Join me in the wonderful world of words!
- a union of a group or set of four
What is your word?
What is your word?
Avalon is a moral tale of a young boy named Alex whose father (George Harrison) invents a way to communicate telepathically by decoding brainwaves and using the internet as an interface. Unaware of how powerful this device is or how people will use it Alex’s father creates a balanced group involving twelve of the most eclectic people on earth simply as an experiment to see if this device can help the world, or if it will destroy it. Armed now with vast knowledge and infinite wisdom Alex and his father set off on a wild adventure to initiate these extreme characters into their world of omnipotent power and intelligence. Along the way they find secret treasures, and hidden secrets both wonderful, and terrible, but the biggest and most terrible secret of them all, nobody could have ever fathomed. The Earth is now heading towards certain destruction and only Alex and his father with the help of a very special friend have figured out how to save it. Unfortunately to know this secret carries with it a great and terrible price. Unable to keep running Alex and his father take refuge in one of the most secret places on Earth, a place known only as Avalon.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I don’t like to talk about my merits or accomplishments but, I will say, that I’m 40 years old, I’m retired from working 20 years in manufacturing. My passion is science, I’m known as a very open minded sceptic. I tend to focus on those extraordinary things which have extraordinary evidence which people have a difficult time understanding the evidence. So I often say things which seem too fantastic to believe, but if you look deeper, you’ll see I’m absolutely not joking. I am usually a serious person, who is rarely taken seriously, but I do joke around too and when I joke around I’m often joking about those things which seem normal, common, and expected to most people, but I see something different; hoping that those I’m kidding around with will look again. And I suppose I do all this to help people know that there is always another side of the story, no matter how certain they are of their understanding of the situation, there is more to it. The best way to describe me as a person I think would be a character in a Dr. Seuss book. I may seem eccentric or strange but there is an important message hidden behind everything I say and what I do; so don’t ever take any of it at face value, as there is much more to understand, just keep digging.
What inspired you to write?
I’ve spent the bulk of my life trying to understand people and the world we live in and though I’ve learned an incredible amount of information, facts, and statistics, I feel I have failed to truly understand other people. This of course was my driving force behind writing this book, to study these characters, characters in which I think we all know; and then try to understand them more intimately. To know who they are, under the surface, to know what they like, what they need, what they will do, and of course how they feel. I want to answer that age old question ‘Why.’
What inspired your novel?
This book of course was not just for my own benefit, but I have an important story to tell, a story no one else could tell, a story which may never be told again, but is an important story to understand, it’s a true story fictionalized in an abstract way; to protect all those who may be a part of this ‘group.’ But I think after reading the many secrets of our world through the ages I began to realize that there is an epic story to tell, a story which is shrouded in compartmentalized secrecy and nearly impossible to understand or even piece together if you could, thus for most people researching it all is just going to waste. And I think that this is what inspired my novel more than anything. Helping people understand the world in which they do not see or understand.
What is the genre?
What draws you to this genre?
I enjoy exploring the moral parables of other environments, on different worlds, and in alternate realities. I think it’s the moral of a story which often becomes the crucial factor in a story, not just the plot or story. Writing fiction opens a window or should I say a doorway to infinite possibilities to explore, learn, and grow from. I think fiction is good for both the mind and the soul.
How did you develop your plot and your characters?
This plot is shall we say an abstract expression of our modern world we live in. The characters thus were to be an expression of all of us, an expression of our greed, our generosity, our thoughts and feelings. These characters both represent different sides to each of us individually, and real people in our world as well who have focused their (Love) energy in very specific ways.
I wanted this book to be a story about each of us, something we can all relate to, and a reflection of our world we share together. I have noticed for many years by reading comments people make in the news; stories about people who did something extreme or out of the ordinary, and each person would comment how awful that person is or wonderful they are, but typically it’s a very negative opinion I’ve found. And I realized that most people lack both empathy, and understanding of others. I think it’s always bothered me and I’ve always wanted to find a way in which I can show people that we are all those same people inside, and we always think in our minds that we could never do such a thing, good or bad, but the truth is we could, and have. We may have a higher level of spiritual maturity, but what did it take to obtain this level of maturity? I wanted to show that in the end we are all the same people experiencing different expressions of the same life, and thus we are never alone, and we truly are all one, and we are really only judging and hurting ourselves when we judge or hurt one another.
