Haunted Flint

Haunted Flint

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Interview - The Lizard Queen Series by H.L. Cherryholmes





- If you were not a writer what would you be doing (or alternatively, what is your “day” job if you do both)?

That’s an easy question for me to answer. I would be a film editor. I’m fascinated by how they shape the overall movie and how much of the storytelling they drive.

- If you wrote a book about your life what would the title be?

“That’s Not How it Works; That’s Not How Any of This Works”

- What is the hardest thing about being an author?

Self-doubt. I think because writing is a rather lonely occupation it’s so very easy to start questioning yourself about every little thing.

- What is the best thing about being an author?

Bringing to life characters that I’ve been thinking about. I’m sure this comes from having started my writing career as a playwright.

- Have you ever been star struck by meeting one of your favorite authors? If so who was it? 

Anne Rice. I was at a book signing of hers and when it was my turn to approach her I froze and all the things I wanted to tell her about how much I’ve enjoyed her books over the years stuck in my throat. I think I babbled something along the lines of, “You…good…loved…thank you.”

- What book changed your life?

Edith Hamilton’s Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes. I read it as a teenager and was just fascinated by these stories created as a sort of explanation of how the world worked for those telling these tales. It also got me very interested in genealogy, oddly enough.

- What were your some of favorite books growing up?

E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web would be the top choice. Then anything by Agatha Christie. I devoured those books.

- What books are currently in your to be read pile?

The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai; Recursion, by Blake Crouch; and Craig Shaefer’s Harmony Black series

- Which do you prefer ebooks, print, or audio books?

For me it makes no difference if it’s print or ebook. I’m all about the story so the format isn’t that important. That said, not a huge fan of fiction audio books because I like to decide the “voice” of the book myself.

- If you could live inside the world of a book or series which world would it be and why?

Probably the Harry Potter books. I love the idea that magic is real and there’s a world around us that most people have no idea exists.



 The Lizard Queen Series - Abridged

300 years ago, in a nameless world, a prophecy passed unfulfilled. A secret society that formed to prevent its occurrence believed it was their doing, while the secret society created to ensure that the prophecy came to pass wasn’t certain it had been stopped at all. Eventually, the prophecy of Lacáruna, a female from another realm and the only being who can read the Lizard Queen’s language, fell into legend.  What no one realizes, however, is that Amy Darlidale is just a tad late.




The Lizard Queen Abridged
Book One
H.L. Cherryholmes

Genre: Fantasy

Date of Publication: 12/7/19

ISBN: 9781798589724
ASIN: B081593C32

Number of pages: 496
Word Count: 235,000

Cover Artist: Ryan Valle

Book Description:

Taking a break from a stressful workweek, Amy Darlidale, a recently divorced CEO, goes out for a morning jog, crosses paths with an orange lizard, and suddenly finds herself under a starless sky confronted by oddly marked and strangely colored people claiming she's there to rescue the world from evil’s grasp and expand it Along with the young companions who found her, Licha and Jandro, the swaggering Colonel Dack Sangcertigre—a member of the secret society sworn to protect her—leads Amy in search of a plan to fulfill the Promise of a New Morphósis, which will save them all.

Confronted with raving rulers, military machinations, and crafty clergy, Amy quickly realizes there is much more at stake than merely finding the prophecy. Fires rage, clans and townsfolk are massacred when leaders proclaim a great evil has returned. While Amy searches for and finds clues within the first of nine mythic journals regarding this world’s origins, she begins to see visions and receive messages from forces unknown.

Even as she tries to understand the extent of her power others have become aware of it as well. Soon a new group with its own mysterious agenda believes Amy may have another fated purpose and only she can save herself from their terrifying trap.




Excerpt Book One:

 “I saw an orange lizard today.”
“Orange? That’s an unusual color for a lizard isn’t it? I’ve seen red ones.” 
Amy Darlidale looked at the wall just above her therapist’s head. She’d seen the family photo dozens of times but had never given it much attention. This was the first time she’d noticed the pendant his young daughter wore. Was it a circle within a circle? It was difficult to make out from a distance. “Maybe your red lizard mated with a yellow one and produced my orange lizard.”
John chuckled. “Maybe. Where did you see it?”
“That’s the interesting thing.” Amy stopped bouncing the leg she had crossed over the other. “I saw it in my office. It ran across my desk.”
“You’re kidding. How do you suppose a lizard—of any color—made it up to the twenty-seventh floor of your office building?” 
“Maybe it crawled through the pipes.” Amy glanced out the window and resumed bouncing her leg.
Pen in hand, John leaned back in his chair. “You seem rather distracted today.”
Amy’s gaze drifted across John’s desk. When he started seeing her alone, he’d moved from the couple’s area to the desk. She liked it better this way.
“That damned lizard. I saw it first thing this morning, and I can’t get it out of my head.” She uncrossed her legs. “I feel a bit silly for saying this, but it stopped and looked at me.”
“There’s nothing unusual about that. A deer-in-the-headlights response. Animals often momentarily freeze when they think they’ve been caught.”
“Probably.” Amy pictured the incident in her mind. “But that wasn’t what it seemed like at the time.”
“What did it seem like?”
She returned her focus to the pendant on the girl’s neck in the family portrait. It was a circle within a circle. “I swear it was looking at me.” She remembered how the small creature had scrambled up a pile of reports centered at the far edge of the desk and stopped there. “We sort of locked eyes for a moment. I had the oddest feeling she had been waiting for me to notice her.”
“She?”
Amy looked at the therapist. “What?”
“You said she not it.”
“I did?”
“Yes. Why would you assume it was female?”
“I don’t know.”
“Was there some sort of marking that gave away its gender?”
“No, there weren’t any markings. She was just orange. Bright orange like a…well, like an orange. Her underside was slightly more yellow.”
“Okay, so you and the lizard locked eyes. Then what?”
“Then she blinked a few times and ran off my desk. I shouted for my assistant and we looked in every corner and under every piece of furniture but never did find it.”
“So what was it about this incident that you can’t get out of your head? Not being able to find it?”
That he would assume what bothered her was the lizard’s disappearance didn’t surprise Amy in the least. John was a marriage counselor, which was why she’d started seeing him in the first place; unfortunately, despite the bi-weekly appointments for nearly a year, she and her husband, Peter, hadn’t been able to work out their problems and eventually divorced. Peter got the SUV and the boat; she got condo in Palm Springs and John. They sold the house in Brentwood. One issue that had brought the (then) couple to see a therapist was Amy’s inability to let things go. Her husband said it bordered on obsessive. Amy believed she was just determined. As it turned out, John tended to side with her husband on that particular topic and even after the divorce John still thought it was something Amy needed to work on. That’s when she started seeing him only once every other month.
“No, it wasn’t that I couldn’t find the lizard. Although, I will admit that was frustrating. I’m guessing I can’t get it out of my head because, for some reason, it made me think of my father.”
“What did it remind you of?”
He seemed anxious to hear her answer, which also came as no surprise; Amy seldom talked about her childhood. Something else that annoyed her ex-husband.
“I suppose it made me think about when he married my stepmother. A few months after their wedding I became very ill. My father said that he found me unconscious and rushed me to the hospital. I was in a coma for three days. The doctors never found out what was wrong with me.” She paused to clear her throat. Talking about her childhood always made her uncomfortable, mostly because she remembered so little of it. “But to get back to your question, the way that the lizard looked at me was exactly how my father was looking at me when I woke from that coma. I remember opening my eyes and seeing my dad watching me as if he were waiting for me to notice him. That’s what the lizard seemed to be doing.”
John tapped his pen on the notepad. “I find it interesting that the first thing you said it reminded you of was when your father married your stepmother and not that you were in a coma.”
Frowning, Amy asked why he found it interesting.
“Why don’t you tell me?” He smiled wryly.
Amy hated that smile; John only used it when he knew how she would respond. “Maybe it’s because I found my father marrying Alice more traumatic than being in a coma.” She laughed.
“All right. So seeing the orange lizard brought this all back to you. My question then is why do you see it as a distraction?”
As she adjusted her jacket, Amy wished she hadn’t brought up the lizard. She’d only done so because she hadn’t had anything else to talk about and didn’t want to waste a session. “I don’t really know. Seeing the lizard just brought out…a feeling, I suppose.”
“What feeling?”
“If I knew,” she said, mimicking his smile, “I’d be the therapist.”


