Thursday, April 3, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Chronicles of the Secret Prince Series by M.J. Bell

Welcome to the Official Blog Tour for the Chronicles of the Secret Prince by M.J. Bell!

Young Adult Fantasy
Chronicles of the Secret Prince, #1
Publish Date:
December 4, 2013
MTB Publishing, Inc. LLC

Deston Lespérance grew up believing faeries and monsters are just stories told to children at bedtime. However, when his mother mysteriously vanishes and he stumbles into the mystical realm of Tir na-nÓg, he discovers the shocking truth that these beings are not only real, they hold the key to his future. With a new friend, Margaux, and Excalibur’s twin brother sword, Caluvier, at his side, Deston races against time to find his mother and the Light Crystal before the full moon rises on the autumnal equinox. The odds are stacked against them and the obstacles they run into push the limit of what two teenagers can handle: an attack by gremlin-like creatures; captured by 6 foot tall vampire bats; hunted by a giant wolf, and almost lost forever in the mist of Avalon. Yet Deston doesn't give up, for he vowed to do whatever it takes to get his mother back—even if that means fighting the devil himself. The thing is … when he made that pledge he had no idea how close he would have to come to doing just that!

Deston woke with a start at the sound of a slamming door. His heart was racing and he was drenched in a cold sweat, as he was every time he awoke from the dream. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and looked up to see an old woman hobbling down the front steps of a small stone cottage. Neatly trimmed bushes and tiny, white and yellow flowers ran in a wide border along the foundation of the house, and a variety of multicolored flowers edged the walkway to the small gate and wire fence that separated the house from the road.
The old woman herself looked like a gypsy, complete with the stereotypical puff-sleeved, scooped-neck blouse tucked into a long, print skirt with an apron tied over it. Her round, wrinkled face was framed by a scarf, which covered her hair except for a long gray braid that dangled over her shoulder almost to her waist. She wore two large gold hoops in each ear, and the sun reflected off the cluster of medallions around her neck.
The woman stopped to talk with Peter for a moment, pointing to a window in the upper level of the house, before making her way around to Deston’s side of the car. As she approached, Deston unfolded his legs and stepped out, bracing himself with the door, as his legs were tingling and buzzing from the long ride in the cramped quarters.
Standing face to face with the woman, he noticed she was no more than a few inches taller than him, and wasn’t at all what he expected. She looked to be as old as Peter, and as he stared, he wondered how she could possibly be Joliet’s cousin.
As Deston scrutinized Nicolette, her eyes were locked on him as well. She reached out, gently placing a hand on his cheek, and smiled into his eyes. It wasn’t just a surface smile like Mrs. Motley’s, though. Her smile lit up her whole face, causing her wrinkles to fade and instantly making her look decades younger. Her violet eyes, just like his and Joliet’s, sparkled with a youthful intensity, and her cheeks plumped out like two rosy balls.
“Deston, I have waited a long time to meet you. I was so afraid I would pass over before I had the chance,” Nicolette’s eyes were glassy with unshed tears, and she spoke in a thick accent. “You have the Lespérance eyes. Did you know that?”
Deston had never met anyone quite like this woman before, and as Nicolette held his gaze, he felt hypnotized. He was unable to move, unable to think, and had the strangest sensation she was looking into his head reading all his thoughts and secrets. The spell kept him completely captured until she blinked and stepped back an arm’s length to look him over.
Disoriented and confused by what just happened, Deston took hold of the car door with both hands to keep from falling. The silence pounded loudly in his ears, and his palms grew sweaty. He knew it was rude not to respond, but with his mind so scrambled he found it impossible to think of anything to say. As the seconds ticked off and the pressure to speak rose, he finally blurted out the first thing that had popped into his head.
“You look like a gypsy.”
Seeing the amused look on Nicolette’s face, he flushed a deep red and dropped his eyes to the ground.
Nicolette laughed a loud, hearty laugh. “Pfew, non! So you think I look like a gypsy, eh? Did you know here in this country, calling someone a gypsy is considered an insult?” Waving the comment away with her hand, she continued, “But I know you did not mean it as such. Non, Deston, I am not a gypsy. I am Nicolette Jolicoeur, your maman’s cousin, but I want you to call me NiNi, like all my friends do. Oui?”
Deston’s cheeks were still hot as he looked up through his eyelashes. “Mom’s never mentioned you before. She told me all her family was gone. She said there was only the two of us.”
“Ooooo! You poor bébé!” NiNi said, a sad expression instantly replacing her smile. “Such a shame you grew up not knowing your family. But as you see,” she spread her arms wide, “I am here and very much alive. And there, you see?” She pointed over her shoulder at the cottage. “That house is where your maman grew up. We used to play together right out there in that meadow.”
Her brow creased. “I do not know why Jolie would tell you such things as that. But … well, it has been fifteen years so I guess she must have thought …” NiNi paused and shook the thought away. Looking back at Deston, her smile returned. “Did you know your maman wrote to me once, right before you were born? I still have the letter somewhere in the house. I will show it to you later. After that one time I never heard from her again.” NiNi cocked her head, a pensive look in her eye. “So much time has passed,” she sighed. “So much time wasted. I can see how she might think I was gone by now.”
Deston stood up straighter, a belligerent look suddenly hardening his face. “My mom is not dead!” he blurted out.
A soft light came to NiNi’s eyes. “Oui, I know.”
“Huh? … You do? How?” Before she had a chance to answer, he hurried on, “Well, if you really believe that, you also know I shouldn’t be here. When Mom comes back she won’t know where I am.”
“Non, you are wrong in that, Deston,” NiNi said, shaking her head. “Jolie will know exactly where you are. Trust me. There is no other place she would want you to be right now but here with me. I am all that is left of your maman’s family, and this is the safest place for you to be right now.”


