All this weekend I’m participating in the Brains to Books Cyber Convention. This is your chance not only to get to know me and my work better but to get acquainted with some other wonderful authors.
C. L. Schneider
Meet C. L. Schneider. Born in a small Kansas town on the Missouri river, C. L. Schneider grew up in a house of avid readers and overflowing bookshelves. Her first full-length novel took shape in high school, on a typewriter in her parent’s living room. Currently residing in New York’s Hudson Valley Region with her husband and two sons, she spends her days torturing characters, overdosing on coffee, and waiting for the zombie apocalypse.
C. L. Schneider writes epic and urban fantasy for adults, as well as the occasional sci-fi or post-apocalyptic story. Her trilogy, The Crown of Stones, is an adult epic fantasy that follows the trails of Ian Troy, a man born with an addiction to magic. To subscribe to her newsletter, read reviews, excerpts, and more, visit her website at clschneiderauthor.com, where you can follow her journey as a self-published author on her blog, Heading Down The Yellow Brick Road.
About The Crown of Stones:
Ian Troy is one of the Shinree, a fallen people with an inherent addiction to magic. Scorned and reviled for the deadly side of their spells, the Shinree are bred as slaves. Their magic is suppressed by drugs and used only as it serves the purposes of the other races.
Descended from a long line of soldiers, Ian is conscripted into the Rellan army and made to fight in their longstanding conflict against the ruthless Langorian invaders. The downfall of Rella imminent, Ian goes against orders and turns to the Crown of Stones, an ancient Shinree relic of untold power. Ignorant of its true purpose, Ian uses the crown to end the war, and pays a terrible price.
A decade later, still tortured by the aftermath of that day, Ian lives as a bounty hunter in self-imposed exile. Having renounced his magical heritage, he curbs his obsession with a steady stream of wine and regret. He struggles to put it all behind him, until a fateful encounter with a pretty assassin brings Ianâ’s past crashing into the present. Targeted by a rogue Shinree, and a ruthless old enemy, Ian is forced to use magic again. His deadly addiction is rekindled and his life of isolation is brought to a swift end.
With the land he gave up everything to protect once more in jeopardy, and his people’s future at stake, Ian becomes embroiled in a violent race for control of the Crown of Stones. To save the realms and those he cares for, Ian must embrace the thing he fears most: his own power.
Learn more about Ian Troy:
- Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you come from, your race, your homeland. Your heritage.
My name is Ian Troy. I’m a magic user, a Shinree. My race can sense the aura, or energy, inside a stone pulled from the western mines. We take it inside us and form it into spells. It feels…like nothing you could understand. Our magic kicks in when we’re young. Once we cast, our bodies want more. That’s when the cravings start. They grow and grow until they’re impossible to ignore. They make us dangerous. They make us weak. Magic makes my people feared and hated.
I was born in Kabri, the island city just off the coast of Rella’s mainland. I was six when the Langorians came and burned Kabri to the ground—the first time. When I was little I used to believe Kabri was my home, but I grew up. And I learned. Shinree have no home. Not anymore. Not for a long time. The Shinree Empire fell over five hundred years ago in a quake that tore the lands of Mirra’kelan apart. The entire realm of Kael split off in the east. A portion of Rella in the south. And in the west… A thousand years ago our influence and power was unmatched. Our lands stretched all across Mirra’kelan and we ruled them mercilessly. But most of what we were—our culture, our history, our heritage—it was buried under the sand when the quake struck. The rest we lost to slavery.
They drug us to stop our magic. Breed us to keep the most dangerous of our kind in check. And they’re right to. If we can’t control our magic, someone else has to. No Shinree should be free to do the things I’ve done.
- Tell us about your parents.
My parents are dead. My mother, V’loria, was a healer. Her blood was pure Shinree, not diluted by breeding or by mixing with the other races. Healers aren’t considered a threat. They have conditional freedom. No drugs. No slave camps. No owners. Don’t kill anyone, do what you’re told, and they leave you alone. V’loria’s magic was strong enough to get her appointed to the position of King’s Healer. Before I was born, she lived in the castle on Kabri. She cast on King Raynan Arcana’s every whim. She drained lives to heal those he deemed worthy. She warmed his bed.
