Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Release Blitz; Oak Seer by Craig Comer

About Oak Seer

Thrust into the public eye as the “Green Lady,” Effie of Glen Coe has become a living legend, the fey woman who saved Scotland from devastation. But to some, she’s a threat to human existence and a traitor to fey-kind.
Determined more than ever to forge a peace between fey and humans, Effie finds herself navigating a realm increasingly divided. The lords of London have other plans, and once again Effie is pulled into a quagmire of politics and greed. She must stand against plots to remove her kind from the shores of the empire and madmen who murder fey without regard.
Even worse, heinous cults have arisen, enthralled by an unseen enemy. With violent thugs and unruly mobs all around, wits and courage are not enough. Effie must become something more than herself, an Oak Seer, a fey mantle long lost. But can she survive long enough to claim it?

Author Bio

Craig Comer is the author of the gaslamp fantasy series A FEY MATTER, which includes THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN and OAK SEER. He is a co-author of the mosaic fantasy novel THE ROADS TO BALDAIRN MOTTE. Craig earned a Master’s Degree in Writing from the University of Southern California and enjoys tramping across countries in his spare time, preferably those strewn with pubs and castles. His website is: https://craigcomer.com/

Links

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An excerpt from Oak Seer - Chapter One

Heavy spring rains flooded the road to Langmire. The village sprouted to the north of Stirling along the River Teith. It smelled old to Effie, full of moldy timbers, damp leaves, and rusting iron. The collection of buildings, crofters’ homes mostly, sagged like the slumped back of a crone. Grey smoke wafted from a few blackened chimneys that sprouted from thatched roofs. Someone baked fresh bread. She caught it on the wind, and another something sweeter. Eager for a warm hearth and a cup of honeyed tea, she licked her parched lips. She’d travelled a full day to reach the village. She’d come because Conall Murray had begged her, because without her an innocent woman would hang.
In the heart of the village grew a stout oak. Muckle Ben the locals called it, Effie had once heard. They’d carved a Green Man into its bark long ago, during a time when such things held power. Now banners pronouncing some celebration hung from its limbs more often than not, but none remained there currently. Its trunk stood as somber as an undertaker. Chickens picked at worms in the upturned soil near its roots, and a lone hound howled at the rustling leaves as the branches creaked above.
Fergus Alpin hacked into his handkerchief, a wet, miserable noise she’d had to contend with the entire journey from Stirling. The Fey Finder sat across from her in the steam carriage’s tight compartment. His wrinkled face was spotted and thin, and he kept tugging his coat tighter about his frail bones. She tried to avoid his gaze, but nothing adorned the compartment for her to study, and she could only stare out the window for so long before feeling rude.
“I’ll do the speaking,” the man said. “You will remain silent.” The quiver at his lip turned into another fit of hacking, yet she still heard his mumbling. “Send a fey to catch a fey, and one with paps at that!”
The steam carriage rocked and bounced, splashing through the flooded road as if fording a stony riverbed. Its benches were worn and hard, the padding flattened from years of service. A lightly stained wood paneling formed its walls, floor, and roof. The boiler at the rear of the carriage warmed the compartment, but at the expense of the coal smoke that clouded the air.
Effie shifted to relieve her sore hips. Her eyes narrowed. “The Fey Finder General bade me accompany you, Mr. Alpin, and not so I would stand and do nothing.” She tried to keep the bite from her tongue. Of Fey Finders, Alpin was a journeyman and not a zealot. At least there was that. He sought not to be bothered rather than possessing the fiery hatred common to his profession.
She pressed her palms into the cushion on either side of her, to steady herself. It still marveled her she could sit so close to a Sniffer, a man the crown tasked with hunting down malevolent fey. Malevolent, as if they knew what the word meant. They hunted all with fey blood, and as a Sithling—one with the ancient blood of the Daoine Sith coursing through her—that included her. But things had changed after Caldwell House, and she had a need to trust where once she dared not. The fierce battle there had forced the lords of the empire to open their eyes. They could not rest on centuries of intolerance any longer. They had to welcome the fey into society’s ranks and accept a permanent treaty. They had witnessed the fate awaiting them if they did not.
