Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

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Duel to the Death: Nameless

I, Andy Peloquin, challenge you, Kathryn Caffee, to a duel to the death! But it is not we who will fight, but our characters…

In the black corner, weighing in at 180 pounds, standing a cool 6 feet tall, the Hunter of Voramis!

Bucelarii 2 Small

Tale of the Tape:

  • Superhuman reflexes, strength, speed–think Captain America, but stronger
  • Thousands of years of weapons training
  • Body has accelerated healing factor–can survive a sword to the heart (can be killed by drowning, iron weapons, beheading, and suffocation)
  • Cannot be killed by anything but iron
  • Accursed dagger that heals him when he kills
  • No magical abilities whatsoever
  • No hesitation to kill if he perceives opponent as a threat/obstacle to his desires–classic anti-hero

In the red corner, we have Nameless!

Nameless

Tale of the Tape:

  • Accelerated healing (any thing short of mortal will heal overnight)
  • Raised and trained in the gladiator Arenas of the Melkreschen (think Romans on steroids with a touch of magic)
  • Blessing of his Goddess
  • Some resistance to steel and iron
  • Unique barehanded fighting style, though he also knows hand-to-hand weapons
  • Berserker, does not feel any pain short of an aggravated wound (iron inflicted if it’s deep enough, broken bone in his arm or leg)
  • Single-minded tactician
  • Extreme endurance

Two enter the ring, only one can leave alive!

How would Nameless kill the Hunter? will meet a new opponent head on to learn their style and any available weakness. Will then back off to “play” with his opponent. When he moves in for the kill, it is sudden and brutal.  Personality: He does not live for himself, or fight for his own honor. Everything he does is for his goddess, all honor gained is for her. In his own mind, he is only her appendage, doing her will.

To kill (your character): The Hunter would try to overwhelm Nameless with his inhuman speed, strength, and skill. All he has to do is pierce his skin with Soulhunger, and the dagger will consume his soul. Not even someone with considerable magical abilities can survive Soulhunger’s bite–it was created to kill demons.

Who would win?

Nameless has faced overwhelming odds his entire life–from highly trained and experienced fighters in his second fight to mob-on-one melees at the height of his Arena career. He unleashes a flurry of blows to overwhelm the Hunter, but finding himself facing a superior foe, he backs off to begin a game of cat-and-mouse.

The Hunter is tenacious and brutally efficient, while Nameless is clever and seeks to inflict as many debilitating injuries as possible–blown tendons, sprained joints, compressed nerves in the arm pits, groin, knees, and elbows, broken wrists or fingers.

Nameless finds the Hunter’s leather armor no match for his powerful blows, and the Hunter is unprepared for his opponent’s unique barehanded fighting style. However, the Hunter’s inhuman endurance keeps him standing even through the excruciating pain. His healing factor enables him to fight on through the pain. With every blow, Soulhunger steals a bit more of Nameless’ strength, tugging at his very soul, until his berserk rage has run its course.

Winner: The Hunter. Only the healing of his goddess can save Nameless from Soulhunger’s bite.

At the bottom of the post on my blog would be:

Want to find out more about this pit fighter who would dare challenge the legendary assassin of Voramis to the death? Click here to read about the ferocious Nameless…

Who do YOU think would win? Did we get the match-up right? Leave a comment below and let me know…

 

Want to match your character against the Hunter? Click here to enter your protagonist/antagonist in a duel to the death!

 

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Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Brandon Sanderson’s Lectures

If you want to improve your creative writing, the best way to do so is to learn from others. Especially if those others are best-selling authors considered by most to be the masters of their craft.

Brandon Sanderson is an author that I greatly respect, and I (and many others) consider him the “gold standard” when it comes to fantasy writing. Not just the structure of his sentences, but world-building, character development, and most important of all, magic systems!

(Come back next week to find out about the Three Laws of Magic…)

Most fantasy readers will be familiar with the name (if you’re not, go Google him and you’ll see how many top-rated books he’s put out), but they may not be familiar with his series of lectures.

A few years ago (prior to 2010, I believe), he gave a series of lectures on the craft of writing. They were all EXCELLENT, but the video quality was iffy at best. However, in 2015, he recorded another series of lectures and posted them all to YouTube.

