Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spotlight on Monique Rockliffe!

The Sword Bearers Blurb
Khyri never wanted to rule as Cai’rin, queen of her home-world Theras, or carry within her the renowned Sword of Heaven, a weapon capable of destroying entire worlds.

But after centuries of peace, war has come to her planet, and with it comes death and destruction. Against her will, and in a desperate attempt to save all she holds dear, the Sword is forced upon her by those she loved and trusted.

Betrayed and lonely, Khyri and her family are pursued across Theras, over snow-packed mountains and into deserts ravaged by heat and war, and, hunting her in her dreams and in the waking world, Drakoor s’et, an arch demon, seeks the Sword – and with it, her soul.


Review of The Sword Bearer

I’m definitely not a science fiction reader, so I was so nervous about reading and reviewing this book.  But you know what???  Once I got used to the new terminology and names that were new to me, I fell in love with this book.  Yes, after the past couple of months I have been converted.  I am officially a Science Fiction reader!  I need congratulations or something, lol. 
This book will honestly blow your mind.  There are so many facets to the story that work together to literally boggle your mind.  The characters are so fascinating and well developed that I found myself trapped in their lives, unable to pull myself away from their world.  Khyri, the future of Theras ( the world they inhabit), is one of the best female characters I have seen.  When the reader is first introduced to her, she is a free spirit who wants nothing to do with becoming the next Sword Bearer, but her mother has different plans for her.  The job is literally forced upon her when her mother is murdered, causing her immense physical and emotional pain. 
Her oldest brother, Khyl, must deal with the fact that he stood back and let his mother, Ahloren, force the gift of the Sword of Heaven upon his sister.  His younger brother, Jaryth, has been taken over by the Sword of Shadows, the complete opposite of what Khyri possesses.  Jaryth’s siblings believe that he betrayed the family, but this is not so.
Now, Khyri, Khyl, their other brother Brahn, and two of their cousins, must try to escape from the clutches of Drakoor and his army of aliens and u’mans who have taken over Theras, murdering and pillaging as they go.  Will they be able to defeat Drakoor and his army?  Or will the Sword of Heaven and the Sword of Shadows finally be returned to their final resting place?  There are literally so many facets and details that could be shared with you, the reader, but I have to honestly say that I could not summarize this book, even if I HAD to! 
If you enjoy reading Science Fiction and love a chance to escape from all that is mundane about our lives, you need to pick up a copy of The Sword Bearers.  You will be in for an action packed ride that will literally leave you breathless.   Monique Rockliffe definitely knows how to create a world that is like no other!  I am a huge fan of any author who can create a world from nothing and make me believe that I’m actually there! ~~Ruthi


The Sword Bearer’s Journey Blurb
The arch demon, Drakoor s’et, is furious: the Sword Bearer has escaped him again!

KC and her family flee to the planet of Verai, to her uncle, Korin Beloruuis, the leader of the Alliance of Territories, the only entity in the entire galaxy of N’varda powerful enough to oppose Drakoor’s massive forces.

Khyl, KC’s oldest brother, desperately fights another battle – one of his brother’s twisted mind – while serving beside him in disguise after saving his life on Theras. 

With all of N’varda at stake, KC uses her considerable skills and talents to fight a war she hopes she can win, but the fury of the demon is a nightmare she faces every time she closes her eyes to sleep. He approaches!


Review of the The Sword Bearer’s Journey

Where The Sword Bearer ends the next novel, The Sword Bearer’s Journey picks up.  We encounter many of the same characters from the first novel, but things have happened that have caused them to go in various directions.
KC’s (Khyri from the above review) family has been scattered all over the galaxy for many reasons, and her home as she knows it is no longer the same.  In fact many things have changed for the Bearer of the Sword of Heaven.  She is in a new world and has to make adjustments for a variety of reasons.  Her brothers too have to make adjustments as things have changed drastically for the family of Theras.  A war is about to begin and unfortunately it is about to pit siblings unknowingly against one another. 
Okay, now I know what you are thinking!  Why are you being so vague?  I am a huge proponent of reading, and the level of detail and depth to this novel and the one before it cannot be adequately summarized.  I love science fiction and fantasy, and Monique’s series incorporates both fantastically.
I was drawn to the strong but loving KC and understood her pain and despair, especially when her mate was far from her for long lengths of time.  I worried about Yanec, and whether he would forever be evil, or would he break the hold the Drakoor s’et had on him and become the person he once was.  I was mystified by the sharp-witted and swift figure of Okassa, who plays one side against the other, but has his own agenda.  And these are only a few of the wonderfully developed characters in the novel.
I was moved to tears at the end of the novel and can only hope that this is not the end of the series, as I feel the need to know what happens.  Believe me when I say that this novel is worth its price and I would recommend any fan of science fiction and fantasy definitely check it out.  But I would also recommend it to any fan of a powerful story that does not lack in action, suspense, intrigue, and mystery!  There is something in this series that will appeal to all readers regardless of age or genre preference.  My hope is that you pick up your copy of either novel today and fall into the story of the Sword Bearer!



