Warriors: Book Two

Cover reveeeeeeaaaaal! I mean, okay, if you follow me on Instagram (@veroniquewrites) or Facebook, you’ve already seen it, but this is Warriors in its full-scale, beautiful glory! I’m working on it full steam (mostly editing at this point) and the feedback I’ve gotten for Pirates so far has been super encouraging. These characters are my characters and I’ve loved them for EVER and it’s kind of cool knowing that other people love them too.

Anyway, this is more of a reminder that you can actually totally get Warriors for free once it’s released in March (it was going to be February, but with Husband’s surgery and other life things the date was pushed back a little). Here’s how!

  1. Leave a review for Pirates on Amazon by February 28th
  2. Share your review on Facebook and tag my page in it so I know you’ve done it

That’s it! This isn’t a contest so if you do these two things you’re guaranteed to get the book.

Muuuuuuch much love
-V

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Refugees

An excerpt from Pirates, available on Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Kindle! Thank you all for your support, you have been absolutely incredible.
xxx
-Veronique

At the very top of the tallest guard tower in the Crystal City, surveying the vast lands that lay about the protected realm, stood a woman with raven black hair and skin as smooth and white as ivory. Small black jewels tipped two little fangs that reached slightly over her bottom lip, and a smooth black staff crowned with a mist-enveloped copper orb was in her right hand. Her dark robes, deep turquoise and amber, were in sharp contrast to the brightness of the city and its people.

In ages past, fear had surrounded her and her people, the Darkdwellers—or, as they had once been known, the Dragons, now ill and forced to dwell in human form. Since recent events, however, everyone knew Chiasa for who she really was: the immortal Dragon Queen, the leader of the purest race ever to have lived in Kirael.

And not only that, but she had proved over and over again her strength in battle, her bravery, and above all, her loyalty. The people of the Crystal City and of all the free kingdoms loved their own kings, but they loved and trusted her, too.

Now she stood and watched the main gate far down below, open wide and letting in a nearly constant trickle of all manner of people. Refugees. Most had come from far and wide, and some—more disturbingly—had come from not so very far at all.

Her eyes, deep aqua with flecks of gold and emerald, the only part of her once fair appearance that still remained, looked on with foreboding and sadness as more and more people entered the city. They carried small bundles, hurriedly packed, telling of what sort of attack had driven them from their homes.

Then a fragile, delicate looking figure sitting tall and straight on a great black steed caught her eye, riding at the head of some two hundred people, all on horseback, and a great many unsaddled horses who followed without leads or bridles.

At the sight of Adyah and her people, a stab of pain went through Chiasa’s heart. She had felt the battle in her spirit and had known that many of them had died, but to see them riding to the Crystal City under such a clear banner of defeat, when they had for thousands of years been nearly impossible to reach in their home in the mountains, brought it home to her that the evil they all faced was far greater than anything they had faced before.

“My lady,” said the Tower Captain behind her.

She turned to face him. “What is it?”

“Where will we tell the people to go? So many have come over the last few days that we have little room left to spare. Captain Eldaroth has not returned yet and we are not sure what to do.”

She looked back down at the river of refugees. “Have whoever is able take them into their homes. And open the palace to them as well—the King would gladly have done so, were he at home, and there are hundreds of empty chambers.”

“And what of the horses?”

Despite the gravity of the situation, Chiasa smiled a little. “Leave the horses and their people to Lady Adyah. They will not abide staying within the city walls, I am sure. They are far too wild for that.”

“Yes, my lady,” he said, bowing.

Not long after, Chiasa walked into the great throne room in the palace. It had been missing its King for a long time now, but the great crystal throne had not been empty. She, Adyah, and Adyah’s sister, Cahmeelle, had been taking turns ruling in his stead while he was off on his important mission. It was a bright room at the top of the shining spire that was the palace.

The walls were great glass windows, clear but strong as steel, reinforced with ancient spells, and from here Chiasa could see the whole city and the Barrier Plains all around it.
She found Adyah sitting on the edge of the long glass table which was used for councils and diplomatic meetings. There was a heavy air about her and she stared out at nothing in particular, watching the clouds go by, her face set in a hard, anguished expression.

Chiasa said nothing but simply went to sit beside her, waiting.

