Forging the Fire – Chapter One

Hi All,

This is a little bit of a tease of what I’m working on at the moment, the sequel to Burning Embers! Here is the opening of Chapter One… I really hope you like it.

Forging the Fire

The City was called Kalit, or the Diamond City in an older language. It hunkered down in a protective curve of the Spine Mountains and opened on one side to the Sea. The mountains rose in regular jagged peaks covered in a thick pine forest and deep snow.  Spring had only started to touch the world and would take longer so spread so far north. The evening sky was hooded with clouds.

Kalit had one entrance overland. Its walls, hewn from the mountain itself, glittered with traces of diamond dust. A promise of the wealth found within the mountain and a fortune from its mines. The single tall gate opened to the North, Arngeir and a solitary road that led through the Spine. Travelers were rare so early in the year but two guards stood beside the iron portcullis, stamping their feet and muttering curses. Once the last rays of sunshine slipped from the sky they could close the gate and return to the barracks and their dinner.

‘It’s bloody freezing,’ the elder blew into his gloved hands before clapping them together. His halberd staff gripped between armpit and body.

‘Do you think they’ll make it?’ The younger, who wore a red knit hat beneath his helmet had his eyes fixed on a pair of distant travelers.

‘I don’t care,’ the first kicked his foot against the dark stone walls. ‘Soon as that sun is gone, I’m shutting the gate.’

‘They’ll be trapped outside for the night,’ the youth protested, ‘I wouldn’t like to sleep outside in the snow.’

‘Then they’d better hurry up!’

They approached Kalit with all the weariness expected of those passing through the Spine in winter. It was a long and lonely pass. One of the riders, a girl, stared at the city as it came into view.

Feia could see the buildings sprawling against the edges of the snow covered range. In the fading light, lanterns were being lit and the glow of a thousand flames spread through the distant streets like stars appearing in a night sky.  She’d never seen so many people living together, so many houses or buildings or streets as they stretched out below in a warren.  She had expected to feel relief that their long journey was over, that she’d be able to sleep in a bed, that she’d feel warm for the first time in weeks. But as the dark stone walls rose from the mountains, all that she felt was unease; as though she was a mouse sneaking towards a sleeping cat.

‘They say you can buy anything in Kalit,’ Feia she kept her voice lowered as they approached the gate.

‘I’d love to meet these ‘they’. They know so much,’ Rhyode replied. He nudged his own mount forward to catch up with her, the black irises of his eyes fixed on the dark granite of Kalit’s defenses as they drew closer.

‘So it’s not true?’ She persisted, intent on drawing out an answer from her protector.  The man, Rhyode, let out a long suffering sigh. Although he looked less than a decade older than the teenaged-girl beside him, his gaze held a depth of knowledge beyond his apparent years. Something Feia had determined to take advantage of. She wanted to learn as much as possible about the man who had sworn to protect her; after all she’d sworn to travel with him to Lluridi, the world capital. A pact made on the promise that Rhyode would help save her family from invaders. Rhyode had upheld his promise so far and so a faint band of light encircled her wrist, a sign of vows that were unbreakable, except in death.  Something that many people would be glad to offer the pair of them. From Kalit they would take a ship to Lluridi, the fastest way to end their perilous journey. Until then, Feia wanted to know more about the man who had kissed her once. To understand how he saw the world. Perhaps then she could understand why he had kissed her, or why he wouldn’t do it again.

‘Are you listening?’

Rhyode was staring at her and she checked the hood of her cloak covered her hair. Hair the colour of fresh blood.

‘I’m listening,’ she lied, and wondered what she had missed.

‘Many things can be bought in Kalit, some things which should never be traded,’ Rhyode replied eventually.

‘Girls?’ Feia felt a familiar thread of tension pulling at the back of her neck and shoulders. Once, she had almost been sold.

Rhyode looked back at her, his taller horse had pulled ahead. The last light was fading quickly but they were just a few short strides from the gate itself.

‘All life,’ he replied. His voice was a low rumble as his horse started to climb the stone bridge towards the gates. They stretched high above, almost blocking out the sky beyond them.

An older guard glowered as they passed, stamping the end of his halberd against the frozen ground.

Rhyode reached out, touching his hand to her own and nudging his horse closer. His breath tickled the top of her ear as she forced herself to look ahead. Where she had expected busy city streets, Kalit almost seemed deserted. But light flickered against windows, and curtains moved. There were people in the city, she could feel them watching.

