Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Wednesday Special Spotlight’

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Elves – the Good, the Bad, and the Awesome by Carol Browne .

Photo Courtesy of Fun Photos Pixabay

When Elgiva, the protagonist of my fantasy novel The Exile of Elindel, is forced to seek the society of humans in order to survive the winter, she can only do this by adopting a disguise. Although mythology insists that elves are shapeshifters, I have Elgiva borrow magic instead so she can change her appearance. Why would she need to do this? In these modern times, we have friendly elves that help Santa; we have the innocuous Elf on the Shelf; we have glamorous immortal beings like the elves in “Lord of the Rings” that fascinate us with their pointed ears and otherworldly beauty. Why on earth would an elf feel compelled to hide their true nature?

Belief in elves as actual beings is as old as belief in the Norse gods. Indeed Freyr, one of the gods most widely and ardently venerated by the Norse and Germanic peoples, dwelled in Alfheim, the elves’ homeland. Germanic Mythology described three divine races: the Aesir, the Vanir and the Alfar (the elves). The origins of the Vanir and Alfar are cloaked in mystery and the relationship between the gods and the elves was ambiguous enough to permit a number of possible connections between Freyr and the elves.

Photo Courtesy of The Royalmen Pixabay

However, godlike or not, elves were often seen as mischievous and spiteful, if not downright dangerous, liable to lash out with magic if crossed. For example, the word ‘stroke’ for a sudden paralysing seizure is an abbreviation of ‘fairy stroke’ or ‘elf stroke’ and was supposed to come from being elf-shot, a blow which struck down an animal or human victim. Similarly, cramps were often the punishment for annoying the elven folk. The Anglo-Saxons recognized being elf-shot as a valid condition and thought it was caused by unseen elves firing invisible arrows at a person or animal, causing sudden shooting pains in a particular part of the body. And should a person’s hair become matted or knotted, he or she was said to be sporting elf-locks, that some unhelpful elf had tangled up. This was particularly said of the hair of sleeping children. And keep an eye on those children, for elves like to steal them!

Given their capricious and magical nature and supernatural origins, it is no wonder the Anglo-Saxons feared them. So Elgiva could not have strolled into a human settlement with impunity and was compelled to cloak herself in enchantment in order to pass as a human.

Scandinavian folklore boasts an abundance of elves, trolls and other mythological creatures. Most people in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden haven’t taken any of them as fact since the 19th century, but it’s a different story in Iceland. Surveys taken there even in the present century revealed that more than half those surveyed believed in elves, while a number of major road construction projects have been halted, thanks to protestors concerned about the deleterious effects it would have on the habitat and culture of the resident elves.

Elves have been part of our folklore for a very long time. How we have interpreted them down the ages has varied tremendously. They originated as demi-gods, became malicious and belligerent, then friendly and industrious, and now they feature heavily in fiction and popular culture. They may be light elves. They may be dark elves. One thing is certain, good or bad, elves are always cool!

How about curling up with my epic fantasy while you contemplate the possibility of elves?

Elgiva, a young elf banished from Elvendom, must seek shelter among the Saxons as her only hope of surviving the coming winter.

Godwin, a Briton enslaved by the Saxons, is a man ignorant of his own inheritance and the secret of power he possesses.

A mysterious enemy, who will stop at nothing to wield absolute power over Elvendom, is about to make his move.

When destiny throws Elgiva and Godwin together, they embark upon the quest for the legendary Lorestone, the only thing that can save Elvendom from the evil that threatens to destroy it.

There is help to be found along the way from a petulant pony and a timid elf boy but, as the strength of their adversary grows, can Elgiva’s friends help her to find the Lorestone before it falls into the wrong hands?

EXCERPT
The night was waning when Elgiva woke, wondering where she was. The dark ceiling of Joskin’s cave hung above her, and everything had a reddish glow, cast by the embers of the fire. She slid from under the fur coverlet, her skin tightening at the loss of its warmth, and searched for her leather sandals.

Something had woken her, something that waited outside the cave. A runnel of dread ran down her spine.

