Category Archives: Adventure

2017 Kindle Book Review Awards Semi-Finalist

I Was, Am, Will Be Alice has made it through to the 2017 Kindle Book Review Award Semi-Finals.  Keep reading for a very special offer at the bottom of this post.

2017 Kindle Book Review Award Semi-Finalist

Winner of the 2015 A Woman’s Write Competition

When Alice Carroll is in grade three she narrowly escapes losing her life in a school shooting. All she remembers is the woman comforting her in the moments before the gunshot, and that one second she was there, the next she wasn’t.

It’s bad enough coming to terms with surviving while others, including her favourite teacher, didn’t, let alone dealing with the fact that she might wink out of existence at any time.

Alice spends the next few years seeing specialists about her Post Traumatic Stress as a result of VD–Voldemort Day–but it’s not until she has a nightmare about The Day That Shall Not Be Mentioned, disappears from her bed, is found by police,  and taken home to meet her four-year-old self that she realizes she’s been time travelling.

Alice is unsure if her getting unstuck in time should be considered an ability or a liability, until she disappears right in front of her high school at dismissal time, the busiest time of day. Worried that someone may find out about her problem before long, Alice enlists her best friend (and maybe boyfriend), Pete, to help her try to control her shifting through time with limited success. She’s just about ready to give up when the shooter is caught. Alice resolves to take control of her time travelling in order to go back to That Day, stop the shooting, and figure out the identity of the stranger who’d shielded Alice’s body with her own.

To celebrate, the eBook of I Was, Am, Will Be Alice is on sale for $0.99! Get your copy wherever eBooks are sold

CHILD OF THE NIGHT GUILD by Andy Peloquin

 

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

Title: Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1)

Author: Andy Peloquin

Publication Date: Jan 17, 2017

Digital Price: 2.99

Pages: 401

ASIN: B01N1TC3VW

 

About Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1)

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

Viola, a child sold to pay her father’s debts, has lost everything: her mother, her home, and her identity. Thrown into a life among criminals, she has no time for grief as she endures the brutal training of an apprentice thief. The Night Guild molds an innocent waif into a cunning, agile outlaw skilled in the thieves’ trade. She has only one choice: steal enough to pay her debts.

The cutthroat streets of Praamis will test her mettle, and she must learn to dodge the City Guards or swing from a hangman’s rope. But a more dangerous foe lurks within the guild walls. A sadistic rival apprentice, threatened by her strength, is out for blood.

What hope does one girl have in a world of ruthless men?

Fans of Sarah J. Maas, Scott Lynch, and Brent Weeks will love the Hunter…

 

Buy Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1) on Amazon Kindle, and  Amazon Canada.

Read about it on Goodreads.

Join the book launch event at: https://www.facebook.com/events/336765836707837/.

Join Andy’s Thunderclap at http://thndr.me/fdeiQu.

10 Things You Need to Know About Author Andy Peloquin:

  1. Hot wings, ALWAYS!
  2. I never forget a face, but rarely remember a name.
  3. I’m a head taller than the average person (I’m 6′ 6″)
  4. Marvel > DC
  5. I was born in Japan, and lived there until the age of 14.
  6. Selena Gomez, Skrillex, Simon & Garfunkel, Celine Dion, and Five Finger Death Punch are all in my writing playlist.
  7. Aliens are real, but it’s self-centered of us to believe that they would come to visit Earth.
  8. Watching sports: suck. Playing sports: EPIC!
  9. I earned a purple belt in Karate/Hapkido/Taekwondo.
  10. I dislike most Christmas music, aside from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

A Few of Andy’s Favorite Things

Favorite Books: The Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch, The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson, Sherlock Holmes by A.C. Doyle, Warlord of Mars by E.R. Burroughs

Favorite Songs: Wrong Side of Heaven by Five Finger Death Punch, Prayer by Disturbed, I’m an Albatraoz by AronChupa, Look Down from Les Miserables, Shatter Me by Lindsay Sterling and Lizzi Hale

Favorite Movies: 300, Red Cliff, Shoot Em Up, Love Actually, Princess Bride

Favorite Comics: Anything with Deadpool, Wolverine or Doop in it

Favorite Foods: Hot Wings, Meat-Lover’s Salad, A good sandwich (made by me), Yaki Soba, Sushi

Favorite TV Shows: The Flash, Daredevil, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hawaii Five-0, Brooklyn 99, Firefly (too soon!), The Last Ship, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones

Read an excerpt from  Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1)

We’ve been at this for hours! When will he let us rest? Mind numb from hunger and fatigue, Viola placed one weary foot in front of the other. Blood dripped from cuts in her hands, arms, and forehead.

