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.
Okay, so it looks like Lelet is willing to do anything to save Rhuun’s life. Do not come between Lelet and her boyfriend!
“The prince is free by my hand,” she told them. “Eiith, rest him now, is dead, by my hand. Would any of you care to join Eiith? Or would you take the example of your prince and live in the open air? Because this place—” she looked scornfully around, “is about to be gone.”
“Madam,” said Coll, “Madam, why? Eiith spoke in....regretful terms regarding the prince, but all of Eriis knows our work is important. Soon we will be able to open The Door and revenge ourselves on the human world. Don’t you want that? Doesn’t the prince?”
So it was true, what Moth had suspected. They were doing more than tinkering with the atmosphere. “How close are you? To making it ready?”
“Very. So, again, and with no disrespect—why?” He nodded to himself, figuring it out. “Of course. I have been long removed from the world of men and women. I saw you with him. You attend the prince and wish to protect him. Perhaps you have grown attached to him. Think of it this way. What greater legacy could he have than lending his very blood to the Weapon that will take from Mistra what the humans stole from us? His name will live forever.”
“It will, I think,” she agreed, “but not like this.” The men, now with their faces exposed, frowned and whispered together. “Tell me,” she said, pointing towards a stern faced man on her left.
“You are from the humans. We can smell it on you. At first we thought it was from attending the prince, but it is your own. You are from the humans, somehow with a demon face. Your manifestation is corrupt, your power is warped. How else could you walk into our Raasth and strike us down? Well? Have you come to finish the job the Weapon started?”
“Oh, no,” she said. “Very far from it. If I could bring back the rain I’d do it right now. But war upon war is not the answer. Yes, I attend and protect the prince, but I also protect everyone on the other side of The Door. You’ll stop your work. That’s why I’m here.” They stood silently. “Do you have families to return to?”
“We do, some of us,” said Coll, “but they may not show a kind face when they see us.”
“Then you’ll make new families, or convince the old ones. But you can’t stay here.” She looked around again. “I will not be remembered as the girl who burnt down the library, though. These books should be saved. And you must have things you love, even down here in the Raasth. I will count to fifty. And then whatever’s left...” she shrugged. “Oh, and if any of you go directly from here to Yuenne or the Zaal? You’ll meet Eiith on the other side. And that’s a promise made by a human.”
They gaped at her and at each other.
“One. Two. Three…”
They went from frozen to frantic in a heartbeat; raising so much dust in grabbing volumes and artifacts that she didn’t see one of them, the stern faced one, quietly gathering every tightly lidded silver bowl he could lay hand to.
The last one fled past her at the count of forty-five, giving her as wide a berth as possible. The white flame of her hands now reached nearly to her shoulders. Use me, the fire said.
She did that last thing, the thing she didn’t know if she could do, the thing that revealed her True Face and set the fire free. And as sand boiled into glass, she shut her eyes and pictured the place neat and dry and clean; smelling for a while like ash, but the stink of blood and pain, that would all be gone.
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.
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.
What inspired you to write this book?
This series came to me in a vision--literally! I get most of my best ideas when I’m supposed to be sleeping. That seems to be when my creative mind comes out to play. And one night I got a very clear, almost filmic picture of two people sitting at a campfire. One was a young woman in a party dress, and the other was a beautiful young man with bright red eyes. I knew a few things right away: he had kidnapped her, but she wasn’t afraid of him. He felt terribly guilty about the abduction, and also, he wasn’t human. It was like my brain gave me a writing prompt! I couldn’t stop thinking about the two of them. Why would he do something he didn’t want to do? Why wouldn’t she be afraid? If he wasn’t human, what was he? And every answer led to another question.
When I sat down to write this book, the scene at the fire went in--you’ll find it just past the middle. I managed to answer all my own questions, and a bunch more about my main characters; Lelet va’Everly and Prince Rhuun of Eriis--their families, lovers, ex-lovers, friends, enemies, frenemies--a whole world. In fact, two whole worlds; the human city of Mistra and the demon realm of Eriis, the war that divided them and the love that may bring them back together.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
On the one hand, I love epic fantasy, and I find world building irresistible. On the other, I tend to skip over long, loving descriptions of battles, and I think using magic to solve your problems can serve as a crutch. I’m much more interested in the details--what does fashion tell us about where a person is in the social strata? How did their language evolve? What do they eat? In other words, the politics of the dinner table. For instance, I gave the demons of Eriis wings. How does that affect what their clothes look like? Or their houses? I also gave them some intrinsic magic. The next thing I had to do was come up with a compelling reason they wouldn’t all use it all the time. They are in the long process of recovering from a devastating war; what do they think of the humans, who locked them behind the mystical portal of The Door and nearly wiped them out? And what if the crown prince was quite unlike any of them? In fact, what if his mother the queen refuses to discuss his parentage, and he strongly resembled one of the enemy humans? And what if this young man becomes obsessed with the humans, the one thing he is forbidden from asking about? I guess it’s pretty clear the ‘what if/what then’ is what keeps me going!
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
I have a large cast of human and non-human characters, but I’ll stick to my main two. First we have Lelet. She’s from the human city of Mistra, and starts this story as a bored heiress--a long way from the fierce warrior she ultimately becomes. Mistran society is rigid--your birth order determines your role in life, and it’s taken very seriously. As a Fourth, her job is to be attractive and not embarrass the family. (She’s doing better at the former than the latter.) She fights with her siblings and dreams of adventure, and it appears in the form of my second main character.
Prince Rhuun of Eriis is a disappointment. He can’t perform even the simplest magic, hasn’t any wings at all, and is twice the size of everyone on Eriis. Even though he’s enormously ugly, at least he has red eyes. All he wants to do is drink and read. His favorite book--his prize possession--is a secret story of humans, an antique document hidden in his mother’s library. He thinks it’s a documentary. (It’s actually a bodice ripping romance novel*.) When Rhuun’s secret is revealed, he’s forced to flee for his life through The Door and try and make his way among the humans.