She had an inexplicable sense of impending danger, but it was too insistent to ignore. An unnamed instinct stopped her from alerting her companions. She must face this menace alone.

She left the cave as quietly as she could. Her heart pounded in her throat as she peered between the rowan trees and searched the night. Whatever had awakened her, it beckoned. She held her breath and listened, but her ears detected nothing, save for a silence as dark and empty as an abandoned crypt.

It would soon be daybreak, but the sun had yet to rise, and the dark beyond the cave swarmed with potential horrors. She stepped out from among the rowans, relying on her acute senses to make out her surroundings. An unnatural calm gripped the night and as her sandals whispered against the cold grass, they sounded abnormally loud. She feared they would betray her presence.

After a while, she came to a stop and searched the trees. Thin strands of mist curled along the ground, cold and clammy, like an exhalation of sickness.

She hugged her shoulders, knotted her fingers in the cascade of her hair, and shivered in her ragged robe. All around her, the silence seemed to be drawing into focus.

“Who is it?” Her throat was too dry for her purpose. She swallowed and licked her lips. “Who’s there? I know you’re there. I can . . . I can feel you!”

Feel you.

A flash of silver sliced through the dark, and Elgiva gasped in fear. Her arms came up to shield her face as the beam struck a rock several yards ahead. It exploded with a whoosh and sent up thousands of splinters of light, which fell to the ground and sizzled in the mist.

A shape now stood upon the rock, its form concealed in a black, hooded cloak.

Elgiva clutched the amulet to her breast. Her hands were white with terror. “In the name of Faine, who are you? What sort of trick is this?”

A soft, sly voice spoke back to her. “Why should you fear magic?”

“What do you want?” she pleaded, her voice a croak of fear.

“To see for myself.”

“To see what?”

The dark shape sniggered, but made no answer. Instead, it swept its cloak aside, and a cloud of sparks flew out and covered the ground with beads of light.

Elgiva stepped back unsteadily, resolved to flee.

“Stay!” commanded the creature.

It raised a skeletal hand, and the forefinger swung towards Elgiva and pinned her against the darkness, holding her like a rivet of bone. No elf, no wilthkin, ever owned such a hand. Her legs threatened to buckle beneath her. This had to be a nightmare; she was still asleep in the cave. But no, it was all too real.

“Who are you? What do you want?” she cried. “I have . . . I have an amulet!”

The creature laughed derisively. “I am Death, and I have come for you.”

It began to radiate a sickly green light, enveloping itself in a caul of brilliance that pulsated with force. The light grew in size until the trees behind it were bathed in its angry glare. It reached for Elgiva, like a foul stench creeping along a breeze, and she was helpless. The creature’s power throbbed in the darkness.

Within the taut coils of her fear, her instincts screamed at her to run, but her limbs had turned to stone.

Siriol, Siriol, help me . . . help . . .

With a shriek of glee, the creature increased the throb of its power. Elgiva’s mind was suddenly invaded by an inexplicable force. She became divorced from herself and watched from a great distance, waiting for the horror to unfold.

Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction and is a contracted author at Burning Willow Press. Her non-fiction book is available at Dilliebooks.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

C.D. Hersh

Talking about

Clothing in the paranormal world of shape shifters

 

Paranormal worlds are fun to create, but one of the biggest issues writers have to deal with when writing about were-animals is the clothing problem. Traditionally, were-animals remove their clothes, or shed their skins if they are animals changing to humans, in order to accommodate their human/animal shifts. In the case of some, like selkies (seals who become humans), they also have to have their clothes (or skins) back in order to change back to humans.

Having to remove clothing before shifting into animals can be advantageous when the author wants to get the couple together, naked. Needing one’s clothing to return to human form can also create humorous situations, especially when the shifter is trying to hide why they are running around in their birthday suits.

When we began to develop our world of shape shifters, we had to address the clothing issue, in more than one way. Not only do our shifters become animals, but they can take other human forms, too. So, clothing created an additional challenge for us. Should we take the traditional route and have the shifters hide their clothes before becoming animals? Or should we just let their clothing disappear and reappear without explanation?

