Book Tour · Giveaway · Silver Dagger Scriptorium

The Last Wife of Attila the Hun Book Tour & Giveaway

 
Genre: 
Epic Fantasy, Historical
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Publication Date: September 24, 2015
Pages: 261
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Two threads are flawlessly woven together in this sweeping historical novel. In one, Gudrun, a Burgundian noblewoman, dares to enter the City of Attila to give its ruler what she hopes is a cursed sword; the second reveals the unimaginable events that have driven her to this mission. Based in part on the true history of the times and in part on the same Nordic legends that inspired Wagner’s Ring Cycle and other great works of art, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun offers readers a thrilling story of love, betrayal, passion and revenge, all set against an ancient backdrop itself gushing with intrigue.

Where to Buy

Amazon


Joan Schweighardt is the author of five novels and more on the way. In addition to her own writing projects, she writes, ghostwrites, and edits for individuals and corporations.

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Book Tour · Excerpts · Giveaway · Silver Dagger Scriptorium

Y’Keta Book Tour & Giveaway

 
Genre: 
Epic Fantasy
Publication Date: February 12, 2017
Pages: 261
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Banished. Cast out. Powerless. Y’keta is exiled to the small village of Esquialt as his father’s punishment for his rebellious spirit. Village tradition gives him one Cycle, from spring to spring, to earn the right to stay.

The villagers have a legend about mighty beings called the Waki’tani, mythical lords of the wind and lightning who can shapeshift into human form. Y’keta knows the truth behind these stories. Could there be more to them than just tales shared around the campfire?

If Y’keta reveals what he knows to the villagers, it will tear their history and traditions apart…but sharing his secrets may be their only hope for survival when Esquialt is threatened by the brutal, ferociously destructive Utlaak.

Loosely based on the Thunderbird of North American legend, Y’keta is an epic fantasy set in an ancient world where legends walk and the Sky Road offers a way to the stars.

D’vhan held out a wrinkled hand to the dejected Kit’na. “If you agree to be honest, with yourself and with me, I will count you as one of my warriors.” Grasping Y’keta’s wrist, D’vhan pulled with surprising strength, yanking the younger man to his feet and almost tumbling him into the surf. “You have a lot to learn about our ways. It will not be easy to put your pride away and learn as an adult what you should have learned as a child; but if you are willing, I will teach.”

Y’keta grasped D’vhan’s arm, forearm to forearm in the way he’d seen other warriors in the village greet each other. “I promise,” he said, “I will try.”

The grizzled hand clapped Y’keta on the shoulder and gave him an ungentle shove towards the forest. “Let’s get back to work then, young hatchling. Laban and Ren are not far ahead of us.”

“But didn’t you say we would meet up on the beach at sundown?” Y’keta queried.

“Laban and Ren will head towards the beach for nightfall,” D’vhan agreed, “but if they found anything in the forest, I want to see it before dark.”

“You sneaky old crow,” Y’keta spluttered. “You planned this just to find out about me!” “Exactly,” D’vhan cackled, the beads sparkling in his hair as he laughed. “Be wary of old crows. We are not as quick to fight as you young hawks, but infinitely more devious.

Where to Buy

Amazon

 

 Hi, my name is Sandra Hurst, the author of the Sky Road fantasy series.
As a child growing up in England stories and legends surrounded me, I learned how important imagination was. When I was 8, we moved to northern Canada and the legends changed. Stories of the Fae and the little people were replaced by legends of the Thunderbird and stories of the woodlands. I never stood a chance. What could I be but a writer?

Growing up in Northern Alberta gave me a great love and respect for the wild lands and indigenous cultures which made its way into the worlds I create. A mythmaker at heart, I started writing poetry in middle school and graduated to epic fantasy.

Myths give us a way to interpret the world past our normal experience. To ask questions and explore answers in a larger-than-life game of ‘what if.’ We need to make room for myths and mythmakers in our fact driven world. To give space for worlds that are brighter and clearer than our own. For it is in doing so, that we have room to become more fully human.

My first book, Y’keta, is loosely based on the Thunderbird of North American legend, Y’keta is a Young Adult, high fantasy set in an ancient world where legends walk and the Sky Road offers a way to the stars.

I now live in Calgary, Alberta with my husband and son, both of whom I love dearly, and have put for sale on e-bay when their behaviour demanded it. My day to day life is a balance between my outside life as a paralegal counsellor and my inner life as an author/poet. In between, I work on courses to improve my writing, learning the Cree Language, book reviews and blogging on my website, and studying mythologies from around the world.

