BLOG TOUR – GUEST POST – Soulbound by Archer Kay Leah – #Excerpt #Giveaway

Archer Kay Leah has a new MM/MMF fantasy romance book out. Please join me in welcoming Archer to my blog. They have generously written a guest post to share ten relatively random facts about The Republic Series and its characters!

Soulbound by Archer Kay Leah

Series: The Republic (book 4, not necessary to have read books 1-3)
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Length: Novel / 136,000 words
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Pairings/Genres/Tropes/Keywords/Categories: M/M (primary), MMF (secondary, overlaps with the primary), Fantasy Romance, High Fantasy, Romance, Soul Mates, Bisexual, Poly

Warnings: “Soulbound” contains some explicit content, references to self-harm, suicide, and mentions of suicide-related behavior and intent. This story also contains instances of graphic violence, references to rape and domestic abuse, and depictions and mentions of depression.

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Blurb

SoulboundIn a relationship that violates rules and expectations, Mayr and Tash have found their perfect match in each other. Despite their fears and difficult pasts, they hope for a shared future with security and a family. When Mayr’s secret first love, Arieve, proposes they create that family with her, it seems dreams could become reality.

But life is complicated, and so is the delicate balance between duty and love. While Mayr protects the Dahe family at all costs, Tash is determined to succeed as a priest. Both positions require sacrifice, forcing their relationship into painful choices. To make matters worse, criminals lurk in the shadows, seeking revenge on them and those they guard.

The life they want risks losing everything—including Arieve and each other. Even if they can have it all, keeping it may take more than they can give.

Warnings: “Soulbound” contains some explicit content, references to self-harm, suicide, and mentions of suicide-related behavior and intent. This story also contains instances of graphic violence, references to rape and domestic abuse, and depictions and mentions of depression.


About the Series

With the right people and the right price, the Republic of Kattal can be brought to its knees. But for every line crossed, someone waits on the other side, ready to push back.

Armed and ready to defend their lives, these heroes are not afraid of the fight. They stare adversity in the eye and dance with the darkness within. But in their justice, there is wisdom. In wisdom, there is protection. In it all, there is love. Sometimes it’s a matter of saving a village; sometimes it’s a matter of saving the one they can’t live without. Sometimes it’s just about doing the right thing and learning to love oneself.

Magic may lurk in the shadows. Crime may never sleep. But love doesn’t back down.

MEME 3 - Soulbound - Archer Kay Leah


Excerpt

Silence fell, deep with meaning conveyed by long gazes and soft smiles. Why had he expected Aeley to say anything different?

Three loud knocks rapped the door, scaring them both. Cursing under his breath, Mayr opened the door.

Arieve.

Every foul word tumbled back down Mayr’s throat. “Hey.” He leaned against the door, one arm sliding up the side.

In an instant, he tripped on his own feet and stumbled into the door, swinging it open further.

“You can’t possibly be drunk already.” The corners of Arieve’s eyes crinkled with her smile, her glossed lips painted pink like her cheeks. Dark curls and plaits cascaded over her shoulders, the firelight lending a golden hue to the white-blonde streaks in the fringe of hair across her forehead. She held a silver tray, presenting two glass goblets filled with a bluish-purple drink and fragments of gold leaf sprinkled on top. “Otherwise, this might be a bad idea.”

“What’s a bad idea?” Mayr grimaced, his mouth suddenly dry as if filled with pillow stuffing. Quick to recover, he smoothed his shirt, resettled his belts, and slicked back his hair, pretending he meant to be clumsy.

“Your after-dinner drinks. Lira was going to bring them, but I thought I’d save her the trip. She’s having fun trading stories with your mother.” Arieve cleared her throat. “I didn’t want to interrupt your conversation.”

The tray rattled in her hand. The drinks threatened to slosh over the rims.

Mayr steadied the tray. “Thanks for that. This. These.” He offered her an awkward smile and took the goblets. “I’ll let you get back.” So you won’t see me kick my own ass for being completely inappropriate.

“Thanks, Arieve,” Aeley called from her desk.

“You’re welcome.” Arieve hesitated as she lowered the tray. She swayed gently, the rich green layers of her tiered, ruffled skirts moving with her. “I’ll let you finish.”

Before Mayr could say anything else, Arieve hurried down the hall and around the corner.

“I wonder what the mix is this time.” Aeley snatched one goblet to sniff it. “Hint of gaffa nectar, soured pamolea extract, and a bite of fulore. Plus maybe, probably—” another sniff “—syrup from the Sailor’s Sweetheart bush.” She took a sip and nodded. Flakes of gold leaf clung to her top lip. “Not as fun as last night’s concoction, but I could get used to it.”

“That’s what you always say.” Mayr brushed the flakes from Aeley’s lips with his thumb.