After bouncing several ideas off each other we decided that we would utilize the magic of the magical bloodstone ring, that is primarily responsible for the shape shifting in our world, to our advantage when addressing clothing issues, with a few twists. The magic in the ring would allow an animal shift to absorb the wearer’s clothing. The ring would become an integral invisible part of the animal, as would anything else on or in the shifter’s body or clothing. Except for the ring’s magic, nothing on his human form would be accessible to the shifter when he was in animal form. This rule allowed the shifter to be able to blend rapidly into the animal or human world and thus keep the action scenes moving. Unfortunately, this meant no humorous birthday suit scenarios or convenient naked scenes, but that was okay, since we decided to make the human shifting follow different rules.

When our characters shift from male to female, their clothing does not change. This rule has created its own set of problems. We have to be careful that we choose appropriate clothing when our characters are going to shift. A rapid exchange of clothes had to be written in once scene when one shifter mimicked another shifter and was about to be caught. We also had a few interesting male /female shifting scenarios created by this rule, especially when a male shifter ends up in decidedly female clothes. It’s not often that you see a male walking down the street in a dress, or tottering on high heels. Fortunately, with the unisex nature of clothing today, this shifting rule hasn’t created a huge problem for us the writers.

However, it did create a conundrum for the police and our main characters in our first book The Promised One. In this story a shape shifter is murdered and returns to the natural persona: a man. The problem was he had been shifted into a smaller female whose dress did not fit will over his muscular male body. Trying to keep the police from drawing the wrong conclusions keeps the main characters busy coming up with plausible explanations for a man in a dress that is too small for him.

The following is the excerpt from The Promised One that points out the issue:

The woman stared at him, blood seeping from the corner of her mouth. “Return the ring, or you’ll be sorry.”

With a short laugh he stood. “Big words for someone bleeding to death.” After dropping the ring into his pocket, he gathered the scattered contents of her purse, and started to leave.

“Wait.” The words sounded thick and slurred . . . two octaves deeper . . . with a Scottish lilt.

Shaw frowned and spun back toward her. The pounding in his chest increased. On the ground, where the woman had fallen, lay a man.

He wore the same slinky blue dress she had—the seams ripped, the dress top collapsed over hard chest muscles, instead of smoothed over soft, rounded curves. The hem skimmed across a pair of hairy, thick thighs. Muscled male thighs. Spiked heels hung at an odd angle, toes jutting through the shoe straps. The same shoes she’d been wearing.

The alley tipped. Shaw leaned against the dumpster to steady himself. He shook his head to clear the vision, then slowly moved his gaze over the body.

A pair of steel-blue eyes stared out of a chiseled face edged with a trim salt-and-pepper beard. Shaw whirled around scanning the alley.

Where was the woman? And who the hell was this guy?

Terrified, Shaw fled.

The dying man called out, “You’re cursed. Forever.”

As you can see the change can be quite startling when not expected. Shape shifters can have a rather costly garment expense unless they are careful. Following are the covers and back cover blurbs of the books in our series, The Turning Stone Chronicles.

Blurb:ThePromisedOne2

In the wrong hands, the Turning Stone ring is a powerful weapon for evil. So, when homicide detective Alexi Jordan discovers her secret society mentor has been murdered and his magic ring stolen, she is forced to use her shape-shifting powers to catch the killer. By doing so, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.

Rhys Temple always knew his fiery cop partner and would-be-girlfriend, Alexi Jordan, had a few secrets. He considers that part of her charm. But when she changes into a man, he doesn’t find that as charming. He’ll keep her secret to keep her safe, but he’s not certain he can keep up a relationship—professional or personal.

Danny Shaw needs cash for the elaborate wedding his fiancée has planned, so he goes on a mugging spree. But when he kills a member of the secret society of Turning Stones, and steals a magic ring that gives him the power to shape shift, Shaw gets more than he bargained for.

Blurb:Blood Brothers Cover

When Delaney Ramsey is enlisted to help train two of the most powerful shape shifters the Turning Stone Society has seen in thousands of years, she suspects one of them is responsible for the disappearance of her daughter. To complicate matters, the man has a secret that could destroy them all. Bound by honor to protect the suspect, Delaney must prove his guilt without losing her life to his terrible powers or revealing to the police captain she’s falling for that she’s a shape shifter with more than one agenda.