Find them here…

It’s a simple 8-video series, but each of the videos is about an hour long. They delve into every element of crafting excellent novels (not just fantasy, though fantasy is the focus).

This includes elements like:

  • World-building
  • Magic systems
  • Character development
  • The business of writing
  • and more…

I myself have not yet listened to the lectures (it’s on my to-do list, I PROMISE!!!), but I listened to his previous series and know for a fact that they were truly amazing. For any writers who want to excel at their craft, they are an amazing (and totally free) creative writing resource you would do well to take advantage of. They are 100% worth a few hours of your life!

 

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The Big Day is Finally Here!

It’s the happiest day of the year–like Christmas, my birthday, and Valentine’s Day rolled into one.

That’s right, it’s BOOK LAUNCH DAY!!!

Apologies for the exclamation mark overuse, but that’s just how excited I am. After more than a year of hard work and patiently waiting, The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen is finally here.

Click Here to See it on Amazon

Look at this gorgeous cover, courtesy of the amazing Marie Story.

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Here are a few early reviews:

“Lament of the Fallen is an excellent follow-up to Blade of the Destroyer. The Hunter’s struggle with his demonic nature and the need of the blade are powerful. He doesn’t want to kill, but the world is not so kind to him. Bandits, a cabal of Mages, assassins, and more plague him as he struggles to understand his place in the world and defy his heritage and purpose. He might be destined to help bring back the Destroyer and end the world, but can he defy it?

Peloquin creates an interesting world with fascinating characters and dark setting. The journey of the Hunter is fascinating as he goes from assassin to hero. As he learns whether he is an evil man or if he can choose to be good as he struggles with his “addiction” to murder. The need burning inside him, always eating at his self-control, demanding he stop showing mercy. He stop showing compassion.” — RJ Reviews

“The complexity of the Hunter’s personality blossoms in this book. He has always seen himself as a loner, as all assassins must be. But he discovered at the end of the last story that he really needs people. The double fear – that his friends are a danger to him, but he is much more a danger to them – lays another layer of suspense on the external violence and internal struggle of the novel.

As with the rest of the series, all the settings and deeds are described in beautiful (and horrible) detail of sight, sound, and odour. Secondary characters are more rounded and individual than before, because they matter to the main character. Especially wonderful is Bardin, the beggar/scholar/madman, where Peloquin achieves the difficult task of creating an insane character who acts according to expectations.” — Gordon A. Long

And here’s a taste of what’s inside:

A rough hand shook the Hunter from sleep. Instinct kicked in. Seizing his assailant, he pressed his sword to the man’s throat.

Visibos’s eyes flew wide and he held up his hands. “Easy, Hardwell. Just waking you for your turn at watch.”

The Hunter nodded and lowered the sword.

Visibos shook his head. Rubbing red-rimmed eyes, he stumbled toward his blankets with a yawn. Within seconds, the low rumble of his snores floated around the campsite.

Darkness hung on the campsite like a thick blanket. Only glowing embers remained of the fire, but the Hunter made no effort to rebuild it. He preferred shadow. Unseen, he could watch both the forest and his new traveling companions.

He filled his lungs with the fresh, clean night air and rolled his neck and shoulders to work out the kinks of sleeping on the forest floor. His blankets, while thick and warm, provided little cushion against the hardness of the earth beneath him.

Slinging his baldric over his shoulder, he buckled on his sword. A quick inspection of his saddlebags revealed nothing out of place. He ran a hand across the smooth surface of the iron-lined box. Soulhunger’s voice pounded in his mind, pleading to feed. A twinge of pain settled behind his eyes.

The Hunter savored the scents of the forest around him. The smoke from their dying campfire hung heavy in the air, and beneath it, he smelled muted hints of plant and animal life. A cool breeze rolled past, carrying with it the scent of decaying leaves, pine sap, and a sweet-scented flower he couldn’t identify.

The Hunter wrapped his cloak tighter about himself as the chill of the early morning wind sent a shiver down his spine. The crook of a large tree offered him a comfortable place to sit his watch, as well as protection from the occasional gust. He leaned against the thick trunk, curling his legs to his chest. The shrouds of his dark cloak hid him from his companions, and he was all but invisible beneath the forest canopy.

His eyes roamed over the sleeping forms of his traveling companions. Only the red tresses of Sir Danna’s hair were visible, her thick bedroll swaddling the rest of her in a snug bundle. Loud snores rose from the lump he knew to be Visibos.

‘Kill them!’

The demon’s intensity startled the Hunter. The creature filled his mind with images of Soulhunger drinking deep of the knight’s heart-blood. His sword sliced into Visibos’ neck, spraying crimson.

No! The Hunter shook his head, endeavoring to shake loose the gory thoughts. His fingers traced the scar on his chest.  I will not harm them.

‘Leave them alive, and they will discover your lie. You are no more Hardwell of Praamis than you are Danther the tailor or Lord Anglion the Foolish.’

Rubbing his eyes, the Hunter tried to calm the pounding in his head.

How could they know? They have no way to uncover the truth. No, they are no threat to me.

‘Foolish Bucelarii! How little you know. The humans you protect will be your undoing.’

The Hunter closed his eyes, massaging his temples.

Why will you not leave me alone?

He was so tired of hearing that voice in his head. He wanted freedom from that voice. He needed peace.

‘You know what you must do.’

 

VERY IMPORTANT: If you buy the eBook version at any time this weekend, you are eligible to participate in my Raffle. You could win one of the THREE signed paperbacks, as well as any of the 100+ eBooks donated by my author friends.

Click Here to See What You Could Win and How

Thank you so much! I hope to see you at my Book Launch Party–we’re going to have one heck of a fun time!

Talon Spider Web

Duel to the Death: Talon

I, Andy Peloquin, challenge you, Jay Michael, to a duel to the death! But it is not we who will fight, but our characters…

In the black corner, weighing in at 180 pounds, standing a cool 6 feet tall, the Hunter of Voramis!

Bucelarii 2 Small

Tale of the Tape:

  • Superhuman reflexes, strength, speed–think Captain America, but stronger
  • Thousands of years of weapons training
  • Body has accelerated healing factor–can survive a sword to the heart (can be killed by drowning, iron weapons, beheading, and suffocation)
  • Cannot be killed by anything but iron
  • Accursed dagger that heals him when he kills
  • No magical abilities whatsoever
  • No hesitation to kill if he perceives opponent as a threat/obstacle to his desires–classic anti-hero

In the blood red corner, we have Nicholas “Talon” Watson!

Talon Spider Web

Tale of the Tape:

  • Vampire created from the Pureblood line of Vampires (only three Vampires removed from the original/source Vampire Lilith)
  • Incredible speed, reflexes, and strength
  • 400 years trained with Kamikaze, a demon-slaying Katana
  • Self-healing properties, can only be killed by beheading or draining enough blood from him that he is unable to heal his wounds.
  • Sunlight weakens him but does NOT burst him into flames, has a weakness to silver.
  • Will happily slaughter anyone or anything that gets into the way or threatens those he loves.
  • Gets stronger as he drinks blood.
  • Ability to disappear into shadows or darkness.
  • Has fangs and talons (claws protruding from the nails) as natural weapons.

Two enter the ring, only one can leave alive!

How would Talon kill the Hunter? Either use his speed and reflexes to take the Hunter’s head or, knowing he can be suffocated, drag him into a lake/water and drown him

To kill Talon: The Hunter would try to overwhelm him with his inhuman speed, strength, and skill. All he has to do is pierce his skin with Soulhunger, and the dagger will consume his soul. Not even someone with considerable magical abilities can survive Soulhunger’s bite–it was created to kill demons.

Who would win?

The Hunter has never faced anything quite like Talon. His battles with the First and Third of the Bloody Hand have taught him caution in combat against an enemy who can match your speed, skill, and strength. He quickly learns to keep out of reach of Talon’s fangs and claws, but faced with the wicked Kamikaze, he has no choice but to use his long sword to keep the vampire away while searching for an opening to bring Soulhunger to bear.

Talon, too, finds himself intrigued with this hooded and cloaked assassin who is able to match him blow for blow, step for step. His initial hope of surprising and overwhelming the Hunter’s defenses quickly give way to grudging admiration for a worthy foe, and he settles in for a grueling, knock-down, drag-on fight. His sword gives him the reach, but he faces two weapons. He quickly learns to fear the long knife in the Hunter’s off-hand.

