Monday, September 30, 2013

Release Date & Promo

Here it is, my friends--the announcement you have been waiting for! We finally have the official release date for "Legacy of the Blood" and we have another treat to go with it.

29 NOVEMBER 2013

"Legacy of the Blood" will be available for purchase. As with my other book, it will be released exclusively with (but you don't have to own a Kindle to buy it, since Amazon has a free app to allow eBooks to be read on other devices).


On that same day, there will be another promotion for "The Threshold Child" where it will be available to download for free! So, for your friends and family that haven't read it yet, they can purchase 2 books for the price of 1!

Please help me to spread the word! We have 2 months until the launch date, and I'd like to let as many people know as possible. Thank you again for your support!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Evil Overlord: Part 8

Things I will Remember if I Ever Become Evil Overlord

* I will maintain a healthy amount of skepticism when I capture the beautiful rebel and she claims she is attracted to my power and good looks and will gladly betray her companions if I just let her in on my plans.

* If it becomes necessary to escape, I will never stop to pose dramatically and toss off a one-liner.

* If the beautiful princess that I capture says "I'll never marry you! Never, do you hear me, NEVER!!!" I will say "Oh well," and kill her.

* My undercover agents will not have tattoos identifying them as members of my organization, nor will they be required to wear military boots or adhere to any other dress codes.

* Before appointing someone as my trusted lieutenant, I will conduct a thorough background investigation and security clearance.

*I will not employ robots as agents of destruction if there is any possible way that they can be reprogrammed or if their battery packs are externally mounted and easily removable.

* All members of my Legions of Terror will have professionally tailored uniforms. If the hero knocks a soldier unconscious and steals the uniform, the poor fit will give him away.

* I will exchange the labels on my folder of top-secret plans and my folder of family recipes. Imagine the hero's surprise when he decodes the stolen plans and finds instructions for Grandma's Potato Salad.

* When planning an expedition, I will choose a route for my forces that does not go through thick, leafy terrain conveniently located near the rebel camp.

* After I captures the hero's superweapon, I will not immediately disband my legions and relax my guard because I believe whoever holds the weapon is unstoppable. After all, the hero held the weapon and I took it from him.

* I will design all doomsday machines myself. If I must hire a mad scientist to assist me, I will make sure that he is sufficiently twisted to never regret his evil ways and seek to undo the damage he's caused.

* My dungeon cell decor will not feature exposed pipes. While they add to the gloomy atmosphere, they are good conductors of vibrations and a lot of prisoners know Morse code.

* I will not locate a base in a volcano, cave, or any other location where it would be ridiculously easy to bypass security by repelling down from above.

* Should I actually decide to kill the hero in an elaborate escape-proof deathtrap room (water filling up, sand pouring down, walls converging, etc.) I will not leave him alone five-to-ten minutes prior to "imminent" death, but will instead (finding a vantage point or monitoring camera) stick around and enjoy watching my adversary's demise.

* Despite the delicious irony, I will not force two heroes to fight each other in the arena.

* Before ridiculing my enemies for wasting time on a device to stop me that couldn't possibly work, I will first acquire a copy of the schematics and make sure that, in fact, it couldn't possibly work.

* If an attractive young couple enters my realm, I will carefully monitor their activities. If I find they are happy and affectionate, I will ignore them. However, if circumstance have forced them together against their will and they spend all their time bickering and criticizing each other except during the intermittent occasions when they are saving each others' lives at which point there are hints of sexual tension, I will immediately order their execution.

* If my surveillance reports any unmanned or seemingly innocent ships found where they are not supposed to be, they will be immediately vaporized instead of brought in for salvage.

* If I burst into rebel headquarters and find it deserted except for an odd blinking device, I will not walk up and investigate. I'll run like hell.

* If I am dangling over a precipice and the hero reaches his hand down to me, I will not attempt to pull him down with me. I will allow him to rescue me, thank him properly, then return to the safety of my fortress and order his execution.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Comic Con

For those of you who don't know, I live in Utah. And here's a little confession: I am a nerd. I try to hide it most of the time, but it's true. So when I heard that Salt Lake was putting together its very first Comic Con, I got excited. My husband was even more excited, and needless to say, we got tickets early.