Effie’s heart warmed. If the lords of the empire could learn to trust, so could she, and perhaps the Scottish fey would live freely for the first time in millennia.
Alpin’s jaw worked. He’d likely never had someone with paps stand up to him. Most Scots of either gender avoided Sniffers as if they carried the plague. “Look here, Miss Effie,” he snapped. “I’ll not have it. You may dine with the likes of lords, but you’re not in some grand procession here. I know the hearts of these gentle folk better than you ever will, and I will not banter with the mind of a devious hag.”
“When you see one, I’m sure,” said Effie, not knowing whether the man had meant her or the poor Spae Wife they’d come to question.
Heavy spring rains flooded the road to Langmire. The village sprouted to the north of Stirling along the River Teith. It smelled old to Effie, full of moldy timbers, damp leaves, and rusting iron. The collection of buildings, crofters’ homes mostly, sagged like the slumped back of a crone. Grey smoke wafted from a few blackened chimneys that sprouted from thatched roofs. Someone baked fresh bread. She caught it on the wind, and another something sweeter. Eager for a warm hearth and a cup of honeyed tea, she licked her parched lips. She’d travelled a full day to reach the village. She’d come because Conall Murray had begged her, because without her an innocent woman would hang.
In the heart of the village grew a stout oak. Muckle Ben the locals called it, Effie had once heard. They’d carved a Green Man into its bark long ago, during a time when such things held power. Now banners pronouncing some celebration hung from its limbs more often than not, but none remained there currently. Its trunk stood as somber as an undertaker. Chickens picked at worms in the upturned soil near its roots, and a lone hound howled at the rustling leaves as the branches creaked above.
Fergus Alpin hacked into his handkerchief, a wet, miserable noise she’d had to contend with the entire journey from Stirling. The Fey Finder sat across from her in the steam carriage’s tight compartment. His wrinkled face was spotted and thin, and he kept tugging his coat tighter about his frail bones. She tried to avoid his gaze, but nothing adorned the compartment for her to study, and she could only stare out the window for so long before feeling rude.
“I’ll do the speaking,” the man said. “You will remain silent.” The quiver at his lip turned into another fit of hacking, yet she still heard his mumbling. “Send a fey to catch a fey, and one with paps at that!”
The steam carriage rocked and bounced, splashing through the flooded road as if fording a stony riverbed. Its benches were worn and hard, the padding flattened from years of service. A lightly stained wood paneling formed its walls, floor, and roof. The boiler at the rear of the carriage warmed the compartment, but at the expense of the coal smoke that clouded the air.
Effie shifted to relieve her sore hips. Her eyes narrowed. “The Fey Finder General bade me accompany you, Mr. Alpin, and not so I would stand and do nothing.” She tried to keep the bite from her tongue. Of Fey Finders, Alpin was a journeyman and not a zealot. At least there was that. He sought not to be bothered rather than possessing the fiery hatred common to his profession.
She pressed her palms into the cushion on either side of her, to steady herself. It still marveled her she could sit so close to a Sniffer, a man the crown tasked with hunting down malevolent fey. Malevolent, as if they knew what the word meant. They hunted all with fey blood, and as a Sithling—one with the ancient blood of the Daoine Sith coursing through her—that included her. But things had changed after Caldwell House, and she had a need to trust where once she dared not. The fierce battle there had forced the lords of the empire to open their eyes. They could not rest on centuries of intolerance any longer. They had to welcome the fey into society’s ranks and accept a permanent treaty. They had witnessed the fate awaiting them if they did not.
Effie’s heart warmed. If the lords of the empire could learn to trust, so could she, and perhaps the Scottish fey would live freely for the first time in millennia.
Alpin’s jaw worked. He’d likely never had someone with paps stand up to him. Most Scots of either gender avoided Sniffers as if they carried the plague. “Look here, Miss Effie,” he snapped. “I’ll not have it. You may dine with the likes of lords, but you’re not in some grand procession here. I know the hearts of these gentle folk better than you ever will, and I will not banter with the mind of a devious hag.”
“When you see one, I’m sure,” said Effie, not knowing whether the man had meant her or the poor Spae Wife they’d come to question.

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