Aeley wiped her mouth on her sleeve. “Not always, just a lot. Cook knows her stuff. To be fair, she’s known me since I was three, getting into her puddings and tarts anytime she turned around. I trust that when she serves up a hodgeypodgey drink, it’s got personality.” She tapped her goblet against his. “I’m heading back to our guests. You should, too, considering it’s your party. We can resume this conversation later.”

After a kiss to his cheek, Aeley flounced out the door and through the corridor, humming to herself.

Mayr stared into his goblet, watching the gold swirl in an abstract pattern. My stomach. My head. I can’t even…

He set the goblet on Aeley’s desk. He needed Tash’s forgiveness more than he deserved a fancy drink.

As he exited the room, questions assaulted him hard enough to drown the sound of the door latch as it caught. One question practically shouted above all the others: how much had Arieve heard of his conversation with Aeley?

His heartbeat faltered. He was mortified. The door was not impervious to sound. What would Arieve think of him had she heard…

Hey, stupid! It doesn’t matter. Mayr grumbled and hooked his thumbs around the back of his belts. It still comes out to you’re taken and happy, so shut up. Dragging his heels, he wandered through the corridor and turned into the next, towards the ballroom.

Around the corner, Arieve leaned against the wall, head bowed, with her face hidden by her hair. She twined the trailing black laces of her bright green tunic around her fingers and pulled taut, then released them only to repeat the process. The empty tray rested beside her, abandoned against the wall.

“Hey.” Mayr stopped, careful to leave two foot lengths between them. “I thought you went back?” He toyed with his marriage ring, twisting the band nervously. Memories of Tash surged forward, the airy weight of his kisses almost real enough to feel.

“I wanted to wait for you.” Arieve raised her head and offered a tender smile. “I probably won’t get a word in the rest of the night given the company, so I thought…”

She was in his arms before he could reply. Her hug stole his surprise, shredding it until all that remained was stunned.

“Congratulations,” she murmured, her forehead tucked beneath his chin. “He’s got a good heart, solid. You’ve found your match. If the Four could grant me one wish tonight, it’d be for you two to have everything you desire.”

Mayr hesitated, his hands hovering over Arieve’s back. Touching was a bad idea, especially while he kept Tash from the truth. “Thank you.” Quick as he could, he embraced Arieve and pushed her away, feeling worse than the coward he was. “Let’s go back. I need to stop my mother from revealing every baby story she has or everyone’s going to hear about my naked backside and trailing diaper crowns.”

Arieve picked up the tray and started up the hall. “I’m sure Tash is soaking them up as we speak.” She laughed, the joyous sound digging up a dozen memories.

Memories he needed to lock up and burn down.

He followed Arieve and cast his gaze to the ceiling. Please, Reverent Goddesses, get me through tonight. Then let’s talk about strength of will, because one of these days I’m going to have to confess everything and it’ll hurt more than scorching my pride.

~


☆ Guest Post ☆

10 Relatively Random Facts About The Republic Series & Its Characters!

Hi there, everyone! I’m Archer Kay Leah, author of LGTBQA+ romance and an avid lover of getting lost in strange worlds, especially when they’re big, complicated, and fantastical. My heartfelt thanks to Addison for hosting me today, and to all of you for joining us! ❤️

For this stop on Soulbound‘s tour, I’m sharing 10 random things about The Republic series as a whole, including its characters, their society, and bits of real life that inspired certain details! So welcome, and here we go…

(#1) Since Soulbound features Mayr and Tash, I’ll start with a fact about Mayr: His role in the series was supposed to end in book 1. I can’t say he wasn’t planned, because he was… for one scene; two or three at most. For awhile, he didn’t even have a name. He was to show up for dinner, then scamper off.

Oh, he scampered alright — right into his own book, Four (book 2), then he made appearances in Blood Borne (book 3), and carried on into this fourth book. This isn’t the end of him, either: both Mayr and Tash will appear throughout the rest of the series, here and there, with the final book being theirs. So, a trilogy… go figure! Never underestimate the power of a persistent, attention-hogging character.

(#2) The series is inspired by real-world historical times, but with made-up elements thrown in to make it a high fantasy rather than a historical. Their world draws inspiration from the late 17th, 18th, and early 19thcenturies, as well as aspects of the Middle Ages, although there’s overlap there with the other time periods. Occupation, clothing, building materials, weapons, and politics are heavily influenced by these time periods.

One really awesome thing about working with the series? Things can change in their society during the course of the books, such as clothing trends, the types of weapons they’re using, and so on. It doesn’t have to be static!

(#3) The soil in the republic is red, inspired by that of Prince Edward Island. (The red hue is due to a high quantity of an iron-oxide — rust — which is also the same reason why Mars appears red, especially from a distance.)

