The Moreva of Astoreth by Roxanne Bland BOOK TOUR

The Moreva of Astoreth
By: Roxanne Bland

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MoA-cover-lighter (1)Blurb

In the world-building tradition of Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey and Ursula K. LeGuin, The Moreva of Astoreth is a blend of science fiction, romance, and adventure in a unique, richly imagined imperialistic society in which gods and science are indelibly intertwined. It is the story of the priestess, scientist, and healer Moreva Tehi, the spoiled, headstrong granddaughter of a powerful deity who is banished for a year to a volatile far corner of the planet for neglecting to perform her sacred duty, only to venture into dangerous realms of banned experimentation, spiritual rebirth, and fervent, forbidden love.

 

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Author Info


I’ve been a fugitive from reality since forever. As a child, I constantly made up stories–some would call them lies–about my family, friends, neighbors and even strangers on the street. I had friends that only I could see. Oh, the adventures we had!

Learning to read was a revelation. Words fascinated me. Whole new worlds opened up, and since my parents forbade nothing, I read everything. Soroxanneme of it I didn’t quite understand, but I didn’t mind. I read it anyway. I even read the dictionary. When I was a little older, I was big on mysteries–English cozy mysteries, that is, Agatha Christie, were my favorites. Then I graduated to horror. Whenever a new book came out by Stephen King, Peter Straub or Dean Koontz, I was first in line. I was reading a little science fiction at this time–Robert Heinlein and authors like him–but I really didn’t get into it until I was in college. The same with fantasy. I really got into high fantasy–Lord of the Rings style–in college.

During this time I was still making up stories, but not writing them down. They were private. Besides, I thought my family and friends would laugh at me. In fact, the only story I recall writing was one that won a contest when I was in elementary school.

So anyway, life goes on. I went to law school. After I graduated and entered the workforce, I finally started writing down my stories. I wrote a bit here and there, short stories that never saw the light of day (which was probably a good thing). Then I fell ill. I had the flu for a month. Bored out of my skull, I started writing a piece of fan fiction, though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. I showed it to a friend of mine who suggested I finish the story.

Well, that piece of fan fiction fell by the wayside, but in its place came a manuscript that would eventually become my first book, The Underground. I absolutely adored writing it. I absolutely adore writing, period. Slipping into that alternate reality for hours on end, there was a time in my life when it was called daydreaming and I got into trouble for it. Now it’s legitimate. And that’s the best part of all.

 

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BOOK EXCERPT

Chapter One

“I could have you executed for this, Moreva Tehi,” Astoreth said. My Devi grandmother, the Goddess of Love, scowled at me from Her golden throne in the massive Great Hall of Her equally massive Temple.

Sitting on my heels, I bowed my head and stared at the black and gold polished floor, trying to ignore the trickle of sweat snaking its way down my spine. “Yes, Most Holy One.”

“You blaspheme by not celebrating Ohra, My holiest of rites. And this one was important—the worthiest of the hakoi, handpicked by Me, celebrated with us. ”

“I can only offer my most abject apologies, Most Holy One.”

“Your apologies are not accepted.”

“Yes, Most Holy One.”

“Where were you?”

“I was in the laboratory, working on a cure for red fever. Many hakoi died last winter—”

“I know that,” my grandmother snapped. “But why did you miss Ohra? Did you not hear the bells?”

“Yes, Most Holy One. I heard them. I was about to lay aside my work when I noticed an anomaly in one of my pareon solutions. It was odd, so I decided to investigate. What I found…I just lost track of time.”

“You lost track of time?” Astoreth repeated, sounding incredulous. “Do you expect Me to believe that?”

“Yes, Most Holy One. It is the truth.”

A moment later, my head and hearts started to throb. I knew why. My grandmother was probing me for signs I had lied. But She wouldn’t find any. There was no point in lying to Astoreth, and it was dangerous, too. Swaying under the onslaught from Her power, I endured the pain without making a sound. After what seemed like forever the throbbing subsided, leaving me feeling sick and dizzy.

“Very well,” She said. “I accept what you say is true, but I still do not accept your apology.”