When they finally meet, Rhuun will find Lelet rude and arrogant--totally unlike the ladies in his beloved novel. Lelet thinks Rhuun is probably an escaped lunatic. But neither can deny the other is fascinating--maybe even irresistible. (I should take this opportunity to tell you this book has romance and comedy but it is NOT a romantic comedy!)
*I want to take a second to mention that I actually wrote this book. The Claiming of the Duke is a real (kind of dirty) book and you can read it! But you should read The Sand Prince first!)
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
One of my friends, who is a pretty fantastic journalist, read one of the early drafts and gave me a challenge: create a world without homophobia. And so I did. I have LGBTQ characters on both sides of The Door, but the demons of Eriis (although they are hardly without fault, being terrible gossips among other things) have no concept of homophobia. I also wanted to avoid the old trope of the hero’s best friend being secretly in love with him. Ilaan has no time for that nonsense! He became one of the most powerful and important characters in the book, and he’s certainly got most of the best jokes. (Rhuun can’t tell a joke to save his life.) This also gave me a chance to explore the creation myths of Eriis, and writing the fairy tales and myths of my invented culture was a pure delight.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The Sand Prince was my first novel, although it was far from the first thing I wrote. I was in the broadcasting business for approx. seven hundred years, and wrote reams of commercial copy, morning show jokes, afternoon banter, and most recently interviews and panel discussions with many hundreds of authors as co-producer of Sirius XM Book Radio. One thing about writing for the radio--it has to be brief. You have to boil everything down to the bones, get it out there, and move on. So when I sat down to write a book, I kind of went nuts. I had no limits, I could go on AS LONG AS I WANTED! But the habits of a lifetime, right? My first draft was almost completely dialogue. I had to learn how to slow down, look around. What are they standing on? What are they wearing? What is hanging on the walls? I had to give myself permission to examine the world I had built. And nearly 400,000 words and five books later, I did.
How long have you been writing?
My whole life! I wrote short stories about animals in a little spiral notebook when I was around five or six. I wrote some longer science fiction stories while a teen, and a long erotic novel to get over my divorce when I was around 35. All of these, fortunately, have been lost (whew.) After that I worked in broadcasting so I wrote commercials, comedy, interviews, panel discussions and essays. I’ve been writing full time for real for about five years.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I really envy writers who come up with elaborate playlists! It seems like such a cool kid thing to do. I can’t listen to music while I write, or else I find myself listening to music and not writing.
While working on my first book, the apartment above me was being renovated. It was a huge job and the people on the site were shall we say a mixed bag in terms of experience (they caved my ceiling in once, and flooded my bathroom about six times.) I managed to sit on the couch and pound away on my computer for almost an entire year as construction noise went on over my head. (Thursday was Throw a 2x4 at the Floor Day!) So I’m not fancy, I can block out most noise. I’ve written on busses, trains, planes, at dinner and even at my desk. Right now I’m working with a 20 pound cat sitting in my lap. (Onion says hello!)
Advice they would give new authors?
Write to finish. Many successful authors will say the same. First, it gives you a sense that you’ve achieved something--and you have! You finished a book! You’re a writer, go you! Second, you can’t fix a blank page. If you’re stuck, go fix something you already wrote. (This helps in terms of trying to write every day, also.) Some authors go full steam ahead and never look at what they’ve just written. I’m the opposite. By the time I get to the last chapter, all the preceding chapters have been gone over dozens of times. I usually don’t know what the book is ‘about’ until I’m at least a third of the way through it. That’s a different thing than ‘how does it end’ by the way. I almost always know the ending even if I’m not entirely sure how I’ll get there. By ‘what is it about’ I’m talking more in terms of theme. My most recent book --I just finished it, by the way!--turned out to be about dealing with the loss of a best friend. Not because of death, but because of a falling out. Our society doesn’t have a good grieving mechanism in place for that kind of loss, which can be really profound. The book is about unicorns and fae and magic and love, but that’s not what it’s about, if you get me.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
I have a lot more than ten, but I’ll do my best.
Right now I’m re-reading China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station, which is a masterpiece of world-building. I love Anne Rice for her sensual prose, Stephen King for ol’ fashioned page turning storytelling, Neil Gaiman, Peter Straub, Jasper Fforde, Charlaine Harris, Clive Barker, Michael Moorcock, Mary Stewart, Hilary Mantel--that’s eleven and I’ll stop!
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Actually, this is one thing I’ve never had trouble with. I think you have to understand your character as a human (or demon, or unicorn, etc) from the bones out, and if you know this person well enough to live inside their head, you should be able to let them have a voice. The real trouble I ran into was when I wrote a couple of thirteen year olds into my most recent book. I had to confab with my resident youth expert, my very patient stepdaughter. I didn’t want the kids to talk like the adults, or like little smart-asses from a sitcom. But they have their own language and I wanted to respect that, too.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
Well that varies wildly! While writing my epic fantasy series, there’s almost no classic ‘look something up’ research involved. I mean, I created the world, society, religion, magic system, law, biology and even the swear words from the ground up--no one can call me a liar! I do think it’s critical to be consistent within your fantasy world, but that’s more record keeping than research. I also have a fairly new paranormal romance series that is set in my hometown of Washington DC. That does take some research--mostly setting things correctly on the map, making sure the 42 bus runs on Connecticut Avenue, and that the Safeway is open 24 hours. The next big project I have planned is a historic fantasy set partially in 11th century France. That will be a whole ‘nother thing in terms of historical accuracy, so I guess I’ll have to get back to you on how successful I’ll be.
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