The minute Captain Williams lays eyes on Delaney Ramsey, he knows she’s trouble. Uncooperative, secretive, and sexy, he can’t get her out of his mind. When he discovers she has a personal agenda for sifting through all the criminal records in his precinct, and secretly investigating his best detective, he can’t let her out of his sight. He must find out what she’s looking for before she does something illegal. If she steps over the line, he’s not certain he can look the other way for the sake of love.

Blurb:SON OF THE MOONLESS NIGHT

Owen Todd Jordan Riley has a secret. He’s a shape shifter who has been hunting and killing his own kind. To him the only good shifter is a dead shifter. Revenge for the death of a friend motivates him, and nothing stands in his way . . . except Katrina Romanovski, the woman he is falling in love with.

Deputy coroner Katrina Romanovski has a secret, too. She hunts and kills paranormal beings like Owen. At least she did. When she rescues Owen from an attack by a werebear she is thrust back into the world she thought she’d left. Determined to find out what Owen knows about the bear, she begins a relationship meant to collect information. What she gets is something quite different-love with a man she suspects of murder. Can she reconcile his deception and murderous revenge spree and find a way to redeem him? Or will she condemn him for the same things she has done and walk away from love?

Blurb:THE MERCENARY AND THE SHIFTERS

When mercenary soldier Michael Corritore answers a desperate call from an ex-military buddy, he finds himself in the middle of a double kidnapping, caught in an ancient war between two shape shifter factions, and ensnared between two female shape shifters after the same thing … him.

Shape shifter Fiona Kayler will do anything to keep the shipping company her father left her, including getting in bed with the enemy. But when she believes the man trying to steal her company is involved with kidnapping her nephew, she must choose between family, fortune, and love. The problem is … she wants all three.

 

Find our books at:

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/cdhersh

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The Wild Thistle Trilogy by Madelyn Hill bringing us the final book in the series, Highland Honor. Be sure to get your copy today!

Hook: Lady Honor MacAllister can heal everything but a broken heart . . .

Blurb:
Lady Honor does not believe in marriage. Her father’s death broke her mother’s spirit and took her from her daughters emotionally well before her own death. When Honor is attacked in the forest, she keeps the event to herself, lest her lairds search for the man and strike him down. As a healer, she’ll do anything it takes not to cause harm. Rumors of attacks in the Highlands forces the lairds to increase guards and security measures. When Bryce Calder is assigned to protect Lady Honor, she fights the burgeoning attraction for the man, knowing she’ll never risk her heart to love.

Warrior Bryce Calder trusts no woman. Women only strive to better themselves through cunning, as his father warned throughout his childhood. When he is asked to escort Lady Honor while she gathers healing herbs, he is vexed. Training the men and protecting the clan are his duties, not following the sharped-tongued lass about the wood. With each passing day, Bryce becomes enchanted by Lady Honor, despite his father’s words, but his unworthiness halts any proclamation of his desire.

An unlikely partnership develops during the frequent trips to the forest and work in the apothecary. The walls each has erected to protect their hearts and their future crumbles. Until a stranger arrives at the keep. Lady Honor’s secret is threatened to be revealed putting in jeopardy the growing romance between the ardent healer and the reluctant warrior-suitor.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CSY4PGY/

Author Bio:
Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she’d sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a “closet” writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn’t be happier!

A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They are busy with their 3 children and a puppy named Cannoli! They love to cook, go to the movies, and hang out with friends.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The story teller Elliott Baker and his latest instalment of quantum theory. Plus an excerpt from The Sun God’s Heir: Return.

Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

In Quantum theory when two electrons ‘know’ each other they are forever linked. Remember, I’m just a story teller not a scientist or mathematician so the theories I use here are only the vaguest echoes of fact. Of course, in a quantum world fact is a moving target. Back to my electrons. Let’s name them Fred and Ethel. Fred and Ethel met before the big bang. The youth hostel they were staying in was crowded to say the least. Fred and Ethel had a brief fling and then were flung to the ends of the universe. End of the relationship? Not according to quantum theory.

