Author’s name: Juli D. Revezzo
Title of book and/or series: Bitter Thorn Tribe (Stewards War, book 2)
Brief summary of the story:
Destined to be a bride, if only the gods will let her…
Stacy Macken tries to acclimate herself to her training under Tuatha dé Danaan druids—as if she doesn’t have enough work in planning her wedding to her beloved guardian and fiancé Aaron.
When Fomorii loyalists violate their treaty and seek revenge for their recent defeat, even Stacy’s druids are at a loss to explain the mayhem that ensues. Can Aaron and his brothers-in-arms stop it before Stacy and her family are caught in the crossfire?
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story: The city is a modern (fictional) town in Florida called Bitter Thorn Grove, named after its Medieval Irish counterpart. So its locale and weather is that of the Florida Gulf Coast, but, after the last battle, their druids did a little finagling and the environment is a tad cleaner than what you’d expect if you were to visit a modern town in the real world. It’s still hot as heck in the summer, but that odd winter Stacy experienced a few years ago where they were having snowstorms (you can see that in the previous novel Keeper of the Grove) has, blessedly, not returned.
If we were to visit Bitter Thorn Grove as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
Definitely go to Stacy’s Bitter Thorn Grove History Center. You’ll learn everything about the town there, and maybe, if you’re lucky, Stacy (the heroine of Bitter Thorn Tribe) will give you a personal tour. If you’re very lucky, she may tell you why Aaron and his harshad warrior buddies deem it their sacred ground.
What dangers should we avoid in Bitter Thorn Grove?
Aside from the usual dangers of any modern city, though normal crime is on the downswing since the end of what happened in volume one, Bitter Thorn Grove has to contend with Balor’s supernatural dragon-like beasts they call Harbingers. Nasty things that just won’t seem to leave Stacy alone.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Bitter Thorn Tribe?
Stacy’s granny makes this awesome jam that Stacy and Aaron are, on the side, trying to find the recipe for.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Bitter Thorn Tribe?
Aaron teaches a form of martial arts called Irish Stick Fighting. He also has a magical weapon called a harshad given to him and the others in his special regiment (the harshad warriors) by the Tuatha dé Danaan god Goibniu. It can split into three blades and wrap around enemies to pull them in for the kill, if necessary. Or it can become a knife, or a baton, or anything Aaron needs with which to defend Stacy and the Bitter Thorn Grove History Center. The name “harshad” is an in-joke within the warriors’ group meaning it can turn into roughly 500 different items. (A harshad number is a number divisible by the sum of its digits…for instance, 500, and the warriors fight their battle with Balor for dominance of the earth—when things go right—every five hundred years).
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Bitter Thorn Tribe?
Average normal modern technology, but the harshad warriors can teleport, and their druids use higher than high-tech computer systems that can log and calculate just about anything you can think of.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Bitter Thorn Grove that we don’t see on Earth?
Aside from Balor’s minions that are a mix of reptilian beasts and quite dragon-like, right now, the “grove” for which the city is named is sentient and can respond a threat to Stacy and reach out to help the harshad warriors guard and protect her.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Bitter Thorn Grove? If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
There is magic. Aside from the magic of Aaron’s weapon, he can teleport, and create a magical wall of undulating glass as a shield, he (and some of his fellow worries) have magical healing abilities. The druids can do just about anything written up in the ancient Celtic myths, like call magical fog, resurrect warriors in their gods’ Cauldron of Rebirth, make magical healing draughts, spell mundane weapons to make them more effective, put magical locks on things, and transform into animals. Stacy is learning all that magic now. The druids have even pulled her consciousness into tales before.
Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Bitter Thorn Grove? If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
The harshad warriors weapons and the Cauldron of Rebirth are the only unusual tech I can think of. The druids are thinking of upgrading the world’s computers, if they can help it. So we won’t have to worry about pesky things like viruses and hackers. 😉
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Bitter Thorn Grove.
The usual, but outside Aaron’s Bataireacht (Irish stick fighting) school, Stacy doesn’t like or pay attention to sports. But outside sports, there are also movies, streaming and otherwise, music, and books and such, just like we have.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Bitter Thorn Grove as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
Pretty much the same, except Stacy and Aaron celebrate the Celtic calendar holidays, Samhain, Lughnasadh, Beltaine, and Imbolc. Imbolc every five hundred years is when the main battles take place—unless of course, like now, Balor breaks the treaty. Samhain is also an auspicious date for them. It’s the time when all major events take place, in Celtic mythology, so…plays in as a spoiler in Bitter Thorn Tribe, so I can’t say how. 😉
Is there a particular religion practiced in Bitter Thorn Grove? Please describe what it involves.
The general populace is a mix of Christian, Buddhist, et al, like us, but our main characters are ancient druids so they have their four main celebrations of the year. Usually with divining, revelry, prayers of assistance (if necessary), and new oaths given. They’ll also commune with their gods, who have a tendency to show up and advise or scold the main characters and their druids, as they see fit. Most people, outside Stacy’s family and small circle, don’t know about Aaron and the harshad warriors and druids; or, at least, they don’t realize they are different than you and me.
What is the political or government structure in Bitter Thorn Grove? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
A governor is in charge of Florida, and the mayor is in charge of Bitter Thorn Grove as a whole. Stacy is Queen of her own little tribe, though, and Aaron and the harshad warriors usually defer to her wishes—if her wishes don’t put her or the sacred ground in jeopardy of falling into Balor’s hands.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Bitter Thorn Grove?
You may want to call Stacy before you visit. You never know if Aaron will have to put pants on, or if you may walk into a battle with Balor’s strange minions, these days. (Where are they still coming from??? That’s what Stacy would like to know!)
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
Stacy’s history center in based on a small museum I worked for in college, and the whole druidic set up and use of the Celtic myth of the Battle of Mag Tuired as the series basis is influenced by my nearly-lifelong love of Celtic mythology.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
I’d say feminism and in some cases, eminent domain, as well as environmentalism, to some extent.
Juli D. Revezzo loves fantasy and Celtic mythology and writing stories with all kinds of fantastical elements. She is the author of the Antique Magic paranormal series and the Stewards Wars and Celtic Stewards Chronicles series, the historical romances, Camden Girls series, Vesta’s Clockwork Companions, House of Dark Envy, Watchmaker’s Heart, and Lady of the Tarot, and more. She is also a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)? Please include links.
It’s available now in ebook and paperback at Amazon.
The book trailer, should you like to see it, is here:
Where can readers connect with you online?
My links are as follows:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Juli-D.-Revezzo/e/B008AHVTLO
There’s also a board dedicated specifically to the Stewards War and Celtic Stewards Chronicles series: https://www.pinterest.com/jewelsraven/related-to-the-celtic-stewards-chronicles/