Author: Dale Ibitz
Page count: 286
Genre: YA Fantasy
I currently live in New Hartford, CT. I’ve been writing for 17 years, attended Central Connecticut State University, and have always had a soft spot for YA, especially fantasy. I’m a fan of hiking, the outdoors, seriously good writing, and I never, ever start the day without chocolate.
Music inspires me, and I like to listen to groups such as Puddle of Mudd, Three Days Grace, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, and Breaking Benjamin, to name a few.
If you were to visit my house, you’d meet my husband, 2 kids, our dog Lea (most people simply refer to her as The Beast…and for good reason), our kitten Luna (affectionately known as Loony Luna), a gaggle of ducks, and a flock of hens ruled by a tyrannical rooster we call The Stump, or Stumpy. How he got his name is a long story…maybe I’ll tell you sometime!
Tell us about your book:
Strong Blood continues the story of Haley, who tumbles to a parallel world (Eyidora) where the gods of nature are at war and Haley, descendant of the Air Eyid, needs to find the lost Eyid stones to restore harmony to nature. While the Eyids are at war, Haley struggles with her own battles.
She’s mired in a battle with Ian, the Fire Eyid descendant, over the lost Eyid stones. She needs the stones to stop the war, and he needs the stones to destroy Eyidora. She knows where the Land Eyid stone is hidden, and she races to Tamoor to find it before Ian does.
Haley still doesn’t trust Tuggin, the stone-faced Eyidoran assigned to protect her. As a Menta witch, he’s adept at lying, mind-control, and killing. Even though Haley is starting to believe that Tuggin may be serving more than one master, she continues to battle her feelings for him, never sure which duty he feels most inclined to serve.
But Haley’s biggest battle of all comes when she meets Luke and Telsa, twins with undeniable strength. Haley invites them to join her on her mission to find the Land Eyid stone. Has she put her trust in someone who may be just as dark and dangerous as Ian, the descendant of Fire himself?
How long did it take to write the book?
Since I work full-time, writing comes to me slowly. Between first draft and final editing, the book took me over 2 years to finish.
What inspired you to write the book?
I first got the idea when my son was born. Global climate change was the hot topic of the day. The issue seemed so hopeless, with no way to turn back the clock on the damage to Earth and the ozone. I started thinking of (fantastical) ways to fix the damage, and the idea of nature gods at war came to me. Thus the Eyids were born.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
There’s no routine to my writing other to grab those spare moments to write when I can. I take a bus to and from work, and I bring my netbook with me and write then. It’s my most productive time.
On Eyidora, the mentas (witches) and Eyid descendants are able to read emotions. I researched the meanings of colors in order to assign emotions to colors (you won’t see much of this until book 3, however). I also did some research on mythical creatures, and I use some of them in my books (like sleipnir, the 8-legged, winged horses).
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
First and foremost, enjoyment in reading. But I would seriously like readers to take note of our world and the state it’s in, and try to be as green as possible!
Where can we go to buy your book?
Any other links or info you’d like to share?
My website: http://daleibitz.wix.com/daleibitz
Excerpt from book:
I bolted from my room and scurried down the hall. Head down, focused on reaching the Portrait Hall – where I hoped I could sort out my nightmares and insecurities – I rounded the corner and smacked into a very firm, very warm obstruction.
An exotic, coconut scent invaded my head and warmed my veins. My breath evaporated in a tiny gasp, a mental sigh popping like a bubble inside my head. A tongue of electricity caressed my spine, and my stomach muscles spasmed. I didn’t need to lift my gaze to know what I’d just run in to.
I stepped back. We stared at each other in the cold hallway, and that faint buzz of electricity I felt whenever I came into contact with Tuggin skittered over my body. My conflicted feelings about him battled in my chest, taking a couple of nicks at my heart. While my body initiated a melt-down sequence when I gazed at his ice-blue eyes, longish, dirty-blond hair, and over-all Greek Godiness, my brain registered several shortcomings in the demeanor department. Emotionally he was a void – a zero, a big, fat nothing – and snarkier than a hornet trapped in a used pee cup. Not to mention that he disliked me. Immensely.
His black tunic brushed against muscled arms and wide chest, which narrowed down to a pair of solid hips and long, strong, legs. I bit my lip, trying to not think about what lay beneath those clothes. I tried to douse the heat slipping through my gut, but the flare of nostrils indicated Tuggin had already spied the taint of my infatuation. I sucked my lips between my teeth. Damn, but he was serious hall-god material.
Tuggin leaned against the wall with his arms crossed. His gaze held the warmth of a glacier and the softness of boulder. I tried to meet him glare for glare, the trickling warmth that had ignited my spine a moment ago icing over.
As my Menta-protecter, Tuggin always knew what I was feeling, and what I was thinking. Mentas were trained to fight, to influence people’s thoughts, and to read emotions. Those powers made them pretty well-suited to protecting Council members and Eyid-emos. That was, of course, before the war had erupted generations ago, and those Council members and Eyid-emos who weren’t killed went into hiding. At that point, the Mentas took control of Eyidora.
Those powers also enabled Mentas to become very adept at assassination.
And Tuggin was dammed good at his job; he’d saved my ass on more than one occasion.
I lifted my chin. I was descendant of the Air Eyid, and I had the same powers as Tuggin. And I was learning to use them. Uncle Sal had been teaching me to block lunta intrusion so that no one could force me to do anything against my will. Hiding my emotions, however, was impossible. My emotions always seemed to erupt, no matter how hard I tried to empty my body of feeling.
Tuggin’s gaze melted down my body like butter, then slid back up, coming to rest on my necklace. Goose bumps collided against my skin. I wrapped my arms over my chest, aware that my nightgown didn’t hide much, and wished I’d at least grabbed a bathrobe. And why hadn’t I used the comb to brush my tangled hair rather than pry the board from my wall?
“Going somewhere?” he asked.