Hope still lingers. Seth D’Antoiné, Bearer of the Lion Ring, journeys to the great Obsidian Citadel seeking a magical relic, the Book of Ancients. Its power could hold the key to Andara’s defense. He alone can open its pages, sparking the magic into life and restoring the Jalora’s waning power. Finding the book won’t be easy. Elusive Obsidian Gates – appearing and then vanishing again by their own will – keep the secret of the book’s location well hidden.
In the depths of the mountain fortress, he finds treachery and intrigue hiding within its walls. Can Seth open the Book of Ancients before the Sarcion’s men find him? Or will the power of Good leave the land forever? Andara’s future awaits behind the Obsidian Gates…
The Lords of Valdeon
~Released: November 1st 2015
~Length: 448 Pages
~Genres: Fantasy, Adult Fiction
A new series from award winning Author, C.R. Richards: The epic tale of two men begins. The first – a man of honor trying desperately to turn his country from civil war. The other – a boy struggling to discover his destiny before agents of evil find him first.
Coveted by two ancient enemies of a long forgotten age, the continent of Andara holds the key to victory in an endless struggle for dominance. Eight hundred years have passed since the god-like Jalora struck a bargain with the first King of Valdeon. The Lion Ring, symbol of the covenant and conduit of power, gives its bearer incredible abilities. The ring’s borrowed magic protects the people of Andara from covetous evil, but there is a price. As with most predators, the Lion Ring must feed. Only the blood of the D’Antoiné family line will satisfy its hunger.
A rival for Andara’s treasures, the Sarcion has waited impatiently for its time upon the land. Whispers of treason in the right ear aid its treachery. The King of Valdeon mysteriously disappears, leaving his lands in danger of a civil war by the hand of a murderous usurper. His Lion Ring is lost and the covenant is broken. The Jalora’s power begins to seep away from the land. Evil’s foot hold grows stronger. Can the Lords of Valdeon, Sacred Guard of the covenant, stop the tides of war? Or will Andara fall into chaos? The future rests in the blood of a boy…
Praise for Heart of the Warrior Series
“The Obsidian Gates (Heart of the Warrior Book Two), by C.R. Richards, is a gripping tale of courage and sacrifice as the men who have sworn to save their land Andara battle the evil forces intent upon gaining command of it. The appealing, vividly-drawn characters struggle to overcome centuries of political intrigue as well as mysterious powers arrayed against them. In this sequel to The Lords of Valdeon, (Heart of the Warrior Book One) the award-winning Richards continues this sweeping adventure in breathtaking style.” – Yvonne Montgomery, Author of the Wisdom Court Books, Edge of the Shadow; A Signal Shown; All in Bad Time
“C.R. Richards is an excellent storyteller. The story carries you along at a good pace, while maximizing suspense and piquing your curiosity. As an adult, I loved it, and I think my teenagers would enjoy it, too.”
“I was hooked! There’s something about these characters that just made me need to know what happens to them all!”
“C.R. Richards is an amazing writer. Amazing…my expectations are high for upcoming books in the series.”
“Intense and involved”
“This is not your typical evil vs good story. It grips you through the entire journey and has your full attention.”
“Great blend of suspense, intrigue and adventure. Highly recommend this read.”
“This book is like the Night Circus in its extensive descriptions, mixed with Star Wars’ family feud, with a hint of fantasy and mystery mixed in. I think this is an amazing start to the series, and my expectations are high for the nextbook!”
A huge lover of horror and dark fantasy stories, C. R. Richards enjoys telling tales of intrigue and adventure. Having began writing as a part-time columnist for a small entertainment newspaper, Richards has worn several hats: food critic, entertainment reviewer and cranky editor. She has now published a handful of novels, including Phantom Harvest – book one in The Mutant Casebook Series – which took home the EPIC eBook Award for Fantasy in 2014. Richards beat out entries from the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and other English speaking countries.
The youngest of five army brats, Richards was born on a military base in Utah. She spent much of her childhood in the back of her family’s sky blue station wagon on trips to see her grandmother – who would show her how to spot faeries in the backyard. “Sometimes she’d put candy in small silk slippers and tell us the pixies had done it,” says Richards. “She’s the one who gave me my love of fantasy creatures.”
Her most recent literary projects include the horror short story, Lost Man’s Parish and the newly-released dark fantasy thriller, Pariah. She is an active member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Horror Writers Association.
In November, Richards releases her epic dark fantasy novel The Obsidian Gates, the second installment in the Heart of the Warrior series. Through her storytelling, Richards aims to reach lovers of fantasy who are exploring alternatives to the traditional status quo. Her message is simple: One person can be a catalyst for change.
~ Connect with C.R. Richards Online ~
The Obsidian Gates is the second book in your Heart of Warrior series. Can you catch readers up on where you left off in The Lords of Valdeon?
Seth is the new Bearer of the Lion Ring. He and his squire, Riley, are on the run from the same blood thirsty creatures who murdered his father – Edmund the Leo. Escaping Marianna, with the help of Xavier the Wolf, they set sail aboard a cargo ship headed toward the mainland of Andara. Seth is determined to find answers about his parents and the family behind their murders.
