Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Firelight of Maalda Book Tour + Giveaway

Presented by Premier Virtual Author Book Tours

We are hosting The Firelight of Maalda tour today. Written by Melissa Douthit, it is the second in her YA series, The Legend of the Raie’Chaelia (pronounced rye-kale-ya). 

Publisher: Lucky Bat Books (February, 2012)
Format: eBook
Series: The Legend of the Raie’Chaelia #2
Genre: YA Fantasy

Summary: Chalice and her group leave Barenthren to travel to Portalis. There she and her friends discover the beautiful city, its people, its history, and its secret that has been kept hidden for thousands of years. During their stay, they learn that Dar’Maalda has the firestone and that he plans to use it.

What is the firestone and what does Dar’Maalda plan to do with it? What are the Naezzi? What does the title, TheFirelight of Maalda, really mean? And … what is the secret of Portalis, the secret that has been guarded so jealously for so long – so jealously, that many have given their lives to protect it?

In The Firelight of Maalda, the second novel of the trilogy, The Legend of the Raie’Chaelia, you find out. It is a tale of intrigue and wonder where two opposite worlds collide in an explosive journey that leads Chalice and her friends to the dark islands lurking just beyond the horizon of Ielieria, where the Firelight of Maalda sits … and waits.

Purchase: Kindle/Nook

Publisher:Lucky Bat Book (May 27, 201)
Format: eBook
Series: The Legend of the Raie’Chaelia #1 
Genre: YA Fantasy

Summary: When Chalice sets off for Branbury in the middle of the night with her grandfather’s instructions, she has no idea of the dangers that await her. The King’s men have destroyed her home village of Canton and she is suddenly thrown into a Terravailian world that she does not know. Lost and alone, she is hard pressed to evade the iron grasp of the madman who rules the land. With the help of a friendly Chinuk, an old man, and a book that she discovers along the way, not only does she find true friends and true love, but she also finds her true self and what it means to be the Raie’Chaelia.

The story of Chalice, a young girl quickly becoming a woman as she leads her people in a battle for their lives and their world. Along the way, we are all enchanted by the domed cities, the wise little furry creatures and the wisdom of these people whose lives are both ancient and post-modern.  

Purchase links: Amazon/Nook
Book One and the Prequels are free on Smashwords and Amazon:
Book One: Amazon|Smashwords
Prequels: The Vanishing: Amazon|Smashwords
The Journey Begins: Amazon|Smashwords

Praise for Raie’Chaelia:

"The Raie'Chaelia (pronounced rye-kale-ya) is an original fantasy adventure story that provides thereader with a gripping tale, a wonderful and unique setting, and interesting, not to mention engaging characters. The Raie'Chaelia is a book to be read by fantasy enthusiasts. It's an enjoyable journey."- Irena, This Miss Loves To Read

"The Raie'Chaelia has a brilliant storyline. I tried to savor each and every word that came off thepage. The characters were so easy to love. Chalice quickly earned my respect, with her amazing skill to swiftly take down enemies. My eyes didn't even close to blink. Excuse me as I let them rest for a moment."-Suzanne, Cup of Tea Reviews

"Melissa Douthit reveals all in her debut tale of one special girl in an amazing new world in, The Raie’Chaelia! Thecharacters are all full of life, and you can’t help but smile along with their crazy antics. The characters each had a lot of heart, and so many of them I would love to meet. Full of adventure, deceit, and strange lands, this book has something for everyone."-Tessa, From the Book Shelf of T.B.

"Douthit’s love of words is apparent and her use of language highly inventive. She has a firm grip on believable dialogue."-Kirkus Reviews

"Lively, fast-paced and satisfyingly complex! Can’t wait for the second in the trilogy!"- Diane Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

"What a great story! I really enjoyed reading this adventure. It definitely kept me on my toes."- Annell Schmerfeld, Dragonflowers and Books

Excerpt from: The Firelight of Maalda, chapter: The Secret of Portalis, pages 82-83:

They both backed away to let her pass. Before them, stretched another long corridor that led to yet another set of doors. As they walked in, Ben waited until the doors shut behind them before turning to Chalice.

“Chalice,” he said. “Before we go in, I need to tell you something. There is a reason the members of our family are called the Protectors of the Realm. You two will see today what it is exactly that we are protecting and why it is important, not just for us but for every living thing in our world.”

Chalice narrowed her eyes. “What do you mean?”

“You’ll see,” he said and they continued until they reached the doors. Chalice let her stone pulse again and the ground shuddered at the rumble of the massive marble slabs as they slowly opened, revealing what lay behind. Chalice stood frozen. What she saw before her not only glued her to the spot, but also stopped her breath and before she could even open her mouth, Jeremiah uttered the exact words that lay upon her lips.

“What … is … that?”

Writers who influenced me as a kid were John Steinbeck, Jack London, Tolkien, and Robert Jordan. Today, there are so many authors who influence me and inspire me to keep writing stories. Some of them I met at the Superstars Writing Seminar that I attend each year - authors like Kevin Anderson, Brandon Sanderson, Dave Farland, Rebecca Moesta, Eric Flint, as well as Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith.

