DebisZoo

Fantasy worlds. Magical inhabitants. Timeless battles between Good and Evil.

Summerbird Rises – Book 1 of An Act of Entreaty by Debi Ennis Binder

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“Summerbird Rises” by Debi Ennis Binder

“Summerbird Rises” begins the tale of Summerbird Asii, an inept young seer, who has spent her young life hiding her fractured magic. In a land where laws strictly prohibit magic, she has a flair for dull, common-sense and useless futures—unless her client is going to die very soon. Unless she wants is to be jailed or even executed, she is forced to let destiny continue on. When a tiny griffin appears in Summerbird’s home, needing a favor, things will never be the same for her. His request is simple—rescue several highborn Fey—the inhabitants of mystical Emythor—whose magic has been compromised. How? Perhaps by an evil mage who really doesn’t want her to interfere with his plans. Has Summerbird a choice? You don’t…but first, do you want to learn your magic? Follow the young seer as she learns who–and what–she really is, and why her Grandfather left her in a non-magical world with a well-used green-crystal ball, and the words, “This is your legacy. Forget anything you see in it.”

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Dragon Rings – Book 1 of The Ring-Witches of Nesht by Debi Ennis Binder

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Dragon Rings – Book 1 of the Ring-Witches of Nesht

Something dark and terrible is attacking the peaceable lands of Nesht, bringing death and ruin in the night and then vanishing back into the cold mists of the surrounding mountains. Two powerful Ring-Witches, Mayra and Wolfe, join uneasy forces to investigate the ongoing—and very puzzling—destruction. How can something be formidable and vile enough to incinerate entire villages and tracts of forests, slaughter people and animals, yet leave behind massive amounts of valuable gold and jewels, and do so unseen? What do these savage invaders want? As their investigation continues, the two young warriors begin feeling, and then hearing something, seeking them out. The presence refuses to identify itself. But it is large and powerful, and capable of bringing scorching, mind-rending pain to the two Witches, and then despairingly apologizing for it. When Mayra finds a huge, bloodstained talon, she finally knows what is trying to connect with them…a Dragon. Once upon a time, Dragons were treasured allies of the Witches. But now, they are monsters, bringing death and ruin to everything they touch. Mayra and Wolfe must discover what has changed the beasts, once considered noble and altruistic. They will have to face down unknown enemies and betrayal from within to save a great black Dragon and his Clan from an ancient evil and savage enchantment. How can they stop a war the humans cannot possibly win, knowing that no matter what the outcome, the Ring-Witches have no hope of resurrecting their alliance with the mighty beasts that were once their companions. Mayra, Wolfe, and their small, fierce assembly of Witches travel far and hard to learn that there are some things worth more than a life, and causes that even Dragons will willingly die for.

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What are Dragon Rings?

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For those who suggested that I had not emphasized the basis of my series, The Ring-Witches of Nesht, that is, Enhancement Rings, I agree. It’s time we know more about the symbiotic nature of these ancient tools. Rings are earned as children, and are worn by Mayra and Wolfe, the primary Ring-Witches of this series, as well as all the witch-warriors. But those wearing the Rings actually know little about them. What are Enhancement Rings? Where did they come from? As Mayra and Wolfe find each other and battle to free the dragons, they soon realize they don’t know the dark side of their Rings; in fact, that know very little at all about their purpose.

The following bit of conversation between Mayra and her warlord/father-figure/mentor, Leisher–shortly before he utterly betrays her–explains what she knows of the Rings she wears. It is far from all there is to know.

“…the Rings are for enhancement of power. The Guild doesn’t give them where magic doesn’t exist, nor do they strengthen one. Anything you see me do, I could do without them. But the Rings do make magic possible with much less effort.” Her eyebrows drew together. “If they do add anything, it is swiftness and precision in using magic.”

