Tag Archives: Deathhawk’s Betrayal

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing

I was tagged by author Goran Zidar to do the Next Best Thing Challenge. I don’t often participate in memes, but occasionally, very occasionally, I’ll be interested enough to join in. This, I think, is my first for the year – and it’s already August! When, pray tell, did that happen?
Here’s how it works:
  • Answer the 10 questions below
  • Spread the fun and tag other writers to participate.
1. What is the title of your book / WIP?

Deathhawk’s Betrayal.

It’s about – you guessed it – betrayal. Lots of it. ‘Deathhawk’ comes from the diminutive ‘little hawk’ applied to the protagonist by her enemy. More than that, and I’ll spoil something. 

2. Where did the idea for this book come from?

Oh, boy, complicated! Way back in the 90s I had an idea for a story that evolved into a trilogy. I’d written the first two books when I had it assessed and the feedback was I’d used the wrong POV character! It was suggested I switch from Kain to the woman, Silair. But – but – but! I wailed. It’s not herstory. I couldn’t bear the idea of rewriting from her perspective, though once drawn to my attention I agreed with the problem. I resolved to find another solution, but recognising I was too close to the story, I set it aside and began something else.

That something else wasn’t Deathhawk’s Betrayal.

A few years after that, I wanted to start a new story. I landed on the character, Astarl, from the original story, and whom the editor said was ‘interesting enough in her own right to have her own story’. So I wrote one.

And thatis Deathhawk’s Betrayal.

In the process, I solved my original POV character problem, too!

3. What genre would your book fall under?

Adult High/Epic Fantasy

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Aargh, what? I have no idea. Just hold on a minute while I think about it, OK?

Astarl – Emilia Clarke – she’s got the right kind of deceptive fragility to her appearance.

Aldenon – Dominic Rains – something of the darkly exotic handsomeness I allude to him.

Jeharv – Alan Rickman – totally got the voice for it, and can pull off sinister.

Danek – Jeremy Renner – I can see him pulling off Danek’s unique brand of evil-behind-bland.

5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

When everyone she loves betrays her, Astarl must decide the cost of her loyalty.

6. Is your book published or represented?

Nope – I’m still finishing final edits, then I’ll start querying. 

7. How long did it take you to write it?

Yikes, how do you define write? Here’s the timeline:
  • Wrote 1stdraft – Feb 2009 – April 2009
  • Second draft – May 2009 – Sept 2009
  • Critique group – Sept 2009 – Feb 2010
  • Hiatus – Feb 2010 – April 2011
  • Further four drafts – April 2011 – Nov 2011
  • Rewrote Chapter 1 – Jan 2012
  • Beta readers – Feb 2012 – July 2012
  • Final revisions – July 2012 – ongoing. 
 8. What other books in your genre would you compare it to?

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks. Astarl is a bit like Vi – except damaged in different ways. Neither of them would handle the same situation in the same way. 

9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?

No one inspired me to write this book, specifically, but my inspirations are Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, Terry Pratchett, Brandon Sanderson and Brent Weeks. 

What inspired me to write this book was what I perceived as a lack of satisfying strong female characters in the genre.

10. Tell us anything else that might pique our interest in your book.

Anything? Hmm… I follow Terry Goodkind’s lead in doing absolutely terrible things to my characters, and then forcing them to rise to the occasion. The Black Moment is pretty terrible. Honestly, I couldn’t really think of a way to make it worse. But don’t worry, things do get better!

Oh, and I had to research how to kill a man with one blow to write this story. 

Although neither of those might pique your interest, depending. 

You’ve been tagged to join in the fun:



If you missed it, check out my guest post on POV Rules and when it’s OK to break them here

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How To Kill A Man With One Blow

How To Kill A Man With One Blow
No, wait! Don’t run away! I’m not a homicidal maniac!

Er… OK, I may have homicidal tendencies, but I promise I’ve never killed a man. And been caught.

Wait, wait, wait. OK, I’ve never killed a man. Honest. And I don’t intend to. I maybe, once or twice, plotted it for my own satisfaction, but we all do that. Don’t we? Don’t we.

So why, you might ask, am I talking about how to kill people? In one blow, no less?

Astarl, the protagonist in my WIP, Deathhawk’s Betrayal, is an assassin. She’s also a rather small woman, and so I needed to equip her with some skills or abilities that meant she could justifiably kill large men without being overpowered. This is usually going to mean some kind of martial art, so I looked into what might be the suitable discipline to give Astarl.

I settled on Japanese jujutsu (pronounced the same as Brazilian jujitsu, but markedly different in practice). This is reputed to be art used by the samurais against armed and armoured opponents, and it’s the ideal discipline for someone who is smaller than their opponents, as it’s geared around using the opponent’s momentum against them, and fatal strikes.

Ahah, and now we come to the killing in one blow part.

Yes, if I was going to give Astarl these skills, and she was going to be able to kill or maim in one blow, I needed to know what the appropriate spots were to strike. Not that most readers would know if she missed the spot by an inch or so, but I needed to get the general location and consequences right so that anyone with a bit of knowledge in this area would be thinking ‘Yes, that sounds about right’ or at least it wasn’t totally far-fetched. And, of course, in fantasy the writer makes up enough stuff without needing to reinvent the wheel.

So that’s how I found myself online asking Google how to kill a man in one blow.

