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Monday, December 21, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Editor: Showcasing more and one more of Rosalie Skinner




  
Publisher's Buy Page




Adrift: In Search of Memory

Book 7 in The Chronicles of Caleath
a novel by Rosalie Skinner
Genre  Sci-Fi Fantasy Adventure Epic

Pages  354

ISBN  978-1-77127-512-5

Price  $5.95

 Back Cover


Tag Seawell’s strange turns are frightening his shipmates. Each time his eyes turn black unexpected things happen. He can’t explain why. When strangers come to town searching for a man of his description, the locals fail to mention his existence. The stranger’s arrival and departure before Tag returns from sea, give him his first hope of learning about his past and perhaps curing him of the unexplained fits he falls into. Leaving his woman behind Tag follows the strangers and embarks on a perilous and confusing voyage of discovery.

Nothing prepares Tag for the revelations his journey brings. From pirates, to warring dragons, whales, starships and an alien god, new experiences jog old memories. Discovery comes with a price. Why does Death want his unborn child? Why does a race of sorcerers want his help? How is he supposed to influence dragons and how does he know and do things he should not know?

Excerpt

“There was another episode on The Petrel yesterday. They keep getting worse. The crew grows afraid, even though we come back each time with a good catch.” 

Naomi turned away. Tag watched her try and hide obvious pain. 

“I am afraid.” His voice dropped when he acknowledged his own vulnerability. “What if I am mad? Can you understand how I feel? Inside me a fist is clenched tight. White knuckle tight. I dare not relax for a heartbeat. In case…I don’t even know what threat I avoid. I don’t want to put you through nights when I am as useless as a frightened child.” 

“Do you think I care? Do you think I count the hours?” She turned to face him. The candlelight danced on vibrant curls and glinted in moist eyes. Her chin quivered while frantic hands searched for support. “I care about you. I die every moment you are away from my side. Those nights when you turn to me are more than precious.”

“Don’t be a fool, woman. I am not worthy of your care.” Tag hated the way his gut wrenched when he spoke. He wanted to hold Naomi but instead he lashed out. Every day he remained in the village he stifled an urgent and desperate need to leave. 

Brasheer never let him forget the debt he owed for forcing the locals and the crew to accept his presence without question. Despite calling him ‘touched’, Brasheer believed his presence and strange fits brought good luck. Even so, the captain never increased Tag’s share of the profit and made certain he couldn’t gain employment elsewhere. 

“There is nothing here for me, but you. I am able to offer you nothing worthwhile. You should find yourself a free man who would worship you. The way you deserve.”

“What if you are the only man I want? You can’t think of leaving me. The goats are about to kid, the barley is ripe.” She lifted her chin and looked into his eyes. “I am carrying your child. We are going to have a baby.”

“A baby?” Tag swallowed and shook his head. Emotions warred within him. He couldn’t resist the urge to hold her now. She rested her head on his shoulder and spoke of her plans.

Listening but not hearing, waves of dread chilled the marrow in his bones. The arrival of a child should evoke joy and anticipation. Instead, Tag wanted to weep. Desperate grief rose to overpower him. 

Images of a baby flashed before his eyes. She appeared a perfect newborn with cupid lips and china blue eyes. However, this infant lay dead in his arms. Tears ran down his cheeks. In a distant past, he buried a daughter. Grief threatened to break him. 

Incorporeal hands dripping with ghostly blood rested on Naomi’s shoulders. Tag recoiled and cried out. When he stepped away, Death’s specter placed a transparent hand over Naomi’s flat belly.

“No.” 

This time your child is mine, Deathbringer.” The specter turned and grimaced as Tag cringed in fear.

“Take me, Death,” Tag wept. “I have nothing to lose. Leave the child. The babe is innocent.”

“Since you will soon return to my service I shall consider your plea. I do not see you raising this child, Deathbringer. Even if I do not accept the child’s life as your gift, for the sake of this child you must strike the cobra’s heart. Ahh, how I miss your offerings.” 

“Leave the child. Take me.”

“You and I are timeless, Deathbringer. What have they done to you? I grow impatient. Too many try to take your place, but I prefer your legacies.” Death grinned and rose through the ceiling of the hut. Tag covered his face and wept. 

“Tag?” Naomi reached for him. “To whom do you speak? What strange words you speak. You are frightening me. Don’t weep. I am afraid.”

“You must see the witch woman, Naomi. You can’t carry my child. Death has touched him.” Afraid of the images he witnessed, Tag brushed aside Naomi’s discomfort. “I am sorry, so very sorry. Sweet mercy, why didn’t she take me instead?”

“I don’t understand.” Naomi paled and sank to the floor. “What did you see? To whom did you speak?”
“Why does Death know me and call me by an accursed name?” Tag’s vision blurred with tears. He took a deep breath and knelt to embrace Naomi.

“You have seen Death? You are frightening me.”

“Naomi, I beg you, let me go.” Lifting her chin, he wiped away her tears.

“Is this a trick to make me say I want you to leave?” Naomi straightened. “It’s not going to work.”

“I made a mistake letting you chip away the walls around my heart.” Tag shook his head. “We always knew there would be a risk. If there is a chance to find my past life, I must take it. I never want you to hurt as much as I ache right now.”

“A mistake? You and I are not a mistake. Whatever evil draws you away, whatever lies in your past, can’t you turn your back on it?” Naomi beat her hands against his chest. “You know nothing good comes from looking into nightmares.”

          “As much as you mean to me, what if I have other family? Why is Death aware of my existence? What if someone else suffers because they are involved in my life?”

         “Then I envy them.” Naomi sniffed and wiped her eyes. “If you go, will you promise to return? When you know who you are and your nightmares are explained, will you come back to me?”

