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Friday, July 12, 2019

Blog Tour- THE FORGOTTEN Series by Cecilia Randell An Interview & A Giveaway!




I am stoked to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for THE FORGOTTEN Series by Cecilia Randell! I have an interview with Cecilia to share with you today check it out and enter to win the giveaway below!

About The Books:


Title: A FORGOTTEN GODDESS (The Forgotten #1)
Author: Cecilia Randell
Pub. Date: September 20, 2018
Publisher: Cecilia Randell
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 236
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon
READ FOR FREE ON KU!

An abandoned Egyptian goddess follows her visions to Ireland, and finds more than she ever bargained for... 

An abandoned Egyptian goddess follows her visions to Ireland, and finds more than she ever bargained for...

Bat Sitru used to be a goddess. Well, technically she still is. But with no followers, no temples, and only the overly mischievous cat-goddess Bastet as a friend, it's difficult to lay claim to the title.

When her visions—once faded—return to her, they point to a land in the north, one of green slopes, mist, and rainbows. She is shown a hope for comfort and home, something that has long been missing from her existence.

Once there, she begins to wonder if her visions have led her wrong. She's cold, damp, and her new landlords, the O’Loinsigh brothers, are not particularly welcoming. On top of that, she is confronted by a dead leprechaun on the rear stoop, a dagger that sucks the life of immortals, and territorial gods.

As past secrets collides with the present, will Bat be able to carve a place for herself in this new land? Or will this goddess be forgotten once more?

Please note: A previous, and shorter, version of this story was released in the anthology Shamrocked. This is also a slow-burn RH.

Title:  THE LEGENDS THAT REMAIN (The Forgotten #2)
Author: Cecilia Randell
Pub. Date: December 6, 2018
Publisher: Cecilia Randell
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 291
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon
READ FOR FREE ON KU!

A storm is brewing, and this goddess does not like the damp… 

Bat Sitru, an Egyptian goddess, is content in her new life in Sligo, Ireland. She tends the bar, participates in all the sing-songs she cares to, and is making new friends. The only thing she could wish to change is her relationship with the O’Loinsigh brothers—they’ve grown distant, and she’s afraid to upset the careful balance the four of them have found.

Before she can figure out what to do about that distance, an invitation arrives from the head of the O’Loinsigh family, leading to the revelation of long-held secrets and her visions come to life once more. What she will need to face this time is nothing so simple as a mad woman out for revenge—old legends are stirring as an ancient evil seeks to return.

Along with Dub, Mell, Shar, the reluctant Finn, and a host of other outcasts, Bat will confront a growing conspiracy of fae, gods, Fomoiri, and an evil long locked away. All she wants is to enjoy her strawberries and tea, and maybe a kiss or two, but sometimes a goddess has to do…

Well, a goddess has to do what a goddess has to do. 

Title: THE FINAL MELODY (The Forgotten #3)
Author: Cecilia Randell
Pub. Date: April 27, 2019
Publisher: Cecilia Randell
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 255
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon
READ FOR FREE ON KU!

Bat Sitru and her merry band of fae are officially on the run... 

Or are they on the hunt? It's hard to tell. Separated from Dub and Shar, Bat can only concentrate on getting through the next steps of their piece-meal plan to defeat Balor. They have all the tools to defeat the would-be god, now they just have to pull it all together.

With new and unexpected allies, as well as a horde of sluagh on their heels, Bat and her boys race to find Tir Hudi and the cauldron before their enemies know they're there.

In the end, it will be up to her, that forgotten goddess, to restore the balance and prevent the world from descending into chaos...



Note: Yes, for those who have not read the first two books yet, this is a "why choose" type romance.

Now on to the interview!

Hey Cecilia!! First I want to say welcome to Two Chicks on Books I’m glad you could stop by for a chat! THE FORGOTTEN Series is AWESOME, and I can’t wait for everyone to read it!

