Daughter of the Goddess Lands Book Tour (+Review)6:30 PM
It is my huge pleasure to be a part of this book tour. :) Have fun! Also, I know this is a ginormous post but that's because it holds all kinds of scrumptious stuffs like a review, an excerpt, and a guest post from the author, so PLEASE (I'll give you virtual chocolate) read all the way through if you can handle it. ;)
Daughter of the Goddess Lands by Sandra Saidak
Publication Date: November 2011
Publisher: Uffington Horse Press
Genre(s): Prehistoric Fiction
Daughter of the Goddess Lands is the unforgettable saga of Kalie, a courageous young heroine born into the untamed beauty of prehistoric Europe. Kalie's peaceful life is shattered when a brutal attack by horsemen from the east leave her scarred in body and soul. As the sole survivor of the assault, Kalie makes her way home, and warns her people to prepare for the invasion that she knows is coming. But the goddess-worshiping farmers of her home have no concept of battle, and dismiss Kalie's warning.
When the marauders strike again, they cut a swath of destruction and death that prove too late the truth of Kalie’s words. Then Haraak, the leader of the invaders, demands a tribute of gold, grain and women in exchange for sparing her village. Yet it is in Harak's cruel show of power that Kalie sees a chance to save her people--and gain revenge for herself. Kalie leads a group of volunteers to infiltrate the horseman's society, and then destroy them from within.
Once she is among them, Kalie uses her skill as a storyteller, and her knowledge of healing to penetrate the horsemen’s inner circle and to discover the secrets that could lead to their destruction. But Kalie discovers that price of revenge is high, and that a quest for vengeance can become a journey of healing and redemption.
I still recommend this book, just only to mature readers.
The main character Kalie is extremely different from the other women around her. She's strong and hot-headed, but also gentle and kind. She's someone who has gone through so much and emerged without being destroyed. I loved the relationships she has with those around her and how she was portrayed realistically--she wanted to teach the people that take her, for example, but sometimes she gets extremely angry and it hinders her progress.
Which I can completely understand. There were times that I got so, SO disgusted with and furious at what are known as the beastmen. They are so uncaring and animalistic, but then....I'll just have to let you figure it out for yourself. And these beastmen contrasted really strongly with the other, sort of opposing, people. These other people were so naive and gentle that it was hard to believe that they really didn't know certain things. Another interesting part of these people was that women had a position of power in their society which I found awesome.
The setting is really interesting, being Prehistoric Fiction which I've never read before. It's set in the BCs where everything is still done by hand (of course) and the whole thing of reading about different communities was great.
Finally, the writing. I felt like the writing was done pretty well. There were only a few parts where I thought maybe it could have been written a little better but overall it was really good. The description was good and the author used unique metaphors.
Overall, this was a really good read that I would recommend to readers who like prehistoric times, raiders, strong women, and people learning to expect freedom.
(from Chapter 12)
“But what does he mean?” asked a young woman, whose plaintive tone reminded Kalie of a sheep. “People cannot be owned! Women or men, it makes no difference. Can’t you just explain that to him?”
Kalie sighed, tired of answering the same question, no matter how many different ways it was phrased.
“Well?” demanded the man seated next to the speaker, his arm around her. The meeting was being held in the largest shrine in Riverford, much larger than the one Kalie had met them in the night before. Perhaps eight hands of people were crowded inside, with several times that number waiting anxiously in the courtyard outside.
Kalie looked at the young couple, afraid that if she tried to explain yet again, she would say something that she would regret.
She was spared having to answer by Maris. “Whether we like it or not,” the ancient healer said in a voice that belied her age, “we have been called to deal with people who are entirely different from any we have ever encountered. Or imagined. Kalie has explained this notion of ‘slavery’ to us. Refusing to believe it will not change the fact that it is.”
“I will gladly hand over the gold and cloth,” said Yelene. “Even weapons of copper, though I shudder to think of those tools in the hands of such creatures. And as for food, I say give them our honey and wine and every bit of seed grain we have. All of that can be replaced! But I cannot give them human beings! I cannot ask any one of us to even consider such a sacrifice.”
A heavy silence settled over the room. Kalie knew it was now or never.
“There may be a way,” she began. “Yelene is right when she said that material wealth can be replaced. But now that these beastmen know of us—of great wealth in the west, held by people who know nothing of war—they will return, and in greater numbers. If the lands of the Goddess are to survive, I believe that the answer lies within Haraak’s demand for slaves.”
There was a roar of protest, but Yelene silenced it with a glance. “How?”
“What I am going to suggest will sound like madness—and it may very well be.” She faltered, suddenly unsure of how to continue.
