Thursday, May 31, 2012

Return to Embremere now available

Hello all,
The sequel to Embremere is officially available for the Kindle. Return to Embremere is part 2 in the Tales of Embremere series and introduces a much bigger cast of young characters. Magic, horrifying zombie-like creatures emerging from the lake bed, shaky deals with the enemy, it's all there. What else could you ask for? What? No, sorry, no sparkly vampires. The zombies ate them and they tasted like ______.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Twitter Tips and Tricks (To Avoid)

As I approach my lofty goal of 5,000 twitter followers in one year (Joined July 4th, 2011), I wanted to share some twitter tips for those of you who may be new to the whole thing.

I love the twitter follow-unfollow trick to try to inflate your numbers. People follow you and then a few days later, unfollow you, thinking you wont see or find out. People...we know. Don't do it.

 With the amount of twitter apps, products and programs out there, we will find out soon enough. I'm not going to name any of the programs, but suffice to say there are a few and they are free for the most part. Anyone that unfollows me will also be unfollowed, too. Just FYI. So, my advice: Unfollow at your own risk.

Also, the True-tweet validation thing...I don't do it anymore. If you require authentication, I'm just not going to follow you. It's nothing personal, I just don't have the time and energy to do it all. I do follow most everyone back who follows me. Unless I find that you are a spammer or a 'team follow back' or something like that.

Any artist, writer, reader, musician, actor or wanna-be-whatever, I will follow you back!

And one more thing...if someone doesn't follow you back after 2 hours, don't unfollow them if you can help it. Give someone a reasonable amount of time to follow you back before assuming they don't want to.

I hope this has been enlightening to my friends in the twitter-verse and those would-be-tweeters attempting to enter said lands.

Please use twitter safely and avoid drinking and typing. Maybe.

Thanks for listening to my rant.Oh, And MATURATION PROCESS will be FREE again for the final two days of the KDP Select this Friday & Saturday (May 31 & Junes 1st)  for those who missed it. Enjoy!

See you in Wothlondia! Cheers! And on Skulldust Circle! Join now!

Photo from Stock.xchng

Anti-heroic fantasy

I originally posted a piece on anti-heroes in fantasy fiction as a guest blog months ago on Alison DeLuca's blogsite Fresh Pot Of Tea. It caught a few views, but I thought its topic was ideally suited to Skulldust Circle and its followers, so I'm re-posting it here :-D

As you're aware my genre is fantasy. I love it; have always loved it, ever since I could read. As a kid I was captivated by the total escapism of fantasy, by the idea of magic being a reality, by the virtues of the heroic struggling against insurmountable evils. It was a passion fuelled by an adolescence dedicated to role playing games, tucked away in mates’ sheds and front rooms, for far too many hours until my complexion emulated Gollum on a bad-skin day.

So here’s a quandary. Given that many of us who read fantasy and sci-fi and all its sub-sub genres (Elfpunk anyone?) came into the genre loving tales of the great and good defeating the gibbering armies of The Dark Tm , how come the anti-hero is so pervasive in speculative fiction?

They’re everywhere! Take the most successful fantasy series of the last ten years—George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire—it is replete with anti-heroes. Tyrion Lannister has to be the favourite character amongst a sea of schemers and blaggards. He’s selfish, rude, corrupt, bitter, in fact all the traits that make a great bad guy. Yet amongst his venom there are redeeming features that make us fascinated by him. By book two we love him and by the latest he’s more or less the only one (other than Arya) we care about.

Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastards series has Locke Lamora, a thief and a con-man as the main character. Here we have a different flavour of anti-hero. Whereas Tyrion is a nasty piece of work who occasionally displays redeeming features, Locke is actually an alright guy—he loves his friends etc.—who screws people over for a living. Like Robin Hood or the IRS. He’s a ‘hero’ who is also criminal.

And there’s so many more in fantasy that you wonder if we ever wanted true heroes. Severian in Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun (torturer…tick), Sand dan Glotka in Abercrombie’s The First Law books (yay, another torturer…tick), Thomas Covenant in Donaldson’s epic (rapist…tick), Cugel the Clever in Jack Vance’s Tales of the Dying Earth (thief, cheat, rake…tick), Raistlin in Dragonlance (black magic, betray brother…OK…tick), Fitz in Hobb’s Farseer trilogy (assassin? Hey, sure…beats looking after the horses…tick) and, of course, Elric.

