The Sand Prince
The Demon Door Book 1
by Kim Alexander Genre: Epic Fantasy
Two worlds. Bound by magic. Divided by a door.
On the barren, war-ravaged demon world of Eriis, the fierce queen Hellne fights to keep her people alive and her son Rhuun's heritage a secret.
On the green and gentle human world of Mistra, demons have faded into myth. Only a handful of old men and fanatical children still guard The Door between the worlds.
Different and shunned by his demon kin, Rhuun finds refuge in a book that tells of a human world of water and wonder. Forced by his mother's enemies to flee Eriis, he finds himself trapped on the other side of The Door in the very place he has read and dreamed about—Mistra.
Chained to the deadly whims of a child who guards The Door, Rhuun must balance serving and surviving, even at the risk of exposing his true identity. Riskiest of all is his task of kidnapping an infuriating young woman who is about to find out that the demons of Eriis are much, much more than just an old bedtime story.
She unwrapped the book and put it on the bed next to the baby. Then she took her needle in one hand and one of the child's tiny fingers in the other.
"I won't take much and you won't miss it," she told him. "I promise I'll take a lot less than those hooded freaks downstairs. Ugh, I can't believe I brought you there. Hellne, get yourself a maid."
For his part, the baby laughed and tried to grab her hair.
She stabbed his finger. His face was a picture of surprise, and then it screwed itself up into a howl.
She looked at him curiously. "You felt that?"
She hadn't expected that, but perhaps she should have. His father, she recalled, was as delicate as a new flower. She looked at his tiny hand, at the bead of blood welling, and frowned—it was just a little needle, after all. She stabbed her own finger and felt nothing more than a slight warmth. Well, maybe the child was just startled.
Do babies startle?
She held the little finger over the back page of the book, where Malloy had made some sort of human looking scrawl. Blood made the ink run for just a second, and then it righted itself, unsmearing before her eyes. More human magic, they were just so fond of their words.
She held the book at arm’s length. Would a crack in The Door open here in her room?
She waited. Nothing.
"Well, not today, then. Still, I imagine this might be useful later. Maybe one day you'll figure this out and go visit your father. Won't that be exciting?"
She set the book aside and blotted the baby's finger.
"See? You're fine."
The baby had stopped crying and was back to gazing at her with its big, red, and round eyes. It was unnerving, the way it watched her. Normal babies had tilted eyes and a subtle gaze, never resting on anything for very long, a habit that carried them into adulthood. This child was so direct, the only one who had ever stared at her like that, she suddenly recalled, was a hunting hawk she'd had as a girl. A gift from her father from the human world. The bird's eyes were amber, not red, but perfectly round, and it held her gaze just this way. Watching her, taking the measure of her, silent and constant.
"Rhuun," she said, remembering. "My hawk's name was Rhuun. He was my weapon. He would fly so far I couldn't even see him at all, but he always came back to me."
The baby looked up at her as if he were listening.
"Will you be my weapon, Rhuun?"
The child gurgled and tried to catch her finger again, his tears forgotten.
"You have quite a good grip for someone so small", she told him. "Perhaps we'll have a little Naming party for you after all. Let all those gossips get a good look at you. 'Eriis is his father', I'll tell them. 'He belongs to the city and to me.’"
She picked him up, a bit awkwardly. He grabbed a handful of her long, black hair and stuffed it in his mouth. She laughed.
For the first time, she could look at him and see something other than Malloy's face looking back at her.
"I made you," she said "and you'll always come back to me."
She sat back on her bed and watched the low clouds whip past her window and held him until long after he'd fallen asleep.
The Heron Prince
The Demon Door Book 2
The Demon Door can be opened...but the price is deadly.
Prince Rhuun has found acceptance among the humans on Mistra, something he could never have in the demon realm of Eriis, not even as heir to its throne. What's more, he has even found love with the prickly, passionate heiress, Lelet va'Everly.
The idyll can't last. The prince has enemies who are after more than his throne. They are out for his blood…which holds the key to unsealing The Door between the two worlds, and the demons want in. When Rhuun is lured into a trap on Eriis, Lelet has no choice but to turn to a motley group of exiles, children, and madmen to help save him.
Lelet soon discovers that, like all things, rescuing the prince comes with a price. The secrets in Rhuun's blood may be worth killing for, but are they worth dying for?
Love opens all doors…but betrayal locks them forever.
Newly blessed (or cursed) with wings and fire, Prince Rhuun of the demon realm of Eriis sees hope for his life on the human world of Mistra with his fierce human lover, Lelet va'Everley. She literally went to hell and back to save him, and she's not about to let anything—or anyone—ruin their perfect future.
All too soon, the claims of family, duty, and justice force Rhuun and Lelet to confront new griefs and old mistakes as they attempt to restore balance to the throne of Eriis. But, with every jealous rumor and each vengeful whisper, friends turn, family schemes, and forgotten enemies creep from the shadows.
Treachery in Eriis and betrayal in Mistra jeopardize what Rhuun and Lelet have fought so hard to build, threatening to tear apart the two lovers, their families, and even their worlds.
SOMETIMES LOVE DOESN’T CHANGE THE WORLD. SOMETIMES IT CHANGES ALL OF THEM.
Rhuun, the half-human and wholly-reluctant prince of the demons, has finally reunited with his fiery Lelet. It’s too bad they must hide behind a facade of icy indifference to fool those who are determined to keep demons and humans apart...by any means necessary.
