Hallowed Journeys – Chapter 2 preview

Here’s a second chapter preview, this time it’s Mother Alanna, another character from “Hallowed Ends.”

TWO

The timeless dream became a steady white light, the sun, the flowers, the hillsides, the bright blue sky fading into an endless void with no beginning, no end. The flower petals fell from Mother Alanna’s fingers, disappearing before they reached her feet. She called out to the void, her voice seeming to echo forever with no reply. Sadness enveloped her, the sense of loss of her god abandoning her, taking from her one final happiness as the peace and serenity of her dream became nothing. The silence made her want to scream, the fear of madness replacing the serenity that she had felt only moments earlier. A bright flash, somehow brighter than the white void, forced her to close her eyes.

When she opened them, she was surrounded by darkness other than the dim glow of the heavy object on her chest. Alanna lay still as she steadied her breathing, amazed that the heavy metal on her chest flared lightly with a red glow with each breath she inhaled, becoming a dim blue that faded with each exhale. She listened intently, unsure of her surroundings. The faint sound of voices met her ears. Alanna struggled to move, her limbs stiff and sore. When she was finally able to gain control of her hands, she ran them over the object on her chest, sighing at the warmth emanating from it. Continue reading

Hallowed Journeys – preview chapter!

Hello again! Since many of you have recently read “Hallowed Ends,” I wanted to let you know that the sequel, “Hallowed Journeys” is definitely coming at some point. I also figured you might want to read a little bit of it, so here’s Chapter 1, which picks up where “Ends” left off. “Journeys” will be a much longer story than “Ends,” and is no longer told only from one character’s point of view. I’ll post a few chapters from different character PoV over the next couple of weeks!

ONE

“Do not stray from my side,” Feyric whispered to Celana as they entered the raucous, rowdy bar attached to the inn. “And whatever you do, do not show Carnage to anyone. No matter what.”

“Yes, sir,” Celana said, doing her best to keep her face from showing both fear and excitement.

“Yes, father,” Feyric said from the corner of his mouth, emphasizing it with a slight nudge of his elbow into her shoulder.

“Yes, father,” she said, keeping her eyes on the oiled, dusty floor of the tavern.

Feyric navigated through the small crowds of boisterous sailors, merchants, and laborers, finally arriving at a curtained-off area near the rear. Three pirates immediately rose from their stools and blocked his way, giving him and Celana murderous glares. Feyric nudged Celana behind him, then looked at each of the men for a moment before holding up both hands.

“I seek passage to Nian, and your captain is the only one willing to make such a journey,” Feyric said to the man directly in front of him. “Silas from the docks told me to seek him out.” Continue reading

Dragons are NOT COOL. Nor are they your friends.

Getting real fucking tired of dragons suddenly being ‘the good guy’ in everyone’s story/timeline. It’s absolute bullshit. Let me lay down some hard facts on you, then tell me you still think dragons are ‘awesome’ or ‘badass.’

Jake, a green dragon from Minneapolis, started working at the company I was employed by in 1997. At first, everyone, including me, thought he was a pretty neat guy. No one had ever seen a dragon except for a few nerds that got beat up on our lunch break regularly. And even those poindexter assholes had never seen a green dragon.

The trouble started about a month after Jake hit the 39th floor, working in the Executive Sales Management section. During an office party one night, everyone was bugging Jake to breathe fire, set something on fire, fire this, fire that. Ignorant twats that they were, they had no clue that a green dragon spits acid instead of breathing fire. Breathing fire is for RED dragons, but whatever.

Tommy McKindless learned a lesson that night. The lesson was “don’t get drunk at an office party and beg Jake the big fuckin’ green dragon to spit acid and make shit melt to amuse me/us.” Let’s just say that the paramedics couldn’t distinguish between Tommy, the cubicle he was standing near, or half of the men’s bathroom.

No one hated on Jake then, as it was an honest mistake (well, we thought so then… Tommy WAS an asshole, and his wife was known to sleep around the office, and not just Dalgren Information Systems, where we worked. She was a bit of a… well, you know). Jake took it pretty hard, or pretended to, and everything was quiet for another three months, until Jennifer Ortiz came to work pregnant one day, and let the word slip that it was Jake’s.