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Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Featured Author: Damien Black

Wednesday Spotlight

 
Genre: 
Dark Epic Fantasy
Publisher: IngramSpark/KDP
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Pages: 650
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Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m from the UK. I was born and raised in London. I wouldn’t say we were poor but money was often tight. Reading was a release for me from an early age, that and television. Then I got into the music thing in my teens, played a lot of guitar and probably did more partying than was good for me! I cleaned up my act a few years ago and around that time it dawned on me that I loved writing more than music.

What inspired you to write?

I remember writing a lot of stuff at school that I never finished. Then in adult life I came back to it. Rock ‘n’ roll is very seductive, but the more I got back into writing the more I realised that it offers more. For one thing, you can have complete creative control – especially on a self-publishing ticket. No more band arguments, no struggling with sound engineers or producers… You’re the boss! And words have far more intellectual clout than music – they can be beautiful for their own sake, but they can also be used to send ideas far and wide. I can’t think of a more satisfying feeling than creating your own world and story and watching them come to life through the power of prose.

What inspired your novel?

Er, God? It has to come from somewhere… That collective unconscious that we tap into without thinking, all artists can relate to this I believe. In particular I wanted to explore the links between monotheism and polytheism, how they bleed into one another (despite the best attempts of clerics of many faiths to deceive us to the contrary). I also wanted to write a story of high adventure – chivalry, derring-do, battles, what have you – that was underpinned by creeping horror – demons, evil spirits, possession, warlocks and black magic. HP Lovecraft meets George RR Martin if you will!

What is the genre?

Dark fantasy. Although it crosses over into grimdark too.

What draws you to this genre?

Everything. The creative potential is limitless. You get to design your own world with its history and cultures, drawing on the real one as much or as little as you like. I didn’t choose this genre; it chose me. I may branch out into other kinds of fiction but for now I couldn’t imagine writing anything else!

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

I started much as Tolkien did, concocting a series of histories and nations, each with their own culture, religion and linguistic identity. Once I had a fully functioning world I started to devise the storyline. I went on holiday and spent several days chain smoking and writing out a synopsis for an epic saga. Once I was done I had 50 pages of A4. I thought: I’m on to something here.

What inspired your protagonist?

In Adelko of Narvik I wanted a hero who is a pacifist and doesn’t use violence to solve his problems (although he falls in with quite a few characters who do). I also wanted someone whose job it is to hunt down sorcerers. In that way I believe I’ve come up with a lead character who is the opposite of the stereotypical wizard or warrior you find in most fantasy novels… unless of course you count the prayers Adelko uses to neutralise magic as magic itself…! That’s my idea of an ambiguous character: you can read him in completely different ways.

What inspired your antagonist?

Depends which one you are talking about… There are several, of varying degrees of depravity. You see, I also wanted to channel elements of a thriller/mystery into my work, so in Devil’s Night Dawning the arch villain’s identity remains ambiguous… I would say more but I don’t want to give the game away!

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

Ooh good question! Most of it seemed to come quite naturally… I think editing it was the hardest part. I’ve got years of experience as an editor but making judgement calls on your own work was tough. But again, incredibly rewarding – I have an idiosyncratic style of writing and having complete control of the creative process is very important to me.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

I think the segment where Adelko is on the run with his mentor Horskram –  they know that somebody knows what they know and is sending agents – human and supernatural – to kill them before they can warn the Grand Master of their order. They’re being chased across the wilderness day and night, with the suspense gradually building (a bit like in the first part of The Fellowship of the Ring). I like to pace the telling of a story – don’t give it all away at once! It also gave me the opportunity to world-build through Adelko’s POV – he hasn’t seen much of the world to date so it’s all pretty fresh in his eyes.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

I worked for more than a decade as a freelance journalist and copywriter, sidelining in music, but now I’ve quit those things to concentrate on writing. The second installment of the Broken Stone series will be out this year!

What are you currently reading?

Dawn of the Gods by Jacquetta Hawkes. I’ve just started and it’s a fascinating read: it details how the Minoan civilization in Crete was influenced by the Near Eastern cultures of Mesopotamia and went on to influence that of mainland Greece – the Mycenaean palace culture that preceded the classical era most people are familiar with. I read a lot of history and it definitely inspires my writing.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

Oh so many. To name but a few: Sir Thomas Malory, Charles Dickens, Sir Walter Scott, JRR Tolkien, Michael Moorcock, Joseph Conrad, HP Lovecraft, Aldous Huxley, Anthony Burgess, Mervyn Peake

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

Ow, that’s hard…! The Heart of Darkness, A Tale of Two Cities, The Lord of the Rings, The Talisman, Gormenghast. Better move on to the next question, before I change my mind!

What are your future projects, if any?

To continue writing the Broken Stone series. I’ve synopsised for five books, but it might run over. I’ve every intention of finishing it too – unlike some other authors of epic fantasy I could mention… Ahem!

