Light Tripper Released + Giveaway Goodness

Well, I did it. I released another book and I’m pretty stoked. If i haven’t bombarded you enough for sales pitches, GO BUY IT NOW  It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited if you have a subscription.

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And did you happen to see the book trailer? It has a real Scorsese feel to it …

In other news, Light Tripper is currently in the whirl of a book blitz. To celebrate its release, there’s a $20 Amazon giftcard up for grabs. You can enter the here;

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

I can’t wait for more Light Tripper to get out there in the world and I’m excited to hear what readers think of it. I’ve linked a playlist in the book, here’s one of the songs that inspired me cause you know, Lorde.

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Light Tripper – Cover Reveal

Exciting news, amigos … COVER REVEAL TIME!!!?!?!?!!?!??!!

My cover designer, Lisa has been hitting that photoshop super hard for very poor pay and even with such horrendous working conditions, she’s come up with a real gem.

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Nice right? Or in the words of my unrequited love, Bobby Roode …

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Light Tripper is available for pre-order on Amazon and you can add it to Goodreads or make sure you’re following me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter so you know when spend your hard earned money, some of which will be going to Lisa.

Feed a starving cover designer. Buy a book.

Releases October 23rd, 2018!

 

Light Tripper Chapter Two

The next installment of Light Tripper for your reading pleasure….

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CHAPTER TWO

The more distance they put between themselves and the lounge, the louder Morgan started to laugh. Sal hadn’t found the funny side of what had happened just yet.

“That was insane,” Morgan said, trying to catch his breath. “We’ve still got it, kiddo!”

Sal frowned, relieved to catch sight of their ship as they rounded the last corridor. They hurried inside and Sal waited to be sure nothing followed them through the airlock before joining Morgan in the cockpit.

“Hurry up and get her in the air,” Sal said with urgency. “I don’t know how long it takes a Denian to regenerate and I don’t want to find out.”

“You cut off his freaking hand!” Morgan laughed. “You are amazing!”

Sal wanted to smile, Morgan’s laugh was infectious – a guffaw with a touch of snort – but she could smell the shine on him and his finger tips twinkled silver. He was high as a lunar satellite. Once he passed out in an hour or so, he wouldn’t remember any of this and Sal would be tasked with the unfortunately familiar job of cleaning him up.

She tried not to think about that for now, instead focusing on getting the hell off Enos. She took off Morgan’s cap and shoved it on his head. “Punch it.”

Morgan activated the holo-panel controls, retracting the heavy impact shields from the view ports. The engine began to moan, gears began to grind and there was a loud thump as the thrusters came online and ignited. Then… nothing. With a shudder and a shunt, the ship shut down.

“Not again!” Sal whined. “I told you we needed to get that left thruster repaired.”

“We don’t need it repaired, it just needs some Sal magic. Go and do your thing.”

“I almost blew it up last time!” Sal argued.

“Well then I guess we’ll just sit here, wait for Kar to grow his limb back and kill us both.” Morgan leaned back, tipped his cap over his eyes and rested his hands behind his head.

Amidst their own bickering, a third voice called loudly from outside. At first Sal guessed the Denians had caught up with them, but then she sighted a small posse of new faces gathered at the nose of the ship.

She squinted for a better look. “Is that Moda?”

Sal could make out the leader of the group, a tall woman whose brown skin was all but covered in tattoos; a map of sharp lines and sequential dots which identified her as Foundry property. But Moda had taken power of those brands the day she murdered her enslavers and she used her new found freedom and the implants the Foundry had assimilated to her human body to hunt down bounties.

Continue reading

Introducing…. Light Tripper

Oh, hi there. How are you? Good, that’s good.

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While the Ardentia series gets a face lift, I’d like you to meet my latest project, a Sci-Fi Space Opera called, Light Tripper.

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I’ll be posting chapters on the blog before the edited version makes its way to ebook for purchase.

The Morpheus system sits on the edge of the galaxy, a refuge for smugglers, bounty hunters and infamous space pirates. It is a world built upon few rules; lawless, leaderless and unaffected by the growing influence of the Planetary Alliance, a benevolent military force who bring salvation and peace to a divided universe. But there are rumours. Whispers of vanishing colonies and children herded like cattle. Morpheus continues to turn a blind eye, but what will become of them if the P.A. decides to expand its dominion?

For now Sal Tripp will just focus on what she does best. Bagging the biggest bounties in the system, aided by powers she doesn’t understand. Sal is strong, fast and can manipulate energy, channeling it through weapons with destructive results. But fearful of what her fellow space scum might do to her if they ever found out, Sal keeps her ability a secret that she shares with the only person she trusts, her vice-ridden father, a former Planetary Alliance pilot who owes credits to every gangster in the galaxy. Together they navigate the stars in their derelict ship, Light Tripper.

