Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Drabble Wednesday: Deception

Today on Drabble Wednesday, things may not be what they seem... Beware deceivers and tricksters.





The Forever Promise

Ashes and dust.
I leaned against the tree, unable to look back at the house, knowing what I had done. The consequence of what I set in motion.
I never expected to be happy here.
I sighed, and straightened my spine. None of it mattered now.
Soon everything will be over. My duty kept and my oath sealed to fate.
“Anora! There you are.”
The sweet voice of my husband. I turned and smiled. Always the deceiver.
He loves me. I love him. That will change soon. My curse will descend tonight and doom us both to a living hell.

~*~




Don’t Con the Wrong Guy

We made a big mistake
It was supposed to be a quick job. In and out. Scam the rich guy of some money and hightail it. My partner and I figured it for an easy job on an easy mark.
Like I said, we made a big mistake.
It started same as always, lay on the lies and watch the sucker fall for it. Only... he never quite showed the money. Always with the excuse.
He played us. Isn’t that funny?
Now my partner’s dead, and I’m being hunted.
Seems Loki doesn’t like it when you attempt to swindle him.

~*~




Upstanding Citizen

I straightened the plaque on the wall. An award I accepted at last night’s fund raiser dinner for a local charity. I smiled.
Humanitarian of the Year.
Another one for my collection. Throw some money at the right people and they reward you with shiny engraved metal fastened on a bit of polished wood. But they never look closely at who you really are.
They should. For I picked up something for my other collection last night as well. A pretty dark-eyed something called Sylvie. Only she’s not so pretty this morning.
The dead never are.
And Sylvie’s very dead.







© A. F. Stewart 2017 All Rights Reserved


Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Fireside Chat with Havoc from The Hunters Saga


Today Are You Afraid of the Dark joins the blog tour for The Hunters Saga by Heidi Angell with a Fireside Chat. Our always delightful fictional interviewer Richard Dale sits down with Havoc, werewolf and vampire hunter. Take it away Richard...





Fireside Chat with Havoc



“Welcome everyone, to another Fireside Chat. I’m Richard Dale, your host. Today, our guest is the werewolf Havoc, hunter of rogue vampires and partner to Fury. Welcome Havoc.” Richard Dale holds out a hand in greeting.

Havoc grips Richard’s forearm and gives a solid shake. “Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to defend myself.”

“Why don’t we begin with some details of your life. Exactly who is Havoc?”

Havoc tilts his head quizzically, thinking of an answer. Richard gives him a prompting look as he is taking quite some time. “I am the son of Keezheekoni, and grew up as son to the Alpha in our pack, Niigaanii. After my father’s death, I was not prepared to be Alpha. I could not submit to another, so I became a lone wolf.”
Havoc gazes into the distance, lost in his thoughts. A gentle clearing of Richard’s throat brings Havoc around. “That is when I joined Fury in her quest to track down an ancient vampire, Malich, who is… well, as all vampires, a rather dire creature. I do not know why Fury wants his head so badly, but I get to kill vampires, so I cannot object.”

Richard Dale smiles. “So, how does one become a vampire hunter? Did you seek it out, or did the opportunity come to you? And what role did your Counsel play in your decision, if any?”

Havoc laughs uncomfortably. “I do not think anyone chooses to be a vampire hunter. Each person I have met in this life lost a great deal to the vampires. That is why they do what they do. Fury and I are apparently in a lot of trouble with the Counsel because they have signed a peace treaty with the vampires. They are ignoring vampires who blatantly risk the lives of all supernatural beings, by risking exposure.”

Fascinating. On a more personal note, what is your fondest childhood memory?”

Havoc swallows, visibly upset. He swallows again, trying to get control of his emotion.
“My fondest memory was the first time I turned. My Alpha was there. He helped me with the transition, kept me safe, and showed me that despite the pain, being a Were doesn’t have to be horrible.”

Richard leans forward slightly. “How was your relationship with your father, and how did his death affect you?”

“Beyond the fact that he was an exceptional Alpha, who led with a light paw. As a father, he was larger than life. He..” Havoc clears his throat. “He was everything I hope to be one day. Patient, kind, wise, generous. I really lost my way after he died.”