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

My website is damienblackwords.com and I can be reached any time of the day at damien@damienblackwords.com – I also have a Twitter account @TheDevilsFriar and I’m on Facebook too under www.facebook.com/damienblackwords/

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 

Don’t aspire: be.

Book Tour · Contests · Excerpts · Giveaway · Silver Dagger Scriptorium

Mental Damnation: Reality Book Tour & Giveaway


Genre:  Epic Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Reveal Books
Publication Date: July 17, 2012
Pages: 384
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Having her family murdered by the humans during her people’s banishment from the surface world, Krista and her only friend, Darkwing, struggle to remain alive. The pair of reptilian street scum live in their newfound home, the City of Renasence, dictated by a fascist military known as the Renasence Guard. The two find themselves at odds when Krista puts her faith in the Five Guardians’ goal of unification, while Darkwing chooses to stand with a notorious gang, the Blood Hounds, who are known for their anarchist views
This divide in their friendship forces Krista to persist on her own as the Five Guardians become crazed from an unknown disease – Mental Damnation. After their infection, the Guardians develop a bizarre interest in her, claiming they must reap her innocence for their newfound master, the Weaver.
With a military dictatorship, politically-driven gangs and their guardians infected and on a hunt for her, Krista has limited options for survival: Does she fend for her life in the City of Renascence, against menacing forces, or risk leaving everything behind and enter the uncharted realm of the underworld?

Where to Buy

Amazon

The strange male and Krista paused simultaneously, listening to the noise. Once the roar faded, the Corrupt continued to squirm. Krista suddenly realized that he was trying to crawl off of her, but his hands and feet had been cut off. Blood oozed from his limbs and smeared onto Krista. The Corrupt was essentially defenseless, so she calmed down – a little bit – and tried to work with him to get him off her.

Krista managed to roll the Corrupt to the side and he attempted to scurry away, but without hands and feet, he stumbled back to the ground whining, moving like a newborn calf.

A second male leaped from the higher rocks and landed with a heavy thud, raising dust. He threw a spear at the bleeding Corrupt. The weapon soared into the air, piercing through his victim’s skull and pinning the Corrupt to the ground.

Krista looked at the newcomer, mesmerized by his physical appearance. Muscles bulged on his shirtless torso. His skin was peach-toned, something Krista had never seen before.

What is he? she wondered, eyeing the male from his feet to his head.

The male’s five-toed feet were clad in sandals, with leather wrapped around his ankles. He wore a green kilt and several sheathed weapons strapped to his bare chest, which was marred by numerous jagged scars. His right hand had a cloth wrapped around it, and a ring flashed on his left.

He had a tail similar to Krista’s but with no scales. His brown scalp-feathers were plucked on the sides, leaving the remaining long feathers tied into a ponytail running down to his shoulder blades. Like hers, his eyes glowed, but they were bright white, not nearly as vibrant, and had green irises.

The male’s light skin and unusually flat facial structure called up flashbacks to the human raiders of Krista’s childhood.

He’s like a cross of humans and my people. I’ve never seen anything like it before!

The male walked over to the dead Corrupt and pulled his spear free from the body, then kicked it over the rocky edge. He kept his gaze on the rocks, watching the corpse fall into the fog.

Krista could hear the body tumble down the mountain, until the sound faded. Now that his back was facing her, she could see his spine was covered in light grey scales that came up to his neck. Krista was frightened by the peach-skinned male and kept motionless. She was uncertain whether he was a friend or a foe, or what she should do.

He’s going to notice me eventually. She waved nervously. “Hi.”


Konn Lavery is a Canadian horror and dark fantasy writer who is known for his Mental Damnation series. The second book, Dream, reached the Edmonton Journal’s top five selling fictional books list. He started writing fantasy stories at a very young age while being home schooled. It wasn’t until graduating college that he began professionally pursuing his work with his first release, Reality. Since then he has continued to write works of fiction ranging from fantasy to horror.

His literary work is done in the long hours of the night. By day, Konn runs his own graphic design and website development business under the title Reveal Design. These skills have been transcribed into the formatting and artwork found within his publications supporting his fascination of transmedia storytelling.

Connect with Konn

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Good Reads | Amazon


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Shadyia Ascendant Book Tour & Giveaway


Genre: Epic Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2017
Pages: 461
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About the Book

Forbidden Romance in an Age of Veiled Magic!

When Shadyia, a courtesan of the Silver Rose, violates the tenets of the Sisterhood, she is commanded by her madam to appease an order of vicious crusaders by seducing a powerful magician masquerading as a wealthy scholar.

