Happy Holidays!

Al-Pos
During the holiday season, a plethora of creatives have some amazing sales on their novels and art. Whereas I have a vast (and varied) listing of titles, I’d rather gift my readers with a free excerpt of my upcoming diverse epic fantasy, Kurintor Nyusi.

Naturally, you’re welcome to peruse my Amazon page for diverse and compelling epic fantasy and science fantasy. Once you’ve finished, enjoy a few chapters of Kurintor Nyusi. It’s not your parent’s epic fantasy!

Happy Holidays!

Chapter One

Kalvgah

A plume of dust wafted into the air when the blow struck, propelling her backward to the ground. Nurisha grunted, glaring up at the man. She nursed her throbbing wrist, uncertain if she could withstand another one of his powerful strikes.

Get up! Get up! her thoughts urged, willing her body to submit to her mind. She focused on the dangerous man stalking toward her, his sword glinting in the dawning rays cresting over the treetops. Each of his calculated steps matched a beat of her pulse, sending a rush of blood through her heart.

She slid backward, desperately groping for her dropped sword, never taking her eyes from the daunting figure. He was but strides away when her fingertips grazed the edge of the pommel. After reclaiming her scimitar, she sprang to her feet, assuming a defensive posture.

“You should’ve stayed down, lass.” His enormous build shielded the sun’s rise, casting an obscuring shadow over her slight frame.

“My Da taught me to never stay down.”

Dodging the oncoming sideswipe, Nurisha dove forward, ending up at his back. Though his weapon missed its mark, her foot didn’t, kicking him hard in the gut as she went by, landing in a crouch beyond his reach. It was a well-landed kick, and he’d felt it.

“Your size is your weakness,” she said. “And so is your arrogance.”

“You’ll pay for that,” he said, tightening his grip on his sword.

“We’ll see.”

With seemingly unnatural speed, he roared, attempting a glissade. Her eyes widened, retreating instead of parrying as he’d predicted. She whirled from his reach again, initiating a backward somersault while drawing her second sword. Leaping from a defensive crouch, she crossed her scimitars, meeting his downward swipe. The strength behind his attack nearly drove her to her knees and she struggled to remain upright.

“Your Da should’ve taught you to stay down,” he sneered. “It would’ve been easier on you.”

“The Sans don’t do ‘easy’,” she said, breathlessly.

Her visage and movements were contrary to her words. Her arms shook violently, pushing back against his blade. She couldn’t match his strength or his weight, which he applied to deliberately attempt to overpower her.

Her teeth gnashed as she gave ground, rolling to the side, barely missing the tip of his blade. She leapt back to her feet, only to be forced into a backbend by his powerful thrust—his blade but digits away from her face as she hit the dirt. She rolled again, clumsily regaining her footing while parrying his sword a hair’s breadth from her face. When he reached for his dagger, she dipped low, side-sliding and catching him in the ribs with the hilt of her sword. As he stumbled, she kicked up, sending his weapon high while thrusting forward with her left sword. He parried the poor attempt, shifting his dagger in a reverse-cut position.

She blocked his next thrust, but paid for it with a wicked slash at her throat. As she fell away, she lost her right sword and tried to compensate with her left. He laughed, batting away her scimitar and clutching her wrist.

“You should’ve stayed down,” he said, his dagger’s edge against her throat.

“Qaradan? Qaradan?” A voiced called from behind them.

He released an exasperated sigh, tapping his dagger against her chin. “There’ll be no one to save you next time.”

“Qaradan! How long ya gonna make me wait? Lareese might toss my meal to the pigs if ya don’t get this wheel fixed. C’mon now, I’m miss’n my meal.”

Qaradan winked, clapping Nurisha on the shoulder. “Always listen to your Da,” he said, gesturing toward their barn. In truth, it was a modest six-room cottage with a smithy and barn attached to it. They’d lived in the town of Kalvgah since she was a child. Her father, Qaradan, was the only smith within the neighboring villages. With the lack of farriers, wheelwrights, and armorers available to the commoners, the stream of customers was constant, but the earnings meager.

Most of the folk in the villages couldn’t pay for the goods and services he provided. Ofttimes, Qaradan would accept livestock or other wares in trade. Now, they had a fair amount of goats, cows, chickens, and pigs for their farm. It was a good living, and a simple life that she’d grown to love.

“Move along, Cassie,” she said to the goat as it came up beside her. “I need to fetch some eggs for Da’s breakfast. Move along.”

She giggled, roughly patting its ears as she went about her daily routine. She could hear Qaradan and Strähn bickering about the morning meal as usual. Strähn’s cart needed repairs often, and he squabbled about its condition and Qaradan’s lax demeanor when fixing it.

Once she’d fried the eggs and ham, she heard Qaradan’s heavy footfalls on the wooden steps. She rushed around, setting out his meal and pouring him a hot cup of coffee.

“Smells good, ‘Risha. Any biscuits left?”

“They’re warming now, Da. Did you want some honey, too?”

He rubbed his hands together, offering a broad smile. “Nothing better than your hot biscuits and honey.”

“Well, I can think of a few things,” she said, bringing the basket to the table and taking a seat across from him. As he began to eat, she nibbled her bottom lip, looking up at him. Qaradan was a large man, larger than most in the surrounding towns and villages. Although nearly fifty, his work as a smith had kept his considerable six-foot-five-inch frame well-toned and muscled. Nurisha didn’t miss the attention he received from the women in town. She smiled at that. If her Da noticed the extra attention that they paid to him, he didn’t make it known. He put his energies into their small family and farm.

“You’re sure quiet today,” he said, shoveling another spoonful of eggs into his mouth. “Don’t worry about your training; we’ll have more time before evening meal. Gotta focus more on the sword than those fancy tricks you like doing with your bow. Now, you got Aljoša doing them, too. You both need more sparring practice, but I’ve got a few things lined up today, and the animals need tending first.”

“You’ve been more aggressive lately,” she said, stroking the fresh bruise on her arm. “I used to fare better when we sparred.”

“Can’t get better by staying the same,” he said, motioning to his empty cup.

She grabbed the tin of steaming coffee and another slice of ham. “I know, Da. I’ll do better next time. I’ve had a lot on my mind.”

“Not Druehox, I hope. That coxcomb skamelar ain’t worth teats on a bull.”

“Da!”

Qaradan shrugged. “Well, he ain’t.”

“Don’t worry about Druehox. He’s the last thing on my mind. I was thinking about heading down through Shade Fall to do some fishing after tending the bees. It’s been a while since we had some fresh fish.”

“Might be best to wait and we’ll go together in a few days. Folks been talking ‘bout some big cat roaming around Shade Fall. No telling what might be lurking in them woods.”

“Da, I’m not afraid of any cat. I’ve been trained by the best.” She smiled. “And I’m no stranger to the woods either. Besides, not even a wild cat would dare approach the daughter of the formidable Qaradan San.”

He chuckled at that, leaning back in his chair. “Still, no sense taking unnecessary chances. We’ll go down to Crossover River in a day or two. Plenty to do here first.”

She sighed wistfully, offering a nod of assent. As he continued his meal, she thought of the last time they’d trekked down to Crossover River. When they traversed the earthen trail, she felt as if someone or something was watching them. She couldn’t shake that feeling, and the hairs on her arms rose as she thought about it.

“Is that still bothering you?” Qaradan asked, noticing her rubbing her wrist.

She examined the raised, discolored mark again. It had begun bothering her lately, and was larger than it had been. She’d been born with the mark, and never thought much of it until a few weeks ago. After her twentieth name day, she noticed the elongation. Now, it was nearly three digits…twice the length it had been. At first, it merely itched as if a dozen insects had stung her during the night. However, lately she’d noticed a strange shimmering and tingling sensation as well. She didn’t mention that to Qaradan. He worried too much as it was.

“Just itches a little.”

“Best be going to visit Chaween and have her look at it. She’ll make up a salve for you and probably a tincture of herbs. Can’t have the best archer in town missing her shot ‘cause her wrist won’t stop itching.”

She laughed. “I can do without Chaween’s concoctions. They taste horrible.”

