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Welcome Xenia Melzer - Casto

A big welcome today to Xenia Melzer as part of her blog tour for Casto from DSP Publications.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?
I’m a mother of two girls, teach English at school, love riding, running and dancing and come from a rural area which means I freak out in big cities (‘big’ in my case is anything above a population of 50,000, go ahead and laugh). I started writing in school where I joined the school newspaper. On the side, I’ve always written stories, some rather bad, but the idea for ‘Casto’ hit me while I was figuring out a different plot and then it just grew bigger and bigger until it filled all the space in my head and I had to get it out.

Can you tell us about your new release? What inspired you to write it?
My new release is also my very first release. I got the inspiration while I was doing a classical heterosexual relationship story and suddenly realized that two of my side-characters were a hell of a lot more interesting than my main characters. So I just switched and got sucked in by the energy between Renaldo and Casto. It was strange, they really came to life for me as if I knew them personally (which I do, kind of) and the way they bounce off each other, drive each other crazy and just can’t deny what they feel makes me laugh and cry and sometimes absolutely furious. Renaldo and Casto have been keeping me occupied for the better part of three years now and I’m still not bored. There’s still things to be explored. By the way, the second book in the series will be out in December.

How did you come up with the title?
Well, the series title, ‘Gods of War’, just hit me. Choosing ‘Casto’ for the first book was a gut decision. I had three different ones in mind and just realized that the name would work best – or so I hope.

Do you have any genres you prefer reading, and if so what are they? What book are you reading at the moment? What other novels do you adore/ writers you follow? Do you have a favourite genre that you like to write in? What book do you wish that you had written?
I’m not bound to genres. I like them all. At the moment I’m reading ‘The new boy’ by Sean Michael. And I still have ‘The Shepherds Crown’, the last book by Terry Pratchett in my shelf, not touched yet. I’m a great fan of the discworld novels and I feel that reading that last book means I have to come to terms with the fact that there won’t be any new ones any more. Somehow, I’m not ready to do that. I also love the novels by Neil Gaiman. They have a certain craziness I can relate to. As for books I wish I had written, money-wise, I’d say ‘Harry Potter’ (I guess that’s what most people say) and plot-wise ‘The Sleeper and the Spindle’. I just love the twist. Or ‘The little Witch’. It’s a children’s book full of wisdom and beauty.

Do characters and stories just pop into your head, or do you take your time thinking about them?
They keep popping up. If they only come once, I kind of ignore them. If they revisit, I pick them up and give them a home.

Are you a panster or a plotter?
I’m a ‘O my gosh, what are you doing now, that’s soooo not what I had in mind with you, would you please stop and do what you’re told, oh, wait, actually, that’s pretty cool, let’s see what happens next, damn, this is going to blow my word count once again’ type of writer. The worst kind.

Do you write often? Is it on a schedule, or whenever you feel like it?
Since I have two small children, I write whenever I have a free minute. If I have a free minute and don’t feel like writing, I do re-reads so that I don’t get the feeling of wasting precious time. I think that’s a typical mommy-conundrum. I’m told it gets better when they get older.

What are your writing and personal goals for 2015 and beyond?
Well, writing-wise I’m kind of booked solid, since the second and third part of my series ‘Gods of War’ will be out in December 2016 and June 2017. Personally, I just want to relax this year as much as possible. We redeveloped the house last year, and yes, that’s as nightmarish as it sounds, especially with kids. Eight months living on a construction site is so not fun. So I think I’ve earned myself a little timeout.

What are you working on at present? Would you like to share a snippet?
Currently I’m working on the fifth book of ‘Gods of War’ and on a short story anthology together with a good friend of mine. The stories are a little twisted and focus on the supernatural and fairy stories. I came up with a pretty funny (if I do say so myself) version of the afterlife where people who aren’t chosen by one god or another have to go to the lost souls centre to get re-integrated into the religious market. Confronted with all the craziness going on right now, this story helped me gain focus again.

Are you a cat person or a dog person? Can you tell us about your pets?
I’m definitely a cat person. I love their independence. I have a red cat named Abby (after Abby Sciutto from NCIS) and a horse, a mare called Aquamarine (like the stone). We’ve been together for thirteen years now and she’s a part of the family. She carried me safely through two pregnancies and now my elder daughter is taking her first riding lessons on Aquamarine. With her 22 years she’s a grandma already, but I do hope she’ll stay with me for another eight to ten years. I really love animals and I think it’s important for children to grow up with them. They teach responsibility, empathy and discipline, things we all need.


Gods of War
SERIES BLURB
All is fair in love and war. Or is it?

On the world called Ana-Darasa, the gods of war engage in a desperate search for their lost hearts while waging a battle against the Good Mother for supremacy. But theirs is not the only struggle as dominant men, powerful rulers, and demigods clash, fiery passion erupts, and destinies are shaped on the battlefield and in the bedroom. In a war between pride and love, no victory is ever simple.

BLURB
All is fair in love and war. Renaldo has lived happily by that proverb his entire life. But he has finally met his match, and he’s about to discover how unfair love and war can be.