What inspired your protagonist?
I needed someone each and every one could relate with, thus the protagonist (Alex) in this story is simply a reflection of how we all see ourselves typically.
What inspired your antagonist?
Each character in this book represents how we see other people, we tend to view others very bluntly; we focus on a few of the more extreme things we see them do, and then we label them as such, thus becoming the antagonists in our lives.
What was the hardest part to write in the book?
Having so many characters; I’d definitely say establishing these characters in the quickest ‘to the point’ way I could find, and which still allows the reader to understand who they are without losing focus on the main character Alex.
What was your favorite part of your book to write?
For me it was the end climax, and I think each of us will at some point in our lives feel as though; well during those times when we experience so much resistance and we have gone through so much trouble to get to where we want to be, and we feel like the whole world is against us, our fight or flight mechanism kicks in and we try to run away, but we can’t seem to get away from it, so we turn around and we just fight with everything we have. We kind of go into this ‘Nothing matters anymore, but our survival’ mode and we find ourselves doing things we never could have imagined doing, but somehow it just feels so good to unleash this beast building up inside, and you know that you can’t stop now, you’ve come too far, you have to see this through no matter the cost. The end thus becomes a gratuitous thing to both write and to read.
Who would you say are your favorite authors?
And of course Ernest Hemingway.
How about your favorite books? What would be your top 5?
The Sun Also Rises
Of Human Bondage
And perhaps ‘Kim’
What are your future projects, if any?
I am planning to finish the Avalon Trilogy which will likely consume the next decade, beyond that is up to the gods.
What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
I prefer Facebook and I visit my Facebook page most often to connect. https://www.facebook.com/Von-Yugen-1796242677275838/
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
To be a great writer one must first understand that there is no fame, money, glory, or praise involved with being a writer. You will be chastised, ridiculed, demonized, and criticized by everyone including your friends and family with everything you write. You will spend countless hours and days, and spend entire fortunes getting a book published when few if anybody will ever get time to ever read it. If you understand this truth and you still feel compelled to write; well then you are well on your way to becoming a great writer.
Second; it’s all about the story, be unique, try not plagiarize, and decide if you really have something new to offer readers.
Third; decide what it is that inspired you to write, and outline how this can also inspire your readers.
Fourth; understand that your book will never be perfect, no matter how many times you rewrite it or how many editors were used. It will always have flaws or things that can be improved and if you’re a perfectionist, you’ll never be happy.
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Branch Publishing
Publication Date: March 2, 2017
Pages: 403 pages
Link: Good Reads
Her destiny will change the world forever.
Belstrom—an ancient and mystical land where the Curo Wizards rule and life is cheap.
Tizrah—a lowly armory brat who dreams of one day becoming a warrior but fate has other plans.
Korlin—a recent graduate of the High Wizard’s School of Curogath is tasked with an assignment to eradicate a lost magic system that threatens the very stability of Belstrom.
Mark of Destiny weaves together the threads of a captivating fantasy adventure, while remaining epic in scope, and modern in its originality.
HOLDING HER EYE STEADY UPON the massive wolvike, Tizrah silently slid the longbow from her back. The care with which she moved came naturally to her.
The way she slipped unseen and stalked her prey might have even impressed the elite rangers of Ravenwood Forest, had they been there to see. Alas, they were not, and Tizrah was truly and utterly alone as she crept closer to the herd of colossal beasts feasting merely ten yards away. Flies buzzed loudly, and the odor of fresh blood hung thick in the air.
Tizrah’s heart hammered against her chest. She tried to calm herself using the measured breathing she’d been taught. It wasn’t helping. Sweat poured from her like rain, rolling down her face in droplets that stung her eyes. When she drew as close as she dared, she quietly climbed an ekenwood tree in hopes of finding a better vantage point from which to view the pack.
Breathing a sigh of relief now that she was off the ground, she waited. The branch Tizrah straddled offered a measure of safety, as well as a clear shot, and she sent out a prayer of thanks to Oshawa, who had given her the perfect perch from which to bring down one of the legendary beasts.
This kill would prove her worth before the men of New Hayden. It would change the direction of her life, and that was what Tizrah desired with all her burning heart.
Desperation had drawn her away from her home and directed her feet to the heart of the Labby Forest. When she had caught sight of the wolvike, Tizrah knew that this was to be her chance.
She had only read about the beasts in her worn school books, and the penciled drawings paled in comparison to the frightful creatures which stood less than a stone’s throw away. Nearly seven feet tall, paws to shoulders, the wolvike were imposing to look upon. Their fur resembled freshly fallen snow, and catching sight of the wolvike’s sickle- like, razor sharp teeth, Tizrah was reminded of the fine blades of the Knights of Eldor.
She knew from her studies that one bite would be enough to bleed a full-grown man out in a matter of minutes. Six—that’s how many of the beasts she counted. They grunted and growled below her as they tore a spotted deer to pieces.
Now, for one to stray from the pack.
Tizrah was patient. She wouldn’t let her arrow fly until victory was assured.
Releasing a long, controlled breath, she relaxed her muscles. Anticipating movement from the pack, she raised the bow to eye level. The largest of the beasts, having had its fill, began to traipse toward the nearby stream.
The moment had arrived.
Drawing her bowstring back with wiry arms, Tizrah followed the wolvike with her steel-tipped arrow.
Stopping dead in its tracks, the beast lifted its head.
Tizrah’s arrow shot across the clearing, impaling the artery running down the side of the beast’s neck. The wolvike toppled, its rapid blood loss dragging it down into the sleep of death.
The rest of the pack bolted, leaving their fallen alpha to Tizrah and her blade.Dropping from the branch, she took a steadying breath, then strode to the trophy. She would need proof of her kill, as she wasn’t strong enough to drag the beast through the forest. I’ll take its eyes, she thought, nearing with her blade poised.
The eyes of a wolvike were unlike any other known mammal within the Four Kingdoms. Used to make costly medicines for the virility of the wealthy, wolvike eyes were extremely valuable. At the grisly sound of her knife cutting into the eye socket, Tizrah blanched. Having completed the unsavory task, she rolled them in an eken leaf and placed them in the leather pouch on the outer side of her main pack for safe keeping.
Bending over the prone form, Tizrah offered a whispered prayer. “Oshawa, Life- Giver, I pray that this death will not go in vain. I pray that it might bring sustenance to the beasts of the forest and afterward enrich the ground upon which it lies.”
Finishing her heartfelt plea, Tizrah stood and took stock of the situation. Three days, the time it would take her to reach home. The Warrior Trials were scheduled to take place five days hence. Perhaps, with proof of her kill, she would be able to convince Jax at the arena to add her name to the list. Dreams danced before her mind’s eye. Picturing herself crowned victor at the completion of the Warrior Trials set her feet in motion.Tizrah wasn’t worried about the competition. Her only worry was whether Jax would concede to her request when she offered him the eyes. Years of working with her father in the armory had honed her muscles into steel beneath her skin, and she had hunted and trained in the fighting arts since she was small. Many thought her dedication odd, preferring girls to keep to their traditional roles. Girls were taught to cook, clean, and sew. They were also expected to birth offspring and take care of the men. Tizrah viewed the societal limitations placed upon her with hatred—not that it was wrong for others, but she wanted something more in life than hiding behind a stove and raising brats for some man.
Shaking her head to clear it of the endless stream of thought, she left the clearing and reentered the forest. Ekenwood trees towered above the various shades of green flora covering the forest floor. The chattering of wild poka birds echoed back and forth beneath the canopy of branches. How had they ever been trained as messenger birds?
While growing up, she had seen them flying overhead often enough, and she had been curious to know what important messages they might be carrying each time one passed over.
A single shaft of amber light pierced through the tree barrier, distracting from her musings. Tizrah entered the dazzling luminescence and reveled in its life-giving rays. She loved the forest above all other places; in the depths of its silence and solitude, she found peace.
Peace with her mother’s death, for Tizrah had wanted her mother to live and had been unable to save her. Disease rarely paid heed to the cries of children.
Peace with the way her father had hidden his broken heart at the bottom of tumblers of ale from the local tavern, instead of comforting his only child.
Tizrah even felt peace in the fact that no matter the trophy she brought with her, her chances of entering the Warrior Trials were slimmer than the dirty beggars who sat pleading for crusts of bread on the outskirts of Silvermeere. If Jax changed his mind, then she might be able to work her way up to fighting on the battlefield of Echo Flats, or even serve a stint in the Fireblade Mountains, where rumor had it the dragon still lived.
