Tuesday, 15 April 2014

One Thousand World Interview with Mark Boyd

 One Thousand Worlds is delighted to welcome back Mark Boyd, who showcased the first one thousand words of his debut novel, The Prophecyhere last month. The Prophecy is the first book in his trilogy, A Dragon's Tale.


Tell us about The Prophecy.

The Prophecy is the first book of ‘A Dragons Tale’ trilogy. It sets the storyline and introduces the dragon/human element of the trilogy.
To backtrack, Mishmakon, The Dragon King is the third book. The Dragon King is born of human/elven/dragon blood and unites the races in the final battle for control over life or death of the world. 
The Prophecy tells of this foretelling and of its initiation with the love between Anaterri (a blue dragon in human form) and Prince Leandro Sargovia. There are those that fervently seek to stop this union before it goes any further and thus the story is told.        

How many books have you written?  

The Prophecy was the first and I have just completed Book 2, The Book of Genevieve.

What are you working on at the moment?    

The Book of Genevieve is now in the final editing stages and should be released, April 2014. I have already started writing on the third and final book of the trilogy, Mishmakon, The Dragon King.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?  

Patience, humility and a dedication to your reader base tends to keep one sane.  Also listening to and trusting in where your story is coming from.  A must is also trusting that the Universe will deliver all of that when it is required.

How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?    

A lot. I lived in a fantasy world much of my young adult life. It was easy to get lost in books when my world was not going well. It opened my mind to universe’s and realms to discover and conquer.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

Making out with girls, you asked.

  
If you could meet any of your own characters, who would it be?    

It would have to be Anaterri, a female blue dragon that chooses to live in human form. When she came to my mind, she was my ultimate fantasy for a partner, loving, sexy, tough, intelligent, beautiful, and a healer.

Do you have a favorite character among the ones you've invented?   

I would say Leto Sargovia is my favorite at this point.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I can let you know...if I ever decide to grow up.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?  
Gandhi.

What do you think about when you are alone in your car?  

Why are all these idiots on their cell phones? Get a clue people.


What song best describes your work ethic?    

Wow, this is a tough one but the first song that came to my mind was Free Bird by Lynard Skynard. I love the idea that I am free to write, free to publish at my discretion and free to speak my story. My mentor, Terri Valentine, an award winning romance author told me to never let an editor take my voice away. The traditional world of publishing has been bogged down with so many self interests that it will soon be a dying breed. Right now, it’s better to be a Free Bird.


Where you can purchase The Prophecy:


Connect with Mark Boyd:

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Jason's Indie Review - Fiona Skye's "Faerie Tales" on One Thousand Worlds

Faerie Tales


Faerie Tales is the first book of the "Revelations" trilogy by Fiona Skye.  Ms. Skye can be found on Twitter (@FionaSkyeWriter), Google+ (+Fiona Skye) or at her blog (http://fiona-skye.com/).  I met her on Twitter and she gave me a copy of Faerie Tales for an honest review.  You can find the book on Amazon (http://amzn.to/1imESg0).

Faerie Tales was featured on One Thousand Worlds in February 2014. You can read that post here.

Riley O'Rourke is a werejaguar responsible for exposing the world of the Preternatural to the rest of Humanity. But not all the things that go bump in the night are happy with the new world order.

The Queen of the Winter Court, a cruel and vicious faerie, is determined to punish Riley for her role in the Night of Revelations and sends some of the nastiest storybook characters imaginable after her.

Salvation comes from the Summer Queen, who asks Riley to steal a magical artifact from the Winter Queen, a mirror that will determine the winner in the eternal war between the Fae Courts. Riley's reward for returning the mirror is the protection of the Summer Court.

Joining Riley on this quest are her mentor, a 3,000-year-old vampire, and Riley's lover, a federal law enforcement agent with a secret of his own.

Their successful completion of this quest has unexpected consequences that could doom the entire world.


Fiona Skye writes well in Faerie Tales.  She has a sharp command of language, and the book comes across well edited.  I was impressed with how Ms. Skye's prose flows throughout the book. 

As I read this book, I most enjoyed the way Ms. Skye intertwines several different types of modern fantasy details into the novel.  There are were-creatures (not just wolves either, but many animal types), vampires, faeries, and magicians.  Magic exists, both old and new.  Ms. Skye takes the time to mix various real life myths and superstitions into one universe, and I found it worked to move the story along.