And later: “Our magic is based upon being one with and using, nature and the elements. Secondary magic, which is physical, hands-on incantations, relies upon knowledge of herbs and plants, and some alchemy. Enhancement Rings are given to a child once they have been taught all that the Guild can teach them…”

She ran a finger across her Ring and shivered. The gesture was no longer entirely soothing. Wolfe had shown her another, sensual side of her Rings, one she was certain she wished to explore further. Her instructors had never told her that being touched by a male with Rings—and a certain gleam in his eyes—could make her feel as though she were on fire inside.

She glanced at Leisher. He was waiting quietly. The next part—she wasn’t sure she wanted to convey it, nor the warlord to hear it, but she took a deep breath.

“Inside are minuscule filaments, of various lengths and as fine as hair. The Guild Healer cuts our wrists open across here,”—she drew her finger across her inner wrist—“and the filaments are fused with nerves. They then grow into the nerves throughout our bodies. Supposedly, if someone should remove the Rings, the loss will kill the person. After a month or so, we have healed enough to start learning to use and control the Rings. I didn’t—”

She looked up and stopped short. Leisher—his face pale and pinched—stared at her with something akin to horror in his dark eyes. He was hardly aware that he was clenching his hands into huge fists.

“I-I never would have allowed that to happen to anyone I cared about.” His voice was strained and hoarse. “How can it be expected that you will forget—carry on life after enduring such a thing?”

“Leisher, you cannot understand,” she began gently. “From the day we are given over to the Sorcery Guild, we are told every day what will happen. After a while, it’s a part of growing up, as you know you will get taller, your feet will get bigger”—she gave him a quick grin—“it’s just something that will happen to us.”

Leisher’s large hands closed around her small ones as he stared down at their arms. Lights glimmered off his gold and leather wrist guards as he reached out a cautious finger and touched a small, flat, coin-shaped piece of metal at the top outer Ring

She poured more tea for them and continued: “Ring lore says the bands are symbiotic. That hasn’t been proven, but somehow, they can refuse the person they are supposed to bond with.” A smile lifted one corner of her lips. “The nightmare of a new Ring-Witch. So, now you know the very basics about a person who can turn a thought into action.”

But that is far from all that Mayra eventually learns about her Rings, and how they are part of dragons and their lore. You will find more about the mythos of Dragon Rings in Dragon Rings. The story of Mayra and Wolfe and the dragons continues in Dragon’s Revenge.

You can find both books here

Amazon.com: Dragon’s Revenge (The Ring-Witches of Nesht Book 2) eBook: Debi Ennis Binder: Kindle Store

Thank You!

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Thanks to all who downloaded a free ebook copy of “Summerbird Rises” this past weekend. I hope you love Summerbird and her world as much as I do. I am hard at work on TWO sequels:

#2 – “Summerbird’s Quest” is the adventure Summerbird and her friends have have been awaiting, yet some dreading, since Summerbird first arrived in Emythor and started learning her magic. The party’s goal is to locate Treaty: an all-powerful entity some of the travelers aren’t even certain still exists. As they travel, they encounter a cursed woman who becomes a monstrosity to eat; an enchanted tree who tells riddles with unsettling answers; pale-skinned lake denizens of folklore; a vile troll who dines on travelers; and a psychopathic old liege who has imprisoned a revenge-seeking dragon. Worse still, every step of the way they are tormented by an ancient and familiar evil creature that hungers to consume Emythor and its magics. I hate to use the “nothing is as it seems” to describe this book, but—even I have to say, NOTHING EVER WAS IT SEEMED!!

