Legacy of Albessind
Lloyd A. Meeker
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: February 26, 2015
Print ISBN 978-1-5092-0606-3
Digital ISBN 978-1-5092-0607-0
Number of pages: 333
Word Count: 85k
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor
Struggling artist Eva Milaras is in the midst of buying groceries when a bomb blast tears the store apart. A handsome man with mysterious powers saves her life and stuffs her into a limo without a steering wheel—while treating her like royalty. Caught in a deadly web of magic and murder, Eva faces an aristocratic destiny she didn’t know about and doesn't want. Now in a strange world she has to survive the deadly schemes of her new-found relatives as they maneuver for advantage in a murderous royal court.
Talak has loved Eva long before he saved her life, but that love is doomed. She must marry a man from a royal bloodline, and Talak is duty-bound to protect her until she marries—regardless of his torn heart. Together they battle intrigue and betrayal, only to discover they must choose between letting go of each other...or certain death for treason. A choice Eva refuses to make.
Instead of the large, perfect fruit shown in the flyer, the Granny Smiths at Budget Foods were small and beaten up—yet another disappointing win for reality over promise. Eva Milaras gazed at the poor things as she tore off the coupon and stuffed the rest of the pages back into her bag. I guess we’re all bruised in one way or another.
Still, she was sure she could find half a dozen decent ones in the stack. She’d get some yams and put them together in a casserole—a tasty and inexpensive declaration that she was now back in charge of her life in spite of being broke.
She’d tough this out with what little cash she had in her purse until the gallery could figure out what was causing the mysterious delay in her payment. They owed her for two large paintings, and that money would be more than enough to get her back on her feet again. It was just a matter of time. She yanked a plastic bag from the dispenser and began picking through the apples.
She flashed on her little studio. It had great light, decent ventilation, and was within walking distance of most everything she needed. So what if she had to maneuver around her bed to get to the tiny kitchen? With Derek gone, it was all the room she needed for her easel and canvases. She’d love to keep it if she could, but the rent was due in two weeks and...well, she’d go to the gallery this afternoon, see what Leslie had to say. She found two more unbruised apples and took them as a sign of better times coming. She really would take charge of her life—simplify, concentrate on her work, and avoid complications like an unemployed boyfriend.
“Pardon, Serenissima.” A strong, warm voice from behind pulled her from her reverie. Turning, she saw a man, early thirties probably, tall and well-built, dressed completely in black. Who wears such an expensive silk shirt and slacks to Budget Foods on a Saturday morning? They had to be club clothes, but he didn’t look like he’d been out partying all night. And what a great face to paint! A delicious olive tone to his skin, deep eyes, strong angular face-planes, so... compelling, framed by black hair that fell unbound, thick and dangerously sexy, past his shoulders. Great shoulders. Lean waist. Yes, he’d make a terrific model. She found herself smiling at him, realizing too late that it probably wasn’t a good idea. He was already standing uncomfortably close.
About the Author:
Lloyd A. Meeker credits Walter de la Mare’s “The Listeners” as the first poem to steal both his heart and his imagination. That was in seventh grade, and he’s never been the same since. At university he devoured Lord of the Rings in a single weekend. Then came Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea. Fantasy became his home turf.
He’s led what can only be described as an eventful life, and he’s grateful for all of it. He’s been a minister, a pilot, a janitor, a drinker, a cancer survivor, and a software developer on his way to becoming a writer. His work includes five novels, two books of poetry, a few essays, and several short stories.
He’s happily entangled in a life-long love affair with metaphor and the potent mystery of the Hero’s Journey, especially in its metaphysical and psychological aspects. He lives in southern Florida among friends and family with his husband, working on his next novel, practicing subtle energy healing, reading, wallowing in classical music and celebrating a very active retirement.
Where are you from?
I was born on a farm in northern Colorado, but have dual citizenship – US and Canadian. Without really planning to, I might add, but I’m glad it turned out that way. It was something good to come out of losing my parents at a very young age. I’ve lived in both countries about the same length of time, and I think it’s given me useful perspectives on society in general.
Tell us your latest news?
Most immediate news is the new edition of Blood Royal released three days ago! I’m thrilled Wild Rose Press picked it up. I’m currently working on the sequel and it’s an exciting, demanding project. I never expected the first book to lead to a second and third, but it’s turned into a really interesting (imvho!) story stretching over two generations.
In other news, as they say, last year saw some exciting recognition for two of my books: The Companion was a finalist in the 2015 Lambda Literary Awards, and my murder mystery Blood and Dirt was runner up in the 2015 Rainbow Awards for mystery.