“Yep, always have, and they always work.”

“Da?”

He shook his head, stuffing the rest of a biscuit in his mouth. “Ain’t taking no for an answer, ‘Risha,” he said, rising and kissing her cheek. “Tend to your chores for now. Aljoša will be by soon enough to help in the smithy. I want you to pay Chaween a visit on the morrow and get some of that pinacate salve when you go.”

Her face scrunched. “Da, it stinks!”

“Worse thing I’ve ever smelled ‘cept a rotting boar.” He chuckled. “If we’re going through Shade Fall it’d be best to have the salve. Now, go on and tend your chores, got plenty of my own to do.”

“Yes, Da,” she said, not turning until the door had closed behind him.

Qaradan was the only father she’d ever known. Her mother, Esmel, died when she was but ten. That’s when she’d learned she wasn’t their natural child, although she always felt as if she was. In fact, many townsfolk had commented on their likeness. Esmel had the same caramel-colored skin and coiled tresses as she did. She even had one brown eye like Esmel, the other grey like Qaradan.

They loved her endlessly, and probably would’ve never told her if Esmel hadn’t insisted after falling ill. They’d discovered her at the edge of the Matryohn Wood near the northeast side of the kingdom. Esmel had spoken of it as a miracle straight from the Goddess Yemojan.

When they set camp near the tree line, Qaradan inspected the area carefully, as he always did. After years of scouting and serving as a sentry in Zradiir, he knew the best areas to camp and those to avoid. With the rogues and banditti stalking the main roads, one had to be cautious, especially when traveling with women. He set his usual traps and kept watch most of the night while Esmel slept. However, when the moon surrendered to the sun, the brightest ray shone on a basket tucked beneath a bush. Her basket.

They couldn’t offer much information regarding her birth parents or home, just that they were traveling from Zradiir to Kalvgah and found her along the way. Esmel had recently lost their third child before they’d decided to make the trek. She’d enjoyed her tenure as a teacher, but there were too many memories in Zradiir, too many reminders of hurts and disappointments. When they found Nurisha abandoned, they felt the gods were blessing them and their new start. Nurisha had never visited Matryohn Wood, though she’d promised herself that she would. There might be answers there, and she intended to find them.

With that, she glanced down at her wrist again, sliding her fingertips over the raised, jagged mark. It looked more like a strike of lightning than anything else…a peculiar mark that matched the color of her one pale grey eye.

She sighed then, pushing up from the table. Those answers would have to wait.

Nurisha removed her tunic and lifted the smoking pan from the fire. She did her best to clear her recent thoughts and focus on her chores. When she opened the door, she could hear Qaradan arguing with another neighbor about prices. They didn’t need the extra coin, but he wasn’t working for free either.

“Folks don’t value what they don’t earn, ‘Risha. You don’t have to charge ‘em a lot, but charge ‘em something. A man feels more a man when he’s earning his keep.”

“I’ll remember, Da,” she said, waving the billowing smoke from her face, stepping down to her worktable. After scooping a ladle of roasted fenugreek from the pan, she sprinkled it in a large bowl of wild mallow and olive oil. As she continued to mix the sticky concoction, she gazed out at their ploughed fields. The new planting season was fast approaching, and Aljoša would be at the farm more often. Although he helped her Da in the smithy, during the planting and harvest, he spent more time with her. She wouldn’t admit it, but she enjoyed being with him more each season. She smiled at that, spreading the fenugreek mixture over her arms and face.

“You don’t need to be putting that stuff on to keep me away. All you have to do is say so.”

She suppressed her smile, turning around to face Aljoša. “I’ve said so more than once. How’d that work out?”

“Well, you didn’t really mean it then,” he said, leaning down to kiss the one clear spot on her cheek. “Besides, it’d take more than that to keep me away. Not even your Da could do that.”

“It didn’t appear that way a fortnight ago.” She chuckled. “I’ve never seen anyone run so fast. Tell me: how’d you get your face to change color like that? It was paler than last winter’s hard rime.”

He joined in her mirth, removing his baldric and jerkin. His smooth, almond-colored skin glistened in the sun’s light, and she did her best not to notice. Aljoša dipped his hands in the bowl, rubbing the mixture down his chest and abdomen.

“Can you put some on my back?” he asked.

She looked up, examining every inch of him. His corded muscles flexed, and she followed the alluring curve down his back, admiring the perfect fit of his trews. Licking the dryness from her lips, she cleared her throat, turning back to the table. “You don’t need any on your back, or anywhere else for that matter. I don’t want you going near my bees. I swear: you and Da are worthless when it comes to such things. Haven’t you been stung enough?”

He shrugged. “Just helping out where I can. Besides, Chäna was asking ‘bout the honey mead.”

“You tell Ms. Chäna that I’ll be adding a few casks to her regular delivery soon. It needs a bit more time before it’ll be ready. Don’t worry,” she said, grabbing a pail from the ground. “You’ll have your mead and some roast boar, too, if you’re feeling up to a hunt.”

“I’ve been practicing, you know?”

“I hope so, ‘Joša. Maybe you won’t scare away our meal this time.”

“Ain’t no one as good as you with a bow, ‘Risha, but I’ll be making the next kill.”

“That so? How about you tell Da that I need you for a bit. After I check on my bees, we’ll head into Shade Fall. Just remember: if you make the kill, you prepare the meal.”

“I can find my way ‘round a kitchen well enough. Chäna and Aemar made sure of that.”

“Better sharpen your skinning knife, then,” she said, walking away. “And put your clothes back on.”

Shytahn

Alyelu fastened the clasp on his claret cassock, stepping over to the hearth. A chill hung heavy in the air as the last of the embers glowed dimly within its stone encasement.

Mocheentáe,” he whispered, extending out his right hand. The symbol on his wrist glowed, sending a jagged, flaming stream down through his fingertips.

The embers ignited, their orange and red flares leaping up and surrounding him before lowering back into the hearth.

He basked in the warmth, relishing the heat of the flames while reciting a prayer of supplication.

Alyelu was the Shytahn and most powerful of the Nyola priests. His tower was constructed on the northern edge of Falmehdorn, with his upper room facing the Nyusi Mountains.

For the past two decades, he’d headed the Nyola Order, gaining more prominence within the kingdom and beyond. Even the Premier, Radič Burián, sought his counsel and unique abilities. With his elevation came power, and he utilized his position to further his own ambitions, not those of the Order.

“Pardons, Shytahn Alyelu,” Veselin said, as he knocked and entered the room.

“I didn’t want to be disturbed.”

“Pardons, Shytahn. We’ve received a message from Varrnas.”

“And why would that concern me?”

“You’d ordered us to report any sighting of the beast, and we’ve received word of an attack.”

Alyelu turned, his amber eyes flaring. “In Varrnas? When?”

“It’s not certain, Shytahn, but the sighting was reported by several people.”

“Who sent the message?”

“Overseer Dezmehn Deòir.”

He nodded, clasping his hands behind his back. “Leave me.”

“Yes, Shytahn,” Veselin bowed, exiting the chamber.

Alyelu moved to the window, opening the wooden shutters. He stared out over the vast city, and then beyond to his former home, Cyrehn. When his gaze rested on the Nyusi Mountains, his eyes narrowed, an inscrutable sensation encompassing his soul. 
“Varrnas?”

“Is it the one you seek?” Zaharija asked, entering from a side room.

“It’s doubtful, but I’ll send some men to investigate.”

“These sightings can’t be a coincidence, Alyelu. It’s been years and we’ve heard little. Now, the reports arrive nearly every full moon. This could be the one.”

“Perhaps,” he said, taking a seat at the table. “But there’s been no evidence of that. Esuhnd has an intimate connection with the beast. If it was near, I’d sense something more from him.”

Zaharija came up behind him, massaging Alyelu’s broad shoulders. “Allow me to speak with Esuhnd. He might be more forthcoming if handled with a gentler touch. A hot bath and a good meal might weaken his resolve. I’m certain he tires of the hard bread and sour wine. If you’d consent, a bed as well. In better spirits and health, you might receive that which you desire.” He smiled. “Just as I have.”