#3 – _”The Dark Odes of Peregrim” takes places in a different area of Emythor. You finally get to meet the Learned Recluse and get to travel through the Garden (where Treaty “lives”) often mentioned in the previous two books. But the Garden does not exist alone, for it, too, guards something. Beyond and yet magically within the Garden, lies the mystical land of Peregrim, and Mourshyn, the Riven Land. Mourshyn, a land renounced by Peregrim, is forbidden to the Garden. Despite the trade enjoyed with Peregrim, magic is not welcome in Mourshyn. It wishes only to be left alone, stagnant in time. And such a land—isolated and hostile—is a perfect target for anything seeking to bring conflict to the Fey. Beautiful, dark, verdant Peregrim is ruled by the Lord of the Peregrim, the Guardian of the Garden—Ránulf ai’Wryth. He is a quiet, steadfast warrior who is bound to the Garden, a ferocious Guardian who condemns those of Mourshyn as uncivilized brutes. Clariss de’Oriste, Mourshyn’s unexpectedly young Learned Recluse, is far from an uncivilized brute. When she takes another’s punishment, she is taken to the Peregrim to save her life. When Clariss awakens and meets Ránulf, sparks fly. These two must overcome a lifetime of mistrust if they are to even be civil to one another. But Clariss is not what she seems. No sooner do Ránulf and Clariss learn of her connections to Peregrim than they find themselves caught up in a fear-fraught entreaty from Treaty and the King and Queen of Emythor—something malevolent has found its way into Mourshyn and its evil is already spreading out over the land, threatening Peregrim and even Emythor.  

The Warrior Vegetarian

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In my series, The Ring-Witches of Nesht, the female protagonist, Mayra, is a vegetarian. So is one of the males in her group of witch-warrior adventurers.

In Dragon Rings, a chef serves Mayra a delicious stew—I’ll let her describe it:

Mayra sank into her bed, pleasantly full of savory stew. She had enjoyed the thick creation, made from various vegetables and grain that a resourceful cook had used to create a thin dough. He had then shaped the dough into wide noodles—Mayra had smiled at the funny word. The kitchen retainer explained how he had cut the dough into long, threadlike pieces—the noodles—boiled them with the stew, and allowed them to soak up the spicy flavors. It was delicious. She would have to track down the means to prepare such food for herself. With thickly buttered fresh bread and crisp, sweet fruit, her solitary meal had been a feast.

from “Dragon Rings

While the gang is traveling, they take her food choices in stride. She simply ensures she has something nutritional to eat while the others are chowing down on a side of some sort of ungulate. Also, they are aware that she doesn’t want to watch any preparation.

In Dragon’s Revenge, Mayra and the other vegetarian in her crew eat fish for the first time. Again, from her perspective:

Mayra leaned back against Wolfe, savoring the warmth of the fire as it grew, fed with small pieces of wood, and enjoying feeling full. The fish—well, they were fish. Unintelligent, neither magnificent nor spirited, not the typical food of one who had always been a strict herbivore—but Wolfe had at last gotten her to try the cold, scaly things, convincing her that their nutritive value was essential to her well-being. Two of the witches had cooked the repulsive things within leaves that had made them tender and sweet, and almost palatable.

from “Dragon’s Revenge”

At last, we know Mayra’s reason for not eating meat—she sees animals as intelligent, spirited beings not deserving to be eaten. She does have trouble explaining that to dragons, but these great beasts are altruistic and they try to understand. Gaulte, their leader, has bonded with Mayra, and they will not be eating in front of the humans. That might say a lot about dragon table manners–dainty they are not, and they are considerate.

It would have been simpler never to have made Mayra a vegetarian, but it was such an essential part of her personality. In a world of warriors, being unwilling to eat meat is a shortcoming that others might perceive as a weakness which must be defended. But I never have either of the two vegetarians have to defend their choice. Accepting her choice is a testament as to how the witches feel about each other, and ultimately, how the dragons feel about them, as well. Dragons know all humans are odd, and some are more peculiar than others, but they have proven themselves to be fierce warriors, and because of the Enhancement Rings they wear, they are part of the dragons.

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Dragon Rings

Purchase on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Rings-Ring-Witches-Nesht-Book-ebook/dp/B075H39PVD/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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Dragon’s Revenge

Purchase on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QWQDCLQ?ref_=dbs_pwh_calw_1&storeType=ebooks

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Autumn Returns (Again), Bringing Soup and Socks

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I want to make this an annual posting, as Autumn comes every year (I hope!), so if you’ve read it before–read it again! Maybe I snuck some stuff in below and you’ll never know!

