Connie will be attending the Show Me Your Books convention.
Location: Kansas City
Dates: September 7-8, 2018
Anyone attending who is interested in having dinner with Connie, please send an email to Joe Scholes. Joe will also attend the convention, his first as a published author!
The High Demon race is dying, and nothing short of a miracle will save it. Kifirin has promised to provide that miracle, in any way he can.
Reah has worked in the kitchens of her family's restaurants since the age of eight. The only daughter among Addah Desh's 27 children from eight wives, Reah has been ignored, belittled and abused all her life. When the conscription notice comes from the Regular Alliance Army, Reah is more than happy to report for duty in order to escape her family. Unfortunately, her liberation is short-lived...
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The Rose Mark
We belong to the King—those of us with the black roses tattooed on our left wrist, directly over our pulse. As if every beat of our hearts reminds us that we are not our own. Those around us know it, too, and are reluctant to come close.
Ten gold coins were paid to my father when I was tested young and then tattooed. Another ten will be paid when the vehicle arrives to take me away. That is the full worth of our lives, as short as they will become.
In the King's library, The Book of the Rose says to honor the tattooed women.
More than anything, I wanted to spit on its pages.
Any girl who wears the tattoo is never befriended, as if our deaths are already assured.
Yes, there are tales of some who survive, but I'd never seen any of them. That led me to believe that tales were all they were—with no real survivors.
All those women who were found with talent—with the fire burning within them—they were culled and taken to the warriors, to provide more energy. Energy that the warriors would then use to defeat the barbarians from the ocean of sand.
Women with black roses on their wrists are emptied of their power by those warriors, who care not that they die a shrunken husk.
The King also has no care for these—his subjects who give their lives to repel the vicious hordes in their destructive machines of war.
"We fight with what we have," he always says.
That means the warriors with the fire within them, who draw more fire from the women who serve them.
Until they die.
The thought of running away is foolish.
The thought of taking a lover before they come for us—also foolish.
We must be untouched when they come; else it is a quicker death when they test us again.
As for running—there is one thing worse than having a black rose on your wrist. That is for the enemy to find you and see the black rose on your wrist. Your death will be slow and excruciating at their hands.
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