I'm pretty new to the convention scene, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I mean, I had a general idea, but that's all. My first experience with Comic Con was really positive, even though I don't really like large crowds (and let me tell you, there were tons of people there). It was very well organized and all of the lines moved quickly, there was a large variety of panels to cover just about every nerd-related interest, and the people there (guests, staff, and convention-ers alike) were all very courteous and tried to make it a pleasant experience for all.

I went on Friday, and it was said that there were over 50,000 people there!

My husband and I went to two celebrity guest panels. The first was with Ray Park, and the other was a Battlestar Galactica 35th Anniversary panel with Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict. First of all, Ray Park is hilarious! I really wasn't expecting that from the guy who played Darth Maul, but he is genuinely funny. It was great to hear him talk about getting started as a stuntman and martial artist, and at the end he invited a bunch of kids onstage to teach them some cool poses and moves. The second panel was also really fun to see. It was entertaining to watch a couple of actors who have worked together and known each other for so long. They were like a comedy duo! The facilitator really didn't have much to say, because the two guests talked with each other so easily about what it was like to be the original Apollo and Starbuck (as well as funny stories about what happened behind the scenes). I'm glad we were able to attend both of those panels!

Ray Park

Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict

My husband and I spent most of the rest of the time walking around the exhibit hall, where all of the booths were set up. There were artists, authors, celebrities, and vendors...along with thousands upon thousands of massing people. I also had the opportunity to go to a very helpful panel with five authors (Brad R. Torgerson, Larry Correia, David Boop, John Steiner, and Eric James Stone) where they talked about writing a good action scene.

Here is what I like about conventions of this kind: it is a place where people of like interests can come together and express their enthusiasm without fear of judgement. You want to dress up like Thor? Awesome! You want to learn some tips on making costumes on a budget? They have professional cosplayers to tell you all about it. You want to hear some how-to tips on turning your steampunk screenplay into a success? They have that covered, too. It was just so much fun to see such unabashed zeal for all aspects of comics and popular culture. People need an outlet for that, and Comic Con provides that.

We'll definitely be going again next year, and hopefully I'll be able to dress up for the occasion (I love costumes). This year my husband and I got silly t-shirts (due to the fact that I'm six months pregnant, I couldn't think of a costume that would work), and then my husband dressed up when he went back on Saturday. Last year he decided he wanted a new hobby, and he's trying his hand at costume armor making. He made himself some Mandalorian armor, and I think it turned out really well! We'll see what we can come up with next year.

My husband in Mandalorian armor, just outside the convention center.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Legacy of the Blood: Chapter Two

Just a reminder, this is not the final draft--but it is a nearly final draft. If you have not read the previous excerpts, begin here. And please feel free to leave comments. I like to know how my readers react to developments in the story.  :)