The book is written in the first person, from Riley's point of view.  It makes sense then, when Riley transforms, so does the author's writing style.  The character changes to something more primal and instinctual, no longer concerned with telling a story.  The glimpses of "Jaguar's" motivations and understanding of the world added to Riley's own emotions about being a preternatural.

If there was one part of the book I had trouble connecting with, it is with Riley and her romantic relationships.  As a man married most of my adult life, I could not relate to Riley in this regard.  Riley struggles with her feelings toward a love interest throughout the book.  Still, Ms. Skye spends ample time explaining Riley's troubled past, which helps put Riley's struggles into perspective. 

I wonder if in the future Riley will come to realize some of her issues with relationships are actually based in how the character approaches relationships and sexuality in the first place.  It would be interesting to see her grow in this regard in future books, and not fall into some sort of "love conquers all" simple solution.

While the book is a little slow to build up to the action, I was satisfied in the end.  I felt the book successfully sets up the world in which Riley lives and builds the necessary tensions and antagonists that will take the trilogy forward into book two.

I am excited to see how Fiona Skye continues the Revelations Trilogy.  She most impressed me with her clean writing style and ability to intertwine a number of disparate elements into a cohesive world. 

I recommend Faerie Tales to anyone looking for a modern fantasy tale of magic and preternatural action with a little romance thrown in, and look forward to seeing more of Ms. Skye's work in the future.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Author Interview - Raymond Bolton on One Thousand Worlds

One Thousand Worlds is delighted to welcome back Raymond Bolton, who featured here last month with the first 1000 words of Awakening.


About Raymond Bolton:

My goal is to craft gripping stories about the human condition, whether they are set here or another world. I've written poetry, for which I've received some recognition, and four novels. Two are explorations in science fiction: Awakening, an epic, released in January, 2014, and Thought Gazer, an adventure, part of a planned trilogy and prequel to the epic.

In 2013, under its working title, Renunciation, Awakening was one of eight finalists among 950 entries from the U.S., the U.K.Canada, Europe and Australia in the Pacific Northwest Writers Associations Literary Contest.

Tell us about your latest book.

I assume by this you mean my most recently published book, which would be my debut novel, Awakening. This was the first book I ever wrote, and when I finished it for the first time, it read like it. Even now, I have a hard time rereading the original draft, a meandering 174,000 word behemoth my wife rightly termed verbose. Over the course of several more years spent honing my craft by studying accomplished authors and writing other books, I kept returning to it, tightening the language, strengthening the plot, eliminating unnecessary subplots. You see, despite my inadequacies as a writer, I always believed in its underlying story.

Today, the recognition it is winning, like being one of eight finalists among nearly one thousand entries in a major literary competition, and the stellar reviews it has earned, tell me the efforts were worth it.

How many books have you written?

I have completed four novels. Two, including Awakening, are science fiction explorations. Two others are political thrillers. While I enjoy basing my stories in the real world, the amount of research it takes to produce compelling, credible work draws out production time to two years or more per book. In order to maintain a readership, I believe I would need three or four completed novels at the ready, while working on another, to be able to publish a series at the rate today’s readers demand. Consequently, I will probably stick to the sort of other-world sci-fi stories I can produce annually.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am developing Awakening’s prequel trilogy. Currently, I am engaged in the second rewrite of Thought Gazer, the trilogy’s first volume and have already completed seven chapters of Foreteller, the volume to follow.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

You mean aside from caffeine? Hah! I, for one, need to keep in touch with other people, not only through the social networks, but face to face, skin to skin. Fortunately, my day job as a high-end hairdresser working in two cities 1,100 miles apart helps incredibly. The people in my chair, as well as those in the seat next to me as I fly, have stories to tell that keep me in touch with my humanity. And, eventually, these stories turn into characters.

How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?

Like many, I was bullied as a child. I was always the nerdy one. Fortunately for me, instead of allowing my tormentors to claim victory by beating me into docile submission, I fought back—not only physically, but psychologically and emotionally. The sensitivity I developed manifests as multi-dimensional characters.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

That life’s greatest lessons are not learned in school.

If you could meet any of your own characters, who would it be?

I suppose I would like to meet Pithien Dur—a telepathic outlaw with an attitude.

Do you have a favourite character among the ones you've invented?

No. I love them all. I hope that shows when people read about them.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

You mean “if.” Although running businesses in both Portland, Oregon and Santa Fe, New Mexico requires a great deal of maturity and responsibility, I would hate to lose the child-like imagination that spawns my stories.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?