Winner: WAY too close to call. Vampire vs. half-demon assassin, with skills, speed, strength, and cursed weapons to match, only the Mistress’ own luck will determine who the winner is.

Want to find out more about this creature of the night who would dare challenge the legendary assassin of Voramis to the death? Click here to read about the fearsome Talon…

 

Who do YOU think would win? Did we get the match-up right? Leave a comment below and let me know…

 

 

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Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Writers Helping Writers

If you’re looking for amazing resources for creative writing, Writers Helping Writers is the site for you!

The site is created by writers of all ages, genres, and levels of experience, with guest posts by just about anyone and everyone who has something useful to share (I’ve contributed two myself). The posts touch on a staggeringly wide range of topics, but they can help you to better yourself as a writer.

The site offers excellent value, with articles on everything from motivational topics to self-publishing to finding agents to marketing to handling rejection to editing tips to the business of writing. It literally covers EVERY aspect of writing you could want to know about!

The creators of the site are also the minds behind the Emotion Thesaurus, a guide to help writers figure out the physical, non-verbal, and subconscious cues, actions, and reactions behind every emotion. It’s a VERY handy guide, one I’ve used dozens of times.

If you want to improve your writing, it’s worth spending hours scrolling through the blog posts on Writers Helping Writers. There’s so much advice that will make you better!

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Duel to the Death: Talorc

I, Andy Peloquin, challenge you, Guy Donovan, to a duel to the death! But it is not we who will fight, but our characters…

In the black corner, weighing in at 180 pounds, standing a cool 6 feet tall, the Hunter of Voramis!

Bucelarii 2 Small

Tale of the Tape:

  • Superhuman reflexes, strength, speed–think Captain America, but stronger
  • Thousands of years of weapons training
  • Body has accelerated healing factor–can survive a sword to the heart (can be killed by drowning, iron weapons, beheading, and suffocation)
  • Cannot be killed by anything but iron
  • Accursed dagger that heals him when he kills
  • No magical abilities whatsoever
  • No hesitation to kill if he perceives opponent as a threat/obstacle to his desires–classic anti-hero

In the red and gold corner, we have Talorc the dragon!

guy cover ideas_final

Tale of the Tape:

  • Flies
  • Breathes flame (provided by chewing volcanic rocks infused with white phosphorus)
  • Claws (though technically he’s a wyvern, meaning two wings and two legs in the back) and a barbed tail
  • Lots and lots of teeth

Two enter the ring, only one can leave alive!

How would Talorc kill the Hunter? He can make multiple passes in the air, blasting him with his white phosphorus flame. On the off chance that he’s not able to fly, he’s still got teeth, claws, a barbed tail, and sheer size going for him.

To kill Talorc: The Hunter would try to overwhelm him with his inhuman speed, strength, and skill. All he has to do is pierce the dragon’s skin with Soulhunger, and the dagger will consume his soul. Not even someone with considerable magical abilities can survive Soulhunger’s bite–it was created to kill demons.

Who would win?

Over Talorc’s short life, he has fought and defeated more humans than he can count. He dominates the sky, flying overhead and raining down an inferno to scorch any pitiful human to the bone.

But the Hunter is no puny human. He is Bucelarii, descendant of demons. Though he has never faced such a fearsome creature, he has learned to adapt to any threat. His inhuman speed keeps him out of the path of Talorc’s fire, and decades spent as an assassin has taught him to cling to the shadows. If Talorc cannot find him, he cannot burn him alive.

The Hunter waits until the right moment, when Talorc is near the ground, within reach. He springs on the dragon’s back, and with every ounce of his half-demon strength, drives Soulhunger through Talorc’s thick hide. Soulhunger tastes blood, and the dragon shrieks as its soul is consumed. Its death struggles last far longer than any of the Hunter’s previous victims.

Winner: The Hunter. May the Watcher have mercy on the dragon; its soul is forfeit.

 

Want to find out more about this fearsome creature who would dare challenge the legendary assassin of Voramis to the death? Click here to read about the mighty Talorc…

 

Who do YOU think would win? Did we get the match-up right? Leave a comment below and let me know…

 

Want to match your character against the Hunter? Click here to enter your protagonist/antagonist in a duel to the death!

 

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What You Need to Know About Instagram Stories

Today’s post is a bit different…

Instead of doing my usual, I’m going to look at a new tool we authors (and anyone) can use for marketing. It’s an expansion of one of the current marketing tools: Instagram.

Instagram is one of the hottest social media platforms, one used by more than 400 million people! With 60% of users logging onto Instagram daily, it’s a platform that guarantees a wide reach. Instagram–like Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms–can be used to promote just about anything: products, services, events, and the list goes on. If you know how to use it correctly, it can be one of the most effective tools in your arsenal.

Now, Instagram has launched a new product that may make it an even more valuable tool. That’s right, we’re talking about Instagram Stories!

What is Instagram Stories?

Instagram “Stories” is a feature that allows Instagram users the ability to share updates–as many as you want. Instagram will stitch multiple photos and videos into a single slideshow. That “Story” is available for exactly 24 hours after sharing them.

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Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat

If Instagram Stories sounds so familiar, it’s because it’s pretty much exactly what Snapchat offers! It’s the same “disappearing content” model, one that promotes greater sharing among users.

The reason it’s so familiar is due to Snapchat’s success. Unlike the eternally available content on Instagram, Snapchat’s content disappears after a short amount of time once opened. This makes it easier for users to share all manner of content, secure in the knowledge that it will be erased from their history.

So why is Instagram Stories the better option? Well, if you look at Snapchat, you’ll find that it’s fairly limited. It can only access other Snapchat accounts, and it has no access to outside social media websites. You can’t post content from your Snapchat to your Facebook or Twitter, or vice versa.

But with Instagram, all of the platforms are integrated. Content from Instagram can be seamlessly posted to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and other social media sites, and content from social media can be shared to Instagram easily. For people who share content across multiple media platforms, Instagram is the smarter of the two options. The fact that it’s as easy as clicking one button to share everything is one of the major perks of Instagram–and now Instagram Stories.

Another benefit of Instagram Stories is the fact that the app itself has been around for longer. While Snapchat has only become popular in the last couple of years, Instagram has been going strong since 2010. The year after being purchased by Facebook in 2012, it grew by a staggering 23%!

For those who use social media as a marketing/publicity tool, it’s very likely that your Instagram following is significantly larger than your Snapchat following. Most people are accustomed to regular interaction with their followers on Instagram, and their followers tend to be in all age ranges. Snapchat, on the other hand, is one of those apps used primarily by teenagers and young adults, so the audience reached is much younger.

Combine the wider audience range with the comfortable, familiar platform and greater interaction between social media platforms, and you can understand why Instagram is the better option. While Snapchat will remain a trendy app among the youth, the truth is that Instagram may have just taken over the Snapchat “sweet spot” by adding the Stories feature.

How You Can Use Instagram Stories

For years, you’ve been leveraging your social media accounts to promote events or book launches, so how can this latest Instagram update work in your favor?

The answer is simple: FOMO.

FOMO means “fear of missing out”, and it’s a fear that social media has only helped to increase! More and more, people are jumping on new bandwagons (apps, services, products) even if they don’t need them, simply because they see so many other people using them. They participate out of fear that they are missing out on something awesome. After all, if so many other people are doing it, it has to be great, right?

All of the content posted to Instagram Stories is ephemeral, and it will fade away after just 24 hours. Once the content is posted, people have a limited time to view it, else miss out altogether. This means they are far more likely to follow your content more closely just to be 100% certain they consume it before it disappears.

Let’s put feet to this concept:

You have an event (for example, my Lament of the Fallen Book Launch Party) coming up, but you want to add an element of “exclusivity” to it. All you have to do is post to your Facebook, Twitter, etc. a message saying, “Watch out for a Story with all the information you need to join the event”. If ONLY those who view your Story are able to attend, it will be a way to create that exclusive feel to your event. Plus, it will help to drive more people to your social media accounts, leading to growth in your audience and better engagement.

Another excellent use of Instagram Stories is to share content of your event AS IT’S HAPPENING. Seeing as the content will only be available for 24 hours after it’s uploaded, people who want to avoid “fear of missing out” will stay glued to your Instagram feed to find out what’s going on. When they see just how much fun your event was, they’ll be much more engaged the next time you host an event.

The more people want to stay abreast of your disappearing content, the more they will access Instagram. This leads to better engagement with your audience, and greater visibility for your content. Even if there are no Stories to see, the followers will be on Instagram and thus have a better chance of seeing the content you are posting.

 

And yes, I WILL be posting a Story on the 18th, with exclusive content available ONLY to those who see it for the 24 hours it will be live. Definitely not something you want to miss out on…

Revised June 2016 this one

Book Review: Sowing by Angie Grigalunias

After many weeks of dueling to the death, the Hunter needs a break. Which means it’s Book Review Wednesday again! Today, we’ve got a dystopian fantasy novel you’ll definitely want to check out…

Sowing

People are dead, slaughtered like animals in the night.

The reigning power, the Hulcondans, blame rebels. Rabreah, a rebel, knows it’s a lie. Her younger sister, Ariliah, doesn’t; like the majority of the townspeople, she believes those in authority, swallowing their words with complete trust. Besides, she’s too busy fighting her own silent war at home. While Rabreah dedicates herself to truth and freedom, Ariliah is just trying to survive their mother’s abuse.

Revised June 2016 this one

But as unknown forces threaten to rip their world apart, the line between friend and enemy blurs. All is not as it seems.

In fact, nothing may be.

My Review: 4 Stars

I’m going to start off with the good:

I have only the highest of praise for the world-building in this book. While we don’t get a glimpse outside the city, we know everything there is to know about the culture, technology, and political situation of this one city. I felt like I got a very clear glimpse at every element of the small world in which these characters live, and it was very complete.

Character development was also very on-point! While Arililah’s character bothered me a little (too “wimpy”, dare I say?), Rabreah was a strong woman recovering from being broken. The story didn’t focus too much on her emotional state as a result of her past, but there was enough to make me care about the characters. The other supporting characters (including the male protagonist/potential love interest) were well-developed and interesting. If these were all that mattered, this would be a five-star story.

Sadly, there is one element I felt the story lacked: action. I understand that this is a very character-driven story, but it still needed something to make me interested in those characters. I felt like it ended right at the end of the second act, when it could have been amped up a bit to some glorious climactic ending of some sort. I didn’t get those heart-pounding, blood rushing final climax moments I was looking forward to.

That’s not to say nothing happens throughout the book. There’s plenty of drama and emotional highs and lows. It just felt incomplete, like the story ended before it was truly complete.

Here’s a Taste:

“What?” he asked, tilting his head to the side as if actually interested. “He’s been by your side frequently enough to assume he truly cares for you, but then he abandons you when it comes time to dance? What, is dancing with the only girl he seems to have eyes for too intimate for him? That’s a great man right there. Or, you know what, perhaps he’s simply been trying to seduce you this whole time, and he finally realized the futility of such a plot.” His expression darkened, a smirk tugging at his lips. “It looks like he’s found a willing partner in your sister, though.”

Heat tore through my body; it was everything I could do not to lurch out of his grasp and punch him right in his leering face. Producing a verbal response was out of the question.

He straightened his neck, gazing at me as we twirled in slow circles, and scowled. Even that was mocking. “You have no comment on that? Really?” He shrugged one shoulder. “Maybe I’ve misjudged you. I thought you were more protective than that. Letting your little sister dance with a Hulcondan you met only the day before yesterday… I’m truly surprised.”

My voice came out in a hiss. “Ariliah’s fine. She’s not going anywhere with him. She’s actually smart, you know.”

“I never said she wasn’t.” His tone matched mine. Ice crept over his face, hardening his features. “But I am curious as to why you don’t seem to be the least bit concerned about his intentions toward her. Unless, of course, you already know his intentions and find nothing dangerous about them.” He thought for a beat and winced, the movement calculated. “Though, that, of course, would imply you’ve discussed your sister with him at some point, which seems unlikely to have come up in conversation in the short time he’s been here. Unless you’ve known him for longer than the duration of this festival. Then it would make more sense.”

I opened my mouth, dread rising. He waited in his arrogant way, and I cleared my throat.

“I – I don’t really know him, Lord Masrekah. And he’s a Hulcondan.” I struggled to calm my shaky tone. “I don’t exactly have any right to tell him who he can or cannot dance with. If he wants to dance with my sister, he can. And I can’t begin to tell him otherwise.”

