Ice Country (The Country Saga #2)
by David Estes
Dazz, a hard-edged, fun-loving Icer, likes fighting, particularly while at his favorite watering hole. However, while recovering from a particularly bad break up, his decision to engage in a brutal pubroom brawl leads to a series of events that thrust him into a dark and mysterious scandal involving King Goff, the ice country ruler.
When his seven-year-old sister is abducted in the dark of night, Dazz pledges to do whatever it takes to get her back, embarking on a quest that threatens to rip apart the very fabric that’s barely holding his shattered family together.
Along the way he meets a group of unlikely allies in the form of a travelling group of fire country natives. Can Dazz, when joined with his best friend, Buff, and new tan-skinned friends, defeat the King and his guards before it’s too late for his sister?
PRAISE FOR “ICE COUNTRY”:
-“5 stars! David Estes creates captivating and original worlds that you love to get lost in!” Alexandria Theodosopoulos- Goodreads
-“Richly filled with new characters and story without leaving the old behind…a seamless transition into another side of a fantastic world.” Kerri Hughes- Goodreads
Release Date: April 4th,2013.
Formats Available for Purchase: Paperback (only at Amazon) Kindle, epub and Smashwords.
It all starts with a girl. Nay, more like a witch. An evil witch, disguised as a young seventeen-year-old princess, complete with a cute button nose, full red lips, long dark eyelashes, and deep, mesmerizing baby blues. Not a real, magic-wielding witch, but a witch just the same.
Oh yah, and a really good throwing arm. “Get out!” she screams, flinging yet another ceramic vase in my general direction.
I duck and it rebounds off the wall, not shattering until it hits the shiny marble floor. Thousands of vase-crumbles crunch under my feet as I scramble for the door. I fling it open and slip through, slamming it hard behind me. Just in time, too, as I hear the thud of something heavy on the other side. Evidently she’s taken to throwing something new, maybe boots or perhaps herself.
Luckily, her father’s not home, or he’d probably be throwing things too. After all, he warned his daughter about Brown District boys.
Taking a deep breath, I cringe as a spout of obscenities shrieks through the painted-red door and whirls around my head, stinging me in a dozen places. You’d think I was the one who ran around with a four-toed eighteen-year-old womanizer named LaRoy. (That’s LaRoy with a “La”, as he likes to say.) As it turns out, I think LaRoy has softer hands than she does.
As I slink away from the witch’s upscale residence licking my wounds, I try to figure out where the chill I went wrong. Despite her constant insults, narrow-mindedness, and niggling reminders of how I am nothing more than a lazy, liquid-ice-drinking, no-good scoundrel, I think I managed to treat her pretty well. I was faithful, always there for her—not once was I employed while courting her—and known on occasion to show up at her door with gifts, like snowflake flowers or frosty delights from Gobbler’s Bakery down the road. She said the flowers made her feel inadequate, on account of them being too beautiful—as if there was such a thing—and the frosty’s, well, she said I gave them to her to make her fat.
She was my first ever girlfriend from the White District. I should’ve listened to my best friend, Buff, when he said it would end in disaster.
David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. He grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife and soul mate, Adele, who he’s now been happily married to for more than two years.
A reader all his life, David began writing novels for the children’s and YA markets in 2010, and has completed 14 novels, 12 of which have been published. In June of 2012, David became a fulltime writer and is now travelling the world with Adele while he writes books, and she writes and takes photographs.
David gleans inspiration from all sorts of crazy places, like watching random people do entertaining things, dreams (which he jots copious notes about immediately after waking up), and even from thin air sometimes!
David’s a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, an obsessive Goodreads group member, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table. He loves responding to e-mails, Facebook messages, Tweets, blog comments, and Goodreads comments from his readers, all of whom he considers to be his friends.