Caught between an ancient conflict of Order and Chaos, Shadyia and her companions must descend beneath the Silver Rose into a labyrinth of deadly traps and shadowy guardians. For only there can she defy the crusaders who threaten her sorority and avert the prophecy of a darkness that returns to consume the world.

Excerpt

Shadyia backed away from the window and glanced at the madam and her two mistresses. Hopefully, someone would tell her what all this was about—and why she, of all the sisters, had been invited to bear witness. Sybaris knelt and loosened a stiletto sheathed in a boot. Uttering grim predictions, the raven-haired Makayla paced, gripping the sides of her black gown.
Madam Amrita turned from the window. “Ladies, please wait for me at the back doors to the audience. I’ll be with you shortly.”
They bowed and departed.
The madam gathered her dark brown hair, streaked with gray, behind her shoulders. “I believe I know why Lord Dunstan is here. He’s come for you, Sister.”
Shadyia blinked. There must be some mistake. Dunstan wasn’t one of her coins; he wasn’t any sister’s coin. The madam forbid servicing House Mienhard. No amount of silver, she often schooled them, was worth the peril of learning the secrets of the king’s house.
“For me? Why?”
“You are the favorite of Lord William Querry. This afternoon at the Diamond, the horse owned by William defeated the horse owned by Lord Dunstan. That race was very important to Dunstan, and he is furious.”
Shadyia stared hard at her madam. The ringing bells, scrambling sisters, Sybaris appearing as if she were moments from wading into battle—all this over a horse race? Then again, nobles obsessed over such things, but what had she herself to do with—
A chill seized her. Dunstan killed men who offended him, but for women he was known to pursue a different form of amusement.
“Dunstan will punish William Querry by commanding his guard to rape and beat me.”
“Correct,” Amrita said. “That is why you must hide. Don’t go to your quarters. He may know where that is. I suggest one of the storerooms beneath the kitchens. Go now and avoid the east vestibule.” She turned to leave.
Madam, wait. Mistress Sybaris said the wolfguard knows I’m here.”
Amrita stopped. “I’ll tell him you’re not,” she said over her shoulder. “I’ll tell him you are servicing a coin and are away from the palace.”
“Dunstan will never believe you over his guard. Even if he does, he’ll just choose another sister.”
Amrita faced her. “Unlikely. To beat another would fail to send the message he desires to William Querry.”
“But it would punish you for denying his wrath. Madam, this is Dunstan Mienhard. You were with me at the plaza last month. Did he strike you as a man who will just walk away on your word alone?”
She hoped her point had hammered home. Just the month before, Dunstan had accepted a challenge from a retired knight-general, a veteran of numerous campaigns and a grandfather of sixteen. The stodgy general had little choice but to demand a duel when Lord Dunstan called him a coward. Duels were a common form of entertainment for the gentry, and seldom to the death, so quite a crowd had gathered to bear witness, Amrita and Shadyia among them. They’d watched in shock as Dunstan repeatedly sliced the elderly knight-general and finished him with a piercing stab to the throat. ‘Cowards deserve no quarter,’
Dunstan had said, using a white cloth to wipe the general’s blood off his blacksteel sword.
“What is your concern?” the madam asked.
“If Dunstan has come for me,” Shadyia answered, tapping her chest, “then it is I who should deal with him.” She didn’t know exactly how she would deal with him, but another sister would not suffer in her stead.
Amrita studied her for a moment, but Shadyia couldn’t tell if her madam’s thoughts were filled with admiration or doubt. “Very well,” she said at last. “Take your place in the audience, but keep your hood low and blend in with the others. You are not to reveal yourself until I command it. Understood?”
“Yes, Madam.”
Amrita walked toward the back steps to the audience. Shadyia pulled up the hood on her short sapphire dress, dashed from the ballroom and hurried down the grand stairs to White Hall. She followed the last of her sisters into the audience and closed the doors behind her. Lanterns on hooks pooled light throughout the domed, circular chamber. Hood pulled low, Shadyia leaned against a pillar and crossed her arms above her waist. The others had taken various postures meant to distract, lure and entice, their faces partly hidden under low hoods. Red-haired Deresi, a sister from Shadyia’s own circle, looked particularly tempting as she sat on the lip of the fountain, her fingers playing in the rippling water and her legs parted just enough to tease a man’s attention.
The doors to the Welcome Hall thundered open and Lord Dunstan entered. He swept his gaze over the chamber, his hand resting on the pommel of his sword, and made for the madam’s chair. His wolfguard slammed the doors in the face their guardian sister escort, and then turned their backs to better observe their master. Dunstan halted before the single-step dais and scowled up at the statue of Luun standing protectively behind the madam’s chair. He removed his hat and cast it over the hand of the statue that held the silver rose.
Shadyia seethed. Luun was more than the sister’s patroness; she was an emblem of feminine strength and dignity—one that Dunstan had reduced to a rack for his hat.
The rear doors to the chamber opened. Chin elevated, shoulders back and one hand placed upon the other at waist-level, Madam Amrita entered with Mistress Sybaris and Mistress Makayla a few steps behind.
Lord Dunstan pivoted toward the approaching women, grasped his blacksteel longsword and tugged it within reach. Shadyia furrowed her brow. Was he actually afraid of the madam? Ah, of course. She grinned beneath her hood. His hilt-grip was meant for Sybaris. The mistress of guardians had a fearsome reputation.
Holding the hem of her elaborate pearl gown, Amrita dipped, her gaze lowered. Sybaris and Makayla did likewise.
“Lord Dunstan, you honor my house,” Amrita said, rising.
Dunstan puffed his cheeks behind a blond mustache. “That’s not saying much.” He removed his riding coat and flung it across the chair. Their backs still to the main doors, his wolfguard grinned like jackals over a fresh kill. Shadyia ground her teeth. The pig! He would not even allow the madam her place of honor.
“How may I be of service?” Amrita asked with—remarkably—no hint of outrage in her voice.
Dunstan faced her. “Service? I thought you didn’t service House Mienhard.”
“As a matter of policy, my lord.”
“Your girls suck half the cocks in Anderholm, but the king’s house isn’t good enough for them?”
“Take no offense, my lord. Even the most skilled courtesan can conceive a child. With any other house we are free to terminate the seed, but if the house that straddles a sister also sits upon the throne, this…solution…is inappropriate.”
Shadyia tensed as Dunstan took a step toward Amrita. “I am offended you think me fool enough to accept that excuse. But it is of no matter.” He addressed the room. “This policy ends tonight. I require one of your girls, the favorite of Querry’s third son, William. She goes by the name Shadyia. Bring her to my guard at once.”
“I’m sorry, my lord, but Sister Shadyia is away from the Silver Rose until tomorrow.”
Dunstan rounded on Amrita and struck her across her face. She cried out, fell back and only Sybaris’s reflexes kept her head from smacking the floor. Gasps erupted from the sisters about the chamber as Shadyia pushed against her pillar, her hands becoming fists.
Dunstan rubbed his knuckles in the palm of his hand. “Do not lie to me, whore. I know she’s here. Bring her to me at once.”
Sybaris reached back to her boot—but the madam caught her wrist. “She is not, sire. I swear it. She lies with her client, Lord Martel—”
Amrita cried out as Dunstan kicked her hip with a steel-tipped boot and reached for his sword.
Enough! Shadyia swept the hood off her gown. Amrita would not suffer on her behalf. No one would. She stepped to the center of the room. “My lord, I am here!”
The wolfguard rushed forward and seized her arms. Amrita shot her a seething look, but changed to an expression of pleading as Dunstan glared back down at her. “Mercy, Lord. She’s just a girl.”
Dunstan sneered, a look of victory in his eyes. “She’s no girl. And, from the way William boasted, he’s quite taken with her.” He turned his vulturous gaze on Shadyia and followed her curves. “But, after my men are finished, he won’t find her so attractive.”
Disgust nearly forced her to twist away, but she closed her mind to Dunstan’s words. Think. Don’t struggle. The calloused hands clamped on her biceps offered no hope for escape. What could she do?