He nodded, his eyes never leaving me. “Indeed. That’s a good, respectful answer. It’s too bad it’s all a lie, but that’s beside the point.”

“What’s a lie?”

“What, besides all of it?” He tightened his hold on my waist and leaned closer. His gaze flicked from my face, and he lowered his voice, his lips scarcely moving. The stench of ale on his breath turned my insides. “Tell me, since when did someone being a Hulcondan mean anything to you, let alone elicit your respect? Because in the last three and a half years, I haven’t seen the slightest hint of a change in you.”

Icy fingers swept down my spine. Three and a half years. All that time of watching him, and he’d been watching me too.

And there had been so much to see.

“Oh, you may have changed your behavior, which was smart of you. But while you may have fooled everyone else in to thinking you’re some disgraced whore who wouldn’t dream of stepping out of line, you and I both know what you are when you’re pushed.”

“What?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know how strong your memory is, Rabreah, but mine is outstanding. I remember every detail of what happened between us.”

I swallowed hard. My voice came out as a whisper. “Nothing happened.”

“Really?” He crushed my hand, his eyes locking on mine. “‘You have no right to refuse,’” he said in a quiet snarl. “‘It’s against the law.’”

My lips parted as memories washed over me. Him saying that exact thing in that fierce voice. His fingers digging into my arm to keep me in place, his lips almost against my ear…

I begged myself not to scream, not to shove him back.

“‘I. Don’t. Care,’” he finished, making his voice higher to mimic mine.

I tensed at my own words, my own defiant response to his declaration of authority. Over three years later, and he still remembered the tones we’d used.

He withdrew enough to look at me. “Now, does that sound at all familiar?”

I sucked in a gasping breath. “Yes, sir. My Lord.”

“Oh, good. You do remember.”

“Yes, I remember.” Panic constricted my throat. I shoved it back and focused on him, keeping my tone as even as I could. “I was defiant, and I shouldn’t have been. I-It was wrong. I know that. I’ve lived with the consequences of that mistake for three years.” I bit the inside of my lip. “What’s your point, my Lord?”

“Simply that such fiery defiance doesn’t cool under the strain of silence and oppression, Rabreah. No, it erupts into an inferno.” His eyes flashed, traces of dangerous emotion streaking through them, and he leaned down so we were almost nose-to-nose. His voice came out somewhere between a hiss and a plea. “Watch. Yourself.” He straightened. “And watch your sister as well,” he added, his tone detached again. “We don’t want some random stranger from Lusitha to get any ideas about carrying her off somewhere, do we?”

“No, my Lord. We don’t.”

He smiled, pure ice. “That’s right. No, we don’t.”

About the Author:

Angie Grigaliunas (grig-ah-loo-nas) is a fantasy writer and blogger. She loves Jesus, the woods, the stars, and has always wanted to be a superhero with a secret identity. She lives in Ohio with her husband, their goofy dog, and their four crazy cats.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30364237-sowing

Find it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sowing-Purification-Era-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01H1AMBNA

Connect with her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/angiegrigaliunaszewriter

Read her thoughts on her blog: http://www.angiegrigaliunas.blogspot.com

Check out her Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/angiegrigaliunas

Tweet at her: @Angie_ZeWriter

 

book-440878_1920

Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Book Review Websites

I’ve pointed you to a lot of creative writing resources OUTSIDE my website, but today I’m going to talk about a resource I’ve got right here. If this feels like shameless self-promo to you, sorry about that! I’m just posting another epic resource that can help you out–it just so happens to be on my site.

Book Reviews are the lifeblood of every author, but they are doubly important for indie authors. Reviews are the best way to spread word of our books, and whether they’re a 2-star or a 5-star review, they help future customers make informed decisions.

The question is: where do you get reviews from? If you’ve already pestered everyone in your social media circle, friends, and family, now what?

Enter The Ultimate Guide to Book Review Websites. I’ve compiled a list (currently at 501, but I’ll be at 1001 within the next few months) of book review websites, blogs, Facebook Pages, YouTube channels, even Twitter users. The list is organized according to genre accepted, whether they offer author interviews/guest posts/promo opportunities, and whether they accept indie/self-published authors. All of the sites are open for reviews, and have posted at least in the last calendar year. It’s the most comprehensive and up-to-date a list you’ll find anywhere!