When demigod and warlord Lord Renaldo takes a beautiful stranger captive during an ambush, he is delighted to have found a distraction that will keep him entertained during the upcoming siege. Little does he know, Casto is keeping more than just one secret from him. Slowly, Renaldo gets sucked into a turbulent roller-coaster relationship with his mysterious prisoner, one that begins with hatred and soon spirals into a whirlwind of conflicting emotions. And when it seems that things can get no worse, an old enemy stirs right in the heart of his home.

Determined to keep Casto by his side, Renaldo has to find a balance between the capricious young man and his own destiny as a ruler and god to his people.

Buy Link: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/casto-by-xenia-melzer-265-b

Excerpt
1. Captive
“Renaldo, you won’t believe what we just found!”

The desert brothers, Kalad and Aegid, approached their god with broad smiles on their faces. He looked at them expectantly.

“If I won’t believe it, then you better hurry up and tell me before I run out of patience.”

“A caravan! And right now it’s taking a break at the oasis we discovered yesterday. You know, it’s not even an hour from here. We could go there, get the quarry, and be back before anybody misses us.”

Lost in thought, Renaldo observed their camp that was set up in a dip beneath the hill where he had waited for Kalad and Aegid. Renaldo’s brother, the powerful Wolf of War, had sent them on patrol to make sure the area was entirely safe. So far, they had not come across any danger, which meant that it was all right for them to have some fun. His brothers-in-arms looked at him eagerly.

“Well, there’s no harm in having a look, is there?”

Kalad’s lively brown eyes overflowed in happy anticipation. “No, definitely not. We’ll show you the way.”

The other members of the patrol led by Noran—like Aegid and Kalad, he was an Emeris, a chosen counsellor of Renaldo and Canubis—were ten of the best and most experienced mercenaries in the service of the warrior gods, and they lined up behind the desert brothers. The group rode sharply toward the oasis that had quenched their thirst only a day ago. Between the trees there was indeed a caravan with thirty camels, every beast burdened high with merchandise. It was not only the traders who delighted in the fresh water from the spring; the warriors also spied some heavily armored men patrolling the goods. Renaldo
shot Kalad a slightly poisonous look. Kalad had obviously forgotten to mention this small detail, but the desert warrior just shrugged. There weren’t enough enemies to get them into any serious trouble.

At that moment the people at the waterhole stirred. A man wearing a floor-length cloak led a pitch-black stallion to the spring. Although the stranger was clothed in white, as was sensible in the heat, he radiated an intimidating arrogance that surrounded him and the steed like a shield. The traders, as well as the mercenaries, hastened to make room for the exceptional pair. Renaldo’s eyes lit up. Never before in his long life had he seen a horse like that: its mane and tail sparkled in the sunlight like polished blackwood; the noble head with the big, intelligent eyes sat on a muscular, proudly held neck; the long, clean legs with hooves as hard as flint carried the powerful body with elegant, elastic movements despite its mass. The long silky tail trailed like a banner behind the proud beast. Then the stallion bent down to drink, and the man leading him followed his example.

Renaldo watched this scene in fascination, purposely ignoring his fighters’ imploring looks. He had to have that horse, no matter the cost.

The horse’s small ears were nervously flicking back and forth, and then suddenly the noble head reared up and snorted a warning.

The hooded man jumped into the saddle, drawing his sword in one strong, fluid movement while his eyes scanned the oasis, searching for intruders. “Danger!”

His voice echoed through the loosely scattered date trees like a melody, causing panic among the traders and priming the mercenaries to fight. Renaldo couldn’t suppress a satisfied nod. Those men were highly professional and definitely worthy opponents.

He turned to his men. “Let’s go!”

They left cover in a semicircle, each attacking their chosen mercenary. Renaldo had planned to go after the hooded man and his steed, but two of the enemy bore down on him from the sides. On his periphery he could see one of his men going against the stranger and being swept out of the saddle for his trouble. Then Renaldo lost sight of the man and the horse he so wanted.

Author Biography
Xenia Melzer was born and raised in a small village in the South of Bavaria. As one of nature's true chocoholics, she's always in search of the perfect chocolate experience. So far, she's had about a dozen truly remarkable ones. Despite having been in close proximity to the mountains all her life, she has never understood why so many people think snow sports are fun. There are neither chocolate nor horses involved and it's cold by definition, so where's the sense? She does not like beer either and has never been to the Oktoberfest – no quality chocolate there.

Even though her mind is preoccupied with various stories most of the time, Xenia has managed to get through school and university with surprisingly good grades. Right after school she met her one true love who showed her that reality is capable of producing some truly amazing love stories itself.

While she was having her two children, she started writing down the most persistent stories in her head as a way of relieving mommy-related stress symptoms. As it turned out, the stress-relief has now become a source of the same, albeit a positive one.
When she's not writing, she teaches English at school, enjoys riding and running, spending time with her kids, and dancing with her husband. If you want to contact her, please visit either her website, www.xeniamelzer.com or write her an email: info@xeniamelzer.com .

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Tags

WIPs aka the to do list

The Harp and the Sea
One Word
Comes a Horseman
A Mage to Forget
Double Exposure
Dragon's Price
A Sword to Rule
A Wind of Roses
Finding Home
Dreamcatcher
A Year and a Day
Tempus Institute
Jazz Detective
V'lante
Solitaire
Aurora
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