That’s before a blown thruster puts them at the mercy of the system’s most ruthless crime boss and weaves their path with a hardened super soldier who puts a higher value on Sal’s life than she believes it deserves. Then a giant P.A. battle cruiser descends on Morpheus and suddenly their way of life is threatened.

But this is not a simple invasion. The P.A. want more than territory, more than resources. Sal is thrust into a rebellion and her painful nightmares might just turn out to be terrifying realities. She will need to harness her power, unravel the lies and unite a system of despicable scoundrels to fight for freedom.

I hope you enjoy and please leave any comments/critiques in the comments section!

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Of all the cesspits in Morpheus, Enos Station was the nastiest.

Sal paced the cockpit like a cat in a cage. The ship had been docked in the Enos cargo bay for two hours. Morgan should have been back by now.

“Just need a word with an old buddy,” he’d said before he left. “Maybe a quick drink.”

After all these years, how was Sal still falling for the same goopa?

In and out without having to endure the sleaziest third-class space station in the outer systems? Such a feat would require Morgan to keep his word. Sal promised herself again this would be the last time she’d believe him.

She thumped her fist against the off-white ceiling panel above her. The holographic control board twitched and fizzled, static blaring. Another thump stabilized it. She tapped several of the green symbols, then waved the projection aside.

A panel to her left opened and the weapon rack slowly began to eject, the ear-splitting sound of scraping metal filling the cabin. Sal groaned gutturally, tapping her foot. A Nothrosian with six broken legs could move faster.

As soon as there was room, Sal squeezed her hand between the grates, grabbing the PEP revolver. She popped out the cartridge and cursed Morgan some more when she saw a red blinking light taunting her. He was always forgetting to charge the thing.

Sal had won her fair share of fist fights, but when it came to survival upon this million tonne hunk of rusted steel, she fancied her odds a touch more with her revolver in hand. She spit into her palm and rubbed her fingers together to create some friction.

Strikes of blue light broke through her skin, sparking and crackling in sporadic surges. It took all her strength to harness this fist-full of lightning and before she accidentally melted her face off, Sal gripped the cartridge and transferred the energy. Each of the eight chambers flicked green as it charged and by the end Sal was drained. It was always more exhausting generating energy cold, where she had juice to spare if she’d been chasing down a bounty or punching in a face beforehand. The aftermath was the same though. Shaping that energy made her damn hungry.

Sal was startled by banging and cursing that flooded from beneath the floor.

She wasn’t often caught off guard.

“Hey!” She stamped her foot. “Keep stuhm down there!”

What was going on beneath the floor was a problem that would be dealt with later.

Sal loaded the revolver and tucked it into the waistband of her skin-tight cargo pants, keeping it out of sight beneath her well-worn, red leather jacket. Sal twisted her dark, frizzy mess of hair into a knot, then yanked Morgan’s cap over the top. The thing stunk of smoke and cheap moonshine and was printed with a semi-naked Plokami female, her tentacles placed strategically to keep it classy.

Sal rolled her shoulders, sucked in a breath thick with dread, then stormed to the back of the ship and hit the airlock button. With the same finesse of the weapon rack, the airlock opened.

Immediately Sal was bombarded by the bustling din. The cargo bay was overrun with scabs – space transients and general shady types – all clumsily competing to refuel the ship or scrape the thruster scorch from the wing, anything for a few credits to spend at the bars or risk at the dice tables. Sal vigorously shooed them away. Like she had credits to spare.

Most were harmless, everyone had to eke out some sort of living, but it was the ones with the silver-stained fingertips that you needed to watch for. Dust didn’t wash off skin easy.

Sal had never partaken herself, she had enough trouble controlling the lightning in her veins without adding some powder concoction to the mix, but she had seen what it did to people. Most were calm, content to quietly enjoy their hallucinations, but others were just a bad trip away from clawing your face off. Those were the ones that Sal wouldn’t hesitate to unload her revolver into and no one was likely to say boo about it.

After all, this was Morpheus. There was no Planetary Alliance, no border control, no regulations and no standards. The only code around here was a moral one, and people with those were few and far between. That’s why Enos flourished. Its owners didn’t care about your principles or purpose in the galaxy, as long as you had credits to lose you were welcome and the station was not starved for punters. It offered services banned in most systems, including its infamous dice tables, where entire fortunes and bodily organs could be won or lost in a hand. Sal had heard tales of a captain losing not only his ship, but his entire crew. It didn’t surprise her though, Morgan had won their ship in a similar fashion.

Sal headed for the cargo bay exit, but had barely taken a step before being shoulder barged by another Enos arrival. There was drawn-out hiss as Sal was confronted by an eight foot, scaly-skinned Libraton.

“Watch where you’re going, human!” He flicked his forked tongue at her.

Instinctively, Sal reached for her revolver, but quickly reconsidered. Where there was one Libraton, there were another ten skulking around and this was a relatively small one. The others would likely be its larger siblings.

She bit her tongue, digging her hands into her jacket pockets and walking out of the cargo bay with her eyes set on the floor. She only glanced up to read the neon signs directing visitors to each entertainment hub.

The Dago Lounge was the largest bar on Enos and the best place to start her search. The most powerful bosses in the outer systems liked to congregate there and where there was underworld wealth, there were down-and-out space-bums on the hunt for a quick and easy way to score credits.

That was Morgan to a T, and Sal hoped she would find him under the first rock she kicked over rather than having to investigate some of the seedier joints. She was in no mood to drag him from the pleasure pits again.

She approached the heavy, sealed doors of the lounge and was abruptly halted by the doorman.

He was a pale skinned Eriog, not remarkably tall or well built, but by reputation incredibly strong. He was dressed sharply in a dark suit and wore a wide black visor over his eyes, a thin blue line darting back and forth across its shiny surface.

He put his hand on Sal’s shoulder.

She swiftly batted it away.

The Eriog replied by retrieving a sonic revolver from his jacket and pointing it directly at Sal’s head.

Sal frowned, raising her arms lazily in half-hearted surrender which the Eriog accepted, holstering his gun. He lifted the bill of Sal’s cap and leaned toward her dark, brown eyes. The blue line upon his visor began to zigzag and hum as it processed information.

“Human female.”

Sal nodded. “Yep.”

“No diseases or infections.”

Sal signed. “That’s good news.”

“Abnormality in genetic make-up. Explain?”

Sal was suddenly nervous. She didn’t let it show. “I don’t know, guy. I just work here.”

She waited for the Eriog’s response, again feeling an itch to grab her gun and see for herself just how strong he was, but fortunately he didn’t seem interested in further details. He continued to speak blankly in his monotone voice.

“No outstanding warrants or bounties. Not currently banned by Enos management. Entry approved.”

The large steel doors slid open, flooding the corridor with pounding bass music and blinding laser lights.

“Welcome to The Dago Lounge.”

Sal feigned a smile and dragged herself inside, the doors slamming shut behind her. It was hard to make out anything against the flashing strobe lights, faces there one moment then gone the next. Further disorientating were the holograms projected in the giant room. Sal looked down to find herself upon a pitch black sky, dressed with a million stars. The walls and ceiling were the same, no sign of the cold, hard steel that encased them, instead the patrons walked amongst the dazzling vastness of Morpheus. It was magnificent and the first thing Sal had found on Enos that she liked, but she’d always been in love with the stars. It was the jerks that populated them that were the problem.

Sal glided through the constellations, making her way to the bar. She pushed past a group of blue-skinned Quisons, avoiding their bushy tails that swished in time with the music.

“What’ll it be?” the bartender asked, putting a glass down in front of her as she took a seat.

Sal was surprised to see the young man was human, all painted and glittered, decorated like a prop and wearing a tight shirt with alternating graphics. He was probably cute under all that eyeshadow and Sal was alarmingly aware of how long it had been since she’d had her itch scratched, not to mention that human men were hard to find. But he was just so… sparkly.

“Not much of a drinker,” she said.

“Maybe you’re after something else?” He leaned forward. “A taste of that silver supernova?”

Sal frowned. “Really? No foreplay? Just straight into the hard sell?”

The bartender raised his arms defensively. “I thought I felt a vibe and I was just trying to speed things up. I can normally pick ’em.”

“Anyone else given you a vibe tonight?” Sal asked. “Tattoos, grey stubble, stinks of moonshine and self-loathing?”

The bartender grinned. “Oh, you’re looking for Morgan, huh? He’s over there.”

He tipped his head to a darkened corner and Sal soon spied Morgan sitting at a table flanked by a cast of unseemly characters. Sal wasted no time forcing a path through the dance floor, earning profanities and hand gestures that transcended language barriers.

She arrived just as Morgan tossed up two glowing blue dice. Sal snatched them from the air.

“Time to go,” she snapped.

Opus was the only player at the table she recognised. Most Gordites looked alike, all loose-hanging skin and tusks, but Opus had a condition that left his face covered in disgusting, pus-filled cysts. Even so, he wasn’t the ugliest Gordite Sal had ever encountered. They were in general, not an attractive species, but they were clever and ruthless.

“Why, is that little Sal Tripp?” Opus bellowed, his sagging chin skin flapping as he spoke. “You were just a youngling last I saw you.”

“And you were less oozy,” Sal replied, gesturing to a freshly popped cyst on his forehead. Opus had a pretty Plokami woman at his side who quickly dabbed up his dripping goop with a cloth.

She narrowed her eyes. “Morgan,” she said firmly.

Morgan sat silent, his gaze was distant, seemingly waiting for the dice to land even though Sal had been holding them for a time now.

“Dad!” Sal yelled.

At last he stirred from his daze. His hair was shaggy, dark blonde and flecked with grey. He was tall, even sitting down and had strong arms covered in tattoos, mostly poorly drawn animals, but there were also words in languages that Sal didn’t understand and Morgan didn’t want to educate her on. He gave his glazed blue eyes a rub.

“Sal. What are you doing here? I told you to wait in the ship.”

“Ship,” Opus laughed loudly. “That’s no ship. It’s a scrap heap with thrusters.”

“I’ve been waiting,” Sal said. “You’ve been gone for hours.”

“I always meant to ask, Morgan,” Opus started. “Why is it that Sal has this delicious brown skin when you’re a dirty, pale sack of goopa?”

The players erupted with laughter.

Morgan’s face was overcome with bliss. “Sal’s mama was an island princess,” he sighed. “Some place with palm trees and water like blue glass for miles. Where was it again, Sal?”

Sal folded her arms impatiently. “You’re the one telling the story.”

“Ugh, I forget…I remember the hips though,” Morgan snorted. “And the rack.”

The players turned to Opus for translation.

“Oomas.” Opus grunted, simulating overly large breasts with his hands.

The players laughed again and Sal wasn’t interested in learning any more Gordite dialect.

“Well this has been great. Morgan. Let’s go.”

“Yes. Runaway, Captain Tripp, like a good little coward. I would expect nothing less of the Planetary Alliance.”

All attention now belonged to the Denian who had so far been silent at the end of the table, though his fierce one-eyed glare was reserved solely for Sid.

Morgan squinted to make out his face. “Do I know you, friend?”

“You do not and I have never been your friend.”

Sal could confirm that he was no acquaintance of the Tripps, there were only a handful of Denians in Morpheus to begin with. But he was certainly familiar with Morgan, enough to know that he was ex-Planetary Alliance.

It wasn’t a closely guarded secret. Most of Morgan’s tattoos were from when he served and everyone this side of the Koji Divide had been forced to endure a grand tale of adventure from the lips of the P.A’s finest fighter pilot. But it also wasn’t a past that Morgan sang from every corner of the system.

For every fond memory he shared there were a hundred he tried to kill with shine and dust. He was also mindful of those unhappy with the Planetary Alliance’s expanding influence throughout the galaxy; those who saw them as oppressors rather than saviours and didn’t much care that Morgan’s status was no longer current. It didn’t take a genius to see which club the Denian belonged to. His revulsion was palpable.

Opus grumbled. “That’s enough, Kar. Talk like that has no place here. Let the rest of the galaxy worry about the Planetary Alliance. They are no threat in Morpheus and neither is Morgan.”

Sal wasn’t surprised to hear Opus defending her father, for whatever the reason he was one of the few friends Sid had. She just didn’t expect him to say such things out loud within earshot of others.

Kar the Denian fell silent and Sal thought this as good a time as any to attempt a hasty exit.

“Well this was swell,” she chuckled with half a smile. “But we have to be going.”

Kar reacted immediately, pulling back his long coat to reveal a holstered gun. Sal noticed a small symbol embroidered on the left of his shirt. A solid black crescent moon within a blood-red sphere. Kar didn’t give her time to ask for its meaning.

“He’s not going anyway until we’re done talking. Until he looks me in the eye and admits what a filthy fashtapa he is.”

Morgan laughed. “I can’t even admit that to myself. What makes you think you’d get the honour… friend?”

Sal rolled her eyes. Morgan was smiling. This was going to get ugly.

From the shadows came two more Denians and they took position either side of Kar, their bony fingers grasping the same style of gun.

Sal looked to Opus but he was all done talking. There was no way he was going to take a bullet for Morgan.

She sighed. “I guess there’s only one way out of this then. Best just roll those dice, Sid.”

At first Morgan didn’t follow, but slowly a grin tugged at the corner of his mouth. He nodded knowingly and said, “Alright, baby.”

He threw the dice in the air and even Kar couldn’t help but watch them fly.

Sal moved quickly, roundhouse kicking the first Denian bodyguard across the face and sending him to the floor. As he fell she used him for leverage, propelling herself upward and straddling the second bodyguard’s shoulders. Sal drove her clenched fist hard into its eye and the Denian howled briefly before Sal tightened her thighs around its neck and flipped backwards, spinning the Denian over the top of her.

In the mean time, Morgan had pulled a large serrated blade from his waistband, a knife he called ‘The Deal Breaker’, and had skewered Kar’s gun hand to the table.

With his associates subdued, Sal grabbed her revolver and pushed it hard against Kar’s temple.

“Sorry, Kar,” Morgan said, gathering his worn jacket from the back of his chair. “My little girl wants to get going and you know how kids can be.”

Kar’s lips were trembling furiously, his mouth frothing like a rabid dog desperate to attack.

Sal reminded him with a shove that she had a fully charged energy gun pointed at his head.

“I’m going to rip you apart,” Kar muttered. “But you’ll still be alive when I start eating you.”

“Hey. What do you call a Denian with a broken nose and a missing hand?” Sal asked.

Before he could answer, Sal drove her elbow into Kar’s face, instantly breaking his nose. She then wrenched the Deal Breaker from his flesh and sliced his hand from his wrist in one strike.

Those at the table were aghast with horrified gasps and winces as Kar cried out in agony.

“Oh, don’t be such a baby,” Sal groaned. “It’ll grow back.”

Morgan grabbed his knife and wiped Kar’s green blood on his trousers. “That is nasty, Sal.”

He took her by the hand and together they fled The Dago Lounge, barging into patrons who seemed more upset about their spilled drinks than the mutilated Denians giving chase from the dice table. Sal was surprised they recovered so quick. She moved her feet faster, her fingers laced tightly with Morgan’s, then she let out a yelp when someone snatched her other hand. At first she thought it was Kar and she braced herself for a likely ass-kicking. Instead she found herself face to face with another human; a tall man with the darkest eyes she had ever seen. His stare was piercing and meant only for her even though there were a million dazzling distractions. His mouth and jaw were obscured with a black scarf and he stood tall and broad, holding Sal’s hand hard against his chest.

Sal felt her knees wobble briefly. He was human, big and pleasantly shaped and wasn’t wearing a speck of glitter. He was practically perfect. It was a shame Sal didn’t have time to swap details. Judging by the commotion and ripple through the crowd, Kar was only a few feet away.

“Can I get that back?” Sal asked, nodding toward her hand.

“You have to come with me,” he said flatly.

“Oh. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to, fella.”

Great, he was a crazy. Why did he have to talk and ruin it?

Sal attempted to yank herself free, but he didn’t relent an inch and all the while Morgan was tugging impatiently on her other hand.

“Sal. What’s the hold up?”

She puffed her cheeks. “Alright, you’ve had your fun, psycho. Now let go.”

The man said nothing and only clutched her tighter.

Sal had lost her patience. She wriggled her fingers free of Morgan and swiped her revolver from her belt. She pointed it between her would-be kidnapper’s eyes. “I can’t miss from here.”

His broad chest heaved a long disgruntled breath and he reluctantly released her.

Sal could see Kar now, charging through the crowd. She looked upon the stranger one last time and still his eyes were adhered to her as if she were the only person in the room. It was intrusive and intimidating and Sal didn’t like it. Before she could ask him what the hell he thought he was doing, he whipped back his coat and pulled out a plasma shotgun. It cocked with a whoosh and just when Sal thought he was going to blow an unsightly hole in her head, he spun on his heels and unloaded a round into one of Kar’s men instead. He glanced over his shoulder.

“Run then.”

Sal didn’t need to be told twice. Morgan had already found her hand again and was dragging her to the doors of the Dago Lounge.

Apparently amputations and shotgun fire were nothing unusual. The Eriog doorman waved farewell as they ran past and encouraged them to visit again.

The Light of Mytis – Chapter One

I’m excited to share with you the first chapter of my third book, The Light of Mytis.

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I wish I could just give you the finished product, but I also wish that it rained chocolate fish. Life is full of disappointment.

Light of Mytis will be out in 2017 and until I have it up for pre-order, I will try and post as many chapters as possible without completely ruining it for everyone, especially me.

Don’t worry too much about typos and the such, this still needs to be sent to my editor who will fix up those nasty little beasties. Please enjoy and again, thank you for your love and understanding, Ardentia fans.

 

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CHAPTER ONE

Castle Dubraycon

Kalavar Province

Kingsland Empire, Ardentia

When she was alone and cloaked in darkness, the Vessel, Menon, mourned the love she was denied. It was a pain all her own to be suffered in solitary silence, for it was the one thing that weakened her will and in order to reap her vengeance on the Celestials, such burdens needed to be gutted and flayed from her soul.

One other knew the depths of her pain and on nights such as this when her grief consumed her, Menon wept for the child they stole and the Dark Star would have those tears burn and scar as punishment for her frailty.

But Menon’s shadow magic could hide such things. Her true face, a deformed map of despair seared upon her skin, was kept shrouded by her ever-growing power. Pacing the mage tower she passed by a gilded mirror and in the corner of her eye caught a glimpse of the woman whose outward appearance was becoming just as grotesque as the corrupt dark within.

With a breath from her lips the hideous crone vanished, leaving a beautiful reflection once more. Menon had no doubts. The torment, the punishment, she deserved all of it, it made her stronger and her final reward would be worth every scar, every bleeding wound. She would share her anguish and a hundred times more with the Celestials. She would tear pounds of flesh and rip them limb from limb. They would suffer as she had. Then her pain would cease. Then she could rest.

But in order to obtain what she so desperately desired, Jahna Mornglow would have to die.

Menon’s tears had burnt especially deep tonight and it had taken her longer to weave her magic and conceal the marks left behind. When the spell was done she felt whole again, her face pristine. Menon traced the curves of her hips, her fingers gliding over her silken white mage robes. Suddenly a sharp pain pierced her abdomen. Menon winced, watching as a speck of crimson seeped through the fabric and quickly expanded, spilling into drips of blood that pooled at her feet.

There was no assailant lurking and this was the work of no blade. The wound came from within, from a price to be paid.

Morvax,” she whimpered.

Her servant was slain, but she had no time for anger. Another servant returned to her. Menon could feel his energy twisting through the sky and racing towards the mage tower. She was quick to take up her forest-green cloak and throw it over her shoulders, being sure to keep her wound well from sight.

Four spirals of smoke whipped through the tower windows and circled Menon before bursting into form. She looked over her kindred wielders of the elements; Jamus, Ringlefarn, Gallad and Pann, not an equal to her among them. Jamus belonged to her, she did not doubt his impassioned devotion, not for an instant. The boy would bleed for her if she asked and perhaps one day she might allow him, but not today. The others though, their tethers of loyalty were thin as spider’s silk. Ringlefarn’s ambition, Gallad’s virtue and Pann’s flippancy; traits too strong to break and wills too strong to bend. All had plans of their own, none of which included bowing to Menon and destroying those who gave them power, who elevated them above the pathetic rabble.

Their fates had not yet been decided, but time was running out and even Menon was unsure how long her mask would hold. But for as long as it did, the masquerade would continue.

Their silence concerned her. “It is done then?”

No, it is not,” Jamus snapped bitterly.

He took his place next to Menon and she had to refrain herself from wiping the dried blood from his face.

Ringlefarn ordered we retreat. The girl still lives.”

Menon glared furiously. “What!”

Ringlefarn showed no fear. “Tell me, Menon. What is the prize for one so divinely high to fall to such blasphemous lows?”

Menon clenched her jaw. “You were given an order by our Queen.”

Who was in turn given an order by you!” Ringlefarn boomed. “I have felt poison within these walls for some time. It has made us weak, it has made this kingdom weak. But not until I saw pure truth in that girl’s eyes did I realise the poison’s source. It is you Menon. It drips from you like liquid death.”

How dare you speak to the High Mage in such a way!” Jamus snared.

Just as Jamus had chosen his side, so did Pann and Gallad take steps away from Menon to stand at either side of Ringlefarn.

We have no High Mage,” Ringlefarn said tersely.

Menon slid her fingers inside her robe, discretely inspecting her wound. The blood was only enough to stain her fingertips, it was healing already. Good. She needed her strength. “You swore an oath to me. You follow where I lead.”

Ringlefarn shook his head. “Leadership is not a right, it is earned. We only follow if we have divine faith in our High Mage.” He eyed Menon with disgust. “That faith has dwindled to nothing more than a memory of a once honourable mage.”

A girl you have never met begs for mercy and suddenly I am the one being judged?” Menon snickered. “I thought you wiser than this, Ringlefarn.”

A girl with the eyes of a Dubraycon. A girl you swore to be a cold, calculated assassin was willing to accept her fate so long as her friends were set free. None of this makes sense, Menon and until it does we three will not extinguish her light on the Queens behalf… or yours.” Ringlefarn looked to Jamus. “It is clear the boy has chosen his side.”

Jamus thrust his hand forward, but where once he commanded an inferno, his exhausted powers could barely muster little more than a spark.

