The publish button has been pressed and we are just waiting on Amazon so this is going to be live in days! Narrated by the wonderful Julie Hinton, the story is now audible. Yay!
The publish button has been pressed and we are just waiting on Amazon so this is going to be live in days! Narrated by the wonderful Julie Hinton, the story is now audible. Yay!
Woo Hoo! Does happy dance.
Eve reviewed Darkspire Reaches
Not your Typical Fantasy Novel January 3, 2017
I am a large fantasy reader, and that mostly is recent. But this goes beyond the standard dragon fantasy outline and is really about a young woman’s journey of self-discovery, and rising above the hardships of the hand dealt to her in life. I loved this book. The character development is what jumped out at me the most; I almost always love a book where I can connect to the characters, and this book did not disappoint on that front. This was a grab you from word one to the finish. I can’t wait to get a chance to read more from this gifted author. The plot was very well paced, my mind tends to stray from what I am doing if my attention is not grabbed and kept, and this book managed to keep me reading from page one to the very last page. Again the growth of the main character Raven is amazing and what really gives this novel the five-star rating I have rated it. To end this review, I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more from this author.
The truck fired into a healthy sounding purr when Rowan turned the ignition. He had finished packing the trunk in the box with anything he thought they might need, plus Morgan’s stash of potential weapons under the passenger seat while the battery was recharging. With twilight approaching, he wanted to make a start if he could cut her loose from that computer. Knowing who was after her wasn’t going to change her problem, so why keep digging into the grubby details? She was only going to upset herself even more as he guessed the weapons she gathered were to self-eliminate if those men caught up. Morgan wasn’t a hunter…not yet. He left the engine running to heat up the cab while he went to fetch Morgan.
As he guessed, she was hunched over the computer in the master bedroom nook. She had a medical website online and was looking into tingling sensations of the extremities. Waves of guilt rushed over him for what he had done to her and yet there was no choice.
She’d be grateful one day.
“Time to go,” he said.
“In a moment. I think I am coming down with something and I just want to see if this site has any suggestions.”
“You do know that if we are tracked to this cabin the laptop will be checked for your browsing history?” And then the searchers would know someone had a problem. Not a good thought. He would rather the man in charge of the hunt not know what he had done to Morgan.
Morgan turned to him, “Just how does a werewolf know so much about tech?”
She had a point. “I have another personae, who happens to be a rich property owner and who has all the toys to go along with the lifestyle. ‘Brandon’ became a tad too interesting to various government people a few years back, so now he is on an extended vacation overseas.”
She closed down the site, deleted her browsing history from a proxy server, deleted the proxy server, emptied the trash box and turned off the laptop before turning to him again. “What did you do to interest them?”
“I got sloppy and didn’t pay attention to my appearance as much as I should have done. I had gotten very comfortable with ‘Brandon’, who someone noticed wasn’t aging. ‘Brandon’s’ son will be able to take on his role in another couple of decades, but for now, I need to have him elsewhere and out of sight.”
Shock stiffened through Morgan. “You don’t age? How old are you?”
“I don’t keep an exact tally. I’m old enough to remember the Pilgrim Fathers settling in America.” He shrugged.” Now if you are quite ready, I would like to move out before someone gets worried about our smoke signals. It would be nice to drive a vehicle that isn’t reported as stolen.”
She got up, only to lurch sideways. Rowan caught her before she fell. “Hey, you need to take a nap. I have a nice, warm cab with a blanket on the back seat.”
“I’m fine. Put me down.”
“No, I don’t think so. I can feel you trembling. How about if I get you settled in the truck and then take a look around for something to help you when we stop?” He marched down the stairs with her cradled in his arms.
“I didn’t find any match for my symptoms on the site,” she objected.