         “I swear. On my life, I shall come back to you.” Tag breathed sweet heather, goat, and lye soap in her hair and never wanted to let her out of his arms. “Whatever happens, I shall return.”







Publisher's Buy Page



ADRIFT: The Fragile Sun

Book Eight in The Chronicles of Caleath
a novel by Rosalie Skinner

Genre Sci-Fi Fantasy
Pages 386
ISBN 978-1-77127-671-9
Price  $5.95

Back Cover

Caleath’s journey continues aboard the Golden Dragon in an eventful seafaring adventure.
Facing old friends, adversaries, a cult of necromancers, and a succession of challenges Caleath must ensure the safety and future of his unborn son. He calls on a fellow star traveler in an effort to save the Aruven sun. When he is given a warning that his intended actions threaten the planet, he must rethink desperate plans. While he balances the present and the past, he struggles to maintain a delicate relationship with the woman who loves Tag Seawell and bears his child.


Excerpt

Around him, the cavern pulsed with a steady heartbeat. Ground tremors shook the floor and settled the balance of gold displaced by his footsteps. Caleath rose into a crouch, holding the dark blade before him. Eyes adjusted to fading light but couldn’t focus on the weapon in his hands. He didn’t have time to think about the anomaly. 

From every handbreadth of wall, roof, and floor, strange creatures emerged. Caleath lifted the sword and spun to watch the fiends’ arrival. The light vanished. Only senses tweaked by the renewed power of Lathraine’s Pledge, showed his attackers. Fangs dripped with saliva. Claws clattered on stone while collective breathing, yammering and yowling froze the marrow in his bones.

He stepped to one side. The tapering pillars he now recognized as the ribs of a giant dragon. The sword he removed would have pierced the creature’s heart, had there been one. Now the ribs formed a cage around him and he needed room to move.

The return of mage power gave him hope. Stepping clear of the ribcage, he kept his back to a pillar.
The first scurrying daemons attacked.

“Tallowbrand! Merkaat, Dashveer!” His voice echoed in the cavern. For less than a heartbeat, the horde hesitated, and then they charged with renewed vigor. Caleath’s blade swung, the dark steel pulsed with life as he severed limbs and battered the smaller creatures. “Tallowbrand!” 

A collection of kobolds, harpies, ogres and trolls closed in on him. More dead than alive, as individuals they weren’t hard to dispatch. In the numbers they commanded, Caleath failed to swing his blade fast enough to prevent their teeth and claws raking flesh.

“Merkaat, Tallowbrand, anyone! I could do with some help here.”

Even as he spoke, Caleath regretted his plea. An answer rose from within him. Gleeful and confident Wrath, the warrior slave, the product of Caleath’s darkest days, snatched his freedom. 

With Wrath, the serpents of the Cabal writhed to support the warrior. Remnants of a group of evil sorcerers now rose to answer Caleath’s call. His invitation gave them power.

Wrath roared with delight and scattered dark magic throughout the cavern. The blade in his hands glowed with power. He decimated the creatures attacking him. The serpents writhed and twisted in knots of delight while ghoulish blood flowed and corrupt magic tainted the air.

Caleath fought to regain control. A portion of his mind reveled in Wrath’s strength and ability, but to let the Cabal enjoy freedom for even a few moments would leave permanent scars on his soul. Already he couldn’t face the evil he had done in the past in order to destroy the gestalt of power. 

A troll smashed a boulder on the rock beside Wrath. The warrior spun, slicing the dark blade through muscle and bone. Then he sidestepped into another attack. The ground shook when the troll fell, but Wrath enjoyed the battle. Caleath felt serpents close around his willpower.

He had become one with the Cabal, in order to banish them. With help, Caleath trapped their souls in a dragon wrought sword and transported the weapon into the far reaches of space. Their shadow, however, became a part of him, constantly vigilant for a moment when he might lose control. Now they celebrated Wrath’s rise to power. If Caleath faltered, he could remain forever an observer trapped within his own body.
The idea terrified him. 

The creatures coming from the walls and the floors didn’t slow. Caleath tried to identify them. The form they took came from his memory, he was sure many of them rose from fiction he carried on microchip implants. They were beasts from virtual worlds he battled before Ephraim abducted him from Rampart 6. On his home world, they existed only within computer games. On this world, they shouldn’t exist at all. They couldn’t exist. They had to be illusions, illusions able to cut living tissue. 

Nothing made sense, unless a lord of dark magic summoned them.

Caleath didn’t try to fight Wrath. There was little point. The warrior kept him alive, but he did nudge him occasionally. Even with his skills, Wrath now bore too many wounds. Without nanobots to heal, he needed to take care. Caleath searched the cavern for an exit. 

Wrath’s boot snagged in a tumble of discarded weapons and jewelry left by the night drake. Caleath’s heart skipped a beat. A simple weapon caught his eye. The blade called his name. 

He urged Wrath to grab the sword.

The warrior didn’t question the move. His hand closed around the elegant hilt of the long sword. The sudden surge of dragon magic gave Caleath enough strength to wrest control. He sheathed the dark blade in a scabbard that didn’t exist, before Wrath could respond. The weapon would wait for Wrath to call it into existence. 

With the new dragon-wrought blade in his hands, Caleath found mythical creatures less intent on their attack. He sighed and stepped backward, toward the cavern wall.

Daylight blinded him. Fresh air and a cold wind punched the air from his lungs. He spun to see a crowd of armed and aggressive peasants surrounding him.

“Ahh, rat’s vomit.” He lifted his blade and prepared to fight.



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Poet: Looking on the outside



Looking on the outside
never seeing the battle within
Appearance not deceiving
but all the same
Hiding within depths unknown
the hidden



***

 What is being a Poet?

...poems and prose from now back to teen years
...remembering a first writing love
...pumping the creative well yet again
...silencing the internal critic