Monique Rockliffe’s Guest Post!!

Thank you so much, Ruthi and MaryAnn, for having me as a guest. This event has truly been both spectacular and Spooktacular with the great variety of genres you’ve featured and the ones still to come, and I’ve so enjoyed reading about other authors and their works. The talent out there is mind-blowing, and I am honoured to be included.
For my guest post I thought of introducing your readers to some of my characters so that they can get to know them better, as well as get an idea of what to expect in Book 1: The Sword Bearers, and Book 2: The Sword Bearer’s Journey. Also, your readers will get a closer look at who I am. Most of us only know each other in cyber-space, and we have an understanding of what kind of people our cyber-friends are based on personal perception. I hope to give you all a closer look at me; see it as a kind of interview, but with a twist J.
My Characters and I are One – a Journey into The Sword Bearers Series
I’m a firm believer that your characters are shadows of who you are or who you wish to become.
Writing this tetralogy (Book 3 is almost ready for publication in early 2013, and Book 4 is busy being written) there have been countless times when I’ve recognised aspects of myself in each one of my characters. Sometimes it’s scary, sometimes quite bizarre, but mostly I’m amazed at how I’ve woven my characters into a story that depicts true human emotion and behaviour, even though the fantastical situations they find themselves in could never really happen. (Now I know we can have a long debate about that last statement – I understand as authors of fiction we believe that at least some small elements of our stories are true :)– but for the sake of this blog let’s just leave it at that!) If I could be my main character for a week, man, I’d just freak out with excitement! Just imagine!! (Yes, yes I know you can!) Here are a handful of the primary characters in my first two books for you to meet, and as you read about them you will find out a little more about me – the nice me and the crazy me! *cackles*
Khyri, the unassuming hero, is all I wish I could be and the person I know I really am deep down inside – brave, bold, fearless, carefree, guileless, a consummate warrior, and physically very beautiful *sighs*; in fact, visually she’s almost perfect because of who and what she is, the mighty Sword Bearer in possession of the Sword of Heaven, a weapon capable of destroying entire worlds. But she also has a hidden darkness inside her: rage, depression, frustration, a little madness, a deep, soul-wrenching sadness – traits of which I partake every now and then, but just to a much shallower degree. For Khyri, I expanded her emotions to fantastical proportions. This is a powerful, frightening tale of great battles, terrifying confrontations, and ultimate triumph, after all, and if she doesn’t go through the darkness then the glorious light and freedom and joy will not be as bright at the end of her tale.
Drakoor s’et, the protagonist, is the evil, cruel thing I know I can become if I lived in his world and was the cast out, rebellious creature he is. An Arch Demon – once an Arch Angel of the highest order – he is obsessed with his singular goal and kills everyone and everything in his path to pursue it. He has no conscience; he is only filled with rage, hatred, frustration, a lust for revenge, and an obsession to rule beside his brother and master for all eternity. His ambition is to, quite literally, possess the Sword Bearer and free his brethren and claim the ultimate prize: freedom and omnipotence for all eternity. If taking control of someone in sheer desperation and forcing them to do my bidding was the only way I could achieve my goals, the only thing I could do to ensure I’d have all I ever needed to be happy and free forever, would I? Perhaps I would . . . Perhaps you would . . .
Yanec, the torn, messed up boy-man becomes the immensely powerful but terribly insecure puppet of Drakoor s’et (he is closely tied to Khyri – that’s all you’re getting. Can’t give too much away, sorry!), and is the person I’ve been quite a few times in my life when I didn’t have the wisdom or confidence, understanding or self-belief to tell people to shove off when they tried to control me! Yanec struggles daily to understand his life with no memory of who he was before he became Drakoor s’et’s First General – the second most powerful man in the galaxy. His mind teeters on the precipice of madness, and his heart and spirit and fettered soul fight to understand his place in the Universe. I sometimes feel like I’m losing my grip (understanding) on life and I question who exactly it is I am. This happened a lot more when I was a teenager. I’m sure you can relate. Yanec symbolises this part of me I hope grows weaker with every passing year and eventually fades as enlightenment comes.
Khyl, Khyri’s oldest brother, is the one who thinks he knows best and pursues his goals without thought for anyone else’s feelings, or stopping to think about the consequences. He’s a prince and the Keeper of the Sword Bearer, and he thinks these titles give him the right to do and say things as he sees fit without apologising to anyone. I’ve leapt into too many things in my life without thinking them through first; again, I did this more when I was a teenager, before I grew up and learned how to do things and go about them properly (it’s called wisdom, Monique). In many ways Khyl still performs like a child, but he also has a singular goal born out of great grief, and in his mind what he’s doing justifies his sometimes callous actions.
Brahn, Khyri’s second oldest brother, is the nurturing, loving, empathetic one who dedicates his life to keeping Khyri safe – the side of me I wish I could be more of to the ones I love. He loves his sister more than his own life, and is prepared to do anything for her. He sees his role as her protector and wants her to just be happy and safe forever. His over-protectiveness can be seen as a flaw, and although I identify this aspect of his personality in myself I hope I don’t behave like that when I have children one day.
The last character I will share with you today is Talisir de Ochre. He’s a character from Book 2, The Sword Bearer’s Journey, and although I hate giving too much of the story away I’ll make a small exception with Talis because he is the coolest character I’ve created, and beside Khyri, he’s the person I’d most like to be – abilities and all!
