• Toni Cox

The winning formula


Heya guys,

So, today I am really excited. I had a great week of writing and have made so much progress on Forbidden Elemental, book 3 of the Elemental Trilogy. I also wrote some more of Luke, book 4 of the Elemental Short Story Series, as well as getting some words down on my first dystopian novel, Resilient, which is due to be released later this year.

All in all, I wrote just over 20,000 words - and I still have a day job from 7:30 to 16:30 Monday to Friday - so I think that is pretty darn good. How did I do it? It's simple... I very much enjoy writing and I look forward to it, even after a full day's work. It is my escape, my haven, from the harsh reality of the outside world.

But, that's not all. I also have the most wonderful, supportive husband who keeps the coffee flowing, even if I write until the wee hours of the morning. And, I have an #AuthorBestie, who writes with me almost every day of the week and we keep each other motivated and focused.

Other things we did together this week: attended a site meeting for a fair coming up, visited a craft shop to buy some products for author swag, went to the hardware store to buy mesh for our display stands, we took stock of all our swag and updated our accounting system, and (not book related) visited the hospital for X-rays and blood tests. All in all, it is wonderful to have an author friend you can share the "authoring" experience with and I attribute a lot of my success to us working together. Go ahead, try working with a buddy, it works!

Now, seeing as I cannot share a new release with you yet, here's another chance for you to win $100. Just imagine all the books you could buy with that!


I am also part of this amazing fantasy give-away, alongside some other fantastic authors. Want to discover some new books? Go check it out.


There are, however, some fantastic books that have just been released by some amazing author friends of mine. Go ahead, one-click them, you won't regret it.

Featured author of the week (and #AuthorBestie)

THE CULLING by Sian B. Claven


Twenty Elders came to their rescue. Twenty cities across the world were established. Twenty cities across the world were safe. Twenty cities middle children went to Nirvana. In a world enveloped in darkness, where demons surround every inch of the globe. Twenty safe Zones have been set up and are protected by the Lord, and his Elders. Each year one Zone sends out their next generation of Middle Born Children to reach Nirvana and spend the rest of their lives with the Lord. Only once outside the Zone, they are left to wonder if faith alone is enough to protect them from the darkness of the world.

New releases

MANOR SAFFRON by A.J. Flowers


A Heartbreaking Fantasy Romance

Every kingdom has an origin… this is Manor Saffron’s founding story. There are four great Manors across Terra that care for the angels cast from Celestia, but it had not always been that way.

Valeria is the first wingless angel to survive in a world overrun by demons and malice. Raised on the unforgiving Obsidian Sea, she’ll learn what it means to be Windborn, and what she’ll have to sacrifice to change a broken world she’s grown to love.

The humans huddle in the last remaining stronghold: Leocivat. They are ruled by a governing force of Hallowed known as the Coterie. Nile, their youngest and newest addition, strives to understand how the demons have come to dominate the outlands and continue to ravage the world. He will find out what it takes stop them, even if he’s the only one willing to try.

Nile needs an angel. Valeria needs a guide. When Valeria and Nile join forces, the foundation of the world will be shaken, and a new one will rise.

This novel can be read as standalone or in continuation of the Celestial Downfall Series.

HYBRIDS by T.A. Moorman


★***•.¸.•*(¸.•*´Hybrids`*•.¸)`*•.¸.•***★ Anya has never been one for the spotlight, but her family seems to now be front and center, and the talk of the town in Underlayes. In the aftermath of her mother’s death, the discovery of said mother’s deceit, and Anya's half-sister getting ready to challenge her own father for the witches’ throne, keeping a low profile may prove to be difficult. Add in the fact that she’s pregnant, by her female mate, and it may turn out to be impossible. Kierra has never been one for many words. So if she were forced to explain how she impregnated Anya, it probably wouldn’t be easy for her. Especially since the truth would mean revealing her origins; she’s not a vampire, or even anything close to it. And living in a realm where her kind isn’t allowed may cause a few ramifications. Plus, should the kid call her Mom, or Dad? Jump right back into the world of Underlayes where this magical family takes dysfunction to brand new heights.

There are also some great upcoming releases. Go mark them as to-read on GoodReads!

Upcoming releases

SAMSARA by Jo-Anne Joseph


Luna Tortured for years by recurring nightmares of a drowning woman,​ ​and the man she left behind, th​e sense that she kn​ew these strangers ​plagued her,​ Now a freshman in college,​ she wanted nothing more than a normal life, a life that could start, if ​only ​she could deny the gift that the women in her family possessed. Clay was not in the cards for her new life, but he entered it by storm​. ​How would she reveal her secret, without l​osing him​? She was his​,​ before she was her own.

Clay He lost his heart a long time ago, The last thing he was looking for was love,much less with Luna. ​She ​was young enough to be his daughter, but he crave​d ​her like a drug, When she revealed ​the impossible, ​could he bring himself to walk away, ​When every part of him knew, she was his.

​How do between your past, ​the ​present, and ​a​ll the layers in between?

