Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

Category: Book Reviews (Page 1 of 17)

Doorway to Death

Book Review: Doorway to Death Anthology by JEA

For today’s Book Review Wednesday, I’m posting my review of a short story anthology published by J. Ellington Ashton Press (the publisher of my The Last Bucelarii series). I’d say it’s definitely worth reading!

Doorway to Death

The doorway stands beyond man, at the end of a long hallway filled with sights beyond reason. It is a place where the universe begins and ends, where we begin and end, and deep down within our hearts, where we keep our secrets and imagine our stories, it lives there too. Come, join us at the Doorway to Death, enter and claim your end!

Doorway to Death

From the minds of Essel Pratt, Toneye Eyenot, Roy C. Booth, Axel Kohagan, Kent Hill, Michael Fisher, Coralie Rowe, Brian Barr, Lemmy Rushmore, Michael Noe, D.S. Scott, Kevin Candela, Jeff O’Brien, Magenta Nero, Howard Carlyle, Ts Woolard, Dani Brown, Magan Rodriguez, Jim Goforth, Alice J. Black, Dona Fox, and Brian Glossup

My Review: 5 Stars

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I’m not usually a short story collection/anthology reader, but I found this one a pretty fascinating read. Some of the stories were light-hearted and amusing, others cynical and cutting, and still others chilling and creepy. Not every story was perfect, but I enjoyed most of them.

What I liked best about this collection was that the stories were fairly short. As a busy person with limited time to read, it was nice to pick it up and get through a story or two at a time. The shorts held my attention and kept me turning pages, so it’s a collection I’d recommend to anyone.

Here’s a Taste:

There were no lights on in the nursery when the new family arrived home, and the altar that covered the gigantic pentagram on the floor would have to be moved before the ritual. Laura entered the house carrying her newborn twins tightly to herself. She went straight to the boys’ room and tucked Josh into his cradle. He was fast asleep and rolled over on his side immediately, dead to the world. His brother, Sean, who was literally dead to this world, was tucked away in his cradle by mom. She lit the candles that lined the walls. Their flames flickered, then brightened as a sense of ancient magical presence was growing within the confinements of the little nursery.

Preparations for the ritual would have to be made now. Laura knew the rules of the Black Arts. There were books upon books about them. She owned many. What she hadn’t learned from the countless tomes she obtained throughout her life was taught by an elder in the coven she was once a part of. Many lost rites were passed down to her. Everything from incantations to summoning of good luck demons who would grant any wish you so desired. Her witchmother claimed Laura was her best student. In time she was surpassed, and lost her value to the young pupil. At twenty one Laura became witchmother to her own coven of witches and a self proclaimed prodigy.

First, she must purify her body, starting with a hot bath and her prescription of placenta pills. It was time to begin her ritual regime.

Laura undressed in her bedroom, watching her body move in the vanity’s mirror. Slithering out of the wrinkled, stretchy maternity pants and removing the hospital gown she hadn’t bothered to change from for the ride home. Pulling the soft, velvet chair out from the vanity, she sits, placing her medications and baby bag next to her socked feet. There is a silver hair brush in the drawer that she brushes her hair with. She does this for an hour, one thousand strokes and no less. Placing the brush back in the vanity’s drawer, she takes a painkiller and a placenta pill, chasing it with the last glass of blood wine she had been saving for such an occasion.

In the stone worked bathroom of the home, Laura has a claw foot tub, centered directly over the drain in the middle of the room. A pump was attached to a rise in the rock floor, and hoses and tubes ran from it to the tub. The hot bath must be prepared before the ritual as well as her body. She enters the room and clicks the on switch to the pump. The motor buzzes, then begins pumping hot water and a mixture of illegally obtained amniotic fluids and nutrients into the tub. Once it was filled to her desire, Laura removes her socks and climbs into the sparkling potion to relax.

There were memories cascading through the dim lit stone decorated bathroom and Laura was drifting, calming herself into a trance-like state. She could feel the pills in her system, as they were absorbed by her craving body, feeding on their giving selves. Their nourishing matter mending all the broken parts, the stretched pains and pulls of the skin, healing the body, carrying it, lifting it.

There was a subtle invasion on all sides of her, beginning with a sound, and Laura listened, slowly rising through her senses. In her ears. On her skin. In her mouth. Through every cell within her wholeness, she could felt it with her soul.

“Mommy….” It said.

In an instant the pool of warm amniotic fluid quivered and held her motionless for what only measured eternity in Laura’s mind. She saw the slow swell in breasts and spirits as a dark realm arose. With her eyelids bleeding, split at the corners, and being peeling away from her field of vision, forcing her to witness the ghost of her dead son, Sean.

“Mommy….” It repeated in a whine, deep and guttural with death. It was doubled; the word was, almost like an immediate repeat, or a shadow of itself. The noise along with its own scent of decay, trailing. The eerie, shrill pitch was a continuous buzz in Laura’s head.”….Mommy.” It growled quietly.

The hold was unbreakable. Lifting Laura up out of the tub, fluid webs pouring around her body, flowing in some uncoordinated, contained manner. Not one drop spilling to the stone tiled floor, nor a splash, nor mist. There was intellect in this gathering of electrolytes and urea and proteins. This was an old entity, one that has existed in this realm, and many others. Long before man was even a glimmer in his God’s eyes, long before anything was, for that matter.

Laura was floating in a hardening amniotic sac, which was rotating around her like the universe to the sun, in an eternal continuation of the dance of life and death. And her Dead fetus Sean was speaking to her from between the worlds, from the jar of formaldehyde gel in his vacant crib, to the Dead Realm.

“Mommy…..you know what you musssst do.” Dead fetus Sean whispered, detached and dryly. The rising and falling of its ghastly words were almost unintelligible, but Laura knew what they meant, understood them clearly. She could hear her dead son’s thoughts. Feel his presence. “You musssst perform the ritual soon. Your doorway will clossssse within the day.” It gurgled from the crib.

“I know, my son.” She told him. “The preparation must be completed first. Then I will begin the ritual, and be with you both soon.” Laura was in tears. “I love you, Sean. You and Josh. I will not live without either of you this time!”

 

For more information:

Visit the publisher’s website (http://www.jellingtonashton.com/) to read about the authors contributing to the anthology.