The Lizard Queen Abridged

Book Two
H.L. Cherryholmes

Genre: Fantasy

Date of Publication: 12/7/19

ISBN: 9781798571132
ASIN: B08159BRTX

Number of pages: 594
Word Count: 279,000

Formats available: Paperback and Kindle

Cover Artist: Ryan Valle

Book Description:

It’s become increasingly clear that an all-out war is being waged by the Arañalianza, the alliance bent on making certain that the prophecy is never brought to pass, and their opposite, the Trotéjo, which is sworn to make certain it does. Although Amy Darlidale has passed tests of wits and endurance far beyond what she thought possible, she struggles for insight into the role she is presumably intended to play in this world.

Jolted by the sacrifices her protectors have had to make, she forges ahead while new relationships surface and new truths are revealed. Forced to rely on her own instincts, along with the limited knowledge she’s gained of this world in her quest, she must find a way to acquire the remaining Extiguos to piece together the prophecy.

Despite feeling constrained in her ability to combat otherworldly forces she cannot comprehend, she must now overcome a foe that poses an unimaginably sinister threat.

Amazon

Excerpt Book Two:

Amy had expected to be taken to some sort of a cell, as had happened too many times before, but instead Quoia and she were taken from the cliff tower into another part of the istanté enclave. Her mind continued to reel from the events that had occurred in the past hour. After having been abducted in Últimojo, right under the noses of her friends, and unceremoniously carted from one end of Rescatazo to another, she’d thought her ordeal was coming to an end when the clan’s spiritual leader revealed that she was a Trotéjo comrade. But no. Once again, the irony of not heeding the mysterious message sent by an unknown source while she had been out at sea wasn’t lost on her. You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you? Actually, she had. Silly her.
All of this had come about simply because she’d been curious as to what an adividria—an alleged diviner of fortunes and dreams—actually did. She had been called one, which had also occurred while she’d been out at sea on the Pen-Mai II, because someone had assumed only a quimera capable of evocasado, this world’s version of magic, would be able to read the Extiguos. Just outside of the Eyes of the Ultimate Cathedral in Últimojo was a long row of tents commonly referred to as Charlatan Shacks and she’d visited an adividria there. What followed led the adividria, Nayel, to believe Amy was something her Ojor Mountain clan in northern Rescatazo had been looking for. And because of that belief, Amy had been rendered unconscious, snatched up, and dragged unwillingly up the river and across the land only to learn that Nayel had been wrong and she wasn’t what the istanté clan was looking for after all.
Now, instead of becoming the clan’s newest spiritual leader, she was to be thrown to the wolves (in this instance, to something called a vueltó) that outsiders had never bested. Her only consolation was that her abductor and the current spiritual leader-cum-Trotéjo comrade’s son, Quoia, was being tossed into the ring along with her. The broad-shouldered, pale-skinned quimero hadn’t been very happy to learn his fate any more than she had. In fact, he probably had been even more stunned by the turn of events than she. Amy would have felt a bit of smug satisfaction over that, if not for the staggering sense of dread crawling up her legs.
The enormous, ugly istanté guards with the muscular hunched shoulders silently led Quoia and her to a room with a floor covered entirely in pillows except for a small path along the edges. Adorning the walls were more than a dozen swords of varying sizes. The room opened onto a large empty yard surrounded by high walls. The guards left them and closed the door, locking it from the outside. Quoia immediately scanned the weapons on the wall, as he circled the pillow-covered floor. Light from the flickering lanterns shined off the perspiration dotting the skin of his bald head. When Amy had first seen him—well, not the first time, the first time she’d only caught a glimpse of him before he covered her face with a rag soaked in something called cañart that had knocked her out—she’d noted that their pale-peach skin-coloring was very similar. With his square jaw and button nose, he could have passed for human, if not for the small curved horns just above his temples. The tall quimero was body-builder big with a neck as wide as his head. When he found a sword to his liking he removed it from the wall and held it out.
“Take this. It should be easy for you to handle.”
Amy stared at the sword in silence.
“We call it a cuchelgado. Ranjeros call it a sword.”
“I know what it is and I don’t care what it’s called. What I don’t understand is why we’re going to a circus. Actually, let me amend that. What I don’t understand is why any of this is happening.” 

The Lizard Queen Abridged
Book Three
H.L. Cherryholmes

Genre: Fantasy

Date of Publication: 12/7/19

ISBN: 9781798130117
ASIN: B08157XT4V

Number of pages: 657
Word Count: 309,000

Formats available: Paperback and Kindle

Cover Artist: Ryan Valle

Book Description:

With all of the Extiguos now in their possession, Amy Darlidale and her companions feel they are close to discovering the truth, but that they are also running out of time.