 
Genre: 
Epic Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: March 31, 2017
Pages: 346
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About the Book

Shadyia’s Adventure Continues!

‘I will never leave you, and I will always come for you.’
Shadyia’s vow to her lover is put to the test when the Innocenti rise and envelope the sisterhood she adores.

As the magician she aided hunts for the path to an ancient city, the new madam of the Silver Rose strives to please the evil that has promised, upon its freedom, to make her a queen.

Meanwhile, the adviser to the Innocenti prepares the final stage of his strategy to crush the faith of the old gods. He needs but a bit of magic to carry out his ultimate plan.

Magicians. Zealots. Madams. Whores. It’s all the same to he who waits within the enchanted box. Soon he will unleash his servants, and every horror of the abyss will once again consume humanity.

Excerpt

IN THE SHADOW of the Black Tower, Shadyia nudged the shoulder of the scruffy, tired woman strolling by her side. When Deresi turned her head, she offered her a spirited wave. Hello, my sweet friend. They both needed a hot bath and a good night’s rest, but that hardly mattered. Deresi was alive. They had each survived the horrors of Mirrikh’s labyrinth with whole skins and sound minds.
Deresi crossed her eyes and stuck out the tip of her tongue.
Shadyia shifted her attention to the damp street. Yes, I know. I should stop gawking at you. She couldn’t help it. Her fingers ached to get lost in the tangles of Deresi’s red curls; her ears yearned for the sounds of Deresi’s passion, and her skin craved the warmth they had not shared often enough. I almost lost you. The death they had faced during the past two days made her crave another night, like the smallest fox in a litter peering at the last quail egg. Words Shadyia had spoken that morning they lay entwined in arms, legs and blankets—the morning Deresi had pledged her love—coursed through Shadyia’s veins and spurred her heart to beat. I will never leave you, and I will always come for you. Shadyia had never made such a promise to anyone before.
She yanked her thoughts from the past and listened in on the men walking a few paces in front of her. Aaron was asking his apprentice what it had been like to hear Verthandi’s voice in his thoughts.
“I didn’t know it was his voice,” Benjamin replied. “I thought it was mine.”
Aaron swept a hand through his graying hair and narrowed his gaze at the young man. “But you had no idea how to open the tower. Didn’t it seem odd to you that these thoughts were in your head?”
Benjamin shrugged. “It does now. At the time, I thought I was just guessing, experimenting. Do this, turn that, push, pull—and then the doors opened. I couldn’t believe it.”
Shadyia seized the pommel of her blacksteel sword. She couldn’t believe Benjamin had left Janell outside while he bumbled around inside the Black Tower. Janell may be a fellow sister of the Silver Rose, but for all of Madam Amrita’s training, she was a mewling kitten lost in a rainstorm. Anderholm was no city to walk about alone, even for a veteran with a drawn sword and a stern gaze on every dark alley. Shadyia tamped down her anger. If Benjamin hadn’t opened the doors of the tower and entered, she, Deresi and Aaron would now be facing a slow death from thirst and starvation in Mirrikh’s oubliette, the place the ancient magician had used to forget people who had angered him.
Aaron led them north. They followed the smooth stones of Queen’s Way, the scrape of their footfalls the only sounds in the damp streets. Shadyia glanced around. Too quiet. Today was the second day of Samprina and so the citizens were either fasting in their homes or visiting relatives in the country, but the silence didn’t feel right. Anderholm was a city of noise. The clap of hooves, the roll of wagons, merchants bellowing over one another, armed guards hollering to clear a path for a snobbish lord on horseback, the squeal of orphaned children, the bark of dogs—chaos was the lifeblood of Anderholm. Quiet did not become the trade capitol of the northern realms.
“Here, this way.” Aaron turned them down a long alley between the Ministry of Art and a pottery warehouse. As Shadyia recalled, the alley ended at the Rum Barrel Inn near the Bridge of Swans. Aaron’s Featherquill Manor, packed with the historical books he had written over his many centuries, was a short walk up a winding road past the other mansions in the Artisan Quarter. When they arrived, he had promised to treat them to an evening of relaxing and recovering. Shadyia blew a gust through her lips at the thought. After two days and a night in the dark, twisting halls of labyrinth, pits of spikes hidden under false floors and shadow beasts that drained the life from their victims, she craved a quiet evening in Deresi’s arms more than all the gold in Anderholm. I just hope Janell made it back there without trouble.