For the readers: can you tell us a little bit about the THE FORGOTTEN and the characters?

So, The Forgotten is a mash-up of both Egyptian and Irish mythology and lore.  It takes place in modern Sligo, Ireland in the Connaught area.  I’ve always loved the mysticism and nostalgia that both countries have, and fell in love with the idea of meshing together the threads of their mythologies (which was not as much of a 
stretch as some might think.)

The idea started when I was brainstorming a short story for a St. Patrick’s Day anthology.  I spotted a small book of Egyptian mythology gathering dust on my bookshelf, and asked myself, “what if?”  I didn’t want to use one of the more well known goddesses, though.  Then I found the perfect one.  Bat.  The more I read about her the more fascinated I became.  She was so many things to her people.  A fertility goddess, a goddess of the soul (Bat is a form of “ba” which was one of the pieces of the soul in ancient Egypt religion), as well as one of the goddesses who helped to defend ma’at, or order.  Her home was in Upper Egypt.

However, not much is known, because after the unification of the kingdoms, her temples and cults were absorbed into those of Hathor, who held almost the exact same role, but in Lower Egypt. A bit of a butt kick, because it was said Bat was key to ensuring the unification of the kingdoms of Egypt (or at least there was speculation that it was her standing between Seth and Horus on a carving called the Narmer Palette, which shows the unification of the kingdoms.  And I should probably stop getting so pedantic and answer the question.) Once I found all that out, my imagination ran away with me. 

So here we have Bat, a once proud and dignified goddess of Egypt, completely forgotten.  Not just by the people of Egypt, but by most of the gods themselves.  Because they don’t need her, not anymore.  Her purpose has been fulfilled, and she’s been replaced. 

But Bat also has visions.  It’s one of the things that allowed her help with uniting the kingdom.  And while her power is low with the loss of her followers, something has set those visions off.  With some help from Bastet, she figures out these visions are leading her to Ireland.  She decides to go, because part of what these visions are showing her is that she may be able to find a new home there.  And more than anything else, this goddess is lonely. 

When she arrives, it’s a bit of an eye opener.  While she’s not unfamiliar with technology, she’s not adept at it, and she’s kept herself so isolated that she doesn’t have much of a clue about Ireland or the immortals and deities who live there.  But one of the things she does know, is she knows who she is, and she knows what she wants.  So when things start happening that threaten her and her new home, she won’t let anything stand in her way. 

One of the things I liked so much about Bat, is her generosity of spirit.  She’s a strong character, but she’s not standoffish or combative.  She wont let people run all over her, but she is also willing to bend.  I like to call it quiet strength.  It’s a strength I think a lot of people possess, and one I really enjoy both reading about and embodying in my characters.

What about the guys, you ask?  Well, let me tell you about the O’Loinsigh brothers.  Oh, those brothers.  THEY have chips on their shoulders, for sure.  Dub, Shar, and Mell O’Loinsigh, Fomoiri and the sons of Alatrom.  Again, I pulled a bit here and a bit there from old stories and texts.  The Fomoiri were considered demons and destructive beings.  They lived mostly on the sea and were pirates who raided and invaded Ireland.  Their main enemies were the Tuatha de Danaan.  I won’t get into all the details here (I do have quite a bit in the Note From the Author in the back of each book). 

Dub is the oldest, and the grumpy one.  Bat tries to count his frowns as some point, because he seems to have a different one for every situation, even when he’s happy.  His power is Strength, and believe me, you don’t want to make him angry.  You’ll just need to be replacing tables and chairs and very expensive slabs of wood for the bar top. 

Mell is the middle child.  He’s a musician, and is adept as manipulating and projecting emotions.  So much so that he often mistakes what is real and what is not, even for himself.  He’s a musician, and the most merry on the surface.  That surface hides a lot of pain, though. 