Find the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015VLG1GY/

 

 

WOA cover

Book Review: Pawns by Patrick Hodges

It’s Book Review Wednesday, and I’ve got a treat: a Sci-Fan (Science Fiction blended with Fantasy) novel written by an awesome author I met and befriended at last year’s InD’Scribe Convention. It’s my first proper introduction to the SciFan genre and I’m happy to say I’m hooked!

Note: the book will be released tomorrow, April 20th, but it’s up for pre-order!

Pawns (The Wielders of Arantha Book 1)

Seven hundred years in the future, the Jegg – a powerful alien race – invade Earth, wiping out half of the Terran Confederation.

In a hidden base under the Sahara Desert, a team of scientists works to mount a resistance against the invaders. Their plan is to fit an Earth ship with Jegg folding-space technology, and travel to the other side of the galaxy to find a mysterious energy source… one that could help them defeat the Jegg.

WOA cover

But just before departure, catastrophe strikes. Only two of the crew survive and make it to their destination: the team leader’s wife Maeve, and her teenage son Davin. What they find on the distant planet will forever change both the future of their family and their planet, as they enter a race against time… and against impossible odds.

My Review: 5 Stars

I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and I’m very glad I did! This is my first introduction to Sci-Fan and have to say I enjoyed it quite a lot. The blending of magic and technology brings together the two things I love about speculative fiction.

I found this to be a very enjoyable novel, with a solid storyline that kept me reading without losing my interest. There were no parts where the story lagged or got bogged down by unnecessary exposition. Though it took a while to get interesting in the beginning, I was hooked before I hit page 100. It was very easy to read through the story, and I couldn’t wait to hit the climax and find out what the deal was with these magical stones that had called an Earther from across the galaxy.

I LOVED the plot twist (no spoilers) that shows up near the endpoint—totally caught me by surprise. The characters were well-written and easy to understand, even the villains. All in all, a solid book that I will definitely be returning to when the Book 2 is released.

Here’s a Taste:

Voris’s face scrunched up in anger. Turning to the Vandan who’d drawn his sword, he yelled, “Kill him!”

Holding the hilt of his sword with both hands, the man rushed at Mizar, who didn’t move. With a primal scream, the man swung his sword in a wide arc, intent on separating Mizar’s head from his body.

With a quickness belying his age, Mizar ducked under the sword as it sliced through the air. Calling upon his abilities, he directed a powerful bolt of compressed air right at the swordsman’s gut. A moment later, the man was flying backwards, his limbs flailing as he flew past his cohorts. He hit the water of the stream, but didn’t stop there. His body bounced across the surface like a stone being skipped, coming to an abrupt halt when he crashed head-first into a large rock that stuck out of the ground on the other side. There was a sickening crack of bone upon stone, and the man’s head fell limply under the water. It did not rise again. Only his feet and chest protruded above the surface, right next to a large red stain that now decorated the stone.

The stupefied look on the faces of the three men was almost comical. Composing himself, Voris gestured to the two archers, whose bows dangled slackly in their hands. Gibbering with rage, he spluttered, “Shoot him!”

The archers were only ten or so yards away from Mizar. At this close range, anyone with even moderate skill would be able to hit their mark. In one motion, both men raised their bows, pulled back on the drawstrings, and fired.

Mizar only had a second to react as the two arrows split the air on their way to him. With a slight wave of his hands, he changed the flow of air around him, thereby directing the arrows to zip past his head, continuing on their harmless trajectory.

Before they could hit the ground, Mizar turned in the other direction and waved his arms in a circle. As if they’d developed a mind of their own, the arrows changed direction, one banking left and the other right, sweeping around in a wide arc and climbing high into the air.

Mizar whirled around to face the Vandans again, moving his arms in a practiced, precise series of gestures, bending the air to his will. The raiders watched, goggle-eyed, at the arrows that seemed to defy gravity. Mizar thrust his hands forward, and the two arrows decided on a new direction. Before the archers could even react, the arrows embedded themselves in their throats.

Voris’s jaw dropped, his knife hand shaking visibly as he watched the last of his men topple to the ground, blood gushing from their necks and staining the grassy earth.

Satisfied, Mizar affixed Voris with his steeliest glare. “Only you and me now, Vandan.”

Voris didn’t move. He could only croak out a barely intelligible, “Wh-what are ya?”

“I am Mizar, High Mage of Darad.”

About the Author:

I currently live in Arizona with my wife, Vaneza. After years of writing for several different entertainment-related blogs, I have found new life and vitality by writing fictional stories about young teens and preteens that are entertaining for ALL ages.

For me, it’s all about the characters. I love creating characters that jump off the page, that feel like real people no matter how old the reader is. Because without great characters, you really don’t have a great story, do you?

Find the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSVGV86

 

Visit Patrick’s website: http://patrickhodgesauthor.com/

Find Patrick on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patrickhodgesauthor/

Tweet at him: https://twitter.com/Shrykespeare
 

 

The_Immorality_Clause-eBook_Cover

Book Review: The Immorality Clause by Brian Parker

Today for Book Review Wednesday, I’ve got something very different: a sort of sci-fi-esque murder mystery novel featuring pleasure bots/sex droids. Definitely not my usual cup of tea, but a book I’d HIGHLY recommend!

The Immorality Clause

Easytown’s robotic pleasure clubs are a serial killer’s playground.

The futuristic slum in eastern New Orleans is a violent place where any vice can be satisfied—for a price. As long as the taxes are paid and tourists continue to flock to the city, businesses are allowed to operate as they see fit. Easytown has given rise to the robotic sex trade; where the robots are nearly human and always better than the real thing.

Audio cover tIC

Homicide detective, Zach Forrest, has never trusted the machines. When a string of grisly murders rocks the city, he must hunt down the killer responsible. With no witnesses, and no evidence, Forrest must embark on an investigation that will challenge the very scope reality. In Easytown, only the sex is easy.  Will Forrest find the killer before he becomes the next victim?

My Review: 5 Stars

Let’s be clear: I’m NOT a murder mystery reader. I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was one heck of a great read.

The main character (hard-boiled detective) is as expected, with nothing too special to make him stand out from every other murder mystery detective. The supporting characters are equally expected: from the love interest to the colorful suspect to the gruff chief. But that didn’t make the story any less enjoyable. In fact, they gave it that comfortable, “familiar” feel that makes murder mysteries so great to read.