Love/communication is not determined or diminished by either time or space. (If time or space is real, but we’ll push that to another exploration.) An electron guided experimentally will cause another electron previously paired with it to move in exactly the same way at exactly the same time, distance notwithstanding. So if Fred turns into a diner on Earth, Ethel, who happens to be on planet 123 in the Andromeda Galaxy, is aware of Fred’s turn and if she’s hungry, makes the exact same turn. The hungry part is me and any real scientists, if they’ve been able to read this far without popping an antacid, have consciously or subconsciously said, “What!” I’ll come back to this, but let’s move on to romance.

If quantum theory is correct, we ‘know’ each other. Have known, and will know. I asked my wife Sally Ann to marry me two days after we met. (Sally reminds me that we’d only spent about six hours together.) She said yes, and we have been happily married almost forty years. What? How could you have done that? My standard answer is that I recognized her. What does that mean? A young man, I wasn’t particularly looking to get married or settle down. I was doing ok. Had a good job, friends, etc. but in a moment, I looked at her and knew that we had been together before. More than one lifetime, and that she would help me and I her to accomplish whatever we were here to do or learn. I acted, and have ever thereafter been glad I did. Ok, enough Cinderella already.

As I related in another post, I don’t spend time worrying about whether reincarnation is true or not. Like any theory that cannot be experimentally proven, as long as the theory provides benefit, as long as it is useful, I employ it. At the beginning of my mental and emotional exploration of this lifetime, (I must have been around nine or ten) I saw an unacceptable inequality. Why could I run and play and another be imprisoned in a wheelchair. What must that individual have done to deserve that. The child was my age and even though I was a creative youngster (I could create trouble with the best of them, as my folks would have agreed) I couldn’t think of anything I could have done that was so heinous as to remove the use of my legs for life. So I dusted off my “why” (a favorite word for a number of years), and accosted everyone I thought might shed some light. No light was forthcoming. “God’s will,” was the closest I came to anyone’s even being remotely confident of their answer.

I translated that into “you’re not old enough, smart enough, good enough, to know.” Nah, that never worked for me. I was ok with the concept that adults knew more than I, but I didn’t see the world as evil. Still don’t. That just meant that the adults didn’t know either and that was scary, but still ok. Like most, I pushed the unsolvable problem into the back of my mind until I came into contact with the concept of reincarnation. I must have been about twelve or thirteen. My conceptualization of the physical representation of the questions and answers of the world was kind of like the mail slots behind the desk in an old hotel. Without reincarnation, I ran out of slots. With reincarnation, all of a sudden the mail slots stretched on to infinity.

If we had as many mulligans (do overs) as we wanted, then I could buy, not punishment, but creative teaching opportunities. Of course attwelve, I didn’t see it in that way, but at least the gig wasn’t arbitrary. That I could live with.

Let’s get back to energy. Patience, romance is not done yet. So the universe loves balance, and energy is neither created nor destroyed. It also doesn’t have a problem finding the address of energies both negative and positive to find that balance. Remember, we’re not worrying about time or space. Electrons like company, and they like to dance. As aggregates of electrons and other stuff, so do we. At least the company part. The dancing waits for weddings and the occasional concert. So it seems to me that we may have begun with a group of close friends. Electrons with some kind of glamour that attracted us more than others. Which is not to say that we’re not in contact with all of the others. It’s just that it’s more fun for the purposes of physicality and non-physicality to hang with a smaller group.

How about soul mates. Is there within that group one electron that is closer in its sensibilities to each than any other? I’m just speculating here, but since in this physical world there seems to be more or less two sexes, and given the balance I think the universe is always striving for, it makes sense to me that there is a perfect complement for each of us. Perfect, however, where life is concerned, does not mean final, finished, unchanging. Life is growth, change and I include rocks in my definition of life. Slow doesn’t mean stop.

