Recently, I reviewed Lightning Rider by Jen Greyson and I am very chuffed to be taking part in the Blog Tour promoting its commercial release on May 31st 2013.
Not only are you going to get a sneaky peak at what has been one of my favourite reads this year, but The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House have provided me with an eBook copy of Lightning Rider to giveaway to one of you lucky lot – all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what superpower you would love to have and why (and a way of contacting you if you win!) The giveaway closes on June 3rd when I will get my two year old son to pull a name out of a hat for me. You have a week to enter and spread the news!
Without further ado, I will hand you over to Jen herself…
A huge thank you to Carole here at Carole Finds Her Wings for letting me visit. Carole graciously agreed to let my characters come run amok over here, so I picked one of my favorite scenes. This is also the reading I’ve picked for my launch.
At this point in the story, Evy is in ancient Spain and has reluctantly agreed to let the invading Roman warrior, Constantine, train her. She’s a bit distracted because she just got a custom set of wicked awesome armor from Anna:
Constantine leads me through the back door, and we cross a large open field stretching several hundred yards behind the building, flanked on the south and west by a tall forest. Short grass covers the flat expanse, and overhead the full moon hangs low, bathing the ground in silver. Cool air caresses my bare knees, and I tug at the hem of the armor pieces.
Grunts and the clatter of weapons from the other training grounds tumble over the rooftop. Fewer may train in the darkness than in the day, but there is no rest here.
In the middle of the empty field, Constantine stops and turns, his hand outstretched, a short sword in his palm. “Another strategy you must know.”
I cringe. “I told you I don’t want to learn how to kill.”
He pokes the handle of the sword toward me. “Then use it for defense.”
“No.” I wipe my palms on my hips.
He drops the sword to his side and lets out an exasperated sigh. “You must.”
“I thought that’s what you were for.”
“I cannot be everywhere.”
“What if I promise to stay close when I’m here?”
He snorts. “Even if I thought that were true, I want you to have a weapon.”
Tendrils of lightning crackle in my palm. “I’m good.”
He glances at my hands, shrugs, and tosses the extra sword to the grass at his side. I’m surprised at how easily that went. I really thought he’d put up more of a—
He’s charging me, sword drawn. I duck and spin away, barely escaping his attack. Sparks illuminate the night. He charges me again, sword high, face full of intent. I crouch as he lunges and shove my hands toward his chest, terrified I’ll kill him. Shards of bright light explode between us, pushing him away with a bubble of energy. My aim is off and he spins to the side, unaffected.
Frantic and riding a surge of adrenalin, I fling my arms out, and thick ropes of lightning dangle from my wrists. Constantine doesn’t give me a chance to figure them out, but attacks again, his sword low and deadly.
Imagining a bullwhip, I twist my arm over my head and snap my arm to the ground. The bolt releases too early and flies through the night like an arrow until it takes out a tree at the far edge of the field.
Constantine snickers as he sweeps behind me.
I panic, and my other bolt fizzles and vanishes. Before I can turn and defend, he wraps his big arms around me and squeezes tight, immobilizing me.
With his arm around my throat and his sword at my cheek, he whispers, “Try again.”
A small tendril of lightning sputters from my hand and dies. Splaying my palms wide, I try again, but Constantine tightens his grip and, as my breath rushes out, fear seeps in, imprisoning my lightning wherever it lives. My heart races and I fight for air. Too many emotions battle for control. The lightning is there, too—beneath the fear.
“I can’t.” I curl my fingers around his arm and dig into his skin.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath. A bolt flickers for a moment, then fades. “I can’t.”
“Lightning just is,” he murmurs against my ear. “It does not decide between good and bad. Lightning is not conflicted by right and wrong as you are. Let it exist as it was meant to, and stop trying to restrain its purpose.”
“How do you know?”
“My sky is the same as yours.”
He’s right. Lightning, fire, wind, water . . . they’re all energy. Different forms, capable of different levels of destruction. I judge them, weigh them, dismiss them.
The skin of his arm is hot against my throat. Another transfer of energy. I focus on the heat, concentrate on where our skin touches, the angle of his blade, my fury at his attack. More energy. It’s nearly tangible.
A breeze ruffles my hair. My grip falters on the image. I shake my head, but I get it now.
He lowers his sword and slowly releases me.
I spin around. “What was that?” I shove him, and he retreats until we reach the middle of the field.
“I had to see what you would do. You haven’t tested your lightning as a weapon, and I had to know if you’d cower or scream or run away.”
“Run screaming? Cower? That’s what you think of me?”
He shrugs. “Vast space exists between daily life and battle. No one reacts the same under duress.”
“So you charge me?” I push his chest again, and a map of sparks crisscross his chest. He winces. I don’t care.
“I’ve never taken a woman into battle.” Less than a foot separates us. He looks through me for a long time while I seethe, then taps the front of my armor, just below my neck. “You have a warrior’s heart. You have no idea how to control your weapon, but you fight like you do, with no hesitation. I can train someone with heart, but I cannot give a man heart, no matter how good his swordsmanship.”
“I’m not a man.” I wave my hands over my chest then raise my flat palms. “No sword.”
He grunts and lifts his sword. “Again.”
I stay put. “I don’t want to learn like this. I know this is how you train your men, but help me learn how to wield this thing before you attack me. Learning under duress isn’t how I work best.”
“We don’t know that. No one’s seen your weapon before, least of all you. Penya and I think this is the best way to test your limits.”
