Storm Raven by K. Hanson #BlogTour with #GuestPost & #Giveaway @khansonbooks @YABoundToursPR

Storm Raven
by K. Hanson
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: December 15th 2017

Captain Nereyda and her first mate, Brynja, lead a band of pirates as they seek out grand adventures and loot vulnerable merchant ships. However, when they attempt an overly ambitious raid, Nereyda and her crew are captured by Commander Erhan of the Imperial navy and separated. Nereyda is pressed into service aboard a ship to patrol the treacherous waters of the Shattered Sea. Meanwhile, Brynja and the rest of the crew are sent to a life of hellish labor deep in an Imperial mining prison camp.
While serving her sentence, Nereyda is shipwrecked on an unknown island. As she explores it, she stumbles into some ancient ruins and finds…something. Whatever it is, it wakes a part of Nereyda that she had not felt before. Something that could help her free the rest of her crew and return to life on the sea, if only she can learn to control it. Unfortunately, Commander Erhan is also on the island. Nereyda must escape him, get off of the island, and rescue her crew before the commander can stop her and before her crew withers away in the oppressive mines.
Read the first three chapters here

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The pirate captain chuckled. Tsk, tsk, tsk. You brought a sword to tea? That’s not very gentlemanly. It’s a pity those etiquette lessons didn’t stick.”
“Who are you to talk about etiquette? You sit at our table with your weapons, drink our tea, and laugh at us. Do you even know who my father is?” He glanced over at the older noble at the table. He’s High Judge Aydin of the Imperial Court.”
Nereyda shrugged. I’m a pirate. I do what I want. And I don’t particularly care who your dad is.”
“Stand and face me, coward.”
She sighed and rolled her eyes as she lazily eased her feet from the top of the table. With the young man’s blade following her, she pushed herself to her feet and looked into his eyes with her purple gaze, but did not draw her own weapon. Do you know how to use that thing?”
He drew himself up straight and puffed out his chest. I’ve had lessons since I was a child. I know what I’m doing.”
“Oh, I’m sure you know how to swing it around with all the right moves. Maybe you even know where to stick it. But have you had to use it for real?” She took a step toward him and held his gaze with her own. Have you ever had to kill a man?” she asked. Have you ever been one wrong move from losing your own life or one right one from taking someone else’s?”
His eyes flicked away for a moment. He swallowed but did not respond.
Another step. Have you ever looked into a man’s eyes as the life flickered out from them, just after you spilled his blood and guts from his belly?”
The blood drained from his face, leaving him pale, and he shifted uncomfortably on his feet, as if he wanted to retreat but held his ground out of pride. His grip loosened slightly, and the sword dipped lower.

Today, I’m going to take you on a tour of the world of Storm Raven, focusing on four key locations: Freyport, the Shattered Sea, the Cambisian Empire, and the Stalsta Federation.

Freyport is in a unique political situation. It is located roughly equidistant from the Stalsta Federation and the Cambisian Empire. Because of that position, both nations lay claim to the city and the island that it occupies. Both the Empire and the Federation demand that Freyport pay its fair share of taxes. However, the council that runs the city manages to keep each of them satisfied with just half of the requested amount. Neither nation wants to risk war with the other by showing up in force to collect the full tax amount or to enforce any other laws.

Because of this hands-off approach by the two large nations, Freyport has become a haven for pirates and other outlaws. As long as the governing council gets their cut, they don’t much care where the money comes from. While the Storm Raven is Nereyda’s true home, Freyport is the closest she has to a stationary home. It’s the place she and her crew go to offload whatever they take in raids, restock for the next trip, and rest after an adventure. It’s also a place where rivalries with other pirates ships sometimes create conflict.

The Shattered Sea
The Shattered Sea an expanse of thousands of islands north of the main continent.  These islands are broken up by narrow and treacherous channels that only a skilled crew can handle. The islands themselves look like shards of glass from a window that’s been smashed. As dangerous as the Shattered Sea might be, there are still those who call it home. The islands are dotted with villages populated by hardy and self-reliant people. However, the Cambisian Empire has taken an interest in the area, and those who defend themselves earn the label of “marauder.” Due to the hazardous sailing conditions and the hostile local population, sailors and soldiers are sent on missions to the Shattered Sea as punishment for various offenses, though they can also volunteer to earn favor with their superiors.

There are many stories and legends about how the Shattered Sea came to be. Some believe that a massive volcano erupted and created all of the islands. Other traditions say that a giant smashed his fist onto the world, breaking a continent that had been there. The most common belief is that it came from the wrath of the gods. Many years ago, humans had been gifted with some of the power that the gods had enjoyed. However, they squandered the gift and greedily pursued more and more. Due to humanity’s inability to restrain itself, the gods punished the world by taking back their gift and smashing half of a continent as an eternal reminder.

The Cambisian Empire
The Cambisian Empire is the dominant nation in the world of Storm Raven. It occupies the northern half of its continent, separated from the southern nations by the expansive Bosarazi Desert. With a large population and access to a wealth of resources, the Empire has a prosperous economy. However, the size of the nation presents a challenge when it comes to keeping order and defending from foreign threats. Internally, society is highly stratified. The nobility and wealthy merchants enjoy an opulent lifestyle, while most of the population labors in the fields and factories with little hope of moving to something better. In the capital of Manisa, there is a literal wall between the upper class and the rest of the city. Those at the top enjoy their luxury but have no interest in knowing the human cost.

The Empire’s main rival in the region is the Stalsta Confederation. That nation is the focus of the next section, so I won’t go too much into detail about it. However, several years before the events of Storm Raven, there was a very bloody war between the two nations. Each side claims the other caused it and it is difficult for historians to determine the true cause. The end result was that the Empire claimed a valuable mining complex in the western portion of the continent and expelled the Confederation from the continent entirely. The Empire has turned this mine into a large prison facility where they send most criminals, deserters, and prisoners of war. The resources from this mine have helped fuel an economic boom in the Empire, as they invest in building up their cities and expand the military. This growth has left those at the bottom in the dust, and the peasants and workers are growing resentful of those that are exploiting them. Nobody has dared rise up yet, but there are rumors that something is brewing.

The Stalsta Federation
The Stalsta Federation is a rising nation in the world of Storm Raven. Just a few decades before the events of Storm Raven, the Federation did not exist. Instead, there were just a number of island nations, loosely related by a shared ancestry and culture. However, that all changed with the rise of a charismatic and ambitious Foreign Minister within Stalsta, the most powerful of those nations. This minister convinced the other nations that they needed to band together for strength and protection. The Federation invested heavily in developing its industry and reforming its military. Within a few years, newly born Stalsta Federation surged to power and began to rival the nearby Cambisian Empire.
Of course, the rise of a new strong nation did not go unnoticed by the Cambisian Empire. It was not long before the two nations came into conflict. A major war erupted over control of the rich mines on the western edge of the Cambisian mainland. Each side blamed the other for the war. The Staltans claimed that it was the rightful property of a nation that wanted to join the Federation. The Cambisians accused the Stalstans of making an incursion into Cambisian territory and threatening the Empire. While the war ended with the Empire seizing control of the mines, tensions remain high between the two nations, and it seems inevitable that war will break out between them again.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick tour of the world of Storm Raven! Thanks for checking it out!

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K lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he works as a software developer. In his spare time, when he isn’t writing, he enjoys reading, working out, playing video games, and spending time with his wonderful fiancee, Bobbi. Some of his favorite authors are Tom Clancy, George R. R. Martin, and Sarah Maas.

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