Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sword of Light Blog Tour

The "Sword of Light" blog tour ends tomorrow, and what an interesting month it has been! This is the first time I have done an official blog tour for one of my books, and I've been asked for everything from author interviews, to a guest post on the historical evidence for King Arthur, and even an undercover soundtrack that inspired the book.

Best of all, to celebrate the end of the tour my publishers Templar are giving away TEN hardback copies of "Sword of Light" to lucky UK readers! To claim your copy, register before 3rd March at Feeling Fictional.

Meanwhile, if you've missed any of the posts, here they all are again conveniently collected in one place with links to all the lovely bloggers who bravely welcomed Rhianna Pendragon to their blogs.
(Thank you, everyone! I hope she wasn't too much trouble.)

January - The Bookette
A week-long interview with Katherine.
I’ve read a lot of (adult) Arthurian fiction and have tried to keep the most popular elements while adding some inventions of my own. I’ve also simplified things slightly, so you’ll find King Arthur’s half sisters have vanished, but he has gained a daughter...

1st February - Do Authors Dream of Electric Books?
The difference between e-publication and traditional hardcover publishing.
It’s interesting to compare the publication journey of a traditional hardcover such as "Sword of Light" to that of an independently produced ebook like the others on this site...

6th February - The History Girls
King Arthur: history or fantasy?
King Arthur is obviously less historical than Alexander the Great, even when authors try to stick to the facts, so I thought it would be fun to create a History Girls scale of 0-5 (where 0 is pure fantasy and 5 is historical fact) and try to grade some well-known elements of Arthurian legend...

8th February - Memories of a Future Life
Undercover Soundtrack: Maddy Prior, Steeleye Span, Clannad (with audio links!)
I sometimes wonder if I write fantasy because I listen to folk music with its roots in legend and myth, or if it is the other way around. Whatever came first – the music or the fantasy – I do believe that one feeds the other, and music certainly plays an important part in my books...

9th February - Book Angel Booktopia
Katherine's Arthurian Reading Quest.
What if I combined my love of epic fantasy with the legends of King Arthur, and wrote a fantasy series about his daughter for younger readers?

10th February - Book Maven
Thomas Malory's women of Camelot meet Rhianna Pendragon.
When the lovely Book Maven heard I was writing a series about King Arthur’s daughter, she kindly sent me one of her own Arthurian books – the beautifully illustrated “Women of Camelot”, which faithfully retells the stories of Arthur’s women from Sir Thomas Malory’s “Morte D’Arthur”. Since my heroine Rhianna Pendragon is not mentioned in these stories, I thought it might be fun to send her through the mists on her enchanted horse to Malory’s Camelot, and see what the ladies of legend make of her...

13th February - Seven Miles of Steel Thistles
Katherine interviewed by Katherine Langrish.
I first came across the idea of King Arthur having a daughter in a collection of novellas by Vera Chapman (“The Three Damosels”), which I won in one of the infamous Fantasycon raffles organised by the British Fantasy Society. That was way back before I’d had any books published myself, but the concept of a Pendragon princess certainly caught my imagination. As Vera Chapman says in her introduction to the story: “Nobody can say that King Arthur did NOT have a daughter. King’s daughters, unless they make dynastic marriages, are apt to slip out of history and be ignored.”

15th February - Writing in the House of Dreams
The Heroine's Journey
My inspiration for ‘Sword of Light’ came in a waking dream, when I attended a workshop led by the lovely Jenny Alexander, who guided a few of us children’s authors on a ‘Hero’s Journey’ along our personal writing paths. It went like this. Imagine you are walking in a familiar place, when you see a sign saying, ‘To the Treasure…’

18th February - Feeling Fictional
Katherine interviewed by Sarah + UK giveaway!
I’ve been a fan of Arthurian fiction since I first discovered Mary Stewart’s Merlin trilogy (The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment) in the school library. For a while back in the 80’s it seemed nearly every fantasy author was writing something Arthurian, and I read my way through most of them, so I suppose it was inevitable that I would eventually write something Arthurian myself...

20th February - Girls Heart Books
Rhianna Pendragon and Talina Molin exchange letters.
Michelle Lovric's heroine from "Talina in the Tower" writes to Rhianna from across the sea in Venice. These are two girls from different books and different countries who know exactly what they want and won't let anyone (or any kind of magic) stand in their way!

"Follow me!"

Monday, 6 February 2012

Don't judge a book by its e-cover...

Since I have two books out this month (the first in my new Pendragon Legacy series and the reissue of my debut novel), and both have interesting cover treatments that do not translate well into e-format, I couldn't resist taking this photo of the real thing to show you what these books might actually look like on your shelf:

shimmery "Sword of Light" and golden "Song Quest"

(Muse: It took me ages to get the light from my horn shining just right on the covers, and even so the picture doesn't tell the whole story!)

