Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Celebrating The Release Of The Final Book In Michelle Levigne's Zygradon Chronicles

Today on our Cyber Launch Party Blog, we're celebrating the release of THE RIFT WAR by Michelle L. Levigne, the final installment in her Arthurian fantasy series, Zygradon Chronicles.

A story addict since an early exposure to Dr. Seuss, award-winning author of over 30 novels and novellas, Michelle Levigne has been creating her own stories, heroes and adventures since junior high. She ventures into many sub-genres of science fiction, paranormal, romance and fantasy, including Greek mythology, Narnia spin-offs and her futuristic universe, the Commonwealth.

Michelle writes something for everyone! After all, since she likes to read all over the board, why not WRITE all over the board?

The final installment in the Zygradon Chronicles: Arthurian Fantasy

Emrillian Warhawk has been raised in the modern world, 2,000 years away from the Lygroes, hidden inside a dome of Threads. Now, she must return via the tunnel under the sea, to retrieve Braenlicah, find the lost Zygradon, and awaken Athrar Warhawk from his enchanted sleep to defend Quenlaque, Lygroes, and the world. An enemy and a war have arrived that could destroy all the Threads and magic itself.


WIN - Everyone who leaves Michelle a question today, along with their email address will get a copy of the story that sparked the series - Michelle's DAY FOR A KNIGHT!! Plus, TEN winners will get a castle filled with colored sugar!


  1. Morning Michelle - super congrats on the new release!!!

    The final book in your Zygradon Chronicles, tell me does it make you a little bit sad to close the book on this world you created?

    Can you tell us a little bit about how the book connect and if they should be read in order?

    What else have you been working on and what's up next?

    Hope the new book is your biggest seller yet! Enjoy your party!

  2. Good morning!

    Aarrgghh -- I just spent 15 minutes with a big long explanation of some things in the series --- and Blogger ATE it.

    Here we go again....

    First off:

    The story that launched the whole thing was a fanzine story I wrote back in the 80s. I did a 4-issue multi-verse 'zine called Starwheel. A friend wrote a Fantasy Island story and I thought that was cool, and I wanted to try one of my own.

    In the story "A Day for a Knight," a young man comes to Fantasy Island to earn his spurs as a knight for real, not just in play with the SCA.

    At the same time, a young woman comes to the island. She is Mr. Roarke's ward, and he has been searching for her for years. She learns that she is Arthur's daughter and was awakened unexpectedly from her own enchanted sleep. Her job now is to lead New Camelot in preparation for Arthur's return -- and her first task is to find Excalibur.

    I'm going to cut this short, and write more in a separate comment window, just in case Blogger decides to eat the comments again.

    Talk to you again in a little while!

  3. Okay, the first -- or rather, 2nd -- post came through. Let's keep going.

    This is Arthurian fantasy because it has lots of similar elements to the Arthur legend we know -- enchanter, magical sword, prince raised in secret until he claims his throne, a lost magical bowl/cup, and enemies with magical powers.

    I learned in research that what we commonly think of as the Arthur Legend ... is pretty much a fabrication of Hollywood and T.H. White -- you know, the guy who wrote "The Sword in the Stone." There are a LOT of variations. Including legends that say Morganna was a supporter of Arthur, Mordred wasn't his enemy, Guenevere wasn't unfaithful -- and the most important part for me, Arthur had at least one daughter.

    A lot of my jumping-off points for creating my own version of the story came from a nifty book called "The Arthurian Encyclopedia," which I got from the SF Book Club years ago.

    You can watch the book trailer to learn the basic essence of each book, but I'll sum them up here.

    ZYGRADON -- Mrillis the Enchanter is born. The Zygradon, the bowl of power, is created, which controls all the magic in the world.

    BRAENLICACH -- Mrillis marries his childhood sweetheart, Ceera, Queen of Snows. They create Braenlicach, the sword of power. Endor, a friend and rival for Ceera's heart turns traitor. Mrillis and Ceera's daughter, Emrillian, hides the Zygradon to protect it and is killed before she can tell anywhere where it is. Ceera dies, and most of the royal family is wiped out.

