Four Feasts Till Darkness
Christian A. Brown
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Date of Publication: September 9, 2014
Number of pages: 540
Word Count: 212K
Cover Artist: Brian Garabrant
"Love is what binds us in brotherhood, blinds us from hate, and makes us soar with desire.”
Morigan lives a quiet life as the handmaiden to a fatherly old sorcerer named Thackery. But when she crosses paths with Caenith, a not wholly mortal man, her world changes forever. Their meeting sparks long buried magical powers deep within Morigan. As she attempts to understand her newfound abilities, unbidden visions begin to plague her--visions that show a devastating madness descending on one of the Immortal Kings who rules the land.
With Morigan growing more powerful each day, the leaders of the realm soon realize that this young woman could hold the key to their destruction. Suddenly, Morigan finds herself beset by enemies, and she must master her mysterious gifts if she is to survive.
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/8E_RVXgpqB8
Morigan took the bracelet.
“I accept your offering.” The Wolf’s face lit and she thought that he would leap at her. “Yet first, I have a request.”
“Anything, my Fawn.”
“I would like to see…what you are. The second body that shares your soul. Show me your fangs and claws,” she commanded.
Perhaps it was the steadiness of her voice, how she ordered him to bare himself as if he belonged to her that made the Wolf’s heart roar to comply. He did not shed his skin but for the whitest moons of the year, and even then, so far from the city and never in front of another. In a sense, he was as much a virgin as she. With an unaccustomed shyness, he found himself undressing before the Fawn, confused for a speck as to who was the hunter. The flare of her nostrils, the intensity of her stare that ate at him for once.
I have chosen well for a mate. She is as much a Wolf as I, he thought, kicking off his boots and then shimmying his pants down to join the rest of his clothing. No bashful maiden was Morigan, and she did not look away from his nakedness, but appreciated what she saw: every rough, hairy, huge bit of him.
He howled and fell to all fours. Bones shifted and snapped, rearranging under his skin like skeletal gears. From his head, chest and loins, the soft black hair thickened and spread over his twisting flesh. His heaving became guttural and sloppy, and when he tossed his head up in a throe of agony or pleasure, his beard had coated his face, and she noticed nothing but white daggers of teeth. Wondrously Morigan witnessed the transformation, watched him swell with twice the muscle he had possessed as a man, saw his hands and feet shag over with fur and split the soil with black claws. Another howl and a final gristle-crunching shudder (his hindquarters snapping into place, she thought) signified the end of the change.
Her dreams did not do Caenith justice. Here was a beast twice the size of a mare with jaws that could swallow her to the waist. Here was a monster that had stalked and ruled the Untamed. A lord of fang and claw. The birds and weaker animals vanished, knowing a deadly might was near. Around her, the Wolf paced; making the ground tremble with power; ravishing her with his cold gray gaze; huffing and blasting her with his forceful breaths. While the scent of his musk was choking, it was undeniably Caenith’s, if rawer and unwashed.
Morigan was not afraid, and was flushed with heat and shaking as she slipped the bracelet on and knelt. She did not flinch as the Wolf lay behind and about her like a great snuffling rug and placed his boulder of a head in her lap. No, she stroked his long ears and his wrinkled snout. A maiden and her Wolf. Soon the birds returned, sensing this peace and chirping in praise of it. And neither Morigan nor the Wolf could recall a time—if ever there was one—where they had felt so complete.
Feast of Fates, Excerpt #2
Menos was darker than usual: its clouds as black as the shadow of fear that haunted Mouse. The city felt more menacing to her. She saw shadows in every corner, noticed the glint of every ruffian’s blade or slave’s chain as though they were all intended for her. The warning of Alastair played inside her skull on a loop of nightmare theater.
A hand over her mouth startles her awake, and she twists for the dagger in her pillowcase until she recognizes the shadowy apparition atop her, who hisses at her to calm.
“Alastair?” she gasps.
The hand unclenches and the willowy shadow retreats to more of its own; she can only see the scruff of his red beard in the dark.
“Get up, Mouse. Get dressed.”
Her mentor sounds annoyed or confused; she is each, but finds her garments quickly enough anyway.
“I don’t like good-byes, so let’s not call this that,” Alastair says with a sigh. “But it will be a parting, nonetheless. You need to go low. Lower than you’ve ever been before. A new name won’t be enough. You’ll need a new face. I don’t know how or who, but the sacred contract of our order has been broken. Your safety has been bought.”
Mouse knows the who and how, and as she glances up from her boot-lacing to explain to her mentor her predicament, she sees that he is gone. Just empty shadows, echoing words, and the sound of her heartbeat drowning out all the rest.
She expected the dead man and his icy master to emerge from the dim nooks and doorways of the buildings she passed at any instant. With a hand on her knives and a fury to her step, she swept down the sidewalk; no carriages for her today, as they were essentially cages on wheels—too easy to trap oneself in. With its sooty storefronts and their wrought-iron windows, its black streetlamps that rose about her like the bars of a prison, Menos was constricting itself around her, and she had to get out.