Autumn is my favorite season, and not just because it’s so beautiful, nor because that’s the season when I used to have a birthday, back when I celebrated such an occasion. Alas, I stopped having birthdays two years ago, when the aging process stopped for me. I do love all the best wishes from my friends, but mentally, they are simply, Happy Happy Day. Which could mean anything! Just don’t forget the Happy Day present. And cake.

No, autumn is putting-on-your-sock-in-the house weather. Getting out your sweaters and long-sleeved shirts. Turning on the heater in the morning. Autumn means hearty soup for dinner and leftovers for lunch. Filling the birdfeeders so the birds can stock up on their way south. Digging up the garden and raking leaves (*snrk* I don’t do that anymore, since I had an a-fib, I lug oxygen around with me. See, I told you there would be changes!). 

I decided to add that part above quite intentionally, because as the years pass, we have things happen in our lives. But Autumn, and the other seasons, still pass. This is going to briefly turn into an object lesson. Get out there, rake some leaves, then kick them all over the place. Even better, have your kids/grandlings rake them up, and then kick them…you know the rest. Enjoy each season for what it brings.

As I did previously, I’ll finish with reminding you that family is so important to keep with you; they will be the ones to help you through the changes that time brings. Autumn means Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming and those are also my favorites–the holidays that bind families and make memories. But Spring is planting flowers, going camping, planning your summer vacation, and Summer is going on that vacation (unless you live in NM like me, then it’s sweating your butt off and figuring out how quickly you can move from your air conditioned car to the air conditioned store/house/hospital). And thank goodness, it’s Winter again! Freezing off my butt now–my butt is never happy.

I’ll close this time by noting that I’m not very good at these heart-felt posts, but that’s OK. A lot of my readers (yeah, my fantasy is kind of dark) have trouble relating to them! So enjoy life. You only get one.

A Scene is a Thing of Beauty…

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What does that mean? To me, a scene or a plot point or a character is a Thing I created. I made is as surely as if I had gone to work Monday morning, clocked in–if you ever did that sort of thing–and sat down at a desk, or a machine, or in a company vehicle, and produced a Thing. Therefore…

Don’t you hate it when you’re plotting and preparing a scene and you write it and work it and twist it and BOOM! It isn’t going to work. It doesn’t have the oomph you wanted or it isn’t going to take the reader where you want them to go. You love that Thing. It spoke to you, it had meaning. It was your baby!

What do you do? Euthanize and bury it? Highlight and delete it? Shudder. That’s awful! No, there is an alternative…

I, in a manner of speaking, set up that scene/character/plot point so in the future, I can “plagiarize” myself! I cut and paste it into a file called OLD EXTRAS. Yes, you put the scene and plotting aside and visit them once in a while, just to remind you what’s there! Who knows, maybe someday, the scene, or parts of it, might be able to be tweaked and used somewhere else. Just like old fabric, reclaimed yarn, or pieces of wood or hardware, you can recycle them. Your old noodle worked hard to create that Thing and make it just right. Just like that leftover piece of prime rib…

Never waste a great idea.

“Summerbird’s Quest” Cover Reveal – It’s Coming!

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Alone… is one who will never have another, not a voice, or a touch, or even a thought to share. Alone is… one. Only, ever, one. The Færa Mourne

Summerbird’s Quest

Taken to Emythor by a magical griffin, Summerbird Asii has learned as much magic as can be stuffed into her in such a short time. And in that time, she has realized there are concerns her companions have, they are hiding things from her, and the “task” Miffin Griffin used to lure her away from her village in non-magical Isterr, is much, much more.

Summerbird sets off on her quest with an assembly of powerful beings, guided by Ùilteine, an enigmatic thief with dangerous secrets and questionable loyalties. Ùilteine appears to know his way around magic and hides that knowledge with fierce determination. Her companions aren’t happy—he is a peculiar man who shows far too much interest in Summerbird.

The party’s goal is to locate Treaty: an all-powerful entity some travelers aren’t even certain still exists. As they travel, they encounter a cursed woman who becomes a monstrosity to eat; an enchanted tree who tells riddles; pale-skinned lake denizens of folklore; a vile troll who dines on travelers; and a psychopathic old liege who has imprisoned a revenge-seeking dragon. Worse still, every step of the way they are tormented by an ancient and familiar evil creature that hungers to consume Emythor and its magics.

