Thursday, April 18, 2013

E. Rose Sabin

My full name is Elenora Rose Sabin. I chose to write as E. Rose Sabin because Elenora is so frequently misspelled.  My family and nonwriter friends call me Elenora, but my writer friends and acquaintances call me Rose. I live in Pinellas County, Florida, and share my home with two dogs: Kira, a beagle, and Juliet, a pit bull mix. I retired from teaching Spanish and English to middle school students to become a professional writer of fantasy and science fiction. I've had many short stories published and have won several awards, including, in 1992, Andre Norton’s Gryphon Award for the then-unpublished manuscript of A School for Sorcery, a novel inspired by my teaching career.

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My most recent book is the fantasy novel Mistress of the Wind, set in the same world as my earlier Young Adult books published by Tor. Mistress, however, is aimed more at adults or that recently added category "new adults" rather than being YA.

Mistress of the Wind is the story of Windspeaker Kyla Cren, who gathers news from the wind and passes on to her village its warnings about mindstealers, creatures that rob human minds and leave their victims insensible and helpless. Because Kyla’s parents were victims of mindstealers, the need for revenge consumes her. She attacks two mindstealers and rescues their victim, but gets no satisfaction from the act. The ungrateful victim, a powerful mage, thrusts upon her the care of Claid, who appears to be an appealing young child. He’s not a child, the Mage Alair declares, and challenges her to discover what Claid really is. That challenge sends her from her native village on a journey of discovery that takes her into the wider world beyond her isolated valley, a world in which machines have replaced magic. Harrowing experiences teach her more about herself than about Claid and eventually bring her back to Mage Alair, whom she joins in a scheme to destroy the mindstealers, a plan which might result in tragedy but which could also lead Kyla to the full truth about Claid’s nature and her own.

Here is an excerpt from Mistress of the Wind, from just after Kyla has restored the mind of the mindstealers' victim:

Kyla knelt beside him. "Good sir, are you well?"
At the tentative query he lowered his hands and glanced frantically from side to side. "Claid? What—? Where—?"
His gaze fixed on Kyla. "You—you're not Claid."
He stood with a look so wild Kyla rose and backed away. "Please," she said. "You should rest."
"Who are you? What's happened?" He ran his palms over his wet clothes. An angry crease deepened between his eyes. "Where's Claid?"
"I'm Kyla." She edged farther back, poised to run if he headed toward her. "I saved you from the mindstealers. I don't know who Claid is."
"Saved me from the mindstealers!" His roar made it sound like a crime. "What about Claid?"
His mind was still unsettled, no doubt of it. Kyla spoke in a slow and soothing voice. "Mindstealers caught you. I killed one and declawed the other. It promised to restore your mind in exchange for its freedom. It tried to trap me, but I got the brainstone with your mind in it. The mindstealer got away before I could bring you around."
As she spoke, he grew calmer, and the gaze he turned on her seemed more focused. "Tell me your name again?"
His eyes widened as if in recognition, though she was positive they'd never met. He regarded her thoughtfully and said, "Kyla, eh? And Kyla traded my life for that of a single mindstealer—a maimed one." She couldn't tell whether the glint in his eyes signaled anger or amusement.
He gathered the brainstone fragments and regarded them curiously. "So my mind shattered the stone, did it? It couldn't withstand the power of a mage mind."
"Mage!" Had she heard correctly? "You're a mage?"
"Mage Alair." He dropped the fragments and dusted his hands.
"Mage Alair!" Kyla's shocked outcry caused the man to stare at her.
"You didn't know?" he asked as though his identity should have been obvious.
Too awed to speak, she could only shake her head. The villagers spun tales of Mage Alair of Starwind Peak, northeast of Nine Falls. Folks whispered of a tropical garden on the summit above the snowline. Of white birds fashioned of snow and sent forth to fly errands. Of sticks shaped into men and animated to be his servants. It was even rumored that he could bend Dire Lords to his bidding.
But this tall, attractive man was too young to be the legendary Mage Alair. No one had ever described his physical appearance; she'd pictured an old white-beard with wrinkled face and ancient eyes. This man must be mad from the shock of having his mind stolen.
"You've been through a terrible ordeal," she said. "Please sit and rest awhile."
"No time." He shook out his cloak and stared in consternation at the ragged edge of the damp and muddy garment. "My cloak! What happened to my cloak?"
"I cut a strip off it to bind the mindstealer's hands after I chopped off its claws."
"You cut— Woman, youYOU tore a mage's cloak for wound bindings?" He made it sound like a crime that she in particular should have avoided.
"It was all I had. I didn't think you'd need it again."
"You didn't think! You should know a mage's cloak is a reservoir of power. You could have— Never mind. We must find Claid." He caught her wrist and, giving her just enough time to snatch up her pack, dragged her roughly after him.
She tried to pull free. "Let me go. I need to get back to my village."
His grip tightened. "Sorry, but saving a man's life puts you forever in his debt."
Mad. No doubt about it. She raised her knife. "I owe you nothing. Let me go."
He laughed, a rich, warm laugh she might have enjoyed under other circumstances. "Feisty, aren't you? Come on. We'll search Martyr's Pass." He strode on, yanking her with him.
She drove her knife at his wrist.
The steel blade crumpled like paper. His swift steps never faltered. "Foolish to try that on a mage," he said, not sparing her a glance. "Hurry, can't you?"
"No, I can't! Slow down. Tell me who Claid is."
 "Claid is…" He hesitated, finished with, "my familiar."
The rocky entrance to the pass loomed ahead. Kyla had to run to keep up with Alair's long strides. Angry tears blurred her vision. This won't do. Blubbering like a child because of this ungrateful wretch. Call the wind.
The mage pulled her after him into the pass. The wind sharpened its claws like an angry cat and roared through the narrow passage, a wild beast caged between high slick walls of banded rock. She had only to sing it to her bidding.
Alair pushed ahead, shouting, "Claid, you traitor, where are you?"
Panting with the effort of keeping up, she had only enough breath for a brief wind call, scarcely audible above his shouts.
Yet he heard it. He halted so suddenly that she plowed into him, stubbing her nose on his outthrust elbow.
"You windspeak," he said. "Excellent. What else?"
She dropped her ruined knife and rubbed her nose. "What do you mean, 'What else'?"
"What powers? What magic do you have?" His voice was eager, his attention finally focused wholly on her.
"Magic? None. I'm a windspeaker, not a mage. And you might remember you have me in tow and be a little considerate."
"Sorry." He tendered the offhand apology while continuing to regard her thoughtfully. "Wasn't thinking. Not a mage, eh? No magic? But you're a windspeaker."
Puzzled by his odd reaction, she said, "A windspeaker isn't any kind of magician. Windspeaking's a talent, developed through training."
"And your parents trained you only in windspeaking?"
"My parents were victims of mindstealers when I was twelve," she said curtly. "I was trained by Mistress Forythe, the Weaversville windspeaker."
