wizard hatWelcome to the 5th Annual February is Fantasy Month. Over the next 29 days, I will post several book promotions and discuss more fantasy-related topics than the rest of the year. So hold onto to your wizard’s hat, and let’s get things started.

To kick off this fantastical month, the first short story I wrote to introduce the Land of Ath-o’Lea, Destiny Governed their Lives, will be free for three days starting now. The eBook is available at:

Destiny Governed their LivesThis story introduces Catriona Wheatcroft. She’s a young girl, only 17 years old, living with her parents and two little brothers in a small dwelling in Maskil. She and her brother, Rod, age 15, are like most siblings: compatible until they disagree. As a big sister, she’s annoyed by her little brother, who always seems to be in the way.

The events in this story change Catriona’s life and sets her on the path to meet the characters who populate the Castle Keepers series.

Description

When a young woman casts a Sight Visitation Spell, it changes her life forever.

Catriona Wheatcroft is an apprentice who aspires to be an impressive sorceress.

When she discovers a scroll for a powerful spell, she hopes to prove to her teacher she is ready to take advanced lessons.

The spell is cast, and the unexpected brings tragedy to her life.

February is Fantasy Month

This is part of a series of posts I’m writing to introduce characters from the Castle Keepers fantasy series. It started last week with Bronwyn Darrow. This week, it’s the sorceress Catriona.

Catriona Wheatcroft

In short: Human; female; born in Maskil and currently living on Horizon Lane in Maskil; sorceress; at the start of Shadows in the Stone, she had several apprentices working under her, including Alaura of Niamh.

Family and Teen Years

Destiny Governed their LivesCatriona is the oldest child of Kathleen and Emerson Wheatcroft. She has two younger brothers, Jimmy and Rod. Since she was a young teen, she loved playing with magic. Although she strives to be a great sorceress, a dreadful mistake when she was 17 years old caused her family a great heartbreak.

We first meet Catriona, age 17, in Destiny Governed their Lives where we learn about the worst day in her life. Crushed by events in this story, her parents move their family to Wandsworth. However, Catriona remained in Maskil, both because it is her home and because she could not bear to face her parents after the tragedy she brought to her family.

Shadows in the Stone - Diane Lynn McGyverIn Shadows in the Stone, we meet her in the opening scene. She and Alaura are assisting Maura of Ealasaid to give birth to Isla of Maura. Although she plays a minor part in this novel, as well as the second one, Scattered Stones, Catriona will shine in future books. She has an uncanny ability to see things others miss, and her insight shared in Shadows in the Stone will prove valuable in the chaotic years to come.

For those who have read Destiny Governed their Lives, fear not; she will redeem herself.

Her goal is to be a well-respected sorceress, one who the Lords of Aruam Castle seek for consultation. She’s a trustworthy person, who often doubts herself, though she works to hide this insecurity. Her home is cluttered with things that often have no purpose, but she loves to surround herself with beautiful things and items that might come in handy. She has no faith in stone magic and believes rocks make better paper weights.

Vignette #2 is a moment in Catriona’s day between Shadows in the Stone and Scattered Stones. Readers will get a glimpse into what happened to her at the inquest that took place in book 1.

History in Real Life

magicCatriona originally went by Lyrehc and was based on someone who travelled with the Warriors – the same group a certain hauflin thief ran with (see story here). Although she was somewhat intelligent, she had a clumsy way about her and often ‘fell into’ trouble for no reason other than she made a stupid mistake or a wrong turn. She often dragged the group down with her, and it always led to another adventure.

Although she is slightly boring in Shadows in the Stone, I believe she is a fun character to write. She’ll reveal more of this in the upcoming novels.