Now Elric I did love as a kid. More accurately I coveted Stormbringer, the soul-drinking sword that Elric was dominated by. To a DnD player the idea of a sword that munched on opponents life energy (and therefore boosted your own) was fantastic. The weapon Black-razor in White Plume Mountain was an obvious copy and Elric even got his own RPG supplement for RuneQuest.

Elric was the first great fantasy anti-hero in my mind. Before him we had the muscle bound might of Conan, the noble Aragorn and the almost biblical Aslan. In his very first appearance we meet him on the way to slaughter his own nation. He then further fails to impress us by wining about his doom-ridden destiny, betraying people all over the place, becoming addicted to a vampire-sword and then killing all his buddies one by one. Admittedly some he kills by accident, because he gets carried away with Stormbringer; but you’d still not add him as a friend on Facebook would you?

So why do we love them? These are characters that are far darker than the tough guys of the cinema. We all admire the surly Han Solo and love the hard as nails Clint Eastwood characters. But these are characters that are morally dubious, at times nasty and at times ruthless. They are killers, torturers, thieves—the sort most of us would eschew in reality. Why do we enjoy reading about them?

I think it’s the escapism in another form and I think therefore that that is why fantasy (the ultimate asylum from our troubled world) is replete with them. These are characters whose achievements within the books seem all the more admirable, characters that surpass all the faults and the weaknesses that they have, to become victorious. They are creations who resonate with us because of their flaws, which after all we all have (though perhaps not to the extent of these characters). Why should a being in a fantasy world have to have any less hang-ups than us?

Anti-heroes act in ways that appeal to our darker instincts. They allow us to slip away from the frustration of modern life and the constraints of society and unleash a bit of spite. Far better to read about Tyrion Lannister’s Machiavellian antics or Elric hoovering up a few souls than turn around and give our annoying bosses a head-butt on the nose.

And we can see characters every bit as flawed as ourselves and revel in the redemption that many achieve and know that for even the most screwed-up and damaged that there is hope.

So long live the anti-hero and remember even Aslan probably had some darker moments that were cut from the books. I fact I distinctly remember him hanging out with the Snow Witch sharing a crack-pipe…

Friday, May 25, 2012

Maturation Process free this weekend!

Gary Vanucci is releasing Wothlondia Rising 3: MATURATION PROCESS for FREE this weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday only) on AMAZON Kindle as another promotional endeavor to bring our wonderful blog readers and friends into to the Realm of Ashenclaw.

Follow a young and naive elf as he attempts to escape from beneath his overbearing father's expectations. His journey takes him down the road of great disappointment and loss, atop the wings of a magnificent giant eagle, and eventually into the company of an old friend who attempts to nudge him onto the road of self-discovery. Check out Elec Stormwhisper and all of my WOTHLONDIA RISING prequels to Covenant of the Faceless Knights (now in a brand new KINDLE edition for only $4.99!)

Maturation Process is the telling tale of the high elf, Elec Stormwhisper, who lives in the overbearing shadow of his Father, Keryth. Treated as an outcast and feeling alienated from his own people, he exiles himself for a decade, finding a friend in a strange place and begins to accept his own unique destiny. Will this young and inexperienced elf ever find his true calling?

Wothlondia Rising are prequels to Covenant of the Faceless Knights. They are a series of short stories set in the original fantasy setting entitled the Realm of Ashenclaw. The series details life altering, significant events from the past that shape the course of these important characters, setting them on the path that will change their lives forever! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Preview of Wothlondia Rising 5: Strength of Faith

I am releasing the fifth installment of the Wothlondia Rising series tomorrow, this one entitled Strength of Faith. One sample will be here and the other will be on EYE ON ASHENCLAW! 

They are two very different passages, so I hope you check them both out!

Strength of Faith is a tale that paces a young acolyte of The Shimmering One, Garius Forge, on a path that tests his spirituality and also places him face to face with a demonic presence that has the power to alter the face of Wothlondia forever. Will his reverence and devotion to his deity be enough to overcome this horrible demon?