"Ah, I see. Well, then …" He turned back to scanning the rocks and high walls of the narrow passage. "I've got to find Claid."
The object of his search must be dead, slain by the mindstealers, but it would be unwise to point that out. That he didn't realize it himself was added evidence of his disordered reason.
She needed to get away. The wind should sense her plight even without a windsong. But the wind had no word for her as it rushed past, tugging at her clothing, chilling her flesh. After all the help it had given earlier, it now blew against her with no touch of recognition.
Still holding her wrist, Alair shaded his eyes and surveyed the area where they stood. Perhaps his distraction would give her a chance to free herself. She looked for a rock she could reach. She would have to strike quickly, before he had time to neutralize the weapon.
"Claid! Show yourself. I know you're near," he shouted.
She spied a stone that might serve her purpose. About the size of her fist, rounded on one side but broken and jagged on the other. Alair was scrutinizing the rock wall beside them. She gauged the distance to the stone. Watching Alair from the corner of her eye, she extended her foot, worked the rock loose with the toe of her boot, and flipped it toward her.
Where the rock had been, a snail-sized object uncurled, sprang to its feet, and expanded to the size and form of a young boy.
In terror Kyla jumped back against Alair, who swung around and roared, "Claid! So there you are, you rogue!"
The slender lad leaped away from the mage, hands raised as if to ward off a blow. "I was trapped, master, truly." He spoke fast, his voice high, a child's piping. "I'd have answered if I could. I was following you as we planned. I shrank so the uglies wouldn't see me, and they smashed that stone down on top of me. Lucky they didn't kill me."
The Mage scowled. "You can't be killed, you scapegrace."
"I can be caught. You know that. I couldn't get out from under the stone until this fair lady so kindly moved it off me." He bowed to Kyla.
In her amazement she could think of nothing to say. She caught herself massaging her wrist. Alair had released her. Fascinated by the strange, boyish creature, she made no effort to flee.
"You're lying, of course," Alair said, then turned toward her. "I was right, you see? This ingrate had no doubt set a spell to hide himself from me, but the spell wasn't designed to protect against you."
The mage gathered the torn fringe of his cloak over one arm and took a menacing step toward Claid. "Wicked, Claid, to break your word and take advantage of my helplessness."
The willowy lad vaulted away. "Save me," he begged, sheltering behind Kyla.
She thrust her hands out in front of her to halt Alair's advance. "Leave this poor child alone!"
The mage stopped and burst into laughter.
Claid crept out from behind Kyla and looked up at her with an engaging grin.
Still chuckling, Alair said, "Claid's no child. And in no sense is he poor."
"No matter what he is, he doesn't deserve to be punished for hiding from mindstealers."
"Ah, but he does," Alair insisted, keeping his gaze fixed on Claid. "My plan was to let myself be captured and my mind stolen while Claid watched and kept my body safe. He was to rescue my mind and restore it to my body after I accomplished my purpose. Instead, when I was taken, he hid and abandoned me."
"I don't blame him." Kyla stared at the mage in disbelief. "What could you hope to accomplish with that harebrained scheme?"
Beside her Claid gave a little gasp. His deep blue eyes widened with admiration.
Alair's eyes narrowed. "It was no harebrained scheme. It was a way of locating the mindstealers' hive. If this ne'er-do-well had done as instructed, I'd have been safe enough." He reached for Claid.
The boy jumped back behind Kyla. "Please, master," his high voice quavered, "I couldn't help it. I told you, I was trapped."
Alair circled Kyla, his hand poised to grab Claid. Kyla pivoted, keeping herself between the mage and his familiar. "Whatever he did, you ought to forgive him. Mindstealers are terrifying creatures. I don't know what you thought you could do when they'd taken your mind."
"I'm telling you, Claid was supposed to keep me safe." He lunged, but she was quicker.
"That was too much to expect of him. You'd have died if I hadn't restored you. For which you haven't bothered to thank me."
Alair halted and studied her speculatively. "So!" he said. "You want gratitude, do you? And no punishment for this miscreant. Hah!" He lifted both arms. "I'll show my gratitude. You may return to your home, and I give you a gift to take with you."
Suddenly remembering the reputed powers of this man, Kyla shrank back. The mage raised his hand and traced an invisible sign in the air. Behind her Claid whimpered.
Alair pointed a finger at the cringing boy. "False one, I bind you to this woman. Until I revoke that binding, you may not leave her side."
"Woman," he said, aiming his finger at Kyla, "I give you this being whom you have called a child. Learn what he really is. If you can teach him to do your bidding, you will find your good deed bountifully repaid."
He raised his arms over his head and brought his palms together in a resounding clap. His cloak swirled about him.
Claid's wailing cry went unanswered. The mage vanished.
High overhead a large crow flapped away from the pass.


My books are available in e-book or trade paper formats from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

-Elenora Sabin 

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