Now at the door of the truck, he settled her in place. “Old Rowan knows the ways of nature and herbs. You just get some rest while I drive.” Yes, he did know herbs to help her. He had found them around the lake shore and cabin before she her symptoms started. Once they came to a place where they could rest for a while, he’d brew his concoction, and then she would sleep through the worst of it. Guilt wracked him for taking the choice away from Morgan. Her star burnt too bright to fizzle into oblivion, which it would if nature to took its cruel course. Her hunters would never stop until she was dead, even if one culprit was incarcerated. This man’s boss had very long arms, as Rowan knew from personal experience in his other personae. Morgan wore a huge target engraved on her back for as long as she remained among the accountable.
The night beckoned. He put the truck into drive.
Morgan awakened on a hard bed in what looked like a poor motel room. The requisite TV was anchored high to a wall. Underneath, a coffee maker festered. A smell of rancid fat permeated the air. A small kitchenette emitted fumes from the concoction Rowan brewed over the stove. She tried to sit up, but the room whirled and she was on fire. She groaned. Had her leg become infected? The wound seemed to have closed up nicely with the fine stitches Rowan had sewn. It hadn’t felt uncomfortable for a while now.
“Welcome back to the land of the living.” Rowan tipped his concoction into a mug, using a tea filter. He walked over to hand her the drink.
Morgan viewed the contents with distrust. It smelled nasty. “Why should I drink this?
“Because you are sick and it will make you feel better. Of course, you can decline and suffer.” His eyes dared her to refuse his help.
“It is herbs, right? I drink this and my fever goes down?”
“Something like that. How about trying the brew? He hunkered down by the side of her bed.
Her head spun, her guts churned and she couldn’t focus. Whatever it was he offered might help her. His painkiller concoction at the cabin certainly worked like a charm. She sipped the drink. Not unpleasant, with the faint aftertaste of herbs. At least it quenched her thirst.
“How long before I get the benefits?”
“As we are three days from a full moon, it is difficult to say. Just try to sleep.”
Not a problem. Already, her eyes couldn’t focus. Strange his medicines always seemed to have this effect. She drifted off into a cloud of fluff.
Rowan cleaned up his mess with a heavy heart. Yes, Morgan was going to recover. Of that, he had no doubt. If she ever forgave him was another issue.
He slipped the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the outside handle of their door, drew the curtains and positioned a padded chair with its back against the door. Next, he took out a pack of beef jerky from his backpack and hooked the comforter from his bed. Morgan might rest quiet tonight, although he wanted to make sure she didn’t wander. She would have to wake him to get outside, should the urge strike her. Satisfied, he gnawed on both the jerky and the problem of the next stage in their journey. He had to get them to the forests of British Columbia before the next full moon.
This is raw and has not been edited. I will fix it in the fullness of time.
A deer steak tasted different when cooked from frozen. For a start, the center was rare, while the outside was a tad overcooked. The really strange part was no vegetables, nothing, not even canned corn. Morgan guessed the guy lived off the wilderness and yet a pure meat diet wasn’t healthy. A good job she wasn’t a vegetarian or she would have been dead out of luck.
“Thank you for the food, but what should I call you? I’m Morgan.” She offered him her hand, which he ignored like she had tried to pass him a live snake. Did he hate women?
He looked up at her with winter in his eyes. “Rowan. My mother named us for nature.” Those eyes dared her to make a snide remark.
“It suits you. There is something inflexible and yet wild about a tree name.”
“So Morgan le Fay, I can’t see you as a wicked Arthurian enchantress somehow. Parents have a lot to answer for when naming offspring.” A slight smile lifted the corners of his mouth.
Morgan sighed. “It could’ve been worse. Her second and third choices were Mahitibelle after early pioneer names and Amaryllis, her favorite flower.”
His shoulders started to shake a bit until he got them under as much control as he had his twitching lips. “Morgan isn’t so bad.”
Now he was talking to her, finally talking and not just about her condition. Morgan had a pressing concern. “I’m deeply grateful for everything you’ve done for me, but now I am awake, I wonder if there is a bathroom I can visit when needed?”
Rowan got up from his place by the fire to place his hands on her elevated leg. He closed his eyes, concentrating. “Yes, you can come off traction now. I’ll fix up a crutch, although it won’t help you with the bathroom, which is outside. The snow is far too deep for someone unsteady on their feet and I think you would be too weak in any case. I can carry you there and back.”