    THREE DROPS OF BLOOD -- Efrin Warhawk has 2 daughters -- Meghianna and Megassa, who could be 2 of the 3 drops of blood of prophecy. Meghinna trains to become Queen of Snows, the ultimate magical power in the world, next to Mrillis, of course. She and Megassa support the Warhawk, until Megassa falls in love and Efrin remarries -- then Megassa turns traitor, to ensure her unborn child inherits the Warhawk Throne. Meghianna and Mrillis team up to protect Athrar, Efrin's heir, before he is born.

    LADY WARHAWK -- many years later, Meghianna and Athrar come out of hiding, so he can claim his rightful place as Warhawk's Heir. Megassa proves she is loyal, and her sons are raised with Athrar. Ancient enemies return to power and war breaks out across the world. Athrar's first bride is unfaithful and dies giving birth to Edrout, who is definitely not Atrhar's son. Megassa raises the boy. As the years go by, Athrar falls in love again with Ynfara -- Mrillis' great-granddaughter. They have a daughter, Emrillian, and prophecy speaks of her as the Lady Warhawk and the one who will find the Zygradon again. After a devastating battle, Athrar is put into enchanted sleep, a dome of magic is woven around Lygroes, his kingdom, and the rest of the world is cut off from magic.

  4. The new book, THE RIFT WAR:

    It is now 2,000 years later for the rest of the world, and 200years later for Lygroes. Emrillian has been raised in the modern world by Mrillis. Modern science is threatening the Threads, the source of all magic. Emrillian and Mrillis return to Lygroes to prepare for the dismantling of the dome, before it can collapse and possibly destroy the world. Emrillian is given the task of retrieving Braenlicach, then finding the Zygradon to finish Athrar's healing and awaken him. Unfortunately, things don't go as planned -- enemy scientists follow them to Lygroes, Edrout attacks in an attempt to take Braenlicach, Emrillian destroys the dome too early .... and various other complications arise that I'm not going to tell you about, or why would you need to read the book???

    Please sign in and make comments, ask questions, whatever.

    EVERYBODY who comments and leaves their email address gets a PDF copy of the original Fantasy Island fan story, with the original artwork by fandom artist Cheryl Allen Minekime.

    So speak up, folks!!

  5. Good morning Michelle and congratulations on the new book. It really sounds interesting.

    This last book has time travel in it which I love. Like a fish out of water story.

    When you started writing this series did you know this is how it would end, or did the series go somewhere unexpected?

  6. Hi, Michelle.

    I love your book covers. Do you work with the same cover artist?

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  7. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted the end to be -- the larger story arch -- but all the things that happened in all the books as I wrote them sort of determined how things HAD TO be when I got to the end.

    For instance, there's the fall of the dome of magic Threads. I didn't realize until I was into the 2nd draft that "DUH!" Emrillian has to bring it down ahead of schedule -- thereby awakening Athrar from his magical sleep. And also bringing the enemy navies from all the modern nations racing to get to this new continent that just appeared where there used to be radioactivity and desert wastes and no machines could operate there and examine the terrain.

    I wrote the Fantasy Island story in the 80s. THen about 15+ years ago, I wrote what I THOUGHT was a stand-alone novel called "Athrar's Heir." The story is essentially the same at the core: That world has an Arthur figure. He had a daughter, and she has to go from the modern world, through the magic barrier, to awaken Arthur, reclaim the magic sword, and prepare for the people who are basically living in a feudal/medieval state to meet the 21st Century before it attacks them!

    But most of the characters are different -- because the "histories" I created for them in the original book were either changed or totally trashed when I wrote the Zygradon books. When you create a multi-layered world, and you create characters that take on a life of their own, sometimes you get to the end of a 3 or 4 or 5-book series, and there is only ONE way to write the ending, because your characters can't do or speak or react any other way.