Learn more about the author at: http://davidestesbooks.blogspot.com
1. What inspired you to write the Country Saga?
For Fire Country, it was one of those Oprah “Aha!” moments. It was while I was writing the second book of The Dwellers Saga, which I originally planned 3 books for. Then I had an idea to turn the Dwellers into 4 books. The moment that idea popped into my head, Siena started talking to me. At first she was just a potential new character for the 4th Dwellers book, but then she became so important and so real-sounding in my head that I knew she needed her own book, and even her own series. So nothing really inspired The Country Saga, it was just one of those writer’s moments when everything comes together in your head and you know you have a story to tell.
2. How does the series differ from your other series, including the Moon Dwellers which it is based on?
I love this question, especially since I’ve never had it before! Well, the setting is completely different, for one. Adele and Tristan had to fight through the underground world of the Dwellers in order to face a corrupt government. The Country Saga takes place aboveground, and there’s no central government; rather, a disparate assortment of tribes that live in very different climates. The Heaters, for example, live in the deserts of Fire Country, while the Icers live in the freezing cold and snow of Ice Country. There are other tribes that you’ll learn about later in the series too. However, all the tribes are connected by a conspiracy that will have the main characters travelling far and wide to get to the bottom of, facing some of the evilest people on the face of the earth.
Another major difference is that there’s a lot more slang in the Country Saga. Each tribe has their own slang, so you really feel like you’re a part of a distinct group of people. I had so much fun creating each of the slangs and I love when I see my readers using the tribal words in their reviews and in discussion threads.
3. How did you know you wanted to become an author?
I started seriously writing in September 2010. Before then, like so many others out there, I’ve LOVED reading my entire life, more than any other activity. In the back of my mind, I always wanted to write my own books, but I always managed to come up with an excuse—either I’m too busy, too lazy, or I just don’t have good enough ideas—to not do it. Perhaps it was a fear of failure, I’m not really sure. But for whatever reason, I drifted along, reading, but not really writing.
Then I met my wife, Adele, a sweet and beautiful Australian, who encouraged me to put my dreams first. So, while I had a few weeks off before a new desk job in September 2010, I started writing a book using the first idea that came into my head, one about angels and demons that evolved from humans. Six weeks later, Angel Evolution was born!
I’d officially caught the writing bug, and so I kept writing, averaging 2,000 words a day, and slowly moving up to 3,000 words. I finished my first children’s book, Nikki Powergloves, 4 weeks later. Then I wrote Demon Evolution in another 6 weeks and followed it up with a middle grade book called I am Touch, which I have yet to publish. Finally, 10 months after starting Angel Evolution, I completed Archangel Evolution. So I had 5 books written in 10 months, but hadn’t published any of them!
So I just went for it! The rest has been a whirlwind adventure in which I’ve written 14 books in less than two and a half years, 12 of which are now published. On the back of The Moon Dwellers, I became a fulltime author in June of 2012, making what started out as a dream become a reality!
4. What is your favourite novel you have written to date?
Fire Country, no question about it. I’ve loved writing all my books in different ways, but Fire Country hit me the hardest. The main character, Siena, as I alluded to earlier, started talking to me from the very beginning. Not softly, in whispers, but like a strong-willed, funny, interesting character with a whole lot to say. She really comes alive in the book, mostly because she practically wrote herself. Even the slang just spills out of her mouth with such ease. I feel really fortunate to have had a chance to write this book, it was the easiest project I ever worked on.
5. What do you find challenging about writing full-time?
Another great question! I could say a few things, but one thing really sums this up: Becoming complacent. That’s the real challenge. Given I’ve written and published so many books now, and have a solid backlist that continues to sell books even when I’m taking a break in between projects, it’s very easy to become complacent and take a long break, or not do as many blog posts, or not interact with my readers as much. So far my approach has been to snub complacency and treat every day like a gift. I rarely take a day off from writing, and never take a day off from interacting with my readers. I love them all so much and treat their friendship and support like the major blessing that it is.