Then the warpriest turned again, this time seeing Matthias straining to keep one of the creatures at bay. It was on his sword but the zombie had gotten inside the knight’s shield. It was pushing forward along the length of his sword, already impaled upon it, but indifferent about its state of being. It was propelled by its hunger, not reason or emotion. Its goal was to feed, pure and simple. That is one advantage they have over us, Garius thought as he moved quickly to Matthias’ aid. He came in on Matthias’ right flank and pointed his warhammer at the zombie.
“But we have faith,” he whispered to himself in a reassuring tone, calling the celestial aid of The Shimmering One once more and driving a beam of divine holy energy right through the creature’s skull. It slumped upon Mathias’ sword. He glanced at Garius, nodding in thanks, before receiving the next zombie which he drove back with a slam of his shield followed quickly by a wide swing of his blade.
Garius moved to assist the fallen Marcus, as Bralon hacked down the last of the zombie threat.
As he approached, he witnessed Divah kneeling beside him introducing a burst of regenerative energy into the man while he prayed, bravely and loudly to the sun god through trembling lips. The timorous halfling that had once run from the undead creatures was gone, leaving behind someone more courageous, it appeared.
“I thought you feared for your life?” Garius questioned.
“I was more afraid for this man than for my own safety,” Divah answered with an implacable contempt behind her green eyes. They were hard in their reflection of the warpriest, whether in response to his words or in an attempt to quell her own fears, Garius could not tell. Perhaps it was simply her detestation of the undead zombies that surrounded her.
Marcus coughed and shivered as the light went through him. Garius knelt in prayer, away from the halfling, and asked for help in fighting the disease that now ran rampant throughout his fellow companion.

Thanks and I hope you enjoyed the previews! See you in Wothlondia!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fantasy by Numbers

I had a hiatus from reading fantasy for a number of years—in fact a hiatus from reading for pleasure in general. A few books broke through, mainly presents from my wife picked up from the supermarket on basis of cover (and some very good ones at that). I returned to fantasy when I considered writing my own book and had a two pronged approach. Prong one was to read fantasy books that were more recent and had garnered respected status: in that category was Northern Lights, Game of Thrones, Gardens of the Moon & The Lies of Locke Lamora. Prong two was to revisit some fantasy classics: Dragonlance, Farseer trilogy and The Belgariad.

Now I chose Belgariad mainly because, along with Terry Brooks Shannara novels and Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant, they were books that occupied the fantasy section of the library when I was a kid. Their covers stuck in my mind and I’d never got around to reading them and felt a need to balance the modern styles of Martin and Erikson (by ‘modern’ read ‘dark’) with something a little more innocent and easy going.

The Belgariad’s five books were compulsive reading and I thoroughly enjoyed going through them. However, when I was getting towards the middle of book three it did occur to me that the plot was somewhat linear. It read like a tour guide for the fantasy world he was describing. The characters were fun and their dialogue witty, and if I took anything from those books it was the importance of having banter and believable dialogue between the characters.

Now I’m currently writing the fifth of six books in my Prism series (which would have been the first half of volume three had the publisher not chose to splice each volume in twain) and I was reflecting on how clichés sneak into what I write. I don’t have a huge issue with this, after all it’s what you do with the clichés that matter, and fantasy isn’t unique in that way. But when I was thinking my mind drifted back to the Belgeriad, which was hugely popular but seemed quite laden with fantasy stereotype.

David Eddings was a scholar and teacher of English Literature and he proposed that all fantasy novels had ten essential ingredients, which he followed in his various series from the Belgeriad onwards. I decided to run my fantasy novel, Darkness Rising through the Eddings rules to see how it fared. Eddings said that fantasy novels required...