Or more specifically, researching atemi points. Interestingly, these seem to be the same general locations of the body stimulated in acupressure, acupuncture, massage and chiropractics.  The information was reasonably easy to find on some jujutsu websites, but I expect actually killing a man would be harder than just reading this information, so that didn’t worry me… too much.

Interestingly, jujutsu, in it’s ancient and original form, is not practised as a modern competitive sport because it’s too dangerous! I can’t imagine why… Here are some of the atemi points I found useful for Deathhawk’s Betrayal.

Mikazuki (Bend of Jaw)

A strike to this point causes severe pain in the head, stomach trouble, loss of nervous coordination, disorientation and will knock the victim out. A more severe blow can cause dislocation of the jaw and possible death.

Hichu (Jugular notch – Larynx)

Causes loss of consciousness due to blocking of the windpipe. A hard strike to this point causes the Tracheal cartilage to be crushed and death by asphyxiation.

Suigetsu (Solar Plexus)

The heart is also located in this area, with the liver and stomach below. As there is no protection from the ribs, a strike will shock the heart, diaphragm, and nerves between the ribs, causing pressure on the heart, difficulty breathing and intense pain in the stomach wall. Severe blows may cause bleeding in the stomach, irregular heartbeat, unconsciousness and possible death.

Wanshun (Back of the Upper Arm)

Causes trauma to the nerves and blood vessels, numbing the arm, and producing pain in the chest and neck with associated loss of motor function. Severe strikes may cause a heart attack, especially if the person has a bad heart or if they are using narcotics. Astarl uses this one to immobilise a man who gets a little too friendly in a situation where she needs to be discreet.

Kusagakure (Lateral Planter nerve)

Causes trauma to the nerve and surrounding nerves, leading to the loss of motor function. Severe blows may cause fracture or dislocation of these bones, producing severe pain and partial paralysis of the lower leg. Astarl uses this one in a fight when she finds herself on the ground and her opponent’s foot is the only thing within reach.

Kokotsu (Deep Peroneal nerve)

When struck or raked it causes a sharp pain, weakening the whole leg and paralysing the muscles. A more severe blow to the shin will cause a fracture to the tibia. Astarl attempts this manoeuvre a few times – once successfully breaking her opponent’s leg.

Tendo (Crown Of Head)
Fatal striking to this point will create shock waves in the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain, quite distant from the point of contact, upsetting balance, coordination and decreasing reaction time.

There are plenty more, in fact so many I couldn’t possibly have used them all in the one book, but since there are another five books planned with Astarl, I should have plenty of opportunities to try the rest out. 

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve read (or written) that the author must have researched?


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Lucky Seven – Deathhawk’s Betrayal

Lucky Seven

There are a lot of chain blogs and awards that go around. Occasionally I join in for fun, but most of the time I’m too busy to bother or they quite simply annoy the hell out of me. Very, very rarely, though, one comes along which actually looks like fun and, even better, requires very little effort on my part! It’s not that I am averse to hard work, you understand, it’s just I do so damn much of it. And I’m currently on holidays in beautiful Port Stephens, so really, who would want to work hard?

But I’ve been tagged by four people in this latest meme – yes, it wasn’t enough for just one of you pester me, four of you had to gang up to get me to do this. Thank you @markbrassington, @dionnelister, @thatgirlani and @stephanieberget. But that’s OK, I’ve decided to play along this time.

So this is how the Lucky Seven meme works: 
  1. Go to page 77 in your current manuscript;
  2. Go to line 7;
  3. Copy down the next 7 lines as they are (no cheating);
  4. Tag 7 other authors.
Here we have it, from Deathhawk’s Betrayal, page 77:
Raylee had not been fooled by her contrived defeat of the mercenary in town, but she had no intention of sharing the information. Just because Astarl had offered to look into the missing girls? Or was there more to it? And for that matter, why had all the other girls gone missing but not Raylee?

If Astarl needed something, she believed Raylee would help. And expect nothing but the same in return. Maybe not all people are the same.
I’ve tagged seven writers I know to play, but please, don’t feel compelled! This is strictly optional. Don’t play if you don’t enjoy! I know all of you are writers, but I’m not totally across your latest projects so forgive me if you don’t have a current WIP or haven’t made it to page 77 yet. 

  1. Erica LuckeDean
  2. Kelly Stone Gamble
  3. Shawn Wickersheim
  4. Marsha Moore
  5. Amberr Meadows
  6. Krystal Wade
  7. Kirkus MacGowan
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Attempted Poisoning: Six Sentence Sunday

Attempted Poisoning

From Deathhawk’s Betrayal:
Gavalon forced her teeth apart; the funnel invaded her mouth. Astarl choked on the sudden gush of liquid, coughed, and swallowed reflexively. Feebly, she sprayed out half a mouthful, then choked on a fresh flood. She thrashed again, redoubling her efforts.
Her elbow connected. Gavalon grunted, his grip easing for a moment.
 You can find more Six Sentence Sunday writers here.
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Little Hawk – Six Sentence Sunday

Little Hawk
From Deathhawk’s Betrayal:
Danek; no one else still called her little hawk. A hiss of anger escaped Astarl’s lips. Of all the people Jeharv could trust with delivery…. She ignored Danek’s use of the diminutive rather than flag its significance.
I am no man’s little hawk. The note crumpled in her fist.
You can find more Six Sentence Sunday writers here.

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