“Yes, Most Holy One.” I tried not to pant.

A minute passed in uncomfortable silence. Uncomfortable for me, anyway. Another minute passed. And another. Just when I thought maybe She was finished with me, Astoreth spoke. “What do you have against the hakoi, Moreva?”

The change of subject confused me. “What do you mean, Most Holy One?”

“I’ve watched you, Moreva. You give them no respect. You heal them because you must, but you treat them little better than animals. Why is that?”

The trickle of sweat reached the small of my back and pooled there. “But my work—”

“Your work is a game between you and the red fever. It has nothing to do with My hakoi.”

I didn’t answer right away. In truth, I despised Her hakoi. They were docile enough—the Devi’s breeding program saw to that—but most were slow-witted, not unlike the pirsu the Temple raised for meat and hide. They stank of makira, the pungent cabbage that was their dietary staple. From what I’d seen traveling through Kherah to Astoreth’s and other Gods’ Temples, all the hakoi were stupid and smelly, and I wanted nothing to do with them.

I did not want my grandmother to know what was in my hearts, so I chose my words carefully. “Most Holy One, I treat Your hakoi the way I do because it is the hierarchy of life as the Devi created it. You taught us the Great Pantheon of twelve Devi is Supreme. The lesser Devi are beneath You, the morevs are beneath the lesser gods, and Your hakoi are beneath the morevs. Beneath the hakoi are the plants and animals of Peris. But sometimes Your hakoi forget their place and must be reminded.” I held my breath, praying she wouldn’t probe me again.

Astoreth didn’t answer at first. “A pretty explanation, Moreva. But My hakoi know their place. It is you who do not know yours. You may be more Devi than morev but you are still morev, born of hakoi blood. You are not too good to minister to the hakoi’s needs, and you are certainly not too good to celebrate Ohra with them.”

I swallowed. “Yes, Most Holy One.”

“Look at me, Moreva.”

I raised my head. My grandmother’s expression was fierce.

“And that is why you let the time get away from you, as you say. You, Moreva Tehi, an acolyte of Love, are a bigot. That is why you did not want to share your body with My hakoi.” She leaned forward. “I have overlooked many of your transgressions while in My service, but I cannot overlook your bigotry or your missing Ohra. I will not execute you because you are too dear to My heart. The stewardship for Astoreth-

69 in the Syren Perritory ends this marun on eighth day. You will take the next rotation.”

My hearts froze. This was my punishment? Getting exiled to Syren? From what I’d heard from morevs serving in Astoreth’s other Temples, the Syren Perritory in Peris’s far northern hemisphere was the worst place in the world to steward a landing beacon. Cold and dark, with dense woods full of wild animals, the Syren was no place for me. My place was Kherah, a sunny desert south of the planet’s equator, where the fauna were kept in special habitats for learning and entertainment. As for the Syrenese, they were the product of one of the Devi’s earliest and failed experimental breeding programs, and were as untamed as the perritory in which they lived.

But I knew better than to protest. Astoreth’s word was law, and it had just come down on my head. “Yes, Most Holy One,” I said, my voice meek.

“Mehmed will come to your rooms after lunch tomorrow so you can be fitted for your uniform.”

“My uniform, Most Holy One? I will not be taking my clothes?”

“No. As overseer of the landing beacon, you are the liaison between the Mjor village as well as the commander of the garrison. Your subordinate, Kepten Yose, will report to you once a marun, and you are to relay the garrison’s needs to Laerd Teger, the Mjoran village chief.”

“Yes, Most Holy One.”

“I will make allowance for your healer’s kit and a portable laboratory, but you are not to take your work on red fever. I am sure you have other projects you can work on while you are there.”

“But—”

“No, Moreva. It is too dangerous.”

“I can take precautions—”

“No. That is My final word.” Astoreth leaned back in Her chair. Her eyes narrowed. “One more thing. You will be the only morev in Mjor, but that will not prevent you from observing Ohra. And you will do so with the garrison stationed there. Go now.”