Jake denied it, of course, and if you’ve never met a dragon, they are professional liars. Kyle, Jen’s husband, was furious, but, I mean, what’s he going to do? Fight a dragon? This is fucking 1997, remember, not 997 where he can just run home and grab his rusty sword and shitty leather armor in hopes of at least giving a dragon peritonitis or something while being mashed and chewed between massive, razor sharp teeth.
Continue reading

“Hallowed Ends” released into the wild

Hello, all. “Hallowed Ends” is now live at Amazon for $0.99 (Free if you are an Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited member). Here’s a friendly link:

“Hallowed Ends” is exclusive to Amazon.com for the first 90 days.

Also, here’s a much larger image of the cover, painted by Rebecca Weaver:

"Hallowed Ends" final cover

“Hallowed Ends” final cover

“Hallowed Ends” cover update

Many thanks to Rebecca Weaver as she brings this cover to life!

“Hallowed Ends” is a classic fantasy tale of a powerful weapon’s forging in a world about to be plunged into the nightmare of war.

Initial "rough" sketch for "Hallowed Ends" book cover

Initial “rough” sketch for “Hallowed Ends” book cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Hallowed Ends" book cover, still a Work-in-Progress (but looking fantastic!)

“Hallowed Ends” book cover, still a Work-in-Progress (but looking fantastic!)

Smash and Grab and Loot and Steal #1

Well… I just wrote this about 30 minutes ago (I’ve spent the last 30 minutes trying to figure out why WordPress 4.0 no longer keeps proper formatting like paragraph indents and such). I don’t even know what the hell it is, so you probably should avoid reading it.

Smash and Grab and Loot and Steal #1

“May I help you?” the stuffy man at the counter asked the young woman standing across from him. The six pirates standing behind her all began to shout at once.

“Arrrr!”

“Keep yer eyes to yerself, matey!”

“Ye best be helpful, dog!”

A dirty hand loaded with shiny gold rings reached across the counter and tweaked the salesman’s name tag. “Don’t be thinkin’ we ain’t watching ya, Gary.”

The way the hand’s owner had said his name made Gary think of how someone might describe a pile of fecal matter. Another chorus of arrrr’s and grunts and snarls and other pirate-y noises followed the boisterous threats directed at the customer service rep. Carly held up her hand, and the store became quiet other than the rustling of sword scabbards and knife sheaths, the tinkling of jewelery, and the clink of coins within their purses.

“Don’t mind them,” the woman said to the man behind the counter. “They’re just…”

The man raised an eyebrow at her, waiting to hear what her answer could possibly be.

“They’re just a band of pirates my husband hired to follow me around to make sure no one gives me any trouble,” she said with a sigh, sounding as if she’d had to explain it for the hundredth time in the last ten minutes.

Gary gave a wary glance to the six pirates gathered around the woman. “I see,” he said. He looked back at the attractive woman standing before him. “How may I be of assistance?”

“Do you think you could fix this?” she asked, holding out her hand.

Gary leaned forward to get a look at the gold chain. He paused when he felt the tip of a sword under his chin. He glanced up to see a mouth full of shiny gold teeth greeting him.

“I see ya achin’ to get a look-see down M’lady’s shirt,” Captain Ironbeak growled, his voice dangerous and his breath only slightly less toxic than the atmosphere of Jupiter.

The woman cleared her throat, and the sword disappeared. The pirate’s snarl morphed into a smile that promised a walk off the plank at the point of a scimitar. Gary blinked a few times, then turned his attention back to the gold chain. He studied it for a few moments before raising his head, making sure to focus on the woman’s eyes.

“May I?” he asked, holding out his hand, which caused a number of swords and knives to rattle in their scabbards and sheaths.

“Certainly,” she said, handing the chain to the salesman.

Gary gave another wary look around, the six pirates all staring daggers at him, before he focused on the ugly knot in the woman’s chain. Within seconds, he saw the problem, and visualized how Frank, the master jeweler, would repair it. He’d just opened his mouth to give the customer a quote when a resounding crash erupted behind her, followed by much cursing, yelling, and gnashing of teeth.