Pulling herself from her musings, Tizrah continued onward. As much as she would have liked to stay soaking up the rays of sunlight and marveling at the beauty of Oshawa’s greatness, Tizrah knew that for her dreams to be realized, she must trudge forward, allowing the old moment its death while a new moment was born.
After two days of hiking, Tizrah reached the southwest corner of the Labby Forest. She was almost home. Leaving the ancient ekenwood groves, she entered the forest’s area of newer growth that was still recovering from being logged off before the dawn of the Magi Wars.
When the wars ended two centuries past, people had found that the ashenwood tree was far superior in strength to all others. The newly founded Council of Nine had issued a mandate for the loggers to focus their efforts on gathering the stronger wood located in the ironwood and ashenwood forests that lined the southern end of Belstrom. According to the history of New Hayden, Tizrah’s home had once been a booming hub for logging, but the mandate had dropped its population by half, and afterward, the town had assumed a much slower rate of growth over the centuries.
Running lightly down the dirt path toward home, Tizrah nearly bubbled over with excitement. She imagined her father, Eldim, crafting an exquisite set of armor for her to wear during the Warrior Trials. He would choose fine ossen metal, for it was incredibly strong and lightweight and would reflect sunlight to the blinding of one’s enemies.
Nearing the western exit of the forest, Tizrah reached a stretch of the path that was open and straight, set between two groves. Halfway across the stretch, she caught movement in the sky. Diving down swiftly and alighting directly in her path was a large, gray and white-speckled gryphon. The beautiful and fearsome creature held Tizrah with its nerve-rattling gaze. Gryphons were considered the messengers of Oshawa, and to see one so close was considered either a very good omen or an ominous one.
What could Oshawa’s creature want with her, a lowly armory brat? Nevertheless, she waited, returning its gaze. She had nothing to fear; her heart was right before the One-God.
Seconds passed like centuries until Tizrah noticed a burning sensation sear her right arm. In a flash of radiance, the landscape surrounding her disappeared as she lost consciousness, falling to the ground like a crumpled doll.
The gryphon watched over her as she slept.
AZRAEL JAMES fell in love with Tolkien at the age of twelve leading to a life-long love of fantasy fiction. Writing stories that capture the imagination, James invites readers into a world where magic rules and ordinary life is forgotten. When not spinning tales, James teaches guitar to underprivileged fairy folk. He believes music and love are what binds all life together.
Three lucky winners will win a signed copy of Mark of Destiny in paperback.
Drawing will be held on April 18th.
Exclusive Giveaway, enter to win http://giveaway.azraeljames.com/
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
Publisher: Argento Publishing LLC
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Pages: 505 pages
Links: Good Reads
What do you do for Thanksgiving Dinner when your guests are Death, an Angel, and a slew of other monsters? You have a nerf gun war, of course… But the Queens of Fae want to crash his party. And the Beast Master is abducting shifter children for a Monster Circus.
Thanksgiving Dinner plans with Death, an Angel, a vampire, Achilles, and a slew of other monsters are cut short because a Monster Circus has come to town. And the Beast Master needs new Monsters for his show…
But the Queens of Fae also want a little deep-fried wizard for the holidays.
Oh, and Nate is losing that last finger-hold on his sanity: hallucinating, and talking to creatures that no one else can see. The ancient demon inside of him is getting stronger, fighting for dominance, and only one of them can survive.
But when a wizard curses Nate, extorting him to rescue a lethal Chimera child from the Beast Master’s Circus, Nate’s only option is to partner with his inner demon, risking his very soul. But his friends begin to doubt and fear this new, darker Nate, taking matters into their own hands – even when that means standing against him.
With allies turned enemies, the Fae breathing down his neck, and a dangerous child’s life on the line, Nate must call upon, bully, and coerce new storybook legends and gods to save his traitorous friends from becoming the Beast Master’s next victims…
Discover what – if anything – Nate is willing to sacrifice to save the friends who betrayed him…
Shayne is a man of mystery and power, whose power is exceeded only by his mystery. In other words, a storyteller.
He currently writes the Nate Temple Supernatural Thriller Series, which features a foul-mouthed young wizard with a chip on his shoulder attempting to protect St. Louis from the various nasties we all know and fear from our childhood bedtime stories. Nate’s been known to suckerpunch an Angel, cow-tip the Minotaur, and steal Death’s horse in order to prove his point. His utter disregard for consequences and self-preservation will have you laughing and cringing on the edge of your seat.
Shayne holds two high-ranking black belts, and enjoys conversing about anything Marvel, Magical, or Mythological. You might find him writing in a coffee shop near you, cackling madly into his computer screen while pounding shots of espresso.
Join my Readers’ Group for your free books and a pile of other goodies when they become available.
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Publication Date: March 25, 2017
Links: Good Reads
“Pay attention to the signs that are all around you,” Sarah’s mother used to say. Sarah never listened until her world turned upside down in the wake of her mother’s death. When sifting through the fiery ashes, signs begin to appear, giving her the feeling that the accident was less of an accident and more of foul play. While Sarah struggles to understand the images haunting her dreams, she finds herself losing a grip on reality.
Based on true events, Sarah unravels the mystery surrounding her mother’s death, and, in doing so, uncovers an internal darkness capable of murder.
Horses were one of my first loves, and writing soon followed. As a child, I spent hours writing poems, and short stories (about horses). My parents realized that I was horse-obsessed and decided to buy me one after taking riding lessons for two years. I think they hoped that all of the hard work, and hours spent mucking stalls would help me give up this expensive hobby. They were wrong. Writing is still a passion of mine, although now I primarily write fiction. My first novel, Red Rock, was published in 2010, and big surprise, there are horses in it. My second novel, The Three Month Plan was released August 2013.
Other Loves: My family, yoga, skincare and makeup, sushi, and raising money for pediatric cancer. I have two rescue dogs and would have more if there weren’t zoning restrictions. I’m always trying something new, as I tend to get bored very easily. Thankfully, my love of driving around with the gas light on fuels some excitement. I love novels with happy endings, and am a hopeful romantic. My latest obsession is browsing Netflix, and I can name all 50 states in alphabetical order in under 30 seconds. Do I feel a wager coming on?
How true is this?
Four years after the most confusing summer of her life, recent college graduate Iris Tilley is moving back home with no idea of the repercussions waiting to greet her. Going home means reconnecting with her dad, facing her motherless home, and confronting her gorgeous neighbor, Weston Alcorn.
And all of this, unfortunately, has to be done in a small southern town where gossip is a prized currency.
As the summer forges on, Iris struggles to find her place in a town that’s changed as much as it’s stayed the same, and it doesn’t help that Weston doesn’t seem to know how to treat her. Through awkward encounters, tense conversations, and heartbreaking revelations, neither Weston nor Iris can ignore the spark they ignited four years prior. But as Iris’s past and the prospect of her future violently clash, it’s no longer a question of can they ignore it, but will they have the chance?
CJ Miranda is a twenty-three year old LSU graduate with a romantic side she’s never shown to the people in her life. Having grown up quiet, shy, and incredibly sarcastic in a small town she never felt a part of, CJ spent her spare time writing multiple romance novels that she posted for free online. Having done that since she was thirteen, she now feels that it’s time to pursue what has always been her dream.
When she’s not writing or reading, she’s either working at her day job or drinking wine with her best friend/roommate and laughing at whatever their diva dogs are doing.
Join me in the wonderful world of words!
What is your word?
Who do you trust when betrayal threatens to destroy everything you hold dear?
When Arionna Jacobs fled town in a desperate bid to save Dace Matthews, she never expected the chaos she would leave in her wake. Now her closest friend is dead, and another is missing, forcing Ari to return to face the devastating consequences of her actions and the broken boy she left behind.
Her problems are only just beginning.
Even as her bond with Dace grows stronger, Arionna finds herself weakening when Freki’s cage shatters. Fighting the wolf for control is tearing her apart piece by piece. And at every turn, she finds that those she’s put her faith in aren’t who they seem, bringing her face to face with Sköll and Hati. As the depth of their betrayal is revealed, Freki spirals out of control, and Arionna must face her greatest fear: losing herself to the fierce wolf within.
The world balances on the edge of a blade, and one wrong move will destroy it all.