So in the story I spin for myself, we’re part of a group of folks working, learning, evolving from lifetime to lifetime. Some from within incarnation, some from without, always linked. Even the bad guys in our story may be friends in another, only agreeing in this one to create opportunities for us to experience some particular pain and grow. Matter is informed energy. That information doesn’t dissipate just because the vehicle gets old and is retired. Entertain the concept that coherent information doesn’t need form at all. Wow, invisible friends. How cool.

Here is a a little from The Sun God’s Heir Rebirth, Book Two for your reading pleasure.

Set against the wave tossed years of white slavery and Barbary pirates, this is the epic story of René Gilbert and a journey that defies time as he draws on a larger awareness earned in previous lifetimes.

The plague’s dark fingers curl around Bordeaux. René must return home to save those he loves. But first he has to escape a Moroccan sultan’s clutches. In Bordeaux, an enemy waits, filled with a hatred three thousand years old. Only René can defeat this dark power, and only if he reclaims his own ancient past. In this arena, death is but the least of failure’s penalties.

EXCERPT
The medina of Casablanca was a warren of narrow winding streets filled with stalls of all shapes and sizes. René followed Akeefa and Abdul-Karim as they entered through a constricted archway and left behind the blinding sunlight. René stopped to take it all in. A thousand sights and sounds assaulted him at once. An intense level of energy and human striving filled the air. The sounds and smells were strident, immediate. A cacophony reverberated from the walls as metalworkers hammered on copper and brass and iron. Jewelers, leather workers, and weaponsmiths all contributed to the din of men and animals pursuing their desires. The enticing smells of food and coffee pervaded the space. Booth after booth of delicacies was on display along with the occasional goat carcass that hung from the canopy poles waiting for the butcher’s cleaver.

“This is overwhelming.” René sucked in a deep breath. “Something smells good. Perhaps we might sit and have a coffee while I try to make sense of this incredible place.”

“That is an excellent idea.” Abdul-Karim grinned. “I know just the place and ’tis not far from here.”

“More food,” Akeefa said with some exasperation. “You promised I would be able to shop and you know I cannot go off on my own. Some stupid man would say or do something and after I had killed him, we would spend the morning yelling or fighting or both. With you two, I will at least have some measure of freedom.”

René gazed sideways at Akeefa. He knew her well enough not to doubt the possibility of her statement, but he hoped she spoke in jest.

Abdul-Karim grimaced like he had bitten into a lemon. He turned to René. “You must trust my experience in this. Given the amount of walking and waiting we face, you will definitely need nourishment.”

René laughed. “Perhaps we might feed Abdul-Karim so we may better attack this shopping from a position of strength.”

“Oh, all right.” Akeefa rolled her eyes. “My master taught me when to make a strategic retreat and this is clearly one of those times. I will want, however, to see that stamina later. Understood?” She glared at Abdul-Karim.

Her effort was wasted on her older brother. Abdul-Karim’s demeanor changed to one of joyful expectation. “I know just the place. Best pastries in Morocco. This way.”

René glanced around. Even over the din and chaotic movement of the medina, he had the sensation they were being watched. The fact that he was a Frenchman was immaterial. There were many different nationalities present within the medina. Non, he, René Gilbert, was being observed.

“Do you believe they will attack again so soon?” asked René.

“The Hashashin that attacked us on the quay in Larache were paid by the sultan’s younger brother Ismail. I do not sense that level of organization. There are many bands of robbers and slavers within Morocco. It can be a difficult place to live,” said Abdul-Karim. “And there are those in Rabat who will not allow our victory over their brethren go unrevenged, regardless of the sultan’s orders.”

Both men loosened their blades while Akeefa huffed at the conventions that prevented her from carrying a sword. Still, an attacker would find her armed.

“Let us sit at that tavern.” Abdul-Karim pointed across the lane. “It has good sight lines and there are avenues of escape if necessary.”

Once seated, Abdul-Karim ordered coffee and an assortment of cakes.

Akeefa pursed her lips.

“What? We might as well eat something while we wait.”

The square had grown quieter as people found their business called them elsewhere. Men collected in small groups. So far, the numbers of their enemies were not overwhelming and René was content to wait. He glanced at Abdul-Karim. The smile on his face evidenced a gleeful anticipation at the prospect of combat. His friend genuinely liked to fight.

