Author Rachel Carter Shares Her New Release



Before the age of seventeen the young men and women of Jerar are given a choice –follow tradition, or pursue a trial year in one of the realm’s three war schools to study as a soldier, knight or mage…


For 15-year-old Ryiah the choice has always been easy. Become a warrior and leave the boring confines of her lowborn life behind. Set to enroll in the School of Knighthood on the eve of her next birthday, plans suddenly shift when her twin brother discovers powers. Hoping that hers will soon follow, she enrolls with Alex at the Academy instead –the realm’s most notorious war school for those with magic.

Yet when she arrives Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Every “first-year” is given a trial year to prove their worth –and no amount of hard work and drive will guarantee them a spot. It seems like everyone is rooting for her to fail –and first and foremost among them Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived.

When an accidental encounter leads Ryiah and Darren to an unlikely friendship she is convinced nothing good will come of it. But the lines become blurred when she begins to improve –and soon she is a key competitor for the faction of Combat… Still, nothing is ever as it seems –and when the world comes crashing down around her, Ry is forced to place faith in the one thing she can believe in –herself. Will it be enough?




15-year-old Ryiah enrolls at the realm’s most notorious war school for those with magic. But there is a catch -only fifteen will be apprenticed. Competition is fierce and she trusts no one –especially the arrogant Prince Darren. Yet when an accidental friendship between them leads Ry to start improving she casts her doubt aside… Still, nothing is ever as it seems –and when her world comes crashing down, Ry is forced to place faith in the one thing she can believe in –herself.




Magic just got a whole lot harder.




“Your grace,” I began anew, “I want to apologize for earlier—” Darren glared at me, but I continued on hastily: “It wasn’t right. You deserve a chance just as much as anyone else, especially since you are not the heir—”

“Thanks,” the non-heir cut me off sharply, “but I don’t need some backcountry peasant asserting what I can or can’t do.”

My whole face burned in indignation. “I didn’t mean—”

“Look,” Darren began, with as much irritation-free politeness as he could muster. It wasn’t much. “I didn’t come here to socialize with commoners and learn about their feelings. I came here to be a mage. So, if you don’t mind, I’ve got more pressing affairs than listening to you apologize for your own incompetence.”

Darren pushed past me as I stood, dumbfounded. Any initial guilt I had felt earlier was gone. I wasn’t sure exactly how I had expected the apology to transpire, but certainly not the way it had. Even the highborn children back home hadn’t treated me with as much hostility.

There was nothing modest about this prince, this non-heir. Ella was right: there was no way I would want someone like that on the throne wearing a crown and a mage’s robes. What had compelled the masters to make such a blatant exception?

You’ve never had one before because nobody was good enough! That’s what Darren had yelled at Ella and me. Was that why Master Barclae had decided to make the distinction between an heir and someone who was second-in-line to the throne? Because Darren had shown exceptional talent?

If he chooses Combat, I’ll wipe that arrogant sneer off his face the first chance I get, I decided. How exceptional can a non-heir be, really? He wasn’t even good enough to be first-born and get a throne. It was a cruel thought, one that didn’t even play out logically, but I welcomed it all the same. I hope you lose out on an apprenticeship to many, many commoners.





Rachel Carter lives in Placerville, California with her fiancé and their two spoiled pets: a feisty feline named Charlie, and Zoey, an Australian Shepherd who gets jealous of her own shadow. She loves to organize –and when she is not color-coding her closet she is always looking for the next good book. She grew up reading about magic, hot bad boys, and lady knights. The Black Mage, her debut series, is a tribute to all the things she never stopped loving.

The Black Mage: First Year is the first book in Rachel’s four-book YA fantasy series with Astraea Press. Rachel invites you to visit her author page at  She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at Follow her on twitter @blackmageauthor and read her blog at







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