Amazon, Carol Shaughnessy, cow girls, cowboy anthology, cowboy erotic romance, cowboy romance, cowboy stories, Cowboys, ebook, Gilded Dragonfly, Linda Nightingale, M.J. Flournoy, M.M. Mayfield, new releases, romance
Amazon, Carol Shaughnessy, cow girls, cowboy anthology, cowboy erotic romance, cowboy romance, cowboy stories, Cowboys, ebook, Gilded Dragonfly, Linda Nightingale, M.J. Flournoy, M.M. Mayfield, new releases, romance
Welcome Jeremy! My guest today has graciously agreed to answer some introductory interview questions and to share an excerpt from his debut novel from Class Act Books, The Son of the Dark.
Jeremy, please introduce yourself.
If you are what you eat, I’m an apple. I’ve eaten an apple a day for as long as I can remember. I just love apples!
Jokes aside, my best conversation starter is to tell people about my colorblindness. It’s funny to me how this simple fact always brings out the same questions in people. Yes, I was born colorblind. I found out in kindergarten, when I couldn’t properly fill out a color-by-number sheet. No, it’s actually an extreme form of red-green colorblindness known as protanopia, or protoanomaly, that leaves me seeing only grays, yellows, and blues. Nope, nothing else. I’ve memorized the appropriate colors to most things, but I do get tripped up sometimes. I haven’t tried the Enchroma glasses, but the test on their website says they only have a 25% chance of working for me, so I’m waiting until I have $400 just lying around.
NOW FOR SOME QUESTIONS
What is your favorite book?
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I’m not even going to apologize for this. Harry Potter is, quite simply, the literary classic of our time. I have a number of reasons for choosing #5 in the series, but I’ll mention just one: it’s the longest.
What is your favorite movie?
Happiest Millionaire, that old feel-good Disney movie that no one’s heard of.
Who is your favorite historical figure?
Joseph Smith. The modern world has been shaped in so many ways by the explorers, the inventors, and the politicians that sometimes I think we forget the amazing influence a prophet can have.
What is your greatest temptation?
In women: A sincere, soul-striking compliment. Gets me every time.
In food: Oreos. It is so hard to share Oreos. I’m more likely to offer you an engagement ring than an Oreo, no matter how much I like you.
In clothes: It is so tempting to never buy new clothes, and rely only on birthday gifts and Christmas presents to replenish my wardrobe twice a year. You wouldn’t believe how much I dislike clothes shopping. Yes, I’m that boring.
What is your greatest weakness (example: Mine is cars)?
My heart. My heart is such a gloppy, dripping mess that I leave bits of it wherever I go.
If you could have any kind of car, what would it be?
A white one.
Your dream home – mountains or ocean?
Definitely mountains. With trees, running water, and plenty of wildlife. Caves would be a nice bonus.
ABOUT YOUR NEW NOVEL
What inspired you to become a writer? To write this book?
When I was fourteen I started writing a book about a troop of Boy Scouts who get kidnapped by aliens. I made up so many intergalactic adventures for that poor group of teenage boys, and I had so much fun with the whole thing that I actually wrote a screenplay of the story for a college assignment much later on. Someday, when I’ve matured a bit as a writer and can approach the story with more finesse, I hope to come back to my childhood fantasy and breathe new life into it. Someday.
As for The Son of Dark, the inspiration was long in coming. My parents introduced me to David Eddings’ The Belgariad when I was a child, and I loved his straightforward approach to fantasy. The quest, the hero, the team, the MacGuffin…he had such a simple formula, and yet it worked so well! Toward the end of my undergraduate career I decided that my first book should be an experiment with that formula, but because it was my experiment, I would have to tweak the formula a bit. Of course.
Do you have a daily writing routine? Please share.
Unless the previous day’s writing was exactly what I hoped it would be, I tend to start every writing session by erasing half of what I wrote the day before. Sometimes I erase all of it. Of the three years it took to write The Son of Dark, the first two years of writing no longer exist. And good riddance, I say! Hopefully the next book in the series goes more smoothly.
Tell us about your hero.
Have you ever felt like you’re only the main character of your life story by default? That’s Skel in a nutshell. Many main characters seem to understand they are the hero of their story, as if it’s normal to have all that attention and responsibility, or even exciting. Skel is not like that at all. He escapes to the sidelines whenever he gets the chance, and it’s frustrating to him that he can never stay there for long. He isn’t afraid to step up when something needs to be done, because he has a deep desire to make things right. That’s what makes him the hero. Unlike other heroes you might have read, however, Skel despises conflict, avoids taking control when he can, and would much rather take on the role of a supporting character if he could.