6. Why did you choose to go down the indie writing pathway?
I’m assuming by this question you mean Traditional vs Indie or self-published. I would love to be traditionally published and I queried literary agents relentlessly with my early books, but without success. Nikki Powergloves came the closest by making it to the final round of reviews by the editors at Walker Books, although The Moon Dwellers was also read by the editors at Spencer Hill Press. Eventually, however, I knew I just wanted to get my books out there so readers could enjoy them, and so I could start getting feedback and building a platform.
Six months in I realized that there were so many benefits to being an Indie author that I stopped querying. The success I was having was also a factor. Being able to quit my day job to write was a clear indication to me that I could publish on my own (thus retaining control of my books from start to finish) and still gain enough readers to make it a career. I also love that by cutting out the publisher I can keep my ebooks at a low price for my readers, generally between $.99 and $3.99. Which means people can afford to read more of my books which I LOVE!
Finally, I love that Indie publishing allows me to stay closer to my readers. Via my many social networking platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, my blog, and my all-time favorite, Goodreads (go to the end of the interview for links), I’m able to interact with my readers and fans on a daily basis in a nice, informal environment. I love getting comments, messages, and questions from readers and other self-published authors, and I take the time to answer each and every one individually, which takes up at least half of the time I allocate to being an author.
7. What advice would you offer other indie writers?
I get a ton of messages from other Indies out there asking for advice and I think it boils down to just a few key things.
1) Write awesome books and always work to perfect your craft. No matter how good you think you are, you can always get better and there’s always someone who’s better than you, so listen to feedback, take on constructive feedback, and strive to make each book your best one yet.
2) Become part of the reading/writing community. Don’t do this to sell people your books! Do this because you love books and writing and want to talk to other likeminded people. People will respect you more as a peer than some omniscient writer who thinks they deserve attention just because they write books.
3) Don’t over promote! This is absolutely crucial, because there are so many Indies out there all shouting for people to read their books. So if you shout, too, you’ll just fade into the noise with the rest of them. Less is more. This goes hand in hand with number 2 above. Be a reader first, be helpful in the book community by recommending the books that you love, and never, ever recommend your own book! If your books are good, people will read them because they respect you as a person, and then they’ll tell all their friends to read them too.
4) Give away LOTS of free books. I know how hard this is, because I’ve been there. You work so hard to write a book and then you should give them away for free? Well, yeah, you have to because no one knows how you are or how good a writer you are. Focus on building a fan base over a LONG period of time. There are very few Amanda Hocking’s or Stephenie Meyer’s out there who will find almost instant success. Give your books away in exchange for reviews and over time, the readers will come. Be patient and never give up.
For more on how Indies can promote their books, I wrote a rather popular blog post with My Dos and Don’ts for Attracting New Readers. Here’s a link: http://davidestesbooks.blogspot.com/2012/11/my-dos-and-donts-for-attracting-new.html
That’s it! I just want to thank Jeann for taking the time to have me on her blog and for the awesome questions!! Also, I pledged when I started writing to always respond to readers, and love getting comments and questions, so please contact me using one of my favorite social networking sites included in this post. As always, happy reading!!
Tour Wide giveaway: 5 e-copies of “Fire Country” (The Country Saga #1) and 2 e-copies of “Ice Country” (The Country Saga #2).
Remember to check BOOK 1 in “The Country Saga”: Fire Country.
In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer’s even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely.Due to toxic air, life expectancies are so low the only way the tribe can survive is by forcing women to procreate when they turn sixteen and every three years thereafter. It is their duty as Bearers.
Fifteen-year-old Siena is a Youngling, soon to be a Bearer, when she starts hearing rumors of another tribe of all women, called the Wild Ones. They are known to kidnap Youngling girls before the Call, the ceremony in which Bearers are given a husband with whom to bear children with.
As the desert sands run out on her life’s hourglass, Siena must uncover the truth about the Wild Ones while untangling the web of lies and deceit her father has masterfully spun.
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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence