Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Drabble Wednesday: Bad Guys

Today’s Drabble Wednesday comes via inspiration from the Suicide Squad, and gives voice to the villains...





Not So Bad

You may have heard some horrible things about me on the news.
About how I’m a insane sociopath. How many people I’ve killed. Of the threat I pose.
All true. But hey, that’s not the real me. Well, mostly not.
I have other qualities. I love kittens and stuff. Love walks on the beach, sunsets. You know, the clichés.
The thing is, I’m more misunderstood than evil. Simply a reflection of today’s society. A walking, talking narcissistic image of humanity.
Don’t be afraid because I have my finger on the button.
Really, what’s a little fiery world apocalypse between friends?

~*~



Crosshairs

One human being bottled into a narrow viewpoint, lined up in the scope. The rest of the world blotted out. Just one focus. One goal.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Watching, waiting, one tiny helpless life caught in the crosshairs. Doesn’t know what’s coming. Never will. That’s power. That’s control.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Every hope, every dream, down to this moment. Immovable, suspended, transcendent infinity. Perched on the precipice of damnation.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Perfect shot, center mass. Steady hands. Squeeze the trigger, slowly.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Bang.
She’s dead.
Pack up and go home. With a smile.

~*~




Breaking Point

I got tired of it, you know.
All the rules.
Be a good girl. Be a lady. Don’t be aggressive. Don’t be such a bitch.
The good old sexist double standard.
Who makes up all this crap?
The boys don’t play by those rules.
Why should we?
Why should we shut our mouths? Why should we dress the way they tell us to?
They have no right.
Do this, do that. Behave.
No way.
I say, shut up.
‘Cause, I stopped playing by your rules.
I hit my breaking point.
And I broke some skulls.
And guess what?
You’re next.



© A. F. Stewart 2016 All Rights Reserved




Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Drabble Wednesday: Welcome to Your Destruction

Today on Drabble Wednesday, the end of time and worlds await...




A Child is Born

Anya approached the dais. The All Mother gazed down at her.
“The prophesized child of dread is finally born. To the royal family. You, Anya, have been chosen to kill the babe.”
Anya nodded, honoured and secretly elated. “I will leave at once.”
Two nights later, Anya plucked the baby from his crib, cradling him gently.
“Do not worry, little one, I will keep you safe. I will make certain you fulfill your destiny. One day you will destroy the world.”
With a smile, and the child in her arms, Anya slipped out of the palace and into the night.

~*~



Last Breath

The smallest puff of air, like the flutter of wings from a long dead butterfly, brushed his cheek. He touched his skin, awed by the tiny sensation.
It has been so long.
So long since he felt anything, any touch, caress, heard any sound, gazed upon anything but burnt earth, and the approaching black abyss.
Nothing but the soundless scream of the silence and the emptiness.
He smiled. And for the first time in forever he rose from the earth. He swayed, unsteady, unsure on his feet. He started wobbling forward, walking.
I will go meet the end of time.

~*~


The Machine

Clack, clack noises, grinding creaks, whirs and squeaks filled the semblance of a nowhere room. A strange clockwork machine flicked and reeled and sputtered steam in a winding maze of peculiarity. Cogs and wheels spun on and on, while ball bearings rolled and tilted hither and yon, all twisted perfection of Rube Goldberg mechanics and absurdity. Each connection greased and harmonized with the next, all gyrating, puffing, wheezing life perpetually in motion.
Until it stops.
Until the last bit of starlight fades, and the pieces fail, and all the worlds turn to dust.
And this is how the universe ends.



© A. F. Stewart 2016 All Rights Reserved



Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Drabble Wednesday: Lost Things

Today on Drabble Wednesday I muse on things lost: memories, guardians, children...



Waiting

I remember the days before the Great Kingdoms.
Before the War and the Invaders from Across the Sea.
Before we served our conquering masters.
In those days we lived free. We were not governed by cruel kings, or benevolent queens, or petty warlords. We lived as nomads and farmers, each town, village or tribe ruled by Elder Councils, chosen by the people. And we had no need for mercenaries or soldiers, for we had protectors.
Until their blood spilled by the betrayer’s hand. Then they left us to the Invaders.
But they’ll return, one day.
The Dragons will come home.