It was the construction of the story overall that I find so great. There was no lag, no dull moments, nothing where I felt the story had stalled and was just trying to “buy time”. The pace was steady and engaging, with plot twists and turns that were interesting. I won’t say I had any “OMG!” moments in the story, but there was enough to keep me turning the pages to find out whodunit.

The world was rich and colorful, with that futuristic flavor layered in just enough to be interesting and unique without stretching believability. All in all, a well-crafted novel that I enjoyed immensely.

Here’s a Taste:

I held up my hands. “Wait a minute, you mean to tell me these sex bots can sweat?”

Pleasure droids, Detective. And yes, they would seem quite unnatural in the sauna if the client is pouring out sweat and they aren’t. They also excrete sweat during high intensity intercourse.”

“Huh. These things really are state of the art tech.”

“Yes, they are. Industry rumor has it that they’re also developing companion droids, not just pleasure droids. Future droids will think, act and respond as a human would.”

“Seems like we’re playing God.” Shit. I let the statement that I’d repressed that night at the Diva loose. I didn’t want to offend Paxton; the robots seemed to be one of her passions.

“I don’t know about that. Is it playing God when doctors have extended our average lifespan to ninety-three? Have you seen the elderly, Zach? Most of them sit around, do crosswords and soil themselves. Their bodies have given up on them, but science is keeping them alive—if you can call it that. There are the occasional exceptions, but for the most part, it’s a pretty bleak prospect.”

“In Easytown, the average life expectancy is only forty-two,” I deadpanned. She didn’t bite, so I continued, “Ah, I’m just kidding. I guess you could be right.”

“This next generation of droid will be a companion for those who can’t find someone to fit into their lives and don’t want to end up alone, known as the crazy cat lady.”

My perception of the companion droid fell flat. I was thinking of fat, ugly, lonely men buying a wife so they could get their rocks off at the house, but Paxton was talking from personal experience, from a place of loneliness and despair. She’d alluded to it a few times, her schedule and the type of job she worked scared men away. She was worried about becoming that ‘crazy cat lady.’ A companion droid could help satisfy her needs as well as help with all sorts of things. Hell, Andi could be considered a companion, I guess.

“Paxton, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say anything derogatory about the droids.”

She looked up; redness surrounded the whites of her eyes. “It’s okay. I understand. You don’t know the droids like I do. If you added in an emotional capability, or at least the ability to fake it, and any of our CS98s could be that companion model. They’re so lifelike, and I know that everything they say comes from a massive database in their chests, but they do learn. I consider them my friends since my human friends abandoned me.”

About the Author:

A veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Brian Parker was born and raised as an Army brat. He’s currently an Active Duty Army soldier who enjoys spending time with his family in Texas, hiking, obstacle course racing, writing and Texas Longhorns football. He’s an unashamed Star Wars fan, but prefers to disregard the entire Episode I and II debacle.

Brian is both a traditionally- and self-published author with an ever-growing collection of works across multiple genres, including sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, horror, paranormal thriller, military fiction, self-publishing how-to and even a children’s picture book–Zombie in the Basement, which he wrote to help children overcome the perceived stigma of being different from others.

He is also the founder of Muddy Boots Press, an independent publishing company that focuses on quality genre fiction over mass-produced books.

Find the book on Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/B01HWOH1VC

Connect with Brian on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BrianParkerAuthor

Visit the Muddy Boots Press Website: www.MuddyBootsPress.com

 

Bucelarii 3 Small

Book Review: Gateway to the Past by Andy Peloquin

As is my tradition, this Book Review Wednesday will take a look at some of the reviews of my latest novel, Gateway to the Past. I’m obviously biased about, so I’m citing reviews posted by independent reviewers on Amazon and Goodreads. Thankfully, it seems people are enjoying reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

The Last Bucelarii (Book 3): Gateway to the Past

Bucelarii 3 SmallThe Hunter, legendary assassin of Voramis, has a purpose: protect Hailen, the boy he rescued from a demon in Malandria.

He joins a caravan in the hope of safe passage across the Advanat Desert. Yet he cannot outrun his enemies: the Illusionist Cleric on a holy mission to capture him, the bloodthirsty raiders out for blood and gold, and the Abiarazi, demons who masquerade as humans.

Every step north reveals who he was before becoming the Hunter, unlocking the truth about the woman who haunts his memories.

Reviews:

Amazon:

The Hunter is not your typical hero but something even better, someone we can relate to. He has gone through something and wants to reclaim his past. He wants to be better than he is presently and is starting to realize the damage to himself that the killing has done. And Hailen is the perfect light to all the darkness that Hunter has found himself. It just breaks your heart when he has to kill, even if it is for the right reason. – JBronder Book Reviews

The hunter in this book is becoming more and more human . He still has his half demon side that wants the blood of the evil . But the human side of him is starting to get his memories back and wants to find out what he was before becoming the Bucelarii . As he remembers the memories , you want to hug him and tell him that things will be ok. You also feel him start to think about his actions and how they work. He is growing and becoming more then just the killing machine he was in book one and two. – Patricia Statham

Goodreads:

This new volume of the adventures of the Hunter of Voramis is as action-packed as anything I’ve read. There is not a dull moment as the Hunter races against time to save the child who has come to mean so much to him. As the demon and the human battle for supremacy in his nature, his ultimate redemption is foreshadowed in his love, although he does not yet recognise it as this, for the child – yet, the child himself has undergone a strange transformation. Younger readers may take this series as a chain of swashbuckling adventures, yet to me it is a dark and dreamy voyage of self-actualisation, centring around the Hunter’s quest to redeem himself and stand in the light. Seen in either light, though, it is unputdownable. – Tabitha Ormiston Smith

Here’s a Taste:

The Hunter peered out from behind the silent wagon. Good. No sign of Kellen or Graden. He’d have to keep an ear out for the caravan guards, but he should have plenty of time. The patrol had a lot of ground to cover.

Grunting, he shifted the heavy load on his shoulder and darted out from the row of shelters, hurrying toward the outcropping of boulders he’d chosen specifically for his task. He ducked behind the boulders and hurled his burden to the ground. A grunt and muffled cry came from the bundle, and something squirmed within.

He’s coming to. Good timing.

The Hunter pulled back the canvas, and moonlight shone on Rill’s pale, sweat-soaked face and wide eyes. Blood oozed from a wound on the bald man’s temple. The Hunter hadn’t bothered to be gentle.