‘Keep your tongue and your opinions to yourself within these walls,’ Rhyode warned. ‘The Champions are powerful in Kalit.’

Feia had lost count of how many times he had issued the same warning. But never, had it caused the hair on the back of her neck to rise as it did. She swallowed her fear.

‘Champions, Nethari…’ She rolled her eyes, ‘and I almost forgot about all the people trying to kill me.’

Rhyode withdrew his hand and nudged his horse forward. Embry’s hooves seemed to rattle on the stone paved streets. ‘I mean it Feia.’

Her own pony was determined to keep up and Feia couldn’t blame her.

‘You can buy diamonds from Kalit,’ Rhyode continued to speak softly, ‘you can trade goods from all around Arenith. So long as the mines are open, Kalit will trade. But-’ he hesitated, ‘you can buy life or death. If we’re heard speaking ill of the city it’s likely we’ll end our days in the mines. You can never be sure who is listening.’

She wanted to point out that surely people could hear Rhyode whispering now, but Rhyode was powerful. His magic was rooted in darkness, as night descended no one would hear a thing he said, unless he wanted them too.  She held her questions and turned to watch the gateway as they left it behind. The impenetrable border of Kalit stretched higher than any castle walls she’d ever seen. She’d assumed they were to keep attackers out. The final sweep on sunlight vanished from the city and a call rose for the gates to close. The portcullis began its creaking descent behind them. The impassable wooden doors thunked shut behind her and the guards stretched to bring iron bars down. Not to keep people out she realized but to keep them in. Rhyode guided the horses forward, deeper into the city streets.

At first, the way was lit by lanterns hanging from the walls of shops on either side of road. Rhyode motioned to them, explaining that each lantern held quartz stones filled with magical energy. They were taken each day to the Temple of Saelil, the Spirit of Light, to be infused with power.  An enormous undertaking, but they provided a sure and steady glow and a safe place, well lit for the wealthier population of Kalit to wander in the night-time. But the main streets were a difficult place to travel quickly. Despite the late hour they bustled. People dressed in rich colours moved from vendor to vendor in groups. Their laughter rose into the night air, but the throng was difficult to pass. Rhyode soon led Feia to narrower streets, where the lighting dimmed and crowd thinned. The lanterns or quartz holders in the main street had been elaborate. Beautiful shapes made from precious metals, Feia had selected a particular favourite on the wall of the apothecary. Hanging from a hook, intricate vines of silver had fallen, and curved. Tiny metal leaves of Ivy, embellished with green glass, had then woven together to form a ball to hold the stones. In the side streets, the lanterns were made of wood. Passing, Feia could see cracks in the quartz stones. Soon, as Rhyode led the way through narrowing streets, lanterns vanished altogether. Dotted in the cracks of walls were stones the glinted with a sickly glow.

‘Why is it so much dimmer?’ She asked softly, ‘isn’t the magic as strong?’

‘Not in these stones, they’re filled with impurities and the temple will not infuse them.’

‘So who makes them? Do they still relight them each day?’

‘No,’ Rhyode replied, ‘they are created and then fade overtime. Apprentices with a talent for Saelil’s Spirit are paid to keep them burning; but it is a large city.’  Without warning he swung himself down from the saddle and stretched.  ‘Stay out of trouble.’

‘You say that like it’s easy.’

‘Just don’t set anything on fire. Don’t set the tavern on fire. Don’t set the stables on fire. Don’t set anything on fire.’

‘You say that like it’s easy,’ she grinned.

 

BECOVER

Burning Embers is available on Amazon and through Kindle Unlimited!

The first chapter is also online just here.

 

 

 

New Year New Goals!

Welcome to 2018 everyone, I hope that you all have a year filled with health and happiness.

Now in Conversation with myself…

This is just a very short post to catch up and tick off some goals from last year – yay reflection.

So what was my aim with the fibijeeves blog entering 2017?

2017 Goals

Well, I intended to be publish a book – Success! I was published in three books over the year and of course this includes my book baby, Burning Embers.

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I wanted to sell at least one copy of Burning Embers to someone who wasn’t my Mother – success!

Have over 1000 views to the blog – Success!

Have over 300 visitors to the blog – Success!

Reach 250 subscribers – Success!

Surprise ‘stretch goals’ for 2017

Receive a review for Burning Embers – Success! I’ll be posting some of the gorgeous reviews up in the coming days.

Have the most amount of views since the blog began in 2013 – not quite, I was 65 views short.

Update my wordpress blog to it’s own domain – Success!