~*~



Afternoon Tea

I traced the flower pattern on the tea cup with my finger. It seemed familiar to me, a fragment of memory floating out of reach. The afternoon sun was warm, and a breeze wafted the smell of gardenia. The table in the garden is set for two, a pot of hot tea ready, and a plate of pretty sandwiches.
But I’m alone.
A shadow fell across the lace tablecloth.
A woman sat down at the table and smiled at me. “Sorry, I’m late.”
I stared, suddenly confused. I grip the table edge. “Who are you?”
“It’s me, Mom, your daughter.”

~*~



Night Falls

Such a small mistake, ignoring her father’s warning, running after a bird into the trees.
“Stay on the path, Anna. Always stay on the path. You don’t want to lose your way in the forest.”
Now the sun had set and the weather turned cold, the bitter wind made her bones shiver. The moonlight snaked through the tree cover, enough light to that the child stumbled about underbrush for hour or two before collapsing in fright and exhaustion. She leaned against a tree, her face wet with tears.
She knew. She was lost in the night.
Lost in the woods.



© A. F. Stewart 2016 All Rights Reserved



Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Interview With Author Ulff Lehmann

Today I have an interview with fantasy author Ulff Lehmann, and a look at his book, Shattered Dreams. Enjoy.

An Interview With Ulff Lehmann



Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

Hi, I'm Ulff Lehmann, and while I am German I have decided to write in English. Primarily because I spent two thirds of my reading-life reading English novels. I have lived in the USA as an exchange student, and while I have always been interested in story telling, it was only in my early twenties that I started to write. After a few years being unable to put the phrases I wanted to say on paper, I realized that while I was reading a hell of a lot, up to 6 novels a month, all of these books were in English. Once that realization set in, I switched from German to English and haven't looked back since.

That I am a writer and a storyteller, I think my subconscious was always aware of, but instead of following my heart, I chose a career in banking. A career which did not last beyond the 2 years of training, which I finished more or less intact. After that I tried my hand at being a college student, but dropped out after a thankfully unsuccessful attempt to emigrate to the US. I came home, and stood before the shambles of my life, so to speak. No apartment, no job, no money in the bank. I moved back in with my parents, found a job doing temp work, found an apartment, reclaimed some normalcy.

Sadly normalcy isn't all it's made out to be. Jobs came, went, until I crashed. I recovered, got another job, crashed again. During that time, my best friend finally convinced me to go to therapy. Behaviour therapy set me straight, made me realize who and what I am, and I wrote my first two novels, Shattered Dreams and Shattered Hopes, during that time.


Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Shattered Dreams is the first part of a trilogy, a story that I have been developing for the better part of 25 years, actually. It is a multi-viewpoint story, the style pretty much inspired by A Song of Ice and Fire, with chapters bound together by the specific dates something or many things are occurring.


How long have you been writing, and how many books have you published to date?

I think my first short story, a precursor to Shattered Dreams, was released in a German fanzine sometime in 1994. I had been dabbling before, but never on any grander scale. Shattered Dreams is my first published novel.


Of all the books you've written, do you have a favourite?

Currently I am writing the third part, Shattered Bonds, and while I will always cherish Shattered Dreams as the first creative task I ever brought to an end, I would have to say that Bonds is my favourite.


Why did you decide to write in the fantasy genre?
It was the first genre I really delved into as a reader. Greek, Roman, Germanic Mythology, I've read so much fantasy, I cannot remember it all. I'm fairly certain that I will turn to other genres, eventually, once I have said all I wanted to say in fantasy for the time being.


What is the hardest part of writing fantasy fiction?

Assuring people that not only is your work no Tolkien clone, but that you have never even finished The Lord of the Rings because it bores the crap out of you.


What do you enjoy most about writing in the fantasy genre?

Fucking with people's preconceptions.


Who is your intended readership?

First and foremost I write stories I would want to read. That being said, since my tastes have changed dramatically over the past decade or so, my intended readership is basically anyone who likes a good book. The whole genre thing, the strict adherence to sticking to a specific kind of novels, be it fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, horror, is, in my opinion, rather narrow minded. A book's good when it's good, and if the story of a romance novel grabs my attention, I'll read that too.