There is more at stake than bringing the miracle of rain back to Eriis. It's not just sand and lost royals poised to come through the newly-opened Door. Something ancient is hungry, and fat, complacent Mistra won't stand a chance. Even worse, whispers and shadows speak of blood magic that could destroy not just The Door, but all Doors—forever—barring the way home for lovers and enemies alike.
Will the love Rhuun and Lelet have moved worlds to share be the very thing they must sacrifice to save their worlds?
Full of her signature blend of exquisite world-building, sly humor, and poignant prose, The River King is the gripping conclusion to Kim Alexander's critically-acclaimed Demon Door saga.
Kim Alexander grew up in the wilds of Long Island, NY and slowly drifted south until she reached Key West. After spending ten rum-soaked years as a DJ in the Keys, she moved to Washington DC, where she lives with two cats, an angry fish, and her extremely patient husband who tells her she needs to write at least ten more books if she intends to retire in Thailand, so thank you for your patronage.
Can you tell us a little about the characters in The Sand Prince?
Since this is an epic fantasy series, there are a lot of characters! Half of them live in a world similar to our own, in the sophisticated human city of Mistra. The others live in the war-ravaged ruins of the demon realm of Eriis. Rhuun is the half human, half human demon prince of that kingdom. He has pretty severe social anxiety and a drinking problem. Now, when I tell people that they often laugh, and that’s a really important key to understanding Rhuun. He’s been treated as something of a joke for most of his life. His people are magical, and he hasn’t got the knack. They all have wings, they can fly—but not him. He may be kind and curious but those aren’t necessarily the qualities his mother the queen is looking for in an heir. The books follow his journey from disappointment to…well, that would be giving it away!
My other main character is a young lady (a human, this time) who might be considered an heiress. Lelet lives in a time and place where her ‘job’ is to marry well and not embarrass her family—and she’s failing pretty spectacularly on both counts. She dreams about adventure, and when she meets Rhuun, she gets about as much adventure as she can handle. Her journey takes her from boredom and fighting with her siblings to (I’ll spoil this one) a pretty ferocious warrior.
I wanted queer characters in both the demon and human worlds, and I got to explore how they were treated depending on where they lived. I was given a challenge by a friend to create a world without homophobia, and so the demon society doesn’t have that concept. But I wanted to avoid my hero’s best friend being secretly in love with him (that’s pretty played.) Once I ‘got’ the character of Ilaan and heard his voice, he was a delight to write. I think he gets most of the best lines in the books. He’s certainly one of the most powerful magic users.
Do you have any side stories about the characters?
I have a whole side book!
Now, when writing fantasy, it’s traditional to have magical items in your story, and I have a magical book. In my demon kingdom of Eriis, the humans are barely remembered enemies who haven’t been seen in a generation. Rhuun, the demon prince, finds an old book in the back of his family library, and is thrilled by descriptions of humans and the human world—horses! Rain! Birds! And something called chocolate. He studies this book until (he thinks) he understands the human world inside and out. Well, it turns out to be an old-school romance novel called The Claiming of the Duke, and almost everything he thinks he knows about how humans behave is wrong.
I excerpt this novel generously through The Sand Prince, and when I was waiting for edits of the second book (The Heron Prince) to come back, I decided to try to write the whole thing—and I did! The hardest part was taking the very over the top and lurid quotes—which were written in stone as it were, because The Sand Prince had already been published—and turn them into plot. It’s a fairly short and rather dirty book that I’m extremely proud of, and it’s available right here. You’ll learn where Rhuun gets the nickname he uses while visiting the human world, and why he insists on calling Lelet a ‘wench.’ I’d never written a romance novel before and those writers get all my respect—it’s hard! Here’s the very first excerpt: Let us begin," said the Duke. "Talk to me of this wench. Is she fair? And if she is not, is her father a wealthy man?" "The family has much land, and the girl is…. young." The Duke smiled, his teeth straight and white in a face darkened by many long rides on his great horse, Mammoth. "You may send for them." -The Claiming of the Duke, pg. 5 Malloy Dos Capeheart, Little Gorda Press (out of print)
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Other than having a huge crush on my hero (is that normal?) I think the most fun was coming up with origin stories. There were two worlds for me to play in, and in particular the demon kingdom of Eriis needed a tremendous amount of world building, and that includes religion, faith, traditions, and a sort of bible. I absolutely loved writing myths and legends of a different set of gods. That sort of leaked into the next ‘fun part’ which was creating a limited language for the demons of Eriis. I mean, everyone likes to swear, so those were the first words I came up with. Rushta, for instance, means both ‘sand’ and ‘shit’, something the demons have in great abundance that has no value. (The title of the book is a play on that concept.)
Once you know how they pray and how they curse, you have to figure out what they wear, what they eat, what they love and what they find abhorrent. Seriously, world building is so much fun, I want to do it again! (I am, in my next book ?)
I also spent so much time with the story and the people in it that when I figured out the ending (it’s actually chapter 55 of The River King) I was so excited I didn’t know what to do with myself. It made sense! It all worked! It tied together every clue I’d left for myself right back to the first page. And that’s one of the true pleasures of writing—knowing something is so important, it has to go in, even if I don’t know why. If my brain is telling me HE HAS TO WEAR A HAT GIVE HIM A HAT ITS HAT O’CLOCK I guarantee you somewhere in the next chapter or the next book, that hat is going to come into play. So, writing has taught me to trust my inner voice and try to be patient.
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