“Have you?” Alyelu turned around to face him, removing his hands from his shoulders. “Is that all you desire, Zaharija? Are you so easily appeased?”

“That appeasement is temporary, and always at your behest.”

He grinned. “I’ll allow it. Esuhnd’s worth depends upon his cooperation.”

“Cooperation? It’s been years.”

“I don’t need him to reveal the location to me. I only need his mind to weaken enough so I can enter it. Pain and starvation have done little. Perhaps your methods would prove more useful. He’s a handsome specimen, isn’t he?”

“I wouldn’t know,” Zaharija said, turning away.

“Truly? Your lust has been evident since first I permitted you access to his cell. Do you think that you can deceive me?”

Zaharija cried out, grasping his temples, overcome by the intensity of Alyelu’s psionic probe. He crumpled to his knees, screaming in agony. “Forgive me! Please, forgive me!”

“I’d thought you’d learned your lesson the last time, Zaharija. I take no pleasure in reminding you of your place, or your inferiority. I rather enjoy your company.” Alyelu removed the stopper on a ewer, pouring a glass of wine as Zaharija continued to writhe on the floor.

“After you’ve recovered, you’ll see to our guest and attend him properly. If the beast has emerged, it must be found. It’s the key to the lost city, and the beginning of the awakening.”

Chapter Two

Chaween

Nurisha shifted the pack to her other shoulder as she crossed the bustling town square. Chaween’s cabin was on the far edge of Kalvgah near Clear Creek. She recalled when she’d first visited the elderly apothecary and learned about the significance of the creek’s name. It appeared that every wood, river, tributary, and mountain had a lengthy story behind its naming. Couldn’t just be called Clear Creek because it’s clear, she thought, acknowledging townsfolk as she passed.

Many were setting up for the day’s market or tending to their chores. Unlike Qaradan, Nurisha rose with the sun every morning. She couldn’t remember a time when she hadn’t. Qaradan preferred to sleep longer, avoiding any early comer to the smithy. Not her. She’d have his breakfast made and the animals fed before he’d even turned over in bed.

Nurisha smiled at the thought. She took care of him as much as he did her. She didn’t want to think of the possibility of ever losing him. He was all she had, and she’d stay with him just as she’d promised her mother.

“‘Risha!”

She halted as she heard the call. Recognizing the caller, she resumed her pace.

“‘Risha!”

She sighed, turning to meet Druehox’s grinning face.

“Hey ‘Risha, where you off to?” he asked, tethering his horse to a post.

“Don’t call me that,” she said, walking away.

“All right, sorry. I thought you’d like it.”

She rolled her eyes, increasing her already fast pace.

“We’re getting together at the inn later to celebrate my brother’s name day. Ale is on me.” He patted the coin purse on his belt, flipping his long, blonde hair to his back. “How’d you like to be my special guest?”

“I wouldn’t.”

“Oh, come on now, ‘Rish…Nurisha. No hard feelings. I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”

“There’s nothing to make up, and I’d rather cover myself with honey and lie in the Sand Sea than sit and drink with you.”

His smile broadened, gazing at her from toe to head. “We could do that, too. Can I spread the honey?”

Nurisha scowled, delivering an uppercut that made him cry out, doubling over in pain.

“Gods! What was that for?”

“You’ve had that coming and then some. Better leave me be or there’s more where that came from.”

“Nurisha, wait. All right, maybe I had that coming…maybe.”

She glared at him, adjusting her pack again.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“I’m going to Chaween’s.”

“Mind if I walk with you? I’ve barely seen you lately. Well, not since the tournament.” He smirked. “Shame you missed that shot.”

“I didn’t miss the shot, Druehox. Whether you’ll admit it to anyone else doesn’t matter. We both know what happened, and it had nothing to do with my aim.”

“You can’t expect to win every time, now, can you? There’s always next season. We’ll see if you can beat me then.”

“Beat you?” Her eyes narrowed. “I’d need but one eye and two fingers to do that.”

“Couldn’t tell that by your ranking last time. Second place is good, too, just not as good as first.”

She paused, wanting nothing more than to plant her fist right between his grinning lips. Had he not shot her with his slingshot before she loosed the arrow, she wouldn’t have missed. She never missed. The more she thought about that, the tighter her hands balled into fists. But Qaradan had already warned her about Druehox. Regardless of anything else, he was the Overseer’s son, and she didn’t want to make any trouble for her Da.

Druehox was a smug churl who wouldn’t have given her the time of day had she wanted his attention. Since the opposite was true, his advances bordered on stalking. Every night, he appeared to have a different woman’s company. They doted and sniffed behind him as if he was the ruler of the twelve kingdoms.

Druehox wasn’t a bad-looking fellow. In fact, many found him handsome. He was tall with broad shoulders and a toned build. His long, golden hair was always neatly woven into a thick braid, styled so that parts of it flowed down his shoulders. His hair was reminiscent of graceful, glistening waves rolling over a perfect sand hill on the beach. Not that she’d really noticed.

Those eyes of his might’ve been attractive if he weren’t always staring at her lasciviously. They were his best features, and happened to be her favorite color: a beautiful, rich emerald with magnificent golden flecks. Too bad they were wasted on someone like him.

“What do you want, Druehox? I need to see Chaween.”

“Come now, Nurisha, you know what I want…what I’ve always wanted.”

When he noticed her hand lower to the dagger nestled in her belt, he raised his hands up innocently.

“I’d just like to walk with you and talk, nothing more. Besides, I need a poultice for my mother.”

“Fine. You can walk with me, but you don’t need to talk. In fact, don’t.”

He smiled, coming up beside her. “So, do you want to meet me tonight? Everyone will be there, and you never come out with us.”

“I thought I told you NOT to talk.”

“‘Risha,” he said, gripping her elbow. “I’m sorry, all right, I’m sorry. You should’ve won the tournament. There, I said it.”

“Yes, you said it to me, not to your father or the judges.”

“You just expect me to tell my father that I cheated? Is that what you want?”

“I don’t want you to do anything but shut up. You wanted to win and you won. End of story. The great Druehox Tomić doesn’t have to abide by the rules, isn’t that right? You just make them up as you go along. It doesn’t matter who you step on or push aside. So, don’t come to me feigning some type of interest. You only want what you can’t have, just like the tournament.”

“Nurisha?”

“I don’t want to hear anything you have to say. You can walk with me, but I don’t have to listen to you.”

The bells jingled as Nurisha pushed open the door to the shop. An immediate smile found Chaween’s wizened face as she peeked over her spectacles. She closed the leather-bound book she was perusing, grabbing her staff, and pushing up to her feet.

“Ma-ween,” Nurisha said, moving forward to embrace her.

“My sweet ‘Risha. Oh, it’s been so long since I’ve seen you. Can’t you come and visit an old woman from time to time?”

Nurisha giggled, leaning down to kiss her cheek. When she met Chaween’s eyes, she noticed the milky film covering them. It had been nearly a month since she’d seen her, but she appeared to have aged a year in that time.

Nurisha couldn’t recall Chaween being any other way, but not her eyes. Even when she was a child, Chaween appeared aged. From what Qaradan had told her, she was one of the first denizens of Kalvgah. She’d lived in the same little cabin with her potions and elixirs. The town grew and continued to build around her, leaving her small tract of land untouched. With that thought, Nurisha gently gripped her elbow, helping her to one of the rocking chairs near a table full of phials and philters.

Chaween hadn’t merely been an apothecary; she’d begun instructing Nurisha as well. It began with learning about herbs and healing, and then escalated to more spiritual, metaphysical, and sensory abilities. She could sense Chaween’s weariness and her love.

“I’m sorry, Ma-ween. I should visit more often. The smithy has been busy, and Da has increased my training.”

“It’s ‘bout time. Your old Da is as stubborn as my mule. I told him myself ‘bout that keen eye of yours. It ain’t just for hunting, ya know. It’s special, just like you’re special.” She smiled again, caressing Nurisha’s cheek with a soft, wrinkled hand.

“You’re the special one, Ma-ween, and I promise to visit more often. I’ll sit with you a while today if you have time.”

