Sunday, April 3, 2022

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Clandestine Queen by Brandon J Greer

The Clandestine Queen tour banner
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Clandestine Queen by Brandon J Greer. This blog tour was organized by Lola's Blog Tours. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a lovely guest post about the fantasy genre from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of the book. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
The Clandestine Queen
Title: The Clandestine Queen
Author: Brandon J Greer
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Publication Date: April 12th 2022
Print Length: 367 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

A shard of ice hides in her chest

A raging fire burns in his.

A lost queen

A desperate assassin

Together they will change the world.

Maggie Abernathy always thought she was human, even though she could do the most peculiar things. Things no other girl in her village could do. Fifteen years after being abandoned as a baby, she begins to question who she is, where she belongs, and what she might be capable of. When a mysterious letter from the past calls her home, she embarks on a journey that will change her life forever-if she survives.

Loravain-an enslaved, ember-breathing witch hunter-is hot on her trail and gaining fast. If he can find and kill her, he will win what he has sought for twenty years: freedom from the demon he serves. But he knows he isn't supposed to be the villain, and his conscience weighs heavily even as he continues his hunt. Will the prospect of freedom overpower his desire for redemption?

As their fates intertwine, neither knows what the future truly holds.

Want to read the first 5 chapters of The Clandestine Queen for free? Get the first 5 chapters here!
Laughter rang out through the small room. Knowing Maggie was leaving in the morning pushed her parents to be more lively, upbeat, and happy. Maggie knew they were doing it to support her, and she thanked them for it, but she could see the sadness in their eyes. But no amount of sorrow could prevent them from celebrating.

"... and when we came outside," her father reminisced, snorting so loud through his laughter he began to choke. He only continued once he'd composed himself. "You were sitting on the house and that little friend of yours was limping away, holding her rear end."

Maggie couldn't contain the sip of milk in her mouth as she tried to hold in the laughter. Failing, she spat milk out all over the table. She remembered that day as clearly as if it had been yesterday.

"I can still see the look on her face," Maggie said.

"Her father came running up the hill about an hour later yelling about how his daughter had been attacked by wild demons. When he saw us, all working in the garden as if nothing had happened, he just scratched his head."

Maggie tried to keep a straight face while she cleaned up her mess. The rag was sodden and dripped with milk as she carried it to an empty bucket in the kitchen.

The wind outside was still howling and she could hear rain splashing in puddles as it fell. She worried about the beginning of her journey. If the rain kept up, she might be in worse shape than the milk-laden rag. Nevertheless, she couldn't help but be uplifted by the stories her parents were sharing.

"Do you remember the time you froze up the well?" her father asked with a chortle.

"That wasn't my fault," Maggie complained but still looked forward to the story. Her father was a wizard with words.

"We'd just finished gathering the leaves covering the garden. It was early spring and the sun was giving us a hint of summer. I was so upset when it happened. Little Mags decided to dump the whole lot of wet, stinky leaves on the fire. It had taken me all morning to find kindling dry enough to start it and there you'd gone and nearly smothered it. But then the smoke turned thick and dark."

Her mother failed to control the fit of laughter that had taken over her. It was so contagious that it spread through the room like wildfire. When she could breathe again, her mother continued the tale.

"When the leaves burst into flames, sending that fireball into the sky, you almost jumped out of your pants and fell head over heels straight into the dung pile."

That earned another round of howling laughter.

"You were so scared," her dad said, wiping a tear from his eye. "You ran to the well and dropped the bucket. You wanted to douse the flames."

"All we heard," Mother said, interrupting her husband. "Was a hollow thump when the bucked bounced off the ice."

"That's not fair," Maggie said. "How do you know it was my fault? It was early spring. It could have still been frozen."

"It wasn't," her father said. "I'd already drawn out at least five buckets that morning."

"Well, I had no idea what had happened. I just thought I was going to burn down the whole village."

As the moment wore on, silence fell over them as they each remembered different memories that brought them joy. The joviality that had prevailed began to fall away as the seriousness of the situation came rushing back. No one wanted to talk about it. No one wanted to ruin the memory they had just created, but it was inevitable.
Brandon J Greer
Brandon J Greer is the second and third oldest in a family of eight kids. (He was second oldest until a new marriage brought a new child that bumped him to third.) To set himself apart from so many siblings, he discovered the arts. Drawing, acting, and writing pulled him in at a young age. His first book, Around the World in About a Year, was written in the sixth grade, complete with hand-drawn illustrations. The book was garbage but won him a place in an arts competition at the local university. Now living in northern Utah with his wife and daughter, he travels as much as he can. His favorite places to go are Yellowstone and Peru.

When I was young, maybe ten or eleven years old, I had an alter ego that not many people knew about. In fact, maybe only two or three people were aware of it, but to them, this alter ego was just a character in a game we would play. On quiet summer mornings when the threat of school was gone, I would kick off my blankets and scour the house for an item of great importance to me. Most people saw this item as just an old used briefcase, but to me it was so much more. It was my potions case, my magical items holder, the means of escape to a new world.

You see, I was a wizard with the power to do anything my mind could conjuror up. I saved my companions from countless slaughters and impossible odds hundreds of times on summer days and warm weekend mornings. Had it not been for my ability to open portals to safety and fire magic missiles, our adventures would not have been able to continue.

To this day, I carry that alter ego with me, though it has evolved over the years. The best thing about it is that it changed in such a marvelous way. Because I spent most of my time playing and daydreaming of fantasy and magic as a child, those adventures and abilities have become part of my dreams as an adult. The moment I lay my head down on my pillow is an exciting time for me because I never know what is going to happen but I know that it will be something worth remembering.

Fantasy has been part of me for most of my life and countless things have influenced that. Because of that, my interests in adult life have a heavy fantasy element. When I sit down to write, to pour my soul out onto paper, magic happens. I create new worlds through words on a page.

It is my belief that in this life, writing fantasy is the closest we can come to playing God. Fantasy is not just a recreation of life or something that already exists. Fantasy gives us the ability to build races, religions, planets, and languages. Just look at all we got from J.R.R. Tolkien. That man created a world that is still revered today. A world that thousands upon thousands of people would love to venture to. And they do, each time they pick up a book or turn on the movie.

Fantasy gives us an escape from a world that might not satisfy us at the moment. It frees us from troubles and stress and transports us to a place we feel safe and belonging. Where the characters we join understand us on a level that those who surround us here don’t. How often have you taken a class at Hogwarts? Chased down a minotaur with Percy Jackson? Hid up a tree to evade an early death in the Hunger Games? For so many of us, fantasy is the life we want to live (or at least we think we do), and so we read and seek out those kindred spirits who feel the same way.

For me, fantasy is so much more than just a genre. It is a lifestyle. So even if I look like a responsible adult on the outside, on the inside, I am a hundred different things all at once. Because of this, I write. Once I have pen in hand, or fingers on keyboard, I become any one of those hundred things. The truth is that there is a difference between just participating in fantasy and creating fantasy. While most people enjoy exploring the worlds created by someone else, the truly brave souls are the ones who dare to create worlds of their own. The only part scarier than that is inviting others to peek at what we have built. But if it wasn’t for the courage of so many, we would be lost in a world without an escape.

That escape is what draws me to fantasy. It is why I read it, why I write it, and why I dream it. Most of the time, the world we live in is so boringly ordinary. Fantasy is rarely boring or ordinary. It screams at us, calls to us, much like the scribbling scrawled on a bathroom stall door, for a good time, call…
Win a signed copy of The Clandestine Queen by Brandon J Greer - five winners! (US only)

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Lola's Blog Tours and the author assume all responsibility for this giveaway).

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