“It appears someone is willing to invest a great deal of money in our removal. As much as I would like to engage in this contest—” Abdul-Karim glanced over at his sister. “And we have them outmanned, father would advise us to retreat and gather reinforcements.”

Abdul-Karim inclined his head. They stood as groups of men moved to block the exits.

“We may not be offered that opportunity.” Akeefa slipped her hand beneath her burka.

“Let us make our way toward the medina’s entrance. If we reach the confines of the arch, we gain a slight advantage in the number of our enemy able to come against us.” René’s rapier was in his hand.

The scimitar Abdul-Karim pulled from his sash reflected sunlight along its razor sharp edge. A wicked looking dagger appeared in Akeefa’s hand. René eased left of Akeefa leaving a sword length between them as Abdul-Karim stepped to her right.

The square was now empty except for the growing number of armed men drawing their swords. René studied the upper stories of the souk. No musket barrels protruded from those windows.

René counted thirty men circling them and moving closer. “Akeefa, move to the front and make first contact. A moment’s confusion having you walk before us will be useful. It is not that unusual for a woman to carry a dagger. Perhaps you might hold it a little less respectfully.”

“I will do my clumsy best.” Akeefa managed to move to the front, intentionally tripping on her burka.
The number of men waiting before the medina’s arch had increased to ten. Smug smiles played on their faces. Apparently they found humor in two men so cowardly as to hope a woman would protect them. One eager young mercenary swaggered out to meet Akeefa.

“Throw down your weapons and your deaths will be easier,” said the man as he waved his scimitar toward Akeefa. He ignored the dagger that shook in her trembling hand.

“D…do you intend to kill us all?” Akeefa stuttered in a high-pitched voice.

The fool preened, sticking his chest out. “Drop your weapons.”

In the briefest space of time, Akeefa moved to within striking distance and slit his throat, relieving him of his weapon before his body crumpled into the dust. The others froze at the speed and skill with which she had dispatched one of their own. In that timeless moment of inaction, René and Abdul-Karim each killed two men of the nine left standing before the arch.

René looked up. More armed men ran toward the arch. He paused and settled within, allowing his training to govern his actions. He sensed more than saw Akeefa adjust her clothing.

She ripped the scarf from her face and stood in as wide a stance as the burka allowed. She reversed the scimitar and jammed it between her legs, slicing the thin material to the ground. Thus unencumbered, she returned to the fight.

René nodded and on cue they formed a circle, defending each other as well as dispatching those who came against them. They narrowed the access lanes which caused their attackers to fight each other to get at them.

“Move toward the arch,” said René.

There were too many swords slashing at them. Their progress was slow. These men were not the highly trained Hashashin, but they were experienced enough that their numbers would eventually prevail.

Although René had no desire to kill, this fight did not grant him that moral luxury. He picked up a second sword and wielded both with withering accuracy. The attackers who faced Akeefa died with an expression of bewilderment.

Still, too many swords. Every moment reduced their chances.

Grab The Sun God’s Heir: Return, Book 1 on Amazon

Award winning novelist and international playwright Elliott Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. With four musicals and one play published and performed throughout the United States, New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott has turned to writing novels. His debut novel, The Sun God’s Heir: Return, Book One of the trilogy, was released this past January. Rebirth, Book Two will release April 18th, followed in July by the third and final book of the series, Redemption.

A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his beautiful wife Sally Ann.

Learn more about Elliot Baker on his website. Stay connected on Twitter and Facebook. Like Elliott’s Author Page on Facebook to learn all his latest news.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Iuliana Foos bringing us her concept of vampires if they were real.

Hello, and thank you for hosting me today.

The first idea for ‘Bloodline Origins’ sparked in my mind thirty-four years ago. I was a teenager, visiting Dracula’s Castle, back home, in Romania. Once I got over the cold stone walls, dark corridors and dingy rooms, my imagination went in overdrive. It was the first time I started to speculate on how the world would be if vampires were real.

