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Author: H. L. Burke
Genre: Fantasy for all ages including Fantasy romance, epic fantasy, and YA,
Lands of Ash from the Lands of Ash: Elemental Realms Series
Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon
Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.
An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.
Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.
She self-published her four part fantasy/romance series “The Scholar and the Dragon,” followed by YA Steampunk Fantasy Beggar Magic, and a children’s chapter book. She is now working on an epic fantasy trilogy.
I’m always willing to share other author’s promos/work/cover reveals on my social media or blog (though because of my often YA/MG audience, I have to keep my content PG), but I have the organizational skills of a toddler on a sugar high . . . seriously, my seven-year-old has more “tidy up” ability than I do. I’m allergic to day planners, so if you need any thing, hit me up, but don’t expect me to plan anything.
After decades of Elemental Invasions, the once flourishing Kingdom of Forra has been reduced to ruins. A band of survivors pulls together in one last attempt to defend their homes and families as the Elementals make a push to wipe them out completely.
Stoic Militia Captain Karvir and his ardent brother, Ketyl, lead a skeleton force against the Fiery Horde. Everything–their families, their home, their very world–hangs on their success against impossible odds. Meanwhile across the wilderness, young Brode and his pregnant stepmother flee, hoping to find safety near the sea.
As the Elementals pour through the portals, a sacrificial act gives hope for peace, but is it sustainable? Can the human race fight back from the edge of extinction? And could the key to their survival lie in a child?
Read a short excerpt
Ketyl strode the perimeter of the portal scar. Other than full-on raids, there were two reasons the Elementals entered this realm: to scout in preparation for raids and to gather fuel. Since there were no settlements nearby, this couldn’t have been a scouting mission. They must’ve been gathering fuel. Two trails of burned branches and charred grass led away from the scar. If he could see how much they had gathered, he could get an approximate idea of their numbers. The smaller Elementals didn’t need much more than oxygen. The big ones, however, craved wood as a man might red meat.
Smoke wafted through the trees, causing his eyes to water and sting. He replaced the bandanna and nocked an arrow. Gray wisps surrounded him as he crested the hill.
The blackened, skeletal remains of a forest stretched before him, almost to the top of the next hill. Heat rose off of the trees, but the ground was cold. Only a few hot spots remained. He leaned against the singed pine at the edge of the burnout and heaved a sigh. A large party then. Flares at least, if not an Inferno Lord.
The Fortress needed to be warned. If he could get to the Haven, he could send a message by carrier pigeon. That would give the Fortress leaders time to prepare while Ketyl and his brother, Karvir, mustered the militia.
A twig cracked, and Ketyl froze. The sound came again, from behind him. Whirling about, arrow ready, he squinted through the haze. A hot red glow, like dying coals, flashed low to the ground. A Charred.
The Charred resembled a blackened corpse, its skin great flakes of ash and charcoal. Fire glowed through the cracks in its skin as it crawled along the ground. Its belly scraped the grass like a lizard’s, leaving a scorched trail behind it.
The Charred’s lazy pace was deceptive. In battle they could charge like a ram. One shot could kill it–they were by far the weakest of the Elemental beings–but Ketyl knew better than to underestimate his foe. Unfortunately, for a clear shot, he’d have to leave his cover.
He darted out. The Charred’s head snapped up, its chest and neck elevating, and its eyes, two points of red in a formless face, flared. Ketyl’s arrow sang from the bow, impacting against the Charred’s shoulder, not the instantly fatal headshot he’d intended. Ketyl cursed.
The icestone arrowhead radiated waves of blue light from the wound. The veins touched the Charred’s shoulder, and its arm broke from its body, shattering upon the forest floor. Lurching to its feet, the Charred gave a cry like roaring flames and stampeded towards Ketyl.
The Elemental was on him before he could draw another arrow. He fumbled for his knife as the Charred grabbed at his pant leg. Ketyl kicked out, sending sparks and ash flying from the Charred. The blue veins pulsed up the monster’s neck, towards its head.
He drew his knife, not icestone, just good, sturdy steel, and slashed through the weakened neck. The head rolled away, dissipating like mist. Its body crumbled into ash before him. Managing to calm his nerves, he reclaimed the arrow from the disintegrated Charred. Icestone was too precious to waste.
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