Are there particular challenges in writing for your core readership?

Since my primary audience is, initially at least, myself, yes there are. I'm a tough nut to crack, I'm my own worst critic, and to read anything without my inner editor screaming blue murder at stuff I dislike is impossible. Prose has got so boring, to me at least. Show me a book that has every sentence of almost every passage begin with "He..." or "She..." and I show you a writer who never bothered to polish his prose. Fifth graders write like that, and I hate it. Beginning every sentence differently, weaving words into something exciting, that is tough.


What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

Finishing it.


What did you find most challenging about writing your book?

Finishing it.


Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book?

The stupid characters refuse to do what I want them to! Seriously, the more I got to know the characters, the less the preconceived path I had laid out made sense. In the end, I let the characters choose.


What did you hope to accomplish by publishing your book?

My first hope was to finish what had begun during my days at therapy. Finishing the novel was a huge step for me. Publishing the book, is close second. Truth be told, I had not thought much further than that. Yes, I wanted people to be touched by it, and given that one reader has already started to read the book again, I believe I have accomplished just that.


When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

To me there's a difference, between conscious and subconscious realization. I've always been creative, in terms of story telling. I discovered role playing games in my early teens, and lived out my natural desire to tell stories there. When I started developing my main character for the short stories (who would later become the protagonist of the novels) I think I had an inkling, but since I was so stunted in the self awareness department, I did not really follow through. When I started therapy in earnest, that's when it literally punched me in the face.


Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

A three part question, fun! I start with the routine, because the process and the routine go hand in hand. The day before I return to writing, I make sure to go to bed so that I wake up at around 8 to 8:30 in the morning. From there, I fix a cup of tea (well, tankard is more appropriate, seeing that the bugger holds 0.75 litres) switch on my TV and watch one episode of a drama and two episodes of a sitcom. I also have my breakfast during that time. When the second episode of whatever sitcom is done, I shut off the TV, switch on the stereo to blast something metallic through the speakers, loud enough that it will reach me under the shower. After that, and before I get dressed, I change the song to The Blood of CuChulainn and then get into my clothes. With the final notes of Blood ending, I open my windows, put on my shoes, grab whatever non-fantasy book I am currently reading and head to my favourite café. There, I enjoy the novel whilst drinking a large cappuccino. Then, with my mind clear, I return home, switch on my writing computer and the stereo with my "writing-soundtrack" and begin.
The process is rather straight forward. I check where I left off, recheck some of the previous chapters to get my bearing, and write. I generally have a good idea of what I want to do, where the story will go, and while that first day of writing is mostly spent fixing some stuff from where I left off and before, I add another few pages before I stop. The following days are the same, only now I am fully back in the zone and new pages start flowing.
Ideas... good question... I'd say the primary idea comes from somewhere between waking and dreaming, that blank space between thoughts. That sounds better than, I get some damn good ideas under the shower, or while taking a dump, or shortly before falling asleep, which is the shittiest time to have any ideas because you have to get your ass out of bed and write the ideas down. The rest is basically following these ideas with logic.


What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

Making sure everything is logical.


Do you have a favourite author, or writing inspiration?

George R.R. Martin, Bernard Cornwell, Tad Williams.


How do you research your books?

I read non-fiction.


What advice would you give beginning writers?

Read, read, read, read, and read outside your comfort zone. If you only play in your sandbox and never in the forest or whatever, you will never understand the larger world. And stop looking at fucking Twilight for inspiration! You get about the same amount of crap from staring at used toilet paper!


What do you like to do when you're not writing? Any hobbies?

Movies


How did you become interested in movies?

Best alternative to reading books.


Are you working on another book?

I am currently working on the last part of the trilogy that starts with Shattered Dreams.


What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

Not sure yet. I want to finish the trilogy first, then worry about what comes next.


Author Bio:

German born but English writing author, Ulff Lehmann, was raised reading, almost any and everything, from the classic Greek to Roman to Germanic myths to more appropriate fiction for children his age. Initially devouring books in his native language, he switched to reading English books during a year long stay in the USA as a foreign exchange student.