Master Velvet refused to let up. “Your past is gone, your families forgotten. You have no names, no identities. You are nothing more than a number until it is deemed fit to give you a name.”

The children called out as one, “Yes, Master Velvet!”

“Everything you are, everything you will be, you owe to the Night Guild. We are your masters, your creators, your gods.” The tirade had repeated for endless hours, but Master Velvet never seemed to have enough.

“Yes, Master Velvet!”

Master Velvet’s voice cracked like a carter’s whip. “Disobedience will be punished harshly. Obedience will be rewarded well. Learn this and you will flourish in the Night Guild.”

Viola’s legs wobbled, her shoulders ached, and her arms shook from exertion. “Yes, Master Velvet!”

“Forget everything you know. Forget life outside this room. You eat, sleep, and shit at my command.”

“Yes, Master Velvet!” Viola’s voice cracked from thirst and fatigue. She wanted to lie down, to close her eyes, to sleep.

Master Velvet snarled in her ear. “You live and die at the pleasure of the Night Guild. You belong to the Guild mind, body, and soul. What are you?”

“We are tyros, Master Velvet.”

He crouched beside her. “And what are tyros?”

“Lower than dirt, Master Velvet!”

A satisfied smile spread across his face. “Empty your buckets and set them on the floor beside the barrels. Double speed, my drudges.”

Viola tried to move faster, but her feet refused. By the time she reached the barrel at the far end of the room, only one other child remained. The boy, barely taller than her, had yet to empty his bucket. He strained to lift his heavy load. His hands trembled uncontrollably—a permanent condition that made even eating and drinking difficult. Water splashed down his tunic, turning the dirt to mud.

Emptying her pail, Viola dropped to the sodden ground with a half-sob, half-groan of relief.

“Get up, tyros!” Master Velvet would not let them rest.

Tears of exhaustion and frustration streaming, she climbed to her feet. Though her back protested, she forced herself straight when Master Velvet approached.

Stand tall, no matter what. Mama’s words echoed in her thoughts. I’m trying, Mama, but I’m so tired!

“Chow time, my drudges. You’ll find that table over there loaded with delights to fill your little bellies. Eat. You have done well.”

Someone had piled the table high with fruits, sweetmeats, and treats. She’d been too exhausted to notice. The scent of fresh bread, cinnamon rolls, and pastries wafted toward her. Her stomach rumbled in anticipation.

Master Velvet placed a hand on her shoulder. “Not you, Seven. You were the first to fail, so an example must be made.”

“B-But…” Viola couldn’t put up more than a weak protest.

“Off with you, Seven. To your bunk and reflect on your weakness.” His dark eyes held no kindness. “Pray to the Watcher for strength to survive.”

“Y-Yes, Master Velvet.” She turned away to hide her tears.

“Perhaps you’ll try harder tomorrow, Seven.” He spoke without a trace of compassion or pity in his voice. “If you want to have any hope of survival here in the Night Guild, this will be the last time you fail.”

Hunger gnawed at Viola’s belly, but it could not outweigh the bone-deep weariness. She forced herself not to look at the other children, to block out the sounds of their eating. Feet leaden, she turned to the tunnel that led to their sleeping quarters.

Tears flowed in earnest once she reached the darkness of the passage. Sobs of anger, desperation, and frustration washed over her, shaking her body like a leaf in a whirlwind.

Slamming the door shut behind her, she threw herself onto her bunk and buried her head in the thin pillow. She didn’t care that her clothes were soaking wet or that she hadn’t had any water to drink for hours. She wouldn’t allow any of the others to see her cry.

Bright Lady, hear me and protect me in my hour of need. Her parched throat refused to form the words.

The prayer had comforted her in the past, but now it felt empty. The hunger, exhaustion, and thirst remained. Minutes ticked by in silence. Nothing happened.

She balled her fists and swallowed the ache in her belly. Down here, she was all alone. The Bright Lady can’t hear me.

Why would she? The goddess of healing hadn’t heard when she’d prayed for Mama and baby Rose. The gods were far away, if they cared at all. Mama was gone and Papa had left her here. In this place, she was the only one she could count on. She had to be strong, just as she had been after Mama died.

I will get through another day. Just one more.

About Andy Peloquin, lover of all things dark and mysterious

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

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

Learn more about Andy Peloquin and his books at

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“Shadow of Shame” by Barbara Goss only $0.99 through December 12th

shadowofshame-1Ivy Jeffries falls hopelessly in love with Jonas Armstrong, a man who has forced himself into a somewhat reclusive lifestyle owing to his sordid past.  Ivy is elated when he finally lets his guard down, and kisses her.  She thinks they are now moving forward into a relationship, when he tells her it meant nothing to him.  How could a kiss like they shared mean nothing to him, when it meant the world to her?  Then she discovers he is pulling away for a reason, to protect her.  Is the love they share enough to withstand his past and the child he is protecting?