Shar is the youngest.  He’s also the largest in body size.  Bat calls him her gentle giant.  He is the most gentle, with an affinity for plants, and a protective streak as wide as him.  He has a friendly rivalry with the pixies that keep wanting to invade his garden, and his own reasons for hiding away from the world.

Last but not least is Finn.  Oh, my Finn.  He doesn’t really get into the running for Bat’s affections until the second book, but he has his reasons.  He’s a warrior, though and through.  In the modern day, that of course translates into being part of Irelands enforcement branch for immortals and supernaturals.  In the first book, his past comes up and slaps him in the face.  If I’m honest, I think I like his story line with Bat the most.  He brings out something in her that none of the brothers do, and I think it’s because of him that the romantic ice is finally broken.  I also think it’s him that allows her to see it’s okay for her to want people and things for himself.

In addition to our main players, there is a whole passel of Irish fae and immortals.  I wanted to use the lesser known ones, or the ones more thought of as solitary or even evil.  The ones who didn’t quite fit.  The ones who, like the brothers, just wanted to be left alone in their little corner of the world to live by their nature and in peace.  There are banshees, leprechauns, will o’ the wisps, fear durgs, bomen, pixies, far gortas, sluagh, and a few others.  All misfits in the overall scope of Irish Immortal society.  
Just like Bat was a misfit in her own land. 

You have two complete series under your belt now with THE FORGOTTEN & THE ADVENTURES OF BLUE FAUST. So what are you working on now?

I have a few things planned.  I’m working on Ailis’s story.  The first book in that will be coming out in August.  The mischievous fae will be going to Egypt, and showing those pompous gods and goddesses how things should be done. 

After that, I’ve got another new series.  It’s going to be a new adult, paranormal, urban fantasy, academy basically all the things.  Its about a girl named Genie who has psychic powers, and sees visions of deaths as they happening.  Twist is, she sees them from the viewpoint of the killer.  She finds herself at Greyling Academy, a private college with the best parapsychology department around, and from there well, everything changes for her.

That’s probably all I should say for now.  I made a list once, of all the books I have in my head floating around waiting to be written.  It was over twenty.  And the list keeps growing. 


Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?

Not in their entirety.  But, one of the goals I have in any of my books is to create characters that have what I like to call “quiet strength.”  It’s not that sassy, in your face, I will kick your but strength you see in a lot of urban fantasy characters, but the one that carries most people through their day-to-day lives.  The stuff that gets you up in the morning, and makes you try again even after you’ve failed.

I’ve known a lot of people like that in my life, and I admire them.  They look on life as something to live, not something to endure, and try to see the best in it.  I guess you could call them optimists, but that’s not even quite right. 

Anyway, I’ve been blessed to know many like that.  My mother, my step-father, cousins, roommates.  I won’t tell you about each and every one, but all of them have shown that strength, and that’s what inspired me.


Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?

I’ll be honest.  I LOVE writing things from the villain’s point of view.  I just get to let all that crazy fly.  Even though there’s only one scene, it was my most favorite.

As for a least favorite, I’m not sure how to answer that.  There are ones I struggled with more than others.  For instance, Dub.  You can only take “grumpy” so far before you need to give him more depth.  I still enjoyed his scenes, because he was the most likely to explode in some crazy way, but Nevermind, I like writing him.

How about I tell you my least favorite type of scene to write!  The sexy times.  I know some authors love to write it, but I struggle.  Mostly because I never know which words to use.  Do I stick with the latin names, the more common slang, crude slang, or just refer to all the bits with pronouns?  I have to admire the authors who can pull off the hot scenes with both class and description.


What is your favorite passages/scenes in THE FORGOTTEN Series?