With few allies she can trust and little choice left, Arionna must decide between the lives of her friends and her own future with the alpha she loves. Will she be able to stand firm for the sake of the world, or will she falter in the face of defeat?
“Arionna, dammit, wake up.”
Unseen hands gripped my upper arms, shaking me. A familiar voice called my name over and over. Furious howls ripped through the air.
None of those sounds made sense to me.
I felt different, like I’d been taken apart and put back together in the wrong order. Everything hurt. My body ached, muscles locked tight in protest. My head throbbed. Each painful pulse rattled against my skull, sending ripples down my neck and into my back.
I groaned and rolled onto my side.
The hands shaking me relaxed.
I fought to open my eyes, then blinked, confused. Worn brown carpet scratched against the side of my face. The bottom edge of a pale blue bed-sham fluttered inches from me. Dust bunnies and small pieces of plastic were strewn beneath the sagging bed. A table and two chairs were grouped on the other side. A crack ran up the leg of one chair, splitting the wood.
None of the room looked familiar.
Where am I?
The voice calling my name stopped mid-shout and sighed.
Oh, thank god, he said.
For what? I wondered, marveling that the words came from inside my mind, but didn’t belong to me. How was that possible?
I couldn’t place the soft, silky tones either, but they made my stomach flip and my heart flutter. I knew the speaker. At least I thought I did. Before I could ask him who he was or how he spoke in my head, someone blew out a sharp breath. This time, the sound didn’t come from inside.
“Finally,” that second voice said.
Nope. Definitely not coming from my mind.
I rolled my eyes toward the relieved sound, and then frowned at the guy leaning over me. Long, dark hair hung in his face. His eyes were black, and full of concern. His features were sharp, severe, but handsome.
This time I was certain; I knew this guy.
“Ronan,” I said. His name was Ronan LaCrosse, and mine was… Arionna. Yes, Arionna Jacobs. Memory began to slowly trickle back in. We were at a motel in Illinois, looking for someone. And the howls were coming from Fuki, the little wolf we’d brought with us, though I couldn’t see him.
Where was he?
I tried to figure out why I was on the floor, but came up with a big blank.
“What happened?” I asked, looking up at Ronan.
He held out a hand for me, then pulled me into a sitting position.
The room tilted before straightening again. I clutched my head in my hands, groaning. When the initial wave of nausea passed, I tilted my head up slowly so I could see Ronan. “Did I hit my head?” I asked, trying to blink away the dark spots floating in my peripheral.
“You don’t remember?” He narrowed his eyes, tilting his head to the side like a raven assessing me.
I scooted back against the edge of the bed, frowning.
What was I supposed to remember?
A.K. Morgen is the Amazon Bestselling author of the Ragnarök Prophesies series. She lives in the heart of Arkansas with her childhood sweetheart/husband of thirteen years, and their six furry minions. When not writing, she spends her time hiking, reading, volunteering, causing mischief, and building a Spork army. Ayden graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology in 2009 before going on to complete her graduate degree in CJ and Law. She currently puts her education to use in the social services and CJ field.
Ayden also writes New Adult and contemporary romance under the penname Ayden K. Morgen.
Includes a $5 Amazon card, a one-of-a-kind copy of FADE signed by over 50 authors, FADE/Fall Ebooks, Stricken Ebook, and swag.
You can also enter the Goodreads Giveaway at: http://www.akmorgen.com/2017/02/flame-ragnarok-prophesies-goodreads.html
What begins as a routine missing person case for Seattle’s best private investigator, Dick Hunter, turns into a personal vendetta against a cruel murderer. The murderer, Mort des Hommes, happens to be a hell spawn possessing powerful magic.
In order to solve the case and avenge a death, Dick Hunter has to take a crash course in magic from the angelic Amie, and gather magical animal familiars in order to battle and defeat Mort des Hommes.
When I recall what I saw that day, I can scarce but wonder why I didn’t go insane. On the ground was the body of Mr. Hollis, bloody and torn but still barely alive and breathing. He was twitching on the grass like a chopped up inchworm. One arm was detached from the rest of his body, the hand clinched into a fist. Dangling freely from his torso was his intestines, pulled out from a huge gash in his lower stomach area. Blood flowed freely from many wounds. Blood splattered Mr. Hollis’ face, too; and by the looks of things, it was his own blood at that.
