Guest Post from Thaddeus Nowak
The last men Stephenie trusts disappear, leaving her unprotected and vulnerable. She knows who abducted her guards, but there is little she can do against her mother, the Queen. With both her father and brother far away fighting the Senzar invaders, her only hope to warn them about her Mother's schemes is to escape Antar Castle and make her way to the front. However, her mother would never risk allowing anything fatal to happen to her. Tradition holds that should Stephenie die, the curse of witchcraft that possesses her will rebound against her mother and her mother could not bear to live under the curse her sins drew upon her own daughter.
My name is Thaddeus Nowak, but everyone who knows me calls me Ted. I have had a lifelong love of fantasy and the /Heirs of Cothel Series/ is a story I wanted to tell for many years. The character of Stephenie resonated with me the moment I realized who she was: a strong, independent woman determined to do what she knows needs to be done to protect those she loves and considers her family.
The /Heirs of Cothel Series/ follows Stephenie as she learns the truth about herself and magic. Accompanied by a close band of friends and confidants she meets and learns to trust, she sets off on several missions to rescue and help those she loves and feels an obligation to protect. Her journeys allow her to grow and mature into a leader worthy of respect and admiration.
The five book series, including /Mother's Curse/, /Daughter's Justice/, /Daughter's Revenge/, /Daughter's Search/, and /Father's Legacy/, came to life as a result of a writing exercise. It was born from a random scene about random people that featured a young woman alone in the world. Destitute and starving, she begged for a meal at a public house in a small community. While eating, a fight broke out and this young woman used magic to defend someone else. The whole town immediately turned on her, including the woman she tried to help, and she had to flee for her life. That single scene drew me in and I had to know just who Stephenie was and how she came to be hunted and hated. The result was Stephenie's story.
Much of who Stephenie is undoubtedly has roots in my early childhood. I grew up in a small community in which my family had the only boys. Raised by the neighborhood girls, I have always gravitated to stories featuring strong female leads. And to me, a strong person is someone who makes a decision and draws others to follow them. They do not have to stoically go off and save the world on their own, but instead, through their actions, inspire those around them.
Another interesting aspect of the world I created is the magic system. With my background in chemistry, math, and computers, I wanted a magic system based more on physics than anything else. Of course, very few of those living in the world understand how magic works, resulting in the belief in spells and enchantments. This ignorance and belief in superstition emerged as a result of long ago wars that led to what became the Dark Ages in my world. As time passed, people unschooled in magic began associating chants, physical movement, and certain object with effects that coincidentally manipulated the world around them. As a result, people started to focus more on the "spell" and less on the underlying realities of magic. For example, the title /Mother's Curse/ comes from the tradition that a mother who commits a sin against the gods will have a child born a witch, so Stephenie is, in fact, her Mother's curse. However, the actual mechanics of magic is simply the manipulation of energy fields with one's mind.
The world Stephenie lives in is vast with a wide expanse to explore. In the series, she travels across many kingdoms and lands. For my own sanity, as well as hers, I built a number of maps that show her journey as well as give hints to other stories destined to exist in this world. My latest project is creating old-world style maps that Stephenie would have used or have had access to in her Father's library. Like myself, one of her biggest weaknesses are libraries full of books and maps. My hope is that you will also find pleasure in exploring the world Stephenie lives in and join her on her journeys.
Pick up all of Thaddeus's books HERE!
Synopsis of Mother's Curse
Sword Woman, Princess, ... Cursed Witch
Tradition holds that a mother who commits a mortal sin against the gods will be cursed with a daughter born a witch. Stephenie, the youngest princess of Cothel is just such a curse.
Hostage to her mother's will while her father and older brother fight a war two countries away, Stephenie must overcome her mother's plots if she is to save her father, brother, and the many soldiers she trained with.
Fearful of her mother's growing traitorous behavior, Stephenie must escape Antar Castle. But to do so, she might have to rely upon her hidden powers, risking others discovering she is a witch...a risk that would most certainly result in her death by burning.
With the help of a select group of soldiers and an unexpected ally, she just might survive.
Synopsis of Daughter's Justice
Revealed to be a witch, will she survive?
The faithful followers of Felis and the other gods are demanding that Stephenie burn to prevent the spread of the demon god’s evil. However, another voice is rising up, declaring that she has already been cleansed of Elrin’s influence and that she is chosen by the gods; it is a claim Stephenie detests.