There was a time when I could have named someone. Not any more. After years trying to get to the heart of me, to work out who I am, I am finally content with whom I have become. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”



You can purchase Awakening from Amazon:

In paperback at US 

Kindle edition at US

In paperback at UK

Kindle edition UK


Connect with Raymond Bolten:

Facebook Author Page

Website/blog

Twitter at @RaymondBolton 




Saturday, 5 April 2014

Author Interview - Jeffrey G. Roberts on One Thousand Worlds

One Thousand Worlds today has the pleasure of interviewing Jeffrey G. Roberts.


About Jeffrey Roberts-
I was born 2/24/49, in New York City. I graduated from North Miami Senior High, in N. Miami, Florida, in 1968. I attended Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, Arizona, receiving degrees in writing and history. My hometown is Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, but 3 years ago I moved to Tucson, Arizona. I have written 7 novels and 10 short stories; mostly science fiction, fantasy, horror, and comedy. The Healer is the 1st to be published, by BookLocker.com. I have a life-long interest in aviation, having soloed in 1968, while attending Miami-Dade Junior College.


Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book The Healer, is a science fiction novel set in the year 2181. Dr. Reynolds Cully is awarded a Harvard grant to travel to Mars with his family. His assignment is to research the physiology of an ancient race there, now long extinct. All their recorded history lies within the titanic edifice known as The Face on Mars. But while there, authorities discover an eons old Martian time/space travel device. This is apparently how they explored the universe, when dinosaurs still ruled our Earth. But a mystery has always intrigued him: he is granted a National Science Foundation grant to use the ancient device, and travel to Earth in the year 2013, to try and solve the medical mystery known as The Great Alaskan Plague of 2012. Eventually he does reveal the cause. But unbeknownst to him, back in 2181 Mars, a sinister group of religious zealots known as the Creation Purity Brigade, believe unearthing of Martian artifacts and cultural icons is sacrilege and blasphemy to Judeo-Christianity. And they blow up the time/space travel apparatus! Dr. Cully is now stranded in a violent & primitive world – ours; 168 years and 150 million miles from his wife & children. How will he survive? How will he heal using 22nd century technology, without exposing his real identity; and possibly altering the course of history in doing so? It is a crisis of conscience he must grapple with. But he has no choice. For he is – THE HEALER.

How many books have you written?
I have written 7 books. THE HEALER is the first to be published, by Booklocker.com.

What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I am working on # 8, a novel entitled The Horror on the H.M.S. Cottingly; a comedy science fiction story, My Pet Carrot Speaks Norwegian; and an essay, The Cult of Infinite Complexity.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
The most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer are: faith in a higher power, enough sleep, treating yourself occasionally to comfort foods, good friends, a hobby or diversion, and a 55-gallon drum of industrial strength Ibuprofen right next to your computer.
How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?
My childhood impact on my writing had to be more nature than nurture: my father was a writer for the radio show Duffy’s Tavern, after the end of WW II.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
The greatest thing I learned in school (Northern Arizona University) is that creativity & imagination cannot be taught. They are innate.

If you could meet any of your own characters, who would it be?
If I could meet any of my characters, it would have to be Dr. Reynolds Cully, of The Healer.

Do you have a favourite character among the ones you've invented?
One of my favorite characters would have to be Ogden D. Fwipplesnifter, from my fantasy/comedy novel The Weird and Wondrous Bottle.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
What do I want to be when I grow up? Who says I have any intention of growing up? But when I was growing up I wanted to be a test pilot. My ultimate dream job would have been to work for NASA on the Mars exploration team. But math aptitude was never my strong suit. So much for astronautical engineering.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be?
If I could trade places with someone for a week, it would probably be either Donald Trump- for his money- or Dr. Franklin Chang Diaz, former NASA astronaut, and physicist who now heads Ad Astra Corp., developer of the VASIMIR engine for interplanetary flight, which will be capable of speeds of 123,000 miles per hour.

What do you think about when you are alone in your car?
I don’t think about anything in my car because I no longer own one. Eventually I will again. But when I did own one, I usually concentrated on where I was going, and my driving.

What song best describes your work ethic?
The song that best describes my work ethic? I Did It My Way, by Frank Sinatra.


Where you can purchase The Healer:

 

Connect with Jeffrey G. Roberts:
 
 
 
 
 


Friday, 4 April 2014

Whispers of a Storm (Book One of the Storm Trilogy) by Anthony Lavisher - A One Thousand World Review

If you enjoy a well written epic fantasy adventure, then you won't go far wrong in reading Whispers of a StormIt is the first book in what promises to be a great trilogy and no doubt the start of a blossoming writing career for its author Anthony Lavisher. Anthony is kindly offering a signed copy as the first prize in a giveaway, with an ebook version for the first three runners-up. For a chance to win, scroll to the end of this post.