“I see. Do you think this shaped the way you deal with your present relationships? Your bond with Fury, for instance, or your connection with your fellow werewolves, Screvin and Avie?”

“Well, he certainly taught me patience. I hope I can teach Screvin the same. I need a lot of patience to handle Fury. I never intended to become Avie’s Alpha. But I have tried to lead Avie and Screvin through their transitions with a light paw. Being a Were is difficult enough, without having an Alpha who takes advantage of their position. Unfortunately, that has caused… conflicts between Fury and me. I really do not know how my father did it.”

A sudden interruption of clinking cups halts the conversation, as a distinguished gentleman enters the room carrying a tea tray.

Ah, I believe it’s time for some refreshment. Impeccable timing, Jenkins. I’m parched.” Richard turns to Havoc. “Meet our indispensable butler. Jenkins, this is our guest, Havoc.”

“A pleasure, sir. I have a lovely Oolong tea today, as well as coffee. And some scones fresh from the oven. Would you care for a cup and a bite to eat?” Jenkins sets the tray down and waits.

Havoc nods nervously, noting the silver tongs for the sugar with vague unease. “Coffee is fine, thank you.”

Richard nods politely, thrumming his fingers on the arm of his chair. “I’ll take the tea. And one scone.”

Jenkins pours two cups, serves both men, before retreating.

Richard Dale takes a sip of his tea and asks, “Have your feelings and loyalties changed towards the Counsel? Now that they are hunting you?”

“Well, I am sure that there is simply a misunderstanding. If Fury and I could simply speak with them, without the vampire faction intervening, then I am sure they would agree that their actions are unwarranted. That is how I was hoping you could help.”

I’m not sure what sway I have, but you never know who pays attention to these little chats of mine.” Richard smiled, somewhat smugly and with a touch of pompous mystery. “The Council can be a stubborn authority. And speaking of such, what is your view of authority in general? Are you a conformist, or a bit of a rebel?

“I respect…” Havoc hesitates, searching for the right words. “I respect authority when it is wielded wisely, for the good of all. I think that is the Counsel’s intention, and I feel that they must be warned about what is really happening.”

Richard nodded. “True. The paranormal realm can be highly dangerous. So who is your worst enemy? And your best friend?

"I am my own worst enemy. Fury is my best friend."

“And for the final question, where do you see your life headed? In terms of relationships, goals, even survival?”

“As I have been trying to explain. We must get message to the Counsel so that they call off this foolish wolf-hunt. If you can get word to them, then we may have a chance. If we can appear before them, we can explain the situation and I am sure that they will understand.”

“Thank you, Havoc, for agreeing to this interview.” Richard Dale leans back into his chair with a sigh. Then he flashes a smile. “I’m sure the Council will hear of this.”


~*~

The Hunters Saga




The Hunters by Heidi Angell

What would you do if you found your town had been infested with vampires? For Chris and his brother Lucas, the answer was simple enough: you fight back. Gathering a small band of other people in their town who have been affected by the vampires, they begin a resistance. But after a year of fighting, they have only managed to kill a handful, while the vampire leader has turned five times that many.

Then two enigmatic strangers appear, changing the group’s lives even further.

Fury and Havoc. They call themselves hunters, and want no part in this little band of heroes. Ordering them to lay low, the duo vow to rid their town of vampires. When Fury is injured, Chris aides these strangers, entwining his future with theirs.

Now that the vampires know the hunters are here, and that Chris and his friends have helped them, the group is in more danger than ever before. Lucas is torn between protecting his new family from the vampires, and protecting them from these seemingly inhuman beings who say they are there to help.

After all, what beings could be so powerful as to scare a vampire?


The Hunters is available on:







The Hunted
by Heidi Angell


The highly-anticipated sequel to The Hunters Saga.

Now The Hunters become the hunted.

Follow Fury, Havoc and Screvin as they track down the Werewolf who turned Screvin and try to help her come to terms with what she is. Things are going better than expected with Avie, then the Counsel comes after them. Now the hunters have become the hunted.

Releases February 18th.










ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heidi Angell is a bibliophile, lexicomaniac and wordsmith. She is the author of The Hunters Series, The Clear Angel Chronicles, and The Hell School Series. She also created Royal Prince Vince, and Creative Exercises to Inspire. 
When she is not reading and writing, she can be found spending quality time with her lovely family camping, hiking, swimming, or watching movies.

Learn more at her website www.heidiangell.com
Want to get to know Heidi better? Follow her on Goodreads, Instagram, or join her e-newsletter to get weekly emails that show Heidi’s reader side with author interviews, book reviews, and other awesome bookish fun!


Like to see more of The Hunters Saga? Check out the tour dates!


Tour List:

1/13 Announcing the Tour at www.heidiangell.com 
1/14 Character Spotlight of Chris for Linda Bloodworth’s blog.
1/15 Why My vampires don't Sparkle on Notes Around the Bend
1/15 Reading by Fiatcelebrity on Twitch My reading begins at 2 hours 8 minutes.
1/18 I am participating in Lyndsey Harper’s The Fell Facebook Party. Come by and learn more about The Hunters Saga.
1/19 Character Spotlight of Terah on Notes Around the Bend
1/20 A Brief History of Vampires http://www.alteredinstinct.com/
1/21 Book spotlight and review of The Hunters from Andy Peloquin
1/22 Character Spotlight for Lucas on Kanundra’s blog
1/23 Interview with Timothy Bateson
1/24  (Character Spotlight) Fireside chat with Havoc and  Richard Dale
1/25 Youtube Live talk with Joshua Robertson

1/28 Guest Post: A Brief History of Werewolves on Timothy Bateson’s blog
1/29 Character Spotlight: Screvin on Joshua Robertson’s blog.
1/31 Interview on Author First Radio at 7 pm EST.
2/1 A book review on N.W. Moors Blog.
2/3 Interview on Tom Falwell’s blog
2/6 Excerpts on Mary Woldering’s Blog
2/9 Book pre-release announcement on Magic of Stories.
2/12 Author interview on Behind the Pages
2/14 My Bloody Valentine Facebook Hop with A.F. Stewart.
2/17-2/19 Facebook Celebration for the Launch of The Hunted
2/15 Interview with author Michael Dellert.
2/16 Coffee Break with Joe of Go Indie Now.
2/18 Guest Post Man’s Fascination with Immortality on Andy Peloquin’s blog.
2/20  Author interview with Daniel M. Quilter.
2/24 Author interview with Adan Ramie
2/25 Book review on Notes Around the Bend
3/1 Nerd Wisdom with Daniel M. Quilter.








Saturday, 21 January 2017

Book Spotlight: Child of the Night Guild by Andy Peloquin



Today I have a spotlight on the new dark fantasy release, Child of the Night Guild by Andy Peloquin, first novel in the Queen of Thieves series. I have a look at the book and the author, plus an excerpt. Enjoy.


Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1) by Andy Peloquin




"They killed my parents. They took my name. They imprisoned me in darkness. I would not be broken."

Viola, a child sold to pay her father's debts, has lost everything: her mother, her home, and her identity. Thrown into a life among criminals, she has no time for grief as she endures the brutal training of an apprentice thief. The Night Guild molds an innocent waif into a cunning, agile outlaw skilled in the thieves' trade. She has only one choice: steal enough to pay her debts.
The cutthroat streets of Praamis will test her mettle, and she must learn to dodge the City Guards or swing from a hangman's rope. But a more dangerous foe lurks within the guild walls. A sadistic rival apprentice, threatened by her strength, is out for blood.
What hope does one girl have in a world of ruthless men?



