Thursday, April 12, 2018

Guest Post with Liz Long

Photo Content from Liz Long

Liz Long is a proud graduate of Longwood University. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her day job includes writing for a magazine publisher in Roanoke, VA.

Comic book readers and fans of CW Network smash hits Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Netflix’s Daredevil will root for Liz Long’s bestselling YA summer series as the HoA’s gifted teen superheroes attempt to save their city from its impending demise. The Donovan Circus series has best been described as "X-Men meets the circus." Adult horror story Witch Hearts tells the tale of a serial killer hunting witches for their powers. New Adult PNR A Reaper Made is about a teen Reaper who gets caught between falling in love or saving her sister's soul. All titles are available for paperback or ebook on Amazon.

To learn more about Liz (including more information on her books, plus writing, marketing, and social media tips), visit her website:


1. This story was inspired by a post my brother shared a couple years ago about lab experiments on mice (though I won't say any more due to possible spoilers!). A friend joked I should write a story based on the thought I had for it, and when I couldn't get it out of my head, I knew I had to write it. I wrote the book in a record (for me) four months while finishing up my Donovan Circus series.

2. This is a YA dystopian story (2 books total) with LGBT themes. Much of the story is about the struggle in being true to yourself in a world where you're explicitly told not to, as well as fighting for a better future when all your options seem hopeless.

3. My dream cast would include Selena Gomez as Reina Torres, John Barrowman (Malcolm Merlyn of CW's Arrow) as King Magnus Brighton, Zendaya as Iris, Jeremy Irons as Instructor Ford and The Runaways actress Virginia Gardner as Princess Helena Brighton.

4. THE GOLDEN CITY is the duology's sequel, due out in September. Now that we've seen the world of Brighton, readers will be thrown into the world of rebels. And I have to admit, it was really fun to write! I loved the new characters that were brought in, as well as the twists that take place. One character in particular, who is also in the first book, really steps up in a surprising way to prove their commitment to taking the monarchy down.

5. I read a ton of dystopian books that revolve around government, i.e. The Hunger Games, Divergent, Darkest Minds and more. "Research," right? So instead of different factions or geographical areas, Brighton and KEY have industries, such as Business, Technology, Media, Education, and Healthcare, plus a few more. Students choose what to study so they can best serve Brighton. Reina ends up choosing the Media industry, which accidentally leads her into private interview with the King, and it spirals from there. 

6. Chapter 1 was the first chapter I wrote. The second chapter I wrote was the last chapter! KEY, the acronym for King's Education for Youth, came to me somewhere in between.

7. The cover was designed by Molly Phipps of We Got You Covered Design. Bless her, she did such a wonderful job, especially given that I had next to no details to give her (I mean, who can create something out of "Uh, definitely some blood on the cover"?!). Graphic designers are brilliant!

8. This is my 11th full-length novel, and the first of my books that doesn't have either a gifted world Easter egg (from my Donovan Circus and Heroes of Arcania worlds), or any references to Southwest Virginia, where I reside.

9. My editor finished the first book and was angry that I didn't immediately have the sequel ready for her. That's probably a good sign, right?

10. There's a bit of a play on some of the names:
King Magnus Brighton = "Magnus" is Latin for "Great"
Reina Torres = Queen of the Tower (The Tower is where the King resides in Brighton...get it?)
Helena, the Princess = a spin on Helen of Troy, because Princess Helena is as beautiful as the legend
Fiona, Reina's roommate = an Irish name meaning "fair, white" - a play on a play, as yes, she's a redheaded, fair-skinned girl, but also fair in the sense of right and wrong

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.

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.

You can purchase The Blood King at the following Retailers:

Thank you LIZ LONG for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive an E-Copy of Heroes of Arcania: SuperNova by Liz Long.


  1. I have dreamed of retirement lol, esp when I WAKE UP so sore from my job

  2. I've dreamed of learning a new language.

  3. I dream of my first cup of coffee of the day.

  4. I want to go see the Grand Canyon.

  5. I dream of the day I can retire.

  6. I have been dreaming of going to Disney World. Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. Yes there is something I dreamed of doing for a long time but not anymore