Young Adult Fantasy
Chronicles of the Secret Prince, #2
Publish Date:
February 17, 2014
MTB Publishing, Inc. LLC

Defying the odds, Deston Lespérance defeated Grossard, the Solitary Faerie who kidnapped his mother and father, and delivered the Light Crystal back to Tir na-nÓg in time to secure the Fae’s reign of the high realm. Now at long last, his dream of having a whole family has come to pass. Unfortunately, “happily ever after” doesn’t last forever, for Grossard lives and is more resolved than ever to get his revenge on the Fae—this time teaming up with Mordred to unleash the darkness which has lain dormant since the earth’s creation.

Deston, though still struggling with his newly found powers, sets off with Margaux on another epic adventure to locate and destroy the Shard of Erebus before Grossard and Mordred can find it. He is fully aware the stakes are high, but he has no idea the scope of sacrifices he’ll be required to make. As his world crumbles around him and his friends fall, he holds onto the only glimmer of hope he has left … that the Fae power and strength truly does reside within him and that he still has a chance to become the hero they claim him to be.

Deston’s pulse quickened and his senses went on high alert. Slowly, he straightened and looked around. As he concentrated on his surroundings, he picked up on the sound of heavy breathing and the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. Someone was close by, but he couldn’t tell if it was a friend or foe. He peered deeper into the shadows and then flinched as a low, raspy voice spoke from within the darkness.
“I must say, I’m a bit surprised the Fae would allow their new found prince to venture out into the forest alone,” the voice stated with a hint of contempt.
Deston jumped at the sound and flipped around to face the direction of the voice, his hands coming up in front of his face at the same time to be ready for an attack. His heart was pounding inside his chest and as Rellik stepped out of the shadows, his eyes widened in shock. The last time Deston had seen the colossal wolf was when Rellik leapt into the abbey. Deston assumed the wolf had been killed when the building collapsed on top of him and the shock of seeing Rellik standing less than ten feet away was only surpassed by Rellik’s appearance.
The white of Rellik’s left eye was blood red and the pupil was a cloudy white. A yellowy liquid oozed from the corner of the eye and crystals had crusted all the way around the lid. The fur on the left side of his face, as well as most of the fur along his left side, was gone, except for a few small patches here and there. The exposed skin was splotched pink and red, with ugly crinkled scabs and scars. He was thinner than when Deston last saw him, but the weight loss actually emphasized the powerful muscles of his chest and legs, making him look more threatening than ever.
As Deston gawked, the right corner of Rellik’s mouth lifted somewhat as the left side drooped to give him a twisted half smile. “So tell me then … why is it the Fae would allow their young prince to come to the forest all alone, knowing Grossard is still seeking his revenge?”
Deston visibly tensed and his eyes widened even further as horror replaced the look of surprise. Grossard is still alive? The words silently slammed into his brain.
Seeing Deston’s reaction, Rellik cocked his head. “Oh come now, don’t tell me you didn’t know?” Rellik hesitated and studied Deston another moment. “You didn’t, did you? They never told you Grossard survived!” He chuckled deep in his throat, which quickly turned into a fit of coughing. When he regained his composure, he didn’t bother to wipe the drool dripping from his mouth. “I swear I don’t know how They can be the chosen ones and guardians of this planet. They are so naïve about so many things.” He shook his head in amazement. “Though I’ve thought Them foolish many times in how They handled things, this—not telling you about Grossard and letting you come here without a guard—this is beyond foolishness!” Rellik took a step forward, the corner of his mouth lifting higher, stretching his lips back to expose more of his teeth. “So I can’t help but wonder if fate has brought you here for me to find, or—”