Talis is a Shadow Weaver. He can manipulate shadows and, quite literally, disappear before your eyes if there are enough shadows around him. He has other very cool abilities – which I can’t share with you right now if I don’t want to spoil the story – and his dedication and loyalty to Khyri is admirable and complete. His stoic self-confidence and lack of guile make him a fantastic character, and as the story progresses the reader discovers that there’s a lot more to the quiet Talis than initially meets the eye. He has this stillness about him that speaks of utter mental calm and inner-peace (and many secrets). He is quite old in human terms, and his race is considered by mortal-kind to be beings of legend and great mystery. Their role in the story slowly unfolds as the reader approaches Book 4, The Sword Bearer’s Ascension. Talis is the kind of person I’d love to be: in control of my emotions at all times, mysterious, non-judgemental, watchful, wise, a great listener, and, of course, a kick-ass warrior!
So there you have it, an insight into my books and some of the characters, and quite a bit about me! But I don’t mind that you know so much about me ‘cause all I have to do is read your work and then I’ll know almost all there is to know about you!! *evil laugh*
I’d thought I’d also include an excerpt from Book 3: The Sword Bearer’s Awakening, to whet your appetites! Enjoy!
The excerpt is from Part 1: The Heart’s Darkness – Chapter 10
. . . Kurrn then looked directly into his High Priest’s eyes, suddenly serious. “But we get off the subject. We must talk about many things. Come, sit here and write down everything. It is important that you miss nothing I say.”
“Yes, Lord,” Azariah said, and sat down on a bench that had appeared out of nowhere behind him. It was made of a silver metal he had never seen before and was cool to the touch, but not uncomfortably so.
“My children have been sending pleas to Heaven that have reached my ears over and over again. Many hearts are sore and broken over the same thing, and as it concerns people and events – present and future – in your small but immensely important galaxy I felt it imperative we have a chat.” He paced up and down in front of Azariah who waited patiently for his God to begin.
“The Sword Bearer’s heart is broken and as a result so is mine. Her family and friends cry out to me often to strengthen and save her from her pain. And I hear them; I hear them very well, indeed.” Kurrn was sombre and frowned in thought.
Azariah nodded. He, too, was aware of Lady dei Pal’din’s sorrow and her family’s, and now her brother’s as well, Khyl Vindor’hien, son of Ahloren Vindor’hien, who was the previous Sword Bearer. “I am aware of the royal family’s trials, Lord. And the Sword Bearer concerns me most especially. She had been . . . unstable, and I fear for her wellbeing. The arch demon Drakoor s’et has tried many times to possess her, but she has managed so far to resist him. She is strong, Lord.”
Kurrn stopped pacing and turned to His servant. “Yes, my fallen son has been busy. But do not fear, Azariah, I am keeping a close watch over my Chosen One. She has gone through much, yet, for now, still remains in control.” Kurrn’s face turned grim and His eyes darkened considerably making Azariah tremble. “The future depends on the choices she makes in these days.” He sighed dramatically. “Giving my children free will was a risk, but without it they would never have the opportunity to reach their full potential.” Kurrn’s eyes blazed again. “But I believe in Khyri,” He said emphatically. “Right now she does not believe in herself; her grief makes her incapable of doing so. But I have placed people in her path that will guide her and show her the truth in their own unique ways.” He smiled broadly, then. “And love does is like nothing else.”
Azariah frowned. “Lord?”
Ignoring His servant’s confusion, Kurrn changed the subject. “I see the Keeper has been to my temple. I’ve heard his prayers and seen the turmoil of his soul.”
“I believe he seeks forgiveness . . . from You and from his family.” Khyl Vindor’hien had been to the temple a few more times since the first time they’d met, and always he left spiritually exhausted and never uplifted. And Azariah was struggling to understand and help the complicated man, the Keeper of the Bearer. “He craves redemption and peace, but still he believes in and loves his unforgiving sister.”
Kurrn smiled warmly at Azariah. His High Priest felt the pain and struggles of others keenly, and He was very aware of Azariah’s frustration with Khyl. But Kurrn believed in Azariah; the priest had the gift to see directly into people’s hearts and as a result always gave them the best guidance on how to improve their lives and find the will and strength to keep going. Kurrn was very proud of him. “Like I said before, Azariah: love does it like nothing else.” Azariah frowned and Kurrn came to sit beside him. “Have faith in your gifts. You must continue to guide him, my son. He still has a very important role to play, and his sister must remain the centre of his life until his many tasks are complete. Urge him to reconcile to her. It is vital he does so . . . and soon.”
Kurrn saw his daughter where she was now, asleep but not at rest; He felt her pain and anguish and sensed the dark presence inside her. He could remove that presence in an instant, but like everything and everyone else in her life it had a role to play that would lead her to where she needed to be: the core of her destiny, of her true purpose. There were so many paths she could go down, He saw, and He could easily predict which one she’d choose. But that’s only because He knew her so well. However, she had made choices in the past that surprised Him, and surprising God was nearly impossible. But Khyri Vindor’hien was a very unique creation. Someone like her had never existed before and never would again. She was not simply the fourth child of Briin Beloruuis and Ahloren Vindor’hien; she was not just the next heir to the Sword of Heaven and the throne of Theras merely because of her gender and bloodline; she was not just another piece in the current game for the Universe’s survival. No, she was much more than that . . . and the Universe still had to find out just how much more.
Kurrn’s piercing eyes turned to His High Priest. “This is what I want you to do, Azariah, and this is what I want you and my priests to pray every day and night until the coming battle’s won, for if you and the rest of my children are not vigilant then the fate of this universe will be only darkness. So write carefully.” His blazing eyes then took on a faraway look. “And then I need to give my Bearer a very special gift.”
Azariah swallowed hard and his eyes widened when he heard Kurrn’s deep, serious tone. He dipped his quill into the ink and waited with bated breath for the words that would change the course of history . 