The Blurb
The inhabitants of the Four Vales have enjoyed over fifty years of relative peace, since its armies defeated the Reven Hordes threatening their homeland. Under the fair rule and guidance of the high duke, its people have thrived and prospered, free from the shadows of war. The Vales are peaceful and the capital city Karick is quiet. But in the gardens of the high duke's keep, dark plots are whispered and fell deeds being planned. A humble stonemason falls asleep whilst working in the gardens and upon waking, inadvertently overhears a conversation that plunges him deep into the heart of the coming storm. A young noblewoman is to be kidnapped and used as a pawn in this dark game... Whispers of a Storm follows the stonemason and noblewoman's fortunes as they unwittingly become involved in a dangerous game of survival, as they try to find out what dark storm is about to break out across the Four Vales. Who would seek to unsettle this harmony? Why would they want to? How can the stonemason and noblewoman discover what is going to happen and more importantly, expose those behind the plot, before it is too late. A tale of political intrigue and high adventure, Book One of The Storm Trilogy follows the fortunes of two individuals, whose personal journey of survival may yet help to save and shape the future of their homeland.



Richie's Review

Although this is Anthony Lavisher’s debut novel, he is clearly a wordsmith of much merit. Whispers of a Storm is an intriguing, beautifully written story following the fortunes, or more like the misfortunes, of the immigrant stonemason Khadazin, and Cassana, daughter of the Lord of the North Vales.

The story sets off at a great pace, jumping straight into the action. Lavisher paints vibrant scenes which appeal to all the reader’s senses. He expertly builds a believable world populated by some great characters, tantalising the reader with many as yet unanswered questions – this is the first instalment of a trilogy.

I certainly enjoyed all the different strands of the story, especially the parts concerning Khadazin. Whispers of a Storm is a fast-paced page turner, which maintained its inexorable pace more or less throughout, switching from one story line to the other. Being harsh, there was a very occasional typo, but this in no way spoiled my enjoyment of an excellent book.

There’s a great cliff-hanger ending, which left me looking forward with excitement to reading the soon to be released second book of the series.

Overall, Whispers of a Storm is a thoroughly enjoyable and beautifully written story.

One Thousand Worlds' rating: 5 stars.

(Buy it now!)

You can purchase Whispers of a Storm from:



Connect with Anthony Lavisher:




Reviewed by Richie Earl. Please note that I purchased this book after recently coming into contact with the author via Twitter.

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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Further Explorations (David Russell) in One Thousand Words

Further Explorations by David Russell is today's feature on One Thousand Worlds.


Further Explorations-

Energised by their lovely liberating experience, Janice and Cedric are determined to ‘spread their wings’ and take the world by storm, a two-person conspiracy. They head off physically in different directions, but remain in constant depth communication electronically, ever comparing notes, monitoring each other’s minds and experiences for a depth of mutual understanding. They may meet again fully equipped with a great depth of self-knowledge, and a knowledge of each other’s depth. They negotiate giddy peaks of high finance; Janice even does into ‘dreamscape’, making a pact with the devil. Further delights of sensuality are explored by both, with exotic partners; the depths and shallows of life are all embraced …


About the author-
b. 1940. Resident in the UK. Writer of poetry, literary criticism, speculative fiction and romance. Main poetry collection Prickling Counterpoints (1998); poems published in online International Times. Main speculative works High Wired On (2002); Rock Bottom (2005). Translation of Spanish epic La Araucana, Amazon 2013. Romances: Self’s Blossom; Explorations; Further Explorations; Therapy Rapture; Darlene, An Ecstatic Rendezvous (all pub Extasy (Devine Destinies). Singer-songwriter/guitarist. Main CD albums Bacteria Shrapnel and Kaleidoscope Concentrate. Many tracks on You Tube, under ‘Dave Russell’