Is there a heroine in your novel? Tell us about her.
It’s easy to interpret Smyra as Skel’s foil, but I see her as much more than that. Smyra’s rash confidence and abrasive personality contradict Skel at every turn, but they also tell the story of a deep insecurity that has nothing to do with Skel, and everything to do with trying to prove herself in a world of authoritarian figures who simply don’t understand her. It might seem like her power goes to her head, and perhaps it does, but let’s face it: Smyra is not the sort of woman you want as an enemy.
What do you have out now?
Just the one book. Tales of the Darksome Thorn: The Son of Dark is the first part in a fantasy adventure series that I promise is only going to get bigger and more exciting as it goes along. Duskain is a big world, and there’s so much more in it that I want to share.
What else do you have planned, writing-wise?
The next book in the Darksome Thorn series is tentatively titled Dead Forsworn. I’m only a few chapters in, but I am already very excited with where it is going. It picks up right where Son of Dark left off.
I’m trying not to think too much about other books. I am so close to finishing my master’s degree. Still, someday I plan to write a story about a child whose imagination is actually his superpower, with one caveat: his power is limited by the beliefs of the people around him.
I also have a standing promise to myself that I will someday return to my childhood fantasies of Boy Scouts and aliens. Someday.
Where can we find you? (Social media, web site, etc.)
Please give an excerpt from your novel. (cover, trailer, links, etc.)
Sitting in the wagon next to Marga was awkward. The space was cramped, stuffy, and not only did Marga talk in her sleep, she talked a lot in her sleep. To distract himself, Skel decided to read from the Dun Ko’s book. He caught light from the opening in the back of the wagon and anchored the book against his leg so the wagon’s jostling movement wouldn’t make him lose his place.
“Wake up, stone-head,” he heard Smyra say from outside. He looked up through the small opening to see her sitting on the shoulders of a phagim. She was holding a long chain to trail across the ground while she traveled so she could keep channeling the earth’s power. Morkin had suggested the idea a couple of mornings ago.
“I’m listening.” Skel put a finger on the open page to mark his spot.
“Have you found anything in that evil book yet?”
“Anything useful, you mean?”
“Don’t be thick,” Smyra snarled.
“It’s mostly propaganda,” Skel explained. “Reassurances for the victim’s family, vague promises about a new age when the Dun Ko will—”
“It’s a yes or no question, dung-tongue,” Smyra said.
Skel took a deep breath and released it. “No.”
Without another word, Smyra steered her phagim to the left, out of Skel’s line of sight. He sighed and returned to his reading.
“Zhans klis bakarasa,” Marga muttered. “Bakarasa klin torm.”
Skel shook his head to clear it. Was Marga getting louder?
“Zhans klis. Zhans klis,” she muttered again.
Skel turned to face her. Perhaps she really was babbling, and these were all nonsense words instead of the dragon’s thoughts. Maybe the Wyvern was trying to intimidate them.
Skel turned away and tried to ignore her, skimming through a section on the Dun Ko’s eating habits. He stopped when he realized the way they ate was actually very different from most humans. He tried to focus.
“Bakarasa klin torm,” Marga raised her voice even louder.
Skel paused in his reading. Should he get Zar?
Something was definitely happening.
“Torm. Zhans klis. Bakarasa torm.”
Now she was shouting. Zar would be here any moment to check on her. The wagon stopped. Skel could hear Zar dismounting from his horse nearby.
“Zhans klis bakarasa klin torm,” she shrieked.
Skel couldn’t look away. Her face was contorting, her jaws forced apart by the power of the unearthly screams. What was the Wyvern doing to her?
Her eyes opened.
The word “Summer” conjures memories of watermelon, homemade ice cream churns humming, and darting through the spray of a garden hose. Oh, and tomatoes fresh from the garden, slices layered between two slices of bread spread with an abundance of Duke’s Mayonnaise.
Such a wonderful time…summer…if you can beat the heat. I love to drive with the top down (drop top), but in 95-100 degree weather, it’s less than enjoyable. Your face feels like it’s melting, and the wind in your hair threatens to solder your mane to your head.
I live in Houston. It is HOT and humid. But I wouldn’t trade places with someone living in a cold climate. I tend to hibernate during the winter. Still, most seasons, I’m at my computer in an air-conditioned or heated office—along with many of us who live in the world of technology–and writers!
On to the Summer Treats – This recipe makes a cool starter in the heat of the Good Old Summertime.