SUCKER PUNCH by A. Giannoccaro and Ava Logan


Chad King is boxing’s golden boy that didn’t shine. His big dreams have left him at rock bottom and when you’ve lost everything, losing becomes easy because there’s nothing to fight for. The love of his life left him for a life he couldn’t give her and now she’s engaged and on top of the world while he claws his way out of the hole he dug when she left. Lotus Shaw plays the role of the media’s darling, and dutiful fiancé to a man only her parents approve of. She should be on top of the world, but she left her heart on the floor of a fight gym. Now, she’s got to get it back. One little secret from the past is keeping her from the future. When they come face to face again, nothing could’ve prepared them for the sucker punch love was about to land. Nothing worth having comes without a fight.

Events

This year really is one of the most exciting years when it comes to events. If you are in South Africa, why not book your tickets now and join us for these events?

Fantasy Fayre (The Bestiary) - 02 June 2018


Indie Pop-Up Book Fair - 14 July 2018


Medieval Fayre - 01 September 2018


Comic-Con - 14-16 September 2018


Finally, I thought I'd leave you with something to read. I gave you the prologue of Elemental Rising last week. This week, I decided to give you chapter 1 of ON FIRE. Hope you enjoy!

ON FIRE - Chapter 1

It was still dark outside when Maia grabbed her bow off the hook by the door and left through the heavy, oaken doors of her home. She did not glance back as she sprinted down the Royal Steps and on towards the Gathering Grounds. It was the Moon of Storms, the last Moon of winter. It was aptly named for its unpredictable nature and storms of snow and sleet that could rage for hours. Today, however, all was calm, and she would not be confined within the cosy comforts of her home. Drawing her fur hood closer around her head, she ran along the many paths that wound between the giant trees their city rested on. Glancing up, she saw barely a light in any of the windows of the tree houses above. Only the lights along the winding paths lit her way. After climbing the steep steps of Sky Pass that led to the top of the cliff surrounding the city, Maia ran on towards The Crags. One of the Night Watch was stationed there and, as was his duty, challenged her approach. It took him only a moment to recognise her. “Good morning, My Lady.” The guard tilted his head respectfully and stepped out of her way to let her pass. “Good morning.” She smiled at him as she returned his greeting, but she did not like being called My Lady. It made her feel uncomfortable to be treated with such respect and admiration. However, it was not the man’s fault that she was born the daughter of his Lord Regent and she could not fault him for his manners. Finally, she reached The Crags. It was a strange, granite outcropping that rose high into the sky, towering even above the giant trees of their forest. The formation was roughly circular, with rugged edges around the rim. The top was shaped like a dish and in summer, after it rained, made a wonderful place to swim. Now, at the end of winter, with the deciduous trees bare around it and only the evergreens adding a bit of colour, the grey rock looked strangely forbidding. Yet, the bowl-like formation was not as lifeless as it looked. Currently, it was inhabited by Midnight. He did not mind the cold weather, warm even in the worst of blizzards, but he was always more lethargic in winter, preferring to sleep whenever possible. The Crags made a perfect place for him to roost and, as she had had no thoughts from him in her head yet this morning, knew he was still sleeping. Midnight, she pushed the thought out at him and was rewarded with an irritated rumble. She could not see him from where she stood at the base of the rock formation, but with the air so crystal clear this morning, his unique dragon smell permeated her surroundings. No other living creature, besides some birds, had permanent homes anywhere near The Crags. She shook her head, smiling. Midnight was a Soul Dragon, one of the largest living creatures on Elveron. He was black as the night and armoured to fight, with dagger-like teeth and a blade on the tip of his tail that could chop down a tree. He was one of the smartest and most dangerous animals on their planet, but he was also her friend. They were mind-forged and nothing would ever be able to separate them. They had been together for almost half her life and she could not imagine it without him. She knew that his irritation had nothing to do with her, only with the early hour of the morning. If she persisted, he would rise and accompany her on her morning’s adventure and would not hold a grudge. She considered it, but then decided against it. Today, all she wanted was to enjoy the good weather and walk in the forest. Even if she managed to rouse Midnight, he would be unable to accompany her through the forest due to his size. Maia felt Midnight agree to her line of thinking and then his thoughts went dark again as he drifted back off to sleep. Still smiling, she passed The Crags and jogged on deeper into the forest. It was flatter here on the northern side of their city, not as rugged as towards the south and west. The forest here was dense and even as the sun started to rise, very little light penetrated down towards the path. The lights along the paths of the city had long been left behind, but she did not mind the dark. Her elemental senses told her which animals were awake and which were still sleeping and which were returning from their nightly hunts. She felt the forest slowly come to life as the light strengthened. Once, she startled a deer as she ran by a small clearing. The doe jumped in alarm and was out of sight within the blink of an eye. Shortly after, a snowy owl rose from its perch on a low branch, hooting indignantly at being disturbed. Finally, she slowed to a walk. Being an Elf, she could have carried on running for much longer, but she wanted to enjoy the peace and quiet of the forest. She also enjoyed watching the animals and she knew that, if she approached them slowly and let them feel her thoughts, they would not run away. It was one of the things she loved about being an Elemental. Although her powers were not fully developed yet, her ability to communicate with animals was one of the few things she had already mastered. Walking slowly, she took it all in. The gentle breeze through the trees, the smell of the earth and the forest around her and the bright sparks that were the Life-Forces, the Eläm, of the animals around her. For now, that was all she wanted.

