Friday, July 15, 2022

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Orb and Arrow (Exploration #1) by V.L. Stuart

Title: Orb and Arrow
Series: Exploration #1
Author: V. L. Stuart
Publisher: Pen It! Publications
Publication Date: May 15th 2022
Print Length: 327 pages
Genre: Fantasy

Brillar was expected to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a healer but she was headstrong and impetuous and took the Way of the Bow. Now a highly skilled hunter, she has been forced to kill to release a mage, bound in enchanted chains. It was self-defense, but that is no excuse for a healer.

Releasing a Master War Mage from bondage could get you killed . . . or apprenticed. When Master Elden insists on the latter, Brillar finds herself on a journey not of her making. When it doesn’t end well, she insists on directing a new journey where her healing skills will find newer and greater challenges.

Settled lands are one thing, but in the Wild, she will have to rely on her Master’s knowledge of the terrain and the people. And the Rovers are not always friendly.

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Before dawn the following day, Brillar was shaken awake. “Up and quickly,” urged Elden, shoving her pack and bow at her, “and move. Something’s happening.”

When the pair stood, they were confronted by Rovers.

“You are to leave, now,” came Sarl’s stern, angry voice.

“We’re ready.” Elden’s reply was calm, but she could feel his tension.

“Without the woman,” came another voice.

“She has brought disorder here. She will be punished for everyone to see,” Sarl stated with finality.

Reaching out, finding only anger around them, Elden made the only answer he could, unleashing a ring spell that caught the men by surprise. The spell was dark, smoky, mixed with dancing lights, and men around them dropped like stones. He drew in more mana. A spear whizzed past them, thrown from some distance.

“Run,” he shouted, and they sprinted downslope toward open land. There were five miles or more between them and the Rovers when Elden brought them to a halt. He had revitalized them several times during their flight; now he grabbed her arm, spinning her around.

“What, by all that is Good, have you been up to?” he shouted; there was fire in his voice.

“Healing,” she shouted back, “I have been up to healing.”

“And something more, I think, you little fool,” he continued to shout.

That brought her up short. Elden had never spoken to her that way before. Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she answered, “Widowanlis and Norrel asked questions, and I answered.” She was still defiant. “Norrel’s daughter, Ralla, is only seven, and already promised to a bully of a boy twice her age. She asked if it was so everywhere, and I answered. Others asked and were answered as well.”

Elden could only turn in a circle. “So you just answered? By all that stands in the Light… just answered?” He stalked away, leaving her to follow.

He set a hard pace, putting distance between them and any who might try to follow them. It was nearly dark when he stopped. She pulled up behind him, holding her side. He had offered her no help during the day and no time for comfort. She was tired, dusty, hungry, and thirsty. He gave her nothing, not even the ease of a fire. Brillar dumped her pack, which had been hastily stuffed, relieved to find everything there. She took a long pull of her water flask, finding it close to empty. Opening the foldbox, she added water to the flask then took out rations and a blanket; her other blanket had been left behind.

There had been no words between them since Elden’s outburst, and for some reason, she felt lost. Neither slept well, despite the Ward.

It was the same in the morning, just silence as they sat and ate where they had slept, then Elden said, “I should never have brought you.” His voice was so low, that she could hardly hear it.

“Then I would be dead already, torn apart by dire wolves.” Her voice was just as quiet. “You know I would have come anyway.”

“Then we are, both of us, fools.”

They sat silently for a time; Elden stood and adjusted his pack. “We need to move. The spell will have held them and left them too weak to follow, but there were others."
VL Stuart is a journalist and author living in Costa Rica with her husband and a small comical dog.

She is a long-time reader - usually of science fiction, historical mysteries, and epic fiction. As a teen, she cut her teeth on Heinlein and found the delightful worlds of McCaffrey as an adult. Her first genres were poetry and essays, and she won awards in both. Her 'Orb and Arrow' trilogy has been well-reviewed and is available on Amazon. Her work in progress, 'Warriors of the Kalahn,' is in progress and she recently completed ‘Master of Magic,’ another book set in the world of Orb and Arrow. As for her writing process, she is a pantser - "May all the gods bless Even with an English degree, my errors are legion."

At present, she lives between two volcanoes, "But no worries, only one of them is active."

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Win a free copy of Orb and Arrow: Duty (Book II)!

If you’ve enjoyed reading about Brillar and Elden’s adventure in Orb and Arrow: Exploration, you can win a free paperback copy of Book II in the series, which will be published in September 2022.

Here’s how to enter:
  • Read Orb and Arrow: Exploration (Book I) available now in paperback or eBook
  • Write a review of the novel. The review must be at least two sentences long (tell readers what you liked most about the plot, what character you liked best and why, do you favor Creature Magic or Life Magic, what you hope will happen next in the series–anything that helps get other readers engaged).
  • Post the review on Amazon or Goodreads.
  • Send a copy or link to the review via email:

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway. The author, V.L. Stuart, assumes all responsibility over this giveaway.)

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