Divide and Conquer
Champions of Elonia
Genre: Urban Fantasy with romance elements
Publisher: Champagne Books
Date of Publication: March 2, 2015
Number of pages: 377 print pages
Word Count: 97k
Cover Artist: Ellie Smith
Two women. One prophecy. Zero places to hide.
Flung from her mundane Seattle existence into a world of magic, scientist Lea struggles to make sense of a destiny she doesn’t want. The moment she finds comfort in the arms of a man who appreciates her inner nerd, a new magic sweeps the realms.
Nieve, Lea’s instructor, may be seasoned in the art of war, but she’s clueless when it comes to romance. To save her world, she allies herself with her enemy, a kindred warrior soul, who leaves no doubt he’s after more than her cooperation.
As each tick of the clock swallows another person’s memory, Lea and Nieve will do anything to hang on to theirs, but betrayal drives a wedge in their friendship. Can they reconcile and rally the troops before the magic wipes out their pasts?
Video Trailer: http://youtu.be/jLmIiCumCQE
"Urban Fantasy doesn't get better than DIVIDE & CONQUER. Action, excitement, and 2 kick-ass heroines to root for fill this rich, complex and dynamic world. Carmen Fox does not disappoint!"
~National & USA Today Bestselling author Anna J Stewart
I dropped my magical defenses, allowing my luster to envelop me in a powerful light. Without the sun’s ready supply of energy, that meant using some of my precious resources.
“Holy crap.” Lea jumped out of her bed and squeezed against the far wall of the room.
Finally, some reaction. “It’s called luster.” I twirled to prove I wasn’t hiding a flashlight behind my back. “It’s a by-product of an Elonian’s affinity with light. Anyone sensitive to magic can see it unless I suppress it.”
In my mind, rows of thick bricks piled one on top of another around me, extinguishing my luster.
“A-are you an angel?” Her airless voice barely traveled the distance between us.
I kinked back my head and laughed. “Definitely not.”
She unglued herself from the wall and took a few steps toward her bed. “You said I’m an Elonian. Why don’t I shine?”
“You can’t see your own luster, but it’s there. Without the training to suppress it, you’re a living flame to the Shades. It’s the reason they call us Sparks. It’s also how they’ll identify you. You know, before they kill you.”
Lea picked up a sweater from the floor. Her focus went distant, no longer in this world. Something I’d said must have triggered a switch in her brain. Not a day too soon.
I trotted to the corner by the window and picked a collection of stuffed animals off the armchair. From the deep V between Lea’s brows, I concluded her thought processes weren't going anywhere fast. Once the toys occupied the windowsill, neatly arranged by height, I sat.
With her dark lashes, a tiny nose and a sprinkling of freckles, she looked so young and so…Kindred. Unexpected sadness ripped through my chest. The misery pressed onto my diaphragm, making me feel like I was an evil monster come to chop up her innocence like next week’s firewood.
Even though she was predicted to be my ally through the dark days, she was still a total stranger. Yet her pale, elfin face stirred something in me, some glimmer of recognition, of familiarity even. My childhood friend Belinda had a similar innocence about her. She’d chew the end of her pen for hours while pondering her words. Her poems were meant to bring joy to a war-torn land. They burned with her when Galleo invaded her village.
Lea would not share Belinda’s fate. I’d see to that. By the end of her training, she’d be able to take on a whole battalion of Shades by herself. I squinted at her short stature and took a sobering breath. If not a battalion, then a group of ten.