 This is probably longer than you meant, but I’ve included it here.  This is Bat’s first night in the pub.  I love this part, because to me it tells you so much about Bat as a person.  How lost she is, and how much she wants a real home.  You also see her begin to reach for it here in a new land, and how the other patrons in the bar welcome her without fanfare in their own way.  There are funner, and funnier, scenes, but this one. Well, it makes me cry, and I wrote the damned thing.
***
Folding one leg under her, she placed the instrument in her lap. She didn’t play, not right away. Instead, she listened to the rhythm of Mell’s song, and how Dano accompanied him. When she had it, she began.
There were a few false notes and a few missed strings; the spacing on this harp was new to her. But she adapted, and soon her song merged with theirs.
When they finished, Mell stared at her, something close to awe on his face. She hadn’t seen that expression in far too long.
“Who are you?” he whispered.
“I am Bat.”
He shook his head and set aside the guitar, his face hard. There was a warrior side to him now, just as there was in his brothers. “No. I know your name. Who are you? What are you?” He paused, but not long enough for her to speak. “You have power. We felt it at the threshold, and it grew as you entered. But you are no fae, nor are you of the clans. And you are not of the Fomoiri, I would know. So, who are you?”
She tilted her head to the side, her hair sliding along her shoulder. The terms he threw out sounded vaguely familiar, though their meanings escaped her for the moment. “I am Bat. That is who I am. I am I am she of the two faces. Who was she? She used to be the Unifier, the peace of the lands. She used to be a fertility goddess and presided over festivals and rites. She used to be an advisor for the kings, showing them the truth of the past and the future. She used to be a guide for the dead, flying with their spirits and reuniting the pieces of their souls. She used to be a nurturer, and a savior, and a guardian against chaos. All these things she used to be, at one time or another.
Now she was a forgotten goddess, seeking a bit of peace.
His face eased, as though he could sense her thoughts. “Well, Bat, she of the two faces, would you like to play another? You start, we’ll follow.” He took up his instrument and glanced at Dano, who nodded. Bat didn’t get anything from the smaller red-haired man to indicate he was also a diminished god or sorcerer, but surely he must bethey all must beto be sitting in a locked pub on the night of another holy mans celebration?
The strings of the harp quivered under her fingers, as though asking to be plucked. She started slow, picking out the mostly forgotten tune as it came to her, filling in the missing notes with snips of new music inspired by this land. Her fellow musicians came in slowly, weaving around her melody, supporting it, enhancing it. She closed her eyes and concentrated on the moment.
A voice joined them from across the pub, singing in a language she didn’t know, with words that flowed in counterpoint to her melody, blending with Mell’s guitar. After another moment a new one, higher pitched and feminine, accompanied it.
She could feel Mell’s powers reaching out to both her and the patrons, and she seized upon it. She could sense the balance of it, but also that something was missing. Comfort. And that was something she could provide.
It all came together, and for one shining point in time, she felt at home.
  

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

Oh, man.  Well, let’s see.  I checked out about ten different books from the library on both Irish and Egyptian history and mythology.  I also had about forty tabs open to different sites on my computer at one point.  I had google Earth open as well, to help me “walk the streets” of Sligo and the other areas of Ireland. 

And I did a LOT of reading.  I just kept reading and browsing through those books until the pieces started coming together. 

Probably the hardest part was the fact that the pieces I loved and wanted to do more with were all the really obscure ones!  Tir Hudi, the island from The Final Melody, was a mention in a few books, but almost nothing concrete existed. 

I also did a lot of reading of things that didn’t really make it into the book, but that I hoped informed it well.  For instance, Druid law.  Did you know there were multiple types of both marriage and divorce in ancient Ireland?  And those people were really quite advanced in their thinking. 

Anyway, now I’m rambling.  So, as I was saying, I just read until I found the parts that interested me.  Then I would check for parallels.  If there wasn’t one, I would have to let the idea go, but luckily for me, that didn’t happen often.  It’s really interesting how much commonality you can find in different cultures and their origin stories. 

I also kept three different timelines going.  One for Egyptian history, one for Irish History, and one that melded the significant events from both that I used in the story.  A lot of the Irish mythology was vague in where it belonged in the time line, so I may have fudged that a bit, but I did my best based on other historical articles and books on the various migrations and invasions of Ireland.  And since one of the main Irish mythologies is The Book of Invasions, I drew some hints from there and then just told myself “this is the way it is for my story.”