They beamed at each other, sizing up their physiques again, comparing their respective performances which had led up to that climax. Then Janice breathily broke the silence. “You were an astral rocket, surging, grounding, resurging.”
“And you the booster supreme.”
After a final hug, they wistfully shrugged, along with smiles and suspicions of tears. “We’ve both got our planes to catch, darling…we’re all wired up.” They turned their backs on each other going down their separate lanes.
Janice and Cedric’s bittersweet parting, executed with watertight composure, froze that moment of perfection. Their state-of-the-art arrangements, so efficient in sustaining long-term contact were so effortlessly executed—miraculously, none of the hitches either of them experienced with their other contacts—that they simply had to have been exquisitely premeditated, but all the more because, regarding functioning in the immediate present, they were both prone to fumble and stutter.
Yet, there was a sense of permanence in that kaleidoscope world of fleeting acquaintances. Shattering glasses always sharpens, enriches the vision. Closet pyromania fantasy makes every dreamer dynamic—visions of the inferno, crashing of all solid architecture, but with the stench of charred flesh blanked off. Such an abundance of good looks and vibrant expressions passing by on the streets; it felt that any one of them had destructive potential, mighty cataracts at close quarters. The diffusion of that potential sustains the world’s equilibrium, global spark potential.
As they lived so exclusively for the depths, the buoyant currents of life had forced them up to the surface, to embrace the shallows, while sustaining their ability to forsake them, in perfect control of their natural buoyancy. That was the precarious stability engendered by their conjoint imbalance, melding of premeditation and blind panic, undermining and invigorating—generating a zest for life through the threat of its loss. But privately, they both missed the comfort of a little warming clumsiness. Living without it was like negotiating ungritted ice on a road—so easy to be injured if the path is too smooth, and the ugly, grinding monster can be a saviour.
If it was a matter of being nourished by the celebrity images, there was some potential there of Hugh Grant meeting RenĂ©e Zellweger—weights adjusted just right without painful drab dieting, though they were both thorough in burning away the calories. Perhaps next time, they could let go a little, though each of them always looked naturally spruce and together. Their negatives were revealing full images in the darkroom, the changing room, the transformation room, under the common denominator of its red light—great to contemplate the universal monochrome, fabulous the flaunting, waving of the leanness to reach out for their ideals.

It is good that kindred souls sustain contact when travelling in opposite directions. Vacua are good for slow-tempo reflection…
Geographically, their paths and areas had been quite close since childhood. Their respective parents’ careers had been near parallel in terms of both town and position in the hierarchy. Minute adjustments, of course, could easily have driven them oceans apart. But as things actually mapped out, in the cold, fluorescent light of reality, early-life setbacks were happily avoided while their protective shells hardened. Their respective cynicisms had come to full fruition and then their sophistication cracked and burst with full pollen prior to their encounter. From the bottom of the jaded fatigue of disillusionment, they could only rise, bubbles in the bottle, beaming at all their onlookers.

Now they would expand their disrobing into global recklessness. The repartee, live and electronic, proliferated and ricocheted.

They’ve got the right to do what they want to do with each other and keep themselves to themselves, and don’t bother anyone, thought Janice.

“Yes, I appreciate that the boundaries of tolerance are shifting dramatically, but we can’t just stand still…” mused Cedric.

Having speculated so long, so timidly about becoming swingers—and with a great deal of initial revulsion, they had at last done so. Having lagged so long in the rear, they had jumped to the head of their queues without jostling, without pushing. The tides of change had broken down each one’s formidable, well-tried barriers. And in this case, miraculously, the reality made a snug fit with the anticipation and reverie. They made high fidelity recordings with their memories. Ok, so there might be subsequent evaporation, a dry, crumpled-parchment residue, but perhaps renewable with a suitable inundation.

The museums are so state-of-the-art now when there is such a polarity between their structure-shells and their contents. Those obscure vaults long ago lost the allure of their inaccessibility. So many now can be satisfied by reproductions or flickering images of their contents. The antique facades are now so brazenly open to the stonemason. Mentally, perhaps physically, they would become daredevil athletes

They simultaneously fired that starting-gun of supreme adventure at each other. “It’s time to burn the boats!”

Theirs was the ice-skating giddiness of euphoria, with its swirling skirt concomitants—its figure eights. Janice felt a few querying ripples about her orientation. Sometimes it felt it was fuzzying and melting round the edges, the aesthetics of concocting an eclair. She did appreciate beautiful women, those ballerinas, runners, swimmers—yes, and skaters! She loved to see herself as she would love others to see her, galvanise the cameras, be their elusive, flirtatious magnet.

Cedric did indeed have some androgynous, near-feminine grace about him. Perhaps this had been a precious, isolated incident to compare, contrast and counterpoint, manipulate the borderlines, her mirror-image, melting the gender barriers including her gaining some desired hardness—or maybe massed mirrors, modulating every angle. Or did she, at heart, wish to stand before eternity as a crystalline statueposthumously fulfilled? A pilgrimage to the great melting-pot seemed called for. In her fantasy, she could coach him to become her ideal. They had both enjoyed their mudlarking as kids, before appearances took over and they polished their presentable interfaces for the smooth world.
Again, they had attended many of the same cycling rallies, but never meeting, each radiating impeccable chic with state-of-the-art crash helmets, elbow and knee pads. Superbly enjoyable events, great heady highs without hangovers, defiantly streaming past those harassed motorists in their traffic-jam queues—neither had witnessed a crash.

Where you can purchase Further Explorations:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Prophecy - A Dragon's Tale, Book 1 (Mark Boyd) in One Thousand Words

The Prophecy by Mark Boyd is today's feature on One Thousand WorldsMark is the author of the trilogy - A Dragons Tale.  You can preview all three books and excerpts at www.adragonstale.net  Book 1 - The Prophecy has been available for a little over a year. Book 2 - The Book of Genevieve is due out in mid to end of April this year.

The Prophecy-

The prophecy, a foretelling of a great king born of dragon-human-elven blood that unites all of the races in a millennium of peace is an ancient story told to all dragon hatchlings from the Dragon Book of Lore. A foretelling born of old majic, through the centuries, became just another story to give the young hope. The old believed…the young cannot perceive how it could ever manifest; who would ever want to be other than pure blood dragon? The prophecy existed in story only, until Anaterri Strayarth, a blue dragon living in human form and the daughter of Stragor Strayarth – Head of the High Council of Dragons, saves the life of Prince Leandro Sargovia with a transfusion of her dragon blood. The unification of human-dragon blood sets in motion the beginning of the once dormant tale and a love that transcends time.  
Grand Magi Aloysius Alamaris, a black dragon hiding in human form, learns of the initiation of the prophecy and plots the ultimate destruction of all who seek to bring the prophecy to fruition.  
Anaterri and Leandro are now pitted against the ultimate evil, fighting not only for their own lives but also the lives of their children…and they must insure the prophecy is allowed to manifest…at all cost.


About the author-

I began reading fantasy at an early age; the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy was one of my first and favorite. Fantasy was my escape when my own world wasn't going so well. I never thought I would be blessed to add to the world of fantasy but my dragon friends had other ideas. I only hope you enjoy reading the trilogy, as much as I have in writing it. I am forever grateful to the dragon intelligence that has infused my consciousness, awakening memories and giving me the ability to bring their story to life.