“I always have time for you. There’s much for us to discuss.”

Nurisha’s brow knitted, staring into her eyes. The same kindness she’d always projected was there, but there was more: an imperceptible foreboding or trepidation. She couldn’t discern which. Chaween’s aura usually emitted the warmest of energies. Something was different, and she couldn’t sense her essence as distinctly as she always had.

Before she could respond, Druehox cleared his throat. “Pardon, Chaween, my mother is in need of one of your poultices.”

“Is that so? All right, young Druehox, I’ve got some in soak now. Tell me what ails your mum and I’ll get what you need.”

“I didn’t mean to interrupt. Nurisha was before me.”

Chaween waved dismissively. “No worries. I’ll get what you need so that you can get back to your mum. Then I can visit with ‘Risha for a bit.” She smiled at her again, squeezing Nurisha’s hand. “Think you can fix us some tea so we can talk, my dear?”

When Nurisha returned with the tea and biscuits, Chaween was seated on a divan in the corner, cleaning an old clepsydra water clock. The melody she was humming made Nurisha smile, recalling it from her early childhood. That song and the way that Chaween hummed it, reminded Nurisha of her mother.

“Yemojan’s Cradle,” Nurisha said, setting the tray on the table.

“You remember. That’s good. Your mum always loved that one.”

“Of course, I do. Mum sang that to me every night and sometimes in the morning, too. She loved that song.”

“Aye, she did. Esmel loved you, ‘Risha. Not many ‘round like your mum and da anymore. Now, c’mon and have a seat, so we can talk.”

Nurisha stepped forward, and then glanced around the room. “Has Druehox gone?”

“Not soon enough. That one is a menace, ‘Risha, and up to no good. Don’t trust him.”

“What’s wrong? Has something happened?”

“Not yet, but don’t trust him. He’s just waiting for a chance, that’s all. Biding his time.”

“Ma-ween, you’re worrying me. Have you seen something?”

“Not enough. Don’t need the sight to know what’s in his heart and mind. He fancies you for sure. However, his envy and resentment are what trouble me. You’re not like the other lasses ‘round here, ‘Risha. He’s used to having what he wants when he wants it. But you see him as he truly is. The Tomić men don’t take rejection well: not the father or the sons. Just mind yourself with that one.”

“I will, Ma-ween, I promise.”

“Good. Now tell me what’s ailing you?”

“Da insisted that I have you look at my wrist.”

“Let’s have a look, then. Has it been troubling you?” she asked, sliding her spectacles up.

“Well, the birthmark’s been itching for a while, and—and—”

“Oh, come on now, child. You can tell your Ma-ween. How else am I to tend you if I don’t know what’s wrong?”

Nurisha nodded, reluctantly sliding back her sleeve.

“Gracious me!” Chaween grabbed a magnifier from the table, inspecting the birthmark and surrounding area. “How long has it looked like this?”

“A few weeks or so. It—it started…well…kind of shimmering, I guess. But it only itches most of the time, and…and it’s spreading, too.”

“Last time you were here, it was less than half this size. Marks of birth don’t grow, ‘Risha, or shine, for that matter.” She pointed. “Hand me that box with the red jar sticking out of it and we’ll take a closer look.”

After spreading an oily black substance over Nurisha’s wrist, Chaween whispered a series of words Nurisha hadn’t heard before. She then lifted a red taper from the table, allowing the paraffin to drip down onto the mark.

Nurisha clenched her eyes, bracing for the burn that would surely follow. When she felt only a cooling sensation, she reopened them, gazing down in wonder.

The whole of her wrist and hand were aglow with shimmering waves of heat or energy rippling down towards her fingertips. When she raised her hand, a slight spark emitted from her fingers, causing her to jerk back in response.

“What—what is it, Ma-ween? What’s wrong with my hand?”

“Nothing that needs fixing. It’s just the ointment and wax mixing that caused the reaction.”

“Are you sure?” she asked, examining it closely.

“I am. Tell me: have you ever been to Solluna?”

“Solluna? It’s east of Keir, isn’t it?”

“It is. Solluna lies between Keir and Matryohn Wood.”

When Nurisha’s eyes widened, Chaween nodded.

“There’s a small cobbler shop located in the northeast corner near the mouth of the Matryohn Wood.” She paused, digging through the box and pulling out a small, rolled piece of vellum with a wax seal.

“Ask for Tryn Kasia, and give her this. She’ll have the answers you seek.”

“Answers? I can’t just leave for Solluna. Da would never allow me to travel so far alone. What’s going on, Ma-ween? Is something wrong with my wrist?”

“All things are as they should be. There are questions in your heart that have yet to reach your mind. Don’t worry, ‘Risha, your Da will allow it, especially if Aljoša accompanies you.”

Nurisha blushed, attempting to keep the smile from her face. Aljoša had been her best friend since they were children. He was also the first and only fellow she had permitted to kiss her. It was only once, and over quickly. Still, it happened, and she felt the same butterflies in her stomach now as she had then.

“Come, my child, let’s get you a salve for your wrist and some pinacate for your Da.”

“How do you always know?”

“‘Cause I sense what’s there beyond what’s said. The vibrations of energy surrounding us reveals more than you can see and hear, ‘Risha. You needs to be coming more often to learn what I got to teach. Just remember: the sight is more than what your eyes perceive. Those images, colors, and patterns are reflections of what we’re taught to see. True sight lies within your heart and mind. Once you embrace what’s felt, beyond what’s known, then you’ll truly see. A dream is but a vision of all things that were, and many that will be.”

“I don’t understand, Ma-ween.”

“By the time your next vision comes to you, you will.”

 Xavion

The distant clamor from the Kumasi port faded into the background as Xavion hoisted his heavy haversack over his shoulder. His back ached from unloading the haul for delivery throughout the kingdom. It was arduous work, but he enjoyed being out on the open sea, and most of all the way his favorite young lasses greeted him upon his return. He smiled, considering Siobhan awaiting him at the Sea Winch tavern. Unlike the tap houses at the dock, the Sea Winch touted a higher standard in not only the selection of bevvies, but also the women.

“Oy! Xon! Oy!”

Xavion paused, noticing Qawiun running to catch up with him. His smile was immediate, as he turned, walking over to greet him. Qawiun was like an older brother to him. His parents had raised Xavion, and they were closer than Qawiun was to his biological siblings. In many ways, they looked like brothers as well. Both stood over six-foot-two inches tall, and their work kept them well-toned and muscled. Except for Xavion’s dark brown eyes and copper complexion, they appeared much the same. Linzi, Qawiun’s mother, always mentioned how much Xavion favored his father. He only hoped to be as good a man as he’d heard that he had been. Well, after he’d had his fill and his fun, of course. Great men weren’t created overnight; it was a process, and he was enjoying it.

Although he was pleased to see Qawiun, it could only mean one thing: his plans with Siobhan might have to wait.

“I didn’t think I’d ever find you,” Qawiun said, pulling him in for a quick hug. “If not for Capt. Coburn, I’d still be at the dock.”

“Well, if I’d known you were coming to meet me, I would’ve waited for you. For now, I need to check on Kuro.” He smiled. “And visit with Siobhan. It’s been three months, after all. I hate to leave a lady in wait.”

Qawiun laughed, clapping him on his shoulder. “No worries. I’ve kept an eye on your horse, and your lass. However, the former is more loyal than the latter. Mayhaps you should let the other lads know that Siobhan is yours. She certainly doesn’t behave that way when you’re off acting like some common lumper.”

“As long as they know their place once I arrive in Kumasi. Can’t blame a lass for earning her keep.”

“Speaking of,” Qawiun said. “Mum sent me and Damali over to get you. She’s been worried you wouldn’t return in time.”

“Damali? Where’s she at now? You didn’t leave her at the Sea Winch alone, did you?”

“That sea water must be affecting your memory, Xon. Since when has Damali not been able to handle herself? Hell, she bested Parsa before we left Galbraith, and still gave me a lickin’ as well. She’s a tough one, always has been.”

“I’m not arguing that. It’s just not proper to leave her unattended. Folks in these parts ain’t too keen on how to treat a lady. C’mon, Kuro can wait. We need to check on Damali.”

Before they even reached the Sea Winch, the chaos inside was evident. There was the usual music and drunkards, but the whoops and shouts caused them to quicken their pace. After stepping over a few unfortunate men nursing their wounds, they rushed through the doors. Qawiun’s mouth gaped as Xavion laughed aloud, dropping his haversack on the floor.

Damali arched her three-bladed urumi above her head, perched atop one rogue, her boot at his throat, while her dagger edged in the groin of another. When she noticed them enter, she smiled, her right leg coming around with a kick, sending the man careening into the wall. When the other one tried to rise, she stomped him in the groin, and then coiled the urumi back around her waist.

“Xon!” she said, rushing over and pulling him down for a hug. “It’s about time you showed up. We’ve been waiting for two days now.”

“That explains the men out in the streets. I should’ve known that was your doing, Damali.”

“Those weren’t my doing; they were getting too fresh with Siobhan and got tossed out. Now, those over there,” she motioned, and then rested a hand on her hip. After scanning the surrounding tables, Damali picked up a heavy mug, draining its contents. Once it was empty, she aimed, sending it flying across the room, contacting one of the men in the forehead. As he crashed on the floor next to his friend, she winked. “Some folk don’t know how to stay down.”

“Not to worry,” Damali said to the gentleman at the table. “I’ll buy you another one. Good stuff, it was.”

Qawiun shook his head, pulling out a chair for his sister. Once seated, he leaned in, whispering. “Parsa was up in Kalvgah a fortnight ago. You’ll need to visit soon, Xon. Things are happening quickly now. You need to get serious about this and stay inland. We need you here, not off at some bordello in the Seventh Kingdom.”

“Parsa was there?” Xon asked. “Did he see her?”

“She hasn’t changed much,” Qawiun said. “She’s still stunning, Xon, and formidable.”

“Not fair that you lot get to do all the traveling,” Damali said. “I’d like to see Nurisha, too. It’s been a year since I’ve been able to go.”

Xavion listened to their banter while sliding his glove off his hand. The mark on his palm shimmered, releasing a short burst of energy. Closing his eyes, he envisioned Nurisha, until her image was clear in his mind. He did so often of late, especially when he was abroad. However, when Xavion returned to the Fifth Kingdom, their connection amplified. Nurisha was beautiful, and he couldn’t wait until he could be with her as he was always meant to be.

“She’s with her Da, now,” Xavion said, relinquishing the connection. “We can leave at noonday on the morrow.”

“Noonday,” Damali protested.

“It has been three months, you know.” Xavion gestured over to Siobhan. “It’s going to be a long night.”

Poster Sample ALL 3_S

Author Interview: Delizhia Jenkins

DJ_A_

Author Spotlight
Delizhia Jenkins

Today, I’m pleased to welcome Delizhia Jenkins to the Desu Beast Blog. Delizhia is a multi-genre author who loves vampires and urban fantasy. Let’s meet this talented author and learn more about her numerous novels and projects.

  1. Have you always wanted to be an author?

I knew I always wanted to write. In fact, I developed a love for writing when I was in the third grade and have been writing ever since. I wrote sorts of short stories, poems….I even dabbled in writing song lyrics in my teens thinking that would be my career move as an adult.

  1. What inspired you to write your first book?

Xena the Warrior Princess. Six years ago, I was in a moment in my life where I was ready to begin writing again after a long hiatus. Storylines and characters were dancing around in my head, and I had just begun to jot them down on paper. Then one afternoon, I was watching Xena the Warrior Princess when it hit me: a storyline about a god slayer. And from there, Nubia Rising: The Awakening was born.

41XeGOdlujL

  1. What genre(s) do you write?

Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy for adults and young adults is my thing.

  1. What is the name of your latest novel?

The Vampire Hunters Academy The Shadows

  1. How did you come up with the concept for your novel?

Anyone that knows me knows that I am a huge fan of the late L.A. Banks. In fact, she is really the reason why I fell in love with the SciFi genres. Moreover, I wanted to write something that I thought would carry on her legacy, because let me be honest her Vampire Huntress Legends series is the best in fiction. So, I knew with Slayer novels, I wanted to do something different. I am a fan of Buffy too but I wanted my story to be MINE. I thought about where I could go with a huntress story and with this particular story my main character will have a spin off series as an adult. So, I decided to start her off at a school that trains specially gifted students to fight vampires and all entities of darkness because let’s face it: a kid with a talent for clairvoyance will not be accepted nor will they fit in in a regular school. My Slayer, or “Chosen One” is a single female born every few thousand years to tip the scales in the favor of the Light. She is the hope of the world but before I set her off into her destiny, I wanted to give readers a chance to grow up with her. Thus, The Vampire Hunters Academy was created.

51P79di7hJL

  1. Who is your favorite character and why?

My favorite character from all of my books written would be Damien from Blind Salvation.

  1. Who is your least favorite character and why?

In The Vampire Hunters Academy, the Slayer’s best friend is annoying as hell but fun to write. In my other books, the character I dislike the most would be Queen Natalia (Into the Shadows).

  1. Which character do you relate to the most and why?

I am going to share a secret with you: Every main character written with the exception of one, is a different version of myself. Sanaya, Kitara, Sin, Kennedy, Mary, Danielle, Dawn…they are all me.

  1. Is there a certain message (s) that you desire your readers to grasp?

Yes there is. I want my readers to find me in my books. If you really want to know me, read my work. I also place “gems” for my readers to think about with the goal of encouraging them to do the research.

Del Promo 2A

  1. What books have influenced you the most? Why?

L.A. Banks’ Vampire Huntress Legends series, J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander and Fever series, those books have had a heavy influence on me. L.A. Banks’ novels taught me the importance of creating relatable characters. J.R.Ward made me think outside of the box, and forced me to really think about my characters as individuals. Karen Marie Moning is brilliant when it comes to descriptive imagery and setting the scenes. I learned a lot from these women without ever having to meet them.

  1. Who are a few of your favorite authors?

L.A. Banks, J.R. Ward, Christine Feehan, Kresley Cole and Karen Marie Moning.

  1. With what author would you love to have a conversation?

L.A. Banks

  1. Any future projects you would like to talk about?

I am working on another god-slayer book called Celeste, which will definitely be interesting because it involves Voodoo. Also, I will be re-releasing my Shadows book which is a series (paranormal romance to be exact) and I will be releasing its sequel around the same time this year.

  1. If you could start again, is there anything you would change in your latest book?

No. There are moments when I think, “Dang I should have done this or that,” but when I sit down and work on its sequels, I am happy with the direction the story is going.

21949897_10215480407949667_4090905246184378582_o

  1. Is there a short excerpt of your current book that you would like to share?

Here is an excerpt from book 3 of The Vampire Hunters Academy, The Reckoning (Available October 30, 2017):

The attack was swift, and Sanaya barely had enough time to use her own blade to block the entity’s strike. Steel met steel as the two danced, recognition flooded Sanaya’s memory instantly. This was one of the Seven! Which had to mean that Cain was closer than what she initially thought. She swung, catching the vampire with her fist and then following through with a swift kick to her chest. But the vampire was too fast and stronger than anything Sanaya had fought up until this point.

 “Sanaya!” She heard Archer calling out to her but she did not have time to think let alone respond. She barely missed another hard strike. And another. And then the vampire disappeared into mist. The tension in the air thickened. Nothing but the sound of her own beating heart pounding against her breast bone filled her ears. Her Guardians were silent.

 And then the entity reappeared behind her, snatching her by the back of her neck and slamming her into the concrete. Gun shots rang out. Sanaya’s body hit the concrete with so much force that it split. Pain shot through her, blinding her. However, adrenaline kept her in the fight. Flipping back on her feet he went for the entity again, with the sweet chime! Of the Millennium Blade slice through the air connecting with the entity’s own blade.

 More gun shots followed by the foolish bravery of King and Trent heading straight for vampire.

 “No!” Sanaya shouted at them but it was too late.