On a long and treacherous journey where nothing is what it seems, Summerbird learns that her destiny, utterly entwined with Ùilteine and his devastating secrets, is far more life-changing than the once-lonely seer could ever have imagined.

For she alone must find the strength and courage to defeat the evil creature that threatens both Emythor and Isterr, even when it takes on a final form that nearly renders her powerless.

The Fun of Juggling Manuscripts

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As I work on my manuscript for the upcoming Summerbird’s Quest, I’ve also started working on the third book in the An Act of Entreaty series, titled, The Dark Odes of Peregrim. Since one book melds into the next (even though Peregrim takes place approximately three years after the end of Quest), it really is easier to write them at the same time. But it can be tricky, one has to be careful not to place the wrong characters in the wrong place and time! But fun!

And so, here is the synopsis for The Dark Odes of Peregrim:

The Dark Odes of Peregrim, Book #3 of An Act of Entreaty…coming in 2020

Deep within the magical lands of Emythor sits the small castle of Darkleaf. Darkleaf guards the Garden, home of the powerful entity, Treaty. But the Garden does not exist alone, for it, too, guards something. Beyond and yet magically within the Garden, lies the mystical and dark land of Peregrim.

After creating Emythor, Treaty desired a place to live and made the Garden, Treaty fashioned a land of bold Fey warriors to guard it—Peregrim. But Treaty soon realized that all was not well with Peregrim’s people. The then Lord of the Peregrim asked Treaty to give the lands located above the Garden their autonomy; thus Mourshyn, the Riven Land, emerged.

Magic is not welcome in Mourshyn. Over the many years since, the forsaken land has grudgingly acknowledged an uneasy alliance with Peregrim, for they do not trust the Fey. They do not care that Emythor is once again peaceful and prosperous. Despite the trade lines enjoyed with Peregrim, Mourshyn wishes only to be left alone, stagnant in time. As Mourshyn—and Tarfta, the town of the Lord-Governor—are isolated and hostile, they are the perfect quarry for someone—or something—seeking to bring conflict to the Fey. For Treaty cannot forget the last words of the demon Borrea before he died:

There will be others come after me…

Beautiful, dark, verdant Peregrim is ruled by the Lord of the Peregrim, the Guardian of the Garden—Ránulf ai’Wryth. When Ránulf meets Clariss de’Oriste, Tarfta’s Learned Recluse, sparks fly, but these two must overcome a lifetime of mistrust and disinformation their lands have against each other. Clariss loves and defends the people of her village, much as Ránulf does those of Peregrim. But Tarfta’s governors are an unappreciative group of untrusting overseers. In their eyes, the Learned Recluse wields far too much influence over the people; there are sometimes rumors she might have magical abilities.

When Clariss takes the punishment meant for another, she is taken to the Peregrim to save her life. She finds herself in a land that should terrify her. Instead, though grievously wounded, her dreams take her through an exquisite garden, filled with the plants she loves, huge, heady blooms she’s never seen. Fragrance surrounds her, along with something unseen, telling her something that fills were with both longing and fear. The Peregrim are waiting, for the dark and the light, and the over and the under to come to them.

When she relays the tale to Ránulf, he is filled with disbelief. She describes things in the Garden she could not possibly have seen. And the words bring up memories from his childhood, of endless tales told by Treaty to the children of Peregrim. What do they mean?

No sooner do Ránulf and Clariss learn of her connections to Peregrim than they find themselves caught up in a fear-fraught entreaty from Treaty and the King and Queen of Emythor—

Something malevolent has found its way into Emythor through Mourshyn and its evil is already spreading out over the land. The people of the Riven Land will need the help of the Peregrim and even Emythor, itself, if they are to survive this attack. For while trust must be earned and nurtured, sometimes there isn’t time for that. Human must simply trust other humans, because they are, after all, the same.

Books by Debi Ennis Binder https://debiszoo.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=383&action=edit

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