"Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes." ~Publishers Weekly review of Eolyn

"The characters are at their best when the events engulfing them are at their worst." ~Publishers Weekly review of High Maga

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Special Guest Author: DelSheree Gladden

I'm very happy this week to welcome DelSheree Gladden as a guest author.  I met DelSheree through an on-line writing workshop, TheNextBigWriter.com.  From the beginning, I have enjoyed DelSheree's work in fantasy fiction, which blends elements of Southwestern folklore in contemporary settings, and features protagonists with powerful -- and often dark -- gifts.  Today, DelSheree will tell us about the system of magic in The Destroyer Trilogy.  The first book of this trilogy, Inquest, is set to be released by BrionaGlen Publishing in 2012.  Inquest follows sixteen-year-old Libby Sparks as she tries to escape her destiny to destroy the world. But Libby soon realizes dodging fate might not be worth the price. 

Please keep reading at the end of DelSheree's post, as she has also provided a special sneak preview of the novel. 

Magic in the Destroyer Trilogy

Thank you, Karin, for having me on your blog today. I am excited to have the opportunity to talk about the system of magic used in my new series, “The Destroyer Trilogy.” The first book in this series is “Inquest,” which will be released this month by Briona Glen Publishing. “Inquest” follows sixteen-year-old Libby Sparks as she tries to avoid her destiny to destroy the world.

The magic system used in “Inquest” is based on talents. There are seven possible talents: Speed, Strength, Naturalism, Spiritualism, Perception, Concealment, and Vision. The more talents the better…except in Libby’s case. Seven talents mark Libby as the prophesied Destroyer, a legend destined to destroy the world. Talents are meant for good, but Libby soon realizes they can be twisted to evil.

Speed and Strength: These are two of the most familiar of the talents. As their names indicate, Speed makes a person able to move incredibly fast, but without Strength, pushing your body to such extremes would damage your muscles and joints. These two talents are always paired, and they are the basic requirement for becoming a Guardian—the military force whose sole purpose is the kill the Destroyer.

Naturalism: This talent allows the bearer to connect with the natural world to nurture plant and animal life, manipulate natural elements like paints, rock, or fabrics produces amazing pieces of art, and even heal the human body. Twisted for darker purposes, Naturalism can also end life.

Spiritualism: This talent has a dual purpose. It can send the talent bearer’s spirit into the spirit world to commune with the spirits who reside there, or help soothe, calm, or guide a person. But, it can also be used to manipulate someone into doing what you want.

Perception: An extremely useful, yet often annoying talent, allows the bearer to sense another’s emotions. This allows the bearer to interpret emotions and discover when a person is telling the truth or lying. Perception is also the base talent needed to perform an Inquest—an ability that it highly prized.

Concealment: A talent with many uses, Concealment can seek out truth, as well as physical items or people. It can also conceal the bearer’s presence from others. Unfortunately it can also be used to hide and deceive.

Vision: This is by far the most unreliable of all the talents. However, knowing the future before it happens also makes it the most valuable of all the talents. This talent is especially sought after by the Guardians, making them extremely powerful.

These are the basics of what each talent can do, but hardly the limits of what a truly powerful person can achieve. As Libby faces both her destiny and the Guardians, she is forced to push the limits of each talent in her arsenal. Libby will shock not only herself, but the world with what she can do.
Thank you again to Karin for allowing me to stop by and share a little bit about my book.  Happy reading, everyone!

Excerpt from Chapter Five of Inquest

“I do hope you are patient with me, Libby,” Mr. Walters says, interrupting my thoughts. “It’s not an easy task to consolidate a lifetime of research into a curriculum overnight. I do hope that by the end of the year you’ll have a better understanding of what you will be expected to do as the only member of the Destroyer class.”

“Uh, really?”

You would think the majority of the world would be much happier if I had no idea what I was supposed to do as the Destroyer. I’m not even sure I want to know what I’m supposed to do. Every time I’ve tried to find out it never led anywhere good, so now I’d like to avoid finding out in the hopes that if I don’t know I’ll never actually do anything bad.

“Of course, dear. You have to know your purpose in life if you expect to ever accomplish it, don’t you?”

