Tuesday Snippet: Unlicensed Sorceress – Chapter 11

unlicensed sorceress 2017Koenigstadt
Rooso Derne

The heavy footsteps raced up the stairs. Hilda crouched near the door with her knives out. She prepared to attack.

“We just made a big mistake,” Rooso said. The knife that had been concealed in his sleeve slid into his hand. Rooso opened a small leather bag with his other hand. For a spy he should have known he needed a second or third escape route.
He poured out a few objects that were held with defense spells. Hilda had been trained to fight with weapons. No wonder she forgot her greatest asset, her fire elemental.

Before he could use his objects, the door burst open and a canister rolled into the room in front of Hilda. Everything went into slow motion.

“Down,” yelled Rooso. He rolled to the side and tried to put up a shield around both of them. He wasn’t fast enough. He hoped it was a sleeping potion instead of poison. In his side vision, he saw Hilda hit the ground and cover her face with her arm.

The canister boomed and smoke swirled through the small room, covering them both. Even if Sassy could shield them, which he doubted, it was too late. Both of them were inside the smoke. He started to cough violently until he went into the dark.

He woke slowly with his head pounding. He rolled over and found himself still in his room. He coughed. Hilda was gone. They had cleaned the room so well that not even a hair on her head was there. It was almost like she hadn’t been there. When he looked under the bed, he found one small bead from her hair.

He had been a spy for a long time. But—

He dropped his head in his hands. The rot must was higher than he thought. He wanted to sleep, but he needed to think this through. Lord Barton was the only common thread. He had wanted the magical well under Hilda’s Inn.

Lord Barton had wanted that power for something. Why would the mages be involved with his bid for power? He was missing something. He groaned and tried not to vomit.
Sleeping potions made him sick and foggy. The mages wanted power. Would they support Lord Barton? He couldn’t imagine why the mages would want to support him. It had to be a smaller jealous faction that wanted to rule. To some of mages, power was everything.

Damn. Lord Barton wanted to be king and he had the support of some of the less connected mages. That had to be it. He felt fear. He was now involved with Mistress Mary Rose and her sister Hilda. Eventually one of those mages would take him out. He had to leave right now.

He packed his bag, hiked it over his shoulders, and left the room. At least one of his superiors had to be involved. He remembered how it felt to be bound and then thrown into the void by that mage in Delhaven.

Still Rooso was a spy. He needed to report to them. He might be able to get info out to a neutral party. Or he might die. At this point he didn’t care.

Rooso squared his shoulders and walked into the dark street. The landlord wouldn’t look for him. In this area of town disappearances of able young men was common. If someone tried to shanghai him, then they would be in a hell of a fight.

An owl hooted at him. He put his hand on the knife he’d strapped to his waist for easy access. Then he smiled. Even if they took Hilda’s weapon, she was still armed with her elemental. Her captors would be in for a hell of a surprise.

He wouldn’t worry. Still he would get a message to Mistress Mary Rose. She would want to know what was happening with her sister. He had a few contacts that could get a scroll to her without going through official channels.

The howl hooted again and he stopped. Stupid. Stupid. He had been lost in his thoughts and had walked straight into an ambush.

A group of men dressed in black clothing and hoods circled. One of them hooted and another man hooted back. Damn it. He had been caught like a green spy. He waited as one of the men patted him down and took his knife and his bag of tricks. He could see the white teeth as the man smiled at him.

The teeth were perfect. Rooso smiled back. “Hey Wulfe,” he said. “What are you doing here?”

One of the men put a pointy spear against his back.

Wulfe’s voice was gravely like two stones rubbing together, “Saving you from yourself.”

“Let’s go,” he said. The man behind him gave him another push. If the man pushed harder, the spear would pierce him.

Rooso didn’t resist. He kept his hands in the open and waited for his moment to escape. Wulfe, his brother, knew him too well. It wouldn’t be easy.

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Good weekend reading

I like to graze through the Amazon indie markets to find books and stories that I’d like to read. I found that the stories were more intense and less “manufactured” when written by someone who is actually trying write to an audience.

My problem with a lot of the traditional publishers is that I only have a few authors I like and the rest seem to write the same story over and over. I get bored. So here are a few books that you might like to try if you have the same attitude that I have for books.