I strongly disagreed in my mind with the concepts I witnessed in movies and books for the last three decades.

Just like humans, my vampires are good and bad, driven by different motives. Some are creatures of the night, some blend in with us, unbothered by daylight.

The origin of vampires I always thought it to be out of this world. I never believed in curses or undead, but I was always fascinated with life beyond our loved blue planet.

So I combined the two and it is why vampires in my ‘Bloodline’ trilogy are of alien descent. Some of them are bloodthirsty, some protect humans, but they all fall in love and live lives led by passion.

Amazon buy link for Bloodline Origins

Blurb:
Determined to turn her fantasy into reality, Ana starts her journey to become a vampire. Along the way, she learns the truth about their secret society, discovers her prestigious bloodline and falls in love.

Not all vampires are accepting of humans and war looms in the shadows. An ancient tome reveals the vampires’ alien descent and sparks war.

An army bent on eradicating her coven’s existence threatens her new world. Survival or annihilation will be in Ana’s hands.

 


 

Born and raised in Bucharest, Romania, Iuliana Foos currently lives with her husband in San Antonio, Texas.

When she doesn’t daydream or write, she enjoys drinking copious amounts of coffee and playing online multi-player games, hoping one day to have a white sanded beach as her backyard.

Becoming a traditionally published author has been a life-long dream turned reality.

Where to find Iuliana:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon author page.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

If sweet romance is your thing then this book is for you. Marci Boudreaux deals with real problems that people over twenty-five encounter and turns those situations into beautiful love stories. She is a writer you definitely want to read. Here’s a brief intro to her newest book.

Reporter Andrea Davidson isn’t running from her mistakes. There’s no escaping the career-ending mess she fell into back home. But she is moving forward, and is halfway to a new life in California when someone breaks into her motel room. She’s lost her computer and her dignity, but that’s only the beginning of her newest problem: local news editor Graham Bradley.

Graham Bradley doesn’t know a thing about the newspaper business. A widower with a promise to keep, he’s got more than just his own personal welfare riding on this small-town paper. The last thing he needs is a pushy woman with a secret in her past and a vicious red pen throwing all his mistakes and insecurities front and center on his desk. Faced with an impossible choice, Graham hires Andi, but hopes she’s not just the last-and maybe worst-in a long line of bad decisions.

Saving the small-town Gazette is the second chance both Andi and Graham need. But with bill collectors calling, Andi’s past catching up fast, and the chemistry between them making work next to impossible, will Andi and Graham get the second chance they both desperately need? Or will their demise be the next big headline?

As a teen, Marci Boudreaux skipped over young adult books and jumped right into the world of romance novels. She’s never left. Marci lives with her husband, two kiddos, and their numerous pets. She is a freelance writer appearing monthly in a variety of local magazines as well as a contest editor. She now focuses on writing and her work as a content editor.

Romance is her preferred reading and writing genre because nothing feels better than falling in love with someone new and her husband doesn’t like when she does that in real life.

Learn more about Marci Boudreaux on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Chris Pavesic as the author to read when you want spellbinding stories with top-notch characters. Pavesic’s latest collection is powerful and showcases the true talent of this award-winning author.

In this wide-ranging collection of steampunk, dystopian, and fantasy short fiction, award-winning author Chris Pavesic presents vibrant female characters in compelling narratives. This rich compendium includes previously published stories as well as new fiction.

Praise for “Going Home“: “This is an excellent short story that is full of surprises for the reader. Martial law is about to be imposed in the colony. A secret room, trips on a train and a clandestine meeting are all part of this superb steampunk short story. Most highly recommended.”–Off Grid & Loving It

Praise for “The World in Front of Me“: “This reminded me a lot of the Lakeside community in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, but I won’t say anymore about that for fear of giving away spoilers. But fans of Gaiman should really enjoy this story. Fans of strong women who make tough choices should enjoy this as well.”–Karissa Sluss, Author.

Praise for “Heart & Mind“: “The author has managed to weave an intricate web about being true to yourself. One shouldn’t be guided or led by others. Above all, feel the magic in your own heart.”–Chief, USN Ret…VT Town

Chris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »