Latest Entries »

My Library is Your Oyster

All my titles are now available in the new Oyster  book subscription service! In case you don’t already know, here is how it works: for $10/month you can read all the books you want. It’s basically Netflix for books, which works out to be a tremendous deal for the more voracious readers.

If you’ve got an iOS device, sign up for a free month and dive into these super cool titles:

Shadeskin

reformation-ep1-thumb

reformation-ep2-thumb

reformation-ep3-thumb

 

 

Shadeskin

Happy Valentines’ Day! To show you guys the love, I’m giving away a signed, print copy of Shadeskin over at Cloey K’s blog. Follow the link for details.

Also, while you’re checking out the post, vote for Shadeskin in the cover contest. Help spread the word and let’s take Shadeskin to the next level!

Link to post: http://cloeyk.blogspot.com/2013/02/shadeskin.html

Tolin’s Journal #6

My Dear Ilanna,

My farm lies in shambles, leaving me no place to which I may return. One night, an envoy from the king encroached upon my fields and dispatched my undead farmhands with little effort. They delivered to me a letter requesting my presence at the new king’s coronation to shed light on the mysterious forces pillaging nearby lands. Had they not been sent directly from the king, I would have reformed my undead horde to tear them apart where they stood. But, since that would not bring me closer to you, my love, I held back. Gathering what little possessions I desired to carry, I set off to see this new king.

Cresting the final hill to my destination, the sight of the king’s castle was enough to cause both hesitation and awe. The sun lit up the tall keeps with the golden afterglow from the surrounding wheat fields. It was a perfect gem of civilization I didn’t care to reenter after my near decade absence from regular human contact. The glimmer of hope that I might gain more information about you kept me pressing onward.

I arrived at the gates and presented the letter as it instructed. They had me sign my name to confirm my identity, handed me a voucher for 700GP, and told me to enjoy myself at the carnival. After living a life of dark solitude, the carnival I walked into was simply overwhelming. Booths were set up all around the square with pathetic merchants begging for the attention of any who stepped too close to them.

Skirting the edges, I quickly discovered these people of the court weren’t at all amenable to necromancers. My queries for any others who share my love of undeath ended with them bolting off or taking me for a jester. Embarrassed by my misunderstandings, I went back to watching the booths. A shady looking man started up a conversation with me, introducing himself as Elwin. Apparently, he had heard some of my inquiries and I began nervously rambling about my background and the advantages of certain undead. I remarked that skeletons can be better than zombies because you don’t have to worry about the fleshy bits. He laughed, calling me, “Farmer Fleshy-bits”. I didn’t appreciate the stinging humor at my expense, but at least I managed to keep talking with someone at the carnival.

The coronation finally started and they brought out the new king who looked to be slightly younger than me. In the middle of the ceremony, I was summoned into the keep and placed around a horseshoe-shaped table with five others, including Elwin. We acknowledged each other with nods, but I could tell he had been summoned here with similar pretenses to my own. The other four consisted of a man impatiently tapping his foot against the floor, two dwarves (one turned out to be a female, but I wasn’t sure at the time), and a halfling.

Lord Hadraxel marched into the room with a host of soldiers and the queen hitched to his side. Sitting back in the king’s throne, he gave us all a chance to speak, which I used to ask about what had become of Lord Chaxon after his inability to defend the lands given to him. Lord Hadraxel told me Chaxon had been promoted to the general of the King’s armies. I demanded an explanation to this and how it related to why I was summoned. He replied it didn’t matter.

A row of archers filled the balconies above us. Lord Hadraxel declared us to be the six assassins prophesied to kill the king on his coronation day. He showed us confessionals we each had signed earlier. This was the same letter I had signed at the gate to gain entrance to the coronation ceremony. The liars changed the text to have me confess to a prophecy they likely planted to seal up power for the new king. The way the queen kept her hands all over Lord Hadraxel all but confirmed to me what was going on.

Our verbal protests turned violent when one of the dwarves drew out his warhammer. With a snap of Lord Hadraxel’s fingers, the dwarf dropped his hammer and began stripping of his armor and clothes. Lord Hadraxel hit a button on the throne and the floor surrounded it dropped to reveal a spiked pit. The other man at the table tried to jump the gap, but failed and landed at the bottom. From his cries, he didn’t die.

Joining the action, I rose to summon a zombie next to the throne, but was cut short when an arrow hit me from the archers up top. I kept focusing on my casting, but fell into a dark haze. My spell failed as I dropped into an inconvenient slumber. When I awoke, the guards where attaching fetters to us and hauling us off. The man who fell in the pit had several scars lining his skin. From the looks of the rest of this group, they didn’t put up much of a fight after I went down.

The guards mumbled something about it being to late to execute us and promised to do it in the morning in full view of the crowds. I tried to spot Lord Hadraxel, but he had evidently taken his leave after the struggle. The guards lead us back outside to take us to the dungeons.

While coming through an alleyway, a man darted around the corner and barreled into us, knocking us off balance an onto the ground. He got back to his feet and took off again before our guards could react. Four armed men wearing black armor bolted around the same corner he appeared from. Ready this time, one of our guards shot one of them with a crossbow bolt. Seeing his friend bleeding out on the ground, a black-armored soldier threw out his hands and sent a charge of light that disintegrated the guards. Having never seen magic so powerful, I was grateful to have been on the ground.

The remaining three black-armored men circled around us looking for something. A black book radiating power lay in the dirt. The man that crashed into us must have dropped it. I snatched it and hid it beneath my robes, feeling its raw power against my skin. Still in chains, we didn’t stand much of a chance. However, nothing could ever keep me from you my love.

Tolin Naihim,
Death’s Neglected Son

necromancer

Tolin’s Journal #5

My Deal Ilanna,

Without you to light its halls, the castle became my tomb. I wanted to bury my heart within so that it might decay into ash, freeing me from your fading whispers. Instead, it pounded resiliently within my chest. It reminded my of my vow to find you and pushed me onward even when I consigned myself to a slow death within the decaying walls.

As with the aftermath of my village, I found no dead bodies. Even the elves I had seen die in the entrance disappeared. All that was left were dark halls filled with the evil that stole my love. After a time, it began to speak to me, promising to grant me vengeance in exchange for my hatred. It whispered a familiar name…

Nerull

Shadows crept around me, tempting me with power. I followed them deep into the heart of the castle. Doors shuttered with heavy chains broke apart ahead of my entrance. The shadows grew more defined the farther we walked until they looked like tall, gaunt corpses. They hid their faces from me, always averting my gaze as if they didn’t want to incur my wrath.

They brought me before a black door to a room that looked as if it had burst up through the floor. Stone fragments littered the ground and the smell of fresh earth clawed at my nostrils. Without hesitation, I heaved against the door until it opened. A familiar arrangement of books lined the walls with a small desk there in the midst. I swept my hands over the volumes of knowledge I had sorely missed. I pulled down a tome and read over the words I struggled to remember during my imprisonment.

The markings were unmistakable, this was the very same room that I had found underneath my village. I was never happier, for I had once again found the tools to power, only this time, I had a definitive goal in mind. With the untouched food stores in the castle, I knew I could live there for several months at least, probably years. I would need all of that time to prepare myself to confront the force that took you away from me.

Burying myself in the wisdom contained in that room, I continued my training at my own pace. Without Lyanis holding me back, I grew by leaps and bounds. After each lesson, I practiced my spells on the shadows, bending them to my own will. They became my slaves in my crusade to escape. I used them to try every avenue of escape to no avail. Still, I persevered.

Two years passed until my food stores dwindled to a critical level. I lived like a king with dark slaves performing all my bidding. I finally recognized the wards with which Lyanis had sealed me in the castle. My freedom lay close at hand. Outside the castle walls, I rose a few skeletons to roam the hills and bring me back what I needed for a spell of freedom. Once gathered, I broke the ward and left the castle, never to return.

Free as I now was, I knew I needed more time before I sought you out, Ilanna. I resettled my old village, using skeletons as workhands for a new batch of crops I planted in my father’s fields. I worked it until I could sustain myself. The years tumbled by until a group of curious traders stopped by to inquire as to the nature of the village. Honesty was my best weapon. After a show of my undead workhands, they granted me favorable trading agreements.

I lived well and advanced my training until this point, where I have learned all I can from my dark room. Each of its volumes lies within my strong mind, ready to be put into practice. I’m still unsure why Lyanis anchored the evil that penetrated the castle to me so he could escape with you, or rather, lead you to your imprisonment, but I will discover those answers when I rescue you.

I hope to meet him again, so I can resolve our differences. Only now can I see how he manipulated me into drawing the attack on your castle. He used me as bait and I will know why when he lies in the throes of death at my feet.

I was a boy whose life was stripped away in the night, but now I am a necromancer that death refused to visit. I have tamed the very evil that overpowered your castle and I will carry it back to the hands of those responsible. They will regret death’s negligence.

I know you are still alive, Ilanna. I’ve heard rumors that I will not write here, lest this journal falls to enemy hands, that my time to seek you out is now. I have taken great care to pen the words so that when I find you, you will know of my struggle. Our love will have its day.

All I do is for you.

Tolin Naihim,
Death’s Neglected Son

Necromancer

Tolin’s Journal #4

My Dear Ilanna,

Know that I was among the final defenders of your castle the day it fell. While you remained safely hidden, I took my instructions from Lyanis to heart in hopes it would be your salvation. If only my sheer will could have saved you, we would have left that death trap together. However, as you know, the powers working against you were too great for your guard to bear.

Still, it was all for you that I raced down those stairs. My fear threatened to hold me back, but I wouldn’t let it stop me from defending your home. What little valor your guards had, they expended in barricading the doors to the keep. As I made it to the bottom of the stairs with my torn parchment in hand, I saw them failing to hold back the evil on the other side.

I laughed inwardly, knowing none of them had long to live. Death comes for us all, but some you can just tell are easier targets. Holding up the spell written by Lyanis, I concentrated on the runes, allowing them to form in my mind. Speaking the activating words, light shone out all through the room. Crimson lines traced out a pattern below me that I recognized all too late.

Held in place by the symbol surrounding my feet, I watched the guards fly away from the doors. Wooden splinters flew out to either side of me ahead of the armed soldiers storming inside. Confronted by the very same force that had destroyed me village, I screamed in all my fury and conjured what I could. Nothing happened. I stood powerless as your elven guard fell all around me at the hands of those rushing inside.

Blood spilled across the floor and covered the attackers’ blades, but still no one touched me. I reached out to stop the soldiers from advancing up the stairs, but I couldn’t lift my hands from my sides. Again, I was helpless and forced to watch everything around me crumble. Screams poured down the halls as the soldiers charged through them. My greatest fear was only that you, Ilanna, had been killed. I struggled even harder to free myself, but got nowhere.

The battle rushed past me, leaving a strange silence behind. Mountain air blasted through now broken entrance and pushed me to the ground. I found my feet rather quickly and ran to find you. That was when I heard the feet scrambling down the stairs. I looked up and saw Lyanis gliding down with a small entourage in tow.

I yelled out to ask him what was happening and he turned to me with a worried look. I was about to demand answers when I saw you, Ilanna, hiding underneath a cloak in the center of the group. You must remember pulling back your hood to acknowledge me for the very first time. Your eyes were the most terrifyingly beautiful I had ever seen. Surely you felt our connection in that perfect moment.

For the briefest of time, I forgot the peril we were all in, but soon came back when you thanked me for my sacrifice. Confused, I just nodded my head in a stupor as you continued walking outside. Lyanis was the last one out and turned back to me, baring my exit. He explained the castle was now mine and I was the only one who could contain the evil within.

I ignored his crazy ramblings, and pushed around him to move outside. A jolt of pain snapped me back into the castle. Lyanis explained I wouldn’t be able to leave because of the scroll I had cast. If I left, all the evil now trapped in the castle would follow me. I screamed at how wretched of an elf he was and reaffirmed my hatred of his kind.

He disappeared with you down the mountain, leaving me to watch your escape from above. I knew how short-lived it would be as the attacking horde stood around the base of the mountain. For hours, I stood watching until you were captured and brought before whatever twisted general hunted you. I wept when they bound your hands in chains and shoved you in that prison cart.

When they set off, carrying you away from me, I tried once more to leave the castle, but still I could not. I was trapped in my own prison as they drove you unto yours. That was the moment I vowed to seek you out and free you from your captors. I live by that vow in this very moment that I pen these words as fervently as I made it that day. Those who imprisoned you will suffer at my hands.

I never make vows lightly. I will come for you and I will rescue you.

Tolin Naihim
Death’s Neglected Son

Necromancer

Last Day of Shadeskin Ebook Sale

Shadeskin
Today is the last day to get the  Shadeskin Ebook for only $3, so load it up and dive into a unique world!

Synopsis:

Lurking beneath the veil of reality, a supernatural war
threatens to consume the city of Shreveport, Louisiana.
The Illumin, messengers of light, strive to protect the city’s
human inhabitants from the vicious Shades. Banished
from their natural world, the Shades carve out a restless
existence among us. The powerful Raven family stands
between the warring Shades and Illumin, struggling to
maintain a delicate balance while ensuring that everyone
else remains unaware.

In the nearby town of Wheelbarrow Creek, an Aztec relic
makes its way into Matthew Gillard’s hands, unlocking an
evil with the power to bring back the dead. Impossible to
control, the relic bends him to its will. Now Raven, Shade,
and Illumin hunt after this newfound threat.

Shadeskin is an urban fantasy anthology born from the
minds of three authors. The five stories contained within
build a world of light and shadow ready for the daring
reader to explore.


All Hail the New Year!

And here we are at the top of a crisp, fresh new year full of potential that so often goes untapped. Well, I intend to fully tap my year and use the resources gained to bang out some awesome writing projects. I’ve given some serious thought to this and have created a very modest plan that should excite all my readers.

In the past, I’ve been guilty of planning out impossible goals for myself, but not this year! I’ve kept my planning in the realm of true possibility and have shocked myself as to what I’m going to accomplish.

The Supremacy Universe

This will be the year that I take baby steps into expanding Supremacy into what it needs to be – a fully developed, scifi universe. This is my master work, and I’ve not been able to properly convey the enormous scope of stories I have planned. The Reformation series is only the first glimpse into a universe as diverse and complex as Star Wars or Warhammer 40K.

Speaking of Reformation, I’ve been lagging behind with my episodes, but not to worry. This year I will finish the first 10 episodes, finally completing the first volume. Volume I will end with such a showdown that you’ll be screaming at me to start writing the next one!

However, before I start Reformation: Volume II, I will be writing a YA science fiction novel set in a new part of the Supremacy Universe. Yes, that’s right, you’ll get a peak into what is outside the Second Order! I’ve had a great idea for a while, and it will be demanding my attention this year. I don’t have any more detail than that, so you’ll have to wait for the full premise when I’m ready to release it to the public!

Shadeskin

This is also the year that Shadeskin officially turns into a series. You didn’t think we were really going to leave you guys hanging like that forever did you? Well, expect the sequel this year!

And, of course, there will be more after that. We’ve already been sketching out ideas for the next few books, so strap in for a wild ride of Southern UF at its finest.

2013 – At a Glance

And because I love lists so much right now, have one with my projects for 2013:

  1. Supremacy: Reformation – Volume I (Episodes 1-10)
  2. Supremacy YA Novel
  3. Shadeskin 2

2013 – It’s going to rock!

Black Friday $3 Shadeskin Sale

ShadeskinIf you’ve been waiting to dive into the world of Shadeskin, this is your weekend. The ebook is now on sale for $3, so load it up and relax after a long day of hunting down sale after sale in the real world!

Synopsis:

Lurking beneath the veil of reality, a supernatural war
threatens to consume the city of Shreveport, Louisiana.
The Illumin, messengers of light, strive to protect the city’s
human inhabitants from the vicious Shades. Banished
from their natural world, the Shades carve out a restless
existence among us. The powerful Raven family stands
between the warring Shades and Illumin, struggling to
maintain a delicate balance while ensuring that everyone
else remains unaware.

In the nearby town of Wheelbarrow Creek, an Aztec relic
makes its way into Matthew Gillard’s hands, unlocking an
evil with the power to bring back the dead. Impossible to
control, the relic bends him to its will. Now Raven, Shade,
and Illumin hunt after this newfound threat.

Shadeskin is an urban fantasy anthology born from the
minds of three authors. The five stories contained within
build a world of light and shadow ready for the daring
reader to explore.

Shadeskin Now Available in Print

That’s right folks, you can now get the highly acclaimed urban fantasy anthology, Shadeskin, in a dead tree version!

Get your copy today!

Tolin’s Journal #3

My Dear Ilanna,

My arms and back ached from the daily torture in that cell. Every evening I had a brief opportunity to see you, so I strained to hold my face up to that tiny window. My long days of monotony brightened when you walked by. Though, I only glimpsed you from a distance, it was cool water to my weary soul.

Only my body lived in that cell. My soul belonged to you then as it still does now. I bid my time until destiny would draw us together. My jailers couldn’t get a word out of me, though they tried. I ate their food, meager as it was, and answered half their questions with quiet nods. If they had only known of our love, they could have made me talk with the slightest of threats against you.

I gathered more information from them than they did me. Their fear and worry showed me they respected my power. They were right to seal me off, for I would have killed all of them to avenge my people. My attempts at casting failed, leading me to believe my cell was warded. Of course at that time I knew very little of magic and even less of wards. It was only recently that I understood what they truly feared of me. They took my ability to quickly learn the dark arts very seriously.

One day, a new visitor came for me, introducing himself as Lyanis. He held himself upright with a staff but didn’t quite carry himself as highly as his fellow elves. With a stirring in his eyes, he offered to apprentice me should I give up my deity. Servants of Nerull can’t be bought so easily, but I was young and thirsted for knowledge. Well, I thirsted to be free of my cell and be with you, Ilanna, so I took this chance. I pretended to fall for his rhetoric that all students of the arcane are of singular breed unbound by clan, creed, or class. He delivered a beautiful speech that would have convinced anyone to follow him, but it was only for you that I went with him that day.

He secured my release and took me to my new chambers, adjoining his own. It was a small room with a cot more comfortable than the stone I had been sleeping on and, to my amazement, a massive bookshelf lined one of the walls. Not having read a word for weeks, I rabidly devoured each tome in that library whenever Lyanis allowed me free time. The books were on many subjects, but mostly centered around the elven life as a wizard.

He mostly kept me busy scrubbing the floors, cleaning the rugs, and other menial tasks. It built up a work ethic that he valued, so I obliged. Of course, I always hoped I might run into you in the halls, but as you know, I hoped in vain. Days of this passed until Lyanis said it was time he showed me true arcane power. I casually told him death was the only power I needed. He laughed and patted me on the head as if it would cure some ignorance I held.

I humored him during his lessons, paying just enough attention to make him think I believed his teachings. As I said before, I wouldn’t be bought so cheaply. He showed me various spells and I learned them just as quickly as he could present them. The difficult part of his lessons were his condescending tones. I never did anything right because of my human birth. My mind was never as adept at magic as an elf’s. In these moments, he became someone entirely different from the elf who rescued me from the cell.

I matched him though with my own, unbreakable will. Each time he tore into me, I would try harder and remind myself of his people’s deceitful nature. Knowing their day of retribution drew near kept me focused. I never once let him break me down. Through his berating, I learned my most valuable lesson–perseverance. I’m not sure if that was what he intended, but I still hold onto that today.

Strangely enough, Lyanis was the only one to treat me with proper dignity and respect outside his lessons. Everyone else regarded me with contempt or fear. On one occasion Lyanis physically defended me from one of the kitchen maids chasing me with a wooden spoon. After that, we formed a nearly amicable bond. I took what wisdom I could gleam from his lessons and even let myself buy into his style of magic. I kept Nerull close to my heart, though, just to keep myself on the right path.

I was happy with my new routine around the castle, but every day that I didn’t see you felt empty. One night after finally gathering the courage to ask about you, I went to see Lyanis. He sat at his desk scribbling onto a torn parchment. Before I could say anything he looked at me and handed me the parchment with instructions to keep it with me. Then he snatched his staff and dragged me out into the hallway toward the staircase leading to the battlements.

The cold mountain air nearly froze me in place, but all feeling left me once I saw down to the base of the mountain. A battle played out down below us. Elven riders clashed against an unknown force. I felt a certain delight at watching the riders get cut down in the same manner they had cut my townfolk down.

Lyanis explained they had been fighting over the past few months and our enemies had just now reached our gates. He said that our only hope was for me to present myself to the attacking force and read off the spell he handed me earlier. Naturally, I was scared, but he assured me it was the only way to save you, Ilanna. Staring in amazement, he reminded me that I could never hide anything from him.

He shoved me back inside toward the main staircase. I was now scared and confused, but walked down those stairs ready to save you. I’m sure you remember what happened next, but you certainly never knew who was responsible. Now you know it was me and it was all for you.

Tolin Naihim – Death’s Neglected Son

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 138 other followers