You’ve survived worse than the nekromancer, she coached herself, though she wasn’t certain that was true. She hurried through the grimness of Menos, dodging pale faces and quickening her step with every sand. By the time she arrived at the fleshcrafter’s studio, she was sweating and stuck to her cloak. She looked down the desolate sidewalk and up the long sad face of the tall tower with its many broken or boarded-over windows. When she was sure she wasn’t being pursued by the phantoms that her paranoia had conjured, she pulled back a rusted door that did not cry out as it should have, given its appearance, but slid along well-formed grooves through the dust. She raced through the door and hauled it closed.
It was dark and flickering with half-dead lights in the garbage-strewn hallway in which she stood. Mouse picked through the trash with her feet, tensing as she passed every dark alcove in the abandoned complex. Hives, these places were called, and used to house enormous numbers of lowborn folk under a single roof. In Menos, even the shabbiest roof was a desirable commodity, so the building’s ghostly vacancy meant that it likely was condemned by disease at one point. Soon the stairwell she sought appeared, and she tiptoed down it, careful not to slip on the stairs, which were slick with organic grunge.
Couldn’t have picked a nicer studio, she cursed. I’ll be lucky if this fleshcrafter leaves me with half a lip to drink with. Lamentably, speed and discretion were her two goals in choosing where to have her face remodeled. Such stipulations cut the more promising fleshcrafters off the list and left her with the dregs. She hadn’t put much thought into what she would have done, or even if she would end up hideously disfigured. Monstrous disfigurement could even work in her favor, as she bore an uncanny resemblance to that crow-eviscerated woman whom she suspected was the object of the nekromancer’s dark desire. I’ll take ugly over dead. Over whatever he has in mind for me.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I’ve always been a storyteller. I suppose that if I wasn’t a writer, I’d be a wizard.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
Once I finished the first draft of Feast of Fates for sure. I’m sure every other author out there would agree.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
Many, many drafts. Three different editors, and a number of artists and such. All in all about 3 years.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
I used to run a personal training business. In many ways, physical fitness and holistic nutrition have been a rock for me to cling to during some pretty hard times. Taking care of your health can really put into perspective, and balance, other aspects of your life.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Love is what binds us in brotherhood, blinds us from hate, and makes us soar with desire.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
Feast of Fates is self-published. As I’ve intimated though, every author can benefit from working with editors and stylistic consultants beforehand. Knowing how to trim and critically observe your work is an important part of writing.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
About 2-3 months. I tend to storyboard as I go. I always have a beginning and an end in mind. For me it’s important to have some sense of a roadmap. I also hate cliffhangers, so I stay away from writing them.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
First, I plan on rebranding and refreshing the series before the year’s end. Also, the 2nd book in the series is due out in early 2015.
What genre would you place your books into?
Fiction/ Fantasy/ Romance (Paranormal Romance)
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
Magic and myth are just so interesting! I think that fantasy gives us a nice distance from which to view real social issues. In Feast of Fates, I deal with betrayal, political intrigue, women’s and civil rights. All of these are problems in our own world. I think that’s why readers, so far, find the characters and world so intriguing.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
Morigan and the Wolf, I definitely love. Their whole epic love story, and how they help and heal the other of old wounds. Mouse is also quite a fun character: her feistiness, her sarcasm (never too thick), her no-nonsense attitude.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
For as long as I can remember. Feast of Fates, however, was mostly inspired by my mother. She passed away, but encouraged me to continue in this direction.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I generally take care of exercising, eating, and emailing (I try to limit myself to an hour or less of internet usage a day—that never works!), and then I settle in to write.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Some of them. It’s important to get a sense of how readers are enjoying your work, but it’s equally as important not to get too hung up on things beyond your control.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
The title comes from somewhere within the manuscript. I find whatever resonates best.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Just a hodge-podge of English, Celtic and Native-American names, with some other influences thrown into the pot for spiciness!
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
Great question. I’ve never really broken down the process before. I would say it’s a chicken/ egg scenario. The name usually comes as I write the character’s first line in the story, though perhaps it’s the other way around!
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
No. Well, very basic stuff. But nothing so much as a “list” of traits.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Courage and bravery exist even in the darkest places. Love, does indeed, ALWAYS win!
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I used to be a die-hard physical book reader. And then I discovered e-books! I do love the “feel” of a paperback—bending the spine, the smell of book-spice—but the convenience and options offered through digital marketplaces can’t be ignored.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
Definitely the Earthsea Trilogy, by Ursula K. Le Guin. Brilliant stuff.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
Depends on the book really. If it’s a more interpretive story with a loose narrative, probably not. If it’s a very visual, visceral and fast-paced story, probably so.
Your favorite food is?
Your favorite singer/group is?
Sarah Brightman. I met her once, and she’s positively enchanting!
Your favorite color is?
Black, or red.
Your favorite Author is?
I’ll default to Ursula again. A true master of the craft, and talented enough to spawn genres and generations of ideas.
Christian A. Brown has written creatively since the age of six. After spending most of his career in the health and fitness industry, Brown quit his job to care for his mother when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2010.
Having dabbled with the novel that would eventually become Feast of Fates for over a decade, Brown was finally able to finish the project. His mother, who was able to read a beginning version of the novel before she passed away, has since imbued the story with deeper sentiments of loss, love, and meaning. He is proud to now share the finished product with the world.