Archive for May, 2013

Book covers by request

Now I started this blog as a place to show my work.  While I have been doing mostly excerpts here I thought I would post up some of the ebook covers templates I have made up.  These are for sale at the very reasonable price of $5.  Basic fonts and your title and name are added for that price.  If people want more effects then the price goes up but not by much.

Here are a few examples.  These are done with my own photography and would be great for the writer who is doing poetry, erotica or romance.

yellow-lily black-eyed-susan blossom-five blossom-four blossoms blossoms-two blossom-three impatiences lavender-bloosom morning-glory peach pink pink-duo pretty-purple purple purple-pink-blossoms wet-purple white-and-purple yellow-blossom  If you are interested just drop me a line!

WIP Music Is My Mistress

This little bit will be one of the upcoming Guardians of the Gate City spin off side stories.  While not so much a Guardian, the main character will be a bridge between one city and another.

***

The notes floated through the rush hour crowd.  Soft but clearly heard by those who attention was willing to be distracted.  The clear voice lifted but not demanding to be heard.  Touching a place inside those the harsh day had pushed to an edge.  Soothing them.  Relaxing the tension that could so easily flare in the confined space of the subway platform.  As the train rumbled into the station, the energy changed to more a weary happiness to be heading home.

 

As the crowd moved a single man stopped by the figure in the alcove and nodded, dropping a crumpled bill into the plastic cup as a thank you before he headed back home.  His desperation lighter and a bit of hope, a tiny seed, filling his belly.  He heard a soft, “Go in peace,” and he did, stopping only long enough to toss an unused knife into the darkness of the tracks to be lost.

 

Sighing tiredly the figure closed silver eyes and waited.  The night no longer held the threat sensed.  She smiled softly below the floppy hat that shadowed her face.  Her work in this place was done for now.  Packing the dulcimer into its embroidered bag, she tucked it into a deep packet in the oversized coat she wore.  The cup followed, the money uncounted.

 

She slipped up the stairs into the snowy dark of a late Tuesday night.  The trains would still be running for another hour or so but she had another place to go now.  A warm room with a bed would be more to her liking but there was so much she needed to do and sleep could wait till at least some of it was done.

 

Looking up at the snow as it fell softly from the black sky, she shivered and wrapped a ragged scarf tighter around her throat.  As she walked she continued to feel out the air, pausing to sniff from time to time the wind that blew from the water.  As her feet grew chilled in her boots, she hummed a soft series of notes and let out a little snort, shaking her head.  “That won’t do,” she whispered and turned toward her next destination.

WIP excerpt from The Price of Freedom

Yup another work in progress.  I have over 150 of them after all and who knows when they will be finished. But this one is my science fiction novel that I will hopefully finish some time in the next year.

******

The Price of Freedom

 

The sisters all ran, each in a different direction.  None of them wished to be caught, to be used to bring in the others or to become a belonging.  It would have been different if they had parents still.  If their mother had lived and father had not been killed and uncle hadn’t seen a way out of his troubles.  Money he owed could be overlooked, forgotten for the price of four lovely young girls, all unique in their looks and powers.

 

******

 

They had all been born together, a rarity for the people.  Four tiny daughters brought forth from their mother’s womb with great pain.  One young father left with those daughters when his mate died.  He was a gentle, quiet man of the people.  He raised his daughters with love and understanding.  Never once did he blame the little girls for the loss of his mate.

 

The eldest, Druscilla, was the tallest and fast to anger.  She fought for the rights of her family, teaching those who tried to take advantage of them that she had hidden weapons that cut to the quick.  Her flame-red hair caught the attention of many but her fierce eyes made most males of the People nervous.  She was the leader of the sisters, often into trouble.

 

The next oldest, Chantrea, was the gentle one.  Her large, soft brown eyes captivated many of the young men their age.  She always had one of the small creatures about her.  She would care for the bird with the broken wing or the injured squirrel.   The three other sisters did their best to help her find training for her healing hands.  There was little money for a formal apprenticeship but the healer let her work with him as an assistant, teaching her when he could take time from his paying students.

 

The third sister, Tatum was the practical one.  Her black hair and green eyes were striking but more so was her sharp mind.  She schemed and plotted and helped her father keep her sisters fed.  When Druscilla’s temper got them all in trouble she would find a way to ease over the injured pride with wise words or a bribe if necessary.

 

The final sister was the wild one.  Where her oldest sister fought and grew angry quickly, little golden Arella was always running. She gloried in freedom and movement.  Always laughing, her eyes sparkled, her laughter was contagious.  She was fiercely protective of her sisters and father, loving with all her heart and rarely did she hold dark emotion.  Always she was willing to lend a hand when needed but rarely would she found doing those things that women were expected to do.  The tasks that were repetitive or slow were not for the wild child, though she could sit still if the task involved making beauty.  She had an eye for color and how they should be put together.

WIP A Fragile Peace Broken

I thought I would toss up the first bit of the next Loralil Greyfox story.  This will be the third book to my oldest series.  It comes a decade or more after the end of Revenge.  Loralil has found a peace as the title says but it is not meant to last

***

Chapter one

A haven destroyed

 

“So,” a soft voice spoke. “They came this way.” Looking up the mountainside a pair of amethyst eyes narrowed. There was a haze growing above and it could be coming only from one place. Swiftly pulling her bow, Loralil ran lightly up the mountain trail.

 

It had been 15 years since the death of the last of her family, ten years since she had been in this place. She had taken to wandering the wilds. The healers of Tal’sin had brought her back to a semblance of normalcy. She could function within polite society but she rarely felt comfortable there. She was a killer, she knew that deep inside and nothing the people of the Grey Elven city could tell her would change her view of herself. The long years in the human lands had shaped her.

 

She paused for a moment as she came close to the city. There was something on the air, a scent her forest trained senses told her was familiar. She shook her body, shaking out the tightness that settled between her shoulder blades. She knew there were intruders on her mountain, another race of beings had come up here and had most likely invaded the last refuge of a people nearly extinct. She wasn’t sure just which race it was as they were mounted but she had an idea. The lingering scent of the hated foe of her youth filled her nostrils and the small elf woman picked up speed.

 

She had be to sure. One part of her mind told her she had to try and protect the people who had brought her back and the rest told her it was once more time to destroy. The battle was to be found once more.

 

*******

 

There will be many more Loralil stories from novels to short stories.

Soon to be released anthology! Dark Minds

Yup here is a bit on one of the anthologies i will be part of this summer.  This is a horror and fantasy collection of tales by six different writers.  I was both surprised and happy to be asked to be part of this book.  It will come out on June 24th as both an ebook and a paperback!  I get to have a copy in my hot little hands and that makes me really happy!

The following is from the back cover of this collection:

****

 

You are invited to step into the world of the bizarre, where just about anything is possible. Here is a place where anything can and probably will happen.

You are entering through a doorway and into the minds of some of the best independent authors about today.

Here is presented to you, a unique collection of 15 short stories.

There is something inside for everyone.

From wondrous tales of magic, to those of an extremely disturbing reality. And from pure fantasy, to the downright terrifying. There are Zombies, Vampires, Demons and Witches to name but a few.

They will shock you, bewilder you and scare you half to death.

Read on, but once you enter remember, there will be no escape. The door to our Dark Minds has been opened.

You are dared to step inside.

****

And here is the cover!

Dark Minds  front cover

From the Snow excerpt to be found in the new Author’s Choice Anthology

Yup this is the start of the story that will be part of the Author’s Choice anthology.  The name of the anthology is Reflections of the End and I have both a short story and a poem in it.  Should be out for publication by the end of the month I am told.  I will put up the link once it is

And here is the opening

****

On the dark streets, snow slowly drifted down, covering the small forms there.  Both were tow headed, one a scruffy boy, the other his smaller sister.  Too tired to go any further, they huddled in the dark and cold.  Against the fallen wall, they watched the dark form as it trudged toward them.  Too tired to be afraid, too hungry and weak to run, they watched.

 

As the snow covered shoulders came closer, they could hear the shrish of the cloth brushing against itself and the muffled thud of a staff in the snow.  Shivering harder they clutched etch other in fear.  Within a few breaths the figure stopped before them and pushed back the enveloping hood.

 

A kind, tired face smiled down at them and she spoke in a soft, musical voice.  “My poor little ones.  This is no fit night for man nor beast to be out.  Come, let me get you out of this storm and into the warmth.” The children huddled uncertain.

 

Her voice brought to mind soft arms and the smell of cinnamon, of a mother barely remembered.  The small girl child broke from her brother’s arms to try running to the woman.  The cold and lack of proper food had sapped what strength the child had.  Before she could fall she was scooped up in strong arms and cuddled to a warm full breast.  The woman moved the girl to the side holding her staff and held her hand out to the boy.  “I know it is hard but trust me.  I will bring you to safety young one.”

 

The boy stood uncertainly, memories of others who hit flashing in his large eyes, but with glance at his little sister, her thumb now in her little rosebud mouth, he took the woman’s hand.  She smiled and moved them toward the road, letting out a high-pitched whistle.

 

The snow swirled as the wind picked up. Soon a doglike creature appeared out of the whiteness.  As large as a pony at the shoulder, the white furry form trotted forward then dropped onto its haunches in front of the woman.  With a wolfish grin it let out a muffled bark and then nudged the boy.  He climbed aboard slowly.  Cold fingers curled in the warm soft fur and the boy leaned forward, resting against the great beast’s shoulder.

From one of the anthologies

Yup I am going to be part of a number of anthologies over the next few weeks.  Thought I would toss out little bits of the tales that will be in them.  This one here is from A Different Kind of Hunt

***

Darkness, blessed darkness.  It covered the trail ahead and behind.  Making it difficult for those following but easy for the one being followed.  Eyes like a cat.  Called cat the whole of a young life and now more than pleased part of the name was true.  Avoiding hunters was easier when one could hear their clumsy footsteps, could see them in the moonless night.

Wyanet ran lightly, unburdened.  Though she knew that soon she would long for those things left behind, now she just ran for the pleasure of it.  No conforming to the rules and customs.  No walking slow and demure, eyes cast down so no possible husband would see her odd eyes.  Tonight she was free.  Free to be what she was born to be.  Whatever that was.  She had no idea.  She just knew that if she didn’t run she would be caught.  Caught and imprisoned until she was wedded and bedded to some huge, hairy, ugly man.  She didn’t care for that fate.  She wasn’t going to become one of the beaten down village good wives.  Never thinking of more than pleasing the beast she was married to or the next child she was to brood mare for.

No giving up her maidenhead to who the elders chose.  She grinned in memory of the shock on their faces when she announced she was no virgin sacrifice to their hearth gods.  Then she paused in her running as another memory came crashing across her mind.  That of gentle, loving Pili, of what the elders did to the sweet young man who had been her friend and her lover.  She closed her large amber eyes and a tear slid

gently down her cheek.  Never again would she hear his soft voice whispering her name in her ear.  Never again feel his arms holding her as they made love.

Was it really so wrong?  To love one another as they did.  The two naturally attracted to each other.  For were they not both misfits.  Orphans, raised in the homes of the masters their parents had served.  He raised as a bard, a player of gentle songs of love.  His mother had been a journeyman lutist before the fever took her.  Her master raised Pili with love and understanding but the village didn’t take well to a small, quiet boy.  The other boys were all large, hulking and hairy, like their fathers.  Small Pili was like a changeling to them.  They taunted him from the day his mother had stopped there and it only got worse as he grew not tall and wide but wiry and lean.

Death Comes Softly story excerpt

Yup another one for you.  Hope you are intrigued.  This will be part of the Death Walks through series

****

He looked so young.  The years he carried awake fell away when he slept.  The eyes that looked deep into her soul and claimed her were closed now.  She wished she could wake him.  Could bring back the intensity that made him impossible to ignore.  But the whoosh of the machines keeping him alive filled her world.  With a weakly trembling hand she curled her fingers about his limp ones.  Tears glistened in her eyes but none fell to her pale cheek.

 

Her lips moved in silent pleas but no sound could emerge.  The mass of bandages around her throat told part of the tale but it couldn’t stop her wishing to speak to him.  She had dragged herself from the bed down the hall and somehow the nurses let her.  It could have been the time of night, for it was late into the wee hours or it could have been the power of her desire to see her husband.  No matter what she was here now and doubted she would be moved.

 

At the moment she couldn’t remember much from the time they had left the restaurant till she had woke up down the hall.  There was noise and bright light and lots of pain but in all of it she had the warmth of her love.  Then the feeling of loss as that warmth fell away.

 

Her breathing shuddered painfully as she lightly stroked his fingers.   The gold band that matched the one on her hand was the only bright thing she could see.  She silently started to pray.  Pray to who ever was listening. Any god or spirit who cared enough to listen to a heart’s desire but deep inside she knew nothing could be done.  She moved as close as she could to his side and lay her head down to rest on his hand, shuddering.

Today’s excerpts…yup more than one!

I have been struck with a lot of muse work today.  Stories that need to be put down just to make sure I don’t forget the scene in my head.  Though it seems I am taking a bit of a darker road lately.  Stories that I will be putting into a collection called Descents into Darkness.

The first is the work that I just typed up this morning.  Not anywhere near finished but it was an interesting idea.

Now and Forever

 Holding you close in the darkness was all I had.  Soon the sun will come up and I would have to leave again.  Not because I want to but because I was forced to.  Daylight was the enemy now and there was nothing I could do to halt its progress.

It was not always this way.  Once I was a man of the day, a simple farmer who enjoyed the feel of the soil between my fingers.  Watching the crops that I planted grow strong and straight in the sunlight and coming home at the end of the day to your smiling face.  I had everything I could ever want or could ever need.  A simple life with love and laughter and you loving arms at night.

but that all changed in a matter of a few moments.  I should have known better, should never have left our farm.  You knew it at the time, told me not to answer the call to arms but was a fool, proud and young.

 I told you to hold one, that I would return and that I was now and forever your man.  Words that haunt me now.  I tried so hard to deal with the distance and time away.  I was so proud of my uniform and the rank I was given but I did not think of the promises they would make me swear when I packed up my kit and left you that morning.

 Now they have given me one night to make my goodbyes.  One last day to be with you and tell you everything.  My Angelia, my sweet dove of the morning how can I tell you what I have become?

It was during the war that they came to our camp.  The moved among us, looking into the heart of each man to see if we would be what they needed.  I thought it was a simple assignment, a scouting trip and then back to camp in time to muster out and come home to you.  After all it had been three years and they promised if we made three years we would be given a sack of gold and a horse and allowed to go home.  They needed you no more.  It was a lie, one that they kept from even the wisest of us all.

 You see my love there was no mustering out from the Duke’s army.  If a soldier lived to mark his third anniversary in the army well he was brought before the Duke.  Legend in the ranks was that you were given a last feast with the Duke and then sent your way.  No of us paid attention to the fact that those men were never seen again.  We all thought they just went home.

****

Darker than usual but why not right?  Then there is this one, Man’s Road will be a sequel to my story Descents that is in the Gates collection

The horizon moved up as she walked, the dawn was lightening the sky slowly from purple.  Stopping she scanned the sky, watching the eagle glide through the air, she sighed and turned her eyes down to  the dust demon skittering across the road.  Starting forward again she wrapped her arms around herself and plodded along.

 Everything seemed so grey, dusty and lonely.  Walking was all she could do.  Following the road that man had made in this empty waste.  There was nothing to either side, no building to offer shelter so she kept moving.

 The day slowly moved forward and still there was little to break the horizon.  The call of the eagle drifted down to her, urging her to keep going but she was so hungry, so thirsty.  It was hard.

 Eyes nearly closed, she followed the black ribbon that slowly rose in the distance.  Briefly as the eagle circled she looked up and could see a building in the distance.  Her heart lifted and she picked up her plodding pace.  As she drew nearer she sighed.  It was a ruin, like all the others she had seen on her long walk.  Moving closer she decided to move toward it.

 As she stepped on the weed covered pathway toward the house the eagle swooped down and cried out harshly at her, beating her away from the possible shelter.  The cry startled her and brought her from her daze long enough to see the sign posted.  The skull on top of the fence post and the remains of some animal that had entered the yard.  Shuddering she moved back to her path along the road and kept moving.  The blight had obviously hit here too.  There was no shelter to be found along this stretch of road.

 She kept moving till the moon rose and then slowly stopped.  The eagle had come to rest on a bright spot of color.  A tree that had somehow survived the blight.  She tilted her head up to look at her companion.  The great golden bird, nodded and nipped free a fruit that hung from the branches.

 Finding energy she didn’t know she had, she moved forward and caught the fruit.  Studying it, she reveled in the feel of the firm bright flesh.  It was not rotten or withered as far as she could tell.  She brought it to her nose and carefully inhaled.