There is something wrong with this man. “But I don’t want to fulfill my purpose. I don’t want to hurt or destroy anything. You don’t want me to do that either. Nobody does!”

“Well, of course no one wants to see you harm anyone, but that’s hardly the point,” Mr. Walters says.

“How is that not the point?”

“Because the point of this class is to teach you to be the best Destroyer you can possibly be. What you do with that knowledge is completely up to you, but I refuse to have a student leave one of my classes not fully trained to do their duty.”

He’s serious. As if my killing people a few years from now has no bearing on his teaching me to do it, he opens his notebook and instructs me to do the same. What choice do I have but to follow him?

“Now,” he says, “I have been researching the Destroyer class most of my life. It has always fascinated me that there is only one member, one single person meant to destroy our entire society. When we have millions of Guardians to fight against the Destroyer, Visionaries who might see her coming, Concealers to find her, etc., I have always been curious about how this one person is actually meant to succeed.”

I cough and interrupt his rambling. “If the Destroyer, me, has all the talents of the ones meant to stop me, then all I have to do is use the talents I have against them, right? That’s hardly a mystery.”

“Precisely,” he says, “but the problem is that while a Guardian only needs to focus on honing Speed and Strength, you must master all seven talents if you have any hope of surviving past your eighteenth birthday. Mastering one or two talents takes years, decades even, but you only have two years. That, my dear, is the real question that has plagued me for so long. How can one person reach perfection before the whole world turns on her?”

“Oh. Yeah, I guess that would be something of a problem, if I was planning on actually surviving longer than two years,” I say.

Mr. Walters simply blinks at me. “You mean you don’t plan on surviving?”

“Uh, not really.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s impossible, for one, and surviving would mean hurting people, ruining lives. I don’t want to be a part of that. I’d rather let one of those psychotic Guardians slice me into little pieces than watch myself do the same thing to someone else.”

No matter what anyone says, I will not hurt anyone. Not again.

Walking over to my desk at a slow, thoughtful pace, Mr. Walters surprises me by touching his index finger to the spot of dried blood on my neck. “If you don’t want your gifts then why didn’t you let Lance or the Guardian kill you last night? Why don’t you kill yourself right now?”

He pushes back his blazer sleeve and snatches the Guardian blade out of its sheath so quickly I barely see more than a flash of light on steel before it is pressing against my throat. A Guardian. My heart is pounding against my chest, my mind screaming at me to run. I am alone in a room with a Guardian who is apparently obsessed with the Destroyer. With me. And he has a knife balanced exactly against my carotid artery. Black spots fleck my vision and I realize I’m hyperventilating. It requires all my quickly vanishing willpower to tap my Naturalism and slow my breathing enough to see clearly again.

“If you ask me to kill you, I will do that for you, Libby, though I would not take any pleasure in it,” Mr. Walters says. “Or if you prefer to end your life by your own hand, I will not stop you. Either way, if death is what you truly want, I will allow you to have it. Right here. Right now. This is the only time I will make this offer, Libby. It is your choice.”

The pressure of the blade on my skin increases slightly, and I cry out. “No! No don’t!”

Instantly the knife is withdrawn, back in its sheath like it never left. “Why?” he asks.

“Because I don’t want to die,” I say. Tears bleed down my cheeks and I wipe them away furiously, angrily.

“You will die eventually. There is no doubting that.”

“But I don’t want to die yet, not today. Not for as long as I can manage it.” Maybe it’s wrong to want to live. With everything I’ve done, and am, I probably deserve to die. But I don’t want to. Not yet.

Placing his hands on my desk, Mr. Walters leans forward.  His wizened features grow eerily strong and firm as he peers down at me.  "If you don't want to die, then you have to embrace who and what you are Libby.  Becoming the Destroyer is the only thing that is going to keep you alive."


DelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. The Southwest has a big influence on her writing because of its culture, beauty and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually teaching yoga, coaching gymnastics, reading, painting, sewing or studying about teeth as a Dental Hygiene student.  In addition to The Destroyer Trilogy, her works include Escaping Fate and the Twin Souls Saga.  Visit DelSheree at her blog The Edible Bookshelf.