About Barb Goss:

Barbara Masci Goss is now just Barbara Goss. Barbara Goss lives in Western New York and to date has written 22 Christian/Clean Romance books, mostly westerns. She enjoys crossword puzzles, penny slots, reading, swimming, and her two cats, but not necessarily in that order. She tries to write exciting stories with a bit of God’s word spread within, without dominating the story.

Barbara began writing in 1988 and her first book, Forbidden Legacy, won first prize for fiction at a Christian Writers Convention in Titusville, Florida, in 1989. This won her a book contract with publishers: Fleming Revell and later Baker Books. She wrote four books for them under contract. She then took a few years off to work full time as a secretary to the county hospital and the local school system.

Retired now, she is back to writing. Her first book was written on a typewriter! Since early 2015, she’s written twenty-two more delightful romances.

Barbara’s greatest influence in writing are the 100 books written by Grace Livingston Hill. As a Christian writer, she weaves a bit of godliness into the romance and adventure, yet her books are always clean. Barbara is well on her way to catching up to Ms. Livingston.

Learn more about Barbara Goss and her writing at

| Website  | Facebook |  Twitter |

Sweet Wild West Reads is a Facebook group and a wonderful place for sweet western romance authors and readers to discuss their favorite stories, thoughts, and authors. Join the group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1832790870336744/

“Mail Order Mishap” by Barb Goss only $0.99 through December 5th

final-for-mishap-imageAmber Wakefield travels to Hunter’s Grove, Kansas to meet her intended and walks into a very unwelcoming atmosphere. Charles Turner, her intended, seems cool and aloof, and his brother Garrett—downright rude. She wants nothing more than to rush back to Virginia, until Edna Smith, her chaperone, falls ill, and she’s forced to stay. She knows Charles harbors a secret, and she isn’t sure whether Garrett is her hero or her enemy. When she finally discovers the truth, she wants nothing to do with either of them. One of the Turner brothers vows to win her love. But which one?

About Barbara Goss:

Barbara Masci Goss is now just Barbara Goss. Barbara Goss lives in Western New York and to date has written 22 Christian/Clean Romance books, mostly westerns. She enjoys crossword puzzles, penny slots, reading, swimming, and her two cats, but not necessarily in that order. She tries to write exciting stories with a bit of God’s word spread within, without dominating the story.

Barbara began writing in 1988 and her first book, Forbidden Legacy, won first prize for fiction at a Christian Writers Convention in Titusville, Florida, in 1989. This won her a book contract with publishers: Fleming Revell and later Baker Books. She wrote four books for them under contract. She then took a few years off to work full time as a secretary to the county hospital and the local school system.

Retired now, she is back to writing. Her first book was written on a typewriter! Since early 2015, she’s written twenty-two more delightful romances.

Barbara’s greatest influence in writing are the 100 books written by Grace Livingston Hill. As a Christian writer, she weaves a bit of godliness into the romance and adventure, yet her books are always clean. Barbara is well on her way to catching up to Ms. Livingston.

Learn more about Barbara Goss and her writing at

| Website  | Facebook |  Twitter |

Sweet Wild West Reads is a Facebook group and a wonderful place for sweet western romance authors and readers to discuss their favorite stories, thoughts, and authors. Join the group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1832790870336744/

New release: The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen

Bucelarii 2 Small

The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen

A faceless, nameless assassin. A forgotten past.  The Hunter of Voramis–a killer devoid of morals, or something else altogether? (The Last Bucelarii–dark fantasy with a look at the underside of human nature)

Author: Andy Peloquin

Official Launch Date: August 19th, 2016

Publication Date: July 21, 2016

Paperback Price: 15.99

Digital Price: 3.99

Pages: 340

ISBN: 1535388668

The Hunter of Voramis is no more.

Alone with the bloodthirsty voices in his head, fleeing the pain of loss, he has one objective: travel north to find Her, the mystery woman who plagues his dreams and haunts his memories.

When he stumbles upon a bandit attack, something within urges him to help. His actions set him at odds with the warrior priests commanded to hunt down the Bucelarii.

Left for dead, the Hunter must travel to Malandria to recover his stolen birthright. There, he is inexorably drawn into direct conflict with the Order of Midas, the faceless, nameless group of magicians that holds the city in a grip of terror. All while struggling to silence the ever-louder voice in his mind that drives him to kill.

From feared assassin to wretched outcast, the Hunter’s journey leads him to truths about his forgotten past and the Abiarazi he has pledged to hunt. His discoveries will shed light on who he really is…what he really is.

Fans of Joe Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson, and Brent Weeks will love the Hunter…

Buy The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen on Amazon US, and Amazon CA.

Enjoy an Excerpt from The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen

He filled his lungs with the fresh night air. The taste of smoke mixed with the earthy scent of loam. The warmth of the fire soothed and relaxed him, the hypnotic rhythm of the dancing flames calming his mind. The fatigue of the day washed over him, and he allowed his eyelids to droop.

The visions came then; memories leapt out at him.

Within the bright depths of the flames, he saw the hell he had glimpsed in the Serenii tunnels. Lord Jahel’s face appeared in the fire, laughing, mocking. Bone and skin morphed into the faces of Lord Cyrannius and the First of the Bloody Hand. Shuddering waves of flesh and gristle writhed, shifting, transforming.

Demons roam Einan once more. People treat them as myth and legend, but I know the truth.

The Hunter retreated deeper into his blankets, his sword clutched to his chest. He told himself it was out of habit rather than fear.

He had left Voramis behind, not only to find the truth of the woman whose face plagued him, but to discover the truth of the demons. Curiosity drove him to learn of his past, and his own heritage as a Bucelarii—descendant of the Abiarazi horde.

The demon added its voice to the swirling maelstrom in the Hunter’s mind. ‘He disowns his blood, all to play the hero, the protector.’

The Hunter was too tired to fight it off.

I’m no hero. If it was up to me, they’d all rot.

He had no desire to save the world. He had no reason to save humans from themselves.

A vision of horror flashed through his mind. Creatures of nightmares seized a screaming child, tearing at pale skin with razor-tipped claws. Blood splashed across chitinous armor as the demons ripped the child apart in their haste to devour the flesh.

The girl bore Farida’s face. She lay bloody, mangled, discarded like refuse, gasping her last agonizing breaths.

Oh, child. I am so sorry.

He wished he could scrub the memory from his mind forever. With it gone, the sorrow would leave. He needed no reminder that he was once again alone.

He turned his back on the fire and buried his face in his cloak.

He could turn his back on those who had feared and hated him, yet he had not the strength to hide his face from the suffering of innocents. People like Old Nan, Ellinor, Little Arlo. They would suffer most should the Abiarazi find their way into the world once more.

The demon whispered in his mind. ‘Why must you protect them? You are not one of them, after all. You are Bucelarii.’

They do not deserve such suffering.

He squeezed his eyes shut and pushed back against the demon’s voice.

I’m doing this for them.

He pictured Farida the way he had seen her that day in the Temple District, with that same bright smile. She was happy. That was what mattered, and that was what he would remember.

I’m doing this for her.

 

About the author:andy peloquin author photo

Andy Peloquin–a third culture kid to the core–has loved to read since before he could remember. Sherlock Holmes, the Phantom of the Opera, and Father Brown are just a few of the books that ensnared his imagination as a child.

When he discovered science fiction and fantasy through the pages of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card, he was immediately hooked and hasn’t looked back since.

Andy’s first attempt at writing produced In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent. He has learned from the mistakes he made and used the experience to produce Blade of the Destroyer, a book of which he is very proud.

Reading—and now writing—is his favorite escape, and it provides him an outlet for his innate creativity. He is an artist; words are his palette.

His website (http://www.andypeloquin.com) is a second home for him, a place where he can post his thoughts and feelings–along with reviews of books he finds laying around the internet.

Here’s where you can find out more about Andy and his writing:

| Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Google+ |  Amazon Author Page  | Facebook Author Page |

| Goodreads |

THE XERCES FACTOR taps into a believable conspiracy mythology

rp_The-Xerces-Factor-FRONT-FINAL-JPEG-198x300.jpgIn The Xerces Factor by Rodney Page, Charles Arrington wakes up in a hospital room. He had lost an arm, an eye, and his wife in an explosion. Certain that the explosion was an assassination attempt on his life, due to some whistle-blowing calibre research he was engaged in, Arrington assembles a team to continue his research and expose the government for their back-door dealings. The stakes are high. Not only are the lives of Arrington and his associates in danger, but so is the country if not the world. Just how wide do the fingers of corruption reach?

The Xerces Factor is interesting and relevant, given the state of world politics today. His prose is easy to read, and his characters believable. If you like political thrillers, you are sure to love The Xerces Factor. Page’s story is contemporary and high-tech, which both piqued my interest and confused me at times. His characters are likeable and believable, and I found myself caring for them and in awe of how much they are willing to risk to expose corruption in the highest tiers of the government.

Admittedly, political thrillers, particularly those delving deep into American politics aren’t my favourite genre. Also, though I’m technologically-minded, I often get lost when I’m given acronyms, numbers, and lots of technological jargon, as I need more hands-on experience than instructional theoretics when it comes to science and technology. But to Page’s credit, I continued to read in spite of this. My overall analysis is that The Xerces Factor is a quick, relevant read, that taps into a conspiracy mythology that is totally believable.

Mamabear gives this book:

three-bears

Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

New Release: UNAWQI, HUNTER OF THE SUN

Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun

Unawqi_Hunter_of_th_Cover_for_Kindle-194x300In a time when supernatural and industrial worlds are staged to collide, an Andean boy finds himself in the center of an epic struggle between the cosmos and the earth. Unawqi is born with both insurmountable power and a fate of certain death, both of which are challenged by his hunt of the emperor, Aakti, the Sun: the very force that desires to abandon the earth unless Unawqi can overcome him.

Genres: Mythical realism, Folklore, Science fiction, Adventure, LGBTQ.

How easily we take the Sun for granted. We are conditioned to its rising and setting on time, and assume it enjoys doing so, or more likely is indifferent. Unawqi, Hunter of the Sunreveals a more perilous tale: the Sun, Aakti, is a being who is a reluctant player in providing light and warmth to our world, and even more has always desired to leave us to die if he didn’t have certain personal complications standing in his way. Aakti will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if that involves murder of his own kin or annihilation of an entire living planet. Ironically, what holds him back is the very life he is creating; the family from which he tries to but cannot wrest control, and among them a young intrepid boy emerges, a hunter who sets out on a journey, not to stop the Sun, but to overcome him with a force we also take for granted: our humanity.

Buy Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun on Amazon and Kindle.

Enjoy an Excerpt: Chaper 2 – The Unawqi Awakening

Titu Ilumán walked quickly, his steps close together, to keep the altitude from decaying his pace.  He was in a hurry, but he knew the Quijos canyon well enough to calculate it would defeat him if he broke into a run.

He clutched his treasure beneath his punchu, Aakti Amurugana, words from an ancient language no longer spoken, but everyone knew what they meant.

He was carrying the seeds of the Sun.

At that moment, Titu knew what he had, but he would not comprehend the devastation that would come from them.

He only knew of the seeds from legends he had heard as a child, legends he’d come to mock.  He was unlike most everyone else.  He was not a believer in legends, and so he had forgotten their important details.

The legends say Aakti, the Sun, is not an unfeeling object in the sky.  It is not an it, but a he, a being, no different than are we.  He has a relationship with us, albeit a contentious one.  He is none other than the emperor of earth and sky, who is to be both worshipped and feared.

And here, Titu, a rather common man, had stolen the emperor’s seeds from the hands of his newborn son while his first cries of life were still piercing his ears from the valley floor below.  Titu knew what he had done, but he bristled at the notion of his deed as a theft.  The way he thought of it was that if he were the father of the child, then the seeds delivered through this birth were his rightful property.

Besides, Titu had a further motive.  He was born in a place where his ancestors had been for thousands of years, but it was also on the edge of “the next world,” as his parents put it.  Just over the next few hills from his own village, a people with pale skin had built their own village, made up of strange buildings, with everything laid out in squares.  They were driven and ambitious. They behaved as if nature was theirs to command, and they used tools he had never seen before that were efficient.  Titu craved to be a part of “the next world” and was a malcontent at home, uncomfortable with leaving the supernatural to gods and magicians.  Mysteries were gifts meant to be unwrapped, he believed.  They should be studied, tamed, and put to use for the purpose of advancing the lot of people like him, and not just the pale town a few hills away.

His parents did not encourage him as much.  They wanted to maintain the family tradition and see Titu growing cassava and plantain as had they and their parents.  But from the first time Titu lay ill in the house of the local shaman, he wanted to know what was in the bowls and baskets lining the healer’s walls, and how it worked according to nature, and not according to magic.  His parents chided him for asking, for such matters were not his business to know, which made Titu all the more determined to know.

In a larger drama, Titu was the next in line to be in possession of the Aakti Amurugana, but this was the first transfer of hands in almost a millennium, as they had gone missing for 888 years.  The emperor and the world did not know where they were, but in truth, they had been held captive all that time by the sorcerer of Antisana, the one they called Moche.

Moche was a completely foreign entity to the people of the Quijos.  He was not of the family of the mountains, but a demon who had usurped the mountain in his control, burying its rightful goddess somewhere inside.  Where he came from, no one knew, but his ways, though different, were also wanting of the Sun.

The local people feared him terribly, for he would hunt them and bring them back to the mountain to be sacrificed, drinking their blood, saying it pleased the Sun, even though this was not according to anything they believed or practiced.

As far as Titu was concerned, he didn’t care to think about all of that.  The seeds were the most powerful medicine he could ever hope to find, and there were no parents this time to deny him from taking and demystifying this magic.  This was an extraordinary opportunity for him to become a legend himself, if he could but harness the power of the seeds.

Still, the fact that he was running arrested his conscience.  He was a fugitive, and he knew it.  He had to leave Tamaya behind, a woman whom, at one time, he could not keep himself from.  She was weak and without aid, the blood of her womb flowing, cold, onto the floor of her grass-roofed hut.

Titu loved her, and many times had thought of bringing her home to marry her, but he’d convinced himself he was protecting her from danger.  A great many powerful people–sorcerers, kings, witches–would kill to have Aakti Amurugana.  He needed to get them far away from Tamaya to keep her safe, so far that his footprints would be lost, even if it meant Tamaya would never be able to see him again.

Tamaya never laid her eyes on the seeds because her eyes were closed tight with labor’s pain when they were snatched from the child’s hand.  So for her, Titu’s sudden flight was as mysterious as it was cruel.

Lost in his thoughts, Titu stumbled over a stone in his path.  He rolled down the side of the canyon, and would have encountered his death if another death had not encountered him first.  The still warm belly of a dead, black goat was braced to the edge of a cliff, bleeding, having succumbed to a thicket of tarapacana.  Its bulging eyes stared directly into Titu’s as if pleading with him, a little too late.

Titu had been told to beware if he ever saw a dead, black goat in the wild, for it was an omen of a bad future, so he delicately raised himself to his knees, and blessed the goat with a nod of awe, fearing it might awaken from the dead.  The black goat’s eyes would not leave him as Titu pulled himself back up the hillside.

Those eyes would never leave him.

Through the indigo night he ran west over the Papallacta plateau.  The seeds under his punchu harassed him with a gravitational clash, some craving the fleeting sun in front of him, others pulling toward the cries of the child behind him.  He wondered if the seeds were his captives or his captors.  Who had the greater power, him or them? What if the seeds were to forever maintain two opinions?

When the Sun, the emperor Aakti, passed over the valley the next day, he sensed his amurugana had reemerged, and that they were pulling at him from the west.  This meant they had been stolen, yet again, after 888 years of captivity, and Aakti heated up with anger, ready to burn the grass roofs of the huts underneath him into ashes.

But Tamaya, who had only the knowledge of an abandoned child suffering in the merciless heat, and none of the seeds, cried out for Moche, the sorcerer of Antisana, to save her, to send wind or rain to contest the Sun.

Little did she know that Moche well knew why Aakti had been angered.  Moche himself had kept Aakti Amurugana successfully concealed from the emperor for almost nine centuries, and now he had been robbed of them, the same as Aakti.  He wanted them back, just as much as the emperor, and was pleased this call from a common woman would give him a head start on retrieving them.

Having heard Tamaya calling, Moche put some coca leaves in his mouth, chewed them, and spit out a plume, high into the air, making the sky sneeze, expelling a squall of hail into the valley, and throwing a blanket under the Sun.

When the squall settled, Aakti had fled west to hunt for his seeds.  Tamaya had barely a moment to be grateful when Moche showed up at her door to collect his debt.

He was a scrawny demon, no taller than Tamaya’s waist.  He looked like any of the other people of the valley, but seven times older than old.  His clothes were scavenged from whatever travelers had lost in the mountains: a white Cañari hat, loosely enveloping his tiny head; an Otavaleño scarf he had fashioned into a vest; and pants made from of a sack that probably had carried spices from the Amazon.

He held out his shriveled hand.

“I saved you from Aakti, but he wants what is mine.  Give me the child before the emperor returns.”

The startled mother looked at the little sorcerer, no bigger than her dog, but with enough strength to squash her like an ant between his fingers.  She knew well Moche’s traditions, and of his sacrifices.

“But this is my son!  I cannot let him go!” Tamaya contested.

“Listen to me,” Moche warned, “for I will only tell you this once.  You will not survive tomorrow if you stay, and you will surely die in the caves of Antisana where the child and I will live.  Run away, east into the cloud forest, where the emperor does not know your name and will pass over you.  The child will only be safe with me.  Everything else will die.”

