Release Day: THE BLOOD KING by Liz Long

THE BLOOD KING, Book 1 of The Brighton Duology, releases today! I’m really excited to share this novel with everyone, and hope you love it as much as I do. Book 2 will continue the duology this September! FYI, this is a YA dystopian novel with LGBT themes. Get the special $0.99 release week deal before it’s too late!

Synopsis:

In the kingdom of Brighton, a President-turned-King offers poor teens the chance to join KEY, the King’s Education for Youth. Seventeen-year-old Reina Torres jumps at the chance to be of service to her country, wanting to learn more about Brighton’s history and future through the Media industry.

The King himself takes an interest in Reina, offering private interviews; he soon commands her to marry his cruel son. Reina, however, cannot ignore her growing feelings for Iris, a fellow KEY student, despite knowing the laws. Reina discovers refusal means punishment much worse than death, and why King Magnus hasn’t aged in decades, thanks to his KEY program.

Buy now for only $0.99 for a limited time (goes to $3.99 after April 17th):

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A Particular Theme in THE BLOOD KING

There’s been something weighing heavy on my mind these last few weeks as I prepare for the release of THE BLOOD KING. And while I’ve struggled with how exactly I want to say things, I think it’s important now more than ever.

I am an LGBTQ ally. 

Full stop. I have a list of reasons that I won’t just shout into the void here. The biggest reason: Many of my closest friends are part of the community, and I support and love them. I know this and they know this, but those who don’t know me should, too, because it’s simply part of me.

It’s important that I say this not to make a stand or get into some political or moral blog battle, but because a huge theme in THE BLOOD KING is about and for LGBTQ. I don’t want readers to be surprised or offended–and quite frankly, don’t want anyone berating the book because of it. It’s still a Young Adult dystopian novel also featuring a King, after all. You can not like a book due to its plot or writing style or the like. But if it’s just because LGBTQ isn’t something you’re into, I think it’s important to be upfront about what you’ll read in this new release and know that it might upset you. I think I need to say it now because while it’s not a surprise to anyone who knows me in person, I tend to be quiet online and don’t invite negativity into my conversations. No one is going to change my mind on this matter, so there’s no use in confrontation.

Reina Torres is a 17-year-old girl who also happens to like other girls. This is part of her, but not her sole defining characteristic. She’s also sarcastic and strong, enthusiastic and hopeful. She enjoys reading and cooking, wants to change the world for the better, and turns out to be braver than she ever thought she could be. When King Magnus attempts to force her to marry his cruel son, it’s obviously not what she wants. Plenty of other things happen along the way, but in short, Reina Torres knows exactly who she is.

When beginning the outlines of THE BLOOD KING, it was important to me that Reina already be very aware of her preferences. I want readers, particularly teens, to know it’s okay to struggle and it’s okay to know, and it’s okay to be exactly as you are. Most of the story is about Reina’s struggle, not with liking other girls, but fighting to be herself in a world where she’s told not to. The kingdom of Brighton is dangerous for those risking their lives for love, and Reina is terrified–but she’s probably going to do it anyway, because in the end, she has to be true to herself.

By the end of Book 1, I want readers to feel hope. Hope for Brighton, hope for our own real world, hope in whatever struggles they face. It sounds so hokey when I put it that way, but that perhaps childlike optimism is why I wrote this duology in the first place. Ultimately, I want all readers to know it’s okay to be exactly who you are. And for those who identify with LGBTQ, know that you have an ally in me.

The Blood King Special Excerpt

Brighton Duology FB Cover

THE BLOOD KING SPECIAL EXCERPT

Chapter One

My grandmother once told me our country used to be a democracy. Years ago, when she was a little girl, a man became president. He loved the power so much he kept it, killed his opponents and dared others to come forward. Those who did lost, and with it, our free will.

The man declared himself a King, vowing to take care of the people who best served him. And he did keep his word–those who were loyal to him stayed in their own places of power, content to take orders from a megalomaniac. There were parties and festivals, food and drink and no expense spared.

The King remained on his throne of gold, the years turning into a decade, then two and three and four. Eventually, the people in his new kingdom grew complacent, adapting to their circumstances. They couldn’t flee because these were their homes, they said, and fighting was out of the question. Families stayed together this way, they said, and they’d surely be rewarded for their loyalty. Many people in the kingdom died waiting.