“It’s all right, child,” said Maris. “The words are in you. Just let them out.” She whispered to the apprentice beside her, and the young woman brought Kalie a cup of something steaming. Kalie thanked her and sipped carefully. A rich, flowery tea greeted her tongue, and while she was trying to guess the ingredients, inspiration struck.
“There is a story I learned while I lived with the healers at Hot Springs.” Kalie’s voice took on the cadence of a storyteller. “Far in the north, where the snow never melts, there lives a bear that is pure white. When it stands on two legs, it is the height of three men, and no spear or arrow made by the hand of man can kill it. But the people who share this bear’s domain have developed an unusual weapon, for such times as when a bear ravages a village, or when hunger makes the people desperate.
“They take a ball of fat, softened by fire, and into it they slide a double bladed knife, folded together, and held in place by the fat as it hardens. They then leave the ball by whatever water source the bear drinks from. The bear usually swallows the ball whole, and goes on his way.”
“And when the fat melts inside his stomach…” Maris took up the story. “The knife springs open and kills the bear—from the inside.”
“A rather cruel way to hunt,” said Yelene.
“Killing is often cruel,” said a man across the room. “As much as we might seek to make it otherwise. But when threatened, all creatures will use whatever means are available to be the one who survives, even if another must die.”
Yelene fixed Kalie with a piercing gaze. “What do you have in mind, child?”
“Haraak has demanded slaves. I say we should give him slaves. Women, willing to sacrifice their lives to save our world from his. We will be the knife swallowed by the bear. We will destroy their world—from within.”
Guest Post by the Author
My Self-Publishing Journey
I can still clearly remember the day when self-publishing became a reality for me.
I was having lunch with my friend George, who has read just about everything I’ve written in the past 30 years. This was three years ago, early summer 2011. As a teacher, I had some time off to look forward to. Back then, that meant dividing all my time and energy between writing and the mostly fruitless quest to see my writing for sale in a book store. I’d spent the above mentioned 30 years trying to get published and so far, had only three short stories and a comic book on my resume (all of which I am still very proud of). I’d also had, at different time, two agents who hadn’t worked out.
I’d heard of self-publishing, of course. I’d even been to a couple of conferences where it was discussed in panels, and companies who sold assistance to writers put on presentations. But it still seemed like vanity press to me. (And it definitely was definitely viewed as vanity press to just about all my fellow writers at the time.) Fortunately, I told myself, it was still too expensive. As long as I couldn’t afford it, there was no decision to make. I decided that if I hadn’t had a novel published by the time I retired from teaching, and I could afford it, then I would self-publish.
Then, over lunch, George asked, “Which of your novels is the closest to being ready to publish?”
At that time, I had been working on two projects: an alternative history novel set on an earth ruled by a victorious Nazi Germany, and a feminist prehistoric novel, which had grown into a series. I said the prehistoric one was the closest to ready. It also had the advantage of a ready-made niche to whom I had access through various Jean Auel discussion groups. Plus, I had written some popular fanfic on www.ecfans.com.
George asked: “How much would you be willing to spend to get it published?”
I laughed and said, “Three hundred dollars!” I figured that was the end of it, because I knew it couldn’t be done for that little.
But George said, “Ok, let’s do it for three hundred.” And that was how it started.
I learned that, while CreateSpace and Smashwords will do a lot of amazing things with books for a fee, they also have a lot of free services. And Amazon will let anyone publish for free on Kindle. All I needed was someone with the right computer skills to do the formatting, help me set up a website, and navigate this strange new world. Between George, his wife Donji, and my husband Tom, I had all of that. This is something that I can never repay. Between them, they launched my novels. All I had to do was write them.
Next, I had to learn the joys of marketing and self-promotion.
But that’s another blog post.
Sandra Saidak is a high school English teacher by day, author by night. Her hobbies include reading, dancing, attending science fiction conventions, researching prehistory, and maintaining an active fantasy life (but she warns that this last one could lead to dangerous habits such as writing). Sandra lives in San Jose with her husband Tom, daughters Heather and Melissa, and two cats. Sandra's prehistoric fiction series, Kalie's Journey, began with the novel Daughter of the Goddess Lands, and epic set in the late Neolithic Age and published in November 2011 by Uffington Horse Press. Book 2 of the series, Shadow of the Horsemen, was released in July of 2012. Book 3, Keepers of the Ancient Wisdom, will be released later this year. Sandra loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to post a comment on her Author's Page, or her website at www.sandrasaidak.com/.
Note: Sorry for the wacky formatting on the guest post. Blogger's not cooperating. :(
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.