Chapter Two: An Unexpected Guest

Ri’sel was taken to the nearest medical tent, and then Adesina retreated to her own for some undisturbed thinking. Her heart was pounding and her mind was racing. She could hardly keep her expression free from the rage and fear that coursed through her entire being.
She knew she would have to act quickly, for the news of her husband’s capture would spread through the L’avan camp like wildfire. For now, she had to focus on getting herself under control.
It was frightening how strongly she had been affected by those few words. The Shimat, Ri’sel had said—the most secret and deadly organization of assassins; the society in which she had been raised, and to which she had been loyal until she had been shown their true colors; the group of people responsible for the massacre of her people only five short years ago. The Shimat were continuing in their attempts to wipe the L’avan from the earth, and they had captured L’iam in the process.
Adesina felt the flaring heat of anger shoot outward from her chest, and it overpowered every other emotion. The Shimat had taken so much from her already, and she wasn’t about to let them take anymore.
Her strongest inclination was to jump on a horse and race off to rescue her husband. Every moment was of great importance when it came to such formidable enemies.
The young queen shook her head and paced back and forth in her tent.
The first thing she had to do was reassure her people. She was their leader now, and they would turn to her for some sense of comfort. She had only been queen for a short time, but they trusted her with their lives. L’iam always said that they had to put the needs of their people above their own. He had taught her that being a true leader meant sacrificing on behalf of those being led. Adesina would do her part and make sure that the L’avan were safe and prepared for any danger that may arise.
Once that was done, she was going after her husband.
Ravi entered her tent with a gentle expression on his face. He could see that she was torn between the urge to leave immediately and the knowledge of her responsibilities.
“We will find him, Ma’eve, but we must take precautions before leaving. Taking time to do that does not slow your mission—it raises your chances of success.”
She nodded, knowing he was right. There was a clear plan in her mind, and her heart settled from her frenzied need for action to cool determination.
Adesina would make the Shimat pay for what they had done.
She strode from the tent, her guardian following close behind. A crowd of L’avan was already forming just outside, and they followed her as she made her way through the camp.
“Your Majesty, is it true?”
“Has the king been captured by the Shimat?”
“What are we to do?”
Adesina held up a hand to silence them and spoke calmly, not breaking her stride. “I will be addressing our people on the green in ten minutes. Spread the word, please.”
The crowd instantly dispersed, running to gather together the L’avan. Wren’na stayed at Adesina’s side, and Adesina placed a hand on her arm.
“I need to speak to E’nes immediately. Could you run and fetch him?”
She nodded and hurried away, leaving Adesina with Ravi.
The Rashad turned his large feline eyes on the young queen as they continued walking towards the open area where the L’avan held large gatherings. “You cannot rescue L’iam on your own, dear one.”
“I will not be alone. You are always with me.”
He shook his head. “That is not enough for what is coming.”
Adesina gave him a sharp glance. “Have you had a vision of the future?”
“No,” he replied softly, “but that does not mean I cannot see where this path will take you.”
She clenched her jaw and spoke stiffly, keeping a tight reign on her emotions. “The last time I went up against the Shimat, half of those with me died. I will not make that same mistake.”
“If you go alone you will die, and L’iam will be lost forever,” Ravi said flatly.
Adesina’s head whipped around to stare at her guardian, and she felt a wave of icy fear douse her angry determination. She had not considered what might happen if she failed. “I will consider your words,” she said reluctantly.
A crowd was already forming when she arrived on the green. Her subjects kept a respectful distance from her, knowing that she would address them when she was ready. Adesina walked over to the roughly constructed platform that stood at the far end and sat on the edge, waiting for the rest of her people to assemble.
Within a few minutes she saw E’nes running toward her, and she stood to meet him.
“Wren’na told me that L’iam has been captured! Is it true?”
Adesina spoke in a quiet voice. “Yes, it is true.”
Her brother paled, with an expression of dismay on his face. “What are we going to do?”
The young queen clenched her fists as she replied, “We will get him back.”
E’nes nodded, but he looked troubled. “How? We do not know where he has been taken. Surely they would not imprison him in the Shimat fortress—not after we have successfully rescued our people from there before.”
Adesina frowned. “No, I do not think they would do something so predictable. They will probably keep him on the move, making it difficult for us to track him.”
He studied her eyes, seeing the resolve there. “You are going after him personally.”
There was a hint of question in his voice, and Adesina nodded to confirm his suspicion.
“What about our people? What about this settlement?”
She placed a hand on her brother’s arm. “That is why I need your help. I need you to act as regent while I am gone.”
E’nes snorted at the idea. “Adesina, I have never been a statesman. I am a simple soldier.”
“K’eb could help you,” she insisted. “He knows as much about running things around here as I do! Besides, the people trust you and they will listen to what you say.”
“I would much rather come with you,” he said stubbornly.
She smiled fondly. “I know you would, but I need you here.”