Helpless and terrified, Tamaya ran from Moche, but though he was smaller, he was faster, and stronger.  He caught up with her and pulled the child into his arms, pushing Tamaya down and onto the ground.  She screamed at him for mercy, and tried to pursue him, but the sorcerer stamped his foot on the ground creating a wide hole between them that she could not cross.

Despite his size, Moche had no problem bearing the weight.  He carried the child away without hurry and disappeared over a hill, and Tamaya wept until she had no voice left with which to scream.  Now both Titu and her child were gone.  All that she had were the words of Moche saying the child will live.  She resolved to find a scheme to get him back.

Fearing for the emperor’s return and destroying the rest of her life around her, Tamaya quickly packed her things, gathered her goats, and fled down into the cloud forest, as Moche had told her to do.  But once there, the forest closed around her and she lost the trail she had made.  She could not find her way back to the valley, as much as she tried.

Moche brought the child into the cool underworld of Antisana, a spectacle of a thousand tunnels and crystal streams, with glowing pools of azure-colored lava emitting light and warmth.  It was a land the emperor had never seen, the land where his seeds had once been held prisoner.

The sorcerer entered a chamber so grand it seemed to have a sky of its own, its clerestory heights filled with flying bats, ventilating the air.  There, he laid the sleeping child down on a bed of eucalyptus leaves, and one of the bats flew down and hung over the child’s head to protect him.

“The day will come,” Moche whispered to the sleeping child, “when the Sun will forget you, but I, on the other hand, have found you, and you are now mine.  I will train you to be a hunter, but not of mere beasts.  You will hunt for the atama who stole my seeds in the night, and return them here to my keeping.  Aakti Amurugana: they are crying for you already; I know you hear them.  They need you to keep them planted, here in the world.  Until then, I know who you are.  You are the most gifted creature to ever touch the earth.  You are…Unawqi!”

The child awoke upon hearing his name, and cried like a shrill flute from another world, and all the million bats in the chamber fell stunned to the floor.

About the author:

papakaliPapaKali is the brainchild of Kali Kucera, an American artist, lorist, and entrepreneur.

Since he was 9 years old he has been composing plays, operas, short stories, and multi-disciplinary experiences. He has been both a teacher and performer as well as an arts mobilizer, and founded the Tacoma Poet Laureate competition in 2008.

After some time being a teller, Kali was concerned about the absence of both original and local lore, and no one seemed to be preserving the tradition of creating new narratives, tales, and myth about why the world around us is the way it is. He therefore devoted his energy to filling this void with PapaKali, beginning with tales of the South Sound and continuing with new tales emerging from the inspiration of the high Andes of South America, where Kali currently lives while also running a bus travel information service called AndesTransit (http://andestransit.com).

It is important to understand that in PapaKali lore, self-standing stories are often interconnected with other stories. Characters in one story will appear in a completely different context of another story, hence establishing a pantheon upon which lore can be constructed. The second important aspect is that the stories often change; they live and breathe as the influences of new narratives emerge to support the interconnectedness.

As a reader, therefore, we urge you to not read these like a book, but more like the oral tradition upon which they more appropriately relate. Check back on them to see how nuances have changed like you would listen to a story being told every year around a campfire.

Learn more about Papakali and Kali Kucera on his website at papakali.com.

If you like “Outlander”…

enigma of longevityIn The Enigma of Her Longevity, Dr. Kevina (Kevy) Paul longs for something more in her life. Her daughter has died from cancer, and her relationship with her husband has grown lackluster. When she leaves her husband, she visits the local police station to leave behind an ominous message: I am okay. Do not try to find me. Kevy, a leading Canadian authority in aviation, travels to the Middle East to help escape her life, and find new meaning when she’s enlisted to stop an impending digital terrorist attack.

Moe Vyas creates a futuristic world that isn’t hard to imagine, given the state of technology today. The scenery he describes is incredibly detailed, as if we were listening to a play-by-play of Vyas, standing there and describing it in real time. The scenario in the book is realistic, as well. It’s not hard to imagine the world being threatened by a cyber-terrorist who uses existing technology—such as ATMs—to spread a computer virus with potentially catastrophic results.

The only disappointment for me, was that Vyas doesn’t explore the actual enigma behind Kevy’s longevity, as the title promises. There is mention at the start of the book that she has lived a long life, which is revisited at the end, but there is no satisfying explanation as to why.

Vyas’s story is told through the frame of a reporter investigating Kevy who is a unique individual, aside from the fact that she lives to the ripe old age of 137. The frame plot is interesting, and adequately sets the stage for the rest of the story, which is told in flashbacks. Vyas’s structure is best suited for a series, similar in sentiment to Outlander, rather than as a standalone book. If his intention is to revisit Dr. Kevina Paul in order to document another outstanding chapter in the life of this remarkable woman with his next book, then I have no complaints.