Sword of Light (Templar) on the left is a small, chunky hardcover with a subtle pearly sheen. It does not have a jacket like most hardcovers, so Scott Altmann's artwork is printed straight on to the cover. Inside the flaps, you'll find the maps for the book printed in blue and white. It was going to have a fancy acetate jacket with the artwork showing underneath looking more like this, but that didn't work out for the actual book:

draft cover

Song Quest (Catnip) is a paperback with gold foil on the cover. The cover illustration is by Johanna Basford. It's not as thick as Sword of Light, even though it is a longer book, because the typeface is smaller and the pages slightly taller. If you've seen the e-cover for this one, you'll probably realise that it doesn't do the book many favours:


So here's another shiny picture of the paperback:

I think both finished books look beautiful, and are good examples of the real thing winning over the e-version. So next time you log on, don't be tempted to judge a book by its e-cover!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Publication Day - Sword of Light

Today, King Arthur's daughter Rhianna Pendragon rides into the world of men on her first adventure. She'll be visiting several other blogs over the next few weeks, so keep your eyes open (she rides a mist horse that's prone to vanishing, so you might need to look twice). Here she is...

Rhianna Pendragon - "don't mess with me!"

Meet her friends... Prince Elphin, Arianrhod and Cai...

Elphin is a prince of Avalon and carries a magic harp that comes in very useful on their quest. Arianrhod is Rhianna's maid at Camelot, who has the thankless job of turning her into a princess. Cai is a squire - not a very good one yet, but he's brave and has potential.

Now meet the villain, her cousin Mordred... he hasn't got a moody portrait yet, so here's the prologue of "Sword of Light" instead...


The day after he had killed King Arthur, Mordred opened his eyes to flickering candlelight and damp rock. There had been nightmares, screaming, and much pain. Terrible pain such as his pampered body had never felt before. But the worst had passed. His crippled form stirred in the shadows and his remaining hand closed about cold metal. Not his axe – he’d lost that on the battlefield, along with his right hand – but a magic mirror his mother had given him before she left the world of men.

He breathed on the black glass, and her image swirled to life. Raven haired and beautiful, she looked at least twenty years younger than when she had died.

“Who commands the Grail?” he demanded.

His mother’s face flickered. “The one called Pendragon.”

“So it serves me now?” Mordred said, impatient. Even dead, his mother could be annoyingly vague.

“I’m not sure. It’s unclear… I see a girl, a daughter…”

Mordred flung the mirror across the cave. “No!” he roared. “Arthur had no daughter! We would have known.”

He’d won the battle. He’d killed Arthur Pendragon, high king of men and guardian of the Round Table. Even now, his spies were looking for the Sword and the Lance. The Crown, snatched by a dragon from his uncle’s corpse on the battlefield, was rightfully his. As soon as he got his hands – hand, curse it – on the Grail, he would be strong and handsome again, and the world would worship at his feet. But now this! Another with a claim to the throne.

Clenching his teeth against the pain, he rolled off the rocky shelf that served as his bed. He could not walk because his stupid horse had fallen on him and crushed one of his legs. He crawled across the floor, the bandaged stump of his arm leaving a trail of blood. The mirror had cracked, making a jagged line across his mother’s face to match the scar Arthur’s sword had left across his own.

“Where?” he hissed. “Where is she? She must die!”

The witch’s face blurred, becoming old and then young again.

“Beyond our reach in Avalon. But not for much longer, I think.”

“What do you mean? Speak plainly, woman!”

His mother smiled. “I mean, Mordred my beautiful son, that you need to be patient for once. Heal. Grow strong again. Be crafty like the dragon that waits in its lair. Let the girl come to you. They took the king’s body through the enchanted mists. If she has a drop of Arthur’s blood in her body, she will come. And then you can kill her – or enslave her, as you wish. She’s only a damsel, after all. She’s grown up in a crystal palace where there is no disease or death, protected by magic. The world of men will be a shock to her. She’s hardly going to lead the knights in battle, is she? How much of a threat can she be?”

A bit more of a threat than you think, Mordred! Now join Rhianna on her first adventure...

Sword of Light

Artwork by Scott Altmann

For all the gossip, follow Rhianna on Twitter at

(more links will be added here as they are published)

The British Fantasy Society
A Dream of Books
The Bookbag
Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books
22nd until 31st Jan - The Bookette
1st Feb - Authors Electric
6th Feb - The History Girls
8th Feb - Memories of a Future Life
9th Feb - Book Angel Booktopia
10th Feb - Book Maven
13th Feb - Seven Miles of Steel Thistles
15th Feb - Writing in the House of Dreams
20th Feb - Girls Hearts (with Michelle Lovric)


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