“W-What?” Rill’s eyes darted around, and his gaze fell on the Hunter. “What is this?”

The Hunter struck the man hard. “Justice.”

Rill made to cry out, but the Hunter stuffed canvas into his mouth. “Ironic, isn’t it?” His fingers twitched a corner of the thick cloth. “You spend every waking hour stitching up canvas. Fitting that it will serve as your funeral shroud. There was more than enough of it around your area to wrap you up.”

The bald man’s eyes widened, and he mumbled something through the mouthful of fabric.

The Hunter shook his head. “Better you don’t speak. Nothing you say can change what’s coming. Best you die with a bit of dignity. Watcher knows you had little enough while you lived.”

Soulhunger, sensing blood, pounded louder in his mind, and the demon added its eager demands.

“I never understood men like you, knocking around your women.” He squatted on his haunches. “Just doesn’t make sense.”

Rill tried in vain to shout through his gag.

The Hunter narrowed his eyes. “Did you know there is a special hell reserved for your kind? Those who take advantage of the helpless.”

He slipped Soulhunger from its sheath, and held the glinting blade before Rill’s eyes. “You may tell yourself she belongs to you, you can do whatever you want.” He leaned forward, and his voice dropped to a low growl. “Just because you can, that doesn’t mean you should.”

Rill’s eyebrows shot up, and his expression turned pleading.

The Hunter shook his head. “Save your excuses for the Long Keeper. You’ll be with him soon enough.”

With a vicious smile, he drove Soulhunger through the canvas and into the man’s chest. The gag muffled Rill’s scream, but the dagger’s shriek echoed in his head with mind-numbing force. Soulhunger’s gem flared, red light bright in the darkness. The Hunter grunted as a finger of fire etched a line in his chest. Power coursed through him, setting his muscles twitching, flooding him with life, and pushing back the voices in his mind.

Slowly, the brilliance leaking from the gemstone faded to nothing, and Rill’s screams of agony and terror fell silent. The Hunter basked in the stillness of the night. A soothing breeze washed over him, the chill soothing the burning of his new scar. Glorious silence echoed in his head. The voices had been sated. He had peace, for a time.

He straightened and stared down at the bundled corpse. Perhaps the Long Keeper will have mercy on you.

An image flashed through his mind: a pitiful figure huddled at the entrance to Rill’s tent, covered in filthy rags and reeking of blood and coitus. Rill’s desire to punish Gwen had made it easier for the Hunter to slip in, knock the fat bastard out, wrap him in his own canvas, and slip out unnoticed. The man’s absence wouldn’t be discovered until morning. Few would care.

He took a deep breath, relishing the cool scents of the desert at night. He would wait a few minutes until he was certain Graden and Kellen had passed, then he would dispose of the body, bury the canvas, and slip back into camp. Without the voices shrieking and pleading in his mind, he might even be able to catch a few hours of undisturbed sleep before the morning breakfast bell.

Tonight would be a good night.

 

Find the book on Amazon…

An_Emperor_for_the_Eclipse_Cover_614x960

Book Review: Emperor for an Eclipse by Eris Adderly

Today I’m bringing you something a tad different than my usual fare—a fantasy book that’s a bit saucier and dirtier than I’m used to reading. The author is a romance writer branching out into fantasy, and overall she NAILED it with this book.

Emperor for an Eclipse

He was expendable. He was a sacrifice. He was the emperor.

An_Emperor_for_the_Eclipse_Cover_614x960Raothan Ga’ardahn wants to take his own life. Twelve years in exile have a way of beating a man down, and the shameful secrets of his past, no matter how far buried, weigh enough to keep him that way. The last thing standing between him and oblivion is a sign from the gods. That, and a unit of Imperial Guard trooping onto his farm one late summer’s afternoon.

Across the continent, the Taunai heed the warnings of their dead: act to correct an unforeseen fracture in the Pattern of events, or face annihilation. Niquel, their bravest Questioner, accepts the challenge to descend into the dangerous lowlander capital for the good of her people. A journey alone away from her snowy mountain home awaits. Any worry about the strange man in her dreams will have to come later.

When the paths of the two outsiders cross on the steps of the imperial palace at Protreo, the fate of the empire shifts. One the Novamneans call ‘exile’, the other they call ‘witch’. Neither will ever be the same.

My Review: 5 Stars

I found this to be a HIGHLY engaging read, one of the best fantasy novels I’ve read this year.

Make no mistake: I’m not real big on sex/erotica in novels, and this had it in spades. Perhaps a tad too much  focus on the sex and all for my tastes, without as much focus on the story.

But the world is bright, colorful, engaging, and well-described, with vivid details that make it an absolutely enthralling read. The backstories are interesting, and I was so disappointed that I didn’t get to find out more about the antagonists and protagonists. Thankfully, there will be two more books for me to get more details on what’s going on.

If you like fantasy and erotica, this is a book you’ll definitely enjoy!

Here’s a Taste:

Raothan bent back to his task, using the repetitive motions to smother away nagging thoughts and urges. Before long, he was in that still place with only his breathing and the sensations of the moment: the sun on his back, rind and stalk moving under his hands, the scent of warm earth in his nostrils, hoofbeats …

Hoofbeats?

He cocked his head, focusing his attention on the muted thudding. His farm was, if not remote, at least a short ride form the main road. There would be no one with occasion to lead a horse out this way, and damn sure not more than one. Still, his ears didn’t lie. He stood and turned in the direction of the sound.

A sprig of something dark bounced over the rise, growing as it came. Raothan knew that silhouette. The years would not let him forget. A spear point, aimed at the sky from horseback. Another black point joined the first, and then another. A rider’s helm, the pointed ears of a mount. Two, three, ten …?

J’rt Thi’s fucking blood, what’s this now?

He tucked the harvest knife into his belt and dusted his palms together, knocking away the worst of the dirt. The approaching riders—some sort of guard unit, if his impressions served him—came on at a walk: casual, confident, not even bothering to press their mounts into a trot.

They were cutting a straight path in his direction, and his steps took him back to the near edge of the field where it abutted the yard surrounding his house. What was there to do but meet them and learn their business?

Probably some fool new decree being enacted. A tax levy, I’ll wager.