****

And just to have a nice round number how about a third little excerpt?  This is from Darkness Claims it all…a story that might or might not be a vampire story

Dark and dank.  That was what the world seemed like to her.  The skies were leaden with rain that would not fall.  You could feel the moisture n the air but it would not drop, would not release and give relief.  It was as if the world was holding its breath, afraid but all she knew was that she was alone.  In a city filled with many souls she was the only one of her kind.  The last was what she believed, what she prayed for because if she was not the last then everything she did, everyone she had lost would have been for not.

 A month ago she had lived like everyone else.  Walked the morning streets, laughed and loved and did what an ordinary woman would do but it all changed in one moment.  One terrible, awful moment in time that she wished she could take back.

 The summer had been a sweet one.  New love and warm temperatures had made her so happy.  Long nights wrapped in his arms, loving each other and talking about things they would do once the summer was over.  Well it was over now and he was gone.  Taken and she only had herself to blame.

 Looking at her face in the mirror she catalogued the changes.  Eyes, once bright blue and filled with laughter, now dark and haunted.  Skin, once tan and smooth, now pale white and glowing eerily in the darkness and her hair, oh her hair.

 She had be so proud of her thick, long and wavy locks.  The color of the rich loam that they had spread out in her garden and falling down her back to her hips.  She had joked more than once about cutting it off to get it out of her way.  Now she wished she had for now it was gone.  She was bald like an egg and she smashed the mirror before her into a hundred sharp shards of glittering silver.

 “Why?  Why did this happen?  Why me?”  She slowly sank down to curl up on the floor and wrap her arms about her pulled up knees.  It was there he found her, rocking back and forth as silent tears slipped down her cheeks. 

 Mathias smiled as he watched her rocking.  The day loving child was right where he wanted her to be.  Making a daughter was easier than he had expected.  His own father had told him not to even think he could make a child so young.  Course his father had thought that he was too young to defeat him.  Lot that corpse knew now.  No one told Mathias what to do or how to behave.

These will be completed.  Hopefully this year.  You never know with me.  I start tales that sometimes take decades to finish.  Yes I am still working on my novels.  The Traveler, Whether to Save Face or Family, Wind lover, The Battle of the Star Beast and even For the Love of a Healer.  These will be done.  As will the Price of Freedom and the second book in the Chaos war and the third Loralil book.  When I have no idea.  No outcry for more of them though.  So many I should do more ghost stories.  You never know.  I do of course have at least three more ghost stories in the works.

 

Lady of the Merrimack WIP excerpt

Lady of the Merrimack

 

The Merrimack River was a changeling river.  In places deep and deceptively slow, in others seemingly shallow  and too many unwary thought they could swim across.  Today yet another body was pulled from the tangle of wood that lined the shore.

 

The last storm had brought up more than heavy rain.  It brought strong gale force winds that had uprooted two hundred year old trees.  Jackson shook his head.  The body before him belonged to a local kid.  A good kid who just happened to be unable to resist a dare.  Now he was lying in the mud, battered and very dead.  “Aw, damn,” came a ragged voice over his shoulder.  “Mrs. Flor is gonna lose it.”

 

Jackson nodded and stepped to the side.  “Looks like he took another dare.”  He moved further down the bank as his partner called back to the corner.  This was the third kid that had been pulled out of the big river in the past month.  A record for the city.

 

Nashua, while surrounded by rivers on three sides, was a safe place.  It was more than uncommon for there to be more than single drowning on the big river a year.  The series of freak storms in the past two months had led to flooding up river and record high levels here in the city.

 

Jackson paused as he heard a low sound.  He held up a hand as Baxter started to ramble and cocked his head to the side.  Very softly he heard the sound again.  A low moan coming from behind the toppled willow.  He picked his way carefully over the bramble mess and then down to the edge of the river bank.  Lying half in and out of the water was a pale, faintly glowing form.  “Baxter!  Over here!  I have another one!”

 

He jumped over the broken stump, landing near the quietly moaning form.  He knelt down and ran light hands over the upper body, checking quickly for major injuries.  He then slid his hands under the shoulders and lifted the nude woman carefully.

 

Her moans were pitiful in the darkness.  As he turned her over he scanned her quickly.  Long pale limbs were covered in mud, blood and bruises.  Tangled locks of what would probably be light colored hair covered her face and slicked down her arms and further.  As he reached up to pull the hair from her face he felt her body stiffen.  “Easy, let me help you.”