“It’s all gone,” Adyah said finally, in a broken voice which Chiasa had never heard from her before. “Everything is gone. My mountains—“ she broke off and swallowed her tears.
There was nothing else to say, or else too much, and so they sat in silence staring at the blue sky outside, as yet untouched by the shadow that threatened everything they held dear.

It’s 2 a.m.

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It’s 2 a.m.

I’ve been waking up between 2 and 4 a.m. for quite a while now, and then I’m awake awake. My dad has had this issue for decades, so I’m dealing with it the same way he does: I get up and work. Lying awake in the dark, staring at the ceiling and trying anything and everything to get back to sleep, only serves to make my stress worse.

I guess this is the life of an indie author. It’s the life of the self-employed. It’s the life of the non-profit worker (which I am as well, so it’s a double dose). So when you read a book, or decide to support an indie business, or donate to a charity or NGO, look at the words on the page and realize that many of them were probably written by a stress-fueled, tired insomniac who is crazy enough to follow their dreams, even when it means being a cliche (ahem: starving artist).

Doing what you love is not as romantic as it sounds. Let’s not pretend it’s all being a hipster in a trendy coffee shop, wearing cute glasses and cheerily typing away on your Apple computer.

But you know, I wouldn’t trade this for anything, including the 2 a.m. days (which are most of them). And hey. Sometimes it is being a cutie in a coffee shop. A broke cutie, but still.

The Beginning, and Some Honest Thoughts

NaNoWriMo begins tonight at midnight! As usual, I will be taking a nap this afternoon so that I’m fresh and ready for 50k Day One. I have managed to convince a few others from my region to join me, so we’ll see how we fare. If you want to follow my progress, you can do so here, as I am planning to update the sheet every hour. Here is last year’s, for comparison 🙂 We will also be tweeting and instagramming under the hashtags #50kKillMeNow and #50kDayOne, so feel free to follow there as well (my handle on both is africanstardust, big shocker). As always, encouraging messages throughout the day are so appreciated and I love you all for sending them! I may not reply right away (because the typing) but believe me, I read every one.

I’ve realized over the past few days how much NaNoWriMo has gotten me through. I do it because I love it, yes, but it means so much more to me than that. The first year I did it I was so isolated and alone because of extenuating circumstances, and it gave me a beautiful community of random strangers who made the effort of checking my blog to encourage me and urge me on. Two years ago, I was dealing with emotional trauma and feeling like my whole world had fallen apart, and NaNoWriMo was literally the bridge that helped me get to the other side. And this year, I’ve had so many ups and downs, the accident, feeling utterly overwhelmed with academics, and dealing with depression and hopelessness.

NaNo is the time of the year when we give ourselves a gift: the gift of permission to lose ourselves in writing. It’s when we set other things aside and look after our creative souls and make time for this precious, beautiful thing, no matter how busy we are. It has played a huge part in restoring me to myself in the past, and I hope that, wherever you are and whatever you’re going through, it does the same for you. Let yourself sink into the beauty of what writing is and what it means for your soul. Allow yourself to grow and push and go to new places you haven’t been before. Set yourself free. So, from me to you: happy writing.

Veronique / africanstardust

Why I Write

typewriter

Is it ridiculous, do you think, that I dream of finishing and publishing my novels? Is it ridiculous that I hope to be at least a little successful? That I think people might want to read my books?

Maybe it is. There are hundreds of thousands of people who want to be authors. Who write. Who actually write and are good at it. Not all of them will be published. Not all of them will even stick with it. And very few will ever become famous. That isn’t the point.

I write because I love writing. I write because I love my characters and I love the story and I am passionate about the journey they take. About how they change and develop and grow into themselves. I write because I love words. And whether or not anyone believes me, the main reason why I want to publish my books is not to get money. Yeah, it would be great to be able to pay the rent with book sales. Highly unlikely. No, the main reason why I want to publish my books is because I love my characters and my stories so much that I want to share them with people. I want other people to know them and grow to love them. I want other people to be inspired. I want to be a little part of what makes people happy and encourages them.

And I write because, from a very young age, that’s how I deal with things. I don’t know, call it a coping mechanism if you want, but some of my greatest breakthroughs in life have come by writing. Because writing forces you to stop running away from the issues. In your head, you can block out your thoughts. But when you’re writing, you realize that there is nothing more authentic than the starkness of ink on paper, and you can’t hide from yourself any longer.

Why do you write?

I am now offering editing services. To find out more about this, please click on the “Editing Services” page.