The riders jangled up, bits of tack glinting under the noon light, two columns of five splitting apart and fanning out into a semi-circle before him. An eleventh man, who’d ridden in at their head, stepped his horse forward. Raothan crossed his arms over his chest.

“Look at this one,” he heard one of the riders mutter to a neighbor, “head shaved like he thinks he’s some kind of warrior.”

“The general would shit a sword,” the other agreed on the low assessment of this foreigner standing before them.

The leader swept a hand to the side for silence.

“Are you Ga’ardahn?” he said.

Raothan suspected the man already knew the answer to his own question. How many other Elvigra kissmelon farmers could there be out here?

He laid a finger alongside his nose and then angled it at the man, acknowledging the accuracy of his guess. “It seems I am.”

His eyes skimmed the line of what he now was sure were Imperial Guard. The Emperor’s sigil—a pair of crossed swords beneath a crescent moon—fluttered on blue pennants strung around the shoulders of every horse. Raothan noted the bulk of muscle distributed among the riders, the sharp eyes and taut grips. There were seven men and three women. None of them looked as though they had seen lives of ease. They were not here for a tax levy.

The leader nodded once at Raothan’s confirmation and tugged a folded leaf of parchment from a saddle pocket. He opened it and began to read, his voice carrying and formal.

“Raothan Ga’ardahn, you are hereby summoned to the Imperial Palace at Protreo Novamne Solarius by the order of His Excellency, First Councilor Ptyverias Firsoni. You are to meet with the First Councilor to discuss your forthcoming duty to the Empire. Accommodations will be provided at the pleasure of His Excellency.”

The man looked up from the parchment at him. “Do you come to the palace of your own will, Ga’ardahn, or do we drag you behind one of our horses?”

Raothan stood there, assessing, holding the leader’s dark-eyed gaze. The fact that he felt the need to ask if Raothan would be willing did not bode well at all. He narrowed his eyes.

“Let me see the summons,” he said, taking a step forward and putting out his hand. The leader sneered.

“Can you even read, ‘vigra?”

He kept his hand out and moved to stand beside the horse. Something twinkled in the man’s eye, and he handed the parchment down, amused. The leader shrugged and quirked a smile at his unit, as if to say, “This ought to be entertaining.”

Raothan read the content of the summons with no trouble, backing away several steps as he did. It was all there, just as the man had read it. What it meant was anyone’s guess.

Being an exile wasn’t a crime in Novamne, nor was being an immigrant, rare though the Elvigra were on this side of the mountains. And his “forthcoming duty to the Empire”? He shook his head. Even if they knew what he was …

No. It doesn’t matter what they want, or what they know. No more cities. No more empires.

“And whom do I have the pleasure of addressing, Guardsman?” Raothan met the man with a smile now. He straightened in his saddle and looked down a blunt nose.

“I am Ogdavian, of his Imperial Majesty’s Palace Guard. You may refer to me as ‘Captain’ ”

Raothan’s grin widened.

“Well, Ogdy,” he drawled, lifting the parchment, “you can tell ‘His Excellency First Councilor Firsoni’ ”—here he spat noisily onto the summons—“that he is hereby summoned to bend his prick around backwards and go fuck himself.” At this, he crumpled the parchment into a wad and with a decisive popping gesture of his fingers sent it rolling onto the dirt.

There were noises from several of the guard: a few growls, a chuckle or two, and Ogdavian’s face had gone tight. Raothan gave him a mock salute, turned on his heel, and strolled away, moving back inside his house.

“Somehow I expected no less,” he heard the captain say to his back. Then, to his guard unit: “Take him.”

About the Author:

Eris writes subversive romance for people who hate romance novels. Her award winning stories are the stomping grounds for bada** heroines, untamable alphas, a spectrum of sexuality and a serious disregard for convention. Much like her namesake, Eris likes to make trouble. When she’s not staying up into wee hours writing, Eris also likes to read, baby-talk her cats, exasperate her husband, and obsess about writing some more. Somewhere in the middle, there will be pizza.

Find the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Emperor-Eclipse-After-Exile-English-ebook/dp/B06WRPXT3V 

Read Eris’ thoughts on her website: http://erisadderly.com

Connect on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/erisadderly

Tweet at her: https://twitter.com/erisadderly

 

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Interview with M.L. Spencer

I had a chance to sit down with the awesome M.L. Spencer and talk a bit about her past, her writing, and everything that makes her an absolutely unique (and quirky) author.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi, my name is M.L. Spencer. I grew up in an orange grove in San Bernardino, CA. That orange grove was my first fantasy world. I mapped it, built cities, towns, rivers, waged wars, fortified castles, installed conflicting political systems and differing religious ideologies. It was my first foray into fantasy world building!

And then a bulldozer took it all away to build a freeway.

So I built another world, this time on paper. Decades later, I’m still building worlds; it’s what I do. The only difference is now, it’s usually me who destroys them.

What were you like at school?

I was that person who could speak Elvish, recite every line from Star Wars, and of course no one wanted to sit next to in class. You know the kid I’m talking about.

Were you good at English?

Yup. But I failed typing class because my teacher thought I’d plagiarized a novel blub we were supposed to write and then type. He didn’t believe I wrote it on my own!

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Which writers inspire you?

My favorite authors are Robert Jordan, Frank Herbert, and Stephen King.

So, what have you written?

Right now I’m writing a series called The Rhenwars Saga. The first two books are available on Amazon, Darkstorm and Darkmage. Darkmage won the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award for fantasy.

Where can we buy or see them?

https://www.amazon.com/Darkstorm-Rhenwars-Saga-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MT77SK9

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01MT77SK9 https://www.amazon.com.au/Darkstorm-Rhenwars-Saga-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MT77SK9

What are you working on at the minute?

Right now I’m working on Book Four of The Rhenwars Saga

What genre are your books?

Dark Epic Fantasy

What draws you to this genre?

I like high stakes, turbulent plots, dark heroes, and complex villains.  I also like gritty realism as much as possible.

Why do you write?

I write to bring my characters to life. They exist as real people in my head. They must be freed!

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I had a great idea!  And a great idea is a terrible thing to waste!

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I work full time and write full time. It’s basically a second job. I think I may even spend more time at my “writing job”!

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?

I am absolutely obsessive about writing. I’d write every second of every day if I could. As it is I have to come up for air and clean a dish or cook a meal occasionally. It’s hard, though!

