Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Blog Tour + #Giveaway: Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani @BooksByIntisar @chapterxchapter

Title: Memories of Ash
Series: The Sunbolt Chronicles, Book Two
Author: Intisar Khanani
Cover Designer: Jenny Zemanek
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: May 30, 2016
Publisher: Purple Monkey Press

In the year since she cast her sunbolt, Hitomi has recovered only a handful of memories. But the truths of the past have a tendency to come calling, and an isolated mountain fastness can offer only so much shelter. When the High Council of Mages summons Brigit Stormwind to stand trial for treason, Hitomi knows her mentor won’t return—not with Arch Mage Blackflame behind the charges.

Armed only with her magic and her wits, Hitomi vows to free her mentor from unjust imprisonment. She must traverse spell-cursed lands and barren deserts, facing powerful ancient enchantments and navigating bitter enmities, as she races to reach the High Council. There, she reunites with old friends, planning a rescue equal parts magic and trickery.

If she succeeds, Hitomi will be hunted the rest of her life. If she fails, she’ll face the ultimate punishment: enslavement to the High Council, her magic slowly drained until she dies.

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There’s something powerful about being high up on a roof, a great shimmering expanse of lake off to the side, forested mountains rising to frame the wide blue swath of sky. With each swing of the hammer, each nail driven home to hold a shingle in place, I feel my blood thrum through my veins. Despite the lake breeze that cools me, my tunic sticks to my back, the taste of salt on my lips. Even as my arms tire, each swing of the hammer weighing heavier, I don’t want to stop. It’s a temporary magic, if you can call it magic at all.

The cottage remains quiet as the sun continues to creep toward noon. I descend from the roof once to refill my flask from the bucket Stormwind left. I can detect the faint murmur of voices, but with the door closed, I cannot catch the words themselves, nor can I hear any better crouched beneath the shuttered windows. It isn’t until just past noon, my rooftop magic grown threadbare and the muscles of my arms aching, that Stormwind comes outside.

“Hikaru!” She steps around the corner carrying a bowl of stew.

I clamber down, hammer in hand. Stormwind tips her head toward the cottage, her brow furrowed and her pale eyes steely. “How goes the roof?”

“Not too bad.” I ladle water from the bucket to rinse my hands. Is the mage listening, or is she simply warning me to exercise caution? “What about your visitor?”

“He is High Mage Harith Stonefall.”

I raise my brows in question.

“He’s one of the High Council’s best rogue hunters.”

“You’re a rogue?” I can’t keep the disbelief from my voice. It seems about as likely as her spontaneously breaking into song and dancing across the surface of the lake.

“The Council sent him because they expected I would be hard to find. They do not wish to waste their time looking.”

I stand still, water dripping from my fingertips. To my knowledge, Stormwind has had nothing to do with the Council since I arrived here. “What does the High Council want from you?”

“Stonefall brought a summons. I must go back with him at once.” The words are as abrupt and sharp as the crack of lake ice in the night. I experience a plummeting moment of nausea. Then I take the bowl from her and sit down cross-legged with it. A summons could mean anything. It’s what she hasn’t said, the things her expression won’t let slip, that worry me.

“What do they want?” I repeat softly.

She stares down at the dirt by our feet. “I’ve been charged.”


She raises her gaze to me. The hollowness of her eyes has a familiarity that reaches back into the ashes of my past. It is a look that has no place in this quiet valley. 

Guest Post:

What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?

I usually take a few days with a new idea rattling around in my head before I start typing—it takes that long to get an idea of what the heck is going on in there. Then, unless it’s a short story, I write a 2-3 page synopsis describing the main characters and the overall arc of the story. I’ll usually let this gel a bit, going back to it a few times until I like the sound of it. Then I write the novel, usually sequentially. I have tried jumping around, but that invariably backfires when it comes to revision time (since I can’t have included later on what I hadn’t written yet). The only time I jump ahead is when I’m having trouble with a transition and I just go ahead to the next scene in order to maintain my writing momentum.

Once I’m done with the first draft, it’s always fun to go back and look at what happened. The beginning tends to look a lot like the synopsis, the middle has some similarities, and the end is it’s own beast. By the time I finish revisions, the synopsis rarely has anything to do with the story. But it’s usually a whole lot better, so I’m happy. I’m not really sure what you call that process…

The revision process is its own beast, and while a draft can take me anywhere from two weeks to a year, revision usually takes a minimum of a year and often much longer. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to tighten that up, but when I say revision, I’m talking about at least 3-4 rounds of revisions, including a minimum of two rounds with beta readers, so it is a significant endeavour. My final round is a line edit with the help of a copyeditor, and just that can take 2-3 months. The best method I’ve found for myself the revision side of the writing process is the post-it note method—I write each change I need to make down on a post it note and stick it in a notebook in sequential order. Then, as I go through the book, I can mark off what I’ve done, moving post-it notes to the back of the book, until I end up with a gloriously empty front of the book, and a nice heavy mash of notes at the back. I think you can tell that’s an inordinately happy moment for me. :)


The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.

When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters.

Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy.  Intisar's current projects include a companion trilogy to Thorn, following the heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles, an epic series following a street thief with a propensity to play hero when people need saving, and her nemesis, a dark mage intent on taking over the Eleven Kingdoms.


·        Kindle Fire giveaway (or $50 GC for international winners) PLUS a swag bundle

Contest ends June 18, 2016



Intisar Khanani said...

Thanks so much for featuring Memories of Ash on your blog, and for the opportunity to share a guest post! :)

erin said...

looks and sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing and congrats to Ms. Khanani on the new release!