1. A Theological arena
Well, yes, I do have one of those. I’ve two neighbouring nations with opposing views on the same deity, I’ve got old gods and young gods and a few demon dukes chucked in for good measure... score 1

2. A Quest
Yes, siree, I have a quest spanning the six books to regain an ancient artefact which is also coveted by a range of bad guys. Of course, the artefact is in bits that they have to gain as they go along. Maybe I should be writing computer games... score 1

3. A magical element
It’s sword and sorcery for a reason. I’ve got elemental magic focused through gems soldered onto the chests of the mages; wild-magic which develops randomly in people and utilises ‘mind powers’ and the paradox of druidic magic... score 1

4. A hero
Just the one? Au contrare, mon ami, I have two. Hunor and Jem. Given that one is a wild-mage he can count for criteria number 5, and I’ll keep the happy go lucky, wears his heart on his sleeve, Hunor for the hero. Of course, he has some secrets and an issue with his past that shapes his world-view. But that is balanced by a massive sword... score 1

5. A resident wizard

Aww, this is getting crazy now. Yes, I have one, although he’s not really a Gandalf / Belgarath/ Allanon type. Rather he’s a dapper obsessive-compulsive Wild-mage from a nation of witch-burners. His mentor is more akin to the wise-old wizard type, in a sort of Yoda way... score 1

6. A heroine
Indeed I do, and she is the main character for the book. We meet her first as a child, then a teenager and finally as a woman. It is Emelia’s search for identity that is the crux of the series... score 1

7. A villain
Well where would be the fun if I didn’t have a decent bad guy. There’s quite a few in the whole series, but there’s one that’s the big baddy. He’s not some almighty nebulous presence like Sauron or Lord Foul, rather he’s an undead sorcerer called Vildor who is Master of the Ghasts, themselves lords of the vampyrs. He’s exquisitely evil, with a good dose of charm and wit, and we really see his character develop by book three... score 1

8. A group of companions
Oh my God, I really have written a fantasy by numbers! Huzzah, I have companions, nay a veritable Fellowship. Roll call by book two (due out soon...) is thief, wild-mage, wild-mage, monk, druid, tracker, knight. For added fun the druid and the knight are woman, which creates wonderful frission as they journey across the aforementioned land of witch-burners... score 1

9. A group of ladies attached to the companions
No! No, no and thrice, no. Given that almost half the group are of the farer sex this one wouldn’t work for me. And we don’t have any spare characters, out for the ride because the man they love has chosen to seek a legendary blade and they’re bored hanging around the palace... score 0

10. Kings, Queens and Emperors to rule
And a return to form at the last hurdle... huzzah!! The setting of Prism is replete with nations, with a veritable hotch-potch of monarchies, theocracies, oligarchies, democracies and tribal societies. All post-Empire too! It’s like the History Channel dropped a litre of acid and cavorted like Bilbo’s love-child.... score 1

So I’ve made 9/10. On the Eddings scale I must be near perfect for my generic fantasy novel. Proud? Absolutely. I have no problem with fantasy clichés or stereotypes... it’s how we turn them on their head and screw with them that matters. George RR Martin’s gritty Game of Thrones scores 6, I reckon, and Erikson’s Garden of the Moon scores 6 also, although on different ones. So even the new wave tug the forelock to the master of linear fantasy, David Eddings.

Put your favourite fantasy through it and see how it fares. More on clichés and classic fantasy influences next time.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Covenant of the Faceless Knights Re-released!

New release of Covenant of the Faceless Knights is on Kindle today for $4.99! Jump in on the ground floor and step into the Realm of Ashenclaw...but make sure you bring a friend.... or even a sword.

And in case you didn't know just how good William Kenney is as an artist...gaze upon this!

artwork by fellow Skullduster ~ William Kenney

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Take A Walk With Me...Over To SKULLDUST CIRCLE

Important Announcements!

Come follow me and the writers at SKULLDUST CIRCLE

...If ya’ know what’s good for ya’!

Simply click the follow this blog link and then let the fun begin!

I am going to be shifting my efforts over there in the near future to add to the amazing writers already gathered there. Join the likes of William Kenney, Jeremy Laszlo, Ben Martin, Ross Kitson, David Woods, Stefain and Gary Vanucci (that’s me).

If you liked the content that I brought you here at Eye on Ashenclaw, please follow me over there. Not only will you hear my insane prattling and opinions, but you will receive exclusive previews, excerpts and things that I cannot fathom just quite yet over there. And not just from me, but from these other amazing writers that I have been lucky enough to meet and read. Do yourself a favor and get in on the ground floor of what I think is going to be an amazing ride! You will be able to say: ‘I was there before it went viral!’