Child of the Night Guild can be found at:




Excerpt from Child of the Night Guild


"Are you sure you're doing it right, Seven?"
Seven scrunched her face, concentrating hard. "I'm doing it just like he showed us, Three. See?" She attempted to snatch the purse.
Three patted the oversized waistcoat Master Velvet had given him.
"I could still feel it. So you're doing something wrong."
Frustration mounting, Seven tried again, doing exactly as Master Velvet had taught them. Walk toward the mark. Bump into him. Dip two fingers into his pocket to hook the purse. Apologize to the mark and touch him with my free hand. Hide the purse in my palm and hurry away.
He shook his head. "That time, too. I can feel you pulling the purse out when you move away. Maybe you need to do it faster."
"I can't do it faster, Three. Not yet, at least." Seven clenched her fists in frustration.
He held up a hand. "It's okay, Seven. Give it time. You'll get it."
"Here." She threw him the bulging, cloth-stuffed purse. "Let me try again." Even as she tugged the purse free, the look on Three's face told her she'd failed.
Her friend shrugged. "Still felt it."
Seven ground her teeth. Master Velvet said this is supposed to be easy. So why can't I get it right?
Three tugged the vest over his head. "Let's give the bump a break for a moment." He pulled a dun-colored cloak around his shoulders. "What say we give the snatch a try?"
Seven nodded. The snatch required timing and dexterity, but she'd grown adept at it. She walked toward Three, brushed against his cloak, and lifted the purse from the hidden pocket, all without breaking stride.
Three's eyes widened. "Damn, Seven. I didn't feel a thing!"
She beamed. "Well, at least there's one thing I'm good at."
Master Velvet strode up behind her and took her small, muddy hands. "You've got good finger-work, tyro." He ran his calloused hands over her fingers. "They're quick and nimble. With the right training, you could become quite the purse collector."
"Thank you, Master Velvet." She flushed at his praise. It was the first full compliment she'd ever heard pass his lips.
"Keep it up, Seven. Three." With a nod, he moved to the next pair of tyros.
Three slapped her on the shoulder. "Look at that! You're getting there."
"Yeah. Now if only I could get the bump down properly." She held out her arms. "Here, give me the vest and cloak. You've got to practice, too."
As Three passed her the clothing, Twelve's shout echoed through the Menagerie. "Damn it! You're doing it wrong, you stupid sack of shite."
Two met Twelve's glare without a trace of fear. "How in the Keeper's name can I be doing it wrong, Twelve?" Two was taller than Twelve, though not as broad. "I'm standing here in this vest. You’re supposed to be pulling the damned purse."
"Well…" Twelve faltered, his face reddening. With a snarl, he threw the purse in Two's face and stormed off.
Three snorted. "Looks like he's not doing much better than you are, Seven."
Seven glared at her friend. "That's not saying much for me, you know. With those fat sausage fingers, he can barely fit his hands in the pocket."
"There you go." He gave her a broad grin. "You've got the advantage, at least over him. Just give it time and you'll get better at it."
She rolled her eyes. "Well, let's see how good you are."
"I'll bet you a peach I can do the bump better than you."
"You're on!"


Vicious, ruthless criminals are made, not born. Child of the Night Guild—an insight into the transformation from innocent child to thief and killer. 



Author Bio:



Andy Peloquin: Lover of All Things Dark and Mysterious

"I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist--words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I'm also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.

Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle--it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!"



A Few of His Favorite Things

Favorite Books: The Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch, The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson, Sherlock Holmes by A.C. Doyle, Warlord of Mars by E.R. Burroughs
Favorite Songs: Wrong Side of Heaven by Five Finger Death Punch, Prayer by Disturbed, I'm an Albatraoz by AronChupa, Look Down from Les Miserables, Shatter Me by Lindsay Sterling and Lizzi Hale
Favorite Movies: 300, Red Cliff, Shoot Em Up, Love Actually, Princess Bride
Favorite Comics: Anything with Deadpool, Wolverine or Doop in it
Favorite Foods: Hot Wings, Meat-Lover's Salad, A good sandwich (made by me), Yaki Soba, Sushi
Favorite TV Shows: The Flash, Daredevil, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hawaii Five-0, Brooklyn 99, Firefly (too soon!), The Last Ship, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones







Thursday, 19 January 2017

Book Spotlight: The Fell by Lyndsey Harper

Today we are pleased to feature a new release, the dark fantasy novel, The Fell, the debut book from author Lyndsey Harper. There is a sneak peek at the book with an excerpt, plus a short interview with the author. Enjoy!