(#4) Their wedding customs are based on the tradition of handfasting, blended with a more Pagan way of doing weddings and inspiration from other cultures. Instead of binding only the hands with ribbons during the ceremony, those getting married are bound by the entire forearm, with the ribbons crossed and looped around in intricate patterns, binding them in a complex way. And during the ceremony, the individuals getting married wear red, not white, blue, or another colour. Rather, it’s the wedding party and guests who wear white — unless they’ve reached certain levels in the priesthood, then they get to wear their religious vestments, which may be all red (highest level of priest) or white and red (mid-level priests). I always love when a bride chooses a non-white dress for their wedding, especially those who wear red — it’s so vibrant and beautiful, which is why I ran with it in this series.

Bonus fact: there’s also a ceremony for divorces in the series, which is similar to their weddings. In that ceremony, however, the ribbons are tied on, then cut up the middle with a ceremonial knife.

(#5) The number “4” is incredibly significant in the series, attributed mostly to the fact that their religious pantheon consists of four goddesses, whose impact is deeply woven throughout their society. It’s considered a sacred number, and lucky, but it’s also a magical number, connected to the four primal elements: fire, water, earth, and air, which underlie the magical system that made its debut in book 3. The goddesses themselves are tied to those elements.

(#6) Tash (real name Halataldris) was named after the legendary bird that hangs out with their Goddess of Love. While Halataldris the bird is white and silver, he’s actually what happened after I played with the idea of mixing a Phoenix, peacock, and an eagle. I then crossed all of that with the well-known concept of a white dove symbolizing peace and love, so that Halataldris is known for his magical abilities and their positive effects on mortals. He’s big, grand, and terribly vain, with the ability to change shape into any kind of bird he wants. He’s also cunning and sly, with a habit of sneaking into the aviaries kept by the Goddess of Protection… but that’s a different story that’ll come out in a later book!

(#7) Speaking of Tash… he notices food more than Mayr does. Actually, he notices it more than most of the characters so far. He’s not a foodie, and apparently his cooking skills suck, but he has a fine appreciation for the scents and tastes of really awesome edible goods! (This character trait literally just happened as I was writing Soulbound, though I have my guesses as to where the inspiration came from. Oh, woe, the dangers of reading!)

Bonus fact: I’ve mentioned mead in the series as an homage to several of my dear friends who make their own mead!

(#8) In Soulbound, two new characters are introduced: Stick and Stuck, who are guards that work with Mayr. I wanted a team of characters whose names had the same play as Frick and Frack (which were also the names of two cats who lived with my friends across the street growing up). I eventually came up with Stick and Stuck: one is tall and skinny as a stick, while the other tends to get stuck to the people and causes she really grooves with. They’re very close friends, fantastic at their job, and usually humorous, making them delightful to write.

(#9) The nickname for Ress’s sister, “Lally”, was inspired by actress Lally Cadeau, who played Janet King in the TV show, Road to Avonlea. I grew up watching the show and still absolutely love it to pieces. (Felicity and Gus FOREVER)

And, finally….

(#10) There’s a scene in Four, when Mayr and Tash enjoy some private time in one of the temple’s altar rooms, and it’s one of my absolute favourites. The scene has several points of significance to it, not just with regards to their relationship, but in the idea that sex can be a sacred act and it doesn’t lose any of that sacredness in a same-sex relationship — it’s fully recognized and equal, regardless of gender or orientation. Since then, I’ve come across a comment that touched on this scene and made reference to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church,” which is a fantastic connection for so many reasons, even though I hadn’t heard the song until well after the book was published.

Though here’s where the fact comes in: this scene was inspired by sex magic. Instead of going the route of spellcasting, however, the scene is more about worship and connecting to Tash’s patron goddess by way of an offering. Though with a little effort, it could easily have gone the magical route, too… except that’s best left to the characters who have the magical abilities in the series!

~ ~ ~

Thank you so much for reading, folks, and I hope you enjoyed the post. I love hearing from readers, so feel free to share your thoughts, questions, and musings!


Purchase

Less Than Three Press | Amazon | Amazon CAN | Amazon UK | Amazon International | Bookstrand | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

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Meet the Author

Archer Kay Leah was raised in Canada, growing up in a port town at a time when it was starting to become more diverse, both visibly and vocally. Combined with the variety of interests found in Archer’s family and the never-ending need to be creative, this diversity inspired a love for toying with characters and their relationships, exploring new experiences and difficult situations.

Archer most enjoys writing speculative fiction and is engaged in a very particular love affair with fantasy, especially when it is dark and emotionally charged. When not reading and writing for work or play, Archer is a geek with too many hobbies and keeps busy with other creative endeavors, a music addiction, and whatever else comes along. Archer lives in London, Ontario with a bigender partner and rather chatty cat.

Author Website: http://archerkayleah.wordpress.com/

Author Facebook (Author Page): http://facebook.com/archerkayleah

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/archerkayleah

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ArcherKayLeah

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/archer-kay-leah/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/archerkayleah


Giveaway

Archer is giving away three $10 Amazon gift cards with this tour – enter to win via Rafflecopter:

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