Midway through the alley, a single-horse cart, driven by two cloaked men, rolled toward them. Shadyia and the others flattened themselves against the wall. She turned her head as it passed. Some mortified soul lay wrapped in a heavy cloth in the back of the cart. Likely the men were gravediggers on their way to—The corpse! Shadyia recognized its white boots.
“Stop that cart!”
The driver snapped his reins against the horse as Aaron grabbed the air and twisted his fist. The wheels locked and dragged until the cart screeched to a halt. The driver lashed his reins again, but the horse only reared. The men, one thin and the other large, jumped back off the bench, stepped around the wrapped figure and dropped to the street. They threw open their cloaks and pulled out a pair of long knives. Shadyia drew her blacksteel sword as she and Aaron met them halfway. Aaron twisted his hands, palms outward, and the fat one was hurled against the wall by an unseen force. The other stood dumbfounded until Shadyia knocked the knife out of his hand with a downward slash and pressed the tip of her sword under his chin.
“Over there, move,” she said, urging the driver, a man with dark lines tattooed on half his face, to stand next to his fat companion. He lifted his hands in surrender and complied.
The force holding the large man released, but Shadyia moved the tip and pricked the fleshy pouch under his chin. “Drop the knife.”
The knife clattered to the street and the fat man lifted his portly arms.
“Dee, check the cart.”
Deresi snatched the thin man’s knife off the ground and leaped into the cart. Shadyia heard her cut the ropes. She glanced down the alley to make sure no others were coming, but only Benjamin stood there, ringing his hands and looking as if he were not sure what he should do.
Silence from the cart drove Shadyia to risk a glance. Deresi was sitting back on her heels, her shoulders slumped, staring down at the person she had partly exposed beneath the cloth. “Dee, who is it? Is it Janell?”
Deresi’s mouth moved but no sound came out. “I…”
What’s wrong with her? “Dee!”
“I can’t tell!” Deresi briefly covered her lips with trembling fingers. “I think it is.”
Benjamin charged, jolting Shadyia as he passed, and leaped into the cart.
A freezing wave passed over Shadyia. Deresi couldn’t tell? She glanced at Aaron, who had remained at her side, then faced the portly man and jabbed him with the tip. “What did you do to her?”
The fat man’s jaw shuddered and a drop of blood leaked down his pouch. “She asked to join us.”
Shadyia nearly stabbed him again when Benjamin’s wail echoed along the alley. “Mentor, please help!”
Aaron rushed the cart as Shadyia coiled back her sword, daring either man to move. She glanced as Aaron further pulled open the cloth, stained dark red on the inside, to reveal a naked body. Benjamin wailed anew as Aaron placed a hand on her forehead. Deresi scooted back into the corner of the cart and stared at Janell, as motionless as one posing for a sculpture.
Benjamin sobbed. “What have they done to her?”
“She’s alive,” Aaron said.
Movement from the tattooed man caught Shadyia’s attention. His hands came down—back!—and she stabbed deep in his shoulder.
He snarled, reeled and fell against the wall, his hand over the wound. “You bitch.” He checked the blood on his fingers.“Next time it will be your eye.”
A bellow of anguish tore Shadyia from the men. Aaron fell off the cart, hit the cobbled stones hard, and rolled on the ground. Benjamin called his name and jumped down as Deresi stood high on her knees, her face pale.
Benjamin kneeled and grabbed Aaron by the shoulders. “Mentor, what’s wrong, what’s happened?”
Aaron knocked the hands away and rolled on his side, agony twisting his face. He howled and thrashed as if someone had set fire to his clothing. Shadyia glared at the men. Had they done something? No. They stood with gaping mouths and baffled stares.
His hands covering his face, Aaron seemed to bring his torment under control. He sat up and turned eyes of pure rage on Shadyia’s prisoners. “Innocenti. They mutilated her,” he said through seething gasps. “That one and that one. There was a third, but he’s not here. They raped and tortured her for hours.”
He pushed Benjamin back, rolled to his feet, and brought his hands up as if he were lifting the end of a table. The men slammed against the wall and slid up until their feet dangled.
“Vile warlock,” the tattooed one said then spat. “Fate will be your judge.”