The Fell (The Naetan Lance Saga Book 1) by Lyndsey Harper






After the brutal death of his mentor, Leer Boxwell's only desire is vengeance. However, his belief that the murderer is the mythical Grimbarror has made him the laughing stock of the Vale. When Leer witnesses the beast steal away the princess in an unexpected attack on the royal city, he volunteers to hunt the creature. Battling self-doubt and ridicule, while struggling to control a mysterious power within that he does not fully understand, Leer must decide whether his convictions are worth the sacrifice the Fell demands.


The Fell is available at Amazon










Excerpt:

A hush fell over the inn; the fiddle music screeched to an abrupt halt.
Bilby’s eyes narrowed. “What did you say?” he asked.
“I said,” Leer repeated, “I wish to know everything you know about the Grimbarror.”
Callous laughter exploded through the men and few barmaids present, ripples of mockery piercing Leer’s ears.
“You well-washed loon,” Bilby cackled, slapping his knee through his amusement. “You wish to hear fairy tales, is that it?”
Leer’s jaw flexed as he clamped his molars together. “I seek the truth.”
“Hah!” Bilby screeched. “Would you like a cup of warm milk to go with your bedtime story, Boy?”
Leer squeezed his eyes shut briefly, trying to push away the reverberating voices around him. “Are you, or are you not, the Marcus Bilby that Finnigan Lance spoke of?” he demanded. “The one whose life he saved?”
Another wave of eerie silence fell over the inn. Bilby leaned in, gripping the table with white knuckles. “What name did you say?” he asked.
“Finnigan Lance,” Leer enunciated.
“Curse you for speaking that name,” Bilby snarled, spitting on the ground.
“Cheating scoundrel, he was,” a man bellowed from the rear of the crowd.
“Nothin’ but a drink bloated habbersnitch.” another agreed.
“You’d better have good reason for speaking that name in this place, Boy,” Bilby warned, leaning forward.
“He wasn’t a cheat,” Leer snapped. “You peddled furs with him. You worked with him, and he saved your life from insurgents. And I do believe you owe him a favor.”
A murmur trickled through the crowd, sending Bilby into visible panic as his peers reacted to the revelation.
“And what?” Bilby retorted with a scoff. “Lance has come back from the dead to claim it?”
Leer’s jaw flexed. Finnigan’s death was still fresh in his mind; it had not been long since he found his bloodied, mauled corpse. “Nay. You’ll pay your debt to him through answering my questions.”
Bilby’s eyes narrowed. “And just who are you to lay claim to any favors?”
Leer held his gaze. “His son.”




Interview with Lyndsey Harper



Please tell us your name and a little bit about yourself.

Hi! My name is Lyndsey Harper, and I write dark fantasy. I love stories with magic and grit. I’m a wife, a mom, and I work in a theatre when I’m not writing.


How old were you when you started writing?  When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I have been writing ever since I can remember. It started with a newsletter I wrote each month for my next-door neighbor about my pet rabbit, and then turned into poetry, fan fiction, songs, and eventually original work. I didn’t always want to write, though, despite my natural inclination toward it. My mother saw my future in writing well before I did. When I was younger, writing wasn’t glamorous enough for me. I thought it would be a boring career choice. Can you imagine, writing as a boring occupation? (LOL) It wasn’t really until high school that I embraced writing fully.


What would you say motivates you to keep writing?

The first is my daughter. Plenty of times, she’s actually a writing “hindrance,” so to speak. Still, my writing as an adult started full-swing when she was first born, and I keep going to show her that she, too, can achieve her dreams with hard work. Secondly, the characters themselves keep me going. If it’s not a character I’m familiar with that’s bugging me, it’s a new one waiting to be written. There are people in my head, and they won’t be quiet. ;) The last thing is caffeine – caffeine most definitely motivates me.


Who are some of your favorite authors?

What are you currently reading (or what is the last book you read)? C.S. Lewis is a long-time favorite. I adore his work. I love Dan Brown’s writing style and his pacing. Right now, I’ve got quite a few books started. “Unclaimed” by Laurie Wetzel, “Crimson Bayou” by Alizabeth Lynn, and “The Shadow Revolution” by Clay and Susan Griffith.


What is the title of your current work in progress of the most recent manuscript you’ve completed? 

My debut novel is entitled, “The Fell.” It’s the first installment of The Naetan Lance Saga.


