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Blog Tour: StoneKing (The Gemeta Stone #3) by Donna Migliaccio


StoneKing by Donna Migliaccio

February 20, 2018

Fantasy

The Gemeta Stone Book 3

Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC

They call him StoneKing: the lord of four countries, the vanquisher of the Wichelord Daazna, the man who will restore his people to prosperity and peace.

But there is no peace for Kristan Gemeta. Already weighed down by the cares of his new realm, Kristan carries a secret burden – the knowledge that Daazna is not dead. He isolates himself in his ruined castle in Fandrall, where he struggles to control the destructive Tabi’a power that may be his only hope of defeating the Wichelord once and for all.

And there’s trouble elsewhere in his realm. His Reaches are squabbling in Dyer, Melissa and Nigel are experiencing heartache in Norwinn, and Heather’s command in Hogia is in jeopardy. Unaware of this turmoil, Kristan receives an unexpected gift – one that forces him, his knights, an inexperienced squire and a crafty young shape-shifter into a hazardous winter journey.

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THE GEMETA STONE: WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE

By Donna Migliaccio

One of the writers I follow on Twitter posted an interesting question today: “What was the single most important event of your main character’s life?”

I thought it was a great question. And the short answer is: “When he promised his mother on her deathbed that he would always be kind.”

This scene doesn’t appear in my fantasy series The Gemeta Stone. It happens when its main character, Kristan Gemeta, is a little boy, well before the action of Kinglet, the first book in the series. Regardless, it’s still the defining moment of Kristan’s life – the moment when he chooses, at his mother Rose’s behest, to put compassion above power and strength. It’s a decision that sets him at odds with his father Robert Gemeta, the king of Fandrall. It turns the war-hardened men of his father’s court against him because they view his kindness as weakness. And finally, it makes him vulnerable to those who use his gentle, forgiving nature to their own advantage.

I think it’s equally important to ask this question about a story’s antagonist. In the early chapters of Kinglet, the reader meets the story’s main villain - the Wichelord Daazna – and learns that in his youth, Daazna had been unjustly accused of theft and banished from Fandrall’s court. This injustice is the defining moment of Daazna’s life. Seeking revenge, he returns twelve years later, with a rival king’s army and an array of powerful spells at his command – an action that sets the action of Kinglet and the whole Gemeta Stone saga into motion.

At some point during the writing of the series - I think it was after I’d finished Fiskur (Book #2) but before I started working on StoneKing (the just-released Book #3) - I realized I needed to further develop these two backstories so I could better understand the psyches of both hero and villain. At the time I had been toying with the idea of participating in NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month, which takes place every November and during which writers worldwide commit to writing 50,000 words of a new novel.

I decided to write about the early lives of Kristan and Daazna as my NaNo project. I started with four-year-old Kristan at his mother’s deathbed, then picked up 16-year-old Daazna’s story as he watches a group of nobles pass through his poor village on their way to attend Rose Gemeta’s burial. I switched back and forth between the two characters’ chronologies, describing little Kristan’s struggle to keep his promise to his mother while trying to live up to his father’s expectations, as well as teenage Daazna’s efforts to rise above his low station by learning all the magic he can. As I wrote, I discovered the two had a number of things in common: both had lost a parent at a young age, both had a somewhat adversarial relationship with the remaining parent (Daazna’s mother is the bane of his existence but the only person with whom he feels any kinship), both experience public and private humiliation, both have a deep desire to learn. How each character reacts to these circumstances is different, however, and when the two finally meet – even though their meeting is cursory and the resulting relationship nearly nonexistent – I finally realized the full impact that meeting would have on both their lives.

At the end of NaNoWriMo, I had approximately 75,000 words of a pretty darned good prequel. I don’t know if it’ll ever see the light of day – I didn’t write it with an eye toward publishing – but it sent me back to the main series with a deeper, richer understanding of my antagonist’s and protagonist’s characters.

About the Author:

Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres. She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker. Her award-winning short story, "Yaa & The Coffins," was featured in Thinkerbeat's 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.

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