I stood on shaky legs, bowed, and backed out of the Great Hall. Once in the corridor, I turned and fled to my quarters. I threw myself on the bed and sobbed. It was bad enough to be exiled to the Syren Perritory, but Ohra with the garrison? Only the hakoi served in Astoreth’s military. I felt dirty already. And not allowing me to work on my red fever project was punishment in itself.

A few minutes later I felt a hand on my shoulder. “Tehi, what’s wrong?” a worried voice said. It was Moreva Jaleta, one of my friendlier morev sisters.

“I-I’m being sent to the Syren Perritory to steward Astoreth-69,” I wailed.

Jaleta sat on the bed. “But why?”

I sat up. “I missed the last Ohra and n-now Astoreth is punishing me.”

Jaleta gave me an unsympathetic look. “You’re lucky she didn’t have your head. Be thankful you’re Her favorite.”

I sniffed but said nothing.

Jaleta patted me on the shoulder. “It won’t be so bad, Tehi. The year will be over before you know it. Come on, it’s time to eat.”

To Autumn by John Keats

The summer has gone. It is official. The days will be cooler, the nights arrive earlier, the mornings will make you want to pull the covers over your head.

But you can wear sweaters, have warm soup, bonfires in the garden.  And the colors of the leaves.

In honor of the autumn solstice a wistful look by a great poet.

To Autumn

-John Keats 1819

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

“Ahoy, matey!”

Yes, it is International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

September 19 is the day to jump ship, wear a bandana and talk salty!. Created by two friends  as a fun inside joke this day has grown to spread around the world and reflect on the Golden Age of Piracy. Peppered with odd phrases, funny accents and eye patches this is like Halloween without the gore.

So, with that thought in mind, rather than walk around with a peg leg and a parrot, sounding like you should be on the poop deck why not just read a pirate book instead? There are (not surprisingly) quite a few to choose from for all ages and stages of readers.

If you have little buccaneers in your life, or you want to relive the delight of children’s picture books,  there is the truly wonderful “How I Became A Pirate” by Belinda Long and David Shannon with a charming story and such exciting images you can’t help but love pirates.

Or the how about the charming “Pirates Don’t Change Diapers” also by Long and Shannon. And don’t be fooled……… these books are fun for adults too!!

If you want something a little more challenging middle school, YA and adult readers can dive into two excellent classics from years gone by.

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“Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe and “Treasure Island” by  Robert Louis Stevenson are both works of classic literature that have stood the test of time and are loved. A little out of fashion now these books tell the tales of shipwreck, islands,pirates and much more. In their heyday they were no other fictional accounts to read and these were the rites of passage for young readers. While you won’t be able to get through these today (unless you do nothing else but read) they are worth the investment of time.

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Looking for something a little heavier on  facts, rather than fiction two great books will give you everything you need to find out what pirates were all about.

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“Pirate” from the DK Eyewitness Books series is jam packed with pictures, facts, lore and so much more. Not a book that you have to read from cover to cover you can delve into various sections (or the whole book) and come away loaded with information. Packed with great images you will have a much clearer understanding or pirates, and what being cutthroat really is. Definitely worth getting if you love the sea, want to know about pirates or just curious about history.

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“Pirateology” is a one of those great books to give, and get, as gifts. With the sub-title of “The Pirate Hunters Companion” this magical book straddles fact, fiction and fantasy. Full of maps, letters (that you can pull out and read) this is a great book to look at and pour over. Wonderful for any age.

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If you haven’t got the time to delve into a book stop by your library and borrow one of the really enjoyable “Pirates Of The Caribbean” movies. Classics, entertaining and really enjoyable. However, you spend the day take a moment to join in the fun, have some awe for those plunderers of the sea and check out one of these great books or movies and enjoy a day that can gives you the reason to have fun.

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“How To Make Shakespeare Silly”

Reading Shakespeare can sometimes be difficult, especially for those who haven’t read it before or those of the younger generation as they aren’t used to tat language style or long sentences. So BookRiot came up with a few ways that you can make reading Shakespeare more silly and even make it more fun to read. I think that they are really cute ways and will honestly help!