What is your novel’s genre?  Would you say there is a sub-genre?  What makes yours different than other books in the same genre?

My book falls into the dark fantasy genre, with a sword and sorcery feel to it. I think what sets “The Fell” apart is how it uses concepts from dystopian and sci-fi works and weaves it into a medieval fantasy setting. And that’s pretty much all I can say without spoiling it. ;)


What inspired the current or most recent story you’ve completed?

There were a few inspiration sources for “The Fell,” namely “The X-Files” for its grit and mystery, and the conflict of defining truth. I also drew inspiration from “Star Wars,” and ancient Greek tragedies for character interactions, some themes, and backgrounds. I looked a lot to Scandinavian and Nordic geographies and cultural elements while writing, and that is reflected a lot in the story.


How do you come up with your character names and geographic location / business names?

Naming comes from a combination of research and browsing. I pick names that speak to me, either for what they remind me of, or for what they mean. About 90% of the time, I used a slightly different method for naming the creatures in my story: I would look at what animal or insect was the closest to what I saw in my mind, and see the number of syllables each name had. Then, I would base the new name off of a characteristic of the “real” animal or insect, using however many syllables I had. If I didn’t apply that method, then the names derived from just a characteristic, or from completely unrelated “nonsensical” words that stuck with me for whatever odd reason. For locations, I based a lot of the geography off Scandinavian and Nordic landscapes, so I played with consonant and vowel arrangements often seen in those areas.


What is the quirkiest thing you do or have ever done when writing? 

I have had my husband stand in and move through physical motions with me, especially for a battle scene. It really helps to make sure the movements are realistic. I also read dialogue aloud a lot, which is a little embarrassing.



Author Bio:


Lyndsey is a brilliant author you’ve likely never heard of, Superwife, and award-winning mother living life in leggings in the expensive and overcrowded state of New Jersey. She is fluent in Spanglish and Sarcasm and enjoys watching Arrow, Supernatural, Psych, and The X-Files repeatedly. You can find her either in the grocery store buying laundry detergent, Tylenol, and cat litter, hovering near her Keurig coffee brewer, or shaking her fist at the heavens in front of her computer. Occasionally, you may spot her on the beach or out shopping (when she actually has money to spare). However, you should avoid approaching her at such times as she is likely enjoying a rare moment of relaxation and can become moody if interrupted. If you decide to engage her during any one of these activities, approach with caution and a sizable cup of Starbucks in hand to avoid any ill effects.

You can find her on:




Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Drabble Wednesday: Dark Roads and Wrong Turns

Today, on Drabble Wednesday, I bring you hungry things, temptation indulged, and the horrors under the stairs...



Angels and Bunnies

I think I’m dead. I’m staring at an angel. Sitting on a swing holding a bunny.
“He’s my pet. And you’re not dead. Not yet.”
Huh? She knew what I was thinking?
“Oh, yes, your thoughts are clear. But I’m no angel.”
Oh. I must be dreaming.
“In a way. You’re hallucinating from my venom.”
Venom?
“Yes. Injected when I bit you. You took a wrong turn last evening, walking in the park.”
Bit me? Walk? Wait. I did take a walk.
“Yes. And crossed my path. Too bad for you. I’m hungry, you see. And so is the bunny.”

~*~






Seduction

Why did I listen?
Why did I leave the village with the wizard?
It wasn’t his handsome face, or his beautiful voice, or those honeyed words he whispered in my ear. I knew he spun me lies, that he meant none of the promises spilling from his silver tongue.
I followed him anyway.
I knew he’d lead me where I wanted to go. Take me to the place I needed to be.
I used him.
Now he’s a bleeding sacrifice on my altar, and I’m in the arms of my god.
Death has finally accepted my offering.
Accepted my love.

~*~




The Bottom of the Stairs

Don’t go downstairs.”
Stay away from the lower chamber.”
No one who wanders down there ever comes back.”
The warnings echoed in my head as I stood at the top of the staircase. The steps spiralled down into darkness. It wasn’t hard to believe the stories of unnatural creatures living beneath the castle proper.
If only I hadn’t dropped the letter.
I didn’t want to go, but I needed to retrieve it. I started downstairs, my tread echoing off the wood. I sighed when my foot touched the bottom.
Find the letter. Climb back up.
Then something grabbed my ankle...






