One warm autumn evening, I was out walking my dogs in the countryside. As I reached the top of a hill, I realised my border collie had wandered off. I turned to look for him and saw a mist had formed in the valley below. As I watched, it billowed and grew. It drained all colours to grey, and blotted out every trace of civilisation. It was like standing on the shore of a silent ocean. Although I only had to run down the hill to reach home within five minutes, I still felt a shiver of apprehension. Anything could emerge from that mist; even a dragon – or better still – a griffin. Telling myself to get a hold, I whistled and called the collie to heel and we trooped home for dinner.
But that thought stayed with me: if there are parallel universes, and a griffin had a similar name to one of my dogs, and had answered my call, what would have happen next? And so the story of a perfectly ordinary girl, who accidentally summoned a griffin from another dimension began to write itself.
The Griffin Cryer was published in March, and currently has 55 readers' reviews (4.7* ave) on the US site, and 28 reviews (4.8* ave) on the UK site. I was surprised and honoured when The Griffin Cryer was nominated in three different award categories, and was eventually voted runner up "Best Urban Fantasy" in the Ebook Festival of Words Awards 2013.
Even more surprisingly, readers wanted to know more about the mysterious rider who accompanied his griffin into this world; both summoned by Frankie Shaunessy, who was only calling her dog, Balkin, to heel.
Balkind's Rider is blond and tall, with a superiority complex. However, Frankie feels responsible for them both, and is determined to help them find a way back to their own world. Along the way, with the Rider's help, Frankie becomes aware that if she can only find the courage, she may be able to help her twin brother out of his comatose state.
Throughout the story, the Rider annoys and teases Frankie by refusing to give his real name. Although Frankie thinks this is just another sign of his rudeness, readers learn that the Rider has no family, and is nameless.
The Griffin Cryer: Only once in a blue moon, a person is born with the ability to summons griffins.
The Griffin's Boy: Only once in a hundred blue moons, after demonstrating extra-ordinary courage and flying skills, a nameless nobody is recruited into The Griffin Riders' elite squad.
A story set on Ella-Earth; our world's twin in an alternative universe. Evolution has taken a different path and mythical beasts exist. Britain remains an island of mists, populated by Celtic tribes and governed by a strict feudal hierarchy. Only noblemen's sons are recruited into an elite troop known as the Griffin Riders. The best a nameless nobody like Neb can hope for is to become a griffin's lad.
But then his fate becomes entwined with the mischievous grey griffin Balkind, who everyone knows is trouble…and sure enough, Balkind disgraces himself on recruitment day and is rejected by Griffin Master Romulus. But Neb is determined to change Romulus' mind. Telling himself and anyone who will listen that Balkind deserves a second chance, Neb steals the beast and flies off on the adventure of a lifetime. He quickly realises:
Riding griffins isn't for the faint hearted.
Girls are complicated beings, and best treated with respect.
One single courageous act earns Neb his heart's desire – but then he ruins everything: When Samara, his new friend, is abducted, Neb rushes to her rescue – with disastrous results. The youngsters learn they are to be sacrificed in a macabre ceremony. Their only hope is Balkind. Although clever, Balkind has always been difficult to control. Will the griffin answer his boy's summons?
One September evening, around twilight, Francesca Shaunessy calls out for her dog to come to heel – however instead of a black Labrador, a dragon like beast emerges from the mists surrounding the twelfth century church and graveyard, followed closely by his rider. Frankie is astounded to discover she has an unexpected gift: She is a Griffin Cryer. Balkind is the sweetest most loveable griffin ever. Unfortunately his rider is the rudest man in this world or any other. Despite problems at school, and a complicated home life, Frankie feels compelled to help the Rider and his griffin return home to Ella-Earth. In doing so, Frankie escapes her own emotional prison, and becomes aware that there's a chance that she can help her comatose twin brother back into this world.
The London born author of the "Celtic Cousins' Adventures": A Raucous Time; A Ripple in Time; and An Explosive Time.
The Bridle Path is a stand alone romantic adventure set in the county of Cornwall.
"The Griffin Cryer" is an urban fantasy, soon to be joined by its stable mate, "The Griffin's Boy", was published July lst 2013. Drop by my site, at Julia Hughes.co.uk, or tweet me on twitter @tinksaid.
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