As for the research into ancient Egypt, and Bat, there were certainly more codified timelines to draw upon, but the mythologies themselves changed over the different dynasties.  Especially which gods and goddesses did what and who they were and what they stood for.  Also, how the soul was treated.  In some ages, there were a few parts of the soul, and in others there were I think up to eight?  The rules for making it to the other world (or The Land of Reeds) changed and grew more and more complicated as well.  For all of that, I tried to keep to the simpler methods of everything. 

And I am now officially rambling, so I will stop.  Hopefully I answered your question!


Who is your ultimate book villain?

Damn, this is like asking what’s your favorite book.  That’s a HARD question to answer.  So, I may have to list off a few.

I think of a type of villain more than a specific one: and that’s the villain that is absolutely convinced that what they are doing is right.  Not the ones who know they are doing evil things and decide to keep doing them.  To me they are evil, yes, but it’s and evil that’s easy to see and overcome.  No, the ultimate villain is the one who is convinced that what they are doing is the right thing to do.

For instance, in Anne Bishop’s Others series, humans and the Human Rights First Movement are the villains, as well as the controller.  You don’t see much from the latter’s point of view, but for all the humans fighting agains the Others, they know they are right.

In John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising series, you may think the villains are the zombies, but that’s not right.  It’s the people or person who set off the plague, and the ones later who are so worried and power hungry that they are stunting the survival of everyone.  All these people are convinced in some way that their actions are warranted and needed. 

In Lisa Shearin’s SPI Files series, the villains are all after something that has to do with either the survival of their people or taking down someone they consider an enemy.  Again, in their eyes they are only doing what they need to in order to survive. 
And fighting against something or someone who knows what they are doing is the correct thing, is the scariest of all.  Because you see it in every day life, to one degree or another. 


What inspired you to write RH?

The short answer is: I was so sick and tired of all those love triangles.  Like, just shoot me.

The long answer has more to do with becoming intrigued about how to make something like that work, for real.  What kinds of personalities would they all need to have, what type of environmental factors would influence someone to make a choice like that.  I think everyone involved would have to be incredibly generous of spirit. 
I’ll be honest again.  I used to believe in the idea of the “one true love.”  That if you loved someone, you couldn’t love someone else as well.  If you did it only proved you had never really loved the first one.  I really believed this, and it drove me a little batty.  Because everywhere I looked, that idea was proven wrong.  I think the turning point came when I read a book by Guy Gavriel Kay.  I remember almost nothing about the plot, except for one scene.  A woman, sitting before a man on horseback.  She had been taken captive, and was soon to be let go.  He was a general or something.  He had a wife that he loved very much and stayed faithful to.  She had someone back home that she loved as well, a fiancĂ© I think.  They had this whole moment of unspoken feelings on the back of that horse.  She asked him if it was possible to love more than one person.  He said yes.  That was all they ever said to each other of their feelings, as much as they ever acknowledged them.  She went back to her fiancĂ©, and I think he eventually made it home and back to his wife. 

The whole thing stuck with me.  Then my father died (sorry if I’m getting too personal) and my mother remarried.  It was interesting, because both my dad and my step-dad’s wife died from cancer only a few months apart.  They had been long time family friends.  He and my mom started spending more and more time with each other, and things just developed.  But the thing that still strikes me, is we have pictures of both of them (my dad and my step-dad’s first wife) all over the house.  The fact that he and my mom love each other now did nothing to diminish the love either had for their first spouses.  No one tried to hide it, or push old feelings away or discount them. 

It struck me as a beautiful thing. 

That’s what I try to keep in mind when I write these relationships.  That humans can be amazing in their capacity to love. And that sometimes we need to examine if our “shoulds” (should only have one spouse, should only love one person, should hate this, should love that) are really things that forward our own happiness, or if they area ideas pushed on us by someone else. 