510jb7s4ibl The Fae’s Amulet
J.F. Posthumus

Note: I read this one last week and actually contacted the author asking for a date for the next one in this sequel. I liked it so much. BTW the sequel is in edits.

It is a private investigator, mythical god, and fantasy mashup.

What would you do if you had the power to destroy the world…

In her younger years, Catherine Woulfe was known as the Lady of Death…but those days are long past. Now, at over 300 years old, she is older, wiser…and painfully dull. Instead of using her necromancy skills for things like killing people and taking over governments, she now works as a private investigator, helping people find their lost treasures.

But when a charismatic stranger walks through her door, searching for one of the most powerful artifacts ever created, she is drawn into a case where she must use all of her old powers—including several forbidden ones—if she is to find the missing amulet. When the last person to see the amulet goes missing, she realizes it’s time for the Lady of Death to summon her minions and go on the warpath.

Angels and demons are searching for the amulet, as is a mysterious dark elf about whom little is known. Everyone is stalking her, waiting for her to find it so they can grab it for their own; meanwhile, her client has awoken feelings long suppressed, which is proving to be…distracting. Can Catherine find the trail of the thief and recover the amulet before the thief uses it to summon a deity that will destroy the Earth? More importantly, if she gets it, will she give it back?

___________________________________

51lfbvacxqlHead Games (Division One Book 9)
Stephanie Osborne

This one is sci-fi. 

Two galaxies will go to war—if Fox can’t save Chairbeing Entiyti from assassins.

While Alpha One handles a Nazi zombie apocalypse, an assassin squad catches the Galactic Coalition President by surprise, leaving him at death’s door. Director Fox rushes to his old friend’s side, leaving Echo in charge of the Division.

But when the belligerent Persis Federation arrives from the Andromeda Galaxy, the Ennead orders Alpha One on the tricky first-contact mission, hoping to avert intergalactic war. Unfortunately, the Persan premier chooses Omega as his newest concubine, leaving Echo trapped between love and morality, and duty and orders.

On Earth, Ennead member Ordik Adita co-opts the Division directorship, revamping standard procedures, and enforcing his rule with an iron fist. A coup seems in progress.

The question is…how big is it?

_______________________________

51cu+-xyodlPercy Doyle’s Traveling Space Market
Cyn Bagley

Note: This is a collection of space opera stories that I wrote a few years ago. 

Percy Doyle and his rust bucket travel to far-flung planets and galaxies, dealing with the National Association of Plants (NAP) and his own family corporation run by Grandma Doyle. Percy’s vocation is black market goods. However, sometimes Grandma Doyle, the matriarch of the family corporation, sends Percy on family missions.

This collection of very short fiction follows Percy on his misadventures through space.

Tuesday Snippet: Unlicensed Sorceress – Chapter 10

unlicensed sorceress 2017Chapter Ten

Koenigstadt
Michael Ordson

The back of Michael’s neck prickled as he walked down the cobblestone paths, through the bushes, and to the living quarters that the Mage University had allotted them. He nodded to the guards who stood in front of the house and walked through the front door.

Davi and Kayla were a pretty picture in the living room. He stopped at the door to watch them. They sat a small love seat and held hands. He could tell that they were conversing silently. When Kayla smiled at him in a girlish simpering way, Michael went instantly on the alert.

He smiled back at her like an indulgent uncle. The sharpness in her dark brown eyes and the slight nod assured them that the two were playing for an audience. He extended his magical senses. The undine curled around his neck. She flicked her tongue as if to check the air for magic.

She must not have felt anything because she turned around and dove into his shirt. She wrapped herself around Michael’s waist and sunk into his sink. He said a quick spell under his breath to sharpen his hearing.

He heard a slow breath coming from the wall. He walked around the room as if he was admiring the pictures on the wall. There was a large mirror in a brass frame. The peephole must have been there because when he looked into the mirror the breathing stopped. The spy must have been holding his breath.

Micheal turned his back to the mirror and stared into the fireplace. Then he turned toward the pair. He nodded approvingly at the two of them. He hoped their little charade would fool the watcher.

“Have you been outside?”