Ringlefarn laughed mockingly. “Your magic is all but spent, boy. It seems your mistress was too occupied making deals with the darkness to teach you how to wield it.”

Menon hissed, her eyes morphing into empty black sockets. “I will show you darkness.”

A thick, weaving rope of black smoke seeped from her palm. It lashed itself around Ringlefarn, lifted him from the ground and threw him against the wall.

Before Pann and Gallad could conjure a defence, Menon summoned two more lengths of smoke that entwined the mages and slammed them aside Ringlefarn.

Who do you think you are? You could have served at my side. Instead you will suffer the fate I intend to visit upon all those who defy me!”

The ropes tightened as Ringlefarn, Pann and Gallad struggled, strangling their limbs and crawling into their mouths to starve them of air.

You cannot kill us, Menon,” Ringlefarn gasped as the smoke flooded his throat. “That is beyond even the forces you have invoked.”

Death holds peace. I would never wish such a kindness upon the likes of you. Torment. That is my gift. That is what gives me pleasure.”

Slowly Menon’s smoke bled onto the walls and took form, coming alive as crooked shadows. They reached out with long, gnarled fingers and filled the air with inhuman wails.

The shadows grabbed at the mages, tore at their flesh, ripped skin from their bones.

Menon watched with morbid delight as the shadows began to consume them, dragging their bodies into the walls of the tower. Even with all their power, the mages could not escape. One by one they were absorbed, stripped of their flesh and blood and made shadows themselves. Ringlefarn fought hardest, struggling to call forth the winds of Methelos to aid him. But he too fell before Menon and she smiled as her shadows swallowed him entirely.

Jamus was shaking. “What has become of them?”

They are there of course. Shadows on the wall for now and forever.”

At second glance, Jamus could make them out clear as day. Ringlefarn, Pann and Gallad trapped, pounding their fists against the stone, screaming in silence.

Jamus lifted his hand curiously to Ringlefarn’s shadow.

Don’t do that, my sweet,” Menon warned. “He will kill you.”

With that Ringlefarn’s shadow lashed out with blackened talons and Jamus quickly withdrew, jumping just out of his reach.

Jamus gave a snide grin. “That will teach you for calling me boy.”

Menon nodded in agreement, pulling Jamus to her and straightening his marred robes. “Find comfort in the knowledge that they will never know freedom. That wall is their eternity.”

I failed you, Menon,” Jamus muttered. “I wanted to to please you.”

Menon gathered Jamus into her arms. She caressed his face, smearing the blood from her fingers across his cheek.

Could you have killed her? For me? Was she within your grasp?”

Jamus turned away, not feeling worthy to meet Menon’s eyes. “Yes. She was right there. I could have seared the flesh from her bones. But my power, it didn’t last. Why would Herathese not give me limitless flame?”

This is why the deities are the true enemy. They take from us in copious amounts yet grant us only scraps of their power. When Na’Toth is free he will rain vengeful penance upon them. It is us who will make them bleed.”

Jamus smiled contently, his body warm and soothed regardless of Menon’s frozen touch.

I fear we may have lost our opportunity to end all of this before it reaches Kalavar. We must now rely on mortal weaknesses to destroy her. Let us focus our attention on crowning Mydra,” Menon said.

Jamus pulled away. “But the potion, it fails to break her will.”

Menon smiled towards the shadows on the wall. “Luckily Gallad imparted knowledge to me that will be most useful in convincing the stubborn princess. Knowledge I will use right this second.”

Menon gripped Jamus’ hand and dragged him from the mage tower and through the dark corridors of the sleeping castle.

Jamus reached for the key in his pocket to open the doors of Mydra’s chambers, but instead Menon simply waved her hand and the doors flew open with such force that the wood cracked and fell off its hinges

Jamus stared in awe as Menon glided into the room a foot above the ground and stood at the end of Mydra’s bed.

Mydra bolted upright and scurried across the bed, being as far away from Menon as she could until she was clutching the bedhead.

Is this it then? Have you come to kill me?”

No, no, no. How many times must we go over this? Your death will serve me no good. I cannot have a corpse on the throne.”

Despite Menon’s words, Mydra looked no better than a corpse; sickly and sallow, the lustre long lost from her hair, her once bright eyes bloodshot and tinged with yellow. Her frame was skeletal and her nails snapped one by one as she clawed to cling tighter to the bedhead.

I will do nothing that you ask.” Mydra’s voice was little more than a series of desperate gasps. “You will gain more from a corpse than you will of me.”