That being said, I will check back in here and re-post and continue to shoo you all over to Skulldust, but I will check in from time to time for important announcements and will double post here and there for a short time until you have all followed me over there!

I appreciate all of my fans, followers and contributors from here and love you all… in order for me to continue this loving relationship, please follow me over to Skulldust Circe if you haven’t already…you will not be disappointed.I promise!

And buckle up for what I believe will be a ride to remember!And follow the feed here:


I will also be sharing an exclusive excerpt with you now from my upcoming short story:  STRENGTH OF FAITH 

The five servants of The Shimmering One formed up next to one another, Bralon at their head, as they absorbed the brunt of the undead charge--creatures slamming into their blades and shields in a cacophony of screeches and guttural sounds unintended for man’s ears. Filled with a blessing of divine strength, the paladins slashed and sliced into the sickening and diseased flesh as body parts were sent flying away.
Garius could sense the stench of disease on these filthy abominations and a miasma of contagion was released into the air around each and every one of the foul creatures. He waded through the dead bodies on the floor and allowed the invigorated knights to cut a swath through the horde of zombies. He removed his holy warhammer and gripped his shield tightly, fastening it to his left arm as he joined them.
Art by William Kenney

For several moments, the divinely charged warriors cut down their enemies with ease, never slowing or tiring and their blows were charged with the strength of a dozen men. Blow after blow took the zombies down, one by one, until the speed of their attacks slowed.
Divah watched from afar in horror and felt the bile within her throat, threatening to spew forth.
 How are they doing this? she thought, seeing the volume of the undead creatures and knowing that there were only five of them.

There are dozens of the foul things!
She held fast and watched with mouth agape as the scene unfolded.
Garius strode into the midst of the chaos and mouthed a prayer, holding his sun-symbol in his grasp as reassurance and continued his invocation with conviction in his tone. The paladins heard his words and pressed their attack, not allowing a single of the anathemas within to disturb the warpriest. The words grew in strength and reached their crescendo as the priest held both hands on high.
“You shall not win this day!” Garius screamed as his eyes filled with a white light as did the rest of his body. That radiant and brilliant energy burst forth from him all at once, bathing the area in light so bright that none could see within the divine beacon.
“Your perdition is fulfilled!” Garius shouted as the radiance burst forth from his body.
Undead creatures fell in droves around the holy attack, simply melting or reduced to ash right before the eyes of the paladins. Micah swung roughly at a zombie and nearly sent himself sprawling to the ground as the creature turned to nothingness right before his eyes. All told, several dozen of them fell under the ubiquitous light.

But when their vision cleared, it seemed that a dozen more simply took their place.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Facelift for Covenant of the Faceless Knights!

I am here to share something with my blog followers--Covenant of the Faceless Knights is getting a makeover and a price reduction! I am in the process of re-releasing the book in its second edition. This one is edited by the incomparable Stephanie Dagg, whom I highly recommend! And the book will be shown with a brand new cover produced by the amazingly talented William Kenney! I will also be working on getting a paperback through CreateSpace shortly after the Kindle version goes live. I am not sure what that price will be yet, but news will follow here, so keep your Eye on Ashenclaw.

I am hoping to have the book available for release again in the coming week (and possibly this weekend--*crosses fingers*) I will probably do a Kindle for the KDP select program for people who may want to borrow it. The price point will be $2.99 I believe from the start and I plan to release Garius' short story in the Wothlondia Rising series: Strength of Faith, by the end of May as well. That will be followed by Reflections, the Orngoth short story to be released in June, which will wrap up the Wothlondia Rising series.

CotFK 2nd Edition Artwork only, provided by William Kenney

If all goes well and edits and cover are finished for book 2 in the Beginnings series, Secrets of the Ebonite Mines will also be available by Summer's end! I don't know about you guys, but I am pretty excited.

Please tell me what you guys think of the artwork for the cover and I hope to see some sales when it finally gets released. Make me proud, friends!

All of my work can be found on AMAZON -- Kindle versions here!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I believe in Magic...