Kayla’s voice was high and excited as she enthused about the color of the flowers, the greenery, and the little bower at the end of the house’s garden. She sounded so much like one of the aristocratic girls that Michael wanted to tune her out.

When Kayla finished her descriptions, Davi gave Kayla’s hand a squeeze and then asked Michael about the hunting around the area.

“I’d really enjoy the bow hunting,” he chattered on, taking his cue from Kayla and sounding like an aristocratic twit. Michael extended his smell. There was a slight whiff of cologne, coming from the mirror.

Michael was a little surprised that the used physical means to spy on them. A good mage could use magic on any object to act as listening ears and eyes. He did know how to fool the listening ears though. He was particularly good at it in school so he would have to check their bedrooms for peepholes.

When Davi took a breath, Michael asked, “Have you eaten yet?”

Davi admitted he was starving again. He was a dragon. They left the sitting room and went to the dining room table. They were also being watched by the servants because when they sat down a servant walked in with a tray of meats, cheeses, and bread and put it on the table in front of them.

Michael poured himself some ale that had been sitting on the sideboard. The undine crawled out of her resting place around his waist and before he could take a sip she put her tongue in it.

“Sleeping draught” the undine whispered. She neutralized the rest of the ale, and then he poured a small amount for Davi and Kalya.

Michael started to yawn widely after he drank his ale. He stretched his arms above his head and said, “I’m going to my room. I didn’t realize I was this tired.”

The two young ones yawned also. “I hope you know what you are doing,” Davi sub-vocalized. It was how dragons spoke to each other. When Michael had been healed by the dragon, he had been given this gift of hearing. The subvocals were mostly in the mental realm.

Michael didn’t nod. He left Davi and Kayla left at the table and went to his room. He pulled off his boots, yawned again, and laid on top of the covers of his bed. Then he started to make plans.

If he was going to save Hilda, he would have to let the young ones make their own plans. He couldn’t save both. However, Davi was creative enough to find a way out of the city. He wished both of them luck.

He thought of and discarded several plans as he lay there slowly breathing. Fifteen minutes later, the door opened and a light fell across his face. He breathed slowly and let his jaw drop. Then he heard a man say, “Sir, they are all sleeping.”

“Good,” said a voice that Michael knew really well. “When we have his sister, then we’ll move the lot of them to the dungeons.”

Michael held really still as the door closed. He wanted to rage, to yell, and to scream. He had trusted this mage. It was his mentor, Mage Godfroy.

Book Promo Post *warning*

So fair warning this is a promo post on some novels that I think you might like to dip your toe in and inhale. Of course I am starting with my newly released fantasy novel.

51u6nlnj6kl

 

Hero of Corsindor – Revised and Updated

A little history of this book. It was the first book I ever completed. I went back to it this year to revise and rewrite most of it, leaving the story intact.

Here is a snippet from a review from Pat Patterson:

“A wicked, wicked queen hatches a wicked, wicked plot, and we hates her, yes we does, my precious…EXCEPT you might want to hold on to your horses there. Seems that an even MORE wicked demon has been having an undue effect on her. Is she really wicked? Or weak? Or both? And yet, she sits by the dying king, and strokes his face…”

You can read the full review here.
Plus the book launch party on Jan 4 on Facebook was a blast.

_________

rimworldIf you are more interested in a colonization sci-fi you might want to try Rimworld – Militia Up. by JL Curtis.

It was supposed to be a simple contract for a couple of months of security services off world, but the devil’s in the details.

Tight Bridge Technologies hired Ethan Fargo and his militia to guard their power stations on the planet Endine against mob unrest and sabotage. When they arrive, they find the planetary authorities don’t want outsiders around to uncover their dirty secrets, and the Galactic Patrol’s not interested in providing backup. They all but order him to stop making waves, kicking asses, and taking names. The harder Fargo works to keep his people safe, the more troubles he finds. Dragoons and pirates are stalking the outer system, while the planet itself is a snakepit of treachery, tyranny, rebellion, and corruption. Everyone wants him to fail, while taking the blame.

