Darkness. Misery. Death.
Her family and countrymen slaughtered by her own cousin, Lucius Mordarius, and his ilk, followers of the Dark Lord, Ryadok. Beaten down but fueled by hatred, Merewyn stubbornly survives, enduring years of brutal slavery before making a daring escape. Aided by four men she doesn’t entirely trust, she directs her steps toward Ha-Ran-Fel, land of the savage Horse Lords, where she hopes to gain the strength to return for Mordarius’s head.
But complications arise. Her companions hunt Lord Ryadok’s beast, the Baugonril, born of magic, indestructible, and capable of destroying every kingdom still fighting Ryadok’s yoke. Merewyn must look beyond her personal quest for vengeance to the salvation of her world, but her broken heart holds little else but hate for her cousin and suspicion of her companions.
Dogged by Mordarius’s soldiers and her own inner demons, Merewyn survives maelstroms, near starvation, the dangerous crossing of the raging Ashgard River, and a nearly-fatal encounter with Baugonril before reaching her destination, only to meet suspicion and contempt. She must prove herself worthy of the right to avenge her family and save her world as the Warrior Queen of Ha-Ran-Fel.
Writing Warrior Queen of Ha-Ran-Fel (Book 1 of the Dark Lords of Epthelion series) proved both an adventure and an escape. For three to four hours every evening I left the mundane world of computer coding and set my imagination free, enjoying the ride as I waited to see where it took me. I had but an image: A young woman standing outside a ramshackle cottage at sunset. The dying sun stained the cottage walls with rusty hues. A dead tree behind her raised skeletal bleached branches to the sky. The wind lifted her blonde hair and stirred the sparse native grass at her feet. Her face wore a haunted expression as she contemplated the darkening sky, trying to decide to which of the mysterious kingdoms surrounding her she could flee. Whether merely unhappy or facing mortal danger I could not tell, but as she began to speak a tale of indescribable betrayal and tragedy unfolded that made me wonder: How do you retain your sanity when the unendurable shatters your world and destroys all you hold dear? How can you ever learn to love or trust or laugh again?
A story of human resilience, perseverance, faith, and victory emerged. My heroine not only survived but thrived, and continued on to a more fulfilling life than she might have otherwise enjoyed. And during her journey she discovered within herself strength and abilities she didn’t know she possessed.
Warrior Queen of Ha-Ran-Fel swept me into a beautiful and enchanted world with a colorful cast of characters: The Arganian mystics; the stalwart woodsmen; the evil sorcerer and his ambitious apprentice; the sinister peoples of the Dark Lord’s realm; and the rough-neck mercenaries, among others. Action, suspense, and humor intertwine into an intriguing tale. I loved writing it. And I’d love to share my world with you.