Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe.
The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them. They were last seen on Ashael’s world 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land.
Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of the folk that were taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance.
Ashael begins to experience strange and terrifying visions, around the same time that Iwan arrives in the village. After saving a child from drowning, Iwan is invited to join the tribe. Still under the control of the Zanthar, he begins to form attachments to the folk of the village and especially Ashael.
Ashael’s visions grow more powerful, interfering with her ability to carry out her duties. Bhearra fears these visions are prophetic and considers sending Ashael away to train with a seer in another village. Ashael does not wish to go, desiring nothing more than to continue her training in healing and to explore her growing relationship with Iwan. When Iwan realises that Ashael is the one the Zanthar are looking for, he rejects his mission and does all he can to shield her.
When Ashael slips away from a foraging party to have some time alone with Iwan, the rest of the group goes missing with no trace. Bhearra joins in the search for them and is caught in a powerful psychic trap which renders her comatose. Ashael tries to heal her but as time passes and she is unable to wake Bhearra, the situation grows dire. In her distress, Ashael taps into a power that she did not know she had and is able to save her mentor.
One of the missing foragers returns with a message. The Zanthar have returned and they want Ashael. If she hands herself over, they will release the rest of the foragers. If she doesn’t, the rest of the group will be killed. To prove they are serious, they send the burned and damaged body of one of the foragers.
Ashael does not understand why the Zanthar would want her. She is frightened but wants to trade herself for the lives of the foragers. The question is raised with the tribe and they vote to keep Ashael in the village. Ashael is distraught but accepts their decision, until she has a vision of the foragers in their prison. She goes against the will of the community and exchanges herself for the foragers.
Only when she is a prisoner of the Zanthar does she discover the true nature of their plan, the terrible danger facing her world and her own role in protecting it.
Ashael Rising is a story of finding our place in the world, a story of relationships, with each other and with the land we live on.
"A strong debut that builds on traditional fantasy… fresh, exciting, and interesting" — Alex S Bradshaw, BFS Indie Reviews
"A wonderfully constructed novel, epic world building and a fantastic story... what more can I say?" — Peter Hutchinson, TheGrimDarkFiles
"Ashael Rising is an exciting high fantasy debut, with intriguing characters and excellent world building - an easy choice if you love fantasy!" — Sarina Langer, author of the Relics of Ar'Zac series
"This is a strong debut novel and the start of a new series. Kinsella has a sparse writing style that will not satisfy anyone who's after a wordy Hardy or Tolkien-alike and allows the more foolish of us to make some assumptions about this new universe. However, the prose flowed well enough to get me over my initial, jaded assumptions without much work and it is most definitely worth the time. This is not just a faux-medieval fantasy, but a stone-age people dealing with a much more advanced group of returning oppressors - who may be significantly beyond medieval if the series follows the potential "sword and planet" route rather than appearance of "sword and sorcery". Better still, the heroine turns out to be the shaman who rescues herself rather than the princess who waits in the castle." — Jo Thomas, author of 25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf
"Refreshingly original, intense and exciting, Shona Kinsella's Ashael Rising is an impressive debut from a wonderful new voice in fantasy fiction." — Michael Rowley, Fiction Editor and Former Editorial Director of Del Rey UK
Ashael awoke early, the late autumn sun not yet up. The home she shared with Bhearra was quiet. Perhaps she had awoken before her mentor for a change. Maybe today she wouldn’t feel like she was trying to catch up with the old woman all day long. Hurrying through her morning routine, Ashael swept aside the curtain that separated her alcove from the main room. Bhearra’s curtain was still closed. Ashael moved quietly to the hearth in the centre of the room and raked the embers around, adding kindling to get the flames going again.
Ashael busied herself mixing herbs for tea and preparing some food then set about checking their supply of herbs in the various baskets that lined the shelves carved into the far wall. The grey light of pre-dawn began to seep through the small window and Ashael looked uneasily towards Bhearra’s sleeping quarters. The older woman usually rose first, and in the two summers since Ashael moved in with her, she had never stayed in bed long after her young apprentice was up. Could she be unwell?
Perhaps someone needed her during the night, Ashael thought as she filled the leather cauldron with water and set it over the fire. But wouldn’t she have woken me?
The light grew stronger and still there was no movement from Bhearra’s alcove. Ashael had almost decided to check on her when Bhearra stepped through the entrance to their home, flushed and bright-eyed.
I'm writing to you today to ask for your help. As I mentioned in my last update, I spent the first half of this year putting together an anthology called Borrowed which is crowdfunding now.
Borrowed contains stories by eight different writers, each story connected to the library in the fictional Scottish town of Finlay. The stories share locations and characters but each is told in the unique…
I've been pretty quiet lately, mostly because I've been hard at work but without a lot of news to share. Writing is like that sometimes. Most of the time. All of a sudden its July and I realised that an update was long overdue.
First of all, I hope you've all enjoyed reading Ashael Rising. If you haven't already, please consider popping on to Amazon or Goodreads and leaving a review…
Well folks, we did it! Ashael Rising is out in the world and it's looking great. I hope you've all been able to download your copies and have been enjoying the read so far. This is the nerve-wracking part now, waiting to hear what you all think. I do hope you'll get in touch and let me know if you enjoyed it.
I'm going to ask for your help again. Now that Ashael Rising has been published, the next…
Well friends, the wait is almost over! Ashael Rising will be released on the 2nd of February and pledgers should receive their copies a little earlier. It's almost time for the next stage of the journey abc in so glad to have you all along with me!
Well, the proofread is finished, and the pages have been sent back for the final tweaks. The cover has been designed and again, is going through final tweaks. I'm working with Unbound on a marketing plan and the book will be released in January.
It's been a crazy journey, folks, but we're almost there. It's all starting to feel real now and it's a very emotional time - although some of that might…
Good morning shed people!
I don't know about where you are, but here, it's autumn and it's very cold! Luckily, I got a couple of advance reviews of Ashael Rising and all the blushing they caused has warmed me right up. Maybe they'll warm you up too.
From Peter Hutchison, blogger at www.thegrimdarkfiles.typed.com :
How is everyone? What do you love most about the fantasy genre? This is a…
know it's been a while so I'm really pleased to get back to Flash Friday. I've got something light-hearted for you today and I hope you enjoy it. The prompt for this piece came from my mum, Margaret Williams, in the form of the photo at the end. Have a good weekend everyone!
Overlord Scranton opened his eyes with great difficulty. Everything was blurry. His head felt…
For anyone reading this who doesn't already know, I moved house on the 1st of October which is why I have been absent recently. I was unwell for the few days leading up to the move and I received my copyedits on Ashael Rising on the 29th of September so I'm sure you'll all excuse my time away from the blog.
We're settled in the new house, although still unpacking, and the copyedits were sent in…
So, this week, as well as working on the final few content edits before the manuscript goes for copyediting, I'm also starting to think about cover design.
I'm really excited about this process. It's my understanding that in traditional publishing, the author gets very little say in the cover design, while with unbound it's a very collaborative process. So I got a questionnaire to complete, giving…
Today, I thought I would share a day in my life. Last Monday, I took notes throughout the day of everything I was doing in order to give you a glimpse into my day as a stay-at-home mum and full-time writer.
My alarm went off at 06:20 am and I pressed the snooze button twice before pulling myself out of bed at 06:40. While in the shower, I started thinking ahead to the launch of Ashael Rising. At…
I've spent the last few weeks working through the edits suggested on the manuscript and I finished that and submitted everything yet. I have to say, both Michael and Annabel have been wonderful, a real pleasure to work with. I got the chance to add in some new scenes that I'm really excited about. After Michael has had a chance to look over them, I'll try to give you a sneak peak here.…
I'm sorry I haven't updated here for a while, I haven't forgotten about you! I've received the first round of edits from Michael, my wonderful editor. I'm working away on his suggestions now and we're both very excited about where the book is going. I'm very much looking forward to getting the book into your hands.
In other news, I'm the process of moving house, which is taking…
So, it's been just over two weeks since Ashael Rising reached it's funding goal and one week since I submitted the manuscript for professional editing. I've had some time to catch my breath and relax a little. I've had the opportunity to look back over my campaign and think about what I've learned. Here are some of the lessons that I'll vbe taking with me into any future campaigns.
1 - Prepare…
First of all, I'm sorry that I've been neglecting the blog over the last several weeks. I'm sure that you can all imagine how busy I've been with the second draft and the Unbound campaign. I just haven't been able to fit much else in but I wanted to stop by and give you all an update.
It's day 81 of my funding campaign and I'm at 91% funded. So I have nine days to raise 9% funding - somewhere in…
Some of you may already have seen this over on my blog, but I really wanted to make sure that all of my supporters got a chance to read this and to understand why I'm asking you to part with your hard-earned cash in support of my book.
Today I would like to talk to you about Unbound.
Unbound are a relatively young publishing company, having been founded in 2011, by Dan Kieran, John Mitchinson…
I'm excited to announce that I will be holding my first reading in Alexandria Library on 26/05/2016 at 7pm.
I'll be reading from the Prologue to the book, material that is not in the excerpt here, followed by a brief talk about the Unbound publishing model and whyI chose to crowd-fund my book, instead of approaching traditional publishers. We'll finish the evening with a Q&A and an informal…
Hello and Happy Sunday to you all!
This week, I was thinking about what I could do to thank all of my supporters and show my appreciation and I came up with this:
I am going to run four prize draws. When funding reaches 30%, 50%, 75% and 100%, I will place the names of everyone who has pledged their support into a hat and draw one at random. Each pledge will give you one chance to win, so the…
Hello and thank you to all who have supported this project so far.
We're now two weeks into this campaing and so far we have reached 14% of the funding target so I think we're looking really good! I honestly don't know how to thank you all.
This week I've spent a lot of time without wi-fi so I've mostly been working on the second draft which is coming along nicely. I've also been getting to…
So far, we're one week into the funding period and we have raised 13% of the target. I can't thank you all enough for your support, it has been truly humbling.
This week, I've been working on the next draft of Ashael's story. I'm about,14,500 words into that and it's going well. I can't wait for you all to get a chance to read it, I have to say, it's shaping up very nicely. I've also…
It's lunch time on Day three and we're at 11%. I don't know how to thank you all.
It was a Wednesday afternoon. Last Wednesday to be exact. My sister had just arrived for a visit. An e-mail came through to my smartphone and (rude though it was) I checked it.
The subject line read Your Book on Unbound. Having just pledged for A Murder of Crows by Ian Skewis I assumed the e-mail was about that…
Welcome to the shed for Ashael Rising.
First of all, I have to say thank you. Your support will help make this book a reality. Please do share it with anyone you think might like it - and spread the word across your social media sites. The more people who know about the project, the better the chance of reaching the funding target.
I'll be back with an update soon. Please feel free to…
These people are helping to fund Ashael Rising.