In a sense. Not in the sense that I believe one can throw one's hand in the air and conjure fingers of lightning to vanquish one's foes, but in another sense entirely. I believe that words are magic. How else can you explain the wondrous ability for simple black letters on an off-white page to transport you to otherworldly places populated with the most amazing characters that you either love or despise? For a short time, your mind actually suspends its disbelief. For a time, you are there. You can hear the wind in the trees of Elfwhere, feel the soft earth under your feet as you pass beneath the great, twisting branches. You can actually feel the tremendous heat in the underground passages that lead to Harrow Isle as you travel with a group of Dwarves from the kingdom of Pahn Pirik.

Mike Haufe
For a time, the characters are alive. They become your companions as you join them on their quest or stand by their side in battle. Your mind assigns each character its own individual voice, because you want them to be alive. Can you hear the rough, gravelly voice of Gorin, the Stone Troll. I know you can. Can you hear the unnatural hiss of Mournenhile's servants, the Inquitis? It sends shivers up your spine, doesn't it?
I call that magic, my friends. For these are simple pieces of paper with letters on them. Put the letters, words, sentences and paragraphs in the right order and it's the same as that lightning spell that I spoke of. Great books create a new reality in your mind. The characters feel as if they belong to you and in a sense, they do.

Could anything be more magical?


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Distant Familiarity Continues!

Hello followers of Skulldust Circle! I had mentioned this on my blog and wanted to also share this with the loyal readers of our blog here!

I felt I needed to revisit this subject to clear things up. I simply wanted everyone to know (especially new readers to the Realm of Ashenclaw series) that all of the Wothlondia Rising 99 cent short stories are prequels to my novel, Covenant of the Faceless Knights (which is getting a makeover shortly--in progress--will keep you posted).

The short stories take one of the main characters and describes life-altering events approximately twelve years prior to the novel which helps place the characters on their chosen paths. I've had a few readers ask me questions regarding my Wothlondia Rising series, so I wanted to reiterate their purpose.

The events that take place specifically in DISTANT FAMILIARITY detail happenings that continue right here! Enjoy this free excerpt from my novel and I hope you come back for more!

(If you've read Distant Familiarity, please read this!)
to Covenant of the Faceless Knights


            The heavy oak door to the council chamber creaked open, swinging wide as three battered and bruised forms entered the room. They each sat heavily in one of the many plush chairs surrounding a conference table at the center of the room.
"Me thinks that could have gone better," Rolin Hardbeard sighed, wiping a contrasting bit of dried blood from his full and white beard. Even for a dwarf who was obviously past his prime adventuring years, Rolin was a ruggedly built warrior, but this hour had him looking haggard and tired. His age was evident, as was his broken spirit.
"You have a talent for stating the obvious my dwarven friend," slurred a beautiful half-elven woman with hair the color of polished silver through what was quite possibly a broken jaw. Rolin managed a brief laugh as he removed his heavy, steel helmet and ran his fingers through his blood specked and thinning hair. His hard, gray eyes lightened somewhat to regard his emotionally distraught friend.
"Me dear Nimaira Silvershade, after all the years we spent takin’ down giants and ogres, countless trolls and undead, and ye are only now realizin’ I be a dwarf of many talents?" Rolin asked sardonically.
Nimaira began to laugh, but the pain in her jaw immediately distorted that laugh, twisting it instead into a grimace as tears slowly welled in her sapphire eyes. Rolin's light hearted visage turned down sympathetically at his friend’s obvious pain.
The human priest, Tiyarnon, directed a weak smile at his two closest friend’s familiar banter as he tugged thoughtfully at his ever-graying beard. It was comforting for him to have his friends nearby at a time like this, having dealt with the pain and guilt for so many years himself. It also brought a bittersweet twinge of nostalgia.
How long had it been since the three of them had time to spend together outside of official duties? Tiyarnon thought. By The Shimmering One, it had been too long!  If they survive this nightmare he silently pledged to ensure that they would make more time for camaraderie and reminiscing in the days to come. Tiyarnon's musings were interrupted by the arrival of a servant, standing within the shadows of the doorway.
"My Lords, My Lady,” he began with a reverent bow and then continued. “We did not know you had returned; forgive us for our incompetence," spoke the servant humbly, keeping his eyes down and bowing repeatedly from beneath a hooded, brown robe.
Rolin Hardbeard, never comfortable with being doted on, waved the groveling attendant's concerns away and directed a comment toward him. “Stand up straight ye durned fool! How many time must we be tellin’ ye that we are folk just as yerself? Just bring Nimaira some medicinal balms, for my beard’s sake!” Rolin barked after a short pause, then continued, “Tiyarnon here has exhausted himself and we got nothin much left.” The servant retreated backwards through the door, still insisting on bowing the entire time. "And bring me some durned ale while yer at it!" The dwarf shouted after him as the man disappeared into the hallway and out of sight.
"Now what do we do?" Nimaira said, addressing the topic at hand. Rolin simply shrugged, resigned to the fact that they had given a superb effort in their task.

