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Pledges of Honor by Joyce Reynolds-Ward is an Indie Reads event pick #fantasy #indiereads #giveaway



Title:

Pledges of Honor


Author:

Joyce Reynolds-Ward


Genre:

Fantasy


Book Blurb:


PLEDGES OF HONOR introduces us to Katerin, a wandering circuit healer seeking to avoid both her past and a prophecy that could mean her doom. But when the suicide of a village healer sweeps her into the intrigues of Gods and humans, she has no choice but to face past and prophecy to do what is right. Can Katerin forge an alliance with the dangerously attractive Metkyi, avoid the curses of her destiny, and help restore a hidden leader to her rightful place? Explore this high fantasy story with a non-European setting and strong female characters for something different!


Excerpt:


Gods, but it felt good to sit next to a good solid fire burning strong inside a stove after days of bushwhacking in the cold and wet! Katerin Healer propped her hands behind her and leaned back on her stool to take full advantage of the heat playing across her entire body, stretching her feet closer to that warm stove. This border village of Wickmasa was two days west of her usual circuit, but at least she and her horse Mira had reached it.


Safe. Warm. Finally.


A rich scent whispering of damp fertile soil and sun-warmed sweet fruit rather than the sage and pine of this village’s high mountain meadows teased her nostrils.


“What is that? Starberry?” she asked Wickmasa’s healer, Makri, who stirred a small pot that simmered on top of the stove.


“You’ve a good nose,” Makri said. “Starberry wine it is indeed, this year’s vintage.”


Katerin frowned. Saubral produce starberry wine.


Makri caught her frown. “It’s not tainted,” he said quickly. “We don’t trade directly with the Saubral. I got this starberry at the Harvest Fair in Nere a month ago. I always like to lay in a supply for winter. It makes a good winter cough potion base. I—we—don’t trade with Saubral here.”


“I know it makes a good potion base,” Katerin said. “I’ve used it myself.”


I just don’t like being around it so soon after a Shadowwalker attack. Especially after she and her horse Mira had escaped that attack two days ago, in a place that should have been safe. Starberry so soon after didn’t feel right. Not remembering details she should be able to remember about Wickmasa definitely felt wrong.


Makri handed a cup to her. “This is starberry with a touch of Dovré’s Blessing and winter’s mint. I find it helps to settle the soul after a time like you’ve just had.”


Katerin cautiously inhaled the aromatic scent rising from the cup. She knew the recipe. But if he had gotten the proportions wrong—gods, Dovré’s Blessing was rare and often substitutes were sold as the true herb. Such substitutes were at best ineffective and at worst, could kill. Not knowing much about Wickmasa and the competence of this healer Makri didn’t help her uneasiness about this potion. Most border villages couldn’t afford to maintain their own healer, but depended on circuit healers to pay periodic visits. She’d never met Makri at any healer’s gathering, which gave her even more grounds for caution.


Still, he and the village had given her shelter for the night. Mira hadn’t seemed bothered by the place, only grumping about sharing a corral with Makri’s horse instead of wandering free. Wickmasa was clearly Keldaran, not part of the Saubral, in both longhouse lodge style and in the Keldaran banner flying high above the headwoman’s house. The village guards had greeted her in the name of the three Leaders, Heinmyets, Alicira and Inharise. All good signs. She was just nervous after that Shadowwalker attack.


The drink was probably safe. It didn’t smell of the poisonous analogs to Dovré’s Blessing. Katerin delicately dipped the tip of her little finger into the potion to taste it.


No bitterness but a tiny sour tang that shouldn’t be present in a well-prepared potion. Beginner’s work, not the work of a skilled potioner. Not poisonous but not the true Blessing, either. Or else the proportions were so low as to be ineffective. She ventured a small sip.


The real thing, she decided. The proportions are off, and the winter’s mint is souring the Blessing. Safe enough for tonight and possibly relaxing after all.


“Thank you,” she said to Makri, who had settled on his chair, leaning against the tripod back. “Thank you for this and for dinner.”


Her rump started to itch. An image of itchy gray mare came from her horse Mira, followed by stupid gelding covered with buffalo dung.


Katerin stood, sighing. Mira had taken a dislike to Makri’s horse Soisan. Mira was quirky about her likes and dislikes, though usually she didn’t let a lower-ranking daranval like Soisan bother her this much. Darenvelii, the horse breed with extra sensitivity to the Goddess Dovré and an ability to mind-talk to bonded humans as well as between each other, had a strict hierarchy and Mira was close to the top ranks. Her strong abilities made it possible for Katerin to work a circuit alone in safety—most of the time, she reminded herself. Except when a Shadowwalker and his houndriders are where they shouldn’t be.


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What makes your featured book a must-read?


First book of the Goddess’s Honor series. Unique setting based on the Pacific Northwest with non-European elements. Pledges of Honor was a 2018 Self Published Fantasy Blog Off Semifinalist.


Giveaway –

Enter to win a $35 Amazon gift card:

Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win. Runs December 13 – December 21, 2022. Winner will be drawn on December 22, 2022.



Author Biography:


Joyce Reynolds-Ward has been called "the best writer I've never heard of" by one reviewer. Her work includes themes of high-stakes family and political conflict, digital sentience, personal agency and control, realistic strong women, and (whenever possible) horses. She is the author of The Netwalk Sequence series, the Goddess's Honor series, and the recently released The Martiniere Legacy series. Joyce is a Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off Semifinalist, a Writers of the Future SemiFinalist, and an Anthology Builder Finalist. She is the Secretary of the Northwest Independent Writers Association, a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association, and a member of Soroptimists International.


Social Media Links:


Facebook: Joyce Reynolds-Ward

Twitter: JReynoldsW1

Dreamwidth: jreynoldsward

Counter Social: joycereynoldsward

And my 3 Substacks:

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