E’nes had come to trust his sister implicitly, even if she was five years younger than him. He wanted to argue, but he simply nodded. “I will stay here and help our people… on one condition.”
Adesina quirked an eyebrow at him, giving him a slight warning. “Oh?”
He smiled broadly. “You have to promise to take five men of my choosing with you.”
“Ha!” she barked. “Absolutely not.”
“Four men,” he bargained.
“Two,” she said flatly.
“Three men,” E’nes countered.
Adesina shook her head. “I will take two men of your choosing. No more, E’nes.”
“I would accept her offer, E’nes,” advised Ravi. “She told me she would think about taking someone with her.”
“Very well,” said E’nes quickly. “Two men!”
She gave both of them a sharp glance as she stepped onto the platform. “We will work out the details later.”
Her brother folded his arms across his chest. “If you think you can talk me out of it, you are sadly mistaken.”
Adesina hid a soft smile at her brother’s concern and turned to face the crowd of L’avan. She connected with her vyala and used it to manipulate her voice so that it sounded as if she was standing directly in front of each listener.
“Children of L’avan, I am afraid that I have some very troubling news. My uncle returned from a diplomatic mission less than an hour ago, and reported that King L’iam was taken by the Shimat.”
Alarmed murmurs ran through the crowd, but the gathered people waited for her to continue.
“I know you can all understand how frightened that makes me feel. No one knows better than I what the Shimat are capable of doing.” She paused to take a deep breath and calm her emotions. “In spite of our fear, we must not lose hope. King L’iam is a warrior—strong in body, mind, and heart. He will not give up until he has returned to us, and neither shall we!”
Tears ran down many faces, but they all looked up at her with trust and belief in their eyes.
“I will lead a small party to track his location and rescue him from our enemies. My brother, E’nes, will act as regent in my absence. You will continue with your duties in building up this settlement, and we will contact the Governor of Yavar to request more military support. I will not allow our enemies to destroy our new home or terrorize us with their plots! I will rescue our king, and you will create a stronghold from which he can lead our people. We shall continue in our attempts to reach out to the rest of humanity, and we will stand united against the evils of the Shimat!”
A small cheer erupted from the crowd, and the air was filled with their determination.
“I will meet with my counselors in my tent after this assembly, and we will work out the details of the plan. By tomorrow morning we will send out news of our decisions, and we will put them into action. For now, go back to your tents and pray for our king.”
The L’avan slowly dispersed, except for the handful of people that served as her counselors. Adesina hopped down from the platform and began walking to her tent. Ravi, E’nes, and the advisors all followed her.
Cor’a, her maid, had everything in her tent set up for a meeting by the time they arrived. She gave a quick curtsey and left without a word. Once again, Adesina marveled at the efficient young woman. She had even found time to lay out refreshments for the queen and her guests.
Adesina took her place at the head of the table and waited for the others to be seated. There was no chair directly to her right, and that was where Ravi settled himself.
“You should eat something, dear one,” her guardian said quietly, his eyes on the food and drink set out by Cor’a.
The young queen shook her head. “Not now.”
“You will need your strength,” he reminded her.
“I know,” she replied. “I will eat later.”
The advisors seemed just as eager to begin the conference, and the refreshments went untouched. They all sat on the edge of their seats, anxious for their queen to speak. It was traditional—but not necessary—that the leader speak first.
Adesina took a small breath and steeled herself against the opposition she anticipated from the conservative council members. “I know that many of you disagree with my decision to go after the king personally. Let us begin by getting those arguments out of the way.”
There were several wry smiles, but they didn’t pretend that she was incorrect.
“Your Majesty,” started a white-haired woman, “our people have been through many grievous trials over the last several years. They were only just beginning to feel secure again. Now we have had this terrible news about King L’iam, and once again we feel the fear and uncertainty that comes from losing a beloved leader.”
“L’iam is not lost,” snapped Adesina. “He has been captured, and we will bring him home.”
The woman inclined her head. “I know that is your intent, your Majesty, but the people are still afraid. I could see it on their faces.”
The queen could not deny it. She had seen the same expressions of alarm and despair in their eyes.
The aged counselor went on. “The L’avan need to feel that sense of security again. They need to know that the monarchy will be preserved through this tragedy. King L’iam is the last of the previous royal family, and you are the only tangible tie the people have of him right now. If you leave, the L’avan will lose hope.”
Another advisor interjected. “And what will happen if both of you die? Who will become the leader of the L’avan? King L’iam’s cousins died in the same battle that killed King L’unn and Crown Prince L’on.”
Adesina didn’t have an answer to that question, but one of the other counselors did.
“King L’unn’s sister, Lady L’elia, is still living in Yavar. Although, I doubt she would be willing to take the throne. There are the children of King L’iam’s cousins, but they are still very young. And there are also a number of second cousins to King L’iam. King L’unn’s father had several—”