“Get yer sticky hands away from here, pup!” Pirate Rustblade snarled, waving a saber at a small child who was sprawled on the floor of the jewelery store’s wide entrance.

Three other pirates were brandishing their weapons at the child’s parents, while a fourth gave a challenging stare to the mall cop who had finally left the Food Court to make his rounds.

“Uh,” Gary said in a voice loud enough to get everyone’s attention. A little too loud, he thought when six angry pirate faces swiveled back to wish evil things on him. “Please don’t get blood on the carpet.”

Gary was sure that he’d formed some other thought to vocalize, but his brain and mouth were on vacation at the moment. The only thing his mind had been able to focus after the pirates had turned their attention to him again was how Mr. Douglas would erupt into a fit of rage at having to replace a section of blood-stained carpet. Gary thought Mr. Douglas was a pretty decent guy, other than the constant complaining about how much everything cost, how much money he was losing, how the government was out to get his every last dime, and how his employees were getting a free ride since jewelery practically sold itself to anyone who could afford it.

The woman snapped her fingers and the pirates immediately formed up into a small mob behind her. She gave Gary a sheepish grin, one that said he was lucky all they’d done was accost a small child holding a cookie.

“Frank will be able to take care of this for you,” Gary said, once again making sure to keep his eyes locked on the woman’s face. “It will take him maybe three or four days, as he’s kind of busy this week, but it shouldn’t run anymore than twenty-five dollars, depending on how intricate the work is.”

An explosion of roars and threats and blustery howls met his ears, along with three sword blades that met his neck.

“Let me have ‘is head, M’lady?” Pirate Bloodeye asked.

“I say we tenderize ‘im a bit,” Pirate Fangtooth rumbled, giving the fancy salesman a triple poke with the tip of his cutlass.

“Walk the plank!” Pirate Hookfist shouted.

The band of pirates exploded in cheers and shouts and calls and barks and demands that the criminal behind the glass counter be forced down the plank with a sword at his spine. Gary thought about asking the pirates where they’d parked their ship, since Idaho was a landlocked state, and Boise was too far upriver for a galleon, or a caravel, or a brigantine, or whatever type of ship a pirate crew would sail, to navigate safely. The three pirate blades waving near his neck and eyes made him decide to keep his question to himself.

“Twenty-five dollars is fine,” the customer said.

The threats and howls and grunts behind her turned into low grumbles of agreement, along with a single dissenting belch that sounded like a broken foghorn.

“Please fill out the top section of this,” Gary said, careful to reach slowly for a repair ticket.

He looked at the pirate that he thought might be the leader, though to his eyes, all six of the men seemed to be dressed the same in a mash-up of tattered, torn cotton, and fine vivid silks, with hair that ranged from long and greasy to longer and greasier. Captain Ironbeak nodded, the pirate’s massive, calloused nose hypnotizing Gary for a moment as he watched it bob up and down.

“Thank you so much,” said the woman, Carly, according to the repair ticket, after handing it back to Gary. “Next Monday, maybe?”

“Frank will call you and let you know, but it shouldn’t be any problem to get it done by then.”

“Ye best warn yer ol’ pal Frank to get right on it,” Pirate Devildog threatened.

“Don’t make us angry!” Pirate Rustblade yelled, receiving a number of hoots and shouted agreements.

“You’ll walk the plank!” Pirate Hookfist cried out.

“Walk the plank!” came the chorus of whoops, cheers, and shrieks, punctuated by the harmony of rattling swords, jangling jewelery, and plinking coins.

Gary could only stare when the customer gave him one last smile, as if she still had three hours of shopping to do while lugging around six small, cranky toddlers, then turned around and walked to the door. The pirates parted, then closed ranks behind her, each of them shooting a final hateful glare at the landlubber behind the counter. The sounds of a jaunty pirate tune soon rolled back through the store’s opening, the occasional blustery shouting of the song’s chorus and the rattling of sabers and cutlasses and rapiers and spadroons slowly fading as the strange group made its way to the JC Penny anchoring the mall’s eastern end.