 The vampire smiled and spun around quickly, using the same telekinetic force used on Tatsu, she flung both Guardian potentials into the cast iron fence. The two young men ricochet from the fence onto the wet grass and from what Sanaya could tell they were bruised but nonetheless ok. Refocusing her energies on the fight at hand, the entity took advantage of the split-second distraction and in a movement to fast for the eyes to follow she hit Sanaya with several hard punches knocking her to the ground and The Millennium Blade flying in the opposite direction.

 Badly beaten but not ready to give up, Sanaya pushed herself up. Maya’s chants could be heard off in the distance, while Danny did his best to distract the entity with the fireballs he launched at her from the palms of his hands. A dense darker energy awakened once again in Sanaya’s psyche, just as it did with Cain. Her cracked ribs were already beginning to knit themselves together, but not quickly enough for Sanaya to escape being snatched from where she stood and into the powerful grip of the fallen huntress.

 A beam of light flashed across the sky and from it appeared Aklia, Natasha and Raya who hit the ground running to Sanaya’s aid.

 “Annalia,” Aklia commanded. “Let her go.”

Annalia’s laughter filled the dense night air as the Slayers faced off with their former protégé.

 “You bitches were too stupid to realize that I am the Slayer the prophecy spoke of and not this little tramp!”

 “You are no longer a huntress Annalia,” Aklia said calmly. “Now let her go.”

 “Well neither is she!”

 No words would ever be effective enough to describe the pain of Annalia sinking her dagger like fangs into Sanaya’s throat. She felt the terror sink in to her Guardian team and the Council Members. Maya’s chanting grew louder as the ground began to tremble. Aklia was pure motion. In a sweeping move, she struck Annalia with multiple energy blasts from her palms, forcing the vampire to release Sanaya’s limp body.

 Sanaya collapsed on the pavement, gasping for air and gripping her mangled throat. With each struggle for breath, the vampire toxin filtered in through her veins, liquifying her from the inside out. Thrashing about on the pavement from the pain, she could barely see the fight between The Slayers and the vampire huntress. Her Guardians went nuts, and she could hear the parade of more feet hitting the pavement in a full run. King was the first to reach her.

 “Baby!” He croaked as he gently tried to raise her up.

 “Don’t move her!” Archer commanded. “Don’t move her.”

 Demon entities surround them. Their disembodied spirits awaiting Maya’s command. Steel met steel off in the distance. Guardians were cursing, emptying shells, and the emergency alarms went off, warning students and staff that the school was once again on lock down.

 King’s warm hands covered her own. “I’m right here…”

 “Don’t…don’t leave me,” she managed to say just before the pain took over and stripped her of her consciousness.

  1. Do you have a favorite quote from one of your novels?

Sadly I do not. My characters say all types of things at any given moment, so right now, no.

  1. Do you have any advice for up and coming authors?

Do your research and be ready to do the work. The work begins AFTER you write the book.

  1. Are there any future events you would like to announce?

No. I am just focused on completing my projects and taking it from there.

Thank you for stopping by the Desu Beast Blog, Delizhia. Great success on your published and upcoming novels. I’m looking forward to reading In the Light of Darkness.

For more information about Delizhia Jenkins, please check out her AMAZON and FACEBOOK pages.

 

A Final Re-Write

Rewrite Rise

I’ve been enjoying rewriting The Rise of Nazil. After spending this year focusing on my science fantasy and a new epic fantasy that I’m co-authoring with Tom Fallwell, it’s a pleasure to completely submerse myself in Faélondul and all of the fantastical beings who inhabit it.

Although I’ve continued to edit Blood of Oisin (the first novel in the second Nazil trilogy), going back to where it all started is a refreshing and humbling experience. The Rise of Nazil is the first full-length novel that I’ve ever written, and remains my favorite. It’s not merely the complex cast of characters or how they evolve throughout the book, it’s all-encompassing.

I wrote The Rise of Nazil because it was an epic that I wanted to read and couldn’t find. Since I was writing only for myself, I did so over a decade: just writing sections as I “saw” them. However, once I finally allowed others to read my story, they prodded me to share it with the world. I was reluctant, but glad that I acquiesced in the end.

With that acquiescence came more work than I previously thought. It wasn’t merely presenting my story to agents and publishers, it was learning how and what to do to successfully publish. I learned quickly that most publishers don’t normally accept novels from unknown authors as verbose as The Rise of Nazil. Several were interested, but with demands and terms that I wasn’t willing to accept.

Once I made the decision to become an indie publisher, it was like going to school all over again. I’ve learned a lot over the past few years, and continue to learn more each day. Being an indie publisher isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I get to tell the types of stories that I love, with characters who are diverse, intriguing, and flawed. I’ve kept that grimdark edge and continue to grow my cast, their circumstances, and their world. Even the Mehlonii language that I created for my epic fantasy is growing.

The Rise of Nazil is my favorite novel in this trilogy. Albeit it’s also the most difficult to “perfect.” Since I wrote it over numerous years, my writing style (and experience) changed. It’s been a challenge to merge those styles and ideals seamlessly. Now, it’s time to give The Rise of Nazil the final re-write that it deserves. A novel this epic and compelling demands it.

New Releases!

Duology Promo -S

I’m excited to announce that the audio book for Rites of Heirdron is live on audible and the second novel Orbs of Trenihgea is available for pre-order on Amazon! It has been a busy year, but both novels released by the deadline.

 
🔗 https://goo.gl/h63DWf – Rites of Heirdron
🔗 https://goo.gl/Lsv1X6 – Orbs of Trenihgea

I’ll be having some giveaways for both the audio book and the ebook soon. If you are on Goodreads, you’ll have the opportunity to win a paperback copy of both science fantasy novels as well.

Stay tuned for more regarding this science fantasy romance duology!

Review of Rites of Heirdron audio book:

Rites Review

Ahmezurhran and Adnamax await!

ROH-LOVE-SM

 

Lexayen - 2

Free Audiobook!

Rites of Heirdron - AudioBook Cover 6-2017-SM

I am thrilled to announce that Rites of Heirdron narrated by the phenomenal Victor Bevine is live on audible! To celebrate the new release, I am gifting five FREE audio books in exchange for honest reviews.

If you love Science Fantasy Romance and would like to receive a free copy, please email me at the.rise.of.nazil@gmail.com with the subject RITES. I will be using an online randomizer to select five winners.

Great Success!

What is Science Fantasy?

Science fantasy is a mixed genre within the umbrella of speculative fiction which simultaneously draws upon and/or combines tropes and elements from both science fiction and fantasy. Where science fiction does not permit the existence of fantasy or supernatural elements, science fantasy explicitly relies upon them.

Blurb:

They poisoned his planet, massacred his people, and violated his mother.
Now, they’re coming for him.

A bastard prince born to a dishonored queen, Zrahnz is the last hope of a dying world nearly decimated after a treacherous interplanetary betrayal. He struggles to reclaim his legitimacy as a ruler and for his planet’s survival. But as he endeavors to unravel the manipulations of the past, a debilitating illness threatens his sanity and his life. If he cannot save himself, his planet will succumb to the corrupt intergalactic alliances aligned against them.

The irrepressible allure he feels for an Earth-born visitor, Itanya, threatens to overwhelm him, yet through her, Zrahnz discovers the secret that can ease the devastating agony of his illness. Could she be the key to his survival and the future of Triaxeyn?

With Q-1 Raydren at his side, and with the influence of the Oracles, he discovers corrupted truths and a forgotten prophecy. But he must make a crucial, life-saving decision, or else his people and everyone he loves could be destroyed.

Author Interview – William Hayashi

Today, I am pleased to sit down with an extremely talented Speculative Fiction author and radio host. William Hayashi has three highly acclaimed novels: Discovery, Conception, and Confrontation, comprising the Darkside Trilogy. Welcome, Mr. Hayashi, and thank you for taking the time to sit down and talk with me.

15439975_116951548796588_5854864266047585374_n

 

  1. Have you always wanted to be an author?

No, I came to writing fairly recently, beginning my first novel in 2001 and my first screenplay in 2009.