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

When I am on a roll, my mantra is, “A chapter a day keeps writer’s block away!”  For me, that’s about 5,000 words a day.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I outline extensively before I ever set pen to paper. I will usually have one plot tangle or two that’s not worked out ahead of time, leaving it up to my muse to bridge those gaps as I go. Sometime this results in writer’s block, but that’s rare. Usually the solution to a problem will strike like lightning at the most unexpected moment—or in my sleep!

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

The last novel I finished, Book Three of The Rhenwars Saga, was the hardest. It was difficult because I was putting together a lot of characters who had never been together before in the same scenes. There was also a ton of character growth and changes in plot direction—all in a land with no sunlight, which I had to world-build from the ground up. That took every scrap of my biology knowledge! Nothing came easy with that book. Nothing!  It was a struggle every step of the way. But it was worth it —I’m very happy to say that I think it’s my best writing so far!

What is the easiest thing about writing?

Dialogue. I can write dialogue in my sleep. Except for Quin; his dialogue takes me forever to come up with. He’s usually very formal, sardonic, self-deprecating, and insightful—all at the same time!

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

It depends on how busy I am with life. Usually six months. Although the original 230K word-manuscript of Darkmage was written in a whirlwind 40 days!

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Yes. I can plot myself into a corner with the best of them!  Then I usually have to mope around banging my head on the wall until the lightning strike provides clarity.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Read other novels. Listen to music. Research. Seek inspiration in poetry and works of art.

If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?

The Rhenwars Saga is a tale about the conflict between two opposing philosophies of magic and the moral imperatives that drive them. It’s basically about two conflicting moral ideologies.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I hate writing stand-alone novels; I get too attached to my characters and my ideas are usually ginormous. Short stories? Forget it! For me, it’s go big or go home!

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

A little of both. I have an excellent content editor who keeps me humble. I am usually my own copy editor, although I did employ one for Darkstorm.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

I try to. I usually fail at this. I can’t stay away from a fresh manuscript!

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.

My covers were done by Claudia McKinney and Teresa Yeh at phatpuppyart.com. My 16-year-old daughter and I selected the models for the covers from looking over pics at a modeling agency—what a great time that was! In all fairness, we picked both models because of the personalities they projected, which was far more important to us than their looks.

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How are you publishing this book and why?

Indie!
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

The main advantage to publishing Indie is that I retain my rights. I don’t have to worry about my publisher going out of business and having my rights tied up in litigation for years, a nightmare scenario I’ve heard too much about lately.

What is your favourite book and why?

Right now my favorite book is Patrick Rothfuss’s A Wise Man’s Fear. His lyrical prose his breathtaking.

What is your favourite quote?

Nietzsche: “If you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you.”

What is your favourite film and why?

Avatar. Because it’s so unbelievably cool!  An entire world that is its own goddess formed out of an interconnected network that functions like fungal mycelium!  Incredible! And I just love the whole “stranger in a strange land” motif.  It’s always been a favorite of mine.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t. Give. Up. Ever.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Usually poetry or literature. Darkmage is inspired by Nietzsche and Machiavelli’s The Prince. Darkstorm was inspired by the poem “Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I play MMORPG games, teach biology and raise three children.

What does your family think of your writing?

They think it’s pretty cool unless I don’t come out of the room for five days straight. They usually start missing me when the dishes stack up.

 

Have you ever gotten into a bar fight?  Came really close. Almost got my boyfriend clobbered by a one-armed biker!

Do you drink? Smoke? Gave all that up. Now my main vice is coffe.

What is your biggest fear? That I will lose my memory when I age.

What do you want your tombstone to say? She wrote.

What secret talents do you have?

I am pretty good at music composition. One piece I had a big hand in creating had over 25 million likes on YouTube, last time I checked.

Do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?

When I was a kid, I used to have a recurring dream of a ghost train that whooshed out of my bedroom closet, chugged down the stairs, and then sped off into the night across the orange groves.  Too much Stephen King for me!

Within Stranger Aeons FRONT

Book Review: Within Stranger Aeons: Lovecraft’s Mythos in the 21st Century

For today’s Book Review Wednesday, I have something a bit different: an anthology of tales of a very Lovecraftian nature. For those who enjoy proper horror, it’s a collection definitely worth reading!

Within Stranger Aeons

There are dimensions beyond that which is known to man. They are realms as vast as space and older than time itself. In these realms are beings beyond light and shadow, beyond good and evil, and there lie harbingers of the end of the human age.

The stars are right.

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This is the epoch of terror & devastation. It is an age which is…Within Stranger Aeons.

Featuring stories and poems by: Michael Fisher, H.P. Lovecraft, Andew Bell, Mord McGhee, Juan J. Gutierrez, Owen Barrass, Kevin Candela, William Henry Tucker, Roy C. Booth, Ashley Dioses, Andrew J. Lucas, Essel Pratt, G. Zimmerman, Brian Barr, Mark Woods, Justin Hunter, Amanda M. Lyons, Dona Fox, Charie D. La Marr

My Review: 4 Stars

More than just short stories–a glimpse into a world where the horrors you dare not think of could very well come true!

As with any collection of short stories, there are some that hit the mark and some that fall short. A few of these are merely interesting tales, while others will send a shiver to the very marrow of your bones.

The first offering, composed by H.P. Lovecraft himself, sets the tone for the book. The brooding Chthonic feel of these stories will have you quaking in your shoes and turning the lights up just a bit brighter. You will never look at rock concerts, empty bathtubs, icy ponds, or the Everglades the same way again. If the authors of these shorts have their way, you will never sleep again…

 

Find it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01G0RD7A6/

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Duel to the Death: Sebastian

I, Andy Peloquin, challenge you, Jessica Wren-Wilson, 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!

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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 blue corner, we have Sebastian, the carrier of Kenos.

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Tale of the Tape:

  • Normal mortal male, but exceptionally strong.
  • Inability to feel pain or fear.
  • Has used water as a means of mass killing before!
  • Not especially adept at weaponry, but can easily disarm any opponent unless he/she has a firearm.
  • Most importantly, he is a carrier of a Kenos (an anti-Essence that can drain any protective Essence). In other words, he may be able to slow down the Hunter’s ability to self-heal. Otherwise, he has no magical abilities.
  • Will kill just because he feels like it. Utter lack of empathy at all.