About the Author


The Shadyia Ascendant Book Series is the kind of fantasy book I wanted to read, but could never find. Sexy, powerful, positive.
The heroes are beaten, but are never broken.
Although this is a medieval setting (more or less 15th century Renaissance), the characters don’t scratch at fleas and trug through the book ass-deap in mud and blood and disease. I’m sure all that is accurate, but I never wanted to read about it.
I wanted magic that is rare, women that are bold and beautiful, mysterious magicians with a hidden agenda, and gods that move mortals about like pieces on a chessboard. That’s the book I wanted.
I was inspired by the fantasy writer David Gemmell in terms of pace. When you read one of his books, you get your money’s worth. He won’t spend eleven chapters with this characters arguing in a castle. The term “I could never put it down” fits a Gemmell book perfectly, and it’s what I have striven to accomplish in the Shadyia Ascendant series.
Get ready for a sexy adventure you won’t soon forget!
A graduate in history, specializing in Central-European history, I’m an avid computer gamer, reader enthusiast, and teacher of English as a foreign language. I’m American and currently reside in Poland.

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Book 1

 
Genre: 
Epic Fantasy, Adventure
Publisher: Smashwords
Publication Date: September 28, 2015
Pages: 300
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Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Uncertain what is real.

Athson has seen things that aren’t there and suffered fits since being tragically orphaned as a child at the hands of trolls and Corgren the wizard. When a strange will mentioning a mysterious bow comes into his possession, he’s not sure it’s real. But the trolls that soon pursue him are all too real and dangerous. And what’s worse, these raiders serve Corgren and his master, the hidden dragon, Magdronu, who are responsible for the destruction of his childhood home. Athson is drawn into a quest for the concealed Bow of Hart by the mystic Withling, Hastra, but Athson isn’t always sure what’s real and who his enemies are. With Corgren and Magdronu involved, Athson must face not only frequent danger but his grasp on reality and the reasons behind his tragic past.