When and why did you begin writing?
When I was a little boy, my two sisters and I had a box in which we kept our most treasured books and toys. Our favorite book was a big collection of illustrated fairy tales, stories we read over and over. I think they seeded my interest in telling stories, even though I didn’t try to write one myself until I was in grade school.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think the penny dropped when I physically held a print copy of my second novel, Traveling Light (my first novel was published only in ebook format and mercifully has disappeared into well-deserved obscurity) for the first time. When I saw my name on the cover it was such a rush! My heart raced, I broke out in a sweat and teetered on the verge of tears. With the release of every book that moment just gets better. I hope that never changes for me—it’s an incredible feeling.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I can’t tell you exactly what got me started, but I can tell you what inspired me to finish it. When I came out in my 40s I had to start a new life, and that drastic change seemed to catalyze my need to write stories. Suddenly I was writing a lot, and the raw adventure of it grabbed me. Those efforts languished while I spent a few years drinking too much, but after I got sober I began to write again.
In 2003 I had a pulmonary embolism and was diagnosed with stomach cancer. After my surgery I spent my first nights ever in a hospital. As I lay there basking in a lovely morphine cloud a stern voice cut through the fog: “You’ve always said you wanted to write. Well, you’d better get on it, because you’re now on bonus time.”
The next day I asked my husband to bring my laptop to the hospital, and I began to sift through the pieces of what I’d done. It took me two more years to get the finished ms to a publisher, but writing has been a non-negotiable priority for me since that fateful night in the hospital.
As I wrote I fell in love with the craft, too—I took classes and attended workshops (I’m doing a post-grad writing workshop at FIU at the moment) and so far the thrill of writing and working at my craft hasn’t let go of me. I hope it drives me until I expire.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I can’t explain why, but for a long time I wrote mostly poetry, but since I began my new life I’ve focused almost exclusively on long fiction. I’d like to think my prose has a poetic quality to it that deepens emotional experience of the story. Some readers like that, and others are turned off by it. I just have to write the way I do.
How did you come up with the title?
Blood Royal identifies the core problem in the story. Eva Milaras is a struggling artist in Roanoke, VA, when a magical stranger saves her life from a grocery store bomb. Turns out Eva is not who she’s always thought she was. She’s the product of a gene-pool maintenance program for the royal families of a parallel world, Riardan, and it’s time for her to assume her place in her real mother’s immensely wealthy clan. She’s furious at being kidnapped into a life of privilege and luxury, but she carries the essential recessive gene that renders her immune to magic, the single requirement for those in the line of succession to the throne of Riardan. How she copes, survives attempted murders and other skullduggery to master the political games of Riardan and win freedom for herself and her lower-caste lover is the story.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Certainly—even if she’s trapped in a strange and deadly environment where she’s expected to marry and have royal babies, never underestimate a smart, resourceful and courageous heroine!
How much of the book is realistic?
That depends on how you see realism. Magic is the core technology of Riardan, just as electronics is at the heart of technology in our culture. That’s not particularly realistic, but attitudes in Riardan about caste-systems, privilege, power and wealth, about obligation to society and tradition are all recognizable as existing in our in our world’s cultures.
Blood Royal is very much a fantasy, but I hope that in spite of its fantastical elements, the human behaviors that drive the story will be recognizable as psychologically consistent with what we find in our familiar world.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Sure. For example, I’m very familiar with microcosmic political intrigue, especially as it exists in the boardrooms and committees of altruistic non-profit organizations. It wasn’t hard to make the jump from the little assassinations of petty competition to the outright murder of political enemies.
On top of that, the core structure of Blood Royal is a Cinderella story, although in this case a very unwilling one. Just about everyone knows a little about a long-shot chance to change something big in their lives.
What book are you reading now?
Right now I’m between books. I just finished The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean. It’s an absolutely stunning work of insight and beauty. I recommend it highly.
What are your current projects?
Right now I’m working on the next book in the series started by Blood Royal. It’s set entirely in Riardan at the end of Blood Royal and before its epilogue. It focuses on a young witch of very humble birth coming into her power. And yes, finding love! Books one and two will eventually tie together in book three.
What would you like my readers to know?
I love feedback from readers! If you have any questions or comments right now, please leave them here on this site. If a question comes up later, drop by my website, lloydmeeker.com and send me a message from there. I’ll answer, I promise.
Web and Blog: www.lloydmeeker.com
3 Signed print copies Blood Royal open to US Shipping
3 Digital copies of Blood Royal in epub or mobi format – winner’s choice