Author Bio:

Monique was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she currently resides with her husband and two cats who think they own her!

Always the avid reader, she spent every available moment as a child devouring books and learning to read by the time she was three. This included comic books, which added fuel to the fire of her already boundless imagination and expanded her passion for writing, drawing, and the performing arts at a furious rate. She watched as many fantasy and science fiction films as her mother would allow, firmly establishing her love and passion for storytelling of the Otherworldly kind. In short, reality was boring; sitting astride a flying dragon while wielding a magic sword and casting spells all at the same time in order to save the world from destruction and slavery from an evil (possibly alien) conqueror was so much more her style – and still is!

At age five she became a tap dancer, and at age seven ballet became her first choice. This love for dance and music turned into a successful professional career. She was a member of three dance companies as a soloist and principle dancer in ballet, jazz, and contemporary, and she also frequently performed overseas. But she never lost sight of her first passion and never stopped reading and creating other worlds in her imagination. Her dance career spanned 32 years, and in the midst of it all her desire to put down on paper the stories she had created never left her.

In 2009 she began writing seriously when her dancing career came to an end and her husband and greatest supporter urged her to finally make a start. Since then she’s never looked back, and now writing is all she can think about and dream of doing for the rest of her life.

The Sword Bearers tetralogy is the culmination of 32 years of joyous creation begun the day she saw Star Wars for the first time when she was eight. She realised, on that very magical day, that there are no limits to her imagination, and if other people could create worlds and characters and imagery of such power then she could, too. And she firmly believes she has!

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