ICED CUCUMBER SOUP
Butter for frying
1 small onion, peeled & finely chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded and chopped
1 Tablespoon Flour
1 Pint Hot Milk
½ Chicken Stock
Salt & Ground white pepper
½ Teaspoon/Grated Nutmeg
To Finish: Few Drops Green Food Coloring
1/4 Pint fresh cream
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Melt butter in saucepan. Add the onion and cucumbers, cover and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove the pan from the heat & gradually stir in the hot milk. Add the stock. Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Lower the heat, half cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Puree the soup. The soup should be the consistency of thick cream. Cool, then chill in the fridge until quite cold. Add green food coloring, mixing well. Pour into chilled serving bowls, swirl with cream and top with chopped mint.
The Wild Rose Press published two of my novels, Love For Sale, a sci-fi romance, and Gambler’s Choice, a romantic suspense. In Love for Sale, the hero is a sentient android, totally indistinguishable from human, programmed for love.
Love for Sale – Blurb:
March Morgan still believes in true love, but her faith in finding her soul mate is slowly vanishing. She’s been married but never in love. So, it is a miracle to find that fantasy exists on the last page of a glossy women’s journal. Mayfair Electronics, Ltd., in black and white, offers Love for Sale. The London firm has engineered sentient androids indistinguishable from humans. She flies to England and meets the man she has been searching for her entire life.
Christian requires no programming to love March at first sight. He’s handsome, cultured…absolutely perfect…and a little different from the other androids. He has an unexpected independent streak. March signs on the dotted line, buying her dream man. They return to Houston, but soon her past and his future threaten their Happily Ever After—indeed their lives.
Gambler’s Choice is set in the equestrian world starring people passionate about the horse.
Gambler’s Choice – Blurb:
Becca McQuaid came to England to find the perfect horse but instead met a darkly mysterious challenge in Austen Heath, Baron of Hampton. She’s determined to buy Austen’s stallion Gambler’s Choice. He’s determined not to sell, but the rivals are thrown together by an accident that leaves Austen with a broken leg and the threat he’ll never ride again.
Austen Heath has the title, heritage and manor house…but not the fortune. Becca is wealthy. Her charms are irresistible, but he believes she’s shopping for a Ladyship to go with her money. He has another reason to hold the sexy blonde at arms’ length—the unexplained disappearance of an old friend everyone thinks was his lover. When her body is discovered on his property, he becomes a suspect in her murder.
TWRP has a stable of talented writers. Hop around the blog and meet some of them. There are other prizes to be had on the Hop. I’d like to offer my winner a pair of sparkling angel wing earrings (pierced). If my winner happens not to have pierced ears or not want earrings, I’ll send an eBook of Love For Sale followed by an autographed cover flat.
Check out all the fabulous writers and their blogs
in the SUMMER BLOG HOP below!
|1. Sorchias Wild Rose Summer Treats Post | Visit blog|
RV Memory | Visit blog
Anna Durands Spunk & Hunks | Visit blog
Judy Ann Davis Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
Spicy Summer Treats with Mia Downing | Visit blog
Linda Nightingale. . . Wordsmith | Visit blog
Jana Richards – Journeys with Jana | Visit blog
Summer Memories of books well read @ Peggy jaeger. com | Visit blog
Summer on Cape Cod ~ Kathryn Knight books | Visit blog
Summer Fun at the Beach, with Katie OSullivan | Visit blog
I Believe Ill Go Canoeing – C. B. Clark | Visit blog
Summertime Love is Sweeter with. . . Frozen Mango? @ Kimberly Keyes blog | Visit blog
Wild Rose Summer Treats Blog Hop @ Brendas Blog | Visit blog
Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
Midsummer Magic on the Isle of Skye! | Visit blog
My Guilty Summer Treats from Lori Sizemore | Visit blog
Wild Rose Press Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
Hywela Lyns post for the WRP Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
Wild Rose Press Summer Treats & Reads | Visit blog
Camping is a Recipe for Summer Treats and Reads | Visit blog
The Snarkology | Visit blog
Summer Survival Tips @ Nitty Gritty Romance | Visit blog
Wild Rose Press Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
Nell Castle – Summer of the Sweat Lodge | Visit blog
Myth, Magic & Wonder Susan Edwards, Breathing Life into the Past | Visit blog
Romance with Spice, Sydney St. Claire | Visit blog
Author Kat de Falla | Visit blog
Anni Fife. Exciting new author of Steamy Romance with Irresistible Heroes | Visit blog
Summer Vacation, Victorian-Style, AND a Giveaway | Visit blog
Wildfires, Monsoons, and Mojitos – Author Susabelle Kelmer shares how she keeps cool in a climate that is on fire! | Visit blog
Casi McLeans recipe for Hot Reads and Cool Treats | Visit blog
Cool Summer Reads: Jeannie Halls Romantic Suspense Blog – Where Hearts Tremble From More Than Attraction | Visit blog
Summer treat – Adult Slushie | Visit blog
How to Rediscover the Magic of Bicycling | Visit blog
Charlottes Tips on How to Stay Cool in HOT New York City | Visit blog
Caryn McGill | Visit blog
Hywela Lyns Inrerplanetary Summer | Visit blog
Visit my website at http://www.lindanightingale.com for a free continuing vampire story and book videos of the novels.
Sherrel has entered Exposed by Rage in the new Kindle Scout program!
Between Monday, March 2 and April 1, 2015, go to her campaign at: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1VT4C9BS6157E
On this tour, Sherrel will be giving away $15 Amazon/BN Gift Card — a Rafflecopter giveaway
He has a dead body. She has the seedy connections. To solve the crime they are forced to work together.
To keep her mother’s reputation from destroying her, Ashley Dix Gibson had to learn at an early age to persevere and tune out the lies, gossip, and the bullies. Detective Michael DeMarco has no desire to team up with a woman with ties to the underbelly of the porn industry but if he wants to solve his case, he has no other options. When Ashley and DeMarco combine their resources to find a brutal killer, sparks of distrust turn into the fires of passion.
I must have been feeling weak, because instead of rushing out to confront a few of those I wanted to talk to, I invited DeMarco in. He’d left Braden in charge of the scene and didn’t appear to be in a rush to start the reports he’d have to do. That thought made me smile. For once I wasn’t chained to a desk for seventy-five percent of the investigation. I could get used to being out of the Army and doing things my own way.
“Glad to see the smile. I know this has been extremely hard on you,” DeMarco said. “Want to share?”
“I was thinking about Jillie, wanting me to come home. She kept trying to talk me into the leaving the military. It took her death to accomplish that.” Hot, wet tears started streaming down my face. Appalled, I turned away from DeMarco and stumbled toward the bedroom. He didn’t say anything or try to stop me, but he did follow me. When I didn’t collapse on the bed, he put his arms around me, gave a gently hug and helped me to sit on the mattress.
Damn. This was awkward. The harder I tried to stop crying, the more I leaked tears. I don’t cry. I don’t show emotion, especially to guys. I didn’t want to feel the warmth of his touch and long to put my head on his shoulder. But I did. Before I knew what was happening his lips were on mine and I was holding him. Desperate to keep from drowning.
He pushed back, looking into my eyes. Reading me like the clichéd open book.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sherrel, as the daughter of an Emmy winning cameraman, learned early in life the dark secrets of creating all those incredible fantasy characters for the large and small screen.
Refusing to be crushed at the discovery the monsters, aliens, and Robby the Robot weren’t real, Sherrel’s imagination soared. She became a SELF-proclaimed voyeur of special-effects and expert at fictional character creation.
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1E4qlDv
Twitter: @SherrelLeeBooks (Romantic Suspense) @gryphoenix (Urban Fantasy)
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2014/12/super-book-blast-exposed-by-rage-by.html
Lauren will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Wouldn’t you like to know more about the author? She graciously agreed to answer my blog questions. May I introduce Lauren…..
What is your greatest temptation:
In men: Oh, my! I’d have to say another that looks like Mark Wahlburg. Something about his boyish grin. And the amazing abs. And he seems like a nice guy. The guy next door, which is always appealing!
In food: I’m a sucker for sweets! I love a great pie … and I’ve included my grandmother’s recipes for Lemon Sponge Pie, Chess Pie, and Chocolate Pecan Pie in the back of Pie Girls! Yummy!
In clothes: I love a dress that you can throw on and it always looks fabulous. I adore anything BCBG Max Azria.
What is your greatest weakness (example: buying shoes)? Like Searcy in Pie Girls, I have a bit of a shoe predilection. Of course, I can’t afford Jimmy Choo or Prada, but I certainly have fun dreaming about owning them!
If you could have any kind of car, what would it be? I actually love my Prius. I’d love (someday) to have a newer, shinier one with a sunroof and the new high-tech dashboard.
Your dream home – mountains or ocean? I’d love a home in the mountains overlooking a huge, clear-blue lake. I grew up visiting one of the Finger Lakes in Central New York, and I’ve always loved the thought of having a vacation home there someday.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it? Thankfully, no!! I do, occasionally, get stuck on a chapter or character I’m developing. What works best for me is talking it through with one of my author friends or my mom!
What are you currently working on? I’m currently writing the sequel to Dancing Naked in Dixie, which was my second novel. Dixie tells the story of Julia Sullivan, a NYC travel writer sent to the Deep South to cover a story in Eufaula, Alabama. When she arrives, and begins her research, she gets much more than she bargained for when she discovers the city’s historic district is in danger of being replaced with a condominium development. Julia ends up falling in love with the city and fights for the preservation of Eufaula’s historic landmarks.