Eventually people accepted things the way they were, forgot how life used to be. And so the King continued on ruling, content to keep his power over the country. He went to war with other countries who dared threaten us, subduing them thanks to his plans and weapons. Attacks decimated over half of our own country, leaving much of what was once green and fruitful now barren and brown.

He won, thanks to the money he pumped into his military. It was the best in the world, and it only took three years for everyone else in the world to realize it. Over half of the human population, on the entire earth, blown to smithereens. He rebuilt the kingdom on top of our old ruins, promising a glorious new era. Other countries would bow to us and fear his name. He was the King of our country, not the world, but he might as well have been. The smaller battles that broke out across the years never amounted to anything. No one could truly spar with him because they knew he’d bomb their entire civilizations off the map.

It was a folk tale, this story of King Magnus Brighton. Stories our grandparents made up to get through their days, to scare the younger generation into behaving. I knew better, could read the papers and listen to the media. They only had positive things to say about how our King had saved us all, and continued to fight for our prosperity. People had jobs and homes, food on their table, so why would we possibly complain about being able to live our lives?

My own father fought for King Magnus, gave his life to protect his country in the last war. When rebels attacked Brighton a little over a decade ago, my father volunteered, rather than be drafted. I remember the morning he left, the proud look on his face as he kissed my mother and me goodbye. He’d known exactly what he was walking into and still he’d kept a brave face. I hadn’t realized it at five years old, but at seventeen, I knew he’d been willing to die for his country that had given him so much.

As soon as my mother received notice of my father’s death, she packed our things and we went all the way to the other side of what was left of the country. Mama said she couldn’t bear to be so close to the heart of the kingdom, but I knew there was something more. I had no idea what, of course, but I had been too devastated at the loss of my father to question it then and now it just seemed like a waste of time. Things were the way they were, and no amount of questioning or wondering would bring my dad back. I missed him everyday, as much as the day he’d left, but he was never coming back.

My mother was the rule follower, hated it when I bent them by breaking curfew or grumbled about the overbearing soldiers. I couldn’t stand her smothering. The King probably couldn’t even be bothered to reach us way out here, but she didn’t want to take any chances.

I don’t know why she bothered. Everyone out here was too busy working to worry about breaking the rules. It’s not like anyone had any real technology, anyways. We had the newspapers and TV, but no one had those fancy phones city people flaunted in those strange commercials we saw on a staticky TV. The wars had taken technology out in most of the rest of the world, leaving King Magnus once again ahead of the curve in luxury. In our tiny part of the world, most of us felt lucky to have what little we did, and dared not ask for anything more.

The Blood King releases April 10, 2018

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Cover Reveal: The Brighton Duology by Liz Long


In case you missed it on my Facebook page, I finally shared the covers for my upcoming YA dystopian series (I’d been sitting on these babies for months and basically couldn’t handle my impatience any longer). THE BRIGHTON DUOLOGY is comprised of two books, The Blood King (out this spring) and The Golden City (out this fall). Aren’t they gorgeous? I am so in love with how they turned out and believe they’re a terrific representation of the stories inside.

Special thanks to Molly Phipps of We Got You Covered Book Design and her brilliant translation of my awkward thoughts into stunning covers. THE BRIGHTON DUOLOGY will be available in ebook and paperback, and more info with purchase links and official release dates coming soon.


The Blood King, coming Spring 2018.

Synopsis:

In the kingdom of Brighton, a President-turned-King offers poor teens the chance to join KEY, the King’s Education for Youth. Seventeen-year-old Reina Torres jumps at the chance to be of service to her country, wanting to learn more about Brighton’s history and future through the Media industry. The King himself takes an interest in Reina, offering private interviews; he soon commands her to marry his cruel son. Reina, however, cannot ignore her growing feelings for Iris, a fellow KEY student, despite knowing the laws. Reina discovers refusal means punishment much worse than death, and why King Magnus hasn’t aged in decades, thanks to his KEY program.

Links and more coming soon.


The Golden City, the sequel to The Blood King, coming Fall 2018.

Synopsis, links and more coming soon.