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Hi everyone, thanks for having me here and checking out my book today! I thought I’d share a little information on heraldry, which plays an important role in the world of Blood’s Force.
Historically, one of heraldry's first functions was to identify combatants whose faces would otherwise be hidden by armor. However, coats of arms have also been used by cities and people, royal and otherwise, for identification purposes. Wherever literacy is rare, colors and symbols become critical for conveying information at a glance.
The galaxy of Blood’s Force was once united under a single ruler known as Hegemon Zander, but those days are long over. It now more closely resembles feudal Europe: fractured into dozens of domains, each governed by a Lord with his or her own color and seal. The Lord and everyone in his service, from his personal messenger to the soldiers on backwater planets he’s never been to, wears those colors.
Meanwhile, Dame Jessamine and other knights errant, unaffiliated with any Lord, wear grays and browns to reflect that fact. But they have their own symbols, called sigils, for identifying themselves and their property. For instance, Jessamine uses a symbol that originated with the ancient Shipbuilders. It used to show up in diagrams concerning electronics, and was called the variable resistor:
Jessamine has this symbol tattooed on her wrist. It also shows up on her sword’s pommel, and on the side of her ship’s hull.
Do you have a personal symbol you identify with? Does your family have its own coat of arms? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Where superstition is law, there is no order!
Dame Jessamine is a knight errant with a spaceship for a steed, a pupil of ancient science and technology who quests on behalf of the downtrodden. She's accustomed to forging her own path through the galaxy—until she's hijacked at sword-point and sent to investigate Nidaros, a remote barony known for bursts of rebellion.
In Nidaros, Jessamine finds a populace short on food and patience, innocents detained for torture, and a court trapped in a web of delusion. The Baron considers her a distraction. The magicians, convinced of a "curse," dismiss her pleas for rational action. Even as Jessamine forges an alliance with the soldiers, an unknown foe seeks to frame her as an agitator.
Stuck amid murderous intrigue and cut off from her mentors, Jessamine must figure out how to save Nidaros from starvation. But the only people who understand the true "curse" have been accused of witchcraft—and if Jessamine's not careful with her ancient knowledge, she'll join them in the dungeon!
Blood’s Force is Book 1 of the Sword and Starship series of science fiction/fantasy adventure.
Enjoy an excerpt:
At my strange accusation, Ingvar halted within the estate corridor as though he’d struck an invisible wall, staring at me in bloodless terror.
My glee never faltered. I stopped at his side, grinning. “What else do you think is full of it?”
He remained transfixed, probably not sure what to make of the bizarre tone accompanying my questions.
“Want me to go first? Gladly.” I bounced on my toes, giddy enough to illustrate the blasphemy I hoped to hear from him. “How about Master Ormyr pushing off important business to schmooze? How about Baron Tristan knuckling under because of Ormyr’s ‘magic’ drivel?”
“And what of knights errant, and the tripe ye peddle from one cesspool to the next?” Ingvar snapped. A scowl chased away his disconcertment. Annoyance restored the color to his face. “The only loyalty any of ye arse-head sellswords know is to your coin-purse! Ye serve no actual purpose short of bashing each other’s heads in and dazzling people with lies!” An accusing finger jabbed at my nose. “Your garbage may impress the others, but I’m wise to you! Pretending like ye’re the next coming of Zander. Skíta! If ye’d ever actually earned a shred of Lord Catherwood’s confidence, he’d have made you a proper knight in his service! Don’t know what ye’re supposed to be doing here, but damned if I’ll let you make things worse!”
At this welcome display of nerve and candor, I burst out laughing. Weak knees backpedaled me against a wall, where I doubled over, laughing until every assisting muscle ached and I struggled to breathe.
About the Author:Ellis has always loved staging adventures in her head before going to sleep each night. When she was twelve, she started putting these adventures on paper.
For the next twenty years, she wrote with varying degrees of seriousness, but always as a hobby. In that time, she fell in love with Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, the original Star Trek series, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. Science fiction became her favorite domain to work in, but she also enjoyed reading fantasy, horror, Western, and detective stories, and incorporating their elements into her work. One of her favorite things to do was make people laugh.
Ellis denied being a writer for decades. But then she sold articles to The Daily WTF, and a short story to Analog Science Fiction and Fact. After quitting her full-time job to finish her first novel, it was time to own up to writing as her calling. She's currently an editor at The Daily WTF, and having the time of her life penning novels and short stories.
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