In the years since, he has lost count of the books he has read, unwilling to dig into the depths of his collection. An avid fantasy reader, he grew dissatisfied with the constant lack of technological evolution in many a fantasy world, and finally, when push came to shove, he began to realize not only his potential as a story teller but also his vision of a mythical yet realistic world in which to settle the tale in he had been developing for 20 years.

Author's Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Ralchanh/



Shattered Dreams by Ulff Lehmann





For two years the mercenary Drangar Ralgon has kept his back to his dark past. Afraid to live, afraid to die, Drangar tries to ignore the abyss that lies behind him. Now, faced with a war he wants nothing to do with, he finally turns around and gazes back.
Inspired by the vigorous style of George R.R. Martin's A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, and in the vein of historical fictioneer Bernard Cornwell, SHATTERED DREAMS brings to life a stark, uncompromising tale of a man's path to redemption.

You can find Shattered Dreams at:

Amazon (US)
Amazon (UK)

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Book Spotlight: Mourning Dove Locket

Today I have a special treat, with a book spotlight for the paranormal novel Mourning Dove Locket by author Juli D. Revezzo. There's a peek at the book, it's trailer, and an excerpt. Enjoy.





Mourning Dove Locket by Juli D. Revezzo

For antique shop owners Caitlin and Trevor Fulmer, the intrusion of gods and ghosts is an unfortunate daily occurrence. After a young girl offers Caitlin a gold locket, however, she can’t help but notice it’s oozing with paranormal energy.

More significantly, the locket’s owner is surrounded by Otherworld spirits. Caitlin recognizes in the girl all the signs of a budding witch in the midst of a dangerous crisis.

Can she and her covenmates protect the girl and assist her in embracing her powers, before those beyond the veil extract their revenge?






Mourning Dove Locket is available at:


and in Paperback




Book Trailer






Excerpt from Mourning Dove Locket



“Hi,” a girl’s voice drew Caitlin’s attention away from the jewelry. Behind her, for an instant, something shimmered in the sunlight. An old woman smiled, there and gone, startling Caitlin.
She’d had bad luck with fear the last year and wondered when her heart would give out from it. Ghost, another pesky ghost, she thought. Gulf Breeze was full of them, these days. The apparition already gone, Caitlin scrutinized the girl, taking in her dark ponytail, her shorts. She was about fifteen or maybe sixteen, Caitlin judged from the braided bracelet on her wrist, and her height. But more important markers interested her. The girl’s solidity, that she couldn’t see through her, the perfume-cloud around her, and the sheen of sweat on her lip and staining her blue short-sleeved school uniform shirt, told Caitlin she must be alive.
“You like jewelry,” she said.
Caitlin’s hand sought out her peridot and gold ingot necklace, the one she’d received from the goddess Arianrhod, an heirloom her former incarnation had left in her care. Payable on her next life.
The necklace had almost come at a stiff price, very nearly the loss of her beloved Trevor. If she ever met her other self, Kate, in a dark forest, they were going to have a long, serious discussion. She wondered if the other Kate understood what “what the hell, woman?” meant.
She’d seen enough of Kate’s tribulations to know she did.
Caitlin scanned the store, seeking out Hofter—the evil imp who had given them both fits.
Seeing that he wasn’t doing handstands near the doors of the dressing room—or anywhere else, for that matter—she turned back to the teen.
“Sure. Some pieces. Why?”
From her pocket, the girl produced a small, oval gold locket. “I bet you’ll like this.”
Caitlin cocked her head, studying the piece.
She offered it but Caitlin kept her hand firmly placed on her warm hip. She’d learned never to touch first. She’d even become wary of sniffing strange things, in the last few months. As there was no sense in jumping to conclusions yet, she met the girl’s hazel-eyed gaze. Clear and calm, yet expectant.
Her fingers proved warm and soft when she laid the necklace in Caitlin’s. This girl was no ghost.
“It’s my abuela—grandma’s.” She glanced over her shoulder to, Caitlin thought, a woman. “Mom doesn’t want it. She wants to sell it anyway.”
“You should give it back to your grandma, then.”
“I can’t.” The girl shook her head, disturbing her shining black curls. “But my grandma needs it.”
Caitlin wondered how many times a year her heart could stop, and yet, keep her alive. It is my Grandma’s. I can’t give it to her. But Grandma needs it. Oh…
Surely, these weren’t normal verbal slips. She knew present tense when it was used.
Caitlin studied the locket in her hand. Some sort of dove graced the smooth gold cover. She flipped it over, squinting for the maker name or some sort of engraving to identify the owner. She didn’t see one.
Turning it over one more time, she ran a finger over the dove, closed her hand around it. “I can’t take it from you, dear, but let me go talk to your mom.” She smiled at her. “Maybe we can work something out.”
The girl shrugged and headed in the direction of a table full of pots and pans. A woman of clear Hispanic descent stood there, perusing the items. Caitlin approached her yet her daughter made the introductions. “Mom, she’ll give Abuela her necklace.”
Did the teen have any idea what she said? She peered at the girl. She was no ghost.
The woman blinked dark eyes. “It’s a locket, mija, and you know she doesn’t need it anymore,” she said, a hint of accent to her voice. The woman met her gaze, a sheepish smile on her face. “Don’t pay any attention to her, ma’am.”
She doesn’t need it anymore. The grandmother might indeed be dead.
“She has an active imagination.” Yet Caitlin had a feeling the girl was more than imaginative. Was she a budding medium?
Caitlin knew how treacherous the training was. Her heart twisted for the girl. Was she too about to go through hell, as Caitlin had?
She held her hand out for the locket, but a little voice whispered in her mind that it would be better if she made a deal. “I’ll tell you what.” Why can’t Trevor be here for this? Buying and selling antiques was his forte; she was still an apprentice. “My husband owns an antique shop.” She opened her purse, pulled out a Starfort Collectibles business card, and handed it to the woman. “Your daughter says you’d like to be rid of this necklace. I’m sure my husband can give you a fair price for it.”
The woman took the card and studied the embossed lettering, the star sitting beside Trevor’s name.
Starfort Collectibles; Trevor Fulmer, Owner, Proprietor. Caitlin was still pleased with the printing job she’d done here. For however much she hated working for Kameko’s Print Shop, they’d done good work together.
Caitlin frowned at the memory of the print shop’s jackass manager, Calvin. Glad to be out from under Calvin’s thumb, she retrieved her cell phone. A quick search of Starfort Collectibles’ website gave her a good idea of a preliminary offer. Without Trevor, it felt strange to make such a promise, but then she remembered what Michela once told her: Legally, she owned half of their business. Wouldn’t any offer she made be just as valid? Still, flipping the piece over in her hand, she wasn’t sure. “Let me see what I can do.” Caitlin took a few steps away, dialing Trevor’s cell phone number.
“Starfort Collectibles,” Trevor answered in two rings.
“How much would you give someone for an old locket?”
“What age?”
“I don’t know,” Caitlin admitted.
“Condition?”
“It’s a bit banged up. There’s a teenage girl offering it to me, so I suppose it’s expected.”
“Why would she offer it to you?” he asked.
“Don’t know. But I have a hunch.”
“Do you?”
Caitlin glanced over her shoulder. The mother was trying to mind her own business, so Caitlin lowered her voice. “She claims her grandmother wants me to have it.”
“What’s the grandmother say?” he asked.
She cleared her throat. “I don’t think she cares for money anymore.”
“Oh…” The tone in Trevor’s voice told her he absolutely understood in what world the grandmother currently resided.



Author Bio

Juli D. Revezzo writes fantasy and romantic stories filled in with elements garnered from a lifetime love affair with magic, myth, witches, wizards, and fated lovers and legend. She is the author of The Antique Magic series and the Paranormal Romance Celtic Stewards Chronicles series, New Adult romance Changeling's Crown, and short stories published in ETERNAL HAUNTED SUMMER, LUNA STATION QUARTERLY, among others. She is also a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour. 





To learn more about this and future releases, visit her at:

Sign up for her newsletter at: http://bit.ly/SNI5K6




Subscribe Now:

Search This Blog

Loading...

Monthly Pageviews