There was a man looming menacing over his tortured body: a white gentleman about a decade into AARP membership, slim and in good shape, with cold blue eyes and a tuft of white hair sticking out from under his smoke gray derby hat. He’s wearing a black suit with a white shirt and simple black tie, a long gray wool coat over his suit. He held a spear in his right arm, the tip of it pointed at Mr. Hollis’ forehead.
I couldn’t simply stand and watch the murder of a man without attempting to stop it, so I pulled out my sidearm and aimed it at the old man that looked like a reject from The Godfather movies. “Drop the spear!” I ordered.
The old man looked at me as if he hadn’t noticed that I was there beforehand. A sinister and arrogant smile formed across his pale face. He spread open his arms as he faced me—he was daring me to shoot him!
I wasn’t going to shoot him as long as he didn’t threaten me. I was hoping he wouldn’t, because that would be a heck of a lot of paperwork to fill out at the police station. I was hoping that he would let go of the weapon he borrowed from Fred Flintstone and allow me to apprehend him and call the police. But, of course, life’s never that easy, right?
The old fart turns and aims the spear at me, putting me in a tight situation. I have the more deadly weapon, so if I shoot and kill this old man, it might appear to be an act of abusing my gun privileges. If I don’t shoot, I’ll end up with a spear through my neck. I did the only logical thing I could do: I shot the old man in his shoulder.
The first shot seemed to do nothing to the old man. I had excellent aim, and I was close enough to the target that even if my aim sucked balls I still would’ve hit him. But there was nothing on the old man, not even a scratch.
I fired three more times, all with the same results as the first. It was as if the bullets, as they drew closer to him, ceased existing.
That’s when the old man gazed at me with his wicked smile, and, not even looking at his victim on the ground, rammed his spear through Mr. Hollis’ temple. He removed the spear with a jerk. Brain chunks and blood splattering everywhere. He winked at me and slowly turned to walk away. I fired two more rounds, without hitting him, until the old man vanished. That’s right; he vanished, like a specter or hologram.
My mind was having trouble making sense of the nonsense that just transpired. One thing I did know was that Benny-boy wasn’t in such good shape. I had to be quick. I dashed to the body and dropped to my knees. I stared at the corpse.
I shook my head at the dead body and whispered, “Why did you die? What did you die for, man?” I sighed and then walked over to where his arm lay. I lifted it up to rejoin it with his body. As I did so, a pebble and a pack of matches fell from his grasp. I placed the arm across his chest and retrieved the fallen pebble and matches. The matches were from some place called Amie’s House of Spirits; I placed both items in my coat pocket. That’s when I heard the police sirens and decided to disappear from the scene of the crime before I spent the rest of the night answering questions at the precinct.
Detective Dick Hunter is back!
Dick and comrades defeated Wicked Jinn Mort des Hommes in a climatic battle at the Gates of Hades. Though stopped of his ultimate goal of world domination, Mort was able to release twelve demons into the world–and Dick Hunter blames himself.
To put an end to the demonic threat, Dick Hunter and Amie–a former Pleasant Jinn and
Dick’s current lover–accompany an old friend, Pleasant Jinn Guy, across the country on a demon hunting spree. More action, adventure and wisecracks await in the next installment in the genre-bending, fourth-wall-breaking Detecting Magic with Dick Hunter series.
The talking pigeon was really an Aura elemental familiar under contract with Guy. There are six types of elementals, and they often times work with Jinn–Pleasant and Wicked–to help them complete missions. They’re needed in order to weaken or seal Jinn. Well, from my experience, they were necessary as distractions, so to speak. Just another body for the enemy to fight while the human of the group attempts to seal or weaken the Jinn.
I could go on about elementals and sealing Jinn and shit, but I already covered that enough in the previous book. You guys should go check that out if you hadn’t already.
But the main thing was that this filthy little pigeon had some valuable information. Apparently, there’s a new designer drug that hit the streets of Baltimore called sublime. It’s a pill people ingest. According to the Aura, sublime alters the body, I think something to do with dumping extra adrenaline into the blood, and the blimer (the person who’s popping sublime–seriously, I couldn’t make this shit up even if I tried) gets the strength of Superman, able to lift cars and shit. And they get hungry. Blimers get a strange craving for human flesh, and they have the strength to bite off large chunks with their teeth. Not pretty.