Julian, after arranging Edmund’s murder, continues his attempts to kill the new Bearer of the Lion Ring. He tries to pursue Seth, but is stopped by the invading Jackal. Julian is taken to their command ship to find he’s been outsmarted by the Jackal General, Lord Gorman. Hopes of seizing the throne of Valdeon begin to Dwindle. Julian isn’t one to be easily stymied. He begins plotting for new ways to exact his revenge.
What do you think will surprise readers most about this new chapter in your series?
The main characters in the series are devastated by loss in book two. They have their homes and their loved ones torn away by invaders. I think the readers will find encouragement in their ability to endure through all the trials they face.
Was there any special research you conducted while writing The Obsidian Gates?
I love doing research and had several topics to pursue in this book: old schooners and potential designs to turn them into airships, basic military ranks and protocol, and my favorite – visiting Key West for location ideas.
Epic Fantasy’s take big imagination! Can you tell us how the Heart of the Warrior series came to fruition?
All my story ideas start with one pivotal scene I envision in an intense and vivid dream. The first seed of an idea for the Heart of the Warrior Series came to me when I dreamed of a boy from the 18th century. He was kneeling beside his mother’s grave in a cemetery beside a high seaside cliff. A strange man joined him there. The scene made me wonder who the man was and his relation to the boy. They were strangers. I could tell from the man’s dress, he was a foreigner.
I began to ask several “What if” questions to flesh out the story: What if the man was the boy’s estranged father? What if his mother had hidden him in the remote village? WHY? Who are these people and what brought about the tragedy that bound them to one another? I wanted to find out and the only way to get to the truth was to write the first book.
What fascinates you the most about writing?
The act of creating art – whether it be writing, music or visual art – is a miracle. We begin with a blank surface. The object we create when we’ve finished isn’t done by the holder of the pen or the brush – something guides our hand.
I’m always fascinated when I go back and read a passage out of the novel I’m working on. Very rarely do I remember writing the words. It’s almost as if my mind goes and retrieves the story from another realm. I think, perhaps, this is the reason I work so hard to finish each story. I don’t know where they come from or why they come to me. I just know I’ve been given the responsibility to bring them out and make them available for everyone to read.
Was that part of what made you want to pursue life as an author?
I’d always dreamed of being a writer. Unfortunately, I gave up on the dream for many years while I pursued other careers. Eventually I became a miserable and depressed mess. I turned to the one thing I knew would make me happy. Once I picked up my pen and paper again, I never stopped.
People glibly throw around the term, “Living the dream.” I am living my dream. I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning and share my unique vision with the world via my stories. It really does make a huge difference in your life. Purpose gets you out of bed in the morning with hope and happiness. It makes your outlook positive and productive.
Who has influenced you the most in your writing?
My father was an amazing person. He lied about his age to join the army during WWII. Dad was captured and taken on the death march. He faced hard challenges his entire life, but he always kept trying. He taught me to be tough and to work for what I want in life.
Dad was also a beautiful artist and a writer. He never sought fame, but was always supportive of his creative children. Though Dad passed away several years ago, I still hear his voice in my head during those hard times. Keep going. You’ll make it.
Have you ever had a mentor, or someone who sparked your passion?
I’ll never forget the year New York Times Best Selling author Joseph Finder came to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conference here in Denver. He is so kind and supportive – no matter the level of success he achieves, he remains genuine. His workshop changed my outlook on writing. He told us our first draft of the book would be terrible. Accept it. Then just write the crappy draft (his words!). The important thing is to finish. You can correct all your mistakes later. Essentially, he gave me permission to not be perfect. My books can never be perfect, because I’m an imperfect human being and that’s okay.
What kind of other works (books, scripts, poems etc.) have you had published?
I coauthored a horror romance novel (out of print), before deciding to go out on my own. My first solo dark or urban fantasy novel, Phantom Harvest, was traditionally published. The three books that followed were all Indie Published: Lost Man’s Parish, Pariah and The Lords of Valdeon. I’ve also been a freelance journalist and columnist in local newspapers and entertainment magazines.
What’s next for the Heart of the Warrior series?
Book Three (In the works right now) takes the story to an isolated marsh where Seth must search for the fabled “Creed of the Guardian.” It won’t be easy. Their outpost is surrounded by treacherous bogs and fierce predatory creatures.
The perils outside the walls of the outpost can’t compare with the dangers from within. Many of the rangers in Seth’s new battalion have seen his raw power. They fear he will lose control of the destructive force of the Lion’s Roar. Others fear what his mixed blood means for the future of the Legion.
Only by finding the Creed of the Guardian can put their minds at ease and restore the Jalora Legion’s hope.
In addition to the grand prize giveaway below, the author is offering a second prize to readers on my site, who comment on your post with their favorite holiday film! Anyone who comments will be entered to win a package with a signed copy of both books in C.R. Richards’ series! So, go leave a comment, answering the question:
What is your favorite holiday film??
Thanks for visiting! Have a great day! =D