Reality slithered sideways. No-one should be able to assess a break without an x-ray machine. “How can you know for certain the bone is set?”
“I have this talent.” The winter returned to his eyes. “Now about clothes. Are you happy with a pair of my boxers and track pants? I salvaged everything you had on above the waist, aside from the sleeve of your jacket, but the rest…the fire and blood took care of them.”
Blood? A compound fracture? There was nothing to show for it on the smooth skin of her leg. He couldn’t mean her cycle as she had accepted the need for a contraceptive implant when she went into the protection program. Male bodyguards buying feminine products would have been a dead giveaway. Something was out of kilter, here. “Again, thanks. That would be very kind of you.”
Bathroom visits became a nightmare with the nasty little hut a distance from the cabin and no more than a primitive earth closet at that. What proved a bigger hardship was not having a daily shower. While Rowan cheerfully obliged by boiling water for her to wash with a bowl, there was no way she could manage the tin tub. Even stranger, he didn’t use the tub, but he never gave off the odor of unclean. Yes, he washed their clothes to hang dry in a corner of the shack, but not himself. No adult man could go long without cleaning himself if he didn’t wish to stink. Rowan did neither. Morgan began to wonder if he washed outside and yet she had never seen him take out any hot water.
Their routine shattered some weeks later when Rowan barreled into the shack near dusk, back early from a hunting trip. His face looked like thunder, but he schooled it into a ‘be nice’ expression before he approached her. “There are men sniffing around your burnt-out car. They know there’s no corpse and are coming back in the morning with dogs. These guys are not cops. You need to level with me.”
This was the end. Morgan couldn’t run. She had no transport and how far would she get hobbling into the forest? The dull pain of hopelessness coursed through her again. “They’re here to kill me. If you have somewhere to hide out, then go to it until they’re done. I want no more blood on my head.”
Rowan sat down on the edge of the bed and took her hand. “What is mine stays mine unless I say otherwise.” His eyes narrowed. “Why do they want you dead?”
What did it matter now? What did anything matter? “I saw a guy kill some people and I told the cops. That is when he had his friends murdered my family. I went into the witness protection program and he got convicted, but that wasn’t the end of it. He has people making me out to be a psycho. There are sworn testimonies from people I never met, claiming I’m a space cadet. If I don’t appear in his appeal, he will win. This is why there is a contract out on me and why you must let this happen. I have had four identities and three bodyguards blown away. I can’t live with a trail of death in my wake anymore.”
“Not acceptable.” Frost sparkled in Rowan’s eyes. “We will leave here now.”
“Get real. The dogs will track us.”
“Track you, maybe, if I were not going to carry you. Tracking me might prove more problematic.” He smiled, slow and wicked. “Finding me will be their last mistake.”
Rowan moved quickly, getting together clothes and a few essentials, which he stuffed into a backpack. He swaddled Morgan in furs to carry her in a fireman’s lift with the pack slung over his other shoulder, and then he set off into the night.
All the alarms went off in the moment he started his trek. She weighed about one hundred and fifteen pounds and yet he carried her as if she were a feather. His pace was a steady run, impossible for a normal man, and yet easy for him. Morgan didn’t fight. This was his choice, whatever he was, but she began to doubt if he were human as the hours wore on and still his pace didn’t alter, nor did he sweat, not that she could smell.
They stopped at dawn when they reached a cave next to a waterfall at the side of a hill. Morgan roused out of a doze to her new surroundings. The place gave shelter from the wind and fresh water, if little else. No normal person could hope to survive here in the depths of winter, so what was his plan?
“Rowan, it’s your turn to level with me.” She looked him in the eyes, but he wouldn’t hold her gaze.
“Leave it be. There are things better left unspoken.”
“This place will not support us.”
“Yes, it will. I’ll get a fire going, and then I must backtrack to take care of certain difficulties.”
“Those guys carry major firepower. I haven’t seen you with a gun before and nor did you pack one. You can’t take them on.”
He grinned, flashing his teeth. “I don’t share nicely.”