Mamabear gives this book

four-bears

Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Resolution: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure

Resolution-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalMy name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Elise has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new novel RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure. I think it’s a good book, but what do I know? Anyway, I’m kinda shy about tooting my own horn. So I think I’ll turn things over to my dog, Danny the Dog. He always has a bad attitude and usually does not speak highly of me. But please understand that we co-exist as the old Soviet Union and the United States co-existed. We tolerate each other. So without further ado, here’s Danny.

Andrew took me away from chasing the neighborhood cats to help him out here. For a person that works with words for a living, he has very little to say in real life. He wants me to tout his book for him, but I don’t think I will. Instead, I think I’ll tell you about our latest adventure. We’re always having adventures, and I like to write about them. And what I write about is 100% true.

I am fearless. I am Danny the Dog and—to be redundant—I fear nothing. I chase squirrels, chickens, raccoons, ducks, and of course, cats. However, there is one thing that kind of gets to me, and that is thunder. I don’t know why that is. Andrew once told me I should go to a doggie psychiatrist and have a past-life regression. He said maybe in a past life I had a run-in with Thor, the god of thunder. Did I ever tell you that Andrew is an idiot?

Usually I have very little to do with him. I take him for a walk a couple of times a day. I allow him to feed me and give me treats, but for the most part, he goes his way and I go mine. However, when it thunders, I want to be as close to him as possible. He’s always on the computer. He went nuts a few years ago and threw the television out the window and he hasn’t replaced it yet. So there he sits, staring at the computer screen day after day. He tells me he’s trying to write, but I know better. He’s waiting for someone to email him, but no one ever does. Anyway, back to me.

So, when it thunders, I crawl up on his lap and come between him and his precious computer. But I have to hand it to the old reprobate, he stops what he’s doing, puts his arm around me and tells me not to worry.

As soon as the storm passes, I jump down and go back to ignoring him and he goes back to whatever he was doing, probably on a dating site begging some poor female to go out with him. (They never do.)

Danny %26 ThunderThe accompanying picture (right) was taken during the height of a thunderstorm. I want you all to know that I usually don’t look so forlorn. Now if you will excuse me, there’s a mother duck and her babies swimming by our boat and I have to go and bark at them. After all, this is my turf and I must defend it to the last bark . . .  because I am fearless.

That’s about it from Dannyland for now. If I hurry, I might be able to catch an old movie on TCM. My two favorite movie stars are Rin Tin Tin and Lassie.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot—go out and buy Andrew’s book.

AndrewThis is Andrew again. On behalf of Danny and myself, I would like to thank Elise for having us over. It’s been a real pleasure.

Buy Resolution: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure on Amazon and Smashwords.

Contact Us – Flash Forward meets 24

contact us cover macyImagine everyone in the world sneezing simultaneously, followed by a brief, yet excruciating bout of pain. Then, within 24 hours, most of the world’s population dies in their sleep. And if that weren’t enough, the survivors are contacted by an alien in the guise of Walter Cronkite and given What would you do? Contact Us documents the lives of some of the survivors–top advisor to the president Charli Keller, long since retired and presumed dead former agent Jake Corby, among them–as they strive to discover the cause and meaning of the sneeze, pain, and culling, in order to save the human race.

Contact us was a quick and entertaining read. Part Flash Forward, part 24, the plot–absurd though it was at times–kept propelling me forward. Charli is a strong, female character who takes the lead in the investigation. Jake is far too driven by his emotions, but learns to rein them in when necessary. Cronkite the Alien is a weird character, who, for all of his peculiarities, had me thinking more like Nixon on Futurama than not, but the caricature works; people trusted the real Walter Cronkite–it’s not a stretch to imagine a shape-shifting alien who chooses to look like him in order to gain a similar trust with the people of Earth. Or is it?

Though Al Macy’s story is farcical at times (not usually my cup of tea), I enjoyed the story. The characters–the human ones, at least–are smart and relatable. Even though the population of Earth suffers a culling, the aftermath isn’t necessarily dystopic. Sure they’re at the whim of a psychotic alien, but they’ve been given the blueprints to all of these useless inventions, and now their resources will go further, and the environment will replenish itself, besides.

Contact Us is a contemporary sci-fi that discusses modern themes and offers a horrific solution to our woes. It does what all good fiction must , which is to help us shed light on the shortcomings of our modern world.

Mamabear give this book:

four-bears

Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.