BLOG TOUR – GUEST POST – The Flowers of Time by A.L. Lester – #GuestPost #Excerpt #Giveaway

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🌟 Please join me in welcoming author A.L. Lester to Stories That Make You Smile! A.L. is here today celebrating the release of The Flowers of Time, the 3rd book in her fabulous Lost in Time series. She’s brought along a lovely excerpt, a generous giveaway, and has taken the time to sit down with us to explain the magic system in her intriguing series. 🌟

The Flowers of Time by A.L. Lester

A non-binary explorer and a determined botanist make the long journey over the high mountain passes to Little Tibet, collecting flowers and exploring ruins on the way.

Series: Lost in Time (book #3)
Publisher: JMS Books, LLC
Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs
Release Date: February 22, 2020
Length: Novel / 50,500 words / 154 pages
Heat Rating: 2 – Fade to black sex
Pairing / Genre: F/NB Fantasy Romance, Thriller/Suspense

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Summary

Jones is determined to find out what caused the unexpected death of her father whilst they were exploring ancient ruins in the Himalayas. She’s never been interested in the idea of the marriage bed, but along with a stack of books and coded journals he’s left her with the promise she’ll travel back to England for the first time since childhood and try being the lady she’s never been.

Edie and her brother are leaving soon on a journey to the Himalayas to document and collect plants for the new Kew Gardens when she befriends Miss Jones in London. She’s never left England before and is delighted to learn that the lady will be returning to the mountains she calls home at the same time they are planning their travels. When they meet again in Srinagar, Edie is surprised to find that here the Miss Jones of the London salons is ‘just Jones’ the explorer, clad in breeches and boots and unconcerned with the proprieties Edie has been brought up to respect.

A non-binary explorer and a determined botanist make the long journey over the high mountain passes to Little Tibet, collecting flowers and exploring ruins on the way. Will Jones discover the root of the mysterious deaths of her parents? Will she confide in Edie and allow her to help in the quest? It’s a trip fraught with dangers for both of them, not least those of the heart.

Excerpt

Edie was still washing when she heard the commotion.  The sheep and goats were making a dreadful racket, baaing and wailing much louder than she had ever heard them, even when they were on the move.  Then the herd dogs joined in, giving tongue like Edie had never heard before.  She didn’t have her stays on.  Or her chemise.  Or anything. She hastily pulled her dress over her head, grabbed up the pistol she kept by her camp bed and dashed out toward the noise in her bare feet, hair flying.

She ran without a thought.  She didn’t know where anyone else was, but she assumed Henry and Bennett and the young men had already started the day of surveying they had planned last night.  She and Jones had discussed riding out to look at the ruined caravanseri they had glimpsed from the hilltop yesterday as they were riding down into the valley, but Jones was usually up and about well before Edie emerged from her tent each morning, as were her men.

When she reached the little flock of sheep and goats, she stopped in horror.  She wasn’t at first able to make out what she was seeing, but then it came into focus sharply, with scents and sounds and colors.  There was a tiger in among the goats.  It was eating one of them.  Margery, the leader of the herd.  The three herd dogs were going berserk, barking and making short forays toward the tiger, before backing off again.  The goats couldn’t get away because they were tied.  The tiger was sat in the middle of them, with its kill.  It was peaceably eating Margery for breakfast.

Edie screamed.  The dogs barked.  Distantly she heard voices shouting, but they were a long way away.

The tiger looked at her. Or perhaps through her. It had big, black, bottomless eyes and looked annoyed that she had disturbed its breakfast.  It stood up, ponderously, and growled. If anything, its eyes became darker and more menacing.

“I really don’t want your breakfast,” Edie said.  “I liked Margery, I’m not going to eat her.” The dogs were still barking like mad.

The tiger growled again, sniffing the air. It took a step forward.

Edie raised the pistol.  She was pretty handy with it now.  Henry had made her practice and practice at home before they had set out on their journey.  She could shoot a musket as well, although she wasn’t very good at loading.  Her pistol was loaded.  Henry had said that it was dangerous to keep a firearm loaded but that at night, fumbling in the dark to load one if the camp was attacked would take too long and might get her killed.  Generally speaking, Henry  had been very brutal in his explanations before he had agreed to bring her along.  Edie spared a brief second to be grateful to her brother, although not too grateful, because a proper brother would be here at this point defending her from the tiger.

The tiger took a step forward.  Edie said “I really don’t want to shoot you.  Please take Margery and go away.”

The tiger growled some more.

Edie swallowed.  She was going to have to shoot it.  She had no idea how easy it was to kill a tiger, but she had a vague idea that shooting it and missing or shooting it and only wounding it would be a bad outcome.