Chapter 1


     The outlaws were close, he couldn't see them but sensed them near; soft murmurs of their voices carried back to him through the unnatural fog. There was no time for indecisiveness. He had trained his entire life for a moment such as this. Drawing his long sword he spurred his stallion forward unconcerned with the fallen tree lying across the trail. His mount would clear it easily.  Half way over his mind screamed, "Trap!"

~~~~

     Anaterri Strayarth looked forward to a quiet afternoon in her kitchen. Discovering several plants growing in the forest, not previously known to her, she was excited about blending them for new remedies. She enjoyed being in human form, not typical for most dragons. It was important when creating delicate healing remedies that she have fingers with which to work instead of talons.
     She’d taken human form when moving to the Northland two hundred years ago. It allowed her to practice her healing arts without scaring the local outlanders. She had become known as “the healer in the forest.” She healed as many animal friends as people. Although the Sargovia family was the official warden of the Northland forests, she was truly the “hidden” warden.
     Going about her day in joy, quietly humming a favorite tune, Anaterri was suddenly invaded with a heart-stopping vision thought causing her to drop the bowl of flower infusion she had just created.
     “Prince Leandro is going to die soon. You must get to him immediately.”
     The stag, she recognized his vision thought. Leaping the shattered bowl she rushed to the window, her knowings confirmed. Standing at the edge of the clearing, his large brown eyes were firmly fixed on the cottage. She’d encountered him a number of times in the last two hundred years. He’d never engage her in thought exchange but his eye contact was now unmistakable.
     Visions past from him were usually dream like, allowing her time to plan a solution or at least an ending with a successful outcome.  However, this visitation was like none she’d ever experienced. It was clear and precise and demanded immediate action. Appearing only when there was a need to save a life, he was the messenger but not the answer.
     Prince Leandro Sargovia was in the forest and about to be ambushed by outlaws he’d been tracking. One of the outlaws possessed majic and the Prince’s life was in extreme danger. Distracted temporarily by the impact of the stag’s vision thought, Anaterri looked back but he was gone.
     Moving quickly toward the door, she extended her right hand drawing her short sword to her from its place on the wall. Slipping the scabbard easily down the back of her gown, the door opened automatically as she approached it; a red fox was waiting to lead her to Leandro.

     Amidst the jeers and taunts she could hear from a distance, she silently found her way to the site. Before her was a pit, narrow and deep, filled with large spikes protruding from all directions. Her anger flashed as she saw Leandro struggling to free himself. Acting immediately, knowing the majority of human men to be predictable, she stepped from her hiding place in the woods. She was instantly aware of the one with majic.
     The leader turned instinctively as if sensing her presence. She knew exactly what he saw. It was her intent to distract him with the vision of a strikingly beautiful woman, tall and slender with raven black hair and emerald green eyes. The light blue gown she wore accentuated her breasts and slender waist. While he leered at her, she stood perfectly still assessing the situation.
     The outlaws following the focus of their leader, turned from the pit. Lustful looks revealed their thoughts. Their quarry, impaled on stakes, was going nowhere.  Staring at her like a pack of hungry wolves as to a lamb separated from the flock, they moved to surround her, not able to take their eyes from her. The leader closed on her first, licking his lips as he rubbed his groin.
     Staying calm, Anaterri let them get within striking distance. From the scabbard concealed on her back she wielded the short sword with lightning speed and in one swift movement severed the head of the leader, cutting through the jugular of the man beside him.  The third man started to draw his sword. It never made it out of his scabbard; he was dead before he knew it, a short sword through his heart. The fourth man turned to flee making it no farther than a few feet before she caught him from behind. His head slapped the ground at an unnatural angle, his body lifeless.
      She did not care for killing, unless it was for survival, especially killing humans and yet she did not have any compunction for killing the likes of these four.  She’d witnessed their sick delight taunting Prince Leandro in the pit. No, no, she felt no remorse.
      Turning to the pit, she saw the limp body sitting atop a steed who was struggling desperately in the last throes of life. The spikes, driven through the great beast, were penetrating Leandro’s lower body. There were also spikes lodged in the sides of the pit that had punctured areas of the prince’s sides as he’d struggled to free himself. Shifting immediately to her dragon self Anaterri was large enough to straddle the pit, gently pulling the prince free from his horse.
     Clear of the pit, she reverted to her human form. Gazing at the still body before her, she proceeded to tear Leandro’s clothing open attempting to stem the bleeding. Using her majic, she ran her hands over the wounds effectively stopping the blood flow. In the process, she sensed a poison in the wounds she was not familiar with. Having lost a lot of blood, Leandro appeared lifeless; his pulse was weak.  Focusing on the wounds already taking on a gangrenous look, she cast a spell to stem the flow of poison through his body. She needed to get him to Queen Angeline in the Southland. 


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Saturday, 22 March 2014

Awakening (Raymond Bolton) on Sci-fi Saturday

Sci-fi Saturday is back and today's featured author is Raymond Bolton who kindly shares the first one thousand word of his novel Awakening. Through March 31st, Raymond is giving away 10 signed copies of Awakening via Goodreads.
See what Stephan J. Myers thought of Awakening on Book Viral.

Awakening:

How does a world armed with bows, arrows and catapults, where steam power has only begun to replace horses and sailing ships, avert conquest from beyond the stars?

Prince Regilius has been engineered to combat the Dalthin, a predatory alien species that enslaves worlds telepathically, and to do so he must unite his people. But when his mother murders his father, the land descends into chaos and his task may prove impossible. Faced with slaying the one who gave him life in order to protect his world, he seeks a better way. Set in a vast and varied land where telepaths and those with unusual mental abilities tip the course of events, Awakening goes to the heart of family, friendship and betrayal.