  8. Re: Book Covers.

    Jude Glad, my publisher at Uncial Press, did all the book covers for the Zygradon books.

    Each of my publishers has their own staff artists. Rarely does one artist do cover art for different publishers, and even more rarely for the SAME author at different publishers.

    For my "All's Fae in Love and CHocolate" short stories, which will be RE-released by Uncial PRess this summer, Jude got a new artist and these covers are hilarious! They're cartoony.

    And I guarantee you'll like the 4th, new story for "All's Fae," titled "Death by Chocolate."

    The Fae queen is dead from overindulging in chocolate, but as they start investigating, our heroine learns that it wasn't "real" chocolate, but poisoned. And she's a suspect. And the hero has problems of his own resulting from the suddenly empty throne -- including the fact that he has a claim to the throne, but he doesn't want it!

    Guaranteed silliness.

  9. Congrats on the new release, Michelle. Are you working on a new series?

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

  10. A NEW one?
    I don't have time!

    Actually, there are my Neighborlee, Ohio stories -- they tie into my Fae stories, a little bit.

    Two Neighborlee books have already come out from Uncial -- "Divine's Emporium," which came out in November, and "Have yourself a Faerie Little Christmas," which came out in December.

    The next book, which I have already promised Jude, is titled "Divine Knight," and will deal with the back story of Angela, the proprietress of Divine's Emporium. She's left little hints that she's been around a looooong time, and she has some secrets.

    In "Divine Knight," you'll finally meet her true love, who has been separated from her for .... well, a really, really long time. You'll learn how they manage to break the spell keeping them apart, and solve the big problem facing Maurice and Sophie.

    As for Neighborlee, Ohio, here's my description when I try to pitch the whole concept to publishers: A small town that's a combination of Buffy's Sunnyvale, Roswell, and Eureka, but without the vampires and the weird science.

    Then there are other series out there that I keep adding to: The Commonwealth, Tabor Heights, The Hunt, the Emerald Necklace. Something for everyone to choose from.

    I hope!

  11. Congrats Michelle! Sounds like an awesome book. I loved the trailer with all books in the series being explained. When you started this series, did you think that it would make up 5 books or were you planning more or lesss books in the series? I know how somethings just have a mind of there own.

    jessangil at gmail dot com

  12. I think at one point there were 6 books in the series, but as I started outlining what would happen in each book and ridding out all the notes and plots I had compiled over the years, things sort of condensed on their own.

    Some events I wanted in one book got moved to another, and some events I decided to just drop altogether.

    When I did Lady Warhawk, I had about 150,000 words in the 1st draft. I always try to come in between 80,000 and 95,000 words in the final draft, so I cut a LOT out of that book. Mostly nice family scenes or growing up scenes for Athrar, his foster-brother, Lycen, and Megassa's 4 sons.

    Usually there are some scenes or plot points that are wonderful, beautiful, revealing character, or humor ... but if the don't ultimately move the story along, you trim them. And Lady Warhawk, after all the trimming, still came in as the longest book of the series.

  13. Happy Release day!!

    I wondered how you come up with the names of places and people , for example with the Zygradon Chronicles?


  14. With a lot of the names in the Zygradon books, that's easy -- I just took the original names from the Arthurian mythos and twisted them a little. For instance, one of Merlin's names is Myrdn Emrys - I changed it to Mrillis.

    Emrillian is the name of his daughter, and great-great-granddaughter -- which incorporates part of his name.

    Meghianna is a twisting of Morganna.
    Morgause, I changed to Megassa.

    With other books where I'm making up a culture, I often use a name book. For instance, with the novel Bitter Sweet, I used all Celtic/Irish names.

    With the Bainevah books, I used a lot of names from the Bible. Bainevah is a merging of Babylon and Ninevah. The High Priest Chisedek is based on Melchisedek, the priest-king of Salem/Jerusalem. Etc.