To look ahead, what do I intend to achieve?

2018 Goals

Publish: The Poisoned Well

Reach 450 Subscribers

Have 1500 views of the blog

Continue writing the second instalment of The Shadows Return…

Have you set out goals for the year ahead? I’ve really enjoyed seeing the aims I set out for myself come true, and they’ve acted as a real motivator to keep going!

What are you goals for the new year?

Happy Reading!

Fibi xxx

Burning Embers: The Launch

Burning Embers is now available!

The wait is finally over…

Oh my goodness I’m so excited, and nervous.

For anyone that pre-ordered the e-book it should be currently downloading to your device of choice. For paperback pre-orders these should be in the post and on the way! I really hope that you enjoy Feia’s story and adventure through Arenith and I’m probably going to hide for a few days, until the verdicts come in.

In the meantime, I’m feeling hopeful and am delighted to share the very first review of Burning Embers with you. It made me go Sqeeeeeeeeeeeee for at least an hour when it appeared on Goodreads the other night.

stars“OMG THAT ENDING. I don’t know how I’m going to wait for the next book. I found it highly engaging and almost impossible to put down. I enjoyed the originality of the story line, and I found Feia very relatable.”  – Kelsay Calvaruso

I’m just going to take some time to digest this review…and panic about writing the second book in the series. (It seems my panicking is never done!)

Once you’ve ready my little bookbaby, if you have the time then please do remember to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads (or both!) It really does help other people find the book and other’s like it.

So here it is, Burning Embers.

 

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Amazon UK

Amazon US

I hope that you enjoy it! I’d love to hear from you, or see pictures of my book out there in the world!

I’m also running a giveaway, if you leave a review for Burning Embers and drop me an e-mail at fibijeeves@gmail.com I will enter you into a draw to win a signed paperback copy with limited edition artwork print.

Happy Reading and a wonderful weekend all,

Fibi xxx

Wisps of smog spun around her

Two days to go!!!

In response to today’s Daily Prompt: Snippet please find a little taster from Burning Embers below. I’m trying not hard to reveal spoilers and ruin the story, so it’s just a little teaser really and I hope that you enjoy it! Remember to comment below!

TWO DAYS TO GO! ARGH

The study was cosy in the approach to winter. Behind the High Priestess’ gilt chair was an arched window where the sun shone through, fracturing on the panes and scattering across the room. The perfume scent was thicker and Feia saw an incense holder in the shape of a sun, perched on the large desk that dominated the space. The fire was stoked to a roaring blaze and wisps of smog spun around her. The sounds of Temple life stirred beyond the door as it closed.

High Priestess Fraelyn was seated behind her desk. She was slender, her skin the parched porcelain colour of someone who rarely ventured outside, and her hair was tightly bound. Feia couldn’t help that think that if anyone looked like a ghost, it was the High Priestess. She struggled to keep the thought in check. She’d heard too many rumours that the Priestess would hear stray thoughts, that she had been a Seeker for the Champions of Light. That respect for this woman was the only thing that prevented the Knights from visiting the Temple.

Fraelyn stroked the edge of her desk with an absent gesture. The sun broke over the high back of her chair and washed her in a golden glow.

‘You know why you are here?’ It wasn’t really a question.

Feia nodded. The fireplace flickered beside her.

Remember – that there is a full short story from Arenith available on Instafreebie, make sure you get your copy of The Last Charter.

Happy Reading!

Fibi xx

Weaving Networks

I’m a left-handed dyslexic and I cannot Knit. I love to sew, paint, draw and I’ve even turned my hand to crochet and lucette; but I cannot knit. I’ve watched friends and family knitting, and they always ask why I’m frowning at them. I’m usually not, but I am glaring at the whirr of wool between their hands because it just doesn’t make sense. I’m sorry, I know it’s a terrible confession to make, but I can’t get my head around the way the knot on the needle joins with the other one-and-why-doesn’t-it-all-just-fall-off?!

Knitting, I just have to admit, is a skill I do not have.  This is also not due to a lack of kindly (and very patient) tutors. I’ve had to make my peace with knitting, and continue to observe it as a strange, wool-based-ritual that I may not join. What I remind myself – is that it’s okay that the tangle of wool has eluded me because I have other talents.

Now, in my head is a Thunderbirds countdown of Five, Four, Three, Two, One – lift off! This is because Burning Embers is released on Friday. ARGH! That’s right, Friday!!! For everyone that has pre-ordered a copy online, it should be downloaded to your screen of choice or posted to you on the 1st of December – ARRRRGH! Time for me to hide under the desk!