  1. What inspired you to write your first book?

The realization that no matter how many great stories I could come up with, none of them were real until they were written down and vetted by the reading public. The first thing I thought of was a great, ironic ending, knowing that readers and moviegoers remember the endings most, and most often judge the quality of the work by how the writer concludes the story. Therefore, I sat down, and being an IT nerd since 1970, I started up my technical drawing software and created a flowchart of what I thought a fun, interesting plot would be.

Also something Isaac Asimov said effected be greatly, and I quote, “Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today – but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.”

  1. What genre(s) do you write?

Speculative fiction, either science fiction or drama. I like playing with “what ifs” surrounding themes that no one else has written about. The premise in my first literary trilogy was something nobody had ever addressed.

dark-side-trilogy

  1. What is the name of your latest novel?

It’s Quarantine, the first installment of the second trilogy in the Darkside Universe which should be out by the holidays. The entire series will be seven books, two trilogies and a final volume that concludes the saga. In between writing those Darkside installments I have a handful of short stories published and a book or two outside of Darkside. I’ve also guest written in other authors’ universes, most recently Milton Davis’ Dark Universe and H Wolfgang Porter’s The Dark God’s Gift series.

  1. How did you come up with the concept for your novel?

I thought about all the reading I’ve done since my preteen days and came up with a plot that no one else had done, then applied myself to produce a story in the same vein as The Golden Age of Science Fiction authors. At first, it was going to be a single novel, but when I approached the middle of writing Discovery, I realized that more had to be told to complete the story.

  1. Who is your favorite character and why?

Actually I have several, for different reasons. And if what conventional wisdom says about every character in an author’s story is really the author in some way, shape or form, then modesty prohibits me really choosing just one!

  1. Who is your least favorite character and why?

There are different characters I could name, but most of the people in my stories who fit that description are those who maintain a status quo existence that perpetuates the perspective or cultural antagonist within the story. For example, the Darkside Trilogy tells the story of what happens in the United States when it is discovered that African Americans are discovered having lived in secret on the backside of the moon long before Neil Armstrong set foot there. In Darkside, my least favorite characters are those who perpetuate America’s racist status quo and force others into situations that are patently unnecessary.

  1. Which character do you relate to the most and why?

I think Christopher Wright or Lucius Walker for various complicated reasons.

  1. Is there a certain message (s) that you desire your readers to grasp?

That not everyone in this country has the same experience in life as everyone else and that those differences are not necessarily benign. One of the best examples of this is in a one star review someone posted on Amazon.com about Discovery. The review was from a white man who simply couldn’t understand why anyone Black would prefer to live on the moon with just other Blacks instead of remaining in the United States if given the choice. At first, I was angry about the review because the reader said that Discovery was like a Saturday Night Live skit because it wasn’t believable to him, but a few hours later I realized his response was perfect in illustrating why I wrote Darkside in the first place.

  1. What books have influenced you the most? Why?

In terms of the genre, again it’s the “what ifs” that intrigue me. I’m working on a short story that is based on an idea I discussed with a few writers I do a weekly Google Hangout with, often for six or more hours in the evening. Those stories are influenced by the thousands of books written by science fiction authors from the Golden Age I mentioned before. I have my favorites, but they really are too numerous to begin listing I also like writing stories with a social justice theme, and two of the books that greatly influenced me were Sam Greenlee’s The Spook Who Sat By The Door and Edwin Corley’s Siege, both of which I read quite a while back.

  1. Who are a few of your favorite authors?

Many of the Golden Age authors are among my favorites; Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, Piers Anthony. I tend to like those who create interesting characters and then write multiple stories about their journeys through life.

  1. With what author would you love to have a conversation?

I have questions that I would love to ask Octavia Butler about being a Black woman writing speculative fiction in her day. She flourished in a time when self publishing was largely unheard of.

  1. Any future projects you would like to talk about?

I have two feature movies I would like to get made. Both scripts are much more mainstream than my writing. I have been exceptionally fortunate in that my first four scripts were actually filmed. They’re shorts that are on my YouTube channel. There’s also a 3D animated movie in production at BlackScienceFictionSociety.com I wrote the script for entitled Earth Squadron.

15228040_10210462463055119_277901633_n

  1. If you could start again, is there anything you would change in your latest book?

I don’t think so. Since it’s in a series that I thought out fairly well, it strikes a good balance between science fiction adventure and the needs of the few outweighing the needs of the many—diametrically opposing the underlying theme of the Star Trek universe.

  1. Is there a short excerpt of your current book that you would like to share?

Not as of yet. When it appears on Amazon there will be an excerpt anyone can read. For a deeper look at the first trilogy, the first four chapters of all three of the Darkside Trilogy volumes are available in the Darkside Group at blacksciencefictionsociety.com.

  1. Do you have a favorite quote from one of your novels?

This is a great question for which I have no answer. I guess if pushed I would say, “There goes the neighborhood,” in Conception. When you read the book, you’ll get the joke.

Conception

  1. Do you have any advice for up and coming authors?

Like anything, one learns, and you do have to do a good deal of research and study to become a good author, be sure to learn the fundamentals first before you decide to branch out into your own personal style. Also, decouple your self worth from your work. Criticism of your work is NOT a repudiation of you as a person. If you stick with it you will become better and better. I honestly admit that each of my books is better than the last.

  1. Are there any future events you would like to announce?

Not at this time.

If you would like to learn more about Mr. Hayashi or his speculative fiction series, you can find more information on his Website, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Page, YouTube, TalkCast, and the Earth Squadron website.

Thank you for sitting down with me tonight, Mr. Hayashi. I thoroughly enjoyed Discovery and look forward to reading Conception.

15439975_116951548796588_5854864266047585374_n

 

New Release!

After much deliberation and planning, the graphic companion to The Rise of Nazil series is available on Amazon!

The Guardians' Rise Front Cover-SMThe Guardians’ Rise is an introduction to the fantastical land of Faélondul. It is a companion graphic with a prelude to The Rise of Nazil, containing over thirty custom illustrations commissioned for The Rise of Nazil Epic Fantasy Series. Meet many of the intriguing characters, species, and creatures found within the pages of The Rise of Nazil, Seed of Scorn, Piercing the Darkness, and Blood of Oisin. There are a few bonus images from the Science Fantasy novels Rites of Heirdron and Orbs of Trenihgea!

This collection of illustrations and bonus content is not available anywhere else. If you are in the Atlanta area, stop by OutLantaCon this weekend for a personalized, discounted copy!

Love classic Epic Fantasy with a modern EDGE? Faélondul Awaits!

The Rise of Nazil – .99 Book Promotion

In celebration of the Brain to Books Cyber Convention, I have discounted my award-winning Epic Fantasy novel The Rise of Nazil to only 0.99 for a limited time!

coverImmerse yourself in the fantastical land of Faélondul and allow the multilayered characters, dense and intriguing plot, Faélondulian terminology, scenery, and wonderment transport you from the everyday to an Epic world that you will never desire to leave!

The Rise of Nazil is “the BEST read of 2015.” It is…

“Crafted like a mound of gems picked from the best in genre, The Rise of Nazil makes for a scintillating read. Boding well for future releases from Aaron-Michael Hall, it is recommended without reservation.”

“This is a complex plot at its best. The character development is perfect.”
-Rabia Tanveer, Readers’ Favorite

The Rise of Nazil is an epic fantasy that should be shelved next to the works of R.A. Salvatore and J. R. R. Tolkien. Aaron-Michael Hall is a creative world builder with breath-taking deities and a most unique mythos. With sweeping love stories, intense battles, theological struggles, and modern sociological themes, this book was the best read of 2015.”

“Faélondul is a world imbued with good and evil, that permeates through a richly layered social strata, but few facets of human nature have changed, and he captures them all. Desire, ambition, greed, each masterfully manifested in a host of vividly rendered characters that make for a riveting read whilst neatly sidestepping the pitfalls of predictability.”

The Rise of the Nazil is a complex work, combining the cadence and richness of “old school” fantasy with the violence, intricate treacheries and modern sensibilities of The Game of Thrones. If Michael Moorcock were writing for today’s audience, he might well have written this kind of work.”