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Arrows screeched by his head. “Arrows!” He hoped she heard. He kicked his gelding. It was labored though it ran hard.
They surged from the pursuit as more arrows whizzed past. Athson leaned low over his horse’s neck. Limbreth cried out in pain. The white mare slowed, and Athson’s horse overtook her and matched the mare’s pace.
He shouted over the noise of thundering hooves. “Where are you hurt?”
“Arm.” Limbreth gritted her teeth. Like a shadow, the dark arrow and blood trailed on her lighter clothing and soaked her left arm. They slowed and the trolls rushed closer. “Break it!” Limbreth snarled through gritted teeth. Her sword quivered as her arm lost strength.
He reached for the arrow as they slowed to a trot. He braced one hand against her as she leaned into him with a moan. With the other hand, he snapped off the feathered end of the arrow. He caught a glimpse of her face twisted in pain as he tore the arrow from her arm.
Trolls rushed closer and arrows sang death near them.
“Ride.” Limbreth’s weak voice countered the strength of her kicks to the mare’s flanks.
Athson trailed behind her. Harsh voices snarled ahead, and Limbreth’s horse thundered into more trolls. They screeched beneath the mare’s hooves. He sensed more trolls struggling out of the underbrush. Limbreth swayed in her saddle, but the mare galloped away.
Athson’s horse labored but followed. “Hang on!”
Tense moments passed, but the sight of lights hove into view away in the distance.
Athson urged the horse on, but it slowed and snorted. A groan of effort rolled from the gelding. Limbreth’s horse thundered on and she bobbed atop her mare.
Athson’s gelding broke pace altogether and slowed to a trembling stop. Athson dismounted, aware that trolls raced toward him. The horse collapsed, and he glimpsed several arrows sticking out of the gelding’s chest and lower neck. Blood gushed and stained its coat.
Trolls howled along the trail. Athson wheeled from the dying horse. They were too close. A few ill-aimed arrows whistled past him.
Athson hefted his sword against the fastest of the trolls. He slashed at kobolds and several fell amid spurting blood. Hobgoblins and bugbears leaped at him.
Spark jumped among them and tore out a throat. Athson gasped. The trolls leapt back, on-guard for what attacked them.
Limbreth’s white mare suddenly charged past him into the boiling mass of trolls. Bodies flew aside, and the trolls fell back in momentary confusion.
“Come on, vermin!” Limbreth’s horse stood exposing her good right arm. Her left arm still shook. The rising moon gleamed on her pale clothing, her swords and her white horse. She glimmered silver in the light.
The trolls hesitated.
“Cowards!” Limbreth charged into them.
Athson leapt over his horse with a wordless shout. He hacked and slashed at the nearest trolls. Limbreth pummeled with the hilt of her one usable sword and slashed at the trolls lunging at her.

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Book 2

 
Genre: 
Epic Fantasy, Adventure
Publisher: Smashwords
Publication Date: March 29, 2017
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Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Buffeted like an arrow in the wind.

The hunt for the Bow of Hart continues for Athson and his companions. They have escaped the clutches of Magdronu and Corgren, but they are still pursued. In need of answers to deep mysteries revealed in Chokkra, Athson must gain possession of the mythic bow to face both his enemies and his tragic past. But Magdronu’s reach stretches among Athson’s companions, endangering Limbreth and even Hastra in schemes to entrap them all. With each turn of the search for the Bow of Hart, long hidden secrets surface that threaten to destroy Athson. Will he falter like an arrow against the wind?

The touch of a cold hand drew Limbreth out of the depths of slumber. Her watch already? But her eyes only fluttered open and shut. Hastra said nothing. That touch—it was far colder than the weather. It crept deep into her sluggish thoughts and along her spine.
Limbreth groaned and turned her head. Her eyes flared wide at the sight of a black hand. It grasped her arm. Her jaw worked, but she uttered not a sound. Her heart slammed in her throat, and her chest heaved. The Bane dragged her toward the door where Gweld squatted.
The figure of the Bane swallowed all the light in the small space even though the fire still burned well. Limbreth found some strength and flopped as the Bane pulled her to the door’s threshold and then ducked out.
Limbreth’s lungs strained to utter any noise. It was a spell! She fought for a sound and croaked a whimper. The Bane pulled her right arm out the door.
Why wouldn’t Gweld do anything?
Limbreth fumbled with her free hand and snagged the rock edge of the doorway. The Bane yanked at her arm. Her breath came in gasps but made no viable sound.
She drew the deepest of breaths and mustered all her strength, which passed her lips in a feeble whisper: “Help.” Not enough to wake anyone. You’re on your own. Gweld never moved.
The Bane yanked her torso into the blizzard outside. Her hand grasped the doorway fast and her left arm locked in pain. A groan escaped her lips.

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P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

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