So, I discovered this author with her book Guarded. I also found out this was her second book published- not first. Well, who cares because ALL HER BOOKS ARE AWESOME!! LOL I must say, the reason I am mentioning this is because I totally grabbed this book because I loved Guarded to much. Goes to show you, if you skip out on something you think is blah, you really might be missing out. Because I loved this one just as much. For different reasons. First, I loved that Lea is a geek, a nerd, a sciency girl who literally studied her whole way through college. She has no relationship experience, and she wants her life to fall into place right now, only to learn that doesn't quite happen. THEN, gets her world tumbled when she finds out about real magic- to her dismay of science LOL And Nieve, she's a warrior, she is hard core and serious- until Lea and Kieren come into her life and basically blow all of that thought out of the water. LOL
Let me see if I can tell you things without spoilers. Lea is needed in Nieve's world because she's part of a prophecy to save the world... Lea takes a long time to come to terms with what she needs to do. Literally, she kept almost dying for good before she figured some of this out. Nieve poor girl, was stuck battling for her because she needed to protect, train, and ready Lea. LOL Yet they balanced each other out and became friends. When Lea was naive and stunted, Nieve stepped up and filled in the blanks. When Nieve misstepped, Lea covered for her. I LOVED their friendship and how is developed. Each learning and growing from each other. I of course loved our manly counterparts as well. King Tristan and Prince Kieren are freaking hawtness on a stick. But my favorite might be Markus. Yeah the real bad boy is always the one we all want LOL Tristan was freaking stubborn, Kieren sometimes a little too broken, and yet they each balance Lea and Nieve as well. AND Markus, well, something about him tells me he's going to be in the running of something crazy in the future and I seriously can't wait to see who comes out on top of that. I do not see love triangles or anything before you get your panties bunched, LOL I see him finding his own nice lady :)
The world building and lore this one follows is fantastic!! Really, light and dark, cuz it's not always good vs evil. You see, you can't have the light at the end of the tunnel without walking through the dark tunnel first. Yes, there were some bad shades (dark) but there were also some good one... and there were some bad sparks(light) as well. And I liked how it all blended and how they really were all connected. The characters are excellently written. And trust me, you won't be able to put this one down. I about died- with Lea- several times. I mean seriously! She is just.... yeah. LOL And Tristan- I may have tried to slap him a few times. Kieren... I wanted to punch him as well. And Nieve- I almost had to throw a knife at her. And yet, I have completely fallen in love with them all. And beyond Markus being my favorite book boyfriend, Kirk is my favorite character! Oh yeah, he takes the cake and cracked me up!!
The writing is flawless. Everything the author did was great and the literal lines of plot to climax or epilogue was excellent. I am seriously a fan of this author now and I cannot wait for her to give me the next book in this series as well as the next book in her other series. Oh yeah, she's now on my must have list!! An EXCLLENT 5 PAWS!!
I just want to thank you and welcome you over to my blog!!
Thank you so much for having me back on your blog.
First, tell me a little about your book ….
Divide and Conquer is an action-packed urban fantasy with a healthy dose of romance.
Lea is a physicist and a geek who’s searching for the meaning of life. More specifically, the meaning of her life. Answers come in the form of Nieve, a female warrior from a different world with a shocking lack of knowledge of all things Star Trek. Nieve shows Lea that magic is real. Mind blowing, right? Unfortunately, some baddies are out to kill Lea just because a prophecy put her name on the map.
Help is at hand from a grumpy king and a chain-smoking gargoyle.
The untrained Lea is headache material enough for Nieve, but nothing compared to the man who saved her life. Is he ally or foe? Does he like her or is he using her? And how do you say hi to a man without making an idiot of yourself anyway?
What makes DIVIDE AND CONQUER different from other books?
Many books rely on a main female character and a male character working together. The importance of female friendship often falls by the wayside. I wanted to create a book with an ambitious plot that celebrates women and their friendships. Think Lethal Weapon, or any other buddy movie, but with women, magic and a chain-smoking gargoyle.
Who are Lea and Nieve?
Lea is a physics geek who searches for meaning. She starts out as a newbie to all things magic, but proves herself to be resilient and stubborn. Nieve is a tough warrior, but over the course of the book her softer side comes through, helped along both by Lea and by a man she wishes she didn’t have feelings for.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know?
As a child I wrote poems, then short stories. Mostly my ideas played out in my head. I go to bed and get swept up in a tale of good and bad. In these waking dreams, I’m a record producer, a princess with godly powers, a soldier with nothing to lose. I play off against an enemy or a hunk or a bunch of children that I come to love like my own.
Once I started writing for real, new tales flowed onto the page, except now I need to edit and rewrite ad nauseum to make my crazy ramblings suitable for mass consumption.
In other words, I’ve always known I was a story maker, but I didn’t take up writing as a serious hobby until after I left college.
What inspired you to write your first book and what was it?
Divide and Conquer is my first book. I published Guarded, Book 1 in another urban fantasy series, shortly after. While Guarded hogged the limelight, Divide and Conquer got lost amid the frenzy.