To make matters worse, her brother, who by rights of succession is now King, lacks the funds to pay his soldiers and keep control of Cothel. Their mother, having fled to Kynto with the treasury and war supplies, has some of the dukes and many of the barons demanding more control of the country in exchange for their support.
Can Stephenie avoid the fires of the followers of Felis and the people she once called friend or will their claims of righteous anger overwhelm her support?
Even if she avoids burning alive, will her presence simply be the catalyst that plunges Cothel into a civil war?
Synopsis of Daughter's Revenge
Defeater of the Senzar, Protector of Cothel, Prophet of Catheri … but truly still only a witch
Stephenie, the youngest daughter of the late King of Cothel, overcame her mother’s treachery and escaped Antar Castle to stumble upon a lost city deep under Cothel’s capital. After awakening a ghost, she learned the truth about magic and the lies the priests have repeated for centuries.
With the help of a handful of soldiers, she rescued her brother and routed the Senzar invaders, crushing their army under an avalanche of rock when she unknowingly triggered an explosion in the Grey Mountains.
Consumed in an inferno from the explosion of magical energy, Stephenie defied all expectations and lived. Through the support of her trusted friends, many people were convinced she was the prophet of a long lost god who argued for justice. Declared cleansed of Elrin’s evil, she avoided the fires of a witch burning and slipped out of the country to steal back the treasury her had mother stolen from Cothel, thereby, securing her older brother’s place on the throne.
However, her mother has not forgotten the curse she believes herself under. Tradition dictates that a child born a witch is a punishment for sins the mother committed against the gods. Fearing the curse rebounding upon herself if Stephenie were to die, Stephenie’s mother will stop at nothing to protect herself from the demon god’s evil, including sacrificing Stephenie and eating her heart.
After a team of holy warriors capture William, Stephenie will let no one, not even her brother, stand in her way of protecting those she cares about. But this time, her mother has done something unexpected and that will once again change the course of Stephenie’s life.
Synopsis of Daughter's Search
They say one can never go home — and that seems true for Stephenie
While Princess Stephenie has returned to Antar, the warm and loving welcome she hoped for has died before she even reached the castle. Speculation and fear surround her. Accusations of crimes she never committed fill the air. A series of grisly murders plague the city. And worse, her brother distrusts her actions and fears people might support her over him.
Despite trying to navigate through the politically charged environment, Stephenie cannot turn away from what she feels compelled to do, for the murderers are using her presence and assumed guilt as a pretense for the killings and she knows these murderers are using magic.
Stephenie, with the help of her friends, must quietly stop those responsible before a backlash of fear and anger sweep over the fledgling church of Catheri. If she cannot, demands to resume witch burnings will surely return. However, if the killers are actually Senzar mages, as Stephenie fears, they may exceed her ability to stop them.
Despite the maelstrom swirling around her, all Stephenie wants is to restore Kas' body and live a quiet life with her friends. Hints and clues indicate that a secret ruling class of Senzar mages may have the knowledge she needs, but she cannot seek help from those who have tried to kill her. Instead, she wants to pursue a deeply buried family secret for the knowledge. However, should she risk pursuing the connection when everyone close to her fears it?
Synopsis of Father's Legacy
Driven to the ends of the world...
Princess Stephenie's pursuit of the murders that threatened the city of Antar took her across numerous countries and has left her with more questions than answers. Her personal quest to protect her family and closest friends exposed deeper connections to her past as well as links to the Senzar mages that invaded her country.
To gain answers to the questions, avoid the Senzar witch chasing her, and stop the man who appears to have set things in motion, she must travel north along the World's Backbone in search of a country that reportedly shut its borders twenty years earlier. For in that ice-covered country of Ista, she hopes to find the man who might be the reason her magic is so much stronger than anyone else's. The question is, can she, or any of those with her, survive what she hopes to find? And even if they do, will she ever find a way to recreate a body for Kas?
About the Author
Thaddeus has always been interested in fantasy and science fiction. Early on, when just starting high school, his avid reading grew into a desire to write. A desire which has turned into a life long pursuit.
When not reading or writing, he enjoys hiking in the mountains, landscape photography, and spending time with an overly intelligent, but wonderful horse.
He has degrees in Chemistry, Computer Information Systems, and Business Management and has held a handful of jobs: some in retail, some in healthcare, but primarily in the technology fields.
Thaddeus currently lives in Kansas with his wife and horse, but wishes there were more mountains visible on the horizon.
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