It’s funny how this has come about though, this book. It’s been in the pipeline for so long, but it’s the way my writing interlinks with the rest of my life which has pushed it to the forefront now. Expecting our first little one in the New Year, meant that I was determined to pull this project to an end. So the decision was made to self-publish. All these choices are carefully interwoven, like fine threads that tug and pull on each other.

Having decided to self-publish, I realised that I had done all of my research…and that I still didn’t know enough to give Burning Embers the best shot at life, out there in the big world. So I joined a few groups of facebook, and the wealth of experience and advice has been astonishing.

When fellow indie authors are posting about how they’re selling 500 paperbacks a month, and how can they increase this? I just about fall of my chair in a scramble to grab the computer and shout ‘tell me all of your secrets!’ I feel like I’ve made connections with lovely people, who are all stitching together their books and projects with the same passion and enthusiasm I commit to my own work. It’s a beautiful community. Join us!

I’m compiling information and experimenting across the internet and I fully intend to share my findings with me.

However, in this final run up to the release of Burning Embers wish me luck (and positive reviews!)

Remember you can still pre-order a copy of the paperback and the e-book online, and for a short story from the world of Arenith, The Last Charter is available through instafreebie. Nearly 100 copies have been snatched up already, so make sure that you don’t miss out!

Happy Reading!

Let me know what you goals for this week are!

Fibi

Short Story Release! The Last Charter

Happy Friday Everyone!

Just a sneaky little update for today – woohoo!

Burning Embers is set in Arenith, an empire that has been crumbling for three hundred years. Now, with all of the edits to bring my novel to print and publication; chapters and additional story arcs have been brutally hacked away; until now.

I’m delighted to release: The Last Charter. It’s a short story set in the world of Arenith and might just tie in with the events of Burning Embers… but I’m not giving too much away about that!

The Last Charter is available for free download: here!

Adobe Spark (1)

I hope that you enjoy it! I love hearing from you all, so please feel free to leave comments about the cover or the story itself!

There will be more short stories from Arenith to follow, along with some from the other worlds that are floating around in my imagination.

In the meantime – two weeks before Burning Embers is released! Argh! You can still pre-order on Amazon, or for a signed copy with limited artwork print directly from yours truly: Shop.

Happy Reading!

Fibi xx

To strut, to saunter, to parade and promenade

There was an interview with David Jason aeons ago, where he said that the first thing he finds in a character, is the walk. Trying to move away from aesthetic descriptions of my heroes and heroines in Burning Embers, I keep this idea in mind. How much of a person can be given away by their movements?

We all have tells, and unconscious signals that we share with the world. Something I find successful in layering my characters, are the small motions that they make when nervous. They’re not something I telegraph to my reader, but you’ll often find my protagonists or their companions putting their hands to their faces.

What does it mean when someone covers their mouth when speaking? Does it mean that they’re lying, or they don’t really want you to hear what they say? Some people when nervous scratch the back of their necks, or fiddle with their clothes. What about a character who gives nothing away, who is conspicuous by their lack of nervous responses? Are they without fear, or are they afraid of something even bigger.

I feel that I have digressed from the daily prompt: Strut, but I guess that’s why we’re given them; to roam freely on a subject and see where we will land.

Updates from the week:

I was featured as a guest blogger for Black Hart Story Tellers – they’ve published my hints and tips for writing horror that can be found: here

Secondly, I’m delighted to announced that for those who purchase a signed first edition copy of Burning Embers from fionajeeves.com will also receive a limited edition, numbered print with their book! Only 50 5” x 8” prints will be made to go alongside the release. I would love to know what you think!

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Paperback Pre-Order! Woooo!

Second post of the day!

First of all, you might notice that you have been re-directed to FionaJeeves.com! There have been some changes and I’m working hard to update this new site to make it look beautiful.

Secondly – and even more exciting! It is with great delight and excitement that I can tell you that Burning Embers is now available to pre-order in paperback! Yes, that’s right Mum you can pop over to amazon to order the book and hold it in your hands.

Burning Embers  – Amazon

Book!

Please bear in mind that Amazon is currently showing the book as out of stock – this isn’t the case, it’s just on pre-order until the 1st of December.

In the middle of November the publishers will send Amazon all the books that have been ordered and Amazon will distribute them as usual. Exciting stuff!