© A. F. Stewart 2017 All Rights Reserved


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Drabble Wednesday: Silent Stars and Skies

Today on Drabble Wednesday look to the sky...





Instant Nightmare

Help me!
Someone, anyone! I can see you. Down there on the street. Look up! Someone look up!
A downdraft blew across the sidewalk stirring dust. A man clamped a hand on his hat and a child jumped over a gusting newspaper. He was rebuked by his mother.
Help me! Don’t let them take me! Do something!
Another flurry of wind blustered over the gathered crowd.
Please do something! Help me! Save me!
They all stared at the body. One whispered, “He just collapsed. So sudden.”
While above it all, black winged creatures dragged the man’s soul higher and higher...

~*~





Dream a Little Dream

I used to stare into the night sky, and wish upon the stars.
I imagined the day I would fly into space, when I would soar among those pinpricks of heavenly light, exploring. My goal was to glimpse new suns, set my foot upon the dust and dirt of unfamiliar landscapes. I dreamt of discovery, delving into the mysterious beauty and strange alien existence of the universe.
I used to stare into the night sky, and wish upon the stars.
Before I knew what was out there.
Before they came to our planet.
Before we became their new feeding ground.

~*~





Mission Alpha

“Twinkle, twinkle little star
Above our world, so near, so far
Like a time bomb in the sky
Boom, boom, and now we die.”
First Engineer ZYF779 scowled, or as close to the expression as an android could approximate. “Stop being so morbid. The Sunstar Station hasn’t gone critical yet. We can fix the reactor before it detonates.”
Second Engineer THX732 turned away from the transport window. “Yes. This time. But you know the moon colony is living on borrowed time without an upgrade.”
“Well, that’s not going to happen. We’ve been abandoned by Earth Command.”
“Twinkle, twinkle little star.” 





© A. F. Stewart 2017 All Rights Reserved



Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Drabble Wednesday: A Strange New Year

Today, on this first Drabble Wednesday of 2017, I bring odd tales of the old year passing into the new...



  
Breakdown

“You just had to take the scenic route! On our end of the year holiday! And now the engine’s failed! And we’re stuck in some backwater nowheresville!”
“How was I to know? The engine was working just fine until, well, five minutes ago.”
“It was working just fine... How many times have I heard that?” Lips turned into a pouty sneer. “How long until mechanical assistance shows up?”
“They said about an hour, depending on their hyper-drive.”
“What! An hour stuck above this dreg of a planet called Earth? What could be worse?”
“Stuck over the spice mines of Kessel?”

~*~





Tales of Time

Father Time and Baby New Year, such quaint images of the one year passing to the next. Iconic representation of endings and beginnings.
Not true, of course.
The truth is far less... simplistic.
The Keeper of Time is more than an old man with a scythe and an hourglass. I am millennia and a millisecond breathing in infinite universes. I change the fabric of existence, snuff heartbeats with a flick of my finger. Each year I grasp life and death in my hands, and inevitably some of you will pass me on my long road.
Will this be your year?

~*~





The Heralding

They say the new year will be better.
They’re not paying attention.
Good.
We like it that way.
The signs are there, but humans are blind to our foul taint. Our coming does peculiar things to a world. Strange climate oddities, increased deaths, unnatural anger and aggression.
And hate.
We love the hate. It feeds us.
We will be strong on this world. We will feast on this world.
Consume it whole and leave nothing but an ashen corpse.
It won’t be long now.
The dead will rise from their graves, and the darklings will live.
Be seeing you soon...






© A. F. Stewart 2017 All Rights Reserved



Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Book Spotlight: The Glass Thief




Today I have a wonderful book spotlighted, the new fantasy novel, The Glass Thief by Jon Ryers. There's also an excerpt, and a mini interview with the author. Enjoy!


The Glass Thief by Jon Ryers




A debt is owed.

Del Kanadis–indentured thief to the King of Fires–desires freedom above all else. When given the opportunity to repay his debt with a single job, he begrudgingly accepts, believing it to be a fool’s errand. His task: infiltrate a secluded village rumoured to hold a relic capable of defeating the Fire King’s enemies.