William Shakespeare

5 YA Books That Made Classic Movies

A Guest Post by Cassie

There are many great stories that have successfully made the transition from page to screen and others that probably shouldn’t have been attempted. Whether it’s down to picking the perfect tale, assembling the best creative team or simply luck of the draw, there’s undoubtedly a scale to be found in the world of book-to-screen adaption.

These five books all provided readers with page-turning thrills but were equally loved by the fans of the big screen.

1. How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

The first in a series of twelve books, “How to Train Your Dragon” follows a young Viking named Hiccup as he attempts to navigate the treacherous world of his people. This is a place where dragons are very real, and the men of the town have to find a way to live alongside them.

For fans of the film, the story is significantly different. Instead of being taught to kill dragons, in the book, villagers are forced to adopt and train the creatures as part of a rite of passage ceremony. However, you’ll be pleased to know the charming Hiccup-Toothless relationship, so perfectly captured by the Disney film, is still just as prominent in the books. If you want a more detailed analysis, check out this review.

2. The Clueless Series by Various Authors

Initially based on Jane Austen’s classic coming of age tale “Emma,” “Clueless” was a smash hit when it arrived on screens in 1995. Its timeless themes were made more accessible to a modern audience through the mischief and shenanigans of the lead character, Cher.

In a surprising turn of events, a story that started on paper before being modernized for film then created an incredibly successful spinoff book series published by Simon & Schuster. While written by a range of different authors, fans of the movie jumped at the opportunity to continue their journey with the outrageous yet loveable characters.

Although it’s not exactly an adaptation, it’s worth seeing the film before you dive into the series. Luckily, it’s currently streaming on U.S. and U.K. Netflix. For viewers overseas, this Secure Thoughts Netflix guide will show you how to gain access.

3. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling 

Legendary both on the page and on screen, this masterpiece series by J.K. Rowling is a wonderful example of fiction done right. If you’ve been living under a rock for the last ten years, here’s the basic rundown: Harry Potter is an orphaned boy staying with his hateful aunt, uncle and cousin. His strange lightning scar tells stories of a past he doesn’t remember, but he can sense something is out of the ordinary.

On his 11th birthday, a magical giant shows up and tells him he’s a wizard. From then on, his life is never the same. The series is an epic saga of adventure, love, friendship, suspense and fantasy. Within the books is a comprehensive universe that is loved by fans of all generations. Rumors of three new books have also been cropping up lately after the release of the play script “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” destroyed Rowling’s claims that the saga was over after book seven.

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This 2014 movie release was such a smash hit that the book it was based on immediately shot up the best-seller lists. The powerful story succeeded in capturing the hearts of all those who experienced it. No matter which medium you choose to enjoy it through, you’re guaranteed an emotional and inspirational ride.

The story follows two young cancer patients. Their lives are uncertain and their outlooks contrasting. However, amid all the craziness of medical examinations, prognoses and health equipment, the pair finds their escape in a passionate and whirlwind love affair.

Before the film, this book was a phenomenon in itself, with over 10 million copies in print. These figures transferred to the box office when the film grossed over a whopping $48 million.

5. Holes by Louis Sachar

Louis Sachar was a prominent YA writer during the 1990s, and the jewel in his crown, “Holes,” was a favorite with teenagers worldwide. The unique tale is a chronology-jumping masterpiece that expertly switches between the story of Stanley Yelnats, who is sent to juvenile detention after he is falsely accused as a thief, his 19th-century ancestors and the legend of feared outlaw Kissin’ Kate Barlow.

2003 saw the release of the film adaption, and it was just as successful as the books. With lead roles taken by Sigourney Weaver and a then very young Shia LeBoeuf as Stanley, it had all the ingredients to be a success. Luckily, the release lived up to expectations. The quick wit, stark settings and skillful handling of the varied chronologies and flashbacks make for a cinematic classic.

If you’re looking for a good book to pick up or a film to settle down with, each one on this list provides a fantastic option. If you know of any others you feel deserve a place, be sure to leave a comment below.


About the Author: Cassie is an entertainment blogger and hardcore bookworm. She always has a great novel on hand and a fountain of recommendations for anyone who will listen. She’s currently writing for Culture Coverage.