Now that I’ve waxed philosophic, I have to say i also just really like the idea of the fantasy of more than one incredible man loving you.  I mean, as long as you set up a good chore chart and meal plan, and there’s someone to clean the bathroom every day, what could go wrong?


Lightning Round Questions

What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

A couple of things, actually.  I’ve got two Egyptian mythology themed stories, one called Seratis by NJ Adal, and the other is by Laura Greenwood.  I’ve also got a (shhh) slightly advanced copy of the second in the Books of Stone by BL Brunnemmer.


What Hogwarts House would the Sorting Hat place you in?

I want to say Gryffindor because I love gryphons (thats how I like to spell it) and because theyre all brave and heroic and stuff.  But honestly I’d probably be a Hufflepuff.  With a sliver of Slytherin, because something in me loves writing the murderous villain scenes all too much.

Twitter or Facebook?

Facebook.  Because I don’t have the Twitters, nor do I know how to use them.  I am an author of the digital age stuck in analog, unfortunately


Favorite Superhero?

This is probably the only easy “favorite” question for me.  Wolverine.  I’ve liked him since the cartoon version when I was like six.

Favorite TV show?

Kind of depends on my Mood.  Eureka is a good one.  Friends.  Lucifer.  The Almighty Johnsons (and I’m not really sure why I like it so much).  Let’s see Ugly Betty.  Jane the Virgin.  NCIS.  Criminal Minds.  Okay, Im stopping now.  (You didnt ask, but I’ll tell you a secret.  In addition to music, I often will put a show on in the background to help me with the “mood” of things.)

Sweet or Salty?

Let’s call it even, and eat Kettle Corn. (Don’t you like how I’m not really even answering any of your questions properly?)

Any Phobias?

Things crawling into my ear.


Song you can’t get enough of right now?

Comes and Goes by Greg Laswell.  Here’s a Spotify link.  I don’t know what it is about this, but I’ve had it on repeat for days now. 



2019 Movie you’re most looking forward to?

Uhhh I dont even know.  Damn, I should leave my house more.  

Thanks so much Cecilia for answering my questions! I can’t wait for everyone to read THE FORGOTTEN Series!


Thank you!


About Cecilia:

Cecilia Randell was born in Austin, Texas and grew up in a home with her very own Cheerful Bulldozer.  After some brief adventures in various places such as California and Florida, she returned to her hometown and took up a career in drafting.  A lifetime lover of words and stories, the transition to writing was two-fold: a comment from a relative and a short line from another author, saying to write what you want to read.

And thus the new adventure was born.

Now she can be found most days curled up in a comfy chair and creating new tales to share with others.





Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a signed set of the books, US Only.
3 winners will receive the series in ebooks, International.




Tour Schedule:
Week One:
7/8/2019- BookHounds- Interview
7/8/2019- A Dream Within A Dream- Excerpt

7/9/2019- Jaime's World- Guest Post
7/9/2019- Owl Always Be Reading- Guest Post

7/10/2019- The Tired Buyer- Guest Post
7/10/2019- Julia Swoons- Excerpt

7/11/2019- Smada's Book Smack- Excerpt
7/11/2019- Lisa Loves Literature- Spotlight

7/12/2019- Books a Plenty Book Reviews- Review
7/12/2019- Two Chicks on Books- Interview

Week Two:
7/15/2019- Sometimes Leelynn Reads- Review
7/15/2019- Cindy's Love of Books- Review

7/16/2019- Book Briefs- Review
7/16/2019- Burgandy Ice- Excerpt

7/17/2019- The Reading Life- Review
7/17/2019- Parajunkee- Excerpt

7/18/2019- Bri's Book Nook- Review
7/18/2019- Reese's Reviews- Review

7/19/2019- Drink Coffee and Read Books- Review
7/19/2019- Good Choice Reading- Excerpt

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