V’loria and I were never close. I tried, but she was more a teacher than a mother, and a hard one at that. She was a taskmaster when it came to practicing spells. She taught me all she knew of Shinree history like my life depended on it. She taught me the runes, the old ways. Her insistence on my constant practice paid off. I can’t say that it didn’t. My spells wouldn’t be like they are now without her teachings. But at the time, I hated her for it. She made it plain that I was never fast enough or good enough for her. The only time I ever saw V’loria truly smile was when King Raynan came around. He would give me money to go to the market and she’d shoo me out of the house. I guess she found it easier to play the King’s whore with me gone.
One morning I woke up and she didn’t. I never knew why, but I’d always suspected it was me. I was eight. I had trouble aiming my spells, and I’d wished the woman dead more than once. I was a child. I didn’t really mean it. But deep inside, I must have. Intent is everything in Shinree magic. So I wished my mother dead and she was. V’loria Troy was my first victim.
My father…he died before I was born. I can’t tell you much about him other than that I inherited my magic. My mother didn’t know him either. V’loria’s pregnancy was an arranged breeding, approved by King Raynan. She was matched with another pure Shinree, a soldier. Once her pregnancy was confirmed, the man was killed. He was put down to limit our line. Soldiers are dangerous, especially ones like him with pure blood…and ones like me.
- What would you say is your greatest fear?
Letting go. Losing control. What I did, when I ended the war with the Crown of Stones…I’ve never felt so out of control in my life. The lives I took. The wasteland I created. What I did that day, it wasn’t war. It wasn’t battle. It was devastation.
I woke up, the only survivor on a battlefield littered with the withered husks of my enemies and my allies…with the remains of my lover. Their bodies were bloodless and gray. Their horses died beneath them. The grass, the trees—my spell fed on it all. I killed everything within sight.
It doesn’t matter how many years go by or how many bottles I crawl into, I still see them. I still see her.
To know that I did that, that I was responsible, was bad enough. To know I’m capable of doing it again is so much worse.
- Tell us about your greatest desire.
For a long time all I wanted was to forget. I didn’t want to remember my past. I didn’t want to remember the euphoria, the pleasure that takes a Shinree when we cast magic. And I damn sure didn’t want to remember the pain of going too long without.
But I can’t change what I am. I’m a Shinree soldier. I’m a magic user. So if I could have anything, it would be the freedom to be just that: to live as I am without regret and without pain. To own the ability to control my own magic, the freedom to live my own life, to not have Rella or Fate nudging me this way and that, from one battle to the next with a trail of bodies piling up in my wake.
Throw in my horse and a never-ending supply of wine…and I’m good.
- Describe your ideal partner/mate.
My ideal woman? I don’t know. Maybe there isn’t one.
There was a time I would have said Aylagar. She was my commander and my lover, and I worshipped her. She was strong and fierce, stubborn and passionate. But she didn’t love me. I was war and sex, and that was all she needed. I needed her to accept me and that was the one thing she couldn’t do.
I’m not sure any woman can push Aylagar’s ghost out of my head. But they’re welcome to try.
- Here’s the million dollar question… How do you feel about your author?
Author? I don’t think so. No one owns me.
- Tell me about your nemesis.
You want to know about Draken? Draken of Langor is a bully masquerading as a King. A sadist in the cloak of a nobleman. He burns villages to the ground because he can. He slaughters women and children because it makes him feel powerful. He destroys lives. Draken will paint the realms of Mirra’kelan in blood if that’s what it takes to own them.
But I won’t let him. I’m bound to defend Rella from her enemies. I was raised as her champion. I took up the Crown of Stones and ended the war that was tearing her apart. I defeated Draken once, and I’ll find a way to do it again. I’ll die before I let that bastard have Rella…or her Queen.
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