Like Fire is not yet published and I am offering a beta read version to the Magical Words community, in love and trust. I’ve done a number of collaborative projects over the years, and these were always the best, most rewarding things I’ve done. I will be publishing this book later this year – with all the improvements and changes suggested by beta readers taken into full consideration, with full acknowledgement. So it is your care, love and consideration as those who love fantasy literature, to help make this the best venture possible.
Here’s the story of the book. The basic concept is, what if a leader at a critical juncture – overseeing the survival of all, with capacity to stop killing and violence, or to continue it – was a woman, not a man? What if King Arthur had been a woman? Abraham Lincoln?
Well, the answer I’ve gotten from some is, “That cannot be.”
Well, so it is. In this story. That’s the “high concept.” A female leader and heroine fighting for her life, and her family, and her loves, and all that surround her.
The story is set in the Wide World, a fantasy world I created, in which I have set three prior young adult novels. This is a post-apocalyptic fantasy world in the sense that once, there was much greater magic and technology, but after generations of devastation, all has greatly been reduced. The cities have become towns, the towns, villages. The villages are for the most part, no more.
Here’s the blurb-o-matic:
Astá D’Avia is the sole woman to lead any land in the Wide World, the mountain stronghold of Kestrel Point, where the finest weapons are made. After losing her father, husband and son in the wars of Dark Magic, she fights to save the lives of her people with the aid of a mysterious, dark killer in a bearskin cloak – Broos Zuri. Astá’s most powerful weapons are her courage, honor, and Shula the Salamander, a tiny immortal magical creature whose power can unleash the fires of Hel. Treated brutally by Broos’ people, the Salamander’s rage can set the whole world on fire, and kill those who use its power, including Astá.
To keep the peace, Astá’s fiery daughter Meria, called Redbird, is betrothed to Kamron Ancaster, golden prince of the wealthy Seven Ridings. But Kamron dies in the arms of his brother Lorne, a heavy northern arrow through his heart. The impossible shot that killed Kamron was not made by the northern enemies, the Helmanders. Acting on the orders of Broos, Meria’s best friend Keile the Sparrow shot the bolt that killed him. Instead of protecting Kestrel Point, Kamron’s death launches a full-out war for possession of its foundries, steel, the lives of its people, and above all, possession of Shula the Salamander and her magic fire.
That said, I can imagine few greater pleasures than writing this book. All I have to look forward to is the next. People may actively audition for roles, because that’s the type of writer I am. If I can picture and know the person, they are easily able to take part in the book and story.
And that, Magical Words community, is how I found my writer’s voice.
Inspired by a lifelong love of nature, endless curiosity, and a belief in wonderful things, Amy Sterling Casil is a 2002 Nebula Award nominee and recipient of other awards and recognition for her short science fiction and fantasy, which has appeared in publications ranging from to . She is the author of 26 nonfiction books, over a hundred short stories, primarily science fiction and fantasy, two fiction and poetry collections, and three novels. She lives in Aliso Viejo, California with her daughter Meredith and a Jack Russell Terrier named Gambit. Amy is the founder of Pacific Human Capital, a founding member and treasurer of Book View Café author cooperative and former treasurer of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, and teaches writing and composition at Saddleback College, after receiving her MFA from Chapman University in 1999. She is currently engaged in founding a new publishing company for the 21st century, Chameleon Publishing.