Are you nervous about friends reading your book? LOL. Always. I want to create the best, most satisfying novel possible. I want my friends to enjoy the book and my readers to be happy!
Where are you from? I’m from Upstate New York, about 30 minutes from the Canadian border. My entire family is still there, and we enjoy going back for long summer trips (to escape the hot and humid Mobile, Ala. weather) and in the winter time so that my boys can enjoy playing in the snow!
If you could hop on a plane now, where would you go? Definitely Santorini, Greece. I’ve always been fascinated by the people, food, and culture. The photographs are amazing. After reading about the island in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, I decided I have to go someday!
Princess, Southern belle, and spoiled-rotten social climber Searcy Roberts swore on a stack of Bibles she’d never return home to Fairhope, Alabama. After marrying her high school sweetheart and moving to Atlanta, Searcy embraces big-city life—Carrie Bradshaw style.
But now, Searcy has a teeny, tiny problem. Her husband’s had a mid-life crisis. He’s quit his job, cancelled her credit cards, and left her for another man.
Searcy returns to Fairhope, ready to lick her wounds. But when her mother falls ill, she’s is thrust into managing the family business—only to discover the beloved bakery is in danger of closing its doors forever.
Enlisting the help of the adorable bike store owner next door, an array of well-heeled customers, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Searcy hatches the plan of the century to save Pie Girls.
“Are you sure that the baby’s mine?”
I feel faint and the room starts to tilt and swim. “Whatever are you talking about?” I demand, doing my best to sound indignant. “Of course it’s ours.”
Alton turns his body to face mine. “I’m asking, because it’s impossible,” he explains.
My lips part. I try to form words. What is he trying to tell me?
“Searcy,” Alton leans closer. ” I had a vasectomy. Six months ago.”
“What?” I squeak. “How? When?”
“You were in California with Phillipa.”
My hands begin to quiver. I brace myself on the sofa.
Six. Months. Ago.
I feel sick. I want to throw up. Or launch myself out the window.
My husband’s gaze doesn’t waver. He’s serious.
“You see,” Alton continues gently. “The baby can’t be mine.”
I can’t speak or take a breath. All at once, I am furious. How dare he do this to me? Of all of the underhanded, rotten, selfish things to do to a wife. How could he take this away from me? From us?
Usually, I’m a calm, rational person. But without another thought, my right hand clenches into a fist. My fingers curl tight and the tips press into my palm. My arm bends at the elbow and I draw my body back, gathering momentum.
As my first jets through the air, cutting a path straight for my husband’s gorgeous face, everything screams to a slow-motion finish.
His face registers a mix of doubt, surprise, and then…in the last second…out-right terror.
I punch Alton square in the mouth.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Lauren Clark writes contemporary Southern novels sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets. A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends.
She is the author of four award-winning novels, Dancing Naked in Dixie, Stay Tuned, Stardust Summer, and Pie Girls, as well as a short story, A Very Dixie Christmas, published in the Merry & Bright holiday collection. Lauren is a member of the Gulf Coast Writers Association and the Mobile Writers Guild. Check out her website at http://www.laurenclarkbooks.com.
Author is holding a contest for a free paperback copy of the book at
An author referred by a reviewer friend of mine would like to share an excerpt of his riveting novel, Dragon:
The Legacy of Suleiman
Asmara was a small desert moon orbiting its gas giant parent at a distance just great enough to put it outside the planet’s radioactive reach. It was a cold, dusty little place, barely capable of supporting microbic life. Yet it did have one thing in its favor, its location. Asmara was in the gray zone, an area of space almost central to the six worlds. None dared lay claim to it and consequently it was free of all outside authority. That was why the crime syndicates built their Pleasure Dome there, and in the two decades after the Dark Age Wars it flourished.
It was here, at one of the casino tables, the last three players of a merciless card game studied their hands. Two of them, a human and a reptilian Tuolon, were far from happy, glaring angrily at the third player as he whistled out a tuneless melody. If Sillow had been human, he would have been judged to be no more than fourteen. He wasn’t; he was a Sylvan, and his childlike face and adolescent build were quite normal for his twenty-five years.
As he looked over his cards from beneath a shock of dark green hair, only his large eyes were visible. It was just as well, for his lips moved frantically as he mentally played through the possible scenarios.
Finally he gave a little nod and placed his cards face down. He took his cigar from the ashtray and began puffing heavily on it. The human, a skinny man with pockmarked features, ran a hand over two day’s stubble,
“Make your damn move,” he growled. “If you’ve got the goods, show them.”
Sillow shrugged. “Hey, give me a break Garrick,” he replied in his soft, musical voice. “You can’t rush something like this.”
He looked at his cards again, studying them as he blew smoke rings in the air. His little feet tapped all the while on the hard marble floor.
His fellow players regarded him with extreme irritation, and the human came to the decision the Sylvan was playing mind games with them. The truth though was far different. Sillow was scared and was trying to decide how best to safely extricate himself and the credits he needed from his present circumstances.
Although he couldn’t say why, he was certain now the Tuolon was a professional assassin here to kill him. His would be killer even blew his ship up to stop him escaping.
Since then the little Sylvan had been busy at the tables making the money he needed to get a freighter off the Dome. There was a royal summons to answer and he’d delayed too long already. The message was just one word, Suleiman.
“Okay, ready,” he finally announced. “You want to see this hand it’ll cost you…” he paused for effect, “six more credits.”
The human thought hard for a moment, shook his head then threw the chips into the pot in the middle of the table.
“Damn your pointy green ears,” he growled. “You take me on this hand and I lose the whole pay from my last haul.”
Sillow turned to the Tuolon. “What about you, En’n?” he asked, knowing his reptilian companion was more than out of his depth. The leathery area around the Tuolon’s eyes tightened and he opened his canine like jaws to reply. His physiology prevented him from forming Amalgam words, the common language used between the races. Instead he was forced to rely on the electronic collar at his neck.
“Not enough credits,” he answered in a synthesized voice, “but stay, watch.”
Sillow shook his head. “Sorry. You know the rules. You fold, you leave.” He waved his cigar towards the exit.
“Stay,” the reptile hissed.
“Can’t do that,” Sillow told him.
The Tuolon thrust a clawed finger at the Sylvan. “I do not take orders from a weak creature like you,”
Sillow blew a cloud of smoke directly at the huge reptile. “I’m afraid you’re going to have to.”
The Tuolon’s lip curled away from his razor teeth. “I will…”
“What?” Sillow asked, placing a shaking hand to his cigar as he feigned a calmness he didn’t feel. “You’ll kill me?”
The Tuolon’s anger was growing, Sillow realized; now was the moment to push him past his limited self-restraint.
“Get lost!” he said.
The human gasped, pushing his chair away from the table. The Tuolon got to his feet, his powerful frame shaking with fury. “I will kill you,” he hissed.
Sillow felt his heart beating like a jack hammer. He was ready to bolt at the reptile’s slightest move. A faint hum of a sentinel though told him his plan was working. The spherical droid appeared above them.
Sensors flashed as it monitored everything in its immediate environment, heart rate, respiration, hormonal skin level. Its three red optics trained on the Tuolon.
“You have indicated a desire to commit violence,” it stated in a cold, metallic voice. “Is this assessment correct?”
The reptile stared up at the black sphere. “Not correct,” he answered, nostrils flaring. “No threat.” His chest heaved as he answered.
“No threat here,” Sillow added, reaching over and giving the assassin a pat on the arm.
“My friend though was under the impression you can remain at the table even if you aren’t playing.”
“Negative,” the sentinel replied. It positioned itself in front of the Tuolon, laser banks flashing dangerously. “State your intention,” it ordered.“Do you wish to continue with your hand or fold?”
With a huge effort the Tuolon sat down. “Play,” he replied.
Sillow looked the reptile over. “What can you bet with?” he asked.
He leaned back, tapping a finger on his cheek. “You’re almost out credits. How about jewelry?” He looked at En’n’s simple animal hide armor, “no.” He frowned, then snapped his fingers. “I know,” he announced, pretending the idea had just come to him, “your ship.” The Tuolon gave a start.
Sillow took a puff on the cigar. “Yeah, I could really do with one, you see…” He fixed the Tuolon with a meaningful look. “Some scum bag blew mine up.”
“Do you agree to this wager?” the Sentinel asked in its emotionless voice.
Sillow watched En’n’s discomfort with satisfaction. The Tuolon, he knew, could not afford to lose his ship, but he could also not afford to let his prey out of his sight either. It was, after all, frustration with his elusive quarry which forced him to the card table in the first place.
The Tuolon nodded, fury burning in his black eyes. “Okay,” he said. “I bet.”
Sillow turned to the human. “You’re a witness to this right, Garrick?”
The man sighed. “Guess so,” he replied.
“I am also a witness to the wager,” the sentinel added. “If the Sylvan wins the hand, the docking bay computer will be informed the ship has a new owner.”
There was a pause, small lights flashing as the sentinel conveyed the message.
The man gave a shrug of his bony shoulders. “What the hell,” he groaned. He threw his cards down, four of a kind. The Tuolon gave a soft grunt then threw down a superior straight. The man let out a despairing cry and slumped back in his chair.
Sillow’s childlike face was unreadable. He shrugged and scratched his cheek in an absent minded way as he regarded the cards in front of him. “Oh, well,”he said after some moments, “guess that makes me the winner.” He flashed his reptilian opponent a smile then laid down a royal flush.
En’n froze, unblinking. His chest rose and fell dangerously, and his fists clenched so tightly his claws cut into his palms. The sentinel, Sillow knew, would be monitoring all this. It was time to push his adversary over the edge. He took a long draw on his cigar and blew a stream of smoke in his direction.
“Bad luck, En’n, and so long,” he said scooping the pile of credits towards him. He put them into the leather pouch around his waist.
“How do you say it in Tuolon? Ah, yes…” he finished putting the last of the credits away and leaned forward. “Ekarak,” he hissed in a bad imitation of the warrior farewell.
To the cold logic of the sentinel there was nothing provocative in these words, but Sillow knew such familiar language from one not of the Tuolon warrior caste would infuriate the reptile.
The assassin roared in fury and, forgetting all other considerations, swung at the Sylvan’s throat with his lethal claws. Sillow, however, with the quick reflexes of his race, backed out of range. En’n, his attempt frustrated, plunged into a berserker rage and began to swing out wildly in all directions.
Sillow pushed Garrick’s chair backwards, sending its occupant sprawling to the floor. En’n now lunged for
Sillow. Before he could close the distance though, the sentinel fired an energy bolt, sending the reptile crashing unconscious to the floor.
The black metallic body turned, a large optic focused on Sillow. “State your name and when you wish to depart.”
“Silla Low,” the Sylvan answered, “and I plan on leaving right now.”
A wave flickered over the sentinel as lights flashed on and off in succession. “I have made the arrangements. Take your winnings and depart.”
Sillow needed no prompting. He was about to leave when he caught the haunted, despairing expression on Garrick’s face. He reached into his pouch and pulled out a handful of credits, far more than the man was able to count.
“Tell you what,” he said, throwing them down onto the table. “I only stopped off at the Dome to pick up a fresh supply of cigars. How about you pick me up a couple months’ supply?”
The man, still flat on his back, managed a small nod.
Sillow wiped the sweat from his brow. “That should more than cover it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I really have to be somewhere.”
~ * ~
The Tuolon ship was a sleek craft, built like a needle with a power core capable of great speed. He could make it to Sylvan in less than a day in this thing. There were, however, two big problems. The first was a good, working knowledge of the Tuolon language was necessary to operate the complex controls, as opposed to the few phrases he knew. The second was it was a two man ship, possibly three. There was no way he could pilot this thing alone.
Sillow gave a soft curse as he ran the problem through his mercurial mind. He brought a small fist down on the control panel in frustration. He had no choice but to hawk it at a low enough price to make a quick sale. Doing so, however, would mean more delay and danger too. The assassin En’n might be safely locked up, but whoever he was working with wasn’t.
Decision made, he rushed out of the craft and headed off in the direction of the barter quarters. The portcullis like doors opened automatically and Sillow rushed through. Two Tuolons were waiting for him. Smaller in stature than En’n and clearly not the fearsome killer their master was, they were nevertheless a frightening sight, especially for the diminutive Sylvan. The doors slammed shut behind him.
“The master’s ship,” one of them rasped. “Return it to us.” The reptile made a motion for him to step back inside. “Only you have access,” he went on, “give us the codes.”
Sillow realized it was all over if he did. What could he do? He’d never learned to fight and had no idea how to use the compact staff he carried on his belt. Even if he did, he seriously doubted he could have taken these two on anyway. His only advantage was his speed, but to make it work he needed to get some space between them and him.
“Computer,” he said, turning his head to speak into the voice com, “this is Silla Low,” he took a deep breath, then “…help!”
A warning siren sounded in response to his cry. The Tuolons panicked. One reached out to grab him, lunging forward. Sillow timed his move carefully. He jumped up onto his larger opponent’s outstretched leg and somersaulted over him.
Before either of the Tuolons could react, Sillow was sprinting away down the corridor. “Help!” he screamed again, this time at the top of his voice,“somebody…anybody.”
The Tuolons turned and raced after him but soon realized keeping up with their quarry amongst the labyrinthine corridors would be no easy matter.
Sillow never slowed, even as he heard his pursuers’ footsteps growing fainter behind him. Eventually though, curiosity overcame terror and he chanced a look behind him. He should have looked ahead for it was then he ran into the wall.
I’m a college lecturer from the rainy city of Manchester, England and have been writing speculative fiction for over a decade and a half, mostly science fiction, horror and a little fantasy. For me writing is all about escapism and imagination, the further a tale is from reality the more I enjoy it. Mostly I write short stories and novellas and have been fortunate enough to have had many of these published professionally. I also write short novels (40 000 to 60 000 words). My first science fiction novel and my ‘baby’ is called Dragon. I wrote the first draft of it ten or so years ago and since then it steadily evolved into the version published in October 2013 by Class Act Books. I’ve had three other works published since then with one more (another Dragon novel) to come out in November of this year.
Background to the novel:
Dragon grew out of two ill matched protagonists who’d been in my mind for a long time. One was a restless, reckless and neurotic elf and the other a taciturn, ill- tempered barbarian, think Conan without the brains or charm. Originally I planned to write a series of interlinking fantasy novellas following their adventures together. The tone was to be comedic and I intended them to be a sort of comedy double act, the elf the clownish figure and the barbarian the straight man, the foil as it were. Well, the characters developed a life of their own and survived, as did the interlinking format to follow their adventures but somehow the story seemed to work better with a science fiction spin. Because of this transition from fantasy to science fiction the novel took about a decade to fully evolve into its present manifestation. It does retain a strong fantasy element though and the two protagonists still travel around by Dragon, although a metallic one instead of the reptilian creature that existed in the original conception. The final chapter “Relics” blurs the lines completely between the world of magic and gods and science as an ancient mystery is finally answered. Although it would be next to impossible to write an actual sequel the twenty year time span the novel occupies allows me a lot of scope to write further tales around the same characters. I have a second novel, Dragon: Smuggler Tales coming out in November, a series of connected stories that take place in the year that elapses between chapters one and two of Dragon.
The moment he steps off the boat and into his hometown of Salem, Nathanial Abbot knows the rumors about Salem are indeed true. For in the two years since he’s left Salem—disowned by his family and seeking a fortune of his own—the town has changed. It is dark with discord and suspicion… and accusations of witchcraft. Now all that remains for him is the woman he’s never forgotten.
But Faith Downing isn’t happy to see Nathanial. In his absence, his younger sisters have ignited the chain of hysteria that resulted in twenty deaths—including Faith’s aunt, to whom Nathanial owed his life. Yet through her acrimony, Faith can’t prevent herself from responding to the man Nathanial has become, handsome and kind. A man who kindles something in her that speaks of sin.
“The accused would not be in need of defense if someone had bothered to put a stop to what your sisters were doing,” she said, her jaw tight. “And if you wish to walk out of here without a limp, take heed now of your opportunity to go.”
“And if I do not?”
She lifted her hand as if she meant to contact him, but he did not allow her the chance. With undue speed, he captured her wrist and pressed her arm, gently but firmly, against the plank wall at her back. “Careful there, little one.”
“Or what? Do you mean to threaten me?”
“Not at all. In truth, my intentions are exactly the opposite.”
Her hazel eyes narrowed. “What does that mean?”
His gaze dropped to her lips. Drank in the sight of her tongue darting to moisten them. Her chest heaved, sending his heart into uncharted territory. Sending him away from her.
He released her arm and took a step back. He had been a breath away from kissing her, and the only thing that promised to be more delicious than those ripe, moist lips was the fury she would no doubt cast his way. But now was not the time, nor was it the place. “Nothing,” he said. “It means nothing.”
Leaving her staring slack-jawed after him, he turned on his heel and left.
Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep. She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids.) When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or in search of that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her. To learn more about her work in contemporary, historical, and supernatural romance and romantic suspense, please stalk accordingly.
Entangled direct link not yet available / author page@ http://www.entangledpublishing.com/category/sarah-ballance/
The multitalented author, Noelle Adams, produced another Academy Award winning video for Sinners’ Obsession (check out the Sinners’ Opera page for that video)!
Amazon, angels, Bianca Swan, demons, Double Dragon Publishing, ebook, erotic romance, fallen angels, For Whom the Bells Toll, Grigori, Heaven, Hell, Julianne Keller, Kindle, Paimon, print books, reviews, Second War in Heaven
Great review for Bianca Swan’s erotic romance, On Wings of Desire: http://forwhomthebookstoll.blogspot.com/2014/08/review-for-on-wings-of-desire-by-bianca.html?showComment=1409225272430#c9214273802421542027 – Ms. Keller gave 4.5 roses and rated the heat level as scorching. “The plot is unique and mysterious enough to keep the reader turning the pages and very hard to put down.”