So, it has been brought to my attention that there are a few things I have to clarify. Apparently, the description of Mask of the Gods is different to how the book is represented on this web site, in this blog and in the book trailer.
In the interests of transparency, there is a general premise that runs through the book. I didn’t cover it in the book blurb or the book trailer because it’s actually not meant to be the main focus of this story and it’s quite complicated to explain in a sentence or two, but it is the main premise of a number of other books that are in the works, so I am left with little choice but to fully reveal my hand early and explain it here.
Welcome to the Sea of Souls
Haydan my main protagonist in this book, is a storm rider. Every storm rider is born with a chosen one and a warrior. The chosen one is their future mate. Their warrior will defend them and protect them, which is particularly important when a storm riders supply of magic starts to run out, as eventually they tire.
They each have a soul, that originates from the sea of souls. The souls are ancient and to Haydan’s people sacred.
Through magic their souls connect. The magic held by a storm rider brings them out of the sea and sends the souls to the relevant parents. When they die, their souls return to the sea and they are reborn.
If you didn’t already pick up on this from the book description, this means that they are a different culture, with different customs, beliefs and behaviours. Maya, who is chosen one and Arianna, who is warrior are growing up on earth. In this first book, Maya is nine years old. Arianna is nine years old with the ability to change her appearance and look and act much older. She can only do this for a certain amount of time. Haydan can switch his appearance at will.
The souls, all of their own free will, chose each other in the sea of souls before they were created. This means that Maya and Haydan’s souls fell in love in the sea before their creation.
What is the bond in the context of the mask books?
When Maya becomes an adult and turns eighteen she will choose to bond with Haydan.
Bonding is a beautiful ritual held between souls, which gifts a storm rider their full repertoire of powers and means they can use defensive magic. It’s an innocent and rather beautiful spectacle. I’m not giving away many details here, as that will spoil the other books I have planned for readers, but it is in NO way shape or form connected to my MC’s sleeping together, so get your minds out of the gutter people 🙂
Before the bond is formed Haydan’s magic is mostly just playful magic. This is covered in another book, but this is why they talk about bonding and why it is so important to a storm rider. It means they can better protect those they love.
This is also important because storm riders and consequently chosen ones and warriors are an endangered species for a reason, they are being wiped out, so an un-bonded storm rider is vulnerable.
The upshot of all this is that despite how it may initially appear, it’s actually the chosen ones who are the most significant of the three ie Maya. Not storm riders, although storm riders are careful to never let chosen ones know that. It’s a constant source of teasing from their chosen ones if they do and until they are bonded they get enough grief from other storm riders and warriors about their lack of bond.
Haydan is male because in 2012, when I had serious depression and he appeared in front of me, he was a man. I could have made him female and made Maya and Arianna male, but that wasn’t being true to my original moment of inspiration. I don’t know why my moment of inspiration took the form of a male, but he did, so there you go. Lavinia is storm rider. There are female storm riders who come into other books and Haydan’s mother, who isn’t in this book, is also storm rider.
They are not the focus of this particular story, Haydan is.
As Maya, Haydan and Arianna are part of a different culture, they behave differently to humans. They are three souls connected, not three humans. Conversations that happen between Haydan and his father Diego would happen if Haydan was a male or a female. It’s about the souls, not the person. This is an important distinction in the context of this book. Haydan acts to protect Maya and Arianna and bring them in line on occasion. It has been a long time since any of their souls have left the sea. He is sometimes controlling, but only in relation to the souls of his people. I have other books planned and this is part of Haydan’s story arc and that changes as the stories progress. He’s like this for a reason.
Additionally in the books I talk about Arianna switching into ‘warrior mode’. Warrior mode is when she changes into her soul form. This is her adult appearance, where her soul takes over. So she can switch from her child form (that of a nine year old child) into her adult form. Her soul is ancient, so she looks, talks and behaves like an adult at this stage. However she can only hold her warrior appearance for a certain amount of time before she tires and has to switch back again.
Haydan sometimes disciplines his warrior. This is part of the link between their souls. It doesn’t hurt Arianna, or indeed any of their warriors. It’s connected to their souls, not their physical or human form. Arianna always switches into her warrior mode at Haydan’s request because her (ancient) soul understands and accepts this. A few of the bloggers on my book tour have raised issue with this, so again, I’m just explaining this in the context of the book.
Also, Maya and Arianna are children in this story because given where I’m taking the series of books that sits alongside this one, this story won’t fit elsewhere in my timelines, so there is a very good reason why this story is written the way it is.
So, if you love fantasy stories that feed into a book series, as a lot of these types of books do and you have an open mind about this series then welcome, this could be the book for you. There are portals, fantasy creatures, fantasy worlds and I have been complimented on how richly layered this world is, so plenty of my readers have enjoyed this book which has been read by numerous beta readers (fantasy lovers and readers from other genres) who have given me feedback that has been incorporated into the book. It has been through three rounds of editing. I’ve had some lovely feedback, but there will always be people who don’t get this entire concept and that’s fine too.
Now you have an idea of the underlying premise behind storm riders.
One last thing to add. Most of the artwork on this web site is bespoke. It was created for me by illustrators who cost money. It takes time for work to be produced. I try and avoid stock images and only use stock images if I have the relevant licensing to do so. The only exception is Arianna who was bought as a stock image, this fits with the look of Arianna as a grown up and the image used for this article (which came from Pixabay). It’s difficult to find stock images that suit the characters as children. I have had artwork of the characters as adults for a while. This is because I have a number of books planned that take the three children from birth to adulthood. There is nothing untoward about this. It is just how I chose to represent them and given the content I had to hand, this was what I had to work with.
I do have other blog articles planned, but with my book launch being the focus I haven’t kept this blog as up to date as I perhaps should have and I have some issues with the layout of this blog that I need to address. There will be more content following about some of the characters from the book. Thanks for your patience and understanding.