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I’ve been making up stories since I could hold a pencil. Four years of college, writing in essay test booklets and spewing out what some professor wanted to hear, killed my love of writing. In 2005, while researching a home school writing program for my kids, I re-discovered my desire to write and ended up joining NaNoWriMo.
Seventeen days later, I had the beginnings of a fantasy novel. After I made the “mistake” of telling my relatives and friends I was writing, I decided to self-publish Eldala in 2007 through Lulu.com. Since then, the stories have poured out of me like an Arizona flashflood during monsoon season.
I have a passion for writing medieval fantasy fiction, and my stories always have romance. I tried my hand at contemporary romance, but discovered I prefer making up my facts. Besides writing, I love to read historical and contemporary romance. My favorite authors are Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer, Robin Lee Hatcher, and Kaki Warner. I’m also a prolific blogger and spend too much time on Facebook.
I have three wonderful children, and have been married to the most encouraging man on the planet for twenty-seven years. They’re my biggest fans and without them, I wouldn’t have written at all. Three years ago we moved from the Phoenix metro area to Western Montana. It's taking some time to learn to deal with snow.
Eldala's sequel, Black Heart, has been in the works for a few years. Moving kind of slowed down the process but I'm still working on it. One day I'll get it done. Until then, the people asking for it will just have to be patient.
on March 29, 2011 :
Kieran has a past. A history as yet unbeknown to him. He is the adopted son of a local smithy and his wife. They know his secret and vowed to protect him. Their promise was when he twenty one years old they were to give him a letter and a wooden scabbard. They were from his biological father; King Arathor.
The past is not something Kieran wanted to hear about. He becomes angry with the world around him. Nightmares invade his sleep.
The young, single women in the village want him for a husband. But Kieran is not interested. All his life he had kept memories of a young girl from his childhood. He wants to find her again. However, he is not aware she holds the key to his future and it is a complicated one.
The story is of a young man’s quest to find himself. To overcome battles of the emotional and physical. Each failure leads to a success.
It is also the story of a young woman, Jessara. The two are thrown together in a fight to survive.
Michelle Gregory has written an fantasy adventure with mystery, fear and romance interwoven. It is a most enjoyable read.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
Lisa J. Yarde
on March 15, 2011 :
“You now have a choice, and it will take great courage to choose the right. From this moment on, you will be walking the path between who you are now and who you were born to be. All I am asking you to do is let yourself make the journey….” – Arathor’s letter to Kieran, Eldala
In Eldala by Michelle Gregory, Kieran, the orphaned heir to the throne of Teleria discovers the truth of his origins in a letter from his father King Arathor. When Kieran discovers the truth behind his identity, he goes on a quest to recapture his father's kingdom, and find the childhood friend he lost. Little does he know that she is key to unlocking his destiny.
As a baby, Kieran becomes the adoptive son of a blacksmith. His father, King Arathor asks the man to shelter the child from the kingdom’s enemies. On his twentieth birthday, Kieran discovers his unexpected heritage. Although he angrily rejects the truth at first, after Kale produces Arathor’s sword, Kieran is hard-pressed to obstinately deny the past. He has seen the long-hidden weapon in his dreams. Another image from the past also haunts him; the memory of a dark-eyed friend, Jessara, who was lost to raiders in the forest during their childhood. Prompted by memories of her loss, Kieran assists a young woman against a brutal soldier and must flee to avoid the authorities. He reluctantly seeks out Arathor, with his mischievous foster cousin as a companion. Along their journey, Kieran discovers the dangers of the world outside his village. When a beast attacks his cousin in a cave where the young men have sought shelter, Kieran soon learns that their rescuer is his father Arathor. It is Keiran’s destiny to restore Telaria to its former glory, and unite its warring factions under a king’s rule. His quest may also allow him to discover Jessara’s fate and rescue her. But before he can do that, Arathor’s enemies capture him.
Eldala is as much Jessara’s story as it is Kieran’s. Although she was prepared for marriage with her relative Stefan from childhood, Jessara’s chance meeting with Kieran changed her. It is a mysterious, yet deep connection that has persisted despite the time and distance between them. Now, Jessara lives a miserable existence as a slave in the palace of the usurper Rahnak, whose lust frightens her. His queen Ciara is especially dangerous and volatile. When a wounded stranger arrives at the palace, seemingly destined for marriage with Ciara’s daughter, Jessara nurses him back to health. She also feels a powerful pull toward him, and recognizes it is Kieran. The pair has greater worries than an awkward reunion. Escape from Rahnak and Ciara’s clutches seems near impossible, and unless Jessara and Kieran can put aside their hesitancy and suspicions, their future and that of the Telarian people seems bleak.
As a fan of very limited areas in genre fiction, I surprisingly enjoyed exploring the fantasy world Ms. Gregory has created in Eldala. She accomplishes it by keeping the reader focused on the diverse cast of characters, especially the lovers. It helps that the chemistry between Jessara and Kieran is palpable and intense. Jessara is admirable for her unfailing courage and love for Kieran, despite the intervening years. The emotional journey that Kieran undertakes, in which he learns to be a fighter and a leader of many people, is inspiring – the coming-of-age for a young man who discovers he can be more that he ever anticipated. The characterization is very good; Kieran’s pain, suffering, confusion and joy laid bare on the pages of Ms. Gregory’s work allows the reader to intimately know his hopes and fears. I thoroughly enjoyed Kieran and Jessara’s journey, and hope to read more from Ms. Gregory in the future.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)