They made one mistake: they underestimated Ethan Fargo. After the locals kills two of his Ghorkas, and kidnap his lady, he’s out for blood, and to hell with anything in his way…

__________

shadowlands Then if you’d like to try a dystopia fantasy you might like to try Shadow Lands by Lloyd Behm II.

A universe out of time…a land of no return…

Jesse Salazar is a priest of the Church Militant, who spends his days—and nights—hunting and re-inhuming the monsters that bump humanity in the night. He’s good at his job and gets paid very well to do it. But when the skies go gray, he wakes up to find himself in the Shadow Lands—the world an ancient Akkadian god uses to feed his minions their favorite food…humans.

Stalked by Abzu, the lord of the realm, and all his minions—including his wife, Tiamat—Salazar must figure out a way to stay out of Abzu’s clutches while assembling a team of survivors and putting together the clues to find a way home. With only limited weapons to protect themselves and no visible means of returning home, Salazar will have to use all of his God-given talents to keep everyone alive.

Especially if there’s no way back.

___________

typhoon time This is a little break from my usual– Typhoon Time in Audibles by Ron S. Friedman and narrated by Charles Kahlenberg.

Audibles are not the future any more.
This particular story fits into time travel and alternative history.

The Hunt for Red October meets Timeline

Martin Richter, a pacifist history professor specializing in pre-WWII Germany, has two passions in his life: history…and opposing nuclear weapons.

Eric Sobol, a terminally ill Holocaust survivor billionaire, learns of a wormhole that leads back in time to 1938, and he decides to do everything within his power to change the past.

Thanks to their efforts, a modernized Russian Typhoon-class nuclear submarine jumps the time barrier and appears in 1938, manned by 21st-century multinational experts and equipped with the best technology money can buy. But when a saboteur steals a nuclear warhead and delivers it to the German navy, all of history is at stake.

As the crippled Typhoon is ambushed by a U-boat wolf pack, Hitler contemplates how to use his newly acquired weapon to make all of Europe fall to the Third Reich….

_________

Hope you enjoy reading and listening to these writers. (Yep, mine as well). I keep my reading list full of a lot of wonderful indie writers.

 

My thoughts are fleeting

 

art bell tower bells church

Photo by Fancycrave.com on Pexels.com

I did ring in the New Year, which pretty much ruined my sleep schedule. I now fall into bed at 9 p.m. and then I can’t sleep even though I am tired.

I wake up two hours later than normal and feel like a zombie for an hour until I can have my first cup of coffee.

My first order of business is to get my sleep schedule back on track. Oh yea, and to take more magnesium. I woke up twice with leg cramps. At least I remember jumping out of bed and making my way to the bathroom. I fell asleep until the next annoyance hit me in the other leg.

So that means my year 2019 is now back on track as the same as last year.

I’ve been reading the same argument in writing circles that message fiction is better than story. Right now I am on the side of story because if you have a message and can’t tell a damn fine story, then no one will read you.

Of course there are people out there who think that the answer to that is to force you to read their “messages” because it would be good for you.

I don’t eat chocolate because it is good for you. I have completely quit eating most American chocolates because they don’t have the rich, dark, and creamy taste of Swiss chocolate. Even in Panama they made better chocolate than what you can find here.

So I like story to be an escape that takes me away from this life of illness. I want to like  the main character even if he or she is an anti hero. I don’t care of the writer is the wrong gender or color. If the writer tells a damn good story than I want to read it.

A good story’s message will be there but hidden. I don’t want someone to slap me with it. Dang it.

So one of my goals this years is to write the best stories I can. Plus read some of Pam Uphoff’s books. I just finished reading Scrambled. 

On the best note of all, Hero of Corsindor‘s release date is tomorrow.

Happy New Year and keep telling those stories.

Tuesday Snippet: Unlicensed Sorceress- Chapter Nine

unlicensed sorceress 2017 Koenigstadt
Davi Dracson

Davi pulled the covers off his body, and leaped out of bed. He looked across the room to see if Kayla was awake. She was already up and dressed, standing at the window.

He grabbed his clothes that were lying across a chair and opened a door to a small closet. He dressed. It was strange to share his room with a female. It was the first time after all of their adventures that he had really seen Kayla as a woman.