“Stop!” Adesina felt anger boiling up inside her chest. Her husband had only been captured a few days ago, and they were already talking about finding his heir. “I will hear no more of such talk!”
Her advisors had the grace to look ashamed, but one spoke up quietly. “It is your decision that makes such talk necessary, your Majesty. If you stay, we know who our leader is. If you go, we must prepare for the worst.”
The young queen took a moment to calm herself and unclench her fists, but her tone was still rather stiff. “I understand your concerns, but you must see that my choice is the best one. I was trained by the Shimat, so I am the most logical person to lead the rescue mission. I am King L’iam’s best chance for survival. E’nes has agreed to act as regent in my absence, and he will have the help and support of all of you.”
“But the monarchy—” began one of the counselors.
“The monarchy will survive,” cut off Adesina. “As you mentioned earlier, there are many worthy candidates. However, I intend for King L’iam to have a long and prosperous reign.”
“There is more than the monarchy to consider,” inserted the oldest of the advisors. “You are the Threshold Child, and the people know it. You are meant to lead the L’avan to our golden age of prosperity! Will you take away your people’s faith as well as their security?”
Ravi spoke for the first time since the meeting began. “The prophecy of the Threshold Child says nothing about a golden age. It promises that we will be led back to the path of our true purpose, and that will happen one way or another. If the queen is the Threshold Child, she will be the one to lead. If she is not, then the true Threshold Child will take that place. It is not for us to make the prophecy happen.”
“But, the people-” sputtered the old man.
“The people trust me,” stated Adesina simply, “and you should, too. I have given them a purpose during my absence, and I will rely on all of you to keep their focus on accomplishing all that they can. They will not be afraid if they feel they are building our future.”
“What will you do?” asked E’nes quietly.
She sighed and leaned forward. “It seems to me that we have few options. I will talk to Ri’sel and find out where they were when King L’iam was captured. I will go to that location and see if I can pick up the trail. Ravi can help me to track them.”
“Surely you will take a party with you, your Majesty.” It was half question, half statement.
“I have agreed to take two soldiers with me,” she replied.
“Only two?”
“But, your Majesty!”
“I really must object!”
The queen held up a hand and waited for silence.
“I know that you all find such a small force worrisome. Please believe me when I say that it is for the best. A small group will travel faster and attract less attention. Also, I do not plan on engaging the enemy directly. All I want to do is free King L’iam and return home.”
There was a thoughtful silence as the counselors considered the queen’s words. Adesina could see by their expressions that they were trying to think up convincing arguments of why she should stay or why she should take a small army.
“Which soldiers will you be taking with you, your Majesty?”
She glanced at her brother. “E’nes has offered to choose them for me.”
He cleared his throat. “I will ask Than’os and Mar’sal to accompany her. They are free to refuse, of course, but I do not think that they will. They are both very intelligent and excellent warriors. I firmly believe that they are the best candidates for this mission to free our king.”
Adesina was relieved that she approved of his decision. She had trained both men personally, and she had worked with them before. She trusted them, and she would be glad to have their assistance on this mission.
“How much time will this mission require, your Majesty?”
Adesina frowned thoughtfully. “A lot of that depends on what type of force kidnapped the king. We will be at least a week’s distance behind, and that is a considerable disadvantage. If they are a larger group, they will move slower and we can catch up without too many problems. If they are a small group, it will be much more difficult. I would assume that it will take at least two or three months. Quite possibly more.”
One of the younger advisors spoke haltingly, as if reluctant to bring up his concern. “How will we know if your mission has…failed?”
Communication was always the most difficult part of any journey. Adesina wasn’t sure how to solve such a problem.
“The Rashad,” answered Ravi.
The queen turned to her guardian. “What do you mean?”
“I will ask that a Rashad be sent to this settlement, and we can communicate through our Dreams. I can also communicate with our leader in Yavar, so all of the L’avan will know how the mission is progressing.”
Adesina smiled broadly. “That is a wonderful idea, Ravi. Then we can also know how things are going here in the settlement!” She got to her feet and everyone followed her suit. “We shall set out tomorrow morning, as soon as supplies can be gathered. With any luck, King L’iam will be home again before the autumn.”
“If you wish to save your king, you will need my aid,” said a deep voice from the entrance of the tent.
All eyes whipped to the figures that had gone unnoticed until that moment. Both newcomers wore black cloaks with the cowls drawn. One appeared to be female, due to the short stature and slight build. The other was clearly male, with broad shoulders and a sword strapped to his back.
“Who are you?” demanded Adesina.
The male figure reached up and drew back his cowl to shed light upon his face. She immediately recognized the dark, serious eyes and handsome features of the man before her. Thousands of memories flashed through her mind, and all of the emotions that accompanied those recollections sent her heart racing.
His was a face that she knew well—a face she had never imagined to see again.
She felt her chest tighten in a mixture of anger and regret, and it took her several moments to find her voice.


To go to the next chapter, click here.