Living amongst the townsfolk and gaining the trust of those in charge, Del quickly discovers they know more than they’re letting on, and that perhaps the relic truly does exist. Upon discovering their ultimate secret, he realizes winning his own life back could come at the cost of everyone else losing theirs.


The Glass Thief is available on Amazon and Kobo





Excerpt:


CHAPTER XXI:

If you could describe Uri’s home with a few words, it’d be sterile, bare and spartan. Almost militant. It reminded Del of the early days, back when he’d steal glass from the barracks and keeps of human kingdoms before the Glass Wars diminished their numbers and put the faen into power.
Nothing was out of place here. His clothes were organized into two sections: patrol Uri and magistrate Uri. Light armour and leather on the left and garish robes and ceremonial trinkets on the right. No Glass Crown.
A mouse would be hard-pressed to find a crumb of food in the kitchen. The floors were scrubbed, the table clean and polished, and the scent of citrus lingered in the air. No Glass Crown.
Upstairs was, as expected, equally tidy. Saria’s bedroom would seem chaotic compared to the order of Uri’s, and all she had was a bed and a book of poems. The sheets were pressed and fitted tight around a bed that’d hold no more than a single person. If Uri had anything going on with Renny, it sure as hell wasn’t going on here. Perhaps they rolled around on the floured floor of her bakery. An image both amusing and disturbing. No Glass Crown.
Del returned to the kitchen and grabbed a glass along with the bottle of wine beside it. He pulled the cork out with his teeth, spit it onto the floor and filled the glass, putting his feet up on the table. A small consolation for a fruitless search, but a deserved one nonetheless. He had after all saved Uri’s life.



Mini Interview With Jon Ryers



Please tell us your name (or pen name) and a little bit about yourself.

My name is John Ryers and I write predominantly dark fantasy. I have written a few short stories in YA and Sci-Fi genres as well. I live in Ontario, Canada with my wife and twin daughters, and work as a graphic designer to pay the bills.

How old were you when you started writing? When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I knew I wanted to be a writer from a very young age. I wrote my first story at aged six (complete with amazing (not really) crayon illustrations). It was about my hamster and his inevitable death, and so I’m entirely surprised my favourite genre to write is dark fantasy.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

My favourite author is John Green. It’s his style of writing that I felt a connection to and his books helped me find my own narrative voice. For a while I was floundering with a lack of style and voice and it was through reading his novel A Fault In Our Stars that everything seemed to click for me, despite him not writing anything remotely close to dark fantasy.

What is your novel’s genre? Would you say there is a sub-genre? What makes yours different than other books in the same genre?

My genre is Dark Fantasy, and I’ve been told I could classify it under the sub-genre of Heist/Swashbuckling Fantasy. I think my narrative style makes it a little different than the usual dark fantasy tales. It is set in the middle ages but I use anachronistic language that borders on contemporary, and I also implement technology that didn’t exist during that time period such as magical firearms and a steam-powered suit of armour in one particular scene.

What inspired the current or most recent story you’ve completed?

I think I pulled the inspiration for The Glass Thief from my own past, in that, I was a very different person a decade ago than I am today. A lesser person so to speak. The Glass Thief is a story about betrayal and redemption, and I wanted to write a story that showed no matter what your past entailed, you always have the power to set things right, if you truly want to.


You can find out more about the author at these sites:

Twitter: @johnryers
Instagram: @johnryers




ABOUT JOHN RYERS

John is a graphic designer by day, and graphic designer by night (depending on the client), but most importantly, he's a writer at heart. His dreams include writing for a living, experiencing virtual reality on a Matrix-esque level, and flying unaided (or possibly via really sweet jetpack).

John writes all genres but prefers Dark Fantasy over most anything else. This is due in part to the fact that he likes it the best, and because it's awesome.

John prefers blue cheese over cheddar, cats over dogs, and will attempt to answer any question with sarcasm whether appropriate or not.

He completed his first novel The Glass Thief in 2017 and you should buy it. Or don't. He's not the boss of you.


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