Two enter the ring, only one can leave alive!

How would Sebastian kill the Hunter? Sebastian will kill Hunter because if Hunter is up to the challenge, the fight will take place on a boat. Sebastian will handcuff a weight to Hunter and throw him overboard–unless Hunter kills him first!

To kill (your character): 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’s soul-stealing dagger may find it less-than effective against Sebastian: years of being a Kenos carrier has left very little of his soul remaining. However, if he gets hit in a vital organ he will die like any other mortal. The Hunter’s speed and skill makes him a worthy foe.

However, the fact that the fight is taking place on open water (Sebastian’s element) could work against the Hunter. If Sebastian is fast enough to snap the handcuff in place on the Hunter’s wrist, he stands a chance of survival.

Probable Winner: The Hunter of Voramis. Sebastian has only one way to kill the Hunter, while the Hunter has many options (dagger, sword, snapped neck, strangling, etc.). His superior speed, reflexes, and training make him the victor–unless luck is on Sebastian’s side.

Want to find out more about this carrier of Enos who would dare challenge the legendary assassin of Voramis to the death? Click here to read about Sebastian in ICE

 

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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Book Review: Sun God’s Heir: Return

I know Book Review day is technically supposed to be Wednesday, but I’m the boss of this blog and NO ONE tells me what to do! Heh, actually, I’m participating in a Blog Tour, so I’m pretty much being told that I need to post this today.

For today’s Book Review, I’ve got a double treat: both a book review and a guest post. We’ll start off with the review:

The Sun God’s Heir: Return, Book 1

For three thousand years a hatred burns. In seventeenth century France two souls incarnate, one born the child of a prosperous merchant, the other, determined to continue an incarnation begun long ago.

In ancient Egypt, there were two brothers, disciples of the pharaoh, Akhenaten. When the pharaoh died, the physician took the knowledge given and went to Greece to begin the mystery school. The general made a deal with the priests and became pharaoh. One remembers, one does not.

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The year is 1671. René Gilbert’s destiny glints from the blade of a slashing rapier. The only way he can protect those he loves is to regain the power and knowledge of an ancient lifetime. From Bordeaux to Spain to Morocco, René is tested and with each turn of fate he gathers enemies and allies, slowly reclaiming the knowledge and power earned centuries ago. For three thousand years a secret sect has waited in Morocco.

After ages in darkness, Horemheb screams, “I am.” Using every dark art, he manages to maintain the life of the body he has bartered for. Only one life force in the world is powerful enough to allow him to remain within embodiment, perhaps forever. Determined to continue a reign of terror that once made the Nile run red, he grows stronger with each life taken.

My Review: 4 Stars

I’m not a huge historical fiction fan, but I’d have to say I enjoyed this book a lot. I almost felt like I was reading The Count of Monte Cristo, but with reincarnation and “soul mates” instead of vengeance.

First off, the characters are well-developed, with interesting personalities that are realistic and easy to identify with. They felt a bit too “optimistic” and “heroic” for the modern world we live in, but what’s life without escapism? The story held my interest all the way through to the end. The descriptions of everything—setting, background, clothing, sword fights, etc.—were excellent and drew me in. The character of the Maestro (protagonist’s teacher) was particularly interesting.

On the downside, the story is a bit slower than I expected. There are action scenes, but I never felt any heart-pounding terror or the overwhelming emotion at important deaths. The dialogue was a bit too formal, which slowed down the pace of the interactions. I felt the climax was a bit underwhelming considering all the build-up.

But, despite a couple of flaws, the book was overall EXCELLENT. If you like the classics (Three Musketeers, Count of Monte Cristo, etc.), you’ll enjoy this one for sure!

The post below was written by the author (Elliot B. Baker), and I found it a fascinating read!

Invisible Friends

In Quantum Theory, when two electrons ‘know’ each other, they are forever linked. (Remember, I’m just a story teller, not a scientist or mathematician, so the theories I use here are only the vaguest echoes of fact. Of course, in a quantum world, fact is a moving target.)

Back to my electrons. Let’s name them Fred and Ethel. Fred and Ethel met before the big bang. The youth hostel they were staying in was crowded, to say the least. Fred and Ethel had a brief fling and then were flung to the ends of the universe. End of the relationship? Not according to quantum theory.

Love/communication is not determined or diminished by either time or space. (If time or space is real, but we’ll push that to another exploration.) An electron guided experimentally will cause another electron previously paired with it to move in exactly the same way at exactly the same time, distance notwithstanding. So if Fred turns into a diner on Earth, Ethel, who happens to be on Planet 123 in the Andromeda Galaxy, is aware of Fred’s turn and if she’s hungry, makes the exact same turn.

Note: The “hungry” part is my original idea. Any real scientists, if they’ve been able to read this far without popping an antacid, have consciously or subconsciously said, “What!” I’ll come back to this, but let’s move on to romance.

If quantum theory is correct, we ‘know’ each other.  Have known, and will know. I asked my wife Sally Ann to marry me two days after we met. (Sally reminds me that we’d only spent about six hours together.) She said yes, and we have been happily married almost forty years. What? How could you have done that? My standard answer is that I recognized her. What does that mean? As a young man, I wasn’t particularly looking to get married or settle down. I was doing ok. Had a good job, friends, etc. but in a moment, I looked at her and knew that we had been together before. More than one lifetime, and that she would help me and I her to accomplish whatever we were here to do or learn. I acted, and have ever thereafter been glad I did. Ok, enough Cinderella already.

As I related in another post, I don’t spend time worrying about whether reincarnation is true or not. Like any theory that cannot be experimentally proven, as long as the theory provides benefit, as long as it is useful, I employ it. At the beginning of my mental and emotional exploration of this lifetime, (I must have been around nine or ten) I saw an unacceptable inequality. Why could I run and play and another be imprisoned in a wheelchair? What must that individual have done to deserve that? The child was my age and even though I was a creative youngster (I could create trouble with the best of them, as my folks would have agreed), I couldn’t think of anything I could have done that was so heinous as to remove the use of my legs for life.

So I dusted off my “why” (a favorite word for a number of years), and accosted everyone I thought might shed some light. No light was forthcoming. “God’s will,” was the closest I came to anyone’s even being remotely confident of their answer.