Pure escapism is the order of play here and it’s a strong debut which begins at a blistering pace and continues throughout as Aaron-Michael Hall builds a convincing and beguiling world which is both evocative and easy to imagine. Breathing originality into the genre this has to be one of my favourite Fantasy reads in a long while.”

“Author Aaron-Michael Hall is the master of the slow burn—he does not dazzle you with quick resolutions or flashy scenes. Instead, he deftly builds up the plot and the sense of suspense one page at a time. And this is one intricate, richly detailed plot: the multitude of characters unleash upon your senses some sort of a powerful eureka once you reach that point in the book where the story climbs its inevitable climax, and you’re left sitting there with your mouth hanging open, unable to look away.”

“It’s getting harder and harder to separate the wheat from the chaff in this genre, but thankfully The Rise Of Nazil stands head and shoulders above much of the competition. From plot to characters it is a vibrant fantasy that really captures the imagination from start to end.”

Dozens of Amazon reviewers cannot be wrong! However, you can decide for yourself and at a significant discount! What are you waiting for? Faélondul Awaits!

Pentanimir Promo-1-2017sm

Atlanta Sci-Fi and Fantasy Expo

Candid Camera-SDC
I enjoyed another fantastic Expo this month. The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Expo was a two-day event in Dekalb, GA. There were some amazing creatives in attendance and some informative and enjoyable panels. I love meeting new authors and readers! I hope to meet more and chat with my new friends at future events and on social media!

Pencil me in for next year.

Expo 3-2017

For my convention schedule and appearances, please check my FACEBOOK author page!

Do not forget to sign up for my mailing list. You will never miss an event, giveaway, new release, or instafreebie! I never spam or share your information.

Blog Tour – N.D. Jones

banner

Today, I welcome author N. D. Jones to the Desu Beast Blog. She is on a tour to announce her new Science Fiction Romance release, Bond Souls.

Bound Souls
Forever Yours
Book 1
Book Description:

A supernatural love triangle that tests the bounds of science, truth, and faith.

Regent Lela of Asiya is the most powerful person on her planet but she is powerless to save the life of her beloved soulmate—Zion Grace. For thirty years they lived as husband and wife, but Zion’s time is at an end. Lela must go on without him.

“There will never be anyone else for me.”

Despite having died, nothing can keep Zion from his soulmate. He’s back but not as the man he once was. Zion must help Lela move on with her life, lest he lose her forever. But how can Zion convince Lela to accept the love and affections of another man when he still wants her for himself?

“I love you, Lela. My heart is forever yours.”

Lela and Zion are bound souls, destined to live eternity together. For these lovers, death is not an end, but a fateful beginning.

This novel includes “The Garden,” a bonus short story.

nd

Download for Free

 Amazon     BN    Kobo     Inkterra     iBooks

 Book Trailer

Excerpt:

It was true, Zion had only three more years left on his thirty-year life extension. He was tired and felt even more so as the days, weeks, months and years crept by. Zion spared a sidelong glance at his wife, whose head was down, eyes closed and hand still fiercely gripping his own. She wasn’t ready for the ride to end either, yet they both knew it was slowing, preparing to grind to its final halt and he would have to disembark, leaving her behind.

This thing with Ammon had eaten away at Zion for the last several months. Yet Ammon was simply an outlet for his own anger, fear, and depression. He was growing older, his hair thinner and grayer, and his stomach… well, let’s just say he’d had to use the services of a good seamstress over the years. Yet Lela was still as beautiful and fit as when they’d first met.

Zion didn’t begrudge Lela her slow aging or fine, alluring features. In fact, he loved that about her. What did bother him was that other men could see what he saw. Everything about Lela exuded intelligence, grace, dignity, strength, and beauty. Zion learned a long time ago, she could never see herself the way others did, especially men.

While Zion rarely entertained jealous thoughts before or cared much when he caught a male giving Lela an approving look, now he saw nothing but. Under the circumstances, the little signs of masculine appreciation for his beautiful wife enraged him.

“I’m sorry,” Zion spoke into the quiet breach, lifting Lela’s chin with his bruised hand.

Tears flooded her eyes. Even wet, they were still the most stunning eyes he’d ever seen. Picasso marble Zion thought the first time she’d looked at him—a combination of black, brown, gray, and white. Back then, they’d sparkled with intelligence and curiosity, now they glistened with pain. Lela wasn’t ready for this conversation. How could she be?

“No, it’s me who should apologize. I thought you were paranoid, seeing things that didn’t exist.”

“I acted like a jackass, a Neanderthal, damn near dragging you out of the banquet room before the function was over. Hell, I might as well as hoisted you over my shoulder and beat my chest like a caveman.”

He rubbed his thumb across her right cheek, then lips. “You’re an incredible woman, Lela.” Zion paused, nearly biting his tongue on his next words. The ones his selfish heart screamed at him to not utter. “You’ll live for a long time, probably another four or five decades. I only have three years left. For an Asiyan, you’ll be in your prime when I pass on.” His voice cracked when the held tears dropped from his wife’s eyes. She knew where he was going with this, Zion realized.

“You’ll have to go on without me, and I don’t want you to spend the next fifty years by yourself.”

“I won’t be by myself. I’ll have Xavier.” Lela pushed off the bed and moved away from him. She walked to the window, refusing to acknowledge the true meaning of his words.

Zion followed, watching her stern but sad image in the window. Needing to touch and reassure her, he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled Lela to him.

“The thought of another man being this close to you,” Zion whispered, stirring tendrils of her long hair, “makes me want to commit murder. When I heard Ammon offering for you, it took all of my self-control to not take a laser gun to him. The only thing I kept thinking was that he couldn’t have you. That you’re mine and mine alone.”

“Is that why you’ve been so angry these past few months?” She turned in his arms, then rested her head against his resilient shoulder.

“Yes and something else.”

“What else?”

Zion lifted her chin, compelling her to meet his eyes.

“I didn’t want to acknowledge how selfish I was being,” he said, leaning down and placing a warm, soft kiss on her lips. “I want you to be happy in those four or five decades you have left, Lela, but I don’t want you to find happiness in the arms of another man.”

“I have no desire to mate with anyone else, or to take a lover,” she reassured, initiating another kiss, a desperate embrace full of a wife’s integrity and denial. “I can’t imagine being with anyone other than you. I love you, Zion. I could never love another.”

He knew she spoke the truth. He believed her, but she didn’t understand. Zion did. He’d experienced the loss of a spouse.

“When Iman died, a part of me died with her. Like you, I thought there would never be anyone else for me. And that was true for a long time—”

Lela shook her head in protest, not allowing Zion to continue. “Don’t.” A heartbreaking plea. “Don’t say such things. There will never be anyone else for me.”

Zion saw the near panic in her upturned face, her Picasso marble eyes glowing with resolution and despair.

“It’s not the same. It just isn’t.”

It was exactly the same. Yes, what he felt for Iman was different from the love he had for Lela. But it was love all the same. Loving Lela didn’t mean Iman ceased to occupy a special place in his heart and mind. A small, warm piece of her and their life together would always be a part of him. As he would always be a part of Lela, but she couldn’t see it, not now. But someday. Zion didn’t want to think about that and clearly, neither did his wife.

nd2About the Author:
N.D. Jones lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. She is the founder of Kuumba Publishing, an art, audiobook, eBook, and paperback company. Kuumba Publishing is a forum for creativity, with a special commitment to promoting and encouraging creative works of authors and artists of African descent.

A desire to see more novels with positive, sexy, and three-dimensional African American characters as soul mates, friends, and lovers, inspired the author to take on the challenge of penning such romantic reads. She is the author of two paranormal romance series: Winged Warriors and Death and Destiny. N.D. likes to read historical and paranormal romance novels, as well as comics and manga.

Website: http://www.ndjonesparanormalpleasure.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ndjonesparanormalromanceauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/NDJones

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NDJonesauthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ndjones001

  Tour giveaway

Autographed paperback copy of “Bound Souls” (3 winners, U.S. only)
Bound Souls New Release

unnamed