It had Margery’s blood all around its mouth and down its front.  It looked like it was a male tiger. It had a beard and lots of muscle.  It was very large and its eyes were completely black.  It probably came up somewhere between her waist and her shoulder.  She really hoped it wasn’t going to kill her and eat her.  She didn’t have her stays on.  She didn’t want to die without her stays on. Her mother would be mortified.

☆ Guest Post / Exclusive Excerpt / Interview ☆

Hello there, thank you so much for having me visit today as part of The Flowers of Time blog tour! I’ve got a post about the Lost in Time magic system for you today.

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Definitely not Magical Realism:
The Lost in Time magic system

I had a conversation with another writer on twitter a few weeks ago about our magic systems and how we created them. I described my process as sitting on the floor in a room full of kittens and different coloured balls of wool and letting them do their thing. I’ve been giving it more thought and I reckon it’s a more accurate description if the kittens are also crazed on catnip.

When I started writing the series, I dabbled with making one of the MCs a shifter. I thought he might be a centaur. And then the whole thing fell apart when he turned out to be living in a small flat above a laundry in 1920s London and it just wasn’t practical. I mean. Think of the floors! He turned out to be a magician, effectively, although he’d loathe the word. No-one who uses magic with good intent in my world actually calls it that.

I have to confess, the kitten thing didn’t really happen. Although it should have. Because kittens! And I didn’t sit down and plan out the system before I started. It just evolved as the books went on. I knew I wanted my people to be able to pull energy from somewhere. And I knew there needed to be a price, because if you have unlimited magical energy available you are all-powerful and where’s the fun in characters that are all-powerful?

The system works on the principle that there’s power everywhere. It’s called kias. Everyone has some as part of their life-force, some people more, some less. And there’s a source of it in a thing called the border or the shimmer. Some of my characters know this, some don’t. And some of them know that the shimmer doesn’t just exist in isolation. It’s a border between our world and another one. The other one is where people like Fenn (Shadows on the Border) and Linn (The Gate/Inheritance of Shadows) live. They’re sort-of-elves and are magic-users as a matter of course. Fenn and Linn work for a group called the Ternants, who are responsible for maintaining the border between the two worlds. There are definitely other groups who are working to break it down.

We don’t know a lot more about any of the not-quite-elves as yet, pretty much because I’m making it up as a I go along. (Let’s hear a big “YAY!” for discovery writing!). There will be more in forthcoming books, but at the moment I’m enjoying writing about the reactions of characters who live in our own world and touch the magic to a greater or lesser extent and finding out how they each embrace or reject it.

If you know anything about reiki and similar energy practices you will see similarities between those and how my magic system works. Healthy people have healthy energy and sick people have low or wobbly energy. It’s possibly to help people’s health by balancing their energies up. I have taken that further by allowing my magic users, or workers, to pull energy in to themselves (from other people, from their surroundings, from the shimmer, from charged objects) to manipulate both kias and physical matter. Small things like werelights and big things, like opening a gate in the energy border between the worlds.

If you’re a responsible person you try and keep the overall energy system balanced and don’t steal kias from people or pull so much from the shimmer that you make it weak and allow nasty things like carnas or hollows to push their way through. If you’re an irresponsible person you do just that. And sometimes you can set up a line or a cord linking you to someone else that is a constant drain on their energy and constantly replenishes yours.

The magic system is really very simple. It works on the basis that energy follows thought. The irony of the green book being that it’s supposed to be a ‘book of spells’ or a book of instructions to make the magic work for you…but actually you don’t need to do any of that ritual stuff. You just need to pull the kias toward you, form your intention and hold it strongly in your mind…and if you are powerful enough and have enough kias available, pow! it happens.

If you’re trying to do things that are selfish or greedy, or badly thought out, the potential for the kias to spring back at you and sproink you on the nose like a stretched elastic band is enormous. My main characters tend to realise this, earlier or later in the stories. Sometimes after being sproinked.

As the series has gone on the system has developed and I’ve found myself using a sort of retroactive kitten-method to make interesting plot happen. I tend to write very messy first drafts that mean I have to go back and do an enormous amount of pruning to make things fit together logically. Having to make sure that the magic works as well is another layer of complication and having energy-follows-thought as it’s base principle makes it both simple and very complicated. It allows an awful lot of wiggle-room, which means there’s an awful lot of ways to mess it up! But everything I write seems to have the paranormal in there somewhere and my worlds don’t seem complete to me without it.

* * * *

Thank you so much for hosting me here today! If readers would like to catch up with the other stops on the tour you can find a list on my own blog, here: http://allester.co.uk/flowersoftime-blogtour

Meet the Author

Giveaway

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Tour Schedule

2/22 Queer Sci Fi
2/23 My Fiction Nook
2/24 Love Bytes
2/25 Drops of Ink
2/26 Joyfully Jay
2/27 Stories That Make You Smile
2/28 Mirrigold Mutterings and Musings
2/29 Xtreme Delusions
3/1 Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author
3/2 The Faerie Review

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