I translated that into “you’re not old enough, smart enough, good enough, to know.” Nah, that never worked for me. I was ok with the concept that adults knew more than I, but I didn’t see the world as evil. Still don’t.  That just meant that the adults didn’t know either and that was scary, but still ok. Like most, I pushed the unsolvable problem into the back of my mind until I came into contact with the concept of reincarnation. I must have been about twelve or thirteen. My conceptualization of the physical representation of the questions and answers of the world was kind of like the mail slots behind the desk in an old hotel. Without reincarnation, I ran out of slots. With reincarnation, all of a sudden the mail slots stretched on to infinity.

If we had as many mulligans (do overs) as we wanted, then I could buy, not punishment, but creative teaching opportunities. Of course at twelve, I didn’t see it in that way, but at least the gig wasn’t arbitrary. That I could live with.

Let’s get back to energy. Patience, romance is not done yet. So the universe loves balance, and energy is neither created nor destroyed. It also doesn’t have a problem finding the address of energies both negative and positive to find that balance. Remember, we’re not worrying about time or space. Electrons like company, and they like to dance. As aggregates of electrons and other stuff, so do we. At least the company part. The dancing waits for weddings and the occasional concert. So it seems to me that we may have begun with a group of close friends. Electrons with some kind of glamour that attracted us more than others. Which is not to say that we’re not in contact with all of the others. It’s just that it’s more fun for the purposes of physicality and non-physicality to hang with a smaller group.

How about soul mates. Is there within that group one electron that is closer in its sensibilities to each than any other? I’m just speculating here, but since in this physical world there seems to be more or less two sexes, and given the balance I think the universe is always striving for, it makes sense to me that there is a perfect complement for each of us. Perfect, however, where life is concerned, does not mean final, finished, unchanging. Life is growth, change and I include rocks in my definition of life. Slow doesn’t mean stop.

So in the story I spin for myself, we’re part of a group of folks working, learning, evolving from lifetime to lifetime. Some from within incarnation, some from without, always linked. Even the bad guys in our story may be friends in another, only agreeing in this one to create opportunities for us to experience some particular pain and grow.  Matter is informed energy. That information doesn’t dissipate just because the vehicle gets old and is retired. Entertain the concept that coherent information doesn’t need form at all. Wow, invisible friends. How cool.

In The Sun God’s Heir: Return (Book One), René Gilbert falls in love with one woman only to find he has fallen in love with another. René is an honorable young 17th century Frenchman and will not betray his first love. He cannot understand how it’s possible to love two women with the same depth of feeling and although he refuses to act on his feelings, the conflict continues. Until it doesn’t. What, did you think I was going to tell you how it turns out. J Nah, you have to read it to find that out.

In The Sun God’s Heir: Return, René becomes aware that he has lived before. There are moments where he inhabits previous incarnations for a short space of time deepening his awareness. His greatest pain comes from his failure to protect those he loves. The Sun God’s Heir: Return is a swashbuckling adventure through a brutal period of time, but it is also a journey of awareness, and growth, powered by love,  always requires pain.

About the Author:

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Award winning novelist and international playwright Elliott B. Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida but has spent the last thirty-five years or so living in sunny New Hampshire. With four musicals and one play published and produced throughout the United States, in New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to offer his first novel, Return, book one of The Sun God’s Heir trilogy. Among his many work experiences, Elliott was a practicing hypnotherapist for seven years. A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his wife Sally Ann.

Find his book on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ivhu4z

Read his thoughts on his Website: http://elliottbaker.com

Connect with him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElliottBakerAuthor/

Tweet at him: https://twitter.com/ElliottBaker?lang=en

 

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Duel to the Death: Ethan Jacobs

And we’re back with yet ANOTHER duel to the death! This time, it’s with my favorite author from Down Under…

I, Andy Peloquin, challenge you, Michelle Irwin, 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!

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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 blue corner, standing a little over 6′, we have Ethan Jacobs, eldest brother of the Rain’s elite Jacobs clan.

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Tale of the Tape:

  • Serves the Rain, an organization with one primary objective: to rid the world of all non-humans
  • Human strength and speed
  • Has a preternatural ability for tracking
  • Can be ruthless where his family is threatened
  • Trained in defending himself and others against supernatural threats, using all manner of weaponry and whatever he has at hand.
  • His favorite weapon is his revolver; he regards only having his revolver as being “unarmed”, but is just as comfortable with any other weapon, including a katana, iron bar, sword, cross-bow, or flare gun.
  • He’s known for his quick thinking and ability to get the job done.
  • With the lore books and research provided by the backing of the Rain, Eth rarely goes into battle unprepared.

Two enter the ring, only one can leave alive!

How would Ethan kill the Hunter? If Eth was going into the fight knowing the situation, he would have the research behind him to know the weaknesses of the type of creature he was dealing with (and if the weapon was a well-known legend, he would have attempted to research into the weapon the creature carried). His usual cache includes cast iron bullets to dispose of fae, so his gun would be loaded with those. In addition, his bag includes a number of other guns, athames imbibed with magic and protections of various runes, flare guns, rope, cross-bow, and other daggers/swords.

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

Who would win?

Without his brother and sister to guard his back, Ethan would use his ranged weapons first (with usually lethal accuracy). He is well versed in taking on creatures with speed and strength well above his own (e.g. wendigos, werewolves, harpies etc).

Ethan would assess the layout of the land and either lay traps or “herd” his prey into the most ideal geographical situation he could and use the environment against his enemy (e.g. toward a lake in an attempt to drown the Hunter) or find a way to use the strengths of the enemy to their own detriment. His goal would be to neutralize any possible threats to a successful hunt as quickly as possible.

But the Hunter is no mere monster to be taken down by a well-placed trap or clever plan. He is a force of nature, wielding Soulhunger to deadly effect. He would use Ethan’s confidence in his ability to turn the trap on him, using his superior speed, agility, and strength to defeat the human.

If Ethan could bring his iron-loaded gun to bear on the Hunter before the Hunter closed the distance, the bullets would bring the Hunter down. But Soulhunger’s kiss would put an end to Ethan as surely as they defeat the demons of Einan.

Winner: It’s anyone’s guess. The Hunter may bring a knife to a gun fight, but he won’t be taken that easily.

Want to find out more about this hunter who would dare challenge the legendary assassin of Voramis to the death? Click here to read about Ethan Jacobs

 

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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