About Raymond Bolton:

My goal is to craft gripping stories about the human condition, whether they are set here or another world. I've written poetry, for which I've received some recognition, and four novels. Two are explorations in science fiction: Awakening, an epic, released in January, 2014, and Thought Gazer, an adventure, part of a planned trilogy and prequel to the epic.

In 2013, under its working title, Renunciation, Awakening was one of eight finalists among 950 entries from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Europe and Australia in the Pacific Northwest Writers Associations Literary Contest.

Father!
Regilius awoke with a gasp. He attempted to sit, but the damp prickling bedding entangled him. Drenched with perspiration, he tore off the covers, propped onto his elbows and peered into the darkness. On a table to his right, dimly silhouetted against a blinded window, stood a light globe. Rocking onto one arm, he stretched toward the sphere and tore off its cover, bathing the space in soft blue light. The room was plain, sterile, and while he could not say where he was, he was certain this was not the palace.
He was trembling as he tried to remember where he might be and how he had arrived. The hand he ran through his hair came away dripping, while his mouth was parched and his tongue, thick and leathery, stuck to the roof of it. He reached for a glass of water, but as he tilted it to his lips, the room began to spin. Confused, he managed to empty it into a vase of morrasa blossoms before the world turned black.
He awoke again, this time his mind awash with images of murderers entering his home, of carnage and things that should not be. Yet, unlike childhood nightmares that become ethereal and fade, these coalesced into semblances of truth, of substance. Struggling to clear his head, he pushed them aside and searched for the tumbler. Miraculously, it lay unbroken on the nightstand. He was looking for a pitcher when his eyes fastened onto the vase. The blossoms, once white and fragrant, were now black, twisted, grotesque.
The door opened and he jumped. Light poured in and a woman wearing a nurse’s cap peered into the room.
Ah!
The utterance was not spoken. It filled his head and settled among his thoughts.
Still alive, young prince?
She stepped inside and closed the door.
You are truly remarkable. I have never sensed one such as you. You perceive my thoughts. Such a predicament for me and mine.
The nurse—no, the thing, for it felt as wrong as the flowers—approached his bed and the hairs on his arms, neck and scalp stood erect. His instinct was to bolt.
Stay where you are.
He had not moved, yet it had anticipated him. As the creature neared, it started to shimmer. Its shape and color began to change and the abdomen of its now soft, gray, wormlike body rippled. Something like a mouth opened where its belly should have been, then closed, followed by another mouth and another until there were several opening and closing.
An appendage sprouted from its torso and snaked toward him. He had once seen something similar under his tutor’s microscope when a tiny cellular predator reached out to snatch a meal. Eyes wide, unable to move, he was following this manifestation when, faster than he could react, it wrapped around his ankle and began pulling him toward it. As he opened his mouth to scream, light flooded the room.
He tore his eyes from the thing around his leg and turned to see a doctor and two orderlies entering. The physician paused, regarded his patient closely and asked, “Your Highness? What in the world have you been doing?”
Prince Regilius found himself at the foot of the bed, clenching a handful of sheet. The covers, seemingly frozen as they streamed from the pillow, marked how he had been dragged. Yet, except for his odd location, all else appeared normal. His eyes went from the physician to the nurse and saw she appeared quite ordinary, her face betraying nothing.
“I want to get you into something dry and change your bedding,” the doctor was saying, but as he followed the prince’s gaze, he started when he noticed the woman in the corner. “Nurse, why are you here?”
“I was on my way upstairs and saw the light. I thought I would look in,” she replied.
“Well,” said the doctor, releasing his breath, “since you’re here, perhaps you can assist us.”
She and the orderlies set to work, and after several minutes the prince was clean and dry, wearing a new gown on a freshly made bed. The doctor ordered them out, and after a brief examination said to Regilius, “You have improved some, Your Highness. That is encouraging. I will check back again in a few hours. Meanwhile, please try to sleep.” He covered the light globe and left, closing the door behind him.
Were it not for the flowers, Reg might have done as the physician had ordered, but their misshapen forms insisted he was not safe. Instead, he padded barefoot to the closet where he located his clothing. As he shed his gown and with trembling hands struggled to dress, an odd awareness overtook him: a cold certainty the nurse, sensing he was leaving, was returning. Assuring himself he had forgotten nothing, he went to the window, struggled briefly with the latch, and as the blackness of night gave way to the deep green sky of morning, he slipped out and down to the street below.
Glancing over his shoulder, still sensing the presence behind him, he hurried along the cobblestone streets between the granite and marble edifices of the upper city. Eventually, however, his weakened state returned him to a walk. Feverish and thirsty, he spotted a fountain. He approached it and plunged his face into its waters. Stunned by the cold, he tossed back his head and gasped, sending a shower skyward. Then, leaning against the wet stone lip, he brought hand after handful of crisp refreshment to his lips. Satisfied, he wiped his mouth with his sleeve, breathed deeply and pressed on.
There was no question now he would walk. After drinking so heartily, he knew he would cramp if he pushed too hard too soon and the pace gave him time to consider the event that had brought him here.
Just yesterday, he had been engaged in a brisk game of platter with his friends, Danth, Leovar and Ered.

You can purchase Awakening from Amazon:

In paperback at US 

Kindle edition at US

In paperback at UK

Kindle edition UK


Connect with Raymond Bolten:

Facebook Author Page

Website/blog

Twitter at @RaymondBolton 

Goodreads

Please note that through March 31 Raymond is giving away 10 signed copies of Awakening via Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20257287