Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Gifting

Please welcome Anne Brooke author of The Gifting.

Anne will be awarding three eBooks from her backlist to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

So Don't Forget To Leave A Comment!

She's also offering another contest.  One person will win a Kindle ($89 value) if these three questions about The Gifting are answered correctly and emailed to albrooke AT me DOT com (and NOT left on the post), and winners will be notified as soon as possible after the end of the blog tour:

1. In the beginning of Chapter Four, what sound is Simon first aware of when he wakes up?
2. At the start of the Third Gathandrian Interlude, who knocks Annyeke down in his desperation to reach her?
3. What happens to Simon at the end of Chapter Six?

The Gifting
by Anne Brooke



The mind-dwellers of Gathandria are under deadly siege. For two year-cycles they have suffered: their people decimated, their beautiful city in ruins. Their once peaceful life has descended into chaos and misery. Legends tell of the Lost One who will return at such a time to save them from their mortal enemy – the mind-executioner. This enemy knows their ways well, for he was once an elder of the city. Time is running out.

Johan and Isabella take up the quest, journeying to the Lammas Lands searching for their distant cousin and lowly scribe, Simon Hartstongue. The elders dare to hope that he is whom they seek. Not everyone shares this hope; there is one amongst them who is bound to the enemy, shielding their secret thoughts from mind links while seeking to betray Simon.

Powerful lessons are learned as they travel through the mystical kingdoms of the Mountains, the Air, the Desert and the Waters. Deadly attacks threaten total annihilation and devastating sorrow strikes. Story-telling weaves a tenuous net of protection around them, but the enemy has absolute power with the stolen mind-cane in his possession. To his surprise Simon hears its song. Desperately he tries to understand and embrace his gifting, as he struggles to comprehend his inheritance.

A strong and pure mind is needed in the battle to defeat the enemy. If you are branded a coward, a murderer and an outcast, how can you be a saviour? Doubt creeps into the Gathandrians' minds. Is Simon truly the One?



Simon saw a man dressed in a black over-tunic patterned at the edge with white circles. He was standing to Simon’s right, leaning over and smiling. At his neck he wore a circle of silver and in his hand he carried a long cane. Ebony, with a carved silver head, shining and deadly. As Simon’s gaze took in the cane, it bucked in the stranger’s hand, but the man stilled it at once with a frown.

This artefact was not something Simon had seen for a long time, but he knew quite well what it meant. A mind-executioner.

He’d never met one before. Ralph his Overlord hated them, and all they stood for. Or that was what he had always told Simon. This understanding was why Simon had come to the Lammas Lands, this was why he’d thought he’d found safety. It looked very much as if that was about to change.

He couldn’t help it. He groaned.

“He wakes,” the stranger said, addressing Ralph. “See, I have done as you begged me. No more and no less.”

Once again Ralph turned away. “Get up,” he said.

Trembling, and not quite able to control his limbs, Simon staggered to his feet and swayed in the warm stale air. Ignoring the deepest threat in the room and trying not to think of what that threat might do to him now it had found an inroad into his soul, Simon locked his gaze on Ralph’s long back.

“Why have you brought me here, sir?” he whispered. “When this man does not even need to see me to do whatever he wishes.”

“Why?” Ralph said, turning swiftly and with one dark eyebrow raised. “You, of all men, should know the answer to that. Because today, Simon Hartstongue, you are on trial. For your life.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Anne Brooke’s fiction has been shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Novel Award, the Royal Literary Fund Awards and the Asham Award for Women Writers. She has also twice been the winner of the national DSJT Charitable Trust Open Poetry Competition.

She is the author of six published novels, including her fantasy series, The Gathandrian Trilogy, published by Bluewood Publishing and featuring scribe and mind-reader Simon Hartstongue. More information on the trilogy is available at: and the first of these novels is The Gifting. In addition, her short stories are regularly published by Riptide Publishing, Amber Allure Press and Untreed Reads.

Anne has a secret passion for theatre and chocolate, preferably at the same time, and is currently working on a fantasy novella, The Taming of the Hawk. More information can be found at and she regularly blogs at: Her Twitter page is here: and her Facebook fan page is here: All visitors welcome!

Never say never: writing about a writer

When I first started writing fiction about twelve years ago, I promised myself I would never ever, under any circumstances, write a novel or even a short story about a writer. It felt far too incestuous and every time I started reading a book with a writer in it, I would sign deeply and wonder why the author just didn’t try to find out about another profession. There are plenty of jobs about, after all.
So when it came to fantasy novel The Gifting, the first of The Gathandrian Trilogy, I very much had to eat my words. Because Simon was from the very beginning a scribe in his country and a man who takes his writing skills and responsibilities very seriously indeed. Even when I thought deeply about taking my own advice and giving him another kind of career, he just wouldn’t consider it, as it was very much a part of his character and also his mission.
Perhaps it’s true then that every writer simply writes about different aspects of their own selves, and our choice of vocation will one day catch up with us. I certainly won’t be looking quite so disapprovingly at other fictional authors next time I come across one in a book.
Simon himself, however, is a rather different writer from me. What he enjoys are the shape of the words, the pattern they make on his scroll and the relationship between his mind and the physical act of writing. Simon the Scribe (which is one of the first titles in the book he’s known by) is captivated by how words, through their power and strange magic, can change people and events. His main focus is not on creative writing – he has no real wish to carve his own stories – but what he loves instead are the legends of his world, and the wisdom and stability to be gained from them.
I also found that writing Simon, himself a writer, meant I found myself changing the method of how I capture the first draft of a novel. Usually, I type the story straight onto the computer at my desk (I don’t have a laptop) and then juggle with it from there. For Simon, and especially at key moments of his story, that simply didn’t work. Instead, I began to write his sections in longhand on paper, sometimes at home and sometimes at my local branch of Waterstone’s, and that method was far more successful at “nailing” him onto the page. Somehow, with the pen in my hand and the paper spread out in front of me, I could better sense his voice and embody it on the page more deeply, if you see what I mean. Here he is when he discovers his young apprentice has recovered the writing tools he’d feared were lost:

Leaning back against the tree, Simon closed his eyes, let his hand drop and tried to think what best to do now. After a moment, he heard a slight rustling and, when he opened his eyes, the boy had shuffled closer, his hair sticking out from his face like young hog spikes. He was smiling, a gesture Simon tried to reciprocate. He failed.
“Come now, boy,” he whispered, thinking it was up to him to show some kind of courage. Though the gods alone knew what sort. “I am too foolish. Pay no attention to what I say. I don’t know what might lie ahead, but at least we’re together. And alive. Never mind the strangeness of the people we find ourselves with. We can laugh at them together, can’t we? As we did with the village-dwellers in their rituals sometimes.”
The boy continued to smile, and cuddled up underneath Simon’s arm. A heartbeat later and he reached out to touch Simon’s face, where Thomas’ knife wound had disfigured him. The boy’s eyes filled with tears, his smile now a distant memory; Simon could see the glitter of his tears in the sunlight. For another moment or two, he allowed the boy’s fingers to remain on his cheek while suppressing the instinctive response to use his touch as a conduit for thoughts, then he drew back. Without seeming to take offence, the boy reached under his thin cloak to untie his belt. He took out something the scribe couldn’t see and pressed it into his hands.
“What’s this? Something you’ve found? Food? I...”
Trailing off, Simon stared at the object—a round bundle wrapped in sacking and loosely tied with a cutting of coarse rope. As it fell apart over his hands, the covering gave off the scent of dust and mice. Inside was a pouch of blue silk tied with a golden cord.
“What ...?”
Untying the knot, the scribe blinked down at the contents, thoughts racing for understanding, hardly able to believe the evidence of his eyes. A newly-sharpened knife, the handle carved with a moon and the silver sea, a tiny pot of ink, a supply of winter-beech leaves, a scrap or two of calfskin, and his second-best goose quill. Not all of his writing equipment, but enough to work with; for a while.
He found he couldn’t speak. Not for the world. Instead, Simon looked down at his small companion, now clutching his arm and grinning wildly.
“D-did you...? Did you...?” he managed to stammer out. Then, imagining the gamut of dangers the boy must have had to run against the wiles of Ralph and the mind-executioner in order to salvage even so much of these precious tools, he stopped trying, placed the collection on the earth and hugged the boy to his heart.
“Thank you, little one,” he said, smoothing down the boy’s hair and kissing his forehead. “It is a great gift. But, you shouldn’t have done such a thing. Next time, you must take care and think of yourself only. As I have always said, there is danger in too much courage. You should learn to be a coward. Like me. Do you understand?”
The boy nodded and then smiled again, impervious to any scolding Simon might give, just as a sudden rustling noise drew their attention to the trees. Johan was standing almost behind them, hidden in shadow. Simon didn’t know how much he might have overheard, then wondered whether it mattered.
For a moment it seemed as if Johan might step forward to say something, but then the cry of an autumn lark pierced the chill air and he vanished away, as if he had never been there at all. Simon blinked a couple of times to try to trace his path, but with no success.

Longhand writing was a method I used, on and off, throughout the remaining two books of The Gathandrian Trilogy, but I’ve never used it again for any other story or character. Which just goes to show, I suppose, that some decisions we make are only for certain times and places. Anyway I hope you enjoy reading about Simon’s adventures in The Gifting – and don’t forget to enter the competition to win a Kindle, details below!

Giveaway competition details:
The giveaway competition: the prize is ONE Kindle ereader worth £89 if these three questions about The Gifting are answered correctly:

1. In the beginning of Chapter Four, what sound is Simon first aware of when he wakes up?
2. At the start of the Third Gathandrian Interlude, who knocks Annyeke down in his desperation to reach her?
3. What happens to Simon at the end of Chapter Six?

Answers should be sent to albrookeATmeDOTcom (and NOT left on the post), and winners will be notified as soon as possible after the tour ends.

There is also a Runner-Up Prize of THREE eBooks from my backlist (not including The Gifting) to one lucky commenter from the whole blog tour. Good luck!

Contact Information:

More information can be found at and she regularly blogs at:



Anne Brooke said...

Thanks for hosting me today, Christine - lovely to be here! :))

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting Anne today.

Christine Young said...

Welcome Anne. Hope you have a great tour.

Anonymous said...

Great to discover another side of Anne's work (I already love the m/m stuff).


Anne Brooke said...

Many thanks, Vitajex! :))