Before Rellik finished his sentence, there was a loud crack within the shadows of the trees. Both Deston and Rellik looked up just in time to see a tree trunk arching toward them. They both jumped backward as the tree fell into the center of the clearing, bouncing up once before settling between them. As the sound of the crash quieted, several indecipherable yells echoed through the trees along with the boom of feet pounding into the ground. Then five giant ogres appeared at the edge of the clearing. Upon seeing Rellik and Deston standing there, they slid to a stop, their ugly faces contorted even more than usual by their surprise.
Deston took a couple of steps back and reached behind him, trying to be inconspicuous as he broke off a branch of the tree to use as a makeshift weapon. Rellik’s eyes narrowed and he lifted his head to stand taller.
“What are you doing here, Iccasor? This is not your normal haunt,” Rellik growled.
Iccasor stared back in a daze, as surprised to see Rellik as Rellik was to see him. He hadn’t been told the wolf was back and his first thought was he was being upstaged once again. The last time Grossard sent him after Deston, Rellik had stolen his glory. To think it was going to happen again pushed Iccasor past the point of reason. In his tiny brain he reasoned Grossard didn’t trust him enough to capture the boy on his own and in an instant his surprise turned into indignation.
Narrowing his eyes, he purposely moved forward with the resolve to be the victor and claim the prize himself. “We have the situation under control here, Rellik, so I suggest you return to whatever freak show you belong to and leave the boy to us.” The four other ogres chuckled callously at Iccasor’s intended sting.
Rellik ignored the gibe about his appearance and shook his head. “Yes … well, I’m afraid you are mistaken as usual, Iccasor. You have nothing under control here.”
Iccasor tensed at Rellik’s words, but after a quick assessment of Rellik’s apparent weakened state, he took a step forward with confidence. Rellik wasn’t intimidated and he too stepped forward. At Rellik's bold response Iccasor’s eyes went hard and he brought his club up, slapping it loudly against the palm of his hand. At the same time the other ogres silently moved back, vanishing into the shadows to surround the perimeter of the clearing while Iccasor kept Rellik occupied.
“Grossard sent me to capture the boy, not you, Rellik, so there’s no reason for you to be here. I will be taking the boy back. You can either step aside or suffer the consequences.”
Rellik eyed Iccasor with malice. He despised ogres. They were stupid, ugly, and what’s more, they had an obnoxious smell. Before his injury he could have, and would have, taken care of the whole lot of them, but at the present he knew he was still too weak to take on this many. However, he didn’t want them to know that, and so with as much indifference as he could muster, he relaxed his stance.
“I don’t wish to take your glory, Iccasor. That,” he said in a softer tone, tilting his head toward Deston, “is all yours. I’m only here to make sure nothing happens to our … umm, your captive.”
Deston stood rigid, watching Rellik and Iccasor argue over who was going to deliver him to Grossard. He’d seen the four ogres move into the shadows and once they disappeared, he held his breath and inched slowly backward to take advantage of Rellik and Iccasor’s distraction. All he needed to do was make it to the trees and find a place to hide before they realized he was gone and he might have a chance.
He moved silently and as quickly as he could. The edge of the clearing was only a few feet away, but suddenly a nauseating smell assaulted him from behind and before he knew what was happening, two large stubby hands grabbed his arms and launched him into the air. He landed in a heap between Rellik and Iccasor, stunned and with the breath knocked out of him.
Iccasor didn’t flinch, or even look surprised. The second Deston hit the ground the ogre jumped forward and put an enormous, mud-caked foot on Deston’s back. “Going somewhere?” he sneered.
Deston let out an “oomph” as Iccasor’s foot crushed him into the ground, forcing the rest of the air from his lungs.


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Here is the playlist M.J. Bell listened to while writing The Chronicles of the Secret Prince Series!