For those who don’t have the $$ to spend, I’m giving away a list containing 100 links to websites that accept most types of fiction (and some non-fiction). It’s a good place to get started! Heck, you’ll probably take a few weeks/months to get through that list and submit to every review site. Fingers crossed, you’ll get a few dozen reviews from it.

But, if you want to check out the complete list, it’s a paltry $2 for the entire, organized list. It’s definitely a resource worth considering, and it can help you get more reviews for and spread word about your book!

 

Nicholai

Duel to the Death: Nicholai

I, Andy Peloquin, challenge you, Josh Rutherford, to a duel to the death! But it is not we who will fight, but our characters…

In the black corner, weighing in at 180 pounds, standing a cool 6 feet tall, the Hunter of Voramis!

Bucelarii 2 Small

Tale of the Tape:

  • Superhuman reflexes, strength, speed–think Captain America, but stronger
  • Thousands of years of weapons training
  • Body has accelerated healing factor–can survive a sword to the heart (can be killed by drowning, iron weapons, beheading, and suffocation)
  • Cannot be killed by anything but iron
  • Accursed dagger that heals him when he kills
  • No magical abilities whatsoever
  • No hesitation to kill if he perceives opponent as a threat/obstacle to his desires–classic anti-hero

In the green corner, standing at 6′ 2″ and 170 pounds lean power, Nicolai of Sarbin!

Nicholai

Tale of the Tape:

  • Since birth, he has been skilled in the blade-fighting art of Zenista – his weapon of choice is the saber
  • Due to a genetic anomaly and his early years spent in the Czarian uranium mines of a gulag, his skin is impenetrable, so that no bullet or blade can pierce him
  • His bones are as tough as his skin — one punch can break your sternum
  • He can be killed by other means – such as poisoning, drowning, and starvation
  • Suffers from amnesia, so that much of his childhood is a blur to him
  • As a refugee, he is very defensive, especially when those he loves are in danger

Two enter the ring, only one can leave alive!

How would Nicholai kill the Hunter? He will start by breaking his bones. A forearm or shoulder to start with, to momentarily disable his stabbing ability. Then a clavicle or a rib or two, to slow him further. He would strike a punishing blow to the Hunter’s throat – thereby crushing his windpipe – before wrapping his arm around his neck, completely cutting off his ability to breathe.

To kill Nicholai: The Hunter would try to overwhelm him with his inhuman speed, strength, and skill. All he has to do is pierce his skin with Soulhunger, and the dagger will consume his oul. Not even someone with considerable magical abilities can survive Soulhunger’s bite–it was created to kill demons.

Who would win?

From the open plains to a gulag to refugee camps, Nicolai has grown up in some tough environments. There is no criminal type or psychopath that he hasn’t come across. He has survived them all and risen to become a hero among his people. Furthermore, his learning curve is awe-inspiring, so that the more he fights, the better he becomes (by leaps and bounds). Soulhunger’s blade would only taste air as Nicolai would duck and block the Hunter’s advances with ease.

Yet could Nicholai’s stamina stand up to the Hunter’s inhuman strength, speed, and skill? Millennia spent training with sword, dagger, and bare-handed fighting have earned him his legend as the immortal assassin of Voramis. The Hunter adapts to his opponent, and once he realizes his weapons cannot pierce skin, he will go for weak spots: nose, eyes, and mouth. His bare-handed fighting techniques are a match for any man’s, and he fights like an assassin: dirty and brutal.

Winner: It’s anyone’s fight!  The Hunter’s soul-consuming blade is useless if it cannot pierce skin and taste blood. But can Nicolai defeat an opponent who moves faster and hits harder than he? Mistress Luck could smile on either warrior…

 

Want to find out more about this gulag escape who would dare challenge the legendary assassin of Voramis to the death? Click here to read about Nicolai of Sarbin…”

 

Who do YOU think would win? Did we get the match-up right? Leave a comment below and let me know…

 

Want to match your character against the Hunter? Click here to enter your protagonist/antagonist in a duel to the death!

 

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