How did Divide and Conquer come about? Do you know that feeling when an idea grips you and won’t let go? A ‘what if’ you can’t shake? “What if the prophesied hero fails?” Couple that with my desire to write a buddy story á la Beverly Hills Cop or Lethal Weapon but with girls, and you get close to what I wanted Divide and Conquer to be. I spiced up the story with plot twists I’d always wanted to try and with characters I always wanted to write about.
The result is a crazy adrenaline-fueled ride through Seattle and Elonia that is unlike most other paranormal offerings out there.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
As an author, you write what you know. Even though I’ve never been taken to an alternate realm, many of the experiences Divide and Conquer deals with are not so foreign.
Lea feels misunderstood due to her intellect. She loves physics and she loves the big questions addressed by sci-fi and fantasy shows. This feeling of isolation is universal, I think. Everyone is a geek to some extent, i.e. someone with a niche interest in history, fashion, cars or books, and everyone struggles to communicate these passions to others. I know the eyerolls that Nieve reserves for Lea’s excursions into science all too well.
Similarly, Nieve does well in some areas, but in new situations she’s like a fish out of water. Don’t we all get that way? That awkwardness when meeting an interesting man for the first time? Being challenged in a field you know nothing about?
Hopefully readers can identify with my characters.
How do you chose when/which characters die in your books?
I love killing people off— Sorry, let’s start again. I love killing CHARACTERS off, but only if it challenges my hero. A death must serve a story purpose. You kill Bambi’s mother to mark the end of innocence and as a catalyst for the growing up Bambi now has to do. Shocking readers is not enough of a reason for me to kill anyone off.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
2015 was an exceptional year for discovering new authors, at least for me. Julie LaVoie, Rebecca Rivard, and LD Rose were all great new finds. I love Celia Breslin books, even though she’s been around a while, and I’m looking forward to Candace Laville’s novellas in 2016.
Who do you look up to as a writer?
This is tough. So many writers have inspired and molded me over the years. I guess Darynda Jones’ style is closest to mine, even though our stories differ greatly. I’ve also drawn from Jennifer Rardin and fantasy authors like Neil Gaiman. Basically, anyone who’s written a book I’ve enjoyed is to some degree responsible for how and what I write.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Yes. But I feel that way about everything I write. You can always paint a brighter picture, delve deeper into characters, join scenes better together, or make dialogue funnier. The key to publishing a book is that at some point you have to draw a line. Perfection doesn’t exist.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I’m highly critical of my books. I’ve been told that my active vocabulary is wider than that of many of my readers, and curbing my tendency to use complicated words or syntax doesn’t come naturally.
My second weakness is that I’m not a visual person. When a scene plays out in my mind, visual aspects simply don’t come into it. So immersing readers in a 3D world takes some work.
What book are you reading now? Or what genre?
I’m about to read vampire paranormal fiction in the form of Cherry Stem by Sotia Lazu. The short description really grabbed me.
Who designed the cover? And do you help with them?
My publisher provided my cover. After being unhappy with their first attempt, they made up this new one.
Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?
That the only audience you should stay faithful to is you. Divide and Conquer is an action-packed fantasy playing out in a world that was created by me, with small nods to Greek mythology. Romance is an integral part. Its unusual composition and plot made me think no one would be interested, but Champagne Book’s editor snapped it up as soon as I finished it.
If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?
In many respects I am Lea, a misunderstood geek. She turns into the kind of person I’d want to be. Tough, flexible, tolerant and able to use her flaws to her advantage.
Are there any books you think some of us should read, just because?
All of them. Read as much as you can, and not just from one genre. I don’t re-read books because there are still too many stories undiscovered by me, and time is too short to be wasted on lives already lived.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I write to entertain myself, but I publish to entertain you. Thank you for reading my books and letting me know what you think.
About the Author:
Carmen Fox is an Amazon no. 1 bestselling author in the vampire and werewolf mystery categories for her book Guarded (The Silverton Chronicles). Guarded was also the Amazon no. 1 urban fantasy novel in Australia.
She lives in the south of England with her beloved tea maker and a stuffed sheep called Fergus. An avid reader since childhood, she caught the writing bug when her Nana asked her to write a story. She also has a law degree, studied physics for a few years, dabbled in marketing and human resources, and speaks native-level German and fluent Geek. Her preferred niches of geekdom are tabletop games, comics, sci-fi and fantasy.
Book page: www.carmen-fox.com/dac
2 copies of the Divide and Conquer e-book
1 copy of the Guarded paperback (unsigned)
3 $10 Amazon giftcards