Good morning, everyone. I hope you’re well. I’ve been having a hectic, headachey week, here but getting better. I think part of the headache is dealing with business in this pandemic. The worker bees at Amazon have been crunching something and taking longer than usual.
Today, after much work and fretting, I can finally announce that I have a new change for you, and a new release. Remember a little book called Passion’s Sacred Dance? Yes, well, there’s been a shift. I moved it out of Celtic Stewards Chronicles, and gave it a new title, new series title, and new cover: it’s now called Keeper of the Grove.
(It’s a better title, we think here at Raven Queen Publications). Same book, different title and cover. And the cover is this:
Also…. There’s now a direct sequel to it. What do I mean? Simply that Stacy and Aaron star in this one, again, and it falls weeks after all the reading Stacy did in and Druid Warrior Prince and Druid Warrior Heart (yes, if you’ve read those two books, those were actual files Stacy was reading. I just snipped the prologues in her pov out). Anyway, they’re the Celtic Stewards Chronicles, being related, but not the main story. This, what’s now called the Stewards War series, is the main tale being that begun in, and with the main characters of, Keeper of the Grove.
Anyway, the sequel (as you can see below) is titled Bitter Thorn Tribe:
and the synopsis is as follows:
Destined to be a bride, if only the gods will let her…
Stacy Macken tries to acclimate herself to her training under Tuatha dé Danaan druids—as if she doesn’t have enough work in planning her wedding to her beloved guardian and fiancé Aaron.
When Fomorii loyalists violate their treaty and seek revenge for their recent defeat, even Stacy’s druids are at a loss to explain the mayhem that ensues.
Can Aaron and his brothers-in-arms stop it before Stacy and her family are caught in the crossfire?
Here’s a snippet from the novel: (Oh, by the way, Stacy ancestor’s name, Dechtire mentioned below. I pronounce it Deck-tir-ay. Not sure if that’s correct but that’s what this book says, and if it feels comfortable to you, have at it. :))
The whoosh of steel whispering through the quiet room played a soft tempo behind the silence as Aaron practiced.
The noise didn’t distract Stacy as she read the records of her ancestors piled before her. The files contained things she needed to know, things the harshad druids had hidden for centuries. Stacy didn’t like that secrecy; it seemed to her if the harshad warriors and druids hadn’t so closely-guarded their existence after her family immigrated to America, would she have doubted so much, as she had?
Beside the files lay a diary her great grandmother had given her, one by her ancestor Dechtire, she who founded Bitter Thorn Grove History Center, in the early nineteen hundreds. The history center which Stacy now oversaw, and that was, the harshad druids declared, the site of their sacred battleground. “I don’t want to see our descendants go through the same trouble and doubt I did. They need access to all these files and diaries.”
Aaron stood in the dining room, his fine muscles flexing as he practiced his sword work. “With the internet the way it is, trust me. There’ll be a leak sometime. Who knows what’s coming for the future of information retrieval. I’m sure our grandkids will have no trouble finding you.”
“Are you being prophetic?”
Another whoosh as he swung the sword back. The sword split into three blades. “Realistic. Our Technomages are savvy, but I don’t doubt someday, someone will find a way around their safeguards.”
Aaron passed her and gave her a quick kiss. In their bedroom, he put his harshad away then ducked into the bathroom, peeled off his shirt. He’d left the door open, so she got the full view, from her spot here.
He’d shaved yesterday, so what he sought in his reflection, she couldn’t tell. Stacy admired the smooth, angular cheeks and his green eyes, the cut of his jaw.
“I’ll make sure Cyreth double-checks those firewalls. God knows, if the children of today can breach government records, they’ll find us. I wonder if she wouldn’t mind dumping the computer system and going old school.”
Though, having seen how much data the harshad druids tabulated in their system, Stacy would hate to lose it all to some person’s memory. Even harshad druids had their limits, she thought. Or could they all do what Cyreth did? What about Dermot? Who was, now, the oldest druid she knew? She hoped, tonight, her dreams would help her find a way to convince them to give her what she wanted.
However, remembering one recent dream made her shudder. Ruth’s property in flames.
Whether her nightmare stemmed from these stories she read of her ancestor’s battles, or from stress, she didn’t know. Even now, the deadly flame licked over barn and grove in her vision. Someone—a woman’s voice she recognized vaguely—said, “Miss Macken, why’d you go?”
“We’ll do our best to see no one but us can gain access to the records.” Aaron’s statement drew her back to reality. “Do you really doubt that?”
“Of course not.” Stacy supposed it didn’t matter, as long as her family had the most important parts of the tale. Which she absolutely meant them to. “Tell her it will give her something to do with the next five hundred years. That should cheer her up.”
He chuckled and shut the bathroom door. The shower faucet squeaked on.
I know what would make her happier, but I can’t vaporize Balor. No, Stacy knew they had no chance to defeat Balor permanently. By agreement, they had to settle for awaiting the next battle. Five hundred years from now.
And fight again, every five hundred years.
“Rules, rules.” She rose, returned the notes and papers to her bedside table, then flicked off the light illuminating the living room. Who’s monitoring that bloody agreement, and can I shred it when they’re not paying attention?
A light shone from the kitchen.
“Aaron, when did you go back into the kitchen?”
He shouted from the bathroom. “What was that about the kitchen?”
The shower’s heat attacked her skin as she ducked into the bathroom to repeat her question to which he answered, “I haven’t been in there in a while. Why?”
“The light’s still on. The sensor must be stuck again.” I should have that thing removed.
The electricians hadn’t built a light switch within easy reach of the door, so the condominium’s owner installed these movement-seeking sensors to turn them on and timers that shut them off after a few minutes of detecting no movement at all. Clever device, when it worked.
But sometimes, it didn’t. Like now. Stacy crept to the kitchen door, hoping the sensor wouldn’t see her; if indeed the lights were about to go out, she didn’t want to encourage them to waste more electricity. A quick flick of the switch would reset it.
She stepped over the threshold and froze seeing something that shouldn’t be in her kitchen: A Harbinger, a fiend of Balor’s devising and the bane of her existence. A beast somewhat like an alligator, a little like a dragon, that could become somewhat human when it wanted to sneak up on her. Clearly tonight, it preferred truth.
The Harbinger reeked of patchouli and musk as it crouched in her kitchen, peering at her with those evil quicksilver eyes, one claw on the light switch. The Harbinger smiled, saliva dripping from its fangs. “Heh … heh… Hello, Steward.”
Stacy scrambled back from the door and screamed.
If you’re curious about a reading order to all this? If you’d like to go chronologically, start as it’s published now, at Druid Warrior Prince, then Druid Warrior’s Heart, then Keeper of the Grove and Bitter Thorn Tribe. If you don’t care, you can go by publication dates (KotG, DWH, DWP, Bitter Thorn Tribe) Personally, I like it in the chronological version vs. the publication dates version. But if I’d held all five books back until now, they’d never have come out. I’m decidedly not one of those who can write a whole series before publishing it. I may be a speedy writer, but I’m not that fast.
Ahem, anyway, if you’d like to you can get Bitter Thorn Tribe now at Amazon.
I hope you’ll enjoy it, and please if you read the series and are feeling generous, please leave reviews for the books at Amazon. We authors can always use a few more. 🙂