The themes of my trilogy, The Legend of the Raie’Chaelia, came from my professional experience, first working at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, which is a nuclear weapons lab, and then working at the Naval Postgraduate School, where I worked down in the basement in a vault, sifting through and analyzing secret data. It had HUGE influence on this trilogy.

The story of Chalice and Jeremiah - part of it came from the experience of my own life and my own relationships and part of the story, the plot itself, just came really out of nowhere. I knew I wanted to write about a strong heroine and I also wanted to write a trilogy, so one day, I sat down and started writing notes of different ideas. The notes eventually became an outline and then the outline eventually became book one, and so on.

Those who have read the first book, The Raie’Chaelia, have been calling the story an epic fantasy, or a high fantasy, comparing it to Jordan’s or Tolkien’s world, but it is neither. It is not an epic fantasy but rather a futuristic fantasy set in this world. This becomes apparent in The Firelight of Maalda when Chalice and Jeremiah visit the Archive in the chapter called, The Secret of Portalis. The second book touches upon themes that are really related to our world and the problems in it. These themes are the reason why I began writing the trilogy in the first place. I wanted to see if it was possible to take the harsh realities of our world and juxtapose them with problems in a fantastical world. I wondered: How would the heroine and hero react to problems and dangers that are real for us today? How would it compare with their own problems in their world? Would it be just as frightening?

The futuristic aspect of the story plays an integral part of the plot and in the end ties everything together. The themes the story explores are: nuclear warfare, environmental issues, racial and gender injustices, and political corruption. I am interested to see how readers react to this - if they like it, if they don’t like it, or if they just think it’s okay. What I’m hoping, though, is that they will find it different from other fantasies they’ve read.

About Melissa Doughit: Melissa Douthit grew up in North County of San Diego, California. After graduating with a Computer Science degree in Southern California, and working for a summer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in New Mexico, she moved to the Bay Area to work at NASA Ames Research Center for a year and then at Lawrence Livermore National Lab for another four years.

From there, she moved to Monterey, California, to work at the Naval Postgraduate School on a government project for two years. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, working with the Army Corps of Engineers on another government project. Since high school, she has been a voracious reader of books of all genres, with an emphasis in fantasy and science fiction. Her literary work is strongly influenced by her professional experience and includes many elements of her scientific background. You can find out more about Melissa on her website

Author links:
Amazon page|Tumblr|Goodreads|Twitter|Facebook
For the rest of the tour, go here

Our review: When high fantasy is well done you close the book feeling exhilarated for taking a trip with the main character through a new, fully realized world you never knew about. With Melissa Doughit's The Legend of the Raie’Chaelia, not only did I feel I knew the heroine, Chalice, well, I regarded her as a friend. Both books, as well as the prequel story I read, The Journey Begins, showcase a young woman who feels like an outcast in her hometown of Canton (there is also another prequel, The Vanishing, which features Chalice's friend, Jeremiah). Since both prequels were so short, I couldn't help but wonder why they weren't included or worked into the first book. It's important to learn about both Chalice and Jeremiah so why not include this as either prologues or Part I and Part II?

Chalice, an orphan, doesn't look like the rest of the darker haired and skinned residents with her blond curls and blue eyes, but her guardian grandparents and two best friends do their best to make her feel wanted and loved. Until  the night she is awakened by screams and told she has to flee--by herself. Confused, Chalice does as she is told and gets onto her horse, Sunny. At the edge of the woods she stops her mare and looks back, not to say goodbye but to see what is happening to her beloved town before a friend yells at her to leave. This little touches really made Chalice come alive to me since that's a move so many of us at 17 would do. 

We travel with Chalice, a thoughtful yet impulsive young woman who can fight exceptionally well, through book one, The Legend of the Raie’Chaelia. Here she traverses across the Terravailian land as she tries to figure out the mystery behind their false king, a madman on the throne. Along the way she meets new people as she gets closer to figuring out who she really is and what the birthmark on her shoulder means. There were times I thought there was more telling then showing and some long passages needed dialogue to break it up for the reader but the author does a good job creating a fantastical world of kingdoms, magic users and regular people. I was surprised to see modern day words like geez or man! and learned from a summary these stories take place after modern day but contain a lot of olden day history and customs so this mix was new to me and kind of interesting. Also, I questioned some of the wording in the summaries--I'm not crazy when I'm 'told' what the story is about (or the question-and-answer tactic). Just give me a description and I'll make my own assumptions (I only mention this because I have seen this with other books and it's become a pet peeve of mine).

Chalice may have seemed like the typical beautiful girl and as her story progresses I saw she was much more than that. I liked how she was an exceptional fighter but contained herself so she wouldn't come across like a showoff. I liked her friends, especially Jeremiah. As a childhood friend and romantic prospect, it was refreshing to see a regular guy with no super powers charm the readers (he registers high on my swoon-meter).

Fans of high fantasy may want to check this series out. Action, thought provoking characters, magic, romance and more await within the pages of this engaging YA series. The cover art for these books is beautiful too. When I am done with the second book, I will post my review.

Giveaway: The author will be giving one reader one ebook copy of The Firelight of Maalda (open internationally). All you have to do is comment and leave your email to be entered. This giveaway will close on Feb. 27th.

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