"Get some rest, and try again on the morrow. What else can we be doin?" Rolin responded confidently, his pride obviously still at the forefront of his façade. The dwarf, despite his age and markedly weakened frame, was not one to give up. Stubbornness was evident in all dwarves and this one doubly so, thought Nimaira as she shook her head in clear respect for the brave warrior. She had witnessed that bravery firsthand hundreds of times throughout their careers.
"I'm afraid it won't matter,” Nimaira admitted as she shook her head gingerly. “You were there Rolin! You know as well as I do that we do not have the resources or the raw ability to succeed," Nimaira continued and winced at both that realization and her smarting jaw.
 The thought of failure sat heavily in the dwarf's heart. Never being comfortable with losing a battle or even an argument and always willing to fight to the very end for his beliefs, Rolin started to protest. All of his objections died before passing his lips as he recalled the scene in his head and recognized that any further attempts would ultimately end in failure. Rolin knew Nimaira was right. Neither of them knew the answer, and both of them looked just then to Tiyarnon.
Tiyarnon was wise and calculating beyond his years despite his shorter lifespan compared to the others in the room. While not nearly as old as the dwarf or the half-elf in years, they always thought of Tiyarnon as their patriarch, as did many others in Oakhaven.  He had an intuitive way of looking at a situation from multiple points of view, and making the proper decision based on what was best for everyone, even in times of personal grief. Because of that, his two closest friends were looking to him for a solution now, during what certainly was their darkest hour.
Tiyarnon sighed as he ran his hands across the gray stubble atop his head, the remains of a thick head of hair, further reminding him of his age. As he spun his chair away from them for a moment, he caught his reflection in the glass of the conference room window and saw the leathery skin and prominent gray beard encompassing his face. After a moment of silence, he sighed deeply and turned back to face his friends. 
Looking his companions in the eyes Tiyarnon said in a steady and serious tone, “We must appeal for help to the Inquisition,” he began.  “And not only the Inquisition, but the chapter of holy warriors that exists within the walls of Safehold.”
The half-elf woman’s eyes widened as a look of realization crept across her face, and then asked “Does that mean…?“
“Yes,” Tiyarnon said, picking up where the half-elf left off. “We must call upon The Order of The Faceless Knights."

(Special thanks to Nicholas Titano for helping me with this!)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Do Writers Read?

I am re-posting this here on Skulldust Circle because I think it is important to discuss with other readers as well as other writers!

I ask this very simple question because, a while back, I was not reading at all! I had a discussion with a friend and fellow author and we began to chat about not having time to read, with everything else happening in our lives—work, writing, editing, sports, romance, family, sleep—and the list goes on. I am sure you’ve all heard it all, right? I thought to myself: “how am I not reading!?” It was crazy! I used to read voraciously and it was what made me want to write myself so many years ago. So, I made a promise to myself to never let it happen again. So, I made time to read (and especially if you are a writer), I would hope you do, too.

One thing came up about twitter followers. Most of mine (and his for that matter), happen to be writers. He seemed to think that having writers follow you meant that they were only that: writers. I am here to say: nay! Am I right? Please say yes!

Writers should be reading! Plain and simple. It doesn’t have to be an exorbitant amount, but get it in while you can. It is quite simply a measuring stick, research, and who knows, it might teach you a thing or two! So, with that being said, I ask my audience of writers:

Do you make time to read?

Please comment and let us know what you are reading, too, if you don’t mind.

As a side note, I very much enjoy the site Goodreads and would highly recommend any and all of you to join the site! If you do, please friend me HERE!

(Photo from Stock.xchng)