Saturday 16 February 2019

Riftmaker Blog Tour: Character Spotlight on Heather

Today I welcome the Riftmaker blog tour and have a spotlight for you for the character of Heather from the book. Riftmaker is a steampunk portal fantasy by Phoebe Darqueling and looks fabulous. So enjoy...

Meet Heather

Like all members of The Chosen, Heather’s name comes from nature. When her people were driven out of the city to fend for themselves in the forest, they adopted this practice to set them apart from the greedy, progress-obsessed denizens of Excelsior. Although her name may come from a flower, Heather is all leather and no lace. When I found this photo spread by Pixie Vision of Felicia Day in Steampunk military garb, it felt a lot like this character.

She is a member of an elite strike force that operates on both sides of the rift. On one side, she’s a human with a long, scarlet braid. On the other side, AKA our world, she’s a panther. She spends so much time moving between the two realms, the speed, balance, and ferocity of her panther-self bleed into her human shape. Heather is a predator through and through, which leaves little room for remorse.

Her father is the leader of The Chosen, but her mother was lost on a mission to the other side. Heather is her father’s right hand woman, and never fails at her missions. But despite her frequent trips to our world, she has led a sheltered life with only her father’s words to show her the shape of things. If his plan succeeds and The Chosen take over Excelsior, her world will become a lot bigger. There’s no telling how new the experiences or the new people she encounters will change her, and it may not be for the better.

Here’s a little taste of Heather with an excerpt from Riftmaker.

As Cirroc peered at the oblivious people below, he found it difficult to think of them as the same as the faceless “enemy” the Commander referred to. Unlike the encampment in the forest, there were children in the kitetown. He shuddered to think of the members of Brigade descending upon them.

He glanced at the woman at his side, her eyes staring fixedly at the dancers. Heather did not acknowledge him with her eyes, but when she sensed his regard, her hungry leer widened. “Shall I give the go-ahead?” she asked as she surveyed the gather, nearly salivating with her desire to pounce.

A torch smoldered a few yards away, giving them a meager light to see by—not that the Brigade really needed any. Though the Brigade occasionally came inside the city’s walls, most often their missions took them through the rifts to explore on the other side. The entire corps was each some breed of feline in their otherworld form, and most retained some of the enhanced night vision of their species as a result.

“I am your commanding officer, Heather, and when we are in the field, you will call me ‘sir.’ Is that clear?” Cirroc snapped, sounding far more confident than he felt. He would not admit it to anyone, but he found Heather’s proximity both unsettling and oddly riveting.

She turned her strange, almost glowing eyes to him, and he could feel their pull. He’d just given her an order, but just like her father, a sliver of his mind was telling him to obey whatever she said instead. The lenses the mask she kept at the ready on top of her head flashed in the firelight. “Of course,” she purred, “sir.”

“Then, yes, give the signal,” he answered, both eager for her to leave and loath to set her among the happy crowd below. Heather reached for the torch to signal the others on the adjacent rooftops, the wicked brass claws on her gloves catching the firelight. Heather and her comrades were all outfitted with this kind of gear to help them climb, but Cirroc could imagine the damage they could also do to flesh.

He caught her shoulder as she turned to go. “And I don’t want any casualties,” he warned, leveling his gaze. “Is that clear?”
“But he didn’t say anything about that at the briefing,” she whined. Looking down at his hand on her arm, she added a sneered “sir” that dripped with malice.

Cirroc released her arm, but managed not to flinch or give in to her unblinking gaze. “Our goal is to cause a little chaos and get what we came for. Nothing more, nothing less,” he replied.

“As you wish…” she purred. “Sir.” 

Riftmaker by Phoebe Darqueling

Save his boy, uncover a conspiracy, and master opposable thumbs—a dog’s work is never done.

Buddy’s favorite thing is curling up for a nap at the foot of Ethan's bed. Then he stumbles through a portal to a clockwork city plagued by chimeras, and everything changes… Well, not everything. Sure, his new human body comes with magic powers, but he’d still rather nap than face the people of Excelsior, who harbor both desire and fear when it comes to “the other side.”

He discovers Ethan followed him through the portal and underwent his own transformation, and it becomes Buddy’s doggone duty to save him. Buddy finds unlikely allies in an aristocrat with everything on the line, a mechanic with something to hide, and a musician willing to do anything to protect her. Using a ramshackle flying machine, the group follows the chimeras deep into the forest and uncovers a plot that could reshape the worlds on both sides of the rift.

Riftmaker is available at:
Other Retailers
In Paperback

Riftmaker is available for $3.99 from Amazon and a variety of other e-book retailers. Print price is $18.99 from Amazon and the Our Write Side store.

Find more character spotlights, book reviews, guest posts, and interviews with Phoebe Darqueling during the Riftmaker blog tour, Jan 24 - Mar 6.  

Do you like free books? Sure you do! Get a FREE COPY of The Steampunk Handbook right now.

About the Author

Phoebe Darqueling is the pen name of a globe trotting vagabond who currently hangs her hat in Freiburg, Germany. In her “real life” she writes curriculum for a creativity competition for kids. She loves all things Steampunk and writes about her obsession on You can find her short stories in the Chasing Magic and The Queen of Clocks and Other Steampunk Tales anthologies, and her contributions to the collaborative novels, Army of Brass and Esyld’s Awakening.

You can find more of Phoebe’s antics on her WebsiteFacebookTwitter, and Instagram


Phoebe Darqueling said...

Thanks for hosting me :)

A. F. Stewart said...

You're welcome, Phoebe. A delight to host, your book looks great.

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