Soon, however, things would change. She was turning one hundred years old in five days time and then she would finally be recognised as an adult. She was looking forward to it, yet dreading it at the same time. Being an adult came with certain responsibilities and she was not sure if she was ready for them. Born the daughter of a Lord Regent did have its advantages. She had the freedom of the city, did not need to work or concern herself with the running of a household. Smiling ruefully, she conceded that she was spoilt. Maybe adulthood would be good for her. However, she did have some responsibilities and these would become her true calling in the years to come. Maia was born a Prime Elemental. All Elves could control one of the elements - Water, Fire, Earth or Air - magic was in their nature. Those who could control two or three elements, were called Elementals. And then, those who could control all four elements, were called Prime Elementals. Silas, her father’s royal advisor and Shadow Hall’s prime Healer, was an Elemental, being able to control Fire, Earth and Water. He had been training her ever since she had been old enough to walk and talk. Early in her life, Silas had discovered that she had an additional gift - the gift of Life. Maia was not only a Prime Elemental, but also a Life Elemental, the most powerful of Primes. Life Elementals, once fully trained, could do some extraordinary things. The only other Prime that would be able to match her in abilities once she was fully trained, would be a Death Elemental. But both Life and Death Elementals were so rare; occurring only every few thousand years; that the chance of two existing at the same time was unlikely. So, with her stepping into adulthood, it would be expected of her to complete her training and take up the mantle of Life Elemental. She would be responsible not just for the health of her people, but also the wellbeing of their livestock, the success of their harvests and the general wellbeing of their city. Being the princess of Grildor also meant, that she could be called upon visiting other cities to fulfill her duties as a Life Elemental there. Maia enjoyed caring for people, as well as the animals and plants, but it was the attention that bothered her. Life Elementals were revered and treated with the utmost respect and admiration. She did not enjoy being treated differently. She felt that she was no more special than any other person and that she had done nothing in her ninety-nine years to earn the respect and admiration everyone bestowed on her. The ceremony to celebrate her one hundredth birthday would be a grand affair. The entire city would come out to celebrate. There would be speeches, singing and dancing, a great feast and acts of entertainment. She was not looking forward to it. With these thoughts swirling around her head, her exuberant mood evaporated. She glanced around at the sunlight dappling through the canopy of the trees above, but failed to see the beauty of it. A heavy weight seemed to settle on her shoulders and she suddenly felt that she was not ready for what awaited her. She fought the lump that was forming in her throat and the tears that threatened to spill from her eyes. “Maia!” someone called behind her and she jumped with fright.

“Jaik,” she said, slightly out of breath. He had startled her. She was usually aware of everything around her, but she had let her mood affect her senses. She would have to work on controlling her emotions. “You look upset. Is everything all right?” He took a step towards her and draped his arm around her shoulders. Maia leant her head against her brother and sighed. He knew her so well. Due to the nature of Elves, having siblings was rare. Jaik, however, was not just her brother, but her twin. This happened so rarely, that the mere fact that they were twins, already made them special. There was nothing she could do to escape the fact that she would always be treated differently. She looked up at him. His hair was just a shade darker than her Mahogany colour, his features were more masculine, but other than that, they had a striking resemblance. They both had a well-defined jaw line, a sensual mouth, a straight nose and arched eyebrows over green eyes. She thought he was the most handsome man in all of Shadow Hall. “I am worried about our birthday celebrations,” she confided in him. Jaik chuckled. “Official occasions have never been your favourite.” “I don’t know how you do it, Jaik. It seems to come so naturally to you.” Her brother had been enlisted in the Regiment when he had turned eighty. Over the past twenty years he had proven himself on numerous occasions and had a natural ability for leadership. He was now third lieutenant of the first Regiment. Commander Ridgewell, Commander General over all eleven Regiments, had noticed Jaik’s abilities early on. Not wanting to appear to give favouritism to the son of his Lord Regent, Commander Ridgewell had been especially strict with Jaik, but time and time again, Jaik had proven himself worthy. “I do not mind the attention,” he said, now leading her slowly back towards Shadow Hall. “They are our people and it is our responsibility to look after them. I take pride in the fact that I have the power to protect them. It is what drives me, even when things are difficult.” Maia sighed again. Of course, her brother was right. She cared for her people, loved them, and she would simply have to get over her fear of public appearances. Although she would probably not have her ceremony that would officially make her the Life Elemental for another thirty or forty years, most of the responsibilities would fall to her when she turned one hundred. In five days time. “Come, My Princess,” Jaik teased her, “let us get you home so you can practice your speech for the ceremony.” She cuffed him in the ribs, but there was a smile on her face.

Hope you all have an awesome week,

Toni



0 views