This world seems on the verge of shrinking much faster than anyone anticipated when the surrounding nations gather for war against Pliada. The Trotéjo and the Arañalianza also plan to assemble before the mountain upon which La Reina’s castle sits, and stakes have never been higher. The quest to learn how Amy must bring about the New Morphósis has brought her full circle and the truth about her destiny as Lacáruna finally seems within reach.

But much blood continues to be shed as all sides race toward the inevitable conclusion of the journey. Amy must summon forces from deep within if she is to save this world—or is it too late?




Excerpt Book Three:

Amy looked at the blank pages and couldn’t believe her eyes. So she closed them. When she opened them again, however, nothing had changed. The final Extiguo was no longer visible to her.
“It’s gone.”
Dack was giving out instructions as to which direction the others should face while Amy read the last third of the Extiguo.
“It’s gone,” Amy repeated.
Dack stopped and looked at her. “What?”
“The words are gone.” She held up the book with the pages facing outward, even though she knew he wouldn’t see it as she did. To anyone native to this world, the symbols that were the written language of La Reina were still stamped upon the pages. “I can’t see any of the words.”
Dack, Licha, Jandro, and Madu scrambled to gather around her. Sitting as she was on the footboard of the carriage that had delivered goods to the hundreds of Trotéjo hiding in Naclaquí didn’t make this easy, so she stood up. Licha pulled at Amy’s arm until the book was low enough that she could see it.
“I don’t understand,” the quimera with the alabaster-white skin said. “I thought that the words didn’t disappear until you’ve read all of it.”
Flipping through the book to be certain the pages were blank, Amy said, “They haven’t until now.”
Madu peered over her shoulder. “Why now? Why would they disappear on you like that now?”
Amy removed the lupercas, the pince-nez reading glasses, from the bridge of her nose. No point in keeping them on when there was nothing to read. “I don’t know why. It’s never happened before.”
Jandro looked up at her. His eyes were wide and seemed to be floating in the black pools that were the ovals encircling them on his face. His blue-gray skin was almost silver in the glow of the moonlight. “You’ve never gone so far into one of the Extiguos and then stopped,” he said. “Could that be why?”
Frustrated, Amy threw the paluz to the ground. “I don’t care what caused it. All that matters is that I can no longer read it.” She looked at Dack. “What are we going to do?”
He stared at the green light of the paluz at his feet. “There doesn’t seem to be anything we can do.”
“But we don’t know how it ends.” Madu’s voice went up an octave.
“Yes we do,” Jandro said. “La Reina creates the—”
“Not that!” Madu said, his voice higher still. The tall, lanky quimero began to pace. “Not what’s in the Translation, but what’s in the actual Extiguo. None of you seem to comprehend that nearly all that Amy read so far is nowhere to be found in its translation. For all we know, the Winged-One really did create the Morphósis and La Reina became Lacáruna.”
“Control yourself, Madu,” Dack said. “Hysterics are never constructive.”
“And I can assure you I am not La Reina,” Amy added.
Madu closed his mouth and drew in several breaths through his long nose. He ran his hands through his thick, dark red hair a few times and slowly his shoulders relaxed. “I didn’t mean that literally. I’m only conjecturing that anything is possible.”
“We shouldn’t have left.” Licha looked up at Dack, whom she stood beside. “We should have remained in the building when you sent out the group disguised as us. Amy should have kept reading.”
Jandro came between them and, surprising everyone, shoved Licha back. “Stop being an idiot. We couldn’t have stayed. You heard what Dack said. Whoever caused the explosion could have sent someone to storm into Winfred’s room and what would we have done then?”
“Enough.” Amy put Winfred’s lupercas in a pocket and rubbed her eyes. “Instead of focusing on what we don’t know, how about focusing on what we do. I was more than halfway through the Extiguo. We have plenty of revelations to discuss and mull over.”

About the Author:

H.L. Cherryholmes, author of The Lizard Queen Series, The Reminisce, Come Back for Me, and A Slight Touch was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico but has spent most of his adult life in California. He has a BFA from University of New Mexico and a Master's degree in Playwriting from the University of California, Los Angeles. Currently, he lives in SoCal with his husband.







1 comment:

Susan Payton said...

Interesting blog. My son was an avid reader, he would have loved this. He was brutally murdered in 2015. I enjoyed reading and visiting with you.