I will also be selling signed copies from my fibijeeves! If you would like a signed copy you’re able to purchase it directly from me. Hooray!

Autumn leaves in golden light

Autumn leaves flicker in golden light. A bright sun breaks through grey puffs of cloud. It’s warm, suspiciously so. A chill wind pulls at unfastened coats and untamed hair. The green is fading from the grass and bare earth appears in patches. Still, the leaves fall in turbulent circles;  gold and Orange they flicker.

It’s here!

LOOK! In all of it’s autumn, orangey goodness!

Book!

Well you could say that I have been busy.

I have, at this very moment, a printed copy of Burning Embers! I love it! I have to say, that the quality of printing is incredible, and my book baby looks like a book! An actual book. I’m going to be excited about this for a while…

Over the next few the days the printed proof will be examined with a magnifying glass, tweaks will be made and then – THEN it will be available for Pre-order. *Cue Fainting*

Review copies have been sent out, and I’m watching Amazon like a hawk. Hopefully when the next boost of sales come in, then the reviews will keep the book ‘sticky’. (From what I can tell, sticky means that it stays in the higher rankings and ‘sticks’ around the bestseller mark – whoohooo!)

But that doesn’t sound very busy does it? What else have I been up to…

Well, I’ve been writing horror tips for Black Star Publishing; just in time for Halloween. They’re starting a new blog and invited me to be their first guest blogger. (I may be getting a little too big for my britches at this point.) I also intent to submit a short story to their competition. Luckily we all have until December to come up with a suitably spooky idea. Once the post is up, you can be sure that I will share it with you.

Wattpad is up to date (incredible by itself) Six free chapters of Burning Embers are available to read – and they’re being read. I’ve joined a few review groups, so I’ll be anxiously biting my nails waiting for those to come in from my fellow wattpadders.

I’ve planned out a very very long blog post about self-publishing and the decisions that I’ve made and why. Over the coming weeks I’ll also be divulging my marketing strategy – I tell you, the more you delve into this with self-publishing, the more there is to know! At times it feels like an endless ball of wool that I’ll never fully untangle, but it is fun.

In the meantime, the e-book is still available to pre-order and currently at a discounted price of £1.89 (correct 27.10.17)

I’d love to know your thoughts – don’t forget to leave comment and let me know what you’re up to. I’m also still happy to send out review copies if anyone is interested!

Happy Autumn everyone!

Fibi xxx

My shout will resound!

This week, it’s a shout of triumph. I am so excited. I know that it something I say on a regular basis – but this is sheer adrenaline filled excitement. In response to Today’s Daily Prompt – A Cacophony of fizzing, buzzing, joyous noise is just a gorgeous way to describe the weekend.

The pre-release e-book for Burning Embers sidled onto Amazon and other outlets last week. I was thrilled, and posted here and on the facebook page and was content to watch the rankings. On Thursday, Burning Embers was ranked 38,885 on Amazon.co.uk. It had been loitering there all week.

Out of 750,000 books, to be ranked in the 38,000’s – I was pretty happy!

Then I don’t know what happened.

My mind is still resounding with the cacophonous resound of WHAT?!

On Amazon your book is put into three ranking categories, as far as my newb self-publishing-self can tell. I had been steadily sitting in the top 200 for Young Adult, Fantasy and Kindle Store> Books> Young Adult> Romance> Science Fiction and Fantasy – and that felt amazing.

And then the numbers started to drop. I went from being in the top 200 of the category rankings, to the top 100. THEN BELOW! – WHAT?!

The highest I saw my amazon overall ranking was #8887. In terms of the categories, I was in the top 50 for each one! I had to take photos so that I can continue believing it! LOOK! Omg!

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What happened then was brilliant – because of the sales, Burning Embers was pulled into a list of the top ten ‘hottest new releases’ for Young Adult, Science Fiction and Fantasy. Here it is, my little book baby – in a list. That’s right folks. In a list.

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I may be ridiculously over excited, but I was so proud to see Burning Embers included in such good company. I don’t know how many copies have sold, and I won’t until after the pre-order period is over on the 1st December.

What I can tell you, is that the paperback copy of Burning Embers should be available for pre-order before Friday – this Friday! So I’m sure you’ll be hearing more from me about it. Sqeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Later in the week, I’ll be posting about all of the work I’ve been doing in the background to publishing Burning Embers, and how that is hopefully making a difference.

Please let me know your feedback and comments, I love to hear from you!

In the meantime, the first five chapters are available for free on Wattpad.

Happy Reading,

Fibi