So yeah, that’s really a fucked up situation in Charm City. NARCs were up to their chests in cases, the police commissioner and mayor were under scrutiny, and folks were dying by the scores–getting eaten alive. Often by their buddy they just popped sublime with. There were hunger houses–basically crack houses for blimers–all over the city, thanks to about 1,500 or so blighted and condemned houses. Once uncovered, they’d be two or three or more half and fully devoured bodies found in them. Disturbing shit.
Before he left for Seattle, Guy had felt the presence of two demons in Baltimore. However, he didn’t have an agitator or a Thanos Stone or even the humans to wield them. Which was why he told his Aura to keep tabs on things in Tubman City while he went to gather Amie and I from the west coast. I wished he had said something earlier. Jinn and their goddamn secrets.
Guy definitely thought it was the Addiction demon that was spreading around sublime. Only a demon could manufacture a drug with an agent that could alter human physiology as drastically as sublime did, or so said Guy. Amie agreed with him. I just kept quiet, looking pretty, because I had no idea what they were talking about.
Anyway, the next day Guy’s Aura returned with more news for us . . .
“Guy, Guy,” squawks the Aura. “I overheard this from one of the dealers. There is a big shipment of sublime coming tonight at the docks. Taj, the biggest sublime supplier in the city, is always there during a shipment.”
Guy nods and throws a handful of bread crumbs at it. “Merci. You have done well. Time for rest, non?”
The pigeon mumbles, “Thank you,” as it eagerly pecks at the crumbs.
Guy joins Amie and me at the kitchen table. “You suspect this Taj guy is really Addiction?” I say.
“Oui. And if he is not, the real demon will most likely be the one dropping off the large shipment.”
“I wonder why all the subterfuge,” I say. “If the demon is manufacturing sublime, why go through all the trouble of having it shipped in?”
Guy shrugs. Amie says, “That’s a good question. Maybe the shipment is only the materials needed to manufacture sublime.”
Eh, that’s a sickening thought. I remember the ingredients Mort used to make his hellhound canines. I’m sure what the demon uses to make sublime is nasty, and possibly human.
“Well, there’s only one way to find out.”
Guy laughs and shakes his head at me. Then he gets up from the table. “I am going to pray and cleanse myself for tonight.”
Amie gets up too. “I’m going to mediate.”
They both walk out of the kitchen, leaving me alone with a damn pigeon.
I had a couple of hours to kill, so I decided to go out for a walk. The city seemed, I don’t know, nicer since the last time I visited. The area was relatively clean for a city with over half a million people. I didn’t know where I was going, so I just kept walking. Somehow my feet led me to a bar.
I went in, sat at the counter, and ordered a whiskey on the rocks. An Orioles game played on a big flat screen TV behind the bar. I sipped my drink and got lost in the strikes and balls.
I admit, I was a bit put off how Amie just left me right after Guy got up. Was I jealous? Slightly. But those two knew things I didn’t. They both have lived hundreds of years. One was a Jinn possessing unbelievable magic, the other was formerly a Jinn. I was the odd man out in this threesome; I was the third wheel.
Into my fourth drink I realized alcohol wasn’t going to change any of that. Wasn’t going to help it any, either. I paid my tab and then shuffled on back to Guy’s apartment.
Person. Storyteller. Work-in-progress. A. Jarrell Hayes began writing at a young age; his first books being handwritten and illustrated stories similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure titles he loved. In 2004 he published his first two “official” books, Heart and Soul of a Thinker (poetry) and Crowning of the Good King (fantasy). Since then, he has written seven poetry collections, four fantasy novels, three short story collections and a handful of chapbooks. His work has appeared in over 20 publications, online and in print. His visual art has been on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and the Eubie Blake Jazz and Cultural Center in Baltimore. He began publishing poetry under the name A. J. Hayes in 2013. A list of his published works is available here.
In 2013 he founded a small publishing press called Hidden Clearing Books, LLC (now closed). He has judged contests for the aforementioned press and for the Maryland Writer’s Association. He is a freelance editor and book consultant (hire him here).
He currently lives in Maryland. He invites you to subscribe to his free eNewsletter and contribute to his Patreon.
Giveaway will be print copies of both books, one winner.