I don’t like that they’re deciding things without me. Never mind that Penya’s been around forever and Constantine’s trained his share of deadly warriors . . . they could at least include me.
“It is the only way. To learn by doing, you learn with your body, and your actions become instinctual. Learning with your head will make you think too much about what you’re doing when the time comes. You will hesitate. You will die.”
“Maybe that’s true for your men, but women . . .” I examine my hands, then meet his eyes. “Everything I do comes from my emotions—to my detriment sometimes—but I learned to lean into it a long time ago. It’s just what I do. Anytime I override my emotions, I regret it. I need information, then I lead with my heart. Take me or leave me.” I cross my arms. “Teach me the basics first. Then you can test me all you want.”
“You think to tell me how to train a warrior?”
“No. But I will tell you how to train me.”
He circles me, and I let him. When he passes behind me, he flips my skirt with the tip of his sword. My hands drop to my sides, palms open, ready.
“A warrior must contain his emotions. On the battlefield they are a liability.”
A cloud passes over the moon, eclipsing the light. Darkness here is the opaqueness of my in-between when I ride. Shadows rise from the grass, dark pools stretch from the rooted tree trunks as the branches above reach for each other in the darkness, completing a wall of night twenty feet in front of me. Constantine stands behind me, but I can only discern his exact location by the slow hiss of his exhale. He steps to the right, grass crunching beneath his feet. I close my eyes.
“My men spend hundreds of hours training with their weapon before they ever step foot on a battlefield.” Above his voice, the strike of metal on metal and the slap of skin puncture the pregnant quiet of the night. “Do you know why?”
I’m pretty sure that’s a rhetorical question and he’s about to show me the answer, so I bend my knees and flex my thighs, intent on listening to his movements, not his distracting words. He’s almost in front of me now and a few feet farther away.
Behind my closed lids, I project a perfect image of the field and place him on it. Flat, compacted earth stretches in every direction, rimmed by the forest before me, the low buildings behind me, and a shallow hill and path on the sides. To defend myself I have two choices—duck or fight.
If he honors my request, I won’t need to do either.
“My warriors’ weapons are extensions of their bodies. They do not tell their arm to extend before doing it, so it is the same with their sword.” His own sword sings as he sheaths it. “So must it be with you.”
Air rushes across one side and I tense, shifting my body weight to the opposite heel. Tendrils of light ignite my palms in halos of light.
From behind me, he whispers, “Open your eyes.”
“Pick your target.”
I zone in on a small tree straight across the clearing.
I jerk, and a ball of lightning erupts from my hand, tumbling and bouncing erratically across the grass. It dies ten feet from the target.
“Focus. Find your womanly center,” he says with a sneer.
Jerk. The mockery is barely past his lips before my hands explode in two huge balls of light. I snap my arms forward and throw the balls, incinerating the tiny sapling. I stare open-mouthed at the result and wiggle my hips in an impromptu victory dance.
“Great. So an attack by an unarmed tree is your secret,” he says, mocking me again.
I glare and raise my bullwhip over my head, swinging it high and fast. At the apex, I release it and snap a thick branch off the twenty-footer to the right of the smoldering sapling.
He steps beside me and crosses his arms, facing the forest. We stand in silence while he ponders our results. The cloud moves on across the sky, releasing the moonlight. After a moment, he says, “Again.”
Another thick branch mirrors the first, fifteen feet off the ground. I narrow my eyes until the texture of the branch comes sharply into focus. At the joint, a clump of sap shines in the moonlight. Inhale. Exhale. Fire.
Again, the balls lose their momentum halfway and wink out.
I don’t admit he was right, and he doesn’t press me.
From the moment she decided on a degree in Equestrian Studies, Jen Greyson’s life has been one unscripted adventure after another. Leaving the cowboy state of Wyoming to train show horses in France, Switzerland, and Germany, she’s lived life without much of a plan, but always a book in her suitcase. Now a wife and mom to two young boys, she relies on her adventurous, passionate characters to be the risk- takers.
Jen also writes university courses and corporate training material when she’s not enjoying the wilds of the west via wakeboard or snowmobile. Her new adult fantasy, Lightning Rider, comes out May 31 and features a Latina heroine with some serious superpowers.
You can find Jen here:
About Lightning Rider:
Heiress to a time-traveling dynasty, Evy Rivera is finally claiming her birthright as a lightning rider. Problem is, she’s forced to learn it alongside Constantine, a prickly, obstinate Roman warrior who constantly challenges her to be the woman he sees in her.
Thrown back into ancient Spain, Evy must rely on guts and instinct to wield her lightning as a weapon and outsmart Ilif, her quasi-mentor who believes time traveling should be left to the Rivera men.
During her training, Evy and Constantine battle the push-pull of their explosive relationship, aware the 2,000-year span between their lives is an unavoidable hurdle.
Caught between a centuries-old battle rife with secrets, Evy must learn whom to trust before she risks everything and the wrong history repeats itself. When the heritage her parents have suppressed mingles with the past, Evy must find answers . . .
Which history is the right one? And who is she becoming?
More about Lightning Rider can be found at:
It is available for pre-order on Kobo (for all devices) and iTunes, everywhere on May 31, 2013:
Thanks again for having me, and to all your readers for joining Constantine and Evy on their journey.
And thank you, Jen, for letting me join in all the fun. Good luck in the giveaway everyone!