Once the fire was set he headed out, leaving her with a bunch of unanswered questions. She had deadfall to keep the blaze going and before he left, Rowan made a new crutch for her out of a tree branch with lashings holding together a bit that was wrapped in fur to support her weight. Alone now with her thoughts, she went over everything that had happened to her since she woke up after the accident. No normal man could have run that distance with her weight on his back. Even the iron man competitions weren’t so long or so harsh. No normal man could have fixed her leg the way he had. No normal man would hide in the woods with his looks. What, in the name of hell, was he?
Night clawed down into morning. Morgan kept the fire burning for warmth and to keep away predators. When the silvery lights of dawn streaked through the sky she heard yelps and snarls. Whatever was coming, she would meet it head on. The crutch worked well to get her out of the cave and then she saw a pile of clothes. Rowan’s clothes just left in a heap, right down to the underwear.
Men’s screams now sliced through the air until came silence. She didn’t wait long after. A large wolf ran into view, skidding to a halt in a cloud of snow when it saw her. It sat on its haunches, waiting her out. Morgan wasn’t backing down. She sat down awkwardly by the clothes.
The wolf tried growling and howling to make her move, but still she sat firm. The answer came in a shimmer of light, the impossible answer of the wolf dissolving into naked Rowan.
“You are not meant to see this,” he said, unembarrassed and not bothering to cover his private parts.
Not what she expected, thinking perhaps he was the product of some genetic experiment, one of the perfect soldier programs. Never had she considered something out of myths and legends. Her world tipped sideways. Whatever happened now was beyond her imagination. “But I have. If this means I need to die, do it quickly. I’m so tired of running.”
“The others will never let up until you are dead. This much I have learned. ”
She shivered, not just from the cold. “And you? Now I know what you are?”
Finally got my books. I have no idea what happened to the first box, sent before xmas, but these got here safe. If anyone would like to buy a signed copy off me, I have the first two books of the Shadow Series, Shadow Over Avalon and Sword of Shadows and the first book of the Wyvern series, Darkspire Reaches. I am shipping the first few off tomorrow.
If anyone would like all three books, I will include a postcard of Darkspire Reaches and Shadow Over Avalon.
Something was missing from a current work in progress. It lacked drive and angst. The solution is both simple and yet not. What I needed in there was a new character to be both a driver and a love interest gone wrong. The bad news is this effectively means I have to go through every single chapter to make sure all is in place and the continuity is not upset. The good news is the sparkle is not there in full measure.
However, a lot of work needs to be done on the construction of the person. It isn’t so simple as just making up a name and an appearance and moving the strings and the action goes on. This character must have wants, wishes and needs. They must have a past and an intended future. I have to know everything there is to know about them in order for them to come to life and act in a way that is true to who they are. Oh yeah, I can have lots of fun with this one.
In other news I suppose I should go look for a pair of scissors presently. I need to take about two inches off my hair. Fortunately, the raggedy look is in fashion, so I won’t look silly. No, I am not going to the hairdressers. I am tired of having bad cuts and in the rare event of finding a good stylist she is gone the next time I visit. The problem here is I cannot tolerate the fumes coming off perms so will not visit a salon that does them. This means my choices are limited to Supercuts, which should be fine in theory as they are trained to do set cuts, again in theory. The problem is that because they don’t do perms they can’t give the full validation, or whatever it is, to their trainee stylist, hence a revolving door happening. So I get out the scissors and do it myself. At least I am not paying for a bad cut. LOL.
Everything can look good, flow well and be a good follow-on at face value but I knew there was something missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it and have been procrastinating, but now I know. I needed a secondary driver to ramp up the angst and the humor moments.
Now I am a happy camper. Now the storyline is in place properly and will work as I intended. Now I have to sit down and stuff in around 30k words in various places. Kicks self. I should have thought of this before. Just looking at the driver now I can see how crucial it is. Still, better now than later.
I guess I will have plenty of time to work on it today as I don’t intend to go anywhere. Someone gave me a late xmas present of a cold that I am trying to fight off. Double Grrrss.