She was dressed in a gown that showed her budding breasts. The gown nipped into her waist and the skirts billowed out to the floor. The dress was a green that complemented her nut-brown hair. In the forest she had kept her hair braided. Now it was brushed out and hung loosely around her shoulders. Her hair was breath-taking. He wanted to touch it.

He had forgotten that she could read his mind. A thought curled around his inventory of her figure. “Stop that.”

He sighed. She was right. First of all they were of different species. Second they were magically bonded. It was comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. Since he was a dragon, there were probably books and books of rules on how a dragon and blacksmith should act towards each other. But, he thought, a grin spread across his face as he finally buttoned the last button on his shirt, he hadn’t read the rules so if he didn’t follow them, who would know?

Kayla was standing in front of the door with her arms on her hips and a disapproving look on her face. “I would know,” she said aloud so that he would get a double whammy of her disapproval — physically and mentally.

He still grinned. She reached over and straightened his shirt and made sure he was presentable to leave the room. When he was ready Kayla said, “Let’s walk in the gardens.”

His stomach growled. “After breakfast,” she amended.

They walked down the hallway arm and arm, and then he followed her down the staircase, admiring how regal she looked as she carefully navigated the stairs. He didn’t allow the thought to reach the bond because he knew she would slap him again if she read his mind. This would be hard. He was young and she was young. They would be together for a very long time.

His mouth started to water as he smelled the scents coming from the kitchen. He raised his head so that his nose could catch each smell. Bacon, ham, eggs, toast, and potatoes. He could smell real butter. His stomach started to growl loudly and he could feel Kayla radiate amusement back at him. Dammit. She was laughing at his hunger.

It seemed like a long staircase, but they finally made it down and Kayla turned the opposite direction from the kitchen. He wanted to sputter and demand that she turn back. Once again he could feel her smile in his mind. “You are so tempestuous,” she said.

“We are going to the dining room.”

The dining room had a large oak table, filled with food. Kayla took a plate, filled it with bacon, eggs, toast and potatoes. Davi did the same, but his was piled higher. “If you eat like that when you are older, you’ll be as big as a house.” Kayla laughed.

“Hey,” he smiled at her after shoveling the first spoonful into his mouth and swallowing.

“I want to be as big as a house.”

She laughed so hard that she almost choked. The food, the smells, the tastes—for just a moment they were in tune.

Then Kayla pulled away from the bond, and they ate in silence. Davi ate until the buttons on his jacket started to pull slightly. He knew Kayla wanted to laugh again, but she didn’t. When they were finished, they left their dishes on the table. Some silent servant would clear them away. It felt strange that they hadn’t seen either Hilda or Michael at the table.

They walked in the garden. There were rosebushes lining the walls–red, pink, and yellow. A sweet smell filled his nose and he sat under an arbor and patted the small garden bench. Kayla swayed over and sat down next to him.

She leaned into him and put her head on his shoulder. Then she spoke through their bond, “we aren’t safe here.”

He sent his agreement back to her, but also felt the air of her breathing feather against his neck. He felt content. If someone was watching their exchange, they would only see two young people enjoying the afternoon. Maybe just a little too close, but young people did push the boundaries when they could.

“Have you tried to use magic in our room,” he asked. His lips didn’t move. He picked up her hand and held it, sliding his fingers between hers. They were a perfect fit, he thought idly.

He felt a sharp pinch across the bond. “Listen.” Her thought was sharp and to the point. “Ouch,” he said aloud.

“I couldn’t do magic in that room. Plus we were being monitored. I think someone knows what we are.”

A flash of fear slid down from his head to his gut. For a moment, it felt like the food he had just eaten was lead in his stomach. If they were unmasked, there would be consequences.

Mages would salivate for the chance to get their hands on a real dragon. They could make potions from the scales, flesh, blood, and bone. In fact the mages could make themselves more powerful if they had one dragon to harvest. Now if they had a chance to get their hands on a dragon with a blacksmith—the thought made Davi shiver.

“Do you think they already know? Or do they suspect we might be—”

“It is safer to assume they know.” He felt Kayla’s sigh. She extricated herself from his arms and stood up. He stood up as well and took her arm. They walked the next hour in total silence, enjoying the various bushes and flowers in this small paradise.