Soft adult contemporary, Celtic and classical music is what I typically listen to when writing. Movie soundtracks are always a favorite for me, as long as they are just instrumentals--if the songs have words, I want to sing along and it distracts me. Some of my favorite CDs to listen to are:
Somewhere in Time soundtrack
Cirque Du Soleil - Mystere
Josh Goban
Blackmore’s Night
Loreena McKennitt
Cecile Coebel
Harry Potter soundtrack


Character bios of
Deston Lespérance and Margaux Labonté

Deston Lespérance
Deston was born in Boston, but grew up in a small town in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania with his mother, Joliet. He’d never met his father and knew nothing about him except for his name and that his mother had met him in France. Joliet didn’t ever speak of his dad and as far as Deston knew, the only family they had was each other. But Joliet was a great mom, although at times he did feel she smothered him a little with her over protective tendencies. He put up with it most of the time, though; figuring mothers with an only child were probably all like that.
   Deston excelled in school and at the age of fourteen was already a junior after having skipped two grades. Adults considered that an impressive feat, but the other students just considered him a freak and he was pushed around and bullied on a regular basis until Joliet enrolled him in Kung Fu classes. To everyone’s amazement (including his own), Deston had a natural ability for Kung Fu and quickly rose through the ranks, giving him the confidence he needed to stand up and put a stop to the harassment. But he never felt comfortable and never fit in with the other kids in his school no matter how hard he tried. So instead, he spent most of his time alone, exploring the woods that were close to his house. That was about the only place he felt totally contented. His one and only friend, Mark, moved in down the road from him when he was a sophomore. Thought they had very little in common, they hit it off and after Joliet vanished, Deston went to stay with Mark and his family because he had no other place to go. But the Welfare Department quickly moved him out and placed him into the foster system—‘for his own good.’ Seven months later he was sent to France to live with Joliet’s cousin, NiNi, and the rest is, as you say, history.
Margaux Labonté
  Margaux grew up in the small town of Lieu de Merveille, which bordered the Forest of Brocéliande. She was a very out-going child and from the time she was a toddler she was mesmerized with the legends of the forest, the magic, and the faeries whom supposedly lived there. When she was five, she took clothes pins and pinched her ears together at the top so she could look like a faerie. Madame Labonté was horrified when she discovered this, and even more so when Margaux's ears actually started looking more pedal-shaped as she grew older. It was around that same time that Margaux noticed a definite change in her parents’ attitude toward her, though she never admitted that to anyone. They weren’t cruel to her, they just kept their distant, and more than once she caught a strange, almost fearful look in their eye when they looked her way. They also destroyed all her books on the high realm and forbade her to read or talk about the faeries to anyone ever again. Margaux was confused by this aversion to her favorite subject that they had and couldn’t for the life of her understand why it scared them so. To her it was magical and sounded like paradise, and no matter what her parents said, she just couldn’t give it up. So whenever she came across a book about the high realm or about faeries, she snuck it home and read it late at night after everyone else was asleep to avoid the drama. She also frequently visited an old gypsy woman who claimed to have been to Tir na-nÓg several times. There she would sit for hours and listen to the old woman’s stories, hanging on every word.
    Margaux's only other interest was in America. She fell in love with everything about it while watching reruns of the Brady Bunch. She did her best to mimic Marcia and Jan Brady’s clothes and speech and made up her mind that she would someday go to California to study. With that goal in mind, she started speaking only English in order to be prepared. However, not many people in Merveille enjoyed the Americans as much as Margaux, so again it wasn’t easy for her. She was fifteen when Deston moved to France and after meeting him, she convinced herself he was there to help her fulfill her dream. She soon discovered, however, her destiny wasn’t in America at all. It was there right where her heart had always been.

**About the Author**
M.J. Bell's love of reading and everything magical is what motived her to jump head first into a writing career. Her first novel was honored with a Gold medal in the Mom's Choice Awards' Fantasy category in 2009. From there she has gone on to write the first two books of a new fantasy trilogy, Chronicles of the Secret Prince, and is currently working on the final chapter of Deston's adventure.

M.J. grew up in Iowa, but now considers Colorado her home and lives there with her husband, Tim and her dog, Tasha. Her growing family has always been her pride and joy and provides her with a great source of inspiration to write and bring a little more magic into the world. She loves to hear from readers.

Stay connected with M.J. Bell


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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for spotlighting my books today! I hope you readers will enjoy them. MJ