    I now have a baby naming book in the apps on my iPod Touch, and I often start by putting in a word for a characteristic of my hero or heroine or villain. And it (sometimes) brings up the names with that meaning. And I go from there.


  16. Hi Michelle, I really enjoy your stories,except I have not read these as yet. Now I must
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  17. Congratulations on the book release and launch party!

    I haven't gotten through all the comments yet, but will because they're really interesting. Do you ever think about how the names of the characters and places should be pronounced?

    kacbooks at hotmail dot com

  18. Pronunciation? Oh, yeah -- I always, at some point in the process of edits, read my books out loud. It helps me find glitches, words that don't mke sense, bad pacing. So I BETTER know how to pronounce my characters' names!

    The only problem is, I don't know how to get the pronunciation across phonetically...

    Most of the time, the penultimate syllable gets the accent or stress. But that doesn't always hold true.


    I feel sorry for the person who gets saddled with the job of reading my books aloud for audio recordings!

  19. Okay, it's been a really long, busy day.

    I'm delighted so many people eventually did stop by to chat.

    Please, if you're coming to this Launch Party late, don't hesitate to ask questions -- I'll check back in here tomorrow and respond to anything that comes up.

    Or try to!

    Thanks -- signing off.

    Indians just pulled ahead of Royals, and I wanna enjoy this game!

    Good night, everybody!

  20. Congrats on the new release.

    sorry I'm stopping by so late, it's been a hectic week. Most of the questions I would have asked have already been answered and since I haven't read this series yet, I don't know the characters. So which character in this series is your favorite?

    miztik_rose At

  21. Hi Michelle,

    Long time no type - glad to see you are keeping busy. I have Riftwar in my TBR pile and am looking forward to getting to it soon.

    I have a lot of respect for the world-building you do in your books and my hat is off to you for not only doing it so well but keeping it straight throughout the series.

    Thanks again for another great read.

    jworley9 AT

  22. Hey Michelle,
    congrats on the new release! It looks fabulous as usual. Sorry I'm late to the party (late as usual, that's me.) but alas, I'm on digest so invites are delayed.
    break a leg with this one.
    Mary Ellis

  23. Congrats on concluding what sounds like a wonderful series, Michelle! I know you must have lots of new stuff awaiting your attention, too :) Are you satisfied with how everything's been wrapped up? Can you imagine revisiting this world in the future for an "epilogue" or is it "all good" now?

    f dot chen at comcast dot net

  24. Combining 2 questions -- my favorite character, and if I'll ever revisit the series.

    Hmmm, after all this time, it's hard to say if I have a favorite. Maybe the ones I spent the most time on .... but then, Emrillian's story is what launched the whole thing, and she certainly gets a lot less "air time" than Mrillis or Meghianna!

    I have to respond like most "parents" -- I don't play favorites among my children!

    (Yeah, like anybody really believes that???)

    As for revisiting the series later, I might. After all, Emrillian and Baedrix's relationship is left hanging, or rather, it's just about to launch.

    In the short story and the book, their characters married, but in the book it their marriage got off to a rocky start. After all, he was an extremely "old fashioned" man, who thought a royal maiden was delicate and didn't know anything about war and passion and she would just swoon on their wedding night. Emrillian is a very modern girl raised to basically say, "It needs doing, so I'm going to do it," and if she's married to a gorgeous hunk in shining armor, she's going to enjoy all the perks of marriage. He doesn't get that -- he thinks something is wrong with her.

    Not a good foundation.

    So there is potential for conflict between Emrillian and Baedrix as the story now stands, but he's going to the modern world to catch up with 2,000 years of progress, so he might change enough to avoid that conflict.


    I'll think about it.

    But don't hold your breath -- it could be years before I go back to Lygroes and Quenlaque and see what the Warhawk has been doing since he awoke in the modern world!

  25. Good answer, Michelle! You've plenty for us to read in the meantime anyway ;) Thanks again for celebrating this release!