Perhaps then my words were too hasty.” Menon slithered to Mydra’s bedside. She reached for Mydra’s face and the princess recoiled as soon as she felt the icy chill that accompanied the mage’s touch.

Menon traced the soft angle of Mydra’s chin, the curve of her throat, the delicate bow of her collar bone and allowed her fingers to linger over the gold chain around Mydra’s neck. With a snap she wrenched it loose, clenching the necklace and the blue stone it was leashed to firmly in her first.

A living, breathing princess is all I need and on the outside that is how you will appear, but inside there will be nothing, just an empty shell encasing a silenced mind. You will do only what I command. You will say only what I command.” Menon shook the necklace. “It is your sentiment that has earned you this fate. All the loving memories you have unwittingly fused into this trinket. Your love will be the downfall of your father’s kingdom.”

Mydra’s lip quivered. “Love conquers. It does not destroy.”

Love is weakness!” Menon screamed.

She threw her arms into the air, calling once more upon her menacing black smoke. The dark night came alive as lightning tore at the stars and the thunders roared as if the sky were falling from its pillars.

A heart and soul encased within,

of mind and body, of blood, bone and skin

whilst in my keep, our thoughts entwined

Will mind and body and breath be mine.”

Menon’s eyes rolled over black. “Dominate.”

Her tendrils of smoke rushed at Mydra, driving into her eyes, ears and mouth, seeping through every pore. The shadows consumed her, leaching at her life force, draining her will, seeking out anything good and alive and making it a dead, unfeeling thing.

Jamus did nothing but watch as the light left Mydra’s eyes. Eventually the thunder and lightning ceased and when Menon’s smoke receded, all that was left of Mydra was a vacant husk with a haunting, empty stare.

Menon staggered backwards. She had used much of her power, already she could feel that wound reopening. She outstretched her arms, writhing her fingers towards the shadowed corners of the room and absorbing the dark to replenish her strength.

She threw Mydra’s necklace to Jamus. “Put it around my neck.”

Jamus walked slowly, as if a heavy weight was pressed down upon him. He didn’t look at Mydra any more, he couldn’t, he even struggled to look at Menon.

He clipped the link of the necklace around her neck and turned his back on them both as soon as his task was done.

Menon tucked the blue stone into her robes. “Can you hear me, Princess?”

Mydra nodded.

You will be crowned soon. Do you know this?”

Mydra nodded again.

And as Queen, who do you serve, Mydra?”

Mydra uttered meaningless mumbles and murmurs, as if learning to speak for the first time.

Who do you serve?” Menon pushed.

I serve Menon’takrez Leed,” Mydra muttered.

Menon nodded her head approvingly. “Good, girl.”

Interview with J.L. Tomlinson

I was fortunate enough to be interviewed on Magda’s delicious blog. Enjoy!

Magic of books

j-l-tomlinsonWelcome back bookworms!

It’s time for another interview, this time with a fantastic J.L. Tomlinson – a fantasy writer with quite an imagination straight from New Zeland :). Her new book is about to come out – the third volume of Ardentia series. Stories of magic, friendship and a quest for the better future.

Check out her answers to some of my annoying questions 😉 and remember to visit the Stalker zone at the bottom!

Your book “The Empyrean Key” starts off with the trio of characters, can you tell us how they got together?

Jahna, Lilac and Silko were all born in Groden Cove which is a small beach village in the land of Ardentia, where the series takes place. Each of them was bullied or ostracised for different reasons; Jahna is half Narcean (a dark-skinned race of telepaths and prophets); Lilac has always been quite masculine and finds it…

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Cover Reveal – The Light of Mytis

Oh, hi there.

Whether you are an avid reader or just ended up here by accident, you have arrived on quite a fortuitous day!

I’m very excited to share with you the cover for the newest edition to the Ardentia series, The Light of Mytis, which is scheduled for release this December.

BEHOLD THE SHINY!!!!!

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deadgoditsbeautiful

 

I’m very grateful to my cover designer who puts up with my constant nagging and pretty much works for Camembert and crackers.

To celebrate this stellar event, I am giving away a $20 amazon voucher!!! All you need to do is promise to love me forever and never leave…

or, just like me on various social media sites, whichever is easiest.

Click For Hot Gift Card Giveaway Goodness!!!

 

But there’s more!!!

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What’s that, you haven’t gotten around to reading the first two books in the series, The Empyrean Key and Veil of the Corrupter, yet?

Well now’s your chance. For the next week BOTH books are 99c over at Amazon.

Go go gadget clickeeeeees

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The Light of Mytis will be released in December with preorders available from next week. I am currently accepting inquiries about Advanced Copies, so go ahead and send me an email and we can have a chat.